Surviving Physical and Emotional Abuse

Danae Songy

Danae Songy

(edited by Judy Yong and Kaysha Ortiz-Ramos)

My name is Danae Dolinsky-Songy and I work at 88.3 The Journey as the morning show host and program director. I love my life right now; it’s amazing to see how God has led me, though it hasn’t always been this way. Along my life’s journey, I took some wrong turns. Maybe you can relate to this, as some of those turns were bad choices in whom I chose to invest my time and energy in. I’m talking about my dating relationships and the abuse I experienced.

I don’t have an extreme story of almost being beaten to death, but physical and emotional abuse ran rampant in two of my relationships. For reasons only God knows, there was a hole in my heart Satan knew only God could fill and so he tried with all his might to distract me from God’s ability to make me whole. Instead of focusing on God, I looked to men to fill that void, or I guess I should say “boys” because I believe real men don’t do this.

Relational abuse can be very subtle to most people and only those closest to the victims or perpetrators can see it. A lot of times, when someone sees it happening, they think it would be out of line to point it out because they don’t know all the details. But most likely, saying something could give the victim some courage to stand up to unhealthy treatment.

So what is abuse? What is unhealthy treatment? In my experience, my boyfriend would emotionally manipulate me to the point that I believed my feelings didn’t matter. I always felt like I was doing something wrong and I would try to hide it from him. Other times, he would try to control how much makeup I put on or what style of clothes I wore, claiming he didn’t want others noticing me. More often than not, if there was an interaction he didn’t like that would happen in public, I’d get the “eye” and I knew there would be emotional punishment later. We would have screaming fights that always ended badly and me crying, but he was immune to my tears. These are just a few examples of emotional abuse. Physical abuse can be categorized as any touch done outside of courtesy or love. I had a few experiences like this with being pushed, grabbed, shoved, and one time my head being slammed into a window. Emotional and physical abuse feels the same though.

I had friends who tried to help me, but I was unable to truly accept their help because I was too emotionally connected to my boyfriend that I couldn’t imagine life without him. So my friends scattered and left me to my choice. I think it would have been helpful if some of them would have just listened and not try to fix my relationship. Anything they said that threatened my relationship with my boyfriend would make me start feeling guilty for even sharing.

So if you want to help someone experiencing abuse, be non-confrontational, at first, to gain their trust so they know they have a safe non-judgmental place to run if things get bad enough.

The way I got out of my abusive relationship was through a simple prayer. I prayed that God would break my heart’s addiction by having my boyfriend cheat on me or start liking someone else. It was a last resort after continually breaking up and getting back together like a dog returning to its vomit. God answered both times in both relationships and it broke my heart enough to run to God instead of my boyfriend with my pain.

Girls can be abusive as well. In fact, I have an acquaintance that is no longer alive because of where the abuse eventually led. I have another friend whose wife threw so many kitchen items at him that he had to file for divorce. Male or female, you can experience abuse. As I have matured and made better decisions for myself, I look back and see that my boyfriends weren’t trying to be abusive, they had a hole they were trying to fill as well. One of my boyfriends came from violence in his home, another from negligent and indulgent parents. If you are using emotional or physical force or coercion in any way, you are prone to be an abuser. If this is you, I implore you to run to Jesus for help on how to fill the voids that cause you to want to control others.

I didn’t address sexual abuse, but it is also an obvious form of abuse. If you are a victim of any kind of abuse, don’t be afraid to reach out, there are people who care about what you’re going through. And whether you’re an abuser or victim, Jesus loves you and died for you. He made your hearts to love and He can show you how to do it. You can come back from this!

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