Wife Abuse, and How Can I help? Part 2

Hi, Lucy here. I obtained permission from June Hunt and the “Hope for the Heart” ministries to share one of their counseling keys that I found ever so useful. I plan on sharing excerpts from the “Wife Abuse” key each week for the next few weeks. Please feel free to share this information.

This week I’m talking about the stages of Abuse and its Causes, and then next week will be the conclusion where we’ll discuss what Choices we have, Steps to Solution, and some Biblical answers to common questions surrounding abusive behaviour. I hope you find this useful as I have.

~All words below are quoted from the Wife Abuse Counseling Key by June Hunt. Copyright 2001 HOPE FOR THE HEART~

Counselling key pic Wife Abuse copy

A.      Stages of Abuse

Like a runaway train, abuse doesn’t start with a sudden outburst of physical force. Behav- ioral patterns develop in stages that are cyclic, becoming increasingly more violent. Family members who have learned to recognize the signs are controlled by the mere anticipation of expected violence. Unfortunately, the escalating nature of abuse is rarely curbed without intervention and adequate accountability.

“Break the arm of the wicked and evil man;

call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.” (Psalm 10:15)

Agitated Stage

An environment of tension and anxiety marks this beginning phase. The husband communicates his stress or dissatisfaction and blames his wife for all his problems. Passive psychological control is maintained through direct or indirect verbal and emotional abuse, creating a backdrop of impending doom. During this stage many women accept the primary responsibility for their husbands’ unhappiness. Then they adjust their own behavior in an effort to lessen stress in the home.

“For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and He examines all his paths.”

(Proverbs 5:21)

Characterized by:

  • Brooding and irritability
  • Becoming jealous and suspicious
  • Using the “silent treatment”
  • Withholding emotional support
  • Belittling and destroying self-esteem
  • Making sarcastic and demeaning remarks
  • Accusing or threatening
  • Withholding sexual intimacy
  • Depriving her of sleep
  • Questioning intensely
  • Neglecting family responsibilities

Acute Stage

The tension which has been building is given full throttle. When violent behavior is unleashed, often family members, outsiders or the police are called in to derail and interrupt the rage. This stage of aggressive behavior doesn’t last long, but outbursts tend to become more frequent and more dangerous.

“An angry man stirs up dissension,

and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.” (Proverbs 29:22)

Characterized by:

  • Pushing, choking, slapping,
  • Breaking and destroying property punching, kicking, etc.
  • Throwing objects
  • Forcing sexual compliance
  • Isolating or confining
  • Binding or chaining
  • Using weapons

Apologetic c Stage

During this “honeymoon phase,” the abuser becomes contrite, and the wife is soothed with her husband’s loving actions. With a renewed hope for change and her deep desire to have a successful marriage, she extends forgiveness and the cycle occurs again and again.

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12)

 Apologies

  • Penitence
  • Remorse
  • Tears
  • Peacemaking
  • Promises

Characterized by:

  • Gifts
  • Apologies
  • Penitence
  • Remorse
  • Tears
  • Peacemaking
  • Promises
  • Temporary acceptance of responsibility

“WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY HUSBAND WAS PHYSICALLY VIOLENT, AND BECAUSE OF FEAR I MOVED AWAY FROM HIM? SHOULD I SEEK A DIVORCE OR GO BACK TO HIM WHEN HE PROMISES TO CHANGE?”

If your husband has not committed adultery, you do not have Biblical grounds for divorce. However, if your husband has not received the help he needs to deal appropriately with his anger, your home will not be safe. Your personal safety (and that of any children) is first in importance. You can remain separated, but be willing to cultivate a heart of reconciliation for the time when your husband may seek help and exhibit genuine change.

“But if she does [separate], she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:11)

  1. B.      Situational Set-Up

A wife should never feel she is the “cause” of her husband’s abuse. He is solely responsible for his behavior and treatment of her, but they both bring certain emotional deficiencies into the marriage which create an unhealthy dynamic of relating. A change in the way each re- sponds to the other is necessary for the cycle to be broken.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

 THE ABUSER                                         THE  ABUSED

Low self-worth                                                        Low self-worth

Emotionally dependent on her                               Emotionally dependent on him

Emotionally depressed                                           Emotionally depressed

Believes in male supremacy                                   Believes in family unity

Exaggerated jealousy                                             Exaggerated guilt

Insatiable ego                                                         Insecure ego

Short fuse                                                               Long-suffering

Explosive emotions                                                Stifled emotions

Lives with suspicion                                                Lives with fear

Fears being betrayed                                             Fears being abandoned

Uses sex to dominate                                             Uses sex to establish intimacy

Displays anger                                                        Denies anger

Blames abuse on mate                                           Accepts responsibility for abuse

Believes he is not part of the problem                     Believes she is the problem

II.    CAUSES

“CAN PEOPLE EVER REALLY CHANGE?”

