He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. - Psalm 147:3 NLT
Abuse is scary. It affects our bodies, emotions, relationships, worldview, and minds. The event that plays in our minds over and over can leave us paralyzed with fear.
If you’ve been abused, you might even hate your body. Healing from abuse is a painful process, but it is necessary. When someone dominates and overpowers you, it is easy to quit relationships. Many become suspicious about committing to any relationship because of the pain. In fact, the abuse can be so painful that thoughts of suicide start to reside.
If you’ve ever been abused, here are some practical tips that will place you on a path toward healing.
1. Realize it will take time to build trust in your relationships. Seek to build safe relationships, but it is essential to realize this will take time. Trust the process, and don’t give up. It will be very tempting to shut everyone out and try to heal on your own. Let people in. Remember, you don’t have to tell all your friends, but you do have to tell someone. God uses others to heal us. The healing journey begins by talking about the abuse.
2. Your abuse and wounds do not define you. The words spoken over you do not have the final say. You are still a child of the highest King. Your identity is not in your spouse, boss, coworker, or family member but in Christ alone. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “You are God’s very own possession.” Allow God’s Word to define you, not your experience.
3. Decide to forgive. The choice to forgive is hard, but it will place you on a path closer to healing. If you are struggling to forgive, remember none of us deserve forgiveness. Think of all the times God has extended His grace to you. He wants you to do the same.
4. Pray for the abuser. This takes humility. Jesus calls us to pray for those who persecute us. Mathew 5:44 says, “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Talk to God about the abuse. Remember, God is a loving Father who delights to hear from you. He understands and cares. Process your pain in His presence. Our God is a God who heals us from abuse. Knowing His heart will make you realize He is for you and will help you in your pain.
5. Realize healing from abuse is a messy process. Your emotions will be all over the place when you choose to share your story with a trusted friend. You might experience anger, sadness, disgust, regret, and shame. This is all a part of the process of healing. Take time to grieve the event. You might feel like shutting down emotionally. Don’t give in to this temptation. Decide to continue to feel. God has given us emotions as a gift. We cannot suppress them.
6. Get professional help. There is no shame in reaching out to a professional counselor. The abuse may be so painful that a strategic plan must be placed on healing.
- Go to your contacts on your phone. Call a trusted friend and start sharing your story of abuse. Healing begins by talking about the event.
- What lie do you believe today? Replace that lie with the truth of God’s Word.