I should not have been abused.
You are a manipulative, shallow, impulsive, jealous, deceitful, angry, heartless, violent narcissist.
I trusted you, and you abused my trust.
I didn’t realize I was stepping down into a dark and cruel nightmare, driven by your deception, contempt, and power addiction. If I would have known, I wouldn’t have endangered myself and my children by connecting with you.
I should not have had my dignity, my safety, my security, peace, joy, reputation, and trust compromised, violated, turned inside out, and used against me. You almost stole my future, my destiny.
I was not crazy and I’m still not crazy. Something horrible, not normal, was happening to me.
I was being harassed. Threatened. Intimidated. Lied to. Lied about. Hated and dismissed.
You woke me up at all hours of the night to horrible situations: sleep deprivation, yelling, screaming, being beaten, being stabbed or kicked out of bed or thrown against walls.
You moved my belongings and lied about why my possessions were missing.
You damaged my belongings and tried to convince me I deserved it.
My children were lied to about who I was. They were also threatened, harassed, and hit.
My pets disappeared or were killed.
You alienated me from my family and friends with lies, lies, and more lies.
Some of us went into this abusive relationship with our eyes wide open, knowing partially what we were walking into, but hoping that we could change you.
Or we were so needy that we clung to the only relationship we knew, even if it was negative, hateful, or violent. We were getting attention, although it was negative attention.
We didn’t know there was a different life of freedom available to us.
You abusers don’t free your victims willingly. You like the power of secrets. You just like power.
We’re onto you now. We’re over it.
We’re gone and we’re never coming back.
Two weeks ago, I posted a cluster of memes on my blog’s FB page highlighting the definition of gaslighting and describing the attitudes and behaviors of abusive people. I got a firestorm of responses from Christian singles reporting that they had gone through exactly what was described.
I knew then that the next two blogs were going to be dedicated to you, to us, the victims of such despicable behavior.
Most, but not all, of the responses were from women. But men aren’t the only offenders. Women, especially with a spirit of Jezebel, can also be very abusive (http://www.bible-knowledge.com/the-jezebel-spirit-and-how-it-operates/ ).
Entities and groups (eg. families, neighborhoods, employers, churches, law enforcement, government agencies) can also be very abusive.
So. You and I have been hurt, hated, betrayed, beaten, abused, slandered, deceived, and gaslighted.
If you’ve never heard the term gaslight, it is subtle but intense psychological abuse in which the abuser manipulates the environment to make the victim doubt his or her own judgment and sanity. It comes from a 1938 stage play, Gas Light, which was later made into a movie starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman.
In Gas Light, the lead character, Gregory, moves his new bride, Paula, into her late aunt’s home where she was murdered years ago over hidden family jewels that the thief never found. Gregory turned out to be the thief, but she didn’t learn this until the end. Meanwhile, he tried to have her declared mentally unfit so he could have her committed and he could have the freedom to scour the house for those family jewels. He systematically tried to drive his wife insane by manipulating their environment, then telling her that she was imagining things or that she was mistaken. He put the house’s gas lights on a dimmer that he used to make them flicker. When Paula pointed out that the lights were flickering, he denied it, telling her she was imagining it.
Many of you described your ex- using the tactics of a gaslighter. If you’re not sure what their tactics are, click here for a list of your symptoms and theirs: http://www.thehotline.org/2014/05/what-is-gaslighting/
“Regular” domestic violence is just as bad. In DV, there is a pattern of assault, isolation, and intimidation perpetrated on the victim to keep the balance of power firmly in the hands of the abuser. It includes the entire spectrum of physical, psychological, and financial abuse on an intimate partner. Check out the articles in my reference section to see signs and symptoms of DV.
It took a long time for some of us to escape, but escape, we did.
Others are working toward full freedom.
Either way, you, my fighting friend, are more than a survivor.
The Lord called you out of the darkness, and here you are.
Let’s talk about maintenance and self-care after extricating yourself from your abuser in next week’s blog.
Allstate Foundation Purple Purse. 11 Facts That Show How Widespread Domestic Violence Is. Article for Buzzfeed website 10/23/2014. https://www.buzzfeed.com/allstatefoundation/facts-that-show-how-widespread-domestic-violence-is?utm_term=.alvea28LB#.dv88d1bpr accessed 7/6/17
Doll, Anne B. Domestic Violence in the Church. Article for the Gordon-Conwell Faculty Blog 10/17/2016. http://www.gordonconwell.edu/2016/10/Domestic-Violence-In-The-Church.cfm accessed 7/6/17.
The Domestic Violence Hotline blog. What is Gaslighting? Article for the hotline.org 5/29/2014. http://www.thehotline.org/2014/05/what-is-gaslighting/ accessed 7/6/17
Dryden-Edwards MD, Roxanne. Domestic Violence series for emedicinehealth.com 10/02/2015. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/domestic_violence/article_em.htm accessed 7/6/17
Futures Without Violence. Perpetrator Risk Factor for Violence Against Women (pdf). https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/userfiles/file/Perpetrator%20Risk%20Factors%20Fact%20Sheet%202013.pdf accessed 7/7/17
Holcomb, Lindsey. The Church and Women at Risk. Article for the Gospel Coalition website 10/20/2014. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-church-and-women-at-risk accessed 7/6/17
Ilrctbay website. Characteristics of Abusers. http://www.ilrctbay.com/upload/custom/abuse/content/abusers.htm accessed 7/7/17
Tracy, Natasha. Gaslighting Definition, Techniques, and Being Gaslighted. Article for Healthyplace.com 5/26/2016. https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/gaslighting-definition-techniques-and-being-gaslighted/ accessed 7/6/17