Divorce for emotional abuse?

by somebodylovesme 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • somebodylovesme
    somebodylovesme

    Because of a recent family situation (always a good time!), I've been in a debate with a JW relative about whether the Society permits divorce (without remarriage) where there is emotional abuse. This relative swears the literature has said that a person can leave her spouse where there is emotional abuse, but that she cannot remarry. But the Watchtower's website just says this:

    God's Word does not encourage separation as a way to solve minor problems. But a wife might choose to leave her husband if (1) he stubbornly refuses to support his family, (2) he is so violent that her health and life are in danger, or (3) his extreme opposition makes it impossible for her to worship Jehovah.— 1 Corinthians 7:12, 13 .

    Can anyone point me to the literature on this? Anything on emotional abuse? (Because the above certainly makes it sound like, hey, even physical violence isn't enough -- he has to be so violent that his wife's life and health are in danger. )

    For the record, I fully support divorce where there is emotional abuse (especially in the situation about which this dispute arose). I'm just tired of the hypocrisy of this group saying different things out of each side of its mouth and I'd like to know what the "official line" is supposed to be so that I can argue intelligently about it.

    Of course, I've no idea why anyone would want to hang out in a religion that says that once her husband beats her (or emotionally torments her) and she leaves him, she is never allowed to get married or date anyone ever again. Geeez.

    Thanks in advance.

    SLM

  • riverofdeceit
    riverofdeceit
    Of course, I've no idea why anyone would want to hang out in a religion that says that once her husband beats her (or emotionally torments her) and she leaves him, she is never allowed to get married or date anyone ever again.

    People stay in stupid religions all the time. Some religions say it is ok to kill your wife if she embarrasses you. If you do not kill her then shame will stay upon your family.

    I'm just tired of the hypocrisy of this group saying different things out of each side of its mouth and I'd like to know what the "official line" is supposed to be so that I can argue intelligently about it.

    Yeah, we are all tired of it. Sorry I can't help you with official lines as I'm not privy to such things anymore, other than what is made available through this site and others of course.

  • snarf
    snarf

    This issue is what ultimately caused me to leave the witnesses. Even after I recieved a one year restraining order and he was sentenced to two years probabtion and 26 weeks of anger management courses I was still "encouraged " to work it out....give me a break!!! They can inform the Elders that even though the spouse is not hurting them physically, the spouse is hurting them emotionally to the extent that it is affecting their health as well as the childrens well beings if any are involved. Plus, it is their life. Why should they suffer the rest of their life alone because their spouse is an asshole. They preach that Jehovah is a loving and forgiving God. If jehovah can forgive a child molester, certianly he can forgive this person for getting out of an abusive marriage and finding happiness with a mate that respects them and loves them.

  • sammielee24
    sammielee24

    I believe that text does apply for emotional abuse as well - you can get divorced because of emotional abuse, you just can't get remarried as this might fall under the spiritual endangerment guidelines. Then again, its a conscience matter. BTW - I should point out that there are many men who are emotionally and mentally abused so it's not just a female issue. sammieswife.

  • looking_glass
    looking_glass
    If jehovah can forgive a child molester, certianly he can forgive this person for getting out of an abusive marriage and finding happiness with a mate that respects them and loves them.

    Amen to that sist'a.

    I love how the WTBTS acts as if getting a divorce is worse then molesting a child. But when you think about it, it is because people out in the public know about a divorcing. The WTBTS can hush up the molesting thing by either denying it or saying they never knew what was happening.

    I love how a bunch of old guys on high get to tell the rest of the general pubic how life should be lived as. These geezers haven't had to wipe their own arses since they got appointed, how would they know what it is like to be a 1) regular pub who has to work full time, raise a family and yet do all the commandments of the WTBTS 2) woman who has no say over anything and put up with an abusive husband regardless of whether it is physical or emotional and have NO OUT. Yet they are the knuckleheads that get to decide that it wrong for someone to get a divorce and remarry. I don't think so!

  • garybuss
    garybuss

    As far as I know the Watch Tower Publishing Corporation doesn't shun a person for getting a divorce . . . for any reason at all. They only shun for remarriage when they do not approve of the remarriage.
    All Witness marriages are seen by the group leaders as a structure of convenience. A marriage partner is a third party beneficiary to the marriage contract. The Watch Tower Corporation, also known as "The Spirit Directed Organization", is the second party beneficiary to both partners.
    It's the same with parents and children. All relationships are third party beneficiaries after the SDO.

