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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Pregnancy and Parenting » Help me (Page 6)

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Author Topic: Help me
xneed2knowx
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No problem [Smile]

I don't know when I'll be out there next. I used to take my son to school there every day so it was a very valid reason for being in that town but now that it's over I am not there very often. I'm trying to think of a reason for going there but am having a hard time and honestly part of me is afraid to actually go and do it - but I know change cant happen without effort.

I'm probably not the easiest person to deal with. I'm sure you are right about her pushing the shelter because it's her job to do what they can to keep people safe - it just took me off guard. She asked for my name and I wasn't ready to give it to her...just makes it so official that I am really deciding to do this and get help. She reiterated that everything is confidential and they won't tell anyone so I got over myself and gave it to her. I know it probably sounds stupid to most people - to be afraid of something that seems like a small step, but it is...mostly just the realization of it all.

I'll let you know when I get the papers filled out. I wonder what kind of paperwork it is.

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xneed2knowx
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As I was sitting here writing this my 5 year old got mad at my 1 year old for standing in front of the TV and screamed at her and knocked her down hard. I know this is somewhat normal for kids/siblings but I don't like it at all. I just took him to his room for a time-out but I sure don't know how to handle this kind of behavior [Frown] He's in there crying now and I feel awful.
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Heather
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I totally understand, per your post before last. I'm glad you bit the bullet and gave her your name. [Smile]

Per the parenting right now, as a former early child educator, I'd be happy to talk to you about this if you like.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of time-outs, I feel like they're pretty outdated. What I used to do with them years ago was set up a system where I modeled putting MYSELF in a time-out for little ones. Like, I'd be frustrated, so I'd say., "I need a time-out for myself, I feel frustrated and need to calm myself down." Then I'd go sit in our time-out space for a few, aling out and saying something like "I feel better now, thanks for giving me that time." The kids picked up on it pretty quick and it wasn't tough to change things so they just gave themselves time and space when frustrated, rather than me or an adult forcing them into something.

Have you talked to him about why pushing and screaming isn't okay, and talked about what he CAN do in that situation that IS okay?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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xneed2knowx
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You always have the best ideas. I will try that the next time I am feeling frustrated. I think that would be great if he could learn to give himself a few minutes to calm down when he is frustrated too.

I thought as he got older it would get easier but he just turned 5 and it's only harder and harder. He's starting to argue about things, he will take his finger and point it at me like a gun and 'shoot' me when he is mad, he got sent to the principle quite a bit in pre-k...I really need to work with him before it gets too bad. It's sooo hard and my partner just laughs whenever he does it so that doesn't help with teaching him that it's wrong behavior.

I have tried to talk to him about being nice to his sister. I tell him that she is little and that she doesn't understand all the things that he does. I told him it's not nice to hit/kick/push anyone that we care about - but when he's mad he immediately wants to attack. I've thought about going and getting a library card and maybe finding some children's books on it that we could read together but haven't ever done it yet.

I know it's normal boy behavior for now I just don't ever want it to get to a point where it's not normal anymore, you know? I have little to no parenting skills - I've only done the time-out thing because that's what they do on Super Nanny but it's obviously not working for us.

[ 06-02-2010, 01:37 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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xneed2knowx
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Oh no, is there anyway we can edit my partners name out? I'm sorry I didn't mean to say his name and it makes me nervous having it on here like that.
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Heather
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Got it.

By all means, some of this is probably just your kids learning to socialize (and probably isn't about gender or being a boy). But like we talked about earlier, you have to also remember that they take a LOT of cues from what they see happening in your home and your relationship. Kids are very, very observant and intuitive. Books can be a help, but if kids watch parents who don't resolve conflict in a healthy way, that's going to be most of what they learn.

That guy (I'm finding I resent calling abusive people partners since they aren't being partners, thus my language) laughing at this kind of behavior is also obviously not at all helpful.

Want some suggestions on books for him, but also maybe some good parenting books for you?

[ 06-02-2010, 01:43 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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xneed2knowx
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Thank you so much for fixing that for me. About the book suggestions, sure that would be great.
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Heather
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No problem, and you got it. I have to take a phone meeting in a little bit, so I'll be back with a booklist for you in a couple hours. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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xneed2knowx
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Sure thing, thanks.
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Heather
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Thanks for waiting!

So, for your little boy, you can look for:
Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger (which was illustrated by an ex-partner of mine, oddly enough)
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz
When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Maude Spelman
Mad Isn't Bad: A Child's Book About Anger by Michaelene Mundy
Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi Ph.D.
Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban

For you:
A Volcano in My Tummy: Helping Children to Handle Anger by Eliane Whitehouse
I Brake for Meltdowns: How to Handle the Most Exasperating Behavior of Your 2- to 5-year-old by Michelle Nicholasen and Barbara O'Neal
Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Hal Edward Runkel
The Mother Trip: Hip Mama's Guide to Staying Sane in the Chaos of Motherhood by Ariel Gore (a colleague of mine, and rad mama)
The Girlfriends' Guide to Toddlers by Vicki Iovine
And a classic: Your Growing Child by Penelope Leach

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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xneed2knowx
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The past few days have been hell. I've logged in from time to time but haven't been able to write until now.

Wednesday night was awful. My partner and I had sex, which I was concerned about because last time I bled quite heavily afterwards. He got upset that I was wanting to stop and told me if I hadn't 'killed our baby' then we wouldn't have to worry about it. He said I made this choice and am pissed off about it and am taking it out on him. That crushed me...hearing him basically call me a baby killer. I know that he is frustrated with me, but what else can I do?? I had sex with him, I did what he wanted, I do everything I can just to make sure everything stays okay around here and then he goes off and says something like that. I wasn't saying to stop because of him, I just didn't want to bleed like that again and it was taking forever - we're not even supposed to be having sex yet (they said to wait 3 weeks) so what am I supposed to do?? I laid there and waited for him to finish and was SO removed from everything. I'm so tired of living like this! Ugh!

Thursday I was in a daze most of the day...just hearing him say those words to me over and over again in my mind. Eventually I called Exhale, I needed someone to talk to about the abortion. The lady on the other end of the phone was nice - she made me feel better about it and feel confident again in my decision. I know I made the right choice and I feel like I've been doing okay with it but after he said that it just sent me over the edge again.

Then the whole library issue, sigh. I wanted to go to the library to get those books but unfortunately it costs $10 to get a card since we live out of the city limits. I have a debit card but it only has like $30 on it right now and I knew I had to keep that on there for gas/emergencies. He doesn't give me access to his money and anytime I need some I have to ask him, so Thursday night I asked him for ten bucks for the kids, and he wouldn't give it to me.

Then on top of all of that my job ended, it was just temporary work so I knew it was coming...but talk about bad timing. I've been on the internet searching for jobs and have sent my application into 3 of them. Hopefully I will hear back because I can't live this way -- fully relying on him. I need work, I need my own money.

Then I drove by the crisis center, over and over again. I couldn't get out of the damn car!!! Oh I wanted to sooo bad but I just couldn't do it. I finally pulled into the parking lot after driving past it the first 3 times. I undid my seatbelt and then I just freaked out and left again. Needless to say I was pretty disgusted with myself.

ALSO, on top of everything else, I had found my ex step sister on Facebeook a while back and she left her number for me to call her yesterday. I hadn't spoken to her since we were 14 when our parents divorced. Her dad is the one who sexually abused me and he beat her. I still hear her screams in my head sometimes. She is doing good, she moved out after they divorced and lived with her grandparents and she has no contact with her dad now so that is good. It was really nice catching up with her and seeing how she has been over the years - but it brought up a lot of junk too.

So that's where I am. Not too good huh?

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Heather
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That all sounds exceptionally painful and rough.

I'd really like to talk with you about considering leaving your home, full-stop, and taking yourself and your kids into the DV shelter. I don't want to push you or nag, but it's also very hard for me to give you advice that I feel is just going to keep you in what is clearly, from my view, escalating danger.

Can we talk about that? I'll respect it if you say no, and am willing to talk about whatever you want to, but I am just having a very hard time not making a clear case for that and feeling I am both being as responsible in my job as an advocate as I should be, and doing the best I can for you.

(By the way, I haven't been able to talk to me former step-siblings at all since I was able to get out of the home where their father abused me. So, if it's any kind of consolation for you, you were able to have a conversation with yours yesterday I still haven't been able to have more than 20 years after my abuse ended.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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mma
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Hi Need2know, I just wanted to tell you that even though we've never met, I care about you. I know you sometimes feel like you don't have anyone to talk to who is supportive about your decision to end your pregnancy, and I want to you know that Heather is not the only one who is supportive of you and cares about your feelings. And I know you're feeling so overwhelmed right now with all these feelings that you can't control or numb away.

