Characteristics Of Verbal Abuse
Now I would like to focus on some of the characteristics of verbal abuse as outlined in The Verbally Abusive Relationship.3
1. Verbal abuse is hurtful and usually attacks the nature and abilities of the partner. Over time, the partner may begin to believe that there is something wrong with her or her abilities. She may come to feel that she is the problem, rather than her partner.
2. Verbal abuse may be overt or covert . Overt verbal abuse is usually blaming and accusatory, and consequently confusing to the partner. Covert verbal abuse, which is hidden aggression, is even more confusing to the partner. Its aim is to control her without her knowing.
3. Verbal abuse is manipulative and controlling. Even disparaging comments may be voiced in an extremely sincere and concerned way. But the goal is to control and manipulate.
4. Verbal abuse is insidious. The partner’s self-esteem gradually diminishes, usually without her realizing it. She may consciously or unconsciously try to change her behavior so as not to upset the abuser.
5. Verbal abuse is unpredictable. In fact, unpredictability is one of the most significant characteristics of verbal abuse. The partner is stunned, shocked, and thrown off balance by her mate’s sarcasm, angry jab, put-down, or hurtful comment.
These are a few characteristics of verbal abuse. Next we will look at some of the categories of verbal abuse.4
Whats Next Concerning Abusive Relationships
How should we respond when we know abuse is happening to someone?
We must never close our eyes to the sin of injustice or the abuse of power, whether it is in a home, a church, a work setting or a community or country . The apostle Paul encountered some spiritually abusive leaders. But he did not put up with it . Please dont be passive when you encounter abuse.
However, because we too are sinners we are all tempted to react to abusive behavior with a sinful response of our own. The apostle Paul cautions us not to be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good .
What Does The Bible Say About Verbal Abuse
Verbal abuse over an extended period of time can leave marks on the heart and soul for a lifetime. Imagine what people would look like if the damage of verbal abuse left visible scars. Many of us would have much difficulty coming into public view. The spiritual and emotional impact of verbal abuse has led many of us down dark paths of pain and regret. What does the Bible reveal about verbal abuse?
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Is Emotional Abuse Grounds For Biblical Separation
We tend to categorize things in black and white, right and wrong, good and bad, and biblical and unbiblical, but I think some things arenât always so clear. James 3:2 tells us that we all stumble in many ways.
There is no perfect marriage or perfect spouse. All marriages will experience hurt and heartache. But there are marriages that are more than disappointing or difficult, they are damaging and destructive.
As biblical counselors, we must be prepared to wisely counsel those who are in destructive marriages. Part of our preparation is to wrestle through whether or not we believe Godâs word allows separation and, if so, when.
Among conservative Christians there seems to be some allowance for separation if a husband is beating his wife with his fists or she fears for her safety, but consistently little support if her husband is crushing her spirit or twisting her thinking with his words. One woman recently wrote me and said, âMy pastor said emotional abuse is too fuzzy to allow for separation. Physical abuse would be clear, but emotional abuse isnât.â
Yet, Godâs word clearly has much to say in support of victims of verbal and emotional cruelty.
Every personâs story is unique. Each person who has been grievously sinned against will need to wrestle with the impact that the abuse is having on his or her body, soul and spirit as well as on their children.
Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale Reference Library , 323
What Does The Bible Say About Verbally Abusive Husbands
What Does The Bible Say About Verbally Abusive Husbands? The Bible says much about Abusive Relationships. Over time, the word abuse has been given several meanings. At its pronunciation, many people are more likely to perceive anger or some form of physical violence involved. However, this is a simplistic and often misleading view of abuse. Note that anger is an emotion that God gave us to alert us to problems. Following this, we can say that righteous anger is not sinful and should not be associated with abuse. Mishandling anger will likely lead to a sinful, abusive response, but its a sinful heart, not the emotion of anger, that is the root cause of abuse. Today, we make use of the word abuse to describe the mistreatment or misuse of virtually anything. In this light, we speak of the abuse of drugs, alcohol, trust, institutions, and objects.
