As I shared when I began the series of DV, this is atypical of my blogs on gratefulness. However, because this is a subject which most churches choose not to address, it is something which I feel is important to bring to the attention of other believers.
There are some support groups for victims of DV, but not for all. I live in an area of approximately 1.25 million people. However, there are no support groups for women like myself. If I were currently being battered and needed emergency shelter, I could seek refuge. There is no support group for women living in or moving from the situation. This is another aspect of the ostrich syndrome, “just can’t be happening if the women are with their abusers.”
Focus Ministries states, “abuse is not an isolated or a random incident in a relationship. It is a pattern of behavior. It is not the loss of control, but the opposite.” There are numerous traits and certainly abusers don’t display all the traits. However, if a victim must experience even several, that is too many. Charles frequently displayed some of those traits with his moodiness, nitpicking, putdowns, yelling, criticizing and withdrawing affection. Charles’ blatant refusal to show any form of affection, not even a hug, were among my greatest challenges in our marriage. Having been severely battered by my parents, I trusted that the man I married would not only love me emotionally, but certainly physically.
Abusers also show frequent periods which DV professionals refer to as the “honeymoon period”. They will treat their victim with kindness for a short duration and then return to their numerus modes of abuse. These include but are not limited to: “I’m sorry”, pleading for forgiveness, promises to go to counseling, enlisting family support, “I’ll never do it again” and crying. I have experienced each of these, some more discouraging than others, for I so greatly wanted to believe Charles was sincere.
I recall vividly when we had just celebrated our 25th anniversary while residing in FL. The marriage seemed hopeless. I had exhausted all resources for reconciling the marriage and contrary to the numerous directives from pastors to remain, I had no choice, but to be file for divorce. Charles turned on the tears of remorse and made countless promises, including all of the above.
I shared the analogy with him that for years I had been drowning, pleading for help to save the marriage. I said he would dangle a lifesaver over the edge of the ship, but always refused to throw it to me. The further I drifted out to sea, the less he was there to save us; our marriage. He sobbed as he said he wanted to save the marriage. After I withdrew the divorce petition, he had returned to the abuse and this time greater than before.
He also promised he wanted to go to my family as an accountability factor, touting he understood he had not been a godly husband or father and vowing he would do better. Those words died on his lips for he never made any effort to be accountable to anyone, including me. Such false and shallow words are certainly more destructive than making promises which one had no intentions of keeping. John 15:12 NIV “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”