“Have a drink before I kill you, you’re just a bitch”. Not the words that should come from someone who is supposed to love and support you, but those are the ones that I heard. I was sober 3 days, and dealing with the emotions of alcohol withdrawal. The fog was starting to clear from years of alcoholism, and with that statement, the flags began to rise.
I heard words like that before, and I knew that they weren’t right; "You're a bit**, just like your mother!" "You don't know how to do anything right." "It's your fault!" "Don’t be a p*ss*." "Your friends won’t even talk to you anymore."
It was my fault, and I was going to fix it by getting sober and improving my life. It only got worse. The words became more intense and hurtful. I was in a constant state of wondering when the next verbal assault is coming.
I became a prisoner in my own home by the hateful words of the one person who promised to love me. I walked on eggshells, to avoid confrontation. I couldn't make any decisions for myself or my family on my own. My own internal voices were judgmental, and also abusive. I started to believe the words were truth. I was angry most days and avoided relationships with others, because I didn't trust. I had no bruises, no scars, no broken bones, but I was being abused, and I was dying inside.
I prayed every day that God would give me peace. I just wanted peace. Peace in my family, peace in my mind, and peace in my life. Slowly, the words began to mean less, and to hurt less. I had more courage to stand up and say to him “This isn't right”. I started having peace in my life. Sadly, though, the words wouldn't stop, and I realized that it wasn’t going to change. In order to feel the complete peace that I was praying for, I made the decision to walk away from the relationship and allow the healing to begin.
For the first time in my walk with Christ (I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember), I began to trust God, and allow Him to change my heart and mind. I spent more time at church, with people who would show me unconditional love and encouragement, and pray for me.
God's miracles began to happen in me: I began to be more encouraging, and less angry toward others; my internal voices began to be positive and encouraging to me; the words “I Love You” became easier to hear and to speak; I began to make healthy friendships, and to trust again.
God also gave me the power to stand in front of my abuser and tell him “I forgive you.” I will never forget the words that he responded with: “I am sorry for what I put you through.” God not only was healing my heart, He was changing his as well.
God continues to heal my heart, even several years later. I struggle with the wounds of the past, but I am encouraged that I am one of His children, and he will always be by my side.
Remember: There is hope in Christ. Through Him, you can overcome the trials, and celebrate His grace and glory. You can find peace and happiness and healing. Do not stay in the darkness, but search for His light. Healing takes time, but you can be encouraged through your faith in Christ. Do not give up. God will never give up on you.
Also remember: Words can be just as damaging as physical violence can. Don't let your words be the ones to damage another. Allow your words to encourage and to love. It can positively impact someone’s life, and it will impact yours too.
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29
Written by Sheila Case