lonely unloved ignored

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning friends,

Be sure to visit my home page and watch this week’s video describing the difference between a difficult, disappointing and destructive marriage. Each week on Monday I will post something new.

I just received some advanced copies of my new book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope. They are not for sale, they are not mistake proof, but if you are a ministry leader, pastor, or counselor and you’d like to preview this book I’d be happy to send you one. In return, I would ask you to blog, tweet, and otherwise let your social network know about this important new resource. E-mail me at leslie@leslievernick.com with your name, address, ministry position and I will get you out a copy this week.

Today’s Question: I’ve separated but he hasn’t changed. Now what?

In January I left my husband of 35 years. His behavior had become so destructive that our adult children were trying to figure out how to see me without him. I presented my concerns to him but got nowhere.

It was like a trip down the road to insanity. I felt that leaving was the last resort, but it became the only one I had and the only thing that would get his attention. That has proven to be true. He was “devastated”, “never saw it coming”, and willing to do anything to fix it. Thus began several months of whining, begging, complaining and feeling sorry for himself.

He started seeing a counselor but after about 6 weeks quit and started seeing a family friend who happens to be a counselor. I asked him to work on the relationships with our 5 children, become responsible financially, look at why it is ok to lie, break promises, make major decisions independently and lie about them etc. He agreed those were “bad behaviors” and says they will not be repeated.

He tells me he has changed and will only do what I want from now on. Now, after 6 months apart I feel like things have changed very little. There is no real plan in place to make amends for financial issues, if anything the relationships with the kids are worse, he still makes excuses and gives himself credit for ” sticking with me through this”.

Really? We have been seeing each other a few times a week for the last month or so and I feel like I am going back to being frustrated, confused and preoccupied with trying to fix him when I know I cannot.

The counseling seems to be doing very little. I am wondering if he should be continuing to go without me as working on communication seems to be so far from what is really at the root of the matter. I'm wondering if you have any advice. It feels rather hopeless. I get that it will take time but I feel like unless we are doing the right things during this separation, we will not end up where we want to be. I want so badly to do what is “right” before God. I am struggling to determine what that is. We have gone through many difficulties, including the deaths of 2 children, things we had no control or choice about.

This entire situation is frustrating and maddening…..it didn't have to be this way. He is still attending our church so I do not….consequently I feel isolated and like I'm the “wrong” one. It feels like nothing is the way it should be…Forgive my ramblings. Thanks for listening.

Answer: I left your question in tact because it describes the craziness so many people live with but the essence of your question was: “You’re wondering if he should continue to go to counseling without you, as working on communication seems to be so far from really is at the root of the matter.”

Difficulty communicating is not his or your marriages main problem. He communicates just fine. The problem is that what he communicates is deceitful and hurtful. The problem is that he’s indifferent to your concerns, feelings, and needs. The problem is he makes and breaks promises to you and the children and shows little awareness how that breaks trust. The problem is he’s put your family finances in a mess and there is no plan to remedy that. The question you may need to ask his counselor is whether or not his personal counseling is addressing his problems? If not, then what is he working on in counseling? If it is just a venting session about you that will not help him address his problems.

When a couple separates and one or both individuals are in personal counseling, I highly recommend having a release of information signed so that you can speak to his counselor about what you see are problems in the marriage and obstacles to reconciliation. Otherwise, his counselor is only hearing from his point of view. In addition, if you’re both in counseling, the counselors find it very beneficial if they can speak to one another about the issues they are seeing in order to compare notes and help you both obtain the help you need.

From your letter, you are not seeing any progress in your husband tackling the problems that caused you to separate from him. Talking with his counselor will give you a better idea on whether or not his counselor is actually working with your husband on these issues or not, and if he is, what progress he feels your husband is making or capable of making.

If your husband refuses to sign a release of information for you to talk with his counselor, then that says a lot. He says he’s not interested in accountability and transparency. It says he still may be lying to you as to whether or not he’s even attending counseling or what he’s actually working on. It says very clearly that you are not far enough along in the process for you to even consider reconciliation.

That brings me to your problem. Your problem is that you felt crazy in the marriage with your husband’s behavior. Your problem was your adult children didn’t want to see you with your husband, their father. Your problem is your financial future is in jeopardy and if he doesn’t do something to fix the problem, the consequences of his choices will also fall on your head. Your solution to your problem was to separate after trying for years to communicate with him the effects his actions were having on you and the children. He seemed remorseful but that remorse has not really resulted in the changes you were hoping for or the changes he promised. Now what?

I wish I could tell you to hang in there and that there is hope. But honestly, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Without a serious effort to do things differently as well as structured accountability in place (that your husband invites and welcomes), it is not likely that anything will change on his end. He’s had six months to do something and he’s done nothing. He’s expecting that you will grow tired of the separation, perhaps feel lonely and take him back. But if you do, understand that nothing has changed. The question you have to ask yourself is do you want to continue to live this way?

In marriage, we bind ourselves together to another person. When that person continues to jump into the fire of foolishness and destruction, it’s time to loosen the tie if you don’t want to continue to get burned. You’ve done that by separating. Only you know whether or not you need to take the next step in order to stay safe and sane.

 

104 Comments

  1. Linda Stoll on July 15, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Oh yes.

    Part of that whole crazy-making scenario is that continued hard-hearted defensiveness and a refusal to not own our own stuff, sins, mistakes. It’s always everyone else’s fault and there’s a never-ending list of promises that do nothing but fall flat.

    ‘By their fruit you’ll know them.’

    Dear sister, I hope, I pray that you and your children will find peace and rest as you move ahead. And a loving, supportive community in which to worship and be nurtured and heal.

    • Brenda B on July 16, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      Wow. I think my husband and I found a way to agree on a settlement and I could be free within a few weeks. Although, it is sad to see a marriage end, well it would be if I felt we had a marriage, I want to jump up and down and dance in the street. It is amazing, during this time he still remained defiant and trying to be in control. He is aware that there will be no chance of any relationship whatsoever if he doesn’t get counseling and show a lengthy period of improved behavior. All I could say is one step at a time. I feel like a brick was just taken from my heart and I can breathe again. I feel like a young woman, which I’m not, moving out of her Mothers home for the first time. I have never lived alone before. I have been here a little over a month, but only enjoy it part of the time, the other part I am being harassed by phone calls and demands. I won’t have that anymore very soon. I think I will invite people over for dinner. I have to remember how one does that. Invite some of my sisters in Christ to join me for a meal. Anyone out there live in Mid Michigan? I’ll give you an invite.

      I know this should be sad, but for me the sad part is over. I’m ready to shout praises and hallelujah’s for my delivery from oppression. I do hope my husband gets the help me needs and can find freedom from anger and being an abuser. I understand less than 1% manage to overcome and heal enough to be able to restore with their family. Baby steps. This time I know what to look for. I will not go back or even continue communication if I am given even a small amount to worry about. Healing and living, really living are in my future. AMEN.

      • Jodie on July 19, 2013 at 11:06 am

        Brenda, I wished I lived in Mid Michigan because I would sure enjoy having dinner with you! I recently came out of an abusive marriage and we are going through a very difficult divorce. I am in court regularly defending my business and property. Even with all of that, I feel the same as you about “dancing in the streets”. If I had known that getting out would feel this good, I would have done it sooner. I stayed because I honestly believe in marriage and think that people should do all they can to make it work. I now realize that when there is abuse, there is no marriage relationship because the abuser has broken covenant. If they refuse to get help or show fruit of change, then it is over. Congratulations on your freedom! I pray that you will put the same faith and prayer that you had in God to restore your marriage into knowing that He will provide for ALL of your needs. God bless!

      • cristle on July 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm

        Brenda,
        I am in the same situation as you are – although I’m not quite so excited. I’m more healthy about my wants and expectations for reconciliation, but I am not jumping for joy at being separated, I am actually sad about it and am lonely. I know I’m doing right by separating though.
        I was wondering – where did you get your statistic of < 1% actually change from being abusive? If this is true, how do we qualify that in our minds/spirits about having faith that God will work a miracle in my husband's life/behavior/beliefs? I feel like I'm not being faithful to knowing God can work a miracle in our marriage if I just move on. I know my husband and our marriage is in God's hands and I realize that we may very well end up in divorce due to 'free will' – which My husband is very freely partaking in right now with his rebellion to what God has called of him for our marriage. But, I struggle knowing that God CAN change my situation and work a miracle, but knowing that due to that 'free will' He may not be able to change my husband's ways. So, how does my faith enter in here? How do I know whether or not I should file/serve him with papers – because I struggle with the fact that if I do this, I am 'giving up on' our marriage and may be interfering with God's working in our life. Yet I have to protect myself also and many godly friends assure me that I should do this, and no action on my part can limit God's power to work on my husband regardless of what I do, just so I am walking in God's will for my life. And, there's the crux. Knowing what His perfect will is for my life in this horrible situation. Your statistic of <1% change gives me clarity somewhat – if it's a true percentage. I don't want to hinder God's working in our relationship, but I need to be smart and realistic for today also – so I'm struggling with moving on and worrying that it is an indication of my lack of faith in the healing of my marriage. I struggle with the fact that if I serve him, I am causing harm to the possible healing/reconciliation – even though my husband has let me know in no uncertain terms that now HE doesn't want me and wants a divorce and claims things like "God has released me from my vow" – after me leaving due to his abuse for many years – 30 yrs. I left hoping for us to go to counseling and see where we were – but then he left the state and doesn't care about doing right – His words. He states many shocking spiritual deceptions that he partakes in now. Twistings of the Scriptures and lies he states about me and to me – even to our children, who he has also left. It's really very sad. Thanks for sharing.
        Cristle

        • Brenda B on July 28, 2013 at 6:13 am

          Christie: I may sound a bit too over joyed but that was at a high point. The lows can be just as intense and his attempts at abuse are still happening. Finding any agreement with my husband have been far and few in between throughout the marriage. I do not consider our marriage to actually be a marriage. God did not intend us to be persecuted in marriage if we are to be persecuted it will be for the cause of Christ and no other. If I am called to do that I am prepared and I pray I would go out telling the truth about his death, burial and resurrection. I was healing from this farce of a marriage over time and feel confident that I am where God wants me to be. He set me free. My husband would be thrilled for me to go back, but he would also not have changed and I would be under his control once again which was debilitating spiritually, emotionally, physically. I have Multiple Sclerosis. He is now trying to use my feelings and desire to leave him on my medications. I must be having a reaction to them or I would not have left him. I feel perfectly safe and secure in myself everywhere, but with him–NO. I feel safe in my new surroundings and thinking of going back–I see that as casting me in prison. God has supplied all of my needs and I feel he has answered my prayers. The answer was no to the healing of my marriage and yes to my healing.

          My statistic for the <1% comes from the Underground Railroad where I at one point spent three months with my 2 daughters. My life had been threatened. I had five minutes to get out without my girls or I would be killed. I was out, but with my children. I left my home in the middle of the night in a thin night gown, my girls and nothing else. I had absolutely nothing but my faith that God would provide and he did. Although I have been trapped in abuse for 20 years since then, God has used it for good. I am much stronger now, my girls have seen what can happen and are more empowered from it. My oldest daughter is about to marry a very kind and gentle man. My youngest swears to never get married and that is fine too if it is what is best for her. I only hope that my experiences will help someone else some day.

          The UR gave me and others that statistic based on their knowledge of men who went through treatment for abusive behavior. Most do not finish the course or do not see their problem at all. Very view turn away from their abusive ways and go on to abuse others. God did not cause this. Satan has ahold of these people. You cannot change another person, only God can. Miracles do happen, but not always. God is in charge of that, not us. I am holding firm to my faith and ask His will in my life each day.

          I did not make my decision to leave lightly and do not apologize for my joy when things do go right. I am living by faith like everyone who is in Christ. If God wants a reconciliation in this marriage, it will happen but I do not hold on to that hope any longer. I walked out of my marriage with Jesus as my only friend and a good one. I now hope to start having the opportunity to interact with other ladies and be a friend to them as well as them to me.

