Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dometic Violence Awareness Month

It's National Domestic Violence Awareness month.
When you hear the word “domestic violence”,what does it bring to mind? When I used to hear those words, I imagined a relationship like the ones portrayed in movies such as “Sleeping With The Enemy” or “Safe Haven”. Men who blatantly terrorized their women to make them do what they wanted them to and who punched, kicked, and choked the women the said they loved into submission. Domestic Violence was something that was physical. It resulted in bruises, stitches, and broken bones.

I want to talk about how a good majority of domestic violence shows its ugly face outside of Hollywood. It's more covert, and the marks it leaves aren't as visible. It doesn't even have to get to a physical point EVER for it to be abusive.

The definition of domestic violence from the US Department of Justice's website is: “...a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional,economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.”

My first marriage involved all of the various types of abuse, yet I didn't think I had it “that bad”. Maybe it was because I had seen a lot of unhealthy relationships growing up and I normalized it. Maybe it was because it wasn't always bad, so I kept hanging in there for the good times to come back. He excused his behavior—and I rationalized it—as a result of his past relationships, his upbringing, too much stress, not enough help from me. I was too emotional and too sensitive.

It wasn't what I seen in the movies. I was not ready to fake my death to escape him, nor did I think I had to. I didn't want or think I had to go into hiding to keep him away from me. As far as I seen it, he had all the power in another way...I wanted it to work more than he did. When I would lose hope and get fed up with the treatment I was receiving and would express that maybe this wasn't working, I was pulled back in and suddenly he wanted it as much as I did and would do anything—EVERYTHING--to save the one thing that mattered more to him than the world.

~ By a fellow domestic violence survivor

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Under the blanket

"...After a conversation about divorce where my husband brought up all the religious reasons I cannot divorce, I crawled in bed and sobbed. I felt like a bad person for even entertaining the idea of leaving. And I went through those addresses from the church leaders about marriage. All of them go right along with what my husband was saying. In fact, he was so happy the next morning it was almost like he felt like he had won the debate and had a whole entire religious organization to back him up.

I literally begged God to just take my life. I couldn't do it anymore..."

Blanket of Love from RedBubble.com
- I just want to sneak into your bedroom, uncover the blankets you are hiding under and hold you, tell you things will be ok. Slowly drag you out of there while your trust for me grows. Hold your hands until you are really on your feet, no matter if that takes minutes, hours, days, weeks, months... etc. That is what I want to do for you right now.

I felt despair when I read it. My heart is breaking for you. The pain you feel is what I felt and I know it so well. It reminds me of why I cannot go back (so for that I am thankful)... because I would be right there in bed under the covers myself. Paralyzed by fear of all kinds. Making my full time job be to think of ways not to upset him or poke the sleeping bear. Be a puppet in his show reacting to his motion and never create any of my own... out of fear.

Guilt is a very powerful feeling and it is working well to keep us trapped under that blanket. We create guilt for ourselves and let other people shower us with guilt. It is easy when there is no self-esteem left to just take it in and let it grow. We almost don't know how to function without the guilt. And sitting here on the other side today, I have no idea when this guilt will disappear. Maybe as we start to regain our own self-esteem and some self confidence...

Motivated by fear

When your full time job, or at least your full time mental job is to think and obsess over what to do or not to do in order to prevent an outburst of any kind from your abuser... then you know it's gone too far. Or hopefully you know it has gone too far. Most of the time when you reach this point you are so deep into it that you have lost all self-esteem that was ever there and you may think it is all because you are doing everything wrong.

You have crumbled. You are not You anymore. You are a puppet attached to strings controlled by someone else. Your every move and word is calculated to not wake the sleeping bear. But the bear always awakens and you are there to play along. Give the bear what he needs.

I got to the point (yes I just recently left - I will tell you more about that later) where I was afraid of doing nothing and to do something because no matter what I decided to do it would be wrong. I was damned if I did and I was damned if I didn't. Constantly on pins and needles. Feeling like something was strangling my heart from within. Holding my breath without realizing it.

The most calm moment of my day would be when he was asleep. When he was asleep there would be no abuse and no chance of abuse, since it is mostly the fear of abuse that is keeping you trapped, and I would look at him and feel a hope of love in there. I wanted so bad to love and I wanted so bad that my love for him would be enough. Enough for him to treat me well. But the threats continued and somewhere the love turned into despair and the despair into emptiness.

He never thought he was treating me bad. He always believed, and still does, that he only did what was best for me. He was teaching me valuable lessons to make me a better person and spouse.   

When you feel NOTHING (beside for fear and worries) being around your significant other you are lost. The person you once were is not there anymore. She is gone. And if you stay with him she will never return. You will become a new you... do you want that?        

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

19 of 20 - How can you even think that?!

Discounted Feelings/Opinions "The Loser" is so self-involved and self-worshiping that the feelings and opinions of others are considered worthless. As the relationship continues and you begin to question what you are feeling or seeing in their behavior, you will be told that your feelings and opinions don't make sense, they're silly, and that you are emotionally disturbed to even think of such things. "The Loser" has no interest in your opinion or your feelings - but they will be disturbed and upset that you dare question their behavior. "The Loser" is extremely hostile toward criticism and often reacts with anger or rage when their behavior is questioned.

Warning Signs you are Dating a Loser by Joe M. Carver PhD.
To see all 20 signs and steps to end the relationship click here

My hair is a hot topic. I have colored it in different colors, I have cut it shorter, I have curled it and I have kept it straight. It is a subject he likes - if I do what he likes and a subject he loves to bring up if I do not. He likes it blond, long and curly.

One evening we were going to an event. You can call it "his" event, at least that is what he calls it because it was for one of the organizations he is involved in. I had to wear a gown and was going to put in my blond extensions and curl it. I truly looked like a princess. I also had a silver headband in my hair to match my silver-gray dress.

When I was done with my hair and make up he was so angry. So so angry that he made me shake. He threw hangers and told me he no longer wanted to go to this event that I had ruined it all. I thought, and said that I don't understand why you are so upset about me wearing a headband... And he replies "it is not about the headband it is about the fact that you do not want to do what your husband asks you to do. You are not willing to please me. After all this is my event and you should look the way I wanted you to look. It is such a small thing to ask of you and still you cannot do it." 

He has said the same thing over and over and over.. And still feels the same right about that he fully have the right to tell me what to do with my hair. I cut it - it is making me look like a boy. I color it - I don't look like his wife and he cannot look at me... He just cannot understand how I cannot have my hair the way it would please him the most at all times, because it is such a small thing. But if I say that "yes it is such a small thing that you should allow me to have it the way I like it" he does not understand. That if I do, he has the right to call me out on it and make me feel like I am a horrible person. That I don't understand how to please him and that it is just a little thing that is so easy to do.  

I know this is not a really good example of the above statement but the truth to be told.. There has been so many conversations where he has twisted my truth that I no longer remember them or understand where it started and ended. All I know is that my thoughts are most often wrong and he pays very little attention to them. He seem to want to hear them but just to twist them around to make me feel like I am worthless. And bring them back later and use them as a weapon against me...