Tag Archive | fear

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.  🙂

Advertisements

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.

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.


YOU MAY ALSO LIKE…


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.


RELATED…


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.


RECOMMENDED FOR YOU…


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

Why So Many Domestic Violence Survivors Don’t Get Help — Even When They Ask For It

This is the sad reality as to what is really happening in the U.S. when Domestic Violence victims finally gather the strength and courage to leave their abusers and seek help.  Without the proper funding from Congress, it seems those requesting help will remain victims of a system that does not acknowledge Domestic Violence to be a high priority.

Thousands of victims are being turned down on a daily basis due to lack of space and resources.

“In an ideal world, the victims would be able to stay in their own homes and live without fear, but unfortunately that is not possible,” Southworth said. “The most dangerous time for victims of domestic violence is when they are leaving the abusive partner or soon after. More homicides occur during that window than during any other time.”

Emergency shelter and housing are critical for a survivors’ safety, followed by proper legal representation.

“We know that victims need attorneys, and if they don’t have them they end up in dire straits when they go to court,” Southworth said.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE:  Why So Many Domestic Violence Survivors Don’t Get Help — Even When They Ask For It.

Breaking My Silence

“Our silence is the abuser’s protection.” — Jodie Ortega

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. #SAAM

When I started down the path of sharing my own personal journey about my relationship with Domestic Violence, I was welcomed into a sisterhood of woman who had been in the same place as me.  Some even, who are still in the same place as me.  The more interaction I had with people regarding this issue, the more I wanted to know about the epidemic itself.  In all honesty, although I knew it was happening to others, I never once looked up any information about the statistical aspect of it.  Not until I started blogging.

Eventually, I landed on Twitter.  There too, I found many more avenues to follow.  Not only more people who were blogging on other sites, but also victim resources, shelters and government agencies, all sharing informative links and articles.  So, I did my homework.  I’m still doing my homework.  What I quickly learned is that the topic of Sexual Assault goes hand in hand with Physical Assault. Abuse is abuse. What I mean by that is that it all falls under one umbrella.

However, I always seem to find myself taking a step back from the topic.  I guess because to me, Sexual Assault just seems so much more graphic than being slapped around.  I always felt like I was tough enough to handle the physical stuff.  I could take it “like a man” so to speak.  It’s because over time I was conditioned to do so, in order to survive.  Although my abuser did attempt to rape me once over the span of all these years, it’s the one thing I don’t think I could’ve (mentally) survived.  And because it’s never happened to me, I feel that I am unable to relate on the same level with women who have survived it – mentally and physically.  That’s not to say I don’t support them because I do.  Because there’s rape and then there is sexual abuse and molestation.  And I fall under the molestation category.

What’s the difference?  Is there a difference?  There may or may not be.  I guess it all depends on how it’s perceived.  It’s all subjective.  I’d think each victim has their own outlook.  Bottom line is, an unwillingness to participate in any type of sexual act means the victim doesn’t ask for any of it to happen, which means it’s all Sexual Assault.

For me, coming out about my physically abusive marriage was already one secret too much.  Little did I realize, I was picking at the wall of the dam and eventually everything would overflow.  When asked to do a guest post on another blog, less than a month after I started blogging, it just came out.  In Aftermath of Abuse, I discussed my relationship with abuse at the hands of my husband, father and grandfather.  The latter was the perpetrator of my childhood molestation occurring at four years old.

“As luck would have it, he never penetrated me.  It was mainly fondling.  I remember several episodes after the first incident that he had me in his bed.  His “manhood” exposed and he guided my hand in stroking him.  In total, from memory, there could not have been more than five times that this had gone on.  And as I got older I actually forgot, blocked it out, suppressed it, whatever the experts say happen after events like this…is what must have happened.  I didn’t really think about it again until he passed away which was about 20 years after the fact.

When the memory came flooding back, I had told my mother and sister.  My mother questioned me as if she didn’t believe me.  She said, “he never watched you and your cousin at the same time.  I don’t think he even ever watched you alone.”  Guess what, apparently…he did.  Our family was very close growing up and so my grandfather was always around.  There was never a strained relationship with him.  More evidence (to my mother) that this could not be a true story.  I quickly dropped it.  I never spoke about it again with her so I don’t know if she ever truly accepted what I had said as true.  I let it go.  At the wake I leaned over his body and said, “I forgive you”.  I don’t know if that helped me in anyway but I felt like it was the right thing to do.

I also never spoke about this with my cousin.  So I don’t know if she recalls the same incident I do or whether or not there were other one on one incidents with her.  I do have my sneaking suspicions though.  After all…if we are a textbook case of the aftermath of sexual abuse then the evidence is clear – she went on to be involved with drugs and I became sexually promiscuous.”

The cousin I reference above is one and the same as discussed in Disconnected Reconnection.

