To all of the children of abuse, I want to start off by saying I am so sorry. I’m sorry for what you have endured, and what you may still endure. I can’t even imagine what it’s like being born into betrayal. You had no chance to pick, you had no chance to see, know or feel anything different. I know your struggle with the lies are much deeper than for most of the rest of us because they were instilled by the ones who were supposed to protect and nurture you. I, myself am not a child of abuse, but I know many who are. I know how hard the cycle is to break. I understand how hard real love is to find afterward because, unfortunately, you now have a target on your back. You don’t know and you can’t see that God has so much better for you.
Where Was/Is God?
I know many of you struggle with, “Where was God?” or “Why did He give me the family He did?”. He knows what we need to grow us into who we were created to be. Please understand that God doesn’t make people do evil, they choose that on their own, we all have a choice. Evil is a wildfire that scorches anyone that crosses it’s path. Understand that God never left you, even when you felt the most alone and afraid. It’s a tricky thing, trying to understand God and all of His “Why’s”. I know “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” probably doesn’t always give you much comfort because you may feel like you can’t handle what you’ve been given. It’s already been way too much for you. Oftentimes, you weren’t given the information and skills you have needed to understand, cope, survive, and thrive up to this point. Understand that God never intended for you to handle it on your own. He has been there for every moment you were ready to reach out to Him. This isn’t some sick game to Him. He isn’t the puppet master that enjoys to watch us struggle. He created us, He loves us, and that includes not controlling us. True love doesn’t control, even when we (or others) choose to do evil.
Break The Cycle
Since we can’t change the past, we can’t see the future, and we can’t control others, how do we survive what we have been given in life?
- Acceptance of what has happened, understanding that we can’t change or control it.
- Understanding it, to a certain extent, is important. The reason I say “to a certain extent” is because so many of us can get caught up in the understanding of things that we don’t move on to anything else. We stay there, we obsess, we live in anger, which turns into bitterness, leading to a desire for revenge. Understand what has happened, acknowledge it, and move forward.
- Boundaries are key to improving our lives, our relationships, and our decisions moving forward. We’ve already acknowledged that we have no control over anyone else, but we do have control over ourselves. Solid boundaries (yes, even within family dynamics) are important and healthy. Depending on what God is calling you to, sometimes going “no contact” is necessary. Sometimes it is the best way to honor our parents while they are alive here on this earth. If God calls you to remain in their lives, learn how to set boundaries, enforce them, and seek God the whole way.
- Healing is so important on so many levels. Many times, going to church just isn’t going to be enough. For those who have been submerged in abuse since birth or childhood need as many godly resources as possible. Having a good community surrounding them, giving them sound, godly wisdom to remind them of truth is absolutely necessary. Going to a Christian counselor will often be necessary to understand what has happened, the types of strategies that were used against them, and then the biblical way to apply healing to those specific wounds. There are many layers of wounds that go deep and have caused other issues in our lives (including other toxic relationships we have let in). Spiritual healing needs to come first, paired with heart and mental healing. After that is when the physical healing can be applied. If we don’t heal, oftentimes we continue to accept toxic relationships as healthy and normal ways of living, never breaking the cycle of abuse.
- Prayer and time with God will impact your life in ways you could have never imagined. The reason this isn’t just smooshed into the healing category is because we need prayer even when we are not healed. It is instrumental in our healing, but needed before and beyond. Prayer changes us (especially when paired with God’s Word). It gives us communion with our Creator. It gives us opportunity to see where we have gone wrong, even when we have been so wronged by others. Prayer keeps us on track, keeps us accountable, keeps us from self-destruction. We don’t want to remain angry, bitter, and unforgiving because it only destroys us. Prayer helps release us from those bonds, and from the bondage of our enemies.
- Choices are something each of us has no matter what we have been through. Most people who have walked this earth have been through something. We all have the choice of letting these things make us bitter or better. If we choose to remain feeling sorry for ourselves, we let the abusers win. We let them take our lives from us, even when we are still very much breathing. Then, there are those that we see, and we find out what they’ve been through, and we wonder how they can be so amazing after being through such an awful life. That is called being refined in the fire. We should all strive to let our challenges shine us up. It’s Jesus work through our despair. It shows that we were never alone, but God’s hands were on us the whole time. It not only gives us a chance at life, but gives others so much hope.
- Testimony is what it’s all about. Revelation 12:11 says, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” Our testimony is part of the fight. It is how we defeat Satan’s work in our life. If we remain silent, he continues to win everyday. If we work on the above things, and begin to share of God’s work in our lives, even and especially through the most miserable of circumstances, we conquer the work Satan wants to keep on doing. He wants to get us alone, shame us, and tell us who we are. God wants to get you into His family, love on you, and remind you that you are His. Our testimony is a a reminder to ourselves, as well as an encouragement to others.
There Is A Way
Being a child of abuse can reap destruction if you go through life with your head down, letting the wind take you wherever it blows. Unfortunately, you have to be more diligent about some of this. Don’t become discouraged or overwhelmed thinking that you have to do all of this energy draining, extra work.
The key is relying on God. We are all called to walk in righteousness. If we seek God, He will show us the way to go, and the things to do. He guides our next step, and we never have to know what’s next, the only thing we ever have to do is obey. If we don’t, we risk staying in the place that the abuse has left us. We risk running into future abusive relationships. We risk becoming abusive ourselves. We risk raising abusive children, whether it be from abuse or from overcompensating by enabling and rewarding bad behavior. Don’t let the wind take you on these paths. Don’t jump too quickly into romantic relationships or friendships without noticing the fruit, praying, and seeking wise counsel. If you feel stuck, if you feel scared, know that God is there ready to help and comfort you. Hard decisions will have to be made. Life changes need to happen if they haven’t already. If you are already married to an abuser or have abusive children, it’s not too late or impossible to still change yourself. At the end of the day, what has happened to you does not define you, but it gives you a platform on which to declare the name of Jesus. Become a conquerer today no matter what point of the process you are in, no matter how much time has passed. If you are alive, you still have time.
If you need support please comment below, shoot me an email, or reach out via social media.
If you want to submit your own story, knowing that you could help others, please submit here.
Click here for a free download to find practical help discovering, identifying, documenting, escaping and healing from abuse.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233