Tag Archive | abuse

Goals

goals

It has been close to 30 years since I was first struck by the man who would become my husband. After numerous brutal beatings, three children, non-stop threats of murder if I dare leave, in addition to my own prayers for my life to end so I could be free of the abuse…somehow, I survived.

The depth of my fear, fueled by my hate, gave me a pinpointed focus to raise my children and upon the last turning 18… get the hell out! Well, that time is upon me.

I’ve been counting down the days for way longer than I can remember.  Once they became a realistic number, I thought to myself… this is about to get real.  FAST!  Then before I knew it, the days went from 365 to less than half of that number, to within the same calender year and now… mere weeks.  Now, mental preparation.

There is still so much to get done before I go.  Loose ends to tie up.  People I want to explain my inevitable absence to.  And then there is my family.  I allowed my sister and mother to enter into my secret life and read my blog.  When they had a full understanding of my life thus far they seemed genuinely distressed over what I had been through.  My parents had only known about one episode early on but I did a good enough job hiding the life I endured that they had no idea it continued, most especially not for 25+ years.

Since absorbing that I most definitely do intend to go through with my exit plan, my mother and sister seem (to me) to be more concerned about what they need to do to protect themselves than they are about anything I will be going though.  The words, “how can we help” have yet to be spoken.  As these last days are closing in, these words, or lack thereof, have shaken me.  Although I do have friends that have offered their help, I can’t help but feel very much alone.  I’ve been taken back to a mental state where I need to fend for myself, and fear has kicked in.  Worst of all, every specific I had planned for this exit, I now feel unsure about.  I’m second guessing, feeling anxious and deciding whether or not I need to make changes.

On another note, I work from home.  I guess that being helpful or hurtful is up for debate but the point is, I work.  And I do so for many hours a day.  Yet, like many, many others, I live from check to check.  I have been able to put some money to the side for this event.  However, I did not start doing so until the end date was too close for comfort realizing I was broke.  So yeah, my resolution…save something…anything!  I am very much aware that is not nearly enough.  This has added panic on to every other emotion I’m feeling.

How the hell, where the hell, what the hell…am I going to do?  I do not like borrowing.  I’ve had to in the past and it’s just so uneasy for me.  I know I’m not the only one that feels that way.  Unrelated to financial issues, when asking for help – on any level – I’ve been let down more often than not.  So even being here right now, asking, begging, is surreal.  This is so uncomfortable and I apologize for even attempting to have the audacity to think anyone….everyone… doesn’t have a million other things more important to donate money to than me.

I am not even close to a special case.  There are so many of us.  Abuse victims.  And although I haven’t felt like a “victim” for a long time – due to my abuser’s very painful rheumatoid arthritis (lucky me) – Now, I am just a victim of my own poor financial planning.  I don’t even know where to start in asking people to donate, or what an appropriate amount is to ask for.  All I can think of is that if I can afford to pay rent for at least six months, then maybe I can be less stressed about the initial “hiding” period.  My son will be with me and I am not going to be ready for either one of us to be out and about, at least not for the first month or so.  I need to make sure we are completely safe.

This is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever pulled off.  If there is just one aspect of it that I don’t have to worry over, I would be beyond appreciative.  Once I am fully free, paying it forward will be in using my voice and being as loud as possible for those of us that are still in hiding.  It has been 30 years since I was abused by someone who claimed to love me, and it is clear that this epidemic is far from over.  It’s not even close to ending with me; there are so many others out there.  Every anonymous account needs a voice.  A new fight I look forward to getting into head on.

For those of you who find it in your heart to donate anything to me… I thank you in advance and will be forever grateful.  If you are unable to donate, please share this on your social media.  XOXO

Click here to read my full story.

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Meanwhile…

…back at the ranch.

This seems like as good a time as any to update y’all on what’s been going on.  Before you get too excited, my address hasn’t changed.  Rest assured, when that day arrives the accompanying blog post title will be straight to the point with something like…I’ve Moved or My New Address Is or more appropriately…It’s Finally Over! Nevertheless, there are a few things that have been happening in between all of the poetry sessions and lack of [this is my life] blogging.

So. In the proper order, last month, my blog turned 2 years old. What?  How have I been blogging for two years?  How have I been talking about this Godforsaken subject for two years?  And how the hell have I still been here for two years?  I know.  Except what I see is… oh man, those two years FLEW by and I can smell the finish line!  I know it’s hard to really fathom how and why I’m still here but I’ve discussed that already.  And in all honesty, the violence is no longer there and there are minimal to no verbal outbursts at this point in time. So it’s really like sitting in a waiting room watching the clock with the stereotypical grumpy elderly folk we see on television who complain about everything.  In fact, funnily enough, while I’m doing the necessary legwork for my exit, he seems to be in a nesting phase for the future of “growing old together”.  It’s really pathetically entertaining because I already know how the show ends.

