Friday, January 27, 2006

Optical Illusions

Yesterday I posted my “weekly” Internet sites (okay, so I don’t always get them up every week. Sue me.). I find most legal sites sort of boring, frankly, so a long time ago I started choosing three sites at a time: one legal, one practical, and one fun.

It’s been a while since I posted anything on domestic abuse, so I went in that direction. I chose a site that has Georgia domestic-abuse statutes, and I chose a site that gives warning signs of domestic violence. Then I got to the “fun” part. Well, there’s nothing even slightly fun about domestic violence, so it took a while to find a site that was fun without taking away from the seriousness of the subject at hand.

What I found was a really cool site with hundreds of optical illusions. It wasn’t until much later that day that I realized just how closely the subject of optical illusions ties in with domestic violence.

An optical illusion is an illusion of perception. As one who has been a victim of domestic violence, I know about that illusion thing, and it’s a bad business. No doubt there’s some evolutionary advantage to seeing things with rose-colored glasses, but like many evolutionary modifications, too much of a good thing can be dangerous. You can’t see what everyone else can see: that the person you’re with is hurting you. You see good intentions, sincere efforts, and the person as s/he once was –or was that an illusion, too?

Domestic violence does differ from optical illusions, though, in a profound way. With optical illusions, once you can see the object as it really is, that more realistic perception tends to be permanent. Not true for victims of abuse, though – at least, not for me. One day I’d see two faces, and the next I’d see a vase. Only during rare moments of clarity – or after a therapy session – was I able to see that both the faces and the vase were present.

Even today, I am unable to remember what was really happening. It’s just a fact I know, the way I know John Wilkes Booth killed Lincoln, and the way I know that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not connected to my heart. When I have to speak to my abuser, and I frequently do, I often find myself remembering only the good intentions, the sincere efforts, and the person as he once was (and seems to be again). And it wasn’t an illusion…I don’t think.


  1. Hi. I couldn't get to the site (optical illusions)from the link. Is there another way?



  2. Well, poo. Try this link instead:

    I'll try it too.

    Thanks, Granny, for letting me know!

  3. Nope. Somehow it only works if you go there a particular way or something. Ok, try this: go to Then click on the link to the optical illusions.

    I'll try it too. My next comment is either going to be a sigh of relief or a bad word....

  4. Sigh of relief.... works.