Allowing yourself to truly love someone (and allow the other to love you too)

love

Being in love after abuse is really difficult and it is certainly not an easy task for your partner as well. For the survivor it is all about daring greatly. It is about deciding to trust while the butterflies are making you feel a bit unbalanced. It is re-finding yourself by standing in your power. It is deciding to trust in your future together, even if you are worried that he will leave.  It is about letting the one you love  see who you truly are; your beautiful soul and your strength, but also your flaws, your cope mechanisms and quirky ways. It is being your pure self despite the consequences. It is about letting love in, even if it is scaring the living daylights out of you.

Daring to trust that even without guarantees you are safe with this person and he won’t intentionally harm you, in fact, if he can help it he will go out of his way to prevent that very thing. It is discovering that he truly loves you for who you are. Feeling his embrace fill parts of you that you didn’t even know were empty.

It is trusting yourself and your own judgment and making the conscious decision to go for this relationship, to take a risk. Just because it is better to have tried and loved than to let yourself be guided by fear and never have loved at all.

It is being confronted by demons you thought were conquered years ago. It is deciding to trust even if you don’t understand everything he does, because most likely, it hasn’t got anything to do with you.  It is knowing that you are good enough to be loved and to accept that knowledge – whatever might happen-. It is about deciding that damn it! you are not letting fear standing in the way of your connection with him.

It is about accepting your emotions, knowing where they come from but refusing to be lead by them. It is about communicating openly because if you don’t, how could he ever understand what you feel? It is respecting your own boundaries and feeling comfort when he acknowledges them.

It is trying to let go of deciphering everything he says or does. Because one of the important reasons you will do that is just to find out if you are going to be harmed and if you should run for the hills.

It is falling in love when you two talk about your future together. It is loving him even more when he opens up his soul and shares his dreams, fears, wisdom and wishes. It is feeling the wonder, the happiness and the enormous gratitude that this man came into your life and the joy you feel because he decided to be a part of it. It is feeling the warmth in your heart while watching him sleep. It is laughing so hard that you believe your heart will burst if he is joking around. It is feeling the concern when he worries and feeling that you want to do anything to make him feel better again. The thrill of getting to know him better and better with every conversation you two have. But most of all it is finding comfort in the knowledge that this man, is yours and in his arms you are finally home.

Family, Love, Personal, Speaking

Podcast episode 001: Mandy Sanghera; building bridges and smashing ceilings

podcast

Pave’s first guest on the podcast is Mandy Sanghera. She is an international human rights activists who has spent the last 27 years supporting victims and survivors of Honour Based Violence and cultural Abuse, Forced Marriage , Faith Based Abuse etc. Mandy is an international motivational speaker who has spent years supporting and empowering others find their purpose and rebuild their lives after abuse .

To listen to the episode for Apple users: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1203285774

Mentioned in this podcast:

CSW for youth

http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2016/3/youth-forum-at-csw60

King’s college

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/idi/Events/IDI-News–Events.aspx

Mandy holds a weekly twitter chat called

Girl summit 2014

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/girl-summit-2014

Kalbir Bains, author of “not our daughter” https://twitter.com/kalbirbains

 

Hello Mandy, welcome at the PAVE podcast. There is so much we can say about you; you are a Tedx speaker, an international human rights activist who has spent the last 27 years supporting victims and survivors of honour based violence and cultural abuse, forced marriage. Mandy what can you tell us more about yourself?

Mandy: Okay I am Mandy Sanghera, I live in the UK but actually I travel all around the world and talking about honour based violence, ritual abusive practices. So a lot of the work that I do is nothing to do with religion it’s about cultural practices. So we talk about FGM, we talk about forced marriages; we talk about children being branded witches or young girls experiencing breast ironing. So forms of violence against women and I have been doing this for 27 years.

Alianne: And you are involved with UN?

Mandy: With what I am involved with the UN is actually a part of the UN women for youth. So what I am doing now, because something that I am very passionate about is actually inspiring and motivating the next generation. Because somebody like myself who has now smashed the glass ceiling is so important that actually I inspire and actually empower and help the next generation. It’s important that a woman of colour who has campaigned on disability and women’s rights and talked about issues that my community would not talk about 27 or 25 years ago. So it’s important now that I am empowering the next generation to take a stand so that’s why I am involved. I am flying out to New York again in March and I will be talking at CSW for youth, I will be talking about ending violence against women again.

