The King's Gardeners Ministries

Reverend S. L. Gardner

Spokane Valley, Washington U.S.

 

- The Issue of Abuse -

- The Wounds of Spouse Abuse -

Whether subtle or blatant, emotional or physical, spouse abuse pierces the body and soul of a woman. While there are varying degrees of damage, all forms of abuse inflict painful wounds.

Visible Wounds. Countless wives have sought medical attention for the physical trauma they have received at the hands of an enraged, out-of-control husband. These include bruises, scrapes, scratches, cuts, internal injuries, and broken bones. Others have quietly endured the pain of a bloodied nose or a sprained neck or shoulder.

Invisible Wounds. Many women claim that the wounds that go unseen hurt the most. These involve the sting of betrayal, feelings of powerlessness, a loss of freedom, and a shredding of dignity. While there is much overlap among the four, it's helpful to examine each one separately.

The Sting Of Betrayal. An abused spouse is disillusioned. The marriage relationship is a far cry from what she expected it to be. One abused wife tearfully recalled her dream of being happily married to a man who truly loved and cherished her. Though there may have been a few occasions before their marriage when her husband's anger was explosive and way out of proportion, she never dreamed it would be directed toward her to such an extreme. In the early stages of their relationship, the husband often smothers a wife with kindness. His apparent love and concern for her is what she finds so attractive. Hidden under his cloak of charm and gentleness, however, is a scheme to possess and control her.

Eventually her dreams are shattered as she realizes that she's married to a possessive, controlling man. She feels betrayed, and the sting of betrayal deepens as her husband repeatedly breaks his promise to stop the abuse. As a result, abused wives often find it difficult to trust people--even individuals who could help.

Feelings Of Powerlessness. A husband's superior physical strength and intimidating threats, or cultural and religious expectations, or economic restrictions leave an abused wife with the feeling that she is unable to stop the abuse. Her sense of powerlessness intensifies as she begins to recognize that she can't prevent or end the damage and pain the abuse has caused her and her children. Over time, an abused wife begins to believe that the abuse is somehow her fault. She doubts herself as a wife, housekeeper, mother, and lover.

Although she may excel at a job with many important responsibilities, she does not feel competent in her home. After an abusive incident, one woman said, "If only I wouldn't have asked him to look at the car when it was acting up. Then maybe he wouldn't have slammed me against the wall."

Loss Of Freedom. An abusive marriage is earmarked by a decrease of freedom on the part of a wife. Her husband may limit her social life, tell her whom she can be friends with, or impose strict financial restraints. In extreme cases, a wife must get "permission" before doing anything out of her normal daily routine. In an attempt to control his wife and keep the abuse silent, the husband often makes all of her major decisions. In any event, the wife begins to feel as if she has no life of her own. She feels as though she has no voice to speak; and if she did speak, no one would pay any attention.

Shredding Of Dignity. None of us can ever fully lose our dignity, though there are times we may feel like we have. Yet a person's dignity can be seriously attacked. An abused wife has her dignity assaulted on a regular basis. She's constantly reminded that she can't think for herself. She's often treated like an inanimate object that is used and discarded like an empty pop can. She's treated as if she has no legitimate feelings, thoughts, or desires. Many times she feels as if she has "ceased to exist as a person." This sometimes leads to a "hollow" appearance in which she seems emotionally barren.

Authors Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson are licensed counselors in Michigan and work in the RBC biblical correspondence department.

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The King's Gardeners Ministries is based in Washington State U.S. with all proper Corporate Reports on file with the Secretary of State for Washington U.S. Reverend S. L. Gardner President and CEC.

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