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How Do I Heal from an Abusive Relationship?

How Do I Heal from an Abusive Relationship?

Editor’s Note: Crosswalk's Singles Advice is an advice column for singles featuring an anonymous question from a reader with a thoughtful, biblical reply from one of our single editors.

I broke up in December after 8 years of abuse. He moved in with a woman and her three children two weeks later. I was devastated; completely broken. Trying to find my way back into life and dealing with the after-effects of abuse is not easy. He sends me photos of his "happy new family." I have managed to block him everywhere and secure my home. He has done this 6 times before. In the past, he moved back when I was at work and wouldn't leave. I cried so long to God, begging Him to take him away and keep him away. Now that I am safe, I don’t know how to cope with it. Any advice?

Let me first say, you sound like such a strong and brave woman. Getting out and staying out of an abusive relationship is much harder than it seems like it should be. You should be so proud of yourself for being able to get away from the abusive behavior, especially after such a long time. Please know that you are not alone in this. Here are my recommendations for you:

Seek Therapy

My first recommendation for you is, if you aren’t already, seek therapy. I know not everyone can afford to go to therapy, but if you can, I sincerely recommend you talk to someone about this. Ask your friends, family, or even your primary care doctor for a recommendation for a trusted and reputable Christian therapist.

Although there may be a general stigma around “going to therapy,” take it from one girl who’s been to therapy (and should probably go back): it’s not about what other people think about you for going to therapy. It’s about doing something for yourself so that you can heal.

With any relationship there are probably things we can go to therapy to talk out, but when it comes to years of abuse and trauma in a romantic relationship, it is – in my opinion – absolutely paramount to talk to someone.

Four years ago, I was in a three-year relationship that at first was filled with love and kindness and then quickly became controlling, manipulative, and abusive. After it was all over, I chose not to talk to anyone about it. I remember thinking to myself, I can handle this on my own, I don’t want to talk to anyone about this. Eventually, all of those emotions came to a head and I had no choice but to talk to someone about it.

Retrospectively, I wish I would have done that sooner. While I still have a lot of healing to do because of that relationship, talking to a trusted and licensed professional helped me take the first steps.

Proverbs 13:10 encourages us to seek counsel: “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

Join a Support Group

If therapy is not an affordable option for you, or you just don’t feel ready; consider joining a support group. Sadly, there are thousands of women and men whom have lived through a similar experience as you. In a support group of others working through a similar situation, you can lift each other up, help each other through the tough times, and remind one another that you are not alone.

Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline for more information on getting a sponsor or finding a support group near you.

Galatians 6:2 encourages us to be there for one another: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Get Involved in Your Church

One thing that seems to have helped you through this time in your life is your faith in God. Faith has pulled me through the darkest times in my life, too.

The Bible gives us a word of encouragement when it reminds us that God will never leave us. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Even when we go through the most difficult things in our lives, God is always there helping us to carry on. God wants you to cast your anxieties on Him (1 Peter 5:7) and He wants you to lay your burdens at His feet (Matthew 11:28).

Getting involved in your church can inspire a deeper dive into the Word and ongoing dialogue with God. Prayer is how we lift our burdens to the Lord. Ask God for healing and peace, and surround yourself with other believers who can support you and remind you of God’s love when you're struggling.

We both know healing from this trauma is not going to be easy or quick. It will require admitting to yourself that something really bad and very difficult happened to you. It is going to take time to work through all of your feelings. But through it all, I encourage you to lean on God for peace, love, and understanding.

Philippians 4:6 reminds us to lean on God in every situation. It says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” I pray that in God’s perfect timing, you will feel safe, beloved, and renewed.

Kayla Koslosky loves her faith journey as a Christian single and is the News Editor for Kayla has worked as a mentor for college leaders offering them advice and assistance throughout their leadership journeys, led a women's Bible study, and wrote an advice column for her college’s Yellow Jacket Newspaper.

Disclaimer: any single editor replying to reader questions through this advice column is a Christian seeking God's direction through his Word. We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. As we explore issues with you, we will seek God's guidance through prayer and the Bible.

Have a question? If you have a question about anything related to living the single life, please email (selected questions will be addressed anonymously). While we cannot answer every question, we hope you'll find encouragement in this column.

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