Archive for the ‘domestic violence’ Category


Are Toleration’s standing in the way and blocking your Success!

My favorite time of the year is the week between Christmas and the New Year, during that time I decide what my major 3-4 goals will be for the following year. I had never really heard about setting goals until a little over 20 years ago, thanks to my younger sister who knew exactly what I needed to move on after my husband had been removed from my home. I was suddenly away from a man that I had begged God to free me from for years and now I sat alone with my four-year-old son. I was clueless about what to do next.

She had given me a 30-day program and I listened to each cassette and did the exercises in a notebook daily. Some days I would listen to 2 tapes as I could feel the changes in my mind.

“The powerful realization that I could control what I thought about was like discovering the reason for my life. It had never occurred to me that I could somehow control what I thought about and focused on.”

Like some of you that read my writing, you may have lived a life of daily, sometimes hourly survival.  When you live that way you never have the luxury to sit and reflect on what you really want your life to be, the current goal is surviving the day.

For me setting long-term goals was the furthest thing from my mind when I started the tape program so I was happy when the first thing that I was asked to do was to write down a list of things that I would no longer tolerate in my life.

What does setting Goals have to do with Toleration’s?

Let me tell you, you can have the best goals in place but if you are tolerating lots of what may seem like little things, you are using your focus, energy, and space in your brain that could be better spent on important things like YOUR GOALS!

Start thinking about what you are Tolerating right now!

Learn to Stop Tolerating what you don't want to start having what you do want

Toleration’s can take many forms, they can be physical actions that when you deal with them one time they are gone like:

  • Your cluttered office where you can’t find what you need quickly
  • A cluttered closet that makes you feel defeated each time you go into it
  • Laundry that you let pile up for weeks so you can’t find what you need
  • The hole in the wall that has been there for a year that if you spent 20 minutes taking care of it would be fixed
  • The car that has been broken down for months that you need to get to the junkyard (you see it every day you enter your home)

Tolerations can also be less tangible things that are taking up space in your mind like:

  • Being overweight and not taking any action to fix it
  • Dealing with chronic pain because you are not exercising or doing the things that help you feel better
  • Wasted days because you do not have a daily routine
  • Making excuses about why you haven’t started that business or written that book
  • Being in a negative mindset most days because you are not doing the things that help you stay positive

So what is the BENEFIT of removing Tolerations?

When you remove Tolerations, you are able to free up little pockets of space in your brain.  It may not sound like a big deal but if you add up all the big and little things that you are tolerating, you would be amazed at how much space you are taking up in your already full brain.

Take some of the examples above and imagine how it would feel to:

  • Find the things you need because you have a routine where you do a load of laundry every day!
  • Walk into your home every day without passing the broken down car in the driveway!
  • Find the clothing that you want to wear in your de-cluttered closet!
  • Waking up in a positive mindset ready to rock the day
  • Know you have a daily plan in place to help you lose weight and feel better!

Are your Tolerations standing in the way of your success, freedom, and peace of mind?

YES! The reason that I refer to Tolerations as taking up little pockets of space is that I am a visual gal and this helps me to see how I am wasting my energy on things that I don’t need to if I just took some action.

For example, the cluttered closet on the list is mine!  I am currently tolerating a very full closet, while this may not sound like a big toleration for you, every time I walk in the closet I feel a little overwhelmed. To avoid dealing with this toleration I grab the same 2-3 pieces of clothing that I wear pretty much every day and get dressed.

The good news is that once I am out of the closet this toleration no longer bothers me.  Or does it? 

For a long time, I did not realize it, but when I was laying in my bed, even when the closet door was shut, I knew that there was a mess right behind that door.  Now that little pocket in my brain, without my even realizing it was not just thinking about the mess, but reminding me of how many times I had said I was going to create a capsule wardrobe and get rid of the rest of the clothing I never wore.

This Toleration was causing me to feel defeated, even at a time when I thought it was not even on my mind!

Now I am not just struggling with a full closet, but the disappointment that I am not following through on something that would be beneficial for me. Get the idea, I’ve learned to just Tolerate it.

So, the big question is, why doesn’t she just clean out the darn closet?  Well, it isn’t life or death, it isn’t hurting anyone and it is not urgent.  So instead, I allow this non-urgent toleration to drain my energy.

So what is the BENEFIT of removing this toleration? It will help me in many ways, not just by allowing me to find clothing that I really love, but when I clear out that clutter, I allow myself more time for me and what I really want.

Clear our your head by writing down everything you are currently Tolerating

First, take out a sheet of paper (if you join my list below you will get your Free Goal Setting Worksheets and Checklists with Toleration listing) or open your computer and write down everything that you can think of that you are tolerating.

This list should not be confused with a normal to do a list like do the laundry, clean the house or go shopping, this should be one time things, that if you removed them or rather stopped Tolerating them, you would be more successful.

