Provoking Abuse?

Can your actions cause your spouse to abuse you?

Angry man grabbing his face while he is screaming. Abuse cannot be provoked, the abuser chooses to act abusive.

“If I start swinging my arms and you don’t get out of the way, then it’s your fault you get hit,” I remember so clearly being told these words when confronting my abuser about the way he treated me. And it makes me wonder, how many women have been told this? Either directly or through actions.

Is that it? Is it the victim’s fault for being abused? Can we provoke abuse?

Maybe you did something or said something and a huge fight follows. You are met with hostility and rage. Many people have short tempers; this is not an excuse. Short tempers cause horrible and long-term damage.

This is an issue of self-control or lack thereof.

Self-control is one of the fruits of the spirit, and it comes through the work of the Holy Spirit within ourselves. We cannot make someone have self-control. But we should make judgments based on how they act and if they display self-control or not.

Victims often feel like the burden of the abuse falls on their shoulders. They feel a great deal of responsibility for making the relationship work. Followed by the feeling of grief that if they were better or were more loving, or weren’t so [fill in the blank] then the relationship would flourish.

Let me set you free from that misconception. It takes two to love and you cannot love enough for the both of you.

So, maybe you did do something and it caused a horrible reaction. But you are not responsible for someone else’s reactions. You are not the problem. And perfection is not something you must be to not be held accountable. If you have to walk on eggshells so that you’re not setting someone off, then you have given up yourself in hopes of not experiencing the anger of the person you love. Read that again.

If you have to walk on eggshells so that you’re not setting someone off, then you have given up yourself in hopes of not experiencing the anger of the person you love. You give yourself up in order to save yourself.

This is an issue of control over you and a lack of self-control.

Jesus was clear on who is responsible for sin. We must learn to reject excuses for abuse as He did.

Jesus says that it is the sinner’s responsibility!
When we make excuses for someone else’s behavior we inhibit their growth. We teach them that it is ok to lash out because we won’t do anything. Now, I am not saying to lash back. And be very careful when responding to an abusive person when they’re in a rage. It may not be safe and could escalate things to a dangerous level. But maybe it’s time to seek help, or at the very least start being honest with yourself.

Counseling is a great place to start that can help you with the confusion and heartache that comes with leaving an abusive person. Here are some tips on picking a counselor. But please choose someone who understands the dynamics of abuse. Ask questions before you commit to working with a counselor. Make sure you have a good idea of who this counselor is as a person before you commit. This is a big deal because you are going to be vulnerable with this person and will be trusting them to walk alongside you as you start your healing journey.

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