#WhyIStayed #WhyILeft

Stop

 

You can learn more about abusive relationships

and reach a trained counselor 24/7 at

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

and 1-800-799-7233.

Too many women, some just girls, are “tricked”, by their abusers, into believing that they have no choice but to stay in an abusive relationship. They are lied to, manipulated through fear, coercion and battery, and find themselves alone and afraid, ill-equipped to make necessary changes to save their own lives. Often times they don’t even realize that what they are experiencing is not “normal”.

I was one of them.

My own story is chronicled in a memoir published in 2013 called More Than Everything. It took me 20+ years to write about my abusive relationship and my voice still falters when I talk about it. For years I struggled with the pros and cons of  “putting myself out there”, with exposing the truth where darkness had lived for so long. It’s not easy laying your ugliest bits and pieces out for the world to see and pick apart.

Finally, I decided that “there is more room on the outside” and maybe I could help someone else in the process. One of my greatest hopes is that through reading my story, women who may be in seemingly hopeless situations can find the courage to get out and stay out.

I am certainly no expert on the topic, I can only speak to my own story, but over the past few days I’ve read many posts on the topic of violence and abuse. Following is one of the best I’ve seen that paints a full picture and helps explain an abused woman’s skewed thought process – posted anonymously. Here is one woman’s story:

Continue reading

When Your Waterbed Explodes

Note: This is an excerpt from my book, More Than Everything – the true story of my life on the run from the FBI. This scene takes place in Chapter 2. My husband (at the time) and I have just moved into an apartment in Fort Worth after living in Cleburne, Texas for a couple of years.

This is me (age 22) Cleburne, Texas
This is me (age 22) Cleburne, Texas

Shane’s cousin, Robert, helps us move from Cleburne and then Shane has to take him back home around midnight when we’re finally finished.  Shane and Robert set up the king-size waterbed when we first get to the apartment and it has been filling up for a couple of hours.  Before they leave Shane says he’s turned off the water, but instead of turning it off he has mistakenly turned it on full blast.  Continue reading

Thanks Mom, You’re The Best

“UGH! What is your problem? I’ll clean up later,” Heather sighed heavily as she finished lacing up her shoe and brushed past Josh in the narrow hallway of their apartment.

“But that’s just it,” said Josh, following after her. “You never seem to get around to it. We’ve been living together for what…six months? and I haven’t seen you clean anything yet!”

“It’s no big deal. Lighten up. I promise, if it gets real bad, I’ll get around to. Right now, I’m going for a run. Come on Disco.” She grabbed the dog’s leash off the hook by the door and slammed it behind her. Geesh, what a nag, she thought as she walked briskly toward the trail, a frisky 2-year-old chocolate lab leading the way. He’s starting to sound just like my mother.

Josh was still fuming when he answered the phone a few minutes later, “Hello,” he barked into the receiver. “Oh, hi Mom. No, it’s Heather…we just had another huge fight. I can’t get her to clean up after herself. She’s such a slob.”

“Honey, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that girl has some serious issues. You were not raised to live in filth. I can’t even imagine….why don’t you bring your laundry over here. I’ll fix you a nice dinner while your clothes are in the wash.

“Mom, it’s not that bad…and we kinda have plans tonight…”

“Let me ask you something Josh…is this the woman you plan on marrying?” Continue reading

He’s Mean

Most people consider weeding the garden a burden and put off the chore until the worry of neighbors talking is an even heavier weight to bear. Not Meg. Donning one of her signature dollar store, straw cowboy hats (the collection began to grow a few years ago after her daughter, Bronwyn, came home her sophomore year with one and left it behind because it looked better on mom). Now it’s a running joke between them and Bron brings a new one home almost every trip.

Pulling weeds is Meg’s therapy. Letting her mind nibble away on a worry while her gloved fingers slowly, purposefully, extract the unwanted growths has brought many creative answers to daily problems – gifts from the garden gods, she likes to say.

Today’s trouble rolling around her noggin is particularly perplexing.  She had overheard a distant co-worker in the adjacent cubicle tell someone on the phone: “…he’s mean when he gets drunk, and he’s always drunk.”

After about 40 minutes, the garden gods give Meg an unexpected answer and her shoulders drop several inches as she exhales a breath she didn’t realize she was holding.

If You Break Your Arm, It’s On You

Son, I understand that working at the family feed store might not be what you want to do for the rest of your life, but you were born into it.  Your great-grandfather started this business with blood, sweat and tears.  The family almost lost everything back in the depression, but we’ve kept it going.  I grew up in this store, stocked shelves and took inventory since I was eight.  You yourself spent all your summers here helping out.

Help me understand how you could just walk away from this legacy to cut people’s hair?  How?!  Cutting hair is a job for women, son!  Would you really want to spend your days in a beauty shop listening to women gossip day in and day out?  I just don’t get it.

Besides, if you quit working for me, you won’t be on our insurance anymore and that bull-riding will have to stop because if you break your arm, it’s on you.