Category Archives: Purpose

Abusive Anger

This is probably the best article I have read about the use of anger and yelling and is spot on as it applied to my marriage to an abuser. I am now 17 years OUT of this relationship, but still have issues to deal with as my body and brain cope with past ravages that have not corrected themselves because I left. I still experience depression, hyper-response to triggers, and especially cognitive and memory problems. I believe Christian friends, as LittleBird states here, never saw the abuse and so fail to understand or believe the extent of what our family endured – in fact may retain friendship with my abuser because he is such a nice, “fun” guy, as they regard me as unstable or apostate. Please read this in its entirety – so real!

LittleBird...... Helping Abuse Victims Fly Through The Chaos

abusive-anger

It came out of nowhere; completely unexpected. One minute we were enjoying our lunch and a break from homeschooling, and the next moment he was yelling at the top of his lungs. Storming through the house. Throwing whatever was in his path.

The children and I were stunned. We sat there, eyes wide open, trying to make sense of what he was raving about. Finally, I came to action. I grabbed the children and began moving them out of the kitchen. They knew what was coming. They knew what they were supposed to do. I shepherded them toward their bedrooms. All the while, he was yelling and smashing things.

Once, they were in my daughters room, I knew I had to return to the kitchen. I was scared. I didn’t want to go. I silently tiptoed toward the other part of the house. He was quiet now, probably because nobody…

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Speech – Light Arizona Purple

Hello, friends…it’s been a while…

The following is a speech I made a year ago, in October 2015, well before this horrible campaign and election. I believe what I said applies even more now. I am less optimistic about changes now as I was when I wrote and presented this speech, but as individuals we have to keep changing our culture of violence. We just do. One on one on one…..

Thank you to all of you for your commitment to Ending Domestic Violence.

I am honored and grateful to be here as we begin Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Arizona.

I am a survivor of a 20-year marriage to a very intelligent psychological abuser. I needed and sought help from many sources, including 6 pastors in 4 states, police in two states, counselors, friends, family, physicians and one advocate.  Their counsel ranged from cluelessly dangerous to somewhat helpful.

In 2012, 12 years after leaving my abuser, I came to the office of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence and told the advocate, “I can’t think, or make decisions, or trust, or relax, or move forward. I’m frozen. Do you think this might have something to do with Domestic Violence?” I was heard, educated, supported and referred to appropriate help. I am so grateful!

But my story is not what is important tonight. You can Google thousands of stories, images and details about Domestic Violence among millions and more millions of stories, told or untold.

It is the millions, and more millions I want to address.

Because they include you.

One out of 4 women are abused by a partner. One out of 7 men. On Indian reservations the statistics are much higher. Consider just 25% of all women whose stories are reported. Add to that all the women who have not reported their abuse. Add families who watch helplessly, or live on after burying murdered daughters or sisters. Add neighbors who watch and worry. Add First Responders who may risk their lives to investigate, and their families who worry, or who may also have buried someone who was protecting a victim. Add medical personnel who see the trauma in emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, and psychiatric settings. Add schools, with too many traumatized kids and missed days. Add employers. Add tireless and dedicated advocates. Add those who see the images on the news and other media. Add yourself. Add everyone else.

We are all victims of Domestic Violence.

We are here tonight to Light Arizona Purple, and say together IT CAN STOP.

But to END Domestic Violence we must address the CAUSE, the machine that continues to produce Abusers and Victims.

This cause is A CULTURE OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN – and it is changing.

Programs are changing the culture: Wonderful programs have begun changing how children and youth understand behavior toward one another, how masculinity is defined, how girls and women are portrayed in advertising and media.

Media is changing the culture: NO MORE and other media blitzes are crucial, a counterpoint to much violence in other areas of media. The visibility of, and response to, violence against women via sports and entertainment has attracted attention and stimulated education and mindset change.

Grass-roots Education is changing the culture: in talks, events, and other avenues.

Victim’s services are changing the culture: providing supports and education for recovery, skills and new expectations for life without abuse – for children and adults.

VICTIMS FIND SAFETY AND ARE BELIEVED.  PERPETRATORS ARE INCREASINGLY BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

BUT WE NEED TO DO MORE…AND DO IT NOW!  WHAT IS MISSING?

BYSTANDERS

Jackson Katz has posed the question that if 3% of men do violence against men, women, and children, violence that women have not been able to stop, what are the 97% of good men, the bystanders, doing?

What I want to point out is that WE ARE ALL BYSTANDERS, as WE ARE ALL VICTIMS.

We are all in this, like it or not.

Let me illustrate. In the past few weeks, I have experienced 3 incidents of males insulting females in social settings.

A man approached my female friend and me at a restaurant. He said the guests sitting near us must be teachers “Because they are women and talk a lot.” Then he made a joke that boy birds have beaks that are closed, but girl birds have beaks that are wide open.  We calmly told him he had the wrong audience and we didn’t like his joke. He simply moved away. If enough people don’t like his jokes about women, he might move on to healthier jokes. Our response was easy and private.

A second situation was a hosted dinner-seminar with 10 people who had not met before. During conversation, one man made a remark about compulsive shopping, “you know how women are.” I didn’t laugh, but others chuckled with amusement…or maybe politeness. Later, another man declared, “I’m straight up, honest, you know who I am and what I stand for…not like a woman.” Again laughter…from at least some of the women as well.

This time I didn’t want to risk being rude or creating awkwardness out of respect for the host. We know, consciously or unconsciously, that if I had responded “I don’t like that” to those statements, the group may have seen not the rude men, but me as the source of the ensuing social awkwardness.  The silent bystanders were likely “taking the high road” “not making a fuss” or maybe they just agreed with the statements.  I might have been thought to be “too politically correct” “no fun,” or “an emotional female.”

I felt much like I did when I considered the backlash for me and to my daughters if I didn’t accept and participate in the abuse in our home. I felt like any victim who has seen anyone turn their gaze away from her abuser to her, and ask what she did to make him mad.

Just as victims of abuse are silenced, either by words and the power behind them – as by the threat of physical pain, or harm to innocent persons, so also – those who reject the culture of gender insult and violence have been silenced, either by words and the power behind them, as by the threat of retaliation in jobs, family or infinitely varied social sanctions.

We are all victims and all bystanders.

These examples seem too mild to address. But this is where Domestic Violence and its supporting social systems start. These statements show a mindset that stereotypes women as foolish, untrustworthy or other negative attributes. Which is low-level social violence. These stereotypes evolve to subconscious truth, then to excuses for disrespect, and finally to justification for abuse.

Domestic Violence is so much easier to combat at this stage, because long before his hand is around her throat, the abuser has already absorbed years of input from his culture about what is acceptable and what is not. He has learned what will be sanctioned or punished, what will be ignored and for what he will be made accountable. Others have taught him who is likely to make him accountable and who will pass it over. He may also have been abused, and internalized that this is the way life is, with no one telling him otherwise.

As a people we are aware of some of the cultural forces within which we operate; most we just accept, or navigate with little effort because we have become desensitized to the harsher tactics as we function within them. As I study word use, cultural bias, and why people believe what they do, I am in awe of how our words define our culture, as they define the way we ourselves think. Our words are tremendously powerful.

So it is up to us to become aware that the little things are not so little. Are we willing to take an honest look at our own bystander awareness and kick it up a notch by defining what we will and will not do to change our Culture of Violence against Women? Are we willing to accept that EVERYONE is affected on all levels by Domestic Violence, and to see all of us as victims and as survivors?

We don’t have to start a fight to challenge this Culture of Violence against Women. We just have to become RE-sensitized to what we are really saying and hearing, choose what we are willing to face up to in order to change our culture, and DO IT.

NOW is the time to stop just talking ABOUT Domestic Violence, and ACT.

Actively learn more. Be aware. Challenge your own stereotypes. Challenge others.

Financially support the agencies and programs that are saving lives and changing minds

We are all victims of Domestic Violence.

We are all bystanders of Domestic Violence.

And, to the extent that we passively condone a culture of Violence against Women, we are also perpetrators of Domestic Violence.

It is for everyone to transform a Culture of Violence.

The time is NOW.

It Can Stop.

End Domestic Violence.

Cloud Gazing and Being Worthwhile

P1010379Do you ever lay on the grass with a friend (of any age or species) to share what you see in the clouds? You may point and say, “See, over there, third cloud from the top of that tree, kind of up on the left side, there is a nose…and over there you can see the guy’s necktie?”  Silence.  “Right there?”  “I don’t see it…” “No…right THERE, where that little knobby thing sticks out…right THERE.  “Oh yeah, cool, I see the dude…uh, oh, well, um…he really looks kind of like a duck.”

That’s kind of what it’s like reading blogs and news reports sometimes! And finding a bottom line to anything. Or formulating my own thoughts.

Since I began blogging last year, it has been more natural for me to desperately explain psychological abuse via personal stories, and express anger and indignation about the support of abuse via Christian views and counsel as I “Ran the Gauntlet” than to speak with passion about how it SHOULD have been. Or, the main goal, how it CAN be! This is because I didn’t live it as it should have been. What I want most to convey really lies outside my experience.

I was also desperately disappointed by unrealized expectations of version of God I believed COULD help, comfort, speak, and empower with faith, but didn’t. I still don’t understand, and it is beyond crazy that I should hang it all out there again, this time having no expectations of God, but rather the assumption that His help, comfort, empowerment were completed 2000 years ago. This is joyful, but also very tender and private. So bold and yet so tentative that I feel like a liar to say anything at all. I can’t explain it; I can only rest, trust, wait. Not very interesting to read about. I don’t know how I want to say it any more. I don’t feel clever. I’m starting to feel real.

My stats are way down, which is fine, but indicates my words aren’t resonating as well. No cliffhangers any more like, “Will she jump? Will she believe?”  I’m sure some liked the intensity and drama. But the thing is, I don’t! Or words like abuse, and abused, and victim. Past tense, intensity and negativity aren’t where I want to live. Or Christian bashing, even when warranted! Even just within myself, when it never finds a page or ear. It hurts. I think that when one hurts, somewhere all hurt. I can do better.

My voice is different, and I haven’t quite found it.

I’m going to spend November diving deep into the space between words, and relax. I am going to write a 50,000 word novel during the inspiring and challenging National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It’s going to be a novel that has nothing to do with domestic violence, my past, or problems to be solved. November 1 is an hour away where I live. I have no outline, no sure plan.

I’m going to be cloud-gazing!

I can see whatever I want to see!

It will be worthwhile!

I will stop in to see you at your blogs, and maybe post here, if I like what I have to say. I will answer if you check in on me.

When I’m finished, I’m going to call out to you, invite you to join me in the grass, stretch out my arm right next to your line of sight, and say with glee, “Oh, LOOK, do you SEE it??!”

(Even if you don’t, it will be fun trying!).

Blessings,

Diane

P.S.  If you will, please pass on your favorite writing (or other) music! Inspire me! Get me moving! Say, “Oh LISTEN to this?” And I will!

Lighten Up! How Simply Christian Is That?!

Every day, a woman stood on her porch and shouted, “Praise the Lord!”

And every day the atheist next door yelled, “There is no Lord!”

One day she prayed, “Lord, I’m hungry. Please send me groceries.”

The next morning she found a big bag of food on the stairs. “Praise the Lord,” she shouted.

“Ha! I told you there was no Lord,” her neighbor said, jumping from behind a bush. “I bought those groceries.”

“Praise the Lord!” the woman said. “He not only sent me groceries, but he made the devil pay for them.”  Found in Reader’s Digest

******

“And so,” the speaker concluded, “God will always provide for your needs, explain His will for you, and give you peace.” At our divorced/widowed recovery group, she had just related her glowing story of divorce and God’s care for her…money in the mailbox, direction and divine peace, in spite of her dire financial situation while raising children. I spoke to her, and expressed gladness that it had worked that way for her, but noted that it wasn’t always that smooth and clear for some others, including me. She squinted at me past her halo’s glow and stated, “Then you have a LOT to learn, honey!”

Her ex tells good-humoredly that he paid her $1000 a month alimony — the best money he ever spent!

******

god hates figs 2

Original reference unknown. Found in Google Images, multiple sources.

Funny:

WE CAN SEE “IT” ANY WAY WE WANT.

But what about quoting the Word accurately and not misrepresenting God?

If we aren’t sure what is the exactly, specifically, technically, perfectly, doctrinally, theologically, formally, denominationally right, letter of LAW….

…why not err toward love, peace, patience, gentleness, wisdom, common sense, compassion, intelligence, safety…….LIFE!

Really, what will be lost if you quote deliverance verses to an abused person rather than admonition verses, and don’t take a hard enough line with the Word of God????

Nothing, because he/she may live and believe long enough for you to discuss it again later.

Even better, he/she will live and believe long enough to discuss it with her Savior in a place of safety.

How simply Christian is that?

Blessings!!

Diane 

Oh, Lord I Need Thee…Your Answer, Christian?

A Christian…drawn back to God by an enormous sacrifice and gift, through no action of their own, dead to law, with the mind of Christ, seeking discernment, filled with love and gratitude, who prays like this:

  Sam Robson

Answer this: Can such a Christian answer the woman (your daughter, sister, mother, neighbor) below with lectures, law, and theory? IS IT POSSIBLE?

Below are a few of HUNDREDS of videos addressing wives behavior toward husbands, quickly selected during a full afternoon of viewing. There were a number addressing husbands behavior to wives, too (not as many, none by women). I claim no responsibility for context within each speaker’s total perspective because a victim listening will most likely hear each talk on it’s own, as I did. Nor do I convey support for any ministry – take these videos as they are. If these speakers wish to include the 25% of their congregations/listeners who are abuse victims, they will have to explain how their assertions differ in the context of various types of  abuse.

 

 (The following were hard to find – if you know of any Christian videos talking safety and God’s love, please let me know – I want to start a collection).

These are better:

Christian? What did Jesus rescue the Christian from?

Got Grace? Please pay it forward.

