Malachi 2:16a – For the Lord, the God of Israel, says he hates divorce and cruel men.
As a victim of domestic violence I often think about whether I’m supposed to let my abuser back into my life.
Abuse damages you not only physically and emotionally but also causes you to question all of your relationships. And even when your abuser isn’t hurting you, the cycle of violence continues.
Trust must be built by actions showing that your abuser is sorry for what they did to you. But be careful with your heart. Your abuser may know you better than you know yourself. They know just the words to say to reel you in on their fishing line and catching you off guard yet again.
Back to the original question: Do you allow an abuser back into your life.
If you don’t trust yourself, it is probably best to stay away from your abuser or anyone else who shows signs of being an abuser.
We all want to feel special in someone else’s eyes. We want to be loved and cherished. We want to be able to trust our feelings, but you can’t.
Where it comes to moving forward, know that the cycle of abuse can at any time be at the part where they seem sorry. But then the cycle continues, and you find yourself caught once again in a web of lies and pain.
According to ashleyeaster.com, in her article, “What Forgiving an Abuser Doesn’t Mean,” other people in your life, like your family, may try to guilt you into having a relationship with someone who has abused you to “keep the family together” by letting an abuser back into your life. One of their quotes has continued to be thrown in my face after years of abuse, “They said they were sorry, why have you cut them out of your life?” Unless you’ve been abused, you can’t understand how hurtful it is to have family members try to guilt you into letting your abuser, most likely their father, back into your life. The pressure is placed on you instead of the abuser. And when I divorced their father they believed I was in the wrong.
Another thing that I have found is that the family may kick you to the curb instead of the one who continues to abuse them, also.
The article also talks about forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation and forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing or overlooking the wrong.
One of the things that has hurt me the most over the years is that my family will do things with their father and exclude me. It would seem once again that your pain is downplayed, and they feel sorry for their father. But what if they were abused? They don’t want to feel that pain. They want to feel like nothing bad ever happened.
Though God hates divorce, I believe there are situations that make divorce the only choice to avoid being continually abused. Tough choices to have to make, but necessary ones. God hates divorce but he also hates cruel men.
Numbers 23:19 – God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
In the article, “Lying is a Horribly Destructive Habit,” the author describes how lying can go from one generation to the next. Hurt people will in turn hurt others. In addition, lying can become addictive.
How do we stop lying? The article gives us some clues on how to stop. First, admit that you have a problem, remember how lying messes up your life, try to find out what made you lie, tell someone when you lie and practice telling the truth. The article also gives you more ways to help you break your lying cycle for good.
Another good thing to remember is that God never lies. And, he always keeps his promises. If you dedicate your life to speak only the truth, then God will honor your efforts and help you put back together the pieces of the relationships you lost due to lying.
Philippians 2:4 – Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
It is difficult to be pushed aside; when people, those you even care about, ignore you and your needs. It’s not that we’re trying to be pushy. We just want what everyone else wants – to be loved and to love. But love can’t be a one-way street. You give others your love, yet they don’t give it back.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need help you can be pushed aside and ignored because they’re too busy dealing with their own life. However, we are busy it’s important to take the time. Make a phone call. Leave a Facebook message. Text them. You can see where I’m heading.
This world is full of people who say they are too busy to care about anyone else. But that’s never true really. It’s all about priorities. Where are yours? If you miss a day of scanning through Facebook, you feel like you’re out of touch with those you have as friends.
We live in a fast time. We all understand that our plates are getting full or are already there. We can understand what the circumstances of our friends and family are, yet there is no excuse for pushing someone away.
Wikihow.com posts an article titled, “How to Deal with People who Ignore You.” Some of their suggestions are avoid jumping to conclusions, invite them to talk privately, be nice to them and explain your feelings. This list is just a few of the article’s suggestions.
Remember, it’s never okay to be pushed aside and ignored. However, there may be a good reason why they are ignoring you and the only way to find out why is to have that quiet conversation.
The Bible verse above says to not just look out for your interests but also those of other. In this way, you may help your friend to be vulnerable and realize you truly do care about their current circumstances.
Colossians 4:6 – Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
You’re walking along minding your own business when someone steps out of the shadows and blocks your way. They begin to assault you with their words, and you’re frantically trying to think of what you said or did to make your friend so angry.
Misunderstandings can happen when you may say something and have no hidden agenda and not wanting to hurt a friend, yet they seem to turn on you and want nothing to do with you.
Quickly you think through your memories and come up with one that may explain your friend’s behavior. It’s something you said. But you have no idea that your friend had been hurt by your comment.
Misunderstandings. They happen all the time whether it’s a coworker, family member or friend things can be turned from something you spoke lightly to a misunderstanding that turns a friend into an enemy.
You’d asked how things were going at work for them. Innocent to ask about you’d thought. Yet what you didn’t know at the time, your friend had received another pink slip and was on the verge of being fired. Now your friend feels like you’re attacking them as well. They think that you don’t care about them because you brought up the subject.
But you didn’t know. You really had no clue.
Here’s another, you ask a friend how their husband is doing, not knowing that he’d just confessed to be having an affair. Your friend had been hurt and was contemplating getting a divorce. But you had no clue. Maybe you should’ve if you really were a close friend.
So, you apologize to your friend saying that you were sorry for saying anything that hurt them more. They don’t let you off the hook. They yell at you and ask how you were so insensitive.
Sometimes an apology is all that’s needed and sitting down with your friend and listening to what they’ve been going though.
Let’s turn this around. You’re the one who is hurt, and your friend is not helping you. You feel like they’re accusing you and are putting the blame of the lost job and potential lost marriage on you. So, when your friend starts to ask you questions about your life, you want to have nothing to do with them. You don’t want them around at all. Listening to you is not enough. Your friend tries to offer some advice. Oh no! Wrong thing to say.
Most people who are hurting don’t want your advice. They don’t want you to say that everything will be okay. That you’re just undergoing a test. A trial. Which is supposed to make them stronger and that things will work for the good in their life.
Then it’s back to you. Even though your friend is trying to be helpful, it’s only hurtful.
What’s a friend to do? Littlethingsmatter.com has some suggestions on how to avoid misunderstandings in their article, “Six Ways to Avoid Misunderstandings.” Here are a couple. Make sure your written communications are clear. Emails are great and fast, but if you want to be sure that your meaning is clear, writing about a subject and then handing it to your co-worker or friend is a good idea. Your co-worker will have an opportunity to read and re-read your letter. And handwriting is a lost art. Taking the time to write on paper can show your co-worker that you value their opinion. Also, there’s just something about holding a letter in your hand.
Another of the article’s idea is ask others to repeat what they heard. When you ask people to repeat what they said, not only forces them to make sure they know what you said. Saying it back can reduce misunderstandings.
No one wants to be misunderstood, so take the time to be sure at the onset of a conversation that your friend or co-worker knows your meaning, not theirs. Also, just as the Bible verse above says, your conversations should always be full of grace. That means that don’t jump down someone’s throat during a conversation. Let them finish their train of thought and then you will know how to answer them.
Psalm 127:3-5 – Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
Time passes quickly. First you have these beautiful babies on loan to you for a season. Then the babies become toddlers, and toddlers become children, and children become teenagers, then children become grownups and walk out the door to find their own dreams for life.
We’re so proud of our kids when they graduate from high school and then from college if they choose to go there.
We’re so glad that our grownup children choose to be part of our lives, but they live their own lives miles away or just up the road and hardly have the time to stop by.
The house your kids grew up in becomes quiet. Oh, so very quiet.
It happens that way and then all you have is the memories to cherish. You become a TV watching mom. Where the characters in your show become a kind of family. Sort of silly, but you try to walk around an empty house and then tell me how it is to let go of the reins of your children’s lives.
Sometimes they come to you wanting advice and sometimes they come to you just to be in your company.
Warms my heart those baby steps.
It’s a season when you get to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. Some choose to travel, if they have the money; some choose to open a business or try their hand at writing about all those baby steps.
It’s a beautiful life having been so blessed to hear the laughter and the tears. You hug your grown-up children and must step on your tiptoes just to look up at them.
How do we keep those wonderful memories and move into our dreams? Yes, we finally have time to do so instead of washing dishes and mopping floors to clean up from all the mess those blessed children made while they were taking baby steps.
AArp.org in their article, “How to Cope With an Empty Nest,” give us some ideas on this new season thrust upon us. Their moto is: Stay strong, talk to each other and (maybe) get a dog. I like this last choice about a dog. My dog helped fill up where my children left empty. Baby steps became the sounds of clicking nails as my dog came bounding into the kitchen. They helped me get out of my apartment and meet neighbors and create new friends who instantly fell in love with my dog.
It creates a new family dynamic these baby steps. The article above suggests to not lose touch with old friends. It’s especially helpful if your friends are also going through “empty nest.” Go to the movies or join a bowling league together. You’ll find something to talk about and certainly laugh about what with your gutter balls and flying balls into the lane next to yours.
Whatever your choice is, don’t get down in the dumps and cry all day long because your kids have left home and are building their own lives.
Besides, sometimes with time, there will be baby steps running into your arms. Those wonderful grandbabies that you can love on and spoil and then send back home to their parents.
Yes, baby steps and children turning into grown ups is a good thing. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
Luke 6:31 – Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Is there someone in your life who constantly puts you down?
Is there someone in your life who constantly lifts you up and encourages you?
Is there someone in your life who makes you cry and another who makes you laugh?
Is there someone in your life who constantly hurts you?
Is there someone in your life who you need to stand clear of because they’re always stirring up the pot?
Is there someone in your life who helps you become more than who you are right now?
It’s a mixed bag when you have people in your life who don’t accept you as you are and at other times encourage you to move forward. Advice must be said in such a way that you don’t feel put down.
Communication can be positive and negative. Yet, when we begin to judge someone in our life who makes life difficult, what we must remember is that we might make life difficult for someone else.
Think through before you speak to someone:
Remember to treat them how you want them to treat you.
You will sow what you reap, my friend.
What goes around does come around.
Always think before you speak and act.
Maybe it will feel good for a moment to cut someone down, but inevitably the high will wear off as you realize that you’ve become the person who you hate.
Lifewithconfidence.com give us some suggestions in their article, “How to Deal With People who put you Down,” here are a few ideas: people who put you down are hurt themselves also, a self-confident person does not put down others. It’s no use sinking to that person’s level. That’s what they want. Here’s one to throw off the one putting you down: Tell them, “Thank you for your opinion.” This really sets them off their game. Another one is telling them, “Thank you, you might be right.” I know you may be saying right now that you want to attack them back, but that’s exactly what they want. Don’t give in to them.
It can be tiring trying not to get back at the person who hurts you, but it will never help. As the Bible verse above talks about, treat that mean person how you want to be treated, even if it means you must bite your tongue and don’t return a put down. Your peace will increase, and you also have the choice to ignore that person if possible.
Psalm 33:20, 21 - He is our help and our shield for our heart rejoices in Him because we trust in His holy name. Let Thy loving kindness be upon us as we have hoped in thee.
For those of who have experienced abuse, trust is difficult.
It’s hard to trust others.
It’s hard to trust we will make the right decisions when it comes to friends.
It’s hard to make friends.
It’s hard to believe we won’t be hurt this time, with this new friend.
But if you can’t trust yourself, life can be lonely. Lack of trust keeps the door to our heart locked. It’s easier to be alone then it is to be hurt. So, we stay behind our doors and we don’t go outside. It’s safer to avoid other people and attending events, because we don’t trust that things can be different.
Abuse leaves us exposed. We think that anyone who crosses our path is out to hurt us.
Life wasn’t meant to be lived alone. It was made for abundance. But there can’t be a fruit tree in the garden of our lives if we don’t plant the seedling.
Yet, the one who is the abuser also lives a life alone, and a life of shame. Maybe at first, they started out believing things can be different. That they won’t set out to cause others pain. Yes, they inflicted pain on others because that’s the only way they know to live.
It’s a circle for the one who is abused. At first, our new friend is fun to be around and likes us. But then, you say something, and it starts the cycle again. Anger begins to boil. The next person they meet causes their anger to become physical. Then after the abuse has stopped the abuser says that it will never happen again. They apologize and apologize, but it doesn’t take away the pain in their victim.
Part of avoiding abuse and learning to trust again is learning about abuse and what starts the abuse and how it becomes a wheel of violence. Theduluthmodel.org explains the cycle of abuse and posts a video describing the circle.
It is possible to learn to trust again no matter how difficult it is. But most importantly we must learn the early warning signs that the cycle is starting so that we can seek help. If you are afraid of your partner or of someone is beginning to show that he will hurt you, it’s time to seek help. Leave the situation and call 911 for help.
Our ultimate help comes from God. He is our help and shield and we can trust in him. He’s not out to hurt us but to provide a covering over us. His loving kindness does not come at the cost of abuse. God is worth putting our trust and hope in.
Psalm 68:6 – God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
It’s wonderful to have company.
It’s wonderful to have them visit you.
It’s wonderful to have coffee with friends.
It’s wonderful to help someone celebrate their birthday.
And then they were gone.
You bask in the glow of smiling faces as they sing Happy Birthday to you. It was thoughtful for them to come to you when it’s difficult for you to go somewhere on your own.
And then the party is over. The kitchen has been cleaned up. The trash is taken out from all of the wrapping paper and boxes. You’ve started your thank you cards.
And then it sneaks up on your – The silence.
Time feels like it’s standing still.
What do you do now?
Life is back to the way it used to be.
And there is a deep hole growing in your heart. So you let yourself sit in your recliner all day. At least it was supposed to be only one day. But it moves on to day two and three. The emptiness surrounds you.
Your friends came. And they didn’t have to.
Your friends and family do care about you.
I know the deep hurt in your heart, but is it really a deep hurt? Does it have to be a deep hurt.
There’s something you can do:
Pull up the memories you just made and those from before.
Remember the smiles and laughter.
Remember the small talk.
Remember the feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself.
Crisistextline.org post the article, “How to Deal With Loneliness.” The article provides the signs of loneliness such as low energy and brain fog, discusses the types of loneliness such as situational loneliness from moving to a new city, causes of loneliness such as you lost a friend or loved one, then steps to deal with loneliness such as get out there and say hello to new people.
Someone else is going to feel lonely.
Someone else has a deep hole in their heart.
And the next time you have a gathering, you’ll be better prepared to share your life with them.
It’s in the way they look into your eyes.
They see a new sparkle.
They see your renewed hope.
And when you share your reason for hope, it makes the other person smile and believe in the impossible.
Take a look at the Bible verse above. God knows that by ourselves we can be lonely, so he sets the lonely in families. I’m so thankful for that. So, the next time you’re feeling lonely, remember that God is with you and will cause your loneliness to dissolve away.
Isaiah 35:3 – Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way.
Empathy. Empathy, according to Wikipedia, is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.
Because you haven’t been there.
Unless you have struggled with what someone else has gone through, you can’t know how it feels.
But regardless of whether or not you’ve walked in another person’s shoes, you can perhaps relate it to something that you struggle with.
Verywellmind.com in their article, “Importance and Benefits of Empathy,” discusses types of empathy, explanation of how empathy works, emotional explanations, the benefits of empathy, how you can influence people, and why people lack empathy.
Empathy means reaching out to someone who has experienced a trial in their life, and even if you haven’t experienced it, you can still water their hearts with your compassion showering a sweet balm upon them.
Lastly, take a look at the Bible verse above, it calls for all of us to strengthen and steady those who are in a situation that you might not have been in but you can still stand by their side and help them through the trial.
Romans 13:7 - Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Sometimes when we are ridiculed and criticized by others it can dig a hole deep in our hearts which causes pain. But as hard as this may be to hear, we’ve taught people how to treat us whether with respect or criticism.
If you are an aggressive person, then you push people around to get your way. You yell. You stomp your feet. You pretty much act like a two-year-old who’s being blocked from getting his way.
Does this describe you? Then it’s time to grow up. People may appear to respect the one who is a bully, even at fifty years old, but they keep their thoughts to themselves for fear of the consequences.
If you are a passive aggressive person, then you also try to push people around in order to get your way, but you do it by way of manipulation. You pout. You give people the “silent” treatment. You speak with a wine in your voice. You feel sorry for yourself. And, you’re still acting like a two-year-old.
Does this describe you? Then, yes, it’s also time for you to grow up. Nobody even tries to hide that they have no respect for a passive aggressive individual. And, it makes for a life with few friends.
If you are an assertive person, you don’t have to bully or manipulate people to do what you want. That’s because people are willing to help you even before you ask. They see how you treat others with respect. They see how you are willing to see both sides of a story and are open to receive advice.
You can see how each personality type teaches those around them how to treat them. This is not to place guilt on you, but to help you open up your thoughts to see that you might be at least partly responsible for the grief you receive from others.
Let’s correct that problem. Today, begin treating yourself with respect.
Here are a few more ideas on how to begin to respect yourself on thehopeline.com in their article, “How to Respect Yourself More.” Here’s a good one, “Don’t let other people’s opinions about you control you.” If you’re an approval addict this may be hard to do, but you, “must break free from the grip of others.” Another suggestion is, “Don’t let anybody force you to be or do anything you don’t want to do or be, simply to gain their approval or friendship.”
I believe that if you start treating yourself with respect others will soon travel in that direction, too. You can retrain others to believe in the gifts and talents that you have to offer. And just as the Bible verse says above, God also wants us to not only give respect to others, but to ourselves.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.