Category Archives: abuse
When I’m teaching beginning English learners about verbs, I categorize them into 4 basic types; state, do, feel, and think.
A state verb is basic ‘to be’; I am (a woman, a mother, a daughter, a teacher, alive), I am — years old, I live in –. Your basic states of being…
A do verb is whatever you do…. Run, eat, play, sleep, etc. Feel verbs are happy, like, love, angry, wishful, etc. And a think verb is along the lines of want, plan, consider, believe.
So, what is respect? For me, respect is a think. Respectful can be a feel or a do, or even a state, but actual respect is a think.
And along the lines of you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself first, I believe that you can’t respect someone else until you respect yourself.
So how would I define respect? I find it difficult to define think verbs without using variations of the word, but if I had to choose one synonym it would be equality.
When I believe that the life of another is equal to mine, I respect that life. Which, when turned around, if I believe that someone else’s life has more worth than mine, I cannot fully respect myself. If I believe that my life has more value than someone else’s, I can also not fully respect myself, because then I have subscribed to a value system that ranks life value, which automatically places me on a spectrum, in which I can be less than, putting me right back at unable to fully respect myself.
So, in my definition,
Respect is the belief of equal value of life, its states, thoughts, feelings, and actions.
When I feel respected I feel as if I am seen with equal value. When I feel disrespected, I feel that I am seen as having less value, by the other person.
This concept of respect, it is something I think about a lot. I’ve been through enough situations, seen enough abuse in my life, that I’m constantly trying to figure out how to respect myself and others, without being victimized.
Can someone be respectful without having respect? Yes. Doing a respectful action is part of social manners. Someone can know and perform all the social manners without having ‘the think’ of respect for the other people they are performing those manners around. Abusers use that skill very, very well.
Abusers are sure to point out all the “nice” or “good” things they do, trying to prove they’re a good person. Look at this thing I did. I do everything for you. Watch me do this good thing, see I’m good. I got this for you. I did that for you. I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking. I would never hurt you, remember all those good things I do? Those prove what a good person I am.
But see, abusers don’t respect themselves or the people they abuse. They’re trying to stay on top to prove they’re not less than anyone else. There’s a deep need to be seen as being good, that people who respect themselves and others don’t have. In my experience, people with high levels of respect don’t have to point out the good they do. They hardly even recognize their respectful behavior as anything but just what should be done. There’s no need within themselves to prove they are good, they just are good. It becomes a state verb, not just a think verb.
Abusers, in my opinion, have subscribed to a rather stark value system; one with very few steps between, a rather black and white system. They need to feel as if they are seen at the top of that system, because they feel that they’re not. They make sure to use more, have more, be more so they aren’t seen as less.
And they see their victims as lower. They test, and then pick people that have more respect, who subscribe to a much different view of the value system. Isn’t that the crazy thing, I think to myself all the time; the people who respect others, who value the people around them, treat people well, fairly, respectfully, those are the people preyed on by abusers.
Truly, I think that if we subscribe to a value system on life at all, we are all, at some point or another, within a wide range of abuser and victim. But, it has really struck me that the people who respect the lives of others, treat others the way they want to be treated, are caring, empathetic, giving, those are the people most often targeted by abusers for relationships.
It’s a weird kind of circle, abusers feel afraid of being less, so they make others feel less, to feel like they are more. If you stay, you are clearly less because the abusiveness is tolerated. But….. at the beginning, it’s tolerated because of the very respect for others that makes them a target.
And if you show any kind of equality, then they must knock you down to make sure you are less. Insults become more personal, more derogatory. Threats become more realistic. And, I’m sorry’s become more frequent.
Sociopaths and narcissists aside, the abuser feels bad for being abusive, making them feel bad about themselves, perpetuating the need to make you feel bad, so they can feel good, which cycles around and around and around.
The nice side of an abuser can only be seen for a limited time though. An abuser can only allow themselves to be seen as not having the power for short amounts of time. Those short amounts of time are a manipulation, a way to stop the consequence of losing their victim; win them over again, prove how good they are again, be equal again.; because they want the respect, from their victim, that they can’t give themselves.