Yes. God would never tell people to change if they couldn’t.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)

The way individuals relate within marriage is often a mirror of the marital relationship they observed within their own childhood home. Behavioral patterns are learned. Ways in which a husband and wife interact within the family structure become the “norm,” resulting in specific sins being generational.

“The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.

Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished;

He punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

(Numbers 14:18)

A.      Why Does He Do It?

  • He grew up in an abusive home.
  • He experienced abuse in childhood.
  • He has not been taught how to love.
  • He fears losing her.
  • He fears she could be unfaithful.
  • He becomes angry when she shows weakness.
  • He blames her for his low self-esteem.
  • He believes abuse demonstrates his power and superiority.
  • He wants to feel significant and in control.
  • He possesses an unbiblical view of submission.
  • He handles stress immaturely.
  • He thinks using force is his “right” as a husband.
  • He views her as a possession instead of as a person.

“IF SIN IS PASSED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION, HOW CAN A PERSON CHANGE?”

Abuse is a matter of the heart! Matthew 12:35 tells us, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” God promises that those who come to Him will be given a new heart.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;

I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

B.      Why Doesn’t She Leave?

  • She feels helpless, as if she has no control.
  • She doesn’t know that she must not accept abuse, but believes it is normal.
  • She has low self-esteem.
  • She is manipulated by his threats of suicide.
  • She believes she can change her husband.
  • She has an incorrect understanding of Biblical submission.
  • She doesn’t know she has the right to separate in order to achieve a healthy relationship.
  • She blames herself and believes she deserves abuse.
  • She wants to protect the family image, thinking that family “problems” are private.
  • She feels that “any father” for the children is better than “no father.”
  • She fears she can’t make it financially without him.
  • She has been isolated from supportive people.
  • She fears living alone.
  • She is embarrassed by the stigma of depending on welfare or living in a shelter.
  • She believes that her husband and children are all she has.
  • She has been told that she is insane, and she is afraid that she is.
  • She does not know there are organizations and services to help her.
  • She trusts his promise to never do it again.

“IF I AM IN A VIOLENT OR THREATENING SITUATION, IS IT ALL RIGHT TO LEAVE?”

In the Bible a hierarchy of submission exists, with God being the highest authority. Scripture reveals that godly people sometimes physically separated from their ungodly authorities. Biblically, we are to submit to our governing authorities, yet David fled King Saul . . . with God’s blessing. Although David was merely one of the King’s subjects, when Saul’s actions became violent, David escaped.

“The Lord was with David but had left Saul. . . . Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.” (1 Samuel 18:12; 19:10)

C.      Why Should She Leave?

  • She finally realizes he will not change if circumstances remain the same.
  • She understands that leaving may be the way to get her husband’s attention.
  • His threats of abuse are translating into action.
  • His abuse is occurring more frequently.
  • He has begun to abuse the children.
  • She realizes that the children must be protected from abuse, and she wants to prevent the children from adopting his behavior.
  • She has found help through friends, family, church or professional organizations.
  • She realizes it is not in God’s will to accept abuse.
  • She is afraid for her life or the lives of her children.
  • She realizes there is a thin line between threats and homicide.

“SINCE THE BIBLE TEACHES ‘WIVES, SUBMIT TO YOUR HUSBANDS,’ ISNT LEAVING AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND AGAINST THE TEACHING OF THE BIBLE?”

The Bible is not silent regarding the wife of a man who does not control his temper. When one is in danger, temporary separation is appropriate.

“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered.” (Proverbs 22:24)

“SARAH IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A GODLY WIFE (1 PETER 3:5-6), YET

WAS SHE RIGHT TO JOIN ABRAHAM IN DECEIVING THE PHARAOH OF EGYPT (GENESIS 12:10-20), AS WELL AS KING ABIMELECH (GENESIS 20:1-10)?”

No, Sarah wasn’t right. In fact, neither she nor Abraham were trusting God for their safety. This kind of lie and deception brings personal dis- honor and does not glorify God.

