Surviving the Fire

High Park fire, Larimer County, CO (2012), Author US Air Force, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/usairforce/7462740970/, (PD as work of federal govt.)

Read the blogs of child abuse victims and those concerned for them.  Somewhere along the line, you will find mention of what the abuse damaged or destroyed outright.

Our innocence.  Our childhood.  Our peace of mind.  Our self-confidence.  Our self-esteem.  Our ability to trust.  Our capacity to select loving partners, and sustain healthy relationships.  Our faith.  Our voice.

And from far too many, the abuse took their very lives.

For many of us, what the abuse left behind was isolation, grief, anxiety, depression, rage, and a permanent sense of violation.

Unfortunately, that we will never be the women (or men) we might have been is not helpful information.  We are who we are…marked by these scars.

In some sense, the scars are our badges – if not of honor exactly, then certainly not of shame.  We were the ones sinned against, not the ones sinning, no matter how we were made to feel about the torture inflicted upon us.

As with the veteran who has lost a limb to war or the woman who has lost a breast to cancer, this is simply our reality now.

No single statement can characterize us all, except that we were blameless.

Some of us were victimized by priests; others, by family members or strangers.  Some of us pressed criminal charges against our abusers; some chose to remain (or were forced to remain) silent, sometimes for decades.

Some of us lived in denial, maintaining a painful status quo in our attempt to protect loved ones.  Some of us fled to the streets, from one kind of horror to another.  Some changed sexes or became sex addicts.  A few fled from sex, itself.

Some of us forgave; some never will.

The abuse did not make us bad citizens, bad neighbors, bad employees, or bad friends. Many of us became high achievers, first at school and later at work.

A surprising number of us have found a strength we did not realize we had.  We have found a way to use our anger to fuel the struggle against abuse and injustice; use our pain as a subject for art and literature.

A surprising number of us have reclaimed our joy.  We remember the past, but choose to focus on the present.

Somehow we managed to survive the onslaught against our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies.  Whether by luck or fate, intestinal fortitude or grace, we survived the fire.  We are here and entitled to live our lives.

Originally posted 10/19/14

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

https://avoicereclaimed.com/2018/05/27/surviving-the-fire-2/

VIDEO Freed From Pain and Fear

Robert Hull – 700 Club Producer

“It was always fear in the house,” says Claudette. “Hiding in the closets, it’s just that we had a man that was very dark for me and my brothers and my mother.” The pain and fear she suffered when she was young at the hand of her stepfather still brings up strong emotions for Claudette. “He was a very strong alcoholic. My mom took the bulk of the beatings. And I would always run and hide in a closet. After all that torment and trauma, and you’re hearing your mother being beat down like a dog, and then she comes to the closet and she’s like ‘come out of here, everything is okay.’ You know, and I grew up thinking that that was okay.” She says.
 
The physical and mental abuse shaped her view of herself and of the world says Claudette, “My life wasn’t worth anything. And I thought the whole world was closed off from love even though I had this love in my heart for people.”

In her teens and 20s she clung to her boyfriend who convinced her they could make good money by selling drugs, Claudette remembers, “I guess because I loved him so much, I was going to accept—I accepted it. And it went from that to using and drinking. And the house turned into a party house. No sleep and it was a nightmare.” The relationship eventually ended but her addiction to drugs and alcohol continued. She now had three daughters that she dearly loved but knew she couldn’t take care of. She says, “I would cry and pray out to God and beg Him to help me, to help us, to stop this and to the point that I took my three daughters to my mother. And I told her that I couldn’t take care of them anymore.”

Years of alcoholism, abusive relationships and drug abuse left Claudette homeless and desperate. As she begged for money at a gas station a stranger offered to help. He asked her to follow him to a nearby house. She had no idea what would happen there. She says, “Something inside of me wanted out so bad. I wanted out and I had no idea what was here waiting for me.” 

He took her to his Pastor’s house where they were having a small group Bible study. Dave and Treva Thompson welcomed her. Dave remembers, “We wanted to do our best to make her feel at home in our home. She was at a really low point and and just grasping for air, so to speak, and in need of what only God could do for her. And so we just did our best to put our arms around her and let her know that she’s in a safe place. She didn’t have to worry. Nobody wants anything from her.”

