Sometimes the spiritual path is leaving your abuser


“No little girl says I hope I grow up one day to be in an abusive relationship.
No little boy says I hope I grow up one day to abuse a woman.

But it happens. It happens every day, and you’re not the only one. Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Every day in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

You are not alone.

No little boy says he wants to grow up and beat women but this is what your husband or partner did and does. That’s not your fault. You can’t change that. That’s not your responsibility to carry. That’s not your problem to solve. You didn’t cause it. You cannot fix it. What he does or doesn’t do is outside your control and you cannot do it for him. This is something only he can choose and do for himself.

Your true Self that is one with God assumed a mind and body in order to have a human existence. You are here because you want to be. This is what you chose. You chose to be human.

There’s nothing you can do about any moment of your life that has preceded this moment. All that matters is this present moment. There is 100% of the rest of your life left. And the way forward is to be present to what’s in your life right now, and respond as the situation requires. This is your spiritual path.

You are in an abusive relationship and the situation requires you to separate yourself from your abuser and quite likely terminate the relationship. If someone has told you that you are obligated to stay with your abusive husband or partner for religious reasons, they have placed a burden on you that God doesn’t. Show me the Bible verse that says this. I have a Master of Divinity degree and have vigorously studied every verse in the Bible and have never come across one.

Sometimes what life situations require is difficult, and this is certainly true in the case of leaving an abuser. What it means right now for you to live a spiritual life is not going to church, reading your Bible, or volunteering your time to serve others in need. That you would feed the hungry, forgive an insult, or love your enemy are all noble and worthwhile deeds. The scriptures say that whatever we do unto the least of these we do unto Christ. But what happens when the “least of these” is you? What if the “least of these” is that woman who wakes up each day in fear of being controlled, abused, and battered? You hide it from the world and refuse to admit it to yourself that the “least of these” you most need to love and care for is… you.

You already know that the situation requires you leaving your abuser. But you also believe a story about yourself that isn’t true. The story is about how you’re not capable of leaving. The story says you’re not smart enough, strong enough, confident enough, or competent enough to make it on your own financially and successfully establish a life of independence. And so in your mind the option of leaving is an impossibility.

That story is a lie.”

– Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge 

Latest Comments

  1. texaussie says:

    Thank you, once again, Jim. Over the years, I have left two abusive husbands, then last year, at the age of 54, the scales fell from my eyes as I stood in front of my mother, with my father sitting idly by, while she verbally abused the crap out of me. In that instant I saw reality, and I left their house, never to return. I left my abusers, my BPD mother, and enabling father (who have hidden in religion all their lives). As a consequence, I have also lost the ability to attend family functions (even my uncle’s funeral tomorrow), but that is my choice. I have my only sister back in my life, after my mother had kept us apart our whole adult lives with lies to each about the other (and 21 of those years I spent in Australis, only returning home to Texas, for good, last week).

    My sister found your book ‘Wide Open Spaces’ last year, not long after me ‘sacking’ my parents. It changed my life. It was exactly what I needed to put my mind and heart where it needed to be to walk in relationship with God. I’d been preparing for this new level of relationship for a long time. Thank you for being a part of my journey.

    Rachel Dodge

    Sent from my iPad


    • icekittee says:

      Being raised in an emotionally and mentally abusive family primed me for attracting abusive relationships. So for about 5 years as a young adult I was free from abuse only to marry someone who was emotionally and mentally abusive. I was afraid to leave couldn’t and didn’t feel I could leave . When I made the decision 15 years later my husband ended up killing himself. Following that I ended up in a relationship that I didn’t want and verbalized this many times only to compromise myself. This relationship was passive aggressive and emotionally abusive. During the last 8 years I have been slowly healing myself layer by layer. I feel God is doing something powerful in me most days I am receptive. The last 6 months my spiritual journey is focused on myself not selfish just on me because for 39 years I have been compromising myself for all my abusers. New behaviors feel awkward but as I execute them it feels more healthy. I am replying to you because there is comraderie and understanding when you have identified with this your entire life. I feel as we move forward by becoming who we and not compromising are that we choose who and what we want God will put people who will guide us. Our pain can be used to create magnificent healing fir us and others. Be well. You are beautiful

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