Tag Archives: Asking for Help

Sometimes a person has to ask for help

October Is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month

Do we really need to make people more aware of domestic violence? We have had many public service announcements, sports celebrities speaking out against domestic violence, and the victims of abuse, some celebrity victims are speaking out. I think everyone is aware it exists, it is no longer considered to be a “private matter”. 

The legal system; police, judges, etc have made some strides in how they deal with the victims of abuse, but any progress is slow. 

Stats actually show an increase in the number of domestic violence cases, which just happens to coincide with government cutbacks to programs and services for the victims of domestic violence since the economic crash.

The Guardian
In Canada, if a woman wants to leave an abusive relationship and calls one of the shelters she is told there are no beds available. When I was looking there wasn’t space in any shelters from Chilliwack to White Rock and certainly nothing if you had a pet.

And as I have mentioned numerous times before; welfare rates are sorrowfully inadequate, extremely so if you are a single woman. There is a bit more help for women with children but let’s be serious; all mom’s want their children to be happy. The prospect of taking them to a shelter or struggling to provide for them is scarey and the last thing a mother wants to do. Then the courts rule that the dad gets visitation, he is on a slander campaign and playing the victim. More than likely the children miss their daddy and he is putting on pressure to “put the family back together”. 

On top of everything else the victim has to deal with, she probably has PTSD, and also is dealing with the prejudices and misconceptions of not only society but those closest to her; her friends and family. Old stereotypes die hard and when you are struggling to find the strength to get up every morning the last thing you should have to listen to is the judgements of others.

All the “awareness” in the world is not going to put an end to domestic abuse. Until we can breakthrough old stereotypes I am afraid we will continue to repeat history. What old stereotypes am I talking about?

Stereotypes people don’t even realize they have; which makes them so hard to break through.

I am almost 7 years out of the relationship and can still feel the sting when someone says something off the cuff that they don’t mean as an insult. I know they would be surprised if they knew how much it hurts. 

Let me clarify, I correct their erroneous belief but I don’t tell them how much it hurts; for a couple of reasons

1. I don’t want to make a huge deal out of it and make them feel bad or embarrass them. 

2. These people have known me my whole life and been with me through the past 7 years. What is it that makes it so hard for them to “get it”. 

I have to dig deep to not let it get to me and I am not freshly out of the relationship with raw emotions and shattered self esteem. 

In the past few months I have dealt with extreme anger because I had gone back numerous times. The same fact was used as justification for someone I trusted to screw me over and lie about me, telling people the reason they did what they did was because I had gone back to my ex. I said to them that I hadn’t gone back to my ex and they said, “But you had gone back many times.” 

My reply, “Yes, I had gone back but not that time. Not until you turned everyone against me and I felt totally deserted and thrown to the wolves did I go back.” 

It seems when the victim is at their lowest they end up being subjected to mistreatment by the very people who should have their back.

The other false assumption is that the victim is stupid, can’t handle finances, and is emotionally unstable. 

I was voicing some concerns for a young lady who recently started dating a guy I picked up some red flags on. I was shocked when someone who I have known 30 years said not to worry about her, she’s not the “type” to get involved with a narcissist. She is level headed, got her priorities straight and not about to fall for an asshole. 

This is so much bigger than telling women to not be ashamed and it wasn’t their fault because if we don’t change beliefs that are deeply embedded in our psyche we will keep inadvertently shaming the victim into silence. Women feel forced to try to solve or fix the relationship on her own. A strong woman will be more likely to stay and try to figure out how to fix things because up until now she has always been capable an able to solve situations. She usually has strong communication skills and keeps trying to convey her feelings thinking sooner or later she will be able to explain, to the N; why she is so hurt and he will have an epiphany and go back to the sweet man she met. 

A strong woman will stick it out longer in hopes of saving enough resources to leave without help from anyone. A strong woman will try to just “get over it” without talking about it because she has always been able to land on her feet in the past. A strong woman is much more likely to keep silent because she is embarrassed to be in the situation she finds herself in.

Silence pertetuates the problem.  

What preconceived beliefs do you or did you hold about victims of abuse? What prejudices have you encountered?

A final thought; 

Yes, I know men also suffer from abuse. I am not saying they don’t.  But! Women are 4.2 times more likely to be abused or die at the hands of their intimate partner.  

Some stats:

1 in 4 women in North America and 1 in 3 women worldwide will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

In the US there are 960,000 reported incidents of domestic abuse annually.

On an average 3 women and 1 man die daily of domestic violence.

95% of domestic violence victims are female.

I speak out primarily for female victims of domestic violence because it is what I have experienced and women are at a much higher risk. Violence against women is at an epidemic level and it is not getting any better.

