I once had a manager who took every opportunity to point out to me (maybe she thought I had no idea) I’m fat, unfit, and in her opinion – unhealthy. She was super slim, very tall, and it was very clear her team’s “look” meant a lot to her since she commented about it often. This of course chipped away at my esteem and bolstered my already fully grown self loathing and doubt. On one project, team walked together down a gorgeous street in Germany. I, the largest of the human women among us. All was spirited until the billboard.

When I decided to leave an abusive 18 year marriage my life improved immensely. It was not and has not been an easy life since then – 1997 – though it’s been filled with many many great moments. You’d think life improving would be a given when someone leaves abuse. It is and it isn’t. We’re faced with rebuilding much of our perspective. So, for example, figuring out when someone is a trusting friend to us or credible adviser, or worthy of becoming an intimate partner, takes a lot of work. One topic has been a constant drain for me

Someone leaving an abusive situation might use homeless services when they’ve left their own home to seek safety. They often have kids to care for too. Domestic violence survivors deal with intense internal struggle (negative self talk, depression, insecurity, trust). Adding homelessness to that struggle means the job, the child care, the ability to recuperate or have that end of day #ritual or to check in with the kids or a friend or relax in a significant way to be ready for the next day…is ten thousand times harder if not impossible. If you’re privileged to have a community of

  1. Reign in your perspective.

If you love someone who has been abused, let them help you find ways to help. That doesn’t mean sit back and wait for them to tell/ask/reach out. It’ll be a confusing time for both of you until they start to understand what it is they want or need from life. And that understanding will change. Often. Try not to look at it from the way you experience life, their internal struggle is immense. Someone I met soon after I left told me I was protected by god while in my 18 year persistently

Bruises fade. The unseen impacts of domestic violence last for decades. What you can see, can move you. What is invisible, or misunderstood, you might judge. Don’t do that. Listen if they’re ready to talk. Stand by them if they’re ready to leave. Help them find help when they’re ready to heal. None of it is linear. None of it is on your timeline. Healing takes time. Lots of it. If you or someone you know needs help: rainn.org @rainn thehotline.org #dva #metoo #whyididntreport #domesticviolence #domesticviolenceawareness You can find my whole series on Domestic Violence here.

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