Numbing out has been a survival mechanism for you, and you have needed it to keep you safe your whole life. But it also stands in the way sometimes of processing things that you need to process. Maybe it would help you to know that when you get to a safer environment, you'll be able to work on letting your guard down a little bit and learn to have it not be so scary and huge to experience negative emotions.

Being able to examine icky things and deal with heavy problems head-on while being comfortable with being upset is such a feeling of freedom and empowerment. So is being secure in the knowledge that you live in a safe environment where you aren't constantly walking on eggshells and made to feel responsible for keeping everyone else ok when you yourself need a little time to fall apart. And if you want to get there, I know you have the strength to do it.

Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you and let you know that no matter what happens in your world, there is someone else out there who feels tenderness and compassion for you and acknowledges your worth as a human being.

--------------------
http://www.safeplace.org

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
http://www.ndvh.org

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xneed2knowx
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Heather, I know that 'I don't know' isn't a good answer but I don't know. We can talk about it but I don't think I can leave right now. I couldn't even get out of the car at the crisis center. I don't think I am physically/emotionally ready/strong enough to leave. I've left a bad relationship before, a couple times over, one being my home with my mother and second step father and the next being with my ex partner. I know how hard it is and I'm not sure I have what it takes left in me right now. I am not comfortable leaving with absolutely nothing, I'd really like to find a new job first - I need something to hold onto. There are so many things that I'm afraid of. I know that most shelters help you find work but the truth is I'm just scared. I wish that I could, I really do - it's pretty much all I think about now since coming back to Scarleteen. I don't know what it will take for me to suddenly say, "today is the day." I wish it wasn't so hard.

Do you think you'll ever contact your former step-siblings? It was beneficial, for me, because I was able to make sure she was okay after all of this time. It took a lot for me to dial the numbers on the phone let me tell you. I had so many questions - about her, her dad - etc. I always had this huge fear that after I was gone he would sexually abuse her too. She moved out at 14 though, not long after I was gone...so relieved, I always had so much guilt and blame for that...that now I can let go of. Her memory of everything is still so fresh and clear. She remembers things that I don't - at all - even though we were the same age. It brought back a lot of memories, most of them hard to think about but at the same time it brought a sense of closure about the whole thing too. I don't think we'll ever talk again as we both seemed to get what we needed from the conversation and it was a bit easier letting each other go now. It's one of those things that's too hard to try and maintain.

Is it too honest to admit that I was a bit envious of her life now? She's got it together...she's married, has a baby - appears to be happy (although I am aware that it could just be for sounding good's sake...I certainly didn't tell her about my life since then and sugarcoated it by telling her that I am in a relationship with my partner and have two children - the end). While I'm happy for her it makes me wonder where I went wrong in my own life. Maybe I should have left at 14 too. Instead I moved back to Texas with my mother and 2 months later she married another alcoholic man. I've always been afraid of FREEDOM. I don't know how to make my own choices and decisions. I don't know how to live my own life...and maybe that's one of the reasons I am so afraid.

mma, thank you for what you've said. I don't know how to respond such kindness but it feels good to know that there are people on my side. I certainly hope that one day I can be like you described...feeling my emotions and gaining that freedom and empowerment instead of being terrified of showing them. I hope that one day I am one of those people that can say I've been there but it's not my life anymore. It's really hard to imagine.

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Heather
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Whatever your answer is is okay. I'm about to head out for the night, but maybe we can talk a little about this tomorrow (and I'm happy so share my stepsibling stuff then, too, if you like)?

For instance, a shelter's actual job is just to help a woman and her kids transition out. They also usually offer counseling and help you sort yourself out, but their primary job is just to provide a safe place. The shelter we've talked about also can help you get a job, too.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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xneed2knowx
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Okay, tomorrow is okay.

