Video “Must See”: Asking For It

***TRIGGER WARNING!*** Situational domestic violence re-enactments.

I stayed quiet. It helps NO ONE, not you and not the abuser. Silence is acceptance to an abuser. They will abuse again, in whatever they way they know. I stayed quiet as a teen about being raped. I was kept silent by fear.

Later I kept quiet about what was going on behind the closed doors of my home. I was silent about what was being done to me and my children. The abuse was erasing who I was and I was turning into a fembot — silently and diligently doing what was required of me and losing more and more of my identity daily. It got to the point when I was age 33, after the birth of my third child, I contemplated suicide to end the sadness and hopelessness.

Abuse victims are NEVER “asking for it.” We want to be happy and care-free when we are living life — not stopped in our tracks by fear and coercion and violence! Abusers exert their perceived dominance into our lives, where we are going merrily along and suddenly the world loses color and meaning. Our lives, as we knew them, get sucked into a vacuum of violence. We NEVER asked for any of it. EVER.

This video is very enlightening. Please take care, as this video can trigger memories or feelings or emotions from the reader’s own trauma experience. Also, if someone reports a violent situation to you, please, please, believe them! There is too much apathy in the world…too many people turning a blind eye, stating “not me, not my problem.”

Video “Must See”: Stalking Laura

***TRIGGER WARNING!*** Stalking and coercive abuse in the movie, also violence.

This film came out in 1993 as “I Can Make You Love Me.” It’s based on the true victimization story of Laura Black, from the mid-1980’s. I was able to watch it for free on IMBd TV, but I’ve also added the link above; it’s the made-for-TV movie in it’s entirety.

Once you watch the above movie, view the continuing to the story here: https://youtu.be/W9WvhSfyrdE

Run for Your Life

Moving forward from abuse, to me, means continuing to grow and improve. My abusive Ex constantly told me “no one will ever want you” and “you’ll never amount to anything or be anyone of consequence.” Lies, lies, and more damned lies! Abusers like to verbally berate their victims so that they won’t leave. Sadly, as survivors, we tend to have to prove our self-worth to ourselves all the time — just to prove that our abusers are not correct, EVER.

Besides going to after DV certifications, I am constantly competing (against myself) in virtual 5K’s. I also do this to prove to myself that I still can be physical and exercise. I have fibromyalgia and degenerative disc disease. I am in constant pain, due to the physical abuse I received, mainly, but also somewhat to age and genetics.

Most of the time, I cannot even walk for an extended period of time to complete a 5K, so I have a floor pedaling machine that has a counter on it. I sit on an ice pack and pedal, and convert it to the 5K mileage. Usually I go over the mileage a bit, but I do not claim my medal until I EARN it, truly earn it. I usually complete these 5K’s in 45 to 60 minutes. Here lately, since I have been hurting more, I have been taking about an hour and 15 minutes to complete them. Progress, not perfection, right?

You might be asking, how do I do these virtual runs? There are SO many companies that do nothing but host virtual runs. Sometimes social agencies do these virtual runs to raise money for great causes. They can cost anywhere from $0-$40 on average. My current favorite series is the DC Wonder Woman series. She is my favorite super hero and I have to prove #iamwonderwoman, even though most days I feel like MUCH less than. I did survive domestic and sexual abuse, so there is that. I have to tell myself, every day that I. AM. WONDER WOMAN! I often “wonder” How on Earth I survived all that I did!

If you’re wondering what companies host virtual runs, here are a few that I like:

  • VirtualRun.com
  • VirtualStrides.com
  • RuntheEdge.com
  • ChallengeinMotion.com
  • Yes.Fit
  • GoneforaRun.com
  • BadAssRunner.com
  • MedalDash.com
  • USRoadRunning.com

I certainly hope this helps! I know it keeps me motivated, out of trouble, feeling better, and helps worthy organizations. It’s a win-win-win-win!

Book Review: Hour of the Witch

From WashingtonPost.com

WARNING: This book contains abusive and violent situations.

If you use reading as an escape, as I do, you must read this book! It was written by Chris Bohjalian and came out earlier in 2021. It is set during the time of the Salem witch trials, but within the confines of 1662 Puritan inhabited Boston, Mass.

