Given October is Bully Prevention and Domestic Violence awareness month, I would like to formally step out of the shadows to help bring awareness and resources to a silent pandemic that is and has been plaguing our society for generations.
“Domestic violence is more than just physical violence. During the relationship domestic violence can be coercive control, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. When the relationship ends, the abuse does not stop, it just transitions to a new form of abuse referred to as post separation abuse. Post separation abuse continues to escalate and often far surpasses the DV the victims are subjected to while under the same roof as their abuser.” - Tina Swithin from One Mom’s Battle.
Aside from physical abuse, almost every other form of abuse is covert, meaning it can be invisible to the outside and seemingly inescapable to the victim, making it even harder for victims to find support and resources. Oftentimes victims don’t even know they are in an abusive relationship until they’re trying to leave. And without a proper exit strategy, leaving an abusive relationship can leave victims helpless to fend off the lifelong effects of abuse such PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, digestive issues, and so much more.
For anyone doubting the potential severity of covert abuse let’s compare it to a drip of water. At a quick glance, a single drop of water can seem harmless. But what happens when that drop of water doesn’t stop? It drips slowly, once an hour, every hour, every day, every week, every month. What happens to what is catching the drop of water? Erosion. That drip of water starts eating away at whatever is underneath it until there is irreparable damage. And that’s exactly what covert abuse does.
Covert abuse is meant to murder your soul. It’s meant to slowly, deceptively, inescapably eat away at who you are from the inside so that no one else can see what’s happening.
Post separation abuse is something I had never heard of until this past year. When you exit an abusive or toxic relationship, I didn’t know but, the red flag behaviors during a relationship can drastically escalate after a relationship ends, and that’s exactly what happened to me.
Domestic violence doesn’t just affect the victim. It affects the victims' children, family, friends, coworkers, and community. “It causes diminished psychological and physical health, decreases the quality of life, and results in decreased productivity. ” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499891/)
If we can bring awareness to our voices and experiences, maybe it can help someone else in a similar situation navigate their obstacles with a little more ease and hope. Maybe it can make someone think twice about judging or gossiping about someone.
I have personally struggled with depression and PTSD because of my experience with post separation abuse. I used to be exuding creative energy, an endless drive, an inability to get sick, I used to be able to do it all. That was until the PTSD, depression, anxiety, and constantly activated fight or flight system caught up with me.
But I am determined to regain my light and live a life of peace and happiness. And I’d love to help find our way together. Be it through making you super comfortable and subtly sexy swimwear and intimates to help regain your self confidence because yes, you are beautiful and deserve to feel beautiful. Or by sharing stories and resources as I too continue to navigate all the obstacles that this life has to offer in our pursuit of happiness.
Whatever reason you’re here, I truly am grateful for this chance to connect with you.
If you would like to help even further, we will be donating 10% of every order for the next 7 days to local organizations and nonprofits providing resources for victims of domestic violence. If you have a specific shelter or program you would like us to donate to, just make note in the comment section at checkout and we will make sure we donate directly to the organization of your choice.
We’ve always been a community of bikini lovers who stand up for each other and I’ll forever be honored to have an opportunity to spread our support and love.
Let's make our voices heard. Domestic Violence and Bullying will not be tolerated and we are determined make that known.
RESOURCES FOR VICTIMS
A really amazing resource I found for anyone suffering from or would like more information about post separation abuse is https://www.onemomsbattle.com/post-separation-abuse
This website is from the perspective of a woman who is a victim of domestic violence and a mother. This is a great website to just help you understand what you’re experiencing, as well as offering a plethora of resources. Throughout searching the site for information, it will remind you to be gentle with yourself, to listen to your intuition and to slow down if needed.
When you’re deep in the throes of abuse, it feels so dire and urgent in your attempt to escape but it’s extremely important to bring yourself back to center and slow down so that you can see what is happening presently and not be clouded by intense emotions that deserve their own right time too.
The first thing to do when leaving an abusive or toxic relationship, if you are able to, is prepare. Come up with an exit strategy before actually trying to leave the relationship. An exit strategy consists of your support group, your financial plan, division of assets and parenting plan.
Your support group can be small, but you’re going to need support. Coming from a true lone wolf, it’s going to be hard to do this alone. Be it an old friend in another city, you need someone who you can always call, who knows you, sees you, believes you, and loves you. There’s going to be times where you’re going to feel crazy, like no one believes you, like no one loves you, there’s going to be times when “friends” are going to shame you and blame you. And that’s when you need to lean into your support group. If you’ve been completely isolated, my second resource is going to become your main support network.
The second part of your exit strategy is financial planning, how are you going to support yourself independently. Where are you going to live and how are you going to pay for it? The third part, how are you going to divide assets? If you have kids, the next part is going to be creating a plan on how you are going to parent once separated. If you have planned and prepared for these things, escaping an abusive situation can be a lot easier. If you weren’t able to make an exit strategy, don’t fret, you got this, many weren't able to create one either.
The second most helpful resource is going to be therapy. Finding a therapist can be scary and is another slow process that must be taken very delicately. Your therapist is your ally. And you’ll know the second you meet them whether you can open up about your trauma or not. You are your biggest advocate. Remember that. You can find therapists in your area and message them directly on www.psychology.com
Therapy is going to help give you tools to re-center and keep yourself grounded in reality while navigating trauma. Suffering from covert abuse such as bullying, isolation, emotional and psychological torment are deadly to how we feel and think about ourselves and it's very easy to get swept into negative thought patterns of self doubt, depression and even suicide ideation.
Therapy will also help you remain in control of your emotional state if you’re having to go through anything legally. A good and experienced therapist can help guide you so that when working through legal issues you have the tools to manage the emotions that come from experiencing trauma and having to keep facing your abuser even after the trauma has stopped.
The next resource, seems meaningless, but is actually the foundation to your healing, developing a self care routine. It can start simple, just focusing on these 5 different areas: exercise, nutrition, meditation, small pleasures, skin and dental care.
For me, exercise has always been a big part of my life and I also have a dog, so I have always had physicality and getting outside in my daily routine. If you do not, just start walking. 15 minutes a day through your neighborhood is all it takes to start. But hold yourself accountable, rain or shine, you get that walk in.
I had a sporadic brain hemorrhage in 2013, going from a college athlete, to barely being able to walk, I started my recovery by walking my neighborhood. Just 15 minutes a day is all it takes, if you want to incorporate a little work out, check out my warm out.
Next, nutrition. When you’re going through a traumatic event and are nervous all the time, the last thing you want to do is eat. But if you want to successfully withstand what comes after a traumatic experience, you have to keep your body strong. And that comes with what you’re eating and drinking. Find what works for you. I’m still struggling the most with this. So be gentle but these are my go to’s when my mom isn’t there making amazing home cooked meals.
Fruit is an ally of mine. I can always eat a little bowl of some mango, kiwi, banana, some berries, some nuts, honey and milk.
Even when food doesn’t sound good. You can usually drink something that tastes good. So lot’s of water and/or coconut water. Kombucha. Goal should be 64-96 ounces of fluid a day. Make your drinks fancy, you can add lemon, lime, orange, cucumber. You can make cute little floral ice cubes. Whatever it takes, allow yourself the extra time and enjoy each drink.
I do start everyday with 32 oz. of room temperature water with a slice or two of lemon or lime.
Also adrenal cocktails! When your fight or flight is activated your adrenal system is working overdrive so it’s absolutely necessary to do whatever you can to repair yourself internally. I personally think this recipe is delicious and tastes like an orange Julius, originally from @wildflora.wellnessShelby on Instagram
1 scoop collagen protein
Pinch of salt
1 tsp turmeric
Squeeze half a lime
8 oz orange juice
Cream to taste
12 oz coconut water
And then I think this recipe tastes like a margarita!
Squeeze or juice one orange, one lemon, one lime
Pinch of salt
1 scoop collagen protein
12 oz coconut water
Smoothies have become my savors. When buying out, I always go green, I always add protein and/or peanut or almond butter. At home in the morning I blend fresh pineapple and cucumber chunks, 1 scoop of collagen protein, pinch of salt and coconut water, let it sit for about an hour and it’ll settle and not be so frothy.
Also, for my booty building babes, protein shakes before bed! Not only to help when you’re trying to build muscle or maintain weight, but protein shakes an hour before bed honestly help me sleep. Just a scoop of protein and 12 ounces of milk, I personally use vegan protein because whey protein hurts my stomach. But I’ve also found protein shakes before bed help me wake up less nauseous from anxiety.
And lastly when it comes to nutrition, be gracious with yourself. If you only feel like eating cookies and ice cream, let yourself just eat cookies and ice cream. You’re going through a really hard time, and you’re doing a really good job and your body deserves whatever it’s craving.
Oh and skin and dental care should also be added to your daily self care routine too! Look into tongue scraping and oil pulling in addition to flossing and brushing, start with adding tongue scraping every morning. Then add oil pulling at least once a week, if not every day. I heat my oil up before swishing.
I don’t wear makeup so I never cherished my skin. But over the last year I’ve found how soothing and therapeutic it is to take care of your skin every morning and every night. I’m happy to share my little routine, it’s simple.
It may seem meaningless or like you have no time to add these little tasks to your day. But start small, start taking care of you. Start treasuring the 5 minutes you make for yourself. The only way you can keep fighting is if you are strong.
Meditation and/or journaling is also going to become a helpful tool. Just because you’re experiencing something traumatic, doesn’t mean it has to become trauma. Learning to hold space for your emotions and not burying your experience is going to be another slow and delicate process, but fundamental in your ability to withstand and recover from abuse.
And now the most formal and probably insufficient resource of them all, especially if you are married or have kids, is going to come from educating and preparing yourself to enter the family court system. Whether that be with an experienced lawyer or doing the research yourself, chances are you’re still going to feel extremely overwhelmed and underprepared.
Legally, you’re going to need to educate yourself on division of assets as it pertains specifically to your relationship, parenting plans, and no contact orders. These are the basics but please feel free to reach out to me if you have any other questions or resources. We are each other’s biggest ally’s, especially if you’ve been through this before, the more we know, the better chance we have at taking back our power.
If you are in an abusive situation, you are not alone. It sure feels like it, but I want you to know you are not alone. There aren’t many answers out there. You have to ultimately trust in your ability to overcome any obstacle. It’s going to be a work in progress the rest of our lives. But I want you to know I stand with you, you are beautiful, you deserve to feel loved and safe and live in a home with minimal conflict.
Love & Light,