In unrelated news can I talk about something else? No need to respond, I'm just talking. Yesterday was my birthday, 21. I knew that my partner wouldn't do/say anything so I didn't expect anything but I didn't hear happy birthday once all day - I thought maybe my grandparents might call me but they didn't. I assume they probably forgot and I don't hold it against them. I'm sure if I ever make it to their age I will forget things too but I kept carrying my cell phone around everywhere hoping they would. I knew my mother wouldn't call either but I still hoped that maybe since it's kind of a big birthday that maybe she would. I kept checking my phone all day seeing if it just didn't ring, or if I missed a call, but there was nothing. I'm sorry I know that I'm being a baby and whining and overly sensitive, I just felt sad most of the day but I didn't say anything. It doesn't really bother me it just makes me feel uncared about. I don't know if it's my hormones still acting up or if I can't blame it on that anymore since it's been 2 weeks but I'm so tired of feeling so upset over small things.

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Heather
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Just one more glance before I go, but seriously?

That's not being a baby: that's a big deal, and understandably really upsetting. It's also not small to many people at all. Wish I had known!

Since I didn't, consider this at least one very heartfelt happy birthday, and a wish for a really good coming year.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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xneed2knowx
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I was leery of mentioning it because I didn't want to seem too sensitive over it so thanks for validating my feelings. Thanks for the birthday wish too. You made me smile.

Talk to you later.

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mma
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It's not too sensitive or whining! One time, I started crying because I hadn't made it clear to my husband just how important it was to me that we not miss the 4th of July fireworks! Once I made it clear, though, we drove around town until we found a nice place to catch the end of the fireworks. If something's important to you, it's important to you. No need to apologize for that, ok?

I also noticed last night that it had just been your birthday. I'm sad that none of the people in your life were kind to you, but frankly, I'm not surprised. The people surrounding you are not supportive and caring to you, so it's no wonder they let you down yet again.

My birthday wish for you is that this will be a milestone year for you. It can be a symbol of closing one chapter of your life where other people were controlling you and starting to write a new, better chapter. One where you're in charge and other people don't get to treat you like crap.

I obviously don't get a say in your life, but I just wanted to point out to you something that you may not have realized before. If you move to Fort Worth, you will have far more community-based resources available to you: counseling, food banks, job placement, child care assistance, health care, etc. They won't all be tied to religious groups, either, so you won't have the baggage that sometimes comes along with any assistance they provide (I know that they had made things kind of unpleasant for you in the recent past). There will be a much larger pool of available jobs for you to go after and there will be a greater range of affordable housing options. The cultural and educational opportunities for your children will be more numerous. And perhaps most importantly of all, an area with a larger and more diverse population will give you more opportunity to find a friend or group of friends where you will fit in better than the groups you've met in your more rural area.

The country and small towns can be wonderful, but they can also be wonderful at isolating people who really need more rather than less support from their community.

And please read this sentence as many times as you need, until you're convinced: You DESERVE to be treated with respect, to have your boundaries respected, and to live in a safe environment.

I hope that you have at least a few peaceful moments today.

--------------------
http://www.safeplace.org

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
http://www.ndvh.org

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Heather
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I'm back, and so loving what mma said here, too.

Per my making that kind of phone call, part of it for me is not wanting to make any contact which would involve my stepparent finding out anything personal about me. The lone confrontation we had was not at all satisfactory for me, and based on what I can tell from some searches on the 'net now and then, that individual has only found more ways to be abusive, so I don't expect any improvement.

I also have a pretty good sense and understanding that he was not abusive at all to his biological children. In our house, really, all of that was reserved for me, not them, my sibling or my mother.

So, maybe someday, and I so can see some benefits, and am so proud of you for taking the step. Hopefully this is one of those places where you can see that just because some of us have our you-know-what together in some places doesn't mean we've got it together in all of them. [Smile]

I'm glad to hear you drove by the shelter. Seriously, that's progress. Last week you called, then you did this drive-by, maybe next time you can get out of the car, maybe the time after that through the door. Making change -- even positive change -- can feel scary and be challenging. That's all the more true when taking steps to change means having to step further out of what has felt like a protective denial. None of this makes you weak, just human.

Do you want to talk about that fear of freedom you brought up?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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xneed2knowx
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mma, thank you again for being so nice. Seriously thank you. I really do agree with you about Fort Worth. There is a lot more there for us, in pretty much every aspect, than there is here in this area. Everything you mentioned is true and could benefit us and help me get on my feet again, plus I actually have a couple friends there. Besides all of that it just feels like home to me. Ever since we moved out here I feel so alone, and stuck. I've always said to my friends in Fort Worth, "This TOWN is killing me." Really it's not the town, it's him.

