Monthly Archives: February 2015

Abuse and Insomnia

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People that are in an abusive domestic household are very likely to develope insomnia. There is a tremendous lack of feeling safe. In order to sleep, we have to feel comfortable and safe.

We are aware that we are vulnerable when we are asleep. We are vulnerable to physical attack. We cannot see someone coming towards us. We also cannot protect our home, our possessions, our cash and credit cards, etc while we are sleeping.

For those people with children in the house, they also can’t protect their children while they are asleep.

People in these situations are forced by real safety issues to adjust their sleep routine. They may sleep in the living room with the lights on. They may create some kind of makeshift blockade for the person to be slowed down by , on the way to the bed.

I used to hide my purse in a different place each night before I went to sleep. I also used to pile things in front of the couch I was sleeping on to create a barrier. I always slept with the light on.

These behaviors become a routine that makes us feel safer. It is not surprising that the routine will be carried on, even when we have left the danger behind us.

To this day, I sleep with my purse right next to the bed. I cannot sleep if it is in the kitchen, even if I am alone in the house. It causes me too much anxiety to sleep, even though I rationally know that no one is going to steel my money.

The feeling that my money could be stolen and my personal items thrown out all over the floor, is an extremely unsafe feeling.

I spent an entire winter in New Jersey with no heat once, because of financial abuse of a domestic partner. He thought his beer and cigarettes were more important than filling up the oil for the heat.

These behaviors are not something you should feel ashamed of or stupid about. Of course you are an intelligent person who knows that the abuse is in the past.

You know that these behaviors are no longer needed. Or are they? If you still need these routines in order to feel safe to go to sleep, I would say go ahead and leave the lights on, sleep on the couch or whatever. It is more important that you sleep.

You went through an extreme trauma and your brain needs to heal. Your brain is trying to protect itself from more trauma. If forcing yourself to put the purse in the kitchen is going to traumatize you, don’t do it.

If you still have the feeling of being unsafe when you sleep, try to think of ways that you might feel safer. I don’t care how stupid someone else might think it is.

The therapist might tell you to force yourself not to keep the same rituals you had when you were being abused. It really depends. It is the lesser of the evils.

If the behavior is not hurting anyone or yourself then it is ok to continue it for as long as you need to. The need for sleep is far more important than forcing yourself out of safety rituals before your brain is ready to handle it.

Sleep deprivation is dangerous to you. It is far more important that you can sleep than almost anything else, including what some therapist tells you.

Insomnia causes severe sleep deprivation. Your sleep cycle is disturbed. You will eventually not be safe to drive. Your job will be in harm’s way because you will be in danger of oversleeping and cannot focus at work.

Give yourself a break. First things first. Your brain needs to heal from the trauma. You need sleep to heal.

Sleep first, feel better, feel safe, then worry about having odd behaviors.

Find ways you can feel safe. Keep someone on the phone with an open line while you are going to sleep, sleep with teddy bears, sleep on the couch or in your child’s room with them. Buy extra locks for the doors.

Talk to someone at bed time about how you feel about sleeping. Write your feelings down on paper or on wordpress. Sleep with your clothes on if you need to. God knows , I slept with all of my clothes on for months after I got out of my abuse house.

I slept in everything but my shoes.   Keep in mind, I was sleeping all alone in my room .

There was no one dangerous or abusive living with me anymore. But my need to feel covered was a strong need of my brain in order to feel safe enough to sleep.

These things can’t be rushed. Your brain has the job of protecting you by alerting you of danger. When the brain becomes traumatized by being on alert too long, it gets kind of sick.

It can’t just shut off. It still feels the need to protect you by letting you know you might be in danger. Let it slowly get used to the idea that you are ok now.

Trying to force yourself out of trauma will cause you more trauma. Be kind to yourself. Do the best you can to make yourself comfortable and safe, so you can sleep.

If you still can’t sleep at night then try to get some sleep during the day. Sleep deprivation will inhibit the brain’s ability to heal from the trauma.

Which Type of Anxiety Disorder Do You Have? Labels in Psychology

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GentleKindness

Labels are fine for understanding symptoms and causes for your anxiety disorder but please don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone is different. There are different types of anxiety but the main difference is the cause. The way it manifests itself is really individual.

Something causes you to feel scared and threatened. It injures the part of your brain that can differentiate potential levels of threat. Some people feel unsafe almost constantly and can’t shake it.

Some people are triggered by some kind of stimuli like a sound, a smell, a song, a place, a type of behavior (for example I will begin to go into a traumatic state if someone raises their voice yelling at me or what I perceive is yelling at me) The change in the tone of voice , to me, is the beginning of a threat to follow.

You are a unique person. You feel…

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Love Your Partner Because You Want to…relationships after domestic abuse

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Living with narcissistic abuse has an effect of making us feel unworthy. Many of us leave abuse, only to repeat the behaviors we learned from the abuser. The narcissist taught us that we had to give and give in order to be loved. We were not worthy of love simply based on who we are.

