Dear, Abuser

Dear, Abuser

“Dear, Asshead” wasn’t an appropriate title/opening, but either way, you get the gist; I decided to write a letter to my abuser to get some stuff off my chest.  I’m learning that stuff like this is very important for my healing.  Fingers crossed.

 

Dear, Abuser.

It’s now been 10 years since I escaped and 7 years since I last saw you in person, but I still remember every single detail about you.   remember all of your facial features, your mannerisms, your lisp, the sound of your voice; in an instant, I can recall exactly what your voice sounds like.  To me, it’s like a curse, I’m cursed with never being able to forget you and forget what you look like, what your hands feel like around my throat – I just cannot forget any part of you, both the good and the bad.

Although you were never convicted of the abuse you unleashed on me, and you’ve never admitted what you’ve done, I truly believe you know what you did was wrong and just how wrong it was.  It does sadden me that you were never convicted and never served any time for what you did to me because it just means you’re free to do it to someone else, but in the same breath, you’ve chosen to live a sad and pitiful life of crime by taking advantage of others, which you do actually serve time for, so in a sense, that’s a little bit of a relief because that’s less of a chance that you’re out abusing someone else.  Your choices, both past and present, anger and sadden me because you could be a better person, there are so many parts of you that aren’t completely evil, but you still choose to be a shithead.

I’m still figuring out what it means to forgive you; it’s been a long and tough process, and I still don’t know which direction I’m going in.  The night terrors, anxiety, health issues, depression, and irrational fears that I now suffer from, make it really difficult to forgive you.

I’m thankful that this entire experience has shown me just how strong I really am and has also shown me what I’m worth.  I’ve lost many many friends because of you, but I’ve also grown much closer to my family because of it.  Because of your abuse, I’ve been able to see the best parts of being alive, and feeling what real love truly feels like from my husband and my family.  I have found bliss.  Your actions and choices will forever prevent you from ever feeling true love and true happiness and I believe that is your life sentence, the time you’re going to serve, your punishment, your karma, and your destiny.  What you’ve done to me has been both and worst and best thing to ever happen to me.  Although I do suffer some sort of consequence or reminder of you every single day, I know that the good parts far outweigh the shitty parts of each day.  Your life is the exact opposite of that, and in some way, that sort of brings me relief and helps me to heal; I know that sounds shallow and bitter and mean, but that’s karma, and those are our destinies.

I hope you never unleash your abuse on any other person, ever, but if you unfortunately do, know that you’re weak, you’re a very small, petty boy, and abusing others doesn’t make you a bigger man – so, is it worth it?

I used to think you had potential to be better, even after the abuse, and I sometimes think about the fun, happy times we shared, but I know that’s not the real you, and the thought of you having any potential to be better to someone else quickly fades because of your own choices and actions within the last 10 years.

I don’t wish you anything; I don’t wish you the best, and I don’t wish you the worst.  I really only wish you whatever your own karma brings you.  I dream of the days that I’m no longer haunted by you and all the abuse and all the repercussions that I now have to deal with because of you – I DREAM of those days because then I know my soul can finally be free.

I don’t hate you.  I don’t like you either.  I feel nothing.

I don’t want to live my life with anger inside of me and some days it’s a little harder than others, but my husband is nothing like you, and he makes every single moment worth it.  If I didn’t go through what you put me through, I may not have ever met my husband.  I’m not thanking you for what you did, because what you’ve done is shitty, and stupid, but the path that has led me to my husband involves you, but that’s all there is, there’s nothing to thank you for.  I’ve proven to myself how strong I am, how strong I can be, and just how worthy of love I am, and it sucks that I really can’t say the same for you.

– A

 

Thoughts on Therapy

Thoughts on Therapy

As you may or may not know, I have decided to seek counseling for everything that I went through in the abusive relationship and it’s been going really well.

I just had my fifth session, which is weird because it doesn’t feel like it’s been five sessions already, but I think that’s a good thing.

Since I’ve started going to therapy, my views of it have completely changed.  Before therapy, I felt really alone, because it’s obviously not something that is easy to talk about and I feel there may be others out there that feel the same way I felt before going to therapy.  Nobody should feel lonely.

I would just like to reassure you that therapy is not something to be scared of or ashamed of; you have to take care of you – you are most important.  It’s never too late to get your shit together.  I got out of the abusive relationship 9 years ago and I just started going to therapy.

Before therapy, I was very ashamed, and I let my ego get in the way of not only my mental health, but my general health as a whole.  I wanted to be that woman that was like “no, I’m good, I don’t need therapy, I’m stronger than him, I’ll be fine;” however, as I started to move forward with my new life (after abuse), I started to [privately] see that it did effect me in many ways, but I really tried to hide that from everyone, and maybe even hide it from myself.

I think what I was trying to do was fake it till I made it, or fake it till I became it, became unaffected by the abusive past.  I think that approach did help me in the short-term because I was able to forget about it and really maintain a somewhat normal lifestyle.  But as I’m older now and am in a better place to be able to really look at those emotions and feel what I’m supposed to feel in order to deal with it and move beyond it, I knew I was ready to seek counseling.  I now realize that “pretending” I was fine wasn’t the right thing to do, but as a teenager, I didn’t really know what to do so that’s what I did to make myself feel better and to simply get thru it to do the best I could with whatever strength I had left.

Now, being in therapy, I am so glad I finally made the decision to start getting some counseling because even if you think you have control over it, you really don’t.  I think that’s where I went wrong; I thought I had it under control because I “forgot” about it and wasn’t thinking about it and wasn’t showing any signs that it creeped into my brain every single day.

Admitting to myself that I needed help was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life, but I don’t regret it for a second.  It’s not an easy thing to go through alone and being in therapy makes me feel less alone in this fight.

I do think it is crucial to only go to therapy if you’re ready and it’s something you’ve put a lot of thought into; if you’re not ready, everything may just go in one ear and out the other, so you may not even learn anything at all.

I am very proud of how far I came without therapy and how much of myself I built back up all on my own, and knowing the strength that it took to do that, I’m very proud of myself, but in many ways, admitting to myself that I can’t do it alone and I needed help, makes me even prouder.

It really does help me to just talk about it, out loud.  I love the relationship that I have with my therapist; I trust her, I’m open with her, and even after only five sessions, I can already tell a difference in the way I’m thinking about my past.

My thoughts on therapy have completely changed since before; I’ve seen and felt the positives of therapy, and I really wish I had gone sooner.  There is no shame in seeking therapy or admitting that you even need help in the first place.

I also filmed a video on this topic if you prefer:

 

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Life After Abuse

Sometimes I wonder what others think [my] life is like after abuse.  Sometimes I assume people are assholes and think it’s easy peasy OR that we become the most fragile, baggage-filled, vulnerable people around.  That’s not always how it is.

For me, my life is normally pretty good, but I have bad days.  In my case, it seems that stress will trigger some symptoms so I have to be careful to not stress so easily, but we all know stress is inevitable.  When I get stressed, my symptoms heighten, which include:

  • short term memory loss
  • night terrors
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • fear
  • fits of rage
  • flashbacks
  • depression

All of things, the night terrors are definitely the worst; they feel so real to me and they are the only thing I cannot control, which frustrates me to no end.

The only things I can really do to control the symptoms, are to simply breathe and talk myself thru it, or talk myself down, really.  Being aware of my surroundings and thinking as realistically as possible really helps me.

And when I can’t control those things, I usually turn to my husband, who is always there to support me and help as much as he possibly can.  I appreciate him so much for that.

The only thing I really cannot control, are the night terrors.  I have not yet figured out how to control those or really figure out what it is that scares me so much into having night terrors every night.

Most days are okay, and most days I feel pretty good…or maybe as good as I possibly can to appear as normal as possible as well.  I love my life, because I make it a good life and I choose to see the better in each day rather than focus on the negatives.  That’s not to say I don’t have bad days, but I just know that I’m going to have bad days, I can’t get around that, but I can love the good days, so that’s what I’ll do.

I did make a video about Life After Abuse, it’s here on YouTube if you’d like to watch:

xoxo

Domestic Violence FAQs

Domestic Violence FAQs

Domestic Violence is not something that is discussed enough.  When we don’t talk about things, they remain a secret, which can be deadly in the case of domestic violence.  I believe talking about domestic violence is key to ending it altogether.

As a survivor of teen dating abuse, I’ve heard many questions, misconceptions, and even some judgments about domestic violence that were somewhat surprising to me.  I can’t blame people though, that is simply ignorance.  When someone isn’t educated about something, they’re just ignorant to it, and that’s fine, but if we can get more people educated about domestic violence, the truth of it, maybe we can open people’s minds to learning and understanding it to better help end domestic violence.

