Toxic Tuesday: #1 Sign of Emotional Abuse

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If you want to have a stressful life or know what a stressful life is; live in an emotionally abusive relationship. Within the church I think this is more prevalent. And oh boy, would I like to know why!

*Disclaimer— Emotional abuse can take place in any relationship: Friendships, neighbors, parent/child, siblings, co-workers, extended family, but for today’s purpose I’m referring to marriage. Although men can also be the victim, most of the people I come in contact with are women who are suffering in emotionally abusive marriages, or have left an emotionally abusive marriage.

I’ve heard many women say if only he would physically abuse me so someone could see the proof!

If someone hits you in the face and you get a black eye; it will be easy for onlookers to understand what happened. People will say, “Oh, he hit you; that’s wrong. He shouldn’t do that. I’m going to call the police.” Simply put: It’s physical abuse.  On the other hand; when you are alone with him and he says things to you no one knows about, he ignores you, gives you the silent treatment, withholds physical intimacy, withholds finances or necessities from you, and you rarely can do anything to please him, but can’t prove it; you feel hurt, crazy, afraid, intimidated, broken hearted,  unloved and neglected. This is more difficult on so many levels but also just as wrong as physical abuse; it’s emotional abuse.

Here is an example: A husband has a good reputation at church for his service, work, ministry, and/or is known as kind, with warm smile. At home he’s neglectful, doesn’t take responsibility for his actions, he never repents, picks fights, he’s verbally mean, or… he never says anything. He completely rejects the person and disregards them.

Do you recognize yourself in the above scenario? Do you feel like you’re losing your mind?

When you’re with someone who never takes responsibility for their actions you start to feel like you’re crazy. You’re know there’s a problem but when you go talk to your husband he responds, “No, I didn’t do that…you did that…you over react, you read too much into things… that wasn’t me. ..and you…and because…and that’s not why…scriptures says you’re supposed to …you can’t say that… you know…because that’s why…figure it out…I’ll be patient and give you time.”

You’re left wondering what on earth is going on.  Your head is spinning and you feel confused, lonely, hopeless, depressed at one time or another, and like you can never get an answer to your question, an apology, or closure to an issue.

Ask yourself this question. Does he ever take responsibility for his actions? No?

Then you need to know this: If you could hold an Abuse-O-Meter to the heart or head of your difficult person it would read, “Unsafe abuser” because the best gauge, the number one indicator for an unsafe abuser is that they never take responsibility for their behavior.

Yet in scripture God instructs us to confess our sins, to take the log out of our own eye, and if we know our brother has something against us—to go make it right with him. God does not tell the abused or offended to make restitution with the abuser or offender. The Bible places responsibility on the offender to make peace with the offended.  Can you imagine there is a human being on planet earth who will never need to take responsibility for a rude action, offensive comment, or ill treatment of someone?  That’s not realistic.  I only know of one person in the history of the world who could have done that and He is Jesus. Yes, the One and Only Son of God who is now seated at the right hand of our heavenly Father.

So if you’re with someone who never takes responsibility, explains everything away, justifies every word, thought and action—that’s a clue.

Next you need to understand that they are in complete denial and don’t realize what they’re doing. And no, you stand no chance of explaining it to them. You would be better off talking to a wall because any time, energy, emotion, logic or love you spend attempting to break through to them will simply cement in their mind that you are even crazier than they originally thought.

Counselor, Patrick Doyle explains DENIAL  as = Didn’t even know I was lying. That’s how much unsafe abusers believe in themselves

It takes an excellent counselor/psychologist to understand the self-deceived abuser who  believes their own rhetoric, lies, denial, rationalization, minimizing, justifying, and spiritualizing. Abusers believe every word they say. That’s why they’re so convincing.

You can’t perceive their nonsense which seems like pure foolishness to you. Although you may feel like you’re losing your mind; let me assure you, you’re not. Don’t believe it for a moment. And if you’re concerned you will lose your mind then you should seek professional help. Strong people seek help. When you’re in the middle of such messiness it can be difficult to see clearly, discern wisely, and respond with logical application and consequences. Let someone not emotionally involved see through the fog for you.

If you wonder if you’re in an unsafe relationship; locate ‘SOLUTIONS-HOTLINES-HELP’ in the margin of this blog and click ‘Mosaic Threat Assessment.’ It will direct you to an assessment questionnaire which is a strong indicator of possible danger.

Here is what I keep hearing from wife after abused wife:  She goes to a Christian friend, a spiritual leader, or her pastor and she receives this counsel, “Be Patient. Wait on God. Love him more. Be kind. Forgive him, kiss him more passionately, be more available in the bedroom, be more interested in his day, engage him in conversation, speak words of affirmation, show him respect and he’ll come around.”

Here is what Christian, counselor Patrick Doyle has to say about such advice: “I can tell you right now that if somebody has that much denial and they’re that harmful; loving them more will only embolden them to take more ground and be more mean…in their, kind, sort of way because of how they interpret it. When you start being nice; they figure you realize what’s going on and you finally came to your senses. Now you’re going to do it their way which is the right way; obviously, because that’s the only way there is! Their denial is so thick; they believe it!”

There you have it. The number one indicator of an unsafe abuser: They never take responsibility for their hurtful behavior.

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Video

Recognize and Prevent Emotional Abuse

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This is for those of you who don’t have time to watch the almost hour long video attached at the end of this article. If you are in an abusive relationship and you do have time to watch; you will be greatly validated and encouraged. You’re not crazy…it’s really happening…you’re living through untold trauma, and you are incredibly strong to have endured for so long. My prayers are for you.

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I present to you, Patrick Doyle, counselor at Veritas Counseling and theDOVE.us

Recognize and Prevent Emotional Abuse

The core of marital counseling revolves around emotional abuse.

I was aware of a situation involving a woman in another state. Her husband was a very well respected man who early in the marriage; and thereafter, was abusive.  He was a stalwart member of the church who was well respected. The abuse kept going on until finally the woman realized through some counseling, and finding out her husband had a longtime porn addiction, that she needed to speak up. Well, her church didn’t really get it; they didn’t understand what she was trying to say. They genuinely wanted to help but they thought maybe she was making this stuff up…how could this be; we all think this guy’s great. As time goes on and she becomes more and more bold about revealing the truth to the pastor of her large mega church, he finally gets it. She actually went in the pastor’s office and had him watch my (Patrick Doyle) video on emotional abuse. Here are some excerpts from a letter that he wrote to his leadership after watching the video and ‘getting it’… about what the church is going to do to deal with this issue because he’s starting to see that they’ve missed the boat on this.

I am disturbed by the fact that women are coming forward telling me sad stories of long-term calculated abuse by their husbands. I’m aware of 6 or 7 cases that are current. These are good women who have experienced long term, 10-25 years, of abuse to varying degrees.  In some cases the abuse has been physical leading to domestic assault charges and imprisonment. In other cases the abuse is more subversive yet no less damaging. Emotional abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, roll abuse, financial abuse, and sexual abuse.  Sometimes I wish they would all just walk into my office with a black eye so I could see the indisputable evidence and call the police. Instead they tend to walk in with blackened and bruised hearts that bleed pain. It is more difficult to discern the extent of non-physical abuse but I am becoming more attuned to the signs of an emotionally and psychologically battered woman. These are not crazy women who are trying to find some sinister way to get out of a marriage; thus, submitting false charges against their husbands. I’m talking about good and godly women who over time have lost hope that they will ever be treated with honor as a wife, a woman, or a fellow heir of the grace of life. I am typically taken off guard thinking that their husbands were charming, gentlemen of God. Oh, what a false front an abuser is able to display.

We all know there is a difference between a difficult marriage and a destructive marriage.  We all have difficult marriages to some extent. There’s no such thing as a pain-free, argument free marriage. There is anger in every marriage leading to disputes, hurt feelings, and the need for healing. I have not called this meeting to discuss difficult marriages, but I am talking today about destructive relationships where one person is being systematically and consistently broken down by the other.

I am most deeply disturbed by the fact that in several of these cases these men are protecting their place within our church while the abused is made to feel like an outcast. The abuser sings in the choir, sits in the front row, leads in the men’s’ ministry, carries the friendship or support of a pastor or an elder, serves on some ministry team, plays in the band while the wife is made to feel like an unforgiving, un-submissive, self-willed, hardened sinner. The wife feels embarrassed around our church people while the abusive husband smiles and drinks coffee with his boys (church members).

