It wasn't them, it was me.
Well, not wholly me.
But if I wasn't impaired, insecure and otherwise emotionally damaged, I might not have endured bs, for the sake of being in love.
I didn't realize how off the mark I must have been, to have kept attracting men with blatant character flaws.
Self respect is not innate, it is taught. I wasn't taught it, so how would I have learned? No idea.
Maybe it is all academic. Maybe I can read all about self esteem but it still never settles in. Maybe.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
It wasn't them, it was me.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Despite living through multiple abusive situations, I would like to think I am about hope, about reaching back to help others.
What is it that makes some people prone to being abused, and some not?
Are those who are abused more than once, or by more than one person, somehow inherently flawed, or deserving of abuse?
I am not sure that is a valid point to make. Because aren't all people worthy of being shown respect, worthy of not living in fear?
I am what an abused person looks like, not a victim so much, but an overcomer. I am not so inherently flawed that I deserve to be treated badly.
It is sort of funny in a way, because counseling for abused people starts by teaching us to ask for help. I guess a lot of people have too much pride to ask for help. I don't have unhealthy pride like that. I know enough to know when I cannot handle everything.
But what about when help doesn't come? Or when there is no one to ask for help?
The old testament, in proverbs, speaks about getting away from from abuse...make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man thou shalt not go, lest you learn his ways and get a snare unto your soul.
I bet a lot of abused wives would have liked to claim that scripture and get away, rather than dying at the hands of their abusers.
No one can sit in judgement of those who are abused; because until you have been there, you don't know what it is like.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Why do we do that?
We, being we women who have have multiple abusive relationships, enter in the relationships thinking the man will change.
A person is who they are. Only a person who desires change and personal growth will change. All of our hoping, cajoling, crying and subtle manipulation will not change character flaws in a man, nor in ourselves for that matter.
It is true that a man can make changes because of the love a good woman, but he has to want to change. If he doesn't want to change, all the love in the world will not register with him.
Here is another question, that we may not want to ask ourselves, which is: what is lacking in ourselves, what need correction or change in us, that we keep picking "broken"?
Saturday, May 30, 2015
So, I am supposed to feel badly about a lot of nonsense dumped on me by family.
But I don't feel badly. Why? They weren't nice people. And then miracle of miracles, I find out they weren't even my family in the first place.
Finding out that they weren't my family, well, it was a very good day.
Not everyone gets that kind of closure on their pain. I am grateful.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
So can woman really be a Bum Magnet? Or is Bum Magnet just a quote from the movie "Pretty Woman"?
As a recovering bum magnet, I say, yes, it is possible to only attract the lost, broken and dysfunctional. Others may find you attractive and intriguing, but they will never let you get close, because you lack proper boundaries.
It may sound harsh to say their brokenness could be about you, but it is. At least it was for me.
I had been so profoundly hurt that I had to put a barrier around me to shield myself from pain and vulnerability. But in this case a boundary, is not the same as a barrier. Boundaries are about self-respect, respect for others and care. Barriers are usually rough, crusty, jagged things that impede communication and vulnerability. And when someone tries to cross the barrier to care for us, i n a respectful manner, beat proverbially and psychologically beat the hell out of them, for revealing our pain. And we become more and more dysfunctional.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
I am seriously considering changing the Blog's name to Bum Magnet. That's partly tongue n' cheek, but only partly, because I am a rehabilitating Bum Magnet.
See it wasn't just about attracting bums, as much as it is about what was dysfunctional about me that I kept attracting bums; or at least until recently.
More to follow...
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
You see, I do have OCD (and I battle hideous insecurity, daily)...so yes, I am pretty sure that my OCD does gets attention.
...and I have come up out of abusive situations/where I felt too overwhelmed to even assert myself.
...and I wrote a novel/book about overcoming dysfunction, that is selling, worldwide
...but the thing is though...it isn't about me, mostly...I open myself up and sometimes even play the fool, to get other people to open up...if people can see that other people have overcome, they are likely to feel that they can, too.
...that, and being bold, is sometimes a gift, sometimes a curse.
