True Love Prevails: When You Face the Loss of Your Children

When You Face the Loss of Your Children

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

In the mini-memoir series

"I love you so much! I love you so much that I would carry you on my back straight up the tallest mountain!" is what I used to tell my children as I would carry them piggy-back, spinning around in the kitchen or the living room, all of us giggling. It was a game we played often, even as they gradually grew taller than me. By then I could barely get their toes off the floor. But still we played the game, because so much was happening around us that was anti-love. So many lies and too much deception. I was the shock-absorber for most of it, so that we could try and believe that our family was "functional'. It worked, up to a point, but not for long.

Living with a narcissist or a sociopath is a fight for survival, and the children can be unknowingly used as pawns in a game called "parental alienation" where the abusive spouse has indoctrinated the children into believing that the victim spouse is crazy, mentally ill, or any other negative attribute that will cause the child to reject the parent who is being abused. I know this from personal experience, and from the collective experiences of dozens of survivors I'm associated with.

It's predictable behavior, every last detail. Evil just does the same things over and over.

Today a woman called me, crying very hard. Her 20-year old daughter rejected her once again. Their relationship has been strained for many years, as the daughter's heart still wants to believe in the "I have a nice family dream". The only way to believe in her dream (for it's only a dream) is to deny reality and to reject her mother (who has faced the reality of an abusive relationship and has taken steps to recover, as well as removing herself from the abuse).

This is very common: blaming and shaming the victimized parent in favor of the abusive parent. So, what do you do?

Many years ago I sought the advice of three different counselors when I was faced with the necessity of leaving an abusive relationship following several years of escalating abuse, to the point where my life was threatened. All three counselors gave me the same advice, which I shared today with this precious mother:

TRUE LOVE PREVAILS

I carried these three words in my heart for many years. They were on my cell phone and laptop screen savers and wallpaper. I spoke those three words; I breathed them in through the tears.

"Wait for the window to open," they told me. When children are teenagers they are old enough to make their own decisions but not old enough to understand the complex dynamics of sociopathic or narcissistic abuse. They coached me to wait for the children to come to me and not to push my mothering on them. Allow them time to grieve the separation and don't try to persuade them to accept you.

They reminded me, "True Love Prevails" and in due time, the children will understand, but it may take until they are late in their twenties or thirties before they have enough life experience to understand what happened and to accept you again.

"Your job is to be happy," they told me, "for you are cutting a path ahead of your children, and they will follow one day, if they see that you are happy."

The harm that a sociopath brings into your life is nothing compared to the hurt of seeing your children hurting and not being able to stop their pain.

My ex-husband once told me, "Sue, this all part of the game. No one will ever see what's really happening except you. I want to watch you suffer."

The mountain I have climbed, carrying my children is much different than I envisioned. I carry each of them with the promise: True Love Prevails. And so it does. It really does.

Children are always hurt by divorce. Yet sometimes they are more hurt if parents with an unendurable marriage stay together. There are no easy answers. Often we are put in positions where all of our choices are wrong; there is not right thing to do. At that point we must pray that we choose that which is least evil, and then ask for forgiveness for that inevitable evil which we have done." – Madeleine L'Engle

It's tempting to want to gather our children into our arms, just as we did when they were babies. But we must keeping moving forward. You are, indeed, cutting a path into a new future for you and your children. You're getting a new mindset. You are seeing more clearly. You are learning to love yourself – it's not an option.

There's a time to go to court and fight, and I bless you if you do. Sometimes that is the right decision.

There's also a time not to go to court and fight, and I bless you if you don't. There is very little justice for the victims of narcissistic and/or sociopathic abuse. There are no provisions in the court system to protect the victims. The battle can go on for years, but worse, the abuse goes on unabated… through shared custody or visitation.

True Love Prevails – that is all I know to be absolutely true.

Every situation is unique.

That is why my goal is to write "100 Stories" of people who have survived sociopathic / narcissistic abuse. In sharing our stories we can be authentic. We can tell it like it is. Survivors are the best helpers, because no one understands sociopathic abuse as well as we do!

Therapists and counselors are only just beginning to understand, and the justice system is not working for families in these circumstances. Churches not only are not equipped for this type of abuse, but often they are knowing and/or unknowingly covering for and protecting the perpetrators of the abuse while blaming and shaming the victims.

Will you help me, by sharing your story? You can be anonymous. Email me privately, if you wish, or share via the comment section below. We can learn from each other!

Your story matters.  Your story may be the key that will set a captive free…. even if you feel you have nothing of value or that you are still trapped. You never know what that one word may be that will unlock captivity's door for another soul.

With all my love,

Sue

Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate her way out of hell to a rich and satisfying life. In her lifetime, Susan has served in duties ranging from home school mom – to pastor –  to full-time deliverance minister – and to Midwest regional prayer coordinator for a large international ministry. These days you can usually find Susan soaking in her favorite hot springs pool, reading a book (or several), blogging, baking bread, or hanging out with her family and friends. You can pre-order a free copy of Susan's upcoming book, "On the Way Home" by registering here.

Copyright 2014, Susan Schiller, http://TeamFamilyOnline.com.  For reprint permission for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Survivor February 12, 2016 at 6:59 pm

 

Psalm 23

 

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

When I finally understood that the only way to stop the sociopathic abuse was to leave through divorce, I descended into an even darker nightmare. Only later did I understand that the worse thing a victim can do, is tell them your plans. I thought of it as being honest, however my honesty almost ended me.  Deciding to leave I began to realize that I had not only been stripped of my identity, my self-esteem, my reputation etc. I now knew that I had been stripped of all earthly possessions and without the necessary means by which to get them. My credit was ruined, finances in shambles, no work history for the previous 18 years, and no job now. The assets he/we owned were quickly dismantled or hidden. It seemed impossible to leave and he gloated over that fact. From there my health deteriorated rapidly as I learned that I had been poisoned with toxic levels of Arsenic along with multiple other diseases. It took me 3 more years to get strong enough physically to leave and to gain the mental fortitude to believe it was possible. Even at the point of my leaving, I was still stripped of everything, and now I was not even physically able to work, but…. The Lord is my Shepherd; and now I can truly say, that I did not want. God provided for all my needs when I took that giant leap into what I thought was an abyss of unknowns. I am so incredibly blessed today financially, physically, and emotionally.

 

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

I went through the divorce facing the blatant lies and accusations along with smear campaigns. Yet, God had placed me in a cocoon away from the triangulation and attacks from well-meaning friends who thought they were protecting the ”poor victim” abuser. God led me to a place of peace literally beside the still waters of a lake. At the time I needed it most, a trusted “new” friend offered their home in a distant place and it was a place of rest in the midst of the storm.

 

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

God showed me a gentle healing technique that relieved stress and restored my battered soul. I was given the beautiful gift of education, so that I could become a certified practitioner in this stress relieving, life restoring, healing technique. It was leading me to a path of helping others and starting a career in my late 40’s. This gave me the sense of regaining myself and my self-worth.

 

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Today I grieve the loss of my only child who was “parentally alienated” against me. I grieve the loss of my grandson whom I am not allowed to hold and love and share in his life. Her anger toward me is searing. Her heart ice cold.  Yet, I am comforted in knowing how far I have come and that God’s protection and guidance will lead me through this as well.

 

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Today, I am living all of my answered prayers. I am married to the most amazingly, honest, respectable, kind, tenderhearted, and loving, man. Every day, he shows his love for me in ways that only an authentic man can. He has gently coaxed me back to life, loving, supporting and nurturing my hopes, dreams, and goals. At times his love overwhelms me. I am surrounded by loving, caring new friends and family in deep and meaningful relationships. I work with and help hurting people around the world. My cup absolutely runneth over. I am so grateful for all that I have been given. It is so much more than I ever thought possible.

 

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

I look forward to the rest of my life because I know that today and everyday will be the best days of my life.

 

 

 

Reply

Susan Schiller February 13, 2016 at 7:32 pm

There’s no greater beauty, I feel, in the Lord’s eyes than His Bride who has been crucified by the smear campaigns and betrayal and yet still loves Him and pursues Him alone… and He lifts her high above the demonic tumult into the very Throne Room of God. 

Your story is stunning… it blesses me so much, my friend. You are more than a mere “survivor” – you are the apple of His eye… you are the King’s Bride.

This so beautiful – thank you for sharing!

Reply

Terri B. Jones September 11, 2013 at 9:10 am

I am in agreement with you Susan that "true love prevails".  I saw my mom get physically and verbally abused for 30 years every weekend.  I never understood the type of love she had for her husband despite the abuse.  What I can say is that I made a declaration that I would not let what happened to my mom be my testimony which is in line with one of the definitions of prevail "to be greater in strength."  I thank you for your strength to be free from abuse and it is evident by your writing that you truly have been strengthened and using that strength to be a person of influence.

Reply

Susan Schiller September 11, 2013 at 9:28 am

Thank you for the empowering, life-giving words, Terri. You’ve changed your family legacy, in more than one way, and I’m excited to see what God has for you, in you, and through you. Thanks for pouring out and sharing your wisdom. What you and your husband are doing is bringing a lot of Light into the dark areas. Changing from a poverty mindset to one of abundance is not easy for most Christians, for it seems we’ve all been taught that poverty is equivalent to humility, but it is not. A love of money can afflict a poor person just as much as a rich person.

Appreciating, investing, and caring for finances is not “evil” – it’s part of fulfilling our God-given dreams and destinies here on earth. We’re not meant to simply endure the darkness – as many of us have been taught to believe. No, we’ve been commanded to SHINE, to make an impact in this dark world! Your job cannot be easy, among Christians, but we are some of the neediest people when it comes to developing a mindset of abundance and entrepreneurialism.

Thanks, Terri, for standing up and shining for righteousness… and thank you for your kind and comforting words here today 🙂

Reply

Linda Honea September 10, 2013 at 9:27 pm

True love prevails.  I had almost forgotten.  I, too, had that on my cell phone years ago, but today it is very good to be reminded.

We are cutting a new path.  Perhaps that is why the road seems unfamiliar at times.  I DO want to cut a path of joy!  of glory!  of fun!  of restoration!  of prevailing!

Definition of Prevail
(I added the noun of 'LOVE')
1. To be greater in strength or influence; to Triumph:
"LOVE prevailed against the enemy."
2. To be or become effective; to Win out:
"LOVE said justice would prevail."
3. To be in force, use, or effect; be current: 
"LOVE is an ancient tradition that still prevails."
True LOVE prevails

Reply

Susan Schiller September 11, 2013 at 6:56 am

Powerful words, Linda!

You’re the first person I’ve met who has had the same three words on their cell phone…  wow!

I like the “true” part, as well… because there are all kinds of “love” in the world, and much of it is the sick, false, and deceptive kind. Nothing beats true love – it’s the ultimate trump card.

I love the way you think, Linda – and THANK YOU  so much for sharing 🙂

xxxoooxxx

Reply

Linda Honea September 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Oh Sue… I have those words on my cell phone BECA– USE you said them to me in 2009!

Reply

Susan Schiller September 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Oh wow, Linda…. praise God! 🙂

Reply

Wayland September 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Very very powerful.

Reply

Susan Schiller September 11, 2013 at 6:58 am

Thanks… there will be more to this story. It’s the hardest one to write… there is no greater pain than the loss of your children, especially when everything is twisted. It’s like a knife twisting in your heart, because they are the ones who are hurting most and you can do nothing to shield them.

Reply

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