Last Friday we began looking at the possible sinful reactions of a person who has been victimized by her spouse. The one who began as the victim becomes the perpetrator.
When I find a woman is responding in this manner she must be confronted about her sinful attitudes toward her husband. She must be called to account on these numerous levels.
Often, the wife would come to counseling with the expectation that the former offender be the only one challenged, rebuked, corrected or the only one who is in need of any kind of change! She is often very offended when confronted about her own sin, believing and saying things like, “This is not why we are here.” “Why are you picking on me?” “What about him/her?”
This position of self-righteousness leaves little room for examination of their own heart, and little room for accepting any responsibility or contribution to the problems that led up to the violations. There will be some admission that “I am not perfect either” but there is much more concern toward pointing out their spouses wrongs. When challenged in the counseling process, their responses often begin with, “Yes, but he…..” “Well, I did (blank) and she ….” in an attempt to shift any blame away from themselves.
In situations where the wife does say she forgives, another issue that can arise is the demand for “love” and for him to understand how long it is taking to get over the offence. This is displayed by radical mood swings, crying jags, silent treatment, reminders of the past offences that she is quick to assure him he is forgiven of!
Her demands for love and understanding and time to heal are often impossible to meet because no matter how much love, time, and understanding is given it is never enough! The former offender is forever held as an
emotional hostage by his deeds of the past.
These responses are often confusing to the former offender. For example, things at home may be going just
fine, they may have enjoyed the day of companionship and then apparently out of the blue the victim suddenly becomes angry and nearly hostile toward him.
Sometimes no amount of asking or pleading will pry from her lips what happened. Questions and attempts to
understand are met with silence or responses like, “You should know!” or, “If you loved me, you would know!”
Physical and emotional intimacy is essentially non-existent between the two people. There may be sex, but no intimacy because she is not going to allow herself to be vulnerable again. Her heart becomes a closed room to him. Small and insignificant matters balloon into major confrontations, and there is little peace in the home. Over time every word and deed is analyzed and becomes cannon fodder for arguments that degenerate into hostility on both sides. What is quickly evident in these kinds of cases is that while the he was responsible for the sin that brought this couple to the table, God has used it to reveal some areas in her heart that need to be dealt with also.
What I have learned through ministering to people is that it quickly becomes evident that on some level (and I am not always sure they realize it) the former-victim-turned-offender is enjoying the grilling the other person gets because it validates their anger and bitterness toward them for these (in some cases) long standing sins.
Likewise, the former-offender-turned-victim is realizing that they are not necessarily the scum of the earth they have been made out to be since they repented of their sin!
So the focus of the people helping must be balanced equally between the victims and offenders, of which there are now two of each!