Heather, I can totally understand what you are saying and why you are hesitant to contact them. I was afraid of what mine would say about her dad too and can't tell you the relief when she said she hasn't seen him since she was 14, like me. She was abused too, in another form - so she knew all to well how he is. It would be so different to have your step-siblings all treated well, and you to be the only one to have endured it. Whether you decide to ever contact them, or not...I think both decisions are okay.

I didn't see last week as progress but now that you say it that way maybe it is. The first time I called, the second time I drove by...I sure hope the third time I can get out of the car.

My fear of freedom. Well basically it's that I don't know how to live on my own. Even simple decision making is hard for me because I am used to the decisions already being made. Being alone is hard, I think too much...I don't have the constant distraction. When the kids are both up and running around it's a little better but with my 5 year old starting kindergarten this year...I don't know. I'm afraid to be all they have...or to NOT have them at all if he gathered his family together and they all said bad things about me. I don't know limits and boundaries, when I am alone I tend to be a bit compulsive with decisions and choices and they generally aren't good ones. I don't want to make the same mistakes again, over and over.

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Heather
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About being alone: can you maybe think about your history? Because my understanding of your life is that while often there have been other people around, you've actually been pretty alone in things.

I don't know about you, but I know for myself that it feels a lot better to be lonely when I am ACTUALLY by myself than it does when there are other people there and I'm still on my own for the most part. Because with the latter, I wind up having to take people into account who don't do the same for me, I have expectations of support, love and help that are never met, I don't get actual time to myself even though I don't really get togetherness, either.

It sounds to me like you actually have had a lot of practice at being alone, especially with the toughest parts of your life. Having to handle the rough stuff on your own is the hardest part of being on your own. But not being on your own, but also not being really together or earnestly supported, means you haven't had the GOOD parts of being on your own: the autonomy, the freedom (the real kind), the empowerment.

I also have the sense that the few times you have been on your own, you've needed recovery time from the situations and relationships before. Do you know what I mean? In other words, when we're being very reactive, when we're trying to get over things, it's always tough, especially if we're not reaching out for help and working to heal, but just reacting, and then winding up in something new and not-good to react to before ever getting the time and space to just be doing okay and enjoying our lives and who we are.

This time around, you can choose to make sure that you do things differently. That you get some counseling and real support, for starters, using services and people available to you. You can give yourself time and space to get over the bad stuff, making sure you also give yourself time to be in a good place before you run into another awful relationship.

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xneed2knowx
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My kids have been live wires today but I am here now.

You're right in that either way I am alone. Whether I am actually by myself or with someone, I am alone. For me, it's harder being alone than being here in this house with him. Isn't that f-ed up? I don't know how to change that. I am so terrified of walking out of this house and into the unknown. I'm not saying that I like living here, I DON'T...I hate it, but I cant convince myself that there are better things out there for me. I'm afraid of walking out and leaving everything behind, having nothing, getting nothing...and losing my kids because of it. It's a lot harder leaving with two kids than it was with only one.

Sometimes he makes me so angry inside...like last Wednesday night - and in those moments I AM READY...I want out...but then the anger settles down and I tell myself that it wasn't as big of a deal that I thought it was at the time. He texts me constantly when he is not here sort of like making sure I am still okay with him. Here is my list of texts from today...

Good morning honey!
What are you up to?
Are you having a good day?
Thinking of you!
You are my world.
I love you.
Hi honey!

It makes me sick. I can't stand these messages and then he comes home and he's his usual self. I DONT understand WHY he does this if he doesn't mean it...to keep me here? He has never said, "I love you" but texts it constantly while at work and certainly doesn't act like he loves me at home.

You know the other day when I had FINALLY pulled into the parking lot of the crisis center one of his texts came through and that's when I freaked out and left again. I know he cant but I'm always worried that he KNOWS what I'm doing, what I'm thinking, and what I'm up to. It just scares me.

I agree that if I can get out again that I need to do things differently. After I left my ex I was on my own but I was impulsive and compulsive. I drank a lot, I couldn't stand to be left alone with my thoughts, I couldn't 'settle down' because I constantly felt fear -- fear of what??? I have no idea. This time when I'm out I need to get counseling and don't need to get involved in any relationships for a long time.

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Heather
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Can I ask if you can talk out what you're afraid of in being away from there or other unhealthy situations and relationships?