The narcissist taught us that we had to give unreasonable amounts to them. Unreasonable amounts of effort, unreasonable amounts of time and unreasonable sacrifices of our own lives. We were expected to give up the people and the things we loved, in order to prove that we loved them.

Constant sacrificing to the point of your own personal detriment is not love. Someone expecting you to sacrifice your dreams and the the things you love, is not love on their part.

We are worthy of love. It is not our actions and sacrifices that make us worthy. It is the person that we are. A partner should find value in just being with us, being close to us, being loved by us. There is no need for constant demands from someone. We should not have to give so much more to them, than they even come close to giving to us.

There should not be a balance scale or a meter that they hold up against us, to measure how many things we have done for them today. They should not compare us to ex girlfriends on how much we give. They should not compare us to other women in other relationships.

Narcissists are masters of deception. Make no mistake, they twisted the truth around in their favor. When they compared you to an ex girlfriend, they were not telling you the whole story. When they are telling you to be like “So and so’s ” wife, they are making that situation up too.

They demand not only for you to be perfect, but to be more than perfect. They do not want a perfect woman; they want a slave. The narcissist wants a slave that will be there at his beck and call.

They change the rules on us as we go. As soon as we think we have the perfect routine down that will please them, they change the rules. It is all about domination by lowering your self esteem. They do not want you to feel good about yourself, or ability to be a good wife or a good girlfriend to them. They want you to feel inadequate and worthless.  That is how they control you.

Once you have self esteem, then you realize that you do not deserve to be treated in the ways that they treat you. They wold lose their power ti control and rule you, if you were to recover your self esteem. The narcissist game is to constantly crush your self esteem down.

So, what does this mean for us once we are out? We still carry those feelings of being inadequate and worthless. We still feel that in order for someone to love us, we must be at their beck and call 24 hours a day. We must give more to our partner than they give to us. We must constantly measure what we have done recently for them.

In a new healthy relationship, we need to feel that we are worthy to be loved. We can do living things for our partner, but that is what they are…loving acts. If we do a loving act for our partner, it does not need to go onto a list. It is simply something we did because we love them.

When our new healthy partner does something for us, we need to feel worthy to receive it. They should be doing it for us, out of love. If they show us care and love, by doing something for us, then it is because we are worthy of that love.

Little by little, we need our self esteem back. It will allow us to be truly loving to our partner. We will be able to show them our love, because we want to, and not because we are afraid not to.

Financial Struggles After Leaving an Abuser

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Financial problems often occur, after we leave our abusive partner. This happens for a variety of reason. If you are struggling to survive, living in a less than ideal place and feeling frustrated, then you are not alone.

When you are living with someone, there is bound to be financial entanglement of some sort.  You were both working and sharing the bills, or one of you was working and paying the bills. If you were the one that was not working, then it was an added reason why you stayed longer than you wanted to.

I ended up having to move in with the family of my ex husband. My ex mother and father in law agreed to let me rent the attic floor of their large home. This was very less than ideal for me, in many ways. I could write fifty posts and still not be done explaining the retraumatization I have gone through by moving in here.

But we have to get out when we have to get out. We all have a breaking point. For most of us, the point at which we left the abuser was much later into the abuse than we should have left. It is easy to know that the relationship is terrible, but it is not as easy to figure out how to leave.

You can’t just walk out the door and go sleep in your car for the next year. Well I suppose you could if the weather was not too cold, you had no kids with you and the police did not catch you. But obviously living in the car is not the first thing that women want to do.  I have heard stories of women doing this for a month or so and I admire them for their courage.

So, if the car is out, then what? You can go to a shelter. The women’s shelters vary from state to state and county to county. Some of them are pretty decent and will provide counseling to help you to get back on your feet. They can connect you to resources for food, housing and employment. Some of the shelters have people that can help you with legal things, like a restraining order.

You can move in with a friend or a relative. You can try to rent an apartment, but many women from abuse have bad credit due to the abuser damaging her finances and her credit.

You can couch surf from house to house, when people can let you stay for short periods of time. This would be very traumatizing for anyone who needs to feel that they are home. You have lived in abuse for a long time and you had no safe place to call home. The feeling of still not having a home to come to at the end of the day, is very sad and lonely.

It is the same when you have to stay with friends or relatives. It is not your home. You were forced to leave the home you knew and to become like a war orphan, looking for a place to call home. The lack of a home that you feel comfortable coming to, is retraumatizing. Your brain needs peace and safety.

It is so difficult to heal when you are being retraumatized by so many things. The lack of feeling safe and comfortable is one of them. There is the issue of the abuser coming after you. You have to find a safe place where they cannot find you. You can sometimes get a restraining order which can help some, but they are not perfect.

If the abuser is going to know where you are living, then you need to feel that the people you are living with will protect you. I moved in here, because there are three adult men that live in this house. They are all relatives or ex in law type relatives. My brother in law would protect me, if he was here when anything happened.

I felt that the fact that the guys cars were in the driveway, it was obvious that guys lived here, would deter any problems from my ex. This turned out to be correct in my case, but each case is unique. Some people have to move out of state to feel safe.

