Battle on the Beach. Why women stay?

Imagine the sun warming your body, the sound of the ocean lulling your mind to the most peaceful tranquil state of existence, a cool drink quenching your yearning thirst, a warm breeze teasing the tiny hairs on your motionless body, the rawness of mother earth meditating through you bringing your mind and body close to a state of co-existence and peace. The merging of all senses, when abruptly your sense of sound is alerted to the voice of a friend saying in her Texas drawl, “….if a man hit me, I’d be out of there right quick”, “…no way would I let someone hit or abuse me.”  And suddenly, in a split second, I am ripped from my peace, my body tightens, the emotional wall fortifies, my mind returns to the place of judgment.

Nonchalantly, I slip into the conversation, without revealing my shame, my baggage, my heartbreak and tell her there are many reasons women stay in abusive situations. We stay out of fear, fear that others will know our dirty secret, fear that our children will know(even though they already know), fear we will lose our family, fear of judgment, fear of failing and not being able to provide for our children. We accept less because of shame. We are ashamed. Sometimes we have engaged in the abuse and that deepens our shame.

As my thoughts of shame and judgment find their comfortable shape in my mind, she re-iterates her statements. Her confidence and strength, re-birth feelings of guilt and mingle with judgment. It is frightening that feelings that I thought I discarded return so easily, and now fear was awakening. This need inside me stirred because I wanted her to understand her words of strength were resonating as a judgment. Her words cast aspersions that I was weak and pathetic. I wanted her to understand, but I didn’t want her to know. Even as I write this I don’t really want anyone to know the depth or the secrets of my personal journey. Afterall, a vulnerability in my world is the direct conduit to pain, deep emotional pain.

Quietly, without drawing too much attention that the conversation is personal to me, I state that we all make decisions with the information and with the feelings we have at that moment in time. Abuse is complicated. We all take different things from each relationship, and it is our humanitarian duty to provide a safe place without judgment for others who are trapped for whatever reason in abusive situations.

And as I abruptly as my peace was shaken, I quickly closed my eyes and feigned tranquility. Fighting the inner battle of my emotions, while desperately keeping my physical demeanor in check. As I pushed, the feelings of shame, judgment, guilt, and pain out of my psyche, I looked like all of the other carefree beachgoers. However, now I felt the intense heat of the sun, the cold drink now warm and unquenching, the waves thundered, each more bold and powerful and the once comforting warm breeze, now invaded my body without permission. A battle waged in my mind, but a new sentiment emerged. The new emotional comrade affirming that I found unity, even if briefly, and it is a privilege to help others find their peace. With this new emotional ally, my senses relaxed once more.

Common reasons people stay in abusive situations according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. http://www.thehotline.org

  • Fear: A person may be afraid of what will happen if they decide to leave the relationship.
  • Believing Abuse is Normal: A person may not know what a healthy relationship looks like, perhaps from growing up in an environment where abuse was common, and they may not recognize that their relationship is unhealthy.
  • Embarrassment or Shame: It’s often difficult for someone to admit that they’ve been abused. They may feel they’ve done something wrong by becoming involved with an abusive partner. They may also worry that their friends and family will judge them.
  • Low Self-Esteem: When an abusive partner constantly puts someone down and blames them for the abuse, it can be easy for the victim to believe those statements and think that the abuse is their fault.
  • Love: So often, the victim feels love for their abusive partner. They may have children with them and want to maintain their family. Abusive people can often be charming, especially at the beginning of a relationship, and the victim may hope that their partner will go back to being that person. They may only want the violence to stop, not for the relationship to end entirely.
  • Cultural/Religious Reasons: Traditional gender roles supported by someone’s culture or religion may influence them to stay rather than end the relationship for fear of bringing shame upon their family.
  • Language Barriers/Immigration Status: If a person is undocumented, they may fear that reporting the abuse will affect their immigration status. Also, if their first language isn’t English, it can be difficult to express the depth of their situation to others.
  • Lack of Money/Resources: Financial abuse is common, and a victim may be financially dependent on their abusive partner. Without money, access to resources or even a place to go, it can seem impossible for them to leave the relationship. This feeling of helplessness can be especially strong if the person lives with their abusive partner.
  • Disability: When someone is physically dependent on their abusive partner, they can feel that their well-being is connected to the relationship. This dependency could heavily influence their decision to stay in an abusive relationship.

https://www.freedomk9project.com

https://www.freedomk9project.com

 

 

 

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Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror, look at me

Show the woman that I see

Her eyes are soft, but they do not shine

Her mouth is full but does not speak

Her cheekbones high, her jaw clenched tight

Her rosy blush hides the fight

 

Mirror, Mirror, look at me1stdaydiflifemirror mirror

Show me the woman that I see

The swanlike neck holds an emotionless stare

Our eyes lock, the lids quietly lower

Your reflection has no depth

Our lips hold back the halted breath

 

Mirror, Mirror, look at me

Show me the woman that I see

I touch her cheek, she does not wince

I touch my cheek, it’s soft and wet

Strong and unwavering, unafraid to reflect

The years of physical and emotional neglect

 

Mirror, Mirror, look at me

Show me the woman that I see

My thoughts distort and distract

But I catch a glimpse, and long to gaze

Give me your strength, your resolve to see

The strong woman staring back at me

Desiree

 

 

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Seek Truth, Know Truth, Accept Truth

What the world doesn’t need is another spiritual pithy statement, but, lessons come in all forms and what the world does need is more openness and acceptance.  It’s ok to receive, we don’t always have to give.  In fact, if we are just giving, we are stunting the growth in ourselves and others.  Walk with your head held high and palms up.  When we hold our palms open to the sky we are ready for the gifts of the Universe, God or whatever higher power you believe. Sounds weird, I know, however, I want you to be cognizant that you are worthy of receiving, of accepting your truth.

One of my many epiphanies occurred during the cooldown of my yoga class. The young naive optimistic instructor was sharing life guidance tips, something  I have always found amusing from my jaded cynical heart. This time was different, I listened to my breathing, opened my palms to the sky and heard her words in the background, “seek your truth, know your truth, accept your truth.” These simple words were so powerful because, at that moment, I accepted my truth and my soul filled with peace. I had been struggling with a deep pain of a severely injured relationship, a casualty of the divorce. I struggled because I could not understand someone I loved so deeply could not, would not seek, know nor accept the truth. It is a truth so obvious and one we all l lived.  I’ve cried many tears, given till I could not feasibly give anymore, reached out, only to be denied.  I have watched salty tears blinked back, and salt a wounded heart. My pain deepening as I shouted, “I am here.  I am the one who is/was always here, loving you unconditionally, waiting…” I want to shout so much more but tearing down another to make yourself look better is not living with good heart and only creates more hurt. Knowing the truth doesn’t mean you have to make a choice, me or him or the highway.  Accepting the truth means your heart is open to love, and acceptance of even an ugly truth, but your heart is still open to receive love.

Spiritually, I received my message. We all receive and accept our truths at a time right for us. Despite our interconnectedness, I cannot force or even encourage someone else’s truth. Accepting my truth, meant letting go of judgment and accept the good things about me. I am not perfect. I am a good mother. I did the right thing, even if others don’t see it or understand. I act without malice. I can close my eyes every night knowing I did the right thing.  My heart is open to receive, palms are up, and peace fills my being.  Embracing my truth, I wait.

“The things I carry are my thoughts. That’s it. They are the only weight. My thoughts determine whether I am free and light or burdened.”
― Kamal RavikantLive Your Truth

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Truth is Clarity

 

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How to Divorce an Emotionally Abusive Person?

Times are a changing. How do you successfully divorce an emotionally abusive person and/or situation? It seems so straightforward.  You divorce, you cut ties, you establish new boundaries and develop new positive relationships, right? Well, kinda.  You do eventually divorce, and depending on how quick and semi-equitable your divorce is a good indication of how healthy your relationship was. If your ex-spouse drags you into court for years, instead of concentrating on the bitterness of the situation and the anger, it’s imperative for you to focus on seeing the situation in a new light. Yes, you still have to respond to the legal jargon, but don’t allow yourself you get caught up in minutiae and the anger. Remember, even if your attorney is on speed dial, they are not your confidant and they get paid by the hour. The more time they spend on your case the more money it costs you. If your ex is filing motion after motion and engaging in litigation abuse seek ways to shut it down, but do not engage in all of the ridiculousness proposed. These things are designed to “rattle the cage” and appeal to your emotion so you lose reason and continue to engage. If you are divorcing a narcissist they thrive on engagement.  They need you to engage. Your silence is intolerable to them and they will seek ways to reconvene communication. They are not above using the courts or your children.  Times can only change if you disengage, find a way to forgive yourself, love yourself and then eventually forgive them. Forgiveness does not mean re-establishing communication or contact, it merely means for you to uncouple and unburden your heart. Concentrate on healthy new relationships and a healthy new you. This is the only way to divorce an emotionally abusive person.

“The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong”.  Mahatma Ghandi

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Oprah, Mother Theresa and The Little Black Dress

Who knew the Golden Globes would serve as my epiphany. Wow!  Many of the women were supermodel thin, glamorous, wore black dresses and were mesmerized by Oprah Winfrey as she held captive the audience for no less than 20 minutes.  In business speak, that’s a lot of dollars and cents that funded Oprah’s message about women’s empowerment. The movement is real.

“I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again.” Oprah Winfrey

Initially, Oprah’s Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement acceptance speech seemed out of place, women’s empowerment in a flirty black cocktail dress.

