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 But He Never Hit Her -

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PostSubject: But He Never Hit Her -    Fri 01 Jun 2012, 12:05 pm

My sister shared this with me and I thought I would share it with all
of you.

But He Never Hit Her: An Anonymous Guest Post

So many people think that abuse is hitting. I thought so growing up. Now I know better. It is one form of abuse, but not the only one. For years, I watched and listened as my dad abused my mom without ever laying a hand on her. He never cussed her out. Even if I had understood the concept of verbal abuse, I probably would have said what he did wasn't *that* bad.

Now I see that he didn't need to do that. He held her hostage emotionally, spiritually, mentally and financially to such an extent that he never needed to cross those tangible lines of physical violence. He controlled her in other ways. His put downs and sarcastic barbs, his raging silences and a host of other tactics battered her spirit without the discomfort he would have experienced from bruising her body.

She walked on eggshells all the time, fearful of failing him yet again and triggering another freezing withdrawal or scornful tirade. He talked and talked and talked until she would have given in on just about anything. Even though he was the one in control of the finances, it was always her fault that there was never enough money for her needs--those always had to be put off just a little longer. But he still got his computer stuff.

It wasn't bad all the time, though. There were enough good moments to make her feel crazy. Maybe it really was her fault. It had to be. He wasn't a bad person--in fact, he had the respect of the people around him who were convinced that he was a wonderful, Godly man. If only she could just try a little harder and not set him off with her stupidity, her slovenliness, and all the ways she hurt his feelings.

The good times would last just long enough to convince her that it really was getting better. The previous explosion was a low point, but she was probably exaggerating it a little, and anyway, he wasn't going to do it again. We would all hold our breaths for a few days, and then, just as we started to relax, something triggered him again. It was enough to give us mental and emotional whiplash.

That is the lesson I learned of what marriage looked like. And that is the filter through which I interpreted my own husband's actions, even when his motives were entirely different. I took in my dad's control tactics as the way to "win", but at the same time learned to feel helpless like my mother, because that is what I saw and felt then. Those lessons are hard to unlearn.

It could have been worse. I know that, for both her and for me. I didn't repeat the cycle of marrying an abuser. But my mind was still locked into playing out some of the same scenarios. To ascribing the same motives to my husband, and of myself alternating between the roles of aggressor and victim. I've spoken with the same contemptuous tone of voice that my father used. I've reenacted her passivity. Most of all, I've come to the realization that I have no idea what a healthy marriage looks like. I haven't spent enough time around one.

So now I'm trying to figure out how to teach my daughter differently. How do I model a healthy marriage? How do I help her to know what an abuser looks like? How do I navigate relationships with my parents now when the abuse continues unacknowledged?

No, he never hit her. But the scars are still there, for all of us.

*************************
I received this post from Mary and I think it is so very powerful. Particularly in Christian circles, there is a tragic history of dismissing and downplaying abuse. Just because there are no physical marks doesn't mean that it isn't abuse. Thank you for sharing, Mary. I am praying for you and your family.


http://dulcefamily.blogspot.com/2012/05/but-he-never-hit-her-anonymous-guest.html
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http://amandamariewescott.blogspot.com/
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PostSubject: Re: But He Never Hit Her -    Fri 01 Jun 2012, 5:07 pm

Yep, that's my father........................... Sad Mad
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