Something else new and exciting (NOT) that has happened is that I turned 45 this month.  I know, how joyous.  It’s all good because I still feel super young.  Probably younger than I should which must be a good thing, right?  For longevity and all that.  And even though I consider myself pretty keen already, I’m really starting to get into the endless possibilities that the future holds.  It’s not just about living my life, this life, free from drama.  Now it’s more like…what else is there?  What have I been holding myself back from that I may have not even realized.  Even the smallest nuance of change will be a big thing.  And with each little thing will be an ever evolving me.  A friend of mine always says he’s a work in progress. Now I get it.

Okay, now hold on to your seats because this one is a biggie.  If you’ve been following me since the beginning or have read my story in full or are just happening upon this blog for the first time…you’ll get it.  Look at the title of my blog.  I just turned 45.  This has been my life for the last 28 years. I knew the time was approaching.  I could feel it coming.  I wasn’t sure how the hell I was going to do it or what I was going to say but… I told my mother.

I know.  You’re like…she totally already knew.  Yes and no.  She knew of an incident that happened in the past.  She knew I left to go to the shelter a million years ago.  And she knew he was an a-hole.  But she had no idea to what extreme. And she sure didn’t know it’s been going on this long.  I was concerned about telling her because I didn’t know how she’d react to some of the things I discussed about my past.  People have a funny way of interpreting the written word.  I didn’t want anything I wrote to sound as if I was blaming anyone else, especially her, for my predicament.

The day after my birthday, I spoke to my mother on the phone.  I told her that I had a secret.  I reassured her that I was not ill and I figured I’d lighten the mood and told her not to worry that I wasn’t going to “become Bruce”.  With that, I explained how no one ever knew that I liked to write and that I’ve been writing since I was a teenager.  I told her that I started blogging a couple of years ago and that I felt like now was the appropriate time to share it with her.  I didn’t mention the topic.  I had shared the blog with my sister a few months ago and she was with my mother so she was there as a sort of buffer.  Then I waited three long days until she read it in it’s entirety.

My sister seemed optimistic when I told her I was ready to share it. She was glad I was ready.  I was nervous but hopeful.  After writing about it for the past two years, I feel somewhat detached from it now.  Like, this is more of a story to me than the reality of it being my life.  So when my mother called, I was almost more concerned about the writing critique than about the overall horror of this breaking news.  I knew it was going to impact her.  I kept checking with my sister to see if my mother was okay while she was reading it.  Being a mother myself, it’s almost more painful knowing after the fact that your child went through something so unimaginable and even though you were right there you had no idea of their despair.  So I knew her emotions would take her all over the place.

You can all breathe a sigh of relief.  I’m not really sure what negativity I anticipated but her response was anything but.  We live in different states so it’s hard to really discuss this openly  now without being interrupted by people on both ends walking in and out of the rooms we’re in.  I’m thinking a more in depth face to face conversation is in the near future.  All and all it was a positive response. Another huge bolder has been lifted off of my chest. Another person knows and I’m still breathing. Another person who knows ME knows.  The wall is getting lower.  That’s almost as scary as the actual departure!

Now that I am older and wiser (not THAT much older – or wiser), I can see a lot of the err of my ways.  The biggest is… I chose to stay silent.  If you don’t act as if you need help, how can anyone know it should be offered?  I was a pro at covering up mental and physical warfare.  So for anyone that may have known of even one incident or suspected any future incidents, I tried my hardest to keep it hidden so that I would never be confronted by anyone. Either for fear of having to admit it and be embarrassed that it was happening or for fear that they’d try to help me leave and then all hell would break loose.  The same hell that I had been trying to keep from happening since day one.  So I slowly removed the possibility of anyone finding out by just removing mostly everyone from my life.  I kept it down to the bare minimal and the further the better.

Friends and family at arms length worked best for me.  Over the phone relationships were even better.  That way, I was able to breathe.  No sudden pop ins.  No expected dinner and drinks at my house.  In living that way for so long it became normal.  So much so that people would joke with me that they were going to pull a drop in.  I would laugh.  It was all funny ha ha but I would be physically panicking.  What if they were serous?  For years my abuser wouldn’t care about arguing in front of other people.  of course nothing insane.  Just him having an a-hole opinion about one thing or another to show how he was a big mouth.  So to avoid the possibility of that, I would just shut it all down.  Lights out.  Television off.  Everyone in one room.  No one goes near the door.  Don’t even open the refrigerator so the light doesn’t go on.

