“Abuse shows up in all forms; physically, mentally and emotionally. Don’t allow your soul to be stolen and mistaken for LOVE.” Ask Kimberly
Over the past year we have all seen the Domestic Abuse altercations all over the media. Many have an opinion, but what happens when you’re an outsider looking in thinking because they are a celebrity you actually know them. What about the average individual who may be going through the same heartache? “You Know My Name, but Not My Story” just got REAL.
Ques: What was the deciding factor to reaching out to Ask Kimberly and sharing your testimony of being a married woman in an Emotional Abusive relationship?
Answer: Through my journey, I have a heart to inspire and give hope to women that have gone through and/or going through what I have. This is my reasoning for reaching out to Ask Kimberly – to share my testimony in hopes that I can help in the healing process for someone else.
Ques: I understand your Ex-Husband isn’t the main component of this story. However, what’s your accountability of selecting an individual who temporarily stifled your self-worth?
Answer: This is a tough question for me to answer, but over the years one I have continued to asked myself this very question. I’ve struggled with low self-esteem that has stemmed from my childhood. However, I am still searching my soul for the reason I selected to marry a Man who was emotionally abusive. My bi-logical Father – still alive and stepfather deceased were both perfect gentlemen and each had major roles in raising me. The two were very similar in character – kind, loving, giving, affectionate, great providers/protectors, hard working godly men. They never had a negative word to say; praised me, uplifted me and were always supportive of me. There was never a negative experience as it relates to the first Men in my life; Bi-logical Father and Stepfather.
My Mother was a good, beautiful, classy woman in looks that kept our home clean, cooked 3 meals a day, kept me clean and updated with the latest fashions for school and church. She was a dedicated house wife. She was never in the streets; didn’t drink or smoke. She taught me the meaning of class, the importance of wearing the proper undergarments, support bras, stockings, how to sit like a lady and how to clean, the way to hold a fork and how to cut a roast. She taught values on how a young lady should carry and conduct herself. However, her tongue was as sharp as a knife as it relates to raising me. I believe it was her style of discipline was the core reason of what hurt me so deeply. She isn’t an affectionate person. I didn’t hear the words “I love you” from her very often. Her way of discipline was to talk down. This is why I believe that I have struggled with low self-esteem. At times I felt like a modern day Cinderella. We didn’t then and still don’t have the kind of Mother and Daughter relationship my heart desires. This is why my Children and I are extremely close. My Mother and I had and have our great times and I know for a fact that she loves me as I love her with all my heart. We’ve had our heart to heart talks about my feelings growing up; and I am still moving towards the healing process. However, we are total opposites; I have more of my Father and Stepfathers characteristics.
To honestly answer your question, I don’t know why. I do know that I am an over giver, tending to put others before myself. Your question brings everything back to the surface for me, that I still need have more soul searching to conquer.
Ques: Please share your Aha-Moment that transitioned the perception of a family living the “White Picket Fence Lifestyle.”
Answer: My Ex-Husband was a tall dark and handsome, corporate white collar college graduate with lots of flavor. A smart, funny, real good time guy. He was an educated individual with a keen sense of humor; that I admired and were the reasons I feel in love. In our first year of marriage I took on a Stepdaughter that was 6 years old. Within the same year I became pregnant with our first child. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I found out that Husband had a drug addiction. I was devastated. During that first year of our marriage, while pregnant with our first child he was in rehab 3 times.
During our 15 year marriage I knew we “looked” like the perfect family. A woman I worked with called us the black Barbie and Ken. We attended church every Sunday. People would tell us that we were a beautiful couple who had beautiful children. Kimberly, we had great careers; we had all the potential in the world to do and become anything our hearts desired. Everyone saw the white picket fence but that was not the reality at all. The facts were that my Ex had a terrible drug addiction that cut me like a very sharp knife and for 15 years I was slowly bleeding. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually; my self-worth didn’t exist. I almost bled to the death. Just about everything that you can imagine that takes place with a person who is on hard drugs, happened. We faced foreclosure, job losses, and “almost” everything in between, never knowing what the next minute would bring. A portion of the Aha-Moment eventually took place in 2005 when I was embarrassed publicly by the exposure of his addiction.
Ques: That’s a powerfully deep testimony that you have carried around in fear of judgment. I commend you for sharing your story with Ask Kimberly and our Soul Kisses readers. Although, we are just touching the surface of your Aha-Moment. Did you overlook any signs during the dating process that now make you say. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time?”
