Looking at Inaction

My dreams take substance and seem real
Your hands and touch are all I feel
Satin sheets slide upon my bed
It is a vision in my head

The echo of your voice remains
Your haunting words my mind retains
The prophecy of what you said
It is a vision in my head

Fighting to breathe I bit my tongue
I pulled the trigger, shot the gun
My freedom won in crimson red
It is a vision in my head

The taste of metal on the tongue
Returns the memory of one
No longer here he is long dead
It is a vision in my head

I was reading an opinion piece about abusive relationships. There was an undercurrent that hummed – if it was so bad, just leave. It really came off as victim shaming. It is very easy to say that someone should “just leave” but when there is no where to go it becomes very problematic. Add the controlling aspect of many abusive situations – no access to money, transportation, or even communication with family – it makes leaving nearly impossible. If that weren’t enough there are children and pets to consider as well. The victim may not be willing to leave them behind. The victim believes that they are the buffer between the abuser and the children. Then there is the hope, desperate and often unrealistic, that with time and patience and love, that they can change the abuser into a kind and loving person.

The poem is a kyrielle which is a 4 stanza poem with a strict syllable count of 8 per line. The rhyme is aabB, ccbB, ddbB, eebB where the last line of the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the following stanzas. It is written in rhyming couplets… And no, I am not in an abusive relationship. Unless you consider moving the soap dispenser from the left to the right of the bathroom sink randomly as abuse.

44 thoughts on “Looking at Inaction

    1. When in dismal situations, spirits can be beaten down badly enough to believe that the worst is all they deserve. It looks like they wanted what they chose, rather than they chose what they thought they would be allowed to ‘keep’. The path of least resistance is most appealing when spirits are just worn out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. The psychological abuse is almost as bad as the physical – and they seem to go hand in hand. Of course those not in the thick of the situation seem to see much more clearly than the person trapped in abusive relationships.

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  1. Beautifully written and well laid out, but thoughts of a terrible situation. I have been, more or less, thinking about such people who find their selves caught is similar situations lately. Having read a book about a Russian Jew who was sent to America in a planned marriage to a man she did not really know in the wilds of North Dakota. Could it be that there sometime may be no other way out, either in their mind or in fact.

    Thanks, I will be thinking about “Looking at Inaction” all day today, how many times have those thoughts gone through a person’s head when caught in such a situation.

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    1. Thanks SAM, desperate people take desperate measures – often to their own detriment. I’m pleased that this has made an impact and that your thoughts will turn toward those in horrible situations…

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  2. Ohh Val, you just talked about something really close to my heart as i have been with so many victims of abuse and violence in the course of me writing my book about abuse and violence …
    I pray and hope that this culture of violence will ease down …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mich, I know you have done much in the area of domestic violence. Another reminder is never wasted if it can bring a renewed awareness. The violence seems perpetual but women need to be supported. If there is support many will find a way to leave and save themselves and their children. The key is to break the cycle of abuse.

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  3. “The most desperate are the most beautiful songs
    and I know some immortals that are pure sobs, “”
    Alfred de Musset (French poet )in “ May night ”.
    Love ❤
    Michel
    ps: Where do ypu find all of those forms and structures of poems, Val ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Michel! This quote is beautiful and sad. I will have to look up Alfred de Musset! The poems are out there in text books and even on the internet. Some of the people I follow here on WordPress are poets and introduce me to new forms all the time!

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  4. Coming from a family of strong women, it’s hard to fathom how one would put themselves in such a situation. That said, everyone doesn’t have the advantage of a mother who inculcated independence. I love the Joan Baez song with the line, “I had a momma who sang to me, an honest lullaby.” We women need to sing honest lullabies to young women. Teach them to first get the most out of whatever education is available to them and second, to abstain from taking on the rigors of motherhood until they can provide for themselves. It may be incumbent upon teachers and preachers to get these ideas across when mothers are crippled by their own mothers. Oh, dear, my white, conservative roots are showing!

