Friday, November 25, 2005

Knocked Out but Hopefully Not Down




Everyone who knows me will easily tell you that I love hard and I laugh long and I love me some teenagers. Always have and I always will. I will sacrifice my last to help them to meet a personal goal so as you may know when they fall by the wayside, I feel helpless because I could not inspire or encourage them to get out of bad situation. To make this as short as possible, let me explain. I am the oldest sister out of four girls. We are very close, talking almost daily, three of us spending every Saturday together going to church, dinner and just chatting about so many things.

As the oldest, I somehow end up with my brothers and sisters children, spending hours upon hours, having rap sessions, movies, games, and shopping, walking, hugging and holding hands. I have four of the most beautiful nieces and my daughter and I kid you this is not some aunt who can't see. They are all between the ages of 16-21. We raised our girls together as sisters almost. We wanted them to be each other strength when one was weak because my mother raised her daughter and sons the same way. I have spent 22 years in the helping relations field, dealing with drugs usage, unemployment, mentoring, training, taking kids to farms to learn how to grow food, and dealing with domestic violence, losing one staff and one co-worker to this horrible experience. I am not a saint. I have my issues. But I do not understand how someone that I exposed to a better life through education and experiences would allow someone to bring them so far down; they can't even pick themselves up from.

My beautiful darling niece 21 years old is in an abusive relationship. When she met this fellow last year she was about to turn 20 and he was soon to turn 18. She was working full-time and I had just purchased her a car, her first. She was in college and my husband and I had just given her money for her books. She had just signed her contract for a new apartment. She is beautiful, successful, and full of life and desire. She is from a two family home with a good relationship with her parents and siblings. She is the only girl. We should have begged her not to move, when she first said, "I found an apartment." Why was I doing so much for her, I was able plus her mother has been my anchor so many times. I would help any of them to reach their goals. She met him. No job, no car, living with his mother, high school drop out and two years younger than her. We started noticing the scratches, the nervousness, and the agitation early. We knew.

After all, I have seen this often in my profession. I tried talking to her. Told her all about domestic violence and I even gave her articles of recent deaths of young women. "He loves me and will never hurt me, he's not like that." Right! Her father tried to intervene; she wouldn't let him, refusing to open her door to her security locked apartment building. Refusing help from the police, her brothers, male cousins, and pleading for them not to mess with this boy. She loves his dirty drawers. I don't get it. He has threatened to kill her over and over again and has choked, beaten and isolated her from her family. We have tried everything. She has gone 115 pounds to about 98. She looks like she is going to break. She has super Oprah thick hair that hangs to the middle of her back. He makes her wear it in a tightly wrapped pony tail. So no one can see the length. Sometimes she doesn't even comb it to keep him from fussing. He doesn't want her to look too attractive. He accuses her of dating her cousins, uncles, and even rap stars on TV. Imagine yourself listening to Nelly, and this guy, turns to say, "Oh I guess you messing around on me with him now." These are people she has never met. Crazy right! Since she has met him she has no car-thanks to him, dropped out of college because she was accused of dating everyone there, abandon her apartment, while still paying rent. He has shown up on her job and jumped on her, almost lost that. With him she is losing everything. Yet she loves him.

Guess what. She is pregnant, on purpose, almost 7 months.He jumped on her Thursday. She called the police. Here if you call the police and not have the person arrested, they may arrest you. She has called several times, when he came on her job, and a couple of other times. This time they arrested both of them. She had a bench warrant out for a traffic violation; I bet he had something to do with. She called her parents who didn't know what to do. Should they get her out, pay $500.00 just so she can go back to him? While they pondered this, she called my mother, "please call my auntie and tell her to get me out?" "No. I said." She needs time out. She needs to be away so she can see how it feels to be stress free, to see how it feels to be at peace, to not be scared. I won't get her out." Four young women her age have died in a four week period here. Domestic violence! Two of the young men, under 25, killed the woman and then committed suicide, leaving parentless children. We shared this with her. "Jason, loves me he would never hurt me.” That's exactly what a father said on the news last week while talking about his 21 year old daughter whose husband killed her and himself. He said she said, 'he's not like that." My niece said the exact same words.Why is it that you can help everybody else but not your own family member?


