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.
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…
(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 and

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, 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…

(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 and 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 !!
(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 and

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. 
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 !
(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 and

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 !!
(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 and

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.
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…
I Love You All !
(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 and

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!
(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 and 

Why Nothing Gets Said – Quiet Victimization

Fear is the motivating factor in keeping one’s own mouth shut
If there is anything that I am very learned in, it is fear. When you are the intended target of abuse, when you are blamed for everything ‘wrong’ that happens, when you find yourself thinking of lies to tell as a reason why you are a mere few minutes late from the time when they told you to be home or to call, you know fear and you know it well. Never in a million years does any abuse survivor think that they will not ever be afraid again. You live your life afraid of everything and everyone. You believe that since your spouse or partner thinks and acts a certain way around you that everyone else will also think and act that same way.
Fear keeps the abused in line and in the control of the person abusing them. It is a difficult thing to have to always be prepared for an ass whipping, always be prepared for this abusive creep to do the physical body checks (yes, he really did this shit – including and all the way down to inspecting the crotch in my underwear…yes, make sure that I had not been out in the world “whoring around” as he so not-nicely put it more than once…), to check and see if you smell like men’s cologne, to see if you are chewing gum to hide what he referred to back then as my having “dick breath.” Imagine the beating I got when I asked him how the hell he knew what having dick breath smelled like and how we was so sure. I got the ass kicking of my life. I think I was 22 and I think I’d caught him smoking crack in the bathroom – and this was after we were married, at a time when I had no clue that I could have left and stayed gone and that my stuff didn’t matter as much as my 22 year old mind had told me that it did.
And they like to use our stuff against us, telling us that since they bought it for us that they have the right to take it from us. I will not ever forget watching all of my clothing burn in the parking lot of his dad’s shop, will not forget the smirk on his face as he dared me to buy more, will not forget feeling like I somehow must have done something wrong – really wrong – to deserve being made not only without even a shirt on my back, but also homeless. He threatened me and my family by telling me that he’d had a key made to my mother’s Covina house and that if I went home he would burn it to the ground with all of us in it.
Of course I was scared. I was scared to death. I was so scared that when I did finally go back to Covina, I called my cousin, Gina, who came right away and took me to their Glendora home. I was safe there from him, safe from his threats and safe from his instability.
But as all abuse survivors know, safe with family is only temporary. As we all know there is not a lot that the cops are going to do without proof that you have been abused, and without proof (i.e. scars, bruises and bloody wounds) they will ultimately tell you that you are lying, that you are the one who will go to jail because you are just being a whiny little bitch who wants her way. This is wrong. This is the travesty that is life for abuse survivors. The cards are stacked against us. We have laws in place but the laws are limited in what it is really able to do, and what it is able to do is not a whole lot. It seems like…no, it really is that we have no real protections from the people who are bad to us, and if we retaliate with deadly force, the salt in the wound is that we stand the chance of being put in prison for the rest of our lives and we are the ones who have been victimized.
It is a mixture of a lot of different emotions that we are dealing with
I can only imagine what my mother went through when she first found out that the man she’d entrusted her eldest child with was beating her. I can only think what went through her mind and since my Gracie was born I can only do what a mother who’d been abused can do for her only daughter – keep her informed, tell her the truth, let her know that not all men are creepy like her father was and is, make sure that she feels safe at least in my presence, even when he is around.
No one who has never been hit will ever know what it is like to live in the fear that we live in, and though we may be the picture of strength when we get to this point in time where I am, where we are finally fucking tired of dealing with our own pain and the pain caused by a now dying man (in my case, that is) we retaliate. Some of us retaliate with force and end up in prison for the rest of our lives, and some of us end up going out into the world and becoming and doing all those things that we were accused of, and still more of us stay with our abusers for any variety of reason, and in lots of cases unlike mine is now more of us stay because leaving brings with it uncertainty. You can leave anytime you like but the guarantee that they will come look for you is good, and if they do not find you they will use your loved ones to make you come back. I know this because my parents were always threatened, my friends, my place of employment – everything that I loved and felt I had a measure of safety with was threatened, and in your own abused mind you believe that they hold that much power. Even today there are times when I look back and I shudder because I could very well have been killed by now.
Yet now, even as there are shards of my memory and pieces of my soul which cry out for me to not do this, to not do things that I dearly want to do, I do it. I do it because I know there is nothing left to fear. One cannot live their life thinking that what one person says they will do they still can do. This is the beauty of my fractured life at this time – my old man is sick and dying. There will come a day, and that day is fast approaching, where I will not have to bother with even the tiniest amount of fear of or from him because he will be gone from this life. Gone, gone, gone! However, there is an entire global population of people – most of them women – who are being abused and who are being told that this is their lot in life. Much of the abuse goes on because of religious beliefs or because of social and cultural norms, but it is not normal to live fearfully. It is not normal for an adult woman to need permission from her husband to do anything.
