You Are Getting Divorced?!?!?!?

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe she is getting a divorce. Ugh. Anybody can be married to anybody else if they just work on it. There has to be more she can do to make her marriage work. I doubt she is doing everything she can possibly do to make it work. I just know she is giving up. my 19 year old self thought as my coworker walked by. The news of her newly divorced status rumors of the work place. And I meant it. I judged her harshly without even knowing the reason or truth behind the separation. Without even bothering to ask, to care, or give her the benefit of the doubt.

Six years ago today I found myself walking into a woman’s shelter, and walking out on my husband for good. I felt it was the best option for both myself and my 12 month old son. I ate my 19 year old words as I began the long divorce process.

I went from living in my own home, having a house to entertain, to decorate, to make my own, to staying in a women’s shelter for three weeks, with a dozen of other women and their children coming and going, and then renting my parents basement.

I went from being married, and having a companion, a person to share my life, dreams, and hopes with, my challenges, stresses, and difficulties, a partner to get through the ups and downs of daily life with to going it all alone mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. Being the only one to put my son to bed, or take care of him even when I’m sick or tired or don’t feel like it.

I have made the choice for myself to only have sex within the bounds of marriage, and loosing that part of life has also been a challenge. I do miss the love and intimacy that comes from a sexual relationship with my husband.

And yet, my life is happier and better now than it would have been had I stayed. I sometimes wonder what my life would be had I stayed. How many children would I have? What kind of relationship would they and I have with my family? What kind of job would I have? Where would I be living? What car would I be driving? What kind of abuse would I be experiencing? What state would my marriage be in? That alternate universe I am grateful I can do no more but daydream about.

The lessons and things I have learned because of my divorce and the healing process are painful, beautiful, educational, and irreplaceable. It is a journey I would have never placed myself in, and a journey I am forever grateful I have had.

I love listening to podcasts at work, especially Joel Osteen I want to share a quote from it with you that gave me hope:

“In life we all experience times of loss or have situations where it feels like something has been taken from us. Sometimes it is because of other people’s choices. Other times, it is because of our own choices.

God is a God of restoration. With powerful scriptures such as Joel 2:25 “I will restore the years that the locusts have eaten…” And Psalm 66:12 “We wet through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance,” you will feel hope knowing nothing in life is ever wasted. God can make up lost time. He will bring you out better off than you were before if you trust Him and develop a restoration mentality.”

Year later when I left my husband, my 19 year old thoughts echoed back to me in the form of words from another concerned person. “Are you sure you did everything you could? Don’t you thin you could have tried a little harder?” I did do all I could I tried harder and longer than I needed to. I made the right choice for myself, and my son.

My story is not over. There is still so much for me to do, I do want to be married again, to the right man, in the right time. I want to help others who have gone through or are going through divorce and/or domestic violence. I pray I will continue to learn the lessons I need to learn, and help the people I need to help right now as a single mom. Sometimes I feel I need to be at a certain station in life before I can make a difference, then I am reminded it doesn’t matter where I am or what I do and don’t have, I can be a blessing in other people’s lives now. And so can you.

I urge you to share your own story, teach others the lessons you have learned. Reach out to those who stand in need. There is much you can do, right now, as you are, to help others.

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Crawl

I was writhing on my bed, the ache in my heart was so deep, it pulsed pain through my limbs and back again, moving my body against the sheets seemed to soothe the hurt. Tears gushed from my eyes, blurring my vision and flowing red hot down my cheeks, my nose was so full of mucus I could hardy breathe, the sobs rocking my body and exhausting my lungs as I let them cry out from my mouth. My room was dark and cool in my otherwise silent house, such a contrast to the hell I was feeling, my head seemed full of chaos and my skin felt like it was trying to crawl off of my body.

I felt like a complete and utter failure. Heavenly Father, I pleaded, Why do I have to go through this? Why couldn’t I have just married the right man in the first place? I try so hard to be a good person and do what is right, I am a good person I try my best to do what I have been asked to do. I just want to be married to a good man, to have more children, to create a happy family. Why do I have to go through this?!?!

Sometimes it is the pain of not knowing, of not understanding of trying and failing that hurts the most, and when the time is right, offers the sweetest victory.