That respect then becomes demanded for. Respect me. Look at everything I do. I’ve been good, now respect me. I’ve been respectful, respect me. Respect me -or I won’t do these things -or I’ll take these things away -or I’ll make you fear me. Fear=respect right?
Once those cycles have repeated enough….. it can, and often does become more than threats, more than derogatory slights.
People who haven’t seen these cycles, in all their stages and multiple wraps around a relationship, struggle to understand. But it really comes down to value, equality, and respect.
I continue to stretch out and increase the many increments of the value system, trying to get as close to the zero point on this half-life depreciation. I meditate and pray for help to respect myself, by seeing the intrinsic value of all life around me, as well as preserving my self-respect by not allowing others to treat me as less than.
I’m not finding it very easy. Power is a corrupter for those who don’t respect themselves or others. I do not seek out power. Others see that as weakness. I am open about my short-comings, because I want to learn, not because I think I am less than, but others see that as a weakness. They cannot see their own faults, and so shift the repercussions of their faults to me, blaming me, saying she even says she has faults, this is her fault.
Because I do not seek out power, does not mean I don’t have power.
I have my power, my control of self. I do not need to control others, because I understand that any form of trying to control someone else, is abuse. But others see that as weakness.
I am not weak.
I keep getting up, and I learn. I learn and I grow. I have been getting stronger and stronger.
Just like learning a language requires repetition, practical experience, and meaningful use, so does truly learning respect.
I’m confident I can say, I respect me.
I respect you too, so understand that means that I won’t accept your disrespect of me or others.
I’ve spent a life time earning my own respect through giving, forgiveness, educating myself, kindness, tolerance, and doing my best to understand even those people who have hurt me terribly. I’m not perfect. I still have trouble fully shaking the value system. I have spent a lot of time working through that system to get where I am now. I still have much to learn; but I respect myself enough to understand I don’t know it all. I respect others enough to know that I can learn from them, I can talk with them, I can share with them, without ever needing to hurt them, belittle them, or make them feel less than.
This is my life in words. I keep writing about abuse, learning, traveling, and being me. Glimpses into my head means glimpses into my progressions through healing. It’s a freaking process man.
Maybe someone out there today needs to read that they’re not alone in trying to understand respect.
Maybe it was watching the special on the Dalai Lama….. maybe it’s just my life right now……
Whatever it is,
Light and love to you all.
I’m not really sure what it is I’m supposed to write about exactly. I feel like it is something having to do with abuse in whole, specifying what happened in Mozambique. But, friends, thinking about it all is overwhelming.
The last two years have been head spinning for me, and have seriously altered the way I see things. The healing that has come from the last two years is far more important to me. Yet, for some reason I am being led to continue to write about the events of the last two years.
First, I think it’s important to say – While back in the US after my time in Mozambique, an interesting phenomenon began to occur. Simultaneously with my spiritual healing, I also began to see more of the dark side of things. Fear began to overwhelm me at times. I have never had panic attacks before. Now I do.
I am realizing that along with seeing the greater good, comes seeing the greater bad. I’ve always been decent at seeing both good and bad in situations, trying to weigh each against each other and making decisions based on how I feel the long-term outcome is more good than bad. But now, now I am in a league I didn’t even understand existed. I can’t NOT see the ugliness humans are capable of, and I also see the good so much deeper than I did before.
It scares me frankly.
My ability to be right here, right now is a cactus to hold on to. I see the future impact of what the right here and now can bring. It’s not an easy lens to look through. But mostly it is difficult for me because, though I struggle with the adult land of all this, it is the children I am having the most difficulty with.
And by that I mean, seeing how the obscene scale of abuse that humans are capable of, and pull off constantly, affects our children.
Our beautiful children come in to this world innocent. It is our societies that hone them into future abusers and we are all abusers. Let’s be real about it. Even if we don’t consciously abuse others, we abuse ourselves so regularly. White privilege affords many of us the “right” to be abusive without feeling that it is so, or knowing that we do. It shatters self worth across the board. It creates such a systemic divide and conquer system, that everything we do is in it and we don’t even know it.
How do we overcome? We are creatures of habit, of comfort. Even as we explore and expand, we maintain those spaces in our psyche that keep us comfortable enough to push past this boundary or that boundary.
