Unhealthy, abusive relationships. Do you know someone that's in one? Are you concerned you may be in one? I'm here to help you out if you answered anything but "No" to these questions. Abuse is still thought of too lightly in 2016, in my opinion. You do not have to settle for it and abuse is a vast spectrum. Most people hear the word and, besides getting uncomfortable, they will jump to a scene depicting a washed out husband in a stained, white tank top taking a huge club with nails sticking out of it and swinging it insanely into his wife's face. That is indeed an example of domestic abuse, (and homicide) but there is a broad range of what should absolutely not be tolerable - and never should have been during any era!
My Abusive Relationship
I was in a very abusive relationship for almost four years. If you check out my life story (an abridged version) here https://kennerddy.squarespace.com/new-blog-2/2015/10/sunday-seems-to-be-my-new-posting-day.html you can see why I fell into this vicious cycle...but to give you the cliff notes: from a very young age, I knew I would die in my house if I didn't escape. When I turned 18, I had three options for my living situation: staying in a meth house with psychotic relatives, living on the streets of Philly (as my only closer friends were off at college) or moving to California with a not so great guy. What would you choose? So, upon graduating high school, I moved on over to the West Coast. Originally I was living with two other close friends and the dude that is the star of this story - so that furthered my staying with the psycho because I was also living with two people who I saw as family. They told me multiple (more like a billion) times I need to break it off, but they would not kick out the douche because they were a little nervous being around a punk with extreme anger issues. What was I to do? I didn't know one other person out in California. I had no access to my money either, as that was controlled entirely by dickhead. So - I made the most of the situation. It wasn't that bad.....especially compared to the environment I just got out of in Philly. I knew he was unfaithful, and I ended up believing half of the crap he would tell me: he's the best I'll ever get, I'm too sensitive, I don't appreciate what i have, I'm a huge bitch.....yadda yadda yadda. So, I fell into this awful habit of just accepting this pathetic situation I was in. I always jumped to that scene depicting the washed out husband wearing a white tank top holding a club that has nails often - and would convince myself that my relationship was okay since I wasn't getting bashed in the head with a weapon. It was okay to be told that I'm lying about my health conditions to get attention. It was okay to not be allowed to own a vehicle for transportation. It was okay to be told how much food I can eat. It was okay to watch him cheat. It was all okay - until my two roommates ended up moving back to the East Coast. Now - I, down to my core, really was alone now. I had to face the situation by myself with practically nobody to vent to about it. I felt stupid explaining the situation to my friends back in Philly - as I was already getting a lot of shit for moving to California in the first place. At this point in time, most of my only friends were cut out anyway because of Trashy McTrasherstein forcing me to cut ties. I felt embarrassed. So time goes by. Month by month, year to year. At certain moments, I did muster up a newly found courage and would stand up for myself - but not really having a plan of action did that ever go well. I would be pushed right back down to the dirt and would be shot at with words that kill. I was shoved back to square one, basically. I eventually ended up making some friends at one point and upon only one hangout session with the shitsack and me - they ended up confronting me in private telling me I had to get away from this crazy guy. This was a HUGE wakeup call for me - despite how simple it sounds - because with having been isolated from friendships for such a long time, it did make me start to believe what I had in this relationship was okay and acceptable. It only took a mere couple of hours for these new friends to see right through this turd's act. I do feel the need to point out that abusive dude is very charming, so it's hard to see through him at first. He's one of those people that will buy you a nice gift to make up for punching you square in the nose and expect that to settle it. These rad new friends saw right through his little guise though. I knew I had to develop a plan now - because these gracious people lifted me out of the burning flames that was my life. So that's what i did. I went to the manager at the place where I worked and spilled out my entire story to her. This was one of the first times I had said half the things I did out loud....and she helped me. She not only gave me a raise but agreed to allot me a fairly large bonus check (not directly deposited into my account) so I could afford to move out and get on my feet. At this point, I was even more terrified. I was scared for my safety if that bastard either discovered this plan or for what would possibly happen after I left him. With the support of my work place now and my new friends mentioned above - I stayed beast mode strong. The next day after the meeting with my boss, the very first local ad on Craigslist that responded to my inquiry for a place to live is where I moved to. I didn't even meet these folks or physically check out where I was going to be living - I didn't care. I knew I just had to get out before he discovered somehow. My boss gave me my bonus check and when I knew shitty titties was on his lunch that day, my new friends and I bolted up to the apartment where I was living to grab the little amount of shizzle I owned. In the nick of time, my crap was in their car and I was off to move into my new, probably creepy, Craigslist apartment. I had never felt more liberated then in this moment - not even when I left my house in Philly where I was raped, tortured, physically and verbally abused everyday. I couldn't control that situation unfortunately - but I DID take control of this situation and kicked butt at it! Of course, my ex's ego was shattered when he came home and saw that a "little, weak and frail girl" was able to leave such a "perfect" guy. (In his head, he usually never saw anything he did as wrong) His main concern, I am certain, is that his reputation is now at stake since people will know who he truly is. But the most hilarious part of all of this is that almost everyone we knew mutually already knows he has issues as far as anger control...they just are too scared to tell the bipolar dude that he is a terrible bag of dicks. Now this is a Campbell's condensed soup version of that entire four years - these are just the highlights...if you can even call them that. I guess let's say lowlights? I don't know, you get it.
Signs You May Need to End Your Relationship
Please trust your gut, that's the main advice I have to give with any situation. it's generally correct - that gut knows things! There is NO excuse for any of the following, ever:
Feeling purposely disrespected regularly
Injuries - from a bruise almost minuscule to gushing blood down a flight of stairs
Verbal abuse: to clarify this can vary from: being talked down to like a creature, unnecessary yelling, being called names (bitch, cunt, idiot, shithead, stupid, worthless....)
Cheating: if your viewpoints in life are that of a monogamous life - cheating is never okay. Again, with it being 2016, cheating comes in all shapes and sizes: sexting, hiding text messages/emails, good ole fashioned hook ups, and so forth. Cheating is cheating, period. If you are not okay with sharing your partner and they are aware of that but do these things anyway, that's not something to stand for.
Control. Control is so commonly overlooked. Control is being told you can't wear a certain outfit. It's being told that only "the man" gets a car while you have to walk/take public transportation everywhere. It's not allowing you access to your funds. It's being told how much you can eat. It's when in any way - you feel like you need permission to even breathe. To clarify - YOU DON'T NEED PERMISSION TO DO THE BASIC NECESSITIES OF HUMAN LIFE.
How to Leave an Abusive Relationship
Weigh out how intense the situation truly is - can you talk it out and let the abuser know you're leaving or do you need a game plan?
If you truly love your partner and feel like you are in a terrible situation - have you tried talking it out before up and leaving? Maybe the abuser has a mental issue or substance abuse problem that can be treated. That's a shot in the dark, I know. But if you really are unsure if you should take off or not - a sit down about your plan may spark a wake up call long overdue. Perhaps therapy is in order. Some people truly are oblivious to their actions and if you are not letting them know it's not okay - how are they to change?
Notate all incidents, no matter how "small", file police reports if possible, & document everything.
If you have that sit down talk mentioned above and it goes to Hell, which in most cases it probably will, start documenting every incident - no matter how "unimportant" you think it is. Notate all verbally attacking scenarios, physical harm - everything. Call the police each time something happens and get it officially documented. Start acknowledging this is a problem that can be solved. Another point to take into consideration through proper documenting is that you will actually see the abuse you are going through physically in front of you, in your hands - 1,2,3,4.....100 times? That can be a humongous wake up call too. This can lead to a restraining order if desired - which should comfort you if you are stressed about your safety when you decide to peace out.
Game plan - devise a plan that will work, where there's a will there's a way.
After getting in that documenting habit - it's time to make a game plan if you know you're the one who has to leave. Just to point out first, if you can kick out the abuser - do that! Look down at the next step though if you're taking the route of kicking out an abuser.
Your game plan, though, needs to be thorough. Are you going to a shelter? Can you go to a family member or close friend's house to live? Are you comfortable / financially able to move into a studio apartment or something similar? Can you find a roommate? Figure out how you're going to safely gather your belongings and get your booty to your next point of living because I don't want you to be homeless!
Change all contact info - your phone number, email address, social media settings, ect
Finally - once you are free - change all of your information! Your phone number, email address, and all contact info possible of changing. If you were able to kick the abuser out - change all locks on the doors/windows and alert your landlord. Block -the now ex (yay!)- on your phone and social media to prevent threats from being made and things of that extent that'll bring you down. Almost give yourself a new identity - the you that was lost throughout that shit show of a relationship. (No offense)
Why It's So Hard to Leave
There are literally countless reasons why you may not feel it's right to leave. It's one of the hardest decisions to make but also one of the most uplifting energies that I can't put into words.
For those reading who cannot relate - I wanted to break it down for you. I want to say first off as a reminder - you're just as horrible as the attacker if you do not speak up when you notice something is wrong. I'm not suggesting you take it upon yourself to go murder the abuser or anything - but confront who you are concerned for by letting them know you care and don't think what is happening is okay. Let them know that they are loved. But - speak up! Tell an authority figure Keep it anonymous if you really don't want to be involved.
To go back to the original topic - why is it so hard for some of us to leave? It sounds so simple, right? Yep, it does. But it is NOT, by any means. Emotions are something else, let me tell you. If you have never felt loved or heard someone genuinely say "I love you" - it can be a real mindfuck when an abusive person keeps throwing in your face that they love you. Love can keep someone dangling on until they are dangling by a rope hanging from the hallway doorway. Morbid, I know - but true nonetheless.
We can also, as you read in my fun situation, convince ourselves that WE are crazy and that WE need to chalk it up because it could be worse. It isn't that bad. Well - it is still bad though -and that is not what we need to be settling for. Saying it's not that bad is a way of manipulating yourself to become blinded to this situation. It's a tough fog to clear up once getting lost in it - but fog does clear. It can feel like you're walking in circles for an eternity - but light will seriously break the fuck out of the fog cloud eventually. It IS that bad - and it's time to change direction & find that beam of light - even if that beam of light is something as simple as a friend showing concern for you.
It can be a huge financial burden to leave someone who is the bread winner. Will i be able to afford rent without him/her? I won't be able to buy food. How will i pay for the basic necessities? These are all great questions/thoughts, but they are just another mask we victims will wear to prove why we SHOULDN'T leave the relationship at hand - but it's just putting off the escape plan even longer. Everything will fall into place eventually. It may not be easy but things will, trust me. There are plenty of resources there to help too, as you get on your feet. Don't let financial stress worry you to the point of living the next sixty goddamn years with someone who eats away at your soul. But - money is one of the most anxiety provoking things ever, so it's extremely common to be scared of being on your own. It's human nature.
Kind of on the same note as financial burden, my next common worry of victims is not having an actual place to go to. It's nerve wracking. Why be homeless when you can stay in a routine? I get it. We are creatures of habit. But i guarantee there's SOMEWHERE to go:
Your car - until you find a place above to go
(Make Google your BFF)
Projecting to the future, I know what you're wondering: What if I did leave? Then my partner will come find me and beat me to death. That is also a totally normal fear to have - so don't push that fear away. Honestly, it'll probably always stay in the back of your mind. But, that's why I stress that you TELL the people you love about your situation. If you spread the word, you will be protected. I know how hard it is to not worry about the repercussions of leaving...but you have to take a leap to see if you can fly. & if you have ever watched Peter Pan - you can fly! (Disclaimer, do not try flying. It may lead to death. Try metaphorical flying because that's what I'm referring to.) Could it really get worse then what's already happening to you now anyway? That's the thought i conjured up when I realized it really couldn't be any worse - fuck it.
You may tell yourself that you are being too sensitive and others will judge you for a "failed" relationship but I guarantee you that is never the case. You're not too sensitive for wanting the best for yourself. If anybody DOES judge you for being so freaking brave - they are more so the enemy if anything at all. Those noodles for brains do not need to be in your life in the first place. When you use the courage you have to leave such a tough situation - those peeps that do matter will step up and be so happy/proud/relieved for you. Positive vibes ~ there is nothing at all embarrassing about being a kick ass person who does not take shit while only trying to better themselves.
The very last main concern victims will typically have involves kids and marriage. I can't really relate to this but I know this is one of the more common worries of leaving. What will it do to the kids? I only wanted to get married once. What will the neighbors think? Well, to piggyback off of my last point - do you really want your children subjected to that kind of harm and upbringing? Don't you want to teach your children to take hold of the reigns and be strong when the road of life gets bumpy (which it will - let's be realistic in our teachings to prepare kids for their future) If your marriage failed, that's not a big deal....at all. We sometimes need to fail in order to figure out what we are worth. Please set the example of standing up to bullies (that's a watered down phrase to this entire scenario) to your little cherubs.
To wrap this little gift up to you nerds, relationships are a privelidge - not a right. Someone may make you feel like you are unworthy of them, but that is not true. Relationships are a partnership between two equal individuals. If it feels unbalanced, it more then likely is. #itisthatbad #staynerdy
FILM OF THE WEEK!
10 Cloverfield Lane, people! This film was astounding. I didn't realize for the longest time that this was even related to the shaky, hand held camera flick Cloverfield. It honestly has no correlation between the two except for maybe the last ten minutes & even then it's debatable if they are going to be connected at some point in the future. Don't worry, no spoilers here. John Goodman was FANTASTIC. It's one of those movies you think you have all figured out and then a twist is thrown in there to make you feel fucking dumb for not seeing it coming. I would go see it again, for sure. It had so much magnificent humor courtesy of John Goodman's dry style and kept me on the edge of my drunken seat.
OUTFIT OF THE WEEK!
My fave outfit choice from this week. I've had those Vans for 11 years now. I fear the day they pass away.
CRAZY CAT LADY PURCHASE OF THE WEEK!
As if my cats do not have enough furniture at this point, we picked up this "X" shaped couch for the trio. Boo loves it - FYI!