Don’t be careful

“Don’t be careful. You could hurt yourself.” – Byron Katie

Challenges, risks, open hearts and fearlessness work in your favor. Don’t shy away from taking a leap of faith, even if it scares you. If you do take the plunge, you will never regret a day in your life.

Here’s to making life count.

~ DIVA ~
Christina xo.

IT’S NOT FAIR!….but it’s ok.

I sometimes contemplate the concept of fairness. Is it fair that good people suffer?

In that vein, I occasionally think about my abusive ex-boyfriend with regards to the concept of fairness. After all the put-downs, the aggression and downright disrespect, he continues to go through life as though nothing happened, void of any remorse or a sense of wrong-doing (or so it seems).

It’s not fair; not in the slightest. It’s not right that the rest of his friends and family think he’s an emotionally healthy and good-natured man. He got away with it scot-free. It’s not fair that I have to reconcile with this, knowing that I will NEVER get the apology I seek.

These situations aren’t fair, but that doesn’t make them less purposeful to those that suffer the consequences. What I have gained from this is a level of strength that I wouldn’t have otherwise, had he not treated me the way he did.

Fairness and lack thereof can be a difficult pill to swallow. However, bear in mind that life is doing this FOR you and not TO you. The difficulties you face will only hone your character, strengthening your abilities to deal with life’s greater challenges.

Let them go and live your life. Fairness, much like sadness and happiness, comes in waves and is never constant. You will be fine and those ex-abusers just helped you, in the most unlikely of ways, become a stronger and better you.

~ DIVA ~
Christina xo.

Kellie Jo Holly – Survivor, Advocate, Mentor

Seeking counsel after you leave an abusive relationship is something I highly recommend. Speaking to someone who is knowledgeable about the issue can provide sound insight when you’ve been left confused, hurt and, broken.

Recently, I was fortunate to connect with Kellie Jo Holly, advocate against domestic violence and the founder of AbuseJournals.com. I was seeking advice on how to cope with lingering loose-ends, so to speak, of my former verbally abusive relationship, which I had been struggling with for months.

Kellie’s insight gave me the strength I needed to push forward and break the barriers I was imposing upon myself. Being a survivor of verbal abuse and an educated counselor in the field, she was the best resource that I could have found during my time of pain and confusion.

That being said, Kellie has been mentoring for some time now and is growing a base of mentors to help victims of abuse. I encourage you to explore this resource, especially if you’re in need of answers to what may seem, countless questions.

Further, if you want to share your story and hone your counseling skills, be a mentor! There are also opportunities to join her amazing team.

Thanks for everything, Kellie Jo. Keep up the fantastic work! ❤

The DIVA Team

Christina xo.

A Note

Our thoughts are with Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and, Gina DeJesus; three remarkable women of strength, courage and perseverance. Know that you have a worldwide community of women who share your pain and root in the victory of your freedom. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish you all the blessings in life that you deserve.

Much love,

The DIVA Team

Christina xo.

Get Lost

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau

My relationship ended and I found myself considerably lost, confused and inundated with way too many important life decisions for one broken-hearted person to handle. I’ve had to re-evaluate absolutely everything from my career path, my likes and dislikes and, my future goals, just to name a few.  Which road do I take? How do I get there? Will I regret my choices? Will that decision make me happy in the long run?  As overwhelming as this place can be, I realize I needed to get here in order to understand and appreciate myself thoroughly as a unique individual with a unique destiny.

Today happened to be one of those dreaded “lost” days.  However, something changed today; I learned to finally embrace the overwhelmingly blank canvas. Truly, I am wholly blessed with the freedom to follow my life’s destiny and allow my dreams to materialize. Nothing and nobody is holding me back. My life is no longer in someone else’s control; I create the life I want.

Through the clouds, the decisions, the void and pain, I begin to see who I REALLY am and it’s kind of amazing. It’s almost as though a pure self-love has been brewing in the shadows.

Thoreau was right:)

~DIVA~

Chris xo.

Why? Why? Why?

I had spent many months after my relationship drowning in “WHYs.” It was exhausting, to say the very least.

Why did he treat me the way he did? Why isn’t he calling? Why can’t he apologize? Why do others seem to love him so much? Why is he so driven and successful? Why does he seem so oblivious to what he put me through? Why can’t he fix himself? Why doesn’t he care? Why is he so selfish? Why does he think he’s always right? WHY ME?!

If you’re at all familiar with the “WHY” stage after your verbally abuse relationship is over, then you’ll know how draining it can be. It’s taken every ounce of my strength to stop asking why and to start moving forward. Ultimately, I’ll just never know. What I do know is that his instability and his issues with aggression stem from an inner suffering I can’t help with nor understand. Unless he gets the proper help he needs,  which will help him to understand how and why he hurt me, which might encourage him to APOLOGIZE, I’ll just never reconcile with the “WHYs.”

