I Keep Remembering

I keep replaying a scene in my head.

He is walking down the sidewalk, outside the school fence. His shirt is unbuttoned, untucked, gaping wide open and fluttering tails in the wind. You can see his white wifebeater underneath, clearly.

His hair is tousled. His face is set in stern lines, angry and gritty, like he had woken and not showered.

I had never in ten years seen him in public like that.

He was a businessman. He had moved up to ironed button down shirts tucked into ironed business slacks, years before. He used the best hairgel there was, to hold his hair in place in the high winds that roared through the desert. For customers. To look good, all the time, for customers. Because they were not buying product, they were buying HIM. He told me all the time.

I wave. I know he is furious. So I wave, cheerfully, and hurry the children to meet him. He cannot get through the fence, not without the police being called on him. We have to get out through the gate, and calm him down by acting fine. I know something is wrong. But I have to act. Act cheerful, act ecstatic to see him. Act adoring of this monster who terrorizes us.

He has no priors. I have no evidence.

He demands to know why we left the house for school without taking him with us. I told him he was home for two hours, I was not going to wake him when he so obviously needed sleep. He asks how many men there were inside. I told him. I counted them, every school day, and stayed as far away from them as humanly possible. He asks me if I remember him saying he wanted to go. I do. Of course I do. I told him I remembered, but we go every week, he can come next time, when he has had some sleep.

Did I talk to them? He wants to know. Today I can say No. Not today. Not one.

What was I doing inside? What happened? Where were the children? They were with me. I was helping them learn. Nothing happened. We wrote our names and drew pictures. We had snack. We sang a song. The boys were good boys, mostly.

He said they were not allowed to come back, unless he took them. He could not take them, his TB tests come out positive. It would take months to get them back into school, and he was never home. He would end up not taking them. I knew.

His craziness was ruining their education.

Okay, I tell him. Okay. No problem, you can take them. As long as they learn.

He begins interrogating them. Using a nice voice, wheedling and a bit flattering. Scary as hell. I hope they do not remember how that ended, last time.

This school is a joke, he says. In my country, you go to school when you are eight, he says. They are too small for school, he says. You don’t need to go. He tells me.

Whatever his problems had been with me, they have become my son’s problems. He is holding them back, when they need to learn, when they need to leave the three rooms that surround them like a cage.

He is a madman. Now I know. Only crazy people penalize their children and deny them opportunities. He told me he and all his family and all his culture loved children more than anything. That education was the number one concern of all his mother’s family, that he wanted his boys to be engineers. He told them, daily, to become engineers, since birth. Now? Now that they have started preschool, they stay home.

Now that I have found a way to keep him from beating them again, he stunts them in another way. Two months he didn’t touch them. Now they are not allowed any school? What have I done? Denied him one outlet, and provoked him into increasing his control?

I had to leave. My kids deserved a real life.

Gratitude, Loyalty, Rumors, and Recovery

My mother does not watch the news. She does not want to be told the news. If anything is personal and unpleasant, she is angry with the messenger.

Yesterday she is telling me about her ex, who was not too pleasant with her before the end of their relationship. Her ex is looking for another place to live because her common law spouse has entered a nursing home and therefore the house (in spouse’s name only) is being sold to pay for the nursing care. The spouse is, I believe, two decades younger than the ex and definitely at the end of life.

I told her I understand the concern the family has for the spouse and the spouse’s assets, because the spouse gave my mother’s ex a place to live, when there was none, and then they very quickly married.

Once you get off to a start from unequal playing fields, it takes a while for people to take you seriously. Everyone is on alert when it appears the elderly are being taken advantage of. I did not say anything critical, only factual, and I am aware of all the other circumstances that have added to the perception of shady intentions. Once people are suspicious enough, they willingly overlook the work the ex has put into the new relationship.

So my mother is very angry with me. Because I laid out the opposing view for her, and reminded her that it is all to be expected, that there is not much to be done about it, except plan on ways to cope with suspicious adult children petitioning courts and spying and etc.

During the call she used a lot of Alanon phrases. She has been a devotee her entire life. She defines herself as codependent, and I am sure she is right. But the things she says, about why I should not think of the other point of view, don’t seem much better than admitting there is judgement and prejudice in this world.

She told me ¨not my hula hoop¨, which means ¨not my business¨. But only this is used if one is critical? This is exactly the same as claiming Islamophobia if you remind someone what the Quran actually says. Just because it is not your life does not mean you should not have knowledge of it, and I claim the right to form an opinion or take a side, which in this case I do not have, because both sides are right. The spouse’s children are right to be concerned, and the ex is right to be upset by that. I am not going to pretend that I do not understand the facts contributing to the issue, and I am not going to pretend to be blind to how much of society views those facts.

