A letter to my family…

I was going to write about the next step in my journey but then I realized I keep talking about my mom, sisters, father, and of course my son, and tell you how important they were through all of this. But I’ve never actually shown you them, and honestly I don’t think I have told them enough how thankful I am for them. 15350688_10211373695649267_452374813489797899_n

G- I know we have had our differences throughout the years, but I am so proud of the woman you are becoming. You are hard working, strong willed, and honest. You are smarter than you believe, and will go far in whatever career path you choose. You don’t care what anyone thinks and I am definitely jealous of that quality. I am sorry you had to see me almost die and go through that experience. You are the one I turn to for any fashion advice before I go out on dates (I would definitely look like a hot mess if it wasn’t for you). Thank you for painting my nails in the hospital, at least one part of me looked okay! haha Beau can be a huge handful, but you are learning to deal with a toddler who is more strong willed than you, and excelling at being an aunt. I love you very  much!

S-I can’t thank you enough for taking the time off of school when I had Beau. I would not have been able to function without you helping me. When I was too weak to blow dry my hair you did it for me. You are very smart, ambitious, and driven. You are great with Beau, even if you give him sweets when he shouldn’t have them. I am sorry you had to be called to my house to see me bleeding everywhere, and for all the times you came and saw R in those crazy mental states he would be in. But I am happy at the same time, because you and G know the exact kinds of guys to NOT date. I love you very much!

Mom and Dad- I don’t even know where to start, I know me getting pregnant was not part of the ideal plan you have for a daughters life. I also know that you never dream of having a daughter almost die due to domestic violence. As a parent, I now see why you guys raised me the way you did. You did everything you guys could to give us an amazing life. My sisters and I are so very blessed to have parents like you guys. You love each other so much. We are very strong girls, we(I now) take no shit from anyone, and we love hard. You have taught us that family, loyalty, love and your word are the most important things in life. I am sorry for all the times I have let you down, but I promise to make all the heartache, sleepless nights, and money worth it. I am going to change the world and open eyes that refuse to see the truth about domestic violence. I couldn’t do any of that without you two in my corner. Dad, you are the most hard working man I know and the best example of what a man and father should be. Mom, you are the most loyal and loving person anyone has ever met, and the best mother anyone could dream of. Beau love the two of you so much! Screw the people who are jealous of what you two have. Haters are a sign that you are succeeding in life. I love you both and damn proud to call you my parents!

Beau- You can’t read this yet but one day you will. I love you so much little bear. You saved my life. You gave me a reason to defy the odds and survive. God had a plan for you too, being born at 31 weeks without any major complications is a major win in anyones book. You are SO smart, handsome, and loving. I promise to give you every opportunity this life has to offer and be the best damn mommy and daddy I can be to you. I will never let another monster come near you or ever let that certain one get the chance to know the amazing boy you are. I can not wait to see how you grow and become a little man, mommy loves you forever and always for you are my dear one.

See the thing is, not all domestic violence survivors have the amazing family I do. I had a place to go home to. Somewhere safe that I knew R couldn’t get to me without going through 4 other people first. I had an education to fall back on.  My plan for A Survivor’s Mission is to give these victims a chance to never be another mans property again. I want to change the laws we have in CA for restraining orders. I want to sponsor some of these girls through school, give them their independence back, at the very least put them through counseling. I can not explain to you what it is like to have someone take control of who you are as a person. You feel stupid, worthless, controlled, and terrified. You can’t become a strong person again without learning how to overcome that psychological hold these abusers have over us. I won’t stop until the view of what a “victim” is. My abuser gets to be free because I didn’t have the guts to stand up and ask for help, if you are reading this I will listen, you are not alone! You can contact me through this blog, or through my non profit website- http://www.lovedoesnthurt.org that emails me directly.

A little honesty…

I want this blog to be real, honest, and raw. I try my best to describe my feelings at the time and put you guys in that room or moment with me. I try to be this strong person who has worked so hard to move forward from the nightmare I lived through, but if I am being honest with you guys its really hard at times to be that strong person.

Friday,  I went through my first court date with you guys. Wanting it to be totally accurate I went back into my files to find paperwork with the exact dates. While looking through all those papers I had found a log my mom wrote for the police. It was a 3 and a half page front and back typed up log of all the times I had called her for help. Times she could hear R yelling at me, times I called her to come try and talk him off the ledge, times  I was in fear for my life, times where he held a knife to his wrists and throat, and the time he said he had thought about homicide.

Most of these events I blocked out. I hadn’t read that paper until friday. I refused to read it two years ago, and it was just as hard to read it friday. Hard enough that I really questioned writing this blog anymore. I didn’t want to go back and relive the events in my life that almost broke me. I was so weak and powerless. I was afraid that if I relived it again I wouldn’t be able to get back to this person I am now. Friday night I had the worst nightmares I have had in a very long time. I hadn’t had this one nightmare in particular for a while, but its always the same. I am back in my master bathroom at my old house, R has me pinned down. His knees on my shoulders, he is leaning over me, he has one arm on my legs holding me still and he is punching my stomach repeatedly with the other. He has a pillow over my face so even though I am screaming nobody can hear me. Now, I have been in counseling since June 4,2014. I have done this thing called EMDR that his supposed to help with memory and PTSD. This recurring dream my counselor thinks, could very well be what had happened causing me to have the placental abruption.

Reading that paper brought me right back to that helpless victim, who was ashamed, embarrassed, and terrified. I cried reading it. I was so sad that I drug my family through all that mess with me. But after seeing my counselor today she encouraged me to keep going, and share how I was feeling. She told me “Alyssa, this blog is about your thoughts, your feelings, you have made it passed that, you are strong now and will never go back to being that powerless person. You have always been a warrior, we just needed to give you your power back. Share your journey. Let your readers know its okay to have bad days, they don’t define you or take away from your progress.” And she is right. There are some days where if I didn’t have a little boy needing me to be the best damn mommy and daddy I can be, I would probably crumble. But that is part of getting strong again and being a domestic violence survivor.  Its okay for me to not be this fighter every day and somedays to cry. I want to keep writing this blog to encourage others to find the strength to leave abusive relationsips and the ones who have left, that it is okay to be weak sometimes, that being weak doesn’t give your abuser the power back, and that it doesn’t take away from the progress you have made.

Love,

Alyssa

#3-Fear

After being served and given a court date a temporary restraining order was put in place. In CA to get a domestic violence restraining order you have to have signs of abuse and the abuser needs to be a close person to you (not a roommate). A temporary one goes into place, then you go to court where the judge will have a final ruling.

I had to then find a family law attorney, which means hefty retainers. THANK GOD for my parents being how supportive they were, and continue to be in this nightmare. I could not have done it without them.

The first court date was set for 2/24/14. The judge decided to lump the restraining order hearing and restraining order hearing into one court date to save some time. I had never been to court in my life, I had no idea what to wear. I went to express to buy some nice slacks/skirts and button ups. I remember trying these clothes on looking in the mirror questioning what my life had come to. I pictured having a child, being married, you know the typical white picket fence life-this was not that. This was nightmares, tons of fear, surgeries, blood transfusions, beatings, threats, and court dates.

February 24, 2014 arrived way faster than I was prepared for. How am I supposed to go and face R? How am I supposed to go in there against someone who tried to kill me and put my child’s safety in a judge’s hands? How am I supposed to do this sitting in the same room with him? My attorney sat next to me waiting so that I wouldn’t have to see R, but I could feel him looking at me. My heart was pounding in my chest, I have never been so scared in my life. I had this huge lump in my throat, you want to run but you can’t, you want to believe this is all just a bad dream, but its not, you want to believe that the judge will have the sense to know that this man is not a good person, but sometimes they don’t. When they called our case and we went up to the stand I feel like I almost left my mind for a few seconds. I prayed, held myself together, and tried as hard as I could to not cry. I was not going to let him see another tear fall from my eyes. I couldn’t even speak when the clerk has you swear in. I tried but nothing came out. The judge issued my restraining order for 3 years, he sent R and I to mediation to work out a custody/visitation plan, which was enforced right away, twice weekly, 1 hour long supervised visits with a Child Protective Services supervisor and my mother present. Upon leaving I didn’t talk for a few hours. I just shook my head yes and no when asked questions-I was just frozen in fear.

The mediation date was 5/16/14. I requested separate rooms due to the circumstances, I also didn’t have my attorney with me. The mediator asked me a bunch of questions and I guess R was busy out of state and had to call in. We returned to court 5/21/14 in front of the same judge again. He stated he basically agrees with what the mediator says and puts that ruling into place, mind you I had NO idea what her decision was, continue with the plan already in place or give this monster more time? Can you imagine sitting there within 10 feet of your abuser, and thinking that he could possibly get custody of the most important and precious thing in your life:your child. Little did I know that R asked for more time with Beau, thankfully the mediator saw his game. She ordered me to go to mandatory counseling once a week(I still see my counselor weekly). R was granted twice weekly, hour long visitations with a CPS supervisor and my mother present. He also was instructed to enter in a batterer intervention program, twice weekly 10 panel drug/alcohol testing at random times, for two months any failed tests would result in him going to rehab, he needed to go to at least 12 AA/NA meetings for 3  months, and I was to be notified on all of his progress/drug test results. He saw Beau twice in one week, canceled the visitation and moved away. He never completed any classes, AA meetings, or drug/alcohol testing. When R was asked if he was in agreement with what was being put in place he repetitively said ” I don’t want to incriminate myself” “I want the baby to have my last name” “I don’t want to incriminate myself”, and my favorite line ” I don’t have time for this I need to go see my aunt” I am sitting there in complete shock thinking “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? THIS IS YOUR CHILD!! I didn’t have time to apply makeup to cover bruises, i didn’t have time to clean up his vomit all the time, I didn’t have time to be attacked over and over, I didn’t have time to digest what hell I was put through and fought through, but I definitely have ALL the time in the world for my child.”The judge told R he could not give him legal advice, your son won’t have your last name yet until you show you are wanting to be a parent, and decided he couldn’t have more time with Beau until he showed some progress in his sobriety.

R last saw MY son march of 2014. He has never sent a card for any holiday, has never bought a single diaper, blanket, never asked to see my son since march of 2014. It stayed that way for two years. I still lived in fear everyday. I wouldn’t take my son out near where his parents worked in fear of retaliation. My family moved for our safety. Even with the restraining order weird things would happen around the house. I was terrified all the time in public, always looking over my shoulder, afraid of the dark(still am), nightmares, never going anywhere alone. I didn’t allow my son to sleep in his crib until we moved. I thought R would climb through my window and try to kidnap him. One night in particular my mom came into my room and saw that Beau was asleep in my arms, she went to go put him in his crib and I starting throwing punches at her to protect Beau. I was still hearing people telling me that I was keeping Beau from R, that they were hearing from his family that I was lying, the abuse never happened. They even had the audacity to say I told them no when asked to see Beau. I was never  asked. I was asked one time, the time i got served. After everything I had been through my name was continuing to be dragged through the mud. I already felt disgusting about myself, thought I was stupid, ashamed, everyone knew what happened in this small town I felt like everyone was starring at me everywhere we went.

You would think the battle would have ended there, but it didn’t.

#2-Realization

After I was discharged from the hospital, Beaus sperm donor, lets call him “R”, kept asking me to see Beau. I would respond with asking him to prove sobriety over an extended period of time. Beau was born premature and was having difficulty swallowing at times. R would try to sweet talk me calling me princess, telling me my parents were wrong in what they are doing and are trying to control me, and sadly still being trapped in that cycle I believed him. THANK GOD my parents were tough on me and my sisters were there supporting me in keeping strong, I honestly would probably be dead if it wasn’t for the 4 of them.

When I went to my first post op after my c section my doctor talked about my abuse, I still was not ready to face it. I was afraid to be “that girl”. I had been struggling with coming to terms with the abuse and taking the steps to getting a restraining order, I was still afraid to upset R, I was afraid of him coming to my parents house and causing a scene, I was afraid the police wouldn’t believe me. When you are with an abusive person they brainwash you to believe that everything is your fault, that you DESERVE what is happening to you, and that nobody will believe you if you do gain the strength to tell the truth. Thankfully my doctor told me based on the evidence, and my bruising that he already notified the police and legally he had to start a police report.

I was terrified, I don’t think I have ever been more torn in my life. I pulled onto my parents street and sure enough there was a sheriff waiting for me. Now I am totally pro police, I think they do AMAZING work, but the way this sheriff spoke to me was not okay. He made me show him my bruises which by this point were mostly gone, he went through my phone and read some text messages. He made me feel like I was lying, now looking back I can understand a lot of victims go back to their abusers, and he may have been used to that kind of situation. He asked me what I wanted to do. I said press charges, I signed a medical records release form so that he could give the records to the DA. He went to R’s home he denied everything. His response when asked about the bruises and if he had caused them was, and I quote ” Not me boss”. I am not sure where the ball was dropped but the sheriff never got my records from the hospital.

R’s father (Beaus grandpa) asked to come see Beau. Reluctantly I said yes. I couldn’t blame this man for what his son had done. My mother was not on board with this decision, but sure enough he came. He held my 5lb little baby for a total of maybe 10 minutes and then asked me to escort him to our front door. I held Beau and walked him out, on the way out he kept telling me about how good a dad R wants to be, I responded saying when he is sober he will be, but until then its not safe for Beau. He said well I have to give you this. He handed me an orange folder that had  packet of information inside, I have never been to court in my life so I was not aware of what was happening. R had his father served me, for custody of my son. He had wrote this letter about how he is a veteran, he is in parenting classes, in AA all this stuff that was about 70% false.

I went from feeling guilty about keeping Beau from him to pissed and protective. This man was trying to paint me out to be a bad person, which I was not going to have happen. And just like that in a 10 minute visit I went from being a victim to becoming a survivor. I was not going to take this lying down. Then the next battle began….

Very First Blog Post EVER!

Well, this shall be interesting.

Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Alyssa, I am in my mid twenties, and a domestic violence survivor. I started a non profit organization called “A Survivor’s Mission-Love Doesn’t Hurt”.  My main goal with starting this blog is to reach as many lives as I can, educate those who are suffering, and raise awareness. I will update this blog weekly,maybe even more depending on what is going on in my life.

The plan I have for this blog is to start by giving you some back story on me, then I will update as well as I can chronologically from the past until we reach present day.

My journey started on January 6,2014, the day my son was born. I say my journey started this day because it was the day I was forced to realize that I had been a victim of domestic violence for some time. I was so uneducated with what domestic violence was. The victims have no specific age, no specific race, and most of all we have no voice. We have no voice because our abusers have taken it from us. If you asked anyone about who I was pre-abuse, they would describe me as strong, stubborn, driven, I didn’t take Sh!t from anyone.

I met my abuser on Facebook, we went to the same high school, had a lot of the same friends. We started talking and obviously began a relationship. We got an apartment together, got engaged, I can honestly tell you I was truly happy. I felt safe. Until  I wasn’t.

The actual abuse started a year or so before I became pregnant. It started with verbal abuse. I can’t tell you how many times I was called a bitch, worthless, a piece of shit, the “c” word, it was non stop. That progressed into him breaking objects, remotes, chairs, picture frames, punching holes in walls. I remember one particular time where he was going off the handle and I locked myself in the bathroom and called my mom for help. She had to hear him screaming at me through the door, through the phone line and she could still hear clearly what he was saying. I would like to say that was all my mother and family had to deal with, but sadly it wasn’t.

The physical abuse started once I tried to fight back. I would yell back instead of cower in a room, I was fed up. I was not going to be a girl who lets a man talk to her that way. It didn’t matter that I am 5’3 and he was 6’2 and 280 lbs, I was going to stand up for myself. He didn’t like that very much. He  made damn sure to let me know.

When you are a victim of abuse you tend to let your mind leave your body, its how you survive. But there are a few major defining moments I remember.

1)There was a time where he wanted to go out to eat, he was also an alcoholic so going out to eat was always a stressful time for me. 4 things were for sure going to happen every time; 1) we would sit at the bar, 2) He would get extremely intoxicated, 3) I would leave by myself almost every time , and 4) there would be some sort of altercation. This night in particular was when the first major physical abuse happened. We were getting ready to go eat, I begged him to please not get drunk, just to go out and have it be a normal night like normal couples get to have. He decided to shove me into our hallway wall. I was completely stunned, I am pretty sure I responded with a “WTF are you doing”, he shoved me again, this time I lost my balance and reached for a door knob to break my fall, during the fall he shoved me harder, he then kneeled on top of me and shoved my head into the carpet telling me I was not the boss of him and that I do not control him. I had carpet marks in my forehead and bruised my hand trying to break my fall.

2) after a long enough time of arguments, embarrassing times going out, I ended up just staying at home most nights while he went out and got blacked out drunk. I gave up, it wasn’t worth my sanity. (little did I know I had already lost it) As usual he would go out with his friends, go bowling, go to the bar, and come home around 3 or 4 am. I was working as a medical assistant and would get up early to commute to work. This night he came home, laid down in bed, and I could already smell the crown royal seeping through his skin, nauseating me I tried to go sleep on the couch. He woke up stumbling down the hallway blubbering derogatory comments at me because he was upset that I left the bedroom. He laid on the other side of the couch, once he was passed out I went back to bed and locked the bedroom door, knowing that if i didn’t he would pick a physical fight with me. The locked door didn’t do a thing, he punched and kicked his way through the door to get to me, proceeded to slam my head into our wood head board screaming at me for leaving him in the other room. I don’t remember much after that until it was time to get up to go to work. I put on my happy face for my co workers and patients, nobody ever suspected abuse.

3) I had gotten pregnant, I was about 6.5 months at this point, it was early december of 2014, I had a bbq with a few of his friends, two of my  best girlfriends showed up. One of my best friends was here to witness this attack. He had been drinking all day bbqing, to the point where when I looked at him there was nobody home. He was walking toward the garage door, and was spilling his jack and coke ALL over the carpet. I was walking behind him cleaning up the carpet. Once he finally went into the garage it was about 11pm, I grabbed the bottle of jack and ran to the master bedroom to pour it out in the sink, in hopes that he wouldn’t hear me doing so. My girlfriend was in there talking to her boyfriend at the time so there would also be her voice muffling the sound of the liquid pouring into the sink. He must have came in and heard me pouring the alcohol out and ran into the bathroom to attack me. He wrestled me, 6.5 months pregnant to get this bottle of jack. I am pleading with him please to stop, please let go, please relax, saying you are choosing this bottle over me. He didn’t care, he shoved me to the point of almost falling into the closet, i caught myself on the doorframe. My friend came running over and was telling me she how she saw this and saw him abusing me, she walked me to the bed and tried to call the police, i stopped her. Trying to protect him. I ended up having a panic attack, he kept coming into the master bedroom while I’m having a panic attack telling me what a bitch I was, an embarrassment, a piece of shit. Not caring about my safety, not caring about our sons safety, not caring about anything. I have never been more embarrassed and humiliated in my life.

4) January 6, 2014. The worst of my attacks I can’t remember. This attack is what caused me to have a placental abruption, and emergency c section-having my son 7 weeks premature. This attack resulted in me throwing up blood(him not caring of course), 3 blood transfusions, a hematoma on my kidney needing to be surgically drained, heart complications, pancreatitis, liver complications, internal bleeding, needing a DNC, leaving my unresponsive for 6 days, needed a high level ambulance transport to a hospital far away from my premature baby, an endoscopy revealing that I had 2 remaining layers of tissue on my esophagus from throwing up so much due to DRANO poisoning. This attack lead to my family being told I was going to die.

But that attack lead me to who I am today. That attack made me wake up, become a fighter again, and fight for those who can’t. I am thankful for my journey, I have the most perfect son, amazing parents and sisters, the best friends. I can’t wait to fill you in next week on how I got to where I am now 🙂 stay tuned.