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

 

 

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Marriage Myths Two

MYTH:  YOUR PARTNER ISN’T A MIND READER, SO YOU SHOULD TELL HIM OR HER EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT.

Make no mistake: Open communication is an essential tool for a happy relationship. But the Gottmans have found that successful couples also understand each others’ feelings and needs without having to be told all the time. One of John Gottman’s studies found a link between satisfied marriages and a husband’s ability to interpret nonverbal clues.

I am finding this to be true. My husband isn’t my best friend, he is my husband and as such he doesn’t want to hear all the touchy feely stuff I talk to my girlfriends about. He is a cut and dried kind of guy, solutions not problems. I am finding that though he doesn’t verbalize it, he senses what I need or want and acts accordingly. I know that he gets his feelings hurt easily and I am like a wrecking ball moving through life. I have to remind myself that there are two of us in this relationship and what I want or need isn’t always a priority.

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Paranoia

being lost

If you read my post “Running Away”, you know that I was sure that I had deeply hurt a blogger friend. I took nonverbal cues and ran with them only to find that my friend was just busy and having device difficulty. They were very kind when they realized what was going on with me. The very first comment they ever made to me was that I was welcome to make any comment on their site and this was reiterated. They assured me that if they had a concern, they would ask for clarification. I am sharing this with you as a follow up to my post “Running Away”.

So why did I jump to such a conclusion? Because I have a strong tendency to be paranoid and it has caused negativity in my life. I believe that this paranoia could also be a tendency to want control over others’ feelings and opinions of me. I can remember the first time I realized as a twenty-something that not everyone was going to like me. A friend and co-worker said to me, “Well, she doesn’t like you either.” I was so totally shocked but I think it was meant as a wake-up call.

The problem has been in acceptance as I still try to control what others think of me. In Ala-non, we have a saying that goes, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” Yes, it is a hard one to understand and it has taken me a long time. To me, it is about control and keeping the focus on myself. Additionally, if I am focusing on what others think of me, I am not giving myself permission to be who and what I am.

I most often feel as if I have to make explanations for what I do or say. Does it work? No, most often it just makes me appear defensive (which I am) and annoys and/or embarrasses the other person. While it may make me feel justified, it is just another example of making excuses.

I have been taught by Ala-non to make amends when I do someone a disservice. My amends would mean more if I just simply apologized without explanation or excuses. When I make explanations or excuses, it pretty much negates the amends.

My paranoia goes along with my need to know and control everything that goes on around me in order to feel safe. I also grew up with a “what will people think” mother who was the “poor relation” growing up. Just another example of how traits get passed down. Having lived this way all my life, it is difficult but not impossible to change. It takes not allowing myself to obsess on remarks and actions of others but instead to talk things out or ask questions, learn from my mistakes and move on.

Running Away

When I hurt someone, I have difficulty coming to terms with it. How do I handle it? I run away. I think that I need to protect that person from me. I have been doing this over and over again for the past 20 years.

My intention to stop blogging was due to my feeling sure that I had hurt a friend blogger deeply with a comment. I reached out to them and haven’t heard back. Why am I telling you this? Because having done a lot of deep introspection, I have come to believe that the child in me runs away but the adult needs to face up to her transgressions. This isn’t the first time that I believe I have hurt a fellow blogger. Fortunately, I have been able to make immediate amends yet this goes very deep for both of us because we make ourselves vulnerable in our blogging.

So what is the answer? I can hope that my friend will eventually be able to confront me. Regardless, I think I need to do as I have had to do in the past and hold my head up and keep putting one foot in front of the other until the child in me can forgive herself.

To my other fellow bloggers, please know that though it has never been my intention to hurt or offend, I may have. Please understand that it is never my intention to hurt anyone. I am a compassionate person with a quick Irish temper who is very opinionated because I am a deep thinker. My take on situations is often very hard to understand but know that I have taken apart every situation and analyzed it to death. I have to look at all sides because that is my nature. I try to be fair in my assessments and have a tendency to be overly honest.

