OOP Survivor Blog
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Take the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence's Relationship Quiz - Find Out if You're Being Abused
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Sadly, the vile audio recording sounds very familiar to me. And I'm guessing to anyone who's been verbally abused.
At one point, Mel yells at Oksana: “I’m not giving you my house and you can rot unless you crawl back, s*ck my cock and say you’re sorry, in that order! Do you understand me? You f*cking offend my f*cking maleness, my masculinity, my being, my soul!”
So many are attempting to dissect the conversation, amid the "he said, she said" allegations, and I've found some of the online comments to be even more interesting than the tape itself. Mostly, people are pointing to the horrendous verbal abuse on the part of Mel. But, there are those who believe that Oksana is just as unstable, coercive and abusive as he is. Regardless, I think the fact that Oksana felt compelled to record their conversation says a lot.
I reached that point with my ex before I filed the Order of Protection against him. I think for me, I was recording our phone conversations not so much to use as future evidence against him (I wasn't even to that point mentally/emotionally yet), but to be able to re-play the conversations to myself and use them as a wake-up call. Crazy enough, even when I told my ex that I was recording our phone conversations (while recording them, of course), he didn't even seem to care.
It sounds like Mel didn't really care either. The guy's life has become such a spectacle that it's truly pathetic. Hopefully he'll get some kind of help, but for him, I wonder if it's too late.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Needless to say, many women commenting on the Lovefraud blog today took issue with Abby's response. In fact there are over 50 comments.
Not only was it a little 1950's (Really? Like all women do is gossip??), but gossip is most likely the last thing this woman needs in her life as she goes through a divorce. One of the blog commenters believes that the "truth" is never actually realized; she believes that when abuse survivors attempt to speak out, others criticize her for being bitter and not moving on with her life.
Donna Andersen, on the other hand, commented that the only person who accused her of being bitter was her ex-husband. And she also says that she launched Lovefraud after her divorce for 2 reasons:
"1. It enabled me to learn about sociopaths, so I could talk intelligently about the personality disorder that explained what happened to me.
2. It enabled me to heal, so that I could talk about what happened to me without the anger and pain that I felt in the beginning. This makes it much easier for the listener to receive the message."
Kudos to Donna. Personally, I think she has done an amazing job of turning around her horrible experience with a sociopath into something positive that is helping other women find a community of other abuse survivors and heal through writing. Lovefraud.com offers a solid resource for women who are in an abusive relationship, getting out of one, or simply curious about the percentage of people in our society who lack remorse and have no problem abusing others to get their needs met.
So I guess I'm not all that enchanted with Dear Abby's take on how to handle abusive relationships - I think the column should focus on fluffier topics instead.
Monday, July 12, 2010
The blog is written by Irene Conlan who has a master’s degree in nursing, with a major in nursing administration and a minor in psychiatric nursing. She taught nursing at Arizona State University, served as Director of Nursing Administration at St. Luke’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix and served as Assistant Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services for the Division of Health Care Facilities and Emergency Medical Services. She's also a fantastic writer.
I only wish I'd read her list about a year and a half ago... The part where Conlan writes, “Often, in a romantic relationship, passion prevails and, we think we know a person well, when actually we know very little,” basically sums up the big mistake I made when I allowed myself to be swept up into the whirlwind, passionate relationship that ended up in a disastrous and brief marriage (and an Order of Protection) after only six months of dating.
I'm definitely holding onto her list as I cautiously re-enter the world of dating.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
In any case, in a strange turn of events, the commissioner who was presiding over our court hearing did not make a decision, which I'm guessing is due to the fact that she was new in her position and inexperienced with Order of Protection cases. Instead of making a decision, she granted a continuance. So following the hearing, my order remained in place and I was faced with having to return to court for a continuation of the hearing and to once again have to be in the same room with my ex-husband. Which of course was not a pleasant thing to look forward to. More like absolutely devastating. I'd assumed that I would never have to see him again after that day, especially since he lives out of state in California.
In the meantime, my ex-husband's attorney was attempting to bring a settlement offer to the table. In fact her emails were quite desperate. And at first I wanted nothing to do with a settlement. I was purely focused on having the commissioner uphold my Order of Protection. I was living in fear and felt that I needed police enforceable protection for myself and my children. However, as the weeks went by, I realized that I would be able to obtain much longer lasting protection with an option other than the Order of Protection. And that option ended up being in the form of an addition to our divorce decree.
In the end, we did settle, and to my terms. I refused to negotiate. This man had put me through hell. I would rather have gone back to court than to bend on any terms. My attorney and I put forth terms that I felt I could live with and that would protect me, my children and all other members of my family from any contact from my ex-husband for the rest of our lives. The terms were added to our divorce decree by way of an addendum. Included in the terms is the fact that he can never contact me or my children or any member of my family in any way. He also cannot enter the state where I am living for the next year. (This addendum is in the public domain, as is our divorce decree. Nothing was sealed, so all of the information is open to the public.)
The terms also included the fact that my ex-husband had to pay for my attorney's fees in the amount of $5,000. That included the $2,000 I paid to the attorney who handled my Order of Protection case, as well as the nearly $3,000 I paid to the attorney who handled our divorce. I felt that it was only fair that he pay the bills for all of the chaos that he caused.
All in all, this didn't end the way I'd ever expected. I had assumed that I would have the Order of Protection in place for the next year. But, in retrospect, this was a much better deal for me and for my family because this will always be in place. Plus it is considered a fully enforceable order of the court. So there will be immediate consequences should he choose to break any of the terms.
