Invisible Bruises: Just because no one can see them, it does not mean they are not there. It is time for you to stop suffering in silence.

It is absolutely amazing to me – how many people are mentally, emotionally, and/or verbally, abused by someone who claims to love them and the person on the receiving end suffers in silence and shame. The bruises on your heart probably feel impossible to ever fully heal. I know this because that used to be me. Well, I have a message for you…WE have nothing to be ashamed of and the bruises in our hearts CAN be fully healed.

Just because you are not getting hit, it does not mean that the abuse does not exist. I know a lot of us keep silent because if we do, it helps us to pretend that it is not happening. Too many of us are embarrassed to talk about it. I know I was, especially because I wasn’t getting hit. I give all the glory to God for helping me to escape before the hitting started.

I think that when we keep silent, it is like ingesting poison (just like harboring unforgiveness does to us). It is a slow process and it really does start to destroy us from the inside out. As I was approaching rock bottom with my depression and alcohol abuse over six years ago, I remember how dead my soul was. My shell still had a heartbeat and I was still breathing, but it was a matter of time before I finally found the right combination of pills and alcohol to finish the job. Thankfully, I was desperate enough to cry out to God and He heard me and rescued me! I believed I was not worth saving, but I cried out anyway and He heard me. I say this because I know without a doubt that there are others who are feeling this way too. You are listening to the enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. The devil is a liar! I pray you will start listening to God’s voice and promises instead.

I have been free from that toxic relationship for quite a while now. The person I finally walked away from will probably never be able to admit or even see that he tormented me almost all the way to suicide. It is not up to me to convince him. I do not feel safe around him and God has helped me to be strong throughout this whole journey. I have learned to forgive him, which is wonderful freedom, and I have prayed for him. But just because I have forgiven him and pray for him, it does not mean I have to let him back into my life. I am grateful to know that.

You do not have to go through this alone. I have learned to surround myself with godly people who help me through the tough days of life. And the more I open up about this part of my life, the more I find that others understand because they have gone through it too! Wow. It is a blessing to have others open up too and it shows me that I am truly not alone and have NOTHING to be ashamed of. I am glad for the courage to write this today. I think someone is suffering greatly in silence at this moment and I pray this post will encourage you and give you courage to reach out to God and others and get started on a road of healing and many great things that you have never dreamed of.

So stop suffering in silence. Stop carrying shame that does not belong to you. Be encouraged. Start living today – God is waiting to help! He loves you more than you know! ♥

Praying for you, may you be blessed and find strength in God to help you break free like me. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

You can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you!! ~Philippians 4:13

Breaking Free From the Man Who Said He Loved Me (Because Love Should Never Cause Emotional Trauma)

L-O-V-E. I do not know why I cannot shake the thought about love lately. It is not the kind of love that many of you are blessed to have. I am talking about the so-called love that causes emotional trauma. Real love does not hurt like that — it should never hurt like that. It is hard for some to understand why it is not as easy as it seems to just walk away and let go. I know because I spent most of my adult life thinking that way. That is, until it happened to me…

I am writing this because I had suffered in silence for too long and I know there are some out there right now going through this very thing. I know you feel trapped, alone, and perhaps too embarrassed to reach out to someone close to you. You do not want anyone to know. Why? Only you can answer that. For me, it was shame. I was too ashamed to let anyone know the situation that I had gotten myself into. It was all my fault and I was stupid to let it happen. That is the lie that I truly believed. I hated that I had become so weak and needy. I used to be so strong. I just wanted someone to love me, so I pretended that he did when things were good. And when things were bad, I drank myself through it. I regret that I suffered in silence instead of reaching out. It almost killed me. I was only able to break free because I discovered that God is real and He helped me. He sobered me up first, then gave me the courage and the strength to walk away. So now, what I used to keep a secret, I openly share because I want others to know that suffering alone does not have to be. You do not have to be trapped. You too, can be free.

