Friday, July 15, 2011


When you get Lyme disease, you are soooo sick. You're in bed most of the day because you're too tired to do anything. You're not interested in food. You may or may not have a rash or a fever. You will have strange aches and pains that travel around. Might have numbness, confusion, trouble with vision, muscle weakness. Lyme can hit any system in your body.

When my husband and I recently came down with Lyme at about the same time, our next-door neighbors called to see if we were ok, did we need anything? Offered to cut the grass, shop or send food. They're always like that and we try to reciprocate. It's a wonderful relationship to have.

Which brings up neighborly issues when you are battered and live in an apartment building or a close community. Someone might be aware of domestic violence, especially if you live in an apartment. But not always. Batterers can be very charming to outsiders. They can take care to hit their partner where it doesn't show. They often keep the kids "close", not allowing them to participate in sports or clubs, in sleepovers or parties. They try to keep a low profile.

Why? Because the more social contacts, the more chance the family "secret" will get out. The greater likelihood that kids will realize other adult relationships are different from their parents'. And there's always the possibility that normal interactions with neighbors might provide information to someone that results in a call to the "State" (Child Protection Servicies) or the Police.

If a battered woman had Lyme disease, she might not have the relationships most women have that provide emotional or practical support when someone needs it. She might have been forbidden to ask for help. Her kids would be expected to take up the slack until she was better and not let anyone know that they were taking care of themselves and the house.

It is a lonely and isolated existence when you can't call on neighbors.
It's one more way the batterer controls his partner and children.
It's self-serving to the extreme.
Just as he is.

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