Domestic Violence is NOT a Marriage Issue, but an Abuse Issue

Domestic Violence, Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini, Divorce, Marriage, Abuse, Church Response to Abuse


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Earlier today, I participated in a discussion at  SharperIron.org. The discussion is about Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini and domestic violence. A commenter, dmyers, is having trouble with Naghmeh’s earlier statements, challenging her claims of abuse, etc.

I have an assignment due in one hour, so I will have to wait to respond to dmyers tomorrow, but I thought I’d let you all in on some of the discussion because I believe dymers represents many others in church leadership who truly do not get domestic violence.

I’ve posted a few comments below so you can get the gist of the conversation. I am very concerned that dmyers does not understand abuse:

dmyers:

So the conclusion is, cry abuse and throw out everything the Bible says about marriage and dispute resolution, make no attempt to involve the church but just assume they’ll mess it up, and take it to the media while you’re husband is in a foreign prison because he won’t recant his Christianity.  OK.  Got it.  Apparently feminism is very strong in fundamentalism.


GregH:

You need to do some research on abuse… If there is real abuse in marriage, it is not a real marriage. It is an abuser/victim relationship. No, ideas like “wives, submit to husbands” do not apply anymore. The victim needs to leave.

Yes, I am a proud feminist. Thank good for feminists who fought for some semblance of gender equality over the past century. I am not a fan of the Good Old Days of 100 years ago where women were property in every sense of the word.


Julie Anne:

My ears were itching.  Bert, thank you for linking to my blog. I don’t expect even my regular readers to agree with me. I do enjoy healthy dialog.

Mark, what claims are you rejecting?  I spent a considerable amount of time researching and formed my opinions based on the many primary source documents that were readily available online (and linked to them).

Greg is right. When there is abuse, there is no marriage. We hear people talking about reconciliation, but that is the wrong focus. Usually the abuser is in denial that he has a problem and has no desire whatsoever to get help. I have asked a handful of pastors who deal with domestic violence as a primary part of their ministry and 100% of them said they have never seen an abuser come to full repentance. Knowing this, the wife must get away and protect herself and their children.

I have a lot of respect fo Naghmeh NOT going to Graham’s compound for “counseling.”  Abuse is not a marital issue. The abuser is the issue, not the victim. Anyone who understands abuse dynamics would NEVER counsel a husband/wife together in which there is abuse. For Graham to recommend they seek counseling and work on their relationship shows that he has no clue how abuse situations should be handled.  He could have been putting her in harm’s way.  Also, legally, if she were to take the children out of state it could have affected custody arrangements.  She was right in remaining at home and seeking legal protection.

dmyers, are you a pastor?  What would you do if a wife came to you and told you she was being abused?  How would you respond to that? I’m troubled that it seems your default mode seems to be to not believe Naghmeh.


dmyers:

GregH and Julei Anne:  It appears that you’ve allowed the zeitgeist to take precedence over scripture.  Yes, sometimes real domestic abuse exists, including in some Christian marriages.  And in those situations, I have no sympathy for the unrepentant abuser.  Are you two objective enough, however, to acknowledge the legitimate studies showing that domestic violence against husbands occurs at least as frequently as the other way around? Are you objective enough to grant that a wife’s verbal abuse of her husband, including screaming, hurling insults, and so forth — particularly in front of the children — is just as wrong as the same behavior from the husband?  Do you acknowledge that divorce courts frequently see false allegations of abuse as a child custody ploy?  Are you interested in truth enough to assess the Abedinis’ situation on its own, rather than colored and likely distorted by your previous bad experience with a particular church or society’s and law enforcement’s entrenched assumption that domestic violence/abuse goes only one way? Your previous comments indicate that you’re not, which calls into question the reliability of your arguments and your criticisms.

The scriptural passages on marriage, the spouses’ joint and separate responsibilities in marriage, separation, and divorce are clear.  Likewise, the scriptural passages on dispute resolution (in Matt. 18 and 1 Cor. 6) are also clear.  Nothing in any of those passages makes an allegation of abuse an exception to the rules.  Nothing in any of those passages supports the radical idea that “there is no marriage” where there has been (or allegedly has been) abuse.  I note that neither of you made any effort to support your position from scripture.  I think there’s an obvious reason for that.  The scripture is also clear that men and women both are depraved and perfectly capable of manipulation, deceit, and seriously bad behavior in and out of marriage.  So it is unbiblical to buy into the current culture’s message that a woman’s allegation of abuse should always and automatically be believed and her husband’s denial of her allegation should always and automatically be disbelieved.

Julie Anne, I am not a pastor (you can breathe a sigh of relief).  But I have been a deacon attempting to deal with some very troubled marriages, I have dealt with my own very troubled marriage, and I am a trial attorney with 30+ years of experience sorting through competing versions of the same event to attempt to arrive at what really happened.  I also take the Bible seriously on marriage, divorce, and dispute resolution.  If you were to take a more objective look at Naghmeh’s historical behavior and public statements, you would realize that there are major inconsistencies there.  If you were at all interested in an unbiased assessment of what we know so far, you wouldn’t dismiss Saeed’s (and others’) denials, nor his imprisonment and testimony through his imprisonment.  You would also acknowledge Mark Smith’s point above that even the one-sided record of the 2007 incident reflects a minor case, especially if it was not repeated (and we have no indication from anyone that it ever was).  You would also acknowledge that Naghmeh’s admitted role in that incident was itself abusive. If your response is that there is no such thing as a minor case, then you demonstrate that it’s not possible to have a rational discussion with you on this topic.

Also, both of you have missed my primary point:  there is no excuse for how Naghmeh has behaved in this matter, regardless of the truth of her vague accusations and especially if she is in any way overstating (or lying about) her grievances.  She has clearly relied on the expectation that people like you would believe her entirely and unhesitatingly and that you would rush to judgment and excommunication of Saeed without ever having heard anything from him in defense.  You have even approved of her unscriptural divorce filings (you can’t respond that she has “only” sought separation because, according to you, the alleged abuse means automatically that there is “no marriage” any more).  If she had grievances before Saeed was imprisoned in Iran, she should have taken them to her church and submitted to their discipline process (short of actual physical abuse, which there is no indication was occurring, and which she should have dealt with through law enforcement if it was).

If she felt she had grounds for divorce, she should have taken that issue to her church, again submitting to their discipline/dispute resolution process.  If she truly wants reconciliation, which she has said she does, she should never have impugned her husband publicly and made the likelihood of reconciliation much more remote.  If he was somehow abusing her from prison and enjoying a cushy imprisonment complete with 24/7 access to a phone, the internet, pornography, etc. — allegations that have yet to be explained in any sensible way — she should not have told everyone in this country that he was isolated from all but the most infrequent contact with the outside world and otherwise mistreated in his imprisonment.  However you want to couch her actions while he has been half way around the world and in no position to defend himself and now that he is home and she has refused to communicate with him other than through public court filings, her behavior has been shameful.

I urge you to drop the filter of feminism and apply the filters of scripture and reality.


 

It is because of comments by people like dmyers that I fear for women who are in harmful abuse situations. For a woman to finally get to the point that she acknowledges that she is really being abused is a huge step. To then share about this abuse to a person of trust, someone she hopes will protect and defend her, is another huge step.  But to have enough strength to tell her story again to people like dmyers who will not take her at her word – – – I can’t even fathom.  Oh my word, I just don’t have the words to describe the anger I have thinking about how damned women and their children are in this situation. Aren’t we supposed to be defending the oppressed and defenseless?  This is freakin’ messed up!

 

 

 

92 comments on “Domestic Violence is NOT a Marriage Issue, but an Abuse Issue

  1. Well said, Julie Anne. I’ve just submitted a request to register at Sharp Iron. Moderators need to approve it before I can respond to dmyers there.

    YES! Domestic abuse is not a marriage issue — it is NOT a relationship problem — is it an ABUSE problem. The abuser CHOOSES to abuse. The victim is subjected to the coercive control of the abuser.

    It’s vital to have a good definition of domestic abuse. Here is our definition from A Cry For Justice:

    Domestic abuse is a pattern of COERCIVE CONTROL (ongoing actions or inactions) that proceeds from a mentality of ENTITLEMENT to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, the abuser keeps his* target subordinated and under his control. This pattern can be emotional, verbal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, financial, social and physical. Not all these elements need be present, e.g., physical abuse may not be part of it. … This mentality of entitlement defines the very essence of the abuser. The abuser believes he is justified in using evil tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control.
    * Sometimes the genders are reversed.

    Nothing the victim does, or does refrains from doing, can stop the abuser abusing.

    Only the abuser can stop being an abuser. It takes LOTS of work, for years, and that work is never ‘over’, for an abuser to reform. And as a Bible believing Christian, I believe this deep reformation would NEVER take place let alone be consolidated unless the abuser gets born again.

    Abusers are NOT Christians: no matter what they profess in the way of faith, they are not regenerate. They are not in Christ and Christ is not in them. If they were in Christ, they would cease to fight against and evade admonishment for their bad behaviour.

    In my observation and wide reading on this issue, the vast majority of abusers do NOT reform. And the experts who facilitate Mens Behavior Change Groups (“Domestic Abuse Intervention Groups” // “Batterers’ Groups” ) report that they have seen not even marginal reformation with abusers who are at the more severe end of the spectrum.

