- Don’t expect 20/20 vision from the victim, they are way more used to hiding it than talking about it. Way more used to denying it and brushing it under the rug than facing it for what it is. They will blame themselves, deny, minimize, and become completely desensitized to it from doing it so often. They may not even be willing to or want to see it.
- Tap experts – There are some great and experienced resources to access by phone, for advice and support: national abuse hotline will always take your call and they have loads of valuable training and experience – TOLL-FREE 1.866.863.0511
- Go beyond the stereotypes – Physical violence is usually the exception or the late-coming form of abuse, but is also the most socially agreed upon form of abuse. No bruises means some people won’t consider it ‘real abuse’. Verbal and psychological abuse are harder to identify, start earlier in the relationship, and tend to be misunderstood because they don’t leave a mark. But they do cause psychological impairment and physiological distress.
- Be open and honest, but don’t expect them to be open and honest Abusive situations put victims in “Fight or flight” – making survivors oversensitive and likely to withdraw. It actually makes it harder for these women to LEAN on friends, EXPRESS what’s going on, or SEEK out people to trust for support. This self-perpetuating cycle leaves them alone and desperate more often than they’ll ever admit.
- Be Patient Separation/exit from these situations is extremely difficult. Heightened emotions, raised stakes, and losing love, stability, and family are all a part of what will be lost along with the abuse. It’s worth it, but it’s needs to get to a breaking point.
- Counter-act the blame game – Victims will almost always believe the abuse or the situation is somewhat or fully their fault. Most are made to feel that way. Tell them it’s not. See it clearly for them. After my situation I made a list of 10 things that were the opposite of what he told me I was. I still look at that list.
- Understand that it’s not black and white. Victims often still love their abuser and will hope beyond hope that it ‘goes away.’ They hope this last time was the very last time. Leaving, and the fight ahead, takes a degree of inner strength and resolve that abuse victims gave up a long time ago. They need to regain that strength before making a change.
- Throw logic out, work on building back their reality, confidence, and inner strength – Abuse isn’t rational. It’s explosive, disproportionate, and non-sensical. Verbal abuse and harassment is confusing and embarrassing. You can’t use logic to fix it or to fight it. Yet most victims and ‘normal people’ will naturally try to rationalize either the behavior or what to do about it. It won’t work.
- Expect problematic behaviors, from here on in – Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common side effect of battered woman syndrome, meaning that the relationship causes shock and trauma to the brain enough to impair or reduce cognitive function. This is why recovery may include: relapse, paralysis, poor judgement, difficulty making decisions – ongoing.
- Trust your instincts, and be clear about right from wrong – Women in this situation are TRAINED to smile through it, brush it off, minimize it. If you see clearly that someone you love (or yourself) is being abused, mistreated, repeatedly disrespected – and that person is suffering – the best thing you can do is be a supportive, forgiving, understanding, and well-informed ally.
75 DAYS SINCE… You know.
*I am kind of shocked at how well I’m doing and how good I’m feeling and I have a suspicion that separation and divorce is not this pleasant for people who have not been living with abuse. So take this with a grain of salt, anyone reading who has lost their best friend through a broken marriage. I did not really lost my best friend…. but I did lose my worst enemy.
Right now I’m eating a juicy giant yellow heirloom tomato and enjoying every bite. More than I’ve enjoyed food in years.
Today I built a bird house with my daughter.
Last week I baked my first pie (it was pretty darn good!)
Also had a huge milestone at work with an eight month long project coming to fruition, and achieving buy-in from all the very-high-ups.
To top it all off, I’m running and losing a lot of weight. I run minimum twice a week, religiously, for at least 30 minutes, and I’ve entered into a race for charity next Saturday!!
I could tell you about the hard times, the relapses in emotion, the morning anxiety (it’s much better now) — but all that is par for the courses. What’s remarkable is how freakin’ good I”m feeling.
I hope all you fellow bloggers are feeling good too. Even though I’m not writing much these days, I am still so grateful for your support and encouragement through this process. I don’t think I would have been this brave without you. HUGS to you and our virtual friendships!
Here is a list of things that have helped me not just survive but Thrive during this time:
- I MOW THE LAWN WITH A SELF-HELP BOOK ON THE iPOD First of all, who knew that a lady could mow a lawn? As you may recall from my former state of dependency, I wasn’t always so self-reliant. But nowadays, every Sunday I take the ol’ mower out of the garage and let ‘er rip. I put my headphones in and let sun beat down on me while I trod along, mow, mow, mow. And since we have a pretty big backyard, by the end of this process I feel nicely tired out, refreshed mentally because of what I’ve been listening to, and generally much better than however I did before. Highly recommend!
- I RUN, AND ADD ONE NEW SONG TO MY RUN PLAYLIST EVERY TIME The drastic changes in me from June until now have meant that my playlist is everything from Rage against the Machine to Olivia Newton John to Sia! With some Led Zep mixed in there. And some weird 80’s anthems in there too. HA! But this playlist has come to be a living songbook for my process of grieving, growing, and giving life my all again. I look forward to every run.
- I’M LEARNING HOW TO STAY IN THE MOMENT I read (actually listened to) a great book called 10% Happier (a funny skeptical take on meditation and self help) and have also been listening to Pema Chodron’s talk called Getting Unstuck and both of these books have helped me gently resist my own temptation to think about the terror and catastrophe side of what I have been through and could go through. It’s not naive, it’s just practical – to focus on today. Not the terrifying future. Not the unchangeable past. I guess it’s a part of surrender, and a part of trusting. Let Go and Let God. It feels so much better.
- I”M MAKING ACQUAINTANCES If I had been through this a few years ago, or any other time in my life, I would have been crying on shoulders, and drowning my sorrows on my next victim, I guarantee it. I have been a serial monogamist. Even in school when I wasn’t with a guy, my best girl friend and I were completely and monogamously joined at the hip. I have never been one to stand on my own two feet – until now. This fall, I am looking forward to making casual friends with the moms at my daughters dance classes or the people who I run alongside in my race. I want to make new friends the old fashion way. Instead of having one person in my life who I am completely ‘one’ with – I want to be one with ME!!! And have lots of people around who know and like me for me. Sounds pretty normal, probably, but it’s new for me.
- I’M TRYING NEW THINGS, AND SO EXCITED ABOUT IT! Where have I been all my life, seriously? This marriage, and life on the other side of it has been the biggest wake up call. I want to ski and swim and play guitar and sail and bake more pies and take road trips and learn to salsa and do 10,000 other things that I couldn’t have cared less about before. Because I was an addict. A trapped, programmed, miserable human, looking for happiness in wine glasses, packs of cigarettes and handsome blue eyes. Fuck that. Know what? Life is so many million times better after smoking, drinking and boys. And I am so grateful that I am young enough to still build a wonderful life. Yes ME.
LA VIE EST BELLE. LIFE IS FOR THE LIVING. LOVE TO ALL.
Old enough to know that fear and dread can be ignored sometimes but i will pay dearly for neglect, illusion, and carelessness.
Old enough to know the things i worked so hard to deliberately forget will need to be deliberately remembered before i can move on.
Old enough to know my ‘time of the month’ is not that time of the month. No siree.
Old enough to know that it wasn’t you who let me down, it was me. It was my job to care for me. I’m a grown ass woman.
Old enough to know that my mind is constantly writing speeches, chattering, planning, defending, but the best thing I could do is ignore it.
Old enough to know that my mind is a fast car I have not yet learned to drive.
Old enough to know that even quiet actions can be reckless, hurtful. Old enough to know I am no innocent victim.
Old enough to know that what I see, feel, do and learn and focus on right this very second is planting the seeds for my future.
Old enough to know that strength lives in the still parts of the water’s surface, not in the spouting fountains.
Old enough to know my thoughts and actions will effect my own destiny.
Old enough to know there are no easy cures, and that living without him is the most difficult bliss I’ve ever known.
Old enough to know that when my patience runs thin,
I’m allowing it to run thin. And I try not to allow that anymore. There’s always room to stretch.
Old enough to know true leaders build build people up, they don’t break them down. True leaders are and are caring and curious.
