It is a strange thing to invest so much energy into convincing yourself that your relationship is normal only to one day be jolted by the reality that there is nothing normal about it, to be forced to admit that your relationship is patently unhealthy, destructive, and yes, abusive. Continue reading Three Words Every Abuse Victim Needs to Hear
“Strange game. The only winning move is not to play.” WarGames
You may not even know he holds them, but the odds are good that, if you are in an abusive relationship, you have had these thrown at you more than once.
They are trump cards.
Abusers almost always have a trump card or two tucked into their pockets. Just when you think that your reasoning might bring about a favorable resolution to a conflict, he pulls one of these babies out and drops it on the table. Then what do you do? You’ve just been undermined, shut down and dismissed. The conversation is over, and you have lost.
“I don’t care what you think.”
“I didn’t ask for your opinion.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Just go away and leave me alone.”
“I’m done talking to you.”
“I have made my decision.”
“Just do as I say.”
“You will submit to me.”
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”
As we seek to understand God’s way for us in the midst of an abusive relationship, there are times when the Scriptures can provoke us to doubt or fear the heart of the One who loves us. The Scriptures indeed acknowledge that there are times when enduring harsh or inappropriate treatment serves as a powerful testimony and can bring glory to God. But too often we are inclined to believe that, if we are suffering in marriage, we are called to pray, perfect ourselves to attempt to earn our abuser’s love, and hope for change.
But what if a hostile husband’s behaviors have nothing to do with a lack of understanding, a difficult phase in his life, his struggles at work, or a traumatic childhood? What if the one with whom you share your bed is an utterly self-absorbed, abusive – even wicked – man? What if he knows exactly what he is doing, doesn’t care if you are hurting and uses your faith to keep you bound to him? Does your commitment to sacrifice yourself to his will minister to him or merely enable him? If it is the latter, you must ask yourself: Is that what God would have me do?
This is a French video with subtitles, but it is well worth the time to watch and share with others to help them to understand how the dynamics of verbal and emotional abuse incrementally, insidiously destroy the victim.
It is one thing to watch this brief clip and see the pain in the woman’s eyes, but quite another to imagine living with a man like him day after day, week after week, year after year. And he never strikes her.
This is the kind of thing that most people do not understand. The man is not going through a difficult time or having a bad day, nor is he merely unable to see his wife’s needs. He doesn’t care about anything but himself and what he wants and expects. The poor woman is his possession, not his partner.
See if you can identify the various tactics the man uses.
Trigger Warning: This will likely churn up painful memories for the recovering abuse victim.
The sun had barely crested the horizon that morning, when I awoke in my daughter’s bed. Turning over, I realized that, during the night, my neck and shoulders had turned to stone. I rose slowly and began to massage my neck to release some of the tension and became immediately overwhelmed with an emotional exhaustion too intense for words. The night’s horror returned to revisit in full force.
Fortunately, none of our four kids were at home – three had spent the night at their grandparents’ house, and one was at a slumber party. The timing could not have been better, as the evening’s events encompassed a full range of terror and tears that ended without resolution long after midnight. I had confronted my husband about the relationship he was obviously pursuing with another woman, and he raged at me for having the audacity to eavesdrop on the late-night telephone conversation I overheard him having with her from our bedroom.