When Abuse is “Normal”

About a year ago, when I began timidly wading through the mess of my brokenness, I began experiencing distance in many of my relationships. This was completely unexpected.

The books I was reading and the questions I was asking…the stories I was beginning to share…all of it opened a door to a fresh kind of heartbreak.

There were two main responses: encouragement and doubt.

The people who encouraged me told me I was brave. They told me that Jesus was clearly working in me and healing me in deep ways. These people listened to me and cheered me on. They validated me. Agreed with me. Told me they were honored to watch my journey. And the dearest ones cautioned me to keep my heart in check so that bitterness would not overwhelm my healing.

The people who doubted me told me I was “playing the victim”. They told me if I really loved Jesus then I would have forgiven all the brokenness, and that forgiveness means trusting your abusers even if  they have never changed or apologized or admitted to their actions. They disagreed with me. Questioned whether I was full of hate. Told me I was lying. Ultimately, many of them stepped out of relationship with me or our relationships drastically changed. Because when abuse is “normal” it’s actually really hard to see it for what it is. It takes a level of personal willingness and bravery. And you know what? Its ok if you get there ahead of others. Its lonely. But its ok.

I cannot say how deep the hurt goes…when you have come from dark to light, from suicide to joy, from self-harm to confidence and then you are brushed aside as you begin to speak out loud all the things…

It’s like all the years of abuse happen all over again in an instant.

Its exhausting…

Can I just say, that if you identify with this for even a moment, you are not alone?

There is a road along which the broken walk toward healing and wholeness. It’s a journey that begins with deep valleys and crevices and ends in joyous calm.

Right now, you might only be able to crawl. That’s ok.

Right now, you might feel like going back. That’s ok. But don’t.

How you feel right now is not a reflection of the outcome of your journey. It’s just a small part of your travels.

Behind you, there were the scars and the tears and the heaviness.

Ahead there are healed wounds and joy and peace for your soul.

Oh! Lift up your face. And look, and look, and look…don’t you see that? That dark horizon changing? That is the hope you’ve been waiting for.

Now go and catch it.

Even if you have to crawl…

Published by Alicia Dean

Truth seeker and story-teller.

2 thoughts on “When Abuse is “Normal”

    1. Yes. In a lot of ways, the healing of the past year or so has been sort of “forced” on me. And even in that, I can see God’s hand.


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