Abuse – The fruit of a toxic heart.
In this article, we will be primarily be discussing the abuse of Verbal, Mental, and Physical Abuse. We will write an article on Sexual Abuse. That subject deserves its own level of focus.
Abuse is a very unpopular subject because of the very nature of the word. The idea of causing harm and pain to another or to oneself is the udder nadir of humanity and is what so many humans have suffered. As I travel and counsel with families and individuals, I often see the emotional and spiritual wreckage left in the wake of abusive people. Former boyfriends and girlfriends, parents, spouses, brothers and sisters are usually the relationship roles that have the potential to carry the most destructive abuse. Any human relationship has the potential to be toxic.
In this blog post, we are going to look at what the Bible says about this behavior and how the victims can understand what has happened to them as well as abusers who see their spiritual fruit coming forth in relationships and must seek out the appropriate avenues to cease their destructive tendencies.
If you are a couple, family, or individual reading this, I will begin by saying this: if you find these habits in your life, either in yourself or in someone else, something needs to change RIGHT NOW. Take an honest look at your relationships, at yourself, and others so that you can begin to take inventory of your actions and the actions of others done to you. You cannot look at the actions of others without looking at your own. Many victims have suffered in the past and have now assumed the role of abuser because of the lies beaten into them by their abusers. The cycle must stop.
What does the Bible say about abuse?
Greek – Loidoros – Railer, reviler, abusive.
1 Corinthians 5:11 - But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler --not even to eat with such a one.
1 Corinthians 6:10 “nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Hebrew – Madown- strife, contention
Proverbs 6:14 “Who with perversity in his heart continually * devises evil, Who spreads strife.
Proverbs 15:18 “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute.”
Proverbs 21:9 “It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”
The goal of the abuser is to create the abused into their own image. They want the object of the abuse to be the subject of their own self-hatred.
If the abuser can make the abused question their value as a human being, then the abuser becomes the master. They become the oppressor and anything this individual does to better themselves is immediately degraded or forbidden. They want you to conform to what they want you to be.
Roland Manny – “When you conform, everyone loves you but you.”
Verbal, Emotional, Mental –
Threats, name-calling, mockery, exclusion, bullying, humiliation.
The chief weapon of an emotional abuser is shame. Guilt is regret over behavior. Shame is regret over existence.
The term "Gaslighting" comes from the 1938 British play "Gas Light" wherein a husband attempts to drive his wife crazy using a variety of tricks causing her to question her own perceptions and sanity. Gas Light was made into a movie both in 1940 and 1944.
Gaslighting – “Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the abuser manipulates situations repeatedly to trick the victim into distrusting his or her own memory and perceptions. Gaslighting is an insidious form of abuse. It makes victims question the very instincts that they have counted on their whole lives, making them unsure of anything. Gaslighting makes it very likely that victims will believe whatever their abusers tell them regardless as to their own experience of the situation. Gaslighting often precedes other types of emotional and physical abuse because the victim of Gaslighting is more likely to remain in other abusive situations as well.” - A Healthy Place
Gaslighting can be described as treachery. Treachery is a betrayal of trust or deceptive action or nature.
They use the closeness of the relationship to oppress or control.
It could be said that David experienced gaslighting and he hated it because ultimately, it is a betrayal.
Psalm 55: 12-15 “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man [i]my equal, my companion and my [j]familiar friend; We who had sweet [k]fellowship together Walked in the house of God in the throng. Let [l]death come deceitfully upon them; Let them go down alive to Sheol, For evil is in their dwelling, in their midst."
The National Domestic Abuse Hotline-
There are a variety of gaslighting techniques that an abusive partner might use:
Withholding: the abusive partner pretends not to understand or refuses to listen. Ex. “I don’t want to hear this again,” or “You’re trying to confuse me.”
Countering: the abusive partner questions the victim’s memory of events, even when the victim remembers them accurately. Ex. “You’re wrong, you never remember things correctly.”
Blocking/Diverting: the abusive partner changes the subject and/or questions the victim’s thoughts. Ex. “Is that another crazy idea you got from [friend/family member]?” or “You’re imagining things.”
Trivializing: the abusive partner makes the victim’s needs or feelings seem unimportant. Ex. “You’re going to get angry over a little thing like that?” or “You’re too sensitive.”
