Guest Post

Guest posts: Are you willing to share in a safe place?

Advertisements

Guest posts: Are you looking to share in a safe place? 

This blog for the past 6 months has been all about me, myself, my asshole abusive ex, and I. It’s been so freeing to be able to voice my truth and to possibly help others in the process. It’s also been scary as hell to see it all out there. 

I know I’m not alone in my journey because I know the unfortunate stats about domestic violence. So many suffer in silence, some have just broke free and others are fed up and planning a getaway. Whatever stage you are in, now, recent or like me 3 years out we all need each other. We need to know we are not alone. You have a voice and you are most definitely worth being heard. 

If you would like to share your story with us and you feel safe to do so let’s chat. I will keep you protected if needed. If you also have a space for others to go I will promote. Whatever you feel comfortable with. Your story could be the one that helps just 1 person heal.

Email us at hello@swearingtotallyhelps.com

Xoxo,

Amy

Author Stories

I’m Weird and I Do Weird Stuff: A Confession

Advertisements

So I’ve posted some extremely personal stories in the past. Some so raw I needed a minute after I hit that publish button. This one is still personal but I’m going to put my weirdness on blast and I guess that’s just as scary since I’ve never really talked about my quirks post Domestic Violence. 

A lot of my weirdness has come out of survival. Some I developed after the abuse, but all of these are for sure newish.  A lot of them I think are based on control. My story was I was controlled in every aspect of my life. The things I developed were my way of controlling just little things and it got me through. 

But why still do it? I think it’s that stat that if you do something repetitive for a while it just becomes second nature. I don’t have to do these things anymore but it’s just almost a comfort thing I guess. 

My top 5 things I do that’s weird but comforting:)

  1. My daily bathroom routine.  

 Each and everyday when I get ready I take EVERYTHING out I will use and line it up on the counter. Every face product, hair product, make up, brushes, oral care, lotions, EVERYTHING!!! The counter looks like I’m a hoarder and it’s covered with no space to space. Not to mention I bring all my underwear things, clothes, accessories and shoes in with me as well. I’m walking out of this bathroom 100% ready.  

Getting fully ready meant I was alone longer in the bathroom. Alone time was my only time that I could breathe so more time was super important to me. 

Also I felt safer being naked and getting dressed behind a door. 

With all the products out on the counter I could visually see what I had to do still. On days when I was in such bad shape every task felt like a mountain to climb. But if I put lotion on I put the bottle away. Brushed my teeth.. I put away the toothpaste, mouthwash and brush. After each task the counter got less cluttered and what I had left to do seemed less and less. It kept me going and taking one thing at a time. I was in control and I was getting shit done:)

I STILL do this today. It’s such a part of my daily routine that it would probably throw me off if I didn’t it differently.  I will always check bathroom counters for space potential in any new place I live:)

  1.  The Alphabet game

         I have a weird habit of “finding” the alphabet when I get nervous or feel a panic attack coming on. It started when I was alone in a Dr office after being injured where I needed medical attention. I knew I was going to have to lie but was so uncomfortable being there. I started looking around the room and found a letter A on the wall. Then B then C. I just kept going to take my mind off everything. J’s are always the hardest. But I still do this everytime I’m in a room at the Dr. 

I’ve also done it in the shower when I’ve been so defeated and need an escape. The shower was always my place of safety so I did it to calm down. Finding the letters on shampoo bottles or body washes.

3. Counting semi trucks

When I’m driving long distances I set a goal of how many Semi trucks I can find. Back in my relationship we would always travel long distances when we moved so often and I wasn’t allowed to talk in the car. To keep my mind from going crazy and keep me present I would count the semi’s. I’d see when the next big city would be on the interstate and make a goal to see how many I could see before we get there. I don’t do this as often anymore but I still notice them all while driving. I just don’t keep track.

4. Worst case game

We may all have done this to some degree but I tend to do this a bit too much. Something will pop up that worries me and I will start thinking of all the possibilities of what could go wrong. Something so simple as I have a headache will for sure lead to death in my mind. A check engine light will automatically leave me stranded on the road at night and I’ll get murdered by a random passerby. If I’m worried about a bill, I will become homeless living in my car. That’s if they don’t repo it. Then I’ll be living in a tent until someone steals that and then I’ll be out in the rain. See what I mean? I can go on and on with so many levels. These days it’s more comedy relief but I still do it. Back in the day I would think worst case and try to make a plan for whatever could happen. It just gave me a little bit more of control.

5. On time like by an hour

This one is probably my most annoying one for the others in my life. I get huge anxiety about being late for anything. So much so I’ll leave almost 2 hours early just to be there an hour early to sit in the car. If I’m alone it’s no big deal but if you can imagine how it goes with my current boyfriend you are probably just as annoyed as he gets. I’m always rushing and moving him along and then he gives me the look like “ITS 2 FUCKING HOURS EARLY”. Then we laugh and laugh. Haha. Just kidding. I’ll back off but internally I’m stressing we are going to be late. 

The one time we cut it close because of traffic or who know what I’m extra validated in why we need to leave early. But that only happens like once out of hardly ever but damn it if I don’t use it. 

Well there I spilled all my dirty little quirks for the Internet to see. I know I’m not alone in the weird category so if you dare share!!! I’d love to hear yours!

Xoxo 

Amy

Domestic Violence

How to handle constant verbal abuse

Advertisements

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

Advertisements

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?

Advertisements

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