Social Media and Cell Phones: Tools For The Abuser

NPR said that 85 percent of the shelters they surveyed say they’re working directly with victims whose abusers tracked them using GPS. Seventy-five percent say they’re working with victims whose abusers eavesdropped on their conversation remotely — using hidden mobile apps. And nearly half the shelters they surveyed have a policy against using Facebook on premises, because they are concerned a stalker can pinpoint location.

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2014/09/15/346149979/smartphones-are-used-to-stalk-control-domestic-abuse-victims

I made a decision not to trust my anti-husband with anything after he emailed me asking for a divorce–in all his actions, he showed his disregard for our well-being. I strategically went dark on social media and avoided speaking to those who shared a mutual connection with him.  He had access to my made and received calls for months after he left, so I never called numbers that would “give away” my new home.  It was a pain, but it ensured he can’t have access to me and that makes me feel safe.

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Telling the Truth

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I have found in my life that it is so much more comfortable to tell the truth than to lie to escape blame.

However, telling the truth about someone hurting me has always been difficult.  I have been challenged recently to disclose my well-founded worries about someone in church, not for my sake of safety, but for other’s.  Sometimes, keeping silent is the same as a lie. 

Think about it.  Doesn’t it feel equally bad carrying the weight of your own lie as it does to bear the burden of someone else’s lie for them?

Calling evil good.  That’s kind of what carrying around some else’s lie is.  I know in my abusive marriage, I presented a face of our family being happy and loving when it was cold and hard instead.  I told myself lies to make myself believe the lie that things were good.  It created cognitive dissonance that is finally resolving now that I am not afraid to tell the truth.

We need to speak the truth in love to ourselves and others.  Letting others tell their lies hurts us.  It is a brave and honorable thing to bring abuses out into the light. 

It is hard to learn how to break the habit of carrying lies (especially if we learned it as a survival mechanism in childhood), but learning to do this is something we can do one step at a time.

Child Murdered By Reluctant Father Who Was Awarded Unsupervised Visitation

From the Daily Mail:

Sarah still chokes up when she recalls the last moment she saw Lauren as she turned to go to work.

The mom says: ‘I remember looking back and seeing her. She’s just looking at me with desperation and her eyes said it all: “Mommy don’t leave”.

‘I said, “I love you”. She could barely speak.’

Sarah admits she had no idea of the danger her child was in – just that she was anxious about spending time with Brown.

When she called the school to check on her daughter the teachers said Lauren was so petrified she tried to run away a couple of times and had even asked other parents to take her home with them.

‘I had such a bad feeling,’ says Sarah, who was so upset she decided to defy the court-ordered visitation and get Lauren before Brown arrived.

She spoke to her daughter, briefly, on the phone, before leaving the office. Sarah says the child was ‘whimpering.’

It was the last time she ever spoke to her daughter. Tragically she had no chance of making it to the school on time.

Brown had arrived while the mum was still on the phone with Lauren’s teachers, who had to hand the little girl over to her father.  (No authority given to school to intervene in what had escalated into an emotionally charged situation where the child is terrified of the other parent).

Hours later a homicide detective would tell her the four-year-old was dead, after having fallen from a 120ft cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Shockingly Sarah says Brown didn’t even call to tell her himself that their child had died.

Instead, she was waiting at home for him to drop Lauren off at 7pm, as planned. Forty-five minutes after Brown still hadn’t arrived, the worried mom and her husband, Greg Marer decided to drive to the airport baggage handler’s home.

It was while they were en route – frantically calling the police – that an officer told them to get off the highway and wait at the nearest station, where she was told the horrifying news.

‘I was in complete disbelief,’ Sarah says. ‘I thought she [the homicide detective] was crazy.

‘I thought she had the wrong mother, the wrong child. Anything but what I heard was an actuality – Lauren had died at the cliff.

‘I just remember being hysterical and screaming and the first thing that came out of my mouth, unbeknownst to me, was, “He did it”.’

At that moment – and for months and years after – all Sarah knew was that her child had died from a fall from the cliff, a beauty spot called Inspiration Point, while she was with her father.

Brown refused to answer her calls or her questions about what happened that afternoon, creating a wall of silence (not normal) that, 15 years later, still remains.

It’s indicative of the frosty, hostile relationship that developed between Sarah and Brown when she told him she was pregnant with his baby two decades ago.

The former flight attendant, who is originally from Essex in the UK, met him in a restaurant in Newport Beach, California, in 1995. They soon started dating.

