Got Boundaries? 5 Signs You Need Boundaries

So many times, I hear:

boundaries-2 Why does this keep happening to me?
Why do I have so bad luck in relationships?
Why is it so hard to find someone to love and for them to love me?

If you have repeated this in your life (over and over again), then you need to take a look at your boundaries within your relationship.

Boundaries are simply the border or the lines that separate you from another person that you are in a relationship with.

Boundaries communicate to other people about what you like, what you don’t like, what you tolerate, and what you absolutely will not take.

Simply, boundaries let other people know how to treat you.

Do you know how you like to be treated?

Boundaries do not mean that you are being mean or trying to control another person. You are simply letting people know how you operate and what kind of person is worthy of being in your life.

Yes! You are worth it! boundaries

You have the right and get to decide who is good enough to be in your life.

You are the best person to take care of you. And at the end of the day, you are the only one responsible for your well-being.

Still not convinced?

Here are some signs that you may need (better) boundaries:

You have the constant need to fix something or someone
You stay in relationships or situations that you are not happy or unsatisfied with
You are constantly worried about the future
You feel obligated to help other people out
You are indecisive about relationships
You apologize constantly if you are unable to do something for another person
You feel jealous if your friends or partners have outside relationships
You always need to be around another person

Are any of these signs showing up in your life? Let me know in the comments!

boundaries-workbook

Black Women and Sexual Violence in America: Slavery

 

img_0360I want this blog to be an information source for Black women to learn and understand more about sexual and relationship violence. Over the next few posts, I will be giving a brief history of Black women and sexual violence in America.

There is the impression that sexual violence is a new trend. It seems like every social media and news outlet is constantly reporting on rape, especially on college campuses and military bases.

This is not new at all!

For years, women have been victims of sexual violence and fighting to end it.

This can seem impossible when the country’s decision makers are mostly clueless White men.

Black women make up 8% of the US population.

Every 2 minutes, a sexual assault occurs.

Every 6 minutes, a child is a victim of a sexual abuse.

22% of homicides are a result of domestic violence.

Over 60% of Black women will be a victim of sexual abuse before they are 18 years old.

For every Black woman who reports her assault, 15 Black women will not.

These are only a few of the staggering statistics about sexual violence.

Slavery: Black Women As Property

White people arrived to the Americas and were ready to take over this newly discovered land. The problem was that there were already people living in the Americas.

Shout out to the Natives!

However, for the White people, the Natives were considered savages; not fit enough to use or own the land appropriately.

In an attempt to take over the lands, the Whites needed to establish control and dominance over the Natives.

Among all other heinous tools, rape was also used.

In the tragic end, the natives were not going to make good slaves.

The White people needed a group that they could more easily control.

The Whites began to bring the enslaved Africans over to the Americas.

It was easier to control the Africans as they were in an unfamiliar land and spoke different languages.

Africans were also defined as savages and were seen only as property, not human.

The Whites’ wealth, prosperity, and businesses were dependent on the labor of the slaves.

img_0361In order to increase capital, the White owners needed to increase their labor. Therefore, White and Black men raped women slaves in order to get pregnant.

After childbirth, the children were more likely sold to another White slave owner where they would groomed to be an even bigger, better slave.

The African women took their own measures for birth control

This resistance included taking camphor tree bark or performing their own abortions.

This resistance continued even after slavery.

Looking Towards The Future

Black women clubs in the early 1800s began to formally organize and advocate for sexual violence (raise money and awareness).

The most difficult part was that Black women were not seen as human and not capable of being raped. It would not make for a great news story (much still has not changed today).

There was a lot of unknown and unrecognized work done by countless Black women fighting back against White slave owners, northern White men, and Black men.

Even after the abolishment of slavery, Black people were still seen (and federally defined) as being less-than human.

Rape continued.

The fight continued.

In the next post, I will be discussing sexual violence during the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras.

Want to learn more?

Join us TODAY, Wednesday, October 26th at 9pm, on Twitter for the #CiteASista Talk where we will be discussing more about Black women and sexual violence.

“MANY GIRLS REMAIN SILENT WHEN ABUSED BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE NICE”: Adichie’s Feminist Manifesto

“Her Hob Is Not to Make Herself Likeable”: Adichie’s Powerful Essay on Raising a Feminist Daughter by Ishita Sengupta

“Her job is not to make herself likeable, her job is to be her full self, a self that is honest and aware of the equal humanity of other people…Please do not ever put this pressure on your daughter. We teach girls to be likeable, to be nice, to be false. And we do not teach boys the same. This is dangerous. Many sexual predators have capitalized on this. Many girls remain silent when abused because they want to be nice. Many girls spend too much time trying to be ‘nice’ to people who do them harm. Many girls think of the ‘feelings’ of those who are hurting them. This is the catastrophic consequence of likeability.” (DEAR IJEAWELE, OR A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS)

 

Read the full article here.

“I Thought It Was Over!”: 5 Things No One Tells You About Being Raped

The assault has happened.

The initial shock has come and gone.
You are attempting to regain some sense of normalcy. But, it is difficult.
Even impossible.
Or maybe years have passed.
Like in my case, the violence happened in my childhood.
Family and friends may not understand.
They may have gone back to their normal lives.
Unaware of how difficult things are for you.


What do you mean by sexual violence?

Side note, I will mostly talk about childhood sexual abuse. However, I want to be clear that the things I will describe can apply to all victims of sexual violence.

The American Psychological Association defines sexual abuse as “unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.”

In The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, they provide the following examples of sexual violence:
• Fondled, kissed, or held for sexual gratification
• Forced to perform oral sex  courage
• Raped or otherwise penetrated
• Made to watch sexual acts
• Subjected to excessive talk about sex
• Fondled or hurt genitally while being bathed
• Subjected to unnecessary medical treatments that satisfied an adult’s sexual needs
• Shown sexual moves or other pornography
• Made to pose for seductive or sexual photographs
• Forced into child prostitution or pornography
• Forced to take part in ritualized abuse in which you were physically, psychologically, or sexually tortured

This can be difficult to wrap your mind around at first.
If the abuse is a new discovery for you, it may be even tougher.
It is an important first step in acknowledging what has happened.
Only after acknowledging can move on to healing.
I too thought I could skip this step.
After all, I had no problems saying out loud that was sexually abused as a child.
However, my problem was being able to allow myself to feel the emotions that came with the realization of being molested.
I did not know how it affected me until I begin to do more reading and counseling.


Consequences

There are many symptoms or consequences that stem from sexual abuse.
Even if you do not remember it happening or you do not think it has had an effect on you, like I did, there are still some common signs to watch out for.

shameShame

Simply put, shame is the belief that “I’m not good enough.” If people knew the real you, they would leave you. It’s being overly critical of everything and everyone, most of all being critical of you. You blame yourself for what happened to you. “If only I ______”, repeats in your mind constantly. You pick fights with people. You want to end it before they can leave you. You may believe that you don’t deserve anything good happening in your life. If a relationship or work is going well, it’s hard to believe it. You may even unconsciously sabotage it in order to avoid the pain in the future.

Perfectionism

Shame also includes perfectionism. Your ultimate fear is making a mistake and being called out for it. You can never screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-6-35-12-pmbe or do anything that is wrong or that would make others look at you negatively. There may be a constant obsession over projects, replaying conversations in your mind, wondering if you said the right thing? Did someone not like what you said or how you said it? You work really hard to look the right way or say the right things. You often feel that the people around you don’t know you or understand you. There are no real close relationships in your life.

Codependence

Shame also leads to codependent behavior and relationships. You will sacrifice your codependencyneeds in order to help someone else. It may be difficult to trust yourself. You have trouble knowing your personal strengths, interests, dreams, or emotions. However, it is easy to understand and identify those things in others. You often are unaware or ignore your body (hunger, tiredness, fear, pain). However, you do whatever it takes to meet those same needs in other people. For you, it’s more about being a good person who supports and cares for others. It doesn’t seem like a bad thing.


Anxiety/Depression/Guilt

There is a lot of time where you isolate yourself. You rather spend time alone and away from other people. You get a break from thinking and obsessing when you are alone. There is no one there to please but you. You often have a hard time feeling good, like everything is going to be okay. It is difficult to get motivated or stick to anything. You may even hurt yourself, like cutting, to feel alive. You feel disconnected, dead inside. Your only emotions are really sadness, anxiety, fear, and rage. There are panic attacks and nightmares that sneak up on you. Everyone just tells you to snap out of it and be more grateful.your-fault

Repeating Abuse

Your (subconscious) mind is constant reliving the trauma, trying to understand it and fix it. This may cause you to place yourself in dangerous situations, trying to accomplish accidental suicide. Your relationships are abusive in some way, subconsciously hoping you can fix it, change it, or that you deserve it. You may struggle with addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex, eating disorders, and accomplishments (perfectionism). You may never have any sexual desires or you may overly engage in sexual activity. You may even begin to abuse others in some way. It’s a way to feel less powerless.

design-1


These things and more consume your life on a daily basis.

Some people are able to hide it better than others.
It’s not your fault.
It doesn’t have to stay the same.
It can change.
What are your reactions? Let me know in the comments

Why I Started This Blog: My Story

For a while, I felt I had this calling to share my story. That sounds so big, right? At first, I thought it was a way to start my own business, which is a dream of mine. However, the more I thought about this, the more I realized that it was for a much bigger reason than that. I needed to share my story to save my own life.

As I look over my life, for the most part, I have some great accomplishments. I have done pretty well for myself considering my beginnings.

My Story (short version)

The short version of the story is that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. My first experience happened when I was about three and ended around eight or nine. One thing I should say is that one of the after effects of trauma, of any kind, is that it affects your memory. For me, there are a lot of memories that are not clear. There are huge chunks of childhood that I cannot remember.

Two separate family members molested me. The second family member was the abuse that lasted the longest and has had the most impact. I told my family in the beginning about both instances. Their reactions to my confessions were very confusing for me. I felt like I was in trouble instead of doing something that was brave. I remember a lot of yelling and looks of horror on my parents’ faces. I remember telling my brother and his silence and physically withdrawing from me. This further made me feel like I did something wrong.

Today, my family has no recollection of these events. They say that they do not remember me telling them anything. Also, they do not understand why this is something that still effects me today. While I do not see them as these evil, bad people, I do see them as people who have hurt me deeply.

After Effects

Most of my life, I have lived in isolation and quietness. There was always this huge secret I felt like I had to keep in order to protect the people in my life. At a very young age, I was aware of other’s feelings and trying to protect them from the bad ones. Although I was seething with negative feelings (self-hate, negativity, loneliness), I knew I could handle it and my family would not be able to handle it.

As I continue to do my work to free myself from my past, I can see how the isolation and quietness leads to my difficulty of trusting other people. In any of my relationships, I do not have the expectation that people will be around for the long-term or that they will not be there in my time of need. And that was what seemed to be happening. It was like I was becoming victimized all the time and had no control over it.

My childhood abuse affected me sexually. Throughout my teenage years and early twenties, sex became this thing I did constantly. I felt like it was the only thing I was good at and it was my duty to provide men with sex. Otherwise, what else was the purpose of a man and a woman being in a relationship with each other?

There are other things that are affected by me being molested. I am sure I am not even aware of them all yet. It is motivation for me to continue doing the work to be more aware and getting out of this victimization cycle. That is why this blog is important to me.

Road to Healing

For the past three years, I have been on the path to trying to heal from the untitled-designpast. I lost a marriage, friendships, and myself and I just wanted to get me back. This required me to take an honest look at myself. What was my responsibility in all of this? I never thought it had anything to do with being molested as a child; I just thought there was something wrong with me.

I felt no one understood me. No one understood how I thought, how I saw the
world, and what my needs were. But I did not understand them, so how could I expect anyone else to do that?

This Blog…

I write this blog to share my story. In sharing my story, it helps me to examine my life, to continue to do the necessary work to free myself of the pain and being a victim.

I share my story to help others, so you know that you are not alone.

And lastly, I share my story to explore the bigger picture of child molestation and sexual violence. It is not just individual women problems; it is a societal issue that we all have a responsibility to attend to.

Every week, I will post on different topics related to childhood abuse and sexual violence. I will talk about how you to can heal from the past and have a life where you feel loved and complete. It is a journey and we can help each other overcome.

Rape Culture is Endemic

What is rape?rape-culture-is-endemic2

What does it mean?

How do you know it has happened?

The other day, I was watching a YouTube video of a “famous” YouTube star explaining why she had broken up with her boyfriend again.

In the midst of this explanation, she talked about hanging out with friends at her house after a night out. Because she had consumed alcohol, she blacked out for the whole night.

In the morning, she felt off. One of her friends explained that he and her “hooked up”. As she did not feel comfortable with this, she said nothing to the friend or to no one else.

As she explained this story, she was very apologetic and blamed herself for the incident. Her boyfriend also broke up with her because of this.

Watching this video made me uncomfortable and angry. I screamed at the laptop screen, YOU WERE RAPED!

It’s unfortunate that because of how endemic rape culture is, this young woman did not know what happened to her should not have happened. The reason that she felt uncomfortable was because she did not make the decision to “hook up”.

If you don’t give permission,

If you are not conscious,

You were raped.

It doesn’t matter what you had to drink

What you wore that day

How flirty you were acting

If you had sex before

If you did not give consent or could not give consent, it was not your choice.

You were raped!