Today I’m addressing emotionally abusive marriage which tend to be more prevalent within the church;. and oh boy, would I like to know why!
*Disclaimer— Emotional abuse can take place in any relationship: Friendships, neighbors, parent/child, siblings, co-workers, extended family, but for today’s purpose I’m referring to marriage. Although men can also be the victim, most of the people I come in contact with are women who are suffering in emotionally abusive marriages, or have left an emotionally abusive marriage.
I’ve heard many women say if only he would physically abuse me so someone could see the proof!
If someone hits you in the face and you get a black eye; it will be easy for onlookers to understand what happened. People will say, “Oh, he hit you; that’s wrong. He shouldn’t do that. I’m going to call the police.” Simply put: It’s physical abuse. On the other hand; when you are alone with him and he says things to you no one knows about, he ignores you, gives you the silent treatment, withholds physical intimacy, withholds finances or necessities from you, and you rarely can do anything to please him, but can’t prove it; you feel hurt, crazy, afraid, intimidated, broken hearted, unloved and neglected. This is more difficult on so many levels but also just as wrong as physical abuse; it’s emotional abuse.
Here is an example: A husband has a good reputation at church for his service, work, ministry, and/or is known as kind, with warm smile. At home he’s neglectful, doesn’t take responsibility for his actions, he never repents, picks fights, he’s verbally mean, or… he never says anything. He completely rejects the person and disregards them.
Do you recognize yourself in the above scenario? Do you feel like you’re losing your mind?
When you’re with someone who never takes responsibility for their actions you start to feel like you’re crazy. You’re know there’s a problem but when you go talk to your husband he responds, “No, I didn’t do that…you did that…you over react, you read too much into things… that wasn’t me. ..and you…and because…and that’s not why…scriptures says you’re supposed to …you can’t say that… you know…because that’s why…figure it out…I’ll be patient and give you time.”
You’re left wondering what on earth is going on. Your head is spinning and you feel confused, lonely, hopeless, depressed at one time or another, and like you can never get an answer to your question, an apology, or closure to an issue.
Ask yourself this question. Does he ever take responsibility for his actions? No?
Then you need to know this: If you could hold an Abuse-O-Meter to the heart or head of your difficult person it would read, “Unsafe abuser” because the best gauge, the number one indicator for an unsafe abuser is that they never take responsibility for their behavior.
Yet in scripture God instructs us to confess our sins, to take the log out of our own eye, and if we know our brother has something against us—to go make it right with him. God does not tell the abused or offended to make restitution with the abuser or offender. The Bible places responsibility on the offender to make peace with the offended. Can you imagine there is a human being on planet earth who will never need to take responsibility for a rude action, offensive comment, or ill treatment of someone? That’s not realistic. I only know of one person in the history of the world who could have done that and He is Jesus. Yes, the One and Only Son of God who is now seated at the right hand of our heavenly Father.
So if you’re with someone who never takes responsibility, explains everything away, justifies every word, thought and action—that’s a clue.
Next you need to understand that they are in complete denial and don’t realize what they’re doing. And no, you stand no chance of explaining it to them. You would be better off talking to a wall because any time, energy, emotion, logic or love you spend attempting to break through to them will simply cement in their mind that you are even crazier than they originally thought.
Counselor, Patrick Doyle explains DENIAL as = Didn’t even know I was lying. That’s how much unsafe abusers believe in themselves
It takes an excellent counselor/psychologist to understand the self-deceived abuser who believes their own rhetoric, lies, denial, rationalization, minimizing, justifying, and spiritualizing. Abusers believe every word they say. That’s why they’re so convincing.
You can’t perceive their nonsense which seems like pure foolishness to you. Although you may feel like you’re losing your mind; let me assure you, you’re not. Don’t believe it for a moment. And if you’re concerned you will lose your mind then you should seek professional help. Strong people seek help. When you’re in the middle of such messiness it can be difficult to see clearly, discern wisely, and respond with logical application and consequences. Let someone not emotionally involved see through the fog for you.
If you wonder if you’re in an unsafe relationship; locate ‘SOLUTIONS-HOTLINES-HELP’ in the margin of this blog and click ‘Mosaic Threat Assessment.’ It will direct you to an assessment questionnaire which is a strong indicator of possible danger.
Here is what I keep hearing from wife after abused wife: She goes to a Christian friend, a spiritual leader, or her pastor and she receives this counsel, “Be Patient. Wait on God. Love him more. Be kind. Forgive him, kiss him more passionately, be more available in the bedroom, be more interested in his day, engage him in conversation, speak words of affirmation, show him respect and he’ll come around.”
Here is what Christian, counselor Patrick Doyle has to say about such advice: “I can tell you right now that if somebody has that much denial and they’re that harmful; loving them more will only embolden them to take more ground and be more mean…in their, kind, sort of way because of how they interpret it. When you start being nice; they figure you realize what’s going on and you finally came to your senses. Now you’re going to do it their way which is the right way; obviously, because that’s the only way there is! Their denial is so thick; they believe it!”
There you have it. The number one indicator of an unsafe abuser: They never take responsibility for their hurtful behavior.