Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

If a person has been involved in more than one abusive relationship, healing can feel even more challenging. They will often say things like, “How do I keep getting into these situations?” or “What is it about me that attracts abusive partners?” These feelings of self-blame or guilt are normal, and if you’re experiencing them, you’re not alone. However, you definitely don’t deserve to feel this way. Because abuse is never the survivor’s fault and definitely not caused by the survivor. 

There are many people who have never experienced an abusive relationship that feel that those who have been in multiple abusive relationships should have seen the warning signs and should have known better. However, to say that someone chooses to enter into another abusive relationship is not necessarily an accurate description of what goes on in a survivor’s mind and emotions when navigating dating and intimate relationships. Placing the expectation on victims to always recognize red flags for potential abuse is not as easy for them as it is for us who are looking from the outside in.

Trust is an important part of any relationship, and it wouldn’t be healthy for a survivor to go into every new relationship expecting that their new partner may become abusive Especially when there aren’t yet any obvious behaviors that should concern them.

It can also be hard to identify warning signs at the beginning of a relationship because abusive partners are typically on their best behavior until a bond has been established, hiding their controlling and abusive tendencies. How many times have we heard a friend say, “He/she was so sweet in the beginning, and then they just changed overnight”? 

For survivors who experienced abuse in a previous relationship are subject not only to more confusion, but also to the effects of their self-esteem having been torn down by their previous abusive partner(s). And because their self-worth was taken away, they are more likely to believe that they are unlovable. They may believe that no healthy partner will ever want them. Those who have been abused in past relationships may even believe that they deserve what their abuser chooses to do to them. Nothing could be further from the truth! 

Unfortunately, some abusers recognize this, and may seek out to form new relationships with survivors of past abuse to more easily manipulate them. Once they bond to their victim, they will isolate them from friends and relatives, control their phone, emails, and finances so that eventually they have to rely totally on their abuser. (This type of abuse happens more often to women than to men)

If you’ve had negative feelings like these about yourself, you have to understand that feelings lie and emotions are unreliable. Nothing a partner or anyone else chooses to do is ever reflective of your worth or your value as a human being. And you are not responsible for someone else’s decision to control, hurt or manipulate you. 

Society misses the mark when it comes to normal, healthy relationships. Some of us are lead to believe that unhealthy relationships and behaviors are normal—or even romantic. (Especially with young people with no experience in relationships) Constant declarations of love and grand gestures of affection early in the relationship is seen as sweet rather than too much too soon and a possible violation of boundaries. Jealousy may be seen as caring or protective when it can actually lead to controlling behavior. Characteristics such as persistence in the face of rejection may be thought of as cute, but this can also be warning sign of a form of control.

It can be hard to reconcile what we think we should be excited about in a new partner with what may actually be triggering concerns about abuse. When things like open, honest communication, healthy boundaries, equality and trust are not taught as the norm, we can’t expect survivors to identify them as such—especially if they have never been in a heathy relationship where these things existed.

There are some who have been abused for so long that it’s difficult for them to differentiate between a healthy and abusive relationship. Below are a few behaviors that you can look out for: 

  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Isolating you from friends and family 
  • Controlling money and refusing to give you any for expenses 
  • Preventing you from working or attending school 
  • Blaming you for the abuse, or acting like it’s not really happening 
  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets 
  • Threatening to harm or take away your children 
  • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons 
  • Shoving, slapping, choking or hitting you 
  • Threatening to commit suicide if you leave 
  • Attempting to stop you from pressing charges 
  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to 
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol

There are some who believe that thoughts of low self-esteem and low self-worth are the result of a person’s upbringing. That is true to a point. But outside influences, (school bullying, social media, peer pressure) also play a big part on how a child thinks of themselves. 

1 Timothy 3 in the Bible tells women positive attributes to look for in a man:

He must be above reproach, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not dependent on wine, not violent but gentle, peaceable, and free of the love of money. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same condemnation as the devil. Furthermore, he must have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the snare of the devil. Additionally, the Bibles says that they must first be tested. These qualities refer to a leader in the church, but they can also apply to someone you are considering being in a relationship with. 

Therapy and aftercare support go a long way in restoring a person’s self-worth. Many treatment programs discourage people from pursuing romantic or sexual relationships for at least one year. Yes, it may be lonely at times, but with therapy and support you can find many other things to fill up your days. And in the end you will be stronger, healthier, and ready for a heathy relationship.   

If you’re concerned about some of these things happening in your relationship, please feel free to give contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7/365 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat at www.thehotline.org.

This is not the end of your story. You can still be a warrior!

Post Script:

Children are also affected by domestic violence and abuse. It has been proven that children who witness domestic abuse suffer the same trauma as if they were abused themselves. And sometimes will defend the victim of abuse (a parent) as well as their abuser.

That is what has happened in my own family:

In 2013 my wife and I discovered that our oldest granddaughter Seana, was sexually abused by her then step-father, Case Cline, when she was only 11 years old. My wife and I were able to be granted guardianship of her and get her into therapy. We spent most of our retirement savings on attorney fees and therapy for her. My granddaughter is now 20 years old but is still struggling mentally and emotionally. My daughter, Leah Cline, blames us for her ex-husband’s legal problems and her divorce and has not spoken to us or allowed us to see her other three children for almost four years. The only contact we have with her children is through Facebook.

Since then she has had one live-in boyfriend that was on the sex offender registry for having sex with a child. He was later he suffered a tragic brain injury when he crashed his scooter into another car while he was drunk. She is now living with an even more abusive man, Mathew Kochen. 

