About Me

I am a proud wife and mother, and a born again Christian. I work from home as a writer while taking care of Miss N, our six-year-old, Miss M, our four-year-old and Miss C, our newest bundle of joy. Life is crazy but so much fun!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Pain of Words

Abuse. Does the word conjure up images of bruises and beatings? For me it did. But I've recently learned that abuse can come in many different forms, some far more damaging than these physical outward signs.

Lately someone I love has been going through a very difficult time, and the results of my research and support for this person have educated me a lot about something I never knew anything about before. With her permission I am going to blog about what I have learned.

In the past year, two people I know have shown signs of being victims of emotional, verbal spousal abuse. I was going to write "have been victims," but the sad truth is that abuse in both cases did not just occur in this calendar year – it has been ongoing for many years.

My research into this started when a friend confided the details of her abuse in me. This was not the first time she had given me a glimpse into the turmoil in her home, but it was the first time I realized the severity of the problem, the danger she was in, and the fact that her husband did not appear to want help or even realize what he was doing was so incredibly wrong.

After talking to her and doing some research, I realized that I knew someone else who was the victim of emotional abuse. Sadly, many of the "classic signs" were there, yet none of us recognized it and sought to help her, or if some did it was in the wrong way because she got no help until the unfaithfulness began.

Thankfully, right now both women are separated from their abusers, but that does not change the damage, pain, and scars that come from abuse.

So why am I writing? First, this has been a very emotional experience for me too. I have experienced guilt, anger, pain, and sadness knowing people I love have been hurt in this way and I didn't realize it or step in. I have also been experience feelings of helplessness, wishing there was something I could do to help, but not having many options.

The other reason I am writing is because I think we all, especially those of us in Christian circles, need more education about this issue. I realize that my audience on this blog is small, but I want to do my part to get the word "out" so to speak. Abuse is real and it is damaging, and we need to learn how to help.

Myths About Abuse

These are not highly researched or anything, but these are some "myths" that I have found to be untrue about abuse.

Abuse is obvious – In some cases abuse is obvious – there are signs that you can point to. This was the case with one gal. With my friend that confided in me, however, there were few outward signs. To everyone looking in, they looked like the perfect little family with a wonderful life. In fact, there were things about her life and family that I was jealous of, particularly her excellent house keeping skills and beautiful home.

Physical abuse is the worst kind – While physical abuse may have the most life and death type danger, I honestly believe now that the psychological effects of verbal/emotional abuse are far more damaging.

Abused women provoke the abuse – In my mind I saw abused women as frumpy, cantankerous women who drove their husbands to abuse. My husband would have to be pushed extremely hard if he ever even could resort to this type of behavior. Honestly, I don't think he could behave in this way because it is wrong on so many levels. The women I know who have been abused do not fit this mold and did nothing to provoke the abuse. Somehow, this behavior is a part of the man they married.

She made a mistake by marrying him – In one of the cases there may have been signs prior to marriage about the controlling behavior (I do not know because I did not know them at the time), but in the other there were not many that I saw, although she now says there were signs but she didn't recognize them. Abusers are experts at "winning" the girl, because abuse is all about control. Once they "have" her, the controlling begins.

He wouldn't abuse her if she would be submissive/deferential/more helpful (fill in the blank) – I realize submission is s controversial topic, yet it should be addressed because many religious circles emphasize a wife allowing her husband to lead the family. Those who follow these beliefs often mistakenly assume that the wife somehow deserves the abuse because of a lack of submission or deference to her husband. Both of the women I know were incredibly submissive/deferential to their husbands, even to the point of doing some things they regretted make him happy so the abuse would stop. Lack of submission or deference does not cause abuse and does not excuse it.

Words aren’t that big of a deal, at least he is not hitting her – Again, the effect of words on the emotions is so damaging. Emotional abuse and the terror it brings, never knowing when he is going to blow up, even over the littlest things, and always wondering if today is the day he will follow through on the threats or things will actually turn physical, makes a person insane! That, and the fact that society talks a lot about physical abuse and little about verbal abuse, can make a woman doubt her sanity. Also, in some ways the woman still loves her husband, or the husband she thought she married, and so the conflicting emotions are also extremely damaging. Abusers are experts at being nice and loving when they need to, which makes the woman always feel that there is hope, only to have that hope dashed when the abuse starts back up again.

