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#savingme

Should I Forgive my Abuser – Repost

Today I decided to do one of my longer posts in which I share my opinions on the subject of abuse, especially domestic abuse. I’ve written about it in some of my posts and I shared pieces of my domestic abuse story on this blog. One of my goals in life is actually to find a way to help abused women and children and to also open people’s eyes about what is abuse and how to fight it properly.

It’s always hard for me to write about this subject because I’m still on my journey of dealing with my past and my experience with domestic abuse so I don’t post that often about it. For those of you who are new to this blog or maybe haven’t read my posts about it, just to sum up – I was abused by my father. He got mentally ill during the war, got PTSD, became an alcoholic and suffered from an identity disorder. The abuse went on for roughly eleven years and he ended up in jail and is currently in a facility where he is being taken care of.

Now that you all are up to speed, let’s get on with today’s subject – Should you forgive your abuser? The answer to this is yes. You should forgive everyone who has done you harm but this situation is particularly difficult because abuse leaves a lot of scars on our soul and our body. I, myself, suffer from nightmares related to the years of abuse despite being already 22 years old and despite not seeing my father for years. An experience such as this one just has a tendency to stick with us forever and, even though you might not see it, this is not a bad thing.

The reason why it’s hard to forgive our abusers is because they rarely say they are sorry. Most of them are oblivious of their actions and consequences of their actions and believe they haven’t done anything wrong so it’s hard to think about forgiveness when you haven’t even heard the word “Sorry” coming out of their mouths. The reason why you need to forgive them is your inner peace. That’s the goal of coping with abuse. You need to find the strength to forgive someone who might not even be sorry just for the sake of preserving and healing your soul and mind.

I will write on my own example. To this day I still have many bad feelings relating to my father but I found a way to be already halfway done with forgiving him for everything he has done. I used to say to myself that he is ill and that deep down he does feel sorry about his actions, but it was hard for me to believe it when I would get flashbacks of him beating up my mother or me escaping through the window of my house because he threatened to kill me. As time passed by I realized that I have to be the bigger person or I will never be able to escape my past. Every now and then I pray for him. That’s right, I pray for the man, for my own father who abused me just because I have grown enough to realize that he doesn’t perceive reality in a way that I do. I also realized that he probably denies everything he has done because it’s a defense mechanism. On some level his mind is blocking the horrible acts he has committed to protect him from facing himself. I began to forgive him so that I could find peace and put my past to rest. On some strange level I found some positive sides to what he has put me through. I don’t want you to think I’m weird for doing it, I promise I will explain everything in a different post.

By wishing the best for him, hoping that the universe will give him the strength to face himself one day and see all of the things he has done wrong I began to discover serenity. You need to rise above the situation in order to move on and you can’t do that without forgiving the person that abused you. If you forgive them, you will first benefit yourself and after the hell you’ve been through you deserve it.

Holding on to abuse and hating the person that did it to you can only lead to further problems in your life. You could develop serious trust issues or become unable to establish a healthy love relationship with someone (I know I have my troubles with this). Step back, take your time and discover within you what it is that you need to do in order to forgive your abuser. Don’t think about him or her, don’t think about anyone else except yourself. This is actually where one of my favorite quotes applies: First, put your own oxygen mask. This sentence just resonates on so many different levels, despite it being a warning on a safety video on planes. Give yourself air, fix yourself, heal yourself and without noticing it you will forgive the person that did you wrong and it will be the most liberating experience of your life.

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#savingme

Drunk and never there love

It was year after I had graduated my high school. I went to learn further. I was shy girl always I would sit alone by myself. People would give me weird stares and laugh at me. I was there sitting with my laptop and writing. Good god knows what but writing was always an escape for me. In a way it still is.
So it’s been like two month since I started my new school I got used to people staring and all the things. I knew I wouldn’t belong there ever. So I didn’t even try. One day there was this guy who came around asking if I had a cigarette and sure as hell I had plenty. So we went out and had a smoke. I kept siting there by myself. But he would come around again and again.. Then he would just sit next to me. I didn’t cared much. But then I had some girls saying that ‘Don’t give him smoke. Don’t do this. Don’t do that.’
I should’ve better listened to them. The 4month when we were sort of together was awful. I can’t believe I ever let myself go so low. His parents loved to drink. There were scandals all the time at their house. So we also went drinking. At first everything was okey more or less cause I didn’t bothered to think of how low I’ve skipped. But then I got tired. And he would still keep ask me for money and drink with his friends. He would get so drunk that I would have to look for him in cold winter night.
There was this one moment when he was so drunk and we all sort of was but when he’s drunk he’s terrible. He would just hit me, call me names push me against fridge or even worst. So he had went to get cigarettes but no one would give him so he had banged the window out. He wasn’t coming back for long time so we all got worried and looked for him. He was on the ground screaming some nonsense to old man holding him to the floor. So we had to get him out of there. But he wasn’t even able to stand on his feet. I was holding him pulling him just to get him home. But he kept pushing me screaming at me. And when I would let go he would start to attack me both physically and verbally. I would just cry at nights. But I couldn’t break it. I knew it was a mess but I also knew I had to be strong.
Well luckly for me we separated ways. Later he was put in jail for I don’t even know what. But I knew it would happen some day.
So girls, if he treats you less then you deserve.. just quit him. For yourself. For your future and even for your own life. I learned it the hard way
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#savingme is the column where abuse victims can publish their experiences just to let go and find comfort and support. Maybe it doesn’t feel like much but just publishing your story for others to read makes you strong. You can send your story about the abuse you went through to savingmestory@gmail.com and you can choose if you want it to be anonymous or not. More details here. 
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#savingme

