Out-Dated Traditions, or Abuse?

October 24, 2021. Felicia Chew, Founder Domestic Violence Support Services

Hello,

When I write, sometimes folks become upset with my perspective. That is not my intent. I have worked with countless victims, and survivors of domestic abuse, and I have been a victim of abuse. I am mindful to not project; I also believe it is helpful to share one another’s experiences, because individuals often feel ashamed, guilty, and alone.

If you choose to continue reading my response, please know that some parts may “trigger” an emotional reaction. These can be through any of the “survival responses”: Fight, flight, freeze, fawn, fall, folly.

If that happens, know that it is okay to stop reading and come back later It might be helpful to ground yourself; it might be helpful to breathe.

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It could be abuse. It could also be a man who is stuck in tradition, working hard, and worrying that he “isn’t good enough”.

If it is the first, file now for divorce, or the children will see you living in a toxic, abusive environment and think they must remain in toxic, abusive relationships…. which may result in death/murder.

If it is the latter, recognize that he is working from a place that he might not even recognize is unhealthy for your relationship.

How to determine which one it is? Observe (as you have been), and ask **your husband** clarifying questions.

First, ask permission to ask a question. (No one likes to be blindsided with hard questions), for example: “Can I ask you a question?”

If the answer is yes: “Thank you.” (Then relax your shoulders, neck, jaw, fists, and breathe.) Difficult conversations can put us in survival mode. If you realize you are too stressed, say so, and ask for a moment to calm down — then take a deep breath, inhaling for four counts let the breath circulate, and exhale gently for 7 counts. If at any point the process becomes too emotional, stop the process (“The conversation is becoming too emotional, I’d like to call a timeout. Thank you for our conversation so far”, and when things are calm, set a time to talk, and be sure to talk at that time: “Is _________ o’clock okay?” — and be sure to be available at that time!)

When you are ready to start the conversation: “Please know that I am not attacking you or our relationship. May I ask you the question? (may we continue)?”

If the answer is “No”, wait and listen to why. You may be tempted to react and insist that you have the conversation now. Some folks would say this is now a battle for control (and abusive). It might be, AND it might also be that something came up. Set another time.

If you set three times (set healthy boundaries for yourself), and there is no success, you can write your concerns down in an email, which allows the both of you to re-read what the other said… for clarification, not for ammunition.

/// I know this is a lot of information, and the conversation may not go this way at all. If at any point you feel you are in danger, or it would be dangerous to continue on your own, STOP. There should be some community mediation services in your community, if you want to go that route. You could also “Be still”, and wait for your husband to process that he is hurting you. He may truly not know, and simply be following tradition. Trust your gut. Recognize also, that if/when you speak with others, they may have had similar experiences and be triggered and project their situation onto you. Trust yourself. You are beautiful, intelligent, amazing.///

If the answer is still yes… “I am feeling frustrated, and I am truly wondering: Could you tell me why you don’t pay the bills early?”

He might answer something that makes complete sense, or he might say “I don’t know” He might take a while to answer, as he thinks of how to respond. You may be tempted to break the silence. Some folks may say he is doing a powerplay.

Extend grace. He may have never thought about this, and is now understanding that he has hurt you. He is processing. Give him time.

Don’t break the silence.

After he responds…

You can follow with: “Thank you. It is important to me to pay bills early because….” Period. Recommendation, especially if he didn’t “open up”: Don’t embellish. Don’t add extra info. Don’t judge or blame. (He may feel attacked; he may be feeling confused; he may feel like he has failed).

Don’t press the matter, because he may need time to process. Recognize that you have achieved your purpose — to communicate to work toward a healthy relationship– you have “planted the seed”, and shared your opinion that it is important to you to pay bills early.

You can pause and reflect on what he said. If he didn’t know, that is okay. If he gave you an answer, you can consider it. Maybe you can agree to pay the bills by a particular date that is comfortable to both you and him. (Note the word “comfortable” means “with strength” — healthy and honest communication can be scary; it also strengthens the relationship).

Trigger warning for what follows:

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Maybe you can consider if your need to pay bills early is logical. Maybe you are afraid of paying bills late because you were evicted, or received hefty fines.

Maybe you have an underlying feeling of shame because the inheritance is running dry.

There should be no guilt or shame for either of you. We are humans who do the best that we can, with the knowledge and resources that we have.

