Emotional abuse

Written by M. Larson

emotionabuseI feel emotionally abused by my husband who can be very loving, fun and attentive one day and because of “something I’ve done” he can suddenly shut down, not talk to me or touch me the next day. This happens more and more often and it is like being on a yo-yo. I have felt God’s strength and have good self-esteem, but am overwhelmed by the sadness.

Advice: It sounds to me as if your husband uses his silent, cold approach to you as a control mechanism; and it may be that the sense of power he feels when he makes you feel bad encourages him to use this cute little method to build his ego.

I have several suggestions; talk with the Lord concerning both of them and ask Him for wisdom in discernment. The next time your husband pulls the silent, cold act, take notice of what you may have said that might have induced it – and in the future, take notice. This might help you to know what little thing to avoid (if anything).

You could cut down on the feed to his ego that may be increasing this treatment. Again seek the Lord’s help and wisdom. And the next time the silent freeze comes on, don’t feed it by looking or sounding hurt or by pleading with him to tell you what’s wrong. I’ve found a certain satisfaction in returning good for evil, and such satisfaction might make you feel better. Just be pleasant, more or less mind your own business, perhaps do some little thoughtful thing for him. Find your strength and comfort in the Lord. The Scripture that has helped me most during rough times is Philippians 4:6-7. It works!

Console yourself by the thought that what he’s doing may have nothing to do with what you’ve done. It may just mean that something happened at work that day and he’s getting his power trip on you instead of the boss, or whatever.

My prayers are with you. Please feel free to write again. I care! Dr. Muriel

5 Responses to “Emotional abuse”

  • Kate says:

    Biblically speaking freedom is nothing at all like the world’s concept of freedom. The world tends to think freedom means do whatever you want. In fact, true freedom occurs only when there is no impediment to acting in accord with one’s true nature. God is free, in that there is no impediment to Him acting in accord with His nature. He is love and all His actions are loving. As fallen creatures, our nature was corrupted, but by new birth we are restored and redeemed creatures. NOW we are charged to like it! Act like those who have been born again, whose true nature is that of a human in covenant with God.

  • PMN says:

    Jamie, you asked me:
    “You talked about God’s leading in your life and the role that the Holy Spirit had in showing you the proper path to take. What led you to look to God for help in your relationship? How did you recognize His leading in your life?”

    I became a Christian in 1973, 3 years into our marriage. My ex-h was not saved at the time. I think he may have become a Christian later on at the time we went through some very good Christian counseling in the early nineties, but that’s between him and God. He is never far from my prayers. I also pray for his new lady friend. I hear she is a Christian, too, and bears some resemblance to me in personality… I. hear he is still drinking, however..

    What led me to look to God, through Jesus Christ, for help in my relationship through the years was my ever-growing faith, my need for answers, and all the other reasons Christians turn to Christ for help. How I recognize that the answers to my prayers are from the Holy Spirit include the following:
    1. They align with the wisdom of God’s Word. Not cherry-picked Scriptures here or there, but in context.
    2. The wisdom will be confirmed in one or more ways. The most common for Christians is that after prayer and sensing an answer (and I don’t do anything until I sense an answer) I wait for “confirmation” via a) the peace that comes despite the circumstances b)my next readings in the Scriptures will confirm the “answer,” c) counselors/other Christians I know and trust who have also walked with the Lord for some time confirm the “answer.”

    There are other ways as well, some quite extraordinary, and specific to each case and each person. For example, I mentioned that I had prayed for “God’s heart” for my ex from time to time when his verbal abuse (in between the good times) depleted my love for him. And God did answer these prayers. When my ex’s last “mean streak” started up (several weeks before the final rage and when I left for good), I prayed the prayer again. This time, however, thinking how many more times, humanly speaking, can I go through this again, and having become very fatigued with it considering all the other stressors at the time, I added, almost as an after thought, “And, Lord, could You maybe bring this to some kind of conclusion?”

    Now, the absolute LAST thing on my mind was leaving! I was too tired of it to even consider what a “conclusion” could even have been. And so, the night he raged for the last time at me, when in the middle of it I went in to the other room for some decongestant (was dizzy with a sinus issue or who knows what), and I “heard” the quiet, calm “thought”: “You need to leave now,” I knew it was the Holy Spirit. Having since read many such testimonies from other Christian women who leave abusers, I realize now this is not uncommon.

