I Understand Why Women Stay

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I now understand first hand why women stay in abusive relationships. My Domestic Violence Story is typical and unique at the same time. Like most people in our society I had a very narrow view about Domestic Violence until it happened to me. My understanding was limited to the effects of physical abuse only, but completely oblivious to the signs of mental, emotional, verbal, spiritual, sexual, and financial abuse. In fact, I didn’t realize that I was in an abusive relationship until my spouse brutally attacked me in front of our four children. I always tell people “He knocked the sense into me” and people stare in shock at the words leaving my mouth.

The day my husband attacked was the day I had to ask myself “If I was an abused woman?” I called the Domestic Violence Hotline and the operator ask the questions that changed my life. She ask about money, conversations with my spouse, sex, and the lack affection between us. The operator asked about religious practices and I quickly understood that I was in trouble all along based on conversation. I knew that I was very unhappy in my marriage and I constantly prayed to God for guidance, but I didn’t think I was abused until the attack. There were so many times that I wanted out, but when I shared my concerns with others they minimized my concerns. Today, I understand they didn’t know about mental, emotional, verbal, spiritual, sexual, and financial abuse either. They didn’t know that most abusers try really hard to impress others with their charm and make the victim look bad.

I spent months in Domestic Violence Counseling while my husband refused to go. His behavior became more aggressive. I became more depressed and isolated. After we separated, he stalked the house. This is when the reality set in about why women stay with their abusers, because it so difficult to leave. Here are some things that I discovered about leaving an abusive relationship:

Mental, Emotional, Verbal, Spiritual, Sexual, and Financial Abuse are all precursors to Physical Abuse. Each one plays a role in Domestic Abuse, the physical violence is never alone in the act of Domestic Abuse. It is always paired with other forms of abuse.

The three biggest mistakes that victims make are protecting their abusers, not calling the police and staying in the same residence. I constantly protected my abuser’s character, because I was ashamed of his actions. The few people that I confided in, always diminished my concerns. I never called the police after he attacked, that was my worst mistake. I was in shock and I feared that he would go to jail. My children were there and I froze up.  Now I know that it was a big mistake not to call the police. Lastly, my counselor told me to leave the home and I didn’t. I had nowhere to go with four young children. The thought of a shelter was frightening. One friend offered us to stay with her, but I felt like a burden. I had no job, no car, no cellphone, and no money.

Domestic Violence scares people. Family, friends and churches can’t process it. It’s ugly and when it rears its ugly head, everyone has to look at themselves. Nobody wants admit that something just wasn’t right or things didn’t add up. Mostly people just make excuses about turning a deaf ear.

My abuser had legal rights. My spouse was stalking me, has would just park outside our home and listen at the doors. I called the police and they said he had the right to come inside, because we were married. They told me to get a protective order. I got one that night. In retaliation, my spouse filed several false charges against me and filed for custody of our children in retaliation. Legally he could do that and much more.

Abusers will use any method to prevent the victim from leaving or to get what they want, including the children. My spouse defamed my character to anyone that would listen. I was in court two and three times a week for months. He took the transportation and finances. When that failed he use the children to make me stay.

I also discovered that the non-profit organizations are not all inclusive. Most in my county did not offer legal aid for victims, shelter, or job resources. I could get counseling and legal advice, but I had to go from agency to agency for help. I had borrowed my sister in-law’s car, but I had to pay for parking and gas to get to and from the courthouse. Getting the help was a constant mission that caused the use of resources, time and energy that I struggled to get daily. Including, child care while I went back and forth to court.

People treat you like you have the plague. I came into contact with very few people that were genuinely kind, in fact most were very nasty or insensitive. Some of the non-profit workers were down right mean and legal aid attorneys preyed on the vulnerable  that needed legal help. The judges were twice as bad and could be extremely cold. No empathy or sympathy for victims. My husband had the money and got a great attorney, I had no money and had to borrow money for legal help. People as a whole would pity us for being abused or tell me what they would have done in my situation.

Abuse affects both men and women of all races, religions, income level, and ages. I met so many women that told me their personal stories. It was a unique sisterhood of women that wanted to survive, no thrive. I wanted to thrive! Survival was the bare minimum.

