Sunday, April 29, 2012

Attention Hound...

...Someone once hinted that I might be an attention hound. 
I smiled. 
You see, I do have OCD (and I battle hideous insecurity, daily) yes, I am pretty sure that my OCD does gets attention.
...and I have come up out of abusive situations/where I felt too overwhelmed to even assert myself. 
...and I wrote a novel/book about overcoming dysfunction, that is selling, worldwide
...but the thing is isn't about me, mostly...I open myself up and sometimes even play the fool, to get other people to open up...if people can see that other people have overcome, they are likely to feel that they can, too. 
...that, and being bold, is sometimes a gift, sometimes a curse. 
...for the most part I am all my 2 kids and I have, to stretch resources, to stay encouraged, and to keep us going in this great big I have to willing to be I am making peace with that...


If you have ever been a doormat in a relationship...or did not feel empowered to change your destructive patterns...well, when you finally do, you are on your way to being different.
...I am different then from who I was the first time I my first husband belted me. 
...I am different than from when I felt abandoned when I left my kids' abusive dad. 
...I am different from who I was just a few years ago, when my latest husband came home and said he never loved me; but that he had only married me so I could help him raise his sons..

I sure as heck had better be different...otherwise I might still be the blubbering idiot that ever lowered my standards long enough to have settle for any one of them...does that make sense? 

I don't hate men...I do feel the abusive, selfish, immature ones give men a bad name...but mostly, it wasn't about them...and if you are struggling in an unhealthy relationship, you may find your abusive relationship isn't 100% about your's man's faults, temper or pain, is not about them all about them, it is about us.

Very few healthy, capable women get the hello knocked out of them more than once...and do you want to know why? Because they leave...if not the first time, at least the second time...and for them it is usually over...there is none of the lame, scary crap of going back over and over...and there is rarely any downward cycle that lets them choose unhealthy guys over and over...nope, because they grasp taking care of themselves...they grasp self-respect...they grasp asserting themselves in a healthy manner...

So if we don't leave immediately...why? If we go back, repeatedly...why? Or if we choose the same kinds of guys over and over again...why? 

Because somewhere in our lives we did not learn, with clear decisiveness, to care for ourselves...somewhere we got a crossed signal...and we built on it...we built our sense of self on a wrong message.

Here are some truths I am just now figuring out in life:

I do not have to be in a relationship to be whole. 
I am a good and worthy person. 
I deserve to take care of myself; and if I do not take care of myself, no one else will. 
I can learn things I didn't learn as a child and young adult. 
If someone doesn't treat me nicely, I owe it to myself, my God and my children to assert myself firmly and politely...and if they continue to cross the line, it is ok to walk matter who they are.
I like myself; so why wouldn't I take the time to take care of myself?...and even further along that same can I extend care to others sincerely, if I cannot even show it to myself? I can't.

So, when the dust settles on most unhealthy relationships...usually there are 2 people who need to to heal and get better, not just one...

If you need immediate assistance, dial 911. 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Signs to a Healthy Self-Esteem...

Signs of a healthy self esteem:

has self respect; and requires/inspires it in others; 
is calm; 
is composed; 
doesn't seek others’ approval; 
is capable and disciplined; 
knows what they like and what they don’t like; 
knows what they stand for, and isn’t afraid to take a stand; 
their sense of self is internally motivated and fed, rather than externally; 
is confident, though not arrogant; 
is assertive, though not aggressive;  
is gracious and hospitable, without being insecure or a doormat; 
they know strengths and weaknesses; 
they seek to keep good company, including those of character, integrity and manners; 
they think before the speak and act; 
they ask for help when they need it; 
they offer help when they can give it; 
they do not settle for second rate behaviors and attitudes in self or others; 
they express wants, needs and desires in a healthy fashion; 
they are quick and sincere in their forgiveness of self and others; 
they have or develop a strong work ethic; 
they strive to become a independent and interdependent; 
they set goals for short term and long term accomplishments; 
and they learn to handle both failure and success well. 

And when these attributes/traits are in your life it is not likely that you will end up in destructive cycles that include alcoholism, drug addiction or being with abusive partners...

If you need immediate assistance, dial 911. The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Social Work/Note to Self... there i was sitting across from my counselor, when it hit me...

