See Something, Say Something, Do Something

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When I was in a domestic violence situation, there were many opportunities for intervention by acquaintances and strangers who witnessed the abuse. Yet no one wanted to get involved and I did everything I could to keep up appearances.

I was silently screaming for help but was too ashamed to reach out. How I wanted someone to care enough to take the situation out of my hands, to force me to leave. I suppose acquaintances were afraid of my ex because it was obvious that he was vindictive. My family respected my boundaries and honored my choices leaving me to feel love for their lack of interference and resentment for their lack of interference. Domestic violence victims experience many emotions, one being confusion.

I have been publicly humiliated, threatened and emotionally, physically and verbally abused to which there were witnesses – Strangers, acquaintances, family and friends. No one had the courage to stand up for me or even reach out to me. The two times I reached out to acquaintances, they told me that they didn’t want to get involved because they didn’t want to lose his business/friendship. My family respected my choices and boundaries even though they disapproved. I have never been more alone.

The thing is that most victims of domestic violence are like children, they feel helpless and they obviously live in fear. People in general are afraid of losing the victim’s friendship or love by what they consider to be interference. There is also a fear of crossing the victim’s boundaries. To those people I say, “Would you prefer to risk their losing their lives or having a psychotic break or risk their being angry and/or losing their friendship/love?”

I believe that when you love and/or care about someone, you have a responsibility to have the hard conversations. There are times when you have to put another person’s health and well-being before your own feelings and fears. I am not asking that you put your own life at risk but there are things that can be done safely such as:

  • Have a conversation regarding their situation calmly and rationally.
  • Explore options with the victim to staying in the relationship.
  • Offer financial or housing assistance until they can get stabilized.
  • Help the victim make a safety and/or escape plan.
  • Supply them with the number to a Domestic Violence Shelter and/or Hotline
  • Offer the victim transportation to a shelter.
  • Let them know they can reach out to you any time day or night.
  • Encourage them to report the abuse to law enforcement.
  • Call the police.
  • Create a distraction giving the victim a chance to escape.
  • When strangers, make it obvious to the abuser that they have been observed, therefore, can be identified.

Unfortunately, the decision to leave has to be the victim’s. Often there are circumstances which prevent them from leaving such as lack of funds, no place to go, children’s safety etc. When a victim is forced to leave or take action, more times than not they can be easily enticed by the abuser to go back.

Please don’t make excuses to look the other way. If one day your son or daughter became a victim of domestic violence, what would you want someone to do?

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Kindness of Strangers

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One night, I found myself abandoned on the service road of a freeway with no gas in my car and a half-full gas can. The gas can nozzle was meant for a lawn mower so I couldn’t get much fuel in the car. My ex-boyfriend/later husband had pushed me out of his car with this gas can and left me to my own devices. I had committed the crime of “forcing” his mother to cross the service road to a McDonald’s rather than leaving her in the car on the service road alone while I went to call him for assistance. This was before cell phones were in every hand and roadside assistance was not a standard insurance perk.

Once I got some gas fumes in my car, I drove it as far as I could before it was dry again. I was able to pull into a Mustang Tractor drive and feeling distraught started walking. By this time, it was close to midnight. I had never risked anything like walking down down a freeway alone at night before because no one I had known would have put me in that situation. I was in too much emotional pain to feel fear and trying to make a decision as to whether to call a friend or family member to pick me up. I decided I was too embarrassed for anyone to know that I would put up with this type of treatment, one of my character flaws. Appearances at all cost.

A mini-van stopped and a man asked if I needed help and I told him about the gas can problem. He asked if he could give me a ride back to my car to see if he could remedy the situation. He saw that I was hesitant so he told me that his wife and mother-in-law were in the vehicle with him and that they had been to a church event that evening. On the drive back to my car, he asked me what I was doing on the freeway with a gas can. It was obvious that he wondered why someone would give me a can of gas and leave me without making sure I got my car running.  I told him that I didn’t want to talk about it and he didn’t push. When we got to my car, he broke a beer bottle he found on the ground and used the neck as a funnel. He then followed me to the gas station to make sure I got there safely.

