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Dear Husband,
This has not been easy to put into words and I doubt that it will be easy to read, I’m sorry.  You wanted honesty and I am trying to be completely honest in answering these questions.  Also, please bear in mind that these questions are not designed to look for positive characteristics in people, only the negative so please don’t feel like this is the only view I have of you.
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I have gone online to http://www.healthyplace.com/psychological-tests/woman-abuse-screening-tool/ and am taking their test and I will write out the questions, my responses and reasoning’s behind them.

Question 1:  In general, how would you describe your relationship?  A lot of tension, Some tension or No tension?
I chose a lot of tension because for me there is a lot of tension over several issues, mainly over feeling like I can’t tell you how I feel without making you hurt or angry.  This tension is a large contributor to my depression.
Question 2:  Do you and your partner work out arguments with: Great difficulty, Some difficulty, no difficulty.
I chose Great difficulty because on the things that really matter, like your church and our younger daughter, we aren’t really working them out, we are agreeing to disagree and there is no resolution.  The smaller things I feel like one or the other of us usually gives in more than that we reach a solution that works for both of us.
Question 3. Do arguments ever result in you feeling down or bad about yourself?  Often, Sometimes, Never.
 
I chose often because while our actual arguments are rare, 90% of the time I walk away from them feeling like there was something wrong with me, it was my fault, etc.
 
Question 4. Do arguments ever result in hitting, kicking or pushing?  Often, Sometimes, Never.
 
I chose never, obviously.
 
Question 5. Do you ever feel frightened by what your partner says or does?  Often, Sometimes, Never.
 
I chose sometimes, While I have never been physically afraid by anything you have said or done, I have been afraid of how angry you might be with me or what you might say to me if I were to tell you how I really feel, especially if you have just finished speaking negatively of someone who thinks or feels the same way I do.  Sometimes your opinions about those people are quite fierce.  The example that pops to mind is concerning your church.  When you talk about somebody who left your church and is speaking up about their experiences you can become upset and very disapproving of them as a person.  I have many of the same thoughts about your church as those people and it makes me hide as much of my opinion of your church as I can because I don’t want you to talk to me the way you talk to me about them.  Over our entire marriage I haven’t told you a lot of things, mainly about how I felt, because I was afraid of how you would react.
 
Question 6. Has your partner ever abused you physically?  Often, Sometimes, Never.
 
Again, I chose never.
 
Question 7. Has your partner ever abused you emotionally?  Often, Sometimes, Never.
 
