Tuesday, April 26, 2011
In my work I have spoken a lot about the many things that women experience in their lives that keep them from having fulfilling sexual experiences. The same things that cause the latter are also the causes of many women being unable to form healthy, loving relationships whether a friendship or marriage. Because of the trauma experienced from these events in life, without the proper support and healing, women who have gone through these things find themselves in a downward spiral of heartache, abuse and self depreciating thoughts and behaviors.
Recently I have had a number of women contact me who are going through this downward spiral. Also recently I again have come face to face with some feelings from my personal experience of pain and abuse. This is what prompted me to make the focus of this writing “Domestic and/or Partner Abuse.”
A woman is physically assaulted every nine seconds in the United States according to the Family Violence Prevention Fund Report 1994.
According to the Surgeon General 1992, relationship/ domestic violence is the leading cause of women injuries in women aged between 15-44 in the United States, which was more than rapes, muggings and automobile incidents when combined together! These numbers have unfortunately increased since then.
This is not an issue to be swept under the rug but an issue that affects many lives every day. The people who this affects sometime are never the same. This can be for the better if the proper components of intervention and healing are addressed. Unfortunately research shows that often times it takes the side of the worse.
Partner abuse is still misunderstood. The mind-set, because of the constant glorification of violence that we live in is an underlying indifferent mindset towards assault on women. Somehow, there is an attitude that somewhere it is the woman’s fault that this is happening to her. There is an attitude that she did something to cause the violence or anger afflicted upon her person. This is exactly what the women who are in these relationships believe as well. This is also part of the reason they stay in abusive situations. They believe they are not doing enough to make the relationship successful. They have feelings of inadequacy and always feel blamed for any tension that arises in their relationship. This is partly due to the brainwashing that takes place during the relating. Also women stay because they develop or are conditioned to a state of hopelessness believing nothing they or anyone else does will alter their circumstances. Sometime they feel completely incapable of handling the situation.
There was actually a survey done of 200 teenagers after the Rihanna/Chris Brown incident. Nearly half of those teenagers said they felt Rihanna was responsible in some way for the violence of Chris Brown. “46 percent of the kids surveyed said that they thought Rihanna was to blame for the beating; 51 percent said Brown was at fault, and 52 percent said that both of them were somehow responsible. And, according to the survey, a significant number of males and females said Rihanna was now destroying Chris Brown's career.”
Here is the link to read details. ahref="http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/family/blog/2009/03/many_kids_think.html">
Many more took this situation lightly, making many jokes as if this were a joking matter.
This is not a writing to take the blame or responsibility off of the women to take control of their lives but an attempt to inform with the hopes of empowering anyone that may be in an abusive relationship. Also this is to empower those that have left to seek support and healing. This is to let them know that life does not end with that experience and that there is a promise of a life of joy, love and ecstasy if they learn to open themselves to it.
We all have all the tools and power we need to make a better life. At times that does not seem to be within reach. Everything is dark and at times you may hear a voice that says” what’s the point?” I know, I was there. The thing is some of you don’t know there is something better. Some of you do not know that you are in a dysfunctional situation. I am going to share my story with hopes that many will see their story in mine and wake up to what’s really happening. First, I will share a case study I was working on. Maybe some parts of this story will hit home. I know it did for me as many of the signs were exactly the same in my situation. It is important to pay attention to the signs and listen to the great tool you have called intuition. Here are some common signs that you are in an abusive relationship or heading in that direction:
Is jealous or possessive toward you.
Jealousy is the primary symptom of abusive relationships
Tries to control you by being very bossy or demanding.
Tries to isolate you by demanding you cut off social contacts andfriendships.
Is violent and / or loses his or her temper quickly.
Pressures you sexually, demands sexual activities you are notcomfortable with.
Abuses drugs or alcohol.
Claims you are responsible for his or her emotional state.
Blames you when he or she mistreats you.
Has a history of bad relationships.
Your family and friends have warned you about the person or told you that they are concerned for your safety or emotional well being.
You frequently worry about how he or she will react to things you say or do.
Makes "jokes" that shame, humiliate, demean or embarrass you, whether privately or around family and friends.
Your partner grew up witnessing an abusive parental relationship, and/or was abused as a child.
Your partner "rages" when they feel hurt, shame, fear or loss of control.
Both parties in abusive relationships may develop or progress in drug or alcohol dependence in a (dysfunctional) attempt to cope with the pain.
You leave and then return to your partner repeatedly, against the advice of your friends, family and loved ones.
You have trouble ending the relationship, even though you know inside it's the right thing to do.
Here are a few more.
• Constantly keep track of your time?
• Act jealous and possessive?
• accuse you of being unfaithful or flirting?
• discourage your relationships with friends and family?
• prevent or discourage you from working, interacting with friends or attending school?
• Constantly criticize or belittle you?
• control all finances and force you to account for what you spend? (Reasonable cooperative budgeting accepted.)
• humiliate you in front of others? (Including "jokes" at your expense.)
• destroy or take your personal property or sentimental items?
• threaten to hurt you, your children or pets? Threaten to use a weapon?
• push, hit, slap, punch, kick, or bite you or your children?
This is the case of “Susie”
I met Anthony through work when I was 22. The relationship seemed ok in the beginning, but in hindsight, there were warning signs of what was to come. They were little things at first: coming over unannounced; showing up unexpectedly when I was out with my friends; phone calls that seemed to be a little too frequent. I made the mistake of interpreting these early signs as strong romantic interest. Before long he had moved in with me and his behavior had become obsessive and controlling.
Anthony was really threatened by my friends and my social life. He hated that other guys would look at me, or that I'd slept with other guys around our neighborhood, even that I had quite a lot of friends who he felt "competed" with him. Tiny things that had not even occurred to me as being possibly offensive would cause enormous rage. The more I was attacked, the more and more I withdrew. It was a self-defense mechanism – I figured if I could stay away from anything that might cause him to get upset then that would keep him calm. That didn't work of course – he simply found new things to be insecure about. I realize now the whole strategy was to keep me feeling perpetually blamed, inadequate and not doing enough to keep the relationship together. I isolated myself from my friends, my family and from everything that I used to enjoy doing. To get me away from my previous life, friends and sex partners we moved to a different city where I knew no one except him.
I was by nature a very happy, outgoing person, but I quickly became cautious and scared all the time. My fear escalated when the physical violence began. The first time was because he had seen me talking to someone I'd had a fling with in the past and he punched me in the face because of it. From that time on, even though the physical violence was occasional, the fear of it happening pervaded my life and he would threaten me with it often. Punching, pushing, restricting my physical movements (like blocking doors if I was trying to leave a heated situation), destroying or giving away my property and refusing to take care of me if I was sick were punishments that would be meted out when simply threatening me or humiliating me in public wasn't enough.
Anthony was from a racial minority. One of the biggest headfucks was being told that the violence was part of his "culture" and the fact that I had a problem with it meant that I was racist. The problem according to him was not the violence – it was the fact that my racism meant I couldn't accept who he was. It was me not him, that had to change. I now understand that violence is not culture – there is no ethnic group on the planet that celebrates partner abuse as a cultural identity.
Apart from my massive social withdrawal, the affect on my sexuality was really destructive. I became ashamed about being sexually attractive and about having sexual desires.
Money was another big problem. Successive rent periods came where Anthony would spend all of his pay on gambling and alcohol within 48 hours of receiving it, leaving me to pay all the rent and then provide food for us for a fortnight – impossible and it meant instant poverty. As a "solution", Anthony put me in control of his finances but it was only a license for him to be as irresponsible as he liked and simply demand more money whenever he wanted it. Of course, refusing because the rent needed to be paid for example was a dangerous move. On top of all of this, he would also frequently get me to do his work for him. It wasn't uncommon for me to be producing his reports until all hours of the morning while he watched TV. I had given up on my life ever being enjoyable again. My whole sense of individual identity was gone and I felt as though I barely existed.
A lesbian friend from the previous city I lived in sent me a book about SM sub-cultures (one of her favorite things) that contained a chapter on the difference between an SM relationship and domestic violence. There was a checklist of questions to ask yourself to determine whether you were in an abusive relationship and when I found I was answering yes to almost everything, a crack appeared in the brainwashing and manipulation that had filled my head. I suddenly realized that I had to accept that I was in a domestic violence relationship.
