Monthly Archives: November 2011

Nobody Hears

It is nearly impossible to get people to understand

People mean well. Those who share our lives with us want us to be happy and want us to have a good life, and this is the reason that at the same time and while they mean very well, they do not understand that every abuse victim and even abuse survivors do not need a cheering section – they need the people in their lives to at least listen to them even if they cannot fathom the reason why most abuse victims, even though they want to leave are afraid to. I know this monster very well, as this is the monster that, yes, even as the man can barely breathe without wheezing, I still am very afraid of him and it is two-fold these days, because of his health and because truly, someone who has limited time left in this lifetime really hasn’t a care in the world and truly has nothing to lose. The idea that if we run away we will be safe is only partially true. No one thinks about the idea that not everyone’s situation is the same even though everyone’s situation may have similarities.
This is not to imply that there is no and will be no escape – I have always maintained that everything in this life is temporary. There is always an end to everything, even and namely the experiences which hurt us and break our hearts, even the things that make us look at ourselves through shame colored lenses. Even if whatever happens, happens – nothing is forever except for Love. We Love our Selves and that is the  main reason why anyone who has been the victim of someone else’s abusive hand or words or both seeks relief through escape, through (yikes) the arms of another person who will give them what they never really had, through whatever means it takes, and sometimes – no, not sometimes …all the time – we end up, 9 times out of 10, emerging victorious when all is said and done.
But there are still those in between times, those times where you are in the mindset that you need to plan your escape and you need to plan to do things differently because most assuredly there is nothing that is not in constant flux when living the life that I and many other abuse survivors have been through. You do what you must in order to get away from all that is your reality. You change what is your own so that instead of it being both of yours together there is something in your life that belongs to you and only to you, and usually it is an intangible thing that you seek out because the intangibles are the things that no one can touch but are also those things that mean so much to anyone who can now call themselves a survivor. I am a survivor. I have been told already by a Kahuna that I am part of what I am calling the “Great Mahele of the 21st Century”.
According to those in the know, the Great Mahele  was meant as a means to ensure that the indigenous Hawaiians – the natives…my ancestral bloodline…would be recognized as the original landowners and made it so that they would not lose their rights to the ancestral lands. In that same line of thought I think of the current Universal climate in terms of things Spiritual as being the Great Mahele and epitomizes the idea that indeed, the meek are currently inheriting the earth and we are doing so in great numbers. While this is all fine and good, there is still the idea of the Now and the Now dictates all that is at this moment and at this moment there are a lot of people being victimized by the ones who they are emotionally dependent on and dependent not by choice but because after so long of being victimized they have come to the point where they have been worn down by the emotional batterings they have endured. This is not their giving up but is rather their letting go.
Letting Go
Never assume that by my saying that abuse survivors are letting go of their shit as meaning they are letting go of what they have been through – I promise you that is not what they are doing because you can never let go of something that teaches you as much as being the target of someone else’s demons. You never forget the first time that it happens, and you never forget the bewilderment of being both angry and intensely afraid, and you do not ever forget leaving and being found and returning to your attacker, not only to save your own life but also to keep your loved ones safe. After you have been threatened just one time and after you have been told who you are and after you have been hit just one time, in many cases, and even though a lot of victims do escape, even the ones who do escape will tell you that no matter what happens and no matter where you go to hide they find you. They find you and they promise you all kinds of stuff and then after they have lulled you into a false sense of security they begin to wear you down all over again because when you left you took away the control they had and now they are angrier and more ready to get their revenge on you no matter what. It is the eternal mind fuck.
You are never really free, either, because the memory is still there. You will live for the rest of your days with the memories of what you went through and it is up to you to do what you will with that experience. I chose to tell my story, to tell other survivors and current victims that yes, someone in the great big Universe gets it. I get it. I understand you. I know your fears and more, I know your frustrations, and many of your frustrations come from well meaning people who just cannot and do not understand why it is that you cannot leave as quickly as they would prefer that you would. I mean, this is not to say that it is never done, because it is done – I know. I have done it. And when he found me you can bet your okole that I was afraid, possibly more than I was the last time before that time that he’d found me. Every time I left, he found me. Sometimes, there is just no escape, and lots of times the cops do not care – you are not a priority until you have been beaten badly enough for you to warrant a visit to the ER.
No one wants to know or to accept that someone in their lives who they love immensely is being abused by someone else. No one wants to hear that you are, on a daily basis, trying very hard just to make it through the day without crying, without being so sad and down on yourself. No one wants to know that you are a statistic and no one wants to deal with the pain of knowing that you are going through what you are going through. They don’t want to know because they cannot rescue you the way that both you and they know you want them to, which is simply to just take you from the situation you are in. Yes, I have been taken away from my situation in the past, and everytime I left the motherfucker found me. He never didn’t find me. Eventually I got to the point where I looked him dead in the eye and told him that I would be his Grim Reaper, that I would be who would hold his hand and walk him to his grave and he has, over the last three years, made that the truth. 
No one wants to hear that you have to go through this all, but those who do not know what you go through also need to be told what you go through and they need to be educated about your reasons for being so scared. Never think that I write these things in defense of an attacker because the opposite is true. I write this shit because no one has bothered to listen to the person they care about. Yes, we know that you are scared for us and our safety, and believe it when I say that we are, too, but the reason that we stay is because before we leave, we need to have an escape plan. EVERY person who has been abused knows this and you become very adept at planning when it is that you have nothing else on your mind than becoming free of the oppressive nature that someone else brings to our lives. We do not ask for this to happen, and it bothers me that there are still a lot of people on this planet who feel that if you do not run away you somehow deserve what you are being given. To those dickheads I would like to extend a cyber-bitchslap …you haven’t the slightest clue of what you are talking about and were it you who HAD to go through what abuse victims and survivors go through, you might not be tsk-tsking your loved one. You might be asking them how you can help.
Idiot.
Nobody Hears  what is being said because what is being said is not what is wanted to be heard. Human beings are compassionate creatures and we want to know that those who we care about are not hurting, are not in a situation that they can rightly or quickly get themselves out of and surely what situation they are in is NOT their fault – no one asks to get their ass kicked or to be talked to like they are a piece of crap by a person who demands that their victim is enamored of them and them only. No one wants to hear that this person who they love so much is being hurt on a daily basis by someone who is essentially a stranger and no one wants to accept the reality that what their loved one is going through makes their loved one not but a statistic.
Nobody hears that what we go through must be bad enough for law enforcement to really do much about. There must be bruises and their must be blood – again, I know this because I lived it and I have the pictures to prove it. There is a song that perfectly describes what it is that a person going through what it is that we go through. Suicidal Tendencies is a band that spoke for the masses back in the 80’s, and in the 90’s they maestro’d a song titled “Nobody Hears.” And it is true – we talk through our eyes, the words, pouring down, and still, nobody hears. 
Nobody hears what is really happening – they only know what they wish they could do, and God bless them for wanting to do something. What really needs to happen first is that they need to hear what we are saying. They need to hear our fears and our frustrations and they need to not try to put themselves in our place because no one would want to go through what I have been through, and what I have been through is nothing near what a lot of survivors have been through and what a lot of victims go through. 
It is enough that we have to figure out how to get out of a mess that we alone did not create. It makes it harder when no one hears what we are trying to get across to them. It takes a while for an abuse victim to become a victim, and it takes longer for a victim to be able to call themselves a survivor. Nobody hears what we are saying but we want you to. We want you to be there, and we are thankful when you are willing just to hear what we are saying to you, and we are more grateful when you do not try to come up with a solution that just will not work. I have been to shelters, and I have run away more than a dozen times. I have hidden in places where I never thought he would look, and though I did not give up on trying, I gave up on doing what it is that was suggested to me that I tried, over and over again, and which did not work. 
As a survivor of physical abuse, I can tell you right now that we never stop trying, ever. We are constantly thinking, coming up with new ways to relieve ourselves from our lives momentarily. We become sharper and more quick witted, but we also know that the way we end up that way was harsh, is harsh, and we never wish this upon anyone. 
When you want to help your loved one, sometimes all you really need to do is listen, because truly, nobody hears what it is that we are saying to them. There is no one size fits all, even though the “symptoms” of abuse are the same for the victims, and even though the M.O. of the abusers are almost alike. No two stories are alike. Not everything you read or see or hear about will fit every person’s situation. I know this. I live it. There is no legal document that will stop someone who is on a mission. Yes, leaving is important and yes, needed, but leaving in haste only makes a bad thing worse.
When it comes to helping an abuse victim, it is important to hear what they are telling you because very truly, their lives are much endangered every single time they leave. Listen to what they are telling you, and get involved where you need to, but do not discount a single thing they are telling you because what they are saying is very important and absolutely is a matter of life…or death…
“When the last tear falls down, nothing gets washed away. Another plea put to rest, as nobody hears, nobody hears…so what did I do to you, that makes you run from me? Now I’m sittin’ here screaming inside myself. Don’t understand why nobody hears…” 
(1992, (c) Suicidal Tendencies, Nobody Hears, ‘The Art of Rebellion.”)
I Love You All…
…Rox…
(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. send an email by clicking this link . Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com)
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Guilt, part two…

This is the other part of the other blog that I wrote today...

Because I am part of a greater statistical whole in regards to domestic abuse I know that there is a lot that goes through our heads in relation to how we feel about things, about people, about ourselves, and the one thing that I am certain that no one ever thinks about is the idea that both victims and survivors of domestic abuse and domestic violence know very well is the guilt which is associated with our feelings toward ourselves and more, our views on our very sensual selves.

In my case, it didn’t help much that I had the equivalent of Dana Carvey’s “The Church Lady,” for a mother, and neither a protestant evangelical minister for a father. It didn’t help that my reality of what a woman was versus what I know that we are are markedly different, are nothing in relation to one another the same as each other by far. Add to this …non-knowledge…of everything that I thought was sensual versus what I was told it was by a very “me-centered” guy for a husband, and throw in some self loathing in regards to my thinking and feeling the way that I used to about me in general, what you end up with is a very strange version of the truth.

The “truth” that I was exposed to was a Biblically inclined truth and one which was very man-positive while also being very woman-negative. In the Bible there is reference after reference of degradation of the life and purpose of women as a whole, references which name us as whores and harlots and purveyors of all things “sin,” and for no other reason than because men, throughout history, have made it so that our sexuality was far more important in relation to how we feel about ourselves than was or is our inherent sensual nature.

The Sensual Nature of Women

We have been robbed of who we are and who we are has been chided, punished, reviled… When a man notices a woman’s attributes he is being a man, but when a woman chooses to use said attributes to her advantage she is a whore. This is the reality of the woman who can be called a survivor of domestic abuse and domestic violence.

We end up chipping away, slowly, painfully, all that we are, and once it is that an abuser gets it into his head that because of what a woman looks like she is going to do with her body what he wants her only to do with him, and once it is that he has decided that even though he hasn’t any concrete evidence of it, she is a cheating harlot with only his heartache on her mind. We are made to be ashamed of our very sensual nature, afraid to be what we were meant to be, and we become more aware from another’s point of view of just how dirty and nasty we are according to them and their assumptions.

Women are sensual creatures by nature. We are, by design, meant to turn heads, meant to hush a room to a dead silence when we enter into it., and we are meant to have the attention of the opposite gender. We were never meant for the attrition we are met with, by both men who would like to control us and by other women who hate us because we know what to do with all these curves. A few days ago I was told that the only thing that I use is my looks, but that is the furthest from the truth because if I did not have the forethought in my head to use what I look like to get other women to know that there is life after abuse, I could then be accused of being a brainless twit.

I used to be very ashamed of my own sensuality, made afraid of it by a mother who swore that I would burn in hell for all the dirty thoughts that men had about women and that I was no different if I chose, when the time came, to utilize what I was born with to get what I need. What every abuse survivor needs is the reassurance that she is not dirty, not a whore, not all those things that abusers will tell his or her victim that they are because of the abuser’s own declining sense of worth. We are denied the things and the thoughts that all women are privy to and it is because someone else told us that it was not ok that we felt the way we once did about ourselves, all the way down to the way that we feel toward our own sensual nature.

It is not a sin to love the skin you are in

I have always maintained, even while I was being beaten, that I loved Me. I love who I am and who I am is this evolved version of my former beaten self. I have grown into the acceptance that because I chose to believe what someone else said about me and that the only thing I am guilty of in that manner is that I chose to believe it at all. I am not guilty of being a whore because of what I look like, because of the things that I say and think, because I just love being who I am.

It is not a sin to love the skin you are in. It is nowhere near as dirty as any one man has the ability to make it. Abusers are masterful at the art of manipulation. Abusers will tell you that you are beautiful and then use it against you another time. They will tell you to be more freaky in the sheets and then when you do they end up telling you that you have cheated on them because they do not remember you learning that from them (never mind that you have an imagination and a history prior to their entrance into your life).

You are demanded to bring out your sensual diva and when you finally get the nerve up to do so, you are told that you are a whore and that everyone else in the world thinks so, too.

This is the travesty that is tantamount to all other travesties in the lives of the abused. We are made to think that we are the most important thing in someone else’s life only to later find out that we are akin to a bracelet which hangs on the arm of our attacker. We end up, after the beatings and the accusations have become commonplace in our lives, feeling guilty for things that we do not and have not done, and eventually we begin to question our own sanity because the things that we are told we are and are told we do kept being repeated to us with the idea in the attacker’s mind being only one of controlling us.

This also includes their controlling the way that we conduct our sensual nature. Our sensual nature is the Spirit within us, is that part of us that we each call our “inner goddess,” and is the essence of our truest, highest, most important spiritual self. It is that part in us that our attackers want to no longer be in existence because with it we are dangerous, with it we are human, and with it we are able to draw to us other potential partners. This is the great big fear that abusers have – that they are not the last partner or even the last person to whom we will be attracted and that we will take our love away from them. Even our love becomes a possession to them, just like we do. We are no longer human from the start of the ‘relationship’ with them. We become, at that point, a possession, like a pet, meant to be controlled and never ever to be given the right to think or be who we are all on our own.

They take from us, or at least try to take from us, our inner identity, that piece of us that can be called Our Light. Yet what is not understood by them is that our Light can never be diminished, can never be taken away because it is ours now and forever. To be ashamed of who you are according your own Divine purpose is something that all abusers work diligently on from the day they put eyes on us. They see what they want and they enjoy the package and as soon as they can have what they see they begin to destroy it. This is the main objective of abusers – to destroy, not only what they do not understand but also what it is that they do not want others taking a shine to.

I like being shiny…so should you


It is now my own knowing that my purpose for being here in this lifetime is to bring to other domestic abuse survivors and domestic violence survivors that there is no reason why you cannot shine again. It takes a little ..no, it takes a lot…. of work to regain who you are. The first thing that you need to know is that you are not all those things that you were told you were, and that alone is a battle in and of itself. Now, I do not want anyone endangering themselves because of something that was read here – that is the last thing that I wish for anyone to have happen to them. However, starting where you left off – regaining control of your Soul and its purpose – is the only place that you can start because in essence that is the reason that you feel so empty inside. You have been put through the wringer, been told who you are and who you have been told you are is not the truth.

The truth is that yes, there is one other person on the planet who you can depend on to think correctly about you, and that person is you. There is nothing wrong, should be no guilt associated with any thought that comes to your mind regarding your Self, your worth, your personal sensual nature and power. It is a gift given to us all, to all womankind at conception, that we are granted because our sensual nature is the most powerful, most astounding thing in the world, and as a whole we should be grateful to not have to work to have such a thing.

I used to be afraid of these gifts. I am not anymore, and yes, it is because I chose it to be this way. You have to choose to want to give this gift back to your Self, to accept, realize and understand its potential and its power and know, too, that the potential and the power of it are what really scare the crap out of any abuser. You feel a lot less powerful with blackened eyes and bruises, with hairline fractures and a dwindling sense of Self.

Yet, just as quickly as you think they took it from you (in truth it was a systematic breaking down of who you really are over a stretch of time), you can take it back because you never really lost it. You chose instead to allow it to be covered by the assumptions and the presumptions of someone who does not like who they are, who feels threatened that you might take you and your nature and your love away from them if you found out who they really are. No person would choose to allow someone else to take away from them all who they are, and their taking it away from you does not happen overnight. It takes time to break a person down to a point where any sort of attention and any sort of positive reinforcement coming from anyone, even your abuser, is welcomed. I know this because I was like this. I used to love when he would compliment me for my intelligence and once he decided that my intelligence was not street smart enough is when he would begin to break me down. He broke me down all the way to the bones of my soul, but what he gave to me is priceless because he gave to me the fighter’s instinct which instructs me to use what I have been given, but to use it in tiny and manageable amounts because there is no need to flood the world with my mixed blessings.

Yes, he used my own fear against me and it worked. It worked because he chose to take what was already a dirty thought in my mind and made it and me dirtier by his own design, and years later I willingly accept that the reason he felt this way is not because of what I did do but because of what I vehemently refused to do. When a man’s only example of what women’s sensuality is comes from lipstick lesbian pornography, and when said man’s wife looks very much like those actresses in those movies, you can imagine that said man is going to try very hard to turn said wife into the nymphomaniac he thinks he is watching on that screen. When he found out and had to accept that I look like that but that I am so not like those women it became his mission to try to force upon me that somehow I was damaged because I did not perform according to what his primary thought about what a woman really is. I feared him and believed that I was lacking because I refused to go against my own primal and biological leanings, and for that refusal I was called a whore and was beaten.

Yes, there was a lot of fear…not anymore though, and he knows it.

He knows that I no longer fear the gift of being sensual, and he knows, too, that there is nothing that he will say or do to make me become who he wanted me to be because who he wanted me to be is nowhere near the me who I love, who I care about, who is in love with Being and in love with the idea that all he took away from me I took back with a sensual and feminine vengeance. And that sensual and feminine vengeance is something that no man can ever have because they are not women. That nature is what draws like to like, same to same, and in my case, the old man and me are markedly, strikingly different. Our only similarities are children, an address, a last name and history, but that is it.

Be all you can possibly be, even if all you can possibly be right now is a fractured version of your Self. Any start toward who you really Are is a start toward healing, is a start toward regaining everything about you that is all yours and that no one has the right and neither the power to take from any one of us, even though it might seem as though, at this moment, that there is nothing left for you to have because you were forced to give it all away.

Go look in the mirror and past the bruises and the broken heart and see there for a moment the woman who is in manifest and learn who she is now versus who her attacker tells her she is and I promise you that those two women are not the same women. There is the you they have created through violence and hurtful words and action.

And then there is the real You.

What are you waiting for? An invitation? Go! NOW ! Go take a look and see that I am right in telling you that you have always been there no matter what the hell it is that he or she has said or done to you, even if that was only moments ago.

Go now, please, and begin the healing process. You are meant to do this for you.

Don’t be afraid and do not feel guilty.

You are yours for the taking, even if but a little bit at a time.

I Love You All…
Rox…

(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. send an email by clicking this link . Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com)dreamhost coupon


Healing your Spirit: How I raised my Self from being Spiritually dead

Just as it took time to become a statistic, it will also take time for you to heal

