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Just Beneath the Surface I

My heart was racing as I leaned against the bathroom door. I could not stop playing it back in my mind. But in that bathroom, I finally quotAt-least-he-apologizedfelt safe. A loud bang on the other side of the door sent me sprinting to the opposite side of the bathroom. I only stood there staring at the door for a moment, waiting for whatever was next. But nothing happened. He did not yell at me, break the door down or hit me. I sat down on the bathroom rug and stared at the door shaking my head.

What did he expect from me? How was I going to turn into a house cleaning, laundry folding, cooking, jumpy woman waiting for the next time she would be shoved into a wall?

At least he did not actually punch me. He had not even slapped me. Maybe his anger stopped there, at grabbing and yanking. Although he had crossed the line and choked me, I had no choice but to examine myself as well. I was the idiot who was stupid enough to get drunk and stay out until one in the morning. Was it really fair of me, she who had no job and contributed nothing to her household to come walking in at this hour? Especially when he had had a horrible day and only wanted a home cooked meal and some clean socks in his drawer? Maybe I was over reacting.

I had been sitting there on the bathroom rug thinking, running what I said and what he said back in my mind over and over again. The alcohol had worn off, and the back of my head was tender from the blow to the wall. After taking a couple of over the counter pain pills, I convinced myself that I was ready to come out of the bathroom.

I opened the door just enough to see out and found Spencer lying across the bed with a pillow over his face. I crawled onto the bed and listened to him cry softly. He jolted and sat up straight as I placed my hand on his arm. My instincts told me to take cover as I was still a bit rattled from being flung into the wall and choked. But instead of running back to the bathroom, I sat still as he took my hand. We stared into each other’s eyes silently as though we could read one another’s thoughts. And for the longest, neither of us spoke.  

http://www.ebooksoda.com/ebook-deals/just-beneath-the-surface-i-by-r-h-ramsey

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Undone: Free on Amazon.com

A father whose childhood wounds have left him undone.

A young man fears everything he touches — everything he loves — is either destroyed or destined to abandon him.

Kendall, a newlywed and mother of two, answers her most frequently asked questions, questions her choices, fears for her life, and comes undone.

Tyrannical Spencer believes the woman he has married is in desperate need of a new outlook on life, love and marriage. Although he struggles with the way he is perceived by outsiders, one thing is for sure: If he can’t possess her, no one will  …

Olive manages to alienate her son and co-workers. She creates her own nightmare, and it seems as if she relives this purgatory — this terror inside — day in and day out ..

Find out what’s inside ..

UNDONE free on Amazon

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Today, we share a compelling two-part interview with Liz Young of Facebook.com/The Spermwhale and bowl of petunias

(There WILL be triggers, this IS difficult to read, and this interview DOES includes explicit details of the sexual abuse Liz suffered at the hands of her ex-husband)

A word from Liz:

Hi! I’m Liz Young. I run the facebook page The spermwhale and bowlofpetunias. It’s a place of education, love, and laughter. I am as deep as I am silly. I try to provide solid education, inspiration, and humor. It also happens to be my blog where I spill out my thoughts. I stand for a lot of causes to help people and animals. I work at a group home with developmentally disabled young adults, for an organization that helps the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled and I work at being a super-hero, knit, and spend time with my family also in my spare time. There are possible triggers in some of my responses, so please be careful, you “hoopy froods”!

Q: What does domestic violence month mean to you?

A: Domestic Violence Awareness Month is very important and personal to me as I am a survivor of Domestic Violence. It is a month to raise awareness. It is a horrible epidemic. Every year, more women are killed than all the wars, epidemics, and cancer combined. And this doesn’t even include the men and children who also die. Statistically, it is more of a women’s epidemic but it happens to EVERYONE and EVERYONE is affected. Men are the least likely to report it. They are also the quickest to heal from the after affects. There are astounding aftereffects of domestic violence as well.

People who are victims of domestic violence, are much more susceptible to mental illnesses and substance abuse, especially if it is in their family. Post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, multiple personality disorder, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, are all manifestations that can occur as a result of Domestic Violence. There are other mental illnesses that can surface or can intensify as a result of domestic violence, of course, but these are the most prevalent.

For many people, what comes to mind when they hear the words, Domestic Violence, is physical violence. Even those who are being emotionally and psychologically abused may not realize that they, too, need desperately to find their voice. What do you say to those who do not see emotional abuse as, well, abuse?

Emotional and psychological terror are insidious. Domestic violence would almost never come to happen if the abuse cycle wasn’t put into place. Part of that cycle is emotional and psychological abuse. There is a whole power and control wheel,

http://www.ncdsv.org/images/powercontrolwheelnoshading.pdf

http://www.mchenrycountyturningpoint.org/cycleofviolence.html

Emotional and psychological terror were the first key elements of my abusive relationship, which lasted 8 and a half years before I was able to get free. He was my first serious relationship. He is the only man to date I have ever had sexual relations with, and so I was very naive, and a prime candidate for a dangerous predator such as my ex-husband. I didn’t even know I was being abused. I just knew I didn’t want to feel unhappy anymore. I didn’t want to hurt anymore. I didn’t know I was being abused until I went to the Caring House, my local domestic violence shelter, for help with my divorce, and the therapist there said, “But honey, you’ll be able to heal so much faster if you talk to someone.”

After intensive therapy and intensive classes, I have come to the point that I am on maintenance therapy (as needed), and I am thriving (most of the time) instead of just surviving. PTSD will always be a part of my life, but it doesn’t have to RUN my life.

Q: What do you say to those who have lost their voice and sense of self to emotional manipulation?

A: Surrounding yourself with positive people, who uplift you is CRUCIAL. Educating yourself about the abuse cycle, if you can, is amazingly liberating and empowering. “OH MY GOSH! I WENT THROUGH THAT! That’s why I responded that way! That’s why I couldn’t leave! Someone else went through this!” These are all thoughts I had. It was wondrous to not feel alone when I had felt so alone for so long.

My therapist at the local woman’s shelter told me to start telling myself in the mirror that I was pretty. That didn’t feel right. So I combined my silly nature, and started singing, “I feel pretty,” from Westside Story” until it DID feel right and real, and I could laugh again. I had always thought I was interesting to look at, and there are still parts of me I would like to change, but I am continously evolving. I am a work in progress. I forgot that I am human, and I am allowed to make mistakes.

Also, finding things that you love doing again. Reclaiming you. The youness that is so unique and you, is beautiful. I know those who have been abused emotionally for so long, doing anything for yourself, seems selfish, wrong, inconceivable and so many other adjectives. But YOU ARE WORTH IT. You were put on this Earth for a purpose.

Finding your voice again, is difficult. It takes time. Learn to be patient with yourself. Listen to cliches and quotes. Find the truth in them. Listen to music. Find the truth in them. Feel your emotions. Let yourself feel them. Journal. Get in touch with yourself. Learn deep breathing. Talk to people who understand what you’re going through. Stay away from people who make you feel bad, or are unhealthy for you. And please, don’t go back to the one who abused you. They haven’t changed. It’s just part of the cycle. And if you go back, oftentimes, it’s worse.

Q: I think and write a lot about myths and stereotypes. Below, are a few of the (hurtful) words I have come across. Have you encountered myths and ignorance concerning domestic violence?

A: Myth: Domestic violence only happens to poor, uneducated women and women of different race or color.

Truth: Persons of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence. Because women with money usually have more access to resources, poorer women tend to utilize community agencies, and are therefore more visible.

Myth: Some people deserve to be abused; they are responsible for the violence because they know how to provoke it.

Truth: No one deserves to be abused. The only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser. Physical violence, even among family members, is wrong and against the law.

Myth: If the victim didn’t like it, she would leave.

Truth: There are many reasons why women may not leave, including fear for herself, her children and even pets. Not leaving does not mean that the situation is okay or that the victim wants to be abused. The most dangerous time for a woman who is being abused is when she tries to leave.”

Yes. I have had people look at me, and say, “Well you don’t seem like the kind of woman who would be abused.”

“He couldn’t have raped you. He was too big.”

Another myth I hear from people is that people say, “Well I would NEVER be in an abusive relationship. I would just leave.” I said that myself. And I thought it would be easy. I told him, too, if he cheated on me or beat me, I would leave. That gave him permission, I think, in his mind, to do everything BUT that. Some people don’t understand how subversive, manipulative abusers are at making the victims feel that it is THEIR fault for the abuse, and how hard the abused will work to make the relationship work, and try to change everything about themselves to make the relationship work, and to stop the pain from happening. For the abuser to go back to being the “nice” person they were at the beginning. The truth is, the nice person doesn’t exist. THAT was the illusion.

In the beginning, I didn’t leave because of the brainwashing, the cycle, the beautiful words. He didn’t show me who he was. I fell in love with a lie. A mirage. Someone who didn’t exist. When the kind beautiful words disappeared (which disappeared rather quickly), he was intent on making me feel inadequate but making the excuse that he was trying to help “fix me” and “help me” because he “loved me”, so I scurried around trying harder and harder to make him happy. At odd times he would explode, or shut off. I could never predict what would please him, and what would make him explode. As my life became more and more dangerous for myself, and my cats, I became scared. He would throw the cats up against the walls, and scream at them until they would poop.

I cried as I read this story. But this is a truth for so many women (and men) – being unsafe in their own home, living on edge.

Tomorrow, Liz will share more of her story, some of her favorite affirmations and more. Thank you for reading. Please stop in next week.

3 women will die today. They will die at the hand of a husband, lover or former lover. That is a statistic from the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I will be committing a portion of the proceeds from Just Beneath the Surface to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  Just Beneath the Surface will also be discounted.

This is the story of a woman who is emotionally imprisoned by a violent man, a woman who believes she can ‘fix’ this broken, angry and unpredictable partner, a woman who believes if she could just be a little bit better, and love him a little bit more…she just might survive. She doesn’t even realize that she has set her daughter on the same path of passion and pain. If you or someone you love is living in danger, and you are located in the United States, check this list for a support hotline in your state. http://www.ncadv.org/resources/StateCoalitionList.php

***

“And another thing. I’ll be damned if I come home and have you mouth off to me like I’m right back at work all over again. I’m sick of people running over me. You in particular. So you sit there and think about what you caused! I was never like this until I met you. Move.” He stepped over me.

Move !” he bellowed.

I crawled away from the bedroom door so that he could get out. I was glad he was leaving. I was so shaken and confused that I hardly believed this was happening. And although I had the sting to prove it, I was in denial, as there was no way the man that I married had hit me.

 Chapter X

(Kendall)

 I stood in the bathroom avoiding the mirror as I tried to take the swelling out of my bottom lip. Did Spencer just hit me? Yes. Spencer hit me. Spencer just slapped me. Spencer just backhanded me to the floor. It hurt so badly that both of my eyes were still watering, and I was not even crying; I was too stunned. Besides, my kids were waiting on me. I had no time for tears.

I did not know if my feelings, my last bit of pride or the actual busted lip hurt worse. Why did he have to hit me? I never would have imagined myself in a relationship covering bruises and biting my tongue, walking on egg shells and lying to myself.

How would I explain my swollen lip? What was I going to tell Diamond? How would I explain to Jules? What would they tell Michael? Why was I even considering covering up for him, as though it was my job to lie for him?

There were days when Michael hurt my feelings so badly with his insensitivity that I wished he would just shove me around or cheat on me so I could have a real reason to leave him. Now that I had been hit, I still could not imagine leaving Spencer. What was wrong with me?

I hated to picture it but I did, his hand raising and meeting my face with such force that I fell to the floor. I envisioned the way I must have looked when I fell to the floor, staring up at him with my hand to my bloody lip. It happened so fast that I did not even have a chance to cry. And Spencer only looked down at me as if to say “now what,” and ironically enough, I was thinking the exact same thing.

I had an imaginary line, and Spencer crossed it by leaving fingerprints on my body then by squeezing my arms until I cried. I drew new lines, and he continued to grab me by my arms. I drew another line, and he put his hands around my neck and banged my head into a wall. And now he had hit me.

“Open the door,” he said.

“Give me a second?” I said, wincing as I lay a wet towel against my lip.

Why did I hide my bloody towel under the cabinet and grab a new towel as if I was embarrassed for Spencer to see the crimson stains?

***

 

Just Beneath the Surface – Amazon ( Just Beneath the Surface will be discounted for the month of October)

 

Stay tuned for an interview, facts and much more, all about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, in the upcoming weeks.

Girl Talk!! with Sherry Pringle of Healthy Happy Relationships! Today, Sherry has a few topics, and I will be in the hot seat, with some really tough questions.  Feel free to hop in, share your view; share your thoughts ..girltalk

Sherry: One of the main reasons I felt confident in my ability as a Relationship Coach, was because of all the times friends and family repeatedly came to me asking for relationship advice. Once I really focused on getting more knowledge in relationship support I was able to really help them more.

1. I’m wondering: If Kendall Berkely from your book, Just Beneath the Surface, came to you for relationship advice, what would you, as a mother/friend, say to her?

RH: That’s such a tough question — such a tough question. I am not a professional, and I don’t think I could handle a career like that. I wish I had the strength, but I don’t think that I do. But if asked, I would have to say, my advice would be: “Kendall, I’m here. What’s happening is breaking my heart. I know it has to be breaking yours. But you won’t find me judging you, telling you what to do, what not to do, or what I think. I just want you to know, I’m here for you, and when you say the word, we get you HELP, and we get you OUT of there.”

I’d feel like a criminal, standing by, practically watching it happen. Who knows, maybe I would be the type of person to anonymously call and report the man, and try to get the abuser arrested.

But as far as advice, sometimes, wanting the best for someone and giving them advice, can cause a serious strain on the friendship. Sometimes, it’s hard to know the difference between judgment and advice.

I’d like to think, that I would first ask myself a few questions. When I have been at my worst, was I venting to a friend, because I needed an ear? Was I speaking to a friend, sort of crying out for help? I say that to say, my answer would depend on “Kendall’s” need in that moment. I don’t believe someone in that type of situation is unaware of how dangerous her relationship is; more than likely, she is battling what she feels, what she wants to feel, what she knows, what’s been distorted.

Sherry: 2. In the real world, do you think that guys like Spencer can change and learn to control their abusive blow ups? Where can they go to get help?

RH: Wow! Even more difficult question. And I stress, *I am not a professional. This is just my opinion.*

He needs to be incarcerated, first and foremost. Jail, prison, plenty of time away from potential victims. (I think.)

But as much as I despise a man who is anything like Spencer, I would stand at a distance and hope and PRAY he could take some serious time to reflect. And I mean time alone. I would hope that whatever has happened and caused him to become an abuser, would come to light, and he would get help. Serious help. Statistics are against people like Spencer, but I would never say “never”.

Again, I’m no professional, but I believe they need to seek help as well as be prepared for the consequences of their actions.

Sherry: 3. As an author and more, how do you stay focused and confident enough to complete each novel?How much time do you spend working on that novel weekly?

Focus comes to me naturally, but only when it comes to writing. I say it a lot, but I repeat it because it’s true: I work on several projects at once. Short stories, novels, guest posts, anything that can keep creativity flowing. My attention span is not so great in real life, so the only time I am “focused” is when I am writing.

Confidence? That’s nearly a foreign concept to me. I write a lot about self-esteem and confidence and believing in ourselves, because  in my heart, I believe in the possibility that if it is God’s will, I will touch someone’s life through writing. I want everyone around me to know how talented and what a gift they are to the world .. but me — my thoughts? Sherry, you’ve seen first-hand what I say about myself. I’m definitely a work in progress.

How much time do I spend working on novels? I jot things down all throughout the day. I go to bed working on excerpts that I have emailed myself. And if I am not working on a novel, I am working on short stories and guest posts or networking and *sigh* promoting. I suppose just about all day, every day.

… And that concludes our chat, for today. Thanks so much Sherry 🙂

Any discussions ideas? Free free to leave them in comments!

Hello, all!

I try not to go overboard with posts about myself or my books, but as I mentioned Saturday, Just Beneath the Surface is my first official re-release with my publisher! Throughout the week, I will be posting excerpts and sharing bits of information about my novel.

 Today, I will share my new website page, my author trailer, and a link to one of my first interviews.

 

excerpt from my interview with reviews from here:

“Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

Well. There was a moment where I realized my heart was heavy not only for victims of abuse or domestic violence, but my heart was heavy for those who were being judged in their situation. When I say judged, I am talking about the myths.

People who think that the victims of domestic violence are to blame for their own situations. People who think the victims of domestic violence deserve to be hurt, or like to be hurt – or else why stay?

These are just a couple of many things that stirred something inside of me.This prompted me to create a main character who was strong, confident, and very relatable. Something that I say often, and truly believe, is that with being relatable comes empathy. With empathy comes less judgment.” read entire interview

***

an interview with the authors show:


Kendall Berkley never understood why
women would stay in abusive relationships
or allow themselves to be battered and
humiliated. It would never happen to her.

She had it all: two beautiful, intelligent
children and a successful career. She
knew she would never let a man abuse
her, and if he did she would walk away.

She knew all this until the day she mar-
ried Spencer. He treated her like a
queen…until he’d had a bad day, or the
house wasn’t spotless, or she looked at
him wrong. No matter how much blood
was shed, or how many bruises had to be
hidden, or how many lies she had to tell,
she stayed for the sake of her marriage.

Sometimes a woman has to choose
between broken vows and broken bones.

 

Inknbeans website page: http://www.inknbeans.com/rh-ramsey.html

Domestic violence is one of the main issues in the book and Rhonda uses her writing skills perfectly to convey the blows, throws and punches. – unicorn reviews