Mental Health, Relationships

What to do when your partner sabotages your happiness and achievements

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This has happened to me many times. Things are going great and I’m hitting my stride in something. I’m about to celebrate or start a new chapter and boom…a fight starts or silent treatment or whatever happens to dampen the mood.

Just how a partner can love bomb you to manipulate they can also turn the opposite direction and tear you down just as quick.

My abuser was the stereotypical narcissist. All about them but very rarely acknowledge what’s going on with you. In the beginning when he still let me work I was climbing upward in my career. Each job better than the next and a HUGE freakin deal for me. It never failed on the morning of my first day he would pout and huff and puff until I would ask what’s wrong. Then I would brace for a long tirade on how horrible I am and they will see they made a mistake hiring me. My first day jitters were just made 10x worse.

It seemed anytime I started to show self esteem and the threat of independence I guess it was time to tear e back down again. After a while I actually stopped trying hard for things. WTF!!!! I would decline job offers that were presented to me. I would stop sharing anything positive because I didn’t want to set him off.

In that time frame I was also going through a weight loss journey. The verbal abuse about my weight was increasing so of course I went on a diet to again curb the verbal assaults. With every pound I lost I did a little internal happy dance. So when my weight loss was getting noticeable it became a problem. I was getting healthy and becoming again more self confident. I noticed more and more fattening foods entering the house. Cookies,chips,ice cream and all the things that got me to my highest weight to begin with. Will power when I’m hungry is always hard for me. I cave so easy so keeping those things out of the house was a huge turning point. Playing into my weakness I caved and started getting lazy in tracking and for the most part gave up. I never got a you look good or I can see the progress..good job.

So what can we do when these kind of things happen? Here are a few tips I wish I would have done earlier to still celebrate my wins instead of hiding them,

1. If you have a small group of people that you can talk to about your big things let them in on it. I hid my abuse but I still talked to my girls about what I’m doing and how it’s going. Have a text chain that you all can share good news and can celebrate together with people that actually give a shit.

2. Never give up on your goals. Even if you have to keep them all in your head. Once I gave up on myself I slipped farther into the abuse. I started believing what he was telling me. If you still have the fire in you but just can’t pursue right now keep it lit! You will get there. Have a planning meeting with yourself each day on what little things can I do safely to move forward.

3. Daily affirmations. This one took me a bit to adopt. I just felt silly at first and to be honest I didn’t believe it. I had to truly fake it until I made it. Every morning and night when I brushed my teeth I would force myself to say 3 positive things about me. It can be the same every day but you need to give yourself a boost since your not getting it from your partner. Self love people

4. Never stop learning. Try new things if possible. Push yourself a little bit just to prove to yourself you can achieve whatever you need to do and crush it. Being in a funk is normal in these types of relationships so its important to still be true to you and keep bettering yourself. You are NOT a the words coming out of their mouth.

Hope this helps a little when your feeling discouraged.

Xoxo

Amy

Domestic Violence

How to handle constant verbal abuse

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Hey all,

Wanted to chat today about that feeling of never doing anything right? Feeling the smallest thing with become a problem. The never ending anxiety of what will happen next? Will it escalate? Will they just yell this time? Wondering what names and insults will be hurled my way. Not being able to defend yourself because you know it will make it worse.

They can be just words but it is still 100% abuse. When I first starting talking about my story I would always say that I would rather had hit hot me each time than the verbal. The sting of the slap or punch went away but for me the words stuck with me. Some of them still do. We all handle things different ways but for me that was my truth.

My ex could fight or say something hurtful every time I opened my mouth. Everything could be a fight. I did something wrong in his eye. I didn’t move fast enough. I said something the wrong way. I looked at him funny. No matter what I did or said it was an opening for him to break down every part to tell me how I effed up.

Living with that constant assault on you and your mental health can be exhausting. I was a walking zombie most days. My mind and body was on fumes. The little times he was not around me was so breathtaking. It was a minute I could breathe. I could be myself or what I remembered of myself. I took those little moments to try and reset and get back to a place where I could go back in recharged.

