Tag Archives: domestic violence

I Cannot Tell You Why I Stayed

The Janay and Ray Rice controversy sparked an outpouring of support for victims of domestic violence and has motivated many survivors to tell their stories about why they stayed. It also has many people who are unfamiliar with domestic violence wondering why anyone would stay in an abusive relationship. As a survivor of domestic violence I will say I am not entirely sure why I stayed.

Several years ago, I was almost murdered by a boyfriend and afterwards, I stayed. It was not a violent relationship initially. After the first six months, he increasingly shouted and yelled at me, but he never put his hands on me until the night he almost took my life.

Family members ridiculed me and called me stupid for staying. I thought it was cruel to call me stupid. Intelligence and emotional intelligence are two vastly different things. I cannot tell you why I stayed. I cannot pinpoint an exact reason or come up with a clear answer to that question, but after looking back on my life and some of the things I’ve lived through and witnessed, I understand what may have contributed to my tolerance and acceptance of abusive treatment and behavior.

As a young teenager, I survived rape by two “friends” who were never prosecuted or held accountable for this crime. The only person I told about it, a boyfriend, invalidated me and called me a slut.

Going even farther back in time, as a young child I was exposed to some seriously questionable behavior within my family. Crazy relatives. Abusive ones. I remember arriving at my relatives house on Christmas Day and seeing my aunt’s face bandaged because her husband punched her. I recall on more than one occasion taking a ride with my mother to a pawn shop to pick up my aunt’s wedding ring (that her husband pawned again for God-knows-what-reason). I had a grandmother who took beatings from her son, hid it for years and gave him her life savings to keep him out of harm’s way and from getting in trouble. Furthermore if anyone confronted her about this or tried to call the cops on him, she would turn on them and make them sorry for trying to help her. I saw her lie to law enforcement on more than one occasion to protect him from being held accountable for his crimes against her. It is no wonder I never ran away at the first or even second sign of abuse in unhealthy relationships after living through all of this and more.

Clearly the recurring theme here is the normalization and acceptance of abusive behavior and the long term effect it had on me because I witnessed it as a child. Then later in life as a victim, blamed again and again for being raped probably contributed to my tolerance of these dangerous situations and caused me to blame myself for what was happening.

It is understandable why a person who has never experienced domestic violence firsthand is confused as to why someone would stay. They are trying to reason with and make sense of this behavior, but it is not reasonable and it does not make sense. Even after living through it, I don’t pretend to have the answers. I can only share with you my personal experience and reasoning processes during those times. There were a lot of feelings of confusion, helplessness and also a lot of irrational justification.

To help people understand why women and men stay in abusive relationships and to show support for others in these situations, my book I Know Why They Call a Shell a Shell: Tales of Love Lost at Sea will be available as a FREE download via Amazon from September 12th to September 16th. The book is a creative non-fiction story about the empty existence that is life inside an abusive relationship told firsthand by me. By sharing my story, I hope to reiterate to those who are currently in an abusive relationship that they are not alone and to give insight to those who may not understand why someone would stay a snapshot into the mind of a domestic abuse victim.

FREE copies of my Ebook I Know Why They Call a Shell a Shell: Tales of Love Lost at Sea are available until September 16th so please get your FREE download available here.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

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Abusive Relationships: Break the Cycle, No More Second Chances

When I decided after my last terribly abusive relationship that I was done being abused by men, I figured making the change from dating abusive men to dating normal ones would be as easy as flicking off a light switch. My life, until that point had been so dramatic that I decided to chronicle the journey in my book, I Know Why They Call a Shell a Shell: Tales of Love Lost at Sea. I’d planned on writing about my unbelievable relationship past and then write a very happily-ever-after ending based on what I foresaw to be my sunnier dating future. Par usual, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Though I made a conscious decision to no longer involve myself in unhealthy relationships, the rest of me still had to catch up with that thought. There really is a common personality trait in people who end up in abusive situations. A lot of these victims and future victims of abusive relationships have low self-esteem, but other personality traits can lead to this situation. Being vulnerable, too trusting, or not assertive enough can entrap you in a variety of unhealthy situations not limited to romantic, (also friendships and work-related scenarios).