When I got home, I was furious and let my boyfriend know that he had left me in a dangerous situation. He knew he looked like an ass so he comforted me with apologies. The next morning, his mother tried to fan the flames as was usual in order to show me who had the power over him. This got his stepfather involved who made disparaging remarks about my coping skills. Surprisingly, my boyfriend took up for me saying that he had put me in harm’s way so he couldn’t give me a hard time.

I will never forget the kindness of the family who rescued me. This man was reaching out to me having correctly guessed that I was in an abusive situation. At times I wish I had confided in him, his wife and mother-in-law and maybe, just maybe, they would have encouraged me to help myself sooner than I did.

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Taking the Time to Consider

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I recently read about a 15 year old girl who had a premature baby in her bedroom. The baby was born alive, weighed 2+ pounds and the girl threw the baby out the window. The baby died.

I find myself trying to assess blame. Do I blame the 15 year old girl for being heartless and not taking responsibility for having gotten pregnant? Do I blame the father of the baby for getting a 15 year old girl pregnant? Or, do I blame the parents of the 15 year old girl who had not built a relationship with their daughter based on trust. A relationship that would enable her to turn to them  when she is in trouble. A foundation that would ensure that their daughter would know that though her parents would be disappointed and upset, they would get her through any situation.

The truth is that I don’t know the intimate details of the story or even the parents side. The reporter wasn’t interested in writing about the human side of the story or may have been prevented by the girl’s age. Was the girl molested by an adult, was the father an older boy, were the parents aware that she was pregnant, had plans been made for finding another home for the child, did her parents plan to raise the baby? The publication only seemed to care about the shock factor and I rushed to judgement based on the little information presented. It is good that I waited a couple of days to write this so that I have had time to ask myself the hard questions. Who am I to judge, where is my compassion, what were the circumstances and the really hard one – what made me read the article?

I wish I could tell you that I won’t read such articles in the future but that would not be the truth. I know myself well enough that there is no doubt that I will continue to read articles pertaining to child abuse, neglect and murder. I must admit that the shock value attracts  me as it gives me a thrill and a target for my outrage and anger. But there’s something else it gives me and that is insight and compassion. I come into contact with young girls who desperately need someone to talk to and they are very much afraid. The reasons they are afraid vary but they don’t feel that they can talk to their parents. These girls need encouragement and reassurance that they can get through any situation. Talking with these girls builds compassion and dampens the rage and anger because I can do something to help.

I write a lot about my mother and how her alcoholism affected my life. What may not get across is how very much I appreciate her as a mother. I did not have to hide anything and could always turn to her. Did I know she would be angry and/or disappointed? Yes, but that did not stop me because in the end, I knew that I did not have to go through anything alone. My mother is all about unconditional love and understanding. My parents allowed me to make important decisions about my life even though they did not always agree. They taught me independence and self reliance. My mother worries about me because I am the middle child who expresses her deepest emotions and she sees that as a weakness. She is only late in life coming to understand that emotions are healthier when they don’t have to be hidden. She doesn’t have to worry about me because thanks to her and my dad, my core is solid, emotional but solid.

Useful Mental Health Lifelines

    Hotline List

    Hotline List

    Resources when and where you need them.

    We’ve Got Friends Who Can Help

    Worried about a friend? Dealing with some issues of your own? There are trained people who can help.

    If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local police station.

    General Crisis Support by Text

    Crisis Text Line: Text SUPPORT to 741-741 (24/7). Our trained counselors can discuss anything that’s on your mind. Free, 24/7, confidential.

    Other Hotlines

    Depression & Suicide
    The Trevor Project Call 866-488-7386 (24/7) Live Chat with the Trevor Project (Fridays 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST)

    Dating Abuse & Domestic Violence
    loveisrespect Call 1-866-331-9474 (24/7)
    Chat Online with loveisrespect (7 days/week, 5:00 PM to 3:00 AM EST) or text loveis to 22522

    National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 1-800-799-7233 (24/7) Email the National Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7)
    RAINN: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network Call 1-800-656-4673 (24/7) Live Chat with RAINN (24/7)

    Child Abuse
    Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline Call 1-800-422-4453 (24/7)
    National Safe Place Text SAFE and your current location to the number 69866 (24/7)

    Runaways, Homeless, and At-Risk Youth
    National Runaway Safeline Call 1-800-786-2929 (24/7) Live Chat 7 days/week, 4:30 to 11:30 PM CST
    Home Free Family reunification program provides free bus tickets to eligible runaway and homeless youth.

