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. http://stephie5741.blogspot.com/
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.