The Antagonist

In a previous post about non physical relationship violence, I listed and explained some examples of what that might look like.

I did however, fail to talk about something quite significant and I am surprised at myself because I lived with this kind of violence for a long time. This is what it does to you though, it leaves you fragmented and smashed to pieces until the trigger flips and you remember it all in stunningly awful detail.

Antagonism. 

He’d come in from work, and purposely antagonise me until I went supernova and started screaming at him. He’d had a bad day or someone pissed me off, and I was the emotional punching bag. Then he’d get real close to me and tell me to lower my voice. He didn’t want the neighbours hearing, but he said this with such hatred in his eyes that I thought I’d burn away. He KNEW he’d wound me up to the point where I couldn’t speak without screaming because he’d been such a horrible bully. As soon as I opened my mouth and scream at me to stop, he’d make it worse by saying stuff like this:

  • I’m selling your computer to my best friend for £25.00
  • You’re going home, this isn’t your home.
  • You have gained weight and look huge (I hadn’t).

If I happened to be out of the house when he was in this mood and I got to the door, I’d find it was locked and I couldn’t put my key in it, because his was there and he’d left it at an angle where I couldn’t push it out, but it remained locked. I’d have to knock on the door, and I could see him in there, but he’d literally sit there and ignore me for half an hour or so. When he did eventually come to the door, I asked him to let me in, and he’d say

Why would I want to do that?

I live here.

No you don’t, this isn’t your home. Go away.

My mother’s place was over a hundred miles away in the next county.

He’d do this until I’d break down and start crying, and then he’d finally let me in. Later I found out he’d go off and masturbate because he enjoyed seeing me melt down and cry.

It’s a testament to the shit I’ve endured when I say I’d rather be punched in the face (and have been plenty of times) than suffer anything like that ever again. I’ll never be able to erase that from my memory, ever.  I was so young when this happened that I didn’t know what it was.

They don’t have to hit you to cause you incredible pain. That’s not love, not even remotely. 

Don’t close the door [relationship violence]

Almost everyone I know has suffered some manner of relationship violence, be it physical and/or psychological. If you’ve never been victim yourself, it’s hard to fathom how someone can’t just leave. If you’re the support system for a friend who is suffering at the hands of someone else, and it seems to happen all too regularly with no positive outcome, it’s really, really hard not to tell someone you can’t handle hearing about it anymore.

Don’t close the door.

I get it, you’re the one who has to listen to the breathless sobbing, the fear, endless tears and heartbreak. You console via the phone, over text, or in person if you’re called over for support. It’s harrowing seeing someone you love crumpling down into a destroyed heap on the floor. It’s easy for you to say why don’t you just leave, come with me? The look of horror on their face, knowing you’re right but their fear rooting them firmly to the situation for whatever reason and you hear them say:

• I love them.
• They’re not always like this.
• They’re not hitting me, it’s okay.
• I can’t, the kids need us both.
• I can’t afford to leave.
• They’ll come after me.
• They say they’re going to get help.
• All the stereotypical responses you can’t stomach anymore.

Don’t close the door.

You’re exhausted and permanently sick to your stomach with worry, wondering when the next time your friend or family member is going to call you for help. You don’t sleep. Your work is suffering. You’re distant and in a constantly anxious state. You don’t hear from them for long periods of time until the next bad thing happens. People close to you roll their eyes and sigh the next time a victim gets in touch with you, almost like you’re an idiot for listening. They’ll also make remarks like why won’t they just LEAVE? As if it’s that easy. They get mad at you for constantly being the crutch, perhaps walking away exasperated and waving their hands. You’re feeling awful and it’s not even happening to you, but it is, indirectly because you have terrible images of things flashing through your head all the time.

Don’t close the door.

You might reach a boiling point where you honestly can’t take it anymore. Yeah you’ll feel like shit for a bit, but you just want to be able to breathe because you can’t cope with being a support system for someone who can’t or won’t disentangle themselves from an abuser. You still think it’s that easy? It’s really not. It’s frustrating, we get it. It’s easy for you to ask why won’t you leave? because it’s not happening to you. You get angry and blow up at them in your exasperation.

Don’t close the door.

