Healed People Help People

  There is a saying, "Hurting people hurt people" (unknown). I have found this statement to be accurate after spending years forgiving my abusers. I imagine the invitation to write this article is because of my Master's in Counseling and my experience. However, I believe my life experience is why the Lord orchestrated me to write this article.

   Abuse can come in various forms, and it is never okay, but there is help for both the abuser and the abused. Some people think that abuse is only physical, but it takes on many forms. I have overcome physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. I might not have been the abuser in past relationships, but I had my fair share of pain until I broke free.

   How does abuse happen? Abuse can be a learned behavior and can continue through generations. Perhaps the abuser is a person who was abused as a child and believes this is how parents are supposed to act. Or the abuser may not have been the victim of abuse but has an overload of emotions that needs to be processed. Possibly, the abuser has an addiction that leads to abusive behavior when intoxicated or under the influence. Abuse will destroy the lives of everyone involved. It has long term effects that can last a lifetime unless the family gets help and breaks the cycle. The impact of abuse on children is staggering, with many children becoming bullies themselves and hence continuing the cycle.

Many times the abuser will try to control themselves and others, and then when they lose control, they find themselves faced with shame and anger. The guilt is so powerful they have to justify their behavior. There is often an undercurrent of resentment mixed with rage. These emotions erupt, and the cycle of self-condemnation and abuse starts all over again.

Do you see yourself as an abusive person?

 How many times do you find yourself losing your cool? 

    Do you want to control your anger but can't? Does it seem like everyone is pushing your buttons? Do you find yourself remorseful, and yet, you do the same thing again? Has someone told you that they walk on eggshells around you? In your head, you wonder why you are so angry and don't know why? These are questions that go through the mind of someone who is hurting internally, and many times anger is a way of escape, or is it? Do you justify your behavior or compare it to someone else? If this is you, then you need to reach out now and get help. You might think that nobody understands, but God understands, and change can only happen with being accountable and taking action.

    Here are the main steps to escape abusive behavior. However, each of these steps will take courage and consistency. You did not get into this situation overnight, and it will take time, courage, and effort. It is worth it to become the person that overcomes. God's grace is sufficient, and He can help you every step of the way.

    • First, acknowledge and take responsibility that you are abusive. Be repentant and renounce your actions. Repentance means to turn from the old way of doing things.

   • Second, you must find a counselor. Find one who specializes in abusive situations. If you are married or have children, they will also need Counseling.            • Third, get into a support group for accountability. You do not have to be alone in your struggle.

    • Finally, understand that change is not easy but possible. There are consequences to actions, and if you do not seek help, you can and should lose your family. Jesus did not go to the cross for you to mistreat people; He went to make a way for your freedom.

   But Jesus took the most significant abuse on the cross and made way for every man, woman, and child by the work of the cross. Actions are a result of our choices, and one must choose differently to break the cycle. If you answered yes to any of these questions, reach out to this hot-line to get help: www.thehotline.org/help/for-abusive-partners/

Change is possible, and the Bible tells us in Matthew 19 that all things are possible. We all need the forgiveness of Christ. Take action to turn to Him and get help. He loves you!

   Are you in an abusive relationship? Here are a few questions, but not an exhaustive list. The recipient of the abuse believes the lie that this is what they deserve. Their self-image is eventually so beaten down they stay in the relationship. There is shame in staying in an abusive situation and a feeling of defeat. The abused person feels isolated and that nobody understands. Is that you?

   Verbal abuse can be even more detrimental. Years ago, in my twenties, I would hear a statement from my ex-husband, "At least I don't beat you"! But, the words that he said to me created scars on the inside that have taken years to heal. So let's talk about words for a moment. They are containers of power; after all, God created the universe by speaking.

 “We can lift up, and we can tear down, but we get to choose.”

   The power of life and death is in our tongue, are we speaking life? (Prov 18;21)

Does your partner/spouse/etc. tell you that you are nothing without them, and nobody would want you? Do they threaten to take their life or yours? Do they isolate you from friends or family? Do they blame you for the way they act or feel? Do they threaten you, grab you, push, or hit you? Do you try to make everything just right so they "don't go off?" Do they always apologize and say things will change? Do they threaten you with your children, or hurt your children? Or maybe belittle you, call you names or tell you that you are worthless? What about statements like "Nobody else would want you"? These are just a few examples, but there are so many additional examples of abuse.

   If you are in an abusive situation, you must take action. Remember, the merry-go-round will not stop unless you stop it. Domestic violence is a severe issue and always escalates. Understand that there is help; you did not cause this; however, you must recognize the abuse. It is unacceptable behavior, and you can't allow yourself or your children to stay in an unhealthy relationship. Reach out NOW to this link below and start to make the change. www.thehotline.org/help/

   Family units are God's design, and He wants to bring his love and healing into each home. We live in a fallen world that is full of stress, and without the right coping mechanisms and the ability to transfer our pain to the cross, we fall short. The devil does not discriminate when he comes after families with strife and division. If you believe lies of the enemy, the old tapes in your head, you will try to rule, and nothing changes. You must take action in the natural and supernatural if you want any change in your life. The devil only rules "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors, there is safety." Proverbs 11:14

   There is wisdom in getting help, and it is a sign of strength, not weakness. In Counseling, you find tools to help you deal with the root issues. The Bible states that we will all give an account for every word, thought, and deed. My unforgiveness toward my ex-husband was just as much a sin as his emotional abuse. But, forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation. The Lord loves you so much that He still went to the cross while we were still sinners. He is waiting for you to turn to help, release your control, and break the cycle of unhealthy choices.

Jesus commanded you to love others like yourself; it is time to start loving yourself enough to get help. As for me, I was a hurt woman that has gone through years of Counseling, self-discovery, forgiveness for my abusers, and forgiving myself for staying too long.

   When people don't get help for destructive relationships, they will continue to take them into future relationships. Today, thirty years later, I can still get triggered, but I recognize the triggers, process them, and move on. The Bible is clear - there is the redemption of the cross, and the Lord invites you to bring your burdens to Him. (Matthew 11:28) Are you ready? Regardless of what the situation is He is waiting for you and will never leave you to do it alone. (Hebrews 13:5)

Allow the light of the Lord to shine into the darkness of your pain. He loves you. As I said, "hurt people hurt people," but take steps to be healed because "healed people, help people"

~Maggie

Rutherford Counselors

Deanna Fullerton, M.A. ( Eagles Rest Counseling )

Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor

Murfreesboro, TN. 37130

email: deanna@eaglesrestcounseling.com

615-235-7035

Kim Turner, M.A. ( Birds on a Wire Counseling )

Murfreesboro, TN. 37130

email: birdsonawire@att.net

615-547-3214

Branches Counseling

Murfreesboro, TN 37130

email: info.branchescounselingcenter.com

615-904-7170

Counselors Outside Rutherford

Rockhouse Center

Brentwood, TN

www.rockhousecenter.com

615-396-0668

Agape Counseling

8 Locations across Middle Tennessee

www.agapenashville.org/counseling

615-781-3000

Helpfull Links

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

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Maggie Kavanaugh is the co-founder of Moving Forward Ministries with her husband, Kevin. Their mission is to impact families to move forward from past and embrace their future. Maggie is a speaker, life coach, educator and holds a Master’s degree in biblical counseling and specializes in marriage enrichment and helping tweens/teens with their “Forward” coaching programs.