It is just not normal.
Being quiet about it saves us from the shame of our reality
I need those who read this who have never been abused to please STOP with the accusatory bullshit, the saying that the reason we get abused is our fault because we won’t leave. You can shut the fuck up right now, because you have no clue of what you are talking about. You say it out of concern, I know this, and to say that you will never be in this sort of situation – well, that is not your choice, because we are all available to this same lesson. We just don’t want to believe it. You can say all you want that you would never be in this predicament, but that is irresponsible – this can happen to anyone and if you are not careful it can happen to you,too. Please stop telling them to just leave. Leaving takes time and planning and leaving means that you leave yourself open to a lot more abuse if you get found. I have been found. I was stalked all the way to San Francisco where I was readying to board a plane to Honolulu to live with my now departed grandparents. Back then it was still ok and not a matter of national security for a spouse to cancel the other spouse’s plane reservations and all it took him was for him to show his license. It is not easy to leave. You try like hell and sometimes the only thing that will make it so that you will not be abused anymore is you do as I have had to as of now (and yes I HAD TO so back the fuck up off of me already) and wait for the nutjob to die.
It is already shameful enough that we stay, but people telling us what they would do if they were us- just shut your ass up already. You have no idea what you are talking about and you end up pissing us off because without a plan you have nothing, and I would like to see YOU come up with a plan when everything you have been told will work fails you and everything that you try fails you and you end up being even more afraid of your abuser because once it is that they find out that you have exhausted every possibility they know that they proverbially win. This is the reality of what happens. Though you mean well in dispensing advice you are actually placing them in harm’s way even more. Take my word for it. Just Love your Loved one and be there for them. They need you there to listen, not judge. If you have no idea what you are talking about, and most people do not know what the hell they are talking about when it comes to being abused, then please say nothing. Again, be there for them, because they need that the most. Support is everything to an abuse victim.
If you were lucky enough to get out from under an abusive relationship then you know well the work that it takes to leave. You are afraid to do anything. If you continue to tell an abuse victim who has not yet claimed their suvivorhood to leave without fully understanding what it is that you are telling them to do, let me explain it to you this way.
You are already way afraid to even breathe wrong. You are scared to say anything wrong. You are afraid to look them in the eye and tell them how you feel because you are scared that they will take it the wrong way and again you are going to get beaten. You don’t want to call anyone out of the fear of them dialing *69 to find out who it was that you called for assistance because then what happens is that they show up at the place you went. You cannot say where you are going, and eventually you stop writing down the names and numbers of people who you still have contact with, committing it all to memory because you cannot risk the abuser finding out that you still have people in your corner, still have places that you can go to in order to be safe. You stop leaving things around like your phone book and cell phone, and to this day I am careful of where I leave either of these two things because of what happened in August of 2008.
What happened in August, 2008
It was bad enough that it had only been a month since we’d lost our home. We were broke, dependent on food stamps to feed us, and only I was working and the job that I’d held was a temporary one. The property manager wrote my name wrong on the contract for rental, and that same September we were evicted because simply put, we could not pay the rent. We’d lost our home, and on that end I knew that he was going to be a bit of an ass – I mean, I was an ass about it for sure! I’d kept contact with my friends in the high desert, and I called them all daily, hoping that at least one of them who was not April would clue in to what I was going through. I finally broke it wide open, tearfully even, to another good friend, Larry, who just listened and when I alluded to the man that I was trying to get back on track, get myself back to the desert, when I was in a full blown crying fit, he told me that I had to do what I had to do and that he didn’t think it was impossible but that I was going to have a long battle ahead of me. He was right.
I was at work the next day after that conversation with Larry. I got a phone call from John and he was angry, and threatening me, and told me that I had better get my ass home because he needed to beat my ass because the property manager had shown up for the rent. How the hell was I going to pay that woman her rent when my husband took what little money we’d had and was holding it hostage for his own use – weed? He was more inclined to give his friend the money we’d had for his weed than he was interested in giving me the money to buy food, even though that is what he was bitching about.