          I pray that you will find peace in whatever decision you make and Gods will be done in your life.

          • cristle on July 29, 2013 at 9:08 am

            Brenda, thank you for your words of encouragement and honesty. What is “UR”? That statistic is very interesting and I’m so sorry for you having to escape in that underground RR. It must have been a nightmare. Were you escaping from the same man who was emotionally abusing you for the last 20 years? It sounds like 2 different things.
            Anyway, I would not want you to have anything but joy and peace in your situation. I hope one day I can embrace this freedom totally with joy. I’m getting there, slowly. I wish any joy and happiness on all of us ladies. We each deserve it as we walk such a hard road. I would not want any of us to be robbed of an ounce of joy that we can find along this road. We all know how low the lows are. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”, I have applied that to my depression and fear. When we rise above that to have hope, joy and peace, then we know how precious it truly is. I will continue to pray for you, Brenda, for your joy and safety and peace.

            I am so happy to hear your daughters are doing well. Please pray for my relationship with my daughters. They have witnessed how my husband treated me for years, and my counselor says they mimic the way my husband treated me. It has caused such pain. But, no matter what they say to me, I do not respond. I used to, but I just pray that one day their eyes will be opened and they will see things much more clearly. I am just silent. At this point, nothing I say would help the situation. It’s a hard position to be in, but I feel a peace about this response. It sounds like your relationship with your daughters is good and I’m happy for you. The fall-out for me getting out of this marriage has far-reaching tentacles and I just pray for freedom from it all. Thank you for your prayers.



          • Brenda B on July 29, 2013 at 11:14 am

            Yes Christie, these are 2 seperate situations. My former husband divorced me after I escaped to the Underground Railroad (UR). Apparently that was too much for his ego and his ability to control me. He is now deceased. I have been in one type of abusive situation or another my entire life. Starting with my stepfather who was abusive in everyway including sexually. I believe it is learned behavior, the thought that everyone lives this way (wrong thinking) and I didn’t deserve anything better. My present husband has been abusive in everyway at one time or another and is now trying to convince me that my medications are making me turn against him. That is not the case but whatever works for him I suppose. He also tries to use scripture to guilt me into coming back. It isn’t working and most of the time he comes up with scripture that makes no sense as to why he chose it. He was never a Bible reader until I left. I have spent 2 decades with him and things only got worse over time. I no longer feel that I have to live this way. It is so much better living alone and feeling safe than being with someone you live in fear of.

            Yes, it will be an honor to pray for you and your daughters.



      • Mary on January 13, 2014 at 9:22 pm

        Hi Brenda B
        I signed my first ever apt. today, the day I received my finalized divorce papers in the mail, the ones he initiated, today six months to the day of July 13th last year that I left! I’ve never lived by myself. I live in northern central Indiana, southern Michigan area. I escaped him from down south. I loved the comment Lesley left in her answer here about how this “husband” hasn’t done any changing in the last six months of the separation. Mine neither. As of last Friday, in the previous week, he left over 60 e-mails. He filed the divorce, didn’t want it as he said some of the church people were telling him to go ahead with it, so he did. No responsibility. Now that we’re officially divorced, he’s e-mailing me about getting back together. He has never addressed any of the problems, just needs me to be “his helper” like the bible says. he says he said SOME abusive things but I was also to him. No accountability! He is as angry as ever. The same rage I had when with him!I do not hold any hope for him as he’s in his mid 60’s and no counseling… doesn’t want any….but he wants me back but I have to listen to him as Jesus tells the “family head” where to go and lead. I already know where this leads…. to the same abuse I’ve had for 23 years. Love your entries.

      • Mary on January 13, 2014 at 10:05 pm

        Hi Brenda B
        I signed my first apartment today as I’ve never lived on my own in the 59 years I’ve been alive! This will be a new journey for me.It’s the same day I received in the mail my final decree of divorce papers, the ones he initiated because a few members in his church told him to go ahead and do it, so he did. What ever happened to taking responsibility to saying no I am not filing and not going to lay blame on the ones who encouraged me to do so? What ever happened to accountability? He blames THEM for filing. So it was final Jan. 8th and in that week he e-mailed me over 60 times. He is as angry as ever and very bitter at me as I didn’t fall for the trap in coming back before the final decree. He wanted me to come back and then he could put an extension on the divorce. But guess what? He said with the holiday and short notice, he couldn’t. Another manipulative tactic on his part. Now he wants me down south as I live in north central In. lower Mich. He wants me to move back with him but I have to listen to his direction as the family head as that is Gods provision and to be submissive. He wants a “helpmate” as the bible says I am to him. He is very controlling, manipulative, with a few diagnosed personality disorders husband who is verbally, emotionally, and spiritually abusive in all 23 years of marriage! I left last July 13th so he wasted no time in “putting the trash to the curbside.” Lesley’s answer to this question was so perfect as she mentioned that this husband didn’t change in the six months and past behavior is indicative of future behavior. Mine was and is. Loved the part where she says that they hope you’ll grow tired of the separation and be lonely so you’ll come back. They wait like a lion on it’s prey, the weak one. Not anymore! Jesus is my strength. He still and has never taken any responsibility for any of what’s happened. He says he said abusive things BUT so did I. He is off the charts abusive! NO responsibility at all! I hold out no hope for him as he’s in his mid sixties, has never had and doesn’t want any counseling, doesn’t “see” what he’s done but wants me back as he has to take care of “everything on his own”…kind of like I did with him all those years when he didn’t do too much for me…”his cherished wife.” He’s a formally diagnosed Narcissistic Personality Disordered man with another disorder or two not formally diagnosed but observed by professionals over time, not on paper. I agree with them as I see it and lived with it! I pray for him and still love him. I wish for the man I wanted him to be but isn’t. Very painful as he hates me. All one has to do is look at his over 600 e-mails to me in six months. Christians can’t be as angry and as bitter as he is for the last 23 years and call themselves Christians… but he does. He’s always speaking scripture and the newest one is Jesus told him why I left and he’s in no fault..so he prays for me. I was treacherous to him and he will never trust me and doesn’t forgive me. I “believe” there’s scripture on this very teaching! I did nothing to him to warrant what I received. I am and was imperfect but not deserving of this!!! Love all here and in my prayers.

        • Mary on January 13, 2014 at 10:07 pm

          Sorry for the double entry. Late and tired but my mistake. OOPS!

        • Brenda on January 15, 2014 at 7:51 am

          Mary, X hates me one day, loves me the next, which mean to me he always hates me it is all manipulation that just doesn’t work anymore. I am right with you. I took my first apartment alone ever last June, the divorce that he demanded was confirmed on November 19. There has been absolutely no change in him and he has an excuses for not seeking counseling and blames all on me. Such as: I found out about him seeing his ex-wife because I shouldn’t have read his email. He had given me his password so I could monitor it to let me know that all was well. Blame shifting is a big part of his game.

          I love my apartment and the life that I am growing with the Lord’s help. Between work, making meals for the sick, Underground Railroad meetings, taking an elderly friend to appointments, and getting back into regular practice on the piano all I have time left for is sleep. No time to look back or feel sorry for myself. The Lord has provided and truly been good to me as I am sure he will be to you. I live in mid MI and often get down to lower MI where my daughter lives. Maybe sometime we will have the opportunity to meet. Brenda

          • Mary on January 15, 2014 at 7:13 pm

            Brenda B I would love that! Not sure how to do that. let me know.



    • Martha on July 19, 2013 at 7:09 am

      Thank you for your kind words. I was also reminded of” let us not love in word or in tongue but in deed and in truth”

      • Ami on July 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm

        Brenda,

        I just wanted to say. Thank you for your courage to share what has happened over the course of your life. I think we blame ourselves so much and have a hard time leaving because our own behaviors reflected abuse at times. “Learned behavior”. As you said. But when we realize the pain of what is happening to us and start to fight righteously, those still sick only throw our past at us to try and keep us sick. Including becoming fluent in the Bible?!?!? My husband does this too since he left! I couldn’t get him to open the Bible, pray with me and our 5 children or listen to Christian music. I agree 100 percent that it is so much better living alone than with the abuser. I still have 3 children at home. And thankfully they all see through him. And I will be honest and say that I helped them see the sickness. While he was here, they stayed as far away from him as possible. (His abuse is emotional) but when he left my two oldest struggled with feeling sorry for him or believing we just weren’t right for each other??? That hurt so bad. But they are both coming around and realize they bought into his crap. It is hard to watch any of our children believe the lies and it hurts so much. I even blame myself for staying so long because I taught them to enable. But we have a merciful God and prayer is powerful! I too came from a sexually abusive home and have since had to cut all family ties with my mother and siblings because of their abuse and refusing to respect me. I married a man that never desired me and 5 years into our marriage I believed him to be gay even though he is a “mans, man” I let go of that thought and 15 years into our marriage a blow out happened after a weekend away and I never felt right about sex with him after that. Fast forward 7 years and a weekend alone again and a blow up and he flat out asked me if I thought he was gay???? After that weekend he retreated and took the question back. It was then I knew I NEEDED to get out. We have now been apart a yr and in the middle of a messy divorce because of his “money” but I have been able to stay in our big house and get his check monthly. Why does he allow this but every chance he gets calls me, screams at me that I have everything and he is the victim? I believe he is afraid I will “spill” the beans. He owns a trucking company and works with truck drivers, this would kill him. I have been told by God to be silent. and that He will vindicate me. I wait on The Lord. I also have no proof outside of “what I have carried all these years. only God truly knows…. But his abuse was and is real. And I too have joy and peace without his daily put downs, lack of affection, demands, neglect, narcissistic behavior that left me empty, feeling crazy, angry, forsaken, unlovable, and unworthy. And no amount of love, submission, taking all the fault and trying to please an unpleasable person helped. Romans 1:28-32 talks of these people. Now I too am free and have peace and feel Gods presence, His amazing love and forgiveness.

        • Brenda B on July 30, 2013 at 12:25 pm

          My learned behavior came more from my mother. Overlooking everything that my step father did or said. Never speaking up for herself or raising her voice. Always keeping us quiet or out of the way so his rage was not aimed towards us, but it really didn’t work. He once threw a hammer at me because he asked for a pipe wrench and I didn’t know what one was, so I asked. I was small and wiry then so I wasn’t hit that time. He would regularly leave porn under my mattress to find and all sorts of sexual innuendos would happen while my mother was around. My sister and I were always in fear. My mother never new about the sexual abuse until we were grown. I actually think I may have been at least 40 before I said anything. My fear held on that long. It didn’t seem to matter by that time. She stuck with him until he died a couple of years ago.

          When I was about 11 my stepfather had to work out of town during the week and what wonderful occassions those weeks were. My sister and I begged my mom to leave him. Since this was her second marriage she was afraid that she would wind up marrying again to someone worse. I am still not sure that was possible. But her weakness to make a move taught me how I was to behave. No matter what stick with it. You don’t count. Your feelings don’t matter. So this is how I have lived. No more. I will live in a cardboard box underneath an overpass before I will live like this again. The Lord has provided me with my little apartment and everything I need. I am not rich but he has provided a means of escape. Praise the Lord.

          • Ami on August 1, 2013 at 11:39 am

            Brenda,

            That is what I meant whether we become enablers, or at times lash out because we can’t take it. Or whatever behavior we learned. I am proud of you for having the courage to get out. I understand too those childhood memories or many kinds of abuse. Part of my mothers happened to be rage. And the sexual abuse came from her too. My parents divorced and my mothers rage continued. I was my mothers first born to my dad who she did not want to marry and she took her rage out on me and only me, out of 4 children. But as we have both seen, God is an amazing God and He has delivered us from so much. We can now help others who suffer. I pray for you and the other women on here weekly. So thankful to hear the stories shared and know that there
            Are others having the strength through Christ to stop the abuse and heal. ❤



  2. Brenda B on July 15, 2013 at 11:40 am

    In much of what was said I see my circumstance.This sentence: “He was “devastated”, “never saw it coming”, and willing to do anything to fix it. Thus began several months of whining, begging, complaining and feeling sorry for himself”, describes my husband completely. I heard all of it 3 years ago. I heard it over and over again for 3 weeks. This time I left before all of that could start. I was not going to be talked out of it again.

