When You Find Out You’re Not Quite Done

Every time I think I have tackled the big healing hurdle, life kicks me in the butt and tells me that I am not finished.

  • When I was raped and worked through my feelings, I became an advocate for those who couldn’t speak.
  • When I realized I was abused with religion, I fought for my daughter not to be baptized until she was old enough. I even started taking her to other religions to learn about them, through acceptance, not fear.
  • When I confronted my fears of being gay as homophobia, I became pro-equal rights for LBGT community.
  • When I got out from under control of my ex’s financial ways, I learned about finances and created my own budgeting system.
  • When I realized I had a bully of a boss, I, well I cried and hid when I lost my job. But when I got fired for asking to do my job, well, again I cried and hit. Hmmm. Guess nothing has changed on that front.

This is my next hurdle. It’s weeks before Christmas, and I have yet been fired from my second job this year. The first was a job for over 2 years where I was belittled, talked down to and told I did nothing right. Then came a job where I did everything right that my last bully of a boss said I did wrong. I thought nothing could go wrong! And yet I was wrong. I thought I had figured out my life after healing, but one thing keeps happening. When it comes to jobs, I have no confidence. I went from abusive relationship to an abusive job to a job who fires their employee of the month for asking to do her job.

I have been out of work for 3 weeks, with $700 to my name, 2 months of mortgage behind and a past-due car note. I have been absolutely devastated. Part of me doesn’t want to ask what did I do wrong, in the thought of grouping two different but bad experiences together. The first one, I understand that one by now. I would have quit long before they fired me if it hadn’t been for working on my habitat for humanity home. Especially after being praised at my last job for everything the first one complained about, definitely got my confidence up.

But… the day we learned Trump was going to be the next president, I asked my manager to stop the political banter, conspiracy theories, the gay jokes and etc. He said he would talk to everyone in the morning the next day, and within 3 hours I was let go. I keep replaying how bad that week was and thinking that would be the worst day, but it wasn’t.

Now, I am here wondering what I am going to do and how I am going to be able to get past this crushing depression that has taken over me. I have had 3 helpful people in my life throughout this and even my ex and his new wife have tried to help. These are good things, but it being this time of year and after working so hard, getting employee of the month 3 weeks before I was let go and everything just hurts.

The whole point of this post is to show that no matter how many things you work on, there may be some difficult parts in your life that still need work. AND that you aren’t alone. The confident me seems to vanish when things like this happen. Not because I am not confident, but because I haven’t found that confident part of me in a work atmosphere. It feels totally different for me. At work, I am on their dime, working for their cause and being totally professional. In my personal time, I am allowed to talk about things I post here, share videos/articles on facebook and twitter that are political or my personal beliefs. All the things you can’t talk about work, you can in your personal life. And I like that.

When I can feel like ME, no matter what I am doing, I feel more comfortable and confident. So now, I feel its time to find that confidence at work. No matter what I am doing. To finally say I AM ENOUGH.

If anyone has any suggestions or would like to express what they are finding they need help with, please feel free to comment or contact me. None of us are alone.

Here is another video that has helped me express needed emotions lately. I hope you like.

“Hold, Hold on, Hold on to me. ‘Cause I’m a little unsteady. A little unsteady.
Mama, come here. Approach, appear. Daddy, I’m alone. ‘Cause this house don’t feel like home.
If you love me, don’t let go.
Mother, I know that you’re tired of being alone. Dad, I know you’re trying to fight when you feel like flying.”

Advertisements

Long Awaited Update… This Blog Will Continue!

It’s amazing how long I have been away from this site. So much has gone on in the last year. Here is just a short list of what I am up to.

IMG_1199

  • I stepped away from religion altogether. I do not identify as Mormon or Religious. I still say I am Christian, but opening up my eyes to the whole world has made me want to continue to look at things and learn from everyone, not stay in the restraints I was put in during my marriage.
  • Took on my ex’s car so I don’t have another repo on my credit report. Not the best thing, but I am keeping my credit in good standing, after I paid off all of my debt. Within 1 year, I paid off 9,600 dollars worth of debt!
  • Got into Habitat for Humanity. I have 150 hours of sweat equity so far. Only 200 more until I get my own home! I was approved for a 2 bedroom home. Just big enough for me and my daughter. Plus, I have friends and family who want to help me get my hours. It’s hard doing it on my own, so my loved ones are motivating me 🙂
  • Started talking to a man. Letting a man in emotionally is scary. i have had many tears so far, and I am not even dating him yet. I know there are good guys out there. I have met one. I get to help him in his abusive situation, and he gets to support and uplift me. What more can I ask of right now?
  • Got into a lifestyle that fits me. Made friends and became more social. I went from having one friend to having many, many people who I get along with. It has busted me out of my shell and helped me open up.
  • Have faced my fears of same-sex friendships after my abuse. I have gotten more comfortable around girls and women. I have friends, can hug them, can be close and goofy with them. I am not healed, but I am far into my recovery. Maybe one day, I will talk about my new life fully and explain.