Then you have the issue of how to make a living. I did not feel comfortable working at the same job that my ex used to pick me up from work.  he knew my days of work and my shift schedule like the back of his hand. He even had found out the code to get onto the door that locks down after dark.

By the end of the relationship, he had been causing me problems at work. His behavior was inappropriate when he was in the parking lot and also when he came inside to wait for me. Some nights when he was feeling rage, he would slam his  body into the signs and things in the parking lot.  I asked him to stop, because I did not want security coming. To that he would reply something about being able to beat up the security guard. This was embarrassing and it also endangered my job.

When he came inside, he would sometimes start an arguement with me, in the front area where my coworkers and supervisors could hear him. This would involve cuss words and demeaning treatment of me. It was embarrassing and also could have costed me my job, because they did not want unsafe behavior in the facility or any behavior that might upset the patients.

After we  broke, up he used to stalk me at work. He would show up and wait for me in the parking lot, when I was walking to my car in the dark, at midnight. This was really annoying and a bit scary. He also used to leave things in my car. This used to frighten me the most, because I felt like he was making it clear to me that he knew where my car was and could open the door at any time. I had nightmares about him waiting in the car for me, but that never happened.

I changed jobs and had to take what I could get. Many victims of domestic abuse end up having to take low paying jobs and living way under the socio-economic level they are used to.

This again, is retraumatizing. We are in the process of trying to heal from the abuse, and we are being traumatized by living in poverty. We now have to choose between food , prescriptions, and doctor appts. We cannot afford therapists, unless we find something at a free clinic or a charity care.

The other thing which occurs after leaving a domestic abuse situation, is the onslaught of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). If you have PTSD from the abuse, this may affect your behavior and ability to function at work. Depending on your job and how well you manage your symptoms, PTSD can cause you to have trouble moving up in a company, getting a new job, or even getting to work on time.

Our transportation may also be adversely affected. In my case, my ex was the one who drove me to work and picked me up from work. He was not working during the last several months of our relationship and I did not have a car.

His ride to work and home was basically his contribution to the rent. Even though the girls at work used to tell me how he was such a wonderful guy, because he always picked me up from work. Those women would scold me when I worked over time by a half an hour, just to get money for the rent.

They told me it was so rude of me to force him to wait. What they did not know was that I had told him how late I was working and he chose to come early (after I asked him not to) just to give them his sob story about being so tired and having to wait for me.

They also did not know that he had not been working all day, like they assumed and I was the one working the extra hours , so that we could have food on the table.  It is amazing how people think that “the facts speak for themselves.”

It is terrible to live in a domestic abuse situation, The mental torment that the abuser does to your poor brain is soul stealing and self esteem crushing. It causes us to question our own value and worth. There is no way we can stay with them, without endangering ourselves, in a physical way, a financial way or a mental way.

But the problem is that, it can be terrible when you get out too!  Many of us are financially devastated, struggling to survive and being retraumatized while we are trying to heal our brains. It is a hard road for many of us.

I do not want to deter anyone from leaving a domestic abuse situation. My only words to you would be to get as much help as you can. Contact the women’s shelter , even if you do not want to stay there. Just let them know who you are and what your situation is. There may be things they can assist you with, other than just living there.

Let your friends know and any relatives you trust. Let the pastor of the church know, if they are someone you feel you can trust. The more of a support network you have, the better for you when you leave. You cannot anticipate all the things you will need help with or who might be able to help you.

Connect with people here on wordpress. Get into a facebook closed group or some other internet help group to talk to. Let your primary care doctor know and try to have some kind of counselor or therapist on hand, even if you do not think you will need one.

Have as many resources ready to be there for you, as you possibly can. There are so many obstacles to overcome and you cannot do it alone. I tried to go through my exit plan and rebuilding with no support from anyone. it has caused me more trauma and mental injury than needed to be.

If I could go back in time, I would have rallied more people to my aide. There are friends that I have not talked to very much in the last few years, that I recently told about my struggle to get out of domestic abuse. They were sorry that I had not told them about what I was going through.

I was wrong that they were too busy to help me. Many people told me that they would have been there for me and could have provided support in various ways.  I should have reached out for help. I was too scared and I felt unworthy of help from others.

You are worthy of help and there is help available from multiple places. It is difficult to get back on your feet, but you can do it. You matter !

You Have a Voice… Don’t let Domestic Abuse Silence you Forever

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you are stronger than you think

Leaving an Abuser … poem

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Tip your hat

Say goodbye!

Don’t apologize

The time has past

It’s not enough

It will not last

Don’t dare ask why

Just move your feet

I will not cry

Not in front of you

It just might stop you…

Like in the past

But not again

I am finally done

You’ve done your damage

You’ve had your fun

Just keep going

On your way

Don’t look back!

I won’t be here

Not this time

Not again

Now, take your things

Take my things

I don’t care about them

Take all this  stuff!

Just leave me my heart

And leave me my mind

Whatever is left

Don’t take your time

Just keep moving

I am not changing my mind

There’s not much left of it

After what you’ve done

But I will recover

In spite of you

Just keep walking

I will see myself through!