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:
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:
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.
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