Today is the last day of my 3 Day Quote Challenge. Thank you ever so much for the nomination Ms. Ethel Duck! Ms Ethel and I share a common struggle in life and love, I think, which is recovery from ‘codependence.’ I still think it’s an odd word but it’s the official one for people who (here’s my definition) have allowed themselves (as adults) to be mentally messed with, usually stemming from unclear personal boundaries and bonds created as kids. Long story short – people who are learning that they matter, and they must take care of themselves! And usually there are some alcoholic spouses mixed into this equation! : /
One of the biggest aspects of codependance, and one that I really personally despised – was that I was in a constant state of wanting to prove how bad my situation was, how horrible what was happening to me was. And why couldn’t anybody protect me? And why couldn’t I solve it? And why had all of this happened, anyway? Had it not been for intervention, I would have stayed in this state for way too long. Probably many, many years.
I was also willingly, daily, telling myself that I didn’t matter. I would stay for our daughter, I would put up with everything because he was still a very successful, handsome man…. I would catch up with myself in 20 years, with the remnants of what was left, and it would be fine.
Well, no, it not and was not fine. I do matter. Now and every day.
Last night I had this weird thing happen to me. It was about 8:00 and I was reading my daughter a Dr. Suess story and all of the sudden, out of the blue, I couldn’t swallow! My throat was playing tricks on me and I couldn’t perform that very simple and constant task of swallowing… how horrific … and symbolic. LOL. I panicked a little bit, and tried to explain to my daughter that I needed to lie down for a minute… and I tried to calm myself down and breathe. But as I lay down I had this profound sense that my ‘me’ of the last five years, maybe more – was dying. It was an ego death.
The last few weeks have showed me a lot. I’ve lost friends. I’ve made choices. I’ve felt my own strength coming back. Lastnight I even had a fight with my mom because she was whining about not being able to see my daughter on her regular day because of the situation etc, etc., and fighting with her really broke my heart… and brought back memories of her always putting herself way before me. I tried to set a boundary with her on the phone – I told her right now this isn’t about her feelings, and no I can’t consider her feelings in this whole matter, because I’m working hard just consider my daughter’s and my own. I can be respectful, and I will be, but her ‘feelings’ over the course of my separation, possible house loss, and eventual divorce…. uh, no mom. This is a very old, very ugly issue that dates way back.
I feel like I have a long way to go on this self-discovery road, and a lot of damage to undo. What I want to be sure of though, is that I don’t settle for just being ok. I can be ok soon – probably months from now, I hope. But where is better than ok? When do I reach the stars? When do the hopes and dreams get back on track?
Right now I don’t know where I’m going. I mean, broadly, I want to publish my book, etc, etc, but I feel so far away from that life and that dream. Is it all illusions? Do you know what you want? Do you know where you’re going?
I am a dreamer and believe that we should dream big…. I’m so confused by life right now. I guess I just have to accept that and work with what is, which is… I’m on the road to somewhere…. I just don’t know where yet.
Here are the rules:
- Post a quote a day that is meaningful to you for 3 days.
- At the end of your challenge, nominate 3 other bloggers who you think would impart great wisdom to the blogging community.
- Don’t forget to thank the blogger who nominated you.
- Have fun!
Thank you Ms Ethel Duck for inviting me to the quote challenge!
I have chosen a warm, tender, cozy, heartfelt, loving quote set on a warm, tender, cozy picture…. I just love this…. every time I read it my heart sighs. : ) I think it’s thanking me.
Peace and Love to All on this fine summer night!
Georgey with a peaceful heart.
p.s. sorry this text is gigantic I don’t know what is causing it. LOL
It’s self love, campers! Below is an affirmation I’ve written to remember all the great things I am and will continue to be! These are things that belong to me. These are things that it is my job to honour, embody, and protect – not the job of my spouse, my parents, society, my child, or anyone else but me.
I gratefully embrace the goodness that flows through me and my life.
I am a mountain of white light.
I am comfortable in my own skin.
I speak up when something makes me uncomfortable. I do not allow mistreatment.
I am dedicated
I reciprocate kindness
I am valuable
I have a strong sense of self!
I am wise
I am fun and funny!
I am abundantly positive.
I am imperfect!
I am always safe!
I take care of myself.
I take really good care of myself and I’m not afraid to say so.
#recovery #positivity #selflove #brand-new-me