Tuesday, May 5, 2009
...You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium's
Liable to walk upon the scene...
Gotta love the '40's big band music... and slogans!
Closure is sad for us all, but it is also very exciting. When one door closes, another opens to new experiences, new opportunities and new possibilities.
As a woman empowered by awareness of her rights and with her boundaries in place, you are no longer vulnerable to needy, controlling relationships.
You can practice letting go of the old identity of being an abuse victim. It is a thing of the past, and now you can move on... as a SURVIVOR.
The temptation is always present to step back into the habits of the past. Remember that one step back and two steps forward are to be expected. D not be angry at yourself when you step back, but dare to wait expectantly for a sense of direction from WITHIN YOURSELF to take the next steps forward.
Confront, don't avoid, temptation. Know yourself and recognize that the temptation of old habits is always an assault on your real identity.
The path to freedom from the past is motivation, forgiveness and LOVE OF YOURSELF, clearly defined goals, decisions made, actions taken, and EMPOWERMENT.
You need and deserve at least a few people in your life with which you have healthy relationships; people whom:
~ You like, respect, and trust, and who like, respect and trust you.
~ Make you feel good about yourself.
~ Listen to you without sharing personal information about you with others.
~ You can tell anything.
~ Allow you to talk freely and express your feelings and emotions without judging you, criticizing you, teasing you, or putting you down.
~ Give you good advice when you want and ask for it, and who will work with you to figure out what to do next in difficult situations.
~ Allow you the space to change, grow, make decisions, and make mistakes.
~ Accept you as you.
This is a wonderful list that I suggest be printed off and posted on your bathroom mirror, fridge, car dashboard, anywhere you will see it frequently.
PERSONAL BILL OF RIGHTS
~ You have the right to be you.
~ You have the right to put yourself first.
~ You have the right to be safe.
~ You have the right to love and be loved.
~ You have the right to be treated with respect.
~ You have the right to be human - NOT PERFECT.
~ You have the right to be angry and protest if you are treated unfairly or abusively by anyone.
~ You have the right to your own privacy.
~ You have the right to your own opinions, to express them, and to be taken seriously.
~ You have the right to earn and control your own money.
~ You have the right to ask questions about anything that affects your life.
~ You have the right to make decisions that affect you.
~ You have the right to grow and change, and that includes changing your mind.
~ You have the right to say NO.
~ You have the right to make mistakes.
~ You have the right to NOT be responsible for other adults' problems.
~ You have the right to not be liked by everyone.
~ YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONTROL YOUR OWN LIFE AND TO CHANGE IT IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH IT AS IT IS!
Women who have been abused often blame themselves for the bad things that have happened to them... things that are not their fault. In addition, others may have blamed them for being abused. In this society, women are often blamed and made to feel guilty for bad things that have happened to them. This lowers their self-esteem and can get in the way of healing and recovery. The following are some of the situations in which women feel they are to blame for the abuse:
~ I was my fault because I was wearing that dress or those shoes, and because I put on makeup.
~ It was my fault because I didn't keep quiet.
~ It was my fault because I cried too much.
~ It was my fault because I didn't keep the house clean enough.
~ It was my fault because I went out with my friends.
AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON.... like hamsters running in wheels in your brain until you drive yourself nutso. You get the picture.
Sometimes you may feel as though you are stuck... you can't do the things that you want to with your life because of memories, symptoms, thoughts, feeling, and life circumstances that are either a direct or indirect result of the abuse. You may feel as though you are losing your whole life to the abuse. The following are acceptance statements that you can keep to help you through difficult times:
~ I accept the abuse as part of my life story. My journey in working to get over the effects of this abuse has made me strong. Now I am in charge of my own life. I am going to do whatever I need to do to make my life the way I want it to be.
~ The things that happened to me were terrible and should never have happened to me. But they did. Now it is time to get my life back... to be the kind of person I want to be and do the things I want to do.
~ The abuse happened in the past. I am no longer being abused. I am in charge of my life and I am doing the things I want to do. I never have to live that way again.
~ The abuse was then. This is now. I am doing good work in getting over the effects of the abuse. I am ready to move on with my life.
Most women who are in abusive relationships get stuck in some thinking errors. These thinking errors are to me like computer glitches or viruses. Once they become part of the programming, they infiltrate the hardware and it is very difficult to clean it up and get your computer (read: brain) working in a healthy way.
One way to reprogram my thinking that I found to be the most helpful, was self talk. Yes, you read that correctly. I talked to myself... out loud... and A LOT. Still do sometimes. Did I look crazy? Probably. Did it help me form new ways of thinking? Definitely! Here are some examples of "old" thinking and "new" thinking that may help someone out there.
OLD: I LOVE him!
NEW: I may love him, but that doesn't mean it's in my best interests to stay with him.
OLD: I can't stay away from this person - he is my family after all!
NEW: I can stay away from anyone I want to. I don't have to spend time with people or be where they are just because I am related to them.
OLD: It is best to forgive and forget.
NEW: I need to heal from the bad things that have happened to me. I don't need to forgive anyone I don't wish to, and forgetting is impossible.
OLD: I can't survive without him.
NEW: I can do anything I need to do to take care of myself and support myself.
OLD: I just want the whole family to be together.
NEW: Keeping the whole family together may be a very bad idea. The children are being harmed by witnessing the abuse. One healthy parent is better than two unhealthy ones.
OLD: I must not hurt his feelings.
NEW: I need to take good care of MYSELF. If that means I have to hurt someone else's feelings, I may need to do that.
OLD: If my husband abuses me, I just have to put up with it because if I told someone, it might hurt the feelings of other people in the family and/or those people might be angry with me.
NEW: I can tell anyone I want, including the police, and family members have no right to get angry with me about this. If they are not supportive of me, I need to stay away from them and spend time with people who are supportive.
Your partner may try to get you to go to couples counseling, telling you that you and he need to work on this together. He may encourage you to go to pastoral counseling with him. He may tell you that you have a "communication" problem. If he has done this, then he is refusing to take full responsibility for his abusive behavior. He may be manipulating you into staying with him by taking this approach. His abusive behavior is not likely to stop unless he acknowledges that you are in no way responsible and that he has a problem that he needs to seek help for regardless of whether you stay with him or not.
I tried couples counseling with the EX. Here are some of the things that I encountered:
~ If I kept quiet, then the counselor had NO CLUE that I was being abused by my husband, and took what he said at face value. My husband would use these sessions as his own personal soapbox... a place in which to vent all his frustrations and anger about me and my shortcomings.
~ If I spoke up and spilled my guts in the counseling session, then my husband would remain calm and I would look as if I were the crazy person in the room... and THEN when we left the counselor's office, there was HELL for me to pay for telling the truth. In fact, some of the worst fights we had were immediately following a counseling session.
~ If the counselor picked up on the fact that my husband was abusive, and stated that fact to him... the counselor was labeled a "quack" and we never saw that counselor again.
~ I ended up spending so much time and energy doing "homework" the various counselors assigned to my husband and me. And whatever I wrote down and later shared of these homework assignments would later come back to haunt me in the form of my husband's ability to twist my words and true intentions into something from a horror movie.
Don't waste your time and money going to marriage/couples counseling! Get yourself a good individual therapist who is WELL VERSED in domestic violence issues and get yourself emotionally healthy.
IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE
Domestic violence is a serious problem that has been happening for centuries. In the U.S. each year it affects millions of people, most often women. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of employment or educational level, race or ethnic background, religion, marital status, physical ability, age, or sexual orientation.
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT
If you are being abused by your partner, you may feel confused, afraid, angry and/or trapped. All of these emotions are normal responses to abuse. You may also blame yourself for what is happening. But no matter what others might say, you are never responsible for your partner's abusive actions. Batterers choose to be abusive. No one deserves to be abused.
Developing a support network can be very helpful to you as you plan for safety. There are many places to turn for assistance.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Friends, family, women's and community groups, churches, and service providers (such as legal, health, counseling centers) can provide a variety of resources, support, and assistance.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES: In man communities there are organizations that provide free and confidential help to individuals who are being battered.
CRIMINAL CHARGES: If you or other loved ones have been physically injured, threatened, raped, harassed or stalked, you can report these crimes to the police. Criminal charges may lead to your abuser being arrested and possibly imprisoned.
RESTRAINING/PROTECTIVE ORDERS: Even if you don't want to press criminal charges, you can file for a civil court order that directs your partner to stay away from you. In many states restraining/ protective orders can also evict your partner from your home, grant support or child custody, or ban him/her from having weapons.
PLANNING FOR SAFETY
Without help, domestic violence often continues to get more severe over time. It can sometimes become deadly.
To increase your safety:
~ Tell others you trust such as friends, family, neighbors and co-workers, what is happening and talk about ways they might be able to help.
~ Memorize emergency numbers for the local police (such as 911), support persons and crisis hotlines.
~ Identify escape routes and places to go if you need to flee from an unsafe situation quickly.
~ Talk with your children about what they should do if a violent incident occurs or if the are afraid.
~ Put together an emergency bag with money/ checkbooks, extra car keys, medicine, and important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, immigration documents, and medical cards. Keep it somewhere safe and accessible, such as with a trusted friend.
~ Trust your instincts. If you think you are in immediate danger, you probably are. Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
An abused woman attempts to leave her abuser an average of SEVEN TIMES before finally leaving for good. I attempted to leave several times... can't remember how many... but I ended up going back every time (except the last obviously) because I was unprepared. I didn't have necessities. When I finally DID get out, it was after literally MONTHS of plotting and planning and getting organized for the escape. There are times, though, when one simply cannot wait to escape. It pays to be prepared for the possibility that you may NEED to flee at the spur of the moment. Following is a very informative article on safety planning that I copied from the American Bar Association's webpage. It's very thorough.
Safety Tips For You And Your Family
IF YOU ARE IN DANGER, CALL 911 or your local police emergency number
To find out about help in your area, call:
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
Whether or not you feel able to leave an abuser,there are things you can do to make yourself and your family safer.
