Overcoming Denial: I Didn't Get Hit, Is That Still Abuse?
Were you like me and thought that abuse was only physical? Everyone around me could see the relationship was toxic, but me. Wasn't it normal to name call during an argument? I wasn't hit, but pushed does that still count? No and yes. No, name calling is not normal and is actually a form of verbal abuse. Yes, pushing, shoving, pulling hair, holding down against one's own will are all examples of physical abuse.
I posed a question online and asked people to name one reason why victims of abuse find it difficult to leave. Some of the feedback I received included: fear of what may happen to them or their families; money/financial dependence; rationalization; history of abuse as a child; damaged or low self-esteem; and feeling like physical violence equals love. That last one really made me think and honestly broke my heart. Now is a good time to remind you that if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, help is available. Call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 24 hours/7 days a week. If you have reason to believe that your abuser will see that you've read this, exit now and seek assistance immediately. Though this list is not exhaustive, it gives you a pretty good idea on why myself and others stayed in the bondage of abuse longer than we should have. That doesn't have to be you though. You deserve to be treated with dignity, love, and respect. Love is not abuse and anyone who tells you otherwise is misled. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 shows us exactly what love is and should be the standard that we hold ourselves and others to that say they love us. Love doesn't hurt. It took me awhile to realize this because every man that I loved until the point of me walking away, had caused me pain, either physical or emotional and sometimes both. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT
I can recall sitting in my counselor’s office and her showing me the power and control wheel. I had never heard of such a thing, but she was determined to show me that the mistreatment I described was abuse even though I didn’t get hit in this particular relationship. The name calling, put downs, trying to convince me and others that I was crazy in order to make himself look better, the grabbing of my neck, and slinging me around like a rag doll was all abuse. The one that hurt most was using my children to try to get to me. Unfamiliar with the Power and Control Wheel? See below. At the center of the wheel is power and control and that is in essence what abuse is all about. Trying to have power and control over another person. As a result of the abuse I endured, I found myself becoming abusive also. I am not proud to say that, but it is the truth. Leaving this relationship even though I didn’t get hit, was the best thing for all of us.
Before you leave, I recommend that you have a safety plan in place and do not disclose this to your abusive partner. Remember what love is and is not (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Educate yourself on what abuse looks like. Join a support group for other Domestic Violence Survivors. I was fortunate enough to have a support group through my church, but there are local community groups and organizations that will assist you. I have a closed support group on Facebook called Not By My Own Association. You can join us here. Know that you are not alone. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are affected by intimate partner abuse (https://ncadv.org/learn-more/statistics). Share this blog with someone who can benefit from it. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I have pledged to donate 10% of all proceeds from Not By My Own to the Wings Program made in the month of October. You can find out more about their services at www.wingsprogram.org. I am not affiliated with them, but I admire their work to give victims and their children a place of refuge and tools to rebuild their lives.
What is Not By My Own? Not By My Own is one woman’s remarkable story inspired by the Bible verse John 5:30 which starts with, I can do nothing on my own. Devereaux Sawyer is a young woman dealing with feelings of insecurity and worthlessness who finds herself in an abusive relationship that later leads to teenage pregnancy. In this story, you will see the challenges Devereaux faces as she fights to become free from the bondage of abuse and generational curses. There's no way she would have been able to get through this on her own and thank God, she didn't have to. Not By My Own is available now on my website whitdevereaux.com and on Amazon. It is a Christian Fiction Novel based on some facts of my personal testimony.
Make sure to subscribe to this blog and follow me on Periscope https://www.pscp.tv/WhitDevereaux/follow as I continue to share my own testimony and Domestic Violence Awareness in the hopes of saving lives. Someone recently asked me what made me share my story. They wanted to know how I could be brave enough to not only write about it, but speak about it openly. My answer is simple. Revelation 12:11 (paraphrased) “We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony.” God has given me a gift and a testimony and I want Him to know He can trust me with both. Choose to no longer remain in denial. You now know that abuse is more than physical and you have been given tools to walk away in freedom. I'm praying for your safety even right now and command you to walk in the freedom that Jesus died on the cross to give you. If you need additional support or prayer, message me on the contact form in my blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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