Philippians 4:13 I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.
Nothing is too difficult for the Lord. Memorize this verse and remember it when you're going through the storm. Hold tight to His promises, for you are never alone. He is always with you.
Okay, so "Smart Women, Foolish Choices" is just one of the many books I've read along my journey back to wholeness from physical abuse. If I were back in 4th grade, sitting in Mrs. Jones class, I would be blushing right now when my name was mentioned over the pa system for having just received the "Most Outstanding Reading Achievment Award" for the year. But although I'm far removed from those carefree, innocent years, I find myself still drawn to books that delve into the dark world of abuse. Why? Maybe in hopes of discovering the reason for my seemingly constant 'pull' towards men who I know aren't good for me. The proverbial 'bad-boy syndrome' that all started when I was just ten years old and the new family on my block moved in with their "Fonz" look alike son. Tony, aka "The Hood", as all the kids on the block called him was alluring with his black hair slicked back on the sides with Brilcream(spellcheck :), the sleeves of his white t-shirt rolled up slightly revealing the pack of cigarettes--real ones--not the candy ones that the gang on Adrian Street was used to buying at the local Lone Star Ice House. Of course I'm only guessing that this is the way it all started.
The latest two books I've been attempting to read simulataneouly are "Stupid About Men" by Deborah Dunn and "The Emotionally Abusive Relationship" by Beverly Engle. When people talk about abuse, the first thing that pops in their mind is physical abuse, but as anyone can attest who has been at the receiving end of someone's rants, raves and personal assaults--verbal abuse is just as damaging and destructive. If you've been hitching a ride on my blog for a while now, you already know that my first hand knowldege of spousal abuse happened over 30 years ago when my marriage to the man of my dreams turned into my worse mightmare. This was my first encounter with physical abuse. I had grown up in south Texas in a household that my friends described as the typical "Leaver it to Beaver" home. My parents were both kind, sweet-spirited people who must have agreed to disagree on most every topic of conversation. My mother was from Tennessee and a true 'Southern Belle" as my dad would attest. And the respect and mutual admiration flowed both ways. So, the idea of being in love with much less married to someone who could physically hurt me was unimaginable. But it didn't take long for me to realize that I had landed in unmarked enemy territory and that I'd have to navigate my way through the unchartered waters the best way I could. He would get angry at the drop of a hat and hit me, try and stangle me, bruise me and threaten to kill me. He was the love of my life. I had moved over 3,000 miles to start a life with him only to find myself back home and beyond consolable two years later. The abuse left me scarred for life--in more ways than one. And like any other scars, they will always be a part of me...only less visible as time passes by. They are also a testiment to the way in which the Lord brought me through the storms in my life. And He is not a respector of persons....if he did it for me - then he'll do it for you.
There'll be a lot of territory to cover as we start down this very long and winding road, but I want to start off with the best piece of advice I can offer anyone who is presently dealing with abuse - no matter what form it takes. (a)You deserve better (b) If you are being physically abused - slapped, punched, hair pulled, or pushed around - then get out...PERIOD! (c) If you are being verbally and/or emotionally abused then know that sometimes the only way to stop the pattern or cycle of abuse is to walk away from the relationship. I know this is MUCH easier said than done, but you can and have to do it. We'll explore more about that later. Examples of emotional abuse: Do you feel like you're always 'walking on eggshells', does your partner ridicule you, your ideas or thoughts, do you feel isolated from your family and friends, are you constantly accused of 'flirting', does your partner attempt to control your life? These are just a few of the examples of emotional abuse. But they are most always red flags. Hopefully, the abusvie partner realizes this and has a desire to save the relationship - especially if there are children involved - by discovering what has made or contributed to his/her problems. Often times the abusive partner is honestly unaware that his/her actions are abusive as they may have been a victim of abuse themselves. In this case, their willingness to listen, understand and work with a counselor on ways to stop the behavior might work to salvage the relationship. (d) *If you are in an emotionally or verbally abusive relationship, you owe it to yourself to seek help in order to understand that you do not deserve this kind of treatment and to try and understand why you have allowed the abuse up to this point. And finally, but most importantly give to it all over to the Lord. Lay it at His feet. Just talk to Him like you'd talk to your closest and dearest friend and tell Him that you can't do this by yourself. He'll hear your prayer and guide you in the direction you should go.
Please feel free to ask any questions or just use this blog as a sounding board. Also, we would love to hear your story or any advice you can offer to help others. It helps to know that we are not alone...we are a band of sisters :) We look forward to hearing from you.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who even suspects that they are victims of emotional abuse.
*the Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Author - Beverly Engel