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    1. The cycle of abuse is broken in many ways – a strong female role model, education, nurturing self-esteem… the list goes on but even so, many very successful and educated women can fall into the trap of domestic abuse. Not all abuse is physical. Once someone has succumbed to the gaslighting, the verbal beat-down, the deprecating opinion of another it is hard to tell what is right and what is wrong. Cognitive dissonance sets in and no one wants to admit they were mistaken. So yes, there is that and the emotionally crippled have to learn to walk again.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! There have been very few positives from the pandemic lockdown. Having a charmed life has allowed me to stay safe and occupied but many do not have the luxury of that feeling of safety. Not only is there the danger outside their homes but within as well.

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      1. I live a charmed life too. For me, and I am sure for plenty of others being forced to limit social activities, it has been a time for introspection and growth. You’re right. Many do not have such a luxury.

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        1. Thanks. I never felt any trepidation about being “home” as it was a place of safety and comfort. The idea of home being a crucible where the soul is melted and poured out is terrifying and tragic.

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          1. Well, for some, home is the only place where there is “love” and they will endure many things for this “love.” I know because that was me in my teens and 20s. I wasn’t beaten like his mother was because his methods were more subtle. People are so desperate for connection even when it hurts. One doesn’t realize that some relationships are more isolating and lonely. Our relationship with ourselves is so important! If we know our own power and desires, we don’t let others nor ourselves mistreat us. I think most people when young are just taught to obey rather than exercise their own choices and value their own voice. This can be very dangerous when in an unsafe relationship.

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            1. I have observed this phenomenon. I know that the need to belong is very strong – perhaps a hold over from a primitive survival strategy. In the beginning a solitary person was likely one that would die or be killed quickly. The family/tribe/village was everything! I hope that parents are teaching their children to think and to have a strong sense of self (though I know this is not the case for every child).

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  5. powerful poetry Val, another new style I’m not familiar with!

    The more awareness the better … I’ve worked in the field and my training body circulated a survey last week. How can I respond in words that are so inadequate …

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    1. I’m so pleased that you felt the power in this one. I like to explore different forms – keeps my brain nimble! Yes the more light shed on the problem can bring not only awareness but a sense of urgency and action…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My sister, may she rest in peace, went through two marriages with abuse. She got out of one and back into another that did real damage to her children. Alcohol was involved in the second.

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  7. I think people who have been lucky enough not to be abused have no idea how it wears down the soul and takes away the ability to escape. We should never shame them, what they need is our help. Thanks for this post!

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  8. I’ve been in more than one abusive relationship. “Just leave” is the answer but the conundrum is that, based on the person’s background, understanding of what it means to love, comprehension of their own role in an intimate relationship, it might actually feel NORMAL to be treated badly. That’s one thing that makes it so difficult for people to leave. They are used to, accustomed to, expect to be treated as if they have no value. They are used to the rollercoaster of very fucked relationships.

    The short story I wrote about this a year or so ago says, to me (and I’m not bragging), what it can take to awaken a person to the complexity of the dire situation they are in. It took the cops coming to my house for me to have any clue what was going on. But, that didn’t stop me from getting into yet another abusive relationship though the final one never reached the point of physical abuse. The one great thing about physical abuse (as long as no one kills you) is you have visible, palpable signs that someone is trying to hurt you. By psychological abuse is (IMO) every bit as destructive because it can lead a victim to suicide. It’s just universally potentially deadly.

    Many people who are being abused don’t recognize it as abuse. I think of that when I look at the more hard-core Trump supporters. They may not have the ability to see that he lies, that his lies hurt them, that he is a bully not a hero.

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    1. You are the authority on this topic. I am so glad that you were able to protect yourself and break out of the abusive relationships. I’m hoping time and experience has kept you from any additional harm…

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      1. It has. I realized that having grown up in a family in which I was abused, I’m going to regard it as normal. I would like to have met a man with whom I could have shared my life and interests and his, but I wasn’t raised to have that ability, and didn’t learn until it was really too late. I wouldn’t trust myself anyway. 🙂

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        1. That makes me sad that you have not had the kind of relationship that supports and accepts you for you. Still there are lots of different relationship other than marriage/romantic. Having friends can fill much of that void…

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  9. I have personally seen so many people (women and men) in an abused relationship, who cannot bring themselves to walk out. In times like now, children also come into play. They see the abuse and grow up with that as their code of behaviour and the cycle continues.

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