The Blog

On the Subject of Devouring Women by Megan Owen, MA

Feb 17, 2024

There is some clarity surrounding entitled humans I have recently thought a lot about, yet we don't hear many talk of it. I don't have a word for it, yet, other than (perhaps) possessiveness. Typically, when we think of possessiveness, we think of a man (or woman, but for the purpose of my audience, I will use the masculine gender here) who isolates his partner/spouse/wife to keep her under his influence and his alone. This is a deadly form of mental and emotional abuse. We see this when a man wants to own everything about her -- all the way down to what she thinks of him, reads and believes. Ownership. She is then disconnected from herself, which is utterly painful. 

The offshoot of this type of possessiveness is the actual, invisible, insidious process of devouring her. 

We see this all the time and wonder how it happens that a bright, beautiful woman finds herself with an abuser. The theory goes that he actually admires everything about her -- her sparkle, her intelligence, her gentleness, her ability to de-escalate, her compassion, her gifts, her understanding and grace. Maybe she has healing properties; maybe she has already done a tremendous amount of mental and emotional work, herself. 

But the problem is that, while those things attract him initially -- they are the very things about her that he wants to devour. Please listen -- instead of striving to be more like her and admire her example, he wants to OWN these gifts she brings and somehow make them transmute into himself. He wants to own her. 

She is drained every single day. 

One of my favorite lines in Stranger Things Season 4 happens when the (rather) demonic "Vecna" is hunting and haunting the children. What the children find is that the victims are not dead -- their life-source and energy are being sucked out of them and into the demonic vectors as they are hanging by a thread between death and life. It looks like hell. Eternal, conscious torment. One of the children looks at the others and says, "He doesn't want to kill us; he wants to devour us." 

In my mind, hell is the devouring. And I would rather die than have someone take all of my energy again. 

Now, the very things that she has worked so hard to become, he wants to take. And, I *think* that he believes if someone like her can build him up enough, prop him up enough, fill the leaky bucket every single day -- whether that is from words, sex, commitment, submission, complete-and-utter-attention to his everyday needs -- that he will be everything he believes he can be. Or, he will see himself the way he needs to sees himself in leiu of getting honest with himself.

It becomes a terrible double-bind. Her sparkle dies into the black-swirl of never-ending affirmation towards him. And it doesn't even work. Because (again), we are the ones responsible to heal ourselves -- not have our spouse "complete" us (code word for mirroring his view of himself). 

I don't know how many women with whom I've spoken over the past 13 years have told me that she lost her health, her youth, her resumé, her joy, her sense of herself, her desire for all the things she used to love, her desire for HIM, because he took . . . and took and took. He was a taker. A man who does not know how to love. 

A taker. 

And, because of crap-theology, he believed he was entitled to it.

There are reasons for this atrocious life-sucking culture. The songs on Christian mainstream radio, "When God Made you, He Must have been Thinking about Me." Uh -- whoa. Really? THAT'S what God had in mind? The bad bad bad theology of complementarianism that was popular for decades and that we all took and ran with because it could make us more holy (even holier than Jesus, who never discussed this at ALL!). The awful interpretation that Adam's rib was actually a rib from his body and that women were made because he needed an administrative assistant and sexual partner .  . . . gross. 

Here is the bottom line: We are tired of being devoured. If you like our qualities, admire them! Aspire! Let us encourage you! Devouring a woman because she is fabulous will only destroy her and you will live in your own personal hell of continuing to use her as a mirror and supply. Let me ask you -- what do you think God thinks of that? The brave, brave work of so many men in our generation and in the evangelical church is to see yourselves for your true self and start there. Be honest; get real with who you are and what you have done. Make reparation. Acknowledge how much you have hurt your sisters. And then -- get the counseling. 

Stop using women. When you devour, you look like the enemy. After all, didn't he come to steal kill and destroy?

We are over it. It wasn't our purpose. Like you, our purpose is to be whole in Christ -- the never-ending source of our joy and being. To exemplify the Imago Dei. To become the best versions of ourselves for God's glory. 

Love, Megan