There will be a day when I will say “It is well with my soul” and mean it.
After divorcing an abusive man or narcissist there is a season of healing. It takes work. Gut-wrenching work. Giving up resentments. Seeing our own fears and selfishness. Developing boundaries. Learning what love really is. Figuring out how we got here. Deciding where we want to go.
This is a journey. So I’m not keeping myself so busy that I don’t have time to think about it. And I’m not numbing myself with shopping or wine. (OK, maybe numbing a little with chocolate.) This quote by Henri Nouwen seems to describe well what we tend to do:
Listening to this song by Kristine DiMarco, I know I want to be well. Not just pretend that I’m well; not just say “Oh, I’m fine” with a weak, fake smile when people ask how things are going. I want to really have a deep-down joy and a peace about my life and the journey I’m on. Not because I like it or it’s easy, but because I’m starting to see it’s an upside-down blessing, and I really want to trust that He can redeem it. I want to stop feeling like a victim. Start focusing on the “new me” that I want to be. Warm. Vulnerable. Fun. Empathetic. Broken. Real.
“You love to take broken things and make them beautiful.” What a perfectly fitting song by Ellie Holcomb. Let’s listen and remember these words on our journey of divorcing and healing from narcissism or abuse.
“I know I don’t bring a lot to the table, just little pieces of a broken heart.”
“There’s healing in Your name.”
“You say that you’ll turn my weeping into dancing, remove my sadness and cover me with joy.”
I go to counseling once a week. If you have been married to an abusive man or someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), you know why. The fear, intimidation, manipulation, and crazy games they play are destructive to the feminine heart. I believe it SOOO goes against God’s desire for women. As Stacy Edridge writes, “…every woman is haunted by the question,“Do you delight in me? Will I be chosen, wanted, seen, fought for?” In the case of abusive marriages, the answer is devastatingly clear – your spouse is NOT fighting FOR you, he is fighting AGAINST you, and his intent is to harm you. It is shattering when you get out of denial and face the truth.
So at counseling last week, I was working through my anger with how my XNarc treated me.
“Come to see it as an upside-down blessing,” urged my counselor. “And accept that it may not change.”
OK, that’s really not AT ALL what I’m hoping to hear from this guy. I know from Al-Anon how important acceptance is, but to accept ongoing abuse, even after divorce, seems almost too much to bear. How long, O Lord, how long?
Sometimes, grief comes out of nowhere. We don’t expect it. We don’t want it. But it comes and takes our breath away. Disrupts our day. Perhaps our week. Waves of grief, crashing over our world. Waves we weren’t anticipating. It’s as if the bottom has fallen out of your life. It has.
When you go through a divorce, you should expect to be ambushed by grief. You are not crazy – you are grieving. This is so hard. The pain pierces deep within. It physically hurts. There are lots of tears. Deep anguish. It can take your breath way. I know.
We tend to do things to try to get quickly past the grief of divorce, but a friend warned me not to bypass the process. She said to feel it, process it, work through it, go to God. She skipped over the grief when she got divorced and had to come back to it, years later. She wisely told me to deal with it now, when it comes. Which it will.
The writers of Scripture knew and wrote about grief. Paul explains that we are not exempt from grief, but instead, he teaches how our grief is different than those without faith. He writes in 1 Thess. 4:13 that we “do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” King David wrote similar words 1,000 years earlier in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Jesus echoes the grief with hope message when he speaks gently to our grief in Matthew 5:4, calling us blessed and promising comfort. As I grieve, I remind myself that I grieve with hope.