Teela Hart

Surviving Domestic Violence


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The Bat Cave Is Calling


Returning home from a much needed vacation literally hurt. I didn’t want to come home to more bullshit. It was a challenge to pull into the driveway and walk into my home knowing that I would be met with a barrage of phone calls and drop by’s from *John*. I didn’t expect the kind of reception that would cause alarm. I did expect the wearing down to be continuous and irritating.

***

I’d gone shopping for some much-needed groceries and such and returned to *John* standing in the driveway. My daughter, sitting on the tailgate of his worn down, dirty ass truck with her back to him crying her eyes out sent my heart and mind into immediate overdrive, my breathing stopped for a bit and every lick of spit dried up instantaneously. My hands, shaking like a leaf in the wind, ripped the keys from the ignition and my rubbery legs propelled me from my Jeep like nobody’s business. My mind had a little trouble catching up to my actions but I just went with it and approached the situation with wide-eyed apprehension. I can’t recall what I had in my hand but I directed my daughter, I will call her *Mary*, to take it inside effectively freeing her from his onslaught and placing myself in his crosshairs. I noticed her friend sitting in her car parked at the curb as I watched my daughter go safely inside the house.

***

What is happening here? What is he doing? What did I do with my mace? I need to get it and the knife NOW! His words seemed muffled and almost incomprehensible. I caught phrases like “I can’t believe you are doing this to me” and “all the times I took care of you”. The thing that really got me going was the look that I saw in his eyes. That ‘taken over by a demon’ look and he was charging toward me like a bull. Me dying in the driveway, in front God and everybody played in my mind and ‘fight or flight’ made it’s natural progression only this time ‘fight’ reared its head instead of flight. I made one or two steps back, held up the mace and told him in no uncertain terms that he’d better step back or I would put him down and then stomp the shit out of him. He wisely took my advice. God only knows what would have happened if he hadn’t. I’m just glad he did.

At some point in all the ruckus I thought to myself that if he did kill me it would be in front of God and everybody and he would at least go to jail for it. Not the best thinkin’ in the world I know, but my thoughts nonetheless.

***

Every day since that one has been a challenge and I’m sharing this because I need to. I’ve been in touch with the shelter. I’m getting all my ducks in a row. The kids and I have once again revisited safety precautions and emergency guidelines in the event of another surprise attack.

What have I learned?

My children and I cannot afford to drop our guard.

What do I want?

I want to answer the call of the bat cave and retreat to tangible safety.

Thanks for listening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Night the Lights Went Out *Trigger Warning*


I’ve been working on this post for several days.  It is the single most difficult post I’ve made.  It is my hope that in the end you will have found it to be encouraging.

Raw unadulterated emotion reduced me to a fragmented heap in every sense of the word as *Jon’s* lawyer ripped what was left from my heart and soul. He condemned his prey to death with the stealth and viciousness of a Leopard; I could hear Jon’s words creep like the grim reaper from his lips and into my thoughts exacting a cruel and hefty price for my defiance. The courtroom, packed with onlookers, stifled the air. They needed no oracle to see all of the destruction; the gruesomeness overpowered their urge to turn their heads.

Streaming tears gave way to guttural groans; breath escaped me; heaving and gasping my composure fled. My defenses hemorrhaged onto the stand, as the predator circled and clawed ferociously ending me with ease. Gravity weighted me to the seat, I couldn’t stand under it’s supremacy. I buckled under the pressure and gasps escaped from the (now) audience in the courtroom

 

Granted supervised visitation, I met with my children every weekend. The release I’d felt when I left my abusive environment quickly turned from hope to hopeless.  My health and mind quickly declined; depression settled like a black stormy cloud. The gnawing, deep seeded pain, no longer tolerable, drove me down into the hell of hopelessness. The wish for a shove or a slap and even death replaced the desire to survive. Alone and rejected by everyone I relied on, I screamed into the void, my voice went unheard. In my mind, recourse did not exist. I’d failed at every attempt to retrieve my children and now the desire to rescue myself no longer existed.

 

I couldn’t divert my eyes from the bottle of pills on the coffee table. It somehow drifted into my consciousness incessantly, calling my name. The harsh unrelenting words and actions of Jon over the past 19 years cut like a knife. The memory of his attorney’s assault invaded my senses and I questioned my sanity. The cries of my children and their inability to cope formed the final bullets of death.

Separated, mind from body, I took the bottle into my hand, I stared into it’s eye and it stared back at me. It understood what I had to do, it invited me. I twisted off the cap and 20 or 30 pills spilled into my hand, they seemed to sparkle like jewels. I answered their call and swallowed them down a few at a time and then 30 more. I did not seem to be in control of my body, it was moving through the actions without my consent.

 

Three days later, I found myself drifting in and out of consciousness unable to move. My hands, tied to rails on either side of the bed, ached. A respirator effected the rise and fall of my chest. The hospital room was cold and sterile and the machines played a lulling song. I could hear my own heartbeat on the monitors; silent tears rolled down my face.

I returned to my mother’s a week or so after my suicide attempt and still I never sought help.  I returned to Jon and my children a few months after that. I grew angry and insolent as time passed and even contemplated another suicide attempt. I didn’t follow through because of one simple act of kindness. Someone reached out to me and spoke living words into my heart. Those words ignited my hope into a fire that would give me the courage to ask for help.

