Morning friends,

I’m deep in book writing mode right now and invite you to read a short excerpt answering the question, Is Marital Indifference Emotionally Abusive? It will be posted by Thursday on www.christiancounseling.com

I hope you check it out.

My two day interview entitled, “Finding Freedom from Destructive Relationships” with Focus on the Family is scheduled to air Wednesday, October 17 and Thursday, October 18, 2012.

I’m going to do something a little different for this week’s blog. Recently I was wondering what kind of people stop by so if you don’t mind, instead of answering one of your questions, I’d like to ask you a few questions. Please let me know a little bit about you and how I can serve you better in the upcoming months. You can respond directly from the blog page.

Are you a man or woman?

How old are you?

Are you married?

Are you in a destructive relationship?

Is your faith important to you?

What kind of topics, resources or help are you looking for as you read this blog?

 

28 Comments

  1. Amy Hannaford on October 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I am a 47-year-old woman.
    I am divorced after living in an emotionally, verbally and mentally abusive marriage for 20 years.
    I am remarried and now live in a healthy marriage, which I only dreamed about. 🙂
    I have been a believer since 1998 and my faith is the center of my life.
    I found this blog in 2008 and at the time I came to this blog as a way to find encouragement and help in knowing that I was not alone in my struggle with being in an abusive marriage. I seeked information in how to deal with emotional/mental/verbal abuse in a Christian way. And when my ex-husband left me and our two sons in ’09 this blog was further encouragement on how to know whether there was real change or not before allowing myself to go back to an abusive relationship.
    Now I come here to continue learning about difficult relationships and I pass it as a resource to others that are hurting.

  2. Kim on October 8, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I am a 46 year old female. I have been married for 22 years and recently realized that my marriage has been abusive emotional and verbally for the entire duration. My faith is my whole world. Every decision is made based upon what I know about God and I go before God for everything. God comes first in my life.

    I have been reading lots of books on abuse and I have recently been listening to a sermon series on abuse. I have been wrestling with my belief on divorce and am changing my beliefs which makes my future decisions hard because all of my friends are strong Christians and come from the perspective I used to have on divorce.

    So many different questions and areas to learn about from this life changing discovery I don’t even know what to suggest for topics and resources.

    My journey I believe will entail finding a job, saving money, finding a place to live and leaving my relationship. Because I never fathomed I would be in this situation I have no idea all of the details I need to learn and implement. I do fear leaving, as long as I am in the relationship I don’t fear for my life but once I leave that will be very scary. I also just admitted that my husband is abusing prescription drugs and alcohol together so last week I joined Al-anon – boy was that hard and another area I never ever thought I would be personally involved in.

    I hope that is what you are looking for. Thank you for your website and advice. I am soooo looking forward to your new book. I got a lot out of your last one. It was one of the first books on abuse I read. I wish there were more coming from the Christian perspective.

    God Bless!

  3. Carolyn on October 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    I am a 52 yr. old wife in a destructive relationship. My faith is my life and my sanity.

    What kind of topics, resources or help are you looking for as you read this blog?  

    How to deal with church leaders who automatically accept abusive husband’s hearsay word over the wife’s, make assumptions and accusations without foundation, practice the belief that both parties must be guilty in some way when there are marital problems, see respectful appeals for exploration of facts as wrong/an attempt to usurp leadership, etc. I have tried for years to get help through two different churches and several counselors, and in every situation have met this kind of response by male leadership as husband succeeds with conning them… Husband lives a double life, presenting one face to the church while at home practicing a pornography addiction, a cold entitlement spirit, passive-aggressive manipulative type behaviors. Overall there seems to be an apparent thrill in seeing me struggle. If it were not for the Lord, I would have emotionally collapsed a long time ago. Thanks to ministries like yours, Leslie, I am regularly reminded of God’s truth and am able to find the encouragement needed to carry on….

    And, Kim, bless you, your story sounds so much like my my own (except for the prescription drugs part – but maybe that discovery just hasn’t been made yet) … I, too, never dreamed I would be in this place 25 + yrs. ago at the wedding altar. I, too, struggle more with fear of the ramifications of leaving than with staying. I, too, having been a homeschooling mom have not worked outside the home in 18 + years … So sorry to hear how others are experiencing this deep sorrow and loss of dream for a healthy and whole family. Wish there was a way we could network and meet one another to provide further support …
    Hey…. Leslie, perhaps adding an interactive message board for hurting women could be a future consideration. ????

