Tag Archive | emotional 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.

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.  🙂

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.

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My story starts HERE.

Read more about Lindsay Fisher.

Read more about Amy Thomson.

Unraveling

As per the official definition, it would seem, on any given day I am prone to becoming unraveled.  Typically, in the preferable term which would be to free from complication or difficulty.  This is actually on most days.  That’s a good thing.  I have found that by telling my story, not only out in cyberspace, but also with each – real life person – that knows me outside of this box, I am becoming disengaged and untangled from this web of lies that had become my life for so many years.

Then there are days where I become mentally unraveled.  They are few and far between but they pop up every once in a while.  For so many years, I disconnected from the people I cared about and probably needed to be around more than anyone else but because of the life I was living I hid away and secluded myself from all.  Now that I am so close to being truly out there about all of this [once I’m out of here I’m OUT to everyone] and no matter how much of a relief that day will be, I think part of me wants to retreat and take it all back. Hide it all away so no one knows why I left.  Just leave and be free and happy and not have to explain all of the crap that has manifested into becoming this grandiose escape plan.

So I cry, lash out, and cry some more.  Try to explain and not blame and then wish it all back into my mouth so that none of the words were ever said out loud.  Delete the account and voila no proof I actually spewed out all of the atrocities of my life.  So that it would all boil down to one day I just got up and left.  No explanation.  There she goes…moving on.  People could chalk it up to a mid life crisis or what have you.  It wouldn’t matter because I wouldn’t owe anyone an explanation.

But then what?  All of this junk would still be inside of me.  I can’t even imagine having all of this nonsense still bottled up.  I can barely remember what it feels like when no one knew.  It seems like that was a lifetime ago.  Part of a different person’s story.  Something I read about halfheartedly because I couldn’t connect with the storyteller. Ha. If only. Truly though, those fleeting moments when I wish my secrets were still my own happen as if an out of body experience.  I’m not even really sure what triggers those thoughts.  Maybe just in knowing how close I am to being on the other side of the mirror my subconscious plays games with me.

The real deal of the matter is that…it’s so freaking close I can almost touch it.  It’s simultaneously awesome and scary as hell.  The day I’ve been waiting for, for what seems like an eternity, is at hand. Literally – at my fingertips.  The closer it gets the more hungry for it I am.  Salivating at the images my mind paints of what it will be like when I am sitting here writing about how it all went down, smooth as can be.  Background noises of my choosing – or blissful silence.

In the past year and a half, I have allowed six people that know me in the outside world to read my blog.  People I was comfortable with knowing the real situation.  For a while now, I’ve been contemplating whether or not to let my sister and mother in.  I wasn’t sure how well that would go.  I was unsure whether or not it was the right time just yet.  Would I even know when the right time would be?  Should I wait until I’m closer to stepping out of the door?  What if telling certain people at certain times of my journey is exactly what I’m supposed to do?

Last month, I found a letter.  It was a letter my sister wrote to me when I was leaving to go to the battered women’s shelter – way back when I was 21 years old.  Mostly, she had written the lyrics to Mariah Carey’s song “Make It Happen”.  The rest was telling me she loved me and knew I could do this, and how when this passes I will start a new life.  That I would never forget what I had been through but it will be in my past and all of it will make me a stronger person. My sister was only 16 when she wrote this letter to me.  I thought, how sad that my 16 year old sister had to write this to me.  Even sadder was that I was 21 years old and on my way to a shelter for battered women.

When I came across the letter I thought, maybe now is the time I should share this, my story, with her.  After all, I am beyond the embarrassment part of my story.  I think I’ve come a long way in how I’ve told my story and what I’ve learned from my story.  As I started to tell my sister there was something I wanted her to read, I found myself saying…I’m proud of what I’ve written.  I’m proud that I have shared my story and I’m proud of where I am now as opposed to where I was the first day I sat down to write my very first blog entry.  And as I’ve done with everyone else I’ve shared my story with, I sent her the link – and ran. Lol.

After she read it in it’s entirety, she told me how even though she knew some of it, she really didn’t know how deep it was and how long it was going on.  She said how, now, it all made more sense.  The person I am, the way I am – makes sense.  She also said…what a great author I am (still debatable) and that she was proud of me. Aww.  I’m not really sure I’ve ever heard those words – for real. I’m sure they’ve been said. At some point. Over time. By someone. Parents, relatives. Who can recall?  It’s all just fleeting words in a fading memory. This is now.  It’s real.