The point of all of this is that we all handle things differently.  There is no cookie cutter abuse worksheet that makes every act the same.  Whether it’s physical, sexual, emotional, psychological., etc.  There are similar aspects to all of it because at the very essence of it all is controlling manipulation.  Our distinct personalities make up the other part of the difference because our reactions and coping mechanisms vary.

This amazing woman, Jodie Ortega, who I have come to know via Twitter  has just completely floored me.  As soon as I watched this video today, I stopped what I was doing to write this post.  The way she handles telling her story in front of an audience is a beautiful thing to watch.  She relates part of her words through rap dialogue which seems to ease you into the reality of what she’s saying.  She then breaks down numbers that are not your every day run of the mill statistics.  When she speaks of her experience with a cab driver, well…get a tissue.

Healing thrives in conversation.  Break your silence.

Suppressing Fear

A while back, I attempted meditation.  I only did it a couple of times but it was an enjoyable experience and it seemed like something that would be helpful if I could continue it regularly.  Of course, I didn’t continue. No specific reason as to why. Just stopped. You know how it goes, too busy with work, family, blogging…etc.  Plus, it’s hard to get a quiet time to really focus.  I have a small window before my day gets going and phones start ringing and if I forget then there’s no time to squeeze it in.  Also, there are things that I do for me and my own peace of mind (such as writing) that I’m not into the rest of the household knowing – therefore, less comments from the peanut gallery – and meditation is on that list.

So, out of the blue, I decided on Monday to start again.  I’m working on “realigning my chakras” and I have to say, I’m enjoying it.  Monday happened to be a noisy morning so I put in ear plugs, which really helped me focus, and so I have been using them every day.  For me, it’s a smart move because I can tune right into my breathing and clearing my mind.

This week I’ve been working on my Red Chakra which represents my base aka my foundation. The meditative exercises I’ve been employing deal with understanding the source of my life energy.  Not only from my current state but what has been passed down to me through the generations.  I’ve been focusing on Renewal; change and new beginnings.  This is part of the book I’m reading, sort of a Chakra guideline.  To my surprise and yet not a shock, apropos my life, part of the meditation was to feel fear, sadness and let my mind journey to that place I want to inevitably be.

Pleasantly, my consciousness has quickly adapted to letting my thoughts and visuals go where I need to in order to conjure these very real feelings.  It’s only Thursday, and I’m already feeling a clarity about certain things, so I’m interested to see where this goes.  Here’s the thing.  This week brought up a feeling I always knew existed but I’ve been so determined to suppress it that when it showed up in my meditation it was very emotional.  Very emotional.

Fear.

I just can’t shake it.  It’s this shadow that is living inside of me and no matter how hard I push it down it still pops up.  Strangely, the fear is not in being here or in the actual act of leaving.  I’m very aware of the process I’ve outlined and what needs to be taken care of in order to accomplish this.  I’m confident in my ability to get out.  However, every action has a reaction.  The fear is in the unknown response of what leaving will snowball into.

At this point in “our” lives, I know on some level he knows I’m leaving or at least suspects it but doubts I’d actually do it.  He still plans for a future of growing old together – as if.  But I know, as with any change, there are going to be stages he goes through.  Of course, we’re both going to go through stages but they’ll be vastly different.  I already know how he reacts when he’s angry so I anticipate promises, threats, and destruction.  I think it’s the hunting down part that keeps me in a certain head space.  I mean, he’s turning 50 – does he really still have the chase in him?  I tell him continually that I don’t love him and that I’m not happy, and in giving the benefit of the doubt, I feel like that will click (at some point) and he’ll accept the fact that I’m not coming back.

It’s not even fear about what he’ll do to me.  That’s pretty much the least of it.  It’s more of the lengths will he go to in order for me to come back.  Who will he harass?  What will he do?  Where will he show up?  When will he give up?  And of course there is – why.  I know he’s going to play this pathetic…Why did I leave?  Why didn’t I give him another chance?  Why didn’t I let go of the past?  And whatever else his brain can muster to dump all of this on me, as if it’s my fault.  I guess the fear is that he will actually come through on one or more of his threats made over the span of this marriage.

Fear of the unknown is horrifically cruel.  It plays every single scenario over and over, each time making the outcome worse and worse.  This gut wrenching fear is paralyzing.  I was talking to a friend of mine about all of this yesterday, and they said that [since I’m aware] I can start to detach from the fear and start really confronting it.  That I’m, moving away from it but it’s a process and I have to move through the process, which has already begun.  My friend said, the control needs to shift to me now. The battle is in my heart.  The battle is with the fear. That I’m already bigger than that fear at the deepest level and ready to take it on. Now it just has to reach the surface.  “When you decide it’s time to go, you’ll be ready for whatever he brings your way.”

I know that’s all true. It makes sense. I guess it’s just that after all these years, now that the end is so close, all the suppressed trepidation is bubbling up. Maybe that’s the point of starting back on this road of meditation.  Maybe it was a subconscious decision that is meant to lead me down the path of self realization and enlightenment in order to finish this part of my life.  I guess I’ll learn more as I continue on this journey – through darkness, dawn and light.