The Whole Abuse Thing

I am an abuse survivor. It is an issue I struggle with, which I will not discuss at length here save to say that I realize it is a general social evil and that awareness of it is important, and that recognition of it is important.

One of the arguments on CF was about whether or not emotional abuse was grounds for divorce. There are Christian teachers who simply say that it is not and leave it there, and others who doubt whether or not it even exists as a category of abuse. I have no doubts about this at all: emotional abuse does exist.

There is no issue for me in a person suspecting that they might be subject to emotional abuse, questioning another person’s behaviour or having done so requesting that boundaries should be respected or even just plain getting out of the way. If you are really uncomfortable with how a relationship is going, considering the worst is an intelligent thing to do. It could after all be anything from it being you–your own self esteem issues–to being that yes, you are involved with someone who is selfish and cruel towards you. Analysis is wise.

My concern about it in the context of relationships between people is that it has come to be yet another feminist trump card, yet another means by which women in particular are urged to avoid taking responsibility for the decisions they make in their relationships. It is used by feminists for the following things:

1. To avoid having to take responsibility for considering whether or not to work on mending a marriage rather than using the divorce parachute. The odd thing here is that most of us discussing this here I’m sure feel that if a woman really wants to say “Look, I just don’t like you anymore and I’m done” that that would actually be fine. That’s literally between the woman and her conscience/God/whatever; we can call it crap all we want to, but it’s HER CHOICE. We would just rather she honestly said “I hate you and don’t want to work on anything with you.” than threw around false accusations to avoid having to admit that she doesn’t care what God or man says, she wants a divorce. It’s called having agency. In the West, women have it.

2. To avoid having to have an honest conversation. “I’m afraid of you” when there has never been violence or any kind of unbearable consequence, when there has been no name calling, no control of money or relationships of any kind–maybe it might work if the person had PTSD, but it’s interesting that it only comes out at such times when accountability is in question in such cases. Which leads to the next point.

3. To explain dissatisfaction. Rather than admitting that you have standards for life that you didn’t realize the other person didn’t have, and finding ways to compromise, it is called ’emotional abuse’ when they don’t want what you want, or when they want different things. A good example is the way that Christian feminists interpret a man wanting respect for a man wanting worship and adulation. Respect, which involves basically treating the other person with courtesy, is hardly an outrageous demand. Or for example the man wanting an actual sexual relationship–which would involve the woman having a sense of agency and explaining her sexual feelings to her husband and again seeking compromise–is considered ‘wanting sex on tap’ and is therefore ’emotional abuse’. When in fact in both these cases honesty should win out. If she genuinely feels so, she should be willing to say “Well, I don’t feel you should have any basic courtesy because I don’t like you and look at you with contempt” or “I don’t feel like having sex with you–period–because I don’t feel like having sex at all and don’t see why I should have to.”

However it’s easier to avoid taking responsibility for your selfish thoughts by accusing the other person of having evil in their heart.

The moment that someone who simply has a marriage they are not happy with brings up emotional abuse, we should be suspicious. Bear in mind, I know what emotional abuse really looks like; I’ve suffered it along with the physical, and I’ve known people who suffered it, and I know that there are many forms it can take. Because of this, because I have known it, I resent people using it as a get out of jail free card.

From a Christian perspective, I’d love to see something other than the Two Loonies–that is to say the extreme Big Man little woman crap and the Feminist insanity of man bad woman good–and something where we actually believe what Jesus taught us, where we are responsible for our own recognition of our own sins, where we are responsible for looking to the sins of others only after we have examined our own, and where women are encouraged to do this instead of all the weird crap modern Christianity insists on.



20 thoughts on “The Whole Abuse Thing

  1. You expected my reply, not surprising since you’ve seen it before, but I disagree a little bit with your point
    If you are really uncomfortable with how a relationship is going, considering the worst is an intelligent thing to do. It could after all be anything from it being you–your own self esteem issues–to being that yes, you are involved with someone who is selfish and cruel towards you. Analysis is wise.

    SELF analysis and honest situational analysis would not consider the worst as a first intelligent thing to do in my opinion. As you know I have my own pedigree like yours and take license therefore to comment perhaps more bluntly than most men would because of their fear of being insensitive. But this topic is absolutely a crucial part of relational counseling from a Christian standpoint because frankly, if the rare woman who is frivorcing does not claim abuse, someone will walk her through it until they DO add abuse to the grievances.
    I assert that the overwhelming majority of said emotional abuse is very simple. Low level conflict, perhaps born of the female critical passive aggressive nature which is born of her unsettled bundle of swirling emotions that are the root of her need for emotional intimacy (which is the healthy way to manage them). A man usually simply cannot stand up to that constant drum beat, he may then, gasp, yell, or be sharp, or mean, or angry. Then she will cry. repeat this enough and it is emotional abuse, which absolves her of every manner of quiet provocations. She well may not even know she is provoking him. She may even at times not be provocative at all but in a lifetime context he is so sensitized to it he reacts inappropriately by reflex.
    ANY succor to those women doing this is misguided. Bold blunt balanced Christian accountability, bilaterally, is the ONLY true Biblical salve. Its the kind of salve that will burn her when its applied because she will simply never be able to see how her well intended muttering could ever be considered provocation, and of course whip out the, there is never reason to yell, and that then becomes the issue rather than what led to the issue. It needn’t even be yelling, he may go silent, walk away, avoid emotional intimacy because it wears him out.

    I wish this topic would reach a very wide audience.

  2. I went through an amazing amount of mental abuse with a BPD girl. What turned me onto the mra/game/pua side of things was the raw numbers of men abused by these types of girls, and the facts they presented I came to realize were true.

    Feminism has destoryed any credance to male ‘abuse’ , that somehow it just doesnt happen.

  3. I find the topic of emotional abuse interesting. Ever notice that feminists have a common pattern with things and feel so free to abuse things to get there own way.

    They do exactly the same thing with health exceptions,in the case for abortion. Many a pro-lifer would probably countenance some form of “health exception” for abortion in cAes where the mothers life woud, essentially be destroyed by carrying to term and render her unable to care for the kids at all. Perhaps rendered a quadriplegic or something. I don’t know if that is possible just looking for a suitably grim example that might justify a health exception for abortion. But feminists want a “health exception” and then want to claim that “being a bit wept and depressed during the pregnancy” counts as a threat to the health of the woman and justifies the abortion.

    You now look at emotional abuse and they do the same thing. There probably is extremely emotinally abusive relationships that most people would recognize the legitimacy of it ending due to risk to the woman (we will leave aside the remarriage question), but then feminists want to jam through, “he is emotionally abusive because I ant always get my in way”.

    Mind you they do the same thing with rape too, so who is really surprised. Some feminists would claim wolf whistling is rape.

    Then they want to carry on when people turn around and say no, you can’t have a health exception, no emotional abuse doesn’t exist, and no that isn’t rape.

    OT is pity they are unble to see the obvious end game here as at some point there will be a massive over correction back in the other direction, even if it takes the collapse of the civilization for it to happen. They won’t want to take the blame for it then ur they’d I’ll probably all have been killed so it won’t matter.

  4. I don’t like the term “emotional abuse” for at least a couple reasons.

    1) All abuse is emotional. It’s designed to obfuscate the abuse, rather than define and address it. Better for generating sympathy and antipathy without getting into specifics: You never know how facts might muddle a perfectly good smear campaign. We should stick to better descriptors, like “physical”, and “verbal”.

    2) Number one is important because while anyone will admit that abuse can go either way, defining abuse as emotional brings in the assumptions that women are more emotional. By default then, “emotional” abuse is intrinsically worse when perpetrated on a woman; conversely not so bad for a man. “Well, yes, she was perfectly nasty,” one might hear said, “-but it’s not as if he were a woman.”

  5. The thing is that there is no such thing as physical abuse that lacks emotional or even verbal abuse. The assertion that verbal abuse is worse “because the scars are invisible” and other bromidic silliness are absurd. The person beating the other is not silent!

    Ask the woman with the punctured lung would she have rather been yelled at or ignored. Seriously.

    No matter what we call it, NON physical abuse is so subjective that every divorcing women can claim it. Yes yes there is real verbal and emotional abuse, the moniker should be reserved for extremes, not for escalated arguments.

  6. Oh….also….what more emotional abuse is there than frivorce? A man wakes one day and is relocated to his car with a suitcase. The kids are standing in their doorways while mommy’s friend or sister pats their backs and mommy stands, arms crossed glaring as bad dad is jettisoned. Bad dad then lives in a puddle of his own mucus for weeks.

    Ever seen it? If not, you need to. Its why God Hates Divorce folks…..the hurt that occurs is like no other, and its perpetrated in the name of fickle haaaaapiness.

