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?

Today, a full decade after signing off on my divorce decree, I have to say from my experience that the pastor’s sentiment makes perfect sense. Having seen both sides, being from a broken home is far superior to living in one. I also recognize that some will contest that statement and insist that a life of separate households and the blow of a severed marital relationship are somehow more destructive. That is someone else’s story to tell. This is mine.

When I finally left with our four children, the kids were between the ages of 6 and 13. My relationship with my husband had deteriorated to such a state that I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The five of us lived in a constant state of fear, and the children struggled with various degrees of depression, anxiety and anger, which was most evident in the two eldest. I had done what I thought was right to maintain some semblance of normalcy, stand up for the kids when I caught my husband being overly harsh with them, deflect his anger to myself, and try to create a “happy” home. The abuse had increased so incrementally over time that I had a hard time seeing the magnitude of the dysfunction, the massive weight of oppression under which we strived to survive. Maybe tomorrow things will be different, I used to think. Maybe tomorrow he’ll care. Tomorrow never came. All of my good intentions failed. Our lives never improved; in fact, they became increasingly worse.

Looking back, I can see how each child responded uniquely to the abuse, the separation and our recovery based upon their ages, personalities, perceptions and history. We have all had to work hard to reclaim our value and rebuild our lives individually and as a family. The life we share now is healthy and safe, nothing even remotely like the hell we were living in before we left.

There were several things I was able to do for my children to help them get from that place of brokenness to a place of emotional health and stability.

First: I had to admit to the harm.

In most cases, while trying to live in an abusive relationship, our tendency is to overlook, minimize or blatantly deny the abuse. We rationalize that our abuser’s actions are simply consistent with male or fatherly behavior. We remind our children that their father really loves them or attempt to diminish their anguish by using pathetic excuses like, “He doesn’t mean it,” or “He’s just going through a hard time right now.” What we are really saying is that our children’s feelings are not as important as their father’s right to treat them badly.

Once we finally break out and acknowledge to ourselves the depth of the harm that has been done, it is vital to affirm the truth to our kids; not to burden them with our stories (which should not be borne by them), but to acknowledge theirs.

The night my kids and I left, we hurriedly packed up our most vital possessions and loaded up my van. I came out with a last armful to see the kids all sitting in their seats in silence, tears streaming down every child’s face. So, I stopped everything, and we went inside and sat down together to discuss the answer to the unspoken question: What was happening to our family?

After explaining briefly why we had to leave, I asked them what was going on with them. One by one, they timidly began to share their own experiences, things that had happened in my absence, terrible words that had been said, secrets they were expected to keep. As each child shared, they all became empowered to speak up. After they finished, I simply said to them, “I am so sorry. That is abuse, and it’s wrong. We are not going to live that way anymore.” The words absolutely seemed like too-little-too-late, but on the other hand, I suppose it was more akin to better-late-than-never. The admission was critical, and I saw in their eyes an immediate response, visible evidence of hope.

Second: Give them a voice.

The dance of dysfunction continued for many more years, even after John moved out and the kids and I moved home. John’s hide-the-ball attempts to address his addictions, abuse and his wandering eye failed, largely because my children were now empowered to share their experiences with me. They began to tell all, and when they talked, I listened, and they appreciated that I took their complaints seriously. Even my youngest daughter, only 6 at the time, didn’t hesitate to say, “Mommy, I need to talk to you about something.” It gave the children value and the freedom to identify actions and situations that they knew were clearly inappropriate.

It meant a lot of confrontation between their dad and I, and he hated that his coerciveness had been exposed, but now the kids and I were all working together to acknowledge the truth and speak the truth so that I could better confront it. I got all of the kids into counseling, so that they could also speak to someone objective about their experiences and even share their disappointments about me as their mother, which they had every right to work through. In many ways, I had absolutely failed them. Whatever was necessary to achieve their healing and restore their sense of their own value; I wanted them to have it.

One woman who was trying to escape an abusive marriage told me how her teenage daughter was acting out and doing poorly in school, and the woman just wanted her daughter to knock it off, and she asked me if I had any suggestions. I asked my friend if she had spent any time with her daughter to find out what was going on in her daughter’s life, knowing that perhaps her daughter was struggling with what was going on at home. My friend looked at me like I was from another planet and dismissed my question completely. I fear the poor girl is simply begging by her actions to be seen and heard. Unfortunately, it seems that her mother simply doesn’t want to be bothered.