...apparently i mostly date guys that i feel sorry for...


...maybe, it's complicated...maybe it's about wanting to feel needed...

...maybe i am scared of what a healthy, normal relationship might be like...i have been fixing people so long, that i, myself,  have become broken...

...i pitied my ex, with him raising his boys i caved and agreed to give my all...
...i pitied my ex (that became the father of my children), because he handed me a loaded gun and ask me to kill him if i wasn't going to date/marry, i caved and gave into what he wanted...
...i pitied my first husband...because of his scars, his lack of friends, his home, i caved and tried to make up for all he didn't get growing up...

...but why did i look for broken? 
...maybe because my core belief was that i was damaged, and only other damaged people would want me...

...that is a really faulty core belief...and it did not serve me well at all...
...first i did not fix anyone...and whatever good I did plant, did not secure decent treatment from them...if anything they stayed broken, and i learned to be like them, instead of them learning to be like me...

...the kicker was though, i wasnt broken...i had normal faults, insecurities and "isms'...

...these days i am learning to be ok on me...try to shy away from those who need fixing; but not because I judge them, but because it really isn't my job to fix anyone...

...this may shock some people, but healthy "self love" is good...jesus said that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves...which logically translates to it being very difficult to give love to others, if we do not have it for ourselves...lots of well meaning people bashed the book "self love"...especially well meaning christians...i heard things like that book was teaching people to be selfish and self-centered...but, that is not true...we, as healthy humans, do have to have a healthy self image, self respect and confidence in order to make it in life...if not we can become beset with a myriad of hideous alcoholism, relationship addiction and leading to things even more severe...

...i did not love, except if i was needed...such as with my first husband...he was just the first man i slept with...and it was ingrained in me that if i slept with a man i had to marry i did...
...i did not love the man who became my kids' father...his attention was flattering...i thought marrying him would get me back into my family's good graces...but he really was very disturbing and volatile...and because of these traits, i do not want a lot to do with my family because they still associate with him...
...and i did not love my ex with the three boys...i mostly just love being needed...and sometimes if you cannot have what you want in life, you settle for what you might be willing to put up with...but how good can that be if you "settled"???

...i want a guy that thinks of me first...not like a lost puppy, but just is sincere in his desire to get to know me well...
...i want a guy i can lean into when all of my "isims" go is true that i shouldn't have all of these 'isms'...but i do...

...note to self on getting to a better place:

...learn to better manage insecurities...
...for instance, i don't want a guy who is going to beat me up (mentally or physically) for where i am, right now...
...i like to be needed...but i am not a mommie or babysitter; at least not to a grown man...
...i like to dance; but i don't like the bar scene...
...i like eating out at least once a month...
...i love listening to classical music; drinking coffee; taking pictures; and watching college football...and it is not that that we have to be joined at the hip in all of our interests, but sometimes, let it be about me...instead of me catering to you all of the time...
...i want to fact, working hard right now at building two careers...if you want a clean house, clean it...if you want a trophy wife, marry someone else...if you don't like something i say, be willing to discuss it with me, or even debate it with me...but do not lay down some neanderthal type law with me and expect me to swoon...i can swoon, but will not over being told what to do...
...i want a partner, a friend, a lover...not a daddy or a warden...
...i am educated..i worked hard to become so, so do not ask me to "dumb down" or play the wall flower...instead, why not be happy that someone as smart as i am, is your partner..., courting and marriage is not social work...or at least it shouldn't be...i shouldn't have to build up, to overcome anger issues, a drinking problem or being socially inept... is supposed to be fun, relaxing...sometimes spontaneous and magical...

...and for the record, if your idea of courting is getting together for sex...and we have sex for a couple of years before we talk commitment...well, that is nuts and unhealthy...just because it is socially acceptable in our culture, does not mean that is how you build a relationship...there are just as many divorces with couples who live together, as for those who don't...and we are the walking wounded when we go from one relationship to the next, to the next, to the next...i know this from first hand knowledge...

If you need immediate assistance, dial 911. 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

...first relationship, with a side of abuse

My first husband was abusive. His name was Tom. He is currently in a Texas prison for armed robbery. 

