I was born and raised in New England, with 4 brothers. I developed, during my life journey, the need to protect others. I would always protect or defend my little brother, as I got older this extended to anyone that would not stand up for themselves. My mother gave me the nickname, Brenda the Avenger. I took it as a compliment and wore it as a badge of honor for most of my life.
This blog is a journey from being the victim of various abuses to viking (Brenda the Avenger), protecting others in a way I was never protected, to a peaceful soul. I have a peaceful soul more often than not these days, but God tends to bring my attention to things I need to face, when he feels the time is right.
I will explain in a general way, what I was like, what happened and what I am like now. As new struggles come up I will share them all in a solution oriented way.
Brenda The Avenger (BTA) is a protective factor in my life that was developed as a survival tool. I lived my life from age 6 until I was 48 in survival mode. A constant state of fight or flight, which felt normal since that is all I knew. Most people their safe place is at home, but mine was work or school. I always excelled at work and no one had harmed me in my work environments. I was and still am my true authentic self at work. I know who I am and where I stand there. When I was married I was a very different person by the end of my marriage. I was submissive, fearful, anxiety ridden and absolutely resented myself for being this way. During this time I stopped advocating for myself only others. I was no longer worthy of my own protection. I would give my life to protect my step-son, he is an amazing and joyful part of my life. I stayed for 16 years primarily for him. I love him deeply.
I lived my personal relationships as a victim and I still have to keep an eye on those behaviors. I was victimized at age 6 by someone I should have been able to trust. This as during a cultural time where these things were not discussed. It happened at night in my own home, so I was robbed of any sense of security a child should feel. I was bullied at school through mid high school, so I was not safe there. I was raped at age 17 while on my first date. I never told anyone because I felt that these things were because I was bad or broken in some way.
Brenda the Avenger surfaced in the beginning to protect my younger brother and my mother. My mother never advocated for herself, where my father was concerned, I got sick of it and started standing up to my father when she wouldn’t. Protecting my brother from people bullying him made me feel powerful. I felt in control in this role. Eventually, BTA would only protect other people.
God gave me the strength and abilities to survive as a child, teen and as a wife. He also, kept me safe as I tried various ways to numb the pain that goes with all of these things. Everyone has the need to numb sometimes, but when it’s killing you, and running your life it’s time to get help. I have used TV, food, exercise, men, alcohol, shopping, isolating, and anything else….except abusing drugs…to numb. Like Brene’ Brown says, you can’t numb the dark without numbing the light, pain and joy alike are numbed. My isolation hid my life threatening numbing agents – alcohol and various eating disorders. Since I lived alone during the worst of it all, it was easy to hide. It was God that saved me each time. He saved be from alcohol after losing my mother. Then recently saved me from my E.D. after my ex-husband died and all that unaddressed stuff surfaced.
I had found out what peace and serenity felt like after getting sober and love living in that space. My E.D. robbed me of that so I went and got help just before Thanksgiving 2014. It was then that all the therapy and pieces were pulled together and the puzzle made sense. I still have so much work to do but I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I know it’s not a train.
I want women (or men) who have had these experiences to know there is a way through to a place of peace and comfort. It’s hard work, but worth the effort. I will share my story here, changing the names to protect others identities or just keeping it about the feelings, which is really what we are dealing with here.
The Resources page will be links to people, places or things that have helped me. Some will be things I am doing now and are noteworthy. Also recognition to those who have contributed to my site content, or are supporters of my life.