Jakki Civeriati had a tough childhood. Her home was filled with anger, tempers and rage, At 19 years old, she married her first husband and, much like her childhood, she said it was a marriage filled with abuse. Sixteen years later, Jakki has broken free and she shared her story of overcoming abuse on the Finding Hope podcast.
“I grew up in a home where rage, gaslighting, blame, manipulation – that was very much a part of my day-to-day life,” Jakki told the Finding Hope podcast.
“On the outside, we looked like a normal family. We enjoyed many wonderful holidays together; we went to a Christian school growing up.
“Yet, within the home, there was an inability to manage emotions.”
Although Jakki never had an example of a functional family life, as a teenager she began going to church and soon afterwards became a Christian. After that, her life changed dramatically.
At 18 years old, Jakki attended bible college. By 19, she was married to someone from her church. However, her newfound faith could not protect her from abuse.
Over the next 16 years, Jakki dealt with emotional abuse, coercive control and, occasionally, domestic violence.
“I got to the point where I was literally drowning in the behaviours in the marriage,” she said.
“I found myself with my face in my pillow crying out to God ‘please, help me’.”
Then one day, a sermon at a conference gave her Jakki the push she needed to leave her marriage.
“I overheard the preacher on the loudspeaker,” she said.
“She said ‘what do you want to ask God for?’.
“With tears rolling down my face, it’s like the Holy Spirit spoke through me.
“And the words that came out of my mouth were ‘God, I ask for a functional marriage’.
“That was the turning point for me in taking my first steps to separation, and then eventually divorce.”
“The words that came out of my mouth were ‘God, I ask for a functional marriage’,” – author Jakki Civeriati
Writing Goodbye For Now or Goodbye Forever, Jakki talked about her experiences with abuse and how finding who she was in Christ healed her. And her prayer for a functional marriage came true.
Today, Jakki is married to Marco, and they share a son together. Marco is everything Jakki hoped for, everything that God had prepared her for. But just like any relationship it came with tests and trials.
“Poor Marco, I did put him through the ringer for the first five months of our relationship,” Jakki laughed.
“I really focused on the way he dealt with disappointment, frustration, conflict, how he dealt with me having a messy day.
“And Marco just came up consistent in the way he managed his emotions. Consistent in the way he showed me love, affection and value.
“He was just consistent.”
Listen to Jakki’s full story on Finding Hope in the player above.
- If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
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