First, and foremost, I want you to know that God is NOT mad at you. His will is not for you to be hurt or abused by your husband. He wants you to know you are loved, like Jesus. No matter what you have heard or been told, Jesus is holding his arms out to you, so he can pull you close and love you. He proved his unconditional love for you when he died for YOU!
You Can Break Free
I know how confusing and scary it is to leave an abusive marriage because I was in your shoes in 1995. In fact, I left my ex-husband three other times. The last time I left, I accepted the fact that my husband was not going to quit abusing me no matter how many times he promised to change, or what gifts he gave me. I realized he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and I had the power to choose to leave his territory.
Your physical separation is the first step to healing and establishing a healthy life for you and the children you may have. Before every flight, the attendant tells you if there is a sudden change in pressure, the oxygen masks will be released. You are told to put yours on first before you help anyone else. Your separation is your opportunity to breathe the pure oxygen of truth and revelation.
You have been living in the stress and tension of a war zone during your abusive relationship. Now you are taking a new healthy road in your life’s journey. On this road, you will have to go through the process of healing your spirit, mind, emotions, body, and finances with the help of Christ and others.
Your Victory Begins in Your Spirit and Mind
It is crucial to understand that your victory to learn and live a healthy, loving, safe, and secure life is going to take place in your spirit and mind. As your spirit partners with Christ’s, you will learn new truths and revelations to heal your heart and mind.
Your three largest roadblocks after leaving your abusive husband are your emotions, beliefs, and self-talk. Emotions are real. However, they do not have a brain, they can’t reason, they do not last, and they are reactive. Emotions are things you feel, but they do not define your value in Christ’s eyes. Never forget that your emotions were the primary tool your abuser used to deceive, manipulate, and imprison you. When you feel any guilt and shame, you must recognize these feelings are the tools of your abuser and the devil. Extinguish your emotions and the records playing in your mind with the word of God. Write these verses on a card and carry it in your purse. Take a picture of them with your phone and proclaim them when you need to.
2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Galatians 5:1 NIV “For freedom Christ has set (me) free; (I will) stand firm therefore, and (I will) not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” I personalized this for you in parenthesis.
Romans 8:1-2 NIV “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
During my thirteen-year abusive marriage, my senses and emotions stayed on high alert. Living in high alert became normal for me, and unhealthy. I had to establish a new healthy normal. I remember how difficult this was for me to grasp because of flashbacks. My counselor helped me write a series of questions to ask myself to stay in control of my emotions.
When I first began using this Emotional Controlling Process, I felt awkward and uncertain because it was something new. If you feel these emotions, keep using this process because your awkwardness confirms you are learning new healthy pattern too. Over time you will learn to be in control of your emotions. You will live in peace instead of high alert. I encourage you to work with your counselor to find what helps you best, but I will share my process.
Emotional Controlling Process
- Take three deep breathes and ask myself
- Am I in the present or the past?
- What emotion am I feeling?
- Envision what color of bottle I can pour my emotion into and place it on a table to see it clearly.
- Acknowledge it is real, but state it does not control me.
- Ask what I can do to feel __________? Which is the opposite of my flashback
- Take three deep breathes and say, “I am healing in Christ, I choose to be happy, and I have overcome!”
Know What and Who You Believe as Your Truth
The biggest lies you believed in your abusive marriage was that you were alone, you were in God’s will, and no one will help you. To tear down these lies in your mind, you need to know what you believe. Examine them according to the heart, characteristics, and life of Jesus. At first, I encourage you to reach out and find an experienced counselor who helps abused victims. Interview them to see if you are a good match until you find the right one. If you need assistance contact your local woman’s shelter. Your counselor will help you examine your beliefs about yourself, others, and God and help you find His truth.
Speak Life to Yourself in Christ
The power of your words will bring you new life through Christ’s love and power living in you, or they will keep you in your past emotions, beliefs, and unhealthy relationship choices. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21 ESV
You will have many thoughts, but UNTIL you use your own words internally or externally, they have NO POWER! When you feel, guilt, pain, resentment, anger, unworthy, doubtful, helpless, or hopeless, proclaim God’s word. Use the scriptures above or find ones that speak specifically to you on the internet.
God’s word is the truth, and it will set you free. Jesus himself had to speak God’s word to overcome the devil and you can too. The word of God is your sword. Pull it out and start defeating the emotions and words that are playing in your mind and you will overcome them!
The Grieving Process
The separation or severing of any intimate relationship brings grief. Grieving the end of an abusive marriage or relationship may sound odd. However, once you share life in an intimate relationship, you will grieve the death. My grief came from the fantasy I created in my mind to find true love and live “happily-ever-after.” I wanted the beast in my life to turn into a prince, but he didn’t choose this ending.
It is crucial to know the 7 Stages of Grief by Kubler-Ross Model Modified
- Shock-Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news
- Denial-Trying to avoid the inevitable
- Anger-Frustrating out-pouring of bottled up emotions
- Bargaining-Seeking in vain for a way out
- Depression-Final realization of the inevitable
- Testing-Finding realistic options and solutions
- Acceptance-Choosing to move forward
When I looked at the 7 Stages of grief, I realized I had been keeping myself in an emotional loop of stages 1-5. Once I chose to use my mind over my emotions, I could see the facts proving my abusive ex-husband was not going to change. At this point, I stepped into finding realistic options and solutions. My decision to leave and trust Jesus began my healing journey.
My life wasn’t instantly terrific. I still had to deal with my ex-husband in divorce proceedings, custody issues, and financial hardships. These fears deceive abuse victims into believing they can’t face these challenges with the help of others. However, they faced these same issues ALONE every day in the middle of the abusive relationship.
Stay in Christ’s Arms to Heal
Once you separate yourself from your abuser, you can make good decisions with the help of others and your faith in Christ. You are not under the terror and deception of your abuser anymore. You are not alone. You were created to be loved, respected, and cherished. As you walk with Jesus and focus on your healing, you will feel loved and valued. You will come to know you are more than enough in Christ.
When you leave your abusive husband, do not look to other men for help, other than professionally. Focus on finding your self-love and value through Jesus and taking care of your children. I speak this warning to you out of wisdom from my own mistake to get into another relationship. WITHOUT partnering with Jesus to heal your spirit, heart, mind, and emotions FIRST, you will choose another unhealthy relationship because you will do what you know by default.
Set Yourself Up To Heal
Make yourself a rule of three. Take three years to partner with Jesus to focus on becoming your best in him without a man in your life. Focus on you and your children centered around Christ. Healing takes time. When you don’t allow yourself this time, you will trade up to a less abusive man.
It’s time to take the hand of Jesus and never let go. Find a church that welcomes and supports victims and survivors of abuse through counseling or groups. Join a Bible Study to be around other imperfect people who want to follow Jesus. Take time in your day to study the New Testament in the Bible for yourself. Knowing that Jesus lives in you 24/7 and that he never left you will be the anchor for your spirit, heart, and mind as you heal. Place your total trust in Christ’s wisdom and strength to help you heal and not in yourself.
I am living proof that God can take all that Satan planned to use to destroy you and use it for good. Use your life lessons to help you grow strong. Noting is impossible with Christ Jesus!
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