Okay, this is just amazing. Got to get this book.
Okay, this is just amazing. Got to get this book.
For every woman ready to move on and leave all the crap in the backwash, here’s an eyes-open gander on a topic most would like to forget about already.
An abused man/woman/mother/child can become abusive. The simmering anger fueled by our impotence to stop the pain can be redirected at innocent bystanders. We know it, we’ve seen it, we’ve probably tried it out a time or two, truth be told.
Here’s a lovely quote from an article by Kellie Jo Holly, “The Power-Control Dynamic and Abusive Anger.”
Like Kristen, I also heard myself say things that I thought I’d never say. I witnessed myself act out angrily in embarrassing and hurtful ways during and after my marriage. My abusive anger never once helped my marriage, and it holds the potential to ruin any healthy relationship I ever have.
Let’s just say that I learned how to be an abuser from an excellent teacher and could continue that pattern in my life if I chose to do so. Like Kristen, I choose not to use those tools any longer because I am not interested in hurting other people so I can retain/gain power or control.
The problem was that I knew two ways to behave: I could abuse or submit. I did not have any other tools in my toolbox. It’s like trying to build a house with only a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. Both tools will work, but there are so many other tools that would make the job smoother!
Once again, Kellie Jo nails one for the home team. Well done~
You’ll find the complete post here.
These days, I don’t shock so easy. Years of informal counseling in a church setting combined with the real world education of an abusive marriage means I’ve heard and/or experienced my share. I’m guessing anyone nearing the mid-century mark can shout amen.
The assumption on the part of friends, family and complete strangers that I long to reenter the dating game does surprise me, just a touch. After all– I just exited hell, why would I want to go back? The beast you know is preferable to the one licking his chops on e-Harmony, thanks anyway, and no way in a a very hot place am I ever going back.
Unlucky in Love
The girl who went in totally unprepared for a life locked in battle with a raging beast walked out fighting to stay tender in heart and mind. I don’t want to live jaded. I have children, dear to my heart, who long for love and the intimacy of couplehood. They do not need a raging witch proclaiming Doom and Destruction upon a God-created gift meant to bless us here between eternities.
The fact remains, the naive teen that trotted down the aisle doesn’t exist any more. My views on remarriage are no big secret to those readers who’ve been around awhile but let me restate for those just arriving:
In my heart of hearts, I believe marriage is a beautiful thing when patterned after God’s design. I believe that most divorced individuals are free to remarry another believer if they chose but I’m also a big fan of Paul when he says its better to remain single.
In my own life (including family and friendships), I’ve witnessed few healthy partnerships. Marriage equals work under the best of circumstances and if two people love each other and share mutual respect and understanding, the work counts as joy. For those of us exiting the abusive bus, however, we also understand what it means to labor alone, fighting to keep a zombie marriage on its feet and howling. We can dress that puppy up in Sunday best, slap on a little lipstick, force those rotten feet into a pair of Louboutin’s but no way is that monstrosity what God intended when He called it good.
For years, my heart and mind were drawn away from my Savior. I’d like to spend the rest of my days getting to know Him. That doesn’t mean I have no feelings (nudge, nudge, wink, wink.) Despite what I assumed at twenty, my body is not dead at fifty. Still, I fully believe in the gift of celibacy and I’m thankful for my Father’s provision.
Some Thoughts Between Pals
A recent email exchange with a dear friend brought the topic around again and I’d like to open this up to a wider discussion. We touched on the phenomena of abused women remarrying into a second (or third, or fourth) abusive marriage and how, on the surface, things might look totally different this time around.
Here are a couple of quotes from that exchange:
You know how I’m feeling about remarriage. Its not that I’m so jaded I think that every man out there is abusive. That isn’t it at all. And its not that I’m unfeeling and particularly want to live my last years alone. That certainly isn’t it either. It’s more about the fact that however this pattern of abuse of power works, it is *so* pervasive right now and takes so many different forms and frankly, I don’t want to deal with a single one of them.
Somehow, I think we are just starting to understand the scope of this and how deceptive, low down and sneaky these people are at their very core. It’s their nature– it’s what they do and they cannot do otherwise. In other words, we’re at the edge of something huge and the Lord has led us here with eyes open and what we learn is going to be staggering once the monster gets out of the box.
One other thought– I think those of us who grew up in this pattern (of abuse as children) are at a disadvantage, particularly when this gets more cunning. I think if you grow up healthy with healthy patterns of love and self respect, then you know this right down to your core. You don’t have to *think* about it– you meet someone and you aren’t attracted to them if they are abusive and carrying these qualities and attitudes at *their* core. Doesn’t mean you won’t get fooled, but if you have a healthy family to support you, maybe you don’t stay in this so long if you do get caught.
But we, on the other hand, have to learn. That means head knowledge. We pick up some here, some there. We learn by experience as we get older– like an adult learning to read and it never quite becomes fluent. So what hope is there for us?
I think we are the ones who can *articulate*.
Someone who gets this instinctively can’t tell you why something bugs them, just that it does. That’s all well and fine but doesn’t help those trapped in domestic violence and other forms of abuse. We, however, can *speak* what we learn. We can do our part to break the pattern in our own family and in the lives of those we meet. But I think its the next generation that benefits from our suffering. The pattern breaks, we model health and healing, they learn and move forward into freedom.
Yeah, I know I made some pretty big leaps here and you are more than welcome to call me on them. This isn’t Ida Mae preaching to the kiddies. This is Ida Mae searching for the truth.
The floor is open.
Let us reason together and stuff.
Right now, I’m simmering. Not in a she’s-gonna-blow kinda way. Just mulling some things over and seeking God’s direction for new paths.
Barbara Roberts transcribed one of Lundy Bancroft’s videos here. Don’t know about you, but I have a hard time sitting through a thirty minute video when I can read something in ten. Thank you Barbara!
Here’s a quote and a link to her post:
Lundy Bancroft Says the Right Outlook is Outrage
Is this a male on female crime?
The answer is yes; it is overwhelmingly a male on female crime. Certainly there are lesbian batterers who are abusing their female partners; there are gay male batterers who are abusing their male partners. But the people who are dying are not men who are being abused by women. I certainly know couples where the man is the nice guy and the woman is the not-nice person. It has nothing to do with who is nice people or who’s not nice people. It’s not that image of the world where somehow men are bad and women are good. But it’s about tyranny and it’s about fear and intimidation and it’s about the belief that you have the right to create fear and intimidation, and that you can count on other people to back you up.
Jeff Crippen wrote another wonderful article titled, Why an Abuser Cannot be a Christian. One of the things I appreciate about Jeff– he says the hard things. Lots of church folks get all sorts of bent out of shape over articles like this and I say– Let them twist.
Things are all kinds of messed up when a sociopathic liar can lead the congregation while his terrorized wife and kids get hounded by those in authority.
I want to re-visit and re-affirm the fact — and it is a fact — that the abuser is not and cannot be a Christian. A person who is ruled by a mentality of entitlement, of power and control over others, who so lacks a conscience that he feels absolutely justified in the evil tactics he utilizes to get what he wants and to rule over his victims, is not a new creation in Christ. And I need to continue to affirm this because it is being denied in our churches. I know it is being denied because I continue to receive first-hand reports from Christians who are victims of terrible, ongoing (usually for decades) abuse who verify that their pastors and elders and fellow Christians are insisting that the abuser IS a Christian.
If you haven’t yet, head over the A Cry for Justice and read through some of Pastor Crippen’s articles.
And finally, an article from Morven Baker (a wee lecture for the ones who will never want to hear it) just because she found the cutest kitty picture and needs extra tissues.
Digging through some old stuff this morning and found a poem written several years ago. I’m thinking someone might relate.
Folks have called me brave but the scariest thing I ever did was going into the throne room, covered in the mess of my life and staying at the feet of the Holy One who made the stars.
Born for this other place, tucked away inside Your heart.
You pierce the cellophane holding me captive to this narrow
little world and I see— Your eyes, crinkled at the corners.
Bathed in kindness,
backlit with mercy.
Anything, my Lord. Just say the word.
You sit, take my hands and smile that smile I love beyond bearing.
You’re after something.
What will it be this morning?
My humiliation with the oatmeal?
Shame on toast.
I reach inside, toss corruption at Your feet but You aren’t distracted.
Who am I kidding?
You know the particulars that keep my heart insulated from Yours.
You held a penitent sinner, forgave my transgressions with a sigh of negation long time passing.
You cleaned away shame on a couch long ago, holding tight, wiping my mouth while I spit blood and renounced the works of darkness.
So what keeps us apart?
I wanted to do better. I promised You more.
A pledge of faithfulness beneath a bleeding tree—
–Broken on impact.
Your eyes speak forgiveness but this fickle memory spits out data while Your arms caress my back.
Your faithfulness reminds me of my failing.
Wandering eyes. A harlot’s heart.
You deserve better.
Kindness, goodness, virtue.
Not a snarling hellcat with a thousand regrets packed in a suitcase, banging on Your door.
I throw myself at You because I cannot suffer apart from You a moment longer.
This mercy lies beyond understanding. How can You look at me that way? Your eyes full of longing, Your hands more eager than my own?
And so You dig.
You hold out hands scarred by my failures
ask for things Your sacred eyes should never see.
You say You’ll have it all, not one held back.
