Why I Blog About My Depression–Even While Watched by the Ones Who Caused It (My Blog Stalkers)

My blog stalkers seem to have backed off on their threats some time ago, though they still show an avid interest in what I write.  I’m not real sure why they’re so interested.

But I don’t want to restrict what I write just because they’re watching: Where is the catharsis in that?

No, I can, instead, hope that somewhere along the way, I may be getting through to at least one of them.  And in the meantime, it is actually reassuring to know that I’m not “talking behind their backs.”  No, I want them to see it, too.

What I went through was a very traumatizing experience, being caught up in somebody else’s abusive marriage, and then chewed up and spit out because of it, catching quite a bit of abuse myself along the way, shattering my trust in the good nature of people in general and shattering my faith in God.  (The story is here.)  And such trauma does not resolve itself overnight.

My blog is for venting, a safe place to go where people don’t feel they have to come up with something to say or comfort me, where I don’t hear people’s trite little phrases that do nothing to help, but only hinder the victim’s healing, as the victim starts thinking, “What’s wrong with me?”

Nothing’s wrong with you: You just have a lot of work to do and there’s no magic pill (except maybe Prozac) to fix it.

When discussing with colleagues this idea of “blogging as therapy,” a common reply was that this really is nothing new. For as long as people have been writing, they have used it as a form of cathartic self-expression. Personal diaries and journals are a good example.

Psychologists and other mental health professionals also have long noted the value of “bibliotherapy” in which people specifically use writing exercises to address and resolve problems in their lives, or simply to enhance their personal growth.

But there’s an important difference between blogs and bibliotherapeutic writing. Blog communities actually combine features of personal journaling and support groups.

People write to express themselves and their problems, but they also read and react to others who are doing the same. The blog enables much more social interaction than a diary, which traditionally is a strictly private, self-reflective affair. –John Suler, Blogs as Therapy

It’s true.  I should probably be less concerned about what I write and how people might perceive it.  Nobody has to read every single post.  Most people just read one or two that fit with their keyword search.  Even my blog stalkers don’t read every single post.

No, this is not just therapy, something to lock up in a diary and put in a drawer.  I didn’t want to just leave my story in a drawer, any more than I wanted to leave my college memories sitting in private journals.

No, it’s a chronicle of pain, depression and clawing one’s way out of it, the good days and the bad.  And as such it may have use for others, just as I use the blogs of others who have dealt with abuse and narcissists.

I think I hamstring myself and my healing when I think too much about whether or not I should post something.  Even my bad days could be of value to others.

By allowing writing to be a cathartic act, you are taking the first step to better introspection.

Posting this writing in a blog, knowing people will read your words and react to them helps you get past your own judgments and work towards better self-awareness.

Blogging is one way to ease up on yourself, not be so harsh on your shortcomings, and instead see them in a more objective light.

Blogging can be a truly revolutionary act, because it can allow you to better know yourself.

Blogging has become popular because it has allowed many people to work through their problems through the written word in a public forum. –Nicole Beck, Why We Love to Blog: Blogging as Therapy

In the abuse blogs, one blogger–mulderfan–says her therapist recommended she blog about her experiences.

Blogging Seen as Good Therapy

[Update 8/24/14:]

As written by Brighter Than Before,

One of the purposes of writing this blog has been to document my recovery, and to recognise the ups and the downs.

I’ve tried my hardest to write honestly and openly, and while this has been made more difficult by the knowledge that [my abuser] reads my blog, I have tried to put that fact out of my mind and move forward on my own terms.

I’d be lying if I said it had no impact- who really wants to share their struggles and vulnerabilities with their abuser? But regardless, I have made up my mind to continue to do what I set out to do.


Wives Abusing Husbands, Husbands Abusing Wives

Even if Richard never speaks to me again over this, it’s worth it, because I MUST speak out, because his family is in danger.  My CPS report was because his family is in danger, so I’m not sorry for it.  I don’t want him to suffer in silence, or his children, either.  I don’t want to read about them in the newspaper–again.

Turn the light on so the cockroaches of abuse will scatter.  Shine it on what’s going on.  Don’t be silent.

Here is a story of a couple in which the violence went both ways–until he snapped, and killed a cop and himself.

I post to raise awareness of women abusing men because my former friend Richard is abused by his wife Tracy, and because if he fights back, she could end up dead.  (Story here.)  And because my once-friend Chris was also abused by his wife.  So I know this goes on, that women do abuse, not just men, and I want it to STOP.

Here’s an episode of Dr. Phil on the subject, “Angry Women, Scared Husbands.”  It also shows that abused men are tempted to abuse back, which is very dangerous because men are often bigger and stronger than their wives.

Dr. Phil:

Somebody’s going to get hurt, and you don’t have the right to be doing this in front of those children, not verbally, not yelling, not screaming, not physically fighting. 

You do not have the right to do this in front of the children, you need to stop doing that, and if you cannot stop doing that, then you do need to separate until you can get this under control, until you stop doing that. 

Safety first, for you and for the children.  So if you cannot keep your hands off him, then you need to get away from her until she can.

If you can’t be together with the children present without yelling and screaming and fighting and demeaning, that changes who these kids are.  That is abusive.  You do not want to do that.  If you cannot do that, then you need to be apart until you can.

It’s not about him.  He is not the stimulus, he is not the trigger for this.  It’s coming from inside.

Now that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that could change in the marriage.  It doesn’t mean that he couldn’t be more attentive and more responsive.  And we could talk about all that.  But we can’t talk about that because what you’re doing is so outrageous.

You have to stop the outrageous behavior before you can deal with the daily behavior.  And to do this, you need to learn some new coping skills for anger.

And I think you’re probably getting caught in what is called a neurological anxiety storm, where your brain gets into a loop,  and once it starts, you can’t stop.

I’ve seen Tracy provoke people with verbal abuse, intimidation, belittling, demeaning–am aware of her physical violence as well–and then, of course, the person reacts back with anger, and guess who gets pegged as the problem, who becomes Richard’s target as well?  The one whom she was provoking.

She’s done this to me, as well.  This is very dangerous behavior when it turns physically violent, because a man may hold himself off as long as he can, but one day feel he has to defend himself–and he ends up in jail.

Then, of course, there’s abuse the other way.  My husband was intimidated and threatened by Richard, and Richard has been convicted of strangling one of his young children, making me wonder how much of the abuse in his household originates with him.

Also, I was verbally, emotionally and sexually abused by my ex Phil.  There are many incidents recounted in my account, but here are a few highlights:

Sometime in February 1994, we went to a birthday party.  Phil started putting his arm around me and talking like the Looney Tune drunken stork, and saying to everyone, “We’re going out.”

People thought he really was drunk, but I tried to tell them he was just drinking Mountain Dew.  People got annoyed (even me), and I tried to get him to stop, but it didn’t work.

Then he left the suite, and someone closed the door behind him, pretending to have thrown him out. It was a game, though partly they meant it, being so very annoyed by him.  They thought he’d come back in a few minutes.

Instead, we got a phone call.  One of the guys answered and tried to talk to Phil, but he just kept plaintively wailing, “Nyssa.  Nyssa!”  So I had to come to the phone.

I said hello, but for a moment he said nothing.  I tried to get something out of him, but it was harder than pulling a tooth.  Finally he said, “I’m at the phone outside your dorm.  Are you going to come here, or stay there?”

I didn’t want to leave my friends, but didn’t feel I had much of a choice.  He wasn’t going to come back to the party, either.  Cindy, who’d long since left the party with the birthday boy and some others, found him there.  Unbeknownst to me until several years later, he said to her about me,

“She’ll come here, if she knows what’s good for her.”

If I’d known Phil had said such a thing, I might never have gone back to my dorm for him.  But I didn’t, so I went, and spent long hours comforting him.

I don’t believe I told him that what he did at the party was okay, because I still thought he was being obnoxious and annoying.  My friends thought he shouldn’t have made me leave the party like that.

Cindy told me his words several years later, and that they left not because of Phil being obnoxious, but because they’d had plans to go bowling at a certain time.  It was Ralph’s birthday party, but he left it early, and we all thought Phil was the reason.  Well, okay, maybe he was partly the reason.

One Sunday in summer 1994, Phil said something I never thought he would say.  Once before, he had threatened to hit me, then relented.

But this time, in the van on the way to church, somehow the topic of abuse came up in the conversation.  I don’t remember why, probably after some threat, I told him if he ever hit me, I would divorce him.

He said petulantly, “It takes two people to sign the divorce papers.”

His girlfriend after me, Persephone, told me that he went even farther with her, that he slapped her once.  But she slapped him back, and he never did it again.

This episode of Dr. Phil shows abuse going both ways:

[Update 3/19/13: This video has been removed, and I don’t recall which episode it was.]

I have a website page which collects various links, arranged by topic, on the subject of abuse.  I run it because of Richard, because of Chris, because of my experiences with Phil, to help others get out of this.


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