Why is that a girl from a loving family date a useless, thug whose dreams are empty? Why does she not care how her actions affect her mother and father? My sister is only 39 and yes she is turning gray with worry. Why can't she look in the mirror and see herself disappearing daily? Why do these stories on the news and in the paper not seem familiar to her? Can you love someone so hard that you are willing to let him kill you? Why did this happen to a girl who was on the move to being successful be so willing to give it all up? We left her in jail for one day. She is so sweet and will do anything to help others.His mother got him out today and he left her there pregnant with his child. He had the nerves to leave this message on her mothers' phone. "Momma, I'm out of jail. Please call my auntie (I have never met this fool and don't ever want to) to get my baby out and I swear with everything in me I will pay her back." Get real! He doesn't have a pot to piss in. Friday, her 23 year old brother broke. "I gotta get my baby sis out, that ain't right. I got $400.00, call my auntie to get $100.00." I broke. Her parents didn't. I know why. They are thinking the same thing, are we letting her out to die? If so, I don't want to believe my actions allowed it. I hear the pain in her mothers' voice. I see my own child who asked me, "Why is she allowing this? When we were little we promised each other we would never date guys who beat us, why did she do the opposite?" I can't answer that. But I know this-I have prayed for her, have assisted her in every way that I can, have educated her on sex, drugs, violent men, and the importance of a college education. This hurts. We may lose her too young through all of this. But after one day we can't stand letting her remain locked up, pregnant and wanting to get out when he is walking around. Wouldn’t' a real man have told his mother to get my pregnant gal out. No, but he ran his weak self, with his tail tucked behind his butt as fast as he could without regards to her or his son. My nephew got her out today....to what...we don't know....Saturday.....he called her mother to tell her to tell my niece to give him his shoes and that she was not pregnant by him. Her mother told her and she said she asked him and he said he didn't say that. I guess her mother is lying....what is wrong with this child? Did he hoodoo her?

39 comments:

Georgiapeach said...

This is a terrible Rose.
I don't know where to begin...........Well first, as a former troubled teen, I want to tell you thank you. Thanks so much for all the work you are doing. Every moment that you spend, and all the words that you say will forever remain embedded in those youths heart.
For years I was a misunderstood teen. My unruly behavior was a cry for help. Teachers after teachers would be so mean to me. Never knowing that all I needed was an opportunity to discuss with them my problems. They never questioned the absences or tardies. The poor grades and the unbecoming reputation. It wasn't until I went to secondary high school (Open Campus) before several teachers intervened and actually encouraged me.

I know this is long. What I am trying to say, that adults that are concerned about teenagers, (whether the teens are problematic or not)have long lasting effects and can change teenagers lives. So I want to thank you so much for that.
I feel absolutely terrible about the situation that is occuring with your neice. I could not even imagine the stress and sadness this is putting your family through. I have never been through the situation and unfortunately don't have any advice. However, I will pray for her.
I guess I do have advice. One thing I would say is to get rid of the fear. Maybe her father or a mediator can talk to the young man. To find out what is wrong with him. Was his father abusive? You know, just to get to know his mind frame and how crazy he really is. The keep your enemies close philosphy.

I am praying for you and your family.

Berry said...

I think the answer is that everyone's journey is different and once she has hit bottom, she will realize where she made her mistake and hopefully not make it again. As you know as a professional, there is a difference between being supportive and being a co-dependent. Right now it sounds like everyone is caught up in the co-dependent cycle.

M-Dubb said...

I can totally feel where you're coming from. While my sister's "on and off" isn't beating her physically, her life has gone down the toilet. I've even prepared to give her a week's pay (mind you, I'm a recent college grad) to help her out. I can't afford this, but she can't live without it. Or can she.

Four kids, a dead beat and a house that's about to be taken just like the car was last month.

Listening to you, I'm thinking about not returning her phone calls. Tough love might be the only way.

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

DCS said...

