I refused his school jacket; his reasons were clear. He was jealous, saying that other males were taking too much interest in me and I was too friendly. He wanted to let others know that I was his. He came across as owning me. I knew about being owned and I wanted no part of it. I already had a parent who felt fully entitled to behave however he chose. My high school boyfriend tried to force me to take his jacket, shoving it into my hands. I shoved it right back. I never did wear it, but after 11 months of dating, he raped me. He had decided by then that he owned me anyway. A couple of years later, another man, my husband, treated me as property too.
Being owned by another is a horrible experience of oppression. I'm talking about the bondage of another person saying with their behavior (and sometimes direct words) that he or she owns you--and therefore he/she can do anything to you that he/she wants. Forget about personal boundaries concerning privacy or safety or anything else. It gives the abuser the justification to do anything.
Many of you reading this blog have experienced this nightmare, too. You know how wrong it feels, how humiliating, confusing, and angering. You've felt trapped and utterly helpless.
Part of healing from abuse requires recognizing this slavery of the soul and doing something about it. Initially, that means separating from the abuser permanently or until he or she changes (which is a rare occurrence because abusers find abuse very rewarding). Later on, ending the slavery that Satan has introduced into our lives with abuse requires us to confront the lies that hang out in our hearts, minds, and guts, blocking us from truly experiencing the freedom that God says is ours.
Are we willing to see and confront lies? Are we willing to say, "No, I am not a worthless possession that deserves to be treated shamefully or neglectfully. I am going to believe that I am valuable because Jesus Christ was willing to die for me. I am going to make choices that reflect that I know my Heavenly Father has created me with a special plan and good purpose"?
At some point, we need to take ownership of ourselves. Will we acknowledge and take care of our own needs in appropriate ways? Will we say no to unhealthy relationships? Will we say no to destructive habits? Will we believe that we are free and responsible for our own lives, rejecting the comfortable old rags of the victim mentality that says we have no power or control over anything that happens to us? We will never be able to control life or other people--but we have many liberating choices we can make about how we spend our time, when we seek help, how much we practice new, healthier behavior.
It's a process, just like every other part of healing from abuse. We can know in our heads that we are not slaves, but knowing it in our wounded hearts is a different matter. It takes repetition of truth and practice. It takes kindness. It takes time. In our soul we can experience our freedom with great joy during a worship service at church and then find ourselves weighed down during the week by heavy chains of old beliefs. Again it takes truth, practice, kindness, and time to allow truth to permeate all of our being. But, thankfully, we have time to practice and to rejoice in the progress that is made. We can begin anew each day. We are free in Christ Jesus, sisters and brothers. Let's keep living it out!
I am reminding myself again as I write this post. I am free, I am valuable, I am loved by the Lord Almighty. So are you! I hope you "take it to heart" this week and practice living as one who is significant and worth treating with respect, gentleness, and love--because you really, really are!
- Abuse recovery (13)
- Action for Domestic Violence Issues (6)
- Anger (4)
- Author Interview (4)
- Boundaries (15)
- Coping (16)
- Damage from Abuse (24)
- Devotional (5)
- Domestic Violence (44)
- Domestic Violence Awareness Month (8)
- Doormat Thinking (17)
- Emotional Abuse (16)
- Emotional Healing (43)
- Forgiveness (6)
- God's Healing (39)
- God's presence (28)
- Good Friday (1)
- Healing Abuse (27)
- Healing Process (57)
- Healing tools (32)
- Helping Children (16)
- Hyper-vigilance (3)
- Immanuel (1)
- Incest (7)
- Journaling (5)
- New Life (30)
- Perpetrators (10)
- Physical Abuse (10)
- Poetry (22)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (6)
- Powerless (8)
- Rape (6)
- Recovery (43)
- Response to abuse (38)
- Restoration (16)
- Satanic Ritual Abuse (2)
- Self-care (26)
- Self-Esteem (11)
- Sexual abuse (12)
- Shame (19)
- Trust (9)
- Verbal Abuse (9)
- Warning Signs (17)
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