Domestic emotional abuse is very common in our socities, and is also found among families in our churches. The perpetrators can be men, women, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, or other family members. Their victims are usually the soft, gentle, sensitive, dependent and vulnerable members in the family. Sadly they themselves are usually also victims of abuse and their unresolved pain serves to victimise others:
Watch out dear Christian, to love your neighbour as yourself does not mean you should allow someone to subjugate, enslave, abuse and humiliate you, it means you do not love yourself the way God loves you. It means they have become an idol in your life and no-one can both please God and a rival human god/goddess:
The typical abuser feels superior and better than the other members of the family or extended family and will always demand or devise ways to receive special privileges and treatment.
A typical abuser demands respect and obedience but himself or herself shows little respect and often treats other family members with contempt and subtly communicates to them their only value is to serve and obey.
A typical abuser is very manipulative and makes sure that he/she takes centre-stage in our lives all the time. He she may oscillate between being dominant, aggressive and pitiful, clingy and needy. Like a shape shifter the abuser may change from a tyrannical dictator into this pitiful, self-depreciating, depressed and very needy person who cries and begs for comfort, attention, validation and affirmation. Any thing can be used to make sure he/she stays at the centre of our attention.
The abuser demands total obedience to his/her ever changing rules and wants his/her ever -changing needs catered for. At the same time the abuser is willing to give very little and feels that any demands on him or her are either unfair or humiliating.
The abuser wants total unconditional freedom but demands unconditional obedience from everyone else in the family. The slightest hint of disobedience is perceived as rebellion and any mistake or error will be blown out of proportion and may be told for years, preferably publicly to keep you feeling small and subjugated so you remain dependent on him/her. Failure to obey the excessive and ever changing demands are met with contempt, humiliation and punishment. However, the abuser is to be treated as if he/she never makes any error. If he/she clearly makes an error, it cannot be discussed and should be concealed from others. To talk about it, even with a concerned friend or counsellor is taken as utter betrayal deserving of severe punishment
The abuser is quick to see fault and criticize but slow to compliment or affirm. If you do get some praise or affirmation, it is usually for something that pleases and benefits him/her. It may also be manipulative to keep someone who is insecure and with a low self-esteem addicted to their approval. Often it is also a prelude to more demands and more proof of our loyalty. Nevertheless most efforts to cater for the needs and demands of the abuser are actually taken for granted. They do not really appreciate it for they feel entitled to special treatment. When on a rare occasion the abuser agrees to be less abusive or contribute to the good of others in the family, no matter how insignificant it is, it is trumpeted everywhere and must be met with excessive adulation, adoration and attention. If sufficient praise is not forthcoming there will be sulking, resentment if not downright nastiness and meanness.
If on a rare occasion the abuser faces the consequences of his/her errors he/she quickly shrivels and withers and becomes depressed. Usually someone else or an external factor will be blamed for the abuser fears nothing worse than introspection, to look into the abyss of his/her own damaged and hurting heart which is the wellspring of all bitterness, hate and meanness.
Instead of dealing with his/her deep inner damage and pain, the abuser vents his/her rage on others, usually indoors so that there are no witnesses so he/she cannot be held to account by outsiders and can continue to abuse he victims indoors with impunity. They suffer the aggression, the bitterness and the regular withholding of ''intimacy'', ''love'' and attention. But if suddenly a visitor arrives the abuser is all smiles and friendly and appears to be the most committed and humble family member ever. The keeping up appearances is the most important part of the scheme for it provides the perfect cover for the abuser so he/she can do as he/she pleases for even if they speak out the victims will not be believed.
In spite of all his/her wrongdoing the abuser is terribly afraid that you will no longer love him/her and will look for ways to imprison you emotionally by means of emotional blackmail, creating dependency, being clingy, threats to you, your loved ones and even the threat of suicide.
The abuser wants subjugation and unconditional obedience, leaving you as a doormat, a slave without rights, a sacrificial lamb to the god/goddess from whom no demands can be made. No debate is possible, it is always like “Roma Locuta Est, Causa Finita Est”. If crossed harsh punishment is the rule, not the exception. Bitter vengeance and hateful behaviour where nothing is sacred is common. Anything is allowed in order to totally subjugate the victim.
In order to exercise control the abuser sadistically manipulates family members against each other so that they cannot find help or comfort in one another. It often seems that he/she derives his/her greatest pleasure from the utter subjugation of the people under her control.
The abuser is a superb actor fooling the outside world with a picture of a devoted, even self-sacrificing partner/parent/family member. In this manner the abuser can keep his/her emotional torture chamber hidden from the prying eyes of the world.
Why do the victims not leave?
You may wonder why anyone stays in such a situation, why partners, or the children don't leave and look for help. However, after years of abuse they may have been brainwashed it is like that in every family, or they have started to believe the abuser's lie that they somehow deserve it. They may have also started to believe that they are helpless and cannot escape. They may have a very low self-esteem and be insecure and afraid to be abandoned, not only by the abuser but by the outsiders who will not believe their story. There is also the lie that the abuser cannot help it because he/she is weak/ill/ignorant/unable to change so he/she needs you. Yes, the above behaviour is sick, it is a sign of weakness, ignorance, psychological damage and illness, but the abuser is not helpless, if he/she really wants he/she can get help and can change. He/she does not need you, he/she just wants to possess and use you. Yes, your abuser needs help, yes he/she needs our pity. Yes it is good to forgive him/her, but do not add to their sins and guilt by allowing them to abuse you. If you truly love your abuser because you know that deep down there is a nice, warm, vulnerable person, if you want her/his true self to be released from her/his prison and get help, then stop helping him/her abuse you. You are facilitating and possibly even fueling the abuse by allowing it to continue. No, it is not your fault you fell victim to this, but it is your fault if you allow it to continue because of your fears or own interests. You cannot help him/her no matter what he/she says or promises. Even if you had the knowledge and qualifications, the very fact that you are trapped in this situation disqualifies you. You need to get out and reflect on your vulnerabilities that trapped and work on dealing with them you so you won't get trapped again.
IF YOU ARE IN SUCH A RELATIONSHIP IT IS TIME TO FACE FACTS AND TO STOP LYING TO YOURSELF. YOU ARE ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BE ABUSED! YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR ABUSER NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU THINK YOU CAN HELP HIM/HER. GET OUT AND GET PROFESSIONAL HELP FOR YOURSELF BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE! AND STOP ASKING YOURSELF IN SELF-PITY "WHY DOES THE ABUSER ABUSE ME", BUT RATHER ASK YOURSELF, WHY AM I PUTTING UP WITH IT? WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME? BECAUSE BY ACCEPTING THE ABUSE YOU ASSIST IN THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE AND ASSIST IN THE ABUSE OF YOURSELF AND OTHER CURRENT AND FUTURE VICTIMS. FINALLY YOU ARE ALSO IN A SUBTLE WAY PREVENTING HELP FOR THE ABUSER FOR HOW WILL HE/SHE REALISE HIS/HER WRONGS IF EVERYONE CONDONES IT? ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY AND IF WE GIVE PEOPLE ABSOLUTE POWER OVER US THEY WILL GET CORRUPTED!!!