Question: How do you handle the attacks and accusations of other people who are telling you that because you left your husband, you have disobeyed God?
I highly recommend Mary Poppins' attitude. She pulled herself up straight and said, levelly, "I want to make one thing perfectly clear--I never explain anything." Thing is, and this is difficult for victims because they've tried very hard to please (one reason they make good victims) and be considerate and blameless, you don't owe anyone an explanation for your actions. One way abusers work their dirty deeds is through the use of questions. Notice how some people use questions to control others, to make them uncomfortable, to invade boundaries, to use as an excuse for getting insulted, getting angry, getting their feelings hurt.
It's useful to experiment and train yourself to not answer questions you don't want to answer. I used to think it was only good manners to answer questions that were asked me. But I learned that I don't have to do that, and there are many ways of stepping aside. As in, when I was once told there was a ladies meeting coming up and they'd like me to be there. I did not explain, I just said, "Thanks, but I won't be able to be there." The response was an abrupt, imperious, "Why not?" I did not answer the question, but kindly restated, "I won't be able to come," and changed the subject.
Another possibility for responding to the people who think they have a right to imply or state that you are in the wrong, is to stand firmly and with dignity, look them in the eye and say, "Some people have a good public behavior and a very different private behavior. I left my husband because of his private behavior." Then, look at them meaningfully, and walk away, or look away, or change the subject.
Another response to this sort of thing is to say, "It has been very difficult for me to have to make this decison, taking me years of trouble to come to it. And it's been and will be very difficult for me to have to do all the things that are coming to me as a result. I hope you understand that it's not something I really want to talk about right now."
Yet another, is to say, "Thank you for caring. I'm sure you know there is much more to the story than you have heard. I hope you'll understand that I'm doing what is absolutely necessary."
> Why do people side with an abuser who claims to have repented and ignore the needs of the abuse victim?
There are several reasons why people will side with a repenter and against the one who is taking action to protect themself from future injury.
1. They may be trying to carry out poor instructions they've received from bad preaching/teaching. They don't know what to do, feel they should do something, and so parrot what they've been taught without thinking it through.
2. They may simply not know what to do, but think they should say something. And what they usually say in such a case is something critical, limiting, or negative. As in, what I thought grownups always did when the children were having a lot of fun. They'd say, "Go outside and see what they're doing, and tell them to stop." Sort of, "it's always safe to be again' it."
3. They may envy you for some ability you have that they think they do not. This situation gives them an opportunity to try to "take you down a peg."
4. They may feel guilty because they are afraid they've had a hand in causing the problem.
5. They may feel ashamed and guilty because they think they may have caused the problem to be worse, or not helped prevent it earlier.
6. Lots of Christians, have goofy ideas about forgiveness. They really don't understand the implications of what they claim to believe, but they don't hesitate to tell other people to act on those goofy beliefs.
But, the important thing to remember is that what they think and/or say has nothing to do with you. You are the one who decides, who has the most at risk, and who is responsible for your actions.