relationships

Domestic Violence in public: What should you do?

Hey All,

So today I wanted to chat about something that happened to me just the other day. A form of domestic violence out in the wild and in a VERY public setting.

It was a bit of a trigger for me only because I actually have not been around anything resembling my past since my relationship ended. I see things here and there in movies and I totally feel a type of way or change the channel or look away because it’s not actually happening to a real person. But this…this one was very much real and right in front of me.

So here is what happened that has me so upset..

We are in Florida so of course we have an annual pass for Disney. The happiest place on freaking earth. Maybe slightly less happy in August and 90 degrees with 100% humidity. But whatever. Still happy. We were walking around and enjoying the day and all of a sudden I hear “Shut the fuck up you stupid bitch” OMG ,my head whipped around so fast and I see a man screaming at his wife/girlfriend. She was also pushing a maybe 6 year old girl in a Minnie Mouse stroller. She had the face I know so well. Defeated and stone faced while trying to hold back tears. She was trying to be anywhere but there in that exact moment. Trying to hide and extremely embarressed.

It’s human nature to stop and stare so the amount of people that saw this was going to be expected. And it’s Disney so they are known for crowds anyway. Knowing there was eyes on him he kept going so that was not even an issue for him. He was calling her every name he could. Yelling at his daughter as well calling this child selfish and he could not believe she could be so inconsiderate. A FIVE YEAR OLD. He had a backpack and started throwing things out of it on the ground, threw his hat and the babies had into the bushes and stormed off. The poor woman had to pick up all the items off the floor, repack the backpack and soothe the now crying child. It was heartbreaking.

So what if anything should we do in moments like this? If you’re like me, I was taught to mind my own business. Do not stick your nose in things that does not concern you. Should you say something? Should you help her pick up all her things? Do I not make eye contact and just go about my day and pretend I didn’t see it? At what point do you intervene? Yelling, Throwing things at mom and baby, if he was punching the mom? What about the baby? What the hell should we do in this situation? It’s very murky waters to be surrounded in and most of us feel like we would do the right thing but at what level would you let it go to?

I feel most of us if we saw the guy hitting the child a bunch of us probably would have tackled him. But what about the mom? I’d say we’d lose about half. If he was just yelling and throwing things most of us wouldn’t have said anything at all and kept moving.

I’ll tell you what I did and why. Mom and I made eye contact. I mouthed are you ok? She mouthed back “yes and thank you”. I stayed back until she had her belongings and baby was ok and she moved along. I asked from afar. Made sure she knew I was there if needed and kept my distance.

Here is why.. We do not know her family or what’s best for it. We may want to run over and confront the guy and help but it could completely make things worse for her later. Asking her from afar if she is ok and acknowledge you are here to help if needed is really all you can do in that moment. Her guy could become even more enraged if she was talking or getting help. We don’t know the dynamics. She gave me a response that was was going to be ok. She didn’t have to and that would have been on too. I wasn’t entitled to an answer. She got herself together and baby was good. Emotionally it could not be easy but she was good enough for her to move forward.

My ex would become extremely jealous and angry if I spoke to strangers. I would get in so much trouble and it always ended badly in private. You have no idea if us going over there would do later. We respected her boundaries. As stated if physical harm to child or mom and she was trying to protect herself you have to make the call. But she let us know her boundaries and we were ok with that.

It’s totally ok to feel bad, upset, sick about it. That’s normal. You can worry and hope things get better but we are not there to fix it right then and there.

I still think about this woman and baby a full 48 hours later and hope everything is ok. Everyone has a different path and just because some of us are out or close to it she could just be starting her journey.

Have you seen things like this in public? How did you handle it. Has anyone helped or offered to while it was happening to you?

XOXO,

Amy

5 Types of Domestic Violence: Economic Financial Abuse

Hi all,

Continuing on in our series on types of domestic violence. We’ve covered physical and emotional/psychological abuse so far and you can read those posts below if you would like to catch up.

https://swearingtotallyhelps.com/5-types-of-domestic-violence-physical/

https://swearingtotallyhelps.com/5-types-of-domestic-violence-emotional-and-psychological/

This week we are going to chat on one that some don’t really think about. Economic or financial abuse.

