35 comments on “Getting Back to Where It All Begins – Why Advocacy is So Important

  1. I felt like standing up, clapping wildly and yelling Bravo!! Bravo!!! Excellent post! I felt every word and shed a few tears; even though i also write about abuse in hopes of saving someone else sometimes I just can’t find the words to adequately describe it and you nailed it. Bravo!

  2. This is oh so true. It feels like the abuse is continuing when someone points the finger at the victim. Well written article.

    • I think many people do this innocently, because they do not understand and are trying to, but they just don’t think about the implications of their language and the impact it can have on us. But there are some who really do not display any compassion at all. This is why it is so important for us to speak out and let others know how we feel. No one else will do it for us. Thank you for your comment.

  3. I want to get where you are, being able to share what happened. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to know that you understand how I was lured into such a situation. I wish it had not happened to you, but you are not alone.

    • I think what you need more than anything is to wait until you are ready. For some of us this comes fairly quickly, and for others it takes a while. It all depends on how you have to work your way through your own healing process. There is no right way or the correct amount of time, so never get discouraged with yourself if you are taking longer than you feel you should be. Any other survivor will tell you when you are ready to, and only then, you can speak. It’s important for you to know that you should never let anyone make you feel rushed into speaking about what happened to you.

      When I first started my blog a few months after I left the man who abused me, I was very untrusting. I had this fear that everyone who read my blog was my abuser. It was hard to open up and at first I was very incognito. Nothing that would lead anyone to be able to glean my identity, no pictures, no names, no location. Over time I was able to overcome that, but it was by taking small steps and only when I was ready to. If you aren’t 100% comfortable revealing something, it’s always best to wait it out until you are sure. There will always be someone there willing to listen, and other survivors are going to be your strongest allies. We know what it’s like to be incapable of trust, to not feel safe, to be in fear, and to feel shame and isolation. We will listen without judging and we will believe you. If you ever get feedback from someone you feel is being unkind, like you are being judged, ask them to clarify but always listen to that voice inside saying something may not be right.

      There used to be a point where I grieved what happened to me, and this is normal. We all go through it. I am fortunate, because now I have healed enough (I still have a long way to go) that I feel I am blessed to be able to be there for other survivors and even some victims who are trying to make their ways out. Why do I say I’m blessed? Because I have compassion for others who have endured abuse, and I understand where they are coming from, even I can’t fully feel their fears. I can give them (and you) hope that it will get better. That there will be someone there to listen so they can speak freely without worrying about being judged or blamed. I feel blessed, because I have renewed appreciation for life and I have to share it with others.

      Always remember a few things:
      1. You aren’t to blame, and the stigma and shame that people may try to place on you belongs to the one who abused you.
      2. Don’t be afraid to remind yourself that you are strong, courageous, and beautiful.
      3. Even when you are feeling lower than you can ever remember, you are not alone.
      4. You have value. You have worth. You are loved. You matter. You are amazing.
      5. If you have a bad day, if you just wish you could stay in bed, if your triggers keep coming non-stop, it’s normal.
      6. Don’t forget you are amazing. 🙂

      I stand before you now a whole person, because I have been working on healing. When I first started my blog, I was a hot mess! If I did not have the support group I built up, I can’t imagine where I’d be right now. You will get here. Just take it one day at a time. One is all anyone should ever try to handle.

  4. Reblogged this on See Jane Sin and commented:
    My son asks me what I am reading. I tell him it is a story about a man who was bad but pretended to be good.
    He says ¨You mean like my dad?¨ I asked him, ¨Do you think your dad was like that?¨ He says yes and tells me about things his father bought him.
    I have never said a bad word about his father.
    I never wanted the children to see their father as bad. It seems too much for a child to bear. But they were there. They know.
    This is what I was reading.

  5. I can’t say who, but I got into a discussion with a young man last night who was discouraged over women going ape shit over BAD BOYS… Guys who lie, cheat, manipulate, use and abuse them! Then as they age into the 40’s and 50’s those same women turn bitter and jaded over the lack of good men! But is it true?

    He’s a good guy of strong principles, honesty and decency! Personally, I am of the opine that he’s a real catch of ambition, of high levels of talent, ability & intelligence! Add to that he’s a pretty nice looking guy if I say so myself! He’s near and dear to my heart, so being blunt about the problems he’s facing is difficult to get into!