This one is harder, to define “emotional abuse” I went here:  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/02/20/signs-of-emotional-abuse/   and looked through their bullet points. I’ll put my answers in all caps…
  1. Humiliation, degradation, discounting, negating. judging, criticizing:
    • Does anyone make fun of you or put you down in front of others?  NO YOU DON’T
    • Do they tease you, use sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you?  NO YOU DON’T
    • When you complain do they say that “it was just a joke” and that you are too sensitive?  NO YOU DON’T
    • Do they tell you that your opinion or feelings are “wrong?”  SOMETIMES YOU HAVE BUT NOT VERY OFTEN.  PRIMARILY IN REGARDS TO YOUR CHURCH
    • Does anyone regularly ridicule, dismiss, disregard your opinions, thoughts, suggestions, and feelings?  RIDICULE OR DISMISS, NO.  DISREGARD, SOMETIMES.
  2. Domination, control, and shame:
    • Do you feel that the person treats you like a child?  NO, NOT AS A CHILD BUT SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE YOU TREAT ME AS A POSESSION – WHEN YOU SAY “YOU ARE MY WIFE” IT FREQUENTLY FEELS LIKE YOU’RE SAYING “YOU ARE MY POCKETWATCH” AND SEEM DISPLEASED WHEN YOU SAY IT AS IF I’M NOT PERFORMING MY FUNCTION AS YOUR WIFE CORRECTLY.
    • Do they constantly correct or chastise you because your behavior is “inappropriate?”  NOT MY BEHAVIOR BUT SOMETIMES IT FEELS LIKE YOU’RE TRYING TO CORRECT MY ATTITUDE(S) OR OPINION(S)
    • Do you feel you must “get permission” before going somewhere or before making even small decisions?  YES, ALMOST ALWAYS FOR GOING SOMEWHERE, NOT SO MUCH FOR MAKING SMALL DECISIONS
    • Do they control your spending?  YES AND NO.  I DID THE BUDGET SO YOU DIDN’T REALLY CONTROL  MY PERSONAL SPENDING BUT WHEN I WANTED TO SPEND MONEY TO GO OUT TO EAT, BUY SOMETHING FOR THE FAMILY, ETC, AND YOU DIDN’T THEN IT SEEMED LIKE WE USUALLY WOUND UP NOT SPENDING THE MONEY BUT IF YOU WANTED TO GO OUT TO EAT, BUY SOMETHING FOR THE FAMILY, ETC, AND I DIDN’T THEN IT SEEMED LIKE WE USUALLY DID SPEND THE MONEY.
    • Do they treat you as though you are inferior to them? INTELLECTUALLY I FEEL LIKE YOU DO TREAT ME AND SOME OTHERS AS THOUGH WE ARE INFERIOR.  ALSO IT SEEMED THAT WE DID WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO MORE OFTEN THAN WHAT I WANTED TO DO SO I FELT LIKE I WAS INFERIOR TO YOU THAT WAY
    • Do they make you feel as though they are always right?  VERY OFTEN.
    • Do they remind you of your shortcomings?  OFTEN.  I FEEL LIKE YOU DON’T LET SOME OF MY MISTAKES BE FORGOTTEN UNTIL YOU HAVE “DOUBLE-CHECKED” ME ON THE SAME/SIMILAR ACTIONS FOR A LONG TIME, LIKE MONTHS, TO EASE YOUR PARANOIA THAT I WILL DO IT AGAIN
    • Do they belittle your accomplishments, your aspirations, your plans or even who you are?  BELITTLE, NO.  IT SEEMS MORE LIKE YOU TAKE LITTLE TO NO NOTICE OF MY ART OR MY MUSIC OR OTHER THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO ME SO IT FEELS MORE LIKE YOU DISMISS MY ACCOMPLISHMENTS, ASPIRATIONS, PLANS, WHO I AM.
    • Do they give disapproving, dismissive, contemptuous, or condescending looks, comments, and behavior?  LOOKS, NO.  COMMENTS, YES.  BEHAVIOR, NO.
  3. Accusing and blaming, trivial and unreasonable demands or expectations, denies own shortcomings:
    • Do they accuse you of something contrived in their own minds when you know it isn’t true?  NO YOU DON’T
    • Are they unable to laugh at themselves?  I DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU CAN LAUGH AT YOUR MISTAKES, THEY SEEM TO STRESS YOU OUT SO YOU TEND TO HIDE THEM
    • Are they extremely sensitive when it comes to others making fun of them or making any kind of comment that seems to show a lack of respect?  YES, YOU ARE
    • Do they have trouble apologizing?  NO YOU DON’T
    • Do they make excuses for their behavior or tend to blame others or circumstances for their mistakes?  YES, I FEEL LIKE YOU DO THIS FAIRLY OFTEN
    • Do they call you names or label you?  NO YOU DON’T WITH ME BUT YOU DO LABEL OTHERS ACCORDING TO HOW YOU JUDGE THEM
    • Do they blame you for their problems or unhappiness?  I FEEL LIKE YOU TRY NOT TO BLAME ME BUT YOU DO FEEL I AM AN EXPLANATION FOR THE REASON(S) YOU ARE HAVING A PROBLEM OR ARE UNHAPPY.
    • Do they continually have “boundary violations” and disrespect your valid requests?  I DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT IT IS TO HAVE BOUNDARIES MYSELF, THAT’S PART OF WHAT I NEED TO LEARN, AND YOU DO TRY TO HONOR THE REQUESTS THAT I HAVE MADE BUT I FEEL LIKE YOU’RE JUST GOING ALONG WITH IT INSTEAD OF UNDERSTANDING WHY THE BOUNDARY REQUESTS ARE NECESSARY
  4. Emotional distancing and the “silent treatment,” isolation, emotional abandonment or neglect:
    • Do they use pouting, withdrawal or withholding attention or affection?  POUTING – NO.  WITHDRAWAL OR WITHHOLDING ATTENTION OR AFFECTION, YES.
    • Do they not want to meet the basic needs or use neglect or abandonment as punishment?  NO YOU DON’T
    • Do they play the victim to deflect blame onto you instead of taking responsibility for their actions and attitudes?  THIS IS AN AREA YOU HAVE MADE HUGE IMPROVEMENTS IN AND I HAVE NOTICED.  WHERE YOU ONCE MADE NEARLY EVERYTHING MY FAULT ON PURPOSE YOU NOW ONLY MAKE ME FEEL LIKE IT’S MY FAULT SOME OF THE TIME AND I KNOW YOU’RE NOT DOING IT DELIBERATELY LIKE YOU USED TO
    • Do they not notice or care how you feel?  YOU DO CARE, YOU DON’T ALWAYS NOTICE BUT I HAVE BECOME VERY GOOD AT HIDING HOW I FEEL SO I DON’T FEEL LIKE THAT’S YOUR FAULT.  IT DOES SEEM, HOWEVER, LIKE YOU CARE MORE ABOUT HOW THINGS AFFECT YOU THAN HOW THEY AFFECT ME
    • Do they not show empathy or ask questions to gather information?  I DON’T FEEL A LOT OF EMPATHY FROM YOU MOST OF THE TIME AND IT SEEMS LIKE THE QUESTIONS YOU ASK ARE MORE FOCUSED ON HOW THE SUBJECT MATTER WILL AFFECT YOU THAN ANYTHING ELSE
  5. Codependence and enmeshment:
    • Does anyone treat you not as a separate person but instead as an extension of themselves?  I HAVE FELT LIKE IT’S NOT OK TO BE ME TO THE POINT THAT I DON’T FEEL LIKE I KNOW WHO I AM.  I HAVE FELT LIKE I HAVE TO BE WHO MOM WANTED ME TO BE, WHO YOU WANT ME TO BE, WHO THE CHURCH WANTS ME TO BE AND I DON’T REALLY KNOW WHO GOD CREATED ME TO BE
    • Do they not protect your personal boundaries and share information that you have not approved?  I FEEL LIKE YOU ARE PRETTY GOOD ABOUT NOT SHARING INFORMATION THAT YOU HAVEN’T MADE SURE IS OK TO SHARE, THANK YOU
    • Do they disrespect your requests and do what they think is best for you?  NO YOU DON’T
    • Do they require continual contact and haven’t developed a healthy support network among their own peers?  IT FEELS LIKE YOU DO REQUIRE CONTINUAL CONTACT WITH ME AND UNTIL THE LAST SIX MONTHS OR SO DID NOT HAVE A HEALTHY SUPPORT NETWORK OF OTHER GUYS.
So back to Question 7, I would have to say that yes, you have been emotionally abusive throughout our marriage so I chose often as the answer to that last question.
 
This is the results of the test for abuse:
 
Quiz Results
Your score: 12.00 out of 17.00 (70.59%)
Passing score: 0.00 (0.00%)
Elapsed time: 02:47
Quiz Message
Scoring Abuse Test:

  • over 17: (not abusive)
  • 15-17: (potentially abusive)
  • under 15: (abusive relationship)

If you answered Question 1 with “a lot of tension” and Question 2 with “great difficulty,” there is a likelihood you are in an abusive relationship. If any Questions 3-8 were answered with “often” or “sometimes,” those are additional indications that you are in an abusive relationship.

So according to medically and psychologically accepted definitions, ours is an emotionally abusive relationship – not at all physically abusive and I would never, ever let anyone think otherwise – but everything all together has created an atmosphere where I am afraid to tell you things about myself, my ideas, my opinions, my likes or dislikes because I have been afraid of your reaction and what you might say to me that would make me feel bad.  That is why I freeze up and why I have the physical symptoms of a panic attack, the chest pressure, shortness of breath, etc. when I try to force myself to be honest and open with you.
 
This is a subject that I have skirted the edges of for many years because I didn’t want to hurt you and despite what you may believe right now, most of the things that I didn’t tell you were because I knew that telling you would hurt you so I kept my own hurts inside, trying to protect you throughout our marriage.  Instead, what I wound up doing was enabling you to continue to emotionally abuse me, however unintentionally.
 
Our prophetic word says I would help abused women in the same way you would help men bound in addiction – the only reason you could help the men was because you had come out of the addiction yourself, who did you think abused me to allow me to help abused women after reading that?  I had hoped that you would consider your own behavior after reading that, or even that other church people might draw it to your attention but it never happened.  
 
Also, I think it was in 2012 or maybe 2013 that I told you I took an online test and was considered an abused person – I could never come right out and say that you were an emotional abuser, it was much easier to put the majority of the blame on Mom, who was safely dead by then, but I tried to point your thoughts in that direction multiple times by telling you that your personality was very much like hers.  Since you are completely shocked that you could be labeled as an emotionally abusive person my efforts were obviously unsuccessful.
 
I KNOW that you are not abusive on purpose, especially during these last couple of years, and that our current relationship is the product of our upbringings and lack of skill in communicating in a healthy and effective manner combined with 20 years of bad relational habits and not knowing any better or how to do things differently.
 
You asked what I need to do to get healthy and the answer is I don’t know, that’s why I’m trying to get into the counseling program at the women’s shelter.  Specifically, it’s a program for abused women, aimed more at physically abused women but I asked and it is also designed to help emotionally abused women as well and so I’m trusting they will know how to help me heal.  If it takes too long to get in I do plan on trying to go back and see my last counselor after my insurance takes effect next month.  
 
As far as knowing the address of where I am staying I am not going to tell you partly because when I get into the counseling program I won’t be allowed to tell you where they put me and also because although you don’t see it as a control issue, I do, and also as a respect issue.  If there is an emergency either my sister or I will contact you and give you the address if needed.  In the meantime, the more you ask and get upset about not knowing the less I feel respected and the more it seems like it really is a control issue.
 
Again, I am sorry for the pain I know this email must be causing you, please believe that I do know you have not intended to hurt me and I am not mad at you, I don’t hate you and I don’t intend to make anyone think badly of you.  
 
Please respond to this information in writing, I don’t feel like I can communicate effectively on this subject over the phone or in person for the time being.
 
Sincerely,
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In “What I Told My Family” I posted the letter I emailed to everyone.  Almost everyone, actually, I completely forgot to send it to my husbands brother and sister-in-law.  Oops!  It was an honest mistake, I didn’t intentionally leave them out although I’ll probably never be able to convince them of that <sigh>.  I did email it to them a week after everyone else got it so at least I tried to correct my mistake…

Both my brothers, my dad and step-mom, my father-in-law and my brother -in-law emailed me back and except for my brother-in-law all were surprisingly supportive of my goals to get healthy.  Dear brother-in-law responded within a couple of days but only with a basic, sorry to hear that, we’re praying for you and a very generic, Christianese blessing.  And this guy is a missionary.  <rolling my eyes>

I’m the oldest of my siblings and my next oldest brother was the first to respond.  His letter was very pastoral and reminded me how very little I actually know him because my sister says that is how he speaks all the time, I felt like I was a stranger who had asked him for counseling.  He was excited to finally catch a glimpse of the “real” me and so proud of me for actually having goals because so many people in my situations can only handle surviving day-to-day life and aren’t able to set goals.  He says I have strength that I didn’t know I had – to which I laughed because I’ve known that I’ve always been far stronger than I wanted to be in order to survive my life.  What I actually have is strength my brother didn’t know I needed to have.  But I digress.  He added to please let him know if he’s offended me and what he can do to help, etc.

My father-in-law responded next, confused as to how they might have possibly wounded me, proud of me for having the courage to speak up, a brief description of how depression skews a person’s reality, good job on having a plan to get help, a reminder that I was their first daughter-in-law and they love me.  They followed it up with a phone call about a week later but I wasn’t ready to speak with them so I took the coward’s way out and sent the call to voicemail.  It was another encouraging message, they love me and hope I’m doing OK.

My step-mom was the next to respond and of everybody her letter felt the most “real” to me.  Her email was like she was talking to me and we were just having a conversation.  She has also struggled with severe depression and knows what that is like, she was surprised that things had gotten this bad because I always said everything was OK.  She actually said that moving in with my sister was a good plan!  She was the only one to approve of both my leaving my husband AND my getting healthy, recognizing that I’m not going to get one without the other.  She was proud of me for having the courage to open up about how I was feeling, she is praying for me and she loves me.  She is hesitant about calling me because she is “only a step-mom”.  When I responded I told her I consider her as real a mom to me as anybody and to please stop thinking of herself as “just” a step-mom.

My younger brother was next to respond and I felt so bad after reading his email because he shared some of the wounds he received growing up from our step-father and our mother that I had never realized happened.  I had been so wrapped up in my own hurts that I never noticed his.  He, too, had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts but he had a healthy marriage and was much farther on the road to recovery and healing than I was.  He thanked me for my courage in sharing and apologized for seeming absent or unfriendly.  He would like to get to know me again and said to please feel safe to tell him anything.

My father was the last to respond (besides my brother-in-law who I still hadn’t sent it to at this point) and my dad seemed to focus primarily on the paragraph where I said I had been mad at everybody at one point or another for appearing not to care about me.  He apologized for not being around while I was growing up and for “being immature”, a term I would have never applied to him.  He said nice things about my mom – and I have to say that I have never heard him say a mean word about her, ever, and that makes me respect him so very much because there were plenty of mean things that could truthfully be said about her.  He believes that I love God with my whole heart and reminded me that Jesus is bigger than my circumstances.  He asked if I had started my depression meds yet and committed to being more sensitive to me and my needs.

So from everybody but my brother-in-law I got a lot of “we’re proud of you for your courage in sharing your feelings” and oodles of support for getting healthy, one recognition that I needed to leave to do it, offers to listen to anything I want to say, requests to help and lots of apologies for not being there for me.  All in all I felt heard, cared for and loved, there was healing for me in their responses, it was really nice.

I responded to each person individually with the same, basic information but I personalized it and answered specific questions each one had asked.  Here is the bones of my response:

Dear Family Member,

Thank you for your email.  <personal stuff here>
My younger daughter’s life is going from bad to worse and it seems to be entirely of her own making, my current prayers for her are that God will stop lies from coming out of her mouth, that when she tries to lie no sound will come out of her lips and that she will begin saying the truth, even on accident.  If you could pray those things with me I would appreciate it.
I am currently receiving food stamps and have qualified for the health insurance program for only $20/month starting in March so I will be able to go back to the doctor starting in just a couple of weeks. I am also pursuing a program with one of the local women’s shelters that combines housing, counseling and something they call “case management”.  I’m mostly interested in the counseling as it specifically deals with women in situations like mine – and worse – and the housing would be in a group situation, living with other women who are in the program.  I have been approved for their program but there aren’t any openings right now so I am on a waiting list.  I don’t care so much about the housing because I enjoy living with my sister but it’s part of the program and I think it will be beneficial for me to participate in it fully.
My talks with my husband are going fairly well, we have had several phone conversations and three face-to-face talks.   I am not mad at him, I don’t hate him and I don’t have any intentions of trying to make other people dislike him, my entire goal is to become healthy myself and to develop a healthy way to communicate with him – and I’m honestly not thinking or planning any further beyond accomplishing that at the moment.  I know that he is trying really hard to understand and accommodate my wishes but he is very hurt and frustrated and definitely needs your continued prayers and support.
Sincerely,
Me

It’s been 2 weeks and 1 day since I left and in that time I have gone through an entire roller coaster of emotions.
The biggest thing I’ve realized is that I really am afraid of what my husband will say to make me feel bad and that I fall for his guilt trips more often than not, even now that I’m not living with him.  I am not quite as strong as I want to be but I’m getting there.

I’ve also realized I like talking to my husband now that he’s being so careful of my feelings.  We’ve had a couple of in-person conversations and a few phone conversations and for the most part I enjoy the interactions right up until the point where he gets frustrated and starts to guilt trip me into feeling sorry for him, moving back into the house and/or tell him the address where I’m at now.  It usually takes me at least 15 minutes to end the conversation after the guilt/manipulation starts but I’ve been consistently surprised at how much I like talking to him until that point.  It reinforces, to me, that what I’ve been telling people is true.  I don’t hate him and I’m not interested in making him look bad to anybody, I just want to be out of this abusive situation and develop a healthy way to communicate with him because regardless if we’re living together or not, or married or not, we still have two children together and will need to be communicating with each other on a regular basis for the rest of our lives.

Both of my brothers, my father, my step-mother and my father-in-law have responded to my letter that I posted earlier in “What I Told My Family”.  All of their responses were very gracious, they offered to help if they could and wanted me to know they loved me.  A week after I had sent it I realize I forgot to include my husband’s only brother in the group email so I forwarded it to him with an apology for inadvertently leaving them out.  He responded a few days later with a simple “we’re praying for you” and a very formal blessing of sorts, which was a little better than I had expected from him.

My body was in survival mode all these years and in the last week I have been exhausted.  My friends and sister who have medical backgrounds say this is normal and that I should expect to be tired and get sick for a while before it gets better so I’m calling it “crash mode”.  Today was my day off, the first of two days in a row.  Last week I only had one day off and the week before that, the week I left, I had split days off so this is my first proper “weekend” since I left and it was sooo nice to sleep in!  I actually spent the day in my jammies and worked on the taxes all day, which was oddly relaxing and my sister says I should become a tax person to make extra income during the nail salon’s slow season.  Hmmm…

Anyway, that’s basically where I’m at right now.  My older daughter has not responded to my offer to meet with her at a restaurant after she gets off work some evening and my husband says she is very angry with me and to not show up at the house when she’s home alone without “making an appointment”.  I will try emailing her again tonight.  My younger daughter seems to be hellbent on completely destroying her life and leaving no bridge unburned at the moment… but that’s going to be another post, I can’t deal with it right now and there’s really no way to help her.  All I can do is be here and continue to love her and hope she turns her life around soon.

In the meantime I have one more day off and I’m going to sleep in and enjoy it as much as possible!

“Write all of this down so you remember how you feel.”  Words of advice from my sister.  She doesn’t know about this blog and that I have been documenting my experiences for the last couple of years but it was a good reminder to get on the laptop and write another post.

My husband came to my work today and when I saw him in the door I panicked a little bit.  He had a Dr. Pepper and a white envelope in his hand.  When we spoke at McDonalds he had asked if he could leaving an occasional card and donut in my car.  Recognizing that his personality type has to “do something” I said yes and promised to eat the donut and not throw it away.  So when he came in the shop today my first thought was “This is not leaving things in my car” and I was a little upset but more scared.  “Why were you scared?” my sister asks.  “Because I was afraid of what he would say to make me feel bad.”  My heart was pounding and I couldn’t hardly talk.  What he actually gave me was not a card but tax-related mail along with the Dr. Pepper and reminded me that my car was locked and he doesn’t have a key.  He said “How are you?” and all I could get out was “Preegoo”.  Auto-pilot kicked in and I managed a polite, “How are you doing?” at which point his face went hard, he said “Have a nice day”, turned on his heel and left.  I felt anger from him.  It took a good half hour to get my heart and breathing back under control.  

I feel badly that he’s hurt and that I’m the one causing it, I really do.  And it’s not just an “Awww, that’s too bad I hurt you”, it’s a gut-wrenching grief that is nearly incapacitating.  That sorrow makes me wonder if I’m really doing the right thing and waters the little seed of doubt in my heart.  At the same time just seeing him outside of our agreed-upon parameters made me realize I am physically afraid of him.  I haven’t quite reached the point of peeing my pants but the rest of my body is doing it’s own equivalent.  This is not healthy, why did I accept living in such a fear-heavy atmosphere for so long?  I’ve made excuses for him all our married life by explaining his hurtful words and actions as “He’s just grumpy”, “He doesn’t deal with change very well” or my most common excuse “It’s my fault because I…”.  I am such a victim.

I have taken multiple tests online and they all say that I am an abused spouse.  Not physically abused, it would have been so much easier – and socially acceptable – to leave if he was physically abusing me and I would have left a long time ago for physical abuse.  My doctor offered to prescribe me a couple of weeks in the funny farm to have a break from him.  Strangely enough, I did not take her up on that, fearing they would never let me go.  My counselor very patiently walked me through the stages of identifying abuse until I could not help but agree that I am abused.  So why is it so hard for me to draw the line and stop feeling guilty about leaving?  Is it Stockholm syndrome where the abused person protects and defends the abuser?  I think I should look that up…

My immediate goals are to get on the state health insurance so that I can get back to my counselor and start taking my medication again.  And apparently I’m legally considered “homeless”, which made me laugh the first time I heard it because I’m staying with my sister, not under a bridge somewhere but I guess this experience is teaching me that all kinds of words have more than one definition.  There’s a local organization that helps homeless people get into housing so I’ll be calling them tomorrow as well.  I love my sister and we get along great but we’ve made different lifestyle choices – and this apartment is teeny tiny!  

So I am well on my way to becoming healthy, maybe for the first time in my entire life.  I know it will not be a quick or easy process but I’m looking forward to the end result.