Post Separation Abuse: Waves of False Guilt

Megan Cox has her MAR in Pastoral Counseling and is certified in Crisis Response with the AACC. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Give Her Wings, Inc.

(To our readers who are in abusive marriages presently: Only you and God know when the time is right to stay or go. He will lead you. I pray for our readers who are in incredibly trying, unbelievably exhausting, terrifying situations. This post is not for you. You have too many other heavier things to deal with right now.)

A friend writes:

When the scales were lifted from my eyes, regarding the abuse my children and I endured, a new heaviness overcame me. Why had I stayed in so long? How could I have let this happen to the children? They will now be scarred for the rest of their lives; they will have to go through therapy. Will they even be capable of healthy relationships? How could I have let them suffer? How could I have allowed such evil in my home?

I am writing this to, hopefully, relieve the false guilt of so many I have heard from this week. I went through this, as well. Only just today, my eldest child told me of something his biological father did to him when he was 6 years old (unbeknownst to me). It broke this mother’s heart. And, yet, I stayed three more years after that. All of a sudden, we realize that we let it go on for too long. Staying in the abusive situation was not as noble as we thought. It was not as “godly” as they tried to make us believe. There is a twinge of our conscience. To this, I want to say two things:

1. Please remember who the victim is or was. And remember who the abuser is or was. Friend, you are not the abuser — you were the victim. He or she clouded your thinking, manipulated, harmed, hurt, devastated and used you. I remember being in my home-that-felt-like-a-prison, feeling like there was ten feet of concrete over my head. I could not hear the voices calling down to me — they were muffled. Nothing was clear. No one seemed to be able to reach me and no one could hear me, either. My own private, personal, little isolated hell. How difficult it is to see clearly! Truly, only the miraculous reach of God’s arm could have lifted us out and shown us truth! Surely, God does not expect you to have been able to see clearly. You were sinking and he lifted you out, just like He lifted out the Eyptians from the miry clay of slavery.

2. If you feel there is anything of which to repent, take it to Jesus. I did repent of some things that happened in my marriage. My dear husband now (my second husband — not an abuser) does not like to think about it because he sees the damage that was done to my soul. I don’t think he really believes that I did anything worth repenting of. But, like so many others, I think I stayed in too long. Yes . . . It is all in God’s timing, I know. But, I see what has happened with my children and my heart aches. I was afraid; I didn’t think I could make it on my own; I didn’t think anyone would help me or want me. I stayed for the wrong reasons. When I took this to Christ, I felt His love envelop me. I could almost hear Him saying, “Megan . . . you didn’t know. You didn’t know. You did the best you could.”  Many of us were lied to by those we were taught to trust . . . by our spouses, by our church or by our family. How could we know?

I am choosing not to dwell on how long I “stayed in”. There is nothing that can be done and I am trusting God and moving forward as best as I can in obedience to my Savior (loving Him . . . loving others). I am choosing, alongside my husband, to raise the children in the best way we can, giving them a chance at a healthy life and healthy marriages in the future. That is all I can do. We can only go forward now.

If you struggle with feelings of guilt, whether real or false, take them to Jesus and let Him give you clarity, as He reminds you of His love for you. He was there the entire time. He knows. Release yourself so that you can move on into health and wholeness. Haven’t we been accused enough? I’m taking that walk with you. You did the best you could and God knows that.

You did the best you could.



3 Replies to “Post Separation Abuse: Waves of False Guilt”

  1. This shared authentic truth telling is absolutely beautiful. This is what living water feels like, a drink of water for the parched and desolate. The scriptures say “out of them will flow rivers of living water” and they over come him (darkness) by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. The testimony that darkness meant to destroy, but God meant to bring abundant life. Guilt whether real, or imagined, is lifted and washed away at the cross. Yes, I stayed too long too, but then, I also know in the annals of my history that God recorded is the story of a woman that did every thing possible to save a dying thing, mistaken though I was , my motivation was for the sake of Jesus.

    1. This really spoke truth to me; what a huge blessing these words of truth are; they brought more healing to my heart as I read them!

  2. Oh the guilt….. even after the wonderful godly counselor shared why they could see the reason behind God’s delay in me leaving my abuser…
    But the guilt…. and then, to watch my amazing beautiful daughter go through the unspeakable…the horrors….
    Yes by God’s grace, I now see her emerging as this wonderful trophy of God’s grace!
    Each time we chat (she’s very far away) I hear how God is growing her.
    I’m thrilled.
    Oh sure…. she’s still got LOTS of VERY horrible hard tough days ahead, and the depths of her pain & despair are going to take time to heal….but it’s coming, little by little.
    Baby steps. As Megan keeps telling us, keep going forward. Run to our Heavenly Father’s feet & weep whenever we need to.
    And as we pray for each other, let continue to, as you’re able, keep praying for Megan & the board. They have a tremendous responsibility
    We are SO thankful for this ministry!!!
    Thank you!!!!

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