    Many abusers fake reformation. Many of them make some changes in their behaviour – when their other abuse tactics are not working to keep them in full control – in order to get their victim and bystanders (eg pastors, elders) to think that they are actually repentant and reforming. But it is all window dressing.

    Fake and superficial reformation buys the abuser time. It gets the pastor and others who might hold them accountable off their back. It is often effective in manipulating the victim come give them ‘one more chance’. (The mis-teaching of the Christian virtue of longsuffering plays right into this.)

    Furthermore, superficial reformation by the abuser gets the bystanders to show ‘sympathy’ and ‘compassion’ to the abuser so he can play his “Poor Me” violin and win them to his side. And it helps the abuser position the bystanders WITH him and AGAINST the victim.

    It appears that Saeed Abedini has got Franklin Graham sufficiently on-side to get Graham to cast doubt on Naghmeh’s account. And thus Saeed and Franklin Graham have perfectly positioned Naghmeh to be seen as the ‘unreasonable’ one if she continues to remain separated from Saeed or if she decides to actually file for divorce.

    For how Saeed and Franklin Graham have done this, see Libby Anne’s excellent article http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2016/02/nagmeh-abedini-franklin-graham-and-the-silencing-of-evangelical-abuse-victims.html

    Naghmeh’s situation is TYPICAL of what transpires with countless women who are victims of domestic abuse. When I say countless, I mean countless: only God knows how many women are in the situation: silently suffering, secretly suffering, suffering when they keep the abuse secret, suffering when they disclose the abuse, suffering betrayal by those they thought were their friends and supporters, suffering stigma and malice and snarky and ignorant hurtful remarks by ‘c’hristians who do not know they are naive about the dynamics and tactics of coercive control and power over which abusers so craftily and skilfully use on their victims.

    This guy DMYERS uses language that is characteristic of domestic abusers. I am not saying he has abused his wife. But I AM saying that his language is pretty typical of the language of men who abuse their wives.

    At A Cry For Justice we have a tag for the language of abusers:
    http://cryingoutforjustice.com/tag/language-of-abusers/

    And here are a few of the key posts under that tag:

    The Person Who is Demanding Reconciliation is the Abuser
    http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2013/12/06/a-typical-ally-forming-letter-from-an-abuser/

    How victim’s responses to abuse are mis-labelled, and how abusers’ tactics of abuse are mis-labelled.
    http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2015/10/19/how-victims-reponses-to-abuse-are-mis-labelled-and-how-abusers-tactics-of-abuse-are-mis-labelled/

    How Miles Davis misrepresented his assault of his wife
    http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2015/11/23/how-miles-davis-misrepresented-his-assault-of-his-wife-frances-a-case-study-in-the-language-of-abusers/

    Abusers Expose Themselves: Some Early Warning Signs to Watch for
    http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2014/07/07/abusers-expose-themselves-some-early-warning-signs-to-watch-for/

    The language of abusers who portray themselves as victims
    http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2013/02/28/the-language-of-abusers-who-portray-themselves-as-victims-pt-1-vagueness-contraditions/

    Marks of a pretend victim versus a true victim
    http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2012/12/21/marks-of-a-pretend-victim-versus-a-true-victim/

    A Typical Ally-Forming Letter from an Abuser
    http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2013/12/06/a-typical-ally-forming-letter-from-an-abuser/

    Liked by 5 people

  2. dmyers’ views strike me as being about as misogynistic as it gets. I pity his wife. As to his appeal to “Biblical” dispute resolution, he overlooks one thing. The passages he cites assumes both parties are believers. An abuser cannot claim to be a believer.

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  3. By the way, dmyers’ use of statistics is TYPICAL of Mens Rights Groups (aka Fathers’ Rights Groups). They trot out the same kinds of false statistical claims that dymers trots out.

    At A Cry For Justice we do not discuss statistics. We have found that such discussion always lead to the sharks (from both sides) coming out of the woodwork.

    We simply leave the statistics about domestic abuse to the experts who work in the DV field.

    Here is a good academic article on the statistics by Michael Flood, University of Wollongong. (Yes! He’s a fellow Australian of mine!)
    https://www.academia.edu/17833870/The_Debate_Over_Mens_Versus_Womens_Family_Violence

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  4. dmyers demands Scripture? Surely he agrees that adultery is grounds for divorce. Mt. 5:32, 19:9. Well, Jesus says, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt. 5:28 ESV)

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  5. Barbara,

    I recall that you, or somebody at ACFJ, has identified a verse that mandates leaving an abuser. Am I right? Can you point us to it?

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  6. Ah, I think I found it. “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.” (1 Corinthians 5:11 ESV)

    I’m thinking violation of one’s marriage vows makes one a swindler. I’m thinking one who uses pornography is guilty of sexual immorality.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dmyers wrote:

    Are you two objective enough, however, to acknowledge the legitimate studies showing that domestic violence against husbands occurs at least as frequently as the other way around?

    Is he objective enough to acknowledge that domestic violence done to women is “far more damaging” than that done to men?

    While women are also often initiators of intimate partner violence and
    initiate violent acts almost as often as men,4 gender parity is non-existent
    when it comes to violence. The fact is that male violence against women is
    far more damaging; generally occurs in a far different context (aggressive dominance versus self defense);5 and typically has a more pernicious meaning
    (establishment of control) than does female violence.6 For instance, according
    to a Justice Department analysis of crime, more than 40% of adult female
    hospital emergency room visits are caused by violence at the hand of a male
    intimate partner, whereas violence by intimates caused less than 5% of
    male emergency room visits.7 According to the National Crime Victimization
    survey, in 1998 women experienced almost 900,000 violent offenses at the
    hands of an intimate partner—a rate five times higher than the violence men
    experience from female partners.8 Other research reveals that for every one
    man hospitalized due to being assaulted by a female intimate partner, forty-six
    women are hospitalized due to being assaulted by a male partner.9

    http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/50/50-3/JETS_50-3_573-594_Tracy.pdf

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  8. I have to add a disclaimer to my endorsement of the above video-series. While the view of “headship” and “submission” that Steven Tracey articulates quite eloquently is far more balanced than what we see in very conservative circles, it is based on a hierarchical view of the trinity and of marriage–a view that I reject.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. dmyers wrote:

    If she felt she had grounds for divorce, she should have taken that issue to her church, again submitting to their discipline/dispute resolution process.

    Because that works out well, doesn’t it? Just like the battered wife that Paige Patterson sent back home to her husband so he could give her two black eyes. And Patterson was happy about it!

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2009/06/16/a-call-for-paige-pattersons-resignation-from-the-ministry/

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  10. This is military-grade deflection on his part. Don’t address the actual situation, but call attention to everything that’s not directly involved here and in essence lump the wife in with the lowest of liars in divorce courts who want money and revenge.

    I think it’s pretty effing clear this isn’t about personal gain for Naghmeh. Only a fool would say that, under the circumstances. Brother needs to think about what he’s saying.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. @Kathi:

    “Yes, sometimes real domestic abuse exists…”

    I wonder what passes dmyers’ litmus test of “real domestic abuse.”

    When dmyers is on the receiving end?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. @Gov.Pappy

    This is military-grade deflection on his part. Don’t address the actual situation, but call attention to everything that’s not directly involved here and in essence lump the wife in with the lowest of liars in divorce courts who want money and revenge.

    I don’t know about milspec, but I HAVE encountered this as a win-at-all-costs debate weapon. Detour everything onto your home turf (like semantics or theological parsing) where YOU have the home field advantage.

    “Introvert the hell out of them.”
    — L Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology

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  13. Seems to me that Nagmeh wanted this confidential until someone in her circle spilled the beans. Doesn’t that speak to her character in a positive way?

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  14. Abigail,

    Every women married to a abusive man want to hide his bad character in hopes he reforms. But he rarely does.

    Now she’s going public. It speaks very well to her character. She didn’t see change in her husband. Now she’s taking it to the church and to the courts and beyond. That is the correct thing to do.

    Her character through all of this has been good. She worked tirelessly to get her husband released and now that he’s safe, she’s getting her needs and her children’s needs met.

    I stand by her actions. they show excellent character.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. DMYERS says “I urge you to drop the filter of feminism and apply the filters of scripture and reality” – and therein lies the problem, in my opinion.

    From what I know of scripture, it’s not exactly fair to women — and power falls clearly with men. Is this what he means by “reality”? Women were regarded as PROPERTY. Is this how he wants women to regarded when the “filter of scripture” is applied?

    Just his diatribe above seems abusive to me — and I have no experience in the church at all, so have no deep-seeded and historical experience with a man holding these I-have-power-over-you attitudes under the guise of “church teachings.” I can tell a man who might talk to me that way that he’s full of bullshit and to get out of my way. But I can see how a woman brought up with the “filters of scripture” that hand all the power to men would not be able to do this.

    In my opinion, women need to understand the “filters of scripture” in an historical context and they should be encouraged to think and act for themselves, as full equals. This is the most compassionate teaching we can provide women if we want them to be strong equal, and independent. Clearly, people like DMYERS don’t want women to be strong, equal, and independent..

    (And this is not “feminism,” Mr Myers. It is do-what’s-right-ism.)