On April 11, 2019 Mathew Kochen was charged with kidnapping and domestic abuse and using a weapon against another woman. The police said that he told the woman he was going to “bury her in Crescent” (Iowa) after refusing to let her out of his car. Fortunately, she was able to escape. The police discovered later that he was waiting inside the woman’s house, but when he saw the police he ran out the back and was watching them from the nearby woods. That’s where the police arrested him. Then on May 30th, 2019 a Sheriff’s Deputy in Council Bluffs, Iowa was dispatched to the same house and arrested Mathew again for violation of a No Contact Order, and Contempt of Court. He was held in the Pottawattamie County Jail and later released on a $25,000.00 bond. This all happened while my daughter was living with him with her three children! Click HERE: https://dcs-inmatesearch.ne.gov/Corrections/InmateDisplayServlet?DcsId=74185

Mathew also talked my daughter into using drugs. We convinced her to get into treatment, but after only a week, Matthew talked her into leaving treatment. He recently began making lewd comments toward my 13 year old granddaughter, Rebecca Cline, and has admitted to being sexually aroused by her. And my daughter blamed Rebecca because she was wearing shorts! Mathew has been emotionally and physically abusive to the kids too—With my daughter’s approval! 

After seeing Rebecca’s photo she posted on Facebook, I reported it to the Plattsmouth police, where they live now, but they refused to do anything and said that there was nothing they could do unless Rebecca files a report herself. Mathew has isolated Leah her from friends and family. He has made Leah take down her Facebook page because he believed that she was communicating with other guys. He also took Leah’s phone away from her and then pretended to be Leah and texted all of her male contacts asking them if they wanted to have sex! Many of them contacted my granddaughter Seana and asked her what was going on. It’s like Casey Cline all over again—only worse! Because  my daughter has succeeded in turning her three children who lives with her against us by filling their heads with lies about us. All we have ever tried to do to help them and protect them from abuse. But I would do it all over again in order to save one of them from abuse. 

R. Kelly’s Girlfriends Defend Him

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/r-kelly-girlfriends-sexual-abuse-gayle-king-interview_n_5c811198e4b0e62f69ea48b8

After watching Gayle King’s interview with R. Kelly’s live in girlfriends, memories of my own daughter defending her abuser came flooding back to my mind. She spend much of the time her abuser was on trial blaming me for his legal problems. She has not spoken to me for nearly two years now.

There are many reasons why victims stay in an abusive relationship and even defend their abuser. Statistics show that victims of violent abuse endure an average of up to seven attacks. The dominant reason is dependency: Control by the abuser, shame about the abuse, and the dysfunctional nature of the relationship lowers the victim’s self-esteem and confidence and often causes the victim to withdraw from friends and family, creating even more fear and dependency on the abuser. The abuse itself is experienced as an emotional rejection with the threat of being abandoned. The abuse eventually becomes their new normal, and anyone who tries to intervene on behalf of the victim soon becomes the enemy.

Help for victims of abuse:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/toxic-relationships/201706/the-truth-about-abusers-abuse-and-what-do

 

I have heard of a lot of people who have found themselves in abusive relationships. Sometimes it begins very subtly. But there are always red flags for people if they only pay attention to them. Although abusers are commonly men, it is not uncommon for an abuser to be a woman.

Below are some tips to help you recognize the red flags that you may be in an abusive relationship:

1. They want you all to themselves and make an effort to keep it that way. They do not understand that you have a life outside of the relationship and work to keep you from family and friends.

2. They call you derogatory names then say they are joking. Abusers sometimes cover themselves by blaming you, saying that you need to lighten up or that you are too sensitive.

3. They throw tantrums or attack you verbally and blame everything on someone else, namely you.

4. They try to intimidate you with violence, dominance or power tactics.

5. They punish you if you do go somewhere or do something without them even if others are also there.

6. They feel entitled to be treated like royalty and expect you to be a willing servant, doing everything they ask.

7. They are often jealous of you, other people and even your dreams and goals.

8. They are manipulators and will sulk, threaten to leave, and emotionally punish you for not going along with his or her idea of how things should be.

9. They will try to make you feel guilty any time you exert your will and what is right for you.

10. At times the abuser may appear to be apologetic and loving but their “remorse” doesn’t last long; the abuse begins again when the abuser feels he or she has you back.

If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, there is a good chance that eventually things may get physical.  At first, the abuser might pull your hair, push you, or grab you so hard that you bruise; these may only be warning signs that things can escalate further. A partner with an explosive temper who has reacted with violence before (breaking things, punching the wall, getting into altercations with others) may very likely physically abuse you.

Scripture plainly lays out what type of people we can have a healthy relationship with.

For women seeking a man:

They should be above reproach, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. He should be man worthy of respect, sincere, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. Don’t be afraid to test them; and then if they possess most of these qualities it is safe to pursue a relationship with them. (From1 Timothy 3:1-10)

For men seeking a woman:

She should bring good and not harm. She should eagerly work with her hands to provide food for her family. She works vigorously and her lamp does not go out at night. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are well clothed. She has strength and dignity so she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Remember guys, charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Seek after a woman with most of these qualities and you will save yourself much grief in the future. (From Proverbs 31:10-31

The most important thing for believers to remember is that no matter how attractive, wealthy, or witty someone may appear to be DO NOT become romantically involved with an unbeliever.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 –

I have had my share of bad relationships because I didn’t pay attention to the red flags and what Scripture plainly teaches about it. Today, God has blessed me with a beautiful godly wife; but it took nearly 40 years! We knew each other in high school but at the time I was too self-absorbed to realize that the best thing in my life was right in front of me! Don’t make the same mistake I made and waste 40 years in unhealthy relationships. Get the very best that God has for you.