The main character, Mary Deerfield, has only been married to Thomas Deerfield for approximately five years — but Mary has not produced a child. She is a devote Christian and a devoted wife, but for a MUCH older Thomas, that simply is not enough. He is abusive and unkind to her in private, stating often that she has “white meat” for brains. The reader can see her struggle with her role as a wife. Does she really love Thomas? Why hasn’t she conceived a child? Is there something wrong with her that she feels numb when Thomas forces himself sexually on her? She’s fulfilling her godly duty, right?

Mary is a beautiful and independent woman and you can see her really wrestle with her thoughts. She is a daughter of a wealthy merchant and her mother brings her these new household items called “forks,” as a gift, when one of her father’s ships returns to harbor. During this time period, in a very immature New England, the Puritans believe that they are truly the “devil’s tines.” Is Mary now in league with the devil? Her neighbors start to wonder and question her loyalty to godliness.

Thomas, who is also a functional alcoholic, becomes more abusive as the story unfolds and eventually stabs Mary through her palm with one of the devil’s tines, breaking bones and causing much injury to her delicate hand. This is the last draw and she has finally had enough, so she petitions the community Elders for a divorce. Does that truly seal the public opinion about Mary Deerfield being a witch? Thomas is a respected business owner and member of the church, after all.

Read and find out what becomes of Mary!

Honestly, I couldn’t put this book down. This period of time intrigues me — it was detrimental to be a woman, when you were no more than property and a baby-making factory. I found it ironic that it paralleled my own modern life, to a certain degree. My abusive Ex was a functional alcoholic during our marriage and made me question my own sanity on a regular basis. Anything I said against how he was treating me was “heresy” and me being “insane.” It only resonates that if a woman didn’t like the treatment her husband was giving to her, that he thought her to be a witch. It also resonated with me because I had an ancestor that was accused of being a witch and pressed to death by a large stone. The phrase “witch hunt” really has an emotional meaning to me and I one day hope to go to Salem, Mass to see the large stone that silenced his life. We must not forget this, as it is sort of appearing now, in present day society, with people getting offended and suing people over opinions. Oppression is still rampant, only in different forms! It is also ironic that my abusive Ex cited often that I was going against the Lord, when, in fact, I feel as though I was married to Satan!

Regardless, this book was one of the best books I have read in a long time and you will not regret it!

A Call to Action

I have been assisting a survivor, who had recently gotten out of abuse, so I advised her to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline and ask to speak to a counselor. She was in one state, while I was in another. After a while, she contacted me back to ask if it was normal to wait on the line for over an hour to speak to a DV counselor. Um, NO!?! WTH???

To get her immediate assistance in her state, I looked up her state DV hotline numbers and she got through in less than 5 minutes and they had her a local DV advocate appointment setup and were discussing her immediate needs. She was safe, thankfully, so she messaged me back, thanking me profusely.

This makes my mind buzz and whir…at first, I got mad at the National Hotline, but then I began to think: wait, perhaps DV is an even more pandemic than we realized and they do not have enough operators and resources to help? This is something we MUST fix! DV victims are only calling the National Hotline and not trying their state ones, because the Hotline’s number is advertised EVERYWHERE.

This is a call to action, folks. If you can, donate to the National Domestic Violence Hotline or do one of those Facebook fundraisers for your birthday (or any time, really). This is an URGENT need! Someone could’ve died waiting to speak to someone on the phone to help them…we have to help right away!

Love and light!

Survival [Beast] Mode

I have a few current victims that I am assisting and lately, there has been a lot of fear of “Can I do this all by myself???” One of the top five reasons people stay in abusive relationships, is simply because they do not know how they’re going to make it financially. I totally get this, as I was once there. Still hustling, but I’m DOING IT! But my advice is simply this: YES! Whichever way you can! It’s the real-life Hunger Games, baby. No holds barred!!!

Of course, everything that I am talking about here is legal. I do not condone stealing or illegal/illicit behavior. Not what I’m talking about AT. ALL. All of this I have done myself, so I definitely know. I never recommend that which I haven’t done myself.

First, go to your state unemployment office (make an appointment, thanks to COVID). They’ll sit down with you, get you to input a current resume, make you take tests on a computer to see what you know, and rake through your education and any needs in that realm. Pack a lunch, it’s going to be a while. Take advantage of what they have to offer. Look on their website for job listings, look in your local newspaper’s listings, and on a few job websites like SnagaJob.com and Indeed.com (just to name a few). Look at the jobs on Facebook, for your local area. Setup a LinkedIn account and peruse those jobs too. Already on LinkedIn? Update it ASAP! Don’t discount working for temporary agencies either. Already have a full-time job? You may have to get an additional part-time gig. I delivered pizzas locally, when not working and taking all the overtime I could get. Don’t judge! If you can’t find a job, clean houses on the side or sell vintage things on FB Marketplace or eBay. I’ve made a side income selling textbooks and Bibles — not even joking…

Unemployment bears mentioning due to the fact that abusers are champions at making you lose your job or have to resign/put in your notice. You may be eligible and need to find out. This is also something the unemployment office will screen you for. Closed mouths don’t get jobs…or fed…

Perhaps your abuser kept you as a “stay-at-home” because they could control you better, but you may have a dibillitating condition or handicap? See if you qualify for Social Security Disability? Retirement age? See what you could draw off of yourself and/or your spouse(s). There’s earnings limits, but you can have a part-time job with these as well. Call SSA and find out! It’s worth a phone call! Your children may be disabled or may qualify to draw off of you or a disabled parent, if not already. Some abusive partners who are on disability deliberately either not report their children, or keep their benefits as a secret from their spouses. Why? Well, for control purposes. They’re not centered on their children’s well-being, only on controlling their families.

There is child support. If the abuser is working, they have to help pay. I realize you probably saw this and rolled your eyes. (Insert *eye roll* here). I understand. My Ex didn’t pay much either. Deliberately had no job to avoid it and worked under the table for cash. SMH. Still, you need to make friends with the local Child Support Office, which can most likely be found inside the county’s prosecutor’s office. Court can set it based on what both parents make and how the child custody is awarded. It is always worth checking out. Garnishments can be possible for employment-based pay and any IRS refunds and some SSA backpay. Don’t discount it!

I’ve also turned to taking my kids and I’s clothes to the consignment stores to trade for credit, so I could keep them and I in clothing items. I’ve been known to sell off things I don’t need either by yard sale, eBay, or social media. Don’t judge, but I found special editions of Bibles, free at thrift stores, only to sell them on social media. I was blasted for that, but my kiddos have to eat! WWJD? Well the Lord gave me good sense, so I try to use it as much as possible. I’ve even been known to rifle through the recycle box at the post office, for coupons that come in the junk mail on Wednesdays. True story!

Applying for low-income state benefits may be needed, temporarily. These can include, but not be limited to: food stamps, utility assistance, rental assistance, government housing, school lunch and book fees…the list can go on and on, based on state. Not sure where to start? Call 2-1-1 and they can assist you based on the state and county in which you live. It is an under utilized resource funded by the United Way and offered things that I hadn’t thought of. In case of emergency things that come up like, for instance, a temporary work stoppage, can be devastating when you live paycheck-to-paycheck. Some churches and community social organizations might be able to help with a water bill or electricity payment, usually only once per year. County and town trustees can be invaluable with this or paying a month’s worth of rent, too.

Lastly, let me touch on food pantries. Look, food stamps and paychecks only go so far…sometimes, you have to supplement your family’s groceries with going to a food pantry. I’ve had to stand in line too. I was humiliated at first, only because I thought I’d be taking away from someone else’s family. Truth is, there is still A LOT of food that food pantries have to throw away. Also, my DV Advocate said, “Look, it’s not about your pride…it about feeding your kiddos. Go and do it!” She was and is right! Don’t hesitate. Whether you do it once or multiple times. You have to take care of you and yours. Also, I discovered that some places have pet food pantries. If you have doggies and kitties, they need to eat too!

If you’re currently in “survival mode,” switch it into “beast mode” and own your current situation. Also, repeat to yourself, “This is not permanent!” Stay safe!

Perception VS Reality

I was technically married for 26 years, to a very abusive man, but escaped after 24 and a half years. I feel that this had tainted my perception of men — I know NOW that he was the exception, not the rule, but your perception is your immediate reality, ultimately.

My Ex claimed to love animals SO much, but would beat my dogs when he was upset with me. He got so mad at one of my dogs, who had previously been abused, that he called animal control and told them that he found a “strange” dog in his home who must have come in through the dog door with his other dogs. Her crime? I was out of town and when he came home, she was SO happy to see him that she turned her normal 20 circles and then pooped on his shoe; actually, she flung it on him, because she pooped while turning her happy circles. I personally would have perceived that as the highest doggie complement…not him. He was already enraged that I was out of town for business and I would hang up when he called and started yelling.

