Emotional abuse is a ‘silent’ killer to relationships, friendships and marriages. The person who is willing to speak the truth and do it in love can stop this abuse. The Bible tells us that a soft answer turns away wrath. The person who controls others through anger and emotional abuse feels empowered. He/she wants others to bow to their demands out of fear. The challenge is to help the victim of emotional abuse face their worse fear.
In counseling I ask the question, “What is the worse thing that would happen to you if you refuse to cave in to the fear of the abusive anger? The answer, “I haven’t been hit yet and I’m sure I would not be killed.” Ok! Since you have faced the worse fear, let’s look at what can be done to take back your emotional power from the abuser.
I make this statement, “The first time I’m abused is the fault of the abuser. The second time I’m abused, it’s my fault. I must stop it. I must retain my emotional power and not cave in to fear.” How can we stop abuse of others? Emotional abuse is usually delivered with a loud voice of threats and accusations. When the angry person starts raising their voice, you stand up and say softly, “Excuse me. You are speaking rudely to me and I’m going to leave the room.” Of course, it will make the angry person angrier, but you keep your ‘cool’ with a soft firm voice and say, “Please move and so I can leave this room. When you decide to talk to me respectfully, I will listen.”
I was asked by a pastor’s wife who was having anxiety attacks because of her husband’s uncontrolled anger, “Can I do this?” She asked this question because he would demand she had to submit to his anger. Is this how God treats His Bride? No, He sacrificed His life on a cross because of the love He had for His Bride! And He says, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.” God is the one who compares His relationship to the church, His Bride, with how a husband is to relate to his wife in marriage. God is never, rude, abusive, angry or disrespectful to His Bride. A godly husband will never try and control his wife through anger or abuse of any sort.
Ephesians 5:21 (NLT) Spirit-Guided Relationships: Wives and Husbands – 21 “And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. This is a direct instruction to husbands and wives. Because of our love for Christ and His death on the cross for our sins, we are to be submissive to each other. There is no place in scripture that tells a person to remain the victim of emotional abuse or physical abuse.
Someone who wants to be in control no matter what others feel or think also executes emotional abuse. This can happen in a family, on the job, in a church atmosphere, friendships, etc. The person who wants others to bow to their demands is someone who is filled with their own emotional hurts and insecurities. This person uses a controlling attitude to protect himself or herself from being vulnerable emotionally. They do not want their own insecurities to be revealed so they rule by unloving control. Of course, this controlling attitude repels others.
The same healthy response must be used toward the controller as is done with an abuser. When this person speaks demanding or disrespectful to you, stand up and softly say, “Your words (or attitude) are disrespectful toward me and I refuse to respond. When you decide to talk respectfully, then I will listen.” Remove yourself from the situation. If it’s done through text or email, do not reply. If there is a person of responsibility (a boss, a pastor, a personnel manager) available, go to them and speak the truth in love regarding the controlling abusive behavior. If you do not stand up for yourself in a godly manner, the controller will feel more empowered to continue this disrespectful behavior toward you and others.
People are amazed when they decide to take their emotional power back how it deflates the abuser/controller. When the person no longer shows or feels fear, the abuser loses his/her power. IT WORKS!!!!! Try it!!!!!
Ephesians 4:31-32 (KJV) 31 “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” This instruction from God is for everyone – BE YE KIND ONE TO ANOTHER AND TENDERHEARTED!!!! God does not care who you are or what position you may have – there is no place in God’s kingdom for anger, abuse or a controlling disrespectful attitude.
If we claim to have the Holy Ghost in our lives and we are abusive or controlling in any way, we are in trouble with God. God is Love. Love is kind, tenderhearted, not boastful, is patient, is not jealous and does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable. Study I Corinthians 13: 1 – 7. We all are accountable to God for every thought, feeling and action. You may be an abusive bully or controller on earth, but Paul wrote in Galatians the 5th chapter that anyone who follows the desires of the sinful nature with hostility, quarreling, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, etc., – “that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (NLT).
The Bible instructs all believers in many places that we are to love one another. A person who is Holy Ghost controlled will not be an abuser or controller of any type. They should be saying as Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ!” Our life – our words and actions – are to give glory to God and never bring harm to another!
Carol Clemans is a Certified Pastoral Counselor and an anointed teacher of the Word of God for churches/conferences. She provides nationwide confidential counseling by phone/Skype (636) 448-0121. Go to: www.carolclemans.org for bio, articles, teaching products, book: God’s Design for Marriage.