Treva says, “She didn’t have any money or anything to eat. She began to share with us that she struggled with addiction. And we began to share with her how much that Jesus loved her.”

“I don’t know all these people and they’re packing me up food and all this and she comes out of the room with $20 and she said ‘they said you needed something,’” Claudette remembers.

“It wasn’t long until she understood what we were trying to do for her was just what God had done for her on the cross,” says Dave.

Treva says, “She finally I think saw a love that she had not seen at any other time in her life. Not our love – she saw the love of Christ.”

They began to meet regularly. Claudette soon prayed to become a Christian and asked God to set her free from what she thought was a hopeless alcohol addiction. “I started crying and I was begging the Lord, begging him. I said, ‘Why won’t you deliver me? I’ve seen you deliver other people. Why won’t you deliver me Lord?’ and a voice said, ‘Walk in it!’ like somebody was standing over my shoulder and bent down and said ‘Walk in it!’ It was like something supernatural took over and I said, ‘I’ve been delivered all this time. I just wasn’t walking in it.’ He already delivered me,” she says.

From that moment, Claudette was completely set free from drugs and alcohol. She has been sober for over thirteen years. She says, “I am so grateful. I’m a changed person. God is great. I thought I was going to die that way. I thought that was it for me. That there was no other way out. There was no other option but to live my life like that.” She says.

“When she finally realized that the power of Christ could deliver her from this; oh the joy’s just unbelievable. Unbelievable. To see that realization in someone’s life,” says Treva.

Claudette reconciled with her daughters and says she finally found the love she always longed for in Jesus. “It was the love that I’ve been looking for all my life. It was real love, true love, God’s love. And there’s no greater love than that in this world and that’s the love that I was looking for. That’s the love that I was looking for. And I’m going to walk the life of God for the rest of my life. Yes, Amen.”

https://www1.cbn.com/freed-pain-and-fear

“Never, Never, Ever, say these 15 comments to a Victim of Abuse”

Jan 15, 2017 By Sue Cass

Sue Cass is an abuse survivor and Christian author.  She blogs at Cyber Support Group https://cybersupportgroup.org, Elah Ministries Inc. http://www.elahministries.com, and Sue’s Pen2PaperBlog https://suespen2paper.com .  I recommend her books and blogs to you.

“There’s a difference between still being a victim of abuse and a survivor of abuse.

A person that still carries the shame, guilt, unforgiveness, has not healed the emotional issues from abuse, or is still being abused is continuing to be a victim.

The person that can stand tall, speak out with no shame, no guilt, and has walked the healing path is a survivor of the abuse that was perpetrated in the past. It isn’t just having ‘lived through the abuse.’ It is a matter of having walked the healing path and by God’s grace has over come the emotional issues and is walking in freedom from the past.

Many people want to be helpful and many think that their questions and statements are innocent and do not affect those that have been abused, be it childhood sexual abuse or spousal rape and abuse, or physical and emotional abuse.

Over the years I have heard many testimonies of the added pain inflicted upon victims and survivors of these types of abuse. I have experienced many of them myself and I can tell you from experience the survivor of abuse may steal herself/himself for the onslaught of ‘innocent’ questions and statements but these questions and/or statements are knives deeply imbedding in the heart of the one who has survived the horrors of abuse.

Never, never, never, ever say these things to a victim/survivor of abuse: 

  1. ‘You could have done something to defend yourself.’

Let me ask you how a small child can defend herself against an adult? Or how can a wife defend herself against a husband that is bigger, stronger and wields some object, including his fist, at her? Or a teen girl or boy defend themselves against an angry father or mother? Children are taught to obey! Obey no matter what the parent says to do! Wives are taught to be ‘submissive’ to their husband.

  1. ‘Why didn’t you just leave?’

In the case of a small child, where would they go? A two-year old cannot support themselves, nor a 5-year-old or 7, 10, or 12-year-old. Teenagers? Some do leave and they end up on the street, homeless, the property of a pimp, or within a gang doing drugs, robbing, stealing, scavenging for food in dumpsters, and the Lord only knows what else. Many do not have relatives that will sympathize and take them in. For the grown woman, some are threatened with death if she ever leaves, she has children to consider, a homeless shelter may be a temporary answer IF they are not full, she may not have ever held a job in her life and has no means of support. The list can go on and on and on. I highly recommend the book, “The Walking Wounded: The Path from Brokenness to Wholeness” by Secret Angel for a better understanding of a wife and mother living with an abusive husband.  Available at: www.amazon.com.