Those who live their lives in a constant state of fear know very well that the beginning of the end of their safety and more, their sanity, is the moment that something seems amiss in their closest relationships. In many cases, the closest relationships are not our marriages, as I found out quite on my own and with my own marriage. It took me twenty years to accept that my closest relationships were those built because of my crappy marriage.
No matter what they tell you, you totally need the support of your family and friends
When my story started twenty years ago my husband blocked me from seeing my friends, at first, and then eventually he stopped me from seeing my family. I am Hawaiian. Hawaiians and family are synonymous with each other. You cannot be one and not also be part of the other. It just does not happen that way. The first thing to be taken from you is your support group. When I met my old man it never occurred to me that he was systematically excluding people who I loved from my life for a selfish purpose, and that selfish purpose was because he felt, as most abusers do feel and believe, that he was all that I would need to make it in life. Many of them assume that if they take care of us that we have no needs for anyone else in our lives. This was what I was told, and at the time I was a very young woman – barely 21 – and I, like any young and impressionable young woman has the propensity to – believed him.
I believed that when I married him, because he said so, that I would not really need the majority of my friends anymore, and this was wrong, at least partially wrong, because sometimes we do not need certain friends in our lives. However, it is not the truth of all of our friends. Our friends are normally in our lives prior to the creep we let in to tell us how to live and who we are allowed to hang out with. 
It was not until I moved to the high desert that I met with the group of friends I now also consider my family. None of them knew what was happening until I told them what was going on. I told them that this sort of thing was happening for years, that I didn’t tell anyone what was going on because I was afraid to let people know that this is what John has been doing to me for as long as we had been a couple. I told them that all my friends from the place where I grew up – friends whom I had for years and some who are still part of my life – no longer wanted to be around me as long as he was around. This was something that just dug into my soul and crushed my spirit. I so loved being with my social group, with my pals, and when John came into my life he shuttered them out. He did the same thing with my family.
Friends are one thing, but family?
My mother, as “churchy” as she can be, is a beautiful soul. There is nothing that this woman could do that would deter me from that truth. John has always adored her. However, when it comes to my father, John hates him. He also hates any male cousins that I have, cannot stand any of my female cousins unless they are easy on the eyes, and do not get me started on the spouses and significant others of any of my female cousins, because according to him they all want to do me, all of them. 
I mentioned that Hawaiian is synonymous with the word “family” and because of this whenever it was that there was a family gathering, the longer that I was married to him, the less I saw of my cousins, and this really tore me apart. It is said that our cousins are our first friends, and in my case this was the very epitome of my childhood. I spent a whole lot of time with my cousins, namely the ones on my dad’s side of the family, which is a group that John despises for whatever reason it is that he has. I was used to them being with me, and when he decided that he did not like them because they did not rank high enough on his level of what he felt was good enough for him and not me was the moment that I was no longer allowed to see them as much as I had in the past, and eventually, I never saw them at all.
They were hurt and angry with me, but there was no way that I could tell them about what was going on without also giving caution to the wind and hoping upon hope that he would not figure out that I had spoken to them at all, ever. He hated them for his own reasons, and none of them were valid. Most abusers will tell you that the people who you love are stupid, are not worth his time and that you have to choose between your friends and your man. I tried choosing my freedom, but somehow he was always able to come back into my life, and it was through his systematically crushing my spirit so that he could eventually control me and my life.
Without your support system healing the crushed spirit is almost impossible
A truth that I was exposed to was something that I never saw coming. This man made it impossible for me to have a social group to return to. I was bullied constantly about them, told that I was just as stupid as they were but that my saving grace was that I was beautiful and that apparently “saved” me. He said a lot of terrible things about them all, and I eventually agreed with him and it was for no other reason than that I could no longer bear the pain of being told that I was just as stupid as they were and that if I wanted to be with them I could go with them.
The bitch of it all was that I bought into it. I thought that if I just agreed with him about his thoughts about me and the people who I still loved that it would bring us closer, but it didn’t. What it did do was reinforce for him the assumptions that he’d made about me, about anyone who knew me before he did. I still think about it all and am sad at the idea that I allowed him to do this and to have that much control of me. He did what he did because without anyone else in my life my attention would be all his, and just like anything else that happens to be there constantly in your face it becomes something that you want nothing to do with. I wanted nothing to do with him anymore, but he was always right there, in my face, telling me that I loved him and that no one else would love me like he did. What that really meant was that, according to him, I needed no one else because all I needed was him. I needed no girlfriends to talk to (because they were all “worthless cunt whores”). I needed no guy friends (because all they wanted to do was have sex with me). I needed no contact with my family (because he and I were married and now he was all the family I needed). To him he was more than enough, but that is not the truth.
Having too much of one thing is never a good thing. Eventually you get tired of that one thing. This is something that does not hold credence for those with abusive tendencies because to them anyone else in your life is there to make them no longer be in your life. And they are right – if anyone who loves me knew what he was doing when he started doing it he would not have been around for the beatings to start, which, in most instances they normally do. Abusers want to keep you to themselves so that they can force you to be someone you are not. I never thought of myself as being anyone’s trophy, as being property, but in the eyes of some men once you take on their last name they somehow own you. This is what he’d told me.
It was at that moment that I could feel the effects of my soul being stolen, of my spirit being crushed by the weight of his assumptions and abuse. 
It was at that moment that I had lost my zeal for life. I felt as though I no longer had a soul.
How I came back from the dead, so to speak
It took losing everything we materially owned and his having had a massive two sided heart attack for me to have been forced into looking at me with my eyes wide open. I thought about everything that led to the point of his heart attack and thought to myself that he deserved this happening to him because of all the things he’d done to break my heart, to crush my soul and to try to change me. There was nothing that I could have done to make him stop being who he was, and who I had become was someone I knew I was not happy with being. I knew at that time that things occurred as they had for a myriad of reasons, but because I am highly spiritual, I also knew that it was my turn to return to who I am. These losses and his ailment were my ticket back to being me. And yes, he completely hates that I no longer am willing to take his shit. He hates that I am strong. He hates that one of my very best friends is a successful business man who is not hard to gawk at. He hates that my best friend is someone who can totally relate to my life. He hates that I am healing nicely, thank you very much.
It took a heart attack for me to realize that all those years that he ‘d picked on me. beat on me, threatened me, called me names, and the like, were meant for me to finally, one day, return to who I really am. Who I really am is not someone my husband much cares for because who I really am is not this shut-her-mouth-or-get-her-ass-beat woman and in fact I am the very opposite of what he wanted me to be. I found out that through spiritual practice, through my own choice to return to My Self that I never went anywhere and that I was simply hiding and waiting to Be again. All the things that I loved doing and all the people who I loved being with suddenly showed themselves as my having a second chance at loving and doing all over again. Never again would I allow my fear of this person be what ruled me, and I am not sure if it was because I knew that his heart attack was it – it was the beginning of the end for him because he is a slave to his habits.
I enjoyed dancing and teaching dance, and I enjoyed writing my books. But I enjoyed taking the time to see my friends, and I enjoyed hanging out with my cousins, and most of all, I began to enjoy being me again – loud, boisterous, outrageous, and yes, beautiful Me. It was like the rebirth of Ms. Roxanne…in fact, I know it was. I know that his heart attack was from Spirit, was a gift from the angels, as sick as that sounds. I’d always vowed to him that I would be the Reaper in that I would walk him to his grave, and that is exactly what I am doing now.
A long look…
I took a long look at myself in the mirror one day, about a week after his heart attack while he was not yet released from the hospital, and looked deep into my own eyes in the mirror and started crying like a child. Sometimes we need to cry like a lost child, or like we are in mourning, in order for us to reboot and start where we left off many months or years ago. We have to come back to the heartache, to the thing that made us the way we ended up, and we have to allow the tears to flow because the tears tell us that we have come so far and in so short a time that we had no idea that the pain for another is the healing for ourselves, and not in the ah-HA!You-Deserve-this-you-fuck kind of way. The pain for the other is that we are still very much alive in our spirit, that our spirit never died but went to sleep and the Love within us was covered up so that no one could get to it or hurt it.
The way that we start the journey back to ourselves is simply to take a good look in the mirror and see there what is missing, and we find out that not only is our support system gone by his hand, but he was trying to take us away from our selves as well. This is the epiphany that survivors of domestic abuse and violence in the home all end up knowing – that he was trying to kill my soul so that he could own me. He was able to cripple my soul but kill it he could not because he does not have that kind of power. No one has that kind of power.
You return to your self and you heal your soul through knowing that they were not ever dead, that no one can kill the soul because the soul is eternal. He killed the ego in you so that his could be fed. I loathed being paraded around like a show pony, later to be treated like a whore and then the next day put through it again until there was nothing but me and my big bottle of Patron Silver. This is how my three kids were conceived, and this was how I made it through being the show pony trophy wife living in the private country club community, and this is the way that I was able to rationalize and make “ok” the things that he’d said and done to me over the years. 
Yet the booze was not the thing that healed me. I knew then what I know now, and that is that I am not an alcoholic, that I am not weak, that I do not defer to acts of self hatred and self mutilation. I still enjoy the occasional evening filled with knocking back shots and beers, but these days it is because I want to party with my pal Wendy or because my best friend just so happens to be tending bar the night that I am visiting the place where I am returning to the moment that I am widowed…
We return to who we are and become healed through self truths and NOT through our forcing ourselves to believe the things that our abusers tell us are the truth. While the things that we are told by them may in fact be their truth, even as sordid and sick as it all may seem, it is never our own truth. We are the ones who Know for sure what our own truth is.
My own truth is that I am beautiful, not only on the outside but more so, on the inside, and that the people who I draw to my life are as beautiful. We only draw to us what we are, which is really great. It also explains the reason why he is so repelled by me and me by him…
Take the time to look at you in the mirror and know the truths that are held by that stranger who is staring back at you. I promise you that she is the one with all the answers…
I Love You All !!
Rox…
(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. please contact her by clicking here . Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com)


