She had an assault charge pending against her husband. Despite a court order that had prohibited him from having contact with her, he had come to her residence, and in a fit of rage had choked her with his bare hands. She literally feared for her life.
The police had records of his previous attacks against her. Jail time for his latest assault was almost guaranteed, but the whole case hinged upon her testimony. She was the only witness, without her cooperation, he would walk free.
She now approached me with a burning question in her heart. Should she drop the charges?
“Why would you want to do that?” I asked.
“Because my husband told me that if I don’t, he’ll tell our children that it is my fault he was sent to jail!”
This is not a new tactic. It is not uncommon for men who have been released from jail on parole to tell their wife or girlfriend that if they report them to the police for domestic violence that their parole will be revoked, and it will be their fault they are sent back to prison. WRONG!
I can think of only one-way to describe this type of satanic manipulation . . . emotional blackmail. The perpetrator seeks to make you the fall guy, the heavy, the villain.
Jesus taught us to “ . . . count the cost.” What is the cost of paying any form of blackmail? The blackmailer always comes back for more! If the payoff is in money, the blackmailer will come back for more. If you appease an emotional blackmailer through a surrender that gives him control over an area of your life, he’ll soon be seeking control over other areas of your life through other manipulative strategies.
Using the before mentioned conflict as an example, let us see what we can do to counter these tactics.
First you must accept the truth that no one is responsible for another person’s actions, or the consequence they suffer for them. Galatians 6:7&8 puts it this way, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” As a member of the church I used to pastor was fond of saying, “You win or lose by what you choose!”
The perpetrator of a domestic assault is alone responsible for his problems with the law. He may try to shift the blame upon others, but the guilt is his, and his alone!
“But what about the children? I don’t want them thinking it’s my fault their daddy is in jail!”
Teach them that life is made up of choices. If you make good choices, you will be living a good life, but bad choices mean you’re living a bad life.
Then, without making your husband out to be a villain, explain to your children that their daddy has been making bad choices. This does not mean that he is a bad person, but it does mean that bad things may happen to him.
If the day comes that he is sentenced, you’ll then have to explain that one of the bad things that is happening to daddy because of his bad choices is he’s going to have to spend some time in jail. What an object lesson this would make for your children!
But what about your testimony that may have been responsible for sending him to jail? Teach your kids the difference between “tattling” and “telling.” Explain to them that nobody likes a tattletale because they go around trying to get other people in trouble. However, when someone is telling, it’s because they, or someone else needs help. It’s okay to tell in order to get help, even if another person gets in trouble.
In extreme cases, you might even have to explain why you needed help, protection from daddy. If it comes to this, it is vital to emphasis that, if necessary, you would do the same thing protect them.
Easy? Not for a moment. But what is the alternative? If you don’t take the necessary steps to try to ensure your safety, you could end up in the hospital or worse. What would become of your children then?