  1. “Why didn’t you tell someone!” 

Many have, most won’t. With young children some have been told to “keep the secret no matter what!” Many were accused of lying, blamed for the assaults, beaten for “telling such lies,” ignored, threatened with family members being killed (and many other guilt-ridden consequences) Most have been subject to mind control from an early age, manipulated and controlled, blamed for the abuse by the abuser. One of the things I was told over and over as a young child, “Just stay away from him!” At two and three years old I was told, “If you wouldn’t sit on your dad’s lap…” We are made to feel it is all our fault! For teenagers some have been actually thrown out of the house at fifteen or sixteen years old or have run away because no-one believed them and the abuse continued. Some married the first guy to come along only to be abused now by a husband. Victims are seldom believed! Males are laughed at. “Men can’t be raped!” If that’s your attitude then read, “Unhelpful Myths About the Sexual Assault and Rape of Men.” Posted on this blog, June 10, 2015.

  1. ‘Well you should have……’ or ‘Why didn’t you…..?’

Unless you have been in our shoes there is no way you can even begin to understand or comprehend the dynamics that are or were going on in an abusive home. To lay this kind of condemnation on a victim is to jab the knife in real deep, smile sweetly, and then twist it!

  1. ‘Did you call the police?’

Young children don’t know to do that.  Some teenagers do and end up in foster care only to be abused again or bounced from one place to another to another to another. Some, when the police arrive the abuser convinces the police the teen “has some mental problems.” Unless there are obvious bruises and cuts the police will file a report and leave.  With adults, many do but out of a false sense of “I love him” or “He loves me” they refuse to press charges once the police have come. Many do not get that opportunity for the control is so great there may not even be a phone available in the home.

  1. ‘Just get over it! It happened a long time ago!’

There is no way that dagger can be shoved any deeper into the heart of the recipient of this remark. It is one of the most devastating, demeaning, accusatory, condemning and hurtful remarks that can be made to a victim of abuse. Particularly sexual abuse or rape. Which by the way, sexual abuse that involves intercourse is rape!

  1. ‘What’s the big deal? It was just sex!’

This shows total ignorance on the part of the speaker. Sexual abuse encompasses the mind, the will, the emotions, and the spirit of the victim. The ramifications and emotional consequences of childhood sexual abuse can last a life time. In spousal abuse, where the wife is raped by the husband (along with beatings, etc.) the same thing applies. The mind, will, and emotions are all involved and emotional damage can be severe as well as possible permanent physical injuries.

  1. ‘I’m sure they (parents) did the best they could.’

In my opinion, there is absolutely no excuse that can be given for a parent to turn his or her back on a child that is being abused emotionally, physically, psychologically, or sexually! There is always something that can be done or someone who is willing to help. We have had police and laws for centuries. By ignoring the abuse happening is emotional abandonment and anyone who knows or even highly suspects abuse is taking place and does nothing is a co-conspirator to the crimes that are being committed. That means by doing “nothing” you are doing “something” – agreeing with, condoning the abuse.

  1. ‘You just need to forgive and move on.’

Oh, this sounds so Christian! And of course this is done in “love.” Again, it shows the ignorance and total disregard for what abuse does to the victim; physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. The emotional pain of the victim is never taken into account with this statement. This statement gives the impression that the horrors the victim has survived are merely minor infractions. “Here’s a band-aid, I’ll kiss it and make it all better.” The knife goes really deep and twisting it hurts even more!

  1. ‘Are you sure it really happened?’

There’s that knife again! Survivors have questioned themselves until they are blue in the face with this very question even though they KNOW it happened. They do not want to believe that someone they trusted and possibly loved would betray them in such a horrific way. It is very difficult to accept the reality of being hurt, betrayed, and used by a loved one. To have this thrown at them turns the knife at least a full turn deep in their heart. Is essence you are calling them a liar and they’ve heard that from many others.

