Nestled deep within my pocket, or sometimes clutched in the palm of my hand, I carry a horse chestnut. It's plain, it's simple, it's ordinary--at least to anyone who might see it. But to me, it’s a sacred object.
It’s easy to feel unloved when struggling through an abusive relationship. Victims are either blatantly told that they aren’t worthy of being loved, or sometimes the attack may come in different words but with the same meaning. Verbal abuse is just another way of being told we’re not cherished by our partner. An individual with covert tendencies will often say things such as “you hate me,” or play the victim in order to guilt their target into submission.
These words and actions also show a lack of empathy and love.
That’s why—for the sake of our mental health and emotional well-being—a group of understanding, supportive loved ones is so important. There’s a reason the LORD declares in Genesis 2:18, “it's not good that man should be alone.” He created us as social beings, living in a social world. Isolation is a detriment to health and healing.
And here's where my horse chestnut enters the story.
I'm Jenny duBay, a domestic abuse survivor and now advocate. My degree is in Christian theology with a concentration on spiritual direction, and my vocational emphasis is on helping those who have suffered from domestic abuse to heal and reclaim their true selves.