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Heal Well and Live Free

Psychologist Ramona Probasco talks about fully healing in Christ after living in an abusive relationship. Read Transcript


- Nearly one out of every four women

in America has been thevictim of domestic violence.

It's an epidemic thatcan happen to anyone,

regardless of race, education,religion, or status.

Dr. Ramona Probasco knowsthese facts by heart,

because she was once a victim herself.

- [Narrator] Ramona Probascomarried Ben at the age of 19.

Their honeymoon phase was short-lived.

And the starry-eyed teen soonbecame the black-eyed wife.

In her book, Healing Well and Living Free

from an Abusive Relationship,

Dr. Ramona shares howshe found true healing

after 20 years of violence.

(uplifting piano music)

- As you walk out thesepractical, not easy,

but practical, steps you'rebecoming your strongest self.

- [Narrator] And offers contagious hope

and concrete steps to getting through

and out of an abusive situation.

- Dr. Ramona Probasco is here with us now

and we thank you for sharing your story.

- Thank you for having me Terry.

- You were only 19 when you married.

Did you have any clues or signs

before you married thatthere was an issue?

- There were indicatorsthat problems were looming,

but I didn't want to believe it.

- [Terry] Yeah.

- You know, the red flagsthat I now teach others about.

I blew right past them.

- Well, hindsight's always 20/20, too.

So from a gray standpoint,

I think you can applythat to almost anything.

When you had problems in the marriage,

you wound up staying in therelationship for 20 years,

what were some of the reasons--

and that's not just you,

that's pretty commonin relationships, why?

- Well, you know, whenmost people say, "I do."

They don't mean, I don't,

and when I got married,I got married forever,

and I really believed it wasgonna be my happily ever after,

and the physical violence

started three years into the marriage,

but my confusion about faith and God,

and what God's perspectiveis on matters like this,

I really had to address a lotof faulty thinking that I had,

and I really believedthat if I prayed more,

I believed more, y'knoweven one particular story,

I got up in the middle of the night,

because I had read how Samuelanointed salt with oil,

and I thought there's something too,

and this anointing with oil, right?

And so, when Ben was sleeping,

I got up in the middle of the night,

and I went to our kitchen pantry,

and I got the oil down,

and I just dabbed alittle bit on my finger,

and I went back into our room,

and I put a little cross on his shoulder,

and I prayed, I prayedfervently, I was like,

"Lord, I want a miracle, Iwant this marriage to be safe,

"I want this to stop inmy life, and his life,"

and what I realized that themiracle that I was praying for,

was actually gonna take place in me,

- Yeah, that's so hard to grab hold of

when you're in the middleof that situation, I think.

In your book,

Healing Well and Living Freefrom an Abusive Relationship,

you say that one of thethings that's so important

for a victim is to call it what it is,

and we don't do that.

- That's right, what I say isuntil we call it what it is,

we're gonna call it what it's not,

and basically what I mean by that

is often people will describeabuse as a marital problem,

or normal couple conflict,

or he or she just,y'know, has a bad temper,

and it's not about that,

we all get angry, we all don't abuse.

- You also say, I thoughtthis was so interesting,

that actually abusivebehavior that is violent

or even aggressive inits tone isn't anger.

- Right exactly, because I mean anger,

you're gonna be seeing anger

often on the person's continence

or in their behavior,

but it's not about anger,abuse is about a mindset.

Primarily lack of empathy and entitlement

is what drives this mindset,

again because we all getangry, but we don't abuse.

Abuse is a choice.

- You said also thatthere are three stages

that both people go through,

the abuser and the victim,talk about that a little.

- Well, I think what you're referring to

is my subtitle: From Victimto Survivor to Overcomer,

and that's in reference to the person

who is on the recipient end of abuse,

and I use the example of a burning house,

and the metaphor I like to use is:

a person is in a burning house,

a victim will see the flames,

feel the heat, smell the smoke,

but they'll stay in the house.

A survivor will be in that same house,

and they will see the flames,

feel the heat, and smell the smoke,

but they'll leave.

An overcomer, in that same house,

will see the flames, feelthe heat, smell the smoke,

but they'll leave, but after they leave

they'll build a new house,

and they'll invite othersto come in and enjoy it.

- So what was the breakingpoint for you, Ramona?

What was the thing that made you say,

"I can't do this anymore."?

- Right, well in theintroduction of my book

I entitled it: Something Broke Inside Me,

and it was the incidentwhen Ben attacked me,

we were getting ready for an event

that we were gonna speak at,

and he was runningbehind, which was typical,

and I getting nervous,

and I happened to besitting on the toilet,

and he came up and he grabbed my head,

and he drove his drove histhumbs into my eye sockets,

and at that momentsomething snapped inside,

and a couple days later he approached me,

and he wanted to make up, and I just said,

"I can't," and he said, "Why not?"

I said, "I just can'tcome back this time,"

I was referring to at thatpoint emotionally speaking,

and he said, "Why?"

and I said, "Becausesomething broke inside me,"

and that's when I realized

that I could no longer the fightto try to save the marriage

to help him change, was over.

- There's an aftermath

when you make the decision to leave, even.

It's not just all of a suddenthere's great relief and joy,

talk a little bit about that process,

- That's right, there'sgrief, because its's a loss.

Yeah, we experience exactly,

I describe divorce as adeath with no body to bury,

and no one brings covered dish over,

it's a lonely journey for many,

and so you're gonna walk through grief,

a person who's come throughthis type of trauma,

and you need to heal from grief.

- [Terry] And it takes time.

- It takes time,

but doing somethingintentional with that time,

not just allowing time to pass,

time passing doesn't heal us,

doing something intentionalto heal well, will heal us.

- One of the intentionalthings that you talk about

that's so key in your book is forgiveness,

- Yes.

- Because to be set free,

you really have to engagein that process, don't you?

- You do, I believe to heal well

that forgiveness is anessential part of that,

however I also know that the holy spirit's

been doing his job for a long, long time,

and so it's not up to me totell someone you must forgive,

or you should forgive.

I believe it's a personal decision,

but if we wait to forgive,

most of us will never feel like it.

- So again, intentional.

- Right, it's an act of our will,

when I decided that nightthat I could clearly remember

when I decided to forgive Ben,

it was, like I said, an act of my will,

but it took me years to work through it,

and frankly the most difficultperson to forgive was myself,

- Yeah, and that's probablythe last person you forgive.

- It was the last person, yes.

- Well, so much wonderful,enriching information,

this is a huge problem in our culture,

- [Dr. Probasco] It is- A really huge problem.

Dr. Ramona Probasco, we thankyou for sharing your story.

For more, get her book, it's called:

Healing Well and Living Freefrom an Abusive Relationship,

it's in stores nationwide,

and whether you are having this experience

in your own life, oryou know someone who is,

get help, call our prayercenter, our number is toll free,

it's 1-800-700-7000,

and get the book, it'sfull of rich information.

Thank you Ramona.

- Thank you for having me.- So good to have you.

- I appreciate it.

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