Mother’s Day Memoir

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Happy Mother’s Day to this beautiful woman my Momma, my super-woman, my Queen!! Without her, I don’t even know where I would be! Thank you for your love, your support, your strength. Thank you for your encouraging words and kicks to my behind when needed. Thank you for always being supportive of all my decisions no matter how hard it may have been for you. Because of you I am the woman I am today, and because of you, I know I will become that much better. There will never be enough words to describe how much love I have for you. Not enough words to describe how grateful I am, not enough words to describe how blessed I am to have you as my mother. All the obstacles you conquered throughout the years, nothing could stop you! Not even cancer could stop you!!! I can only hope and pray that one day I will be as good of a mother as you have been to us! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY  MOMMA!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!

This woman is my rock! She is the one I have always looked up to! She is my source of strength when i feel weak. She makes me laugh at times I just want to scream or cry. She lends her ears when I just want/need to vent. Some people say their mothers are their best friend but my mother supersedes that! I’ve gone through hell and back and she never turned her back on me. At times, she would have had every right too, but she didn’t. She has always supported me through EVERYTHING! Good or bad! She lends her advice and says it is up to me to make the decision. Whether I heed to her advice or not, in the end, she is still there. Even if it is me going back to her to say “You were right ma.” She never throws it in my face.

I have seen her go through some extremely difficult times. With each one, she got through them with leaps and bounds. I admire her for her strength. She has no idea how much she has inspired me. How much she empowers me. How much she encourages me. I could not be any more thankful to have her as a mother. I am truly blessed.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL YOU MOTHERS OUT THERE!! ENJOY YOUR DAY!

When is Enough, Enough?

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“Enough is enough!” We have all experienced this moment at some point. The point where we cannot take anymore and we will not take any more. It isn’t giving up, it isn’t throwing in the towel, or maybe it is. Throwing in the towel of no longer tolerating the abuse. Throwing in the towel of not allowing ourselves to be treated this way anymore. You see, we’re not throwing in the towel and giving up on the relationship (as the abuser would like us to believe) because to be honest, the relationship was over a long time ago. We threw down the towel because we were tired of raising the white flag and surrendering to his or her tactics. We got tired of surrendering to his or her ways. We got tired of surrendering to his or her control. We got tired. Enough is enough! We no longer raised the white flag to surrender and lose the battle. We threw down the towel and prepared to fight the war.

 

So when is enough, really enough? How do we know that we have had enough? The best way I can explain is that it is as if the light bulb finally turns on in your head. It’s like an epiphany. The “aha moment”. You realize that nothing is going to change. Nothing is going to better. He or she will never change. It is in that moment where your mind kicks into survival mode. You will start to think of a plan. A way to escape. You will think of who to call, where you can go. When the best time to leave will be. There is this inner strength that seems to just take over you. Something you forgot that you had inside of you. This strength. This courage. This determination. It is empowering. You will experience the fear and anxiety. Unsure of what may happen if and when your abuser finds out that you are leaving. But this inner strength holds on strong. This inner strength is loud and drowns out the fear and anxiety.

 

The moment may be after an incident with your abuser or maybe when you are in the house by yourself. For me, it was the night after my ex had choked me until I passed out and when I came to my head was on his lap while he was playing video games. He laughed and started stroking my hair. I had gotten up and gone to the bathroom and seen marks on my neck that were identical to his fingers being around me. It was at that moment I knew that things could only get worse. Out of fear of what may happen I waited until the next morning. When I woke up the next morning I grabbed my phone and a towel and went into the bathroom. I turned the water on and explained to my sister what had happened while staring at my neck in the mirror. It was then that I knew I had to leave. No matter what may have happened while doing so, I had to leave.

 

Leaving may not be easy, it could be dangerous. But either way, you are getting out of there. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! However you have decided to reach out, remember there is a way out. The first phone call may not work out, but do not give up! Someone somewhere is willing to help. If by chance, for whatever reason family or friends are unable to help you, there are PLENTY of available resources for you in which an organization will be more than willing to get you out safely. Just know, that you will be safe. However and whoever is going to be absolutely sure of that. You will be safe. You will have your life back. You will be better. You will be you again. A better you. A newer you. Yes, you will be different, yes you will experience a lot of different emotions from this traumatic experience. But there is help, all you have to do is reach out. There are many people who you can lean on who will understand what you have been through and what you are feeling. People who genuinely get your mixed feelings. People who will NOT pass judgment on you. People who will love you. People who will help you through. You are not alone. You do not have to ever feel or think that you are.