At first Sarah was charmed by the athletic, tanned surfer. Two months later, however, their romance soured when she found out she was pregnant.

‘I was in shock,’ she says. ‘It wasn’t something I was planning on.’

Neither was Brown, who suggested that Sarah have an abortion, which she promptly refused to do.

‘That’s really where the whole relationship changed,’ she says.

Sarah says Brown became irritable and hostile. They eventually split because he allegedly left threatening messages on her answer phone.

‘I was extremely petrified, because I didn’t know what he was capable of,’ says Sarah, who admits that although Brown was aggressive, he was never physically abusive. (if you are afraid, that is a sign you need to get away from someone whether they’re hit you or not)

When they broke up she focused on life as a single mother.

She was overjoyed by the birth of her daughter in August 1996. But six months later she thought it was in the best interests of her baby to file for child support.

She insists that money was not her motive.

‘For Lauren’s sake I didn’t want her to look back when she was older and say I had shut her dad out because of some issues we had,’ Sarah says.

By the time she received a letter saying Brown wanted a paternity test in 1998, child support was not at the forefront of her mind.

He it was proven that he was the father a court ordered him to pay Sarah $1,000 a month in child support.

‘That figure was way more than I had imagined,’ she says, ‘I knew it would create a lot more animosity.’

Instead, she was shocked when, in December 1999, Brown demanded visitation rights. It’s a decision Sarah believes was financially motivated.

It’s common knowledge that if you’re having visitation your child support drops,’ she says. (however the courts fail to acknowledge that many fathers do this in opposition of what is best for the child.)

By then Lauren was three-years-old. To her, ‘dad’ was Greg Marer – the man her mum met in church and married when she was still a baby.

Now she was being told she had two dads – ‘Daddy Greg’ and ‘Papa Cameron.’

It was confusing but Sarah says the initial supervised visits between father and daughter were fine and they were making an effort to get to know each other.

 ‘I saw the life in her being drained and sucked out. She just had this anxiety.

Things deteriorated, however, when she noted to the court that Brown was making negative remarks about his mother and using bad language in front of Lauren.

In a court document, Sarah stated that his ‘parental skills were not the best.’

‘I was just being honest,’ she says. ‘I wasn’t out to make him look bad.

‘I could see something brewing. I didn’t know quite what it was at that time.’

Sarah says that at the next court hearing, upon reading what she had written, Brown approached her outside and allegedly said, ‘What goes around, comes around.’ The comments terrified her.

In the meantime she noticed her happy little girl becoming more anxious about spending time with Brown.

Lauren was having tantrums and outbursts and telling her mum that she didn’t want to see her father anymore.

But by the fall Brown was having unsupervised visits, including overnight stays. (WHY??? Every action he had taken was not to embrace fatherhood!  He may have done all the right steps which were being set out by the agency, but the child was having anxiety…it should have not progressed.)

‘I saw the life in her being drained and sucked out,’ Sarah says. ‘She just had this anxiety.

She would say, “Can I run and hide under the bed if he comes?”’

Sarah says she asked her daughter what she did with Brown during their visits but the little girl would just ‘shut down.’

‘Lauren wouldn’t give me any information at all,’ Sarah says. ‘So I didn’t know if he was physically hurting her. I didn’t see any signs. I didn’t know if it was just emotional.’

At her wits end the mum desperately sought help from multiple sources, trying to get to the bottom of what was going on and to see if she could halt the visitations.

‘I knew there was some form of foul play somewhere,’ she says. ‘I reached out to Child Protective Services, contacted countless counsellors and the police, who would say it was a domestic.

‘I did everything physically possible that I could do to try and just put the brakes on, because it was snowballing so fast.’

Ultimately it was a family holiday in England in October 2000 – during which Lauren completely relaxed – that convinced Sarah that the visits with Brown had to stop immediately.

‘From the moment Lauren stepped foot on the plane, it was as though you had a taken a weight off her shoulders,’ the mum says.

‘She suddenly returned to herself. I could see such a night and day difference in her that I knew when I got back I had to do something.’

 ‘It was my right to ask for child support but if I hadn’t done that I believe Lauren would still be here.

The family returned to California on October 30. By that time Brown was demanding full custody and a hearing was due to take place exactly a month later.

It was under those tense circumstances that Sarah went to see her lawyer on Friday November 3 and begged him to do something to end Lauren’s misery.

I got on my knees and I begged him to please stop these visits,’ she says. ‘And he said, “No, hold on. You’ve got until the 30th. Do the right thing. Be the good parent. It will all be OK”.’

