Thursday Thought — Signs you may be involved with an abusive partner

These are signs that you may be involved with an abusive partner.

Are you afraid of him?

Are you getting distant from friends or family because he makes those relationships difficult?

Is your level of energy and motivation declining, or do you feel depressed?

Is your self-opinion declining, so that you are always fighting to be good enough and to prove yourself?

Do you find yourself constantly preoccupied with the relationship and how to fix it?

Do you feel like you can’t do anything right?

Do you feel like the problems in your relationship are all your fault?

Do you repeatedly leave arguments feeling like you’ve been messed with but can’t figure out exactly why?

(from Lundy Bancroft’s book, Why Does He DO That? [Affiliate link] p130)

***IMPORTANT NOTE:  While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the “healing retreats” Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his “Peak Living Network”. See our post, ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network for more about our concerns.

31 thoughts on “Thursday Thought — Signs you may be involved with an abusive partner”

  1. My spouse has recently been using those quotes to accuse me of ruining family relationships. The relationships consisted of lying and deceitfulness; I wanted to deal with it – I am considered to be intolerant and unforgiving, etc.
    This is when I begin to self doubt myself even though I know in my heart that I have ‘given and tried so hard to keep the marriage afloat’. I’ve always been the one to seek counsel. Now he is the one ‘moving on’ … (sigh)
    Thank you Lord for saving me. You alone are to be trusted and I can’t imagine surviving without Your Word reassuring me of “justice in the end.”

    1. hi HealinginHim,
      Sometimes there is only so much you can do and it seems you have come to that point. Remember who you are in Christ and not in people and the lies they tell you. They are being used by the evil one to destroy you and all of us. To them God is the enemy. I am so glad to hear you say:

      Thank you Lord for saving me. You alone are to be trusted and I can’t imagine surviving without Your Word reassuring me of “justice in the end.”

      There is so much truth in that statement. I’ll be praying for you.

    2. Intolerant and unforgiving. That’s what my husband accused me of for years. Even if someone else hurt me he would say that showed I was intolerant of others because I was hurt. So sick and twisted.

      1. I think one of the things I was hurt so badly about was being punished by him if I didn’t do what he had asked, expected or just denied him. I wouldn’t have thought about it in that way ‘being punished’ but that is exactly what it was, now that I know. If I didn’t go to church with him, he either wouldn’t come home for a long time afterwards, or he would come home and not talk to me or be around me the rest of the day. And he was a worship leader, I often wonder what God thought of his leading worship and trying to lead others into worship knowing all the time in his mind that he was going to punish me for not going. Oddly enough, I never felt bad or guilty for not going to church with a cruel phony, after awhile of dealing with his self-righteousness. I just don’t fake things very well.

  2. Does he tell you to dress up more and fix yourself up, only to leave you with no money, and then complain that you have ” let yourself go”?

    Does he tell you you are too sensitive?

    Does he blame you for marriage issues? To the point of, when you request you both go to counseling, telling you that you are the problem, he is fine…?

    Does he tell you that you’re an idiot, jealous, a spy when you find pictures and texts from other women on his phone?

    1. My husband doesn’t follow the Lord anymore. His financial decisions have impacted us horrifically. I had a nervous brake down recently because he regressed to tyranny. He gets better but it doesn’t last. All of this behavior and devastating consequences makes me break down. He recently told me that he needed someone more emotionally stable, then he apologised. I have lost 60 pounds for lack of food. I know that I am in an abusive relationship. What can I do according to God’s Word?

      1. Joy,
        Have you read Barbara Roberts book, “Not Under Bondage”? It is a wonderful resource of what the Bible says about abuse of all kinds incuding financial abuse.

      2. Hi Joy, welcome to the blog 🙂
        Tyranny and volatility and apologies that evaporate into more tyranny — that is the pattern of most abusers, it would seem. And financial abuse can be really awful. It is so totally disrespectful of the needs and rights of other family members. I have not suffered that kind (financial) myself all that much, but we have others here who have and still are suffering grievous financial abuse, so I’m sure if you hang around here you will find others with similar stories.

        Since you have asked what the Bible’s teaching is on this stuff, I do think my book would be helpful to you. Also Jeff’s book (they are both in the side bar to the right). But just reading the blog and searching for topics that particularly interest you (by tag or key word or category) might help you a lot too.

      3. Also Joy, I’m wondering, have you lost weight because he keeps you so poor that you cannot afford food? Or because you have suffered a breakdown and lost interest in eating?

      4. Hi Barbara, what my husband invests in the house is $40.00 a week 95% of the time. The food intake had been cut down drastically in the past year and a half. Is rare for me to loose my appetite. God has a way of lifting me up in all circumstances. My daughter eats better because she goes to school.

        [Note from Eds: original comment said “Is rate for me to loose my appetite” but we have fixed what we assume was a simply typo. 🙂 ]

      5. Joy, you ask, “What can I do according to God’s Word?” Others here point to 1 Corinthians 7 for the proposition that you are free from an unbelieving husband who abandons you, not just physically but also materially, emotionally, and spiritually. This is but a (hopefully accurate) statement of the case made in detail elsewhere.

        What I would add is that, after discussing these matters, Paul goes on to teach that, if you are a slave (sometimes translated bondservant), and if you can gain your freedom, you should do so. I contend that this verse applies to women who are wives in name only, but who have for all intents and purposes been reduced to involuntary servitude. Our Lord does not call us to involuntary servitude, but to freedom. Galatians 5:13.

      6. Hi Gary, I have been reluctant to separate myself from all this abuse because I didn’t realize that it was actual abuse My mind has been so clouded thes last few years. But also, the Word of God says that if your unbelieving spouse doesn’t want to seperate, then you should stay married. What is the clear interpretation? I know God doesn’t want me in this position.

      7. Joy, my book explains that not divorce IS condoned by the Bible for domestic abuse. I am happy to send you my book as a gift since with all the financial abuse you have suffered, you probably can’t afford it. Email me (my address is under the About tab at the top of this blog) and tell me a safe shipping address and I’ll get one sent to you.
        Also, these posts explain a summary of my views on this:

        The Bible DOES allow divorce for domestic abuse [Internet Archive link] [this one is from my old blog. One day I’ll repost it at ACFJ — just haven’t got round to it yet.]

        Church discipline and domestic abuse: how my mind has changed

        God hates divorce? Not Always

        The Bible virtually commands divorce for domestic abuse

        Divorce and Remarriage: Barb’s talk to a Sunday School class [This link is broken. Editors.]

      8. Thank you so very much. I sent you my address. I will look at the links as well. I’m writing down how I feel and it’s helping me see with much clarity. I even wrote a poem of who I am in Christ. I know God is inspiring me and giving me courage.

      9. Hi again, I read Deut. 13:6-11 and WOW!. I have read 1 Corin 7:15 many times and the way you have explained it according to the Greek translation makes perfect sense.

      10. Thank you for your response Survivorthrivor. I believe that in my case, my anxiety and continuous stress cluttered my mind and clouded my judgement during my marriage. I began to realize one day that whenever I felt confident, happy and joyful, he would angry and began to be accusative of whatever he could think of at the moment. This would lead to strife, stress etc. all over again. I can’t help but to think that his efforts to oppress me where intentional. I’ve noticed that he likes to read books related to the phycology of the mind of serial killers.

  3. Joy, I love that your name is JOY! And you are so right, God is inspiring you and keeping you, even in these perverse circumstances. Glad you found this blog, there is a lot of information and encouragement here. Remember Nehemiah 8: 10 …..for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

    1. Thank you. I call myself Joy, because His joy is my strength. Thank you sister. Sometimes I wonder how I allowed myself to fall in this vicious abusive cycle. My mother always taught me to be strong and independent.

      1. JOY I, too am baffled how I could end up in an abusive marriage and stay for so long! I grew up in a very loving home with parents who had a wonderful, loving, honest, respectful marriage and modeled it for me everyday. I felt loved, protected and safe. I can honestly say I felt none of those in my marriage to the N. I often wonder where I lost my way…..

      2. Joy, My mother did not teach me those things. but Joy is what I named my daughter and she is strong and independent.

  4. I just finished reading “Not Under Bondage” by Barbara Roberts. I feel relieved that my questions have been answered according to God’s Word. My fear divorcing without Biblical grounds, but now I understand that abuse and desertion against me is breaking the marital covenant. I’ve had poor or no Church support in this matter. The book has been instrumental, and I know that God has illuminated the author. I just want to say that as soon as I finished reading the book, I couldn’t help but to break down in tears thinking of the fact that not only do I have a better understanding of the interpretation of the Scriptures bu that I am not alone and that there are many of you out there that can relate to how I feel. When I closed the book I felt as if God was telling me that this is the beginning of my road to recovery.

    1. Joy, Ditto that comment. Reading Barb’s book put everything together and it just keeps getting better and better.

      1. Yes Brenda I believe you are right when you say that things will get better. I know that God fights for us. Before my husband came home on his days off, I asked God to protect me from him. He was at the house half day only when they called him to return to work. No I can relax for another week before I see him again. Who knows, maybe I won’t have to see him at all. God is truly in control.

  5. I can see the signs now, in hindsight.

    I can identify their “not me” voices in my head.

    I can identify the physical and non-physical pain they cause.

    Maybe – with the help of the Holy Spirit – I can win the battle.

    Glory goes to God.

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