As stated in the earlier DV blogs, abuse encompasses the minor emotional assaults to the major beatings which terminate in death. Do you believe silence is abuse? Professionals are not speaking of just sitting quietly while occupied with an interest, but deliberate and defiant refusal to address another person. While our children resided in the home there were 15 days of total silence from Charles. There have been shorter periods of ceasing all communication, but this was the lengthiest. When we awakened there was no reply to “good morning”. When he arrived home, there was no reply to my greeting of “how was your day?” There was an adamant refusal to any form of communication.
I met with my pastor due to the perplexing behavior of Charles. He was a pastor with a great concern about his congregation and telephoned Charles for a meeting with the three of us. When the pastor queried Charles his behavior, his sole reply was that he was punishing me for not doing what he told me to do. Charles couldn’t recall the offense. How great is an offense one can’t recall?
Threats are also a form of emotional abuse, unless acted upon with physical and then they are both emotional and physical. I was threatened on a routine basis if I considered divorce or if I continued to discuss the abuse. “I will make you pay” and “you will live to regret this” were as commonplace comments from Charles, as “what is for dinner?”
Is restraining someone from leaving a room abuse? According to the NCADV shoving, poking, twisting limbs, blocking exits, pinning down, grabbing, pushing/pulling, pinching are all forms of physical abuse. I endured each of these and some to the extent of causing extreme emotional distress. Often times when Charles was physically abusing me, I would cry out and call him Clyde. He understood the motive behind these accusations due to the extreme physical abuse from my father, Clyde, until I was almost 18 years of age.
At age nine, our daughter pulled up her sleeve, exposing a bruise on her arm and stating, “Mommy, look what Daddy did.” Unfortunately, I too carried those same bruises routinely. He didn’t just grab our arms, he would twist them as he loudly and defiantly stated, “you listen to me.” Being shoved into closets and pinned against walls brought on something akin to an anxiety attack for I was reliving every merciless beating from my father. White collar abusers don’t want others to see their abuse, so they are careful where and how they abuse.
I’ve been awakened out of a sound sleep, while being dragged from bed by one arm. Charles had decided he wanted to talk and he believed physical abuse would stimulate my hearing. I have had his fingers poked repeatedly into my tightly, closed eyes. I would cry out to please stop and utter over and over, “my ears work fine, but please, please don’t do this.” The physical abuse lingered for over 35 years of our marriage. Even though Charles didn’t bring blood to my body as my father did, the harshness and strength of his restraints while also yelling at me and spitting in my face left me shaken for days. Ephesians 4:32, ESV “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted…”