Blessings,

Diane

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Grace: Jesus: Forgiveness: Foundation: Forward

Please remind the abused Christian of this. There is so much law out there to further abuse. So patiently begin by first living IN Christ yourself, THEN kindly reminding them of this Gospel. Remind them that not abuse, nor misunderstanding, nor isolation, nor fear, nor sad decisions or outcomes, can separate him/her from His love.

J.S. Park

 

The Gospel is both our foundation and motivation.

Sometimes when I hear a sermon, I think —

“How could I ever live up to this?  Why would I even want to do this?  What am I doing this for?”

I try to catch up.  It feels good on good days, when I’m a nice guy and praying hard and staying clean.  But on bad days: my quota comes up short.  I’m horrified at my utter lack of conviction.  I come up with rules to follow rules, sharpen my prayer-technique, throw lighter-fluid on my computer, buy a wardrobe for a homeless guy.

It doesn’t work.  None of this brings me any intimacy with God.  It only selfishly points at myself, and I get self-righteous or scared or a sloppy mix of both.

But then — the Gospel is preached.  I’m reminded that Jesus died for all the ways I’ve failed…

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Peter’s Famous Quotes

“Can you fix it?” (A shirt ripped to shreds during drunken brawl with friends)

“I guess I’d better carry the checkbook.” (I told him that I wouldn’t bail him out if he got a DUI).

“Poor wacked out thing, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

“I don’t recall that.”

“What good are you if you can’t have babies?” (I felt it was best to have no more children).

“You’re a cold, calculating, conniving bitch.” (?????)

“You never address my concerns.” (An excuse to not address my concerns)

“Maybe Mommy will reconsider.” (When I backed up HIS parental rules)

“It’s just stress – don’t spend money on a doctor.” (Half my face was paralyzed)

“If you want to be depressed, OK. But it doesn’t have anything to do with me, my drinking, or the girls. And don’t spend too much money on it.”

“There is no place in our family for anger.” (A 90-minute bedtime lecture, one of many)

“You’re being ‘No-Fun Diane.'”

“Why do you make up things to be mad about?” (Previous Post: The Day I Figured It Out)

“I rate our marriage a 9.5 on a scale of 10. How can you say it’s a 4?”

“I’m the best engineer they ever saw.”

“I’m the best cook ever.”

“I’m the perfect father and  husband.”

“There’s nothing wrong with a couple of beers after work.”

“Even Pastor J*** says there is nothing wrong with a few beers before church.”

“Your calling the cops on me makes you really hot.”

“I prayed for renewed love for my wife, and He has given me such a love for my wife!” (In context, do you believe him? How about if he said this during counseling?)

“God has given me the grace to drink socially.”

“Simple, yet brilliant. I paid for it, I can piss on it.” (Regarding urinating in inappropriate places)

“You’re such a hypocrite.”

“I saved you from being a spinster.”

“You just have PMS.”

“You’re a f***ing a***ole bitch, you know that?”

“I’d like to smash your face in.”

“I love you.”

“God has given me such a love for my wife.”

“Let’s teach Children’s Church together!”

****

Now stop. Close your eyes and for a few minutes BE the spouse of the speaker above. Step into shoes, skin and role. 

What would YOU hear as truth?  At first….then later?

On what would YOU base a marital relationship? Which statements would you trust to define WHO you are married to? Which parts would you dismiss as just a bad mood?

How would you FEEL? How would it change the way you think about planning for the future? Having children?! Taking on a mortgage together, or building a business.

Would you look at it as bad behavior, done by choice? Or would you see mental illness or self-esteem issues, done without total volition? How would that change your response? Would you consider leaving (and leave children in his custody, at least part-time?)? Or decide you are one flesh and it isn’t an option?

Welcome to the first episode of the Domestic Violence marathon reality show called “What Am I Dealing with Today (month, year, decade) – And How Do I Respond?”

OK, put yourself in your own shoes again.

What would you believe if Christian friend related this to you? Perhaps a wife who seems to have a great guy for a husband? Or from a wife in couples counseling, when hubby has a perfectly good explanation?

How about a non-Christian friend? Would scriptural admonitions matter? Would you be more likely to believe that a non-Christian would act like this? Would you be more or less likely to suggest prayer, submission, waiting, obeying authority, etc.?

How about your sister or daughter? How would her story sound to you? What would you say? Would you support her in some way? How?

No physical abuse here, but this IS abuse. Even the love, taken in context. It doesn’t cause bruises, but it does create scars:

Permanent…etched in DNA, cellular functions, memory, physical reactions to stress, trust, faith, children who carry it to the next generation. There is recovery, just as after a serious injury there can be recovery, but a limp may remain. 

How much of a limp depends a lot on the treatment given at the “hospital.” Hearing me?

Here are some places to start, if you want to learn more:

Violence in Families — What Every Christian Needs to Know, by Reverend Al Miles

Domestic Violence — What Every Pastor Needs to Know, by Reverend Al Miles

The Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

Blessings,

Diane

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