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Painful Lessons from My Past


When I packed up and moved to Colombia I left abuse behind. I had enough of it in my life and I had enough of how it made me feel. I think that I almost felt that it was normal, as I was abused daily as a flight attendant when I worked. Many people are abusive in this world, although  they would never think of themselves that way. I started working as a flight attendant at the age of twenty and my job molded me into a person who accepted bad behavior as normal. I now know I allowed it to spill over into my personal relationships. When a passenger was rude and demanding, I had to accept it and hold my tongue. The customer was always right. Not a favorable way to grow into an adult

Abuse is insidious and can creep up in a relationship; it does not have to be your partner or spouse. It can show up in friendships, with siblings, work, and family. When it starts happening in your life, the natural reaction is to hide it from others and let the world see only the good times, especially in these days of social media. We see photos of everyone we know on the many social media sites. The photos usually  show good times, happiness and fun. I know, I only posted pictures of  happiness for many years in my second marriage. What I have discovered as I look back on my past is this; little events of questionable behavior lead to big events that ruin lives and destroy relationships. Abuse is not just physical, it is verbal and action oriented. By action oriented (besides the obvious physical abuse) I mean deliberately doing unkind things to another or allowing someone else to treat you badly without putting a stop to it. Usually the person doing this has learned this behavior. That is why generations of families continue repeating the same mistakes, and the cycle continues. If you can spot the signs then you can stop the succession. In my case it is too bad it took me so many years to realize that by accepting and allowing these behaviors, I perpetuated continuing this way of life to my children.

The first thing I would say about abuse is Do NOT let anyone invalidate you! If you see or feel something is wrong,  no one has power to negate that, ever. No one else has lived through your exact experiences. And so, no one else has the right to dictate or judge how you feel. Your feelings are important. Don’t let anyone lead you to believe otherwise, or make you feel small by demeaning you with words or actions. I lived many years allowing the family of my ex to do this to me and to my children as my ex would not stand up to them. Well you know what? I SHOULD have stood up to them right when it started. I have to bear responsibility for allowing it to continue. It was a thorn that stayed under the surface during my entire marriage. There were many times horrible things happened and I should have demanded the perpetrators leave my house and not wait for him to do it. I can’t tell you how many times my daughter was bullied and physically harmed by her step-cousin, all the while the family excused the act. I have always wanted to be the peacemaker, I regret that now. You can be peaceful, but  not wimpy, you should always stand up for what you know is right and correct those who are wrong. I would comfort my daughter and hold anger inside me. That anger still lies dormant, but I have found ways to let go. Writing it down validates my thoughts and helps me see things clearly now that I am out of the situation.

Do not stay in a relationship where you are not valued as number one! When I married for the second time I was quite active in the Catholic Church. One thing the priest emphasized in pre-marriage counseling was the husband and wife need to put each other before anything else, supporting each other’s decisions. My mother and father were always united when it came to my brother and I. If there was a disagreement about something we children never knew. As my children grew up they saw me as the disciplinarian and my husband as the friend who took away any punishment I had commenced. This ate away at my authority and respect, and thus implied I had less significance than him. It caused many problems over the years. If your partner does not support you and you do not support him, then it is time to move on. I wish I had left earlier than I did. I  say to myself now; communication isn’t just an important part of a relationship, it IS the relationship.

Don’t allow fear to keep you with anyone who is an abuser. You are not how others treat you. You are not the horrible things they have said or done to you. You are not the person that hears negative things and takes them to heart, making you question your own sanity. Don’t let anyone discourage you, make you feel self-doubt or try to control you because they want you to do what they think you should do. You are your own shining star! Show the world your star and ignore the negative. When I left my marriage it was this last act that caused it. I was being verbally abused by a drunk who had once again gone back on what the two of us had decided was the right path to take in a family crisis. He again said one thing and then turned around and did another. Words became heated, he came at me and choked me in front of my son, who was a young teen. I fear that he will always carry this image in his mind as he screamed “Mom don’t call the police!” I remember the hands leaving my neck and running to my car where I took photos of the marks. I left and never looked back. Now look where I am 6 years later! I’m starting my business and have reversed my life to become a positive role model to others. That weak woman I was, that woman who allowed herself to be bullied and abused is strong now. I will never again allow any person to abuse me or have someone in my life that I see abuses others. I ended a friendship this year because I saw abuse in a home where I had stayed. Abuse ruins lives,  I know it is not easy for people to pick themselves up and move forward like I have. This is my message to anyone in an abusive situation, seek help through an organization, family, church or synagogue. There are people who will listen and believe you. The abuser usually turns the story around and tries to make YOU look crazy, stand strong with your convictions and don’t worry about what others think, just get away!

