If she is being abused, why doesn’t she…?

Galatians 6: 2, Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Those on the outside of an abusive marriage might wonder why an abused wife doesn’t simply leave her abuser, why she isn’t reaching out for help, why she doesn’t try harder to make her marriage work. Why doesn’t she…whatever?

I’ve got news for you: She does. She tries harder in every way than anyone around her knows. She gets up in the morning heartbroken, bone weary, afraid, unsure, and yet she does all that she has to do–sometimes doing the things he refuses to do, sometimes managing while injured, always while afraid. An abused wife does more than most folks can imagine due to the terrible treacherous mountains she climbs daily. And then the next day, and all the days after, she gets up and she tries again. And again.

Because leaving her abuser isn’t just as easy as walking out the door. Especially if he’s ruined her credit. If she has no car at her disposal. If he’s lied about her, poisoning the minds and hearts of those who could help her but now won’t. If she has been cut off from friends and family. If she has not been allowed to have any money at her disposal. If….

If.

Reaching out for help isn’t as easy as making a phone call. Her emails and phone calls might be monitored. Her abuser might be seen as a pillar of the community and she as the crazy one. He might be known as “the nicest guy I know” while, because of his lies, she’s thought of as strange. She might not even have a phone, or a car, or a computer. Or maybe she does reach out only to find that no one believes her, or no one cares enough to help.

And telling an abused wife to “try harder to be a good wife” or “do more to please him” or “do whatever you can not to set him off” is to tell her to do that which she is already doing. Many, if not most, abused wives are already are doing absolutely everything they can to be a good wife or to not set their husbands off; they are afraid not to. That’s not to say that all abused women are perfect. They aren’t. But it is to say that a Christian woman, and even most abused women who aren’t, who is being abused by her husband is already doing every single thing she can to make the pain stop. She’s not being abused because she isn’t a good wife. She is being abused because he isn’t a good husband. But few care to hear that.

Confiding in her pastor or another church leader simply isn’t going to happen if she doesn’t have a church; some abusers prevent their wives from going to church out of a desire to control them. Or her wolf in sheeps’s clothing husband might go to church with her and put on a world class act so that everybody there believes him to be “such a godly man”. Maybe she’s already reached out to her pastor but was disbelieved, ignored or told to go home and “obey her husband and suffer for Jesus”. Maybe she has no way to contact anyone without her husband’s knowledge. Maybe church leaders have told her that divorce is a sin and that God will be angry with her if she leaves.

Why doesn’t she go to a domestic abuse shelter? Perhaps there isn’t one close by . Maybe she doesn’t think that they’ll help her if she isn’t bruised and bloodied. Maybe her husband monitors her every movement. Or maybe she doesn’t have a way to get there.

So she should reach out to a friend, a neighbor, or tell a family member…right? Not if she’s afraid that no one will believe her, or if she fears what her husband will do if he finds out she’s told. Maybe he’s told her he’ll kill her if she tries to leave. Or kill her family or friends if she tells them. He might have lied to family or friends about her and they now believe her to be a liar or unstable.

The road an abused wife walks is a dangerous one. It’s a lonely one. But it’s one on which you can come alongside her. Every abused woman’s story is different and yet heartbreakingly similar–each and every woman trapped in an abusive marriage is afraid, and in need of a friend. If you know someone who is being abused, or whom you think might be being abused, reach out to her. Ask her some questions–but do it gently and in private. Find out what she needs and then do whatever you can to help her.

Maybe with your help the road before her can lead to freedom.

Now your turn…

What’s the one thing you’d want someone to do for you if you admitted to them you’d been abused? What’s the one thing you’d want to do for a woman who came to you admitting  she’d been abused?

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17 thoughts on “If she is being abused, why doesn’t she…?

  1. I relate to this post so much. My husband is bipolar and a maniac most days. But there are days where he is himself and very loving. It is very hard to be talked about like a dog and pushed around and then when he comes around telling me that he’s sorry and didn’t mean it. I haven’t left in the 9 years we’ve been together because I understand mental illness and I hope that he can get better. But the bad days break me so that I can barely get up.

