Standing up to my abuser took strength and courage I didn’t believe I possessed. Sometimes I still look back and can’t believe I actually walked away. Now that I am gaining strength, I’ve learned that part of standing up and fighting back is to gain back my power. Power to my abuser meant absolute control. It meant breaking me down until I felt nothing, thought nothing, wanted nothing, believed nothing; then he filled me with what he wanted me to think, feel, and believe. Power to me is the ability to make my own decisions and live my life the way I believe God wants me to live. Some days I take great strides, other days I am stuck back in the mire of fear and self-loathing. It is a process that will take a long time.
Domestic abuse is very similar to being held hostage. Victims eventually are made to believe that they cannot function, think, or live without their abuser. I lived many, many years believing that my abuser was the only person who loved me and that outside of him there would be nothing. He even had me believing that my children hated me. In the last few weeks before we fled our home I prayed that God would give clarity to my husband and me about how we were both failing each other. Instead, the LORD gave me clarity about how the children and I were being abused. When He knew He had my attention, God payed the ransom and set 8 hostages free.
Now that I am out of the situation and have been educated about domestic violence and the patterns of abuse, I have found I cannot stomach abuse. It sickens me so severely that I will not tolerate it. Lying, manipulating, controlling the lives of others – these are all forms of abuse. Some people think hitting, punching, or other physical violence are the only forms of domestic violence. This is not true. Domestic violence and abuse take many forms. Much of it is psychological.
There is a situation I have seen for many years and it involves people I love. I felt powerless to help until recently. I was always afraid that saying anything would mean never seeing this particular family ever again. I realized it no longer matters to me if the abuser in that relationship ever talks to me again. And it also does not matter if she takes herself and her family completely out of my life. Because this isn’t about me. It is totally about standing up to abuse and helping people who are being hurt. I will not let up. I will not stop fighting for this family. I will gather all the information I can and talk to anybody who will listen until someone helps.
I will no longer tolerate abuse. I will speak up when I see it happening. I am taking back my power.