Note: This is a real experience shared from a survivor of abuse. Names and identifying information have been changed.
My marriage seemed to start out fine. I was in love and I was happy. But after a while, the physical, emotional, and verbal abuse started. I needed a way out to keep myself and my children safe. My lack of knowing how to create a new future for my family and my fear kept me from getting help. But after nine years, I figured out how to break free.
How did I get out after nine years of living in that abuse? What did I do? I finally stopped listening to the voice of the adversary that told me there was no way out. Instead, I turned to find pinpoints of light that my Heavenly Father placed for me as a guide to leave the abusive marriage. It took learning how to pray and follow His direction to find those pinpoints of light:
- I kept my covenants, paid my tithing, and learned how to follow the promptings of the Spirit—those actions kept me anchored with faith to my Heavenly Father.
- I worked with my bishop and gained strength to receive personal revelation. Through that strength I knew the timing of when to leave.
- I gained the perspective and answer that I could not help, fix, or lead my husband toward light. He was in the hands of Heavenly Father—I had to let go!
- I gained my financial independence by getting training and becoming a teacher (but it took five years in my marriage to reach that point).
- Circumstances led me to a police officer who gave me crisis center information.
- The crisis center helped me to obtain a temporary protective order.
- I was granted by the court a permanent protective order, then a divorce and full custody of our children.
There were mental and emotional setbacks while I was healing; these occurred during my nightmares. The adversary would tell me lies, such as, “You are too much: too much work, too many children, too many problems. Who would ever want you if you left? You have too much to deal with. You were too weak to help your own husband.” The adversary pounded negative thoughts at my self-worth, trying to get me to believe that I was worthless. The haunting echo that bounced around in my head following these episodes fortunately didn’t last for long.
Why? Because of the sheer volume of work that I had to do: I was a mother of five children, three of whom have autism. I kept and keep my covenants. I was teaching fifth grade to children with autism, I was obtaining my teaching certification, and I was gaining my master’s degree in special education all at the same time. As I focused on my work, my testimony, and my life, I gained perspective and evidence of my blessings. That evidence silenced the adversary’s voice.
I also gained perspective and hope that communication, friendships, and love could be developed. I would observe, record in my journal, and then read and reread over and over again to find patterns, supports, structures, friendships, and the pitfalls that can happen to any of us.
As I learned to feel love again, I learned two powerful points: (1) Heavenly Father’s love for all of His children is perfect and (2) because of that love, Heavenly Father will not interfere with the agency of His children. Through our agency we can choose light or darkness, love or war. We can tune into the promptings of the Spirit. We can have hope! And finally, we can find the pinpoints of light to guide us out of the abyss of abuse.
If you or someone you know has been abused, seek help immediately from civil authorities, child protective services, or adult protective services. You may also seek help from a victim advocate or counseling or medical professional. These services can help protect you and prevent further abuse. See the “In Crisis” page for more information.