    What many women don’t realize is that there are websites all over the Internet that teach jerks how to mimic being good men until they have conned a woman into giving them their hearts, then their sexual favors, while opening the money spigot! These A-holes learn the right lines, and actions to scam and fool often overly trusting women who never think to make a man EARN their trust or lay in boundaries they will not allow such men to bust! Yes, it s a hard truth to accept!

    Women, trained since early childhood that finding “Prince Charming” will make their lives wonderful and that they are nothing without a man, too often have been primed to make bad choices in men who will only use and abuse them! Is it their fault? I don’t think so, but society and our culture does promote and condition these beliefs in girls and women especially in the media!

    What’s a good man to do? Maybe learn to play the game better than the creeps just looking to get into a woman’s pants or scam a woman out of her money and property? No easy answers here, but I do think we need need to teach our girls how to recognize unethical, dishonest men…basically in a nutshell recognize PLAYERS who come on too fast, too smooth, too much too soon to overwhelm our female defenses! Just saying….something to think about!

    • First I need to clarify that there is a vastly huge difference between so-called “bad boys” and abusers, at least in my mind. To me bad boys come across a little rough and a touch callous, and they are too fond of living with their toe on the line when it comes to skirting and breaking laws. Abusers are just monsters. Quite frankly bad boys were never my type either. I don’t have time for childish nonsense, and anyone who is going to be with me must be mature, respectful, kind, caring, compassionate, and openly loving. I have no time or desire to be bailing anyone out of anything.

      Due to the nature of the evil acts they commit, abusers should NOT be lumped in with bad boys. By default this is saying that we CHOOSE what was done to us. Remember in my post I mentioned I had known my abuser for quite some time before we ever started dating, and during that time he showed no signs of being a woman beater. They show you only what they want you to see. This is how they trap you! Bad boys tend to let it all hang out, right or wrong, and with them you know exactly what you are getting. With abusers, this is NOT the case. They don’t need any websites to show them how to act the way they do. They have already been quite successful on their own. And those who have abused more than one person prior to us have even more experience doing what they do. The internet is not to blame for them being abusers. They are what they are no matter what situation you put them in.

      Society is quick to point fingers at the victim and say that if “she didn’t like that type, she wouldn’t have been with him.” Just the same with saying women get jaded later in life because they can’t find any good men? As if saying that the way these men treat them is any less at fault because she chose to be with someone? Absolutely not. It does make her responsible for the choice she made to be with him, but she is definitely not at fault for the male’s actions, because he knows better. No one makes a bad boy act any way other than what he choses. So then is she to blame for this as well? Absolutely not. Let the blame fall where it belongs.

      I made mention in my list at the end of my post about society’s responsibility in this and mentioned the need for education on healthy relationships starting at an early age, and I believe that I said in 5th or 6th grade at the latest. Children need this information before they become of age to being dating, and they need examples of both healthy and unhealthy relationships in their heads. Why is society not held up to be more responsible in this? After all, a woman does not become who she is in adulthood by mere accident. Society is willing to force images on her of what happiness should be and then when something happens to her that is gravely dangerous, the first thing everyone wants to do is wag their tongues and point their fingers in blame at her? The focus on this needs to be placed on the abusers. Make the abusers responsible and start showing compassions instead of saying the man who beat her senseless was just her type so she got what she deserved.

      This is the reason why advocacy is so important. There just is no excuse. Ever. Lumping abusers into the same category as bad boys and players is a bit offensive to me, because even though there is varying levels of deception in each one, abusers do everything on such an insidiously evil level that there is no comparison. At all. This blog is about abuse. Not immature, selfish men who see women as toys and trophies. And while I find it to be vile, there are no laws against being a philanderer. Being assaulted is a crime no matter what circumstances precipitated it. It is a crime.

      Also it’s important to realize that abusers are excellent manipulators and liars. If they have one person fooled, they could have one hundred caught by the same trickery. And people making excuses for them and hiding things for them only exacerbates the problem.. and this makes those in cohorts with them just as blood guilty as the one abusing.