Third: Help them to feel secure and loved.

I always wanted them to feel safe at home, but that whole dynamic had been obliterated by the abuse. For example, on Saturday mornings, the kids and I would get up before their dad and have a great time eating cereal, sitting in the family room together and watching cartoons. When we would hear his footsteps on the stairs, I think a tremor of anxiety ran through us all, and we would go silent. Sure enough, upon descending, John would begin barking orders to the kids and tell us to turn over the remote, because we had had enough fun, and it was his turn to watch what he wanted.

I never wanted them to feel that way again. We had to rebuild and reclaim what we had lost.

Although I worked full-time, I arranged an adjusted schedule so that I could get home earlier to have more of an evening with them – to converse over dinner, help with homework or be available to talk. I basically cleared my calendar. Other than lunch with friends from work or going out for coffee occasionally, my very purposeful intent was to restore their sense of security by being available to hug, help and hear them – to remind them daily for as long as necessary that I wasn’t going anywhere. It was time and energy well-spent.

I have heard of some parents who, upon separating, immediately move into the singles scene, or live their lives as though nothing traumatic has occurred. The children are left in a state of constant doubt as to what is going to happen to them and whether the custodial parent also intends to leave. And we wonder why they become depressed or anxious or sick or end up on drugs or alcohol or become promiscuous or end up with an eating disorder. They simply need to know they are secure and loved. If you have the opportunity to give that to them, please make every effort to do so.

Fourth: Walk toward a new and better life.

We talked about our future. We all knew where we had come from. Now we needed to decide where we were going. In the end, what we wanted was a healthy, happy family where everyone felt safe, respected, accepted and supported. We had Friday family movie nights and watched Disney movies and ate pizza and microwave popcorn and laughed and sang along with the songs. We went out of town on vacation, if only for a couple of days, just to rediscover what it meant to drive a long distance and listen to whatever music we wanted to hear on the radio, to not live by one person’s schedule, to really relax without pressure or drama or guilt. All those simple things were so healing. My kids were free to claim and live a life that they all wanted. And I wanted that for them.

It has been a long, winding, rough road chock full of pitfalls and imperfection and struggles. The children still smart and grieve from many of the wounds they carry that were inflicted when their father lived with us – and since.  But what we have accomplished together, and the healing and faith and strength and wisdom and character and growth in my kids’ lives in the past ten years have been worth defending, worth striving for.

So what about the children? That question caused me to doubt my instincts and live in fear of the future for too long. In hindsight, seeing what my children endured, I have far more guilt for the years we stayed than for the years since we left. In truth, once we left, we stopped living a lie and embraced the truth: It is far better to be from a broken home than to live in one.

Cindy Burrell www.hurtbylove.com

copyright @ 2012 all rights reserved

39 thoughts on “What About The Children?”

  1. For my Christian Sisters and Brothers for consideration:

    Has anyone confronted your spouse about their behavior? How about yours? (1 John 1:9)
    How was their Walk with the Lord? How is it now?
    How was yours then? How is yours now?
    Are they willing to make and are making the positive changes in themselves to reconcile? Are you willing to to make those changes in yourself?
    – Are you praying for their change? (Romans 12:12)
    – Are you willing to give them the grace to change? (Hebrews 12:15)
    If they were willing and are working on it, did they repent? Have you? (James 5:16)
    If they repented, did you truly forgive? (Ephesians 4:32)
    If you forgave in accordance with Scripture, then you need seek His word on what God put together. (Mark 10:19)

    Christ in spite of being spit upon, cursed, yelled at, scourged so badly that ribs and backbone were visible, beaten with a cestus to the point of being nearly unrecognizable, crucified, stabbed, having His knees broken, and suffocating to death, chose obedience instead His feelings. Our faith is dyed with the blood of those who chose obedience to His unchanging word than their own temporary feelings.