When I finally arrived at home from work, he was a raging maniac. He threw a coffee cup at my mother’s car, trying to break the front windshield. My father immediately called 911. The police showed up and the thing that this moron told them was that this was my fault because I had spent all HIS money when in fact I have nothing to show for the money spent but he sure has a nice wardrobe. I do, too, but mine was acquired through the freecycle and the local thrift store. When you are told what you can and cannot do, and when you want something new for yourself, someone else’s used item is new to you and you are too happy to take it. You become resourceful in the way that you get what you want. I love to have my nails done, so I learned to do them myself. I like my long wavy hair to be shiny, so I do my own hair treatments. I only have my eyebrows waxed in a salon and even that I hide from him.
Anyway, when it came down to it, and seeing as how I again had a gun pointed at me I decided that I had had enough, that I was leaving and that I was leaving with someone and going somewhere that he had no idea I was going. What I should have done was gone to a shelter, but I ended up at my cousin’s house. When I left I forgot to take my phone book with me, and he found us, all four of us, three days later at my cousin’s house. I was scared and angry and everyone who was left in my little circle knew where I was and what I was doing. April knew. Larry knew. Marsha knew. No one else needed to know.
Then I found out that he knew. And that is where the fear came back to me. Yet this event was the one event where I knew within me that I finally fucking had enough. I prayed and asked God for a way out. That was three years ago, and my way out came to me in the form of a massive heart attack and a pack a day habit that I know has turned into some sort of cancer – I know this because no one can be that angry and live this long with all those habits and all that anger. I know this because just like when you have gone blind the rest of your senses become more pronounced, and the same can be said for a person when they have been abused. Your sixth sense sharpens and you become a lot more aware of the things that you are going through and you can read people better than you may have in the past. You start to see things in a way that your mother could never imagine her child as having to see. In my case I was already empathic as it was. To go through yet more crap made me more empathic. That which was sharp already is now sharper than even I imagined it could be. Again, I have said it many times in the recent past, and I am fond of saying it a lot – when I tell you to be careful because I really do know what you are thinking, I really and truly know what you are thinking…really.
But I had to go through a whole lot to get here, where I am, and still, even at this late stage when I know the end of this story, I still fear him. I still fear waking up gasping for air and trying to open my eyes to find that he has tucked the blanket underneath me tightly enough to make me suffocate. I still have nightmares of me running from an angry bull and seeing ahead of me only a brick wall that gets taller and taller and wider and wider the more I try to run around it or scale it. I still fear him, even as he is dying, because what has a dying man to lose other than his life, right? Even as I know that it won’t happen, that my fears are misplaced, they are still there lurking, creeping around in my psyche like so many weirdos in a public park. The only thing that quells the fears and the only thing that gives me comfort is watching him decline physically on a daily basis. Knowing that his expiration date is upon us is the one thing that gives me comfort. I know that his death is imminent, that it is happening now as I write this.
There is no reason to stay with an abuser, but without help and a support system you have no way out. You must endure.
One day, though, you get smart, you get tired of putting up with their crap and you begin to utilize what you have within you to find your way out. When John got sick I got very educated about heart disease, about how long it takes for a smoker to develop some sort of respiratory ailment and how those ailments work in tandem with the larger physical issues. You begin to develop your own sort of ailment, the kind that infects the soul and the kind that makes you wait for something better.
Take my advice – start looking for your way out now. It is going to take a while to get where I am, but you will get here. And whatever you do, you leave when YOU are ready because only YOU know when it is safe to. And sometimes it is not safe to leave, so you have to look for and even create the opportunity to escape.
Never give up hope. That is what they want you to do.
As long as you never stop hoping, as long as you always keep on trying, eventually you will be shown the way out, even if that way out is to their early grave.
I Love You All …
(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 and


When we become deeply betrothed with and by another, the last thing that we ever see ourselves as when all is said and done is a Fighter
We do not choose to be victims. We do not think for a moment that what lies ahead of us is a time filled with tumult and turmoil. No mother prepares her child to be victimized by anyone else, namely not a person who that child loves. I know that my mother raised me to be proper (yeah, that worked real well, right? LOL) and she raised me to think for myself, to be strong, to be independent, but I am sure that never in a million thoughts might she ever have thought that perhaps her eldest daughter would one day be sitting at a keyboard somewhere in the great big world writing about her own experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse.