He and I married in 1984. The abuse started less that 6 months after we married. At Tom's hands I was slapped, shoved, raped, pushed out of a moving car...among other things. 

And about how things were with my first husband, was so was like it was up on me, before I could really run for daylight...I confided in my parents...and my dad even had Tom arrested once...but there was such an emotional draw there...Tom made it seem like I was the only who loved him or believed in him...apparently the Regan household/childhood was a nightmare...and they all just coped better than was nothing for Tom's mom, Jan to fist fight those boys into submission...

So, back when things were so horrible I was able to confide a bit in Tom's mom...but I had no clue just how messed up she was and had her own issues, that were not talked incident that speaks of that, was when I left Tom once while we were living in Mobile, back in 1986...I went to live with my parents (even though my step-mother resented it)...that afternoon Tom locked our $500 scottish terrier, Sherman out of our apartment...walked to Circle K...stole a car...drove to a fancy department store, maxed out our credit cards for clothes, shoes and whatever...and started driving for Seattle...he was delusional enough to think that he could contact my mother, who lived there, to get me to come mom would have no more talked to him than the man in the moon, because of how he had treated me...but he didnt ask, he just took off...

By the time he got to Chicago, he was feeling guilty about stealing the car...left most the stuff he had just bought in it...and took off for Seattle on foot...and started calling my parents collect every few hours to let me know of this brilliant plan he had to move us to mom said if he showed up, she would have him arrested...he was hitchhiking...had no winter was a nightmare...somewhere between him being in Chicago and Montana, I had gotten in touch with his mom and given her the real scoop...she still worked for American Airlines back then...she said if Tom could make it to a major airport, she would fly him down to Dallas...only the kicker was I had to go back to him and "tend to my marriage" in I had to leave Mobile, Alabama and move to Dallas, Texas to meet him...she would help us get an apartment...and yada, yada, yada...I felt so trapped...I had no clue how messed up Jan was in her own mind, to have even suggested I go go back with Tom, after telling her what all he had already done...I caved...we ended up staying with the aunt in Dallas that had worked for the IRS for a couple of months before he and I could both get jobs...

The very first night I was at the aunt's house...she was wonderful by the way...but she had no clue what Tom was really like...well that first night, Tom closed the door, turned out the light and smacked me so hard that I saw stars and almost passed out...and said "that's for doing all of this and embarrassing me to my mom and family"...

We were in Dallas in our own place for about 6 months before I was able to finally get away from him for good...that was in 1986...(we had just gotten married in 1984) was 1988 before the divorce was final...

Part of what created the unhealthy dynamic between me and my step-mother was she is a person that cares about "what people think"...she cared more about that, than about my humiliation over all that happened with Tom, was just embarrassment for her...something she could put down and gossip about, as though she had no skeletons in her closets...

It is weird what dysfunctional families do to their own members for saving face... 

I am not like that with my kids...they have known from day one, if they get into trouble they cannot handle themselves, they are supposed to run home...not feel all alone like I is not that we can solve our kids' problems for them, they have to do the work...but we sure as heck can be supportive and loving, no matter how old they are...but especially if they are being abused...

Can be ordered on Amazon, Powell's and Tate Publishing

(Also being marketed in Internationally in countries like Japan, Sweden, Finland, Germany...!!!)

A portion of the proceeds from novel help support local women's shelters

If you need immediate assistance, dial 911.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Born to unusual, but nice, parents, Michelle/Shelby grew up rather uneventfully, living mainly in the deep south (Alabama). Later she would learn that it was her parents' love for her that not only brought them together, but had kept them together. And so life was ideal in many respects and distressing in others. Eventually though the family did scatter like leaves on an autumn morning. Fortunately she was able to extract a sincere appreciation for love, beauty, and an abiding respect for those who at least try.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

...when, there is no Arizona...

(from Facebook 4/4/2012)

"...didn't think I would ever love a song about someone lying...but "There is no Arizona" is very special to me...this song was popular the spring Jordan was on life fact the first time I heard it was a couple days after Jordan was hurt...I remembered thinking that my soul was as dry and barren as the song was depicting...someone I loved, trusted, thought I knew... had just been accused of beating my kid almost to the point of death...and we were realizing there was no freakin Arizona...these days were are so glad to have overcome..."

