When we think of “abuse” what usually comes to mind is physical abuse. Most people acknowledge that “hitting, punching, kicking, pulling hair, twisting limbs, pinching, slapping, biting,” etc. can be damaging. Yet all abuse hurts. There are other types of abuse that can be just as devastating:
“Abuse includes actions, words, and attitudes that oppress, afflict harm, or denigrate a partner. There is a difference between accusations and abuse. Abuse seeks to diminish or oppress another person. Some men and women feel they must emotionally pummel their spouse so they can remain in charge or dominate. There are a number of kinds of abuse: verbal, emotional, physical, mental and sexual. All of them are immature. They show that one partner is unwilling to have an adult conversations on sensitive subjects.
“If one spouse is always wrong, then usually there is some form of abuse present. If one spouse is always apologizing but the other spouse never apologizes, it is a warning sign that abuse may be present. Men and women can abuse their partners until they feel the partner is always the reason for the problem. This is the position an abuser always wants the mate to be in.” (Gil Stieglitz, from book, Marital Intelligence)
All Types of Abuse Hurts
There are different types of abuse “that hurt just as much or more” than physical abuse. We’re talking about actions where dominating control of the other person is being used to an abusive degree. To explore this further, please read the following Brokenpeople.org article written by Brenda Branson:
“Abuse in marriage doesn’t always involve physical violence. In fact, the most common forms of abuse leave no marks on the body. But they do leave deep scars on the soul. If your words to your spouse are constantly critical, you’re breaking your marriage vows and breaking your spouse’s heart.” (Dave Willis)
Many times the abuser often will explain afterward, “I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you.” But that explanation can fall short of healing the pain that is left behind in the aftermath of abusive behavior. This is especially if true if the victim has heard more than once.
To the Abuser
Professor/counselor Gil Stieglitz addresses the victimizer in this way:
“Let me say a word to abusers. It does not matter whether you mean to harm anyone. It matters what you did to gain and keep control over that person. Mature people do not expect to win always. Mature people do not expect that everything will go their way. I have heard over and over again from abusers that they did not intend to harm, oppress, frighten, or devalue their mate. What matters is that they did. To gain or keep things going their way, abusers use every available means.
“If you force someone through the threat of violence to act a certain way, it is abuse. If you twist events and motives so the other person feels you are innocent and the victim is guilty, it is abuse. And if you hit, grab, or hurt your spouse physically, it is abuse. If you use your volatile rage to get a person to give in to your way of thinking, it is abuse. Also, if your every word, suggestion, command, or idea must be obeyed, it is abuse.” (from the book, Marital Intelligence)
Physical and Emotional Damage
Abuse is something that either physically and/or emotionally damages a person. Please know that we have many articles posted in the Abuse in Marriage topic to help you. But what about an abusive relationship that hurts a person emotionally?
“Emotionally destructive relationships are not always evident to those on the outside. Deep wounds are created which over time will destroy the victim of the relationship. Why would the perpetrator inflict these wounds?”
The following is a linked answer presented in the Focus Newsletter. Please click onto the Focus Ministries web site to read:
• EMOTIONALLY DESTRUCTIVE RELATIONSHIPS
And then you may want to read more articles to help work through these issues. If you still have questions and hurts that need addressing, please click onto the following to read:
• ARTICLES BY FOCUS MINISTRIES
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International compiled this article.
If you have additional ideas that would benefit others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Abuse in Marriage
34 responses to “All Abuse Hurts”
(NIGERIA) Thanks for this site, maybe I will get responses that will heal me. First, I married someone I courted for years but during the courtship I noticed some kinds of abuse, both physical and emotional, but felt it was because we were not married. Right now after marriage and having 3 kids, the same thing persists.
My husband loved single mothers, divorcees, and separated. In fact, if you give me an opportunity I will forward mails he sent to at least 10 ladies confirming his love, missing e.t.c. Right now I can’t feel like a woman that is married, I feel bad, and angry.
Sometimes he will apologise, but he will still do it again. The worst is that he claims to be born again. He is into pornography. The abuse is so much. In fact I had to confront one of the ladies, a divorcee from Russia, about 50 yrs old and my husband is 41yrs.
My heart is breaking. I hate divorce but right now I am so, so, so confused. I long to be loved. Yes, there are men around who want my friendship, but not for my beliefs. I wouldn’t want the devil to rejoice over me so I have decided to stay away from contamination. Can somebody help me please?
(USA) You sent this message so long ago that I hope this reponse will find you well.I pray that you are well and have found some local solace for your situation. Remember that you are strong in the Lord, and know what is right from what is wrong. Be blessed.
(AUSTRALIA) What a lot of people don’t realise that emotional and verbal abuse are not lower in the rung than physical abuse. Women who are physically battered are often on record as saying that the verbal abuse was worse than the physical.
A woman who is “only” emotionally or verbally abused is not at lower risk of harm than someone who is physically assaulted. Indeed, physical assault only harms the outer shell of a person – emotional abuse attacks the very core of the person.