 

Regardless if you have or have not had your “aha moment” if you have or have not yet got to your “Enough is enough” moment, I am here for you.
If you are reading this and you are someone who has a family member or friend that is in an abusive relationship as hard as it may be, I ask that you remain patient. I know it sounds crazy, but they have to see for themselves that things are not going to get any better. If they are forced out before the realization they most likely will just go right back to their abuser. Please be patient. Please be available. You may get the phone call on the day that he or she needs to get out of there. You may get the phone call that he or she has had enough.

 

Dare To Enter The Mind of A Victim?

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On the brink of insanity,

Is this really my reality?

This couldn’t have happened to me!

How did I let this happen to me?

How could I have been so weak?

How could I let him do this to me?

Why didn’t I leave sooner?

What is my mom going to think?

What will my family think?

Will they still love me?

Will anyone love me?

Will I ever love again?

 

Now what do I do?

I have nothing!

I am nothing!

I’m worthless!

I’m useless!

How could anyone love someone like me?

I’m damaged goods!

I’m crazy!

I’m a failure!

I’m ugly!

He was right…

 

Why did I leave him?

I was better off just staying there!

Maybe I should just go back!

Maybe things will be better this time!

 

Why am I here?

Why did I come back?

God, I am so stupid!

I can’t believe I fell for this shit again!

I can’t believe I fell for his lies.

 

But I love him.

He must love me.

He says he loves me.

So he must right?

Things will get better.

 

Why do I always believe him?

I should have never come back.

I should have never answered the phone.

I should have blocked his number.

I should have changed my number.

 

I’m back in the same place.

I’m back in this hell.

It is all my fault.

He’ll never change.

He won’t ever change!

But I’m stuck here..

I’m stuck here!

 

Everyone said they would never help me again if I came back.

So I’m stuck here.

I’m probably going to die here.

I’m stuck here.

There is no escape.

There is no help.

He’ll never stop.

He’ll never let me leave..

.. not without putting up a fight.

 

I have to fight!

I have to leave!

There has got to be a way out.

He is bound to kill me!

If he can choke me until I pass out and laugh about it!

He most certainly will be able to kill me without a thought!

It will happen!

He will kill me if I do not get out of here!

 

Do not sleep!

Think!

How can I get out of here!

The sun is starting to rise.

Grab phone and go to the bathroom.

Call sister.

(But what if she says no)

She is always there no matter what.

(But what if she says no?)

CALL HER!

Tell her!

 

She said she’s coming now!

Now what?

How do I get my stuff without waking him?

What if she doesn’t get here on time?

What if it is too late?

Grab trash bags and start throwing stuff in them.

Sister is on her way.

She won’t let anything happen to me.

She has always been there to protect me.

Check phone.

Sister is around the corner.

 

Oh my God he is awake!

What is he going to do?

What is going to happen next?

My sister is just around the corner!

Tell him!

(My sister is just around the corner, I’m leaving)

He’s getting up, what is he going to do?

Where is he going?

He’s getting in the shower?

More trash bags, keep packing!

He’s coming back to the room!

Keep strong!

Keep packing!

 

He’s grabbing his keys, what is he doing?

He’s leaving?

He’s leaving?

Where is he going?

Check phone.

(“I’m downstairs”)

 

She’s here!

She really came for me!

Get all my bags and get out of here!

What if he’s outside?

Get in the car.

I’m safe.

Where I am going he cannot find me.

He cannot hurt me anymore.

I’m safe.

Breathe.

Photo Credit: http://www.voella.com/2015/05/inside-the-mind-of-a-domestic-violence-victim/

 

Undefeated

Undefeated.

In the midst of all the chaos, you remain undefeated. When you thought that you had lost the war, you were actually the champion. Through the wounds and the scars you stand undefeated.

Fighting battles no one ever knew about. Surviving with the impeccable strength you yourself were unaware of. Undefeated. Feeling like you are drowning in a sea of guilt, embarrassment and shame. Thinking it is you to blame. But it is not your fault. You never deserved the abuse.

Many battles may have been “lost”. But it’s you who won the final war. It is you who won against that evil force. It is you who had the final say. It is you who said enough is enough. You said no longer would you be the victim. The warrior inside of you raised its sword and cut you free. Your inner warrior came to the rescue and gave you the plan. You ran and you never looked back. You ran and fled for safety. You escaped. You overcame all of your fears that kept you trapped in that cage of hell.

When you feel like it may have been better to have stayed because now you have nothing, remind yourself that you now have everything because now you can do all the things you have always been able to do. You now can spend time with your family, spend time with friends and even make new friends. Now you can go back to school or even have a job without fear of losing it. You can dress the way you want to, wear your hair the way you want to and even wear makeup if you feel like it.

