There's nothing but shattered pieces my china cup has paid the price I spent too much at the store today and his reaction wasn't nice The kids complained and fussed I could feel impending doom He was tired and didn't care now they're crying in their room I cower and listen in numb despair while his curses fill my ears He's got my throat, I cannot breathe my eyes well up with tears
"If only you didn't make me MAD!"
I know that's what he'll say I'd run and hide and take the kids but I'd never get away He's sitting there, his fire has died pretending nothing fared I stand and face him, cup in hand I've never been so scared "You see this cup?" I asked him "So fragile and complete?" I threw it down in one swift blow and glass flew at his feet He stared at me in disbelief as I finally took a stand.

"This cup is me, each broken piece, I wish you'd understand!"  "Some of the pieces can be fixed with patience and some glue, but some of these are just too small this cup will never be new. "
"Each time you say a hateful word each time you grab my arm,  My mind and heart are shattered and you'll never undo the harm."
He told me I was crazy, and I'd better clean up the mess I guess the lesson here was lost and so am I, I guess I found the strength to leave one day but it took too long to get free A shattered cup is my reminder of the life he took from me The pain is still too real to me even though he's not around He still finds ways to hurt me and throw me to the ground My life is shattered pieces but at least I can know this: Someday God will fix my cup but who will take care of his?

Angie Horvath
We are our stories
Our bones speak
They whisper
The legacy Of being.
Kimberly A. Blanchette
Soothing the Soul: Screams in the Silent Noise
– By Karen Ainslie
We are here…Listen clear: Be more Near…OPEN our Hearts

TV, Radio, play stations, MP 3’s, Noise our world makes,Behind closed doors, a people souls and heart breaks, Headlines on our magazines…Flashy cars,  living by stars,
The latest labels all to see, We not look to see people’s scars.

Gospel songs, fill many voids, As people longs…For more than words, and cards, A melody about God…we hum along…
Next to His people is where we belong. Violence/abuse..Tragedies ,pain, leaves more people maimed Louder…louder, : where’s God? Who will hear? Is called...Society, friends, many a verse is named, Don’t we know, hearts still bleed and tears flow, With short lines , a quick “take care”, Away people go,

Holding a hand is what care shows. So the lonely grows, As we dare not, emotions show, Now in silence, in all the techno noise ,aside, A cry is drowned , lonely silence just abide, Another human’s life gone by.

Carry on…carry on… our motto, And soon all feeling is gone, Echo in many a lonely human grotto,Above all this, One is still here… God’s Son, Yes ,through our deeds, we show, God is here, His promise glow, God is near , ever near.

He needs US ..IN NEED to APPEAR.. Should all He’s children come together, Our voices above all noise, All the lonely and seeking will hear, Through you and I, Holding again, our people near. God is here…listen with a soul ear. It’s up to you and I, this is clear.

All who stand with another, May you know ,wherever you are, You give a PRECIOUS..PRICELESS…GIFT HEARING THE SCREAMS IN THE NOICE, ACTING,SWIFT…Healing… retreat…here all our wings get a SOUL LIFT.

I’m in law enforcement. I have seen this way to many times. I’m currently helping a dear friend that has been living this hell for 8 years. She has left him, he finds her. Her last attack was this past Friday, and he nearly killed her.

There is help, but I will be the first to say, a protection order is only as good as the cops that follow up on it.
Be persistent, be a fighter...And prosecute, don’t ever not; the crimes need to be on record.
Good luck and best wishes to you all,

No longer do we keep our voice silent.
No more do we accept abuse in any forms.

Our voices and words are a light of hope for those women and men that are afraid and in the dark.

When someone reaches out and asks for HELP, we help them the best we can as we ourselves once reached out..

Wm. Collett
The riches of my soul

I stand upon a mountain, to see what I could see and found there the reason, to be the best that I could be.
I looked across the prairie to see what I have found and looked to my feet planted firmly on the ground.
I am richer than a sultan with all his worldly goods and wise as many friars searching for their paths in life's woods.

For all my friends surround me when I need my strength, and my wife forever supports me, no matter the journey's length.  And most of all my GOD leads me upon his narrow lane. And heals my weary soul when I am feeling too much pain.

So always remember that though your pockets empty or your health not too good at all. You my friends and family are rich and ten foot tall.

Barry DeMars
I consider myself an educated woman, and yet....

I was in a abusive relationship for eight years, Emotional, mental, physical,spiritual and financial.

He walked right of our home two weeks before Christmas. He left me to pick up the pieces of the lives he destroyed, including our traumatized and terrified animals. He currently walks freely around our town, partying it up, drinking and spending money freely. He has not offered a cent maintenance toward the wife he deserted, and to add insult to injury, he talks to any and everyone who will listen to how HE was victimized, bullied and abused. It is complete and utter rubbish. I feel so sorry for the next woman who falls prey to the predator. He's charming, fun and gentle. That is until he has what he wants....

Then the true monster emerges.....
Moody, sullen, volatile and beyond any nightmare I could imagine. He has been in four previous relationships, and I was stupid enough to believe him when he said he had just had 'bad luck' in relationships, with ALL four women. He labeled them psychotic, alcoholic, promiscuous, and 'in love with their ex-husbands/boyfriends, etc....I actually believed him..

I have now been labeled the in exactly the same way he discusses his previous relationships. This man is a danger to all woman out there, and he has been getting away with abusive behavior for years. Here's hoping women get together and start insisting on protection from men who all to frequently use the very law that is supposed to protect women from men like this. Unless violence against women and children is dealt with in a serious light by the law of the land, and men are held accountable for their deeds, I see no hope for women like me. I pray that organizations such as yours will help determine the future of victims for the better.

Deborah McIntyre
It’s like I'm the daughter of the anti-Christ.
Is there any help for this?
—Stuck in My Head

Dear Stuck,
Your mother is no anti-Christ; she’s just a sad, sick woman who’s hurt her children and made a hash of her life. Sure, she was a scarily overwhelming figure in your childhood, but a good step toward releasing her hold is to recognize how much you inflate this pathetic flyspeck of a person.
Accept that she has no power over you anymore and that you can consciously work on diminishing her place in your psyche.

When you were a girl, she and her boyfriends made your nights a real misery. But even if she’s still in your dreams, remember she’s no longer lurking down the hall. You emerged from this maelstrom of abuse and became a loving, productive person.

Many are shattered by such a start in life, but through hard work, self-insight, and resilience, you made it. Start working at being nicer to yourself. It might help to recognize that some credit, too, must go to your lucky draw in the genetics department.

Perhaps you have siblings who were more fragile than you and broke under your mother’s “care.” You were fortunate to be made of tougher stuff, so celebrate those good genes.

Then acknowledge that no matter how much you may physically resemble your mother, she doesn’t inhabit you.

Those are your hands, that’s your smile. Take steps to reclaim them. Sign up for a pottery or painting class and watch something beautiful emerge from your hands. Buy yourself a ring that gives you pleasure.

Go to a department store cosmetics counter and get a makeover. Not to hide your face, but to bring out what’s unique about your own looks.

Reconsider therapy, even if only for a short-term tune up. Tell potential therapists you aren’t seeking an open-ended discussion about your childhood, but want to work on practical ways to diminish the thoughts about your mother.

After a bad dream comes, when you open your eyes, savor the realization that you’re a grown woman, in your own bed, next to your darling husband, and you’re free.


Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Widespread in the US.   New survey finds these types of violence affect the health of millions of adults.

On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, according to findings released by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men.
Those numbers only tell part of the story – more than 1 million women reported being raped in a year and over 6 million women and men were victims of stalking in a year, the report says.

This landmark report paints a clear picture of the devastating impact these violent acts have on the lives of millions of Americans,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "The information collected in this ongoing survey will serve as a vital tool in the Administration′s efforts to combat domestic violence and sexual abuse. And the report underscores the importance of our Administration′s work to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.”

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, or NISVS, is one of CDC′s latest public health surveillance systems and is designed to better describe and monitor the magnitude of sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence victimization in the United States. It is the first survey of its kind to provide simultaneous national and state-level prevalence estimates of violence for all states. Launched in 2010, NISVS also provides data on several types of violence that have not previously been measured in a national population-based survey.

Key findings in the NISVS Summary Report include:

For women:
•High rates of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence were reported by women.
◦Nearly 1 in 5 women has been raped at some time in her life.
◦One in 4 women has been a victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime.
◦One in 6 women has experienced stalking victimization during her lifetime in which she felt very fearful or believed that she or someone close to her would be harmed or killed. Much of stalking victimization was facilitated by technology, such as unwanted phone calls and text messages.
•Almost 70 percent of female victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before the age of 25.
•Approximately 80 percent of female victims of rape were first raped before age 25.
•Female victims of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence) were significantly more likely to report physical and mental health problems than female non–victims.
•Across all forms of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence), the vast majority of victims knew their perpetrator (often an intimate partner or acquaintance and seldom a stranger).

For men:
•About 1 in 7 men has experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
•One in 19 men has experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
•Almost 53 percent of male victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before age of 25
•More than one-quarter of male rape victims were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger.
•Male victims of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence) were significantly more likely to report physical and mental health problems than male non-victims.
“This report highlights the heavy toll that sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence places on adults in this country. These forms of violence take the largest toll on women, who are more likely to report immediate impacts and long-term health problems caused by their victimization,” said Linda C. Degutis, Dr.P.H., M.S.N., director of CDC′s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Much victimization begins early in life, but the consequences can last a lifetime.”

The report findings also underscore violence as a major public health burden and demonstrate how violence can have impacts that last a lifetime. For instance, the findings indicate female victims of violence had a significantly higher prevalence of long-term health problems, including irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, frequent headaches, chronic pain, and difficulty sleeping. And nearly twice as many women who were victims of violence reported having asthma, compared to women who did not report violence victimization.

“The health problems caused by violence remind us of the importance of prevention,” said Howard Spivak, M.D., director of the Division of Violence Prevention in CDC′s Injury Center. “In addition to intervening and providing services, prevention efforts need to start earlier in life, with the ultimate goal of preventing all of these types of violence before they start.”  

NISVS provides data that can help inform policies and programs aimed at preventing violence as well as addressing the specific information needs of state and national governmental and nongovernmental organizations, while providing an initial benchmark for tracking the effectiveness of prevention efforts.

For more information about NISVS, including the executive summary and study details, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs.

CDC′s Injury Center works to prevent injuries and violence and their adverse health consequences. 

•For more information about sexual violence, please visit:

•For more information about intimate partner violence prevention, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/intimatepartnerviolence.
If you or someone you know is the victim of:

•Sexual violence, contact the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.Intimate partner violence, contact your local battered women's shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website.
Additional resources:

•On domestic violence, sexual violence, funding, research, and international issues: National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women.
•On sexual violence including statistics, research, statutes, training curricula, prevention initiatives and program information:  National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
•To watch webinars that discuss the NISVS findings, please visit PreventConnect, a national online project dedicated to the primary prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM)Definition of Antisocial Personality Disorder (psychopathic, sociopathic) This disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of a disregard for other people’s rights, often crossing the line and violating those rights.
This pattern of behavior has occurred since age 15 (although only adults 18 years or older can be diagnosed with this disorder) and consists by the presence of the majority of these symptoms:

* failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.

* Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure.

* Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead.

* Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults.

* Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.

* Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.

* lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

The terms psychopath and sociopath are often confused and used interchangeably because the two definitions are similar. However, there are differences between the two. A sociopath is a habitual offender. Today, criminologists use the term sociopath to describe repetitive offenders who do not respond to treatment or rehabilitation. Some experts believe that a sociopath is made, not born. In their view, a sociopath has not been properly socialized.

A psychopath on the other hand, may very well have been born already “broken.” Psychopathy involves a number of emotional, biological, and cognitive factors. While a great number of criminals have psychopathic tendencies, not all psychopaths are criminals.

A psychopath is conscienceless, narcissistic, manipulative, and unable to form real attachments to others. Psychopaths believe they are above the law and disregard prevailing mores. Robert Hare, a leading expert in the field, described psychopaths as “completely lacking in conscience and empathy.” He divided psychopaths into three categories: primary psychopaths, secondary psychopaths, and dissocial psychopaths.

The first category is considered a “true” psychopath because of certain identifiable biological and psychological factors that differ from the general population. A secondary psychopath offends because he or she is emotionally disturbed and possibly suffering from a severe inner conflict. The third category, dissocial psychopaths offend as a result of learned antisocial behavior from a subculture like a gang or severely dysfunctional family.

DSM Definition of Histrionic Personality Disorder.
HPD is with the big 3 abusive disorders, and I’m guessing there’s a reason. Both Histrionic and Borderline Personality Disorders can overlap because of how similar they are.
A pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the...following:
1. is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention.
2. Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior.
3. Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions.
4. Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self.
5. Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail.
6. Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion.
7. is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances.
8. Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.
Unlike other personality disorder HPD separates with the fact that people who have HPD have astonishing good social skills, but the use of these skills is mostly to manipulate and get the spotlight of attention.

Some of the ways to notice a person with Histrionic Personality Disorder is:
The person dresses provocative or shows inappropriate behavior to get attention.
Desires the center of attention and feels uneasy if he or she is unable to get it.
Have sudden shifts of emotions.
Lacks sincerity in conversation.
Appears to act as if on stage.
Concerned too much about his or hers physical appearance.
Needs constant approval from others.
Easily influenced by others.
Sensitive to criticism.
Unable to finish things because they get bored and skip from one project onto another.
Don’t think before they act.
Make rash and unplanned decisions.
Narcissistic behavior.
Lack of concern for others.
Have hard time keeping a steady relationship as they appear to have shallow feelings.
Causes of HPD are both inherited and developed. In most cases this is a learned behavior that grows into a disorder over the years. It may include lack of criticism or punishment when they were kids, or lack of positive parenting when due. Unpredictable attention given to a child without reason is also one of the most common causes, as the child cannot learn what is good and what is wrong and when he should get approval and when not.

Again, like with other personality disorders, people with HPD don’t think they need therapy. They are also very heavy when it comes to therapy as they strongly believe they don’t need one and make the therapy very difficult as they also don’t like routine. The only case when they seek professional help is when another problem appears, like depression.

Counseling is the normal type of treatment for Histrionic Personal Disorder. The goal is to dig up the causes and reasons why the person needs to act in that way, usually leading back to early childhood, also to learn how to relate in a positive way and form meaningful relationships. Medication is rarely used with HPD unless combined with other symptoms like anxiety and depression.

DSM Definition – Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Posted about this disorder but I know there are many who would love to see another post about it and here it is in brief.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).

4. requires excessive admiration.

5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.

6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.

7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

DSM Definition – Borderline Personality Disorder
Generally, Borderline Personality Disorder is spread throughout the pattern of instability. BPD is a mental illness during which a person has an unclear self-image, unstable moods and he or she is unable to maintain healthy, stable and close relationships with others.
Actually, the cause of borderline personality disorder is not acknowledged. But...it seems that BPD is more common in those people whose childhood or adolescence involved neglect, abandonment, separation, physical or sexual abuse, disruption, or mainly poor communication within their families.
A person who suffers from this disorder has labile interpersonal relationships characterized by instability. This pattern of interacting with others has persisted for years and is usually closely related to the person’s self-image and early social interactions.
The pattern is present in a variety of settings (e.g., not just at work or home) and often is accompanied by a similar liability (fluctuating back and forth, sometimes in a quick manner) in a person’s affect, or feelings. Relationships and the person’s affect may often be characterized as being shallow.
A person with this disorder may also exhibit impulsive behaviors and exhibit a majority of the following symptoms:
* Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

* A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation

* Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self

* Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)

* Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

* Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphonia, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

* Chronic feelings of emptiness

* Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

* Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

Here is a check list of the criteria of borderline disorder which is defined by the American Psychiatric Association in their diagnostic manual, DSM-IV-TR. Every person may experience some of these feelings from time to time. But the tendency of these warning sign may point out Borderline Personality Disorder.