    Crisis Text Line (CTL)

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    If you are interested in doing volunteer work that you can do from home, here is an idea for you:

    While working as a Crisis Telephone Counselor for Crisis Hotline (CHL), we assisted CTL when we could so I am familiar with this organization. Now that I am no longer employed or volunteer with CHL due to having relocated, I have entered the volunteer program at CTL. Though I have been through a version of their training as a continuing education requirement and having been through CHL’s training, I am finding the CTL volunteer training to be very beneficial. This is a rewarding endeavor and for those who like doing things for others anonymously, this is your ticket. All training and working on the texting platform is done from your computer at home. You set your own schedule and the text line is open 24/7 so working it into your personal schedule isn’t difficult.

    If you are nervous about crisis support, let me reassure you that you will be well-trained and their training includes live observations. Also, you will have all the tools you need right in front of you. All texts are monitored by a supervisor who is always available if you get stuck or need assistance. Though it is a mandatory reporting agency for imminent risk of suicide or homicide as well as child abuse, the reporting is actually done by the supervisor, however, these instances do not occur often. The way I look at it is “It’s just a conversation.” There is no script but you will learn active listening and productive conversation.

    Rather than quote all the information regarding CTL, I am posting their FAQ sheet. You can also go to crisistextline.org

    Text START to 741-741

    FAQ

    Jump to

    Texting in
    Data
    Donate
    Financials
    Partnerships
    Tech Issues
    Media
    Volunteers
    Our Approach

    TEXTING IN

    Q: HOW DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK?

    A:

    1. You text 741741 when in crisis. Available 24/7 in the USA.
    2. A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
    3. The crisis counselor helps you move from a hot moment to a cool calm to stay safe and healthy using effective active listening and suggested referrals – all through text message using Crisis Text Line’s secure platform.

    Q: WHO SHOULD TEXT IN?

    A: We exist to help anyone in crisis at any time.

    Q: WHO ANSWERS THE TEXT MESSAGES?

    A: Crisis Text Line crisis counselors are both rigorously trained volunteers and employees of our crisis center partners.

    Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I TEXT IN?

    A: You’ll receive an automated text asking you what your crisis is. Within minutes, a live trained crisis counselor will answer your text. They will help you out of your moment of crisis and work with you to create a plan to continue to feel better.

    Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE ACTUALLY ANONYMOUS?

    A: Yes. Crisis counselors only know what texters share with them, and that information stays confidential. We take your anonymity seriously. Check out our terms of service here.

    Q: HOW MUCH DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE COST?

    A: We do not charge texters. If your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon, texts to our short code, 741741 are free of charge. If you have a plan with a different carrier, standard text message rates apply.

    Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE SHOW UP ON MY CELL PHONE BILL?

    A: Nothing will appear on your bill if your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. If your plan is with another carrier our short code, 741741 will appear on your billing statement. Read about how this happened here.

    Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK WITH MY PHONE?

    A: Crisis Text Line works on all major US carriers, and most minor regional carriers. However, shortcodes (like 741741) are not allowed on many prepaid plans like T-Mobile’s.

    Q: I HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE WHEN I TEXTED IN, CAN I TEXT IN AGAIN?

    A: You can text in again, if you are experiencing a crisis. However, you should not feel dependent on us. Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for long-term counseling, in-person therapy, or a friend.

    Q: HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO TEXT WITH A CRISIS COUNSELOR?

    A: Our goal is to respond to every texter in under 5 minutes. During high volume times, such as at night or when people are talking about us on social media, wait times may be longer.

    Q: IS THERE A CHARACTER LIMIT WHEN TEXTING CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: Yes, our system is only able to process 140 characters in one message.

    Q: WHY AM I RECEIVING AN ERROR MESSAGE OR NO RESPONSE AT ALL?

