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Bent Not Broken: A Kandid Chat w/ AnnDena McCleary

Bent Not Broken: A Kandid Chat w/ AnnDena McCleary

**This is a trigger warning from the Kandid Shop Podcast. On this episode, we will be discussing domestic or intimate partner violence and I want all of you to be aware of what you can and can't handle when listening to this episode. Take care of your me...

**This is a trigger warning from the Kandid Shop Podcast. On this episode, we will be discussing domestic or intimate partner violence and I want all of you to be aware of what you can and can't handle when listening to this episode. Take care of your mental and emotional health. Thank you.**

October is Domestic Violence Awareness, or as they're now calling it Intimate Partner Violence, and I have the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Ms. AnnDena McCleary, author of "Bent Not Broken, Rebirth of a Domestic Violence Survivor," and Founder of Bent Not Broken Inc.

AnnDena courageously shared her personal story of intimate partner violence and her road to healing and freedom.

"Bent Not Broken, Inc."  is her "baby" and was born out of the need to help women & men as they navigate the world free from trauma and abuse. 


"We have the concept of domestic violence, it's just hitting but It's not hitting only. Talking down financial, emotional, mental." If he's talking down to you and he's isolating you and he's letting you feel less than the person, you need to question yourself, Do I need this?" ~AnnDena McCleary

"You are beautiful. And you are more than enough. When you could tell your yourself all of this, look yourself in the mirror, Get up every day and celebrate. Put on a little bit of lip gloss, a little bit of makeup, and look at yourself and smile. I am beautiful. I am worthy. And watch how your day goes from a frown to a smile. " ~AnnaDena McCleary

"Bent Not Broken, Inc. is an organization that's that's here to rehabilitate domestic violence victims. I don't like the word victims. I wanna say overcomers. It's overcomers. We're all overcomers. So Bent Not Broken is here to assist domestic violence overcomers find themselves again. We are a liaison between the help and you. " ~AnnDena McCleary

Everyone deserves to be in a relationship or relationships that are free from violence of any kind. So if you're listening, please know that when you're ready, help and support is available 24/7. The domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-7233. Or if you're not ready to talk, you can text "START" to 88788.  People are out there willing and ready to help!

Contact Info:








Book Info:

Amazon.com: Masking Pain: Coping Strategies of a Domestic Violence Survivor: 9798417203169: McCleary, AnnDena: Books  

Amazon.com: Bent Not Broken: Rebirth of a Domestic Violence Survivor: 9798667737247: McCleary, Ms AnnDena F: Books  

Intro Music: "Welcome to The Kandid Shop" by Anthony Nelson aka BUSS_TE  https://music.apple.com/us/artist/buss/252316338    

Outro Music: "Behind the Wall" by Tracy Chapman ℗ 1988 Elektra/Asylum Records for the United States and WEA International for the world outside of the United States.


Kandidly Kristin


Bent Not Broken: A Kandid Chat w/ Anndena McCleary

Kandidly Kristin: This is a trigger warning from the Kandid Shop Podcast. On this episode, we will be discussing domestic or intimate partner violence. I want all of you to be aware of what you can and can't handle when listening to this episode. Take care of your mental and emotional health. Thank you.

Kandidly Kristin: Hey, hey, hey, Podcast family at your girl, Kandidly, Kristin, and this is The Kandid Shop, your number one destination for Kandid conversations. October is. Domestic violence, or as they're now calling it Intimate Partner Awareness Month.

And I have the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Ms. AnnDena McCleary, author of Bent Not Broken, Rebirth of a domestic violence survivor, and the founder of Bent Not Broken Inc. AnnDenas personal motto is, Turning pain into power. So I want to Welcome, welcome, welcome, Anndena to the Kandid Shop. How are you?

AnnDena McCleary: I am doing fantastic. It's indeed a pleasure to be, your guest. Tonight is indeed. I've been looking forward to this since April .

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. I was just about to say, it's been like months , since we first connected and then I went on hiatus cause I was burnt out. But I am so, so glad that we are able to get this chat done and in this month because, This is a topic that is globally important and personally important to me because I am a domestic violence intimate partner.

Whatever they calling it now, survivor and thriver. So let's get right into it. I have a few stats I'd like to share before we get into the meat of our chat. Um, so it's a lot of stats, so I'm only gonna read a few of them. But, the most important one is on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.

So what that equates to is in one year more than 10 million women and men are abused by an intimate partner. one in seven women and one in 25 men have been injured by an intimate partner. 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon, and only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their.

Injuries. Now, those stats are frightening, and as a survivor, I know that behind those numbers are real people experiencing real, real trauma. So, Ms. McCleary, can you, if you would share your story with me and my listeners?

AnnDena McCleary: Oh, well my story goes way back, but um, it would take us forever in a day. But in the meet and greet of it, I remember my domestic violence started out verbally at first, because with my son's father.

