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.”

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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.

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  • 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!

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

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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.

Shame of Being a Rape Victim

I think many have thought this but no one wanted to say it. Glad someone did. We’re so worried about falsely accusing someone of rape that victims are the ones that are hurt the most. Shamed into silence. I was for almost a decade. This picture was shared on Facebook and it is so true. When will society change? We need to educate the world about rape and abuse. It is not ok, never should be ok. Speak up speak the truth. Don’t be afraid. You are not alone.

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Emotional Abuse is more than just yelling

Seems like all I do lately on here is update how things have been lately. I guess this will be another one, with a twist.

Been going through divorce and custody battle (which is HELL), dealing with my baby being gone for the allotted summer visit time, and dealing with memories and emotions of the past… all while trying to get doctor visits, court dates, school, and birthday stuff done all within the last month. I don’t know how parents do this every year. I don’t see how anyone deals with a divorce or having kids with an abuser either. Before, when I was in (more of) denial, I could handle it easy-peasy, lately, seems to be more a struggle… especially since he threw a girlfriend into the works.

The more I deal with life and am reminded of things, the more I see how abusive he was and it becomes harder to deny it. To call it rape? Still haven’t gotten there. Sexual abuse? Financial abuse? Spiritual abuse? Emotional abuse? Yes, on all counts. No person deserves to be controlled the way I was. No one deserves to feel like a sex object or be demanded to do whatever someone wants and then feel guilty when it doesn’t go exactly how they want. Shoot, the other day, I was folding towels and out pops his criticism about how I was folding towels wrong.  Is there really only one way to fold towels? Am I wrong if they are neat and folded and put away? A few years ago, yes… today, hell no!

The one phrase that kept going through my mind today? ‘I am human, I stick my foot in my mouth sometimes, I’m not perfect. I asked for forgiveness, there’s nothing more I can do.’ I have to remind myself I am not perfect because for so long I had to be and I am afraid of not being a perfectionist. Emotional abuse is horrific. It’s not just someone screaming and yelling at you. It’s those who diminish everything you do, criticize you, and make you feel incompetent (among many other things). Sometimes its difficult to understand how things can be so complicated and how so many people don’t see that as Domestic Violence because the person did not hit them.

My ex said all the wrong things in the right tone of voice. He would tell me he loved me in the same sentence he would tell me that I was getting fat or was I sure I wanted to eat that or how I shouldn’t correct him or how I needed to let him be right at least once. I thought it was my fault. I thought I did things horribly wrong. He used to tell me that I was gonna leave him for a younger person, how if we ever got a divorce or separated that he would do anything and everything to get his child, and make comments about the people I dated in my past because they were a different ethnicity. Along with making comments about our daughter not being his, she being the mailman’s (which was a woman) and making other homophobic comments. All of this was “funny” to him. This was his sarcasm. He thought he was so funny. What he didn’t realize was that he was squashing the person I was and trying to mold me into what he wanted.

Even after speaking about my rapes, I asked him not to say comments about sexual or homophobic comments towards me as they trigger me and make me uncomfortable. His response? I’ll try but I cannot promise anything. Before I dealt with being raped by my female abuser, I used to lay in bed worried that I was gonna talk in my sleep about it, that he was gonna find out about what happened and blame me. I was going to go to my grave with her abuse because of the comments he made towards me. Eventually, he told me as his wife, he had a right to know about my abuse, then when I wrote it for him to read, he told me that he didn’t need to know because he knew how to handle rape victims (he used to be a cop), which was an obvious lie.

Who speaks to their spouse this way? Who thinks this is appropriate? A narcissist, controller, manipulator, abuser.

If anyone reading this has been put down by their partner and they think they have a right as your partner, please know that is not the case. The more I hear about guys and the games and relationship issues, the more I realize that I have no time or energy to deal with bull ish. After years and years of abuse, I realize that I do NOT have to settle for whoever looks my way. I am a loved individual, just like everyone else, and no matter who or what gets in my way, as long as I push forward in my healing and speak my mind when something bothers me, I can get to a better place… we all can! We don’t have to live this life silenced or confined into someone else’s mold of us. Speaking up is difficult, but so worth it in the long run.

I have never been more relieved to be away from my ex. I feel bad for his new girlfriend, but am relieved that the majority of the abuse has finally stopped… now if I can just get through this divorce in one piece 🙂