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  16. Dmyers seems to be lacking an understanding in this area. When you are dealing with issues of alleged abuse, we must consider the safety of the alleged victim. That immediately rules out couples counselling. This is basic.

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  17. @CarolSnider:

    From what I know of scripture, it’s not exactly fair to women — and power falls clearly with men. Is this what he means by “reality”? Women were regarded as PROPERTY. Is this how he wants women to regarded when the “filter of scripture” is applied?

    Since DMEYERS presumably was born with a penis, it’s rather obvious he would personally benefit from the arrangement. When the only two alternatives are Boolean: Hold the Whip or Feel the Whip (nothing else), you’d much rather be the one Holding the Whip. Person instead of Property.

    And “the filter of SCRIPTURE” just gives Cosmic Justification for “What I Want”.

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  18. So: “the scriptural passages on dispute resolution (in Matt. 18 and 1 Cor. 6) are also clear.”

    These passages are often cited as a means of saying an abuse victim is handling their situation inappropriately when they do not engage directly with their abuser. I would point out that those passages are discussing dispute resolution amongst equals. Abuse happens when one person uses their power to exploit a vulnerability on another person’s part. When we recognise this power imbalance, surely it is far more appropriate to say that the biblical model of dispute resolution is to appeal to a greater authority for advocacy and arbitration? Psalm 35:1 for example?

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  19. dmyers’ comments surely drudged up all of the legalist dogma that places an undue burden on the victim of abuse and places the office of marriage above the sanctity of it. It is stunning the degree to which the legalists fail to see the heart of God for marriage, and the beautiful balanced love that should emanate from it. The marital relationship should never provide a safe harbor for abuse to occur, nor is it a victim’s responsibility to fix her abuser. Furthermore, the bottom line is that, should a victim leave and divorce her abuser*, that is between her and God.

    both men and women can be abusers, but the overwhelming majority of them are male.

    Your readers might want to check out some other abuse-in-marriage-related commentaries.

    Love Your Enemies? http://www.hurtbylove.com/love-your-enemies/

    Suffering Love: A Redemptive Force or An Enabling One? http://www.hurtbylove.com/love-a-redemptive-force-or-an-enabling-one/

    The Truth About Reconciliation http://www.hurtbylove.com/the-truth-about-reconciliation/

    People like dymers may never “get it.” But that doesn’t make them right.

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  20. Bravo, bravo, bravo. I am going to bookmark this post with its comments, because there is SO much valuable information here, it will take a very long time to assimilate it all! A huge thank-you to all who have posted here.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I wonder what DMyers track record of success with counseling abusers is…

    The topic has sure hit a nerve with him. He is not even objective as far as thinking either or both may be at fault, no in his mind it is Naghmeh who is at fault.

    He has not asked himself what either one stood to gain or lose. Apparently in DMyers’ mind, just hurling mean accusations at a husband is it’s own reward, even if you lose everything and make yourself vulnerable to attack and criticism from the whole world in the process?

    There are people who are trained in counseling, whose training has been based upon research. And there are those who pretend to the position of counselor who have no training, and whose own dogmatic belief systems are threatened by those who don’t fit the mold. I hate to think of a woman (or a man!) who is dealing with an abusive spouse seeking help from the latter rather than the former!

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  22. I just want to say one thing and I hope it’s taken in the spirit it is meant. I feel like citing statistics or claiming that it is mostly men who abuse is not helpful. We are never talking about a statistic or a representative of one sex, we are talking about an individual. If we jump to the conclusion that the man must be at fault because “most abusers are men,” I think we do injustice to objectivity and we become like the misogynists who always think the woman is at fault, simply because she is female. I think that it is better to look at the dynamics of abuse, as Barbara posted in her excellent post at the top of the comments, and compare what is happening with that. It takes discernment and some knowledge of the dynamics of abuse, but it is fair and honest.

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  23. I have been an attorney nearly as long as dmyers, I now teach law at a state university. I consider him a disgrace and an embarrassment to my profession.

    Of course there are a number of scriptures that would support Nahgmeh’s divorce, such as the one regarding adultery; if a long-term porn addiction does not constitute adultery, then Jesus was a flat out liar in Matthew. And for that matter, nowhere did Jesus say that adultery was the only possible grounds for divorce, would dmyers or John Piper or the whole motley crew contend that if the husband made attempts to murder the wife and children, or regularly beat them viciously, that this would not be grounds for divorce because it is not explicitly stated in the Bible (because indeed, it is not)?

    And to suggest that she should’ve gone to the very Calvary Chapel cultic church that had thought it so trivial that the fellow had generated a criminal record for abusiveness that they gave him their blessings and sent him off as a missionary? Is that a situation in which Nahgmeh would’ve had any reasonable hope at equity and fairness?

    I should hope that dmyers would be capable of dropping the filters of pharisaism and hatred for women to see clearly the truth, but when one proposes that is as vicious and reprehensible as this knave has proposed, I doubt that he is capable of knowing his right from his left, much less seeing the truth.

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  24. This guy DMYERS uses language that is characteristic of domestic abusers. I am not saying he has abused his wife. But I AM saying that his language is pretty typical of the language of men who abuse their wives.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    His language and demeanor is also, in my opinion, typical of many hack, shyster lawyers whom I’ve unfortunately encountered.

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  25. Someone is a filthy liar. Period. And it is obvious who…
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/naghmeh-abedini-shares-tears-excruciating-pain-in-letter-to-imprisoned-husband-saeed-marking-11th-wedding-anniversary-141038/
    She knew she will lose all the perks of being in the lime light/calls from the White House etc when he is released, so created some more fuss in order to continue to stay in the world’s focus. Oops… But it all got out of control…

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  26. It has always been my opinion that in cases of domestic abuse, the church should really have no input in it except to stand with the victim. First off they want you to come to them for counseling instead of going to the police. I wonder how many of these ministers actually have their degrees in counseling and can actually help out the victim of the abuse. I may be wrong, but I don’t think it would be that many of them. To tell the victim not to report it to the police is aiding and abetting the perpetrator. The church should stand with the victim, whether male or female young person or older one. . Be a shoulder to cry on, to listen to them. Not to condemn them. To help prop them up when they need it, not tear them down. The Bible tells us to love our brother as ourselves. Telling an abuse victim to go back to the abuser for round number who knows, is not loving your brother.

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  27. “Voice of reason on February 9, 2016 at 1:50 PM
    Someone is a filthy liar. Period. And it is obvious who…
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/naghmeh-abedini-shares-tears-excruciating-pain-in-letter-to-imprisoned-husband-saeed-marking-11th-wedding-anniversary-141038/
    She knew she will lose all the perks of being in the lime light/calls from the White House etc when he is released, so created some more fuss in order to continue to stay in the world’s focus. Oops… But it all got out of control…”

    I don’t know how this link proves anything, but your comment is disgusting.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I may want to return later to this thread to make some more comments. I’m a little pressed for time this week, I have something kind of big coming up later this week.

    I think Barbara Roberts’ post hit most of the points I wanted to chime in with.

    I read dmyers first post in the Original Post at the top, and I skimmed part of his very long, second post (I don’t really have a lot of time now to read it word for word).

    DMyers said:

    So the conclusion is, cry abuse and throw out everything the Bible says about marriage and dispute resolution, make no attempt to involve the church but just assume they’ll mess it up, and take it to the media while you’re husband is in a foreign prison because he won’t recant his Christianity. OK. Got it. Apparently feminism is very strong in fundamentalism.

    Guys like this claim to care about abused women, but their actions and methods for dealing with abusive marriage betrays this spoken (written) concern.

    Their usual proposed “solutions” (which they feel is based on the Bible – which is debatable – or, we could say, yes it is based on the Bible, but on a misinterpretation of it) – leave women in danger.

    I am willing to bet DMyers would counsel an abused wife to pray for her husband and their marriage and to submit to him more.

    He would probably toss in things like “read the Bible more. and pray more.” (And maybe the very dippy “cook him his favorite meals more often” and “always be available sexually” advice too).

    These “solutions” have been given to abused Christian wives for decades now, and rarely to never does it make the husband stop abusing. It is said that the definition of “crazy” is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. How much longer are Christians going to keep telling women that divorce is not an option in an abusive marriage; that all they need to do is submit more to the husband before it sinks in that this stuff does not work, nor has it ever.

    I hate to break it to ol’ DMyers, but Christian treatment for abusive marriages is as spectacularly as ineffective as the dreck they insist is “biblical” and works to cure anxiety, depression and other issues: just pray about it more, read the Bible, volunteeer at charities, and “trust the Lord.”

    Sorry, but that stuff – religious sounding platitudes – does not heal anyone of depression, grief, anxiety or whatever they are going through…. however, taking anti-depressant medications or seeing a psychologists or sitting in a grief support group will be more likely to work.

    Sometimes God heals people thru other people, which may include doctors – or through medication. Someone like DMyers would probably deem the use of doctors or medications “un-biblical” and tell us to “stop reading the Bible through the lens of psychology” or some such.

    DMyers said:
    “make no attempt to involve the church but just assume they’ll mess it up”

    The church has a terrible track record at helping abused wives, DMyers. They are more apt to get more effective help if they go to a domestic violence shelter – the people at DV shelters actually understand the dynamics of abuse and don’t get sidetracked into garage like gender roles in marriage. They care about helping the victims, not being legalistic Pharisees who want to quote every Bible verse they can think of.

    If you’d like to see lots and lots of anecdotal examples of how horribly many churches fail abused wives, do visit A Cry For Justice blog and read the many stories of women there who had to divorce their Christian husbands for abuse, and their churches didn’t help them before or afterwards.

    Like

  29. I will only address the first part of Myers second post, because I am sort of pressed for time. From his Post 2:

    DMyers said,

    It appears that you’ve allowed the zeitgeist to take precedence over scripture.

    You have apparently turned marriage into an idol. You have placed an institution above the welfare of the two people who comprise it.

    Divorce is not the unpardonable sin, by the way. There’s no reason not to allow it as an option in cases of abuse.

    DMyers said,

    Are you two objective enough, however, to acknowledge the legitimate studies showing that domestic violence against husbands occurs at least as frequently as the other way around?

    All the “legitimate” studies I’ve seen show that women are the larger percentage of victims in relationships than men are.

    BTW, I’d give the same advice to abused husbands as I would wives.

    There are some men who post at “A Cry for Justice” blog and others who say they got bum advice from their pastors when they went to them for help.

    These men were blamed or shamed by preachers or other Christians they went to for guidance and told to be a more effective leader / head /Jesus figure to their abusive wives… that sort of swill. Stupid advice that does not work.

    I may read some of the other posts in this thread, but I don’t have the time to read all the rest of DMyers’s post.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. One other thing or two I wanted to say:
    Regarding the post’s heading: “Domestic Violence is NOT a Marriage Issue, but an Abuse Issue”

    Yes. The victim is not the issue, the abuser is, and abusers make a decision to abuse. Abusers don’t just “lose their cool” and yell or hit, they make a choice to express their anger and need for control in that manner.

    Also, going to marriage counseling will not work for an abusive marriage, because in the typical marriage counseling paradigm, it’s assumed that both partners share 50 / 50 % responsibility for any issues.

    This comes in quite handy for an abusive man, because he can then use the marriage counseling sessions as a weapon to further abuse his wife, and he can maybe win the counselor to his side, and get the counselor to tell the wife to do the husband’s bidding, if she wants to patch up the marriage.

    Most material I’ve read says that abusive men need to attend classes, counseling, or group therapy specifically pertaining to ABUSE. -Not marriage counseling.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. So, I have continued to comment on the SharperIron thread and let’s just say it’s getting hot in there. ::::beckoning a kid to bring me a fan in February::::

    Like

  32. “Abusers are NOT Christians: no matter what they profess in the way of faith, they are not regenerate. They are not in Christ and Christ is not in them. If they were in Christ, they would cease to fight against and evade admonishment for their bad behaviour.”

    Why is it so many Christians cannot grasp this? Is it because the focus has been too lopsided on forgiveness of sin….. instead of renewal? I think it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I doubt dmyers will consider other interpretations or the overarching message of scripture. He gets his identity from his “clear” interpretation of scripture. He probably has never done any research on the historical meaning of “any cause” divorce Jesus was referring to.

    correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t sharper iron started by the IFB guy that molested his sister?

    Like

  34. Barbara said, “Many abusers fake reformation. Many of them make some changes in their behaviour – when their other abuse tactics are not working to keep them in full control – in order to get their victim and bystanders (eg pastors, elders) to think that they are actually repentant and reforming. But it is all window dressing.”

    My ex-husband is sending the kids letters about how he’s attending a program in Christian apologetics, about how he’s read his Bible for 165 days in a row, how he’ll welcome them back with open arms any time like the Prodigal Son (they’ve refused to see him for two years now), how much he’s learned about forgiveness, how “sorry” is is for having been running away from feeling unloved during the marriage, all peppered with enough Scripture to choke a five-point Calvinist…the perfect picture of repentance. Only it’s all self-deception and manipulation. But to church folks, he looks like a broken, humble man trying to get right with God.

    These men are dangerous, highly skilled manipulators. I’m glad other people will take on people like dmyers on public forums. I won’t dignify their venom with a response, but it needs to be addressed. Huge thanks to Julie Anne, Barbara, TWW, et al. Reading responses like those here remind me that I’m not as alone and forsaken as I sometimes feel.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Julie Anne

    Absolutely loved your challenging and respectful comments at Sharper Iron.
    Those guys got an earful, and some great advice about dealing with abuse.

    Those… errr… men… spiritual giants??? spiritual leaders??? church leaders???
    Probably never heard, or thought about your mind blowing comments.

    “This is NOT a marriage relationship issue,
    it is flat out abuse and criminal behavior.”

    Good for you…

    I pray they take that information to heart.
    ++++++++++

    Even dmyers had to read what you wrote…

    And remember… When these bozo’s begin to attack you personally…
    You have won the day. And the debate…

    You gave dmyers, and others, so many reasonable, logical statements…
    His only course of action left, was to attack you… 😦

    You left dmyers NO place to go – But to go home and wine… 😉

    This was a disgusting attack on his part – and a lie.
    ++++++++++

    dmyers – Tue, 02/09/2016 – 5:46pm ▸link◂

    “Julie Anne: You are not qualified to be commenting here.
    (Yeah Right!!!)
    You have an overriding agenda, as is clear from your blog,
    (Yeah – Helping the abused.)
    which clouds your perception and your reasoning
    (Yeah, clouds your perception of NOT agreeing with me.)
    so substantially that you are incapable of rational or biblical discourse…”
    (Seems his beliefs are incapable of persuading others against you.)
    (He sounds like a bully to me. Telling others to Ignore you.) Sheesh…

    “… I hope you’ll withdraw, but if you don’t,
    I won’t be interacting with you any further
    and I’d suggest to everyone else that
    they ignore you as well.”
    ++++++++++

    dmyers is a Sore Loser… 😉

    Fee Fie Foe Fum…
    dmyers is an example of christian-dumb.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. Gov Pappy said: “This is military-grade deflection on his part. Don’t address the actual situation, but call attention to everything that’s not directly involved here and in essence lump the wife in with the lowest of liars in divorce courts who want money and revenge.

    I think it’s pretty effing clear this isn’t about personal gain for Naghmeh. Only a fool would say that, under the circumstances. Brother needs to think about what he’s saying.”
    Most times when a guy says nonsense like that, he knows EXACTLY what he’s saying. And is on the abuser’s side.
    Not saying that Myers is an abuser. But he sure speaks the language awfully well for a newcomer to the topic…….

    Like

  37. Siteseer at T-W-W blog posted this in a thread that mentioned Doug Wilson:

    Further, his [Doug Wilson’s] teaching that patriarchy is safer for women is laughable. Patriarchal societies are the most dangerous for women.

    I also find it very strange, the concept that it is normal and expected for a man to rape.

    This page contains a good collection of sources for statistics on rape in patriarchal societies and other rape myths:
    http://thehathorlegacy.com/rape-statistics/

    Like

  38. “Rational and biblical discourse” is their code for “Agree with me, dammit! I’m right and you’re wrong and you’ll always be wrong. I don’t even have to listen to a word you say, unless you raise yourself from your gutter and make an effort to engage in rational and biblical discourse, i.e. let me batter down all your defences until you turn to mush and agree with all I say.”

    Liked by 1 person

  39. “Rational and biblical discourse” is their code for “Agree with me, dammit! I’m right and you’re wrong and you’ll always be wrong. I don’t even have to listen to a word you say…”

    In dmyers’ comments to Julie Anne, I could sense an unspoken undercurrent not very different from this line from “The Prince of Tides” (quoted by Dr. Terry Real in his book):

    “I do not take sh-t from women. You’re a woman and you’re nothing but a g-dd-mn woman and you keep your g-dd-mn mouth shut…”

    Like

  40. Serving Kids in Japan: I have ordered this book by Dr. Real (love the name!) and thank you for telling me about it last week on another thread at SSB.

    Like

  41. “Julie Anne on February 10, 2016 at 3:19 PM
    Moderator came and cleared up who is “qualified” to comment. Lol. I made the cut. :)”

    O gosh, JA, I thought that dmyer was the blog owner the way he was commenting to you 😉 about you being qualified to comment or not. (I didn’t go over there to read.)

    He thought he spoke for everyone — guess not.

    Like

  42. Went over to sharperiron and glad to see that dmyers whining attempt to silence you didn’t work (and it even got him a mild rebuke from moderator).

    Liked by 1 person

  43. @ Chris Woolgar:
    “These passages are often cited as a means of saying an abuse victim is handling their situation inappropriately when they do not engage directly with their abuser.”

    Good insight Chris. The Bible has a long history of supporting or not supporting just about anything its readers fancy or don’t fancy.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Julie Anne,,,

    Mental and Physical Abuse is a Love, Respect, Relationship and Control issue,,,

    But it is a Mental Health Issue, where the abuser is mentally ill. (in my view bordering a criminal element)

    They find ways to justify their behavior or fail to recognize they are in fact the problem. They don’t respect or love their victim whether they claim they love them or not.

    Most Abusers aren’t going to take their car out and drive themselves off of 1000′ foot cliff,, because they respect (and maybe love themselves) their own well being..