    • Leslie Vernick on October 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      Carolyn,

      I think that’s a great idea, although I think you can reply to one another on this blog too. But I’ll check into it.

  4. Amanda on October 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I’m a 30 yr old female, married for almost 6 yrs now. I am in a destructive relationship. My faith is very important. I know God loves me and He is working in all of this. I am mainly wanting to know how to not be codependent, how to be strong in what I know is right, how to act/react to my husband, know how to take care of myself and my kids, know how to love more like Christ and what that looks like in a human relationship. I appreciate your writings, and I look forward to your new book. Thanks.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks Amanda, I will be covering a lot of that in my new book. Pray for wisdom for my writing. I have so much to say and only so many chapters to say it.

  5. Elizabeth on October 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I am 58, married for 35 years, in an increasingly destructive relationship. My husband is a practicing Christian, owns a successful business, but is a narcissist and underwrites his company expenses from our savings and taking out loans against our home. I now realize he has been deceitful, manipulative and controlling…propping up his ego and throwing me under the bus.

    My faith is my anchor. We have recently switched churches, as I came to realize that our legalistic church would only prop up his ego and tell me to keep submitting to his authority. I suspect that my one son may also suffer from this disorder.
    What practical suggestions do you have for those of us dealing with NPD?

    • Leslie Vernick on October 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm

      There is no easy way to live with a person with NPD unless you are willing to play your role with no expectations of him being equally empathic or giving to you. Narcissists like to be admired, to be right and to win. If you can set limits with him in a way that he thinks he’s won, that would be helpful. For example, when he’s expecting you to do multiple things instead of saying “you’re selfish” which will get you nowhere, ask him, “Which is most important to you. This or that as I can’t do both.” That satisfies his need to be admired and get something from you. Sad to say, but if you choose to stay, do so wisely so you dont’ get sucked dry.

  6. Sherry on October 10, 2012 at 1:43 am

    I am soon to be 57 and have been married for 27 years. It has never been a good marriage. I was so miserable for so long and begged God to show me what was going on and He did! Over the past 2 1/2 years I have worked with a Christian therapist who helped me see how abusive my husband is.
    I never thought in a million years I would be in the position to start my life over at this age. I work for my husband so I put up with him at work and at home. However, I know God will provide! He has started me on this journey and led me through some amazing lessons – why I ended up with a man like my husband and I feel like a new person!
    I too went to my church for help in understanding what was happening in my marriage and was rebuffed and ignored. But God led me to another church where I am learning to walk more and more in grace and get rid of my shame and isolation. Every time I go to the church I feel loved and welcomed and have been able to be honest about my marriage with these great people!

    • Leslie Vernick on October 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      So glad you’ve found a new church family. That support is so important.

  7. CJ on October 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I am a 36-year-old woman in a destructive marriage. My relationship with God is central to my life, although I sometimes stuggle to believe that God is near and God loves me. When things are bad at home, it doesn’t always feel that I can count on God. I come to your web site looking for validation that I’m not being crazy or oversensitive in my feelings and perceptions of my husband’s verbal attacks, manipulation and porn addiction. Maybe you’d call it diagnostic information — is this or isn’t this a healthy way of relating. I’m looking for actions I haven’t tried, and validation that it’s OK to put up some boundaries to protect myself, although my husband objects.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 30, 2012 at 1:08 am

      You definitely will want to read my new book because I do that and more. It is so sad that we doubt our own thoughts that we would be wrong to put up boundaries against someone’s pornography addiction isn’t it. It is not only not wrong, it is essential.

  8. Pam on October 10, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Sad how a recurring theme is failure of the church to help. I am a 47 yr old woman, married for 28 years to one who has been verbally,financially, sexually abusive. I have always wanted to be pleasing to God and so followed the counsel I received from my pastor to “submit.” It has taken years to realize that I was enabling bad behavior. My divorce will be final in a few weeks. It’s sad to realize that I probably need to find another church. Hard to lose so many relationships. Thank you, Leslie, for your wisdom.

