When a healthy person enters a dysfunctional environment, the abuser often begins to feel threatened. Theyve likely spent a lifetime controlling others through manipulation and anger. They may not know another way to relate. They may, in fact, have grown up in a family much like the one theyve created. To their thinking, there are only two ways of relating: control or absence. They dont understand that love is actually a much stronger bonding force than fear. Therefore, when someone challenges their behavior with truth, they dont see this an opportunity for growth and change. Instead, they see it as the potential loss.
They have two options: They can get help and learn to live and love differently, forming true and lasting relationships, or they can cut the person theyve come to see as a threat from their lives. In their desire to retain control, those who choose the latter often do all they can to slander the individual as well in an effort to counter the threat. They will do anything to avoid taking responsibility for their behavior.
How then should we respond, when someone close has anger issues but appears unable or unwilling to acknowledge this and get help? First, we need to consider our safety. If we feel were in danger, we need to leave. We most likely also need to seek help. This is especially true if anger has characterized the relationship for any length of time as the tendency is to become pulled into the offenders dysfunction. As a result, our perception can easily become tainted and our sense of healthy boundaries blurred.
A counselor can help us accurately gauge the situation, practice healthy self-care, and address the issue with wisdom, truth, and grace. With Gods help, prayer, and appropriate persistence, we might be able to work through the situation. The offender may choose to get help and experience deep healing, transformation, or freedom. Or we could discover that we meed to distance ourselves from the behavior and the individual until they choose to change. Either way, God will lead us through Scripture, prayer, and the wise counsel of others.
Everyone experiences anger, but this should be an isolated incident, not habit. When anger becomes a way of life and causes others pain, most likely, its become a problem. Scripture tells us to speak the truth in love, which means honestly addressing issues as they arise. This might involve confronting someone regarding their destructive actions. However, that doesnt necessarily mean the offender will listen. In fact, theyll likely deny they have a problem. But by knowing some of the common tactics people use, you can better evaluate the situation and thus navigate the conversation with love, truth, and grace.
*Name changed for privacy purposes.
Jennifer Slattery is an author, speaker, and ministry leader passionate about helping God’s children reach their full potential and live fully surrendered to Christ. Find her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.
In her new podcast Faith Over Fear, Jennifer helps us see different areas of life where fear has a foothold, and how our identity as children of God can help us move from fear to faithful, bold living. You can listen by clicking on the link below or by visiting LifeAudio.com.
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