Saturday, August 07, 2010

Second chances

Someone asked if I have ever given someone a second chance.

Yes, and it didn't turn out well. Some people refuse to change. Like my brother-in-law.

Beanie filed for divorce, again, after 26 years of marriage. She has been in an abusive marriage for 26 years and has left him several times. He doesn't beat her. What he does is worse. He abuses her mentally and emotionally and treats her like a possession most of the time and a piece of meat the rest of the time. Well, she filed for divorce and Mom and Hoity-Toity came down on Beanie's husband's side. Beanie had to move out of her house away from her children and animals and the home my father left for her to move in with our brother, the Mushroom (mushroom because he's always in the dark).

Meanwhile, BIL, the brother-in-law, was calling and talking to Hoity-Toity every day and Mom almost as often. Hoity-Toity told BIL who Beanie's attorney was and about all the private stuff Beanie didn't want BIL to know, sold her right down the river. Hoity-Toity has her own agenda, but that's a story for another time. Anyway, BIL called Beanie's attorney and said he was ready to sign the papers and he began working on Beanie.

He went to a psychiatrist and got on Celexa to show that he was trying to change. He bought a futon and moved into the living room, which was before Beanie eventually moved out. He whined and cried and begged and told her he was sorry -- again -- and that he would change. This is a familiar song and dance number he has used in the past, this time with the psychiatrist and medication twist to show that he is serious. In the past he has given up alcohol, promised to changed and managed the change long enough for Beanie to become convinced he really meant it this time, and even started going to church and talking to one of the parishioners and the minister about their problems. He does love to talk about what's wrong with Beanie, I mean, their problems. As soon as Beanie drops the divorce or moves back in and settles down, he goes back to being his abusive self and blaming her for all the trouble. This is known as the end of the honeymoon phase of the abuse cycle, which quickly follows the begging, pleading and apology phase of the cycle.

At any rate, taking medication and seeing a psychiatrist (he only went long enough to get the meds and has already canceled all future appointments), convinced Beanie that he meant it this time. She also missed her boys, 23 and 19, who still live at home and who BIL badgered until they agreed to move out with him when he was planning to move, and her animals, Dad's house and her things. She felt like she was being punished and losing everything while BIL was taking it all from her. She also hated being alone. Living with the Mushroom is still living alone because he's caught up in his own world on Second Life with Jess from London and doesn't pay attention to her. Beanie has never lived alone before.

Fear is a powerful motivator. Add pressure from Mom and Hoity-Toity and the belief that maybe this time BIL really meant to change and giving up everything to be alone, and Beanie caved. "We have had some good times," she told me when we talked on Monday. "It hasn't been all bad. After 26 years, I feel I owe it to him to give him one more chance. But this is the last time."

I've heard this 'last time' speech so many times I could write it in my sleep, and have. I'm still asleep now.

Beanie is co-dependent and she enables the abuse, so she is right in saying that this is partly her fault. Then again, it's not her fault because she is caught in a cycle of emotional abuse. Yes, there are good times because that is how the abuser keeps her off balance and sets her up for the abuse. There has to be a reward in order for it to work. It's not love, as BIL keeps claiming, but control. BIL doesn't like losing control and he will use, and has used, every trick in the book to further his agenda. He gets Mom on his side by appealing to her feelings about divorce being wrong no matter the reason. He appeals to Hoity-Toity's sense of greed by telling her that he'll talk Beanie into selling Dad's house so she can have the money, despite the fact that he and Beanie have a survivor's deed and have been living in the house and paying the mortgage for three years. There's a lot of equity built up in that house after Mom and Dad living there for nearly ten years and BIL and Beanie for another three, equity that Hoity-Toity can use to pay off her debts and cover up that she's been skimming money from Mom's accounts for the past year so she can buy two more houses (a condo and a house) in addition to the condo and house she already owns.

BIL tried appealing to the Mushroom, who went through a divorce a year ago, but the Mushroom wouldn't play. He told BIL, "You can cook, clean, shop for food and work. The only thing you won't have is a relationship. You need to let my sister go and give her whatever she wants."

He knows better than trying to appeal to me because I know him for the skeevy abuser he is and he tries to keep Beanie from talking to me and having anything to do with me. That's also part of the abuse -- isolating the person from family and friends -- and he has isolated Beanie for years. Emotional abuse is all about control. Read about abusive relationships and check out the graph near the bottom on the right.

Not everyone deserves a second chance. BIL certainly doesn't, but Beanie can't see it because she's caught in the cycle of abuse. Some people never get a second chance because they're dead or brain dead from being abused.

It's not just abusers who don't deserve a second chance, but anyone who has no intention of changing. Seldom do men and women who cheat on their spouses and lovers give up cheating. Once in a while, it's a one-time incident, but on average people who cheat once will cheat again, and they'll lie to cover up their activities.

Be careful about giving second chances. Weigh all the factors and pay attention to what has gone before. If you're in an abusive relationship and want to give your abuser one more chance, talk to a counselor or doctor. You may be co-dependent and/or an enabler and the best thing you can do is get out. You can always get more stuff and, if you're afraid of living alone, find a roommate. No one should have to live this way. The only way to deal with people like that is to starve them of their food source -- you.

Okay, that wasn't what I intended to write about, but sometimes I just go with it.

That is all. Disperse.

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