I’ve noticed quite a bit of hits from keywords referring to abuse. This is, unfortunately, a common problem, and people need to find help.
There are also many hits from keywords referring to narcissistic or borderline personality disorders, disorders which often lead to abusive behaviors.
So I will make a series of posts from my webpage on abuse, which gathers together links I have found most helpful. I have them arranged by category.
This first part is on the general topic of abuse. The last section of the webpage, my own personal abuse stories, has already been posted here.
ALWAYS REMEMBER: YOU SHOULD NEVER FEEL AFRAID OF YOUR SPOUSE/FRIEND/FAMILY MEMBER, OR FEEL YOU MUST LIE FOR THEM. IF YOU DO, THEN SOMETHING IS TERRIBLY WRONG.
My own experiences and those of others have inspired me to post this section on “Abuse,” to help anyone else who is dealing with it, either directly or by witnessing a friend/family member’s abuse.
It can come from a spouse or parent, but it can also come from a friend, a bully, a teacher….
Also, if you’re getting physically abused it’s obvious to anyone that you’re being abused. Verbal, emotional or psychological abuse are harder to prove, especially if you’re the only witness, but the effects remain.
Trying to prove the abuse can leave you feeling like you’re crazy, especially if your abuser is well-liked by others.
The recent attention on bullying may have just started in about 2010, but I’ve been working on this page since 2008, and wrote my college stories in the mid-90s.
From the Orthodox Study Bible note for 1 Kings 19:10: “The children of Israel forsook the Lord because an angry and wrathful temper took hold of them, for God cannot be known in that kind of disposition. He can only be known in and through the virtues, such as gentleness.”
It is very easy to find helpful websites about abuse with a simple Google search, far more than I can possibly list here. Also see June 1994, July & August 1994 and September 1994 for descriptions of the emotional and verbal abuse I suffered from my ex-fiancé. These pages also have many helpful links.
You can’t control an abuser: You can only control yourself. If you are the abuser, is it possible to change yourself? I believe it is, but first you need to identify that you are an abuser.
If your relationship with someone is troubled, and especially if you have been abused yourself, you need to see:
Our families should be a safe place to be, where we learn how to love.
Marriage should be how we become better people, losing our selfishness and bringing up the next generation to love mankind.
Our friendships should be a place to relax and be ourselves, without worrying that we won’t be accepted.
Human selfishness, vanity and desire to control, distorts these things that should be beautiful.
Also, I feel that just as obeying our parents is good except if they command us to do evil, the same is true with sticking up for our spouses. While it is good and right to stick up for our spouses and stand by them, if our spouse is doing or saying something abusive or evil to anyone, then it would be evil for us to stick up for them and stand by them.
Apologies are essential and must be forthcoming from both parties, not just one all the time, or else you have an imbalance. The following article applies to everyone, not just people with Aspergers:
Sincerity and remorse aren’t essential. If we have caused hurt to another human, we apologize, whether the hurt was intentional or accidental, the result of a planned action or not. –Liz, Aspie Tip: Apologies
Rekha Basu with an excellent editorial on forgiveness and apologies: Time to Let Go of Our Old Grudges (December 2010)
Aren’t Christians supposed to treat each other with love and patience? All through the Left Behind books, I keep finding examples of Christians treating others like annoyances. They do it to each other, they do it to Hattie, to Bo, to their co-workers….
Rayford leads Hattie on for quite some time then tosses her aside like scum, like it’s somehow her fault for thinking they had something going on. Then every chance he gets, he pretends to love her (in a sisterly fashion, of course), but secretly thinks how dumb she is.
Buck does the same. And Rayford tries to sabotage things any time another Christian man starts falling for her.
But there is no scolding from the author or from one of the other characters, just a feeling that the authors think he’s being a decent, Christian man….
Sometimes the characters do have pangs of conscience and/or a scolding, but more often it just passes by without any guilt or scolding.
Then in real life, in the church, we have people using each other and treating each other like dirt, bullying each other, cussing at each other, calling other people names for disagreeing with them on politics or religion or personal issues, jumping to conclusions,
without apologizing for their outbursts, without trying to resolve things peaceably like adults rather than with tantrums and yelling like a child, without trying to understand each other.
Having an organ in the church becomes more important than whether or not the congregation is learning how to love Christ and fellow man.
They talk as if it is their right to respond violently–whether verbally or physically–to a perceived slight, even though the writings of the Apostles and the Church Fathers tell us this perception of entitlement comes straight from Hell. Then these people go to the Communion chalice as if they’ve done nothing wrong.
How can we expect the world to bang down our door when we act like this? If Christians are just as bad, if not worse, than the “heathens,” then we have nothing concrete to show that our invisible, supernatural beliefs are truth.
Early Church congregations added members through their acts of charity and love, not through having the best, most persuasive speeches, or the most awesome worship music, or the flashiest tracts.
Contemporary accounts I’ve read of the time speak of a Church that was quite different from the surrounding culture, not because of dress or food or music but because they were taking care of each other, rather than following their own selfish interests.
Before you go to Communion, examine yourself: Have you at least tried to make up with the person you hurt? Have you tried to soothe the person whose feelings you hurt? Have you bullied anyone? Do you think no one has the right to feel hurt but yourself?
Have you realized that yelling and screaming or hitting first, then asking questions later, means you will lose friends or family, without them even wanting to tell you the truth about what you misinterpreted?
Have you so affected someone with your harshness and ill-will and abuse that when they see you in church taking Communion, they have a strong urge to run to the bathroom and throw up?
The people in these books remind me so much of real-life Christians who talk about love but don’t show it (if you can call them “Christians”). It’s enough to lead one to cynicism about religion.
And to make one realize that we can’t judge someone for leaving Christianity if they’ve been driven out by what they’ve seen and heard from fellow Christians. We may not understand, but God surely does.
To many of us, the words “Christian” and “abuser” don’t seem to belong together. They are, or should be, a contradiction in terms.
And yet how many of us have heard of a minister’s children who were raised with cruelty and abuse? How many of us know of an upstanding, church-going man- or woman- of- God, who turns out to be a criminal or a child molester?
Who can forget the huge scandal in the Roman Catholic church, when so many of their so-called “men of God” priests were exposed as pedophiles, child molesters who were using their position in the church as a source of obtaining new victims?
Calling oneself “Christian” does not make one exempt from abusive behavior. And calling oneself “Christian” does not make one a REAL Christian, either!
One Scripture which addresses this point is 1 John 3: NO ONE WHO LIVES IN HIM KEEPS ON SINNING. NO ONE WHO CONTINUES TO SIN HAS EITHER SEEN HIM OR KNOWN HIM.
DEAR CHILDREN, DO NOT LET ANYONE LEAD YOU ASTRAY. HE WHO DOES WHAT IS RIGHT IS RIGHTEOUS.
HE WHO DOES WHAT IS SINFUL IS OF THE DEVIL, BECAUSE THE DEVIL HAS BEEN SINNING FROM THE BEGINNING. THE REASON THE SON OF GOD APPEARED WAS TO DESTROY THE DEVIL’S WORK.
NO ONE WHO IS BORN OF GOD WILL CONTINUE TO SIN, BECAUSE GOD’S SEED REMAINS IN HIM; HE CANNOT GO ON SINNING, BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD.
THIS IS HOW WE KNOW WHO THE CHILDREN OF GOD ARE AND WHO THE CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL ARE:
ANYONE WHO DOES NOT DO WHAT IS RIGHT IS NOT A CHILD OF GOD; NOR IS ANYONE WHO DOES NOT LOVE HIS BROTHER”.1 John 3: 6-10 NIV. –Rev. Renee, The Christian Abuser- Twisting God’s Word To Justify Abuse
If you were abused by a person who called him/herself a Christian and said that they knew Jesus — I assure you that this was the Greatest Deception and lie that they ever told.
At best they might have heard about Jesus, I doubt that they ever personally met Jesus in the SuperNatural, because when you truly meet Jesus you are Transformed by His Holy Love and when you follow Jesus you turn away from evil, and the closer you walk with Jesus, then evil is no where to be found, so when Jesus is in you and you are in Jesus you can do no evil.
And Abuse is the Manifestation of Evil. So the Counterfeit Christian lied about being an Authentic or True Christian.
Just because a Person calls him/herself something doesn’t automatically make it so, look at the fruit of the Behavior they are producing to reveal their True Nature. –Soaring Dove is Letting Go, The Journey Out of Nothingness
The Topic of Abuse (General)
VERY IMPORTANT observations from When You Love an Angry Person by Lynne Namka, Ed. D.:
Some People Do Not Take Responsibility for their Aggressive Outbursts
A few decades ago there was a myth that it was healthy to blow up to keep it from being bottled up in the body and causing physical problems.
Unfortunately, this erroneous idea sticks around today despite the evidence that blowing up does not solve the problem and creates trauma for others.
Still some people feel justified in exploding and then forgetting about the incident while those around them are left devastated.
Some people who are typically angry believe they have the right to vent their frustrations on others or to break things. This self-indulgent attitude is entitlement and is a form of self-righteousness.
Outbursts of anger do not solve the underlying feelings of threat, fear and sense of betrayal, which are hiding under the anger in the person. Angry people block vulnerable feelings such as hurt, sadness, guilt and vulnerability.
The emotions have to go somewhere so they turn up as anger. Anger becomes the substitute emotion for the others that are not allowed. (See my articles on Narcissism, Repressors and Children of Entitlement on the Angries Out web site.