But the greatest thing you have given yourself is life. You no longer have to fear for your life. You no longer have to have sleepless nights wondering if you will make it and see another day. You have a new lease on life. A fresh start. You have the chance to start over from scratch. It may sound scary but it is actually a great opportunity. You can self-reflect, and learn the new you. ( previous blogs Love Afterwards, Trust Afterwards,and Hope Afterwards)

No more walking on eggshells. No more being under the control of someone else. You have all the control, you hold all the power of your life now.

So my questions to you:

What will you do now that you are free?

What will you do with this new lease on life?

How do you feel now that you know that you are undefeated?

Hope Afterwards

Hope. The one thing we think we lose but is never actually lost. It sometimes just lingers in the background. Hope never dies, but simply just fades in the midst of life. Hope is the thing that we held on to for so long in such a traumatic time in our lives. Hope those things would change. Hope those things will get better. Hope that the love that was once there returns back to us. Hope that we survive. And even the hope that we’ll make it out alive.

Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that things will turn out for the best. Hope is our lifeline during difficult times. Hope gives us something to live for. Hope gives us the strength to survive. Hope is what gets us through each and every day. Hope is an anchor for the soul. Hope is that breath of fresh air that we so desperately need. Hope is the fuel to the fire that burns within us. An Emily Dickinson quote reads: “Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops… at all.”

After leaving a domestic violence relationship the feeling of hopelessness sets in. This comes along with the feelings of shame, embarrassment, guilt, unworthiness, self-blame and denial. The hope we once had gets trampled on by all these other emotions. Therefore, finding it hard to get a grasp on it. Overwhelming emotions wash over us when we first get out. Like any traumatic event, you don’t really see what happened until you have stepped out of it. That is why when a survivor is free from their abuser they experience the shock factor or the aftershock of the events that took place.

While in the relationship the victim doesn’t quite see what is going on. What do I mean? His or her brain is so distorted from the emotional and verbal abuse. They actually believe all the things that were said of them by their abuser. The victim has low or maybe even no self-esteem. From being told that they are nothing or will never amount to anything so many times they start to believe it. When told that no one will love them they end up believing that as well. The injuries of physical abuse heal, but it is the invisible wounds of the emotional and verbal abuse that still remain for long periods of time. With the proper help, these wounds too will heal.

So how do you get your hope back? How do you bring hope back to the forefront? You do it by first acknowledging what you have gone through. Remind yourself that none of it was your fault. Remind yourself that you never deserved any of the abuse. Look in the mirror each day and tell yourself that you are worthy, you are beautiful/handsome, that you deserve the best and nothing less.

In my previous blog “Trust Afterwards” I mentioned setting goals and achieving them. Set realistic goals. Start with one area of your life and set an achievable goal. Maybe something like getting a job, or going to the gym, taking up a class of one of your favorite hobbies (art, music, sewing, fitness classes, etc.) Also, when you achieve a goal reward yourself. This will instill hope and will also empower you.

The greatest example you can give yourself is remembering that you did make it out. Remembering that you successfully followed through with your plan. You were in a horrific experience and you survived. Through surviving that, you can and will survive anything that comes your way. That alone deserves some celebrating.

There is hope. There always will be hope. Hope never leaves us, it never abandons us. We just have to sometimes dig a little deeper within ourselves to grab hold of it. Once we do, we once again become an unstoppable force. We once again realize that we can do anything we put our minds to and set our hearts on. We once again see our worth. We once again see the beautiful person that we have always been.

Trust Afterwards

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Trust; the one thing that is so hard to earn and yet so easy to lose.  By definition, trust is the belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc. When someone earns your trust, you open yourself up to them, you allow yourself to be vulnerable. You allow that person to break down all your walls, and you trust them to be your protector. So what happens after that someone destroys that trust? When the one that was supposed to protect your heart and soul infiltrates it themselves? Damaging it more than you could ever have imagined? Some would say “the walls go right back up!” But actually, the reality is that the walls do not go right back up. Because; now this person knows ALL your weaknesses. They know all the “right things” to say and do to keep you in that vulnerable state and keep you from rebuilding those walls.

So what happens when you leave that situation? You say to yourself that you will never be vulnerable to another individual ever again. Your walls go up, but it is even deeper than that; because it is as if you not only build your walls up but you build an entire fortress around yourself. You vow to yourself that no one will EVER hurt you like that again.

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As a domestic violence survivor, I know I immediately built my fortress. Not a single person could get in. Not even my own family, and I am not sure that they even realized it. It is like a subconscious act of survival. Nothing in and nothing out. Walls up like the impenetrable walls of Jericho. Not allowing anything to enter, and not willing to let go of what is left inside. Scared of being vulnerable again, yet not realizing I was only doing more damage to myself.

Trust is a big issue for a survivor to deal with. It goes hand in hand with love ( Please read “Love Afterwards” ). In order to trust another individual, you need to regain trust in yourself first. Just like you can only truly love another person if you first love yourself. What do I mean by this? Trust in yourself that you are able to make right decisions. After all, you did make the right choice when you left the abusive relationship right? Also, you have to re-learn who you are now. You are not the same person that you used to be. And again, in order to trust yourself, you first have to love yourself.