Alianne: Is this something going on right now that you are working on?

Read More »

Activism, Interview, PAVE Podcast, Speaking

When others talk badly behind your back

talk gossiping
When someone talks badly behind your back it can feel pretty awful. It doesn’t matter if that person is someone close to you or someone you barely know.. Knowing that someone is deliberatly degrading you in public, trying to hurt you or even trying to persuade others to think negatively about you, is enough to feel hurt for several days.

Gossiping is often not about you

Most of the time when people talk badly behind your back it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them. They probably have an issue with themselves and they blame it on you so they don’t have to sort things out with their own personality. That they are talking behind your back instead of facing you and talk open and honestly in your face is a sign of immaturity and a reflection of them, not you.
There are many reasons why someone might talk badly behind your back. It is likely that person may suffer from poor self- esteem, anxiety or jealousy. That person may even have some trouble with control issues. They feel the need to degrade you behind your back so they can either feel good about themselves or can shift the blame of something they know (deep, deep) deep down is their own issue.
If you make your issues the problem of someone else you don’t have to work on yourself, right? For the bad-talker to realise that they are the one that has some work to do is scary so it is easier to make it your issue. This is especially the case for someone with anxiety or poor self-esteem.
Sadly, as I have said in previous blogs: you can’t choose what others say about you. But you can take the power back and choose your response. You can engage in their little games and let them dictate how you feel and how you behave but you can also raise your own standards by realising that their need to degrade you has everything to do with their issues and insecurities and NOTHING to do with you personally.

Choose your response

Once you know that, you can decide how you want to respond and thus take your power back. Do you think the gossip was an one-time event and you just want to ignore it? Do you want to confront the other? Or do you want to kill them with kindness? You can choose a method that best serves your standards.
Kill them with kindness.
This is one of my favorite methods and it has nothing to do with faking kindness. In many cases I try to feel compassion for the gossiper. Try to see their insecurities, anxiety etc. That does not mean that I want to justify their behaviour, it just helps me to understand the motives of the other person, forgive them, hold my power together and maintain the standards I have set for myself for how I want to treat others.
Limits
It does not mean, however, that you have to spend a lot of time with people who literally keep you down. I suggest that you keep them at arm’s length. Stay true to yourself, uphold your standards, refuse that the behavior of others dictate how you should respond.  Just don’t be too personal. They have shown that they are not trustworthy in that way. Pouring your heart out could be ammo for even more gossip.
Choose people who support you
They say that you are the average of the people you spend most of your time with. So you best spend it with people who love you, support you, are honest, mature in a way that they dare to talk openly and honestly. Surround yourself with people who makes you feel energized and who are not degrading your self-confidence.
Confront them
Another favorite of mine: tell them that you’ve heard that they have an issue with you and that you would like to talk about it. This shows your goodwill, your level of maturity, your courage, your ability to set your ego aside and that you are willing to take the first step eventhough that other person has hurt you.
Don’t take it personally. Above all: refuse to be a victim. Remember that it is their issue. It has nothing to do with you. And while you can’t choose what other say or think about you, you are always in control in the way you choose to respond.
Love,
Alianne
Mindset

But what if the abuser says: “I’m sorry”

(This blog was originally written by me for LifeSurfer)

But what if he says “sorry”?

Be honest. How many times did you stay because your ex-partner said he was sorry? He might even have cried tears, threatened to kill himself because he finds himself a low excuse of a man. Maybe his friends and family told you that you should forgive him. Maybe you felt guilty or blamed yourself for holding a grudge towards your ex-partner or maybe you even felt guilty for standing up against his abusiveness. Or did you accept the excuses and the dramatic behavior he made for himself to rationalize and justify for himself why he abused you, whether he blames his upbringing, his exes, your “faults”, or the stressful job and or life he has.

Does he feel sorry?

Let’s be clear. A man (or woman for that matter) should never be using past or other experiences as an excuse to get away with hurting someone else.