Pick Your Top 3 Tolerations to Focus on

Next, go through your list of Toleration’s and pick the top 3 things that if completed, would take a weight off your shoulders and create a sense of excitement for you to move down the list.  Keep this list handy, once you complete 1 toleration, you will pick another one so that you always keep focused on removing 3 at a time.

Next, write the Top 3 Tolerations on the top of a page

Next, underneath each Toleration write why you will no longer tolerate that thing, be clear on how if it was removed your life would change, Clarity is King.

For example, back to my overflowing closet, my why is: I know if this was removed from my life I would feel lighter, I would be able to open my closet and find something to wear that I really liked and made me feel good quickly.  Once I got dressed the overflowing closet would no longer be on my mind. This Toleration would be removed from my mind.

Finally, write what you will do to remove this Toleration from your life.

My plan: I have a plan in place that every day I spend just a few minutes sorting in my closet.  I have started in one spot and am working my way around.  It doesn’t sound like much but each day I do this I may remove a piece or 2 of clothing and find something I had forgotten about.  I have already donated a big box of clothing and gotten rid of a few other things.  The best news is that even though this project will take some time to complete, I no longer have the toleration taking up space in my mind most days as I know I have a plan to remove it.

So why don’t I just take a weekend and clear out the entire close?  I have tried this in the past, it becomes too overwhelming and I end up just putting pretty much everything back in place just to be done with it.

Please share

To help others who are working to remove Tolerations from their life please share what 3 top tolerations you will remove from your life starting today.

Once I feel confident these items are no longer a Toleration I will move on to other ones. My current Top 3 Tolerations as of this writing are:

  1. Cluttered closet (working on little bits daily)
  2. Lack of daily focus (I have created routines and review them first thing each morning)
  3. Not writing on a regular basis: (my routine – work on a piece of writing like this daily, even if for just a few minutes)

If you are working on your Tolerations and are ready to focus on your Top Goals grab your Free Goal Setting Worksheets and Daily Checklists to help you Succeed when you join my list at www..ReBeccaBurns.com.

Don’t forget to leave a comment with the list of your current Top 3 Tolerations and how you will remove them!

ReBeccaBurns.com eMpowering Women


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Today I was reviewing advice online to help rebuild self-esteem after abuse and the article linked below was to the point, don’t try to fix everything, be patient with yourself.

Be patient with yourself. Think about how you’d treat a best friend who had just been through the same situation. You likely wouldn’t tell them to “get over it already.” Let yourself take as much time as you need to sort through your emotions, feel what you need to feel and slowly come back to a positive outlook on the future.

The linked site offers a ton of resources such as forums and groups to support you in the aftermath of abuse, for teens and adults. My goal is to provide you with resources and this looks like a pretty good one. To read the rest of the article click here Rebuilding Your Self-Esteem after abuse.

I wrote this poem years ago and still read it daily to stay inspired and focused:

Dream Focused

Look at nothing else
Put on all your blinders
Or what you want you will lose sight
Concentration is important
Even though it may not seem
If you wish to have what you want in life
You must focus on the dream
Live it
Feel it
Be it
or nothing you will have
For those without a dream in life
Wander down the path
Someday you will feel frightened
Lost and all alone
Close your eyes and search your soul
For something to pull you through
A memory
A dream
A promise of tomorrow
The fate is in store for you must first be thought by You!

If you have a site that offers support or know of one please share it in the comments, we are here to help each other heal, if not, what was the point of all of this?

Free Printable of Poem ready to frame – click here!

Love & Peace,


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the children of death row_FB

As I writer I love a good quote, the one that had been on my screen saver for months at the time of this writing was written by Ernest Hemingway and it read: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” My true sentence will come a little later.

Have you ever read something that compelled you to take immediate action because you were so moved?  Well, I had one of those moments tonight as I was relaxing in my bed watching Ted.com (Ideas worth spreading) a site where you can listen to discussions on a wide variety of topics.

I was randomly scrolling through the new content, the first speech was about how the world is over-medicated and over-diagnosed, but that is another discussion.  It was the second talk that inspired me to get out of my comfy bed and write to you.

The speech was by a lawyer named David Dow and it was dated January 2012. In the speech, he talked about learning about life from a death row inmate.

While I am sure that deep down I knew that each man on death row was once a child, hearing him say that each one maybe lived in abuse, witnessed it, was abandoned or lived on the streets struck me to my core as I thought about all of the children that live or have lived in dysfunctional homes, my son included.

What really hit me was when he said that 80% of death row inmates in Texas had been in the juvenile system as well.

He talked about how at one time these little boys still had a chance to be supported before they turned to murder which forever sealed not only their fate but that of another human being.

Once the murder was committed, it then became too late to help; after all, a murder was committed and innocent life was taken.

As a mother that escaped a violent childhood and marriage, I knew all too well how the way we grow up impacts who we become.

I also know that it was by the Grace of God, my dedication to being his mother, and endless prayer that my son turned out to be one of the most amazing men you can meet.

