I was in an Abusive Relationship

in scripture

Not all abusive relationship are what you first think. When you hear abusive, you assume violence to a woman, from her boyfriend or husband. We also would assume the same of an emotional abusive relationship. The truth is any relationship that is destructive can be abusive. It can be a teacher, parent, friend, coworker, employer. These types are often referred to as bullies.

Now most of you who know me or have taken class for me have probably yet to wrap your head around how I could have been in an abusive relationship. Someone tear me down, or talk down to me? Not happening. That’s the thing about these kind of relationships, they are subtle..they creep up. the highs are high and the lows are low. But you cant picture yourself able to function without them in your life.Pain to myself

This was not a romantic relationship, and I was not the only victim. We had a “friend” this friend was so cool, they where very charismatic and seemed to know everyone and everything. They had things in life we thought we wanted and we “knew” if we hung around this friend life would be awesome. They where so much fun to be around. They planned the best trips. We couldn’t wait till the next time we all hung out.–I never experienced any physical violence – although i witnessed many explosive outburst and destruction of property when my friend would get mad at me. There was one occasion that one person in our circle was physically attacked– and yet, we stayed in this relationship, knowing it would “get better”…. I mean the friend did apologize.

I recall the first emotional attack. I recall, because I fought back. I was a strong, confident, confrontational  individual who would not take nothing from anyone. This “attack” like most, was public. That day I got toe to toe with my attacker and told them under no circumstances where they ever to speak to me that way again. If they had an issue or concern they could address me privately, and we would determine what needed to happen.

It was many years before my attacker or bully, some might say ever spoke to me that way again. But by then, the smaller attacks over the years had torn me down and destroyed who I had once been.

cycle_of_abuseAn emotionally abusive relationship is when someone tears you down, then builds you up, only to tear you down all over again. Its a cycle and when they build you up, they do so well you “forgive” everything else that happened because you are so excited by what they have promised or the compliments they paid etc etc. They have everything you want, life will be perfect, you will be the best of friends. Its a viscous cycle. One you may not even know you are in.

I didn’t have any idea. I thought the problems where all in me. I began to believe what they said. I even began to think I had or had not done things based on what I was told, not what

am I crazyactually had happened. I was going crazy, It was all in my head, I was a failure. It was at that point, I was on 2 different anti depressant medications and anti anxiety.  I also began looking forward to my Friday nights at the local bar  for “stress relief” I lost myself, who I was, who I wanted to be in that relationship.

I didn’t see until after I was out of that relationship, I recall the day I realized how much I had changed. I was at a new job, on my team conference call and I didn’t talk, I didn’t  say anything. Another manager was sharing a challenge he was having and I knew exactly what he should do, but I said nothing. I called my manager after the call to share what I thought should happen, She asked, why on earth didn’t you share? She gave me a great “pep talk” on not being shy etc. The whole time she was talking I couldn’t understand how on earth she thought I was shy and quiet. It was after she hung up and I sat down that I realized how different I was. That was the day I started rebuilding me. It was much harder then one could imagine and the damage was very deeply rooted .

I wish I could say what would have made me recognize the issue while I was there, so I could get out, but I was so blind. I spoke with one of the other victims the other day, the one who had been physically attacked, neither of us could comprehend why we did not end the relationship that day. Why did we consider that ok?

An abusive relationship, physical or mental, can happen to or with anyone. Sometimes referred to as a bully. Noticing the signs or changes in yourself or a loved one can help you recognize and remove yourself from the destructive cycle.

If you find that you relate, and are in an abusive relationship it is important to get out, be free. Find a trusted friend or family member and share with them what is going on and have them help you end things and make the necessary changes. If you don’t have a friend you trust, you local church pastor will have the resources to help you. If you are unsure of churches in you area, I know you can contact my church at http://www.fellowshipne.com and they will connect you with the best people to find yourself again.

I Fired My Doctor

donald trump fired

In Fitness for Life, I shared that people in my life’s attitude about aging and what you can and should do influenced how I thought my years would be. One of the major influencers during that negative time in my life was my Doctors and his team.

To give a little back story, I struggled with post par tum depression after the birth of my second son. I ended up needing a prescription to manage it. After a while my doctor successfully weaned me off of the prescription.perscription But, 6 months later I was again in a very bad place, and although I didn’t see it at the time, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. Let me clarify, It wasn’t my husband. See my next blog, I was in an Abusive relationship. My doctor prescribed a new script for what we thought was depression(this was a new doctor due to an insurance change).

That medication caused me to gain 20pds in just 6 weeks. I was very frustrated, and made an appointment with my doctor right away. I sat down with the on call doctor who was a woman, and explained what was going on. I told her my activity level and diet had not changed. It was then she added to the mantra I had heard many times. “honey, woman our age” (mind you I was 25). bathroom scaleShe basically told me to be happy with what I had but try weight watchers if I was really worried, but in her opinion I was still in a “healthy” weight range (this still horrifies me)

My primary care doctor was constantly putting on weight. It was hard for me to trust my health to someone who clearly didn’t value his own.

I only saw him when I had no choice.

A couple year later a severely sprained my ankle and was on crutches for 3 months. When I shared my activities, which now included Krav Maga, grappling and running 5-6miles, and asked how soon I could get back to that.. my doctor said I shouldn’t plan on it.  Plus at “my age” I was at higher risk for injury. I got a second opinion and she gave me exercise to strengthen to prevent those injuries.