And how do we deal with those that push abuse past the “acceptable” places?
I am currently friends with someone who pushes my verbal boundaries all over the place. To be fair, though I would never have been ok with some of the things that are said, I wouldn’t have been so emotionally torn over them before the last two years. I have never been ok with the nigger, ho, etc., being thrown out every fourth word in a sentence, but I have tolerated when people around me have spoken like that, saying to myself, “it’s the vernacular”.
But, it’s the vernacular of people who have been oppressed and degraded to a point that these derogatory words are put into common language, in order not to be hurt by it. I own these words so they don’t hurt when you say them. Because, guess what, words really do hurt. Even the rhyme is meant to deflect, push away the hurt that comes from people saying mean things to each other.
It’s a verbal avoidance display of the hierarchy that comes with divide and conquer societies.
And I can’t handle it. I can’t listen to it. I don’t want it around me. I screams in my face about so many things that are wrong about how we raise our children in this society, how we have it set up to raise them, even when we are doing everything “right”.
Reading through some of my light summer reading… (haha) I ran across this from Chris Biffle;
“Listen carefully to how rebellious students talk to each other… there is a continuous struggle for hierarchy, authority and power inside their group. They support each other out of fear of not being supported and of being ostracized, but their ongoing battles build up enormous reserves of bitter energy.
…harassing each other is their way of life, the way they maintain rank in their group. Think of a clique of challenging students this way: you’ve got Leaders, Followers and Bottom Dwellers. There is usually one Leader, call him El Supremo (or La Suprema, if you wish) and many Followers and Bottom Dwellers. El Supremo maintains his position by harassing Followers and Bottom Dwellers. Followers maintain their position by harassing other Followers and Bottom Dwellers. Bottom Dwellers maintain their position by harassing each other, and, when it is safe, joining in the harassment of Followers who are being harassed by other Followers and/ or El Supremo. So, these cliques are small societies that run on humiliation, intimidation and reprisal. They are only truly united when they face Outsiders, especially Outsiders who are in Authority.”
Biffle, Chris. Whole Brain Teaching
Add to that how society teaches our boys not to feel any emotions outside the “be a man” box. Which btw, not feeling emotion is a part of a sociopaths profile.
Think about that for a minute.
And I guess that brings me to the sociopath that I had the misfortune to connect with, John Goosen.
The last few days I was in Mozambique, the every ready and apparently effective, “I’ve got an illness, feel sorry for me” tact was thrown and hooked into the people that I should have been able to count on to help me. The available, yet meaningless tears as he said his I’m so sorry, to them. Said he was diagnosed as a sociopath, and had decided to go off his meds when he left for Mozambique the year before. (Though to my knowledge there is no such thing as a medication for sociopaths.) His sorry for them having to take me in, his sorry for my putting everyone out. He shouldn’t have been so aggressive, but he didn’t understand why I was causing everyone else to have difficulties because of it.
It’s a ploy. It’s not real. It’s meant to distract and diffuse. Once he was “sick”, I became “unreasonable”. I became the abuser because I needed help, and kept demanding justice for what he had done. People don’t want to see abuse so much so, that they will turn on the victims even while they’re still black and blue.
And interestingly enough, I am watching this same style of scenario play out, yet-a-freaking-gain. And again, the players involved are magically unable to see the power hungry abuser for what he is. He keeps everything clean and above board around the people he needs to. Shakes the right hands, greases the right wheels. He’s got just enough twisted around the players just below those, uses just enough of the looking like a good guy, says what they want to hear, and bam, they turn their head to everything else; the abuse of power, position, the verbal abuses, and yes, even the physical abuses. Just choose not to see it, not to do anything about it, and in fact keep him right where he is because they choose to see only the “look like a good guy” things.
Frankly I’m amazed at how easily we choose to see what we want, opposed to what is. I kinda still wish I could.
My ex-husband always looked like the good guy to people at church, or work. No one could believe the things that he would do at home when only his family was around. And I played my part as well. I was the happy wife when others were around. I was the one who caused any issues. I took all the blame, until I didn’t any more.
Then it got worse. Until I stopped playing the game, started seeing the truth instead of what I wanted to see, it escalated only slightly through time. But then it escalated rapidly.
