Eggshells and a Peace that Cannot Be – by Anonymous
Here are some hard-learned lessons from one of our readers, the survivor of many years of abuse. Thank you, Anon for helping us all learn:
You cannot make peace, where there is no peace. Sometimes, victims of abuse, spend inordinate amounts of time, trying to get “peace”; bring “peace” keep “peace” in a marriage and family, only to find themselves made more vulnerable to the abuser. This happens for a variety of reasons, but one main reason, is that in order to keep peace, you have to have peace to begin with.
For me, I spent years and years just walking on egg shells everyday, trying to keep the peace. Giving in and bending backwards, building my life around him, but it was never enough giving or bending. Everyday was like a burden of stress that became so unbearable, that I would have periods of breaking. Then, after struggling for several days in a row, I would pick up the pieces and go back to trying to keep peace. During the course of my breaking periods, I would notice an increase in the abusiveness. The silent treatment, emotional and verbal abuse was usual, and perhaps it was that way, because he was not getting the attention; I was broken and I needed the attention. Just not the kind he was giving.
After years of being abused, you just sort of learn to wear what you have been dressed in. I found myself running around nervously, setting the table a certain way, cooking the food precisely how he wanted it, timing its arrival to the table, making everything perfect and nothing out of place, house clean, kids quiet, my speech well rehearsed, his clothes perfectly folded, all in preparation for the arrival of the “stress”. Maybe all my works, would keep him happy and we could just get through one night and a short period in the morning, without everything falling apart. Little did I realize, that the stress had been with me all day as I was preparing for its arrival! Now, as I am working through all of this and the fog is lifting, I can look back and literally see myself just exasperated day after day, living to keep peace and make him happy. I had no life left in me. But there never was any peace. Remember? You have to have peace in order to keep peace.
Marriage is not about fearfully giving of yourself, or nervously trying to please the other half. That is most definitely, not marriage. Marriage is about a mutual pleasing of each other in the Lord, not a fearful dread of not being able to please your spouse and suffering the consequence for it. Marriage is about a giving of yourself, and the other accepting you, for better or for worse. Remember? I remember taking that vow. I held up my end, because it has been much more of the worse and very, very little of the better.
One thing I have managed to learn, is that I could never attain and keep peace, because there never was any peace to be kept. It all makes sense to me now, after years and years of searching for a way to just keep the peace. It remained very well hidden, because it was so far off, that it just could not even be found. It was beyond my grasp. We all hunger for peace in our lives. That is why our blessed Savior said He would give us a peace that surpassed them all. He knew there was phony peace and then there was the peace we would search for all our lives, only to have it elude and confuse us. God grants us a peace, an inward knowing, that He is there for us and He will never leave nor forsake us, and it is a peace that all of us long for and need.
Sometimes, I just want a hug. Sometimes, I just want to feel human touch. But during those times, I cry out to God and He comes to me with His peace, and it is like nothing one could ever know. I am finding, now that I am on my own, that there is peace to be found. It is just there. Why? Because it is true peace and it is always with me, because Christ is always with me. I may set it aside when I am working on fears or stress comes and catches me off guard, or the abuser raises his ugly tactics, but if I am able to just stop and focus – there it is – peace. It never leaves, because it is in Him.
I have seen now, that in order to keep peace, we have to have it first. There is no peace in life with an abuser. There is no peace in a marriage that is centered around the abuser, not God. There is no peace in a Church that confuses Christ with their own opinions and beliefs and there is no peace where people don’t really want peace.
So, in order to “keep the peace”, you must first have it and the only way to do that, is to step away from whoever is abusing you, and cling fast to God. He wants and desires for us to be free, so that we can come away with Him and love and enjoy Him fully. That is the reason for our lives. We can have that in marriage, when the abuser is not the center, but where God is genuinely the center of it. May we all learn and not be afraid to build our lives around Christ solely, so that we can really know what it means to love and be loved. May God grant all of you His peace and His rest.