By: Leigh Garczynski, Riddle Defense / 561-398-3013
November 27, 2019
By sharing my story, it is my hope to help others recover and seek help!
Self defense is not about muscle, hurting people, playing a game of egos or living paranoid. It is about taking control of your life in a positive way; conquering your life’s circumstances and giving you a sense of empowerment!
Trust me, I didn’t always think this way. I was one of the ones who thought… “it will never happen to me!” Well, that wasn’t the case.
In my thirties, I met and married a man who I thought had it all… handsome, successful, smart and loved to cook. A short time after we married, the true “him” came through.
Bit by bit my life as I knew it wasn’t the same. A few years later the worst situation that changed me forever took place. I was one of the fortunate ones that survived… “he” died on a rainy March evening. Life is precious and in a matter of seconds anyone’s life can be taken away or forever altered.
I started my healing process by taking a self defense class with John Riddle. During my training I learned that I have the power to defend myself despite my small stature. John taught and continues to teach me the skills necessary to take care of myself; as he always says… “You can only rely on yourself”. Being physically fit, mentally & situationally aware, and practicing self defense has and continues to empower me. If something does occur in my life again, anywhere, no matter what it is, I will have a fighting chance!
It has taken me years to recover and to understand that this horrific period in my life didn’t define me as a person, but has given me the passion to help others through our self defense training facility…. Riddle Defense.
Domestic abuse, whether it be physical abuse, emotional and verbal abuse are all ABUSE!!! The statistics from USA.gov state that 1 in 4 women will suffer from some sort of abuse in their lifetime. That means; a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker.
I thought I would share some valuable information from womenshealth.gov to help someone you may know that is in need.
You may be experiencing domestic violence if your partner:
Controls what you’re doing
Checks your phone, email, or social networks without your permission
Forces you to have sex when you don’t want to
Controls your birth control or insists that you get pregnant
Decides what you wear or eat or how you spend money
Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school or seeing your family or friends
Humiliates you on purpose in front of others
Unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful
Destroys your things
Threatens to hurt you, your children, other loved ones, or your pets
Hurts you physically (e.g., hitting, beating, punching, pushing, kicking), including with a weapon
Blames you for his or her violent outbursts
Threatens to hurt herself or himself because of being upset with you
Threatens to report you to the authorities for imagined crimes
Says things like, “If I can’t have you, then no one can”
Emotional and Verbal Abuse
You may not think you are being abused if you’re not being hurt physically. But emotional and verbal abuse can have short-term and long-lasting effects that are just as serious as the effects of physical abuse. Emotional and verbal abuse includes insults and attempts to scare, isolate, or control you. It is also often a sign that physical abuse may follow. Emotional and verbal abuse may also continue if physical abuse starts. If you have been abused, it is never your fault.
How can I tell if I’m being emotionally or verbally abused?
You may be experiencing emotional or verbal abuse if someone:
Wants to know what you’re doing all the time and wants you to be in constant contact
Demands passwords to things like your phone, email, and social media and shows other signs of digital abuse
Acts very jealous, including constantly accusing you of cheating
Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family
Tries to stop you from going to work or school
Gets angry in a way that is frightening to you
Controls all your finances or how you spend your money
Stops you from seeing a doctor
Humiliates you in front of others
Calls you insulting names (“stupid,” “disgusting,” “worthless,,” “fat”)
Threatens to hurt you, people you care about, or pets
Threatens to call the authorities to report you for wrongdoing
Threatens to harm himself or herself when upset with you
Says things like, “If I can’t have you, then no one can”
Decides things for you that you should decide (like what to wear or eat)
How does emotional and verbal abuse start?
Emotional and verbal abuse may begin suddenly. Some abusers may start out behaving normally and then begin abuse after a relationship is established. Some abusers may purposefully give a lot of love and attention, including compliments and requests to see you often, in the beginning of a relationship. Often, the abuser tries to make the other person feel strongly bonded to them, as though it is the two of them “against the world.”
Over time, abusers begin to insult or threaten their victims and begin controlling different parts of their lives. When this change in behavior happens, it can leave victims feeling shocked and confused. You may feel embarrassed or foolish for getting into the relationship. If someone else abuses you, it’s never your fault.
What are the effects of emotional or verbal abuse?
Staying in an emotionally or verbally abusive relationship can have long-lasting effects on your physical and mental health, including leading to chronic pain, depression, or anxiety.
How can I get help for emotional or verbal abuse?
If you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you aren’t in immediate danger, reach out to a trusted friend or family member, therapist, or volunteer with an abuse shelter or domestic violence hotline.
Abuse, Trauma, and Mental Health
Abuse, whether physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual, can have long-term effects on your mental health. Trauma can affect how you feel about yourself and how you relate to others. Women who have gone through abuse or other trauma have a higher risk of developing a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma and abuse are never your fault. You can get help to heal the physical, mental, and emotional scars of trauma and abuse.
Your safety is the most important concern. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
If you are not in immediate danger, consider these options:
Get medical care. If you have been injured or sexually assaulted, go to a local hospital emergency room or urgent care center. You need medical care and may need medicines after being injured or raped.
Call a helpline for free, anonymous help. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TDD). The hotline offers help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in many languages. Hotline staff can give you numbers for other resources, such as local domestic violence shelters.
Domestic violence usually does not get better. Think about a safe place for you to go and other things you will need. Staff at the National Domestic Violence Hotline can help you plan.
Talk to someone. Reach out to someone you trust. This might be a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or a spiritual leader. Look for ways to get emotional help, like a support group or mental health professional. Look into a restraining order. Consider getting a protection order. If you are the victim of domestic violence, know that you are not alone. There are people who want to help you and who are trained to respond.