    Sadly, there are some carriers who have not adopted the use of shortcodes–and the small percentage of people with these phones, can’t use Crisis Text Line. (We hear that sometimes you get an auto-error response. Sometimes nothing at all. We know this is shitty and we wish those carriers would enable us). If your phone carrier doesn’t enable shortcodes, here is a list of hotlines you can call.

    Q: IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY TO REACH CRISIS TEXT LINE BESIDES TEXT?

    A: Yes, you can reach us through Facebook Messenger. Access to message Crisis Text Line is located through Facebook’s Safety checkpoint. This is accessible by flagging a user’s post.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, DOES ANONYMITY APPLY?

    A: Yes. We do not have access to your Facebook profile. The only know information about you that we’ll know is what you share with us.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHO HAS ACCESS TO THE DATA?

    A: Three parties: you (in your Messenger thread), Crisis Text Line, and Facebook.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER AND I WANT MY DATA DELETED, WHAT DO I DO?

    A: Message us back with the word ‘LOOFAH’. We’ll scrub your data from our system, and make a request to Facebook to do the same.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHICH TERMS OF SERVICE APPLY TO ME?

    A: By contacting Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger, users agree to Facebook Messenger’s Terms of Service, as well as Crisis Text Line’s Terms of Service.

    Q: WHAT ARE ALL OF THE CRISIS ISSUES YOU TRACK? CAN YOU ADD MORE?

    A: See the issues we track at www.crisistrends.org. If you’re a researcher or practitioner with interest in another issue, submit your suggestion in the form at the bottom of www.crisistrends.org.

    Q: WHO CAN APPLY FOR ACCESS TO CRISIS TEXT LINE’S DATA?

    A: Data access is available to approved academic researchers. The application will be available here in late January 2016. Otherwise, please visit www.crisistrends.org to see the latest trends in how texters are experiencing crisis.

    DONATE

    Q: HOW CAN I DONATE TO CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: You can donate via Paypal (link here) or by sending a check to:
    Crisis Text Line
    Attn: Finance Dept.
    24 West 25th Street, 6th Fl
    New York, NY 10010

    Q: IS MY DONATION TO CRISIS TEXT LINE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?

    A: Yes! Upon receiving your donation, we’ll send you a thank you letter that clarifies your donation is tax deductible.

    FINANCIALS

    Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE REALLY A NOT FOR PROFIT?

    A: Yes, we are! Here are our latest financials as proof.

    Q: HOW IS CRISIS TEXT LINE FUNDED?

    A: We’re privately funded. This means we receive funding from foundations, individuals, and corporations.

    Q: WHERE CAN I FIND CRISIS TEXT LINE’S FORM 990?

    A: 2014 here and 2015 here.

    Q: I SAW YOU RAISED A BUNCH OF MONEY (WOOHOO!) FOR THE ORG. WHERE IS IT ALL GOING?

    A: We are focused on three main initiatives: (1) supporting our Crisis Counselor community with better products and more emotional support, (2) integrating with tech companies to provide support to users inside things like After School, Kik, YouTube, and Facebook Messenger, (3) white labeling our service for other orgs and locations– providing a free text service for the National Eating Disorder Association and cities like Newark and Atlanta.

    PARTNERSHIPS

    Q: WHO CAN PARTNER WITH CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: We partner with not-for-profits, colleges and universities, and corporations. Want to partner? Fill out this form!

    TECH ISSUES

    Having technical issues with the site or text line? Check out our Help Center.

    MEDIA

    Q: CAN I GET MARKETING MATERIALS WITH THE CRISIS TEXT LINE SHORT CODE TO SHARE WITH MY COMMUNITY?

    A: Absolutely. Download our Volunteer Flyer or Text Flyer.

    Q: WHOM I CONTACT FOR A PRESS INQUIRY?

    A: Email support@crisistextline.org

    VOLUNTEERS

    Q: HOW CAN I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?

    A: We are always accepting applications! Apply Here.

    Q: WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A VOLUNTEER?

    A: To become a Crisis Counselor, you must:

    1. Pass a background check – that means no felonies and no violent or sex-offense misdemeanors
    2. Have a US Social Security number (in order to complete the background check)
    3. Be at least 18 years old
    4. Have access to a computer with a secure, reliable internet connection
    5. Commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year

    Q: WHAT’S THE TIME COMMITMENT OF VOLUNTEERS?

