Being separated from my abusive husband didn’t make me a domestic violence survivor. It surely didn’t release me from the grip of his brainwashing control and the innate power he had over me.
As I started putting my shattered life back together after being separated from my abuser, I still felt his compelling control shaping my every thought and action. I didn’t feel like a domestic violence survivor just because I was no longer with my abuser. In fact, I felt like a remotely-controlled, confused puppet still shaken by residual influences in my mind.
In order to become a true survivor, knowing that the thoughts in my head were mine, I had to: identify the deeply rooted lies of my abuser that I believed were true, extract the lies, lean on God’s strength to defeat the lies and replace them with His word, and acknowledge that the trauma experienced from the abuse left physical and emotional scars that needed to be furthered explored.
Eleven years later, being a domestic violence survivor means being free and open to living again. It means I am open to making decisions, building trusting relationships again, and eventually feeling love again. It means that the thoughts in my head are mine and mine only. With the emotional abuse removed from my mind, God’s grace and love have taken over. It's a calmness and peace I never thought possible.