The BLIP

IMG_1706
(including me)

Listen Here: 

Things that go awry, misbehaviors, quick tempers (what? me? NEVER *weirdo sugar sweet smile*), wild long hair snagged on bra clasps, mud stomped into carpets, puppy and giant boy prints on the glass door every.single.g-damned.day (breathe, breathe, breathe), my mother’s perpetually multiplying piles of mess, cleaning up dishes a zillion times each day, somehow miscalculating the entry to my mouth and ending up hot tea burn staining my comfy long shirt & thighs (pantsless of course bc blip reasons)…  these are a few of our blip-orite things.

Anything not meeting our standard of “liking it,” is summarily dismissed as being a “blip” thing during this COVID19 situation.  Like Happy’s blip beard.  You know, Iron Man’s bestie and number 2 work wife?  Yeah, we Marveled up all over the place these past months. Don’t judge me.  Blip you.  Blip off.

(no clean segue)

Part of my serpentine path keeps pulling me towards things I do not like about myself.  Much of which I wish I could blip away or blame on a blip instead of facing it and letting it go.  At the onset of our physical distancing here, another woman was brutally murdered by her husband. Thankfully her son was spared. She was not someone I knew well other than seeing her through the community of mommies and she lived nearby.

This hit me hard, as it did many of you, especially those of you, my sweet supportive irl friends, who knew this family personally. I am trying not to succumb to the bizarre seductive comfort of depression or addiction to suffering.  I hope that isn’t what this is.  I hope it’s recognition and processing.  I have no idea honestly.  It is next to impossible for me to distinguish between my imagination/disassociation and leaning in to move forward. And so I write…

Domestic Violence is terrifying.  Truly.  For many of us, we do not even know we are in a bad situation until it is too late.  We see ourselves as strong loving women (or men) who are resilient and up to the task of loving a man (or woman) who is troubled and merely needing proper support or care.  We are pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps to rise to the challenge of this work to help them, because we are unparalleled problem solvers and are convinced that we are motivated by our deep love for them.  Our identity and worthiness is completely tied into this narrative because we are smart/clever and we would know if we were in over our heads – right?  We typically do not know.  We cannot  begin to comprehend the danger we are in even when it is pointed out to us directly from a place of healthy love or plain solid facts.

I spent the first few weeks of COVID19 physical distancing with my throat so tight I could only force my voice out in whispers.  My sweet SonHerisme was left to ferally rewild for the most part as I could only handle the very bare basics of interaction and chores (thank you woods surrounding us for keeping him occupied, curious and safe).  There were many blip behaviors during this time.  I had to work my way back out of the muck the only way provided to me – through my child’s crisis and need for me.  He is a miracle.  I am on better footing today. #carryonsingleparentwarriors

Since the initial writing of “When you run my 5K,” I have wanted to speak it out loud.  I gifted myself a microphone in either 2017 or 2018 to do this (my memory is spotty about many things, including microphone purchases – see ptsd brain).  I finally opened the microphone this past week and recorded my story.  I was also prompted by Glennon Doyle’s call for sharing stories through her new book Untamed.  Full disclosure: I have not finished her book.  While I am able to read nonfiction (NOT fiction, for reasons), her words are so raw and powerful regarding her journey, I can only digest her stories in small increments.  She, like some of you, is a very live-out-loud person. My sensitive brain only allows that in small doses (live-out-louders who know me irl, you know who you are and you know that I love you).  I am not a g-damned cheetah (see Untamed).  I am something else wild, but not that. Also, my heart broke for that cheetah, the cheetah’s they brought to the outdoor symphony concert by the river one year, and all caged/performance animals not in their natural habitat.

Note:  please do not ask me to go to the zoo with you or to take your sweet small people to the zoo.  I will do it because your kid(s) is (are) adorable, you asked me to (you too have an adorable face), and I do not want sad faces on any babies. But, I will be miserable and will subsequently physically and mentally grieve for those animals for days.  I blame this partly on my anthropomorphic projection tendencies combined with brain sensitivity and vivid imagination plus developing boundaries.  Fair warning: paybacks will manifest in the form of limitless ice cream plus your sweet small person’s choice of tacky souvenir. You’re welcome.  Yes, I have taken my child to the zoo because he too is super adorable and asks to go.  Yes, it is ALWAYS painful.  Also, yes, he has a future therapy fund.  Again, you’re welcome.

Now comes the prompt (if you are so inclined) for you to revisit, or visit, my initial post for this blog through this link.  Please be patient with my voice.  My throat tightened up the more I read.  It continues to be difficult for me to confront that reality.  Necessary to face the truth of course, but nonetheless difficult.

I missed so much during this heightened terrifying time, it feels like I blipped to another universe outside of general living while surrounding life kept going.  I have finally caught up on Marvel movies, yet I have missed so many other important things and I am sorry if you are a part of what I missed.  I am trying to reconnect personally and with general life.

There was another domestic violence murder on the other side of town about a week after physical distancing began.  A smattering of other local domestic violence incidents have also been steadily reported.  A dear friend of mine is gearing up for a nasty court battle, once the courts are reopened, due to domestic violence with child protective services involved.  There are many, too many, more that we will not hear about until it is too late or at all while the violence continues.  Domestic violence is rarely a blip.  It usually comes in waves and cycles through repeatedly until the victims are able to accept and receive intense help and support, or death.

If you are called to do so, please consider donating your time to your local domestic violence shelter.  They usually have a list of needed donation items or finances for legal services etc.

Please check on your neighbors.

Please keep yourself safe and healthy – you are needed here.

As always, thank you for giving a piece of your time to my musings. You are beyond bliptastic 🙂

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

 

Breakxit

IMG_0285

The exit from the break – Breakxit.

Well, it was a break.  I should count us grateful for that at least.  So, what was it this time?  A month?  Maybe less, as I did receive a bill from my attorney during that time.  YES, I continue to pay for current services, not catching up from past legal fees.

 

Current attorney services include the bi-weekly review of the weekly updates that I continue to provide to MrexH (week #122).  Occasionally her reviews include some contact with the court-ordered Parenting Coordinator.  While my attorney always records her time spent on my (closed but precarious) case, in almost every invoice, she marks up to half of that time as “NO CHARGE.”  She has an amazing amount of quiet compassion.  It was truly a life-saving blessing that I made it into her office in April 2014.

 

I was sitting in the secret parking lot of our local domestic violence shelter, shaking uncontrollably, completely at a loss for what my next step should be.  SonHerisme was safely in another location unknown to MrexH, and I phoned a friend who had previously worked at the shelter.  I needed to know where to go next, what to do, who was safe to speak to etc.  This friend patiently listened to me for a brief moment, then interrupted to instruct me to get out a piece of paper and pen.  She gave me the name of an attorney and her phone number.  She told me to hang up with her and before I did anything else or drove anywhere, to immediately phone this attorney and make an appointment.  Thankfully, I did.  Because this friend is typically an uber empathetic compassionate listener, I think that her abrupt interruption of my massive anxiety dump, shocked me into action and I made the call.

 

I am forever grateful to her.

 

I am forever grateful to all of my friends and bystanders who offered a listening ear, patience, and support as they were able to do so.

 

I am forever grateful to my attorney.  If I could pay her twice the amount I have, I would.  She deserves it and so much more.

 

I am forever grateful to our local Sheriff’s Department Victims Services Coordinator.

 

I am forever grateful to our court-ordered Parenting Coordinator.

 

I am forever grateful to Master, now Judge, S.

 

I am forever grateful to all of those people who work to support and guide victims of domestic violence.

 

This week, I received a letter MrexH sent to SonHerisme through the court-ordered Parenting Coordinator. This was a months ago discussed plan of action come to fruition.

 

SonHerisme and MrexH have not had contact since 2014.

 

Ironically at the beginning of all of our legal entanglements, letter writing was what I suggested.  The idea was dismissed as ridiculous and I was labled “overprotective and full of misplaced anxiety.” Yet here we are four years later…

 

MrexH’s letter is borderline illegible due to his illnesses.  The words seem appropriate enough to share with SonHerisme.  And I will do so, with the guidance and support of multiple therapists for both of us.

 

And so the spiral begins again.

 

The guilt over MrexH being so ill, the consequences of his illnesses that I did not extricate from earlier, and the part I played in bringing that into SonHerisme’s life.