    A: We ask our volunteers to commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year. Volunteers are able to break up their commitment into two 2-hour shifts each week if they would like.

    Q: HOW ARE VOLUNTEERS TRAINED?

    A: After a rigorous application process, our volunteers complete a 34 hour training course over 6 weeks. This includes ongoing simulated conversations and personalized feedback from our experienced trainers as well as 8 hours of on-platform observation. Training content is based on best practices in crisis counseling and Crisis Text Line data.

    Q: WHEN IS YOUR NEXT CRISIS COUNSELOR TRAINING?

    A: We accept applications on a rolling basis. A new training cohort starts every two weeks, so apply whenever you want! We’re excited to meet you!

    Q: WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A CRISIS COUNSELOR VOLUNTEER?

    A: Check out our blog to read stories from our volunteers.

    Q: ARE VOLUNTEERS SUPERVISED?

    A: Yes. Our experienced supervisors oversee and assist our volunteers, when necessary, while on the platform.

    OUR APPROACH

    Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE COUNSELING?

    A: No, our specialists do not counsel, but rather practice active listening to help texters move from a hot moment to a cool calm.

    Q: WHAT IS ACTIVE LISTENING?

    A: Active listening is when someone communicates in a way that is empathetic, understanding, and respectful. It includes focus on the texter and thoughtful answers.

    Q: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRISIS TEXT LINE AND THERAPY?

    A: Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for therapy. Therapy includes a diagnosis made by a doctor, a treatment plan of action, and a patient/therapist relationship. Crisis Text Line helps people in moments of crisis. Our crisis counselors practice active listening to help our texters find calm and create an action plan for themselves to continue to feel better. Crisis Text Line’s crisis counselors are not therapists.

    Q: WHO STARTED CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: We were founded by our CEO, Nancy Lublin. After seeing a need for the service we provide, Nancy hired a team to build what is our current platform. The original team included a data scientist and an engineer. Hear our story here.

     

    Didn’t find your answer? Check out our Help Center or email support@crisistextline.org.

    Privacy Policies

    Terms of Service

    Privacy Policy

    Website Privacy Policy

    FAQs

    Check out our FAQs

    Help Make it Happen

    Want to start a crisis text line in your country? international@crisistextline.org

    We’re hiring:
    Apply now

    Press inquiry?

    Email press@crisistextline.org
    If you are in crisis, text START to 741-741.

    Keep me posted

     

     

    Unreasonable Fear

    I grew up fearing African Americans and before you judge me as a racist, read my story.

    When I was in Junior High School, schools became integrated. The African American students would stand in large groups blocking the sidewalk daring whites to try to get though them. I avoided the sidewalk. There was a small girl named Sharon who started making fun of me and I did my best to ignore her. I was not that outcast who gets bullied, I was fortunate to have many friends both male and female.

    One day as I was walking to my friend’s house after school, a large group of African American students formed a circle around me. I was petrified because it was obvious that something was about to happen. Sharon moved to the center of the circle and started taunting me. She kept saying, “Push me!” over and over. I just stood still knowing that what usually happened in these situation was that if I made a move, the whole group would jump in and attack me. Another reason I wouldn’t make a move besides trying to avoid having my ass kicked was that I was appalled at girls or women fighting though I have to admit that I was a closet bully toward my sister. Luckily, one of the girls who was walking with us lived in the house in front of which I was confronted. Her mother came out and chased the group away. To be honest, I was petrified. I believe this happened because I was the only one small enough for Sharon to pick on.

    Moving forward, where my friends and classmates might kid around with African American bully students, I wasn’t friendly or unfriendly toward them which was probably a downfall. In high school, a very large African American girl named Mary grabbed my windbreaker and ripped it off me which was not an easy feat. I said nothing. A small African American girl would tell me things like how she dreamed that my boyfriend’s car would get stuck on a railroad track and he would be killed. One night my best friend’s twin brother was beat with a baseball bat in the boy’s locker room after a baseball game by a group of African American students. I was friendly with some African American students but was still easily intimidated.

