A little about me

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Brook, IN, United States
Abuse doesn't stop at the court room. Melinda has shared her battles in her life and through the court room as she navigates through the legal system Bringing encouragement, insight and empowerment to those that are in a abusive relationship. She is in the process of creating a new life, speaking engagements to "Break the Silence" of abuse, while putting a face to abuse. She is currently working on writing a book about her experiences as a Survivor.View short Bio here- https://www.patheos.com/blogs/ahappymedium/2013/02/notbrokenbutbrave/

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I left now what?!

So you maybe thinking, "I took a leap and now what Mel?"

The path you are going on is going to be hard. There will be tears, screaming, and total shaking of your head at times. You may not believe how the legal system is treating you and you could feel like the one at fault. Though the process stinks from time to time, if you follow the rules, listen to your attorney or authorities you can make it through this.

Ever hear the statement- "CYA! Cover Your Ass!" Sorry to be blunt. Everything you can do to leave a paper trail, legally the better!

I encourage your to learn as much as you can about the laws for your location. This is not very interesting information but arming yourself about the In's and Out's of the legal system can help you immensely! A judge can see you as more professional which is something that can work to your advantage.

If you have any engagement with an attorney, police or Judge, try to remain calm. Don't give out too much information, such as, they are not going to care if you were running a marathon wearing pink lipstick or if you were trying to read a book. They want to know just the facts of what the matter is.

Keep a journal of any incidents of threatening texts/emails/voice mails/visits. These can be used as evidence of a poor behavior. Hold onto this information for as long as your case is going through and maybe even a year or two after that.

Ditch anything that your ex could possibly have bugged if possible or go through the item with a fine toothed comb. Spy ware, GPS, or a Lo-jack sort of system is just a small bit of technology your abuser can use to hunt you down or further harm you.

If you are leaving the area where you reside to get to safety I encourage you to find out what laws may make you come back or charge you with jail time. Again, sometimes the legal system can make you the bad guy. Stories are splashed on the news of victims jailed because they fled with children into a different state line.

Get a new bank account, change your passwords online, screen your calls and friends on social media. Don't answer the phone for your abuser or call back right away unless it is a "REAL" emergency! One of the happiest moments after leaving my ex, was that I wasn't at his beck and call anymore and I didn't have to answer his call or messages right away. I could wait a day or longer if I really needed to reply at all! There was a point where I informed him to only contact me if emergency otherwise email me. Soon after I was able to get a Order of Protection due to harassment and went through my attorney and a family member for emergencies. I got to tell you how nice this was/is!

Make sure you let a trusted family member or friend know your whereabouts! Make sure you are situationally aware of your surroundings. Trust your guts! Also if there is a visitation please make sure you do the visitation in a public setting or depending on the situation (if violent or disruption issues)ask to have visitations to be hosted at a specialized setting set by the court. These facilities are considered supervised and will have security for you and your family. There is a time limit given for families to visit. Ask your legal professional about this! Also consider asking for a GAL-Guardian ad Litem to assist if needed in children if they are distressed about past or with current situation with your ex. A GAL is an advocate for your child/ren and will help your child work through the issues with your ex.

Now, you maybe thinking, you have heard all this from me before. DUH! Well, sometimes we need reminding. This crazy roller coaster can make you loopy and frustrated! I'm here to let you know that I understand the madness of what you are going through.

If you haven't already done so and need a place to go to stay, call local shelters for help on counseling, legal services, or housing. Especially if you need a place to stay for yourself and children. You may need to tuck your pride aside and just call. These homes are guarded, secure and the folks that work or volunteer here are trained and professional. When I first left my ex in 2007, we were treated with kindness, compassion as well as with clothing and toiletries! That first time all we had was the clothes on our back! There are single women that go here to. Now for males with violent situations this is harder to find but there are services you can utilize as well. Please call your local shelter to inquire.

Now is the time to reclaim yourself! Get back your life! Kick any bad habits! Learn to love yourself and find you again!

You may feel devastated or confused about what the next day is going to bring for to you. I have to let you know that thinking about my future is what drove me to starting again. Knowing I can do what comes my way and that the good Lord is my driving force is what helps me!

After a few days or weeks after leaving you and your child/ren could experience, nightmares, panic attacks, anxieties, medical conditions out of the blue, irrational behavior, mood swings, school work can suffer and depression to name a few things. 
Wait? What?! These may even manifest months or years later. Be mindful to journal or keep a calendar of these challenges and share with your advocate/legal professional/counselor.

Speaking of Counseling. I found counselling didn't work for me, as I found myself feeling worse or more stressed out than when I arrived, this may not be the norm but I did see at least 5 different counselors/therapists. I didn't do well on anti-depressants as they made me eat alot and suicidal. So where did that leave me?

I am on a journey to find what works for me and my children and you have to find what works for you and I am not condoning modern medicine or therapy or shaking my finger at you as this is your journey, find what works for you! This road has led me to:
Reading my Bible
Blogging
Journal
Going to a drumming circle
Using essential oils- Feeling therapy- a shameless plug for YL Oils, I am a distributor
Smudging my home, myself and family
Creating a Bucket List
Positive affirmations
Meditation- This is something that is hard for me to focus as my mind is going 50 miles a minute!
Recently Yoga- Now I wish I look this graceful. I actually don't bend well, and teeter over like a Weeble (showing my age)


I also do things I have always enjoyed: Garage/Yard sales, crafting, antiquing, public speaking engagements-Most are craft/Reflexology/Antique related. I have also learned how to raise chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, rabbits and bees! 