‎" of the things we do not do often enough or completely enough in our culture, is mourn or grieve...instead we shove it down, act tough, and defy our emotions to betray though there is any strength in being stoic...putting on a brave face is ok for a while, but acting like it never happened is insane...let's not do that each other...let's not act like it is weak to cry, hurt and mourn...because there is strength in facing life as it actually happened..."

Songs sometime have the ability to transport us to a different time and place. This one takes me back to the week of May 10, 2000.

"...her heart sinks lower in her chest..." 
...and I am transported back to a time when my son was being kept alive by machines.

You don't know who you are, or what you are capable of, until something this horrendous happens to one of your children, and you can do nothing. 

If you want to no why shelters, counselors, social workers and self-help groups drill about things about safety, getting away from abusive men, and making better decisions...its because they know that when we make decisions when we are damaged, someone is apt to get hurt...

The Bible even speaks to this, in Proverbs, 22nd chapter...

"Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest you learn his ways and get a snare unto your soul"

And rest assured there is a snare in not getting away from a violent man...he can hurt you, kill you, damage your children, so bend and twist you that you are no longer the vibrant, capable person you once were...and heaven forbid you keep going back to him...or worse find an even more abusive man to replace him with. It is called the cycle of abuse for a reason; because once it is set into motion it can be nearly impossible to untangle from...and even if you do survive what is left of you is so mangled that you barely recognize what is left. 

Why did I write "The House that Silence Bought"? gain attention? blame my problems on others? shame my family? 
Hell, NO. 

I wrote it because it is important to break the cycle of abuse before it takes a toll on your life that is nearly priceless. son is permanently disabled...and not just because some maniac crushed his skull at age 7 months...but also because of what abusive relationships had already wreaked on my emotions and confidence...and also because my family of origin was in such denial they couldn't be bothered with much else other than judgement and is years later, and they still don't fully grasp what all contributed to Jordan being disabled. 
Freak of freakin nature, people who have always called themselves family, are social with the children's father; who was the abusive man I had left just weeks before running into the man who almost killed my kid. 

Like I said, it is called a cycle, for a very good reason. 

It would be one thing if children's father had ever acknowledged his abuse, and I had processed his remorse and chosen to forgiven him. But to this day he claims he was never abusive and that I am crazy. He is a lovely human being. Of course I say "lovely" sometimes, when I want to cuss. 

"‎ take the time, those of you that have been abused to deal squarely with what actually happened...cry, shout, scream into a pillow...cry some more...feel each of your feelings fully...fear, anguish, hopelessness, anger, resentment, abandonment, rejection...whatever it is...feel it...mourn...grieve the loss of all the lies that had to be shoved down your throat in order to accept the situation...and get help...from a counselor, from God, from church...from friends...and if you are fortunate to have a a loving, emotionally healthy family, from them as well...get help...break the cycle...don't become a statistic or a cautionary tale..."

In physically abusive situations there are very few choice outcomes...death, injury, disability, annihilation and assimilation of a person's self-esteem, confidence and autonomy...or becoming a cautionary in point. 

If you need immediate assistance, dial 911. The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Friday, March 30, 2012

...greater treasures than Mega Millions...

Mega Millions was recently over 1/2 a billion dollars...
(and at the same time Powerball was over 60 million)

...but get this, a few months ago Jordan learned how to give kisses...(before it was a very hard concept for him because of partial blindness and coordination) now I get kisses everyday...he says 

"you give me a kiss and I'll give you a kiss" and he does...and so how very rich am I ???

(posted earlier...)

So sometimes I get grief about posting a lot about the novel "The House that Silence Bought", about my kids, and specifically about my son Jordan. And whatever. 

Jordan and overcoming abuse was the inspiration for the novel...some of you know that, some not. Please read the novel, we would appreciate it. I used to think that the book would be just a forum for Jordan later in his life; mainly because he has no idea he is disabled. But these days I fear he make make it to later in life. He is nearly 15; but behaves like a 5 year old. That is hard for a parent to face. But what is harder to face is that he is not growing very much. There may be many reasons for this; for instance he is on a lot of very damaging medications. These drugs not only potentially damage his liver, mess up his sleep patterns, but also when conbined seemed to be affecting his growth. So of course prayers and welcome. 