    I’m not advocating that you stay in an unrepentant and abusive marriage; I am advocating that if your spouse is truly repentant, is seeking reconciliation, and is actively turning their lives around, that you seek them out and work this out in accordance with the Gospel – in mutual peace, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

    1. Dear Chris,
      I am new to this site, but as a survivor of a 23 year abusive, alcoholic marriage who is still not fully free (he got the kids) I must respond to your post. First, I agree with all that Cindy and Barbara said in their replies. But if it will spare even one Christian woman who may see your post from tortuous guilt-laden second-guessing, I must add the following:

      Confrontation: This is usually not safe to do in an abusive marriage. Sometimes it happens inappropriately in moments of anger and verbal self-defense, but most of the time, an abused woman knows it is not safe to confront her abuser about his behavior. As my pastor put it to me, the Bible is a book of principles about how to live our Christian life, not a comprehensive contract. (Yes, it is the literal and inerrant Word of God. I am passionately in love with the Word of God which is why I don’t like seeing it wielded as an instrument of shame in order to control.) In a reasonable, regular relationship, where there is general goodwill one can safely go to another, and/or then bring a second person and confront, in love, for the purposes of reconciliation. But the scripture also says ‘…as far as it depends on me’ I am to live at peace with others. There is an endpoint to how far one is expected to go – the other party bears responsibility too. The story of Abigail and Nabal brings this point home well. Abigail was informed by the servants of the household – they did not go to Nabal and confront him about his inhospitable behavior to David – they knew based on their experience with him that this would not be a wise or safe move. Abigail in return, made her plans, in order to save the household (protective mother) from the consequences of his actions, and left the estate without telling him. Almost always, by the time someone in an abusive or addicted relationship is prepared to leave – the confrontation stage is long past. A woman who has not sought recovery resources will have confronted the abuser/addict many times very early on – to no avail – and often with costly consequences. It is only when she finally is ready to end the relationship and leave the marriage that this concept will rear its head and create a sense of false guilt. Who is the accuser of the brethren? Who would want a victim, a Christian actively pursuing the Lord’s agenda for her life, to remain in an unhealthy, unsafe situation? By the way, there is nothing against separating from the abuser, making sure one is in a safe, secret location and THEN taking someone along in order to confront – if that is what is necessary for the woman to feel she has carried out her own biblical responsibility.

      [David confronted Goliath with a slingshot – we need to begin seeing that many women are trapped in marital situations akin to a war..and extend grace to THEM.]

      Walk with the Lord: Evaluating an active addict/abuser’s walk with the Lord is an exercise in futility. The bible teaches that we will know Christians by their fruit. If the husband is screaming, deriding, hitting, isolating and oppressing his spouse or others – his walk is not where it should be. That’s assuming he was not lying about his own salvation in order to attract the woman in the first place. As for the woman’s walk…any woman reading this who is mentally preparing to leave will doubt her walk with the Lord – so I say this for their sake not yours – It can’t be perfect. Do the best you can to make sure there is no ongoing sin in your life, because it will inhibit your fellowship and ability to hear from the Lord correctly, but know that you do not have to be perfect to leave your abuser. Even if you are struggling with various temptations, mistakes and problems – it is okay to leave abuse. You matter. You are valuable to God. YOU MATTER!

      Positive changes: The very phrasing of these questions gives away what has become a growing and dangerous problem within American Christianity today — the influence of humanism. There ARE moral absolutes! There is evil! We are born with a sin nature. Sometimes there is one person who is the enemy, who is wrong, who is committing evil. Even in a marital relationship – there can be a bad guy! Your questions imply an equally shared burden to solve the abuser’s problem. This, in my opinion, (formed from many years of observation), is rooted in humanism. Contemporary American culture has adopted the ‘Well, you must acknowledge your part in the failure of the marriage’ litany. This originates from the belief that people are basically good in nature, therefore no one person is responsible for the ‘mistakes’ which led to failure of the relationship. I spent the last 14 years of my marriage trying to save it and I’m here to tell you that an abuser knows what he is doing is wrong – that’s one of the reasons he has to work so hard to keep his victims isolated – to stop them from talking and exposing his evil! It is my personal goal and ministry objective to see this attitude changed and returned to a biblically based view – at least inside the Body of Christ. The church treats marital relationships completely differently than other situations. If a man on the street were to commit the same crimes against a woman as her husband does, there would be a hue and cry, an effort to incarcerate the offender and no expectation that the woman shares any responsibility for the evil committed against her… but this is not the case and too many pastors fail to see (refuse to see) this awful acceptance of criminal acts against their female members.