That does not mean that an abuser doesn’t feel sorry at all. He can feel sorry, albeit probably most for himself ;-), he can also use his apologies to gain sympathy with you and if he doesn’t succeed, to gain sympathy and acknowledgement from others.

Feeling sorry for him after abusive behavior

You probably did what I did after a dramatic apology. Before you know it you are comforting him, reassuring that you will never leave and that the two of you are a team and that you’ll get through this together.

You might notice, as did I, that the longer you stay in that relationship, the less dramatic and frequent his dramatic excuses are. In my opinion this is because he knows that you won’t leave him or will return as soon as he want’s you to. You are like a puppet and he is the one in control (in his opinion) and winning you back feels like a drug and makes him feel right that it wasn’t that bad and that he is the one in control over you.

Does it matter?

But let me ask you this first. Does it really matter if he really is sorry? Because it doesn’t mean a thing when in the nearby future he will abuse you again, and again. It doesn’t mean a thing if he is not willing to solve his inner frustrations a different way. It doesn’t matter if he is genuine in his remorse if it doesn’t mean enough for him to change and view you differently, and to stop hurting you physically, emotionally, financially. And it doesn’t mean a thing if he demolishes your self-worth, your self-love and if he isn’t building you up, but tearing you down! You must remember that whatever happens, you are worth so much more than that.

Change is inevitable

We are all able to change, because change is inevitable. Change happens when you have enough reason to do so.

If we are motivated to change but have difficulty doing so (but we want it bad enough), we seek help. We don’t have to be persuaded to seek help, if the drive in us is strong enough and we just do so because we can’t live with ourselves if we don’t. It is either that or we leave the situation.

At that moment we associate pain by not changing to the person we really want to be. When something is a MUST and not merely a “I should be or should do”, we change.

It could be possible that you are going to meet someone like your ex-partner but maybe in a different form in the future. Remember that it is the actions and not the words that we should trust. Remember your worth, remember that you have the right to be respected, to be loved and to be treated with dignity.

Just listen to this guy 😉

https://www.facebook.com/viralthread/videos/576993502490351/?pnref=story

Abuse, Mindset

My first blogpost around here. Hi, I’m Alianne.

Hi, I’m Alianne.

I love to meet new people whether online or just around the corner.  Can’t live without music, traveling and chocolate.  I love psychology, learning, nature, reading&writing. Four cats, a boyfriend and kids keep me busy (and crazy). Like everyone else on this planet I have a past. I am an international speaker and talk about empowerment, activism and my experiences as an survivor of severe abuse, assault and rebuilding your life after trauma on events and on the PAVE podcast. Because I believe we can have it all no matter our past. I am stubborn, brave, love to laugh hard and often. And I believe people complicate life too much.

“LAUGH WHEN YOU CAN, APOLOGIZE WHEN YOU SHOULD, AND LET GO OF WHAT YOU CAN’T CHANGE. KISS SLOWLY, PLAY HARD, FORGIVE QUICKLY, TAKE CHANCES, GIVE EVERYTHING AND HAVE NO REGRETS. LIFE’S TOO SHORT TO BE ANYTHING BUT HAPPY.”

— UNKNOWN AUTHOR

P.S. At first I had a blog at lifesurfer.net, lifesurfer.nl and professionalsagainstviolence.com. But because managing 4 blogs is a little bit time intrusive I decided to put all my websites together as one.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

Personal

About toxic and (un)healthy relationships

toxic relationships

Abuse exists in several forms. Most known is physical abuse because it’s easy to recognize.

But emotional abuse is more insidious and can sometimes be harder to recognize. And sometimes, after you spend a lot of time with a toxic person, you can’t really see what’s happening anymore.

People who have followed me for a while know that I don’t like to share anything that doesn’t contain a direct solution to a problem. But I do think we have to go back to basics for this blog and to look at some of the traits of a toxic or abusive person.

But a relationship is meant to be a place where both can blossom. A safe cocoon where the two people involved can develop, support, and acknowledge each other in whatever direction they want to go. A relationship is a place where you strengthen each other, not tear each other apart.

The traits of a toxic person

In an unhealthy relationship, you will notice that the toxic person is inclined to inflict damage on the other person rather than find a solution to a problem. But one of the basics of a healthy relationship is to find solutions together. Not to argue with each other.

