Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 34: More than hurt feelings

Domestic Violence isn’t solely characterized by physical abuse. Another common, yet often lesser acknowledged, form of domestic violence is emotional abuse. It’s important to note that any form of abuse can have long lasting emotional effects on a person. However, there are some specific behaviors that fall outside the realm of physical violence and are specifically categorized as emotional abuse.

Loveisrespect.org (a website that educates teens and adults on dating abuse) notes that emotional abuse includes non-physical behaviors such as:

  • Threats
  • Insults
  • Constant monitoring or “checking in”
  • Excessive texting
  • Humiliation
  • Intimidation
  • Isolation
  • Stalking

I’ll add to the pot:

Any regularly occurring, aggressive communication tactics that berate, manipulate, demean and intimidate with the intent to exert power, control and dominance over the victim.  Victims of this type of abuse experience far more than simply hurt feelings. Trust me, I know.

Yet, with the absence of physical violence, emotional abuse is often disregarded or even unidentified.

Emotional abuse is elusive. Unlike physical abuse, the people doing it and receiving it may not even know it’s happening.

It can be more harmful than physical abuse because it can undermine what we think about ourselves. It can cripple all we are meant to be as we allow something untrue to define us.

The abuser projects their words, attitudes or actions onto an unsuspecting victim usually because they themselves have not dealt with childhood wounds that are now causing them to harm others. – “Signs of Emotional Abuse,” by Maria Bogdanos

Actions and tactics that fall into the categories of the non-physical behaviors listed above should by no means be ignored. To disregard emotionally abusive behaviors could prove dangerous, as the level and intensity of abuse often tends to escalate over time and can graduate from non-physical to physical abuse.

Remember, abuse isn’t always limited to intimate partner relationships. We know that children suffer abuse at the hands of parents, guardians or other caregivers. Senior citizens often suffer abuse in nursing homes or at the hands of their personal care givers. Abuse can even be perpetrated in workplace or in places of worship.

Mary J. Yerkes penned these words of truth about the impact of emotional abuse in her article titled “Understanding Emotional Abuse,” for Focus on the Family:

“Emotional abuse leaves few physical scars. Its victims suffer no broken bones, torn flesh or spilled blood. Still, those wounded might describe it as the most painful and destructive form of domestic violence.” –  by Mary J. Yerkes

Again, I encourage you to take a moment to consider your relationships and even those of people you love. Have you or someone you know ever experienced a relationship plagued by emotional abuse?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Functional Versus Pretty, Pt. 2

Recently, my dear, sweet husband has taken a liking to one of my chairs. Oh this isn’t just any chair. It’s one twin in a set of zebra print chairs. Nearly three years ago (PRE-marriage), I searched high and low for these chairs. I knew what I wanted and scraped the barrel until I found them. Oh I remember the day I brought my twin babies home. Like a proud mama, I sat in the living room and just admired their beauty – the curved back, lady-like arms and funky zebra personality. They are girly, and you know I love girly!

*Sigh*

Well, it seems the Mr. has tired of sitting on the sofa all the time. Apparently his buttocks needed a change of scenery as he watched television, so he’s been taking up residence in a chair. One evening, he informed me of the need to tighten one of the legs on one of my beloved chairs.

Insert HUGE GASP here.

O.M.G. Girls, I was HOT! “My baby,” I thought.

I whined that my poor, delicate, girly chairs were NOT crafted to support his handsome, towering, SOLID stature on a regular basis. They just weren’t. To be honest I never envisioned anyone sitting in them on a regular basis. Seating for an occasional guest, sure, but certainly nothing more than that… To me they were part of the décor and wonderful to simply look at and admire.

That night, I went to bed pouting, but only after emailing him the draft of my last post – Functional Versus Pretty. 🙂 You see he has read each post I’ve written since I wrote and posted this one on January 6, 2011 – the day after we initially began communicating with each other. (I promise to share that story in a later post.) Suffice it to say, I appreciate his feedback and, of course, I want his eyes to be the first to read anything I share publicly about him or us.

The following morning I checked my email to find a message from my husband that simply stated:

“Nice… The chairs are pretty! LOL”

As I read the words, I couldn’t help but giggle to myself.

Duly noted, Mr. Nixon…

I realize this is POST-marriage, and it’s not just me anymore. I told him about how I looked high and low for those chairs and they/WE just weren’t expecting him. His response: “but you PRAYED for a husband.”

So true, so true… 🙂

So sometime soon we’ll be on the hunt for new chairs that satisfy his functional need as well as provide my eyes with at least a little bit of pretty, for pretty’s sake. In the meantime, he’ll continue to take good care of them by tightening a leg or two when necessary, and I’ve already started envisioning a new home in another room for my PRETTY  chairs.

So my married friends out there, this question is for you. Can you name ONE thing in your home that you really love yet you KNOW its level of functionality falls desperately short of your manly husband’s standards? See you in the comments.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Functional versus Pretty

Ahhh, moving to a new place…. The process of purging, packing then unpacking can be tedious and time consuming. The silver lining, however, is the opportunity to dress up a brand new place. I get some type of crazy rush finding new storage options for dishes and such. My latest obsession is scouring the town and the internet for area rugs. Now who would have thought finding an area rug that makes our eyes dance would be such a chore. You think maybe making our eyes dance is too much of a tall order?

When we first moved, decorating and making the place feel like home was top priority. Day after day we plodded the housewares aisles of local stores searching for everything from wall décor to trashcans. This little baby here is one of my favorites. She’s awaiting just the right vintage writing desk to hang over.

“We haven’t finished decorating the bathroom,” I noted to Sean one Sunday morning as we prepared for church.

From where I stood, our master bath still looked the same as it did the day we moved in, with only the addition of a couple of floor mats and a shower curtain liner (note I didn’t say a shower curtain, just the liner). Still plain. Still uneventful.  Clearly, we’d gone back to the business of being newly married; life pressed forward and fancy things took a back seat.

I don’t remember his response verbatim, but I’m pretty sure it went something like this:

“It looks fine to me. You see, men just want the functional; y’all (that would be us ladies) are always worried about ‘the pretty’.”

THE PRETTY

As those two words rolled from his tongue, a light bulb flicked on inside my head and I just had to chuckle.

Therein lies the great divide between men and women, or (as I see it) at least one of them. Men seek function. Women, on the other hand… well, we like pretty. It doesn’t mean we’re not interested in functionality, but I do believe looking for “the pretty” is one of the gifts of God’s divine shape for us.

Ladies, humor me for just a moment. Close your eyes. I know it feels weird, but trust me; this won’t take long. Now, if you’re at work and someone taps you on the shoulder just say “amen,” out loud so he/she can hear you, open your eyes naturally and ask, “How can I help you?”

Seriously, though, close your eyes and picture your closet or wherever your shoes are stored. Visualize the many shoes in your closet. If you’re like me you see mostly sandals. If you’re like me they are mostly sandals with pretty high heels on them. How functional are these shoes? Really? Sure they get you from point A to point B (if you’re careful), but if you’re like me you didn’t buy these shoes to walk in, now did you? Heavens NO!!! You bought these shoes, especially that favorite one that popped in your mind first, because it was – in Monica’s favorite words – a BAAAAD SHOE!!! Am I right? Sure I am.

Functional versus the pretty….

A few days prior to our chit chat about the bathroom, Sean and I saw the Tyler Perry movie Temptation. Temptation is a powerful story of the ugly peril of adultery. Labeling adultery an “ugly peril” in this movie is putting it mildly. If you haven’t seen the movie – whether you’re married or want to be married – I suggest you check it out. The acting is nothing the Academy would take note of, but the story makes for meaningful conversation about the sanctity of marriage and commitment and what it takes to maintain all of that and what can happen if you fail to do so. So that’s my 30 second review….

Anyway, the movie’s leading role was a beautiful young married woman who after 6 short years of marriage started scrutinizing the surrounding landscape in search of greener pastures. Without delving too deep into the storyline, this movie hinted at the classic makeup of men and women – the functional versus the pretty. The husband was successfully functional yet didn’t pay enough attention to “the pretty,” in this case meaning the sensitive, emotional needs of his wife. The wife lacked in her function (didn’t cook much or well, which is probably why she didn’t cook much) but was a dreamer, soft, delicate, feminine, WOMAN who needed more attention than her husband paid attention to.

From our conversation about the bathroom and reflecting on this theme in the movie, I’ve been thinking about this functional versus pretty thing a lot. I’ve prayed and asked the Lord to help me to enjoy, celebrate, appreciate and even encourage my husband’s function without losing my pretty. Because pretty is needed. As I look around our home from day to day I find myself noticing more and more evidence of his functional thought process and my need for pretty. It’s really pretty cool how my eyes have been enlightened. Hopefully this will encourage a greater appreciation of our differences, dialogue about our differences and compromise on how to marry our differences.

Functional and pretty sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G….

I love it!