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February 26, 2021 1:00 am
How do I help someone being abused? On FamilyLife Today, hosts Dave and Ann Wilson talk with counselor and author Darby Strickland about understanding the truth and walking in love with those in that situation.
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There's a word in Scripture that describes a particular kind of abuser that's the word oppressor, can you tell if you're married to someone who is an oppressor counselor and author Darby Strickland what drives Sarah is a have a heart that is entitled they want things the way they want them, they mean rules and unplanned and then had women tell me after exterminating a certain way after the dishwasher certainly actually where this hairstyle. Oppressors usurp God's position. They really demand to be worship feel self-righteous on the need for Christ to really in a very dangerous spiritual position. This is family life today hosts are Damon and Wilson on Bob Lim can find us online and family life today.com. What if you're married to an oppressor.
What do you do talk today with Darby Strickland about that. Stay with us and welcome to family life today.
Thanks for joining us and I know you have talk to women. Throughout the years both in the church in your interaction with football wives at week and remember getaways women who come up to you and have maybe been bold enough to say their stuff happening in our marriage that that I'm uncomfortable with.
I'm being abused by my husband in that moment you find yourself going. What do I say how do I help somebody in this immediate situation. What are you what you said in those situations it is interesting at the weekend to remember we have had a booklet for years that we put on the stage, way of hope and we say upfront working to put these little pamphlets on the stage and if you know someone that is being abused in any way physically domestically spiritually on pick this up and in my heart and my thinking of now they will pick these up to 5040 on the state. Almost every single time.
All of those booklets are gone down. Yeah, I know that you do on Sunday morning. We can remember we split the husbands and wives up and you know I talked to the men about husbands and dad stands over on the other side, and I don't know what they talk. I didn't hear them laughing and cheering and but I do know when we done this for 30 years and some point during that talk in shares about her sexual abuse in her past and all I know is when that session ends and we have a break before the next session. There is a line of women all the way out into the lobby that needs to talk to her and it's mostly about that is in it. Yeah, I mean it. There are a lot of different things, but there is a lot of abuse going on and we talked earlier, they don't always come out to say I'm being abused, but they have a lot of questions that can lead to death was actually happening. Darby Strickland is joining us this week to help us think rightly about these things. Darby welcome back Darby is a writer or a counselor, a speaker, she is part of the Christian counseling and education foundation is involved in private counseling practice. She's also homeschooling mother and a wife and my favorite part. Darby's written a book called is it abuse.
Somehow she wrote this book being a homeschool mom yeah I'm is crazy.
It's not safe for hundred pages. There's a lot in this book and I do wonder the very question of the title of the book is it abuse. Have you had women come to you and say here's what's going on, and you've smiled and said no sweetheart that's not abuse. That's what what you got going on is just you just need to buck up and move on.
That's marriage I would say rarely, I probably had one woman approached me of the hundreds that I talked to that it would not only was it just not abuse, but she was more angry and entitled that her husband is a way we we think that sometimes were a wife will say my husband is so abusive.
He's so controlling and what you saying is I don't get to do what I want a goal, none of us gets to do what I so where's where's the line in the emotional abuse asked that to because probably more than any other statement that I hear it's back. I am being emotionally abused and I don't always know like is that emotional abuse is not normal.
If somebody says that Timmy D think it usually is ago is the premise that it is time to verify that second I'm just gonna slow the person down and can ask them a question, so maybe they're reporting to me that there husband is ignoring them. So I have to asked in a series of questions.
How long is he been ignoring you, what is that gain him when he ignores you what effect does that have on you. How does that change your future behavior. How will repairs to relationship. When does that happen.
