Hey, y’all. Hope you are all having a wonderful freakin’ day.
So last week, as I was leaving to go to work, I saw a pretty big tarantula walking through my back yard. Not a big deal to us — we see three or four each year out here in Midlothian. I grabbed a big box and coaxed it into it, had my husband open the back gate and took him into the woods and released him. I would usually leave the wildlife alone, even the creepy crawly kind, but didn’t want to take a chance on one of my pups messing with Mr. Spider. My dogs are nosy as hell so they would have been all over him. Before I released him (I’m just assuming it was a he), I made sure to take a pic because, you know, otherwise it didn’t happen. I posted the pic to my Facebook and within seconds I was getting comments. Lots and lots of comments. They ranged from “burn it with fire” to “OMG how cool.” Many people making jokes saying they would have to move or just “Nope!”
A couple of folks argued over what type of spider it was: It’s a wolf spider… No, it’s a West Texas Tarantula… No, it’s a demon sent from Hell to eat our souls. Some people preached about the benefits of this insect-eating savior from Mother Nature and still others tagged friends that were obviously scared to death of spiders. It went on all night — actually it is still going on. My spider pic is very popular. But there is one comment that really stood out to me: A guy who stated something about “Listen to you all, wanting to kill things that scare you. This is a prime exhibition of the flaws in humanity blah blah blah!” All I could think was, “Dude, chill the fuck out. It was a simple pic of a spider and some comments about killing it, or running away from it or shooting it with a gun.” I took them as jokes from scaredy cats not a sign of the decline of human civilization. Why you gotta make it into something deep and sinister? Lighten up, chill out, stop being such a Debbie Downer. I swear, it makes me never want to post anything because someone will find a way to get angry or make something out of nothing. My point is, you ain’t always gotta comment on everything. There is enough negativity in the world. Chill the fuck out.
And now I will try to help others with the power of… words.
Dear Cassie, Someone close to me is in a relationship that has had instances of abuse. I’ve tried to be open and supportive — non-judgmentally — by encouraging my friend to keep their eyes open to what’s happening and to not to lose sight of “self.” The abuse, though, has been escalating — no surprise. In fact, everything about this has been textbook. Having known people who have dealt with and been fortunate to survive this, I know that you can’t kidnap them from this situation. They have to make that choice.
I’m at a loss as to how else to help, other than to walk away. The person they are with is filling their head with stories that no one cares about them, that they have no one and won’t have anyone. And now they may be moving out of state. Again, textbook examples of trying to mentally control your partner: Isolate them, distance them, diminish their self-worth, make false promises, then hospitalize them, while making it out to be the victim’s fault.
My efforts get more resistance and push back than their partners’ words and fists. And while I’ve told them I can’t watch them let themself get killed, and I know by trying to help, I make it worse. If trying to help makes it worse, that too should be evidence that it’s never going to get better. It’s so clear to everyone but this person. So I guess my question to you, Cassie, is how do we help someone with above average intelligence to see what’s happening to them? Sincerely, Rose R. Castleberry.
Dear Rosie, You really are in a horrible situation, but not as bad as what your poor friend is going through. You are torn between wanting to help and support your friend and not wanting to see it happen over and over again. It’s hard for a good friend to just throw their hands in the air and walk away from someone when you know they need you, but until they want to leave and have had enough, you have to make sure your friend knows that you will be there, no matter what.
Like you said, the abuser wants to isolate their partner and make them feel alone, but you can never let your friend feel that way. I know it’s hard but a formerly abused friend of mine just recently told me that she didn’t want to talk to her friends about being abused because she felt judged by her friends. They called her stupid for staying with her boyfriend and maybe she was, but as a friend, it is your duty to always be there for them. Yes, you should still encourage them to get out of that awful environment and yes you should discourage them from moving away. But your friend needs to find the courage within themself to know they will be OK without that abusive piece of shit.
We’ve all heard it before. Ninety-nine percent of the time he is perfect, and everything is great but what the abused person doesn’t always understand is that that one percent changes everything. It changes how you feel about yourself, your self-worth, your confidence — everything. All we can do is hope that they realize that enough is enough before it is too late. Support your friend. Console your friend. Try to talk them into seeing a counselor. Offer them a way out if you can. Remind them that they don’t want to end up a statistic. Love your friend because they are probably feeling pretty alone right now. Don’t let your frustration get in the way of your support. Stay strong for your friend, they need you now more than ever. Good luck to you both. Cassie.
Cassie, If you could only meet one from each pair, would you rather meet? 1. Queen Elizabeth II or Margaret Thatcher. 2. Debbie Reynolds or Carrie Fisher (RIP). 3. Idina Menzel or Kristin Chenoweth. 4. Michelle Obama or Barack Obama. 5. George Lucas or Harrison Ford. 6. Sean Hayes or Megan Mullally Thanks, Adam.
Adam, 1. Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth. 2. Carrie Fisher aka Princess Leia … Duh! 3. Tough one, but probably Kristin. She seems like a blast to hang with. 4. Michelle for sure. Maybe she can get me to exercise more. 5. Harrison Ford, just so I can take away that God awful earring and his pilot’s license. 6. Megan Mullally because Karen Walker is my spirit animal!
Remember to always love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 26, 2017.