We have all seen it depicted in a movie, or for some, it is played out in real life.
The wife with the blackened eye. Hammered from a fit of rage by the spouse whose actions are reigned down in the unpredictable hours of the early morning. Blow after raging blow. Belongings spewed over the floor in a sea of self-loathing induced anger. Slipping and sliding under the hits as the gaffer tape that repairs the breaks is running close to the cardboard core.
Or is that the night before? Or was it the day before?
She doesn’t know because the days are all the same, taut with an underlying fear of when will the next eruption engulf her life. There is no pattern to it except for the practice of muscle tensing at the call of her name.
Is it now, or will it come later?
The authorities are called by the concerned neighbour, and they show up for a courtesy call.
The wife skilfully claiming it was her fault. She caused it. She excels at conflict management. It was a nothing argument and some plates were broken. Carefully placed concealer and angles of stance hide the true extent of the underlying horror.
Everything seems in order as the excuses are landed with efficiency. The officer files a two-page report that wallows on a desk, losing significance by the hour.
A pleading and begging spouse – I will change. Tears that are real, but they are for himself and not for her. He knows he is pathetic but can not let others see it. The self-loathing has to be expelled somewhere, and there is enough sense behind the rage to direct it to his eyes and away from his fists. Someone is watching. Others see it through pitying eyes. He has paranoia to now deal with. So, he has to be cunningly committed to his new, fresh, supportive behaviour.
Flowers are bought and crap candy copiously shared. A movie on the couch and a flash of a comment or anger amongst the fake smiles and unauthentic laughter.
For a day or two, maybe more, life is a little less than intolerable, and maybe, just perhaps, a cuddle happens. A glimpse of the past that stirred the passions. A flicker of hope tortured back alive.
A flame blowing in the wind as time passes.
A kiss on the back of the neck as her hands are soaping the dishes. A shirk, tense, as she sees the reflection in the dark evening window.
Hollowed eyes stare back, held up with a limp body, telling a story that she can now read.
No more, she thinks inwardly. No. More.
A bottle of beer from the fridge and the crack of the cap hitting the Formica tabletop. The fridge door shut with just a little bit more ferocity than yesterday.
Her mother’s picture on top falls on its face. A throated smirk and giggle at their expense as the television is pushed up that little bit louder.
Louder than yesterday.
She knows, inside, that it is all only a stopgap. She is treading water, and the wind that blows the flame picks up.
There will be another time soon for the other eye to have its turn at being blackened. She knows it’s a matter of when?
But this time, there is a stirring deep down below. Something is fighting back and it will not take any more hits.
It is the human spirit determined to be happy. To be valued and to be protective of the body that it lives in.
The stirring is developing the talent for the fight from within. Perseverance has to be nurtured.
A vision and purpose for a new life should drive the spirit onwards and upwards to her freedom.
She must think clearly, build and plan and exit.
In the night, she is gone. Leaving the pathetic behind, sleeping.
He is lucky he is alive… which is the sweeter revenge.
As the bus pulls away, she smiles for the first time in years. She sees her reflection in the darkened window.
She took action.
We have all seen this played out somewhere and in some medium. Real-life or at the movies, but it is not isolated to the home environment.
Look closer at the workplace. Have you seen it bubbling under there?
The boss that plays the battering ram, killing the innovation and spirit that is so natural in many people. The starving of the oxygen that inspires the others by their own need to control everything.
Don’t cross them as they are the boss, they proclaim. They have authority over people, but they are not a leader. They are a manager of things who carefully craft an image to the authorities—a cunning fraud.
The excuses that are provided to project to you, the employee, that you are the incomplete one.
Don’t buy into that Trumpian narrative—the election fraud mindset of complete lies and mistruths designed to unbalance the reality.
The gaslighting by competency:
You can not deal with the paradox of the situation, they say. You lack the skills in dealing with ambiguity, and you are poor at planning and organising.
Never easy to do in the chaos… a lack of driving what is right!
Blah, Blah, Blah.
It’s your misunderstanding…
They are just driving the results and demands the best from all of you by holding you accountable. They are helping develop you through stretching and challenging you and by accentuating the stress points.
No pain, no gain. Right?
The stirring is deep inside as you stare into the darkened window, hands steeped in the soapy water.
You refuse to deal with their incompetence.
And you, the owners, like the officers called to investigate the domestic abuser, are complicit by your low skilled level of ‘decision quality.’
Or is that a lack of attention to detail as your file wallows on a desk?