I have shared in older posts that I was in a mentally abusive relationship. It caused severe emotional trauma. I never knew that love could hurt the way it did. It is not supposed to be like that. For the longest time I was so alone and ashamed and I did not believe that mental abuse was really abuse so I kept my mouth shut and allowed it to continue. But I was so wrong. It is abuse. I saw someone put it this way in a recent blog: “Abuse doesn’t always manifest as a black eye or a bloody wound. The effects of psychological abuse are just as damaging.” I could not have said it better myself. It is the truth. All that time I was silent, I had wished I was getting hit thinking that it would help me to cry out for help. That makes me sad today because I think there are others thinking that as I write this. I was able to break free before the first hit came. I believe it was just a matter of time before it did. I say this because of an evil explosion of anger that came that really put fear in me like I had never known before. It wasn’t something I caused, but because I was there, I suffered for it. Then I heard the words “I warned you about my anger.” Hitters usually say that, don’t they? Thankfully, I will never know.

Because I was too weak to break away (after all he did tell me he loved me), I endured his abuse for too long. I was in too deep. I did not know how to let go. I believed that nobody else would ever love me. I convinced myself that I was damaged goods and that no one else would ever want me, so I stuck around and kept taking it. And as for reaching out to someone on the outside, I would rather have died from alcohol poisoning or from mixing alcohol with pills than admitting to anyone the horrific things that I was allowing to happen to me.

Now that I have God in my life and I am 100% sober, I know that it was never love. This guy was a master manipulator and being that I was such a lost soul with zero self-esteem, he caught on to that right away and used it. Boy, did he use it. I get teary eyed when I go back there in my mind and remember how it was.

After the newness of the relationship had worn out, I found myself slowly becoming more afraid of him. I was afraid to speak. I was afraid that I would say something that he would turn against me. I remember an instance when we were talking about something he was going through and all of a sudden I was accused of saying something about him that he took offense to. He then proceeded to tell me that he needed to take a step back and examine my character. There was another time where I was with friends, men and women, for a gathering that I had asked him to go to. He did not go, but of course he called me and because he heard a man’s voice in the background I was suddenly accused of cheating on him. I’ll never forget that hole he ripped into my heart later that night. I tried contacting him after the party and he hung up on me and shut his phone off. Later, he decided to send me a text and said “I hope you’re happy with your new boyfriend.” My tender and already broken heart sank even more when I read that. He had shut off his phone again so I couldn’t respond or call. That was torture. There were so many times when I had called where he would answer, but wouldn’t say a word and would hang up on me. He would later explain he was working or something — we were in a long distance relationship at that time. It was craziness that I kept going back for more for. Other times if I did or said something that he didn’t like, I would find myself getting intense silent treatment. I remember one time I just sobbed because I didn’t even know what I had said or done to deserve it. He would just shut down on me with no explanation. Then there was the intimacy. I practice abstinence now, but back then I did not know God so I did not care or think much of it. What a big mistake that was. I was literally sleeping with the enemy. He was addicted and there was just something about him that managed to tear down my self-esteem even more. I had no idea that it could get me deeper into the dark pit of depression the way it did. Things got worse from there. There’s so much more I could share, but I think this is enough. Why did I stay? I have no idea. The only explanation that I can come up with today is that I was truly a lost soul.

I am grateful that is no longer the case. God saved me. He not only saved my life and gave me a new hope, He gave me the self-esteem of Christ. He became my first love and this will never happen in my life again because I have a whole new set of eyes and I will see the wolves that come in sheep’s clothing. I am eternally grateful for that.