#savingme Project

Guys, I noticed that the #savingme email inbox was still quite empty so I thought of giving it another shot. I know It’s weird that I am asking you to send in your abuse stories but I think they could be really helpful to you and to others. Maybe someone reads a story who is in a similar situation and it inspires him to try and say himself, get himself out of that situation and seek for help. Nobody is alone in this.

So please, please, please send your stories in or if you have a friend who has been through the devastating experience of abuse give him this link and ask him to join in. I think it’s important to speak up about matters like this and to let the world now that silence is not an option. The email is savingmestory@gmail.com and you can find more info by clicking here.

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#savingme

#savingme

« You.are.my.wife ». He shouted it. He was completely out of control. I was wondering whether he could arm me. I did not protect my face. I put my arms around my belly, feeling my child’s life inside me. I closed my eyes. And it was over.

His wife. Like I was a chair or a table. Like I was his property.

I was his prize. I was the one welcoming him with a smile and trying to be nice, always. The one cooking and cleaning and making his life easy. His nightmare some days. His terrible choice, other days.

In between. Only drama.

His breath and his eyes and his steps. I remember fearing the sound of his steps and the key, the door, opened and closed with a bang, the light switched on, even when he knew I was surely asleep at this time. And his body against mine. And his hands on me. And his breath again, full of cigarette and beer. And the same old marital, sexual duty.

At the beginning it was ok. Not wonderful but ok. Loads of promises. Love in the air. It did not last long. Not long enough for me to enjoy it. The first threat was just around the corner. Big mess, harsh words. He left. And he came back. And I apologize, out of nothing, for nothing. And it was nice again. And he proposed, kind of. And I didn’t say “yes” straight away. No way. So manipulation started. He would ignore me then say “he loves me”. He would be happy and then tell me “you are a slut, you’re nothing”. On and on and on. Till I said “yes”. Just to have peace. I believed maybe this would make him happier. And life would at last be a good one together.

It got worse. Nothing was never good enough. I was never good enough.

I was a mess. I was tired. I used to knock my head against the walls, wishing I could hurt myself more. I wanted somebody to see I could not cope anymore. I was becoming a ghost in my own body. I wanted somebody to take care of me. He said he would, if only I was good to him. But I was always making mistakes. I was always begging for forgiveness. So I could sleep again and have a “normal” life.

He never kicked me or slapped me. But his words and his look. His contempt. Him thinking he was better than anybody else. Him and his threats to kill me. Him and his will to control me. Him and his body against mine and his silence. He stole my money and 4 years of my life.

But he didn’t win.

I got away. One night. We didn’t talk at all for ten days. I remember hiding myself in the bathroom, crying under the water so he wouldn’t hear me. I would sleep on the sofa in the living room with my belly becoming bigger and bigger. My pregnancy saved me from a life of pain and violence. I took a one way flight, leaving everything behind.

It did not stop after that. But at least I was home. I was safe. It took me years to find myself again. My baby boy, my family, my friends helped me on the way up.

I believe talking about abuse, violence, is key. We need to share our stories. It can help. It can make a difference. Victims need to know they are not alone, need to understand that silence is a killer. We must raise our voices. We must tell them that a life is possible after hell. And that they are beautiful and deserve all the love in the world.

My name is Marie. I live in paris and write both in French and in English. You can read me (in english) onhttps://mahshiandmarshmallow.wordpress.com or (in French) on  https://latmospheriquemariekleber.wordpress.com/

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#savingme is the column where abuse victims can publish their experiences just to let go and find comfort and support. Maybe it doesn’t feel like much but just publishing your story for others to read makes you strong. You can send your story about the abuse you went through to savingmestory@gmail.com and you can choose if you want it to be anonymous or not. More details here. 

