#WhyIStayed and the Impact of Abuse

Imagine walking on broken glass everyday and hoping you don’t make one sound to set them off. Compromising your integrity, self-esteem, and any morals just to make your partner happy. Anything you aspire into your life is insignificant to their wants and to refuse their requests? Think of a stick of dynamite with a short fuse and you’ve just set a match to it.

Two forms of abuse are their specialty–physical and mental. One is easy to spot, the other not so much. Both are equally devastating.

Dead EndI have a friend who escaped with her children away from her monster. I saw the fear, the anxiety, and the worry of how she was going to provide for her kids. You see, her abuse was so bad, she had severe health problems. Finding a job–even if she was physically able–was impossible when her children were young. While she’s not entirely free of her monster, she is on the other side of the country she lives in. The distance has helped her heal, though even in that great expanse the monster tried to control her with threats. Fear is a powerful weapon and a abuser wields it well. However, I’ve seen her children thrive from being in a safe environment. She no longer has to make excuses for why she can’t get out of bed. She has more healing to do as it’s not an easy fix but I see her transformation in slow baby steps and it makes me proud.

Another friend is on the cusp of fleeing her relationship. She has kids as well so it makes it tricky. I pray everyday that she finds her way out of the madness. She’s got a big heart, as most victims do.

I have family members who have also dealt, or are currently dealing, with abusive relationships. The scars are invisible jagged lines of their soul. Bruises faded and bones mend but deep inside? That’s not so easy. As sad as it is, we are so blind with love and devotion that we don’t see the monster for what they are. We pray that we get out of the fog and escape.

To break the cycle is very hard. You’ve put your love and trust into someone only to have them beat you–mentally or physically–with it. You blame yourself, thinking it’s something you’re doing. you clam up when confronted, put on a face every time you go in public but those who have been there know the signs. We think we can get them to change, to see the behavior. The fear of helplessness, even when people will help you, is real. What if they find out before you get out? What if the punishment for doing it is far worse? By the time you realize what is happening, your abuser has isolated you away from family and friends. They’ve got you right where they want you.

It’s not just as simple as walking out the door and never looking back. Anyone who thinks that has no idea of the mental damage inflicted to the victim. Yes, anyone in this situation needs to get out. Abuse, in any form, is wrong. It needs to be stopped. The lasting effects linger for years after a person’s escape. A simple noise could trigger a memory. Our minds are a powerful thing. Certain scents still bring back memories of my childhood, in a good way. On the flip side, I try my best to avoid anything that makes my bad memories surface. Certain foods, places, etc. I avoid but I, too, suffered under the yoke of mental abuse.

I am a giving person. I didn’t deserve to feel less than that. More importantly, I deserved to be treated with the dignity every human should have. Being an introvert and living on my own has helped somewhat. That I don’t crave social interaction, oddly enough, makes my healing easier. I don’t have the pressure of being something I’m not and more importantly, my friends and family notice how much happier I am. This didn’t happen in a few months. It’s been a much longer journey.

This is what the victims of abuse deal with. Opinions of what we should do fall on deaf ears. Only when we figure it out for ourselves can we take that freeing step out the door to a full run. Once out, don’t ever look back. Regret has no place in your life. Self respect does.

I leave you with this video, since the NFL seems to have increasing instances of abuse allegations and cold hard facts of it happening.


Sweet Justice

Rachel Ann Nunes had something done to her book A Bid for Love that, in my opinion, is far worse than piracy. Some jerk-wad took her wholesome book, threw in some dirty scenes, and packaged it as her own. Going to the point of lying about its origins and attacking Rachel. The gall of this person was astounding and proved that some people hide behind their computer screen like cowardly little trolls. Anonymity is wielded like a shield. I touched on it briefly in a previous post.

wpid-20140807_000838.jpgI can’t imagine the stress Rachel went through, even trying to give the benefit of the doubt when people were pointing Sam Taylor Mullens out like a certain scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Bravo for her to have all her ducks in a row and acting civilized in the face of a poo-flinging monkey.

But then the layers were pulled back and who this anonymous ‘lets try and delete all the evidence’ exploded into view. FYI, Google has a cache and even if you delete something, if it’s been out there for a bit, a snapshot can be found.

Oh yes, she underestimated the power of some people’s reach. What a moral compass for a teacher! Good gravy! On the plus side, her punishment is going to draw no quarter. This also brings to light true consequences of not only stealing someone’s work but cyberbullying as well. Part of me hopes that this is a trend and people start learning consequences of their actions. The other part hopes that it doesn’t go too far. As in, a simple quote, without permission on a non-profit site, gets a justice hammer swung so hard that someone’s life is ruined over something that never made–or tried to–a dime on.

Still, I watch with a bag of popcorn on this case and hope that the book is thrown at ‘Sam Taylor Mullens’ ala Melissa McCarthy in The Heat.

 

Authors Behaving Badly .. Please Stop

I don’t know how much more can be said on this subject. Readers are our life blood. Without them, who would we share our stories with? It’s a huge world out there and the amount of books I have on my TBR pile far exceeds what I might possibly read in my lifetime but it doesn’t stop me from buying more. I like to support my favorite authors.

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My kitty Brine protecting her cube.

I myself follow several authors. Some aligned with big wig publishers like David Morrell and Brent Weeks. Others are up and coming like Jocelyn Adams. Each is very approachable.  I mean I geeked out on Mr. Morrell and he was so gracious.

This is how I want to be as a writer.

I can’t say I get tons of fan mail or anything. Maybe some day when I achieve that plateau but for now it’s me blogging and getting books published.

So I get a little miffed when I see authors who have a broad audience and a shoe in at one of the big 5/6 publishers acting ungrateful.

Let me be perfectly clear at this isn’t a call to arms or to boycott the latest author to suffer from foot in mouth disease. Trolling in the any form is not cool. It makes you just as much of an ass. This includes one star reviews to flail about their behavior. If you feel compelled to say anything, there are better avenues such as blogging, as I am doing, or your personal social media page. Don’t hide behind a mask. Just like authors need to own up to what they say, so do the town criers.

The latest author to suckle on their toes–with no remorse I might add–is Chelsea Cain. Look, I get it. I work in retail because I’m not privileged enough to be able to afford to live on writing alone. Some of the questions make me want to bang my head repeatedly on the counter but I have to smile and answer that unbelievably head scratching question. It’s part of the territory.

The most egregious of this author faux pas is the wonderful thing about the internet is you can walk away and think on a reply. My retail world, not so much. Style and aplomb. Graciousness to those who spend their money on your latest novel.  Who want to know more. Publicity isn’t just handled by the publishers. The author has to pitch in.

What’s so hard about that?  I’ve started an FAQ page to cover frequent questions.  If someone asks, I point there. All my books are laid out, by series if I have them, and in order.

Readers are important to me.  Isn’t that how it should be? On that same vein, authors also have more than writing on their plate. Be patient.  I’ve had good luck in getting responses from my favorite authors. I don’t hound them if they don’t reply. Of course I can find just about anything on Google. Not everyone is as savvy. Something to keep in mind.

So buck up but remember we’re human. In that vein, learn to apologize when you accidently don your asshat. It’s easier to destroy a reputation than to build it.

I’ve had to grin and bear it several times at my job customers who continue to shop well after we closed .. and after we gently remind them.