5 Steps to Quiet Courage, A Way Out – Series 3 of 3
Need a refresher of series 2?
It seems almost impossible to emotionally detach (a defense mechanism used to cope with distressing or overwhelming emotions. It involves disconnection between your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors) from an abusive marriage, dating situation, toxic family member or co-worker, while you are still in the situation, but you can proactively remove yourself mentally. No one can read your mind, but God. Pray first (Read Psalm 91), then ask God to help you purpose in your heart and mind that you will no longer allow your boundaries to be crossed, your feelings trampled on, your ideas discounted, your feelings invalidated, etc. Someone might ask, “Why not just leave?” You will, but you want to leave smart, not hard by developing an escape plan. First, escape (detach) in your mind, then the physical escape can follow. As you can see, detaching emotionally is crucial. You’ve been thinking about leaving for a while now.
When you have, unfortunately common, situations like this, (The recent case of Zach Smith, the former assistant football coach for Ohio State University. His ex-wife, Courtney Smith, made it known that she was a victim of domestic violence. She even had physical evidence to prove her abuse, which many survivors are not able to provide. Despite the evidence, head coach Urban Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith chose to give Zach the benefit of the doubt instead of believing Courtney and neglected to take action. Like many abusive partners, Zach presented as Mr. Hyde to his colleagues, and Dr. Jekyll to his partner, making it difficult for those who knew him publicly to see him as being capable of abuse) happen it makes your life harder as a victim, but God! You are still on this earth for a reason.
In series 2 we listed 4 steps to detach. Step 5 focuses on planning your escape. The following is the list from series 2.
How to emotionally detach while in your abusive relationship:
- Make changes that are going to make you smile inside-out for real. Courtesy of Kate of luvze.com What are some of the things you used to love to do? Write? Color? Walk? Dream? Listen to music?
- Whenever you can, get quiet and listen while your spirit intertwines with the Holy spirit. He talks to us daily. Read the Bible. Read inspirational stories. Recite in your mind or on paper those things you are grateful for. God has hidden blessings in this challenge you are facing.
- Get brutally honest with yourself. Not to be confused with berating or belittling yourself. Take off your rose-colored glasses and look at your situation the way it truly is, not how you wish it could be or how it was in the beginning. Can you recall any of the red flags that manifested themselves before you became a duo? Hindsight is 20/20. Promise yourself that you will learn from it.
- Grieve Even though you are still physically in the relationship, you can remove yourself emotionally. The end of a relationship is hard. No matter what happened in the relationship, it’s hard. Your hopes and dreams of being loved and experiencing genuine love are dashed. When we attach ourselves or join to another, that person becomes a part of us. Show grace to yourself and begin the grieving process. Allow yourself to take this journey and realize that it’s not a rush job that can be done overnight. Christians grieve differently than those who have no hope. The stages of grief—Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance—will come and go. Sometimes several times a day.
Grief from Shattered Dreams
“Grief is more than facing the reality of what is. It is the process of letting go “what should and could have been”, then releasing the hurt and pain and turning our focus to the Lord who brings comfort and hope.”
We’re in no way discounting anything that you’re experiencing at the hands of or from the mouth of the person who claims to love you, in any shape form or fashion. Your experience is yours, specific to you only. “I’ve never gotten a black eye or a busted lip, but I’ve felt abused in one way or another: mentally, emotionally, verbally,” J. Lo (Jennifer Lopez).
Right now, you’re living in fear of what he’ll do next, anger at yourself for being afraid, shame that you are enduring violence, dread of his comings and goings, uncertainty of how you will support yourself and your children if you leave, anxiety and worry that you can make it on your own, guilt that you have been telling lies to your family members and/or co-workers about your situation, and the list goes on and on. You might start to question your own perception of reality and sometimes even your sanity. That’s why you must get free in your mind first. Your mind governs all else. Worry is a trick of the enemy of your soul who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) See the list above.
You know what you must do, but you’re wondering if you have the courage to do it. In some cases, your safety and the safety of your children are in immediate danger. You must get to someone who can help you. In other cases, the danger is imminent but not immediate. Right now, you are living in continual stress, trauma, and survival mode. Make your mental and physical health a priority. Stop blaming yourself. You will never do or be enough to the abuser no matter what you do. If your abuser is gone a lot, make good use of that time instead of worrying what he/she is doing.
- Practice how to get out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells, or fire escapes to use.
- Keep your purse and car keys ready and put them ___________________ in order to leave quickly.
- Tell your neighbor about the violent situation and request that she or he call the police if she or he hears suspicious noises coming from my house.
- Teach your children how to use the telephone to contact the police, the fire department, and 911.
- Create a code with your children or my friends so they can call for help.
- Follow your intuition of when things are ramping up and move to a place that is not enclosed.
- Keep copies of important documents and keys in a safe place outside of the house.
- Tell the people who take care of my children which people have permission to pick up my children and that my partner is not permitted to do so.
- Keep my order of protection on my person.
- Inform my employer not to let him in the office or not to put calls through from him.
- If I feel down and am returning to a potentially abusive situation, I can remind myself of all the bad times.
Emotional detachment is a sign of inner strength. You are stronger than you think you are. You can have a fear-free life. There can be life after abuse; a life of love, hope, and peace.
A prayer for you:
Lord, you are an ever-present help in the time of need. You created everything that was created and you created my dear sister/brother who is experiencing domestic violence. You are a personal God who takes a personal interest in each of His creations. Provide a way of escape, both mentally and physically so that this dear sister/brother can heal and begin to live the abundant life you came to give us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
For a more detailed safety plan click the link below.