It was verbally, it was never abused. It was just more verbally. Ok. And financial abuse. I move away from Florida to New York and I mean, Well back, back and forth was spitting and grabbing and pushing and, but you know, mm-hmm. and talk down and financial. So I move away from Florida to New York with my newborn.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay

AnnDena McCleary: with my son and I started life, entered a shelter and um, lived there for three months, move on out into my own apartment. Thought things was on top of the world because I got a good job at his prestige law firm. Everything was going good. Okay. Um, my mother got sick and a blast from the past occurred.

Kandidly Kristin: Ok.

AnnDena McCleary: And it was my high school sweetheart when I was in Jamaica.

Kandidly Kristin: Uh, and you know, you know what I was just about to say? Where's that accent? I was trying to place it. So Jamaica. Okay. .

AnnDena McCleary: Yes. He's a blast of the past. So that called him and, um, you know, he was trying to reach out for me for like a who year we was talking in line.

And I was telling him like, you know, I don't want nobody, I’m in a position in my life where I'm ok. I don't. I was physically and mentally and ok, ok. You know, and then my mother. Sick and work. And my new, my son at the time was like four and it was just so much. Right. So eventually, you know, he moved from Connecticut to moving with me, but he moved with his aunt first.

And even though he was going back and forth and eventually he was everything I needed, you know, my mom came home from the nursing home. I was at work, he was at home helping my mom, my son, get off the school bus, right? Cooking. Needed me taking my, It was everything that I dreamed of, you know? Right. The drinking signs was there, the demanding signs was there, but hey, here's everything a girl wanted, right?

Everything he cooks, he cleans, he do everything that I needed a man to do in my life. And that's exactly what he did. Right. And.

Until it wasn't.

Fast forward, fast forward until we decide we're gonna get married. And I remember my house, I was doing some renovation on the house and it was Father's Day and he came to the house 2019 and he was so drunk.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm.

AnnDena McCleary: He was drunk to the point where he couldn't even stand.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow.

AnnDena McCleary: That was before we got married and got into an argument and he'd take his necklace and he, he'd beat me like I was his child, you know? And I was like, Okay,

Kandidly Kristin: wow.

AnnDena McCleary: He begged and he plead and you know, we got back together, got married, got pregnant, and, um, the abuse didn't even get better, got worse.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

AnnDena McCleary: And it got to the point where the drinking and the smoking, he wasn't working. I held it down for two years, for us, and it was just to the point where I just, I didn't have a voice in my house.

Kandidly Kristin: Right, right.

AnnDena McCleary: If I said, I was often wondering, am I saying the right thing? Am I doing the right thing? Did I do, did I cross my "I"'s

Kandidly Kristin: mm-hmm. ,

AnnDena McCleary: did dot my T's. I was just confused in my head. Mm-hmm. you. It's like, I don't wanna make the wrong thing. I don't wanna do the wrong thing. Right? I don't wanna walk in the wrong way. I don't wanna say the wrong things. I don't wanna do the wrong nothing, just so I could anger him some more.


When I cook, he would never eat.

He said I didn't earn.

Kandidly Kristin: Hmm.

AnnDena McCleary: The privilege of cooking for him. So basically when I cooked, I have to order food for him.

Kandidly Kristin: Oh wow. Okay.

AnnDena McCleary: So I'm there spending like $200, $300 a day in food when there’s food in the house.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow.

AnnDena McCleary: Just because my son had a bond with him and my son wanted that father figure.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah.

AnnDena McCleary: Even though the argument, the abuse was there, I was just like, Okay, okay, okay. It's gonna get better but it didn't.

Kandidly Kristin: Right

AnnDena McCleary: Until one day I remember he asked me for money and I said, No, I don't. And he said, Yes, you do. And I said, I don't have it. And it becomes an argument. And the next thing I know, I heard my son crying, Mommy, mommy, please don't die.

Kandidly Kristin: Oh wow.

AnnDena McCleary: If you die, who's gonna take care of me? And then next thing I felt was a whole splash of water thrown. You know when I pick up, open my eyes, it was near my son. I was bleeding from my head, my nose, and from down below. Oh, I was so battered and. I didn't go to the hospital the same day because I didn't, My son was in there known.

And the lawyers, once there's a child in the house and there's domestic violence, yes. He's going to be removed.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah.

AnnDena McCleary: And my son is my world. I didn't want my child to be removed, so I muscle up and I stay there and I just, I was getting, my whole body was getting black, like I was poisoned or something. I don't know.

And I, I remember. I had went to the hospital cause I couldn't bear the pain no more. And I had a stillbirth.

My placenta was separated from the wall. I had a placental abruption.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm.

AnnDena McCleary: Then you know, he was, he was still in the house. He moved away. He came back, he was still there. The house was separating.

I remember one day I was coming home. I came home from work and. He just sucker punched me my, the side of my head and I went down and I got back up and he took the pot and he beat me so bad. I used my hand to shield my head and he kept grabbing and grabbing and I tried to escape and I ran and I managed to escape.

I ran through the door thinking that he wouldn't come after. He ran outside, he took his belt off and he slashed me like I was his child punched me dead in the face and damaged my retina .

Kandidly Kristin: Oh, my goodness

AnnDena McCleary: I did 5 surgery on my eyes and it would never be the same. And you know what? I went back in the house and I just passed out and my son came in from school and saw me there and he said, Mommy, he's going to kill you He's going to kill you. Mommy. He was eight years old at the time.

