Counseling & abuse effects on children – Advice Please!

After a week of calling twice and having them tell me they’d return my call, I finally heard back from the Community Counseling Center.  Tom and I have been trying to get in with them since the beginning of the month!  We were originally going to go with a licensed professional, but at $100 plus taxes every week, we just can’t afford that.  Plus I wanted individual counseling as well.  We’ve been struggling financial as is and as importnant as I feel it is, it just wasn’t a possibility at this time.  I ended up calling the Northern Heath board and asking if they could point me in the right direction for free or cheap marriage counseling and she told me to call the Community Counseling Center.  This is run the the UNBC (University of Northern British Columbia) and is psychology students.  We’re both okay with that!  The students need to learn and we need the help.  It’s $10 per 1 hour session.  It’s a good start regardless in my opinion, and we have our intake appointments on Thursday next week.

I had recieved a call from my sons school on Wednesday.  I thought it was to confirm our meeting on Thursday but she said she wanted to talk about Adam and that she was concerned.  He has a weather and calendar booklet in his desk.  It’s a stapled together paper book and he doodles on it.  His teacher took a look at it on Wednesday and noticed some disturbing drawings.  I’ll also mention at home, adam doesn’t draw or colour what so ever, so to hear that he was doodling was quite a shock all on its own!

Here’s the picture:


I hope you can make out the drawings.  There are a bunch of hearts crossed out, a broken heart, a tear drop and when asked about the drawing in the bottom left corner, he explained that it’s the gun  he used to commit suicide and that’s his grave.
The school psychologist was at the meeting yesterday who said it isn’t normal for kids his age (8) to know what death is and what not.  He does though.  We’ve had some people pass away as well as some animals.  In order to help him cope, I told him Heaven and Rainbow Bridge is where our souls go until we’re all back together again.  That it’s never goodbye, it’s just see you later.  And that helped him, both my kids.  Not only this, but my mom is on the transplant list for lungs.  If something were to happen to her, I need him to have that belief that it’s only a temporary goodbye.  They are too young and innocent to believe anything else.  as for knowing about suicide and what not, he watches a lot of youtube which now has a filter on it, as does the entire computer.

So when he got home from school Wednesday, I had Grace play in the livingroom and I spoke to Adam in private.  He said he’s in pain all the time; his brain, his hands…  I asked if it had anything to do with his favorite song Pain by Three Days Grace.  He said no but that ever since he heard it, he’s always in pain.  Okay, possibly fabricated a little bit.  But then I asked about the broken hearts and he got a bit teary and said “I hate the way Hun blames you for everything.”  Yes, they caught on to calling him hun, because I do.  I’ve tried to get them to call him dad, doesn’t work.  I asked about the arguing and what not and he said that makes him want to commit suicide and go to Heaven.

I can’t help but feel responsible.  That by feeling so stuck and trapped and unable to leave in the past, that I stayed with all the emotional, mental and verbal abuse and the kids were around it, that I’ve fucked up my children for lack of better words.  They heard and saw so much go on, they felt so much!  Tom was driving them to school the other day and they were blaming him for everything.  I can’t say it was all him, I’m no where near perfect myself, but they see what they see.  He would come home and as soon as he’d walk through the door, was angry at me.  Or he wouldn’t come home until late and those nights, all the kids wanted was to say goodnight to him.  But he’d be too busy out drinking and they’d cry and ask why he didn’t love them.  I’d have to explain that he was just going through some things…  Always made excuses for him but I think it’s important for the kids.  Too young for grown up problems.

There was just so so much that they were there for and now, I’m not sure what to do!
I could sure use some advice right now!


Psychological Outcomes From Abuse

To start off, I’m going to say it’s 1:30am and here I am awake, as usual.  I have had another bad night with my husband.  We were fighting though he didn’t call me names this time or tell me I’m a useless burden, he still said hurtful words.  It was calm for a bit, no words were spoken.  I broke the silence by asking if he could put the cushions back on the car seats because I was struggling with them.  They have been sitting in the kitchen for weeks now.  He said he was going to give them to a buddy at work.  His reply was that he would get around to it one of these days.  That made me angry, so I was going to put them away.  Somewhere other than in the kitchen at least.  He ended up getting up off the couch (he was laying there while I was cleaning), storming across the floor, taking both car seats and all the cushions and threw it all out the living room window.   Great, now I get to clean them up from my yard too! 😦

Okay, what I wanted to get into though, was emotional/psychological/verbal abuse causing things like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Acute Stress Disorder (or Reaction).
I’ve been reading that it’s not that common, but it does happen.  I was reading what someone who was experiencing PTSD was going through and it started to hit home a bit.  I went to MayoClinic and took a look at the symptom list, which is as follows:

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are generally grouped into three types: intrusive memories, avoidance and numbing, and increased anxiety or emotional arousal (hyperarousal).

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event

Symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Symptoms of anxiety and increased emotional arousal may include:

  • Irritability or anger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Hearing or seeing things that aren’t there

I have made the symptoms I currently experience are italic.  This is bad.  The flashbacks I get do not last days, but they last long enough to upset me.  It’s not seeing the events in my head, it’s hearing the words spoken to me/screamed at me.  This is one reason I can’t sleep.  I also have nightmares of my children dying…all the time.  I wake up in tears more nights than I don’t.  I think it has something to do with wanting to keep them safe though.  I’ve started sleeping with an Amethyst to ward off the bad dreams, it has been helping, thank Goddess!  The activity thing, well that’s been since the beginning, since he told me I wasn’t allowed friends.  My life was drained I guess.  My memory is shot.  I can barely remember what someone says minutes after they say it.  I mess up making coffee a lot of mornings; no filter, no coffee, no water, etc.  I actually forgot to put the pot back under a few times.  Irritability and anger.  Check!  I’m even irritable with my kids which makes me really upset, and then I feel guilty.  I do my best just to go take a 2 minute breather though.  It helps.  My nerves are also shot.  I am extremely jumpy.  For example, I got scared of a frog yesterday; the tiny little noise beside me.  When hubby comes home from work, when he opens the door, I jump damn near 10 feet.  Even if I know he’s on his way, I still jump.  My heart beats super hard and fast.  It’s terrible.  The hearing things and seeing things has increased.  Please do not think I’m crazy here.  This has been happening since I was a little girl.  Seeing visions and hearing people, having prophetic dreams, etc.  It’s a gift.  (Speaking of which, after dinner the other night, I was thinking to myself that my teeth felt gross and I should brush them.  My son who was still eating at the table turns to me and asks me why I want to brush my teeth!  It runs in the family!)  However, what I’m seeing and hearing is different.  This has been happening since I was young.  I believe since my great grandfather molested me.  More so after a family friend molested me and after my dad tried to kill me. (This is when I ended up in seclusion on the psych ward of the hospital.)  I was tested for Schizophrenia among a number of other things.

I’d also like to add the “When To See A Doctor” bit as well:

It’s normal to have a wide range of feelings and emotions after a traumatic event. You might experience fear and anxiety, a lack of focus, sadness, changes in how well you sleep or how much you eat, or crying spells that catch you off guard. You may have nightmares or be unable to stop thinking about the event. This doesn’t mean you have post-traumatic stress disorder.

But if you have these disturbing thoughts and feelings for more than a month, if they’re severe, or if you feel you’re having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your health care professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.

In some cases, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may be so severe that you need emergency help, especially if you’re thinking about harming yourself or someone else. If this happens, call 911 or other emergency medical service, or ask a supportive family member or friend for help.



Answering A Question Regarding My Abuser…My Husband

I have a couple of things to write about tonight. 🙂

A Group Application

I applied to join a private group on a website today.  This group is based around domestic abuse and offer a lot of support.  However, I hadn’t done anything with my privacy settings, so everything was public. (I did fix this issue)  The Admin sent me a message though asking why I wasn’t afraid of my husband or his family finding my blogs and posts.  Honestly, I just didn’t know to change the settings on that site.  However, my blogs (this one and the one at the top “The Girl In The Mirror”) are public.  I didn’t even think about him or his family finding anything.  It just didn’t even phase me.  Creating these blogs were for me, a coping mechanism and a place to vent.  Writing helps me and is a wonderful release for me.  For once I was only thinking about myself and not him.  I did think about making the blogs private for a few minutes, but my husband is computer illiterate, thankfully, and his family that he does have, they’re amazing people.  I’ve even spoken to a couple of them about my current situation.  Not in as much detail as I do here, but in some detail.  It’s only his aunt who uses the computer, and she only uses facebook, and only through her cell phone.  She’s also one of his family members I have spoken to.  No, I do not fear that he will find out.  Not only this, but everything I write in here, well it’s nothing that he doesn’t already know.  If he had been listening, he would know the exact emotions I’m feeling and have felt for years now.  He does know that I’m not happy here and does know I want to leave.  We have been down this road so many times though (me preparing to leave, but end up staying) that he doesn’t believe me.  It’s not that I just give in and decide I have nowhere to go, it’s the “honeymoon phase” of it that sucks me back in.  I am so deeply in love with that person.

Not only this, but I want to keep my blogs, my twitter, my instagram, and my facebook page for this blog public (for the most part) simply because I know for a fact there are many other women and girls who are going through this thinking they’re absolutely alone.  I know because I was one of them.  If I can help someone, even just one person, escape their abuser, than I would be forever thankful for having the chance to voice my experiences.  I am not ashamed of what’s going on, and my husband is not physically abusive.  I do not fear for my safety…sanity maybe, but not safety.  I’m quite aware this could change at anytime, but for now, no.

Entry For Today

Today was a pretty decent day.  Better than they have been, much better than last night.  I did a good thing today.  There’s a couple my husband and I know.  Older couple in their late 50’s and early 60’s, both who are on disability.  In turn, they get next to nothing for income.  They’re struggling just to buy food, never mind pay bills and what not.  So today, even though we’re financially behind, we’re still better off than they are, so I went through my cupboards and filled 4 grocery bags full of canned foods, mac and cheese, a cake mix, just a bunch of food.  I also decided to send over the turkey I had in the deep freeze.  They need it more than we do.  So that was my good deed for the day.  I also sent someone a message on facebook.  She does a lot of helping people, low-income families, families who are starting over, etc.  I would really like to donate all the baby stuff I have.  I was thinking of having a yard sale, but I would really like to donate it.  I have been getting a lot of help from random people lately, the least I can do is pay it forward.  She actually is going to bring me out a space heater and a fan on Thursday, at the same time, we’re going to pack her car full of baby stuff.  It’s good to be able to help people.  It feels good.

Today, I didn’t do too much.  I listened to music as I always do.  Oh, I did check the mail today and received a cheque for $75 from the college I attended.  I had spoken to a woman online a while ago about the college and the course.  She just wanted to know what my experience was like with the staff, and with the course.  I guess she decided to enroll and when she did so, said I referred her.  I received a cheque for referring her!  I’m hoping to be allowed to keep this money.  I’m not sure what I’d do with it, but it would just be nice to have so if I did see something I liked, for me or for the kids, I could grab it.  Or, I could almost pay off my cell phone bill.  Regardless, it was a nice surprise for me.

Other than that, my feelings today have been relatively happy.  I tried yet again to bring up the topic of emotional abuse with my husband.  He actually listened today.  We didn’t have much of a conversation about it, but I did tell him that I know it’s not him, it’s how he was raised.  I think it might have shocked him.  I always pushed that fact away that he was raised around all of that.  I didn’t take it into consideration that he was watching the emotional abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse and the physical abuse take place.  Also witnessing all the alcoholism taking place within his family, and in his home.  As well as having his mom move away when he was 7 years old.  And not just move away, but move 16 hours away to a different country.  I imagine that would be quite devastating and confusing for a 7 year old, or a child of any age for that matter!  After reading all the information Cindy gave me, as well as this one book I have, I realized it wasn’t just him being, well, rude to put it nicely.  I’m hoping to be able to get him to open his eyes and see that it is a problem and that maybe he could get some help to deal with his past, in turn, help him deal with his current issues.  There’s also a men’s shelter here who offers support and counselling for men who are abusers.  Not only that, but counselling for the couples.  I really feel like he would benefit from this program.  But, if he isn’t willing to do so by the time I’m strong enough to leave, then he isn’t willing and I will know I had tried everything I could to help him better himself.  Can’t help someone if they don’t want the help, right?

So here I am, 8:40PM.  I think tonight I’ll relax and watch a movie.  My kids are in bed already, hubby’s making a late night snack of pancakes for himself.  I have 4 week old kittens running all over the house.  Unfortunately, I have this allergy to animal dander.  My 2 cats are indoor/outdoor cats, I have an outdoor dog, and a small indoor dog.  The added 3 kittens have my allergies going crazy.  Especially my eyes.
A song to finish off today’s post as well.  I love this song and this woman sings it beautifully!  I was nearly in tears.  So powerful!


Emotional Abuse – First Appointment

I set my alarm on my cell phone last night for 8 AM,  My husband leaves for work around 7:30 AM or so and for some reason, I’ve been sleeping right through his alarm, him getting ready for work, and the car leaving.  I woke with my alarm going off and realized I didn’t feel the best.  This is a normal part of my morning though.  I feel sick to my stomach more often than I don’t.  My kids were still asleep, so I made my coffee and sat at the computer for a bit.  It takes me hours to wake up in the mornings; just not a morning person.  I started to realize though, that I was actually really nervous about the appointment.  It was the official beginning to leaving.  It’s one thing to make an appointment, nothing to it.  You can still back out, cancel, not show up.  But I did, I went, I took that first tiny baby step.  Of course, I had both kids with me, so they did some coloring while I waited for Cindy, my worker.  I also had to fill out a bit of paperwork while I waited.

Cindy was running a bit late, not a problem at all though.  It gave me some time to relax a little bit.  It wasn’t long until she called me in though.  She said we couldn’t talk about too much because the kids were there.  Very understandable.  So, we didn’t actually talk about much.  She went over what she does and how she can help me, she gave me a book and some handouts regarding abuse, the program called “Children Who Witness Abuse,” an application form for BC Housing, and a bunch of legal aid information.  She wrote down pretty much everything I need to know; when they’re available, the numbers to call, etc.  We went through the cycle of abuse, there are a bunch of different phases in it.  He shows qualities in all but 2 of them, and those 2 are about religion and culture.  We also booked the next appointment, it’s for Wednesday at 3:15 PM.  I’m hoping my uncle will be available to take me and possibly watch the kids while I go in.  If not, I’ll have to reschedule.  She doesn’t want to start with the phone sessions until she knows me better and can understand what I’m feeling through my voice, which if fine with me.

My uncle took the kids and I out for lunch after the appointment.  The kids had a lot of fun, but they always do with their Uncle Vin…or should I say Uncle Bin.  We just chatted, didn’t talk about too much on a personal front.  It was good though just to have the company.  Now that I’m back home, I’m tired, ready to sleep kind of tired.  I wanted to just go through this cycle of abuse though, for myself, and highlight what goes on in this house.  Also putting this out there for anyone else possibly going through the same thing.
Italic are what I experience in this marriage; I have also added the cycle of abuse for anyone who is unaware of what it includes.  From my experience in my marriage, this is true.

Using Intimidation

  • Making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures
  • Smashing things
  • Destroying her property
  • Abusing pets
  • Displaying weapons
  • Driving too fast when angry

Using Emotional Abuse

  • Putting her down
  • Making her feel bad about herself
  • Calling her names
  • Making her think she’s crazy
  • Playing mind games
  • Humiliating her
  • Making her feel guilty

Using Isolation

  • Controlling what she does, who she sees, who she talks to, what she reads, where she goes
  • Limiting her outside involvement
  • Using jealousy to justify actions

Minimizing, Denying And Blaming

  • Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously
  • Saying the abuse didn’t happen
  • Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior
  • Saying she caused it

Using Family

  • Making her feel guilty about the children
  • Using the children to relay messages
  • Using visitations to harass her
  • Threatening to take the children away

Spiritual Abuse

  • Putting down her beliefs, her values, her way of being in the world

Cultural Abuse

  • Using culture as an excuse for the abuse, i.e. – “In my culture it is acceptable to beat your wife.”

Using Coercion And Threats

  • Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her
  • Threatening to leave her, to commit suicide
  • Making her drop charges
  • Making her do illegal things

Using Economic Abuse

  • Making her ask for money
  • Giving her an allowance
  • Taking her money
  • Not letting her know about or have access to family income
  • Taking over control of her money

Using Privilege

  • Treating her like a servant
  • Making all the decisions
  • Acting like the “master of the castle”
  • Being the one to define men’s and women’s roles, child and parent roles

The “cycle of abuse” is as follows:

Honeymoon Phase (this also includes when you first start dating, that happy period of time)

  • Apologetic
  • Promises to change
  • Shows affection
  • Wants to have sex
  • Agrees to go for counselling
  • Shows interest in communicating
  • More attentive to family and me
  • Helps around the house
  • Gives gifts and compliments

Tension Phase

  • Insults
  • Threats
  • Sarcasm
  • Jealousy
  • Accusations
  • Fault finding
  • Controls what I do
  • Quick mood changes
  • Emotionally distant

Explosion Phase

  • Intimidating body language
  • Constrains me from leaving
  • Throwing things
  • Slamming doors
  • Silent treatment
  • Physical assault
  • Name calling
  • Swearing
  • Yelling

Another Day, Another….what was I saying?

Okay, only human here.  I was posting in my other blog (link at the top called “Girl In The Mirror”) and was linking to one of my favorite songs on YouTube and came across a live video of her singing it.  In the middle of a hard day, I definitely know what to throw on for a quick distraction!  Anyone like Christina Aguilera?  I love her, her voice is amazing and her words have so much power within them.  Walk Away has been a favorite of mine for a long time and if you’re a straight woman, or gay/bi man, I think you may like this video! 😉  Take a look: Walk Away – Christina Aguilera, it’ll open in a new window.  Excuse me while I purchase my passport, plane ticket and concert ticket! 😉  Thank you Christina for the distraction in my hectic life!

Now on to real life things.  I have my appointment tomorrow morning.  I have not concealed it like I was sure I would have by now.  The kids have kept me strong enough.  I know it’s one thing for me to go through this, but them, they don’t need this.  I will not have them raised this way.  Even if it is a slow process for me to leave, at least I’m making progress.  For me, after 14 years together, that’s a big deal.  Growing up, I always heard and was taught about physical abuse, and of course sexual abuse and assault because I’ve been through being raped and molested, as well as a physically abusive relationship.  Emotional abuse is something that was never mentioned to me.  I honestly had no idea.  To be with him since I was 14 and have the abuse start at that point, I was blind to it.  I had no chance to learn what it was.  My friends couldn’t tell me simply because I wasn’t allowed to have friends.

One of the things that has hurt the most in the 14 years together though, is when I was having miscarriage after miscarriage.  I remember sitting on the couch in our home, crying my eyes out a week after miscarrying at just over 8 weeks.  He came up and actually got mad at me for crying and told me I should be over it by now.  I lost my child, I had lost what should have been my future.  No, I will not get over it, I will never get over it completely.  I will always be wondering what kind of person that child (and the other losses) would be today.  It hurt me so deep inside to hear those words come from his mouth; he was the dad after all.

As I’m looking closer at my life, I’ve realized that (TMI) I use sex as a way to escape my reality.  I think this may be worth mentioning at my appointment tomorrow since this woman will be my counsellor as well.  It seems though that it doesn’t matter if I’m “in the mood” or not, I want it all the time simply because I get to escape reality for a while.  I imagine this is not healthy.  Possibly more so for me with all my health problems.  It’s funny though, a lot of my health problems have started after meeting my husband.  The digestive problems, the skin rashes with no causes, the chronic fatigue, the tachycardia.  I’ve always had abdominal issues.  Endometriosis and multiple ovarian cysts mainly.  It can cause quite a bit of pain though, especially during sex.  Yet I just don’t care if it hurts.  The pain goes away after a little bit.  Even then though, I’m concentrating on the pain in my body, the physical pain of what I’m doing at that moment, no thoughts of life flashing through my head.  The constant stream of thoughts is also the cause of my insomnia.  I find I can never get a decent sleep either, I’m so tired all the time.

Since the initial blow up he had, it’s been great here.  This is normally how it goes though.  He explodes, he apologizes, things are good for a while, he starts to get angry, and angrier, explodes, and repeats the whole process.  I suppose this is the cycle I’ve been hearing about.   But it’s been great regardless, which is when I fall back to thinking it’ll be okay.  Maybe he means he’s sorry this time.  Maybe he’s actually trying this time.  Without him getting some much needed help though, I know it’s all this cycle of abuse.  It’s all it’s ever been.