That being said, I try to help when help hasn’t been asked for. Reaching out is not always a bad thing but as I have stated before, ask first if help is desired. When I started blogging, I had no idea what direction it would take, it just happens. It has been a good tool for me to come to terms with my past. I do want to spend more time educating myself and going in a different direction with my writing. Therefore, I will be cutting back on my blogging. I will also be refraining from comments in order to take away the gifts offered in your posts without making it about me. Yes, it will be difficult for me but I have to pull up my big girl panties and learn to be courteous in my blogging.

Yes, I do know that there are bloggers who have gained from my writing as I have gained from theirs which is why I am returning to my blog. I hope you will understand.

😍

From My Mother Part Two

Before I left Texas, my mother gave me the gift of a calendar with these beautiful words to remind me of her love for me, I am now re-gifting them to you.

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A mother tries to teach her daughter

to not be afraid to stick to her beliefs

to not follow the majority when the majority is wrong

to carefully plan a life for herself

to vigorously follow her chosen path

to enter into a relationship with someone worthy of herself

to love this person unconditionally with her body and mind

to share all that she has learned in life with this person

If I have provided you with insight

into most of these things

then I have succeeded as a mother

in what I hoped to accomplish in raising you

if many of these things slipped by

while we were all so busy

I have a feeling that you know them anyway

One thing I am sure of, though

I have taught you to be proud of the fact

that you are a woman equal to all men and

I have loved you every second of your life

I have supported you at all times

and as a mother, as a person, and as a friend

I will always continue to cherish and love

everything about you

my beautiful daughter

Susan Polis Schutz

From My Mother Part One

Before I left Texas, my mother gave me the gift of a calendar with these beautiful words to remind me of her love for me, I am now re-gifting them to you.

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A mother tries to provide her daughter with insight

Into the important things in life

In order to make her life

as happy and fulfilling as possible

A mother tries to teach her daughter

to be good, always helpful to other people

to be fair, always treating others equally

to have a positive attitude at all times

to always make things right when they are wrong

to know herself well

to know what her talents are

to set goals for herself

to not be afraid of working too hard

to reach her goals

A mother tries to teach her daughter

to have many interest to pursue

to laugh and have fun every day

to appreciate the beauty of nature

to enter into friendships with good people

to honor their friendships and always be a true friend

to appreciate the importance of the family

and to particularly respect and love our elder members

to use her intelligence at all times

to listen to her emotions to adhere to her values…

Susan Polis Schutz

Continued Part Two

 

I Care

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Whether I know you personally or not, I care and this is for you:

Sometimes we do not feel

like we want to feel

what we want to achieve

Sometimes things happen

that do not make sense

Sometimes life leads us in directions

that are beyond our control

It is at these times most of all that we need someone

who will quietly understand us

and be there to support us

I want you to know

that I am here for you

In every way

and remember that though

things may be difficult now

tomorrow is a new day

Susan Polis Schutz

When to Let Go

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Ayala VanZant says when people leave you, let them go because they have served their purpose in your life and you in theirs.

12363983-upset-mom-with-frustrated-daughter-over-green-backgroundSometimes you can serve as a reminder of things they want to forget. This can happen especially with friends from early in your life. Possibly they have grown into responsible adults and don’t want to dwell on the past. If you are someone who holds on to the past and has a tendency to live in a bygone age, you could be holding them back by reminding them of their past mistakes.

e75f70e61261afa370d84fcbf1da6be7If someone wants to leave, it is fruitless to ask them to stay. Nothing good will come of the relationship because they have already left in their mind. They may stay out of guilt or a sense of responsibility but they won’t really be there. Subconsciously, they are somewhere else, anywhere else. You cannot grow if you don’t let go. There is something else waiting for you. You do not have to forget them because they served a purpose in your life even if it is just a lesson you needed to learn. If you are spending your time holding onto something that is not productive in your life, you are taking time and energy needed for something that will be more satisfactory to you. Don’t be afraid to move on! You are in charge of your destiny. Of course, you have to grieve or you will stay stuck but look forward, not backward.

Sure, it is possible that you just need time apart to realize how much you mean to each other. If so, spend that time working on yourself not wallowing in self pity. Find new hobbies, interests and acquaintances. Do something you have been putting off. It will make you a much more desirable and interesting person. No one wants to be with a pitiful sad sack. But don’t do any of this in order to entice someone back into your life, do it for yourself. Move on with your life and let them catch up to you, don’t hang around waiting.Tetsu420full798969

If someone will not forgive you for a transgression, forgive yourself and let them go. They will only serve to remind you of past mistakes. Once you have made amends, they owe it to you to forgive or let you go. A constant reminder of past mistakes do not benefit anyone. and only hold both of you back. Don’t hold onto your mistakes. I say this because I do hold on to my mistakes and continually beat myself up. I am learning but it takes baby steps. I have every reason to be happy at this time in my life and to hold on to my mistakes will only serve to dull that happiness. The people I think I have offended don’t give me a thought because they have they have moved on with their lives. Those that are dwelling on old hurts are only keeping themselves down. It gives me a sense of freedom when I realize that I should not be punished for my mistakes over and over again for the rest of my life. There is freedom in admitting your mistakes, making amends when possible, learning the lesson and moving on.

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You deserve to live a life free of blame and shame. We all make mistakes, learn from them and move on.💝

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DESPERATION (Part Two of Two)

13778409-graduate-girl-cartoonMy husband and I did not push our daughters toward marriage. We wanted them to have a good education, careers and to travel, not to base their worth on having a man in their lives. For the sake of their privacy, I won’t tell you how that worked out but certainly not according to our plans. As the saying goes, “If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans.

 

I believe that when you are not “looking” for a man or woman to settle down with, you are more yourself, more relaxed and it is more likely to happen. In that scenario, you meet someone and you are not trying to make something happen so chances are greater that it will work out if it is meant to.

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The best way to have a long-lasting relationship is to look at it as a friendship and let it develop naturally. Jumping into bed when you first meet someone, while fun and possibly physically satisfying, often remains at that level and that’s great if that is all you are looking for. Whereas, if you get to know each other first and put the emphasis on that and having fun, there is a better chance for a long-term relationship.

images.duckduckgo.comThink about it this way: You fast track your relationship and have the dream wedding and romantic honeymoon. Yet, when you get into the reality of finances, housekeeping, family gatherings, jobs, likes and dislikes, etc. you start to see that:

 

 

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  • 20638912-young-couple-arguing-in-the-kitchenHe/She seems to hate the mother that you love unconditionally.
  • He/She drinks much more than you were lead to believe.
  • He/She doesn’t actually like to eat in nice restaurants.
  • He/She puts his mother/father before you always.
  • He/She wants to control what programs you watch on television and more.
  • He/She is racist.

ETC.

A_Black_and_White_Cartoon_Two_Children_Walking_To_School_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100713-145833-444053We all know that people are usually on their best behavior when a relationship is new. Often we don’t see the nitty-gritty beneath the persona we are allowed to see in the beginning. However, there are usually signs that we ignore and we ignore negative signs because we want so badly for it to work. We say he/she is so good looking, so wealthy, so much fun and we want a long-term relationship or marriage.

15817148-heart-and-brain-that-dance-concept-of-physical-wellbeingWhen you see the signs, pay attention, because more than likely it’s not a one-time thing. If he/she gets drunk and insults your friends or family, don’t dismiss it as his/her just being drunk. People don’t do things drunk that they would not think of doing sober, alcohol is just an excuse. Don’t get into the mind-set of believing that he/she dotes on his/her mother or father so it stands to reason that he/she will dote on you because often it is just the opposite, she/he is number one in his/her life and always will be. And if he/she says that they don’t want a steady, serious or long term relationship or never want to marry, LISTEN. Many a man and woman have thought they could change a person’s mind on this subject and found out the hard way that the person meant what they said and the result was a broken heart.

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I ignored all the signs that were actually fire alarms with my ex-husband. I enjoyedparts of him that were different from men I had been in relationships with. He was intelligent, interesting, could be charming and we had a lot of interests in common. I was in a long-term relationship with him before we married and every symptom of a sick relationship was there and I saw them but I thought I was “different. I basically rolled the dice and lost myself.

