Whenever I talk to someone who has recently separated from an abusive partner, I encourage them to make lists as soon as possible. Having thoughts written down while they are fresh can be a powerful motivator. Just the act of recording information onto paper can clarify our thinking and solidify our resolve.
First, list all of the reasons why you decided it was time to separate. Write down specific incidents and specific feelings. Write down the specifics about things your spouse has said and done. Write down your fears about what might happen if you were ever to return. Write down why this is a positive move for your children (or future children). Write down what hurts about the relationship.
Second, list all the fears you have about leaving, and then write down why you are moving forward despite your fears.
Third, list all your desires for the future. Write what changes you would need to ever return to your spouse.
Finally, list who you want to be, regardless of the outcome with your marriage.
These writing exercises will help you to clarify things. In the future, when you may be tempted to return to the abuser prematurely, re-reading the list can strengthen you.
For those readers who ended abuse a long time ago, allowing yourself to remember why you took action when you did is sure to fill you with gratitude for all that the Lord has done in your life since that time. Little did you know at the time that one of the my most painful decisions in your life would lead to a fulfilling life. Joy and peace seemed impossible then, but now that you are free from abuse and walking in freedom with your Savior--joy and peace are welcome gifts that grace your life in a way that just wasn't possible when you were oppressed by domestic violence.
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