Emotional Abuse, Hope, Uncategorized

Free At Last!!

It was a toxic relationship from the beginning.

My voice, my opinions, were always silenced, were always wrong.

There was only one way to do anything. Any other attempts were wrong, even if they resulted in the same outcome.

My value, my contributions, were never recognized.

I often received the silent treatment.

There was no way to win. I would try to help, only to be shut down. Then, I was blamed for things not getting done.

I found myself drying up, becoming a shell of a person.

I lashed out because of the extreme hurt and abuse I was suffering. Those I love most were on the receiving end of my pain and frustration.

I began to become someone I didn’t know, I didn’t like. Instead of oozing love for God, negativity seeped from my pores. I had people tell me that the spark—once such an obvious sign I had been with my Jesus—was dimming, disappearing.

I couldn’t take it any longer. I began to plan my escape. I began to look for ways to get out.

But it wasn’t a quick process. It took time. It took planning. It was a very strategic move on my part, one that was months in the making.

I prayed. I worried. I consulted those I love. I began to plan to do things that under normal circumstances I would have NEVER even considered.

I was in survival mode. I was in protection mode, trying to figure out how to protect those who depend upon me. My entire mode of operation was making it to freedom.

In the end, all my best laid plans came to nothing…and my God fought the battle for me! He showed up, set me free! He ripped me from my captivity and placed my feet on solid ground. He did way more than I ever could have asked, hoped, or imagined (Ephesians 3:20).

Have you been there? Have you been in that place where emotional abuse was so rampant you began to wonder if you were crazy, if you really were the problem? Have you reached your breaking point, that place where you begin to plan your escape? Or have you reached your place of freedom yet, that elusive land where the abuse ends and your task is now to start all over?

Maybe it’s a marriage to an emotionally and mentally abusive spouse. Maybe it’s a friendship that has become toxic. Maybe it’s a work environment. Maybe it’s even a church, a place where they heap abuse upon you because of your failed marriage or other belief outside the accepted Christian values.

It happens to most everyone at some point in our lives. We experience those toxic people, toxic situations. We must learn to set boundaries, to protect ourselves from the damage. We must learn to find the freedom Christ came to provide.

Honestly, escaping is only half the battle—depending upon the situation and the depth of the damage done. Toxic marriages can scar us for life. Toxic childhoods can leave us so wounded we struggle to get through life. No matter what the toxic relationship, it impacts us.

If you are trapped in a toxic relationship, here’s a few things I want you to know:

He will fight for you. Exodus 14:14 has been on repeat in my mind for months: The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. And, multiple times in multiple ways, I’ve seen God fight my battles. I can’t even go into detail to explain how God has stepped in, shown up, fought for me. But He has. Repeatedly. Seeing my tears. Hearing my prayers. Fighting the battle for me as I do my best to be still, to wait for Him (not always doing a good job, by the way).

Please remember you are worth fighting for. God sees your pain. He hears your pleas. He loves you so much He sent His only son to die for you. He sees you as worthy of His love and His attention. He hasn’t forgotten you. He’s not neglecting you. He’s preparing. He’s setting all things in order so He can swoop in and rescue you. He’s getting ready for battle in ways you cannot even see.

You are God’s child. Toxic, abusive relationships can leave you damaged, deeply wounded, believing your abusers lies about your value. Don’t let your abuser’s words color the way you see yourself! Instead, let God’s truth penetrate your mind and show you the truth about who you are.

You are God’s masterpiece, chosen for great works He ordained long ago (Ephesians 2:10).

You are His treasured possession (Exodus 19:5).

You are chosen by God to be His priest, His very own possession. He has called you out of the darkness into His light (1 Peter 2:9).

You are His child, precious and greatly loved. Don’t ever let your abuser put labels on you that are not true. Let God’s tape play through your mind every single moment of every day.

He is with you. It’s often beyond terrifying to step out of your comfort zone into the unknown, even when the comfort zone is abusive. Not knowing the future. Not knowing how your needs will be met. Not knowing what challenges lie ahead. Not knowing is the biggest hurdle.

But you must remember you are never alone. God knew this was coming, and He has already prepared a way. He’s making plans to put you back together and have you on your feet for good (1 Peter 5:10). He is doing a new work in you and through you (Isaiah 43:18-19). He’s got plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

God is good, even in the midst of the most painful circumstances. He is working for your good and His glory, even when life seems hopeless. He is walking with you, even in the wilderness.

Toxic relationships are everywhere, but God never intended for those relationships to destroy you. He wants to set you free. He wants you to experience life in all its fullness, life the way He designed it to be lived. Look to Him to be your Savior!

