No matter how hard you may try, if you have been in an abusive situation, you will never forget the pain.
I am a survivor of domestic violence in many forms. I was punched. I was slapped. I was thrown across the room so hard, the ligaments in my right foot were torn severely while he laughed in my face. He punished me even further by not allowing me to receive any medical assistance until 24 hours later, and after my foot had swollen to over twice its normal size. Huge lumps surfaced immediately after his fist slammed into my head and body. I wore a busted, bloody, and swollen mouth caused from the thrust of his backhand in the middle of the night or while riding in the car. My body felt the sting of excruciating pain and haunting embarrassment of being physically jolted out the front steps, along with my clothes, while being told to leave…. No way to get anywhere, and no place to go.
In the early 1970s, we had no telephone, and we only had one car. My son was only a few months old. We had recently moved to a new city and state where everything was so unfamiliar. Living almost seven hours away from any relatives or friends, there was no one around to hear my cries or sense my soul as it shivered in fear. I had no understanding of anything even similar to what I was experiencing, since my parents were the perfect example of a loving relationship. If they ever argued, I never heard them.
I felt I had nowhere to go for help. Besides the physical violence, I suffered almost daily from the evil clutches of verbal abuse. The mental horror of being told you are worthless can destroy your life. Nothing you do or say is right. Your heart is broken, over and over again. You begin to believe those degrading words. After all, you have to be submissive to your husband…right? Also, unfaithfulness flaunted it’s ugly face before me, with no sign of remorse. He had an adulteress affair with a teenager while my son was under one year old. I didn’t even know how long it had been going on. I was not quite 21, so I couldn’t comprehend this at all. I felt trapped and very unloved. Each day, I began to sink deeper into the abyss of hopelessness.
My first abusive marriage lasted over ten years too long. Some of the biggest problems were: I didn’t recognize the problem and I didn’t get help; therefore, I set myself up for defeat, once again. Another marriage that wasn’t really a marriage. Including the dating period, I was facing eight more years of domestic violence. The signs of abuse were all there before we married. He was also unfaithful during the engagement. Yet I still married him. In the beginning, there was mostly mental and verbal abuse. He criticized me. He called me despicable names. He shouted profanity…words I had never heard in all my years. He lost his temper so many times, I couldn’t recall a day he didn’t. He threw things at me. He busted walls. He swerved the car from lane to lane, while driving down the road. He became physically abusive in the end. I’ve even watched him shove a gun to my head, not knowing if his hand would pull the trigger and decide my fate that day. My world became an extremely dark and dismal place, and I didn’t wish to be here anymore.
During this period, I was helplessly sinking into a season of depression because of my mother’s lengthy illness with cancer. I couldn’t be there for her, as she lived hours away. My marital situation caused me to walk daily in fear. Keeping up with my responsibilities of being a mother, working outside the home, struggling through the abuse, and losing my mother was beginning to take a toll on me. I didn’t even wish to live, except I loved my children and craved to find a way out for us. And leave, I did…after my precious mother passed away. I got away for a short while to stay with my daddy back in my home state.
I had wasted six and a half more years of my life, hiding my struggle with being attracted to violent men. I didn’t look for them. It seemed they found me. They saw the quiet, lonely, submissive young lady who would cross the deepest ocean to be loved and cherished. Evidently, I was the picture of an easy target for physical and verbal maltreatment. One thing that really stands out in my mind is that neither of these men were substance abusers. No alcohol was ever in my home. Most always alcohol plays a major role in domestic violence cases…. Not so in mine. These were truly troubled, controlling, and greatly disturbed men.
My heart took a beating, along with my body and soul. The only way I could have been rescued was through the mercy of my heavenly Father’s love. And love me, He did…unconditionally. I still have a way to go on this journey. I’ve been significantly strengthened, but I will continue to become stronger each day.
If you or anyone you know is being abused, please seek help immediately. No one must suffer through the pain and mental anguish of abuse, verbal or physical. You deserve the best, so only accept that. If you have gone through abuse, seek Christian counseling and read self-help books on the subject. And pray. Break the silence.
I wrote my book, Heart Written – Breaking Free, from a collection of poetry and quotes spoken to me from God. It is how my heart has been mended from the brokenness and wounds of abuse. My shattered spirit, at times, continues to weep in the night and ask why this happened to me. I sometimes struggle with wondering why God never introduced me to a wonderful and loving man. I try to believe these are common and normal responses from a survivor of abuse.
My nightmare began when I was only eight years old with childhood sexual abuse from the hands of a man who was only related to my family by marriage. Unfortunately, he is still married to the same person, and he still abuses. Although it’s been 53 years since the initiation of my abuse by this man, I now feel truly grateful to convey to the world I am a survivor. I will not allow my abusers to continue hurting me. I have forgiven them; however, I shall never forget. My pain, my wounds, my scars, and my profoundly-impaired self-esteem will serve as tools to help others like me…to let them know there is healing through faith in Jesus Christ. Only through Him was I allowed to survive those horrifying years of torment and disgrace. I lived that I may share my story and help others on their journey through the mending of their wounds.
May heaven’s peace and healing be yours today. The following poem is from page 238 of the new revision of my book, Heart Written – Breaking Free. I am sharing it to let others like me know there is hope. You aren’t alone in your pain. God is there. Let Him in.
Please order your personally signed copy of my 354-page book of inspiring poetry today with free shipping directly from me. I feel it will touch your soul and bring healing to your heart.
I also would like to ask you to read a beautifully-written blog by a friend and local journalist, Michael Cogdill, on this subject @ http://wp.me/p145S1-gu.
Then, You Laughed
Was your heart amused when you called me those names?
Was your ego strengthened when you caused me shame?
Were you feeling manly when you slapped my face
And spoke unkind words to put me in my place?
Does your memory bring back those days, long ago
When you used your fist to give my head a blow?
Or when you backhanded my mouth in the night,
Then cursed me and swore you would win every fight?
Did your spirit laugh when you tossed me outside,
While my soul was wishing for somewhere to hide?
My clothes you threw at me with joy in your eyes.
I felt so defeated and tired of your lies.
Did those times you punched me cause you to feel tall?
Did you feel empowered when you made me fall?
Though I was afraid of the man you were then,
I stayed and continued my game of pretend.
Those years, although over, still play in my mind.
They haunt me and mock me as nightmares rewind.
That fragile heart, broken, and crushed self-esteem
Still looks unto Jesus to find mended dreams.
While shattered and wounded, you proved I was weak.
But now, I’ve grown stronger; more loudly, I speak.
The past cannot hold me; my future is bright.
You’ve laughed your last at me; I’ve won the last fight.
© 2011 Doris Hayes Gibson
All Rights Reserved