She got flowers

She Got Flowers

She got flowers!
It wasn’t her birthday, or any other special day.
They had their first fight, and he said many cruel things that really hurt her.
She knows that he is sorry, and that he will not say those things again, because he sent her flowers to forgive.

She got flowers!
It was not for their anniversary, or any other special day.
Last night, he pushed her against a wall and started to choke her.
When she woke the next morning her body was painful and bruised.
She knows that he must be sorry, because he sent her flowers to forgive.

She got flowers!
And this was not mother’s day, or any other special day.
Once again, he has beaten her; it was much more violent than the other times.
If she leaves, what will she do?
How will she care for her children?
And financial problems?
She is afraid of him, but she is scared to go.
And she knows that he must be sorry because, as usual, he sent her flowers to forgive.

She got flowers!
She has received piles of bouquets of flowers from all those who knew her and who loved her.
It is her funeral.
Last night, he finally killed her. He beat her to death.
If only she had found enough courage to leave,
She would have not received so many flowers today!

It demonstrates the escalation of abuse very well – from cruel words, to pushing and choking, to beating, to murder. It shows the abusers actions to feign remorse: flowers, consistently with the flowers.

The Cycle of Abuse

CycleOfAbuseAbuse does not end. It is estimated that only 1% of abusers are able to recognize their behavior and work towards bettering themselves. Abuse doesn’t go away, it escalates. It may appear that the abusive behaviors are gone, but that is only the honeymoon period, the period of normal behavior.

The abuser will behave as a normal human being and the victim will engage in the fantasy that the abuse is over. Then something, anything, happens – the wrong ice cream is purchased at the store – and the abuser becomes angry at the victim, and then lashes out. Abuse commences and could be the abuser calling the victim stupid or punching her until she promises never to make the same mistake again. The abuser then feigns guilt, though it’s not guilt for the behavior, it is the fear of being exposed as an abuser. He will make excuses for his behavior, often blaming the victim for provoking, and deserving, the attack. Abusers will apologize, he may even buy her flowers, but there is no remorse. The cycles repeats, and every time it repeats, the abuse escalates.

Types of Abuse

Not every victim of domestic violence will be physically abused.

Abuse

Abuse takes many forms: emotional, psychological, sexual, financial, and physical. Each are equal. Equal.

The put downs are abuse. The isolation is abuse. The forced sexual encounters are abuse. The restricted spending is abuse. The pushing, choking, punching, is abuse. It’s all abuse, and it’s all wrong and illegal. Dominating another human being, controlling another person’s thoughts and actions, is abuse. It doesn’t have to be physical to be abuse. It doesn’t have to be physical for the fear to be there.

I Got Flowers Once

I, for one, hate receiving flowers from a man. I see them as work put on me without request or permission. I see them as an apology for a wrong not yet discovered. I don’t see them as thoughtful or romantic. I want my flowers thriving in the dirt, rain, and sunshine. I see cut flowers as a symbol of the abuse I suffered – cut from their natural environment, made to live in a restricted space, and forced to please another.

Donkey only ever bought me flowers once, and that was when I returned to Florida after having been gone for a month. In that month the plan for my escape came together. When I returned to have surgery, a surgery I needed and couldn’t physically afford to put off for another month or two, he had flowers waiting for me. I did not acknowledge the flowers. I did not water the flowers. I let the flowers die. I did not dispose of the corpses, and let them sit in the vase and rot until the day he finally threw them in the trash.

Donkey didn’t buy me flowers after beating me. He couldn’t be bothered. His words should have been sufficient enough, but I’m sorry never carried as much weight as you’re ugly, you’re stupid, you’re worthless, you’re a bad mother, you don’t deserve nice things, you shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions…

It wasn’t courage that got me out. I had none of that. I did have the support of my family. I did have a bed in a domestic violence shelter waiting for me and my children. Courage had nothing to do with my escape. Fear for my life did. It was fear that motivated me out of that house.

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26 comments

  1. I am with you Mel, I also like my flowers in the dirt. Sperm donor brought me several bouquets of flowers after he abused me. I threw them away once and ended up with my head bashed in the garbage can on top of a bouquet. When Ronnie and I met, I told him to never buy me flowers.

    1. That’s terrible Becki. Like flowers could ever make up for what they do.

  2. I rarely know what to say when I read posts like this since it’s in my nature to make light of everything and joke joke joke! That seems inappropriate though. I will say that I’ve always told women that the man is never going to change. He won’t and probably can’t. I didn’t have any science to back that up, it was just my hunch, even as a younger officer. They’re like child sex predators to me. If you can catch the cause before it blossoms into a problem then they have a chance, but I feel as though once they get a taste of abusing women, they can’t get enough of it. Again, that’s based on nothing more than my own opinion.

