Messages to people caught in abusive situations. Abuse happens in marriages, romantic relationships, and nonromantic relationships. Abuse can come from a boyfriend, spouse, teacher, roommate, a family member, or even a parent or child. Abuse is not healthy, nor is it in the love or will of God!
You can take precautions to be safe when you live with an abusive parent, partner, spouse, or roommate during the Corona pandemic. To understand what you can do, let’s look at three facts about abuse.
- Stress does not cause abuse, but it amplifies the emotions of an abuser. Abuse is all about control and manipulation. Abuse is a learned behavior that entire families can live in and act out to others. Abuse is not a sickness, a condition, or your fault. Abuse is a behavior an abuser chooses.
- Don’t believe what your abuser says that puts you down in any way. Disrespect is not healthy.
- You have the right, responsibility, and power to choose to be smart, to learn about your options, and to prepare a safety plan if you choose to leave. Only you can choose to allow others to abuse you or to stop it.
After living with an abusive person, you already know they have a pattern of blowing up and then saying they are sorry or trying to make up for the abuse. You understand that nothing you do or say will prevent the next verbal, mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical abuse. You cannot stop the abuser’s choice to be abusive.
When you live with an abusive person, your attempts to draw healthy boundaries or to confront the person’s “meanness” can result in further or more severe abuse. Now that we are living in isolation, the abuse can become more extreme. Abuse is a game of manipulation that will come to a place where the stakes are too high for the victim and they will have to make a choice.
However, you have the power to call the abuse hotline 1-800-799-7233 and speak to a trained person when your abuser’s guard is down or when they are asleep. The helplines have people who understand your situation, and they will help you create a safety plan and give you resources in your area. There is also a Crisis Hotline to text, CONNECT TO 741741. You can also call your local women’s shelter for local resources and help, which will be a local call. If you are in immediate danger, go to the nearest police station and ask for help.
To make sure you are prepared to leave if you choose to, make copies of all your important papers. Include your I.D., some extra money, car keys, bus pass, etc. Put them in a safe location with a friend or in a place outside of your home or apartment where you can retrieve them if you choose to leave.
After overcoming thirty years of domestic abuse and several nonromantic abusive relationships, I have learned that self-doubt, low self-value, and feeling love-starved are at the heart of becoming a victim. I have also learned that only I can choose what I believe about myself or the lies I adopt from others. All healthy relationships are honoring, respectful, and have the freedom to say no in their foundation.
I want you to know that it’s not your responsibility to take care of an abuser or to allow them to abuse you. You have the option to leave and find help. Don’t believe the lie or manipulation that you have to stay, even if your abuser is your parent. It is NEVER God’s will for you to be abused.
You are a miracle uniquely designed to have all of your specific looks, personality, skills, and quirks. You were created to be loved and to love others in healthy, honoring, and respectful relationships. You were not designed to be abused by anyone.
If you come to realize that you need help with an abusive person in your life, call for help. Don’t try to handle things on your own, to change them, to give or receive ultimatums, or allow yourself to fall into depression. There are many people who will help you if you just let them know what is going on. The biggest tool of an abuser is to make you afraid, ashamed, embarrassed, or feel powerless. All of these negative emotions are on them, so don’t own what is not yours.
Messages to churches: how to help and respond to victims of abuse. As a Christ-follower, I call to the churches to learn the facts, complexities, and realities of victims of abuse in their church and community. Join me and learn to recognize the victims and learn how to support them as they face life choices. Let’s be the “safe place” when the world runs out of space. Let’s work with our local shelters to make sure all victims are safe and supported as they learn to break free from abuse. As a Christian man is the spiritual head of the household, he is called to obey Titus 1:7 NIV. “Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.”
Sometimes we, in church leadership are placed to see situations as they are in truth and to make a new choice. We can help victims transform broken love design through Christ’s love design. I am proof that once you break free from living in the cycle of abuse and heal with Christ, life will have a whole new meaning!
If you need to know more about the types and signs of abuse, download our FREE Signs of Abuse and How to Find Help Guideline NOW!