Kandidly Kristin: So was that the moment that you said, This is it, I can't do this?

AnnDena McCleary: Well, not the, Not the same day. Yes. But not at that moment. I remember you. I came back drunk. Right. And I said to him, Please, I don't wanna drinking in the house

my child. And my child was standing in front of me and say, Come on mommy, let's come. And he took the can of beer and he threw it and he went right past my son's face. That was it. I took my phone up and I went outside with my son and I called his aunt and I say, Come and take him out my house.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

AnnDena McCleary: I called his sister.

I called everybody and I called my friend and she came and she picked up my son and myself. My, we went to her house. She had a one bedroom at the time. She was renting a room and it was me and her and my son and her daughter in that one room.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow.

AnnDena McCleary: And when I came back home, she kept my son. And he said, No, I wanna go home.

When we came home, when I came home, he was, he packed us some of his things and he left for probably about two weeks. Okay? And when he left, my son said, Mommy, remember what dad said? Cause my son called him Dad. He said, I'm going to kill you and I'm gonna wrap you in a sheet, and I'm gonna put you in the basement and I'm gonna live up here.

I'm better yet, I'm kill you and I'm gonna leave you in Imma sleep right next to Wow. When my s when he's my son reminded me that I, and I jammed the, all the, so even if you can't come in I Right. And changed the locks on door, changed the, locks. on the door and I fixed it. And I remember he came back to the house and I said, I want you to get F off my property and you want his clothes?

And I said, You embarrassed me front of the whole neighbor. I'm embarrassed you. So I throw all his clothes out on the lawn.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah.

AnnDena McCleary: And so good. The lockdown came like a day, two days after I put him out. March 11th was the lockdown.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

AnnDena McCleary: It was the most dark period of my life. I laid there in this despair, lost a child in this despair.

My son was sad. I was sad. All I thought was suicide. All I thought was that I didn't feel worthy. I was just so depressed, and I laid there. My son used to just pray for me. He said, God, let my mommy smile

Kandidly Kristin: oh God bless him. So what was your turning point from despair to, when did you turn that pain into power?

AnnDena McCleary: June 6th, 2020.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice. In the midst of pandemic.

AnnDena McCleary: In the middle of the pandemic. Yep. My mother caught covid. She went into a coma again and my world turn up side and down, and I'm just laying didn’t know what to do with myself. My son said, God, help my mommy to forgive my dad. Help my mommy, please God. He went to sleep and I lay there and I, I didn't even cry I bawled.

Kandidly Kristin: Right

AnnDena McCleary: And when I, I just roll over and most of the book is text messages that I have sent him.

To the,

Kandidly Kristin: the, the husband.

AnnDena McCleary: Yes. And we was together. Ok. Some part of the back, all the back part of the book are texts.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow.

AnnDena McCleary: And I just laid the bed and I just wrote my book that night.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow.

AnnDena McCleary: And then in the morning, June 6th, I sent, I de, I said, God, I'm bent, I'm not broken.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm.

AnnDena McCleary: But I'm not broken. And then I said, I reached out to a friend who told me how to turn, get an organization not for profit. Okay. And that I did, but it was bent, bent, but not broken. And I changed it to bent, not broken. Got it. June 20, July, July 29th, I released my first book. I opened my first shelter in January, 2021.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice.

AnnDena McCleary: I opened my second shelter in December, 2021. I released my second book. February, 2022.

Kandidly Kristin: Now wait, wait, wait. I know about the first book. What's the second book?

AnnDena McCleary: How Masking Pain. How I Masking Pain.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Okay. All right, so we're gonna make sure we put that in the show. . I didn't know there was a second book

AnnDena McCleary: and there's a third book coming.

Kandidly Kristin: Sure. I'm so sure. Now listen, let me ask you this. In all of that time, That you were going through this, Did you ever once call the cops or report him?

AnnDena McCleary: I did,

No. And they came four hours later.

Kandidly Kristin: Oh, okay.

AnnDena McCleary: He was already gone.


Kandidly Kristin: All right. So one of my questions was, what would you say is the number one reason people don't report domestic violence?

AnnDena McCleary: Fear. A lack of a lack of response from the police officers. Mm. Okay, Fear.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it. Got it. Got it. Ah, so

AnnDena McCleary: I know it's a lot. It's heavy. And I, I remember somebody said to me, You talk about it like it's nothing. I said, When I talk about it, I close my eyes.

You never see me do a motivational speaking with my eyes open.

Kandidly Kristin: Ok.

AnnDena McCleary: I always close my eyes and I talk about it I've made peace with the situation,

Kandidly Kristin: Right!

AnnDena McCleary: And I tell somebody I could talk about it with, I'm not crying about it, right? It's because I acknowledge it. I have accepted, and I'm walking in my truth.

Kandidly Kristin: Right? Right. Right. So what kind of support did you get?

