8 comments on “Another Side of Domestic Violence: Spiritual Abuse

  1. So as I was raised a religious orthodox Jew, my view is from that area-I can not comment on the New Testament as I have not studied it.
    The interesting part of this all-to me at least, is that when you really look at the Five Books of Moses and the other books that accompany it (the Talmud and the Mishnah) the women is revered and looked upon as the stronger sex. The woman does not need to wear a skullcap because she does not need a constant reminder that G-D is above her. She does not need to pray 3 times a day at specific times because her role as the homemaker (or even as the main caregiver of the kids) is more important than specific prayer times, she does not need to wear tzizit (the strings that you see hanging out of the more religious mans shirts) because she does not need to be reminded that G-D is surrounding you on all 4 corners of the earth.
    Every friday night before the meal is eaten, before the prayer on the wine is said, the man is commanded to sing a song of praise to his wife-A woman of Valor, how can I find, her value far exceeds that of pearls?
    It sickens me when ANY person tries to use religion as a way to put down the woman, or to control the woman. G-D values the woman, she is the giver or life, she is the one that teaches the children the foundation of how to act and how to be in this world. Anyone that tries to twist G-D’s words to use them to ensnare or to put them down, should be ashamed, and I believe will be punished if not in this world then in the next.

    • Well, I can definitely say that I have not read the Talmud or the Mishnah, so we’re even on this.

      I believe that abusers’ needs to control are so powerful that they will seek to use whatever means they can to accomplish their forced subjection of us. Isn’t that what it’s about after all? But every step of the way, they are so manipulative… So in a sick way, I understand how they use the scriptures and twist them around to give themselves further ammo in the arsenal against us. But they are forgetting the four main attributes of Jehovah: love, power, wisdom, and justice! How they manage to warp that around I will never know. A God who is fair, loving, just, and wise cannot act in a way that is unmerciful, dishonest, cruel, or unwise.

      How can they claim (or act as though they do) to be superior to Jehovah? If He has assigned us as women a position of honor… Just trust that Jehovah will handle the appropriately my dear. If they want to continue on the wrong path, they can just be thrown into Gehenna.

      I do have to say that I see I am getting all disjointed, so I should go to bed. 😛 It took me a while to write my post, and I hope if you do spot any error you will let me know. I will try round 2 at a proper comment in the morning! Which I will see at about 530 AM…. so 4 hours 34 minutes!

  2. Pingback: What Makes Us Worthy or Capable as Partners | Picking Up the Pieces

  3. Pingback: What I Want Those Trapped in Abuse to Know | Picking Up the Pieces

  4. This evening I spoke with a very wise young pastor who is also trained as a counselor. He knows that I’ve struggled with this concept of ‘submission’ to a man whose emotional abuse of me was nothing short of sadistic. He mercilessly plunged the metaphorical knife directly into those areas of my heart he knew were already wounded – and he did it repeatedly and relentlessly. Yet, I had been told by a number of Christian sisters that I must continue to respect him and submit to his wishes – despite his wish being to throw me out of my own home, jobless, penniless and very ill, and without the means to set up home elsewhere, or the health to return to the workforce.

    We have been separated for a year now and my circumstances have not improved. I rely on friends and family for charity, and even for a vehicle to get around in. My husband is about to file for divorce and he is lying and manipulating in order to give me the tiniest of property settlements. That age-old question was still rattling around inside me…am I meant to submit to his will, accept his paltry offering and avoid court proceedings?

    As I said, this young pastor is wise. He is also compassionate. He explained that views are changing in the church (all too slowly) with regard to issues like divorce, particularly where abuse is concerned. The thinking is now, among certain churches at least, that God doesn’t wish any of His children to suffer the pain of any kind of abuse. In fact, the thinking goes further. They have looked at the meaning of the original Greek language used in passages relating to divorce, and it has been revealed that the word itself refers to a man ‘putting away his wife’…and can be interpreted to mean literal divorce, but also adultery, abuse, lack of provision and care…in fact, if a man is in any way ‘absent’ from the marriage (physically, emotionally, intellectually or spiritually), then divorce is permitted. Submission l is definitely not required.

    I had already come to these same conclusions, having researched scripture on the internet and read articles written by those much more learned that myself. Yet, it was validating and strengthening to hear that certain members of the church are also going to be supportive. And so I will go to court – and put forward my case with respect and integrity, knowing that my husband will not hesitate to belittle and control, lie and manipulate. It will be difficult but I have all that matters in this world. No weapon formed against me shall prosper. That doesn’t guarantee me a huge ‘win’ in monetary terms, but that’s not what counts. I know what I stand against, and more importantly, I know what I stand for.

    • First, I want to thank you for commenting on something so deeply personal. Many who endure spiritual abuse carry a specific stigma and shame with them, especially in cases where their clergy or congregation leaders neither take them seriously nor correctly apply the Scriptures, and as you brought out, even those in the congregation can react the same. Second, I want to commend you for not allowing these experiences to pull you away from God or unduly influence the choices that you have every right to make. In fact, if those pushing you continue to do so, perhaps you can refer them to Galatians 6:4,5 where it tells us that we are to examine ourselves and our own actions (not those of others), as we are all responsible for our own choices and have our own individual accounting to God. They should not be pushing you to do anything. As long as what you are doing is not unscriptural, they should support you in whatever choice you make.

      There are many provisions made for the protection of wives in the Scriptures, even if they are not spelled out in black and white. The husband in the congregation who abandons his family (either physically or emotionally) is considered to be worse than one without faith to begin with. Even in Bible times when they took on more than one wife, there are Scriptures stating that they cannot fail to continue to care for their first wives in any way. Also, abuse is never condoned by Jehovah. Husbands are exhorted to love their wives as their own bodies… and as Christ loved the first century Christian congregation. Many clergy need to be reminded that husbands mistreating their wives is not from God…. therefore the wives are not at fault, and the responsibility lies with the abuser. There are even principles in the Scriptures that can be applied to marital rape. While each spouse is expected to provide the other their due, if the husband forces his wife and uses “his due” as an excuse, he is in violation of God’s laws. (And I hope this was not something you experienced, but so often in cases of spiritual abuse, sexual abuse is not far behind.)

      I actually had written another post What Makes Us Worthy or Capable as Partners that looked at The Capable Wife in Proverbs, and I am currently writing one about the role of the husband in the Christian marriage.

      I wish you the best as you go forward with your life. You may not make out financially, but as you stated you have what matters. Continue to keep opening your heart to God, keep putting faith in Him and seeking Him. And continue to speak out about what you endured. Not only will it help you heal, but you will others who have had or are having similar experiences as well.

      With love and support,
      Amy

  5. Pingback: If You Endured Spiritual Abuse, It Was Not You Who Failed | Picking Up the Pieces

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