Living With Addiction
Strongholds of Shame
The Broken Behavior of Abuse
Day 16 of 40
Shame and Abuse, two powerful words used in our everyday lifestyles and conversations denoting the ugly reality of life. Do we really understand their correlation and definition to one another? Better yet, what could they both possibly have to do with my living with addiction?
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, shame is defined as “a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong”; and abuse is defined as “a corrupt practice or improper or excessive use or treatment.”
Many people ask me, “How could a person be so amazingly strong and confident with unfathomable faith and yet be an advocate for others after having stayed in these horrific abusive relationships for so long?” My answer, S-H-A-M-E!
Remember, I am a byproduct of a long generational lineage of shame living with addiction. So many of the behaviors I learned throughout the years were quite different than what most individuals would deem appropriate or allow themselves to be subjected to. I am a work-in-progress and will continue to be until I reach the finish line this side of heaven.
My thought processes reflected and perceived everything that was happening to me as my own fault. I deserved whatever form of punishment being afflicted on me because I did not conform to my controller’s demands. That’s the game of shame; us victims take and carry the blame for what our abusers do.
Abusers entangle their prey initially through shame. The victims get caught into this web spun with deceit and blame forcing them to be subjected to numerous stings from the venom that weakens and clouds their lens of perception. They find themselves being exhausted and entrapped into this web of destruction with no way to escape and end up hanging there alone until death.
I will be using words such as “husband” and “family members” throughout. Please understand that I’m not here to shame the living or the dead. This is where being married a couple of times shields the identity along with having a large family. So when I refer to my husband’s abuse or affairs and my family member’s spitting into my face, it is to bring awareness to what I was subjected to in order to share my story and not focus on the identity of the abuser.
I will be sharing how my husband controlled me through the means of force and threat by brandishing a gun, strangulation, threats in taking my children away, verbiage that would alarm any law enforcement officer as forms of manipulation and control to help bring awareness as to why I lived under such horrific conditions along with my current struggles in balancing the fine line between healthy boundaries of love versus enabling.
Let us not forget how addiction ties in nicely here also! Since my life was full of shame, depression, addiction, and now abuse, my initial go-to for escape and consolation was alcohol and cracking open my Bible. What a contrast, I know; but I am being honest here and how it just reiterates that God works best in hot messes and He loves us just the way we are!
So… How were my chains of abuse severed that set me free from the bondage of the physical and emotional scars that held me down on the cell of hell’s floor for several decades?
I’m going to end today’s writing with another disclaimer. Hearing the world say, “You’re so strong. You’ve been through so much, I wish I could have the strength and faith like you. I wish I could have your joy.” Ha! Hello… What do I say, “I am not shielded from bad things, quite the contrary. I am obedient and stand firm on my faith. That takes action and practice, not complacency and laziness.
I am far from strong. I am weak. I am fragile. I am frail and broken, but I am living proof of the definition found in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; God’s grace and power is made perfect in weaknesses. My heart aches and bleeds just like yours. I’ve just learned how to tap into the authority that is given to me through faith and grace and not go through life focusing on fear, excuses and complaints. That’s the antidote that’s available to everyone who believes! It’s called faith, the true source of where our strength and power comes from.
I blossom hearing God say, “Come here, Beautiful! I love it when you spend time sharing your fears and dreams with me, beautiful daughter of mine. I’m so proud of you that you are allowing My Spirit to transform you through faith and trust. Your reliance unleashes the authority given to all my children who believe. Now you can look back and see what I’ve been saying to you all along. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you. Trust me. Just ask and receive.”
Wow, what a beautiful imagery of what amazing Love awaits for God’s Beloveds who care to engage in a relationship with Him by merely sitting at His feet while reading His love letter (Holy Bible) being humbled, honest and exposed knowing His Truths will set us free. That’s called a relationship!
Until next time…