I was searching the internet and found a great website about Domestic Violence:  National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and thought I would share the information.  Here is some insight on Frequently Asking Questions about Domestic Violence that may open your mind:

  1. What is domestic violence?
    1. Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical, emotional, psychological, financial, and/or sexual abuse.
      • I experienced all of these types of abuse during my abusive relationship (or ” relationshit”as I often refer to it).  It began with emotional and psychological abuse, then when we had my mind broken down enough, the physical abuse began, then, since he didn’t have a job, he began to coerce me into spending all of my earned money on him and whatever he wanted, and finally, he abused me sexually.  I feel lucky that he only sexually abused me a few times, but it was still scarring, nonetheless.
    2. A persuasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, or education.
  2.  Why do victims stay with or return to abusers?
    1. Battered make it very difficult for victims to escape relationships
    2. Every odd is against victims when contemplating leaving
    3. Abusers work very hard to keep victims in relationships
    4. There is a real fear of death or more abuse if they leave
      • Whenever I would make any indication or comment that I would reveal his secret of being an abuser, or leaving the relationship, he would tap into his incredible ability to emotionally and psychologically abuse me into believing that nobody else would ever want me because I was damaged, broken, and unlovable.
    5. A victim’s risk of getting killed greatly increases when they are in the process of leaving or have just left
      • After I turned 18, during an episode of abuse, I got so angry that I revealed I was going to leave him and press charges because I could do that on my own now, but it only made things worse; that day was one of the worst beatings I ever received by him.
    6. Batterers are very good at making victims think that the abuse is their fault; victims often believe that if they caused the violence, they can also stop it
      • My abuser used that emotional and psychologically controlling hold on me to his advantage by making me believe that I made him angry enough to abuse, that I caused his rage, that if I would only stop pissing him off, then the abuse would stop…but it never worked out that way – there was always another excuse that he found to make me feel like I was hopeless in avoiding to piss him off.
    7. Victims are made to believe they cannot survive on their own
    8. Survivors sometimes want the abuse to end, not the relationship
      • This is an important one.  You must acknowledge that typically, abuse does not begin on day 1 of a relationship.  In my case, the abuse did not begin until three months in.  If you think about it, three months is enough time to really share yourself with someone else.  Within three months, you’ve exchanged emotions, feelings, love, and happiness together.  As a human being, we tend to hold onto the once romance and love because at one time, it was our happy place, and we thought greatly of that person.
    9. A survivor may return to the abuser because that is the person they fell in love with, and they believe the promises to change; it’s not easy to let go of hopes and dreams
  3. Do abusers show any potential warning signs?
    1. There is no sure way to spot an abuser in a crowd, but most abusers share some common characteristics:
      1. They insist on moving too quickly into a relationship
      2. They can be very charming and may seem too good to be true
        • For the first three months of my relationship, he was extremely charming, romantic, and sweet.  He treated me like a queen, like he might just bow down to me one day
      3. They insist that you stop participating in leisure activities or spending time with family and friends
        • I quit dance while I was with him because he insisted that I was a horrible person because dance meant more to me than he did.  He claimed it was because he loved me so much he just wanted to spend as much time with me as possible; I see now that he was threatened by my love for dance and the possibilities it may bring me…or maybe the fact that there were also males there that I might just leave him for
        • He insisted I spend all of my free time with him – no friends, no family time, nothing without him.  He preferred I be with him alone, but often told me he would have to accompany me if I were to spend time with friends or family.  You can imagine how much my friends, in high school, loved this idea.
        • I distanced myself from my family because I believed that would please him; that must have been confusing and scary for my family.  They had no idea why I would distance myself like that…and once the physical abuse started, I began to distance myself from my family even more, mostly to protect them as he would often threaten their lives if I made any notion to leaving or revealing his secret, but also because it was embarrassing for me to think that I was a victim of domestic abuse.  In my mind, I was “letting” him abuse me because I stopped fighting back after learning it only made him hit/kick/strangle harder.  Obviously, I know now that I was NOT “letting” him do that to me, I got into a relationship with a persuasive person, who worked his way into my mind, and I was surviving any way I could.
      4. They are extremely jealous or controlling
        • Every relationship has some amount of healthy jealousy, it’s natural as human beings, but when it is extreme, and pairs with a controlling nature, that is a HUGE red flag – get out immediately!