AnnDena McCleary: None

Kandidly Kristin: on your journey to healing, Okay. ,

AnnDena McCleary: Well, let me not say that. Let me backtrack that. I have my long distance cousin. I have my cousin and them in Jamaica. I have my aunt.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

AnnDena McCleary: I have my aunt in Jamaica and. My aunt and my two cousins played a vital role.

When I say a vital role, I mean there was, even though there was afar, and then my aunt came to visit in in November. And when my aunt came, it was like a breath of fresh air in the house, right? She took off because I had the house covered in black. The mirrors was covered. The house was so heavy when she came.

 She take off everything.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm. cleared out all that energy. Mm-hmm. ,

AnnDena McCleary: she cleared it up. She cleaned it up. She, we went shopping. She did a whole bunch of stuff.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice.

AnnDena McCleary: And my, and my friend that lived in Connecticut, I can't leave her out. . She took her time and she, she said, This is not you, , your house is always clean and on point.

And they clean. And she clean and she throw away the stuff. Cause I had the stuff packed up in boxes. In bags. I was living out of bags and my son and he was just, my son was so depressed and he decide he wants to live in, he wants to go to Jamaica with my aunt. . Here we are. He's still living in Jamaica as of today date.

Kandidly Kristin: Ok. So talk to me about the first book, The Bent Not Broken. I, I, My question was gonna be why you chose that title, but you already mentioned that, but when you wrote that book, did you envision it becoming the Bent not Broken organization, or was it just your way of healing by getting that stuff out and on paper?

AnnDena McCleary: Well, Bent not broken. Was, was a, was, um, from 2000, I was going through some stuff back, back then.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

AnnDena McCleary: And in 20, I think it was way, my son was probably like a year old.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. Okay.

AnnDena McCleary: And a book came to my mind, bent, but not broke, bent, but not broken.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it.

AnnDena McCleary: And I never, 28, I never even. Kept think about it.

It was like, okay, well, whatever. So in 2020, when all of this started is like God have a way of working things out.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm.

AnnDena McCleary: the title of, the title of the organization Just popped up, Bent, Not broken.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm.

AnnDena McCleary: Bent but not broken. When I did the book. I didn't know I was going through so much, or I have endured so much.

See, I'm a child who's, I was molested as a child by my stepfather.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay, same!.

AnnDena McCleary: So I didn't know that I've been through so much. I have endured so much until I read my book . So while I was writing my book, my book never had a name just, that's just me writing, right? And when I gave it to my publicist, I said to her, Through this whole ordeal.

When she read, she called me crying. I said, Why you crying? She said, I don't know how to name the, I don't know what to do with the book, . I said, The book is called Bent Not Broken, The Rebirth of a Domestic Violence Survivor. She said, Why? What you mean? I say, Cause I have been reborn. Mm-hmm. , I am not hurting as how I'm hurting.

In that, in past right. That's my past. You know, my book can help somebody to be a re-birthed

Kandidly Kristin: Yes

AnnDena McCleary: so that's how the name came about.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice. So when you decided to, to, to turn bent, not broken from a book to an organization, what was your vision for the Bent not broken organization?

AnnDena McCleary: Turning your pain into power.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it.

AnnDena McCleary: It's where you are hurting, but it's not gonna last forever. . You don't sit there in in self pity you get up, shake it off and proceed and turn it in. Let your abuser know that, Listen, you might tear me down, but I'm coming back stronger than ever. I'm powerful. Cause see, we are all powerful human beings.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes.

AnnDena McCleary: and we give too much credit to our abuser. They can't take you. See, we all, we allow, we accept what we allow people to give us.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah.

AnnDena McCleary: You know, we the tap into our power a little bit and embrace our power. So when turning pain into power came, I merely mirror my life through bent, not broken. Cause I turned my pain into power and I let my pain portray and let everybody still listen. She was once in the shelter. She was once a domestic violence victim, and look how she overcome, you know?

Kandidly Kristin: Nice. So tell me what you want the world to know about Bent Not Broken, Inc. As an organization. What do you guys do? What do you offer?

AnnDena McCleary: Okay, so Bent Not Broken, Inc.

Right now, it's an organization that's here to rehabilitate domestic violence victims. I don't like the word victims. I wanna say overcomers. It's overcomers. We're all overcomers. So Bent not broken. He's here to assist domestic violence, overcome overcomers. to find themselves again, we're, we're, no, we're not a gender basis.

First group. We cater to both men and women. Mm-hmm. and of the opposite sex too. We are not, we are not. Close mind cause male do get abused.

Kandidly Kristin: I was gonna say that. I wanted to ask you how many of the people that come that you see through your organization are men? Like

AnnDena McCleary: I do get men

I just did a counseling session with a man.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

AnnDena McCleary: They just be afraid to come forward because this is stereotypical. They're being labeled.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes.

AnnDena McCleary: They're gonna be labeled, so they tend to hold it in. But we are a liaison between the help and you. Cause typically when you go into the shelter and you come out, you don't get that resource to rehabilitate yourself.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes.

AnnDena McCleary: So we tend to go back either in the shelter or we tend to go back to our abusers.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm

AnnDena McCleary: and then people gonna be like, See why I don't help, but no. Most abuses cause from Financial Because of financial. Yes. Financial abuse. You know, because we depend solely. Now I'm not just saying, but in general we depend solely on, on financially, on a significant other.

And that's their power tactics.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes.

AnnDena McCleary: You know what I mean? That's their power. So they use it against us. Yeah. So because they know that we, we lack certain resources. , you know, to help herself. Yeah. They use that to their advantage. And then the ci, then the city does not give us the tool to educate ourself and understand that they are more.

You can move beyond that. Don't settle right there. Move on. Mm-hmm. . So Bent Not Broken is here offering that service where we teach you how to be financially independent. We teach resume skills, okay? We teach different aspects. We teach you how to do interview. We teach you how to sell yourself. Not in that typical, not in that way, but how to, to step on an interview or whatever you

So that's what we do. and then, you know, we're having this brunch on the 29th of October.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice.

AnnDena McCleary: And the brunch is, um, You know, all proceeds go towards the helping to construct the, um, the Resource Center. And it would be where you get to know a little bit more about myself, the organization and the different organization that is out there that provides tools to help.

Kandidly Kristin: you said you guys, you have two shelters.

AnnDena McCleary: Yes.

Kandidly Kristin: Are they all both in, uh, New York?

AnnDena McCleary: They're both upstate in New York.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. Okay.

AnnDena McCleary: well, let's say three because the third one is for male, is our male shelter.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. Oh, okay. There's a hundred percent male shelter,

AnnDena McCleary: 100% domestic violence males. And I don't call them shelters.

I hate that word. Let me know. See, I like them. Just there's, there are safe houses.

Kandidly Kristin: Safe houses. Ok. So there's that many men. Because whenever we hear about domestic violence in intimate partner violence, it's always, you know, male against a female. But I, in the stats, it's, it's looking like a lot of guys are being abused

AnnDena McCleary: and guys are being abused.

And right now the statistics for, for, um, for the LGBTQ communities, its just as easy. Its just as right there as the men and women. Yeah, because it's so, you know what I mean? Cause, and I can't. I can't put them the male with the female, even though they have a different, I have to make sure I separate them.

So there's one for them. I'm trying my best to get one here in Queens. I just acquire a building, So I'm work well, I'm working on, I will be working on it soon. Okay. But, but it, you know, um, I have other focus right now.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it. Oh man, you are busy, busy. I mean this is so important and, I wanna make sure that I get the, um, 29th event, uh, information so I can put it in the show notes with the episode, because this is gonna go up before that event and I want people to know about it and to be able to access it.

 What's on the horizon for Andina personally? What other projects, events is I wanna, I wanna put as much information out into the universe as I can for people that are going to hear this and are like, Man, that sounds like a place that I could find help and support and, and love and no judgment. So what's on, what's in the pipeline for you?

AnnDena McCleary: Me, personally?

Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm. . And for the organization. But you personally too?

AnnDena McCleary: Personally. Personally, what do I do personally?

What do I do person? I do have friends, you know I do have friends. ,

Kandidly Kristin: she said, I do have friends. It's not all work, but your work seems so much apart,

AnnDena McCleary: but I work 90%. 90% of my time is consumed with work.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it. there's a huge need, like there's just not enough of you and people like you out there, provide support for people in these situations... so

AnnDena McCleary: right before you, I had another radio interview and right after you, I have a live Oh, sure. .

Kandidly Kristin: I know you busy, busy, but I am certainly going to, uh, make sure that people know about Bent Not Broken and the event that's coming up on the 29th.

AnnDena McCleary: Yeah. Yeah. It's a brunch and we have a guest speaker. She's coming in from Jamaica and, um, the ticket start at $60.

Why? Because it's not really a ticket, It's um, it's just a donation towards, The resource center because like, I. We will be teaching resume building classes. We'll be teaching GED classes, We're gonna be teaching a little bit of skill, basic computer skills. a little bit how to do basic eyelashes.

How does stuff to help them get into little bit of HHA how to get inspired to be independent? Yes. They'll be counseling on board. It's just to help them just to be. Me again.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes. Yep.

AnnDena McCleary: That's all it is. I did not get that resources right from nobody. I had to self train myself, self taught myself. So, and it's not as everybody who be like, Oh my God, she's strong and she's strong.

It's not as, everybody's as tough as I am and don't get it wrong. Don't get it. I have breakdown moments, , I have breakdown moments and I have breakdown moments where I just feel like,

I had to breathe. Like I said, I do have friends. Do they see me much? Probably not. No. I'm gonna be honest. No, we call on the phone and we will talk and I will call you back. And then I have one in particular in Connecticut. That's my, that's my I. Cause that was my role. That's my road dog she's been with me through thick and thin

and since she has, you know, she never leave. She never leave. She's been. All need that. She, She's in my first book. She's been there. She never leave, you know, and sometimes she said to me this morning, she wear WhatsApp and she posts my whole government. I if anybody see my friend, tell her I'm looking for her.

Kandidly Kristin: Oh, that's when you know it's been too long since you called her. Yeah.

