names have been omitted in this post
With dating we meet all types of people and although this can be a very good thing as it helps us better pin point what were looking for in a partner… with that there can be some eye-brow raising and disconcerting revelations about said person were either chatting with and trying to determine whether we want to pursue a first date or in actually going out with them. In that it's interesting to see where things progress when you begin asking the really tough questions…asking the important questions relatively early on begins to weed out anyone who not going to be a match… let's not waste each other's time only to realize there's an elephant in the room and no way to work around it. So when you each share how and why you divorced which is important to ask… those answers or even the other person's reaction to yours may give you pause.
He had wanted to know why I had divorced. I shared with him that my ex had become emotionally… verbally abusive and I was considering divorce (that was a time period that I was considering it yet still questioned if the marriage was salvageable; there was much inner turmoil, confusion and my trying to figure out what was happening) and that once I had discovered his infidelity the decision became very easy for me. I immediately filed. He asked me if my ex had not cheated would I have fulfilled my marital vows? This gave me pause. I replied that yes, eventually I would have filed; it wasn't healthy. And now, fast forward three years later I'm not going to put up with abuse of any kind; once we look back and realize how much we put up with and now what we expect for ourselves we know what our deal breakers are. We become set in what we will tolerate and won't. His theory was that many people claim emotional abuse but that was not biblical grounds for divorcing… that if someone was to go through a bad season and be abusive then surely it was better to be patient and love them through it than to divorce them. I couldn't quite determine whether he was merely trying to have an open dialogue or was trying to see how much I personally would be willing to put up with. Regardless, I was now uncomfortable and decided that this guy wasn't someone I would go on a date with and simply let him know… I couldn't help but feel extremely upset. It followed me the rest of the day. And not just upset for myself. But for anyone who has been in an abusive relationship. I felt fiercely protective and defensive for them. Were just supposed to suffer because someone up and decides to be an emotional beater for lack of a better description? What was the answer? To be patient and put up with it? I believe we can hope and pray for our spouse and that they change, that they are open to God transforming them… and in that there is a big difference between someone who just has a case of the grumpies from a bad day at work, etc and someone whose behavior is to purposefully hurt, control, deceive and punish their spouse and children. As couples we can brainstorm, we can seek out our Pastor, try counseling, we can separate if we were having a tough time seeing eye to eye on issues and try to gain some distance in order to be objective while in counseling… but those are things that healthy couples may do. Man or woman; an emotional abuser is someone who is creating havoc and despair on purpose. And an emotional abuser often later becomes a physical abuser… it's usually just a matter of time.
A man's job is to love his wife. A wife's is to respect him. It seems like a pretty obvious domino effect that if the husband is loving his wife she will respect him. Intimacy then naturally follows and flows freely. You can't respect someone who is treating you poorly. And yet he won't be perfect, he's going to miss the mark… there will be days he is exhausted, he is stressed, etc and will have regrets… in that he takes responsibility for his behavior and she delivers grace… and vice versa… but emotional abuse? He stated he counsels men in the church on emotional abuse… I hope he's giving them examples of what constitutes emotional abuse so they can see their behaviors and begin the process of getting help for them… not expecting their wives to merely stay and suffer. The same goes for women who emotionally abuse. And yet in that if you have to point out to a dog that his or her poop stinks… well… God help them.
20 Examples of Emotional Abuse:
1. Yelling, cussing at your spouse.
2. Calling your spouse names and making ugly comments about their physical appearance, their goals, their abilities, dreams, job, parenting, family, etc.
3. Intimidating them through either slamming doors, yelling, throwing things (they point out they've never laid a hand on you - like they get brownie points or a gold star or this) or bashing their fist into the walls, etc.
4. Threatening to hurt you, your pets, children or family.
5. Breaking or throwing out something that belongs to you. Taking back gifts they've given you and telling you "you don't deserve these."
6. Isolating you from your friends and family.
7. Tracking your whereabouts with a gps tracking system or following you.
8. Threatening to leave you, abandon you and the children or take the children from you.
9. Lying to you about anything.
10. Not allowing your name on the car, the house, etc and using duress to make you sign anything against your will.
11. Telling you you're too sensitive.
12. Telling you that you're not worth the effort, you're too much trouble, you are always in the way.
13. Criticizing how you do things; load the dishwasher, pay the bills, clean the house, etc.
14. Treating you like a servant instead of an equal partner.
15. Pressuring you to have sex when you don't want to.
16. Making excuses for their poor behavior when it's pointed out and blaming you or others for it.
17. Not sharing important information that affects you; making a big purchase, not paying the taxes, quitting their job, etc.
18. Using projection; claiming you are trying to control them, that you are making them anxious, that you are cheating when in reality they are who is doing those things to you. Telling you you're not a nurturing parent, that you're not affectionate when in reality you are a nurturing parent and you shockingly just don't want to be affectionate to someone who does the other things on this list (!)
19. Gas-lights you; they twist reality and say you didn't say something that you did say or claiming that you said something when you didn't.
20. You find yourself in a weird cycle or dance where things are good for awhile and then they revert back to bad and then good again… and yet over time the good is happening less and less… eventually it's all bad and you question why it happened and what you can do to fix it… you can't fix it. You can't fix someone who is bent on destroying you and knows nothing about love.