    Are they the same man or at least the same mind. He says he will start counseling, but has excuses for why he doesn’t. I have seen a counselor for several months and in many ways feel so much better. I have refused marriage counseling until he has a proven track record of counseling and change.So far, he has shown me nothing. He may have changed a little since going to church, but is outward, not heart change. He emails and calls with nasty comments. Calls back every few minutes with the Poor Me comments if I don’t respond fast enough. Supposedly the divorce will be final next month. I have to wonder if any of this will stop.

  3. tryingtodogood on July 15, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I can truly relate to this ladie’s questions. I am realizing that some people, like my husband, and so many others, just have these behaviors embedded so deeply that they can’t even fathom that they are so hurtful and destructive. I have been prayerfully contemplating whether or not to leave, or rather, if leaving would cause any lasting good or change in my husband, for two years now. His 3 decades of abuse has killed my spirit and driven a wedge between us and I don’t feel much of anything for him anymore. I have felt this way many times over the years and have always prayed for God to restore feelings of love in my heart, which He has graciously done every time, except this time. Is that a sign? I don’t know. Until 3 months ago I never realized it was abuse. I just thought everything was always my fault, which I now know was my husband’s goal all along. Maybe the problem now is that I can’t forgive him AGAIN. I’ve assessed the damage to our children and to me and looking at all that is HUGE and it has been a matter of choices for him, constant choices to win no matter how deceitful, cruel or damaging to me or our relationship. How can I possibly reconcile that kind of behavior with someone who vowed to love, honor and cherish me forever??? He has broken every single vow repeatedly since the beginning. The difference between the past and now is that over the years I always thought “oh he won’t hurt me again. He doesn’t mean it. It will be better next time etc. etc. etc.” And now I hold out absolutely hope because I know every time he gave excuses like “I forgot” or turned it around on me that he had no intention of doing any different. He was usually just lying to my face.
    And even now when I respond much healthier, he still tries to lie or deflect or confuse, or blame me! I don’t believe he will ever get it. It’s just who he is. He has only pretended to be a nice, kind, loving person, like he did to get me to marry him. I personally can’t think of anything more disheartening than having the one person I thought had my well-being at heart, really only looking out for his own selfish needs 🙁 and manipulating and cruelly hurting me to those ends. I am working on healing but all I have is a broken heart as far as my husband is concerned, and I don’t like that feeling because it’s not who I am or who I want to be. My solace is knowing that He heals the broken places. God bless~

    • Wendy on July 16, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      I can absolutely relate to you. My heart goes out to you. It’s so hard to face the truth. Like Leslie said in her book, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship, sometimes we don’t want to see the truth because then we have to do something with it. I would suggest you read her book and take courage from all these women, as I am trying to do, also. I love that Leslie points out the Biblical pattern for marriage…a MUTUAL caring and respect. We need to renew our minds with the truth of God’s heart towards those of us that are suffering. Which would be more valuable to Him…the institution or the person?? God bless!

      • tryingtodogood on July 22, 2013 at 10:10 am

        Yes Wendy, I have read that. I bought it after Leslie’s newsletter described the 9 tactics of manipulators and it set off bells in my head! I too was taught in the church to submit no matter what, and also to keep quiet in order to honor my husband. That led to many physical and emotional symptoms. According to Leslie and so many others I have read, the disrespect alone is very destructive, and many of us have suffered so much more besides. I am still assessing the damage to myself and my children and go from anger to grief and back again. I know God is faithful to carry me through this process, and He will bring good out of it. I am encouraged by the ladies here and I just force myself to cling to God and try to move forward toward healing and wholeness a little each day.

    • cristle on July 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      tryingtodogood,
      wow, every single word you spoke is me to the “T”. I have said, felt, experienced my husband just as you have, and for 3 decades. It was surreal reading your post as it could have been mine verbatim.
      Yes, God heals the broken places – Psalm 91.
      I will pray for you. Please pray for me.

      • tryingtodogood on July 29, 2013 at 7:46 am

        Yes I will Cristle! I’m sorry for what you have gone through 🙁 I wish I could say that it’s comforting to know I’m not alone, but it’s sad to know that there are so many women suffering with an abusive marriage. We are made more than conquerors through Christ and I am holding on to that. You are in my prayers~

  4. Janet on July 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I’m so glad Leslie “left your question intact…” because often other’s expression of what’s going on describes my situation better than i could have worded it. I can use phrases from both the question and answer, to communicate when getting help and Leslie’s answers to remind myself of the truth.

    Reader, you are not alone- This is me:
    “It was like a trip down the road to insanity. …He agreed those were ‘bad behaviors’… He tells me he has changed… things have changed very little. There is no real plan in place to make amends… he still makes excuses and gives himself credit for ” sticking with me through this.
    …I feel like I am going back to being frustrated, confused and preoccupied with trying to fix him when I know I cannot. …counseling seems to be doing very little…seems to be so far from what is really at the root of the matter. …It feels rather hopeless.
    …I get that it will take time but I feel like unless we are doing the right things (have a plan with counselor(s) all on same page, it won’t work.)… I want so badly to do what is “right” before God. …This entire situation is frustrating and maddening.”

    And Leslie’s comments:
    *describes the craziness
    *(he) shows little awareness how that breaks trust
    *there is no plan to remedy
    IVE NEVER HEARD OF THIS ADVICE, STATED SO CLEARLY- WHAT and WHY: (thank you!)
    *ask his counselor whether or not his personal counseling is addressing his problems?…if it is just a venting session about you that will not help him address his problems.
    *counselors find it very beneficial if they can speak to one another about the issues they are seeing in order to compare notes and help you both obtain the help you need.
    *If your husband refuses to sign a release of information for you to talk with his counselor,… he’s not interested in accountability and transparency. …It says very clearly that you are not far enough along in the process for you to even consider reconciliation.

    Also, true for me that Leslie said:
    you felt crazy in the marriage
    He seemed remorseful but that remorse has not really resulted in the changes you were hoping for or the changes he promised.(or for me, he says he’s better now- doesn’t see his anger bullying damage.)
    I wish I could tell you to hang in there and that there is hope. But honestly, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
    THE BEST PREDICTOR OF FUTURE BEHAVIOR IS PAST BEHAVIOR. Even the guy on TV says that! Very helpful. …our husbands have to show us a new pattern of behavior that creates a “new past behavior” and then we can begin to regain his trust. So frustrating that i can’t find anyone who gets that!

    Overall, these Q and A’s are very validating for me, that I’m not crazy, to blame like my husband says, and it’s not all true how he has convinced our counselor of what’s going on.

    Thank you to the wife for the long “rambling” that really helps me connect to your reality and mine. And thanks to Leslie for leaving the women’s long detailed scenarios of what’s going on as a pert of her question.

  5. cristle on July 16, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Wow, I cannot tell you how most of what the original post and the subsequent responses mirror my own life. My husband was verbally/emotionally abusive for 30 yrs. He is almost 5 yrs older than me, i met him when i was 15, married at 18. He continuously lectured, belittled, put down and corrected me – all in front of my 4 children. I would beg him to be kind to me, to see how he was wounding my very soul. I asked him to make himself accountable to other men. He became even more bitter in life – toward his ‘so-called’ christian friends, his work-which he hated (law enforcement-politics). It all changed him also. He knows his Scripture inside and out. Now, it doesn’t matter. I left him, finally, 5 months ago. He said horrible nasty things – lies – to my kids about me. I found out recently that he had gotten a protective order against me last yr-based all on lies-and I had never known it. He was increasingly lying, twisting, manipulating – and how I prayed through the years for God to help me to love him as i should – to help me rise above it and forgive – to change my responses to him/acceptance of my role in this relationship – I also prayed that God would ‘show’ him and drop the scales from his eyes. I love my husband, but could take no more. I questioned that love through the years, of course, but I still ACTED out my love for him even if I wasn’t sure I did love him. I was always waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. Now, we are separated. I wanted to have at least 25% of our only asset, his pension. He’s retired now. He doesn’t think I deserve it or have earned it, even though I raised our 4 kids-homeschooled them – and was a GOOD mother. He has tried to get the kids to be against me and to ‘reason’ with me – but I always begged him to keep them out of our troubles. He would purposely get them IN our business. Now, my whole family is scattered, shattered. Yes, I’m the one who left – but how I would love reconciliation if only my husband would do what he must to change – to see the truth of the Scriptures. Now, he’s taken it all and run with it. He says he now doesn’t love ME anymore, that God has ‘released him from his vow’ and also that he doesn’t care about doing what’s right anymore. It is now all about him – only him – he even says this. He sits in another state now, doing nothing but relaxing – with no responsibilities – he is far away from all of his kids also. I work 36 – 44 hrs/week to support myself. I have no retirement and now have to work hard for the next 20 yrs to earn my own retirement. I pray that anger and bitterness doesn’t built up in my heart. I have been in counseling, have found a good church close to my new place to live now. I try to keep busy and in the Scriptures. My hardest concept to grasp is – I would love reconciliation under the right changes – I don’t see that happening – I must decide about legal action – and how in the world can I live this surreal life w/ these decisions while others say “don’t limit God and how he can change/work in your husband” “God is a God of miracles”. I BELIEVE God is these things, but I also know my husband has free will – but I don’t want to limit God’s power and belief that he can take this situation and with one touch heal us all. Yet, I feel more and more that will not be the case due to the hardness of my husband’s heart – not due to any lack of power on God’s part – but isn’t just thinking that not having enough faith in God’s power to change things? This is my conundrum. And why I hesitate to move on with legal action – only because if I don’t, I know my husband will file in HIS state and I would have to go there to answer to everything – time and money on my part – so I want to keep it all here in my state. I need to start protecting myself and taking care of ME – which goes against “put others above yourself” – so how hard it is to be in the center of God’s will for my life and live this horrible situation out. And, he will surely hate me if I truly do try and get some of his pension, even if it would be so much less than most women ask for. I don’t earn any ‘points’ taking that avenue, I just know it’s all I need and I don’t want to hurt my husband financially any more than necessary – even if he is the most selfish person on this earth right now. Unfortunately, I still love him. I just can not allow him to continue his abuse of me, even financially I guess. Any advice out there? So much more to this horrible surreal story – but please pray for my family and God will know what you are praying for. I will pray for those of you who I read about.

    • FloridaLizzie on July 16, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Well, you asked for advice, so here are my thoughts. Take it or leave it, but keep on praying and reading this blog!

      Honey, it’s time to face the fact that your marriage is not going to recover. Your husband is not going to change at this point. You have legal rights. God loves you and your husband’s hardness of heart has not changed since you separated. You stated that he knows Scripture inside and out and isn’t obeying it. What makes you think God will reach his hard heart if he never faces any consequences of his choices from a hard heart? If you divorce him and he begins to feel some pain from his choices, perhaps one day he will truly repent. Your current strategy isn’t leading to repentance so far.

      You homeschooled and lost those years to save for retirement in a pension of your own. I homeschooled as well, as it was OUR choice, so getting half the pension is the right thing to do. You need to get a lawyer and accept that this man is not going to look out for you or change. You aren’t hurting him financially; he has hurt himself by choosing to disobey God in not loving his wife. If you become a burden to the state or to your children, that makes the consequences of his choices fall on you. Don’t let yourself be a doormat to enable this man to live in willful sin.