AnnDena McCleary: So I called her up and she's like, Huh. You haven't come to my house. I said I was there in the summer. Oh, you usually be here every other weekend. Hmm. But that's when I know that I need, I need to step away back and regroup from work and, um, and make time.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah.

AnnDena McCleary: Bent Not broken is my baby. Mm-hmm. . It's my lifeline and I am not going to get reach everybody. I can't fix everybody. Right. But if I could fix one person, I think Bent Broken has done its job.

Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely. I'm so sure

AnnDena McCleary: that's all focused on.

Kandidly Kristin: So I got a question for you, ma'am. Mm-hmm. , what about your personal life at

AnnDena McCleary: I was waiting. ,

Kandidly Kristin: are you dating? What's going on? Cause

AnnDena McCleary: I was, I was waiting. I was waiting. I was, Wait. Well you have to wait for book number three.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

AnnDena McCleary: So let me, let, let me clear that up a little bit.

Kandidly Kristin: Ok. Ok.

AnnDena McCleary: I went to Little Syop for the last six and a half months. Um, I was with someone and, um, you know, you know, I, it was good and a little mishap and, um, he walked away.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

AnnDena McCleary: And I went into a little bit of phase, a little depression phase, but I'm okay. You know, so I'm saying, uh, but book number three, get all into that. Okay. But no, I've been single since March 27th.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. Okay.

AnnDena McCleary: After a year and a half. I've been single since March 27th.

Kandidly Kristin: So let me ask you this, cause I know coming out of my abusive situations I was real skittish with people and the minute I saw anything that looked like something, that used to be something I was like, yeah, gotta.

So do you find that when you're trying to relate to people and you see things that to you look like red flags just because of the history. Cause I know I did. I was seeing stuff that wasn't there and dudes was like, Ain't nobody trying to hit you. I was just fitna to hand you something. I'm like, Oh,

end the tap into the out. Okay. My, my, my, my previous boyfriend is, um, Um, somebody that I used to date when I moved to New York before I got married.

AnnDena McCleary: Okay.

So when we went our separate ways and I got married when the marriage ended, we, we rekindled.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay?

AnnDena McCleary: So is somebody I was familiar with and comfortable with.

So I've made up in myself that this time, you know, we have decided Is that that's, if that's it, we're not gonna give another try because I'm going somewhere else. Okay. And, Where I'm going, I, You don't wanna go where I'm going. And I'm saying to myself right now, it is time for me to tap outside into the outside world and stop resort to comfort zones

Kandidly Kristin: to the comfort. Mm.

AnnDena McCleary: Cause when you resort to comfort zone, you're telling yourself you're not enough. Right. Yeah. You know what I mean? You're not enough. You're not worthy enough to go outside and tap into outside dating world and new people. Me, I'm very open minded in dating.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay?

AnnDena McCleary: I am not going into a dating relationship and look and taking no baggage.

And that's why sometimes when we start dating, we are flinching and we worried and we closed off to ourselves is. We are not fully healed from the past. Yeah. You know what I mean? So right now, no, I'm not dating. And yes guys, I'm open to, open to dating.

Kandidly Kristin: You heard that y'all

AnnDena McCleary: myself and my son, you know, But you know he got to give you the girl first. Cause he wants to know what you're coming to the table with

Kandidly Kristin: absolutely.

AnnDena McCleary: And he will ask that question. What are you, what? How can you help my mommy? But

Kandidly Kristin: how old is your son now?

AnnDena McCleary: He's 10 years old going on 1100.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah.

AnnDena McCleary: It's also, that's my best friend. That's love that. That's my voice of reason. No, we butt heads.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes,

AnnDena McCleary: Yes. We butt heads and, and then we put up fights, you know, Cause you know that they get that a, they trying to be them be rebellion. But let me and I tell people my son has a voice for himself.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm. .

AnnDena McCleary: And my child has to be seen and heard. I don't shun my child into no corner. Right. My child. There's a way to get your point across and be respectful about how you get it across.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm. ,

AnnDena McCleary: and that's my child. And

Kandidly Kristin: period,

AnnDena McCleary: period, point blank. That's just what it is, period. But no, I don't really have much of a personal life outside Bent Not broken. Okay. Because most of the times I'm in Albany, and I'm in Queens, Albany, Queens, and when I do think it's time to later and go to sleep, My phone be ringing

So last night I went to bed at 2:00 AM and I was up back at 7:00 AM because in my safe houses, it is not like the regular government run it for city.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay?

AnnDena McCleary: Everybody come downstairs and have breakfast together. You're not isolated nice. They're allowed to socialize. They're not allowed to go in each other's space rooms, but they're allowed to be friends.

Everybody watch TV in the TV area. Mm-hmm. . I have somebody come and cook. They all par take. There's a library upstairs, there's a, there's a library upstairs, the computer room. I call it a library where I be on the big screen in the mornings teaching resume classes. Okay, Interview skills. Okay, and that's what I do is five days a week and when I also adopt a local shelter here in the community.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay,

AnnDena McCleary: so we did the Mother's Day brunch, We did the care packages, we did back to school. I don't know how Thanksgiving is going to go because I don't know where I'd be for Thanksgiving. Right. So but I'm already

Kandidly Kristin: Each of the houses will have a Thanksgiving.

