I didn’t want to write this week.
I didn’t want to acknowledge the presence of the emotions overflowing my cup.
I didn’t want to see those emotions in black and white, spelled out for the world to read.
I wanted to pretend none of this had ever happened.
I didn’t want to write this week.
I am not a political person.
The weeks leading up to this election were not about politics for me. They were not about racism, homophobia, sexism, deleted emails, Benghazi, or “locker room” banter.
Instead, they were about trauma and abuse. The reliving and re-experiencing of trauma and abuse endured during a marriage that ended disastrously, and has been followed by a most high conflict divorce in which the verbal and emotional abuse continues.
Verbal and emotional abuse in the form of gaslighting and projection; word salad and shame shifting; accusations, threats, blame, name calling and manipulation.
Words and phrases said with the intent to demean, degrade, and disqualify directed at another’s soul…
Trump was quoted as saying all of the following remarks:
“That was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. … If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse, mine are words and his was action. … There’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women.”
“Such a nasty woman”
“And yet she didn’t know the letter C on a document … she didn’t even know what that letter meant… She’s lying again.”
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media writes as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”
These phrases, and dozens more, trigger survivors of trauma and abuse and those of us living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), taking us straight back to the time we were, or continue to be, the targets of such horrific words and actions.
As if that weren’t enough, we then watch and listen to those in our lives cheer for this behavior, support it, encourage it even, with the expectation that none of it ”should” bother us.
Every man or woman who was not offended by the actions of the candidates; every man or woman who overlooked the racism, homophobia, sexism as if none of it mattered; every man or woman who held tightly to their compartmentalized belief of “it’s us vs. them” was knowingly or unknowingly, wittingly or unwittingly, abusing an already or currently abused person, with no thought or consideration of the repercussions. As if this was all completely normal and acceptable behavior simply because it wasn’t happening to them personally.
A new standard has been set. New precedents for acceptable behavior established. New ethics and conduct recognized and accepted. Abuse is now embraced as normalcy.
No one “won” in this political election.
Instead, we have all lost our dignity, integrity, compassion for ourselves and others.
We have been left with broken hearts, divided communities, and lines drawn in the sand.
As I lay down with my children last night to pray, I felt the enormity of all this past and present trauma surround me.
My daughter asked to hold my hand. In her words, “To keep me from floating away.”
My son placed his hand over my heart, in order to be reassured by it’s beating presence, and asked “What do we do now, mom?”
“Wrong is wrong, right is right, hate is hate and love is love. Let’s love harder.”
They nod and we pray for love.
And so, we wake to a new day.
The kids dress in their best red, white and blue to honor our Military Veterans at the annual school program.
I sit down to write, as I generally do, the things on my mind that need to be written, the things that need to be read.
Our lives keep moving. Our hearts again soften with compassion for others and ourselves. Our work carries on…