Healing From Abuse (not for young eyes)

Posted By on May 2, 2010

[Editor’s Note: L. Rose has been a friend to LAF and has written for us several times. She is a single homeschooling mother who came out of an abusive marriage and found peace and hope through Christian counseling. God cares for women in abusive relationships and provides a safety net for them. Contrary to what feminism claims, women were not “required” to stay with abusive husbands before feminism came along to liberate them. Christianity brought true liberation to women and has held them up as worthy of protection and honor for centuries. Has the church always been perfect in caring for abused women? No, indeed. But the failings of men do not negate the clear commands of God in providing for abused and abandoned women. L’s story is one of triumph through the Body of Christ and the ministry of dedicated saints. We are thankful she was willing to share it with LAF’s readers.]

I spent the first year as a single momma, grieving.  As the second year of solitary parenting dawned, I had no desire to remain burdened with the dead weight of abuse or a lifetime of ramifications that it could yield for my family and me.  I prayed for the Lord’s guidance and asked other ladies who had gone through similar experiences if they could recommend a Christian counselor to aid me in my healing.  I interviewed several therapists over the phone and selected a lady who had earned a Masters degree in Christian counseling.  Her office was located in a church a few towns away.  I felt safer with counseling outside my church, and she was a grandma who specialized in helping battered women and their children.  I praise God for her Titus 2 ministry.For two years my little brood and I went to counseling sessions.  My therapist charged me half of her normal fee and frequently would not even take that.  She gave me a great deal of homework.  I learned the mindset and inner workings of the perpetrator.  I studied the cycles of abuse and what triggers abusers’ rages.  I acknowledged that it was not my fault and taught my children that they were not to be blamed or bear the responsibility of their parent’s actions. It was not their burden. I learned to correlate my childhood victimization to my marriage and why it was all so intertwined.  I studied the psychology, intricacies, and thought processes both abusers and victims.  I had to read through summaries of studies done on families of domestic violence.  I kept a journal and put in writing my story and techniques learned in counseling.  It forced me to see what was right and wrong about every relationship I had with my extended family, friends, and even my ex-husband.  It was no picnic, ladies.  I had to come to terms with the abuse and with myself.  I was the classical textbook victim, and it was a real wake-up call.

During this time period another single mom friend told me, “Stop acting like a victim, and don’t put yourself in a situation to be victimized.”  Her advice was very prudent, and that simple sentence has served me well over the last two decades.

I developed my own coping strategies to avoid being mistreated.  I started writing out answers to various situations or questions my ex would ask over the phone, and I would read them out loud when he would call and harass me. He had no idea I was reading answers to him, and he did not like that fact that I was standing up for myself. If he became extremely difficult or enraged, I would hang up.  I taped my script to the wall by the phone.   I focused on a working business parenting relationship with my ex and discussed only matters pertaining to the children with him.  I met him in public and did not allow him into my home.  Those moves greatly diminished my chances of being harassed or other incidences of domestic violence from reoccurring.

The biggest battle I faced was in my own mind.  The physical pain was no more, but the emotional wounds were so deep that healing took years. I learned to keep Christian music on all the time, listen to books on tape, or eavesdrop on sewing programs with PBS in the background.  I had to do that to keep myself from constantly dwelling on the abuse. The violence that I had endured was so intense that it was easy to slip into a pity party or full-fledged depression.  I had a choice: to be positive or to remain chained to the past.  “It was for freedom that Christ set us free: therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery”  (Gal. 5:1). Freedom was the only alternative.

I trained myself to dwell on the positive, no matter how minuscule or mundane the affirmative contemplation.  I plastered many different Bible verses all over my house: on the fridge, above the kitchen sink, on every mirror, and next to my sewing machine. Phil 4:7-8 was vital in this step: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” I read them so much that I memorized them.  This technique was very helpful.

I surrounded myself with people who believed in me and my future.  They saw potential in me when I could not see it in myself.  I had one friend, Mrs. L., who faithfully listened to every phone call, heartache, and baby step account I would give her of my healing progress. Sometimes I called her five or six times a day.  I told her years later that I did not know how she could stand me and my healing process at that time.  God bless her, she was so vital in my recovery. She was my friend when I was married and is still my friend over twenty years later.  I think the world needs more Mrs. L’s!

Counseling is emotionally draining, but it is harder to stay in an abusive situation than it is to go through therapy and heal from the past and live a safe, contented life.  When I finished my counseling, I danced before the Lord in my home for joy.  I felt like such a tremendous load was lifted off of my shoulders.  David danced before the Lord.  It was a special time of worship between the Lord and I, no one else was around.  The Lord had “… turned my mourning into dancing.”  (Psalm 30:11)  I love the freedom in Christ that I have enjoyed these many years, liberated from the shackles and chains of abuse.

About The Author

Mrs. Rose enjoys crafts, gardening, and photography.

Comments

4 Responses to “Healing From Abuse (not for young eyes)”

  1. Tess Bomac says:

    Dear L, Thank you for sharing this. I think that sometimes women get the idea that one has to be happily married with eight children in order to fulfill God’s dream for oneself. You can only control your own actions, something that abused women forget sometimes. Your story is an important reminder that even if marriage is not what one expected, or one is left with less support than one should have, it is still possible to live a holy life. I’m very blessed in my own situation, so I feel thankful to you for giving me insight into how one is strong in hard situations, not just easy ones.

  2. Love you friend♥

  3. What a wonderful story of God’s grace and provision to you and your children! Thank you for blessing us today!

  4. madgebaby says:

    it is a bit of a cliche, but it is not so important how far one GOES in this life as it is how far one COMES (ie through adverse circumstances.)

    It is so important for women who have been abused to find worthy female role models–for some it is tempting to find another relationship with a man instead, but it is so important to do the inner healing and strengthening first.

    Seeing a mother not allow herself to be abused–getting to a place of safety for them all–is the best thing an abused mother can do for her children.

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