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The Many Faces of an Emotional Abuser Part 3
If only emotional abusers came with such a warning label! To the contrary most abusers put forth a charming, quite likable front. They are masters at winning a woman's trust.
Once the abuser has won his partner's trust he uses a variety of tactics to damage her soul through isolation, corrupting her moral compass, and exerting a false male privilege. He insists that no one else could ever love her and that she is not capable of taking care herself. She is truly lucky to have her abuser!
Three strong forms of emotional abuse that are especially confusing include isolation, the male privilege, and corrupting behaviors.
The emotional abuser intuitively knows that he will not be able to adequately control his partner if she retains strong contact with her family, friends, and healthy interests. Her loved ones will notice the changes in her behavior and will coax her out of the situation just as the abuse is starting. The abuser must, therefore, physically and emotionally isolate or alienate his partner from her family, friends, and life dreams.
It is not uncommon for an abuser to move his partner to another town early in the relationship. He will be quick to insist that his partner change churches, community groups, or regular lunches or other gatherings with girlfriends. He will insist that she quit her job or drop out of school. If he allows a social life for his partner it will likely be quite controlled and will be filled with unwitting "proxy" abusers.
When he cannot completely isolate his partner from her previous life he will ridicule and criticize her friends and family; he will point out every flaw and insist that his love is the only love she can count on.
The male privilege is a common form of abuse used by abusers within the Christian community even though it is an absolute perversion of the teaching of scripture. The abuser insists upon all sorts of privileges because he is the head of the household and therefore the supreme boss.
The abuser insists that because he is the man and earns the money he gets to determine how the money will be spent, what vehicle the family will drive, and what type of rules govern the home. He determines the music and television programs his partner might enjoy and what clothes she will wear. He comes and goes as he pleases, even to the point of taking elaborate vacations without his partner. He lives his life as a single man and when questioned will pronounce, "It is none of your damned business. I am the head of this home."
The abuser is typically the breadwinner while his partner takes care of the home and children. He publicly claims to value her role and praises her cooking and nurturing role. Behind closed doors, however, he berates her for not knowing what it is to "put in a day's work." He lets her know that she is an inadequate mother and homemaker.
He insists that her duty is simple obedience to his every whim. He rules with an iron fist; too often under the guise of Christian teaching.
Some emotional abusers insist that their partner and children participate in his own immoral, illegal, or dishonest acts. This is typically reinforced with other abusive tactics.
One emotional abuser insisted that his role as head of the head was so supreme that his wife and children were obligated to obey him even if his commands were contrary to God's ways. He used his minions to cover his corrupt behavior or participate with him. To do anything less was an assault against God and was not acceptable in his home.
One woman described her abuser's penchant for petty thievery. She witnessed him using his company credit card to fill their personal gas cans, slipping odds and ends into his pocket, and taking advantage of every opportunity, ethical or not, to further his cause. She spoke out against his thievery only once. His tactics of intimidation were so strong that she found it more palatable to suffer his thievery than his brutality. She laughs that she is relieved that the statutes of limitations has now passed. He is on his own when he gets caught!
Some abusers introduce minors to alcohol and expose them to pornography and other corruptive sexual behaviors. I spoke with one woman who described the desktop background on her ex-abuser's computer that depicted the Peanuts characters in vile sexual acts. She cringes a full 9 years later when she speaks of these innocent children engaging in an orgy and her husband's lack of concern at exposing his teen-aged son to this. She now wonders what sort of pornography might have been hidden deeper in his computer.
If you or your children are exposed to this sort of corrupting behavior remind yourself that healthy behavior and a healthy relationship will not require you to violate your personal, moral, or legal boundaries. It is vile to expose children to corrupting, harmful behaviors. if you are hesitant to get out to protect yourself then get out to protect your children. They are counting on you!
I highly recommend all the Patricia Evans books listed below. She has defined verbal and emotional abuse in common language that cuts to the heart of the issue. I had wondered for years what was so wrong in my own home. The great IT that I lived with defied all rules of common sense and human decency. I searched for answers but was told to clean the house better, cook more, take better care of the children, and give him what he wants and then everything would be better. I tried. I really, really tried but my life only sank deeper into an abyss of evil. A counselor finally suggested that I read Pat Evans books. "This," I told him at the next appointment, "is my life!"
I could not begin the process of changing my life until I could define what I was facing. These truly are excellent books and they are worth every penny. I caution you, however, if you think you are living with an abuser then do not let him see these books. Read them on your own time with a pen and highlighter in hand. Mark everything that applies to you and then decide what you should do.
Support groups are in every community. They are well equipped to provide you with confidential information and to help you along your way of regaining your life.