Healing Words: Surviving My “Evil Stepmother”

Read about Ana's experiences growing in an abusive household on bettysbattleground.com

A guest writer series about the ways we heal-on bettysbattleground.comHello, happy Friday!

As I promised earlier this week, I have a very special guest post from one of my favorite bloggers, Ana De-Jesus. Ana’s blog is Faded Spring, where she melds her fashion blogging and modeling with feminism, trauma narratives, and other socially conscious issues. It’s wonderful! Hop on over and take a look when you’re done here.

Ana’s story is difficult to read. We don’t like to hear about children experiencing abuse and neglect. In some ways, it becomes even more difficult to learn it’s at the hands of a stepmother or stepfather, because this is a person who was welcomed into the family and instead chose to tear it apart. Even though it’s a hard read, I ask you to read through to the end. Too often we hear the fairy-tales about the beautiful princess and the evil stepmother. We brush that early plight aside as a necessary part of the princess’ story, and we watch her move forward into a romantic happily-ever-after. The true story is far more nuanced. Ana survived her own version of the “evil stepmother,” and she certainly fits the mold of a beautiful ingenue, but she is also now living with aftermath that involves mental illness, continued strife, and deep strength and courage.

Read my half of the guest post exchange here.

Learn about Ana's experiences growing up with an abusive stepmother on bettysbattleground.comAna De-Jesus is a Multi Award Winning Blogger with a BA in English Literature, English Language and Education and Social Sciences. Her Blog Faded Spring celebrated its two year anniversary in August and after working in marketing and promotions, she now blogs full time, alongside running two successful social media groups for bloggers. Ana’s blog has been nominated for a total of 7 awards and was ranked by Feedspot as 33rd in the Top 50 Best Blogs and Websites in the UK. She is also a Freelance Journalist and has an extensive writing portfolio covering media outlets like magazines, websites, newspapers and more. Ana’s blog has enabled her to collaborate with huge brands like Public Desire, Pretty Little Thing and River Island and she is passionate about having frank and open discussions centered on mental health, abuse, bullying, sex and dating. When she isn’t blogging, Ana can be found reading historical fiction, watching Rick and Morty and hanging out with friends.

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Parenting with Mental Illness: Andolina (Major Depressive Disorder)

Meet Andolina-on bettysbattleground.com

Parenting with Mental Illness, a feature interview series on bettysbattleground.comI am honored to introduce Andolina as this month’s Parenting with Mental Illness interviewee. She’s a beautiful young mother who lives with Major Depressive Disorder and moderate anxiety. She also lost her father to suicide. I can only imagine what that kind of loss is like, and I thank her for her sharing her story here on Betty’s Battleground. It breaks my heart to hear about yet another woman whose birthday has been ruined possibly forever–this time by a tragic loss.

A person recently left a very interesting comment on my blog post about forgiving our loved ones who commit suicide. She (I’m actually not sure of the person’s gender, but am using “she” for the sake of clarity) noted that she had lost her spouse to suicide several years back. Then she asked me to re-write my post to exclude the term “commit suicide.” She informed me that there is now a movement to have people say “died by suicide” rather than “commit suicide,” due to negative connotations associated with the word commit, and the idea that suicide is an act for which the victim is not culpable.

I’m familiar with these kinds of language movements. There’s one also in place around the word “addict,” for which I’ve had several losing battles with editors on the titles and language within certain of my articles. My problem here is that I’m not sure I agree. I don’t agree that the word commit is inherently negative, nor do I agree that people who attempt suicide have no volition whatsoever. They’re ill, usually, but if we say they have no power, that can be dangerous to people struggling with suicidal ideations. Is our commitment stronger to the living, or the deceased? I do believe we should respect and honor those who lost their lives to suicide. I do believe in awareness. I don’t know how I stand on the language. Will you leave your thoughts in the comments?

And now, Andolina:

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6 Common Compliments That Undermine Mentally Ill Women

6 Common Compliments You should never say to a mentally ill woman-on bettysbattleground.com

2017 is a very cool time to be living when it comes to feminism. There is still a ton of work to be done, but it’s definitely awesome that everyone who reads anything knows about feminism. Even people whose reading material is limited to internet clickbait (hey-no judgement here!) know the basics of feminism. We’ve got huge superstars on our side; from Jennifer Lawrence to Will Smith, society is decrying sexism. Multi-million dollar companies are sponsoring media campaigns aimed at closing the wage gap, promoting positive self-image, and erasing gender role expectations.

With all of these amazing advancements we’re seeing, you’d think something as basic as compliments would be safe from sexism. Compliments exist to make people feel good, right? So many people are aware of feminism these days that there’s really no reason why compliments shouldn’t make us feel good. Yet the most well-intentioned, educated people are still saying some really oblivious things. And it’s not only guys doing it. These sexist compliments are so common, even women say some of them. I’ve been guilty of a few.

On top of everything, a lot of these super common sexist compliments also feed right into mental illness stigma. The front lines of the mental illness battle are still very hairy. People constantly misrepresent the mentally ill, or use disorders as insults. Ever called someone a psycho, or just plain ol’ crazy? That’s what I’m talking about! Even health care workers perpetuate mental illness stigma by deprioritizing complaints from patients with known mental health issues. For those women living with a mental illness or illnesses, like me, dealing with both sexism and mental illness stigma on a daily basis can be downright exhausting. Can we please just keep compliments out of it?

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