Abuse & Disease: A New Spin

Chronic illness feels like an abusive relationship. I should know, I was in one. 

I only just made this analogy  yesterday. A friend was talking about a controlling relationship which her daughter, M.,  is stuck with until M.’s child turns 18. Every time she gets thru one crisis with the father of her child, who feeds on her angst like a shark feeds on a flailing, tasty human, calm returns and for a while she feels some semblance of normalcy.  

She goes on living as if no further emotional assault will occur, and is truly re-traumatized each and every time.  How could this be happening again????…..the raging powerlessness I know she feels as he uses their child as a pawn between them, a pawn in a game she cannot win.

She will not use Solomon’s sword. He would.

Jump back to me, stuck in bed again with my lupus flare. Like it or not, stuck with it. My body, my life, my work, my marriage,  my family –  all affected by this nasty disease. Assaulted by it.  And I feel powerless, and furious…. so furious….  a  raging powerlessness in a fight I cannot win. A fight which will probably kill me. An abusive relationship doesn’t get much worse than that.

And then I feel better again, a semblance of normalcy is restored (key word semblance) , until the next assault by the disease.  At which point I feel shocked and traumatized that the flare has flattened me again.  Just like M. feels. 

There’s nothing we can do about it, right? 

Wrong, actually. I heard myself advising M.’s mom that M. needs to accept that it is what it is. He will never change. His tactics will never change. I would imagine any boxer would tell you its the punch they didn’t see coming that knocked them out.  So…umm…when are M. and I going to admit to ourselves that she had a child with a power and control freak, and I have a very serious medical condition which does not go away just because I get remissions? 

What we both need to do is to see it coming, know its coming, but accept the breaks in between with  the grace,  joy and  wisdom to appreciate the present.  When you know its coming you can have a back up plan. For her it might be disengaging from his game and gathering  the support she needs. Not to detail her victimization but to go out with her friends for a good time,  or treat herself to a day at the spa. It won’t change a blessed thing about the situation, but regardless of whether she suffers or pampers herself while he does his thing- nothing else will change. So since it is what it is, I vote for pampering at such times. Nurturing herself rather than berate herself because she can’t win.

So, as is often the case, in giving my friend advice I gave it to myself. I stopped fighting this flare today and accepted the reality that I need to take a week off from work even though  I HATE canceling clients. I decided to take advantage of the abusive (insert your favorite curse word here) lupus and treat myself. I mean, just because I can’t go to work doesn’t mean I can’t work on my hobbies which I never have enough time for.  I can decoupage, make jewelry, plan craft projects, read, watch movies, all from the comfort of my nice snuggy bed.  It won’t change anything, but…to tell you the truth… I am actually looking forward to my week off now… 

It is what it is.  😉




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9 Responses to “Abuse & Disease: A New Spin”

  1. Amber Says:

    This is by far my friend the best thing you have ever written. I am going to keep it, to remind myself, and reread often.

    No one can ever know YOUR pain or suffering. But as I suffer with my own, similar remissions etc., I feel like I have a good idea. I want to hug you and cry and beat our fists against something together. Then lets have a glass of wine and round our day off at the spa and lunch thrown in of course!

    Im always here if you need someone to talk to…. who maybe understands a thing or two…

  2. SF Says:

    Wow Psych this is both beautiful and prophetic in its honesty and truth, floored! Isn’t it strange how by helping others we always tend to help ourselves, then for the really wise they go on to share that learnt wisdom with others so that they to can learn, grow and understand. You are truly wise my friend, I am blessed to have met you in this here blogosphere!

  3. Lirone Says:

    A very powerful and encouraging post – I think this is advice we can all benefit from taking from time to time.

  4. psychscribe Says:

    Wow, thank you my friends 🙂 Blessings to all of you,
    Amber, SF, and Lirone…

  5. cordieb Says:

    “What we both need to do is to see it coming, know its coming, but accept the breaks in between with the grace, joy and wisdom to appreciate the present. ” – So true. It’s hard to think rationally and truly love ourself when we are in anguish and pain; but I’m glad to have friends like yourself who give us those gentle reminders. Hope you’re feeling better soon – and I do hope you enjoy your week off! Hope you get to making some jewelry and photo it so that we can see it. Sounds like a nice hobby! PLL, CordieB.

  6. psychscribe Says:

    cordie, thank you so much for your support, i’m glad to have you as a friend as well 🙂 i will photo some of my crafts when i get something done. hugs!

  7. The Weekly Fruit Salad 05 « SanityFound’s Rambling’s Says:

    […] it but at the end of the day it is what it is and we get to choose to love it unconditionally and accept it/them or not. Once we have made the decision as to which we choose we then begin to beat a stronger […]

  8. Kim Says:

    Hello. I was looking for help with my own situation regarding the psychological and emotional victimization of my child by his father when I came across this post. I appreciate the analogy as it has put some things into perspective.

    I am not able to change my ex-husband, I’ve understood that for a long time. All I can do is give my child the tools to cope with his father’s behavior. What I’ve done is forgotten about myself. I need to use those tools to cope as well in order to maintain my inner strength to assist my child in dealing.

    Pampering myself when next he does something abusive feels so foreign and contrary to my instinct, but that means it more likely to be exactly what I need.

    I am sorry for your illness, but thank you for your strength! I could only hope to be as inspiring and selfless in similar circumstances and I could only wish for the friends that you have here.

    Thank you again! You will be in my prayers.

  9. psychscribe Says:

    Hi Kim,
    I am so sorry your comment here got overlooked as I got all caught up in wedding planning with my daughter. I hope you and your child are managing ok and that you are remembering to treat yourself BEYOND excellent when he strikes.

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