Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trust me.........

I still have trouble saying or admitting out loud that I was verbally and emotionally abused by my ex. Its not easy to accept that you were weak. Its not who I am now. In fact quite the opposite. I struggle often to become able to open myself and my heart up to others. Mainly because I am by nature a very trusting person but being aware of my naive tendances I am always hyper alert to the ease with which I can be taken advantage of.

To trust. To love unrestrained. Unafraid of the potential consequences.

I had a patient very recently who was an assault victim, presumably by their significant other. Pt X had internal bleeding which we were hoping could avoid surgery or any intervention. When we can be conservative it's always better. The risks of surgery, transfusion, or any procedures must be wieghed against the risks of the severity of the injury. Everything we do to patients in the ICU carries great risk, but they are there because of their high risk to begin with.

This patient would have outbursts and need physical restraint to give them sedation and calm them. One of the last things an assault victim should have is physical restraint but there are times when you simply have no choice.

This patient had several outbursts for me but hadn't needed any restraint until one of them was escalating beyond any sedation or talking down. I gave it one last try. Determined to calm them without needing to prolonge their ordeal. I knealt down and came in close. I said "listen you have injuries that are healing but every outburst you seem to drop your blood count again. You need to be able to remain calm and trust us." The patient's response was "I know what you say and think about me. All of you. Don't judge me......"

"No one is judging you. You are a patient who has sustained traumatic injuries and we are your caretakers. No one is saying anything about you. Let us take care of you. You need to stay in bed and rest and allow us to do what we need to do keep you from getting worse." The patient finally calmed and agreed to cooperate. I didn't need to force then down or anything. Thank God.

I've been writing this for a few months, but reading Stephanie's blog about trust today made me come back to it.

My niece was emotionally and verbally abused by her husband. He came back from Iraq and was very different. She left and divorced him.

They just remarried in August and left for Germany for 3 years.

I gave her my full support the last time we saw eachother. I told her, "You're 32 and fully responsible for your actions. I'm sure you've heard more criticism than support, but what you need most is support." We talked about my experiences. I told her how my ex would wake me up every night in the middle of the night. I never knew that was abuse, but I knew it wasn't right. After I left I read alot about nonphysical abuse and seeing a therapist, I learned that what he was doing was a typical syptom of abuse. She heard me relay this story and said "My friend tells me about her husband doing that. I never knew." It's just like another control they can have over you. They like to control as many aspects of your life as they can. I think the worst case scenarios are the ones who gain control of every aspect. Especially when you are at your most vulnerable physically and emotionally.


  1. Have you ever seen the movie Gaslight? I think anyone who thinks they understand what someone who is abused goes through should see it. Having been the "victim" of an abusive stepdad growing up (he's no longer my stepdad), I get very upset when people make comments about women who are abused. Nobody knows until they go through it. In Gaslight, which actually led to a term psychologists use for abusive manipulation called "gaslighting," where someone isolates someone else and manipulates them until they think THEY are the one in the wrong. Gaslighting:

  2. I never saw the movie. It's sick and twisted the way they turn it around so you doubt yourself. It's another abuse on top of what you've already had to deal with. Feeling shame that maybe you misinterpreted their words or actions. Mind games. I know it well. My ex denied everything he ever said or did. He was the one even who said "I never abused you", meanwhile I never once said he abused me at that time. I simply stated the things he did to me. He denied it before the finger was even pointed. After I left him he claimed that I abused him by denying him access to his money, because I started a separate account for myself. It's very hard to see it all clearly for what it is without distance and time.

  3. I saw something very scary recently as well, where the husband actually pushed the wife off the sidewalk. I blogged about it, trying to understand what it was that I saw.
    So sorry to hear about the emotional and verbal abuse your ex caused you. Glad to hear you got away.

  4. How horrible. I don't think there is a way to understand that, but I know what you mean. When we see something that doesn't make any sense, it's human nature to want to make sense of it. It has no place in the interaction of people, husband and wife or not. Then to boot you fear intervening because who's to say they wouldn't hurt you too.