    If they looked at their victims like a 1000′ cliff they would stay clear from riding too close to the edge of that cliff. (and stop abusing them)

    Abusers also forget to accept responsibility for not recognizing that quite simply they put themselves in an environment or marry someone not wired the same as he/she is, and end up force feeding their methodology down their throats.

    And in many cases (like the Abused) Abusers forget they made the mistake of being with someone or people they aren’t compatible with in the first place,, though the abused (in particular children and arranged marriages) sometimes don’t have the choice of who their Spouses, Parents, Teachers and Pastors’ and of course the color of their skin,,.

    Like

  45. Julie Anne,,

    I’ve also have seen Abusers fabricate a crisis out of thin air,,

    Where the victim is making rational decisions and the Abuser is flipping out, the Abuser is Citing, fault (that is non-existent) even though the victim is carrying out the wishes of the abuser of how he/she wanted the task to be carried out, in the first place,,

    Like

  46. The mod over there did a beautiful job on 2/10 of putting a very repulsive poster in his place. Not in a nasty way, mind you, but just by calling you credible and valuable, it exploded in Mr. Myers’s face. Bravo to him!

    Like

  47. To Lydia00–I have been around abusers most of my life, and I disagree that abusers cannot be Christians. They are wounded people who need help and compassion and prayer–even if they don’t recognize it. We are to pray for those who are enemies. Besides, I believe the Bible teaches that we cannot judge whether someone else is a Christian–remember the story of the sheep and goats?

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Irene said,

    They are wounded people who need help and compassion and prayer–even if they don’t recognize it.

    There may be some truth in that, but…. most all studies, books, blogs I’ve read by psychologists, therapists, and recognized experts in abuse (physical and verbal) explain that what drives most abusers are a sense of deep entitlement and wanting to control someone else.

    Even in cases where the abuser may be driven in part by unresolved childhood issues or pain, the authors I’ve read stressed that such prior pain in no way excuses or justifies these people turning around and abusing other people.

    I’ve had this same situation with an older sister of mine (to use this as an example). One reason I used to tolerate my sister’s verbal abuse over the years is that she would tell me (if I ever called her out on the abuse) is that I should feel sorry for her, because the reason she was being hostile to me is that-

    -she had a bad day at her job, her health problems were bad lately, her boyfriend was not doing housework, her boss chewed her out at her job (she always had some justification at the ready).

    My sister was wanting to make herself into the victim and wanted me to feel sorry for HER.

    I am sorry if her boyfriend is a jerk and her boss yelled at her, but I came to realize that none of that excuses her verbally ripping into me or any of the emotional abuse. So I stopped tolerating it and began standing up to her more, then proceeded to limit contact with her. Feeling sorry for her did not stop the abuse.

    One book I have drives home the point that other people do NOT verbally abuse people in their lives when they had a bad day at work or whatever.

    I sure don’t do that. Back when I was being harassed at one job I had, I did not come home and take the anger at my boss out on my pet cat, or scream at my mother.

    Abusers choose to abuse (this is another key point the books raise again and again).

    Abusers, regardless of WHY they abuse, could just as easily choose to deal with the daily frustration in life, or from childhood, by jogging around the block, hitting a punching bag in a gym, or some other healthy outlet that does not inflict harm on others.

    So I guess I have a harder time feeling pity, compassion, or sympathy for abusers.

    Like

  49. Pingback: Domestic Violence is NOT a Marriage Issue, but an Abuse Issue | modern day samaritan woman

  50. Daisy, you make a very good point. Think of it this way. If somebody has a bad day at work and comes home and kicks the dog, do we make excuses for them? No! So why would excuse it when someone else has a bad day at work and comes home and kicks (figuratively if not literally) their spouse, their children, their siblings? Hmm?

    Liked by 2 people

  51. @ StillWiggling.

    I see this sort of thinking come up a lot in abuse stories. This blog and others that discuss how abuse is handled by churches frequently mention how the preacher will feel pity for the abuser and “side” with the abuser, but kick the victim to the curb.

    For example, if the abuser has a court date, the preacher will be seen sitting with the abuser in court in a show of support, rather than with the victim. Some of these preachers, or Christians who think like they do, have what I consider to be a warped or skewed view of grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

    They seem to think showing grace/ forgiveness to an abuser is the noble Jesus-y, lovey thing to do. I think they think it makes them look very spiritual.

    In the meantime, Jesus was all like ‘put a millstone around the neck of someone who harms a kid’. He was not all “treat this abuser with kid gloves.”

    I think God’s mind on the matter is that Christians should throw the book at abusers, not treat them with gentle, delicate lamb’s wool. Doing so is a matter of justice, and it sends a signal to the victim that they have worth and value, that they have support.

    But some Christians want to get all caught up in “But, but don’t abusers deserve mercy too” type thinking. That right there is part of the problem.

    If an abuser wants mercy/ forgiveness, etc, let that jerk repent and work it out with God himself – don’t sit there and shun his victim while supporting him. No, we don’t all sin equally. I so tire of this.

    These people who pity abusers like to equate us all – like “But we’re all sinners!! We all needed God’s forgiveness via Jesus.”

    Maybe so, but I myself don’t fondle children, I’m not a married man who beats up his wife. Not all sins are equal in harm and consequence or evilness. I once accidentally stole a ball point pen from a local bank.

    Accidentally stealing a pen is not anywhere the same level as a man molesting a child or beating his wife. The motives and consequences of these actions all differ.

    Quite frankly, I don’t give a rat’s hind end about the abuser, or showing them love, charity, mercy, or restoring them and giving them hugs, candy, morale support and rainbows.

    These people (the abusers) made a choice to harm someone else. My compassion and focus goes to the person who was wronged, where it belongs.

    I think people who choose to have compassion for the wrong-doer are complicit in abuse. It’s like they did not rob the bank themselves, BUT the drove the “get away” car for the actual bank robbers, which is almost as bad.

    (I might do a part 2 in a moment, there is something else I wanted to say about this.)

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Part 2.
    I’m sorry this is quite a long post, but I grew up in a Christian family who believes in this stuff, and it created all sorts of problems for me, even as an adult, and I see others being harmed by other Christians repeatedly by this “pity the abuser” view point.

    It just bothers me when people excuse other people’s bad behavior for others and rationalize it, rather than fight for the victim. It’s not right or fair to the victims, but I see it all the time among so many Christians.

    When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I was bullied a lot. I was a shy, nerdy, kid.

    My mother was a very mousy, passive, codependent person who felt it was selfish or wrong for Christian women to have boundaries and to be assertive. Her method of teaching me to deal with bullies was to just sit there and take the verbal or physical harassment, never fight back.

    My Mom seemed to feel that “turning the other cheek” in every single case, rather than to defend one’s self, was the higher, more biblical, spiritual thing to do.

    At this junior high I went to, I was bullied constantly by different kids. In 8th grade, one jerk started picking on me in one class when our seating assignments were changed. He picked on me every day for a week. I didn’t say anything for most of the week (Mom taught me not to be assertive, don’t fight back).

    I went to that class every day with a knot in my stomach, knowing that the Jerk was probably going to bully me which he did. I found it difficult to concentrate on my school work in that class with him saying mean things to me off and on during class.

    By the end of the week, I had enough and said to the Jerk, loudly enough for the teacher to hear, and in a very angry tone of voice, “You’ve been harassing me for a week. I’ve done nothing to deserve this from you. I don’t even know you. Leave me alone, you jerk.”

    The teacher heard this, and she asked to speak to me out in the hallway. She told me she knew the jerk had been picking on me all week.

    I stayed quiet to her but thought to myself, “You knew this whole time and did not stop him??”
    (As an adult, I still remain incredulous about this. She was the adult, and she did not intervene to protect a student from being bullied in front of her??? My safety was partially her responsibility, and she was negligent.)

    Anyway, the teacher gives me this sob story about how this Jerk’s brother committed suicide about two years before in one of the hallways at this school.

    This teacher asked me not to file any complaints or anything against the Jerk for harassing me in class, because he had been through so much already, and she didn’t want to see him get into trouble.

    In other words, the teacher felt sorry for this bullying kid because his big brother had killed himself. And she was just assuming his bully behavior was motivated by his brother’s suicide.

    Well you know what?
    I am sorry if his brother was dead, but even at age 11 or 12, I was like (thinking to myself), “that does not excuse this kid picking on me.”

    I’ve had bad stuff happen to me too, but I don’t take it out on other people.

    I don’t think that the kid’s brother’s suicide was motivating him to treat me like trash. He was being a bully just to be a bully. Even if that was his motivation, it still did not excuse his abuse of me.

    What that teacher did not know is that by this time, I was suffering from clinical depression (I had been diagnosed by a psychiatrist), and I was suicidal, in large measure because of the non-stop bullying I got from bullies at that school.

    The message I got from this teacher on this matter, from my mother in other, similar incidents I faced (as a kid an as an adult), and from Christians, church sermons, etc, is that
    -other people’s feelings matter but mine do not and
    -Jesus wants me to be a sweet, quiet, passive little doormat to allow others to wipe their feet on me, and abuse me as they please
    – all because those bullies and abusers are sinners who need grace (“aren’t we all sinners who need the forgiveness of God” sin-equating type thinking), and they had a bad day at their job, their favorite pet dog ran away from home last week (or whatever bad thing happened to them).

    No where in all that warped thinking was any concern shown for me and how the bullying or abuse harmed me. All these teachers, my mom, pastors I heard, etc, showed compassion for the BULLY or ABUSER, but none for me or my welfare.

    Even now, some of my family send me the same message: my feelings don’t matter, but other people’s do.

    So, other people are entitled to stomp all over me, take advantage of me, or pick on me – and I am supposed to just put up with it in silence AND feel sorry for the people mistreating me.

    I’ve since come to realize – just based on waking up and on life experience, and reading a lot of content by psychologists and so on- is that I deserve to be treated with respect.

    I do NOT have to put up with being abused or treated disrespectfully. I can get up and leave, or tell the abuser they are a big jerk and to back off. Jesus does not want me to be a doormat that just sits back and allows others to wipe their feet on my face. My feelings are equally as important as anyone else’s.

    But so many Christians mischaracterize these realizations as supposedly being “selfish” or ungodly or as denying all people are sinners.

    I tried living life how the abuse apologists say to live it – by allowing others to be mean to me, by not standing up for myself, for buying into their trash thinking that the abuser’s welfare is more important than mine – and it didn’t work. This sort of thinking kept me stuck in depression and kept attracting bullies to me.

    But I also see this thinking all the time on blogs for domestic violence, spiritual abuse, etc, by people who are victims who say when they went to their church for help (or some Christian), they are told to feel sorry for their abuser, that their feelings don’t matter – just stay and put up with abuse in silence.

    It makes me sick. This sort of thinking of favoring the abuser’s welfare and happiness to that of their victims is ungodly, it enables the abuser, keeps victims stuck in abusive situations, it’s not a sign of grace – it’s evil, wicked, warped, and makes me want to vomit.

    It also fails the Golden Rule test. If you were being abused (verbally, spiritually, sexually, physically, financially, what have you) by a pastor, friend, boss, or spouse, you would want empathy and help.

    You would not appreciate people you go to for help lecturing you on how, “we’re all sinners, so overlook it” nor would you want to hear things like, “hey, maybe you should feel sorry for your abuser because he’s been hurt in life too”.

    You would feel hurt, angered, and baffled by getting that reaction IF IT WERE YOU who were being mistreated, so please don’t pull that stuff on someone who comes to you in that condition.

    Liked by 2 people

  53. I believe the Bible teaches that we cannot judge whether someone else is a Christian–remember the story of the sheep and goats?
    …………………………………………………………………………………………..

    I thought we were told we could know people by their fruits. Isn’t that in the Bible?

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Daisy,
    I don’t give abusers a pass or excuse their behavior in any way. I know firsthand how miserable it is every single day when others torment me. I am so sorry for all that you have endured–it should not have happened. But I still believe that the Bible tells us to pray for enemies–and they include abusers. These are people who would deter us from discovering all God has for us and how He can use us.

    Like

  55. Daisy, you said a mouthful there. I am in complete agreement. You and I have had similar lives in some ways.

    When I was in Jr. High, there was a girl in my English class who was a magnet for bullies. She was very timid and sheepish. She was a friend of mine and I visited her home one time. We walked in the door and her mother immediately attacked her with a rolled up newspaper, screaming at her, as if she was a dog. The floor had just been cleaned and my friend had dared to step on it. It really hurt to see her have to put up with this kind of abuse at home, like she did at school. I saw that there was no respite for this girl anywhere.

    One day my English teacher (who was a wonderful woman) sent this girl to the office on an errand and then proceeded to lambast the whole class for teasing her until every person who had picked on her was ashamed. She said she had seen it happening and was infuriated by it. And boy, in no uncertain terms she let those people know what kind of people they were. I did not see my friend getting teased after that, at least not in that class. And that teacher became my heroine.

    Why in all my years of going to school was this the only time I saw a teacher stick up for a downtrodden student and set limits?

    It is not loving to allow bullies to bully, it is not loving to help criminals avoid penalties for their behavior, any more than it is loving to let your children grow up never correcting their wrong behavior and making excuses for them.

    Like

  56. Irene, I understand (I think) what you are saying. Here is how I see it:
    You can pray for ungodly people and hope for the best for them and at the same time set limits and tell them the truth about their awful behavior. You can leave the judgment of their spirit in God’s hands and at the same time say, your behavior is wrong and I am not going to place myself in harm’s way.

    I believe the concept of judging has become distorted to many Christians. Think about it- we are called on to make judgments continually. We have to decide what is right and what is wrong, what we will do and won’t do, who we will follow, who/what we believe and do not believe, where we will draw all sorts of lines. You cannot avoid making judgments, life is a continual process of making judgments. You cannot raise children without making judgments- this behavior is wrong, I do not allow it, this behavior is good, I reward it.

    So why, in the case of a person doing something evil, would we suddenly be barred from making a judgment on that one thing?

    Would you copy the evil behavior the person is doing? If not, you are making a judgment. You are saying, I judge this behavior to be wrong and I will not do it.

    Why would it be right and proper to make a judgment like that and yet not be right or proper to openly say so?

    I believe the confusion comes in because different words for different types of judgment are all translated by the one word ‘judge.’ We are not to speak evil of others, or malign them; we are not to destroy other people through our words with malicious intent. But I believe we can certainly use our brains to observe and state the obvious. Otherwise, what was Paul doing when he stated:

    “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”

    If a person’s deeds are those that deny God, would we be doing them a favor to keep silent about it? Wouldn’t this person be better off if someone had the courage to say to them, your deeds are wrong, your deeds are not those that a person who loves God would do? I feel a person can state this fact without it being a malicious attack. If speaking the truth is wrong, we are not free. If speaking the truth is wrong, we become subservient to those who are not troubled by conscience.

    Or maybe I have misunderstood your meaning?

    Like

  57. One more thing about Daisy’s experience. Wasn’t the teacher teaching this boy that bullying was an acceptable outlet for his distress by failing to confront him? Was this loving? If she was a Christian, was she helping him to know and follow Christ by doing this? Wouldn’t there be many other more healthy ways she could have shown him love? Perhaps showing empathy for his loss but setting limits, offering him help for dealing with his feelings while refusing to allow him to take them out on innocent people?

    Like

  58. The first thing that popped into my head about Daisy’s story was “I wonder if the poor kid who killed himself finally reached his limit with his bully brother?”
    Sometimes we miss the obvious, like the fact that his brother heard from him 24/7…..

    Like

  59. “But some Christians want to get all caught up in “But, but don’t abusers deserve mercy too” type thinking. That right there is part of the problem”.

    Every single day I struggle with not yelling at my kids and smacking them.

    Do you think I get this perfect every day?

    Are the only ‘real’ Christians those who magically don’t get angry and abuse others?

    No.

    Mercy is toward all.

    Jesus came to save sinners.

    I have many sins.

    I have been a believer over 15 years. I struggle DAILY with sins.

    I don’t want to be an abuser like my parents.

    My inability to change overnight is not due to my will power. I am weak.

    This does not excuse my sin but explains it.

    Should I be a parent?

    Is God patient with me? Should you deem an unfit parent because I struggle to contain myself on occasion?

    Thank God for mercy Daisy.

    Thank God we have that.

    I choose Life. I choose Jesus.

    But my flesh is weak and I struggle daily.

    What sins do you struggle with?

    Is Gossip, Slander etc abuse too?

    Just saying.

    We are only right with God because of Jesus. Not because of our ability to change into perfect followers.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. lifewithporpoise said

    “Are the only ‘real’ Christians those who magically don’t get angry and abuse others?”

    I never said who is a real Christian or not. It was someone else up thread who was questioning the conversion experience of people who claim to be believers but who also abuse.

    Mercy (or grace and forgiveness) is not an excuse to abuse other people.

    I don’t allow people to abuse me anymore (or be rude to me) for any reason, including misguided beliefs about grace, mercy, or forgiveness.

    You said:

    “Every single day I struggle with not yelling at my kids and smacking them.”

    That really shouldn’t be a struggle. You might want to take therapy or anger mgmt courses if you feel continually tempted to lash out verbally or physically against your own kids.

    My sister gets verbally abusive and screams horrid things at me when she’s had a bad day at her job or her BF ticks her off – I don’t treat her that way when I have a bad day at my job or with my BF.

    I don’t make excuses for bullies or abusers, theological or otherwise.

    You said,

    “This does not excuse my sin but explains it.”

    That sounds as though you’re still trying to rationalize why abusers do what they do, or why bullies scream, yell, or hit.

    I am at an age where I don’t care about the “why”.

    I used to spend years trying to figure out WHY my sister was so nasty and hateful to me. I thought “maybe if I could figure out WHY she acts this way, I can avoid future temper out bursts by walking on eggshells around her.”

    Which does not work, because the problem is within the bully or abuser – nothing the victim says or does will keep the bully/ abuser from changing.

    As Patricia Evans explains in her book about verbal abusers, abusers are irrational – they lash out due to entitlement, unresolved issues, and it’s all irrational.

    Trying to figure out the “why” is a waste of the target’s time. She, and other experts in these matters, encourage victims to stop wasting time understanding the “why’s” and simply getting to safety.