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    1. I encourage you to leave and protect yourself. If he desires to heal, he will want to heal even more if it means he has a chance to win you back. You deserve to be treated with respect. Praying~

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  2. Reblogged this on pliscaplace and commented:
    Ahh, but in my daughters situation, he has proven HIMself to be the crazy one; time and time again.
    But there is the baby (needing her father), the threats of suicide, and who else knows what, that “forces” her to stay. ***sigh***

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    1. I’m SO sorry about your daughter. I understand. When I read your comment, my heart broke. I started praying for her, and I will continue to do so. I’d wondered why you were so willing to repost articles about abuse; now I know. My heart aches for you, for her, for the baby…. Do whatever it takes to convince her to leave. That is no life for her or the baby. I’m here if she wants to talk to me. My email is thecrossisall@gmail.com ~ Anna

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      1. He is very manipulative, that is for sure. Almost every day “Kim” comes over and talks to her mom about something he has done or said. Grrrr! So far no physical abuse (luckily for him), but I can tell stories.
        Sadly, she won’t get help. She is that afraid.
        I just don’t have a good feeling.

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        1. That sounds a lot like my abuser. “Chad” never beat me as my father did my mother but he was very manipulative, caustic, cruel and cold. He’d get violent in other ways, even to the point of physically hurting me but he didn’t “beat” me so, in his mind, he wasn’t being abusive. I’d tell me I was so afraid of him and he’d tell me not to be afraid then turn around and terrorize me. I wish someone had confronted me with the truth but no one ever did. I had to figure it out on my own after the violence escalated. It always does get better; stones simply never roll uphill–always down. I understand her fear of getting help. She’s fearful of what he’ll do. I get that but staying only assures it will get worse. Is there a shelter near her? Will she read a book, an article, talk to me? Anything? I don’t mean to be pushy or nosy, it just hurts me to see her and others like me hurt so. I am here, this is what I do, and I would love to help if there is anyway at all that I can. I know firsthand that terror. It breaks my heart that Kim is living through it. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to pray for her, for the baby, for you, etc…. ~ Anna

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          1. *Update*
            Apparently my daughter broke up with this jerk this morning. He started his usual crap this morning (saying he wasn’t going to go to work today) and so she dropped him off at the hospital “to get some help”. They were staying at a local motel (weekly rates aren’t super expensive – cheaper then renting an apartment with no utilities, cable, whatever).
            Anyways…a one way plane ticket (home) is what he is getting on Friday. He called his mum and she won’t even send him money for a ticket. Sadly this is the same woman that said she would help them out time and time again of he only came back home. **yeah… right**

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            1. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me! Doing a happy dance here– 🙂 Seriously, this is wonderful, wonderful news. I guess his Mom must be somewhat like him…. Sad. I’m very grateful that you let me know. Thank you. I’ll continue in prayer. Soli Deo gloria! ~ Anna 🙂

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              1. Thank you!

                *update*
                Supposedly his mama is now going to get a lawyer and take the baby away. Well, I don’t think so.
                There’s gonna be a fight and it’s unfortunate that the baby is in the middle.

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              2. Apparently the state I live in, only recognizes (helpable) abuse if it is physical. They offer no help for the “non” violent type abuse. So the only help my daughter is going to get is from “mom” and I.
                My daughter is now convinced that we are wrong (defining abuse) and the state is right NON physical abuse is not abuse.

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                1. I don’t see how they can’t see that abuse comes in all forms. Have y’all called the domestic abuse help line? They, I know, see all forms of abuse, including non-physical, as just what it is: abuse. Do you think your daughter would email me? Or get on this site? I don’t want to be intrusive but I really do want to help. Abuse can be sexual, emotional, verbal, stalking, isolation, sexual, financial, spiritual, and physical. Within those categories, there’s many sub-categories. I don’t know what to suggest but ask her this: are you ever afraid of him? If yes, then that is abuse. The National Domestic Hotline has a good link here describing abuse; it includes the power and control wheel: http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/ . If there’s anyway at all that I can help, please, please, let me know. I just saw the comment where his mom is trying to get a lawyer and get the baby. Is she still pursuing that? I’m here…praying.

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                  1. Kimberlee is doing fine, after kicking her boyfriend to the curb and him running out of state to live with his mommy and daddy. She and daughter had to move back home herself. She had a boyfriend and it looked good for a while, but he decided he liked someone else and he broke up with her last month. Otherwise, she and the granddaughter are doing well. Now all she needs to do is get back on her feet and get her own place. LoL

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