*The first segments of testing is start with a complete physical checkup. Along with other usual tests, the doctor will draw blood test for toxins. Because certain substance abuse problems give signal of borderline personality disorder. But be careful that the side effects of some drugs may mimic borderline symptoms.

*Check whether your partner often exhibit paranoid tendencies which result from unrealistic perceptions of self and others. Watch out that your loved ones set undeserved importance on their self or they believe that the actions of others are always directed at them.

*Check it carefully whether your partner let everyone know about the flow of their emotions, especially when they are disappointed. Also see that self-injury or suicidal tendencies, all these behaviors are usually planned to get attention from others.

*Carefully notice whether your partner have any difficulties in maintaining their close relationships with others. Usually, excessive displays of feelings and emotions, like anxiety, anger, and irritability, frequently keep others at a distance. Such difficulties are due to impulsive behaviors which others find challenging to deal with like, indecisiveness, severe mood swings and constantly shifting thoughts about self-worth and self-identity.

*Everyday take a note of their moods. People suffered from borderline personality disorder tend to shift quickly from feeling high to low and they back again. It is not like bipolar disorder, in which moods last only a few hours of the day or at most one day.

*You have to judge whether your loved one is impulsive when it usually comes to sex, money, or substance abuse. Eating binges and reckless driving can also give signal of BPD. All these risky behaviors are generally caused by the aforesaid shifts in feelings, emotions and perceptions of self-image.

*Make proper notation about how your loved one sees himself or herself. Borderline personality affected has an unclear self-image that can swing from shamefulness to victimization. They repeatedly change homes, jobs, friends, partners, values and goals.

*Make your mind up if your partner suffers from "splitting." In this, for the one moment the BPD sufferer will admire and idolize you, but at the next time his or her feelings can unexpectedly change to disrespect and anger. They consider all the things in equal way whether in good or in bad, and never on neutral base.

*Properly gauge your partner's anger level in minor incidents. People having borderline personality disorder often get strongly angry in situations that don't deserve it. Sometimes they may even get physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive, so at that time protect yourself and children when necessary.

*Carefully notice that how your partner reacts whenever you go on a trip without him or her. People having borderline personality disorder get depressed or angry, when someone with whom they feel attached leave just for a short time. Even some change in plans can throw a BPD affected people off.

*Be alert and notice every time for your partner’s self-injury. Habitual suicidal threats, especially in case when you have to leave him alone or dissatisfy his or her expectations, give signal of borderline personality disorder.

How did you score?
For 2 Point - There are minimal chance of developing borderline personality disorder.

For 5 Points - Your partner may develop borderline personality disorder in the upcoming time. He/she needs to lower his/her expectations from other people, and energetically forming a stable identity by meeting different kinds of people and trying out different things. As well, control anger and avoid mood swings.

For 8 Points - Your partner possibly has BPD. Make an effort to learn more about this condition if you think your partner need help.

For 11 points - Probably, your partner has borderline personality disorder. Please contact to psychiatrist or psychologist to confirm about your diagnosis.

A person does not become abusive overnight; abuse is a learned behavior it was either taught to the individual through various practices and experiences in the family circle the family circle is the education ground for all children.
Children learn to be a husband or wife based on what their parents teach them or someone outside of the family who they look up to as a role model may have perpetuated abusive actions on the individual.

Through my research I have placed the perpetrators of abuse into two categories.
Generation perpetrators of Abuse
The abuser is daily living with the pain and shame of being abused and have been exposed to an abusive environment for years so the abuse has become a normal part of life for them. However they are aware that their behavior is wrong and they need help the simplest thing sets them off and they become abusive.

There can be no change until the perpetrator admits they need help, seek help, and continue on in treatment for this to be done the abuser must also acknowledge that they are weak and out of control, should they be confronted about their behavior they quickly become defensive and shift blame to anyone or anything. They hate to be corrected.

