Because this is the most personal, difficult, and painful article I've yet written, I'm not going to begin with much introduction. All I want to say here is that I wrote this article during Adoration, in one big rush as I begged Jesus to release me from my suffering, to heal me from my pain.
Domestic abuse within an intimate relationship breaks a person apart -- but that's not necessarily a bad thing, even though it seems to be at first. Later, moving through the healing journey, I came to realize that the dismantling of self was an invitation from God to rebuild who I truly am. Made in His image.
However, before I could even begin to do that, I had to explore the root causes of my pain.
The Gospels record very few words from our Blessed Mother -- yet those she spoke embrace some of the deepest spiritual truths and lessons of our Catholic faith. Think of Mary's fiat (Luke 1:34,38), the inspired and gorgeously-poetic Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), and ...
“Do whatever He tells you.”
Doing whatever Jesus tells us is to surrender—in complete trust—to God’s will. This entails several things, each progressively layering upon the other.
In this article, I'm presenting a different approach. I'm going to imaginatively take you back in time in order to help you realize your present situation -- and how to release the trauma bonds that may be tying to you to your abuser.
If you don't know what a trauma bond is, read on. If you do know about trauma bonds, but need more information or support, read on. Either way, please join me on this journey back to the year 1912. We're on board the glorious and gleaming new ship, the Titanic ...
Spiritual Abuse: Ephesians 5, Coercive Control, and the Domineering Personality
It's about time I covered a difficult topic: spiritual abuse.
Spiritual abuse can come in many forms, but in this article I want to discuss the abuse of Sacred Scripture and how this is a violation not only against the target, but against God Himself.
One of the most popular verses an abusive personality uses to "prove" his superiority over his mate is Ephesians 5:22: "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord."
Does this verse really mean that woman should just "shut up and put up," and do whatever her husband says? He's the king of the household, and what he says goes? Uh, hardly. If any man quotes this verse to justify his controlling behavior, consider that a gigantic red flag. The Catholic Church teaches that a true marriage is one of mutual self-giving, not power-over and abrasive authority.
Ephesians 5:22 is an abused and misinterpreted verse.
How to tell if his change is real, or if it's another manipulation.
How can you tell if your relationship might possibly, by some sort of miracle, be on the mend? If your manipulative and abusive partner has suddenly turned a new corner and is claiming that he'll change his ways, how can you trust what he's saying to you?
Well ... You can’t.
Until you can.
I understand that’s not at all helpful—but at the same time, it’s the truth.
I could end this article right here—after all, what more is there to say? I can’t provide you with a definite, concrete answer to this dilemma, especially since everyone’s situation is different—and everyone’s partner is different. However, I can at least provide solid guidelines that will help you discern true change from more manipulation.
As promised, this week's article uncovers yet more myths about pornography use, showing how destructive it is to relationships, families, and individual lives. Both the abuser and the sexually betrayed partner find their lives desecrated by the sly, shameful use of pornography, so uncovering the myths and revealing them to the light is crucial for healing and repair.
Read about four more pornography myths:
Pornography is destructive not only to those who abuse it, but to the victims of the sexually addicted person. Marriages, families, and intimate relationships suffer on a variety levels and in many dehumanizing ways. I can't discuss all the evils of pornography in one brief post, so I’ll write about just a few--at least for now. In a follow-up post, I’ll discuss about further myths.
As always, reader feedback is valuable to me. If you have anything to contribute or something you'd like me to see discuss, just let me know.
So much of what I write about is based on the incredible emails I receive from my readers, so please keep them coming. I appreciate your questions, comments, and feedback, and believe that building a community together is the best way to heal.
And so, onwards and upwards!
How do you make sense out of nonsense? Gaslighting, crazy-making, circular talk ... They can all make you feel crazy, and cause you to wonder if everything is your fault. When you realize the fault is abuse, and not you, the deep sense of betrayal and trauma can be overwhelming. However, when you can make sense of your situation, you can then progress toward gaining clarity, clear-sighted vision, and hope for the future.
After the crisis stage of discovering abuse and betrayal in your relationship, it's natural to feel injustice at what's been done to you. It's how you deal with your feelings that makes the difference between healing and moving forward, versus seething in resentment and, consequently, being stuck in the trauma.
As Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl said, "Suffering in and of itself is meaningless; we give our suffering meaning by the way in which we respond to it."
How you respond directly corresponds to how you heal.
I'm Jenny duBay, a domestic abuse survivor and now advocate. My degree is in Christian theology with a concentration on spiritual direction, and my vocational emphasis is on helping those who have suffered from domestic abuse to heal and reclaim their true selves.