Some people will refuse to accept that you are no longer who you used to be – that you’ve made mistakes in the past, learned from them, and moved beyond them. I found that many people did not realize that I had lived in such a difficult situation for years. I encountered many judgmental people I once thought of as friends. They treated me differently when I would go to a social occasion. Who knows what gossip they heard, or why they felt the need to judge me. Maybe they do not understand I have grown and moved on with my life leaving a past that was unhealthy. Do not help them by acknowledging their begrudging behavior. Let go of their negativity, find peace, and liberate yourself! Show them and others you are not that past! Show them you are living in the present and doing just fine! Show them your courage, your fortitude, your love for others. Show the people who have hurt you that you are better than that, show them you are not the person they incessantly said you were. Make your life a glowing example of courage. For all of you suffering silently in a situation that is slowly killing your spirit; you can change it. Just take it one day at a time.

My last thoughts are you have to forgive, no matter how hard it is. Not for them but for you! Let it go. They know what they did, they will think about it in their quiet moments, their own thoughts will be their tormentor. Let that be enough. Let them see you are not the same as them, that you have no need for revenge, just a need to move on and live your life the way it should be lived. I guarantee the respect others will give you will more than make up for the respect you lost for yourself when enduring a situation that you felt helpless in. I am proof of that. I have survived, I will continue to be a survivor.

 

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I dedicate this blog to my best friend Shannon, for without her I would not have made it to the place I am today.

Visit my Facebook page Villa Migelita. I share my daily adventures and zest for my new found life.

I have opened a Bed and Breakfast and you can book to come visit me in Colombia, the land of Magical Realism. http://www.villamigelita.com

 

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Author:

I am an American who moved to Colombia to find peace after the devastating loss of my daughter. I bought and renovated a Villa, am learning Spanish, and writing as catharsis. This blog will be like my book with chapters. Each blog will be about my life and adventures. I hope you will enjoy the many new discoveries I am making every day about myself and another culture.

18 thoughts on “Painful Lessons from My Past

  1. Anytime someone tells me they have divorced, I say, “Congratulations.” The reaction has always been positive, for no happy marriage ever ends in divorce. Besides the well known physical and sexual abuse, there are less recognized abuses; Emotional Abuse & Spiritual Abuse.

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    1. Dean for years I was made to feel like I did not matter, all the while I raised my children, worked as a flight attendant and took care of my sick mother. I gave as much financial support as he did…and when I divorced him he let the house go and basically made me homeless and our remaining child homeless. I will accept your congrats with much fanfare it was the best thing I ever did. Why just exist with an unworthy partner when you can enjoy a life without one? A man who was so verbally abusive it would make me physically sick at times.

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  2. Hon, I am so proud of you. I have an axiom — the minute RESPECT goes out the door, love has already gone out FIRST. To me respect is necessary in ANY relationship, even if you’re just purchasing something from someone. I also endured abuse under two partners — why it takes some of us so long to learn I don’t know, except I think women just have so much endurance, and too much self honor to want to “give up.” But thankfully some of us come to our senses, blessings to you for making what looks like the BEST kind of life there in Columbia — never forget you always deserve the BEST. Y porque soy algo fluente en espanol, algo dia me debare muy alegres a vivir en Columbia tambien!!!

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    1. I agree respect is important and so is communication! Staying for the children is not an option and I wish I had not done it. I’m in agreement that we women think we can fix thing and we can’t fix people who don’t want to be changed. Xo, Michele