  9. Leslie Vernick on October 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Yes that makes me sad too that the church has so failed women and men and their families in dealing with this issue. I will have a whole chapter for church leaders in my new book plus some helpful things in the appendix. Thanks for sharing and I hope we can begin to build a real community of support with one another.

  10. Angela on October 11, 2012 at 3:54 am

    I am a 47 year old woman.
    My husband and I have been married for 26 years.
    My faith is my salvation. Two years ago my husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness which in turn magnified his narcissistic and BPD behaviors that I have been seeking answers to for our entire marriage.
    He has masked his abusive demands as ‘submission’.
    I do not know why the Lord withheld or protected me from knowing the truth of his behaviors, but now certain boundaries are difficult to set with his illness.
    Some days I do not know if I should call my attorney or my therapist. My husband’s last form of control is our money. Upon his death, the finances will be strictly controlled by his wishes. I seek to survive the high’s and low’s of the emotional abuse. My number one desire is to please the Lord. I seek clarity of His word regarding divorce in my particular situation.

  11. sheila on October 11, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I am a 50 year old woman. My faith is extremely important to me. I am a relatively new believer and I spend a great deal of time trying to understand biblical principals, especially regarding relationships and reading the word to watch and understand how Jesus acted and interacted with others. I am single but am still enmeshed in a destructive relationship. I can not seem to say no or break away. I stating seeing a biblical counselor who really helped me to see just how destuctive this relationship is. I had thought all my life that it was just the way it is and that there was something wrong with me that I felt anger and resentment toward someone who professed to love me. Now I know the love of Christ. I know it is His plan for me to have a life and other relationships outside of this relationship. But knowing and changing are very different.
    The destructive relationship I am in, like most others, isolates me from others. This makes changing even more difficult. I think it would be great to have a place to go to interact with others regarding the steps we are taking to make changes and help support and encourage eachother to see Christ when we actually do do something differenly or encouter obstacles or feelings that make us want to turn back, change our minds or give in to feelings of convenience, anxiety or fear. Stepping out of my isolated world, I feel very awkward and alone. Maybe joining together, we can help eachother overcome some of that and focus instead on God’s abundant grace in every situation.

  12. Liz V Stephan on October 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I am a 52 year-old woman and Jesus is my precious Friend, the Lover of my soul, and my Savior. Unfortunately I have been married for 27 years to a Christian man who has slowly but surely transformed from a bit self-centered and quirky to a prescription drug addict with a history of job changes, broken relationships, and not much peace. It took me a long time to figure out that I was in an emotionally abusive marriage, and while I feel some things have improved, it saddens me that we are missing out on what God really wants a marriage to be. I am gaining an enormous amount of help by being in Al-Anon this year. I am seeing that living in very long, unhealthy marriages is a family trait! I would love to keep on learning everything I can on living healthy and Godly in such a marriage, dealing with NPD, addiction, stopping the pattern from being handed to the next generation, and thinking toward finding my own calling. I feel God has a plan for my future, one day at a time. I want to make better choices in the future, and I believe I can trust Him to show me the way and take care of me if I follow Him. I really don’t want to get divorced, but I also want something better for us both.

  13. Linda on October 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Hi, Leslie,

    I am a 55 yr old divorced woman. I was in a destructive relationship, married for 29 years to a man that I believe has a personality disorder (like several here; also, he became a militant atheist whose greatest accomplishment in life was turning his kids away from God–his own words). I vowed to myself to leave no stone unturned before I decided to divorce, and I diligently sought the Lord’s guidance and direction, asking Him to show me what He wanted me to know in order to make the right decision for me and my kids. It was a lengthy process, but I am free and at peace about it all.

    I want to encourage the women here, that if God directs their steps to divorce, they will succeed and be free; it doesn’t mean it will be easy, but the Lord will hold your hand and keep you from falling (Ps. 37:23). I am in the trenches–I want to make that clear. Nobody seems to want to hire a stay-at-home mom of 28 years, even if I have a Bachelors degree! But God is good, He will provide.

