Yesterday in our quiet little beach city 8 people were shot and killed and 1 other critically injured by a man who was enraged that his ex-wife was trying to get custody of their son. Then early this morning in the wee hours that one still sleeps, we were awaken by the sounds of screaming. At first, since we live in such a small town, and up until now was a safe and peaceful place, I thought perhaps it was a neighbor who had just found out that one of the victims was a friend or relative, but as the screaming continued my husband and I got up to investigate. In front of our house was a stopped car with two people outside of it fighting—sure enough, another victim of domestic abuse.
As I dialed 911 with shaking hands I wanted to go out to help the woman in distress, but memories of the shooting just a few hours old reminded me of how quickly a verbal argument can get way out of hand and even end the life of innocent bystanders. We stood by watching helplessly through the window as the woman took off running down the street with her boyfriend or husband jumping in the car to chase her down.
These two events beacon me to remind all you teenagers and single women to please, please, please use wisdom in dating! And they encourage me to post here an appendix that is added to my two latest books—Profile of an Abuser. Please read it and take it to heart.
So many times we think that tragedies like this will not happen to me. That they only happen to other people remote in place and time, but domestic violence happens everywhere—good neighborhoods as well as bad neighborhoods, to good people as well as bad people. Therefore, please take the time to read the Profile of an Abuser. And as I post this, my heart goes out to the families and friends of the Seal Beach shooting victims. As the news reported, yesterday was the most tragic day in the history of Seal Beach.
Profile of an Abuser
Then Asa was angry with the seer [the Lord’s prophet Hanani]
and put him in the stocks in prison,
for he was in a rage with him because of this.
And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time
2 Chronicles 16:10, esv
Unfortunately, because of people’s sinful behavior, there will be those, both male and female, who will not control their anger and rage and, as a result, will inflict their cruelties on those around them. The issue of abuse is so prevalent in society today that you must know what to look for so you do not end up in an abusive relationship. Abuse is not only physical, such as hitting or slapping, but it can also be verbal, emotional and/or sexual. By knowing what to look for at the beginning of a relationship, you can get out before it is too late. And for those of you who may already be in an abusive relationship, know that there is help. Get out before the relationship goes any longer, especially before you bring babies into it.
The profile you are about to read has been compiled from many different sources.[i] Although some of the profiles varied somewhat, I have listed only those traits that were repeated continually. If you would like more information, do an Internet search on the words profile of an abuser. You can also visit the website thesheepfold.org, which is a ministry providing help to abuse victims.
If after reading this profile you believe that you are in an abusive relationship, get help! God loves you more than you know, and He does not want you to remain in such a relationship!
Charismatic, Romantic, Devoted and Protective
Is the person charming in public, but degrades you in private? Beware! An abuser is often “charismatic, romantic, devoted and protective. Everyone likes him. On the surface he seems great, so you accept a date with him. He is wonderful. After a few months, you start to notice things but you dismiss them.”[ii]
Jealous and Possessive
Is the person possessive and jealous? Be careful! Many abusers are often so jealous they could be described as paranoid. They often have trouble trusting people, especially you. They may continually tell you to “tell the truth” even when you are not lying. Yet, they would describe their possessiveness of you as love.
Is the person controlling? Watch out! An abuser likes to be in control at all times. And he likes things his way. He may keep you somewhere against your will or even take away your cell phone. He continually wants to know where you are, who you are with and what you are doing.
Is the person manipulative? Take heed! An abuser will, often times, tell you that he cannot live without you. Or that he would die if you left the relationship. He may talk about hurting or killing himself as a means of keeping you in the relationship. Or he may even threaten to harm or kill you if you leave.
Denies Wrongdoing or Blames Others for Wrongful Behavior
Is the person always blaming someone or something else for their own actions? Or do they act as if nothing happened after a terrible rage? Think twice! An abuser will deny their wrongdoing or blame others and situations for what caused the outburst. Often times, the person will even say that it is your fault.
Other Behavioral Traits
Does the person tease and say things that hurt? Or force you to have sex? Get out! Many times an abuser has an aggressive attitude. Often times, he will try to make others appear less significant than he feels by putting a person down in front of other people. And he may even be so aggressive that he forces you to have sex with him against your will.
Do friends and family members say this person is not good for you? Listen to what friends and family are saying. Sometimes others will see a situation more clearly than you will when you are “in love.” The saying “love is blind” is often true. In addition, it is important to remember who you are in Christ. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are the child of the King of kings. God does not want you in an abusive relationship. He has plans to give you a hope and a future.
If you answered yes to many of these questions, please get out of the relationship immediately! If you need to go visit a friend or relative away from home for a while, do it! Get away and get help! There are also shelters and other resources available for abuse victims. Do not allow yourself to be manipulated back into the relationship. Rely on God to be your shield. Ask Him to protect you as you take the steps to protect yourself.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold, my high tower, my savior, the one who saves me from violence” (2 Samuel 22:2-3, NLT).
Please feel free to leave a comment, especially if you are someone who got out of an abusive relationship. Please share with others HOW you were able to make that step. Perhaps your story you will help save another. God bless.
(c) 2011 by Cherie Fresonke
Profile of an Abuser is an appendix found in the back of two of my books. Go in Peace for Teens and the new updated and expanded edition of Go in Peace! Both are available for purchase on our webpage http://www.sunflowerpress.net/resources.html or Go in Peace for Teens is also available through http://amzn.to/ohMC2U
[i] Adapted from www.tearmann.net/defndv.htm; www.brokenspirits.com/information/the_abuser.asp; www.paralumun.com/issuesabuser.htm> researched on 3/12/2008. Additional resources Gaddis, Patricia Riddle Dangerous Dating. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Waterbrook Press, 2000:p. 117-119.
[ii] The Sheepfold, “Profile of a Batterer,” June 24, 2008. http://www.thesheepfold.org/victim/victim-batterer.htm.