“Then Abimelech called Abraham in and said, ‘What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should not be done.’” (Genesis 20:9)

D.      Root Cause

WRONG BELIEF:             

The Abuser:

“If I don’t control my wife, I could lose her. I need her in order to feel significant.

The Abused:

“If I don’t give in to my husband, I could lose him. I need him in order to feel secure.”

RIGHT BELIEF:            “Even if I lose my mate, I will never lose God’s love for me. My heavenly Maker has promised to become my total provider. I will depend on Him to meet all my needs.”

“For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is His name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.” (Isaiah 54:5)

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Please feel free to share this post and bring some healing to hurting hearts. Next week will be the conclusion where we’ll discuss what Choices we have, Steps to Solution, and some Biblical answers to common questions surrounding abusive behaviour. Hope you’ll stop by to read that as well. I hope you find this useful as I have. God bless. Lucy

What is Wife Abuse, and how can I help?

Hi, Lucy here. I obtained permission from June Hunt and the “Hope for the Heart” ministries to share one of their counseling keys that I found ever so useful. I plan on sharing excerpts from the “Wife Abuse” key each week for the next few weeks. Please feel free to share this information. You never know when it might come in handy to help someone else, yourself, or a friend. Who knows, it might even save someone’s life.

~All words below are quoted from the Wife Abuse Counseling Key by June Hunt. Copyright 2001 HOPE FOR THE HEART~

Counselling key pic Wife Abuse copy

Wife Abuse

ASSAULT ON A WOMANS WORTH

BY JUNE HUNT

He was prominent in the community. What woman wouldn’t feel fortunate to be his wife? She certainly had all the finer things in life. And the children . . . didn’t they have the best that money could buy? How could she think about destroying such a picture-perfect family or risk stepping into a future unknown? Where would she go? What could she do? How would she support herself? And even worse, would she lose the children if she began to expose the terrible truth? She felt hopeless. Who would believe her? So skillful at hiding her feelings, as well as the bruises, with swollen, tear- stained eyes, she reasoned . . . It’s mostly my fault anyway!

Even when reason seems skewed, the Psalms offer hope for the afflicted.

“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed,

in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”

(Psalm 10:17-18)

I.       DEFINITIONS

Undoubtedly, abusive acts are committed by both husbands and wives. But in the area of domestic violence, statistically, most of the victims are women. Although wife-battering carries a long history of being traditionally and even legally tolerated, abusive behavior has always grieved the heart of God. Consequences of misusing this most sacred of relationships are always painful, but God promises to be close to the victim who suffers at the hands of an abuser.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

A.      What is Abuse?

  • In general, the verb abuse means “to hurt, mistreat, insult or injure.”
  • The words abuse and violence are often used interchangeably, although the word violence implies an escalation of abuse and introduces the ele- ment of fear of harm as a means of control.
  • The Old Testament Hebrew word most often translated as “violence” is chamac, which means “to mistreat.” Chamac is also translated as mali- cious, destroy, wrong, crime, ruthless, plunder and terror.

God’s  judgment  falls  on  anyone  who  is abusive  or  violent  toward  another.

“‘I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

(Malachi 2:16)

  • The legal term for physical spousal abuse, child abuse, elder abuse or any other physically abusive relationship within the home or family is Domestic or Family Violence.
  • Abuse . . .

Affects everyone in the family

Bridges all levels in society: racial, religious, geographic and economic

Undermines the value of others

Seeks to dominate

Escalates in intensity and frequency

Spiritual leaders need to be discerning when informed of spousal abuse. Violence of any kind should never be tolerated nor hidden under the cover of “godly sub- mission.” Our Lord calls the church to be a place of refuge . . . a stronghold of support and defense against violence.

“My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.

He is my stronghold, my refuge and my Savior— from violent men You save me.”

(2 Samuel 22:3)

B.      What Are the Different Types of Abuse?

Abusive behavior can be aggressive or passive, physical or psychological, direct or indirect, but regardless of the method, all abusive behavior comes from the desire to punish, manipulate and control.

“In your heart you devise injustice,

and your hands mete out violence on the earth.” (Psalm 58:2)

Verbal A buse

Verbal abuse is defined as the use of words or tone of voice to control or hurt another person or to destroy self-worth. Verbal abuse can be as dev- astating as physical abuse within a marriage—a destroyer of respect, trust and intimacy. Verbally abusive language is meant to:

  • Intimidate with threats
  • Shame with accusations
  • Belittle with name-calling
  • Confuse with mind games
  • Badger with excessive questioning
  • Deceive with lies
  • Insult with profanity

“His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.”