Narcissistic and Sadistic perpetrators of Abuse
The narcissistic and sadistic abuser has pleasure in propagating their abusive lifestyle all the while knowing it is wrong and eventually they reach to the point where they have accepted their way as the only way and the right way.
This type of abuser is very manipulative and charming they feel invigorated to know that everyone around them bows to them and walks on egg shells around them, they find utmost pleasure and heightened emotional ecstasy in abusive acts of violence and in the administering of pain and fear to their victims.
These abusers will commit murder and justify their acts of violence with charm as they see nothing wrong with what they have done; these persons cannot safely live with other people in a family unit as they will continue to destroy other persons.
Abuse does not get better with time–it only gets worse and will lead to death.

Click on the link for more information on abuse at The Center for Disease Control

Self-care suggestions, inspirational quotes, A little of this and that!
Henk Lefevre

What some parents don’t want to remember their children can’t forget.

I’ve turned fifty, yet the child within me can’t help but remember.

In a small house in Arden, North Carolina in 1964, my mother tried to wake my father from a deep nap on the living room couch. Beer likely fueled that nap. I would soon learn even one or two lubed the gears of violence within that beautiful man.

But I was too young to know that then. I was a little past three years old. This ranks as my first memory of childhood.

My dad sprang from the couch, straddled and pinned my mother to the floor, and beat her so hard with his open hand her head thundered off the hardwood. She fought him, hard. Screamed for him to stop. I joined her. My cries fused with hers from where I stood, no more than six feet away, in some flannel pajamas. I remember the noise of his hand against her face. I remember the snap of her head. The blood. I don’t remember wounds, but I remember a spray of blood.

My mother soon lost the battle but won the night. She was athletic. Still is. No matter his strength, she rolled him off of her and crawled straight for me. I remember her arms, strong under me. She scooped me and ran. A bedroom, in this memory, became our nearest sanctuary with a door. I’ll not forget the feel of my mother’s hands on me, searching, I suppose, for a source of that blood. She eased down the roar of my tears and the throb of my heart and made me feel everything was all right, even when it wasn’t. Her face was red, I’ll not forget that. It wears crimson in my mind to this moment. I knew he had hurt her, terrified her.

But, she stayed........

Not far away, my parents soon built a new home on a cut-down old apple orchard in Weaverville, North Carolina. An aunt and uncle gave them the land just a few steps from their back door. It was a sweet life, having the feather-bed assurances of family as a neighbor. My father should have thrived, at peace with himself and my mom. He did, at times. Other times, he did not. He lived on a tire swing of the heart – swaying between the graces of a truly gentle man and beer-steeped rage. Sober, he was sweet, kind. Drunk, he lived low. He was mean and ragged, and didn’t seem to care that my mother and I knew it and suffered for it. He attacked her by the throat one night, vowing to kill her. I remember a chair exploding in that one. He threw it, and it crumbled into shrapnel against the hearth. I took charge then. In my underwear, I ran devotedly down the driveway to ring the back doorbell of my aunt and uncle for help. I was four. But, again, she stayed.

I was four also when he left me alone at a little league baseball game to go off drinking with some lads he’d just met. I walked home. It was clear, from what came up in her eyes, he hit my mother hard and square in the heart with that one.

She raised hell with him. But, she stayed. By the time I was seventeen, about to leap from high school to college man, he took a drunken swing at me, his first. He did it because I wouldn’t stop harassing him about the bottle of high dollar whiskey he poured into his mouth, and our lives, each night by then. He swung at me because I was fed up with feeling the threat of him haunt the air of the house, and my psyche, even when he wasn’t there. He missed. I made sure of it.

She stayed. I left. My mom objected little when I moved in with my aunt down the driveway. I had only two weeks before I was to leave home for the independence of college life. But two more weeks with him were far too many. Somebody had to do something.

