Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Relationships, Uncategorized

I can’t get into the mind of another

I am not a judgmental person at all in general, I really don’t care what people do and don’t judge them for doing crazy or even stupid things. However, when it comes to people who abuse others, I can be very judgmental, though probably not my place to be. When I see bad parenting or a child or person suffering at the hands of another person, I get really angry.

Being foster mom to two abused children (now adults), who came to live with me over six years ago, it really hits a nerve when abuse rears its ugly head around me. It is very close to home and I am very quick to get up in arms. I have seen abuse on too many occasions. It happens everywhere. Last year I had an extra child placed with me as place of safety because of her terrible home situation. This year once again there is a child who is being abused at home that my children know. The truth is that it is absolutely everywhere, and many people are trapped in a situation of abuse because they are frightened to do anything about it, they are dependent on the perpetrator or for whatever their reason may be. Some people (particularly people who were abused from childhood) have been abused for so long that they only know abuse, there is no sense of it being wrong in their minds because it is all that they know.

Abuse is a vicious circle and some people are unable or unwilling to break that circle. When I was abused, I could not understand why the perpetrator wanted to do the same thing that he was subjected to his whole life. I really struggled to understand why he did not want to be different having seen the trauma that abuse causes. For me it was unthinkable that an adult could not see right from wrong and not choose to do what is right. I really struggled to understand why he abused me and what made him do it. I spent a long time really trying to figure it out and to be honest, I don’t think I ever will. The truth is I cannot truly understand how another person thinks. We are all different and we cannot get inside the mind of someone else. Nor do we actually know each other’s full journey or what people have been through.

Trying to understand someone can be infuriating as well as impossible. I cannot think the way he thinks, and I need to stop trying to, the truth is that my mind cannot comprehend the reasoning behind his behaviour. If I do something wrong, I can look at the situation, analyze it and find what lead to me doing it and I can apologise, grow and learn from my mistake. I cannot make the person behind my abuse learn from his mistakes and I cannot truly know what lead to his behaviour. As much as I always feel the need to analyze everything and come to a reasonable conclusion, I have had to learn that I cannot understand everyone, and I cannot always find a conclusion. Sometimes I just have to understand that I am not that person and cannot think like they do. I can draw my own conclusions and speculate, however is this really any help at all?

I believe that abuse was a normal condition for my abuser. But I thought that he would be able to see the damage and not want to continue the cycle. I became angry that he didn’t stop the cycle, that he abused me even though he “loved” me. He never wanted to protect me from abuse, that is what cut the deepest. Why would someone who loves me want to hurt me? You see I cannot understand because I am not aware of all of the facts of his childhood. It is not something that men talk about, especially in the family that he came from. Boys don’t cry, and men don’t need help. It is a dangerous situation because children suffering from any form of trauma are not treated or given any form of help.

I cannot fix anyone, and I should stop trying. I cannot help someone who does not want to help themselves. The only person I am in control of is me. I can be a positive influence and I can share my experience but thinking I can fix the person that caused the problem is really just silly.

In a more recent incident I was sitting with a lady who does a lot of welfare work and she was telling me about some of the cases where the mothers keep having children with different men and the men leave and the mothers abuse their children. I was so disgusted and said, “how dare they, they have no right, they are adults and should know better”. Her answer to me was extremely blunt and hit me like a bucket of cold water. She said, “how can they know that it is wrong if they have never known anything else?”

The Jungle book springs to mind. Mowgli, a little boy raised by wolves in the jungle, rejected humankind despite being human, the animals were all he knew. This I feel to be a great example. Mowgli did not know humans and therefore he rejected them. And honestly who am I to judge anyone in any way. Yes, abuse makes me angry and I want to judge but it is not my place. I do not know the background, I do not know why a mother abuses her children and if it is all that she has ever known, then how can she know different.