      • cristle on July 27, 2013 at 2:03 pm

        Thank you floridalizzie. I appreciate your advice and honesty. Yes, nothing I have done has helped toward his repentance – I send him occasional scriptures/truths/devotionals – it’s like throwing my ‘pearls before swine’. He doesn’t want to hear anything I say, not really. I have filed – a big step. To keep it all in my state, not his. Now I have to decide whether or not to serve him. I know any semblance of peace that our family has, albeit a scattered family as of now, will be shattered as soon as i serve him – he will start calling my adult children and spewing hate for me and trying to get them against me, I’m sure. He will certainly hate me very much when he finds out about me trying to, after all, go for some of his pension (only 25% though) – he did before when I was trying to go for 25%, then I gave up rights to it (a bad decision that now that I have more clarity and am out of my severe depression, regret doing. I am trying to correct that bad decision, which I had put in writing for him – all with the hope of reconciliation. I was not thinking clearly at that time.) – but my new pastor who I recently spoke to about this said I shouldn’t base any of my decisions on fear. And when i told him that my husband, when he chose his retirement plan, chose the one that would give him more money up front now rather than choosing one that would take care of me if my husband died (this was just in Oct.), he said definitely file and serve him. He quoted what many of my friends and their husband’s have told me from the beginning, “a man who doesn’t take care of his family is worse than an infidel.” He also stated that he must not have reached the bottom and sometimes when someone loves their money so much, God uses these circumstances to bring him low enough that maybe then he will cry out to God. He also encouraged me, though, that I can move on from this if I so choose. Even though God’s first will for my life would be reconciliation – with certain changes in my husband’s life a prerequisite – that my husband has made it very clear what his intentions are, and that just so I am wanting to seek God’s best will for my life, that is good enough and all that is necessary. So, I HAVE filed! A big step. Now I have to decide if/when to serve him. Thanks so much for your advice.
        cristle

    • Bev on July 19, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Cristie, your marriage sounds just like mine was. Homeschooled the kids and took all the abuse, and now he thinks if I want out, well then, good luck to you on your own. Mine is a seminary graduate, but he has OCD and narcissistic personality disorder (which yours may have also–look it up online). I totally understand your conflicting feelings – wanting reconciliation, but after decades of no change, even getting worse – realizing it just isn’t going to happen. We separated for over a year and finally divorced in January after 30 years of marriage. I went through a lot of intense counseling regarding the whole issue of not wanting to be selfish but having to think of myself (for a change), and one book my counselor recommended is See Yourself as God Sees You by Josh McDowell. I highly recommend you read this; it certainly helped me a lot. We are just so used to being a nobody that it comes as quite a shock that we are actually valuable, lovable, and worthwhile people! I also went through the same thing with thinking I didn’t have enough faith to wait for God to save my marriage, but as you already know, God isn’t going to force your husband to stop sinning. You do need to get out. In my case, I believed so deeply that I could never leave that I actually took a massive overdose to try to end my life.

      I am so much happier and relaxed now. The toll my marriage took on my health was tremendous, and I feel so much better physically, emotionally, and mentally. I can only remember feeling this good as a single woman before marriage; I had completely forgotten what it felt like to be a free person, an individual, and not a slave to any man. I don’t like that I have to work full time and sock away every penny I can for retirement, because I am on my own for that, but it is so much better than subservience, slavery, and fear. God has provided for my every need.

      I have to be truthful with you, though. All is not a bed of roses. I have suffered a lot of discrimination from judgmental Christians who do not understand. Rather than defend myself, I have learned to distance myself and find friends who are supportive, loving, and compassionate.

      Leslie’s ministry, of course, is a huge encouragement.

      I wish you well. I will pray for you. Divorce is a nasty business, and I hate it. But life waits for you on the other side. Have peace, sister.

      • Leslie Vernick on July 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        Bev,you are so so right. Some things are much better than money and one of the biggies is peace of mind.

      • cristle on July 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm

        Bev, Thank you for your words of encouragement. I will check out that book. I am also reading a couple from Beth Moore, wonderful books. I, too, surround myself with friends who are supportive, loving and compassionate. I too, many years ago, took an overdose, which came close, but thank God I recovered from. It was a stupid thing to do, but recently I was so depressed after our separation, almost considered again. But, God is faithful, I am past that horrible place of depression and am starting to live life again. I found a wonderful church, am in a bible study, am considering helping in a certain ministry in this church, and am considering an exciting change in my career. I am still lonely, though, but not so lonely that it causes great depression. I am more healthy on my outlook of my choices and future. It sounds like we have had similar life walks. I am trying to decide whether or not to serve my husband with papers, or to wait. If I wait, he will accuse me later of doing it on purpose and making his financial state worse by doing so. But if I serve him now, I may be hindering God’s working in his and my family’s life and I never wanted to be the one to initiate papers anyway. Yet, I want to be smart and choose wisely. I pray for wisdom daily. Did you initiate the paperwork or did your x-husband? I hate divorce – and I see now why God says he does too. It’s just such a horrible business – and I don’t want to get in the way of God’s working in this whole situation. Thank you for your prayers.

        • Bev on July 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm

          I initiated the divorce, Cristie. In retrospect, I wish I had done it about a decade ago, but I truly believed God would heal the marriage. Rather than being disappointed in God, though, I am disappointed in my ex. He is the one who refused all help and gave me empty promises of changing himself by himself. I believed that for so many years, but it was all lies. By waiting so long, so much damage has been done emotionally to me and the kids. My daughter got married yesterday, and she didn’t even invite her father. She hasn’t been able to forgive him.

          • cristle on July 30, 2013 at 12:46 am

            Bev,
            I will pray for your daughter to be able to forgive. I just reposted a c.s. lewis comment on my facebook page, “Forgiving and being forgiven are two names for the same thing.” #CSLewis It is freeing to be able to forgive. Although I have spoken to my counselor about ‘cheap forgiveness’ – meaning just because we forgive does not mean we have to step back into a harmful relationship to keep allowing it. I’m glad you have a good relationship with your daughter, mine is strained. Just another heartache for me. She is so much like her dad and deliberately causes pain with her words. It’s very sad, but I am praying that one day she will see what she’s actually saying/thinking is wrong and so far from what pleases God. For now, I am just silent. And I pray. As far as my husband, I still don’t know whether to serve him. It is filed – to keep it in my state – but I’m very torn with whether to serve him or just to respond when he serves me. I’m praying, waiting on the peace in this decision, listening to whatever gold nuggets of advice from godly friends. I never wanted to be the one to initiate, but I don’t know if it would be better to just go ahead, or to wait. Maybe if I wait, then less harm will be done, and God may still work in his life. But, I KNOW that hope is so small right now -practically non existent, really – and I wonder by my not having much hope/faith in that, what does that say about me “Praying, Believing” that God can do a mighty work? I don’t want to make the situation any more ugly or volatile than it has been, but I know as soon as he knows I will, after all, seek a portion of his pension, no matter how small, he will freak out – literally. This is what I struggle with. If I wait, he may be angry that I waited and then he wouldn’t know as soon as he could have, to prepare in general for his life decisions financially. But, I don’t want to base any decisions on fear, and I don’t know how much I should consider HIS feelings on this either. I know he hasn’t cared about my feelings in the past with what he’s bullied me into signing months ago. But, I don’t want to be vidictive, either. Uggg, you can tell I’m just all confused about this. How in the WORLD can you live through a divorce and still live out the verses, “As far as it is up to me, live at peace with others.” and “Put others above yourself.” Anyway, thanks for your advice.



          • Ami on July 30, 2013 at 11:51 am

            I have a 20 year old daughter who lives with me and has been my greatest strength when I am weak, in human form :). She is wise beyond her years and has lived through his abuse too. So many times I have wanted to take my husband back in the last year even though we have been in the divorce procedure since last November. I stated that very verse to her, “As far as it is up to me, live at peace with others…..” And this was her response, Mom, are you living at peace by staying with him?” There were times when I submitted, submitted, submitted. And then I erupted because I felt I was going crazy! In the last 3 months I have peace about the divorce and I am peaceful towards him in spite of his continual attacks and pointing fingers and blaming me for everything. I talk calmly to him and when he blows, I tell him I won’t talk to him any longer. He now apologizes when he does but he still refuses to change or take responsibility for ANYTHING. So though I see a minute change, hence living peacefully with your enemy. He really doesn’t want to reconcile… I hope this helps you. It was freeing to me 🙂



          • cristle on August 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm

            Yes, Ami, this does help me. I am more at peace being separated. I, too, have forgiven him and and don’t respond now to anything hurtful he says to me. Before I would respond sometimes by arguing back, which NEVER did any good, because he was always right anyway. I never felt I gained any ground at all with him and i couldn’t “win” with his verbal onslaughts. He just wore me down with his lecturing/belittling dialogues, and in front of my kids – which was humiliating. So, I am definitely more peaceful now. I have had some good talks with my pastor in the last week. He is very wise and it was nice to have some comforting, godly counsel from him. He has said all of the same things that my godly friends have told me, nothing that wouldn’t bring honor to my walk with Christ. It’s just so nice to finally have a church, a pastor, to gain counsel from. I will be serving my husband very soon. Please pray for me during this time. Things will be getting rough, I’m sure.
            My son, who is 20, also is very wise, patient, and loves everyone, wanting peace to reign, and has been my comfort during this time. He’s a special blessing to me.

            Thanks. Ami.



          • Bev on August 2, 2013 at 6:54 pm

            My children also have been a huge comfort to me. The day I left, then ran out the door after me – no questions asked. This was after he told me I looked like I had just had sex (he used other words) when I came home from a walk through the neighborhood on a windy day. These accusations came on a regular basis. The kids just knew they were not going to be stuck in that house with him – if I was walking out, they were following. I knew at that moment that I would never go back. It had taken everything in me to stay as long as I had, that my leaving would anger him beyond description, and that I would be too terrified to ever face him again unprotected. My daughter had been saying since she was about 10 or 11 that I should leave…”from the mouth of babes…” but who in their right mind would listen to a child? The abuse was so obvious, so palpable, that no one wanted to be alone with him. She comforted me whenever I would sob uncontrollably, telling me she would always be there for me. My little angel.



          • mary on January 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm

            Bev I couldn’t agree with you any more. Mine the NPD with several other traits of different disorders, filed the divorce three months after I left and it was final Jan.8th 2014. He never believed in divorce but couldn’t handle what he’s done so put it all on me. Typical NPD.00. He has said he’s a christian for 45 years! That’s what our marriage was based on. He was and is emotioanlly, verbally and I think sometimes the worst, spiritually abusive. I left after 23 years as I was suicidal last year. I left for God to heal me and him while I was gone. The thing is that the husband has to WANT TO.He did nothing, so Iam not disappointed in God but him. God is there but only if the abuser wants to humble himself to God and ask for repentance. Most if not all don’t. I waited far too long and therefore the damage that occured was life changing for me. God knows all our heart breaks and is more understanding than we can fathom. God hates divorce but I guarantee God hates to see anyone of his people, especially by professed footstep followers of His precious Son Jesus, treated by abuse. That is from satanic influences….not a christian. God is with us and moving forward in His love will move you to new responsibilities in His ministry. he loves you. God Bless you all.



    • Ellen on July 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm

      I agree with FloridaLizzie, you should get 1/2 the pension. You are worth it and it is not all his. Stop devaluing yourself and show him you think highly of your work and sacrifice all those years. He won’t respect you any other way. You have to show him you value and respect yourself too.

    • Ami on July 20, 2013 at 1:28 am

      I cry out to God and ask why is this happening to so many women who submitted, loved and prayed JUST as you have and to no avail our husbands hearts are hard like Pharaohs was…. It is heart breaking the way they use their children and idolize their money and say you did nothing all those yrs. Christie. Just continue to pray. Step by step He will show you. Most of all let go of the guilt so you can do what you NEED to do financially and what your husband owes you. I am near the end and I feel okay with divorcing him and taking half of what he calls “all his”. Satan is having a hay day and we just need to continue to seek God and pray for those who are walking in darkness. In scripture it talks about giving them over to Satan so they can be saved in the day of judgement. It’s in Corinthians 5 I believe. Enabling them only keeps them and us sick. Making them accountable brings out truth and causes them to suffer. Agopa’ love is giving the receiver what we deem is right to give them, not what they WANT to be given. I will pray for you 🙂

      • tryingtodogood on July 22, 2013 at 10:01 am

        Ami, I too am sad for so man women going through this. Thank you for your comment about our husband’s hearts being hard like Pharaoh’s-it’s so true! And we are like the Isrealites-victimized by one with a hard heart, but God delivered them and will deliver us too at His appointed time. That’s encouraging.

