Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Starving for Validation

Not long ago, I wrote a post that mentioned that validation is one of the things a recipient of abuse desires most. And, although I am essentially healed from my marriage, the scars still pull sometimes.

For example, as I was sitting in General Conference listening to Elder Holland speak, I was overwhelmed with an intense desire to know the Apostles personally. In analyzing that, I realized that I want to know them in part so they can tell me that I am okay in the sight of God. I shouldn't need them for that, but the desire to be told by His servants that I'm okay was almost overwhelming.

I occasionally read blog posts dealing with various aspects of marriage. Cheating, for example. Because my ex accuses me vociferously of emotionally cheating on him, and there is some evidence that he might have emotionally and possibly physically cheated on me, such a topic draws my attention. Even now, over a year after the divorce, whenever the topic of cheating comes up I can't help but obsess about the accusations all over again. Did I really cheat? If so, how? What was it I did wrong? Should I have refused to speak to any male outside of a public sphere? Should I have not been open with my spouse about male acquaintances? The questions just keep mounting ever higher.

I am reminded of a plea which has always touched my heart, but which resonates even more with me now, "What could I have done more for my vineyard?"

What more could I have done for my marriage?

It's not an obsolete question, because I am afraid of making the same mistakes I made—whatever they were—again. I would do almost anything for someone I could trust, someone who knows the Lord, to give me the answers, to teach me what I did wrong.

In short, to validate me.

But I must come to accept that I will never be validated by anything but the Spirit of God working in my own heart. I can't look to the apostles, or people online, or anyone to validate my decisions.

Just me and God. And I don't know that I can do it.


  1. God works in mysterious ways, Silver Rain. He often leads us into irony. Don't be so hard on yourself.

  2. If you made any mistakes along the way, they were not intentional - so they were covered in the grace of the Atonement.

    It's hard for someone who naturally yearns for "immediate" (meaning "close or nearby") and obvious validation to not have it in the proximate way even an abuser can provide in a manipulative way. It's hard to learn to find validation simply in who you are - to believe in yourself enough to accept that type of non-tangible validation.

    I hope you will come to feel and internalize your own divine worth more fully as time passes, and I hope you experience the joy of a redeeming embrace at whatever point is possible for you. Until then, try to be patient - as hard as that also is.

    You will be in my prayers.

  3. So you bought into his BS?

    Did you violate your covenants? Apparently not even close so no big deal. Yes we all make the same mistake again and again until we understand own and change our unhealthy part of the relationship.

  4. I agree with Howard. Somethings are cut and dry regardless of how hard someone else tries to move the goalposts.

    On the larger topic, it is interesting to me that God often seems to step back from us a bit and move forward without any external validation.

    That's why I like Brigham Young's statement that if you do your best, counsel with God, and He doesn't answer then He is bound to support you. I have found that to be true as well.

    God wants us to act, not be acted upon.

  5. Thank you, everyone, for your comments, they have given me a lot to think about. I appreciate and need your perspective.

    I wonder sometimes if being a recovering abuse victim is a little like being blindfolded in a room full of people with sight. I stumble over things that are clear to others.

    I can see the patterns in others' lives, but have a hard time in my own. I'm not quite done blinking the sand out of my eyes yet.


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