‘If I knew then what I know now…’
Please, please use my NOW knowledge. You need it. And it makes my Needless Suffering become Suffering For a Cause, which fuels the ability to get up every morning.
At one point in my married life, although I was being choked, grabbed, or shoved, there was some enchanted thought that told me, “You aren’t abused. At least he doesn’t punch you.” If you ever, ever find yourself saying that, you are abused. And also held emotionally captive, to boot.
Although you aren’t ready to face it, mark my words, someday you will be forced to face it. And when that happens, I sure hope you have laid a trail, like Hansel and Gretel in the woods, to lead you out of this forest. Please, PLEASE, listen to my words. From experience comes wisdom, and I have the experience! And I believe I speak wisdom.
You need to call the police. Every time. EVERY TIME. You don’t have to prosecute. It doesn’t mean you want your partner to go to jail. (that’s what I thought then… and what he will try to make you think.) But you need the documentation. YOU ARE GOING TO NEED THE DOCUMENTATION. For the love of all things right, here what I am saying. A man that will hurt you when you are married, will REALLY hurt you when you try to leave. If you think he will not try to take your children, infiltrate your family, convince the world that you have emotional problems, or try to get you fired, you are WRONG. The part of him that occasionally hurt you becomes his norm, and he will morph into someone you only occasionally glimpsed before. That man that struck terror in you every once in a while is the man you will face every second of every day after you leave.
CALL THE POLICE. You can make a report over the phone, even. But get it on the record. Get that report. You can choose not to press charges. It’s possible the police will call CPS, in which case, you have your way out. They can help you. They can get you safe, help you get established alone, and help you get a protective order. I was so afraid of CPS, that I ran from calling the police at all costs. CPS is tough on abusers, yes, but they also can help the abused. And that is you.
They will also hold you accountable. They will tell you that you can’t return to your abuser. And you need this. The emotional brainwashing that an abuser does to his woman is a powerful mind-control game that you can’t see when you are involved in it. The crying, begging, flowers and all the trimmings are not real, ladies. He will continue this only until he realizes he has you under continued control, and he will be right back where he was before. Every time you go back, (or choose not to leave), he has more power, and you have less resolve, until you are stuck as stuck can be, with absolutely no confidence that you can get away.
I thought I couldn’t get away. It took three tries to make it happen. It took risking loosing all my friends and family, who didn’t know what was going on behind closed doors. To them, it looked like a female mid-life crisis. But as soon as I started leaving, I knew in my gut it was right, and it gave me the fortitude to keep going even in the face of opposition from my friends and family. And sure enough, as the story unraveled and they watched long enough, they saw his psychotic side emerge and they began to believe my story. But you have to be strong enough to stand alone for a while, and confident in the fact that the truth will someday emerge and your name will be cleared.
He is going to look stunning, politicking all your friends and family, and most likely social workers and psychologists. He will beat you to the punch telling ‘his’ story of how his beloved wife lost her marbles and ran away. And since he’s been using you for mind control for so long, he’s quite practiced and very very good at it. If you don’t have those police reports to back your story, you are sunk, friend. Your friends, family, and expert witnesses will believe him.
The day that a psychologist appears in court and says, scratching his head, that he’s heard two sides and in his opinion, (which may not be based in reality if your man has been talking to him), you might, just maybe, be having some emotional problems. And that although she claims to have been abused, that she stayed all that time anyway and never called the police, that he can’t really believe her story…. that is the day that you just lost your children in a custody battle. All because- you didn’t call the police.
I never called the police, because my strict christian heritage led me to believe that calling the pastor was the best resort. I was taught you can’t be hateful, and that you pray for you enemies. And, oh yeah, don’t forget, I loved the man.
I have learned now, years later, that I was thinking in error. I can ABSOLUTELY stand up for myself, call the police, and prosecute, all in the name of LOVE. If I loved that man, I could have insisted he get help, which would have been mandated by the courts. If I loved my children, I could have done the right thing and called the police to protect them. The key is your heart. Your heart can never bend toward hate, revenge, or spite. But you can call the police with every bit of love in your heart possible.
DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES I DID. Especially in the name of Christianity. You have a covenant partner, yes. And if you think leaving will break your covenant, then you really didn’t pay close attention to your vows. I sat for years thinking I couldn’t leave lest I break the covenant vows. But a wise pastor opened my eyes. Listen to your vows: “I promise to love, honor, and cherish you, as long as we both shall live.” Is grabbing you, shoving you, hitting you, throwing things at you, or screaming at you some part of love, honor, and cherishing you? I’m not talking the little heated argument. You know the kind of screaming I’m talking about.
If your partner has broken the covenant with any of the above actions, ITS BROKEN. You didn’t do it. He did. It’s done. There IS NO MORE COVENANT. This is not about sex, cheating, lying, mistresses. It’s about NOT HONORING YOUR COVENANT. You can’t break a bond that’s already broken, and if he chooses to NOT love, honor, or cherish you with his violent actions or emotional control, you have a responsibility to clean up this tragedy. Sitting in the broken mess, dragging your children through the sludge of abuse, is not an option. You are FREE of your covenant because he broke it, and you need to, IN LOVE, do the hard thing and stand up for yourself and your kids. This is not an error of Christian teaching. Check your vows, and see if he is obeying them. If not, then the vows aren’t valid.
God did not call his daughters to be abused. He doesn’t expect you to just take it. He is our GREAT DEFENDER. But if your partner is not yielding to God too, then only one of you is under divine influence, and the other under dark influence, and you need to fight it. With every weapon known, which includes spiritual ones like prayer, but also includes physical ones like police and court systems and CPS. God is screaming, “Get help! I’ve sent it straight to your door! Open the door!!” It’s not OK to ask God to save you and not utilize the things he has put before you. You can pray all day for God to change your partner’s heart, but if your partner is operating under dark influence, God CAN’T change his heart- God isn’t the one being allowed the authority, the devil is the one being allowed the authority. And you can’t change that. Only your partner can change that. Allowing him to continue on does not help him. Putting him in some stress like jail or the court system or CPS system, shaking him up, is the only thing that might, might, stand a chance at getting him to go back to God’s authority. You owe it to your partner to prosecute him so his eyes will open that he has given his heart’s authority to darkness. If you love him, do the hard thing.
I lost my children in my fight to get away. They are now still quite little, and gone. Every time I have to take them back to their father, they cry. I am a childless mother. Please learn from my mistakes. And make your paper trail.
Please. Make my tears useful for something. Listen to my words.