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What Does The Bible Say About Narcissistic Behavior
Sometimes,the Bible can be used in a way to better explain narcissism. Read on to know more about what the Bible can say about narcissistic behavior.
People will be lovers of themselves.
Narcissism is addressed in the Bible in Pauls second pastoral epistle to Timothy in the fall of A.D.67. Paul seems to be concerned about the character and behavior of leaders within the church, so he warns Timothy to beware of those who act out of a self-love attitude.
He says, But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away. Here Paul names many of the attributes associated to-day with the narcissistic personality we are all becoming so familiar with.
The Science of Psychology and Narcissism as a scholarly study is relatively young, barely more than a century old in fact. However, the term Narcissism is not confined to psychology alone, it is also seen through the lens of other disciplines, such as sociology Political Science Criminology Theological Anthropology Theology .
Contrasting the Bible with Psychology:
Bible Verses About Abuse From A Spouse
The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked,And the one who loves violence His soul hates.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,read more.treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power Avoid such men as these.For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she would be holy and blameless.read more.So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
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What Does The Scriptures Say About Abusive Language
Matthew 5:2122 openly categorizes verbal abuse as a major offense with eternal or everlasting consequences: You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, Raca, is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, You fool! will be in danger of the fire of hell. Following this Scripture, we can say that Gods heart on the subject of how we make use of our words is evident in Scripture. In fact, God is concerned about how we make use of words. As followers of Christ, we should be more focused on using words to build than destroy.
It Is Good To Protect Yourself From Violent People
David fled King Saul when he was violent toward him. The angel of the Lord warned Joseph to flee to Egypt with Jesus because Herod was trying to kill him. Paul escaped from those who sought to stone him.
We must help people to get safe and stay safe when they are in abusive relationships. This is not only good for her and her children, it is good for her abusive partner. If you are not experienced in developing a safety plan and assessing for lethality , refer or consult with someone who is knowledgeable in this area .
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Christians Responsibility Towards Abusive Relationships
As Christian we have the mandate and the responsibility to be champions of peace. Dr. Martin Luther King said, In the end what hurt the most was not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.
In honor of victims of domestic abuse who need wise help, please forward this article to other Christian leaders who may need to learn how to see domestic abuse through the lens of the Scriptures.
Leslie Vernick is the author of this article and graciously gave us permission to post it on this web site. Leslie is a popular speaker, author, and licensed clinical social worker and relationship coach. She is the author of seven books, including the best selling, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship and her most recent The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.
Leslie has been a featured guest on Focus on the Family Radio, Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey, Moody Mid-Day Connection. She also writes a regular column for WHOA Womens Magazine. Internationally, shes spoken in Canada, Romania, Russia, Hungary, the Philippines, British Virgin Islands and Iraq. Shes been married to Howard for 38 years. Together they have two grown children and three grandchildren. You can find out more about abusive relationships by going to her web site at Leslievernick.com.
The Lord Sympathises And Offers Comfort To Those Who Are Afflicted
The LORD does hear our prayers, He does care when we cry. He is there to comfort, guide us and heal us.
Psalms 18:48 He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
2 Samuel 22:28 And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.
Psalms 22:24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted neither hath he hid his face from him but when he cried unto him, he heard.
Psalms 140:12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.
Psalms 72:14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
Psalms 9:9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
Psalms 103:6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
Psalms 146:7 Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners:
Bible Verses On Abuse & Violence
Many people think that the Bible has very little to say about abuse, and yet there are countless bible verses which speak clearly and definitely on the subjects of domestic abuse and domestic violence.
Quite often, if we as victims approach and confide in an elder, priest, or member of our Church, hoping for some support and encouragement, we can leave feeling even more guilty and trapped than we did formerly. We may be told that the abuse is due to our own lack of submissiveness, or our own sinfulness, that we would not suffer if our faith was greater, or that we will be rewarded in the next life for the suffering we experience in this one . I have heard of women who have been told earnestly by their vicar that it would be better for them to die at the hands of their abusive husband than to seek a separation and protection for their children!
When talking to Church members we have to realise that understanding of Domestic Abuse is still in its infant stages in many Churches, and that the majority of people still hold basic misconceptions regarding the dynamics of an abusive relationship and have formed their opinions less on what Scripture says, and more on those myths generally held in society. An added hurdle is to be found especially in the more fundamental denominations, where the mistaken belief is often that such things may happen “in the World”, but not in a good Christian home!
How Does The Bible Define Emotional Abuse
Sometimes we can mistreat or abuse others without laying a finger on them. Instead we use a tool that God gave us that can be used for great blessing or great destruction the tongue. The Bible says this about our tongue:
8 But the tongue can no man tame it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Our words should be used to build others up, not to tear others down as the Scriptures command us to do:
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Verbal Abuse Comes From A Defiled Heart
But the things that come out of a persons mouth come from the heart, and these defile them .
The heart of a verbally abusive person reveals the condition of their heart. Just as a physically sick heart can bring a person downa spiritually sick heart does as well. The defiled heart cant help to reveal itself through abusive language.
God Answer Our Cries For Help
Psalm 30:2: Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
God does not put us on hold. Whenever we need him, hes just a call away. And if we cant verbalize the pain we feel, God looks at our hearts and knows what we feel. In a world that is so busy, we feel overlooked. Its comforting to know God doesnt miss one tiny thing that happens to us. God, who created butterflies and centipedes sees everything we go through. We know God heals because when Jesus came to earth, Jesus healed the sick, the lame, and every sick person who crossed his path. When you hurt, call on God and let him heal you as well. And when God heals, his power never diminishes.
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When Are Women Allowed To Approach Civil Or Church Authorities About Abuse
A wife and mother should only go around her husband who is her spiritual authority in the gravest of circumstances. If a husband violates the Exodus 21:26-27 principle and threatens or actually causes serious bodily harm or what he is doing has the potential of causing death to her or her children a wife has every right to approach her church authorities and civil authorities.
In I Samuel 25 we see that Abagail went against her husbands wishes to save her family from his wicked actions that would have had them killed. This teaches us that if a woman finds out her husband is involved in some criminal or otherwise wicked activity that endangers the life of her family she has every right to go to the civil authorities to protect her life and the life of her children.
Also if a wife finds out that her husband has been sexually abusing one of her children in violation of the Leviticus 18:6 principle she has every right to turn her husband over to both the church and civil authorities. When husbands commit such heinous acts they invalidate their ownership and headship over their wives and children allowing their wives and children to be freed from them.
What The Bible Says About Abuse Within Marriage
Note: Malachi 2, I hate divorce. Said by guest as 5:2, says The man who hates and divorces his wife, says the Lord, the God of Israel, does violence to the one he should protect.
In 2000, Paige Patterson was asked about women who are abused by their husbands. Heres what the now-president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary said:
It depends on the level of abuse to some degree. I have never in my ministry counseled that anybody seek a divorce, and I do think thats always wrong counsel. There have been, however, an occasion or two when the level of the abuse was serious enough, dangerous enough, immoral enough that I have counseled temporary separation and the seeking of help. I would urge you to understand that that should happen only in the most serious of cases. . . . More often, when you face abuse, it is of a less serious variety.
These comments recirculated on social media over the weekend, not surprisingly sparking fierce criticism of Pattersons remarks.
On Sunday, Patterson released a statement where he clarified that his happiness in the situation came from seeing this womans husband return to church. He also said that physical or sexual abuse should be reported to the appropriate authorities, as I have always done.
Patterson also stated that, I have also said that I have never recommended or prescribed divorce. How could I as a minister of the Gospel? The Bible makes clear the way in which God views divorce.
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