 

Assuming the role of Destroyer of Fun, Destroyer of Sense of Security to SonHerisme.

 

Numbing, falling into the overall guilt hell-hole, followed by the trenches of depression, climbing up with resignation to the reality, slipping into guilt hell-hole a few more times until making it out for a while, and onward.

 

It is exhausting.

I am exhausted.

 

The break was an illusion, I realize that.  I feel SO much guilt and pain over any pain MrexH may be feeling, but recognize that I cannot afford to compromise our health/safety/lives over that, what must therefore be, misplaced guilt.

 

And so, I eat a small bowl of peppery vege-broth rice.

I take a moment to look at the Met Gala costumes and wonder about the details of construction, the feel of the fabrics and embellishments, the artistic minds of those creators and wearers.

I sit or walk outside for a few minutes and listen to things growing and being alive.

I take SonHerisme to and from school, to and from activities, to and from friends, to and from appointments.

I take my mother to and from appointments, change her bandages, help her with daily tasks.

I cook breakfast, lunch, dinner.

I clean the house (poorly), I launder the things needing laundered, I pay the bills needing payed.

I prepare food for my mother’s two little dogs and feed them twice a day, take them to and from appointments, give them outdoor time etc.

 

I continue to do all of the things that need doing.

 

I breathe.  I move.  I exist.

 

I try to keep going and I call it life.

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

psst…  I’m outside trying to let the magic replace the guilt.  I hope it works!

PEOPLES

IMG_5650(purchase here)

Dear Human Peoples of Earth,

Please, please, please, please – I IMPLORE you to stop pretending as if abuse is an anomaly.

Stop the *SHOCK* *DISMAY* and *GASP* ing

This is keeping us from finding appropriate prevention, appropriate support and appropriate resolution.

If we continue to believe that lie that abuse is truly an anomaly, then we are willing to receive the lie that each case is SO super unique and has special circumstances and exceptions to what we humans would accept as being humane.

“THAT would NEVER happen in my house”  “What a disgrace”  “Can you BELIEVE that someone would do that”  “What kind of sick person does those things”  “How could she get involved with someone who would do something like that”  “I would NEVER allow/stand for that behavior”

Abuse is NOT an anomaly.

Look around you right now, or think about when you were at car-line (for school pick-up or drop-off), or at a coffee shop, or a concert, or at the grocery/book/homegoods store…

Count the adults around you.  (I cannot bear to quote the statistics on children)

 

If you reached more than ‘3’ in that count, then

you know someone who has been abused.

 

Sexually, emotionally, physically, financially abused

 

1 in 3 women have been a victim of domestic violence (either as a child or adult).

1 in 6 men have been a victim of domestic violence (either as a child or adult).

That is a helluvalotta us.

Once we stop speaking in hushed voices about this, and stop pretending as if we are unique in our situation, we can rise together to stop this unacceptable inhumane cycle.

Do you know who is winning right now?  The abusers are winning.  The lawyers are winning.  The courts are winning (we are in there a LOT every single day – we are probably their biggest money maker, like in history HUGELY BIGLY).

 

Do you know who is losing right now?

We are losing.

Our children are losing.

 

It is the ingrained shame, secrecy and belief that abuse is an anomaly which perpetuates abuse.

 

Abuse has been going on from the beginning of time, and will always exist in some fashion or another.  Because humans are human and humans have an extraordinary ability to dehumanize each other.

 

It is our challenge at this time in human history to no longer remain in a haze of believing that abuse is anomaly.

It is our challenge to prepare future generations on how to recognize abusive behavior.

It is our challenge to prepare future generations to be held accountable for self-regulation. 

It is our challenge to hold space for those who have been abused and teach them how to take back their personal power. 

It is our challenge to hold abusers accountable for their actions – to call them what they are – to call abuse what it is.

 

Abuse has been normalized by being maintained in secrecy, perpetuating the lie that it is unusual, and then normalized again by semantic manipulation.

“you are remembering that incorrectly because your anxiety is so out of control”

“we aren’t forcing your child to stay at supervised visits, but we strongly encourage them to build a relationship with their absent parent” (then force the child to visit with the parent, despite the parent’s yelling, throwing, threatening or erratic demeanor at the visit which is noted and observed by professionals who then determine the visit as “successful”)

“you must respect that all parents have rights to their children”

“he didn’t hold a knife to your throat, or threaten to kill you, so it really does not fit the definition of rape”

“if we investigated everyone who threatened murder, everyone on facebook would get arrested”

“she is allowed to parent in the style she sees fit” (she bribes your child with candy, toys etc and belittles/insults you to your child)

“he only hit the child one time, so it does not warrant further investigation unless an absolute pattern has been established”

“you have 15 staples in your head because of your relationship with him, he has no violent history with his children, and should be given equitable access to them” SURfrickinPRISE – here is a novelty to consider: children are not equitable property, they are people too.

If you intentionally harm/abuse another person, it is likely that you are going to intentionally harm another person.  Power and control is the bottom line.  Believing that another human is “less than” and somehow deserves “less than” treatment.  The only way to stop an abuser, is to call them out on their behavior, and provide consequences.

Abuse is abuse is abuse is abuse.

Let’s stop silencing our stories.

Let’s stop pretending that abuse is something else or that it does not exist in our realm.

Let’s stop doing that, human peoples.  PLEASE and Thank You

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

Finding Power

IMG_5632

Stuff I’ve Never Told Anyone: Finding Power in the Shadow of Shame

Ms. Herisme (that’s me), has a tiny piece in print, as a contributor to this book.

eeeeeeks! 

The other contributors are varied in their stories of power and shame.  I encourage you to read all of them.

If you are so inclined, please consider purchasing this book and reviewing it on Amazon.

All profits from the sale of this book go to House of Ruth, Maryland (support services for victims of intimate partner violence/abuse).

Stay tuned, there is more coming soon!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

 

A Dime a Dozen

One of the most stark realities of going through the court system

with: divorce, protective orders, contempt of court, po violations, victim’s coordinators, witness coordinators, parent coordinators, parent evaluators, visitation monitors, social workers, Child Protective Services, therapists, Circuit Judges, District Judges, States Attorney’s Office, Best Interest Attorneys, Attorneys, Masters, Mediators, Detectives, Police Officers, Sheriff’s Officers, discovery paperwork, interrogatories, copies of every bit of paperwork that may potentially define you (bank statements, mortgage statements, medical records, bill statements, daily activity logs etc), and reiterating your story a bajillion times to everyone and anyone, as if you have never told it before…

it is F’IN exhausting, uber full-time and you are not one bit unique from thousands of other women and children trying to extricate themselves from an abusive situation.

 

We are a dime a dozen to all of those professionals.

They see us multiple times a day.

 

We are overwhelmed and out of balance because our situations are so real and unique to us.  This belief that we are unique, is a great lie that we tell ourselves.

We are not unique.

 

Do you know how many women you personally know who have been sexually abused, emotionally abused, physically abused, financially abused? I challenge you to ask in your family, or your closest friends, if you cannot think of anyone off the top of your head.  I guarantee that you know someone who has been abused.

 

We follow in the tragic footsteps of countless women who have gone before us.  Some in situations where they found justice and survived.  More in situations that bent towards whichever way the current power and control swing was going.  Others ending up dead as a result of abuse.

 

As we continue on this great human shift away from a patriarchal society, which I believe we are on (another post, another day), I hope that we all continue to speak our truths and share our stories loudly – even when we have no hope for justice, even when we have no hope for safety.

 

This is our war and I am betting that, despite losing battles here and there, we win the long race.

 

We are a dime a dozen, but each of our dozen wield mighty and powerful voices, deceptively couched in that lowly dime.  We are slowly building, stack by stack, until we outnumber those lone one-in-a-million voices who attempt to stop us.

 

I am cheering your truth on!  Good job, YOU – go, YOU, GO!

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

pssst… Donate to your local domestic violence shelter today and reach out to a friend today

Que Sera, Sera

img_4057

 

Standing outside of the karate studio, watching my niece’s belt test, after SonHerisme’s belt test, the thoughts that flew through my mind:

 If MrexH were to show up here and threaten to make a violent scene if I did not get into the car right then with him, what would I do?

If I went with him, would this be when he kills me?

If I somehow pulled away from him, would we survive whatever scene he would make?