      5. They do not take responsibility for their actions and blame others for everything that goes wrong
        • This is very true – the abuse was always either “my” fault or someone else’s for pissing him off or disrespecting him.  To this day, he has never admitted what he used to do to me behind closed doors; he denies and his mother calls him an “angel.”  Fuck off with that bull shit – that’s a coverup because she knows just as well as he does, that he is a shitty person and a bad egg, and she has contributed to that shitty person by not raising him to know better.  MAYBE if he were able to grow up, and as an adult, be able to acknowledge what he did and that it was wrong, and that he is truly, to the core of his being, sorry for doing that to someone, I may think differently of him, but because he cannot take responsibility, he is still a shitty, shitty person in my eyes.
      6. They criticize their partner’s appearance and make frequent put-downs
        • This was so very true for me.  I’ve never been an exceptionally vulnerable or insecure person, but somehow, with his controlling and persuasive ways, he convinced me that I was ugly, and my A-cup breasts were ugly and nobody would want that, that I was worthless and unlovable.  When someone makes you believe these horrible things, it’s dangerous.
        • Know that you are worth more than that, you aren’t what they say and if someone begins to intentionally try to make you feel like crap, get out immediately!  You’re worth so much more than that, so much more than the opinion of a shitty person.
      7. Their words and actions don’t match
        • This vicious cycle.
        • My abuser always claimed he was sorry, that he only did it because he loved me, it wouldn’t happen again, but not one of those claims were backed by action.  He was not sorry, not truly sorry, that’s NOT how you show love, it always happened again.
        • Growing up, we are taught that showing love does not always mean just saying the words, “i love you,” showing love means truly caring for people and making them FEEL that love.  Abusing someone is NOT how to show love.
        • **Now, just because someone may have one or even a few of these characteristics, doesn’t mean they’re automatically an abuser; what’s meant is if any of these characteristics are in an extreme nature, that is a red flag of an abuser.  Go with your gut to get out before there is any chance of abuse.
  4. Are men victims of domestic violence?
    1. YES, men are sometimes victims of domestic abuse/violence
    2. 85% of victims are female, while the other 15% of victims include intimate partner violence in gay and lesbian relationships and men who were battered by a female partner.
    3. While women are 90-95% more likely to suffer domestic violence, men can still be victims of domestic violence.
  5. What can I do to help?
    1. Say something.  The problem will continue if nobody talks about it.
      • In the years after I got out of the abusive relationship, I’ve ran into other residents of the apartment building that most of the abuse took place, and they’ve actually told me that they heard me screaming, but never did or said anything.  WHY NOT?!  I was screaming for my life, for someone to help, for anything…but they chose to let me suffer and possibly die.  Please don’t do what they did, you can always call 911 for someone, you can always say something, anonymously.
    2. If you’re an outsider with suspicions of abuse in someone else’s relationship, keep track of the signs, WRITE THEM DOWN (without any physical proof, sometimes police/court systems cannot do anything), say something to an official, ask that person if they need help.
      • When I brought my abuser to court, I didn’t know that I should have been keeping track and documenting everything on physical paper, so the court systems never believed me; they thought I was like those other [immature] girls who came in to get a restraining order on an ex-boyfriend just because I didn’t want to go out with him anymore, or maybe they just had the thought in their heads that teen dating violence/domestic violence didn’t happen around here, but regardless of their thoughts/views, they were supposed to be there to help me and they didn’t because I never had any physical proof.  Ultimately, I fought it in court for a year, and he was never arrested, or charged with anything related to my case.  He was free to do it again to someone else.  That’s so sad…and scary.
    3. You can donate to local, statewide, or national anti-domestic violence programs or victim assistance programs
    4. Educate your children about what healthy relationships look like, and what RESPECT is, and how we should be treated, fairly.  Lead by example.
    5. Talk about it with your children so they know what to look for, how to avoid it, and heaven forbid, know how to escape abuse should they find themselves in an abusive relationship.
  6. What resources are available to victims?
    1. Survivors can obtain a protection order, stay in a shelter, join a support group, and/or anonymously call a local domestic violence shelter or hotline program.
    2. Thousands of local shelters across the United States provide safety, counseling, legal help, and other resources for victims and their children.
    3. NNEDV’s website has safety tips and resources:  www.nnedv.org
    4. Here are some other helpful websites:
      www.thehotline.org
      www.ncadv.org
      www.endabusewi.org
      www.womensaidni.org
      www.womenslaw.org
    5. United States National Domestic Violence Hotline:  1-800-799-7233
    6. United States National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline:  1-866-331-9474

Please remain educated and continue the conversations about domestic violence and teen dating violence, it’s the only way we can end it.

