Healing Answers To Abusive Relationships
Page Two

People who worry are not merely concerned about their present and future circumstances, they have a mental agenda of the way things must occur. The worrier's mind is so captivated by what ought or ought not to be, that he can only respond with duress and despair when situations displease him. Thus, a dependent person will jump in and control.

Guilt: No person can ever be perfect, so a natural by-product of a dependent personality is false guilt, one of the most destructive of all emotions. Their standards can be so impossible that they can try and try to appease their consciences when wrongdoing occurs, but an inner voice always commands them to do more.

True guilt promotes responsible living and nudges us toward healthy accountability; it creates a powerful discomfort that keeps us from resting easily until we rectify the wrong. Then we can accept forgiveness from God and from the ones wronged. A healthy response to guilt requires an acceptance of ourselves, imperfections and all. Dependent people have difficulty with a concept like acceptance. They feel like they should perform properly or else. They have a high personal standard and they get disgusted when they fall short.

Rather than responding to mistakes with normal repentance, they heap condemnation on themselves. They believe that they must be perfect. These people are works oriented. Dependent people can work through false guilt if they realize that no human being is capable of undoing wrongs or past mistakes and they reject their impossible standards. Until they come to accept themselves as not being perfect or not having any weaknesses, they will not be able to receive God's grace and love. They will continue to try to earn it or live up to His standard, never realizing that they can't.

Can you see how satan works real hard in our lives and relationships to destroy our worth and self-esteem? Can you see why it is vitally important to recognize the needs of those in our relationships and minister to them and recognize ways in which we negate or emotionally abuse others? Can you see how neglecting or abusing any of the basic human needs of another person will affect their relationship with others and God? Can you see how meeting the basic human needs of people and communicating acceptance, value and worth and ministering to their needs will cause them to be without spot or wrinkle? Jesus ministers to our basic human needs and we are to do that in our families and churches as well. The people listened to Jesus and were drawn to Him because He met their needs. Others outside the church will be ready to hear what we have to say when we witness, when we meet their basic human needs and communicate acceptance and love to them. First, we must have our needs met and receive the grace of God before we can give it out. When the leper was healed by Jesus, he went and told everyone. When the Lord does something in your life, you can't keep people quiet. They will go and tell everyone and you won't have to teach them to witness. It will occur naturally.

We are devoted to healing, cherishing and washing the church so that she can experience the God of the word, and give out what she has received.

Now, let's move on to the codependent personality. Let me also mention that dependent people can also be codependent and vice versa. There is a fine line between the two.

Definitions of Codependency:

An emotional, psychological, and behavioral condition that develops as a result of an individual's prolonged exposure to, and practice of, a set of oppressive rules - rules which prevent the open expression of feeling as well as the direct discussion of personal and interpersonal problems.

A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior.

Codependency involves a habitual system of thinking, feeling, and behaving toward ourselves and others that can cause pain and relationship problems. Codependent behaviors or habits are destructive. These behaviors can sabotage relations and can prevent us from finding peace and happiness with the most important person in our lives - ourselves.

Most people learned codependent behavior as a result of living with sick, disturbed, troubled or dysfunctional people. These self-protective devices may have been needed to survive growing up in abusive or dysfunctional families, but in our adult relationships codependent behaviors have lost their usefulness and they are inappropriate and destructive.

The first steps toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. With that in mind, let's examine the characteristics of codependency: These excerpts are taken from the book: CODEPENDENT NO MORE by Melody Beattie


Think and feel responsible for other people - for other people's feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, well-being, lack of well-being, and ultimate destiny. Feel anxiety, pity and guilt when other people have a problem. Feel compelled - almost forced - to help that person solve the problem, such as offering unwanted advice, giving a rapid-fire series of suggestions, or fixing feelings. Feel angry when their help isn't effective. Anticipate other people's needs. Wonder why others don't do the same for them. Find themselves saying yes when they mean no, doing things they don't really want to be doing, doing more than their fair share of the work, and doing things other people are capable of doing for themselves. Do not know what they want and need or, if they do, tell themselves what they want and need is not important. Try to please others instead of themselves. Find it easier to feel and express anger about injustices done to others, rather than injustices done to themselves. Feel safest when giving. Feel insecure and guilty when somebody gives to them. Feel sad because they spend their whole lives giving to other people and nobody gives to them. Find themselves attracted to needy people. Find needy people attracted to them. Feel bored, empty, and worthless if they don't have a crisis in their lives, a problem to solve, or someone to help. Abandon their routine to respond to or do something for somebody else. Overcommit themselves. Feel harried and pressured. Believe deep inside other people are somehow responsible for them. Blame others for the spot codependents are in. Say other people make the codependent feel the way they do. Believe other people are making them crazy. Feel angry, victimized, unappreciated, and used. Find other people become impatient or angry with them for all the preceding characteristics.

Low Self-worth

Codependents tend to:

Come from troubled, repressed, or dysfunctional families. Deny their family was troubled, repressed, or dysfunctional. Blame themselves for everything. Pick on themselves for everything, including the way they think, feel, look, act and behave. Get angry, defensive, self-righteous, and indignant when others blame and criticize the codependents - something codependents regularly do to themselves. Reject compliments or praise. Get depressed from a lack of compliments and praise (stroke deprivation). Feel different than the rest of the world. Think they're not quite good enough. Feel guilty about spending money on themselves or doing unnecessary or fun things for themselves. Fear rejection. Take things personally. Have been victims of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, or alcoholism. Feel like victims. Tell themselves they can't do anything right. Be afraid of making mistakes. Wonder why they have a tough time making decisions. Expect themselves to do everything perfectly. Wonder why they can't get anything done to their satisfaction. Have a lot of "shoulds". Feel a lot of guilt. Feel ashamed of who they are. Think their lives aren't worth living. Try to help other people live their lives instead. Get artificial feelings of self-worth from helping others. Get strong feelings of low self-worth - embarrassment, failure, etc. from other people's failures and problems. Wish good things would happen to them. Believe good things never will happen. Believe they don't deserve good things and happiness. Wish other people would like and love them. Believe other people couldn't possibly like and love them. Try to prove they're good enough for other people. Settle for being needed.


Many Codependents:

Push their thoughts and feelings out of their awareness because of fear and guilt. Become afraid to let themselves be who they are. Appear rigid and controlled.


Codependents tend to:

Feel terribly anxious about problems and people. Worry about the silliest things. Think and talk a lot about other people. Lose sleep over problems or other people's behavior. Worry. Never find answers. Check on people. Try to catch people in acts of misbehavior. Feel unable to quit talking, thinking, and worrying about other people or problems. Abandon their routine because they are so upset about somebody or something.

Focus all their energy on other people and problems. Wonder why they never have any energy. Wonder why they can't get things done.


Many codependents:

Have lived through events and with people that were out of control, causing the codependents sorrow and disappointment. Become afraid to let other people be who they are and allow events to happen naturally. Don't see or deal with their fear of loss of control. Think they know best how things should turn out and how people should behave. Try to control events and people through helplessness, guilt, coercion, threats, advice-giving, manipulation, or domination. Eventually fail in their efforts or provoke people's anger. Get frustrated and angry. Feel controlled by events and people.

When a codependent is constantly trying to control you or do things for you or give unwanted advice, the unspoken message to those in a relationship with a codependent is: "You are stupid and can't do anything for yourself. I know better than you. I don't care what you want, think or feel, I know better than you and what I think is more important and better for you." If this is a marital relationship it will be more like a parent/child relationship than husband/wife and one (the codependent) is clearly showing disrespect to the other spouse and not honoring them and seeing them as an equal. This is definitely a love killer. This will always cause anger in the one who is always being "helped" or given advice or told what to do.


Codependents tend to:

Ignore problems or pretend they aren't happening. Pretend circumstances aren't as bad as they are. Tell themselves things will be better tomorrow. Stay busy so they don't have to think about things. Get confused. Get depressed or sick. Go to doctors and get tranquilizers. Become workaholics. Spend money compulsively. Overeat. Pretend those things aren't happening, either. Watch problems get worse. Believe lies. Lie to themselves. Wonder why they feel like they're going crazy.


Many codependents:

Don't feel happy, content, or peaceful with themselves. Look for happiness outside themselves. Latch onto whoever or whatever they think can provide happiness. Feel terribly threatened by the loss of anything or person they think provides their happiness. Didn't feel love and approval from their parents. Don't love themselves. Believe other people can't or don't love them. Desperately seek love and approval. Often seek love from people incapable of loving. Believe other people are never there for them. Equate love with pain. Feel they need people more than they want them. Try to prove they're good enough to be loved. Don't take time to see if other people are good for them. Worry whether other people love or like them. Don't take time to figure out if they love or like other people. Center their lives around other people. Look to relationships to provide all their good feelings. Lose interest in their own lives when they love. Worry other people will leave them. Don't believe they can take care of themselves. Stay in relationships that don't work. Tolerate abuse to keep people loving them. Feel trapped in relationships. Leave bad relationships and form new ones that don't work either. Wonder if they will ever find love.

Poor Communication

Codependents frequently:

Blame Threaten Coerce Beg Bribe Manipulate Shame Advise Don't say what they mean. Don't mean what they say. Don't know what they mean. Don't take themselves seriously. Think other people don't take the codependent seriously. Take themselves too seriously. Ask for what they want and need indirectly - coding, sighing, etc. Find it difficult to get to the point. Aren't sure what the point is. Gauge their words carefully to achieve a desired effect. Try to say what they think will please people. Try to say what they think will provoke people. Try to say what they hope will make people do what they want them to do. Eliminate the word no from their vocabulary. Talk too much. Talk about other people. Avoid talking about themselves, their problems, feelings, and thoughts. Say everything is their fault. Say nothing is their fault. Believe their opinions don't matter. Wait to express their opinions until they know other people's opinions. Lie to protect and cover up for people. Lie to protect themselves. Have a difficult time asserting their rights. Have a difficult time expressing their emotions honestly, openly, and appropriately. Think most of what they have to say is unimportant. Begin to talk in cynical, self-degrading, or hostile ways. Apologize for bothering people. If you ask them what time it is, they will tell you how to make a clock. Give more information than is necessary in answering questions.

Weak Boundaries

Codependents frequently:

Say they won't tolerate certain behaviors from other people. Gradually increase their tolerance until they can tolerate and do things they said they never would. Let others hurt them. Keep letting people hurt them. Wonder why they hurt so badly. Complain, blame, and try to control while they continue to stand there. Finally get angry. Become totally intolerant.

Lack of Trust


Don't trust themselves. Don't trust their feelings. Don't trust their decisions. Don't trust other people. Try to trust untrustworthy people. Think God has abandoned them. Lose faith and trust in God.


Many codependents:

Feel very scared, hurt, and angry. Live with people who are very scared, hurt, and angry. Are afraid of their own anger. Are frightened of other people's anger. Think people will go away if anger enters the picture. Think other people make them feel angry. Are afraid to make other people feel anger. Feel controlled by other people's anger. Repress their angry feelings. Cry a lot, get depressed, overeat, get sick, do mean and nasty things to get even, act hostile, or have violent temper outbursts. Punish other people for making the codependents angry.

Have been shamed for feeling angry. Place guilt and shame on themselves for feeling angry. Feel increasing amounts of anger, resentment, and bitterness. Feel safer with their anger than with hurt feelings. Wonder if they'll ever not be angry.

Sex Problems

Some codependents:

Are caretakers in the bedroom. Have sex when they don't want to. Have sex when they'd rather be held, nurtured, and loved. Try to have sex when they're angry or hurt. Refuse to enjoy sex because they're so angry at their partner. Are afraid of losing control. Have a difficult time asking for what they need in bed. Withdraw emotionally from their partner. Feel sexual revulsion toward their partner. Don't talk about it. Force themselves to have sex, anyway. Reduce sex to a technical act. Wonder why they don't enjoy sex. Lose interest in sex. Make up reasons to abstain. Wish their sex partner would die, go away, or sense the codependent's feelings. Have strong sexual fantasies about other people. Consider or have an extra marital affair.


Codependents tend to:

Be extremely responsible or overly responsible for things they shouldn't. Be extremely irresponsible for things they should be responsible for. Become martyrs, sacrificing their happiness and that of others for causes that don't require sacrifice. Find it difficult to feel close to people. Find it difficult to have fun and be spontaneous. Have an overall passive response to codependency - crying, hurt, helplessness. Have an overall aggressive response to codependency - violence, anger, dominance. Combine passive and aggressive responses.

Vacillate in decisions and emotions. Laugh when they feel like crying. Stay loyal to their compulsions and people even when it hurts. Be ashamed about family, personal, or relationship problems. Be confused about the nature of the problem. Cover up, lie, and protect the problem. Not seek help because they tell themselves the problem isn't bad enough or they aren't important enough. Wonder why the problem doesn't go away.


In the later stages of codependency, codependents may:

Feel lethargic. Feel depressed. Become withdrawn and isolated. Experience a complete loss of daily routine and structure. Abuse or neglect their children and other responsibilities. Feel hopeless. Begin to plan their escape from a relationship they feel trapped in. Think about suicide. Become violent. Become seriously emotionally, mentally, or physically ill. Experience an eating disorder (over - or undereating). Become addicted to alcohol and other drugs.

The preceding checklist is long but not all-inclusive. Like other people, codependents do feel, and think many things. There are not a certain number of traits that guarantees whether a person is or isn't codependent. Each person is different; each person has his or her way of doing things. I'm just trying to paint a picture. The interpretation, or decision, is up to you. What's most important is that you first identify behaviors or areas that cause you problems, and then decide to get help and healing. It all starts with awareness.

If concern has turned into obsession; if compassion has turned into caretaking; if you are taking care of other people and not taking care of yourself, you may be in trouble with codependency. Each person must decide for him or herself if codependency is a problem.

Codependency is many things. It is a dependency on people - on their moods, behaviors, sickness or well-being, and their love. It is a paradoxical dependency. Codependents appear to be depended upon, but they are dependent. They look strong but feel helpless. They appear controlling but in reality are controlled themselves, sometimes by an illness such as alcoholism.

Let me give real life examples of how codependency ruins relationships when they try to rescue and control.

A young twelve year old girl had been having problems at school because she was being sexually harassed by boys at her school. She was having a great deal of anxiety and depression over her school situation. The year before, she had a similar situation on her school bus where three older boys touched her in an inappropriate way while one boy held her down. She went to her parents and told them of this abuse. The parents called the school and the boys were disciplined and their parents were called. After the boys on the bus were disciplined, they took their anger out on this girl after she got off the bus. They threw things at her like large clumps of mud and sod and they called her all kinds of names. This behavior continued for the remainder of the year and the girl felt like her life was worse off for having reported the sexual abuse which happened on the bus. Now this girl was getting ready to start another new year of school because summer had come to an end. She was experiencing a great deal of anxiety because she was worried about being sexually harassed at school again and she was afraid to report anything because she didn't want her life to be worse for reporting the abuse. School was a week away from starting and this young girl and her dad had just dropped one of her friends off at her home and after they pulled into their own garage, the young girl expressed her fear to her father and she said that she didn't want to tell her parents if she was abused again because they would report it to school officials and her life would be worse. What the girl was really saying to her dad was, "I'm afraid of being abused again this year and I'm afraid that if I report it I will be abused more and my life will be terrible. I need your protection and advice, but is there anything else we can do besides what we did last year so that my life won't be so terrible."

This dad was dependent/codependent. He is a rescuer and one who will talk people out of their feelings and control. He immediately started into lecturing the girl trying to convince her that what they did last year was right (defending) and she needed to come to her parents so they could help her, etc. The girl immediately started to "tune out" as all kids do when lectured. Dad was not listening to her or understanding her and what she was saying. Dad became full of fear when the girl "tuned out" because he could not convince her to let him rescue her. Being dependent and needing the girl to feel the way he did about this situation so that he could control it, the father's fear now controlled him. In order to make his daughter afraid of being molested by young boys, because the father assumed that she wasn't afraid enough, the father molested the girl. The father was trying to have this girl feel as afraid of her being molested as he was afraid of her being molested so he molested her, for her own good. The father was also trying to gain the attention of the girl because she had tuned out and was not listening. He couldn't control and convince if she was not listening to him so to get her attention, he shoved his hand down her shirt and up her crouch. The young girl got out of the car and ran into the house crying. There has been much denial or defending from the father about his behavior with comments like, "I didn't do it for gratification. My hand was closed when I touched her." This well intentioned father was now "minimizing" his behavior. Minimizing is a denial technique. This father was not accepting responsibility for his behavior and he was "trying to put it in perspective" as he says and let everyone know that it wasn't as bad as everyone thinks. It is no big deal.

This incident has had a devastating effect on the whole family. The man's marriage and relationship with his daughter will never be the same. He will never be trusted. He does not know any boundaries physically or emotionally with members of his family. The family is viewed as an extension of him and he can do as he pleases to and with them as he tries to make them feel and think as he thinks and do whatever he has to to change their feelings or thinking "for their own good". Because of the denial and defending by this father, the wife and daughter find it impossible to forgive and trust him. Every time they confronted him to resolve the issue, it was met with more denial and the anger mounted in the wife and daughter. It left them with a sense of hopelessness and despair. Two months later the girl made a serious suicide attempt and was hospitalized for two weeks.

