Today begins the biggest reason I started Becoming… Your stories. It is a place for you to share what has happened in your life, how you pressed on, overcame, or held on. It’s your story of joy or pain, rejoicing or mourning… And it is a story that you can share to others that are going through the circumstances you went through. To show them there is a way, a hope, an answer.. To encourage them that you’ve been there, just like they are, and God has seen you through.
I would like thank Karen for sharing her story on emotional abuse in her marriage. Friends, the words can be tough to read but I believe the story needs to be shared…
“Oh, but at least he didn’t hit you.”
My mind swirls with countless times hearing the verbal jabs, the insults, the cruel comments. At first bringing them to his attention but then starting to believe them and then ultimately, being lost in a dark world of nothingness, no hope, only despair. Putting on a show for the entire world to see.
Countless times I believed his words that I was worthless and that he had the right to say them. He had to control me. He was the man of the house.
Countless times, working 13 hour days, 6 days a week juggling 3 jobs because he refused to work. He had to control me. He was the man of the house.
“Oh but at least he never hit you.”
Countless times, hearing “you are a defiant wife” because I liked something he didn’t or had a different opinion. He had to control me. He was the man of the house.
Countless times, taking the long way home from work just to have some peace, just so I could take a break from walking on egg shells. Countless times being questioned where I was because I was a few minutes late. Accusations hurled and weeks of silence when he was mad. He had to control me. He was the man of the house.
Countless times of him twisting the Word of God to fit his male agenda. Trapping me in a loveless, hopeless, abusive marriage. “Good Christian girls don’t get divorced. God doesn’t speak to you anymore, I speak for Him.” He had to control me. He was the man of the house.
Countless times isolating me from family and friends. If I ventured out without him, he would create some sort of drama before I left. He had to control me. He was the man of the house.
“Oh, but at least he didn’t hit you.”
Countless things will stay within the walls of my heart just as they were in the walls of the house. Jesus knows everything and one day it will be finished.
Countless times not having money for the bills because his wants came before our needs. Every month burying us deeper in credit debt. His Plan B for money was waiting for his inheritance. He had to control me, He was the man of the house.
Countless times telling myself that this is what marriage must be like. But knowing deep in my heart how wrong that was. He was supposed to love me, protect me, look after me. Maybe it was my fault he couldn’t do that. The pain of those thoughts were too intense to admit to myself or to anyone else. Silent, unanswered screams engulfed my life with every breath I took.
“Oh but at least, he didn’t hit you.”
Living life in an agonizing silent panic. Screaming for the terror to stop, just to have one second of calm. One second where you can be happy. One second where everything you said or did wasn’t corrected, criticized or critiqued. Peace.
Domestic abuse is not limited to physical assault. Emotional terror, withholding affection, financial irresponsibility, mental torture. All punishment designed for control. Some bruises heal, but some never come to the surface to be seen.
Abusers make you believe a lie so you won’t leave, make you feel responsible for their unhappiness, make you feel insignificant. Abuse does not happen because the victim is weak. You want to make them happy. They charm you, for awhile. They show love, for awhile. They act like a spouse, for awhile. But deep down they plot, they scheme, they break you slowly so you stay. He had to control me. He was the man of the house.
The words I hear often, “Oh, but at least he didn’t hit you” only cause more pain. I know people are trying to find the positive, trying to find something to say. It’s better to be silent and hold my hand. Let me be silent, let me cry, let me rage, let me talk, let me weep, let me be myself, let me laugh, let me feel joy again. Help me forget. Let me giggle uncontrollably. I was denied that for a very long time. Don’t worry about words… being there is enough.
I was buried in a lonely, deep, cold, silent grave. At some point, through the muck and mire, I heard Jesus say, “Arise my love, this grave no longer has a hold on you.” He rescued me.
And that is another story.
Thank you so much again to Karen for the courage to share her story. If you would like to share your story as part of our Becoming You series, please contact me HERE.