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My life

The Story behind the name Luna – reblog

I’ve posted this story a while ago but I decided to repost it because I think that our new project when we reach 3000 followers will be centered around abuse stories. I am still working on the idea and I remembered this post so here I am sharing it again. If you would like to have this new project about abuse stories, let me know in the comments!

 

I have promised to make a post about the story behind the name Luna and today is the day. To be quite honest I’ve never told anyone why I use this name because it’s a very personal story but I decided to show courage and share it with everyone.

My real name is Ana and I got it by my grandmother. Originally my mother wanted to call me Julia but my father wanted for me to be Ana because my older sister got her name by our other grandmother and he wanted the same for me. Luna is the name I’ve used for many years for writing purposes and I came up with it when I was a little kid. To explain the whole story I have to go back to 1992.

As I stated in my Liebster Award post I’m actually of Bosnian origins. My family lived there for their entire life and then the war happened and my father fought in the war in Bosnia. During that time he got PTSD and started to drink heavily. My parents came to Germany after the war and 7 years later we came to Croatia. Due to my father’s mental problems he started to drink even more and got more and more abusive. He would beat the life out of my mother, sister and me and the police was a regular guest at our house. He developed an identity disorder and things only went downhill. Every time he would get drunk my mother would send me to my grandmother’s because it was unsafe to leave me alone with him. Because of the stressful situation we lived in I was a very nervous child, didn’t have an appetite, I was underweight and always ill because my immune system wasn’t very good. My mother, sister and I spent our days locked up in one room of our house because he would always attack and threaten to kill us if we went to use the kitchen or other parts of the house. Thankfully the bathroom was just on the opposite side of the room we were in so we could sneak to go to the bathroom. I even remember a little bit of a Christmas morning when my mother had to pay off all of my father’s drinking debts so we had no money to buy anything, my father was drunk again and my mother got up in the morning to make pancakes for me and my sister to eat. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning eating cold pancakes, locked up in one room. No Christmas tree, no presents. I would actually spend a lot of time alone in that room, watching Spanish telenovelas and writing my own stuff like scenarios for my telenovela and poems about the actors. It was a way to kill time and that’s how I fell in love with writing.

Where I’m from the winters are very cold and back in the day we had central heating. My father turned it off one day saying we don’t deserve to get warm and I got extremely ill afterwards.
One day I just woke up without the ability to breath normally, my head was hurting and I had a high fever. After visiting my doctor we found out my problem was bordering with pneumonia but the doctor didn’t want to put me in the hospital because it was dangerous for me to be exposed to so many bacteria and viruses since my immune system practically didn’t exist. My mother couldn’t send me to my grandmothers and couldn’t take days off of work to take care of me because she would have been fired. My older sister had to go to school so I was on my own. My mother would get my sister ready for school and before leaving she would put a bucket with a lid next to me if I needed to throw up and she would lock me up in the room so my father wouldn’t get in and harm me. Since he was drunk and I wasn’t making any noises he didn’t even know I was there so I was safe. My health condition was very bad. I spent 10 days literally sleeping. I don’t remember much of that time but I do remember this. One night I ran out of air and suddenly woke up. My mother was next to me and my sister was in the other bed. The first thing I saw at that moment was the full moon through the blinds. In that moment I felt so calm, like nothing could hurt me. I can’t even explain it.

Seeing the moon just gave me a strong bond to nature, helped me realize that not all is lost and made me believe that just like nature renews itself I will renew my health and get better. It was like a feeling that the sky was watching over me. It was all probably the product of my fever but that night created the name Luna. As I said I watched a lot of Spanish telenovelas so I decided to go with the name Luna when I started sending my work to magazines or publishing it online. Luna in Spanish, as many of you know, means the moon.

This was very hard for me to write because I don’t like to talk about my father but I thought it was time to open up more and be more honest on the blog because I would like to share my experiences with abuse with others and maybe help them if they are currently struggling with it. If you went through the same thing before or are going through it now and need someone to talk to feel free to DM me on my Instagram or send me an email on luna.theblog@gmail.com

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Poems

Poem #123

Nobody is to know of the pain she endures.
It’s all well hidden in the night, the dark as black
as the bruises on her neck surrounds
the cursed home and the cursed closed doors
behind which she cries for help.
The only number bigger than the number of times
he beat the shit out of her is the number of
makeup products she uses to cover the consequences.

“RUN RUN” she yells at her legs but they aren’t
serving her anymore. It’s not because they don’t
want to, it’s because he broke her spirit and soul.
She didn’t give up, she ran out of time to avoid
the swing of his arm and he knocked the struggle
right out of her mind.

She is so beautiful and so put together and has
such a wide smile but nobody realizes that broken
girls and bruised women always smile the prettiest.
They have to hide that which the world told them to be
ashamed of. They have to keep to themselves the
stories of abuse and rape everyone still believes to be fake.

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Coffee Date

Dealing with trauma flashbacks

Certain smells, spaces, situations or people tend to bring up bad feelings we thought we had forgotten about. Most people who went through abuse deal with this problem on the regular basis especially if they just left the toxic relationship or moved away from the abusive parent who left them with a serious trauma.

These bad feelings and flashback can manifest in different ways. Some of the ones I experienced myself are running out of air, losing my touch with reality, feeling like I can’t move, paralyzing shivers up and down my spine, excessive sweating, stuttering etc. One of the worse things I still deal with are my nightmares that happen on a regular basis. The problem with these flashbacks isn’t only that they make you live through your pain again but they can put you in serious danger. If you are in a situation where you could get hurt but your mind has a flashback and paralyzes your body you are in an even bigger danger because you can’t defend yourself.

In my 22 years of life I have been abused physically for roughly eleven years but the psychological abuse continued despite my father not being around because my mind was still trapped and going over everything I experienced as a child. I learned to control it a little bit but there are still certain triggers that give me flashbacks. Some of them are being in the presence of a man who reeks of alcohol, someone putting their hands near my throat…

With time I started to use my breathing to cope with these flashbacks and to calm myself when I wake up from a nightmare. Whenever we get agitated our breathing changes, so in order to ease your mind you need to get back to your normal breathing pattern. Try to even out your inhales and your exhales. Breathe in for 3 second and breathe out for three seconds. It’s that simple and it helps you center your mind. You just need to focus on your breath, on the sensation of air entering and exiting your body. As soon as you get your inhales and exhales evened out you will notice a slight release in your body. Your muscles will get relaxed, your mind will get clear and that pressure on your chest will slowly fade away.

This isn’t something you can accomplish perfectly in one take. It took me years of even reminding myself to breathe when I start having flashbacks and panicking. The other thing that helps a lot is meditation. I think it isn’t even necessary to state all the positive sides of mediation because you already know most of them.

When you get flashback and feel paralyzed, you have the feeling like the abuser is still controlling you. He or she is not doing it, you mind is! You need to become aware of the power your mind has over you and you need to develop techniques to calm it down and to rise above what your mind tells your body to feel.

Remember: Transform pain into strength and you will be invincible.

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Coffee Date

Fear of death

In some of my previous posts such as The story behind the name Luna and You are a survivor I shared a little piece of my domestic abuse story. Long, very long, story short – my father was an alcoholic with a mental disorder and he abused my mother, me and my sister. The abuse lasted for about 11 years in my case. I was a little baby when his condition got really bad and I just started growing up and coming to terms with the situation I was living in but I was never settled with it.

Lately I have been having some sort of writer’s block and I have also a lot of doubts about my life and career choices. I just have a feeling that enrolling to this university was a mistake, I started to have the feeling I wasted three years of my life doing something that will get me nowhere, I failed my final exam… It has just been an emotional and mental roller coaster for me lately and it got me to thinking about the person I was and the person I’ve become.

The 7 years old, abused Ana (my real name is Ana not Luna) would power through a situation like this. The seven years old me would find a way out and do whatever it takes to make herself happy. The 22 years old Ana is depressed and eating her feelings after which she pours some red wine on them. This has been going on for some time and I think I finally found the reason why I used to be more determined and why I used to find my way out of any situation while today I just get desperate.

I was so scared of death – that was the thing that pushed me further. My father would make death threats all the time, hell he even tried to kill all three of us on multiple occasions. I was afraid for my life and it made me do incredible things which I am not capable of doing now. Ever since my father exited my life, that fear has become very small and the engine that powered me through my whole life just shut down. That fear is not constantly present but it should be because despite not being abused by my father I could still die any day.

