I want to get this out before I forget it or it becomes part of the laundry list of topics I want to discuss on here and find that I do not have the same fire as I did when they were fresh. A couple nights ago, my mom and I visited my aunt and ended up staying at her house chatting until midnight. We talked about various topics, but the one that stood out the most to me (aside from my needing a new car) was men. Or specifically, the men in our lives, past and present.
This is related to the topic of my needing a new car, as my dad is being rather stubborn and skirting around the issue. I don’t know how to explain it without my fingers tingling from frustration that there isn’t a way to just hook my head up to a machine and transfer everything in a neat little file full of the whole situation…but anyway, the subject divulged into how men are pretty much all hotheads and you need to know when to tell them things so that they don’t explode like shaken up bottles of pop. The answer, if you’re wondering, is when they’re in a good mood. And though neither my mom or my aunt mentioned it, I’m sure they were probably both thinking after sex – but I think they abstained from saying that because they think my virginity = ultra saintly nun-like knowledge of sexuality – and also because it’s probably an awkward topic between them (my aunt is not young).
That said, I discovered as the topic went on that during my grandpa’s last few months alive, he was very verbally abusive to my grandma. But before I continue, I’d also like to add that I learned that before they were married, he was, only once, physically abusive to her as well. My aunt recounted a story that my grandma told her about a time when my grandpa’s friends were spreading rumors that she was being unfaithful to him, and while she was ironing a shirt (with a really old school iron, like, made out of iron, that you had to spit on or something) he came over to her and hit her upside the head a few times and walked away, but not before she threw the iron at him, which nearly missed his head and could’ve killed him. Afterward, he asked “what was that?” and she asked “what was THAT?” A few days later, after discussing it with my great-grandmother, she told him that if he ever lays a hand on her again, she would heat a large pot of water until it was boiling and throw it on his head while he was sleeping. He never touched her like that again. However, he did verbally abuse her to his dying day.
My mom was telling my aunt about my dad calling her of “of the devil” (that’s the best way I can translate it in English – it’s a very rude and hurtful way to verbally berate someone in Romanian) because she said something somewhat snippy to him after he complained about her going to the zoo with me a few days ago. That’s when my aunt told us about my grandpa’s verbal abuse which often consisted of calling my grandma “of the devil”. I suppose I should also mention that my grandpa’s last year of life was plagued by diabetic complications including an infected leg (he refused to take medication for diabetes because he was afraid of needles and medical anything, like I am) which resulted in his death. Consequently, his poor health also deteriorated his state of mind. From what I remember, he wasn’t happy, as expected, to be sick. But he always spoke to me kindly, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with the fact that I was his favorite grandchild, the only girl, and the first born. He loved me very much. But this isn’t about me, not yet anyway.
In his negative state of mind, my aunt told us he called my grandma all kinds of names, swore at her, blamed his illness on her, said he wished he could kill her with an axe (that was so terrible, it was ALMOST funny, except it wasn’t), etc etc. All kinds of terrible, awful things that I could never dream of saying to someone I love, much less my wedded spouse. However, my spiritual beliefs lead me to believe that the corporeal negativity that surrounded my grandpa around his dying days was just that – corporeal. I cannot count the amount of times that I have been in near car accidents and I know that my grandpa pulled my wheel the other way or pushed my foot on the brake. I firmly believe that in the core of his spirit, he was a loving and positive being, and that any negative energy he felt while he was still alive was part of his natural learning curve on earth. I believe that once he died, he became part of the oneness and he knew what he said/did was wrong.
That said, unfortunately, his verbal abuse was passed down to his two sons, my dad and my uncle. My uncle is worse – he is not only verbally abusive, but as with the two girlfriends, (one of which is now his ex-wife and the mother of my only first cousin) also physically abusive. It really upsets me, actually. Imagine being 5 years old and icing a grown 20something’s face because your uncle hit her for arguing. It was rather traumatizing.
Thankfully, my dad is not physically abusive and never has been. He is, however, verbally abusive. Prior to move to America, his verbal abuse was more derogatory and nasty. Currently, it is more hurtful and scarring. I like to think that he chooses his words in a way so volatile that he knows exactly what button to push to make me feel like the shittiest, unworthiest person alive – like I do not deserve anything because I disobeyed his wishes or what have you. I distinctly remember being called a cow on several occasions when I was younger (before my mom intervened and told him to stop saying things like that to his own children) and various other deploring things he spewed my way that my brain has thankfully managed to tuck away and not remember.
This isn’t to say that I’ve had a rough childhood. My childhood and life at home has been phenomenal compared to the devastating lives of far too many people who’ve grown in truly horrific situations. Nonetheless, all degrees of abuse are that: abuse. And it does not matter what degree you’ve endured, it all matters. Being someone’s punching bag, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, is not only challenging, but scarring.
Having backstoryed all that, I remember sitting on my aunt’s couch and feeling more and more infuriated imagining the scenarios of my grandpa abusing my grandma. MY grandpa, abusing MY grandma. Two people that I love and adore with all my heart, having discord in their relationship? It truly hurts me to think about it. I have never dealt well with people genuinely arguing. My parents very rarely have a legit argument, but when they do, it makes me extremely uncomfortable and I want to cry. Although recently, as I’ve gotten older, I have a tendency to step in and scream at my dad to shut the fuck up because it’s distressing me. He usually tells me to shut up back and I tell him no and continue to tell him to stop arguing. I also do not like it when my friends argue, especially with their significant others.
However, my grandparents’ situation got me thinking: should I ever find myself in a relationship, I pledge here and now to never, EVER, allow my partner to abuse me. Abuse is not love. I don’t care how corrosive of a relationship it might be. No one should be subjected to berating words or bruises. I am too intelligent, too emotional, and have too much self-respect to allow anyone to disrespect me like that. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but I am saying if it does, it won’t happen for long.