Eye-Opening Moments are real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. In this episode you will hear about Surviving Emotional Abuse and Street Smart vs. Book Smart.
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Hello and welcome to episode #57 of Eye-Opening Moments where you’ll hear real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. They are moments that can lift your spirits, give you some food for thought, or move you. For the introspective mind that likes to reflect, discover, and find solutions or meaning in a complex life, this is for you. I’m your host Emily Kay Tan. In this episode, you will hear about Surviving Emotional Abuse and Street Smart vs. Book Smart
Surviving Emotional Abuse
It was just another evening of dinner with my husband after work. We were newlyweds, and I had friends interested in seeing my new home. Seconds after I shared with Anson about a pleasant time with Bessie, a co-worker, who came to see our house before he got home, Anson exploded, "How dare you invite your friend over without asking me for permission." His reaction shocked me. I explained, "I didn't know I needed to ask for permission!" Anson proceeded to inform me that it was his house and that I needed his approval. It became clear to me that since he bought the house before we were married, and the house title was in his name, it was indeed his house alone. I was a guest of it, and according to him, I needed his permission.
I felt like a child who needed permission. I was not accustomed to this. I had been a financially independent woman for thirteen years before marrying him and did not need permission to do anything for many years. I did not expect such a reaction from Anson. He was so angry that he screamed at me for over an hour about what he considered my wrongdoing. Luckily, his father stopped by to visit. Had he not come, the reprimands would have continued for what I later learned that he had a habit of this screaming for two hours until he had his fill.
Fortunately, when Anson's father asked me what the matter was, I had the opportunity to talk without being berated. I was glad for the chance to speak since Anson did not let me talk during his rampage. I said, "Anson said I needed permission from him before I could have a friend come over to visit because this was his house and not mine. I didn't know I needed permission." My father-in-law explained to Anson that it was also my house since we were married. This fact was news to Anson, who was unhappy to hear about this marriage rule. But he dismissed me and stopped his admonishments.
For the time before his father arrived, Anson had brought me to tears, and I am not a person who can easily cry. I was in shock and disbelief; no one in my life had ever screamed at me or belittled me to the depths that he did. He did not demonstrate the extent of his temper until after we got married, so I was unaware of this part of him.
Whenever Anson needed to know something or have a problem solved, he would turn to ask me. You might think he thought highly of me or counted on me for help or support. Then one day, when I did not have the answer for him, Anson remarked, "You call yourself a teacher? How could you call yourself a teacher! You're supposed to know!" Another time when I didn't have an answer for him, he would say, "You have a Master's degree; how did you get it? You can't even answer my question!" Though I knew many people, including Anson, had the misconception that teachers should know everything under the sun, it was still disconcerting. Though I am proud to be a teacher and have a Master's degree, his words still hurt. And I felt he wasn't proud of my achievements or me as a human being. I told myself that he had to undermine me to make himself feel better. Perhaps he felt less worthy because I had a Master's degree, and he only had a Bachelor's degree. So, he had to proudly say that he earned more money as an engineer than I did as a teacher.
Anson was handy around the house and enjoyed figuring out how to fix things. When it was time to renovate our home, he wanted to do most of the work instead of hiring professionals. Of course, he couldn't do it all himself, so he enlisted my help. I could not say no, because I was living in the house. I soon learned that I was no handywoman. He thought himself to be kind to give me easy tasks. He asked me to sand down the floor moldings so there would be no sign of old paint before applying a new coat. I thought it was easy enough, but I was wrong. Whenever I thought I was done, he'd take a look and say I missed a speck here and there. Honestly, I had to look hard to see the dots I missed. At any rate, he was most displeased with me.
I could not seem to do anything perfect enough. I told Anson I tried my best but that I was not perfect. I was hoping for a bit of sympathy for someone who has never renovated a house, but I was met with disdain. Worse, he said, "You could at least try to be perfect!" Others had told me I was a perfectionist, but I now learned I was far from it. Though I often try to do my best at whatever I begin, I now had a husband that demanded more perfection than me.
Belittle me, demean me, insult me; I endured it for seven years, trying to not step on any eggshells, but try as I might, I couldn't until I found the courage to leave him. I sought help and advice from his brother and parents, who were only sympathetic to me, but had no ideas on how to deal with Anson.
How was I able to endure seven years? Fortunately, I gained self-worth and confidence in myself before I met Anson. Through the Landmark Forum, a personal development course, I discovered and gained access to the power of choice in my hands.
Since I was out of solutions in dealing with Anson, I took another personal development course through Landmark Education, the worldwide personal development organization, because it was there where I previously found miracles in the Landmark Forum. The conversations shared in the course gave me much food for thought. Ideas in my head began to shift. I can't say they were any particular words I heard or any specific person who spoke, but I can say it started the turning point in my marriage.
I was reminded that I choose how I view my world; I decide my worthiness. It is up to me to hold it or give it away. Though my marriage was like living on eggshells, I had me. I knew I was not a bad person because I was imperfect. I was not worthless because I didn't know everything. I was not rotten because I was not most handy. While Anson had his opinions, the most important one was my opinion of myself. Since I chose the ones that would empower me, I held on to myself and did not let him kill me emotionally.
Why did I endure seven years? I wanted to make the marriage work. I thought divorce would be a sign of failure and that it was shameful. I could not accept defeat and needed to try as much as possible. It was just a part of my personality where I don't give up when things go wrong or when times are tough.
Without any therapy or a support group, Landmark Education single-handedly helped me see my power and generate the strength to have the perceptions that empower me and propel me to move ahead. As Helen Reddy sang, "I am woman, hear me roar!"
Street Smart vs. Book Smart
Do your homework, study hard, get good grades, and you will have a bright future ahead of you. That was what Grandma Sandy always said to me when I was a little girl, and I believed her. I studied hard to get good grades. I dreamed of going to college because I was told it was my ticket to a good-paying job. I wanted it badly because I wanted to grow up faster so I could get out of the house and be on my own. Escaping from living with relatives and being able to go to college was my ticket to freedom. I starved to satisfy this hunger where the pangs of it would not dissipate.
I studied and studied, and I made my way to college. It was so exhilarating to be free at last! I no longer had a nagging or lecturing grandma. In my ears, she constantly reminded me of the value of an education or the same stories of sacrifices my mom made so they could all come to America and my siblings and I could be born in the land of opportunity.
As I started my college studies, I was fascinated with learning about the psychology of children, the development of human beings, and many other things. I enjoyed learning; the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. The more I knew, the more I wanted to know. My appetite for learning and knowledge could not be satisfied; there were always more things to learn and more intriguing ideas to discover.
In school, books and professors were the doors to knowledge. But I soon learned that there was another kind of knowledge that books and teachers did not teach.
When vacation time was around the corner, many students went home to their families. I was one of those who didn’t want to go home. College helped me escape it; why would I want to go back? I looked into where I could go and how I could get there. I needed to consider how much everything cost because I only made so much from work-study. Once I got to a place, I needed to figure out how to keep myself safe, how to get to places without a car, and where I could explore. I had to search for the knowledge I needed to survive. And the actual matter of surviving a vacation with limited funds could not be found through books or other people. I would have to learn this education on my own, through experience and trial and error.
Unbeknownst to me, this type of education would make me grow and change. This kind of education would test my strength, courage, resourcefulness, resilience, adaptability, intelligence, and everything related to my character and the core of my being.
In school, I was in a safe environment with books and professors. On vacation, I was out in a world of risk and unpredictability. I had only myself to save and thrive.
After graduating from the safe confines of college, I entered the world of work or real life. Once again, I was faced with the real-world education I needed to learn more about. Luckily, I had some experience during my vacations in college. I began to realize the critical value of not just book knowledge but also life knowledge, which requires a person’s experience and character.
More than anything, I discovered that the education I needed to learn on my own was problem-solving and creativity skills. Having some foresight and hindsight added to my vision also helped.
I, fortunately, had the opportunity to start practicing and using these skills as a teenager. The search for a job and an apartment to begin my adult life required problem-solving and creativity skills. My desire to excel at my job and have various strategies to deal with everyday problems and unforeseen issues demanded that I utilize learned crucial skills. They have helped me overcome countless challenges and many colossal adversities!
Today we have access to learning on our own through the internet. We can continuously educate ourselves with knowledge from the internet and through online classes. We can even learn through others who share their experiences online. From researching knowledge online to watching videos of people sharing experiences, we can gain book smarts and street smarts.
Besides all those mentioned above, nothing can replace an individual’s experience or results. Because we are all unique beings with different backgrounds and characteristics which make us who we are, there is still the factor of motivation that drives humans to do what they do. Whether you be book smart or street smart, or both, you need to motivate yourself into action to produce the results you want.
Another critical element in gaining more smarts is to learn lessons from experiences to move forward. It can be done with observation, reflection, analysis, and willingness to learn. Behind all that is motivation. You are the key to providing that.
Friends have asked me where I find the time to be an entrepreneur, writer, and podcaster when I have another full-time job. My response: When passionate about something, you take the time to do it. When you are dissatisfied with something and want to have something better, you schedule the time. Be hungry, be dissatisfied; your hunger and dissatisfaction can drive you to your desired destination!
Through my research of information online and suggestions from people with experience in my areas of interest, I quickly became a writer and a podcaster! It was a dream come true created by me but provided by today’s technology. I couldn’t have made it a reality without motivation and passion.
There is so much we can learn online and through others to do new things. With the enormous conveniences of today’s technology, the sky is the limit! Please don’t say you can’t do something; it is up to you to make the decision, the choice, and the action! Be street-smart and book-smart! Nothing is in your way except yourself!
Though I experienced emotional abuse, I remembered that my self-worth was in my hands, and it was up to me to stand up for myself.
Though you may be street smart or book smart, it is essential to be both.
Next week, you will hear two new real-life stories called From Powerless to Powerful and The Money Judges. If you enjoyed this episode of Eye-Opening Moments, please share it with others, subscribe, support the show by clicking on the link in the description, or go to www.inspiremereads.com and leave a message. Thank you for listening!