Category Archives: motherhood

Life on the Other Side

leap of faithJournal Entry:

March 11, 2003

 I now look at life differently.  My children are more precious to me than ever.  I love to hear them laugh and to daily tell them I love them and kiss them good-night.  Colors seem more vivid.  The breeze on my skin is fresh and invigorating.  I find myself smiling for no good or apparent reason.  It is as though I have peeled off my old life, and a brand new one is emerging.  At 43, can life really begin again?  If so, I pray that I am living proof of it.

 My emotions are all so intense — whether joy or sadness, peace or turmoil.  Everything I am feeling seems to have been impassioned by some unseen force.  What is going on?  What has happened to me?  Is this a natural phenomenon that all people experience when they have gone through a tragic divorce, or a short-term phase in life which leads only back to mediocrity?  God forbid.  Is it because my depression and fear had held me in bondage for so long that now I am finally experiencing the true range of emotions which were trapped beneath the surface?  That is exactly how it feels.  And, I fear the possibility of going back into that dreadful prison.  Even feeling the pain in its fullness far surpasses the numbness which came from locking it inside, running from it, believing I could somehow override it. 

 So, this is what life is like.  What angels long to peer into.  I’ll take it.

Continue reading Life on the Other Side

Can the Relationship Be Saved?

hurting heartFrom time to time, an abuse victim will ask me, “Do you believe our relationship can be saved?”  Instantly, I feel the weight of it, for the question is filled with untold emotion and self-doubt.

I have a pretty good idea where she is coming from.  If she is anything like I was, the abuse victim has staked her future on a hope that she can somehow hold things together while helping the abuser to work through his issues, believing she might possess some intangible quality that will ultimately move him to address not only his unhealthy behaviors, but his very nature.  So for the victim, it is the investment of herself she seeks to redeem, as surely it would be a terrible waste to forfeit that which has consumed so much of her life’s energy if, by some miracle, a favorable outcome may be imminent. 

But, what if it becomes apparent that all of her efforts have amounted to nothing?  Submitting to such a hard truth will inflict pain enough.  The admission will add another layer of uncertainty to her already stressful life, and she will face the judgment of many who will hastily conclude that it was she who failed.  Continue reading Can the Relationship Be Saved?

Charla’s Story About Brett

With her permission, I would like to share this story my eldest child, Charla, wrote for her college psychology class. It is about Brett, my youngest son. I shared an earlier piece about him that you can read here. 

Yesterday, I had a group presentation in my psychology class about depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide.  Each us had a different section and mine was depression.  We agreed to pick real-life examples of people who struggle(d) with each of these things.  At the beginning of our presentation, we had picture cards with a blurb of the person’s story on the back.  We picked several people to get up in front of the class to show the picture and read the blurb to everyone.

My real-life example was about Brett.

An older man, Tom, agreed to read Brett’s story to the class.  On the front of the card was this picture:

brett lil boy

And on the back, Tom read this blurb to the class:

My name is Brett.  I love superheroes, music, and my brother and sister.  I am only 7-years-old when I start going through depression.  My dad is a drug addict and an alcoholic, and he is verbally and emotionally abusive toward me.  My mom tries to protect me, but she has to be away from the house during the day because she works to support our family.  I am afraid to be alone in the house with my dad.  I can’t force myself to smile or laugh.  I spend most days hiding in my room, and eating to make myself feel better.  I don’t believe that anyone truly loves me.  I am not even sure that I am worth loving.

It was so touching because, during the middle, Tom got all choked up and he struggled to finish reading it.  As he went to sit down, my professor said, “Wow.  That must’ve been really hard to read.”

Later on in my presentation, I shared a bit more of Brett’s story with this slide: Continue reading Charla’s Story About Brett

Seven Long Years

“Time, whose tooth gnaws away at everything else, is powerless against truth.” – Thomas Huxley

The above quote has become one of my favorites because I am certain that, in the end, the truth will be revealed.  I also know that some lies are served up so consistently and convincingly that it can be difficult to see what is true through the thick fog of deception, and there is no way of knowing how much time may pass before the truth is clearly visible.  It was for seven long years that such a fog succeeded in alienating my son from me.

My story is not uncommon.  I know many parents who have either lost – or fear losing – their children to a lie, and it is for this reason I have chosen to share this story.

After separating from my abusive husband, it was not long before he went on the offensive.  He began to offer up a fictitious history about our marriage, to plant seeds of doubt about my character, my commitment and my faith in the minds of those willing to listen.  He also used the time he spent with our four children to attempt to undermine my credibility in their young eyes. Though he urged secrecy from them, they would sometimes hesitantly pose questions to me regarding damning falsehoods their father had shared about me. The woman he described to our kids was someone I did not know, and there were occasions when I was put in the awkward position of having to correct our kids’ understanding.  It was heartbreaking to know that our kids had been put into a position where they had to choose whom or what to believe.  For the most part, I felt confident that the significant contrast between our former home life and the new life we had come to appreciate was evidence enough. Continue reading Seven Long Years

What About The Children?

It is better to be from a broken home than to live in one.”

I wish I knew the name of the pastor I heard on the radio who offered up that stunning statement. I’ll admit my surprise knowing it was a pastor who said it. I remember smiling to  myself and exclaiming aloud, “Thank you.” For what he shared is something rarely heard.

For an abuse victim who dares to reveal to her friends and family members her inclination to leave her abuser, she often hears something quite different than what the pastor asserted. She will more likely hear, “What about the children?”

There it is: an emotional trump card, a ticking time bomb. Any convictions about escaping the emotional harm she and her children might face on a daily basis are at once upended and she finds herself catapulted into visions of an unavoidably disastrous future. Could it be that perhaps separating from the abuser will only make things worse? Is it true that a child is better off in an abusive household where both parents are present than in a broken home?

Continue reading What About The Children?