Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Abuse, Church, Love

Silver Rain wrote a post on abuse... understanding abusers and their partners... I've read a lot of books, but this one takes on many of the Christian and LDS teachings that made me believe I had to stay. I could fix it.
"Part of the difficulty is reconciling the reality of abuse with the gospel. The scriptures teach us to turn the other cheek, to give the cloak with the coat, to walk the extra mile. They teach faith, hope, charity: the exact things an abuser uses to entice and entrap. He uses them deliberately, whether consciously or not.

How does a person who believes in those things reconcile them with the evidence that they do not work, that they, in fact, make things worse?"
The thing is, I couldn't. I couldn't reconcile it. I still can't. She talks about how she has, and I feel guilt and shame that I can't.

I understand that being kind to others is universal. I don't ever want to hurt anyone, but standing up for myself does NOT hurt people. Turning the other cheek is a dumb idea. I don't like it. I've tried it. It just left me bruised and battered on both sides. And I can't ever see myself suggesting that kind of thing to anyone.

If someone is hitting me, the best thing is to walk away. I actually believe that when they hit me, it hurts them as well. I don't walk away just for them, but I do believe it benefits everyone.

I don't want to discount the comfort others have found. I don't want to take away from the fact that someone else can reconcile it. I also am tired of blaming myself that I can't reconcile it. What if what I want and the way I see the world is different? What if my way makes me happy? As long as I don't harm another, is that okay?

I just don't believe the things I was taught about how to love others was actually love. Love is seeing the beauty in other people, nature, buildings, everything... Love is seeing the beauty. Without expectations. From me or from them. That is the kind of love I want in my life. That kind of love makes me happy.


  1. Turn the other cheek only works to a certain degree. I don't think turning the other cheek to someone who calls you a nerd is the same thing as turning the other cheek to an abusive relationship. After reading your other entry, I totally agree the church relationship was/is abusive. I think you DO need to get out and have nothing to repent for. *hugs*

  2. I completely agree. I like your love better.

    PS there is a theory that when Jesus said to turn the other cheek, it was actually a subversive act. Because someone who sees you as an inferior would slap you with the back of the hand, offering your other cheek would force them to slap you with the palm of the hand, as an equal. It wasn't a call to accept abuse, it was a metaphor for demanding equality and respect from everyone, and saying that no one is inferior to anyone else.

  3. I agree completely with you, Jen. This is also one of the things that drives me nuts with people in the church. I do NOT believe, for one second, that the Savior or Heavenly Father want us to be in abusive relationships. And, like you said, when YOU walk away from someone who wants to hurt you, you save yourself AND you help the other guy by NOT allowing him/her to hurt you.

    I dated a woman a few years back. I thought I was in love with her, and thought I wanted to commit my life to her. But, the more I was around and with her, the more I saw how unhealthy she was in her beliefs, her experiences, how she wanted me to be codependent upon her, her unhealthy expectations, etc. etc., that I finally told her I could not allow that unhealthiness in my life because I had worked TOO hard to overcome the unhealthiness from MY own life and past, and I was NOT going to allow that in my life ever again.

    YOU have EVERY right to want what YOU need and want in a relationship. If someone cannot give you those things, time to move on.

    I saw a great quote this week, on another blog, something to the effect that if you come across a soul that cannot align with yours, send them love, and move on. Exactly.

    @ Carla: I LOVE what you have written regarding the theory of Jesus turning the other cheek, and it being NOT a "call to accept abuse, it was a metaphor for demanding equality and respect from everyone". That is amazing. I have never heard that before. Thank you!

    Love and respect, always. Duck

  4. Dom - thank you. And you bring up a good point... There are so many different instances where that thought could be applied.

    Carla - I have never heard that before, but I like it. What if that is really what he meant? It changes a lot!

    Duck - I like the idea of "send them love and move on." It makes a lot of sense to me. I think of all the relationships I have tried to force, when really, it is okay to just love them and move on.