Do you think abuse is obvious? Do you think you would know if your close friend or relative was regularly being abused? I did, and boy was I wrong!
In my continuing desire to open our eyes to verbal abuse (if you are late to the discussion, click here for the first post), I want to briefly blog about some of the signs I saw. I am keeping this vague to protect the privacy of those I love, and also remember that I am drawing from two situations.
Here are some signs I as an outsider saw, and sadly did not recognize:
- Unnatural desire to do what husband wants – As wives we want to please our husbands. However, when that desire becomes too strong or the wife does something she would normally never do or feels is wrong, there may be an underlying cause. In this case, she often seems uneasy or frantic when he asks her to do something because if she is not fast enough or does not do it correctly he will get angry with her.
- Change physical features for husband – Not "because he thought it would be cute" but because he desired it strongly or he would make fun of her if she didn't do it. I can tell you from experience that a loving spouse overlooks outward flaws. That's real love.
- Extreme lack of help around the house/with children – Most men are not the best at helping out on domestic tasks, and in many homes these are primarily the woman's responsibility. What I am referring to is absolutely no help. We're talking no chores, never or hardly ever even interacting with the child, that sort of thing.
- Constant public "teasing" – In one situation, remember thinking "if this is how he treats her in public, what is it like at home?" and "If my husband ever talked to me like that, we would have serious issues!" – Oh WHY didn't I see it????
- Obsession on the part of the wife with being "better" – reading countless books on marriage trying to be a better wife.
- Excusing away husband's behavior – Constantly excusing bizarre, mean, or wrong behavior.
- Looking for confirmation from me that husband's behavior was "normal" – Trying to compare my husband to hers to confirm that what he was doing was just what all husbands do.
- Extreme insecurity
- Husband isolating the wife – Refusing to attend family/friend events, keeping wife from church, severely limiting her friends (basically to just his friends, if she can have any at all).
- Husband controlling the wife – Not just being leader, but being "in control" regardless of wife's wishes
- Money issues when there shouldn't be any - Especially wife not having money for her needs/wants, but husband always finding money for his.
- Wife's interests become husband's interests – The wife suddenly has an interest in something that is so unlike her, yet rarely pursues any interests of her own.
- Wife wanting family to tiptoe around husband's needs or wants – Family events suddenly become planned around the abuser.
This list comes from my own observations. Looking back on it (you know what they say about hindsight), I realize that, while one or two of these things may be part of normal "growing pains" of a marriage, the combined signs I saw are not. If I start seeing these things again in someone else I love, which I pray I never do, you had better believe I will be asking more questions.
So what do you think? Have you noticed other signs of abuse in people you loved or your own life?