Here is a transition: This man wants to do the right thing, but it’s hard because people come in and you don’t know if they’re trying to work you, manipulate you, or what.

Listen, someone who is in an abusive relationship…one thing abusers do is they never take responsibility.

Abusers never take responsibility. This is a key to recognizing one. As Christians we should be leading the way in taking responsibility. With abusers you can never get a clear answer in a question, or there is a constant blame shift, avoidance, minimization, justification, and spiritualization. They shift blame and everything becomes your fault.You start to feel crazy and doubt yourself which empowers the abuser all the more.

In the church what is said is, “If you’ll just love them more, if you just cook them the right meal, if you just have more sex with them, if you’ll just be patient then this will clear up.”

Listen, if you allow an abuser an inch they will take a mile. The more you submit to their abuse the more they are going to abuse because every abuser I’ve worked with is in abject denial. The abuser believes their own rhetoric. They will stand in front of you, look you dead in the eyes and believe what they are saying. When this happens; listen to your spirit!

For outsiders who wonder if someone is in an abusive relationship; listen to your spirit. You may want to ask the woman or her children, in a safe setting, if there is abuse in their home and ask if they need help.

When someone says they are a believer but they have no conviction or comfort—they don’t have the Spirit. I don’t care what they say, how many church services they go to, how much Bible they know—the evidence is in whether or not they are convicted. The conviction will lead to the fruit of the spirit. Right? You can feign the fruit of the spirit for moments at church, in front of your pastor, in Sunday School, at a pot-luck dinner—but behind closed doors with the person who knows you the best…if they aren’t the ones seeing it, then I’m really concerned.

If your wife (and kids) are feeling abused (and I don’t care if you’re an abuser or not)—that’s real—and we have to deal with that. If the wife, or kids, are misinterpreting something it will be easy to fix, but if they’re not then maybe we can heal the marriage before it absolutely is destroyed.

Sometimes they do this sham of responsibility taking…”I’m sorry. I know I did that.” Then they just keep on doing it. Listen, the evidence of conviction is a change in your behavior not just words. God does not convict in general; He convicts specifically. So when the abuser comes to you they need to confess specifically the sinful words, thoughts and actions (to God and to their spouse). Changed behavior is the evidence of conviction. Conviction, repentance and changed action all have to take place.

Are  you abused and feeling trapped (which is part of the abusers arsenal) but you’re at a point where something has to break, something has to stop; you recognize that it’s coming to a head?

I say this with all due respect. Don’t call the church. (Yours may be the exception, but there are tragic stories about women who went to their church and were placed under church discipline for talking poorly of their husband, and/or removed from the church for separating from or divorcing their abuser.) I don’t know if the church is prepared for this; you’ll have to make that assessment. Somebody has to know what they are doing and someone has to be willing to get involved. If somebody comes to counseling he can get involved in a certain degree, but really where the church has the ability to be transformational is to get involved in a big way on a day-to-day basis. That’s how we can really help these people. In my church we’ve set up funds to support women temporarily; to give them money so the abusive husband can’t control them financially. I’ve seen it a thousand times if I’ve seen it once. They start controlling the money. How’s the woman going to live? Those are real questions. That’s where we can come (help) balance the power.

If you think you are, or might be, in an abusive relationship talk to somebody who knows what they’re talking about. If you’re going to go to someone who gets involved and then they back away; that is way worse. In that case, don’t even broach the subject until you know you have support that’s going to stay. This is where the church has done a lot of damage. They get involved and then they back out because they get uncomfortable, in over their head, or whatever.

Do your research, ask around the community, take the knowledge you’ve learned to find long-term support because I’ve never seen an abuser who has gone that far and said, “Oh, you’re right. I’m going to quit being abusive.”

It’s possible churches get it and they do want to help; such as the pastor who wrote the email read at the beginning; earlier. They recognized it and set up something in the church to address abusers and the abused. The pastor; along with church staff and leadership took training for it because they care about the people.

Much of this teaching can also apply to parent/child relationships.

 

This is Carolyn speaking: There aren’t many Christian counselors out there who know how to handle abuse in the Christian home. Most will want the abused wife to attend counseling with her abuser. THIS SHOULD NOT BE. When calling a counselor’s office ask them what their policy is for helping abuse victims and their abusive spouse. Separate counseling is best. I’ll give you three recommendations for the St. Louis area at the bottom of this post. They do not take insurance; so you have to file ‘out of network.’ If you’re local and have an excellent referral please comment with contact information at the top of this post. There is also a link in the margin for Focus on the Family: Counseling service and one time free referral.

 

Counselors in the greater St. Louis area:

Terri Dempsey – (West county & Farmington) Encouragement, validation, and practical application for setting boundaries…with humor.  Double majored in Psychology and Theology receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Blue Mountain College.  Received  Master of Arts degree in Psychological Counseling from Southeast Missouri State University in May 1991.  The combination of a Christian and secular education allows her to understand and fit into both worlds.  Scripture tells us to be in the world but not of the world.

She treats most mental health issues and specializes in trauma, personality disorders, and difficult cases in adults, adolescents, and children.  She is certified in EMDR. In treating anxiety and depression whether in adults, adolescents, or children, there is often a common thread – trauma.  Trauma can be the basis of eating disorders, anger management issues, and severe stress as well as identity issues in children and adolescents.  If your spouse suffers from a personality disorder you will find help for staying, or leaving.

(314) 983-9300, by text at (314) 960-7589 and by email at hopecrossingcc@gmail.com

St. Louis Office
Castlewood Baptist Church
1220 Kiefer Creek Rd. Ballwin, 63021

Farmington Office
#7 South Jefferson
Farmington, MO 63640

Dr. Clay Coffee (St. Louis County) received his Ph.D. in Family Therapy from Saint Louis University and his Master of Arts in Counseling and Masters of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary.  He is a Counselor in Training working with couples, families, and individuals.  For typical marital issues he does couples counseling. For family issues he does group family therapy. He has served as a pastor and counselor in church-based settings for over fifteen years: working with couples and families in conflict

providing premarital education and counseling

caring for individuals and families walking through divorce and remarriage.   His additional areas of clinical interests and experience include working with adults experiencing grief and loss

anxiety and depression

the trauma of emotional, physical, and spiritual abuse

spiritual transformation and relational distress

parenting issues and season of life transitions.

Clay has also taught graduate courses on ethics and counseling and presented at national conferences on topics such as addressing family violence in the church and coordinating care between counselors and churches for the well-being of clients. His dissertation explored the influence of at least one partner’s religious conversion on the marital relationship and developed a tentative theory for helping both partners navigate potential loyalty conflicts.

Clay has a wife, 3 children and a black lab named Pepper.  He enjoys playing tennis & golf with his wife, co-managing a fantasy football team with his sons, watching and discussing movies with his daughter, and playing his guitar. (314)720-2710 ext 5  clay@killeencounseling.com 

 

Christy Brimm (St. Charles county) at Kaleo Counseling: kaleostl.com – Her bio states she works mostly with kids, but I’ve been told she is terrific, due to her passion and personality, for women who are in extremely difficult and abusive relationships.
Christy received her Master of Arts in Counseling from Missouri Baptist University and her Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Covenant Theological Seminary. She has gained extensive experience working with children, adolescents, women, and families via her 20+years serving in the Church. Her ministry experience has come in the form of working in children’s ministry, youth ministry, leading a life group for young families, and through leadership in Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS). Christy has training in both school and clinical settings and is interested in offering gospel-centered counseling to youth and adults who find themselves in need of healing and wholeness. She also has a special interest in doing play therapy with children and working with families on parenting and relational issues. Christy is a Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor and is supervised by Martha Ankney, LPC. She sees clients at the St. Charles office and is an out-of-network provider. You may email Christy at cbrimm@kaleostl.com.

 

 

Video

Toxic Intervention

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

Intervention occurs as a means to involve yourself in a person’s life.  Your goal is to alter their life, and your relationship with them, for the better. It will most likely come across as threatening and forceful to them, in a negative way, so great care needs to be taken in order to help them understand it is for their good, short term and long term.

Intervention is greatly enhanced by the help of persons close to them; such as mentors, friends, family members or respected leaders. They need to be people who have noticed throughout their relational history that something is strangely amiss. I do not recommend enlisting the help of a boss or supervisor; unless this is a work place intervention being used for the purpose of helping the toxic person remain employed.

This will be a sensitive issue to deal with because it means positioning yourself to be vulnerable before someone who may say, “No,” or who may sound a warning to your toxic person. Prayer is of the utmost importance. Ask God what His heart and will is for this intervention and petition it in the name of Jesus. After God confirms through scripture, prayer or a godly friend that this is the path He has for you; find safe, sincere and helpful people who have your best interest at heart and your toxic person’s best interest at heart.

I must remind you that I am not a professional. I am simply passing on situations I have lived through and life lessons from which I have learned. Seeking godly professional help or prayer support is a wise choice before beginning an intervention.

The intervention may require paying travel expenses for, and/or providing food and lodging for, your support help. Ideally this will not be provided in your home if the intervention is for your spouse.

Make a list of applicable concerns, grievances, infidelities, hurtful behaviors or possible mental illnesses.  Your goal is to bring the person to repentance, restore the relationship and provide emotional healing. Make a list of behaviors which must stop immediately. Include the requirement of seeking godly professional help immediately. It would be sensible on your part to have already located names and phone numbers for professionals in your area. If you need help locating godly help go the right margin of my blog and locate: Resources. Click on Counseling Service & Referrals: One Time/Complimentary. You may arrange to speak to a licensed Christian Counselor at Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family also keeps a data base of professionals in your area.  In your letter include goals, and dates you expect them to be met by. An intervention cannot be left open ended or it will have been implemented in vain. If the intervention is for your spouse you may also prayerfully consider mentioning a therapeutic legal separation if the conditions in the letter are not met.

The goal is to always be moving forward. Always be growing closer to Christ. If it be up to you; Satan WILL NOT WIN this battle which means every morning when you wake up; you must put on the FULL armor of Christ. Pray it to God and ask Him to arm you with it: I have rewritten Ephesians 6:10-18 a bit to make it personal as you pray: “Finally, I will be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. I am putting on the full armor of God, so that I can take my stand against the devil’s schemes. For my struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore I am putting on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, I may be able to stand my ground, and after I have done everything, to stand. I will stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around my waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, I take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. I take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“And I pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, I am alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (NIV)

Prayer and fasting are necessary before undertaking an intervention. Ask your helpers, and a close friend and family member, to commit to fasting one day a week with you for the purpose of a successful intervention.

Intervention can take place at a counselor’s office, in your home (if the intervention is for your spouse), or in the person’s home.

Have with you the people helping you and have a copy of your letter for each person in attendance. This makes it clear that the situation requires accountability.

You may have to be clever in arranging the meeting. Your person should have no previous knowledge as to what is about to take place. Set the day, time and meeting place. This may be easy or this may require calling them home from work for help with an urgent need.

Read the letter. Allow a time for questions and answers if the person desires it.

Have a hand written note assuring them of your good intentions, stubborn love and unwavering concern. Encourage them to do the hard thing and seek help by reminding them of what is at stake.  Lastly remind them that your mind is resolute and the letter is not debatable. Excuse yourself from the meeting and leave the (unread) note with the person.

If your toxic person is your spouse, you will be wise to have sleeping arrangements elsewhere for the next two to three days while they decide their response. In your hand written note; let them know when you will return.

Have your intervention helpers stay behind. It is important to have more than one helper; two is plenty. Remember there is power in numbers. They can ask the person how they are feeling, what they are thinking, and if they understand the letter. They could even lighten it up a bit by offering to go to a restaurant to eat together.

Hopefully your helpers will let you know how your person received the letter. Were they remorseful, repentant, angry, aggravated, or completely in denial? If your helpers report back something like: Your person said you have a lot of problems and you are simply mad at them about ________ or ________ (you fill in the blank) but they are willing to give you the time you need to get over whatever problems you have; then you have a long messy road ahead of you. Toxic people tend to be in complete denial; and even worse, they are good at undermining others, manipulating them and putting on such a grand act that anyone would believe their side of the story. Even if they are in denial they may still be open to professional help for the sake of saving the relationship and they may attempt to meet your requirements and goals. This is good so seek all the help available while you can.