Above all else, I am proud of myself – as I continue to unravel myself from the past and move that much closer to the future I was meant to have.

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To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

Damaged Goods

Recently, I’ve been noticing a few personality traits that I now realize are related to my being in an abusive relationship for so long.  None of them are new but I am just now seeing how so much of me is netted into this lifestyle.  A little over a year ago, I had written a blog post called Survival Mode after reading another blog post (That Wasn’t Me…This Is Me), which triggered an understanding/clarity of how “we” -the abused- get sucked in so deep to a point where we are almost physically and mentally incapable of getting out.

People who have never experienced Domestic Violence or abuse in any form, are typically the ones spewing all the oh so popular catchphrases, such as…Why didn’t she just leave?  What those people don’t understand is that it’s so much more than a woman saying, I love him, and then all of a sudden – CURSE PUNCH KICK – and her saying, I still love him.  I’m sure there is a percentage of that scenario but it’s not the norm.  At least not for me, and I never understood that mindset.

Once upon a time, I was normal.  I don’t know when exactly because apparently I’ve been carrying the burden of abuse around for such a long time.  Let’s just go with the topic of boyfriends.  Okay.  So, I was normal.  Dated guys.  Never got hit.  Never got mistreated.  Never got spoken down to.  And then I meet HIM.  Once he realizes I liked him, the game begins.  I chase, he ignores.  I ignore, he chases.  I date someone else, now he’s in love and can’t live without me.  Now, this could have all been part of his own personal issues with shyness and not knowing how to relate to females in general, or was it premeditated?

The beginning of the end.

When we officially started dating, we had known each other for about three years.  So, he knew my background, my ex-boyfriends, who I associated with.  Being that he was telling me I was his one and only, he slowly started to manipulate his way into my every day.  And since it was a new relationship, seeing each other every day is normal, right? This is where the manipulation began.  It was slow but very steady.  Convincing me not to talk to other guys because I was his girlfriend now.  Until I didn’t speak to any of my male friends.  Even ones that there was never any romantic involvement with.  Next were my girlfriends.  He either didn’t like them or they didn’t like him and it was easier if I just stopped hanging out with them.

As time went on, the textbook abuse code of behavior was activated and carried through almost methodically which began with the ever so subtle isolation of friends and family, followed by jealousy and control, criticism, sabotage, blame and anger …. just to name a few early warning signs – aka – I wish I knew then what I know now.

“It is not this massive oppressive nature that comes at us all at once. Instead, it innocently seeps into our everyday consciousness until it’s all that we know.  Even though the little things seemed so big as they were happening, by the next “BIG” incident that last one could easily be considered almost nothing. I learned the dos and donts of what makes an abusive man angry and quickly and without conscious knowledge I knew just exactly what would rock the boat and so my main goal from day to day was NOT to rock it.”

People wonder how we get so brainwashed that while all of this abuse is happening years are passing by and we still haven’t left.

Like I said in Survival Mode:

“As the years go by you just learn how to respond. What facial expressions to use and when to just answer yes or no without a story behind it. People wonder how you can live so many years this way…truth is, when you are so busy living from day to day just trying to make it through the day without a hitch, time friggin flies.”

And now here I am, still surviving.  Attempting to heal from within so I can heal once I’m out.  I can tell that it’s working because everything is becoming more clear.  These “traits” I mentioned in opening…are the side effects of my life.  One of which came to the surface last weekend when I snapped at someone I love, telling them to “shut up” because they were suggesting I do something a different way than I was doing it.  My brain heard a command and my defensive reflex took over.  I later apologized, explaining that in order to deal with being spoken to a certain way for so many years, my brain instinctually created a sort of coping mechanism which unfortunately reared it’s ugly head with the “shut up”.

The thing is, I never realized this reflexive response. Or maybe it didn’t strike me the same way before.  This person’s response was a look of hurt and disappointment causing them to walk away from me and leave without saying good-bye, and it hurt.  It hurt me because I hurt them.  It made me realize – which I also explained – that there are so many other things that I’m not even aware of that are ingrained in me because of this and I probably won’t even know until I’m away from it. On top of that, I won’t know how long it’ll take me to undo it all.  At the end of the day, they understood.  And I was left wondering what other attributes will pop up when least expected.