Emotional Abuse : When and Where it all starts

Cultural and Familial behaviors contribute much to the lives of those victimized, and none of it good!
I am finding that for a very long time I was and have been the target of much emotional abuse which sometimes led those whose care I was left in using brutal means to ‘correct’ my less than desired behaviors. This is not something that is new and this is not something that is not generationally accepted behavior.
This is, however, something that needs to be stopped…like, NOW.
Emotional Abuse begins in childhood
It is no secret that I Am a woman of Polynesian decent, specifically Hawaiian decent. All my life I was taught that it was normal behavior for the adults in the lives of some (not all) Hawaiian children to threaten physically painful means for correcting behavior that was and is considered as being less than acceptable. For me to have heard that if I got out of line that I would be disciplined with a belt or a wooden spoon was normal, was something that just was ok and typical, and unfortunately, was somehow acceptable. Not only was I brutalized by one person in particular (a caretaker…we will just leave her name out of this for purposes of not stirring up anymore animosity within the familial circle), but that it was ok that this person threatened me, allowed me to cry in fear for my father, and more, thought it was ok because it would toughen me up and make my skin thicker is somehow the way that a lot of children in my culture are raised – with fear instead of understanding. I could be wrong, but in talking with other hawaiians about this, I find that I am closer to the truth than not. It is a sickness, really.
I am sorry, but how the hell is it that a child between the ages of two years old until ..well…UNTIL whatever age…supposed to know the difference between being abused and being disciplined if the adults in her life are making it ok to pick on her, to hit her with a belt or a wooden spoon, to allow their own kids to mess with her endlessly and to call the wrongly named abuse “discipline”?
The easiest answer is SHE ISN’T, and that is a huge reason, at least in my own story, why, for many years, I have just assumed that the man I married would stop hurting me. He stopped the physical abuse, but there is still the issue of the emotional abuse, and I am living proof that emotional abuse is not something to be ignored, is very real, is very damaging and takes a blot of patience and time for one’s own Self for the survivor of it to recoup their losses, including and especially their very own self-identity. For many years during this ‘marriage’ to this …guy…I thought and believed that the things he’d said to me were really meant as being constructive criticisms, but they were not. As time went on I found myself doubting me, doubting his feelings, and doubting, period. The words were not constructive, but they were criticisms – harsh criticisms. They were hurtful and they made me cry. His words broke my heart and shattered my Spirit for years, and even in this, the last days of his life, he manages to be an ass about a lot of things, and I know now that the reason anyone is the way that I turned out and the reason that anyone finds themselves in such a situation for as long as I have been is because to those people, being emotionally abused is (yikes) normal. Being emotionally abused, I find, has been going on throughout my entire life and likely has been going on for generations before I was born. 
Normal
One definition for this word is “of sound mind and body.” There is NOTHING normal about being awful to little kids just because you can be and just because you think you have some sort of strange omnipotent power over them because making a child cry out of fear is like shooting dead fish in a child’s sand bucket- not that hard to do. Children, it is said and believed, are our most precious resource. Children remind us of our own vulnerable nature and children are storehouses of creativity and imagination. It breaks my heart when I think about how many children are being hurt emotionally by family members, not just sexually, and it is all because in some cultures it is normal for this sort of thing to go on without any boundaires and allowed to continue unchecked. I am all for disciplining children, and really, I have no problem with giving a spanking to a child if and when the need for it arises, but there is a fine line between abuse and discipline.
My mother disciplined me.
My caretaker abused me.
This is the distinction between the two – one was done out of a need for me to stop being an unruly and less-than-disciplined child, and the other was out of a need to control me, no matter the physical and emotional cost to me. And the caretaker was not the only one who emotionally tormented me. Both grandfathers did, three of my mother’s brothers did, some of my cousins did.
Because it was normal and accepted in my family to just keep a stiff upper lip and not let a tear fall (because we would be threatened with more ‘punishment’), I followed suit with the rest of the kids because I was so damned scared.
I was scared that they would not love me, and I was scared that I would be abandoned by them, and I was scared, period. What is really bad is that I carried that fear with me into adulthood and ended up marrying a man who would be able to hone in on that fear and use it against me for his own need and gain. He compounded the problem. I always felt and sometimes still feel like I am not good enough and it is totally because to this day he still tells me these things. He still tells me that I am a useless, no talent wash out who no man will ever have because I am also a whore. I still am told that I am worthless and pathetic. I still carry that fear of not being Loved or accepted, but these days it is not he who I care will Love or accept me, but it is everyone else who this pounding fear exists for. I used to fear that I would be left in the dust, so to speak, by my friends. I used to fear that the men in my life would also be abusive to me because apparently if it were alright that my spouse did it then it should be ok that others do it, too. 
Hawaiians are known for our brute strength and our size. I am not your typical Hawaiian woman in that I am not “thick.” I am tall, thin and athletically built. The person who was my caretaker as a child was and still is a thickly built woman. I recall being terribly afraid of her, to the point that I would voluntarily hide in a hallway closet and pretend to be playing a game of hide and seek with her kids and my imaginary friend, Gabby. Sometimes I would be in there until my father came to take me home, which would be hours and that was ok by me. I was safe in the company of the sheets, towels, blankets and “Gabby'”.  I grew up very needy for the Love and affection of others, and I always felt like I was somehow not good enough for that Love which made me think that I had to beg for Love, beg for acceptance, beg for the things that normal people just get to have. I was different. I was strange. I saw things out of the corner of my eyes that no one else did and instead of telling me that I had a wild imagination, they instead told me that I was a liar, that I was trying to get more attention that I did not deserve.
Even now there are people with whom I share DNA and a set of grandparents who probably still think the thing that they told me I was when I was younger – an attention whore and a liar because I am too sensitive. I am not too sensitive. I am also no longer letting them tell me what is normal. I know what is normal. This way of being is not normal. Scaring the hell out of little kids – not normal. Disgusting, but oh SO not normal.
They were terribly wrong, not only about me, but about how I was treated, how my cousins, at least some of them, were treated, about so many things that they just made out to be right and acceptable because that is the way that they themselves were raised. If I had known differently, had known that I did not have to go through what it was that I went through, I would not be sitting here today championing survivors of abuse everywhere.
My Mission in life, I am finding, was carved out of the fear that I experienced as a little girl and that fear carried on throughout my lifetime. It is of little wonder that I ended up this way, ended up with who I married, and I find that the things that I went through were also done to my very own mother by the very same people who’d done it to me. If these things were not done to her then they would not have tried to do to me what was done, I would not have gone through it because it would not have been normal to her. 
Of course, my dad’s dad was as abusive toward us, but it was never normal for my dad, no matter how long he’d lived in Hawaii – it was not ok for my grandfather to pick on me, on us, ever, and Dad made it known to him. When I was older my baby sister called me when the old guy was visiting to tell me that the old creep was saying some awful stuff to her. I understand now that the reason I was there with a swiftness was because I did not want Napua to have to endure the same level of abuse I had by that man.
We do not realize the level nor the severity of abuse that we endured as children by the adults in our lives when we are children because we are told that what we are experiencing is normal and acceptable behavior. Anymore now I know the difference between discipline and abuse, between what is OK and what is so, so not. I think back to the things that I have gone through with and for people whom I no longer have contact or a desire to be in contact with anymore, and I know that the reason that I put up with John’s nonsense all this time is because I have been abused emotionally for the bulk of my almost 42 years and that throughout my life I have been emotionally abused, making his cruelty normal but totally not acceptable. 
We cannot allow this to happen, the acceptance of emotional brutality within the confines of the family just because it is and has been generationally accepted as normal. We cannot make it anywhere being ok for adults to talk to children as though what they tell them will not be carried on with said children throughout the bulk of their little lives. The world cannot afford to continue to turn out children who end up being afraid of everything and mistrusting of everyone in their lives, because in doing so we allow the monsters in the closets of our minds to wreak havoc and run amok in the world through the people who were once emotionally battered children. I come from a culture which is simultaneously rich with beauty and love as well as the harshness of abuse and addiction,a culture which keeps silent the thing that is accepted as being discipline when in reality, when left unchecked, amounts to the emotional brutalization of generations of children who grow up and for whom said abuse is normal and accepted that way.
No more, I say!
No more threatening children with the boogeyman visiting them in their dreams at night if they do not listen to their caretakers, because when that happens it is automatically the caretaker who becomes the boogeyman, the monster who refuses to stay in the closet. We cannot allow this to go on, and it is not just because it is not ok to scare kids into doing what we want them to, but more because if we allow it to go on unchecked we will willingly be raising another generation of victims of domestic abuse and violence.
And we all know what happens to those victims who are not given the opportunity to see things as they really are and truly should be…
Those victims end up, many times more than not, victimizing people, too. I know this, because the piece of garbage my spouse used to call “Dad” is one such…rather, was, thankfully, one such victimizer…thankfully he is gone, just as his namesake is on his way to being, too.
I Love You All !
Rox
(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. please contact her by clicking here . Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com

Words Hurt

Words don’t leave a mark you can see
I am a writer. Words are how I make my living. Words mean everything to me, even as they are intangible. Words, I know, are very powerful. Words can also hurt us like no fist to the eye can.
The intangible bruise
I have been called many ugly, hurtful things, things that have made me cry like a baby for hours and things that have enraged me to an impossible height. No one thinks about the damage caused by the things that we say to each other, and when it comes to the point where we hear ourselves defending who we are against someone who says that they love us, I become the jungle cat on the keyboard like nobody’s business.
Some harsh words for those who use their words to hurt those they pretend to Love…
There is nothing like having to defend one’s self against someone whose vocabulary only includes words that have no more than 5 letters at the most.  You people sicken me. You behave as the things you say are somehow ok because they do not leave a mark. They do leave a mark, and the mark is in the form of the memory of your angry face, you clenched jaw, the pulsating artery that bulges when you get in our faces, screaming obscenities at us as though your being loud and obnoxious somehow makes your point clear to us when instead what you are doing is simply and only making a fool of yourselves. This is for all those people who have made someone else hurt because of you, and yes, this IS truly how I feel about anyone who is willing to be anything less than kind to someone else, namely your betrothed and every female, young or old, who has been handled less than kindly by the man in their life.  And of course, it is for that one person who still feels that he is better than I am…
You want to believe the things that you are saying. You want to think that she really is a whore, or perhaps that she is having sapphic adventures with her best girlfriends, or that she really is screwing herand your  best guy friends, or that she actually is the cousinfucker that you think she is, but she is not. You are a disgusting person. It bothers me that you have the capacity to think thoughts like the ones that cause you to say that you do not believe her when she tells you that she has been faithful, that she would love nothing more than to hang out with you but can’t because you act like a moron when she is around and you act like you are better than she is when in reality you are not. In fact, you are so not better than she is but you sure do think that she is better than you are – in fact, you believe it, because if you didn’t you would not go to the lengths you have and the lengths you do to make the person you say you Love feel like shit.
And I know a thing or two about feeling like shit. I know what it is like to defend myself against accusations of infidelity, and I know what it is like to have to try to make a reason for whatever it was that I did or did not do to have to deal with your bullshit. It is not ok for you to call anyone the names that you do. It is not ok to call a woman a whore when she is not. It is not ok to accuse someone of lying when they are not. It is not ok to be an asshole just because you feel badly about you and always have. That you would bother to make it a big deal is one thing, but that you would do so with the expectation that you would be taken seriously is quite another. There was a time when what you said would be the thing that dictated her next move…every move…but you forget one thing, buddy – even this shit is temporary. 
You demand respect but refuse to give it. You accuse without having facts and it is you who lives on just the facts, man. You tell her that everything that she says is an excuse but when it is your turn they are not excuses, they are reasons. And your reasons for brutalizing her verbally is because of your lack of brain capacity. You cannot hold on to a thought that is good about her – you think you own her, and you do not own anyone, not even your self. You want the world to fear you and that is because you are afraid of everything. You are probably even scared of your damned self. 
You expect that people will bow to your own perceived greatness, and then you refuse to see the greatness in others while trashing the one you say you love and everything she’s about. The things that charmed you now are the things that you use against that lovely woman, the one you say you love, and you would rather she change to suit your need and your obsession with your fucking self that you have even taken pains to make sure that she has nothing left for her. You want to change her so that you will be able to better understand her, but you make no changes yourself. You want her to reveal to you everything she is, and you want her to be a whore in your bed and you want to have the right to call her one when you think she is out of line. Where it is that you think you have her where you want her is also the same place some other guy WILL have her, and you will be helpless to do anything about it. 
Your words have crushed her to any and every end. Your accusations have caused her to mistrust you and your careless nature has made it so that she has to hide everything from you – all the way down to hiding her purse so that you do not steal what little she has left for herself. You check her cellphone messages and erase the ones from the people who you don’t want around her (mostly men, and women with weight problems) and you talk to her pals as though they are scared of you – they aren’t. You are only scary to that one woman- the one who you keep on hurting and the one who has always been there. You tell her that she is worthless, that she is stupid, that she is a whore, that she is a cunt, that she is everything that she knows she is not. You tell her over and over, and then you expect her to be grateful that you are still in her life when in reality all she wants is for you to be gone, forever. 
Though you believe that you are right, that you have the right to say what you will, what you are not realizing is that she is saving herself from you one day at a time. She is building reserves of inner strength, and she is enlarging her circle of friends, and she is making her own way in the world without you. If you knew what goes through her head and you found out that you are not the one who is her priority anymore, you would want to kick her ass. And that is why she remains quiet. That is why she has stopped having words of anger and hatred in return for you. That is why she simply smiles while trying to hide the hurt and the tears and that is why she says nothing to you that you needn’t know. It is because she has come to depend on herself. She has grown closer to other people, including and especially other men, and it is because she has to relearn all the things that she thought she knew because of you through other people – other male people, and it is not a bad thing.
She is out there in the great big world not staying put under your thumb anymore. You can say whatever it is that you want to her and she will just rebound without going on the rebound. Because of you and your bullshit she has learned how not to talk to people, she has learned how to Love others and most importantly, she has also learned what is NOT Love. She knows that Love hurts but not the way that it does with you. She knows that you will use your charm against her when this all “blows over” and she knows that you will expect her to be as kind and loving as she always has been. And she will be, but it will all only be because in the back of her head she also knows that there is an entire other group of people who Love her, who want to be with her, who will let her be herself and that she will not be called anything but her name for it. She knows that you are not the last man on the planet who will have her and she knows, too, that on said same planet there is another man who is just aching to make all her pain go away…and she wants him to make her pain go away. 
You deserve every little bit of pain you are now feeling, and it is not a mistake that you are having chest pains, that your head seems to sometimes feel like a railrod tie has been shot through it, that you cannot breathe and that you seem to be drinking more and more anti-acid (baking soda and water is not as safe as you think it is, Mr Heart attack). These are the things that are born of anger and hatred, and these are the places that you made her hurt physically, and now you want her to hurt on your behalf more, but the thing is – she refuses to.
She refuses to allow your smallness to become the thing that rules her life again. She refuses to allow your words be what make or break her. She has allowed all of your friends into her world and now they are her friends even as they are yours. They will never see you as you want them to because to them you are now a woman hating wife beater, and you will always be. You tell her that you served your time and paid your debt to society, but you have not yet paid your debt to her because you feel that jail time was enough.
Jail time is not enough. You should be made to wear a sandwich board that is emblazoned with the words “I AM A PANSY ASS” in only your dirty, holey underwear and to walk over the 15 northbound freeway overpass at Bear Valley Road over the New Year’s Eve holiday weekend, when everyone is taking off to Las Vegas, and made to do so after it snows, while singing “Don’tcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” loudly, with a bullhorn even, in front of little kids who will hurl snowballs with rocks in the center of them, and you should be made to do so on that holiday weekend Friday, during the daylight. 
And even if you did do this, it would mean nothing and would not be nearly enough to make right the things that you have done and said to her. You have shamed her, made her shun her own family, and you have told people lies about her.
Meanwhile, she has been there, watching your every move, hearing your every word, and quietly making her every plan, and you know what, asshole?
None of those plans involve YOU! 
…he he he…
Yup…damned skippy she’s got plans…(right, April? LOL)
I Love You All !!
Rox…
(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. please contact her by clicking here. Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com

