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For my last post in this Domestic Violence Awareness month, I want to move past the raw truth of domestic violence abuse and show you the Raw Hope of moving on. My hope is if you are currently in an abusive situation that you will move on. My hope is that if you know someone living in abuse, you will be the encouragement to help them move on. My hope is that you will be the motivator to those who have gotten free, but are doubting there is any hope for their situation and help them move on. There is hope in moving on.

2015_10_29 jbaringer

I have made an awkward word grouping to describe my post today. Raw Hope. I chose this because you must have hope to move on and you must have hope that life is more than what it is right now, But when you are in domestic violence or just getting free, this hope is raw. Life has not been honest with you and the abuse cycle is full of promises that it will be different and better, but it never is.

But it can be.

One of the words you will rarely hear me use in relation to domestic violence is victim. I have strong reasons for this.

First, I was part of the problem. Hear me out, please. I was the person who allowed abuse to happen to me. And if I did not understand this and work through certain issues, I was destined to leave one abusive relationship and go right back into another.

Secondly, the victim mentality allows you to think that it is all the abusers fault and therefore you take no responsibility for yourself and your choices. You will not move on if you do not take responsibility for your choices.

I do not think this is a popular view, because abuse is wrong on all levels. Abuse is ghastly. And we feel sorry for those who have had horrible things done to them. But being a victim opens you up to self-pity and self-pity will hinder you from moving on. Moving on will be hard work and there is no room for self-pity.

Now let’s get back to Raw Hope.

I have been free from my abuser for twenty plus years, it was not an easy transition. I can remember going to my weekly counselling sessions and being shocked at new revelations. I remember asking my counselor, “What’s wrong with me?” I remember not going to counselling sessions because I was feeling hopeless and wanted to give up. I remember a conversation on one of my “no show telephone sessions,” when my counselor said, “Well I guess he wins. He said you couldn’t make it without him.” Ouch! But that was just what I needed to hear. That statement motivated me many times over the years. I could do this, I did do this, you can do this.

I will write future blogs with more detail about moving on, especially about making a plan, but the basics are these:

  • Get safe. Get your children safe.
  • Get counselling. Good counselling. (I ran away from the counselor that wanted me to express my anger by punching a pillow!) I needed real insight into my circumstances and real strategies and accountability on how to get back on track. Find a counsellor who understands and works with abuse.
  • Get a church home, if you don’t already have one, you need one, and open up about your situation and needs.
  • Get a plan. One of the ways abusers control us is by constantly changing the plan, always manipulating our feelings and keeping us off balance. Having a plan and writing it down helped me with self-doubt and to keep my focus on the goal. And as I worked through the plan, I was able to make adjustments as I gained confidence. My counselor helped me live out, “Actions determine your feelings, feelings should not determine your actions.” A plan helps map out your actions.
  • Get people to help you with your plan. Utilize your support, you have it, don’t let pride hinder you, you will get to pay it forward, I promise.
  • Get strong friends that will hold you accountable to your plan and kick you (well not literally) in the butt to keep you on track.
  • Get tough. Dig in for the long haul. You may stumble, but keep moving on. It is hard work, but you can do this.

Raw Hope is the only way to describe many years of my life. I was no longer in the abuse, but I wasn’t on track yet either. I hurt, but by not allowing myself to take on a victim mentality, I spent less and less time feeling sorry for my situation and more and more time moving on.

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5

I am here if you need to pray or talk, send me a message.