‘He didn’t hit her, so she’s not really being abused.’ This statement is the most common misconception about abuse and domestic abuse. Verbal abuse is the most common abuse we all encounter in our lives in school or at work from the bully and the ‘mean girl.’ We can experience verbal abuse in any relationship and in our Christian marriage.
Abuse Has a Cycle
All types of abuse are about controlling another person, by any means. Abusive control has a cycle or order it follows. The cycle reveals the tactics often used separately or together to control a victim.
Abuse is a learned behavior. It is not a sickness or a condition. Unfortunately, if you grew up in an unhealthy or dysfunctional home where abuse was your ‘norm,’ subconsciously, you may have deemed abusive behaviors and words as okay and ‘normal.’ No matter what you learned growing up, abuse is NEVER the victim’s fault.
To help you see the cycle of abuse, view the Power and Control Wheel created by the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence below.
Are You in This Cycle?
To make any change in your life, you must have new knowledge and put it into action. Knowledge is powerful and revealing. If you have seen yourself in any part of this wheel or cycle of abuse, please contact your closest women’s shelter or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to speak to an advocate. Your abuse is not your fault. You are not alone, and there is help available.
It is vital for you to keep yourself and your children safe if you have them. Do not address any abuse by yourself with your abuser, without first seeking the help of a Christian counselor experienced with domestic abuse. Do not demand your abuser to change or you may but yourself in danger. It is vital for you to create a safe plan for you to follow if you have to leave suddenly.
Breaking Free from Abuse is a Process
After going through thirty years of domestic abuse in three separate marriages, I know how complex it is to break free even when you are a Christian. I share this fact with you to let you know that your healing path will also be a process only you can go through. It is crucial for you to learn about Christ’s exceptional love design and the types and signs of domestic abuse. You will also need to study what God says about abuse. You can begin with the resources on my website.
It is NEVER God’s will for you to be abused even if you are married to a Christian spouse. Do not buy into the enemy’s lies. Uncover them and overcome them through the truth in God’s word. Discover Christ’s true love and how to live in it to help you grow healthier and stronger. As your personal relationship grows deeper with Jesus, he will help you know what to do one step at a time in your heart and through the help of others. Jesus will bring you his love and healing. You will know that you are safe and loved as his disciple.
You Can Change Your Life with Jesus Christ
Only you have the power and choice to choose to break free from the cycle of domestic abuse. When you make your choice to be healthy, you will need to learn about Christ’s love design and participate in growing your personal relationship with him every day. God will not do everything for you. He will walk with you and work with you through Jesus and the Holy Spirit dwelling in you from your salvation.
To be a doctor, you must go to school. The same is true for baby Christians to become mature Spirit-filled and Spirit-led Christians. Salvation is our gift. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV However, we must work with Jesus to be transformed by his wisdom, love, and healing. Our journey of transformation to be more like Jesus is called working out or maturing our faith.
The reason we have abuse is because we don’t know about Christ’s true love design and therefore, we are operating from our imperfect definition, ideals, and design of love from the messages we heard, the role models we watched, and the experiences we had. When you choose to be a disciple of Christ through Salvation, you are choosing to be his apprentice. You are committing to learning his ways of love and following them to transform your love design into his.
It’s time to step up and learn to love like Jesus, which means your words will be full of love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. They will bring encouragement, respect, and honor. In Christ’s design of love, there will be no more verbal abuse!
To learn about Christ’s love design, join my news list to be one of the first to know when my book is released early next year, Quest for Exceptional Love: Transform your love and relationships through Christ’s love design.