Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go. – Unknown
I had a unique opportunity to interview our favorite Christian poet, Lucinda Berry Hill about a very painful time in her life. This post is a lesson for us because we never know the struggles that others have faced and overcome. We don’t know why these circumstances have to be, but we most definitely know that God can and will work in our lives to help us through. I appreciate Lucinda being so candid and opening up about this part of her life. It’s our hope that someone will be helped or at least be assured that they are not traveling this road alone.
Whether you think you CAN or think you CAN’T – you’re probably RIGHT! – Unknown
Q: When did you first realize your situation was not good?
A: Well, of course he didn’t start hitting me until he had me far away from family and friends. I was barely 18 when we started seeing each other. I was too naïve to even notice the emotional and mental abuse.
Q: Did he ever apologize after he hit you?
A: Oh my gosh, no!
Q: Did you notice any particular triggers that would set him off?
A: My “long face”. One time we were cleaning a machine shop. I was sweeping the floor and I wasn’t smiling while doing it, so he put my arm in a vice grip attached to a work table.
Q: Do you believe you ended up with Stockholm’s Syndrome?
Q: Could you see the hand of God working in your life along the way at that time?
A: Only in the fact that he didn’t kill me like he threatened so many times. He used to tell me he’d chop me up and put me in the river. No body… no crime.
Q: You were away from family and friends. Were you allowed to make phone calls or write letters to them?
A: Yes. He never actually told me I couldn’t.
Q: Can you pinpoint anything that helped you through this time?
A: Nope. I’d say my innocence, maybe.
Q: In the ten years of domestic violence, did you ever leave and then come back?
A: Yup! Twice. But I was trapped. When I left, I went to my mom’s.
Q: Did he ever come to your mom’s house to take you back?
A: Sort of. One time he was in the area stalking me. He left a present in my car while I was working. I guess that was his way of letting me know he was still in charge. The second time he came, I’m not sure what his intentions were, but I wasn’t there.
Q: Did your mom say anything to you that made you rethink the situation?
A: Nope. My mom didn’t believe me when I finally told her. We were in counseling after the fact, and she told them she thought I was the crazy one. That’s how charming abusers can be. No one would ever know.
Q: What finally made you decide to get away?
A: When I started envisioning me killing myself or him.
Q: Would more support from friends and family have made much of a difference?
A: Probably not much because he had me under his control.
Q: Describe the day you escaped from him.
A: I don’t remember the first time. Isn’t that odd? The second one, he was literally holding me hostage! His sister came to pick me up while he was gone and met my step-dad halfway where she dropped me off.
Q: At that point you were finally free from him once and for all?
A: Yup! Because he ended up in jail! I’m not sure what I would have done if that had not happened.
Q: What would you say to a woman in similar circumstances?
A: You’ve got to leave before something happens that can’t be fixed! He doesn’t deserve that kind of control of your life! There is nothing out there in the world… not loneliness, not lack of job or education, nothing that can hurt you more than he can!
Did you catch the common word throughout the interview? I caught it as I was asking questions… CONTROL. It may begin with small things. If a man will not let you leave the house, for instance. If he is a control freak by nature, then the tendency to want to hold you on a tight lead may come naturally. Don’t be afraid to let him know you are uncomfortable with it.
A couple should be a team – equal partners. Both need to feel free to speak, to think for his / herself. When one begins to exude CONTROL – either mentally, emotionally or physically – it’s time to reassess the situation.
We love Lucinda, and we are so thankful for her testimony! She loves God with her whole heart and writes of His faithfulness, His goodness and His grace every day! We’re thankful that God gave her survivor fire along with His Holy Spirit.
I want to post a couple of websites for you today. If you or someone you know needs help, please call these fine folks.
What can you do to help?
By painting your left ring fingernail purple, the color of the anti-domestic violence movement, you will show the world your vow to end domestic violence and support Safe Horizon and the survivors it serves. In addition to painting your left ring fingernail purple, you can also show your support by spreading the word on social media with #PutTheNailinIt or, most importantly, by donating at safehorizon.org to help victims safely become survivors.
Be blessed and well today – and peace be unto you and your household. 🙂