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Posts tagged ‘friendships’

SUPPORTING THE WOMAN IN HIDING via Akilah Richards

This is a letter to the loved ones of the woman in hiding.

You know her so well, and you love her for many reasons.  She is your friend, your sister, your cousin, maybe even your mother.

You found out in the weirdest way, and now you’re stuck with the knowledge that she is allowing someone to repeatedly bring her emotional and physical harm.  You still remember the moment you became the woman with a friend or relative in a domestic violence situation.

I remember that moment too.

One of my dearest friends is still with her emotional and physical abuser.  I feel for her deeply, as I imagine you do for your friend.  If she’s anything like my friend, her spirit can be so freeing to experience, and she has such passion for what she does.  Unfortunately, that fire she embodies is often hosed down at the doorway of her bedroom, or sometimes in her driveway for the world to witness, and for her to bear.

When a woman you know and love is in an emotionally and/or physically abusive relationship, it can feel like you’re witnesses the burning of a beautiful forest, and all you can do is stand there with your bucket of water, wishing it were enough to make it stop.

Please remember, she is not stupid, or “trippin”, or crazy.  She is a A VICTIM.  She is not emotionally well, so her decisions are misguided by her inability to imagine experiencing something better with someone else.

Equally important is the prioritization of yourself in all of this.  Seriously, it is important you realize that you are now part of her equation, and her actions can affect your safety, as your actions can compromise hers. 

Courtesy lastfm.com

3 Things You Can Do To Support Her While Prioritizing Yourself

1.  Assess any potential harm.  She is in harm’s way, and you might not be able to resolve that, but you can and should protect your own self.  Abusers tend to feel threatened by people they see as potential influences in their victim’s lives.  If her abuser knows that you know she’s being hurt, then you need to recognize that her abuser may dislike you, and if you think that compromises your safety, you may choose to create a healthy distance between yourself and her, as harsh as that may sound.  Here are some examples:

  • Make a more conscious decision about whether to talk and what to say when you’re on the phone.
  • Don’t send her text messages about her situation, because if he sees it, it might put her at risk for an immediate outburst.
  • Let someone in your life know.  Choose wisely, because it call lead to harm, but you also need to protect yourself in case there is a threat of abuse directed at you.  

2.  Offer to help her create her I Choose Me plan.  An I Choose Me Plan includes phone  is her instructional sheet for what to do should she decide to leave the abusive relationship.  It should include numbers of people and places she could call at any time, where she would meet them, what bag she has packed and where she keeps it.  If she is willing to have this discussion, that is good; she is not in denial.  If she is not willing to have the conversation, give her space, call in support (other family, the authorities when you deem fit), and just keep reminding her that she could choose NOT to live with someone who hurts her.

Here’s a safety packing list you could tell her to keep on hand: http://www.womenshealth.gov/violence-against-women/get-help-for-violence/safety-planning-for-abusive-situations.cfm

3.  Do your own research on the psychology of abusive relationships.
  You can better protect yourself and your friend when you have a better idea of how abuse happens, and what emotions your friend might be experiencing.  She will need plenty of compassion, so do not blame her or make her feel bad for not leaving.  It takes time, and she may even leave and go back, repeatedly.  This is not just about “making bad choices”, this is an emotional and psychological trauma that your friend is experiencing.  You might be able to help her get out and pull through if you are more educated on the what and how yourself.

Do you have any tips of your own?  How do you cope with having a loved one in an abusive relationship?

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Life Design Practitioner and Certified Emotional Wellness Educator, Akilah S. Richards, creates live and digital resources for women seeking clarity, confidence, and courage in their Work-Life journey.  She serves mothers and entrepreneurs ready to release fears and self-doubt, and use their natural gifts and talents as a means of emotional and financial sustainability.  When a woman is willing to risk expression, she can rely on Akilah to help her design that Life of Thrive.

