Tag Archives: abuse

Is There Life After Domestic Violence?

****READERS…we have a submission from a domestic violence survivor which I think is an important story to share as I was once in that situation myself with a boyfriend many moons ago—- It is my hope as well as hers that this will inspire you and if you are in a situation like this PLEASE seek help from qualified professionals…a website that has resources by state is www.thehotline.org.   This is a bit outside of our normal content, however I feel that it is an issue that needs a voice.  PLEASE any comments positive and supportive, we don’t do judgment here.  Thanks.  – Noelle

Is There Life After Domestic Violence?

While you’re living in fear, being controlled, degraded, assaulted, abused and isolated it can feel like a hell that will never end. Domestic Violence presents physical, emotional and mental pain that changes who you are and changes who you were going to be. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

I’m out now. I’m 7 years out after being in my relationship for 14 years. And the biggest mistake I made was thinking my life would be ‘normal’ once I left. There is nothing normal about my life as I know it now. But it certainly isn’t the hell that I once endured.

Acceptance

I had to learn to accept what I lived. It happened. It was done. I couldn’t change it. Ever. I had to understand and fully accept that it wasn’t my fault nor did it have to define me. I was free to choose what happened next and what to write in my next chapter. I could make different choices on how I wanted to live my life. And then followed through with those new choices because I accepted that I could.

Professional help

Over the years I’ve engaged counsellors, psychologists, doctors, alternative practitioners, medication and lots and lots of personal development reading and support. It has been imperative in my healing journey that I spoke out loud to professionals. Not to relive my past or the traumatic events in detail but to help me gain perspective and gather my thought processes together. To help me learn and develop strategies to calm my negative thoughts, to ground myself, to be mindful and present. I allowed others to support me and hold space for me while I activated my own healing mechanisms and processes.

Healing

I had to be proactive about my healing. I had to do the work. I continue to do the work. I meditate, write, journal, rest, read, listen to my body and my inner guidance. I walk barefoot on the Earth, I exercise, I drink water. I practise self-care by booking massages and getting my hair done. I try not to feel guilty or shame myself if I eat ‘bad’ food. I say no when I need to. I take steps back from negative and toxic people around me to protect my own energy. I do what’s best for me, most of the time. I acknowledge it’s a never ending journey and I remind myself that the joy is in the journey rather than the destination.

Share your story

Silence hides violence. Tell your story. Write your story. Help yourself by helping someone else.  People think they’re alone until they hear about someone else’s story. You could make a real difference and help change someone’s life by sharing your own story. You could make another human being feel seen and heard. You could spark their own power to get help and begin their healing journey. You could inspire someone else to tell their own story. There is power in the spoken word. There is great power in telling your story and being heard.

Through my acceptance, professional help, healing and sharing my story I have grown confidence and self-worth I never thought I’d ever have. There is peace and happiness inside that I never knew was possible. And I’m so grateful to be alive to use my voice and tell my story.

*****

Lisa Lee is the founder of Lisa’s Sanctuary (www.facebook.com/LisasSanctuary) and the author of ‘Why I Stayed’ written in response to the many times she was asked why she didn’t just leave.

Where To Begin

I am not sure where to begin, it’s hard to talk about something, rather write about something when it has been met with disbelief.

You read that correctly. The first time I told someone how my ex husband treated me, the person I shared it with looked at me and laughed, then said maybe he was just having a bad day.

After my divorce I tried again with a close friend and they told me to just get over it.

It wasn’t until I saw firsthand the reactions of people who really didn’t know me that well to how he treated me that I felt validated.

The standout was he had taken our daughter to swim lessons, somehow there had been some confusion about the times. He called me from the place she had lessons (where I also worked) and started yelling at me. Mind you we weren’t together anymore. After he left my co-workers were so concerned they called me to make sure I was okay.

My ex husband never physically hurt me. But he got in my head. He pushed my buttons. He found the soft spots, my insecurities and used them against me whenever he could.

He still tries to.

People always ask why, how? If I knew, I think I would solve a lot of problems for people.

For me he wasn’t my typical bad boy. He appeared to be the safe choice.

Appearances are deceiving and so was he. He actually enjoys that. He thought it was funny people didn’t realize how cruel he could be.

I have said this before and I will say it again. It is easy to stand back and wonder how someone can let things happen to them. But when you’re in it and feel like it’s your fault, sometimes you stay.

My ex husband wasn’t always this guy. But I think he wasn’t always not this guy either. I am the complete opposite of almost everyone in his life and initially he made me feel like that’s what he loved about me.

Then he didn’t.

He didn’t like how I looked. My hobbies. My friends. He made it clear in his body language when we were out with mine to the point where I would find reasons not to spend time with my friends. To avoid how he behaved.

There were rules about how the house looked.

Money.

When I met him, I was working three jobs and two college degrees.

He was an unemployed college dropout.

I put him through college, help him get his first job.

When I left him he kept everything- he said since it was my decision to leave I didn’t deserve anything.