AnnDena McCleary: Yeah, well all three Upstate is all, everybody will have a Thanksgiving here in my local shelter here that I have adopted and my personal shelters, they all will have thanksgiving.

Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely. That's amazing. You are doing amazing. Important work, ma'am. So I, I'm not, I personally wanna thank you cause there was nothing available for me at the time I was going through what I was going through

AnnDena McCleary: exactly.

Kandidly Kristin: It was like they was, but that was back when cops had to see somebody hit you in order for them to even believe you.

So a lot has changed since.

AnnDena McCleary: Wait, I didn't get help either because when the cops came, he was gone and they did a report and that was it. Nobody called me after that. Nobody follow up. And I know what it feels. I know what, I know how I felt alone. And let tell you something people, and let me tell you, Let me go back a little bit.

Domestic violence not only affects you, it affects your children.

Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely.

AnnDena McCleary: My son has been in Jamaica over a year, and it's not that he didn't, because he don't love me, he loves me, all his heart. It affected him Yeah. So bad that he didn't wanna come home to that house. So I had to sell that house. Ok.

He didn't wanna come home to that house. He don't wanna be in that house. He don't wanna be around that house.

Kandidly Kristin: Too much pain for you. He too, He didn't wanna see you hurting. Oh wow. Well, hopefully you get to see him often that you get,

AnnDena McCleary: Oh, he was just here the summer. Yes, he was here the summer and you know, he, he was here.

He liked Jamaica very much. He got friends down there. He likes his school. We talk every day and we have a good relationship We are building our relationship, you know, we are building.

Kandidly Kristin: Trauma free.

AnnDena McCleary: Exactly. And you know, people have the concept of why did you let him go? He's a child. He don't, he don't have nothing really, You don't understand.

I cannot police how my child handle his hurt.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

AnnDena McCleary: I can't tell him how to hurt. And that's where we have the wrong concept. We wanna tell even ourself, we're trying to tell ourself how we must feel and how, how the timeline and how we must hurt and the timeline and how we must come out. And so, you know, we have been abused.

There is no timeline for nothing. There is no timeline for nothing

Kandidly Kristin: and you had to be the best you for him. So,

AnnDena McCleary: Exactly.

Kandidly Kristin: It's, it's hard to heal with your kids around because it'd be nights, you just wanna bawl your eyes out, but you don't wanna hear your kids to hear that, so you kind of suck it up. So I get it.

My kids stayed with my mother for a few months while I had to work on me and get to be the best person I could be. Mm-hmm. , then we could reunite without all of that pain and hurt and drama and trauma. So Yeah, I get it. So listen, we are at the part of the chat where I do some fun, fun, fun stuff, and it's called.

10 Kandid questions. I'm gonna ask you 10 totally random questions and you answer with the first thing that comes to your mind. Some of them are yes, are yes or no. Some of them, you know, you got to give a little meater answer, but it's a fun way to wrap up, the chat and for people to get to know you. And the last question the 10th question is always the same, and that's how can my listeners connect with you?

But that's the 10th question. Okay. You ready?

AnnDena McCleary: Yep.

Kandidly Kristin: First question is, what is your biggest pet peeve?

AnnDena McCleary: Ah, . It all depends.

Kandidly Kristin: What's your biggest one? Like the thing that you just be like, Oh,

AnnDena McCleary: I know I'm always all let's come back to that one.

Kandidly Kristin: All right. All right. Question number two, What do people misunderstand about you?

AnnDena McCleary: That I'm aggressive

Kandidly Kristin: oh, . That was easy. ? Nope. That you're aggressive. All right. Mm-hmm. dogs or cats?

AnnDena McCleary: Ooh, I have my, my, I have a Maltese Marshall.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm, Nice. What's your favorite curse word?

AnnDena McCleary: Oh, Jesus. Woo. . Imma a "f" bomber I'm

Kandidly Kristin: Me too!

Yes, God. Sometimes it just fits this,

AnnDena McCleary: It does fires unexpectedly,

Kandidly Kristin: um, coffee or tea.

AnnDena McCleary: Me black? No. Sugar me please.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice. Night owl or morning person?

AnnDena McCleary: I'm a night owl

Kandidly Kristin: Ahhh yeah. Um, what's one question you wished I'd asked you during this chat and what would your answer have been?

AnnDena McCleary: Do I know how to love?

Kandidly Kristin: Ah, nice. And what would your answer have been?

AnnDena McCleary: I'm working on it.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. Okay, now we going back to what's your biggest pet peeve?

AnnDena McCleary: Elaborate a little bit on that one. Cause they got so much in my head, Jumbling.

Kandidly Kristin: Um, so my biggest pet peeve is liars. I don't like lying. Or people that lie like that is, that grates my nerve so bad. And I'm like, you know, I know you lying, right? And

AnnDena McCleary: I don't, you just lie. I hate liars and I just, watch you lying. I wait until you get done.

And I said, I know you ass lying. .

Kandidly Kristin: You know, like why, why lie? You know, I know you're lying, right? .

