A Cry For Justice

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

Thursday Thought — Sand at the Beach

From our Allegories, Analogies, and Fairy Tales page:

When victims of abuse eventually leave their abusers, they almost always say “I stayed too long. I wasted too much time trying to work on myself, trying to respond in a ‘better’ way to the situation. But the abuser chose to keep on abusing regardless of what I did, so it was all a waste of time in the end! I wish I hadn’t wasted those years.”

It’s like trying to stop erosion at a beach. You can keep trucking in sand and boulders and building groynes and all the other strategies that have been tried, but the current keeps dragging the sand away and the edge of solid land keeps getting eroded. The strategies don’t work because the current is too consistent, too relentless. [Barbara Roberts]

11 Comments

  1. Brenda R

    Staying with the abuser was definitely a waste of time. The time I spent working on myself wasn’t.

  2. Anonymous

    Wow! You nailed it, Barbara. I was on that beach.

  3. LH

    Agreed, I should have left sooner, for both my sake and my kids’ sake. All that trying and trying was a waste of time and emotional energy since he was never going to change for the better. The church’s unBiblical teaching on marriage and submission kept me in bondage longer than it should, which I can see clearly in restrospect. Your blog is sooooo helpful that way!

  4. Suzanne

    Very true and very sad.

  5. Stronger Now

    I needed to satisfy myself that I had not given up too soon, that I had tried everything. I wanted to have no regrets. So I don’t feel like I stayed too long. God worked everything out for my escape in His perfect time, and protected me along the way.

    I do wish none of it had happened. I do wish my husband had actually been who he pretended to be. But when I began to come out of the fog and saw that nothing I could do would change anything, I determined to honor God in my responses and behavior as much as I was able to, so that I would not have to look back and blame myself for any of his abuse.

    None of this is to suggest that anyone else should stay for one extra second and endure one single abusive action more. It is only to say that this is the path God had for me.

  6. I Can See

    I would have left many many years ago but the evil abuser forced me to become pregnant without my consent. Yes, he forced me to have a baby and he did it more than once. Babies he NEVER wanted. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing. He IS evil. I wish I knew to RUN the moment I met him but instead I was CRUSHED under his shaming and CONFUSED by his charm.

  7. kim

    People who have worked for years counseling batterers, such as Lundy Bancroft, have said that abuse is a choice the abuser makes, and not a product of bad relationship dynamics. Bancroft also states that he seldom sees real change in the batterers (except possibly that they get worse with time!) I believe the same lack of change characterizes all abusers, whether they physically batter or not. I believe the mindset of the abuser began developing so early, possibly as early as age 2 or 3, that the abusive mindset is engrained in their entire personality and character, and nearly impossible to change, because of their own repeated choices. Someone doesn’t just wake up at age 25 and decide they are more important than other people and that they have rights that other people do not possess. I believe some people simply do evil because that is how they like it! We are told not to be unequally yoked, and I believe that is true regarding the impossibility of a relationship between a normal, empathetic person and an abuser. It is never going to work, it can’t work, period. Be loving enough of yourself to get away!

    • Sarah

      Kim I would love to share this anonymously with your permission

  8. Finally Joy

    I stayed too long. 32 years is too long. The idea of abuse never entered my mind because he never physically hit me. I was miserable and lonely and hurting. He told me that I wasn’t good enough and I believed him.

    I stayed too long. I thought I was showing my kids a good example of a godly wife, what it means to wake up every morning and walk in forgiveness. Now I see that I let them learn that it is ok to treat people that way. I can see the damage in their lives.

    I stayed too long because I thought I was “supposed” to stay. I thought my prayers for help weren’t answered because I needed to “pray harder”, “try harder”. I thought if I loved enough that it would fill the emptiness in him. I believed what I had been taught that my husband was the head of the home and that it was my christian duty to “submit”.
    Then he began to travel for his job – gone for months at a time and I had silence so I could think. I heard someone say that Hagar (Sarah’s servant) said, “You are the God who sees me.” I thought about that and prayed for understanding for two years. Slowly I began to realize that the God who sees me knows all my faults and yet He died for me. God loves me and He says that I am valuable and precious. I made a choice to believe what God says about me rather than what my (ex) husband was saying about me.

    Staying too long left me broken. My counselor (with years of experience with abused spouses) says it is very unusual for a person to be that close to the edge for so many years and not end up in a mental hospital, commit suicide, or be killed.

    A friend reached into my isolation and the Lord used her to help me get help. Yes, I stayed too long but I have to trust God’s timing. I trust that He was keeping me all those years. I trust that He was teaching me and making me into the strong woman that I am today. I have had wise and godly counselors, I have a wonderful church family and pastors that have loved me back to health. (I know how rare that is.)

    Yes, I regret those years and all that I lost, all that was stolen from me, but I don’t see it as wasted. What was meant for evil God has used for good. You can’t imagine the heartbreak or how tough things are now, but every morning I wake up grateful. I know that God is good, He loves me and He gives me joy.

  9. Joy

    This is exactly how I feel about staying employed under my dad but I’m scared to leave because my financial dependence on him is the only reason why I am continuing to work for him. If I could work under another job instead of for him, then believe me, I would.

    I just feel so frustrated at not being able to heal because I’m stuck in the same vicious cycle of abuse that I grew up with. I’m praying to God to guide me and I’m asking around for a job but no one is hiring me. The only advice that everyone is giving me is to continue working for my dad until I find another job. I have suffered through mental, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse, not to mention a few instances of physical abuse for twenty two and a half years on and off I just feel like I’m reaching my breaking point but I don’t want to go on benefits to support myself. I just feel so lost in knowing what to do, now.

    • standsfortruth

      Finally Joy and Joy, your two experiences, and the years you have endured abuse reminds me of mine with my abuser.
      When people ask me how long I stayed in the cycle-I just tell them “too many” because they wont understand..

      But I just wanted to share a site called ziprecruiter.com that helped me to get my first and second job once I determined to free myself.
      It is a job connect site for employees and employers in your area.
      They are a free online service that helps the job seeker find a job type of her choice within the mile radius her choice.
      And they can upload a resume -if you make one to add to your file or applications.

      This can all be done through your email or g-Mail, where after you fill out an initial account with them, they send you job matches and opportunities daily that that fit your request of job type and location.
      Of course the more job types you select the more offers you will recieve to your email each day for full or part time positions.
      If you like what they send you then fill out the application and wait for them to call you for an interview.
      My first job was cashiering for a large grocery chain that offered barely minimum wage.
      I worked there throughout my divorce.

      My second job through them was in the home improvement industry, and they started me off at 3.00 more an hour for basically the same type of work.
      So it pays to look around, and try different types of places.
      Thank you for sharing your story, it is so similar to mine as I too was part of the family business.
      I do feel like now that I am away from the abuse, God is able to use me more to help others that are still going through it.

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