Handing out of dose of reality one “ugly” story at a time

verbalabusejournals.com

Visit www.verbalabusejournals.com to submit your story.

More and more victims/survivors are getting sick and tired of being shut down by ignorance and injustice. They’re speaking out and writing. Find out how and where by reading my latest story published to The Washington Times Communities:

Domestic Violence Victims are Speaking Out, Handing Out a Dose of Reality

Cappuccino Queen: A blog worth reading and following

20121203-115036.jpgShe calls him a psychopath. She fought for custody of her son and won. But she lost the battle for supervised visitations. Now, her beautiful baby boy Prince is dead. He was only 14 months old.

Prince’s mother, Hera McLeod and blogger at Cappuccino Queen, has many to “thank” for the death of her son, including the Montgomery County Maryland family court system (MoCo). MoCo failed to properly handle a delicate decision that allowed the father, a person of interest for murder and an alleged rapist in Prince William County Virginia, to have unsupervised visitations with his son Prince, a child who will never have an opportunity to speak.

Why is this happening? The courts and law enforcement need to wake up to the reality that parental rights must take a back seat to children rights when one or more of the parents display signs of having a personality disorder like narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder and/or sociopathy/psychopathy.

Do judges make these careless decisions because the pleadings from the other parent are too emotional, and the judge simply thinks she/he is overreacting or acting vindictive due to a broken heart? That is a myth that needs to be shattered. We DO NOT love these monsters. We DO NOT want to reconcile with these monsters. We want to be free of them and be guaranteed that our children will be free from their emotional, verbal, and often physical abuses. Wouldn’t you be emotional, too, if you had every reason in the world to fear that the father of your child is capable of irreparable damage to your child, including murder?

Yet, faced with overwhelming evidence, MoCo Judge Algeo in Prince McLeod’s case made the decision to allow the father unsupervised visits. By the fourth visit, dear little Prince was fighting for his life in the hospital, but the injuries he endured were too much. His little body wasn’t powerful enough to recover.

One can make many assumptions about who, what, when, and how the baby was injured. But for many of us who have experienced the diabolical lies, manipulations, and behavior of our own narcissist and/or sociopath, the truth may never be revealed, not even through an autopsy report. One thing is certain, however: a child is dead and nothing can bring him back to the ones who love him.

Visit Hera McLeod’s blog, Cappuccino Queen, and read the recent article in The Washington Post related to Prince’s death. What do you think? Should THAT judge and judges like him even be allowed to reside over such proceedings? As tax payers and members of a democratic free society, you and I have EVERY right to question these decisions and demand answers.

(And it’s not as simple as looking at the court-case history or the father’s criminal history. We all should know that by now. Remember Josh Powell and his now dead wife, Susan, and her boys?)

Namaste!

First annual “Silent No More” walk/run to fight domestic violence

Silent No More CollageThis past weekend, Saturday, October 20, I participated in my first walk to fight domestic violence: Silent No More.

I have been participating in charity walks, runs, and bike-a-thons since I was in 4th grade. Growing up in Westernport, MD, I remember the principal and teachers at Westernport Elementary School holding the annual spring assembly encouraging each student to ride in the St. Jude’s bike-a-thon to help raise money for the sick kids who couldn’t ride. Those were the days when I had to go door-to-door to get people to sponsor me as little as a dime for every mile I rode. I was 8 the first year I rode, and I wanted to ride at least 50 miles so I could get a trophy. (And I did! My first trophy!) By the third year I participated, I wanted to ride the 50 miles and get the most sponsors to raise the most money to help those kids. I raised a lot but not the most. I still got a trophy, but the trophy meant less to me than the first and second trophies I had won. As an 11-year-old, I learned that I could make a difference just by doing a little something one day out of the year and that I could have fun doing it.

Since then, I have done many, many charity walks. The walks have all been to fight some type of disease like breast cancer or juvenile diabetes or prostate cancer or heart disease or AIDS. These events bring out hundreds of participants and raise thousands of dollars every year. I am always thrilled to be a part of these events and know that even a few dollars add up and can truly make a difference in someone’s life and the lives of many. If I didn’t believe this, I wouldn’t dedicate my time and money.

I learned about The Silent No More 10K run/2M walk through Facebook and desperately wanted to be a part of it. The event was held in Morgantown, WV, the home of West Virginia University and the Mountaineers, which is almost 4 hours from my home near D.C. My mom and son went with me. I fully expected my son to sit next to my mom at the table I setup to display my book and business cards. But about 10 minutes before the horn sounded, he told me he’d like to walk with me.

