Survivor stories 25, 26, 27 and 28: Zoe, Alice, Beverly and Christina #SeeDV #abuse

sparkles

October 25, 2014 – Zoe’s story: “The relationship absorbed me; I was hypnotised by it.”*

October 26, 2014- Alice’s story: Leave abuse; it is not worth the anguish and loss of yourself

October 27, 2014 – Beverly’s story: Lies, manipulation and emotional abuse

October 28, 2014 – Christina’s story: Building up after being broken down by abuse


Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

Stories 16 and 17: Patricia and Quinn #survivorstories @commdiginews

letter

BETHESDA, Maryland, October 16, 2014 — Patricia* is a survivor of domestic violence and pathological abuse living and recovering in The United States.

Before the relationship, I was happy and full of life, looking for my one and only to share a happy life. During my relationship, I became sick and mentally ill. I had a nervous breakdown. I started blaming myself for everything and hating myself. Now that the relationship is over, I am starting to recover and heal. My therapist is saving me; that’s for sure. Read more… 


BETHESDA, Maryland, October 17, 2014 — Quinn* is a survivor of domestic violence who is now enjoying living a fulfilled life in The United States.

Unfortunately, I had several relationships that were abusive; I just did not know it and/or could not stop myself from repeating the same behavior with the same type of partners. It took many years of repeated circumstances before I was able to be strong enough to say ‘never again’. Read more… 


Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

Helen and Irene’s Stories of Abuse and Recovery*

floating-girl

Helen’s Story – “Nothing I did ever made him happy.”

Irene’s Story – “When I told him I was pregnant with our third baby, he wanted me to abort it.”


Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

Read all the survivor stories published this month to Paula’s column, Living Inside Out Loud

*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

 

Gloria’s Story: “They don’t understand. They’re just jealous.”

beach

Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

Gloria’s Story: “They don’t understand. They’re just jealous.”

BETHESDA, Maryland, October 7, 2014 — Gloria* is a survivor of narcissistic/pathological abuse living and recovering in the United Kingdom.

Before the relationship became intimate, I spent two years being assessed and groomed although I did not realize it at the time. It was by far the most intense friendship I have ever had and we spent every day (five days a week) chatting briefly on messaging and emailing each other at work. I felt great, because I had just come out of an abusive eight-year relationship and here was this man, my friend from South Africa, back in my life after 23 years, and he made me feel good about myself. He told me I was very attractive, so kind and friendly with everyone, and we seemed to have so much in common. He became my best friend all over again. He persuaded me to buy a webcam and I did not see anything wrong in this at the time. Read more… 


*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

Faith’s story of abuse: “He told me that we were kindred spirits and that I must have read the instruction manual for him.”

alone

Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

Faith’s story of abuse: “He told me that we were kindred spirits and that I must have read the instruction manual for him.”

BETHESDA, Maryland, October 6, 2014 — Faith* is a survivor of intimate partner abuse living, dancing and recovering in Canada.

Before the relationship I was happy, confident and outgoing. I had grown up in a neglectful, abusive single-parent household but had managed to do alright nonetheless, I believed I was liked by my entourage and had fair self-esteem levels. I was involved in my ethnic community, as a dancer and counted many friends in the band we were all a part. Read more…

*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

Amber’s Story: “I hid the knives during fights.” #domesticviolence #shatteringmyths #survivorstories

bees

Each day during the month of October, I will feature a story in my CDN column written and submitted to me by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

October 2, 2014: Shattering domestic violence myths — Amber’s Story: “I hid the knives during fights.”

BETHESDA, Maryland, October 2, 2014 — Amber* is a scientist and beekeeper who lives, works and raises her family in the United States.


Before the relationship, I was an independent thinker with strong opinions that I didn’t necessarily share. Everyone has an opinion, and they are entitled to it. I don’t need to argue my point to sway opinions. I had a diverse set of friends with differing opinions from mine as well.

During the relationship, my beliefs were challenged. My political and religious beliefs were thrown at me to shame me. I was told certain people were not my “real” friends, his family didn’t like me, I was a bitch, a cunt and a whore. I gave a lot of leeway to him, because his father left him. I felt he was damaged and felt unloved and lashed out because of it.

Eventually, I was frightened of him. Read more…


*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

Betty’s Story: Survivor stories shatter myths #DV #myths #awareness #storyaday

No need to Stoop to Conquer the Sociopath

Each day during the month of October, I will feature a story in my CDN column written and submitted to me by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

October 1, 2014: Shattering domestic violence myths: Betty’s Story “He never hit me; he didn’t need to.”

The following is the story’s introduction.

BETHESDA, Maryland, October 1, 2014 — Betty* is a domestic abuse victim who lives, works, attends college and raises her son in the United States.


Before the relationship, I was confident, happy, sure of myself and my place in the world.

During the relationship, my priorities changed to everything about him. Keeping him happy. I would even get dressed in the morning and mentally consider if he would “approve of” or like what I was wearing. I became a shell of myself, but I didn’t know it at the time. I only see it now, in retrospect.

After the relationship, I crumbled. Everything that I had “known” and thought for 6 years was a lie and realizing that and accepting it and moving forward was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s hard to wrap your head around such a total mind f*%#. I had a breakdown. Literally. Read more…

*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

Is the winning title in you? #domesticviolence #survivorstories #FREEbook

Last May 2013, I asked interested survivors to submit their stories of abuse and recovery for inclusion in my second book on recovery. Surprisingly, I received a larger response than I anticipated with nearly 60 stories submitted through the online consent form by the October 2013 deadline.

Recently, I finished reading and compiling all of the stories, totaling over 250 pages–far more than I had anticipated! Therefore, I have decided to publish a book dedicated to just these stories and am happy to report that the compilation will be available as a FREE e-book in time for October – Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In addition to copy editing and reorganization of pages in the coming weeks, a title for the compilation is also on my to-do list.

But I don’t wish to make that decision myself. I’d like you to help me. The author of the winning title, if consent is provided below, will receive editorial acknowledgement on my blog, Facebook page and in the survivor stories book. The author of the winning title will also have the opportunity to write his/her story for inclusion if not already submitted.

Do you have a “winning” title that speaks to the importance of these stories and why they matter?

Namaste!
~Paula

The book will be available for FREE as an e-book for the first several months of publication. A soft-copy of the book will also be available through Create Space self-publishing at a cost to be determined by the book’s final page count.

Rachel_Miller

We Don’t All Make the Highlight Reel. ~ Rachel Miller

The following was written and shared with permission by Rachel Miller.
You can connect with Rachel on her “Awareness Wednesdays” Facebook page.


Rachel_Miller

This picture was taken at my company’s annual convention, two weeks after I had been thrown into a wall. Would you have guessed that I lived in an abusive home?

I was a victim of domestic violence.

I must tell you, even now, a few years after leaving my abusive marriage the word “victim” still doesn’t sit well on my tongue. I had to learn to own the word, in order to move forward and get the therapy I needed to recover from my experience, but I don’t wear it comfortably. I have a hard time balancing the person I know I am inside with the stereotypical image of a victim that pops into my head when I hear the word. Some of that is due, in part, to my own desire to deny my past, but the other is that I have trouble relating to many of the stories I hear and pictures I see promoting domestic violence awareness.

You see my story is different, yet not different at all.

I was hit twice during my 15 year marriage; I was thrown into a wall once and held captive in my own home by my 6’5” 300 lb. husband at least three times, but only the wall incident left me bruised. Only the last time he locked me in the house did I call someone (his mother) for help. I didn’t think I fit the description of a battered woman; I wasn’t hiding bruises or avoiding friends or co-workers. While I might limit his exposure to my friends and family, I still saw them. I was able to work, though he cost me a promotion by threatening to cause a scene at my job if I went in that day. Granted, I seldom, if ever, went out without him. Yes, I spent most of my time walking on eggshells waiting for the next blow up and got extremely anxious when I did things I knew would upset him, but he never threatened to kill me. Though he owned many guns, he never pulled one on me or my kids. While he controlled many aspects of our life, I thought because I had control of others that I wasn’t like those women who end up in hospitals, in women’s shelters or dead.

My case wasn’t extreme; mine had many periods of what people refer to as honeymoon phases; mine was almost always invisible to outsiders. I didn’t feel I could call the police when he backed me into a corner during a fight or stood over me screaming and yelling. I thought because I fought back that law enforcement wouldn’t believe me. I didn’t feel battered or abused. I couldn’t relate to the women that I saw on billboards or in commercials with black eyes or long sleeves covering up bruises. While some of this, I understand now, is typical of abused women, I also feel that the very campaigns that are meant to help women like me, in fact, alienate us.

Domestic violence to me used to mean things like: beaten children, broken bones, bruises, black eyes, angry alcoholics and constant fear. It didn’t mean a man who controls you or your life through manipulation. It didn’t mean a man who intimidated with size or threats. It didn’t mean a man using words to, slowly over a long period of time, break down their partner’s will to be their own person and ability to see what was happening. It didn’t mean long stretches of good times (or what I thought were good times) with periodic explosions of rage, temper, intimidation and violence.

I was the very person campaigns, like the many that are going on this month, are trying to reach, yet I was the very person who couldn’t relate to the information they were providing.  All the stories seemed so extraordinary. I could justify that I wasn’t one of those woman because I didn’t have bruises, he didn’t threaten to kill me, he never raped me, didn’t call me names nor did he attack my self –image. In fact I was the “trophy wife” who he enjoyed flaunting and we both knew that at the end of the day I was simply more intelligent.

I was fine.  I could handle it.

I wasn’t like those other women; my situation was different. No one saw his potential; no one understood how amazing he could be. He needed me.

Yes, I now understand how wrong that line of thinking was, but I didn’t then. I couldn’t find stories like mine when I read about abusive relationships. All I could seem to find were extremes so I convinced myself that my relationship, while having its issues, was not abusive.

It’s time to reconsider this constant highlighting of the extreme cases, showing the sensational photos, always going for the shock value and bring some attention to the woman who are slowly, silently dying on the inside, whose wounds are deep and bleeding but because you can’t see them, because they aren’t black and blue and their abuser isn’t holding a gun to their head or trying to run them down with their car, feel like their situation doesn’t qualify as domestic violence.

  • It’s time to tell the story of the woman who was afraid to spend a day with her cousin because her husband would explode when he got home.  You see, she hadn’t spent her day off cleaning an already clean house, which is his mind was unacceptable.
  • We need to tell the story of the woman who has to get every friend on Facebook, every follower on Twitter and every potential activity approved by her husband or pay the consequences of his anger.
  • We need to tell the story of the girl whose mother controls who she speaks to, manipulates her into taking out credit cards to support the family, yet refuses to pay the bills and uses guilt, denial and intimidation to keep her from telling ‘family secrets.’
  • Let’s talk about the little girl who sees her father intimidate her mother, hit, knock down and kick her brother but never her and lives in constant fear of one day crossing his invisible line so that his violence is turned on her.
  • It’s time to hear about the boy whose mother slapped him because getting in her face was too reminiscent of his abusive father’s intimidation.
  • We need to hear about the man whose wife tells him nothing he does is good enough, attempts to destroy his relationships with his friends and family and insists everything that ever goes wrong is his fault.
  • We need to tell the story of the woman who felt she was powerless to leave her relationship because of the lack of money and mountains of debt her abuser had gotten the family into.

All of these stories are part of the domestic violence cycle, and when all we do to bring awareness to the extremes, we risk invalidating those who suffer daily but will never make the highlight reel at the next rally or have their image as part of the latest PSA.

[October] is domestic violence awareness month. I was a victim and there are millions like me. We are your friends, your co-workers, your family member, your next door neighbor and you may have no idea what we suffer through every day. Many of us are extremely skilled at hiding the reality of our situations. To this day there are people who are stunned when they hear my story. They had absolutely no idea and cannot believe that someone like me lived like this.

“But you’re so strong and confident, how could you possibly have put up with that kind of treatment?”

“You’re such a leader, such a go getter; I can’t believe you let him hold you back in the workplace.”

“You’re an intelligent, talented, beautiful woman; things like this don’t happen to women like you.”

I have heard all of these things and more. So the next time you think you know what the victim of domestic violence looks like think again; it may just be the person sitting next to you.

It’s time to tell all the stories, include the entire spectrum of domestic violence in our crusade to make it stop. We need to validate all of those who have suffered in order to shine the light on all who abuse.

Rachel Miller
Awareness Wednesdays

%d bloggers like this: