Bent or Broken?

I was listening to Just Give Me A Reason by P!nk this morning. I paid attention to the lyrics more than usual today. There are two lines which go:

” Just give me a reason, just a little bit’s enough
Just a second we’re not broken just bent and we can learn to love again”.

It got me considering what constitutes broken and how far will the human spirit allow itself to be crushed. In my experience, it can go pretty far down the road of brokenness, but is more indomitable than we give it credit. I look at my own history and in the past year I have come further than I would have imagined possible twelve months ago. That said, I also know that there is still work to be done. I can see how there are days where I cannot get to grips at all with situations and cannot make decisions and fall into old patterns. I struggle with how it feels like I am failing on those days. I feel like I have made very little progress on those days.

A prime example is how helpless I feel when my eldest child messages me to tell me that she feels so alone and sad and that she is being ignored by her father and how he blames her for things that are not her fault. I feel so guilty as she is now shouldering the brunt of his rages and frustrations as I am not in the house to protect her. I feel like a useless mother for having moved out of the house, aware that this may very well happen. And it has. And it does – more and more. As is her father’s pattern.

I can coach her as best as I can on how to deal with it and to try not let it get under her skin, but considering that I couldn’t do that for myself without leaving, how can I expect a child to do it? How can I help her when leaving was the only way that I could help myself? I have said repeatedly that I hope that by leaving I can model something more “normal” for my children, but when I get her messages and she is despairing and at the bottom of her barrel, I have to consider if I have just failed them.

She said that she didn’t want to go on a specific outing today, (they had been to the same place yesterday), so she has suffered repeated recriminations throughout the day for how she has “ruined” everyone’s weekend. She offered to stay at home on her own or to come to me for the duration of their outing, but both of those requests were denied. Her father has come in to her room to tell her how selfish she is, mean she is and thoughtless she is for “making” everyone stay at home and how it has disappointed the “whole” family. She said to me that she needs to send voice messages as her eyes are so sore from crying that she can’t type anymore and can’t see properly.

I have spent the day considering trying to go the route of the court again but remembering how the judge threw out my previous injunction as “sour grapes” on my part, I cannot assume the judge to be on the side of the child, in spite of the 25 to 30 page psychologist report saying that the kids are suffering. I have to wonder if it takes cutting or a suicide attempt or some extreme cry for help on the part of the child for the court to pay attention. It no longer feels like a judge is a viable option.

That leaves me in the position of trying to appeal to the “better nature” of the narcissist. I laugh wryly even typing that. Their better nature. Where is that part of their personality hiding? Oh wait, I know. It’s hiding away in that place that is saved for outsiders to view. How do I help my child and save her while saving myself at the same time? How do I save her siblings? How do I not let them be victims of abuse? How do I shore them up and build them up so that they can rebut the fallacies put upon them by their father? These are the days I feel helpless. I don’t know how to do this really. I feel like a fake with what I offer up as help to them.

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