I, too, am listening, Rose. I tend to agree with Berry. I also think that there is something psychological that started with this girl a long time ago. This did not happen overnight. Unfortunately, the family does not yet realize what caused this girl to get into negative behaviors - or so it seems from your post. Your niece and your family have my prayers. I cannot imagine how much pain this has caused you.

Mad Bull said...

This is a terrible story. Unfortunately, bad things do happen to good people, I know, because I have at least two such stories within my own family circles and I have seen several others in the families of friends, people I know, etc.
I kind of agree with Berry. You can't help some people much, or if you can, its very hard to do so.

It sounds kind of like those stories where the person joins a cult and cuts off their family and friends, doesn't it?

I have heard of cases where the family members snatch back their loved one from the cult and take them somewhere far away and allow them to "de-tox" there before returning to normal society, but this girl is an adult. Its probably illegal to do something like that.

In the end, you just have to pray for her and to realise that we all have to make our own way through life, and that you all have done your best and are not to blame.

I hope it all works out in the end.

Ruben said...

Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone just did and as we say. lol

1-WhoWrites said...

Life is a lesson and where it begins we don't know but sometimes we must hit the bottom to rise to the top. My advice is never give up even when those around you has given up on themself. Prayer is the answer but usually a solution doesn't come until we seek for one. She may, in her own time-- not ours.

Rose you are a teacher of lessons learned, keep inspiring! You are reaching somebody somewhere for many reasons as we fight our own demons.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Rose,

This is a tragedy. Such a sad thing. Like many have said here, this is not something that happened out of the blue. That being said, all we can do is hope, an trust that words not heard now are taking seed somewhere to grow later.

xo,
Deb

Marcus Harris said...

Rose -

First of all, take heart in knowing that you're doing all that you can. I know it feels like it's not enough, and I know that you wish you could do more - but you have to realize that you can't walk this walk for her, only with her. Your care, concern, and prayers, though, are not for naught . . . they are definitely being heard and moved upon.

Second, the thing about domestic violence (DV) that makes it so hard to understand, like you mentioned, is how it can affect those of us that would seem otherwise immune to it: well-educated, healthy, solid fundamental backgrounds . . . in the end, unfortunately, none of that matters. As harsh as it may sound, it's only superficial. As a DV survivor myself, I was also exposed to all those things while I was growing up, but, just like your niece, I eventually fell for someone that seemed to provide the one thing that I felt I had never really gotten: true love. It's what we all seek, and when it appears to come in a form that's pleasant to us, it's hard to resist the temptation to yield to the prospect of having it in our lives. Abusers are very, very good at being just charming and manipulative enough to convince us that what they have for us is real love, then, after we find that it's anything but, we stay in the relationship trying to get that "real thing" back - failing to realize that we never had it in the first place . . . thus how the vicious cycle of abuse continues unchecked.

It's a very tragic situation for your niece right now, and my heart and prayers go out to you and your family during this difficult time. Whatever the outcome, just keep the faith, and keep your head up . . . better days truly lie ahead.

jazeGma2 said...

Rose,

I truly understand the feelings of frustration you and your family are experiencing. May I suggest if not already done, that you and your family get together and join hands and pray for your niece.

Sometimes after you have done all that you can possibly do, then its time to step back and allow the Lord to totally take over and control. “I think we sometimes feel if we are not physically involved then we have not done enough or it makes us think we are giving up.” You and your family must “let go” and “let God” handle it and stay in prayer with one another weekly or as much as possible.

Remember she will come around with in time because prayer is very powerful, especially when two or more pray hand in hand together.

This is tough love but with God we know that all things are possible and you can all make it through.

crallspace said...

What a mess! You need to lay the smackdown on this rat bastard. Beat him so bad that he can't walk.

Rose said...

Georgiapeach:
You have given good advice. Her dad went over to meet the guy and she would not open the door, so did her brother. She thinks this kid will hurt her love ones. I guess because she fears him, she fears for her family. Honestly, it seems like a little child whose molester says, "if you tell, I'll kill your mom", and that innocent child believes it. Only this is a young woman. I told her that I would send her out of town anywhere she wanted to go if she wanted to. I also asked did he say that he would harm her family if she told us, I said, "you know we are not scared of him and would kick his butt", she laughed. That's all. Honestly, she loves this guy and though we do not understand, we are still talking to her without running her away.

