Do you know, with all the coverage of domestic violence in our country that there are still women who do not feel that they can talk about abuse that still is, or has happened, in their homes? With all of the knowledge that is available on the Internet, there are still women who are confused to know if they too are being abused.
Sad right? But it is true.
Why is that?
I think part of it is that when we are in an abusive relationship, we are guilted into covering for the abuser. We’re gaslighted to believe that the abuse never really happened or that it wasn’t nearly as bad as we think it was. And even if it is that bad, and we know it is, then we certainly do not want the public to know about it. We feel shame!
Thoughts of “How have I gotten myself into this mess?” and “How could I have been so blind? Or maybe he is right, maybe I am crazy!” run through your head. So we cover. We hide it from others. We feel the shame that is wrongfully heaped on us. And then we unknowingly enable the abuser… as the abuse continues.
Compound that with the fact that when some of us do go to our church for help and guidance, we get the message again that it is our job (as the wife) to cover for the abuser. We’re told that this is a “marriage problem” and that we should seek marriage counseling. And then keep that all in private.
That is so very wrong!
Abuse is not a marriage problem. This is HIS abuse problem. It is HIS control problem. HIS entitlement problem. HIS addiction problem. His lying is HIS problem. It is HIS adultery problem. HIS “problems” ruin the marriage, yes. But it was never a “marriage problem” in the first place. That is why marriage counseling for HIS problems does not work.
The abuser will try with all that is in him to heap the blame onto the victim. To project his own sin onto his wife (“Well if she hadn’t…” or “If she had only…“). And because most victims are able to self-reflect on their own imperfections, she then will feel that she could have been a better wife. (We all can be better people!) Then the abuser will point out those exact issues to get her to take the blame for all of his actions.
[You may also enjoy my YouTube Channel where I talk about abuse education.]
We as a society do that too when we ask things like, “Why didn’t you just leave him?” or when we look at adulterers as not getting something in their own marriage which causes them to stray.
Once out of that abusive relationship it is very hard to separate truth from what has been told to you by the abuser, and most times his family, for so very long. Everyone had enabled it. We were all covering for it. But now it is time to bring the truth out in the open. It is not the victim’s or anyone else’s job to cover up for the abuse/sin that went on inside a marriage.
No, the abuser will not want others to know he is an abuser. But with serious help, he doesn’t have to make that choice to abuse anymore.
Let’s look at it this way. Since most abusers do not abuse every single day, what if the husband has a 3 day a week heroin problem? How would we look at him, especially as Christians? Would we say, “There must be something that wife is doing to cause this heroin use?” Would we be saying, “Well, that’s just their personal marriage problem…” or “but he seems so nice every time I see him? Such a loving and caring man.”
No, we would say… he needs help for HIS problem!!
And there would be no blame put on the spouse for HIS choice to use heroin. There would be no shame on her either. It is clearly HIS problem in which he needs to get healing for.
Abuse is NO different.
Porn addiction. Serial adultery. Gaslighting and manipulation. Walking on eggshells because of his rage. Threats to take the kids and leave her homeless. Those are all HIS problems.
She doesn’t need to change, or be better, or apologize for anything. She needs to allow the consequences to rest on the shoulders of the person who is doing the sinning.
God exposes sin. Jesus covers sin. The Holy Spirit guides.
Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. – Ephesians 5:11, 13-14a NLT
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates]. He says to you, ‘Eat and drink,’ Yet his heart is not with you [but it is begrudging the cost]. – Proverbs 23:7 AMP
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But whoever confesses and turns away from his sins will find compassion and mercy. Blessed and favored by God is the man who fears [sin and its consequence] at all times, But he who hardens his heart [and is determined to sin] will fall into disaster. – Proverbs 28:13-14 AMP
All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. – John 3:20-21 NLT
Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord?” – Acts 13:9-10 NLT
As you can see, it is not our job – even as Christians – to cover over someone else’s sin. Abuse is a sin. Adultery is a sin. Lying, manipulation, and deceitfulness is a sin. Stealing what does not belong to someone is a sin.
The Bible never mentions that a victim should take any blame. Nor should she feel the need to cover, hide, or accept the shame for what has happened to her.
And if she wants to tell the world what SHE has experienced, what SHE lived through, then let her. It’s her story to tell. No shame in that!
The shame and blame for that sin rest rightfully on the shoulders of the offender.
[socialrocket-tweet quote=”Our job as Christians is not to cover over abuse to enable it to continue. But bring it out into the Light.” tweet=”Our job as Christians is not to cover over abuse to enable it to continue. But bring it out into the Light.”]
[You may also enjoy: Never Be a Back Burner Person Again]
Are you able to expose the abuse you’ve experienced in your life?