Five days later Lauren was dead.

Sarah admits she didn’t think the bitter custody battle would end in such a tragic way, but that didn’t stop her from feeling guilty for filing for child support in the first place.

‘It was my right to ask for child support,’ she says, ‘but if I hadn’t done that I believe Lauren would still be here.

‘I live with that every day. But I know the guilt would kill me inside if I focused on that.’

After a three-year police investigation Brown was arrested in November 2003. He insisted that Lauren’s death was not his fault.

‘His statements were that it was an accident,’ Sarah says. ‘It was her fault.

‘She was running too close to the edge and he looked away.

‘She’d slipped and fallen. He heard her say, “Ah”.

See full article here.

How many child deaths are undiscerning family courts responsible for? 

Above you will see I have underlined all the red flags commonly agreed to be signs of abuse and which someone in a position of authority should have recognized.

Why does our society accept turning a blind eye to emotional, psychological,  and financial abuse.

Isaiah 59:14-16 

14 So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. 

15Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. 

16 He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. 

Day 1 Closing the Grave

Today marks the end of my mourning and I feel ready for it.  At the start of this purposeful mourning period, I carried around the dead body of the marriage I once thought I had.  In some way, I was unable to accept the reality that a stinking rotting corpse was what I had treasured.  I minimized myself in an effort to save the relationship and lost my identity in the fog of abuse.  Eff that!

I am a strong, lively, genuine woman deserving of the same respect and thoughtfulness I give.  I deserve to not be abused, but loved and cherished instead.  Kindness is not just for others, but myself also.

I finally treated myself kindly when I gave myself permission to feel sorry for myself.  That act of my compassion allowed me to be weak and imperfect.  This allowed me to release a lot of shoulds I had accumulated.

I know there will be moments of anger and sadness that rise up, but I no longer feel an overwhelming sense of loss about my place in life.  I have adjusted to my reality, which includes a world of promise in my future.  I am genuinely happy to cross this threshhold.

Day -4 Back to Life

God is so good.  The further this mourning period progresses the more dirt I seem to shovel onto my sham marriage and the more I become myself.

Tonight I performed live theatre for the first time in 10 years.  It was a whirlwind that started with hearing about a local arts festival on the radio during my drive to work last week.  I attended a visiting artist’s lecture on Tuesday, then his workshop on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and performed tonight.

I feel alive from head to foot—what a change from 1 year ago!

Day -12 and Seeing Hyde in A Music Video

A song I’ve heard a thousand times played on my Pandora station today. It is a song that was made popular several years ago –about the time that I got married and moved abroad. I never saw the music video, so I decided to look it up.

About halfway through the video I felt like I was in a time warp. On the screen before me I saw the very disturbing scene of interactions between Hyde and I playing out in the music video. The woman who’d been silent through the first two-thirds of the song started to sing. She turned and faced the man singer who never acknowledged her existence, didn’t acknowledge the pain she was expressing, and flinched and looked uncomfortable as she laid the truth out on the table.

I know you’ve heard the song, “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye and Kimbra.  Until recently I didn’t understand the dynamics of that song. Clearly it is depicting a narcissistic and abusive relationship. Kimbra sings about thinking that she done something wrong but later realizing it wasn’t her all along it was him. Gotye sings about how she cut him off and all I could think about was that he was talking about the supply she used to provide.
 
There’s a point at the beginning where he looks down avoiding eye contact , looking sad at the start of what he’s saying.  Then he looks up into the camera at the word die. That’s exactly the subtle type of dagger Hyde would stab me with regularly. His eyes were always full of disdain and disgust for reasons I could never understand. That action of looking into the camera at the word die speaks volumes about what’s going on inside behind those eyes. If you didn’t know to look for that you may not think anything of it or you may think you are crazy for reading anything into it. This is how I felt on a daily basis. I was so confused and felt like I was absolutely crazy.

The way Gotye never looks at Kimbra while claiming to be in so much pain because she won’t be friends is something I find disturbing. He has no real connection with her. His calling her  “somebody he used to know” reduces her almost to an object, an object with no name, no feelings, and no worth in his eyes. 

I’m including the video in the following link. Pay special attention to the part where Kimbra approaches Gotye. Watch his expressions and movements because that is exactly what trying to have a real heart to heart conversation with Hyde was like.  The huge sigh and the slow eye close are exactly the gestures Hyde made during these interactions.  Freaky.

https://youtu.be/8UVNT4wvIGY

This unexpected third person view of what I experienced really helped me to see that he hurt me, not because there’s something wrong with me, but because there is a massive defect in him. I am so grateful that I am free of his dysfunction and heartlessness.

Praise God for breaking me out of that bondage.

Day -16

I have had three nights alone, my son away with his grandmother.

Tonight is the first time I have cried at all since alone.  I haven’t even cried about what happened in so long.  My tears these past 15 months have only been tears of frustration, anger, overwhelm and panic.

It feels like there is a malfuntioning security perimeter around the deepest center of myself.  It is on lockdown and I am locked out.  The months of anguish over my circumstances and surviving financially have done something to me…something not good.  Living in chaos for too long has eroded a feeling of stability.  I know my feet are on firm ground because God is with me, but my feet are so callused from walking on shifting pebbles that I can’t feel the ground…I only know it is there.

I wish I knew how to break into myself to release the crap I don’t need to carry around.

***
Not even two minutes after I posted this, I caught a dim reflection of myself on the side of my wardrobe. Suddenly I was over come with the words, “it’s okay to feel sorry for yourself”. Permission. Then I gave myself permission to follow an unusual urge. I got down on the floor, I pressed my face against the side of the wardrobe and cried. I put my hands on the wardrobe and held my reflective self while I cried.

A thought occured as the tears subsided: I have never not been a witness to or victim of emotional abuse. I was fed crap growing up and the more crap I ingested the weaker I became. The climax was the abusive crap Hyde fed me under the guise of love…I nearly starved to death in my soul.

I need to think about this more and try to see if I can evaluate sources of crap that are lingering still.

God Hears

Tonight my pastor’s wife shared in a worship service that God wanted her to share a word about mourning; He was tugging on her heart to share it because someone needed to hear it.  That someone was me!

She said that we can and should mourn our losses, but after we mourn we must refocus on life.  

Psalm 30:5

Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

I believe it.  God will take the burden of my heavy sorrow and transform it into a heartfelt joy.  First, I must do the hard work of mining for the injuries, pain, and anger I have kept at bay in order to survive.  There is a lot to uncover/discover because the lies that made me weak started before Hyde took his turn.   I really was a spiritual prisoner for many years of my life before I heard the Truth and woke up out of the trancelike state of existence.

It is also a chance for me to belatedly celebrate the marriage I had made, which was robbed from me by our separation from our friend and family causef by our immediate relocation to Europe.  There is still beauty in that day because I made a vow to God and stayed faithful to my word and in the breakup, I submitted the marriage to His will.  I obeyed Him completely on this issue.  When I understood better that I needed to be submitted to God before I submitted my husband, almost immediately God took him away to protect me and my child.

Today I mourn the spiritual scars from the years of believing lies.  I also praise God for gifting me with the knowledge and strength that allowed me to finally recognize a great lie and weed it out of my life.

Day 21

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Fog hid the issues in my abusive marriage

For 21 days I will mourn my marriage and the dreams and years stolen from me.  Then I am moving on.

There is an ache I have to accept and feel in order to let go.  I am weighed down by the weight of grief.  It makes me unwell.

Day -22

Tomorrow I Mourn

From Victim to Victor

For the first time ever, at the least expected moment, I finally saw myself as I really am…a victor over the cruelty of my ex.  I was laying here feeling like I am about to get a full-blown summer illness, tossing in bed when suddenly my mind seized on the arithematic of my failed abusive marriage.  It took three tries before I believed my own eyes. 

All this time, I believed I was fairly powerless; now I see God was there with me working behind the scenes, asking for my faith, urging me to fight a good fight.  There were still whisps of fog clouding my vision until this very night.  I am not the coward my ex expected to fade away defeated.  I am not a weak and worthless creature.  I am strong in God and that put me in a position of power that I didn’t seek and couldn’t recognize because somehow I still believed a tiny bit that I was who my ex told me I was—worth nothing.  Maybe he just didn’t want me to see how high of a price he had to pay for treating us inhumanely.

That louse, in his attempt to discard us, has had to pay me or for my benefit a sizeable sum, not counting his big-shot attorney’s fees.  Honestly, I did not realize the scale of the amount.  I almost wish I could’ve seen the expression of horror as it crossed his face at this realization.  As for me…I am laughing!

Mirth, light-hearted childlike laughter.  Oh how wonderfully my Maker has treated me, His daughter!  I praise Him for He is wise and kind above all.  Father, Savior, and Spirit…my awesome God!  Amen!

If you are in the grip of despair, do not foresake hope.  Cling to God’s promises–He will show you the Light of His endless love in His own special way. ❤