Why aren’t you angry?

You haven’t grieved enough. You aren’t angry enough. How can you not be furious? You can’t heal unless you grieve. You can’t heal unless you’re angry.

Even when people are trying to help, isn’t it amazing how often they tell you what to feel? Early on, when challenged over my lack of fury, I was patted on the shoulder as the person concerned over me reassured themselves by telling me, ‘Don’t worry, that will come in time.’

Sidenote: The thing is, our journey to healing is a personal one, and although everyone else joined me on that path the week before I left, it was a rite of passage I had embarked on several years prior. The stages of grief, although people like to categorize them strictly as Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance, have many over-lapping qualities, and in all actuality, were introduced by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and her book exploring our approaches to death. Her book “On Death and Dying” was published way back in 1969. It was never intended to serve as the be-all, end-all authority on loss and grieving for all loss. Not that there isn’t something to be learned from understanding these concepts.

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He Was Mean Because He Liked Me

A post inspired by one coasting around on facebook. Learning healthy boundaries, and teaching young people appropriate ways and times to say “No, I don’t like that” starts when we are children. Maybe if we teach younger girls better ways to handle treatment they don’t like, we can teach younger boys, early, healthy ways to handle rejection too. Or better ways to communicate their interest.

Reasoning with the Monsters Under the Bed

A Mighty Girl's photo.
This post showed up in my newsfeed today on Facebook. I agreed with it & it struck a chord, so I reposted it. A few friends chimed in with comments lamenting the fact that it does still happen today, in 2016. They see it all the time at playgrounds, in schools, and don’t know how to react. So they don’t.
It’s great that we all agree that this is wrong, but the fact that ADULTS see it happen and don’t do anything about it is just as bad as the ill-deed itself. Ignoring it is enabling the bully (and they adult saying it), causing the problem to thrive.
So what’s the big deal about a little teasing? What if it’s because the boy really does like the girl? Really, there isn’t any harm right…it’s just a phase, right?
I grew up in a small town where this was all perfectly…

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It boils down to trust…

Warning: if you’re uncomfortable with frank talk about marital sex, topics of pornography, you may want to skip this post.


 

Another blogger that I follow, Matt from Must Be This Tall To Ride, wrote a blog post that talked about many of the things we often don’t discuss in polite company. Not because it is bad so much as it isn’t done. He’s someone from the other side of the divorce equation: a man whose wife left him but who has been working hard to figure himself out ever since. Although he speaks primarily to men, I connect with the frank authenticity that comes from his posts, and appreciate the male perspective he offers. The focus of this recent post essentially discussed the necessity of talking about sex and physical intimacy and needs within the context of marriage. Speaking to other men, he also tackled the topics of masturbation and pornography, and his perspective on how these two items can impact husband and wife.

When commenting, sharing an incident in my past and it’s impact on my marriage, it suddenly occurred to me that even in the realm of sexuality my sense of what might be normal for men or in a relationship is skewed.

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The wanderer, the warrior, the wizard

I asked in a recent post how others coped and dealt with their own struggles in their lives. What steps did they take? What was the process? Where are they at? Havoc over at ‘The Warrior’s Guide’ responded with this powerful post:

The Warrior's Guide

Wanderer warrior wizzard

Problems… we all have problems. Some little, like the pebble in your shoe. Some big, like a sword hanging over your head, or crosshairs resting on your heart. In my life I had loads of problems of the epic kind. The kind that either eats you whole, or turns you into a magnificent conquer.

One method of problem solving stood out over the years of consternation:

For those not familiar with Neuro Linguistic Programming (or NLP for short), it is the art of literally re-wiring the way you think to solve problems quickly and effectively. One of the strategies NLP developed stuck to me. Here follows a very powerful model of solving problems and tracking progress of healing.

The six modes of problem solving

We all go through our problems in six steps, usually in this exact order. Allow me to explain: In this metaphor, the problem is a dragon…

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Leaving your abuser: Discretion in a digital world

Having written a post with tips on how to get away from your abuser many months ago, I thought it might be helpful to provide some information on covering your tracks. There is a plethora of information available to us online, but if our significant other has access to our computers, phones, or other media (instant messages, etc.) – and has had a history of abusing these or us – it is important to know how to protect yourself.

I expect this post will get updated from time to time. If you have found a good resource you would like to share, please feel free to link it below.

