How Does Abuse Start?

Day 9-Domestic Violence Awareness Month #pray4dvfreedom

“I love you.”

Three powerful words.

Especially when they come from someone you’re dating. Those words are special and hold a beautiful promise. But what if, the individual you’re dating, says those three words while making you feel unsure of yourself? What if you find that you’re second guessing yourself?

The more you try to explain how you’re feeling to your significant other the less you feel understood. And the more muddy things appear to you.

Somehow, each conversation always ends up with your significant other’s feelings being hurt.

As you’re apologizing, again, you’re wondering how did this happen? While communicating your fears doubts and opinions they became hurt and upset? Aren’t you supposed to be honest? But they’re mad at you. And nothing really got resolved. So, why aren’t things better after you apologized?

Sound familiar?

I hope not. Because this is how abusive relationships start.

That weird feeling that something may not be quite right. But you aren’t sure. And don’t know how to explain it or put it into words.

Your relationship appears normal compared to your friends’ and from stories of marriages you respect.

That’s how abuse begins in your life.

Your relationship seems normal.

But it isn’t. No two relationships will be exactly the same. So there isn’t a normal. Each relationship is as unique as the individuals within that couple.

While there isn’t a normal, there is a healthy and unhealthy relationship.

So, the real questions to begin asking yourself if you are in an unhealthy relationship are:

Does your significant other love you with words and actions?

Do they love you as God describes love?

Are you scared to tell him how you’re feeling?

Do they find other people you know to agree with them on controversial subjects?

Are your personal standards of physical intimacy honored?

“I love you.” Words that I had attached immeasurable trust and significant expectations to those words. I assumed that the person saying them to me would follow them up with actions as laid out in the Bible since he claimed to be a Christian.

I assumed he would:

Treasure me. Respect me. Honor me. Be patient when I made mistakes. Speak kindly to me. Trust me. Listen to me. Be gentle with me. Provide for me. Do what he promised to do. Follow through with what he said he would do. Be physically affectionate without crossing my boundaries. Treat my parents and others with respect among others.

Unfortunately, his actions didn’t match up with his words, “I love you.” Or of my expectations of that phrase.

I was blessed to have been raised in a Christian home. I was raised to know what love is and what love is not. That’s why so many people have not understood how I could have married my abusive ex-husband against my family’s approval.

But I did. Because even though I was raised to know the truth of what love does and does not look looked like, I still missed the truth of love shown in actions. I only listened to his words and I excused the lack of actions away. I wish I had seen through the deception at that time and tactics used to cause me to doubt myself.

I’m reminded of 1 John 4:20, “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar;” and right before that in verse 18 it says, “There is no fear in love.”

Hate is a very strong word. But intentionally deceiving another individual is despiteful. That is what an abuser does in action while voicing the words, “I love you.”


If any of what I’ve said is familiar to you, please go talk to a professional experienced counselor. You are likely experiencing verbal and emotional abuse. Even if you have not been struck physically, this is still abuse.

Don’t know who to talk to?

You can text their trained counselors “GO” to 741741