She also said that I should never say anything about understanding the other point of view, or reminding her of the abuse she put up with from the ex, because the ex did this and that for her, and for me. I told her blind loyalty is never appropriate. I don’t think you should ever do something for someone and then expect different treatment because of it. You can expect a thank you note, maybe a return gift, some good feelings. But you don’t get a free pass in life because of favors you have done. That is corruption.

I said none of this lightly. I covered up failings for my own ex for years, serious stuff, because he had once been heroic, because we had children, etc. That was wrong of me, I regret it, emotionally if not practically, because doing so enabled me to gather enough evidence for conviction and thus safety for myself and my children.

But the worst part was that she told me what to say, and when. I had apologized for her upset feelings, and she insisted I apologize at a different point. She insisted and prompted me to thank her for having this confrontation with me. I do not like control. I like to discern good or bad intentions from what people say naturally, and clarifying their intentions as required. Putting words in the mouth of another is distasteful for me, and I only do it for the politenesses required when training up children to be socially acceptable. I understand that in her opinion she is insisting on being treated a certain way, trying to ensure that she is being respected, but it does not feel good to be her parrot. I did it, though. I love her.

What I am puzzled about is why a recovery organization would tell people to ignore the facts about others, when you need such information in order to deal with your community. I am not going to send my kids over to play at the house of the mother who was arrested for giving children alcohol, and etc. If I ¨not my hula hoop¨ through life, I cannot make informed choices. I also do not know why she would insist on not using critical thinking regarding a situation involving someone who once or even multiple times did favors for you. Shouldn’t Alanon have cured a person of such dangerous ways of thinking? Lastly, why does she want to control my own sentiments towards her? How is it learning to recover from codependency when you :
A) Blame the messenger B) Dictate that others parrot certain phrases back to you.
Making people afraid to freely address the topics you bring up in conversation, and having them say what you want them to without it being of their own volition smacks of control issues. I do not understand why you would not simply allow people to speak, clarify, and form your own opinion rather than trying to shape them to your own mold.

I know I haven’t got a lot of readers. I welcome any opinion you might have. I had to write this all out because it bothered me. Thank you.

Muslim News

I had to remove all Muslim news from my feed. I wanted to keep it up because there seems to be a filter that keeps much Muslim specific news out of the national prints, but the news is so bad with ISIS, and the pictures so disturbing, that I had to cancel my subscriptions.

I just want to say that ISIS is performing in the Islamic tradition, specifically in the Sunnah manner, and no matter how much we wish it were not so, for every non-violent Muslim out there, for each interpretation of Islam that condemns such barbarity, it is Islamic.

First generation Islam behaved like this. Every Muslim person who studied any Islamic history knows this. Any Muslim who tells me ISIS is not emulating the Prophet is, in my opinion, a liar.

I know there are all kinds of political reasons that we have to insist ISIS fighters are not real Muslims. But the reason they say the same about everyone but themselves is religious. Every motivation from those footsoldiers has to do with religion. Not money or politics. Maybe power, now. By insisting they are not Muslim we just play further into the polarization of Islam.

Most Muslims are nice to a fault. If this were not true, there would not be so much conversion into Islam. The religion itself began as you see now in ISIS, however. Time and people softened it from the original version into something more tolerable and palatable.

I hope something is done soon. For decades Islamic thought has been narrowing, it’s former pleasant diversity overwhelmed and corrected by petro dollars. I hope now that those funding the madrassas and building the masjids see the error in their support of the hardliners, but I doubt it. The West has used fundamentalism, the Muslim governments have supported it, taught it, and now the populations they sought to control for their own ends have decided they want their own representation and land.

I think marginalizing the Ex Muslim community is a mistake. The Muslims insist we do not understand their religion, because if we did, we would not have left, and the non Muslims don’t want to upset the Muslims by giving us a voice. The pressure is huge. Ex Muslims are considered an affront to nature, an insult against God Himself. We are killed, shunned, beaten, spit on and vilified. There is no Shariah court that would spare us. Only in the West can we create a voice loud enough to give hope of any alternative to life in the Ummah, and the West offends the Ummah by letting that voice have any authority or influence. Look at ISIS and you see how imperative it is that we form a presence. I am sick of Ayaan Hirsi Ali getting her speaking engagements cancelled. She is telling it how it is, and no, it is not politically correct. The evidence is in front of us, now, slaughtering everyone who will not kiss it’s prayer mat.

Islam is a complete way of life. Not solely a religion. It’s basic tenets are now in the news. Muslims have to allow change, and stop calling it bid’ah and stop making it highly technical, where jihad only applies in such and such conditions, because those conditions have been met.

I want my Muslim news articles to go back to covering the honor killings in the West. As deplorable as it is, honor is not Shariah compliant. That we can lay at the door of culture. ISIS we cannot.

No New Tales To Tell

Online relationship not going well. Possesses all signs of him ¨letting me down easy¨. Not going to cry. Don’t look. Someone tell that negative voice in my head to go to hell.

Spent much of my day trying to desperately cure PTSD by wishful thinking. Did not succeed. Went shopping to relax. Tried to spend more than twenty dollars at checkout, could not. Went twice, problem solved. Pretended I was not on the verge of tears, all day.

Bought children a movie. Two out of three complained. One opted out. Gave children flavored popcorn to watch an old movie with. One complained, but ate it. Not too much on floor. Win.

One child began tantrum, aborted it as computer privilege being confiscated. Proof of poor parenting rather than hyperarousal symptom of his PTSD. Great.

Dearest online friend suicidal, second of the past week. Lucky to have her phone number, even luckier if she keeps her promises. Sounds like she looks. Beautiful.

Tired from not sleeping and emotionally drained. Habitually concealing it.

Wrangled toddler into wearing pullups in the hope that I can avoid switching all her bedclothes in the middle of the night. Told her I cannot read her the Three Little Pigs unless she wears her pullup. Also told her I cannot give her any blankets if she does not wear it. Not happy with self for threatening withdrawal of affection and bodily comfort, but tired. Really tired.

Worried friend will not call back. Dreading calling the non emergency line in her locale to be transferred to emergency. Really tired. Anxious.

There she is. Thank goodness.

Why Janay Rice didn’t leave Ray Rice: Domestic violence victims often don’t | Communities Digital News

Why Janay Rice didn't leave Ray Rice: Domestic violence victims often don't | Communities Digital News.

This is the best description of why victims stay in abusive relationships. I have noticed myself that victims are nicer than average, more generous, more thoughtful. Their abusers notice, too.

The Camel’s Back

I left when I finally figured out that the system did not work in practice at all. The apologist tripe fed to women about how they are cherished and cared for and guaranteed this and that is just a doublespeak about how women need to toe the line to get their ¨rights¨.
The more acquainted you are with Arabic, the more you realize that the Quran mentions women and children as property, not independent people.
It took me a very long time to figure this out, because I was always self sufficient and the Muslims I knew were very nice. I could not reconcile what I read with the believers that I knew, and I was sure what I was reading was mistranslated.
The Mahram concept creates dependency and retards maturation in women, and on the other gender’s foot, it lends itself to a full blown rape culture easily seen in evidence in Muslim cultures. Mahram and modesty doctrine makes men out to be monsters and women out to be unfit for independent life.
The Islamic system is not humane, on these points and others. A person only reaches full potential despite it, not because of it. So what good is it, really? More harmful than helpful. You have to ignore this surah and that ayah in Islam to maintain your morality, your sanity, in the face of such ethics. Picking and choosing from Quran makes you apostate, anyway. Better to throw it out. Despite all claims to the contrary, there is no baby in the bathwater. Be you Progressive, Ijtihadi, Ahmadiyya, Sufi or Modern, you cannot be any of these without Quran.
I support any and all revisions to Shariah in the name of humanity, I applaud the LGBTQIA masjids going up in North America, but I could not morph canon into wishful thinking and give it flesh like that.
Any god worth it’s salt is omnipotent. The Ibrahamic god clearly was neither that nor just- per Quranic texts.

Triggers

I did set up a treatment plan. Some CBT sorts of things. Upon observation, I actually seem to trigger all the time. I have some small stretches of not triggering. Like five minutes here and some minutes there, but really, if I am out with the kids, I seem to be fighting triggers all the time. If I am not with the kids, I am triggering, but I don’t have to talk to anyone, or deal with any demands. No one can tell.

This is not fair to my children.

I don’t want to be like this. Arguing with myself is exhausting. Convincing myself that I am overreacting to everything is tiring. I come off irritable, perpetually. Maybe I need more than hypertension meds.

If anyone out there reading this is an abuser, stop it. You are ruining a person, for life. Just end the relationship, you get out. Let your victim partner raise their children in peace, whether they are your children also, or not. Do the right thing. Don’t try to change, just leave. If you find yourself changed, then try to make it work, but leave your loved ones alone until you can behave like a decent person.

Look at how messed up I am. I am terrified of passing the wrong message onto my kids. I need to have a talk with them about how I am sick. I thought I could get better by now. But I did not.

I need to tell them nothing is their fault. It is me. I am crabby because I am sick. I don’t want to be like this. I want to be a nice patient mother. I want to be who I was before. I am sorry for my kids. So sorry. They are recovering, too. They needs lots of patience, more than what I have. What if they internalize my irritability and think it is about them? I am terrified of this. I am free now. Why can’t I be well, too?