The person who believes that he has the right to vent anger on others never quite grows up emotionally. He is stuck in a child-like reaction when he feels frustrated and responds with a temper tantrum. Tantrums increase the anger by revving the body up to a heightened arousal state.
Screaming does NOT purge the anger impulses. It may give a temporary relief but makes it worse overall. Name calling and swearing do not solve the problem.
Continued yelling breaks down the inhibitions that most people have about not acting out their harmful impulses. Any habitual verbal thought pattern such as yelling creates a well-worn pathway in the brain making it easier for the pattern to happen again.
Dealing with irritation with constant expression anger can be a harmful habit that takes over a person’s life.
Expression of hostility results in more hostility. Impulsive anger such as yelling, throwing things, cursing, and blaming the other person takes its toll on the person expressing it and harms those in its path.
Frustration and anger may temporarily go away with the venting, but the rage remains within because it is not addressed directly. The anger remains there unchanged until the next time an expectation is not met or there is disappointment, threat, or stress.
People who cannot stand feeling helpless get angry instead. Anger and the adrenaline make them feel that they are more in control of the situation. Getting angry instead of feeling ashamed or anxious helps the person manage those emotions they do not want to feel.
Violence has a way of getting out of control. Rewarding a person’s verbally abusive behavior by allowing it, excusing it and returning to things as usual WILL increase their screaming behavior.
When family members indulge the aggressive person, their violent tendencies remain. The person learns that there will not be consequences for inappropriate behavior so continue his tirades without fear of reprisal.
Children in the family learn that when they are stressed, it is okay to blow up and hurt others and things.
Some angry people feel anxious and guilty about blowing up. They feel a decrease in their self-esteem with feelings of remorse and guilt.
They talk about how bad they feel (some will even cry) to “hook” their partner feeling bad for them and allow them to return to grace. This is one dynamic in abusive relationships called the “fight and make up” syndrome.
Some people who get angry cannot talk about the problem the next day. Talking about the issue stresses them and they get angry all over again.
This type of person emotionally distances to take care of his anxiety. While you need closure to deal with your own anxiety and need to talk.
Emotional Distancing and Emotional Pursuing when anxious and upset are common ways to cope with conflict in most relationships. Read my article on the Angries Out web site on Repressors to understand the need to withdraw from conflict.
What is Abuse? (extensive information on abuse and narcissism)
What is a drama queen (or king)? (Or, how a drama queen/king is different from someone who’s merely emotional or sensitive, and how this falls under abuse/manipulation. Being a drama queen/king is not about being easily saddened, but about lashing out at people, manipulating, viewing others as servants, being self-centered, demanding, overbearing, irrational….In other words, it’s another form of abuse.)
Victim Blaming–when you get blamed for the abuse
Playing the Victim–when your abuser claims to be the abused, that it’s justified
Scapegoating–a group ganging up on you and saying you’re the problem, that the blame is all yours
Some people aren’t sure if they are being or have been abused. They may know that they have been harmed, but they may think that they deserved that harm, for instance, or perhaps think instead that some degree of harm is acceptable or reasonable, or just inevitable.
Though it is not possible for us to give you a definite answer to any questions you may have about what is abuse and what is not abuse, consider that people who haven’t been abused don’t tend to spend much time wondering whether they have been abused, while a many people who have been abused (or are being abused) do wonder about it.
If you are upset enough to wonder about it, it is likely (although not definite) that you have been abused. We’ll explore the definition of abuse in greater detail later in this document. —Mental Help.net: Introduction to Abuse
“Do not let victims assume the blame, and do not make excuses for the abuser’s behavior such as stress, unemployment, alcoholism, etc. There is no excuse for abuse.” —Eastside Domestic Violence Program/ Religion and Domestic Violence
It’s highly unlikely that you can make a bully understand that the way he or she treats you is abusive. These people won’t take ownership for their bad behaviors.
They always have a justification and rationalization. It’s your fault. You “made” them treat you badly. In order for the emotionally abusive person to see their behavior for what it is, they have to be able to tolerate cognitive dissonance. –Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, Psy.D. Things you need to know about emotional abuse and bullies
Although it is a common belief that grooming is most relevant to children, the same or similar psychological processes are used by perpetrators to exploit adults.
In the case of adult grooming, the victims family and friends are also manipulated into thinking the perpetrator is a “nice guy” and that he can be trusted.
It is not only a perpetrator’s victims that are groomed (which would be considered emotional abuse), but the victims’ family and friends, the perpetrator’s own family and friends, and even public servants and medical professionals (in which case it is purposeful manipulation). –safe-at-last, Perpetrators Perfecting the Fine Art of Institutional Grooming
First written in 2008; updated many times since.