FOUR MENTAL HABITS ESSENTIAL TO GET FREE OF AN ABUSER

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The tirades, accusations, and other mental and verbal assaults of the abuser are meant to keep you confusion, off-balance and tormented. How can a victim do anything else but just endure?

You have to take control of your mind in order to get out from under these assaults. That is where windows can open and you can start to reclaim your life. You can use standard destress practices like deep breathing, mantras and meditation. I found the presence of mind to even realize I was only shallow breathing or think to do these destressors had to come after I reclaimed my mind.

Here are the four steps I took that were beyond the reach of the abuser. Just like a steamboat uses the water it’s on to power itself, learning to convert the slanders of the abuser turns his weapons to your advantage.

  1. Deny every negative statement from the abuser.

Since a religiously abused victim is taught not to trust her inner voice, intuition or gut feelings, this is the hardest but first and necessary step. That is because the abuser deals in lies. What is true of the abuser will be projected onto the victim. When he accused me of cheating, which devastated me and was totally against my character, I found out later he was cheating. When he accused me of being wrong to use the money I earned on something I wanted, it was because he wanted to use- not just some of my money – but everything I earned. When he negatively compared me to another woman, he was grooming her to be his next mistress.

            When using Bible verses, I had an encouraging or counter verse in my mind to offset the verbal abuse he justified by hurling a condemning or accusatory verse at me. After all, we know who accuses us to God night and day and it’s not God.

  1. Affirm the power of good as prevailing.

Next I learned to use my mind to look for the good. This was not the same as excusing or denying the evil that my husband was inflicting on me. But I sought out what would uplift my mind, “think on these things” as Paul is reported to have written. I did not allow myself to get caught up in focusing exclusively on what my tormentor would have me focus on.

Since his goal was to dominate me in every aspect – mind, heart, body and spirit – I began to listen to or read counter messages in every area. I began taking small steps to get a walk in. I began accessing strengthening reading and speakers. I began to seek out supportive people. The reason it is important not to stay exclusively in the Bible for these influences is because you know the Bible and you need more positive resources beyond or in addition to the Bible to affirm that you are good and you have power within you that is not within the same source that he is using against you. There will always be a verse he can hurl at you to object to any strength or solace you are getting from the Bible or prayer. By seeing evidence of God’s love for you in the wider world, you will free yourself from only one stream of comfort or strength that is being challenged by him with other verses used against  you.

  1. Act on guidance with confidence, not fear.

I found that the decisions I would make under anxiety, fear or panic rarely turned out well. After I left three times and was forced back, I determined that when I left the last time, it would not be under emergency or crisis conditions because I didn’t have my resources lined up. So even though when we left, he was chasing us across the street screaming he would cut me up into little pieces before the police came, I was running to a neighbor who had already agreed to take us in and loan me a car to get to work (he did take the car).. I had already alerted my sympathetic supervisor to have security ready if he came threatening at my work (he did). I had already arranged for a second safe place to stay if he broke into our home (he did).

After the divorce, this principle stayed me in good stead. He had already cleaned out my private bank account in May. My new job didn’t start until the fall.  I knew God would provide for us. I got a minimum wage job, lived on food donations, and took a bus until the new job started. Neighbors helped with babysitting without charging me, although I gave them what I could. After I sold the house, we were on our way.

  1. Express specific gratitudes daily, which increases the good in your life

Part of looking for the good is finding 5 things every day to be grateful for. It is good if you have a group or someone else you can share them with. I did not listen to any critical voices that tried to blame me, condemn me, or chide me with their lack of understanding or caring. Looking for the good is a way of affirming that God is with me, evidence of constant and manifested Divine Love, and the idea that I am being supported every day.

It builds up in me a fortification of confidence and strength that helps me ignore or push aside the negativity that wants me to believe it is stronger than God’s love for me.

I recommend these proven mental steps that can overcome the lies, distortions, accusations, or hatred that the accuser and those who don’t understand will hurl at you.

We got this!

Charting: Your First Step Out of the Maze

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Charting is a way to begin to distance yourself from the chaos or emotional suffering you are experiencing.

Battering is a cyclic behavior following a predictable path. Some women have even found it follows monthly patterns.

You begin by keeping a record for a week or a month of the episodes in the cycle of abuse: the honeymoon, the rising tension, the triggering incident and explosion, and the lull afterward.

Record what is said, your response, and his reaction. What does he gain from the behavior? What does he do? Do his actions match his stated intents or beliefs?

You will begin to see a pattern emerge. You will recognize methods that your partner uses repeatedly. By seeing the pattern, you can begin to recognize how it is consistently used to create fear, guilt and shame in you for being yourself and increase his power and control to get his way.

With your chart or calendar, keep a list of your faith beliefs that your partner uses against you to justify his mistreatment of you. You may be aware of many of these beliefs, but you will be able to put things together you did not realize before by keeping a chart. You will see that what he does actively works against your wellbeing: physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. Many women are surprised at the frequency or severity of what the chart reveals. They were not aware of how very much they are being subjected to.

To keep a list of the disturbing words and behaviors that occur, use the four categories of methods in this chapter. Label what happens as an example of

A. Demoralizing and Accusing Words

B. Denying or minimizing his behavior; one-way relationship

C. Playing the Victim, Refusing responisbility

D. Threatening Behaviors

 What is his payoff for what he does?

 Power – he is able reinforce his place, his desires, right to be the final word, make the final   decision, even if it disregards your wellbeing.

 Control – he is able to prevent or make you do something damaging he wants against your will

 Intimidation – he is able to weaken your inner self, confidence, or one of the four powers of an  adult (mental, physical, emotional or spiritual ability)

 Example:

Monday:  Describe what happened.______________________________________________     

He called me a lazy slut when I didn’t vacuum the floor. An example of A: Demoralizaing and Accusing Words

Check how you were affected: ___Mental _____Emotional _____Physical______Spiritual

What you felt:    ____fear   ___x_ guilt    ___x_ shame ____anger  ___ other: shocked

What he gained:  _____power    ____x_ control  ___x__intimidation

Here is a space to begin your examples. Be sure to identify any of the 4 categories that your experience is part of. (A, B, C, and/or D above)

Monday:  Describe what happened.______________________________________________________________________An example of ____________________________     

Check how you were affected: ___Mental _____Emotional _____Physical______Spiritual

What you felt:    ____fear   ____ guilt    ____ shame ____anger  ___ other

What he gained:  _____power    _____ control

Tuesday:  __________________________________________________________________________________An example of _____________________________     

This damaged my _____mental_______emotional______physical______spiritual well-being

What you felt:  ____fear  _____guilt_____shame____ anger_____other

What he gained:  ____ power over ______control over_____

Continue this way for the week or up to a month. 

Then tally what number of time in each category you were diminished:

____A: Demoralizing and Accusing Words

____B: Denying or Minimizing His Behavior; One Way Relationship

____C: Playing the Victim, Refusing to Take Responsibility

____D: Threatening Behaviors

Now take some time to review what you have learned. Summarize it here:

Using the tool of charting strengthens you in these ways:

  1. Gives you perspective on what you are experiencing
  2. Shows you you are not crazy; reaffirming your inner knowing
  3. Provides measureable “data” that you will use later in assertive communication
  4. Begins to create a sense of control as it distances you from your abuser’s insanity and chaos

I hope readers will share what they gained from using charting as a first step on their way out of the maze of abuse in the name of God. Your words are a sacred power you can wield for your redemption.