Believe

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First, I would like to express my regret for neglecting to post to the blog for so long. I would say life has been too busy, but there really are no excuses that will make it okay.

I’ve been thinking, heavily, over the last few months about what I could possibly write that would be beneficial. I’ve been battling with thoughts of negativity about my purpose here and whether or not what I have to say really matters.

“Does anyone really care to read?”

“Is anyone even gaining anything from the little stories I share?”

“Do they think I’m just sharing to gain attention?”

Then, a dear friend reached out with encouragement. She expressed to me that every time I’ve shared my story and experience it’s given her tiny rays of hope. And I realized, that in not sharing my experiences, I was being selfish and negatively impacting my growth and the possible growth of others. I don’t share with the hopes of humiliating abusers, I share with the hope that I will give victims a shred of hope, a step to freedom, the courage to get out, and the notion that they are not alone.

I fell victim to the lies that my mind was creating within myself. I’m a work in progress. Moving toward being kinder to myself, believing in myself, and spreading that confidence to others that need hope and healing.

So moving forward, here we go again…

Christa Gayle

^ what she said

I too, have been feeling incredibly guilty for abandoning this blog and anyone who might have been looking forward to our future posts. It’s a difficult subject to continually write about, but we were amateurs with good intentions. I also cave under pressure and the more compliments we received from friends saying how our posts were helping them or their friends through similar experiences, I felt excited but also nervous at the same time. Silly, I know. Makes no sense, I know.

I will be honest, these months away from the blog have been tough. I was battling a bout of depression and anxiety. I saw no purpose in life or in my existence. My days were spent feigning happiness at work and in public, but when I had a chance to myself I was a loaf on my couch wallowing in self-deprecation and fatalism. I have sought help and can now happily say I feel like myself, (more to be said on that later).

Long story short, we are here to help others. We are here to give validation and voice to those who may not feel their feelings are validated. We are here to bring awareness to an issue that has been out of public commentary for far too long.

I lost sight of this purpose for a moment. And we are humbly back, in hopes to continue helping others.

Thank you to those who supported us and thank you to those who may be reading this now.

Lindsey V.

 

 

There Is Hope

We are posting something a little different today.  I created a video for a Non-profit domestic violence shelter in St. Louis, MO. We thought we would share it with everyone in the hopes of raising an awareness for the need to help your local shelters. Let us know what you think, or share what you have done to help a shelter near you! Thank you and much love!

~Christa G.

All You Need is Love

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I recently came across a post in which an actress had come under some fire and was bashed publicly for kissing her 4-year-old son on the lips. I was immediately dumbfounded at the fact that there are people out there that felt it was inappropriate! The very thought that a parent pouring out affection on their child could be seen as disgusting is highly disturbing. Love and affection are basic needs for a child to thrive.

A September 2013 study from UCLA, titled “Childhood Abuse, Parental Warmth, and Adult Multisystem Biological Risk in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study” suggests that a loving parental figure may alter neural circuits in children that could influence health throughout a lifespan. Inversely, the negative impact of childhood abuse or lack of parental affection may also take a mental and physical toll that could last a lifetime. Childhood neglect increases adult risk for mortality, morbidity, and poor health later in life.

Are we really so caught up in the hustle of making a living that we’re forgetting to ensure the most important people in our lives aren’t being deprived of the one thing they need most. . . love.

Our children want to be noticed. They want your attention. They need your hugs. A kiss on the cheek. Snuggles. These are the things that guide them, make them compassionate, and help them succeed.

Love and discipline go hand in hand. You cannot give discipline without displaying love in return or your child will begin to withdraw, and take on the mindset that they can never do anything right.

Kiss your child on their little cheeks or lips. Tell them how much you love them and how proud you are to be their parent. They need love like they need breath, shelter, food, and clothing.

~Christa G.

I’m The Victim Here

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More often than not, we experience verbal abuse and don’t even realize that it’s happening to us. I’m sure we’ve all had that one friend that would walk all over you, but when you tried to let them know that their treatment of you was offensive it became the end of the world. And how dare you point out their behavior as less than friendly! You owe them an apology now for sticking up for yourself!

We tend to brush off their actions with, “Oh, they’re just very outspoken” or “I was overreacting to what she said”. But it’s not healthy. We teach those around us how to treat us. They know who will put up with their crap and who won’t, and unfortunately it’s the ones we’re closest to.

It probably started out small with them making a rude remark about your home, appearance, family, or job. And they brushed off their behavior with a flaky excuse. . .  “Well you know I had a bad day at work, my boss was on my ass about being late, and my boyfriend and I got into it that morning.” Thus turning the focus from your pain to them, making you feel guilty for your pain. And now they’re the victim, not you.

Then the verbal battering becomes more frequent, and it’s almost as if they are just picking fights. They don’t allow you to voice your feelings openly, and when you do they interrupt or make you feel as though you’re overreacting and have no right to be upset with them. They minimize your emotional pain and hurt feelings with a “how dare you” attitude.

This is text book gaslighting. Manipulation at it’s finest and they are good at it. They are pros at making themselves the victim in every situation. They are pros at never taking responsibility for their actions or words. They are pros at getting their way. This is toxic behavior and just like we urge you to get out of a toxic intimate relationship, we urge you to distance yourself from toxic friendships. They will suck the life from you, eat away at your ability to find joy, and drain your emotional sanity until there is nothing left but a shell. A shell of a person that no longer knows who they are, where they belong, or what to do with themselves.

So, don’t forget that abuse isn’t always violent. Abuse doesn’t always happen between a husband and wife. Abuse can take place in any relationship, great or small. Keep yourself aware of the red flags of abusive people. It isn’t healthy to stay in any type of toxic relationship, your mental state will thank you later. Surround yourself with those that support and lift you up.

~Christa G.

Helpless

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We’ve all been there. Woke up and it was a perfectly normal, happy day. Traveled to work with no incident. Maybe an hour or two goes by, also without incident. And then, suddenly, without any warning, a customer or a client forces an unhappy confrontation that throws the rest of our day into utter turmoil. Nothing seems to go right. We spend the rest of our day on edge, just trying to claw our way back to that feeling of normalcy.

I have been having these days all too often lately. The slightest offense will drive me into an uncontrollable irritability. I’ll come home with so much anger boiling inside of me, until I finally erupt in a fit of bitter tears for seemingly no reason at all, hiding myself in my bathroom, ashamed to display such childishness in front of my husband. I know, deep down, I’m still not over the manipulation I experienced in my childhood from my church. I’m still not over the years of psychological and emotional abuse I experienced from my subsequent boyfriends. I’m still not over the resulting self-deprecation and fears I carry around with me every day like a heavy weight on my shoulders.

I’m physically free from all of that abuse, but my mental liberation is still a work in progress. I still minimize everything I went through. I am continually holding myself back by recycling in my head every negative thing ever said to me. I can’t even take my own advice when I suggest to others to work on loving ourselves better or to stop abusing ourselves or to practice power poses. It’s so easy to give advice out, but to follow that same advice when you’ve made a habit of tearing yourself down, is something else entirely.

That’s why I absolutely love that quote in its beautiful simplicity. My sister posted this on her Facebook wall today and when I read it, it just clicked with me. A surprising revelation swept over me. Why do I let these outside forces influence my happiness? For a person who needs stability and structure, I take so much stability away from my life by letting unpredictable circumstances govern my overall contentment. Just like when I realized my ex needed to get out of my life for me to take back control, I need to let go of the pull that these outside influences have over me.

Yes, we all have good and bad days. I expect I will never be able to stop the sensation of having a “bad day,” but I want to be able to respond better to those bad moments. I don’t want to feel myself lose control to the emotions raging inside of me because I find myself helpless again. I’m going to take back control. Whatever it takes. If I need to meditate, I will seriously start practicing meditation. If I need to go back to counseling, I will go back. Healing is never just an overnight thing.

If you are also working on healing after leaving an abusive relationship, please share your thoughts. What do you find helps you the most?

~Lindsey V.

Tender Hearts

 

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We live in a self-centered society, where a good amount of the people in it refuse to see past the nose on their face. Where selfishness and personal gain outweigh the ability to show compassion and kindness. A society that can be toxic for the tenderhearted.

I have always been one to pour my heart and soul into everything and everyone around me. I encourage friends and loved ones to follow their dreams. I support local businesses and friend-owned businesses, and pour my best into always uplifting and promoting them. I try to be a light in a, far too often, dim world. Unfortunately, when the realization sets in, that not everyone upholds these values at the same level you do… it can be disheartening. You never know what someone is going through at any given time, and social media profiles are the worst way to gauge whether or not someone has it all together.

BE KIND ALWAYS.

Don’t let the callousness of others drain the ability to always see good, from your heart. Don’t allow a bitter spirit to take away your joy. Continue giving. Continue loving. Continue being you. You may just be the bright difference that someone needed in their day. Light and love to you all.

~Christa G.