The list really goes on and on about my journey. In the end, I was more beat up from trying to get out of an abusive marriage. My children and I were exhausted. It would have been easier to stay with my abusive spouse. I knew my abuser and I knew that we had a place to stay. Being with him, made everyone comfortable. I understood his moods for the most part, but the physical abuse was new. My heart told me that he would strike again. So I found the strength to fight back by leaving and never looked back. I had little help along the way, just a few committed friends, dedicated non-profit workers and eventually my mother. The truth is people would have helped more if I stayed, but against all the odds I fought like Hell to leave my abuser. The truth is my battle is not over, but I can’t be silent about it.

I now understand why women stay. They stay because leaving is beyond difficult, it can be almost impossible. You never feel safe or not judged by others. If you are being abused (remember the other forms-mental, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and financial) you must find the courage to leave. You will have limited help and resources, but God will make a way out of no way. God will give you the courage needed to leave. You must leave for your children and yourself. It is the best decision that you could make for your future and theirs.

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Find Joy, Love and Peace Today…Right Now!

 

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When you look in the mirror what do you see? I used to see a “Hot Mess!” The stress of life and a bad relationship had taken a toll on me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I was drained and looked stressed.  So once I eliminated what was causing my emotional and mental stress (An Abusive Marriage). I had to focus on finding my joy, love and peace. Here are my three key points to help you find your joy and peace:

#1 Start Your Day with Prayer, Scripture, Positive Affirmations and Meditation: Starting your day with prayer is key to allowing God to direct your life’s path. This invites God into your mind, heart, and day to provide truth and guidance. It’s a gentle nudge throughout your day that God is ultimately in control. Even five minutes of meditation can give you the quiet time needed to clear your mind from stressful, negative thoughts. Just listen to your breath and let your thoughts pass by. You can also meditate on a scripture or positive affirmations. This practice can be done through out your day and when you face difficulties. It’s the best way to start your day. Quiet time with God, I promise you that it works.

#2 Accept the Fact That You Can’t Change People: Once you accept this fact, you will spend less time worrying about what you can’t change. Everyone has free will and the right to make their own choices. You have the same right.  So instead of wasting time expecting someone else to change, focus on what you need to do. If you are frustrated with a person that takes advantage of you…you have the choice to say “No”. If you find that someone speaks negatively to you, you can tell them how it makes you feel (in a loving way, if possible) and if they continue to do it…stop talking to them. You have to teach people how to treat you. If you teach them to run all over you, that’s exactly what they will do. You may not be able to change them, but you can change anything about you that you need to. This creates self-love and healthy boundaries. If you love yourself in healthy way, you can love others. You just have to meet some people where they are and walk away from others.

#3 Find Your Happy Place: Do you know what makes you joyful inside and out? What do you love about your life? Do you have a hobby or creative outlet? Do you like art, fashion, or nature? After my marriage ended, I realized that I had completely lost myself. I had no idea what gave me joy in my heart. In time, I discovered that spending time with children was my most joyful place. The beach, art, good music and quiet time alone fueled sheer joy for me. I loved candles and good books. I like inspirational television. I love opportunities to travel, learn, and teach. My happy place is helping others. It took time to figure this out, but points #1 and #2 laid a firm foundation to discover #3.

These are steps that you can take right now to eliminate stress in your life. In the end, you will discover the joy, love and peace that you deserve to have in your life. #MondayMotivation

Fail Until You Succeed

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The simple quote “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is worth applying to your everyday life when think about your failures. It took me about a year to recover from what I thought was a series of life failures, but what seemed like my biggest failure was actually my biggest blessing. I decided to turn my mess into a success, by counteracting my negative thoughts with positive actions. A year ago my life was in complete chaos. Each day something new came my way and I had to decide if I was going to let it finish me off or if I would use it for the fuel to turn my life around.

My theory about facing obstacles that seem like failures, change your perspective about the purpose for failing in your life. Here are some great reasons to understand why failure is important to your success:

Failure Makes You Human-Jesus was the only perfect person to walk the Earth. We all make mistakes. Some people just can’t accept the fact that failures happen to everyone in some manner or another. It’s okay if you fail, but it’s not okay to stay there.

