As I’ve taken you on this short journey of domestic violence, I trust it might have caused you to reflect on situations you have been aware of but dismissed as DV. Focus Ministries says, “behind closed doors is a cancer that has permeated our Christian community and is destroying our families. There is no typical batterer…but the word of God calls them fools. Not every fool is an abuser, but every abuser is a fool.”
Brenda Branson and Paula Silva, “Violence Among Us”, states, power and control are the fundamental elements that drive abusive behavior. When joined with entitlement, they become powerful forces in an abuser’s mind, giving him the right to speak or act in any way necessary to gain and maintain control over his wife and children.” There is also an excellent resource on white collar abusers, Not To People Like Us, Hidden Abuse In Upscale Marriages.
As with my own saga of child abuse and DV there were hundreds of emotionally and physically painful situations which were not shared in these few short blogs. There were countless incidents which bore deep scars into my heart; the nights of sleeping in my car in parking lots to avoid the physical abuse, knowing that my husband mandated I work and bring home a paycheck, but then went to the bank to remove my name from any/all assets so they would be in his name only, telling our daughter he didn’t care if I starved to death. The list is lengthy and the assaults equal, but I did survive each of these situations and countless more with God’s love and strength.
Abuse becomes the “norm” for the victim and a way of life. They never know what will upset their abuser. During a recent interview to become a volunteer for an organization that helps abused victims, I shared that even though educated, I was an idiot when I believed my life would change with love and devotion. The interviewer reminded me that many victims of DV believe that.
Yes, I overcame the beatings and physical bruises from my childhood. Over the years, even the unkind words my parents spoke against me faded with time. I also returned to college to complete the education Charles requested I abandon. However, as I’ve said to dozens of counselors, I never understood the abuse from my husband for he is the one that asked me to be his wife; not reversed. I loved him, or I would never have chosen to marry him. Even when he withheld what I so greatly yearned; his emotional and physical love, I continued to believe; to have the faith and trust that God would heal us.
The greatest sorrow during the 44-year marriage was when I learned Charles withheld years of love and devotion to me, but readily and quickly gave it to another when he began an affair before our divorce. That is a sorrow which will remain. However, as I also noted during my volunteer interview, God didn’t allow such abuse and destruction of a marriage, family and home, if not for His glory. As I shared when I began this series of blogs on DV, I have been a survivor. God gave me the strength to not only endure, but to be a testimony to others whom may be walking the same path. Please remember, those sustaining such trials, seek only someone to hear them, to believe them and to understand them. Proverbs 29:11, NKJ, “a fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”