Let’s first talk about what it is.

Economic abuse is a form of abuse when one intimate partner has control over the other partner’s access to economic resources, which diminishes the victim’s capacity to support themselves and forces them to depend on the perpetrator financially.

Some of the most common examples are.

1 Conceals financial information

2. Limits a victim’s access to assets

3 Controls a victim’s ability to

acquire money

4. Exploits a victim’s resources

5, Dictates how all family funds are

Physical abuse is completely unsafe and dangerous but I also feel like this one is the next one in line. Most domestic violence victims feel trapped to stay in dangerous situations that could escalate because they also do not have the resources to leave.

Their partner controls the finances and often times do so for this exact reason. Some have to ask for money to get food, clothes and basic needs. You rely on the abuser so much for pretty much everything you need as a human to stay alive. The thought of leaving is terrifying because you may not have one single dime when you leave.

Another form is not allowing you to make your own money. Your not allowed to work outside the home or online. Any money you receive has to go to them or in the “house” account that you never get to see. This is particularly hard because you always here advise saying save up and make a plan when you can get out. How can you save if you have no income.

I’ve had stories of survivors reach out that they started saving seriously by taking change from going to get groceries and loose change they find. It’s seriously that small of a start but it’s something.

Another option is if you have access to the internet I had an email from a survivor that she signed up for online surveys that paid to a PayPal account. Slow process but she felt like she was taking the time to build her self at least a little something.

But here is what I do want to say..if you ever feel like you are not safe or it’s escalating to a level it hasn’t before and you need to leave right away please do it. There are shelters and organizers like myself that will do whatever we need to do to keep you safe. No money in the bank will keep you alive if it gets that bad. Just leave if you can as safe as you can and it’s ok to rely on help in the beginning.

My abuser actually left me unannounced and took everything with him. At the time I was 3000 miles away from my closet friend and no means to get back to where I had a soft place to land. He took my furniture and any money we had together and left me with only my clothes.

It’s completely terrifying feeling so helpless and not sure how you will end up but trust me. There are enough people that care about you that will be there no matter what. I realized I had so many people willing to help once it was k own what had happened. A go fund me was set up and within days I had enough to get back to a safe place.

It was humbling to feel the love. People I didn’t even know sent me a little something. I cried with every ding of my phone alerting me. It was like a little hug.

Bottom line is safety first. If you can work out a plan safely then absolutely do so to minimize impact but please no matter what, do not stay because of the lack of stability. This community and the community has got your back.

XOXO,

Amy

5 Types of Domestic Violence: Emotional and Psychological

Hi all,

Getting back on task after having to say goodbye to our Lucy has been rough but it’s time. I wanted to continue talking about the 5 types of domestic violence.

Last time we chatted about physical. If you would like to revisit you can here…

https://swearingtotallyhelps.com/5-types-of-domestic-violence-physical/?amp=1

This time I want to talk about 2 out of the 5 since they can be interpreted as the same sometimes. They really are two distinct categories but they totally intertwine. Emotional and psychological abuse can hurt and cause damage if not more long lasting than the physical kind. My emotional scars have long since overpowered my physical ones. But let’s break it down.

Emotional abuse refers to the type of abuse that affects how someone feels. Being put down, isolated from friends and family, constantly criticized, being blamed for something you can’t control. There is no emotional growth between you and your abuser. You will always be in the wrong.

For me, my abuser started with minor things like commenting on an outfit not looking right or my hair was out of place. He would show concern everytime I went out with my friends or had drinks. At first I thought it was cute, but when it progressed to me not spending enough time with him or I was cheating everytime I went out..I just stopped going so there wouldn’t be an issue.

There was even a time if I needed to go to the store I had to ask if it was ok. If he was out of town or at work he would assume I was up to something because I didn’t want to wait until he got home. I would be in the house most days because going out meant a fight.

When we did fight that’s when the name calling kicked in. I swear he called me a fucking idiot more that he ever said my name. Stupid, crazy, dumb, idiot. Shut the fuck up was also the phrase of choice in our house.

I remember how those names made me feel. Worthless, empty, I even started to believe it. I would go into the shower and just cry my eyes out. Then he would always see my puffy eyes and ask what the hell was I crying about. He told me once he’s the one who should cry because of having to deal with me!! WTF?!?!

