by Aletha cross posted from her blog Yllom Mormon
We are continuing in the section titled “Make Her or Break Her”. And yes, it’s as bad as you think. Trigger warnings for abuse.
Text is in purple.
A Command Man’s wife wears a heavier yoke than do most women, but if you cause her experience to be rewarding she will double and triple your life’s work. She will quadruple your joy and you will become more than your mama ever dreamed.
It’s interesting that there is no area for the woman’s feelings. She wears a heavier yoke, but if the MAN allows her to have a “rewarding” (how?) experience, she will make his life better. No mention of doing anything to support the wife, except the usual vague generalities. We are not off to a good start.
Of the three types of men, your wife will most readily mold to your needs if you just give her half a chance. You are by nature dominant and a leader. Everybody is ready to follow your lead. She will as well, unless you treat her so badly you make it impossible for her to honor and respect you. If you are even close to the man you think you are, your wife will be delighted to share your yoke and pull your load, not for you, but with you.
Again, no mention of the wife’s needs. Just the general idea that women are to serve men’s needs. And how easy it is for a Command Man to “mold” his wife. Also note that while Michael adds a caveat if a Mr. C treats his wife “so badly” she won’t respect him, he never says she won’t do what he says. Keep in mind that Debi’s book equates not respecting one’s husband is right up there with blaspheming God.
It’s frankly frightening that, after building up domineering, bossy, tyrannical men by calling them “leaders” and “king-like”, he talks about how simple it is to mold one’s wife, and how happy it makes her to share the yoke. If Debi’s book can be seen as a guide to being abused (and acting happy about it), Michael’s book is definitely an abuser’s rationalising reference. “I’m a leader! You need to do this if you want to be my helpmeet.” Still, there is no talking about the wife having individual autonomy. Nothing except how happy serving makes her.
It is important to note that a Command Man gone bad is likely to be abusive. His strengths can easily be directed toward destruction. He might harshly make demands and then react when things don’t go his way. The smallest souls whose bitter words lose power resort to violence. The women who stay with them become so browbeaten that by the time the self-centered dictator husband turns to physical abuse, they have learned to endure it with a feeling that they somehow deserve it.
Here is where I get really upset. Nowhere does Michael define what a Command Man gone bad looks like. He, dangerously, leaves it up to the reader to decide what is an abusive situation. I pulled this quote from a few sections back: A Command Man doesn’t want his wife involved in any project that prevents her from immediately attending to his interests. His endeavors are the most important thing going; everything else is a waste of time. he likes for his wife to stay busy and productive, but when he calls he expects her to drop everything and come running to his side. He needs and wants a helper. Michael doesn’t view this as abuse-indeed, he actually thinks this is how things should be in a marriage. His constant comparisons to women as children, dogs, and trucks really make it seem like he views women as less than people.
I also think it’s scary how he describes the woman in this situation. Browbeaten, and feeling like they deserve the abuse. The worst part? In Debi’s book to wives, she tells these women that they DO deserve it, because they aren’t reverencing their husband enough! I’d say it’s a vicious cycle, but it’s not really a cycle at all. More like a steep slope into hell. Because people with the mentality that they are owed respect, than those in their lives will NEVER show them enough. And it’s always the abusee’s fault.
There are a few men who are so cruel and violent that even when their wives do all that is required, they are still physically abusive to her and the children.
Does it sound, to anyone else, like he is victim blaming here? “Even when the wives do all that is required.” Honestly, I have been in this situation, and I’d done EVERYTHING I could think of to make the bad times stop. After he moved (and plenty of therapy), I realised there was nothing I could have done to change him. When people want to find excuses to do things, there will always be a reason.
I know I am shooting over the heads of some of you tyrants. You want to say what I have heard a thousand times, “My case is different; my wife provokes it; you just don’t know her.” Command Men are often good communicators and great manipulators, so they cause everyone to think their pitiful wife is emotionally disturbed of mean spirited, which leaves her at his mercy. Counselors need to beware. Closed doors can conceal evil things.
Nowhere does Michael say this attitude is really wrong. Oh, sure, he throws out the word “evil”. But he doesn’t define it-doesn’t give examples of what it looks like. And you know what? Abusers seldom think they are abusing! They honestly see it as the other person’s fault, and they can’t help their reactions. Even his readers that might acknowledge there’s a problem will probably say the same line, as they read it. “My situation really IS different, though! I’ve tried to mold her, but she is rebellious! I just want to sanctify her! I really do love her-this is all for her good.”