So what do you think? Do you know someone who has been the victim of abuse, or were you a victim yourself? What myths do you see?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Top Ten Reasons I Love My Husband

The girls and I are in KC helping my mom while my dad is gone. Tim brought us down and then left. We are missing him. Here are the top ten reasons I love my husband:

1. He works incredibly hard to provide for us and never once complains about going to work.
2. He thinks of the little things. He always puts a new roll of toilet paper on the back of the toilet when the roll is starting to get low. He set up my computer for me while I was taking the girls potty on our way down here so I could watch a DVD after they went to sleep.
3. He loves our children deeply and enjoys being with them. He'll even read princess books!
4. He worries about us when it counts.
5. He listens to me without trying to "fix" everything, but he does step in when I need him to fix it.
6. He treats me with both love and respect.
7. He can grill a mean steak.
8. He takes care of his parents.
9. He makes me a better parent. Yesterday was rough and I think it was just because I didn't have my copilot.
10. He genuinely loves me in spite of the way I have changed over the years.

I love you babe and I can't wait until next week!

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Best Dollar I Ever Spent

Last summer I purchased something for $1 at a garage sale.

I guess I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.

What's more fun than jumping off of your couch?

Wild Woman

It can be a bed too!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Best Mother's Day Ever

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes, I am totally unfair to my husband.

I create images and expectations in my mind about how things should be, but fail to explain them clearly.

Take Mother's Day for instance.

I may think that xyz would be the perfect gift, or that my husband or children should do so and so for me, but of course I don't tell anyone, because what good is a present if it's not a surprise, right?

Then I get disappointed.

And mad.

Take last year for instance. Let's just say that after getting a second-degree burn on my stomach by spilling dinner (which I was cooking) on myself, it was a disappointment.

This year I determined not to make expectations. My children are too little to know any better, and I really don't need any "things," nor do I want flowers since I'm leaving town. I told Tim that I want to do a family day when we get back from Kansas City. I love spending time with my family doing fun things together and making memories. If we are going to spend money on something, I would rather it be that.

So, having made my desire clear, I had no expectations for today.

It was the Best. Mother's. Day. I've. Ever. Had. as a mom.

The morning started at 6:30, which considering the wake-up time of before 6 most of the week felt like luxury. Natalie crawled into bed with a book. Megan woke up and Tim brought her to the bed too. We snuggled together and read a book. Then Natalie squeezed me and said, "Happy Mofver's Day! I love you mommy!" Then she took off into the kitchen, bringing in two cards (both unsigned) and a small box. I shooed her out and Tim helped her sign the right card, since one was for his mom, and she brought it back with the box. The box held a lovely necklace that she picked out herself, with some help from Dad of course.

We got ready for church without any fusses (a rare occurance around here) and headed out to meet with our church family, my neck sparkling with gemstones chosen with love by my daughter and husband. I got many "I love you mommy"s throughout the morning. After one particularly passionate one, I asked, "Why?" and she responded, "Because you make me food." :)

At church, Natalie made two crafts in Sunday School, which she proudly handed to me afterwards. For those of you who are not regular church-goers, most churches I have been in on Mother's Day offer some kind of recognition to "special" mothers. At our church, three mothers got plants. They were the mothers with the most types of medication in their purse, the mother with the most recent trip to the ER, and the mother with the most keys.

Natalie watched these festivities with much interest, and when she realized I wasn't going to "win," she leaned over and said, "You're the best mofver."

The rest of the day progressed as a normal sunday, with the exception of eating or typical Arby's lunch inside the restaurant instead of in our home. Then, the final gem of the day came on the way back to church for the second service. Natalie says, "I love you mommy, that's another kind of Mofver's Day present, one that comes from inside my heart."

And just now, after she was supposed to be in bed, she snuck out "because I want one more Mommy hug."

What a sweetheart! What a beautiful day! What a blessing my family is to me!

(I wanted to write this all down before I had the chance to forget it. My heart is so full of love from my children and husband today I can hardly stand it!)