I Am No One. I Am Someone. My Story of Domestic Violence

Many years ago an ex-boyfriend drove me deep into the woods of a small Connecticut town. It was a beautiful sunny day, and there was a very scenic view. I was enjoying the ride until he said to me “if you ever lie to me or cheat on me, I will bury your body in these woods.”

He then added “and no one will ever find you.”

He spoke these words so clearly and matter-of-factly, as if he had been planning this for months. He was totally serious and made sure I knew it. It was at the point that I knew I would never get out of this relationship alive.

I was dating a man similar to my violent abusive father, the cycle continued. Just like Julia Roberts’ character in “Sleeping With the Enemy,” I had to make a plan and gather the strength and courage to leave him.

We had been dating for a year at the time, and there were many signs of abuse such as yelling at me constantly, pushing, punching, grabbing me so hard that my arms were black and blue, throwing objects at me, threatening me and putting me down often. I slowly recognized these signs of abuse, but was stuck, torn apart, and felt like I had nowhere else to go at the time. Plus, I really felt like I could change him by smothering him with love and kindness. But that never works, people only change if they want to and receive the necessary help that they desperately need.

At the time I was no one. I was just a carpet for others to walk all over. I had no confidence, I had no inner strength, I had no soul. I was just walking down an endless deep dark path, and I never felt so alone.

Due to an abusive childhood, I thought that it was normal to be treated the way my ex treated me for awhile. I thought I deserved it. And like many abuse victims, I thought I could change my boyfriend into a loving man. I believed him each time he said he’d never hit me again, though the look of satisfaction on his face said otherwise.

I would look at other couples who were in love, and wish I was in love with someone kind. Instead I was dating a monster. This monster was very good looking and charming. He fooled many people. He made a fool out of me on many occasions. Nothing I ever did was good enough, nothing I did was ever right. I was constantly walking on eggshells, trying to please him so that I could have some peace.

But, I was fooling myself, for there is never any peace in an abusive relationship, and there never will be. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – “on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.”

I started secretly seeing a psychologist on my lunch breaks in Manhattan. The walks to these appointments were terrifying, but after each one I felt a bit of a release. I was finally able to tell someone, I finally showed my bruises to someone. The look on my psychologists face said it all, and she slowly helped me gain the courage to leave. All of the shame and fear I had been feeling came pouring out, like an endless ball of pain. It was finally unraveling, I could finally breathe again and dream that happiness would someday be within my reach.

Soon after, I left my boyfriend after a heated fight. I ran into some policemen on the walk to my mom’s house, and they escorted me the rest of the way. I did not tell them what had happened.

I had run out of the house, fearing for my life, and left with only the shirt on my back. I had no other possessions, but I had my life and I had my dignity. My family took care of me until I healed, and figured out what to do. I finally told them and my friends what I had been enduring. My ex tried to keep me away from these friends, but once I told them they said to run and never look back.

I was weak and did look back a few times and called my ex out of loneliness and desperation. We even got back together for a few weeks. But the same cycle of violence occurred and we broke up for good soon after. I was lucky that he convinced himself that it was not worth it, and I never saw him again.

I continued counseling for a few years which helped me to figure out a plan. My plan was to be alone for a long time until I learned to really like myself for the first time in my life. I learned to embrace the quiet and treasure my solitude. My hobbies of writing poetry, rollerblading, kayaking, and photography helped save my life. These hobbies filled my time and were my constant companions.

They would never hurt me. They would only enrich my life and help me grow.

These hobbies built up my body and my spirit, and they allowed me to move forward.

Please be aware of all of the signs of verbal and physical abuse. Teach them to your children. Let them know that they cannot treat people this way, and that they should never allow anyone to treat them this way. It is not acceptable to abuse others.

It is true that love and relationships can be hard work. They can have many ups and downs. They require lots of patience and lots of respect. They should, however, be mostly filled with love and happy memories. It should not feel like hard work all the time. You should not change who you are to be with someone.

You should never accept anyone hitting you.

If they do, quietly walk away. Ask others for the support you need and deserve.

You are not a punching bag.

And whether the abuse is physical or verbal, you do not have to stay.

Make a plan, and leave right away or as soon as you can.

It is much better to be alone and alive, than it is to be abused.

Someday, when you are removed from your horrible situation, you will learn from it. You will learn to like yourself again. You will grow and blossom into the amazing human being that you are. You will live again. You will find happiness. Many have walked in these same footsteps. I was one of them. Let us lead the way. You are not alone.

Just keep saying these words over and over until you believe them. Then go ahead and take your life back and learn to live it!

I am someone. I am good. I am compassionate. I am special. I have great worth, and no one can take that away from me. I will unravel this ball of pain that consumes me. I will transform it into a great ball of light. This light will brighten my world. It will lead the way to better things. It will help me move on and be happy. It will help me love again, and share that love with the world. Life is a circle, not a cycle. My cycle of abuse is over. I will not let it overtake me again. I am finally free….

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

If you ever need help you can use the following resources:

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
  • For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or  1-800-787-3224
  • http://www.ncadv.org/

 

 

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To My Future Mommy: From Your Unborn Child

I may just be a very distant thought in your mind, or I may be close to being created or born.

Whatever point in your life you are at, please sit down and listen to what I have to say.

Please think of me when you choose your lovers, your partners, your spouse. They may become my Daddy someday. They may become my greatest joy, or my worst nightmare.

I will require a whole lot of care, patience and love. Please find someone who is kind and who treats you well.

Please choose someone who respects you and knows how amazing you are. Someone who walks beside you, who knows how to comfort you, who truly loves you. That love will greet me, it will keep me warm just like an amazing soft blanket.

A world without love is a dark, depressing place. Please think about what kind of world you want to bring me into. Please let it be full of love. I don’t need many material things, but I do need you to be happy, my special Mommy.

Please do not stay in a situation where you are being abused, for that will become my destiny. That will become my living hell. That will become my prison, one that I will be unable to escape from. I am an innocent child, I deserve better.

According to the National Children’s Alliance, approximately 700,000 children are abused annually, with about 1,670 of them dying from abuse and neglect.

I do not want to be one of them.

Please understand that any abuse is not your fault. Please understand that there is someone out there who will listen and help you. Please seek them out, and make a plan to leave any abusive environment.

You do not deserve that kind of life and neither do I. You are a good person, you have great worth and deserve to be happy.

PLEASE RUN, DO NOT WALK, FROM ANY ABUSER.

Please take the time to heal your wounds. Please don’t give up. Please continue to walk a new path toward happiness and self-love.

I know it won’t be easy, but I promise it will be worth it.

You may be my future Mommy. Please set yourself free.

And, by doing so, you will prove how much you really love me. You could not bare to bring me into this world and see me abused.

So, you walked away.

And now we are both free.

I cannot wait to meet you, my incredible, brave Mommy. I cannot wait to hear your voice. I cannot wait to be in your arms.

I love you Mommy, and I thank you for all you have done before I was ever even born.

 

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

You can find help here at The National Domestic Violence Hotline:

http://www.thehotline.org/

Or at The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

http://www.ncadv.org/

You Were Supposed to Be an Abortion

“You were supposed to be an abortion,” was one of the last things my father ever said to me. It was during Thanksgiving 2004 that he uttered these words to me, and to all sitting at the holiday table. I was shocked, embarrassed and hurt, but not surprised.

I have felt unwanted and unloved my whole life. Like an uninvited guest burdening an ongoing dinner party. A dinner party with not enough food, joy or warmth. I was just one more mouth to feed, one more diaper to change, one more screaming child in a house on the verge of destruction.

I know my mom did not want this, but it was an easy way out for my dad who was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. He was a cop who walked the beat in NYC, he was a man who often beat his children when he was off duty. He loved a can of Budweiser more then he loved his own kids.

He suffered from mental illness but refused to get help. He spun out of control and we were all caught in his web. Sometimes he was an itsy bitsy amount of fun, most times he was as terrifying as Shelob the giant spider from Lord of the Rings. He was a spinner of lies and broken dreams, he was a predator to our happiness.

He called me Foe as a joke from Jack and the Beanstalk’s Fee Fi Fo Fum, but he was actually my foe. He was never truly in my corner, he never protected me, he never told me that he loved me. He even held a loaded gun to my head and asked me if I wanted to die first, on one dark night.

I like so many others was born into a home without love. The love had died, just as surely as my dad wanted me to. I was just a reminder of this fact, an exclamation mark to an unhappy marriage and life. When I was able to understand this, I suffered my first broken heart.

I have been trying to mend my broken heart ever since. I have not fully succeeded, and will spend the rest of my life trying. My past has led me to making many bad decisions, and to at least one unhealthy relationship.

It wasn’t until I matured and took the time to understand myself and my needs that I began to make better decisions. I learned to love the person that I thought was unlovable. I began to slowly heal. I learned to look at life through a new lens, I finally saw a path toward happiness.

There were many bumps in the road of course, and many wrong turns, but I managed to learn from my mistakes and get right back on the road. I steered clear of abusive personalities, and slowly found myself surrounded by kind, supportive people. People who understood pain, physical and/or mental, people who truly care about others.

This took awhile and was not easy, but was very worthwhile. It is much better to be alone than to be with people who constantly hurt you. It is much better to wait for good things, than to rush into bad situations. It is much better to take the time to truly love yourself. You are amazing. You are a gift.

I had waited my whole life for someone to tell me that they loved me and really mean it. What I didn’t realize was that I needed to hear it from myself the most. When I was finally able to look in the mirror with pride and feel self-love, my life changed course.

I met a wonderful man and have two wonderful children. I try to tell them that I love them often, for I know what it feels like to crave these words. I try to show them how much I love them often, for I know what it feels like to be neglected. I try to hug and kiss them often, in the hopes that it will protect them from an unkind world. I try to show them kindness, so that they will show the same kindness to others.

I only saw my father once after that Thanksgiving. It was on his deathbed. There were no apologies offered, no warmth shown, no love for my unborn daughter that grew in my big belly, no I love yous, no big movie screen goodbyes.

I just leaned over him for the last time and kissed his forehead. I said a quick prayer for him to finally find peace and happiness.

I no longer needed him. I never really did. I walked out of that hospital room with all I ever really needed.

Myself, some self-love, and a whole lotta love to spare.

I Want to Live: The Shadows of Gun Violence

dad & us at police camp

On a cold night in February, 1983, my life changed forever.

While I was watching Crystal & Alexis duke it out on Dynasty, I heard a knock on the door.

We weren’t expecting anyone, so I felt a sensation of fear.  That sensation grew as I saw my father’s face in the door window, surrounded by the dark shadow of night.

My parents were going through a nasty divorce at the time, and my father was mentally ill, angry, lonely, and had nothing to lose.

I was happy when he moved out.

I was happy when his gun went with him.

His gun was issued to him by the NYC Police Department.  It went with him everywhere.  It threatened me.  It tormented me.

And now on this dreadful night, I knew that it may be the last thing I saw.

I opened the door due to some kind of foolish daughterly duty, and he place the gun upon my temple.

There were no hugs and kisses.  He simply said “do you want to die first?”

These words have echoed in my head for decades.  These words will forever haunt my dreams.

Upon hearing them, I panicked.  My reaction was to run out of the room and try to hide.  I heard my father drunkenly shouting at everyone, including my aunt, sisters and mother.

I did not know what to do.  I was 13 years old and didn’t have any answers.

So I ran.

And I haven’t stopped running since.

I ran barefoot through the snow to my neighbors house.  My shadow appeared in the moonlight upon the snow.  “Do you want any socks?” they said as they stared at my bare, wet feet.

I mumbled something to them like “my dad’s there, he has his gun.”

My neighbor was also a cop, so he walked to our house with his gun.  His wife called the cops.  The good guys.

Why wasn’t my dad one of those good guys?  I thought to myself.

Though I did not hear any gunshots, I had no idea if my family was alive or dead.  I was frozen and out of it.  I felt ashamed of myself for running and abandoning them.  I still do.

Though my family & I were lucky enough to survive, the shadows of gun violence will always remain.

They are a dark presence in my life, and even though my father passed away almost 10 years ago, his words still haunt me.

Being a gun violence survivor in any capacity, affects you for the rest of your life.

It may cause fear, anxiety, shame, PTSD, etc.  It casts a shadow upon many of the things you do.

And though counseling and/or time may help, you are never truly free.

You are its prisoner, and the constant reminders of the gun violence plaguing our nation continually tighten its grasp.

You are the child at Sandy Hook.

You are the movie patron in Aurora.

You are a member of the bible group in Charleston.

You are the college student in Roseburg.

You are at the holiday party in San Bernardino.

You are a member of a growing number of gun violence survivors.

You are a part of the human race.

You know all too well that a gun is not love.

A gun is taking away many of those we love.

It is an instrument of death, especially in the wrong hands.

It must not be held up above humanity.

It must be regulated to protect humanity.

It does not love.

It does not breathe.

It is my foe.

My dad used to call me foe, as a joke from fe fi fo fum.

“Do you want to die first?”

No Daddy…………………..I want to live…………………………

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

The Nightmare

The Nightmare Meme

I wrote the following post on 11-16-14:

As I sat at the breakfast table today eating homemade french toast that was dripping in syrup, I thought of Scotty McMillan.

I watched the syrup drip drop down onto my plate, just like his pain must have drip dropped out of him until his last breath.

I noticed how some of the syrup clung to the tiny pieces of french toast, just like how some of my memories of child and domestic abuse cling to me.

