Thursday, March 24, 2011

Debbie Downer Comes to Town

Having a rough time this week. 
No beading.  Just sadness.

This whole year has been a pretty trautmatic time in my life and I feel like it has all come crashing down on me all of a sudden. 

You guys always cheer me up, and I could really use a hug or two, so
You, dear reader,

are cordially invited

TO:  A Pity Party

For:  Lynn

Date/Time:  Right here, Right now
~ : ~ 

If you've known me for a while, you know that my youngest daughter Hannah is a survivor of bullying.  What I never addressed publically about the whole mess is that her cousin was a key player in the hell that Hannah was put through at Lockport High School during her sophomore year.  Yea, you read that right, her cousin.  I'll call her "V" for the purposes of this post, to 'protect' her privacy.   After all, she is family (please read that with extreme sarcasm).

I have the video survellaince from the first (but not only) violent physical encounter that Hannah endured just about a year ago every day she walked into that school.  I wish I could show it to you all somehow.  But I have no idea how to upload it. What it shows is  a small glimpse into my daughter's daily world. 

How many of you wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall in your child's high school?  

Well, I got that chance and what I saw has changed my life forever.  Hannah's too, of course, but what no one seems to ever talk about is the ripple effect bullying has in a family.   Me, my husband, my daughters - we are all victims of bullying - each in our own way - as unsuspecting players in this bizzare social 'game' that plays out day in and day out in our schools.  Bullying.

But can you imagine seeing with your own eyes your child be attacked?   I hope none of you ever have to see that. 

It is important for you to know what I saw on that video.   What I'm going to explain is just one of the two physical attacks on Hannah on that particular day because what happens is creating a shock wave through my marriage and is the reason for the Pity Party.

Ironically, these events occurred just about exactly a  year ago.  This is an overview of  the second attack of that day:

 V (Hannah's cousin) sees Hannah coming down the hallway.  V then goes over to Mary (one of the bully-pack)  and alerts Mary that Hannah is coming.    Mary stops dead  in her tracks, turns and sees Hannah and immediately runs at top speed   (you can see her long hair flying out behind her) toward Hannah in what is clearly an attempt to attack her again (remember this is the second incident - the first attack was thwarted by teacher intervention).  I say "attempt", because at the last second, Hannah looks up, sees  Mary coming at her and instinctively reaches out her right arm and grabs hold of Mary's hair and pulls Mary almost to the ground.  Luckily, the two School Police Officers jump in and pull the girls apart and it ends.

There is no doubt in mind, V's parents need to see this footage.  V's parents are Pete's older brother and his wife.

At my insistence, Pete called his brother (I'll call him "C") and asked him and his wife (I'll call her "J") to please come to our home (they live 5 minutes away) so we could show them the footage and talk about V's role in the attack.    

C told Pete he would talk with J and let us know.  Huh?  Are you f*cking kidding me?  What's to discuss?  My God, if my sister ever called me with news like that, I'd have hauled my daughter and my ass over to their house faster than you could blink.  My God - What kind of people are C and J?  I am dumbfounded by their response.   We have always been 'friends' with them and have never had any problems between us.  I was shocked. 

Hours later, C finally calls back.  They won't be coming to see the footage. 

You see, C and J discussed the incident with V and believe her when she says that she did tell Mary that Hannah was coming, but it was done to 'warn Mary' and tell her to 'keep cool'.  BullSH*T.    The footage clearly, without a speck of doubt, shows V go over to Mary and alerts her Hannah is coming.  V then steps aside and watches Mary go after Hannah.  She makes no effort to hold Mary back at all and she had ample opportunity to do so.  And then when the fight is broken up,  V lingers against the wall and as Hannah gets escorted past V, V turns her head, so Hannah can't see her.  And as a matter fact, Hannah had no idea V was even there until she saw the replay of the footage.   Hannah's response?  "I'm not surprised, she's one of Them."  Oh my God.  I'm sick to my stomach.  I see my daughter as  a brave warrior facing these bullies every day.   And to have her own cousin "One of Them."  Good God, I can't even wrap my head around that.

When Pete tells me C and J won't be coming, I freak out. Really. Freak.Out. Like I've never freaked out before. I truly thought I was going to pop a blood vessel in my brain and die right there in my kitchen.  I've never felt that enraged in my life.  ever.  I demanded Pete call C back and tell them this wasn't an option - they HAD to see this. V is lying and this footage shows that.  They need to see our side of the story - not just hear V's side.    Pete doesn't agree with me, but he calls  C back and after some pretty intense conversation, C agrees to come alone - J will not come.

I tell my husband that based on their refusal to come, if he continued to have any 'social' contact with C or J, I wasn't sure if our marriage would survive.

 As far as I am concerned C and J are no longer family.  Families help each other - bond together, work things out, etc.  I want NOTHING to do with them EVER again.  I have no desire to associate with anyone, even if they are family, that would stick their heads in the sand and ignore this.  They are scum - white trash - I hate them.      They are the reason bullying is so prevalent -- absentee parenting, I call it.  And if he doesn't agree with me, I can only see that as a reflection of his lack of true love and caring for Hannah and I.  Actions speak louder than words, as my mother always says. 

I expected my husband, as Hannah's father, would share, if not my all out-hatred of C, J. and V., at least great animonisty toward them and have no contact with them.  And after a year now, that has turned out not to be the case.   Time and time again it was come to hit me smack in the gut that Pete continues on his relationship with C as if nothing has happened.    And that devastates me more than I can explain.

