Life after Domestic Violence…

Life after domestic violence is almost as scary as being in the abusive relationship. I am not sure of where all my readers are from but I live in a very small town of roughly around 5,000 people. Everyone knows everyone else’s business. That means everyone in this town has probably heard what happened to me. Let’s not forget that my abusers family lives 4 miles away. I have seen them out at the grocery store, I bank right across the street from their business, and we also used have some mutual friends. Since we live in such a small town it is extremely hard to keep my son’s life private as well. I have had someone I considered family take pictures of Beau and send them to my abusers family, against a court order.

There are so many rumors I have heard about myself that you wouldn’t believe. I have heard that I lied about my abuse, sorry but medical records, text messages, and pictures do not lie. I have also heard that I keep my son away from his “grandparents”. The only time I have ever heard from my abusers parents was when I was being served in my home, and when his actual mother emailed me. I have also heard that I kept Beau from his father. I wouldn’t have ever done that, even with the abuse. That is his father, I can not change that. I didn’t file a motion for abandonment until a little over a year after ZERO contact. Then R decided to give up his parental rights after numerous no shows in court. He never sent Beau a birthday card, never called to check on him, and never paid a dime in child support.

If you have ever been in an abusive relationship you more than likely have PTSD from the situation. I, to this day, am constantly looking over my shoulder, sit facing any entrance to the restaurant I am in, and even do laps around the parking lot before I enter a place to lessen the chance of running into them or him. In the times that I have run into them I get a death stare, not an apology. Which then brings the guilt right back. Feeling as though what happened was my fault.

Dating after domestic violence is a whole other story. It is terrifying. I have been in counseling for over 2 years to try and learn the behaviors an abuser has but you can still never be 100% sure. You have to worry about the motives of the man you are seeing. Is he seeing me out of pity? Is he seeing me to say he went out with me? Is he actually interested in a meaningful relationship, not just sex? If you have been abused you have had your heart and brain completely wrecked, your trust level is the lowest it can possibly be, and you have extremely low self-esteem. That makes you easy pray for any man to take advantage of you. Knowing that I have my walls up so high it’d take an olympic pole vaulter to even reach them. I really have to think if this man is worth me putting my heart out there again. I can tell you one thing, if you are dating a girl who has been abused in any way (emotionally, verbally, physically) and she actually likes you, its the best kind of love you will ever find. We know what its like to be torn down so we will always be lifting you up. We know what its like to have your trust broken so we will never lie. We know what its like to be treated like dirt so we will treat you like gold. Domestic Violence Survivor’s are the strongest and most courageous human beings I know. They had the strength to leave a situation that crippled them, built themselves back up, and came back stronger than ever before. They need to feel respected and loved, appreciated, and communicated with.

Life after domestic violence is definitely scary, but at least you are safe. You have one life to live. Do you want to spend it living in fear every day? Worrying about how long the next bruise will take to heal? What lie you are going to tell your family when they ask why you can’t come over, Or do you want to spend your life owning it. I am so proud of my journey and my scars. I took something that should have killed me and turned it into my mission. A Survivor’s Mission. I am going to change how this world views domestic violence victims, I am going to give every girl the chances I had to have a career, education, and counseling services, and I am going to try my hardest to change the domestic violence laws here in CA. For anyone who doubts me, sit back and watch.

The Abuse Log.

This weeks blog post is a little risky. I have debated about sharing this information since I started this blog, but it is a huge part of my story and you all deserve to know. My mom kept a log of every time I called her crying, every time I reached out for her to come help with this monster, but in reality these were the times that she KNEW about. There are 18 events on this 10 page typed up log, but to save peoples time I will only share some of them and try and organize them by month. It was given to the sheriff when he came to see my bruises and take a police report. The sad part was that these events weren’t even the big ones, besides the day I gave birth of course. This is the reality of domestic violence, you keep secrets, you keep the abuse to yourself because you are so embarrassed and ashamed. It is a long read but please read until the very end. These are directly from my moms writing:

June 2012- Shortly after moving in together Alyssa finds out that R has cheated on her. She is devastated and believes him when he said he was sorry and it wouldn’t happen again. 6/23/12 Alyssa goes to bart with R and his friends. R’s friend calls me Alyssa was hysterically crying because she had been maced by 2 girls on BART. R was drunk and started a fight with the girls, they retaliated by going after Alyssa. She was temporarily blinded.

July-Sep 2012- Alyssa still calls me 2-3x a week crying to please come and help her try and talk to R because he is drunk again. He has tried to get more alcohol or caused a huge fight, physically pushed her, punched a hole in the wall, verbally assaulted her, or broken something in rage.

August 2012-Alyssa and R go to SF for the day. Again an issue with R and alcohol. In a rage R has broken the key fab that opens and locks her Mustang.

Dec 2012-The same phone calls continue, to the point where I am afraid to go to sleep at night. In his rages he says horrible things to Alyssa. Says he hates her, she makes him drink, he would chose alcohol over her. 12/7/12-12/8/12- Alyssa calls me hysterically crying again. R has slammed her head into the ground and held her down. He is going crazy and wants to kill himself. She said he has held a knife to his neck and that he has cuts on his wrists from the knife. I told her to call 911 but she is afraid he will get in trouble. He is twitching and looks crazy. He is still drinking it is 3am. One minute he is saying he loves Alyssa the next he is saying he hates her and hopes she dies. I called R’s dad no answer. I tried to call VA hospitals and the hotlines, closed. Next afternoon to VA in palo alto. The person asks him some questions, one stands out in my mind. They asked if he ever thought about homicide, he says yes. His BAC was tested, still over legal limit. He looses it and gets really angry. The doctors and nurses are in fear for their safety and have a security guard watching.

1/7/13- Michael and I go to palm desert for the weekend. Alyssa and R were staying at my house to help with her sisters. They are fighting all the time. R decides he is going to go out drinking and he stays out close to 3am. Sets off our house alarm. The fighting continues, a neighbor sees it in the street and is really conceded for Alyssa’s well being and doesn’t think Alyssa is safe in the relationship she is in. R also lost his job.

June-July 2013-Alyssa finds out she is pregnant and is really sick. R’s behavior of getting drunk and going out continues. Alyssa has been vomiting for a few days, fever, severe headache, she just doesn’t feel right. I pick her up and take her to the hospital. She is severely dehydrated and needed potassium. Her potassium is low enough that she could have had a heart attack. They would like to admit her but Alyssa wants to leave. I am sure she is afraid R will go out and party all night. 7/8/13 R is out partying all night. Calling bars, friends, girls, limo services, bart, and hotels. R doesn’t come home.

August 2013- We go to Pebble Beach with friends for the weekend. Alyssa calls me hysterically crying 8/3/13. R has again gone out on a drinking binge and said hurtful things. He hates her, hates the baby, he doesn’t want to be a dad, hopes the baby dies, hopes she dies. Alyssa is devastated by his behavior.

September 2013- R started a construction college and came home for the weekend. He is drunk again. Alyssa calls me. She has locked herself in the bathroom. She is scared. She is hiding in the bathroom to keep him away from her. She says she has never seen him like this. I can hear him screaming and pounding on the door. He is telling her he hates her, hates the baby, hopes the baby is born retarded and that it dies, he hates Alyssa and hopes she dies too.

We talk to Alyssa tell her its time to move on. We told her we would look for a place on the golf course for her and we would help her.

Oct-Dec 2013-I know there are issues between them, I can see it by looking at the phone bill. R hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is Alyssa has distanced herself from us. Even though we live right by her we barely see her.

Dec 2013- Looking through text messages now (Jan 2014) I can see R is staying out all night, buying and selling drugs, calling other girls. R is also taking Alyssa’s car without asking. We see Alyssa for thanksgiving and Christmas. She looks very unhappy and sad. She has only gained 10lbs during her pregnancy. On Christmas Eve R complains of a headache, I go to their home to check on him. He begs me to call 911, paramedics repeatedly ask him if he has taken anything R insists he hasn’t. I invite Alyssa and R over for New Years, she says she is too tired.

Jan 2014- Alyssa leaves work early on 1/2/14. She says she is vomiting, feeling chilled, and just not right. I check in on her over the weekend, she says no R is taking care of her. She texts me then calls me the morning of 1/6/14- She said she is bleeding vaginally and she isn’t sure what is going on. I tell her to call her doctor, he tells her to go to Labor and Delivery. When I get to Alyssa’s she looks horrible. I can tell she is in pain and hurts to move. She has no coloring and has dark circles under her eyes. There is A LOT of blood in both toilets. I told her I need to call 911 and cannot drive her. I see texts from R telling Alyssa she is fine and nothing is wrong with her. Fire and paramedics arrive. The paramedic tries 5 times to get an IV in Alyssa but she is too dehydrated and she is extremely swollen. They check Alyssa’s blood sugar and it was 37, they tell me to give her some orange juice. Alyssa is transported to Sutter in labor and bleeding. Her due date is February 20, 2014. On January 6,2014 Alyssa goes into the OR for an emergency C section due to a placental abruption. At 3pm she has a baby boy weighing 4lbs 2.3oz. 17 inches long. Alyssa goes back to her room. R is there briefly and leaves with his father at 5:30pm, saying he would be back shortly. When he wasn’t back by 8 my husband texted R as well as my daughter Samantha. R finally arrives back at the hospital around 9:40pm. He is clearly agitated and hostile. I ask him if he has had dinner yet, He snaps back at me “No! I haven’t. Everyone has been fucking calling or texting me and won’t leave me alone!” I explained that Alyssa was asking for him. Alyssa is vomiting blood. I was helping the nurse take care of her. The nurse asked R if he knew Alyssa was vomiting blood at home. He said yes for a couple days. The nurse asks why he didn’t take her to get help. He was getting more agitated by the nurses questions. He started getting nasty with the nurse. Samantha told him to calm down and not cause a scene. He shoots up and backs her into Samantha into a corner, calling her “a little fucking bitch”. The nurse came rushing in and asked if there was a problem, Samantha said yes! Him. He grabbed his stuff and left. Hospital security was notified they looked for R but he had left. The staff informed us that they suspected Alyssa was a victim of domestic violence. They told us that they had documented bruising on her, arm, hips, and thighs. They asked Alyssa but she denied any issues. They said to protect Alyssa R would be banned from the hospital. They changed Alyssa and Beau’s ID bands. I was given the father band. Alyssa and the baby were taken off the hospital census. They moved her room two more times for her safety. R texted Alyssa around 12am on 1/7/14 saying “SORRY” 5o minutes later he texted her “U R SOL NOW”. The staff informed me that they suspected a traumatic injury caused Alyssa’s placental abruption and social services were notified.

Alyssa suddenly took a turn for the worse. She had pancreatitis, elevated liver enzymes, elevated WBC, tachycardia, a fever. She was extremely swollen and in a lot of pain. Needed oxygen. Alyssa continued to get worse they contacted her doctors at CPMC and they had a bed for her and wanted her transferred to them. Alyssa required 2 units of blood before she could be moved. Arriving at CPMC on 1/8/14 the nurses kept having to run her sternum and pinch her chest to get any response from her.

1/9/14-Medical tests were ordered for Alyssa. An endoscopy with ultrasound was ordered to look at her esophagus for bleeding.The dr said he has never see burns like hers, I said she had vomited her entire pregnancy, He compared it to chemical burns and asked if anyone had given her anything to poison her. A chest x ray was ordered, Alyssa had a pleural effusion. CT scan ordered Alyssa had fluid around her spleen and kidney, a hematoma, cysts or abscesses on her left kidney, retained placenta, swelling in her intestines, Alyssa was still out of it. They were giving her antibiotics, magnesium, and potassium through her IV, and Oxygen.

1/10/14- Alyssa had another CT with an aspiration to drain the hematoma on her left kidney. Alyssa continued to need antibiotics, round the clock blood draws every 4 hours. She was “waking” up today. She started to remember she had a baby and that she was in a different hospital.

1/13/14- Alyssa was medically stable enough for a D&C to remove the retained placenta. When the nurses saw her they couldnt believe she was alive, the doctors said they had a doomsday prediction for her and didn’t think she was going to survive. She went in of the D&C and hemorrhaged during surgery. The doctors had to pack her to stop the bleeding, She needed 2 more units of blood.

1/15/14- Alyssa was discharged from the hospital, first thing she wanted to do was go and see and hold her baby. She had no memory of holding him before she was transported.

1/17/14- Back in ER again for severe bleeding.

1/23-1/24/14 Back in ER again because of her abdomen being distended, severe abdominal pain, left sided back pain, light headedness and just not feeling right.

Two things stand out in my mind throughout this whole ordeal.

  1. I asked Alyssa when was the last time she had sex, She said a couple of days before Beau was born. She also complained her her thighs hurting and vaginal pain when she first got to the hospital. When I asked her again about sex she said things were blurry, she didn’t know the last time she had has sex. How could she have consented to having sex with being as sick as she was?

  2. While she was in the hospital and out of it on 1/8/14 and 1/9/14 she was waving her arms around and pushing me away. Yelling “STOP R! STOP PUSHING ME! R STOP!! I explained to Alyssa that I was not R and was not hurting her. I let her know she was safe. Once she was awake she was afraid of being left alone.

Silence and Shame

I debated on bringing this event up because I didn’t want to give this woman any more attention then she was already getting, but something has to be said. This blog automatically posts to my Facebook on a public setting so anyone who is suffering is able to read in hopes of helping. Another Facebook user commented on my blog post with laughing faces, then saying domestic violence is funny “when it happens to a cu*nt like me.” I did not know this girl, she wasn’t my friend on Facebook. I automatically had this wave of shame and anger come over me. I didn’t share my story publicly for almost 2 years out of fear and embarrassment. My closest friends had no idea of what I was going through, I would go to work, see patients, smile, laugh, none of my coworkers noticed anything. I can’t explain to you the feeling of having to hide this whole other part of your life out of shame and embarrassment. Its like walking around with a 50 ton boulder on your chest. You basically live a double life. Having to take extra time in the morning to cover up bruises or bags under my eyes from being up all night crying. The stress of having to keep my secret. Nobody thinks that they will be a victim. My family didn’t even know what I was going through. I could get into a huge blow out fight minutes before going to their house, but still walk in, swallow my tears, and smile. I did not want to let them down. NO parent wants their child to be a vicim of domestic violence.

I was completely embarrassed. I come from a very strong and tight knit family. We are honest and open with each other. My parents have been married for almost 28 years(I think), my dad has an amazing job, I was never exposed to violence or any major upsets in my childhood. I grew up with tons of friends, I never had to go without, I was always strong physically and emotionally. I wasn’t what you picture a “victim” to be. Maybe that is why it was so hard for anyone to believe, and for me to actually comprehend. It wasn’t until I started counseling 6 months after Beau was born that I actually realized the gravity of what I had been through. That is the exact reason why I started A Survivor’s Mission and blogging with Alyssa’s Story.

I had everything to come back to. I have an amazing support system, counseling, the best doctors to take care of me after I had Beau. I had a career to fall back on. I have became what I hope every victim can be-a survivor. I hope to one day provide counseling to survivors, sponsor them through school, give them a shot at independence. Its people like that girl who commented on my blog post that keep us silent. She fed into my shame 3 years later. If she could do that to me after 2 years of therapy, imagine what others feel. If you are suffering from any form of domestic abuse it is not your fault. You did nothing to deserve it. Coming forward and asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it makes you strong. Don’t let people like that girl keep you quiet. Break your silence. Help is out there. I am always here.

 

 

 

#5 Abandonment

R hadn’t seen or contacted Beau in over a year. I knew he would come back for holidays to see his family, who live about 5 minutes away. It was a constant worry of mine that he would choose this fathers day, this christmas, this birthday to contact the supervisor for a visit. I had never received any child support payments, any birthday cards, presents, nothing. So I met with my attorney to move forward with filing abandonment. In California you can file for abandonment if there has been a period of 12 months with no contact from the other parent. Now came the hard part-tracking R down. Legally I was supposed to have his address, which is a complete joke in my mind. When has he ever done anything by the law? He never followed ANY of the court ordered instructions. Never did any drug/alcohol screenings, didn’t do any of his counseling, didn’t go to any batterer intervention programs. NOTHING. His family never even contacted me to see Beau. But I had to somehow find an address and serve him 10 days prior to the hearing? I had to have my process server serve his mother and father. Then it became their legal responsibility to get it to R.

We went to court. I had the same judge that we have had this whole hearing, which terrified me. He is a very blunt, no bullshit kind of guy. He will talk over attorneys, tell them to shut their mouths, tell you that you are wasting his time. I had no idea whether or not R, his mom, or his step mother and dad would be attending the hearing. My attorney told me this will be a quick case, since he has literally abandoned Beau it wouldn’t be hard to prove it. Shockingly the judge told me I needed to hire an attorney for Beau, prove that Beau would be financially supported if anything were to happen to me, prove that he was in a better financial position with me than he ever would be with is father, I needed to show where Beau lives, go through extensive background checks, and have an interview with a court investigator. I honestly thought I was going to walk out stress free and the case would be closed. I was so angry. I felt as though we are just giving this monster more time to change his mind, more time to get his shit together, and more time to take Beau away from me.

I had the phone interview with the court investigator. She was very sweet. She asked me every detail of the case, including the domestic violence history. I went though it all step by step, the threats, abuse, how I almost died. She also needed to talk to R then would get back with me once she made contact, I wished her luck. R reportedly sounded irritated and confused as to “why so many people were calling him” She explained to him what was going on, he said “I did exactly what I was supposed to do. I walked away.” He stated “I made visitation impossible for him”. The worst comment he made that broke my heart for Beau was he said “I have no fatherly ties to the child.” Let me just make this clear, HE served me with custody papers, HE got awarded visitation, which HE canceled after 2 visits, so how did I ever make him walk away? Playing the victim as usual. The court investigator recommended that R’s parental rights be terminated since he wasn’t fighting for Beau, never paid child support, and didn’t want to come to court. I was extremely relieved, one battle was won. Next up meeting with Beaus attorney.

I met with Beau’s attorney. She seemed very blunt and almost irritated to be meeting with me. She had asked me to bring Beau so that she could see that he is healthy and happy. She kept commenting on how cute he is, saying I should get him modeling. She also said how happy he is, and  said “who wouldn’t want to be a part of that little boys life.” We went into her office. She grilled me for about an hour, asking me all about my relationship with R, his past, my past, and the abuse. She actually got teary eyed when I described the abuse, my delivery, and the trauma R caused. I got emotional talking about all of the details and saying how much I love Beau and just want what is best for him and his safety. After the hour long session she said she had talked to R. I was anxious as hell thinking about what he said. She stated that R isn’t going to fight my petition and said he doesn’t want any parental rights to Beau-“He just wanted it over with”. THANK GOD that was over with, now we just needed to go back to court to make the ruling final, but R could still change his mind.

We went back to court AGAIN. Same judge, same court reporter, even the same sheriff. My attorney said he would probably call me first or save me for last since it is an easy case. Of course we went last. I don’t think my heart has ever pounded so loudly since the very first court date. I have never prayed like I prayed that day. Next to Beau being born, this is the most important day of my life. At the end of the whole day the judge finally called my case. He asked everyone to leave the court room, at first it was just my attorney, Beaus attorney, the judge, court reporter, and sheriff. I honestly thought that R had changed his mind and that the judge wasn’t going to rule in my favor. He then said “I saved the easiest case for last” My attorney went over all the evidence, Beau’s attorney went over her conversation with myself and R. We asked my family to come in for the final ruling. The judge said he was going to grant my petition to strip R of his parental rights.  I was teary eyed I was so happy. My family was emotional. It was finally over. Beau is all mine forever. The judge said he didn’t even know where to file the paper work because in his whole career he has never made the ruling of  taking someones parental rights away. I thanked him so much! Beau’s attorney walked out with us, she actually shook my hand saying how I was a great mom and she was very pleased with the ruling. I didn’t realize how much stress I was under. It felt like I could finally breathe again.

We called all of our family, friends, and had a big dinner following the court proceedings to  celebrate.

The picture that changed my life.

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This is the first picture I have holding my son. It isn’t your typical post birth picture where the mom is glowing, dad is smiling, baby healthy and bundled up. Its a defeated dying mother holding a premature little baby, without a dad. R had attacked my sister when he was questioned about why I was throwing up blood for 5 days and he didn’t take me to a hospital for help. He was removed from the hospital. Nurses then saw the bruises on my arms, hips, and stomach. They put the pieces together and started investigating deeper for domestic violence. R was banned from returning to the hospital after my mom read through my cell phone finding the horrible life threats R had made. My family came to the realization that their daughter and only grandchild might not survive because of an abusive monster. Beau and I were put under secret names for our safety, completely off the hospital registry, and my room had been changed. My mom took this picture incase I didn’t survive so that my child had a picture with his mother holding him. This is the reality of domestic violence. I was getting transferred to a different hospital over an hour away from my child for more intensive care. I was expected to die. Domestic Violence doesn’t care who you are, where you come from, how much money you have, the color of your skin. It can happen to anyone. It breaks my heart that my mother had to think of taking this picture so that if I were to not wake up, my child had a memory with me. I feel horrible that my family had to endure the stress and heartbreak of my secret. I had carried it on my shoulders not wanting to burden anyone. I thought that I could handle it. As long as he only abused me and not my child it would be okay. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. There is this psychological hold our abusers have over us. I honestly thought that I deserved every attack. I did something wrong and he was punishing me for messing up. I thought that a “family” had to have two parents. I didn’t want my child to grow up with an absent father. I was so brainwashed to believing every negative thing R ever told me. I wasn’t going to be a good mother, I wasn’t a good girlfriend, I was stupid, ugly, worthless, a bitch. This picture represents the beginning of my journey. While it hurts me to see it, it makes me so proud. I am strong and healthy, My child is so happy, strong, and healthy. God saved me and sent be the best gift anyone can ever receive.

 

A Letter To My Abuser…

R,

I never thought I would be the 1 in 4. I never thought I would be one of those girls who become a victim of abuse, especially not at the hands of someone they love. When we are growing up we are taught to fear strangers because you don’t know what they are capable of. I was never taught how to deal with the monster you were. You made my families worst nightmare come true. YOU were my nightmare. The man I was supposed to trust became the stranger you fear your whole life. I was afraid of getting raped at a party, or getting beat up by someone, I never imagined you would become that person.

Every time you drank I knew it would happen. The blow up, the screaming, the abuse. At first I would stand up to you; try and show you that you couldn’t push me around. After a while you broke me. You took away everything I had worked so hard to be. Every time you called me a bitch, worthless, ugly, or told me how you hoped I’d die, you broke me a little more. Every time you pushed me, broke things, or hit me, I died inside a little more until there was nothing left. I look back at pictures when I was with you and I was dead inside. There was no light behind my eyes. I was just going through the motions of everyday life. I got so used to putting on that fake smile and covering up the bruises. No one knew that the night before I was getting verbally and physically abused, or watching you hold a knife to your throat when I wanted to leave. Nobody knew the damage you were truly doing to me.

The scary thing is I still can feel the spit on my face every time you screamed at me, I still am terrified of you, and I can’t trust any man fully because of you. You claimed you had PTSD. I can tell you now that you were full of shit and looking for an excuse for your actions. I have PTSD from YOU. I have nightmares all the time, I can’t go out in public without being terrified to run into you or your family, I am constantly looking over my shoulder. I make an escape plan in my mind at any store I go into just incase I see you.  I carry weapons so I am ready for you if  you do come back to finish the job you started and hurt me again.

You took the happiest time in my life and completely ruined it. When a woman is pregnant it is supposed to be the most beautiful time in her life, not hell. To think that you almost won makes me sick to my stomach. You almost succeeded in your plan of killing me. Please, tell me who the hell thinks to give a woman drano? Who taught you to hate the way you do? I couldn’t imagine hurting someone that way, but that is what makes me a survivor and you a piece of shit. I wouldn’t wish what you did to me for all that time onto anyone, not even your sisters or your mother. I don’t wish you ill will either. Part of me is thankful for you because I have the most amazing child who is ALL MINE and the other part of me pity’s you. You must feel like such a sorry excuse for a man. A real man would never abuse a woman. Plus, on top of all of that you didn’t win-I am still here, alive and telling my story of what YOU did. You messed with the wrong one this time. I have the strength and drive to change this world. I will not be silenced ever again. You can continue to deny the crap you did, but police reports and medical records don’t lie. Other girls who you have done things to have come forward and told me about what you did. My heart broke that you got away with other disgusting things, but it was nice to finally realize that I didn’t do anything wrong. Its YOU. You have a personality flaw. You have an anger issue. You are an addict. Its your guilt to deal with and carry forever.

But at then end of the day, I forgive you. I forgive you for hurting my family when you tried to kill me. I forgive you for having sex with me when I couldn’t consent to it. I forgive you for every time you hit me, called me names, and broke things. I forgive you for trying to take my child away from me. I forgive you for every sleepless night, every emotional breakdown, and for the fear I still have. I forgive you for ruining my trust in men. I forgive you for calling me a liar and for trying to play the victim in this mess you created.

One day I will meet someone who will appreciate and love me for exactly who I am. They won’t try to change me or take away my strength. They will never hit me,spit on me, or verbally abuse me. They will love my family and friends, not try and take me away from them. He will love my child as his own and will be an amazing example of what a man and father is.

R-you may have silenced me for a while, but you never will be able to do so again. I have taken the control of my life back  and I will continue to share my story and use my voice to try and speak for those who can’t.

Dating

I hope everyone had a great Christmas with their families, I definitely did.

This particular blog post may offend some dudes, I really don’t care. Put your big boy pants on and get ready for some reality.

I decided that this week I would write about dating as a single mother. Since it has been the holiday season I am sure every single single person has been asked the inevitable, uncomfortable, and frankly annoying questions-Are you dating anyone? When are you going to settle down?

Being a single mother is the hardest job I have ever had, being a single mother who has been through the traumatic experience I have makes things even harder. But I want what every person wants; Love.

Dating as single mother is completely different than dating before you had a little one. Besides the obvious factor of the child, the qualities you look for in a man have totally changed. Is this man going to be a positive influence in my child’s life? Would I eventually trust him around my child? Will he love my child as his own? Can he protect my child? With my dating history being as shitty as it is I right off the bat ask 3 questions. 1) ever been arrested? 2) are you employed? and 3) have you had/have any addictions? These may be heavy questions to ask someone but I want to know every skeleton in your closet before I become invested in this situation and DEFINITELY before I involve my child in it. I was getting ready for the last date, stressing over what to wear I had my sister helping me. She had a friend with her and I jokingly said “basically at this point I’m going to dinner and interviewing these guys.” It hit me that I really am. I am interviewing these men to see if they can fit in my life. My situation is different than the usual shared custody parenting plan, my son doesn’t have the “father” as you would in the typical upbringing. So I am seeing if these guys have the qualifications to fit the job. Which brings me to my next topic-

Guys- If a woman is giving up her time to be with you RESPECT IT. We spend hours stressing over what outfit to wear, how to do our hair/makeup, getting a new outfit, finding childcare, and the most expensive thing we are giving up -TIME. We are giving up time with our child to go out with you. Now for me personally, I want to text/talk on the phone for a little while before I even agree to go out on a date with you. So if you have passed that HUGE step with me then that means I actually see potential in you, don’t take advantage of it. Be a gentleman. Open the car door, open the restaurant door, pay attention to us-not the game, smile. Most importantly PLEASE have a damn conversation, believe me when I say ANYTHING will be more interesting to talk about than the one we have with our 3 year old about Paw patrol and Minions all the time.  Those little things will go a long way with us. Don’t be a player, if you are 27+ and are still interested in playing games, you probably shouldn’t be dating a single mother.

Look guys, all we really want is to feel respected and appreciated. Ladies, we will all find “the one” someday, but until then we are out here in this dating war together 🙂