Saturday, December 20, 2008

My abusive life

Molly at Adventures in Mercy
wrote a really great post about abuse called: Letters to an Abused Soul: When Love is “No”.
I felt kind of inspired by what she wrote here and even though I know many people have dealt with much worse than I have, I have been in abusive relationships almost my entire life.
She talked in her post about how sometimes stopping the destructive behavior can be the most loving thing for all parties involved. She also made great points about how abusive people are not pure evil, how true repentance can make that person safe to be around again and how rarely that happens.
I was the one who turned into an abuser because of my helplessness to fix my situation and in an attempt to change the people in my life.
Abuse didn't work, not for me anyway and it finally led to me almost completely ruining my whole life and losing everyone I cared about.
I did ( after some very extreme consequences and a prison sentence) learn that stopping my abuser from hurting me was the most loving thing for me to do for everyone involved.
I remember when after many visits from my then estranged wife I finally wasn't angry at her for the things she said. I had been praying about it because I had visitation many times while I was in prison and I almost always got very angry with her and she ruined every visit with my kids up until that day. I was just asking for God to help me with my emotions and to help me be strong for my sons. That day I saw her, not as a manipulating emotional abuser; but as a fellow human being with weakness and fears and I actually felt sorry for her. From that day forward the whole dynamic of our relationship changed. There was no healing for the marriage(it was irreparably broken) but for me as a broken twisted child and I think in some sense for her too. After years of giving up my power, I suddenly had control over myself back ( or for the first time) just because I chose not to get angry with her.
I wish I had that chance with my dad.
I don't think I will ever be what some people call normal, but I am better than I was and I hope that my children never have to go through the self inflicted hell that I went through. I actually thought that was normal, it can still be hard to tell when some one is trying to manipulate me, but I do know what it's like to have someone in my life that cares about me and isn't abusive or manipulative.
It's almost like having a new life, one that is a lot more bearable.
Yeah I bought into the prosperity gospel stuff and I was so sure that God would heal my old life.
But you know, maybe my old life was never what God intended. Maybe, fixing my old marriage wasn't God's will. Maybe we all need to let people in these types of situations have just a little more grace and just love them instead of looking at them with advice about waiting for God to change the other person.
One thing I have learned about those kinds of prayers is, God rarely changed the other person because of our prayers; but He does change us if we let Him.


acme said...

Hi, Shaun
Thank you for sharing so honestly on Adventure in Mercy and here. I've been wrestling with what has made me stay in abusive relationships--and how to establish more appropriate boundaries. I've been clinging to the Good Shepherd who says that "my boundaries have fallen in pleasant places" and praying my kids.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing so openly.

Kansas Bob said...

Another great and transparent post Shaun! I liked hearing a bit more of your story. A big amen to this:

"Maybe we all need to let people in these types of situations have just a little more grace and just love them"

shaun said...

Thanks for the comments..
acme, I hope you will find what it is that makes you stay.. I would suggest that I think abusive relationships are a very complex problem. on one hand it's like an addiction and the other it's like a disease. We want to be free, but we don't know what that would be like and there is comfort in a known evil vs. an unknown future. I was scared to death and thought my life was ending when my marriage began breaking up. Had I known what it would be like when it was over I wouldn't have clung so tightly to that situation, but it was all I knew.

I think it's good for me and it's easier here (and cheaper than therapy)you are welcome.

I always appreciate your comments and pray for you and Anne often.
Peace Bro

Tera Rose said...

i hope you don't think that i blogged to show you how bad it could be.
i wrote it before i read your post...
i was responding to brian's post about someone blessing him.

those times for me were hard financially-
but in a lot of ways i was richer than i am now.

now i have money (no i am far from rich but comparatively speaking)
but i just worked three double shifts this week- trying to grap an extra thousand to pay off property taxes...

so then, life had a simplicity.

time was mine, time with my child was abundant... i knew to be grateful for small gifts...

now i worry about is there enough under the tree...
do i need to work more...
will i loose my job...
can i feed these children if my husand and i both loose our jobs..

so i guess either way there is good and there is bad.

i honesly wrote it before reading yours so please don't take it as a "things could be worse shaun"


you are a good father because you care enough to worry....and of course you want to give great gifts to your children.

but don't buy in to the capitalistic lie- that if there arent millions of expensive, current gadgets under the tree- that you are less of a provider.

my god, you've given them a new home this year, with land, animals and their daddy under the roof at night.

what more could those kids think of wanting?

love to you.

WaynO said...

Haven't been out for a long time so catching up. Sounds like things are getting a good perspective in your life now Shaun and that is exciting.
As for the abuse, I have been part of many conferences and workshops and spent time helping our local program for domestic violence. I have advocated the things you say in your blog but mostly seem to fall on deaf ears.
The thing about control of your own situation I am familiar with. A woman in one of the congregations is so (don't know words to describe) antagonistic that most people hate her. I have come to feel sorry for her situation as I made up my mind to get to know her. Problem now she is up to be elected to board that keeps two churches together and oversees my work. Argghh!! new testing for me.
Grace and Peace WaynO