He ran ahead of me for the first mile, while I lagged behind and walked and talked with a couple of walkers I just met. On the return trip, things were different. He ran out of steam, and I had to say goodbye to my new friends and walk slower back to the finish with my son who I also carried on my back several hundred feet. We finished together, and I won a book (“Sister of Silence” by Daleen Berry, a memoir of her abuse and escape) for being the first woman walker over 40 to finish. (Over 40. Still sinking in.)

Overall, the day was bitter-sweet. The turnout of participants seemed low to me (less than 50), and the media showed up late AFTER the race began. Also, there were some runners who participated just for the opportunity to say they ran and competed, not because they were there to support the cause. I know this because the turn-around point for the run portion of the event was not attended by an event coordinator, and many of the top runners did not see the cones and ended up running more than a 10K. About half a mile more! The finishing times for the top runners and finishers were well above their personal best. (Apparently, this isn’t good for a runner’s resume.) The winning runner was so disappointed by the failure of the event planners that he left before awards were distributed! This was very sad to me.

But the day had its perks, too. I met my Facebook friend and fellow blogger Ray for the first time. I also met author Daleen Berry and the race coordinator Kevin. I sold the first soft copy of my book (most sales have been through Kindle and Nook), and I met many people dedicated to the cause to fight domestic violence/intimate partner abuse. I learned about Samantha’s Sanctuary located in Morgantown and that the money collected on race day will go to buying Kindles preloaded with resources and books to help empower victims of abuse. (Maybe they’ll load my little book on the Kindles they distribute. Who knows!?)

My wish is that the event will become an annual event and that next year will bring more support. No, we’re not fighting breast cancer or heart disease. We’re fighting something that is just as debilitating and life-threatening. Is support so low for this cause because domestic violence is a disease with a human face unlike cancer which is a disease caused by something inhuman? Or is it because too many people still blame the victims of domestic violence and have given up on trying to help? Regardless, it’s a cause that desperately needs more support and funding. Hopefully, my son will continue participating with me, and maybe one day he’ll even be one of the top finishers on race day. One thing is certain, he is learning that events like this aren’t about winning or raising the most money. Events like this are about supporting those who don’t have the resources to save and support themselves, because just knowing someone or many someones care is enough to save a person. Peace!

A wish tree, a wish, and renewed hope

Wish Tree in The Sculpture Garden

I was given a chance to make a wish today.

It honestly never fails. Just when I want to give up believing that goodness truly exists in this world, I am sent reminders that I shouldn’t give up. Not yet, anyhow.

Friday evening, I received messages from two women who stumbled upon my blog and were moved enough to purchase my book. They just wanted to thank me and let me know I had given them hope and a reason not to feel alone. One woman described me as someone with “spunk.” I liked that. It sure beats being called crazy or someone who refuses to let go. I am spunky, lively, and spirited. Yes! All of those things I thought had eluded to be.

Saturday evening, I shared my Washington Times article with my mother. She was so happy. She has seen me struggle over the past 18 months with reclaiming my voice and couldn’t wait to share my column link for Living Inside Out Loud with her friends and co-workers. Nothing beats making Mom proud no matter how old we are.

Snake head - Ai Weiwei Circle of AnimalsSunday morning, my son, husband, and I decided to go into DC to visit the National Air and Space Museum and The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on the National Mall. My son likes the interactive exhibits at the Space Museum. While he and his dad learned about drag and lift, I relaxed on some benches nursing an aching lower back. (Nothing serious; I think I over did it in yoga the day before.) We walked to the Hirshhorn next and went through the Dark Matters display. The highlight was Ron Mueck’s “Big Man” piece. My son kept pointing to the penis asking why it looked so big. My only answer was that the artist must have been inspired to make it that way.

Next, we walked through the center courtyard where we checked out Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads exhibit. In the year of what animal were you born? (My son wasn’t born in the year of the snake. He just thought it was cool and wanted a picture next to it. That’s Dad in the red cap waaay back there under the rabbit’s head.)

Wish Tree Filled (or fulfilled?)Leaving the Hirshhorn, I suggested we walk through the Sculpture Garden to get to The Mall. Normally, we would walk around the garden. Today it enticed me to enter. So we did.

And there it was. A tree with little item tags hanging all over its branches. What in the world was I looking at? I read the display and realized that this is why I came downtown today. I grabbed a pencil and a tag, wrote my wish, and tied it to a branch. Maybe my wish will come true. I hope so.

About the Wish Tree taken from The Imagine Peace Tower website:

Yoko Ono’s interactive artwork WISH TREE (1996) has been integral to many of her exhibitions around the world in museums and cultural centers where people have been invited to write their personal wishes for peace and tie them to a tree branch.

