Every time someone speaks up, it educates those who can speak up for women.
After I got out of my marriage, the very first man I dated—someone I thought was a good man—became frustrated and yelled at me because I believed the community should be able to step in cases of domestic violence and, as a libertarian, he believed consenting adults should be left alone.
My dating experiences cemented my marriage experiences. I have never had a man be my friend unconditionally. I’ve never been anything but an object. I’ve prayed and struggled for years to get over my suspicion. The first time worked, and I married a man who seemed to love me: a man who became my abuser. I’ve not been able to manage to find trust again.
I don’t know if I ever will.
I can’t help but think that there is a huge cost. I could have been so much less blessed/lucky than I was. I managed to teach my ex to fear repercussions if he hurt my children. My nightmares for months about my actions in getting free putting them in his hands—one a newborn baby—still have not worn off completely.
There is a time when we must do all we can, and trust God to take care of His children. I will never be able to be the mother I want to be, nor the wife I long to be. But the Atonement can cover it. I have to keep believing that.
There is no other way to keep getting up in the morning.
Our contributor, Silver Rain, wrote those words in response to a FMHW post about domestic violence. Her comment struck a cord with me because I deal with these issues, except they’re fresh for me. I had this idea that as I was further and further away from my divorce things would continue improving emotionally. That may happen for some people, but for me it has just cleared some junk off my table so I can begin cutting into big hunks of unresolved issues; not only the pain and trauma from a long abusive marriage, but also the conclusions I came to about myself and God. At the time those conclusions were helpful, they allowed me to cope and function in a toxic atmosphere. Now that I’m not in that place I need a new operating strategy, I need to let go of fear and claim more faith and hope.
Except it’s not that easy. As Silver pointed out, this is not an easy road, and it’s not necessarily promised that we will receive restoration and justice in this life. Holding out hope of it in mortality is setting myself up for disappointment. So how do I go on?
I’ll agree with Silver, it’s the atonement. I believe in Christ, but this is a heavy duty burden that I’ve never trusted him with before, it was always a burden I carried alone. If I blamed myself for the abuse then it was in my control. If I could just do things just so, life would get better. As self-defeating as that idea was, it gave me the illusion of control in an unbearable reality. Accepting the fact that the abuse was not my choice, that I had no control over my husband’s actions should be freeing. It is, for a moment. Then comes the panic of the realization that I don’t have control, not even the illusion of control. This is where trusting God comes in, but I ask, after all I have been through, not even able to trust my own husband, after God didn’t send an angel to rescue me from the abuse, not even rescuing my innocent children, how do I trust Him? How do I trust Him with my life when I did the best I could and ended up abused? How do I trust Him with my children when they have been victims as well?
And that is the injury that hurts more than any hand laid on me. How will I ever trust again?