...for the most part I am all my 2 kids and I have, to stretch resources, to stay encouraged, and to keep us going in this great big world...so I have to willing to be scrappy...lol...and I am making peace with that...
If you have ever been a doormat in a relationship...or did not feel empowered to change your destructive patterns...well, when you finally do, you are on your way to being different.
...I am different then from who I was the first time I my first husband belted me.
...I am different than from when I felt abandoned when I left my kids' abusive dad.
...I am different from who I was just a few years ago, when my latest husband came home and said he never loved me; but that he had only married me so I could help him raise his sons..
I sure as heck had better be different...otherwise I might still be the blubbering idiot that ever lowered my standards long enough to have settle for any one of them...does that make sense?
I don't hate men...I do feel the abusive, selfish, immature ones give men a bad name...but mostly, it wasn't about them...and if you are struggling in an unhealthy relationship, you may find your abusive relationship isn't 100% about your's man's faults, temper or pain, either...it is not about them all about them, it is about us.
Friday, April 27, 2012
doesn't seek others’ approval;
is capable and disciplined;
knows what they like and what they don’t like;
knows what they stand for, and isn’t afraid to take a stand;
their sense of self is internally motivated and fed, rather than externally;
is confident, though not arrogant;
is assertive, though not aggressive;
is gracious and hospitable, without being insecure or a doormat;
they know strengths and weaknesses;
they seek to keep good company, including those of character, integrity and manners;
they think before the speak and act;
they ask for help when they need it;
they offer help when they can give it;
they do not settle for second rate behaviors and attitudes in self or others;
they express wants, needs and desires in a healthy fashion;
they are quick and sincere in their forgiveness of self and others;
they have or develop a strong work ethic;
they strive to become a independent and interdependent;
they set goals for short term and long term accomplishments;
and they learn to handle both failure and success well.
And when these attributes/traits are in your life it is not likely that you will end up in destructive cycles that include alcoholism, drug addiction or being with abusive partners...
Thursday, April 26, 2012
...note to self on getting to a better place:
...learn to better manage insecurities...
...for instance, i don't want a guy who is going to beat me up (mentally or physically) for where i am, right now...
...i like eating out at least once a month...
...i love listening to classical music; drinking coffee; taking pictures; and watching college football...and it is not that that we have to be joined at the hip in all of our interests, but sometimes, let it be about me...instead of me catering to you all of the time...
...i want a partner, a friend, a lover...not a daddy or a warden...
Thursday, April 19, 2012
My first husband was abusive. His name was Tom. He is currently in a Texas prison for armed robbery.
He and I married in 1984. The abuse started less that 6 months after we married. At Tom's hands I was slapped, shoved, raped, pushed out of a moving car...among other things.
And about how things were with my first husband, Tom...it was so strange...it was like it was up on me, before I could really run for daylight...I confided in my parents...and my dad even had Tom arrested once...but there was such an emotional draw there...Tom made it seem like I was the only who loved him or believed in him...apparently the Regan household/childhood was a nightmare...and they all just coped better than Tom...it was nothing for Tom's mom, Jan to fist fight those boys into submission...
So, back when things were so horrible I was able to confide a bit in Tom's mom...but I had no clue just how messed up she was and had her own issues, that were not talked about...one incident that speaks of that, was when I left Tom once while we were living in Mobile, back in 1986...I went to live with my parents (even though my step-mother resented it)...that afternoon Tom locked our $500 scottish terrier, Sherman out of our apartment...walked to Circle K...stole a car...drove to a fancy department store, maxed out our credit cards for clothes, shoes and whatever...and started driving for Seattle...he was delusional enough to think that he could contact my mother, who lived there, to get me to come back...my mom would have no more talked to him than the man in the moon, because of how he had treated me...but he didnt ask, he just took off...
