But He’s a Great Dad!

TW: Spiritual abuse, choking, domestic violence, gaslighting, abuse during pregnancy

“He might be abusive to his wife sometimes… But he’s a great dad! Think of the children! They need a father!”

……..

It’s an odd sensation to still be breathing while choked into unconsciousness. 

Military training teaches a choke hold that doesn’t crush the windpipe, but instead presses the arteries leading to the brain. I wonder if they ever mention that it’s supposed to be used only on enemies? Or maybe I was the enemy.

It was never actually during an argument. Sometimes hours later. Sometimes the next day. It took years for me to realize it was connected to arguments. It wasn’t angry, either. It was loving, in fact. I needed to learn how to defend myself, afterall, didn’t I? Let’s do a choke hold self defense lesson.

My pregnant body couldn’t get out of the room fast enough. An arm went around my neck. I struggled briefly, before the world went black.

I opened my eyes and saw him smirking. “Still need to work on that one. If I was an enemy you’d be dead.”

I sat up slowly, holding my throbbing head. I sat very still, willing the baby to move. Willing her to let me know… There was a kick. She was okay.

“I’ve asked you many times before. Please don’t do that.”

“Do what? Teach you to defend yourself? Fine. I’ll stop caring about you and let you be hurt.”

I felt taken aback by his sharp tone. “Please. I don’t like it. And… and the BABY!” I started crying. “What does choking me do to her? What it she’s not getting enough oxygen? I’m not even supposed to sleep on my back; I don’t think the midwife would approve of me being choked!”

He stood up so he was towering over me. “Do you REALLY think I would do anything to hurt my baby?!?” He demanded. “Here, let me explain this really simply so you can understand. You can’t lay on your back because the baby’s weight might put pressure on the blood supply to your uterus. That would reduce baby’s oxygen.

“If I closed your windpipe, that would reduce oxygen in your entire body and also the baby. That would be dangerous to the baby. But I don’t do that. I would never do that. I put pressure on the arteries in your neck. You’re still breathing just fine for the baby. Your body has oxygen. It’s just your brain that doesn’t. In order for the baby to not have oxygen, I would have to keep holding you after you passed out. I’d have to hold you until your brain stopped telling your body to breathe, or your heart to beat. And I don’t do that. I would never do anything to hurt our baby!

“Did you even notice that you were laying on your SIDE when you woke up?!? I was careful not to lay you on your back, to protect our baby. But you don’t appreciate that, do you? You just want to make me out to be a bad parent. Well, it’s not going to work.”

He walked to the closet and pulled out his nice button up shirt. 

“Now, are you going to get up so we can make it to church on time? Or are you going to keep trying to pick fights?”

………..

The baby had plenty of oxygen. It was just my brain that was being oxygen-starved. 

Therefore he was a good dad.

How many families are playing out this situation on a larger scale? How many women seek help for abuse, and are told that it’s in the best interest of their children for them to just keep suffering in silence?

He might not be a good husband, but he’s still a good dad.

Our priority is to save the marriage, for the children.

This is your cross to carry, so your children can have an intact family.

Marriage isn’t supposed to make you happy. It’s supposed to make you holy.

If you keep speaking up you’ll just be tearing your house down.

If you keep speaking up you’ll hurt your kids.

Is it really that bad? Why are you making a big deal out of this?

So often, pastors and members of the church have decided that it doesn’t matter if the husband is choking the life out of his wife’s soul, smothering her personality, starving her of the breath of hope, crushing her spirit, permanently damaging her mind… As long as he is doing it very carefully so as not to harm the children, it’s fine. 

Yet in these same families, the mother is the primary caregiver! In fact, she may be the only one doing ANY childcare! Like with pregnancy, she is the child’s main life support. And the child’s development depends on her being physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually intact.

We say:

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver CPTSD.

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver chronic situational depression.

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver injuries.

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver a sense of hopelessness.

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver an impossibly large workload.

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver an impossibly small budget.

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver impossibly poor living conditions.

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver sexual trauma.

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver sleep deprivation.

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver forced pregnancy.

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver a bad reputation.

He’s a good dad; he only gives his children’s primary caregiver a physically and emotionally isolated life.

He’s a good dad; he only abuses his wife. Why are you trying to pick fights? Don’t you care about the children? They need their good dad. They have a god-given RIGHT to a good dad!!!

What about their right to a good mom? One who hasn’t had the life choked from her soul? One who is the vibrant woman God intended to be their mother?

Y’all, a good dad doesn’t abuse the mother of his children. Abusing the caregiver of a child IS abusing the child.