Autonomy: liberty, independence, self-governance, self-reliance, self-sufficiency
Liberty– As a strong newly divorced abuse victim, I wasn’t sure I felt free. Freedom rushes in and releases the shackles of abuse, but it also takes with it the bonds of security, of what you know as love and affection, family, partnership and commitment. They say freedom isn’t free, it comes with a price. That’s true and as victims of abuse, liberty comes with a high but temporary cost.
That’s right. It’s important to remember that the loss we feel with our new found freedom can be intense, overwhelming and sometimes even consuming; but the loss truly is temporary.
“You never have to do that again,” my new boyfriend assured me; but how could he know for sure? It wasn’t in his plan to stick around for the rest of my life and ensure for me that what he said was true. As part of my freedom, I faced self-governance. Meaning I could choose my destiny. I could choose how I allowed others to treat me and what behaviors I would willingly be a part of. But did I know how to govern myself? It would take me some time, lots of work and persistence, but I did it and so can you.
Independence can truly be a life-long struggle. God designed us to rely on others, to be a part of a community, but dealing with the after-effects of abuse is sometimes a lonely, independent road.
It’s been twelve years since my divorce. I’ve been persistent in my growth to overcome the traumatic effects of abuse, to overcome the post-traumatic stress, depression, nightmares and flashbacks. I’ve been persistent in doing in what it takes to learn, to grow, to become self-reliant and self-sufficient.
But not one step of it did I truly take alone.
My journey has been great (i.e., remarkable in the degree of magnitude) and broad in scope and all along the path wonderful people have appeared at just the right time, within the proper intersections, marked by the appropriate yield and stop signs. It’s at those intersections and around those corners where others, be it professional help, close friends, good pastors, or even interactions with strangers allowed me to overcome a new hurdle, surpass a plateau and reach new heights.
Happy Independence Day to all of us strong survivors