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Don’t forget that this is all a process, it all takes time. You can take however long you want to, and anyone in your life that is worth keeping around will respect that.  Also, keep in mind that you are human, and we all make mistakes. If and when you make a mistake dust yourself off, learn from it and move on. Do not beat yourself up over making a mistake. Mistakes make us grow. Work on you, during this time to get to know the new you. Instead of looking for someone to fill any voids, you fill them yourself. Find the things that make you happy. Find the hobbies and activities that you enjoy most. Figure out your like and dislikes.

 

Be sure to surround yourself with positive people. Those who only want what’s best for you and want to see you happy. You do not need any negativity right now in this fragile time of your life. Any negative people must go. This is vital and crucial for your well-being and growth. Negative people will only set you back and add to your lack of trust.

In time, you will learn to trust again. Remember with each part of your healing process you must take it one day at a time. Trusting yourself with goals and achieving them. Trusting each and every decision you make for yourself. As well as trusting yourself to see the signs and red flags. You have to trust yourself in knowing that you are much wiser than you were before. That you survived a horrific and traumatic experience.You trusted yourself enough to go through with the plan when you left the situation, now trust yourself in knowing that you can make the right decision through any tough situation.

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Here are links to some books on learning how to trust yourself:

1. In Touch: How to Tune In to the Inner Guidance of Your Body and Trust Yourself

2. TRUST: Trust Yourself and Trust Others, A Simple 10-step Guidelines (FREE BONUS included) (Building Trust, Restoring Trust, Building Relationships, Maintain Trust)

3. TRUST YOURSELF: Master Your Dreams… Master Your Destiny… A Personal Road Map for KNOWING

4. Trust: Mastering the 4 Essential Trusts: Trust in God, Trust in Yourself, Trust in Others, Trust in Life

5. Christ in You: Why God Trusts You More Than You Trust Yourself

 

Love Afterwards

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Love, a word that I always say is an action word. Not just a word that is said, but a word that is shown, love is something that you do. By definition, love is an intense feeling of affection.

I often find other survivors asking “How will I ever love again?” To be honest, you will never be able to truly love another person until you first love yourself. When you were in an abusive relationship you were not loved or cared for properly which may have led to you feeling like you are unlovable. Learn to give yourself the love you deserve and did not receive from your abuser. You are loveable, and you are worth loving. You do deserve to love and to be loved.

Take time in getting to re-learn yourself. It is a process. There are no time limits, you take however long you want. Remember, you are a new person now, not exactly the same person that you once used to be. For however long you were in the abusive relationship you were not your true self, and you were led to believe that you were the negative things that this individual bombarded your mind with. You have to retrain yourself from the negative things you were once told and remind yourself of the positive things that you know you are. Continuously repeating these positive words until you wholeheartedly believe them.

Whenever a negative thought comes to mind, pay attention, and then replace it with something positive. For example, if a negative thought like “I’m not good enough.” Comes to mind, instantly stop, and say: “I am good enough.” or “I am more than enough.” If you get the thoughts of “I can’t…” change them to “I can.” and “I will.” Remind yourself of your worth. Remind yourself of how beautiful or handsome that you are.

Do little things for yourself, take long walks on the beach or a park. Buy yourself some flowers. Have a spa day. Maybe even take a short trip(or a long one 🙂 ). Treat yourself to something nice. Do anything that will make you feel good about yourself.

Set small goals that you know you will achieve, and once achieved celebrate! Congratulate yourself, treat yourself. Then set another goal, or maybe a few goals and achieve those as well.

Setting goals and accomplishing them gives you a well-needed self-esteem boost. It makes you feel better about yourself.

Learning to love yourself is an amazing journey. It is quite interesting. When you take the time to self-evaluate, you will be amazed at what you learn about yourself. There may be things that you do not like about yourself and that is fine, this is the time that you can work on them and improve yourself.

For now, focus on loving yourself rather than focusing on finding love. When you are ready, love will find you. You will recognize when a healthy and loving relationship comes and you will be ready for it. But for now, take this time as YOUR time! Focus on getting to know the new and improved you. The stronger, wiser and better YOU! There is love afterwards. There is love after an abusive relationship. The love of loving yourself comes first. It is time for you to put yourself first for once. It is time to enjoy YOU!

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Sidenote: For those who enjoy reading, I created a short list of several books on loving yourself below:

1. Loving Yourself: Finding Happiness by Falling in Love With Yourself First

2. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

3. Learning To Love Yourself

4. Learning to Love Yourself: Finding Your Self-Worth