In all of the growing and changing that I have done, I have not forgot about my passion. In fact, my passion has become stronger. It’s great to have people in your life that makes you want to do better. That is what I have come across the last month.

So, I am picking up one of my biggest projects. Finding helpful organizations and getting the information to those who need it. I haven’t figured out how I will get this to people, but I think resources are important. The reason this is so important to me is because those who need it have difficulties getting the resources, especially if they are afraid to ask. So that is what I am going to do… share and post and get the information out!

Abusers on the State Sex Offender Registry

Possible Triggers

The last 24-hours have been amazingly crazy. I just dog sat at my mom’s house. I was very apprehensive about doing so, as my abusers mom lives down the street, and I saw my abuser last week by my mom’s house. I was there Friday night to Sunday afternoon. No sign of K, which is a very good thing.

Saturday night, I was contemplating all that has gone on with K. I guess being there brought a lot up for me, which is, I assume, to be expected. I found out a few days ago that K’s case went in front of a grand jury but they found no reason to press charges against her. They even mentioned my statement, but chalked it up to “kids experimenting” just because she was my age. Makes me sick to think back at that. If it were just experimentation, would I be so traumatized? Hmmm, I think not!

Anyway, I was so upset that she wasn’t at least charged as a sex offender. I mean, she admitted she had a sexual relationship with a student. So I decided to go onto the state sex offender website just to see. What I found shocked me. I searched for K’s name, nothing. I then decided to search for my other abusers name. I started out with J’s, nothing again.

So I searched my other ex-boyfriend. And… HIS PICTURE CAME UP! He was charged back in 2009 for “Rape Using Force” against a 27-year-old female. My heart sunk. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I tried to contact my friends and support but wasn’t having much luck. THIS was another guy that I was told raped me. Just one I never dealt with or addressed or even admitted it happened. I am still stunned. It brought back so many memories and so much confusion.

I brushed this “rape” off to the side because I didn’t feel anyone would ever think it was rape or that it was bad enough to have anything even done. I know that’s horrible of me to say, but I have made statements about past abuse of two of my abusers already and nothing came of them. Two have not been reported and I don’t know if I could ever go about doing that again.

This abuser was my boyfriend for 3 months until he decided it was too much and just wanted to be f-buddies. Every time we went over to his house, it was to have sex or “do homework” as my parents thought.

One day, he dropped me off at my house with a friend. He said he needed to use the bathroom, so I very hesitantly said yes. I didn’t want any guys in my house after what J had done to me 6 months prior. He went to the bathroom and then started advancing me to have a quickie. I kept telling him no, that I didn’t wanna do it in my mom’s house, and resisting. I was pinned between him and my bed. Kept resisting and telling him no, but after his persistence, I stopped saying no. He lifted my skirt, did his thing, as I lay there upset that I let it happen again. He finished and left.

Of course I felt like shit and was confused, but I stopped saying no. I never once thought that me saying no, even once should have had him stop. I am told differently now. In light of the new information I have, it has me questioning everything that happened between me and this guy.

So here is the scenario that keeps running through my head. This guy contacted me back in 2009. He wanted to meet up with me and apologized for being a jerk. He said he just got out of the military and was dishonorably discharged because of some crap that was going on. I didn’t think to ask as I hadn’t heard from him in over 4 years and was newly married with a baby and didn’t want to bring my past into my present.

Now I want to know why he contacted me back then. My friend says it was to cover his own ass. None of it makes sense to me. Plus, he has two Facebook accounts. I didn’t think sex offenders were allowed to be on social media. Obviously I will report him on Facebook, as that is against their rules, but what else do I do? Do I do anything?

I have been fighting the urge to send him a message asking him why he contacted me, and such, to find out more information, but why would I want to talk to someone who hurt me? What if it makes things worse? As much info as I want to know, I know you can never get information out of a liar.

I just think this is such a crazy time in my life. Between my ex and his idiocy, and K and JR, it is a lot to take in. I am glad that he was changed and is a sex offender for raping that woman. Now it will come to my own processes of how I handle my own abuse from him (far more than the little blip I mentioned here). I will take this new information as a good thing and “run with it” to help my healing.