Berry: It is so hard not to become a co-dependent when it is someone you love. I often wondered as a professional why is it that I can get others to listen and not my own relative? So I have contacted a therapist. I hope to encourage her to at least talk to her once.


M-Dubb: I really thought tough love would be better. After one day in jail her brother bailed her out. He couldn't handled her being there. Once I explained why I felt she should stay in jail to think, to have peace, he regretted bailing her out.

DCS- Trust me I asked her mother was she abused by her spouse and she said no way. In many of the cases that I worked with, women saw abuse in their families but both my neice and sister said that did not exist in the home. It came from somewhere though, I believe this. My mother taught me never to allow a man to hit me because the bed you make is the one that you will have to lie in: simply put-let a man or woman hit you and get away with it, they'll keep doing it. So we'll keep talking to let her know we care and that we are here for her when she is ready to make that step.

Mad Bull: That's a good way of looking at it. The abuser program you to believe that he really loves you and will not ever hit you again. Trust me: if I could kidnap her I would. I had her here 30 plus miles from him for four days and she was relaxed, guess what: she went right back.

Ruben
It would be a good place if we would live by others' experiences but it would probably be dull and boring...

1-whowrites:
I hope that someone who is reading this will get help. This is happening all across the world and we must provide safe houses, shelter and continue to educate because I do believe that even though it doesn't seem like it we are planting seeds. By writing this, it is helping me to come out of the co-dependent state and to figure out ways to help her without her knowing that we are.

Marcus:
thanks for sharing. You will have to tell me what made you open your eyes. I think she feels so sad that we are not celebrating her pregnancy. We have explained that being pregnant by an abuser keeps him in her life once a baby is born. We have told her that we fear for not only her but her child.

Dr. Deb:
We are hopefully we are planting seeds. We have talked to policemen, therapists and all say, she has to want to leave. So I just explained abuse to her again and gave her phone numbers to call for help. Thanks

Jazegma2- We have prayed for her but not with her. We will pull her into a circle and do that. Thank you...

Crallspace: That was our plan. She was seriously taking her family members to thug land because we were planning on whipping his butt. We even talked to the policemen and guess what? They said if we brought harm to him she would be the first to report us. My family has many friends in the police department and we have consulted with some.

NellaBella said...

I am so very sorry Rose. But, please do not go on and blame yourself that this is your fult and that you should have helped more than what you have already. (I am not not saying you are now, just letting you know not to go on that route). You have tried your hardest. She isnt lesting to what any of your family is saying. And in the end, she will relize this. But, I sure do hope that she finds god, and finds out that this man she is with, is bad for her. She needs to be thinking about that baby, and when it is born. And all the fussing and that so called "daddy" ends up throwing that baby aganist the wall just becuase it wont shut up. She needs to leave him, thats what I am saying. I am 15. I will not even put up with that crap. I can't stand it, it makes me angry. I hate it. And I hope she finds a better life. She needs to leave him....thats the bottom line. Just walk out. Leave.

Shirazi said...

My suggestion: She should opt out now. No?

Rose said...

Teen life you are smart. Never ever stay with someone who beats you and we will continue to encourage and tell her that she is beautiful and that we love her. We hope that eventually she will find the strength and will to leave.

Shirazi-
Yes. Yes. She should leave..NOW

chele said...

Rose: I don't know what to say. How do you help someone who doesn't acknowledge that they even need help? I think you are doing the right thing by standing by her side but not enabling her. I know it must have been hard to allow her to stay in jail but it was the right thing to do.

The fact that your niece has always been exposed to loving, caring people may be the reason that she can't turn her back on this fool ... I don't know. She has that "nurturing" gene that you have. Continue to pray for her.

The Gig said...

