I saw this on facebook the other day and had to save it. It made me giggle, but it also made me think about the past 13 years of my life.
It says “Sorry for all my “activity” on Facebook, but since I have kids, this “social” network is really the only “social” time I get…SO DEAL WITH IT.”
There were many times I felt this way over the past decade, but not only because I have kids, but because of everything that my life became when I got lost in motherhood.
So I need to expand on this fun little Meme and add in Owain’s CHD, 5 years of surgeries & appointments, PTSD that comes with standing next to a child’s bed watching nurses fight for his life. I had to keep him away from germs, illness, and many times away from other kids. When he got sick, I was heading to the ER in the middle of the night knowing we would be admitted. After 3 Open Heart Surgeries and now a pacemaker, he is much better able to handle illness, but his first 4 years were long and stressful.
Then I need to add in years and years of systematic brainwashing and isolation from friends and family, orchestrated by someone who was supposed to care for me, Sometimes Social Media Was All I Had.
Someone who was never here, and who never allowed me to work after Owain was born, he never gave me freedom away from him or the children.
He trapped me in my own home, bringing home only insults and criticism.
What I end up with was a strong online community.
When my father was dying, on life support in the ICU. When I actually STOOD UP FOR MYSELF and MY FAMILY, when I went to New York to support my family, sitting in the hospital praying for my father’s life, my husband sent me guilt messages. This is when I really started to understand what had happened to me in my marriage.
“You don’t love me”
“You don’t need me”
“How can you leave me all alone”
“You never appreciate me”
“I know you are ignoring me”
“I know you don’t need me”
Over and over I would get these messages. For 2 months.
Coming from a man who knows what it is like to live in a hospital, who knows that “hospital time” is different. Someone who knows that my father is dying and my heart is breaking.
My mother is sad and terrified. My children are sad. My huge extended family and life long friends are all there, in and out of the hospital and our family home. Doctors, nurses, and specialists are coming and going. My father is getting better, and worse. Our world is spinning out of control.
Prayers are coming in from all over the world, my online community is huge, CHD connected me with beautiful people who are sending me 140 characters of inspiration on Twitter, and there are facebook messages, and emails. Incoming messages of love and support, friends who share stories of losing parents to cancer, I am falling apart and “strangers” are reaching out to me to lift me up.
Not to be selfish, but this IS about ME, this is about my family, our friends, and everyone who loved my father.
And then there is “You don’t need me” and the message from my husband that made it very clear that he was not happy that I was thinking for myself.
I see how and why abusers isolate their victims. It didn’t take me long to find my strength. I was in NEW YORK! I was with friends and family, NO ONE was putting me down. We all clicked, we found our place in the mess that was unfolding before us and we took on what we need to. We worked together as a family. Supporting each other.
But I had to respond to my husband.
“of course I love you.”
“of course I need you”
“I’m not ignoring you, I was talking to the doctors”
“of course I appreciate you”
Day after day.
And it was getting weird.
And kind of scary.
But I let it go. I felt sorry for him. I blamed myself for his suffering. How could I allow my family to take my time away from him. He is all alone. I know the pain of being alone. I am always alone. No one is ever there for me. I get his pain.
I am always alone.
He is never home.
Why is this so different?
I was in charge of MY life.
He lost control.
Without social media I would have never researched his behavior, I would have never “met” other victims & survivors, I would have continued to listen to his lies, and believed that I was a horrible, ungrateful, woman and mother.
I would have been all alone, embarrassed and ashamed of how he had taken my soul and crushed it. And how he stripped me of everything that made me ME, I would have continued to make excuses for him, creating a happy world so my community wouldn’t judge me for my weakness, I couldn’t let others know what was happening.
I wasn’t going to be THAT woman who was dumb enough to allow herself to he treated so disrespectfully.
I guess I lied.
I lied to my friends.
I lied to my family.
I lied to my community.
Online, I sugar coated my life. But there were emails & messages. Questions asked. I sought out women who spoke out about mental abuse, isolation, brainwashing. I read their stories over and over. I could both relate and deny what had happened to me. I was NOT that weak.
But this wasn’t about being weak or strong. It was about trust. I trusted him to take care of me because he made a promise, to me and my children to care for us.
I could say “sorry for all my mess” or “sorry my life is an open book”
But I am not sorry. Just like when Owain was born, and I got messages of hope from strangers; just like I suffered PPD after my daughter was born, and met beautiful women who helped me through it; I share my story of abuse and recovery; I am a survivor, I am a helper, I am a healer.
I HAVE to share my story.
I know what it is like to feel all alone.
I know what it is like to realize I am lost.
And I know what it is like to KNOW that I have found myself, my voice, and my strength.
I can’t just sit back and bury it any more.
I can’t keep quiet to make society and my community feel comfortable.
I can’t hide behind the sigma that keeps victims quiet and abusers victorious.
I use Social Media to heal, to help others, and to find a peace that I deserve.
Which is kinda funny, when I am with my friends, I just want to live. I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to move on.
I do talk about it with my friends sometimes, it is GOOD to talk about it. It is GOOD to step forward and speak up for yourself.
When I came forward on Social Media, local friends contacted me and shared their abuse. Some have been able to work through it, some have not. Women I hardly know walk up to me and share their stories of abuse and recovery, they show me hope. I would have never known about these women if I did not come forward on SM and share my story.
If you need to talk, share your story, or just say hi, my social media is open to you. You are not alone.