You’ve hit your limit, you can’t cope and you DO blow up and demand to know why someone is still staying in an abusive environment. You have a major blow-up, you lash out and your friend or family member lashes back and speaks in defence of their abuser, telling you it’s really not that bad and that you’re overreacting, nobody is in hospital and people are still alive and the kids are happy etc etc ad infinitum. They tell you to mind your own business, and that they don’t want to talk to you again. Maybe you’ll hear something from the abuser who gets nasty with you and you wonder really, if it’s just best for you to turn your back on it all and leave the awful situation to its own devices..

DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR.

People in abusive situations are usually so terrified and buried in the toxic environment that it’s really, really not that easy to extricate themselves from it. If they think they’re being judged for not leaving, they will likely clam up and not talk at all. They might say unpleasant things to you, and sometimes those things might be abusive in themselves, and you don’t have to take that. But please..

DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR.

At some point, days, weeks, months, YEARS maybe, they might have escaped, or they may come forward to ask you for assistance to leave. They might have positive things to tell you instead of tales of misery and abuse. Even if it’s just for them to tell you they made it..

DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR.

Unless your involvement as support for a victim actively brings violence into your life and puts you at risk, please keep the door open. Let them know it’s going to stay open, even if they yell at you. Tell them you accept their position, but your door will be kept open. Don’t cut them off. Sometimes nothing can be done and the worst happens, violence is deadly; but not always. Don’t close the door because you never know how much someone might need it, and you might need that of someone else some day.

Leave the door open.

That’s Not Love: Non Physical Relationship Violence

The One Love Foundation exists in a world as one of MANY like-minded organisations that work against relationship violence. I could sit here forever and list them all, which is part of the problem; the need for organisations working against relationship and domestic violence is so essential that you couldn’t possibly list them all, and yet funding for them is always low and consequently many of them disappear when they’ve run out of money.The reason I’m citing their example, is because they run a social media campaign called #ThatsNotLove, and it’s currently instrumental in highlighting problematic behaviour in relationships, in an effort to teach young people what unhealthy relationship dynamics look like. The idea is that they might be able to escape what they don’t realise is abuse, and also to work with changing unhealthy behaviours.
There is an extremely unfortunate mindset where people assume that relationship violence is only problematic when it’s physical. people who have experienced relationship violence in whatever medium, realise that non-physical violence is often the pre-cursor for physical abuse. Violence presents itself in a multitude of mediums, and it doesn’t always appear with a punch to the face.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, this can happen to anyone.

Things I will not tolerate in response to this post: Victim blaming, declarations of ‘grow a pair’ and other sexist remarks, for example. If you show up and behave like a shitbag, you’ll end up blocked. If you downplay psychological abuse in comparison to physical abuse, you’ll also be blocked. You can physically heal from a beating. Psychologically, it never leaves you alone. Non physically violent abuse, IS abuse, and if you don’t think so, then you’re a huge part of the problem.

Examples:

  • Your partner demands to know where you are, and whom you are with at all times. Refusal to comply often results in heated arguments, guilt trips, and an escalation of intensified controlling behaviour.
  • They are possessive rather than doting.
  • Micromanaging your time, usually to their benefit. Instances where you fall outside that management will result in negative consequences.
  • Your partner slowly insists you spend less time with friends, and more time with them, even if that time is spent with them doing something away from you.
  • You find yourself making excuses to cancel time with friends or family, because your partner makes life difficult for you as a consequence. This might start with them texting you almost constantly the moment you leave their side, with explosive reactions if you don’t respond in a timely manner.
  • If you don’t live with them, the moment you spend time with them, they want to know exactly what you’ve been doing without them. This is not the same as someone wanting to know how you’ve been, it often comes with negative consequences if they think you’ve been doing something they wouldn’t approve of. You will often see moodiness, one syllable responses, and accusations that you’re being a bad partner. During any time you are apart, you’re expected to maintain constant contact via text to allay any imagined suspicions they might have.
  • Stealing your phone to read texts, emails, variations thereof, or outright snatching it from your hands to do the same thing. Refusal to comply results in explosive rows and accusations that you’re up to something. This is a complete violation of personal privacy.
  • Demanding to know who you work/go to college with/variation thereof, along with statements with regard to whether they approve of that person or not.
  • Accusations of your being sexually attracted to mutual friends, often entirely unfounded. Note that the antagonist will likely take it out on the victim, but remain as nice as pie to the person of whom they have imagined you have been unfaithful with. They lay blame entirely on you.
  • Not letting you go anywhere by yourself. If they don’t want to go with you, they will tell you you’re not allowed to go.
  • Comments about your appearance and what you choose to wear. Now that you’re in an established relationship, you’re expected to dress down and change your appearance to avoid attention from anyone they might deem a threat.
  • They say it’s because I love you.. as if that makes it okay to behave in this manner.
  • Following you around your living space the moment you move.
  • You find yourself unable to talk to friends on the phone because it makes your partner feel uncomfortable.
  • Gaslighting, often in front of mutual friends so that they feel you’re the problem. You might often find your friends are more aloof with you, especially if your partner implies your behaviour is unacceptable in ways that are blatantly not true. This is their way of distancing you from your support network.
  • Declarations that you’re overreacting, and to get over it.
  • Denial that they’re abusive to you at all, they will completely deny any wrongdoing if you bring it up in an attempt to diffuse behaviour.
  • If you’re capable of menstruation, they will often ask you if you’re on your period as a way to belittle you in a disagreement.
  • Name-calling, excessive or subtle. Refusal to use your name, or acknowledge you as an individual.
  • They will behave in a loving and considerate manner around you in public or around friends, but the moment you’re alone, the facade is dropped.
  • Being incredibly sweet in some ways to lull you into a false sense of security, but displaying incredibly controlling behaviour that leaves you questioning yourself and the validity of your relationship. A neatly and attractively wrapped arsehole, is still an arsehole.
  • Declarations that they will ‘get help’, and then not do so.
  • An abusive partner thinking their behaviour is acceptable, however holding you to entirely unrealistic expectations.
  • Denying you the use of social media.
  • This list is not exhaustive.