I used to wake up nights wondering what would happen to him after I died. But lately, I am scared for a different reason. I mean I do not know how  much longer I will have him. Reality says, though, that none of know how long we will have anyone that we love. 

So if I brag on my kids...especially Jordan...uhm, get over it maybe...part of it is normal mom stuff...part of it is part of framing his life...and those of us who love him, need that. 

We all spend a portion of our time here on Facebook trying to sound educated, intellectually stimulating and politically attuned...again, I for one think life is incredibly short and blessed...and what might make the world a better place is appreciating what we have, while we have it. So when you run out of clever posts, just take a few minutes and brag on your kids, your spouse, your friends...the people you love.

(Jordan ~ the  inspiration for the novel "The House that Silence Bought")

If you need immediate assistance, dial 911. 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

...spotting emotionally unavailable men...


Is there such a thing as an emotionally unavailable man?

Do some men purposely withhold their feelings, their approval and their attention?

Do the ones who do it, mask some insecurity they have about their own inadequacies? Or do they really just not feel as much as other people and therefore don't see the need for displaying their emotions?

What kinds of things make a man emotionally unavailable?

Does he has a wife, girlfriend or sleeping partner? then he is emotionally unavailable.

Is he is hard to reach; and go hours, days, or even weeks without feeling like he has to communicate? When there is finally communication, does he makes it seem like there is something wrong with you that you wanted more communication? Is there is no explanation for the lack of communication? Is there is no flow between one conversation to the next? Do you feel like things are stopping and starting a lot? If you have no idea when will be the next time you two will communicate, he is emotionally unavailable.  

If he wants you to keep an open mind, wants no labels, boundaries or definitions of the relationship, he is in fact, emotionally unavailable. 

If he doesn't want to talk his feelings, about where you fit into his life or how he sees your relationship, he is emotionally unavailable. 

So, it would be uncomfortable if your guy has one or two of these traits, but it is time to do some serious evaluating if he has all of them. Take a deep breath though, because you are not going to be able to change him. All you can do is start seeing the signs that you are with an emotionally unavailable guy, decide how to proceed, and take the steps to dissolve the relationship. But bigger than that, is you have to figure out if you have a habit of dating this kind of guy. If you see a pattern you must start changing your habit. Also there may also be a correlation between the emotionally unavailable man and the men that can develop abusive tendencies. After all theses men may reason that you knew what you were getting when you got together with them; and that their abuse was something you drove them to because you wanted something from them they couldn't give. Though not all emotionally unavailable men become abusers, but some do. The underlying issue for you as a woman who wants to develop healthy relationships, is why would you want an emotionally unavailable man either way?

I can only blog about this because I have been there. But what can you do about it? After all isn't there times when he is charming, sweet, and maybe even romantic? Maybe. But if you are starting to feel badly, unsatisfied and overtly insecure after your communication with him, it may not be you, it may be him. The insidious thing is you cannot tell if he is clueless or doing these things on purpose. Which can leave you second guessing yourself.

I have dated guys who had a couple of the traits. I also have been in the unenviable position of dating a guy who had all of the traits; and it was very hard to assert myself and insist on better treatment. Why? Because the emotionally unavailable guy will usually turn the tables on you and make it about your faults, instead of just owning that they refuse to become available to you. And if you are damaged enough, you may bend over backwards trying to prove to him that it was your demanding, needy insecure nature that pressured him and caused him to withdraw. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Emotionally unavailable guys were that way before you and will be so after you; which means its ok to leave them. It is more than ok, it is really all you can do to protect yourself.

You have a right to break up with someone if they are with someone else and they did not tell you. 

You have the right to politely ask when you will hear from them again. You have the right to expect some sort of flow from one conversation to the next. Rest assured, if he wanted to get to know you, he would make his communication steady and reliable. 

Any desire to stay away from definitions, labels or boundaries simply means he doesn't want to commit to giving you what you need emotionally; and from such, you have a right to flee. 

When the time comes to discuss emotions, you have a right not to feel like you are pulling teeth to get a healthy exchange. If you don't know if he sees you as a girlfriend, it is acceptable and emotionally healthy to ask and expect a clear, decisive answer. In fact I will go one step further, if he wants you to feel secure, cared for and protected emotionally he will provide a lot of this on his own without having to be asked, pinned down or chased. And if you do have to assert yourself, for any reason, he will be proud of you for doing so, not ridicule you or make you feel badly. 