From Victim to Survivor

One day it just happens…we begin to heal
I can never forget the day that the victimization of Ms. Roxanne started. I was such a young woman – only turning 22, and my life was turned upside down by a person who promised to love and to cherish me. Well, he did, like a child loves and cherishes a dog until it becomes unruly or takes a dump on the floor. That is when the “fun” began.
Being victimized by someone in whom we place our trust, namely with our safety and totally because we believe that they have our best interests at heart, makes a person begin to question the things they were taught and brought up with. I believed that I was somehow entitled to a happy marriage and a marriage that would mirror my parents’ and my mother’s parents’ did. I dearly wanted, or at least I thought I wanted, to spend my happily ever after with this person, this stranger. The things that I have learned over the last two decades have served me well in the areas of strength and tenacity, the areas of compassion and understanding. I have learned what it is to feel so helpless, so without any measure of hope and I have learned that it is not tangible things that are meaningful, but rather and only intangible things. People are both tangible and intangible. I was cut off from contact with people, with my friends and with my family, and I was told for a long time that I did not need them. He was wrong.
The one thing that is the most important to any person being victimized is access to support, and there is never any sort of support that ever comes from the person who is abusing their victim. They just keep on hurting you and they forget eventually that the person they are beating on is a human being, is someone who cannot figure out why the person they love so much can claim to love you but who will treat you like you do not deserve to be treated kindly. To them divorce, or at least I have been told, many times, is akin to failure, and in my case my long dead father in law was a serial monogamist, having married more than a few times, and every one of those unions included a measure of abuse and violence. It was evident to me with his last spouse, a woman who had gastric problems due to the stress that I know she was subjected to.
And we can tell who else is being victimized. We can see in others the things that are also part of our own lives. It is like Hawaiians knowing who is Hawaiian in a crowd – we just know our own kind. How sad is it that in this case, abuse victims know their own kind? How sad is it that we are aware that there are other people – mostly women people – who are living in a hell not of their own creation? How sad is it that there is not more being done about this problem and how sad is it that there are generations of children who have been subjected to an angry parent beating on the other parent? This is a travesty, a tragedy, and it is like any other disease that goes unchecked. It spreads like wildfire. It is like no other silent killer, because the other silent killers you do not get to know about until a doctor finds whatever it is that is making a person sick.
The worst part of it is that this is a silent killer that is preventable, that people know about because of our here-today-and-maybe-I-will-see-you-in-a-year-or-five presence on occasions and in places we used to frequent. We try like hell to keep it quiet, to cover the bruises by wearing too much make up and long sleeved blouses, to force a smile when instead we are trying hard to force the tears to stay inside of our eyes. We go through so much, deal with way more than most do, and in the end we find that no matter what has happened to us we are able to deal with it. In fact, by the time that you get to where I am now in this process of healing that has taken this damned long there is not a lot that you cannot deal with. Of course, you will be impatient with people, and you will question everything and everyone, and yes, of course, you become choosey as hell, constructing your own family of friends very carefully, all the way down to what sort of man or woman you will choose to trust and who that person will be. You become sharp intuitively, far more than you realize you were before you started getting all those weird little hints and hunches that spawn from the center of the Universe. You begin to see in people the potential for change and you find something that you have not seen in a long, long time – your Self.
Eventually…
It took me some time to get used to the idea that this was a dilema that was not soon going to end, and in my case, with this person I married, it has taken this long for me to finally let it all go, let it all be what it is and learn to accept the idea that I am now a statistic. Though it has been some time since the last time that I was attacked physically, I still flinch when he raises his voice, and I still see that same damned raging bull, still cannot climb over that wall that widens and gains height with every single try I make to get around it. When I remembered that the animal was only in my dreaming state, I was able to breathe. When I woke up from that dream I knew that the thing I waited so long for was upon me, and it was suddenly a good day.
It is much a dream state that we end up in, the survivors of domestic abuse. In my case I was shattered and felt like somehow I was the one who was wrong, because if you are told that you are wrong enough times, you begin to doubt yourself and second guess everything you are told by anyone, even your closest friends. I dirve my best friend crazy with my habit of asking her “are you sure? really?” and even as she gets it, she shouldn’t have to even tell me that she is sure, that yes, really, whatever it is that she told me is the truth. We tend to not believe people, and it takes time to really know who you can and more, who you cannot trust.
But eventually, you grow into the idea that you made it through it, all of it, and if you are lucky, you have grown a thick skin but are still soft enough in heart to be able to have some empathy toward others, namely those who bear the expression that I know I did. You can only hide a broken heart for so long. Eventually people begin to ask you what the problem is. Eventually all that sadness becomes rage and eventually you begin to become destructive to the point where you are knowingly hurting yourself. I took a lot of crap from people about why I was not standing up for myself, and in order to mask the pain of no one understanding I drank. I drank like a fish. I drank like a fish until my oldest child was in utero. Then I started to smoke, and take bong hits, and then one day, through a drunken haze, I cried like a baby.
I cried because my Self was now treating my broken heart with alcohol. and I cried because I felt so alone and I was lonely for my friends and for the companionship that I was told marriage gives you. Sometimes, I still cry, but these days, it is because I am homesick, but being homesick is easy to fix. Being beaten, being abused verbally, being the target of an angry man’s vitriol and feeling vulnerable to his attacks is not an easy fix. In fact, it is one of the most difficult to overcome. 
Yet overcome it, I did, for the most part. I am, as I said already, a lot stronger because of what I endured. I would not go through it again, though, I promise. 
These days…
These days I find myself loving me for who I am. These days I find that I am able to choose my friends because I like them and not because my husband thinks that my friends and I have to match in terms of what we look like because he has some sort of weird level of attractiveness that my friends must have in order to pass his muster. Those days are gone, gone like so many bruises and so many hairline fractures and so many tears of anger and frustration. 
These days I have found a voice and it is the voice of the masses who cannot talk for themselves, who are scared to say anything because they do not want to suffer the arrows of anger shot at them from a person who says that they love their victim, who have given up hope because everything they know as normal is no longer a part of their lives.  I am that voice. Mine is the voice that cries to the heavens, angrily demanding an answer from the Gods of attrition and hate, of pain and heartache, of disappointment and loss, and I am filled with defiance and rage for a society which ignores the many cries in the night, the cries that ask not why they suffer and neither when they will stop, but rather why it seems that no one loves them. This is what we are told, that we are not loved, that no one wants us, that we will never be loved again and that we do not deserve love.
What no one knows,though, is that survivors of abuse learn a measure of self love that is unmatched by anything, and that Love becomes the vehicle through which we choose to profligate our own corner of the world with. Where once there was pain is now the scar that tells us we have healed. Where once there was mistrust for all there is now in the void those people on whom we leaned when it seemed that no one cared. Where once there was the unrecognizable person staring back at us from the mirror’s reflection through blackened eyes and bruised cheeks and split lips there now stands one who has become the epitome of the Warrior Spirit whose soul is big like the sky and whose Love is endless, for the family who they created with their friends, for life itself, and most of all, for the Warrior who stares back at them, the blackened eyes gone, the scars from the past presented but seeming more now like accessories than evidence of a life unbelievable and unfortunate. I was a crying mess earlier today. I am not that crying mess anymore, and though I cannot forget the reason that I cried, I know now more than ever and more than anything else, what my purpose is. and it is a good thing. There is truth to the idea that I am a diamond in the rough, that my life has only now begun because for so long I was not awake with the passion and the fire that I now have, the sort that is not quelled by someone else’s doubts, not put out by the waves of mistrust and the ocean’s worth of smirky snickering that erupts from this man who thinks so highly of himself.
He thinks highly of himself, I am convinced, because he knows that no one else does and no one else will, at least not after all those people who he conned into thinking that he was somehow the greatest guy alive, the most affable guy they knew, now also know that he has this ugly, dirty sin – the sin of abusing his wife…me. My friend…best friend…said something today as she ignored the foolishness of the ass she married. When her ass hat asked her if the person on the phone was married, she answered “no, he’s dead…” I will not go further with the rest of the conversation, but something, at that moment, clicked in me. She was right – he is dead, not yet physically, but emotionally and spiritually. That is more dead than physically dead. 
I am yet a work in progress. It takes time to heal. I know, though, that though this is the beginning of the end of this part of my life, of the first half and the first marriage, even through the death of my abusive spouse, it is also the beginning of the second half of my life, my second chance and is my chance at making a difference in the lives of abuse victims and survivors everywhere.
It is good being me….I Love Me…
…and…
I Love You All !
Rox
(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. please contact her by clicking here. Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com)