Two moments that felt like lightbulbs…

We had a very small house. Our bedroom closet was teeny. He kept his clothes on our bedroom and I kept mine in our daughter’s. I had a job interview so I had put an outfit in our bedroom closet and I was in the living room and I heard him getting upset. I walked in the bedroom and he thrown the outfit on the floor.  We had hardwood floors and a dog and a toddler so my outfit yup, gross.

The second was we were out to dinner with his friends and I told them what I did for a living and my hobbies and they started teasing me for being shallow and decided I was a glorified babysitter. Rather than defend me. He joined in.

When I tried to talk to my ex about how any of this made me feel he would say “I’m sorry you feel that way, but only you can make yourself feel a certain way. Not me”

This is probably feeling rambly because if I’m being honest it’s hard to put words years of being pulled apart by the person who is supposed to be your partner. It’s hard to put into words when people tell you it’s not a big deal.

But it was

It is

Marriage is supposed to be a partnership and ABSOLUTELY there will be disagreements. It is not sunshine and lollipops twenty four seven, but I think we all know the difference.

This was my proverbial dip in the pool of sharing about my experience with emotional abuse. It was hard to write this. For all the reasons, but maybe one surprising one- my ex is still my daughter’s Dad, and while he and I don’t work he’s not too shabby when it comes to her.

Mommas this is a slippery slope. But at the end of the day if we can grow and raise a human. I’d like to think we can get through pretty much anything.

<3 Caprise

It’s Over..But It’s Not

You think it will be over…but it’s not.

“You can’t buy a book bag but you can buy a $52 steak?”

Unfortunately, this is a typical question that occurs to me after I hang up from another wasted phone call.

Getting out isn’t something that you just do. It takes planning and replanning, then planning some more. It takes an ability to think like your abuser, anticipating reprehensible actions and successfully countering them-emotionally, physically, spiritually, and legally.

Leaving is dangerous…sometimes for years, because the danger can, and typically does, morph from physical to mental, emotional, financial…you get the idea.

I’m coming up on 13 years of building this soft, sensitive, productive human in the face of a storm that does not know how to exit. Abuse morphs. Control is sought on whatever level an abuser can find. Money is all there is left for him. My support system has neutralized that.

Let me be uber-specific:

My loved ones housed and fed my child and I for 5 years. If not for them, I would not have been able to get out of an abusive marriage, finish school, and get a job. My parents have filled every physical and financial gap I’ve had from then until right now. We are blessed that we have men (and women, but that’s another topic) in our lives that stand up when called upon. They have presented themselves as rock solid father figures and protectors-something my child deserves.

My best friend was home base when I ran. The safe shelter she gave my baby and I for those first 2 months can never be repaid….have you ever had to hide from an abuser? It pisses you off and makes you want to fight, but you can’t because you’re living for your child and every move you make, or don’t make, affects their life.

When the day arrived, another friend was there with her expertise and to help with the heavy lifting when I went back for whatever I could get-which wasn’t much. Have you ever had to sneak into your own home to take back some of your premarital belongings and leave a list of everything you “took?” Ever play by the rules only to get burned in the end? Maddening, isn’t it?

One of my favorite people on this planet paid tuition when I didn’t have it. They also stepped forward and coached teams and showed love to a child that was not their own. Those people are God’s soldiers and their above-and-beyond actions never go unnoticed by me.

Never.

Jesus Christ Himself has kept me out of jail by not letting me follow through on everything that man deserves. My friends have balanced and supported me emotionally enough to keep me between the lines when bordering on a breakdown.

All parties above have one thing in common; a love for me and my daughter. They share a basic understanding of the importance of doing right by a child and setting them up for success.

It takes a village. In a never ending hurricane, it takes a scrappy one, and I am thankful for mine. I am a survivor raising a warrior. Because of her, I will not fail.

Mental health matters.
Josie

Battered, Bruised, & Recovering

Hi my name is Ali and I am a recovering battered woman.

My first long term relationship wasn’t a healthy one. A lot of my relationships were not healthy. I picked people that treated me how I thought I deserved to be treated. This comes from being raised by an unhealthy and unstable part of my family, it also came from watching my mom get abused for years before she found the strength to leave her alcoholic ex fiance. Even though I learned my definition of love from these people and situations, it wasn’t their fault that I stayed in these situations. I chose to allow these things to continue and I take full responsibility for my choices, because I am not a victim.

I have had to relearn boundaries, standing up for myself, knowing whats ok and not being to sensitive or nonsensitive to negative behavior. I still struggle with this at times. It is a growing process and I will be growing in these ways for the rest of my life.

To this day I hear anyone raise their voice or hear someone spewing negativity I feel a panic swell in my chest. If I’m excited and nervous around someone new that I like that can trigger the same feeling and racing thoughts.

A big thing is to breathe and remind myself that this person isn’t the person whom has hurt me before. If it is a person how ever that has negatively affected me I take a step back and recoup. I refuse to allow someone else that kind of power over me again and as long as I love and trust myself and stay grounded I have nothing to fear.

I wanted to share this little snippet about myself, to not only let someone who may need to hear it that they are not alone, but that they do not have to live like that anymore. There is a better life waiting for you and it is possible for you too.

 

-Always be unapologetically yourself

Ali