A toxic person feels insecure and threatened -a lot-. Whenever you have something fun to look forward to, you want to go out with a friend, or you are successful at something, Mr. or Mrs. Toxic feels weak. But instead of working on these insecurities and weakness they’ll try to find a way to do you harm, make you smaller. Because they feel uncomfortable with your success they will diminish it and leave you with a bad feeling. Or there is something wrong with whatever you are happy with or look out for. Example: you are invited somewhere (in my case to visit a tower) and the other person is suddenly sick, took the car, or needs you to do something.

You get the most love from a toxic person when you are most vulnerable. Favorably when you are on your knees, isolated, and when the toxic person is the center of your universe. It can be that you don’t feel strong or have a strong base of reference because of the way you were brought up or some of your life experiences. However, it could also be that you were strong and the toxic person found a way to break you, to accuse you, to make you feel bad and when you are on your knees, feeling so small and you need someone to lean on… the toxic person changes suddenly and shows you their love. They give you that hug you needed, show you the rainbow, tell you it’s going to be all right and it wasn’t that bad, won’t happen again as long as you don’t… *fill in whatever*

It comes down to this.

When you are small, they feel strong. If you are strong, they feel threatened and weak.

I have an example: my ex and I were rebuilding the house and I was putting the spack on the walls. I really knew what I was doing because I paid very close attention to the carpenter. I saw that my ex-partner struggled with it and that’s why I did it the spacking. When my ex-partner noticed my success he took away the spack (or is it called stucco?) and forbade me from ever spackling in HIS house ever again.

He always mentioned that the house was HIS when he disagreed with something to remind me he could throw me out on the street in an instant. When he had hurt me, he would say: you can leave if you don’t like it, but when I would leave he would search friends’ and family’s homes to bring me back to his house again.

It is easier for them when you are weak. When you are vulnerable, when you are fired, when you get out of a nasty relationship or when you have difficult family members, a difficult past, they feel strong and in control. But where a healthy relationship tries to lift you out of those difficult times, the toxic person tries to keep you there. Because when you are not dependent of them they feel like they are not the center of your world anymore. And that’s what they need to feel good. Because sadly, they are incapable of knowing what true love is or how to accomplish it.

A toxic person sees almost every argument as a personal attack and if you have been in a relationship like this you probably recognize this: before you tell the other person that something is bothering you (if you tell them that is) you put your words on a scale first. You think and rethink your words to see if there could be any triggers amongst your words.

Your experience is that during conversations the roles are reversed before you know it! Before you are finished talking, you are suddenly the person with the problem. It’s all about what you are doing wrong and what you don’t understand. It doesn’t matter how careful you are in choosing and expressing your words because everything you say (and don’t say) can and will be used against you.

Instead of really listening to you, letting you talk, and acknowledge their part in how you feel, the roles are reversed, and that person makes you the problem (twisted). Situations from years ago are thrown in the battle, words are used against you, and often the other person won’t let you finish speaking, and talks in an aggressive or emotionally manipulative tone and doesn’t let you think. Often people who have experienced domestic violence stop explaining their point of view to prevent escalation.

A famous quote of Jim Rohn is:

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Don’t underestimate the influence of the people closest to you! It doesn’t matter how strong you are, your frame of reference is or how your self-esteem is built up… the way other people talk to you or treat you can build or demolish your self-worth, self-esteem, and self-image. It is so important to choose the people closest to you carefully. Because when someone is depreciating you, it will influence how you see yourself and become part of your thought patterns. Sometimes you won’t even know that a conviction you have really comes from another source.

A quote of Bruce Lee is:

As you think so shall you become.

I am convinced that you should choose your inner circle carefully. A good inner circle will build you up, inspire you, and challenge you to be the best you who you can be.

In a healthy relationship, two imperfect people come together with an imperfect life and with an imperfect past. Together they create a safe haven where they can heal and give each other the circumstances where they can thrive and work on themselves to be the best, strongest persons they can and once that safe haven is created, they can work on their life goals together.