  1. ‘Give it to God and let it go.’

Oh such a simplistic and uncaring statement! Just twist the knife a little more for this is a platitude that many Christians will spew forth when they can’t think of anything intelligent to say. Yes, we seek the Lord, if we are not so angry at Him for not stopping the abuse.  Some beg, plead, and scream to the heavens.  Many victims of abuse carry great anger and through the grace of God we do heal but to tell us to just hand everything; emotional damage, memories, scars, and what we feel to God like we’re handing Him a stick of gum is irrational on many levels. The issues run deep and much emotional damage has been done. Each issue is dealt with in time with God’s help. We can not put an entire childhood or 20 years of an abusive marriage in a box and just cast it off and go about our merry way.

  1. ‘Maybe it was just a bad dream.’

You have not only stuck the knife in but have slapped the victim hard in the face. In my case, that would have been an 18 year nightmare! When victims of sexual abuse begin therapy, or even before, this thought does come to mind. “Maybe I dreamed it up. It isn’t true.” Again, it is that deep need to not want it to have had it happen. The bruises in spousal abuse prove this was not dream. A night mare in reality but not a dream during sleep. No, we didn’t dream it. We wish we had because we would wake up and it would go away after the 2nd cup of coffee.

  1. ‘Just don’t think about it!’

Total disregard for the hurt, betrayal, physical and emotional wounding of victim! Absolutely no compassion is being shown. Victims do not have control over what the Lord will bring to mind that He may deem as time to deal with or the memories popping up “out of nowhere.” Walk away from this person! They do not have a heart for your pain and will only cause more.

  1. ‘Well you must have done something wrong!’

In other words, “It’s all your fault!” We’ve heard this from the first encounter, be it as a child or an adult. Abusers NEVER take the blame! It is ALWAYS placed on someone or something else (usually the victim) and the knife is being twisted around and around as it has been sunk very deep into the heart of the victim. The child victim is NEVER  to blame! With adults, there’s no excuse for a man to hit a woman, ever! Or a woman to hit a man unless in self-defense.

Are you ready? Here is the one that tops all that I have heard over the years! Out of the mouth of a youth pastor that had a seventeen year old victim living with he and his wife to escape the sexual abuse at home came these mighty words of wisdom so confidently spoken to me:

  1. ‘A one time rape is more devastating to the victim than continual sexual molestation, they get used to it.’

I’m still speechless!

Am I saying not to talk to survivors of abuse? NO! I’m saying be sympathetic, compassionate, and caring.  If the person brings up the subject, listen before speaking. Think long and hard what questions you may want to ask. If you are sincere in learning more about what we have to face as the results from the atrocities done to us ask if there are any books we might recommend. Don’t give the platitude or outright lie by saying, “I know just how you feel.” NOT IF YOU HAVEN’T WALKED IN OUR SHOES!

Some survivors, like me, are willing to answer even the questions that you never should have asked. But that’s only because I have had years of therapy and by God’s grace and Christ’s healing I can stand up to the intrusive and inconsiderate questions and remarks. Many survivors will wilt, feel condemned, and damage beyond belief can be done. Words hurt! Words can be that knife in the heart!

Many victims of abuse are sensitive, guilt ridden, filled with shame, low self-esteem, angry, hurt, and  pain so deep only God can bring it into the light. Many continue to feel isolated, unloved, dirty, and unworthy of anything positive.

Love them to life!

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

5 Prayers for Healing from Emotional Abuse, FAQS About Emotional Abuse

Candice Lucey
Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

5 Prayers for Healing from Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is subtle and invisible. A person might suffer the effects of abuse and no one will know. This “nonphysical behavior or attitude” is seen in relationships between friends, siblings, parents and children, spouses, and co-workers.

An article by Mary Yerkes on Focus on the Family explains, emotional abuse “controls, intimidates, subjugates, demeans, punishes, or isolates another person” without leaving bruises, but causes “degradation, humiliation, or fear.” Examples include “yelling, screaming, and name-calling” but also “refusing to be pleased with anything, isolating an individual from family and friends, and invalidating another’s thoughts and feelings.”

Here are 5 prayers for people suffering under the weight of emotional abuse:

1. Recognize abuse.

Lord, help me to recognize the difference between loving submission and slavery. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love is many things: patient, kind, humble, selfless, and protective. It does not “insist on its own way,” is “not easily angered.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

As one who loves, you might be “bearing all things,” but love also “rejoices in truth.” When someone lies, saying you are worthless or incapable, it’s okay to put a stop to that. Take stock of how you feel. Is your motivation for staying with a person love or fear; respect or helplessness?

2. Flee abuse.

Father, I am afraid to leave, but I know this situation is not God-honoring. Give me the courage to leave an unsafe relationship. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Many victims of physical abuse say the trouble started from an emotional angle. They point to the subtle ways a partner would undermine confidence and instill fear. Don’t wait around for physical harm or believe that abuse isn’t real without bruises. God does not want you to submit to either emotional or physical attack as though this is an act of obedience to Him.

Galatians 5:1 says “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” God will empower you.

3. Remember your true identity.

Dear God, when this abusive person wants to convince me I am worthless, help me to stand strong God. When society says I am a bad wife or child or friend for abandoning the relationship, help me to remember I am not being selfish. Remind me of who I am in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Perpetrators of emotional abuse and sometimes people in the church will tell you lies. If a victim leaves a relationship, she is a bad spouse/child/sibling/friend. Judgement will sound like this: “whatever happened to ‘love does not keep a record of wrong’ and ‘love bears all things?’” You’ll hear “I thought a Christian was supposed to honor her spouse?” or “Is this how a friend acts; leaving when times are tough?”

Sometimes, the judgment you feel will come from within, or Satan will whisper lies in your ear. “If you really loved Jesus, you would stay no matter what.” “If you were stronger, this person wouldn’t abuse you.” “You left because you are self-serving.”

Scripture says “if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God,” (1 Peter 2:20) but in this case that means recognizing false judgement and rejecting it in the strength of Jesus.

Remember what is true and stop second-guessing what God has said: “You are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31)

Maybe the abuser will change, and it’s important to pray for that miracle. Meanwhile, “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

That is your identity: Child of God.

4. Receive healing.

Jesus, I’m hurting. How do I heal from this grief? How do I trust other people, trust myself to tell a good relationship from a bad one in the future? Help me overcome the weight of anxiety and depression that is crushing me right now, both for myself and also so that You can continue to use me for Kingdom work. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33)

Do you believe that today? Paul wrote this so that Christ’s followers would embrace the promise, regardless of their circumstances. Confusion can include mental pain which is the result of emotional abuse.

Isaiah 41:10 says “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Is that a reality for you right now?

Maybe you have prayed this lovingly for someone else’s sake in the past. Why would you pray Isaiah 41:10 over a loved one and not accept the promise for yourself? Why ask God to forgive the perpetrator of abuse and not embrace Him as your Father and fierce defender?

As authentic believers, we need to practice what we preach – practice being the key word. Learning to embrace this verse and your worth in Christ after emotional oppression might seem impossible, so thank Him even now for what He is going to do, then live out the promises of Jesus as though they are already real to you. They’re real to Him.

We are not disqualified from Kingdom work by our pain; suffering opens our eyes to needs around us. Meanwhile, if we suffer honestly but hopefully, unbelievers get a glimpse of Jesus, especially as our strength and faith grows visibly stronger in spite of heartbreak. This is an opportunity for our pain to paint a portrait of the Gospel.

Let Jesus heal your heart. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelations 21:4) He made these promises because He expected you to experience heartbreak and struggle. The healing process takes time, but Jesus always keeps His word, and His word IS love.

5. Forgive the abuser.

Lord, I’m full of anger towards this person. I don’t want to forgive for what has happened. How do I let go of these feelings? Father, show me how to forgive. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Society at large says it is understandable to never forgive certain people for committing particular wrongs, or they say one must forgive to ‘feel better.’ Forgiveness is for your sake, and even abuse survivors are commanded to forgive to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus makes His stance on the matter clear: “if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

That is nothing like what the world says. The Christian worldview declares that all people are sinners. Paul writes that God “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)

The secular view that we feel better when we forgive is also true, but not for the reason society offers. Anger potentially builds into hatred, and that’s dangerous for “whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (1 John 4:20)

Harboring anger, resentment, guilt, and shame as a result of abuse does not punish the abuser but separates the abused person off from the source of ultimate peace, relief, healing, and joy. Satan would love for the turmoil of emotional abuse to cut you off from the emotional rewards of relationship with God.

