Lisa – Domestic Violence Expert and Advocate

Lisa – Domestic Violence Expert and Advocate

My name is Lisa and I am the founder of Lisa’s Sanctuary – DV awareness, support and hope. I am an expert and advocate of DV and have a vision to guide people from a victim mentality to a survivor mindset.

I have refrained from referring to myself as an expert because who am I to be an expert in this field? Who am I to share my knowledge and profess to know so much?

The fact is though, I am an expert and it’s time I believed in myself and my ability to help.

I have a lived experience of DV. I once believed the only way out of my relationship was in a body bag. But here I am, 7 1/2 years later, living a life of peace and freedom, confidence and self-worth to remind you all that there is life after DV.

I am currently enrolled in a Graduate Diploma of Domestic and Family Violence Practice where I’m delving more into the theories, responses, interventions, definitions of DV and all of the associated abuse. I see myself and my abuser in these theories and definitions. Knowledge is power.

I escaped my DV relationship with my life but with no self-confidence, self-esteem or self-worth. I was in a victim mentality for some time. I continued to prove to my abuser in unhealthy ways that I was enough. But none of it was very satisfying.

Over the years, I have gained all of that and then some. I am living a life that I deserve because I am worthy of it. I truly believe that. And that’s what I want to help others do. To guide people from a victim mentality to a survivor mindset.

Why I Stayed and where to buy it

Why I Stayed and where to buy it

True story of a Domestic Violence relationship. I once believed the only way I’d get out of my relationship was in a body bag. I wrote this book to assist my healing and to answer the question I was asked most often “Why did you stay for so long?” I hope to create awareness of abusive relationships by telling my story of how it began, why I stayed for as long as I did and what I had to do to start the healing process. It is my vision to educate some and give hope to others. This is proof that there is life after Domestic Violence

Here are some direct links or there’s an option to buy direct from me if you’re in Australia – no additional postage costs, no waiting times.

Or if you’re in Australia you can buy direct from me for AUD$15 and I’ll post it same day to you

Thank you for supporting the awareness of DV and empowerment for life after.

How I’m trying to stop the cycle of Domestic Violence

How I’m trying to stop the cycle of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence can be a cycle. Girls who grow up with abuse are more likely to find themselves in relationships with abusers and boys who grow up with abuse are more likely to become perpetrators. It’s a case of the unhealthy narratives they’ve become accustomed to, their views and tainted understanding of what ‘normal’ relationships are.

During my abusive marriage I thought I’d hidden a lot of it from my children. After I left my abusive marriage, I realised that my children had seen, heard and felt so much more than I’d realised. I remember constantly thinking and praying. “I hope I left early enough that Domestic Violence won’t be apart of their futures”.

I hoped I had gotten out early enough that my daughter didn’t ever find herself being treated the way I was and I hoped I had left early enough that my sons didn’t think that was the way you treated someone you vowed to love and protect. Rather than sitting on my hands nervously wishing, hoping and praying, I made the decision to actively try to change their trajectory.

I’m honest with them. They have seen their father yell, rant, punch holes, grab me and I’m honest with them that his actions are not okay. I don’t belittle him by saying he’s a terrible person but I do acknowledge his actions are wrong and criminal. I have suggested to them that their father should speak to a mental health professional. That also opens the gates for me to explain how important it is to speak to a mental health professional if they find themselves struggling at any point in the future, just like I would take them to the doctor for the flu or a chest infection.

Reach out for help. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes some professional help to support a child through emotional trauma. Utilise your General Practitioner, local mental health support organisations, counsellors and child and family centres whenever you feel it to be necessary. Children who have lived in trauma may have triggers that spark huge responses, coping mechanisms for survival, unable to self regulate or various other alternate strategies that served them then but hinder them now. Do not be ashamed to seek help. It could save their lives.

I encourage my children to embrace every single one of their emotions instead of suppressing them. I acknowledge that the emotions they feel are valid. This includes anger, frustration, sadness etc but I encourage them to be proactive rather than reactive with their emotions. This means teaching them to self regulate or control their emotions. It is okay to feel angry, however, it is not okay to hurt someone or say something nasty because you are angry. You do this by role modelling to your children how to recognise, acknowledge, sit with and redirect your own emotions.

I provide healthy outlets for their anger, frustration and energy. My children have played team sport and other activities for most of their lives. It’s a physical outlet where they come into contact with other positive adult role models. They get to run, move, be active and also learn how to accept praise and support, take direction and respect their coach. My boys have found many positive male role models and my daughter other positive female role models this way.

My older sons have access to a weight bench, hand weights and various indoor gym equipment. My younger sons have access to a plastic, water filled punching bag which is in a bedroom. Before I bought the punching bag, they used a pillow effectively. I suggested screaming into it or punching it. It helped and so I bought the lightweight punching bag to add to the mix.

Again, the emphasis is on the emotion being valid but it never being okay to verbally or physically lash out at someone to redirect that emotion.

I have immersed myself in my own healing which directly and indirectly benefits them and their futures. Anne Lamott said “The most profound thing we have to offer our children is our own healing”. I practice meditation and mindfulness every day and I encourage them to as well. I have embarked on my own journey towards peace, self confidence, compassion and happiness. I’ve found our whole existence to be a little bit calmer and little more deliberate instead of just ebbing and flowing like being on the rollercoaster of life.

Above all, be kind to yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself for the past. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what you do from here that makes the difference. We do what we feel is best at the time given our specific circumstances, situations, abilities and capabilities. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better” Maya Angelou.

How’s your Mental Health?

How’s your Mental Health?

I’m a huge advocate of reaching out to someone, anyone, when you feel your mental health in decline.

Part of removing the secrecy and taboo-ness of the Mental Health topic is to talk more freely about it and acknowledge that it’s ok to not be ok. People struggle and that’s ok but you should reach out and take the little steps to try and move forward. Day by day, hour by hour if that feels more manageable.After 3 months of two very sore partially erupted wisdom teeth, 2 painful extractions and a long, hard recovery period coupled with single mum life and no breaks from my parenting and adulting responsibilities, my car at the mechanics and my sons car breaking down last night (which I’ve been driving in my car’s absence), work stresses, unable to get to work today and feeling like I’ve got the weight of the world on my shoulders means today is the point where I’m publicly acknowledging that I’m struggling right now.I have been reaching out to my beautiful soul sister over the last few weeks and I’m sure she’s noticed a decline in my mental health. I’ve had good bits here and there but the constant pain means my mood easily drops when something slightly less than desirable happens.I’ve been up since 4.50am, woken with tooth/jaw pain and I’ve had more than a few emotional moments this morning but now I need to take control of what happens from here.Right now I’m sitting in front of my current puzzle (pictured, my favourite hobby) with a coffee and I’m taking slow, deep breaths while I’m typing.I intend to finish the puzzle today and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

My house and washing is in shambles due to extraction, pain and recovery, rain and the fact that kids live here and while most people would advise to leave it, I know that my mood improves with a clean and organised house.I intend to set a timer of 5 minutes in every room of the house, do what I can and move on.There are several important phone calls I have been putting off which I will do today.I need to find a friend who can drive me and my son over to his car so the NRMA can come out (his level of membership meant that they wouldn’t come out last night because he wasn’t with me) and hopefully get some answers with that.I will do a guided meditation today and step outside to enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and beautiful surroundings to ground myself and recharge.From there we’ll see but for now I have a plan to try and get out of this funk.It’s ok to not be ok. But please reach out to someone and ask for support 💜

‘I have to’ vs ‘I choose to’

‘I have to’ vs ‘I choose to’

There’s something pretty heavy about saying and feeling like you ‘have to’ do something. It doesn’t feel very fun when you feel like you’re doing something out of obligation rather than from your own accord.

I have to go to work.

I have to take the dog to the vet.

I have to pick up my mate from the airport.

Have to feels out of your control and has a tinge of negativity to it. But what if you changed the word ‘have’ and replaced it with ‘choose’?

I choose to go to work so I have money to eat, pay rent and have money for entertainment.

I choose to take my dog to the vet to keep him/her healthy and happy.

I choose to pick my mate up from the airport because I like helping him/her out.

It feels less obligatory when it’s a choice.

But what if you do feel like you have to go to work? There’s always a choice. You might not like the place you work at or it might not be the career of your dreams but right now you do have a choice.

You can choose to go to work and get paid while you wait for something else to come along or you can choose to quit right now. The downside of quitting is you won’t get that pay check.

I’m not loving the stress of my workplace at the moment but I still choose to go to work so I get paid. I like my mortgage being paid, I like to eat, my children like to eat and so I choose to go to work for the paycheck right now.

It doesn’t mean that I’m not working on manifesting something different into my life though. It just means that by changing the words I use I can shift the energy and how I feel about it.

Self Care Ideas

Self Care Ideas

Self care is absolutely essential to your health and wellbeing. You should aim to incorporate at least one small act of self care into each and every one of your days.

Something else to add to my list of things to do?? Groan! It may seem like a big ask and almost impossible but you simply cannot pour from an empty cup and all the other cliched phrases about looking after yourself.

So what is self care? Going on a holiday every few months? A bubble bath every night? If that’s something you enjoy, and can manage to do, then go for it but self care doesn’t have to be something that costs money or leaving your children banging on the door after 6 seconds which is the exact opposite of self care.

You can practice self care by going to bed 20-30 minutes earlier to grab an extra bit of sleep or use the time to read, meditate, journal or watch your favourite show. Maybe you could set your alarm for 20-30 minutes earlier in the morning to do it instead.

Practice mindfulness throughout the day by being present, by being in the moment. Look to the sky, the stars, the moon, the clouds, the trees, the flowers and just appreciate its beauty. Mother Nature gives us many reasons to bask in appreciation and it can literally take just a minute or two to reach a state of peace.

Say no. To whatever you need to say no to in order to feel ease. Your parents, your siblings, your friends, your co-workers, whoever makes a request of you that would threaten your sense of peace. We all have responsibilities and there are some things we can’t just refuse to do. Pick your battles. If it’s not a necessity and you feel it would drain your energy, learn to say no.

Nurture your body, mind and spirit by eating fresh food and drinking enough water, move your body even if it’s a walk around the block or a dance off to your favourite song. Utilise your sick leave. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Have a lunch break. Eat mindfully which means focusing on enjoying your meal. Put your phone away, close the laptop and savour each mouthful.

Turn off your phone or switch it to silent for an hour….30 minutes at least. Delete, or hide, the negative people, groups and pages from your social media apps. If you can’t see them you’re less likely to get into a mood about it.

Every now and again, treat yourself without the guilt. It’s been 5 months since I had seen my hairdresser but I saw her today and I feel amazing. No guilt just 2 1/2 hours of me, her and some pretty looking hair at the end of it. Bliss.