Do you ever wish you could trade places with someone for a day, take care of a few things, and then switch back? That’s me, today. It is beyond difficult to watch someone you love so dearly go through something so painful as emotional abuse; what I call one of the “silent killers”.
Women who face daily emotional abuse must find the strength to stand for themselves, their health and their loved ones and end behavior that enables their husbands. I believe that every women in an abusive relationship has the strength to do this; they are not the ‘weaker sex” that must submit to abusive husbands. Marriage was not created for a husband to abuse his wife while the wife submits and loyally cares and loves him through all her actions. They were created to love and respect one another equally.
I have been in two abusive relationships. One ended in my suffering a broken nose and the other ended with scars of emotional torment and anguish. Do you know which one hurt me worse? The nose healed, but the emotional toll taken on the soul is a deeper scar. Sure, we learn from the emotional turmoil, however, I don’t believe that everyone can actually heal completely. This has been evident in many lives around me. For myself, I got over it (for the most part) and learned from it. However, I also experienced lack of trust, commitment issues (because in my mind everyone was going to cause me emotional havoc after committing to a relationship), and many other things that I’m sure my husband could list because he remembers them better than me. These things went away after meeting my husband and life moved on to be better than I ever imagined. Enough on my past..back to abuse.
Women who face abuse on a daily basis may feel too wore out and hopeless to leave the situation. They feel as though they have nowhere to go and nobody to talk to. People will judge them, right? Wrong! There are so many women that have faced similar predicaments and have come through battered and bruised (inside and out); BUT, they came out of it and SURVIVED! You are not alone. Always, always remember that.
Speak up. That’s the first step. Do NOT hold it in or opt out of telling someone that your spouse is hurting you regularly; whether it is mentally, physically or both. If you feel deep down that something isn’t right, speak up. Talk to someone in your family or a close friend who is understanding and won’t judge or condemn you. If you have to go to the hospital for treatment, tell your nurse or doctor! They are there to help you and will not be able to help you thoroughly if you do not tell them the real reason for your injuries or your ailments. As someone who has worked in the health care field, let me tell you that we have nothing more important than making sure that our patients are safe. Go ahead and open up. Cry, let it out. I guarantee you will feel better. I can’t guarantee the road after that will be easy…but it will lead you out of the abuse and into the life you deserve.
Get support. We were not created to live alone! We were created to help one another and be there for each other regardless of happiness or tears. Find a support group if you don’t have friends. I realize that a lot of abused women have no friends at all; often stemming from embarrassment or the control of a husband. Don’t feel bad that you have little or no friends; it is more than likely you will meet a few on your road to recovery from abuse. And what’s even better is that your new found friends will have had similar experiences and you can grow and strengthen together.
Abuse. The word has a ring to it that echoes into the deepest parts of us. It’s almost hard to say, because nobody really wants to be that person that calls the situation “abusive”. But abuse is real, and it doesn’t always leave visible bruises; some of the worst abuse is attacks the very core of who someone is, emotional abuse. Abuse will change who you are and what you do. Accepting that you are or were abused, and I mean really really accepting it, will be hard. It will take time. You won’t want to be “that looked down upon person” who had the “rough life”. But, everyone has rough times and everyone goes through things that are difficult to get out of or come through. It doesn’t matter. Yes, that’s right, it doesn’t matter. It does not matter that you could be labeled as the woman that got abused by her husband and was “stupid” enough to stay in it. It does not matter what others think of you. You were not stupid, you were intimidated and scared. Being scared in such a situation is completely okay.
Stick with it. Don’t go back. There are a lot of people who will go right back to their abuser or those who will immediately find another relationship and find themselves in either the same or worse situation. Keep your mind straight and give yourself time to heal before moving on. It took me months to move on from the broken nose, but years to move on after emotional abuse.
I pray that every woman out there who is part of an abusive relationship has the strength to stand up for herself and choose to take the trek up the steep rocky mountain of leaving an abusive relationship; the view from the mountain peak is worth the trek.
Please note: This is written with the woman in mind who has failed to get their spouse into counseling, or has gone through all of the steps to help the relationship before leaving it. Helping the relationship does not mean sitting and hoping for improvement. This means that the abusive spouse refuses to get help and will not change their ways. From a biblical perspective I understand that divorce is not “allowed” unless there is adultery, but in certain circumstances there is abuse that is life threatening and health damaging and should not be tolerated or overlooked as “marital issues” in the family of Christ.