A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Thursday Thought — Validation is Priceless

A gem from our GEMS page:

To be believed is the most precious gift when you have been abused.  Freedom from hell on earth follows.  It’s why many of us are out and even alive today. [Deborah]

30 Comments

  1. Reaching for the prize

    It was because my daughter validated what we were going through that made me think there was a better life than the one we were living in. And it needed to be better for her so she could grow up to be a responsible adult. And that was not happening where we were. That gave me motivation to act.

  2. Ann

    Validation for me is being believed and tangibly helped.

  3. Mary

    When my feelings were validated by domestic abuse counselors, the burden was lifted and I began to be free. The Biblical counselors focus was on judging me for sin and using Bible verses to convict me. I wish they knew what they were doing and how much like Pharisees they are.

  4. Babylove

    I was not validated by anyone; I was made to feel guilty, ashamed and a troublemaker. This included my pastor, the police etc. It has been almost 2 yrs since I have left and the trauma I endured at the hands of those who where put in place to assist and help me let me down and added more trauma to my already traumatized stated of mind. I am recovering but it is a long road.

  5. LH

    That is one of the blessings you give here – validating what we have gone through.

  6. marriedtohyde

    I haven’t read it yet, but just from the title I shout, “YES!”

    • marriedtohyde

      Validation is like a key that releases you from the prison of the lie that you did something to incite the abuse.

      Validation was in short supply at church. The advice and encouragement all felt off. I was told to be strong in the Lord without being shown much support, certainly not the amount of emotional and financial support the circumstances called for.

      I do not think those church members were bad, but they were asleep to the reality of abuse.

      • marriedtohyde

        This is the place where I heard righteous anger against abuse. That was validating. Thank you for that.

  7. loves6

    I am amazed as what has happened recently.

    I opened up to a good friend. She told me to leave. She said her and her husband will support me. My son has also said he will support me. This has all happened in the past week.

    I am putting on an act at the moment to keep the peace as I prepare to leave. I now have a place I can stay in with my kids. It’s going to be a huge upheaval and terrible. I wish sometimes I could continue the facade but can not do this anymore.

    The validation I have received has given me power and helped me see even more clearly my situation. My friend is hoping my husband will change when I go.. I know this will not happen.

    I feel change in my head… I feel so strange, I can feel some weird thing go detachment. It’s been going on for about a week. I feel like I can be free from his control one day.

    • wonderful news! Isn’t it amazing what a difference validation makes?

      Tip to watch out for: since your friend is hoping you husband will change if you leave, she is at risk of being recruited by him — to become his ally — if he contrives to persuade her his change is genuine. You may want to prepare her for the likelihood that he will try to convince her that he is changing/has changed, when as we know from much long experience and account from so many survivors as well as experts like Lundy Bancroft and George Simon, for an abuser to truly change takes a LOT of work on his part, and it is a very long process that needs to continue for the rest of his life. Shallow and phoney repentance is the abusers’ stock in trade.

      It’s great your friend is supportive and is validating you at the moment, but she will probably be an even better supporter if she upskills herself on how to recognise and resist the abusers’ effort to recruit her as his ally.

      You might like to invite her to check out our resources page for Supporters of Victims of Domestic Abuse.

      And any of these posts:

      How to Recognize True (and false) Contrition — by Dr. George Simon, Jr.

      The language of abusers who portray themselves as victims — Pt 1: Vagueness & Contraditions [apols from me: I have not written any more parts to that series 😦 ]

      Believe her

      How a Pastor and His Wife’s Eyes Were Opened to Abuse

      Abuse and Anger: Is it a Sin to Be Angry Toward Our Abuser?

      Love covers a multitude of sins, but not all.

      A Review of “BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People” by Bill Eddy

      The Lord Sees the Deception of the Wicked

      • loves6

        Thanks for this very informative comment Barb.
        I’m feeling so strange. I cannot eat. I have no appetite.
        Since the situation arose a few weeks back at the hotel I haven’t been the same.
        I feel like I’m spinning out sometimes and I’m going to do something crazy. What I mean is get and the car and drive away and never come back. I don’t know what is wrong with me.
        I guess God bringing this validation is what I need just now.
        I have never felt like this before. …

    • Innoscent

      Love6, the time of your deliverance has come! God is opening the escape door for you (1 Corinthians 10.13), at the same time he is closing the emotional door in you. I experienced the same thing before separating from my H. The detachment serves to help you to focus on whatever action you need to take to leave, and not be pulled back in by any remainder of emotional bond to your H. You have made the first step into your red sea. And God has put everything in place for your crossing and holding back your Egyptian army.
      Pray much for God’s guidance at each step and be cautious at every move. Just like a baby birth, there will be trauma and pain, but a new life is awaiting you. I will uphold you in prayer dear sister.