Examples of escalating behaviour that will eventually result in physical violence:

  • Getting in your face and screaming at you, without actually hitting you. This intimidation tactic is common and effective, because you end up terrified, but don’t feel like you can justify telling anyone because they didn’t hit you.
  • Destroying your belongings. Rather than physically hurting YOU, they make a point of showing that they can hurt you in other ways. If they ever throw things during an argument, pay attention to what they’re throwing. It will likely be something of yours, not something of theirs.
  • If you’re late for any reason, even if only for a few minutes, your partner will fly into a rage and scream at you, accusing you of entirely ridiculous imagined scenarios.
  • Openly telling you that they want to hurt you. As an example, an ex of mine that never actually hit me, told me he wanted to snap my neck like a carrot, knowing full well I’d been physically beaten by a previous partner. He knew the effect that statement would have on me, which is precisely why he did it.
  • Refusing you sleep, personal care, food and drink.
  • Locking you in so you can’t leave, regardless of if you need to go to work, school, anywhere essential to your life.
  • Not letting you have any money, or means of paying for anything. Control of cards, bank accounts etc.
  • Denying you visits to a doctor if you’re ill, or for any reason such as birth control. Denial of birth control is especially problematic, because getting someone pregnant is a proven method of forcing someone to stay.

The Cycle of Abuse

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This is from TEAR, but it’s good highlighting the cycle  which applies to ALL age groups.

Relationship violence is a very cyclical phenomenon. You can have intense periods of happiness and embrace them thinking that you can eventually bring someone there permanently. You will think things are not that bad, until they go downhill again. It’s important to keep this in mind, if you’re ever to be able to escape a volatile situation. An an abusive partner might make slight changes to make you think things will be okay, but it won’t be long before they slip back into older mindsets, and thus the cycle repeats.

#ThatsNotLove

Abuse victims are using that hashtag to talk about their experiences all over social media, if they feel safe enough to do so. People who have experienced any kind of relationship violence understand that it’s not always as simple as just leaving, and that even if you can leave, it’s not easy to disentangle yourself from toxic people. They beg and plead and say they want to change, but that’s part of the cycle of abuse, and unfortunately an effective way of guilting you into staying. The lists here are only a few examples, they are not exhaustive, and there are infinitely more subtle ways of expressing relationship violence. There’s no way I would be able to list every possible example of abuse, and it doesn’t matter how small something seems, if it’s effecting your relationship negatively, then you need to examine it.They might tell you they love you, and they might tell you they’re behaving violently BECAUSE they love you, but the fact remains that is most certainly not love. It’s abuse. It might be trussed up fancier than a Christmas turkey, but it’s still abuse.

Dawkins: Parte The Seconde

IDIOT

PEAK STUPID.

We need to talk about Richard...

