mmph. so. i need to debrief this for sure. this week was a really quiet week. i only had a handful of support sessions and phonecalls. it was also after a week's holiday, so i'm at my strongest, for now. but i spoke to someone who had had a hysterectomy that she didn't want or particularly need. in my opinion, the operation was coerced. absolutely not in a direct way, but that's what makes it worse! she was 'just' hassled about it for years by her husband, who then booked it for her. all the women i work with make/have made choices 'for a quiet life' that result in slipping further into abuse and control - because an abuser will always take as much control as they can.
before the operation she told me she definitely wouldn't have it done, although her husband had booked it, he could do what he liked, it was ridiculous, not going to happen. but now it's happened she's brushing over it, no big deal. and of course, you'd have to brush over it. how could i admit to myself that i'd had a major operation against my will, 'to keep him quiet'? i wouldn't unless i was ready to have some kind of breakdown. that would involve admitting to myself what a complex-ly fucked up situation i was in and require me to make changes that feel too hard. instead, i'd tell myself i was happy enough with it, look at the positives, and carry on. exactly what she's doing.
and meanwhile, she has this boiling rage just below the surface that seeps out at unpredictable times and that her husband uses to further pathologise her. this guy is well into PMT as the source of everything that's wrong with the relationship, rather than his abuse and control. the solution? cut out her womb! just like in the olden days.
this person is an example of someone who's been a 'client' for a couple of years and who fits a certain pattern that i'm finding it difficult to deal with at the moment. because of our ongoing discussions she is well aware of 'the theory' and can talk about how unreasonable her partner is. but she is not ready to make any change or take a break to get some mental space. and i can't figure out if i should be guiding her more to feel rather than think about his behaviour as abusive, i don't know if that's too intrusive - i mean it usually happens automatically - that people will relate on an emotional level to the work we do about identifying patterns of abuse - but where, occastionally, people block that, and only relate to it intellectually - i'm not sure how much to push it, how much it's in any way wise or acceptable to start digging around in their psyches!
i mean. it's fine. it's none of my business how, when and if women i work with choose to make change, 'move forward' and so on. if i was advising a less experienced supporter i'd just be saying 'you need to sort out your own expectations, it's not about what change your client makes, it's about giving them back as much control as possible, you are doing everything right' etc etc.
but it's just. i'm finding it unbearably sad and infuriating that she is spending years of her life drowning her rage and whatever dreams she may have for another kind of life, that she's had a major operation with all kinds of dodgy side-effects (80% chance of vaginal prolapse within 20 years anyone?), while her partner gets to just carry right on with whatever he wants to do, seldom challenged, seldom disrupted... such is the way of the world. comfort is possibly the most significant reward for abusive and oppressive behaviour, i think i should be blogging about that more.
the woman told the surgeon that she didn't really want the operation but her husband thought she should. the surgeon said 'well if you have x and y symptoms then i do recommend you have it done but make sure you're doing it for yourself'. nice one. shitness of medical professionals at dealing with abuse is too vast to go into here. such is the way of the world. nice comfortable surgeon.