I am now, once again, back in the pit.  That's what I call this black hole of sadness that I tumbled backward into on Saturday when I found out that  Pete had invited  C to a hunting raffle that day.

The pit is a cold place - its a disorienting, lonely, muse robbing, energy sucking hell kind of place. 

My husband, the man that I expected to have my back and care enough about me and my happiness and put, not only his wife, but his child, 'above' all others, has chosen to continue to associate with C, knowing full well how it affects me.  Says a lot about our marriage doesn't it. I never thought bullying could reach into a marriage and pull the rug out from under it. 

Thanks for listening guys - the tears have started, so I better end this now.......xoxo


Carol said...

O Lynn, you are in a bad place for sure. Between the rock and hard place.

We have a similar situation. Corey's cousin stole his phone. Making a very short story, we have it back and the cousins are at odds. Way more to tell, but heck this is YOUR blog.

I certainly understand your feelings. I have lived with inlaws for about 40 years now that I have had some of these same feelings about from time to time.

My advice to you, which has worked for me, is not to come between a man and his family, anymore than I would accept him coming between me and mine. Terry sees his family when he wants to and I rarely go along and it works ok.

Your marriage or misery..unfortunately you must choose.

Don't take this comment as my opposition to your stand on the matter. You should do what is right for you. This just sounds like a battle you aren't going to win.

The Blissful Banter of a Creative Crafter said...

My heart bleeds for you! I hear and feel your pain. You are absolutely correct in believing your child comes first and foremost. Please don't despair. I'm not sure what my advice would be to you because a marriage is involved but your daughter needs as many people on her side as she can get. Is it an option to move your daughter from that school?

Roberta said...

I am speechless. No words are coming. I am here though. Listening in the abyss.

flyingbeader said...

It is hard being the object of a bully. I had to deal with this issue back when I was 13 & we moved from LA to a small hick town in southern Ohio. Those boys & girls made my life miserable for all those years until I finally got to run away from it all when I went to college. I hate that town because of all that. My Dad tried to get some of the bullying to stop when I was in high school, but it didn't help. Instead for those long 5 years, I became an island. Only when I left did the real me come out. I forgot most of the cruelty those people did to me but I have never forgiven them. Probably why I don't ever tell people my family is from that town. I rarely go down there to visit my other family, because the rage hits me again. I'm sorry about this being in your family. I guess I do understand the hurt & feelings you have as there are so many rifts in my family because of things similar. Some people hide & think if you don't talk about it, it will go away. Maybe that is what you husband is doing. I know my family seems to do this, me included, but it is never right & it does hurt. But sometimes it is more painful to confront. I guess I'm just an island about so many things. Private me if you want to talk more. I'm a pretty good shoulder


Tracey N. said...

Oh Lynn! My heart is breaking for you and Hannah. I cannot believe what you both have been through this past year, or longer. I cant believe "Family" would or could stoop this low against their own. V needs to be held accountable by her parents. I myself wouldnt want to believe one of my children could be capable of an act of violence such as this, but if someone told me they had proof, I would have to face my fears and see it for myself. I completely understand the position you are in with your hatred of Petes brother and his wife (not to mention the daughter) I would feel the same myself. I can also a bit understand your husband being torn between the situation and his brother. I can see where you would feel complete betrayal by his actions of nonchalance. Sounds like he wants to just pretend it never happened. That isnt going to help anything either. I have no advice for you. I am sure you have talked and talked until you are blue in the face and he just doesnt get it. I am so sorry! I think you as just as traumatized as Hannah. Hugs being sent your way. I wish I could fix things for you.

Robbie said...

None of us can walk in your shoes. I do agree that you can't let 'family' destroy your 'family'. I'm sure your husband is torn as well. It's hard putting everyone in this terrible spot..and hard to believe that teenagers can put adults in this abyss! Try to stay strong for your daughter, your husband and yourself.

Emerald Window said...

Lynn, You have my sympathies. Bullying is absolutely criminal. I was bullied in 4th grade BY MY TEACHER. I came home crying one day and told my mother what had happened. She wrote a letter to the teacher and the next day the teacher read it aloud to the whole class. I never told my mother what was happening after that.
My son was bullied in the 6th grade. My "fix" for it was to hire an 8th grader to be his "bodyguard". This kid befriended him and walked with him in the halls, introduced him to his 8th grade friends, and let the bully know that there would be social consequences if it kept up.
It worked.
I feel for you and I understand your anger towards your brother in law, but please don't let this destroy your marraige. Your husband is being torn between a brother he loves and his wife and daughter who he loves. We love our family no matter what horrible things they do or say. You do not need to associate with these people who prefer to be blind to their hoodlum daughter, but please let your husband love his brother. ALL love should be unconditional.
How is your daughter doing now? Has this dilemma cleared up? Have you considered counselling for your daughter and yourself? It may help to heal the hurt.
My love and sympathies to you.

mary helen said...

Oh I do hope things get better for you and your daughter. My daughters were bullied as well. Had to move them to another school and pay tuition, on a positive note, in the new school they became very popular! Stay strong and don't let negative people suck your energy from you. The way you handle this will be a huge lesson to your daughter. Wishing the best for all. hugs ~ mary helen

Whimsical Creations said...

Hugs sweetie! I have been wondering how you and your family have been. Sorry you are still going through this still.