God comes close when we forgive, and that’s exactly where we need Him.

Oh Lord, please do not allow the sinful actions of another person to lead me into sin of my own; sin towards You. Let your loving kindness and forgiveness of my sins be an example to me so that I can also love and forgive. Help me to walk in freedom today and to feel Your presence strengthening me. Amen.

Candice Lucey is a writer and counsellor living in beautiful BC, Canada with her family. She also writes blog called Wordwell.ca, exploring scripture one word at a time.

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/prayers-for-healing-from-emotional-abuse.html


FAQS About Emotional Abuse

BY MARY J. YERKES FEBRUARY 1, 2007

woman looking out into the distance
Is emotional abuse slowly eroding you or someone you know? Learn about its destructive nature and how to find hope and healing.

What are the characteristics of emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is any nonphysical behavior or attitude that controls, intimidates, subjugates, demeans, punishes or isolates another person by using degradation, humiliation or fear. Beverly Engel, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship‚ How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002, pp. 10-11. Yelling, screaming, and name-calling are all forms of emotional abuse, as are more subtle tactics such as refusing to be pleased with anything, isolating an individual from family and friends and invalidating another’s thoughts and feelings. Examples of emotionally abusive behaviors include:

  • Humiliating and degrading

  • Discounting, distorting and negating

  • Accusing and blaming

  • Isolating

  • Withholding affection and emotional support

  • Withholding financial resources

  • Dismissive, disapproving, or contemptuous looks, comments or behavior

  • Threatening harm to an individual’s pets, possessions or person

The effects of emotional abuse are often debilitating. They include depression, confusion, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and poor physical health.

What is the difference between emotional abuse and occasional outbursts of anger?

“It’s important to distinguish between emotional abuse and an occasional outburst of anger,” cautions Dr. Margaret J. Rinck, author, speaker, and Christian counselor who specializes in treating abuse victims and abusers. “Everyone has a bad day once in a while and responds with a harsh or negative word.” Emotional abuse is an ongoing pattern of behavior designed to control, manipulate and subjugate another that usually occurs behind closed doors. Speaking in anger is different than Ruth’s experience: When I set the table for dinner, my husband would come into the kitchen, walk around the table, and adjust the placement of the silverware, plates, and glasses, saying ‘Someday you will get it right. Or maybe not’.

Why does one person abuse his spouse, friend or relative?

While the reasons for emotional abuse are complex, most experts believe it is rooted in unresolved childhood trauma. “They are in as much pain as their victims, only they don’t realize it,” explains Dr. Rinck. It takes a great deal of effort and professional guidance for an abuser to overcome his destructive patterns of behavior.

What does the Bible say?

Nowhere in scripture does God sanction any kind of abuse. In 1 Corinthians 13, God tells us what love is and what it is not. “It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs‚ It always protects‚” (vs. 4-7 NIV). Christian counselors also cite Proverbs 19:19 (“A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.”) and Malachi 2:16 (“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.). In regards to abuse within a marriage, some misinterpret Ephesians 5:22 to justify abusive behavior. Let’s be clear. Scripture reveals that the marriage relationship is to reflect Christ’s relationship with his church‚Äîone of sacrificial love. A wife is called to respond to her husband’s biblical headship, not to his destructive and sinful behavior, just as the wife’s mandate is to respect her husband. God never condones abuse.

Can survivors of emotional abuse find help and hope?

If you or someone you love is a victim of emotional abuse, there is hope. You can stop the cycle of abuse today by reaching out for help and by “envisioning the person you were created to be,” Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D. says in Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D. with Ann McMurray, Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse, Michigan: Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Book House Co., 2003, p. 17.. “You were created to have emotional freedom, inner peace, and strong self-esteem. Emotional abuse has undermined God’s plan for your life, your joy, and your peace. But what others have sabotaged, God can rebuild.”

Copyright © 2007 Mary J. Yerkes. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

FAQs About Emotional Abuse


Services and Emotional Abuse Test

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