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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Taboo Topics That Hit Close To Home

I am not sure when I will publish this but if I don't write it when it's on my heart I never will. 

I read something today that hit me hard, "Domestic abuse is not just physical, it includes verbal and emotional abuse." As I write this I am currently separated from my husband. He never physically assaulted me. In the latter half of our near fourteen year marriage however, I lived with increasing emotional and verbal abuse from him. I am not writing this to disparage him, as the father of my two amazing children I have every hope that he will seek help and move beyond his inner demons.

I am writing this because I never associated this type of abuse in the same category as physical violence because I have no scars that I can show others. I never had to hide in long sleeve blouses or pants. I never needed a pound of makeup to cover a black eye. I lied to myself that what I was going through was completely different. But the mental state you end up in is very much the same.

The fear that anything you say can set someone off, the feeling of shame that you cannot stand up for yourself, the pain of wanting to love and be loved yet simply receiving nothing but anger and criticism in its place. I think these and more truly do convey among all types of abuse. I wrote in my last blog about not knowing what my passions were until my recent journey...it was more than that...I didn't know myself. I still don't fully know who I am but I am closer. 

I think for me the big difference is that the threat of physical violence is what woke me up. When I was in fear for my children's and my own safety, I finally saw clearly what I had been hiding from myself for years. In the days and weeks that followed, I began to see signs that I didn't know why I had ignored. I felt guilty for not removing my children from the situation sooner, for not pushing my ex harder to get help, for not seeking help myself. I wanted to crawl into a hole and not come out until everything was over. I didn't want to face my family. I barely wanted to open up to my friends who I had only told parts of my story to. I felt like a utter and complete failure. 

I have been blessed with a few, select, extraordinary friends who have been my support team. They have seen me at my worst and they haven't left my side because of it. They've given me tough love when I have needed, they have listened to the same complaints time and time again, they have held my hand and gotten me through the hardest, darkest days of my adult life. If you have at least one true friend, you have the world. I have several, I am overwhelmed some days at how blessed I sincerely am.

My biggest saving grace through all of this has been my Lord. My faith and relationship with Him has been the string that gives me my last hope on the days when I don't even want to get out of the bed. I don't read my Bible enough. I have missed too many Sundays to count. But, I talk to God every single day. Most days it is an open, unending conversation from when I wake up until when I go to sleep. My friends can't be with me 24/7 but God can and He never leaves my side. Additionally, and this has been important in my journey to forgiving myself, God teaches me about redemption. "We all fall short..." Think about the powerful love God has for us...He knew we would mess it all up in the Garden of Eden. He knew sin would enter this world. He knew He would have to sacrifice His one and only Son to redeem us. Yet, He still created Adam and Eve. I cling to His love when I am finding it hard to love myself. I remind myself that if God loves me than I am worthy of love. 

Worthy of love. We all are worthy of love. Does it always find us when we want it to? No. Will it come to our lives in its true and right timing? I believe it will. But we have to know who we are before we can see who anyone else around us is. 

I haven't broken free of an abusive relationship on my own. I have had amazing people placed in my life who have helped me break down the walls that I didn't even realize I had built. I can't find the words to express my gratitude for helping me begin the journey to realizing who I am and what I am capable of. But I'm here, I'm a little stronger each day and I want you to know that you are able to get there too if you need. 

4 comments:

  1. I empathize with you. I too am seperated...but we found that he had sleep apnea and sleep deprevation. As a nurse, I know that affects your mental status. He was always angry...yelling. I never knew what man was coming home. I couldn't live like that. I moved out. My son splits his time and my husband has since got medical help and counseling. Things aren't back to normal yet...see now I have a trust issue...but they are improving. I'm not saying this is yoir problem, bit sharing the fact that verbal and emotional pain are also pain...the threat of physical abuse was never there verbally for me, or it would have been over right then. We are 25 years this August....will we be back to normal? I don't know...but my faith is fighting divorce and if it just takes us time, what elae do we have. Keep the faith, do what YOU need to do for yourself and your children and continue to pray for your ex....

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  2. Thank you for sharing that Lisa. Every situation is different to be sure. I will never stop praying. Thank you again my friend! Big hugs!

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  3. My fiance was in a very similar situation with his ex-wife. He was afraid to even talk to her because she would scream and yell and cut him down. They tried going to therapy and while in the session, she was sweet as pie and came off like she really wanted to work things out. As soon as they left the session she would yell at him about something he said that she didn't like. Society always paints a picture of abusive men, but often forgets that sometimes men are the ones who are abused.

    I wish you strength and courage, and applaud you for standing up for yourself and your kids. It's a lot harder than anyone ever thinks, especially when you don't realize what's going on for so long.

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    1. Truly sad how stereotypes keep most men in that situation from coming forward. It's hard enough in and of itself but to have that stigma attached that the man is "supposed to be the strong one" and "how could that happen to him" makes me have the utmost respect for those who survive and thrive after it. Thank you for reading, for sharing your fiance's story and for your support! <3

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