Nowadays, I think about how it will be living on my own.  Mostly, I look forward to the silence and in all honesty, being alone.  I’ll probably be like that for a while.  However, once the dust settles, I think it will be easy to merge back into “society” so to speak.  Life on the other side of 45, seems to be bright and shiny.  I’ve got a lot of catching up to do…God help society.  🙂

Human Shield

Memories pop in and out of my head all the time.  As if playing a game of tag with my consciousness.  Sometimes they fade as quickly as they come in.  Other times they linger and make me ponder and replay scenarios over and over.  Of course, this never happens at a convenient time.  Either I’m in the middle of working and need to concentrate, but my brain has other plans and decides to hijack my thoughts, or I’m exhausted from the day and just want to sleep but can’t because now I’m thinking.

This is what happened last night. So bizarre how our brains work. It’s a never ending game of word association…or actually, thought association.  Layer after layer of one thought linking to another.  All I wanted to do was sleep when I started thinking about what I have going on this weekend and boom, I’m back there.  Not sure why.  When they say everything happens for a reason, does it also mean your thoughts too?  Is this a post I was supposed to write? In all honesty, I have been meaning to write about this.

As part of my self-healing process, I had began meditating a while ago. Almost immediately, I started becoming very aware of things. Things from the past. Unexpectedly, meditation was cleaning the dirty windows in my mind and I was able to get a good look inside. And here I thought it was going to be all about peace and tranquility. Ha!  I remember all of a sudden understanding why I made certain decisions that I did.  Just like that, clarity.

In the early days of my situation, while I was still dating my abuser, there had been incidents that happened outside.  He usually didn’t do anything in front of a crowd, since obviously his behavior was a secret.  Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean people didn’t see what was happening.  Could they have been walking by and thought we were just rolling around in the grass lovingly?  I guess.  Although, being punched and strangled doesn’t fall into the same category, maybe they blinked during the more aggressive and less loving moments.  Regardless, I’m sure some people saw and knew just what was happening.  Even more so than I did at the time.

I remember telling my Ex once, that if he ever saw anything going on NOT to approach the situation.  My abuser always, carried a knife on him.  And he was never afraid to use it.  In fact, I think using it turned him on just a little.  Maybe even a lot.  My fear was deep and I was scared to death that if anyone I knew approached him in the heat of battle he would use it on them. Most especially because when he was in a rage, he was no longer there.  It was something else within him that took over. Almost like he was fighting his own demons. So imagine being in some blackout state and someone approaches you telling you to stop? No.  I was not having him possibly hurt someone I cared about.  Not gonna happen.  Continue hitting.  I got this.

As time went on, after we were married, his threats became more specific.  He now was threatening me with harming family members if I ever attempted to leave.  Once, he made a threat towards my family members who lived out of state. I laughed. What an idiot. He doesn’t even know where they live or how to get there. Really? He clued me in to the map I had hidden in my drawer that he took and made a copy of, which was now safely tucked in his work locker. So yes, now I believed him.  He could get there if he truly wanted to. They never even met him.  Why would I contemplate leaving and possibly have him think I was hiding out of state and go there and hurt my innocent family?  Not gonna happen.  Continue hitting.  I got this.

Easier targets were my immediate family that lived locally. He knew were they all lived.  He made his threats. Always vicious. Always during a heated battle. Always believable. There was never a reason to brush off what he said as -all talk no action- because he was indeed THAT GUY. He only calmed down from what he was known to be once our first child was born.  It’s laughably sad that this life I was living with him, was him…calm. Calmer than what?  Hannibal Lecter?  Hitler?  All I know is, I didn’t want to know.  No need to hoist psychotic threats towards my family because no one is leaving.  Not gonna happen.  Continue hitting.  I got this.

Unaware of my own actions at the time, I had started distancing myself from people.  My friends, my family.  Anyone who he would have the chance to use against me.  Plus, in keeping a distance, I could also keep my secret.  After all these years, only now have I come to realize that I had made myself into a human shield.  In order to protect those I loved, I blocked the threat.  Even if they were only words, I believed him.  So I did what I thought was necessary.  I was young and had never heard someone spew such hateful and vindictive words.  Especially to a person who they claimed to love.  All I knew was, I could handle it.  I could take the pain.  Just leave everyone else alone.