One Year and One Day Later

One year, one day ago (November 3, 2012), I was a stay at home mom recovering from leaving a mental hospital, separated from my husband, who left that day to go to Oklahoma, with no money, no job, and no way of providing for my daughter. Within the last year, I found a job that supported my daughter while living at my moms house, fought for custody of our daughter and won. We moved out of my moms in august and my little one is striving in kindergarten after a few rough weeks. And I have now started a new job making 1/3 more money. I got my car back (after 9 weeks without), working on getting my meds straightened out, and was blessed with a larger working interview pay than what was originally offered. I now have a job that is suited towards my skills and utilized, and have the whole support of my old job which wants to stay in contact with me. And I have hope that I will be able to pay off debts and debtors and save for a new car to get back on track. I don’t know how I got here because I was scared to death to step up. As my lawyer said, I was a beaten down woman who they had to get onto for not making decisions. Along with the new job I started today, I was just asked to be a part of the newly formed Women’s Resident Council with three other women. And I shared my story with my a woman here who is just now talking about her rape and gave my story to my caseworker. This day couldn’t represent more of the person in becoming if I planned it all myself. I just have to be so grateful for all the help I had along the way because without support and standing up and speaking out for myself, I would have NEVER made it this far. Staying silent will never work. And I promise anyone who stands for what they believe and refuses to keep his or her “dirty little secret” to protect the abuser will not only help themselves heal but help others accept their own abuse. As much as I’ve wanted to cry lately (for my own abuse from my ex), I wanna cry just as much for the person I am today. I just wanted to share some positives as not everything in our life will always be negative.

Beyond the Outward Appearance

IMG_1994

A picture I drew at 12am, in the dark, upset and couldn’t sleep.
June 2012, Kris Hannah

One year ago, I hit a devastating low that I never thought I would ever reach. No one knew the turmoil I was struggling with, as I hid it from everyone around me. Many knew some details but couldn’t handle or comprehend the depth of my struggles. I was in an abusive relationship, dealing with being raped in my past, and trying to take care of my little girl while holding down a job. We had just moved to Wyoming, where I was isolated from everyone and had zero support. When I hit that low, I had no clue where to turn or what to do.

After begging my husband to take me back down to Texas for a week, he finally drove me and I went into the hospital. I was super scared. I went to the Emergency Room at 5pm on Friday, was going through intake Saturday at 2am, where they searched everything and took whatever was prohibited, and by 5am, I was in my bed crying myself to sleep wondering if I had made the right decision. I didn’t wake up until Monday morning. I didn’t want to go to group, and only woke up long enough to speak to my doctor. Things felt hopeless.

I was only inpatient for 10 days but it felt so much longer. They had activities scheduled for most of the day. Group was 2-3 times a day, activity therapy, one-on-one therapy once a week, and we could choose to do family therapy if we wanted. Every morning, we filled out a sheet on how we were feeling and what we wanted to accomplish that day. And after lunch, we had journaling time for an hour.

The problem was we weren’t allowed pens, and the pencils they supplied were smaller than 3 inches. We were allowed to use markers, but they were worn out and run down or went missing. Even though journaling was encouraged, the circumstances weren’t ideal for anyone who truly wanted to journal.

The best moments inpatient were when I was laughing and coloring with the other patients. I realized that many were also depressed, just like me. When I went inpatient, my parents saw me as weak, but in actuality, the strongest thing I could have ever done was get the help I needed. This was the first time I was allowed to not pretend to be stronger than I felt. As I started reaching out for help and journaling, I finally felt a strength I hadn’t felt in such a long time.I flourished and finally found something enjoyable for myself. I took notes in every aspect of therapy, journaled like crazy, and even started drawing again. I went through FOUR composition books and my pages looked like rainbows. It felt great doing such a ‘childish’ thing.

I know many people don’t understand what would send someone into a mental hospital, but it is time to break down those walls. The people in my unit were not mentally insane. They were not crazy or psychos. They were seeking help in the best way possible. Just because their troubles were not physical, it doesn’t make them any less. Just imagine how many don’t get help and choose a more permanent solution. It saved my life and helped me get out of my abusive relationship.

When I left, I vowed that I would help future patients in the same way I was helped. I never realized how significant those markers and composition books were in my recovery, but they were. And I hope that by donating what I can, others can feel that also. Each month, I would love to be able to deliver washable markers, composition books, coloring books, and a set of resources for those inpatient.

If you have any suggestions or would like to help, please let me know by commenting or emailing me at krisahannah @ gmail.

The Defining Moment: Was I Really Raped?

Many times, when I speak about those first few moments that I realized I was raped, people are shocked by the reaction I received and the insincerity of someone not believing such a horrible act. I’m not speaking of the remainder of that night, I’m not even speaking of that week. It took me a while to realize what happened to me and to open my mouth to someone about it. In my heart of hearts, I knew what just happened, but when I finally spoke about what happened that night, I was looking for someone I could trust to work through those emotions. What I got? My best friend telling me that she didn’t want to think that was a possibility and turned me down from speaking of it further. I stayed silent for seven years because of that day.