I reiterate my previous statement:

I refuse to identify as an atheist any more, because well he’s the atheist pope. It is quite ridiculous. Well no, it’s ABSURD, but honestly–what are we to do with this seemingly out of control pillock with an extremely ironic god complex? Elenor Robertson puts it very well with her CiF piece, Richard Dawkins, what on earth happened to you?  If you look at each Guardian article on the subject of Dawkins and his increasing ineptitude, there’s a link to another, highlighting yet another ridiculous episode or statement.

dawkinscycleWhen is enough going to be enough for those folks wanking lyrical over this crusty old dinosaur?

The Effects of Indiscriminate canine breeding

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My beloved Sherlock, Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge

         Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogges were bred specifically to reverse the damage done to the English Bulldog breed, rendering them largely immobile, and laden with chronic brachycephalic issues.  The idea was that the breed would perform as English Bulldogs used to, promoting a fitter, healthier breed. Unfortunately, for many of the DOTB’s out there, this could not be farther from the truth.

This is what indiscriminate breeding looks like:

MRI brain with contrast: mild brain atrophy with dilation of the lateral brain ventrical and sulci (brain folds), probably congenital.

MRI brain with contrast: mild brain atrophy with dilation of the lateral brain ventrical and sulci (brain folds), probably congenital.

          His brain was typically smaller than it should have been. You can see it’s slightly squashed on one side. You can follow the link to see the rest of the MRI shots, but the enlarged sulci and brain atrophy meant that he was brain damaged. Additionally, he was born with a halo cataract, and suffered with idiopathic epilepsy which I am told was not related to his brain damage. These things were all congenital, meaning that he was born like this.  I was told this would worsen with age.

         His skin was also a complete mess when I first adopted him. He had inter-digital cysts, many sebaceous cysts on his body including one the size of a large egg on his neck.  I had that surgically removed leaving a large scar down the side. He was dubbed Frankendog for a bit, but fortunately it never returned. I drained the rest myself, pulled his diet apart because in the early stages of his life, he was fed an extremely poor diet. I discovered he was highly allergic to gluten, and in fact couldn’t tolerate any grains or cereals whatsoever, not that I’d feed those to a dog anyway. Putting him on a raw diet fixed absolutely every skin and fur issue that he had, so it just goes to show that you can fix things on the outside, by putting the right things on the inside. He was a moderately healthy dog for a while, barring his congenital health problems that meant he needed special handling and management.

         A couple of weeks ago, he started exhibiting discomfort, and weight loss. He would vomit, shake, and grumble often. Examination at the vet decided that he was suffering with canine pancreatitis, and that I needed to remove fat from his diet. Since he wasn’t on a high fat diet anyway, this wasn’t difficult. The symptoms subsided for a little bit, but came back with a vengeance some days later. Since I wasn’t going to take any chances, I requested blood tests, x-rays and an ultrasound.  Unfortunately for Sherlock, and to my absolute shock, the prognosis wasn’t good because initial x-rays found a tumour in his stomach. A vet with an ultrasound machine came and did his thing a couple of days later, to find that not only did he have a tumour in his stomach, but that his entire body was riddled with cancer. The largest tumour was ten centimetres in mass inside his liver. His kidneys, adrenals, and spleen were also affected. Had the technician been able to spend more time with him, he says it’s likely he would have been able to find more in the rest of his body. Regardless, it was enough to show me that he really didn’t have long left at all; in fact they were all rather amazed he was still standing up. To say I was devastated, was an understatement.

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You can see how ill he looked here..

         I made the tearful decision to take him home with me, so my family, friends and I could spend a few days saying goodbye to him, and making sure he knew how important he was to us. He had absolutely no idea that he was so sick, and we still don’t know how he was even functioning. I was advised that his condition would probably deteriorate very quickly, and the last thing I wanted for him was to die confused, terrified, and in pain. I made the decision to have the vet come and euthanise him in my flat, where he was surrounded by my family and friend that loved him as much as I did. If you never have to feel an animal fall against you as they take their last breath, then you are extremely fortunate indeed. It was absolutely soul destroying, and he died in my arms. I have never sobbed so hard in my life. He was my absolute world, and now he’s gone. He was only six years old.

         He has half brothers and sisters from other litters. One of them has already been euthanised because she suffered with suspected  canine dwarfism, a heart murmur and what was possibly identified as canine Down’s syndrome. These things are all rather rare and controversial, but I’m only going on what I was told. The folks who have the dogs have all kept in touch, and swap information accordingly. This is why I’m writing this, because it’s important for people to know.