By the time he got to Chicago, he was feeling guilty about stealing the car...left most the stuff he had just bought in it...and took off for Seattle on foot...and started calling my parents collect every few hours to let me know of this brilliant plan he had to move us to Seattle...my mom said if he showed up, she would have him arrested...he was hitchhiking...had no winter clothes...no coat...it was a nightmare...somewhere between him being in Chicago and Montana, I had gotten in touch with his mom and given her the real scoop...she still worked for American Airlines back then...she said if Tom could make it to a major airport, she would fly him down to Dallas...only the kicker was I had to go back to him and "tend to my marriage"...as in I had to leave Mobile, Alabama and move to Dallas, Texas to meet him...she would help us get an apartment...and yada, yada, yada...I felt so trapped...I had no clue how messed up Jan was in her own mind, to have even suggested I go go back with Tom, after telling her what all he had already done...I caved...we ended up staying with the aunt in Dallas that had worked for the IRS for a couple of months before he and I could both get jobs...
The very first night I was at the aunt's house...she was wonderful by the way...but she had no clue what Tom was really like...well that first night, Tom closed the door, turned out the light and smacked me so hard that I saw stars and almost passed out...and said "that's for doing all of this and embarrassing me to my mom and family"...
We were in Dallas in our own place for about 6 months before I was able to finally get away from him for good...that was in 1986...(we had just gotten married in 1984)...it was 1988 before the divorce was final...
Part of what created the unhealthy dynamic between me and my step-mother was she is a person that cares about "what people think"...she cared more about that, than about me...so my humiliation over all that happened with Tom, was just embarrassment for her...something she could put down and gossip about, as though she had no skeletons in her closets...
It is weird what dysfunctional families do to their own members for saving face...
I am not like that with my kids...they have known from day one, if they get into trouble they cannot handle themselves, they are supposed to run home...not feel all alone like I did...it is not that we can solve our kids' problems for them, they have to do the work...but we sure as heck can be supportive and loving, no matter how old they are...but especially if they are being abused...
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
(from Facebook 4/4/2012)
"...didn't think I would ever love a song about someone lying...but "There is no Arizona" is very special to me...this song was popular the spring Jordan was on life support...in fact the first time I heard it was a couple days after Jordan was hurt...I remembered thinking that my soul was as dry and barren as the song was depicting...someone I loved, trusted, thought I knew... had just been accused of beating my kid almost to the point of death...and we were realizing there was no freakin Arizona...these days were are so glad to have overcome..."
"...one of the things we do not do often enough or completely enough in our culture, is mourn or grieve...instead we shove it down, act tough, and defy our emotions to betray us...as though there is any strength in denial...in being stoic...putting on a brave face is ok for a while, but acting like it never happened is insane...let's not do that each other...let's not act like it is weak to cry, hurt and mourn...because there is strength in facing life as it actually happened..."
Songs sometime have the ability to transport us to a different time and place. This one takes me back to the week of May 10, 2000.
"...her heart sinks lower in her chest..."
...and I am transported back to a time when my son was being kept alive by machines.
You don't know who you are, or what you are capable of, until something this horrendous happens to one of your children, and you can do nothing.
If you want to no why shelters, counselors, social workers and self-help groups drill about things about safety, getting away from abusive men, and making better decisions...its because they know that when we make decisions when we are damaged, someone is apt to get hurt...
The Bible even speaks to this, in Proverbs, 22nd chapter...
"Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest you learn his ways and get a snare unto your soul"
And rest assured there is a snare in not getting away from a violent man...he can hurt you, kill you, damage your children, so bend and twist you that you are no longer the vibrant, capable person you once were...and heaven forbid you keep going back to him...or worse find an even more abusive man to replace him with. It is called the cycle of abuse for a reason; because once it is set into motion it can be nearly impossible to untangle from...and even if you do survive what is left of you is so mangled that you barely recognize what is left.
Why did I write "The House that Silence Bought"?
...to gain attention?
...to blame my problems on others?
...to shame my family?
I wrote it because it is important to break the cycle of abuse before it takes a toll on your life that is nearly priceless.
....my son is permanently disabled...and not just because some maniac crushed his skull at age 7 months...but also because of what abusive relationships had already wreaked on my emotions and confidence...and also because my family of origin was in such denial they couldn't be bothered with much else other than judgement and condemnation...it is years later, and they still don't fully grasp what all contributed to Jordan being disabled.
Freak of freakin nature, people who have always called themselves family, are social with the children's father; who was the abusive man I had left just weeks before running into the man who almost killed my kid.
Like I said, it is called a cycle, for a very good reason.
It would be one thing if children's father had ever acknowledged his abuse, and I had processed his remorse and chosen to forgiven him. But to this day he claims he was never abusive and that I am crazy. He is a lovely human being. Of course I say "lovely" sometimes, when I want to cuss.
"...so take the time, those of you that have been abused to deal squarely with what actually happened...cry, shout, scream into a pillow...cry some more...feel each of your feelings fully...fear, anguish, hopelessness, anger, resentment, abandonment, rejection...whatever it is...feel it...mourn...grieve the loss of all the lies that had to be shoved down your throat in order to accept the situation...and get help...from a counselor, from God, from church...from friends...and if you are fortunate to have a a loving, emotionally healthy family, from them as well...get help...break the cycle...don't become a statistic or a cautionary tale..."
In physically abusive situations there are very few choice outcomes...death, injury, disability, annihilation and assimilation of a person's self-esteem, confidence and autonomy...or becoming a cautionary tale...case in point.
Friday, March 30, 2012
(and at the same time Powerball was over 60 million)
...but get this, a few months ago Jordan learned how to give kisses...(before it was a very hard concept for him because of partial blindness and coordination)
...so now I get kisses everyday...he says
"you give me a kiss and I'll give you a kiss" and he does...and so how very rich am I ???
Jordan and overcoming abuse was the inspiration for the novel...some of you know that, some not. Please read the novel, we would appreciate it. I used to think that the book would be just a forum for Jordan later in his life; mainly because he has no idea he is disabled. But these days I fear he make make it to later in life. He is nearly 15; but behaves like a 5 year old. That is hard for a parent to face. But what is harder to face is that he is not growing very much. There may be many reasons for this; for instance he is on a lot of very damaging medications. These drugs not only potentially damage his liver, mess up his sleep patterns, but also when conbined seemed to be affecting his growth. So of course prayers and welcome.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Is there such a thing as an emotionally unavailable man?
Do some men purposely withhold their feelings, their approval and their attention?
Do the ones who do it, mask some insecurity they have about their own inadequacies? Or do they really just not feel as much as other people and therefore don't see the need for displaying their emotions?
What kinds of things make a man emotionally unavailable?
Does he has a wife, girlfriend or sleeping partner? then he is emotionally unavailable.
Is he is hard to reach; and go hours, days, or even weeks without feeling like he has to communicate? When there is finally communication, does he makes it seem like there is something wrong with you that you wanted more communication? Is there is no explanation for the lack of communication? Is there is no flow between one conversation to the next? Do you feel like things are stopping and starting a lot? If you have no idea when will be the next time you two will communicate, he is emotionally unavailable.
If he wants you to keep an open mind, wants no labels, boundaries or definitions of the relationship, he is in fact, emotionally unavailable.
If he doesn't want to talk his feelings, about where you fit into his life or how he sees your relationship, he is emotionally unavailable.
So, it would be uncomfortable if your guy has one or two of these traits, but it is time to do some serious evaluating if he has all of them. Take a deep breath though, because you are not going to be able to change him. All you can do is start seeing the signs that you are with an emotionally unavailable guy, decide how to proceed, and take the steps to dissolve the relationship. But bigger than that, is you have to figure out if you have a habit of dating this kind of guy. If you see a pattern you must start changing your habit. Also there may also be a correlation between the emotionally unavailable man and the men that can develop abusive tendencies. After all theses men may reason that you knew what you were getting when you got together with them; and that their abuse was something you drove them to because you wanted something from them they couldn't give. Though not all emotionally unavailable men become abusers, but some do. The underlying issue for you as a woman who wants to develop healthy relationships, is why would you want an emotionally unavailable man either way?
I can only blog about this because I have been there. But what can you do about it? After all isn't there times when he is charming, sweet, and maybe even romantic? Maybe. But if you are starting to feel badly, unsatisfied and overtly insecure after your communication with him, it may not be you, it may be him. The insidious thing is you cannot tell if he is clueless or doing these things on purpose. Which can leave you second guessing yourself.
I have dated guys who had a couple of the traits. I also have been in the unenviable position of dating a guy who had all of the traits; and it was very hard to assert myself and insist on better treatment. Why? Because the emotionally unavailable guy will usually turn the tables on you and make it about your faults, instead of just owning that they refuse to become available to you. And if you are damaged enough, you may bend over backwards trying to prove to him that it was your demanding, needy insecure nature that pressured him and caused him to withdraw. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Emotionally unavailable guys were that way before you and will be so after you; which means its ok to leave them. It is more than ok, it is really all you can do to protect yourself.
You have a right to break up with someone if they are with someone else and they did not tell you.
You have the right to politely ask when you will hear from them again. You have the right to expect some sort of flow from one conversation to the next. Rest assured, if he wanted to get to know you, he would make his communication steady and reliable.
Any desire to stay away from definitions, labels or boundaries simply means he doesn't want to commit to giving you what you need emotionally; and from such, you have a right to flee.
When the time comes to discuss emotions, you have a right not to feel like you are pulling teeth to get a healthy exchange. If you don't know if he sees you as a girlfriend, it is acceptable and emotionally healthy to ask and expect a clear, decisive answer. In fact I will go one step further, if he wants you to feel secure, cared for and protected emotionally he will provide a lot of this on his own without having to be asked, pinned down or chased. And if you do have to assert yourself, for any reason, he will be proud of you for doing so, not ridicule you or make you feel badly.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
There are few pains in life as acute as the loss of a child. I almost know what this feels like. Or maybe I know altogether what it feels like. Because while I have my son Jordan as a disabled young man, I did indeed lose my child who had been born whole and healthy.
It gnaws at a parent when their child suffers something they cannot fix, mend or make amends for...and it damages without repentance. Never mind all of the complications that came with our story; because even if no hindrances accompanied his injuries back in 2000, his injuries still would have left a gaping wound in all of our lives.
I have faith in God. I cannot imagine what any of this would have been like to face had I not. Still over the years I have questioned everything; my faith is not perfect, merely resilient.
So in almost every way imaginable I can relate to the partial loss of a child, every bit as much as the complete. Jordan wafts between his world and ours. Sometimes he has great clarity and resolve, but mostly he struggles with making sense of the world. The poetry in is that he doesn't realize that we all struggle to make sense of the world around us. There is great joy in the fact that Jordan has no clue he is disabled.
But unlike a parent who has had to bury a child, I die a little every day in all the things that Jordan will never do, accomplish or see. Everyday I mourn for this little guy, who is so easy to love...and yet is all but cast aside. I am not jealous of those that bury their children; I am grateful for all I have in still having Jordan. All I can liken this feeling to is a sore that never heals; because we wake up to both loss and gain everyday.
May 10, 2000 is our own personal ground zero...it was the unraveling and the exposing of all faults, sins and frailties...and we get bombarded almost daily with could haves and should haves.
Jordan is preparing for junior high. Which is a far cry from the original prognosis that he would be a vegetable at 7 months. So of course we are grateful. And his charm, wit and intelligence can light up a room, as much as his limitations can suck the breath from my very lungs.
So why do you ask do I write a blog about helping women overcome abusive relationships? Because it wasn't right what happened to Jordan. It wasn't right that his own father had been abusive. It wasn't that my own family could not be bothered with us in any substantial way...but mainly it wasn't right that my self-esteem and confidence was so lacking and damaged that the best possible choices I had to make still contributed to the events of May of 2000.
Blogging about empowering women, is not about putting men down, even abusive ones. The abusive ones will meet their day of reckoning either in this life, or as part of their judgement. Blogging about empowering women is about helping hurting women to see that if they keep picking broken men, it is because they themselves are also broken.
There is a lie out there that we have to have a man in our lives in order to be complete...while that can be true, it doesn't have to be true. It becomes a lie when we, as women, put having a man in our lives over taking care of ourselves.
I wanted desperately my own father's approval, but he was by nature withholding and indifferent. So I went out in search of making my own family. The thing was I couldn't have possibly known what to look for in a man, except for the qualities of being withholding and indifferent. The more withholding and indifferent a man was, the more I worked at making him love me. Winning such a man over became a hobby, then a sport, then my entire way of life. Which left me no time for self improvement, realization or enjoyment. The only goal was landing a guy. And since I was starting out with withholding and indifferent men, it left much to be desired in actually finding a man with decent, loving or caring characteristics. With each new broken relationship came new baggage, new hurts and wounds, and eventual desolation. My first relationship abused that daylights out of me...the next relationship included a miscarriage...the next, vile sexual habits and disrespect...the next, abuse from a child...the next rape, verbal abuse, control, and threats of suicide...then came the supposed friend, who in 2000, decided it was okay to prey upon me and my two children. He abused my 4 year old daughter and almost killed my 7 month old son...and with all that I was slammed in the face with every unhealthy relationship I had ever undertaken, every flaw I possessed and every weakness that was part of my nature.
So not only were both of my children hurt...and there was nothing I could do to alleviate that pain...I had to come to terms with the grim realization that had I had a healthy self image, any confidence and assertiveness to speak of, that I would have never been in such a position...Judah, my daughter's innocence died, Jordan's life literally almost came to an end...and my entire concept of myself was obliterated...not to mention coming face to face with glaring family dysfunctions...so...so, if I seem a bit too, whatever...there is just cause...try not to judge...
And I will try not to judge you,as well...see because before all of this I was so sure of who I was, what I believed and what I was capable of...I was judgmental...I was critical...I was so certain that my faults could not have been as bad as other's people's. I was wrong. People smoke, sleep around, steal from their jobs, run red lights, cheat on their spouses and other things...and those things do not come close to putting them on the path of destruction that lead to my son nearly dying in early May of 2000. To everyone I have judged, I am sorry. I do not know where you are in the world, but know that what I did was out of ignorance and self-preservation. It was not my nature to be critical or self-righteous...they were traits spoon fed to me by some of those I loved most. But...I could have refused. I could have adopted compassion instead. I partook in that which I hated most, and became the same. This is part of the weight I carry. Because those that I was so sure I was better than? Guess what? Those sins that I had judged in others? Well, none of those other people's sins led to their children being abused. Or led to their son almost dying and becoming permanently disabled.
I didn't physically harm either of my children; but I was so battered emotionally, that I couldn't see what was so obvious to a healthy person.
Getting to healthy is so vital...in any relationship...even if you have to let go of the relationship to do it. That one truth, is why I blog. To have even one women make a shift before having to face catastrophe and desolation, is all I can hope for having survived this. To never have you have to walk a mile in my shoes...that is what I owe to my children, especially Jordan.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
The queen of Pop...and domestic abuse...
I am angry as an abuse over-comer about Whitney Houston's needless death. Its things like this that we want to lessen. It why we speak out! It is truly by God's grace that every woman who has ever been abused (physically, emotionally or sexually)...every woman ever introduced to street drugs by some loser guy...could have turned out the very same...Miss Houston was many things in life; but empowered was not one of them. That is why so many of us who have been hit could relate.
The single greatest influence in her life was the remarkable time spent with her paternal grandmother; it was under this influence that she thrived. Her grandmother introduced her to not only fine Literature, but also the Arts and the Opera. And it was beloved grandmother who told her that if she wanted to be a great writer she must first learn to be an avid reader.
Early adult life would be peppered with indecision, failings, and the haunting of things not learned in childhood. But as is the case with most sincere artist, out of the angst of life came a great capacity for creativity.
Shelby considers her writing a gift...a joy, a tremendous responsibility, and something that helps to define her life.
She lives in very picturesque Central Oregon with her two children.