My Past Abusive Relationship is Hindering Me - EP 52

I’m Feeling Scared in My New Relationship

“I left my husband. He was very physically and mentally abusive. I’m actually seeing a guy now and I don’t really know what to do. I think my past relationship is hindering me because it’s a very big transition from being physically and mentally abused to this guy who seems great, but I’m scared.” – Angel Hope

In this episode, we’re talking with Angel Hope. She made the brave decision to leave her abusive husband. Now, that she has left him do you think it’s wise for her to start dating right away? We’ve got a mixture of opinions on that from our guests. Here’s more of Angel Hope’s story.

She explains what happened between her and her husband: “We got in a big argument one night, and he ended up trying to strangle me and I bit him, and the cops got called. I didn’t tell the cops what happened with him, because he’s military. I ended up going to jail for 4 days and I’m fighting it as a criminal case now for self-defense.”

Her Relationship is Shot!

She’s not officially divorced yet. In North Carolina, you have to be separated for a year and a day before you can get divorced. So, she has 6 months to go.

Angel hope is seeing a guy now but is confused. She feels her past relationship is hindering her. It’s a big transition from being physically and mentally abused to this guy who seems great, but at the same time, she’s scared.

She says, “I feel my actions could hinder us in our relationship. I have to sit down with him tomorrow because I ended up sleeping with him last night for the first time. I woke up this morning, really scared, thinking, what have I done. So, I left. He called me this morning and said, “Are you alright?” I said, “I’m not sure.” He said, “Do you want to come over?” I said, “Yes.” I didn’t explain anything to him of what happened.” He said, “We’re going to have to sit down tomorrow and talk because something’s off.” I don’t know what to do and what to say. I’m really scared. I don’t know if I’m right to be with this guy while I’m in a separation.

Too Much Too Soon

Dawson: Let’s say you are a track star, and have a chance to break the record for whatever event you are in. But you sprained your ankle badly. It makes no sense to try to get up and run the next day, does it?
Angel Hope: No
Dawson: You’ve been traumatized. You don’t even know the extent of your pain, your humiliation, and your fears. They're just starting to surface now. I don’t want to be negative but you’re not well.
Angel Hope: I know.
Dawson: But you’re trying to act as if you are well.
Angel Hope: Exactly.
Dawson: Excuse my flippantness, but you are no more ready for sex than the man on the moon. There’s all this intimacy that brings out all kinds of feelings. And it’s not fair to the guy, but more importantly it’s not fair to you. You’re uncovering issues before you get all your other issues dealt with.
Angel Hope: Yes. I don’t know what to do.
Dawson: We’ve got to get back to the foundation. You’ve gone from one relationship to another with no time for healing.
Angel Hope: It’s been 6 months.
Dawson: That’s not long enough for what you’ve been through. It’s not fair to your new boyfriend. It’s not fair to you. You need to be taking your time working on your healing. But you’re going in the opposite direction.
Angel Hope: How do I do that? How do I heal?
Dawson: First thing you do is break up with your boyfriend. Are you open to doing that? You really don’t know this guy. And things got really complicated last night. You are your own worst enemy…trying to drink from an empty cup.
Angel Hope: And drowning myself.
Dawson: You absolutely are. This relationship is premature at best. You need to get into some kind of counseling. The sooner, the better. Remember there’s still trauma ahead of you with your ex.
Angel Hope: I know. I hate him so much. Also, he stole my emotional support dog from the people who were watching him. And he ran him over, around the same time I had a miscarriage.
Dawson: That makes my advice even stronger. Let’s say you're with guy #2 and you’re very much in the romance stage with guy #2. Eventually he’s going to remind you of guy #1. I’m not saying he’s going to beat you and run over your dog, but he’ll remind you of him.
Angel Hope: I’m drowning, and I don’t know how to get up.
Dawson: We’re going to go to your peers and see what they think.

Peer to Peer: Advice for Angel

Angel Hope gets advice from her peers.
Go to a Crisis Center – Heather
I’ve been where you’ve been. I’ve been single for a year now. I don’t think it’s a good thing for you to have a boyfriend. You need time to heal. You need time to cope. The best way I did to cope, I signed myself into a crisis center. I talked with people about what I was going through…the mental, physical, and verbal abuse. Go back to counseling again!

You Need a Really Good Support System – Allison
I just went through the exact same thing; except I was not married, and I was 16. I’m 18 now. I went through this really abusive relationship, and it was awful, but I didn’t know how to leave that. I think you should stay with this guy, because he might be what you need. He might be your support system. You need to sit him down and tell him everything that has happened to you. I’m diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety. Going to counseling has helped me immensely. So maybe you need to get in with a counselor.

Trust me you need to get into a small group type thing too. I run a Bible study and that has helped me a lot. I talk about anxiety and PTSD in my Bible study. You need to get a really good support system, because that’s what has helped me.

Discover Inner Peace - Jessica
Check this new guy out, before you go all the way in with him. He might not be the one you are looking for. He might hurt you, so check him out. Find something to help you cope, for me, boxing is therapeutic and helps me with my anger. Find something that helps you with your inner peace. Find a good support system. I have a friend who is amazing and gives me so much positive energy. Find friends to give you positive energy. If you feed off of negative energy, it will do nothing but weigh you down, and you don’t need that.

Explain Everything to the New Guy - Robert
I’ve been with my girl for 5 years and she’s been through a physical and emotionally abusive relationship. It took a while for me to gain her trust. She didn’t want to let her guard down, which is understandable. It took time. If this second guy loves you and respects you the way a guy should, he’ll understand. I would talk to him and explain it all and he could be a good support system for your healing.

Find Yourself First – Jimmy
It’s very disrespectful for a guy to do that to a woman. It’s just someone who doesn’t have morals or respect for another human being.

Your very young Angel Hope, you have a whole life ahead of you. Find yourself before you do anything. There are men out there all over, but you have to find yourself, your inner peace first. You must find God in your heart and let Him work with you. God can help you and take care of you. It takes time to heal. If you take time, and find yourself first, then everything else falls into place.

Freedom of Being Single

Angel Hope, you’re 19, you can work on the foundation now, even if you have to be single for a few years. Think about being strong enough to be single and not have to have a guy to feel good about yourself - the freedom of being single.

It’s Unanimous – Get Counseling and Work on Your Healing

We are behind you, Angel Hope! And It’s unanimous… we all agree, you need to work on your healing and go to counseling!
There are 2 different approaches here to dating again. Dawson, Heather, Jimmy, and I think getting into this new relationship is too much, too soon. We are in agreement that you need to work on your healing and yourself first before complicating your life with another relationship. It’s hard to see clearly and know what you want when you’ve been battered and bruised both physically and emotionally.
But on the other side of that Allison and Robert say you should tell the new guy you’re dating what you’ve been through, and he could be part of your support system. Angel Hope you are a smart girl; we know you are going to do what you need to do and work on your healing. Remember, God will be your strength, comfort, refuge, and will give you peace as you trust Him!

Resources for Abusive Relationships:

How to recognize the signs and types of abuse:
Help for healing after abuse:

Need to talk to someone? Chat with a HopeCoach at TheHopeLine.

One last thing,
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Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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