After the girl was released from the hospital, they pursued counseling. The mother brought up the incident in a session and the counselor called child protection, who was to come to the home to do an investigation. The father's story differed from the girl's and the mother believed and protected the daughter and supported her. The father, being full of fear and having a need to protect himself, told the wife one morning that he had a dream from God regarding the discrepancies in the stories. He stated that the girl was trying to break up their marriage so that the mother would move back to her home state and the girl could see her biological father. One thing the mother never wanted was to involve herself with the biological father and this man knew this. He tried to plant suspicion in the mother's mind regarding the girl and her motives and that the girl wanted something that the mother dreaded. The mother saw through the manipulative move and told the dad that if he thought that, then all they had to do was ask the girl and clear the air. The father became fearful and angry and didn't want it mentioned to the girl. The mother, smelling a rat, went to the girl and told her what had been said and told her daughter that she would support her and protect her. The girl confronted the dad on his self-preserving methods and told him that she felt betrayed by him because of his need to protect himself. She asked him why he didn't want to go to her if he suspected her motives. The father went on for an hour about how much he loved her and would do anything for her, etc. The girl would bring him back to the question that he was trying to evade. She finally grew angry and tired of his games and told him that he was trying to make her feel guilty and make her feel indebted to him so that she wouldn't tell too much to the child protection people, which the dad was. She also told the dad that he didn't want the mom to come to her and clear the air because he wanted that suspicion in the mom's mind and he wanted the mom to doubt the girl's motives and story. The dad, in order to protect himself, tried to manipulate the girl's feelings before she was questioned by child protection authorities. The dad tried to plant fear and suspicion in the mother as well to try to control the outcome of the whole thing. In doing so, he betrayed the daughter whom he should be protecting and he caused so much rage and anger in the family. All this stemmed from being dependent/codependent.

With a dependent/codependent parent, the other family members are viewed as an extension of them. This is especially true of men. If the wife and kids look good, he looks good and it validates his manhood. If they look bad, he looks bad. This is true in many churches where men are seen as heads of households and if the family doesn't look good, the husband must not be living up to his Christian role and exercising his authority in the home. I remember the story of a girl who was going to wear red pants to church and she came down to put on her coat and get in the car to leave for church. The only problem was that her coat was a hot pink. The dad told her to change her coat, which the girl did. The girl looked sad as she got in the car. The father proceeded to shame her all the way to church because she should not have been sad and she had no reason to feel the way she did because the father was only "helping" her and saving her embarrassment and he only did it for her own good. After all she looked like a "screaming circus". What the father was really worried about was looking bad in front of the Christian community who held this view of men being heads of their households and exercising their authority. In these types of situations, don't ever make the father look bad in front of Christians. Church and church activities were dreaded by the wife and children.

This same man always told his wife that he had always prayed for an attractive woman to marry and that God knew that he had to have an attractive wife. The woman he married was attractive and she validated his manhood because she was viewed as an extension of him. God forbid if she ever lost her looks or gained weight because she would no longer make him look good because of his dependent personality. The woman felt such pressure to keep up her looks because of the husband's need. She would be letting God and the husband down if she neglected her appearance. The woman got many positive strokes for her appearance while she was shamed and made to feel incompetent and stupid in everything else. Finally, as she got older, she grew increasingly insecure because the husband was now looking at young, attractive women and girls every time they went out. She developed eating disorders. I have learned of dependent men who actually weighed their wives and kept them on strict diets and exercise programs for this very reason. These men see themselves as well intentioned and doing this for the good of the family members. He does not view himself as cruel and insensitive and you cannot convince them otherwise.

The result of living with someone who is dependent/codependent is anger. A person will have years of anger that never gets released because of all the denial and defending on the part of the dependent/codependent. If they do not acknowledge and accept responsibility for their sin and behavior, then it is impossible to forgive them and trust them and they believe themselves to be well intentioned, loving and misunderstood people. They remain deceived about themselves and their denial and defending techniques allow them to remain in that deception.

In this section I would like to address anger and the many manifestations of unresolved or stuffed anger. Since denial and defending are so much a part of our relationships and since a by- product of denial and defending is not being able to forgive and release our anger, we will discuss what happens to that anger. I would also like to discuss the myths or lies we believe about anger in our society and in our churches as well. Let's look at the lies and myths we have regarding anger.

It's not okay to feel angry. Anger is a waste of time and energy. Good, nice people don't feel angry. You must be a bad person We shouldn't feel angry when we do. We'll lose control and go crazy if we get angry. People will go away if we get angry at them. Other people should never feel anger toward us. If others get angry at us, we must have done something wrong. If other people are angry at us, we made them feel that way and we're responsible for fixing their feelings. If we feel angry, someone else made us feel that way and that person is responsible for fixing our feelings. If we feel angry at someone, the relationship is over and that person has to go away. If we feel angry at someone, we should punish that person for making us feel angry. If we feel angry at someone, that person has to change what he or she is doing so we don't feel angry any more. If we feel angry, we have to hit someone or break something. If we feel angry, we have to shout and holler. If we feel angry at someone, it means we don't love that person any more. If someone feels angry at us, it means that person doesn't love us any more. Anger is a sinful emotion. It's okay to feel angry only when we can justify our feelings.

Many codependents persecute or become angry people when they give advice or help and it is refused. They feel like they are not loved or respected and to reject their advice or help is to reject them. Most codependents are helping or fixing because they do not feel loved and accepted and they are gaining their love and acceptance by helping. In rejecting their help, they feel you are rejecting them and they become angry and they persecute.

Those in a relationship with a codependent who is always trying to give advice, help or fix things, will become angry at the codependent because they receive the unspoken message: "You are stupid and can't do anything for yourself. I must run you life and do everything for you or you would be a failure." They feel shamed and controlled. Now you have both parties angry.

Let me also state that anger is not a sinful emotion. Jesus and God the Father felt and expressed anger and still do. Jesus even threw things when He was angry, yet the bible says that He sinned not. The bible mentions the emotion "anger" more than any emotion in the bible and most references are in relation to God's anger and God expressing it or what God does as a result of His anger. The bible does say to be angry but sin not. I believe that when we confront someone who has hurt us and we are angry, we should stick to the issue or the sin. We should not shame or call people names or talk people out of their feelings.

Anger is what we call a secondary emotion. Before a person feels anger, there is something else that they feel. Anger is actually a by-product of something else. Let's look at the two things which produce anger.

1. Feeling afraid or threatened.

You are driving in a car and someone cuts you off the road The first emotion you feel is afraid or threatened. Then when you realize that you are ok. and safe, anger rises up in you and you shake your fist at the negligent driver and express your anger.

When you are feeling angry, ask yourself, "Do I feel threatened or afraid?" "What do I feel threatened or afraid about?" "What am I afraid of losing?"

2. Feeling wounded or hurt - possibly rejected.

Anger is also a by-product of being hurt or wounded. If someone hurts or shames us, we feel the hurt first and then become angry. Most of us don't notice the hurt though. We usually notice the anger first. Ask yourself these questions: "Am I feeling hurt or rejected?" "Why do I feel hurt?" "What unspoken message was communicated to me?" "Did I have an unrealistic expectation of something or someone?" "Am I trying to control the outcome of something?" "Did someone cross a boundary that was not theirs to cross?" "Am I dependent/codependent?"

Jesus' expression of anger was a result of being hurt and rejected by those He loved. Anger is proof that someone loves you and that you have the ability to hurt them. Someone can't hurt me unless I care for and love them. Anger does not mean that someone hates you. Quite the opposite is true. Anger does not equal unforgiveness either. Just because someone is angry doesn't mean that they are in unforgiveness. Anger equals hurt. The degree to which a person is angry is the degree to which they are hurt. Jesus was angry with the Pharisees and religious system in His day but He turned around several days later and gave His life just as much for the Pharisees as anyone else. Anger does not equal hatred or unforgiveness.

In most dysfunctional families we have not been allowed to have anger let alone express it so we have learned to repress it. Members of dysfunctional, controlling families will tell you that you are unforgiving or bitter in order to shut you up and keep you from expressing your anger. This is a form of shaming also and it is a form of controlling you from expressing your anger. The unspoken message again is that you are bad or defective for being angry. If anger and hurt are not able to be expressed and if transgressions against you are not able to be confronted, then the anger gets stored up in a person and will result in depression, suicide, eating disorders, addictions, etc. We open up family members to demonic spiritual attacks by wounding them, controlling them, shaming them and then defending ourselves when confronted. Satan is called Beelzebub which means "Lord of the Flies". If you will notice, flies land in wounds and multiply there. You will be held accountable for what has landed and reproduced in your family members because of the wounds you have inflicted and then defended or justified. Don't bother with spiritual warfare and prayer for them if you have not changed your hurtful behavior. It won't do any good until you repent and confess your sins to the person you hurt and to the Lord. This then releases their heart to be healed by the Lord. You do your part, God can do His. In trying to fix the other person's heart or feelings, you are doing God's job.