        • cristle on July 27, 2013 at 2:23 pm

          Thank you Ami. You have given me more resolve and less of those ‘guilt’ feeling. I DID pray for so many years, I begged my husband to stop killing my spirit, I begged him to seek godly counsel and to make himself accountable to other men. His pride has been the death of us. And, yes, he does LOVE his pension and says I don’t deserve any of it. My one daughter also has told me this – since I am the one to ultimately leave – even though i feel he PUSHED me out the door with his abuse and constant “we need to separate” comments. It doesn’t matter that she saw it for so many years – which she says she did – I guess she’s daddy’s little girl and my counselor says that since she saw my husband treat me as he did all those years, she and my other son (I have 4 though) feel justified to also disrespect me. They are way to proprietary with me and show no respect. They are not who i raised them to be in Christ. My husband won’t leave them out of it – so I will have that fall-out when I serve him with these papers. It’s all just so sad. But, Ami, you have encouraged me. God knows, HE sees – and I only have to do what HE thinks is right – not worry about anyone else. I am so glad I can say that now with confidence. Thank you for your prayers.

  6. Brenda B on July 16, 2013 at 8:15 am

    I could really use a hug. If I drank, I might have one. That is just how stressed I am. My husband found out yesterday afternoon that a court date was scheduled for me to get a PPO on July 29 and his attorney advised him not to contact me. Since then I have had 16 emails, 13 voice mails, 14 missed calls to my phone and several calls to me here at work. I am tense, can’t function and can’t think straight. I have Multiple Sclerosis and could use some stress free time to get my symptoms in order.

    Last night I was down with a migraine and didn’t read any of the emails until this morning. This of course lead him to threatening to call his attorney and tell him that I have several years of tax forms, won’t give them to him and make sure I get held in contempt of court. I don’t have them. I moved from a 5 bedroom house to a 1 bedroom apartment. They are in the house, but I have no intention of going there to locate them for him. The court is asking for documentation of accounts from day one of the marriage. I don’t have any of that, not even at the house. Seriously, if the US government doesn’t require you to keep these documents that long why is it that the Circuit Court can. Have they not heard that we are a paperless society? Do they know how much paper and ink it will take to print all of that stuff, if you can even get it online?

    On the bright side I do believe I have lost a couple of pounds.

    • tryingtodogood on July 19, 2013 at 8:40 am

      Consider yourself hugged Brenda :)) I pray for relief from physical symptoms and peace for you despite the harassment you are enduring. I have just broached the subject of separation with my husband again and he tries the same old tactics-tantrums, insults, downright intimidation etc. My stomach churns daily, it’s hard to sleep and I’m constantly on edge. From reading what you and the other ladies here are saying, I wonder if trying to leave would give me peace or just accelerate the abuse. Anyway, you are loved and prayed for, and cyber (((hugged)))!

      • Brenda B on July 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm

        The hug goes right back to you Trying. For me it has been worse these past few weeks. Maybe not so much worse but more constant. If I did not have my Savior and the encouragement that I get from this blog, I may have given up. But in the long run all of the things that he does is reminding me that he is not changing or trying to make things better. It is the same thing a different day EXCEPT now I am free and it will get better. In August when all is legally final I can change my phone number and email address. I can’t change jobs. I have been there a long time and in my area I’m not going to get better money. I am 56 and have MS and my boss puts up with me anyways. He says we’re both going to retire and walk out the door on the same day. God has been good to me and provided all that I need. Praise. I will keep you in my prayers. We have more strength than we think when God is there too.

        • tryingtodogood on July 29, 2013 at 7:58 am

          Brenda-I am so glad you have a good job situation. I pray for peace and lifted spirits for you. You are a blessing by your encouraging posts and willingness to share your experience and insights. I do feel stronger and less fearful as I learn to trust God more and more. He is my provider. One thing He showed me recently is that I may have been trusting my husband more than Him, for provision etc. That’s why I’m so afraid to leave, it takes a lot of trust. But God is faithful and I know He’ll take care of my needs.

      • Ami on July 22, 2013 at 11:14 am

        I think so many of us have stayed for three reasons, afraid the abuse will get worse, what people will think of us and how will we make it on our own. The guilt can be consuming if we let Satan have that power. I did. Now a year after separation. I finally am able to sign divorce papers. The counselor who counseled my husband and I called me a while back to ask how I was doing? He asked me this question, “Could you have done better”? I felt paralyzed for a second because at times I had acted out it times so poorly :(. So I replied, ” Yes I could have”. And he replied, “Would have made any difference?” In my heart I knew it wouldn’t, that I had truly tried with all my being and diligently prayed not only for him but myself. My husband had told so many people that my faith wrecked our marriage?!?! I now understand the difference in a person who is transformed by the renewing of their mind in Christ Jesus and someone who says they love Jesus but have no fruit like the tree talked about in this blog. When I asked my husband to leave he did things to make me really look bad. At times I just sat on the floor for hours and wept so deeply. I realized I cared too much about what people thought and how could anything good come out of this. Was asking him to leave the best thing? Did his abuse become worse? Yes! But the more I read Leslie’s book, prayed with close friends and shared with this and walked with God daily, I became stronger, now his abuse has lessened we should be divorced by August 1st. I wouldn’t change what I’ve done and I have peace which can only come from God. It is a hard journey and down right scary at times but if you have one friend who believes in you and doesn’t judge you, it helps. I was sick too. Now I am healing, getting healthier. I am a better mom :). Better friend :). And can say no to mean people. I have a long way to go but I am a beautiful child of God as all of us are and God has never called us to lay down our life to abuse. I found out who my husband was through this last year. And it deeply saddens me. I couldn’t’t see it clearly when he was here because he heaped so much of it on me :(. I see now, he had done this since the beginning and I just submitted. And believed if I just do this……l it was never good enough. I live in a big house with a big yard and I have not let it go. I am capable, competent, and willing. God has protected me in this last year and supplied for me and the children in ways only He can. The journey was hard but this Israelite walked through the desert and survived because of Jesus 🙂 now when I look in the mirror, I am okay with the person I see.

        • Amy on July 22, 2013 at 7:37 pm

          Ami, yours and my story sound so similar. I was married for 20 years to an abusive man and it wasn’t until he walked out four years ago that I was finally able to think and see clearly just how bad things had been.

          God delivered me from that marriage and brought an amazing wonderful Christian man into my life 3 years ago. We have been married for almost 2 years and I now know what a healthy marriage looks like.

          Your healing will take a while. I am still going through the healing process, but am so much healthier both physically and mentally. One step at a time. God will see you all the way through.

          Blessings! 🙂

          • Ami on July 23, 2013 at 11:13 am

            That is so encouraging to hear! After 22 years of pain. It gives me hope for my future 🙂



          • cristle on July 27, 2013 at 2:39 pm

            Amy, it gives me hope also. Thanks. 🙂



        • cristle on July 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm

          Brenda, a big cyber hug to you. It is NOT any easier, but I know it will be. And 6 months into this separation, it IS easier that it was 1 month ago. God has broken the stronghold of depression on my life. Ami, my husband did the same thing. He twists things to being my fault, my lacking in my walk with Christ. If only I would have done what HE said I needed to do, even though I had cried with tears to him explaining why he was hurting me in how he spoke with me and what he expected of me. He just wouldn’t listen, and now he states lies about me and my faith to my children and to whoever will listen. His hardened heart and bitterness and consistent walking among friends who were a bad influence on him changed him so much. Brenda, be aware, if you do this, you may suffer through your husband becoming even worse. That’s what happened to me in our separation, but Ami you are right – I now see what he has been capable of and he is worse than I even thought he was. It’s very very sad. I also am experiencing my husband now saying he doesn’t love me anymore – that was hard, he says I killed his spirit and his love by leaving. Even though when he had always said, I love you, I was always confused by his kind of “love”. Someone who claims to love you just shouldn’t treat you as he did, so what kind of love was that? Thank you Ami, for your words of encouragement.
          Cristle

          • tryingtodogood on July 29, 2013 at 8:09 am

            I have had a stronghold of depression and physical symptoms for 30 years and I just want to get better. I finally laid it all out for my husband last week. I used the analogy that someone here wrote about my husband’s heart being hard like Pharaoh’s and he broke down. I really felt that God wanted me to let him know how damaging the cumulative effects of his behavior have been on me-physically and mentally, rather than to keep re-hashing separate incidents of lying, abuse etc. I told him that I have had to keep forgiving him for things, but when he keeps doing abusive things I am put in the position of having to keep forgiving him for the same things that never end! And that it makes me bitter and “rots my bones,” as the bible says. I told him I can’t be healthy at all with him. He looked like it broke his heart and that does not make me happy, but I know God wanted me to tell him the truth about his behavior. He said he had a breakthrough about being like his father from reading the Gary Smalley book “If Only He Knew: What No Woman Can Resist.” For me there might too much water under the bridge, but I serve a mighty God who is able to do great things, so you never know 🙂



    • Ami on July 20, 2013 at 1:14 am

      I too homeschool and as I have been going through this I have felt physical pain. My whole body hurts at times. I have spiraled into darkness and wept so many tears but rest assured, God never left my side. I will be able to continue to homeschool, my children went through a counselor advised by the attorneys and after what they had to say, he HAS to get counseling before ever seeing them again. This is being written in the decree. So many times I thought, this just isn’t worth it!!!! And came close to letting him back home but my middle child was my strength in those times. There will be someone for you 🙂 God will never leave, or forsake you. He is your Fortress, your Stronghold, your ever present help in times of trouble! I know of a woman who was left desolate but God has supplied for her in so many ways its crazy good!!! It is sad that it is prevalent. My heart breaks for you and others still in the heat of it. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel and if you allow Him (God) He will forever change you for the hope of your future and your children’s future. Don’t give up hope! I am gong to start to pray for you daily 🙂

  7. Brenda B on July 16, 2013 at 8:20 am

    PS I wanted to ask if anyone knows if all of this documentation is normal. I actually do divorce settlements on financial accounts where I work. I have never heard of anyone being required to produce so much verification. All that is ever asked is what the value of the accounts were on the date the divorce/seperation papers were filed.

    • FloridaLizzie on July 16, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      When I got divorced a few months ago in Florida, we each had to produce 3 years of tax returns. But I had made copies. We were each emailed whatever had to be produced in Mandatory Disclosure and Financial Affidavits, so I think he just used my copies for his own. If you know where they are, simply convey that to your attorney in an email so it is documented in writing. Then see what you are advised to do from there.

      Keep looking on the bright side and cooperate the best you can! Your attorney should be helping you with problems like this. The divorce weight loss is indeed a small blessing. But I have an auto-immune disease too, and have felt incredibly better since my husband left. Hang in there and God bless you with courage!

      • Brenda B on July 17, 2013 at 5:18 am

        Thank you for your encouragement. I did communicate with my attorney yesterday. She told me to do nothing. What they are requesting for verification is not needed and she will take care of his attorney. It looks like we have come to an agreement anyways so Lord willing this will all be over with soon. I am so glad to hear you are doing better. Yesterday, I was ready to move to Brazil or some other place that he would not think to find me, but today I feel much more at rest. I do pray for the best for my husband, but I can’t at this point see that best ever being with me.

  8. Mirna on July 19, 2013 at 11:03 am

    What can I do?
    *When my husband act selfishly? He thinks that it’s only my job in the house to take care of the kids and feed them. He don’t do anything in the house then he blames me that. He works whole day and I don’t do anything. Which I keep the house clean I always make a breakfast and dinner I do the laundry on time………. And with two boys 6 and 3.

    * whenever I have a conversation with him he twisted on me and he don’t want to talk about it. Even I I start to share something about it he brings himself to the conversation. How about me what about me. He says.

    * He is very controling on me and demanding.He gets mad for no reason or I don’t know what’s the reason and he don’t share with me. And he called me a lot of names just like the other day I was tierd to change the blanket but I had another one. So I said lets use this tonight I will change it tomorrow. He starts calling me names like I am so selfish ………
    * He don’t give me hands with kids and he want the 3 rd one. He don’t spend time with us

    • Leslie Vernick on July 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      Mirna, thanks for joining our community – you will find lots of loving and caring women here who know what your life is like. It is time for you to stop allowing yourself be controlled. I was just talking to a woman this weekend and she was saying how her husband drives her everywhere and won’t allow her to drive because he’s afraid she’ll get killed in an accident. I asked her how she felt about that she said “I hate it.” But yet she’s allowed herself to be a prisoner of her husband’s fears. In this particular situation he is not abusive in any other ways, just controlling in this way but he’s not the one who is going to change until SHE get’s strong enough to say, “I will not allow myself to be controlled anymore. I am an adult and am going to drive myself. You’ll have to deal with God about your fears regarding me getting into an accident.” That strength is good not only for her, but also for him and the long term future of their marriage.

  9. Dee on July 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    My Dear,
    my heart goes out to you and identifies with you in so many ways. However, it’s my understanding that when in an abusive marital situation, you don’t counsel both husband and wife together.
    Anyway, it sounds like a need to find yourself outside of your husband. Many of us either lost our own identity or maybe never had the opportunity to find out who we really were before we got married. Learning to build boundaries that were damaged or destroyed in abusive situations (or never there at all) is a way to start building self-confidence and strength to deal with others who have no regard or respect for you. For those who may hear things in reference to self-nurturing, it is sometimes perceived as selfish but somewhere deep inside where we should have been properly loved and nurtured, the ability to feed our own soul was blocked or hindered by the one who was supposed to be there to nurture us.
    You can’t change the past and yes only God can change someone else. The journey changes as the job now is to focus on God healing and changing us. I like to think of it as a personal garden (heart) we are to tend and cultivate for God and others to enjoy with us. When others (like abusive spouses) are initially given free access to our garden (marriage) and don’t appreciate the beauty of it, stomp all over it, leaving garbage and destruction everywhere, we are in a fight to “remove” that which is harmful to our garden. When we find that we don’t have to allow that person in our precious garden any longer, we are given the tools (counseling, healthy social connection, feeding your spirit and soul) to rebuild a fence (boundary like the wall in the book of Nehemiah) around that garden and then take the time to cultivate (flowers, trees, etc.), to feed and nurture that garden back to health. Those who wish to enter our garden (heart, soul, etc.) do so with the understanding that it is a gift and is yours to share when you choose or yours to close the gate of access to the ones who abuse the privilege of entry if they don’t honor and respect it the way God intended.

    • Bev on July 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      Here is an analogy I wrote about my marriage, before he refused help and I decided to end the relationship. It expresses how much I valued my vows. Maybe some of you can relate.

      There is a fruit tree, the center piece of my garden. It is wracked by disease now and no longer bears fruit. For years I have fertilized it, lovingly dug compost into its soil, and squashed all the earwigs, beetles, and caterpillars that are destroying it. Despite my best efforts, the tree has gotten worse over the years. I have been a failure as far as taking care of that tree goes, even though I did my best. In fact, its disease is affecting the other plants in my garden, and they are suffering also. Clearly, I let it go too long just trying to nurture it on my own.
      I finally called in a professional to help. Most people would have just cut the tree down, but I really care about this tree; it has a special place in my garden, and it is perfect for the spot. Although he may spray the tree with chemicals and do some pruning, he knows what he is doing and can bring my tree back to its natural, fruitful state. This gardener is expensive, but my garden is worth it!
      My tree may always need to be sprayed with chemicals, but it will be healthy that way. The other plants need the professional gardener’s help, too, but they will be fine. I can’t wait to see the results! It will be great to be able to enjoy my little garden again, sit in its peaceful shade, and enjoy its fruit. I don’t know how long it may take – maybe years? But I will wait.
      I had to move myself and the other plants away from the tree, because its disease was so rampant that it was harming everything in the garden. It’s a shame I let it go so long, but hindsight is always 20/20. I didn’t realize the tree was making me sick, too, but I had been in and out of the hospital and doctor’s offices for some time before I realized my ailments were linked to the diseased tree. The gardener and the doctors are helping me a lot; the other plants are being cared for also in the greenhouse. We may always be prone to sickness because I waited too long, but there’s nothing I can do about that now.
      The moral of the story is that if you have a special tree in your garden, and it starts going downhill, do your best—but don’t’ wait too long! Call in a pro before the entire garden is destroyed! You can’t fix everything on your own! A lot of collateral damage can be avoided if you nip it in the bud!

      • Leslie Vernick on July 22, 2013 at 10:14 am

        Bev, I LOVE this analogy. I may borrow it if that would be okay with you.

      • Clara on July 22, 2013 at 2:10 pm

        Bev,
        Thank you so much for that analogy. I labored under the assumption, which was encouraged by many Christians, that it was my responsibility to fix the problem. I did everything I could. The one pastor my husband did see told him what he needed to do and he refused to do it. Of course, he refused to attend the church after the pastor confronted him…that went on for 17 years and from the posts above you all understand what that was like. He told me that he would not accept a separation and that if I wanted that we were going to get divorced. He is 63 and is doing all the drinking and running around he can handle. I homeschooled and I have a daughter with special needs, but I finished my school because I saw this coming. I know have a job I love, but I don’t have a community of women to connect with that understand. I am praying for that.
        Clara

        • Brenda B on July 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm

          I am praying with you. My only community of women is this site. I need, as you do, women in the area that I can pray, cry and talk with.

          • cristle on July 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm

            Clara and Brenda, I, too, prayed for that community of women, a bible study, a wonderful church. I have not found it, by God’s grace! I love it and they have been an uplifting and encouraging force in my spiritual walk and life. I will pray that you will also find this. clara, my husband, also, refused to do what a pastor asked him to do when he went to him. He went b/c he promised me he would at least touch base with this pastor, i had been counseling with this pastor’s wife. But, he refused to do what the pastor said and walked out. He also accuses me of not being submissive to his wishes – even though it had been my greatest desire to be in God’s will for my marriage. I love the analogy of the tree – my marriage had become so toxic for my husband to be able to think the horrible nasty things he said to me and about me were okay, to do the things to me he had done also. I had to move away from it. I, too, worked on my education little by little through the years to prepare for the eventuality of separation, as i saw my relationship spiraling into such nastiness. I never wanted this to be the ultimate result, this separation and probably divorce, I prayed so hard for it not to be – but I prepared just in case. My one daughter now states that just the fact that I was working on my education is proof enough that I had planned to leave all along – this is so untrue and twisted to my pure motive in this. God knows my heart, he knows and knew my motives and prayers and dreams. I too have to not let what others think of me affect me so much – i am learning this truth, and am learning how to have strength in my identity in Christ.
            Thank you, clara! praying for you both.



          • cristle on July 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm

            I’m sorry! I meant to say I HAVE found that church and community of women and a bible study, by God’s grace! Not that I didn’t find it! It is a typ – o.



        • Bev on July 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm

          Yes, Clara, I was repeatedly told that I was not being submissive enough! In retrospect, I can’t believe how outrageous that suggestion is…I submitted to everything he put on me! My ex always said to me that his anger was my fault, because I wasn’t submissive enough.
          When he was diagnosed by a psychologist with his mental health issues, he refused the diagnosis and treatments. It boiled down to the fact that he would rather be angry and overbearing, not change, proudly deny anything was wrong with him, than to be married and try to work things out. As Proverbs says, pride goes before the fall…and he has fallen. I pity him, but this is the path he has chosen.

          • mary on January 18, 2014 at 7:20 pm

            Oh my! Bev and Clara, I was forever told I wasn’t submissive,I was a woman “with independant thinking” I was a shrew,jezabel all because I wasn’t submissive. He sent what I call his spiritual letters to me after I left, to his pastor and asstistant pastor and told them that I was these titles also! They couldn’t believe it and told him his attituds on women were absolutely wrong! He didn’t listen to them and found another church to ‘tickle his ears.” I submitted to him on everything to even giving up my siblings and parents in a letter to them all two years after we were together. He dictated it and I wrote it in my handwriting all along thinking I agreed with him on this. He said they didn’t like him. They were right! Terrible of me and I have to live with that. But Gods grace is what pulled me through along with His forgiveness! Sick I know but his disorder had me whipped. My responsibility. I haven’t talked to three of my siblings in 23 years and my other two infrequently. My parents died and I hadn’t seen them for years. I was told by my daughter very recently that they died knowing that their Mary was being controlled by him and they knew that my behaviors were not who they knew as me. They had peace in their deaths knowing I wasn’t acting under “myself” but under his manipulating and controlling behaviors. They each were 82 years at their deaths. My ex was professionally diagnosed as well, by a woman, and he dislikes women and he refused the diagnosis and treatment as well blaming EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE for all his problems…always has. He is 63 and said he won’t change or never get any counseling as he only has several good years left! He is a very healthy, strong man! He’ll live a long time. Did you notice how selfish he is as he’s living for himself and not in serving God as a christian man? He is going to play his music around the country wherever God leads him. What a joke. It’s all for fueling his narcissism. He didn’t want to listen to God’s voice in living with me near my kids and grandkids though. He HATES family. He has a son and teenage grandsons he’s only seen about a handful of times in all those years. He said that the husband is the only family for the wife….just the two of them. It is very, very difficult in leaving, but the peace that God gives you as your journey moves forward is what propels you. It’s been six months since I left but I have peace at night in not having the 18 hour rages in my face telling me things in my ear as he thought I was a sleep.. horrific things, my self respect and esteem is returning and as my angel Christian counselor, who pulled me through last year said… “Mary you are a daughter of God” I am special to him and He never wants to see abuse in His children. It’s hard to depart and sometime after, the pain is unbearable in wondering what you did with all the love you gave them but believe me when I say you do move forward with itty, bitty steps and I do not have the physical problems I carried, in stress. They’ve disappeared. I live in north central Indiana and maybe sometime we could see each other in a time of renewal. Would love this. We all have been through a liviing hell and Jesus gives us His comfort. May God Bless you all on this journey that he is in control of and aware of our pain as He feels it as if the abuser was doing it to Him!



      • tryingtodogood on July 29, 2013 at 8:10 am

        This is great! Thank you Bev 🙂

    • Eileen on August 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

      I love this! It is my garden and I choose God as head of it. I am lovingly removing that which is in my garden so it can grow and thrive. Setting healthy boundaries (fences)so I can grow and flourish. This is so neat Dee, thank you!