In some places, intimidation and harrassment are crimes and women can report these things to police. If the authorities are taking these forms of abuse seriously, I wonder why the church, the pillar of truth and God’s Body, is so slow at recognising the sin that it is and take a stand against it? Why are women not warned to FLEE from unrighteousness and that the safety of themselves and their children are of paramount importance, more than the preservation of their marriage? Why do churches only support a separation for continuous serious physical battering and ignore the plight (emotional distress and resulting physical illnesses) of verbally abused women? Are these women in any less danger? Are their children not learning behaviours that will ensure that the curse of one generation will be passed on to another?
(USA) Mia, I’ve been saying this for years. But you miss half or more of the issue. Women are far more effective at perpetrating this abuse than men, if you believe the idea that women are better communicators, more verbal, etc.
So please, don’t short change men by focusing only on the abuse perpetrated by men. There are likely just as many women who are abusive and focus their abuse on their husbands daily. Are these men in less danger, simply because they are men? Nope. In fact, many of these women verbally abuse them, they threaten to leave and take the children, or they lie about what they are doing. Some even go so far as to have affairs.
(Remember, if a man is having an affair, it’s likely with a women, so there is equal gender representation in the abusive practice of infidelity.)
So while I agree with what you say, verbal and emotional abuse is just as damaging, I have to point out that with your referral to women as victims and men as perpetrators, you parrot an untruth.
Abuse is not a gender trait. There are as many women abusers as male abusers. Abuse is not to be tolerated, regardless who is perpetrating the abuse. Please stop perpetuating the false stereo type that women are victims and men are perpetrators. Abusers are perpetrators that are as likely to be female as they are male.
(USA) There is a big difference. Many men are abused, but men suffer alone in silence. There is no one who will help a man if he is abused or neglected by his wife, actually people will join in on the torment. Due to this men will not speak up when it occurs.
(USA) I’m so sorry for your pain, Mia. NO ONE should ever have to suffer in this way. My heart and prayers go out to you and to your children. I pray you are able to find safety for yourself and for them in an environment where you can experience peace and sanctuary, away from any type of abuse. May the Lord bring safe people your way and the help you need, and may you find a church where you sense you have the support you so desperately need. God Bless you Mia. “Even in the darkness light dawns for the upright.” (Psalm 112:4 a)
(AUSTRALIA) Sorry, Tony, I didn’t mean to say that only women are abused. I only used the “woman” because it is too long to type woman/man and she/he as I have often done, but didn’t do this time. I think most books or articles do have an explanation at the beginning that abuse isn’t gender specific and that she refers to he as well.
However, being abused at the hands of a man is definitely more common (look not only at the research, look around you). I do know of a few men who are being abused; I know of many more women who are. (And this is not because the women have spoken out.) Being better at verbal or communication skills doesn’t make one an abuser. It can, of course, threaten a husband and cause him to feel inferior. But that is not abuse.
My husband has often turned around and accused me of being verbally abusive if I speak the truth, stand up to him, question his controlling ways, etc. He says he is unsafe. This type of pscyhological abuse is highly damaging as it impairs a woman’s ability to use her God-given gift of intuition and perception. This twisting of reality is also a common tactic of abusers to make the abuse mutual. He used to convince others and myself. It was so confusing.
Fortunately, it is the truth that has set me free! Thanks for your words, Cindy.
(USA) The research I’ve read indicates that men and women are involved in equal numbers in the abuse known as infidelity, so no gender based advantage there.
Ditto for verbal abuse. I seriously doubt verbal abuse goes one way. Most verbal bouts are an escalation of events. The stats only indicate more women REPORT verbal abuse. What is not captured is the lack of facilities to handle the complaints of men when they are abused.
My own anecdote is that when my ex-wife was having an affair (an abusive act) she was verbally, emotionally and finally physically abusive in so much as she resorted to hitting me. I reported the event to the police. What happened? Nothing. Was that event part of the abuse stats? Likely not.
My story is repeated again and again. So I treat the raw numbers as suspect, given that men do not have the same avenues to report abuse as do women.
Speaking of God given gifts of “intuition” or “perception” I don’t buy it. There is nothing gender based regarding “intuition” or “perception” and if you were trying to claim by being a woman, you are superior to men in terms of “intuition” or “perception” then yes, I’d say you were being abusive. Putting yourself in a position of being superior is an abusive act, denegrating your husband.
So while I don’t deny your claims that he was abusive to you, I doubt that you are innocent. I suspect his claims that you were also abusive are equally valid to yours.
Am I saying you (or he) deserved the abuse received? Of course not. What I’m saying is that you cannot dismiss his claims you were abusive. After all, if you didn’t want him to dismiss your claims, how can you dismiss his?
I suspect each of you were abusive to one another in your own unique ways. Neither justifies the abuse of the other.
Given how you are writing, I suspect you are still blind to your own personal abuses.
Again, I too am sorry for all you’ve suffered. I simply caution that you don’t view yourself as a guiltless Innocent party. I’m trying to walk a tight rope here. As I’m saying again and again that no one, not you, not your husband deserves abuse, ever. I’m simply asking you to examine your behaviors, such as the claims of superiority as for the abuse they are, and act accordingly.