      There are easy answers, but will anyone take the time and effort and CARE to follow through? This is why it is so important for those of us who have been abused to come forward and share our stories, because more than enough people WON’T show that care. It, too, is a simple choice.

      • I found your response rather hostile and over the top. The anger level was really uncalled for and unnecessary. Very disappointing to say the least. I don’t think I’ll be back at your site again, but I wish you the best of luck! Have a nice day.

        • I apologize that you misinterpreted the tone of my writing, because it was not written with any hostility. In fact, I believe there was more than one thing we agreed on?

          In the future, if you do decide to return to my blog to visit, it would be nice to see you again. However, I have to ask that should you comment again, please guard your tone and use of language here. I usually edit it out, because this blog is a place for survivors and victims to be able to get support and comment without fear of being judged or called names…. like you just publicly did to me. I opted to leave your comment unedited against my better judgment, but please be advised if you do return and comment, it will not happen again.

    • I don’t think you understand the original post. It is not about con artists. It is about narcissistic abusive people, the kind of personality that is all predator, to such an extent, that it is a predatory nature. These men do not need tutorials. Their tactics appear to be instinctive. They are often highly intelligent, and what they want is control. It is a personality type.
      You stated that women should be taught to avoid such men. When you say that, you blame the women. You make it plain that women should be able to tell who possesses such a nature. Women cannot tell. I could not tell. I knew my abuser for years before we were a couple, and his true nature was revealed very gradually over a decade.
      If he wanted my money or property, he would have left me working and helped me further my education. I would have made him far more money that way, and he knew that. Again I tell you, you are thinking of a different villain. The original post is not about that type.
      Keep reading. If not here, read somewhere else about abuse and the cycle of abuse. Read stories of women who escaped. Not about scam artists.

  6. Well said Amy. You are absolutely right that “Bad Boys” and “Abusers” fall into different categories. I have never been a bad boy type myself, nor can I say my (ex) husband is one either. He is an abuser, in all ways possible. And that’s a fact. Just like with your situation.
    Much love to you.

  7. Thank you so much, Amy, for your beautifully written post! I shared this post on my Facebook timeline with the hope that my friends who have turned away from me during this horrific time in my life will somehow gain some insight and will have some compassion. I could never have explained my situation as eloquently as you have! Maybe because I’m in the thick of it (the divorce stage) and am extremely emotional, but I seem to get so tongue-tied when I attempt to speak to my friends about why I’m so terrified, why I can’t seem to leave the house, and why I stopped being “me”.

    I’ve been in this battle alone. I have no family and my husband isolated me from my friends for so long that only 1 is there to listen. Finding others who are trying to survive an abusive relationship and can empathize and offer insight is what I’ve been searching for.

    Thank you again for sharing and caring.

    • Hi, Jessie,

      I am sorry about the situation in which you now find yourself. Even under the best circumstances, divorce is difficult, and you are dealing with a lot all at once. The unfortunate thing I wish I didn’t have to tell you is that you may find quite a few of the people who were in your life before either fall out completely or drift to the sidelines. This happens for so many reasons, among them the fact they may feel like you left them (and not know that you were in fact deliberately kept from being able to contact them), they may not know how to handle it (not excusing it), or it may make them uncomfortable. What I would like you to keep in mind is to remember that even though being cut off is painful, emotionally right now you are in a place where you must focus your attention on coming up with ways to navigate through the divorce, ways to cope, and how to begin to work on healing. It’s imperative at this point that you find others who can relate to what you have been through and are about to go through now so you can use them as your support circle.

      I think sharing my post is a good idea. Have you tried to contact them and ask them maybe to come over so you can have a private conversation with them? It’s okay to feel uneasy and get tongue-tied, because this is such a deeply personal thing you would be opening up to them about. It doesn’t need to be eloquent, but it does need to be from the heart. A true friend would give you the opportunity to explain what has happened. You would have to be prepared of course that they may not want to be in your life through this and may withdraw to the sidelines. This is why having a circle of support is so urgent. It’s going to be rough for a while, and emotionally you need someone there to listen.

