Friday

In Denial, Isolated - When the Abused Claims It's Not What You Think

She doesn't believe that she is being abused because it doesn't feel like it, "Isn't abuse painful, ugly, and crazy?  Not me," she thinks.  "So what that he is controlling sometimes and big deal he has a personality disorder, I love him."  But what if this victim's denial is affecting others around her?  What if the pain of her abusive situation has somehow skipped over her and onto those who love her, what then? 

Abuse is abuse whether it looks or feels painful or not.  A man who isolates a woman from her sons, daughters and other relatives and friends is hurting her whether she feels the anguish or not.  She most likely convinced herself that all is okay just to tolerate being in a relationship with her abuser.  A woman who has been controlled for far too many years to count has a mind that tends to go crazy at times, whether she feels it or not, just like her controller.  The two battle silently, verbally or physically.  She does little things to make her abuser feel uncomfortable, but not nearly enough to free herself emotionally, spiritually or physically from him.  He knows this and so he continues to take advantage of his seat on the throne in her life that she created for him.  

To those who know her well, the victim has to paint a picture of everyone she meets as being "difficult, weird...I just can't get along with people."  Rather than admit that she has made a choice not to get along with people to avoid feeling the hurt of isolation.  Her partner doesn't like her associating with others; therefore to appease him, she reasons, "I'm okay."  When the world around her can see, she is not.  Making anyone the center of your world day after day is not healthy. What's worse is one tends to idolize her abuser and put him above her Creator--this is a sin. 

Of course, a victim will have a negative view of others especially those who speak truth and don't go along with her programming and don't like her abuser.  She will have a problem with anyone who comes in contact with her abuser, because he chooses not to see the good in anyone--her family, friends, and others.  Whatever her abuser's weakness/sickness/issue, it becomes hers too in her effort to keep the peace, or in other words, avoid a verbal, non-verbal or physical assault on her.  She will not hold her abuser accountable to negative things he does to her and others, but with people outside of her relationship she is very judgmental.  

The example she has set for sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, friends, and others around her is just as sick as the mess she has permitted for far too long!  If these people value her lifestyle, then more than likely they will emulate it.

After awhile family and friends get use to her statements of denial, isolation, and other burdens her controlling husband/boyfriend/partner has laid on her.  Some tolerate her stories as to why she couldn't do XYZ or why she doesn't say ABC to her partner.  They even accept the presence of her handler just so that they can see their beloved relative, but it hurts!  The thoughts of wanting to harm her control freak partner happens with some family members.  It is quite natural to want to avenge a love one, but even if done, the victim in denial will only defend her abuser until she chooses to set her mind free from him.  Unfortunately, she stays away from certain family members who want to protect her. 

It is a painful experience to watch a mother/grandmother/aunt/cousin/sister/daughter/friend/co-worker go through denial and isolation with a controlling partner.  The victim is like a bird in a cage, so grateful for a place to stay and food to eat that when the cage door is open, she refuses to fly out of it!  If anything, she closes the door--locking her mind, body and spirit up while making excuses for the verbal, non-verbal and/or physical abuse.

I have personally watched people control others in addition to being controlled over the years by so-called well-meaning loved ones, and I can tell you that you spend much time ignoring the signs.  You see the writing on the wall, but you choose to ignore it, rather you cover it up, or attempt to wash it away.  Yet, the demeaning behavior of others continue to show up until you are strong enough to take a stand.  Sometimes you are able to talk yourself into not believing what you are experiencing.  Other times, you see what is happening attempt to fix the situation only to find yourself caught up again in yet another web of drama with someone else or a group. The kind of people who believe they have your best interest in mind, yet all the while you are being manipulated into making the rich richer, the strong man stronger, and so on.

Maybe someone reading this is under the impression that they aren't experiencing any abuse from anyone.  They may falsely believe that their situation is healthy and functional, but upon closer examination, you realize that it is not.  It takes years for some to realize what true freedom is.  You can't find it in any relationship, money, new place, relocation, or  anything else; instead it comes from knowing the truth about yourself and choosing to make a difference in your own life, rather than just pretending all is good when it is obviously not.  The sick can't help the sick.  The controlled can't help the controlled.  The blind can't lead the blind.

Just because something doesn't feel like it hurts, doesn't mean that it's okay.

Nicholl McGuire is the author of not only Laboring to Love Myself, but Know Your Enemy: The Christian's Critic as well.

 

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God didn't put you with an abusive mate. Your flesh did.

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