As abuse victims and as women, we frequently let ourselves get talked into things. A pitch is made for our sympathy, and – without much resistance, without even voicing our concerns – we cave in.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be an angel of mercy. As Christians, we are encouraged to be kind and tenderhearted (Eph. 4: 32).
This does not, however, require that we allow ourselves to be deceived and exploited by every con-man, hustler, cheat, and user who comes along. Here is what the Apostle Paul had to say on the subject: “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2 Thess. 3: 10). Short and to the point.
Unfortunately, abuse victims are particularly prone to discounting their own opinions. We have been “trained” by the experience of abuse to ignore that queasy feeling in the pit of our stomachs.
And we long desperately to be loved. That often translates into an overwhelming desire to please others. Afraid of rejection, we hesitate to impose limits or make demands. So we set reason and instinct aside.
Say, your boyfriend wants his brother to move in temporarily, with the two of you. Ask yourself whether this exchange doesn’t sound familiar.
- Just for awhile, your boyfriend pleads.
Never mind that his brother casually overstayed a prior visit. Never mind that his brother is unemployed and will be unable to contribute to expenses, while you are juggling two jobs.
Never mind that his brother is the father of three children by two different women, none of whom he supports. Never mind that one of his “baby mamas” got so fed-up she threw him out, herself .
- His brother is turning over a new leaf, your boyfriend swears.
Never mind that there is no solid evidence of this. Never mind that you do not know his brother’s friends, associates, or arrest record . Never mind that the brother is unlikely ever to change his lifestyle (or drug habit). Continue reading