And....I'll never have to see my ex-husband again in court. That was one of the worst experiences to go through, but I guess a fitting final image of him. Seeing him in court just brought home all the reasons why I wish I'd never met him in the first place.
This was an extremely stressful, trying time, from the day I filed the Order of Protection to the day we settled -- the longest four months of my life.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Dear Abby: I am an 18-year-old woman and have been with my fiance for 2 1/2 years. I love him and can't picture my life without him. However, over the past six months he has become emotionally abusive. He's never wrong, gets made if I disagree with him about anything, and he yells at me over every little thing.
He used to treat me great, and now this. I miss how it used to be, and I cry almost every day. In the past I always told myself I would never put up with something like this, but I have been - and it gets harder every day. I know it's not physical, but emotional abuse counts for something, right? Or am I overreacting? Please give me advice. I need to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Sad in Vegas
Dear Sad: You're not overreacting. What you are experiencing now is a preview of how the rest of your life will be if you stay with him. When a partner becomes controlling and emotionally abusive, in most cases it's only a matter of time until the physical abuse beings. If you're smart, you will put an end to this now. The "light at the end of the tunnel" is the sunshine you'll see once you exit this relationship and slam the door behind you.
Yes, Abby's got it right: SLAM that door behind you!! Then run. And fast. And never look back.
Of course, all this is sooo much easier said than done, but it sounds like "Sad in Vegas" may be on the right track because at least she's reaching out for advice. Once you're in an abusive relationship, your brain does this total warp trip where you get caught up and frozen in the cycle of abuse. And even when the abuse is absolutely horrific, you oddly feel more frightened to leave your abuser than you do to stay. Go figure. As crazy as it sounds, that part's absolutely true, whether you're beaten physically or emotionally. Beaten is beaten. After a while, the physical and emotional pain melds together and you don't know up from down. Or safe from danger. Or hope from terror.
But, at some point, whether it's 10 months into a relationship or 10 years, something snaps or clicks or hits you like an abrupt slap in the face, and you reach a place where you can actually turn away and leave. For me, it was my 8-year-old telling me that she wished that I would stop crying every day. And I had cried...every day...for nearly a year, but I didn't even realize it until her eyes, filled with fear, looked deep into mine. Then it hit me that I had cried every single day, sometimes more than once, for the entire 10 months of my marriage. Like "Sad in Vegas," I missed how it used to be. How he used to be. I missed the man who never really existed, who evaporated shortly after becoming my husband.
The only part about the columnist's advice to "Sad in Vegas" that I'm not so sure I agree with is the part where she writes "If you're smart, you will put an end to this now." Abby's obviously never been abused. ;)
In reality, it doesn't matter whether you have a GED or a PhD from an Ivy League. Abuse insidiously infiltrates every level of society. And it's just as challenging psychologically and emotionally to break free from it whether you're a CEO of a major corporation or a waitress in a coffee shop.
The good news is that you can break free.
Monday, July 5, 2010
So this woman, Amy Shroff, went to the police to seek protection from her ex-husband who was following her in his truck and actually blocked her in after she parked in front of the police station. She went inside with her Order of Protection in her hand and gave it to police officer Frank Spellman. Spellman apparently "misinterpreted" the order and threw her in jail for the night. Nice, huh? (I guess he was confused over what the words petitioner and defendant mean?!?)
Shroff is a new mom and is breastfeeding her baby, but when she pleaded to be set free so that she could go home to feed her baby, her request was denied. The baby ended up having to take formula that night and became ill because of it.
Fortunately, in the end, Shroff was awarded $175,000 from the City of Denver due to this horrendous wrongful arrest. Personally, I think she deserved way more.
According to an article on CBS4Denver.com, Shroff's attorney David Lane had this to say: "When a woman, who is an abused woman, goes to the police for protection ends up in jail because the cop is too stupid or lazy to read the restraining order, I'm sorry, that is an outrage," Lane said.
You can find the story by clicking here.
You can also find another version that includes a photo of Shroff on kdvr.com.
My favorite comment attached to the kdvr.com story comes from someone in Ames, Iowa: "Stop accommodating abusers. Take restraint orders seriously. Back up the victims according to laws already in place. Quit doing everything you can to shut up women who have been victimized. And fire that cop. He didn't uphold the law - or the order."
My sentiments exactly.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
In an abusive relationship, the abuser may use a number of tactics other than physical violence in order to maintain power and control over his or her partner:
Emotional and verbal abuse:
Survivors of domestic violence recount stories of put-downs, public humiliation, name-calling, mind games and manipulation by their partners. Many say that the emotional abuse they have suffered has left the deepest scars.
It is common for an abuser to be extremely jealous, and insist that the victim not see her friends or family members. The resulting feeling of isolation may then be increased for the victim if she loses her job as a result of absenteeism or decreased productivity (which are often associated with people who are experiencing domestic violence).
Threats and Intimidation:
Threats -- including threats of violence, suicide, or of taking away the children -- are a very common tactic employed by the batterer.
The existence of emotional and verbal abuse, attempts to isolate, and threats and intimidation within a relationship may be an indication that physical abuse is to follow. Even if they are not accompanied by physical abuse, the effect of these incidents must not be minimized. Many of the resources listed in this book have information available for people who are involved with an emotionally abusive intimate partner.
To visit this site and read the handbook, click here.