I drove along I-5 a couple of weeks ago listening to "The Message" on my radio. They were interviewing Chris August who has a new album ("No Far Away"), and one of the songs on it is 7X70. His childhood must not have been the most pleasant, from what he said in the interview--and this song is about learning to forgive even abuse. Do you remember the story in Matthew 18:21-22 where Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive a person? He probably thought he was being pretty magnanimous when he suggested seven times. But Jesus came back to him with, "No, forgive him seventy times seven times." Wow, that's 490 offences (see, I can still remember some of the multiplication tables).
Personally, I can't think of anyone who's offended me even 50 times. However, possibly children (or spouses) in some abusive homes could probably claim 490 times. How is it possible to forgive some one who bruises, breaks, or sexually assults you time after time after time after time? The only way is by remembering how many times we have offended Jesus and how many times He forgives--over and over and over and over.
While I'm not saying you should ever stay in an abusive relationship, I am saying you must forgive-----for your own sake, not necessarily for the abusers sake.
If Jesus could forgive the people who used a scourge on Him (a vicious multi-lashed metal-tipped whip), pounded nails into His feet and hands, scorned Him, deserted him, surely He can help us to also forgive. Turn the hurt over to Him, and when the memories come back to torture you, hand it to Him again. Hand it over as often as you need to until it's gone for good.
Mother Teresa is credited with writing this prayer, and it is one of my favorites. I hope it will reach down and touch the bottom of your heart.
"People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."