The good news is that we have social media, and platforms that we can reach out to,to know that we are not alone.

Deeper conversations help clear the air. We can decide if we want things to remain status quo, or to change. We should recognize there is always more than one way to peace.

If you are a believer of Christian teachings, please recognize that saying “God is the only way to Heaven” really means “Love is the only way…” (and there are at least “Five Languages of Love”.)

Good luck to you and your family. I am sending love and light and goodness and peace into our Universe. I believe in forgiveness which is not the same as forgetting.

You are beautiful, intelligent, amazing!!

💜

#StopTheShame #BreakTheCycle #BreakTheStigma #HealthyBoundaries #LookBeyond

Sunday Sermon

October 10, 2021 8am ❤ Felicia

It is always interesting to me to learn about the perspectives of others.  The Oro Valley Church of The Nazarene will be hosting a sew a thon next weekend, so I reached out to ask about it.  What will the dresses look like?  They wrote back with an image.  It is one of the cute easy to make dresses that I have seen in easy to sew sewing classes.

So, I visited their website to learn more.

Some of you may already know that I am an ordained minister for the Universal Life Church Ministries , which is non-denominational, therefore aligning with what I have learned on my spiritual journey.

I have learned that we see things through different lenses, and sometimes what holds us back is fear and insecurities.  Fear of doing the right thing; insecurities when no one else is doing what we are doing.

I watched a few of the OVCN short videos with the pastors,  made mental notes of who the pastors were, and asked myself if it really matters what others think of them (I noticed some of my FB friends liked the page, and had thought about asking them about the church).

I became involved with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at the University of California, Davis many moons ago.  Typically, in my adult life, I have participated in religious organizations that are non-denominational.

But that changed approximately 20 years ago when I moved to New Mexico. 

Needless to say, I learned a lot about two more public groups of worshippers:  Zuni Christian Reformed Church and St. Anthony Indian School.  And one group that we called the Home Church, but when in Court, former participants who testified against me denied its existence.

It was at the Home Church that I learned what God was NOT teaching, and how twisted folks could get with the Word of God and Scripture.  It wasn’t until I was free from the Home Church that I realized how un Christlike this group was; it focused on Old Testament practices… outdated traditions, where mis-teachings that included guilt and shame were used to impose responsibilities. Dreams and goals were squashed.  Friendships were severed with the “outside world”.

Some folks call the Home Church a cult, based on what I shared about the false teachings.

So,I am skeptical when it comes to churches and their practices.  Are they ways to control and coerce people into ways that were not intended by God, by YHWH?  Are the teachings that people put forth the true hopes and aspirations of the Creator?  (Is there only one Creator)? 

Most people don’t like when I ask questions,  whether it is in the political spectrum, or the religious spectrum, or the education spectrum… and so I wander on the road.  I believe it is my duty to do the right thing, even when others aren’t; to love EVERYone; to promote an organized chaos, where chaos is individual freedom, love, belief; do no harm.

I am curious about the Church of the Nazarene.  Below is text of what seems most controversial from what my investigation.  I did find other information on how the Church of the Nazarene has changed some of their ideologies along the way.

I will close with this:

I remember the story of the farmer in the freezing hard winter.   He found birds in his barn.  When he tried to feed them, they flew away.  He thought to himself:  If only I could be a bird, so they would not be afraid.

Today, some psychology and leadership books talk about being that chameleon, and planting seeds as much as possible.

I have been doing that, and I recognize that I have also hit a wall and become frustrated with what I perceive as an unjust battle… A song that I love hate is “Bloom Where You’re Planted”.  This morning, I embrace that song and the quote that I also hated: “It is what it is.”

I take a deep breath, let it circulate, and exhale gently, and invite you to do the same when faced with challenges.  “Be still” (Psalm 46:10)

Kalamajong,
/Felicia ❤

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7. The Nazarene Church prohibits the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes.


During its history, the Church of the Nazarene has sustained a stance advocating total abstinence from alcohol and any other intoxicant, including cigarettes.

Original Nazarene founder Bresee was engaged in the Prohibition movement. Although this proceeds to be discussed, the position remains in the church. While the church does not view alcohol itself to be the cause of sin, it acknowledges that intoxication and the like are a ‘danger’ to many people, both physically and spiritually.

