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, Domestic Violence

The goodbye letter to my ex I will never send

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

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