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Abusive Relationships: Leave Before You Leave in a Bodybag


I think Adele’s video, “Set Fire to the Rain,” is a great example of a typical abusive relationship. It is actually difficult for me to watch, but I like this song… It does a very good job depicting the typical dynamics, the physical abuse, the screaming, punching, pushing, but what’s even more important is that it depicts the “making up.” The “making up” part of an abusive relationship is by far the sickest facet of the entire dynamic. In fact it is so painful to be without this person, the very person who causes the pain because, consequently, they’re also the only one who can make it go away- now that’s what I call a dilemna. Try putting up with this awful cycle for months and even years and tell me how your health is faring- non-existent I would say. If they don’t kill you,there’s a good chance you will kill yourself on purpose or by accident. 1 in every 5 female murder victims in the US are first victims of domestic violence.

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Filed under Dating, Domestic Violence, Healing, Heart, Life Lessons

Rihanna Reuniting with Chris Brown? Really?

This week has not been a slow news week at all! You know how I love to pick apart the psychology of people in bad relationships, as I did in my article about  Kat Von D and and Jesse James and my more recent article about Maria and Arnold but now that I hear that Rihanna and Chris Brown may be sending each other affectionate tweets and that Rihanna is also tweeting a mystery woman who is thought to be Chris Brown’s mother (who is urging them to get back together) I am at a loss for words… Rihanna, really?

There are few people in this world I dislike. It’s a short list really, let’s see, one of my ex-boyfriends, my crazy uncle, and CHRIS BROWN. Most people make plenty of mistakes, some offensive, some hurtful, and some otherwise. Most of the time you can forgive people while others were just born bad: rotten apples. This is the category where I put my ex, my uncle, and Chris Brown: bad apples indeed. Rihanna may forgive Chris Brown, but I never will. Someone like that is an OJ Simpson waiting to happen and if you were lucky enough to get out alive, like Rihanna was, you really shouldn’t risk going back.

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Domestic Violence and Kim Kardashian

People are horrified over the episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s in which Kim Kardashian takes a closed fist swing at then husband Kris Humprhies. Yet many viewers are still wondering- is this domestic violence?

How is this a disputable question? Though the media has tried to spin her violent reaction as “playful violence” throwing a fist is just that: domestic violence. I believe that because Kim is a woman people are confused whether or not her action falls into the “domestic violence” category. My answer: yes, it absolutely does.

Here is the Dictionary.com definition of domestic violenceviolence committed by one family or household member against another —see also restraining order.” They are husband and wife therefore it certainly qualifies. If they were strangers and she did this is would still be entitled violence just not domestic violence.

Are people quick to defend her because she is physically smaller and weaker than her husband and he could possibly “take it?” Keep your judgements to yourself people, no man deserves the humiliation that goes along with being beat up by a woman despite whether or not he can physically “take it.” It is the emotional and psychological impact that lasts long after the physical bruises have faded. Men are often silent victims when it comes to being victims of rape and/or domestic violence.  For male victims of domestic abuse and rape it is even more stigmatized by society than it is for female victims (though neither have it easy). Society unfairly labels men who complain about violence from a partner as “not real men” or just plain weak. This is wrong. Anytime a person is abused by a family member it is domestic violence whether it is a female or male throwing the punches.

The other thing that really alarms me about the whole scenario is her immediate reaction- to throw a closed fist punch at him. If it was as “playful” as her public relations team would like you to believe, she may have swatted him away, even lightly smacked him. Those reactions are not necessarily acceptable, but certainly not as shocking as throwing a punch. And just imagine how outraged Americans would be if it was the other way around: Kris throwing the punch at Kim. Just my two cents…

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Filed under Domestic Violence, Entertainment News, relationships

Are You Hiding Inside an Abusive Relationship? On HuffPost

Sometimes when we don’t trust ourselves, we feel very insecure about stepping out into the world to live life. I know I was afraid to go out and be my own person because of the abuse and rape I experienced at a young age. I feared that I, again, wouldn’t be able to protect myself if put in a compromising situation. As a result, I entered into an abusive relationship and subsequently continued this pattern for years. I was attracted to these types of relationships because, on a subconscious level, the aspect of control imposed limits that made me feel “protected” when everything around me felt very out of control. Alone, I felt vulnerable; like I could become a victim again at any time.

Like a textbook abusive relationship, the imposed limitations ended up including a list of things he didn’t want me to do, people he didn’t want me see, and places he didn’t want me to go. Somewhere in my psyche I knew this and permitted it to happen because I felt more insecure out of the relationship than I did in it. Ironically, I ended up existing in this cocoon for several years instead of navigating the world on my own.

Read the rest of the article after the jump.

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Are You Hiding From Life Inside an Abusive Relationship?

