Living With Addiction
Strongholds of Shame
Broken Behaviors of Abuse
Day 21 of 40
Addiction and abuse versus submission and love? That one might seem to have an obvious victor, but much pain was suffered from the hands of the abuser in the game of “love.” Today, though, all that pain knows its purpose that ended up developing into a love story with no end to His name!
When our hearts are not right, irregardless of who or what is to blame, it’s hard to give Jesus our wholehearted selves through trust, time and the courage to surrender. I knew after the last violent blow, it was time for me to sit at the feet of Jesus and let the healing and transformation begin.
When you wait to start that surrender after decades of abuse, several years may go by before you begin to see any healing. Don’t lose heart, though, God is faithful and just.
It was 10:30 a.m., the kids were fed, dishes cleaned, hairs groomed and content in their TV/play time when I decided to wake up and ask my husband if he wouldn’t mind getting up so I could get my run in before I had to get home, shower, and get the kids packed up for an afternoon on the soccer field.
While my initial attempts at trying to arouse my husband from his stupor were infrequent between the dressing and putting on my running shoes, they became more frequent and agitated.
Between the pungent odor of sour alcohol overwhelming the upper level of the house and the demeaning words being spewed out instigating a typical submission versus love argument, the words became heated and demands enthralled.
I could either take care of him first as the Bible commanded wives to “submit to their husbands at all times” that he claimed Ephesians 5:22-24 meant or I could forget about going.
An ugly exchange of heated words and hostility ensued. Not only was my heart torn and tattered from failed expectations and promises, but the more I demanded my voice be heard and having value and for the control to stop, the louder and more aggressive the results got.
After several minutes of yelling and screaming and shoving about, the precious cubs downstairs began to scream out of fear and cry begging for it to stop. When my body was shoved against the wall, the oldest came running upstairs to intervene saying he would watch his brother and to stop it as tears poured down his cheeks.
A tender child should never be subjected to witnessing abuse or resume the role of defender and protector of his family. Children need to be protected and it’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure of that, whether we’re the victims or not.
I may have been a victim, but I have to own up to my own failure in not leaving this environment sooner; thereby allowing my precious cubs to be subjected to unhealthy behaviors in living with addiction and abuse.
Children learn from what they see and hear, and fear is a destructive trait to acquire. Fear’s power over me was controlling and paralyzing. It is something that I still struggle with occasionally. It paralyzed me into accepting behaviors that would forever change not only my life, but my children as well. We must never forget what these eyes now see matters.
The fear and panic protruding through my son’s beautiful blue eyes pacified the threats being demanded and executed. I lovingly assured him I was okay and was sorry that they had to hear and witness that. I graciously escorted my precious son back downstairs and hugged and held them both tight assuring them I was okay as my heart imploded.
Abuse quickly escalates from manipulation and control to demands and violence. No sooner than I could catch my breath, the stench that overwhelmed the upstairs of the house was now breathing down my neck.
His vile and horrific demand that my son watch his little brother while his father and I “be together” was being a good son and older brother as my arm was yanked and grabbed with fierce strength as I was forced upstairs.
Submission is not intended as a form of control or abuse that is written in the Bible. Merriam-Webster may have it defined as “an act of submitting to the authority or control of another,” but Paul mentioned the word “submit” to imply “respect.”
When we pay careful attention to what Paul was sharing in this context, he uses the word “love” more often than “submit” when talking about marital responsibilities. Husbands loving their wives is beautifully articulated and continued in Ephesians 5:25-33.
When one is desperately trying to heal from the tragedy and pain caused from the betrayal of adultery from the affairs of your husband, and the one with your best friend, along with the healing still coming from a shattered and worn-out Beloved that had driven herself off a cliff a decade prior all due to rejection in living with addiction and abuse; my compliance in order to sustain peace and protection for my young gave birth to abusive submission.
Victim mentalities are skewed because, for one, their view of love and their worth is significantly distorted; two, they believe it will change which diminishes the severity; three, they isolate due to feeling no one understands and/or cares because of humiliation; lastly, they know that the cost of submission delivers needed peace during destructive outbursts.
My colored perception and awareness of love was based on “performance based conditional love, being seen and not heard,” so understanding what Love meant required being set free from the captivity that held me prisoner by what only the Great Physician could perform.
My heart could only implode after this offense so when the Bank of Grace felt overdrawn and shame is your name, you continue to stuff it down further in hopes to suffocate the toxic gases brewing from the sweltering flame within.
Until next time…