Wow, what a sad story this is; BUT, there is hope -- hope in the LORD. Sometimes it is really hard to believe that he will intervene or that he is watching over the situation, but every situation will be corrected with lots of prayer. Put her on many prayer lists. Engage all of the prayer warriors you know and keep talking to the LORD and believe.

Pray for the enemy that the LORD will change him for the better and soften his heart. Pray him out of her life but don't pray bad luck for him. Be sincere when you pray for the enemy. My prayers are with you, your niece and family.

for_the_lonely said...

Oh girlie...this post made me cry. I am not sure where good girls go off the beaten path...I think that they get so scared, that they can not think right. It broke my heart to read that she was locked up too..and to be 7 months pregnant on top of it all, I am sure was completely terrifying. What a wonderful auntie you are to help your family out, though. I know that your niece loves you through and through, just as you do her...
I will pray that your niece will "wake up" soon...her life, as well as the baby's life will be so much better without him.

Love and hugs to you,
Sarah

Brea said...

Wow - that is a lot to deal with. I've never been in a situation like that. On one hand you want to go into professional mode and use your years of experience to help her. On the other, she is your blood (as close as a daughter) and you just want to swoop down and save her. You have such a big heart and you are such a smart person - just do what you can and know that no matter what happens, she is an adult and is responsible for her decisions. Don't be hard on yourself. I hope this story has a happy ending - keep us posted.

Shawn said...

What a predicament! It's sad to hear that she's causing such great havoc in her family with her choices. Your niece obviously didn't see the beauty she possessed before she hooked up with him. There must've been some underlying issues before he stepped on the scene that you and the rest of your family were unaware of.

defiant goddess said...

Dear God in heaven. Rose, I wish I knew why this happens. For the life of me, I can't understand why women allow themselves to be victimized and why they are so silly that they can't even see it's happening.

We all have stupid relationships when we're young that we look back on and wonder what we were thinking but there's a big difference between that and getting beat, whether it's physical, mental, emotional, whatever.

I know I'm kinda rambling but I'm just so sorry for you and yours. I hope it will work out with a happy ending for her and her child.

Michelle said...

Rose -- My heart is breaking for you and yours. I can't begin to imagine what you and your family are going through. I only hope that your niece does eventually open her eyes to how her life is falling apart because of him and I hope she does it before it's too late. Just keep being the source of support and strength she needs. You never know when your actions or an encouraging word may wake her up to what's happening in her life. We can't lose another talente, beautiful, promising young sister to violence. You, your niece and your family are in my prayers

Groove said...

wow rose this is deep, and sad I am sitting here and crying, I can relate to this story. And it's killing me.

...I know you feel helpless and like you have to do something, but until she wants help there is very little you can do for her, just be there when she does come to you.

Keep tabs on her, and pray to God that someday she will see that he doesn't love her.

She is probably feeling like he is all she has, and maybe embarrassed cause she probably feels it something she is doing.

I will definitely keep your neice in my prayers, I hope she sees that she is worth more than that.

Very sad Story, I wish there was something I could do.

Rell said...

Why is that a girl from a loving family date a useless, thug whose dreams are empty?

Therein lies the question. I wish I had the answer -- But I will pray for your niece.

E said...

Hey Rose, I am saddened to read that your family is experiencing this situation. I really don't know what kind of hold abusers have. I will pray that your niece eventually "wakes up". It can't happen soon enough with a child on the way.

brooklyn babe said...

Manipulation is written all over this story, and it sad because when you allow someone else to validate your worth, you can see all the types of horrible stories that can unfold from two people who need each other for the wrong reason.
This young (much emphasis on the word "young") man needs your niece in order to feel like a man, he's become dependent upon the power he exubes over her, she's like a sad sponge to, and soak all that up, believing his so -called "punk power" to be some weird twisted show of love.
I'll keep her in my prayers, and you as well, cause you're going to need to stay strong mama!

TeeBee said...

Wow Rose, this is a terrible situation and unfortunately all to common. It reminds me of a relationship that I was in, although it wasn't to this extreme, loving an insecure man is dangerous. You definitely have to stay in prayer that things will change for the better. It took several true friends sitting down with me and telling me that I deserved better before I woke up. Hopefully she has someone that she trusts and will listen to.