My poor, sweet Honey dog! I did not find this out until I came home from my trip three days after that. My kids were too scared of him to tell me and too afraid of how sad I’d be. As soon I found out, I called a personal friend at the shelter. Someone had adopted her that morning and they were an only dog home. I explained what happened and she advised me to call the police. Sadly, I didn’t…I was just so grateful that Honey found a good home and was safe. I took my kids and stayed elsewhere for three days after that, only going home to make sure my dogs were fed and loved on while he was at work. He would beat me in front of my children later that month and that would be the last time we were in the same proximity, except in court.

Jump to Present Day…a few weeks ago, we lost some feral kittens that a stray cat had in my boyfriend’s garage. Of seven kittens, only one survived (and I assure you, he is “livin’ large”). When there were only three remaining, my boyfriend wrapped the sick kittens up. We fed formula, we fed Pedialyte. The second to the last one got so ill, it was gasping for air. I watched as he started giving it mouth-to-mouth and doing chest compressions. “C’mon, little buddy, we can’t lose you.” My heart broke for the dying kitten, but swelled as I watched him desperately try to save it. Sadly, the kitten took its last breath. He gently held it and stroked its head for a few minutes, then went out and buried him while teary-eyed. I had NO idea men could be this way!?! Tender and gentle with animals??? I promptly thanked the Lord for putting this man in my life, his gentleness for all is so refreshing and inspiring…

Kindness and being magnanimous is such an act with an abuser. To all my survivor sisters and brothers, don’t settle for less! Animals can tell between the perception and reality of a person. If abusers will abuse an animal, they are surely practicing for what’s next — or should I say, whom.

Anxiety Busters

I have a traumatic brain injury (TBI), although on the condition’s scale, mild in comparison. I can still walk and talk — it only affects my ability to think clearly and retain memories. Sometimes putting sentences together and coordination of motor skills get challenging, but very infrequently. Still, it’s a cross I have to bear.

I refused to be on medicine for it (as it makes you sleepy and I’m already on medicine for my BP and anxiety). I do take Fish Oil, which is helpful. My neurologist told me to keep exercising my brain: read intriguing books, do crossword puzzles (okay, I prefer Sudoku), write, speak more than just regular conversation (I do advocate speaking frequently), be creative, etc.

However, I also can have overwhelming anxiety. I have run the gauntlet on the things used to “fidget.” I have used fidget rings, fidget spinners, twirling pens on my fingers (I’m quite good). Fidget items, with some experts calling them “brain breaks, can help quite a bit with anxiety as long as they are satisfying to the user. I have always played with Rubik’s cubes, but it wasn’t until recently that I have been using the solving of the puzzles as both a brain exercising item and a soothing object. In fact, I collect Rubik’s Cubes and similar-type puzzles. I try to stick to Rubik’s puzzles, but some of the more intriguing puzzles are made by other companies. What can I say? I’m a purist! I had one originally when they came out in the 80’s and have been hooked since!

For those wanting to start utilizing Rubik’s Cubes, I recommend starting with either the Rubik’s Edge (pictured above) or a Rubik’s Cube 2x2x2. Basically start with the least challenge level, working upwards as you are successful. The act of solving it really fires the neurons in your brain which facilitates new growth, as well as causing the secretion of dopamine and serotonin which are pleasure chemicals in your brain. The satisfaction of solving something that many won’t even attempt (and claim they “can’t”), is an awesome feeling.

The nice thing, since I am a woman, I can fit said puzzles in my purse. I get it out while I am waiting on my turn in an appointment, while I’m on the phone at work, and when I really am on the verge of a panic attack. It’s my go-to and very portable.

Also, Rubiks.com has a downloadable certificate that you can print, once you officially solve it. Another certificate can be obtained, once you teach it to 15 other people, who successfully solve it. Honestly, I’m going to start working on that!

Holy self-soothing, Batman!

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I am currently in a research study for my sciatica and had to go on Saturday to get an MRI. I was dreading it, let me tell you…

Nearly two years ago, I had to go for an MRI to check my brain and ended up freaking out. I had no idea that I was claustrophobic! The technician, who was also a friend of mine, said that victims of trauma often react that way and to get back with my doctor for medication and rescheduling.