If you need immediate assistance for an abusive situation, dial 911. 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Sunday, March 25, 2012

...have you walked a mile, in these shoes...?

...I was putting Jordan to bed tonight...and it occurred that I already have a man in my life...his name is Jordan...he will most likely always live with me, always need me around...and there may not be one man in ten million that will ever look upon him that way I how could I date a man who wouldn't? People who have physical or mental disabilities cannot help it...they do not choose to be thought of as burdens or inconvenient...they are shunned, cast aside and ignored by a large portion of the population, even by members of their own families...but you know what? I don't have to take care of Jordan, I get to take care of is a privilege and a joy...
There are few pains in life as acute as the loss of a child. I almost know what this feels like. Or maybe I know altogether what it feels like. Because while I have my son Jordan as a disabled young man, I did indeed lose my child who had been born whole and healthy.

It gnaws at a parent when their child suffers something they cannot fix, mend or make amends for...and it damages without repentance. Never mind all of the complications that came with our story; because even if no hindrances accompanied his injuries back in 2000, his injuries still would have left a gaping wound in all of our lives.

I have faith in God.  I cannot imagine what any of this would have been like to face had I not. Still over the years I have questioned everything; my faith is not perfect, merely resilient.

So in almost every way imaginable I can relate to the partial loss of a child, every bit as much as the complete. Jordan wafts between his world and ours. Sometimes he has great clarity and resolve, but mostly he struggles with making sense of the world. The poetry in is that he doesn't realize that we all struggle to make sense of the world around us. There is great joy in the fact that Jordan has no clue he is disabled.

But unlike a parent who has had to bury a child, I die a little every day in all the things that Jordan will never do, accomplish or see. Everyday I mourn for this little guy, who is so easy to love...and yet is all but cast aside. I am not jealous of those that bury their children; I am grateful for all I have in still having Jordan. All I can liken this feeling to is a sore that never heals; because we wake up to both loss and gain everyday.

May 10, 2000 is our own personal ground was the unraveling and the exposing of all faults, sins and frailties...and we get bombarded almost daily with could haves and should haves.

Jordan is preparing for junior high. Which is a far cry from the original prognosis that he would be a vegetable at 7 months. So of course we are grateful. And his charm, wit and intelligence can light up a room, as much as his limitations can suck the breath from my very lungs.

So why do you ask do I write a blog about helping women overcome abusive relationships? Because it wasn't right what happened to Jordan. It wasn't right that his own father had been abusive. It wasn't that my own family could not be bothered with us in any substantial way...but mainly it wasn't right that my self-esteem and confidence was so lacking and damaged that the best possible choices I had to make still contributed to the events of May of 2000.

Blogging about empowering women, is not about putting men down, even abusive ones. The abusive ones will meet their day of reckoning either in this life, or as part of their judgement. Blogging about empowering women is about helping hurting women to see that if they keep picking broken men, it is because they themselves are also broken.

There is a lie out there that we have to have a man in our lives in order to be complete...while that can be true, it doesn't have to be true. It becomes a lie when we, as women, put having a man in our lives over taking care of ourselves.

I wanted desperately my own father's approval, but he was by nature withholding and indifferent. So I went out in search of making my own family. The thing was I couldn't have possibly known what to look for in a man, except for the qualities of being withholding and indifferent. The more withholding and indifferent a man was, the more I worked at making him love me. Winning such a man over became a hobby, then a sport, then my entire way of life. Which left me no time for self improvement, realization or enjoyment. The only goal was landing a guy. And since I was starting out with withholding and indifferent men, it left much to be desired in actually finding a man with decent, loving or caring characteristics. With each new broken relationship came new baggage, new hurts and wounds, and eventual desolation. My first relationship abused that daylights out of me...the next relationship included a miscarriage...the next, vile sexual habits and disrespect...the next, abuse from a child...the next rape, verbal abuse, control, and threats of suicide...then came the supposed friend, who in 2000, decided it was okay to prey upon me and my two children. He abused my 4 year old daughter and almost killed my 7 month old son...and with all that I was slammed in the face with every unhealthy relationship I had ever undertaken, every flaw I possessed and every weakness that was part of my nature.

