Summary: A disturbing fact of life

Stephen King, the American author, once said: “There's a phrase, "The elephant in the living room", which purports to describe what it's like to live with a drug addict, an alcoholic, an abuser. People outside such relationships will sometimes ask, "How could you let such a business go on for so many years? Didn't you see the elephant in the living room?" And it's so hard for anyone living in a more normal situation to understand the answer that comes closest to the truth; "I'm sorry, but it was there when I moved in. I didn't know it was an elephant; I thought it was part of the furniture." There comes an aha-moment for some folks - the lucky ones - when they suddenly recognize the difference.” Proverbs 10:11 states: “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”

It is a disturbing fact of life that domestic violence and abuse occur in many households. This unfortunate trend appears to be expanding rapidly. In the current climate of recession and redundancies as companies go into liquidation and troubles, concerns and frustrations escalate, it becomes even more widespread. Poverty, boredom and pandemics do not help the situation either. They just add to the overall problems of life and increase the risk of aggression.

Although there are always exceptions to the rule, violence towards others is not a usual inherent trait in mankind, it is often instigated as a result of inner strains and stresses that produce uncontrollable emotions. It can be an expression of anger or retaliation for a deed or remark not considered acceptable by the instigator. Being a witness to others receiving violence can also falsely insinuate that it is normal acceptable behaviour between individuals. The need for or the lack of attention received by some, can also be another contributory factor in the overall scenario. Manipulation of others by inflicting violence to get what they desire is also considered a prevalent problem.

Alcohol and non prescribed drugs feature prominently in acts of violence or abuse. It can make a person react in abnormal ways because they are unable to think clearly. Their heads become clouded with irrelevant matters. Misinterpretation of what others are saying and what they actually mean can often incite aggression and conflict.

Committing violent acts towards others is not considered acceptable in God’s eyes. He wants us to love one another and live in harmony. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 reminds us: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

There is a story of a woman who was fed up and tired of her husband. She felt that she didn't have a life of her own. She had received a sheltered upbringing and before her marriage could be considered innocent in the ways of the world. She soon learnt the stark realities of life. He was very demanding and possessive and expected her to be there for him at all times. He was often out drinking with his friends without a thought for her. If she wanted to go out with friends for enjoyment and a break from her routine, he frowned upon it and tried to make her feel guilty. She had a lovable little boy whom she adored and felt extremely proud to be his mother.

The husband was a typical Jekyll and Hyde type character with an abusive streak. Sometimes he succeeded in being the most loving and considerate person you could ever hope to meet. To others, he attempted to appear as the most perfect gentleman, but in private he could also be like a tiger with hidden belligerence. He had a secret drink problem and could be considered an alcoholic. He owned a shed at the bottom of the garden where he used to go to have his secret drinking sessions. It was not unusual for him to drink half a bottle of whisky at a time. He often clasped his wife's throat between his hands, when he was upset, with such strength and firmness that it often made her breathless and left marks and bruises. He would shout and scream at her with raging bulging eyes while he was remonstrating with her.

He was jealous of his son, as he felt that his wife loved the child more than him. When she initially informed him that she was pregnant, he made her promise that after the birth of their offspring, she would never love it more than him. For the sake of peace and quiet, she agreed to his demands.

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