Computer/Mobile Web Browsing

This link is a great place to start, Cover Your Tracks, for the computer/mobile. A quick summary:

  • Learn how to delete the history on your browser so your abuser cannot tell you have been to our site.
  • Safest way to find information is at local library, friend’s house, or work.
  • Modern browsers and “hidden” modes. (Also you can search Google for how to browse in private.)
  • IMPORTANT: If you’re reading this YOUR ABUSER ALREADY CAN SEE YOU’VE BEEN TO OUR SITE unless you started browsing using a mode listed above.
  • Private browsing on mobile devices.
  • How do I cover my tracks if I haven’t used one of these modes or have already visited this page without one enabled? This website has some good information on how to erase your browsing history.

 

Additionally, hide smart, don’t just eradicate all your online activities. If someone goes looking for your online search history, make sure to leave some innocuous information – like news sites, etc. Essentially, misinformation.

For the tech-savvy abuser, be aware they may have access to spyware or keylogging programs.

Private messaging/mobile phone folders

Strategies

There are a lot of great strategies you can employ to take back control of your life, even if only in small doses. Consider if any of the strategies at this link will be helpful for you (see summary below of topics covered). Technology Safety Planning. This article was written from a Canadian perspective, but shares pretty universally useful tips.

  • Trust your instincts – if an abusive S.O. possesses information they shouldn’t about you, take note of it.
  • Plan for safety – there are resources out there, but you may not have immediate access to them. Finding someone you trust who can help you with research is great. (In an emergency, don’t forget the police. I myself called upon them twice here in the US, and they were both professional and kind to me.)
  • Use the safest computer/technology access you can.
  • Create a new email, Facebook or instant messaging account – be anonymous, and provide no details. Always sign out of your email or social network sites.
  • Check your mobile phone settings
  • Change passwords and pin numbers
  • Also keep anti-virus software up-to-date on your computer and other devices. This may assist you to identify and remove any unknown programs.
  • Minimize use of cordless phones or baby monitors
  • Get your own mobile phone
  • Get a private post box and don’t give out your real address
  • Google yourself
  • Save evidence and consider reporting abuse or stalking

 

Hopefully you don’t have to use these tips, but my “How do I leave?” post has been getting a lot of views lately, and I felt additional, detailed help might be useful.

Walking the Tightrope

There is a fine line before me, and I set one foot carefully before the other. Sometimes my movements are confident, other times I am hesitant. But I must keep my eyes on the goal ahead, for where I look, the rest of me will follow. Focusing on what is behind me, or below me, may set my feet in places that send me tumbling to the ground.

One of the things I’ve noticed, cruising around the blogosphere, are the different ways that people use to cope with hardship and grief. Some focus on the present. Others on their thoughts. There are blogs that focus on understanding the things or people that have caused the author harm. Still others, seek to inform and educate.

Sometimes I am not sure why I am here, my words are often somewhat unfocused, and I veer from self-help, to streams of consciousness, to random thoughts. I’ve spent a lot of time following the stories of fellow bloggers, reading and considering their insights, and pains, and the validation that comes from knowing you are not alone in this experience. Continue reading

Amused frustration

There are always loose ends.

My divorce was final over six weeks ago, and yet my ex has yet to send me the money he was instructed to. This is the second time in three months a check he has supposedly sent to the P.O. box has gone astray. His comment mentioned something about how ‘Frankly suspicious’ he was regarding us not receiving it, but he would resend one anyway. (I know him well enough, he would not send ‘a new’ check if he thought I had access to both. He attributes his own level of maturity and vindictiveness to me. Which is to say, a very little and quite a lot respectively.)

He then proceeds to snark at me for not contacting a group to sign documents which will allow them to work on doing away with a portion of our mutual debt. Does he provide the contact information? No. Has he? No.

This, after throwing a tantrum that he can’t reach me directly through our one e-mail. It is grating on him, that he doesn’t have direct access to me. He keeps suggesting I change the protection order, and I can’t quite understand what he thinks I think that will accomplish. I am quite happy with someone else vetting all communique’s. Continue reading

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers

 

Nominated!

Thankyou to Anna Levenson @ Self Actualized Events for nominating me! The goal is to build up our fellow female bloggers, and nominate a few of those who have inspired you. If you write your own post in response to my nomination, please reply to this one with a link so I don’t miss it!

And without further ado…

Why do you blog?

The written word has always been an important part of how I process and understand the world around me. It began as early as the age of seven, with my first (rather trite) basic rhyming poem, and has followed me through years of hand-written journals and fantastical, mostly unfinished, stories. I blog because it gives me a voice, even when I struggle to speak up in my day to day life. Writing gives me a chance to see and consider my words, in a way that speaking, even conversationally, does not.

Do you hope to accomplish something with blogging or do you just enjoy it?

Being a survivor of domestic violence, my hopes for my blog are multi-fold. First, as I mentioned before, writing is how I process. It helps me to integrate my experiences, choices and thoughts in ways that help me to verbalize and enact change. If I want to be able to talk to someone about something, there is a fair chance that I will find a way to write about it first. Blogging helps me solidify and make real a part of my healing process, and helps me focus on my journey towards being a more authentic person.

Secondly, I have a story. It is similar to other survivors, but unique to me, as all our stories are. I write so that others who might be in a similar situation, know that they are not alone. I write and try to share some of my struggles and frustrations and hard moments (even if I put a positive spin/find silver linings) because there is a lot of information about leaving. And a lot of information about what you should do. But there are not a lot of blogs that follow, consistently, the healing process.

Thirdly, I hope by speaking up, it will help whittle away at society’s fear of speaking about the difficult things in life, like abuse, anxiety, depression, mental illness, medication and the wonderful things that counselors/therapists can help you accomplish.

Where do you live?

As this is an anonymous blog, I will say only that I live between the ocean and the mountains, a little place of heaven and a city I hope to never be far from. I choose to write anonymously for a few reasons, firstly, I think being able to speak freely without fear of familiar people finding this blog helps me to be more genuine. Secondly, my ex was always triggered by any public reference to any of his issues. This preserves both our identities, and my safety. I am not entirely sure if I will ever relate this blog to my real identity for those reasons.

What are a few of your top books?

Of books, a few of my favorites are Dragonsinger (McCaffrey), The Hero and the Crown (McKinley), Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Wrede), and The Deed of Paksennarion (Moon). Yet there are also a plethora of authors who I read and enjoy almost anything they write. The three mentioned above, but also Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Susanna Kearsley, etc. Historical fiction is also a huge draw for me, understanding the people and cultures of the past is both fascinating, and helps inform my more creative/fantastical writing.

How about movies? What are your favorites?

Princess Bride, The Goonies, Pride and Prejudice (Firth version), The King’s Speech, Star Wars, Message in a Bottle…

What could you not live without?

My family. Having gradually found myself isolated from them over the past decade, I don’t ever want to lose them in that way again. I feel lucky that I get a second chance to rebuild those relationships.

How would you hope to be described?

Here in this blog I am fairly forthright and striving to be more authentic. I would hope people in the world outside the internet can begin seeing those things in me too.

What is your soapbox? That one issue that always puts you right up there?

Domestic violence, abuse, mental illness and the responsibility we all have to work on our own issues. I am a strong believer that we can’t always control what does or does not happen to us in life, but we can work hard to handle those things better, and make healthier choices. Life is a journey, and if we try to live each day just a little better than the last, over years that can only take us great places.

Where would you like to retire?

Somewhere I can still have a few adventures; that has all four seasons, and mountains and water in close supply. Not too far from family, but not necessarily too close either!

What do you do for work/day job/ etc?

Because of my situation, I’ll decline to answer this one for now. Some day, however, I would like to put my creative talents and writing practice to the test and see if I can publish a novel. I have a few irons in the fire, but have to take care of the practical things for now.

Now for the nominations (no particular order. Okay, I lied. I had to alphabetize..):

A Life Worth Living For

Authentically Aurora

Juni Desireé

Lovely Wounded Lady

threekidsandi

 

Questions for everyone to answer:

  1. What initially brought you to our blogosphere?
  2. Do you hope to accomplish something with blogging or is it merely personal?
  3. Where do you come up with your various blog posts? Do you plan, base them on recent events, etc.?
  4. What do you like most about where you live?
  5. Whether it be books, movies, art, music or other mediums, what creative things inspire you?
  6. What could you not live without?
  7. I recently challenged someone to write 50 reasons they were awesome, and they challenged me back (so I wrote myself a love letter for Valentine’s day). If you were to write a short list or a paragraph in that vein, what would you say to yourself?
  8. For good or bad, what are some of the beliefs you hold about the world? Do you consider yourself a pessimist, an optimist, a realist?
  9. Do you enjoy other creative endeavors besides writing?
  10. Do you advertise your blog to those in your personal lives? Prefer to keep it separate? Maybe tell us more about your desired audience and if your writing is influenced by your readers/potential readers.

Looking forward to hearing from you lovely ladies and support your fellow bloggers!

sisterhood-bloggers

A New Leaf

When I started this blog, it was a way to process my fears, hopes, struggles the best way I knew how. Through my words.

