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.

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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 #7: Steps Towards Healing (Part 2)

Defer responsibility: Abuse is never justified so, you should never feel that it is your fault. Do not let the abuser overpower you and put the responsibility back on them. See if they are open to seeking professional help or at least taking responsibility for the abuse.

Set boundaries: Let the abuser know how hurtful their words are and discuss with them the fact that it is unacceptable to you. Set boundaries on what you will and will not accept from your abuser. Once you have set the boundaries, enforce those boundaries. Let the abuser understand that there are real consequences to overstepping boundaries.

Seek support: Attempt counseling, either together or separately. Surround yourself with a support system of family and friends and discuss with them what is happening and how you are feeling. Seeking support will give you the strength to do what is right for you and to carry out the 3 other steps towards healing.

Day #6: Steps Towards Healing (Part 1)

Identify the Issue: If your spouse, the person you are closest to habitually, verbally abuses you and dismisses your feelings, you will begin to see yourself and your needs as unimportant, of little consequence and irrelevant. However, since the abuser is usually in denial, it is important for the victim to be the one who can identify and pinpoint instances of verbal abuse and do something about it. When you finally recognize and come to terms with the idea that you are being verbally abused you need to also become focused on getting help. Here are some steps you can take if faced with verbal abuse.

 Recognize the signs: The key to healing is to recognize verbal abuse for what it is and to begin to take deliberate steps to stop it and bring healing. Whether you are experiencing threats, demeaning language, hostile tone, sarcasm, or any other form of abuse, it disguises what is really occurring in a relationship. Underneath all forms of verbal abuse are issues of power and control. Abusers seek to gain an advantage over their victim and to overpower or control them. This is inherently wrong and can cause significant emotional and psychological distress. If you or anyone you know is in an abusive relationship, seek some kind of help and try to either remedy the situation or even leave if there is a risk of escalation.