I guess…well, actually, I can’t guess what his tactics were. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, his threats worked. I stayed put. He got his punching bag and dinner on the table too. Eventually though, the verbal threats got closer to home. It now stayed within the home.  He always threatened to kill me. That was a given. The easy go to.  However, on a few occasions, he threatened to kill me and the kids. And of course himself.  But who cares about that if we’re all already dead, right?  Here’s the strange thing.  Although I believed he was capable of these new and improved threats, a mother can’t distance herself from her children.  Now that I’m writing about this…this may actually be the turning point in where I became the one he now fears.

I see your threat and I raise you a…go right the fuck ahead.

Reverse psychology.  It seriously works.  Especially with the weak minded.  This guy is out of his ever loving mind if he thinks he’s going to continue this game. So I one up’d him. Guess what loser, if you kill us no one has to hear your mouth ever again! Helloo…bonus!  Bet you didn’t think of that one.  So I played that card.  At this point in time, he was definitely running out of steam.  He was getting older.  His rheumatoid arthritis was setting in.  And I was halfway to the finish line.  His words no longer frightened me like they once did.  It’s not that he lacked intensity or imagination with what he tossed my way but I was tired of it.

Never did I hold back from speaking my mind over the course of the marriage because it might result in bodily harm.  My armor was strengthened with each blow.  The more that came my way, the more I survived, the more I could take.  Holding my tongue was never an option.  In fact, that may be the one thing that has truly kept me alive all of these years.  Verbal abuse would now work both ways.  It may not be the right thing to do but it got done.  An idiot flinging wild threats every which way eventually bounces off of this human shield.  Being a knowledgeable and calculating user of words has it’s benefits.  Mind games.

Present day. He fears me more than I fear him. My inner Italian Mobster is present daily and he never knows what I’m capable of. I’m partial to the phrase, what goes around comes around and karma is coming to collect.  I enjoy the confused look on his face. He has been playing very nice for a while now as I remind him of the choices he made. For example, he might say to me, I love you. And I’ll say, I’m sorry to hear you have that problem. He’ll say how that hurts his feelings and I’ll say, aww it did…now imagine I said that as I punch you in the head with my knuckles.  He then puts his head down and walks away.

The good news is, he is fully aware that I’m leaving.  I’ve thrown it out there in random conversations almost in a way that seemed as if I misspoke.  He too has brought it up in a matter-of-fact sort of way, saying he knows what I have planned.  In a very non-aggressive manner.  As of late, the bulk of my days have been non-aggressive, thankfully.  So I’m leaning toward the belief that this will be a peaceful exit.  At least until he realizes there will be no return.

Not gonna happen.  Not this time.  I got this.

The F-Word

It’s about time that I make an appearance and talk about things. There seems to be a build up of thoughts and emotions that have clogged the flow of words from getting to this screen.  For several weeks now, I’ve had an emotional surge and have wanted to come here immediately to release.  Of course, work and life get in the way and all I end up with is my weekly Haiku, which I love, but my life is not all about counting syllables and rhyming.

So.  Here I am.  Mid thought.  Hoping to dump out a bit of what has brought me here without it being all moshed up, and after reading you think…what is she even talking about?  Maybe I should start jotting down thoughts as I have the urge to write just so that I don’t forget what it is I wanted to say.  Anyway, here’s hoping I don’t start rambling and that this makes some sense.

As part of my “self-healing” process, I’ve been taking part in an online chat group with some other Domestic Violence survivors that I’ve met over the last two years.  It takes place on Twitter every Monday night at 9pm EST under #domesticviolencechat – brainchild of Lindsay Fischer (aka @LinsFischer) usually accompanied by her trusty group assistant, Amy Thomson (aka @AMarie9619).  There has been a decent round robin of participants.  Some people stop by every week while some take a pass depending on the topic at hand, as it could be triggering.  Others, I’m sure, just read along without saying anything, if only just to know they’re not alone.

Last week, the topic was forgiveness.  “Forgiveness of our abusers, of ourselves and of others who were not there for us either by choice or ignorance.”  I had made the suggestion.  I’m sure we had covered this topic a while back but forgiveness seems to be one of those ever evolving enigmas.  As survivors begin to heal, I think, their thoughts on forgiveness change.

(Way back) In the beginning, when I started to share my story, I discussed the elusive Missing Ingredient.  Forgiveness.  I pondered “How can I forgive my husband for years of abuse?”  What I came up with were reasons to forgive myself.  At that point, only two months into pouring out my story, I wasn’t sure I could ever forgive my abuser and I certainly wasn’t sure I was ready to forgive myself.  I understood all of the reasons why it is beneficial but it was still too early.