    I had good experiences when I went into community college with fellow African American students so I started to get past my fear. Unfortunately, when I worked for a police department two African American co-workers claimed racial discrimination because I was transferred to the day watch and her friend was transferred to my previous watch in a move to separate the two friends in hopes of increasing productivity. Since I filled in a lot for people in key positions, it was considered a highly beneficial move by administration. I became stonewalled by the other clerical staff and when I asked someone why, they told me they could not go against these two girls and implied that they were afraid.

    Because it was so painful to be ostracized, I requested to remain on my previous watch. The Sgt. was not happy because he told me that I was allowing myself to be bullied. The personnel manager and supervisory staff called a meeting of the clerical staff and a letter was read that one of the girls had written citing favoritism because I was white. They were upset because our administrative Sgt. used my work examples as the quality of work everyone should be putting out. In fairness, I had education and experience that was not the norm for the position. I took the job because it was something I always wanted to do. I never had to defend myself in this meeting because first of all the personnel manager offered to do some testing if they really wanted to know who was the best typist etc. Then one of my supervisors pointed out that I had been transferred from department to department continually and had never complained. There was no discrimination and it became clear in that meeting. After that meeting, things got back on a friendly basis because I didn’t hold a grudge. Shortly thereafter, one of the girls who caused the problem was fired for selling criminal records.

    I worked a temp to perm job for a very difficult African American woman. She supervised six white Insurance Agents who had their own agency offices. She referred to them as “my white boys.” When I could no longer put up with her crude and rudeness, I quit though she begged me to stay. She made me uncomfortable by complimenting my looks in a creepy manner. An African American woman who had previously worked for her called me one day and wanted me to help her on her reverse discrimination suit. I declined. The agency had placed temp after temp in this woman’s office because no one would stay but I didn’t want the drama. I could have reported her for her racist remarks but I just wanted out.

    These are prime examples of bullying yet I never recognized it as such until now. I saw it as being the target of anger for a past I had no part in. It is possible that these bullies were influenced by anger passed down from generation to generation and I did feel the fear that their forebears felt at being bullied by white slave lords. However, what purpose did any of it serve? It just repeated the same dance in reverse and did not solve anything for either side.

    What I am learning today is that I cannot blame an entire race for the actions of some just as I am tired of being blamed for something I was not responsible for. We all just need to stop and do some deep reflection. We are allowing ourselves to be influenced by the hate groups and the support of their actions by the media putting it in our faces over and over again.

    What if we just turned off our televisions in protest of being fed negativity hour after hour, day after day? What if  we stop looking at social media for a few days and depend on our own reflections? Its not like we haven’t seen enough to know what is out there. We are all being manipulated! Lets just stand up for ourselves and say, “Enough” at least for now and let things calm down.

    PEACE AND LOVE

     

     

    A Woman’s Choice

    You probably think I am writing about abortion but that’s not what is on my mind today or is it?
    I am writing about women choosing a man over their  child. Again, I am not talking about abortion though often it would have been a better choice. I have seen it, read it and heard it over and over again…a child tells their mother that her boyfriend or husband abused or molested them and you would expect her to become protective of her child and take action against the man, wouldn’t you? But what she does all too often is to go into denial or even turn against her child, calling them a liar.

    Why? Because she is desperate to have a man. Why? Because family and society said she had to depend emotionally on a man or because she is as addicted to this guy as if he were a drug. So this child who believed his mother loved him or at least cared what happens to him, is dumped on other family members or into the foster care system. He’s thrown away like yesterday’s garbage.

    That’s if the mother hasn’t joined in the fun. When she does, the child lives from day to day wishing someone would see him, really see his pain inside and out. If they tell, they will have no one or at least that is what they believe.

    Would it have been better if they had not been born? That is what that child thinks they want…never to have been born.

    So You Think You’ve Escaped Alcoholism

    2592So you think you’ve escaped alcoholism, not a chance. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to be effected by alcoholism.

    Alcoholism affects everyone who comes in contact with an alcoholic. It could be a parent, a sibling, a relative, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, husband, wife, friend, child, or a co-worker. That is why Ala-non, is a support group for families and friends of alcoholics not just families of alcoholics. You may not have the disease but I can say that you have the ism’s  without ever having met you.

