If you’ve recently left your abusive relationship, or maybe you’re still in it and can’t figure out a way to leave, these are a few things I’ve found helpful to remember in my journey from victim to victorious. (Like that? I’m a little unsure about it. It seems a little quip-ish, iykwim.)
#5 It’s not your fault.
Your abuser and his supporters would love for you to continue to believe that you are at fault for everything. Oh, he might admit he’s not perfect, but, it’s always qualified with “neither are you.” This is a sure sign that no matter how many times he says he’s sorry, he’s not. Remember he’s a liar and he can’t stand to be at fault for anything. You are the person he puts all his faults on, he hates his faults, therefore this gives him an excuse to abuse you.
#4 Don’t expect his parents to side with you.
Don’t go to them for help. Don’t go to them for anything. There is a reason your ex (or current) thinks he’s either justified in his abuse or isn’t abusive at all, and his parents are part of it. They may be terribly nice people, but he’s their “baby” and you standing up to him is not something they can handle. They will use the same arguments as he has, trying to make it seem like it’s all your fault, telling you that if you don’t forgive your ex that God will deal with you harshly, etc, etc, ad nauseum. Don’t expect them to do anything at all except continue to aid and abet their “baby.” (Seriously, I have a friend whose parents bought her abusive ex a house, even though they knew what he’d done, and she wasn’t his first victim.)
#3 Stop with the comparisons.
And I’m not talking about comparing you and your children to a “normal” family, or comparing clothing or living situations. I’m talking about comparing your circumstances to, say, Christians in Iraq suffering under ISIS. You tolerated the abuse all these years because somewhere along the line you were taught to “put things into perspective.” Some pastor, usually, sadly, or your mother, told you to get over your problems because when you put them into perspective, they really aren’t that big. Kind of like that annoying book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” whose sub-title is “And it’s all small stuff.” Nope, it’s not. Abuse doesn’t cease to be terrible simply because no one is threatening to behead you and your children. Avoid people who will belittle you by such comments and advice.
#2 Normal marriage advice doesn’t apply to you.
Burn all your marriage books. Turn the radio station when Les and Leslie Parot come on. Tune out the pastor, or get up and leave, when he or she is preaching on how to have a good marriage. None of this applies to you. This isn’t selfishness on your part. This isn’t a matter of you “falling out of love” (what does that even mean?). There is no way to fight for your marriage. Trust me. I fought for 21 years and didn’t consider getting out until my husband basically said he didn’t care if I committed suicide. (He has a different spin on that, btw, but I don’t think that would surprise anyone.) There is no “normal” in an abusive relationship. “Normal” is abuse, and the abuser thinks it’s fine, that it’s “not that bad.” And there is no one on this earth who will EVER convince him otherwise.
#1 Look for God’s blessings.
I actually had a different #1 planned as I thought this out, but when I wrote down the five, God gave me this for #1. He’s right. (Oh, like that’s a surprise. :D) God’s blessings will be everywhere. Look for them. Write them down. My kids and I have a journal and we write down all the ways we are thankful and all the things we see God doing each day. It will change your perspective, in a good way, from thinking of yourself as a victim to realizing that God NEVER wanted you to live that way. It’s also a good way to make sure you don’t fall for relative’s, and others, lies about how you are an unforgiving you-know-what and how God is going to punish you. You will look around and see that each day God is giving you many, many blessings and, even though things aren’t maybe the way you picture them, He is carrying you out of that situation into a place that will be safe for you and your kids.