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30 Days Without Facebook

Hello! First blog ever and I’m doing something that I hope other people will try too. Thirty days without Facebook. I don’t know how many people are like me, but Facebook is a HUGE distraction in my life. It’s also a source of discomfort reading so much negativity, comparing lives, Etc…who knew the future would bring an online world that condensed thousands of people into one place where although you can’t actually hear each other’s voices, you feel the hate, anger and self righteousness through your computer screen with hundreds of angry comments and reactions. Violent videos popping up, false news articles, online bullying and smear campaigns, passive aggressiveness galore; Facebook can be downright toxic. And the distraction part…Once I start scrolling, I don’t stop sometimes for more than an hour (those are the rare “kids-free” days where I find myself mostly shacked up in my room, basking in the comforts of no nagging, sibling rivalry or mom duty in my big soft warm bed.) What could I be doing with my time though? What is something more productive and beneficial I could be doing even in only five minutes of staring at my Newsfeed? I’m going to write my experience with this, and hopefully it will inspire others to try it too!

Week 1

Accomplishments so far after deleting FB. Well this blog for starters! Writing is a passion of mine and I have a hard time finding the focus and motivation to start. Apparently deleting the toxic FB world out of my daily routine has given me a little motivational push? I folded all my laundry yesterday. SCORE! Does anyone else accumulate a mountain of clothes that migrates around the house until you’re tired of looking at it? No? Oh…

I still have Snapchat and Instagram…I continue to use those, but those weren’t my issue so I am not worried. I find myself clicking on those apps out of boredom, the familiar habit of going through all the social media apps is still there, but since FB isn’t there it takes up way less time. A couple minutes compared to 20 minutes and way less of an urge to check. It feels strange after making it such an integral part of my life for so long, but I definitely have more time to focus on other things! I am excited!

To be continued…

Abusers Pretending to be the Victim Part 2

Abusive individuals never own up to their behavior. They pretend to occasionally in order to keep their victim in their grasp or to perform, put on a show. It’s a form of manipulation. The second you don’t buy in to it they will snap back to their previous disposition of rage and control. They will become angry at you if you do not accept their apology. This is not normal. A healthy individual will own up to the their behavior when a mistake is made and do not expect someone to accept their apology, of course hope they do, but will not be angry and pressure the other person to do so. 

So as you can imagine, if you have an abusive person who can’t own up to bad behavior acting badly, they are going to find a way to blame that behavior on someone else no matter what. They will even strive to get a reaction out of their victims just to feel justified in their abusive behavior. This is another way they turn the tables on their victim. 

Abusers see in black and white. They idealize and devalue. This means that one minute the victim is being doted upon, praised and complimented the next they’re being completely discredited and treated horrifically for not following the abusers rules. The victim is going to be subjected to a roller coaster of emotions having someone do this to them, right? Remember, abusers don’t acknowledge their actions AT ALL. So what does that leave? The victim is suddenly bi-polar. They are emotionally unstable. They’re the one who is happy with the abuser one minute then hate them or have a problem with them the next. Wait what? The victim is being dragged through the mud, emotionally tortured then put on a pedestal repeatedly for as long as they’re with the abuser, of course they’re going to go from feeling good to awful constantly and they’re definitely not going to handle it well because it’s not normal. It is not healthy. Abusers are very good at manipulating and causing confusion to turn everything around on to the victim. They’re masters of manipulation. For example, if an abuser were to read this blog they would most likely try to say that their victim is the one idealizing and devaluing them; however, they would probably be referring to the victims reaction to abuse by leaving the perpetrator to stay with family, becoming withdrawn, angry, depressed then going back if they left and/or forgiving when the abuser apologizes and promises change. They are very happy, positive and hopeful for a while due to the honeymoon phase and the abusers seemingly improved behavior until the abuser reverts back to abusing, then the victim reacts with anger, sadness, withdrawal again so in reality the victim is reacting to the cycle of abuse or idealizing and devaluing of the abuser. Abusive individuals can take anything they are doing and turn it around on to their victims. 

This is how victims of abuse lose themselves. They’re trapped. They feel hopeful then helpless on repeat.  

It’s torture. 

This barely scratches the surface of what victims experience. I write these to raise awareness on the many different forms of abuse and the ways perpetrators carry out their abuse. Abuse is more complex than people realize, I hope by sharing people can start to understand what domestic violence and abuse really is. It’s not just a punch in the face or a black eye, it’s a punch in the soul and a kick to the very core of your being psychologically and emotionally. 

Abusers Pretending to be the Victim

Please be aware this post does contain profanity and may trigger anxiety in abuse survivors. This is also mostly focused on emotional, verbal and psychological abuse. 
It usually begins with an argument. Usually instigated by the abuser when trying to exert control over his victim. It can be sparked by the victim having a difference of opinion. The abuser will scold and shame the victim, how dare they not agree with them? It can be sparked by what should be a normal disagreement, a disagreement over parenting decisions, finances or topics of control such as who the victim talks to, where the victim goes…the victim could be targeted just for wanting space or alone time or the victim not fulfilling the abusers wishes. The abuser will then escalate these arguments. This is when the victim is sucked in to their psychological and sometimes physical torture. The victim will say they are done with this insanity and the abuse escalates even more. Unless they fully lie down to the control of the abuser, the abuser will not stop, that or when it escalates to the point where the victim is truly trying to leave or break away by staying with family or a friend and the abuser truly feels like they are losing the control over their victim, the abuser will suddenly “apologize.” They will put on a show, crying, asking for forgiveness, relaying their history and why they are the way they are in attempts to prey on their victims compassion and forgiveness. The victim then forgives and for a while the abuser will act “normal” even extra nice and accommodating to keep their victim in their grasps. If the victim doesn’t stay and does finally leave, the abuser will instantly revert back to his abusive rage and the feigned apology will be revoked. Leaving the abuser is the most dangerous time and the abuser will go to extreme measures to make their victim pay. This is the cycle of abuse. 

Amidst these abusive episodes, the victim will often fight back. They will retaliate verbally, sometimes physically out of desperation to regain their independence and to defend their well being and sanity. Often times the victims will look “crazy” because they are going crazy.  Who could act sane when they have a person treating them less than human because they are not satisfying the abusers need for control? If a stranger locked you in a room and refused to let you sleep, would you respond lovingly, kindly? Of course not. But this is how the abuser expects their victims to act. The second a victim retaliates they are suddenly the abuser. All of the abusers actions are made to be imagined by the victim and the abuser actually disregards their behavior entirely. They store away all the reactions to their abuse, which they do not address at all whatsoever, and use it to accuse their victim of abuse. 

Here is a scenario explaining an instance of blame shifting by an abuser:

An argument erupts over the victim wanting to be alone in her room. The abuser keeps going back into the room and asking the victim what her problem is aggressively. She says she just wants space. This angers the abuser. He becomes demanding and tells her to talk to him. She doesn’t say anything. She can feel the familiar stomach ache of an impending rage from her partner approaching. He continues to harass her. She tells him to leave her alone. The abuser then rips the blankets off her and pulls her off the bed. The victim tries to leave the room. He follows her. The victim now tells him she is done with the relationship. The abuser is now enraged because his control is being threatened. She is tired of the fighting and tells him it is unhealthy. She tells him she doesn’t feel like she deserves the treatment and that she can find someone who would never yell at her or do those horrible things to her. The abuser follows her around the house and does not leave her alone, basically cornering her and forcing her to participate in the argument. The episode then may go something like this;

Abuser: “Fuck you bitch, how dare you compare me to other men and make me expendable.”

Victim: “You ARE expendable when you’re abusing me! The way you are acting is not ok! This is not normal. I should be able to have space.”

Abuser: “You don’t love me, you treat me like shit, you ignore me.”

Victim: “I should be able to have alone time! I was ignoring you because you were being hostile. I can’t stand you anymore, I’m done!”