      If you feel comfortable doing so, I would suggest not only looking at blogs of survivors I follow, but do the same on theirs as well. Our stories are so varied yet eerily similar, I am sure you will be able to build up a strong support group in no time. We tend to become quite close to each other because of the trauma we have endured, but I can promise you that other survivors will be there to listen, give advice, and plenty of encouragement when you need it… even if you need to vent sometimes. We will listen without judgment, without criticism, because we all know what it’s like to be emotionally distraught and feeling like we are the only one. We all know that support is imperative if we are to heal and are so appreciative of having life and freedom again, we are eager to help guide others.

      It will be rough, and you will probably find yourself being triggered by things you think make no sense. Some days will be good, and others will be horrible, but as time goes on, if you have the support you need, it will get easier. Believe it or not, one day in the future, you will look back on these days and finally appreciate your courage and strength and marvel at how you didn’t see it. You will finally believe how amazingly strong you have been, and that tied-up tongue will be free.

      With love and support,
      Amy

      • Thank you for your understanding and kind words of encouragement. I will continue to participate in the support groups online and will be reading more of your blog. I’m eager to read the survivor’s stories to learn how others have survived this.

        Love,
        Jessie

  8. I’m so glad you are speaking out. You bring a lot of wisdom and clarity to an experience that is so common and yet hidden. Extremely well organized writing, this was wonderful to read and connext to

    • In my life offline, I have had quite a few people voice an opinion very opposite to that. I have gotten comments about me being “one of those people who always have to talk about abuse.” It’s almost like they believe that their voicing this dissension is supposed to dissuade me. As you said, it is common, so common in fact it often happens with others witnessing it yet they do nothing. So many trying to sweep it under the rug and heap stigma and shame on the ones who were abused and blame them… I speak out not because I have to, but because I want to. Because I become grieved at the thought of even one person having to endure that desperation and fear. An important part of that is working on breaking down myths and misconceptions surrounding abuse and examining what happened to me so I can help others to understand how insidious abuse is and not only that it can happen to anyone, but how it manifests, personality traits to look out for, resources, and emotional support.

      That you see it as wisdom is a blessing to me; even though I have come a long way in my healing process, I still feel I lack objectivity and struggle with confidence. So I thank you for the compliment.. and that you took the time to comment.

  9. I love that you distinguish between “having to speak out” and WANTING to. When we survive abuse, I think we get pushed into a false self that is compulsive and reactive and we experience ourselves, in the moment and in retrospect, as people we can’t recognize. That shame and stigma you mentioned pressure us to account for our actions, and we find we can’t, because we’re looking to ourselves asking “What’s wrong with me?” while the person manipulating the situation goes by unexamined. It’s really disorienting!

    Your writing doesn’t strike me as compulsive rumination, which, seriously, even if it were, that would be your right to process your thoughts that way. But it’s clear to me that you are someone who has really examined what you went through and are critically thinking about all the components that made that horror possible…now, your writing is inspiring others (I can see from the other comments that I’m clearly not the only one moved by your insight!) and doing a great deal to remove a lot of unfair shame. As a survivor AND a writer I am really moved by the way you are lending your voice to share and help others. You GO, girl!!!!

    • I think so much of how we react to the victim blaming when we come out has its roots in the manipulation, twisting, and conditioning forced upon us while we were being abused. When we leave, we have already been primed and taught to believe that we are the broken ones and their actions wouldn’t be necessary if we weren’t defective. We already blame ourselves even though at the same time we know it isn’t our fault. The distance between the brain and heart is long, and the abusers first seek to cut that cord. You can know something but if you don’t take it to heart, it does no good. If you can’t take it to heart because something was done to you, it makes is frustrating and we generally end up pointing the finger at ourselves in blame. On top of it, when you reveal to people who were already in your life before the abuser came along and they use language that implies that it must have been your fault, it only reinforces it. For us, it becomes logical to think that if the abuser told us we were broken, and then even out family or friends reinforce that, then it must be true. How can you work through something and even think about beginning to heal when everyone is wagging their fingers in your face decrying your role in what happened to you? You struggle with the gut feeling that it wasn’t your fault, the ideal that someone who loved you wouldn’t do this, and hateful words from people who don’t take the time to slow down and meditate on the meaning of the words before they come out of their mouths.

