The Curious Q-Tip Incident

Do you ever look back at events in your past, and realize that though they seemed horrific at the time, they now just seem utterly ridiculous?

I know personally that my brain often doesn’t shut down, and I relive events from my past.  Wishing that I had done something differently. Sometimes in a more positive way. More often thinking that I was just a moron.

And I don’t know if any other survivors of abuse have done this, but recently I have been thinking about one particular “fight” (we’ll call it that) that my ex started with me.  Over Q-tips.  

Yes, you read that correctly.


For most of my childhood, I was plagued with ear infections.  Plus, I have wet earwax (I honestly didn’t know that there were different types of earwax, until I was in Biology class with my students last year).

According to him, I was “wasteful” and an “idiot” because I chose to use 2 Q-tips after I showered, to clean my ears.

And because he decided I was wrong, yet again, I must be punished.  And I was only allowed to use 1 Q-tip from now on.  And he would be keeping track, and counting exactly how many Q-tips I used.

Absurd, right?

Even more absurd?  Get this, 5 years after I removed myself from the situation, I still only used one Q-tip.

Recently, I have been thinking about the burden that I carry because of what I went through.  And often, the weight of it does not feel as heavy as it once did. But then, I realize why I continue to do some of the things I do.  And the weight all of a sudden feels a little heavier.

One of the things that I have realized over the past 5 years is that forgiveness in these circumstances is vitally important.  It is important because carrying the weight of the lack of forgiveness weighs on my heart. So turning all of that over to God, and allowing him the vengeance that already told us is His, and His alone, frees that weight from my heart and shoulders.  I take comfort in the fact that he will have to face God for the things that he did.

But the other thing that I know for certain is that even though I have forgiven.  Even though I know that I never have to experience anything like that again, I catch myself doing something as a result of the abuse I suffered, and I realize that no matter how much healing I go through, I will continue to carry pieces of that me around.

That isn’t a bad thing.  Not really.

I am a far different person that I was then.  

I am stronger.  I am healthier. I am happy.

But I am forever changed because of what I experienced.  

Every single time I pick up a Q-tip, I am reminded of why I only use one Q-tip.  Except, a couple of weeks ago, I stopped cold in my tracks, and it really hit me why I only use one Q-tip.  And I couldn’t move. For over 5 years, I have dealt with my ears itching all day long because I didn’t clean them out properly.  

5 years!!!

Over a stinking Q-tip that costs about a penny.  

So no more.  I realized that I am not, in fact, being wasteful.  I am taking care of myself. But now, because it was so ingrained in my head only to use one, I have to remind myself some mornings that I can use 2 Q-tips.  

The times that I work through some of these issues, I pray and ask God how many more of these incidents do I have to work through.  I thought I was doing really well. I thought I had gotten over the hump on many of these things. But clearly, I am not all of the way there.  So how many more ridiculous nuances of my life that are a result of abuse must I get over?  

At this point, only God knows the answer to that.

Am I the only one that has this reaction?  Laughing at how idiotic some of the reasons he started a fight truly are? Tell me your stories.

One thought on “The Curious Q-Tip Incident

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