"...Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered..."
~ 1 Peter 3:7
The current political climate has brought a fever of concern over women's rights and violations, with outraged reactions we haven't seen since the 1970s. At the same time, books touting dystopian nightmares have reemerged, such as The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.
The Handmaid's Tale (which is also an award-winning Hulu series), is the story of women stripped of their freedom and identities for the sole purpose of procreation. I'm struck that so many women with controlling partners resemble the handmaids' stories to some extent. I believe most of us don't fully realize the deep personal losses endured by women in intimate relationships with partners whose intent is to have power and control over them. Although progress has been made, sexism has not gone away in the public arena.
Look, it clear that our culture places men in positions of power, but not all men use this positioning against their intimate partner. Controlling partners use accepted societal norms to justify and attain power over a girlfriend or spouse.
While each woman experiences a unique ordeal, together they tell the same saga: a slow, insidious, and nearly invisible condition of coercion entraps a woman within her most intimate relationship. According to psychologists, this is so well-hidden this entrapment can go undetected even by the woman herself. The deceptive twist is that the person from whom she might also receive care and kindness creates conditions that slowly diminish her spirit and sense of who she is. How tragic is that?
A controlling partner takes control by using psychological abuse tactics that coerce and persuade to his way of thinking. In this book fascinating book I saw online a few years ago: "Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control", Kathleen Taylor (2004) explains that when an individual uses abusive tactics within a basic social structure, such as a couple or a family, it is possible to gain power over another human being. When this occurs, it is one of the most intense and damaging experiences for those involved.
If you are undergoing psychological abuse, I urge you to take a stand. You are a valuable woman. You are God's daughter and precious in His sight. Don't allow yourself to be emotionally pummeled. You will slowly be destroyed. That is NOT God's plan for you. In fact, God instructs us to guard our hearts in Proverbs 4:23...."Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of lifel" If you are suffering this kind of abuse, please talk to your pastor or a certified counselor. Your husband/boyfriend may be upset, but you must protect your heart. By the way, if you fear for your physical safety as a result of revealing the emotional abuse, then take protective measures such as moving to a friend's home or a domestic violence shelter while you work through the issues with your husband or boyfriend.
Father, You know me better than I know myself and I need Your healing touch on my life today. You know all about the emotional pain that I have been going through – and oh Lord, I need You Lord to come into my heart and to bind up the brokenness within me. I feel that I have been battered and bruised emotionally and am almost gasping for breath, due to the pain that has been stabbing my heart.
Lord You know that I have no one in whom I can confide – because no one really understands the searing wounds that have shattered inside me and the deep anguish I am going through. Oh Lord, I come to You to heal my emotions - heal my wounded heart, I pray, – heal the anguish that is deep inside.
Lord, flood every corner of my being with Your soothing balm and Your healing love - and root out I pray, all the negative emotions that are bubbling inside me, like a smouldering volcano. Release into the aching void within - Your love and Your peace, Your hope and Your gracious presence and gently carry me as a kindly Shepherd would carry a frightened, little wounded lamb. Lord I am trusting in You, because I know that You alone can be trusted,
Be encouraged and stay strong; be blessed and be a blessing to others.
Peace, Love & Joy
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