    I’m with her. I’m about self-preservation, not trying to decode the reasons behind someone’s violent physical or angry verbal tirades – whether to understand better, have sympathy, or to wax poetic about the wonders of God’s mercies.

    If my sister tries pulling her usual angry hot headed garbage on me now, I slam the phone down on her and cut her out of my life. That strategy has worked infinitely better than cajoling her, talking to her in soothing tones, being patient and “understanding” with her, etc.

    You said, “Is Gossip, Slander etc abuse too”

    You sound like an abuse apologist – like Christians on the Naghmeh threads who expressed incredulity that verbal abuse could be as real as physical abuse.

    The victim gets to determine what constitutes abuse. If you continually spread gossip about your friend Sally, and she tells you that it hurts her and she considers it abuse, yes, it becomes abuse. It is abuse.

    If your male co-worker keeps making vulgar, sexually charged jokes to you in your American workplace, and this makes you feel uncomfortable, then this is sexual harassment TO YOU.

    American workplace rules are such that H.R. sides with YOU on that, even if the abuser claims “Aw shucks, it was NOT sexual harassment, my female co-worker just has thin skin!!”

    One component of the definition of abuse is that it is a cycle, it is a pattern. Abuse is not usually considered a one-off incident, where ONE TIME your husband comes home and screams at you because his boss chewed him out earlier that day.

    However, if you husband more or less screams at you EVERY DAY (or every week) over stuff like this, yes, this is ABUSE.

    You said,

    “We are only right with God because of Jesus. Not because of our ability to change into perfect followers.”

    I never said people have to be “perfect.” Abusers choose to abuse. My sister gets mad at her boss, she screams at me all manner of awful things. When my boss makes me mad, I do NOT take this out at my sister and scream horrid things at her – and guess what? I’m not perfect.

    There are probably atheists who don’t get mad at their boss who come home and hit their wife, and they don’t even “know Jesus.”

    A person does not have to “know Jesus” or be a follower of Jesus to practice self control and act in a civilized manner.

    Like

  61. Irene said,

    But I still believe that the Bible tells us to pray for enemies–and they include abusers. These are people who would deter us from discovering all God has for us and how He can use us.

    I kind of think I see what you’re saying, but I think there is a blurring of issues or categories going on.
    God forgiving some guy for robbing a bank does not mean that if you own a bank you should allow that guy to work at your bank. God forgiving someone for being alcoholic does not mean you should let that same guy around your liquor cabinet unattended.

    Being forgiven by God does not erase earthly consequences for wrong actions in this life time.

    God can forgive my sister for her angry outbursts all he likes, and that is all fine and dandy with me, but I no longer deal with her in the same manner as I did before.

    I now protect myself from her psychologically damaging, hate-filled screeds, rather than trying to be the lovey, understanding, sweet, passive kid sister who just sits there and listens to the profanity and insult laced tantrums over the phone or e-mails.

    I can pray for my sister and love and forgive her – but do so from a distance, for my own safety.

    Like

  62. @lifewithporpoise

    I don’t want to be an abuser like my parents.

    I have a very abusive mother (When I googled “narcissistic mother” and read stories, I felt like I was reading about my own life!), and I’ve had the same fears you do. Don’t believe for one second that you are doomed to be the same way. That’s a lie.

    I read the following post a few years ago and ended up purchasing the book. It’s been very helpful. This is from Trauma and Recovery:

    Survivors of childhood abuse are far more likely to be victimized or to harm themselves than to victimize other people.
    …Contrary to the popular notion of a “generational cycle of abuse”, however, the great majority of survivors neither abuse nor neglect their children. (pp. 113-114)

    http://heresyintheheartland.blogspot.com/2014/01/library-shelf-trauma-and-recovery.html

    Like

  63. zooey111 said

    The first thing that popped into my head about Daisy’s story was “I wonder if the poor kid who killed himself finally reached his limit with his bully brother?”

    I’m not sure. I didn’t get any other details behind their family story.

    The brother who killed himself was the older brother. The jerk kid who was picking on me was the younger brother. I’m not sure if the kid brother had been bullying the older brother or not.

    The teacher who pulled me aside who asked me to dismiss the whole thing did not know I was suicidal and had depression, largely because I was being picked on daily by different kids for the two years I went to that school.

    One thing I’d like to add: I think this pressure to be smiling sweet in the face of abuse, to overlook abuse, is more heavily socialized in women and girls than it is in men or boys.

    Women and girls are conditioned by secular society and the Christian faith (especially denominations who are into gender complementarians) to be passive and never have boundaries; females are expected to be the ever-forgiving, warm and nurturing dainty flowers who overlook abuse a million times in a row.

    It goes along with repeated stories I hear of in both church and secular life where a man rapes a woman, and people around her beg the woman,
    “Please don’t report the man for the rape, it will destroy his career!! His wife might divorce him! It will make his children upset.”

    Society and churches care more about men and protecting their reputations, no matter how badly they behave, than it does in serving justice to the women they abuse.

    Like

  64. Shy1 said

    One more thing about Daisy’s experience. Wasn’t the teacher teaching this boy that bullying was an acceptable outlet for his distress by failing to confront him? Was this loving? If she was a Christian, was she helping him to know and follow Christ by doing this? Wouldn’t there be many other more healthy ways she could have shown him love? Perhaps showing empathy for his loss but setting limits, offering him help for dealing with his feelings while refusing to allow him to take them out on innocent people?

    Those are very good points.

    I don’t see how continually letting that kid off the hook for his obnoxious behavior would help him in the long run.

    If he is mugging granny ladies in his 30s, would that teacher have sat there and said, “Well, the cops should not arrest him, because God bless it, his brother killed himself when he was nine years old.”

    ~How long should that “his brother killed himself” hold up as a defense or rationalization for the guy’s bad behavior? Until he’s 35 years old? 45? 65?

    Shy1 said

    One day my English teacher (who was a wonderful woman) sent this girl to the office on an errand and then proceeded to lambast the whole class for teasing her until every person who had picked on her was ashamed. She said she had seen it happening and was infuriated by it. And boy, in no uncertain terms she let those people know what kind of people they were. I did not see my friend getting teased after that, at least not in that class. And that teacher became my heroine.

    Thank you for sharing that story.

    It makes me feel a little bit better knowing that some teacher in some class somewhere in time DID stand up for the victim rather than sit there and come up with “pity the abuser” rationalizations.

    My mother did the same thing, by the way. When I was a kid being bullied and came home crying or infuriated over the latest incident, my mother – who never met these kids who picked on me – would sit there and dream up fantasy lives for them to get me to feel sorry for them, when what she should have done was say, “Next time the bully comes at you, punch his face in.”

    When I told my mother about the kids who picked on me (kids she did not know at all), she’d sit there and say things like,
    “Instead of getting angry about it, why not feel sorry for them? Maybe the boy bully who’s been harassing you on the bus every morning for two weeks is sad because his father doesn’t hug him enough, or his mother doesn’t bake him cookies. Maybe his grandmother died two weeks ago and that is why he’s acting all mean to you. Think about it like that, and you won’t have to get angry.”

    I stood there stunned at what I was hearing. She was wanting me to make up stories to gloss over being verbally taunted by the bully every day.

    I also did not see how me making up stories in my head about WHY he was being a jerk and feeling sorry for him was going to stop his morning routine of verbally jabbing me.

    Every morning my alarm clock went off, my stomach would go into knots, and I felt sick. I knew I’d have to get on that bus in the morning and put up with that jerk. (The kid took a different bus in the afternoons, so I did not have to deal with him on the ride home.)

    My mom didn’t seem to care about the impact of his bullying on me, her concern was for the jerk bully and HIS feelings (and again, this was not a kid she had ever met). Which is pretty warped, if you think about it. If I had a kid, my loyalty would be to my own kid, not some stranger’s kid who is picking on my kid every day.

    Like

  65. One thing I wanted to add in regards to a post I made to lifewithporpoise about how abuse is defined and understood.
    As I was saying above, abuse is usually considered to be a pattern, or on-going set of behavior. That I won’t put up with, but here is an example from my life to show how I differentiate:

    I had a friend on an old job. She and I worked in the same office. She was usually nice to me and friendly and polite.

    One day, I went to her office to confer with her about a work-related project we were both assigned to, and she snapped at me. She was being rude and catty to me.
    I politely excused myself from her office and went back to my cubicle and left her alone for the rest of the day. I had no idea what prompted her rude behavior.

    The next day, she came into my cubicle. I tensed up, expecting her to tear into me some more.
    Instead, she apologized.

    She said, “Yesterday, I snapped at you and was crabby with you most of the day when I did see you. I apologize. I am so sorry. I’ve been having a rough week because [she was having car problems, she was sick, her pet dog was sick, her boyfriend dumped her, or whatever reasons she was having that week]. I hope you can forgive me. I do consider you a friend. I shouldn’t have taken my personal life frustrations out on you.”

    In that particular case, I was willing to excuse and overlook it, because it was not her usual habit to be mean, catty, and cranky with me.
    And she later owned it, apologized to me for it.
    This co-worker did not engage in a pattern of mistreating me and being rude.