So what if this happened to you? What would you want that trustworthy person to say back? There’s a campaign called Start by Believing, and I think that’s one of the core issues survivors face. No one wants to believe such an act can happen to someone they know. They don’t want to believe someone they know could commit such an act. Or, the most devastating one, they want to know what the victim did to make them get raped. This needs to change. Society needs to change.

I could only imagine what would have happened differently in my life if my best friend believed me. I know I cannot change the past, but what a difference it could have made if one persons reaction was in support of a survivor. I believe its like a chain reaction. If that first person takes the news well and supports you , then you could tell another and another and another until one day that silence that at one time bound you was finally loosened. The more chain links (i.e. positive reactions) you have, the freer you are from burdening this alone. This was never the victims fault, but once that first reaction couldn’t withstand the pressure it was placed under, the more likely the rest will crumble.

We cannot deny that rape happens. In fact, I’m sure many people know at least one person who has been sexually abuse. Some may not even know about their family or friend. It’s not rare for a victim to stay quiet. Sometimes the fear of not being believed is stronger than the fear of people knowing what happened to them. Not because they are ashamed necessarily, but because they don’t want to be blamed.

I, unfortunately, got the worst reaction I could have expected from my ex husband. Someone who was supposed to love and care for me. Yes, it was years after the fact, but if someone doesn’t deal with it when it happens, it will creep into their lives eventually. That’s how it was for me. It actually amazes me that an old friend could be infuriated by what happened to me, finding out years later, but my own family and spouse are more concerned about how it affected them instead.

Where does that come from? Why do people do that? What happened to sympathy and empathy for the person who endured a traumatizing experience? We all need to be cognizant of how we come off to people who are sharing a deep pain of theirs. Believe them, care for them, let them know the survivor didn’t deserve it, and that they are upset at the attacker and not the victim.

Moving Froward from My Ex-Abuser

I didn’t think this would be so difficult. I thought that once court was over and the judge granted the divorce, my life would seem more normalized. I thought that once my ex-husband moved on, I would be happy and feel some sort of peace. I mean, in my ideal situation, he would leave me alone, have limited access to our child, and I could get on a path towards happy and healthy.

The reality of the situation is that I am struggling… a lot! I am not struggling because of my want to be with my ex or jealous because he moved on, but the harsh reality that no matter what happened between us, his life has kept going and not stopped. Neither have his lies. It makes me sick hearing and seeing him with his next victim, flaunting her around our child, and confusing her. Don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for his next wife, but I feel worse for my daughter being thrown into the middle of it. I want to feel sorry for his girlfriend, but then again, there are so many red flags and until she can see them, she has to deal with the demons in her closet. That’s the only thing I can think of. For someone to get with him, they must have demons they haven’t dealt with. No one in their right mind would be with him. I wasn’t in my right mind, but then again, I was 19 and was raped and abused in my past (i.e., my demons).

For the last three months, at least, I have had to be so strong and sane because I was fighting for custody of our daughter. I think this weekend was the first time that I let my guard down. My daughter has been with her father since Thursday and for the first time in a long while, I cried. I see all the signs, I see his pattern, I see how much he used me, but I can’t stop it. I cannot unmake all the things he did during our marriage. I cannot stop him from dragging our daughter through the dirt. I am so glad that the judge chose me over him, but I cannot save her. I so want to save her.

So the question is… How do you move past an abuser? My ex-husband? My daughter’s father?

I know what I want and what I don’t want now. I know which steps I will take in my life before getting into another relationship. That part is not the problem. My problem is seeing all the damage and the pattern he has, but I cannot help how I feel about it. Yes, I know, one day at a time. That’s all any of us can do. I guess this is something I will have to speak to my therapist about because I am really at a loss.

For now, I will stay focused, get my life back on track, take care of my daughter the best I can, and not worry about him, as he can no longer abuse me or control me anymore. I am scared for this next step in my journey. I have been a mess the last year trying to get through this divorce, and now it’s over. I am scared to look for new jobs and all that other stuff. Nothing is holding me back, but myself. I have never gotten this far, and now I am here, it is here, and I am scared. I have a potential job in my folder that was given to me that pays more than I am making now and is fits my skills, but I am scared to read it, scared to apply for it.

Maybe it’s not just my abuser that is bothering me. Maybe everything is because this is a new world that I have never lived in before. I know they are positive steps. I have been so afraid and in fear for so long that those feelings have become comfortable for me. New feelings, emotions, events, just seem very foreign to me.

Anyways, wish I had something insightful to say. Not today.