Abuse, Personal

The injustice in proving child abuse: Guestblog by Lisa Cybaniak

Injustice proving child abuse

(This blog was originally written for LifeSurfer)

Today I want to share with you a blog written by my friend Lisa Cybaniak. The title of the blog is: the injustice in proving child abuse. I know that a lot of my readers have faced injustices, whether a prosecutor didn’t prosecute, or a policeman didn’t want to write a report or when social services or the CPS failed to protect a child because the right of the offender to see his child is more important than the safety of the child itself.

Lisa is a survivor of 10 years of physical, psychological and sexual abuse, by her ex step-father. She is a motivational speaker and blogger, helping shed the stigma of being abused. She is the founder of Lifelikeyoumeanit.com, dedicated to helping survivors of abuse survive well, having the life they deserve. And in this blog she shares her story with us.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

The injustice in proving child abuse

There is a distinctive injustice in proving child abuse. It lies in two words ‘prove’ and ‘child’.

I was physically, sexually and psychologically abused for 10 years, from the age of 2 until 12 by my now ex step-father. During this time, I was told I was stupid, ugly, useless, worthless and unlovable nearly every single day. This more than shaped my self-image, it destroyed it.

This was only topped by the notion that I was good for nothing, except a sexual object. This seemed to be the only value I had, according to my experience. Adding to these insults was the physical abuse, which included anything from being methodically hit in hidden areas, to being held under hot water, strangled, limbs twisted, or cutting the backs of my ears.

My home was not a safe place. My mother had no idea what was happening in the next room. My abuser was sadistic, and methodical. If she walked into the room while I was pinned to the floor, he would laugh and say we were play fighting. Many of his insults and threats were whispered into my ear while he looked like he was a caring father to onlookers. And he certainly made sure she was fast asleep before leaving their bed to enter mine.

Most days, I returned home from school a couple hours before my mother returned from work. I never knew what awaited me. Was he in a good mood and would leave me be, or would he be in a mood already and be waiting to take out his frustrations on me with complete privacy to do as he pleased? I literally felt like I was fighting for my life on a daily basis.

The teen years

Growing up in this way left scars far deeper than any visible scars ever could. I had to learn how to deal with my anger and frustration in acceptable, respectful ways, for one. An even greater challenge was learning my worth.

Here I was in my teen years now, trying to learn that I was more than a sexual being; someone with intelligence, beauty, and value, while boys tried their hardest to get me in the sack. Teenagers are overflowing with hormones, and trying very hard to explore life with more independence. They want to date, and kiss, and have sex. I felt those feelings too, but I needed to be worth more than just sex. I really struggled knowing that I was still being looked at sexually, even a few years after leaving my abuser.

I wore more conservative clothing, comparatively speaking. I had long hair, not because it was beautiful, but because it helped cover my face. I was quiet, despite loving being on stage. Off stage though, I wanted to blend in to the background and not draw attention to myself in any way.

Basically, during my teen years, I looked for approval and acceptance from others, as many teenagers do. But I was looking for someone else to show me my worth, to prove to me that I had value. I was looking for a knight in shining armour; someone to take all my pain away.

I had so much pain. My mother and I had left my abusive home a few years earlier, and I had entered therapy, but I was struggling as much as I did living in that house. I still felt like I didn’t know what awaited me each day. I still felt broken.

injustice-proving-child-abuse

The injustice

We live in a time where there are so many types of abuse that the word ‘abuse’ is now too vague. Abuse can include anything from neglecting children by not providing for their basic needs, grooming them over the internet, child pornography, to trafficking them for sex. I cannot imagine what it is like for those brave police men and women who work tirelessly every day to fight against these horrific crimes.

When I was 16, I was in a new therapy group that inspired me to seek justice, to ensure my now ex step-father would be punished appropriately so he could never harm another child again. When I told my mother, she understandable broke down. She was terrified that he would know who was accusing him and come after me so I could not testify against him.

She was so terrified that she purchased a gun, received the proper permits, and joined a gun range where she took up target shooting. She wanted to be prepared and able to protect me this time.

Of course, neither my mother or I had any idea how to go about pressing charges, so she called the police to speak to someone. The advice she received was shocking. The police detective she spoke to told my mother that if I indeed wanted to press charges, I would need to be prepared for the consequences. My name would be plastered in all the papers, so everyone would know what had happened. The shame I would feel would be unbearable. Also, I would need to be prepared for the trial. With no evidence, it would be my word against his. Under those circumstances, it would be unlikely I would be successful.

