In my last blog, I talked about the paradoxes a domestic violence victim faces when they are also a parent. In my case, I struggled with wanting to escape my abusive marriage, but also, not wanting to put my kids through an ugly divorce. I wanted my kids to understand the abuse I was experiencing, but wanted to hide the abuse from them, so they wouldn’t be scarred by it. I wanted to raise my kids with Christian values, but their father was not setting a good Christian example. Finally, I decided to leave the marriage for my safety, but was afraid of allowing my ex access to my kids without me there to watch over them.
When I finally did leave my husband, the paradoxes didn’t end for me, they only changed:
- I was overjoyed to be free of my abusive husband, but intensely saddened to see the pain my decision had caused my kids.
- I was reveling in the freedom of being able to make decisions for myself and my kids for the first time in years, but now I had many new issues:
- dealing with my lawyer and that of my ex
- finding and working with the children’s guardian ad litem
- finding and taking the kids to a counselor
- beginning the divorce process.
- I was happy my kids were no longer living with the poor example of marriage their dad and I were setting, but I was soon horrified to learn our guardian ad litem thought it was “best for the children” if they lived with me one week, and my abusive ex the next.
- I was blessed I didn’t have to listen to my husband’s daily abuse, (I was granted a restraining order against him), but now I was told I had to “co-parent” with him, via email! He took every opportunity he could to put roadblocks in the way of any decision I wanted to make for our kids.
Though my life was full of paradoxes, I was more fortunate than most former DV victims I know. Because we were well off, I was able to afford a good lawyer, was allowed to stay in my home, and I was not forced to immediately look for work.
What is our takeaway?
Being in a domestic violence relationship is very hard, (sometimes even more difficult for DV victims with children), and the difficulties don’t go away the minute you leave the relationship. Tweet This
Does that mean I recommend a victim with kids should stay with her/his abuser?
NOT AT ALL.
This is a decision each person must make with their eyes wide open. If you are in this situation, please click here for help with this decision.
In addition, I would like to recommend my book, entitled A Journey through Emotional Abuse: From Bondage to Freedom. In this book, I walk readers through every conceivable step they might experience from deciding whether they are being abused to making the decision whether to leave or stay, to tips on leaving safely, to navigating the court system and custody issues.
Question: Did having kids complicate your decision to leave your abuser?
Proverbs 18:15 says:
The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out.
And Ephesians 5:15-16 says:
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Until next time, may the Lord watch over you, and bless you.