IN AN EMERGENCY
If you are at home & you are being threatened or attacked:
~ Stay away from the kitchen (the abuser can find weapons, like knives, there)
~ Stay away from bathrooms, closets or small spaces where the abuser can trap you
~ Get to a room with a door or window to escape
~ Get to a room with a phone to call for help; lock the abuser outside if you can
~ Call 911 (or your local emergency number) right away for help; get the dispatcher's name
~ Think about a neighbor or friend you can run to for help
~ If a police officer comes, tell him/her what happened; get his/her name & badge number
~ Get medical help if you are hurt
~ Take pictures of bruises or injuries
~ Call a domestic violence program or shelter (some are listed here); ask them to help you make a safety plan
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AT HOME
~ Learn where to get help; memorize emergency phone numbers
~ Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside; if you can, get a cellular phone that you keep with you at all times
~ If the abuser has moved out, change the locks on your door; get locks on the windows
~ Plan an escape route out of your home; teach it to your children
~ Think about where you would go if you need to escape
~ Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the abuser at your house; make a signal for them to call the police, for example, if the phone rings twice, a shade is pulled down or a light is on
~ Pack a bag with important things you'd need if you had to leave quickly; put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust
~ Include cash, car keys & important information such as: court papers, passport or birth certificates, medical records & medicines, immigration papers
~ Get an unlisted phone number
~ Block caller ID
~ Use an answering machine; screen the calls
~ Take a good self-defense course
HOW TO MAKE YOUR CHILDREN SAFER
~ Teach them not to get in the middle of a fight, even if they want to help
~ Teach them how to get to safety, to call 911, to give your address & phone number to the police
~ Teach them who to call for help
~ Tell them to stay out of the kitchen
~ Give the principal at school or the daycare center a copy of your court order; tell them not to release your children to anyone without talking to you first; use a password so they can be sure it is you on the phone; give them a photo of the abuser
~ Make sure the children know who to tell at school if they see the abuser
~ Make sure that the school knows not to give your address or phone number to ANYONE
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF OUTSIDE THE HOME
~ Change your regular travel habits
~ Try to get rides with different people
~ Shop and bank in a different place
~ Cancel any bank accounts or credit cards you shared; open new accounts at a different bank
~ Keep your court order and emergency numbers with you at all times
~ Keep a cell phone & program it to 911 (or other emergency number)
HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF SAFER AT WORK
~ Keep a copy of your court order at work
~ Give a picture of the abuser to security and friends at work
~ Tell your supervisors - see if they can make it harder for the abuser to find you
~ Don't go to lunch alone
~ Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or to the bus
~ If the abuser calls you at work, save voice mail and save e-mail
~ Your employer may be able to help you find community resources
USING THE LAW TO HELP YOU
Protection or Restraining Orders
~ Ask your local domestic violence program who can help you get a civil protection order and who can help you with criminal prosecution
~ Ask for help in finding a lawyer
~ In most places, the judge can:
*Order the abuser to stay away from you or your children
*Order the abuser to leave your home
*Give you temporary custody of your children & order the abuser to pay you temporary child support
*Order the police to come to your home while the abuser picks up personal belongings
*Give you possession of the car, furniture and other belongings
*Order the abuser to go to a batterers intervention program
*Order the abuser not to call you at work
*Order the abuser to give guns to the police
If you are worried about any of the following, make sure you:
~ Show the judge any pictures of your injuries
~ Tell the judge that you do not feel safe if the abuser comes to your home to pick up the children to visit with them
~Ask the judge to order the abuser to pick up and return the children at the police station or some other safe place
~ Ask that any visits the abuser is permitted are at very specific times so the police will know by reading the court order if the abuser is there at the wrong time
~ Tell the judge if the abuser has harmed or threatened the children; ask that visits be supervised; think about who could do that for you
~ Get a certified copy of the court order
~ Keep the court order with you at all times
~ Show the prosecutor your court orders
~ Show the prosecutor medical records about your injuries or pictures if you have them
~ Tell the prosecutor the name of anyone who is helping you (a victim advocate or a lawyer)
~ Tell the prosecutor about any witnesses to injuries or abuse
~ Ask the prosecutor to notify you ahead of time if the abuser is getting out of jail
BE SAFE AT THE COURTHOUSE
~ Sit as far away from the abuser as you can; you don't have to look at or talk to the abuser; you don't have to talk to the abuser's family or friends if they are there
~ Bring a friend or relative with you to wait until your case is heard
~ Tell a bailiff or sheriff that you are afraid of the abuser and ask him/her to look out for you
~ Make sure you have your court order before you leave
~ Ask the judge or the sheriff to keep the abuser there for a while when court is over; leave quickly
~ If you think the abuser is following you when you leave, call the police immediately
~ If you have to travel to another state for work or to get away from the abuser, take your protection order with you; it is valid everywhere
I haven't posted for awhile. I was planning on posting each weekday of April concerning domestic violence... I got a little sidetracked.
I'm going to try to make it up now, so beware... I'm going to be a blogging maniac for a day or so.
I'm going to try to make it up now, so beware... I'm going to be a blogging maniac for a day or so.