“0800, pressed-dressed-ready to impress, he finds out it is Lisa. He immediately gets an attorney…This is not my first rodeo with attorneys, or this kind of situation….unfortunately…So, I start to pick the statements apart. Finding discrepancies. Inconsistencies.”
If readers remember, during the initial “getting to know you” phase, what was something that Jenn disclosed to Mr. Smith that would have let him know that she would be on his side if he had any legal trouble? Exactly. When Jenn was innocently and proudly talking about the relationship she had recently come out of she disclosed that she had gone to legal bat for her last relationship to get custody of his daughter.
One of the dastardly tricks of the abuser is this; for every admirable trait, act, value, and characteristic they have a way of twisting it on its ear and turning into a weapon against their victim. Jenn pours all of her intelligence and time into helping to defend Mr. Smith. It reminds me of a scene in one of the prequel Star Wars where Padme asks Anakin,”Do you ever wonder if we are fighting for the wrong side?”
All the same, just like in her day to day life, there are reasonable reasons for every action, choice, questionable behavior, and discrepancy. Presented this way or that, Lisa is a liar, and she may very well be, we will never know, but…does that mean that Mr. Smith is innocent? As good as he was at showing Jenn what he wanted her to see in this legal conundrum, he was as good at showing the outside world what he wanted them to see in his personal relationship. Only the victims knew to what degree he was involved or at fault. This would be Jenn’s personal nightmare.
“During this time, our behind closed doors life starts to take a tumble. He’s showing signs of severe alcoholism. Getting aggressive. Paranoid. And flat out honestly….becoming a real giant big flaming pile of asshole.
His “game face,” the one everyone gets to see except me and “Mark,” is infallible. No one knows the monster that lurks within our walls, or his mind…”
Again, only Jenn knew the “real” Mr. Smith. Most likely it was the unspoken understanding that it was her responsibility to uphold the tidy illusion that he was fabricating for the outside world. In the mean time Jenn is trying to hold up the illusion, meet Mr. Smiths expectations (because if she can, he will cut her some slack right?), and maintain her energy and sanity. But, as she quickly learns, she has two fend off two wolves.
“…His son watches this every day, progressively getting worse. His son begins to gain Daddy’s verbal habits toward me.”
Many of us think that we can control a relationship enough and long enough, that at some point it will get better. If we can just hang in there we can fix it, all it takes is time, love, and communication. Too many victims are living proof that days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into years; at blinding speed. While we are preoccupied with the war, there are other victims soaking in the chaos and developing around it…the children…the other victims. The effects of long-term exposure to the chaos of Domestic Abuse/Violence is devastating. At some point, these little victims, out of the need to survive, can choose to identify with the abuser, and help to victimize the victim.
I would like to devote an entire post to this part because I would like to point out where Mr. Smith undermines Jenn’s authority. This is not an exclusive tactic to “step-moms” and girlfriends. This is par for the course with natural mothers as well. It is part of arsenal of weapons used to control the victim. It is heart wrenching enough when a woman hasn’t given birth to the child, but absolutely devastating when they have.
To be continued…