God bless your healing journey,
Yes to all this! I’m currently in the midst of it.
Jen Grice says
Hi Sarah. Thank you for sharing your burden. I will pray for you.
Crazy True! And my stbx did that exact thing by picking those things about myself that he knew I would feel guilty over and broadcasting those things and some he completely made up as my heinous sins and his reason for leaving. I “confessed” to all kinds of things under the stress of his announcement that he was leaving. He used those “confessions” in his accusations too. After 20+ years of emotional abuse and serial infidelity, everything was my fault and I initially believed it. Didn’t marriage books say a good wife could fix all that. I was not a good wife. He just couldn’t live with me. Our pastor also initially thought it was all my fault. And began to advise me with the usual Christian counseling non-sense that had never worked previously in our marriage (thankfully his view has shifted). A licensed counselor is so helpful. Once they listened to me and I let the shame melt away and told everything, the truth became very clear. A distant friend (by all accounts a godly man) recently messaged my phone ,because it used to be the number my husband used. He told my husband he remembered how godly and how good a dad he once was. He told him, among other things, hat he needed to forgive me for what I had done and return to his family. So the story of my driving him away has spread. I leave that to God now. I know for certain that his manipulation, lies, infidelities, sexual addictions, theft ect…were HIS and not mine. They belong to HIM and not the marriage. No guilt anymore.
Jen Grice says
So true Steph! Thank you for sharing your story (your truth) with the rest of the community. Valuable!! Glad to have you here.
Thank you for this post! This is what hit home for me the most because it’s what happened to me… “Gaslighting and manipulation. Walking on eggshells because of his rage. Threats to take the kids and leave her homeless. Those are all HIS problems. Not one ounce of that blame should ever be heaped onto the victim.”
I’m out and in the process of divorce. I want to write about my what I’m going through, but was advised to stay away from blogging and social media because he can manipulate anything I say and do. I’m hoping that one day I can express myself again about my journey without hurting our 6 year old son in the process.
I believe God has a plan for me and am patiently waiting!
Jen Grice says
So true Lori. They do often try to use anything they can get their hands on as ammo to WIN the war/fight. Believing God’s plan for you too.
I really feel like I’ve covered my husbands abuse by staying. He spent 10 months convincing me that he didn’t have an affair with a woman he worked with. I knew something had been bothering him but that was the farthest thing from my mind. We had been married 33 years at this point. Without going into all the details, he spent 10 months trying to convince me of no affair.
I discovered last summer that he was hiding our entire savings. Forty thousand dollars. I left him for almost two weeks. He said we would find another marriage counselor. We had two disastrous ones. He won’t go back to counseling. He says he’s told me everything. I honestly have no reason to suspect he’s still seeing her. He also went back to his former employee and is not self employed anymore.
He has never confessed to an affair with her but all the lies were only about this particular woman.
She is also married but nine years younger than me. She is also supposed to be a Christian and has actually preached 3 times in the last year in her small church. We have about 50 mutual friends.
For that 10 months, there were literally times where my husband threw me under the bus in front of my kids but of course has apologized to me and in front of them. Our youngest of six was a Senior at the time.
Some of the most damning circumstantial evidence ( before I discovered the money gone) .. We had been looking in a certain area for about two years prior to this.. We love the mountains. I was scrolling on this woman’s FB page and I see that she had booked a cabin for Christmas for her family. She had booked it in Sept and it was now Dec. and as I begin to read the comments I see that it’s in the are that we had been looking at for two years. I click on the picures( she put them up) and I’m shocked to see that it’s the same cabin that my husband had been looking at two weeks earlier when I walked in the study. He didn’t try to hide it and the kitchen was distinct so I remembered it.
I didn’t say anything that night but the next night while he was on, I asked him to show me that cabin. Of course he was looking under our favorites and I knew it wasn’t there as I had checked. I told him that I had seen the cabin on her page. He was dumbfounded and said nothing. I asked him if he wanted me to show him and he said no. I didn’t scream about it. He said he had no idea how that could happen. I said nothing else. Two weeks later I told him I was struggling to understand the cabin thing. He screamed at me that he would tell me the truth. He said that Yes!! They had looked at cabins together and discussed going there. We didn’t speak for 3 days until we went back to counseling. Of course he told the counselor that is what I had wanted to hear! I had never even mentioned that or asked that. That was God’s grace for sure. That was our second visit with that counselor and we never went back as his wife had left him for physical abuse. We didn’t know it at the time but she contacted me a week later and they are now divorced.
So, life went on. He apologized at the counselors for saying that.
A couple of months later, I see on her business page that she had been furniture shopping with…. tags a woman and named my husbands first name as well. This had been in the months prior when he had worked with her. We had the worst argument that night because I wouldn’t back down. Our youngest .. the senior… ran away for a few hours. It was late at night. He came home and I told my husband that an argument like this could not happen again. He agreed. I also told him to find a counselor. I had picked the last one. I went on this woman’s business page again five days later and saw that she had switched the names around and Had tagged this other woman and put my husbands name first. It was bizarre. I asked him how that could happen. He had no idea. He said he had never furniture shopped with her but only had moved some things for the company. She’s a designer.
She texted him several months later and asked if he could do some work for her. He was supposed to have told her and the company she worked for, he couldn’t do any more work for her. He obviously hadn’t. He hadn’t responded and showed me when he got home. I took his phone , went down the street and texted her. I simply said… He can no longer do any work for you. She responded immediately. She said…. I am so sorry….. if I have offended in any way. I wrote back and said …. Actually this isn’t ……. this is his wife.
She immediately started to tell me how professional the relationship had ever been. I asked a couple of simple questions. I didn’t tell her about the lies I’d been catching him in. I asked her if her husband knew she had meetings alone in her home with married men? That I had seen the email. She said…. Her husband was aware of the conversation we were having and she would be blocking the number as soon as she got home. I didn’t respond. She then went on to say that she wouldn’t want to be in my shoes and she would be praying for me. I never asked her if she had a thing for my husband.
I called my husband and he met me in five minutes. I let him read every text and asked why this just happened. He said I was just defending my marriage. I told him wrong answer. He groveled.
That bad argument came two months later and I told him to find another counselor. He picked an older man from our church. We went to him. I honestly didn’t tell him everything. There was no set plan when we left that night. I knew God was with me.
The following week I decided to see if she had really blocked his cell. It had been three months and I had never checked. I called her work number and her message went on. I hung up immediately. 20 seconds later she texts… The block has run out. I am reblocking. Stop harassing me!
I tried to text back but it was blocked so I went on her business FB page and pm her and said…. Same hear B….!
I immediately went out and told my husband. He told me it was between me and her. I lost it and told him there was no between me and her. He groveled and begged for forgiveness. I forgave. He came home from work several days later and asked me to put shoes on as he needed to tell me something. I did and as we drove down the road, he played a message on his phone from her husband. Her husband had left a message for my husband telling him that I had been harassing his wife for 3 months and it needed to stop. I could see my husband was furious! I told him the only exchange she and I had ever had were those two text exchanges. He told me we were going to her house to clear all this up.
I had a full blown panic attack!! It was horrible and the first time I was ever afraid of my husband. He had never laid a finger on me. We ended up going to the second counselors house…. man from church and I told him Everything! I thought he was going to have a heart attack. I also told him I wanted my husband to leave. My husband said he wouldn’t. This man reminded me that everything I had was circumstantial. He was right.
We left there and I told my husband that he could go to there house now. That I would wait in the car. Of course he wouldn’t. I really think he had been bluffing and wanted to scare me. He had never scared me before. He said we shouldn’t go there and that these people were just weird. I actually had peace.
Two months later I discovered the money gone and confronted him. He showed me a third of it. Left for work the next day, took it all and our bank records and went to work with our senior son who had just graduated high school. I waited until my youngest daughter came home from work with our extra vehicle I shared with her, lied through my teeth and left. Went to the bank and withdrew four thousand and left five hundred still in account as I was afraid they would call his cell if I took it all out.
I was gone for almost two weeks and he finally began to talk and confess but never admitted affair. I came home one day to see my kids… young adults still living here and he showed me all the money. It was all accounted for. Forty thousand. He had been hiding it.
He also admitted that he had set up a fake FB account. It had been popping up on his phone for months and he acted like he didn’t know why. He admitted he had made it but said he’d never gone on it. He had been denying all that for months. There is so much more. I have to run but the gist of it is… I’m still here.
Jen Grice says
Praying for you K. That’s a lot of family drama. Sin and dysfunction causes disharmony in families. I’ve been very thankful that my divorce helped me to get away from all of that kind of stuff from people who love to bath in drama daily. My body could not take any more. I hope you find your way to a peaceful, drama-free life some day.
I would add the loss of family in-laws makes taking a stand hard too.
Jen Grice says
For some that loss can be added to the other losses. I’m sorry if that is what you experienced. We all have a little bit of a different story. But from what I’ve experienced and have heard from many others, losing the in-laws was a blessing as it got rid of a ton of stress.
Pam D says
Amen! I didn’t realize my marriage was as abusive as it was until after my divorce! I believed him when he told me I was lucky to have him because no one else would have me & that I was the reason he drank. The list goes on & on. My self esteem was almost nil. Praise God for loving family & friends & a very supportive pastor & church family!
Jen Grice says
Yes, Amen! Love to hear stories from thrivers. Thanks for sharing!