Stop Making Excuses…

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I came across this gem on Instagram a couple of days ago. I like it because it brings humor to a very serious issue. I find all too often  women, much more than men, make excuses for the way their significant other acts. And this very issue is at the heart of an abusive relationship. Bottom line is that nobody, man or woman, should ever verbally, coercively, sexually, emotionally or physically abuse you. There is NO excuse for people who are abusive. These are some of the excuses I made for my ex boyfriend:

  • “He’s really tired, I should have had dinner ready on time.”
  • “He just had a serious concussion, he’s still recovering.”
  • “He just got fired from his job, it’s only natural for him to take it out on me.”
  • “He’s working way harder than I am, I shouldn’t have brought up that issue that was bothering me.”
  • “It’s selfish of me to go out with my friends when he can’t because he’s so busy.”

 

These are only a few examples of the excuses I made for my ex. I made these kind of excuses every day. What are some of the excuses you previously made for you ex? If you are currently in an abusive relationship, are you able to recognize the excuses you are making for your partner and what are they?

Happy Tuesday

~DIVA~

xo Hope ox

Is It Friday Yet?

Upon waking up today, I asked myself “Is it Friday yet?”, immediately a sense of guilt washed over me. Why am I wanting time to pass me by? Time is both precious and limited. There are so many blessings in my life, I don’t think I could count them all. Learning to live in the now is one of the fundamental elements of yoga and meditation. Living in the now leads to increased self awareness and appreciation for where YOU are in your life (and at this very moment) now. It leads us to be more thankful of the many blessings that we take for granted daily. Since moving to NYC a little over a month ago I’ve only taken two yoga classes… I think it’s time I reconnect with my mat and practice living in the now.

~DIVA~

Xo Hope

The Voice Of Confidence…

The past six months have been SUCH a journey for me. Six months ago I was living in Montreal with by verbally abusive boyfriend. I didn’t have a job, I had VERY few friends; I felt isolated, depressed and lonely.  I spent the majority of my social time with my ( now ex) boyfriends family members, especially his mom.

The day I left my ex boyfriend, I went back to Connecticut to live with my parents. It’s been a challenge. I’ve been here for 6 months practicing yoga, going to weekly therapy sessions, and soul searching…LOTS of soul searching. My goal was to heal and find work in Manhattan…

I just accepted a job offer in Manhattan. And my mind is going bonkers! I’ve been taking the time to listen to my mind, body and soul to make sure that everything is in sync. I have gone through SO many changes in the past 6 months, it’s mind boggling. I don’t even know how I did it… My tenacity never ceases to amaze me.

I’ve made it my life’s mission to listen to my heart and go for whatever it is that I want and need. I’ve done it time and time again throughout my life and because of it I am a strong, wise, and resilient young woman who has learned many of life’s lessons early on.

I can tell you that today I am so proud of myself. Proud of the growth I’ve made while being in Connecticut. Proud of myself for doing the (sometimes agonizing) work that I needed to do to move on to the next chapter in my life. Most of all I’m proud that I let myself feel every emotion necessary in order to get over the man I tried to save by being his doormat, verbal punching bag, and catering to his every request.

Thank you for all of your support, encouragement, and kindness  I feel so lucky to have such an amazing virtual support system.  Your comments and “likes” have gotten me through many of the off days I’ve had. Today at my 430 Hot Baptiste Hour of Power class, I will be dedicating my practice to each and every one of you. For love, happiness, healing and strength. I found it within myself and it’s there, inside you, waiting to be nurtured.

Namaste

 

~DIVA~

xo Hope ox

The Initial Signs

My ex-boyfriend and I had exchanged stories regarding our most recent break-ups when we first met. He told me that his ex girlfriend had broken up with him because he was “too negative” – BIG surprise there!  He seemed so charming and supportive; “negative” just didn’t make sense to me at the time.

However, there were lots of little signs that I didn’t pay attention to because I was infatuated. The key in identifying an abusive individual is being able to hone in on those RED FLAGS at the beginning that might predict escalated abuse in the future. I remember reading the following list months into my relationship, when the verbal abuse had peaked, and I had then put the pieces together. All of these signs were present even at the beginning, just to a lesser degree:

  • He seems irritated or angry with you several times a week. When you ask why he’s mad, he either denies it or tells you it’s in some way your fault.
  • When you feel hurt and try to talk with him, the issues never get resolved. He might refuse to discuss your upset feelings by saying, “You’re just trying to start an argument!” or claiming he has no idea what you’re talking about.
  • You frequently feel frustrated because you can’t get him to understand your intentions.
  • You’re upset—not so much about concrete issues like how much time to spend together, but about communication: what he thinks you said and what you heard him say.
  • You sometimes think, “What’s wrong with me? I shouldn’t feel so bad.”
  • He seems to take the opposite view from you on almost everything, and his opinion isn’t stated as, “I think …” but as if you’re wrong and he’s right.
  • You can’t recall saying, “Cut it out!” or “Stop it!”

Excerpt from: The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Patricia Evans. Adams Media Corp 1992, 1996, 2010

Get to know the person you’re dating VERY well. Be curious, ask questions, see how they respond, make note of their inclination to address any topic – are they genuinely forthcoming or do they simply blame their ex’s for failed relationships in the past? Are they coming on too strong?  This could be a sign that they’re trying to control and take ownership of you. Are they constantly speaking highly of you and very lowly of others? They might be idealizing you and this will lead to constant criticism down the line. Full-fledged verbal abuse takes time, but the signs are there right off the bat.

Always respect yourself, speak up when you’re being mistreated and trust your gut. DON’T settle! Once I’m ready to date and start a new relationship, I’ll be taking my time, making sure that respect and healthy communication are priorities for both.

~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:

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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 #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.