He Wants a List and He’s Checking it Twice: But it Won’t do Any Good!
Here are some great insights from one of our readers. She is in an abuse survivor’s group and shares with us from one of the recent sessions. It will sound very familiar to many of you. Here she is:
I have been thinking about lists. Every single one of us in our abuse survivors’ group has been asked by our abuser to give a list so the abuser can show us he cares. Everyone that has done so has had it backfire, which of course you know would be the result.
But there was a really wise response by one of the ladies about a list and here it is:
Any one of these men, who has a job, knows EXACTLY what’s expected of him at work. They don’t walk around with a list in their pocket, continually referring to it in order to know what to do or say, what not to do or say. After years or even decades on the job, can you imagine what their boss would think if they went to them and asked for a list!? And yet they ask us, after all these years of marriage, to make them a list.
There is a standard of law referred to as the “Reasonable Person Standard” to denote a hypothetical person in society who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct and who serves as a comparative standard for determining liability.
The reasonable person standard [Internet Archive link] embodies this behavior and is used to determine whether a defendant has acted negligently. This is achieved through comparing the defendant’s actions with that of the reasonable person. Simply put, a jury or judge will ask, “Would the reasonable person act the same way as the defendant did under the circumstances?” If the answer is no, then the defendant is guilty of negligence. All of us are expected to know what a is reasonably expected from a reasonable person.
This is the kind of ‘renewing of our minds’ that abused wives NEED so that we can stop the “automatic” ways in which we’ve learned to respond or react, and to step back and put our husbands behaviors in the context of every day life outside our marriages and homes, and more clearly SEE just how ridiculous, inappropriate, and unreasonable much of their behavior truly is!
Now (JeffC here again), consider the case in which the abuser claims to be a Christian. Scripture says that ALL Christians have been taught by Christ:
But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:20-24)
See it? So much, if not all, of this business of “needing to learn how to treat my spouse” and “needing to understand things that boy, I just didn’t know” is so much hooey. Human beings know right from wrong. And Christians are taught by Christ, led by His Spirit, have His Law written on their hearts, and love the brethren. This is why when a person contacts me and says they have abused their spouse for years, but they just didn’t see it and now they want me to help them change…that I am very, very reluctant to expend my efforts and time in them. ESPECIALLY if they are still insisting upon reconciliation with the spouse they abused, though they state this desire in even the most self-sacrificing and divine ways. Why do they need help? Why should I give them some kind of list – “ok, do this, do that, stop doing this” and so on? Because, Mr. Abuser, if you don’t already know, chances are extremely high that you never will know and that you don’t really want to.
Abusers are never more satanic than when they are pretending to be angelic.