What is that look like. Can you say to your husbands hurts me. Does he receive your complaint so you want to find out how a particular behavior functions in the relationship. It could just be that he's really stressed after work and he needs little downtime. It could be that he's ignoring her to pull back because he's displeasing to try to shape her behaviors that she's performing in a way that he desires just thinking about a woman whose husband didn't talk to her for two weeks and she was begging him please talk to me. I don't know what's happening. I need you to talk to me and finally he said I don't want you I've never wanted to meet be married to you, and I wanted to force and so she's like okay, let's just do that. So then they followed through with that and then he came back the next day that I don't want divorce I don't know why I said that this is gone on over and over and over where he won't talk to her.
He wants a divorce and then he says I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that I really don't want a divorce. She has no idea what to do, what would you say to that person. I would one sit with her and say what is he gaining when he's pulling away from you and what happens when you are drawn back to him.
Is he repenting is he saying I'm sorry.
I acknowledge what I'm saying this to you. I see the amount of damage that the death yet he does say that but then it happens again and again and again yeah and so then we look at the Scripture talks about.
We know a tree by its fruit. Difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow, and this is a common pattern with abuse and with oppressors. You use the term oppressor as opposed to abuse her in your book, but it is common for somebody who is an oppressor or an abuser to feel remorse pretty quickly after they been abusive and to be sorrowful for it and then have a period of time where they reform their behavior and then they lapse back into it.
Is that not a common pattern yes and I would say is not that they lapse back into his estate never really repented of the underlying attitude and REIT entitlement to actually apology in the contrition and the gifts and the sweet words are all way of reestablishing control over that person and so is not that Somerset cyclical is that the form of control changes so when somebody does come back and appears contrite and sorrowful.
What should her response to that contrition be why think the first is for her to do a good job listening and to invite somebody in his wiser who can listen more objectively is the contrition is the sorrow for themselves for how their world is being disrupted for the consequences they're facing for their own embarrassment or are they saying I'm really panicked that I could do this and be this way and I want to get help.
Are they naming their specific sins. A lot of them in detail in concrete saying this is the reason when I walk out repentance. I'm not a promise I'm not can interrupt you anymore. That's nice, but then how does that play out.
Does he really stop interrupting her so there's words and even sometimes the words are very insufficient when we measure them again.
What Scripture requires repentance within the house has to be fruit and it should be sustained long-term fruit, so there's no fruit for fear again. I'm always put myself in the this the role of the friend you know a friend is going to be in them looking over Dan because I'm not going to walk beside some other woman but if a wife comes and you know say all things are say my husband what he has said says these words then is repentant and he sorrowful, even that evening happens again tomorrow.
He's repentant and so you start to see the actions in a changing. When do you tell her or encourage her to convey her decision is a change in girlfriend, you know it's time to take action. How do you do that and do you do that and I think in the church you feel like we should never say that because at that feels like were encouraging divorce which we are but it can feel that way. So coaches up on that. When do we make that bold little hey I think you need to consider this today because this person that I was talking about.
I would say when you say to him.
We need to get help. We need counseling and he'll say yes okay will do that. But then it never happens.
He'll never go through with that is that assigned to Charlotte. Some is really not committed to changing okay and so those are the types of things I like to say what are you looking for so ahead of her receiving the apology or maybe she's had an apology before but in the actions didn't happen. I say let's just brainstorm together what what really pens look like here what staffing should you start to see happen mean it's good we want to see semi-inching along but not when it's one step forward and two steps back into abuse. So again, I often have to remind women of how they were treated. They don't remember and that's what's really hard so I will observe is the timeline and I'll say six months ago when you had to leave because he was following you around the house. The children were scared and he spent the night at your mom's and he felt like you abandoned him right so were hearing the same language that were hearing that and and and you remember eight months ago and they just don't have the capacity to hold all those horrible trees together. Sometimes it's creating a pattern, but also say what has to happen for you to do something.
What has to happen for you to tell the pastor and when do you think you make the next step in next step commonly is going to involve bringing other people. This is Matthew 18 we bring two or three witnesses in the conversation in a sensory Matthew 18 she's probably already told him dozens of times right right and ideally we want to bring somebody else in but it has to be safe. So sometimes we need to extract her she has to separate and she has to flee and then we have that confrontation said that doing safety assessment are working with the victim in finding out her level of safety. We can't just go and say this person's behavior, and oppressive. When I come and confront him because oftentimes her life is made miserable.
This is really important. So, explain what's going on here and why it's so critical and how you can make sure their safety before you bring somebody else and yes in my book in the back of my book or the domestic violence hotline. You can do a safety assessment and there certain behaviors that you're looking for some is being stalked or strangled. There's been sexual abuse are certain things that put women at higher risk, and you want to know what those are, has a balance been increasing in intensity or frequency. Any time a woman leaves or is planning to leave. She's in the most danger right because that's when an aunt, but my I can't control Sundin escalate the violence.
Even if I've not been violent before I think that something we don't understand. I've counseled woman in particular.
Her husband was extremely controlling and cruel and to the point where she couldn't have five dollars in her wallet.
Every truck was premade. She was monitored he was never physically abusive.
She started talking about separation within two weeks she had a gun pointed at her and he had napped so we often think there's this progression so we really want to work with experts.
We had a friend and were not sure this person dangerous.
Call the hotline with them invite an expert in you don't know a lot what you don't know can really put someone in danger.
So please tell me you have success stories you know you hear this, that even though some situations in her own life and watching it in.
We been a part of it and you're not seeing what you hope to see she left really hard to do, took the child with her, which is hard to do because he want take the child away from her dad.
His dad and yet the change in the husband's not happening. So I'm sitting there listening like, please tell me there success you've you've seen God show up and do miracles. God shows up and does miracles independently define a success.
So if I have a woman who has children female children in her home who are no longer watching her being abused that success in those children now know what a godly husband should look like that success and that they don't leave the church in early 20s because of hypocrisy that success if I see a woman reconnecting with the Lord because she knows her worth in him and she knows who she is, whether or not that marriage survives or not that success oppressors are hard to change. They have their world the way they wanted. What would propel them to make things different, so it's not likely can happen. That's a great thing about the Holy Spirit can do anything at any time and we root for that but I just tell the victims what success is, is glorifying God in your life before your children and knowing who you are in Christ, what a great, great answer.
I mean you just refrain my mind. I'm sure many others. This what success can look like is in my question. I had this thought.
Success is a come back together and it's just this you know, happy, happy marriage that you know he's transform, she is you gave a new definition for success and I also think and we talked at this, but we often think as a man of thinking while not on the physically abusive to my wife so I'm not that guy. But if you're emotionally and your words are tearing her down, which is more the situation I was referring to. I know that husband thinks I am not being abusive even though I call her names and my kids are watching this never been physical, but getting very calling her and cussing her out in front of the kids calling her names, but it's always just think it is you're saying.
I think there's husband listening right now they're thinking I'm not that guy. But if you're using words like that to control. In the mean your wife or your children you're an abuser you want your own way and willing to hurt somebody or shame them for you and it's time to get help and you said oppressors are it. It's hard for them to change sure what drives an oppressor is they have a heart that is entitled they want things the way they want them.
They believe that their right.
They blame shift. They don't have insight that their sinners they make rules that don't apply to them have had women tell me at the two Sturm IT a certain way have to load the dishwasher a certain way. I can only wear this hairstyle, or they'll just be this these cruel things happening.
I'm so if you think about if I get to have as a spouse I get have all the latest technology I get to eat all the foods that I want. I get I get to reap all the benefits by don't do the hard work of maintaining the home. I say oppressors usurp God's position. They really demand to be worship and when they replace themselves as the center which everyone has to revolve around don't have anything externally referential that they defer to authority lies they don't have insight that what they believe is wrong. They feel self-righteous all the need for Christ to really in a very dangerous spiritual position that I mean I looked at what you wrote in your book the six beliefs you source it. Let me read of these are scary because I think we can ceiling herself, like if we're not careful we are all entitled today but the difference between you and me.
I'd like to think coming and an oppressor is that when someone confront me about my sin. I'm sorrowful, I'm broke and it bothers me. Maybe they have to confront me more than once, but I have empathy for the other person I want to be pleasing to the Lord and influence about and I know I'm and I have in you Jesus that is peculiar they are and maybe there's one of these you want to talk or hinder several lucky believe number one it's all about me to believe number two you need to listen only to me.
Number three rules are not for me to follow there to keep me happy.
My anger is justified.
Other people attack me in the last one is I don't have to appreciate what you do but I demand that you appreciate what I do.
Yes some ways we all have that sin been in us, but when it gets out of control. It's dominating right you become the oppressor, yet becomes toxic and becomes the rule enforcement becomes a closed system that becomes oppressive so you think you and I only have to listen to me right. We can see it in abusive argument where someone constantly interrupted their mocked. Their eyes are rolling, or an argument hits a certain dead point. But then the oppressors following the abused woman around the house. I will be heard right.
And so that's how this things become toxic and damaging bonds interesting to Darby because work as were talking about this oppressor. It it sounds slimy.
It's like this lifetime movie kind of guy you know and yet I know that there was a couple that we knew we were friends with them.
He was the nicest guy like slimy everybody love can he talk about Jesus and we would go to bed at night like the nicest guy and she was coming to my Bible study.
She is a little bit quiet there marriage was struggling which were all like what he could struggle with this guy, which made you think it was her problem right right and so one week she came she had on sunglasses and where like what's up, and she said oh I have an infection in my eye looks super gross. I don't want anybody to see I was only in my 20s and I kissed I didn't think about anything more than that, and later they moved away and down. It was in the paper that she left him because he was physically abusive to her. I was shocked because I thought nicest guy ever cannot be typical that is typical so right. If oppressors want the world to revolve around them.
They want everyone on the outside think that they are wonderful so typically they're the best deacon, a man that I and he did he do every airport run you could he take kids to Philly games. He just did all these outward works where he if he was adored in the outside world, but the private life of an oppressor stands in great contrast to the public life. That's what makes it so difficult for us is again were being asked to believe something that doesn't match up with our experience of this person and that's why women have a hard time coming forward. Who would believe me right and you can take Scripture like first Peter three. Likewise wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word Amy being one without a word by the conduct of their wives IVs that Scripture a lot for women that are married to men that aren't believers you just you just leave the handout you just show them what it looks like to be a believer and yet I wonder sometimes if women are bearing some of the things that they're going through exhibit think about oppressor she's about his entitlements. I want most comfortable things. An easy life. All my preferences met all my desires in our marriage Matt and if you tell a woman the way to win her husband over is to serve those needs right. His knees are only gonna be ever-increasing. There's nothing that she can do that. He is ever going to be satisfied is an oppressor on narcissist are all narcissists oppressors are all project Marshall expressed you, I wouldn't go that far. They're very close cousins right and so there tends to be overlap. What I would say is that there is never an excuse to press whether you have a narcissistic diagnosis or alcoholism.
It is behavior driven and so oftentimes wives will say why husbands narcissistic to mental illness. I need to care for them, tender them, he can't and so II just struggle for victims and saying those are behavior choices about who to put in the center's relationship is not the Lord, and you're not serving if it's all about you and I'm going to punish you right that's more than narcissism and thinking. We've talked a little bit about of if a woman comes to like and said you you start to sense things.
What we do, what does that guy do if he thinks their senses that one of his buddies is one of these oppressors. Yet two things actually wanted you and enlist your wife to pursue that woman you wanted to say to her.
Just just keep pursuing or are you are so wise you always go somewhere I'm not even think it is a good and then I think it's really helpful. Men often think they shouldn't talk to women who are being oppressed. I think pastors and elders.
Once it comes out. It's so vital for a pastor to say to a victim. I see what's happening to its wrong and this goes against God's word and against his creation of marriage and it grieves me and women make so much more progress when their male leaders say to them.
I am broken with you and this is not okay with that said you asking how you pursue these men, again, is it safe, we don't know, so you might pursue them low-level discipleship. ASE your kids. You don't look like there struggle in Sunday school build a relationship go after something else create a value for that gentleman that you love on him that you want to see him too well in the Lord and then hopefully over time as things come forward. You have nurtured a relationship or you can speak hard things, but if you speak hard things directly to be putting her in danger, they might never come back to church and so you really want to be thinking about her. Like I said you're so why my next question was gonna be what should the church do.
How can a church be a place that we don't see as much abuse in the churches outside and you answered it's really creative community where you can slowly walk beside people hugged him of like speaking your words instead of a right that also create a culture were things that are hidden in the dark are able to be brought to the light in a beautiful way needs to be talked about. Start there is this one. Add this to any women that are listening to this and their hearts are bleeding and they're starting to wonder like this is me like I'm going through this. I want to remind you that God loves you. God sees you.
You are an image bearer, and maybe you feel like you deserve some of this is going on and you don't. That was never let God intended for you because he loves you and Darby would you say add anything I would say one thing is God promises a rescue that we offered in the church think that Christ came person we think about God introducing himself to the people in Exodus he says I have heard the cries of people and I have come to deliver you from the hands of your oppressors is a rescue is also when we are being sinned against other people sing against us matters to him. It moved Christ and that was his opening words of his ministry that I have come to free the oppressed and so yet you probably don't feel heard. Open a Psalm that says I don't feel heard and believe that he is coming with a rescue skin is a part of me thinks you gotta put your hand up in the water is somewhat eaten maybes to my density you're drowning put your hand up so the people of God can come and be the rescue of God and I say go to someone ask a question if you don't get a good answer if they are not drawing you out trying to find more of your story. Find somebody else bring them's a book on domestic abuse and ask a good friend, would you read this you can help me out. You know a good book on the most favorable to this is very helpful and imagining as you said, there are people whose hearts are beating faster. People who are recognizing their talking about my story.
I don't know what to do with that. I don't know if I feel safe talking to anybody. I just think we need to pray, yeah, me too. For those people would you pray for them.
Oh father God, I do. I know you have a heart for victims that you see them, your heart is moved by the pain that they are in your word is clear. It hates sin. It seeks to drive out sin and it seeks to protect the vulnerable and for any woman here listening that feels vulnerable. That feels afraid of their spouse. That is confused. Is this my story is afraid to even ask that question, would you just give them courage to take one step one step toward somebody who might help one step towards a book one step of just lifting bringing the light of and hope into their world and is asked that you would make them courageous. I have seen how you have rescued many by small acts of courage and I is asked of these women in faith can do something small, knowing that you are on the move in huge ways for them replacing some crazy Darby. Thank you. Thanks for the conversation. Thanks for the book Q we've got copies of Darby's book is abuse than our family luck today resource Center you can order the book from us online or you can call one 800 FL today to get your copy of which is suggestive if you know someone who is in a situation like this may be get a copy of this book and go through it with them, invite them over for lunch and and just a chapter at a time. Go through this book together again. The title of the book is it abuse by Darby Strickland. The subtitle is a biblical guide to identifying domestic abuse and helping victims order email@example.com or call one 800 FL today to get your copy of Darby's book, and we hear all the time from people who tell us that there are so few places they can go to get trustworthy, helpful, practical, biblical encouragement for their marriage and for their family there so grateful for family life for the events we host for the resources we make available for our website for this daily radio program and I just want to take a minute and say thank you to those of you who are not just listeners to this program, but you are the people who make this program and all that we do in family life possible through your donations family like today would not exist if it weren't for folks like you who support this ministry financially.
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Her name is when neither Reisner and beneath the has lived through a lot of trial a lot of challenge and shall share some of that with us on Monday but you you just you want to tune in to hear the joy in her voice.
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