Sadly, this is not true for the 2,624 men that are currently sitting on death row, counting down the days until their last meal.

The men on death row were once children too

I was far from being the perfect mother. To this day I vividly remember sitting at my kitchen table talking to my sister as we discussed that I should leave this man before the baby was born.

I was 27-years-old and had always been insecure and unable to trust my gut which I am sure stemmed from my dysfunctional childhood. This insecurity caused me to think that all of my life decisions were the wrong ones. I feared that taking my child’s father from him before he was even born would haunt me for the rest of my life.

Little did I know at the time that keeping his father in his life would be what ended up haunting us both for the rest of our lives.

My son was one of the lucky few men to be able to break the chains of domestic violence and a dysfunctional home as an adult, something I will be forever grateful for, especially when I see my grandson who lives a life of safety, love and security.

Again, sadly not all young men will have the strength or resources to break these chains, and while it is too late to turn back the clock for the young men currently on death row, it is not too late for us to change the future for the children that are growing up now, that may currently be destined to have their last bed in life be a small cot on death row.

I write to support women in the aftermath of domestic violence so this was written with you in mind.

If you are like I was and you play that old record in your head, “I can’t take them away, the kids need a mother or a father,” trust me, you are not doing them any favors.

Ok, enough about that, so what brought me to tears and made the jump out of my comfy bed to write to you tonight, it was something this young man named Will said as he shared a horrific memory from when he was 5-years-old and living with his mother who was a paranoid schizophrenic.

The children of death row lived in abuse

The night before Will was about to be executed his lawyer, David Dow, asked him, “do you really remember your mom trying to kill you when you were 5, or do you just remember others saying that she did?”

The young man replied, “no disrespect, but when you are 5-years-old and your mother is chasing you around the house with a butcher knife that is bigger than you are and she is screaming she is going to kill you and you have to lock yourself in the bathroom and lean against the door and holler for help until the police got there, that’s something you don’t forget.”

If this is not a true sentence, I don’t know what is.

After his mother was hospitalized he was sent to live with his older brother who would eventually kill himself with a bullet to his chest.

Will was then bounced around from family member to family member until he ended up living on his own at around 9-years-old. He then joined a gang and committed multiple crimes until the most serious one that he had been on death row for, murder.

I try to imagine my young son who was around 5 when his father was removed from our home, he would eventually have counseling and support but even that was not enough to save him from the aftermath of abuse.

I then try to imagine my little man being pushed out into the world all by himself and forcing him to figure out a life that most adults struggle to deal with.

My truest sentence, “if you remain living with a violent person your children will have a greater chance that they too will be violent or attempt suicide or like I did they may become passive and allow someone into their life that can easily take advantage of them.”

This is from my own experience as a child that tried desperately to be invisible in a very dysfunctional home to trying to comprehend as an adult why the man that said he loved me also tried to stab me with butcher knives and hold me, hostage, in my own home as he threatened to chop me up with the large ax he held in his hand.

Because I felt he needed to have a father so bad I was forced to watch as my son has had to struggle much of his life with remembering his father sitting him on top of our kitchen table while he had me pinned in a chair. His father held a switchblade to my throat and said, “say goodbye to mommy.” My sweet little blonde hair blue-eyed little boy who was around 3 to 4-years-old at that time said “bye mommy,” in his happy little voice as if we were playing a game.

I am sure that Will’s memory along with what I watched my son live through triggered the emotions in me tonight. I encourage you to watch the video by David Dow, you can find it on Ted.com under David Dow.

After you watch it decide, is it really worth ruining the rest of my child’s life to stay with a parent that is unstable just for the sake of having that other parent?

This is not about men or women, both can be toxic, it is about saving our children!

While Will’s story is heartbreaking, David Dow doesn’t just give us hope but real solutions that we can stop violence and prevent another child from ending up on death row if as a society we put the funds into supporting these children when they are young before a life of crime even happens.

This is about keeping our children innocent and off of death row.

When something like this really moves me I feel compelled to share it with you in hopes that we can prevent suffering in the world, especially for our children.

They say one person can’t change the world but David Dow has managed to change it for the countless men that he has supported on death row, he understands that these men were all someone’s little boy at one time.

If this moved, you pass it on, there is still time to stop another little boy from ending up a death row inmate, maybe even your little boy.

After this article was finished I realized more advice on how you can help was lacking. 

Most of us don’t know what to do, you may read this article and think, this was sad and then return to your hot cup of Starbucks or scroll through your social media for a bit. If the image of these young men continues to sit on your mind and you want to do more, make a donation to a local charity like the Domestic Violence Hotline, a number that many of these young men may have called at one time for help. 

Find a local agency that supports disadvantaged children and give your money or time, they both make such a difference. Become a big brother or find a young man to mentor. If you have a voice, share this with the world like I am doing.

While I do not have all the answers, I am willing to speak out and hope that you will join me in this fight to save our children.

Love & Peace,

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