In my journey to heal and grow from being in a marriage where I experienced domestic violence, I have learned a lot of hard truths, like we are the creators of our own life, and we bring into our lives the experiences we have. I still am expanding my understanding of this, and for me, I believe I have discovered a bit of why I allowed Domestic Violence to be a part of my life.

Part of it is because I have always been a people pleaser, I learned this technique as a child, when I did things like clean my room and do my chores, my parents were happy, when I did not, they were angry, it seemed simple. My actions made other people happy or angry.

I have had challenging relationships with men in my life. My grandfather sexually abused me as a little girl, between the ages of 4 and 8, my dad, while he loved us dearly seemed to always be at work and has never been the physically affectionate type, my brother was six years younger than me and we spent little time together, I grew up away from most of my family and so did not have uncles or cousins (male or female) to play with. All of these factors culminated in me being very uncomfortable around men. To this day I still have to consciously allow myself to not back away from men and not distance myself from them. It is an ongoing challenge.

I did not date in high school, primarily because I think I must have had this giant don’t come near me vibe going on. So when I met my ex, two years after high school, he became my first ever boyfriend. It felt good to have a man in my life, and to receive that love and attention we all long for. In retrospect, I see I was also giving off this vibe of My job is to please you, and I do not know who I am, you can tell me what to do. Little wonder I ended up in a relationship with just that.

Now I have to make an effort to change my thinking, to change what I want in life and out of a relationship. It isn’t easy, as with all things worth while, it takes work. I still have failures and I still have heart aches, and I still keep going.

Every morning I say this out loud, I wrote it to help remind me how amazing I am and to retrain my brain. Some people call this kind of affirmations or declarations. No matter what you call it, I just know it works.

I am amazing. I am worth fighting for. I am worth making sacrifices for. I am worth being in a relationship with as I am right now. I am worth marrying. I am worth spending time with. I am worthy of gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, appropriate physical touch, and quality time. I being told I am beautiful. I am being spoken highly of by others. I am being supported in my role as a mother and a future wife. I am happy with my present and my future. I am strong. I own up to my own problems and work to improve my life. I love my son and I am grateful for how amazing and smart he is and his potential. I parent him well. I am confident in my ability as a mother and future wife. I am knowing my ex has no effect on me, our son, or my marriage. I am giving it myself freely and unconditionally. I feminine and embrace both my feminine and masculine energies. I am good at causing men to see, feel, hear, and know what an amazing woman I am right now.

These are the affirmations/declarations I need for me in my life right now. I suggest you get some for you. Feel free to adopt from these the ones that work for you and change and update them as needed.

Also, I suggest checking out Co-Dependent No More. It is a great book to explain co-dependency and learn how to change it.

Legal Ease

I was walking down the sidewalk, alone, heading for the parking lot. I had just spent the afternoon in Juvenile Court. The Protective order my husband had filled against me on behalf of our son was still in place. The only restraint being that I was refrained from harming or threatening to harm my one year old son in any way. Easy enough. I just wished they had taken it off my record. I had to do a psychological evaluation and go to court ordered therapy first.

“Brandy?” I looked at the tall, thin, blonde woman approaching me. My mom has done in-home daycare my entire life and this was one of the former parents. She had gone through a divorce a few years back and her daughter was old enough that she no longer needed daycare. What were the odds I would run into her here? “Oh, hi.” I replied, my brain beginning to turn, “Actually, I’m really glad to see you.”

In the process of her divorce, this woman’s ex husband had gotten a really hard core lawyer. She fought tooth and nail to gain more custody of their daughter, and her ex’s lawyer saw to it that she did not get that time. When she found out I was going through my divorce, she suggested his lawyer to my mom for me.

People choose different lawyers for different reasons. The lawyer I currently had was amazing at what he did. He had done great representing his clients…. in criminal law. He knew little about family law and had actually borrowed one of the books from me I had picked up on divorce. I chose my lawyer based on money. I had little of it at the time. I got a discount on certain lawyers through work, and his name came up. It had been eight months since my divorce process began and I was seeing few results.

This woman had told my mom months ago about her ex’s lawyer who she referred to as “a barracuda in court”, and warned my mom that she costs a pretty penny. I had no way to pay for this lawyer, so I chose to stick with the one I had. I knew that my husband would be a pain to battle in court (all said and done it took 3 1/2 years to get the divorce final and another 5 months to sell our home) I was beginning to think this pricy barracuda was worth it. I remember actually praying saying Heavenly Father, I know I need help with either lawyer I end up with. If I keep the one I have now, I will most likely have to do most of the research and work, if I get this other lawyer I’m considering, I will need help paying for her.