Let me address each of these atrocities individually.

Shaming the victim

Survivors of abuse feel an unexplained shame surrounding their abuse, as if they had something to do with it, were at fault even. We know it does not make any sense, but feel the shame all the same. The police detective played on this shame and used it to convince my mother, and subsequently me, to not come forward.

Not to mention that as a minor, the papers would not have permission to print my name in the first place! Pure lies. This man clearly was using fear to steer us clear of this process. The only one who should be feeling shame is him. I was trying to seek justice and stop a predator from preying on others. I should have been feeling supported and proud of my bravery.

Evidence of abuse

As a teacher, I undergo annual safeguarding training where we learn of all the signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect. Each time I shake my head. Many children are being abused by a much more sadistic and methodical abuser; one who strikes in places others will not likely see to observe suspicious bruising; one who grooms their victims, using psychological abuse for months or even years to break them; one who only moves on to sexual abuse when he is confident his secret will never be revealed because she has already kept all his secrets for years now.

To my knowledge, nobody ever witnessed this man physically abuse me over the course of ten years. He brushed any incidents off as play fighting when someone walked in during a ‘moment’. I knew well enough to lie and play along. As the saying goes, ‘If you want to cry, I will give you something to cry about’. I knew very well that letting the secret out of what life was like in our house would lead to far more pain than I currently had. Pain that my mother would have to endure, as I knew he would punish her in order to hurt me.

How exactly was I supposed to have gathered evidence? Especially of the sexual abuse. Should I have had the wherewithal to have sourced some sort of hidden camera (in the 1980s no less!), had the skill to set it up, out of sight, so I could use it against him nearly a decade later?

I understand that we need evidence to prove guilt. There are many people who, unfortunately, go astray and accuse people of terrible crimes for which they know they did not commit. In these times, we are grateful for a system where you are innocent until proven guilty. However, let’s be reasonable here. This detective telling my mother that it would be my word against my abuser, and under those circumstances, I probably wouldn’t succeed was the same as saying ‘No one is going to believe a child over an adult, so just don’t bother’.

injustice-proving-child-abuse

Consequences of injustice

In my case, I have never received justice. I walked away from filing charges at the age of 16 because of the response my mother received from the police. This has haunted me every single day of my life. In fact, it made the lessons I needed to learn in my self-worth and value so much more difficult to learn. How could I value myself when I let him walk away? Every person he hurts is on me, surely.

Eventually, I was able to find some peace. I needed to give myself permission to forgive myself. I learned to appreciate the facts of my situation – I was still only a child. I did not have the knowledge or confidence that I have now. How could I? I am now 26 years older, and wiser. I accept myself for who I am now, and who I was then. I had goodness in my heart, and did not walk away because I didn’t care about others. I was scared, not just of what he would do to silence me, but of the lack of support I was shown from those who should have been on my side. Shame on them.

My justice

This is my justice. Coming out with my story, wearing my heart on my sleeve, and sharing my journey to recovery with anyone who will listen. I am doing my part to break the stigma of abuse, helping people find their power again, or perhaps for the first time.

Lisa CybaniakWant to know more about Lisa? Go to her website: lifelikeyoumeanit.com to see how she can help you.

Abuse, Guestblog, Mindset

CPS and visitation right’s of an abusive father

cps

(This blog was originally written by me for LifeSurfer in 2015/2016)

Question from a reader

I received an email from someone in a tough situation with Youth Care, the family judge and the Dutch Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. Because I receive this type of questions quite often from women all over the world who are forced to give their children to their abusive ex-partners I thought it would be wise to translate my blogpost for the Dutch LifeSurfer and share it with you all. I’m aware that I’m recommending Dutch lawyers and am talking about a Dutch case and Dutch organisations, but I know that a lot of you are in the same tough situation. To find good lawyers and other professionals in your neighbourhood, use Google, investigate, ask questions and seek references from professional domestic violence organisations in your area.

My reply to the reader’s question:

Dear …

I am sorry that you’re in such a tough situation. I understand how you feel – the enormous frustration and helplessness =that makes you want to fly up the wall.