AnnDena McCleary: I just wait until they finish the whole story and I said, You know, I know you're out there. You a lying ass and I'm done.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes, I'm done. With the lie. I can't do liars.

AnnDena McCleary: That's why I said I have a lot.

Kandidly Kristin: I, I bet. All right.

If you could go back and give your 18 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

AnnDena McCleary: Love yourself enough. Mm. Love yourself enough.

Kandidly Kristin: All right, And what is one piece or two of advice that you wanna give to anybody that hears this, who's in a domestic violence situation?

AnnDena McCleary: Get out. If you say he's gonna kill you and he missed, he's not gonna miss the second time.

Kandidly Kristin: That's a word. Yeah, that was good. Oh my gosh. And the 10th question. How can my listeners connect with you and bent not broken?

AnnDena McCleary: Okay, so you, you could find Bent not broken. Bent, not broken. On WWW dot Bent, not broken. inc.org, that's our official website. We're on Instagram. It's @ bent, Not Broken, Inc. We're also on Facebook.

Bent, not Broken by AnnDena McCleary and or email is Bent not broken. Dot online gmail.com and all those platforms you'll find my personal well Bent not broken contact number. Okay. If you want, I could even list it, but you could find everything there. I do respond to all my messages.

I do respond to all my, I don't hide. I'm, I'm blink of an eye away.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. All right. And listen guys, that all of her information, the information to get her books, the information to the website for help will be in the show notes and you'll, she'll just be a click away. So, AnnDena, listen. First of all, I am so, so glad that you're here, still here, , living, breathing, thriving, doing what you do.

The world needs you like a trillion of you, but. Right now we got just you. So, um, I, I'm personally grateful for the work that you do. Thank, I

really, really do

AnnDena McCleary: Well, it's not just me now, I, I, I have the big up my assistant, Carrie. Okay. Hi. I have to love Carrie. Let me tell you something. I often tell people that Carrie's the boss and she'd be looking at me like, Why you keep saying that?

Cause I could. Have an idea in my head, I would just be like, Oh, this is what I wanna get done. And I didn't see the vision yet, but it just a random thought in my head. Right. And when she done it's a vision.

Kandidly Kristin: It's a whole thing. Okay,

AnnDena McCleary: so I publicly wanna thank Carrie, Carrie, Gayle, I wanna thank you so much. From the depth of my heart, I couldn't bent not broken, couldn't, and wouldn't have been where it is without you.

You're a true gem.

Kandidly Kristin: Aw, that is awesome. Cause a lot of times people forget that there's support behind them and that's an amazing public shout out. So God bless Carrie oh, this was awesome. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing your time, your story, your experience. Um, can't be. Easy to share that story over and over, because I know everybody asks you over and over.

AnnDena McCleary: Yes, they do.

Kandidly Kristin: with me and my listeners. I think that when this goes out to the world on every podcast platform available, because that's where it'll be, that it's somebody is going to get help, somebody's gonna get healed and helped and whole and free. That's what I'm here for, to put information out there. So thank you

AnnDena McCleary: and I really, really thank you.

I'm, I'm so grateful to be on the show and like I said to everyone. we have the concept of domestic violence, it's just hitting, It's not hitting, only talking down financial, emotion, mental. If you, if he's talking down to you and he's isolating you and he's letting you feel less than the person, you need to question yourself, Do I need this?

Yeah. And one last code. Cause this is, like I said, I'm working on book three and book four, but I think book four gonna be ready. Book four is, Affirmation book. Nice. Cause see, I have to affirm myself every day. Every day. And it's one thing I wanna let all survivors know and those who are going through their own abuse in silent, you are worthy.

Yeah. You are beautiful. Yeah. And you are more than enough. Yeah. When you could tell your yourself all of this, look yourself in the mural, Get up every day and celebrate. Put on a little bit of lip gloss, a little bit of makeup, and look at yourself and smile. I am beautiful. I am worthy. And watch how your day goes from a frown to a smile.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes. I love it. Love it, love it. Thank you so much. Now listen, y'all, everyone, everyone, everyone deserves to be in a relationship or relationships that are free from violence of any kind. So if you're listening, please know that when you're ready. Help and support is available 24 7. The domestic violence hotline is 1 800 799 7 2 3 3.

Again, that's 1 800 7 9 9 7 2 3 3 Or if you don't, you're not ready to talk, you can text start to 88. 7 8 8 people are out there willing and ready to help me.

AnnDena McCleary: Yes, we are yes'.

Kandidly Kristin: All right, and all AnnDenas contact info, her website address, all of that is gonna be in a show note when the episode airs. In a week, I'm gonna do my editing magic and make it sound amazing, and then it'll go out.

But until the next time, Podcast Nation, I want you guys to keep it safe, keep it healthy, and keep it Kandid.

AnnDena McClearyProfile Photo

AnnDena McCleary

CEO/Founder Bent Not Broken, Inc

I am AnnDena McCleary Founder of Bent Not Broken, Inc my motto is "Turning Pain Into Power". I am a Domestic Violence overcomer, Author, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Advocate.