I do not know if what I have shared has been any help to anyone. I am sure praying that it does help because putting myself out there like this is HARD. I am praying that someone will be encouraged — someone whose circumstance is similar to what I was saved from. Do not give up hope and do not stay suffering in silence. You too can break free, but you need God’s help to do it. There is no shame in reaching out. Reach out to God first, then reach out to others. If you do not have anyone close to you that you can trust, know that there are others out there who truly understand what you are going through. We can only understand if we have been through it ourselves. There are support groups out there and they will walk with you as you walk with God to overcome. What God has done for me and others, I know He will do for you. Cry out to Him, He is listening. You WILL overcome.

I am praying for you, with all my heart. God bless.

“I wished he would have hit me” — My personal story of abuse…

When people think of an abusive relationship, they mostly think of physical abuse. Normally, people just think of a man beating a woman and/or sexually abusing her.  But I would like to share some thoughts about another type of abuse that I don’t hear a whole lot about. I want to talk about emotional and mental abuse. In my opinion, this kind of abuse can be just as distressing and painful as being consistently hit. It is so difficult for me to admit this on this blog, but this is what happened to me. It is my hope that by sharing my own heart and experience about this horrible and devastating form of abuse, that others who may feel ashamed or embarrassed may be encouraged that they too can find hope and freedom and know that there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

While I was in the midst of it, I was never able to tell anyone about the constant mental and emotional abuse I was facing. I felt so humiliated by it. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I truly believed that nobody would ever understand what I was going through. I really wished he had hit me. I thought that if he had, then it would be a better excuse for me to explain my pain. I was definitely in denial. I also believed that I didn’t deserve any better (I wrote about that for the first time in an earlier blog entitled “I was a lost soul – a mentally abused woman who didn’t deserve better”). I was worthless and a loser, so I took it. I took it for 4 or 5 years, and it about destroyed me altogether. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Even though I was already battling through years of depression and low or no self esteem and using alcohol to temporarily numb the pain, I still managed to be a strong woman – suicidal perhaps, but strong. Well, that was until I started dating a man I had settled for. Little by little he started to destroy what was left of me. It was a horrible nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. It was sudden when I had found myself so weak. This is when my depression and drinking were heading to bottom. I really thought I needed this man in my life. I didn’t want to lose him. I thought I loved him. Looking back I have no idea why I thought that. He didn’t show me much love, he just wanted sex. He sure had a hold on me somehow. I had to drink my way through the relationship to survive it. I will never understand how I got there. His manipulation started at the very beginning of our early communications, but unfortunately, I didn’t think much about it. I completely ignored it. I didn’t think enough of myself. It’s sad to remember just how lost and desperate I was back then. I didn’t want to end up old and alone, so I ignored every single sign. And, it almost killed me.

It didn’t help to hear from others what they thought about abusive relationships such as, “Why doesn’t she just leave him?” “It’s her fault for staying around.” “She doesn’t want help.”  I confess that I used to think that way about domestic violence situations. I am so sorry for my judgmental attitude toward women of abuse. Please forgive me. Before it happened to me, I just could not understand why someone would stay and continue to take it, day after day.  I swore that it would never happen to me. I would NEVER become like one of “those women”.  Sound familiar? All of a sudden, there I was. I was exactly what I swore I’d never become. I was so ashamed that I had allowed myself to be in such horrible circumstances, that there was no way that I felt safe to reach out to anyone to talk about it or to get help. I figured “well, at least he’s not hitting me…” so I just kept taking it and drank it away as much as possible. Recently I was thinking more about the possibility of getting hit. I thank God I will never know if that was going to come into play or not, but I discovered recently that I had ignored another sign. After a family party turned violent one evening, (I described this event in that previous post I mentioned earlier), I remembered that days later he had reminded me that he had been letting me know that he was feeling anger building up inside of him. He told me though, that he was keeping it under control.  I was slowly discovering that he had anger issues and was just keeping them inside. But because I had never really witnessed it in him, until that frightening evening, I again didn’t think much of it. But it’s what he had said days later that kind of gave me the chills when I remembered it recently. He said “I warned you…”  I remember he was telling me that he had been warning me that he was about to break. Like it was something that I was supposed to know and just “watch out”. Don’t abusers who hit usually tell their women that they had been warning them? I know I’ve heard it before in stories of physical abuse. I then started to recall that he had told me that when he was young, he would see his father beating his mother. So I now think it was a good possibility that hitting would come next had I stayed.