And even after I left, he played on everyone. “I’m so worried about her, what is she doing? Do you know where she goes? I need your help to help her”.
I guess this is just a general rant…… but the main point I’m seeing in this rant is
We need to wake up and start looking at truth. The real truth. And change it.
Fear of the unknown is powerful, and that’s what we’re heading into. All of us are living in a world that is rapidly deteriorating as an inhabitable place. All of us will be dealing with how to get basic necessities like clean water and uncontaminated food before too long.
Sadly, we need to see how we treat each other faster than we need to see how to treat our power supplies.
Because once we’re in the depths of the struggle for our collective lives, how we treat each other will be the final determiner. How quick we are to just blow each other up instead of share and compromise and work together will be the truth that decides if we all die or find a way to live on.
Being all in for me and mine will leave a very lonely planet.
So how do we wake up? How do we help others wake up?
I hear, “that’s just how it is” “stop being so sensitive” “this is how it’s always been, since the beginning of time” and it makes me want to vomit.
Yes, of course this is how it has always been, why do you think it is so deeply entrenched in EVERYTHING. But that DOES NOT mean that it needs to remain so.
Our world is all filled up with people. We don’t need to go conquer new lands any more. We have automatic everything, we don’t need to enslave people anymore. We live in a globally connected and political world, we don’t need to have wars any more. We have complex languages and lots of people that can speak any number of them, we don’t have to have language barriers and lack of communication any more. We are not living in the same scope as the people who created these hierarchical systems were. We don’t need them any more.
Yes, it’s been this way for 4000 years, ok. Truth is truth, but WE DON’T NEED TO ANY MORE.
I don’t need to stop being so sensitive.
We need to help others become more sensitive. Not only do women need to stop ” remembering their place”, men need to stop “being men”. Let’s all just be people. People who don’t subscribe to the -ism’s, don’t teach them to our children. Let’s be people who work together for the greater good. Let’s be people who leave a better world for our children, a world without abuses.
I guess I need to just keep writing. Whether or not I want to, and then what ever is supposed to come out will. I’m trusting in my guides, who have been sending me every thing they have to tell me to write on here, so I will.
Peace and love to you all!
I have to write about it. I don’t want to.
I have been procrastinating, avoiding, doing anything else but writing on here; worrying about the abuse, the execution of John Gooson’s plan to find someone, it just happened to be me, to isolate and abuse.
But all my spirit guides are screaming at me. I can’t avoid it any more. Someone else may be looking, searching to see if he’s an ok guy, someone who is trustworthy.
HE IS NOT.
This is not the post I have to write. Just a step I’m taking to prepare myself.
But if you are wondering if Willem Johannes Goosen of South Africa, living anywhere, about 5’9″tall, dirty blonde, big calves, is a safe person. He is not. Do not trust him. He is an abuser. He kept me on an island, sold my passport, lied to everyone about who I was, and then tried to kill me.
Do not trust him.
Happy International Women’s Day to all of you.
Though it is a day to celebrate women, it is also a day to remember. A day to remember strong women like Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai, Mother Theresa, Marie Curie, Maya Angelou, Tina Turner.
Maybe more importantly it needs to be a day to remember the not as popular, not as well known, and even the not as strong women. They are the reason we need the strong and public women to continue to rock their badass selves.
The unspoken women. The trying to fit in women. The not sure what to do women. The I want to be brave, but someone might hurt me women. The don’t know any different way of life women. The under someone’s thumb women. The just living every day women.
They are the reason we need an International Women’s Day. A day to recognize that women are just as vital, just as capable, just as deserving of the rights of life, as a man.
But, for me, most importantly, we need to remember that women, start as girls.
Recognize the diversity, the importance, the strength in girls before it is systematically stripped from them. Before they are repeatedly taught to believe they are less than, let’s remember.
Celebrate the humanity, the capacity, the ability in our girls. Don’t insist they must be a round peg to fit in the round hole that social norms created. Give girls the belief that they are, because in fact they are, capable of learning, doing, being, wanting, finding, creating anything they choose to.
As this International Women’s Day comes to an end for me, my wish is that, from birth, we give our girls what they need to be the strong women we are preparing the world for. That we continue to recognize the worth of women. That we respect the difference and diversity of women. That we carry on with the work to bring light to the injustices of objectification and minimalizing.