Personally, I can’t do a lot for you besides showing my sympathy and give you some tips from my experiences about what to do and what not to do. Keep in mind that every situation and outcome is different and that, from my computer, I can’t study all facets of your situation or predict outcomes.

Tip 1;

don’t stress the situation with Youth Care and CPS type of organisations too much; how weird that might sound. I know you want to show them that your concerns are real and justified but the more you underscore the situation, the less they will believe you. In the beginning, I thought: ‘If I tell them 10 times what happened to the children and me, they will believe me.” However, this had the opposite effect. Don’t get me wrong; you do have to tell them what happened to you and especially the children but don’t keep telling them the same thing over and over again. When they decide that they don’t believe you or that they are not going to act on it because of their inadequate knowledge about child abuse, partner violence and the ruling dogma’s within the organisations that should defend your child, you’ll find it hard to change that mentality. It might be best to find others to support your cause.

Tip 2;

make sure you have a very good lawyer and be critical before you hire one. It is important that you feel supported and taken seriously. My lawyer is Mr. Erkens from The Hague. You need a lawyer with his or her heart in the right place, who is willing to fight for your case. Mr. Erkens is a real support during hearings and shows me that I am not the only one defending my children. I live up north and his office is in The Hague but he doesn’t have any problems traveling back and forth. Before him I had other lawyers who’s main priority was keeping a good acquaintance with the judge than to defend my children with a bit more passion which resulted in much pain. Finding an lawyer who puts your children and you first and really go for it, is an enormous support.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the current justice system works against women. Many professionals are busy turning the tides but until then the situation is as it is. Another law firm that has my (professional) interest is Van Kempen cs in Amsterdam. I don’t know Van Kempen cs personally, but they have specialisations that could be helpful in your case.

You can follow my path, but there can be consequences

If you think your kids are suffering from the visitation rights, you can follow my path. I didn’t give away my children for visitation because I believed their physical and mental safety was the most important thing. During the initial visitations my children were abused both mentally and physically by their biological father with all the consequences that had for them. When I stopped the visitation I was threatened with hostage, fines and the threat that the children would have to live with their biological father although he abused them. Ultimately, I received only fines but for me, the safety of my children was more important than anything else.

Tip three;

Keep a journal in which you write down everything that happens. Make sure you have a voice recorder app on your phone or tablet. You can use this to record your ex and/or child, for example, when your child says something shocking or shares her or his experiences with their biological father. Don’t ask much questions but give room for your child talk freely. Questions are often seen as if you lead the child in his statements and thoughts about her or his father.

Tip four;

Seek help for your child on your own. Don’t let a Youth Care employee or organisation do this; instead ask, for example, an independent specialised  childpsychologist. Look for childpsychologists who specialise in the field of child abuse, trauma recovery etc. Such a psychologist can draft an independent report. Ask this psychologist how you can best guide your children through these hard times.

Beware; There are many youthcare organisations that you can’t recognise as such.  They present themselves as independent operating companies, but are part of youth care. A practice with only a few psychologists specializing in children and adolescents is usually trustworthy but try to find out if they are really not part of youth care in your region.

Tip five;

Press charges. You didn’t tell me the age of your children and if you have pressed charges but the latter is important to consider if something has happened in the area of abuse. If you are abused during the relationship, if he threatens you now, press charges. If you’re worried that the charges will trigger or can lead to an angry outburst from him ask for help from a shelter so you and your children are off the radar for a while untill he has calmed down.

Support in your battle for the welfare of your child

Here are a number of books that I recommend you read:

Books of Lundi Bancroft like for example: “why does he do that?” and Donald Dutton: “the abusive personality”

This link might interest you as well:

https://www.domesticshelters.org/domestic-violence-articles-information/category/child-custody

I also have a Facebook page for lifesurfer: www.facebook.com/lifesurfer.net.  You can also search for support groups in your neighbourhood.

The battle you must fight for your child’s interest is very tough, and I’m very sorry you must go through it. Be sure to take a moment for yourself now and then to clear your head. Follow your own insights. Remember that I give you tips based on my experiences and my experiences and outcomes may differ from yours.

Do breathing exercises (you can’t make long-term decisions while you’re stressed) and make sure you have support around you.

I wish you lots of strength and happiness,

Alianne

Abuse, Activism, Family by blood