Mona Eltahawy’s essay: Abortion is normal

Feminist Mona Eltahawy is nothing but brave. She is one of my heroes. I look up to her so much and try to model my own feminism on her fearlessness. Nevertheless, despite her bravery (which really is next level) she found herself avoiding talking about the topic of abortion and her own abortions until late last year. Her examination of why this was so difficult makes for compelling reading, even more so given Roe v Wade was overturned only a few days ago in the US. Read the essay here and don’t forget to sign up to Mona’s newsletter.

Doctor Ramani’s advice on choosing a therapist after narcissistic abuse

This video summarises some of the best things to avoid when looking for a therapist after you’ve been through narcissistic abuse. Personally, I had a tough time (until my most recent therapist) trying to find someone willing to listen to and validate my experiences, which, at one point, actually left me stuck in a relationship with someone who was quite obviously abusing me, and feeling like my prior history of abuse was also minimised or negated entirely. The damage and gaslighting done within these abusive relationships was actually amplified by the therapist’s behaviour. A lot of therapists who don’t have specialised knowledge of trauma or narcissistic abuse can do more harm than good, or they might provide good general support but never really help you get the specialised help you require to fully process abuse and heal from it. This is a great video to watch if you are seeking an appropriate therapist after narcissistic abuse.

On a related note, my recent essay on victim blaming touches on similar topics and can be found here. Therapists (and friends) who are not adequately informed on matters surrounding abuse, and especially narcissistic abuse, can end up enabling abuse, making you feel like you are somehow responsible, and making it worse. You deserve a good therapist who will listen to you, validate you and not enable abuse. You also deserve friends that will do the same.

It also needs to be mentioned here that couples therapy is never advised where one party is suspected of being abusive or narcissistic. This is because the abusive partner will usually manipulate the therapist, and is generally not interested in making genuine changes to their behaviour. Successful couples therapy relies on both partners being genuinely committed to an open dialogue, give and take, honesty, full disclosure, taking responsibility for actions that harmed the other person, and a commitment to change behaviours. Narcissistic abusers are incapable of all of this, but may appear, to an untrained therapist, to be on board, thereby using these sessions to save face and make it look as though they are making an effort to the partner who has been abused. In a last ditch effort to keep me, one of my abusive partners booked sessions with a couple’s therapist, without asking me and without my consent, because this is one of the things I wanted to try much earlier in the relationship, and which he (at that point) refused to do. He did this in a last attempt to keep me, as I had already left the relationship. I knew at that point that he was abusive and a narcissist, and I’d also learnt that therapy with an abuser is never recommended and is a waste of everyone’s time. I could also see it for what it was: another manipulative maneuvre intended to keep me in the relationship with him. It didn’t work. I never returned. I share these things with people as they are not common knowledge and I hope that they help.

Doctor Ramani is a clinical psychologist and one of the best experts out there on narcissistic abuse. Her YouTube content is frequent, detailed, thorough, yet totally accessible. She is one of my go-to specialists on narcissism and narcisisstic abuse. If you want to learn more about narcissism I highly recommend signing up to he channel.

More thoughts on how to hold space for someone going through a difficult time

This is part two in a series of videos on how to provide support and hold space for someone who is going through a rough time, whether that is trauma after abuse, grief or loss, or something else. You can watch the first video in this series here (you might like to do that before you watch this one). I think that even more than ever, in the wake of the Depp vs Heard trial that has retraumatised so many women and so many victim-survivors of domestic abuse, we must reach out to and support and listen to one another. I hope that these videos help you to do that, if you feel awkward reaching out, or don’t know what to say. Thank you as always for your support for my blog and YouTube channel and for listening to and holding space for the expression of my trauma. You are appreciated.

How to hold space for someone going through a difficult time

Have you ever felt uncomfortable or unable to talk to someone who’s been though a difficult experience, but who needs your support? I offer a few simple thoughts here on how to talk to someone who’s been through trauma, abuse, grief or loss, as well as other challenging life situations. I hope this helps. Many survivors of abuse and trauma will be struggling after the Depp vs Heard case. Many will be feeling retraumatised, silenced and like nobody understands. Asking how someone is going and taking the time to simply listen to them is a great way to open up a dialogue and allow a person to feel heard and supported. If you enjoy this video, please check out my YouTube channel and subscribe. Thank you for your ongoing support. You can switch on auto-captions in YouTube to watch this video with captions.

I’ve now made a follow up (part 2) to this video, which you can watch here if you’re interested.

The importance of self care for survivors of trauma and abuse

The importance of self care for survivors of trauma and abuse. Self care is an act of self love and affirms your worth, something that is often stripped away from us when we’ve been abused. Survivors of abuse are typically very loving and giving people. We know how to love and care when others are down, but we’re not always so good at giving such love and care to ourselves. It’s important when doing trauma work and stirring up old emotions and memories that we act towards ourselves with love and compassion. Trauma work, or even disclosing to a trusted friend, can be gruelling and distressing. As always, if you need someone to talk to, please comment below and please be aware that comments are always vetted by me due to trolls and spammers. I am happy to chat here or provide resources that can help you at what is a very distressing time for survivors in general, and women in particular. The Depp vs Heard case has triggered and retraumatised a lot of survivors and a lot of women. It’s more important than ever that we band together, support one another and continue to speak out against abuse of all kinds. MeToo.

If you enjoy these videos, or my spoken poetry word videos, please subscribe to my YouTube channel. You can also watch my videos with auto-captions if you switch them on in YouTube.

Begging for total global humiliation

Every man who’s hurt a woman
Thinks that he is Johnny
Oh yes
That Johnny
But without the looks or the money
Every man who’s hurt a woman
Thinks that he has suffered
Oh yes
It’s a delusion they truly believe
Every man who’s hurt a woman
Abusively, intentionally
Slanders her, projects
Pretends he is the victim
Denies responsibility
Threatens to kill the shrill banshee
Who speaks against him loudly
And boldly
She threatens the facade he’s built
Because inside he’s empty
There’s nothing to him but fakery
A shell made of illusion
His women must pay with their lives
To uphold his delusions
Violent death is painful to them
But not as painful as ego death
To Johnny
Let’s protect him
Let’s uphold the patriarchy
For Johnny
And burn the witches dead
Poor Johnny

I’ve stayed quiet on this case until a few days ago because I’m on not on social media at the moment and, frankly, it is both triggering and shocking to witness the intense, unfettered hatred being levelled at Ms Heard, coupled with the grotesque display of ignorance and utter cluelessness about abuse and how abusers act towards their victims from the general public. I couldn’t stay quiet anymore. Please do at least a tiny bit of research into domestic violence and narcissistic abuse before you have your say on this topic. Look up the concept of DARVO at a minimum. If you don’t actually know about abuse and you haven’t experienced it yourself, please don’t add to the mediaeval witch hunt towards women we are seeing. This is alarming, for all genuine abuse survivors and for women especially. Comments are off.

What we are seeing here is the start of a backlash against MeToo, clear signs of litigation abuse and a washed up, bitter, middle-aged narcissist already found to be an abuser in another court hell bent on revenge and looking for someone else to blame for his career and reputation problems. If you’re happy with Heard being silenced this way, don’t expect anyone to listen to you when you’re the victim of abuse or assault and you speak out or need support. To those of us educated on these matters and with lived experience, it’s blindingly obvious what’s going on here. It’s textbook narcissistic revenge.

If you believe sexual assault, vile abuse and death threats via text messages, a prior history of violence, drug and alcohol fuelled abuse are ok, please have a long, hard think about that. You are enabling abuse. If you believe self defense and a trauma response to these things makes Heard just as bad as Depp, you need to read up on abuse and ask yourself why you think self defense and speaking out against abuse is wrong. If you believe in the concept of mutual abuse, without there being a main perpetrator (and someone who is traumatised and has the guts to defend herself), you are ignoring decades of research into gender based violence and statistics that overwhelmingly position men as the main perpetrators of violence in society. If you think it’s ok to see Depp smirking in court when asked if the violent text messages he sent to a friend about Heard are correct, that’s alarming. Get therapy. If you think his waving and performing to groupies, grinning and laughing in court is normal behaviour for an abuse victim, that’s pretty wild too.

For those who understand abuse and narcissistic personality disorder, I have written this poem. You will understand it as you’ll be able to see the dynamic and the textbook narcissistic behaviour that is playing out in this case. As a survivor of nearly five decades of this kind of abuse, this is obvious to me. I am disappointed and disheartened by the open displays of hatred being levelled at Ms Heard right now. I am disgusted the case was found in Depp’s favour. This is a massive loss for survivors of abuse everywhere.