Abuser: “You’re a stupid whore and I wish you would die. You are disgusting and deserve nothing.”

Victim: “I wish you would die! I hate you. Leave me alone!”

Abuser: “Why are you such a whore, you’re gross, you should just go be a stripper and suck dick.”

Victim: “Well why are you so fat? Just stop! Leave me alone!!”

Abuser: “Yeah I know you think I’m fat. You think I’m disgusting. You hate me and want me to die. I do everything for you and you don’t appreciate anything. You’re a user.”

While these arguments are occurring abusers will intimidate the victim with snarling facial expressions while getting in the victims face. They will put their hands on what could be a weapon such as heavy objects and sometimes even actual weapons. They will throw things, pick things up and break them and slam their fists into walls and furniture. 

Everything the abuser did and said is non existent to them at this point. The abuser will now tell his victim and anyone who will listen that she abuses him by calling him fat and that she wishes he would die, even though he was clearly abusing her, saying horrible things first while she was reacting to the abuse out of desperation. He will also play the victim and try to obtain sympathy by telling people that she compares him to other men. 

The things the victim said, which would normally be abusive had it not been out of defense, are out of character for her. The victim will often times react defensively, saying things they would never say if they weren’t being psychologically and emotionally tortured. The victim reacted this way not only because of the things the abuser was saying, but because the abuser actually traps the victim and forces her to participate in his act of rage. 

An abuser says and does horrible things to control and exert power over his victim, the victim may say and do things seemingly mean and aggressive to an outsider listening to an abusers story, but it is out of character and solely out of defense towards the abuse. 

This only barely scratches the surface of what abusers do to their victims. This is to raise awareness on abuse tactics and give just one example of the psychological torture abuse victims are subjected to. 

How to Raise Empathetic Humans

Validation.

This is huge. And I know sometimes it is difficult. When your child is screaming and throwing a fit over something seemingly minute, the last thing you’re thinking about is how to tell them you understand because well, a lot of the time you don’t really feel like you understand why your little nugget is so upset over having to clean up after themselves, practice school work or share with their sibling. It seems like they are just being spoiled! But if you could try to take an extra moment to validate those real emotions, however trivial they may seem to you, you are teaching your child that it’s ok to have those feelings and setting an example on how to be understanding and tolerant. It’s as simple as saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way, I know sometimes it stinks having to do this, but I know you can do it!” Even giving them an account of when you felt the same way, letting them know you get it (even though in your head you’re just thinking how ridiculous this whole thing is.) You then follow up with teaching them the ideal way to handle those feelings. I’m not telling you to let your child get away with behaving poorly, impulsively and irrationally, the poor behavior is not valid, the feelings always are. 

Empathy is a learned skill.

When your child is doing something you might consider “mean” or “selfish,” sit them down and look them in the eye and ask them, “If someone was doing that to you, how would that make you feel?” This is so important! I wouldn’t solely scold them and discipline them although many times discipline will be warranted, I also wouldn’t  encourage the “tit for tat” mentality because that is also counter productive for teaching empathy.  “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” I remember my parents saying this many times, and it is so true. This will also instill accountability and stop your child from developing a vengeful, vindictive mentality. Teach them to be the bigger person. 

The example you set is your most influential tool as a parent.

Showing your children empathy is the most important way to teach them to do the same. This goes for any morals and values you want your children to learn. When my son is throwing a tantrum because he has to write sentences for making a poor choice, even though he is being a little terror in that moment, he looks at me with those big teared up eyes and I hug him. I tell him it sucks but this is how we learn, and that it’s ok to make mistakes. 

Always ask yourself what you can do to be better! We are always learning and growing as parents, the learning never stops! 

Parenting is the hardest job on this planet! Don’t be too hard on yourself and forgive yourself for mistakes. Learn from them and move forward, your kids will thank you someday. 

When they are acting the worst is when they need you the most. Cody comforting Saelor after an emotional moment.