Category Archives: Surviving

My stories do not define me

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.


Our parents generation was perfectly fine with domestic violence, why can’t we be?

Welcome to the Rodeo.

It’s a hum-dinger of a ride.

(It’s taking a few turns through sarcasm-ville too, so have fun.)

Smug isn't he?

Smug isn’t he?

Did you know that Elvis Presley hits a girl in every single movie he’s I’ve seen him in? 

He does. 

Wanna talk about influence over a generation?  Elvis was IT.  He set the standard.  “It’s ok to hit women” was displayed across every drive-in and movie theater from 1956 to 1977.


Did you know that The Beatles had a popular song about killing a girl over jealousy?

They do.

“Run For Your Life”

Well I’d rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or ya won’t know where I am
You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end ah little girl
Well I know that I’m a wicked guy
And I was born with a jealous mind
And I can’t spend my whole life
Trying just to make you toe the lineYou better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end ah little girlLet this be a sermon
I mean everything I’ve said
Baby, I’m determined
And I’d rather see you deadYou better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end ah little girlI’d rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or you won’t know where I amYou better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end ah little girl
Nah nah nah
Nah nah nah
Nah nah nahAnd Audrey Hepburn? thNFNKKRR1

Breakfast at Tiffany’s opening scene has a guy banging on her door in anger that she won’t let him because he “has rights” after paying for her dinner.

Her not letting him in -is the wrong, not his banging on her door expecting his “rights”, so she hides by going out of her window instead of telling him to go away.  And it just continues from there.

Really, this list goes on and on.  Watch any soap opera and you have a prime seats to the Victim Rodeo.

And now the tides are turning back again.

What happened to the strong, independent women songs?  Beyoncé got married, so now we all need to get back to domesticated bliss? There’s a whole new onslaught of I’ll cook for you, clean for you, you’re the strong one, give me lots of bling and I’ll do whatever you want, please make all my decisions for me, songs. Pop music is back at the effective conditioning of us all to “remember our places”.

It used to be that a guy could say, “Trust me” to get a girl, but we’ve learned haven’t we?

It’s a joke now,

“Trust me”.


The abusers have learned too.  Now, the abusers wait to hear you say, “I trust you”, to them.  They play the roping game until they hear those words.


Oh, they believe you alright.

BUT, because they know they are not trustworthy, their first thought on hearing you say you trust them is,

“You’re an idiot“.

And you can’t ever change that.

From that point on you are an idiot to them and they have every right in their mind to treat you badly, because that’s how one treats idiots, right?

I mean, who can deny it?  Sure, sure, sure, you can say that’s not the case, we all know the right words we’re supposed to say, PC and all, right?      Nobody should treat idiots badly.  Idiots are people too.

But it’s not real life.  In real life, ie, in songs, soap operas, television, movies, the ways we see and hear life told to us, repeatedly, throughout our lives, for generations, that must be how it’s done.  So, if you’re an idiot (ie a girl), that trusts me( an abuser), then you deserve whatever happens to you.  Case closed.

And we all go along for the ride.

If she’s such an idiot girl that trusted that guy, then she deserves what happened.  If she stays with him, she deserves it.  Why is she with him, she’s an idiot.  Why didn’t she leave him after the first time? What an idiot. She should have been more careful, so idiotic, she deserves what happened.  She’s such an idiot, who does that anymore?

Those are the victim blaming thoughts we’ve been conditioned to think.

And along with those, come’s the Victim Rodeo dance – where the abuser is really the victim and all the while they’re hog-tieing you, you’re apologizing for their hitting their knees too hard on the dirt around you because you were so confused with all the hoopin’ and hollerin’ and clown antics meant to trick you, you forgot to soften the ground for them.

Because they are masters of turning everything around.

Because they don’t care about anything except not having consequences.

Because controlling you is more important than reality.

Because they know the more you try to control them, the deeper their mind fuck is working.

Mass murderers? Rapists?  Abusers? Oh no, VICTIMS.  They are the abused, why else would they shoot up a whole school/office/theater?  They are victims. Why else would they throw a girl around a room and choke her?  They are the victims.

They don’t need jail, they just need some medication and a good counselor to work through their childhood issues.

If your first thought isn’t directed at the abuser, you are victim-blaming.  If your next thoughts aren’t for helping the victim, you are victim blaming.  If you are victim blaming, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Even victim’s victim blame.

Workin’ At The Brain Wash, sing it with me!

What most people don’t understand is the amount of brain-washing and conditioning that goes into creating victims.  And how we are all part of the process.  Yes, ALL of us.  We are all working at the Brain Wash and we are singin’ it with feeling.

objectify much?

Victims in abusive situations don’t leave right away, because there are so many colorful locks, laces, and latches put in place before the situation becomes so black and white to everyone else.

A victim’s sense of control in their lives has been systematically stripped away and replaced with confusion, lack of trust in themselves, isolation, and a distorted sense of what will happen to them without the abuser.

Abusers play on fantasies and fears.

Even though I had a round-trip ticket from Turkey to Mozambique, when the time came to use my ticket back to Turkey, I was reminded that I would get thrown in jail without my passport if I left the island.  I was told it would cost too much to get me to the city.  I was told that going to the city on my own, I would probably be raped, stolen, or both.  It was only safe for me to stay with him.  Everything about my finding a way to leave was distorted and my fears played upon in order to control where I was and what I was doing.

I got the fantasy of island life, a good peaceful job with the ability to “rest” while looking for work for the next school year.  And once there, I got all the worst fears of a woman travelling alone thrown at me; I was only safe while under his protection.  And, because of my prior conditioning, I thought I could make the best of the situation and still get myself on my own two feet.  I was doing many things to keep myself safe, while in a very unsafe situation, that I thought was, AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN, a safe situation.

Ya can’t control someone else to get your own control back.

Victims often try to reclaim their control by “controlling” the abusers.  Oh yes, the distorted idea that we can control the emotional healing of our abuser *cough* I mean victimized partner, we can love them into being better people.  We can show them how good it feels to be treated well, then they will know how to treat us well.  They were never shown how it can be to feel loved, so if I love them better, then they will see and it will all be back to the fairy tale they showed me at the beginning. Yep, I’m totally Disney princess style rolling my head with a sugared smile plastered across my face as my dream-filled eyes watch the screen while I type.Enchanted

Because that’s they way we victims are taught to think.  That’s what is put on repeat in our life soundtrack and movie script.  You know you just thought of at least one movie and two songs where that very thing happens.

When I was married, the level of the victim-rodeo dance was amazing.  Even now I am starting to see many of the ways that he made it look like one thing was happening – to everyone else- while making me feel like something else entirely was happening, I hadn’t seen before.

He still does that to our children.  He still makes everything appear how he wants in order to control the way they do things or feel the way he wants them to.  He uses money and “love” to manipulate them.  Sadly, they are learning those trade tools as well.

Survivor 2

Even we, the survivors, the mighty among the victims, the ones who are making great leaps and strides in our ability to reclaim our power and control while allowing the rest of the world to maintain their own, (yes, a little power hype there, I deserve it)

Even we are still caught in the thick blanket of perceptual lies that abusers have been piling on society for millennia.

Our parents generation seems to have not just merely accepted, but been perfectly fine with domestic violence.  Why can’t we be?

Because we actually can reach more people, we can have a louder voice, we don’t have to be divided and conquered, we’re the ants to the grasshoppers,

We have laws and the ability to have global laws that protect and

We know that ALL people should LIVE A LIFE FREE FROM VIOLENCE.

thRU28G03O thSS68L1U4 thZ3UN32PR

What do you think?


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