dinsdag 2 juli 2013

Freedom from abuse

The reasons for allowing our abusers to humiliate and mistreat us are not always bad. It is not only because we believe there is some personal benefit in it or that some deep needs are being met in the unhealthy relationship. Often we also sense that our abusers are not doing it out of a desire to do evil, but out of their own childhood trauma and pain. We recognize that in a way their abusive behavior was a way of communicating that they are hurting inside. The problem is that by being too understanding, and by allowing them to do as they please one does not help them to change. As long as we give in and accommodate their harmful behavior they will never come to the point where they realize they need to change and open up the painful dark chambers of their hearts. At the same time it does not help us or the others in the family as everyone is getting hurt in the process and incur damage to their souls which then adds to the already heavy burden of guilt of the abuser and so the cycle of pain and destruction continues unless someone finds the courage to say ‘’no”, this far and no further! It will unleash the fury of hell and everything will be used against you, and everyone who is willing to be used will be employed to force you back into submission and obedience to the abuser, but for true freedom it is a small price to pay. I am speaking from experience, I have never been so free and so happy in my life even though humanly speaking I have lost everything.

I must admit though that for a very long time I never even realised I was a prisoner in an abusive relationship. I thought it was very normal for wives to ridicule and humiliate their husbands in the company of others from time to time. I thought it was normal for a wife to be verbally aggressive and blame the husband even for her own errors. I thought it was normal for a wife to minimise her husbands achievements and to maximize his weaknesses. I thought it was normal to be emotionally and sexually blackmailed and kept under strict control.  I thought it was normal to continuously get the message you are not doing enough, you are not good enough and so on, even though it was very discouraging. I did not really know any better for I had witnessed similar things when I grew up. It is only when we adopted two girls of 10 and 12 that I learned things could be different. They treated me respectfully and kindly, they never humiliated or ridiculed me, instead they came to my defence many a time and suffered for it. It is largely due to them that I realized not all women are the same. Gradually I started to resist the abuse and my wife got angrier and angrier until she had enough of it and left. She then continued to control and blackmail me using the youngest two children as a tool until I also resisted it and refused to play along. Now I am free and its a wonderful experience.

I do believe that as committed Christians we are more prone to allow ourselves to be abused. The abuser is attracted to and relies on the gentleness, patience, forgiveness and longsuffering of the abused. The abused in turn fool themselves that by allowing themselves to mistreated, humiliated and hurt they are following Christ who also suffered for us. However, the big difference is that our suffering is not truly voluntary and is not serving a divine purpose, rather the opposite as the destruction of both ourselves and the abuser is the final outcome and not salvation. We may have made our abuser an idol in our lives to whom we sacrifice way more than we ever should have. But, we have allowed ourselves to be an idol in their lives. However, we cannot take the place of Christ in their lives, we cannot atone for the evils and sins that were committed against them, neither can we bring the salvation, inner liberation and healing they need. Not only did we set ourselves up for failure and for personal hurt, we even hindered their salvation, liberation and healing.

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