Hugs and many prayers as you walk forward into the freedom He designed for you!

13 thoughts on “Free At Last!!”

  1. Thank you, Dena, for using your story to bring hope to others. I was reminded, again, yesterday that even though I have been restored and replanted on this side of divorce, my story must be remembered and, in a way, relived as I walk with a friend through her story. So, thank you for your courage to look back as a way of ministering to those still there to give them hope for a blessed future. You a flashlight holding out the Light of the World in the midst of the darkness.

  2. As I read this I feel like I could have written it. The chronic anxiety, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. And yes–the planning. So scared of getting caught and being in even more trouble. Finally separated but going through the court process now and still waiting for the other shoe to drop, feeling like it will never REALLY end. But God has shown Himself to be there for me, showing me that there has been no change for the better and that I am taking the right path to wholeness. He has shown me some times that it was unmistakably God’s protection from further harm.Thank you for the reminder that I am not alone in this pain.

  3. Thank you, Dana. You shared just enough about your experience to allow the powerful message of God’s Truth to reach my unique circumstances. May it do the same for every reader. Amen

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. It is very inspiring! Sometimes it’s not just toxic relationships; sometimes it is toxic circumstances created by others that are beyond one’s control (not dissimilar to what you wrote). Still, God has a plan in the midst of all that we encounter, and trusting in Him to see us through it (and not by our own devices) is absolutely essential, no matter how long it takes (sometimes even years). Just today I read where Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman in jail and on death row for 9.5 years under false allegations was set free by the Pakistani Supreme Court this morning. If you aren’t familiar with her story (she’s now 58, married and has a husband and 5 children who have gone without her for 9.5 years), here’s a link to just one of several stories that have made the news today: https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2018/10/pakistani-mother-asia-bibi-wins-appeal-against-death-sentence-for-blasphemy/

  5. Thank you Dena! I was in a 27 year marriage with a narcissist until I found out that he had had so many relationships with other women that he couldn’t remember all of the names and I felt that his other narcissistic behavior was too toxic for our 4 children. God led the kids and I out of that prison. In the past 6 years of freedom, however, he has become a legal bully and because he is a physician, legal fees are not a concern to him. In fact, it is a sick game that he loves to play. I understand that this is quite common with these personality disorders. I must admit that i’m weary but am holding onto God’s promise in Psalm 8:1-2 that He will put an end to the vindictive enemy and I will be completely free.

    1. I just wanted to clarify that the vindictive enemy is satan. The war has already been won by Jesus Christ but while we are on this side of heaven the enemy is still engaging in battle. When Christ calls us home, we will be free! Praise God!!

    2. Oh how I understand! I was fortunate that my ex didn’t have the money for the legal fees to play games like that. Today, I’m free of those tactics. Just keep praying and trusting and walking in integrity. God has a way planned for you!!

  6. Thanks Dana for opening your heart for what must have been a daily nightmare. I am one of those afflicted and deeply wounded at childhood and being prone to further trauma and affliction. Reading your experience, it surely resonates with many of the hurting and healing. However, I like to add an important part that you chose not to share. I wish you would take us reader into an example of even one situation and to specifically describe the cause-effects of what you felt and especially what exactly and why you entrusted it to God to see you through. The reason I ask this is because, not all of our situations has the same conditions that makes Exo 14:14 applicable. As an example, why would the Lord fight a battle for me if I am in disobedience to Him perhaps other areas besides my affliction? Job did not have God fight his battle with his arrogance/pride. The Promised Land and enemies that Moses confronted, were set up by God as part of developing the Israelites to trust Him with these enemies. God did not stop Nebuchanezzar to devastate Israel and exile them, in fact He determine it. Therefore not every battle that injures, hurts or maimes us is a battle we can fatalistically ‘hand over to God’. Also, not every battle won by our inaction (of faith) is a victory of God………. for common grace fights battle for both sinner and saint; as the rain falls on both.
    While it is consoling to know that people like you have been such trauma as us, we do need to understand the whole truth to not deceive ourselves or become over-religious and assume that our pain is not in God’s will to be teaching us something we are simply avoiding. I fear that if we assume wrongly, that we only magnify our problems that repeat in other ways or through other people; and more especially we never allow God to grow our faith because we too quick to blame-shift and never stand on Ex0 14:14 while holding on to our Helper Holy Spirit. (Hence I would appreciate to hear how you were turning to Holy Spirit in your struggles and also if you can share the purity of your intentions and your trust that led to God fighting each battle).

    1. I do agree and WISH I could share details. Sometimes (such as now) there are constraints on what I can and cannot say. One day I will be able to openly share all the intimate details. 😉

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