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Emotional Abuse: Gasping for Breath and God is Enough

While moving out of toxicity brings life-giving relief from deep aches, it also brings new agony.

You must be prepared to endure this new pain.

The following journal entry candidly exposes how it felt as I began my new normal. I was on my own and sharing my children with someone who treated me cruelly. He was filling their heads with confusion just as he had done to me for so long. This deep ache is a part of the price that I have since, learned to accept.

In future blog posts, FaceBook Live segments, and on social media, I will share even more how God has purified my heart and healed the most painful part of my life.

Looking back at this journal entry written June 8th, 2015, I see how far I have come. I realize my children’s need to have a close relationship with their father, regardless of how he treats me!

That, my friends, is nothing short of a miracle.

Matthew 5:44
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

Journal Entry

June 8th, 2015

Yesterday I reached a level of pain I could not handle. I spent the past three days without my 11-year-old. After his visitation with his father, the agreement we made was he would be dropped off at seven o’clock in the evening on Sunday. That was the longest span of time my son and I were separated.  The seven o’clock hour came and went. I sat waiting to hear the door open and see his face. With every noise I thought, “Maybe it’s him!” I was excited. As time passed, the pain was getting hard to hide. I didn’t want my son to see it. Finally, I got a text saying he’d be late. He asked, “Ok?”

What was I supposed to do?

I relented and sent back, “Ok sure.” For hours, I was like a dog sitting at the door who hasn’t seen people in 3 days. At the very least if I had known, I would have made plans. Then another text arrives from his dad stating, “He wants to stay until tomorrow.”

Before I knew what hit me, I went through a crash of emotion.
I felt like I was being run over by a Mack Truck.

I hit the floor in fetal position moaning, trying not to let the neighbors hear my deep ache. I got my phone. I reached my sister. I could not breathe. Just hearing my sister’s voice helped me breathe.

I calmed down.

I was not over-reacting.

Two days before this event, my husband froze our finances and began withholding his paycheck.

The pain of not having my son home when I expected him was unbearable. There are more laments.

First, I have been trying to set aside Sunday night to establish a tradition. I offered dinner at my place open to anyone who will come. I had just mentioned this to my former husband. So, he planned a crab feast for Sunday night when I was supposed to have custody. Furthermore, he knew he was having a crab feast for the boys well before it took place. He failed to tell me. I was home waiting for my son, hoping my other boys would respond to my dinner invitation. My husband had our sons set up picking crabs on the porch of our home, by our pool, with our friends. He didn’t have the decency to communicate with me. It would have helped tremendously if I knew the drill and what to expect. Again, if I knew my kids were not going to be joining me, I could have made plans. I had been asking them for days, but no one ever replied.

On the heels of being cut off financially, I found myself cut off emotionally, socially, and physically.

Again, I could not breathe.

Breathing is critical when the answer to your invitation is “no.”

Suddenly, I’m alone.

There are no children, no pets, no friends, no house, no private pool, no beautiful yard, no neighborhood, and no husband. Albeit, he was a husband who would choose his money and his addictions over caring for my needs. I was alone.

I gave him everything I had… and then some.

To say I fell apart would be putting it lightly. I fell to the floor, moaning in pain. My whole body hurt. My arms, my legs, and torso. Alone with God. He is always enough. It is well with my soul but the pain literally felt like just short of having my skin ripped off.

The pain turned to anger quickly, and I had to get my boy. All my former husband saw was the anger. He accused me of wrath, set forth by from his request to keep my son one more night.

I have grown enough to see that his accusations are his way of dealing with his extreme guilt for hurting me. I am learning; he can’t handle pain, so he redirects it. He accuses me of loving money. That is the furthest thing from the truth. When he cut me off financially, it hurt. For me, being with the children and living a life that glorifies God is what I desire most of all. Money is seemingly his greatest desire. My leaving, means he loses a significant portion of it.  Not only what we’ve built together as a couple, but for the financial blessings from my family of origin. Thank God for my dad who took excellent care of his lot!

I need to understand my value so that... never again... will I fall for someone who: I must impress. I must pretend to be some "ideal" version of myself. Insists that I not be who I really am.

To feel that I have a price tag on my back is a horrible feeling. Years of being objectified are becoming clear to me now. Not once in the separation process has my husband mentioned that he misses my love and encouragement. My true devotion is not his desire. What he desires is a fight for money.  I am seemingly, in and of myself, of no value.

I was not perfect.

But I certainly, aimed to be. I was a wonderful wife. My biggest shortcoming was not loving myself enough to set boundaries.

I won’t do that again.

I need to understand my value so that… never again…will I fall for someone who:

I must impress.
I must pretend to be some “ideal” version of myself.
Insists that I not be who I really am.

That’s what many of us do. We present an ideal version of ourselves and when we marry, we relax into our real-selves. That’s the reason I’ve gone back to my husband over and over all these years after leaving his abuse. Once I’d leave him and the pain, he’d present the ideal version of himself. He knew precisely what the “ideal” looks like to me. When we reunited, my husband’s real-self always resurfaced once again. I’d feel duped. I believe his intentions were to be that best version, but don’t we all fall short? He never committed to doing the hard work in recovery to become the man God designed him to be. I couldn’t do it for him. Maybe with me out of the way, he will finally go for his real-self.

****

Reflecting on this journal entry, I see the pain was excruciating.

I celebrate how far I have come.

I was at a point where I could have been tempted to go back to the illusion of love, the comfort of money, my children every night for dinner and the acceptance of those who shunned me for leaving. I could have sold my soul once again for external things…

…but I did not.

I pressed on.
I did soul work.

In the trenches of that pain, I had no idea that God was preparing me for the man that I am married to today.  He exceeds my wildest imagination of what God could have in store for me.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 1 Corinthians 2:9

If you are feeling led to leave an abusive relationship, I have shared this very personal pain so that you get a glimpse into my real-time emotional abuse. I stand here today having survived. I want to assure you.

I am certain God will be with you as He was with me.

Do you have someone in your life to help you “breathe” when things get too painful?

Do you know how loved you are by God?

Contact me for a free 30-minute coaching session to see if I might be the “someone” God has put in place to coach you through this season of your life. Let me show you how to do soul work.

Connect With Charlotte for a 30 minute FREE Coaching Session.

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