I took the grand leap of confiding in someone I worked with about my situation and one afternoon, after Anthony threatened to "break both my legs" when I got home that night, this colleague generously lent me his spare room for a week while I "disappeared" from my home. During that week I found a new place to live and, with a Police Liaison Officer, I went to pick up my belongings and left.
A new phase of harassment and stalking that included a wide range of manipulations and threats (ranging from "Come back - I've changed!" to "If you have sex with another man I'll kill you and him") followed.
I decided to move to another city again and start a new life. It's taken a long time to feel confident about having sex again and the idea of getting emotionally close to someone is still shaky. I still feel wounded. But I've learnt some really important lessons about violence and the difference between control and love and I'm slowly working off the debt I left the relationship with. Day by day, I am rediscovering who I am. The most important thing for me now is that I am safe, I control my own life and I don't live each day terrified of going home.
I will go into my story. Usually the signs and abuse are consistent in these relationships. Some of them are even more severe or can even be subtle. Notice the similarities in the stories.
Now In my case there were signs that I ignored as well. At that time I wanted so badly to once and for all find the mate of my dreams and settle into family life. I also ignored them because the person in my case seemed like a well to do upstanding guy. As a matter of fact I am fighting urges to name him to save others from being fooled as he his positioning himself to be a leader in the community of health and speaks extensively on polygamy. I know he has not worked on his issues of control, anger, insecurity and feelings of powerlessness that will have him to abuse again. However I will not do this because I know everyone has to go through their own experiences. I am exploring if feelings of resentment are also the cause of my urge and it not being of altruistic purposes only.
I ignored the signs because I wanted so badly for him to be the one. I ignored the signs because of the position I thought he held. I also took some of the abuse because I thought I was the one to blame. I did something to him or in the relationship to cause his anger and insecurity.
The relationship lasted maybe a year. He contacted me through the internet because he said he respected my work. I looked him up and I respected his as well. He was into health and exploring fruitarianism. He was on a number of radio shows and it seemed he was making a way for himself. Not too long after that we would chat for hours online and then on the phone. I took a liking to him. He seemed perfect.
Not too long after talking he discussed some family issues with me and he was moving constantly. All of the issues his family seemed to be beating up on him and he the victim (the first sign). I took it as he was the victim because I know the hardships in family life at times. I ignored this sign.
Next he seemed to want to get extremely close to me at lightning speed. He told me he loved me less than a month of us talking and never meeting in person. I told him I did not feel quite this strongly yet and he said I did I just didn’t know it yet. I just took it as a compliment of my feminine powers and charm that he loved me so quickly, soon after he was moving in with me. It was supposed to be temporary until he found an apartment and started medical school but ended being indefinitely. I just knew he was the one and by some divine intervention this all happened so quickly because it was meant to be. This was my mistake and naivety. This is where I didn’t heed to common sense and this would be my fault not the abuse that happened after.
My family warned me. My mother using her intuition tool and common sense told me this wasn’t good. She did not get a good feeling with meeting him. I ignored her.
Well in to the relationship he started telling me my male friends just wanted to have sex with me and he saw no need for them to be around or for me to talk with them. Once when one of them came by to meet him and visit me he accused me of being in love with him. He screamed and told me he wasn’t welcome in my house anymore. He told me I had to much sexual energy and I needed to tone it down or I was asking for something to happen to me.
I remember sharing with him how I used my feminine wiles (smiling and being sweet) to not have to pay a very expensive gas bill. He proceeded to throw a tantrum in the middle of the street telling me to “Stop using your sexual energy to get what you want!” He told me I was acting just like a whore. When I would bring things to his attention he would accuse me of wining “that stuff that women do to try to get their way. You women think you can just sit around and look cute and do whatever you want. Stop all that wining.”
The first time it got physical was when I asked him to hurry because I was late for a meeting. He walked up to me jabbing his finger in my face constantly telling me to never rush him or talk to him that way again. To keep from being embarrassed in public I acted like it didn’t happen. I just asked him quietly if he wanted to keep his finger and was he crazy. I was a bit shocked as well. I stayed.
