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Category: Survivor Identity

What Does It Mean to Find Yourself After Getting Out of an Abusive Relationship?

What Does It Mean to Find Yourself After Getting Out of an Abusive Relationship? [Episode 173]

It’s a thief.

Abuse robs us of the truth about ourselves.
Abuse steals our sense of safety.
Abuse consumes our time and energy.

And when we’re overwhelmed by all that abuse has taken from us, we can’t focus on the future or growth or discovery—the things that feed our soul and nurture our lives.

So how do we find that little girl full of dreams again? How do we connect to the young woman who had stars in her eyes? Where’s the door to a sense of belonging and self and fulfillment? How do we build a future on a busted-up past?

I’ve led many women through these questions. And we have to start by getting very precise. Because we don’t find our lives…we create them.

We Are Like the God We Worship

We Are Like the God We Worship [Episode 171]

I have a confession.

I’m a recovering asshole.

Years ago, I had a friend. Her husband cheated on her. Then, he did it again. He kept cheating on her. He wasn’t sorry.

Do you know what I told her to do?

Stay with him. Pray and stay. Worse, I was proud to tell her this advice. Because I was God’s girl scout, and I knew best.

Now, I can easily imagine the grief and further pain my words and assumptions added to her heartbreak. I thought everything was black and white. A + B = C, every time. Life was a math problem, and I had the answer.

Boy, did I eat crow (and that’s just one example).

But in many ways, I’m no different than everybody else. And there IS an equation that applies to us all:

Our thoughts make our feelings. Our feelings make our beliefs. And our beliefs make us.

We become what we believe. We are like the god we worship.

What’s your god like? And what do you do when someone else’s god says you’re bad?

Am I Responsible for Fixing My Husband?

Am I Responsible for Fixing My Husband? [Episode 167]

If you break abuse down to the nitty-gritty, at its heart is something called “emotional childhood.” Abusers think everybody should make their life work. Everyone should cater to their whims. Everybody is responsible for their emotions. For fixing them, moment by moment. They shouldn’t have to do anything. Like a stunted emotional child.

If you’re a wife in this situation, you come to believe that you are supposed to fix your husband. You think you’re the only one who can (and that “fixing” him is even possible).

Any movement to protect yourself, to detach, to assign responsibility to him for HIS OWN LIFE and CHOICES, feels like betrayal and selfishness and just plain gross. Your husband and many religious people would agree.

Which leads us right back to: Am I responsible for fixing my husband? Is detaching from him to protect myself wrong?

I’ve been asked these questions hundreds—if not thousands—of times, so I’ve fleshed out an answer that addresses them AND all those icky rabbit trails in your mind.

And unlike what you’ve been told in church, online, or by your husband, this answer doesn’t require you to throw yourself in a pool to save a person who wants to drown…and drag you under too.

How Do I Know What Is Real or True When My Husband Gaslights Me?

How Do I Know What Is Real or True When My Husband Gaslights Me? [Episode 165]

Is the last thing you googled, “Am I crazy?” or “Why does my husband hate me?” or the literal title of this episode?

Bleh. Living in such horrible, constant confusion can make us obsessive. Not crazy obsessive. The “desperate for answers” kind. The “I’m living in purgatory and I hate it!” kind. The “Is it me even though I’m trying so hard?” kind.

If you’re looking for a fixed point of reference—a way to know what’s real and true, then you’ve stumbled across something better than 6.84 million Google results. Because I’m going to answer your question in incredible detail.

What If I Had an Affair While I Was Married to My Abusive Husband?

What If I Had an Affair While I Was Married to My Abusive Husband [Episode 162]

Did you know that abuse has a bestie?

Its sneaky little friend is Shame. Shame is a talkative fellow but very dependable.

He hangs on your earlobes and yells:

“You’re not perfect, so you can’t point out your husband’s faults.”
“You yelled back, so you expect him to stop.”
“You pull away emotionally, so you can’t get angry when he stonewalls.”
“You hit him after he hit you, so you deserved it.”
“You found comfort in someone else’s arms, so you’re just as bad as him.”
“You have no right to expect better when you’re so screwed up.”

Shame keeps us bound and trapped, even long after a divorce.

So what should you do with these painful, tormenting thoughts?