When I saw this former daycare parent I knew it was time to change lawyers. All she knew was the lawyers name, and I began my research, trusting that a way for me to afford this lawyer would come.

Three months passed.

I was driving down to meet with my new lawyer for the first time. It had been a year since my divorce process had begun, and nothing had changed. I remember driving down snow ladened streets in my clunker car hoping and praying this change would be worth it.

I had been able to arrange a loan through my parents to pay the $5000 retainer. Since then I have paid thousands more to my lawyer, I have been blessed with a way to pay every time. It has been worth every penny. I like to refer to it as “paying the bigger bully to fight my battles.”

I know for me, God, the Universe, Spirit, what ever you want to call it was on my side, leading me and guiding me in the direction I needed to go and providing me with the means to survive my divorce and afford a lawyer.

I know how scary this process is, and there were so many times I remember being afraid and uncertain and filled with anxiety. And I got through all of it. Every moment one moment at a time. Even when I thought there was no way.

Trust yourself, you know more than you realize, trust your higher power, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Here is a book I found to help navigate through the legal process:

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CRASH!

CRASH!!!! CRASH!!!! CRASH!!!! The locked door bowed in and creaked as my husband repeatedly slammed all of his weight against it. I sat on the toilet, stunned. I could hardly think as all my senses attuned to the cracking door and I focused my gaze on the door knob. I could see the wood around the latch splinter as the door began to give way beneath the pressure. CRASH!!! CRASH!!!! How long would it hold?

I knew he was angry, I had not yet seen him exude such physical force during a fight, I was frightened what would happen once the door gave way. Maybe if I could reach it and unlock it first, he wouldn’t be so mad and he wouldn’t be ruining my door. It’s funny the thoughts that float through your mind when something like this is happening, I was really concerned about the state of my door? The problem was, I was legitimately using the toilet. Before I could finish my business, jump off the toilet, and open the door, it gave way with one last harrowing CRASH!!!! As my husband stumbled into the room full force he was fuming, chest heaving up and down, eyes laser beam boring into mine. And I sat there, dumbfounded and frightened, on the toilet, completely helpless. I couldn’t even hide or climb out the window; I was stuck.

As a person who is experiencing abuse, your mind set is completely focused on survival, on not getting hurt, the choices you make and things you do all focus on keeping yourself (and often times your children safe).

You do your best to hide what is really going on behind closed doors from your friends and loved ones for several reasons:

• You don’t want people to think poorly of your spouse.

I know this sounds weird. Why protect someone who is hurting you? The best way I can explain this is you do still love the abuser. We as people tend to do things to protect the ones we love.

•You don’t want people to think poorly of you.

This kind of goes hand in hand with not wanting people to think bad of your spouse. You want people to think you are smart enough to make good decisions about who you allow into your life.

• You have been threatened by your abuser.

The abuser actually knows what they are doing is wrong. The abuser also knows in order for control to be kept, there needs to be silence. No on else can know. The abuser can either threaten verbally or through their actions.

• You are just plain scared.

As a person experiencing abuse, you don’t really know the lengths the abuser will go to keep control over you. You hear stories in the news, and you see your abuser do things you never thought they would. I remember when the cases of missing and murdered women began to surface (such as Laci Peterson and Lori Hacking ) my husband said, “Is that the norm now? Is that what I need to do to you to fit in?”. I didn’t know what to do or say. and my fear of him grew.

• Religious beliefs

This was another factor for me. Being raised in the Mormon faith, which really emphasizes the importance of family and marriage, it was hard for me to make the choice that would end my eternal marriage. I prayed, fasted and pondered. Even after I left, I wondered if I had made the right choice. I can tell you this: I know God would not desire any of his children to live a life of hurt, fear, control, and abuse. That is not his plan, and as I look back, I can see his hand in my life as I took the steps to leave and stay away from my husband.

If you know someone experiencing abuse, you may not understand what they are going through or why they make the choices they do. You may wonder why they stay when it seems so obvious to you that they should leave. Know that this is their choice and something they will have to live with. Know that they are afraid and insecure and uncertain. Just be there for them as they need you.