Anger is a charged, dangerous word. Anger brings pain, sorrow, anguish, conflict, shame, guilt. It is an abuser's weapon of choice, his way to hammer home expected behavior when coercion doesn't work. Anger is inherently out of control, unpredictable, unstoppable. Anger is also a proper response to injustice. Anger is the needle on our moral … Continue reading Anger
Abuse brings its own sense of grief and loss as a result of repeatedly dashed expectations, pain, betrayal, and manipulation ("How did that happen...again?!). Accepting the truth of one's abuse results in a whole different type of loss. To come to the realization that the person who says, "I love you,"--who excuses behavior because of … Continue reading Loss
Christians, biblical counselors, pastors, Bible study leaders--we are quick to rush to perceived biblical solutions because it seems obvious--it's what we know. In the case of domestic abuse (or any abuse), it is much easier to tell a victim to forgive than it is to listen to, wrestle with, and endure suffering with her. Forgiveness … Continue reading Don’t Rush It!
There is unspeakable evil in our world. People do things that should never be done--or thought about. The cruelty and disregard of abusers for their victims leaves me speechless at times. Where was God? Why didn't He intervene? How could He let that happen? For that long? I know much of what the Bible says. … Continue reading Where is God?
Messing with someone's worship is a dangerous offense. Many of us consider weekly worship a priority and can't imagine life without it. However, in the home of an abuser, worship is a daily, hourly, constant--because the abuser has made himself the object of his wife and children's worship. In the same way Jeroboam refused to … Continue reading The Source of Worship
If you've watched detective shows or read crime stories, you know a "tell" is a quirk or mannerism that demonstrates and individual is lying. Although abuse is characterized by secrecy, here are some things to look for in a friend or family member that, collectively, may indicate an abusive relationship: The word, "just" is overused: … Continue reading Tells
Church members, pastors, people helpers, be gentle. If you must, repeat to yourself, "This is not about me. This is not about me," as many times as necessary. A woman who has endured domestic violence (physical, sexual, financial, digital, you name it) is a real person. As a result of who she is and what … Continue reading Jesus’ Broken Body
A victim's greatest need is safety and security. Unfortunately, she is more likely to find it outside church walls than within. Why? Too often church members and pastors excuse an abusers' treatment of his wife by believing (or saying) something like this: "If only you were more submissive." "Have you prayed about it?" "Do you … Continue reading One of Us
Two men were having a conversation and one was recounting an abusive relationship. "You mean he actually thinks about it?" one asked. "I know," said the other. "And it gets worse." In writing the book, Sanctuary, I was aware of the fact that many pastors, leaders, and churched men struggle to address abuse in marriage because of … Continue reading The Face of Evil
As you work through how to respond to an abusive husband, it is important to understand the Nunya Zone. It is discussed in more detail throughout the book, Sanctuary, but not by that name. Nunya is a term I use regularly in counseling sessions that refers to those things that are not my responsibility, as in … Continue reading The Nunya Zone