I ask that you give your husband or ex-husband the same consideration for his complaints as you want given to yours. If you reject his complaints,why would you expect him or anyone else to treat yours with any more validity than you treated his?
(USA) Tony, My wife also had an affair and became very physically abusive to me. I learned it was about the mentality required for her not to feel guilt, she somehow blamed it all on me. So I was attacked and abused for being cheated on, and I’ve heard this was common.
(UNITED STATES) I am soon to be divorced from someone who was cheated on …I thought he was over what his ex did to him… she divorced him and has resorted to keep him bound to what she did to him. He asked me to leave for two reasons, which I will not go into. But the truth was he started being mentally abusive to me, when I tried to work things out with him.
I am divorcing because of what his ex did to him he has done to me and have found he’s been with other women. I don’t deserve to be treated like dirt when all I have ever done was try to love the man. But it’s time to move on with my life …not hold onto someone holding on to the past.
(SOUTH AFRICA) I haven’t heard infidelity classed as a type of abuse. Abusive people may have affairs, but that itself does not make a person abusive.
Domestic abuse is defined as a pattern of dominance, power and control over one’s intimate partner. It can be physical (eg. any touch that is not loving, threats to harm, throwing objects), emotional (eg. through intimidatory and humiliating tactics), verbal (eg. through words that insult or command), financial (eg. through the limiting of resources), social (eg. through controlling the person’s friendships), spiritual (eg. through twisting Scripture to justify abuse), etc.
According to professionals in this area, only a small percentage are mutual. Even when the abused person strikes or strikes back, it does not normally frighten or intimidate the partner, so it’s not, strictly speaking, abuse. And many battered women do kill, not just out of self-defense, but out of hopelessness. However, if their assault does not result in death, they would not be classified as abusive or sent to groups for abusers.
I think Christians should understand the terms and the dynamics so they can really know what they are dealing with.
(USA) Corey, It sounds like most affairs would qualify as abuse. After all, through deception, the adulterous spouse is maintaining power and control over the betrayed spouse.
I’m sorry, I don’t buy the argument that hitting back is not abuse. Why? Because since we can’t know motives, we can only go on actions. If someone hits back, if they engage in the same verbal abuse, or do the same things, either they are being abusive, or their spouse is NOT abusive. Since we know that such actions are abusive, then it doesn’t matter who started it.
If we allow any abusive behavior to ever be justified, then one would have to say that if a verbal exchange escalated into a physical exchange, the one who moved to physical, could by the definition you provided above, indicate the other was overpowering them verbally, and they simply hit their partner in an effort to stop the verbal abuse.
I’m sorry, but we cannot go down that path. Abuse is abuse, no excuses. No excuses for anyone who engages in abusive behavior. It NEVER matters what your spouse is doing. NOTHING your spouse does ever justifies abusive behavior, EVER.
(UK) It is sad to hear about all types of abuse, perpetrated by both men and women. Sadly, not many people report abuse. Even sadder, verbal abuse is hardly recognised, MUCH LESS reported. I am ashamed to say that I have witnessed physical violence in my own neighbourhood but didn’t think to interfere.
In reading your reply, I don’t see where you got the impression that women think they are superior in intuition? Mia says that intuition is a God-given gift, but I don’t see where she says that only women have it. All human beings have it, and some experts (including men) claim that women have a greater ability in that area. God made men and women with different abilities. Aren’t we glad!
I also don’t see on what ground you suspect that she is also abusive. I’m not saying she isn’t or is, but how can you be so confident that she is. We who are trying to support the victims should be careful not to place judgement. All the comments tell of sad stories, and they certainly need our prayers. God bless them.
(USA) So only judge the accused and never judge the victims? What if someone is accused of abuse to cover up their own abusive behaviors? That’s where this logic breaks down.
This is often the pattern when someone is having an affair. To justify their affair, or to throw of suspicion, they indicate their spouse is abusive. So while the betrayed spouse is busying working on himself, his wife has already had him thrown out of his home, kept him from his children and is carrying on the affair with her affair partner.
She’s viewed as the victim and he’s treated as a criminal. She certainly is emotionally abusing him, exercising the power and control she gets from claiming victim status, when clearly she is the one abusing him.
Sorry, we have to examine the behaviors of all parties involved in a relationship, and not just take on face value that the accuser is a victim. It’s just as likely the accuser is a co-combatant or the actual perpetrator as it is she’s the victim.
I feel sorry for the real victims because now they have to jump higher hoops because of those who lie, cheat and manipulate the system to get their own way. I also feel sorry for those falsely accused, because where do they go to get their reputation back, not to mention their life, when it’s been ripped from them? The only fair thing to do is to ensure safety, but treat allegations with suspicion until they are proven.
Innocent until proven guilty is still the way the American legal system works. It needs to work that way in the case of abuse allegations as well.
