If you are unfamiliar with domestic abuse, you may have the misconception that domestic abuse only happens when one person physically hits or uses a weapon against another person. That is only one type of abuse. The reality is that there are several different types of abuse: emotional and verbal abuse, financial abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and even spiritual abuse.
EMOTIONAL AND VERBAL ABUSE IS PRESENT IN 100% OF ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS. https://centerforfinancialsecurity.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/adams2011.pdf This is the most basic form of abuse. All forms of abuse are designed at their core to hurt another person emotionally and psychologically. Emotional and verbal abuse is used to control and emotionally destroy a spouse or intimate partner by humiliation, ostracism, cruelty, raging, making her think she is crazy, turning her children and friends against her. Scars are internal, devastating, and wounding to the spirit. While most physical abuse eventually heals, the emotional scars left behind can take a lifetime to heal.
When we read the Bible through the lens of domestic abuse, we find that there are numerous references to abuse. Below are just a few examples of emotional and verbal abuse, and some Biblical references for many of them.
- name calling,
- raging (An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. Prov. 29:22. One of the acts of the flesh is fits of rage. Gal. 5:19-21),
- lying and deceit (2 Tim. 3:1-8, Prov. 6:16-19),
- gaslighting (doing or saying something very harmful and then denying that it ever happened) (the first incident of gaslighting in the Bible was when Satan, disguised as a snake, questioned Eve, deceived her, and caused her to doubt what she believed to be true (Gen. 3:1-5)),
- the silent treatment,
- telling a wife or children they are stupid, worthless, a whore, etc.
- Parental alienation: telling their children that their mother is worthless, calling her names, raging, etc in front of the children, telling the children lies to make them turn against their mother (your mother is stealing your college funds, your mother left because she had an affair, your mother abandoned you, etc)
- throwing away or taking away treasured items (In 1 Kings 21 Jezebel kills a neighbor and takes his land from him and gives it to her husband.),
- threatening adverse consequences if she doesn’t do what he wants: threats of divorce or affairs, to sell the house, to kill her, to get custody of the kids if she leaves, to leave her penniless if she leaves,
- threatening to harm himself if she leaves,
- stalking (as Saul stalked David),
- jealousy (Gal. 5:19-21),
- triangulation and divisions (Gal. 5:19-21; Prov. 6:16-19),
- slander (2 Tim 3:1-7),
- projecting: accusing the victim of the very things they themselves are most guilty of (affairs, being manipulative, being mean, being abusive, stealing/hiding money, etc) ( for example, Athaliah, daughter of Jezebel, killed her grandchildren, put herself on the throne, and cried “treason” when one surviving grandchild was crowned king. 2 Kings 11:1-14)
- stalking, tracking, recording, using technology against them,
- blaming others for things that go wrong and taking no responsibility for their wrongful actions (see Judges 19, 20 when a Levite gave his concubine to an angry crowd to be gang-raped, and then blamed the town, took no responsibility, and started a war when she was gang-raped and died),
- controlling her – where she goes, who she talks to or sees, what she wears, what she buys, etc. and checking up on her
- twisting words
- unable to please or satisfy (Matt. 11:17)
- degrading personal remarks, insults, put-downs (2 Tim 3:1-7),
- hostile tone of voice.
There are limitless ways to emotionally hurt someone, and this type of abuse is no less harmful than other types of abuse. The old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a lie we tell ourselves. The truth is that words do hurt us, especially when we believe them.
Emotional And Verbal Abuse is an Attack by the Enemy
When properly perceived, emotional and verbal abuse in marriage is an attempt by the Enemy to destroy God’s daughters using the Enemy’s sons. We know that the Enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy (Matt. 10:10). That is his mission statement. And there’s nothing he wants to steal, kill and destroy more than families, women of faith, and children. And he knows there’s no more effective way than using abusive husbands and fathers to complete the task. And after the Enemy is finished, he will also destroy the abuser. An abuser is so deceived by the Enemy and so full of pride that has no idea that the Enemy is using him to destroy his wife, his family, all good gifts in his life, and eventually himself. If the Enemy can’t destroy God’s daughters, he at least tries to make us completely ineffective Christians by having us believe lies that we are worthless and unlovable.
Dearly loved daughter of the King of Kings, if you have heard these kinds of words, know that these are from the Enemy, not God. You need to know that your Papa God wants to heal your heart. Healing begins when we do two things. First, we must remove ourselves from the evil in our lives (i.e. the abuser). God says “have nothing to do with them!” (2 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 Cor 5; 2 Cor 6:14-17; Matt 18:15-17; Titus 3:10). Goodness cannot live with evil.
Second, we must reject the lies that the Enemy has told us – through an abusive husband or father, through society, through others, or even by invading our thoughts – and replace them with the Truth of God. God’s Truth tells us that He loves us (John 3:16), we are his beloved daughters (1 John 3:1), He sings songs over us (Zeph 3:17), He delights in us (Zeph 3:17), He fights for us (Isaiah 63:1-5), He sends his angel armies to protect us when we call (2 Kings 6), He is always with us (Psalm 139:5-10), He planned for us before the beginning of time (Psalm 139: 15-16), He made us wondrously and wonderfully (Psalm 139:13-14), we are always on His mind (Psalm 139:17-18), His banner over us is love (Song of Songs 2:4), and that He is just plain crazy, head-over-heels in love with us! (See Song of Songs, a love story about God and his cherished people).
God’s Truth tells us that the fear we have is from the Enemy, not God, because God gives us the spirit of power, boldness, love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Healing takes time, but it is so worth the effort. When your healing is complete, you, precious daughter, will know beyond a shadow of a doubt how precious you are, and how beloved you are.