  10. Ami on July 20, 2013 at 1:01 am

    I just wanted to say, so many of us have similar stories. A year ago I asked my husband to leave because he was emotionally hurting myself and 5 children. some grown some still young. He left and has recently told me he thought he would be gone for a week. He never listened to what we had to say. The hardest part in all this is what I have been told by friends and my pastor. I could separate but never divorce. I did a lot of praying and crying out to God for a year. Went through two weddings of my childrens and had to face his family. I felt crazy and dealt with a lot of pain and sadness and anger too. But I prayed through it all. Sometimes I would lock myself in my room and just pray and cry out to God. In the beginning I begged him to go to counseling, He two quit after 5 times of going. He bullied me, blamed me, yelled at me and manipulated me. But with the help of two close friends who happened to be going through the same thing. We helped each other. One of them went through one of Leslie’s books with me and we prayed weekly. God kept revealing to me NOT to take him back because he was unchanged. Last October 31 we started divorce through Collaborative Law. Unless you are getting stronger, I would not recommend it. It keeps you out of court but it is for two people who “AGREE” It is now the middle of July and the divorce decree has been drafted. He still does not agree on certain things but I have learned what is important to me. His money or my children. I agreed to half of what he owes me for full custody of our two younger children and them not having to see him IF they don’t choose to. He agreed to this because money has become his idol. My kids are safe and thank me for this. My point in all this is this, I felt every negative, emotion and bore the weight for six months. As I prayed and worked through my pain and confusion, I became stronger, healthier, happier and able to come to a place to divorce him. I was just given the draft today and I didn’t even shed a tear. Why? have I become cold? No just the opposite, I have become confident that I am a human being deserving of healthy love and I have 5 children who support and love me. God will help you through this and when you are ready to do as HE say’s, you will be able to do it because He will help you. I thank God, my friends and Leslie for helping me on this journey. I haven’t just let go of a bad relationship, I have started setting boundaries with other unhealthy relationships and let go when I know I have done my best. Be encouraged and walk through your fear. God is waiting on the other side.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Ami,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story of courage. Such a brave and courageous thing you have done yet so hard to actually take those steps and walk that path. May the Lord continue to be near to you. Today I read in 2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”

      • cristle on July 27, 2013 at 3:25 pm

        Thank you Ami. You are an encouragement. I hope when/if the time comes that I have to sign papers for a divorce, that i will be strong and not shed a tear. Last week I had to sign papers to sell our house of 20 yrs, I started sobbing and just told them to keep going and not even explain them to me – I just signed as fast as I could and left. It was painful to know how quickly the house had been emptied out, painted, and sold. Even my younger son, who was there a few months ago at the house while his dad was throwing out all of our things from 30 yrs of marriage, had journaled (I found this later) “my dad is only interested in clearing out the house and getting on with his life in ________. All he cares about it leaving and he can’t get there fast enough.” This broke my heart. Ami and all of you, there is another facet to what I’m going through. My 17 yr old son, through all of this, has told us that he is gay and my husband let him know in no uncertain terms that he is also leaving because he can’t bear the thought of having a gay son. My husband erroneously “blames god” for doing this. Even though he know my son feels abandoned by him, my husband left anyway. I don’t believe my son is gay, and I have told him I love him no matter what. I have actively loved my son through this whole process. My son has been ‘courted’ in on line gaming for the last couple of years by this 40 yr old pedophile who has convinced my son he loves him. My son states when he is 18, which is in 3 months, that he will leave and go to be with this horrible man in another country. I am praying for God to break satan’s stronghold in my son’s life and spirit. My son, during this separation with my husband, has run away twice (with the help/coordiation of this 40 yr old man who remains in another country) and I exhausted all efforts, police and otherwise, to find him and get him returned to me. Now, my son is very angry with ME because i won’t let him go and be with this horrible man NOW and not have to wait until he is 18. so, you see, I am not only dealing with this separation and my husband’s horrible selfishness, I also am dealing with my precious, confused, hard-hearted, stubborn and ‘lost’ 17 yr-old son and doing everything I can, on my own, to make it so that he won’t leave when he’s 18 to go to this man. I pray every hour/day for God to work a miracle in my son before he turns 18. There is even more to this surreal situation I am living, but please just pray for my son. More than anything, please pray for my son.
        Thank you.

        • Ami on July 28, 2013 at 12:42 am

          Oh Cristle,

          I will pray fervently for you and your son! My heart breaks for everyone on this site! Thank you Leslie for listening to the voice of God!

          I cry tears hearing the similar stories and how so many of us are afraid to divorce and absolutely hate the word and feel its wrong. As I have walked through the last year I have wanted reconciliation and he is mean, spiteful and accusing and takes no responsibility, he can’t even say he’s sorry to his children without taking it back in one sentence. Families are being torn apart and it hurts so bad. But all of us NEED to keep praying for our families and for each other. It is our only hope. God does hate divorce but he also hates the actions of men abandoning and abusing their families. I too initiated him leaving and getting the divorce even though he pushed me to do it, demanding I let him come back home or divorce him. They all sound alike which tells me the true culprit is Satan. There is nothing new about his tactics. He preys on our weaknesses and he thinks he knows we are too weak to change our lives BUT we have a God who is Lord over all and He can help us through these hard times and show us the way out even though it seems all wrong to us. I believe God is separating His people to Himself and raising up a remnant! We must have courage and persevere! I am so glad to have come to this site! Our children are not lost forever! Train up a child in the way they should go and they will not leave it! They may be off track but they will come back! All our years of love and prayers were not in vain. They too will suffer in this life but God will use it for His glory! It is good to hear others have struggled with suicide. Though I never attempted it, I had horrible thoughts. Over the course of the year, I prayed, “God, help me change, help my husband, give me a miracle, I believe you can do this! But my husband just became worse! As I prayed God showed me scripture and told me to stay away from him in 1 Cor.5 10-13 God clearly told me to have nothing to do with him. Every time I got weak and thought about it, I went to my prayer room, cried out to God and I always got the same answer, just different scriptures. I would open my bible and say “show me God” and He was faithful over and over. I know many of you are struggling with divorce, but keep seeking God. Your husband will probably turn the world against you but in the end I believe in our faithfulness, we will be triumphant!!!! God works for the good of those who LOVE Him. Satan is on a rampage right now and he wants to render us incompetent! So cling to Jesus and ask for His strength to get you through those hard days and never stop praising Him. Think of someone you admire, for me it’s Corey Ten-bomb. Look at her life? Did she ask for it? Her family loved Jesus. And even though she was greatly persecuted, she never lost her faith and went on to tell the world of His GREAT, AMAZING LOVE.

    • Eileen on August 26, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Praying I can make these steps in faith! Thanks Ami!

  11. Julia on July 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    My heart goes out to all of the above posters. I too, have been experiencing much of the same situation with my emotionally abuse spouse. We are separated and what amazed me about our counseling sessions was that my husband kept telling me, “I am not changing, I am not changing.” He did not say this in front of the counselor and I should have called him on it in the sessions, but did not. He always wanted to know what I was going to bring up in the sessions before we went. He idn’t want to be what he referred to as “blindsided.” I

    Have any of you experienced that? What is your take on it? Thanks for any help you can give me.

    try not to think of the past and just focus on the future. God has been my strength and my salvation. God bless us all.

    • Bev on July 23, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      This, Julia, is ridiculous. How could he be blindsided by the truth that you both know? He is clearly trying to strategize how to get around whatever you might bring up…or perhaps argue you out of bringing it up in the first place.
      My ex never agreed to couples counseling. He went to a counselor years ago when I had him arrested for domestic violence – court-ordered counseling. Once, after a few months, the counselor asked me to come. It went badly…he yelled at me for bringing up the least little things…he never even told the counselor what he had done to me to get arrested…was totally uncooperative. It was useless.
      To me the bottom line is that he has said he is not changing. What more do you need to know? He’s not going to change. Can you live with that, Julia?

  12. Kelly on July 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I’ve been meaning to ask this question but sometimes fear the answer, that I may be alone in this. I’ve talked to some people such as my counselor, my pastor and close friends but they haven’t had to deal with the situations. Not that they’ve condemned me or anything. But since we all have gone through such difficulties in our marriage, I was wondering if anyone feels to share if you’ve had responses that were not so great. I think I’d be reassured or just know how much harder I have to work. I feel I’ve been doing better and I’ve read some books out there to help with this. Sometimes I stay quiet but with my husband I NEVER act right even if I try to agree with him. All of our stories are of what our husbands do, but I have such a hard time letting go and forgiving myself when I have reacted poorly. I know I’m forgiven but I can’t help but to grieve because I feel like I should know better, that maybe I’m no different than him sometimes. Why can’t I always control the anger, frustration, the sadness? Even when I try to walk away to pray or just praise the Lord in my head so I don’t say anything “unloving” I feel he badgers me until I “give in” and fight with him. Then he points the finger at me saying “see look how you act.” A lot of times I don’t like myself. Sometimes just the anxiety of him being around sickens me. I know that’s not the Lord’s plan.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 22, 2013 at 10:14 am

      Kelly, I’m going to answer your question in this week’s blog.

  13. Julia on July 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Also, when we first separated, I’d wish for a miracle for things to change. Now I don’t care if he improves, I am no longer interested in a relationship with him. Is that a terrible way to feel?

    • Brenda B on July 22, 2013 at 11:29 am

      It is is a terrible way to feel, you are not alone. I feel the same way. I can forgive the things he’s done but I will never forget. The thought of me moving back in with him sends chills up my spine. The thought of letting him touche me even worse.

    • cristle on July 27, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Julia, the best advice I can give you is to just pray and with all of your heart desire to be in the center of God’s will. It may be that it is god’s will for you to not reconcile – especially if your husband refuses to change how he needs to. I would encourage you to pray for your husband – but that doesn’t mean reconcile. I am in this place, “I am in the center of god’s will and continue to desire to be there. If God works a miracle and truly changes my husband (I have already determined where I would change and am willing to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in this area for myself) then he will change my husband and save my marriage, but if we remain separated/divorced, I’M OKAY WITH THAT ALSO.” This is huge for me. I will be okay either way. The important thing is for you to not let anger/unforgiveness to build up in your heart, because that will only harm you and it hinders your prayers. But, just because you forgive your husband, that doesn’t mean you have to continue to be in his presence and allow the abuse. This is what I’ve learned as i walk this hard road. God wants us to be joyous and free as we walk in his Grace and realize our worth to Him. I am still learning this, I don’t have it fully grasped yet i don’t think. I will pray for you Julia. Please pray for me and my children.

      • Sally on August 5, 2013 at 6:44 pm

        Cristie,
        I love your heart…trying to be in God’s will, not hardening your heart with bitterness and unforgiveness. I too would be willing to reconcile even though I have filed for a divorce but there has been no remorse on his part. He didn’t do anything wrong yet he lied to his adult children about the incident which finally led me to file. Now they are so angry with me.

        I don’t want to limit God and I know He wants the best for me. Aug 14th is a meeting with the pastor together. We met with him separately and last he was willing to me together until his daughter wrote another nasty letter. Told him I was still willing to meet but he would have to come in truth and honestly…. Now no answer after two weeks. So I wait for God’s direction ….

        • Brenda B on August 6, 2013 at 6:38 am

          Nothing limits God. Not a divorce decree, not a letter, nothing. If God wants a reconciliation at any point, there will be one. You are doing what is best for you and your family.

          • cristle on August 6, 2013 at 9:54 pm

            Yes, Brenda, I am fully realizing this now. Thanks for reaffirming this. Sally, I too have a very important appmt on Aug 14. my daughter and I will be meeting w/ my counselor to discuss some issues we both have. She has believed erroneous things about me and was also, in my opinion and many others, been brainwashed by her father and pulled into our issues – which I always asked him to stop doing. She is in her upper 20’s and feels like she is so right and ‘in the know’ about life, she is condescending to me. She IS smart (she’s a psych Dr.), but in life’s experiences and her walk with Christ, she is lacking. She has always been ‘daddy’s little girl’ and doesn’t realize how he has manipulated her. I love her very much, of course, but have limited our contact up to now because of her hurtful exchanges with me. My counselor says she is so disrespectful to me and proprietary because of how she saw her dad treat me through the years. I She also tends to be selfish in some ways, but she would never admit to that. I just want to love her w/o being mistreated and misunderstood and lied about. So, please, whoever will, please pray for this mtg. on the 14th, that truth, respect, and love will reign. Also, if she and I were more on the same page in life, we could possibly be able to reach my 17 year old son for the better in the few months we have left before he turns 18 and makes a horrible, fateful decision in his life – which I have spoken on before in the blog. Thank you.



          • Brenda B on August 8, 2013 at 12:14 am

            Praying, Cristie .



          • Ami on August 8, 2013 at 1:39 am

            Praying for your situations! Seems we all need it and I am honored to be praying for you!



