Emotional Abuse Crushing A Woman's Heart
by Bernice McDonald
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Is there anyone out there who truly wants to know a woman’s heart? Oh, how deep it goes and how beautiful it is when discovered!
She waits for someone to come like Prince Charming in the story of Cinderella who saw the perfect jewel of who she was when everyone else around her had missed it. The questions of the feminine heart from the time she is tiny are those which innocently ask, “Am I beautiful? Would you fight for me?”
Too often the answers she finds are shallow and non-committal. The man she turns to is caught up in his own story. Unlike the Prince, he searches for the answers to his own questions in life expecting her to fit into his idea of who she should be for him. He thinks the source of his happiness should be this woman he has chosen.
He needs her. She fills the “gap” of emotional belonging that he craves. Out of his own insecurity and low self-image, he fears he is not able to hold her in the way he needs to so he bullies her. He is possessive and monopolizes her time and attention.
Unable to look within himself at his own lack of character because of his feelings of inadequacy or inferiority, he challenges her in all of her weak areas. She is vulnerable to criticism and to taking responsibility for the relationship because it is relationship that she has been designed to build. She becomes convinced that if she could only change, he would be happier.
But the hole within him is so large. It is too big for her to fill. And he is going to the wrong source for his answers. Unknown to either of them, no matter how she tries, she will never be enough for him.
The consequences are severe. Like rose petals in their prime discarded and ground by his heel into the dirt, her spirit is crushed.
To the outside world, her husband often appears charming, a hard worker, dedicated to his family. But his desperation to look that way is so highly important to him that he carefully prunes the image in public saving his deep-seated anger for those behind closed doors. His accusations are unreasonable and unfair always directing attention away from himself.
In her article “The Silent Killer of Christian Marriages”, Amy Wildman White says, “For anyone who works with abusive men, the most frustrating characteristic is their lack of insight. When interacting with this type of individual, one is often left feeling as if he or she has just gone in circles. Issues presented are minimized, denied, or turned around to make someone else responsible, or a host of other topics are brought in to sidetrack the conversation. The process of change is most often slow or nonexistent.”
She also says, “Although the behaviors in and of themselves are forms of abuse, it is the constant climate of destruction that leaves a woman believing she is trapped, with no confidence or hope that there is a way out. A woman in an emotionally abusive marriage does not believe she has any choices. She believes she carries the responsibility for the bad marriage and that if only she could change, her marriage would improve. No matter what she does differently, however, the marriage never gets better.”
Piece by piece, moment by moment she is bombarded with the messages: “No, you are not beautiful. You can’t get anything right. Your dreams and desires and needs don’t matter. You are such a disappointment.” Many times over different variations of these words beat at a woman’s soul.
She dies inside, the messages confirmed: I am not valuable, I am worthless.
The words to Martina McBride’s song float through my mind:
“She loved him like he was
The last man on earth,
Gave him everything she ever had.
He'd break her spirit down,
Then come lovin' up on her
Give a little then take it back.
She'd tell him about her dreams,
He'd just shoot 'em down.
Lord, he loved to make her cry.
You're crazy for believin'
You'll ever leave the ground,
He said, ‘Only angels know how to fly.”
What hope is there for us, oh women, who are convinced there is no such thing as a Knight in Shining Armor? Listen to the words of the One who tells mere man how to love you. Please know that your desire to be loved in this way is not wrong, it is inherent! This love is what was intended for you all along.
“Give your life to bring out her beauty.
Discover the mystery of who she is, of what she dreams;
watch to see what inspires and impassions her
– and then make it happen.
Don’t let anything get in the way of her becoming all she is supposed to become.
Cherish her, support her, fight for her, challenge her, refine her.
By doing this, men, you are doing yourselves a favor,
for by loving a woman like this,
she will be your most tender, loyal, powerful counterpart for life!
How do I know this is what she needs?
I know because I made her.
I know her in depth as part of My own heart.
This is how I, her Eternal Lover,
actively devote Myself to her!”
Does God know a woman’s heart? If you can get past the age old thinking in these verses referring to the “rules” of marriage, you will see the amazing sparkling diamond. God knows EXACTLY how to love a woman. He is handing her over to man with specific instructions about HOW to love her while she lives here on earth away from Him.
Woman also has been given a roadmap to a man’s heart:
“Wives, trust your husband as though you are trusting Me.
Let him be your shelter.
He is the guardian of all that I have put within you and
I have entrusted him with My own strength, wisdom and ability
to draw out the deepest beauty within you.
He would die to rescue you without thought for himself
just as I would….and did.
Let him be who I made him to be.
Come beneath his wing.”
These are the instructions given to us. But in a world sadly far from its original intent, this is too often not the reality.
Raise your eyes to the Big Picture. We live in enemy territory. God’s enemy, Satan, takes whatever God pronounced good and seeks with vengeance to destroy it. Past pain, disappointment, neglect and selfishness devastate a man’s heart as much as a woman’s. The result is a paralyzed inability to love as God planned it to be.
So where do we turn when the man in our lives physically or emotionally discards us? Here is the rest of the song “Broken Wing” by Martina McBride:
“And with a broken wing,
She still sings
She keeps an eye on the sky.
With a broken wing
She carries her dreams.
Man, you ought to see her fly!”
No matter what the circumstances in our lives, there are some “unchangeables” that we must cling to:
1. God is the One Who instructs a man how to love us because HE loves us like that! When we face a break in this human love, God is still there knowing how to love us and offering Himself as our Knight in Shining Armor. He has always been in love with us and falling in love with Him is easy once we know that.
2. God has built a dream into the very depth of our hearts. Just because we lose our way or find ourselves trampled down, that dream doesn’t change or go away. It’s always there and always will be. We need to fly even with a broken wing! We are gifted and talented and strong in many ways. Finding and pursuing OUR PURPOSE can absorb hurt like a sponge!
So many women walk around like the living dead. Their hearts are crushed and they are convinced of their own worthlessness. This is a waste of something so precious!
There are many that I have worked with over the past few years. Because of my own experiences with the Prince of the Universe, I have been able to discern their own uniqueness and value; it takes time but establishing these things is like watering a desert place! At first it sinks in and seems to have no effect because the ground is so dry. But as the lies are discarded and the truth of their strengths and amazing unique qualities begin to emerge, it is as if lush green plants and beautiful flowers begin to take over the wastelands.
A new light floods their whole beings and a new reason to live begins to motivate them. They hold the hand of their true Husband and they walk a new walk with a new confidence. Truly, they begin to fly!
Yes, sometimes it means taking strong action like leaving their husbands. Unfortunately, at times, this is the only way to catch the man’s attention. When faced with such measures, he will often begin to seek the help he needs and they begin to heal the broken places in their relationship.
And sometimes he will not have anything to do with restoration. Even so, it is not the end of life. It is a new season in which a woman can begin to truly experience her own freedom and individual healing. She learns to soar despite her wounds and finds her real identity in the eyes of the One with Whom she will spend all of eternity.
Never give up hope! Reach out for help and discernment no matter how badly you feel you are to blame for the problems in your relationship. Let God into your deepest heart. Allow Him to begin to love you as you need to be loved. He will give you wings and teach you how to fly!
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Bernice, this is beautifully written. I would delete the first three sentences and start with "The questions..."