    It is said that alcoholism is a family disease and I believe it with all my heart. I grew up in an alcoholic home. Why do I call it an alcoholic home? Does that mean that all my family members were alcoholics? No, our home revolved around my alcoholic mother because her actions or in-actions affected every one of us. Our emotional make-up developed around coping with her drinking and the effect it had on us. I like to see my mother as having alcoholism rather than as an alcoholic but it is my habit to use the term alcoholic which is unfortunately a label. She grew up in an alcoholic home just like I did.  I have the utmost love and strive to understand because but for the grace of God, go I. As alcoholism is said to be genetic, I could have followed in her footsteps. I am lucky, I don’t like the taste of alcohol and yet I am unlucky in that I don’t like not having control. Why is that unlucky? Because I have to fight the tendency to control everything around me to ensure that it doesn’t give me that feeling of not having control over my life and to avoid the helpless feelings I had growing up. I also believe it is a learned behavior, we do what we know and alcoholism is what we know.

    That is why even though you think you have escaped the parent or ex, you are wrong. You were affected and I can prove it.

    Do you have problems with authority figures?e75f70e61261afa370d84fcbf1da6be7

    Do you have problems getting along with others?

    Do you have control issues?

    Is your relationship picker broken?

    Are you hyper-vigilant?

    Do you fight depression?

    Do you lack confidence?

    Are you an under or over achiever?

    Are you a people-pleaser?

    Are you a care taker?

    Are you a fixer?

    There are many other symptoms but I’m sure you get it and you know which one of these have developed in you.

    In my work as a Crisis Call Counselor, I could pretty much bet that regardless of the crisis, the conversation would eventually reveal that the caller had been affected by alcoholism, either theirs or someone in their past or present life. I consider alcoholism an “emotional” disease because it can bring about anger, sadness, depression, resentment, etc. in the alcoholic or those affected by a person’s drinking. The reason persons affected by another person’s drinking are considered to be co-dependent is that while the alcoholic is addicted to alcohol, the affected person is addicted to the alcoholic. I have had so many friends, boyfriends and a husband who were addicted to alcohol and in the beginning of the relationship, I didn’t know there was a problem. It’s like a magnet! I have friends in Ala-non who say it is because alcoholics are charismatic and exciting. Perhaps we see something in their personalities that we wish we had.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I’m not with him/her any more, so I don’t need Ala-non.” I have thought that myself but I always end up going back because my ism’s become overwhelming. This post is not meant to advertise or push Ala-non or Adult Children of Alcoholics, yet it is what I know so I do highly recommend them. Just like the person with alcoholism, only you can decide that you need help and what support is best for you. I have been told, “When it hurts bad enough, you will get help.”

    “Co-dependent No More” by Melody Beattie is a really good book for understanding the effects of alcoholism. I read this book like a person dying of thirst drinks water. It told me that I was not crazy and there was hope.

    People addicted to alcohol and/or drugs will to try to convince others that it is your fault, don’t take it on. Think 3 C’s – You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it. Seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of, alcoholism in you or someone else is not your fault but it is your responsibility. If you are afraid of the alcoholic becoming angry because you are seeking help, 12 step support groups are anonymous as is therapy. If you go to a meeting or see a therapist and you are not comfortable with the environment or personalities, try another meeting or therapist. There are many meetings and therapists available. If you are in a remote area, I understand that there are meetings online. Just do an Internet search of Ala-non or Adult Children of Alcoholics. There are two daily readers, One Day at a Time in Ala-non and Courage to Change that are utilized by Ala-Non. I find ODAT (nickname) useful when you are in a relationship with an alcoholic and Courage to Change is a good all-around book. I mostly use Courage to Change and it seems to be a favorite among recovering Ala-Non’s. Before using these books, it would be helpful to do some research on alcoholism. People active in Ala-Non attend open AA meetings to learn what the person with alcoholism experiences.

    I have tortured my mother all my life by trying to get answers or justifications.

    Whatever you decide to do, know that you are not alone. Everything you have experienced, someone else has experienced. It helps to talk with other people who are experiencing the same thing or who have been there and survived.

    There is always hope.