I was SO embarrassed that I had lost my cool and freaked out in front of someone that knew me. When I say “freaked out,” I started hyperventilating, crying hysterically and screaming. She was incredibly awesome and understanding about it all, knowing what I’d been through, but then again she really didn’t (thank goodness!). She had no idea how many times I had been strangled, been punched, been hit from behind, locked in the bathroom or closet, or even locked out of my own home. No wonder I panicked! I had simply felt constriction and lost it!

My doctor ended up prescribing me Xanax for the procedure and to keep in case I ever have an anxiety attack/melt down. It took two Xanax for me to make it through the procedure. My boyfriend drove me to the hospital and led me to the imaging department, then lead me back to the truck and we went home. I don’t remember a lot about that experience, except that I didn’t panic and might have drooled on myself. I think my boyfriend might have had a lot of fun at my expense, but took me home and wrapped me in a blanket and put me to bed.

This time, I had to drive about and hour and 15 minutes away to do this, due to it being early morning and I HAD to do this on my own. I had to overcome my fears and complete what I had started! Plus, my boyfriend isn’t really an early morning person. I let him sleep, kissed him goodbye, and headed out to face my doom.

When I arrived, the staff was very kind and efficient. My technician, David, told me what to expect. I did end up telling him about my trauma and he was very calm and understanding about it. “I think we can get you through this, dear,” he assured me. Even though I was wearing a sports bra, he waved a security wand over me to point out any hidden metal and my sports bra had to metal hooks in it! Ooops! I had to lose the bra. Glad I wore a t-shirt and comfy pants and tennis shoes. I was also grateful I didn’t have to wear one of those exam gowns and literally show my ass.

The MRI machine was much newer and had a larger opening than the older one at my local hospital. He helped me onto the sliding tray and gave me squishy ear plugs to dampen the noise of the machine. The tray was heated, which was nice and there were arm rests that the technician added. He asked me what music I liked and we determined that I was going to be listening to classic rock. At what point did my music become “classic” rock??? I did NOT see that coming!

He put the headphones on my ears and they were noise cancelling ones that felt great! He put a wedge under my legs that elevated them, pushing my lower back down for imaging. Then he put a weighted cover over my chest that he assured me was NOT strapped down — to push my upper back down completely too. None of this I considered uncomfortable or constricting, thankfully.

Lastly he asked if I’d like my eyes covered. Yes, please! It was a lavender-scented mask with the beads inside of it. It was warm and smelled great! He also gave me a “panic button,” should I need out or need verbal reassurance. After I was totally outfitted, he asked if I was okay, I assured him I was, and then was slid into the machine, unaware of it all because I was sniffing lavender and warm and comfy. 30 seconds later, AC/DC came through my headphones singing “Back in Black,” and I was totally relaxed. No medication needed!

The battery of scans took 25 minutes and the machine would interrupt the music momentarily to tell me how long the current scan would take: “Please hold still. Current scan will take three minutes,” “…two minutes,” “…five minutes.” Nice. I was lost in a barrage of AC/DC, Journey, Fleetwood Mac, Nirvana, and Buckcherry. Most relaxed I’ve been in a long time!

Upon completion, I was given the lavender mask to keep, paid for this visit, and was sent on my way. Easy peasy! I stopped at a Goodwill and bought myself a “good job” present in the form of a picture of a mandala, one of my favorite symbols of peace. It was $7 and signed and numbered by the artist.

Healing and moving through life is weird and unexpected. However, I am moving forward and growing at my own pace. Praise God that I was allowed to live to experience it!

Love and light!

Mission Possible Funding

I am trying to find more ways to advocate, but trying to do it as cheaply as I can. I was given a second chance and helped by people. I am wanting to give back, as well as help to educate on domestic violence. Everyone has to have a purpose. I think this one is mine…

I’ve decided to start auctions on the Facebook inspirational group page. 2-3 per week. I will run them from Sunday 10 AM EST to the following Saturday 11:59 PM EST. I may transfer to eBay if I’m not successful on Facebook. I am NOT a 503(c), just a single Mom and DV survivor on a mission. Site fees get costly. Many trainings are free, but many are not. I am trying to provide educational materials and items that can help those in active abuse or just recently out of abuse — which all cost money to produce. I am not looking to make money, even though this does take up most of my spare time. I just want to cover costs and get help and information out there.

I am going to auction things that are unusual and appealing. If you have something you’d like to donate, definitely IM me!

The DV Walking Wounded Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dvwalkingwounded