There were days where it was an all day thing and I didn’t know if I could get though the day. Other days he was gone and I was in the house alone. Holy Shit you guys…it was like I was on vacation. I watched my tv shows I never could. I would call my friends with out him listening and questioning everything. I took care of bills, personal things on my laptop and most important I took care of me.

I am by no means a therapist but here are a few things I did to help me on those really bad days.

  1. Find little pockets of time to be alone. Take a long shower. Take the dog out for a walk. Go get the mail. Whatever you can think of to steal a few moments to yourself to breathe.

2. Find something you find joy in that you can do. I wasn’t really allowed to work or go anywhere. I had to get creative on my own so I taught myself how to knit. He of course would criticize it but the joy I felt doing something and feeling accomplished when I finished. Coloring books, plants, baking..whatever you love do it!

3. Try and do a bit of self care. It can be hard to actually want to do ANYTHING when your feeling down. I totally get it. I tried to at least get up and changed clothes each day. I would brush my hair and teeth. Put lotion on and try to do what I can to feel presentable for the day. Just having that little thing for YOU can lift your spirits.

4. If safe to do so try and join a Facebook/Reddit or any online support group. There are a bunch of us out there that know what you feel and we are here to listen and help. You are definitely not alone in this.

5. This ones a hard one but no matter how hard it gets please remember what they are telling you is NOT TRUE! They are meant to make you small and weak. YOU ARE NOT! I would always try and remember how I was before I met him. I was strong and independent. I survived and thrived before him and I will after too! Let them ay what they need to say. You can process and feel awful…that’s normal but then please remember who you are. Their words do not define who you are. What they say is not set in stone. Just right now is not the best but the time will come and you will break free when your ready and able to do so. Just believe in yourself and mentally plan for your amazing future.

Verbal abuse is not a lesser abuse. It’s painful and extremely harmful to your mental health. Please know if you need to chat I am here and no judgement. It’s tough out there so it’s good to have an ally.

xoxo

Amy

Mental Health

Losing Naomi Judd

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Hey all,

It took me a minute but I did want to address the passing of Naomi Judd.

First and foremost it’s a loss. She and her daughter Wynonna were a huge part of my childhood since their songs were always playing in the house. Big voices, big personalities and big hair. I was totally on board.

Naomi was completely open about her struggle with mental illness. She talked about while she was on the road she felt alive but the quiet times at home is when the bad thoughts set in. She was what they have called treatment resistant. Trying everything and nothing will break though.

I’m on 3 different meds and I’m still not 100% sure it’s the right mix but fighting to find it can be exhausting.

The one thing that kind of got me was the wording of her passing. “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness” I thought for someone who was so open about her struggles about her mental health and suicide thoughts they would have come right out and say that was what happened. I understand they were protecting their mothers legacy but it could also be a teaching and large platform for the prevention of these types of things.

Of course it has come out today that it was for sure suicide. I also understand as a non family member we are not obligated an answer. The pain the family is in is unbearable. So we mourn with them.

RIP Naomi. Rest easy and we will always remember the voice and the voice you had for others like you.

xoxoxo

Amy

If you or someone you know needs help…It’s there and it’s ok to call or text or message.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Author Stories, Domestic Violence

The goodbye letter to my ex I will never send

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Hey all,

I have no idea how long I have been putting this off. It’s been 2 therapists, 1 rape counselor and a domestic violence advocate ago. But they encouraged me to write a closure letter to my ex. I am to tell him everything I would have loved to say to his face but was too scared to do so.

My abuser actually left me without warning and took everything with him while I was out. No goodbye, no break up note nothing. Just gone. At the time I was still feeling like I was nothing and I was terrified how to survive and what my next steps were. He actually did me a HUGE favor. It was hard and I still struggle picking up the pieces but I am out of the toxic relationship and I’m not quite sure I was ready to do it myself.

So I’m going to just publicly write this letter since it gives me a small peaceful feeling that it’s out in the universe and I can close this part of the healing process.