  14. tryingtodogood on July 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Boy, my husband is stepping up his game! I have been much former in stating what will and won’t be tolerated by me in our relationship and he’s been pretty docile for the most part, but lately after he does something “by mistake” to offend me he’ll ask me if it bothered/offended me. This seems like he is trying to open the door to communication, but when I respond by telling him (for the 1000th time) that yes, such and such does offend me, he mobilizes his arsenal of deflection, projection, name calling etc.
    So now he’s even using my very own growth to “set me up!” He’s trying to test my resolve and I can’t help but think how downright sinister his behavior actually is. There is just no way to be healthy with someone like this. I am so angry, there’s no marriage left. It is so very tragic to be subjected to this kind of cruelty by someone I’ve devoted my entire adult life to loving 🙁 I know many of you can relate. I just keep praying for deliverance…
    P.S. Thank you Leslie for the video series on your new book! They’ve been so encouraging.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 23, 2013 at 12:02 am

      Thanks. I hope they are informative, supportive and encouraging. If you know other women who would benefit, please invite them to watch. We need to gather together and support one another. I believe that is the only way we will be heard and this problem truly addressed.

      • tryingtodogood on July 29, 2013 at 8:12 am

        I already have 🙂 Thanks Leslie for helping us in these horrible situations while also helping us increase our faith.

  15. Ami on July 23, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I have a question for all of you who have made it through. How do you deal with angry family and past friendships that were destructive because they were just like him and you have pulled away from them but they keep perusing you in some form?

  16. Laurie on July 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    This blog has been a real blessing to me. Leslie I have read your book “how to act right when he acts wrong.” I have been in a destructive marriage for a really long time and I am finally realizing that we may not make it. For the last year my husband has been going back and forth in wanting a divorce then changing his mind.(He has done this in the past before). We went to counseling and he decided again he wants a divorce. I’m at a point where I’m worn out and ready for this to be over. However I want to be in the Lord’s will and not do anything based on my feelings. I am fearful of what the future may hold. But I know the Lord is with me in this valley. The only thing that keeps him here is our home we are upside down and he is concerned about his credit, neither one of us can afford to keep the home being single. At a lost of what to do.

  17. Ellen on July 29, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Ami,
    Your question is a good one because disfunctional people rarely travel alone or come from “normal” situations. The longer you keep your eyes open you will see family patterns in your husband’s line as well as your own that have led you to this place. Mean spirited people are hard to avoid completely if they are part of the family. My sister was molested by my uncle. I became her emotional punching bag when my mother refused to acknowledge the abuse. My sister’s jealousy has stalked me since childhood and I am 54. She tells lies about me to anyone who will listen. I don’t think there is any way to insulate yourself totally from destructive people. Definitely do whatever you can. After that pour your heart out to Him who loves you totally and completely. You are not alone. All of us here on this site know exactly how you feel. Jesus also suffered and so much more than we ever will.

  18. Sally on August 4, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Brenda,
    I am 62 and had emotionally abusive relationship also. We both lost our spouses, loved golf, mutual friends but then after we married….the verbal abuse and manipulative controlling began. I have filed, we are separated but I still have a heavy heart. Reading to what you, Christi and Ami have shared has helped me considerably. My late husband of 26 years and I did not have children. My husband now has two and I had two grandsons. One I had the opportunity to lead to Christ at the tender age of 10. I am fortunate in some ways that this abuse has been on 6 years compared to you gals many more! I knew something was wrong and began counseling myself over a year ago. We Christian counseled together only to have him quit never taking it seriously. “I have done everything you have asked me to do”. The daughter has learned his behavior…and is involved now and is worse than him. I cannot deal with him let alone her. And she has taken the grandsons from me. I am alone again. I am grieving a relationship I thought I could have again after losing my husband. He still wanted his wife of 34 years (and keeps rubbing in how there never was a problem there although I have heard contrary). I am grieving my husband which I never took time to complete. This man came into my life and I had known him 30 years before. I knew his wife and kids back then. I thought he was God-sent though my heart was not ready and had I listened to it I would not be in this mess today.

    I also struggle with Free-will, hardening of the heart, healing of the marriage and God’s will for my life. God hardened Pharol’s heart to show the Israelite’s his deliverance – for God’s glory. Couldn’t he change a heart for His glory in a marriage? Wouldn’t that be a powerful witness for Him? Although God hates divorce I know He hates this unloving, disrepectful relationship. So I too ask, “Why won’t He fix it for His Glory?” But then He is Sovereign and He has a Plan….. There is also the Permissable Will of God. Some teach you stay in the marriage and there is no room for divorce. You grow & become strong in it – like Abigail with Nabor. It is all so confusing! I live in Port Huron – not far from Mid-Michigan (in fact my sister lives in Clare).
    Thank you for your comments.

    • Brenda B on August 5, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      Sally,

      Six years is still 6 years too long. As of this morning my soon to be ex has twisted the situation to where he can say nothing without me getting angry. He continually accuses me of being angry, hating him, stealing from him etc…the list just keeps on going. That doesn’t even include all of the things that happened before I left. He actually emailed me to tell me that I am the devil hiding behind the Bible so people will not know who I really am. He has claimed over the last few weeks that he has “found God”. I don’t see any change at all. Yes, his tactics change, but true repentance, no. It still is all about control. He just sent me an email telling me when I am ready to talk like husband and wife I know where he is. That was followed up with 3 more hateful emails. I had before said that without extensive counseling I will not be his wife. I have stopped answering anything that isn’t directly related to getting the Legal Seperation through swiftly. I read all of them which although painful is necessary to keep those that might be needed for the PPO which is pending. The date for that hearing continues to be postponed. So far 3 times. I am a wreck today.

      I know it is hard to sort out all of these things, but bottom line for me is that I do not believe that I serve a God that wants me to take this abuse from my spouse. Suffering for the cause of Christ and being abused by my husband are not the same thing. I have found Leslie’s books and a book by Barbara Roberts–Not Under Bondage very useful in sorting out some of the issues we face.

      I am so glad to hear of the young ones being lead to the Lord. I

      • cristle on August 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm

        sally, I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I know your pain. The things that those we once loved with all of our hearts can do to us is heartwrenching. The worst is how they can twist everything to make our thoughts, motives, even actions be SO what they are not. And, when they involve the adult children, it’s even more devastating.
        I will pray for you, sally.

      • Sally on August 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm

        Brenda,
        We agreed to see the Pastor (from the church I attend now – not his) I have met with him and so has he. We have an appt for Aug 14 but I left it up to him if he wants to meet still after the seething letter I received from his daughter during the individual meetings. He has poisened her with twisted half-truths and lies. I emailed him and confronted him with only was that was most blatant. I said he and I knew the truth yet I was still willing to meet but that he had to come to the table in honesty and truth. Not just with me but with his kids. That was over 2 weeks ago and I have not heard a word from him. He text me all the time after I left and called with messages. They ranged from mean to Mr Nice guy…trying ever manipulation to let him come back. This is so hard because we could have fun together. Good just didn’t outweigh the bad anymore and my spirity became so crushed. I wish I had just filed for the legal separation first and then he could have filed for the divorce. Something about me filing doesn’t set well with me. But he packed up and left me at our place in Florida and drove home to Michigan. My parents were 2 miles away but there I was enbarrassed and humiliated – again. Seems after any disagreement or argument he threatened a divorce and he gave me the name of his atty. He would take half the money out of our savings…later give it back. He threatened again before he left and I just called my atty when he got back and field. He would not do a temporary separation suggested to us my our counselors last fall. I know I will be all right…just the pain and grieving of the loss of a relationship I really wanted.

        • Brenda B on August 6, 2013 at 6:51 am

          Sally, I was also the one who filed for Legal Seperation here in Michigan. We have signed a bindig agreement it just needs the seal of approval from the judge. I left our home a little over 2 months ago after see a Christian Counselor, much prayer, reading Leslie’s book’s and others. This all lead to this was the only way. My husband would have us is marriage counseling, but unless he gets the help he needs first, I see no point. The abuse since I left has been the last 20+ years in one. The emails and intimidating voice mails are endless. He says he is seeing a counselor but fired the first one because he had told me who he was then decided that he didn’t want me to know who he was seeing. I have told him without transparency, which means my knowing in what direction this therapy is going, I will not consider going into marriage counseling or attempting reconciliation. It isn’t easy to take these steps, but I have to think about the long term and not go back to where we were.
          My filing was just doing the paperwork. My husband had deserted me even though he was still in the house. Our marriage had no resemblance to what God had intended and I was starting to feel the need to lash out right back at him. That would not have accomplished anything, but my becoming just like him. A seperation protects me from his irresponsible spending or doing something else that I could be liable for. It doesn’t stop God from working in his life or mine. I’m leaving the rest up to him.

  19. Sally on August 5, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I also read Leslie’s book Emotionally Destruction Relationship and finally came out of denial… real eye-opener! I also attended Divorce-Care from our church and it starts up again in Sept.

  20. Barb on September 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I was so hopeful when I read the title of this blog – “Am I Crazy for Not being Thrilled with His Changes?” but realized after reading that it is really more about the exact opposite – a man who hasn’t really changed at all.

    I was hopeful in opening this article because I desperately want more feedback about what to do, what to expect, how to responsibly and lovingly handle it when you already have separated (in 3rd month) and he really IS changing, is probably 97% different but still unable or unwilling to look at what he has done for years or try to work with you to figure out why so the changes can be permanent this time unlike the temporary surface changes that you’ve seen several times in your 25 year history.

    Anyone with any feedback about this kind of situation?

    • Leslie Vernick on September 2, 2013 at 10:43 am

      Barb, I’m going to answer your question in this week’s blog. I also have a series of video’s on my home page on destructive marriages, but the next 3 weeks starting today will cover some of your question in more depth as well.

  21. Jan on December 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Been there – done that.

    My advise is go back to church. Don’t allow him to disrupt your life and keep you from doing what’s good for you.

    Maybe a different service time so that you don’t have to deal with him

  22. Brenda on January 16, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Mary, I’m not quite sure what you are asking, but if you are asking about the things I am doing with my time such as making meals, that is a ministry that my church provides. Right now we have a woman with children in stage 4 cancer and we take meals to them to take one thing off of her list while she goes through chemo again. This is not her first bout with cancer.

    We have many elderly people in the church. I met this lady when I first started going there and have been doing things with her ever since. As her mind diminishes I call more frequently to see how she is, take her to Dr. appointments, pick her up for church etc.

    I prayed for God to use me. He gave me one task, then another and another. If your church doesn’t have these programs in place, start one. I have been told by the recipients what a blessing it is to get a meal or a ride. It’s those little things that are a blessing to others and me.

    It that is not what you were asking let me know.

    • mary on January 18, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Brenda i love your entries but I was asking about how any of us here in this Michigan/ Indiana area could meet and have a spiritual as well as regular meal. i think there are several of us! Not sure how to accomplish this. I’m in!

  23. Brenda on January 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Mary, X in my case is 59. No counseling no remorse, just more anger and accusation. He takes no responsibility for his actions and twists them all to where they are my fault. Every now again he adds the whole God wants us together and I will see it if I quit being so bullheaded. With such chivalry how could any woman resist such a man. NOT. Unfortunately, he only lives across town and shows up at my apartment from time to time. A couple thousand more miles would be wonderful.

  24. Brenda on January 20, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Mary, I would love that. I come down to lower MI quite frequently to see my daughter. I am not sure how to give each other addresses and such safely. If anyone has any ideas, even managing to exchange email addresses would be beneficial. Maybe the back of the blog knows a way. Or maybe they don’t want to be involved in that.

    • mary on January 23, 2014 at 7:47 am

      BRENDA Lets check it out maybe by e-mailing the main websight here. I’ll see what I can do. Thanks for responding. I think this fellowship would be so helpful!

  25. Brenda on January 23, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Mary, sounds good to me.

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