I did it. I divorced myself from my father. My mother later told me she me she feared what the Bible said about divorce, so she had stayed. She stayed because they were building a life she didn’t want to surrender. She feared humiliation, failure, and how each can run like electric charge through the tongues of a small town. She stayed because he vacillated. He kept swaying between that gentle man she loved and the lunatic drunk she couldn’t recognize, and that was her normal. A twisted, jagged norm. It was her normal that he broke every dish in the kitchen one night, vowing to blow up the house. After that one, she had to talk me out of attacking him in his sleep. She stayed because it’s hard to change. Hard to bend the twists out of that normal. Easier to stay in the cage you know than run for the uncharted ground of freedom.

But because I finally ran for that freedom, things changed. It took a few days, but my father sobered enough to realize I was gone. Gone for good, on every level of the catchphrase. Divorced from his toxicity. My mother describes him rolling on the floor of the kitchen, yellow as a banana with whiskey withdrawal, wailing. Screaming. He cried as if Death had hold of both ankles. He wanted, finally, to live. He wanted his son back. He wanted to take back the violence and what the mind-crackling threat of it had done to our peace.

But he couldn’t. I share this because I’m not alone. These same strains of violence haunt homes and hearts of people you and I know, right now — down the street, across town, across the pew. If you’re reading this within a home or relationship that makes you anxious, afraid, hopeless, you are not alone.
I share this because to stay in violence is to play Russian roulette with your relationship, and with your children who live with it. Your children know. You may believe they’re okay because he never hit you in front of them. But they know.

And they will remember. I am proof.

I share this to get you to go.

Leave. Don’t wait. But leave safely. Seek the services and kind secrecy of a women’s shelter, whose caring professionals and volunteers will help you escape with your life, with your children’s lives. They will help save you and your children from having to remember another act of domestic war.

I am an advocate now. Having grown up trapped in my parents’ too-often violent marriage I am called to say even a single act of violence in a relationship is a deal breaker. Break away. Go. Get safe, and run. Run for your new life in peace.

I’m a rare and fortunate witness. Most men who see the violence I saw actually become violent adults. Their parents’ twisted normal becomes their twisted future. Counselors will tell you I’m an outlier. I did not see the rest of my life through the lens of my parents’ marriage, or my father’s tragic behavior. I saw peace instead. Peace, and the man I wanted to become — not the one I had lived with. But don’t expect this of children raised in witness to violence. To keep your children living in it, seeing it, is to risk raising an eventually violent adult. There’s a world of psychotherapy evidence to support this.

There is nothing so strong as a truly gentle man. I want every abuser who reads this to remember that. My memories are an abuser’s reminder: Violence — with words or hands — is permanent. You don’t get to take it back. Your legacy will live with it, even beyond your epitaph. Your children and the mother of your children can not erase that violent streak of you from their hearts and minds. To this day, if someone just drops something in a thud against the floor in my house, it shoots adrenaline through me. Shocks me full of the old feel of the home I grew up in. I know, it makes no sense, this far removed. But domestic violence is, after all, a dreadful nonsense all its own.

Now, here’s the good news.

My father and I more than reconciled. After I left him, determined never to see him again, he hit bottom. It was a low bottom, hard and cold as the floor of the grave that soon awaited him if he hadn’t stopped looking for peace in that bottomless liquor bottle. But he did stop. The man I eventually went home to – and it took a while — bore virtually no resemblance to the sometimes ferocious, broken man who had attacked my mom and assaulted the atmosphere of our home, for my entire life.

I forgave him. I deeply love him and respect the change he chose for his life. But that became possible only after I quit him. Staying would have enabled him to carry on his torment and die in its wreckage. In staying, I would have kept expecting God to be a puppeteer, a mortal magician, not the great God who expects us to live in faithful motion.

Einstein said it well: Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is insanity. Trying to live with my dad, endlessly begging him to change, was my well-intended folly. When I ceased to make him my problem to solve, he embraced a faith that changed him from a poster boy of a major social problem into a truly beautiful man.

Yet he worried, right to the edge of his death, about the harm he’d caused. He could not forget either. Guilt rattled him. Neither he nor I nor my mother could take that away.