Here are some of the images given to me by the sonographer:

L adrenal mass

Adrenal mass

L kidney with mass lesion

Left kidney with mass lesion

mass in left lateral liver lobe

Mass in left lateral liver lobe

R adrenal mass

Right adrenal mass

splenic mass

Splenic mass

         For reasons known only to them, people seem to assume that dogs don’t suffer with mental health issues and many of the same things we do. The fact is that they do. Sherlock always had major anxiety problems, and would panic if left alone for anything longer than an hour. It wasn’t as simple as separation anxiety, because he had too many behavioural and mental health issues for it to be trained out of him. He could only ever handle basic training, and I was extremely lucky because he could have turned out to be a very aggressive dog given that he was completely mismanaged early on in life.

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He was malnourished and underweight when he came to me although this is not a photo from my files. He was a little heavier than this when I got him..

         The Sherlock I remember is the reason I am still alive. He has saved my life twice, and has been there for me when I have had absolutely no will to live whatsoever. Losing him to such an insidious illness as cancer, was the most horrifying thing. It was so fast. There was no indication that he was ill, until he was too ill to do anything about it.  I could have kept him alive a bit longer, but I didn’t want him to suffer, or feel confused and terrified, just to satisfy my own selfish reasons for keeping him alive. He was too important and wonderful to me and other people to let him go out in a painful manner. He helped people who suffered at the hands of mental illness. He gave people the confidence to go outside amongst other people when they didn’t think they had it in them. He was the light of my life when I couldn’t see any other.

         Arseholes with a couple of dogs and absolutely no common sense, will breed dogs indiscriminately, just to make a bit of money. When I say indiscriminately, I mean exactly that; they breed siblings with one another, and also parents with offspring, just to make money. There’s a reason why incest is highly illegal within the human race, it’s because it results in terrible mutations, illnesses and the like, and for some reason, we’ve decided it’s perfectly okay to do this to animals. It might very well be that some of them end up with awful illnesses regardless, but indiscriminate breeding in instances similar to this, mean you end up with animals absolutely riddled with illness as a result of exploitation for money.

         You were my absolute world mate, I will never forget you.

Peace and long life..

There are people on this earth that mean everything. When one of them passes on, it’s gutwrenching and leaves a void that you feel cannot be filled aside from tears and devastation. 

Leonard Nimoy was one such man to me. He was beautiful. He was a genuinely kind and generous man, something that few people are able to retain when they have money. You know how things go, people turn into spoiled wankers, but he didn’t. He stood up for Nichelle Nichols and George Takei when he learned they weren’t being paid the same as the other cast members of Star Trek. He involved himself in the fight against holocaust denial, when he filmed a dramatisation of a holocaust survivor who confronted a holocaust denial organisation’s lies in court. He was a really good guy, and we were better for having him. 

I grew up watching Star Trek the original series. I was never enamoured by Kirk, it was always about Spock for me. I loved the way he was accidentally funny despite playing an emotionless character. I loved the way he and McCoy bickered like old women but ultimately needed one another. It was my favourite show and it helped me survive the horror of my childhood in many ways. 

I was nervous when I heard he had a Twitter account because it seems to make or break people. Celebrities have a horrible habit of showing sides of themselves that show us how shitty they can really be. That never happened with him. He was perfect. What really pulled on my heartstrings was when he told millions of fans that he was adopting them as honourary grandchildren. He must have known how much some of us needed that, as if it were possible to love him even more, I teared up with the biggest grin on my face ever. Some celebs don’t give a single shit about their fans, but he was the real deal. 

He was my absolute hero, and as much as I wish he was actually immortal, he always will be because he was unforgettable. I spent most of yesterday evening in floods of tears when I heard he had passed. It was like being hit by a truck. I immediately went to Netflix and began watching The Wrath of Khan, because it was the only way I could think of to honour him properly. It’s going to break my heart even more each time I see it now, because we had to say goodbye for real. That fateful scene was always a heartbreaker, but last night it was really for real. I cannot imagine how his family must be feeling, because the rest of the world is in total mourning. 

Thank you, Sir. Thank you for being the most amazing man in the world. We will all miss you, but your legacy will burn on forever. 



Live long, and prosper. _\\//