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My Life Map, My Vision (Days 6,7)

“Vision looks inward and becomes duty. Vision looks outward and becomes aspiration. Vision looks upward and becomes faith.” ~ Stephen S. Wise

Sitting on the deck of my quaint cottage overlooking Cape Cod, I am secluded a few weeks of every summer on Martha’s Vineyard writing until my heart’s content. I live on a sprawling estate in North Georgia where I host monthly tea socials with an intimate group of friends. I look forward to laughing and sharing with my sister circle. I attend many local community gatherings and charity events as well as national events. I travel abroad yearly to beautiful destinations- Peru, Egypt, Norway. I am an art and tea pot collector. I am a bestselling author and an award winning documentarian. I have been recognized for my tireless HIV/AIDS activism.  I attend annual conferences and workshops staying abreast of current and world affairs. I have multiple streams of income providing for a life of abundance and a path to early retirement. I give cheerfully of the first fruit. I exercise daily and have a personal chef. I devote time daily to meditating, praying, acknowledging my blessings, and seeking clarity for what is ahead of me. I love God. I visit family during the holidays and call frequently. I vacation with my best friends and laugh until my stomach hurts. I have a husband that was handpicked just for me, who loves and supports me unconditionally. I reciprocate. I nurture and pour into my children greatness as they will one day be great.

*****reflection

I stepped back, read my life narrative and walked away. My heart was full and tears welled up in my eyes. I had written this vision and made it plain before. But with all its promise, the pictures and words lacked Skyy (I).  I took my own breath away.  I questioned what I was seeing. Then I scanned my journey thus far and simply declared, why not?

My Personal Mission Statement (Day 5)

Because I am fearfully and wonderfully made my existence will not be in vain. The true essence of my core is impregnated with values that continue to mold me into wholeness. In the spirit of family, community, and friendship, I will lift my voice for those that are too weak or afraid to speak. My walk will be one of integrity, dignity, and trust. Trust ushers in love and love is the greatest of all. I will only allow those things that nurture to penetrate my body, mind, and soul… food, people, ideologies, thoughts, and sounds. My unquenchable thirst for knowledge will be hydrated at every opportunity and will only cease at my last breath.  The territories I will reach and share with others are borderless. When the scales begin to weigh in favor of the other, I will retreat, re-evaluate, and focus.  I am moving from consumer, to investor, to producer- reaping a harvest for my children’s children. Leaving indelible marks on every person, place, or thing I encounter…

 For once, I will feel the rain on my skin!

I am a BLACK WOMAN and I’m not ANGRY!!

“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!”

This is one of my favorite quotes from a speech given by Sojourner Truth in 1851 titled “AINT I A WOMAN.” The remarkability in this speech given over 100 years ago is the collective call to action for women to unite for a common good.  All through women’s history we have had champions for women’s rights, sexual equality, education, and much more.  History or present times would not be the same without such notables as Fannie Lou Hamer, Mother Hale, Clara Barton, Marie Curie, or Oprah to name  a few.

I think we have forgotten how powerful we are and have gotten caught up in society’s definition of what a woman is and what a woman ought to be doing that we’ve begun to hate ourselves and in turn one another. It pains me to hear other women particularly African American women say things like, I don’t deal with women, and women don’t like me because of my hair length or skin color. I hardly believe that another woman has told you that. However, your views are tainted by society and it’s favoritism towards the more Eurocentric woman. That would be fair skinned, long hair, when in essence the disdain one has is for self. Why else would you see a woman with kinky natural hair and instead of your hair is nice, the response is I wish I was that brave. Brave? Brave enough to not care what other people’s perception of your hair would be? Brave enough to be different? Brave enough to be an individual?

I have found that we are quick to judge, degrade, and ostracize women that are different. I have been guilty of this in the past. But as all things, when I became a woman I put away those childish things. I have found that when other women stare, a simple hello confuses them and cancels the rudeness; they speak and may offer a smile or a nod in return. Any bad vibes are immediately halted. Yes she may be black and she may be angry but do we stop to even consider that maybe she’s having a bad day, had an argument with someone else, is lonely, or unhappy?

And men, did you consider she’s been hurt, abandoned by her father/mother, or has been abused and misused by both men and women in the past?  That she’s guarding her heart?

Sisters it is high time we put aside the pettiness and look beyond the surface. We’ve made strides but there is so much work for us to do. Issues of child sex trafficking, drug abuse, prostitution, HIV, education, single parents, teen pregnancy, and more are commanding our attention. We need to just get over ourselves and back to basics. We’ve got to make some things right as a collective body.

By no means am I suggesting to try and figure a person out, instead dealing others the same compassion as you would want. Friendship with others, especially women is and can be a beautiful thing. First get to know yourself.  Hammer out some of those unresolved issues that are holding you back, that are crippling your ability to trust and love, and watch things change.  It happened, it hurt, let it go!!

I’m a black woman and I’m not angry!!

Live well,

Skyy