Michele's Mumblings said...

Hey Rose...I wanted to check in and say hello.
Wow...this is tough. Prayer helps though, so I will pray.
Hugs to you!

Brotha Buck said...

Very similar story here with my daughter. Thing is, there is nothing, NOTHING you or anyone can do until she is ready for a change in her life.

Brownsoul said...

Your niece is indeed in a terrible situation, but she knows that her family loves her. She knows that she has a way out if she needs it. So, until she can see how poisonous the situation is...until she decides for herself that she will not stand for the abuse, there is not much that you can do. Continue to pray...I will join you in prayer.

Meg said...

Rose,
I just read your profile, are you sure you're not a saint? I too, work for a non-profit company that helps troubled teens. It is one of the best experiences I could ever have the opportunity of having. I just wanted to give you a big thank you for being the woman you are, absolutely amazing! I can only hope that your niece grows into the graceful woman you are.

Unconquerable Soul said...

I grew up in an abusive household so I know what your neice maybe going through. You and your family will be in my prayers

BostonPobble said...

My sister and I were raised by the same parents, under the same roof, with the same morals. She ended up in an abusive relationship that nearly killed her and my beautiful nephew. I ended up a d.v. counselor for 13 years. Who knows how it happens. Keep loving her. Don't lose yourself. And God bless. You will all be in my prayers.

Nicki said...

Rose, I pray that her eyes will be open and not blinded to the truth. I Come against mind blinding spirits... As for her boyfriend, the word tells us that some go only through prayer and fasting.We don't war against flesh and blood but we war against powers, principalities, rulers of darkness and spritual wickedness in high places.

You cannot afford to harbor any ill will toward him in your heart. God commands us to love. Love never fails. God's arm is not to short. If He can turn the heart of a king and he can! He can certainly turn the heart of a young man who is obviously harboring much anger, hurt and pain in his own heart. God is so gracious. We were all sinners saved by grace. I pray that this young man comes to know the love of God and finds salvation, that he comes to know God as healer and deliver in his own life. Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying you should embrace him with his bad behavior. But do pray for him, and speak blessings over his life. Nothing is to hard for God!

What a wonderful time to celebrate!Speaking words of life and blessing over her child. Laying hands on her belly and praying, so she can hear the words. She needs to know that she's loved and excepted unconditionally as well as her child. Even when she is making bad decesions for her life.

It's the work of the Holy Spirit that convicts our hearts. It's the love of God that draws us to repentence. I pray God will give her the courage and the strength to do what is right for her and her child...
Find scriptures, and stand on the promises of God for family and children. Take communion in remembrance of the covenant. There is power in the blood of the lamb.

Don't lose faith, or allow fear to cause you to waiver. Remember hope is the anchor of our soul, but a double minded man is tossed to and fro and unstable in all his ways. "Put your focus on praising Him." Praise is a powerful weapon.

I pray the peace of God will rule and reign in your heart and mind. If God be for us who can be against us! The battle belongs to the lord. The victory is yours! No longer look at the circumstances with your natural eyes but with the eye of faith. God is faithful and true and His mercy endures forever.
The enemy is a defeated foe, he certainly doesn't have more power than the "KING OF KINGS" AND "LORD OF LORDS" "JESUS IS HIS NAME"
I Hope this is an encouragement for you. GOD BLESS YOU

Dee said...

Hi Rose,

It happens because we love. Once we love, we become blinded to faults.

The scripture that says love hopes all things, bears all things and never fails, tells us what to expect of love...and should come with some fine print that we choose carefully the one to which we entrust our love.

I was married at 19 to an 18 yr-old. I never realized poverty...until then. I never realized that you could have a job and not have money to go to work to pick up your paycheck.

The day I found myself walking the streets hoping to find a token or a dollar, then eventually begging at the toll booth, for passage to go to work, I found out that I would never again say...what I would never do!

Bottom line...you're being supportive, that's all you can do. She knows the way, she will choose it when she hits her absolute sticking point.

Keep on praying, the prayers of a righteous man or woman, availeth much!

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