Are you being abused?

3John 1:2 says Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

There is a direct connection between the wellness of our bodies, in context of how well our souls are prospering.  And also the other way around as well. When our body suffers, often our souls feel sad and depressed. Likewise if our soul is being attacked, our bodies have been proven to break down under stress losing their immune systems and being crushed by disease.

Which leads me to something that is so dear to my heart.

I watched a commercial, this past Super Bowl Sunday, that I thought was at first a Domino’s pizza commercial. I’m guessing I wasn’t the only person confused watching it. As the commercial progressed, I sighed because the scene was familiar. The inside of the home was chaos – there were holes in the walls from someone’s fist. Life was in disarray.

You may watch it here.

Over my lifetime, I’ve been in relationships with men that weren’t healthy. I’ve also had the privilege to walk with women as they navigated abusive relationships. Through those experiences I’ve heard men call women an f’ing B and heard men tell women to get the F out of my face. …F’ing leave me alone. And then I’ve heard those men tell the women, if you would have just given me some space to cool down I wouldn’t have had to talk like that. …if you wouldn’t be so critical of me or just believe me when I say I’m going to do something I wouldn’t be so frustrated that you never believe me. …if you would just have sex with me more regularly I wouldn’t feel so rejected and turn to other means of sex. …I’d rather be on the roof of the house than inside with a woman like you. …you’re controlling. …you’re a nag. …you just want my money. …you’re cheating on me. …you’re not a good cook. …you never greet me with a smile. …i wish you exercised more. …you’re an F’ing cunt.

Some of that language is paraphrased. All of it is vulgar and hard to read and, for a lot of you, hard to believe that it actually happens. And for most women, on the receiving end of verbal, emotional or physical abuse, it starts very subtly in the relationship. I’ve worked with close to 5 women in the past year who all could complete each other’s sentences with what they’ve experienced. And all of them, prior to acknowledging the severity of their living environment, felt like they were responsible for how they’ve been spoken to because, at some point in time, they bit back and spoke poorly to their spouse out of animal instinct.

I really want to do a good job at explaining abuse to you. But you don’t have time to sit and read a lengthy post, and if you’re reading this and in an abusive relationship you will most likely be reading at warp speed and promptly deleting this view from your computer’s history. Because if you’re found to be doing research on your spouse and they, at all, think that you’re going to be calling a quacking animal what it is (a duck), they will become scared and their behavior escalate.

So I speak to all women in abusive relationships: Be careful. Be as wise as a snake and innocent as a dove.

There are many women who will tell you that I was shoved but he didn’t hit me. He yells at me, but he never hurts me.

And when they describe the violence in their home and asked where their children were as the violence was occurring, many of them will tell you that they put their children in a bedroom and locked the door. Or that the children were asleep, or in the other room. And sometimes, the children are in the middle of the violence and end up getting physically injured.

NONE of that is okay. Ever.

There is never an excuse for anyone to use intimidation over another person’s life in order to gain control – the person using the intimidation is so far out of control.

Inside of an abusive relationship there is a cycle and when simplified it looks like this:

1. TENSION builds and the victim often finds themselves walking on eggshells, trying to please, trying to figure out what might be upsetting the other person as they sense moods shifting

2. ABUSE: after tension builds enough, the abuser lashes out with either an episode of verbal rage or physical violence

3. HONEYMOON: the abuser tells the victim how sorry they are, that maybe if the victim hadn’t done x,y or z they could have calmed down faster, they don’t know what’s wrong with them, they lay out a play for “the next time this happens” in an effort to create an equation for stopping the violence from occurring but creating more controlling parameters for the victim to adhere to in order to placate the abuser. And finally, they profess their promise of love and affection.

Then the cycle begins over again after a few days of honeymooning.

IF you or someone you know is in a relationship – whether it be inside a home as a child, in a non-committed boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, or as a married couple – and you sense that they are in danger emotionally or physically, approach them without judgement and with love, and become a safe place for them. Begin helping them to see where their danger lies in staying inside that cycle and help them to seek professional help.

http://www.safevoices.org/abused.php

http://www.domesticviolence-wilm.org

http://www.domesticviolenceroundtable.org/domestic-violence-cycle.html

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