In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October), I asked the ladies in our online group to share their stories and the challenges and difficulties they faced while in their abusive situations. Here’ the second in a series. Many thanks to this dear woman for taking the time to write this. Please pray for her and the dozens of other women we minister to daily.
Looking back over the past 5 years I can see many things that I wished I had responded to differently. I experienced the first physical attack when I was 6 months pregnant. I was horrified and frightened, and my husband was taken away by ambulance due to a “drug reaction” that they said caused the physical violence. I believed the doctors and believed his lies. He convinced me to believe that he would never do anything to harm me or our baby again.
The second brutal attack happened when the baby was 3 months old. He attempted to kill me in a rage. Once again, the psychologist reiterated that it was a combination of medications he was taking, and after detoxing from these prescriptions he was “fine.” However, this attack resulted in a visit from Child Protective Services (CPS). This time was different. We were investigated, but the case was closed. After a 4-month separation I gave into his pressure and allowed him to move back home. The abuse began again soon after, but this time he would remind that CPS would take our baby if I called the law during altercations. So, I endured and kept my mouth shut– until I reached the end. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and decided that, even if it resulted in CPS taking away my baby, the so be it. I knew I would get her back because I was a good mom, so I put it in the Lord’s hands.
Some of the challenges I faced coming out of an abusive relationship were:
- I struggled with trusting myself to make decisions.
- I isolated myself and realized I had become afraid to commit to outings with friends and family.
- I thought God had abandoned me when I had abandoned Him.
- The sheriff’s department got tired of responding to my calls, and said coming out so often was nonsense. They suggested that if we couldn’t get along together we needed to separate.
- When I finally reached the end of my rope, I almost got arrested for my rage when I was told I should pack up my kids and leave the house since he refused to go. Meanwhile, he sat there smirking at me saying “honey, you need to calm down.”
- It takes a long time to heal from the mind from abuse, and it does not take much for me to find my thoughts returning to the negative beliefs I had when I was with him– things like “I am less of a person.” This still happens, even after 18 months of “detoxing” from him.
- Not everyone understands domestic violence. People are quick to say “I would never accept that behavior,” but they have never experienced the subtle mind games they play. They keep you so confused you don’t even realize what is happening until after you’ve been sucked in. I kept making excuses for him, thinking he was not that smart to know what he was doing, but I finally learned he chose his behavior.
I’ve been free of him for 18 months now, and I am so happy I made that final call. I had to allow myself to see that he wouldn’t ever change. I had endured his abuse, sarcastic comments from deputies who came out, and belittlement from a judge when I asked for the final (3rd or 4th) protective order. I felt so damaged & broken hearted. Every night I sat awake crying– terrified of each noise I heard, and longing for security. That is when I Googled Christian support groups for domestic violence and found a video of Joy discussing the purpose of Called to Peace. Called to Peace restored my faith, gave me hope and allowed me to see my feelings were normal for victims of abuse. I wasn’t crazy! I thank God for showing me Called to Peace and helping begin the healing process.