EMN Mailbag: A domestic violence survivor writes

UPDATE: Please be sure to read the comment posted by my sister Kathy, who is herself a domestic violence survivor. I don’t often refer to her by name, but since she does so in the comments I wanted to mention, publicly, that Kathy has given me an invaluable education about the dynamics of domestic violence. The article she mentions in her comments may be found here: “The War at Home”

I received this note from a woman who had just read my article “Is Domestic Violence Grounds for Divorce?” at “Streams of Mercy”. She writes:

I appreciate your suggestion that domestic violence victims try everything they can to make the marriage “work” before leaving–yet emphasize safety while doing so. Not only does that offer the abuser a chance to improve and give the marriage a chance–it also helps the victim have strength in her conviction to seek divorce knowing she has tried everything within her power to salvage the marriage and give it opportunity to prosper. Sadly, abusers are extremely hard to rehabilitate due to their own resistance and often an underlying psychiatric condition (such as bi-polar, depression, a personality disorder, or addiction).

After 14 years of marriage, I had exhausted my resources and in the process had become stronger and more independent–which led to my spouse feeling more insecure and escalating the abuse into physical violence. My priest had warned me years before, that although I was obligated (and felt that heavily) to do all I could to preserve my marriage, if my spouse chose to not seek help I would have to pray with an open heart to know at what point my obligation to continue the marriage ended and my obligation to protect my children (and myself) was greater.

Through prayer, one thing I realized was that in my attempts to shield the children as much as possible (provide them with stability/safety by covering up and minimizing the abuse) I wound up facilitating the abuse by shielding my spouse from natural consequences.

Two months ago I left, and it has been hell. Although I understand I am well within my rights (according to the priests/therapists/friends) the decision was still incredibly painful and sad. It is the loss of a dream.
My spouse has loudly and publicly proclaimed he is rehabilitated YET still speaks cruelly to me in private and has changed control tactics by seeking full custody of our children and withholding financial support. It’s a mess, and it will be for a while.

The upside? I am stronger: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am doing all I can to protect my children. The support I am receiving from my church, family, friends, and strangers has been stunning, humbling, and fortifying. The best way to end this is simply by saying that in the midst of this upheaval, I am grateful for and held up by the mercy of our Lord.
-Anonymous

Dear Anonymous:  May God send an extra flurry of angels to guard and protect you and your children. I commend you for your willingness to reach out to others. One day very likely you will have an opportunity to be the loving support to other women who find themselves in the same situation you now are in yourself. Until that time, know that you are not alone … and that God is giving you the grace even now to be strong and make good choices for you and your family. God bless you!

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EMN Mailbag: Foster Mom Prayer Request

Hello Heidi,
I came across the EMN as I have been aimlessly wandering around the web in need of prayers.  Please add me and my children to your prayers-this family is in crisis  and the outcome  could be devistating for all of my children -bio and foster.  We have suffered an incredable amount of grief and loss over the last few months.  I do try to understand that suffering and sacrifice are the very moments you must rely on yor faith-but I feel like we have not even been able to come up for air.  Please pray for this family to overcome our pain and return to our peaceful and loving place.

“Buttercup”

Dear Buttercup:  Thanks for writing. The beautiful thing about the Body of Christ is that when we feel too weak to hold on … there are always others surrounding us (visible and invisible members of the family), holding us up before the throne of grace. God has not forgotten you. And we won’t either!

I’ve added your name to the monthly prayer list. Please write back again and let me know how you are doing. For now, please accept this prayer:

Heavenly Father, you know every bump in the road. You know how our feet ache, our hands shake, our minds churn, and our hearts break. Please be with my friend today, and give her a sign of your forever love. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen!

EMN Mailbag: “Cherish the time you have!”

The following is an excerpt from a letter from Suzanne Slupesky, who wrote to me in response to the last newsletter. It is reprinted with her permission.

Hi Heidi…  Thanks as always, for your news. 

I want to encourage you in the mom thing.  I was a stay-at-home mom to my 2 boys who are now almost 25 and just-turned 22.  I know how “daily” the daily grind is, and when you are in the middle of it, it seems like it will last F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  I remember those days well. Continue reading

EMN Mailbag: “Should I disrupt this adoption?”

Adoption is the sweet fruit that miraculously falls from bitter trees.” (The Call to Adoption, p.153).

I was up early this morning, thinking and praying about a letter I received from a distraught mother, and the little boy she and her husband adopted from Guatemala… we’ll call him “Juan.” This mother “Melody” has a chronic illness, and three biological children who are all under the age of 10. Still, they wanted to adopt. The family labored for three years to bring little Juan home … then discovered he had a history of sexual abuse and neglect.  Continue reading