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Thursday, August 10, 2006

By Reason Of Insanity

A friend and I were talking about rage and sanity and if one can over-ride the other. He said you're not insane if you can logically plan and execute something as awful as what Andrea Yates did, for example. I, however, believe there are things that make your mind stop functioning, so that you can no longer determine right from wrong. Temporary insanity. White uncontrolled rage. Something.

I felt in a position to talk authoritatively on the subject, having been the victim of such rage. There was a night, some years ago when my then partner, not liking the fact I challenged him about being out with another woman until the wee hours of the morning, instead of discussing it with me, formed fists with his hands and beat me. Over me asking where he'd been. Over me expecting him to tell me. Over me just wanting honesty. And yes, this was the man I had only three months before, uprooted my entire life for, to give him his dream.

I have looked into the eyes of insanity. The person who looked back at me was not the person I knew. It was like looking into the eyes of evil. I almost did not live to talk about it. At one point his fingers closed around my throat and he growled animal-like sounds at me through clenched teeth. A crazed look I will never forget.

Though I still am not sure how, I managed to wrest myself from his grip and get away from him. But he caught me and his fists beat repeatedly into my face and over my head, onto my arms when I held them up to cushion the blows. Then along my exposed sides as I sought to protect my head. I got away finally, to behind a locked door.

I discovered that night, that for all the force of his white rage, my will to survive outmatched him and I won. Good won over evil. The next day, all he talked of was the deep scratch on the back of his hand where one punch had missed my face and his fist had caught the edge of my earring. He sat there and complained about what I'd done TO HIM. Me with the bruises on my face and neck and arms and hands and head and sides.

Even if Andrea wasn't insane when she drowned her five children, one after the other, I am sure knowing what she did has made her insane with grief ever since. Or maybe her insanity keeps her from truly understanding it all.

Unfortunately good did not win over evil that time.

P.S. Oh, and in case you're wondering, no I didn't leave him after that beating. But that's another post for another day.


Miranda said...

I can't even imagine what you had gone through. *big hugs* It has obviously made you stronger.

This is such a controversial topic. Im sorry, in cases like that I do believe in the death penalty. If however, its self defence, then no.

Steve said...

OMG...that is despicable!

And it reminds me of the time my mom was beaten by a man brutally...over and over and over he hit her face while she was in the passenger side of her own car...and he was driving. She had no where to go. He was such a big man in size too. I remember the rage I felt towards him...and years, years later, I was in a little bar in his tiny home town... with friends of mine that played in a band that night there... and I couldn't wait to see him again... just bump into him... boy, what I would have done to him! And, he probably would not have even known what I was talking about when I ripped his fucking head off! Good thing nothing ever came of that.

Polyman2 said...

Poor girl, no one should be a victim to that kind of rage. My Dad was a physical person, my Mom always excused him because he was a soldier all 4 years of WW2 (As if that gave him a right to hit us)
There comes a point when you must take responsibility for your own actions. That is why I detest lawyers and their lying game called court.

Fiona said...

aaaah Miranda, yes it has. It didn't right at the time but since then it has. There can never be any excuse for it.

Steve that's terrible. There's always somewhere to go, it's just that we don't always go. It's a complex thing.

Hello again Polyman *S*....it only happened that once, but his psychological abuse lasted right up until the day he died. It's strange how people can choose to hurt the one person who wants to help - I should have seen that he hated me for trying to help I suppose.

Sunny Delight said...

My heart filled with tears when I read this post...I know/love several women who have experienced what you have, I suppose we all do, I also know and love two men who have been abused by women in those so-called rages...I know many more who live with emotional abuse...all abuse is evil...no matter the kind...many things happen to allow us to live with it...I don't know how to end it, I don't know how to help those who need to leave...all I know is that with time some do....they discover their goodness maybe?...they discover that internal sense of self that is finally able to say NO MORE. They discover their own sane rage.

As to insanity...I cannot look back on the Andrea Yates case or any other of its type, and think that there was any kind of sanity at play there. As I read Miranda's comment about the death penalty..I too have been at the point where I thought death was the only answer...but is it?...For those who commit such evil, and KNOW they did so...is not living with it daily the ultimate punishment?

Fiona said...

I used to say, before it happened to me, what on earth makes a woman stay after that has happened? I used to think she must accept it and maybe even want it.

How foolish I was. Only when it happened did I know why they stay. Like I did. He actually managed to strip a piece of me away that night, he taught me that night to like myself even less.

Maybe that's why it was almost a year until I could make him leave. Even though I knew by doing so, I was driving him to his grave as noone wanted him and he was so far into the bottle there was noone who ever would.

It was his third suicide attempt that made me see I was out of my depth with him. And in a place where the gutter was fast coming up to meet us both. I chose not to go down with him.

I do, though, often wonder if I couldn't have done more (though what that 'more' would have been I'm not sure).

But yes, I do understand women (and men) who stay.

Sunny...."sane rage"....my god that's exactly it!!!!

Sunny Delight said...

The abuser does strip away at the sense of self...so much so that we no longer trust who that self is...when it comes to emotional abuse, we no longer even trust that we are truly the abused...it is a conundrum I have been circling for years...they manipulate to the point where they don't even have to anymore...we do it for them...darling there is nothing more you could have done...that is part of the self-manipulation I am talking about...at some point we cannot be saviours to anyone but ourselves..you made that choice...I am so glad you did.

And as a good friend keeps trying to tell me (well not exactly in these words but the message is the same :))....he was a grownup, and he could make his own choices, even if he tried to escape making those choices by drowning them in a bottle.


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