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.
Eleven years ago, I discovered the following website, which lead me to a women’s shelter, and eventually freedom. I’m surprised that it’s still online. It was life changing for me, so I share it here. Watching the phrases scroll down the screen gave me the eeriest feeling. Like someone had seen and heard what went on in my home. www.youarenotcrazy.com
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.
Healing After Domestic Violence
Once you’re safely away from your abuser, realize that it will take time and good counseling to get rid of the emotional effects from 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 wrong. Eleven 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.
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 are older.
No one deserves domestic violence. Real love doesn’t hurt. You don’t need to be afraid of your partner. Get help and leave. It won’t get better. Your abuser will not see the error of his/her ways. He/She will never admit they’re 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!
If you’re not sure if abuse is occurring in your home, you can find more information below.
Please share this post! It’s important! Too many people suffer in silence and it has to stop.
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