      Before I met my abuser I had a stubborn streak. I was headstrong. Sometimes if I knew something was wrong, I was flat out defiant. The conditioning was rough for me. I talked back. I fought back. I kept reminding myself that what was happening wasn’t right, but over time even though I still felt it, I resigned myself to a certain degree that I had no control. Really, I didn’t. None of us do even though others like to say the opposite. (Something one can’t comment on unless they have been there. If they haven’t they just will never be able to understand but just because they can’t understand doesn’t give them the right to heap blame on us). Even with that loss of control, I still had trouble giving in all the way to the conditioning, because I continued to talk back, defy things, and fight back. Verbally and physically. I would never influence anyone being abused to do this, because it is too risky. But I believe my doing this is part of what has contributed to how well I have done after escaping him.

      Just as I refused with him to give up all my fight, I refuse to cosign for others lack of compassion and consideration and take possession of any of the blame over what happened to me. Them doing so is almost like them saying I should just go back and work it out. It’s saying I (and all of us) am broken. Defective. That if I wanted it to work and I wanted to be happy, I wouldn’t have done or said whatever it was that made him feel like he had no choice. I know otherwise, and I remember how hard I tried to fight everything he did (we all do in our own way but after being abused for so long we tend to forget that), and I even remember telling him what he was doing was wrong…. but with the spin that even if something is wrong with me, you still don’t beat on me. So all the focus is on us and what we did, but how many try to hold the abuser accountable? Well, I am happy to inform all those who insist on blaming us, I will continue to correct them. I will be kind about it, but I will definitely correct them. I know several survivors who struggle with this, but they are not emotionally equipped to confront it. Which is okay, because their focus should be on healing themselves and caring for children and rebuilding their lives. I feel that those of us who have the capacity to do so should definitely speak out for those who cannot, provided that love and desire to help is the motivation… not obligation or duty. I have no problem picking apart the behavior of abusers and analyzing and cataloging it and then using examples from my life to help others get that understanding.

      Because that stigma does NOT belong to us. I’m not going to let it stick around.

  10. OMG my friend posted on here and I am so awe stricken I do not know what to say I have been in a relationship like this and it taught me a lot. So now my hackles are up big time…….my BFF on here I am so sorry to say I saw Red Flags right from the start but these guys are so cunning an slick they over ride normalcy and you just can not explain what you are feeling to your BFF. Hindsight now I sure wish I could have I would have spared my BFF a lot of grief in the long run but if you fall in love with all the nice promises and so called love and devotion it is very hard to say no to. I will admit to one relationship that totally devastated me my son’s dad and OMG he is the same monster you described except I did not know him long enough if I had there was no way I would have stayed but then again I would not have had an amazing son either. I know it sounds like I justify it I do not but it is funny how life deals us life lessons and OMG I did learn it is crazy.
    Thank God for me my Ex left the state and it was an fairly easy divorce (except for the funds on Pt time pay thank god for parents) since I was smart enough to file before he left CA. but he still late to this date comes out and invades my privacy ugh it is like I will never be free 😦 and now what I tend to do is alienate promising relationships as I cannot trust. This so sucks.

    • He continues to come back around and bother you because you took control away from him. When the abuser continues to assert themselves in your life even though you have exited the relationship, it hinders you from healing on the level you need to in order to rebuild the trust that was ripped away from you. Maybe you can document it and somehow have an email or text or something documenting you have told him to stop bothering you? This way you can establish a pattern of stalking and maybe get an order against him. If he violates it you can have him charged. You should look up a domestic violence services group in your area and talk to them about it. They can help you decide to handle it. You may have to get input from a criminal DV advocate because sometimes the advocates who attend court dates etc do not know all the ins and outs.

      Ah there is that justification so many of us survivors cannot seem to get away from….. You do not have to justify anything any longer. You are allowed to have feelings and needs and opinions separate from others. Saying that had you not stayed you wouldn’t have your son is just fact, and it shows that you love your son and appreciate that even with the abuse you were able to have a light in all the darkness.

      try to find out if there is something to do about your ex coming around… I do not know how old your son is but if he is still a minor, your ex is going to use this as an excuse to continue to manipulate you. Once your ex is not sticking himself constantly in your life, that’s when you can work on healing, because the upheaval and insecurity will not be undermining your progress. Then you can work on the trust issues. Thank you for your comment.