If possible pray out loud, together, with the person you are providing intervention for. I would like to say that Christ will not allow your relationship to deteriorate when the two of you are actively seeking His heart and will together. But since many toxic people are suffering from personality disorders even praying together can yield no change in their attitude, behavior or sin.

The most mind-boggling prayer can be praying with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. You can certainly be left feeling like a crazy person. They may be sexually, physically and/or emotionally abusive to you but when you hear them pray they sound like they are sitting at the throne of God. You wonder how these two extreme opposites can come out of the same person/personality. This is crazy making at its finest because upon hearing their prayer you may feel like you are, without doubt, the person in need of serious professional help. This is where journaling will help because you will have a written record of their behavior instead of wondering if you dreamed it or made it up. (For more information on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and crazy making; read through earlier ‘Toxic Tuesday’ posts.)

If you are interacting in this type of relationship the enemy is undoubtedly trying to destroy your life and the life of those you love. It is essential for you to pray truth (scripture) to God for provision, protection and guidance.

Needless to say, if you have not experienced interacting with an extreme toxic/foolish person you have no idea as to what I am referring. Good for you—praise God—football stadium type cheering and foot stomping. I am happy for you!

For you who are in a seemingly impossible toxic relationship, certain you may lose your sanity; take heart. Study your Bible. Pray. Christ will not leave you alone in your despair. Remember: Your work is prayer. God’s work is what He does on behalf of your prayers. This means when you are in total hopelessness you must call out to God in prayer. He will not leave you there; alone. He will lift your head, put you back together, stand you up, dust you off and give you strength for one more day. He will do this for you. Every—Single—Day. Ask for it.

A toxic person’s behavior can be made worse when they feel helpless or trapped. If your life is in danger or you think these responses could place your life in danger use your good judgment and refrain from possibly making the situation worse. If you are in danger please leave immediately and seek help. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships and a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse.

Aside

Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 3

Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 3

These are a few notes taken from Pastor Rick Warren’s lesson regarding abuse:

Hurt people hurt people. Abusers have typically have been abused. We have all learned unhealthy ways in some area of life and we are all broken so nobody is holier than anybody else. If you are abused or know someone being abused you can’t pretend it’s not happening. Christians have to stand up and protect the helpless, the offended, the defenseless, and the victims wherever they are.

Don’t confront an abuser by yourself. This is not wise or safe at home, at your office in the work environment or anywhere. In the Bible, Solomon talks about doing the difficult together. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12. This is to be done in a spirit of love, restoration and gentleness…in truth. You turn on the light of truth in that area of darkness where things have been hidden. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11. Healing takes place in the light. Then all your troubles will fade from your memory.

Begin the healing process. It takes courage to speak out and reveal the abuse; reach out to God…Jesus is your Savior. He came to save you from your sins and from your abuse, in every area of your life.  Put away any evil and wrong in your home: You may have to clean house relationally – emotionally. Get away from the abuse and get help then you have hope. There is no reason to suffer in silence.

Let God settle the score. Don’t get even or try to hurt them back. You have three places you can be in relation to the abuser: Beneath them morally, on the same plane morally or on higher ground morally. Be better than them. Getting even makes you no better than the abuser. You’re just even, but when you forgive them you are better than them. Jesus said, “Forgive.” I Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” Never repay one wrong with another, one abusive word with another. Repay with a blessing. If you want God’s blessing you have to be different.  Maybe you are being abused physically, sexually or verbally. There is one person in this universe who understands abuse. He understands it more than anybody else. His name is Jesus Christ. See Isaiah 53. He was wounded and crushed (that’s abuse) for our sins. He was beaten and bruised so that we could have peace (that’s called abuse). He was mocked and whipped so we could be healed (that’s abuse).

If you’ve never met Jesus, your healing starts here.  Let me introduce you to your healer, His name is Jesus Christ. Nobody has been abused more than Jesus.  He knows the pain because He took the sin of the entire world including the guilt for the abuse that was done to you. That guilt He took on Himself and died for. He took every abuse ever done and took it on Himself and He died for that so that you could be forgiven, so that we could be forgiven, so that we could have peace, that we could be healed. You have to meet the Healer to be healed. There are examples of people who carried the pain all their lives and there are examples of people who let Jesus Christ heal them of that verbal, emotional, sexual or physical abuse. He understands, He knows, He feels the pain. Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the broken hearted, those who have been crushed.” Nothing crushes your spirit more than abuse.

We have to deal with abuse because it is contagious and gets passed on from generation to generation.

Somebody has to break the chain. It is going to be you, today, now, with the power of the Holy Spirit. If you are the abused or the abuser know there is a way out. There is healing available for both abused and abuser.

No situation is hopeless.  See John 3:16 God sent Jesus to bring you home to Him. Even if no one else had been born on the earth except you, Jesus still would have come to earth so that you could come to know God.

Do you want to learn how to accept this Jesus as your Savior? Please click the Know God tab at rickwarren.org.

Listen to the link below to hear Rick Warren’s lesson on Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 3.

Be healed!

Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 3

Crazymaking: Part 2 of Breaking Free from Abuse

Crazymaking: Part 2 of Breaking Free from Abuse

Here are notes I took yesterday from Pastor Rick Warren’s  September series You Make Me Crazy. If you know a crazymaker or are a crazymaker God has much to say about abusive circumstances.

No matter how bad your circumstances are you can count on God’s love and God’s power to break free from the abuse.

David describes 92 times in scripture what abusers do and what they use against and over you.

Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 2

1. Aggravation: taunting, picking on, provoking

Jesus: “The truth will set you free.” John 8:32

David: “I said, ‘I will not say anything while evil people are near.’ So I kept quiet, not saying a word… but my suffering only grew worse, and I was overcome with anxiety. The more I thought, the more troubled I became; I could not keep from asking: ‘Lord, how long will I live? When will I die? Tell me how soon my life will end.’” Psalm 39:1-4 (TEV)

2. Intimidation: Tells lies about you and threatens you, pressures you into compliance, scares you into compliance

Marks of Emotional Abuse – David’s Descriptions –

“My enemies taunt me day after day. They mock and curse me.” Psalm 102:8

“…they tell lies about me and threaten me.” Psalm 109:20

“…they make fun of me and ridicule me.” Psalm 22:7

“I have been insulted, put to shame, and humiliated.” Psalm 69:19

“Using words to kill; they bully their way with words.” Psalm 73:8 (Message)

“They push hard to make me fall.” Psalm 118:13 (GW)

“They spread rumors about me, and conspire against me.”  Psalm 31:13

“They mock me with the worst kind of profanity, and snarl at me.” Psalm 35:16

3. Denigration: Always putting you down, makes fun of you, ridicules you (not good natured teasing)

“Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him.” Ephesians 5:6 (NLT)

 4. Humiliation: Insulted, shame is the favorite tool of abusers, they demean, dishonor & disgrace you

“Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them happened to you.” Hebrews 13:3b (Message)

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

5. Manipulation: trying to control you, bullying, jeering, useing words to kill

“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you get a third person? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (Message)

“Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are. And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds.” Ephesians 5:11-13 (NLT)

6. Domination: They push hard to make you fall; control you in every kind of way, power plays, to show who is in charge

Advice to Job: “Put your heart right. Reach out to God. Put away any evil and wrong from your home. Then face the world again, firm and courageous. Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more! Your life will be brighter than sunshine at noon, and life’s darkest hours will shine like the dawn!” Job 11:13-17 (TEV)

7. Defamation: They spread lies and rumors about you, love to use gossip to defame you, embarrass you

“Never repay one wrong with another, or one abusive word with another; instead, repay with a blessing. That is what you are called to do, so that you inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9 (NJB)

“Christ never verbally abused those who verbally abused him. When he suffered, he didn’tmake any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly.” 1 Peter 2:23 (GW)

8. Condemnation: They mock you with the worst type of profanity, snarl at you, use cursing for shock value, crude slang/name calling

If any of these words describe the environment you are in – you are being emotionally abused. This is not good nature stuff here. You need to admit it, name it and point it out. It is meant to harm you.

