I have been thinking about toxic men versus toxic women. When most people hear about an abusive relationship, they automatically think of an abusive man.
However, women can be just as abusive.
I told you a few weeks ago about the two mutual men I know who were married to the same woman.
There is no way to describe her except abusive.
And, as we have dug into her first marriage, we have come to see how her second marriage was based upon lies—and how she used the same method of operation to snag a second husband that she perceived was financially well off. Everything husband #2 knew about his ex-wife has been revealed as a lie.
Even as I contemplated the differences between toxic men and women, I sat down to watch 48 Hours. Friday’s episode was an update on the story of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, the two children who disappeared from Idaho under suspicious circumstances one year ago.
Sadly, their bodies were discovered recently.
What happened to these two innocent children? All evidence points to a toxic, manipulative mother who felt it was in her best interest to dispose of her own children. The many characteristics I have contemplated about toxic/abusive women are so well illustrated in the life of Lori Vallow Daybel.
Please note: Lori Vallow Daybel has not been convicted of any crime at this time, and at this time she is not facing charges for their murders. However, there is a long string of mysterious deaths that seems to haunt her—and this is one of the characteristics I see in abusive women.
Women are subtle. Men can be subtle in their abuse, but often it is more outright, more obvious. Because men are physically stronger, abuse is often obvious in the bruises and injuries inflicted on the women in their lives. Women, however, seem to be more subtle in their abuse. They may come across as kind, loving, gentle souls, but underneath their persona is a truly evil heart (remember Jeremiah 17:9).
Lori Vallow appears to be a kind, loving woman of faith. Her faith is even used to cloak the evil that resides underneath her demure appearance. I have known other women who appeared to be the quiet, gentle spirit every man would love to have. But, behind closed doors, they are manipulative. They use their feminine charm to lure unsuspecting men into their spell. It may be years after their divorce before the men in their lives come to understand how everything about the relationship was based upon lies.
Women use financial abuse. Female abusers seem to look for men who can provide the lifestyle they want. They often look for their lovers based upon financial status. And, money seems to be a factor in many of the murder-for-hire plots orchestrated by women.
Lori Vallow knew her third husband had a million-dollar life insurance policy. My guess is it was a major factor in his “self-defense” murder. What she didn’t know is that he had changed his beneficiary with an impending divorce to someone he knew would care for his children financially—and someone who would use the money wisely.
I have heard several stories of women who convinced their husbands to join the military as a way to provide for their families. In reality, I believe the subtle plan was for the men to be shipped overseas and killed in action so the women could garner the support of the world, put on a show as the grieving widow, and still walk away with the life insurance and military benefits. The desire to see their husband killed in action was the motivation behind joining the military.
Women play the victim. Yes, men often play the victim as well. However, women seem to play the part of victim to find a protector. Let me give you an example: I recently told you about two people I know who discovered they had both been married to the same woman. Husband #2 was told how horribly abusive husband #1 was—which, from what we know of this man, could not be further from the truth. The woman, however, was playing the victim to find a rescuer, someone to step in and save her from this horrible, awful man.
In the case of Lori Vallow, we can see how this victim act played out: Lori’s estranged husband, Charles Vallow, was killed by her brother in what they claim was an act of self-defense. This act was not something Lori would do on her own, but she would convince someone to protect her from an evil, abusive man.
Although Lori’s brother is now dead and cannot tell us the story himself, it appears he was also the one who is physically responsible for the children’s deaths. I have no doubt, however, that her brother was acting as a protector under the spell of a manipulative woman.
Women tend to escalate the abuse over the years. I think this point can go for both men and women. What starts as mental, emotional, or verbal abuse often escalates over the years as the abuser goes unchecked. Back to Lori Vallow. It appears her first two husbands were simple divorces (although my guess is that she benefited financially). Husband three was a divorce, but he later died of an apparent heart attack (although, in light of current circumstances, the cause of death has been questioned). Husband four was killed “in self-defense,” and Lori is recorded expressing extreme anger over not receiving his life insurance policy.
I know a couple of women who have been through a string of marriages. One of these women finally hit the jackpot with a man who is very well off. She left her first husbands with nothing of material value—she cleaned them out. I am not sure this third husband will fare as well. I could see this manipulative woman being dissatisfied with only receiving half of the marital assets through divorce and finding a way to get all of it—even if it means finding a way to become a widow.
I guess here’s my point in all of this: most people believe that men are more abusive or women are more likely to suffer harm in relationships. I’m not sure I believe that. Men may be more likely to physically abuse with their own hands. Women may be more likely to suffer physical injuries and are more defenseless than men. However, I believe women are just as likely to inflict severe abuse—but in a much more subtle way and by finding a “protector” who will carry out their dirty work. They might create a manipulative scheme that puts their victim in a position where they will be harmed without having to do the dirty work themselves. It’s almost as if they have the ability to cast a spell on the poor, unsuspecting soul. And that’s where we must be a shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. We must make sure we are asking the Holy Spirit to help us discern truth from these Jezebel spirits.
I don’t believe men or women are simply born this evil and manipulative. I believe these qualities are built through a lifetime of reinforcement—whether it is through witnessing their own parents act in these ways or simply through seeing manipulation work over the years. Somewhere along the way they are taught that getting their way is the ultimate goal in life, and it is reinforced repeatedly.
There’s no doubt we are all sinners and need the grace of our Father—the One who heals every hurt and convicts us of every manipulative thought. It is essential for us to live in the Spirit so we can see our own evil tendencies.
May we never be a manipulative spouse or person but instead always exhibit the love of the Spirit.