Friends of ours looked great at church and when meeting them informally. Our perception of this couple was shattered one evening when we were invited to supper at their home. Now wouldn’t you think that people would care enough not to tarnish their image in front of friends? Not so! Before we got very far into the meal the husband started taunting his wife abusively. The abuse increased to the point that we didn’t know where to look. We almost had to pinch ourselves to make sure this wasn’t a nightmare. Their young children sat silent and bewildered at the table. If this was the sort of behavior when visitors were around, we wondered what it was like normally?
We were so embarrassed we decided we needed to get out of their home quickly so we made our excuses and left. We were shell-shocked! A few days later the wife called and asked us if we could take her and the children to the railway station to get away from their abusive husband and father. The marriage soon broke up and both moved on with their own lives.
Knowing what we do now, we know that this husband was the son of a construction mogul. He’d been spoiled all his life and had never been required to take personal responsibility for his own words and actions.
Another couple with teenage children we knew looked the well-balanced and happy family at church, but behind closed doors there were two types of dysfunction - the tyrant and the indulgent parent. Both tyranny and indulgence are forms of abuse. One was a complete controller and the other went completely the other way, we thought, in an effort to soften the abuse of the other. The result? The kids didn't know where they stood. Even after counseling from us the abuse continued. Tyranny wears no smile. The tyrant uses deception to hide their fetish to be in control. Tyranny has an end product for those in the family…rebellion and divorce.
WHAT DOES THIS SORT OF ABUSE CAUSE?1. Hopes and dreams are dashed.
2. Trust becomes non-existent.
3. Emotional development is arrested. Minds are scared and scarred by the harsh, thoughtless
words and actions being hurled around.
4. Self-esteem is shattered and the abused often believe they must be the cause of the problems.
5. Isolation occurs when outsiders are discouraged from visiting or feel too uncomfortable doing so.
6. Family members are often sworn to secrecy about what is happening within the home.
7. Those who are abused become withdrawn and, as soon as they can, flee the coup.
8. Children often fail at school because they are so stressed about their home situation. They are
in survival mode much of the time.
9. This poor role-modeling causes some children to believe that it is OK to treat others this way.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP1. If you or your children feel unsafe at home, get professional help.
2. If you feel frustrated and cannot control your negative emotions, seek professional help.
Hurting those you love by being abusive is totally unacceptable. Angry words are never forgotten. Children should never be placed in a situation where they have no way of avoiding abusive situations.
Sticks and stones DO break our bones and names DO hurt us.