To hear what to do and what not to do if you are living or working in an abusive environment with a: spouse, boyfriend, neighbor, co-worker, relative or friend listen to this broadcast at:  Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 2

Link

Breaking Free From Abuse: Listen, MP3 or Podcast

Breaking Free From Abuse: Listen, MP3 or Podcast

This is for sweet women suffering in abusive relationships who need to know God is on their side; I am too and I am praying for you.

If you or someone you know is suffering from physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse you need to realize, “The damage of abuse is lifetime damage unless you deal with it.” Don’t keep it secret. Name the abuse. “Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing.” THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE. Share your pain with someone you TRUST.

Pastor Rick Warren has a heart for the Lord and a heart for the Lord’s people.  Listen to Pastor Rick’s heart for women caught in abusive relationships. http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/daily-hope/listen/breaking-free-from-abuse-part-1-362323.html

Aside

Hidden Hardships Behind Closed Doors

HIDDEN HARDSHIPS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

I received this devotion in my email inbox yesterday from Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is a beautiful testimony of how a woman lived through difficult circumstances by not forsaking her time with the Lord each day. Over three hundred years ago this woman made a difference not only in the lives of her children but in the eternal Kingdom of God.

Hidden Hardships Behind Closed Doors

By Sharon Glasgow

“On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3 (NASB)

Hidden behind the door of many homes is the reality of hardship. A devastated home isn’t always apparent on first impressions, is it?

Take Susanna Wesley’s life for instance. A quick glance reveals she was married to a preacher in the late 1600s. They had 10 children, two of which grew up to bring tens of thousands of people to Christ: John and Charles Wesley. Sounds like a sweet story, doesn’t it?

But if we look behind the door of her home, hard conditions were the norm. Her husband, Sam, couldn’t (or wouldn’t) manage their finances well. They disagreed on everything from money to politics. This couple actually had 19 children; sadly, nine died in infancy. Sam left Susanna for long periods of time—sometimes over something as simple as an argument—leaving the duty of raising their children to her alone.

One of their children was unable to walk. Another couldn’t talk until the age of six. Susanna herself was desperately sick most of her life. Their home burned to the ground twice; everything they owned crumbled to ashes. One of her daughters became pregnant out of wedlock. They had no money for food or necessities. Sam even went to debtor’s prison.

Long before Susanna had an inkling of how difficult her married life would be, she made the Lord a promise. When she was young, Susanna committed that for every hour she spent in entertainment, she would give the same amount of time to Him in prayer and in the Word.

Taking care of the house and raising so many kids made this commitment nearly impossible to fulfill. She had no time for either entertainment or long hours in prayer! This wife and mother worked the gardens, milked the cow, schooled the children and managed the entire house herself.

It would have been understandable if Susanna reneged on her promise to the Lord. But she didn’t. Instead, she gave the Lord two hours a day in prayer!

As you can imagine with 10 kids, she struggled to find a quiet place to get away with God. So she advised her children that when her apron was over her head, that meant she was in prayer and couldn’t be disturbed.

Susanna was devoted to her walk with Christ, praying for her children, and growing in the knowledge of the Word … no matter how hard life was.

This dedicated woman’s story may have never been known to anyone but the Lord and her children, except for the fact that her example greatly inspired two of her sons. They both said that their mom influenced them more than any other person.

John and Charles Wesley became powerhouses for the glory of the Lord. John preached to nearly a million people in the 1700s. He brought revival everywhere he traveled and taught the Word of God! Charles wrote over 9000 hymns, many of which we still sing today.

In the middle of great hardships, Susanna consistently tapped into her source of strength. She connected intentionally with the Lord every day. It’s amazing how her choices influenced not only her family, but also countless individuals, families and worshippers over the years.

Hidden behind the door of my home, I want my children to see a mom who prays, no matter how busy I am or how hard my circumstances. I’m going to continue letting Susanna’s example influence me. How about you?

Dear Lord, I need Your wisdom, peace and strength. Help me to rely on You and not myself. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

Visit Sharon Glasgow’s blog for more encouragement through hardships and enter to win a free apron.

Proverbs 31: Hidden Hardships Behind Closed Doors