Yet again, two months after initially discussing this topic, I posted Forgiveness 101 and still  I was unsure of where I stood.  I had read an article by Deepak Chopra, which read in part:

Some people are so ashamed that they can’t bring themselves to tell anyone their secret. The result is the worst kind of guilt, that festers inside with no chance for relief. If you feel that you have this kind of deep guilt, you must still find a way to believe that you are forgiven. You may have to take baby steps to get there.

In reading back my post and the article, I could see how close I was.  Just on the outskirts of understanding the necessity of this “F-word”.  I knew somehow it was key but I wasn’t sure how to obtain it and I wasn’t even sure I deserved it – let alone give it away to my abuser.

Since then…it’s been something along these lines:

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.” ~ C.S. Lewis

And by that I mean, I can’t pinpoint when it happened or even how I’ve changed but I can feel something different.  It’s this bizarre internal feeling.  Almost evolutionary.  Maybe enlightenment.  I’m not sure.  All I know is, I feel good.  Mentally.  For the first time in a long time, my mind is clear and focused.  It’s weird.  Kind of like an out of body experience.  As if to say, I’m aware of my awareness. If that makes any sense.

So back to last week’s #domesticviolencechat group session.  I didn’t think about it when I was in the moment.  It wasn’t until someone retweeted my comment:

“I forgive myself for falling prey to my abuser. I was 17 and didn’t know how to ask for help.”

Wow.  That’s an eye opener.  First thing, apparently I forgive myself.  Kudos to me.  And the other thing, which is huge, is that I don’t think I ever allowed myself to acknowledge the fact that I was indeed a kid.  Probably because back then, when I was a kid, I was so intent on being a grown-up.  Plus, I had a lot of responsibility at a young age, so I always felt grown-up.  In comparing me at the age of 17 and my own daughters when they were that age, I was a grown-up!  There’s no comparison to the way the kids are today and the way we were in the 70’s and 80’s. Granted, it was a different time, no matter where you were raised.

Nevertheless, this statement I made, almost unaware, really opened my eyes.

I was a kid pretending to be a grown-up who got caught up in a world of unexpected trouble with no real skills on how to get out of it. For those of you that can’t comprehend the intensity of the situation that child was in, for those of you that judge her choices and for those of you who think she deserved everything that came her way…I forgive you.

Most of all, I forgive her.

______________________________________________________

My story starts HERE.

Read more about Lindsay Fisher.

Read more about Amy Thomson.

Healing Wounds

Today’s prompt words made me think of the phrase “Not all wounds are visible.”  Along with my own personal story, there are many others that have been through the same situation.  There are some out there that think because there is not physical violence that they are not in an abusive situation.

This haiku is for all of us.

Haiku Challenge #56

Prompts: Luck & Hope
Time will heal all wounds,
Hopefully that phrase is true,
If so, we’re lucky.

Inside The Mind Of A Domestic Violence Victim

As usual, Kendra Lynn does what she does best.  She has an amazing talent and shares beautifully worded insight into the world of a Domestic Violence victim.  This was originally posted on VoElla | Inside The Mind Of A Domestic Violence Victim

First and foremost, let me remind everyone that victims are strong, intelligent people. They were chosen by their abuser because of their strength and intelligence.

The insecure abuser worked every charm to pull in the victim and then methodically and meticulously worked on tearing down that strength and intelligence. They feel threatened by it. Their ability to pull the victim in and then down gives them a sense of power and temporarily sustains the beast. I say “temporarily” because the beast will always need to be fed through violence. Always. It is their disease.

It’s our strength and sensitivity in the beginning days of the charming honeymoon that gets us caught up and sucked in; loving, charming phrases. We miss the subtle oddities. The change in tone of voice. The harsh non-verbal actions. The way the abuser speaks of his past relationships. When we do notice it, we think our strength and faith can somehow fix him. He immediately starts picking away at our self-esteem and then injecting words of praise.


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A tug-of-war purposely designed to confuse. A tyrannical brain washing that destroys our self-worth. We are now in the tornadic storm without any real sense of direction. The building up phase becomes less and less; more infrequent until all that’s left is a complete tear down of a human soul.

Now picture that once bright, vibrant, exciting woman crumbled on the floor – crying. Picture her not being able to look at herself. The tearing down phase happens quicker than people realize and the victim is left wondering if she is in a bad dream. She does everything to make the “bad spells” go away, all because he makes her feel like she isn’t doing her part.

