Friday, September 15, 2017
Lives Forever Changed by Cold Hearts
This has been a rough week and I have struggled to try and make sense of the senseless. We started out the week having to make a tough decision after years and years dispicable and manipulative behavior directed our way by members of my husband's family. It was a long time coming and one that we had to do for our own sanity. Then, on Wednesday, the unthinkable happened not too far from us. There was another school shooting in a small school district that rocked our entire area to the core. People we know are friends with and/or related to some of the victims and a young man tragically lost his life while trying to talk the shooter down. Of course there were some people who quickly jumped at the chance to try to politicize the heartbreaking situation, including someone on my side of the family who does not live anywhere near here and is not dealing with the aftermath of this horrible tragedy. That too left me shaken and questioning why they would do such a thing. I had planned on doing a few posts this week, but the above situations have taken a huge toll on me emotionally and physically. When I am upset, my Fibromyalgia flares up big time and I am left feeling totally beat up and broken.
As some of you, who have been reading my blog for awhile know, we have had an ongoing situation within our extended family for years and years now. For me, it started shortly after my husband and I became engaged...for my husband, it has been going on for his whole life. There are some people who seek to control others and who enjoy inflicting pain on people, both emotionally and physically in some cases. They enjoy pitting people against each other and lying and manipulating. They cannot and will not own up to their own horrible behavior, so they project that upon others and pick a scapegoat to dump all their garbage on...I became the chosen scapegoat. When someone fights back or figures out the "game" that is being played and cannot be controlled anymore, in the eyes of these people, they must be destroyed and gotten rid of. They will stop at nothing to do this and launch a full on attack, doing whatever they can to hurt not only their target, but those people connected in any way to their target. I had two of them figured out long ago, but never imagined that another one of them would turn out to be the same way. I trusted that person and had confided in them years ago about the thing that had hurt me the most in my life and that still haunted me and was a great source of ongoing pain. I thought that person truly loved me and I let down my walls. I was there for them and became their confidant and biggest support system. I tried to protect them over and over again, from the ugly truth about the behavior of others and put up with false accusations against me so that they would not have to suffer great pain that no parent wants to ever hear or know. Over the past 5 years, the situation has escalated and gotten so much worse. We have forgiven time and time again. Then came the final blow...the person that I had trusted but who had hurt me over and over again, did the one thing that I had told them hurt me the most in my past. They intentionally used that one thing to inflict the worst kind of pain on me, knowing that it would devastate me. They also did the unthinkable to their own son, my husband. Even after all that, the mind games continue. Actions speak volumes and we are not being sucked in again by false and manipulative words and mind games. As much as I hurt for me, I hurt even more so for my husband. My husband's "crime"...being a truly good, loving, hardworking and supportive person who puts his own family first and who is an amazing father, husband and grandparent. Yes, he has been rejected because of that even though he has been there for the people who have hurt us time and time again and sacrificed so much for them also. A wise mental health professional. who I greatly respect, pointed out the obvious saying if these people were not family, would you put up with this kind of behavior or would you not have anything to do with them? Our answer...we would not have anything to do with them but have felt guilty if we walked away because they were "family". It is toxic to us and we have to not buy into the false guilt anymore and just walk away from it all. We are done. It is like a death in some ways and we are mourning it as such. Our grown children have our full support in whatever they choose to do, but we cannot and will not put up with any more of this destructive, manipulative and abusive behavior.
While I was dealing with the above and all the emotions that come with that, one of my biggest fears and one of the reasons I no longer teach happened. I found out that there was a school shooting just north and less than an hour up the road from us. I was holding my baby grandson in my arms when I saw the awful news and my heart broke. The community that it happened in is a tight knit one, much like the community that I live in. Many of the people that I know are either friends with, know someone or are even related to students and staff at the school where this took place. There were multiple "red flags" and there were steps being taken by the school from what I am reading to get the troubled young man help, but he still chose to walk into his school and start randomly shooting people. Another young man, whose own father had been tragically killed on Father's Day of this year, tried to step in and reason with the young man and stop the shooting, was the first to be shot and was killed while trying to prevent anyone else from getting shot. His mother and sister now are mourning the death of a second family member within a 3 month period. 😢 Three young women were also shot and praise God they survived and are on their way to healing physically from their injuries. The emotional injuries to all the students and staff, and to the community as a whole, are going to take years and years, if ever, to completely heal from. I am seeing first hand how this has affected teenagers in my own community who know the teens that were shot and injured. They are having trouble coping with all the emotions that come with this kind of tragedy. Questions like, could this happen in my school? What if that had been me? I know someone that is struggling too...are they going to snap and shoot people too? All these questions and more are bubbling up in their minds and leaving them shaken and feeling very insecure and unsafe at the moment. At a time when we should all be coming together to support everyone that has been affected by this horrible tragedy, there are those who are using the victims as "poster children" for their own political agendas. I find that reprehensible. One of my friends lost his wife in another school shooting years ago and he was also on staff at the same school when it happened. He not only had to deal with the horror and unspeakable pain of losing his own wife that day, but also had to help get the situation under control and be there not only for his own children, but also for the rest of the students and staff. He shared with me that the politicizing of his wife and other's deaths was one of the hardest things to cope with after the fact that he lost the love of his life and students that he also loved. One of my extended family members, who does not live anywhere near here, did "share" a post doing exactly that within hours of the shooting and I kindly responded that although I know that she feels strongly about the political issue, that right now the community needed our love and support and not to become "poster children" for anyone's political cause and shared how my friend, who had gone through this same kind of tragedy himself, had shared with me how much that had hurt him and his own children. She did not respond to me (which honestly I was ok with), but did respond to another one of our cousins, who had pointed out that the original source that she shared the post from, was always quick to politicize any kind of violence, if it involved a gun. That was a bit tense and I am not getting involved there...I have stated how I feel about it all and will leave it right there.
There are situations in life that leave scars that can never be erased and things that can never be undone. There is a saying that time heals all wounds. I find that to be false...it does not and cannot heal them all. For the family that lost their precious son in the school shooting and who are still reeling from the loss of their husband and father, nothing will ever heal their hearts. There will always be a hole in their family where these two amazing men should be right now. For the girls who were randomly shot and injured, I suspect they will always have at least a small part of them that will be on alert for danger and feel a bit unsafe in crowds. I realize that these are extreme situations, but I also feel like the same thing applies to any situation that leaves deep emotional scars on someone; betrayal, rejection and manipulation by someone you loved and trusted and especially by a family member, being right up there. In both situations, it was a deliberate choice by someone (or someones) to try and inflict horrific and gut wrenching pain on others who did not deserve it. And for those that try to capitalize on the pain of others...I'm sure you can surmise how I feel about that also.
Trust has been broken. The feeling of being safe around people that you thought you knew is gone. Knowing that you can be kind, caring, loving and forgiving but still be a target for someone's hate, anger and jealousy is deeply unsettling. I myself have been a victim of gun violence as a child and the fear of being killed has never left me. It took me at least 30 years to even be able to be around a gun and 40 years before I could even hold one. I finally had to come to the realization that it was not the gun that threatened to kill me and my babysitter, but the person with the cold heart holding it. They could have done the same thing holding a knife, a rope or a baseball bat. I try to avoid people with cold hearts because I know the pain that they can inflict on others and not have any remorse for doing so. There are all kinds of ways people seek to destroy lives and this week, we had to come to terms with and make a decision to walk away from and in a sense "divorce" family due to one of those situations and another where we witnessed the carnage of yet another school shooting and are doing our best to comfort those who have been affected by this senseless tragedy.
In light of the school shooting, I ask that you keep everyone in your prayers who has been affected by this. A precious life has been lost, three more have physical injuries and the emotional scars on students, staff, emergency and law enforcement workers (some of who's own children are in that school), and the community at large are great. Hug your loved ones, encourage your friends, really listen when someone is struggling and be kind to each other. You never know who may be struggling and you also never know what tomorrow or even today may hold. Be blessed.