By: Cortaiga Collins | I am a bonafide Daddy’s Girl. Even though I was only 5 years old when my parents separated it felt like my world shattered into a million pieces. My mother moved back to St. Louis while my dad stayed in Chicago so I was 300 miles away from the man I loved more than anybody. After he left St. Louis from a weekend visit I would cry until I was physically ill. My mother was a stay-at-home mom while they were married so we had what seemed like a stable family.
When this stability was stripped from me I began searching for family like my first high. I didn’t realize it then but his abrupt exit from my life left a void that I tried to fill with one bad relationship after another. Every “relationship” was riddled with infidelity. It’s no coincidence that I chose such men because my dad was a serial cheater. I think I reasoned that if my dad was a cheater but was still so good to me, it was OK for these guys to do the same thing.
My oldest son’s father was not only a cheater but he was emotionally abusive and controlling. I had to be home from school by a certain time or we’d argue. He would make plans for us and then just disappear. I would stay trapped in the house waiting, waiting, and waiting some more, only for him to never show. Then, he would make me feel like it was my fault. Life was passing me by and I wasn’t enjoying any of it.
These failed relationships diminished my self-worth and I think I just accepted that this was my life. I almost expected a guy to cheat or say mean things to me. So, when they did I just brushed them off as normal. Back then, I stayed because I didn’t value myself enough to leave. When I was finally fed up I was able to walk away no strings attached.
But, what do you do if the abuser is your husband? You might ask, “Do I have to endure emotional and/or physical abuse because I made a covenant with a man who doesn’t know how to love?” He is my choice and God hates divorce, right? I don’t pretend to be a theologian or a Bible scholar. God does indeed hate divorce but he also loves you. I Corinthians 7:15 says that God has called us to live in peace, and there is no peace when you are being abused. Abuse, whether physical, emotional, or financial is debilitating and paralyzes you. It robs you of the abundant life that Jesus died for you to have.
God instructs husbands to love their wives the way Christ loved the church. Christ loved us by sacrificing his very life for us. Even when it was difficult and he wanted to give up, His love for us overshadowed his discomfort. He put us first. That’s the type of love we deserve. That self-less, unconditional, self-sacrificing love that says you are my top priority.
Ephesians 5:28 says men should love their wives as their own bodies. That’s the type of love we should expect from our husbands. When we are not getting that type of love and we began to devalue ourselves, we need to pause and reevaluate our lives.
If you are being abused physically or otherwise you need to get to a safe place and seek professional help. You should not keep allowing your abuser access to you. I have included some great resources below for recognizing the signs of abuse and building our self-esteem.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“Dear God, please give wisdom and instruction to any woman who may be in an abusive relationship. Speak to her clearly in a way she will understand your will for her. Give her clear direction and the courage to follow it. In Jesus’ name – Amen”
Do you recognize abuse in a relationship? Take time to learn the signs of abuse. If you realize you are being abused, get help. It is also important to try to figure out the root of why you don’t respond in a way that’s healthy for you.
Article: How to Recognize Emotional Abuse
Book by Kacie Long: Self – Esteem Through Scripture: Seeing Yourself Through the Eyes of God
Book by Jill Weber: Building Self-Esteem 5 Steps: How To Feel “Good Enough” About Yourself: The Relationship Formula Workbook Series
Meet Today’s Writer: Cortaiga Collins is an ordained minister, author and entrepreneur with a passion for helping single mothers turn their passions into professions. Cortaiga is the owner of Good Shepherd Preschool and Infant/Toddler Center and founder of the Favored Foundation for Strengthening Families. In addition to operating two successful businesses and overseeing the operations of a non-profit, Cortaiga is a contributing writer to the Jewel Warrior Project. Her other writing credits include her first published book, To All My Baby Mamas – Single Parenting Without Bitterness and Covenant Parenting. Cortaiga is the creator and host of The Strong Baby Mama Show on YouTube. She lives in a suburb of St. Louis with her husband Arnold. Cortaiga invites you to connect with her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org; strongbabymama (facebook and instagram) or her YouTube channel.