    And yes, my faith is important to me, never been more important than now. Ultimately, isn’t that what all this has been about anyways? God calling us to be closer to Him, to grow our faith in Him, to lean upon Him only, and not a mere man. THIS is exciting!!! I have never felt more loved by Jesus than now. 🙂

  14. diana on October 11, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I am a 44 year old women. I have been married for 18 years to a emotionally abusive man. He is controlling and manipulative. At first I thought i could fix our relationship by being a better person. But the more i did for him the more he expected. It was never enough. He once asked me “Where would you be if I hadn’t come along, HUH?!” Over the years he has promised to change many times. He knows when I get to the point where enough is enough. The last few times ( over the last couple years) he claims that he just didn’t realize what he was doing and that his eyes have been opened. He says he knows it’s all his fault. I don’t trust him. I am tired of the walls I feel i need to have up to protect myself from his emotional head-games.

  15. Amy Hannaford on October 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Linda, I couldn’t agree with you more…”if God directs their steps to divorce, they will succeed and be free; it doesn’t mean it will be easy, but the Lord will hold your hand and keep you from falling.” Amen!

    I know without a doubt that the Lord took me out of an abusive marriage, that He set me free. My ex-husband left me almost four years ago and honestly, if he had not left I’m not sure where I would be today…probably still in that marriage trying everything to make it work even though the problem was not primarily mine.

    I was 44 when he left me with two sons and a mortgage and although I had been a certified childbirth educator for years I primarily was a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and getting a job was not easy. I did eventually get a job about 9 months after he left, only to be fired 3 months later when my employers wrongfully accused me of stealing money from them…that was another nightmare on top of going through a divorce. 🙁 I finally went back to college and got a certificate in medical assisting and landed a job two months before I graduated.
    I lived on food stamps (the first time ever being on them), had my sons on the state health plan for medical insurance, did freelancing writing to help pay bills, used credit cards judiciously, and trusted the Lord to provide the rest…which he did faithfully every single month. Sometimes right at the eleventh hour. But never once in those two and 1/2 years before I got a job was I late on my mortgage, car payment or any other bill.

    And the best part to my story, is I found the Lord again. It wasn’t until my husband left that I realized I had put God on the back burner because I was so busy surviving each day in that marriage that I became lukewarm in my walk with God. Once my husband left, I leaned on the only constant thing in my life…Him. I became so entrenched in His Word, so prayerful about everything in my life and I actually begin to see the beauty of life again, and I changed.

    Unfortunately, as my walk grew stronger I discovered so many wrong teachings in the church that my ex-husband and I had attended that eventually I left and found a new church. Only one elderly couple stood beside me in my long, painful walk into and through a divorce, but pastor and men of the church especially encouraged me over and over to take my ex back because I was to fix the marriage and be a better Godly wife.

    God molded me and shaped me through the long, painful path I walked, and not once, not one time did I doubt Him. Yes, I cried, yes, I worried at times, but over and over again the Lord brought verses and people into my life to show me His faithfulness. He provided constantly and once someone asked me how in the world I was still living in the home we’d had and I simply smiled and said, “because of Him.” They were amazed.
    And I did survive.

    I started writing a blog at that time which is still up and available to read. I would suggest to anyway walking through this hard path to journal, pray and give it all to God. He will show you the way, He will see you through no matter what road you take.

  16. annonymous on October 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I am a 48 year old woman struggling with issues I never dreamed I would face. The biggest things I find myself struggling with right now are grief and intense anger….anger at myself that I did not realize that I was getting into an abusive marriage when I got married 23 years ago; anger that the last 23 years of my life has been spent in an abusive marriage; anger that, after finally beginning to realize that I was in an abusive marriage,I am now faced with decisions about whether to stay or go. I am angry that my precious children and I have had to live through such hell, angry that I can never get back what feels like 24 wasted years of my life…..I feel broken, angry, betrayed, full of grief, and overwhelmed at how I would go back into the workforce after being a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom for the past 20-plus years. I am angry and grief-stricken that my five children may become part of the statistic of children coming from a “broken home”…..these are just some of the intense feelings with which I have been struggling over the past few months. One thought that keeps coming back to me is, “How did this happen when I tried to do everything right??” I was, and am, a believer and wanted with ALL my heart to have a good, solid Chrisitian marriage and home. It mattered to me more than anything else, and I was very careful about who I dated because I did not want to end up in a marriage that wasn’t honoring to God. And yet, somehow, I ended up in a marriage with a man who claims to be a believer, but who has verbally and emotionally destroyed me and my children. There are many days when I feel like this must all be a bad dream, and I desperately want to wake up and find that things are different than what they really are. I feel lost, confused, and overwhelmed with grief and anger. I am scared, and not sure how to proceed from here. I first heard you speak, and got your books, from a Hearts at Home conference a few years ago, and it took all the courage I had to even sign up for your sessions! I don’t even remember exactly what you spoke on. I just remember reading the course description, and knowing that I desperately needed to hear you. But doing that was a big step for me, because it was the very first time that I ever really allowed myself to consider whether or not I was in an abusive marriage. I felt ashamed and weepy as I made my way to the session, and remember being surprised that the room was filled to capacity! I thought that I was the only one who struggled with such things! 🙂 I remember coming home and reading your books for the first time, and weeping all the way through them….because there, on those pages, was someone who knew the secrets of my life and was showing me that I really wasn’t crazy! Your website has become a lifeline for me, because it is one of the few places where I feel understood, and where abuse issues are addressed from a spiritual perspective. I wish there was a way to get your newest book now, because I feel desperate to read any and all counsel you have. I am greatly appreciative of your work, and you will probably never know on this side of eternity just how many lives you have touched and influenced!

    • Leslie Vernick on October 30, 2012 at 1:11 am

      Thank you. I’m sorry – I”m just getting more familiar with this blog site and knowing how to respond and approve of comments. My new book will help you feel very validated and give you specific things you can do and say both to be a godly wife and protect yourself if your husband continues acting sinfully against you. I have a chapter written for churches because they have been so inadequate in seeing and addressing this problem. I’m so glad you were willing to attend that seminar and have God show you the truth. He wants to heal you and your husband. But one word of advice. Don’t make your marriage your most important thing. That will always disappopint you, even if it’s a good marrige. Keep God first.

    • LJ on November 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      You just described so much of *my* life and emotions–I have been so alone in this for years, hiding the pain and reality of this disappointing life and trying to keep it all together for the health of our kids–I just heard Leslie on Focus on the Family a few weeks ago. I can’t stop sobbing now. its all very overwhelming. I am so sorry for your pain, but am taken back by our similarities. I am ordering these books somehow. Oh God help me.

  17. George on October 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I am a 43 year old male who is divorced. I came to this site because of the Focus on the Family show I heard this morning. I was encouraged by Leslie’s story and wanted to know more.

    I ventured into this blog in hopes of learning more and seeing what was actually felt and expressed. It seems I am the only man that has and I believe I have an understanding why, but will leave that to later if someone ask…

    I was raised by a very controlling and abusive woman who taught me what “Love” was. I in turn married a woman very much like my mother and continued the “Love” relationship with my spouse. What was this “Love” that my mother had taught me and my wife exhibited? I had to prove my love daily, I was a blank check that had to cover whatever expense was pursued emotionally, mentally, and financially. I was a decent man when their belly was full from “whatever” pleased them at the moment and an utter failure whenever I failed them. (Later I coined the phrase filling up the Grand Canyon with pennies – an impossible task that required every ounce of energy)

    I accepted full responsibility for all of the short comings in my marriage and for the longest time in the relationship with my mother. I went to counseling and told the counselor I was the problem. After all, it was all I heard for my entire life and marriage. Holidays were great when both women could berate and manipulate together. The only falling out was when my mother tried to get in between my wife and I and all hell broke loose. Needless to say the woman I tried to sleep with won that battle. But wait, no one saw this but me! Everything was so passively done that most everyone saw sweet endearing women who “only wanted what was best for me!”

    I started losing my mind and sought out more counseling, this time marital since I was becoming angry and losing control of my own behaviors. I was becoming reckless because I had no where to go, no where to hide. Life was becoming more unmanageable and I needed it to stop.

    I need to note that we had taken our first child to a counselor years before and the man told me to protect my children and get help. My wife was became totally unhinged and we needed to seek other opinions. I sought help for myself and every therapist was more than happy to take my money and run me down too. After all I was telling them it was all my fault. Sorry, I digressed…

    The first counselor was a “christian” counselor who within 3 sessions declared me a NPD and that my wife was an abused spouse. (She had started seeing him 3 weeks before I went) I was taken aback and begun to research and see what it was that I had, what could I do, how could I fix this! Amazingly, by the fifth session I was in even more pain and feeling even more desperate.