But I speak here for both of them. I am my father’s surviving voice, and in many ways this is his ironic love letter to the world. On his behalf I am called to emphasize that a man who hits women is a broken man, in need of repair work only he is responsible for getting done. He is solely accountable for figuring out how to respect himself and harbor authentic love for others. My sweet mother realizes this now. She wishes she had held my dad accountable by leaving him long before I did. I recently heard a wise minister say there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that justifies violence in the home, and that it’s never God’s will for someone to live with such violence. I believe my mom finds comfort in this truth now. I hope you do as well.

This is the truth of my memory. In it, you’ve caught sight of the child well-hidden behind the man many of you watch on television. That child rooted in violence has grown into a gentle man, whose present days abide in peace.

If yours do not, I pray the lessons of my past open doorways to your future. It bears saying here again: Leave. Seek safe shelter, knowing that leaving creates a dangerous time for abused women. But go. Divorce your entire life from violence and know the peace I have known.

Such peace is a foretaste of authentic love. And such love is what you deserve.

Shasta Smith shared with us that
you can surivive!
Not Lucky Just Blessed

Real people real stories.....

My name is Barbara Stowe. On sept.15 1997 my sister was murdered by her abuser. I'm still as devastated as I was 15 yrs. ago. She was shot because she was trying to leave him. Her name was Patty May Springer Haynes. She was murdered in Washington NC. God bless her memory. I hope that it will not be in vain.

My name is Carrie-Anne O'Driscoll. In 2001, my ex husband almost beat me to death when I was 6 weeks pregnant. He imprisoned me for 3 days raping me and refusing medical treatment. On the third day, I left. Today, I have written two books and I donate the proceeds to our domestic violence shelters. I am also a deputy sheriff. I am NOT a victim but a SURVIVOR and I try to inspire other survivors. Our voices will educate and prevent domestic violence and child abuse. It is now our duty to speak out and change minds- one person at a time.

My name is Katie Stager,
I was with my ex husband for over 33 years married for 24, during which i was emotionally, physically, and verbally abused.I never told anyone I thought it was my secret and i dealt with it alone I know better now there are places and people to help , I finally left in January of 2010, but in July 2010 he knew i wasnt taking him back he lost control of me, He broke into my apartment at 3am and stabbed me 37 times while our 3 yr old grandson lay sleeping next to me. He then left me for dead, But I wasnt ready to die, I AM NOT A VICTIM I AM A SURVIVOR and i hope by sharing my story someone gets help before it gets to where i got, I am very lucky to be alive,. Domestic Violence is not a secret and there is help. STOP THE SILENCE speak out , get help, no one deserves to be physically, verbally, or mentally abused.

Leonor Abreu
I was nineteen and from day one was told lies by the man I met who was very sick from alcohol;I helped him and he wished after three weeks to marry me or else would not go to clinic to heal from alcoholism;I finally accepted against my better judjment and discovered horror; before long he hit me and I woke up in hospital I asked for my father's help to divorce he refused,black eyed in front of my mother and brother they said nothing,only my husband had the decency to leave and dissapear but he always came back;he never hit me unless drunk and always asked forgiveness afterwards so the horror only stopped when I ran away for good leaving no address and led a happier life ever since.
We had our first argument last night, and he said loads of cruel things that really hurt me. I KNOW he's sorry and didn't mean the things he said, because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today.
It wasn't our anniversary or any other special day.

Last night he threw me into a wall and started to choke me. It seemed like a nightmare, I couldn't believe it was real. I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over.

I know he MUST be sorry because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today; it wasn't Mother's Day or any other special day.
Last night, he beat me up again; it was much worse than all the other times.
If I leave him, what will I do? How will I take care of my kids? What about money?

I'm afraid of him but scared to leave. But I know he MUST be sorry because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today. Today was a very special day.
It was the day of my funeral.

Last night, he finally killed me. He beat me to death.
If only I had gathered enough courage to leave him, I wouldn't have gotten flowers today.

Barbara Hall
January 2000

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I’m in fear for my life and the well being of my children!
                                     I'm Nikki Patterson