Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Zero-Tolerance on Domestic Violence Within the Church

Posted by Hannah at 1:00 PM

Creekside Ministries wrote an article Called, A Zero Tolerance Level.

I have to tell you in my little naive world as a same child? I always assumed that the church 'had that' no questions asked because that is how it is there!

When I grew older I knew there were taboo subjects that you need to approach lightly. In the environment that I grew up in? I already felt I wasn't capable of it, or so I thought. I would throw out small hints, and if they didn't follow up? I just wasn't justified.

When I grew to an adult I knew some subjects you just didn't bring up at all, unless you could show you are almost a Saint! They were going to look at my every move, attitude, and it seemed to me like a hunting trip for that one sin they could hang their hat on.

The Ministries first quote:

I have a zero-tolerance level for abuse in any form. It is always sin. It is a completely inappropriate reaction to stress, frustration, demands, disappointments, others' behavior. There are no excuses. We always have the choice how we respond. Period.

I'm sure most can agree with that quote from Creekside ministries, but what I have found is that the 'no excuses' is short lived in most cases.  We are going to use an example of someone that truly has their heart in the right place, and accepts what is happening and is willing to help!  I will answer in my mindset at the time when I was totally beaten down by the abuse.

I said short lived, and why do I say that? I have seen and read so many times one little sentence goes towards the 'no excuse' portion of their answer, and the rest of the time you are getting the third degree. When you live in a world that is full of fear and doubt? People don't seem to realize their intention isn't going to come across as they would like.  I will admit some people's hearts ARE in the right place, but when you don't understand a person's world?  It can backfire on you!

In the 'old' days when these items they pointed out to me about ME?

Microscope Pictures, Images and Photos

I used the same pattern of behavior I had when growing up and beyond. It was like I had a microscope, and I set it on 'magnify level 1000'. I would just rip myself to pieces!

For Example I might say about a disagreement: "Okay I sighed during our conversation, and he found it offensive maybe? This is what set the whole fight off!?" I was setting myself up to own something - well the after effect anyway - and place all my guilt on a sigh for example.

People will mention that maybe that sigh is did set him off, and maybe he was offended by it. He could have felt disrespected by that, but it doesn't justify his behavior.

Did you see the one sentences above?

If he was listening? Not only would he jump on that 'sigh' with both feet, but he would also feel more justified about it in the future. They don't realize that people that are abusive go on hunting trips looking for some sin to hang their hat on. They also don't realize when they mentioned, 'his behavior wasn't justified' and he will leave that out in the future as if it was never said. The 'offended' and 'disrespected' parts? THAT would be the only source of discussion with him.

I wish someone had mentioned that abusive parties do tend to focus on the parts that would either justify their actions, or use it in a way to smash me over the head regarding their behavior and how I asked for it almost.  When you live in a world full of confusion?  You aren't looking for that loophole, and they can twist things around to make you FEEL you sin more so than what was intended.

They also don't realize the level of magnification victims use to feel bad about it. They may have pointed this out and to them 'matter of fact' regarding this sigh, but their intent wouldn't be realized to me. They may not "intend" my sigh during the conversation equals justifying his abuse, but that is what I heard.  That shows my mindset at the time.  I was primed and ready to own it.

Some people will say that is because I was to sensitive.

NO! I was hypersensitive because in my environment that is how I learned I must be.  I don't think people count on that part, and I think that is where some communication is lost.  They aren't counting on my being hypersensitive due to watching my every move, and every statement to make sure I don't set off a bomb!  Its a way of life!

YES the 'sigh' had nothing to with the abuse. It wasn't due to being provoked, or having a bad day even! It was because he made the choice to abuse. I never figured that out until I was told this 1000 times it seems like! People that cared about me figured out that hypersensitive part about me, and they realized I had to get OUT of that habit pattern before I could truly HEAR what they are saying!

In other words, maybe the 'sigh' was a factor Hannah but it still doesn't justify his actions! The sigh should have NEVER sent him over the top like that!


I realize Harry Potter is a taboo subject within some circles, and I don't mean to offend here! I read the books while I was recovering from major surgery.  I was bored to death on bed rest, and someone brought them over.

Anyway, if any of you have seen this series of movies there was a character named Dobby. Dobby was the resident house-elf of the Malfoy family, and he served the Malfoys with total submission. The Malfoy family treated Dobby with unkindness and cruelty, often reminding him to do extra punishments to himself when he does something disagreeable to them. Dobby also told Harry Potter that he was used to death threats as he received them frequently by the Malfoys. Though he always did as he was told, he longed to be free of the Malfoys.

During the story Dobby was trying to get Harry Potter to leave the school for his own safety. When Harry Potter refused Dobby set something up so Harry would be hurt, but not killed in hopes that he would scare him away instead. (It was the setup for the danger in the movie) Dobby during the hospital scene admitted to hurting Harry, and you can imagine Harry was upset as we would all be. Dobby decided he would punish himself, and Harry couldn't take watching him hit himself anymore and asked him to STOP! Dobby was always beating himself up, because that is what he was conditioned to do.

I was like Dobby in the movie. I wouldn't iron my hands for punishment, but I would hand myself over for extra punishment when anything disagreeable would happen. Bad Hannah! Bad Hannah...YOU SIGHED YOU SIGHED YOU SIGHED...as my example goes! Guess what would leave the equation completely at that point? 'There are no excuse. We always have the choice how we respond. Period!' His behavior to me was justified, because he always told me it was...and people hinted at the sigh as part of his provoked reaction. I was Dobby just taking my punishment for it.

When people speak of No Tolerance of Domestic Violence within the Church? I think it is always important to realize the Dobby factor in that.  I didn't intentionally become Dobby.  I was Dobby in alot of ways, and I never really saw that.

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Anonymous said...

Some people will say that is because I was to sensitive.

NO! I was hypersensitive because in my environment that is how I learned I must be. I don't think people count on that part, and I think that is where some communication is lost. They aren't counting on my being hypersensitive due to watching my every move, and every statement to make sure I don't set off a bomb! Its a way of life!

Once again, great article! This rings so true for me. People still say to me "if you would just not have been so nice, or if you would have just stood up to him. No one can truly know unless they've been in it, and some don't even try to understand. I love you blog so much.

Hannah on 11:08 AM said...

Anonymous: That's terrible. What about if you would have confronted him on his behavior? What happened to discipline process? lol Although I doubt they would have liked that!

I do agree some don't try, and yikes the naive comments they make? They don't realize how badly they come across.

Thank you for your comment!

Amy on 3:12 PM said...

I get the same thing said to me and I want to scream. After my h of 20 years left our home left February and wanted to come back but I'd had enough and said no, people from my church said, "you two need to sit down and talk things out, pray together, and get it worked out." Wow, how easy that sounds, except the part they didn't and don't get, nor wanted to understand, is that you don't sit down and talk anything out with a narcissist and passive/aggressive man. You sit down to talk and might as well shut your mouth before you even start because you will be told how you're wrong and it's all your fault.

Most people don't get this type of abuse, and just don't want to. I've learned who I can safely talk to from my church and who I steer clear of. There are those that hug me and say, "I love you and care" and those that hug me and say "remember, God hates divorce."

Great post as usual Hannah.

Hannah on 7:43 PM said...

'those that hug me and say "remember, God hates divorce." '

Done in LOVE of course right Amy? ;)

Amy on 9:41 PM said...

Of course! LOL

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