You

I am writing you to have you see and read my words. It’s the closet thing to having a voice with you that I’ve had in the 6 years we were together. With you I was scared to speak. With every word I would brace for impact. If I got through a conversation without an “issue” I would walk away with a huge exhale of a breath. I used to section off the days like most people. Morning, afternoon, night is normal, but for me I would just try and make it though to the next section. Breaking out little pieces without anything made me feel I was in control of even the littlest thing.

Each and everyday you made me feel worthless. The verbal assaults on my weight, personality, how I said this or that, how I cleaned wrong and sometimes you just flat out called me names. These names and thoughts still stay with me to this day. Every outfit I put on and when I look in the mirror I hear your voice telling me that I look fat and should be ashamed of myself. My self esteem is completely depleted because of you. I cannot even take the simplest of compliments these days without downplaying it. Telling them they are mistaken instead of just saying thank you.

You have made me completely shutdown when it comes to romance. It took me a long time to even have a man come near me let alone hold my hand. I was scared that if I let any man in they would eventually want to have sex and because of you and your repeated sexual assaults on my body I hated the thought of being so exposed and vulnerable.

You have made me trust no-one. My first instinct is they are nice but they will probably turn into an asshole. I’ve misjudged little comments as full blown jabs. I take EVERYTHING the wrong way and most of the time I am at fault for starting something when nothing is even there.

You have made me second guess everything. I sometimes get overwhelmed picking out big decisions but even the small ones like picking out a damn shampoo. I am not strong in myself to choose. You made me depend on you. I had to ask you for everything. When I had to do it alone it was overwhelming.

You have made super simple things full blown triggers. Still to this day when I hear a garage door open I am overcome with panic and fear. The garage door meant you were home and things were about to get really hard.

You made me have to have hard conversations with my friends and family. For the whole time we were together I lied to them. I covered up my injury’s and used a lot of concealer. I learned how to divert conversations away from myself. My friends had to try help me after you left but also hearing for the first time all the things that happened. I hurt them as well by not asking for help.

The day you left we were going to move for the 12th time. Everything was packed and you made me run a last minute errand. Little did I know you would take the truck full of all our belongings and leave without me. No trace of our life except just me sitting in an empty room.

I wanted to let you know that you actually made me stronger that day. I didn’t even know it until 3 years later but you did. You helped me get out. You did something to me that I would dream about each night but didn’t have the means or the strength to do it.

I want you to know the fear of you is still there. Your small attempts to still reach out makes me fall to my knees in tears. I need you to leave me alone. Move on like you did 3 years ago and disappear from my life for good.

I am in a healthy relationship. I have a great job, people in my life that love me and am surrounded by others who have been there and understand. I am thriving each and every day. I do have setbacks and not so great days but they are slowly fading away but the scars remain.

Do I forgive you? I can’t say just yet. I cannot say a definite yes. I’m working on trying to do it. I know in my heart it will be easier if I do but I’m just not there. You cut deep but they are healing nicely.

Me

Mental Health

Thinking the worst and jumping to conclusions

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If thinking the worst and jumping to conclusions were an Olympic sport I WOULD DOMINATE on a global scale. It’s my go too, My wheelhouse, my comfort zone. Is it wrong? Hell yes it’s wrong..but can I stop? No way.

I always joke that I can go from sniffles to death on a simple google search. I can take a minor thing like not texting back right away to them being mad and hating me. If my boss asks to chat with me quick I automatically think I’m getting fired.

Just yesterday I picked up my guy at the airport. I typically get out of the drivers side to go to the passenger side so he can drive. After I pop the truck and get out so he can put his bags in the back we typically meet in the middle somewhere Iwhile I am going around and hug and kiss as a welcome home I love and miss you gesture. This time he walked right into the car and buckled up. No kiss, no hug NOTHING. I of course think the worst. OMG he is mad, he hates me, he’s going to break up with me in the car, He’s got bad news…blah blah blah. I run through EVERYTHING before I even get in the passengers seat. Meanwhile he’s all like what’s your deal while I run through all my feats with him before he pulls away from the curb. I panic and he’s like oh sorry..I was just getting in the car no biggie. He immediately calms my fears and we go about our day like nothing ever happened.

I’m highly aware how exhausting I must be, always having to reassure me the sky is not falling. I really do try and let things play out without a freak-out but if my anxiety is already at a high there is no stopping the panic.

But why do I do this? My therapist says it’s because I have had a lot of loss in my life. Like I need to make sure nothing else happens. Also because of my past abuse I always think I’m in trouble or in the wrong so I need to hurry up and figure out what’s happening so I can brace for impact of bad things and possibly try and fix it. Meanwhile the other person simply forgot to text back. It probably is just a small cold or in my guys case just wanted to get in the car.

So what can we do to try and stop the spiral? Here are the things that I do. It’s still a work in progress obviously but I do try and practice these steps.

  1. Stop Time Traveling– Most of the thoughts I have would be happening in the future. The what if’s. What if I fail? What if he’s going to be mad? What if I see a pretty cloud and am looking up and then get hit by a huge bus and DIE? If we take a minute to think in the present. We can maybe slow our roll. Maybe look at the clouds AND check traffic. Maybe wait and see if he or she is mad before you keep pestering them by asking IF they are mad. Fun Fact: It will probably make them mad if you keep asking.

2. Play out the worst case- So if you must go down the dark path of what if’s.. Then let’s go there. What if you fail? Ok we fail. Do we try again, move on or work harder and figure out what went wrong. What if he’s mad? Ok he’s PISSED. What can we do to make it better? Let’s apologize and figure out where we went wrong so it’s not an issue moving forward. Clouds and getting hit by a bus. Maybe we get everything in a secure place for our loved ones. Let’s not take the day for granted. Let’s always put our best foot forward and live for the moment. Unless that one foot is the foot that get’s you hit by a bus:) By playing it out you take back a little control and will know exactly what to do if the worst does come. You can totally let out a I TOLD YOU SO as well if it makes you happy.

3. Play out the best case- It’s the same game as above but with the better outcome. Again either way you are going to be in control with whatever way it pans out.

4. Would you say this out loud? With the likes like the sniffles turning into a rare illness that will kill you in 6 months. Would you actually tell someone that? Out Loud? With things that can be a little out there I always ask myself that question to see if I’m willing to share my paranoia with others. If it’s my guy I’m more prone to blurt it out since he knows how my head works. If it’s a co worker and telling them my sniffles is going to kill me in 6 months so I’m gifting you my stapler is a bit harder. If it’s hard to sat to other people maybe take a step back and think to yourself am I making this a HUGE deal when it’s in the nothing stage yet.

5. Journal- Sometimes all the steps above are no match for anxiety. I have found that journaling or writing down the fears can have a positive impact. I play the best/worst case on paper so I can see just how outrageous it can be when I read it back. This blog is a bit of a helpful tool for me as well. I know if I write it down others can read. It’s a gut check sometimes.

Everyone is different is how they handle things. Some people are full on jumpers like me and others it’s just a quick thought and then they move on. Wherever you land on the scale just know that we all have moments like this. It’s just how you handle them that makes a difference.

The one thing I found that can help is once I play out worst case I can typically laugh at it so I thought we could all share (if your comfortable) our funniest worst case/ jumping to conclusions moments.

Here’s mine:

I dated a man that lived out of town and when he would come stay with me he always brought a little duffle bag with him for the weekend. One weekend he came and he had a lock on the bag. I’m not one to really go through peoples stuff but I was so worried why all of a sudden he had a lock on the bag. Why? What the eff was in there? Why now? Why can’t you be open and honest with me? Are they murder supplies like a knife and a tarp to hide my body? My thoughts got to the point where I finally had to confront my future murderer. He then opened the lock to the bag and pulled out a fancy blue tiffany’s box and presented me with my DAMN BIRTHDAY PRESENT. Yes folks, I confronted him on my birthday. He put the lock on it because he wanted the gift to be secure while he was traveling. UGH. I’m an idiot.

Ok your next. What have you done when you should of just slowed down and walked through everything?

XOXO

Amy