Because I trust You—
Because every word is Truth—
Because I can’t live apart from You one moment longer.
I’m staying right here, holding this hand, holding You to my heart.
I choose to believe You want this woman.
Mercy beyond reason.
I’ll never understand Your kindness in this lifetime.
So You’re stuck with me, how does that feel?
I’ll throw myself against Your side a million times until
the ugly keeping our hearts apart jars loose, piling
up at Your feet. Until it’s on the floor, out of our way, crushed
beneath heels strengthened with favor.
I’m never going anywhere without You again.
Just wanted to thank everyone who’s checking in. Lots of things going on, most of which I cannot emote upon. Writing anonymously has its limitations.
Got a new book in the mail from Cindy Burrell, God is my Witness and spent a couple of days giving it the once over. Love her writing and love the way she looks to God’s heart in all things. I’m hoping to give a better review here in a day or so.
Spent much time putting in job applications. Call me old and cranky but I do not like this new method of shooting off an email to some nameless nobody and praying for a call. Put me in an interview and generally, I’m fine. But you- got- to- get- to- the- interview. One look at my resume and I’m toast. Something about a twenty year gap in work history might be just a tad off-putting to the kiddies who don’t know any better.
Anyhow, life moves on, kids grow up, I am thankful.
Take a grain of truth, wrap with hatred and malice, slather generously with a critical spirit. Serve up constantly with breakfast, lunch and dinner and watch the wife and kiddies develop into raging lunatics, complete with oozing internal sores, easy to jab anytime you feel like having a little fun.
Nothing like the delicious anticipation of watching a teenager self implode while awaiting that prime moment you get to crush them for disrespecting your God-ordained authority.
I have a survivor crush on Lundy Bancroft, no lie. His latest article over at Healing and Hope, is brilliant with a clarity available only to someone who’s fought Goliath a few dozen times.
Here’s number three on his list of reasons *not* to accept your abusers twisted viewpoint:
(I’d like to just quote the whole article but that seems a wee bit naughty)
3) Because he’s ignoring how profoundly his mistreatment of you has contributed to these problems, or even created them entirely. When you live with a chronically insulting and undermining partner, your self-esteem suffers, your friendships suffer, your concentration suffers. He’s certainly not helping – he’s making everything worse.
One of the reasons we accept the poisonous insults lobbed our way involves the nature of the sandwich. We can hear the truth and identify. We cannot discern the malicious intent behind the words. There’s no point trying. Throw the whole thing away and start from scratch.
Thank you, Dr. Bancroft.
You can read the entire article here: When His Put-Downs Sound True
A few weeks after leaving the beast, my car broke down in the Walmart parking lot way after dark. Scary place at the best of times but sitting out there all alone in a new town with no way home, I arrived on the threshold of a full on panic attack.
I had no idea what to do. Years of programming made me think I couldn’t make a move without the husband’s input. My first impulse was to swallow my pride, admit I couldn’t function without him and dial the number. No doubt he awaited just such an opportunity.
Fortunately, better sense prevailed. I sent out a half dozen frantic texts/phone calls to anyone vaguely within driving distance and waited in my car until someone answered. I prayed for wisdom and . . . I. . . waited. I remembered that I now resided in the big city. I could call a cab if all else failed. I could leave the car where it sat until morning at which time, I’d do the same thing anyone else would do– I’d call a mechanic.
Eventually an old friend rode in to the rescue. We tried to jump the car and blew out a fuse. He drove me home and the next day, the mechanic took care of everything including my wounded pride by assuring me I’d handled things just fine. I did not contact the beast, I did not explain what happened, I simply charged his credit card for the bill and kept contact minimized. When he sent an angry email asking for an explanation, I told him the car needed repairs and nothing else.
Once you’re out, you must get free. It takes time, deliberate thought and patience with yourself. Only you understand how many nooks and crannies your jailer claimed inside your thinking and only you can root him out.
Kellie Jo Holly addresses this issue in a new post, After Leaving Your Abusive Relationship:
When I left my ex, my life didn’t change immediately. I obsessed over him and our marriage. I imagined conversations we might have the next time we met. I woke to his voice only to find he was not in the house. My heart raced around the time he would normally return home from work.
I was gone, but I hadn’t left him. My old routines remained. I continued to fear doing something wrong that he would discover. I cleaned the house, bought his favorite foods, and budgeted the money he sent me for four despite having only three of us in the house (our kids and me). When he called, I was afraid not to answer. When he emailed, I emailed right back hoping I met his time schedule for responding.
I continued to behave as if he would come home any second. I lived in chaos, attempting to attend to an abusive husband who no longer lived in our home.
I love Kellie’s writing. Here, she nails it– that semi-sick feeling when you realize your abuser moved into your brain without permission.
You can read the rest here.