Domestic Violence

How to handle constant verbal abuse

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

Author Stories, Therapy

Do you lie to your therapist?

My guess is if you you have ever been in the chair staring across the room at them with the notepad and pen in hand you have TOTALLY lied to them. Right? RIGHT? Or is it just me?

I’ll be the first to admit it that it usually takes me like 6 sessions before I go all in. The very first appointment it’s usually like a get to know you on the surface level. Hi My name is Amy and I’m having a few issues and thought it’s best to maybe come and talk to someone. I have dogs, I work here and I like doing this stuff. Totally like a dating app bio. Putting your best out there first so your not coming off too crazy right?

The next few sessions I ease into what is going on with me but not the ugly crying on the bathroom floor type stuff. It’s weird how I don’t go all in when it’s clear I’m there for help. They ask how I’m doing. I dance around and say I’m fine just sad or “off”. They dig deeper. I give a little but then it’s time to go:) Success in not having to get to the ugly stuff.

By the time the 6th session is happening I’m a freaking mess and then spill it and it’s not pretty. I’m crying, UGLY crying and they are totally going to have to restock the tissues because I’m USING THEM ALL!!

For me when I was in my abusive relationship we moved every 6 months or so. I would have to sneak around to get to my therapy sessions. During that time I would always have to start over with someone new and the cat and mouse game would start all over. My issue was I was still in protective mode and I wanted to feel better but I was scared to give up too much info for fear I would get him in trouble. Like the secret would get out. I would talk about me being depressed. How I lost interest in things I once loved. Moving all the time was hard. All the things but being abused. I would talk about it without talking about it. I always wondered if they knew or if they were going to let me bring it out on my own in my own time. Did they notice my bruises that I was trying to hide?

When I was finally out of my relationship it still took me that long to finally get comfortable with opening up about the abuse. There were some very ugly things that I knew I had to talk about but even the thought of retelling it made me want to throw up. I think I actually had to get up in the middle of a session once to do just that. YUCK!

So why do we feel we have to lie or sugarcoat to our therapists? Are we scared? Too much pain? Embarrassed? I’m sure it could be all three or at least one of them…so how do we get more comfortable with it all? We are paying big bucks for it after all.

After doing a little research I found Time magazine did a little study and found a whopping 93% of us have lied in our therapy sessions. Most of the reasons why is what I listed above.

Regardless of what your in therapy for most of us may find it weird to have someone attentive to your thoughts and feelings. They listen and don’t interrupt and when they start asking questions our defenses go up and lying seems like a way to protect ourselves.

Here are a few things to remember and help you feel comfortable while talking about uncomfortable things.

1. Remember they are there to help you feel better. You took the first step to call to make the appointment. Ease into it like I have done but you and the therapist will become partners in your recovery so you do your part so they can do theirs.

2. I usually wear comfy clothes to my appointments. I tend to bring my legs under my body and if I’m going to be sitting that way I sure as hell better not be in skinny jeans. The more comfortable you are personally, the more you will be in a comfy headspace to open up.

3. Bring a water bottle. If your a cryer like me you need to stay hydrated. I tend to get wicked headaches when I cry so stay hydrated and maybe have some Advil handy too!

4. Just always remember these guys have heard way more crazy stories that you could ever tell. As sad as that sounds you are doing a hell of a good job just for walking in the door. They are there for you. They know the best ways to maneuver around your issues. It took me a bit to understand I could not fix it on my own. Had to bring in the pinch hitter.

5. Just breathe. Keep an open mind. Speak your truth at the pace your comfortable with and know you are strong and going to come out a bit better than the day before. You got this!!

What’s the biggest lie you told your therapist?

I swear she HAD to know I was full of it but I told mine once that the reason why my eyes are puffy is because I have extreme allergies and it kept me up all night. Ugh so lame. Meanwhile I was on my bathroom floor crying all night but of course the allergy lie felt easier to say.

Any tips you have that makes therapy a bit easier I’d love yo hear them.

Til next time

XOXO,

Amy

Domestic Violence

5 High profile celebrities that have experienced domestic violence Pt 1

Hey All,

We all know that DV can hit anyone. It does not matter if your Rich or Poor, successful or just trying to make it. Everyone one of us has a different story on how we were forcefully made to join this awful club. Some of us left right away. Others took more time to plan to be safe. Some went back and forth on if we should go or not. Regardless on how we made it through or if your still in and working through it we are all the same.