So how did I get out of it? I have no doubt that it was a God thing. I believe God’s hand was on my life even though I didn’t know Him yet. I had been crying out to Him because I was definitely not going to cry out to anybody else. Interesting when I think back on it, how I was crying out to a God I didn’t know and I am grateful I took that chance! He set me free. And later, he set me free from alcohol abuse and severe depression. It took a rock bottom kind of moment for that, but I’m not complaining. I am grateful to be free.  I am now seven months away from celebrating my 5th year of sobriety. I am also celebrating my 4th year or so of being free from that abusive relationship.

So that’s some more of my story that I hadn’t had the courage to share before.  I’m glad I did now. I don’t know what else to say except that if you’re in the midst of this right now, there is hope in Jesus. There is a way out. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. Please reach out to someone! Reach out to God! You don’t have to keep living like that. You deserve much better. If you don’t know God, it’s not too late to start knowing Him now. Call out to Him with a sincere heart and He will hear you.  He will help you like He helped me and has helped so many others. I don’t know you, but I’m praying for you. Please use the below contact form if you’d like to send a private message.

I’ve been through a lot of hurt in my life. I buried most of it for decades and just recently in my recovery program, it’s all come out to the surface so that I could get healing. In therapy, I was asked to write a letter about victory. I’m thinking, if I can be this vulnerable and share this part of my story, then I should be able to share that personal letter too. Perhaps I will share it in a future post. Again, I’m only doing this with the hope that others will be blessed by it and have courage to take a step in the right direction like I did. ANY kind of abuse is NEVER OK.

That’s it for now, thanks for listening to my heart.

I was a lost soul—a mentally abused woman who didn’t deserve better.

I don’t know why I felt led to share this old writing from 2012 again…maybe it’s because I recently had a bad dream about the jerk I wrote about. Even so, I believe I’m finally completely healed from the pain he caused. It was super hard for me to see and admit that I had become someone I never thought I’d become, but thank God I am no longer her. God has changed me so much inside and out. I am grateful! As long as I look to Him first and trust He will help me to discern who I can let in and who I should keep away from, this will never happen again.

I am alive and I am free…THANK YOU, LORD!!

This is Not Where I Thought I Would Ever Be...ALIVE

That’s what the enemy had me convinced of—he’s a good liar.  I was a lost soul and I believed his lies.  I had become someone I swore for years that I would never become.  I became weak, needy, and dependant.  I thought I needed a man in my life bad enough, that I was willing to look past being treated so poorly.  Now, he never raised a hand to me, but he sure knew how to mess with my mind.  He had such control over me.  I pretended it was okay to be treated that way, but deep inside I knew it wasn’t.  I just wasn’t strong enough to break away.

I was getting older and the thought of being old and alone started to bother me, so I allowed myself to be in this unhealthy relationship.  I had zero self-esteem.  I put up with things I never should have…

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Dealing with the Holiday Blues—God uses my tears to bring healing…

Just the other night, I was with some of my Christian sisters and we were discussing the holidays…I can hardly believe that they are already approaching! Anyway, I was caught off guard when I was asked to recall a happy memory from past holidays. I was quickly overcome with extreme sadness because I wasn’t able to recall anything, at least not at that moment. I was looking for anything that could bring a smile to my heart that I could share with everyone, but I just couldn’t think of anything. I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to think, but I felt so sad that I couldn’t remember anything. I completely broke down in tears and was barely able to speak. I sure wasn’t expecting that to happen. I spent so many godless years alienating myself from people and drinking my life away. All I could remember were the years of darkness and despair that I put myself through.

