I just wanted to reiterate to my blog readers, this series on DV is not about being a victim. It is about being grateful I survived and doing so with blessings and gratitude. I cling to Jer. 29:11 for child abuse and DV is not pretty. It’s horrific, but I chose to overcome and not be a victim. Yes, I’m sad and grieve that I never had parents or a husband that loved me. However, I also know that God knows this and He will receive the glory. This blog is also to remind each reader if you know of someone going through this, I can only urge you to be there for them. Victims of abuse need support, not criticism.
As Focus Ministries states, “would you recognize violence and abuse if they occurred in your relationship or in your church? Because abuse can be subtle and can be denied, many people do not recognize it at first.” As I shared in part 4 of this blog, I frequently reached out to fellow church members for prayer and support. Our frequent moves with Charles’ desire for career changes did not permit me to have enduring friendships. Consequently, I had no one whom I could turn to when I needed prayer and support. Thus, I believed some in my own church congregation would be willing to not only “hear me” but, pray with me.
Not only did many not believe my cries for help, the majority went to Charles immediately with my pleas; causing the abuse to escalate. Even today, 7 years after he left me, he is still using the gossiping of church members years ago, to continue emotional abuse against me. For 44 years and beyond, Charles denied he was abusive. The validations from counselors, the numerous books I purchased on DV and even the bible studies on such behavior in marriage fell on deaf ears with Charles.
I can’t recall any of our pastors whom I did not seek prayer from. Even though I was in counseling, I desired spiritual support from the leader of our congregation. As with church members, most of the pastors disbelieved my concerns. However, during our 44-year marriage, the four pastors whom did sincerely believe me were a blessing. I knew they were praying with and for me.
My prayers never changed. I so greatly desired our marriage would be healed and Charles would love me. It was a prayer God chose not to answer. For six years after his betrayal, Charles confided that he never truly loved me. I then understood his frequent words during our marriage “if only I were single”, and “I married to be successful in my career” were valid.
Realizing I remained in a marriage which would never be healed and loving a man that never loved me was another emotional element of the abuse. Why couldn’t Charles have the integrity to tell me years ago he had no desire for me? Despite the words from pastors to “remain in the marriage, no matter what the circumstances or outcome”, we could each have parted ways with perhaps the opportunity for a new life. Charles had begun planning a new life long before he left me, but I continued to believe that I would be at his side when we passed from this life.
When I learned of the fact, he had never loved me, I also learned of his affair which began during our marriage. No matter how intense the abuse during the marriage, the realization of such betrayal while I was his wife opened the deep and painful emotional scar. James 4:1-2 ESV, “What causes quarrels…among you? Is it not this that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have…You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.”