I know this all sounds a bit morbid and I’m not trying to freak you out. I am trying to tell you that you need to get in touch with your mortality in order to live your life to the fullest, to reach your potential and get rid of any other fear you have. I will give a really dumb example now. As a little girl I always wanted to play the guitar and sing. I didn’t do those things because my family was so poor we couldn’t afford to put me through music school. I still decided I would like to try and sing. I entered some choirs and I was constantly told that I can’t sing high notes and that I am really not a good singer. That didn’t stop me from entering a small singing contest. I still have the diploma from that contest and I’m proud of it because I didn’t care about what people said, I gave it a shot and to be honest I had so much fun and it’s such a great memory for me. In those times my fear of death was very present because my father was still a part of my life. If that story was going on today, while that fear is gone, I would have never entered the contest and I would probably leave the choir where they told me I don’t know how to sing. I wouldn’t even give it a shot because I am so worried about what people say about me that I don’t let myself be happy. If I die today do you know how many people will care for the fact that I entered a singing contest despite my lousy singing skills? The answer is zero. But it made me happy at the time and it still makes me happy that I had the courage to do it.

This is why I believe everyone should get in touch with their mortality because it will force you to do amazing things. It will stop you from wasting your life away, not fulfilling your dreams and stressing about other people’s opinions. Just give it a shot. Write out on a piece of paper the things you always wanted to do, but never did and do them now that you are aware of the fact that you could be dead tomorrow. The fear of death can make you live your life to the fullest and it can also force you to save your own life and protect it if you are going through abuse as I did.

If you are currently being abused that fear will get you out of it. That fear is your escape from the miserable life you must lead stuck in the hell of domestic abuse. I know it did wonders for my mum. She fought like crazy to keep herself and me and my sister alive and she fought a though legal battle to make sure our father won’t be able to harm us. I know how hard it is to fear for your life, thinking that you have no way out and it is even harder for mothers with children but you have to do it. You have the responsibility to protect your own life and your children’s life. It’s very hard for me to actually tell you to pack your bags and leave because I know it’s not that simple. Most abused women rarely have a place to go to and they are also under the threat that they will be killed if they try to escape or speak up. This is why you need to use your fear, your situation and find a way out. If all the doors are closed, break them down. Find out if there are shelters that take in abused women. Try to seek help from your family. Girl, use the power of the almighty internet to do research on the laws protecting abused women in your country. Also, I can’t stress this out enough, have solid proof of the abuse. Put your phone somewhere and tape everything that’s going on, make sure you have a witness, just have a solid ground to stand on if you will be fighting your abuser in court or if the police gets involved. This is overwhelming to even think about and I know you will maybe just pass through this article without giving it a second thought but I just want to let you know that all of this is coming from someone who, due to domestic abuse, survived an attempt on her life before she was 12 years old, jumped through a window to save her life, saw her mother in bruises all the time and with the help of her sister stopped her own father from killing their mother. I know what I’m talking about. All of this could happen to you or to your child. Save yourself, do something while you still have a heartbeat.

I know it sounds scary but do you know what’s even more scary? Losing your life due to someone thinking they have the right to beat it out of you.

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Coffee Date

You are a survivor

In my post “The story behind the name Luna” I shared a part of my story about domestic abuse. It actually gave me courage to dive deeper into this problem and open up about it here because I think this is a great community to share such stories and help each other. It took me years to speak about the torment my father put me through and I can relate to many children who were abused and today I want to write a little bit about how to deal with abuse after it’s done.

When I was 11,12 years old the problem with my father started solving and it wasn’t over until a few months ago. I haven’t lived with him for years and I last saw him and spoke to him about 5 years ago. That chapter of my life is over now but it still takes me a great amount of strength to close that chapter in my head. My problem was that I identified myself with what he has done to me and I believe that’s the problem of many abused children out there. We develop a bad opinion about ourselves based on what the person who abused us had done to us. We often feel like we aren’t worthy of anything, become introverted, depressed, scared to live the lives we deserve and we can’t step out of our pasts. Going through abuse leaves a strong scar on the one’s personality, sometimes even on our bodies and I will be quite honest and say it’s impossible to hide that scar or erase it so wear it proudly!

Don’t be ashamed of yourself and of who you are and of what you’ve been through. Instead of waking up every morning feeling like you are worth less than others, feeling like you will never reach happiness, wake up and say to yourself “I’ve been through hell and I survived that. World, bring it on because I can handle you!”. Don’t call yourself an abuse victim but rather call yourself a survivor because that’s what you are. Your body and mind were strong enough to handle the weight of abuse and I know how heavy that weight is and you are still here. You are biting and scratching your way through life. You know how to handle difficult situations and your power can never be drained out. Even when depression hits and you feel worn out just repeat those words to yourself.

Who you are depends only on what you want to be so be a survivor, be a warrior and show the world there’s happiness after abuse. Learn how to show your scars to the world and demand respect for them and respect your own past because if it wasn’t for it you wouldn’t be the strong person you are. Even if you feel weak, trust me you’re not. Shift your state of mind and you will turn your life around. Remember: You are a warrior, you are a survivor.

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