Psychological abuse falls close to emotional but psychological abuse involves trauma to the victim through behaviors that are used to “control, terrorize, and denigrate” victims. I guess I think of it as taking the emotional abuse up a notch. Next level stuff. Examples are gaslighting, (meaning making you second guess yourself). Telling you that you are wrong or mistaken when you know your right. Using anything you’ve said in confidence against you. Using threats to spark fear. Feeding you negative thoughts about things to control you.

Mine would tell me bad things would happen to me if I left the house. Nowhere is safe. If I go somewhere he has to go too so he could protect me. Another example is using a past insecurity against me. I had an ex cheat on me when I was younger and it crushed me. He used to tell me I was the reason he cheated because I didn’t do things he liked. Then he said he would too because that’s what happens if they don’t get things. Ugh.

You can see they can be pretty similar but once has a larger manipulation factor to it.

Don’t get me wrong when I say this but for me the verbal/psychological abuse messed me up the most. The physical hurt like hell and can absolutely have devastating outcomes. My injuries healed but my mind has not. I’m 3.5 years out of the abuse but the pain of the words and memories are still right here with me.

This is hard to admit but it’s my truth.. I would actually hope he would hit me instead of the hours long verbal assaults. Typically the physical wound last less time. Ugh I can’t believe I said that but there it is.

I will ALWAYS say that any and all abuse is wrong and one is not worse than the other. It’s not a contest. I think that’s why a lot feel if they are not getting hit or have brushes then they can’t come forward for help. I totally felt that way too. Mine was all 5 categories but the physical came last.

My hope for you is you can recognize the 5 types and make a plan to leave when safe to do so. You deserve all the love and more.

XOXO

Amy

5 Types of Domestic Violence: Physical

Hi all, 

In the next week or so I’m going to talk about the 5 types of domestic violence. We can break down so many types of abuse into smaller categories but these 5 are the starting points. 

These next few posts should come with a warning. No matter where you are in your journey it can always be painful hearing and reading others stories. If your not ready, it’s ok. Bookmark us and come back as a resource when you can. We will be here:)

So let’s dig in..

The 5 major types of domestic violence are considered: Physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and physiological. 

Each one by itself can be devastating but unfortunately most times a lot of these are combined. My own story has all 5 front and center. 

Today we are going to chat about the physical part. Domestic violence in most peoples minds is physical. We see movies of victims bruised faces,billboards of sad, tired black eyes. We know famous stories of celebrities that spoke out like Tina Turner and Rihanna. If you ask any random person on the street and have them explain domestic violence it would almost always be the physical side. 

In reality most domestic survivors say the physical side was a slow progression. The other pillars lead up to it. 

The majority of shelters see victims only come for help when it gets to this point. Fearing for more harm and trying to save their lives. For some, feeling like they can’t get help unless it gets physical is so painful to hear. Abuse isn’t judged on how bad it gets. 

My own story was exactly that. It didn’t just start as a fast punch to the face but once that first form of physical violence shows itself it’s already going down a dangerous path.

If you haven’t read my story you can do so below.

Domestic Physical abuse is considered any touching contact that is intended to hurt or cause harm. A punch, slap, kick, shove, push, choke, hit with an object or being held down when you are not allowed to move are forms of physical abuse. If your parter is hurting your body with intent to harm you are physically being abused. Sexual abuse is a form of physical but due to it being on a whole other level it gets it own category.

Did you know it take an average of 7 tries to leave an abusing partner? Meanwhile each episode things progress worse and worse. 

Please know your situation and if you feel you are in danger you need to make a plan when safe to do so. It’s scary and the fear of leaving everything with no next steps can be hard. The only step you need to do is find a way to safely. There are so many wonderful people and organizations here with open arms and we got you. I promise. 

If you or someone you know needs help please reach out to someone on our resources page or if you just need to talk or have a friend there are so many that will listen. I see you and if you need a quick moment of knowing your not alone let me know and I will do what I can to help. 

Just please know you are not alone. I got you. We ALL got you. 

Xoxo

Amy

What to do when your partner sabotages your happiness and achievements

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

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