Saturday, September 26, 2009

Strike One!

After the luncheon and fashion show last Saturday, my friend and I went to a park to sit and relax and visit while watching a couple of my kites fly.

At the end of our visit, when we were discussing eliminating unsuitable prospective mates, I said, "Three strikes, he's out."

She said she's proud of me because other women she's known say, "One strike, he's out."

We agreed that isn't fair because nobody's perfect and a good man might be cut because of a single mistake. In the days since, however, I've decided that "One strike, he's out," is a valid and necessary rule:

1. If he hits, kicks, chokes, or compels her to have sex against her will. This would be a no-brainer except for the fact that there are women who make excuses for or accept excuses from men who physically or sexually abuse them.

2. If he does drugs or engages in other illegal activities or tries to persuade her to do the same. This is another supposed no-brainer that some women somehow manage to miss.

3. If he doesn't respect her personal boundaries. The lack of respect shows how little he cares for her and may indicate a controlling and abusive personality.

4. If he steals or borrows money or items and doesn't repay or return as promised or in the same or better condition than they were loaned. Not only is he a thief or a mooch, he is unlikely to stand by bigger promises. Appropriating or damaging her material possessions without reparation may be a sign he's a financial abuser especially if he denies her access to her own property or refuses to return the favor of the loan.

5. If he exhibits cruelty to animals. Not only is it harmful for the poor animal, it is an indication that he's likely to treat her and her children badly when she doesn't do as he wants.

6. If he doesn't like her friends and refuses to spend as much time with them as he expects her to spend with his friends. Such isolation is an aspect of control and abuse.

7. If he uses emotional blackmail or other methods of coercion or intimidation to induce fear, or attempts to "pull rank" in order to get his way. That is, as a self-proclaimed superior male, he presumes to know what's best for a female. These are some of the controlling tactics of an abuser.

8. If he acts badly and denies it or blames her for it. Was she holding a gun to his head or a knife to his throat? No, this type of lack of respect is verbal, psychological, or physical abuse. If he demeans her to others or humiliates her, it is a symptom of his own low self-esteem. Since verbal abuse is often a precursor to physical abuse and since abusers are notoriously low on self-esteem, "One strike, he's out," helps women avoid wasting any more time on abusive men.

9. If he's unduly competitive with her. When a man loves a woman, he helps her be the best she can. Striving to beat her instead of helping her to improve is a sign of his low self-esteem and is only a precursor of the many future power struggles between them. Watch this one, too, because there are critics who claim they're only trying to help when, in fact, they're bruising souls and crushing spirits. Adept criticism will mention positive qualities as much or more than any negative points and will convey how to make something better without putting her or her effort down.

10. For a Christian, if he won't go to church with her and discourages her from attending. This marks a self-centered man who wants a woman in his life but doesn't want to be in hers. If he belittles her belief in God, she may be looking at a power and control freak and an abuser. In any case, a man who isn't yielded to the Lord makes married life harder on the Christian woman, and vice versa, which is one of the reasons why the Bible exhorts us to marry only another believer.

11. When the still, small "voice" of the Holy Spirit of God disturbs her spirit and soul. Since God knows everything, He may warn her away from a bad relationship so she doesn't have to experience any of the above.

So, for behavior like the examples above, it's "Strike one! He's out...Next!" because abuse is never an accident nor is it a one-time occurrence. It is a set of reprehensible methods chosen by abusers to get what they want.

And, yes, there are women who abuse men.

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