Sometimes when we don’t trust ourselves, we feel very insecure about stepping out into the world to live life. I know I was afraid to go out and be my own person because of the abuse and rape I experienced at a young age. I feared that I, again, wouldn’t be able to protect myself if put in a compromising situation. As a result, I entered into an abusive relationship and subsequently continued this pattern for years. I was attracted to these types of relationships because on a subconscious level the aspect of control imposed limits that made me feel “protected” when everything around me felt very out of control. Alone, I felt vulnerable; like I could become a victim again at any time.

Like a text book abusive relationship, the imposed limitations ended up including a list of things he didn’t want me to do, people he didn’t want me see, and places he didn’t want me to go.  Somewhere in my psyche I knew this and permitted it to happen because I felt more insecure out of the relationship than I did in it. Ironically, I ended up existing in this cocoon for several years instead of navigating the world on my own.

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Filed under Addiction, Dating, Domestic Violence, Growth, Healing, Life Lessons, Love, relationships

“Are You Mad at Me?” On HuffPost

Please check out my new article about the residual effects of domestic violence.

I will never forget the dread I experienced when I was honest about my feelings with my abusive ex-boyfriend. Anything and everything can and will offend an abuser, especially when you disagree with him. What an abuser chooses to get upset about is their choice and is as unpredictable as the weather; something that was benign yesterday can be infuriating today.

Disagreeing with him was never a good idea. After doing so, I remember that sick pang I’d get in my torso as I awaited his imminent reaction. And even when there was no reaction, I found myself wondering and even asking him if he was mad at me. Why? Because that’s what I expected: He usually did get mad at me when I voiced my opinion. Why wouldn’t I worry? Anger was the typical response I got when I was honest with him about my feelings or frustrations. Even with no response, the push and pull of his abusive dynamics prevented me from thinking properly; I was left emotionally “hand shy,” inwardly wincing before each anticipated strike.

You can read the full article here on The Huffington Post

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Are You Mad At Me?

I will never forget the dread I experienced when I was honest about my feelings with my abusive ex-boyfriend. Anything and everything can and will offend an abuser; especially when you disagree with them. What they choose to get upset about is at their volition and as unpredictable as the weather; something that was benign yesterday can be infuriate them tomorrow.

Disagreeing with him was never a good idea. After doing so, I remember that sick pang I’d get in my torso as I awaited his imminent reaction. And even when there was no reaction, I found myself wondering and even asking him if he was mad at me. Why? Because that’s what I expected: he usually did get mad at when I voiced my opinion. Why wouldn’t I worry? Anger was the typical response I got when I was honest with him about my feelings or frustrations. Even with no response, the push and pull of his crazy abusive dynamics incapacitated my mind with fear and left me emotionally “hand shy.”

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Why Do Smart Women Date Abusive Men? Now on HuffPost

Good Afternoon Everyone,

If you haven’t yet read this article please check it out and by all means, feel free to share and comment!

Why do smart women date abusive men? I was asked this question countless times as I found myself stuck in an abusive relationship that began to spiral even more out of control. He didn’t seem abusive in the beginning, but the longer we were together, the more his abusive behavior began to seep out. It started off with frigidity and verbal abuse but it soon became evident that the man I was dating was very spiteful and would go for the jugular in the most minor of disagreements. Even after all these warning signs, I still didn’t believe anyone when they told me that one day it would escalate to physical violence. I will never forget that day, the day I almost became a statistic — another homicide victim resulting from domestic abuse.

Certain family members continuously asked me why someone like myself, a person with a seemingly high IQ, would allow themselves to be treated this way? How could a smart person end up in this situation? Every time I was asked this question, I cringed. The inference that I was stupid or ignorant because of my poor relationship choices did not help make my already out-of-control situation any better.

Anyone who is familiar with the dynamics of an abusive relationship knows that falling prey to one has nothing to do with a person’s intelligence or even their socio-economic status; rather their vulnerability.

Vulnerability leaves a person wide open to falling prey to an abuser. When I fell prey to my abuser, I was at a very mentally and emotionally weakened state because of all things I’d been through. In addition, I had just been dumped by a guy after confiding in him that I’d been raped. I had never felt lower. This vulnerability allowed for easy manipulation and I was inevitably sucked into a relationship by a man who made himself out to be my Knight in Shining Armor. In retrospect, there were many things I could’ve done differently to prevent this situation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Read the rest of this article at The Huffington Post

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