It’s irritating to me that Michael cautions counselors to beware. Because abusers are charming, charismatic people. It is easy to fall into into their traps, because they MAKE YOU WANT TO SEE IT THEIR WAY. Oh, and I find it ironic that the man who advocates beating children with plumbing line until they show proper submission is cautioning others on the dangers behind closed doors.
When your wife writes me, I will carefully instruct her how to gather evidence against you and report you to the law. That way I may get a chance to minister to you in prison. Wife beaters don’t have much to do behind bars, so they have lots of time to repent. And Command Men don’t’ get any special respect in the slammer. I will encourage your wife to wait for you, and to receive you when you get out. Ex-cons are usually humbled a good bit. I know. I work with them every day.
Good gravy! Instead of encouraging the wife to leave an abusive relationship-he literally counsels her to stay. Oh, sure, he wants the husband put away. Because ex-cons are extra repentant. I guess he’s never heard of recidivism, or convicts learning MORE illegal activity inside the slammer. Also what’s frightening. He encourages a wife to turn in her abusive husband. Then says “Take him back when he gets out.” Clearly he’s also never heard of “revenge killing”.
I mean think about it. An abusive man’s wife turns him into the cops. He gets arrested and goes to jail. Michael has already told Mr. Command that he deserves and wants unconditional respect and reverence. Turning an abuser in is viewed as the ULTIMATE disrespect. No matter how “repentant” an abuser may seem, sending him back to the person who turned him in-with whom he has a history of hurting-is asking for disaster. (And I’m not discounting the fact that women can be abusers. Nor am I saying there’s no changing people.)
Thankfully, most Mr. Command Men aren’t cruel or evil. They would never be physically abusive, but some are almost as destructive with silence. Command Men can control their wives just by shutting down and refusing to communicate.
Newsflash, Michael. This is called emotional abuse. There are more ways of being abusive, besides using one’s fists. Honestly, emotional abuse is harder to prove-even to oneself. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for a long time, and I told myself plenty of times that he loved me, and that I deserved it when he cheated on me, lied to me, and wouldn’t talk to me for days.
We have counseled women who say their husbands avoid meeting eyes, have sex only when necessary, and then keep it very impersonal.
Again, emotional abuse. And marital rape! Having sex only when necessary, and keeping it impersonal? That is rape, rape, rape. Where’s the condemnation, Michael? Where’s the scathing response?
They try to communicate only through the children. It is awful being shut out. A closed door is the greatest of all insults. When he shuts her out, she loses hope. She feels worthless. no matter how hard she tries to please, she still falls short. Instead of honoring the weaker vessel, he is insulting her for being alive. This is a grave sin that God will surely judge. Such cruel evil is not to be considered. Think about how it would feel if God responded to you in that matter.
I think it’s odd that Michael only talks about the woman trying to please. I guess men deserve to be served, and shouldn’t try to please their wives. I fail to see how expecting a woman to put out on demand, serve her husband cheerfully, and only work on projects the man feels is worthwhile is “honouring” the weaker vessel. (Plus I hate the term “weaker vessel”.)
Oh, and God will surely judge these cruel, cruel men. Arguments about God aside, that does not stop a man from abusing, it doesn’t protect the wife or children of an abuser. And the argument “think of how it would feel if God responded to you in that matter” is odd. Because Christianity teaches that only by “drawing near unto God will God draw near unto you.” This is the God that destroyed entire cities because of blasphemy. Who killed a couple of kids for making fun of a bald prophet. Tell me that’s not a cruel tyrant.
I know that most Command Men do not deserve this dressing down, but I receive hundreds of letters confirming that there are enough of you out there mentally and physically abusing your wives that these things must be said and you must face your fault and reverse course. I have never met your wife and I care more about her than you do, and I am speaking for all those abused and ignored ladies that have sent me letters with tears staining the pages.
I’m bothered bu this section. For a few reasons, but mostly, if I were being abused, Michael Pearl would be the last person I would want speaking for me. I’d prefer a .22 or a lawyer, honestly. And I don’t see how the man who “approved every word” of his wife’s book that says “Stay with your abuser and try to serve him more, because God hates divorce” cares more about the woman. I feel awful for the wives. Because there seems to be no out.
It is time to repent before God “even as Christ also loves the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” you need to listen to my Romans Verse by Verse teaching. You can download it free of charge from our website or purchase a disc. If you don’t have the money, I will send it to you free of charge. Just call and request it.
I’m thinking of downloading the Romans teaching, just to hear what Michael says.
Overall, this section sickened me on how off Michael’s counsel is. He claims to speak for the women, but he encourages them to stay with an abuser, even after he’s out of jail. Yes, people can change, but people can also hold a grudge. I’m not saying anything else because I’m so triggered by this section. Hopefully next post will be less traumatic.
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