Celebrities are for sure no exception. I’m sure most know the stories of these 5 strong ladies but here is a quick reminder that even at the top of your game you are not alone in this. We are stronger together. And unfortunately as the People Magazine pages say.. “Stars.. They’re just like us”

  1. Rihanna

In 2009, on the eve of the Grammy awards Rihanna and Chris Brown had a moment that would have the world buzzing the very next day. By daylight Chris Brown and Rihanna’s performances were cancelled. One was arrested and the other was black and blue and a photo of Miss Rihanna’s face was ALL OVER the internet.

You can for sure read about it all in detail and see the photo’s with a quick internet search but since it could be a trigger for some I will leave that for someone else to discuss.

What makes this close to home for me and probably many others is that she went back to him. She felt he made a mistake and just needed help and she felt very protective. This is a very common reaction. On average it takes 8 times to leave before it sticks.

The other thing that is hard but so common is that Chris Brown is remorseful but in an interview after the incident, His verbiage was she did this and she did that. He acknowledges his wrongs but it was almost like… If she didn’t do this I wouldn’t have done that. Victim blaming at it’s finest. CB was sentenced to 5 years probation, 1 year of domestic violence counseling and 6 months community service.

Both Rihanna and Chris moved on and had successful careers. Chris has had his ups and downs since then. He is now a father and Rihanna is expecting her first child.

2. Tina Turner

Oh miss Tina. We all know the fierce woman we see today but very early on in her career she met a man named Ike and her world changed forever.

Ike saw the talent in her early on and took her in and taught her the business. Soon he began to control every aspect of her life. Her finances, her clothes, her hair, her sound. Beatings and sexual abuse followed.

The band and staff around her all knew but they felt powerless to help. Whenever they did she got it worse. She has been quoted saying that she felt the only way out was death. In 1968 she felt that was the only option and had a scary attempt at her own life.

While driving to a show in Dallas in 1976 she suffered a bad beating in a car and once Ike fell asleep that was her chance and she finally took it. With .36 cents in her pocket she ran into a nearby hotel and decided enough was enough.

Being free is one thing but she had a tough time bouncing back. When a partner controls every aspect of your life you need to start 100% over. Record labels were scared to sign her as a solo artist. Too risky since she bailed on Ike. Little did they know the abuse she suffered.For 6 years she was out of the spotlight. Cleaning houses and singing in small clubs to get by. No one would still touch her as an artist so she decided to tell all. In 1981 she wrote a tell all book and laid it on the line. That book became a movie in 2013 that had a #1 single with the same name. What’s love got to do with it told her story and she was ready to make a new one. We see her now as a strong kick ass woman and a survivor. National treasure type level for sure.

Ike died in 2007. She met an amazing man that loves her and after 24 years she got married again in 2013.

On Sunday I will break down the last 3 wonderful ladies. Madonna, Robin Givens and Whitney Houston.

XOXO

Amy

Author Stories

How to handle an abusive ex reaching out after the relationship ended

Hey all,

As most of you know I have been out of my relationship for 3 years now. The first 3 months were filled with panic, fear, worry and stress of how I was going to make it. My ex did make it hard with a few mind games and scare tatics but after 3 months he stopped but the triggers and emotional healing was still a struggle. Still is at times. It’s been almost 3 years and I have been trying to live my best life since the day I broke free. Can’t say I’m completely passed it but I’m a hell of a lot better than day 1.

Until he reached back out…

5 little words rocked me to my core.

What are you doing NYE?

Are you fucking kidding me? I’m moving along minding my own business, enjoying the holiday season then BAM! Random text at 4 in the afternoon. Instant tears. Tears of WTF but mostly tear that those 5 little words effected me so much. I thought I was done. I thought he had moved on. Why after 3 years does he want to make contact and mess with me. Does he even know what he has done? OF COURSE he does…But SHIT!!!!

What is even more confusing and frustrating is I had all communication blocked. Cell, Emails, Socials..Everything. So how his same number got through I don’t know. I chose not to respond but damn it it was hard. I had so many questions, so many responses rattling around in my head. Why now? Why NYE? Why just the question and no explanation? The reasoning was eating away at me. But I guess that was the point I’m guessing. He knows how my brain works and knows exactly how it would make my question EVERYTHING.

I made sure the number was still on my block list (it was) but I completely blocked his ass again. Checked emails and socials to make sure the block was still active and deleted that text so I was not tempted to respond. But not after staring at it for what seemed like hours.

I’m doing ok today but I’ll admit it took me a week to stop thinking about it. I hate he still has that power to take up my thoughts. Time heals of course and I handled it WAY better then I would have 3 years ago…Hell even a year ago. As my blog title goes.. Fuck it and keep it moving.

Here are the things I recommend you can do if you find yourself in the same position as what just happened to me.

Breathe

They know they can get to you and it will rock your world. Breathe, first and foremost. Do not react immediately. Take a breath and pause. Know the tactic they are using and make a plan on how to handle it.

Ignore

You do not have to respond. They may have gotten through and you saw the message but YOU have the power now. You not responding is power. They expect you to cave. They expect you to crumble and breakdown. They know it’s going to fuck with you. Do not give them the satisfaction. You responding is EXACTLY what they are looking for. No response means they are denied the reaction payoff. They can try but you are stronger.

Block, Block, Block

If you have not already, block the number on your cell. Block on your email, Block on your Socials. Anyway you feel they can contact you make a point to get that baby blocked so you won’t have to see anything else that may pop through.

Delete

Once blocked delete that bitch. The last thing you need after this is to see it over and over and make you feel a type of way every time you open your phone or email. Delete from your trash as well. Double delete:) Rid yourself of the negative that surrounds it.

Reflect

Think about all you have overcome and how proud you are of yourself on how you handled it. Tears are ok but you did not act and you are going to be ok. You are in control of your life and feelings and one little hiccup is not going to set you back. It’s ok to have a moment. In my case it was a week of thoughts but take your time. It’s ok to feel it. But know you did not let them back in and you are going to move on and live your best life too.

My wish for you is once they are out of your life they are out for good. But if they do creep up I know you got this. If you need a rock or voice of reason…reach out to a trusted friend or family member or reach out to me and I will help you through it. Bottom line is you are not under that control anymore. The only control is how you process and handle it and I know you can and will kick those nasty texts to the curb.

XOXO

Amy

Author Stories, Domestic Violence

When your finally free from a domestic violence relationship and the healing begins

So my last post was about my 6 years being in an abusive relationship. If you want to see my story you can read it here..

It was pretty hard for me to get that all out but everyone has a story and I wanted mine to be heard. For so long I kept it inside and was scared to ask for help. You get so brainwashed that you feel like no one will believe you or want to help because it’s too messy to get involved.

That day that he left and took pretty much everything I had with him was Day 1 of my recovery. I was sitting on the empty floor with my two dogs and cried for hours. I was so stunned and so used to him controlling every hour of every day I felt lost ,abandoned and had no clue what to do next. My initial thought was I can’t go on without him. Which is totally ironic to think about because everyday I thought about how I could get out of my situation. But now faced with being completely alone I was terrified.

I was in a city that I knew no one and my closet friends were over 1000 miles away. The hard part was I had been lying to EVERYONE I knew for 6 years. Not one person that knew me knew I was going through this. So to make a phone call to my 3 best friends asking for help was going to be hard. I knew they would be there for me but I also knew the bomb I was about to drop on them. Spoiler alert.. They were fantastic, but not without a few “why didn’t you tell me?”

Why didn’t I tell them? That’s the hardest question for me to answer. Why the fuck didn’t I? Bottom line I was embarrassed. The first time he choked me. I wrote it off as a one time thing and I didn’t want to tell because I loved him and they would tell me to leave him. The first time he raped me I didn’t feel comfortable telling someone that for fear of what they would think of me. Days, months, years went on and at that point it was just my normal every day and I was too far in. I would lie through my teeth why I could not go anywhere (because I had bruises around my neck). Sorry I could not go bike riding with the group because I was bleeding still from the rape the night before. I slowly started to withdraw and it became my new normal to lie.

So now that he was gone I had nothing to lie about and the truth was about to be exposed wide open.

I mentioned I had nothing left in the apartment but a few clothes and my two dogs. He even took all the food. He left a $20 on the counter and zero in the bank account. My gas tank was empty and I did not have a job. Panic set in. One of my friends suggested I start a Go Fund Me. Are you FUCKING kidding?!?! was my response. That way the world would know and it was hard enough telling my friends I lied to them over the last 6 years. I cried and said no, then cried some more and in my panic manic crying I said fine and wrote an abbreviated/PC version of my story on the Go Fund Me site and hit publish.

