The word abuse is prominent, dominant and I find extremely misunderstood. My working definition of abuse is this:
Abuse occurs any time someone steps out of their own story and into another’s by either
labeling them, thinking another should do this or that or telling the other how to feel, act, think, or be without fact checking with the other to see if the label or “shared advice” is accurate for the other.
This is not a widely used definition nor is it any easy one to stomach…but until we have a stronger definition of what abuse is, it will be difficult to move in the other direction. The fact is abuse needs to become not an evil word or something just those other people do. It was not until I woke up to see that I abuse others as much as I am abused – even unknowingly – was I able to step out of the world of abuse and into freedom and true Love.
In regards to safety, if a friend or family member has come to you in distress and s/he mentions anything about their safety (which does include emotional, physical, mental), please know this has been a HUGE step for this person to take…and immediate help needs to be sought from trained professionals to ensure a SAFETY PLAN is put into place for all involved. It is better to be safe than sorry. More hospital visits are caused by partner violence than by stranger violence.
If you are seeking help for yourself and/or your family, please know that your friends and family members – while well intentioned, unless they are educated in this area – they might inadvertently give you some unintentional “bad” advice. I, and many others, have even found that the Christian counseling world is poorly educated in this type of relationship dynamic…and as I didn’t find until the end of my time – most experts in the field advise not going to couple counseling as it can serve to re-abuse you as well as give your abuser more ammunition to do so at home.
National Hotline (for USA) – 1-800-799-SAFE
This website is full of info and help for those in an abusive relationship and those who wish to help those in abuse.
Abuse Recovery Classes:
Life Skills Int’l
Originally created for men, Paul Hegstrom has designed this class to show anyone in any circumstance, abuse or not, how to discover where they are Arrested in Emotional Development from trauma they had in childhood…and then to mature into an Emotional Adult. AMAZING CLASS!
Local Bay Area Center of Life Skills: South Hills Community Church
WEB BASED HELP & BLOGS:
R.A.V.E. Project: Religious and Violence e-Learning. Great resource for church leaders, members/friends and the abused themselves.
Not Under Bondage Blog by Barbara Roberts. I am eternally grateful to her and her industrious work to bring Light to Biblical/Disciplinary divorce that God himself deems necessary in cases of abuse, neglect, adultery and desertion when pure and true repentance is not forthcoming. I had heard God’s voice tell me what to do, and then He confirmed his word to me in my spirit by His work thru her.
Because it Matters -Freedom from Abuse in Christianity
A dear sister in Christ I just found. She is with the Lord in heaven now…but I am thrilled that perhaps God is using me to continue her ministry to the church!
Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion by Barbara Roberts
No Place for Abuse: Biblical & Practical Resources for Counteracting Domestic Violence. by Catherine Clark Kroeger & Nancy Nason-Clark
Why Does He do That? Inside the Mind of Angry & Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft
Lundy also writes others to assist mothers to help their children, for if a man or woman abuses her partner, the effects if even just indirectly thru their mother, still have huge ripple effects thru the children’s lives. Unfortunately, though, most abusers’ mindset doesn’t just affect their relationship with their spouse, but with everyone in the house…because it is an attitude and belief system that drives their behavior – and it is an attitude completely contrary to the Scriptures. He also shares the extremely sad reality of the situation: that only about 1 in 10 abusive and controlling men will take the hard path to recovery. Why? Because society and their circle of friends and family help to keep them entitled. A must read for any one that wants to know what we as a society are up against!
The Verbally Abusive Relationship, The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change, Controlling People, Verbal Abuse Survivors Speak Out all by Patricia Evans