Abusive Relationships

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I got this from a website that you might find helpful. Thanks to by Dr. Irene Matiatos and her website http://www.drirene.com.

Do you wonder if your relationship may be abusive? Ask yourself the questions below. If you answer ‘yes’ to more than a few, you may want to take a closer look:

Does your partner:

ignore your feelings?
disrespect you?
ridicule or insult you then tell you its a joke, or that you have no sense of humor?
ridicule your beliefs, religion, race, heritage or class?
withhold approval, appreciation or affection?
give you the silent treatment?
walk away without answering you?
criticize you, call you names, yell at you?
humiliate you privately or in public?
roll his or her eyes when you talk?
give you a hard time about socializing with your friends or family?
make you socialize (and keep up appearances) even when you don’t feel well?
seem to make sure that what you really want is exactly what you won’t get?
tell you you are too sensitive?
hurt you especially when you are down?
seem energized by fighting, while fighting exhausts you?
have unpredictable mood swings, alternating from good to bad for no apparent reason?
present a wonderful face to the world and is well liked by outsiders?
“twist” your words, somehow turning what you said against you?
try to control decisions, money, even the way you style your hair or wear your clothes?
complain about how badly you treat him or her?
threaten to leave, or threaten to throw you out?
say things that make you feel good, but do things that make you feel bad?
ever left you stranded?
ever threaten to hurt you or your family?
ever hit or pushed you, even “accidentally”?
seem to stir up trouble just when you seem to be getting closer to each other?
abuse something you love: a pet, a child, an object?
compliment you enough to keep you happy, yet criticize you enough to keep you insecure?
promise to never do something hurtful again?
harass you about imagined affairs?
manipulate you with lies and contradictions?
destroy furniture, punch holes in walls, break appliances?
drive like a road-rage junkie?
act immature and selfish, yet accuse you of those behaviors?
question your every move and motive, somehow questioning your competence?
interrupt you; hear but not really listen?
make you feel like you can’t win? damned if you do, damned if you don’t?
use drugs and/or alcohol involved? are things worse then?
incite you to rage, which is “proof” that you are to blame?
try to convince you he or she is “right,” while you are “wrong?”
frequently say things that are later denied or accuse you of misunderstanding?
treat you like a sex object, or as though sex should be provided on demand regardless of how you feel?

Your situation is critical if the following applies to you:

You express your opinions less and less freely.
You find yourself walking on eggshells, careful of when and how to say something.
You long for that softer, more vulnerable part of your partner to emerge.
You find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior?
You feel emotionally unsafe.
You feel its somehow not OK to talk with others about your relationship.
You hope things will change…especially through your love and understanding.
You find yourself doubting your memory or sense of reality.
You doubt your own judgment.
You doubt your abilities.
You feel vulnerable and insecure.
You are becoming increasingly depressed.
You feel increasingly trapped and powerless.
You have been or are afraid of your partner.
Your partner has physically hurt you, even once.

Respect

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http://www.art.com

Is it earned or given?

1 Peter 2:17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Most people have it backward and think people have to earn their respect. People do not have to earn your respect; you give your respect to everyone. People can lose your respect, but they do not have to earn it and the only way they lose your respect is only after they have shown a lack of character.

If we are to live humanely, then we are to treat each other with respect. I don’t know where we get the idea that we can treat people without respect and make them jump through hoops to earn it. How much do I have to earn and for how long do I have to work for your respect? I don’t see that modeled in the bible anywhere. Even the Pharisees who Jesus did not get along with received his respect. He may have begged to differ with their belief but he showed proper respect. Notice the people who were disrespectful of others were not thought of well in the bible. What makes us think things have changed?

I see a lack of respect today almost everywhere. I see mean people who treat others callously and it’s wrong. On the most basic level of living on this planet, it’s wrong. We are now afraid of each other. Road rage is prevalent because no one drives respectfully. We tailgate, cut people off in traffic and when someone signals to merge in a lane we speed up to block them. We don’t care about one another’s things. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine if I can get it. Teachers are told that they have to earn the respect of the student and that the student does not have to respect them until then. We bash the President without regard and call it our right, yet when the right you have in the world infringes on the right you have in the WORD then you’d be wise to choose the Word. Employers lay off employees days short of their retirement esteeming them of little value. Today we have children who threaten their parents and parents who threaten their children. Where did we get so twisted up?

The general lack of disrespect is ungodly and what does it say when we can’t even live at a humane level? Even if you aren’t in relationship with God, does it not move you that respect is woefully lacking in our communities? Think about something with me, would you go up to a group of teenagers in a McDonalds who were tearing the place up and ask them to stop? Of course not! Not only would the teens tell you off or worse take it to another level, the parents would show up and tell you off too. It’s ridiculous and it needs to change.

Respect is not earned. It is a gift freely given to each living thing on the planet. Respect can’t be bought. A lack of respect says more about the person who is being disrespectful than it does the person to whom respect is not being shown. Remember to live by a principle by the same measure you give that’s the same measure you get. It behooves us to respect others.

All I Got Was A Rock 2

This part 2 of a series we started yesterday. If you missed it, click here.

www.flickr.com/ photos/ 23564393@N06/ 2913006759/
http://www.flickr.com/ photos/ 23564393@N06/ 2913006759/

In that moment when Eve decided to go for the wisdom that was being offered, her flesh craved that wisdom more than her soul craved God. She opted for the momentary pleasure knowing full well that death would follow. It really is about whom you feed the most, flesh or soul. I think this is why the bible says things like, “taste and see that the Lord is good”, “my soul thirsts for you”. God knows that the flesh is hungry for things we desire that aren’t always what we need. We were created to crave both in our flesh and soul. And often our soul loses as we feed our flesh. Just like Adam and Eve lost when their flesh craved a piece of fruit more than their soul craved God.

John Bevere said, I believe it was in his book A Heart Ablaze, where he had read ancient writings of the life of Adam and Eve after the garden. In these writings it says Adam was depressed and despondent. That he spent days sitting in caves, that he attempted suicide but that God would not let him die. He had lost everything; he was for the first time alone and desolate as his soul sat starving. He rarely spoke again. How incredibly sad to lose it all! Think about when a spouse decides to have an affair the pain of that affair is inflicted on the family and the effect to their husband or wife as they pull the rug out from under their lives. The aftermath of that is also devastating if there are children as sin is always personal but never private, it affects many. The incredible sharp crushing pain to the heart. Now imagine that pain multiplied by infinity and you begin to catch a glimpse of Adam’s loss. It no longer mattered that his death wasn’t physical, he had died spiritually. I believe this is what happens when people commit suicide. They are empty internally and all that is left is flesh. They have lost all hope of anything ever filling them again.

We were all created with a soul that craves the things of God and God himself. Every single one of us needs relationship and love and acceptance. We all were made to crave those things that sustain like food can’t. Babies die without a loving touch and old people wilt away without a family. We are all created to need each other.

If in fact, we can’t help it and feeding the flesh becomes a bigger priority than feeding the soul then we are dying a slow and agonizing death. There is no long-term pleasure in the pain it causes. If we truly can’t control the cravings, if that’s in fact true, then we are living no better than the animals we profess to be above in the food chain. In the meantime, your soul is dying out because it needs the ties of humanity and to something bigger than itself to exist.

People live year after year, gathering rocks in their pillowcase, always expecting a different result but never experiencing the full life that was set before them. To really want to live a life with purpose and passion isn’t all about self and selfish cravings, it’s about giving yourself what you need and thereby feeding others something more than the rocks that have been collected. If we are really going to live a life worth living then that’s about deep friendships, beautiful love, a life of service and a heart that worships God, those are the things that the soul desires. Those are the lasting things.

All I Got Was A Rock

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http://www.flickr.com/ photos/jenromo/ 2978143711/

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

We all remember Charlie Brown’s Halloween cartoon that we watch each year on TV. Charlie Brown could never catch a break. He went trick-o-treating with his friends and while each one got candy, Charlie Brown would dejectedly profess, “All I got was a rock.” Yet, year after year we would watch him go through the same motions again, getting dressed up, just to be disappointed, hoping that this year it would be different. He craved acceptance and to fit in and just get some candy!

In the garden while most of us would say Adam and Eve needed nothing, that isn’t exactly true. They needed air, they needed relationship, they needed food and shelter. Each of us was created with things our bodies crave. All you have to do is go on a fast and see how fast your body craves food. In this passage of scripture we see where Satan preyed on the natural temptation of a craving in Eve. Because we were created in the image of God we have a need to feel powerful and in control. We have a need to know what the secret is. Forget the fact that because we are are made in his image we are powerful and in control and we already know what the secret is, our humanity thinks this is found outside of ourselves. God created this need for craving so that we would crave him. Everyone even the atheist has a craving in his being for a relationship with something bigger than himself.

Cravings are something we all have. Temptations to indulge in the cravings come along all the time. Ask the drug addict if he’d rather have drugs than food and he’ll answer that drugs is what he craves; yet he understands his need for food, it just doesn’t satisfy his craving. Ask the dieter what they crave and it’s never a diet bar, it’s always a food item they can’t have that they crave. Sometimes cravings tell us what is missing from our bodies. The person who craves crunching ice needs to have their iron levels tested, as it’s sometimes a symptom of an iron deficiency.

The key to cravings is to master them and not have them master you. The challange becomes to rule over your cravings and put them in perspective. Just as your flesh has its cravings and desires so does your soul. Everyone was created with cravings both flesh and soul. The question becomes can we control our cravings or do they control us? Can the things that are not good for us be done away with?

I have an allergy to dairy. I break out in horrible big splotchy red welt-like hives that are so incredibly itchy. Sometimes, I have a baked potato with a little sour cream and I break out all over, sometimes I have a scoop of ice cream and I get a few welts but nothing major. See, I never know when I go to eat a dairy product what the results will be. I’ve had this allergy all of my life and so you’d think now that I am 44 I would stay completely away from all dairy products but that is not the case. Sometimes, I crave a scoop of Jamoca ice cream from Baskin Robbins. Usually, when the craving hits and it’s a couple a year, I can go a few weeks without giving into my craving but eventually I go for it. The reason I do this is because the momentary pleasure is worth the pain.

What are you craving that you know is not good for you? What do you keep going back to when you know it only result in same outcome as always? We’ll discuss more tomorrow. For now, reflect on these things.

For When It Rains

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Umbrellas are important on rainy days. We don’t think about them much any other time but when we wake up in the morning and we look out the window, and it’s raining, we look for that umbrella. We also look for that umbrella on extra hot summer days when we want to be protected from the sun. We don’t want to risk being burned.

Matthew 5:45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Umbrellas are covering. As a married woman I count on my husband to cover me. As a woman who lives in a family whose umbrella is God I count on my husband to cover us in prayer, in character, in morals and as the head of my family we walk according to his plan praying that my husband walks according to God’s plan.

What happens though when he doesn’t? We never think it will happen to us. It’s other women whose husbands get depressed, or fall and suddenly they find themselves out in the elements dragging their family behind them. It’s never us, but the reality is, sometimes it is.

What do we do then? Do you know how to access your umbrella? Do you know how to pray for your family and cover them in the meanwhile? Can you lift your husband up in prayer while he deals with his issues? Can you keep your family out of the elements when you’re going through a storm? You see, rain is going to come for each of us we all must know how to take cover. The sun is going to get hot sometimes, we need to access that umbrella.

It’s going to call for serious relationship with God. It’s going to require deep faith. It’s going to require amazing love. Can you access the umbrella that will shield you and keep you until things get back to normal?

He Anticipates My Needs

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God knows me. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows what I need before I know what I need. So this blog is pretty simple.

In order to anticipate your wants and needs a man has to take the time to know you. Not just as a woman but as his woman. He knows what would make you happy and what would please you. He knows when you’ve had a rough week and he runs the tub with your favorite bubble bath and orders a pizza and waits for you to come home to relax. He knows that you’ve always wanted to go Napa for a few days and walk around the wineries and vineyards and he takes you there to explore. See, he knows you.

More than that, it makes him happy to see you happy. As my husband says often, “If the queen is happy the land is happy.” He understands me, even when I am acting crazy or am stressed about things he doesn’t stress about. He may not understand why I act the way I do but he does whatever he can to help me pull it together and get back to living our life. He takes the time to listen to my needs and he takes the time to minister to me. He prays for me everyday and looks for ways to make my life easier. I don’t have to nag him; he does it because he loves me.

God knows me. God understands me. Make sure your man does.