Killing Her Softly

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He had made the decision. The decision to break off the relationship with her. He was going to have this last little fling and then it was going to be over. He could swing it. He knew how to manage it and no one had to be the wiser. He had convinced her that his wife wore the pants in his family. That she controlled him and everything he did. It had taken an elaborate story but she had bought it. He knew her well enough to tell. She was a gentle soul and she loved him. She’d believe anything he told her. He’d convinced her that he loved her. Anyway, he knew he would not be able to have sex with her much longer. He was flirting with impotence. He wasn’t mature enough to realize she didn’t care about that. He did.

He didn’t want to take the chance of losing his marriage. Not because he loved his wife. But because his wife came from a wealthy family. They had the money to travel and play at whatever they wanted. He didn’t want to screw that up just for a meaningless affair. He just got involved in this affair for a thrill anyway. The thrill was going away so he had to get out of it. He laughed to himself. He got bored easily. He had to put her in her place so she wouldn’t tell anyone, like his wife. She wasn’t stupid, even though she was trusting. He had to make his story complicated so she wouldn’t figure it out.

What he didn’t know is that the girl already knew something was wrong between them. He was a heavy drinker and he had let some things slip when he got drunk. He was also bipolar. Sometimes, he thought he was thinking to himself, only he was thinking out loud and the girl heard him talking to himself. She was already suspicious before she left him at the airport that last time. He was in a manic period and was drinking more than usual so he could sleep. The mania was worse than the girl had ever seen. The mental illness had gotten worse since she had last seen him. She never could have guessed the lengths he would go to in order to get rid of her. She never would have guessed he would try to get rid of her at all. They had seen each other for 35 years, even if it had been off and on.

The man thought he had convinced the girl his wife was a mean bitch. A dictatorial, manipulative woman who controlled him completely. He’d told her that the wife was a computer hacker, that she would ruin her life if she found out about them. He’d forgotten that the girl had known him when he’d been with other women and that he’d never be with anyone like that. If anyone was controlling, it would be him. She knew he’d be sneaky about it.

The girl already knew he was a liar. Even during their current short relationship, he contradicted himself dozens of times. The mental illness kept him from realizing it as did the liquor. The girl remembered every single instance. He first said that he had paid one of his ex-wives off with $250,000. The next day, it became $500,000. Apparently, he didn’t think she had a memory either. She remembered it all. Her brain had not been pickled in liquor and ruined by uncontrolled bipolar disease.

That did not mean that the girl was prepared for what happened next. She had never known him to be cruel. Troubled, yes. A pathological liar, yes. Cruel, no. The years had indeed changed him.

It happened three days after they parted the last time. He was particularly sweet that day, professing his undying love. Over and over and over. Then, suddenly, the girl got a message supposedly from his wife saying that he had been found out and threatening her. It took her a little while to think the whole thing through. To realize that the message from his wife was really a message from him. His cowardly way out of the relationship. At first, she was shattered. It took weeks for her to think straight. She had trusted him in spite of herself. Psychopaths can be quite convincing because they believe their own lies.

He cut off her access to him all the while blaming his wife. At first, all she wanted was an explanation but she couldn’t get that. Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle began to fall together for her. He thought he was very smart but he had made some fundamental mistakes. Gradually, she figured out each mistake he had made. She started to realize that his wife probably did not even know he had an affair. He had ended it before she found out but in the most horrible way, the cruelest way, possible. In his very sick bipolar mind, he had to play out an elaborate scenario and hurt the girl badly.

Looking back, the girl shook her head. All he had to do was tell her that the affair was not working for him. He knew that she would never want someone who didn’t want her. She would have just left and he would never have heard from her again. It would have been so much simpler. He even needed the thrill of hurting her. In the process, he probably caused her to never be able to trust again. Cruel and psychopathic people do not care about those things. They care only about themselves.*

#amwriting #amblogging #writing #fiction

*This is an excerpt from a larger body of work.

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My Mother’s German Clock

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My mother was a hard, cold woman. There is no need to sugar coat it, though I hate to say it. That was, quite simply. her personality. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love her. I did. I just didn’t like her very much most of the time. I spent my life, or perhaps her life, trying to please her. I don’t need all my ten fingers to count the times I heard her laugh in the 48 years she lived while I was alive. I don’t remember what her face looked like when she smiled. She smiled so seldom.

My mother was depressed. Perhaps clinically depressed but, back then, those diagnoses were seldom made so who really knows what was wrong. But, her problems are only tangential to this story. The story of my mother’s German clock.

My mother loved her brothers and sisters almost desperately. She never really separated from that family and embraced my dad and I. One brother, my Uncle Tincy, was particularly special. They were close in age and grew up together. I think separating from him when he left home to join the Air Force broke her heart.

My mother and my uncle always stayed in close touch. His family, including his three children – my cousins, were always close to me. When they would come “home” from being stationed at one Air Force Base and before moving to another, they would often stay with us during the move. My mother cherished every day she got to spend with her brother and with his family. It was during those times that she seemed happiest.

Uncle Tincy was stationed, at one point, in Germany. Before he left Germany, he sent just about all of his siblings a beautiful German clock. I was grown up by then and had left home, but I will never forget when I came for a visit and my mother had received her clock from her brother. For once in her life, she was glowing as she showed me her clock, hanging in a place of honor on the wall. To her, it was not only beautiful, but a symbol of her brother’s love.

Later in both of our lives, my dad passed away and my mother had to live with me because she was very ill. Of course, the German clock from my Uncle Tincy came with her and hung in a place of honor on a wall of my home. Every day, my mother dusted and polished it. She made sure it was wound properly, right up until a couple of days before she died. It made her happy as almost nothing did.

Today, sixteen years after my mother’s death, the German clock still hangs in a place of honor in my home. It has been taken to the clockmaker, cleaned, repaired, and runs  like new. Mom would be proud. I’ve taken over the task of cleaning and polishing it. It keeps perfect time. When I look at it, I think of my mother, with whom I had a strained relationship and who was so unhappy most of the time. I think of my wonderful Uncle Tincy who could perform some sort of magic to make her happy. I remember how she smiled when she looked at that clock. Now, I smile, with a tear in my eye, as I remember what a beautiful German clock did for my mother all those years ago. #amwriting #writing #blogging #depression #dailyprompt

Emotional Child Abuse: Mother and Little Girl

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In a previous post, I told you a story about a little girl I once knew. Although most of this ongoing story is about the little girl, I want to introduce you to Mother. Maybe a small part of Mother’s story can help explain how the little girl found herself in such a terrible predicament within her family. I’ll have to warn you. I’m not terribly sympathetic to Mother though I am trying to develop a little understanding.

When I came to know Mother, the little girl was five years old and Mother was 35. An older mother to a child that young back in those days, to be sure. Mother had tried for a long time to have a baby. She was almost 30 when she succeeded. Mother’s pregnancy was difficult. The little girl found out later that she bore the scars of that difficult pregnancy. So, probably, did Mother.

Mother visited the town’s only doctor a lot. He was an excellent doctor but only had the knowledge of those times. But, he was wise beyond those years. Mother had a number of physical ailments that she was diagnosed with when she was between 35-40. Those, however, did not start plaguing her until a few years later.

Mother’s problems during her late 30s were less of a physical nature and more of an emotional nature. Mother had a problem with Daddy. At that time, I didn’t know what  that problem was as I was only a friend. I do know that, as a few years passed, the problem seemed to grow more severe.

The problem with Daddy was not the only source of emotional distress for Mother. Mother had come from a background that was emotionally difficult. Her mother, Grandmother, was a high-strung, temperamental woman who was cold and not particularly loving. Grandmother, to be honest, was mean. Though Mother would never have said so, Mother grew up in a family where the parents were not demonstrative with any sort of loving behavior. Grandfather was a kind, generous man but probably not outwardly emotional. Mother may never have learned how to love. That is what the little girl told me when she became a grown-up woman. She also said that Mother, as she grew up, was much like Grandmother – mean, temperamental, and cold.

Here was Mother – problems with Daddy and a little girl who needed her. A raft of physical problems and an even bigger load of emotional ones that she probably did not understand. No one to help but an old family doctor who tried his best and a sister next door who also tried her best. No one seemed to know what to do. So they did what so many families do. They hid and denied the problem, except among themselves.

Mother only looked outward for help. She looked to Daddy, the doctor, her sister, and even little girl. She failed to look inward and she did not try to help herself. Perhaps she couldn’t. Perhaps her problems were too severe. There is no way to know. The grown-up woman little girl became told me that, before Mother died, her emotional problems had only gotten worse, not better.

But, back to the story. Little girl wasn’t very old when Mother realized something. She realized that little girl was a great deal like Daddy as her personality developed. Mother and Daddy had never resolved their problems and, in Mother’s eyes, the worst thing that could happen was for little girl to grow up and be anything like her Daddy. She was supposed to grow up and be like Mother and her family. Fate has a way of playing tricks on us and that was not happening.

Since Mother could only punish Daddy to a point, wasn’t little girl a good substitute? Wasn’t she just like her Daddy? Wasn’t she like his family and not like Mother’s? That’s what Mother told me. Not that little girl was a substitute, but how much she was disgusted by the way she was just like Daddy. It was years later, when little girl was a grown-up, that she told me this one day.

Not only was Mother a cold, temperamental and unemotional woman, but she had a child much like a man she had grown to hate. On top of this, she had emotional, even perhaps mental, problems and no real help available. When I look back, I realize this was a recipe for disaster for that family.

So began the problems for little girl. Emotional child abuse. A form of child abuse just as damaging as physical or sexual abuse. It just doesn’t leave bruises or any physical scars, though Mother engaged in physical abuse more than once. Emotional abuse involves degrading the child, making the child feel that he or she is not good enough, expecting the impossible of the child, not being affectionate toward the child, and much more. It is not usually obvious to people outside the immediate family. Often, they think the child is acting out when they react to the abuse. But, children who are victims of emotional abuse are not acting out. They are reacting to what amounts to betrayal by their parent.

Child abuse of any type is the ultimate betrayal between a child and the parent. Little girl suffered that betrayal at the hands of Mother even though there were reasons that Mother acted the way she did. There is no reason for child abuse.

Follow this blog for the continuing story of little girl. Continue reading

A Child’s Salvation — the Horse

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It’s the week of the Preakness and perhaps that’s why I’m thinking about horses. The Preakness is important here in Kentucky. It’s the second jewel in the Triple Crown and this girl hopes Nyquist will wear it. Not only am I thinking about horses but I’m also thinking about horses and their people…..and the relationship between people and horses and how important that can be to both.

Long ago, so long I can hardly remember, I knew this little girl. She had two ponies during her childhood and, later in life, a horse. Meet her second pony, Mr. Ed, named after a rather famous TV show that aired back in the day. Her first pony didn’t work out for her as he was a stallion and her Daddy was terrified the stallion would kill her as he was pretty temperamental. Only she and the stallion knew the secret that it was really fine. The stallion went off to live at a farm and her Daddy brought Mr. Ed into her life.

The little girl didn’t take riding lessons until much later in her life. She seemed just to know how to ride. Mr. Ed was a Shetland pony but a rather large one. He was kind and gentle but fun for the little girl to ride. Sometimes, when he didn’t want to be ridden, he would just lie down on his side. The little girl would just laugh and jump off his back, barely in time, to avoid being crushed. The little girl’s Daddy watched in helpless wonder. She wasn’t even 10 years old.

Riding Mr. Ed wasn’t the most important thing to the little girl. You see, the little girl had some problems. She would not have described it like this, but in adult words, she and her mother did not have a very good relationship. Her mother was a sad and depressed woman. Probably clinically depressed though, then, that diagnosis didn’t even exist. She seemed to take her sadness and depression out on the little girl.

The little girl’s mother made the little girl feel unloved, like she wasn’t good enough, like she had to do better and better, be smarter, be prettier, than anyone else and maybe then her mother would love her. She was too young to understand that nothing she did was ever going to make her good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, to please her mother. Nothing was going to make her mother love her. She didn’t understand that the problem was with her mother, not with her. That understanding took years.

Mr. Ed was the little girl’s salvation. She would run to his red barn, in the moments she could get away from her mother, and she would sit in the straw, hiding in the corner of the barn. She would cry and talk to Mr. Ed. He would stand there, eating his oats and hay, and listen. Sometimes, he would even lie down with his head close to the little girl and sleep while she talked. She hid there as long as she could, away from her mother.

When the little girl grew into a teen-age girl, Mr. Ed watched for her to come home every day from school. She would go for a ride after school and stay with him as long as possible, even in the winter. He was still her best confidante. His barn was still her hiding place, away from the hurtful comments and the hateful face of her mother. She grew into quite a loner, preferring the company of animals to people. She had a hard time relating to most people. Her Daddy worked away from home most of the time and he was not there for support. She had a wonderful aunt and uncle close by, but the influence of her mother was too much and that of her aunt and uncle was not enough.

The teen-age girl started college and graduated early. She wanted to get a job and leave home as soon as possible. She, with her Daddy’s help, made arrangements for Mr. Ed before she left. He was old by the time she was 20 and ready to leave home. He had developed some laminitis in his hooves. He went to a farm owned by a large animal veterinarian in a nearby town, though he didn’t live long. The hoof problem was too severe.

The grown woman the little girl became will never forget Mr. Ed. She loved horses from then on. Mr. Ed had helped save her life and made intolerable emotional abuse almost tolerable.

If you are a mother who feels depressed or overwhelmed, go to your doctor and get help. If you are an adult child who suffered emotional abuse, contact the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse.