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Warning Signs of Abuse © 2002 by OAIM

Spousal abuse is becoming an epidemic in this world today. While you cannot be completely certain that the man you marry or date is not going to become abusive down the line, here are some strong warning signs that you need to heed. As women, we have a tendency to excuse far too much from the men we want love from. We cannot and should not have to grovel for love. Love, the kind of love God intends for a husband to have for his wife, is a love that brings integrity and honor to the woman. Love that tears a woman down and makes her have to beg for it is not at all love, but a selfishness on the man's part.

Do husbands get abused by their wives? Yes, but this is not a common occurence. By far, the majority of the statistics are women being abused by their husbands or boyfriends. If you are woman involved in a relationship, here are some warning signs you should be on the look out for.

  • Does he get angry or short with you when you ask him to do something that most would consider courteous? Courtesy in a relationship is a very important thing. Opening doors for you is not old fashioned, but a way for a man to show respect for a woman.
  • Does he talk down to you by making comments that indicate that you are stupid or ugly? Discourteous speech is never to be tolerated, not even in the middle of a fight! A man who will call you names or tell you that you are ugly or stupid is a man who has no respect for you and will treat you as poorly as he would an object that he considers worthless.
  • Does he go out of his way to help you or does he refuse to do even the smallest nicety for you? He has a choice between doing something he really wants to do and to do something nice for you, which will he choose? Will he sit and watch the game while you struggle to carry in a carload of groceries or will he go out and carry them in for you? Does he ever ask if you'd like a refill on your coffee? Does he ever bring you a glass of iced tea while you are working in the garden on a hot day?
  • Is he into pornography? This should be a major warning sign. The effects of pornography are addictive and dangerous. Many abusers are heavily into pornography.
  • Does he get angry at seemingly small, insignificant issues? Anger is a sign that he is more concerned with his own agenda of how things ought to be run than with God's agenda. Angry people are more committed to themselves than to God or others. Be careful of an angry person!
  • Is he always jealous? A man who is jealous whenever you even speak to another male is on the road to controlling your behavior. He is the type of man who will always know exactly how many miles have been put on the car and every person you talk to on the phone. He will ask you to make an account of every minute of your day to him and soon you will find yourself feeling like a prisoner, afraid to do anything because you know he will find out.
  • Does he keep you from your family and friends? Isolation is a good indication that a man is abusive. The more isolated he keeps his wife, the less she can talk to others and possibly find out that the way she is being treated is not right. Also, it cuts off any other support she might have and forces her to rely totally on him for any emotional or monetary needs. This keeps her from being able to leave him if he gets too unreasonable.
  • Does he make you feel like you should be lucky that he loves you? Often an abusive man will make comments leading the woman to believe that she should consider herself fortunate that he will even look at her because she's not thin/pretty/tall/good cook/good housekeeper (whatever) enough for anyone else to take her. Unfortunately, so many women believe these types of guys! For a relationship to be healthy, both partners need to consider themselves fortunate that the other has chosen to love them. This is a mutual respect that goes between the two, proving a love that is mutual and strong. If one person considers him/herself better than the other, the relationship will become abusive, either physically or verbally at some point.
  • Is there a "do something bad and then be sickly sweet" pattern that goes on? Will he do something that really hurts you and then turn right around and smother you with love for a short time to help you forget just how bad he hurt you? And then, just as you are beginning to heal from the hurt, he hurts you again? This pattern of hurt/sweet draws women into believing that there is a better person inside of him and if she will just do the right things, she can bring that person out. However, the reality is that the sweet part of him only appears so he can get your mind off of the pain. The real person inside is the one who hurts you and keeps hurting you. Honey, he's not going to change unless the Lord gets ahold of him. You don't have the power to change him.
  • Does he talk badly about you to others? When he's with his buddies, what words does he use to refer to you? Are they kind, proud words? Or are they words that cut you down and tell the guys that he's married to (or dating) a loser? How you talk about your mate in public can be a really good thermometer of how you feel about them in private.
  • Will he bend over backwards to help others but not lift a finger to help you? This behavior shows that he is more interested in the exterior appearance he gives to people than in an interior love for you. He will spend hours fixing the neighbor's car, but won't spend ten minutes unclogging the drain. That's because nobody but you will see what he has done with the drain, but everyone in the neighborhood will see how nice he is to have fixed that neighbor's car.
  • Does he have a different public appearance than his private one? Do you sometimes wonder if he's a Jeckyll and Hyde? When he's with you is he the same person he is in public? Or does everyone around you think he's a great guy but when you are alone he treats you like dirt? Ironically, most abusers appear as Mr. Wonderful to the outside world. When an abused woman even suggests what is going on in private, most will say that she is crazy and surely must be making things up. Please don't believe them! Write down what is happening to you (but make sure he doesn't see the list!!) or tell a friend in detail what is going on. Don't be afraid to tell others what is happening. Some will not believe you, but others will. If the abuse is physical, do not be afraid to call the cops and report it.

If you are dating someone who fits the abuser profile above, cut it off with them. If you are married to the person, please read our article on Spousal Abuse.

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