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This post may be triggering as it contains sensitive subject matter detailing situations of domestic violence. Read at your own discretion.
He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
I remember it like it happened yesterday. I can still hear her screaming. I can still hear myself screaming. I can still hear each and every horrid word those monsters yelled at us. I can still see her lying there, unconscious in a pool of blood, with her head in the wall. I can still see them coming after me. I thought she was dead. I thought I was next.
I can still feel the unfathomable terror... I was sure I was going to die...
I don't want to live with these memories. And I don't want to constantly re-live them whenever things around me start to get heated and out of control. But there is nothing I can do when I become paralyzed by the memories of my mother being beaten nearly to death by not just one, but two of her former boyfriends. Whenever those gruesome memories come raging back like cannonballs each time tempers rise in my household, they have a Darth Vader-like death-grip on me. I become as weak and helpless as a small child as those memories rage like a storm through my mind, choking the life out of me. This is a result of severe PTSD.
Whenever my husband or sons' voices rise, or sibling rivalry breaks out into World War III in my living room, or a pissed of teen boy puts his fist through the wall -- any inkling of violence or perceived violence is a trigger that sends me into a frightening state of dissociation and flashbacks. I become completely hysterical as I sob and wail uncontrollably, in attempt to escape an unseen assailant.
My beloved husband and sweet boys are always left confused and bewildered, and utterly powerless to sooth or comfort me whenever this happens.
And the guilt, shame, resentment, and all those ugly feelings start to set in. It tears me apart. And it tears my family apart.
Coping with my own confusion and shame during moments like these have been painful enough. But I cannot even begin to imagine how my husband must feel as he witnesses his beautiful bride become a hysterical mess of snot and tears. I cannot even fathom just how difficult it has been for my precious sons for to understand why Mom instantly becomes a helpless five-year-old little girl screaming and crying as if she were about to die. I honestly do not believe that they can fully grasp that in their minds at that moment, Mom really is a helpless five-year-old little girl that is about to be killed by a very evil man. They struggle to understand that these are the effects of severe PTSD.
My beloved boys know that their mother has suffered and endured a lot of serious trauma. But they do not know all of the hideous and gruesome details. And what they do know, is far too much for any child to have to bear, no matter how strong of a man he is.
Being the only woman in a household filled with the ever-changing testosterone levels of four hot-headed men has been life's greatest challenge for me. I know that God never meant for me to fear my own family when He in all His wisdom and holiness blessed me with my wonderful husband and three incredible sons. I believe that He meant for me love them fiercly and to learn from them. And I have! In myriad ways!
I was five-years-old the first time I witnessed my mother being beaten nearly to death by an ex-boyfriend. I was eight-years-old the second time. Two different men. The same scenario. Both of these monsters were heavy drinkers and addicted to pretty hardcore drugs. Both of these monsters sexually abused me. Both of these monsters beat my mother nearly to death when she finally got up the courage to say, "no more money for booze and drugs". Both of these monsters came after me in a rage with only one intention -- to kill me -- when they left my mother unconscious in a pool of her own blood with her head in a wall.
I don't believe that any of us as children believe that we will one day grow up to have such an overwhelming fear of men.
But it happens. It happened to me. The experiences that I have suffered and endured have had profound and detrimental effects on me, my marriage, and my precious sons. Though my husband and sons are my heart and soul, the blood that runs through my veins, I feared them. Immensely. And sometimes, though it hurts like Hell, and I don't mean to, I still do. It doesn't take much for this grown woman to morph into a helpless little girl. And it breaks my heart into pieces that my beloved family just doesn't understand why.
Raising three boys has been my greatest challenge. A challenge that I often feel that I have failed miserably. How can a woman love someone so much that she would give her last breath for them without a single thought, if only it meant that they would have one more -- and have such crippling fear of them at the same time?
What lessons did God intend for me to learn by giving a woman with a crippling fear of men a house full of them?
While I do not have even the slightest clue of all the details of God's plan for my life, I do know that His Word tells me that His plans for me are for good and not evil, (Jeremiah 29:11) I do know that God's Word tells me not to lean on my own understanding, but to simply acknowledge, and trust in Him, that He will direct my path. (Proverbs 3:5-6) I do know that in the Holy Word of God, He tells me 365 times not to fear. That is a daily reminder that no matter what has happened in the past, or what might happen in the future, I have no need to be afraid. WHY? Because God's Word is a living promise that He has never once left my side, and He NEVER, EVER will! (Deuteronomy 31:6, Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, 1Kings 8:57, 1Chronicles 28:20, Psalms 37:28, Psalms 94:14, Isaiah 41:17, Isaiah 42:16, Hebrews 13:5, Colossians 3:16.)
Of course, these lessons have been difficult, and even excruciatingly painful. But I am grateful and blessed beyond imagining that He and I are both still working on this together with tenacity and fervency. And because of His unfailing love and tender mercies for me, I know deep within my heart that my heavenly Father will continue teaching me to trust in Him. The more I trust in my heavenly Father to love me, cherish me, protect me, and care for me, the more that I will be able to trust that my beloved husband and sons will always do the same.
Trust, of course, does not come easily to those who have endured such horrific trauma. Neither does understanding.
It is simply not possible for a little girl so young and tender to understand why she witnessed evil men beat her mother nearly to death and then try to kill her too. Nor is it even conceivable that a young woman who had endured such atrocities could ever believe that not all men are like those who inflicted such terror.
But I do not have to remain this way. Neither do you sister. If you are still with me reading this post with tissue in hand; maybe it's because you have been there too? Perhaps you too have witnessed your own mother being brutally attacked? Maybe it was you who have endured such hellish and brutal beatings?
Sister, you are not alone! Nor do you have to carry the heaviness that you have been carrying for so long. Jesus loves you more than you can imagine. He longs to take that heaviness and carry it for you. Lay it down at His feet beautiful sister. Lay it all down, so that you will not be crushed by the heavy weight you have carried for so long.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Take His hand sister. You have nothing to lose but the heaviness of the burden you carry.