  7. Unless one or other party to the marriage genuinely changes irrevocably after the wedding, this should not be a factor in divorce. Using a thorough pre-marital inventory like prepare-enrich or FOCCUS, and taking sufficient time to work through the answers with a trained marriage mentor, these problems should be brought to light and lead to either the marriage being called off – painful but less so than divorce – or the issues being resolved before the marriage takes place. How many times have we been told, ‘Marry in haste, repent at leisure.’ Such procedures would identify any latent tendency to abuse/narcissism before it could have any adverse effect on a marriage.

    To be honest, I believe that to go through such a procedure seriously, before marriage, would put most hypergamous women off marrying. I wish that the clergyman who married me had gone through such a procedure before the ceremony. It would also highlight the hypergamous trait that uses emotional abuse as an excuse in the woman and be an early warning system for the man.

  8. I am very skeptical of claims of emotional abuse. Not that it doesn’t happen, but it’s too subjective and is itself open to be abused in its use.

    Happy New Year, guys!

  9. Now, did I say “first intelligent thing to do”? I believe what I wrote is quoted by you. However I think that I should elaborate in this case.

    I think that where honest attempts at compromise, communication, and seeking clarity about issues have failed, where trying to make a better effort in the relationship have failed, that it is possible that you are dealing with a selfish, cruel or uncaring person. It happens. In a way I think that it is unfortunate that this is called emotional abuse so casually, because genuine emotional abuse–which rarely seems to exist without overt obvious bad behaviour–gets mixed up with it.

    I think one problem we have with this is the watering down of language. When I say ‘cruel’ for example I don’t mean ‘occasionally mean spirited, irritable or
    argumentative’. I mean someone who actually is cruel–vindictive, trying to weaken you so that they can attack you. in cases like this physical abuse often will follow. So please understand–I’m not just talking about feeling a sense of emotional distance or not getting along well.

  10. I know that you didn’t mean the easy rush to extreme that I suggested. You are correct, the language has languished to the point of meaningless.

    Busted, I did embellish…..sorry ’bout that. I dislike that, my bad

  11. And to you Elspeth. I wish some reasonable Christian women would comment on this issue. (like you…..chuckle, it seemed like I was suggesting something else)

  12. the term ’emotional abuse’ is overused and a bit obfuscatory because it refers to something that, in one sense, isn’t “real.” That is not to say that is doesn’t exist; quite clearly it does. But because it is located in the realm of feeling, and feelings are not tangible except to the person feeling them. Therefore the door is opened for anything that makes the person feel badly to be termed abuse. It is an infinitely elastic definition and hence it’s overuse.

    In any event, it is likely that men are more often the ‘victims’ of such abuse than are women since, as a practical matter, women do not have the physical means to enact substantial violence (generally speaking of course), but are usually quite adept at wielding emotional weaponry. We all know of the quite vicious ways girls can tear down other women to the point of even making them contemplate suicide — all without raising a hand to harm them physically. I suspect that a great deal of this kind of berating goes on in marriage where a women controls and dominates a man using her words and emotionally controlling behaviour. Such abuse doesn’t require a physical size differential in order to perpetrate, so a quite small woman can abuse a quite big man. It is made all the worse since no one would even believe that such abuse is possible and would quite probably lay blame on the bigger man for any problems that occur. This is not to say that there isn’t physical abuse present in such cases. It is just that the occasional slap, pinch or punch isn’t really needed so much to establish dominance of the woman over the man than it is to demonstrate that it already is present.

    In such cases both the secular social systems and the church are utterly ill equipped to do anything at all, and in fact in almost every case would make things worse by assuming either direct male guilt (he’s really the abusive one) or male guilt by default (he’s not enough of a man to deal with the situation; he should ‘man up’)

  13. I do not feel like doing the google work, but a few years back there either was a law passed, or proposed, in France, which codified emotional abuse as criminal. Not sure how serious a crime but it was actionable, I believe a call to cops was even in order.

    Shockingly (not) the discovery was this new crime was going to, or did find females as perps, I don’t know if they were the more frequent, or just too frequent to be tolerated as being law breakers….after all this was made to fix MEN. The whole thing, i believe, was either canceled or not passed.

    I believe you are correct that emotional abuse is perpetrated far more, and far more insidiously by women. In fact there are days/weeks when most married men would be considered under emotional abuse. It gets more complicated because someone raises intent with regard to any form of abuse. And she may not intend to be applying a level of negative pressure that would be considered abuse, but she cannot help it it seems. Controlling manipulative behavior is necessarily abuse if you believe what you read on these silly lists of ways to spot abuse.

    The blog I linked to in the previous post I made about apocalyptic fiction has a post on it that lists off a bunch of things that are abusive. Its crazy making, some of the things mentioned.

    Finally, and again too lazy to google for citation, I can tell you unequivocally that in 2004, in Texas Family Law, it laid out a list of factors to consider when splitting assets in divorce. Ostensibly a 50/50 state, they can skew to 60/40 pretty quick. On the list was “The allegation of verbal abuse”……yep, the ALLEGATION. So that’s not an incentive?

    On Christian Forums this debate raged. Usually some woman would write a screed about how her husband is neglecting her. If she didn’t mention abuse, within 5 posts someone would TELL her she has to know she is being abused. I would ask why is that important? Why is it not enough she laid out her complaints, the things making her unhappy, and if the man is doing some of the things then ok, lets talk about that, lets see if we can help. How is it helpful to make sure she knows she is abused?

    There is a rather prominent and well accepted female manosphere blogger who has claimed abuse, it would be fascinating to hear her take on this but its not my intent to out anyone.

  14. No thank you. One thing I can say quite unequivocally is that we have heard more than enough from women. It’s not good for us, and it is worse for them.

  15. The whole emotional abuse thing becomes even more subjective when neglect gets lumped in with it. The term abuse and neglect is so broad and so subjective as to be utterly and completely meaningless. As relates to reason to divorce, I think it’s pretty clear in Scripture that divorce is a very bad thing. As such, one would think that the criteria for a divorce being Biblical would be clear and as completely un-subjective as possible. I’ll certainly grant that emotional abuse can be as bad as or maybe even worse in some cases than physical abuse but that doesn’t change the fact that neither of them are objective enough to be Biblical grounds for divorce. Certainly there are cases where one can objectively say “that’s abuse”. But when we have checklists out there that suggest that a single incident of a raised voice is abuse, there’s no way that the definition of abuse has any meaning at all when it comes to being Biblical reason to divorce.

  16. This whole emotion abuse things is grounds for divorce by Feminists sickens me. I’ve been reading up on divorce from the bible perspective which I know no one here wants to here at the moment. So knowing what I know and I have to say that emotional abuse being grounds for divorce is just a failure of communication of the one stating emotional abuse. I’ll end it there before I go on and on about it.

  17. I don’t think anyone with an open mind to you saying you consulted the bible would be an issue,if it is to some then they are not hearing most the population in one way or another.
    I’m 44 year old male that has been in a very roller coaster relationship with a PTSD/BPD woman,and yes I see them as the same thang,one is excepted by the medical world and one is not ,anyway at early age of two until 4 years old I was a play thing for 3 teenage babysitters and I did not remember this until I was 38.
    Now I don’t need to tell you the inpact that had on me,but I can ask you this,where would you go if this realization hit you,your 38 ,male,mild mannered,has learned to put aside his ego and admit he is wrong,well I will tell you,no where,see I learned from that exspirience that it was my fault,I must of did something to cause it,so I became a people pleaser,and very suseptical to woman needing to be saved,I was easily swayed I am a strong man,6’3′ 220 lbs,signed to play pro baseball at 18 and tore my arm to shreds the same week.
    any way i drove truck with a bunch of (drive by egoe’s) so talking to them….ha ,I would get oh you poor thing,woman shy away from the subject and some even say “score one for the ladies”!,did it make me bitter,what do you think? I was trying to face what happened,I found no help so I looked them up,yes I remembered the last name”beegle” I seen the 3 sisters,older medical issues wheelchairs,I seen that and was able to just forgive them,but my fight to deal with it goes on,they could do nothing for me,nor did I exspect them to,the pieces that are suppost to be my self worth have been missing all these years and yet I tried so hard to do everything I could to make her happy,and I was thrown out with my things and told so over email,I still wanted to say if only”I”,but thats just not fitting any more,now Im really lost ,old pattern don’t fit and there is no new.
    Did she do me a favor no! she took everything she said was good in me and proved she to lied to me and placed me right back at age two and now your 44,hmmmm do I hate woman ?no,I hate what I have become because of them.

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