Excuses

I’ve talked about previously that in order for a victim of domestic violence to finally leave for good she typically has to be sick and tired of being sick and tired. So, when does that moment finally come? What does that look like?

For me what finally made me leave for good was noticing the excuses.

Every time we got back together I always pardoned him of all his mistakes. He was good at making me realize that it was all a mistake, and I believed him. I accepted the excuses.

At first the excuse was that we were in high school and we were young and dumb. Immature.

Then after high school the excuse was that we were only 19 and 20. We’re still babies. We’re in college and we’re just barely experiencing what its like to have a grown up relationship in a grown up world.

After that the excuses began more and more difficult to come up with. The physical abuse had mostly stopped so it was tricky to truly identify the issue in our relationship. I didn’t know how to categorize my unhappiness. Was it because of this or because of that? All I knew was that what I was going through couldn’t be healthy. I knew that I just couldn’t take it any more.

Then I began doing something I never did before. I began having the courage to speak. I would speak to my friends about some of the things that were going on.

I was so surprised at how my friends were reacting to my stories. One friend in particular said, “I can’t believe he is that type of guy, he seemed so sweet.” My first reaction was to defend him and clean up the mess I just made on his image. But later on in the day I just couldn’t get the conversation out of my head. I was thinking over and over about how my friend didn’t give him an excuse. He simply stated what was the clear truth: He was not a good person. How is it that I’ve been giving him a pass all these years and the minute I tell someone of one tiny thing he didn’t give him not even a little excuse?

I began to get bolder and braver. I began to speak up more. I told another friend. She also instantly didn’t give him any excuse at all. In fact, she told me to leave him instantly. I will never forget that night. That night gave me a power like I’ve never felt. Because of her, I knew what I had to do.

After that I again began to look for an excuse. This time the excuse was different. This excuse was my way out. I began looking for any motive to cut it off. Eventually, I became so sick and tired that I had enough ammo in me to say everything I’ve ever wanted to say.

I had finally did it. The excuses didn’t overpower me anymore. I no longer cared of what people thought about me. And I definitely didn’t care of what he thought of me. I had finally been able to see what everyone else was seeing. Opening up to others and sharing my experiences allowed me to understand what was happening. Everyone else saw things one way, but I had been giving everything so many excuses that I couldn’t even see what was right in front of me.

Today I live with freedom and relief. I no longer live with the burden of covering up the horror and the pain. I don’t have to come up with yet another excuse or justify anyone’s actions.

When the Lord saves you from your pain you are set free. I pray that each and every one of you is set free from your current pain or situation. It is so exhausting to have to hold it all in and create an excuse every single time. I pray that you learn to let it all go. You will be set free.

#ForeverFighter

Love,

Melissa

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Healing

 

Healing

I believe healing comes in stages. And you heal differently at different points in your life.

When I first left my abuser I felt an immense amount of relief. I remember telling my counselor, “I’m good!”. As if I didn’t just endure six years of pain, I felt ready to start a new life not truly understanding the pain that I had tucked away and locked up with a key. In my eyes I was healed. Just by simply letting go and leaving him, I was healed.

Fast forward a year later I was “healing” by being involved with men that God never intended me to be with. When you end such a heavy period in your life, specifically a relationship, your way of forgetting isn’t always the neatest or prettiest. You still feel broken and used. Icky. That I only deserved what’s damaged and tattered. That’s how I lived my life. At some point the Lord stopped me and asked me why. Why was I living that way? Why was I treating myself that way? He reminded me that I was a daughter of a mighty King, and that I needed to treat myself as such. He reminded me that my past is forgotten. I don’t have to be defined by that anymore. When I accepted Him my pain was let go. My mistakes were forgiven, and my old life was in the past. I now have a new life.

Even after reconnecting with the Lord and healing from that point in my life, I found myself at another low point. These low points come and go. It took me maturing a bit and letting time pass to really start to fully understand my past and what I went through. Getting familiar with the bible and understanding the kind of love that God wants us to have, and what a relationship blessed by Him looks like is when I began to realize more and more of what I experienced. More and more I understood that my experiences were not ok. I finally could see the seriousness in it all. Because of this I began feeling the pain all over again. I was angry and hurt. The flashbacks from the past became more frequent. I remember so many times crying myself to sleep at night. I had never before felt so strongly these emotions of the abuse. This was three years after leaving him, and yet I was just then going through the grieving process.

One Sunday morning at church we had the opportunity to approach the alter for a specific need in our life. I will never forget how my dear friend prayed for me and my pain. I could feel the peace fill my body. My burden was off my shoulders. Ever since that moment I have felt this enormous amount of peace that I have never felt before about the abuse. I haven’t cried myself to sleep since. Yes the thoughts are all still there, but I am no longer plagued by fear and hurt. I am free.

I know that I will go through another stage in my life where I will need to heal all over again. These are all stages. It is never fully over. Every day is a struggle, and as you mature and grow and change, you will need to readjust your thinking from your past. There will be another battle that you may have not had to come across yet.

Today I pray for your healing. That the Lord mends your broken heart. That you first seek comfort in Him and not other worldly things. Please know that nothing else in the world could ever take away your pain like Jesus can. He is the one true healer!

Take these lyrics from “Raised to Life” by Elevation Worship: “Sin is strong, but Jesus is stronger. Our shame was great, but Jesus You’re greater!”

No matter our past, our God is greater than anything you’ve ever been through. Keep fighting.

Love,

Melissa

Domestic Violence Is So Gray Part 1

With last month being domestic violence awareness month, I feel the need to really dive into the topic and share what domestic violence really is, and what it is not. I’d like to invite you into my own experiences to hopefully debunk some myths. Many people’s only idea of what DV is is what JLo went through in the movie Enough. It doesn’t always happen that way. In fact, it hardly ever happens that way.

That’s what leads me to say that domestic violence and abuse is not black and white. It very much so has a lot of gray areas in between, and no two story is ever alike.

One thing I feel like most people think is that it is so obvious what is a DV situation and what is not, and that all DV is violent abuse, which isn’t true. My story for example is very interesting. Many of the warning signs were not visible to me at first. I was 16 or 17 then. I was a baby. I didn’t know any better. Fast forward a year later, things would get tricky. I would notice times when he would lie to me or he would make me believe something to be true when I knew deep down inside it was not. These are when the mind games began. He would carefully choose his words so that he was answering a question, but not really answering the question. He would do it with such precision and confidence that I would have no other choice than to believe him. That was his game, and he was ALWAYS the winner of his games.

To many people’s disbelief, the physical didn’t come until about 3 years into our relationship. Most people wouldn’t understand this. I think that a lot of people think that the violence comes immediately, or that it is obvious to point out who “looks” like an abuser and who doesn’t. I recently watched The Perfect Guy, with Michael Ealy and Sanaa Lathan. Michael Ealy’s character seems to be perfect until he shows his true, violent side one evening. This violence appeared after only a few short weeks or months of dating. I feel like that is Hollywood’s version of what tends to happen. Although I’m sure that abruptness has shown itself true in some situations, it doesn’t accurately represent MOST abusive relationships. In my case it took 3 years! 3 YEARS!!! This is why we have to let go of blaming the victim and asking, “didn’t she know what type of guy he was?!”. Well, no because after 3 years you feel like you know somebody, but in reality you do not. That is why DV is so incredibly tricky.

Another myth is what exactly does DV look like on a regular basis. Me for example, I was not someone who was continuously beat with bruises all over my body every day. Those, I feel like, are extreme situations. They happen often, but most cases of DV are the ones that are not clearly defined. Where she is held against the wall, or she is pushed away. He didn’t exactly hit her, right? So that’s not really abuse. There’s no mark, so nothing really happened. It ALL is wrong because of the fact that force was used ON PURPOSE and to show power, to control her actions. This is just as equally dangerous as the more severe cases because these are the situations that get ignored, the ones that are seen as “acceptable” so it continues on and on for years! You see how it is not so black and white?

Lastly, the most dangerous and deceiving part of all was the final year of my relationship and what were to come after that. See, the final year I never had to worry about violence.The mind games, the lying and the cheating were all still there, but I was so convinced that those darkest days were over since it hadn’t happened in well over a year. When I finally ended things I felt the fear all over again. It was scary how someone can flip so suddenly. The fear that he had finally lost me filled him that it turned him violent all over again. I would receive threatening phone calls. I was told that he turned to drugs and alcohol, that he would be drinking during the day, even before work. He would try to manipulate me into getting back together by threatening to kill himself. One moment the conversation would be about him being so in love with me, then the next would be about him hating me and threatening me. It was so crazy to see someone’s mental health diminish. I knew then that if we were to have continued our relationship the violence would definitely still be there, and much worse!

For women who can currently relate to this, I pray that the Lord first gives you the knowledge to understand your situation, and then gives you strength to move on. The strength to fight for your life and the ability to experience what TRUE love is!

My prayer for all of us is that we gain the knowledge to understand each other’s situations. No matter how we all choose to live, that we don’t pass judgment, but rather stand by their side and pray for them and love them.

Thank you and I love you guys! #ForeverFighters

Love,

Melissa