As Christmas quickly approaches, I’m talking to women who feel they have "lost" everything by leaving their abuser. Maybe that's you, but you will heal as you shift your focus. You didn't lose. You won your peace and, most importantly, you won your freedom.
Your home may have been beautiful with a large backyard, beautiful Landscaping, two stories…but that two-story home held two stories inside its walls: One story was the fiction novel you allowed the outside world to see…the one you so desperately wanted to be true…the one where you were a happy, intact, two-parent, Christian family who looked good, dressed good, smelled good, arrived at church every Sunday in the ‘right’ car, and were thought highly of. The second story is the biography – the true and painful story of spousal and child abuse (including some or not all of the following components: emotional, verbal, mental, financial, physical and sexual abuse).
You have been forced to see the harsh reality of what you actually had in your ‘marriage.’ Whether you left or he left, the end exposes who he was and what it (the ‘marriage’) was all along. You are left to pick up the pieces but you won’t have many to pick up. You will worry about how you will do it all alone, but the truth is you were the one doing it alone all along. You were not only single parenting with a ‘husband/father prop’ you were simultaneously protecting your children as best you could from his volatility.
Now it’s 22 days until Christmas. You have asked for help but he won’t give your children (his children!) anything because you aren’t with him. You are worried about survival. You don’t have time to worry about gifts and decorations. You see the sadness and pain in your children. They feel loss and you wonder what they lost. But they feel the loss of what should have been and what could have been. Much like you had an idealized hope of the husband he would be to you; they had an idealized hope of the father he would be to them. The breakup of the family means finality to them…it’s never going to happen…the same realization you have had.
You have to be strong; especially for your children. You have to let them know they can have confidence in you—that you will always be there for them and you can be trusted to deliver on any promise you make. Be truthful about your financial circumstance and factual about how it happened. You don’t have to talk about their father. If you do, you may put them in defense mode of him. Children have a strong sense of what is fair and just. Let them judge for themselves. Trust me. They know you and who you have been to them. They know him too. They will grieve whether through sadness or anger, but in the end, your relationship with your children will be stronger.
Your current lack of peace is because you are looking backwards. I know it’s hard not to. I’ve been there too. It could have been so good if only he wasn’t…well…crazy. You put all your prayers, time, energy, and love into something that wasn’t real. That is a devastating realization to come to grips with but the sooner you realize that your love for someone does not determine their love for you, the sooner you will heal.
Let go and STOP LOOKING BACK! Lot’s wife was told to ‘get out’ by God. Instead, she got confused and started thinking of the good life she had in her town…you know…the good times (no matter how few they were.) She didn’t really want to leave. She looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt according to the story. Why salt? I believe that was because salt is a preservative. She desired to preserve what she had rather than trust God and follow His command to leave. You may have ‘heard’ it was time to leave. You may have become so uneasy or finally afraid that you knew it was time to leave. Now, you are second guessing your decision and wondering if this (leaving with nothing) is really better. If you are separate…please don’t look back and please don’t go back. You and I both know what it was like. You and I both know you don’t want what you had. Trust God and ask Him to direct your path today and tomorrow. Praying for you!