Updated 10/4/2021 No triggering details are included in this post.
Domestic Violence Awareness
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States. I have shied away from this topic, due to my own painful history with it. Even though I wasn’t hit and knocked around physically, I often wished that he would just hit me so I would have proof to outsiders that abuse was really happening. He was a master in emotional and spiritual abuse with all of us, but he saved physical abuse for our children, especially our oldest.
As a practicing Christian, I tried to be a peace keeper in my home. I tried to be the respectful, submissive wife. I prayed for him daily. My abuser was a master of deception. He could be so charming with outsiders, but what happened behind closed doors was ugly. He claimed to be a Christian. What he really was, was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Fifteen years ago, I discovered a website, which lead me to a women’s shelter, and eventually freedom. This website was life changing for me. Watching the phrases scroll down the screen gave me the eeriest feeling. Like someone had seen and heard what went on in my home. Since that website is no longer available, please check out this resource for details on emotional abuse. You’re Not Crazy, But Emotional Abuse Can Make You Think You Are
If You Live With Abuse
If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, the following link provides numbers to contact and how to leave safely. Leaving an abuser can be very dangerous, if you don’t take measures to protect yourself/your child while doing so. Your local women’s shelter can help you create a safe exit plan. Without my local shelter’s assistance, I probably would not have gotten out of my situation. Enlist the help of family or friends if possible.
Also important is thinking about your financial resources before leaving, if you can. I wish I had seen this article before I left my abuser. Navigating Financial Help When Leaving An Abusive Relationship
Healing After Domestic Violence
Once you’re safely away from your abuser, realize that it will take time and good counseling to heal from the emotional effects of the abuse. A lot of time, depending on how long the abuse went on. My children and I were naïve and thought that getting away from him was all that was needed. We were so misinformed. Fifteen years later, and we are still working through the past. It has definitely gotten better over the years, but healing comes in layers like those of an onion. Stuff gets exposed. We work through it. It’s quiet for awhile, and then another aspect or memory comes to light.
If you live in a home full of abuse, don’t stay. As your kids get older, they will come to believe that you agreed with the abuser. That has been the hardest thing for me to deal with. I hung in there for 21 years, hoping that things would get better, while my children’s tender hearts were broken over and over. Looking back, that was a big mistake.
Impact of Abuse on Your Faith
Also, if you and your abuser share a faith practice, the abuse will negatively impact both your own and your children’s faith. The abuse will get so tangled up with your belief in God, that confusion will set in. Abuse will make your children turn away from your faith. This is what happened to us. It took years for me to even be comfortable walking into a church again. Don’t make the mistake I did, and think that your children will be able to separate out their faith from the abuse. They will associate the faith practices with the abuse, especially if they were old enough to understand.
Resources for Starting Over Again
Your local County Assistance Office: provides emergency cash, food stamps, WIC (women and children assistance), help with heating costs, Medical Assistance, etc. You can apply online.
Your local Child Support Office: helps you get monthly child support payments. You can contact them before you leave, or as soon as possible afterwards. Just make sure you are safely away before they notify him that you are filing for child support. Abusers get very angry when you leave them.
Financial resource to get back on your feet: Rebuild Your Finances After Financial Abuse: https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/rebuild-finances-after-financial-abuse/
Do you need some survivor stories to help you realize that you can leave your abuser and heal? Check out these survivor’s stories here.
No one deserves domestic violence. Real love doesn’t hurt. You don’t need to stay with an abusive partner. Get help and leave. It won’t get better. Your abuser will not see the error of his ways. He will never admit he’s wrong. Do what you have to, and leave. Just do it. If you’re in this situation, I would be happy to talk with you. Leaving him was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it was so worth it!
Also, please don’t fall for his lies afterwards. He will try to coerce you into returning to him. If that doesn’t work he will be super nice to you and buy you gifts. This will continue in an unrelenting circle. Don’t fall for it! Stay away!
If you’re not sure if abuse is occurring in your home, you can find more information below.
For more facts on domestic violence click here: https://www.upbeatliving.net/domestic-violence-terror-at-home/
Please share this post! It’s important! Too many people suffer in silence and it has to stop. If you are a Christian woman struggling to heal from your abuse at the hands of someone who claimed to be a believer in Jesus, I am getting ready to publish a book of devotions on healing. You can add your name to my Book List to get updates on it’s availability. Click here: https://mailchi.mp/fe906bc15554/book-landing-page
Till next time, stay safe, Kathy
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