Forgetting/Denial: the abusive partner pretends to have forgotten what actually occurred or denies things like promises made to the victim. Ex. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” or “You’re just making stuff up.”
Childhood Emotional Neglect – Emotional Neglect is different than Abuse. Abuse implies an action whereby the abuser is proactively tearing down the other person emotionally. Neglect is passive where the person is not receiving something they need to develop or be fed emotionally. It’s a passive abuse in that there is something that is needed that is not being provided.
Psych Central – “It’s a parent’s failure to respond enough to a child’s emotional needs…. Since it’s not a parent’s act but a parent’s failure to act, it’s not an event. It’s not something that happens to a child; it’s something that fails to happen for a child. Therefore, it’s not visible, tangible or memorable.”
“There are far too many silent sufferers. Not because they don't yearn to reach out, but because they've tried and found no one who cares.”― Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, & Grumblings for Every Day of the Year
Psych Central uses this example - Here’s one example of how CEN can work:
9-year-old Levi comes home from school feeling upset because he had an argument with his friends. He is feeling a swirl of emotion: hurt that his friends ganged up on him on the playground, embarrassed that he cried in front of them, and mortified that he has to go back to school the next day to face them. Levi’s parents love him very much. But on this day, they fail to notice that he is upset. They go about the afternoon, and no one says to Levi, “Hey, is something wrong?” Or, “Did something happen at school today?” This may seem like nothing. Indeed, this happens in every household across the world, and generally it does no great harm. But if it happens with enough depth and breadth throughout Levi’s childhood, that his emotions are not noticed or responded to enough by his parents, he will receive a potent message: that the most deeply personal, biological part of who he is, his emotional self, is irrelevant, even unacceptable.
Overcoming Agreements with abuse –
“Usually adult males who are unable to make emotional connections with the women they choose to be intimate with are frozen in time, unable to allow themselves to love for fear that the loved one will abandon them. If the first woman they passionately loved, the mother, was not true to her bond of love, then how can they trust that their partner will be true to love. Often in their adult relationships these men act out again and again to test their partner's love. While the rejected adolescent boy imagines that he can no longer receive his mother's love because he is not worthy, as a grown man he may act out in ways that are unworthy and yet demand of the woman in his life that she offer him unconditional love. This testing does not heal the wound of the past, it merely reenacts it, for ultimately the woman will become weary of being tested and end the relationship, thus reenacting the abandonment. This drama confirms for many men that they cannot put their trust in love. They decide that it is better to put their faith in being powerful, in being dominant.” ― Bell Hooks
No matter what, get away from the abuser. Remove yourself from the influence of one who seeks to cause you pain.
Proverbs 22:10 “Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.”
1 Corinthians 5:11 “But [f]actually, I wrote to you not to associate [g]with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.”
People usually don’t change until their behavior costs them something. If the abuse is in the context of a marriage, the abusive spouse never believes that their oppression will end and if they see their behavior and can’t stop the pattern of behavior, make the decision for them. In those moments of solitude and loss, the abuser must deal with the pain inside and will see that their actions have driven the source of their love and acceptance away. However, if this abusive pattern persists into stalking, then legal action must be taken in the form of No-Contact Orders and Restraining Orders.
Psalm 139: 13-16 “For You formed my [i]inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for [j]I’m fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15 My [k]frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”
The Father wants His children to live in peace with everyone around them. That means that we have to overcome the effects of the abuser.
How much do you value yourself? How much of your view of yourself is based on the words of your abuser or the lack of words by a neglector?
“Bullies want to abuse you. Instead of allowing that, you can use them as your personal motivators. Power up and let the bully eat your dust.” -- Nick Vujicic
Dealing with abuse in this fallen world provides us the opportunity for a choice; do we listen to the perceptions of ourselves through the eyes of a person in pain bent on destroying you and ultimately themselves, or do we overcome the words of our abusers by choosing to hear the Heavenly Father’s perceptions of us and accepting his love and acceptance? Far too many people agree with their abusers in this world and in so doing, override the Word of Yah with the word of Man in the most personal application of that concept.
Stop the violence being done, get help, and get out.
Cole Davis and Other Contributors