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The Human Cost of Infidelity Abuse

In our last post we discussed Infidelity Abuse from a spiritual lens. In this follow up post, we will continue our processing from a costs-based perspective. 

As I did last time, there will be a spiritual component to this post alongside neurobiology.

Turning the Hearts

In the Old Testament the promise of Malachi speaks of a turning of the hearts. This is an important point of correction for families before the return of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse (Mal 4:5-6, KJV).

Two important points can be parsed from this scripture. First, is the importance of families turning towards one another. Though the verses speak about fathers and children, the real issue is that as families, we need to turn towards one another.  The second point, is that if this turning towards one another doesn’t occur, there will be a curse upon the earth.  Thus, the importance of good relationships with our families is critical for the final days upon this earth for all of humanity.

Families Matter

A family unit is the first group an individual belongs to. Every human being is born into a family system. Regardless of the construction or relationships of that unit, there will always be parents and grandparents connected to every birth – even if those associations do not interact.

Families form the basis of our social systems. Family laws/rules and social practices inform our very first understanding of human interaction. The way those relationships are held in esteem or are allowed to become toxic impacts us as social beings. Our experiences are developed in these environments. They can impact – but they do not rule over – the outcomes of how we live our lives as adults and choices we make. We all have agentic abilities to make good or right decisions — even in adverse conditions. The narrative of “we were like _____ (fill in the toxic behavior) ___ in my family growing up” is merely an excuse to justify behaviors that are not prosocial.

*Important note: Some human beings will come from difficult family situations and grow up to be very productive loving people – how you grow up does not solely determine your personality or character.

Humans Need Other Humans

As humans, one of our basic biological needs is connection with and to other human beings. We begin our existence on this earth in a social context with parents, siblings or future siblings, grandparents and other family members. The importance of these relationships is as critical as food, water and shelter for us to thrive.

To think we do not need one another is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves. This ideology is likely due to the harmful ways people treat one another and the excuses people make to justify actions of harm. When conflicts are not resolved, there is a huge cost to the whole system.

This makes the verses in Malachi even more important as we look at the state of our family systems in our current day and on the impact of the final chapter of this earthly existence.

Infidelity Abuse is One of the Costliest Harms

Infidelity abuse, or any form of targeted partner abuse©, is one of the costliest to us as human beings because of the social dependence we have on one another. Embedded into these relational dependencies rests the foundation of trust and safety for all human beings.

We need to have someone who will have our back, battle life’s struggles alongside us, while also being loving and caring. When a discovery or disclosure of infidelity abuse is brought out, the impact to the well-bring of the wife/victim will create serious mental, emotional and physical outcomes.

What Does Costly Harm Mean in Lay Terms

If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you will understand the reverberating impact from a rear-ending. This impact is worse if you are pushed into a car in front of you. The term “emotional whiplash©” is the metaphor we can apply to this condition of Infidelity Abuse/Targeted Partner Abuse©.

As the abuse escalates and is discovered repeatedly, the impact to the mind/body regulation will be like the back-and-forth movement of car accidents. You are whipped back and forth, in deeply distressing conditions, resulting in a whole-system dysregulation.

When the wife attempts to gain understanding of the actual behaviors and the perpetrator lies or worse, blame-shifts, the emotional impact increases. If the perpetrator is overtly or covertly angry, or engages in other types of abuse that accompany betrayal – as it often does – this will add to the emotional and psychological distress the wife experiences. 

All of these are the outcomes of costly harm.

The Brain’s #1 Job

Our brain’s main task is not to think. It is to regulate all body systems to ensure balanced well-being. A balanced well-being, or “allostasis” is the main task of our brain. It is how we stay well and healthy. When we are not in stasis, due to on-going stress caused by abuse, our body is being deeply strained. This is also very costly to us as human beings. 

Human beings regulate one another’s nervous system for good or for harm. Our brains communicate with one another in an very intricate and connected way as part of our nervous systems. When there is ongoing abuse – there will be ongoing harm to the victim. This can create physical health issues like autoimmune diseases, migraines, and for some – even cancer. 

Yes, the cost is incredibly high.

The Cost to the Family

Not only will abuse cause untold harm to the victim, but children will be impacted by the abuse as well. The confusion of messaging is one of the most difficult for children to process. When mom cries, or is upset and dad treats mom with contempt, or throws her under the bus to manipulate the children – dad is abusing the children as well. 

If dad colluded with the children with attempts to “buy” their loyalty, either with actual gifts or by letting them off the hook with family rules, homework, or privileges, he is abusing the children. 

*It is important to note that not all dads are abusive and manipulative to/with the children, but a good dad does not abuse the children’s mother. There is no equation for a good dad who is an abusive husband.

“A Man’s Real Measure”

“The place to take the true measure of a man is not in the darkest place or in the amen corner, nor the cornfield, but by his own fireside. There he lays aside his mask and you may learn whether he is an imp or an angel, cur or king, hero or humbug. I care not what the world says of him: whether it crowns him boss or pelts him with bad eggs. I care not a copper what his reputation or religion may be: if his babies dread his homecoming and his better half swallows her heart every time, she must ask him for a five-dollar bill, he is a fraud of the first water, even though he prays night and morning until he is black in the face. But if his children rush to the front door to meet him and love’s sunshine illuminates the face of his wife every time, she hears his footfall, you can take it for granted that he is pure, for his home is a heaven. I can forgive much in that fellow mortal who would rather make men swear than women weep; who would rather have the hate of the whole world than the contempt of his wife; who would rather call anger to the eyes of a king than fear to the face of a child (W. C. Brann, “A Man’s Real Measure,” in Elbert Hubbard’s Scrapbook, New York: Wm. H. Wise and Co., 1923, p. 16)”― W.C. Brann

Fidelity is not an Exception – it is an Expectation

As I said in the previous post, “It is a social norm for a man and woman to marry and build a family life together. It is also a social norm to expect complete honor and fidelity within this union. It is unfortunate that this very critical directive from God is one of the most violated, excused, and justified wrongs that humans commit against one another (and God) – and is the costliest for us as humans” (Coach Joi).

Infidelity abuse of any kind, covered up with any of the cute labels that have become the norm, or that are joked about on all the infamous “hook-up” sites, are not just expressions of one’s private rights. 

When an individual violates an agreement of fidelity – keeping it secret – repeating it with multiple individuals – digital or otherwise – that individual is creating a wound of unimaginable proportions that will require incredible costs to work through.

Infidelity Abuse is not an Isolated Abuse

Unfortunately, infidelity abuse happens in tandem with countless other types of abusive tactics. Aside from the cheating, affairs, hook-ups, etc., there will often be financial abuse, spiritual abuse, emotional, psychological and verbal abuse. 

If you are experiencing any of these types of abuse, please join our support groups, or reach out for a discovery call to see if you are a good fit for the year-long program.

Abuse is a correctable behavior. It will take work – including an honest accounting of all the acts and types of abuse committed, but there is a way through to peace and to a restoration of dignity for what is taken from the women these men say they love. If you are working to become a good man — consider all of the ways you exact a cost from your wife and seek to make restitution to her. She was given to you to treasure not to abuse.

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