Failure Instills Wisdom-If you didn’t fail, how would you learn from your mistakes? If you are not learning from your failures, you are missing the purpose of failure. Failure should only be a temporary place, not a permanent residence. There is always a lesson to be learned. By taking time to analyze why or how you failed, you can gain invaluable nuggets of wisdom. The biggest mistakes people make when failing is concentrating on the failure solely, blaming others, or internalizing the effects of failing. You must always look to failure as “a substitute teacher” of a class that you are going to pass anyway. Who doesn’t graduate because they failed a class with substitute teacher? You do the work or you don’t and face the consequences of your actions either way.

Failure Makes You Stronger-Failure will either make you work harder or give up. Which one do you think is harder to do? Giving up is harder. People that give up live with the regret that they stopped moving forward when the failed. Giving up will last a lifetime and causes spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional depletion. If you push through failure, you will gain strength in knowing what you are capable of doing. Remember that failure hurts, but giving up is suicide.

Failure Gives You a Voice-People that fail have a story to tell that can inspire a nation. If you are willing to be transparent about your failures, you could encourage someone else to push through their own failure and succeed. When people see you push through, they will wonder how you found the strength to make it. Our story is our testimony and that is how we share what God able to do in our lives.

Failure is Necessary-Failure is necessary in our journey. We can’t avoid life’s imperfections. The blemishes or stains that we call failure always have a blessing attached to it. Sometimes we just can’t see the success story, because we are focused on the tale of the failure. The tale of failure always appears larger than life, put it’s only a hurdle that we must jump over to reach the finish line. A failure always has a success attached to it, you only have to shift your perspective to see it.

I hope that you enjoy this glass of ice cold glass of lemonade.

Creating A Life Worth Living

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Are you living a life worth living? What does that even mean? It means that your present in your moment and loving it. It doesn’t matter what season of life that you are in either. I will soon be a 38 year-old single mother of 4 and I love it! I love being single. I love being a mom. I love getting older and wiser. I love my life so much now, I wrote a book about it to share especially with you.

Life is good now, but just a year ago it was messy. Real Messy! I realized that I didn’t have to stay in a mess, so I created a life worth living. Stroke by stroke, my life became a masterpiece. People can’t believe that I look and feel so good. This eBook is the first of a series coming in 2016. I will share my take on life as I know it and I am so excited!

Download Your Copy Today!

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I’m So Excited!

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Life is really funny, if you chose to look at from that perspective. I choose to laugh and not cry about getting older. In fact, I get more excited about living life every day. I truly believe that my days ahead of me are my best days and not the days behind me. My birthday is this month and I am so excited about what this year will bring. When I think about the benefits that come with aging, I get so excited! Here are my three top reasons that a lady should embrace aging;

It’s Inevitable:

Unless you die young, you will age. It’s a fact! Some may be in denial, but most women won’t go without a fight. We work out, use make-up, replace hair, wear uncomfortable waist trainers, get plastic surgery, and shop the cosmetics counter until we drop. It exhausting! Don’t get me wrong, we should fight the good fight. Health is important! Self-Image is important! I get excited about aging, because I can be free to define my own beauty story.  If you have gray hair and want to rock it, go ahead. Those few extra pounds may be worth the happiness of your favorite snack, eat up. If you want to fight aging until the bitter end, enjoy the battle. You will age, so get excited about the inevitable.

It’s Fun:

Aging can be fun. I think aging makes you bolder and brave. You may want to try something new or explore your options. Get excited about discovering the new adventures out there. Travel, dance, go back to school, chase a dream and laugh. You may have some bloopers, but that’s the fun part. One of my dear friends called me out on my lack of the fun factor. So it’s my personal goal to enjoy life to the fullest. Get excited about having fun.

It’s Liberating:

You know what you like and what you don’t like. You start to learn who you are. Hopeful you have learned from your mistakes. Your opinion matters and your voice can be heard. This was true for the younger you, but for some confidence takes time. Your experiences mean something and you can make a difference. You stop asking for permission to be yourself. Be free to be you. Now, that’s exciting.