(Psalm 10:7)

Emotional A buse

While all forms of mistreatment are emotionally abusive, certain behav- iors can be overtly labeled as “emotional abuse.” An emotionally abusive behavior will fit into one of two categories: passive or aggressive.

Passive emotional abuse is characterized by:

  • Withholding emotional support
  • Not giving attention or compliments which are due
  • Using the “silent treatment”
  • Refusing to express true feelings
  • Neglecting important family gatherings
  • Failing to return home at a reasonable time

Aggressive emotional abuse is characterized by:

  • Not allowing spouse to have any part in major decisions
  • Withholding money and access to the checkbook
  • Hiding car keys as a means of control
  • Driving recklessly to instill fear
  • Inflicting sleep deprivation
  • Isolating spouse from family and friends
  • Physically abusing a loved pet

“In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.”

(Psalm 10:2)

Physical Abuse/ Violence

Physical abuse involves any use of size, strength or presence to control or hurt someone. Often beginning with verbal threats of physical harm— “You’ll wish you had never been born.” . . . “You’re going to get it!”— the verbal abuse escalates to physical violence.

Acts of violence include:

  • pushing
  • shoving
  • • slapping
  • kicking
  • pinning down
  • poking
  • choking
  • hair pulling
  • burning
  • binding
  • chaining
  • attacking with an object
  • use of weapons

“Do not envy wicked men, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.” (Proverbs 24:1-2)

Sexual Abuse/ Violence

Because many believe that a wife is to be submissive to all her husband’s desires, many married women experience sexual abuse without realizing it. Sexual abuse and/or violence includes:

  • Sexually degrading attitudes and treatment
  • Discrimination based on gender
  • Threats or force to get unwanted sex (mate rape)
  • Unjust accusations of extramarital affairs
  • Brazen flirtation with members of the opposite sex
  • Homosexual activities
  • Committing adultery
  • Coercing spouse to perform sexual acts with others

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

(Hebrews 13:4)

  1. C.    What is Misogyny?

Our English word misogyny comes from the Greek misogynia (miso, which means “hatred” and gyn¯e, which means “woman”). Misogyny means “hatred and distrust of women.” The misogy- nist may have experienced emotional or physical harm from a woman during his youth. There- fore, he over-generalizes, thinking all women are the same. His behavior toward women, espe- cially toward his wife, reflects the bitterness and hatred stored within his soul.

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (Matthew 12:35)

The misogynist:

  • Has a gender prejudice against all women
  • Thinks women are weak and despises their weakness
  • Feels both threatened and enraged by tears
  • Acts both lovingly and hatefully toward women
  • Primarily uses mental and emotional abuse to control women

D.      Where is God in All This?

Is God just a bystander in life, passively watching as innocence suffers and wickedness prospers? The Bible says that God is never indifferent! Then where is the Heavenly Father in the midst of injustice? He is where He was when His Son endured violence at the most pivotal point in history . . . the crucifixion. God the Son was on the cross paying the penalty for the sins of the world while God the Father watched—with a broken heart. When the deepest part of your heart cries His name, He will respond with a deep love and compassion like that from none other.

“Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not

willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.” (Lamentations 3:32-33)

God’s Heart on Violence

God hates violence.

“The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence His soul hates.” (Psalm 11:5)

God judges those who are violent.

“God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence.’” (Genesis 6:13)

God is angry with violent behavior.

“Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke Me to anger?” (Ezekiel 8:17)

God commands those who are violent to change.

“Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right.” (Ezekiel 45:9)

“IF GOD IS JUST, WHY DOES HE ALLOW WIFE ABUSE?”

God did not create human beings to be puppets. God does allow all people to choose right from wrong. Don’t blame God for those who choose to do evil. Be assured, God is just . . . and He will punish those who abuse you.

“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6)

God’s Heart for the Victim

God hears the cry of the battered and abused.

“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry.” (Psalm 10:17)

God holds the victim of abuse in the palm of His hand.

“I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.” (Isaiah 49:16)

God rescues the victim of abuse and violence.

“He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in His sight.” (Psalm 72:14)

God confirms the victim’s value and worth.

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)

God brings good out of the evil deeds of others.

“The LORD works out everything for His own ends—even the wicked for a day of disaster.” (Proverbs 16:4)

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Next week I’ll have a new excerpt from more of this counseling key. Please, feel free to share this post with others. Get the truth out there that abuse is NOT okay. Thank you for reading. God bless.