Control is the driving force behind our bondage. Not just becoming imprisoned, but staying there, and struggling to ever get out. When an abuser enters our lives, their goal is to control us. How we think, how we act, and everything in between. Then, when we feel powerless, we often do whatever it takes to gain any measure of control back by any means possible. But, the real freedom comes when we put God in full control. It’s all about control.
Taking Back Control?
The problem with victims/survivors trying to take control back is that it is more often than not done “incorrectly” and only causes them to (unfortunately) appear crazy to those they are seeking help from. Understand, though, that most people truly do not understand how deep abuse typically goes, and how twisted it really is. The point of healing shouldn’t be to be validated or believed, but those are definitely two things that can be helpful with the healing process.
When we, the victims, sense an opening to take back control of our lives, we often will make an attempt, even if it was a false opening or the wrong way to do it. One of the bigger problems here is that victims aren’t always aware of what the abuse actually is. They may feel desperate, helpless, hopeless, depressed, anxious, suicidal, etc. But, they don’t always know or understand the reasons that they feel these ways. We must never forget that the whole strategy of an abuser is mind control – brain washing, leading to control over the individual that they have targeted.
It is a must to stop allowing someone other than God or ourselves to control us. They don’t have our best interests at heart, and even if they did, it’s still not their job.
Taking Control Back (The Right Way)
What does it look like to take back control the right way as opposed to the wrong way?
I can’t say this enough, and I will say it as many times as I need to…BOUNDARIES! I’m not talking about isolating or cutting everyone out of our lives in order to avoid being hurt. Neither of those are effective, reasonable or realistic. We have been hurt before and we will be hurt again, that’s part of relationships. But, real, healthy relationships learn to work through the hurt, even and especially when it is hard.
True boundaries won’t offend those who love you, but even if they do, that is their own burden to bear. We are no more responsible for someone else’s feelings than they are for ours. Feelings are only the responsibility of the individual they belong to. We don’t always have control of what feelings overtake us, but we will always have control over what we do with them.
Feelings are often what causes us to be “incorrect” in our take back of control. Most victims are desperate to be believed, supported and helped. The plea for help looks like insanity to those on the outside. Especially because the abuser often looks very controlled. And that is because they are in control. They have designed and intended to drive the victim to the brink of insanity. The abuser can tell compelling stories because they know your story, and yet, they use it for themselves.
Another part that makes us want to grasp for control in all of the wrong ways are our expectations of not only what we had hoped for, but of what we had hoped everyone would think of our lives. The hardest part in healing, up to this point, for me has been that what I thought was my reality, was not reality at all. It was replacing everything I thought once was with truth. If that doesn’t make a person feel out of control, I don’t know what will. It brings on a sense of unwelcome shame (is shame ever welcome?), but a shame that we didn’t bring on ourselves.
Taking control is stepping out in faith to let the truth be known. Sometimes, we have to be bold enough to simply remind our own selves of what truth is and was, not letting our emotions take over. Sometimes, we have forgotten (or never really knew) truth altogether, and taking control is reaching out to get the help that we so desperately need. This comes in the forms of reaching out to family and close friends, a counselor – that specializes in control, abuse, domestic violence, personality disorders, etc. – getting a mentor, joining a community, to name a few.
Controlling yourself looks like not succumbing to someone else telling you what you need to think, do, believe, and act on. Abuse may come, and attempted control may be inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it “just happen”. It can happen, and you can fight it through the boundaries, with the truth, and most importantly, a more specific version of the truth, God’s Word.
Gain Control and Give it Away
They main key to gain back your control the right way is by handing all of the control over to God. This takes obedience and sometimes action steps, but in the end, we are no longer doing it alone or letting someone else control us in an evil way. God doesn’t desire to control us, but He desires to guide us. He can’t guide us if we don’t give Jesus the wheel. Boundaries are great, and knowing and understanding truth is even better, but when we are inactive in that truth, it proves to be useless. God will only do so much if we don’t hand things over to Him. This isn’t just a one time, salvation type handing over. This is a constant, daily handing.
It comes down to whether we trust God or not. He won’t always remove the pain and suffering from us, but He will get rid of the helplessness and replace it with hope, joy, and a peace that surpasses all understanding (because who naturally has peace when they or their loved ones are being abused, and there is nothing they can do about it?!). There are things that I give to God, and then I quickly take it back because He isn’t going fast enough or dealing with it the way I want or protecting those I love well enough. Putting these expectations on God proves me to be faithless at times. But, the good news is He gives us chance after chance, and they never run out until our time is up here on earth. The other encouragement here is that God knows what He is doing, and He isn’t seeking good, He is seeking the best because He can’t do anything less than perfect. His glory is at stake here, and taking the time to seek Him is well worth the wait, even in the panic, the pain, the devastation and all of it.
As we seek Him, wholeheartedly, and obey what His Word tells us to do, paired with what convictions He whispers into our individual hearts, we will begin to see that He is showing us which boundaries to set. He is guiding us to the truth. He is defending us against the lies. He will expose all the evil that is going on in His time. It often takes a lot of waiting, and it sometimes takes active actions paired with passive actions (getting out of His way, so He can deal with it).
It’s time to take control back, and hand it right over to God.
- The One Thing an Abuse Victim Needs to Hear
- What is God’s Opinion of Abuse?
- How Do We Bridge the Gap of Abuse as a Church?
- What is the Church’s Role in Our Suffering?
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National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233