Constantly asking “WHY” is like digging yourself so deep into a bottomless pit that you start to lose sight of the light. I’m finally learning how to move forward, stop asking questions to which I can’t possibly have the answers to, and focus on being happy and strive for my goals.

~DIVA~

Chris xo.

You ARE Beautiful

My ex boyfriend and I broke up late last year.

The last few months have amounted to one of the most emotionally arduous times of my life, as I was left to cope with the aftermath of ending something I thought was set in stone. However, I hadn’t initially realized that the pain, the sadness and the sudden blast of insecurity that I was presented with stemmed from the actual relationship itself.

My ex boyfriend was verbally abusive and emotionally unstable, the extent to which is difficult to measure in a few short words. The psychological scars have made the healing process that much more convoluted, with numerous highs and lows along the way. The relationship and its inevitable end had atrophied my spirit. I was left lost, confused, resentful and, deeply hurt. I was broken.

The most debilitating outcome of a verbally abusive relationship is its fatal impact on one’s self esteem. I lost complete confidence in myself; from my decision making skills, to the ability to communicate properly, to my mannerisms, my accent, my vocabulary, my lifestyle, my cultural background and upbringing, to my friendships, my family and, the value of my life. Taking that back on one’s own terms is difficult due to the insidious nature of the abuse and the manipulation on the part of the abuser. In reality, my mind had already fully consumed the toxicity of the words.

How does one detoxify? Initially, I sought solace in the comfort of friends and family, I abided by healthy living guidelines, I read, I wrote, I listened to music, and I opened my heart to the healing properties of creativity and mindfulness.

But that wasn’t enough. I struggled. He popped sporadically and constantly into my stream of thoughts; he was everywhere. Every moment I thought I had achieved an inkling of happiness, I thought of him, and just like that, I’d remember the insults and viral words he spat to hinder my self-worth.  My memory worked against me. Without fault, I’d delve deep into that feeling of worthlessness that I had grown accustomed to during our year-long relationship. I wasn’t healing. Something deeper, within me, had to change – the perception and belief in myself.

During this time, a colleague (mentor) of mine had been helping me daily in keeping me on track with staying positive, optimistic and confident. After one of many nightly conversations with him regarding my struggle, I arrived at work the next morning to find the following painted on the ceiling above my desk:

Image

This was my colleague’s gift to me.

When I find feelings of sadness, anger and worthlessness creep up due to a memory of my ex boyfriend, I look up and repeat those words to myself. That is, I take myself back to that place which my colleague calls, “the truth.”

To those that currently struggle in abusive relationships and those that have struggled and are healing, remember that you are beautiful. As words will bring you down, words can also provide you with the means to rise above. Beauty does not lie in another’s control to affirm this for you. You just are. Believe it, and you are.  Once you believe and forget that someone may have been convincing you of otherwise, you will find yourself moving forward and, fundamentally, healing. This is where I find myself right now and it’s a nice place to be. The right people, the right frame of mind and the personal self-worth that I control, are allowing me to heal.

Here is my mentor-ish affirmation for you, fellow survivors, to reference during those times you’re feeling down: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

~DIVA~

Chris xo.

Day #4: Signs of Verbal Abuse Continued

Undermining: Undermining is also verbal abuse. The abuser not only withholds emotional support, but also erodes confidence and determination. The abuser often will squelch an idea or suggestion just by a single comment.

Sarcasm: Sarcasm refers to the use of humor to mask belittling or threatening language. Thus the information is delivered in such a way so as to provide two distinct messages. The superficial message is that the intention is humor or levity while the deeper message is one that belittles, demeans or threatens. Because the deliverer uses humor to mask the message, the deliverer will try to deny the deeper message if confronted, thus leaving the receiver somewhat disarmed and unable to defend against the deeper message. Typically the person using sarcasm denies the deeper message so as to absolve him or herself from any wrong-doing and more insidiously try to infer there is something wrong with the receiver for their misinterpretation. This obfuscation of the receiver’s reality in this scenario is also a form of psychological abuse.

Forgetting: Verbal abuse may also involve forgetting. This may involve both overt and covert manipulation. Everyone forgets things from time to time, but the verbal abuser consistently does so. After the partner collects herself, subsequent to being yelled at, she may confront her mate only to find that he has “forgotten” about the incident. Some abusers consistently forget about the promises they have made which are most important to their partners.

Ordering: Ordering is another classic form of verbal abuse. It denies the equality and autonomy of the partner. When an abuser gives orders instead of asking, he treats her like a slave or subordinate.

Denial: Denial is the last category of verbal abuse. Although all forms of verbal abuse have serious consequences, denial can be very insidious because it denies the reality of the partner. In fact, a verbal abuser could read over this list of categories and insist that he is not abusive.