(If there are affiliate links in this post, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you)).
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Melanie Pickett on Your Hope-Filled Perspective with Dr. Michelle Bengtson (Hope for Healing from Physical and Domestic Abuse). Melanie is a survivor of domestic violence. Because I don’t want one more person going through such a horrific ordeal, I’ve asked Melanie to share more of her insights here.
5 Things You Need to Know About Domestic Violence
By Melanie Pickett
Eight years ago, I had barely survived the end of an abusive marriage. My first husband of 15 years had been abusive most of the union in one form or another including physical abuse. The marriage came to a traumatic end when he ambushed me in our home, sexually assaulted me at gunpoint, and took his own life in front of me.
It has been a long road to a new path for me and my children who were then 9 and 13, such tender ages. They were full of questions I didn’t have answers to. Our lives were turned upside down and I had questions of my own: Where would we live? How would we live? How could we ever heal? How could I help them heal and be healthy?
God was with us each and every step. I firmly believe He spared my life that day. He has allowed me to be here for and with my children. He has lifted us up, propelled us forward into unknown territory, and we had to trust Him every baby step of the way.
Here we are, not completely healed. Some things still hurt. I struggle with some PTSD and anxiety as a result of the trauma. But God has allowed me to speak and write about domestic violence and use my story to educate others. I want women to know the red flags of abusive and domestic violence relationships so you can avoid them and know they can heal from this painful abuse, and to have hope for their future. You will find happiness again.
There are 5 things you should know about domestic violence:
It’s More Than Hitting
Sometimes people feel they are “lucky” that their mate isn’t hitting them, but are engaging in other types of abuse like financial, verbal, emotional, even sexual. Abuse is abuse. All of it is damaging and dangerous. While you may feel verbal abuse is less violent, it is violent nonetheless and can turn into physical violence at any time.
You Don’t Deserve This
Just because you’ve stuck around in an abusive relationship, it never means you asked for it or deserve it. You are not responsible for someone else’s behavior. Leaving a relationship like this is so complex and unless you’ve been in one, it’s very hard to even begin to understand why women or men stay. They fear being harmed if they leave. They fear losing their children to the abuser. They don’t have anywhere to go or don’t have access to finances to get to safety. Their abuser likely has convinced them they simply can’t function on their own. Don’t blame yourself.
An Abuser Tells You Lies
Like I just mentioned, the abuser may have convinced you that you simply cannot survive without them. Total control is the end game of an abuser. They want to isolate you from family and friends so you don’t have anywhere to go, don’t have anyone to confide in, and don’t have anyone to help you. They may systematically attempt to turn you away from your loved ones. They will do their best to convince you that you aren’t capable of making even simple decisions like what to wear or how to cook easy meals. They will correct or belittle everything you do in an effort to whittle your confidence and self-esteem into smithereens. Remember that there are people who love you and will be there for you. There are people who understand what you’re struggling through.
You Need to Make a Lifesaving Plan
It is said that the time when a woman (or man…let’s remember they can be abuse victims too) leaves the relationship or plans to, is the most dangerous time in the relationship. The abuser perceives loss of control and that’s when we hear about terrible tragedies in the news, the horrific family-ending violence. This is why it’s so very important to have a plan in place. Reach out to an agency in your area. Talk to a friend, a relative, or a pastor. Make a plan to get your children and yourself to safety. That’s the number one priority. Don’t worry about your possessions or where you’ll live. Don’t worry about money. Don’t worry about anything else yet except getting yourselves safe.
You Can Survive and Heal
This is such a scary time for you, I get it. If you’re outside the abusive relationship, you probably feel terrified and lost. God will meet you at your knees. In fact, He will meet you anywhere. There is absolutely no shame in starting over, even in staying at a resource center or women’s shelter for a while so you can find your feet. They will guide you in sorting things out, discovering your options, and keeping you safe. God has something beautiful for you. He promises a future and a hope, good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11). He will never leave you or forsake you. He will be your husband, your provider, and your protection. Trust in Him and allow Him to work in your life.
Know this: You are not damaged goods. You have suffered and survived something terrible. You are now a survivor and your life has purpose. Choose that. Choose not to live in victimhood. Go forward. Breathe. Acknowledge your feelings. Find a biblical therapist. Depend on others until you can depend on yourself. You will be alright again.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) is a place to start to get help if you don’t have anyone local. Start here. Take that step. If you’re reading this, I have already prayed for you.
Recommended Resources for Domestic Violence and Abuse:
- Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend
- The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker
- One Call Away by Brenda Warner
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
About Melanie Pickett
Melanie Pickett is a mother, wife, writer, and trauma survivor. She is currently writing her first nonfiction book and shares her story and encouragement on her blog melaniespickett.com. Melanie encourages women to know their worth in Christ, shares how to choose wisely in all types of relationships, and inspires hope after painful trauma. Melanie’s writing has appeared on the mental health blog Defying Shadows, HuffPost, BlogHer, Whole Magazine, and other online publications, and she’s been interviewed for a variety of blogs and podcasts.
To connect with Melanie S. Pickett:
Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook
Thank you so much, Melanie and Dr. Michelle for sharing this message with us!! It is powerful message of HOPE in the midst of a dark and perverse generation for sure.We had two mass shootings the past few days and in one of the shootings, domestic disturbance was sited as the cause. I have known one family member who left an abusive relationship and is so thankful. I so appreciate you both sharing this very difficult time in your life, Melanie, so that I can sit down and thank you Lord for this
Karen, I’m so grateful for folks like Melanie being willing to share from their experience in order to help others. Truly that is an example of what the enemy intended for harm, God is using for good!
Thank you, Michelle and Melanie! Michelle thanks for hosting Melanie’s story on your blog, and Melanie thanks for being so transparent and sharing your story. I’m sure this post will help many.
Pinned and tweeted.
Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
We want to address real life issues to encourage others and offer a hope-filled perspective in a time and place where hope is so desperately needed. I pray that in doing so, it helps others in their time of need.
Thank you for sharing these 5 things as it also helps those of us that suspects or knows someone is being abused. I am going to save this post to a page I use to share with any chatters (I’m a hope coach) that come seeking help, that are abusive situation.
I’m so glad that Melanie’s wisdom is something you’ll be able to use others who need it.
So sorry Melanie, you ever went through that. I know it is difficult not to rethink things or why they happened. Praying your story helps many people. And I do think women should look for those red flags in boys behavior.
I think some times we don’t even know what to look for or what to ask until we go through something. Life has a way of being a very important teacher. I’m grateful that Melanie has shared her wisdom with us here.
Since we have October coming I wanted to share this link. https://alsoadaughtersgiftoflove.blogspot.com/2017/09/halo-moon.html
Thank you for sharing Rebecca. Good luck with that 31-day challenge.
It was two years ago and she’s not doing one this year, I should have edited that.
Wow–that’s a lot of trauma to go through. 🙁 Praying for all victims of domestic abuse, in whatever forms it takes. Your wisdom here is insightful for those of us who haven’t had to live through this, thank God.
Lisa, I’m grateful for women like Melanie who are willing to share from their experience to help others. We all have experiences that could benefit others, and sharing our testimony serves to give God glory.
Thanks for sharing this practical and achievable tips. I hope many women use them.
Thank you Aletha, it’s my prayer that this encourages someone who needs it today.
Thanks, Dr. Michelle and Melanie. This is a subject that isn’t talked about much and there are so many women who need to hear this message. Many suffer in silence and believe there is no way out, and no life for them after if they do leave the relationship. Melanie, I appreciate your courage in sharing. As a fellow survivor of domestic violence, it took many years for me to be able to tell my story publicly. The first time was on an international mission trip where I thought no one from home would ever hear (except for my team members). But since that time, the Lord has allowed me to speak to women on several occasions but it’s still hard, and you experienced something that I can’t even comprehend. So thankful for the Lord’s healing and restoration and that He works through the good, the bad and even in the unbearable to make a difference in the lives of others when we let him.