Spousal Abuse That Leaves No Scars
When most of us hear the words “spousal abuse” we automatically think of physical violence. We often forget that abuse doesn’t always leave scars and emotional abuse can be just as harmful as physical abuse. Studies have actually shown that mental abuse produces the same structural and functional irregularities in the brain as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
However, one of the biggest challenges with emotional abuse is that many victims don’t realize that they are being abused and many abusers don’t realize that they are being abusive. This means that both victims and abusers often do not seek help until their marriages have been damaged irreparably.
When is it Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse is any non-physical behavior that is degrading, invalidating, punishing or isolating to another person. It ranges from things such as yelling and name calling to withholding of affection.
It is very important to distinguish between occasional outbursts and emotional abuse. Not all yelling is a sign of emotional abuse; it could just be a sign of anger and frustration. The main distinguishing characteristic of abuse is that it is an ongoing pattern of behavior.
What Does the Bible Say About Abuse?
Some people misinterpret the bible to justify abuse but the truth is that the bible does not in any way sanction spousal abuse. 1 Corinthians 13 is very clear on what love is and what it’s not. Self-seeking behavior,anger and keeping a record of wrongs is not love.
The marriage relationship is supposed to reflect Christ’s relationship with the church. The bible calls wives to submit to their husbands’ biblical headship but it does not say that they should submit to abuse.
It is very difficult for the abuser and the abused to stop the cycle of spousal abuse and related marital problems, unless they recognize it for what it is and reach out for help.