I was born and raised in New England, with 4 brothers. I developed, during my life journey, the need to protect others. I would always protect or defend my little brother, as I got older this extended to anyone that would not stand up for themselves. My mother gave me the nickname, Brenda the Avenger. I took it as a compliment and wore it as a badge of honor for most of my life.
This blog is a journey from being the victim of various abuses to viking (Brenda the Avenger), protecting others in a way I was never protected, to a peaceful soul. I have a peaceful soul more often than not these days, but God tends to bring my attention to things I need to face, when he feels the time is right.
I will explain in a general way, what I was like, what happened and what I am like now. As new struggles come up I will share them all in a solution oriented way.
Brenda The Avenger (BTA) is a protective factor in my life that was developed as a survival tool. I lived my life from age 6 until I was 48 in survival mode. A constant state of fight or flight, which felt normal since that is all I knew. Most people their safe place is at home, but mine was work or school. I always excelled at work and no one had harmed me in my work environments. I was and still am my true authentic self at work. I know who I am and where I stand there. When I was married I was a very different person by the end of my marriage. I was submissive, fearful, anxiety ridden and absolutely resented myself for being this way. During this time I stopped advocating for myself only others. I was no longer worthy of my own protection. I would give my life to protect my step-son, he is an amazing and joyful part of my life. I stayed for 16 years primarily for him. I love him deeply.
I lived my personal relationships as a victim and I still have to keep an eye on those behaviors. I was victimized at age 6 by someone I should have been able to trust. This as during a cultural time where these things were not discussed. It happened at night in my own home, so I was robbed of any sense of security a child should feel. I was bullied at school through mid high school, so I was not safe there. I was raped at age 17 while on my first date. I never told anyone because I felt that these things were because I was bad or broken in some way.
Brenda the Avenger surfaced in the beginning to protect my younger brother and my mother. My mother never advocated for herself, where my father was concerned, I got sick of it and started standing up to my father when she wouldn’t. Protecting my brother from people bullying him made me feel powerful. I felt in control in this role. Eventually, BTA would only protect other people.
God gave me the strength and abilities to survive as a child, teen and as a wife. He also, kept me safe as I tried various ways to numb the pain that goes with all of these things. Everyone has the need to numb sometimes, but when it’s killing you, and running your life it’s time to get help. I have used TV, food, exercise, men, alcohol, shopping, isolating, and anything else….except abusing drugs…to numb. Like Brene’ Brown says, you can’t numb the dark without numbing the light, pain and joy alike are numbed. My isolation hid my life threatening numbing agents – alcohol and various eating disorders. Since I lived alone during the worst of it all, it was easy to hide. It was God that saved me each time. He saved be from alcohol after losing my mother. Then recently saved me from my E.D. after my ex-husband died and all that unaddressed stuff surfaced.
I had found out what peace and serenity felt like after getting sober and love living in that space. My E.D. robbed me of that so I went and got help just before Thanksgiving 2014. It was then that all the therapy and pieces were pulled together and the puzzle made sense. I still have so much work to do but I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I know it’s not a train.
I want women (or men) who have had these experiences to know there is a way through to a place of peace and comfort. It’s hard work, but worth the effort. I will share my story here, changing the names to protect others identities or just keeping it about the feelings, which is really what we are dealing with here.
The Resources page will be links to people, places or things that have helped me. Some will be things I am doing now and are noteworthy. Also recognition to those who have contributed to my site content, or are supporters of my life.
Every morning I get up and allow myself 30 minutes to an hour with God, before work. On the weekends this could last for hours. I get up, feed my cat, pick him up and hold him like a baby and kiss his head. He used to hate this, but I think has learned that it is love not torture. I make my coffee, grab my journal and blanket, if I need it, and I sit on my balcony. Being outside I feel like there is a more direct connection with my Creator. Making this part of my daily routine I believe is key to my changing self perception.
This is a time when I thank God for all He’s given me, big and small things. I ask Him to walk me through each day and to just do His will. This is important because I lived my life until 4 years ago on self-will run riot. Everything was about me, what do I need to do for you to like me? What will it take to make this pain inside stop? There was never enough of anything to stop the pain and fear from running my life.
The only place I felt like I knew what I was doing was at work. My knowledge and skills are strong, but there was that voice in my head telling me that I was never good enough, smart enough, pretty enough…enough. I had to finally say “ENOUGH!” I can’t live this way anymore. I said “Enough!” 7/18/2010, after losing my mother a year earlier and the pain was so great I had to turn my life over to someone other than myself. I was terrified and didn’t know how to do this, but I found people who had been where I was and they are living a life I want to live. I just did what they did and my life got better.
1. I started developing my relationship with God. I took a few years before I started spending this much time with Him. Just talking to Him in the beginning was a huge step for me.
2. I had to stop judging myself and others. I have these great expectations of myself. Completely unattainable. If I hold myself to them I hold you to them too. I had to stop and when I did, for the most part I stopped, it is human nature. I found that I was more relaxed, had more energy and without judgement there is room for love. My self love ebbs and flows. It flows more freely now than ever.
3. Forgiveness is so hard sometimes and seems unjust in some cases, but it is the magical thing that will set you free. Forgiveness is what opened my heart back up after being locked down since age 6. I had to forgive a man that abused me when I was 6 years old. I spent 40 years angry and fearful. I was really pissed off when I found out the key to getting out of that hole was to forgive him. I took time and prayers to get to where I could forgive him. I had to see he is a sick man and has to answer for his actions to a higher power then me. In October 2011, I sat across from him and made amends for my retaliations on him and in my heart I forgave him. The miracle of forgiveness is I am no longer angry or fearful. My soul is lighter and I have greater capacity to love myself and others.
4. I look at myself in the mirror and find something that I love about myself. Each time I do that I build trust with myself. I have spent my life saying mean and horrible things to myself. Things I would never say to anyone. I have to forgive myself for those harms done and make amends by not continuing to do those things This image below symbolizes hope to me. I have come a very long way, but it is an ongoing journey that I have chosen to share with you.
5. I have to be the kind of person I want to attract into my life. So that is my present journey and not settling for anything less than true love and happiness. A warm body just won’t do anymore!
I love all of you and I love myself!! I will see you soon! Thank you for stopping by.
http://www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=4650 Because I’m Happy
This page is devoted to Brene’ Brown’s books and courses. They are helping me learn shame resilience and living a wholehearted life. She has changed my life and hope to be able to feature posts from her on my blog in the future.
Hi and welcome to my blog. I am so excited to share my journey with all of you. I want to show that no matter what life throws at you, there is a way through it and to a place of peace. Join me and let’s get to know each other!!