    But people like my sister who’s number one coping choice for bumps in her life is always to lash out?
    For people like my sister for whom yelling and name calling and insults is a pattern and a way of life? Nope. These days, I don’t care WHY she is being set off any time she starts yelling at me, all I know is I’m not going to stick around and be her doormat anymore.

    Like

  66. Many men hear the first part about wives submitting to their husbands but they forget that they are to love their wives like Christ loved the church. How did he love his bride, the church? He gave his life for her, that’s how.

    People also forget how hard abuse is on the children. They can’t do a thing to stop their parents from fighting and they might even be in danger of a beating themselves.

    Like

  67. Daisy,
    I agree with you that people can remove themselves from abusers. They should keep themselves safe–you too! But sometimes I feel like the tone here is that we should attack abusers (who are people too) with the venom we can.

    Like

  68. Irene, a lot of people who post here are in the process of healing. It is understandable they are going to show a lot of anger or sadness in their posts on here. I am still navigating through years of repressed anger over people in my past who hurt me.

    Too often the issues we see discussed on blogs like this one (such as but not limited to authoritative churches / preachers who exploit members, or husbands who abuse their wives, etc) is caused or perpetuated by this hesitancy to show anger towards abuse, or abusers themselves, and this tendency to want to be warm and loving and feel sorry for abusers.

    When Jesus took the Pharisees to task for rebuking him over things like healing the injured woman on the Sabbath, he didn’t hold back.
    He didn’t treat them with kid gloves and be all about reconciliation and speaking gently to them. He was more concerned with helping hurting people than in the feelings of those who were holding others down or abusing them.

    Liked by 1 person

  69. To Bruce Atchison – I’m glad you deplore domestic abuse. However, I would like to request that whenever you write or talk about it, you do not refer to it as a ‘beating’. Many victims of domestic abuse are never beaten by their abusers. Abusers use many tactics to exert power and control over their targets, and the crafty ones never lay a finger on their targets in anger. Here is our definition of domestic abuse from A Cry For Justice cryingoutforjustice.com

    What is Abuse?

    The definition of abuse: A pattern of coercive control (ongoing actions or inactions) that proceeds from a mentality of entitlement to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, the abuser keeps his* target subordinated and under his control. This pattern can be emotional, verbal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, financial, social and physical. Not all these elements need be present, e.g., physical abuse may not be part of it.

    The definition of domestic abuser: a family member or dating partner (current or ex) who has a profound mentality of entitlement to the possession of power and control over the one s/he* chooses to mistreat. This mentality of entitlement defines the very essence of the abuser. The abuser believes he is justified in using evil tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control.

    Sometimes the genders are reversed.

    Liked by 1 person

  70. LifewithPorpoise,
    “Every single day I struggle with not yelling at my kids and smacking them.”

    The key word to me is that you struggle with it. You do not want to do it. If I’m hearing you rightly, sometimes you fail. But this is not the way you want to live and you depend on God and his mercy and forgiveness as you go onward.

    The abuser is one who does not struggle with it. They do not see it as wrong. They see it as their right. They see it as the other person’s fault.

    This is how John wrote, “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” yet also wrote “No one who is born of God practices sin”. The believer certainly sins, we fail daily, hourly, if we are honest. But we do not “practice” sin as a way of life, as a creed, as our strategy.

    I think that when you know someone, you can begin to separate those who fail from those who live by the principle of sin.

    I read an interesting article in Psychology Today some time ago about “the dark triad”- the personality traits of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. There was a test with the article to rate where a person falls on the scale. I found it very interesting to look at the possible answers on this test and realize that some people would honestly answer in those ways.

    Liked by 2 people

  71. Beentheredonethat,
    “I have a very abusive mother (When I googled “narcissistic mother” and read stories, I felt like I was reading about my own life!), and I’ve had the same fears you do. Don’t believe for one second that you are doomed to be the same way. That’s a lie.”

    Amen! A person can also see it as an opportunity to reparent themselves along with their children, in a sense. It can be very healing.

    Like

  72. A person’s inability to acknowledge and apologise for abuse isn’t a sign of a person’s salvation.

    I grew up in a very abusive household.

    Your comment here really annoyed me Daisy,

    “Every single day I struggle with not yelling at my kids and smacking them.”

    That really shouldn’t be a struggle. You might want to take therapy or anger mgmt courses if you feel continually tempted to lash out verbally or physically against your own kids”.

    It would be like me going up to a fat Christian who struggles with overeating and saying, “you really shouldn’t be struggling with that. Go see a personal trainer” and then questioning the legitimacy of their profession. Haha.

    I know people who say they love Jesus and yet are living in adulterous relationships. I think of David and know that we are all capable of doing really crap things.

    From my personal experience, it is those within reformed Calvinist frameworks who have made it a sport to evaluate the legitimacy of a professing believer’s salvation.

    That is, when they seem to do some kind of sin which is especially heinous.

    Was King David saved before, during and after his whole unfortunate sin moment? The affair murder thing?

    Just saying.

    Abusers can be believers.

    I know them and by the way you describe abusers here I am probably an unsaved one.

    One stone at a time folks.

    Liked by 1 person

  73. The latter part of my comment wasn’t directed to you Daisy.

    I appreciate your comments greatly and Irene, thank you.

    I love my kids.

    I don’t want to hurt them with words nor hands.

    Those who are wicked and walk in our midst should be rebuked and cast out from our communities if they don’t seek to change.

    But we need to remember that our struggles are all different.

    Some seem uglier than others

    Like

  74. @ lifewithporpoise said,
    “Your comment here really annoyed me Daisy,”

    Your comments really annoyed me, so I guess we are even.

    I don’t make excuses or justifications for abusers.

    I don’t care why abusers abuse, I know they don’t have a right to take their anger, pain, need to control out on other people.

    You said,

    It would be like me going up to a fat Christian who struggles with overeating and saying, “you really shouldn’t be struggling with that. Go see a personal trainer” and then questioning the legitimacy of their profession. Haha.

    I stand by my former comments.

    Over eaters choose to over eat. Alcoholics choose to drink. People suffering from these afflictions can get into therapy and find healthier ways of coping with life’s issues. They are choosing harmful methods.

    Abusers choose to inflict pain on other people around them – some just because they can, it’s a control issue, or because (they claim) they had a bad day at their job.

    When I had bad days at my job, I did not come home and take it out on my pet cat.

    Like

  75. Excuses and justifications.

    Hmm.

    You’re right. There is no justification for abusing others.

    I don’t know why you have more self control than me. Maybe a pet cat isn’t as stressful as multiple young children and two continually abusing parents.

    Stress is powerful and real and triggers many ugly things.

    I was diagnosed with an Anxiety disorder a while back and choose not to use that to justify my behaviour. I don’t want to hurt anyone but I know I have 15 years of childhood memories of how my Dad responsed to his stress.

    It’s not simple to just go to a therapy session or read a book.

    I pray and ask God to help and change me. And He does. But it takes time.

    It is my own sin which made me realise the errors in Calvinistic doctrine.

    I wasn’t yet perfect. All my ‘friends’ thinking they’re special and super holy and I’m here struggling with sin.

    I’m so thankful 90% of the NT is exhortation to push on and do better.

    It implies it’s not natural nor easy to do, otherwise the encouragement would not be necessary.

    Being overly critical of others can be harmful.

    Say it once and separate if necessary.

    Maybe personal log inspection can be beneficial also?

    Like

  76. I can’t wait until we all feel better! I realized today that I don’t want to feel most of the emotions that I feel daily. Hopefully we can all help each other.

    Liked by 2 people

  77. Hey lifewithporpoise,

    My mothering skills were learned from scratch, my mom was drunk most of my childhood, my dad took his rage out on my mom & us kids with his fists or belt on our bare bottoms. Eighteen years of abuse took its toll on me. Not making excuses for myself. I messed up with my kids with yelling and spanking. I didn’t become a Christian till I was 28 years old, and you are right, it does take time for God to heal all the trauma, be it through therapy or prayer. Jesus finding me wasn’t the magic bullet that instantly changed my heart or character. I loved your honesty, it takes some kind of character & guts to name that. You hang in there, we are all sinners in the same boat, though we all sail on different sea’s.

    Like

  78. Daisy,

    I can understand your unwillingness to spend much time trying to figure out why someone is being abusive.

    In “I Don’t Want To Talk About It”, Dr. Real often points out that, while some people turn to abusive and destructive behaviours out of deep pain and feelings of worthlessness, they aren’t excused from the responsibility of stopping those behaviours. Indeed, those who are serious about getting well and dealing with their pain properly will find a way to stop hurting people first.

    The first step in his pattern of therapy (apart from getting the guy to admit he needs help) is to convince his patient to stop abusing others and himself. Dr. Real gives the patient advice for doing so, and helps him through “withdrawal” — as LifeWithPorpoise and others have suggested here, this part itself is often a process. Only after that can they begin to tackle whatever pain or trauma underlies the destructive acts.

    This makes a lot of sense to me. It is most certainly not your job to figure out why your sister is so cruel to you. That’s her job (with help, if she needs and wants it), and her job before that is to figure out how to stop taking her pain out on you. Whatever she chooses, please do whatever you have to do keep yourself safe.

    Like

  79. Pingback: Resource Bibliography on the Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini Situation | Spiritual Sounding Board

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