This is Part 3 of a series on surviving abuse.
If you are being abused, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline on their site or by phone at 1−800−799−7233.
As I slowly came to terms with the situation that I was in and what I must do to protect my kids from my spouse, I began to very gently and cautiously open up to the people closest to me – people I trusted with my life and my kids’ lives.
Each of them had various responses. They ranged from, “I am not surprised” to “I knew something was off about him” to “Yes, I knew he was abusive because I witnessed such and such.”
I would then ask, “Why didn’t you say something?”
They each had their own responses, but most of them centered around not wanting to hurt me. While I can see that perspective, the problem is I was being hurt. In some ways, irreparably hurt.
If you are friends or family with someone you suspect or know is being abused – say something. Of course, be discreet and gentle, but say something.
There are situations where the abuse ramps up so slowly over time that people may not even realize how bad it has become. The abuse becomes “normal” to them. It takes outsiders to point out things.
The reaction may not be great when you share your perspective, but I encourage you to risk the friendship/relationship. Risk the person being upset with you or being hurt by what you are asking or sharing. You may save lives.
I can also tell you that if and when the time comes for that person to need support, you will come to mind as someone who cared enough to say something.
In my case, I did not care what happened to me, but when the abuse crossed over to my kids, that was the trigger for me to leave.
The beauty in God and walking in the Holy Spirit is that He started preparing me 14 months before I knew I would take action. He started pointing me to save cash and leave it with trusted friends. He gently worked on my heart and soul, so I began very, very slowly to open up to close, trusted confidantes of what was happening and what my plans would be.
God placed people in my path to help me – some believers and some not. But it was clear that He was sending me these people to help me leave. Over on Beloved Walks, I have shared in at least two posts that many Christians, as a hasty, knee-jerk response, will quote how God hates divorce: “Spiritual Abuse” (December 2019) and “Please Listen, Church Family” (July 2019).
God created human beings in His image, and He never wants anyone abused. That is not who He is.
Before I moved out with the kids, I shared my specific plans with my spouse. (This is not always the best plan, you must consider your specific situation.)
The abuse increased once I shared my intentions with him. He was angry because I would no longer be paying his bills that he was running up. He was also on multiple prescription drugs and had become unrecognizable to the kids and me.
My abuser was and is able to pretend to be someone else to others, specifically to church friends. We went to the same church together for ten plus years. Nobody at church ever saw the “real” person he is. In the next installment, an oblivious pastor calls me weeks after I move out.
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31 NLT
We lift up the abused. May You free them. May You heal them. May You fill them with peace.
We give the abusers to You. May they fall at the cross, repent, and find new paths. May You forgive them. May You heal them. May You fill them with peace.
Thank You, God. We love You.
In the blessed name of Jesus we pray.