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  3. Michele…I to have been thru so much abuse in my lifetime..It started out as being asleep scared to go out of the house because of the way I was raised , I was 15 and we were in hiding from my dad due to major abuse , so we were sent to Charlottesville , Va..My brother had met 3 guys of course he really didn’t know them but they talked him into partying with them..they got my brother drugged up and all 3 of them came in and raped me over and over and over again and I was a virgin and terrified of men..I guess I passed out after the 3rd time each..I didn’t tell anyone, because I was scared and ashamed and my mom had already been thru enough torment..she was with her boyfriend in the bedroom at the time and they were drunk and passed out..so no one heard my screams..well God did and he sure has watched over me thru the years..I to married several men that were abusive and I to thought it was normal and I was sopose to take it,well I married a cop and let me tell you they are the worst one’s and get by with everything ..well I started fighting back , I was gonna get beat anyway so what the hell right..any way I have a broke nose and a broke gall..he assulted me at a public mall and of course I pressed charges and he spent 3 days in jail..after that he went back to being the asshole of a cop that he was , I found out and reported it to the commonwealth of Virginia that had my case and she contacted the sheriff and had his job..well I was dumb enough to go back after all of that because I really loved this man..I had to have a hysteretomy and 2 days later he came into the room and dragged me out of the bed and beat the crap out of me kicking me in my private’s..well someone knocked at the back door and I quietly opened the front door and ran for my life…I did get away and I met a wonderful lady that called her husband to bring me to my dads here in Virginia..Just Awesome ppl..I say all of this because this man beat me and verbally abused me, I would much rather be beaten because it’s so much easier to get over..I’m free of him now and will never in my life allow a man or anyone else to belittle me and abuse me in anyway..and Yes I sure do have a mouth on me now, I use to be sky but not ever again, I just say what’s on my mind..I don’t like to hurt anyone cause I know how it feels and all it takes is one person to say something horrible to push someone over that edge..I have tried to kill myself 7 times and I became a cutter..God saved my life and I was in a coma for 2 days and should not be here, but I truly feel that he wants me to tell my story also..this is only a tiny bit of what I have been thru and survived..I suffer from PTSD and I’m still terrified of night time and I also suffer from chronic Depression..I have been disowned by my family except my mom and and brother , but it’s so hard for me to trust anyone again…I have 6 wonderful grandchldren that keep me going and I have God in my life however I still struggle…Your story is very heart touching and I knew from the moment I went on your page that we had a special concetion..I know why now..I love you Michele you are such a wonderful lady and I will always be saying a prayer for you honey….love, sherry.

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    1. Dearest Sherry, I have no words for what you have been through in your life. I am so sorry. How we end up with what we end up with puzzles me. I really did all I was supposed to do before my marriage, but they hide everything and I even went to counseling before this abusive marriage because of issues. I really think that what is hidden comes out when they think that you have no choice. In your situation, well you have had it bad. I applaud you for having the guts and determination to go on and survive after such horrific life experiences. I have always said I do not have anything on those who worse situations, we all have terrible stories. You are a lovely brave survivor. Keep on being strong, and try your best to live the rest of your life letting go of such hurt and abuse. God Bless You.

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      1. Thank you my Beautiful friend,,sure needed this and yes I was able to bookmark it so I could go right back to it do the fact that as of 2 weeks ago I found out that I have 2 tumors in my lungs and 1 in my lower back (for which I was told they couldn’t do anything about that one) that’s okay with me honey..I’ve already had 26 operations on this old body and they haven’t fighured nothing out yet…so I really just wanna take the rest of me to Heaven however I am a donor and if I could just save one life then this life on earth would be so worth it…I love you my wonderful friend and I really love your blogs and video’s so much..there are days they really keep me going…

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  4. Michele,,this is gonna be hard for you to digest or maybe not..but I’ve had enough of all of this crazy life shit…I’m tired and very tired and I guess that makes me a nonsurvivior ..oh well I know what I have been thru and truthfully still going thru..this life sucks and the most imprortant ppl to me are my girls and grandchildren but I suffer so much when I don’t get to see them cause there mother’s have no ideal how much they keep me going..but now i’m a bad person because I go thru all of these medical issues..like I really wanna do..right…the sad part is they to will go thru these days and one day they will understand what mom went thru but the sad part it will be way to late…I love you wonderful woman..if i get to make it to Heaven I will surly tell Misha what a wonder momma she had and that you look for her everyday to show..who know we might get to show up together honey..wouldnt that be totally awesome..keep up your wonderful work cause you are ONE HELL OF A WOMAN…LOVE, SHERRY

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    1. Sherry, listen to me. I know you were recently diagnosed with those tumors. I know life is difficult. I am waiting for results on my recent surgery myself. I want you to not let others make you feel sad or less than them. Family can do that worse than friends. You are a good woman. You will continue to be a wonderful influence in the lives of your grandchildren and children. My own son is very angry at me and I have no idea why. I have learned to accept this. I only send him love. What we put in the universe comes back to us. Please do not let yourself be taken into someone elses bad vibes. You are a lovely woman, you deserve the best of the best. You are a survivor. Hold your head up and show your grandchildren what a great example you are. Start your memoir, WRITE IT DOWN, not to me but to the people who mean the most to you. It will help. I think you are ONE HELL OF A WOMAN TOO!

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      1. I’m not allowed to do that Michele do to my daughter’s request..I would love to but my memories are horriffied and I should would wouldn’t want that in there mind cause we both know that it never leaves us..I only want them to remember me just the way they know me and it’s a good thing cause they think I walk on water..which makes me feel special…they are totally my life…..

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