Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cutting through the Fog

Fog blurs the landscape, making it all soft and indistinct. Yesterday, fog enclosed our home. In the close distance snow fell creating a beautiful winter wonderland. But beyond the fog, we couldn't tell what was going on. We were an island and it felt snug. I found myself assuming that everywhere out there, beyond the fog, must be snowing too. The funny thing is when the fog lifted this morning we saw that our mountain was covered--but down in the valley they didn't receive any white stuff at all.

It reminded me of living in a fog while I lived with abuse. Especially my years as an abused wife. I used to feel "foggy" frequently. My brain power just seemed to shrivel. I often felt like I didn't know what had just happened. Everything felt so confusing and unclear. I could have sworn I knew something, and then I didn't. I walked around not really feeling fully present. I didn't even know how I felt. I was numb. I was shut down.

The first months after I left abuse, I felt shocked and thrilled to see so clearly. The confusion dropped away. The fog evaporated at a fairly steady rate. I re-discovered that not everyone lives in fear. Not everyone is frequently attacked verbally and/or emotionally by the one who supposedly loves them most. Not every home is a danger zone. Not everyone is on high alert all the time.

I wanted the life of new possibilities that I saw beyond the fog. I was timid and unsure of myself, to be sure, but I knew that I could never again settle for an abusive relationship. I decided that I would learn to face everything head on, and leave foggy denial far behind.

Have you experienced the disorientation of dwelling in a foggy land of denial? Have you made any decisions concerning denial?


Cynthia said...

It was strange for me. I think I would have remained walking about in the fog because I had gotten so used to thinking of life that way as normal. It wasn't until I saw other peoples horror when they caught sight of how I was being treated, that I began to realize how bad it had become. Infact the turning point was when two young men walking down the sidewalk actually came over to our car,which was stopped at an intersection. They had heard how he was roaring at me and asked if I needed help. I was horrified. Embarrased. Stunned. But the looks of concern on their faces brought a reality to me. That was the day I began to plan my escape. Your blog is beautifully written and will provide a great ministry for both those who are free and those who are still bound.

Anonymous said...

I can relate. I remember when things seemed to come in more clearly with me. It was like standing on the shore of Lake Michigan on a clear day. You can see out over the water with no end in site. That's how I see my life now...endless possibilities. Before, everything seemed so limited. I think a lot of it was because I was afraid to step out of the fog. I had to gather the strength and courage I needed to take that step. Once I did, I stepped into a new world of possibilities that I never knew were there before. Sometimes I feel like a little kid who is just starting to explore the world. There are so many things I never got to do that I am doing now. It has been an exciting venture for me. God is so good!

Tanya T. Warrington said...

Two Finches,

Thank you for sharing so transparently.

I think it is amazing and wonderful that two young men came to your defense. They were very courageous and heroic to speak up. Far too often, others let fear stop them from taking action.

Living in a fog of denial about abuse, does end up feeling normal. I hadn't come from a healthy family to begin with so it seemed even more normal. But when I left home I did have specific ideas about what might be a healthier way to live. Those ideas got squashed and forgotten for years.

When I moved out with my children, we spent the first weeks at a friend's home. I felt shock again and again at the interactions they had. It woke me up about how bad things had become in my home.

Thanks for posting a comment,

Tanya T. Warrington said...


You are so right! The possibilities change dramatically after finally leaving denial behind. Life is an exciting adventure after the letting go, mourning, and facing your future.

God is so good! He doesn't hold us captive to our past. He stengthens and encourages us to walk with Him into a new and better future.

Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft