Signs, Tactics of an Abuser

refuse

She won’t leave.  Why won’t she leave?  Or in some cases he.  He is clearly a psychopath and an abuser, EVERYONE sees it.  The signs are there.

We all ask that.  We make the victim of abuse sound stupid, pitiful, like they have a very clear choice.  How wrong we are.

Abuse comes in so many forms.  Some never suffer the pain of a fist, but do suffer the constant verbal slams that through them into such a dark abyss that they can’t get up, they can’t breathe, they can’t see their worth.  They can’t get up.

First I want to address the signs of an abuser.  If anyone sees these, perhaps it’s one step closer to helping the person being abused and taking power away from the coward that is the abuser.

Of course no one begins dating an abuser.  No one in their right mind would.  First comes the charm, the ‘smarts’ the pouring out of compliments, and he lifts you up, he makes you feel like he is your soul mate and there is absolutely no one else in this world that would ever make you feel the way he does.  He is the Cowboy Casanova as some would say.  He makes you feel like he can actually protect you from the world that maybe in some ways has hurt you.  And here’s the thing, an abuser knows how to pick his targets, the ones who have been broken a bit and because when you are broken you seek to depend on someone he knows he can be that crutch…and he will be that for a little bit.  He will rescue you and then the manipulation starts.

You see, now he will convince you of all the things you need to be rescued from.  Number one thing that needs to go is anyone that can see him as a threat.  Who might that be?  If you have family, that has got to go, so he will ‘rescue’ you from that.  Friends?  Yup, your friends are bad, they are stupid, they are too stuck up, their morals are to uptight, they ‘wouldn’t understand our love’.  He sets up an ‘us against the world’ mentality.  He sets up a fiction world where he is the only hero in the victim’s world.  If possible he will move the victim as far from those the victim knows as possible.  If a friend has plans, he has more important plans, or he is sick and needs your care.  SOMETHING will happen where you will NOT be allowed to see your friends and if you do it will be with a tainted mentality that he has already planted in your mind.

Also according to About the Issue “Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior characterized by the intent to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner or other family members. The abuse can be established over time and in most cases, it begins subtly with insults, a shove or by alienating the survivor from family and friends. With time, the abusive behavior can be more frequent and severe.” 

The key thing, there is always an excuse that excuses the abuser’s behavior.  Often, the victim is the problem.  “If you understood me better, if you did this better, you know I have this issue! Etc.”  An abuser rarely if ever takes ownership.  An apology will be offered but it is usually followed with “But maybe next time you shouldn’t, or should be careful not to provoke me….”

Feelings of course are central here too.  They always are.  Because the victim LOVES the abuser, that is the whole part of the ENTIRE manipulation, the feeling game and the abuser will play on that until the victim sees it for what it is and gets the courage to either reach out for help and walk away.  But it is not that easy depending on how violent he/she is.  This is why I write this.  If you are seeing these signs in anyone, or if you are in the beginning of such a relationship, walk away while you still can, because believe me, an abuser only escalates.  He might be only verbally abusive today, maybe for years, but soon he/she WILL escalate.  It’s only a matter of when.

You may think you can change him…like in the movies.  That you are the Beauty and he is the Beast that can be tamed.  Please understand that you do not have such power.  I firmly believe only God can change a person.  Such people need deep professional help, and you are not it.

You might be convinced he is the underdog you have to save that everyone else has cast aside.  While believe me, I am a firm believer in second chances, and I seek out the forgotten and lonely…understand that an abuser only plays on these sentiment for what he/she can gain.

What are they seeking to gain?

It is different in each situation.  In some, it is money.  In some it is power.  In some it is affection at the cost of beating you and not allowing you to give that affection to ANYONE ELSE (but notice that he is allowed to give affection to anyone he pleases).  There is always a double standard with an abuser.

You might leave your family and friends, and maybe for a while he might too…but he won’t leave them forever.  He/she will NEVER do that because the goal was to get YOU away from your family and friends…not the other way around.

To those who see these sighs of abuse (in a neighbor, co-worker, friend), don’t let them withdraw.  If you know where they live, constantly visit, make the abuser know that you are watching and that the victim is not alone.  Don’t confront the abuser, but be there for the victim until the victim is willing to reach out to you.  When that happens, seek out law enforcement.  Do not be silent.  Do not be a shadow.  Learn to survive.

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The world is dark and the heart grows faint

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.  From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. –Psalm 61:1-4 

For about seven years now I have gone into and out of depression (my heart grew faint).  I try not to write to much about this for a few reasons.  Among these reasons are not wanting to give satisfaction to those who have caused this pain that is taking so long to heal.  But enough.  I am not afraid of them getting satisfaction from my pain (because in reality if this is where they find satisfaction, it is they who lose, not I).

The past week has been especially hard as I have seen relatives turn their backs on my family.  This is especially painful when so much had been done for them when they were in their hour(s) of darkness.  Lies, and deceit seems to prevail in this world of ours.  The wicked prosper.  As you are reading this, perhaps you too are thinking of the ways you have seen the wicked go unpunished and in fact prosper.  You may see an ex move on and be happy when in the past they had done only evil and were unfaithful.  Maybe you have friends who have turned their backs on you…or worse family members.  Maybe as a child you were abused in every way possible.  Maybe…maybe a lot of storms have passed and continue to pass over you.  Maybe telling you that you are not alone will not make it better at all….

Maybe a loved one has passed away and you have regrets…things unsaid or things not done.  You are told that time heals all wounds…but time has nothing to do with it.  A million years can pass and still the wound is fresh (perhaps at times numbed, but still fresh).

Let me tell you something.  Time will not heal anything.  Time has no power to heal…the wound only gets numb.  Yet there is One who heals–one who hears, one who keeps a record of your tears.

Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll–are they not in your record?— Psalm 56:8

He, your Maker keeps a record of your tears and mine.  He keeps record of the wrongs done against you and me…and there will come a day of reckoning.

If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him.  But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.–Psalm 55:12-14

That is the hardest pain of all, when the one you loved comes against you to tare you down, to destroy you.  Sometimes it is done with silence, sometimes it is done with fists, sometimes it is done with words, sometimes with cheating, but in the end destruction of your spirit is the goal.

Yet, the Lover of your soul is not blind to this.  I say it again, a day of reckoning will come…maybe on earth, maybe not, but for sure on the day of judgement.  In the meantime, how to you rise out of the dark?  How do you continue in the hardest of days?  There is only one way that has worked for me, and honestly it is the only way (though we rebel against this way, because it deals with what we do not see and our flesh wants something that can be seen, touched, heard, smelled)…but just because something or SOMEONE is not seen, does not mean He does not exist.  A good example of this would be are things that are microscopic, bacteria, viruses, etc…you can’t see them…but we would be fools to ignore them.

But I call to God and the LORD saves me.  Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress and he hears my voice.  He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.  God who is enthroned forever, will hear them and afflict them.–Psalm 55:16-19

He hears and he will save you and me.  But we have to ask for help, He will not force Himself upon us.  We have to choose to love Him, He will not force us to do so…but once we make that choice, He is our fiercest defender, the greatest lover of our hearts and soul.

Please understand (as I am beginning to), we have an enemy.  The enemy is not your ex husband or wife, it is not your best friend that has hurt you or relatives that have torn you down when all you asked for is compassion and help in your darkest time.  No your enemy are not any of them.  The enemy that hates you beyond any hate you and I have ever known is Lucifer, now known as the devil, or satan.  He will do anything, use anyone to tare you down.  He will never stop while you and I breathe, but there is hope.  There is one who is much stronger than him…and He will always come to save us.  His name is Jesus Christ.  He is the King of all kings.  He is your Father.  He simply is (I AM).  But if we don’t seek his comfort and help, we loose out.

So, when the world is dark and the heart grows faint, when you fall deeper, come to Him you who are burdened and tired and He will give you rest.  These are not just words…test it out.  I know I will.  I have determined to do my best to draw closer to the ONLY one who loves me with an unblemished love.  I will seek Him in the night as I try to find rest…I will seek Him in the morning as I awaken (and I am not a morning person, so the me who seeks Him in the morning might be a bit grouchy…but He understands).

I hope you will determine to do the same…and very soon I hope to hear of the healing of your heart and soul (as I will also post more about this journey of my life).

Those Brokenhearted and Crushed in Spirit

Looking at the world today, I cannot help but see and hate all the pain and injustice I see. Fellow human beings killing other fellow human beings. The rich taking advantage of the less fortunate or those who have lost much. Loss after loss, storm after storm.
What is worse is seeing those who gain the ‘world’ by stepping on others prosper. One cannot help but think: Why God? Why do those who do wrong prosper? Why do those who hurt others rise so high? Don’t you see? Don’t you hear the cries of those who are brokenhearted, those who’s spirit is crushed beneath the weight of injustice?
The situation in Iraq and Syria and Israel are grave. Innocents killed by those who have guns, and hate, and power, and so-called religion on theirs side. Where are you God?
It is my prayer that God will intervene there and quickly and that He hears their cry.
It is my prayer that those who walk over those who are completely broken will face God’s justice and fairness.
What does someone who is crushed in spirit look like?
It is someone who encounters loss after loss, storm after storm (and the storms still don’t stop). It is someone who has lost a loved one, then lost possessions, then barely makes it, and cries for mercy, yet finds none. I know my family and I have fallen into that category. It is someone who on top of the storms receives mockery from those who should be there for them. It is someone who in those hardships, they receive thoughtless advice that is hollow because it shows carelessness instead of love. It is those who have suffered abuse. It is those who work so hard and are so tired but they push on because after all so many depend upon them.
Who are the brokenhearted?
It is those who have given love a chance and time after time love turned out to be only a word thrown into the wind. It is those who have given all of themselves but received nothing of the same in return.

There is a Psalm that talks about those who fall into the above categories, and it describes what happens when they cry out to God (the Father).

Psalm 34: 17-22
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him. (NIV)

Read that again if you have to. It says the righteous have MANY troubles. It doesn’t say that troubles, calamities, hardships, heartbreaks do not come on those who trust in God. But still, even so, God steps in when we cry out to him.

In the past few weeks, or rather years we have gone through such troubles…and still going through them. The heart grows faint, the spirit is crushed. By crushed I mean faith is almost non-existent. I know some of you are encountering the same thing. You are in that place where you question God as a result of the lost hope. You wonder if those who have done wrong to you will always prosper while you always work, work, work, toil, toil, toil, cry, cry, cry. Words of ‘encouragement’ from friends become void of meaning. It becomes like Job and those ‘well-meaning’ friends (that in the end God told them to ask Job to pray for them) who kept admonishing him for his doubts and kept trying to show him how he was wrong to be angry with God or doubt him. But you see, those friends had not lost everything, had not lost everyone…they were in all likelihood prosperous friends, who had not lost anything…maybe even happy that Job was no longer rich like he had been (that he had lost EVERYTHING), maybe they were happy that now, in the position and station of life they were ABOVE him. It was easy for them to admonish and give advice from their higher position. But read to the end and see what God told them. Understand dear one, that your suffering might go on for years before you have a time of rest (we are still going through it), but the end does come.

Please understand that one day, after the patience of God has been used up (for he is patient and merciful and gives chance after chance for the evil to change their ways), there will come a day when he will come in like a raging storm. He will be just and fair and He WILL come to your defense in just that moment when you cry out to him that you CAN’T anymore. In that day you will testify that Proverbs 21:15 is true.

Proverbs 21:15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.

Understand also that when you pour out your heart to your friends, if they have not walked where you have walked, they will most likely not understand. In fact they may hurt you further. Some might do that intentionally, some unintentionally. Put your faith in God, cry to Him. Still, there will be those along the way that come into your life that will hold you and let you cry, and not say a word…just simply wipe your tears and let you rant. Some will help you in ways you don’t expect.

Why do I write this? For many reasons. A bit from personal pain at seeing those who at one time we helped turn their back on you when they are needed most. It is like Job. When he was wealthy those friends who admonished him probably were close to him (maybe hoping to gain from his prosperity). He might have helped them get to where they got. But in the days of his suffering they condemned him. Also I write because I know my family and I are not alone in what we are going through. There are so many who have lost all strength and hope that things will change. There are those who week after week, even day after day encounter more and more hardship. To those I want to remind you of Job’s ending. Yes in the beginning he lost absolutely everything (children, workers, possessions, friends), but in the END he was given DOUBLE what he lost. Those who condemned him, were humbled by God Himself. Did that erase the previous hurt and loss? I don’t think so. But healing began when God stepped in and interrupted his doubts and interrupted his ‘friend’s’ rants and simply put said: ENOUGH.
That time will come for us, I have faith that God is not blind. That time will come for those who are persecuted in Iraq, Syria, Israel and other places. He hears the cry of their very blood given for their faith and love. That time will come for you, He will gather you in His arms. Please don’t give up. I know it’s hard. I know it seems like it won’t ever end. I know it seems like all who are left are those who laugh or mock or make your pain seem irrelevant. Please know that to HIM what you feel is everything, he loves you, and He will rescue you, He will be your shelter and defender. Those who mock you now will one day face God the Father’s fairness and justice…and perhaps that might mean vengeance. Vengeance is the Lord’s. That is hard to accept, that is hard to trust. But know, that His vengeance is better than yours.
One last thing, and this is hard…when that day comes, when He steps in and says enough, yes, he will admonish and convict your enemies…but He may also ask you to pray for them.

Fantine~~Les Miserables~~

Today on my lunch break I found myself reading Les Miserables.  Indeed the book is very descriptive (for those who are not patient to get through descriptions may never get to the gold of this book).

Alas, I got to the part where Fantine has reached rock bottom (or what she thought was rock bottom).  She had no more hope.  Life had stolen all hope from her.  Earlier we see a picture of her as a joyous young lady, full of life and dreams, indeed she had fallen in love for the first and last time…with a scoundrel.  Yet from this love a child is birthed…Cosette (Euphrasie) and quickly becomes the central focus of Fantine’s life.  For even though she has lost in love, she has gained a beautiful, angelic child…from which she must part so she can provide for her.

Fantine thinks she’s doing right when she leaves her daughter with the Thenardiers (evil).  They are her undoing.  As time passes they demand more and more money from her that never gets to her beloved daughter.

Fantine lived in a time when having a child out of wedlock meant she most likely couldn’t find a job (thus why she traveled so far to escape the stain of her past). 

For a little while it begins to look like life has begun to smile down on her again…she has hope when she finds a job in a factory ran by a kind gentleman (with a dark past of his own that none know about, which he has risen above), a gentleman by the name of Monsieur Madeleine.  Yet her past seeks her out and finds her all too quickly through a gossipy and hateful old women who I chose not to even name (I despise her character), and so the overseer–whom Monsieur Madeleine has entrusted to oversee the women of his factory–finds out about Fantine’s child that was born out of wedlock…and thus she looses her only income.  She, however is resourceful and takes up sewing for soldiers, yet even that is cut short all too soon.  Bad fortune becomes even worse until she is forced into prostitution.  My heart broke for this lovely woman who lost all loveliness.  And yet right when all seems lost Monsieur Madeleine rescues her from the worst.  He had not known that he had been the cause of her problems, yet he sees his mistake right away. 

There is a scene that deeply touched me today and it is the following:

 

“I have heard you.  It’s all news to me.  I believe it’s true and I feel it’s true.  I didn’t even know you had left my workshop.  Why didn’t you come and see me in person?  But here’s how it will be:  I will pay your debts, I will have your child come to you, or you will go to her  You will live here, or in Paris, or wherever you like.  I will look after your child and you.  You will never have to work again, if you don’t want to.  I will give you all the money you need.  You will go back to being an honest woman by being happy again.  And, listen, I tell you here and now, if all is as you say, and I don’t doubt it for a second, you have never stopped being virtuous and holy in the eyes of God.  O, you poor, poor woman!” (Les Miserables pg 167)

 

This touches me on many levels.  Here is a man.  Here is a rescuer.  Here is one who sees the wrong he has done and is willing to rectify his grievous error…he is willing to show mercy where no one else has.  He is Fantine’s savior. 

Why do I like this?

Well, how many women have been in situations like this?   (Or perhaps not as bad but maybe quite close).  How many women have found themselves single mothers, whether by divorce, or wedlock, or abuse, or unfaithfulness?  How many of these women are looked down upon and are forced to work themselves to death and still life gets worse?  How many?  I felt myself relating to Fantine. 

I had loved a man, I had loved a scoundrel.  I married that man.  I have three children from that marriage.  I have endured his unfaithfulness, verbal abuse and then physical abuse.  Then I was free.  Yet I was not fully free because life with it’s burdens and worries and fears kept pressing down.  I saw no hope.  I only saw a life where things and people I cared about were taken from me.  Yet there is of course hope.  Hope endures.  Perhaps at times that hope only comes when we are at the end of our rope.  Perhaps we have to go through the darkest valleys before our ‘Savior’ comes. 

Fantine gives me hope and Monsieur Madeleine perhaps is who I strive for.  Perhaps that us women should know that that Monsieur Madeleine perhaps may in fact be our Savior…but perhaps he is not who we think he is…perhaps this man represents Jesus…or perhaps he represents who Jesus sends to us.  Regardless of which…hope endures.

If you’re a single mother and you give all for your children, hold on a little bit more.  This is what I learned from Les Miserables today (a lesson well learned).

She Laughed

abraham and sarah

I recall reading in the Bible when Abraham was told that Sarah would have a child. She laughed. I remember when I read that I thought: How rude! How could she laugh when God told her something would take place? I mean when the God of the entire universe says something is going to happen, then something is going to happen.
Years latter I understand a little bit better. Sarah was old, but not only was she getting older by the day, but she had also probably exhausted herself in praying for the one thing she wanted most: a child. We can tell that her faith was slowly fading in the fact that she gave Hagar to Abraham, she reasoned within herself that perhaps this is the way God would fulfill his promise to them. Sarah had gone through so much and she was tired of what she thought was false hope. So she laughed.
In our lives, if we are honest it can be much the same. We have God’s promises through His word, and yet we encounter hardship after harship, storm after storm…with no sign of it ever stopping. A dear friend pointed out that Jesus said that in this life we would have trials (so God did not lie to us, He warned us that we would have plenty of hard times). The soul however grows tired. The burdens we each carry become unbearable. We can’t take another step (or so we think). Yet Jesus also said to come to Him with our heavy burdens and that He will give us rest.
Doubts assail us with each new trial, and with the doubt comes guilt, for we should have faith, not doubt, right? But my opinion is that God is not fooled, He knows our hearts. Yes, we need to have faith, but He knows that we grow tired, He knows that our hope has faded. So what next?
I have also read so much and heard so many ‘prosperity’ preachers preach…and their sermons quite honestly make me sick. They make it sound like we need to be happy all the time. They make it seem that if we give our ten percent we will not encounter trials…only blessings. Somehow when I read the Bible I see how false these preachings are. I mean look at the disciples, do you think they were always happy? Always smiling? Never hungry? Never feeling pain? I don’t see that. I see them crying for those in need, I see them being persecuted time and again. I don’t think they were always happy. But they did look up. By that I mean they looked to Him who would help them finish the hard, breathtaking race. They depended on Him. They said His grace is sufficient.
However this world has a way of making us forget that this is not our home. The world makes us forget that we race towards heaven, not towards the false prosperity this world offers. We forget that our ultimate destination is Heaven, not finding ‘true love’ (in human terms), it is not just paying our bills, publishing our books, advancing in our possitions at work, etc. Yes these are very real desires to make life more bearable…but it is not our ultimate goal. This life when compared to unending eternity is just a dot, one small dot that soon will be over.

So when God comes and tells us that all be alright.  When God tells us that He Himself will provide.  That He will be the love of our lives….we laugh.  Because we can’t see any more hope, none at all, for we have tried everything humanly possible.  So we laugh.  Yet given time, we will see, that despite our rude laughing and unbelief, God still is a promise keeper…then we will remember how we laughed, and then we will laugh with joy at the wonder of God’s mercy.