Can you spot an abuser? Are you sure?
Back in 2010 I came across the book “Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft. It was eye opening – especially because in it Bancroft writes persuasively that abusers have a thinking problem rather than an anger problem. They think that their wives/girlfriends/partners are their property and they get angry whenever their “property” doesn’t behave as such. This book, written for a secular audience, includes some excellent “parables” that describe how abusers develop and what they have to do to change.
Since then I’ve discovered more books and web sites dealing with this subject and it was especially enlightening to read material on abuse in a Christian context. I now realize that several of the counseling situations I’ve been in actually involved an abusive spouse (usually, although not always the husband).
I’m not finished exploring this very important subject, but here is some of what I’ve learned already:
- Abuse isn’t always physical – emotional abuse can do great harm without leaving physical wounds.
- Abusers have more of a thinking problem than an anger problem.
- Abusers are often very charming. This is how they lure their victims in the first place.
- In church abusers often masquerade as loving, faithful, godly, mature believers while their wives and/or children suffer in the privacy of their home.
- Traditional marriage counseling is generally ineffective with abusers.
- Many pastors don’t realize that God permits divorce for abuse victims.
- Abusers have a lot in common with the “fool” described in the book of Proverbs.
You can find links to resources on abuse (including the ones I’ve mentioned above) at our Community Blog on the Relationships Problems Page: