When I tell you that all of the women in my family are beautiful; I'm not talking about their external appearance.  Well, okay - genetically, we are all very blessed.  But, when I say "beautiful" - I mean wholly attractive.  Wholly attractive to the opposite sex, and in some instances, the same sex.  Even tempered and social, loving and quite intelligent; we were the anchor, the glue, if you will, that pulled together the many branches of my mother and step-father's family trees.  Note the past tense here.

So, when knowing this, you walk in on one such beautiful lady; flaxen-haired with sky-blue eyes, counting out the number of dried peas she will be soaking and cooking for her one meal of the day, you want to ask yourself "how did she get to this place?"  Yes, Hannah's marriage to Mitch was a disaster.  After rumors of his propensity to "hang out" with the boys after school reached the rest of the family, it had been diluted to just that.  Later, we'd find out those boys were about the age of 12 or 13, and yes, he was their Algebra teacher, and yes, it was his house they would hang out in.  But still, how can we KNOW, I mean for sure? That was 15 years ago. 

Today, Hannah never leaves her apartment unless she's heading to a psychiatry appointment, escorted.  My gut tells me something more detrimental than having a husband with secrets "happened" to this beautiful lady.

When an individual is targeted, the level of harassment usually begins slowly and increases with time.

Then there's her sister, Amanda, who (about 15 years ago) used to have her own "massage parlor" in South Minneapolis.  Her boyfriend helped her set it up, she was very proud - until she got busted 6 months later.  She's moved up in the world now though, she has her own "website" in Los Angeles.  Her new boyfriend helps her with that business too.

People can be led to believe things that are false in order to manipulate them, including their own worth as being “less than.”

 Cousin Darby has had some of the same bad luck with relationships, around the same timeframe.  Trying to make a marriage work with an alcoholic, abusive man that would be gone for days on end.  I think it was because he called her “kitten.”  But for 10 years?  Hell no. She traded up for a doting Hispanic gent, that looks surprisingly like her youngest daughter.

 Dehumanization: the deliberate removal of sympathetic human traits when referring to an enemy.

And then there are my sisters.  My sweet sister Georgie hooked up with a local guy after being introduced by Uncle Rusty. Turns out he was embroiled in his own 2-bit Meth peddling business.  After 8 years of using, she's finally free of the drug, but for some reason, was not able to "quit" the guy for years after.  We never see her anymore.

Change in behavior towards being anti-social or withdrawal is a classic sign of psychological harassment or criminal psychological harassment.

Next is Missy, the quiet one.  My youngest, and most intelligent sibling, she hooked up with a guy while drunk one night. It spooked her good. A self-proclaimed “asexual,” she’s practically chained to her desk at the local Big Pharma company. When did this all start?  You guessed it.  15 years go.

Even the United States Government has a Sole Survivor Policy.

Our mothers' stories are even more tragic, and it would take another novel to describe the heartbreak of having the same person break your heart over and over and over during the course of a marriage.  Of course things were different in her era.  As a 60s housewife, it was expected of her to turn numb.  Well, I don't think she did.  I think her anger today equals or surpasses that of any member of indigenous peoples we've been raping, pilfering and murdering during the past several hundred years.  But don't ask her.  She'll tear you down in a flat second with her hole-boring laser eyes.

As for me, being invisible has had its advantages. For example, you can quietly tuck into places to hide when you’re afraid, or simply stand out in the open - no one will notice. This has presented problems, however, when, at three, you have to ask permission to use the bathroom and are so frightened of waking mommy and her new boyfriend up in the middle of the night, you’d rather wedge yourself next to the wall and the dresser and piss yourself.

Also, you can get rides in top of the line wagons, painted bright red with tall slatted sides for protection and white-washed wheels that seem like they would never dare fade in the sun.  And you just knew the tall, handsome doctor that was pulling you to the O.R. was smiling at you underneath his mask. Because you were small.  And innocent. And ignorant of the fact that you were in the hospital for what was being described as “ureter re-implant” but in reality it was that, and a whole lot more.  Like maybe a life-threatening kidney infection, or hymen repair.

The other advantages of being invisible are minimal, but one should be highlighted: the character-building. The whole idea that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  Like the intense RUSH you get after being locked in an abandoned refrigerator until the neighborhood bullies let you out, that criminally insane posse of swarthy eight-year olds that your five year old self kept rumbling with in the back lot, every time the babysitter forced you to go outside to play.  I felt superhuman, indeed.

“Outside! Outside!”  Babysitter would scream in her thick Danish accent. “Little girls should go outside to play!”

My freedom came at a price though, “your panties or your life,” one little monster muttered.  Try explaining missing panties to an ultra-religious babysitter, who would be only too happy to set you on a pail, in a dark closet until you’ve admitted your heathen, panty discarding sins.

Or how about sitting in the front seat of your mother’s car and not being able to see a single thing except the dashboard that you felt surely would get you one day.  Your little body heaving and lurching with the movement of the car, nausea setting in, and it was then you found sleep was most welcome, but you still struggle to resist it.

When psychological warfare is waged, attempts are made to provoke emotional reactions that could be harmful to the victim or their loved ones, such as anger.

I know what you're thinking…"white trash" right?  Perhaps.  We were middle class, living in the suburbs, trying to get our piece of the American Dream.  Helping each other out whenever we could, working together, having fun together.  Loving and fighting and trying to break free of the cycle of poverty and all the dishes that come on the side, and we were very close… 

And I did break free.  So I thought…


When powerful organizations are willing to kill to preserve their secrets, someone needs to bring them to light…

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