The final straw came 9 months later. I had totally changed my lifestyle. Eating healthier, working out more and my ankle was doing great. I had ended the destructive relationship a couple years prior and was emotionally healthy. I had gone 30 days with no caffeine or an processed food and I felt amazing. Then I started having these bizarre heart flutters. They lasted less then 20 seconds and happened every 1-2 hours.dont get sidetracked I continued with my normal activities including exercise as it did not seem to be affected either way. But after 3 days it was still happening. I called my doctor assuming, being heart related he would have me come in and get it checked. NOPE. First he told me stop consuming caffeine, when I explained it had been a month he said oh, good keep doing that. Then he said stop exercising. That I must just exercise to much.That there was no need for me to be exercising. Just like that, over the phone.

Your doctor is part of your support team to a healthy lifestyle. If your doctor is not living a healthy lifestyle, how can he direct you?  Zig Ziglar said “If you have a fat doctor fire him” ….the same apply’s to a poor accountant… My doctor did not have any interest in helping me be in the best shape of my life. He had no concerns at my sudden weight gain, because I was still under the national average.

I fired my doctor, and interviewed and found one that I knew would put my health and fitness as his priority. I got references from people who trained like I did. I want to know if I go to see my doctor for a concern, he will take me seriously, as an individual, not a statistic.IMG_3855

What about your doctor? Would you consider him part of your health and fitness “support team”, or just a necessary evil? Have you had an ailment or injury that hasn’t improved and your doctor hasn’t made it a priority? Your health is with you for life, just like in any professions, you will have doctors who are passionate about their career choice, health, and their patients. You will also have doctors who are just going through the motions, meeting their statistics and making the insurance companies happy. Don’t put your health and lifestyle in someone life thats hands. You deserve to live life to the fullest and have each day count, and be better then the day before. Don’t let anyone hold you back, especially the Doctor who should be moving you forward! If you don’t have a doctor that will put you first, find one who will!

Weathering the Storm

Weathering the Storm

I sat in the hot tub last night. 19 degrees out and I was outdoors nice and comfy in my hot tub. I thought kind of crankily how with the big storm coming in I was kind of upset my fireplace wasn’t fixed yet. I am not a fan of this weather, but a nice cozy fire and glass of wine makes it bearable. So not having my fireplace was quite the inconvenience.

Missed My Fireplace Over the Holidays
Missed My Fireplace Over the Holidays

It hit me how much has changed. Just 5 years ago Corey and I were getting ready to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. But everything around us was falling apart. We had just opened our school, and our only source of household income was my job as a store manager. I had broken my arm and had been out of work 2 months with a possible 3-6 months more out.

Needless to say, we were in financial crisis. We were now 2 months behind in our mortgage. For Christmas, we had nothing. We were blessed that someone close to us had an idea of how things were and the local police dept dropped of to huge bags of wrapped gifts for my boys. Even though it was a huge blessing, I still was feeling a failure.

Then we ran out of oil. It was one of the coldest spells in years, some schools closed due to the sub zero temperatures. We lived in a house that was 200 years old and very drafty. We didn’t tell anyone. We asked Corey’s parents because of how “busy” our work schedule was that next couple days if the boys can sleep over their house.

Huddled around a space heater.
Huddled around a space heater.

Then we closed of the rest of the house and huddled around a space heater and wore 5 layers! We bought a cheap electric blanket.

I became very discouraged. I started doubting if we had chosen the right path. Maybe a martial arts school in Spencer MA was not a good decision. Such a small farming community surrounded the area. Maybe, when I go back to work I should focus on finding a district or regional management position. I mean, I really did enjoy that kind of work and I loved to travel. Maybe Corey should look into a full time career outside the school also. Nothing was going the way we hoped it seemed like we would forever be stuck in this place unless something changed. I was facing a wall of discouragement, I began to feel foolish in my goals and worry what others where thinking of me and my failures. Real Mistake

Corey had been doing some side work and we had oil again within a couple days. I did return to work and we were able to tread water and make some serious changes, but not the kind that forced us to give up on our dreams.

I would like to say after that winter it was all better. It wasn’t, we faced many more challenges.

A little over a year later our electricity was turned off for non payment,  I owed over $2000. We went a week with no electricity. We told the boys it was an experiment to understand what real farm life used to be like. It was summer so we didn’t freeze, but all of our food spoiled.

This time though my attitude was very different. I understood in the long run this was only a few days. It was not going to destroy my life or even seriously hold me back. I didn’t need to abort my goals. I could see progress happening and knew we would overcome.

When challenges come your way you need to step back. You need to ask yourself, will this matter in 5 years? How will it affect me in 5 years? How old will I be? How old will my kids be? What do I want my life to be like in 5 years? How will I  get there? As awful as that year was, it was a small part of a big life. I had the opportunity to be blessed by my amazing community, who helped us survive during a challenging time. I got to find out what was really worth it. I got to learn that success isn’t sprint, but a marathon. Just like a marathon, sometimes you want to give up and take the easy way. Stay on the path, don’t give up, don’t life’s discouragements stop you. It’s your life, don’t let it happen to you, create the life you always wanted.

Follow that dream

My dream grew into http://www.abdspencer.com — now we also have http://www.abdshrewsbury.com, http://www.ilovekickboxingspencer.com,