Am I In An Abusive Relationship?
In my travels as I share my testimony I come across many who are in or have been in an abusive situation. Unfortunately this is not something new or unusual. Huffington post says on their website that 60% of all young women have experienced abuse. 29% of those women say they have been in an abusive relationship.1 out of every 4 girls and 1 out of every 6 boys will experience sexual abuse before the age of 18. These statistics are awful to say the least. I feel the church really needs to be aware of these statistics. The world does not have an answer to help pick up the broken pieces of these shattered lives we do. So in the next few months I will attempt to not just bring some awareness but to bring healing to the hearts and lives of those who are still bound to their pain and memories.
Definition of Abuse-
treat with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly the improper use of something cruel and violent treatment
Actions toward someone, with the absence of Love.
I've heard abused women say " But he loves me...” , or “If you only knew what he’s been through you would understand” , and “He doesn’t really mean to...” How many times have you said, “well he’s not always this way. He really has a good heart.” These excuses we make because we fool ourselves into thinking we don’t want people to think bad of him, we are protecting our spouse, but in reality, we don’t want people to think bad of us and to realize that we live with someone who intentionally hurts us and puts us down. I’ve said and used these very excuses myself when I was in an abusive relationship. I tried to hide the pain from everyone I knew. I made excuses and even lied to cover up the explosive temper tantrums or silent angry moods. It really took a while before I realized that my relationship was not normal. See the problem was I had never really been in a normal relationship. All I really knew was manipulation when it came to most of my relationships with men. So when I was walking on eggshells and choosing each word carefully I had no idea that this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Some of my awareness started to come when I would listen to christian talk radio and they would do specials about abusive relationships. I thought surely this is not me. But all of the signs and the things these women were saying were exactly what I was going through. I still couldn’t wrap my brain around this thought though because after all he had never hit me. Thats what abuse really is right? When a man pushes you around slaps you once or twice that’s abuse, right? I kept tuning into the radio programs eager to learn more. Was this wrong? Do I just need to learn how to be a better wife? I finally decided I needed to be a better wife. I cooked more, tried to make a better home, be a better mother, be a better in every area that I could but the harder I tried the less I succeeded. I couldn’t do anything right.
I at one point began to question my own sanity. Maybe I am the one who is crazy. After all if I had only done this or that better he would not have called me stupid. As an abusive relationship grows in years it grows in intensity and I soon realized that what they were saying on the radio program was true. This is not the way God intended us to love one another. But instead of reacting in a Godly manner I began to seethe with anger and hatred. I couldn’t wait for him to leave for the day. I had turned my life into a miserable place because now I had shut God out of the equation. Unforgiveness reigned. Anger, hurt and bitterness reigned. I had a choice when I realized this relationship was not healthy nor Godly. I could seek help to restore it or I could sit and be angry and feel sorry for myself because I am stuck in this situation. I won’t go into all of it now but I did eventually reach out for help but by the time I did the relationship was gone. If I had reached out in the beginning I don’t know but there may have been a chance to save it. Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to save you the pain and heartache that I went through. You may have a chance to save your relationship. You may have a chance to save your teenage daughter from getting deeper involved in that abusive relationship. This may save your life literally. I want you to understand what Love really is. Love doesn’t take it gives! It’s not 50/50 it’s 100/100.
We often hear I Corinthians 13 read at weddings as if it were a poem. But this is a life guide for how we should be with one another daily. This is our manual on what Love is. Christ was our ultimate example when he left his home in heaven to come to earth he laid aside everything for our good. He laid down his very life so that we can live. That is what love is.
I Corinthians Chapter 13. 1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a
2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
Let’s break down Verse 4 into 3 parts. What it Does, What it Says, and What it Does not do.
What it Does-Love suffers long
“I at one point began to question my own sanity!”
(The abused person cannot take this verse as a commandment to endure abuse. But while seeking help and working toward reconciliation, enduring it with a Christ like attitude will go a long way in righting the situation. Do not react in bitterness and anger but in Love) God intends for us in our relationships, to endure in a Christlike manner the faults and shortcomings of another. My dear sweet husband suffers long with my forgetful and unorganized self. If he was not loving me as Christ loves the church he would surely have lost his temper with me. As I strive to correct my shortcomings he continues to endure and encourage me. :) What It Is-..and is kind; The definition of Kind-warmhearted, affectionate, caring, kindhearted, loving, considerate. It means exactly what it says. If we should treat a stranger that we don’t know with Kindness how much more the ones we are in a relationship with? What it Does Not Do- love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; continued
A person that is not operating in Love but in fear will always try to make themselves appear bigger and better than they are so that no one will look closer to see the real person that they are. Reminds me of my cat. When a big dog comes near her she puffs up stands on her toes and makes some crazy sounds so she looks scary to the big dog when in reality she is a fluffy cat that is scared to death the dog is going to eat her.
Here are some questions to ask yourself and let the Holy Spirit speak to you.
1. Am I afraid to ask him a question for fear of a blow up? 2. Does tension immediately enter the room when he enters the room? 3. Do I make constant excuses for his temper, rudeness, or bad behavior? 4. Am I always telling the children don't do that because you will make your father mad? 5. Do you wonder which one you will wake up with today the nice one or the mean one? 6. Is your every move controlled and your side of the family kept at a distance, 7. Do I blame myself every time he blows up or throws things? Ex. If only I had not... He wouldn't have gotten mad.
16 Signs that are you are in an abusive relationship
1. Humiliating or embarrassing you 2. Constant putdowns 3. Hyper criticism 4. Refusing to communicate
5. Ignoring or excluding you 6. Use of sarcasm and unpleasant tone of voice 7. Unreasonable jealousy 8. Constant calling or texting when you're not with them 9. Extreme moodiness 10. Mean jokes are constantly making fun of you 11. Domination and control 12. Guilt trips 13. Withdraw affection 14. Making everything your fault 15. Isolating you from friends and family 16. Using money to control
If you are now realizing that your relationship is abusive whether it's a marriage, or you're dating or even if you have been long time friends you need to seek help. I do not personally believe in Psycology. It is based on mans thinking. But I wholeheartedly believe in Biblical counsel. I believe that in some situations there may be a chance to salvage the relationship but you cannot do this by yourself. You need to have your Pastor involved and walking you through this time.
I recently got remarried and my husband taught me something when we first started dating. I was having an issue with some individuals who were giving me trouble at work. I was complaining to him about the situation and he made this statement that has stuck with me since and really helped me become the person I am today. He said, “You know, you teach people how to treat you.” I know my face was a big fat question mark. He said, “You teach people how to treat you. If you let them run over you they will, If you let them call you names slap you around and make you the butt of their jokes then they will continue. When you stand up for yourself and let them know this is not ok then they will begin to change how they treat you because your response is different.” So I decided to put it into action in my life and I found the words were true. When they realized I was not going to allow myself to be walked on they didn’t try to walk on me. God has given us guidelines of what’s acceptable and what is not. It is up to us to use them in our lives.
Evaluate your relationships today. You don't have to wait till you're being beat down to get help. You can save that relationship by getting help now. Remember Love casts out fear, it doesn't create it.