    He suggested that we go get testing, since I was “unwilling” to listen to his counseling. My wife anxiously agreed as she wanted to prove just how terrible I was and had been. Within 3 weeks, a battery of psychological test were administered and psychological exams were given. WE were suppose to see each other results, but my wife decided that I didn’t need to see hers and that the psychologist could no longer discuss her results with me. I thought nothing of this, since I was the one with the problem. EXCEPT, I wasn’t the one with the problem… (years later when these test became fodder for custody, it showed I was the abused spouse and she had personality disorders)

    We stayed with this psychologist for 18 months and I finally began to feel human. We stopped at the request of my wife and within months we were back to old problems and it was still my fault. I reluctantly decided to return to the first counselor so she could feel better about therapy and getting help… Within 3 months of this I had to leave home. Why?

    Long story short… I was married to a Borderline. Her five minute window that she showed the world was amazingly beautiful. The church, the school, anyone who “pretended” to be paying attention bought everything she said hook line and sinker! Yet, anyone who actually invested any time with her, who was healthy, walked away as fast as they could.

    It wasn’t until I was away from the toxic hell for 12 months that I truly began to see just how miserable, manipulative, and evil she was. Furthermore, I realized once I got away from her, her five minute window exposed her for who she really was. She has bounced around from religion to religion, spewing her “victimness” over anyone who is willing to listen and doing all she can to destroy the relationship I have with our children.

    For the first time in my life, I have real friends. I have old friends tell me things that I couldn’t believe about what they saw in the marriage and why they backed away. They are so happy I left her. I am financially ruined because of this divorce, lost everything I had worked 20 years for. It took 4 years to get joint custody of my children. WE live just above poverty and my ex still refuses to work as she is entitled to never work again… after all she was a faithful stay at home mom for 12 years! My kids are now threatening to leave her because of the continued craziness in her home!

    In a nut shell, both men and women have the same problems. Men like me have few places to go and even fewer people who listen. Women can always find another woman to cry on, even if that other woman is a manipulative interloper just looking to feed off your own pain…. Yes, my ex is famous for this and usually within 12-18 months she is run out of her “new” church because of the destruction she causes. See, “God” tells her things and they are always negative things about men. She doesn’t say them, “God” does…

    My faith in God, saved me and my children. For without him we would have been lost. I praise God and ask everyone here to work hard on themselves without blame to anyone else. You are responsible for where you are, blaming your spouse or others will not help you. Finding out what it is underneath is what will give you the backbone to have boundaries and live again.

    My ex was losing control because I had learned healthy boundaries. Those boundaries were “Abusive” to her since she could no longer have her way… I learned to keep my side of the street clean and no longer allowed her to push her garbage on my side of the street. When it was time for her to keep her side of the street clean and she could no longer dump on me, the marriage was over and all hell broke loose.

    I found a great counselor who saw us both just before the divorce and he recognized the problems in both of us. He was instrumental in my recovery and for helping me stay focused on God and my healing. My relationship with my mother is as best as it will ever get. I hold to healthy boundaries and either walk away or hang up once a couple of nice warnings are issued about her negative behavior. Five years later my mother tries, she hates it but she knows I will protect myself and my children from her if she doesn’t behave… It isn’t always pretty, but it is no longer my problem.

    My children are in pain, but I continue to work with them in helping them with their self esteem and reality checks in life… It is hard because she is just so icy sweet and cold…

  18. Ken on October 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I am a 50 year old man divorced twice and seem to have a long pattern with destructive abusive relationships with active controllers that seems to stem from having unresolved issues with my active controlling father. I believe my second wife demonstrates uni-dimensional behaviors common symptoms of diagnosed with waif borderline personality disorder punishing me for her abandoning the relationship that she abandoned and blames on me by alienating me from my two year old daughter. (sigh) My daughter is in another country, 3,000 miles away and I haven’t seen her for almost 1000 days, since she was three weeks old. When I heard your story today a lot of things seemed strangely yet hopefully familiar with how my ex was treated by her mother and how my ex seems to be using my daughter.
    As for faith, G-d has been wonderfully close to me at my time of deepest sorrow and need – giving me hope in such simple yet miraculous ways, like tuning in and hearing you today. I thank G-d for you, your ministry and Focus. And it was this situation that helped bring me back into a closer relationship with G-d, so it is true that all things to work together for good, but it is also true that things still aren’t over. I believe G-d has shown me that something bad things happen for His good purposes and both miracles and comfort can’t happen if you are not in a place for Him to perform miracles or provide comfort. I believe David suffered with a similar issues with King Saul and also demonstrated when dealing with an abusive toxic individual. And Jesus when dealing with the spiritually blind after healing the blind man who had been blind since birth when dealing with the abusive spiritually blind religious leaders demonstrated things that didn’t work like truth, a changed life and human logic but seemed to demonstrate the things that worked as prayer and the Holy Spirit. So my faith and my prayer are very important to me.
    I married crazy and I know that is part of my part in my situation. Like you said on the program today, I realize can’t change my ex, or even get her to acknowledge her behavior, but I can change me so that I have the courage and the strength to stand up and do the right things with my daughter as I am able to have opportunities. So the resources I am looking for are based in my perceptions of my needs for knowledge to understand High Conflict Personalities so that I can be effective in my communications while limiting toxic feedback. I need to work on me with my self-esteem, and own issues that often codependently entangle me in the details of the toxic relationship and emotional abuse. I need to work on my triggers. And I always need to work on my forgiveness.
    Finally I thank G-d for you – for your courage to share your story – and your heart to take the truth of your deep wounds, lessons learned and healing of your past and allow it to reap dividends in healing for others like it did for me today.

  19. Melanie on October 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I’m a 32 year old single christian woman. I have a few destructive relationships that I am in. In my family and at my workplace. I would like practical help in learning how to deal with controlling people (coworkers). I don’t feel called to change my job but at the same time it has become very unbearable to go to work.

  20. George on October 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Hi Melanie. Don’t you just love controlling people??? No, OK…

    I found that I had a bulls-eye on my back when it came to “controlling” people. I had learned early to enable and be co-dependent, which controlling people eat up like slop. So, I had to learn to say NO, I had to learn that “caring for” someone was different than “taking care of” them. Learning how to set limits on what you will do and won’t do goes a long way in helping you deal with these types of people. The majority will push back to see if you are serious, then look for new targets. However, this is not necessarily true for bosses or strong parents or siblings who almost feel its their “right” to control your life. These people require more tact and stronger backbone, since they almost feel entitled to control you. Also, working on having healthy relationships with other healthy people will help build your self esteem so that too will empower you to keep controlling people at bay…

  21. Lynnsay on July 28, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Question for your blog:

    As a believer, am I required to take my husband back when he starts “looking” like he is making the changes I have always wanted him to make? I do not trust him.

    We have been married 26 years, and separated the last 3 1/2 years. This is our second separation. Over the past year, he has finally started to make some important changes, however I am suspicious that he has only switched tactics, now going with self-depreciation to try to look like he has changed because he is living at his parents house and wants to come back home. He was emotionally, verbally, financially and spiritually abusive to me, starting as early as the honeymoon. Because I never believed in divorce, I had felt terribly trapped in a marriage that died over 20 years ago because I have not known of any infidelity. It has taken me this long (3.5 years) to finally accept that God’s heart for me would be to continue working on my own healing, rather than trying to focus at the same time on trying to further repair our very broken marriage. I am happy for him if any of these changes are real, but I do not have any desire to continue the marriage. I have not shed one tear over him being gone except for tears of joy. My oldest son has expressed the same. After a lifetime of abuse, first from a very traumatic childhood, followed by an abusive marriage, this time of separation has been the most stable, healing, and happy I have been in my entire life. Since separating, I have cut my meds more than in half, and actually started a career at age 48. I do not want to go backwards and I am finally believing God’s grace for me regarding my marriage because I know he wants me to be healthy and whole. Do you have any thoughts regarding this? Do you have thoughts regarding coming from two back-to-back lifetimes of abuse? I was too broken to recognize how very unhealthy our marriage was, and he didn’t see it either. I am now too healthy to live the way we had been living. I am very scared to tell him that I feel divorce is the only right option left, because I am finished with pretending.

    (My name is Tammy but I am signing below with my FB name if that is okay)

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