The Horrible Power of Being Offended or Wounded

November 14, 2016

in Uncategorized

Note: Both today and Wednesday’s posts are in-your-face-don’t-do-this rants. I try not to do too much of that here, but these posts are within the bounds of understanding the male mind because both of them address something men strongly dislike in a spouse.

The Horrible Power of Being Offended or Wounded

It seems we live in a society that has elevated being a victim to a place of honour and power. Being a victim gives one rights, including the right to deny others their rights. It also seems those who’ve been hurt get a pass on certain behaviour we don’t accept from others.

I’m all for helping those who have been wronged, and some special considerations are reasonable. But I fear we’ve gone way too far in some areas, and I find there’s no checking of someone’s “victim status”. One need only claim to be a victim to receive all the rights and privileges that come with the title. The natural consequence of this is some people take advantage of the fact that being a victim gives them great power.

This becomes a marriage problem when a spouse decides it’s a good way of getting power or control in their marriage. In a nutshell, it’s the “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy” attitude. If I’m hurt, wounded, offended, or feeling wronged, it’s your fault and you have to make it right. And of course, the one who is feeling wronged is the only one who is allowed to determined what it takes to make it right. 

If this works, it becomes a trap. The person is in control as long as they’re offended or upset. Being happy is a problem because it means relinquishing power. So offence must continue, which means looking for reasons to be offended while turning a blind eye to anything good the other person does.

This is clearly not a biblical way to deal with marriage. On a practical side, it tears a marriage apart. It’s destroying the future for a bit of power now, and it will never end well.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m so glad my first-hand experience with this doesn’t come from my wonderful bride!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Holyterror November 14, 2016 at 2:16 am

Brilliant insights here, Paul. Thank you for exposing “snowflake status” for what it is-a power play!

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Paul Byerly November 14, 2016 at 9:00 am

@Holyterror – Snowflake status – yup, that’s it.
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Libl November 14, 2016 at 2:42 am

Ok, so help me through this one:

I am wounded and offended when my husband watches TV shows and movies with graphic sex and nudity, and smutty youtube videos. He knows this. I have voiced myself clearly enough times to be heard, but hopefully not naggy. He disagrees with me, thinks I over react, assures me that I am just as pretty as those girls and he is attracted to me, assures me that he doesn’t lust after them (I don’t 100% believe him because of evidence found in his underwear after watching a string of such things…he might not be thinking of them when he masturbates, but they certainly put the idea into his head and influenced his sex drive. It isn’t all the time, but once in a while he succombs). Anyhow, he continues to watch these things, despite my being bothered by it.

After years of agonizing about it and feeling hurt, pacing the kitchen floor in worry about whether or not THAT scene has popped up yet and he got to see yet another young woman’s perfectly filmed bare body, I have come to a place where I can’t be bothered to be so deeply affected. I am too busy with our home and kids, and frankly, he isn’t going to change.

Unfortunately, he has taken this lack of visible offense to mean I am ok with it now. I, personally, feel it is a sin to casually and unnecessarily allow yourself to knowingly view other naked people, especially in amped up sexually explicit movies and situations. He says he would miss out on far too many “good movies and tv shows.” He missed out on Game of Thrones because I went stark raving mad, but I found out later that didn’t stop him from watching many more similar series with just as much if not more graphic sex and nudity.

I don’t want my offense to control him, which is why I backed off. But I do want to be heard, understood, considered, loved.

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Paul Byerly November 14, 2016 at 9:06 am

@Libl – I think what you said here is what he needs to hear. I’d say something like “I think it’s sin for you to watch those. It hurts me, and it hurts our marriage. It also makes it difficult for me to respect you. But I’m not going to try and manipulate or control you to do what I think is right.” Then leave it between him and God.
BTW, your situation is not what I was thinking with this post. Some women are looking for reasons to be wounded and offended, and will hype something up if they must to get there. Sounds like you are doing the opposite – trying to calm it down.
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Libl November 14, 2016 at 9:43 am

Thanks, Paul. I have done this, so I guess I am,aat the leave it between him and God. The problem is because I have, and I continue to be a loving respectful wife who gives of herself sexually he thinks everything is ok.

Yesterday, I changed in front of him, getting completely naked, just minutes after he watched a smutty youtube video (lingerie and sexy poses click bait of a mainstream tv actress). It emotionally drained me for a few hours while I prayed through it. His response? I am just overreacting.

I figured you weren’t talking about my kind of situation, but my husband feels like what you are talking about.

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B November 14, 2016 at 10:24 am

@Libl, for what it’s worth, I don’t think you are overreacting. You are an amazingly strong woman. I think it’s wonderful that you prayed through it.

I will pray for you.

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B November 14, 2016 at 6:15 am

@Libl, I’m sorry I don’t know how to help you with this, but I often feel the same way. My husband doesn’t have the same struggles as your husband, but he has his own. And I understand your feelings of being bothered by what is going on. It’s quite hurtful. In my situation I wonder if my husband even understands, or cares, if something he has done hurts me. I am terrified of this statement you made:
“Unfortunately, he has taken this lack of visible offense to mean I am okay with it now.”
That is my number one struggle with forgiveness. I am so afraid that if I forgive, the offender gets off scot free and thinks, “Yippee! Now I can do it again and again and they just have to forgive me.”
I’m quite possibly wrong. But I struggle with that. I also struggle with my husband expecting me to believe he finds me even remotely attractive, when there is so much female visual perfection everywhere you turn. Why and how could my husband possibly find a natural, plain woman attractive when beauty and near nudity is thrust in their faces every day? And when those women, whether photoshopped or not, are so perfect I have not a single hope of competing with them for his love and desire. It simply cannot be. Not in my reality. I feel badly that he tries to convince me otherwise, but my mirror doesn’t lie, and I will never be as good. It’s so hard to know you aren’t enough. I don’t understand why some men can’t see it that way. Why they refuse to understand the pain, or admit that some of us (well, at least me) know I’ll never be good enough. I’ve accepted it. Makes me sad, but it’s reality. So if he would accept it too, instead of trying to make me feel better with lies about his love and attraction that just make me feel worse, I think we’d both be happier.