God himself has the attribute and emotion of anger, as we stated. He created it in us to tell us that something is wrong and that we have hurts that need to be healed. It is also an indicator of a boundary violation. A boundary is an invisible line that tells us where we stop and another person begins. If you don't know where the line is, how do you know if you are trespassing against your brother? Everyone has an invisible "comfort zone" around their body. Get too far in that comfort zone and people get uncomfortable. You are violating their boundary. Anything that belongs to that person is within their boundary, like their feelings, thoughts, time, belongings, finances, appearance, hobbies, pets, kids, etc. These are not yours to violate and to criticize them is violating a boundary and trespassing against your brother. These are not yours to control. A boundary is a line between neighbors that separate the yards or a line between countries. It defines where one starts and the other stops. To violate a boundary without permission may mean war and it is showing the utmost in disrespect. Almost all conflicts are due to boundary violations or being somewhere you have no right to be. Our emotions have boundaries as well as our thoughts and physical belongings. They are not someone else's to control unless we give permission. To tell another person how they should and should not feel is a gross boundary violation and is trespassing against your brother and the bible says to rebuke them. Anger is a sign that a boundary has been violated or a line has been crossed and a person may need to be confronted.
During the Iraq/Kuwait war, I kept praying and asking God why it was that people thought they could do this. What makes people think that they can invade the boundary or border of another and think that was okay. I had learned about boundaries in relationship and had tried to establish boundaries in my relationships with controlling people only to be abused and shamed all the more because they couldn't control and manipulate me anymore the way they were used to. The more control a controller loses, the more insecure and angry he becomes. One controlling person even said to me, "It feels like you are trying to control me by establishing boundaries." They thought I was controlling as well. When you have run amuck all over someone's property most of their life and all of the sudden they put up a fence and lock the gate, that may feel restrictive because you do not have the freedom to run amuck all over your property anymore. In essence, a boundary does control or keep out what you don't want, but it is good and necessary. Jesus respects our boundaries and He expects us to respect one another's. A pastor once said that we are not supposed to have boundaries, yet every time he locks his house and church at night and every time he states that he doesn't have time to talk and that you need to make an appointment, he is establishing a boundary.

Anyway, I had just prayed this prayer or asked the question of God one day in frustration. I turned on CNN News and they were covering the Iraq/Kuwait war. Sadam was invading the physical boundary and border of a neighbor in an effort to take over. In the news, they were interviewing Iraqis and asking them why they thought they could take over Kuwait. Each Iraqi had the same answer, "Because Kuwait belongs to us." What causes someone to border bash or cross the boundaries of another person is because they believe they own them. It is a matter of possession and ownership. You are a thing, not a person. What you want and need do not count. God answered my questions within ten minutes after I prayed it. The attitude is the same. This is why abusers and controllers don't necessarily do it to others outside their family. They do it to those "they own" or those "who belong to us". The other reason for boundary violations is because we do not know about boundaries and where they are.

I have had people shame me for being angry. They would say that I should be like Jesus and just spread my arms and say, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Again, the message was one about me being defective and a bad person for being angry and the person was just trying to shut me up and control me to keep me from confronting them on their gross boundary violations and controlling behavior. This is what Jesus showed me regarding this. Anger and healing are a processing. Let yourself go through the process to healing. In order to do this you must not stuff the anger, but acknowledge it and the hurt that goes along with it. Ask the Father to help you. Jesus was beaten and so badly wounded by His enemies that He almost didn't even live to get to calvary to be crucified. He was dependent on God the Father to even get Him to the place to say, "Father, forgive them." The Father sent "Simon" who helped Him and bore His cross for Him and helped pick Him up in order to get Jesus to the place to even say, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Be a Simon in a wounded persons' life to lift them and help them carry their burdens. Hold sinners accountable. Most Christians would rather judge than care about someone.

I would like to list some suggestions for dealing with anger.

1. Address any myths we have about anger. Give ourselves permission to feel angry when we need to. Give other people permission to feel angry too. We should not tolerate abuse, though, as others express their anger. Nor should we abuse.
2. Feel and acknowledge the emotion. Ask yourself the questions regarding feelings of being afraid, threatened, hurt or rejected. Even though it is anger, it is only emotional energy. It is not right or wrong or anything to be afraid of. It calls for no judgment. Anger does not have to be justified or rationalized. If the energy is there, feel it. Acknowledge and feel the underlying emotions too.
3. Acknowledge the thoughts that accompany the feeling. Say these thoughts out loud. Examine the thinking that goes with the feelings. Hold it up to the light. See if there are any flaws in it. Watch for patterns and repetitive situations. Often, rancid thought patterns, known as stinking thinking, can indicate the desire to control, solve, help, and be responsible for things we are not responsible for. Journaling may be helpful as well.
4. Make a responsible decision about what, if any, action we need to take. Figure out what our anger is telling us. Is our anger indicating a problem in us, our relationships or our environment that needs attention? Sometimes while we're asking God to help us stop feeling angry, He's trying to tell us something. Do we need to change? Do we need to confront someone who is abusing us? Do we need something from someone else? Much anger comes from unmet needs. Are my basic human needs being negated, neglected or abused?
5. Don't let anger control us. If we find ourselves being controlled by our angry feelings, we can stop ourselves. We can express our anger and sin not. Ask Jesus to give you the self control and patience so you can stick to the issue and not shame or enter into name calling.

I have experienced tremendous self control, wisdom and patience while expressing anger and confronting someone who is abusing me. This is where you really need to rely on the power of God which He will gladly give you. Please don't misinterpret. I am not saying you shouldn't raise your voice or even scream. Sometimes raising your voice helps and sometimes it doesn't. It is better if we decide, instead of letting our anger decide for us. We don't have to lose control of our actions. If you feel you are losing control, you can: detach, go to another room or house, get peaceful and call upon God. Then figure out what we need to do. Don't allow another person's anger to control you. I frequently hear people say, "I can't do this or that because he will get angry."

6. Openly and honestly discuss our anger when it is appropriate. We can make good decisions about expressing our anger openly and appropriately. Beware of how we approach people though. Anger frequently begets anger. Instead of venting our rage on the person we can feel our feelings, think our thoughts, acknowledge both and figure out what we need from that person, and then go back to them and express that need instead of venting rage and taking revenge. You will find that with people who defend and deny, they won't listen to you until you express yourself in a loud, angry way because you can't get their attention any other way. They just brush aside and explain away your feelings and dismiss them prior to that and they will even forget that you mentioned such and such. The next thing they know they are getting blasted and they don't have a clue why. They have not listened to you until now. They wouldn't listen or accept what you had to say when you said it nicely.
7. Take responsibility for our anger. We can say: "I feel angry when you do this because..." not, you made me mad." Just understand we are responsible for our angry feelings - even if they are an appropriate reaction to someone else's inappropriate behavior.
8. Talk to people we trust and who are safe. Find someone who can accept your feelings and not try to fix them. Find someone who will keep it in confidence and not gossip or judge you. Talking about anger and being listened to and accepted really help clear the air. It helps us accept ourselves. We can't move forward until we accept where we are. If we have angry feelings that have hardened into resentment or bitterness, we need to talk them out. Resentment or bitterness may be hurting us a lot more than they are helping us and we can be opened up to a spirit of bondage.
9. Burn off the anger energy. Clean the house, exercise, rake the yard or shovel the snow. Anger is extremely stressful and it helps to discharge that energy. I have recently started back on an exercise program. The exercise produces endorphins and other chemicals in the body that cause it to relax. You feel mellow and calm and it takes the raw edge off.

Don't beat up on ourselves or others for feeling angry. I used to feel so condemned for feeling angry. Many times people will condemn you for feeling angry as well and tell you you are in unforgiveness. Many times they will use scripture to let you know this in order to control you and shame you. Preaching on being in unforgiveness feels heavy and condemning and I always felt like I was a bad person for feeling hurt or wounded. This sent me further away from the Lord and it affected mv relationship with the Lord. It kept me from Him. I finally realized that this anger was in my heart as a result of being severely wounded and abused. I couldn't heal my heart and I couldn't change it and to deny my anger was to deny the process of healing and restoration. I realized that anger does not equal unforgiveness and bitterness as many like to preach. I had done everything scripturally to reconcile with the person/persons and they were in denial about their sin. I desired reconciliation and forgiveness but could not extend forgiveness and grace because the person refused to acknowledge their sin and confess it. That is when the Lord showed me that He did not expect me to do something He couldn't. Even God can't extend grace and forgiveness to us if we don't acknowledge and confess our sins. He wants to and the Holy Spirit sure was sent to convict us and expose our sins to us so we can continue being cleansed and forgiven and receive God's grace. In confronting and exposing abuse and sin, like God, we are really seeking to forgive and be reconciled. The desire to forgive is there, but the ability to give something that the other person won't take is destroyed if the sinner is in denial. Some people presume to have grace that they do not. Some people presume to have forgiveness when they do not. What I discovered was that the anger was definitely in my heart, but that doesn't mean I do not desire to forgive. I cannot change my heart anyway. Instead of being condemned for being in anger and in unforgiveness, and having this keep me from God, the Lord showed me that I can't change my heart and I needed Him to do that. He showed me that He doesn't expect me to do something that He can't do either. I was drawn back closer to the Lord so as to remain actively attached and dependent upon His power through this to change my heart and circumstances. When confronted with the "scriptura1 rule" in my circumstances, I usually find that I can't keep the rule or I can't do it. Instead of this sending you further away from God, it should show you your need for God.

10. Write letters we don't intend to send. If we feel guilty about anger, this really helps. Start the letter by asking: "If I could feel angry about anything, nobody would ever know, and it wasn't wrong to feel this way, what I would be angry about is this..." once our anger is out on paper, we can get past the guilt and figure out how to deal with it. If we are suffering from depression, this exercise may help too.
11. Deal with guilt. Get rid of unearned guilt. Accept responsibility for earned guilt or things you have done. Acknowledge your sin or earned guilt and confess it to God. Then go and confess it to the ones you have wronged. Receive your forgiveness from God. Sometimes our relationships take time for healing and forgiveness, but we have to start somewhere. The denial and controlling must end. Many codependents may be tempted here to say all the right things and confess because that is what the other person wants and the codependent doesn't want to be rejected so they "tell you what you want to hear". Examine your heart and motives and see if you are repenting and confessing because of your love for the Lord and you want to please Him or are you afraid of being abandoned or rejected by another person. Is fear and insecurity behind your confession or is your love for the Lord and the other person? Don't be deceived because many codependents think they do well intentioned things out of their love for others. Is your mind and focus on you and meeting your needs and agenda or is it on the Lord? Fear, remember, will cast out love and you will not be able to truly love. Love of the Lord and others will cast out fear and you will be able to put your best interests aside to meet the needs of another.

Now let's talk about how repressed anger manifests itself if it is not acknowledged and worked out. If a person has been trying to reconcile and forgive and it is met with denial and defending, then repressed anger goes into our "slush fund" and will come out in these various ways. But first let's look at ways we repress this anger. Excerpts from the book THE ANGRY BOOK by Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D.

Putting It Down

There are two principal ways in which we "put down" angry feelings. One is born of much practice and is triggered so quickly that the victim is completely unaware that he had a feeling of anger at all. This kind of putting-down is automatic and instantaneous. The victim is thoroughly and completely cheated of awareness of his feeling. Of course, he is also cheated of a choice of action or response. This is a result of years of conditioning. It is designed to keep the victim absolutely free of any recognizable threat to his supposed non-angry status or image. Since this kind of putting-down works on a completely unconscious level, it is perhaps the most malignant perversion of anger of all. Automatic putting-down is particularly insidious because the victim continues to see himself as a "nice, mind-your-own-business, don't~make~waves" type, while his slush fund grows and the pus and its poisons grow without any awareness on his part. Of course he has symptoms of all kinds. However, his total success at cheating himself of awareness of anger prevents him from connecting symptoms with putting-down. Typical statements by one who puts-down: "Me, I just never get angry." "There is nothing important enough to get angry about." "Yes, I can see that he's arrogant, vindictive, and a cheat and a liar, but it just has no effect on me." "Can't be bothered." "I couldn't care less."

The second way of "putting-down" anger occurs with complete awareness. Here the victim knows that he is angry and even feels like reacting or responding in an angry way. This person will talk himself out of his feelings thinking that he will just forget it. Typical statements made by those who use this method are: "I'm so angry - that doesn't mean I have to give in to it. I just control it and put it out of my mind." "I take a cold shower and forget about." "I take a tranquilizer in the daytime and a sleeping pill at night, and it all disappears." "I just take a long walk and forget it." "So I'm a little peeved - I put it down with a couple of shots of Scotch and forget it." "Me aggravate myself? Never. I just laugh it off." "He gets other people angry, but I'm just not going to let him or anyone else ever touch me."

Putting It Off

This mechanism works on the principle of thinking that if you delay anger long enough, maybe it will go away. It doesn't. It goes into the slush fund. Those who put it off delay feelings of anger and responding to it, either unconsciously, consciously, or both. This is the person who puts off problems, conflicts, decisions, responsibility, and doing whatever has to be done. Usually this is an unconscious process. He does this so quietly and quickly that he often shuts off his anger before he has a chance to become aware of its existence. Typical statements: Why didn't I think of that earlier?" Why do I always think of the right thing to say when it's too late?" "I didn't feel angry when it happened, still don't - just have had this banging headache since then." He always baits me, and I'm so dumb I don't know he's doing it till afterwards." "If he were here now, I'd really tell him what I think." "Can you imagine that guy? Thinking about it now really makes me angry."

Putting It On

Putting it on is the process of removing anger from the person, place, thing, or event that we are actually angry at and putting it on a "safer" or less threatening person, place, thing, or event. Example: Anger may be transferred from a frightening boss and put on a frightened wife or child. Though a glimmer of awareness may be present, putting it on usually occurs with complete unconsciousness.

Diluting It

With this mechanism the anger is felt but is immediately diluted in an attempt to render it unimportant. Every kind of conceivable intellectual rationalization is used in this attempt. Typical statements from a diluter: "He must be sick. I know that he can't help it. So I can't possible get angry at him." "Rational, logical, mature, civilized people keep cool heads.

They are controlled by their heads. They don't get angry. Only fools or immature people get angry." "Oh I know she'll be sorry about it tomorrow, so how can I be angry at her?" "One doesn't get angry at children." "So who is angry."

"I understand his distress, and I simply turn the other cheek and forgive him." This is used in an attempt to dilute anger and at the same time to add to one's all-forgiving "nice guy" status. This also allows the diluter to feel "better than" or more mature or self righteous than the other guy. Of course the more the individual manages to convince himself of his "nice guy" role, the more crippled he will be in the all-important angry department of his emotions.

Freezing It

Freezing it is the measure of success in subverting anger. In freezing anger it affects all our emotions, including love. Freezing is removing ourselves from our feelings - that is, in submerging and deadening our feelings - we are extraordinarily destructive of ourselves. This is a form of self-imposed anesthesia that kills our spontaneity, sensitivity, and potential creativity. It is a great destroyer of self and human identity and human relatedness. How can we relate if we don't feel?

We have talked about ways we repress anger, now let's talk about how this repressed anger manifests itself after it has been shoved into a slush fund of repressed anger. It will come out in some form which is not usually recognized as anger at all, but anger is the underlying cause.

Anxiety Depression Guilt Eating Disorders - over and under eating - bulimia, etc. Sleeping Disorders - sleeping too much or inability to sleep Worrying - obsessive worrying over events that probably won't happen or over which you have no control. Traps: Obsessions, Compulsions, Phobias Denial Self Sabotage - striving for perfection Physical Ailments - high blood pressure, heart attacks, ulcers, etc. Sneak Speakers - barbing, hurtfully opinionated people who say they are only "being honest". Silence - refusal to talk. Bullying Sweet talkers Blatant Blasting Workaholics, Sex Addicts, Overexercising Persecutors or martyrs who don't receive recognition. Subtle Sabotage - directed at others - doing subtle things to irritate. Aggression Identifiers - watching violence, wrestling or getting behind an aggressive person or cause. A bully usually has this kind cheering him on. Sneak Attack - poison pen letters done anonymously. Expressing anger without revealing your identity. Manipulator Gossip Chronic Auto Accidents - the hot head behind the wheel Truth Tellers - use truth to slip in barb or cause hurt, fear, tear down or maim. Dreams - dreaming of someone's death or something terrible happening to them. Always Tired - chronic, severe fatigue - medical causes should be ruled out. Compulsive Joking - cannot get serious even if someone's life depended on it. Phoney Peacemakers - a don't-make-waver or one who tells people what they want to hear. This is a "peace at all cost" person. Hypochondriac - preoccupation with body and sickness - used to manipulate others. Substance Abuse Drug and alcohol addiction Acts of Violence - murder, rape, gangs, war, racism, terrorism, etc. Pride Deadlock - one seethes in rage but won't let other person know "they can have that much effect on me". Pride themselves in not fighting. Suicide Sexual Problems - finding spouse repulsive or unattractive - lack of sexual desire, etc.

Many women will lose sexual interest in their husband if the husband is constantly offending her, controlling her and negating her emotional needs. If in confronting her husband, he denies and defends, the women will repress their anger because it never gets resolved if the husband continues in his behavior. The women then start to find their husbands sexually repulsive and they don't even understand why. I had one woman say that she experienced this and she went to her pastor's wife for help. The pastor's wife told her that she had a "religious spirit" and that she was self-righteous and was viewing sex as evil and a "self-righteous" person couldn't do something they considered evil or bad. This woman knew this was wrong and she continued to seek the Lord on why she saw her husband as sexually repulsive. The Lord showed her. Her husband had a controlling, abusive mother and as a result, the husband was dependent/codependent. He controlled everything in the family and shamed when anyone objected to his decisions. He emotionally abused and always had to have his own way. He treated his wife like a child and transferred his hatred and anger that he had for his mother onto his wife. This was always done under the guise of being a responsible father and husband and being a good Christian head of the household. The father viewed himself as being loving, well-intentioned and wise. In thinking himself to be wise, he became a fool. He trusted in himself that he was wise and had all the answers and knew what the needs were and he met them

himself and didn't listen to what anyone said about what they needed, felt or wanted. He certainly didn't have to check with God or rely on God for anything because he was a pretty wise, self-sufficient fellow. He was a good steward of his money. In believing himself to be a good steward, he was communicating to his family that his money was more important to him than the family and their needs.

The family viewed him as fearful and tight regarding money and if it cost anything, don't bother asking. Yet there was always plenty of money in the bank account.

This man's will or way of doing things was always forced on the family. He viewed the family as an extension of himself, not as separate individuals. The family often referred to him as Hitler or Sadam. Yet the man continued in his controlling ways believing all the while that he was doing what was right and Godly and that God backed him. Sadam believed the same thing. How could someone be so deceived? What makes a person think that they can do whatever they want to another person against their will and invade their physical, emotional and spiritual borders and boundaries and be deceived enough to believe that God would back them in doing this. I asked myself this during the Gulf War. I prayed and asked the Lord for an answer because I sure couldn't understand this. Ten minutes after I prayed this I turned on the TV and watched the news. A newsman was interviewing Iraqi people and asking them why they believed they could invade the borders of Quwait and force themselves on this smaller, defenseless country. The same response kept coming out of the mouths of the Iraqi people and the Lord answered my question through this news cast. Their reply: "Because Quwait belongs to us." When husbands view their wives and children as so much property and believe that they can force their wills and way on their family and not take into consideration their desires, wants, needs or feelings, then they emotionally abuse and invade the borders or boundaries of their family members. Let me explain what a border or boundary is. We all have them and they are good to have. A boundary is something that says: This is where you stop and I begin. We have physical boundaries. You can't just touch someone whenever or wherever you want to touch them if you do not have their permission. To do so is sexual abuse. If you negate someone's emotional needs and force your needs, feelings and thoughts on them against their will, while explaining away theirs, then this is emotional abuse and it leaves the same effects and scars as sexual abuse does. A person who has been sexually abused will go through all the same stages of destruction and scarring as someone who is emotionally abused. Any kind of abuse will leave the same scars and people go through all the stages regardless of what kind of abuse it is. If you are viewing your family members as "belonging to you" and you have a "right" to invade their borders and force your way of doing things, seeing things or feeling things on them and you are going to "convince" them that your way is right when they have objected, then you are probably emotionally abusing your family, and you probably view yourself as loving and well intentioned. This same husband mentioned above would try to force his way on his family. An argument would ensue between him and the wife. When his wife would confront him on his wrong doing he would defend and deny. When he would start to defend and deny and shame the wife for her feelings, the wife would try to detach from him and the argument because she

knew she was going to be emotionally abused and nothing was going to be resolved when he was in this state. She would tell her husband she didn't want to talk about it now. In so stating, she was putting up a border or boundary. She was expressing her need and desire to detach from him and the argument. She was stating: "This is where I begin and you stop." If the husband pursued the argument then he was now "invading a border" and forcing his will on her the way a sexually abusive person would force himself on someone against their will. The husband would be emotionally abusing his wife if he crossed the boundary or border that was now drawn. True to his codependent nature this husband followed his wife all around the house and she could not get away from him as he tried to convince her that his way was right and if she just saw things the way he did, then she wouldn't feel the way she does. The husband also said that he wasn't going to let the sun go down on his wrath and this argument was going to be solved before they went to bed just like scripture states. God would back this for sure and he was right anyway so he invaded her border and negated her feelings, needs and desires in order to "keep the rule". The rule was now more important than the needs of the people and this was something that the Pharisees often communicated to the people in Jesus' day. The husband couldn't understand why the wife became so upset as he was doing what God required of him as a good Christian husband and father. He viewed himself as a responsible head of the household and keeping the scriptural rules and of course God backed him. How deceived he was just as Sadam was. In the Gulf War we found out who God backed and in this marriage we also found out who God backed. It wasn't Sadam or the husband. This husband was mightily humbled by God and almost lost everything. Everything he ever trusted in and believed in or relied on now caved in and he found he was wrong.

This husband was transferring his hatred and anger that he had toward his controlling, abusive mother onto his wife. He was not going to have a controlling wife like his mother was and he would see to that. Hitler did the same thing. Hitler's father was a Jew who severely beat him as a child. Hitler grew up hating Jews and sought to kill all the Jewish race. In the same way, this husband had repressed anger toward women. This can also be seen in many churches and men who have anger toward women will lord their authority over women and oppress them and they believe God and scripture backs this oppression and abuse. They forget that God is no respecter of persons and that God is going to pour His spirit out upon handmaidens as well in the last days and they will prophecy. If a man believes that women can't be used by God then he may miss God as the Lord speaks out of the mouth of a handmaiden. If God gave woman to man as a help mate, then I wouldn't be discounting anything she said if I were a man. There is a Greek word for men who oppress women and carry unconscious anger and resentment toward women. This word is: misogynist - from the Greek word misogunia: misein which means to hate and gune which means women. It literally means hatred of women. The word hatred is defined as: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury; an extreme dislike or antipathy. Misogynist's weapons are not usually physical, but rather mental and emotional and their hatred is expressed much more subtly in forms of oppression. This can be seen throughout the church and Christian marriages. The following excerpts to describe misognyist behavior come from the book CHRISTIAN MEN WHO HATE WOMEN by Dr. Margaret J. Rinch. This book describes the attitudes and behaviors in misogyny and how the church actually fosters it and how destructive it is to Christian marriages and families.

Misogyny lies on a continuum and is manifested at various levels of intensity, in various types of behaviors and attitudes. To one degree or another, all the types of Christian men who hate women use the bible, church doctrine, and theological arguments to support their right to control women. He demands "submission" to his viewpoint. He discounts his wife's feelings, opinions and thoughts. He acts charming one moment, then hostile and cruel the next. He frequently points out his wife's faults. He is unable to perceive his own shortcomings in the relationship.

There are four types of misogyny and they range from mild to extreme. The basic attitude behind misogyny is a disrespect and resentment or anger toward women. Husbands are called to honor and love their wives as Christ loves the church. That means that you place a high value on her and hold her in high esteem. You cherish her and meet her needs. You don't rule and oppress her and neglect or negate her needs. Christ doesn't treat us that way. He gave His life and blood for His bride and died for her. He put his needs and best interests and self preservation aside to meet the needs of His bride. Jesus does not back oppression. He hates the deeds of the Nicolatians who lord their authority over others.

Type I Misogynist

No physical abuse of his partner. He uses indirect criticism; denies that he is abusive, protestations of love when confronted with disrespectful behavior; extremely subtle, may use flattery to keep woman at his side. Uses logic to control situations. Outargues spouse, totally discounts woman's feelings, needs and thoughts. He rarely loses his temper. He always looks as if he is in control, very reasonable. Out of touch with his own feelings.

Type II Misogynist

Includes Type I behaviors PLUS more overt verbal tactics such as teasing, bullying, belittling, name-calling, obvious criticism, unfavorable comparison of partner with other women. Uses non-verbal tactics such as pouting, the "silent treatment", dirty looks to show displeasure. May demand special attention. May be jealous of wife's attention to children or other relatives. May use temper tantrums to get his own way. Increase in intensity and frequency of behaviors over Type I.

Type III Misogynist

Uses any of Type I and Type II behaviors PLUS the threat of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. More extreme in controlling social life, religious practices, finances, sexual interactions, and matters of daily living. Increase in intensity and frequency of behaviors over Type I and II .

Type IV Misogynist

Uses any of Type I through Type III behaviors PLUS physical and/or sexual abuse toward wife and possible children. Level of intensity of abusive behavior is very high and poses a significant danger to the woman. Abusive style has become a deeply ingrained behavior. More extreme in controlling various areas of family life.

Misogyny is something that the church needs to know about and the role that the church plays in it. Pastors, counselors and friends need to recognize and handle misogynist relationships and see how they may even perpetuate misogynistic attitudes and behavior pattern. It is very prominent in the church and in the American home. It is not Christ's ideal for marriage and the error must be exposed and the truth must be taught.