If you are a man who feels men need a spokesperson I encourage you to do that. I do not hate men, I do believe in love, and I believe there is nothing better than being in a loving, healthy, respectful relationship (except maybe owning a dog)

It is like Black Lives Matter and people saying All Lives Matter. BLM activists are speaking out for black people, they are not saying other nationalities are not persecuted. But each group of victims have their own unique challenges and prejuices to over come.

As a society we can all work towards ending violence and racism by simply speaking out and not turning a blind eye when we see abuse of any kind. Do what is right, not what is easy. Have the guts to speak up when you hear people expressing prejudice and racism.

Its time everyone realized we all play a role in how society functions and take an honest inventory of our beliefs and own how our actions or inaction affects others. “I don’t want to get involved” is no longer acceptable because by not getting involved you are perpetuating the problem. 

But I Can’t – But Yes You Can!

How many times have you said it? I can’t, I just can’t, don’t ask me to because I can’t, I hurt too much and I can not survive this pain.

I hate to break it to you, but no matter how hard you fight it, no matter how hard you wish it, you can go kicking and screaming if you want………….. but sooner or later you are going to have to get through this. OK there is one way out, you could kill yourself. I was afraid to say that in case it gave someone the idea committing suicide is the answer, but then I thought, “Who am I kidding? if they are really struggling with pain and feeling they can’t do this, they have already contemplated suicide.”

We read on the blog or elsewhere, victims saying, “That was it, I kicked him to the curb and I never looked back.”

“It’s been a year and I have never been happier, I am in love with a wonderful man and life could not be better.”

And we think, “what is wrong with me? Why can’t I be happy to be free from his abuse? Why am I still struggling?”

The worst thing a person going through struggles in life can do is to compare themselves to other people, we all heal at our own pace. As much as our experiences are very similar because all N’s got the same “how to” manual and follow the same prescribed steps to destroy their victim, each victim is unique. All narcissists and psychopaths are very similar, (it would kill them to realize how similar they are because they all feel they are so special and unique, when in reality there is nothing special about them at all) I think that is what we find so hard to accept too, we thought we had found someone wonderful and unique and then we learn the truth, that they are a counterfeit human being, no better than a counterfeit $100 bill, worthless.

Criminals have gotten really good at replicating bills but no matter how good they get and how close it is to the real thing to look at; it is never going to be worth anything. You can stand and scream until you are blue in the face, “But look at it! it looks EXACTLY like a $100 bill, it has to be worth something! I refuse to believe it isn’t real! so there! I can’t accept it is not real.”

I am sorry, but you have no choice, a counterfeit is a counterfeit no matter how much you stomp your feet and refuse to admit it.

Narcissists are all the same, they cannot change, no matter how much you scream, “But they seemed so real!!”

The victims ARE real and unique individuals so they are not going to heal at the same pace or in the same way. Real people have feelings, past experiences, different values, different personalities, so to compare the victims and expect all victims to follow a prescribed set of steps and to put a time limit on their healing is unrealistic.

It is a dangerous game to play, I hear it every single day. “You are so strong, I can’t wait to get where you are, it’s been 6 months, 1 year, (sometimes even a few weeks) and I am just not healing, what is wrong with me? when will the pain stop, I can’t do it any more.”

I never felt strong enough to “do it”, not one single day of the last year I was with him and the first year after leaving him. While I was with him I didn’t think I could ever leave, but I knew I couldn’t stay and live. Then I knew I could not go back but I didn’t think I could survive on my own. I didn’t want to face reality, I had no choice. That was the first big step in my healing journey, just admitting I had no choice.  I knew that to continue to live with him was killing me and I could not carry on that way but I had nothing to rebuild with and felt so helpless and hopeless I saw no other choice but to kill myself.

I had tried, my truck was in the shop again, my ex had sabotaged its repairs by calling the shop and telling them to take out the parts they had just installed and he would deliver to them the parts for free and then not done it, meaning my truck was down a whole week without me making money. It meant my bill for labour was going to be more than doubled because I had to pay to have the parts installed twice and take out once, a few thousand dollars, not a huge amount of money but it might as well have been hundreds of thousands. It was money I did not have and as long as my truck was down, would never have.  All the money I had was in the form of coins, maybe $2 or $3, my cupboards were empty, my ex had promised he would come and see me because I had begged him and told him I was hanging by a thread. I didn’t feel I could call anyone. My mom had disowned me over a year prior, I couldn’t call my son, he had his own life and was worried enough about me, that was part of the burden I was packing; I hated being a burden to him, I hated that he worried about me. I was living day to day, what I made in a day gave me enough to survive a day or two at the most, I had no safety net. And I had one thought running through my mind like the needle stuck on a scratch in the record. “I can not do it.”

When I woke up after trying to kill myself and decided I had no choice but to “do it”. I knew I could not do it on my own and that is why I started the blog. To make myself accountable to someone, to declare to the world, “I CAN do it.”

