I have read that this is how you induce psychosis in rats. You behave inconsistently with them; you keep changing the rules. One day when they press down the right lever, expecting a serving of grain like they’ve always gotten before, they instead get a shock. And eventually the switching back and forth drives them mad.
Ann Lemont, Traveling Mercies.
If anyone had told me while I was in the midst of my marriage, that I was an abused woman, I would have denied it. Sure, I had marriage problems for years, but I would not have admitted my husband abused me. Now that I have some perspective, I can see clearly that I was emotionally abused. In giving writing prompts to guest bloggers who are interested in telling their Christian divorce stories, I've developed a broad definition of abuse.
Abuse can include, but not confined to, actual or threats of physical violence, actual or threats of sexual violence, emotional or psychological abuse to oneself or others in the home (e.g., name calling or putdowns, mind games, swearing or screaming, sarcasm or ridiculing, emotional or physical withholding), stalking (e.g., excessive calls/texts/emails, monitoring daily activities, using technology to track a person’s location), financial abuse (e.g., withholding money, ruining credit, stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job), and spiritual abuse (e.g., not allowing the partner to practice his or hers morals/religious beliefs or culture/values, using religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate the partner).
The type of emotional abuse I received was a type of psychological abuse labeled "crazymaking." It cannot be seen or touched the way physical abuse can. Crazymaking seems inconsistent and often makes the abused person think what's happening is her fault. In addition, I experienced spiritual abuse from certain "well-meaning" Christians who turned their backs on me because of my decision to divorce.
I will be writing more about abuse as I seek to open the eyes of church leaders who tend to pass judgment on women who have a need to divorce.
Blessings to you,
Do you have a divorce experience to share? Have you been shamed by a church because of your divorce? There are hurting people who need to hear your story, who need to know they are not alone, and who need to be encouraged. If you are interested in sharing your story, email Linda for guidelines: Linda@LindaMKurth.com
Linda M. Kurth is a writer and a divorced and remarried Christian. In going through the divorce, she experienced a dichotomy of responses from the Christian community. After sharing some of those experiences in her upcoming memoir, God the Devil, and Divorce, she's heard many stories of divorced Christians who have struggled with the same issue. This blog invites divorced Christians to tell their stories with the goal of encouraging churches to resist condemnation and become a source of healing and grace.
Free Resource Downloads
12 Steps to a More Joyful Life after Divorce
30 Things to Do When You're Single
Resources for Healing from Spiritual Abuse
50 Divorce Recovery Books and Blogs