Answer: I started dating my Ex-Husband when I was 26 years old. I got married two years later. I was very young and impressionable. I thought that I could love him and he would stop; have people talk to him and he would stop; cuss him out and he would stop; call the police and he would stop. My self-worth and emotional state took a life of its own. I would disconnect the battery to the car so that he would stay home with me. I thought one day he would love me enough to stop. I confided in people seeking help and venting my frustrations when he would leave me and the children. I turned into a monster at times. Fussing and cussing him out doing crazy things like breaking his eye glasses, throwing his golf clubs out the front door etc.
This behavior was totally against the grain of who I really Am deep down inside. I definitely tried to make things better for him and our family. We did years of rehab privately and in the church. He would say things like. “There are so many Women out here that are single that would love to have a man like me. I’m not a bad person I just have a drug problem.” He would also say “Maybe if you pray for me instead of talking S**t, I’d get better.” Needless to say that played on my psyche. It was like I was sleeping with the enemy and I guess I was to a degree. I feared that he would become clean and be all to someone else that he should have been to me. Not looking in the mirror at what I have to offer, Not loving myself, having self-pity, thinking that I wasn’t good enough, not realizing my beauty, my brains & the other gifts that God has given me.
The best that I could, I held my family together with a big smile. Yes, I made my mistakes. I gave him half of my 20’s all of my 30’s and was creeping into my 40’s. I knew that I had to make a decision. All that I had been through was not easy and as a result I had fallen out of love and I didn’t care anymore. I had enough. I remember telling my Ex one day that I might as well be having sex with the neighbor. My reasoning for saying this is when I was intimate with my Ex it felt like I was with a stranger. It didn’t feel safe. I felt like I was compromising my body to someone that wasn’t worthy of my intimacy. Right or wrong, good or bad I had to make the hardest decision of my life. So I pulled the plug. For some people I’m sure it would be an easy thing to just leave. I loved him and I wanted my marriage and my family together. This was not the White Picket Fence, I long for as a young woman. I knew biblically divorce shouldn’t be an option. I was always the back burner. The back burner for the drugs, his ego, my sanity, the kids, the bills, my health. We were always behind the eight ball, playing catch-up.
We had fun times and good times but, I was always in fear for when his urges would come and he’d disappear. My mental state started to questioned all the time. What if he leaves to go to the store is he coming back? Watching the clock always. A horrible way to live year in and year out. I had ENOUGH, it was time to save myself.
A blessing in disguise happened in 2008. Although, at the time I didn’t see it as a blessing. I now know it was and is a blessing from God. I was still married; My Ex was unemployed for a few years prior to 2008. Than I got laid off from work in 2008. Now I’m collecting unemployment and looking for a job. I was with a girl friend and a friend of hers knew that I had loss my job. She said to me “Carmen, I know that you’re a professional Woman but, my cleaning lady didn’t show up for the past 2 weeks and I need someone to come in and clean. Can you come and clean.” I said “sure”, we set a date to clean her house. I stopped at the dollar store and with my last $20.00 I got the cleaning products needed to clean her house. After cleaning her house she asked me “how much do I owe you?” Well I didn’t know what to charge I just knew that I needed juice, milk, bread, cereal and gas for my car. So I said $65.00… She looked and me like I was crazy and just wrote the check. While cleaning these homes I would say to myself “Carmen, what are you doing you are forty something, down on your knees cleaning peoples floors.” I thought Carmen you are going backwards, mops and buckets in the back of my car. People seeing me looking a mess in the middle of the day after cleaning all day. Having a background in sales/marketing, working with Fortune 500 Companies and twenty plus years of professional work experience. I thought I had lost my mind. I had children to take care of so with my back, up against the wall I went all in. After two years of cleaning houses, no luck finding a job and having only 6 months left on unemployment. I decided to start my own company- CCL Restoration. CCL stands for Carmen, Courtney and Landon after me and my children.
From there I got eleven residential clients, then I picked up some real estate investors as clients and started cleaning their properties, and that’s when I started putting together a team. With my sales and marketing background I had a thought. I said to myself, I have been selling for over 20 years and so it was time to put my selling skills to work for me. I started building relationships with local and national contractors and as a result I have expanded from residential to retail and commercial clients.
Ques: If you could go back to the early days of dating. What would you do differently to selecting a partner to say “I Do” to? Share with the Soul Kisses readers two characteristics and/or qualities you would consider now.
I will be paying very close attention to how “he” relates to woman, his Mother, Sisters, Aunts and daughters. I have learned that how a man treats the females in his life is how he will treat you.
I will take more time to really get to know that person.
Ask lots of questions and not take things at face value.
Stay in prayer and take it slow.
Ques: From your marriage you have two beautiful children; a boy and a girl. What values do you teach them when it comes to relationships?
Answer: First of all I tell my children all of the time that they are beautiful inside and out. I tell them that they are special, smart, good people and that they can be and do anything they put their minds to. In hopes that they won’t fall prey to dysfunctional relationships. I am forever talking to my kids about this I can list 100 things. The 2 things that come to mind are:
I tell my daughter who is 18 and a senior in high school to be friends first. True friends are hard to come by, so never be in a rush.
My son, who is 14 in the 8th grade. I tell him to respect, respect, and respect. He must respect women, if they are not respectable kindly walk away. And, I am happy to report that my son is extremely kind and loving to me he treats me and his sisters with the utmost respect and manners.
Ques: Emotional Abuse can be just as threatening as physical abuse. Emotional Abuse scars your spirit and can play over/over in ones thoughts as they aren’t worthy and/or were deserving of the effects that transpired during the relationship. There may be readers who are currently going through an emotional or physical situation. Please share some words of encouragement that LOVE doesn’t show-up in a demeaning spirit and steps to move forward.
Answer: This passage from the Holy Bible on love is an authentic representation.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not envy or boast, it is not rude, it is not self seeking, It is not easily angered Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always truths, always hopes, always persevere, and love never fails. Holy Bible
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
As my testimony only scratches the surfaces of what happen without going into all of the horrifying details of being a wife of an addict who was emotionally abused. I must say that when I got the questions to answer, I thought they were deep. I didn’t want to offend anyone. I didn’t want to go there for several reasons but Kimberly explain to me that this is bigger than me and that I had to tell my story in order to help others. How can I go out and do inspirational speaking to other women if I don’t share my testimony.
Young women know that you have brains, beauty and time on your side so please don’t settle. Love yourselves, make the best choices for your life no matter how hard it may seem at the time.
Women in your 40’s, 50’s and beyond. You are still beautiful. As my Mother said it best “It’s only too late when the grave yard workers throw the dirt in your face, only then is when it’s too late.” As long as you have breath it’s not too late. Just believe, set a goal and make it happen for yourself. Find the courage. We are seasoned to perfection like fine wine.
I speak life to all who reads this.
Kimberly, I thank you for allowing me to share my testimony. I humbly thank you for encouraging me to dig deep in order to help inspire others.
I also want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for keeping me, My Parents, Siblings, My Children, My Bishop Jarvis Hines for covering me in prayer and speaking life into me, my closet friends, Jennifer, Charis’, Shawannah, Barry, DL, Richard, Francine and Shannon for encouraging me and lifting me up over the many years.
Ask Kimberly: Life doesn’t always go exactly as planned, but if you remain prayerful. The Universe has a way of turning a triumph into a testimony; that will not only heal you, but others as well. The healing process continues for Carmen as she moves forward to strengthening and sustaining a lifestyle that wont be perfect. However, it will be soothing for her soul. God never gives you a test without a testimony and Carmen will be sharing her journey with women in hopes that her voice will magnify a transition that you hold the control over your life. If you are in Cincinnati, Ohio in November and December Carmen will be at: Lighthouse Youth Services & River City Correctional Center for Women. Exact dates will be shared soon.
“Never allow an individual to DIM your LIGHT.” You Matter... The emotional scars of any form of abuse can stay with victims long after they have left the relationship. If you are or know someone who may be in a physical or emotional abusive situation. Please don’t stay silent. Your support just may be the nudge needed to move forward. Too often individuals suffer in silence for fear of judgment from family members, friends or associates. Don’t be one of those individuals. A mirror has two faces and those that are judging the UN-know, just may be on the opposite end in the future. The first step is acknowledging that YOU MATTER. Always stand in agreement for you. Knowing that LOVE should never hurt you to the core of your spirit and soul.
Until next time live FABULOUS…
Soul Kisses readers I want to hear from you…
During your dating and/or courting stage, have you ever turned a blind eye to suspect characteristics that were clearly blinking CAUTION do not proceed?
Have a Beauty, Fashion, Relationship, Wedding or Lifestyle question; please email our lifestyle expert, Kimberly at askKimberly@soulkisses.tv. If you like to be kept anonymous please state so in your initial email.
Disclaimer: This Ask Kimberly post is a personal testimony from an individual and doesn’t represent the facts of all domestic abuse situations. For additional information on domestic abuse please visit: www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233.
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Until next time live FABULOUS...
#GLAM "God's Love Always Magnifies." (TM) ~ Kimberly |
Ask Kimberly…Have a Beauty, Fashion, Relationship, Wedding or Lifestyle question, please email our lifestyle expert. If you like to be kept anonymous please state so in your initial email.
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