Part 4 of 7
In an abusive situation, it is not possible to leave on good terms. Because an insecure leader’s sense of worth is based on his control, leaving is considered an affront to his leadership.
When we left, we were careful to explain, without accusation, that we believed the Lord was leading us elsewhere. We emphasized that we did not want to sever our relationships.
Regardless of this, we were accused of being unwilling to reconcile because we did not submit to the leader's tactics. It was a lose-lose situation. We had to remove ourselves from the toxic relationship.
When we quit putting up with the abuse and left, we were labeled as strayed and unrepentant. The congregation was told we are deceived and to be avoided.
Leaving is like experiencing a broken relationship or divorce. The feeling is similar to being betrayed by someone with whom you were in love. You are now "the jilted."
No one leaves a religious system without experiencing its cruelty. Those you considered friends the week before, now will likely shun you, nervously avoiding you.
Shunning the defector is one of the unspoken rules that most people are unwilling to break, even at the price of treasured friendships.
I never would have believed this had I not experienced it personally.
"What did I do to deserve to be treated like this?"
My dreams at night are a good gauge of my emotional state. I can now go many nights without dreams of the people involved in our abuse.
In the midst of it though, I had frequent dreams where I was pleading and my closest friends couldn't hear me. I had no voice. I could not be understood.
I hope that I can be a voice for someone else in pain, saying yes I understand, and no, it shouldn't have happened this way.
There is healing and hope. More later...