25 Things your teenage daughter won’t tell you if she’s being abused:

These are some of the secrets abuse victims keep. If you are a parent of a teenager, this is my message to you. It is inspired by a letter I received today.  When I started writing this list, I thought maybe I’d write 5-10 things. I ended up with almost 100. I narrowed them down and grouped them together to make 25. They are honest. Some will smack you in the face. Others are the tip of the iceberg. Here goes… 1. I’m being abused. Abuse happens in teenage relationships. Like, real abuse. To girls much younger than you could ever image. It comes in many different levels and many different forms: from controlling behaviors, to horrible naming calling (not like ‘bitch’ or ‘loser’…..things like ‘c*nt’, or ‘how could I respect someone who’s as big of a f*cking disgusting slut as you are,’) to rape, to threatening to kill us, or themself, to actually attempting to do so. 2. I’m lying to you. All the time. I’ll tell you that I am fine. That everything is fine. I’ll tell you to stay out of it. That nothing is wrong. That it’s none of your effing business. Or I’ll pretend to be happy and swear that everything is great. …it’s not. I’m lying.  I don’t lie because I mean to lie. I lie because I’m ashamed. Embarrassed. Afraid. I think I’ve let you down. I think that everything is my fault. And I think that I can somehow make it better by being better. I think that I can somehow change what is going on or make it go away by fooling the...

11 Things That Can Help You Recover from Abuse

“I am bigger than anything that can happen to me. All these things: sorrow, misfortune, and suffering, are outside my door. I am inside the house, and I have the key.” – Charles Fletcher Lummis Speak. Shame feeds on silence. Talking about that abuse might seem like the last thing you want to do, but speaking out about what happened to you and letting other people in takes away the power of the depression and the shame and gives that power back to you. Don’t know who to talk to? Confide in a parent or a friend, a coach, a guidance counselor, a brother or sister, a cousin, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, a minister, priest or rabbi. Or, call a hotline, for example: The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, a national 24-hour resource, can be accessed by phone (1-866-331-9474 & 1-866-331-8453 TTY) or the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE)  Or, visit www.loveisrespect.org to access an online help page. Find a therapist or a support group. Talking to a professional or joining an organized survivor group can be pivotal for some victims. It can help you to understand that what happened to you is not your fault, and that the things you are struggling with are often normal symptoms of abuse.  It is important to find a therapist or group that you feel comfortable with. There are lots of great therapists out there and they can do wonders in your life if you are brave enough to put in the work. Psychology Today has a great source to help find therapists in your area:  http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/. Other good resource centers can be found at facilities specialized in...

Abuse Is Not The Victim’s Fault

The fact that someone abused me was not my fault. This is a reality that even on a good day I have to talk myself into; a reality that has taken me years to begin to accept. Years of fighting with myself and repeating the words over and over and over again.  It was not my fault. It was not my fault. Years of listening to a string of therapists remind me again and again. Years of going over each event in my mind, analyzing it from every angle, replaying the hands gripping my wrists and wondering if maybe I could have twisted my body differently, could have screamed louder or tried a different collection of words that might have prevented it all from happening the way that it did. Why didn’t you fight back harder? Why didn’t you yell? Why did you let him hurt you? Why did you stay? Why did you date someone like that? Why did you get yourself into that situation? Maybe you have a bad judge of character? Maybe you deserved what happened to you. Maybe he wouldn’t have acted like that if you weren’t for the way that you are. Maybe you made him crazy. Maybe you are over exaggerating. Over reacting. Overly picky. Too weak. Too quiet. Too soft. Too hard to please. Maybe it was your fault. In the circumstance of domestic violence, self-blame is, in many ways, a natural response for a victim—the product of being hurt by someone you trust and love, and then being told that it is your fault again and again. For me personally, taking responsibility for...

7 Things To Remember While Recovering From Abuse

During a soccer game when I was thirteen years old, I stole the ball from a defender on the other team and found myself on a fast break toward the goal. I can still remember the rush of excitement through my entire body, my legs pounding down the field as I told myself that no one could stop me, I was going to score. Then suddenly, a defender slid into me from behind, completely missing the ball but sweeping my legs out from under me. I fell backwards, landing directly on my back as the wind was knocked out of me. The defender was given a red card, dismissing her from the game. After a moment I caught my breath, stood up, and took the penalty kick, scoring a goal for my team. I played the rest of the game, somehow uninjured by the nasty tackle. The next morning, however, as I picked up my backpack and took a step up to climb on my school bus, I felt a pop in my back followed by a pain so sharp it was like someone had literally stabbed me with a knife. The pain was so severe that I couldn’t go to school that day. My mother took me to the doctor, where I found out that two of my vertebrae had been knocked out-of-place, causing my hips to fall out of line and the muscles surrounding the trauma to spasm and tighten, locking my left leg two inches lower than my right and leaving my body in a crooked mess. I didn’t understand. I had gotten up and played...

Signs You Might Be Dating A Psychopath

Here are some signs that might indicate that you are dating a psychopath. 1. You feel like you are going crazy. Psycho’s are masters of manipulation. They turn everything around. They will make you feel like you are the one that is going crazy instead of them. You might become paranoid. You might worry about what you wear and what you say and freak out if someone changes your plans or something unexpected happens that you will have to explain later. If you are a peaceful person, you might find yourself constantly fighting. You might explode when you get too frustrated. You feel like there is something seriously wrong with you. 2. You feel like you are walking on eggshells. You’re not quite sure what will set them off, but you are afraid that something you do is going to make them lose their temper…  Bump into an old boyfriend at the mall? Get a job offer in another state? Agree to babysit for your sister? You might be terrified of what your partner will say or do if you tell them. 3. You feel like you are dating Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It seems like your partner is two completely different people. Like flipping a switch, he can change drastically from one extreme to the next. One day, he is caring and loving and wonderful, and the next he is hateful and raging and mean. He used to put you up on a pedestal…and now all he does is try to tear you down. 4. You feel like you have no voice. You are afraid to talk, or...