      Prayer, grace and repentance: Most women in addicted/abusive relationships have worn out their knees praying for their mate. These questions and the way they are phrased, again put the burden on the woman/victim – which a good codependent will immediately internalize and take to mean that she can affect change in her husband…that it’s all about what she can do to ‘help’ him change. This is a false view. Again, I am saying this for any woman who may be reading your post and feeling as if she should do more. We cannot ‘fix’ our abusers. It is not about what we may DO. It is about what God will do, in HIS timing, with a cooperative spirit – and the cooperative spirit I am referring to is the abuser’s. Unless and until he is ready to accept God’s work in his life – real change, true change, will not happen. And that brings me to grace and repentance. My abuser, at the time of our divorce made certain that many people in our circle believed that he wanted the marriage to work and was begging for a ‘second chance.’ However, what he failed to share with our friends, church mates and pastor was that this was not the second chance – it was more like the 22nd chance… the difference was that I did not make all the other chances public. When I finally filed legal action, when I was completely done, THEN he took his ‘last chance’ seriously. Prior to that, I had tolerated numerous episodes of phony repentance and temporary change – which lasted just long enough to keep me from leaving and to become emotionally invested in the relationship again. To those contemplating escaping an abusive relationship/marriage: You can pray, extend grace and observe if genuine repentance exists – from a safe place – you are not required to remain in abuse.

      [Note: It’s been ten years since I filed. His ‘repentance’ lasted until he succeeded in gaining full legal and primary physical custody during our 26 month divorce. His abuse of me continues – through our children.]

      Forgiveness: Forgiveness is something between us and God. It frees us. Again, we see the influence of humanism in current attitudes about forgiveness. Forgiveness does not eliminate consequences. Forgiveness does not mean everything is suddenly okay and the relationship can move forward as if nothing happened. In contemporary American culture we often see public figures come forward and ask for forgiveness – which in their mind means ‘do not hold me to the consequences of my actions’. Forgiveness is a DECISION, an act of the will, rooted in obedience to God, but it is also a PROCESS. Forgiveness and reconciliation are two very different things. Forgiveness is unconditional, I am commanded to forgive my abuser, whether or not he ever repents. Reconciliation is conditional and incremental. I am free to observe and determine for myself if change has occurred, if repentance is genuine, and if they have been in place long enough for me to feel certain the abuser is stable in his change and not likely to harm me ever again, BEFORE I choose to reconcile with him. And reconciliation takes place in stages – I am free to interact on a limited level or not at all. There are some people whom I am required to forgive but I am not necessarily required to continue in relationship with them anymore. (It is particularly important for victims of incest and sexual abuse to know they have this choice, to be able to make this distinction.)

      Finally, Christ CHOSE to lay down his life and be crucified for our redemption. This was a specific event, which he could have stopped at any time. There are other examples in scripture where Jesus FLED because he knew his life was in jeopardy. It wasn’t time. Contrary to the way you are framing these facts, it is His example that shows us we need to flee certain situations in order to continue discipling others, (our children), and serving God in our daily lives. Yes, God often uses people in difficult and even dangerous situations for His glory, but that is between Him and that servant. Using my own situation again — the first time I tried to leave, God closed all the doors and made it clear it was not time. The second time I wanted to leave, he asked me to stay awhile longer. The final time, I had set aside 30 days to pray, in order to make sure I had done everything I knew to do in order to save the marriage/family and the message was ‘leave’. Still, I did not trust this answer, because it was the one I wanted – so I took it to several very spiritually conservative friends and asked them to pray about it too and see if they had peace. (These three occasions were separated by several years each.) Returning to the concept of glory… God seeks to glorify Himself. This draws others to Him. The crucifixion of Christ glorified God and spread the message of the gospel. Stephen’s stoning glorified God – and he preached the message as he was about to be killed for his faith. Being psychologically abused to the point of a nervous breakdown or bloodied and left for dead on the kitchen floor does not glorify God. He can USE all the evil we experience for good – but evil does not originate with Him. He freed me from my marriage at exactly the right time for me – in spite of my imperfections – and exactly the right time for Him to use what I experienced to help others in the future.