I feel that there is a desperate need for education, we need to educate children and make sure that they understand what abuse is. Education will ensure that should a child or adult find themselves in an abusive situation, they will be able to identify it as such. More emphasis needs to be put on emotional abuse, emotional abuse is what stops people sharing their stories as well as causing the victim to feel unwarranted guilt.

I have every right to be angry for the way I have been mistreated but I cannot expect to understand the reasons why people in the past chose to abuse me or what lead them to become abusive in the first place. The only thing I can do is choose to tell my story and choose to make a difference in the lives of others.

I want to be a pillar of strength for anyone facing abuse and I know that in my own way, I can help victims to become survivors.

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Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

When past abuse bites hard

Abuse in any form takes hard work and dedication to overcome. I am stronger, I am a different person and I am the person I am because of what I have been through. Coming out of the abusive relationship, I had no idea who I was. I was broken, confused and just lost. I dedicated my time to writing and coming to terms with what I had been through. It is very difficult, but at the end of the day I would not go back and change what I have been through. It made me who I am today, it made me stronger, it taught me a lot and most of all it gave me the opportunity to help others who have been through it. If I can make a difference in one life then I am blessed.

I feel very strongly about abuse, it is everywhere. When I talk to people, I can’t believe how common it is. I wish I could just wipe all abuse off of the earth, but alas all I can do is help in my own small way.

Abuse tends to come back to bite when you least expect it. When you know that you have moved on and are stronger and healed. A very special friend of mine received a phone call recently from a family member of her ex’s new girlfriend, complaining about the way she is being treated. She was concerned for her family member and wanted to find out more about the man she is dating who is my friend’s ex. Without going into too much detail, my friend was left absolutely devastated. All of the pain and emotions came flooding back. I have been here on more than one occasion, one in particular my ex called me to tell me that he had beaten his girlfriend at the time and I cried on the phone and I said he should have learnt through losing me. I could not understand why the abuse was carrying on with his next girlfriend. The truth is it still is although the wonderful lady he called me about has moved on and has a beautiful life with a beautiful daughter. My point here is that like all bad experiences they sometimes haunt you with the smallest thing triggering a flood of emotions, pain and memories. So, no matter how far you have gotten at times you get stung by the memories of hell.

I spoke to my friend and I explained that her reaction was normal and that she has come so far, I am super proud of my gorgeous friend. She is a strong, beautiful, intelligent lady and she is going to go much further than she ever imagined.

Having once been a victim of abuse means that no matter how much I have healed every now and then something comes along to take me back to the pain. I can be brought suddenly down to my knees, with an agonizing thump, with the smallest reminder. A reminder that puts me back in the situation that caused all of the damage to begin with. Having said that, I am no longer a victim but a survivor, I am the victor of my circumstances and I am going make a difference.

The most valuable advice that I can give is if you are covering up for things in a relationship, lying and pretending everything is okay then there is a problem. I built up a wall of lies when I was in an abusive relationship. No one knew I was abused. I kept on making excuses and pretending. THIS IS THE BIGGEST WARNING SIGN, A RED LIGHT. Being abused is embarrassing, I didn’t want to tell people. I didn’t want them to know. And most of all I didn’t not want to talk about it, it made it even more real. When I started talking, I started healing and in healing I got to know me for me and I got to love the incredible woman that I am.

The road has not been smooth, at one point I had been in another abusive situation and when I was given help and guidance by professionals, they immediately picked up that I identified with abuse. I so easily accepted abuse almost as the norm. I am an intelligent woman but having been groomed in abuse at such a young age, I was exactly that, groomed in abuse.

I know the signs, I am a strong woman and through experience I have gained strength, character, wisdom, courage and even forgiveness. I am the master of my own destiny and I will not allow abuse into my life.

Hold your head up high, know your worth, stand your ground and most of all ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Relationships, Uncategorized

I have been knocked down but I cannot let this break my spirit

I was offered a job last year in the hospitality industry, which was all new to me.  Absolutely everything other than the accounts side was all new.  I had never worked on a POS system, I had never been a responsible for a restaurant, bar or venue and now I was responsible for all 3.  The first day, I was put on a massive, high profile wedding and had to quickly work out the POS system for myself (it had been installed that same day and no one else knew how to work it.

There really is nothing like a big challenge to get me going, I love it! I had some staff under me, helping with drink orders.  I had to host the wedding as well as manage the staff and of course keep the clients happy.

I have to say; my biggest asset is my people skills.  I love people, I love interacting with people and I just have an amazing way with people.  My current boss says that I have a certain way with people, that is unmatched and that I could probably sell poo to a sewerage plant! This is a man I have worked with for a long time and knows me very well.  I have a certain ability to put out fires when customers are unhappy and it really comes in handy as you can imagine.

Here I was, completely new to all of this and I nailed it!  The guests at the wedding, one of them being the sister of the bride even followed me to another function on the premises to party with me there.  What an incredible experience it was.  First off, I was witness to an incredible traditional black wedding, guests were in traditional clothing and they looked incredible.  What I loved was the mix of traditions.  Some in Zulu attire with and some in Souto and Xhosa attire, vibrant in colour.  What a sight it was.  The traditional dancing began as they walked in and everyone joined in.  I have so much respect for this incredible country.  The culture and the traditions, all vastly different but all respected by one another.  This for me was a celebration of how incredible my country actually is.

What really was incredibly special for me on that first night was when these beautifully dressed young black ladies walked into a very Afrikaans party at the other side of the property.  At first the black beauties were not sure how to handle the situation, I am quite sure that they had never ever heard the Afrikaans music which was playing.  Something very special happened just then in the mist of the awkwardness.  The DJ put on a traditional black song and the ladies started dancing.  The Afrikaans ladies (in SA we call them “Tannies”) ran to meet me and the ladies on the dance floor and asked them to show them how to dance like them.  This was the most awesome experience, if I have to pick one occasion that made 2017 extra special, this was it!

I danced with them, smiling and laughing and bursting with pride as a South African.  We obviously couldn’t stay long as we had to return to the wedding but the short time at that party was more than enough to take in the incredible experience.  What a first day it was! Absolutely incredible, breath taking and just left me with warmth and fulfillment. Suddenly I found myself with a new-found energy, revitalized and rejuvenated.  Life has never been easy for me, since my 20’s but I have always been very blessed.  I had had a very difficult year and this was exactly what I needed to give me the drive to become more.  So, I was immediately hired on a permanent basis, not knowing the politics which was running wild in the place.  I was incredibly proud of myself for how quickly I learnt, and just did everything that had to be done.  I fitted in so well and I grew immensely in this time.  My self-confidence was at an all-time high and I was feeling great.  I was growing daily, and I was loving working with customers all day.

I was working sometimes 14 hour days but was completely satisfied with my work.  The reality is that I was doing a really good job and the customers took to me immediately.  I truly felt like I had found my place.  Unfortunately, it was to come to an abrupt end when I began to get treated very badly and basically pushed out.  My knowledge had apparently made the wrong person look bad.  Suddenly I was being made the target of a blaming game.  I was being blamed for all sorts and none of the facts were being taken into account.

I walked out and I had my head up high, I did my best, I mastered a completely new industry to me and I learned so much.  I did so well! I cannot allow the way I was treated to break my spirit.  I know how well I did and I know that I will be missed by many.  As I said goodbye, the staff were devastated and the customers that were there were visibly upset.  I made my mark, I made a difference and I left my mark!  I took an incredible amount of value out of the experience and I made myself proud.  I made friends and I made memories.  I feel great, I am confident and I will not allow nastiness to break my spirit.  On to bigger and better things!

The truth is I am sure of who I am, I am proud of what I accomplished and I am steadfast in my values and grounding.

I will not let this break my spirit because I know my achievements and I know myself, I am so grateful for the lessons and the knowledge that I gained and I am ready to tackle life’s next chapter.