*NOTE* All scripture quotations taken from The Scriptures 1998+ unless otherwise noted.
Characteristics of an Abuser
Abusers Consistently and Repeatedly Make Mean Jokes, and Criticize and Judge You Negatively
If the person you love or live with does these things, it’s time to leave them:
Keeps track of what you are doing all the time and criticizes you for little things.
Hits you or threatens to hit you.
Blows up in anger sometimes
Tend to be moody and unpredictable
They claim you deserve a slap
Weapons, threatening to use a frying pan to hit you, etc.
Humiliates you to others
Nitpicks and watches you closely
An abusive partner will find multiple opportunities to point out what you are doing wrong – as a way to gain a sense of power over you.
Abusers make you doubt yourself and bring confusion.
Warning signs: Do you feel that the person treats you like a child? Do they constantly correct or chastise you because your behavior is “inappropriate?” Do they treat you as though you are inferior to them? Do they make you feel as though they are always right? Do they remind you of your shortcomings? Do they give disapproving, dismissive, contemptuous, or condescending looks, comments, and behavior? Do they make excuses for their behavior or tend to blame others or circumstances for their mistakes? Do they not protect your personal boundaries?
Abusive people want all of the power and control in the relationship and will focus on maintaining that imbalance, even if it means continuing unhealthy and hurtful behavior patterns.
While everyone’s experience of an unhealthy or abusive relationship will be different, there are some common patterns of controlling behavior and abuse that can surface. Keep in mind that Elohim (God) is not the author of confusion. There is a very powerful saying that the first time you get abused you are a victim. But the second time, you are an accomplice. The person who punches you or threatens you does not love you. Get a hold of that.
The abuser projects their words, attitudes or actions onto an unsuspecting victim usually because they themselves have not dealt with childhood wounds that are now causing them to harm others. They continue to have one failed relationship after another. Additionally, if they use the “silent treatment” to punish you after a fight, or for saying or doing something they don’t approve of, or for no apparent reason at all, then they’re being emotionally abusive.
A violent relationship may not be violent all the time. Sometimes, violent people treat their boyfriends or girlfriends very well. They can be loving and sorry for their violent behavior. This can make it hard to see what’s really happening. There is a strong chance that the violence will get worse, and the relationship more abusive over time. It begins with a small amount of violence, a punch in the leg, threatening to hit with a frying pan, etc.
Emotional abuse can be a sneaky killer of the spirit and worse. Why? Because, if you are like most people, you might be missing the red flags that you are in a relationship with an abuser. Many people don’t figure it out until after marriage and then it opens a whole new can of worms at that point. Learn to see the signs prior to marriage.
Chances are that you don’t want to see these red flags because you so desperately want to believe that your abuser actually loves you, or cares about you or wants the best for you. And slowly, steadily and irreversibly, emotional abuse especially from someone who is supposed to love you will erode your joy and your sense of well being.
When your abuser begins the attack, what is their facial expression? What are they doing with their hands? Do they call to you to go to them, come to you, or just start making a fuss to which you respond in hopes of calming before it gets too bad? Write down as much information as you can about their behaviors and expressions. When you’ve seen enough, it is time to walk away.
Emotional abuse can eventually erode your mental health and cause you to devalue and doubt yourself which makes it easier and more convenient for your abuser to hurt and control you. Even more confusingly, just like victims of emotional abuse aren’t always sure whether they’re being abused or not, emotionally abusive people might not always realize what they’re doing to their partners. But no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to “fix” an emotionally abusive partner; their need to hurt you verbally is much more complex than even they probably realize.
Listen to your feelings and trust them. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Talk to someone who cares about you. Talk to your mom or dad, a family member, a friend or someone in your community like your doctor, your teacher or your local religious leader. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. You are not responsible for somebody else’s violent behavior. Your first responsibility is to yourself.
Walking away from an abuser is the best thing you can do. They may claim that you are hiding, etc. Trying to manipulate you and control. Don’t listen to it. Even the Bible tells us to cut off the false accusers in our life.
“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
2 Timothy 3:3-5
You will not be able to reason with an abusive partner, your best option is to walk away and leave the relationship. Unfortunately, if you think you might be the victim of emotional abuse, it’s quite likely that you are. If the signs of an emotionally abusive relationship exist, get out of that relationship as soon as possible. Even if it means breaking a marriage engagement. Wait, let me reword that, Especially if it means breaking a marriage engagement.