Demelza is one of my favorite characters from a book. You can find her in Poldark by Winston Graham. She lived near the Cornwall coast in the late 18th century. She lived so close she could hear the waves breaking against the rocks and shore. What else would she have heard? Birds, the wind, Garrick barking, horse hooves, distant voices, Ross in the library, servants in the kitchen, her children? Certainly she didn’t live in a silent world but she also didn’t live in a world where she was constantly bombarded with artificially created sounds which we live with now.
I live alone. Until my divorce in January 2013, I had never lived alone. I had been alone for several days at a time but always knew someone would be returning. During that time I enjoyed the quiet. It was refreshing. Now, the silence is oppressive. I feel as thought I am in a room and the walls are closing in. My apartment is wound proofed well so except for the occasional thump from my upstairs neighbors, I don’t hear anything. I listen. I sit in the quiet and nothing. It’s too hot to open the windows and even if I did I would hear man-made sounds. So I keep the TV on if I am home. The sound fills up the space. I don’t feel so alone.
I don’t think we realize how much constant noise is in our lives until it is gone. And I don’t think we realize the importance of sounds whether they are nature’s music or man-made sound. a lot has been written about the effect sound can have on our spirit. I read that repeatedly listening to sad music can dampen your mood. And when non-communicating Alzheimer’s patients were given headphones and the tunes of their youth played, the awareness of their surroundings increased and their mood were improved.
I believe one reason Demelza was infused with a happy spirit was because she absorbed everything around her, the sounds and the sites. So in the spirit of living like Demelza, I am going to try to fill my empty air with sounds that make me happy whether that is music, an audio book, a nature CD or even my favorite TV show. And I am also going to take time to enjoy the peace and quiet I have been given at this time in my life.
Have you noticed how we are rarely without man made noise in our life? It’s cars, horns, TVs, radio, MP3 player, airplanes etc. There is always noise. Even inside a home there are the sounds of clocks ticking or a washing machine going. Most of us don’t take the opportunity or I should say make the opportunity to sit in silence.
Having lived alone now for a few years, I find I leave the TV on even if I’m not watching it. I find the silence in my apartment can be deafening. The longing for the sound of a another person near by is sorely missed. I think about what life was like before the advent of so many man-made noises. No telephones ringing. No alarms going off. No beeps or tweets.
All this noise is a stimulant and it keeps us from stopping to hear the sounds of nature, our hearts, our souls and God. But sitting in complete silence is a challenge for me and I think it’s a challenge for the modern world. But ultimately it’s one we need to rise to and embrace.
We read stories everyday of women that have been abused by a man. And sadly these women tend to repeat bad choices and go from one bad relationship to another. For anyone with a solid self-esteem and self-worth, it is incredulous that any woman would stay in such a damaging relationship. Here is something that so many people fail to understand; the abuser rarely walks in and begins the abuse immediately. There is physical abuse and emotional abuse. They go hand in hand but emotional abuse can happen without physical abuse. That is my story.
Why didn’t I share? I was embarrassed and ashamed. Slowly over time my sense of independence was destroyed. Over time the belief I was lovable was destroyed. Day by day comments, looks, turning things around so I would begin to question myself believing somehow I caused him to cheat and having my concerns being dismissed and ignored regularly created a complete sense of instability. If my ex-husband was home I was always tied up in knots because I was worried I wasn’t making him happy. When he was out-of-town I was tied up in knots because I worried about what he was doing. Should I have left years ago? Of course, but he didn’t reveal his true-self all at once. He did itslowly over time. Think of a bucket being filled by one drop of water at a time. It takes a long time before the bucket overflows. So don’t judge your friend who finds herself in my position. Listen to her. Don’t rebuke her for not leaving sooner. Hug her. Offer support anyway you can. Don’t exclude her because she is no longer a couple. And certainly do NOT remain friends with her abusive ex-husband.
If I could give advice to any woman who is living with a narcissist, it would be to read as much as you can about narcissism and how narcissists manipulate their victims. I would encourage her to find someone to share any secrets i.e. his cheating, his addictions, his crimes. Had I come forward the first time I found out what he was doing, I might have received support from my friends. However the shame he created in me, kept me silent. Silence is a killer. It kills your spirit. So speak up. Leaving is scary. I am facing homelessness at 56 because I was a stay-at-home mom and with no full-time work experience since 1984, I can’t get any business to take a chance on me.
Why do I write about this again? I write about this again because I can’t just dump the over-flowing bucket of abuse. It leaves as slowly as it came. Now I have a small hole in the bottom of the bucket and daily a little more of it drains out. It is just going to take time, a lot of time. Sadly I don’t have time when it comes to a job. While my ex enjoys a life in the lap of luxury, ignores his children and pretends he never destroyed lives, I work to survive and they learn to accept life as fatherless children.