Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Verbal Abuse, Domestic Abuse
Lori shared an excerpt from the book, “Liberated Through Submission: God’s Design for Freedom in All Relationships” by P.B. Wilson. The author discusses whether or not physical abuse is the same as verbal abuse. Some sample quotes Lori offers from P.B. Wilson’s book include:
So many times a person who is verbally abusive comes from a contemptuous background. Such destructive behavior requires prayerful, serious attention and help. In this case, you may be the help your husband needs. When a person sends out hate and it is met with love, there’s no contest.
When we go against our emotions and will and submit to God’s Word, we can trust that God will intervene with a verbally abusive person in His own time. He will make things right. What is our guarantee? Three little words: “Love never fails.”
God’s Word has called us to submit to Him in many areas that are offensive to our mind and flesh. What person in his right mind would want to love his enemies or pray for those who despitefully use him? Yet God calls His children to do just that. Verbal abuse is nothing new to God. His Word equips the believer for handling verbal assaults, with such instructions as, “Return blessing for insults,” and “A soft answer turns away wrath.”
And look at it this way: Missionaries depart every day for heathen nations with a mission to take these territories for Christ. You have been given the blessed privilege of being a missionary, and you don’t even have to get a passport, pack or leave home!
I’m baffled at how the author can call verbal abuse “destructive,” yet not seem to take the behavior seriously. Again, Lori seems to think that the Bible can solve all domestic abuse issues. She has no training or understanding of how trauma affects people and offers meaningless advice of, “love never fails,” “God will make things right,” and “you are blessed to change your husband.”
She continues this kind of meaningless advice on her Facebook page where she tells a woman who is being verbally abused by her husband to read the Bible and walk away to another room and pray.
What Lori, as well as the quoted author, fails to see is that verbal abuse is often a precursor to physical abuse. Because of the strong correlation between the two, you cannot downplay the effects of verbal abuse on a victim. There may be physical elements to verbal abuse such as: finger pointing, fist banging, throwing objects, kicking objects, threatening destruction of property, or threatening to harm loved ones or pets.
Abuse of any kind is a traumatic experience. Studies such as ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are beginning to focus on how trauma affects the body. Bessel Van Der Kolk discussed physical symptoms of trauma such as verbal abuse:
Somatic symptoms for which no clear physical basis can be found are ubiquitous in traumatized children and adults. They can include chronic back and neck pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, digestive problems, spastic colon/irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, and some forms of asthma.“The Body Keeps the Score,” pg 100
Experts are also beginning to understand the correlation of verbal and emotional abuse and PTSD:
The experience of constant put-downs, criticisms or whatever other forms the emotional abuse takes, not only wears down self-esteem but also impacts the nervous system in the same way a physical trauma would. What’s more, memories of the abuse can elicit negative feelings, intense physical sensations along with negative thoughts about oneself long after the abuse has occurred.
Verbal abuse needs to be taken as seriously as physical abuse. Just because you can’t see the effects of verbal abuse doesn’t mean that it’s not as damaging.
*If you are in an abusive relationship and need assistance, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or visit online from a safe location.