He chastises her like an errant child. Yes. That strong, bright, vibrant, exciting woman is now gone, lost in the nightmare, right where her abuser intended her to be from the very beginning.

Now we’re going to delve deeper in the mind of the victim as she dreams of escape. Her metamorphism into a survivor.

Why Does She Stay?

It’s everyone’s favorite question and I’m going to answer that. You need to know, so open your heart fully and swim a little in the abyss. It’s the only way you’ll understand.

It starts out as a dream; the escape. She fights back. Gets her pounding of pain, either through words or fists, but she fights back. The mush in her back starting to become a steely spine. Why the hell do you think her eyes are puffy and bruised? She dared to look the monster in the face and now that she sees him, she repudiates it emphatically.

All with a cost, that alone will surely stall any chance of escape. He sees she’s still alive in her spirit and his punishments ramp up further with more pound for pound pain. He methodically stalks her every move, counting each rise of her chest. He is fully aware she’s dreaming of her escape.


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Her steps, actions, and words are all now metered. He frantically checks her phone, gives more bruises to her face and soul so she’ll be too embarrassed to run to her friends. He’ll even say something asinine to any friend that calls, making them think she no longer wants their friendship. Complete isolation like caged animal. She’s wounded – feral and wild. Still insanely dreaming she can actually escape. So she sets out to meter her own steps and words and actions. That’s when she’s reborn.

A survivor is born in the hurricane long before they actually leave their abuser; in the eye of the storm. In that false calm, she’s planning methodically her escape. It takes time. She learns to become patient. Her impatience has taught her that he will nearly break her completely. When he snidely says he will kill her before he’ll let anyone else have her, she now knows the brevity of that statement. So she patiently studies his movements as she sits huddled in the corner of her rusty cage.

There’ll be that moment when he’ll be away long enough for her to actually leave. She counts the money she has hidden away in a place she knows he would never think to look because he checks to make sure she’s not stealing his money. The beast is smarter than you think. She knows it’s not enough money. Not nearly enough. It might be enough to buy 3 meals for her and her children, if she’s lucky.

She finds the name and number to the nearest Women’s Shelter for Domestic Violence Victims. She packs one bag, just enough stuff for her to carry. She looks at her children, calming them – telling them they’re going somewhere nice. They’re scared and worried. Mommy is not allowed to leave the house without daddy knowing.

Her children could wreck the whole plan if they panic. They know the consequences when mommy steps out of line and she doesn’t have time to sit them down and explain it all. She rushes them out, they’re going to have to walk there is no car. They need to get far enough ahead of the beast to ensure a semblance of safety. If they walk fast, they can actually make it to the Women’s Shelter before nightfall.

They arrive at the shelter in good time but the woman at the desk explains they have no available rooms. Twelve people total in that shelter. That’s it. The secretary arranges for them to go to another shelter in another county. Her and her children are bathed and fed. They’re allowed to sleep in a makeshift room and will leave in the morning for the new shelter. Her children don’t sleep. They cry through the night. A new trauma that she feels she’s caused. They beg to go back home.


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The mind can be a terrible thing. In the dark abyss in a foreign place, it starts questioning everything. She’s been conditioned to pick herself apart until nothing feels right and all choices she makes will always be wrong and stupid. She feels homeless. Not just her but now her children too. She has no money as she was never allowed to work.

The counselor reassured her right away that she would be given a chance. They would give her and her children clothing and food and a place to rest in safety. At that late hour, though, her mind twists the offer into a meaningless hand-out. Plus, her abuser swore he would kill himself if she left. Is he dead right now? Guilt bears down heavily. She stares at the phone in the hallway.

Three hours in the shelter. She calls her abuser and pleads for him to pick her up. She’s crying. Her children are crying. The shelter can’t keep her if she doesn’t want to stay. They offer her a business card with all of the important phone numbers she would need in another emergency. They tell her she’s so brave. She cries harder

Her abuser appears at the shelter – a face of utter calm. One would think he would actually punish her when they get home, but he doesn’t. He rewards her for coming back. He’s full of compliments and offers to help her better. He’s full of apology. Full of the love she once knew when they first met. He even makes her laugh. A strange feeling.

A week later, when she’s least expecting it, the punishment is doled out. Fisted out ten-fold with her children watching and listening. Her abuser actually explains in between punches to the watching children that “This is what happens when mommy thinks she’s smarter than daddy.” Open wounds on her forehead and cheeks – enough for stitches. She slinks to the back bedroom. An emergency room visit would only raise questions. More punishment she didn’t need at that moment.

She’ll do this 3 or 4 more times; leave and then come right back. Each time she leaves, the danger escalates beyond our ability to fully comprehend. I’m sure you see the travesty. I’m asking you to dig deeper and see what is not so plainly written or seen. Her absolute strength and courage. The first escape was a test run; the caged animal testing her limbs as she runs for the very first time. Now she knows she can do it. Running back was actually part of her survival.

She’ll return home. She was born in the middle of a hurricane and now she’s a wolf quietly howling. She’ll scrounge even more money away. She has the card with all of the emergency numbers she never thought of before in her numb haze. She’ll delicately prepare her children better. She’ll quietly and secretly search for a job.

She’ll retrain her thinking of going to a women’s shelter for domestic violence victims. She’ll no longer see it as the end. Instead, she’ll see it as the open door to the life she now knows she deserves. She’ll disassociate; quiet her racing mind while he’s abusing her. Her eyes are even more focused on the prize of escape.

I’ve done my research. I did not have to go to a women’s shelter when I escaped but I forced myself to step inside one. It’s full of inexplicable emotions. Strength. Fear. Bravery. And a deep love that made me fall to my knees – weeping. Now I volunteer there. The most healing decision I have made, thus far.

The resources for abused women are still limited. It’s no wonder she runs back to her abuser. She’s trying to save her life and sometimes the only way to quiet the raging beast is to run right back into hell. We should never ask “Why did you stay?” That puts all the blame on the victim. We should ask the abuser “Whatever made you think your actions are anywhere near acceptable?”

This story was in no way derived from my own personal experience. My heart simply bleeds for the women who feel they have no other choice but to return to their abuser. My life is now dedicated to not merely asking empty questions. I am determined to find answers.

The first hours of a victim’s escape are the most dangerous. She is literally on the edge of hell and it is our duty to help pull her to full safety. We must embrace her and continually remind her how brave she is. Remind her until that becomes her new silent mantra. “I am brave. I am strong.” We owe her that much at the very least.

By Kendra Lynn | Blog | Twitter |

Minime-Camille-Wylde

Compassion and Understanding

For some reason, I feel that I need to comment on this issue.

When something resonates with a person, there is usually a reason why.  Either they are going through or have gone through the same exact thing or they know someone, whether it be a friend or family member, who is going through or have gone through the same exact thing.  To me, those reasons are a very simple way to say…I understand what you’re going through.  Because you can relate…you understand.

There is also being empathetic / sympathetic to a person’s situation.  Which, to me, means that person may not really understand or get it because they’ve never been in that situation.  However, because the person is (hopefully) kind and compassionate their heart can go out to another and say…I can only imagine what you must be going through.

This is how we interact with one another on a daily basis – through our hearts, minds, bodies and souls.  Whether it be at work, at home, in the street, on line at the bank or via phone, text or social media – with friends, family or strangers.  No matter your race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference…at the end of the day we are human.

Being human has its advantages and disadvantages.  The crux of being human is that we all have problems.  This is our lot in life.  We all have them.  No matter your station in life.  And, as stated above, those around you either understand or they don’t.  If you are very lucky, you have surrounded yourself with people that fall into one of the two categories above, those people being your inner circle, your safety net, your support system.

And then there are…the others.  People who don’t know you from a hole in the wall yet they judge you anyway.  People who hate solely based on one’s race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference.  They don’t, they can’t and/or they won’t understand another person’s differences and so the only way they know is to spew hateful vicious words or even worse, physically harm someone because of these differences.

For those of you that might fall into the “other” category, I don’t know who you are but I hope you will continue to read this to the end just to see what other people are thinking.

Here is where we come to the heart of this post.

Of course, I can only speak for myself when it comes to this.  I’m not sure if my opinions on the matter are formed from being a woman, a mother or from being involved in a violent marriage for the better part of my life – a part of my life that had to be hidden away.  A part of me that I kept secret from everyone I knew, for as long as possible – until it was just too much for me to hold in anymore.

As is the same for Caitlyn Jenner.

I waited for the Diane Sawyer interview to see if the gossip was true.  Prior to that I thought, could this be true?  Yes, we all saw the tabloids and pictures plastered all over the internet of his ever changing appearance.  Still, I thought, it had to be a stunt.  I thought for sure Bruce Jenner was pulling a Joaquin Phoenix and leading the paparazzi on so that he could have the last laugh.  After all, prior to the Kardashians, for all of us “older folk” we knew him in his heyday.  His greatest accomplishment was winning the Decathlon in the 1976 Olympics.  This was who he was.  Infamy that carried him through four decades without ever losing the respect and admiration of anyone who recognized him or knew his name.  I thought, Bruce Jenner holds this title with such esteem, no way he’d disappoint his adoring fans with such news of becoming a woman.  Can’t be.

And then he spoke.

My heart broke.  I didn’t equate it initially to my story.  I don’t know anyone else in my own personal life who is transgender.  I was just an empathetic human being listening to this story.  I could only imagine how hard his life must have been coping with what he was feeling inside and how hard it had to be to hide this secret from family, friends and the public.  By the end of the interview with Diane Sawyer my heart felt such a relief for Bruce Jenner because I know exactly how he felt getting such a huge secret off of his chest and letting go of that burden.  I was just a human being…sitting there being proud of someone that was able to use their voice and tell their story.

Now, I know people have a serious hate for the Kardashians.  The way they rose to fame and the fact that they have a insane legion of followers who have kept the entire family in the public eye since the beginning.  I personally love the show.  Why?  I happen to be a fan of Reality TV.  Not all of it but a decent amount and a wide variety.  When I started watching this show, I didn’t really know much about any of them.  But I knew Bruce Jenner.  When you watch Reality TV, you feel like you know these people.  And to me, fame and fortune aside, the shenanigans that go on can be part of almost any family, which is why I think they have remained relevant for so long.  No matter how much money is in anyone’s bank account, we all have ups and downs.  Watching someone else’s family issues can help you to see everyone deals with the same crap.

Unfortunately, being part of this show heaped a load of negativity onto Bruce Jenner, so that when he told his story, the others, figured this was more about publicity and ratings than anything else – aside from now hating him solely for coming out as transgender.

In addition to the interview with Dianne Sawyer, there was a two part special that aired as part of KUWTK called…About Bruce.  That too, was thought to be only about the ratings for the Kardashians.  However, if you took the time to watch it, it was not at all.  It was all about Bruce (and filmed before the DS interview) discussing with his children how he felt his entire life, making sure they understood what he was doing and why he was doing it.  Most of them didn’t know this was a transgender issue.  They thought he just had a fetish for wearing women’s clothes.  It was sad to watch the kids try to grasp the reality that their dad in the physical male sense that they’ve known their entire lives would cease to exist.  They were all pretty much in mourning.  At the same time, hearing him go further into how this secret was eating away at him and how he would be so upset with himself if he died before getting to live the life that was inside of him – in his heart, in his mind or in his soul, wherever those feelings may come from.

Then the light went on.  I realized why I could not only imagine what he must have been going through his whole life but now I understood where he was coming from.  I got it.  Not the transgender part of it.  The need to let go of the secrets.  To stop hiding the truth.  To stop pretending everything is alright on the outside when there is a war going on inside of you.  The need to tell your story and speak your truth in order for you to be happy and thrive far outweighs what others might think, do or say.

That’s my story.

It’s everyone’s story who is holding in a secret.  Who is afraid or ashamed to speak the truth.  I don’t know how any of the other Domestic Violence victims/survivors who have come forward and shared their stories feel about this topic.  I can only speak for what I see, hear and feel.

I do not think Caitlyn Jenner is the greatest American hero of our time.  But she is for the transgender community.  She is a voice for those that can’t yet speak.  She has this platform because she was already famous.  She didn’t become famous because she told the world she is transgender.  With fame there is a certain level of responsibility and there is also a huge burden.  Your privacy is gone.  This is why the Caitlin Jenner story is on the news, and in magazines and on award shows.  You have to live out loud.

You will never read about my story of Domestic Violence in People Magazine but you will read about and see pictures of Rhianna’s bruises because she is famous.  She is in the public eye.  These are the people we need to step forward and tell their story.  We need to know we are not alone in this battle.  The Ray Rice incident brought some other famous woman out of the shadows and they too told of their history with Domestic Violence.  This is the way we as human beings know we are not in this thing alone.  You don’t have to understand why I made the decisions I made in my life but you shouldn’t hate me for them.  You shouldn’t judge me for them.  I found my voice.  I’m using it to the best of my ability.

There are so many other human beings stepping forward telling their stories.  Finding their strength and their courage to come forward and inspire someone else dealing with the same issues to do the same.  We are all different but we are also all human.  For those of us that are not in the same battle as another human being, the answer is simple…

Compassion and understanding.