How To Forgive Your Abuser

By : Christine Baskin

Step 1. No longer see yourself as a victim, but rather a SURVIVOR. Which, if you’re reading this…you are indeed a SURVIVOR!

You may not feel like much of a survivor, you may be battling depression, anxiety, nightmares, or just re-playing events over and again in your mind from what happened to you. I thought it was healthy during my separation (for a season) to process-through, or replay the events that happened during my marriage; and that would help me to understand my ex’s choices. But I was wrong. It was like digging up old graves that brought nothing but sorrow.

Forgiveness is easier to achieve when we stop replaying the events, and begin to renew our minds to who we really are. Don’t call yourself a victim, instead begin to speak what God says about you. For example, when you wake up in the morning, before your feet touch the floor: declare a promise of God. For example you can say, “Greater is He (Jesus) that lives in me, than he (Satan) who is in this world.” I can tell you from experience, with each promise you declare, you will feel better!

Step 2: Choose Joy

My 5 year old daughter says, “You’re not making me happy right now.” Whenever I tell her No, or refuse her another brownie. It’s actually become a habit I intend to nip in the bud. After a week or so of guilt, GOD whispered to me, “Tell her it’s not your job to make her happy. She must choose it for herself.”

And so must we.

You cannot count on your spouse to make you happy. You cannot count on your pastor or friends to satisfy you. Setting standards on man that only God can fulfill is not only unfair, but unrealistic. We must choose to be joyful every single day and understand that because God is indeed Sovereign, He allows us free will to make that choice. Choosing Joy doesn’t mean walking around smiling all the time or pretending like nothing’s going on. Joy is simply trusting God through every circumstance, depending on Him for everything, and knowing that He will pull you through any situation and you will be better for it. Joy is something we can certainly ask God for more of- because it is available- and it is abundant IN Christ.

James 1:2-4 Reminds us,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.┬áLet perseverance finish its work, so that you may be complete in your faith, lacking no good thing.”

Step 3 . Recognize the source of your abuse

I was so angry for so long at my abuser that I literally began to pray that God would wipe him off the face of the Earth. I know most Ex-Wives have prayed this once or twice (Christian or not).

We are reminded of the words, those horrific words spoken over us. They follow us around like a stray dog. For some of you, you remember broken bones or bruises, or midnight visits to the hospital. And your children may even remember you being beaten or verbally ridiculed. Some of your abusers were parents who you trusted with your life, yet they robbed you of that trust and took advantage of you. God understands.

I can promise you that if you are in a position that you have to have contact with your abuser, choose to love him as God has loved you in this way: See him as a creation of God, tormented by an enemy (the same enemy you have), yet he is not strong enough to fight back.

The one thing I can say is that if you choose to release your abuser, you will begin to see that the source of your pain is not from the man himself-but from the Devil.

Those slanderous words and accusations, were not from your abuser. They were from the source of all hate , jealousy, envy and strife -They were from Satan himself. Attempting to steal what’s most precious inside of you: your joy, your faith in God, and your faith in yourself. If he can steal those three things he has won. Don’t let him win! Don’t let him steal another second of your joy that God has freely given to you! Don’t let him steal another tear from your eyes! Next time there is a slanderous text message or a nasty email simply delete it, cast your care on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7), and go about your day. We can choose to not allow Satan to steal more than he’s already stolen.

If we choose to live in misery, it’s like opening our purse and asking for someone to rob us every day. Who wants that kind of life? I certainly don’t. Choose to forgive in small steps everyday. This may cost a few months, or years, of conscience effort, journaling, and prayer, but it will be worth it in the end and God will give you the reward!


WHY Women Stay In Abusive Marriages

1) Nowhere to turn.  In most, if not all cases of emotional and physical abuse (including rape), women report they had no support system to get out of the relationship, and stay out. 
2) They feel trapped financially.  As was my case, the home my husband and I shared was (according to Illinois laws) “premarital property”…I was married and shared a home with my husband and two children for seven years, and had NO rights to my own home…literally leaving me and my kids to the street the day I chose to leave with whatever was left in our joint checking account (assuming he didn’t withdraw every last dime online the second I left).  With no job, prospects, or college education, most moms have the overwhelming responsibility to care for the kids. And sharing a home with her abuser is never an option, as the abuse will certainly get worse should she draw the line. 

3) Guilt & shame.  When women are in any type of abusive relationship, there’s NEVER just bruises. Don’t believe that lie. Behind the disguise of makeup and a fake smile, are wounds of emotional guilt and shame. When men beat their wives they never just walk up to them and punch them in the face. They pick and choose women with low self-esteem, body insecurities, and the ideal is a woman with no standard for what she will put up with in a relationship, let alone expectations from her man.  The added guilt of sex as the abuse has ensued adds to the stew of guilt.  So knowing she has already stayed too long…given her body and soul to this “man” for years or even decades, the guilt has repeatedly drilled her with the age old accusation: “If it was really so bad, you should’ve left already.”  Now this woman is being accused by her own mind, not just her partner.  

4) Her trust is already seared.   I remember not even trusting a single person with my secret because my family knew, his family knew, and they didn’t help. At all.  So how was I supposed to trust anyone else?  I even called the police one time that my husband trapped me and my son in the house, and they said if he didn’t hit me, they couldn’t arrest him.  Press charges, nada. “Just leave” the one officer suggested.  I felt faint. Where would I go?  How would we survive?  Which leads to my next reason:

5) Isolation.  The same reason most suisides occur, is that humans; when we feel we’ve exhausted every option, isolate.   We stop talking (no one will listen), we stop seeking solutions (there seems no end in sight), and we decide we are the only person who won’t reject us. Which is also a lie, because that shame and guilt from staying in the abusive relationship festers, and as the abuse continues.  We are alone with the abuser, who only confirms our guilt and shame, that we are not worthy.  

Part 2 Will examine what happens “when a woman stays” and how her family will be affected.