I went to a rehab/shelter, told my story and it was heard.  I knew then that if I’d reached out to the right people I could have prevented such an awful act of violence against myself along with untold suffering.

They called outside resources to come in and provide counseling concerning Domestic Violence. I was given a plan with local resources, the hope to fight and the strength to win. It was a welcome reprieve, a place of strengthening, encouragement, and acceptance. I was safer and freer than I’d been in a very long time.

Three years later, one year ago, my children and I walked out for the last time. We received therapy and I’m blessed in their presence and living the life of a survivor. Many good and bad things happened in that three year interim and I reached out for help.

While the reasons for our pain may be different, one fact will remain the same; heartache is, at times, intolerable to bear without help.  The choice to reach out to someone in my desperation saved my life and the lives of my children; I hold firm to that belief.

I’ve included a national suicide hot line link here. I also have resources and help links at the top of my blog page for those struggling with Domestic Violence.

Don’t suffer in silence.  Reach out.

 

 

 

 

 

 


16 Comments

No More


Love ya’ll.

Please feel free to reblog, retweet, FB or all three.

There is only one way to break the silence and bring this ever growing nightmare to the forefront of the minds of others and that is to SPEAK out in the capacity that we can.

Say No More

Say No More


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Say No More to Sexual Assault Month Begins Today


I will be making this post everyday for the rest of the month as April is No more to sexual assault month.  Please feel free to reblog, retweet, FB or all three.

There is only one way to break the silence and bring this ever growing nightmare to the forefront of the minds of others and that is to SPEAK out in the capacity that we can.

 

Say No More

Say No More


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You Didn’t Break Me (As Hard As You Tried)


WRITTEN BY: Carey Hart

I don’t understand
I’ve done my best not to drown
I cant stop all the things
that are swarming me now
the decisions I’ve made
haven’t helped me thus far
and it grates on my soul
with the vengence of hell
it brings hate to my heart
and drowns all my thoughts
when all I can do
is just fall apart
so I swallow my pride
and choke down the tears
and fight all the hatred
that dwells deep inside
I want to unleash the anger
I want to scream at the sky
I want to take all these words
and just make you cry
I want to flip the fuck out
I want to strangle your soul
I want to make you bow down
until I can feel whole
so don’t forget what you’ve done
and don’t you dare look at me
because the last thing I need
is to remember your face
I hope your happy now
with all the pain that you’ve dealt
it may have left all these scars
and damaged my soul
but you can bet your damn ass
that I will make it through this


28 Comments

Lean In


Family

Family

I made a post a while back describing an incident I’d had with Jon in 2010 resulting in right arm paralysis. An all-out military assault of MRI’s, X-rays, poking and prodding rendered an ugly diagnosis. The physical therapy department had become a second home and the pain nearly insurmountable. When asked to describe the pain, the words always fell short. A brachial plexus injury is a devastating and crippling injury from which many never recover. Thunder and lightning had taken up residence from my neck rendering the arm and hand useless. The pain was a special kind of horror; however, the complete and utter betrayal in its ability to function caused the most heartache.

Working tirelessly, wearing a special *contraption* and the unwillingness to accept this as a permanent disability excited the required drive to beat the prognosis. Following nine months of intense therapy, function slowly returned and the pain receded. Unexpected jerking movements resulted in dropping, or randomly flinging whatever object I was trying to control across the room. The unadulterated hilarity of the Freddy Krueger splint coupled with the identified object and its unidentified destination kept me sane.

Fortunately, I retired the splint to the Freddy Krueger hall of fame, however, the daily exercise and muscle stretches continue to this day.

Last week started like any other abnormal, PTSD ridden week with a twist of bitterness and a healthy dash of straight up disgust. However, Wednesday’s flavor of the day changed rapidly from vanilla to rocky road when a sudden severe onslaught of sharp pains traveled between my shoulder blades. The excruciating pain and inability to breath drove me straight to the MD. He examined me thoroughly and had me carted off to x-ray where they discovered I had multiple fractures in the vertebral body of my spine.

Dazed and confused, I proclaimed the impossibility of the situation, followed by a ‘what the hell are you trying to say’ stare. There had been no hideous falls or car accidents; therefore, I was hard pressed to come up with a plausible explanation for the injury.

It was obvious the Doc had been in deep thought over the cause of the injury before spilling the diagnosis onto my lap. It would appear, to the best of my understanding, that there had been significant damage to the cervical and thoracic vertebrae in 2010 along with the brachial plexus injury. The vertebral body had developed multiple stress fractures last week for reasons I cannot explain causing the severe pain I am currently experiencing.

Once I returned home, drugs in hand, shaken to the core with anger, and weeping like a newborn baby, I headed for my room. I could not hide the tide of emotions from my children and of course, they followed in behind me. It pains me that my children are forced to see me in this state. Once again, I failed at being the rock, the fortress they need. However, they do not complain, they are champions. They each take time to lean in, give me hugs and whisper in my ear, “I love you.” I do not have to ask, they instinctively act. When they least expect it, I lean in, give them hugs and whisper in their ear “I love you.” They do not have to ask, I instinctively act.

We are a family, strengthened by our past, weathering the storms of the present, and reaching into the future as we learn that we already instinctively know what it means to lean in.