Thursday Thought — Testimonies
Deciding to stay in or leave an abusive relationship is a very complex and difficult decision. One question that victims often struggle with is, “How do I know that it is God’s will for me to leave?”
On our Light Bulb Moments page — a compilation of a number of testimonies by ACFJ readers of how God showed them that it was His will for them to leave their abusive marriages. [The previous sentence and link were edited to reflection their new location. Editors.] While we believe that only the victim can make the decision whether or not to leave, we hope you will find encouragement in these stories. Below we have copied Barbara’s Light Bulb Moment to get you started:
Barbara’s Light Bulb Moment — I had many lightbulb moments, and not always did the lightbulbs stay on. I can remember once, while a lightbulb had briefly flickered on, I wrote a list (maybe five or six phrases) about what was making me most unhappy in the relationship. But the lightbulb went out and I tore up the list and threw it in the bin the next day.
I suppose my most important awakening came when he threw me against the wall. He’d been emotionally and verbally abusive for the full 12 months of our reconciliation, but when it got physical I instantly knew I had to apply for another protection order and get him put out of the home, or leave myself. I’d had protection orders years before, when we were separated the first time, and I’d learned enough from that period to know “When it gets physical, it doesn’t get better, it only continues to get worse.”
Then I found Patricia Evans book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, and all the light bulbs lit up like a Christmas tree. Why didn’t I wake up during the four years of my first separation from him? Even though I’d been in and out of shelters, even though I’d attended a support group for victims of DV, even though I’d fought and won custody in the Family Court, and written in my affidavit about him having abused me… I didn’t really wake up. Because the Family Court Orders said that I must tell the Court if I ever consulted a counsellor or a mental health professional in the first two years of the Orders. That put me right off getting counselling from anyone. So I remained in the dark and never worked through stuff, never really came to terms with the fact that I’d been abused. How bifurcated can one’s mind get?