Light and love to you all.
I got one of my favorite compliments yesterday. I was told that having met and known me for a while without knowing any of my stories, this person would never have believed the types of stories that make up my life. The way I interact with the world does not indicate that I have survived things that have broken other people.
This is an affirming testament to my belief that my stories do not define me. They are part of me, but they do not define who I am as a person. They do not dictate how I interact with people, how I look at the world, or how I carry myself.
I don’t think our stories should define who we are. The things that should define us are the ways we overcome, our grace in the face of adversity, our strength to persevere, the beliefs we have in ourselves and the world, the creativity we see in and give to the world, and our ability to nurture gratitude. Every single one of us, every single one, we are important to someone. We may not feel it all the time, but it’s still true.
Your religion, or lack of religion, my religion or lack of – also do not define us. Our color, our hairstyle, our sexual preference, our financial circumstances, our family situation, our location; these things do not define us. They are part of us. They play a part, but they are not our defining characteristics.
Our actions: the way we behave when no one is watching, the way we learn from our trials, the way we treat ourselves and others; the way we honor and respect ourselves and others; the time we take to be part of our world, the way we allow others to be themselves, learn their own lessons, those are defining.
I have some really bad days. Days that are painful emotionally, painful physically every second that I’m awake and even a few while I’m asleep. During my most difficult days, I am grateful that somehow I have enough reserve strength to look into the pit of “Give Up” and say “Not today”.
There are days that pit looks like the most comfortable bed in my head where I can curl up and just not be. There are days that pit looks deep and scary, possibly filled with endlessly deep, shark-infested waters. There are days where that pit looks a lot like a bottle of beer or Jack Daniels.
Sometimes have to say, “not right now”, because I can’t plan through the whole day. Even on a minute to minute basis, I say no to giving up. Even when it doesn’t seem to make any sense not to, (truthfully, even the rare occasion when I should), I don’t give up. I can’t. I have things to see, people to meet, places to go. If I gave up, I wouldn’t be able to do them. I don’t really like that idea.
The choice to not BE my story, it’s a deposit in my reserve tank. The choice to push through fear, that’s another deposit. There’s no one magic thing that keeps me moving. It is consistently making choices to be who I want to be; not what others think I should be, not what the choices of others tells me I should be, and not what strays from my belief in myself.
I choose not to be broken. I choose not to be a victim. I choose not to hurt others just because I’ve been hurt. I choose to be trustworthy and trusting, no matter what other people’s choices are. I choose to: love, forgive, believe, be compassionate, learn, and follow my dreams. I choose to behave the way I feel best, no matter who I’m with, where I am, or what anyone else is doing. These things, they are deposits; the things that get me through when things get difficult.
Since November I’ve been presented twice with situations in which women are the abusers. To me this is doubly frustrating. Because they are women they also abusing the role of victim. They play like they are the victim while holding money, circumstance, and perceived power over the other person. They feign being victimized to control how other people see and feel about their situation. Their victim battle cry is, “Look how I helped them with this and that. I paid for this. I gave them that. I tried to help them and now look what happened!” When in actuality each act was a pre-calculated move to control the situation and be able to have that cry in the end. They are setting a situation up to look like a victim while actually being the abuser.
I truly feel like these women are worse than their male counterparts. Women abusers make it that more difficult for actual victims to get the help they need, by preying the system with their cries of suffering. When we, actual victims, try to insist on our needs, our rights, we get stymied by the remnants of these women’s abuses.
It’s on days when I am flatly reminded that abusers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders, that I can feel overwhelmed. These days when I have to remember that my stories do not define me. I am not the victim. I am who I choose to be and I choose to be a Phoenix.
Good night from a little country of the world.
During the time that John Goosen was assaulting me, I found one thing very strange. He would hiss insults at me as he twisted my wrists and shoulders, wrench me into wrestling submission moves. Growl threats while throwing me around. Spit in my face with his quiet words meant to tell me how much pain he was going to inflict on me, as he kneed me and held me down. And then, after I would cry out for him to let me go; he would shout, “I’ll let you go as soon as you calm down!”. That happened 5 or 6 times. I would reply that I was calm. “I am calm. I’m completely calm. Just let me go and we’ll talk about it in the morning.”