I am so grateful to God that this Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration is my third time of being completely sober. What an incredible ongoing miracle He has given me. I remember the first time in 2010 very well (I guess I would since it is not that long ago). I had only been sober for about nine months. Although the Lord had delivered me from depression and drinking, my heart was so heavy with sadness. I couldn’t figure out why. I had so much hope. I had so much to be thankful to the Lord for. He had given me a brand new life and had shown me I had a reason to live, yet I was still sad. Extremely sad. The only thing I could think of was that perhaps it was just left over from all those years of being depressed. I was so used to it. It was all I knew for so long, I think it just became automatic every year. I thought that eventually it would change in time, and instead of automatic sadness, that I would start to get used to the sobriety and spending time with people and it would turn into automatic joy. However, a year later in 2011, I went through it all over again. The Holiday Blues crept in once again, but at least it didn’t seem to be as bad as the year before. There was hope.

So here we are again. It’s already another year later. It’s November 2012, and I was expecting everything to be okay this time. I was wrong. I have much joy in my life these days, but once again the Holiday Blues have arrived. I was hoping for automatic joy this year. All it took was that one question from the other night to make me realize that I still need to work through these emotions that I kept bottled up for so long.

This past Friday, it was my fifth week attending Celebrate Recovery. I have shared many difficult things about my life on my Facebook page and on this blog, but sharing on this same level in an intimate group setting once a week at CR is a whole new world for me. It has been challenging, emotional, and a tremendous blessing all at the same time. I can see that God is using my vulnerability to help others realize that it is okay to open up and to be vulnerable themselves.

I started going to CR because I thought I needed to for myself to stay sober. God has turned it around and has shown me that I am there because I need to help others in their recovery. This is the new desire of my heart. God gave me an incredible miracle of sobriety and I need to share that with others in their recovery walk. I have been growing strong in the Lord for over two years and I have found that I am ahead of many of the people there.

I am certainly blessed to be a blessing. My bonus blessing is that I get healing through my own tears when I share my heart with hurting people. Knowing that God will use my tears to help someone else in their own healing process and recovery, well, that’s just a super bonus blessing.

I see now that the Lord led me to CR to mostly help others, but I believe that He is also going to use it to help me beat the Holiday Blues once and for all. I cried this past Friday night as I was sharing my sad heart that comes each year at this time. I believe those tears have started my own healing process already. I already started to feel better as I was driving home that night. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anybody much about it before. I mostly kept it to myself, but it was time to let it out. God showed me the way and made it happen and I am so grateful.

I have been thinking about that question from the other night and I have something I can share with a smile.  My memory from the past is that I was a happy little girl when my parents were together—we were a family once upon a time. I will hold on to those memories from so many years ago. We may not have known God back then, but there was love in our home. Today, I know my heavenly Father’s amazing love and I have learned that He is really all I will ever need in this life.

Anyone out there who gets the blues this time of year like so many of us, know you are not alone. You don’t have to go through it alone. Perhaps your sadness isn’t seasonal like mine. Even so, reach out to the Lord. Come to Him as you are. I want to encourage you to find a Christian support group and you will get through it with the Lord’s help. We all have a story to share. Let the Lord use your story to help others. You will be amazed at how much your life will change for the better. You start healing even more when you are helping others to heal.  I can testify to that. Isolation is so dangerous. I regret going there, it almost killed me. The Lord has helped me through it all. Something else that I have discovered on this amazing journey is that nothing from my past has gone to waste.  God is using every bit of it for His good purpose now. He will do the same for anybody. I am so glad I choose to walk in His light every single day. I will never be in the dark again. Thank You, Jesus. ♥

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I wanted to share this recording of last Sunday’s church service at my church, Hope Center of Christ. I love the message “Turn Your Hurts Into Healings” I thought how perfect it is for what the Lord put on my heart to write about. I guess the timing of it all was no accident. I pray you will be blessed by it: