In a relationship with a controlling individual, there is a lot of guilt because that individual has a lot of rules. Not only do the rules change capriciously, there are real punishments associated with breaking each and every rule. The person in power controls which rule is most important in any given moment and determines when, how, why, and what kind of punishment applies whether the rule was spoken, unspoken, real or imagined.
Compare biblical misunderstanding with Amnesty International's Report on Torture (New York: Farra, Strauss, and Giroux), 1973 following the Vietnam War. Albert Biderman, a psychologist, studied the methods foreign armies used to extract false confessions from prisoners of war. You may be surprised at the similarities.
So when we clean or cover up another's sin and remove consequences and the opportunity/need for repentance, we are not serving them. We may be serving ourselves without realizing it. We are not working with God, but against Him.
It's awkward when a couple is no longer a couple. How can church and family members respond, especially when they're in the same place at the same time? We want it to feel and look normal, natural. We don't want to withhold good or hurt people's feelings, especially when we don't know (or want to … Continue reading Now What?
Those who use power and control as weapons use them well. Think of hand-to-hand combatants in the movies: Matt Damon, Keanu Reeves, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee. That's an abuser in a nutshell. It's what you're up against--what victims of abuse experience--only it isn't one scene and it's not a movie. It's real life. Over. And … Continue reading Repentance
I've spent time with women in stinky relationships--and it's hard. Life is difficult. Unpredictable. Painful. Hopeful. Then heart-breaking, hope-shattering, disappointing. Because women in abuse relationships don't talk to others about the pain, shame, and abuse, they rarely hear what other women in similar situations say. If they did, they'd hear: "When everything is good, he's … Continue reading Change
We are all familiar with suffering the consequences of making a poor decision. Children refuse to wear the clothing their parents tell them to and suffer as a result. We like to think that those who cheat, lie, steal, and hurt others will suffer the consequences of their behavior, but we don't always see it. … Continue reading Unjust Suffering
A common response to the book, Sanctuary: Hope and Help for Victims of Domestic Abuse, from those who have never lived in an environment of domestic abuse is, "Wow. I'd never allow that." Or, "What's wrong with those women?" For those outside the dynamic (by God's grace), this type of thinking and speaking is called victim-blaming. … Continue reading Couldn’t Be!