So not only were both of my children hurt...and there was nothing I could do to alleviate that pain...I had to come to terms with the grim realization that had I had a healthy self image, any confidence and assertiveness to speak of, that I would have never been in such a position...Judah, my daughter's innocence died, Jordan's life literally almost came to an end...and my entire concept of myself was obliterated...not to mention coming face to face with glaring family, if I seem a bit too, whatever...there is just cause...try not to judge...

And I will try not to judge you,as well...see because before all of this I was so sure of who I was, what I believed and what I was capable of...I was judgmental...I was critical...I was so certain that my faults could not have been as bad as other's people's. I was wrong. People smoke, sleep around, steal from their jobs, run red lights, cheat on their spouses and other things...and those things do not come close to putting them on the path of destruction that lead to my son nearly dying in early May of 2000. To everyone I have judged, I am sorry. I do not know where you are in the world, but know that what I did was out of ignorance and self-preservation. It was not my nature to be critical or self-righteous...they were traits spoon fed to me by some of those I loved most. But...I could have refused. I could have adopted compassion instead. I partook in that which I hated most, and became the same. This is part of the weight I carry. Because those that I was so sure I was better than? Guess what? Those sins that I had judged in others? Well, none of those other people's sins led to their children being abused. Or led to their son almost dying and becoming permanently disabled.

I didn't physically harm either of my children; but I was so battered emotionally, that I couldn't see what was so obvious to a healthy person.

Getting to healthy is so any relationship...even if you have to let go of the relationship to do it. That one truth, is why I blog. To have even one women make a shift before having to face catastrophe and desolation, is all I can hope for having survived this. To never have you have to walk a mile in my shoes...that is what I owe to my children, especially Jordan.

...the miracle that is my daughter, Judah...

(Jordan ~ the  inspiration for the novel "The House that Silence Bought")

If you need immediate assistance, dial 911. 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tributes to Miss Whitney Houston...

(Also being marketed in Internationally in countries like Japan, Sweden, Finland, Germany...!!!)

A portion of the proceeds from novel help support local women's shelters

The queen of Pop...and domestic abuse...

I am angry as an abuse over-comer about Whitney Houston's needless death. Its things like this that we want to lessen. It why we speak out! It is truly by God's grace that every woman who has ever been abused (physically, emotionally or sexually)...every woman ever introduced to street drugs by some loser guy...could have turned out the very same...Miss Houston was many things in life; but empowered was not one of them. That is why so many of us who have been hit could relate. 

"...imagine we are sitting in a auditorium...and I am standing on the stage, and I say..."raise your hand if, as grown woman, you have ever been slapped, shoved, punched, verbally abused, raped, coerced, intimidated with fear..." how many can raise their hands? how many would be too fearful to raise their hands? how many would be be right in the middle of such a situation? ...if situations like Whitney Houston's teaches us anything, is that it can truly affect anyone. Not everyone will "get out"...and even the bright, the wealthy and the powerful can be made weak by living with domestic violence...her marriage lasted 15 was marred by violence, drugs, fear, lies, and infidelity...and for all intents an purposes, she did not seek help...she did not get therapy...there was no evidence of follow up to her stays in re-hab...she did not feel empowered...even after her divorce, she lived a damaged life...when, will it be okay to talk about this???"

"...none of us start out as cautionary sad that Bobby Brown influenced her to his path of destruction...instead of her influencing him to the good..."
"...he is only responsible for the introduction...after that it was her...its like the work I do with 
women and abuse...she, could have asserted herself...insisted that he get his act together and follow her back to church, back to her roots...she bent...she compromised...and she lost...and none of it made him faithful, or her happy..."

I can relate to singer Whitney Houston...doing something that I know is bad for me anyway. And I have no more idea how quickly my choices will lead to death than she did. She was only a year older than I am. Strong, healthy once vibrant females are not supposed to die in our 40's. What is that would make a bright, talented, beautiful woman not know how to conduct her life? Did the drugs chip away at her? Or was there something flawed in her make up that made her compromise? One woman can take a chance on love and do all sorts of silly, stupid things in the name of love and come out relatively unscathed. Yet another can think she is taking the same kinds of risks and end up no where near where she was aiming to go. 

