Who's That Woman in the Mirror? And Why is She Covered in Sticky Notes?

Hello, my name is Suzanna. And I’m too Emotional.

I’m also too Sensitive, too Needy. I’m IncapableUnqualified. I’m such a SillyGirl.

I’m Mean (if I’m not Nice). Too Loud. Too Quiet. I’m Nice (when I’m not Angry).

My behavior is UnbecomingInappropriateIndecentUnladylikeNaïveNasty.

I’m Like a Sailor (if I cuss). Like a Virgin (when I play Innocent). Like a Whore(when I play).

I’m a Prude. But also a Bad Girl who’s Slutty. A Good Girl who’s Naughty. In short, I’m a MessHelpless. Powerless. Useless.

I’m often Mistaken, and very often Wrong…unless I’m right, then I’m Out of Line. Then I Have It Coming. Because I’m such High Maintenance.

My boobs are too small. My legs are too skinny. My nose too pointy. My clothes are too tight until they’re not tight enough. My hair’s not long enough, but then it’s too short and do I really want to look like a boy? I used to be too young. Now I am too old.

I’m Unworthy. Incompetent. Irrational. Inferior. Not Quite, which means Never Good Enough.

I need to smile more. I need to think less. And I need to be Quiet. Silent. Because shhhh Suzanna, no one wants to hear what you have to say anyway.

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Fairy Tale Turned Nightmare: The Narcissist in Prince Clothing

One of my favorite movies as a young girl was Cinderella. Before I possessed the ability to think with too much reason or logic, I could imagine no better scenario than the man of my dreams coming to rescue me from my wretched existence. The problem with this state of being, however, which lasted into my late twenties, is that my situation was never actually that wretched thus I didn’t need actual saving (at least not by someone else). Attached as I was to the fairy tale, however, it was no big surprise when I met the man who I thought came from my girlhood fantasies and fell hard and fast in love without any fairy godmother to hold me back for a moment and say, “Now hold on just one damn minute!”

Consequently, there was nothing I could do but freefall into his love and ride it like a rollercoaster with my eyes squeezed shut. It was frightening as hell, but I didn’t want to get off.

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I Wanted Him to Hit Me Instead: The Physical Trauma of Emotional Abuse

I had always been a healthy girl. I never struggled with any major illness, and the only time I was in a hospital outside of childbirth was to accompany my parents when my little brother needed stitches or had an asthma attack. I rarely took medication because I rarely needed it, and the only knowledge I had about remedies other than baby aspirin and Mercurochrome was from reading the expired boxes of Alka-Seltzer in my dad’s medicine cabinet.

But that was then, before I turned thirty and fell hard and fast in love with a man who would later be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It wouldn’t be until sixteen years later that I would escape, and with only a shred of my spirit intact due to the emotional injuries I suffered silently from, injuries that weren’t visible like bruises or broken bones and therefore left me nothing to show in demonstration of my pain.

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I was Married to a Sexual Predator

Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Brett Ratner, Roy Moore…the list goes on and new names are added every day of those men who have been publicly outed as being sexual predators, men who abused their power by harassing and assaulting women who were in less powerful positions. It’s easy to come to a general consensus when the crimes of these men are splashed across the media for us to see. The facts are loud and in our face. We identify with these women; we are sickened by these men. We agree that voices should be raised, consequences should be dealt, change must take place.

I wasn’t able to recognize that I lived with a sexual predator until I was no longer living with him, the day when I could finally take off the rose-colored glasses I wore that had enabled me to endure daily life by downplaying both his behavior outside our home and the emotional abuse he inflicted within it.Over a sixteen-year period, I became ever more adept at excusing his conduct toward women and teenage girls because by all other accounts I had already formed the belief that he was a good guy who simply made mistakes.

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The Dollars & Sense of Financial Abuse: The Hidden Cancer in an Abusive Relationship

I was smart, educated, and well off. I lived in a beautiful 10,000 square foot home on ten acres at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming. I had three boys and was married to a charismatic self-starter who had a reputation for being a go-getter, a talented and inventive man whose self-sufficiency was known to all. We started businesses together, we bought and flipped houses with tremendous success, we were landlords of several apartment complexes, we owned and operated a thriving dance studio, and we were well known in our small town as the couple who got things done, who “had it all.”

And we were also masters of continuing our charade so that the dirty little secret I was keeping could stay just that: a secret.

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Dear Outsiders: Letters from an Abuse Survivor

Dear Outsiders,

How were you to know? You saw what I wanted you to see. And what I wanted was for you to see that everything was perfect. I was happy. He was wonderful. There was no trouble. I didn’t cry myself to sleep. He didn’t purposely inflict pain. Our children were unaffected. Everything was just fine. Until it wasn’t, but by that time you’d already been convinced so there was no use for me to try and explain that I wasn’t telling you the entire truth before, that I wasn’t happy and he wasn’t wonderful — at least to those of us behind closed doors.

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Suzanna Quintana
I'm Not a Nice Girl (anymore)

I was raised to be “nice.” I didn’t receive any other directions than that so I deduced what being nice meant by learning what it didn’t: nice girls don’t have anything mean to say, nice girls smile even when someone is not nice to them, nice girls are polite to all men no matter how old or creepy or gross they are and no matter what they say, nice girls say only words that people want to hear, and nice girls never ever express how they’re feeling if it means someone — especially a man — is made uncomfortable or challenged in any way.

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