    1. You’re right, they won’t and probably can’t change. Change has to come from within and most of these abusers don’t see their actions as wrong. You may not have science to back it up, but you have years of experience that probably proves your theory better than any scientific study ever could.

  3. There’s something about a man’s hands around your neck that gets you in touch with your own mortality. I suffered emotional and psychological abuse for 3 1/2 years, and had a hard time believing it was abuse. But when this last Fuck Stick choked me, I was done. . . .I wanted to live, and I am pretty sure he didn’t want me to.

    I don’t need flowers if I can have kind words, and kind actions. . . for myself and my son.

    1. Yeah, something about hands around your throat does put things into perspective. Unfortunately the emotional, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse aren’t as widely talked about, and it’s hard to see it as abuse. I hope that is beginning to change, for all of us, now and in the future.

  4. My abuse was verbal and emotional. But it was abuse! I almost wished at times he would just hit me and get it done with. It was also financial. I literally did not have a dime when I walked out. My family really wasn’t there for me, but I had great friends or should I say one great friend. I hid at her house for 2 weeks before he found me. I also don’t like cut flowers from a man, not that I ever was ‘good enough’ to receive them, I just prefer mine in natural settings. Abuse is abuse no matter what, just wish my family realized this.

    1. Did you happen to read FatBottomGirl’s post here (http://wp.me/p2gCvA-1t3)? She said the same thing about sometimes wishing he’d hit her so she would have visible proof of the abuse.
      It seems several of us aren’t fans of flowers. I wonder how common this is among survivors, and even women in general.

      1. I just read it now, thanks for the link. That’s how I felt, just wish he would hit me so my family didn’t think I was the one with the issue. As for the flowers, I’m thinking there are a lot more of us who would rather not get them.

  5. That poem brought tears to my eyes. I can relate to everything on this page. Even though fear is the catalyst that got you out…I’m so glad you got out. Quite the victory. And dare I say, I’m slightly jealous…but ever so hopeful. I just started blogging about my situation in hopes it will help me to prepare for the finish line. The time is near.

    1. Stay strong. If anyone is helping you, or able to help, there’s some ideas here (http://wp.me/P2gCvA-NI). Use your local DV group for support, and the National Hotline is awesome too. Also, Paula (http://paularenee.wordpress.com/) is a fantastic resource to some behind the scenes on these guy’s behavior.

      1. Thanks so much. I will check out these links. I’m looking forward to eventually telling my story from the other side of the fence.

  6. Fear can be both a powerful motivator and debilitator. I’m glad it worked in your favor and you were able to leave before the abuse cycle escalated any more than it already had. Hopefully others who are reading this, where fear is keeping them rooted, will see that they can turn that fear into the spring into action they need to flee to safety.

    1. When I was afraid of his yelling, the fear was a debilitator. When I was afraid of his hands, it was a motivator.

  7. I got flowers once, earrings too. Like stuff can make up for abuse

    1. You’re right, stuff won’t ever make up for it, just like “I’m sorry” won’t erase every evil word uttered.

  8. Wow, spot on with the flowers. I thought I was the only one….

    1. You are not the only one. None of us are. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Very powerful poem, I”m so moved by it. It’s so sad but true. xo

  10. This reminds me of the book [‘Send Me No Flowers’] which discusses the same thing. Flowers can never make up for abuse, nothing can, words, gifts, nothing.

  11. She would buy the flowers herself.

  12. I have never liked getting flowers. My reaction is always the same, waiting for the shoe to drop, what payment I have to put out for them. I’ve spent years having people tell me how ridiculous it was to have such a dark opinion about what I felt they represented, it’s actually kind of nice to know I am not the only one who seeing ill in cut flowers.

  13. Reblogged this on The left side and commented:

    Amazing poem from an Amazing blogger.
    Thanks for sharing

  14. Beautiful-
    Can I share with 180? They like to use poems and literature in therapy sessions and I think that coming from “one of our own” would really really help!

    1. Yes, please do share. My sister sent this to me from Facebook. If you need to know where from, let me know, but I know where she found it wasn’t the original source.

      1. THANKS SO SO MUCH!!!!! Keep your head up…I am posting something later today that is dedicated for you!!! You give me so much strength and will to fight the good fight!!! THANKS

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