I know sometimes we can't always put our fears into words, but if you can, it might help to unpack them.

And yes: from what we understand about the cycle of abuse, things like that are to keep the abused partner staying. Sometimes that's conscious, other times the abuser doesn't even have an awareness that's what they do, but it's a textbook part of the abuse cycle.

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xneed2knowx
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I don't know the answer to that, I wish that I did. This is what's normal to me, I don't want it to be, but this is what I am used to. Around him I am able to numb myself out and not feel anything, but the moment I'm alone I lose that ability and it's hard even functioning. It makes me terrified to be alone indefinitely.

I'm so afraid of losing my kids to him. I know what you said and that it's not likely to happen but it still scares me because he has all these people on his side, and all of his family that can say bad things about me. I don't have anyone around here that would do that for me. What if they listened to him because he had so many people and not me because I have no one?

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Heather
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So, it sounds like what you're saying is that when you're by yourself, for real, you aren't dissociating and thus need to look and deal with yourself, for real, and how things really are. Does that sound about right?

Again, I assure you, if he tried to go for custody, we'd find you someone amazing. I probably don't need to tell you to imagine how many smart, pissed-off female layers there are in Texas who have watched abusers try and ruin the lives of women they know, do I? [Smile]

Also, custody hearings are not like big trials on TV. Family court is generally very small and closed, and considerations for custody are made primarily based on both of you and what a judge and social services decides, many of whom are very familiar with abusive people and know their tricks.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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xneed2knowx
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Yes, that sounds about right. I don't have any control over it - it just automatically happens around him and some people but stops when I am alone and I can't stand feeling the rush of everything all at once.

Okay, I'm going to stop worrying so much about the custody issue now. I believe you and know that you know what you are talking about. He can come off as a really nice guy to people and they believe him - like some of my friends would tell me how lucky I am and what a good guy he is.

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Heather
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Because abusive people also tend to be manipulative people, that worry and fear is common. Many of them get very, very good at putting on a face or act for others.

The thing is, people with education around abuse, who know they may be dealing with an abuser, also get very good at recognizing that. You also need to remember that if you were to go into a custody matter, the family court would come to it giving both your words equal weight, but giving you being the birth AND active, custodial parent more.

Per the way you feel when alone, that's something that with help, you can deal with and will tend to stop happening. If you're constantly post-traumatic, if you're not getting any real support or counseling, if you don't have people you can even just call on the phone and be honest with about that and your history, that's all a lot more likely to happen.

In other words, it doesn't have to be this way when you're on your own, I promise. [Smile]

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xneed2knowx
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It seems like the more I am talking HERE, the more my partner is getting on my nerves. Maybe I am just becoming more aware of it or something with talking to you.

He was asking me a million questions tonight. Out of no where he said that I'm not acting like I'm in a relationship with him. He kept yelling, "There must be something you want to say to me!" over and over again right in my face. I don't know what he's talking about I kept feeling so scared that somehow he knew about me talking here or something but I just said "I don't know what you want me to say." He said, "Don't you LOVE me??" I said yes and he said, "Say something!" So I told him I loved him. Then he said, "I'm so very, very sad (then said my name)." I asked him why and he said, "I've invested everything in us. I've given you all of me and you're not." I just looked at him, I don't know what's going on. He said, "Well don't you miss me when I'm at work?" I told him yes. Then he went onto say that I never tell him when he texts me but I do I always say you too to everything he sends. He wants us to go to the JP to get married right away for some reason - but I CANT do that. I've always told him that I never want to get married, I've always said that he knows that. He's saying my intentions aren't right with him. I don't know what that means but by all means then LET ME GO. He said he is truly sorry for saying that I am a baby killer and that I shouldn't frustrate him so much so stuff like that comes out. I don't know where this all came from today, maybe I didn't respond to his texts enough - I know a couple didn't go through but we live in the woods and have no signal most of the time. You have to get in the perfect spot.

He always wants me to go lay with him until he falls asleep even if I'm not ready for bed. He says when he falls asleep I can get back up but he needs to know I'm there so he finally fell asleep and I finally got out of his arms and can BREATHE again.

When you said that when I'm on my own that with help the way I'm feeling will stop happening? What do you mean...what part will stop happening? The numbing out or the not numbing out?