LBD – Women’s Empowerment

The waif-like appearance of so many of the women was not about the Golden Globes, but the undercurrent was like a women’s empowerment riptide, pulling the audience way out to sea in unchartered waters challenging them to be strong and swim. Challenging them to swim, not straight to shore, but parallel the shore, reminding us the most obvious route is not always the best. The small feminine frames remind us to use our brains and not our brawn, swim parallel until we can safely swim to shore with ease. The evening was filled with subtle and screaming nuances that in order to make our mark in a professional environment women need to band together and support one another without condition and judgment. Recognize that strength is not one size fits all. Think Mother Theresa and Rosa Parks. The luxurious attire of the women in black, their tiny feminine stature and their strong attitudes remind us that we are Gaia, Mother Earth and there is nothing tiny about our power. We birthed the world. We don’t need to wear vagina hats on our head, we are confident in our feminity and confident in our strength and in our collective empowerment. The world would not exist without our presence. We are the soft buxom to land when life is harsh and unkind.

We are experiencing a movement. The time for unification is now. Our feminine reflection is unique to each of us. Let go of judgment and criticism, embrace, accept, and celebrate the female strength to create a better world for all of us. Speak up now. We are women!

Only humility will lead us to unity, and unity to peace. If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
― Mother Teresa 

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Tentacles of Abuse

The tentacles of abuse are far-reaching and know no bounds. Even when you leave the situation and the person. A rational person moves on with life, but the abuser can’t let it go. Like an octopus hiding under a rock, slipping and sliding from one dark, dank rock to the next, spraying black ink to murky the water of anyone or thing threatening to expose them, so behaves the abuser. 1stdaydiflife svaNYCThe abuser is a master of disguise, camouflaging into it’s surroundings, as the tide rolls in and out, they can go unnoticed for years. They change with the landscape, seemingly innocuous, yet they are all venomous and sometimes deadly.

How many times have you heard someone say, or perhaps you have said it, “wow, he seemed like such a nice guy.” He volunteered at church, led youth groups, and was always willing to lend a helping hand”(as long as the other hand was holding you down). You never know what goes on behind closed doors or under that dark rock. The octopus, lending many helping hands but keeping one tentacled arm securely wrapped around you. The tentacles with suction cups that resemble voracious mouths ready to swallow you alive. And if they are threatened with exposure, they jettison away leaving you covered in ink, unclean, violated and often re-victimized.

With so many reaching far tentacles, they use what they can. When control slips, children, and the courts are the easiest to manipulate and these tentacled tools are used to keep you firmly in place.  The poor helpless octopus, caught in the net, we start to feel sorry for this wide-eyed pitiful creature, unwilling to believe that it might have a dark side, after all, they can glide through the waters with mesmerizing grace and agility.  We don’t want to admit that a monster may be in our midst, a monster that we lunch with, that we invite to parties, that we engage in business deals, because what does that say about us.

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Masters of Disguise.  Watching, waiting, their Tentacles of Abuse hidden.

Daily we see our beloved television icons, who greet us with good news in the morning, exposed as predatory octopi. Their co-workers claim, “we didn’t know, we heard stories, but couldn’t believe” we embraced a tentacled monster. We also hear those same people chastising those who suffered and were silenced as the tentacles of abuse tightened. Commenting why after all of these years are the stories being told. Why? Because their ghastly arm always taps at you, letting you know you can’t hide. Their arms wrap around your loved ones, threatening to squeeze if you tell. The suction cups suck the life out of you, and one quick bite incapacitates and/or intoxicates, leaving you paralyzed with fear. You run, but you can’t hide, only they can hide, their tentacles of abuse in plain sight.

 

 

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Size Matters: 6-0-6

What is your size?  Mine is happy.  Finally, joy after years of quiet acquiescence and resentment to the most ridiculous divorce ever.

size matters 1stdaydiflife (2)

One would have thought we were the Rockefellers clawing for every gold bar.  Nope, just a simple family with a small business, finally enjoying some of the fruits of our labors, preparing for empty nesting.  I guess once the business of being married and juggling family started to wane. We were left alone with each other the issues in our relationship glared angrily at us like an unwanted neon sign.

 

Size matters. We couldn’t avoid it any longer.  As the imminent possibility of divorce increased my appetite decreased…. and decreased.  I measured my happiness by my dress size and at a size zero, I was miserable.  I skeletoned through the drudgery of life, Size Matters 1stdaydiflifeattempting to extricate from the game playing that had become our relationship and trying to force a new life.  Truth was, I had given up control of my life so many years ago.  I really didn’t trust myself, I was always Mrs. XXX, or mom, and now I had to be ME.

When I finally let go and stopped trying to control every aspect, remarkable things happened.  First, love came into my life, but this love was different.  It was a love for myself, self-respect and self-care.  I began to nurture myself and put me first and I don’t mean just by trips to the spa.  This was different, anytime negative talk entered my mind, I reminded myself to be kind, cut me a break.

Once self-acceptance took hold my size inched up and this weight gain was welcomed.  As I sized up, another wonderful thing happened:  true romantic love entered my life.  This love is unconditional, based on trust and respect, without the game playing.  Size happiness has given a new meaning to the expression Size Matters.

 

 

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