    The other extraordinary event was this: the next day when I had to go to work to finish loading grades for my fall term classes, the secretary, who is a very quiet, Godly Christian woman and who knew NOTHING of my situation (I don’t share personal stuff with colleagues) drew me aside into a private place and said, tears in her eyes, “I just want you to know that last night the Lord impressed me very strongly to pray for you. You don’t have to tell me anything about why and I hope this doesn’t offend you at all…” I was completely amazed. I told her she had NO IDEA the of the importance of what she just told me. And I told her what had happened.

    And of course, my daily Scripture reads (I start with the Proverbs chapter “of the day”) as well as so much else since I left him have all confirmed to me that that was the Lord’s leading. My grown children get it…they are very loving and supporting…of both of us, actually (they are believers, too).

    But, all this is not to say it has been easy. Now that I have the time and space and freedom to explore issues set aside before because so much of my energy in the relationship was taken up walking on those eggshells when he turned to Mr. Hyde, and wondering when that would happen next, I was in a sort of holding pattern.

    But now, having been set free, I am committed to taking the next steps, as painful as they might be, in the direction the Lord has for me. And I am learning day by day to trust Him more. “Whom the Son has set free is free, indeed!”

    Thanks for asking.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thanks for sharing your story PMN. You talked about God’s leading in your life and the role that the Holy Spirit had in showing you the proper path to take. What led you to look to God for help in your relationship? How did you recognize His leading in your life?

  • PMN says:

    If this thread is still open, I would like to add something.

    I left a long term marriage due to emotional and verbal abuse. That my ex was an alcoholic as well did not help, either. And this is not to say we did not have good times as well.

    Many times during the years I prayed for “God’s heart” for him when mine had dried up due to the verbal (sometimes physical, in the first few years) abuse, and God graciously answered my prayers. As I changed, I think it affected him, too. We had some successful counseling mid-way through the marriage for which I am very grateful, too. He still thanks me for my kindness and compassion.

    However, when I left him, it had been after a very cruel verbal rage (alcohol-fueled) on his part. Out of the blue. He had been especially mean during the weeks prior, but it was also during a very stressful time in my life–my mother’s last months, a sister who was nearly murdered in her high risk workplace, some health issues for us both.

    Although it is true that some might have looked upon me as a “silent treatment” sort, it was really the other reality when one closes off: emotional survival. And I used to FORCE my way back from stepping aside, quietly, when I felt that nothing I could say or do would change things, as I knew the real silent treatment is in itself abusive.

    He often put me down, blamed me, mocked me, and other forms of verbal abuse. And then, he could be very loving. But I never knew which reaction to expect especially when I shared deeply with him. Therefore, I stepped more and more carefully around him, becoming more neutral in my responses, and so on. He might have a case that it was my “silent treatment” when he talks about what ended our marriage, but I knew no other way to survive. And the reality is, a person simply cannot continue to live in such a Jekyll/Hyde atmosphere. Something of significance in you breaks down…I think I may have been getting to that point. The eggshells beneath my feet were very crushed by that time.

    During his last rage, it occurred to me I needed to leave. Now. In the middle of it. I had talked him down twice from his tirade (“I was never the love of his life,” the highlight…but he went through everything he could think of about me and what I do, such as writing, and left a bloody trail of verbal cruelties).

    My counselor/support group believes he was setting me up to leave him. He never did want to be “the heavy.” Be that as it may. I wasn’t perfect, but there were many things I know I did right, particularly, those items the Holy Spirit convicted me of and then showed me how to overcome.

    And so, please, remember that what may appear to be the “silent treatment” may be someone who is “avoiding evil” by trying to not add fuel to the fire, and who just does not know how to proceed next. With the help of God, however, there is a way out. Several key times, my “advice” was to stay and continue to pray and be changed and follow the advice given. That last time, however, it was to leave.

    My counselor and support group believe I was probably in physical danger, too.

    It’s been almost two years, now. I still on occasion grieve, I have done much much good and hard work on myself, and he is now well into another relationship. But more times than not, now, I experience God’s peace and hope.

  • Ambrosia says:

    Thank you for this advice. I have been looking for advice in what to do but so many sites just tell you what is wrong. Thank you for this advice. I am eager to see God move now. Thank you so much!

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