You have to change your inner dialogue, instead of saying, “I can’t do it.” “I wish I was where you are at.” “I wish I was strong like you.” practice saying, “I can do it.” “I will do it, one day at a time, no matter how long it takes.” “I will overcome this.” “I control my destiny and I will do what it takes to learn how to get through this.”

I used to be a real Neil Diamond fan and always loved the song I am I Said not that the words really fit but it kept playing in my head. I almost felt invisible and no one was listening to me, I was literally falling apart in front of everyone’s eyes and no one cared or believed me. I felt as alone as a person can feel I think, well I had Kato, and felt guilty that I was so preoccupied with my troubles I wasn’t loving him like he deserved. I remember I did tell my neighbour that I couldn’t do it any more, I was ready to give up and she had said, “Don’t be ridiculous.”

It is especially scary for a person who has always been self sufficient and strong. I left my ex thinking, “Yeah my heart is breaking but I will overcome this like I have overcome other obstacles in life.” and then it didn’t come together, it wasn’t just losing my ex, it was being broke, having no momentos, no family, no credit. I had never had to face life with nothing.

Some victims are battling the ex for custody of the children, or over property, some have supportive family and a group of friends who rally around them, some have financial means to live comfortably and others (the majority) are left struggling to just put food on the table, others fear for their lives, some had a lousy childhood and some grew up in a loving nurturing home. Don’t compare yourself with others, just because they got through it sooner than you doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.

There are many victims who move on quickly, get involved with another man and it appears their life is perfect and other victims look at them and lament why they can’t find a wonderful man and be happy. You don’t know how the story ends. I hear the same story from women and men all the time, “this is the 2nd or 3rd time I have been involved with a narcissist, I am an N magnet.” If you go looking for the quick fix, a man who will love you for who you are, a man who makes you feel sexy, perfect, and loveable you can almost count on meeting another N. They are out there, waiting for someone like you, they want nothing more than to be the man of your dream; you become an N magnet because you are looking outside of yourself for your self worth. You are still believing the myth that you are only valuable if you have a man in your life.

It may hurt like hell, growth usually does, quick fixes seldom last.

I used to get flat tires all the time on my truck, the job I was doing it was a guarantee because I was driving into the scrap yard, I was sure to pick up screws in my tires. I would walk past my truck and hear the hiss of air escaping from a tire and my truck was so big and heavy I never packed a spare tire or jack because a regular jack was not strong enough to hold my truck. If I got a flat it meant calling a tow truck and not just a regular tow truck because if they tried to pick me up the front end of the tow truck would lift off the ground, so they had to send their biggest truck which meant I waited for hours and it cost me hundreds. So I had to find a way to stop the leak until I got to a tire shop and could get it fixed. That inflate a tire stuff didn’t work on my big tires and with the weight of my truck with a load on but I always kept an assortment of screws in my glove box. I would find the screw causing the leak in my tire and find a screw a couple of sizes ligger with a flat broad head on it. I would use a screw driver to remove the screw that was in the tire and replace it with a bigger screw, screw it down tight and 99% of the time it would stop the leak. Brilliant, right!? But once it stopped leaking I would forget about it and it might take a couple of months but eventually it would start to leak again. I would curse at myself for not getting it fixed sooner, find a bigger screw and pray it worked. Sometimes it did and I would get more time and believe it or not a couple of times I procrastinate a 3rd time. (some people just do not learn) No matter how many times I procrastinated, eventually I would end up at a tire shop and getting it fixed properly.

So, yes you  can go for the quick fix, but at some point in time you are going to have to deal with the pain and heal properly; isn’t it better to deal with it now and avoid all the hassle of ending up in the exact same situation time after time?

I watched this TedxTalk this morning about very basic steps to overcoming adversity but they work, check it out here.

How Many Victim’s Hide The Truth From Friends and Family?

I may have not touched on this fact yet, but I hid my relationship with my abuser for years.

I had left him and got set up in an apartment and then he would call and I would meet him, he would pour on the charm, be the loving man I had first met and eventually we would be a couple again. I had done it a few times so I just stopped telling my son and family that I was seeing him.

At Christmas I went along, but that was ok because him and I never did anything anyway, but I hated lying and it was hard to not slip up and say something. It worked well for him though because when he was abusive who was I going to tell? I couldn’t go running back to my family, I didn’t want my son to know because he would kill James. So I saw him in secret. I did get smart and not let him move in but that was a minor technicality, I was still seeing him and he was still disabling my vehicle and still screwing around on me but now he used that as his excuse, we weren’t “together” so it was ok for him to see other women.

I read someone else’s story of hiding the relationship from their family and that is what reminded me. Here it is.

I know the temptation to hide it from family and friends but it really puts the victim in danger, it is vitally important that the victim has a support group and people around her to tell her it is not her fault and she is not crazy. The less support she has the easier it is for the abuser to whittle away at her self confidence and make her feel crazy.

How many of you have hidden the fact that you went back to your abuser?