I was raised to be able to scale fences, but I never thought that once upon a time I would use that skill to run up the freeway offramp through the busy streets of Covina, through two schoolyards, through my old neighborhood, through the backside of the water district and over the barbed wire fence which separated my childhood backyard and the district tanks. I was raised to throw a punch and raised to be able to throw “ninja stars” at the trees in the backyard, but I bet that neither my dad nor my brother ever thought they’d hear of the day that I also learned to throw large kitchen butcher knives at a man who weighed twice my weight and who got really angry, really, really well, for any reason.  I was raised to run as fast any boy could, but I never thought I would eventually run like hell from the one person I thought would be, as the song says “be my real Prince Charmin’.” (Thank you Gwen Steffani) 
The Prince who became toady
EVERY girl dreams of the day when her Prince…her Knight in shining armor will show up and take her away from all her little girl life and whisk her off in to the world of never when in fact that world should be instead called “Never Gonna Happen,” because the way that a lot of our own mothers made it seem when we were growing up was that we were to marry, get a house, get a sensible car, have some kids, get a dog, live your life until your old man dies and that the way you get there is the Happily Goddamned Fucking Ever After bullshit that we are fed by the Mouse, the Goof and the Duck. Someone needs to stop making it seem as though that is the reality of it all, because there are still a whole lot of little misguided girls whose mothers are still as misguided as are their mothers, and that is the bitch of it all. We are given to the idea that this is just how it happens because this is how we are told it happens, but what really happens is that we are instead kissing a person who becomes a toad because he was already a prince, so why should he stay that way when that is not the way that he really is?
And this is the lie that is the beginning of abuse. It is the lie of omission and is the lie that is never made right. It is the lie that we live and the one that we are expected to keep up appearances with. I lived through the toadiness, through the lies of omission, through having to explain myself and my actions to people who would never do the same for me, ever, and who still don’t, and the frank truth is that I really don’t care anymore that they never reciprocated because I apparently had to learn how to stand up for myself, on my own, without anyone there to tell me that I needed someone to do my fighting for me. Interestingly enough I just finished writing my daily piece for about being able to allow a man who is better able to, to do for me what I cannot do. Yet that was about heavy lifting and changing oil and not heavy topics like having gone through getting your ass chewed for being yourself, and then getting your ass kicked for not behaving as though you were not yourself. …sigh….
Through these last two decades I have had the best training, the best doctoral program in becoming a skilled fighter, not only in a physical sense, but absolutely in a sense that is intagible. I think one of the best ways to really describe the things that an abuse survivor goes through was sung by Christina Aguilera in her song “Fighter,” and the truth of it all is that yes, abusive people teach us things the hard way and they give to us things that we could not have had them the normal way. And make no mistake – people who have been abused, whether it is physically or emotionally are not normal in our abilities to make it through a thing. We end up being stronger than anyone else we know and we end up empathic with others because we know well the thing that makes people strong is not the thing that everyone can go through and deal with. There are women out there reading this now who are at that stage of denial that I was in so many years ago when it seemed that he was only being that way and doing the things that he’d done to me because he knew no other way.
There is nothing so untrue as that – they are well aware of the things that they are putting us through, and it is not now nor has it been nor will it ever be because of something that you did or did not do. It is because of them and their need to control, their need to be the only person who you give your attention to, their need to be the one to dictate for you what it is that they need out of you but is not ever for you. I can already see the rolling eyes of those who know this man well enough to have thought of him as their friend, even if that friendship was garnered through me. There is nothing quite so damaging than being lied to, than being told that you are not all you know you are, and then to, in a big fat way, like it did for me, find out the truth of your own self on your own through none other than the toady prince.
I fought my way through tears, through anger with myself, through so much bullshit that I am surprised that I am here and not somehow out of my mind from it all. Anyone who knows me will tell you that though I am crazy, it is fun, lampshade-at-the-party crazy and not oh-my-gawd-I-want-to-die crazy. It doesn’t always happen that way. 
Sometimes, you come out the other side of it all changed in ways that you never thought were possible, at least not for yourself.
I know that I have. For real. For sure. For keeps. I can’t change back into that person I was the day before the prince who toaded out on me roared into my life in a shiny black Corvette.
I just can’t, won’t, will never. I can never go back. I will not back down.
I am a fighter now. I was made this way by all the men in my life…ok, many of them, that is. There are a few who have breezed into my life these last ten or so years who are the gems in the bracelet of my life. I Love Them like I Love breathing, and it is not for more than my seeing, through them, what a man is. A man is not someone who will lie to you, whether through omission or just through their teeth. The ones who have sauntered in have made my life a beautiful thing, not because of what they think of what I look like (although it helps lol) or because of the things that physically a woman can do for them. It is because of who I am, and they let me know this unequivocably. I am valued by them for whatever reason they may have, and they know who they are, and to them I have to say thank you all so, so much, because without you I might not have realized that the life I have lived thus far has been all on my own. I might not have known that I would not have to do very much to keep their attention, that I would not have to ask more than once to get their help. Truly you are the reason that I am a happy girl right now. Thank You, all of you. I Love You. You know who you are. My life would not be the same without you.
And it is with your unsaid and unspoken blessing, after all those phone calls when I just really needed someone to listen to me, to tell me that I would be ok as long as I just kept my head up, kept at it, that I would be fine, that I sit here now, teary eyed but not teary hearted, the fighter I am now. You all knew exactly the right things to say to me, right when I needed to hear them, and I would not change a thing about any of you, just like you would not change a thing about me.
You brought out in me by showing me what it is that he is not. You showed me the fighter that I can be, that I have been forced to be, that I have always been. And now here I am, ready for the fight of my life – the fight to be the best me I can be, regardless of what he has told me, has done to me, has shown me what he thinks a real woman is. I am sorry, but a porn star is not my idea of what a real woman is, and if that is the only thing that was ever seen in me, then you were all right – that truly is the only thing that I was to this guy and as soon as I opened my mouth and my mind, things went badly- really badly.
To the ones who choose to abuse without reason (because there is no good enough reason), the ones who think they can bully a person into changing themselves so that it suits you (and even after you have changed it doesn’t matter because they find a reason why you are still not good enough ), I have to thank you, on behalf of myself, on behalf of all those people who have been through and endured the bullshit that you people have given to us, I have this to offer you. Mind you and never forget that you created a mess I used to call “Me,” but now it is not a mess but a masterpiece in progress and one that will never be a showpiece for your own use and abuse. I always thought that you would keep me in the center of your heart, but the truth was that you expected me to keep you as the center of mine with no intention of ever returning the respect you demanded and demeaned out of me.
The vitriol that you gave to me I turned into power and strength, because the thing that you never expected out of me was the idea that perhaps, when I grew out of the need to please you, I would just continue to ignore myself and the things that I was promised by you but never got. And no one ever thinks that maybe you were just having a bad day, because there is no reason why a bad day should turn into a bad week, or a bad month, or a bad year and in this case you turned it all into a long, long bad day that just kept on getting longer and longer. 
No more! Though you still scare the piss out of me, I have learned the truth of you, and the truth of you is that you might be able to scare me still, but you will not ever be able to change me. I cannot go back to that pliable me that I was, the one who allowed you to lie to me about life, the one who lied to me about the people who loved me the most, the ones who begged me to just please listen. And listen I did, and the more they talked, the louder and more ugly you got. It seemed to me then that you were looking out for me but I look at you now and I see you for what you have always been – broken, miserable and that you do not care that you wreck people. It is the one thing that you are phenomenal at. It is too bad that there is no market for wrecking people anymore. Lucky for me, though, there is a huge market for broken people who want to be better, who want to wake up in the morning knowing that all they have been through served them and served them well. There is a plethora of hurt souls, souls who are just aching to dance, to be seen for who and what they really are. You can’t dance.
But I can. You tried to take that away from me, too, but you do not realize that you cannot take the contents of the soul away. You can hide it, you can keep it away from the rest of the world in hopes that its light won’t ever be seen, but if there is anything that movies and history teaches us, in the long run, the light always shines. The dark always stays miserably dark. You are a miserably dark person and one who will no longer try to hide my light. It is mine. You cannot touch it (or anything else, for that matter- you ruined that, too, for me, but know now that just like all else, I am sure that there is one man out there who will make it known that what you showed me in that area of my life was also a lie meant to keep me ignorant.)
You thought for a long time that my being a broken woman would make me believe the things that you told me.You told me that I am too fucked in the head for another to even bother with me, and though there is not yet another, whoever the new guy is will be lucky indeed because of who I have become. I am no longer unsure of myself, am no longer afraid to show my true self to another, and I will be damned if I am going to sit here for the rest of my life thinking that everything you said to me was from someone who knew what they were talking about. You made me pay for sins that I did not commit, sins that your stepmothers committed and you chose to put me in that same list of women who were only in it for themselves. You did not bother with the idea that even though my monetary contribution was not the same as yours that my contribution would somehow be somewhat priceless because you cannot have time back, you cannot undo the terrible things that were done to me, and thought it seems like I have lost, the truth is that I have won.
You did not give me back myself. I simply took it from you because of the two of us I am the one more inclined to turn a pile of rubble into a beautifully…mindlessly but not without a soul beautiful…reworked masterpiece called Me, and this Me does not agree with the bullshit that I went through on your behalf, not at all. This Me knows well the things needed for life and her life can do without someone telling her that she is not right, that she is not good enough, that no one will have her and that she cannot be by herself or be trusted to think on her own, by herself and without your fucking influence.
You gave me grief. You made me cry like a lost child because truly that is what I was – a little girl, and you took advantage of that little girl. You showed that little girl the monsters she shoved into the closet of her rememberances and let them wreak havoc on her. You let them try to consume her and instead of rescuing her, you jumped into the fray with the uglies, with the scary things, and you laughed while she cried, mocking her existence and making sure that you always remained the victor of the sick games you played that were surely childish but were no way meant for a child. You took the girl in me and turned her into a raving maniacal bitch, and for that there is no way to come back. It is like losing one’s virginity unwillingly, which I did, and you even used that against me as well, over and over again, until there was nothing left but the barest bareness of my very battered and bruised Self. You gave me pain and in kind the Universe gave you some of your own and it is the kind that no one can take away because Karma is a bitch like that. You treated me like a child, scared me like a child, beat me like an unruly parent beats a child simply for being a child. Life with you has been a nightmare, to say the very least. In your present frailty I still see the monster, I still know the child shakes with fear. I still hide her from you because she is vulnerable like a child roused from a bad dream. You kept me a child, a little girl for way too long…
One day, the little girl woke up from that life long nightmare and took a long look at herself in the mirror, realized that she was not a useless waste of a person, that she was not pathetic, that she was not a whore, not an idiot, not stupid. She realized that you cannot make her, that you will not break her, and that most surely, truly, she is Loved, if not by you the way you were supposed to and never did, then by her very broken but surely not conquered self.
I guess you did do something for me. The problem for you is that you likely never thought that maybe one day I would get a clue…
…well, I did…I got a clue…
And it is still very good being Me. I like me.
I don’t care if you never do. 
To those who have seen yourself in this writing, know that you are really the only person who can make or break you and that at the end of the day, even through bruised and blackened eyes, you are also the only one who can see You, the only one who can pick you up, dust you off, and make you go on to be the Fighter you have been called upon to be. 
I Love You All …
“Makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter”
(“Fighter”~Christina Aguilera)
(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 and

My Story

There should be a law (oh wait…there is one)
OK, it is not everyday that I willingly write a note on my own page but today I decided that because I am still healing from it all that I would start yet another blog and this time it is all me, all teeth, claws and attitude, and seeing as how I have become the unofficial champion, not only of womens’ rights but also the voice of those whose voices have been hushed, I believe that it is high time that I pitch a major bitch about domestic violence and the damage that it causes.
Today someone who is especially close to me had to call the cops on her nutcase of a spouse. I will not venture to tell you all who the close friend is, but I will tell you that this is not the first time that she has called the police and the police blamed the issues on her. I cannot tell any further details, but I can say that I get it. I understand her frustration and I understand feeling like salt has just been added to the wound that was already open and festering. I will not, however, say who it is. Her old man already stripped her of just about everything he thinks he can. I will not be yet another open sore that does not heal. No way. You see, when you are abused, the one who abuses you wants you to keep quiet about it even though, right now, as I write this, according to her, he is already texting away and talking shit as though he is the one victimized. No, he is not.
He, by my own thoughts about the dude, is a large and runny dump, a piece of crap who is not good enough to be a whole crap. I have been right where she is. I have told her many times that I do not envy her, that I am lucky that I will be widowed and that I will not have to go through the divorce process because I know that my old man would make it really ugly and well, he will die long before the too much money that I would have to spend on a divorce would get spent. When this part of my life is over with – and let me tell you something, the end of this part is fast approaching – I will not have to look over my shoulder to find him there stalking me like he had in the past. And yes, it was the fear that caused me to take him back, over and over again, because when you have been threatened, beaten, called names, after you have been told that those are the things that would happen to you, you tend to believe what you are told. I did. 
I was told a lot of things, by the way, things that were not true back then, were not true throughout the years, are no where near true now. There is nothing more demeaning than being told who you are that is not the truth by the one person on the planet in whom your trust should be secure and always there.  Yet, it isn’t. My trust is not in this man but in me, where it should be. The truth is that I cannot recall a time when I was able to fully trust him, and that, my friends, is just plain sad, don’t you think?
Abuse is abuse, no matter if there are bruises to prove it or not- it still is abuse
My own story is not one that I am too thrilled to tell but is one that leads me to who and where I am today. Though I do not feel that my own old man is any way at all totally responsible for the way that I turned out, I must say that I have been made stronger in a lot of ways that had he not been part of my life, I would not be the me that I am today. I know that the reason he was brought to me is because somewhere in the big nothingness called the Universe I was chosen to champion women and children.
Yet, I never imagined that one day the reason I would be that one person is because I am a survivor of domestic abuse, emotional, mental and yes, physical. These are not things or events that I much care to think about or talk about but they are things and events that I lived through. They are things and events that I lived through that not even I could have imagined the Me who I turned out to be, and I tell you what – I Like the Me who I turned out to be, but this does not mean that there are not others out there who never recover from the heartache, from the feelings of no self worth, from feeling like you will never be good enough for anyone, that no one will want you if you leave…I know how this all feels, and now, in this time of his life where he is dying and getting closer to that point in his Path I sit here, peering through tears with my jaw steeled from the anger which still bubbles inside of me.
Being abused makes you want to hurt someone because you yourself hurt so badly. It makes you doubt yourself as a woman. It makes you think that you really are ugly and it makes you think and believe that no man will ever have you because you believe what you are told. This was my reality. This is now my memory. It hurts. It sucks. It makes me want to throw up. It makes me look at who I am now. 
Who I am now makes me happy. Who I am now makes me see that there is another part of the story and makes me see that there is a sunny side to everything we go through that is marred with the grey clouds of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse must not be allowed to continue to happen in the lives of anyone. It has to stop. And there are those of you reading this who can ask “Why didn’t you leave?” and “Why is she still there?” and “Why do you bother to take care of him, Roxanne?” I bother because that is my lot in life – I am a born healer, was blessed with a depth of compassion that is unmatched by most who grace the crust of the earth, was born with the gift of being able to hone into the energies of other people, so much so that when I tell someone that I know what they are thinking, I really mean that I know what they are thinking. This is not to say that I am (ahem) “psychic,” and I don’t care to be. I am very in tune with the Universal vibration, and I am in tune with the people who mean the most to me and I am in tune with people, period. I stay out of a duty to those who have no one, and though he has a brother and an uncle, I know that I am safe to say that he could not go to live with either of them. They both have their reasons and I am sure that their reasons are as good as any. I do not blame them at all. I know the monster that he can become, that he was with me until he got sick, that any man with a small sense of self will turn into if said any man feels the slightest bit like the woman he portends to ‘love’ is somehow seen as beautiful by the rest of the breathing men on the planet. This was my life and this was the thing that I was taught about men – at least for a little while, until I started making friends with a lot of decent men who would never raise their voice, let alone their hand, to any woman. 
I am not here, though, to say anything about Spiritual gifts, not here to toot my own horn, not here to do much else than to say that enough is enough – something must be done to make the laws broader and make them cover things, things such as cops not wanting to fill out paperwork, not wanting to do their job, cops wanting to place their own feelings of hatred for women squarely above the thing that they were employed to do, which is to protect and to serve. She called them, my friend did, and when they showed up, they behaved as though she was somehow making up all the things that she plead their help for. The ones that showed up let their true colors show. They let it be known that when a woman calls them for their help they are going to not do anything at all for her and may even tell her that she will go to jail. Often I have referred to the high desert as being the Bible belt of Southern California, and no, it is not meant as a compliment, not at all. 
It is meant as my saying that there are some men who are also cops who need to stop the idea that women are just belly aching about being abused, men who need badly and to think about the reason that a woman would call them for their assistance in the first place, and who need to rethink their position on the job they hold if their own personal feelings happen to get in the way of them getting their job done. This is the travesty which is not only typical in that area but is also a reality elsewhere in the country..hell, in the world. Everyday a woman is ignored is another day that a woman is being beaten, is another day that a woman has to live in fear of a person they’d entrusted their lives with. Every day that a woman is ignored when she calls for help is another day that yet another woman has a 50-50 chance of being hit, maybe even killed. I know this because I was this. For years. Not anymore! 
What the hell is wrong with a society that allows this to continue? 
The Ugly Black Eye of Domestic Abuse
It never dawned on me until recently that the reason I am such a warrior spirit, the reason that I see not but the injustice served to women everywhere is because of my own past. I won’t lie- I was in that mode of thinking that I could change him, that I could make him see that the way that he did things in regards to me was not the best way, was not the way to make me love him, because the truth is that I am sure I was talked into that as well. (It isn’t hard to talk a 19 year old whose life is filled with dreams and her own version of what a guy with a Corvette and a Credit card can do for her…whaddaya want? I was 19) By the time I’d figured out that I’d been played by this person, it was too late – I was already the mother of this person’s children, already in debt up to my ass from a house that was ours together…I was already the Mrs. who I didn’t realize that I no longer cared to be.
I’d suffered through so much that what seemed like a travesty to me was the idea, not that I had been victimized, but that to some people I had deserved what I’d gotten because I stayed. Well, let me tell you something about what happens when you have been beaten, when you have been belittled, when you have suffered through something that came from the pit of hell that is the other person’s thoughts, not only about you, but also about every other woman on the planet. 
Men and even women who abuse their partners beat them, belittle them and it is not because of the victim (turned survivor, thank you very much) but because of their very own damned foolish selves. I know this. I thought about it for years, the possibility that what I had gotten from him, my now dying husband, I somehow deserved. I have scars that all have stories, pictures from a time in my life where fear reigned, places in me where there lives a raging voilet of a woman, one who is wild and primitive and a woman that not too many men will be able to say they know…for real “know,” because that is what happens when a woman is abused. First she doubts herself, and then as time passes she doubts herself more and she doubts the words “I’m sorry,” and “I won’t do it again, I promise,” and “I love you can we just forgive and forget?” Well, forgive is one thing. Forgetting is not something that this Pisces is good at. I did not deserve the words which were meant to break me down, and I did not deserve to be accused of having sex with strangers and friends of both genders. I did not deserve the bruises. I did not deserve the bite marks. I did not deserve a whole lot of stuff I went through. 
No, I did not. NO one does. No person deserves to have to deal with the smallness that is another’s feelings of their not being good enough, and I am sorry, but the idea that the reason anyone beats on another person is because the beater was beaten is no longer a good enough reason for me and is more akin to an excuse – a f*cking sorry ass excuse, none the less and is an excuse that no longer holds anything in it for me. I have been told the truth by other people, and my best friends – the ones to whom I tell everything and anything – know well that I am not the person who I was told by my husband I was or am, not by any measure. I am not weak. I am strong. I am not stupid. I am wise. I am not ugly. I am beautiful.
I am not afraid anymore, either. The one thing a beaten woman fears is truly not just her attacker, but the idea that somewhere inside of her is this magnificently gorgeous, sexy, awesome creature just waiting to Be, and when I get there, the world is going to know. It won’t be me roaring but more like me shining like platinum and diamonds. We should all be so lucky. We should all be able to heal as well as I have and am. Yet, we are not, not by a long shot, and it sucks to know that this me is the me who was born from all of this crap. This me is the me who danced her way back to who I really am. This me loves life. I would hang out with this me. I would sit and drink many beers with this me, would smoke many a joint with this me, would hold this me’s hair as she hugged the forgiving bowl of the famed porcelain queen we have some sort of affinity for its coolness.
I am not afraid to be who I am, yes, even in the face of what could become a dangerous situation. I am not worried that it will get that far anymore, because it has come full cirlce, back to that point in time when all that happened bears the fruit of it all and now, for the first time in my life, or at least the last 23 years of it, I see clearly the thing that has made me this way. I do not like the way that I got here, but I tell you what…I like who I have become. This is the part of the madness that no beater wants to know about, that no beater wants to believe can or will or does happen. Those of us who are abuse survivors end up this way because we finally get tired of the bullshit, get tired of being told who we are and we end up fighting back, quietly, but surely, and when we come back we come back as a stronger, more able person who turns into the fighter that no one thought we would grow to become.
Again, I like this me, the one who is kind to those who deserve my kindness, fierce to those who have earned my being fierce (and sometimes that can be a good thing depending on who it is I am fierce with) and most of all, a devious force to be reckoned with should you have been the one to hurt me in any way at all on purpose. I don’t like bullies. Bullies are the reason there are people like me, people who will fight for what it is that they are so passionate about, and I am passionate with a great big smile on my face (like the one the cat wore after he’d eaten the canary) when it comes to this me being able to stand on her own with just the help of those closest to me, no matter what their contribution to the becoming of Ms Roxanne as you know and love her happens to be.
You oughtta know
I wrestled with myself about writing these things, but writing these things was prompted by my being scooped up by a new website which is dedicated to everything woman, and I, by my own observation, have become one hell of a good woman, and there ain’t a man alive or soon to be dead on the planet who can tell me otherwise.
This is my fight, my heart, my love – to help other women who are unsure of who they are, be it by their own thinking or because of the way that they were treated by a person who told them they were loved when instead what they were being told without the words being said is that they were no longer loved but owned. 
I am the only one who owns me – not my old man. He may have thought he did for a while, but once it was that his own limited humanity kicked in and he found himself to be very much at my mercy, that changed. 
The other thing that an abuser loathes is having to depend on someone else, namely the one person they victimized the most.
Yep…it sure is good bein’ me….sure the hell is…
I Love You All !! 
*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 and

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