By Maxine Browne, See the Triumph Contributor
Healing is a journey. When you’re on the road to healing, it doesn’t feel like you’re getting anywhere. You may feel stuck. But you are moving forward. Trust me.
My ex took everything from me. He stripped me of my friends and my family. Then, he separated me from my children. He took my money, my career. He took my sense of self. He told me I was fat, ugly and stupid. He said it, and I believed it.
I was brainwashed. Controlled. Silenced. Erased. I became so depressed, I planned my suicide to escape my mental anguish.
When I left I was mad. Mad at God. Mad at my ex. But most of all, I was mad at myself. How did I get here? How could I have allowed this to happen? How could I have been so naïve? These questions repeated themselves inside my head during the day and kept me awake at night.
If anyone mentioned religion, look out! As a minister’s wife, I blamed God for my suffering. Why hadn’t He protected me? After all the prayer and fasting, begging God to save my marriage, I thought He would part the Red Sea, come into our living room and rescue me. Instead, the minister I was married to cursed me in the name of God, used the congregation to pressure me, quoted Scripture in twisted ways to force outcomes in his favor. He used my faith as a weapon of control.
Friends and family asked, “How can you leave the church? How can you blame God?” My answer today would be that this was one phase of my healing journey. It was like a town I passed through on a road trip. I hadn’t moved there.
For a season, I cursed like a sailor. I spoke with a sharp tone of voice. I was sarcastic and skeptical of everyone and everything. I had castle walls around me for protection. I rebelled against my supervisors. I struggled, but I kept moving forward.
I sought therapy and rebuilt relationships. I created a new life. And with each step forward, I softened.
There are many points of view when it comes to forgiveness. Some believe that if you forgive someone who wronged you, it’s as though you’re saying the pain they caused wasn’t that bad. I’ve heard some say that the abusers don’t deserve such kindness and generosity.
In my view, forgiveness has nothing to do with the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is about you. I like what Buddha said, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Unforgiveness poisons you, not them. It traps you in the ugly past. Forgiveness sets you free and allows you to walk away and begin anew.
I have forgiven my ex. That doesn’t mean we’re buddies. We don’t hang out together. I have no contact with him, unless I must attend a graduation, wedding or funeral. Trust me, that’s more than enough contact for me. I avoid him, but I’m not angry anymore.
I’m not mad at God nor do I blame God for those years. I now understand that He created us all with free will. My ex chose to abuse his authority and not even God could stop him from doing what he wanted to do.
I may cuss from time to time, but it’s not the same. I’m at peace. My problems with authority figures have dissolved, and I even married again, something that was unthinkable a few years ago. It’s been a journey.
So, you may feel a certain way today. Don’t be hard on yourself. Keep taking steps forward. You’ll be amazed in a few years just how far you’ve come!
Maxine Browne Maxine Browne uses her inspirational story as a keynote. She facilitates workshops on domestic violence and healthy relationships. Other workshop topics deal with life after divorce, co-parenting and spiritual abuse. Maxine co-authored the International Best Sellers, The Missing Piece and The Missing Piece in Business. She is the author of Years of Tears, the story of her family’s journey through domestic violence and recovery. Contact Maxine to speak at your next event at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.maxinebrowne.com. Years of Tears is available on Amazon by following this link: http://tinyurl.com/mljqmyn