(UK) Tony, I don’t think we should jump to conclusions and judge anyone, abused or abuser. It is best to believe the story of a person who tells of abused until it clear that it is not the case. (The normal experience is that what is told is only the tip of the iceberg.) Listening and empathising this way does not mean that judgement is heaped on the abuser. However, simply concluding that the writer who claimed to be abused is also abusive when there is no reason to believe so, is making a judgement. Yes, it could well be the case that the abused is also a perpetrator, but you can’t assume that in every case.
“Innocent until proven guilty” should be the case in the legal system. For every domestic violence charge, the accused has the right to mount a defense and if guilt is not proven, then that person will be found not guilty.
I take it that in your case, you feel falsely accused of abuse when you feel that your wife was abusive because she had an affair. What she did was an act of betrayal. But whether she was an abusive wife is another matter. Whatever the case, the truth always comes out in the end. You can hold your head up and not worry about your reputation or “higher hoops” that you have to jump – people will see through her in due time.
(USA) Really, I don’t have to worry about my child being raised by someone who thinks vows are optional, and when someone capriciously decides she loves a married man, hits you, etc is that person, one does have to worry about reputation. After all, what does it say when the courts think that person is the most fit to raise your child?
The problem is, in the family court system, all someone has to say is, “I”m afraid of my husband.” They don’t have to say anything about their affair. Even folks who think they are enlightened as you apparently do question the abusive nature of affairs.
Think about it. Affairs are deceptions. They are the act of keeping key information from the betrayed spouse. They are control. By not allowing the betrayed spouse to know what is going on, they are in fact gaslighting their betrayed spouse. Unless you don’t think gaslighting is abuse, it’s pretty patetently clear affairs are abusive behavior.
But don’t take my word for it. Dr Willard Harley, mentioned here many times indicates in his decades of study, he’s found that affairs are more emotionally damaging to the betrayed spouse than either rape or the loss of a loved one. He’s worked with folks who’ve experienced one or both of those in addition to their spouses betrayal, and nearly every one has indicated the most damaging thing they’ve experienced is the betrayal. The problem is, we don’t treat this as abuse.
So you tell me, why wouldn’t I want cries of abuse treated with skepticism? When all it take is for someone to say, “he was mentally cruel” “I’m scared of him” etc, and they have the kids, no investigation, everyone automatically treats her as a victim, etc.
So who is listening and empathizing with those who are abused in the fashion I was? Folks don’t even treat betrayal as abuse, well not if the betrayed is a man. He is automatically assumed to be a bad husband. Even my pastor asked me what I did to cause my ex-wife’s affair. Excuse me? Why not ask her why she chose to break her vows rather than be a partner and work WITH me to resolve the marital issues, instead of choosing to be a party to breaking up two families, mine and the other man’s.
Your response demonstrates my legitimate frustration. If a woman is unfaithful, it’s her husbands fault, but if a man is unfaithful, it’s his fault. Or, folks don’t even see the abusive nature of affairs. They call into question the abusive nature of betrayal.
The final insult was when my ex-wife actually hit me. What happened? Nothing? Why? She was getting a divorce, so her abuse was likely excused.
I’m sorry, but given my experience, I treat every allegation of abuse with skepticism. Like I said, I feel sorry for real victims. However, I am very skeptical and treat such claims with great skepticism.
(UK) When a woman has an affair, she is responsible for the affair. When a man has an affair, he is responsible for the affair. The fault lies fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the one who did it. There shouldn’t be that victim mentality of whatever happens, it is the man’s fault.
What happened to you was betrayal. Fullstop. If she makes false accusations, that’s what they are – false accusations. Unless they are proven in court, there should not be any legal consequences. (Having said that, I do know of many obviously cruel men – those charged with violent offenses – who ended up getting custody of their children based on manipulation by their legal team. Some children have been ordered to live with dads who sexually abused them.) I don’t see why you shouldn’t have access to your children even if she has decided to have an affair and leave you – even fathers who have pleaded guilty to battery/assault have that right.
The choice to have an affair is always a poor one. Abusive partners may habitually have affairs, not commit, selfishly use the other party, etc. But infidelity itself is not the sign of an abusive spouse. To quote the article above, “Abuse seeks to diminish or oppress another person. Some men and women feel they must emotionally pummel their spouse so they can remain in charge or dominate.” If a person used affairs as part of an overall pattern to intimidate, control, dominate or coerce the other person, and the abuse was evident in other ways, eg verbally, physically, sexually, etc., then you can say the person was guilty of domestic abuse. Otherwise, the unfaithful spouse did something very hurtful and is fully responsible for it, but it is not obvious that the person was an abusive spouse.
Just as your wife could not rightly call you abusive simply because she wanted to, we cannot make that assumption about others just because they say they claim they have been abused or because they have been unfaithful. You certainly have your reasons to be sceptical. That doesn’t change the truth about the majority of abusive relationships.
(UNITED STATES) This all sounds like what happened to my husband by his first wife. He would constantly bring up things they used to do together and I felt that it was clearly sending mixed messages to his children to give them any closure for him and his first wife’s divorce… kept also comparing me to her… which was very abusive. And throughout our separation he has said you are just like her (which I am nothing in comparison to his first wife)!