  • blondie
    blondie

    While the WTS has recognized emotional abuse as "valid," the elders who determine what is abuse are totally unqualified and untrained to help anyone. You can get a divorce for reasons other than adultery, but if you remarry before your ex-spouse or before you "prove" to the elders that they have committed adultery, you will be disfellowshipped.

    ***

    g93 2/8 p. 9 What Causes Domestic Violence? ***

    Emotional

    Violence—Hitting Hard With Words

    IN PHYSICAL abuse the assault is with fists; in emotional abuse the attack is with words. The only difference is the choice of weapons. It is as Proverbs 12:18 says: "There exists the one speaking thoughtlessly as with the stabs of a sword, but the tongue of the wise ones is a healing."

    How dangerous is emotional violence, including these "stabs of a sword"? Dr. Susan Forward writes: "The result is the same [as in physical abuse]. You are just as scared, you feel just as helpless, and you are in just as much pain," emotionally speaking.

    Emotional

    violence toward a spouse: "Conjugal violence isn’t just physical. A large part, perhaps even the largest, is verbal and emotional," said one long-term victim. Abuse may include name-calling, shouting, constant criticism, degrading insults, and threats of physical violence.

    Malicious comments that belittle, humiliate, or intimidate can do grave damage. Like water dripping on a rock, denigrating innuendos may seem harmless at first. But self-esteem is soon eroded. "If I had to choose between physical and verbal abuse, I’d take a beating anytime," said one woman. "You can see the marks," she explained, "so at least people feel sorry for you. With the verbal stuff, it just makes you crazy. The wounds are invisible. Nobody cares."

    Emotional

    violence toward a child: This may include the constant criticizing and belittling of a child’s appearance, intelligence, competence, or value as a person. Sarcasm is particularly damaging. Children often take sarcastic remarks at face value, not discriminating between what is said in earnest and what is said in "fun." Family therapist Sean Hogan-Downey notes: "The child feels hurt, but everyone is laughing, so he learns not to trust his feelings."

    Thus, in most cases, there is a ring of truth in what Scottish historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle once said: "Sarcasm I now see to be, in general, the language of the Devil; for which reason I have, long since, as good as renounced it."

    Joy Byers, a child-abuse expert, says: "Physical abuse may kill a child, but you can also kill the spirit, and that is what a constant pattern of negative parental comments can do." The magazine FLEducator comments: "Unlike the bruise which can be identified and fades, emotional abuse causes unseen changes in a child’s mind and personality which permanently alters his reality and his interaction with others."

  • collegegirl21
    collegegirl21

    When a brother and his wife went through a separation they made him step down. And when they got a divorce they said that he could not help out at the hall anymore because he is not right in jehovahs eye. I overheard my dad on the phone with him.

  • somebodylovesme
    somebodylovesme

    Excellent. Thanks for the perspectives -- and thanks for the literature, Blondie. I knew I could count on you!! At least if anyone in the congregation shuns this person for getting a divorce, she can point that out that article. (Note that the person I am arguing with is not the one getting the divorce ... long story ...)

    Thanks!!

  • foundfreedom
    foundfreedom

    I can speak on this matter personally, it happened to me 2yrs ago. My husband was extremely emotionally abusive to me and the kids for 21yrs and I went to the elders and told them. They asked me all sorts of questions and tried to convince me to stay and I told them no I wouldnt that I had had enough and had been warning him for the past 3yrs before then that I was going to divorce him (he has been inactive for all of our married life)

    They told me that I had to tell him before the divorce was filed in the courts because if I didnt then it would make him scriptually free and I wouldnt be. So I filed late on a tuesday afternoon where they couldnt file till Wed. and I told him that tues. night.

    I then had to write a letter to the congergation with all the details about why I was leaving him, and they keep the letter on file. Since I did it their way we divorced and neither of us were scriptually free. Didnt stop me from dating though! Met some really wonderful worldly men and made some really good friends.

    I did remarry him and told him that I wouldnt even think twice about leaving him if he ever pulled the kind of sh*t again, it all made me such a stronger person and I dont take anything off of him anymore, instead of me its him that has to walk on egg shells around me so as not to tick me off where I would leave him again.

    It really did straighten him up soooo much, he knows now that he better never screw up with me again. I am truely a free woman, I tell him like it is and dont take it from anyone anymore. And as this all went on I just quite going to the meetings all together along with my kids and we havent looked back.

    He still believes and gets mad when he finds me on this web site but I tell him that he just needs to open his eyes to the real truth.

    I hope this info helps you out.

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