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Intimacy is NOT...a Black Eye

In her book--"I Asked for Intimacy" Renita Weems engages topics that can confuse and compromise intimacy including alcoholism, codependency, abuse, homophobia and death. While exploring what intimacy is through a variety of relationships, Weems also shares what intimacy is NOT through the biblical story of Gomer.

As someone who loves the Biblical text and as someone who has never been abused, Dr. Weems notes that she can't

"get away from stories about violence against women...What new is there to say? I ask myself. Nothing, a voice answers, 'Just keep saying what has already been said. Perhaps this time some woman will hear you. A woman who asked for intimacy but settled for a black eye.'"

What a wonderful intention, especially on this Valentine's day? To keep saying what has already been said, so that someone will hear. That those who ask for intimacy know that intimacy and a black eye are NOT synonymous. Nor are being called out of your name, being told that you are not enough, or being taken advantage of for your good credit synonymous with intimacy. It is easy to see that a 'black eye' is physical abuse but other forms are not as easy to identify.

Here are a few signs of what an 'emotional black eye' may look like:

  1. The abuser is hyper-critical or judgmental towards you.

  2. The abuser ignores boundaries or invades your privacy.

  3. The abuser is possessive and/or controlling.

  4. The abuser is manipulative.

  5. The abuser often dismisses you and your feelings.

Many of us whose intimacy has been enslaved or interrupted have come to believe that emotional, physical, or financial abuse are natural in a relationship. Some might even have come to expect abuse as a sign of love. For the sake of our sons and daughters, I am drawn to say (and write) what has already been said... over and over again--hyper-criticism, invasion of privacy, possession and control, manipulation, and dismissal of feelings is NOT love, nor is it intimacy.

These next few writings will focus on what intimacy is NOT...that someone would know that intimacy is NOT a black eye!

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