Thursday, February 28, 2013


healing is a journey.  I know that sounds trite.  Someone once told me a phrase which I find fitting, even if it might seem trite as well:

healing hurts.  and hurting heals.

how true it is for me.  how on one day, i am fine and calm and pleased and enjoying our new life.  and then on another day, something my ex has said or done, sends me spinning, sends me back to the old life of cowering in fear.  or it might not be anything to do with my ex, but something might remind me of how we did live in fear, and it's like i'm in it all over again, cringing in the kitchen, or hiding upstairs in the bedroom, carrying my baby daughter in my arms, hoping he will calm down.

i am learning to grow out of it, to stem the violent responses to these triggers...and breathe deeply.  and remember, that our lives are so much better now, despite the challenges that we are facing.  the peace in our worth everything.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


If you have been in an unhealthy relationship, I'm sure you are no stranger to conflict.

With conflict, come feelings.  And if you are in a relationship that threatens your safety, these feelings most likely include:  anger, sadness, shame, guilt.

(And most of all:  Fear.  Gut busting, straight up, worse than your most awful nightmares, fear.)

Maybe you diffuse it, by explaining it away.  You think things like--but he really does love the children.  And I really love him.  I promised I wouldn't leave him.  I promised I would help.   He didn't mean it.  If only I hadn't forgotten [fill in the blank], then he wouldn't have [fill in the blank].  I need to be more understanding.  He really does love us.  Tomorrow will be a new day.  He'll be better tomorrow.

While he might have the most wonderful qualities about him--he may make your children laugh.  He might hold a steady job.  His boss might adore him.  His colleagues, too.  Maybe he takes you on a family day trip.  Maybe he surprises you with kind, thoughtful gestures, when you least expect it.

Those instances where he instills fear, hurt, shame...those are real experiences, too.  That's part of him, just like the nose on his face, the eyes that stare at you with love between the nonviolent times.  That's the part that you have to confront...and fully accept...and you can.  You can get there.

The good part of him does not erase the part of him that hurts you. It is the part of him that hurts your children, too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What to tell the children

I made these little guidelines for myself when embarking on the beginning of my separation journey. 

1) If your children tell you they miss your ex-spouse, absolutely hug them and tell them it's okay to miss them.  Reassure them that mommy/daddy love them very much, even if they aren't here right now.  (They do not understand why mommy/daddy isn't there and they shouldn't be worrying about grown-up problems, anyway).  And if there's a visitation schedule set up, reassure them that they will see them very soon.

2) Stay AWAY from the blame game.  If there is some kind of court involvement, explain to them that mommy and daddy are following the judge's rules.  Do not do the 'daddy said this' or 'mommy said that' (or daddy is a douchebag or mommy is a sack of crack, even if those statements aren't far from the truth) routine, because little kids LOVE both mommy and daddy, and that kind of language only hurts them.  Following the judge's rules is allowing them to understand that an external force or authority has stepped in to handle these grown-up problems.  Kind of like how a teacher makes the rules for kids in the classroom, judges make the rules for grown-ups...that kind of thinking really helped my older one...

3)  If your friends, family, loved ones ask if they can help, don't be shy and pretend you can do this all by yourself.  If they are there for you, lean on them.  (It's okay to check in and be sure they aren't burning out though, because you love them, and they most likely have their own thoughts/loves/problems going on and you are their friend, too). 

4)  Pray

5)  Cry

6)  When your baby barfs all over you in the middle of the night, and you're bleary eyed and cleaning it up, you may want to cry.  But instead of crying, just take care of the barf, because it's everywhere, clean up your baby and put him/her back to bed.  Clean up yourself (or not), and clean up the barf, do the laundry and put everything away (or not).  But as you're mumbling to yourself in the middle of the night, an angel might come in and tell you:  even this is better than living in relationship that is hurtful/harmful to you or your children. And you might even be thankful.

7)  You may even want to partake of an adult beverage or six.  Unfortunately, I haven't found the time to do so, so if there's someone that could do that for you, that's even better.  LOL.  (I really like Patron, so that's my vote!)

8)  Laugh.

9)  Do not be surprised at what comes out from under the rocks in a contested divorce.  Even if you loved your soon-to-be-ex with all of your heart, do not be surprised.  You cannot control what your soon-to-be-ex will do.  You can cry and you can be angry, but don't be surprised.  If ugly things come your way, it is an unfortunate reassurance that you are doing the right thing.

10)  Pray again.

11)  Even if the ugliness comes out or is thrown up in your face, you do not have to be ugly.  Love and be kind to yourself.  If you can find it in your heart to be kind (meaning civil) to him or her, that's even better--because you know that somehow, you have not lost your soul.

12)  One day you may be thanking god for all the good in your life, the next, crying your heart out because it's broken.

13)  Get into therapy.  (Note:  good shrinks are hard to find, so be sure to check and double-check your references, especially if there is abuse involved...not all therapists understand the cycle of violence.)

14)  Know it's okay to screw up.  Do your best, but no one is perfect.  (Especially on the part about being kind to the person who is throwing ugliness up in your face.)  If everyone was perfect, you wouldn't be where you are now.  A very good friend once told me: 

15)  Be gentle with you.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dear Reader,

After living through a long process of leaving someone whose anger threatened the safety of myself and my children, I wanted to start a blog or a site, where I might reach others who might need help.  Who might be wondering.  Who might be thinking.

I know the word "abuse" has many bells and whistles associated with it.  I will tell you right now, that for years I didn't talk about what was happening to us; I didn't recognize it as abuse.  He was educated, he was gainfully employed, he came across to the world as charming, wonderful, caring, such a doting family man.

It was only behind closed doors that he let his anger come out.

So maybe that is what I will first write about, and leave out there in the world to read.  Abuse comes in many forms.  It comes in words.  It comes in name calling.  It comes in swearing and threatening.  It comes in breaking your children's toys.  It comes in beating up a family pet.  It may not leave bruises and broken bones (at first), but it is still domestic violence.

Are you always at fault if something goes wrong?  Do you feel like you live in a mine field, that no matter how careful you do things in your house, how carefully you 'follow the rules,' there is always something that goes wrong, some disaster that happens?  That such 'disasters' could be minor, such as forgetting to bring home the milk, and then there is an angry outburst that might include:  yelling, swearing, throwing things, breaking things, being called names? Or escalate in other such acts that you can't even begin to describe?

And then as quickly as it comes in, it disappears, and you are left thinking--did I imagine this?

You didn't imagine it.  It happened.  And you are not alone.