Unfortunately, I’m sure there will be plenty.  I’m aware of some of the PTSD symptoms I already have, which suck.  I have finally become very aware that I suffer from intermittent depression – mostly extreme sadness and episodes of crying spells.  Currently, dissociation seems to be the flavor of the month…past few months…maybe longer.  I’ve been unable to focus (usually when working) for at least six months or longer and daydreaming is another symptom.  I seem to “check out” often – sometimes mid conversation.  I thought that was just selective hearing. 🙂

It seems to be a good thing that I am starting to become more aware of all of these issues.  The more I understand that which ails me hopefully the faster and easier the healing process.  We’ll see.

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If you have been in an abusive relationship, you should read Effects of Domestic Violence posted on The Joyful Heart Foundation website.  It is very informative.

My story starts here.

Prevent Domestic Violence ~ Power Punch Words by Kendra Lynn

This is the only way I feel I can properly thank Kendra for writing such an amazing piece.

As exciting as it is for those of us who have been a victim of Domestic Violence to see the PSA commercials air on television or actors/actresses and public figures speak up about their own stories or use their fame in ads to say this behavior will no longer be tolerated – we’re left wondering… What happens when the camera is no longer rolling?  Is the thrill gone?  That rush of thinking – this is it – this topic is now mainstream – is kind of lackluster.

I’ve said it numerous times before, the fact that there are so many women sharing their Domestic Violence story truly amazes me.  From those who have made it out and those who are still in, the numbers and stories are staggering.  And as she discusses, the word courageous gets thrown around a lot.  Courageous for enduring it, escaping it, and speaking about it.  The real courage is surviving the aftermath once you’re out.

Kendra describes her own feelings about the approach Hollywood has taken, as well as her brush with the judicial system in her own battle with her abusive ex.  And damn, if it doesn’t strike a chord.  Although she is out of her relationship for 5 years and I’m on my way out – every word she writes I can feel deeply and agree with wholeheartedly.  There is something about being in this “club” that unites us in a way no one should be united.  I don’t want to know how it feels to be beaten but it’s too late for that.  The deed is done.  Now all I want is to know is how the hell are we going to stop it from happening to my sister…or your daughter…or your best friend?

Here’s what Kendra Lynn has to say about it:

Hush.

Now the Public Service Announcement (PSA) commercials on domestic violence (DV) have gone silent.

The award show has ended and most people no longer think about the speech against domestic abuse. Janay Palmer-Rice and Patricia Driscoll (Kurt Busch’s ex-girlfriend) are silent. There’s still no word on the progress of either Ray Rice or Kurt Busch.

What stays the same? The statistics of DV do:

  • A woman is beaten every 9 seconds in the U.S.
  • 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence.
  • 3 women in the U.S. are murdered by their partner every day.
  • 15 million children are exposed to domestic violence each year.
  • The median age for a female to become exposed to an abusive relationship is between 18 – 29.

Real numbers gathered every year by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

Nice to know there’s at least a task force.

While social media and Hollywood are great ways to reach a multitude of people, I fear the message is lost. I fear the actresses speaking out against domestic violence aren’t taken seriously because they typically portray a fantasy. In the mind of the median aged target group (females between the ages of 18 – 29), the actress is a glamorous fantasy. Why are the statistics remaining the same? Perhaps because we have unknowingly glamourized the idea of being a survivor of this terrible thing.

If you look at the family history of any domestic abuse survivor, you will find a family tree riddled with various forms of dysfunctional family dynamics and abuse. The 18 year old female precariously hanging from this thin limb sees the notoriety; the center stage presence of the actress courageously speaking out against domestic abuse. A low self-esteem and poor outlook on her future – the young victim of domestic violence perhaps sees only the glory in the story. The roaring applause at an award show and the gleaming lights and the perfectly coiffured actress; a chance for a survivor to be honorably mentioned in front of millions of people. I fear the stage lights are blinding the crux of the words and message of the actresses providing the speeches to end DV.

We all know the reality of any one survivor telling her story on center stage is rare. The real survivors of domestic abuse are sitting at home – still too afraid to speak out and up against domestic violence because of the stigma, the shame, the horror, and the hell that still echoes in our mind. The real survivors speak of our story with a catch in our throat, stuttering words, and tears that spill of their own volition as the story hits the core of our soul.

I am a survivor of DV of almost 5 years and I still cry at odd times while telling my story to those who genuinely care to know. I’ll tell you right now, being a survivor is not glamorous in any sense of rational thinking. It’s taken me nearly all my time of being a survivor to *not* look at all men as abusers.

I remember insomnia clutching my hand with a fearful grip. I remember going through motions; pretending to have it all together but inside feeling like an absolute failure. I remember the heavy sledge hammer memories invoking my first real symptoms of PTSD. I remember finding my voice – a voice that growled and screamed and yelled and cussed vehemently for the simple joy of being able to finally do so (but inadvertently pushing people away).

I remember the cringe I felt when someone hugged me for the first time after leaving my abuser; the foreign feeling that surrounded me in waves of nausea. It’s taken me nearly 5 years to finally learn to love myself and forgive myself for my past choices.

I become silent when someone calls me courageous. It’s at that exact moment I hear my screeching hell hounds – remembering as they chased me during my escape from my hell. I think of the countless victims too afraid and beaten down to leave their abusive partner. To me, that is the heart of every survivor of DV. We don’t categorize ourselves as courageous. We learned very early that labels have a not so funny way of causing a deep bruise. We are our own existence – renaming ourselves outside of our riddled and decaying family tree and relational history. Glamorous? Honey, it’s far from it. It’s its own hell being a survivor.

So what’s my point? Hollywood needs to stop its current form of PSA against domestic violence. It’s not working. The world needs to see more real survivors speaking out against it. The world needs to see a petite girl being punched in the face. The world needs to see real blood, real bruises, real tears, and real fear. It needs to be a power-packed PSA that rocks the core of everyone daring to watch. If I’m going to see a commercial about ending domestic abuse, I need to see a real survivor – someone I and every other survivor can relate to.

Birds of a feather flock together and more survivors will speak up. Everyone watching such a commercial should have tears rolling down their cheeks – much the same thing that happens whenever I decide to speak the harsh truth of my story to someone that wants to really know. The voice of a survivor is a hushed, cracking voice welling up in tears that the listener has to lean into to hear clearly. She’s not dressed up in her finery standing proud. Her voice continues to tell her story but she winces, thinking of any backlash that might occur in doing so. When the world can read past her shame and feel her fear maybe we will begin to make progress in ending domestic violence and Hollywood will become a strategic partner in this fight.

It’s worth your time – please continue to read the rest of her article here: Prevent Domestic Violence ~ Power Punch Words by Kendra Lynn | VoElla

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Infinity House Magazine Interview – Part 3 of 3

“Thank you for sharing with us and our readers, you are incredible!”

I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity for my story to be told on another platform, via Infinity House Magazine.  Part of stepping out of the shadows to tell our personal story of Domestic Violence is the responsibility of sharing it with as many people as possible.  Even if some are unable to relate directly, it is important, in my opinion, for everyone to understand just how widespread an epidemic this really is.

It happens every day, on every continent, to 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men.  There is no discrimination on gender, race, religion or sexual preference.  Each case of abuse is different.  For some it’s physical, and for others it’s sexual.  There is also emotional, psychological and economic abuse.  Statistics say that only 70% of Domestic Violence cases are reported to law enforcement.  We will probably never know how accurate that number really is – unless we started speaking out.

We don’t need sympathy.  We need honesty.  If you are reading this and have been in an abusive relationship – most especially – if you have gotten out — Tell. Your. Story.  It can, and will, help others.

However, if you are still in an abusive relationship, you are the only one that knows whether or not telling someone will jeopardize your safety.  Use caution.  Whenever you are able to – forget about the shame and – Tell. Your. Story.

Looking to the Future After Domestic Violence

This week we have heard the story of … Battered Wife Seeking Better Life. 

Her true tale has been one of great sadness, of deep jealousy, of vast fear and of unexplainable physical and mental pain. It has been the account of real life domestic violence, that happens to millions everyday.

http://infinityhousemagazine.com/2015/02/05/domestic-violence-part-three-marie/

Infinity House Magazine - Part 3

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To read from the beginning… #MyStory starts here.