Peggy asked, “what was the final straw?” I don’t remember it. There were so many. I DO remember a point of no return … where I knew I could lose my home and marriage if I pushed for change. I also learned you gotta be sure and be prepared when dislodging abuse, because you wouldn’t BE in that mess if it were easy for you to know and keep your boundaries in the first place.
That does not excuse the abuser. No way. It just acknowledges the fact that in adult to adult situations (not child abuse) if you are in an abusive relationship, there was some point back there where your boundaries got crossed in a harmful way. Someone’s sinful nature took advantage of their position or power over you, and you did not allow the negative consequences of their behavior to fall on THEM (for reasons you will figure out as you heal).
So now the rut you are in is very deep, and the side’s slippery, and it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg (figuratively) to get out. You may even feel guilty about getting help, because someone who loved you may have warned you about getting into this kind of relationship, and you did not listen. And you may feel you deserve it, because of sin in your life, or you may think it’s what Christ is asking when He said “turn the other cheek,” etc….
I felt all of those things.
To be fair, I did periodically ask for help, but was blown off…which added despair.
Then one day our church did a seminar for leadership on abuse, sponsored by the abuse center in our city. It was startling to hear frank information on abuse, patterns, and statistics showing how things only get worse – not better. That shook my denial.
In addition, our kids got older, bringing their own dynamics into play – which made too many players…I couldn’t “control” the abuse by running interference enough. The stakes got higher. I asked Jesus for a healthy way to push abuse OUT of our lives.
About that time I read the books on Boundaries (in Marriage) by Townsend and Cloud…helping me understand I could change things around myself, by myself, by learning how to have and enforce healthy boundaries, biblically.
And when I was finished living in fear, appalled at what was happening to our children, and tired of waiting for someone to “rescue” me – I asked myself these questions:
What’s the worst thing that can happen (if I put healthy boundaries into play)?
Am I willing to pay that price to be healthy and free (and my kids)?
Is God OK with this plan?
Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man (or woman) who gives way before the wicked. Proverbs 25:26
It took a team and years.
I asked the Lord for someone I could trust. I went to several pastors, and several men counselors, who only made things worse. The counselor who finally helped was a woman in our church, who understood the dynamics of mental health issues and abuse. Jesus enabled her to help me formulate plans at each step along the way out. I eventually disclosed the abuse to several close friends who prayed for me as I drew boundaries. Ultimately, I disclosed to several close men in my husband’s life and asked for their help.
Since then, I’ve found tremendous clarity and healing through the ministry of Mending the Soul, http://www.mendingthesoul.org/ … – they have a great book and workbook that can be done alone or in small group.
Now, years later, my husband thanks me for requiring the changes…for no longer giving way before the sinful choices. I didn’t see THAT coming .
Hope this helps someone..
— free and loving it, Joan