Tag Archives: psychephiles

Hope lost in a difficult marriage?

DMV awareness month

Life is hard, and life married to an angry, controlling spouse seems impossible. Without realizing it you withhold hope as an area in which you allow God access. Hopelessness is an easy place to arrive when talking to counselors, doctors, domestic violence, and advocates for women in abusive marriages, but mainly after praying for years yet seeing no improvement in the abusive personality with whom you live.

Don Hennessey, relationship counselor and former director of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency, refers to abusers as psychephiles and lumps them in the same category as pedophiles when it comes to recovery. Statistics agree that abusers stand little to no chance of recovery because they don’t believe they have a problem, and “I’m sorry” isn’t in their vocabulary.

We all know that pedophiles target children for sexualized abuse. Don Hennessy coined the word psychephile for the man who abuses his intimate female partner. A psychephile targets the psyche of the woman he has selected as his target for a long term intimate relationship.

 

Today I want to remind you not to lose hope. If you have lost reason to hope for a healed marriage then find another reason for hope. Hope for the future, for what God is working out that you can’t yet see, for the strength you are gaining, for the boundaries you are learning, for the wisdom you are gaining…hope for answers to your questions.

Abuse brings questions that cause wrestling through our faith. This can strengthen, weaken, or destroy our faith.

Ministering in the advocacy community has shown me countless survivors who have friend of a survivorturned from church and some from their faith. Please don’t let this be you. I pray you can be encouraged, strengthened, and validated through the wrestle. If your church family isn’t capable or willing to walk this road with you, look for a church that will welcome you.

 

If you are struggling and asking God questions, I want you to know He hears every one of your inquiries. Ask away! He is not angered, frustrated, or afraid of our questioning. He tells us to ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7-8). Don’t feel guilty for asking Him. He knows, He sees, He counts every tear that falls from your precious face. Every tear is recorded by Him (Psalm 56:8). Allow your sincere questions to grow and strengthen your faith in God. The woman you are becoming will be amazingly strong and different in the years to come.

“No one toxic will offer you apologies, explanations or closure. The toxic person does not recognize their own issues. In any case, you have the power to heal without their participation.” Peter Shepherd

I know there have been people who haven’t given you grace on this journey. They are human; Jesus isn’t. Jesus allows weakness, He allows questions, and He gives grace. Jesus says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” He’s the only perfect one; the only one who has the right to cast the first stone, but He chooses not to do it. Instead He offers mercy and grace (John 8:1-11).

When you re-engage with your difficult spouse you need to know what is true; not what he says about you, and not what you feel. So…ask Jesus what is true.

I’ve been going through The Quest bible study by Beth Moore where she proposes “five recalibrating questions” God presents in scripture. Anytime we are wrestling or off track these questions will help us find our footing.

I’ve memorized these questions so I can ask them of myself when I’m wrestling.

  1. WHERE are you? (Genesis 3:9) But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
  2. WHO told you that? (Genesis 3:11) “Who told you that you were naked? 
  3. WHAT are you seeking? (John 1:38) Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
  4. WHY are you afraid? (Matthew 8:26) 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
  5. HOW much more? (Luke 11:13) If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

 

To find joy and hope in an unhappy or difficult marriage you must guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).

Remember that you don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, although it feels like it when you are living in the battle day after day. Your fight is against your enemy, the devil (Ephesians 6:11-13). Your difficult spouse may feel like the enemy in the heat of the moment, or when remembering previous difficult memories but the enemy is Satan. Jesus warns us that Satan is out to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus has come that we may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10).

Have you been busy surviving and lost track of your hope? Open your hope to God. Search out your questions!

 

 

 

Listen…to her objectified heart

“That’s not really abuse.”

Yes, I’ve heard this statement many times in regards to emotional abuse and I vehemently disagree with it.  The Bible has much to say about abusive people and how we are allowed to deal with them.

See: Do you have biblical permission to leave a toxic spouse?  
#1 Sign of Emotional Abuse
Recognize and Prevent Emotional Abuse
The Emotionally Destructive Marriage

 

Don Hennessy, Director of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Center, uses the term ‘psychephiles’ when referring to men who befriend women and then abuse them in long-term relationships.

“Skilled offenders are clever enough to be ahead of all of us and to be able to orchestrate our responses at every turn.”  (How He Gets Into Her Head by Don Hennessy, p 100)

Here’s a word straight from our sponsor: God…

Scoundrels use wicked methods,
they make up evil schemes
to destroy the poor with lies,
even when the plea of the needy is just. (Isaiah 32:7 NIV)

…they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. (Jude 16b NIV)

Don Hennessy says:

“We [counselors and other professionals] have all failed our clients to the extent that we have failed to understand what is really going on. (How He Gets Into Her Head, 83)

The process of being groomed by a skilled offender will begin as soon as we meet him or take a phone call from him. (157) 

As a society we have already been groomed into an attitude of tolerance and this tolerance is used by the abuser to justify his continued abuse. … His experience of us is such that he believes he can manipulate any agency or individual into accepting his position. (120) 

He knows above all else that we as a community will accept part if not all of his explanation.” (158) From Don Hennessy’s book How He Gets Into Her Head: The Mind of the Male Intimate Abuser

This is a series of writings from women living in difficult, disappointing, or destructive marriages…or leaving destructive marriages/relationships. When women are physically abused the harm is often visible, but what about verbal and emotional abuse? The injury is internal…on the heart, soul, mind and strength. You may never guess her husband rages in a different way but the family knows. Her body knows and it often manifests in depression, anxiety, and/or auto-immune diseases. Allow me to show you the inner cries of these women’s hearts.

These are all true accounts from women I personally know.

Many of the stories are close to identical. It saddens and frustrates me to know that most of the stories I’ll be posting take place inside the church body. These men wear a mask to church that is worthy of an Academy Award. Almost all abusers wear masks.

Domestic abuse is not a respecter of age, gender, socio-economic background, nationality, or religion.

This writing is from Melissa. Melissa has been to college, worked in corporate America, considers herself to be a strong woman, and is outgoing and friendly; so to meet her you would never guess this is her home life, or her struggle.

 

God, I don’t understand…

 

He spends hours reading his bible and praying.

He tells counselors I’m the Proverbs 31 woman

While the emotional trauma at home continues.

I cry myself to sleep more nights than not.

 

A child has anxiety attacks when they hear his voice or see him.

A child wishes he would move away.

A child wishes he were dead.

A child wishes he would get professional help.

A child wishes he would take meds.

Children want to have friends over to their house, but…

Children wish he would work more hours.

He exasperates his children.

The children’s bodies aren’t handling the stress well…even with counseling.

 

I would like to entertain guests in our home…but I would have to wear a mask.

He doesn’t understand other’s needs, not even emergencies.

The children and I live with continual traumatic stress disorder.

I asked God to take our lives and end our suffering.

My sanity is a battle .  

Spending daily time with Jesus—studying and praying is the only way

I keep my mind sound.

 

I need an on/off switch.

This would make it easier to understand when my husband considers me

Worthy of relationship or worthy of alienation.

 

He tried to isolate me

Take away finances

Keep me off the phone

Keep me from friends and family

Keep me from outside commitments.

 

Many relational commitments were made before marriage but

At the marriage ceremony vows were one-sided…

For me to keep, for him…optional.

Love, cherish and  honor… he’s not capable.

Forsaking all others, me yes; him no.

I’m nothing more than an object he owns.

You do not love, cherish, and honor your kitchen blender.

 

He cannot love that which needs his time, space, energy, emotion, or money.

 

Boundaries have helped…some.

Grateful lists have been beneficial to see the good God has brought through the pain.

 

Conversation…I listen; he speaks; after all a kitchen blender should not speak.

I have talent, accomplishments, and stimulating conversation…not in his eyes .

He doesn’t recognize much of what I do beyond providing meals.

No encouragement, no affirmation.

To him I’m a mom, cook and housekeeper.

 

I’m a human with worth, dignity, talents, and relational needs.

 

I often live with avoidance, neglect, and withheld relationship; emotionally, spiritually, sexually.

Who knew a man wouldn’t want to have sex with a spontaneous, fun, attractive, fit, creative spouse?

A wife who doesn’t use headaches or anything else to ever be a reason for ‘not tonight’.

A man who cannot deal with being pursued by his lover. Total turnoff.

 

I’ve lost my health, energy, creativity, zeal, hospitality, spirit.

It’s been years since I’ve had a normal night of sleep. Insomnia, night mares, restlessness.

I used to enjoy life, find purpose, make decisions, feel secure, speak freely, and feel capable.

I used to think I did a good job at whatever I set my hands to do. 

Now I feel like a failure.

My mind can’t stay focused.

His rejection of me changed how I think God feels about me.

A difficult lie to see through.

You couldn’t understand unless you’ve lived it.

 

SARA GROVES: Cave of Adullam lyrics

Speak to me, speak to me in my cave of Adullam.
Reach to me, reach to me.
No one cares for my soul.
I thought I saw your kingdom,
But it’s not going to happen like I thought it would happen.
Remind me, remind me of the vision you gave me.
Remind me, remind me what anointing oil is for.
I need to know you’re near me.
I need to know you are holding me just as closely

Chorus: as the day you took my life and gave me a vision,
As the day you poured the oil and gave me a dream.
I can’t believe this is happening.
How does a shepherd become a king?