From Pam Rohr, author of Blended but not Broken – Hope and Encouragement for Blended Families:
Last time I shared part of my story about being married to my first husband and the abuse I suffered. Today, I would like to look at the signs of abuse, how do you know if you are in an abusive relationship? For those of us who are in one or have been in one, it’s not all abuse, right? That’s why we stay. We see some good in our partners’; we believe or want to believe them when they say how sorry they are for hurting us. So, it’s not like we are idiots for staying, there are reasons that other’s just might not get. But let’s look at the signs of abuse so you or someone you know, might at the right time for them, decide they are worth more than being abused. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image, He hates abuse and doesn’t expect us to endure it by the person who promised to love and cherish us.
Webster’s Dictionary defines abuse as:
Treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence
Use or treat in such a way as to cause damage or harm. That damage can be in the form of verbal, emotional, mental or physical harm.
I remember one horrific night of true humiliation and exploitation. And after all this damage was done, my ex turned and looked back at me as he was leaving the room and leaving behind his wife devastated yet again, and said, “You are so beautiful, I don’t know why I treat you this way”. In other words, he knew it was wrong and he knew he was hurting me but he did not choose to get help or to stop it. Abusers know they are hurting you but they make it about them and what they want or need, all the while forgetting what you want or need. They want to control you.
I’m going to ask a few questions, if you answer yes to many of them, chances are you are in an abusive relationship:
Does your partner
- Humiliate and belittle you
- Do they criticize you and put you down even in front of others?
- Treat you so badly that you are embarrassed for your friends and family to see it?
- Do they keep you from seeing friends and family?
- Blame you for their abuse of you? It’s your fault? If you were different, they wouldn’t have to treat you like this?
- Act jealous and possessive?
- Try to control what you do and where you go? Even control you through the use of threats such as “I will commit suicide if you leave me.”
- Do they destroy your belongings?
- Do they limit your use of things that most adults have responsibility over such as the phone, the use of the car or money?
- Do they take away your choice to have sex, in other words do they force you?
- Finally, do they hurt you or threaten to hurt you or those you love?
As I reflect on this list, I realize my abuser used each one of these at one time or another. At the time, I didn’t realize it was abuse. You just try to make your relationship work. Also, sometimes it seems easier to stay in an abusive relationship than move out into the unknown. At least, you know what to expect and have learned to utilize your own coping mechanisms. Change can sometimes seem harder than staying, all of the “what if’s”. But I have a question for you, what if he or she really does do some of their threats? What if they kill you? Where would your kids be? Or what if they maim you for life? Do they have the right to hurt you because you have been in relationship with them? Right now you are probably thinking your abuser wouldn’t go that far. We have all heard of lover’s killing their partner, I’m sure they never thought their lover would kill them.
Now some more questions for you:
- Are you afraid of your partner much of the time?
- Do you “do what it takes” to make sure your partner does not get angry with you? Do you walk on eggshells and teach your kids to do the same so not to set them off?
- Do you feel controlled?
- Do you have low self-esteem?
- Do you believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
We are not only talking about physical abuse here, we are talking about mental, verbal and emotional as well.
If you are in an abusive relationship or know someone who is, please get the help you need to either leave the abuser or grow in self-esteem so that you can be empowered to do what you decide to do with your life. You are worth it. You have a destiny and God wants to give you hope and a good future.
From one ex-captive to another: Jesus came to set the captives free. He doesn’t expect or want us to live in fear of the very one who promised to love us. Jesus loves us too much for that.
I can help you break free should you need someone to come alongside of you. That’s what coaching is, together we can decide what’s best for you and we can develop a plan to get you where you want to be. We all need help from time to time, I shutter to think where I’d be if I had not received help in my time of need.
Contact me at nouveaulifecoaching.com