Domestic Violence/Please help me

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I guess you could say I am a domestic violence survivor as well. Growing up, .my siblings and I witnessed my father brutally beating my mother. I remember being about 8 when the violence got really bad. Waking up in the middle of the night to her body being thrown against the walls or to her screams was terrible enough, but as I got older, I thought I could stop him by stepping in the middle and trying to stop him I I thought he would never lay his hands on me. I was WRONG! Any attempts to intervene were met with the same violence he unleashed on my mother. As I got older (into my tees), I urged her to leave; find safety. There was no one we could turn to. He kept us so isolated, that we had no family or friends to turn to. It was just us. In 2005, she was finally able to escape, but she was unable to take us with her. She was kept so isolated; unable to work or go to school to gain the independence she needed to survive on her own. By then I was in my freshman year of college and things went from bad to worse. My fathers full rage was taken out on me. To make things worse, my younger brother became a participant in the abuse. He saw that it was okay to hit a woman (a behavior he learned from watching my father). I was physically kicked out of the house by my father when I finally stood up to him; I said, “no that mom is gone you have no one to beat on but me.” I was no longer his punching bag. I vowed I would never let a man do to me what my father had done to my mother! Fastforward to 2007 when I met my then boyfriend, now ex. Things started out great! I was in heaven. This man treated me like a queen. I thought I had found my soul-mate. He said he like the fact that I was so reserved and quiet he what he thought was quiet and reserved was me still trying to heal from the abuse. Even though I told him my story he always seemed to one-up mine. His response was, “trying being born to a crack addicted mother” or, “you always use that as an excuse! Get over it and grow the f*@# up”! I should have taken this as a sign, but I wanted to love and be loved again. I sought comfort in his arms even though he was just as toxic as my father. I was too blind to see this. The physical abuse didn’t come until the end of our 6 year relationship, but the emotional and verbal abuse reared its ugly head earlier on. He would tell me I was fat and compare my picture to those of his favorite female celebrities. He would have females calling his phone, claiming to be “just friends”, but the minute I had a male friend call me, I was all of a sudden “cheating on him”. The last day of our relationship ended with him throwing me out his apartment and down a flight of concrete stairs because I wouldn’t have sex with him. It is now 2013. I’m 27 years old and I still have flashbacks of my father and my ex. I still remember vividly the sounds of a body being battered, the smell of blood and my mother’s screams. I remember never being good enough in the eyes of a man who I thought would be my rock. I need help! I’ve sought help, but unfortunately where I live, you have to be suicidal or at risk for hurting someone in order to get help. I thought that by sharing my story, I could get the help I need to cope. Please help me. I feel the depression getting worse. I still wake up in tears. I still feel anger towards the men in my life that betrayed me

Answer
Hi Dhyan,
I am so sorry to hear about the terrible things that have happened to your mother and yourself.  This is truly a tragedy.

Although I don't fully understand your circumstances with regard to not having help available, I can say that if you have a primary care doctor, he or she can help you with the depression by prescribing anti-depressants.  That helps short term.  Your story indicates that there is a strong possibility of you having PTSD.  You described many of the symptoms in your email.  This is a very difficult set of symptoms to work through on your own.  If you can possibly get to a counselor who knows how to do EMDR therapy, that would benefit you greatly.  In the meantime, when those flashbacks start happening, try to relax, start taking very measured, deep breaths and tap back and forth alternately on your knees.  This provides some relaxation and bi-lateral stimulation to the body that will help these emotions pass and possibly resolve.  EMDR is a trauma therapy that uses bi-lateral stimulation through eye movement and it is very helpful.  

Most men who are that violent either have PTSD themselves, are alcoholics or have some kind of personality disorder like borderline or anti-social.  If you familiarize yourself with these disorders, you can help yourself in identifying individuals who show signs of them.  Persons with these disorders can be very, very charming and that is what draws their victims to them.  Reading books like Lost In The Mirror, Understanding the Borderline Mother, The Sociopath Next Door, Disarming the Narccisist in your Life and others on the subject can be very helpful.  Relationships with these type of individuals don't work and it is not the victim's fault, it is the disorder that makes life difficult for them.  If you go to my website at www.livingwellcc.com/library - you can find articles that might be helpful.  My blog listed below is helpful with information as well.

I would strongly encourage you to get to a place where you can see a counselor or a doctor.  PTSD is difficult and if he threw you into walls and down stairs, you may have a brain injury as well.  I can't say strongly enough that if you don't have help nearby in the form of these types of individuals, move to a place that does.  I know that may be difficult to accomplish, but you are worth the move.  You will find it very difficult to try to deal with this on your own if there are physical complications.  

Spiritual help and faith in God have helped many individuals with emotional challenges.  You didn't mention if you had a spiritual life, but you might talk to some pastors about it.  They are not trained to deal with the PTSD, but they can give support, prayer, guidance and perhaps have lifelines that you haven't considered or didn't know about.  Some churches have domestic violence support groups and that would be a positive thing for you as well.

I hope this has helped you.  Long distance, there is very little I can do for you other than give guidance and pray for you, which I will.  It is important that you find some support locally to help you with what you have experienced.  If I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me again.  

Domestic Violence

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Kriss Mitchell, M.Ed, CRC, CNHP

Expertise

I am able to answer questions with regard to problems that result from emotional abuse or physical abuse in both dating and marriage relationships. Having been in an abusive relationship for many years, I know first hand the feelings, the questions and the doubts we go through as we try to make decisions about our lives. Often victims of abuse have deep faith based concerns regarding staying in these kinds of relationships which I am able to address as well.

Experience

My background started as a victim of an emotionally abusive relationship as well as having family members who were victims of violence and physical abuse. I have gone on to become a professional counselor and I work with abused women.

Organizations
American Mental Health Counselors Association, American Association of Christian Counselors, International Association of Prayer Counselors

Publications
I currently maintain a blog at www.livingwellcc.blogspot.com. I also have links and currently written articles on my website at www.livingwellcc.com. You can also follow me on TWITTER @livingwellcc, or on facebook at Living Well Counseling and Consulting. My writings have appeared in The Good News Northwest and the North Idaho Business Journal

Education/Credentials
Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Natural Health Professional

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