Submission and Abuse
Posted by thegonetwork on February 1, 2007
Abuse is just that: abuse. It is a horrible violation of God’s law and character. One only has to read a testimony of an abused child to know that this is the case. We know that while we are in the days of mercy toward sinners, such crimes will not go unpunished forever, and those who commit them and do not repent will encounter divine and eternal justice. The most horrible thing about abuse is not even the act, however, it is what the abuse does to the abusee psychologically. It warps their views of good and evil, their view of authority, and a lot of other things at the core of their identity. This is why the unthinkable happens — the abusee becomes an abuser.
Often part of the abuse is to designed to convince you of the rightness of what is being done to you, and many abusees begin to believe it. When you believe it, you become either a permanent abusee, or a future abuser, or both. In many more cases than we would like to admit, the abusee actually has some degree of choice to exit the cycle. When participating in the abuse this choice does not really seem real, or it would be excercised. There tremendous fear of some kind placed on the person to keep them from excercising it. In abusive religious systems, it’s usually associated with the loss of one’s salvation. With children it’s especially bad because they have no sense of personal autonomy or choice. In terror, and for seeming lack of options, people submit to abuse.
Therefore, people either submit to abuse because of fear or because they believe it is some how needed, or deserved. These are the doors to the exits of the abusive cycle. If you are terrified of leaving, begin to plot your escape, and at your best chance, make a break for it. There may be great risk involved, but the risk is worth getting your soul back. If you believe that the abuse was needed or deserved, you need healing, and you need to repent. As a way of coping you’ve said to youself “this must be necessary because so and so is such a good person, they would never hurt me” but in reality they are hurting you. When you come to grips with the fact that they were not a good person, and they did actually hurt you and it was completely wrong and unjustified, you’ll begin to close the door on the cycle.
Sometimes we particpate in a form of submission in human relationships that does not classify as abuse but takes on some of its unhealthy dynamics. For example, a well intentioned man desiring to lead his home well, and help his wife toward godliness, may in fact override her will and not even know it because she is deferring rather than trying to argue in what she knows is a difficult battle. Slowly her sense of herself begins to erode as he starts to exercise more and more initiative and she exercises less and less. Eventually this will blow up. He will be shocked because he thought all along that she was on board with the decisions they were making “together,” when in reality, she was not expressing her will. Who is at fault? In reality, they both are. Of course the man is responsible for overriding her will, even if it was unintentional. But it was the responsibility of the woman to let her voice and preference be heard. This is difficult because it will cause conflict especially at first, by not expressing herself, it takes on the dynamics of abuse, even though both parties are acting in good faith and there is no abuser — The woman’s identity is suffocated by the man’s.