Downright pissed off

Along with the fear is the Anger
Anger is something that comes and goes in the life of someone who has survived being victimized. Never think for a minute that the schoolyard bully grows out of their penchant for picking on people because not all of them do or even want to.
Raging and Permanently Injured Goddess
Throughout the course of my life I have been referred to as many things, most notably I have been referred to as an “angry goddess,” and while that is a cool thing to be thought as, the way that I got this way was not so goddess like. I endured a whole lot of stuff that no one should have to. While I get it when people say ‘you should have left’ or ask “why didn’t you just stay gone?” and I think my most favorite thing to tell these people is to screw themselves because unless you have had to endure it, you cannot say what is best for someone else and yes, although we are in a lot of danger while still in the presence of these brutes, we are more endangering ourselves when we leave and try to stay gone.
You can never know peace if you are constantly looking over your shoulder, looking to see if in the fray of unfamiliar faces there will be the one face you would rather not see. I know that I am probably pissing a few people off, but I am sick to death of covering up my husband’s sins against me and ultimately, at least in my own mind and in my own thinking, the legion of brutality loving idiots on the face of the planet, but I probably no longer care and I am sure it is because of the fact that no one bothered to even try to see the side of reason, which was always mine. 
Being brutalized does something to a person. You become mistrusting of everyone and anyone who you do not know. You start believing that there are no good people left on the planet and then one day you break down in tears, wondering why it is that God would send such a person into your life and when said person is going to be gone. This was my prayer and my query to the almighty God above for a lot of years, and I recall, too, being alone and cursing at the ceiling through angry tears, wondering why it was that God left me all alone to fend for myself. It is enough that you are being told to leave, and enough that people think you are some sort of moron for staying, and there are a lot of people who will even get mad at you for not having the balls to turn around and look your attacker in the eyes and tell him to go fuck himself, and that is not exactly the sanest idea either because an already violent person has the ability to snap and go from being Jeckyl to Hyde in the blink of an eye. Again, although the idea of leaving seems easy enough, it is anything but easy.
You get angry, eventually, angry enough to contemplate other uses for kitchen cutlery, accidents that could happen if you just knew where the main battery cable in the golf cart can be put so that when he’d start it he would fry to death, but then you just give up, realizing that watching them die that way is not the greatest idea because you would end up in prison for the rest of your life over someone who would not do the same for you. You get angry at yourself because you cannot believe that you did not see this shit coming, and when you started feeling a little bit perturbed they noticed and held you in an even tighter grip, never letting you out of the house, not even to get some air. You end up feeling like your life has been given to you because somewhere in time, perhaps in a past life you must have done something really, really bad because no one would ever choose to go through this. You think so many thoughts and you come up with so many different ways to get out and you start planning.
You start packing boxes and sending them to whoever it is that is left in your circle who will still talk to you, or you send them to your grandmother’s house, or your auntie’s house, or you just forget about them like I did all those times that I left. He always found me. He always knew where I was. Sometimes he followed me. Yes, part of being victimized means that you will be stalked, you wll be harassed and when you are found, you will be scared, at first, and then you will be angry. That anger never leaves you. It dies down a bit and becomes tolerable, but always you are on your guard wondering when the hell you will be able to smile for real again. It seems like forever and a day, but you eventually do smile.
My real smile began December 20, 2008.
How God made an angry goddess smile
It is sickening to me sometimes, but in a deliciously and delightfully sinfully wonderful way I get a little giddy when I think about all of the things that took place from July 2008 until December 20, 2008, which was the day that the man I married had a massive two-sided heart attack. I say giddy because I knew that he was going to go through quadruple bypass surgery but also that he would only do so because he felt it might shut me up. What would have shut me up was if he had just not had the surgery. Yes, that is bad. I know it is bad, but there is nary a soul who, after having read my story thus far, and more, who has, themselves, gone through something as horrible as being the receiving half of a union which becomes marred with the cuts and scars of domestic abuse, who will be able to blame me for the way that I feel right now. 
There are some reading this right now who are muttering to themselves “I told her to leave. I told her to kick him out,” and while their sentiments and their care is received with Love, it is also a mixed feeling. Not all abusers are the same. Some are more violent while some are not violent at all and who are more prone to speaking to their victim in an abusive manner. 
I got a taste of both, and to this day this moron seems to think that because they are only words being spoken that those words do not affect me. They do and they don’t. They do because I know that he says them just to be an asshole, but they don’t because they are words spoken out of complete vitriol over what he himself lacks as a human being. While he chose to take the time that has passed since 2008 to find everything and every reason to no longer want to live, I chose to take this time to evolve into something he never thought I would be able to…
…a Bad Ass Me…
Take my words however you will, but I earned the right to call myself a Bad Ass. I earned the right to be this angry, and I earned the right to say what I have to. I earned the right and am entitled to having my say so because for a very long time now I was only picking the scabs off of the wounds left by the shards of my shattered and broken self when instead I should have been ripping the scab off so that the wounds could heal and leave the scar and the memory. 
I am not a large woman, but I am a very angry one, and one whose time has come to let the world of survivors know that you are ok in being angry, that you are ok in thinking that what you have been through made you more bad ass than you can ever have claimed to be in the past. A lot of people in your life, and probably more who are no longer there because of your attacker, have probably had a lot to say to you, probably told you that they were telling you off because they cared, and while them caring about you might be true, they can never ever know what it is that you singly know on your own. While we do not wish this sort of thing on anyone else, there are times when I do wish that those who’d told me to get out while I could would have been there when I tried, and more, when he’d found me, because it was always the same…at first he was nice and I was still scared, so I left with him just so that I would not have to find out if his threats on my family and their home would be made true…and then a few weeks go by and he is at it again, starting with the yelling and the getting in my face…then the pushing…then came the biting that left scars, one bad enough for me to have a small tattoo put over it that has to be redone because it is fading and though no one else can see the scar, I know it is there and it will fuck with me if it is not somehow made no longer visible…then came the slapping…the kicking…and eventually the closed fists…the blackened eyes…the bruise on my back as long as my spine from my neck all the way to my lower back…over and over and over again, and then …I left, again.
When you live your life at the mercy and the will of another, and when you weigh, in comparison, next to them, but a-buck-o-five soaking wet, you pretty basically have not a lot of options other than to come up with another plan to leave, a plan that you know will be temporary because of the threats made to you on the lives of your loved ones. It is an ugly cycle that never ends unless and until you wake up one day and start to implement the plan to leave. A plan to leave does not need to be elaborate and it does not need to involve your loved ones. You can leave on the sly, like I did more than one time. But never forget about where you told them your family lives, all of them, because I thought I had a great plan. I thought leaving to be with family in Northern California who would help me get to Hawaii to my grandparents’ house would be easy. It wasn’t. When a man loves a woman he will go to the end of the earth for her, but when he thinks he owns her, he will go even further than that. 
When you have to go through this much and you have to deal with what you have been given, you begin to see that you are far smarter than you ever thought you were, and you start thinking beyond what you normally would. You come up with all sorts of different plans and most of the time you will try them all, and hopefully, one of them finally works.
And when you get to where it is that you are safe and can be yourself again, you begin to see yourself, I mean really see who you are, and once again, you like who you are. You can see that you are angry, hurt, gnarly pissed off, because I know that I am, and I know that I have been, but I earned it. I got my heart broken and my life shattered, but now I get the chance to redo it all, all over again, without him, and I like it. I figure that if I can deal with his sorry ass all these years, can endure the harsh words and the beatings and the threats of brutality and the threats on the lives of my family, I am pretty sure taking the world by the balls and making my part of it my bitch should be a cake walk.
Whatever you do, don’t tell anyone your plans. Just make them. Be careful and execute them.
…because it is nice being thought of and referred to as a Goddess, but it ain’t easy being an angry goddess
I Love You All!
Rox…
(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. please contact her by clicking here . Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com) 

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