If you prefer a video about this content, you can watch my YouTube video about it:

YouTube

After much discussion with my husband, I’ve decided to start a YouTube channel and I’m really excited!!

A lot of people have misconceptions about how a survivor might live their life so I’m hoping my channel will help to clear up some questions, judgments, assumptions, etc.  Since only two people in my family know that I was involved in an abusive relationship (my husband and my mother), I’ve lived my life almost in secret or divided into two separate lives.  At home with my husband, I allow myself to be vulnerable and open up to my husband about the abusive relationship and how it affects me every single day; he is really the only one who is truly able to see how it affects my daily life and actions.  When I’m with my family, I push that way down to hide it and try my best to simply be happy and enjoy the moments with my family.

I’m hopeful that my YouTube channel will also allow other survivors to come together and be inspired to get the conversation going; we all know that’s part of the problem – no one talks about domestic violence or teen dating abuse.  When there is no conversation, there is no action to prevent or treat/stop it.

I live a great life now.  I know that my life is split into two “chapters” if you will; before abuse and after abuse.  For me, the after is the best – I love my life.  I take time to give myself credit for fighting to survive and also fighting for a better life by not allowing him or the abuse to ruin the rest of my life.  I deserve a great life after the abuse and I will continue to fight to achieve that every day.  I hope to inspire others to not let that crap get them down or not let it ruin their day or entire life.  Everyone deserves a good life, regardless of what has happened to them in the past.

I’m very thankful for my husband and his support.  When I told him I was thinking about starting a YouTube channel, he didn’t even question it; his first words were “do it!”  I love that – I’m so lucky to have him.  He’s pumped to set me up with a filming spot and he even offered to go on camera with me whenever I wanted him to!  I think that would take time for me to be comfortable with though.  My ex knows my face, but I’m not sure he knows my married last name or my husband’s face and if not, I’d like to keep it that way, to protect his privacy and minimize the possibility of him finding me (us).  I also plan to alter my husband’s name on camera, again, to protect his privacy.  I suppose that would be up to him though – if he feels safe enough to use his real name or not.  He has less fear than I do.

I think having this YouTube channel will also serve as some sort of therapy for me as well, not just for my viewers.  I don’t necessarily “believe” in therapy because I’ve always just dealt with things on my own, which I continue to do every day, but I know that talking about it and even knowing that I might be helping even one person will be like therapy for me and will help me to get thru it.

Not EVERY video will be about domestic violence/teen dating abuse though.  I want to show people that my every day life isn’t all gloom and doom because I was once abused – I don’t sit in a ball in a corner rocking back and forth.  I live my damn life.  I deserve that.  I will talk about domestic violence/teen dating abuse in videos, but not all because that would be misleading – the majority of my life is happy, but every now and again, I have a bad day where all I can focus on is the abuse; those are the days I will film and it will be raw and emotional and real, because that’s what it is, it’s very real for me, but I must get through it.

I’m feeling empowered today, and I love it.

Also, my YouTube channel name is “Finding Bliss” in case you were wondering!

– A

A Haunting Memory

My hopes for this blog are simple. I want to help. I want to help others who have or may still be in the horrible situation I was once in, but I know that before I can help anyone else, I need to help myself. Maybe this blog will kill two birds with one stone. 

Writing has always helped me figure out my core feelings about anything, whether I kept the paper I wrote my feelings down on or not; writing makes you think, makes you feel, makes you face your demons. I love it.

I hope this blog will allow me to heal through writing, but also help and maybe even inspire others.

Here is my secret, it haunts me every day: During 2006 to 2007, I was in an extremely abusive relationshit (not a typo); I was a Junior, going into my Senior year of high school.

Very very few of my friends are aware, and the only person in my family that has a very minor idea of what happened, is my mother. My sister and father have absolutely no idea.

I’m 27 now and I feel guilty for keeping this big of a secret from my family, but I can’t bring myself to look them in the eye and tell them of the abuse; it would kill them. I love them, I can’t hurt them like that.

I am alive. I hope my surviving serves a purpose. I hope others can read about my survival and know for sure, that they can get through anything.

– A