I didn’t know what I was doing.

I had no answers.

I only had a story. My story. A story that I had kept bottled up behind many different masks for nearly nine years. The good Christian wife mask. The happy daughter mask. The slighty-weary-with-life-but-handling-it mask. The helpful-friend mask. Now, I don’t really feel that a blog about ‘masks’ really fits me. I am considering changing the name, but want to really explore different ones that fit.

For weeks before writing, I scoured the internet looking for blogs, articles, and anything to help me better understand where I found myself – a woman facing divorce, living at home, recently emerging from a situation of domestic violence. I was lost. And struggling. I saw a lot of articles about abuse, but I didn’t see many that showed any one person’s personal journey. I’ve always connected most to a person’s story, the path from brokenness to redemption. So, I decided to share my own. A flawed, struggling work in process.

A year ago I was preparing to face my abuser in court, hoping to be granted a protection order. (I was). I had no car. I was drowning in bills. I was paralyzed by fear – of my ex, of the possible judgments of people around me, that my struggle to focus at work might ultimately lose me my job. Sleepless nights were not uncommon, and my health was poor due to physical pain as well as stress and anxiety. I hardly smiled. Anxiety followed me as closely as my own shadow.

A year later? I am up for a promotion. I’m writing again, creatively. I’ve met someone, who respects my boundaries and isn’t rushing me. My counselor and I are tackling more than simple coping strategies. One of my best friend’s is a new mom, and I get to be an auntie. I’m returning to school in a month, to finish the last few courses of my degree. More than one person has mentioned that even my eyes are smiling now. I am physically stronger and more able than I have been in 4 years. Hope has found its place in my heart: hope for the future, for health, for my career… for an identity I thought I had lost.

If you have only recently found me, these are a few of the posts that I think convey my state of mind throughout this past year. I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve come out ahead, I think. Early on, I shared so much with so little confidence in myself, and reading through the many posts I seem to hear the growing confidence, determination and certainty as the months go by.

My turning point:

Healing is definitely a journey, and a process, and I have a long ways to go. But just think, if I’ve come this far in just a year – while still battling through a messy divorce – how much farther can I go?

Scar tissue

One of the things we don’t realize, with a surgery, is how difficult and painful scar tissue can be. It binds up the places beneath your skin, thick and difficult and invisible until you make a movement that places tension on it. Which brings pain. And if you do not listen, more pain.

Having excised my ex and his abusive behaviors from my life is a really great start. My protection order is good for another year, the divorce is finalized, and life is regaining some sense of normalcy. From all outward appearances, someone might think me hale and healthy.

Yet for the first time, as I share more time with Guy, I am realizing how much emotional scar tissue remains, however normal I appear on the surface.
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Love Letter to Me

An article I read recently, while sitting in my therapist’s waiting room, mentioned that it takes 5 positives to offset a negative. Apparently our brains our wired to process negativity, perhaps as a coping mechanism, perhaps as a stimulus to change or avoid the things that cause negativity. I recently read a post by Hurricane Heather, where she openly shared a list of those negative things she struggles with and feels vulnerable about. I could relate to so many of those items, but challenged her to write a similar list describing the awesome things about herself. And she did, and challenged me right back. Follow up to Letter’s I will never send (but already sort of did): Dear J. Response: Dear Heather.

Heather? Challenge accepted.

So here goes – in letter form. A love letter to myself, because if we can’t love ourselves, how are we going to be able to love others?

Not normally my kind of music, but this Fifth Harmony song, “Brave, Honest, Beautiful” is pretty inspiring.

My challenge to you? 50 things that make you you, and make you awesome, OR a love letter to yourself. If you accept, please post here and link your article so I don’t miss it. 🙂

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It’s not just physical

Reblogging this post that shares another woman’s experiences with abuse I think it is so important to share our stories. Verbal and emotional abuse involves so much manipulation and reality twisting, that sometimes, for me at least, I need to hear the same thing from multiple people before I believe it.

Half of the people who wrote to me after my blog post about divorce have suffered abuse and that’s n… – http://wp.me/pz7Me-H2

5 Traits of Those Who Are Vulnerable to Manipulators

We can’t control others, but we can examine ourselves to make sure we stop the behaviors that made us more vulnerable to those who would abuse us.

Source: 5 Traits of Those Who Are Vulnerable to Manipulators

Comprehending Chaos

Making life complicated is never something I set out to do, yet it seems I am the magnet and chaos is the iron filings. This post has a little of everything, as I try and process out the churn and understand why I feel so overwhelmed in this moment.
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