I even went to school again for Medical Assisting- I have the degree but have yet- 4 years later to find a job in that profession (GRRFACE!) I still have the student loan to pay back go figure! These are just a few things that are helping me to find "ME". Sounds strange doesn't it? 
Like, what? were you lost? 

Yes I was for a very long time. I lost my moxie, spunk and zest for life. I lived my life but didn't really live it. I got by. Like a zombie. I got used to just surviving the moment. Not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings, not wanting to cause or start an argument, rolling over when things get tough. Not finding my voice when I am in an uncomfortable situation or just agreeing with something or someone when I really don't want to.  

All of these things take time to learn and do. It isn't happening over night. If I could have asked God to take it all away, I wouldn't. The experiences have made me stronger. Now as for forgiveness for what my abuser did to me, I forgave him awhile back, but with the molesting of my daughter, that I am having a hard time with.  I am being honest about that. I go back and forth about this, knowing Biblical I need to forgive, I'm just not ready yet. 

I hope these have helped you! Thanks for listening to me ramble on.
Also please refer to my other blog posts on similar topics. 
Stay safe and God bless!

Mel

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

 My phone chirped, again, I knew better then ignore it as it chirped for the past 10 mins impatiently like a 2 year old waiting to be fed.

It was Rob. I was supposed to have been home 15 minutes ago! I was waiting for a train to pass. The area I was stopped at was notorious for trains that go on forever. I cringed as another train going the opposite direction decided to parade on by, much longer than the first.

"Crap, Rob is going to kill me!" I finally answered the annoying device that hung on my hip like a lead weight.

"Hey! Sorry I didn't hear you, there is a train..."

Rob yelled, "You were supposed to be home by now!" My mind was racing, but yet I grew bold and told him I was waiting for the trains to pass, and I hung my phone out the window in vain and hopes he would hear the rumble in the background.

"Did you hear that?! That's why I'm late! I have been here for over 20 minutes or so and can't turn around due to the back up behind me!", I advised while shaking like a leaf. I waited for him to yell or something but all I heard was silence and then a click.

A hung up is sometimes worse then being hollered at. With silence, I never knew if he would be waiting with vengeful heart. My stomach tightened. I grew panicky inside and prayed he would mellow out or forget the incident.

When I rolled home, he didn't help me with the groceries. It was a rare occasion when he did. The kids would help as best they could but for the most part I became an Octopus woman to get everything I could in, as fast as possible.

I threw everything on the table and did my best to put on a happy face as if nothing was wrong. The kids instinctively knew to scram after all was in and I was left alone with him. He grunted from the couch, not even looking at me. I tried to brush off the event but he wouldn't. He started in with, "Who did you see, Mel?" He quickly jumped from the couch that caused me to gasp loudly, I responded that I wasn't seeing anyone, that I was stuck by the train. I knew I wasn't getting anywhere arguing with him.
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Did I mention I am so happy I'm not in that situation anymore? I really can not fathom how ridiculous those conversations/arguments were.

Was I cheating? Who was I cheating with? How many people are you screwing?

I learned that he was rationalizing his behavior by creating some mind games to tempt me to fool around and than his flirting or stepping out would make it okay.

This is not normal. If this scene sounds something familiar please ask yourself how much longer can you hold on? You maybe at the point where you feel as though you are losing your mind or that perhaps you are the cause of the breakdown of relationship.

Your NOT!

I can't tell you when to leave. I can't tell you it's time to go. You will know when enough is enough. Call it hitting, "Rock bottom", which is the point of when you can't go on. Hopefully it's not too late or that you become injured or your child/furbaby gets hurt before you make the decision. Talk with a trusted friend, call a Shelter or the Domestic Violence Hotline if you are not sure but want to discuss the situation before taking the plunge.

A few tips:

Make sure you are clearing your history about shelters or conversations about leaving your situation on your phone and computer!

Check out my other blog posts on Safety plans! These can help you plan and give checklists on what to take with you on your journey should you decide to take the leap and leave.

Stay safe and be careful! Remember you are worthy of a happy, NORMAL life. It is scary, it is going to be a roller coaster ride and maybe dangerous. Please don't do this alone, make sure you let someone know what your plans are and how your situation is.

Now an update from my last blog post regarding the passing of my mom-in-law. I learned Rob was mad I didn't show up and proceeded to bad mouth me with whoever would listen. Another family member went on to say that I needed to get over the situation already and yet another stated if her child had been abused she would have prosecuted him.

All of these comments but not one knows how hard it was to leave, not a one of them knows the heart break of leaving a child behind with that monster or worse the anger and sadness from not being able to do something to that man that took the virtue of my daughter. I wanted to call the authorities but honoring her word not to was very hard. She didn't want to be put on display or feel humiliated. I can't blame her and respect her decision, though it was terribly hard to do so. I am still hold anger on myself for not going with my guts and reading the signs. I am supposed to be the protector of my children, yet I feel very much guilty, ashamed and responsible for not protecting them enough.

On a side note we had a fun family day of visiting my family for my sisters birthday over the weekend and here are a few pictures with my girls, sisters and Mom (In green shirt at bottom)
God bless and please stay safe!

BIG HUGS!
Mel
My daughters on the couch with my baby sister 

I'm on the left!
Me next to my Mom (she is in green shirt)