A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

The Sci-Fi Series part 1: You will be assimilated.

“You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” – the Borg. I feel that X wanted to assimilate me. He wanted to “shape” me, he declared. My desire was to have a family that brings glory to God. My boundaries reflected that desire, that hope. I was resistant to certain songs because I found them repulsive. Color Me Bad’s “I want to Sex You Up” is the first one I remember really HATING. And he couldn’t stand for me to have boundaries. Bed time = a boundary that must be broken and was. My moral objections to certain TV shows and music = boundaries that must be broken. Mockery and name calling were his go-to boundary breaking tools. He would insist that I try food and beverage that I didn’t want to. I called him, “food bully.” He wouldn’t stop until I took “just one bite.”

Titus 2:5 AMP To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited).

When I did resist and try to have some boundaries, I felt so very guilty, like I wasn’t adapting and I was therefore causing the word of God to be blasphemed. And boy did he know how to exploit that guilt! It will take me a while to navigate what this should look like. My whole world revolved around him. I took him to work and picked him up. This meant that my day didn’t start until he was ready to go to work and I would often spend 30 minutes or more waiting in a parking lot or garage with my kids while he was “just finishing an email” so we could go home.  And I told myself that I was a good wife because I didn’t complain and I didn’t call him repeatedly. The kids and I found things to do in the car. We (mostly) accepted our fate. “He works hard. He has pressures we can’t begin to understand. This is how he takes care of us” was my self talk.

Of course there was pressure in the bedroom to do things I was uncomfortable with. I was labeled a prude. I was told that he’d be stuck having sex with just me for the rest of his life so I should at least accommodate this little thing so it wouldn’t be such a beating for him to be monogamous. Wow that looks so harsh now. I know that his view of being stuck with me and so I should ___ isn’t at all what God had in mind when he gave us the gift of sex. *

Sense of humor is another area where I feel I was assimilated. Making him laugh bought a reprieve from criticism. It helped him to find value in me somehow. So I looked for funny things to tell him about. He likes things that are off-color and highly inappropriate. He relishes shocking people. If I played along, it seemed to endear me to him. I didn’t realize how much I had been assimilated in this area until we took a trip together after the separation. I noticed how much I was bending my standards of what I thought was acceptable in order to make him laugh. I did NOT like myself when I noticed that. A friend later noted that she and her husband really like me—when I’m not around X. But with him I wasn’t as good a friend.

At first I had no idea how to have fun outside of the sarcasm and shocking mockery I had learned to mine out to amuse X. I decided to refrain from sarcasm, something I’ve loved since at least the fourth grade, and from laughing at or even taking note of inappropriate humor. I was quite concerned that I would live a humorless life without those 2 important tools. That isn’t the case at all! In fact, God has brought me a lovely friend who regularly makes me laugh until I cry. And she’s never once made any jokes that would displease God! I am taking notes. I hope to learn this “new” style of comedy.

I dream of being in a healthy relationship one day where I’m not required to learn to watch The Sopranos, but perhaps because I love someone, I can learn to think golf or fishing shows are interesting. This will be a process.

Did you think you were adapting?

How have you learned a healthy difference between adapting and being assimilated?

***

Posts in this series

Part 1: Is this post.

Part 2: The Wraith

Part 3: Marilyn Munster

Part 4: The Mind Meld

Part 5: Your Jedi Mind Tricks Don’t Work Here

20 Comments

  1. Brenda R

    I am no longer thought to have no sense of humor because I don’t think dirty or racist jokes are amusing. I no longer have to think that all rated R movies are ok and have the tv blaring where there was no escape from the vulgar language. I could escape viewing but not hearing with the exception of when I was forced to sit in the bedroom with him in order to show my love for him. It was more like prison than showing love. He wanted me to do what he wanted, when he wanted. Sex was horrible and painful. If I said he was hurting me, I was never satisfied, I was always complaining. At this point, I could care less if I ever have sex again. I learned to like baseball in order to have something to talk about. I got so tired of him getting angry and screaming at players that didn’t catch the ball every time. He would actually storm around hitting things–it is only a game and was suppose to be for enjoyment. It wasn’t. I do still watch sometimes, but not every game. It was manditory. I had to work around the next game. I am going to see the Tigers play next month with my daughter. Now that will be fun.

    • Laurie

      Great Dr. Who reference.

      Breaking my boundaries: he called it “spontenaety” and I wasn’t enough for him.

      Prude: Yeah, I was called by the theme song of a then-popular commercial: (key music) “Alaska!”

      Some of these things are very difficult to overcome and leave a mark across our lives that lasts. I remember not laughing because that was a cue for him to commence foreplay, no matter who was in the room.

      Its so nice to be free!

  2. King'sDaughter

    Maybe its just me, but I was all too happy to assimilate! I see that now as part of the problem. I wanted to be everything he wanted and he was happy to oblige. I was a happy free spirited girl full of faith and love. Sadly, I didn’t think that was enough (and neither did he) and longed to find my purpose and identity outside of myself (I didn’t know it though).
    That right there was a field ripe for abuse. Part of breaking free is realizing (although I knew) that God made me and LOVES me. I am lovely and loveable apart from what I do! Or that’s what I’m learning anyway…

  3. IamMyBeloved's

    He likes things that are off-color and highly inappropriate. He relishes shocking people. If I played along, it seemed to endear me to him. I didn’t realize how much I had been assimilated in this area until we took a trip together after the separation. I noticed how much I was bending my standards of what I thought was acceptable in order to make him laugh. I did NOT like myself when I noticed that.

    Here is what I would like an answer to, from the people who teach it is better to stay in abuse and win the abuser. What do you think God thinks of His children having to live like the above paragraph? Playing along in the yuk, to keep from being abused or treated like dirt. Assimilating for the sinner. Setting faith aside, just to survive. The problem is, not playing along, only escalates the abuse. “Bending” the standards of our Christ likeness we so long for, and so need, to be able to maintain any sense of hope in God, just to appease the abusive individual, cannot and is not pleasing to God. Is this the pattern God set for marriage? No you say? Then stop calling it marriage. Let’s just try to remember that marriage was created by God, for His people. Anyone can marry, but it was God’s idea, which means it was pure and holy in His creating it. This type of life in marriage, destroys the whole notion of marriage and appears to be satan’s good ol’ counterfeit for the real deal. Saying it is God’s idea, just makes satan smile.

    I think as we all come out of the abuse, we realize all the things we did to keep peace and prevent the abuse. The longer I am away from actually living in it on a day to day basis, the more I see myself return to normal and blossom into the person I always was – a daughter of my Father. I am so glad He rescued me and He is bringing me to see that He understands but disapproves of all the darkness I was forced to live in to survive and He calls me now to just come away with Him and let Him heal me. Feels so good, to just be free to worship Him, speak His Name and talk to Him outloud, read His Word, spend time with Him and love Him openly and freely, anytime I want to. Now that’s my great God, and I am so thankful that He has used all the evil that has come to me, for my good in building an even greater intimacy with Him as my greatest love.

    • King'sDaughter

      ” Now that’s my great God, and I am so thankful that He has used all the evil that has come to me, for my good in building an even greater intimacy with Him as my greatest love.”

      Beautifully stated!

    • Jeff Crippen

      I Am My Beloveds –

      Your comment started my brain turning. I submit that the following Scripture not only totally supports what you are saying, but that here is still ANOTHER text of God’s Word that, dare I say it, COMMANDS the Christian to separate from such a wicked, vile person. Why do we limit it’s application to BEFORE marrige (i.e., now you be sure you don’t marry a non-Christian, because you know, if you do then you are stuck with him big time forever). Huh? In this same “don’t be yoked” passage, separation is commanded:

      2Co 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (15) What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

      • Brenda R

        Agree. I don’t believe that our God wants us to remain with abusive, unloving spouses. Shake the dust off your sandals and go. They have broken covenant by their words and actions. They promised to love and did not. If you are fortunate enough to have a loving, respectful yet unbelieving spouse yes, certainly stay. You might win them by their watching you in your faith. But when you are beat down or going along to survive you may be more useful to God elsewhere. He wants us to blossom and grow with Him. Perhaps your spouse may see their situation more clearly once you’re gone. God uses people in many ways. Those who use scripture against those of us who did choose to leave and do not support our decision are also saying that God only works one way. God could change my husband’s heart today and bring about reconciliation. He is that powerful. I am not. I cannot make another person change. I can only follow my God where he sends me. I believe I was reassigned away from my husband.

  4. I’m reading Patricia Evan’s book The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change? It’s very interesting. She talks about how, once the verbally abusive man has confidence that his partner’s body will not leave him, he subconsciously anchors his ‘dream woman’ in the partner’s body. Then, whenever the partner acts or says something that is not like how he thinks his imaginary dream woman ought to act, he gets angry, showing contempt for her (the real woman) and trying to make her become his dream woman. Hence the control.

    This is similar to the idea of the abusive man trying to assimilate his victim: trying making her thoughts and opinions and preferences just the same as his. The verbally abusive man, according to Evans, does not actually see his partner as a separate individual. That explains why verbal abuse is so soul destroying: the abuser tries to fundamentally deny the personal identity and individuality of the victim. No wonder victims feel like they are going crazy!

    • Holy crap that describes my dad EXACTLY. that is exactly what he thought and did. i was so appalled when i realised that he did not want her to have her own identity, that he saw her as only an extension of himself, and was angry when she did not conform to his idea of what she should be. he didn’t want her, he wanted her to be someone else. his ideal little shadow/cheerleader/house slave. he didn’t care what she thought or had to say about anything, all he wanted was to hear her say how awesome he was and praise his every move and never, ever think for herself or disagree with him about anything.

      and he was then furious that she didn’t trust him or just take his word for everything without questioning it, even on little everyday things or that she struggled with depression because she felt like she was losing her identity. it made him furious that she didn’t just want to melt into the mold of what he wanted her to be, and he would rant and rave at her every time she dared to actually be a person with her own thoughts and opinions, or didn’t automatically know what he was thinking and agree with it, or….god, anything and everything.

      it was nearly as horrific and traumatising listening to the way he talked to her and treated her all those years (still does, really, those he’s in one of his periodic ‘pretending to reform’ phases right now) as it was when it was directed at us kids personally. the verbal abuse still affected us strongly even when we were just hearing him say it to her. she certainly took the brunt of it, and I got the next most as the oldest girl (we are all girls except for no. 5), because we were both too independent and strongminded and questioning and resisted passively (in her case) or actively struggled against (in my case) his control and conditioning the most.

      • Kagi, I have encountered a number of teen and adults who grew up in families where the father was abusing the mother. And in quite a few cases I’ve noticed that the oldest child copped the worst of it and suffered more serious consequences than the younger siblings.

    • Brenda R

      Sounds like a good read. I am going to add that to my book list. I’d like to know if there is hope. I know that anything is possible with God, but more often than not even secular findings seem to hold true.
      This control or assimilation AKA: Sin, I can better see in my marriage now that we are seperated. He is still trying to do it from afar, but email is much different than standing in the same room with him. On a trip to FL last year I noticed a large amount of moss all over trees for miles and miles. He tried to convince me that it was where ticks nested and to stay as far away from it as possible. Having lived in FL many years ago I wasn’t buying his theory (fact in his mind). While at a rest area there was a tree with this moss hanging down low enough for me to touch and tear off a hunk to further investigate. It was soft, pretty and had nothing to do with ticks. Then came the boom. I was stupid, disrespectful and don’t believe anything he says. I caught his rath for what seemed like an eternity after that. It was such a little thing. Looking at a plant. Wouldn’t a normal person just come over to his wife and say Oh wow that is cool and move on? Why did it have to be such a battle? These questions go through my mind and I find out there is no answer. And then I realize I am out, rest in the Lord for he has rescued his daughter.

      • King'sDaughter

        Brenda,
        I can totally relate!
        ” Then came the boom. I was stupid, disrespectful and don’t believe anything he says. I caught his rath for what seemed like an eternity after that. It was such a little thing.”
        It makes you feel crazy for “arguing”. Mine was/is convinced that I am contentious and take opposing views just to provoke him.
        NO! I actually see things differently!
        But we had these crazy stupid fights (I use the terms “fight” and “argue” loosely as we know there is no mutuality in it.) over nothing. In the end it was always about me not respecting him.
        So sad and confusing, because things would be nice until I had a thought or idea that was not the same as his. I started to think, maybe it WAS me, until I separated a little and regained some of my wits. Then I could see that it didn’t matter. I didn’t matter (to him). I was there to meet his needs and fill the role of doting wife. I played it well most of the time but no matter how I pretended I could not be perfect and he hated me for that.
        Its terrible to live with someone who hates who you are! It is easy to internalize these things and hate yourself for your flaws which seem to multiply in this environment. It is such a big messy snowball of dissaproval, judgement and condemnation! Its. a wonder anyone breaks free! (But God)
        I recall a teaching on how Satan destroys people’s sense of self worth. It said that Satan is like a cheerleader with pom poms, chanting “you stink! Your no good! You stink! Rah rah rah” the beat is catchy and before you know it you start chanting along and then he hands you the pom poms and you then take over the cheer.
        While, I never would have admitted that I hated myself (I knew better), I really did. I would feel terrible for not meeting my duties and excelling as a wife and mother. I had no idea that I couldn’t thrive in such an environment (although I often felt like a wilting flower). The harder I tried the more convinced I became that I was a failure. I never believed the lies about my heart and motives but I sure tried to to overcome the external, believing if I could just prove myself, he would see that I was not the awful person he hated. That is where I picked up the pom poms.
        I’m putting them down and learning that I am not what all of that crazy-making made me feel like.
        I love that quite from The Help, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important.” 🙂
        And Brenda, you are right, normal, loving, healthy people do not hate you because you disagree. They love you and enjoy being with you. When you love someone its not about pleasing yourself by being right or whatever, its about loving the other person and enjoying them. Abusers don’t enjoy people and they make themselves unenjoyable as well. I’m glad you are free from the daily craziness!

      • KD and Brenda:

        ” Then came the boom. I was stupid, disrespectful and don’t believe anything he says. I caught his rath for what seemed like an eternity after that. It was such a little thing.”
        It makes you feel crazy for “arguing”. Mine was/is convinced that I am contentious and take opposing views just to provoke him.
        NO! I actually see things differently!
        But we had these crazy stupid fights (I use the terms “fight” and “argue” loosely as we know there is no mutuality in it.) over nothing. In the end it was always about me not respecting him.
        So sad and confusing, because things would be nice until I had a thought or idea that was not the same as his. I started to think, maybe it WAS me, until I separated a little and regained some of my wits. Then I could see that it didn’t matter. I didn’t matter (to him). I was there to meet his needs and fill the role of doting wife. I played it well most of the time but no matter how I pretended I could not be perfect and he hated me for that.

        YES. My dad was constantly insisting he was ‘right’ about every little thing, and any attempt at discussion or questioning/doubting was treated as an ‘argument’, was disrespectful and meant we didn’t ‘trust’ him, by which he meant immediately take his word for everything & comply with his every order instantly, no questions, no dissent, no doubt, no discussion. And my mother is a teacher and has a seeking mind, she is a questioning type of person – she doesn’t take anything for granted, but she did learn over the years that it was better to just let him have his way unless it was something really important, or else he would blow up and rage and rave and then give everyone this snappish, prickly almost-silent treatment for the rest of the day or even several, depending on the severity of the offense.

        And he was totally trying to convince her that she is the problem, it’s all her fault, she’s controlling and crazy. He got a shrink to sign off on a diagnosis for her without ever having seen her, he just decided she had OCPD and my dad was totally on board with it and they were both trying to convince her that she needed serious mental help for her ‘condition’ and how it was so negatively affecting her family, especially of course her husband. The rest of us, the kids, pretty much all went ‘what the frell?’

        If anyone has symptoms of that, it’s him. None of his checklist of ‘behaviours and attitudes’ that he was waving around really applied to her, at least not in any significant measure, and a whole heck of a lot of them applied to him pretty well. Much moreso than her, at any rate, it was so bizarre. I just kind of stared at him, completely and utterly stunned that someone could be so unselfaware as to look in the mirror and accuse someone else of being it. Though how much of it he actually convinced himself/believed (because he was looking for something to be wrong with her so he could discredit her, being that he was in the middle of his affair with another woman at the time) and how much of it he just latched onto because it was convenient, I don’t know.

        ….I am sleep deprived and rambling again. >.>; Sorry, just meant to say, yes yes exactly, I totally relate to this.

      • Brenda R

        Arguing, AKA–I’ll teach you not to disagree or do what I told you not to.

      • Anonymous

        S2BX and I once had a fight because I wouldn’t take his advice on how to use the knife to cut vegetables. I would lift the knife each time, while he insisted I should keep the tip on the board between each cut. I was then accused of “never taking anything he said seriously”. Oh and he would insist that I Google theories of his to prove they were true, even if I disagreed with them. Pure crazy-making.

      • Ex and I once had a fight because I refused to use the weeding tool the way he said it should be used. I was getting the weeds out quite successfully my way, but it wasn’t his way, and his way was the only right way, according to him. He got angry are my refusal, took a big spade and violently dug the blade of the spade into the back panel of our volkswagon. Yeah. The panel was badly dented. Needless to say I was terrified. It could have been me, not the car. That was the message it gave me.

    • Still Scared( but getting angry)

      This screams truth! I repeatedly ruined his dream woman image because my hair got darker as I got older and I would refuse to spend money for bills on getting my hair dyed to light blonde.

      • Still Scared( but getting angry)

        You know, silly me wanted to have lights and heat rather than light blond hair!

    • This sounds like a fantastic book!

  5. King'sDaughter

    ” once the verbally abusive man has confidence that his partner’s body will not leave him, he subconsciously anchors his ‘dream woman’ in the partner’s body. Then, whenever the partner acts or says something that is not like how he thinks his imaginary dream woman ought to act, he gets angry, showing contempt for her ”

    That is exactly my experience! In the beginning when I would threaten to leave, the violence got BAD. Once he “taught” me how to be a battered wife (with the help of Christian counselors, who assured me that he was the God ordained boss and leaving would forever dishonor Him) and never ever think of leaving, the contempt and verbal abuse went full-throttle.
    In my case, (which seems opposite of many) I was the more “worldly” one and he was the conservative one. My lack of rigidity was where we found conflict. Heaven FORBID that a WOMAN desire intimacy with her husband! This was a huge conflict for my porn-addict husband.
    My free-spiritedness was detestable to him! I remember a day where I broke out of the sad, serious, reverent atmosphere of our home and actually played and danced with our children. This drove him nuts! How dare we have fun!
    Oh and we could NEVER EVER LAUGH! Any joke or sarcasm was considered irreverent. Only strict obedience was permitted and any variation from his perfect moral standard was reprehensible! Every action was criticized and if you managed to escape blame on the grounds of mercy or grace, the heart motives were next under is critical gaze. But don’t worry if you had no I’ll motive, one would be assigned to you!
    Whew! God IS full of mercy and grace! I’m so thankful to be delivered from that way of life!

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