  8. Round*Two

    Loves6,
    Once you are away from your husband, as hard as it is, watch out for his words he is ‘trying’, he has ‘changed’ or his ‘crying’ and his fake repentance. I fell for it, and I’m sure others did as well! (Wise words from my son “nobody changes that quickly!” ) Removing yourself from an abusive relationship is the best thing you can do for yourself! You’re emotions/feelings are definitely normal! My prayers are with you!

    • SeeClearerNow (prev NotHeard)

      Dear Loves6,
      I cannot better these other awesome comments that friends have gifted you, i can only offer my support and encouragement and VALIDATION of how you are feeling is normal. I’m so glad that you seem to be in a healthier place than a couple of weeks ago! I have prayed for God to continue to be your support and validation and protection and to give you courage to stand firm in your decisions.

      This little saying helped me: Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom to realise that God is the Rock at the bottom. I’ve realised this especially recently.

      • loves6

        Thank you for your prayers!

        I really need prayer.

        I had an amazing thing happen in church this morning. There is a lady that keeps coming to my mind at church and I have felt just should go and make friends with her. I have met her before. She came up to me this morning in church, put her hand on my shoulder and looked into my eyes and asked how I was doing.
        I felt God wanted me to tell her … so I did …. I told her about my current situation. I told her in a nutshell about my abuse. She said she had been in a marriage exactly the same. She was amazing to talk to … she took my cell phone number and said she would contact me and send me names of two people she felt could help me.

        God is hearing people’s prayers.

        Thank you

      • Jeff Crippen

        Fantastic!!

      • wonderful!

        (and I’m still praying)

  9. Innoscent

    At first when some people believed me, it was hard to believe them!
    I had heard many, too many people discounting the hell I was going through. But the biggest relief I experienced was when I listen to Jeff’s sermon series on abuse. Only then I knew at last a pastor truly believed me!

    Could anyone please shed some light on the difference between VALIDATION and VINDICATION? I feel that being validated is the first step, then being vindicated. Thanks!

    • Hi Innoscent, as far as I can see from doing a search at the back of the blog, we don’t have a post elucidating the difference between validation and vindication, but we do have a post called Vengeance and vindication: what is the difference?, and another one titled The Healing Power of Validation..

      From OxfordDictionaries.com:

      VALIDATE
      1. Check or prove the validity or accuracy of:
      all analytical methods should be validated in respect of accuracy

      1.1 Demonstrate or support the truth or value of:
      acclaim was seen as a means of validating one’s existence

      1.2 Make or declare legally valid:
      a wide range of professional bodies validate courses leading to these awards

      1.3 Recognize or affirm the validity or worth of (a person or their feelings or opinions); cause (a person) to feel valued or worthwhile:
      without Patti to validate my feelings, they seemed not to exist
      he seems to need other women’s attention to validate him as a man

      VINDICATE
      1. Clear (someone) of blame or suspicion:
      hospital staff were vindicated by the inquest verdict

      1.1 Show or prove to be right, reasonable, or justified:
      more sober views were vindicated by events

      From Dictionary.com:

      VALIDATE
      verb (used with object)
      1. to make valid; substantiate; corroborate; confirm: Time validated our suspicions.
      2. to give legal force to; legalize.
      3. to give official sanction, confirmation, or approval to, as elected officials, election procedures, documents, etc.: to validate a passport.
      Synonyms
      1. authenticate, verify, prove.

      VINDICATE
      verb (used with object)
      1. to clear, as from an accusation, imputation, suspicion, or the like: to vindicate someone’s honor.
      2. to afford justification for; justify: Subsequent events vindicated his policy.
      3. to uphold or justify by argument or evidence: to vindicate a claim.
      4. to assert, maintain, or defend (a right, cause, etc.) against opposition.
      5. to claim for oneself or another.
      6. Roman and Civil Law. to regain possession, under claim of title of property through legal procedure, or to assert one’s right to possession.
      7. to get revenge for; avenge.
      Synonyms
      1. exonerate. 3, 4. support.

      • Innoscent

        Thank you for pulling out all that information Barbara!
        With all that and thinking about it I can understand the 2 notions much better now.
        . Being validated has more to do with having people truly understanding and believing the stories, feelings and trauma of abuse victims.
        . Being vindicated is more on the justice side when all suspicions and accusations against an abuse victim are totally cleared and her honor restored, and the responsibility and the guilt are placed on the abuser solely and rightfully.

  10. Anne

    When my kids (who were the ones who opened my eyes to the abuse) and counselors validated … yes, this is abuse, no, it is not normal. The way you live is not normal. It was very freeing at fiirst. But I really struggle, and keep falling back into feeling it’s my fault or because it’s so subtle, that I’m imagining it and I’m really the one who is the bad person for thinking thrse awful things about my husband.

    It’s been 4 months since the last overt incident of abuse and almost one year since the “aha” moment that opened my eyes, and it’s all stonewalling and muttering things I can hear rather than calling me names to my face or acting violent or yelling so I feel like I must be exaggerating it. Because when I read all the horrific things so many women have experienced, it’s not been that bad for me. No hitting, no breaking of things or threats … but I still feel worthless and bad and at fault for not being a good enough wife. Will that ever end? Will I ever truly break free and feel happy and normal and like the person I think I used to be?

    He’s being really nice to me now, finally doing some of the things he should have done all along. How can I be sure it’s change and not just compliance? He still belongs to the church that fostered and encouraged many of the attitudes he has that contributed to how he treats me. (I left long ago as I saw it was not healthy, but he wouldnt see it and I’m the “uncovered” and unsubmissive wife because I did leave and find another church). But the way he’s treated us at home is so different than the way he treats church people and all outsiders. He trying to change, but I really think it’s just compliance because I scared him after I told him I was in counseling and why. I told him all the ways I’d been hurt over the years and explained the big aha moment and his only reaction was “oh, me and my big mouth” and he smiled in a self depreciatng way, then said that we really should talk and communicate more about these things.

    He has never once said he was sorry. I feel that means in his heart he does not feel he was wrong to treat me that way and despite being nicer to me, its not truly from repentance. Then I feel guilty for doubting him because the whole world and church thinks he’s the most wonderful person and I’m so lucky. But I don’t feel lucky. I just want to run away and never come back. But I’m so tired of feeling guilty, selfish, in the wrong that I don’t know that I have the strength to change things and the courage to leave.

    And what if I’m wrong? What will God think if I leave a man who’s trying to do the right thing, but I didn’t see it because I don’t trust my husband anymore even when he’s nice to me. I finally stopped being intimate with him two months ago and I feel guilty for that, but awful if I allow it. I feel like one big mass of pain and confusion and I don’t know how to make it stop.

    I’m in counseling, I’ve read dozens of books on emotional abuse, watched videos online, haunted websites like this one to learn more. And instead of feeling better, I just feel more afraid, more confused, more like this will never end. I just want normal again and I don’t remember what that feels like or how to get there.

      • Anne

        Thank you for all the resources, Barbara. No, I had not found them all yet. I’m relatively new to reading this blog … I found it because of spiritual abuse in my husband’s church that became public recently and that I was trying to understand so I did not even come across this blog because of my situation per se.

        I’ve read a few more of the posts and I am going to talk about some of them with my counselor tomorrow.

        Again, thank you so much. And just an fyi, I thought I got away with discouraging my husband from using Eggerich’s materials by ignoring the hints, because they disappeared for several days. But they just came back. 😦 sigh.

      • I thought I got away with discouraging my husband from using Eggerich’s materials by ignoring the hints, because they disappeared for several days. But they just came back. 😦 sigh.

        well maybe they will go away again if you continue to ignore them 🙂

      • Anne

        Barbara, I will continue that course of (non)action … lol. 🙂

    • “Will I ever truly break free and feel happy and normal and like the person I think I used to be?. . . I just want normal again and I don’t remember what that feels like or how to get there.”

      Oh Annie,
      I understand the longing for ‘normal’. I just wanted ‘normal’ to return and all the pain, confusion, and fog to disappear. But as time passed I realized that normal as I knew it would never return. I would never be the person I was because of what I had experienced. Those events affected me and the memories of those events are a part of me. Although I am recovering from the decades of living in an abusive relationship, those events have changed me, but that doesn’t mean they have to poison me. Instead of trying to find my past normal now I look forward to what a dear friend of mine calls my ‘new normal’. I don’t know all of what this new normal is going to look like, but each day the pieces are coming together, and it’s looking good!

      Praying for you, Anne.

      • Round*Two

        Annie,

        I just this morning told a friend, “that I am finding myself again.” I am smiling more and laughing again! My desire now is to know what the Lord wants me to do for Him!” I’m not quite there to feeling “normal”, but I will get there, and you will too! Our healing process is different for each of us. Please trust in the Lord, and seek His comfort, and know He walks a long side you throughout your pain. I know I will never forget what I’ve gone through, but I do not want this abuse to define me or my life, so I continue crying out to God asking Him to take this pain from me., and to break ‘soul ties’ with stbx. This is what I’ve been doing for myself to find some sense of normalcy in my life!.
        Praying for you Annie. Blessings..

      • Anne

        Thank you, twbtc. I hate to think there’s only “new normal”, but I fear you are right. I just don’t see my way to getting there yet.

        I cry out to God each day to help me, keep me from being angry, bitter and frightened by a life that is not turning out as I always hoped and dreamed.

        Thank you for your prayers. That means the world to me.

      • Anne

        Also … like you, I’ve been this for decades, so it gives me hope and courage that you are overcoming your situation. That means that someday, God willing, I can too.

      • Anne

        Round two, thank you for the post full of hope for me. It’s so encouraging to hear how your life is improving to the point that you can smile and laugh and see a happy future for yourself. Thank you so much for the prayers that I too will have the same some day!

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