      When an abuser/addict is truly repentant and actively in recovery, two things are present: humility and acceptance. Pride is absent and denial is broken. Even then, I personally recommend that a spouse who has fled the situation should wait a minimum of 12 months and possibly a full two years before agreeing to complete reconciliation / living together again. And by the way, your final paragraph is again putting the onus on the victim – if there has been authentic change – the perpetrator will seek her – and even then – she may have been so terrorized it is not in the best interests of her health to see him. Those are the earthly consequences of his actions. If he has changed, he will HUMBLY accept that mutual peace means letting her go.

      [By the way, you will note that I have used a pseudonym. I do not feel safe yet using my real name… Scars take time to heal – and for some of us getting out didn’t end the abuse.)

  2. Thanks for your kind comments, Cindy. I guess what I was trying to say is that we are all broken and regardless of whether we stay in an abusive relationship or leave one, there always will be consequences, especially for the children. I truly believe that as parents, we have a responsibility to remove ourselves and our children from harm’s way if the abuser does not accept responsibility for his or her behaviour and refuses to repent and seek help. When this is the case, there is no alternative but to leave and I applaud those who have the courage to do so. In no way did I suggest that someone stay and continue to be abused. My heart goes out to all who are faced with this decision and it was never my intention to imply that abuse is acceptable or normal.

  3. I felt like I was reading my own story written by someone else. Thank you! Even after a year and connecting with others who’ve BTDT it’s so helpful to read posts like this one and know I’m not alone.

  4. CIndy, how did the court rule that your children could visit your ex when they wanted to? I’m am hoping for the same thing – that my children can choose when they want to. Any advice would be appreciated – I only have my younger two at home now, and next year one of them leaves for college, so then it will just be my 12yr old daughter who is scared of my soon-to-be-ex.

    1. Hello, Connie. I appreciate your question. I recognize from others’ stories that my situation may have been a little unique. There were several circumstances that contributed to my getting primary custody and the kids’ being able to choose whether they spent time with their father or not.

      First, during our separation, I had always allowed my kids to spend time with their dad when they wanted. During the divorce process, I ended up getting a restraining order as a result of threats he made toward me. As a result of the order, we had a re-hearing regarding custody. When the kids and I met with the mediator, my husband went in and gave the mediator his most convincing show so that, when I met with her, she was convinced that I was a witch from hell trying to keep a devoted father from his beloved children.

      When I tried to share facts about my husband’s abusive history, the mediator remained accusatory. So I urged her to talk to the children. She met with each one separately, and I had to wait two weeks for the determination. I prayed for her like crazy.

      My eldest daughter (who was 14) did tell me after her meeting with the mediator that she told the mediator she would be afraid for her siblings spending time with their dad. When the court granted me primary custody and allowed the kids to choose, I suppose it was because I had proved that I was not trying to keep the kids from their father (under safe conditions), my husband had proven himself unsafe, my daughter’s concern, (I never asked the other kids about what was said), and prayer. In the midst of such a traumatic situation, I know I was blessed.

      I wish there was sure-fire formula. We all have to do the best we can with what we have to work with. And, if you have to go back to court from time to time for the kids’ sake, then go.

      Again, thanks for your question. Feel free to write me at the website or post on the forum.

  5. How do I know if my four kids will be more affected now when we are all together or if they will be more affected if we separate again and I am worried about financially providing for everyone when I haven’t worked in years. Two teenagers can tell me, at least if they are being honest, but the the 5 and 3 year old can’t. It is verbal and emotional abuse and I am on the line of asking him to leave.
    Help
    Kathy

    1. Hello Kathy.

      You know that what you are dealing with is abuse. Verbal and emotional abuse are no less harmful (and perhaps more harmful) than physical abuse, because it is so insidious and leaves lasting emotional wounds and scars. I pray that you will look for options. I think I mentioned before that you should be entitled to some financial support should you separate – and the odds are good that you will have to leave with your children. Abusers rarely leave voluntarily. It gives their victims too much power. And if you separate, I would urge you to strongly consider what the really means. Is it for the purpose of a temporary separation, with the expectation of lasting change? Or would it be a move toward a permanent separation or divorce? The answers to those questions are important. I don’t get the impression that your husband has any intention of changing.

