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A Journey Through Emotional Abuse

book cover only for website

God has walked with me the last 7 years, helping me write a book to help abused women called A Journey Through Emotional Abuse: From Bondage to Freedom. I wrote the book primarily for Christian women suffering from emotional abuse in their marriages. Click here to find the book.

I began writing as a way to heal from the abuse I had suffered in my own twenty-year marriage. Because my husband didn’t beat me, I didn’t realize I was being abused. I only knew I was extremely unhappy. When I tried to talk to my husband about my feelings, he discounted them, and denied any responsibility he played in our difficult marriage. Whatever was occurring was my fault. If I would just be a better wife, everything would be fine.

The problem was, I couldn’t be good enough. What made him happy one day would make him furious the next. The day after that, he would claim the argument from the day before had never taken place. He tried to make me think I was going crazy.

Dealing with his rages was difficult. But, the silent treatment was worse. He became an expert at pretending that I didn’t exist in my own home. At times, he wouldn’t speak to me, look at me, or even acknowledge my existence for a month at a time.

During this time I did everything I possibly could to hold our marriage together. I was determined to NEVER get divorced, NO MATTER WHAT. I wanted to honor the vows I had made to my husband and to the Lord. God strengthened me, and walked beside me every day, PRAISE HIM!! My husband twisted verses of the Bible against me, making me more confused and miserable.

Then one day, he hit me, and I decided to go to my pastor for help. Long story short, my pastor didn’t help, but made things worse. My husband’s abuse escalated, and my pastor didn’t hold him accountable for his actions.

A year later, when I became desperate, I called the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−SAFE(7233)  or TTY 1−800−787−3224. After speaking to the domestic violence advocate for an hour, I realized that I really WAS being abused. At that moment, I felt the Lord giving me the courage and the permission to finally act.

Within six weeks, I had hired a lawyer, filed for a restraining order, and had my husband removed from our home.

The aftermath of my action was not pretty. There were many difficult months and years ahead, for my children and me. During that time, many women I knew from my church came forward and told me stories of their awful marriages. I realized while I had been suffering in silence, many of my Christian sisters had been suffering in silence right down the pew from me!

I became angry, not just for myself, but for them and their children. I knew that my loving God did not condone abuse of His daughters, and He was even less happy with church leaders who did nothing to help these suffering women. I thought back on all the years I had spent trying to understand what the Bible might be saying about abuse, and about a woman’s call to submit to her husband. Listening to sermons by pastors that had never studied abuse surely didn’t help me.

So, I began studying. I read books about abuse. I read what theologians said about marital submission, especially in abusive marriages. I spoke to pastors. And I started to write. I started writing my own story, but I wanted the book to be about much more than my story. I wanted it to be a guide to help Christian women along their OWN journey through abuse, helping them think through their OWN questions, and come to their OWN answers with the help of the God who loves them.

The outcome of my work is A Journey through Emotional Abuse: From Bondage to Freedom. This book is most of all about hope. When I was living with my abuser, my main feeling was hopelessness. Because I thought I could never divorce my husband, and he refused to leave, I thought my only way to freedom was to die. But God didn’t leave me in my hopelessness. When I was finally ready to admit I was being abused, and was willing to take action, He came alongside me to free me from my bondage.

I pray the same for every woman who reads this book. No one deserves to be abused. I hope she will see how wide and long and high and deep is God’s love for her (Ephesians 3:17-19), and that He doesn’t want her to live in bondage. After all, the Father sent the son to earth to set us free (John 3:16-17, John 8:36, Galatians 5:1).

Does this mean that the book will encourage every wife who reads this book to get a divorce? Not at all. Some abusive marriages CAN be saved, with the help of the Lord. But the victim will have to ACT. She cannot remain passive. If she does, her marriage won’t magically heal itself. Indeed, it will probably get worse over time.

I invite you to check out the book by clicking here. You can read the first 4 chapters via Amazon.com. Most of all, I pray that the book will be a blessing to any woman who is being emotionally abused by someone who has promised to love and cherish her. Please know that God does not want you to suffer in this way. The God of the Universe loves you more than you could ever imagine, as it says in Ephesians 3:17b-19:

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

May God bless you today,

Caroline

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Michelle Turner Manigo says:

    This is great! I know it all too well. I love Mrs Abbott for being a person of hope in my darkest times. These blogs have helped so much. Thank you for you healing and comforting words.

  2. Caroline Abbott says:

    You are so welcome Michelle! Thank you for all you do as the leader of the Purple Ribbons for the Abused Facebook page. It is wonderful!

  3. Melodi Stoddard says:

    So excited about your book coming out!!! It is excellent. Praying that it accomplishes everything the Lord wants it to!!

  4. Nikky44 says:

    I lived over 15 years of emotional abuse before it became a physical violence too, and I honestly say that the emotional abuse was far worse than the physical one, but the difference is that as long as it was emotional abuse, just like you, I wasn’t aware of it.
    Thank you so much Caroline for the book. I will certainly read it!!

    • Emotional abuse is so deceiving isn’t it Nikky? I remember feeling so confused, never sure what was happening to me – was I being abused, or was I just a bad, complaining wife? I found so much freedom when I realized that I really WAS being abused, and that God didn’t want this for me. I am so happy that you are now free from the abuse you suffered!

  5. Patti McCoy says:

    Found your blog. It has been suggested that I journal but my abuser was reading my journals and putting big red pen marks through them.

    How/where do I write my story? I taught my kids to not use words like hate, or call names but they have gotten so aggressive toward me and I blame him. My sweet daughter just in 2009 & 2010 would speak out tell my oldest son”you have anger issues”. I believed in win/win, not win/lose. My kids, who are with the abuser, have called me a liar, fight to win and I seem to have lost my ability to be assertive and confident.

    Caroline, thank you for your blog and encouragement today.

  6. Dear Patti,
    Thank you for your comment. I highly recommend journaling in my book. If keeping a written journal isn’t possible, some women can write on their computer, and store it on a small flash drive, and hide this somewhere safe. If their abuser is very computer savvy, even this might be unsafe, as he may be able to pull up deleted files. In this case, using the computer at a friend’s house or library might be safer.

    No matter where you write, I find writing is very freeing. No one needs to see it but you. You can say whatever you want, It helps you get past many of your difficult feelings. I like to journal with my bible open next to me. As I read, I journal to the Lord, thanking him, and writing prayers. It helps me if I end each journal entry with something positive. God bless you Patti!

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