It didn’t make any sense to me at the time. Even in the state of things, I was at odds with myself at how calm I was. Part of my mind kept insisting that I needed to fight back, to get out, to shout for help. But something kept me from doing any of that. There was a calmness that I could not comprehend, but that kept telling me I couldn’t give him any reason to feel justified with what he was doing. So why did he keep shouting for me to calm down?
It wasn’t until the last minutes, where he was choking me and banging my head against the walls, that I couldn’t stay calm. The survival instinct was louder than the calm voice for just those last few minutes. And even then, once I decided to stop fighting and let him kill me, I was crying for my children, for their loss. I was crying, but I was not hysterical until I heard the knock on the door.
I remember thinking that the only thing he was truly shouting was for me to calm down. It didn’t make any sense.
Immediately after I was assaulted, I went to the local police station. They told me to go to the hospital and get checked out.
So I did.
As I left the hospital, with Caroline, John Goosen drove up. He started shouting at me from the vehicle that I had to listen to him. He had more to say to me. He got out of the vehicle and took a few steps towards us, still shouting profanities, insults, and demanding that I listen to him.
I ignored him. We kept walking back to the Police Station.
He got back in his vehicle and drove off. He had parked at Louis and Caroline’s house, halfway between the hospital and the police station. He was standing on the side walk, in the shadows of an already dark street. Then as we got closer he started in again.
I kept walking. Kept on ignoring. Gave my report.
The next morning, I found out that during the time I had gone to the police station and then to the hospital, John Goosen had called my mama.
In that call he told her, in his best concerned voice, that he was so worried about me because I had been acting like I was possessed and that he’d had to restrain me to keep me from hurting myself or him. What could she do to help him help me?
He spread rumors that I had been drunk and he had needed to calm me down. Police went to ask others who had been with us that night, how I’d been behaving, what they thought had happened.
He knew before he even locked me in the room, how to play the crowd, so that he could avoid any consequences for what he planned to do. He flipped his whole persona, put it all into place, acting the concerned citizen, immediately after he attacked me.
And then flipped back and continued to harass me afterward. He tried to get me to react. Tried to find a way to make me do something to look the way he was trying to paint me.
He knew exactly what he was doing. He wasn’t acting crazy. He didn’t “have a moment”. He didn’t just snap. He planned it out.
His “calm down” shouts, were his alibi. His call to Jean was an attempt to deflect anything I said to her afterwards.
John Goosen knew exactly what he was doing the whole time. It was a premeditated act of violence by someone who had done this enough times to know how to premeditate it. He knew where to hit to not leave visible bruises. He knew the twists and holds that inflict pain and injury without leaving marks. He knew to say some things loud and everything else soft. He knew exactly what he was doing.
I keep writing because I want his name to come up on Google. I want someone else trying to find out if he’s OK to visit, to know that he’s not. I couldn’t put him in jail where he belongs. But I have to do something, to do my part in protecting his next potential victim. How I wish that whoever else he has assaulted had written something I could find. He had no concerns at all in telling me to look him up. He knew nothing was out there. He doesn’t now.
I know he reads this blog. Now he knows his name and what he’s done is out there. I will continue to put his name out there for the world to see. This is the only way I have to try and inform, to protect.
An open letter to my children: Life is a learning process, so learn the good and let go of the rest.
To my beautiful adult babies,
Once upon a time I held you deep inside me. I cradled you and kept you safe. I loved you from the second I knew you were. That hasn’t changed one bit. I still hold you deep inside my heart, cradled and safe in my love.
I didn’t always do everything right as you grew up, but I tried, and I’m glad. I always did the best I knew how to at the time. I wanted to do my best for you. You brought out the best in me.
I gave you everything, all of me, especially when you were little. I was always there. I rarely let you cry because I was right there for you. Every moment that you looked for me, I was there. I wasn’t anything for myself, I was only your mother. I spent every moment doing all I could to help you see how loved, wanted, cared for, and cherished you were.
But because there wasn’t any part of me that was just for me, I allowed abuse to grow. I turned a blind eye, justified, and felt I had to lie in the bed I’d made. Because I didn’t nourish me, I didn’t know who I was or how to be, or how to stand up for myself or you. Because I had become so dependent, because I didn’t believe in myself, I stayed longer than I should have. Once I saw how far it had gone, how much it was becoming part of how you saw the world, I knew I had to stop it. For your sake, I found a way to stand up. Because I love you, I looked for a way to discover me.
I ended a heartless place so that you could have two places that could love you, instead of one that sent the message that abuse was ok. I love you, so I fought for you. I can only account for my place, and for my place, I gave you all I had to give; discovering and maintaining only the smallest part of me, for me. Thankfully, you have also received love from your fathers home.
I gave you everything I could. I fought for what I feel were injustices toward you. I fought for continuity, for safety, for fairness. I held you when you felt the pains that came from the unfairness and purposeful deprivation meant to punish me through you. I tried to support you and let you feel the freedom to be yourself that I had never felt. I cried for and with you as the abuses changed but continued. And I started to search for myself.
I should never have given up all of me. It made me blind to the beginnings, the place where I could have stopped the abuses before they affected you all so much. I should have finished school no matter what I was told back then. I should have gone to College even when you were all little. I should have not made you so dependent on my being there for everything, instead of helping you know you can stand on your own feet, feeling that you could trust yourself. I should have maintained enough self that I could have stood up for you when you were little, and stood up for myself from the beginning.
Not everything was bad. I am grateful for all the love and good that has happened in both homes. I am grateful that much of the abuse has abated and that you feel loved by both your parents. I am grateful that you have multiple places you can feel cared for, wanted, and safe. I am grateful for the many examples you’ve been given over your lives of the good in people. You have strong characters in your life to draw example from. It is ok to see the bad, walk away from the bad, and still love the person. Often the reason I hurt so much is because the pain was being sent from someone I cared about, someone you cared about. But that doesn’t take away from the good. You have been given much good along with the abuse. One does not negate the other. Appreciate the good, always.
Learn from my mistakes. When you go into your future, your relationships, maintain YOU. Remember who you are without anyone else, who you are all by yourself. Be ok by yourself. Determine the things that are important to you, and don’t compromise them for your partner. Get your education, get experience that will help you maintain you. Those two things, education and experience, are the only things no one can ever take from you, without killing you. Don’t make anyone dependent on you and don’t be dependent on anyone else. Make sure that you can survive without anyone’s help.
Build yourself up so that you can be a good person, friend, partner, and parent. Don’t give up who you are to be in a relationship, add to who you are, and be the kind of partner that adds to who they are. Don’t accept manipulation, coercion, degradation, belittling, threats, or any form of abuse from anyone, but especially not from the people you love. Know who you are-so you are not easily swayed by others. Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others.
And also learn from the things I did right. Let everyone be who they are. Support those you love. Fight for those you love. Maintain boundaries for yourself and for others. Set yourself routines and goals. Get your education and go see the world. Learn from your mistakes instead of lashing yourself over them. Recognize your strengths AND your weaknesses. Listen to people, watch people, and learn from everyone around you. Try your very best to put aside your ego and think what it must be like in their shoes, think from their perspective. Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others. (yes, these two are both things I did wrong and things I did right)
Recognize and stay away from abuse and abusive people. Don’t be an abusive person. Reflect on yourself and see where you can change things. It’s not only ok, it’s really important to reinvent yourself as you mature. Look for the good in people, it’s usually there. Give a few chances, but not so many that it becomes acceptable. Know how to walk away with dignity. Stand up for what you believe in. Know how to step in with full intention and love.
And, learn from others. Learn from those you love, those you like, and those you don’t like. Sometimes we don’t like something in someone else because we’re hiding that same thing from ourselves. Take a look; see if that’s the case before making a rash decision. Understand that people will hardly ever see the real you because they are living their own lives, and that’s ok. First impressions are rarely real and other people’s opinions are only their own. Get to know someone before making any decisions about them. Become friends with everyone. Sit down and have real discussions with people. Watch others for the sake of learning, not comparing and judging.
You are all adults now and the transition is complete. Who you continue to become, how you choose to treat yourself and others is on you. You have good and bad influences from everyone in your life so far. You get to choose what influences to keep or to let go. Letting go of a certain trait or way of doing things is not letting go of the person that demonstrated it. I hope there are things that you choose not to follow my steps in, because I know there are better ways now too. I hope you see things that you do choose to follow my lead in.
Life as an adult isn’t always easy, in fact, quite possibly, it is rarely easy. We’re here to learn, we’re here to become the best we can be. So don’t give up. You’re better than that; you’re worth more than that.
Being a mom isn’t easy. I’ve cried and felt like I was ripping apart over your lives at times. I don’t see that changing, I care as deeply as any mother can. I’m not the mother of children anymore, I’m the mother of adults. It’s a weird new universe we exist in now, and I’m excited for what it can bring. As we all go about living our adult lives, creating our own spaces and ways of being, the most important part of our relationship will be communication.
I’m grateful for the wonderful communication we’ve had most of your lives. I think we’ve been luckier than most in that department. It will be even more important now, so make sure you do your part. We are all each other’s support system, don’t be the weak link in the system. Let’s stay lucky.
Every day I am grateful that I am your mom. I was blessed with three wonderful souls to care for. My love for you is how I have finally come to find and love me. I am who I am because of each of you. And I maintain who I am so that you can have a better example than I gave before.
Go be the best you can be. Draw the best from all your resources, let go of the things that harm you and others. I am proud of the people you are and excited to see who you continue to become.
I love you,
Things are getting shook up around here and all for the better!!
I should be in Kazakhstan by the end of the month starting my new teaching position there. I can’t even describe how excited I am!
Though I know most of these posts lately have been ominous and dreary, I promise on the other side of the screen some really positive things have been happening.
I started off my time in Montana quite concerned about finding my joy again. I’ve always been able to find my joy, even when feeling down, but the more open my eyes have become to the abuses all around us, the more I ripped apart. It felt like my soul was ripping apart. Finding joy was becoming difficult.
The blessings of my Shaman Path are many fold and one blessing was the realization, just when I needed it, that shedding my past, like a snake sheds her skin, is painful. It takes work. It doesn’t just fall off, it has to be removed. It has to get pushed and split open and cm by cm pulled and worked off.
The ripping apart was a necessary part of the growth. The falling off the wall was necessary. The seeing was necessary.
But unlike Humpty Dumpty, this girl can get put back together again. And how!
And I also realized, that my journey right now is not to find my joy, but to find my peace. My joy is with me always, but I have not been able to feel my peace.
And that is what I’ve been working on. Making peace, finding peace, learning peace, teaching peace. Within my tranquility I feel my joy abundantly. I just have to keep myself resolving into peace.
And – who knew? I didn’t. That ever crazy word that everyone wants and no one has, patience…… yeah, it’s not a single state, like happy. It’s a multi-layered state, like peace. Can I just tell you how much easier that has become once I realized there’s more than one part to it!
When you have patience, you’re overcoming anxiety and distrust. When you have patience, you’re not looking for the instant gratification. When you have patience, you are not letting the unknowns create fear.
I ask myself things like: Are you afraid? Are you anxious? Are you looking for an immediate reward? If I answer yes to any of those, then I examine whatever it is. Patience is so much easier when you quell the storm that makes you impatient. Game changer that one.
There is still much to be done, much to be written and much to be learned about the many ways we indulge abusers, don’t see abusers tests and warning flags, and re-victimize victims by blaming them. But, I am in the works of creating my very own, paid for, hosted, and what ever other words I don’t even know yet because this is all really new to me website. One where I can write my fun, travel, joyful, teachery blog posts on one part and the heavier, no one deserves violence, stop abusers blog posts in another part. And a few other things I’ve been cooking up.
I know it’s been rough for those of you only wanting the read the fluffy stuff. Trust me, it’s been hard to not have much fluffy stuff to write about. I’ve had a harder time writing the good because I’ve been afraid of the good stopping if I wrote about it. But, I’m learning.
As the snake sheds her skin, so too am I. As the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so too am I.
I’m still a little, bitty, brand-new phoenix, but I’m dusting off the ashes and looking around.
Kazakhstan, I am ready to embrace you. Let’s get ‘er done.