      If you haven’t read, “Why the Abuse Victim Doesn’t Leave (In Six Words),” I hope you’ll take a look.

      You are welcome to write as you have need.

      Cindy

      Feel free to e-mail privately if you’d like.

  6. thank you so much for your powerful story. I am currently in an extremely emotionally abusive marriage. He goes beyond typical abuse and is just plain cruel to me and my oldest two children. He knows how to hurt them without leaving marks (pressure points, keeping your mouth wide open for an hour, standing for hours without moving, etc..). There is most definitely a lot of evil involved in someone who enjoys torturing two special needs children (He has told me he just doesn’t like special needs kids)! I had three children previous to the marriage and we have two children together, ages 4 and 1. I have only stayed because I fear for my two kids. When my husband is in a good mood (rare) he is loving and kind to his children, but when he is in a bad mood he yells at them, pushes them and scares them. He has never physically hurt my children (left a mark, I should say). I worry the most for the baby. My husband constantly reminds me that he ‘never wanted him’ and I tricked him into getting pregnant. He also mutters under his breath “I f*cking hate babies!” whenever he cries. On the few occasions I’ve had to leave the baby alone with him my husband puts him in his crib, closes the door and then puts on headphones so he won’t hear him scream. Unfortunately, I have no proof of this. He would deny it to a judge, and my sweet baby has no voice.

    This is why I stay.

    I am working earnestly on going back to work so I can be financially stable but the courts in our county/state do not recognize emotional abuse which would give him 50/50 at worst and every other weekend at best. I truly fear for my children being left alone with their dad. It only takes one time…

    Do you have any advice on this topic?

    My opening offer for legal separation is going to be for him to leave and me ‘buy’ the house from him so the kids don’t have to move. (He says daily how much he hates this house and he wants to live closer to work). But I’m sure he will do nothing cooperative even if it makes sense. Ditto for visitation.

    In fact, he has already told me several times if I ever try to leave him he will lie to the judge that he abuses the kids and I do too even if it means jail time for him. He also says he’ll lie to my ex so that I will lose my older kids. I do not doubt he would do that at all.

    He is mentally unstable and I am fearful of what he is capable of doing if I leave. The courts are reactive, not proactive, so there is no solace in relying on the court system to help me.

    1. Hello, Kat.

      I’m glad you found the website and took the time to write.

      Dear woman, I pray that you will do whatever you must to remove your children from that environment. I encourage you to share your secrets with people whom you trust and seek a safe place to go even if that means contacting a shelter to get away from him. The people who work at shelters are generally people who have been in similar situations, and they have information and resources available, too. Your husband’s mental instability must be taken seriously. If you must, call law enforcement to have them help you and your children to get safely out of the house.

      You can only take one thing at a time. First, get to a safe place. Share with other people what is going on so that you have others who will support you in the event of an emergency, and don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement should it come to that. Then, you need to stay away from him not matter what promises or threats he makes or how he blames you for the situation. Document the things that happen. Keep voicemails and written messages. Don’t engage. Don’t concern yourself with finances or housing and other logistics until you have time and space to get your bearings. Take one thing at a time…

      You cannot concern yourself with things he may say or do should you leave. Those threats are intended to keep you powerless and force you to remain. So what are your options? Nothing will change, and you and your children will still be in danger should you stay. Please ask for help and do what you must to get away for your own sake and for your children.

      Once out, you will need to get grounded. Too often, we as abuse victims feel pressure to fix it or have all the answers before we leave. You will be tempted to return even though your abuser hasn’t changed one iota. Please read, “Leaving An Abuser: What to Expect and How to Stay Grounded,” “Checklist Blackmail,” and “Give Me Five Minutes” on the website for starters. The more you learn about abuse, the stronger you will become. It will take time and a lot of hard work to break free of this, but it will be worth it in the long run. I have to believe that.

      Please be wise and be safe. I am seriously concerned for you and your children. All of you deserve better.

      You are welcome to e-mail me privately from the Contact Cindy webpage. Also make sure that he doesn’t have access to your computer or e-mail.

      Please let me know what you decide to do. I will be praying for you.

      Cindy

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