I needed his support to help blend our families, not him tearing me down everytime he has the chance …decided it’s not best to hold on to someone who refuses to let go of what his first wife did… who is more concerned about his image and what others think of him instead being concerned over someone who truly cared about him and his children. It don’t matter anymore …filing for a divorce …too many negatives for there to be anything positive. I have accepted that.
(AUSTRALIA) Tony, I am sincerely sorry to hear about your wife’s abusive behaviour. I have relatives that have also suffered similarly, and it’s pretty ugly. I hope that your report would have counted in any “reporting” statistic. Unfortunately, both men and women under-report. I myself was counseled not to report – God stepped in and a neighbour reported his crime.
I don’t expect you or anyone else to understand that I am not abusive (ie, I don’t have a mentality of entitlement to have power and control over someone else), although I used to believe my husband that I was. It took quite a few pastors, immediate family members, my children, professional therapists and friends, and finally the Holy Spirit to show me who the real victim was. NO ONE who knew me well said I was abusive. Only those who didn’t know me (recent friends or those who only knew him) believed his story. Of course, when the therapist told him he was being verbally abusive and that my actions/words weren’t abusive, he argued. In fact, one domestic violence worker said I had the “patience of a saint” when she read my letters to him. These same letters were taken by him to be examples of abuse.
I never dismissed his claims – I believed them, to my detriment. If I had known earlier that it had nothing to do with me, I would have trusted my instinct, left him and my children and I would not have been as damaged. Children have no voice. My husband thinks that he needs his children – unfortunately for him, they really don’t need him in their lives. They now need to heal, trust God and learn afresh what normality is. Praise God it is not too late. We are awakening to the truth.
I really do hope, for your sake and other men in the community, that men’s stories get told too as it must be very difficult to get support from the church or secular authorities. My heart does go out to you and I wish you the very best.
(AUSTRALIA) As a survivor of abuse, I find that many Christians are well-intentioned but inadvertently support the worldview of the abuser. This is tremendously harmful to the abused spouse, who is already suffering under a debilitating burden of blame. As Christians, let us not be on the side of evil; instead let us help the broken-hearted. Below is an excerpt from “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft, who has worked with thousands of abusers.
Almost anyone can become an ally of an abusive man by inadvertently adopting his perspective. People usually don’t even notice that they are supporting abusive thinking, or they wouldn’t do it Let’s examine some of the most common forms of accidental support:
– The person who says to the abused woman: “You should show him some compassion even if he has done bad things. Don’t forget that he’s a human being too.”
I have almost never worked with an abused woman who overlooked her partner’s humanity. The problem is the reverse: He forgets her humanity.It is the abuser’s perspective that she is being mean to him by speaking bluntly about the damage he has done. To suggest to her that his need for compassion should come before her right to live free from abuse is consistent with the abuser’s outlook. I have repeatedly seen the tendency among friends and acquaintances of an abused woman to feel that it is their responsibility to make sure that she realises what a good person he really is inside – in other words, to stay focused on his needs rather than on her own, which is a mistake. People who wish to help an abused woman should instead be telling her what a good person she is.
– The person who says to her: “But he’s the father of your children.”
The abusive man uses the children to entrap the woman in the relationship, saying that she is depriving them of a father by splitting up the family. But he is the one who is keeping those children from having the father they need, by forcing them to grow up with a father who abuses their mother. Children need an abuse-free home.
– The person who says to her: “You made a commitment, and now you need to stick with it through hard times.”
The abusive man believes that chronic mistreatment, overt disrespect, intimidation, and even violence are not good enough reasons for a woman to want to stay away from a man. When people say to her, “You made your bed now lie in it.” they are supporting the abuser’s value system.
– The person who says to her: “You are claiming to be a helpless victim.”
If the abuser could hear these words being spoken to his partner, he would jump for joy. He may have said the very same thing to her. The abuser’s perspective is that the woman exaggerates the hurtfulness of his conduct because she wants the status of victim, attributing to her the manouvers that he is actually fond of using himself. When an abused woman tries to tell you how bad things are, listen.
– The person who says: “These abuse activists are anti-male.”
How is it anti-male to be against abuse? Are we supposed to pretend we don’t notice that the overwhelming majority of abusers are male? This accusation parallels the abuser’s words to his partner: “The reason you think I’m abusive is because you have a problem with men!” One of the best counters to this piece of side-tracking is to point out how many men are active in combating the abuse of women. Remember also that abused women are the sisters, daughters, mothers, and friends of men; men’s lives are affected by abuse, because it happens to women we know and care about.
(USA) Tony, did your wife make more money than you? Were you financially dependant on her income? Did you constantly remind her who the breadwinner was (if you were or made more). Did you ever use male privledge to support you being the final vote, or did you remove here input because she was “too emotional” and Illogical? Did you ever once say to her “you are the mother that is YOUR job”, I will do what I want and you will do what I tell you to? Did you ever take advantage of her role of motherhood to leave her behind babysitting and always managing the children while having NO problem doing all the things you enjoyed alone, and it was HER fault she had no recreational time alone or without children?
Did you EVER stop off at a bar, or participate in recreational activities singularly and just assume she would cover your responsibilities at home cause “that was her job” as a woman? Did you EVER tell her that she and she alone was responsible for responsibilities you both benefitted from… paying bills, yard work, childcare, home maintence, housework, laundry etc. Did you just assume she was happy? Did you both examine HER complaints about her feeling of forgotten isolation while you were alway given such daily freedoms to move about as you did when single? How much role restriction did you place her in ie the madonna/whore role? Did you include her needs in the directions of YOUR life? Was sex always when you were in the mood and she was expected to comply? Did you only seek her out when you were “in the mood”, and leave her out of recreation, counsel, your life?
The reason I ask is that many men who claim their wife just “had an affair” and they had NO CLUE, is false. Very very few women just up and leave, have affairs or file for divorice with NO warning or attempt to remedy the inequality or imbalance of power over decision making, recreational time, housework inequity, or lack of parential support equally shared. Usually this is a long long process where NEEDS OR VOICE IS STIFFLED BY THE OTHER SPOUSE IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO.
Many many men, justify affairs because their needs are not being met at home, (of times very selfish ones of total compliance and attention) However when women have affairs they are all whores. It is not addressed what needs were unaddressed by the man toward the womans needs. There is NO excuse, nor believablilty that you were totally deceived. I think it is more the case you just chose not to hear your wifes needs. Very very few women, (who usually have more to lose, at least in financial stability) just up and have affairs without saying a word or complaining and trying to get heard regarding their needs first.
You, I fear are NOT being truthful. Neglect, and dominance and arrogance to anothers need, selfish and refusal to hear the cry for spousal help to solve the need usually precipitates an affair. There are lots and lots of justifications by both men and women, and while ALL affairs are selfish betrayals… the reality is most turn to affairs for validation, and appreciation. Something they were NOT getting from spouse though frequently they have asked but were NOT heard at all.
(UNITED STATES) I made more, 5x her salary when working outside the home. She enjoyed being the stay at home mom she wanted to be. Didn’t drink, smoke, do drugs, beat, cheat, etc. Even asked if there was anything that I could do and was told that things were fine.
Some people are simply opportunistic manipulators. As many of those are women as men, as character is not a gender based trait.
I want to add that my daughter appears to be wising up to her mom’s shenanigans and is planning to move in with me this fall as she enters high school.
(USA) It never ceases to amaze me how many (abusive no doubt, due to this referral to marriage vows alone as avoidance of consequences in the real) some are to their spouses’ needs and humanity, and or free powers of association to degree. And then when they feel “betrayed” or are about to face consequences (ie voiding the ties that bind LEGALLY), or when that person escapes such oppression (not justifying just sayin) they are the guilty and suddenly attempted to be painted as the abuser, NOT perhaps the victim, of oppression and abuse.
I have frequently seen this in children when someone FINALLY steps up to stop the kid that bullied everyone but was so cleverly manipulative of perception that the adults never actually saw it.
Abusers are very clever in manipulating perception. Tony, I see it here. You are suddenly a victim. You even dismiss the pastor trying to get you to take SOME responsibility (as we usually have sorry to say) in your wife’s affair. CLEARLY, something important was overlooked. People stay in the company of people they are comfortable with.
Reading between the lines your wife is saying something, if your report of events is accurate. Now, before you accuse me of victim bashing, it is often quite expected that the perpetrator will cry victim, to cover his/her crime. Both men and women will do this. Especially to justify their coping way of seeking relief from an unhappy situation. We are all at times both victim and perpatrator to hurts and both give and recieve them.
The issue, as others have pointed out, the methods of relief from oppression isn’t always abusive, but an abuser will see it that way, as they are used to being abusive to GET their way. Whenever I see someone say, “but we had VOWS” it is usually telling to me. Vows are just that, words, it is the actions that count.
Many many men (and women) hide their abuse behind VOWS and hold the other accountable to that which THEY themselves broke. It is the tendency of male abusers to refer to VOWS, when a wife finally finds a way out of YEARS of neglect, abuse and oppression. The very thing they have repeatedly dishonored (men/women) are the first to point to vows.
Indulge me please, as this is a learning curve for all. The honor and obey (which many are having taken out as obey is sooo misinterpreted) applies to BOTH men and women. Men tend to have a property view toward life. Ie we are married now and I own them. Marriage vows are no longer a “bill of sale” but a verbalizing to each other a promisory note of conduct. CONDUCT that is MUTUALLY agreed to promise to follow, EQUALLY.
In my experience the only time some utilize that contract is when THEY are forced to see the CONSEQUENCES of them NOT adhereing to that contract. Now, someone seeks to make it null and void OFFICIALLY. THEY failed to keep up their end of the Vow or contract, and so now they wish to HIDE behind a contract in order to NOT answer for their part in breaking it. Now, I am not saying it is impossible for your version to be correct as yes, more and more women are loosey goosey toward the institution of marriage due to their economic independance making staying for security (due to nesting realities, not greed) women KNOW they can support themselves and or/half the cost of their children so they no longer Have to stay in bad and unfilling marriages.
