Natalie answers some of the most common questions women of faith in destructive relationships ask. Questions like “how can I be sure I’m doing the right thing by leaving my abuser? What if he can change?” “How can I protect my children?” And more! Transcript is below if you prefer to read.
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- There are two different worldview at play here. In one worldview women are relegated to underling status – created only to serve under a man and not a whole lot more. In that worldview it isn’t proper for a woman to protest her lot in life. Men are innately deserving of royal treatment from their woman (a married woman is viewed as the property or extension of the husband), and if they are unhappy or cruel or rude or abusive, the issue lies with the woman. She isn’t doing her job to make him happy. If she were more submissive, happier, kept the home cleaner, kept the kids quieter, read her husband’s mind, and never gave him feedback, then maybe he’d be nicer to her. Everyone who buys into this worldview will be upset when you buck the status quo. Your friends support the husband because they believe he is in the right and you are in the wrong. Period.
- The church preaches that worldview.
- The church DOES discipline one of the parties. The female who bucks their system. She is usually the one who is kicked out.
- It’s a spiritually abusive environment – and the answer is not to try to change others – the church or your friends or your abuser. The answer lies in changing yourself and moving away from groups and institutions that teach that worldview. Study for yourself. Read the book of John.
- Remind yourself over and over that The past is the best predictor of the future. Abuse is a cycle. It has a good side and a bad side. Of course, abuse is all bad, but the good side is what hooks you in. If you can remember that the good part of the cycle is a worm on a hook, you’ll stop seeing it as good. Just because an abuser has a good day (and that’s usually when everything is going his way) doesn’t mean he is fixed.
- Set up some boundaries, implement them, and watch what happens when you stick to your guns. All hell usually breaks loose. Sometimes this is all it takes to open your eyes to the reality of the abuse and give you the motivation and momentum to do something about it for yourself.
- Walking away is tricky and horrifically painful on every level. I wrote a blog post about how it’s like climbing out of a pit on a hot ladder. Every step hurts. But the alternative is to stay at the bottom of the pit. You get to decide when you’ve had enough and you’re ready for the painful journey. Flying Free can help with this.