It is a tragic irony that this precious little boy lived on Hope Lane, in a quiet suburb of Philadelphia. The boy who probably tried to cling on to hope and life though he was given no quarter.

Stories such as his sicken, anger and sadden me, and haunt my already darkened dreams. They shouldn’t happen, yet they keep happening.

I understand all to well the silence of a child who is trapped in a neverending nightmare of abuse. I understand well the silence of a woman trapped in a horrific relationship.

I understand the fear, insecurity, brainwashing, and pain. I was wrapped up in a ball of it for over 20 years.

But, now I also understand that the cycle of violence can stop. I understand how taking some time to look up from our electronic devices, to pay attention to our neighbors and loved ones, can make a difference and perhaps change the course of someone’s life.

I understand that out there somewhere is peace. That if we help each other and strive to love ourselves and make a difference we will.

I understand that by writing poetry and speaking up about such topics, I will lose many FB friends and FB/Twitter followers, etc.

Please understand that I do not care.

I care more about those whose lives are being destroyed or ended due to violence in any way, shape or form.

I know many kind, caring people feel the same.

I will not sit silent any more. I have finally found my voice after a lifetime of pain and struggle.

I will always remember Scotty, the 26 Angels of Newtown, and so many more amazing children/people.

They will never be silent in my mind…I can always hear their words…and I will not stop mine for as long as I live….♥♥♥

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Ball of Pain

spread love not pain meme

I wrote this poem while I was in the process of ending an abusive relationship.  It brought up memories of an abusive childhood.

Due to a difficult childhood, I’ve always felt different.  I’ve always felt unworthy of love & affection.

Writing poetry, going to therapy for a few years, and time has helped to heal some of my wounds.

Some wounds will never heal…..but you can move on……<3<3<3

Ball of Pain

Layers and layers of infinite pain,
I can’t find a beginning, but there must be an end.
Twisting, turning, augmenting each day,
I am your prisoner that time did create.

My soul is empty, my heart slowly beats,
My ball is a memory, a pain that won’t cease.
A struggle inside me, please give me the strength,
To slowly unravel this cyclical length.

A child was in danger, abuse took its toll,
You tried to protect me, but grew out of control.
Heartache and turmoil quenched your deep thirst,
My ball has consumed me, and is ready to burst.

You assured my survival, but at a deep cost,
The memories are distant, my childhood is lost.
The pain is diminished, deflated in time,
My ball is a memory, it’s time to move on…

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

I Am Orange

Today is National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Many people are wearing orange today to spread awareness, & to honor Hadiya Pendleton who would have been celebrating her birthday today, if she was not killed by gun violence at the age of 15.

They are also honoring all who have been lost or affected by gun violence. Hadiya’s friends started wearing orange to honor her & to have the color represent life & wanting to live free of violence.

As I was driving back from dropping my daughter off at school, this poem crept into my head. I looked back at my son, and thought “I Am Orange, he is orange, we are all orange.”

We all want to live free of violence, we all want to follow our dreams and have our children be safe.

Hadiya, the 26 Angels of Newtown, and all of those lost to gun violence are weighing heavily on me today.

I am melancholy….my heart is heavy….and I am orange…..

For Hadiya, the Angels, all those lost to gun violence, and all those doing whatever they can to end it. I honor you, I salute you, & I love you:

I Am Orange

I am orange
I live and I breathe
I dance and I dream
I yearn to be free

I am orange
my heart longs to beat
as I walk along the Mall
or a south side street

I am orange
I survived many things
I’ve climbed up a mountain
and I long for better things

I am orange
I am Martin and Maya
I long for peace
I want all to climb higher

I am orange
my heart beats the same
we are all orange
from wherever we came

We want to end violence
we want to stand tall
we want to fulfill our destiny
we want to march on

Toward a more peaceful existence
where all are treated the same
whatever our hue of orange
whatever our name

Let’s all join together
and walk hand in hand
on the great orange path
where violence is shamed

Where violence is not tolerated
where it is replaced
with love and acceptance
for all who embrace

The warmth of orange
the light of each other’s face
we are all in this together
we are all part of the human race

So let’s work hard to end violence
in whatever way we can
we can begin by teaching our children
to respect life and their fellow man

Life can be beautiful
let’s all open our eyes
and a more peaceful world
will be the real grand prize

For life is not a lottery
left to be played
life is what you make it
so try to make it great

I am orange
and I want you to believe
I’m here, I’m important
I have my whole life in front of me

Help others realize that violence
is not the only way
with help, and with patience
you will see much brighter days

I am orange
I want you to see
violence is not the answer
please don’t let me continue to bleed……….

Kathy ❤orange meme don't let me bleed