How fast could those karate instructors get to their telephones to call 911?  Would the karate instructors use karate?

Would whatever was about to occur, ruin the emotional health of everyone present?

How would SonHerisme be?  Who would make sure he got home?

 

I became so eerily frightened, that I ended up pushing my way back into the over-filled karate studio, so that if MrexH did show up, I would not be able to hear him, so there would be no decision for me to make.

Que sera, sera…  Whatever will, be will be

 

Last night, I received two Facetime calls from MrexH’s former company’s Vice President.  How odd.  Probably mistakes.  While we were in professional communication during the initial crisis, once MrexH was arrested, we have had no professional reason to maintain contact.  With all of the legal issues surrounding MrexH, it is understandable that his former company (whom he was also threatening), needed to maintain distance from me.

With the unusual Facetime calls, my thoughts spiraled into:

 Is there any reason this VP would be at the workplace in the evening, and MrexH has gone there?

Does MrexH know where VP lives?

Since I did not answer the Facetime calls, if it is MrexH, is he going to show up at my home in an agitated state?  Is this the night that he is going to kill us?

I became so frightened, that I double checked all the locked doors, set the house alarm early, and left our future to fate.

Que sera, sera…  Whatever will be, will be

 

(spoiler alert– we were not murdered)

 

As I no longer have a therapist, (which might be an issue because, like, anxiety and such from this and that) during an update meeting with SonHerisme’s therapist, it did come up that one of the most difficult things about our situation, is the not knowing.

I do not know what is going on with MrexH.

I do not know if he is still interested in killing us.

I do not know if he has access to a vehicle.

I do not know if he comes into our town on passes from his facility.

I do not know if he is well or unwell.

I do not know what he is capable of.

I do not know anything.

Mental Illness can be very unpredictable – especially with MrexH’s history.

I just do not know how to hope/predict/plan/prepare etc.

So, I figure out ways to cope with moving through each day, hour, minute and onto the next (with a safety plan).  I go through all of the things this moment actually is –

we are safe in this moment,

we have a roof over our heads in this moment,

we are cared for in this moment,

we are clothed in this moment etc.

And if he does arrive to murder us, I have no control over that.

Isn’t it always something odd, something seemingly benign at the time, which turns out to be the foreshadowing of tragedy?

Perhaps I read too much.

 

Que sera, sera…  Whatever will be, will be

The future’s not ours to see

Que sera, sera

What will be, will be

 

Love, Ms Herisme xo

ps. Those of you having similar experiences, please know that I am fiercely holding you in prayers for safety, peace, and comfort

pps.  I love Doris Day!

I (don’t) Have Mail

IMG_3532

My mailbox was broken

 

I am not sure what happened.  But, it looked like someone had to have parked and left their car in order to pull the entire top off of the mailbox, and throw it to the ground.

 

Kids being kids – right?  Driving on a rural road and smashing mailboxes.

 

Except, mine was the only mailbox destroyed on my street.

 

So, maybe a wacky neighbor or still some kids who were worried about getting caught, so they left before they could do any more damage.

 

Maybe

 

Or, maybe it’s a sign from Mr exH that he is getting bolder and preparing to come back and murder us, as he said he would.

 

Or, maybe, it’s my friend’s estranged and mentally unstable husband, who I saw yesterday evening in a parking lot and refused to respond to with conversation, because he too is scary as hell right now.

 

This is my life.

 

Where I want to brush off the mailbox as the windy storm last night, kids, or wacky neighbors with bad behavior etc.  I cannot afford the luxury of ending my conversation about the mailbox there.

 

I want to.  I really truly very much wish that I could.

 

But, for now, I will sit in my house, listening alertly to every creak, with my alarm system on, doors and windows locked, driveway alert on (I have a long driveway, and the alert gives me time to peek out the window and call 911 if needed), and talk myself through all of the triggers the sad broken mailbox has effortlessly resurfaced.

 

The patrol officer thinks it might have been the storm.  But, even he was unsure how a storm could lift just the top of only MY mailbox off.

 

This is my life.

 

I’d rather be in Italy eating watermelon and picking out potential originating countries of tourists as they pass by. You?

Score, again, for disassociation!

Love, Ms Herisme xo

That’s what she said…

tea

http://metro.co.uk/video/embed/1255221/5466392

(these are not my words – Another Flaming Elephant, from last week’s news)

“Someone call me when the social media outrage of the week (read: rape this week) is over. I cannot handle this weekly outrage, keyboard warriors, meme posting nonsense.

Our system, in particular when it comes to rape, is very very difficult to manage. A woman goes to a police station with enough courage to finally report a rape and the first words she hears is “do you think he will be able to obtain an attorney?” regardless of the amount of evidence, then told it is likely she will go on trial more than the perpetrator, if it even gets that far. Does she want to pursue this? Is she sure? No. She’s not sure. She wasn’t sure when walked in, broken, scared, and vulnerable.

So let’s pretend now that it makes it past the initial cop’s report, to a detective (who takes another report), and then to a DA.

Does the DA see a lot of work involved to get a conviction?

Is it an election year? This isn’t Law & Order SVU, friends. This is someone who has a job. It’s their job to keep the numbers up.

Does this fit into their box?

How much time is it going to take?

Are they *really* a public threat,

or only a threat to the one person, the victim, and therefore not worth the time?

Now they’ve pressed charges. Ok. Now comes the negotiations. The families are pressured into plea agreements. The prosecutors often explain to the families that it’s better this way for all involved. It’s easier this way. A slap on the wrist is better than nothing, right? Besides, a trial is long and emotional.

Do you really want to have to keep reliving your nightmare over and over for months, maybe up to years? Better this way.

And then, if it even GETS to trial, the sentences are reduced. The poor guy has already sat in jail for quite some time. I think he’s learned his lesson. The little lady didn’t cry enough, or was in some way promiscuous, asking for it…

or even better, by the time of the trial the dude has now gone through treatment for his drugs/alcohol/anger issues/etc and won’t do it again. Promise.

No need to tarnish his reputation and ruin his life for one little mistake.

Guys, if you think this case is unique, you are kidding yourself. Each one of you knows someone who has been the person slapped on the wrist, or you know the victim who didn’t find justice in the justice system. Don’t be naive.

Wake me up when you’re ready to do something about it. Or go post another meme. I hear they do wonders.”

From an anonymous Friend of Ms Herisme xo

ps.  What can you do today?  Go here – go everywhere and keep yourself informed.

 

How to Make a Safety Plan

IMG_2157

First rule of Safety Planning:

If you believe that you (or a loved one) are in immediate danger –

forget the safety plan

CALL 911

go to a room with a quick escape

or, make yourself into a very small ball and cover your head with your arms

 If you are not in immediate danger, or if the danger has momentarily passed (and you are alive and able to physically function), take advantage of the “down time” or potential “honeymoon phase” in the cycle of abuse, and make your safety plan.

 Even if you do not feel like it or you are scared.

 MAKE YOUR SAFETY PLAN

If you are witness to a loved one in an abusive situation, help them with their safety plan.  Being abused is very stressful and confusing, which makes it hard to concentrate on more than basic survival skills.  Be patient with us.  Be gentle with us.  Do not allow us to forget that you care.

 Help us MAKE OUR SAFETY PLAN

 Stash Some Cash

No matter how short or long-term the plan is for extricating from an abusive situation, you are going to want some cash for gasoline, food, and possibly a hotel room.  The important part of this step is to make sure that you have some cash (not credit card, not in a bank account, not checks – actual physical cash).

Hide the cash away for yourself in a location or with a very trusted person, known only to you.  If you need ideas on where to hide cash, message me and I will help you.

 

Copy Everything

Get copies of all important documents

                        All Driver’s Licenses of any driver in the home

                        All Passports of anyone in the home

                        All Social Security Cards of anyone in the home

                        All Birth Certificates of anyone in the home

                        Passwords for computers/Wi-Fi/Phones/accounts etc

                        All joint and individual Credit Cards (front and back)

                        Recent Bank statements

                        Recent Tax Returns

                        Recent Mortgage statement

                        Recent Investment Accounts (including retirement accounts)

                        Recent Credit Card Statements

                        Recent Utility bills

                        Doctor/Dentist/Pediatrician/Therapist/School/Attorney  information

                        Medications of anyone in the home (take photos of the labels)

                        List of medical conditions of anyone in the home

                        List of Emergency Contacts (extended family, trusted friends, etc)

                        Pet information

            You can earnestly begin making a “Home Management Binder” to begin collecting this information into one location.  It’s useful to have it together in case of any emergency (not just a safety plan for an abusive situation).  If you cannot gather all of this information, start at the top of the list and work your way down through what is easily available and important to you.

 

Pack a Bag

Be very careful.  If an abuser gets a “heads up” that you might be preparing to leave, this may escalate the abuse into a very dangerous situation.  When the abuser is not around, find a small bag and pack some essentials, just in case you need to make a quick get-away.

            Clothes and toiletries for a few days for each person fleeing (you and possibly children) plus important document copies from above

            A comfort thing for each child (small stuffed toy, little blanket)

 

Know Where to Go

Map out where you might go (Domestic Violence shelter, trusted friend, trusted family member, etc)

Prepare an emergency email (if your account is absolutely secure) to send to trusted family and friends, which includes why you left the home and how they may contact you.

Write down your Safety Plan and give a copy to your trusted friend/pastor/family member/therapist.

Do NOT immediately disclose your location when you leave.  Even trusted family and friends will have a difficult time through this situation, and may inadvertently compromise your safety by trying to “help,” you.  Especially if they are not witness to the abuse (frequently they are not), or do not understand the cycle of abuse.  They may encounter the abuser in their contrite, charming, reformed phase of abuse and believe them to be safe.

The abuser is NOT a safe person. 

The abuser will NEVER be a safe person for you. 

NEVER EVER

Think of it this way.  If you had any control over the abuser and their actions, then they would not be abusing you – right?  No one would choose to be abused (I’m not talking about consensual role playing).  An abuser will always be abusive to you, it’s just a matter of degree.  That is your relationship with them – abuser and victim.  If you are looking for a different kind of relationship, you need to find a different person to have it with.  Likewise, if you want your abuser to stop abusing you, you have to leave and allow them to find a different relationship where they might have the potential to not be abusive.

With you, they are ALWAYS going to be the abuser. 

ALWAYS.

 

Don’t worry if you cannot accept this last bit.  I have many days where I still have to remind myself of that hard truth. That is another whole post though, dear reader.

 

So I’ll leave you with this:

Safety Plan

            Call 911 if in immediate danger

            Stash some Cash

            Copy Everything

            Pack a Bag

            Know Where to Go

 

Take good care of you.  The whole world is counting on it!

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xo

 

I am not a credentialed expert.  I am speaking about this through my own, and others I know, personal experiences.  Please call the National Domestic Violence hotline, or your local Domestic Violence Shelter for more information.  For other Safety Plan information, click here.

5 Things to do…

Do you suspect that your friend is in an abusive relationship?

IMG_3472

From my perspective and experience, these are five things you can do for your friend:

  1. Let her/him know that you are there for them and how much you care about them.
  2. Send them a note/text/msg periodically to remind them that you care for them.
  3. Tell your friend that you are worried about them, and why.  “Herisme, I am worried about you because I hear the way Mr H is unusually uncomfortably angry about the way Son plays with his toys.  Son appears to be playing fine to me.  Is everything okay?”
  4. Ask your friend if she/he is being abused.  “Herisme, are you okay?  Are you being abused/hurt by Mr H?” BE PATIENT with their responses and do not take anything personally.  You can always apologize for misreading the situation, if necessary.
  5. Gather community resource information so that you are prepared to guide your friend when they are ready.

domestic violence shelter information

how to make a safety plan

inform another trusted friend, pastor, priest, rabbi – you need support too

As tempting as it seems to be, and as well as you think that you know the suspected abuser, do NOT ever confront the abuser without professional advice, support or guidance.

I would not be alive today if people in my tribe had not done these things for me. 

They did these things a lot. 

They did these things, even though I know that it broke their hearts to do it. 

They did these things even when I did not believe any of it. 

They did these things and I am forever grateful to all of them.

These opinions are my own, based on my own experience.  I am not a credentialed expert.  Please call an expert in your area if you suspect abuse is happening.

Love, Ms. Herisme

(picture from StoryPeople)