However, many who break vows unofficially and in the privacy of lives other can only speculate at till proof evidences, are often the first to rely on them to avoid the consequences of their own actions.
I do see issues in your relaying this as evidence you were abused, as frequently at the beginning of the end, the guilty party is now suffering the consquences of his/her own deaf ear and begining to suffer the consequences LEGALLY to what he/she clearly ignored was a problem.
(UNITED STATES) Odd that you would suggest that I was unwilling to take any responsibility as when things began I was the only one willing to examine my behavior. A year of therapy and counseling without her joining didn’t change the fact that she failed to say she was unhappy until she met someone to compare against. Of course the fantasy of an affair cannot complete with real life. We hear the same thing with respect to porn, and it is just as valid when assessing an affair circumstance.
I have consistently said in my writings here that my ex wife had legitimate complaints. Instead of choosing a loving, respectful and mature way of expressing them, she chose to be dishonest. I had complaints too. But instead of having an affair, I chose to stick it hoping that one day she would be open and honest and find time for her husband when our daughter was out of the house. Instead, she chose an affair.
Thanks for proving my point about blaming the victim. The groundless assumptions you make only prove my point. If a man is betrayed, there are those who not only blame him for his wife’s betrayal, but like my unfaithful ex-wife, are unable to see the truth about the situation.
My only crime was being too much engineer and too little romantic. In my defense, I told her that she had a willing student to teach with respect to romance. She instead chose to believe the fairytale belief that if someone loves you, they will just magically know what to do. Of course, she excused herself from that standard, justifying why she failed to meet my needs, while expecting me to live up to a standard she failed to meet.
(USA) Tony, your words,”I’m sorry, I don’t buy the argument that hitting back is not abuse. Why?” Wow, hitting back is sometimes self defense. However, for some it’s just evidence of mutual abuse. In times of old women slapped me who were “fresh” or insulting. It was considered a right, in a time when caddish men frequently violated boundaries. It was ok, as was spanking and or men who could beat their wives with a stick no bigger than a thumb ie “rule of thumb”. Nowdays we’re supposed to be more intelluctual at solving problems, and most recognize a man no longer as carte blanc to “dicipline” his wife or children in what we now see as “abusive”.
The mere fact that you justify “hitting back” tells me you’re not telling the whole truth of your situation. Sometimes physical force is self defense, sometimes it is instigation to dominate. This area does get tricky but most, when things get to that point KNOW someone has to put a halt to that, and yes, many still believe a larger man should NEVER hit a woman for any reason, as there is an imbalance of power. You should have left before it came to that, since you didn’t perhaps she did?
At the least most would say the situation has become mutually abusive, in a physical way. One can only speculate who hit first in reality, what I notice is the shameless way you defend yourself. For that I have no sympathy or respect, and frankly would tend to believe your wife. Male voices, and agressiveness is always frightening to a woman, perhaps with no resources to leave. Frequently men do use aggression to solve problems. Sorry it is NOT the same (studies have been done) when a woman is angry with her husband, he does not experience the same feelings of FEAR. Anger perhaps, but NOT fear for self, men should be the bigger person and leave, in those cases, as usually it is easier for them to continue receiving a wage, and more natural for their children to not have to leave or relocate. When it comes to this BOTH should be adult enough to work it out from a safe distance of each other. Period
(UNITED STATES) Color me confused. I never said hitting back was OK. In fact, when my ex-wife hit me, I did NOT hit her because it would be wrong to fight abuse with abuse and second, I did not want to set the example for my daughter that you solve problems in the abusive and underhanded fashion my ex-wife chose.
Good grief, at least quote me accurately if you are going to (falsely) accuse me of being abusive!
(UNITED STATES) I presume you are talking about this paragraph, “I’m sorry, I don’t buy the argument that hitting back is not abuse. Why? Because since we can’t know motives, we can only go on actions. If someone hits back, if they engage in the same verbal abuse, or do the same things, either they are being abusive, or their spouse is NOT abusive. Since we know that such actions are abusive, then it doesn’t matter who started it.”
So let me translate that for you. The first sentence clearly means that hitting your spouse is abusive. That holds true if you hit first, or if you respond with violence. I never struck my ex-wife. I never verbally berated her, even when she had her affair. I never agreed it was right, but never used the language you have (falsely) attributed to me.
Second, I stand on the remainder of that, which clearly states there is no justification for hitting your spouse, period. For you to try to twist that into some sort of support of abuse is not conceivable. What are you trying to accomplish by blaming the abuse victim?
I don’t believe that your writings meet the guidelines presented above:
No name-calling, crude or profane language.
No hurtful comments targeted at belittling others.
Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be taken into consideration.
Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.