Anyhow, sorry for the tangent. This came through in my devotions today. This is just a snippet of it, but it convicted me.

‘Forgiveness is an act of the will more than an act of the heart. Often people don’t feel like being merciful to someone who has wronged them. But a resentful spirit grows into a terrible burden. The Lord knows that forgiveness is best, even when it is difficult.’

That is so true. Especially the difficult part. And oh how I struggle with fear of forgiveness giving the offender a free pass to hurt me again. If anyone reading this can shed some light on this issue, I’m all ears.

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Paul Byerly November 14, 2016 at 9:12 am

@B – Jesus forgave and then said, “Go and sin no more”. There was no doubt He felt what had been done was wrong, and no doubt it would be wrong if done again.
I think we too can forgive while making it clear what was done was wrong and harmful. Forgiveness does not mean it’s okay, it does not mean there was no wrong. Forgiveness means I choose to release you from the debt your sin has caused. I also see it as a promise that I will do all I can to let go of it and leave the matter between you and God.

And speaking of that, I think God is far better able to deal with people’s sins than we are. When we make it something between us and the other person I think we get between them and God and “protect” them from the wrath and judgment of God. By trying to fix it ourselves I think we block God from dealing with it.
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Bobthemusicguy November 14, 2016 at 12:29 pm

I think that forgiving and leaving it in God’s hands is somehow partaking of the sufferings of Christ, who gave fully of Himself, even for those who finally reject Him. By surrendering it all to God, we are leaving the forgiven person in the hands of the only one who can really change things. Yes, it is difficult. Yes, it may take a long time. And no, there is no guarantee they will ever change. But by letting go, we also put ourselves in the hands of God, letting Him shape us more and more into the image of Christ. It can really hurt, and there may be no resolution this side of heaven, but by setting our minds on what matters eternally, we can be changed ourselves.

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Libl November 14, 2016 at 4:11 pm

I like this perspective.

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B November 14, 2016 at 6:41 pm

@Bobthemusicguy, this is a great response. I would like to think I’m willing to let it go, but I just wish someone could teach me HOW to let it go. I really, really struggle with this.

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Bobthemusicguy November 15, 2016 at 4:43 am

As always, apply the teaching of scripture. When a person is first saved, it is entirely by the grace of God, with nothing added by us. All we do is receive by faith. But the process of sanctification, of being made like Christ, is a partnership with God. Of course, He does the directing and the enabling. But we see many imperatives. Put off the old man, put on the new man. Take up the full armor of God. Pray without ceasing. Forgive one another.

These are actions we take ourselves and are the result of a decision of the will. It’s not about feeling loving, or forgiving, or prayerful, or strong, or holy. We do these things because our Lord commands them. And the wonderful things is that, as we obey Him, He enables us to do these things, for our benefit and His glory.

So when it comes to letting go, you simply decide to let go and act accordingly. You will probably find that you have not fully let go and so you do it again, and again, and again. And one day, hopefully this side of heaven, you will look back and be able to say “God enabled me to let go and forgive.”

C. S. Lewis wrote of trying to forgive a man who had been very cruel to him when he was a boy. It was not until after many years, and many forgivings, that as a grown man he was finally able to say that he had forgiven the man. I had to do this with those who sexually abused me as a boy. It took a long time, and there is still sadness about it. But the sting is gone, praise God.

So there it is. Pray. Obey. And let God change you. It’s not willing it to happen. It’s surrendering your will to God, a little more each day as He directs and enables.

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Andrew Budek-Schmeisser November 14, 2016 at 7:05 am

Awhile back I came to realize that the behaviours which offended me were ones that I had brought to life through carelessness in loving my wife. I was reaping that which I had sown.

http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/11/your-dying-spouse-232-narrowing-world.html
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Paul Byerly November 14, 2016 at 9:12 am

@Andrew Budek-Schmeisser – Funny how that works.
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Dan November 14, 2016 at 9:11 pm

Victim status can encourage passive/aggressive behavior by the “wounded” party instead of their dealing with issues in a more mature and effective way and this is ultimately destructive to any relationship.
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Paul Byerly November 16, 2016 at 10:38 am

@Dan – Exactly – it facilitates being stuck, not growing.
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Danielle November 19, 2016 at 11:53 am

Hey, I feel that I might be this way in the sense that I almost always have something I find “offense” with and being happy doesn’t seem to last more than a day or so. I don’t want to be this way, but I don’t know how to -not- be offended. My husband is kind and loving. I feel I may just nit pick. I don’t know. We’ve had issues with what we feel is ok to watch on TV, mainly anime (nothing too lewd). But we’ve cut it all out of our lives. What do you do if you see this negative behavior in yourself and want to change?

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Paul Byerly November 20, 2016 at 9:01 am

@Danielle – I’d start with a gratitude journal. Each evening write down all the good things from your day. Be sure to include marriage related items. Studies find doing this every day changes people’s outlooks, sometimes significantly. Then go a step further and start to voice your gratitude and thanks.
I’d also examine your growing up years and ask yourself how you get this way. What events pushed you to be like this? What benefits did you get from this behaviour? What did you believe about yourself and others that made acting this way seem wise or even necessary?
If that’s not enough, get some help from a counsellor.
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