Everything I did not want in a man was right out in the open for all to see and I wouldn’t 5754686-unhappy-couple-breaking-woman-trying-to-hold-back-man-leawing-with-suitcase-and-clothes-in-handquit. Why? I was hooked on having a relationship and too lazy to get out. I used the good days to get through the bad as in “This too shall pass.” I hung on until I couldn’t any longer. I detached from reality to get through the abuse and latched onto the apologies and words of love and empty promises. I was as much at fault as he was because I knew better and the exit door was not locked.

5b70f2f6b53ba55c8422cdac5a3951f2.thIt was a game of cat and mouse and I told myself that I was the true love of his life, the only woman (other than mommy dearest) that had ever truly had this heart and that I was good for him. I needed so badly to be loved and accepted that I took it where I found it, bad or good. The bottom line is that I didn’t want it to be known that I couldn’t make it work, didn’t want to be a failure and didn’t want anyone to know that someone would want to treat me badly. It was a facade and to this day I still have a need to let it be known that he still calls my mother in an attempt to hook and reel me back even though I have been married for 18 years. I also still need to let it be known that he truly loved me, yada, yada, yada. But who really cares?

Danny, my husband, and I dated for three years before we married and in that three years, we went through three years of couple and premarital counseling. I’m sure we both thought we knew everything about each other that could possibly matter. We knew a lot but there were things we ignored, things that have become issues to be worked out. Yet, we were in a place where we knew enough about each other that we believed that any obstacles could be worked out. We have worked through a lot in 18 years as all couples do. Though we have struggled at times, I believe that we would not have been able to get to where we are had we not known that the positive attributes made each of us worth hanging on to. These days when there are just the two of us, humor seems to be our best tool to resolving conflicts.

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A good relationship takes time to build and will only work if all the right parts are there.

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DESPERATION (Part One of Two)

9610217-young-caucasian-woman-in-a-kitchen-weeps-while-on-the-phoneOne night there was a round of “girl talk” regarding male-female relationships. This conversation took place about 2:00 am after a party and all or most of the participants were pretty well inebriated. I have never forgotten what the hostess of the party shared. She was divorced but she and her ex were still on speaking terms if not “friends”. She said she asked him where she went wrong and he told her “women are so desperate”. He told her that women stop at nothing to get or hold on to a man. Rather than being offended by this statement, I could see the validity of his observation, in fact, I saw it in some men as well.

I was in my late twenties and had never been married, a condition that was unacceptable to my family. I had been pushed and prodded toward relationships and even marriage with men who were totally wrong and some even unhealthy for me. When I questioned why they were so desperate for me to get married, they told me that they knew I wanted to get married. One family member even told me that my life was “sad” because I was actually enjoying my single life. As difficult as it is to admit, I became desperate to show my family that I could get and keep a man.

9319250-two-young-business-people-talking-and-discussingAt times, I would attempt to push relationships to be more serious than I even wanted them to be. I knew that while I enjoyed spending time with various men, there wasn’t any one who was a “good fit”. Honestly, deep down I liked not being responsible to any one person for reasons that go deep into my childhood.

19508353-violencia-en-el-hogar-palabra-nube-concepto-con-los-t-rminos-como-v-ctima-asalto-juez-da-o-social-edI ended up in a 7- year relationship and 3 – year marriage with someone who was very abusive, physically, verbally and emotionally. Even though he was very unlikable, my family, with the exception of my father, seemed happy that I had finally found someone with whom to  settle down. Let me put in a disclaimer here by saying that my family did not know about the physical abuse.

My point is that I experienced the desperation first hand. Oh how sad, you say, yes it is sad 2heartsbut I was not alone in this push toward marriage. It is something that has been passed down from generation to generation, the pressure to settle down, be a good provider, marry, and to have children. I believe that if some women were not shamed or driven into settling down, they might have made better choices.

I understand that times have changed and hopefully there is less pressure toward 12418478-coraz-n-roto-con-el-rbol-blanco-y-dos-p-jarosmarriage but I am still seeing the desperation. Women and/or girls are still getting pregnant to force men/boys into relationships and/or marriage though admittedly neither are a requirement to having a child in this day and time (no judgment here). Parents still don’t understand why their sons and/or daughters are not married, why they prefer another woman to a man or man to a woman, why their career is more important than marriage, and/or why their relationships don’t last. I see women pushing relationships that just don’t work as evidenced by the high divorce rate.

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Continued in Part Two