The next time I was doing some work and he wanted to talk about an issue. I told him we would talk later. He insisted we talk now blocking me from reading or writing. I finally gave in. We talked it got heated he withdrew and started reading. I closed his book. He got up and slammed me against the wall. I pushed him away and he picked me up and slammed me and got on top of me and dug his nails into me neck and bit me. It was surreal and I went numb. I thought it was my fault. After all I should not have closed his book or pushed back right? Wrong, closing a book does not warrant violence against a person. He was also abusive towards my children, physically and verbally.
You see how the abuse escalates. It starts verbally. The abuser gets into the mind of their partner. Then maybe a light slap or physical harshness to all out assault.
The next and last time he was upset and jealous that I was leaving town for a photo shoot. He argued with me before I left and told me I just wanted to go to see my male friend. He would call me every five minutes while I was there and would go off if I didn’t call him. When I got back he started an argument. I needed to leave to get food. He said he was not going to allow me to leave because it was getting dark. I asked him to go, he said no. He blocked the doors so I could not get out. I sat on the couch and I told him that this is not working. He has to leave. He came to the couch and pulled me by my ankles my back and head crashing against the hard floor. He got on top of me and held me down while I fought to get up, biting, head butting and kicking. He told me to stop being violent. That I didn’t have to say anything to just calm down. He was blaming me.
That night he acted like nothing happened. I told him it was over and when he left to go to NY for school to not come back. He continued to blame me. I asked him did he feel it was okay to be violent as he ignored my question. I continued to ask and he finally said “Yeah I was violent but you being doing stuff too. You’re not innocent. You women try to make it seem like you are the victims, getting these men caught up, sent to jail and all that when ya’ll be the ones bringing on yourselves.” That was the last time I saw him.
Not too long after my house was broken into. Pictures of me and other personal items were taken. He still had a key to my house. After that I was receiving phone calls late into the night. The voice would threaten to rape me and do other harmful things. I had to get the detectives involved because I was being stalked.
After this situation because I already had a good spiritual foundation I knew I had to do extensive work to heal the trauma from this so I could move on. I did feel violated and questioned whether all this was my fault. I questioned if I was too sexy and should I do the work I do. I felt guilty for being in that relationship and my children being a part of it as well. I felt stupid and weak. I felt embarrassed. I wanted to keep the mask of having a perfect relationship. I wanted this time to be the time. I felt like a failure.
I knew for sure that I did not want to stay in that dark space. I knew the feeling of happiness before so I knew it was possible to have this again. I did not want to be “the bitter woman.” I wanted to be open to love, to give and receive it. I knew in my heart that although everyone has issues everyone didn’t have these issues. I wanted to know again that people were not setting out just to hurt me and I did not have to stay in a victim mentality. I knew this because I had a foundation. Many women do not have this and do not know that happiness and freedom is available. It is certainly available with some work. You have to do the work.
I went into my bag of tools and came out victorious. I did the painful work. It is not easy. I will never tell you that. The rewards you receive form life make it worth it.
I am grateful in a way for all of my experiences. Now I am able to help all that come to me with great experience and passion. I can relate. Dripping Bliss my company is helping woman get back on track every day. Dripping Bliss is assisting those who are recovering from these relationships to love themselves again, to find who they are not only sexually but emotionally and spiritually.
I know this writing was mostly directed towards women however I am also aware that men experience abuse as well. Dripping Bliss is here to provide the same for the men who are struggling from the affects of abuse.
It takes courage and honesty to seek something better for your life. It also takes consistency as the healing does not happen overnight but is a process. I have no doubt that if you experiencing this, that you have the strength that it takes to heal yourself and seek support. You are still here, you survived and there is a guarantee of a new life of clarity and joyfulness if you dedicate yourself to doing the work that is necessary. We are all the soul-controllers of the events in our lives. If we do not take control we will continue to see the same patterns.
Many people who abuse also have gone through a destructive pattern that they feel trapped in. If you are there you need to know this as well. You need to know that with work you can relinquish the need to control and any insecurities and conditionings that will have you to behave in a harmful manner towards yourself and others. The first step in both situations is to be honest with yourself about any issues than seek support.