Let’s stop glorifying trauma and abuse as life lessons

I came across this little gem today and had to share it with you. There’s a certain way of thinking that’s popular these days which insists everything that happens to us happens for a reason, and that we can learn something from it. This is dangerous thinking akin to toxic positivity, and pressures people into believing they must turn damaging and undeserved experiences into something positive. Abuse is not a blessing. Trauma is not a blessing. Sure, you can learn things from such experiences, and you probably will if you have any level of introspection at all, but are abuse and trauma necessary pathways to some kind of enlightenment? I think not. It’s quite dangerous and offensive to those of us who’ve been hit with the random car crash that is abuse to constantly hear from others that our abuse must have happened to us because there’s something we need to learn. It’s also victim blaming and utter bullshit. Thanks to Dr Jen Wolkin for the fabulous graphic. I wouldn’t wish abuse or trauma on my worst enemy and it certainly isn’t necessary to be traumatised to be a fully actualised, mentally healthy human being.

#MeToo and the fight for justice must continue: I’m not going anywhere.

In light of today’s Depp vs Heard verdict, it’s only natural that many survivors will be feeling upset, scared and triggered. I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying on this blog and continuing the fight for survivors of all kinds of abuse. I’m here for you and I believe you. I recorded this message for you all and I hope you can find peace and healing at this time. Most importantly of all, I believe it’s extremely important that we keep speaking out about abuse and hold perpetrators accountable. If you enjoy my videos, please subscribe to my YouTube channel. I’m here to stay and will be an advocate for abuse survivors until the very end. #MeToo.

For survivors who live in Australia: today I compiled a list here on my blog of services and hotlines you can call for advice and support. Please use these services if you are feeling triggered. You matter. Your story matters and there are professionals out there who can help.

A sad day for survivors

Dear reader, you are not alone if you feel outraged, triggered, upset, saddened, scared and silenced by the outcome of Depp vs Heard. I personally feel the full weight of all the abuse I’ve suffered over my lifetime today, as well as the intense threat of a backlash being perpetrated against women who speak out. I am tired of feeling like a second class citizen. I am tired of being silenced. I am tired of the patriarchy. I am tired of the lack of justice for abuse victims and how our legal systems both stem from and perpetuate patriarchy. I am tired but I will never give up this fight. I will never stop speaking the truth about what happened to me.

But today, I am sad. Today I remembered (in clear details) being raped at age 17 by a boyfriend who was supposed to love me but felt my body was his property to do whatever he wanted with. There will never be any legal consequences for him, although he has been reported to the police. There is almost no justice for women who go through abuse of any kind. With MeToo we made our own justice, and we made significant gains, but now we are seeing a backlash against this. This is a terrifying day for women. I want to say, as I did in the video I published yesterday, that I hear you, I believe you, I trust you.

I also want you to know you are not alone. There are services you can call to speak to people who will also hear you, believe you, and support you. Please call them today (or any day) if you need to. You are worthy of support and you deserve to be here. Please note that these are phone (and online) services available in Australia only. There will (hopefully) be equivalent services in other countries around the world. Please add them to the comments below if you know of them, and I will add them to this document as they come in.

I will open up comments so that people can chat about how they feel today. Please keep comments respectful and note that they do require my approval before they are published. I will not be publishing any comments that are in favour of violent and abusive men.

The resources in Australia are:

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732. This is a free service and specialises in providing information and counselling relating to all kinds of abuse and domestic violence. You can speak to them for general advice, or you can ask to be put through to a specialist counsellor for a longer chat. This service has been invaluable to me and has supported me through two abusive relationships. I can highly recommend it. It’s available 24 hours.

For general counselling, or if you’re feeling at risk of self harm or suicide, all of these numbers offer free phone counselling Australia-wide, 24 hours a day:

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Suicide Callback Service (please note this is not actually a callback service, they will answer your call if you stay on hold. The name is misleading): 1300 659 467

In Victoria, you can call the following organisations for support about domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault and to talk to someone about your situation. Please check out their websites before calling to learn more about the focus of each organisation. These organisations run during normal business hours only but have links on their site to other crisis services that can be contacted around the clock:

CASA House (Centre Against Sexual Assault): 03 9635 3610 and 1800 806 292. Please note that after hours these numbers will put you in touch with the Victorian Sexual Assault Crisis Line, which can offer support and counselling.

The Orange Door: this service is based on where you live. Please find the phone number for your area here.

WIRE (women’s information referral exchange): 1300 134 130. Please note that WIRE only offers a callback service and will return your call. This can take a while (sometimes a few days), so they are best called if you’re after general information, rather than seeking support in a crisis.

For callers in Queensland:

DV Connect: 1800 811 811

For adult survivors of child abuse:

Blue Knot Foundation: 1300 657 380 (service operates from 9am-5pm seven days a week)

For men who think they might have a problem with being abusive or using violence, please call the following service for counselling:

Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491