I IMMEADIATLY THREW UP!

I felt so sick putting it out there. I was always the strong one and now I’m the idiot that stayed with a man that hurt me daily. That was my internal dialog. Once I hit publish I was so overwhelmed with sickness and emotion and panic I must have passed out on the bathroom tile by the toilet.

When I woke up I was stiff. Partly from sleeping on the cold hard floor but looking in the mirror I still had the reminders of the life I have been leading. Bruises, bags and puffiness under my eyes from crying and always looking at myself with disgust. It was day 2 of my new life and my outlook was just a bit better than the day before.

When I finally got moving and washed my tear crusted face I saw my phone and all the alerts. LIKE A TON OF THEM. I completely forgot about the Go Fund Me and I burst into tears again. This time tears of love and a sense of feeling like I mattered. With each ding of my phone I saw friends, past co-workers, long lost acquaintances and people I didn’t even know pop up with words of encouragement and strength. They were opening up their wallets for me and it was just almost too much to handle. I felt so guilty but thankful and relived that I would be able to pick myself up and start the long process of figuring out my next chapter.

After a few days and the strength of my besties we put together a plan on how to get me back to the state where they were. I had a few days to wait until the Go Fund Me money would come in and I could get out of the town I felt stuck in.

When I finally closed the door on that condo and shut my car door and saw my puppies ready to go we hit the road. I think I cried the first 100 miles while I was driving back to my safe space. It was a 3 day drive and I remember the first night I stopped to find a hotel. I didn’t sleep most of the night because it was the first time in a long while I’ve been out in the world without him. I had a overwhelming sense of fear something was going to happen to me. Before I only feared him but now I was fearful of the who world.

When I finally made it to my safe place it was a whole other sense of emotions creeping up. I was finally free. He didn’t know where I was exactly but I know he probably knew what state I was going back too and had a pretty good idea where I would be staying but what I did know it was far away from where he took a job and moved two a few days prior.

In the whirlwind of being “free” I had appointments set up with a domestic abuse advocate, apartment showings, and job interviews. I’m not going to lie I was completely overwhelmed. Like crying in a ball on the corner of my friends floor overwhelmed. Having to make decisions was terrifying. My brains first reaction was I need to check with him if this was ok, then that totally pissed me off, then I cried about it. I could go from 0 to meltdown real quick.

My DV advocate was fantastic with listening to my crazy meltdowns and assured me MANY times that it’s going to be an adjustment. I remember when I fist got back into town I need to to go to target to buy basic need type things. I had a meltdown in the shampoo aisle because it was completely overwhelming to make my own choices. Also the sound of a garage door opening would literally bring me to my knees. When I heard the door that meant he was home and my life was going to be difficult. At my friends house I heard the garage door each day and I still had a sense of dread. I still do and to be honest that one is one of the hardest to break free from.

Over the first month I was back I secured employment and found an apartment. The job was great and it really helped me build back my confidence. My apartment..not so much. Think back to where you thought was the worst place you lived. Then think worse than that and that was my new home. It was all I could afford but it was mine. As my new job was building me up I would come home to the reminder that I’m starting from nothing at 40. It was tough those first few months. Thrift store bought everything and sleeping on an air mattress.

I felt I was living a lie again. I was successful at work but falling backwards deep into depression when I would get home. It was a struggle for sure. Therapy for sure helped but I was struggling to be completely honest on what I went through and how I was feeling currently. Reverting back to making sure everything was fine on the outside was easier than being honest.

Those first few months were rough. All the emotions you can feel could happen all within an hour period. You never knw when I trigger will hit and how well you will handle it. I think I mentioned before that please never let anyone tell you how quick or what you should be doing to “get over it”. This February 14th it will be 3 years since that say my world changed. Oh yeah I forgot to mention it was on Valentines day. What a fucker..hahaha. I still have triggers, I still cry and I still have nightmares..but you know what? It’s not everyday anymore and sometimes not even monthly so it does get better. I promise. In the coming weeks I will get in more detail on what I did and how I baby stepped my back back to living the life I deserve.

Love you guys,

Amy