(USA) Perhaps you WERE the bully on the block and your wife, gave you a taste of your own medicine and it shocked you? I do not and I repeat do not advocate any of this as mature or productive, and techinically you BOTH could have been arrested and charged.
My question, why are you so confused and playing yourself as victim on this board? Are you hoping your wife’s infidelity outweighs the abuse? Yours or hers? Not buying it. You offer no proof and perhaps you are just speculating and fabricating to get away from thereality and denial of physical incidences of hitting going on?
At any rate glad someone took charge as you are NO better parent to have participated and tried to defend this so minimizingly. We all learn, and yes, oppression sadly often ends with this, no matter who is doing what and first. This situation needed a halt. Once abuse starts and is met in kind the situation only esculates till someone dies, is hospitalized, or wins in the domination, seperation or divorice is a preferable outcome in this case. Unless with counseling, and maturity both realize the REAL problem here, the need for power and control, and I wouldn’t advocate doing that in the same house of in front of a minor ever.
Please do not come for sympathy as sadly it is this mentality that “excuses” abusive situations and what is so sad about them, the abused and the claim to be abused, unfortunately sometimes do resort to unnatural to them measures of self defense.
But at any rate, to hope to cry victim with those dismissive and minimizing attitudes is not helping the ownership of, if anything, mutual fault in this situation. I am glad someone put an end to this as it was only going to get worse and not at all good for your child to see either of you solving problems this way.
(UNITED STATES) It’s sad that you cheer when the abuser wins and gets custody of her children though deceit and manipulation, while the victim who never abused her emotionally, nor physically is put on trial as if he was the aggressor is shameful.
(USA) I want to help those who need someone positive and not allow anyone to destroy you or put their own issues on you and be judgmental. I know that I am blessed and spiritually chosen to let others know why they were chosen by Our heavenly Father to learn what and why this can happen. I am led to help those I can and allow them to be stronger and not hurt, abused or destroyed. I pray for those who need forgiveness and acknowledge how to accept life’s challenges and things that others will do and not forgive or take the fault or own what is wrong and how not to hurt, judge or belittle others or find fault. Think how God had to sacrifice his only begotten son and his blood shed for our sins through Jesus on our belief and love us. I am one of those selected to help those I can be positive, and be happy and forgiven, of those who make mistakes and why we learn.
I have lived in an abusive marriage for the last 3 years. It has worsened during the last year and I finally had the strength to leave in February this year. The abuse was verbal and emotional. I won’t go into the fine details but it has left me feeling so low and vulnerable. My husband said he wanted to file for divorce and gave the reason as adultery, which is so untrue. I’m a Christian and although haven’t been to church for a long time have never lost my faith, and always prayed and believed God would watch over me.
3 weeks ago my husband contacted me and asked to meet up, which I agreed to. He said how ashamed he was and how everyone told him that the way he spoke to me was disgusting and they didn’t hear the half of it. He said he was truly sorry and wanted to get some help. I agreed to go to a counselor with him. He even came to church with me last week, during which time he spoke to someone from the church and told them he wanted to turn his life around and be a better person. This sounded good and I saw him a number of times during the week. We agreed that slowly we would try and work through it.
Last night we went out and on the way home he asked to see me on Friday evening. I said I couldn’t do Friday as I had agreed to meet with a girl friend. At this I could see he wasn’t happy and asked him what was up. He said you know what I’m going through, I need you. I told him I could see him Sunday as planned, but he turned and the real person came back through. The abuse started again, the name calling, accusations that I was seeing a male not a girl friend. He grabbed me to stop me from getting out of the car, then took my bag and coat. I was starting to get really frightened. I finally got out of the car and walked to where I could see people, and rang for a mini cab.
I don’t know where to turn now. I can’t go through this anymore but I am conscious that as a Christian I should give him another chance. But I saw exactly what I was scared of and that’s going back to the same situation. All I have now is my faith and trust in God to get me though this.
My husband has been hurting me a little bit. And he always says that it’s because I lost control of my anger and that I made him angry. He said that if I don’t make him angry he would never touch me. He said that I have a problem. Am I in an abusive relationship?
Thank you. My husband has been abusive emotionally and occasionally physically to me for almost 20 years now. I’m starting to form boundaries and just now set another. This time without crying and feeling fearful of the backlash. In the car just now I accidentally hurt his finger while trying to grab his hand. He purposely grabbed and bent my hand. It hurt. I told him “stop and don’t ever do that to me again. It’s abuse and I won’t let it happen anymore.” I caught myself trying to be scared of his backlash words and he tried to diminish my existence and turn it around on me. But I didn’t let it get under my skin. Even when we got out of the car and he stormed off like a baby, I continued with my life. I’m annoyed. I’m upset. I’m hurt mentally and physically. But he will not know that and I will not give him the satisfaction of feeling superior to me.
In reference to All Abuse Hurts, what did you mean by the last sentence in this paragraph:
“Many times the abuser often will explain afterward, “I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you.” But that explanation can fall short of healing the pain that is left behind in the aftermath of abusive behavior. This is especially if true if the victim has heard more than once.”?