Betrayal…

From this day forward…..as long as we both shall live….

Growing up….I never imagined getting married.  But divorce was even harder to see happening.

I am pit bull loyal…I have a love for all humans.  But there are a few whom I would give my life, my freedom, every ounce of my being for.  I took my marriage, my vows very seriously.  The problem is…I was the only one who took them seriously, the only one fighting for us to be right, the only one with any love.  I won’t lie…near the end, I could hardly look at myself in the mirror.  My anger, resentment and fear were radiating from my eyes.  My eyes were cold, dark, unloving.  No spark, no life, no hope.  The only thing that kept me going was looking at my face, my body and knowing that no matter how hurt I was I was still me on the inside, my mind was still there.  Even during the worst of things….I knew that I would never get an apology, I knew that I would never have an explanation that would make things ok, but all I wanted was for hugs when I needed them.

It just shows me how pathetic and ignorant I am.  The denial of kind human touch was harder than I thought it could be….because I still loved him.  After getting the pulp beat out of me, broken teeth, swollen throat from being choked, my scalp separated from my skull from being smashed into things, getting burned with smokes, being unable to see out of either eye and my mouth swollen open….all I wanted was a hug from HIM.  I just wanted the tiniest bit of kindness so I had fight in me, so I could try to forgive, so I could see him as human, but he denied it every time.  I wasn’t worthy of a hug….not even after what he did…

For the longest time…I felt it was my duty to stick by him when nobody else would.  That it was my duty to continue to be loving, forgiving and not stir trouble.  That it was my duty to not bring up what he did, to not ask for an apolgy and to not talk about how I felt.  I made a vow after all right…

The problem is I failed to recognize that there are TWO parts to that vow…we made the same vow to each other…and he went back on it many many times.  He hurt me, did not love me or cherish me, yet expected me to hold up my side of the vow.

God doesn’t want us to be hurt or abused.  For the longest time I felt guilty for filing for divorce and since it was granted I try not to think about it.  As I sit her and watch Sons of Anarchy Season 6 I see that Tara is filing for divorce and Jax just found out.  The look on his face was heartbreaking…and for not even a second I thought “I did that to my ex husband”.  I was almost sad…I almost felt like I betrayed him, but as quickly as that thought came it was replaced with peace.

I did the right thing.  I did not betray him by divorcing him…he betrayed me for years while in our marriage.

Also…until this day I kind of thought that since I am divorced the “value of marriage” is nill.  That is not true…if anything I know if there is a next time it will be with the right person because marriage is for a lifetime.  As much as I like to be tough and strong…I do want to be married again, I want someone to come home to, someone to love and support, someone to fall asleep next to and wake up next to, and I also want someone with whom we can have a mutual trust.

I didn’t betray him…I am so thankful that I finally believe that….

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I guess it gets harder before it gets easier

You can either run from the pain or let it burn into your heart as a constant reminder of the meaning of love.

As I have stated before, most of my life my solution to problems was hiding them, burying them, denying my emotions.  Unfortunately, that only seems to work for a minute.  In reality, only the surface looks pretty but underneath is gangrene, festering puss, and maggots that are eating us alive.  It happens slowly, but at the same time is devastating.  The affects are endless.

The time has come for me to open the wounds, scrape out the maggots and gangrene and allow healing to come.  I know, without a doubt, that it isn’t an easy fix.  I know that pain will come before healing, more pain than if I had just dealt with issues as the arose.  That’s ok though because dealing with the deep wounds are the only way of healing.  I can no longer remain a slave to bullshit, no longer remain a victim, no longer ignore my feelings and no longer remain scared.

I have spent a long time trying to figure out how to protect myself, how to guard my heart, how to prevent anymore hurt, but have given little thought on how to be whole again.

Life works in strange ways and what I am about to say, I don’t want to.  I am afraid it will break the magic.  I am afraid I am not doing the right thing or that I am a fool.  But more than that, I am afraid I have been blessed beyond what I could have asked.  I can not continue telling my story, my journey without showing the whole picture.

I have met a man unlike any many I have ever known.  He is handsome, sweet, charming, a gentleman and kind.  No red flags, understanding, takes care of his kids and their mothers, and is not judgmental.  We talked for a few months, but somewhere along the line I fell for him.  It was hard…every time I thought I had feelings…I freaked.  Not in a good way either…I was mean, said horrible things and tried to cut all ties.  He stuck by me, never brought up my actions and simply forgave and loved me.  He understands me when I don’t understand myself and doesn’t hate me for how broken I am.  He respects my boundaries, encourages my growth and supports my decisions.

I don’t think I could ask for more in a man, a partner, or a spouse.

Back to old wounds being opened…simply knowing this man, my boyfriend, exists has shaken me to the core.  It has brought up so many hurts, so much pain.  Everything he does (and is) is different than I have ever known.  Which is great.  Still…I know that if things don’t work out, he has set the bar very high for any other man I will meet.  So, even if shit goes downhill, I am very thankful that he has shown me what I want in a man and that good God fearing men do exist.

This whole post leads to what I am going to write.  It hurts me so badly that my children’s dad does not love them and that he never loved me.  It hurts me that I settled and dealt with so much pain when it didn’t pay off.  I see my boyfriend taking care of his children, making sure they have what they need and helping everyone around him…but I don’t have that in my life and I never will.  Just seeing how he is…makes me question what I did to make my ex husband so crazy and what I did that stopped him from being the man I thought he was.  I know I did not make my ex husband do those bad things…it is just one of my irrational thoughts which get ignited when I see what kind of man m boyfriend is.   I am torn between slight jealousy that he cares for his children when my children’s dad does not and anger that I allowed myself to be in this situation.  Neither of those thoughts are healthy and I know that.  I must face the hurt and wounds of being a single mother, being divorced and knowing that as long as I live I will do what I need to do to keep my children safe and away from their father.

I have a strange feeling that I am on the right track.  That this pain that I am facing will kind of heal, will allow me to grow as a woman and mother.

I only have one life…I need to make it count.

I call bullshit

They say kids need their father. They say that a mother shouldn’t keep kids away from the child’s father.
Bullshit.
I sit here today and watch my boys sleeping on the couch and their baby sister asleep in her room. These kids can be a handful. They drive me crazy at times. But right now…all I feel is love, compassion, and empathy for them.
Baby Emily woke up crying (she has been sick the past two days). I go into her room and she is making the most pathetic soft cries. She opens her eyes, gives me a weak smile as I pat her back a few times and she is off to sleep again.
My heart melted yet again. I actually smiled and thought “Her dad would love her so much.” Everyone loves her, she is a sweetheart, kind, funny and not even two years old. She is stunningly beautiful, big blue eyes and a smile to die for.
But the problem is….her dad doesn’t love her. Her dad doesn’t even know her. The last time he saw her she was 4 months old…and couldn’t even crawl. Heartbreaking.
All I wanted was for my kids to have a loving father, who would kill or be killed for them. One that would teach them to be men and women who made the world a better place.
Although I was not responsible for his actions, I still failed my children. There is no turning back. As long as I have breath…I am keeping these kids safe and away from their father.
This isn’t easy, but it is my only choice. One that breaks my heart at times…but one that I know without a shadow of a doubt is correct.

Current goals and life

I can be very good at pretending.  Pretending I am strong, pretending I can overcome my past and pretending I do not have issues.  The only way my pretending works is if I do not allow myself to get close to anyone, as long as I focus more on others than on myself.  This strategy has worked well most of my life.  Sometimes things hurt too much to think or deal with them.  Sometimes verbally speaking about my issues is too hard because if I say it then they will be real.  Honestly, most of my life the one complement that is most repeated to me is that I am strong.  I almost feel as if I am letting everyone down by having emotions, by being weak, by being vulnerable.  Not only am I letting people down, I am letting myself down because I am giving my strength away by being human (as strange as that seems).  The simple reality is that I have survived up until this point by pretending.  I pretended I was ok and never put my problems on anyone when my father was sexually abusing me.  When my husband was abusive, I did the same.  I did not know there was another way to survive in this world.  In fact, surviving is pretty much all I have done up until this point.

Thankfully, I am no longer in crisis mode.  For the first time in my life, my life is mine.  Finally, at 28, I have control of my life and can blame nobody for my actions, feelings, thoughts, or situation.  At first, I was unsure how to handle this new power.  It was so severe I was unable to make the choice to go for a walk with the kids because it felt wrong.  I felt I needed permission and I could not make the decision to do anything on my own.  That was a year ago.  But today things are different.

I have grown more this past year than I have probably my whole life.  I see more, I know more, I love more and I am finding myself.  Two years ago if you told me I would be where I am today, I would have laughed at you…thought you were crazy.  I “knew” better than to leave my husband, I “knew” better than to take him to court and I sure as hell “knew” that divorce and filing for custody were not options for me.  I had no control, no safety, no trust.  My entire life evolved around making an abusive, drug addict who hated everything (including me) happy.  It was impossible.  The more I sacrificed money, my self respect, my thoughts, my freedoms, the more I lost myself.  My thoughts were no longer my own, they were entwined with his and in no way was this a good thing.  I was barely a shell of a human…no longer a woman, no longer a mother, and certainly no longer a wife.  I was scum, a parsite, stupid and every negative thing.

Abusers choose people who love, people who have compassion, people with empathy.  They break you down and make you believe it is all your fault.  Every action they do is to control you, to hurt you, to fuel their own ego and inadaquacies.  It works well for the abuser because a normal loving human could not imagine doing what the abuser does.  A normal human tries to figure out why someone would do those things.  A normal human loves and trusts their spouse.  So, when their spouse tells them that everything is their fault…they eventually believe it because nothing else makes sense.

I assumed that when I left I would be the person I can be, the person God made me to be and that the past would be the past.  I was wrong.  It is not that simple.  After the initial shock of leaving, things do get better.  1000X better than living in an abusive relationship.  But you are not healed, there are still lingering deep deep issues.

My main goal right now is to retrain the way I think.  The subconscious is more powerful than I know, but it is not impossible to change.  If I speak to a domestic violence survivor, I can tell them the truth.  Everything they need to hear.  My heart and brain know that every single word I speak is truth, “You are not to blame”, abusers “Choose to abuse”, and that how they are feeling is normal.  The problem is that try as I might, I believe I am different (although I can not pinpoint why or how).  The things that are true for others are not true for me.  I have basically been brainwashed and knowing the truth does not make it true in my gut.

Now, all my life I have been in survival mode.  Abused my more people than I care to remember.  Never having a say over what happens to my body.  Never having a voice.  Never being loved or loving myself.

I am done being in survival mode.  I am done scrapping by.  I am done pretending.  Silence fuels the problems.  Ignoring issues allows them to fester.  I have been hurt too much, by too many people and I am unwilling to hurt myself any longer.

So…back to my goals.

1.  Retrain my brain to rid myself of irrational thoughts.

2.  Raise my kids to be good men and women.

3.  Love my Lord and follow His commands as best as I can

4.  Forgive myself especially for things out of my control.

5.  Be healthy in my body (eating right, exercise, sleep)

6.  Smile without holding back

7.  And last….love everyone, even the “unlovable”

I am officially divorced

My husband was in default and did not appear for our custody/divorce hearing.  I was granted sole legal and physical custody of our three children as well as the disolution of divorce. 
A new chapter is begining and I am very thankful that my children and I were given this amazing do over…and a chance for happiness and safety.
God is good, He is faithful.  All things do work for the good of those who love Him.
I am proud of myself, thankful for this blessing and appriciate all the support I have had through these past few months.  I was brave enough to go all out and fight for what we need and God was faithful….blessing us more than I could have ever expected

Today marks 1 year to the day since I left my abusive husband

Today also marks 1 year that my children and I have been living in shelters. Every day (aside from the single day I got a hotel for us for the night) we have been living in domestic violence shelters.  The first two we stayed about 60 fays each.  Which means this long term domestic violence shelter has been our home for the past 8 months. 
It has been an incredible journey to say the least.  I am very thankful to the people and organizations that have helped us get this far.
I have had no contact with my abuser (husband) since September when I was granted a full order of protection.  I have my custody/divorce hearing on the 12th of this month and I should be granted what I requested since he did not respond or object to me having full custody.  I also asked that he be not granted any visitation.  I choose to not request child support to help ensure our safety and to cut all ties as clean as possible.  So…in less than 2 weeks…I should be single (divorced) for the first time in over 10 years.  Strange to think about…but very liberating and freeing.
I enrolled in online college with an accredited university to get my associates in Criminal Justice.  I have applied for the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP).  The scholarship is for women who have left an abusive relationship and need schooling to better provide for their families.  I am waiting to see if I get it *fingers crossed*.  The average award is 2k paid to the school you are enrolled in.
I also applied for a scholarship through my church for Women in Transition (divorce, leaving abusive relationship, widows etc).  I thought if I got the scholarship it would be $100, but I received a letter saying I was granted a $1000 award paid to my school!!  So thankful!!  Classes start on August 18th…and I am taking a full load of 12 credits a semester.
Soooo…with the online school thing..I will be needing to purchase a laptop!!  Yay!!  So besides school I will be able to focus on my blog more, pretty it up, make it more user friendly, complete with hyperlinks, helpful information and more about recovering from abusive relationships.  So excited!!

So…stay tuned for an improved blog from me, Brandi.

I love you guys…you have supported me through this all and finally I will have the resources to give back in a more produ

ctive way

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Lol selfie with paper towels in the bathroom floor

Today I cried for my children

I did not cry because they will br raised in a “broken” home.
I did not cry because of the things the witnessed snd have gone through.
I did not cry because (hopefully) their dad will not be in their life.
I did not cry because they are disadvantaged, or because it will be hard for us.

I cried out of happiness.  Today, all four of us were cuddling on the house and it just hit me how much they are thriving, how much they have grown, how they are such great kids, and how happy they really are. 

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, leaving was the correct choice.  My children are safe, healthy and happy.  They are no longer abused, they are not stressed, they do not see mommy and daddy arguing or daddy hurting mom.  It has almost been a year since we left and they are totally different kids. 
I am thankful I was able to leave while they are still young and that I have not brought them into another unhealthy relationship.
These children are beautiful human beings.  They are our future.  No relationship is worth what these kids have been through.