 "...but here's a what point are we responsible for how we influence others? i mean if we influence to the good, then it can be said that we inspired or motivated...and we can feel great...if we influence to the bad, aren't there strings left there that tie us to the situation? i think there are...Bobby Brown not only introduced her to drugs and that lifestyle, her also attempted to control and manipulate her, even to the point of domestic abuse...and unfaithfulness. no one will ever know for sure why her self-esteem allowed that...except that love was her motivation...what was his motivation? what kind of motivation must a person have to introduce destruction of that magnitude to a person's have made her feeling like she was "lacking" because she wasn't playing the game his way? her story is not like the story of millions of women who have gone before...not unlike mine. no matter our past, our upbringing, our flaws, most times when we marry a man we are looking to be loved, respected and admired...when he treats us with something other than that we are floored, stymied and even in, belief and faith in things turning out well make us stay...and go back...we see it as a mission almost to try to influence them to the good...all the while falling deeper into their pit...Whitney's story is the rule, not the exception...a lot of women don't make it out...some make it out, but severely damaged...some make it out only to repeat the cycle with someone else...I hope Bobby does feel badly...he treated her poorly...he lessened her by being a part of her life...those things should inspire change, repentance, his life..."

"..and sadder still we are if we don't think it could have been us, the same as it was her...there are hundreds of thousands of 'whitneys' in the similar situations, women shelters and in the gutter all over of this country...and part of what keeps them there is being judged, not feeling like they can talk about it...and shame...shame that is inflicted upon them by well-meaning people who have never walked in their shoes...the difference between 'whitney' and 'rihanna' is a well-meaning friend that was willing to put their money where their mouths can happen to anyone...that should keep us humble and compassionate..." 

" the stats on domestic abuse rarely change...because we need to be getting the press out on as many of these stories as we can...before someone dies...there has to come a time when no men feel the need to control and manipulate through drugs, through fear or through any means...who is raising these men? that they grow up feeling they can skirt around decency, loyalty and commitment...why was he a bad-ass in the first place? never mind why did he impose that on others? Whitney owed herself more than this...Whitney could have rallied and come up out of this? but she didn't...and a lot more don't..."

 "...the only scary thing about empowerment, is when it is not realized...a person has to believe they are empowered, to actually act, position, celebrity status cannot by themselves empower...empowerment comes from realizing internally that we have value, deserve respect and can ask for help...Whitney, despite her positives did not internally believe that she was empowered...she would have had to in order to have wanted out...empowerment is about self-esteem, confidence and healthy assertion...if those things are damaged or lacking, then the person cycles...usually without seeing it...or being able to stop it by themselves...if Jane Doe who was abused, cheated on and introduced to the world of drug addiction needs compassion, then so too does someone like Whitney..."

I have to repent frequently...for the anger I have at the people who, even in death, are judging Whitney for her is judgement and shame that keep good women in bondage to situations they should be breaking free is a shame people can be so heartless...especially not having walked in those shoes. 

Born to unusual, but nice, parents, Michelle/Shelby grew up rather uneventfully, living mainly in the deep south (Alabama). Later she would learn that it was her parents' love for her that not only brought them together, but had kept them together. And so life was ideal in many respects and distressing in others. Eventually though the family did scatter like leaves on an autumn morning. Fortunately she was able to extract a sincere appreciation for love, beauty, and an abiding respect for those who at least try.

The single greatest influence in her life was the remarkable time spent with her paternal grandmother;  it was under this influence that she thrived. Her grandmother introduced her to not only fine Literature, but also the Arts and the Opera. And it was beloved grandmother who told her that if she wanted to be a great writer she must first learn to be an avid reader.

Early adult life would be peppered with indecision, failings, and the haunting of things not learned in childhood. But as is the case with most sincere artist, out of the angst of life came a great capacity for creativity.

Shelby considers her writing a gift...a joy, a tremendous responsibility, and something that helps to define her life.
Ms. Anderson is a graduate of Oregon State University; and is also currently working on a master's degree.

She lives in very picturesque Central Oregon with her two children. 

If you need immediate assistance, dial 911. 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).