  11. Wonderful blog, one of the best I’ve seen that explains how an abuser thinks and operates. Great job! I will be sharing this on my social media!!

  12. Thank you for sharing your life experiences. You’re a strong person. I’ve never gone through abuse, but I’d like to understand something about it for me to understand well those have been there. It ‘s a mind opener. Although it is quite too heavy for me (emotionally). I did cry while reading this. Thank God you are well. God bless.

    • I’m sorry that what I wrote affected you to the point you actually shed tears, but I want to thank you for reading it to the end. When I’m talking with others who have NOT experienced it (and I never want any of you to), I usually tell them to stay away from my earlier posts, because they are quite raw and even some days for me to go back and re-read them, the pain I felt at the time I wrote them is still fresh in my mind. What I like about your desire to understand is that you say you want to understand those who have been there, I think maybe so you can see how deeply it can damage a life? I would advise you to focus on the aftermath it leaves in its wake and the signs of how it looks so if you see it, you may be able to help, even if it is just to offer to listen.

      I thank God every day for my life. I had to walk away from everything I have ever owned, but I got out with everything that mattered. Thank for seeing and feeling what I have endured, and if I am strong, it is only because of Jehovah God and the support I have had since the second I walked out the door and took my life back that I was able to become so. Compassionate people like you make it easier to bear. Enjoy the rest of your day.

  13. Pingback: I Told Myself This Would Never Happen Again | Prayers and Promises

  14. I love that you have so carefully and completely demolished the myths about domestic abuse/ violence. Implicit and explicit victim-blaming (and shaming) is everywhere, because the dynamics of abuse are so poorly understood. It took me two abusive relationships before I was able to even begin to get a handle on what had happened to me, and to stop beating myself up about it.

    Unfortunately, the myths that you have so accurately describe are part of the problem, because they fuel stigma about women (and men) who ‘allow’ themselves to be abused. It motivates us to keep quiet, and maybe even to put up and shut up. It prevents those that need help from getting the support that they need. That’s why voices like yours – who are prepared to shout the truth from the rooftops – are so very important. Thank you 🙂

    • I wasn’t expecting this post to be so popular, but within only two days of posting, it had several hundred views and was shared all over the place. I’m thinking it struck a chord with those of us who have either been buried in an onslaught of stigma and lack of compassion in the past or even still face it now. This stigma that society waves about so furiously…. I am very straightforward in giving it right back to them. It isn’t mine, I didn’t ask for it, and I didn’t do anything to deserve it, so they can keep it and deliver it to those who own it…. abusers.

      I am sure you are well acquainted with the tone in my blog now, and I am pretty much the same in conversations with people offline. Still they act defensive at times and some try to make me feel like I’m wrong or being intolerant of them… and they are shocked when I don’t back down. I so kindly explain to them that if my fear of a three hundred pound madman can’t make me be silent, they have no hope of silencing me, and if they had respect for others they would stop speaking over me (and the rest of us) long enough to listen, and I point out the fact that I was courteous enough to do the same with them.

      Not everyone has the courage or maybe some can’t put their frustrations and feelings into words…. but as you see, I am very good at finding words for a lot of things, and since I have this ability, I am going to use it. And maybe those who, for whatever reason cannot find the words, can identify with something I said and share it with others and say, “This is how it feels. This is how *I* feel. You WILL hear me.” Soon enough they, too, will be able to use their own voice with boldness, but until then, there’s backup. Nice thing that is… knowing someone has your back and understands and is willing to help to get the message across.

  15. I just wanted to make a short comment as this post was referenced in tonight’s chat.

    I appreciate all that you and Lindsay do. I was so honored to be welcomed in with open arms, although I wasn’t immediately forthcoming with my own experiences with domestic violence. Of course, you both know abuse echoes through our lives in so many ways– and there are many facets to consider while (whilst? I have a British English spellcheck active) ending the cycle.

    Advocacy IS important. One of these days I’ll share more of my story on how it pieced together for me. I still remember the sweet lady I met my first trip inpatient, when my mental health (MH) issues were more predominant. A kind lady that was fleeing DV… I still can’t believe there are some in society that defend abusers. But then, I think many don’t experience the emotional/physical/sexual beat-down we have… or they are still too afraid to admit it.

    Thanks again, Amy.

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