“As a child in Japan, I used to go to a temple and write out a wish on a piece of thin paper and tie it around the branch of a tree. Trees in temple courtyards were always filled with people’s wish knots, which looked like white flowers blossoming from afar. All My Works Are A Form Of Wishing”. ~Yoko Ono

Yoko has collected all the wishes – currently totaling over a million!

They are to be housed at the site of the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER.

Make your own Wish Tree for you and your family and friends.

Namaste!

Don’t just dress up this Halloween. Dress up for a cause.

My first Washington Times article:

WASHINGTON, August 17, 2012—National Domestic Violence Awareness month is October, less than six weeks away. October is also, of course, the month of Halloween. Neighborhood stores are already displaying bags of candy corn, costumes, and treat bags.

The decision of what to “go as” is quickly approaching.

This Halloween, dress up as Red Riding Hood. Who doesn’t know the story of Red Riding hood?

Read the entire article…

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/living-inside-out-loud/2012/aug/17/domestic-violence-and-red-riding-hood-project/

Living Inside Out Loud

Living Inside Out LoudIt’s official! My biography and column page for Living Inside Out Loud are live and ready for my first submission to The Washington Times Communities. I’m so excited to write and publish my first story, hopefully, by the end of this week.

I am determined to bring more awareness to the connection between personality disorders, domestic violence/intimate partner abuse, and PTSD to as many people willing to read about it. I’ll be providing many references, resources, and expert testimony in each article. Stories will be more formal than my postings here but will hopefully add credibility to an otherwise overlooked social and family issue.

Namaste!

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/living-inside-out-loud/

Struck by a Sociopath and the difficulty of living alone

This post was influenced and inspired by a new blog written by someone not-so-new to being victimized by sociopaths. (Yes, that’s plural. She has had the unfortunate experience of having been close to two of these evil creatures.)

The blogger for My Sociopath~Struck by a Sociopath recently posted her own list of sociopathic character traits. The following struck me immediately, and I would be remiss not to write about my personal experience relating to this trait she lists at the #2 spot:

Difficulty Living Alone:  Sociopaths usually live with a stronger and more capable person that handles most of the responsibility (financial and other).  This could be a person that makes more money, has health insurance (will want to marry), and does majority of household business matters (dealing with day-to-day running, cooking, cleaning, child/pet care etc…)

a.  Sociopaths will make it seem the opposite: They are doing most of the household work and making a bigger financial contribution.

b.  This trait will diminish as a Sociopath gets older.  Older Sociopaths have fewer people to choose from that can be manipulated into a living situation.

The Boy (the narcissistic sociopath from my story) definitely had difficulty living alone. He seemed to exude independence on first meeting. But as I got to know him (as much as a person can KNOW a sociopath) I began questioning just how independent he really was.

His home’s basement consists of a laundry room, a locked storage room, and a two-bedroom apartment. He relies heavily on the apartment being rented at all times, asking more than the place is worth in my opinion. (I only knew the place to be vacant two months over the course of the three years I was unfortunately associated with him.) The laundry room had a schedule for use. If I can remember correctly, I could use it Sunday through Wednesday. The tenants could use it Thursday through Saturday. I thought this was ridiculous and mentioned that grown adults can work out a better system and have it always open for use. He and his mother (or I should say he and his enabler) thought my proposal was absurd, and so the rigid, controlling laundry schedule continued and probably still continues. (FREAKS!) The locked storage room never came open unless he needed to tuck away his taxes for his inherited business. I snuck in once. Nothing of value to anyone other than him. So why the lock? More control, I suppose.

To house his retired mother, he ILLEGALLY WITHOUT A PROPER PERMIT built a detached two-car garage complete with a one-bedroom mother-in-law apartment in which his mother lives when it’s not summer in South America. (I might add that his father resides there on occasion, but the old man preferred being away from the United States and his wife, it seemed, and was rarely there.) I initially thought the boy was a great son for building such a nice place. Soon I realized it was more for his benefit than his parent’s. It was all for money and control. What a good son, huh?

Now on to his choice of intimate partners who lived with him…

His wife/cousin (ex-wife/ex-cousin by the time I met him) served him: cooked, cleaned, kept quiet, and let him live his bachelor life (translated “never asked why he was never home and instead out having multiple affairs”). Before his marriage was final, he sold the condo he shared with his wife (giving her absolutely NOTHING except a plane ticket back to see her family in South America; he needed her gone) and bought the house detailed above and moved in his next victim, who had a great job and growing career. (According to him, however, the mistress and soon-to-be finacee  moved herself in, continued paying her half of the rent for an apartment she shared with a girlfriend, and for some reason, paid him each month for the pleasure of living with him. I found this suspect and still do. I think he asked her to move in and told her he’d help support her with her living expenses. Instead, he just took her money any chance he got.) And on top of that, he was able to convince this VERY smart woman to buy a condo (so they could rent it to make money) with the mortgage in her name only but with the title in both of their names. Of course, when he kicked her out of his house and ended the engagement, he also refused to help her with the cost of the mortgage for the condo when it was vacant. After all, he wasn’t legally bound to help her pay the mortgage, was he? What a gem of a man, huh?

And then there was me. I refused to move in with him, which was a constant source of his fury and rages with me. Keep in mind I was separated from my husband, not yet divorced, and with a young son who was in school 20 miles from the boy’s home. I rented an apartment close to my son’s school/daycare and his father’s home. I wasn’t even tempted to move in with the boy at that point. (In the D.C. area, driving 20 miles can take over an hour most days. I wanted to be able to come to my son’s aid at the drop of a hat within minutes, not hours. The boy despised that I put my son first, before him.)

As you can imagine, this living situation did not bode well with this controlling, narcissistic sociopath. According to him, I was cheating and sleeping with my estranged husband every night I had my son and slept in my apartment. According to the boy, I spent all of my time flirting with single men in my building. If I didn’t pick up my phone when he called or didn’t reply to his texts immediately, I was cheating. I was a big cheat and had numerous men coming and going from my apartment on any given day. Hell, I got so used to being called a whore, that the word whore became no more gut-wrenching than hearing him call me “Pumpkin,” which I effing hated and told him every time he called me that. But he continued. Zero respect.

So, yeah, he can’t live alone because he needs someone to control and manipulate on a daily basis. And he will find a way through technology if he can’t have you under foot. He’s an ugly, scary creature who wants to take your identity, crush it into tiny pieces, and scatter it about in hopes you will never be able to put yourself back together again. Because, if you can’t put yourself back together again, he can control you for all eternity. (You think that’s being too dramatic? Well, thank goodness you have never had to deal with the boy or another creature like him.)

Peace. ~Paula

Thank you, Yoga!

peaceful yogaYesterday was the half-way point in my 30-day Bikram yoga challenge at Bikram Yoga Rockville. It was also my 4-month anniversary of practicing yoga. (Woohoo!) And to make the day even more significant, I had my first OB/GYN visit as a 40-year-old woman.

Second only to the doctors who delivered my son in Colorado, the providers at Capital Women’s Care are the best. I always see the nurse first. She asks the general questions about lifestyle and medications. She was very pleased to hear that I still don’t smoke (never did, don’t plan to start); I quit drinking alcohol; I practice yoga 4-5 times each week (this month it is EVERY day); and that I am having my tattoo removed. She said, “This is wonderful, Paula. So many positive changes and just in time for your 40th birthday.” Made me feel really good, especially after she took my blood pressure and discovered I am well within the normal and healthy range. (While pregnant with my son 6 years ago, I suffered pre-eclampsia or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. Since then, I have measured a bit high. I attribute my recent lower BP reading to my yoga practice.)

Thank you, yoga!!

Then the doctor arrives. (My doctor is a funny guy with bushy brows.) His first question for me is usually, “So, is this the year you’re going to have another baby?” (The baby business is VERY profitable. Hehehehe!) However, on this visit, his first question was, “Hmmmm, are you a ballerina or something? Your spine is incredibly straight and fluid.” I answered, “I haven’t done a plié in years. I do yoga now. I guess you could call me a yogi-na.” He smiled and said he should try yoga. (Apparently, many of his patients have been touting the benefits, which he has seen with his own eyes.)

Thank you, yoga!

I left his office clutching a referral for my first mammogram and feeling peaceful. Regardless of reaching the decade of increased health risks for breast cancer, menapause, heart disease, and osteoperosis, I drove home thinking I am probably in the best health [knock on wood] that I have been since running cross country in college 20 years ago. And I really do owe it all to yoga.)

Thank you, yoga!

Specifically, I would like to acknowledge the wonderful and caring crew at Bikram Yoga Rockville. Their warm attitudes, encouraging spirits and peace-induced guidance fill me with hope and remind me with each practice the importance of just letting go…letting go…letting go. Namaste!

“It’s an English garden…”

Wow! SocialStudiesDC posted this today. Too hilarious! DC is filled with mindless talk like this. (And there ARE men in this city who speak with this James Spader Less Than Zero/Pretty In Pink faux-riche attitude, what I refer to as “Nasal Snobbery”).

I would have thrown more acronyms in the mix and mentioned Dupont Circle and its “Amazing!” architecture (puke), but overall, it’s on point.

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