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Heather
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I meant that in time, if you work your way through this with some help, you won't have to numb out (dissociate) at all, and won't then also have it feel overwhelming when you don't. Dissociating, like mma explained, is a survival tool when people are in deep crisis. Sometimes, we learn it then, but then hold on to it ever after, especially if we often stay in deep crisis or unsafe situations. Sometimes even outside of those contexts, if we never learn ho to process our feelings and respond to being unsafe differently, we can hold on to it.

But it's not a way to process anything: it's kind of like an emotional mute button. One pushes it, and it just silences things momentarily. Those things are still there, both the situations and the feelings, and they will still need to be dealt with eventually. Know what I mean?

I'm really sorry to hear about that conversation last night which, per usual, sounds very manipulative and controlling. I can't express how glad I am you have been able to stand your ground when it comes to not marrying this person. Doing that will not only make it WAY harder for you to get out of this, then he really would have more leverage when it comes to your kids.

I wonder if we might at least talk about you having an exit strategy, just in case? In other words, if he escalates more and more, to a point where you might be forced into anything, or done more harm, are you prepared to be able to leave in a moment, like having a place to stay known (like that shelter), a bag of what's vital for you and the kids packed, etc?

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xneed2knowx
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Thanks for explaining that further to me, yes it does make sense. So all this stuff that I don't feel is still in there somewhere waiting for me? That's scary to think about but I'm glad that there is a way, that with help, to process it all in a healthier way.

I don't have an exit strategy...haven't ever thought about leaving in a hurry, but maybe I should - just in case. You never know if the shelter will have room for you on a particular day or not, she told me sometimes they are full & sometimes they have room - so I'm not sure about that. If I pack a bag that is a good idea but would look suspicious if he found it sitting in the closet or something. Maybe I could pack one and keep it in the trunk of my car or something?

I'm not feeling well today, woke up with a horrid headache and sore throat, so I don't how much I will be around today.

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Heather
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Yeah, it is. I know that's daunting -- I remember, been there myself around your age when it came to dealing with my rapes -- but at the same time, with the right support and help, it really won't be as scary as it seems like, and in the long run, you will feel a whole lot better, probably than you ever have.

Sorry you're not feeling well. If you feel okay enough to make an emergency exit plan, I'm happy to help you do that.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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xneed2knowx
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Did you go to counseling to help you through everything? Was it beneficial to you?

Yes, let's talk about the emergency exit plan. What do I need to do?

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Heather
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Let's do your exit plan first, since you're not feeling well and that's critical. Then, if you like and want, I'm happy to share the rather long, messy journey that was me coming out of all that. [Smile]

Exit-wise, you want to have a few things in place:
A bag in a place the guy will not find it that you can easily pick up and grab. That bag should have a change of clothes for you and the kids, their basic needs, and the things in it that are most valuable and needed for you: ID, birth certificates, any deeds or vehicle registrations, passports, etc. Too, anything small of emotional value you'd be really sad to lose, like family photos, etc. Having some cash in there is also very smart.
A means of transportation, whether that's a pick-up from someone else, a way to get a cab, a bus, or your own car. Putting an extra set of car keys in that bag is a good idea.
A safe, secure place to go. If you went to that shelter, even if they were full, you could still be in a safe space while they and you called around to find somewhere else for you to go, so that seems a good choice.
A list of people you can call for help and support if need be. Even if they're friends in Fort Worth, that's still okay: they don't have to be local. Keeping that list in that bag is a good idea.

You also want to identify some ways out of your house, and also some spaces you know you'd be cornered into, without a way to get out. If you know those spaces, when an escalated argument or event happens, you can subversively direct it towards an exit with your body so you can get out, and avoid spaces where you know you can't.

[ 06-08-2010, 10:47 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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xneed2knowx
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Thanks for all of that information. I think if I'm up for it in a little while I may go ahead and put a bag together...not that I'll have to leave today or anything...but it would be good to have ready somewhere.

*For your first bullet point I can put the clothes in there and my ID, I don't have any photos printed out, or birth certificates or anything.
*The second bullet point - I have my car that I could use. It's an older car but paid off so that's good.
*If I had to go somewhere then I would go to the shelter. It's good to know if it's full they would direct me to somewhere else.
*Thanks for saying that about the phone numbers because I would have never thought of that and my cell phone is his - on his plan and everything. It's a good idea to have important numbers written down.

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