As told by “Hermosa Mariposa,” written by Lauren Rose
When I first met my soon-to-be husband, he seemed to be very loving and caring, and everything I ever wanted in a husband…but looking back, now I see that what looked like “care” was actually the beginning of control.
He told me I needed to get everything done before I got home at night, and not go back out in the name of safety. I thought his concern was sweet…but later I realized he was using kindness to make me more compliant.
We had a massive fight the day we got married, and I began to think I had made a mistake. But eventually I found myself reduced to begging him for forgiveness…and thus began a series of apologizing for everything— all the time! I was always wrong. Always!
He would tell me that I was crazy, and that I needed to shut my mouth. And he would warn me to never share our business with those outside the home.
When I talked to my mother-in-law and some family members about my husband’s treatment of me, they all acted like they cared…but later, they told him everything I said. I started attending a church, and sought help there; they just told me I needed to stay in the marriage and make it work. I finally reached out to a friend who had previously worked with survivors; while she couldn’t help me, she gave me resources to contact.
I then met with a neighbor, and started praying with her; before long, she referred me to Called to Peace Ministries (CTPM). This was six years ago, before there were even advocates, and before CTPM became what it is today. But I called Joy, she quickly set up an appointment for counseling…and at long last, I began my healing journey.
Joy asked me a question that I will never forget! “Do you think that you are in an abusive relationship?” I honestly did not believe that I was.
I thought his treatment of me would stop if I could be better, more flexible, more sexual, prettier…I essentially thought it was all my fault.
But Joy helped me understand the true dynamics of the abuse I was living in.
Previously, I had worked at a domestic abuse agency, so though I knew all the dynamics of abuse, I couldn’t see or understand it in my own marriage. But Joy walked me through it, and helped me see the truth: that my husband had manipulated me, convincing me that I was responsible for his reprehensible behavior.
I immediately joined and got involved in a CTPM support group, which helped me process the grief I was experiencing. I saw Joy for counseling weekly until I got a firm handle on what was happening, and learned how to move toward healing. I went to the first CTPM retreat in 2019 at Oak Island. It was incredibly redemptive and refreshing for me! CTPM helped me with finances, and referred me to other places to receive additional help.
I know that I wouldn’t have healed, made the connections and friendships, or been able to move forward as I have without Called to Peace Ministries!
God has begun restoring my life, giving me back all I lost — and then some! I am excited about how God has been speaking to me, but also through me, as I’ve begun to help others. He has revealed His will for my life through His Word, and as a result, I have begun to see myself the way God does…instead of the way a broken man saw me.
My advice to women coming out of an abusive relationship is: Trust God with it all. We become accustomed to thinking we have no control in our lives, because we have no control in an abusive relationship. But I promise you that if you let go, and let God show you what you need to work on, you WILL heal. Looking at yourself in the mirror and acknowledging your role in your healing is critical! Healing is all in the way we respond to it. We can stay stuck and be afraid…or rise on eagle’s wings, and soar…!