Historically, the Nazarene Church was founded in efforts to benefit the poor. Alcohol, gambling and the like, and their addictions were mentioned as things that kept people poor so Nazarenes have traditionally refrained from those things. Furthermore, they believe a person who is meant to serve an example to others should withdraw the use of them, in order not to cause others to deviate from their ‘walk with God,’ as that is regarded a sin for both people.

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This was originally shared on Facebook. Click on this link for hyperlinks to the groups mentioned in the post above.

So, Your Loved One Tells You They Have Been A Victim Of A Crime. What Now?

October 2, 2021. Felicia Chew, Founder Domestic Violence Support Services

Someone informs you that they have been a victim of a crime… what’s the “best way” to respond?

There isn’t a “best way”. There isn’t a “one size fits all”.

You can do a few things. You can Listen, Believe, Be Love.

You can show that you are listening by Validating them: “Thank you for sharing with me. I am so sorry for what happened.”

You can believe them by NOT saying things like: “Oh, you must have done something.” You can read “A Child Called It” to learn more about how an abuser may target just one person.

You can Be Love, and just be there, without judging or being mean. You don’t even have to say anything. “Hamd over heart” is one way to stay connected. (Place your hand on their back behind their heart).

To learn more about how to respond to someone in crisis, you can visit my website and read my blogs at http://www.feliciachew.com; you can also watch out for the next Victim Advocate training that the Pima County Victim Services Division offers.

DomesticViolence #DomesticViolenceIsNoJoke #BreakTheCycle #ListenBelieveBeLove #StopTheBlame #StopTheShame #OurChildrenAreWatching #OurChildrenAreSuffering #BreakTheStigma #Breathe

New Policies Can Break the Cycle of Heartbreak and Domestic Violence

October 2, 2021. Felicia C, Founder of Felicia Chew Community Projects

Why do I share so much heartbreak? So folks will wake up and vote for new policies that will break these cycles.

October is Domestic Violence month. November is Family Court Awareness Month. December 6-10 is my D day… where I testify to a Court in response to allegations that I am guilty of custodial interference, which would result in prison time of 9 months to 9 years, and the label of “felon”.

Folks say I shouldn’t talk about my situation. Maybe a Judge will issue an Order that I cannot talk about this. Maybe I am not supposed to talk about this. Maybe this post is Judicial Interference that will “bias the Court”.

I respectfully disagree. Domestic violence is misunderstood. I cannot tell you how many individuals have said to me: “You must have done something wrong.”

This whole concept of domestic violence is so unbelieved. I thought that in 2011 when the NFL player was caught on the elevator security camera hitting his girlfriend that there would be a change. I was hopeful with every domestic violence case that came up.

I took a break from teaching to raise awareness. A Facebook group was created against my work, and a local newspaper worked very hard to discredit me. My name was dragged through the mud with politics.

And still, I speak up. And now, I face between 9 months and 9 years in prison for refusing to force my child to go with his father.

I write better than speaking, especially in the face of stress. Some folks will say I can’t speak because I am lying. This is untrue. I freeze due to anxiety and stress. I fall into crisis and react with survival mode.

I am seen as a helpless holly who must be rescued. I am seen as reactive when I become angry when I see abuse of power.

I take mental health days from work to deal with the emotion… I have a hearing on Monday, October 4 at 9am in Judge Marner’s Courtroom in the Pima County Superior Court to confirm and finalize the details of my hearing.

I have taken the whole day off, because Court is stressful.

We wonder why people do not report domestic abuse. Here I am… and I still file reports because I believe there are people who understand this imbalance of power and control and will work for restorative justice and healing.

At the end of it all, I still believe in healing. I believe that trauma, shame, blame, guilt cause the cycle of abuse to continue. The victim eventually has enough and takes action… or reaction.

Check out these movies about domestic violence:

  • The Burning Bed
  • Enough
  • Sleeping With the Enemy

Check out these groups to learn more about domestic violence:

  • Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse
  • ARC
  • Justice for Rosaura
  • Courtwatch
  • Justice for James
  • One Mom’s Battle

Check out my website:

DomesticViolence #BreakTheCycle #ListenBelieveBeLove #SadPanda #StopTheBlame #StopTheShame #OurChildrenAreWatching #OurChildrenAreSuffering #SadPanda #PeaceLoveAndAppleSnacks