I’m so much more than a women who has been trapped in an abusive situation. I’m a Southerner, a Mama (of quite a few actually), a homeschooler, a blogger, a writer, a pet owner…among many other possible descriptions. Most of all I’m a daughter of the Lord. Many terms can be used to describe me. That’s great because, though I’ve been affected by abuse, I don’t want to be defined by it. I imagine that most women (or men) who have suffered through an abusive relationship don’t want to be defined by it. Yet, often, that’s what ends up happening–at least in the eyes of others.
“Oh, that’s Alice. Did you know her husband abused her?”
“Her name is Pam. Her ex-husband used to refuse to let her leave the house without his permission.”
“That’s Mark. His ex- was verbally abusive, I hear. Sad, him being a man and all.”
That’s not who we are. We don’t want to spend our whole life being thought of as someone who lived through abuse. We want to be thought of as Alice…painter of beautiful pictures. Pam…cook extraordinaire. Or, in the case of guys, Mark…master carpenter. Possibly we wish to be thought of as a women with a lovely laugh, a great friend, a funny guy, serious, kind, generous. Anything except as “Abused”. It’s a stigma we don’t deserve. Oh, yes, it happened to us but no way is it going to define us.
It’s not easy getting free. It’s so hard coming to an understanding of what has happened to you. Getting to the point of knowing and then of confessing “I’ve been abused”–it’s so hard. So hard. It’s embarrassing. It feels shameful (though the shame ought to be on the one who did the abusing). It’s spirit killing. We don’t need to be reminded of it our whole lives. We are so much more than “abused”. We are daughters. Sons. Mothers. Fathers. Cooks. Readers. Students. Children of God.
Yeah. Yeah, we are. And it feels really great to say it.