The misogynist has a fierce need to control his wife. Criticism, subtle or overt, undermines the woman's self-confidence and worth. Any challenge or objection by his wife is met with rage, temper tantrums, stoney silence or denial. He uses distortions of scriptural teaching to keep his partner "in her place". Subtly at first, but increasingly he exerts dominance in every area of life. The methods of control include limiting the availability of household funds, insisting that they change friends or churches, demanding that the woman quit work or discontinue her education, and making demeaning sexual allusions in or out of the bedroom. The scriptural teaching of '"true submission" and love becomes submerged by a patriarchal dominance and a dwarf theology. These men act both lovingly and hatefully with equal passion, so the wife is confused by the double messages of their relationship. She feels like she lives with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and she does. The misogynists focus their cruelty and destructive behavior almost exclusively on their wives. On one hand, they claim to love their wives passionately, yet they act in a way that negates the declaration. Thus at church or at the office these men appear debonair, kind, jovial and charming. Later we will see that these men are difficult to spot unless you talk with those who live with them. This double-life factor is one reason why Christian women find that their friends at church and often their pastors doubt the veracity of what they describe goes on at home.

Christian men who hate women are in some ways even more dangerous and destructive in their relationships than their non-Christian counterparts. Non-Christian misogynists do not have the additional arsenal of church doctrines, God-talk, and the "sanctioning" of male authority, which comes in a Christian marriage. Their wives are not taught from childhood to "submit" to men "no matter what" because it is "God's will". Thus Christian relationships based on misogyny are much more complicated due to theological, cultural, and traditional influences that tend to reinforce misogynist's prejudice against the wife.

How does a Christian woman recognize whether she is in a misogynistic relationship? A woman should examine whether her marriage relationship has most of these characteristics: 48.

1. The man assumes that he has the "God-given" right to control how she lives and behaves. Her needs or thoughts are not even considered.
2. He uses God, the Bible, and church doctrine to support his "right to tell her what to do", and demands that she "submit" unquestioningly to his desires, whims, decisions, or plans. There is no sense of mutuality or loving consideration. It is always his way or nothing.
3. She finds that she no longer associates with certain friends, groups, or even family members because of her need to keep him happy. Even though these activities or people are important to her, she finds herself preferring to avoid them in order to "keep the peace."
4. He believes and acts like her opinions, views, feelings, or thoughts have no real value. He may discredit them on general principle or specifically because "she is a woman and easily deceived like Eve was". Or, he may give lip-service to respecting her thoughts, but later shoot them down one by one because they "are not logical". If the wife has wisdom or deep insight into something and expresses it, he will ignore it, shoot it down or criticize it. Let this same wisdom or insight come from a man, he will readily accept it and praise it, yet he will not give his wife credit for anything.
5. He acts charming and sweet at church and is well-liked at work, yet at home the family has to "walk on eggs" to prevent setting him off. People who do not see him at home find it hard to believe that she really is suffering emotional abuse. He reinforces this feeling whenever she points out the differences between home and church by saying something such as, "Oh, quit exaggerating. I'm not like that."
6. When she displeases him and he does not get his way, he yells, threatens, sulks in angry silence.
7. She feels confused by his behavior because one day he can be loving, kind, charming, and gentle; the next he is cruel, controlling and full of rage. The switch seems to come without warning.
8. No matter how much she tries to improve, change, or "grow in the word", in her relationship with him, she still feels confused, inadequate, guilty, and somehow off balance. She never knows what will set him off next, and no matter how much she prays, he never changes. She almost feels she must be "crazy" and she is sure it is her fault.
9. He acts possessive and jealous, even of her time with the children. He may even try to restrict her normal church activities because "a woman's place is in the home". If other people, especially other men, notice her or talk to her, he becomes very angry, jealous or insecure. One woman I know in a misogynist relationship started working after not working for ten years. Her husband would show up at her office to see her and kept putting his hands on her in front of the other men in the office. The wife stated that she felt like her husband behaved like a dog who was "marking" his property. The husband was jealous and insecure and wanted all the men in the office to know that this woman was "his property" and he engaged in excessive, inappropriate touching of his wife in an office setting, in front of others. The wife knew what he was doing and why he was doing it and she confronted him and told him to stop. The husband denied the implication and claimed that he was just being affectionate and loving toward his wife. He claimed he always touched her like that affectionately. In reality, he didn't at home when alone, but only when he was insecure and in the presence of other males. The husband shamed the wife for not allowing him to be affectionate and basically told her that she didn't know what she was talking about. His offensive touching continued despite her objections and against her wishes. It was embarrassing to her.
10. When anything goes wrong in the home or in the relationship, the problem is always her. If she would just be "more submissive" or "be filled with the Spirit" or "obey me like a good Christian wife," or "quit being a rebellious Jezebel" everything would be fine. He seems blind to any cruelty or misbehavior on his part. He actually sees himself as virtuous for "putting up" with a woman like her.

For Christians, it's easy to rationalize, and even deny, that a relationship is misogynistic when the behavior manifestations are mild. They always start out mild and become progressively more severe as time goes on. Consequently, much misogynistic abuse in the church often remains undetected. As a result, well-intentioned pastors and Christian therapists, who have not studied misogyny, misdianosis marital problems that are presented to them. If, as a pastor, counselor or friend, you talk with a woman whose relationship has many of the characteristics listed, then there is misogyny involved. Intervention, help and truth must be brought to these relationships because denial of the problem is the hallmark of such relationships.

In a recent survey done in the United States, it was determined that only 10% to 15% of the population came from non-dysfunctional families. That is shocking. What does that say about the issues we need to be addressing both in the church and in our relationships? We need to look at, address and expose these issues because we will not reach people with the gospel if we do not. We need to understand why people aren't receiving the grace and love of God and understand that they cannot give out what they have not received. They only know it in their heads, it is not real in their hearts.

We need to meet the basic human needs within our relationships and churches so that the next generation isn't affected as well. Let's take another look at those basic human needs and explore ways in which they are both abused and met.


Need: Touch, being held, caressed, hugged or given some form of physical affection. Food, warmth, shelter, clothing, water and medical care.

Abuse: Sexual abuse or touching someone without their permission. Physical violence of any kind. Border bashing - not leaving someone alone when they want to be left alone as you follow them around. Neglecting to provide food, warmth, shelter, clothing, water or medical care. Medical care would even include counseling or therapy. Neglecting physical affection, especially with your children. Neglecting to protect your children from physical abuse.

Lovingly meeting the need: Touching your children or spouse in a loving way that communicates that you love them and like to be around them. A touch on the arm or shoulder or a stroke of the hair convey this. A hug is also important. I recently read that a person needs four to twelve hugs a day. Don't neglect to hug your teen as well. I have heard numerous complaints from my teenage daughter because she wanted to be hugged. Never think that they are too big for this. If they object, then don't go against their wishes, but for the most part they enjoy hugs.

Provide food, warmth, shelter, clothing, water and medical care for those in your relationships (and community or ministry outreach) as well.


Need: Stimulation, education, excitement, challenge, security, peace of mind and boundaries.

Abuse: Not educating your children, instilling fear and insecurity in them, doing everything for them so that they are not challenged and they never learn to do anything for themselves, running over their physical, emotional, spiritual and social boundaries or doing things to them against their will in these areas. Only see the bad things they do and bring up their failures and short comings constantly while neglecting to see any positive or good thing in them. Don't notice their accomplishments and neglect praising them.

Lovingly meeting the need: Provide stimulation, education and challenges for others. Don't do everything for them but provide the tools for them to do things for themselves. Provide a safe, secure home, church or atmosphere where people are accepted for who they are. Respect boundaries and be supportive and loving of others. When they focus on the storm, lovingly focus them on Jesus so the fear disappears. Teach and instruct and disciple so as to build faith, not tear it down. Notice their good qualities and praise them often. Notice their accomplishments and praise them. Bless and curse not. Build up, don't tear down. Tell them what you like about them and what you appreciate about them.

Tell them that you believe in them and make sure your actions line up with your words. Example: Don't say you listen to someone and then negate, explain away or not accept what someone wants, thinks, feels or needs. Don't say you believe in someone and then control. You wouldn't be controlling if you believed in them (even if you are well-intentioned). Most control is well-intentioned, but abusive.


Need: Structure, attention, friends, being regarded as special, guidance, modeling, identification with significant others, discipled, time with significant others, feedback.

Abuse: Ignore people or your children, treat them like they don't matter, don't give them any guidance especially when they are headed in a wrong direction that will harm them, say one thing and behave in a totally opposite way, don't set good examples, don't teach or spend time with your children or others especially when instructing them in the ways of the Lord and don't give them any feedback in any way. Basically, ignore people.

Lovingly meeting the needs: Provide an atmosphere or structured time and place where you can meet with friends and family. Give your children and those in your relationships your attention and listen when they talk. Mirror or feedback what they have said to you so that they know that you heard what they just said. Continue to let them talk and continue to feedback their thoughts, feelings, needs, etc. as they have expressed them. Let them decide when they are finished. Controllers will judge or want to decide when the other person should be finished and they get frustrated in feeding back. They will respond with things like "But I already fed that back." I shouldn't have to do it again. Listen and feed back until the other person feels released. Don't respond with what you think or feel until you have acknowledged what they just said. You will not be listened to if you have not communicated to the other person that you have listened to them. Make eye contact. Be interested. If you are not interested, then you need to go to the Lord and have your hard heart healed because people can tell when you are going through the motions and you really don't care about them. Don't blame someone else for the condition of your heart. You need to repent. If you have trouble being loving, tenderhearted, interested and focused on someone else in a loving way, then the problem is inside your heart and you have a heart condition that needs to be dealt with. Be focused on them. When you mirror or feedback what a person said, they feel listened to and understood. A person who is listened to and understood, feels loved and special. Set good examples. Give guidance and instruction and encouragement. Disciple younger Christians as well as your children. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be a good role model.


Need: Affirmation of needs, feelings, thoughts and desires. Encouragement, praise, warmth, affection, sense of self as separate from yet cared for by others, sense of uniqueness and worth, or being wanted or valued for oneself.

Abuse: Shame and talk people out of their feelings, needs thoughts and desires by forcing your will, needs, desires, thoughts and feelings on them. Don't even acknowledge their needs, feelings, thoughts and desires. Make them feel, think and need the same things you need, think and feel and shame them or make them feel stupid if they don't accept it. People who never had their emotional needs met as a child will force their emotional needs on others to meet them as adults. If you emotionally abuse your child, he will emotionally abuse others to finally get his emotional needs met that were never met as a child. This spells big time relationship problems in his adult life and is a big cause for divorce.

When someone confronts you on a hurt feeling they may have, explain, justify, deny, debate, minimize and give your intentions (they will always be good intentions of course) or position on the matter so as to let the person know that they have no reason to feel the way that they do. Moralize or judge feelings so that you will condemn others for having feelings you deem as wrong or bad or not good to have. Control and do everything for them so that they never learn to do anything for themselves and have confidence in doing things themselves. Never encourage, which communicates that you know they can do it, but instead control, which conveys that you know they can't and that they are stupid and inadequate. Always view family members as an extension of you and if they look bad, then so do you. Thus you will shame them and control them. Then turn around and tell yourself that you are just being a good husband and father and head of your household as Christ intended so you never change and remain deceived and controlling. If you are a mother then do the same. Withhold affection, warmth and praise, especially if they don't behave, think, feel or want the same things you do. Do this especially if they don't perform as you want them to. Make everyone just like you by forcing them to think, want, feel and believe as you do. Shame them if they do not. Let them know that they are nothing and could do nothing without you and that they are stupid and couldn't survive without your constant input and help as you fix, solve and remedy everything in their lives!.

Lovingly meeting the needs: Affirm the needs, feelings, thoughts and desires of those in your relationships by acknowledging, mirroring and feeding back the needs, feelings, thoughts and desires. This does not necessarily mean that you agree. It just means that you have heard them, affirm them and acknowledge them. Mirror and feed back what you heard them say so that they know that you heard them and they can correct you if you heard it wrong. Encourage and praise them in what they do. Be affectionate and loving. I almost lost my daughter several months ago. She almost died and was hospitalized for two weeks. When I got the emergency call, and was told that it was a life/death situation, I hung up the phone and asked the Lord not to let her die because I had so much that I wanted to say to her. Now, you better believe that I tell my kids, today, what I want to tell them. It has truly made me see my children in a different light and made me realize how valuable they are to me. Nothing is more important than they are. When I am busy and they want to tell me something, the jobs get shoved aside. I notice the things about them that I like and I will tell them about that particular thing. For instance, my first grade boy hates to go to the mall. One day I had to buy a baby present for a friend. As we walked in the mall together, I told my son that one thing I always liked and enjoyed about him was that he always had a good sense of humor. Ever since he was a small baby, he was always laughing. I told him that I enjoyed it so much because I am such a serious person and one thing I lack is a sense of humor and the Lord knew when He made him that I would need and enjoy a child with a good sense of humor and that he was God's gift to me. We had such a pleasant time at the mall that day. Usually he has a fit while we are there. We sat and had ice cream and I told him how much I enjoyed being with him because as he got older and our lives got busier, we didn't get much time anymore to be together so I told him that I cherished these moments even if they were short. He helped me pick out a baby gift and we had a wonderful time. I do the same kinds of things with my daughter. I frequently tell them what I like or enjoy about them as individuals. I look for the positive and mention to them how much they mean to me or have impacted me. I let them know they have a positive influence in my life. Ever since I have been implementing these things and affirming their emotional needs, my kids have responded and changed tremendously. My son comes home from school with art work made just for me. He colored a rainbow with a sun and wrote at the top: "Mom, you are a light in my life." When I asked him what he was thinking of when he drew it he said, "I was thinking of you because you said I was a V.I.P." This came about as a result of my son asking me to come to school for something special and he told me how much it would mean to him. I affirmed his desire and told him that I would love to do it because he was a V.I.P. or a very important person to me. This had such an impact on him and many drawings and "love notes" came as a result. My daughter used to let others decide or tell her what to think and how to feel. As a result of meeting her emotional needs, she has learned to think for herself and get in touch with her feelings and be true to her feelings. She has learned to stand up to her friends when they were doing wrong and when they wanted her to do wrong things. Her happiness and joy returned. One day, I was walking down my stairs and I was thinking to myself about how my relationship with my daughter had improved and I was wondering how she felt about it. She walked in the door from school and started telling me about a friend of hers who was always doing bad things and always in trouble with her parents. Then she leaned over and kissed my head and put her arm around me and said, "I'm so glad I have a good relationship with my mom." It wasn't ten minutes before, where I had just been wondering how she felt about our relationship. I felt like the Lord was encouraging and praising me for doing or putting to use, that which He had given us for our children. Look for things you like in others and mention them to them. Tell them how valuable they are to you and what an impact they have on you and your life. Tell them how much you do enjoy the time you spend with them and try to schedule time with them. Honor desires when you can, and when you cannot, they will readily accept the "no" answer without it turning into a big fight. If you have friends, call them and schedule time with them as well.

Right before Christmas, my kids had a request or a desire. They wanted to get a dog. I acknowledged the request and told them that I would think about it. Later, we went to the humane society and came home with a 2 year old silky terrier named Rags. He was a delight. How special this made my kids feel when I honored their request and they helped in picking out their dog. It is amazing what the Lord can show you through a dog too. The dog would be so happy and excited to see my kids when they came home from school. He would jump on them and lavish them with kisses because he was so happy to see them. The dog made them feel loved and special. I kidded them about this and told them that I was going to greet them at the door like the dog did. Not with the same kind of kisses of course, but with the same enthusiastic attitude. I would show them how happy I was to see them and make sure I lavished affection on them. I started doing this. One day, my son came in the door while I was vacuuming and I missed my opportunity to greet him and he let me know it. He missed his greeting when he walked in the door.

I am going to talk about spiritual needs last and finish this session with what our spiritual needs are and how Jesus meets them. I was given a beautiful prophecy as well which I would like to give at the end. In addition, I would like to minister to anyone's needs and pray for them as we close.

Before I go into the spiritual needs, I would like to address the different stages one goes through when they are being abused in any of the basic human need areas. One can be physically abused or one can be emotionally abused or one can be abused in all areas. If you suffer abuse in only one area, you still go through all the stages of abuse, even if it is subtle emotional abuse. Once through these stages, you enter into the "shame state" that we discussed earlier. Once in this "shame state" it is hard to receive anything from God and you cannot give out what you have not received. You become "works" oriented and perform to gain God's approval and that of man's. You never feel valued or loved and you carry around your shame and you project your shame onto others or shame them as well. Neglecting of the basic human needs can also cause one to go through the various stages of abuse. Excerpts from the book PAIN AND PRETENDING by Rich Buhler


Each of us has a bundle of needs: to be loved, to be approved, to be fed and clothed, to be sheltered. As children, we are usually dependent on our parents to meet our basic needs. As we grow older, we realize that other people - relatives or friends or professionals, such as teachers, doctors, or ministers - are in a position to meet those needs. These are relationships of trust. I have to trust a person before I will allow him or her to respond to my need. To trust someone also means, however, that I am making myself vulnerable. I am allowing another person to be in a position to hurt or to take advantage of me if he or she chooses. We all share this general vulnerability, since it is right and proper for us to count on Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa. No child should experience a violation of that trust. Tragically, however, large numbers of children (and adults) are victims of the people who are the closest to them, and this results in a more specific and intense vulnerability. The child is thrust into the world with needs that are blatantly visible, with a vulnerability that makes that person easier prey for the kind of person who might take advantage of him or neglect him.

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