Morning friends,

Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about our various “selves” and ways we can recognize the good parts and bad parts, the healthy parts and not so healthy parts, the parts that work “for us” and the parts that work against us.

Last week I added the dimension of masculine and feminine to help us clarify even more ways we need to grow into our fullness in Christ. Did it shock you to know that as a woman you need some masculine juice in you? We need strength, assertiveness, decisiveness, and an “I can do it” mentality.

Today, I’m going to introduce the term Resistance

Have you ever had a dream you longed to pursue, a project you needed to finish, a relationship you knew should end, a diet you knew should start, or an important phone call you needed to make, something you wanted to do but didn’t? It never happened, or it stopped happening.

Why? You forgot, you put it off, you waited too long, you did the opposite of what you wanted to do, you got distracted with someone else, or you started but never finished. In other words, you shot yourself in the foot, you self-sabotaged your progress forward.

That’s resistance. It’s a negative force (or voice) in our lives that keeps us from important work, either internal work or external work. It keeps us stuck and afraid or distracted and if we don’t recognize this internal character and the lies it spews, we will never reach our fullest potential.

So this week pay attention to your internal voices, now that you’re getting to know them. You won’t see resistance directly but you will feel it. It stops us dead in our tracks from moving forward toward health, growth and change. It is your enemy and you must identify it inside. Once you begin to recognize its presence, we will then learn how to combat it.

 

 

Today’s Question: In listening to some women who are only 2 years into a destructive relationship — and then others who stayed 30 years, I can't help but wonder- what is the process of a woman being abused?

Is it possible by faith, for her to leave immediately after she see's the abuse- or is it necessary for the process to be walked all the way through?

I read where some spouses have asked the question, how many women really get healed? I know I am one of them, but it took me 30 years. I understand there was much that needed to be done in my life, for me to be able to see it. Is it possible for some to see, 2 years after the wedding?

Answer: It’s not only possible to see something destructive after only two years into a marriage, it’s desirable. I was talking with a young woman this past week who was recently divorced after a brief marriage to a man who was emotionally abusive. It did not take her 30 years to realize that the way she was being treated was sinful, unacceptable, and toxic to her, to him, and to their marriage.

You asked an interesting question about the process of a woman being abused and why (for some women) it takes so long for her to “see” it or “wake up from it”. Or, when she does see it, why she resists taking steps to protect herself and her children from it.

Here are five reasons why I think women struggle with “seeing it” and “stopping it” sooner.

1. Many women I’ve talked with describe themselves like the frog in boiling water. They didn’t realize that the heat was being turned up degree by degree in their marriage until they were almost cooked alive or dead inside.

Looking back some of them could see patterns of entitlement, of disrespect, of emotional control and bullying but often it’s the more subtle forms of covert abuse and passive aggressive abuse that has not been easily identified until the damage is obvious. Once she has seen it and named it as abuse, she’s been reluctant to take measures to protect herself because of reason # 2.

2. Many women who have endured abuse for a long time thought that it was her responsibility as a godly women to prioritize the virtues of forbearance, submission, and long suffering over honesty, wisdom, and good stewardship of her body, soul and spirit and family finances. She knew she was being mistreated, but thought that God valued the sanctity of marriage more than her safety or sanity. Therefore, in her theology, her only biblical option was to persevere, forgive, forbear and keep the family together at all costs and at any price.

3. Because women deeply value connection and prioritize relationship in their lives it is tough for her to be the instigator or initiator of boundaries, consequences, or of ending the relationship. She loves her husband and although he does hurtful and destructive things, he also has desirable and attractive qualities that draw her to him. Therefore she will try hard for a long, long time to make things better before she admits she can’t keep doing it.

When the time comes that she seeks outside help or advice, Christian people helpers also encourage her to keep trying harder and submitting more in the hopes that he’ll change. It doesn’t help her confusion when her husband also tells her that if only she did this or stopped doing that, he’d be more loving (or less angry). It keeps her hope alive of a better future if only she can figure out what to do to make him happy. I help women set the record straight on what is the best form of action in my intensive two (2) session CORE Focus Group, where we discuss in depth living in an emotional and abusive marriage. Class starts March 18th. Click here for more information.

4. We are all broken and unhealthy in some ways. That’s just the result of sin – both our own sin and the sin that has been done against us. There is no one who has it all together. However, when we are unaware of our brokenness, or are not taking active steps towards godly wholeness, we will often be attracted to a man who reminds us of unresolved family of origin issues.

For example, if someone grows up being the hero in an alcoholic family, always making sure everyone is taken care of but no one is taking care of her (as a child), then she feels most comfortable in relationships where she over functions. She naturally gravitates toward relationships where she “takes care of people” or does most of the work to maintain and repair the relationship at the neglect and/or peril of her own self. (Tweet this)

5. Some women are afraid to “see” because they feel they don’t have any viable action steps that will make things better. They are physically disabled, emotionally fragile, financially dependent, or otherwise unable to follow through with the necessary consequences that would most certainly rock the marital boat.

What’s the answer? How do we shorten the learning curve so that it doesn’t take women thirty years to recognize what’s happening and take action?

I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts about that in my next blog.

Friends: What would have helped you to take the steps of safety and healing sooner?  

186 Comments

  1. Jennifer on March 4, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Leslie, I agree with your 5 points. It took me 16 years. I would possibly add not wanting to leave familiar surroundings and not being with your kids every day. The thought of them leaving me (even every other weekend) makes me distraught. I know it’s likely that he will have another woman at sme point and although I am fine with him using someone besides me, the thought of my kids having to split Tim and affection is distressing. Finally, they say that a woman loses 30% of her standard of living through a divorce. This too can play into it. Since I am in the middle of my divorce, I can tell you that I feel as abused b my attorney as I did while being married. He didn’t care that I’m having to live with my abuser while the divorce is pending or I’m having to put my health needs on hold so that I can pay him. I have asked for relief from a parental perspective and he has done nothing and I have spent so much and am on my second attorney that I feel I have no options but to be in this awful place indefinitely. As horrible as a destructive marriage is, the process of getting out is at last as bad, if not worse.

    • Robin on March 4, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Jennifer, I’m glad to hear you’re trying a 2nd lawyer as my experience was not like yours. I walked into my lawyers office with less money than it took to file and my lawyer heard my story and came alongside me as an advocate and wanting to fight this battle. My divorce has cost $11,000. In lawyer fee, which my husband has had to pay every penny as he holds all the money and was unwilling to share. Second of all I believe my success has much to do with the Lord. He has abundantly provided for me time after time as things got dismal. I encourage anyone going thru the aftermath of abuse to lean heavily on the Lord and as the last blog said– get to know Him intimately not just for just what we can get from Him, but to e petite ce His Love for me . I will be praying your circumstances will improve and I’m so sorry for the toughness you have experienced.

      • Jennifer on March 4, 2015 at 9:49 pm

        Thank you robin! I pray constantly! I know He can turn this around. I just don’t know if it will be before I crack

    • B on March 4, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Jennifer — I had several attys too. I also have walked in the same path and the same distress about children. First let me say I am so sorry. Second, keep you eye on the end not the process. You are going to be showing your kids a stronger (not bitter) woman. Kids know. YOU are teaching them to stand up in difficult situations and move forward. You are setting up your boundaries to not take abuse. Some states have not for profits that help with legal filings…do you have that in your state? Perhaps the local law school?
      Do you have a church family that can love you through this?
      I am praying for you and will continue to pray for you. Do not be discouraged…remember the promises that God tells us… He is with you right now. Rest in that knowledge and keep moving forward. I have absolutely been in the same place you are and my heart is heavy with what you are experiencing right now.
      Do not focus on the 30% standard of living lost… keep focused on the main thing right now.
      xo

      • Jennifer on March 5, 2015 at 8:37 pm

        Thank you b! Good advise to try. Focus on the end and not the process! I hope to report good news one day. I appreciate it!

    • Mouha on March 4, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      I’m so sorry for what you are going through Jennifer. This too shall pass. Be strong.

    • Sandy Bills on March 5, 2015 at 1:25 am

      Jennifer, my heart aches for you. I gave a retainer to a lawyer who pushed mr off to a partner and after I had spent hours telling my story to that lawyer I was told a different lawyer was going to represent me and then I spent more time and money sharing with this third lawyer, and then a fourth lawyer. It was the worst thing I ever experienced. And I suffered emotionally. I took my eyes off the Lord and worried about money and everything. But my children are adults now and they are all very proud of me for doing it. I even jad to ho on food stamps for a while. It was a very humbling experience.

      • Jennifer on March 5, 2015 at 8:39 pm

        Thank you for your story sandy and encouragement. I need to focus on the lord more!

  2. Robin on March 4, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Leslue thank u for responding to my question about process- it’s something I’ve thought much about. Your answer was excellent and very helpful. Question regarding your Core Group you offer, I was of thought that it was for women IN abusive marriages still and not for those who have left. Is that correct??

    • Angie on March 4, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      I was wondering the same thing. Is there a post-divorce class?

      • Robin on March 5, 2015 at 10:12 pm

        Angie, Leslie responded 6to my question and said this Core Group she is advertising is for both- those in a destructive relationship, and those who have left one…….

  3. Dee on March 4, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Hi, Leslie, Where are the blog posts that are mentioned in this paragraph? I’m interested in learning more about the different “selves”. Thank you! “Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about our various “selves” and ways we can recognize the good parts and bad parts, the healthy parts and not so healthy parts, the parts that work “for us” and the parts that work against us.”

  4. Carol on March 4, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Reading your five points about why women stay really spoke to me and I must comment. I have been in a very toxic, destructive marriage for 22 years. My second and his fourth…I thought I had to honor my commitment even though my husband repeatedly criticized and put me down with very harsh words. I can do nothing right or please him. I married him because he had a “conversion to Christ” after what I had hoped was our last breakup! I knew he had problems, but I was stupid enough to believe he was changed. And for a year he acted the part. Then one day he told me being a Christian wasn’t “working for him” anymore. He just didn’t think it was for him. At that point, I should have said, this marriage isn’t working for me anymore and gotten out. But I thought I had to stay. Now, after many years of counseling and being told that I do not have to stay in this relationship, my eyes are open to the truth. I know he will never change. He has narcissistic personality disorder and even if he would acknowledge his need to change, I doubt it would make a difference. He doesn’t think anything is wrong with him. It is all me. I asked him once if he would ever stop trying to correct me and he flat out said no. So now I am retired, almost 67 years old and feeling very trapped and stuck. If any of you see signs early on like I did but didn’t act on them, I hope you do not make the same mistake I did. My counselors (I saw two and both said LEAVE HIM and they were Christian counselors) get out while you can still work and be independent. The thought of a big fight, and having to change my whole life is just so overwhelming. I am so conflicted and don’t want to make another wrong choice. I know the Lord has sustained me so far. I am told I shouldn’t just settle for this life because I am more afraid of change. Leslie your emails and blogs have helped my peace of mind so much. God bless you and thank you. I look forward to your next blog!

    • Allie on July 5, 2015 at 1:12 am

      Carol,

      I can relate to you about the NPD. I am recently divorced. My ex husband had the same thing. I was will him for 10 years married for 8 years. I have a two year old son. It’s hard to leave someone who u thought loved you but to find out they only love themselves. It’s very sad. NPD is probably one of the worst as far as emotional and mental abuse. They play mind games to keep you and they like to punish you if you don’t behave the way they want to. Getting out was the best choice i made or me and my son. Best of luck to you. God bless

  5. Survivor on March 4, 2015 at 10:12 am

    This is very timely! I just had a conversation yesterday with my MIL and she was bullying me about not leaving her son saying things like “you’re going to have a hard time making an income and the job he has won’t pay for two places, and we can’t keep shoveling out money” and “the children need their dad. Studies show that children who come from single parent homes don’t do as well”. She refuses to see how the children are being harmed by her son’s toxicity and how much better they did in the six months that I had them away from him.mwhen I told her that the 5-year-old cried and begged not to have to see his daddy during that time, she responded with “you and your parents have to be very careful what you say in front of the children–they hear everything!” In fact, my parents and I do NOT speak negatively of him in front of the children. When we do talk to them, we remain very neutral. If anything, I have erred on the side of slanting things in his favor, but I have worked on that to become more honest so as not to make them think they have to accept these behaviors from him as right or acceptable. I invite them to tell me how they are feeling. A couple of weeks ago, my now-6-year-old told his daddy: We are going to Grandma’s house and you can’t come with us!! (We had stayed with my parents before when we left and he wants to go again) So it has been rough on all of us and I am still trying to find my way through everything. I am afraid to leave without a lot of support because of how much attacking and abuse I get from so many others. Currently, there is a new team of people working with him and they want me to give them time to see if he will change before I leave again. Everybody seems to think I should be able to do something to change him, and I have said that it would be very arrogant of me to believe that is true!!

    Your description of what happens to women and why they stay for so long is spot on! I was like the frog and it took me a long time to realize what was happening and when I finally did, nobody believed me and just put the reponsibility on me to fix it. Add that pressure and confusion to what a woman already feels from her abuser and you really have a mess. For a LONG time, I didn’t know what to think or believe about myself……

    • Shan on March 4, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Stay strong Survivor! Your MIL has no legal standing, the law is on your side if you feel you need to get the kids away and you can have the money garnished from his wages if he refuses to pay child support. Your MIL might not want to face that her son is less than perfect, and if she did she might have to face that there were things going on in her home that affected the way her son turned out! So she may be taking it personally and getting defensive. If she continues to try to bully you I would just come up with a statement like “I am happy with my decision and I think it is best for the children” and just repeat it over and over until she gets it. I heard that from a pastor who has a blog. It is not your job to convince her or anybody else that you are right, but you do have to be civil (while being firm). Find your support either at church (maybe a new church) or support group/counselor or friends and family. You will receive criticism and judgment and will have to be strong, and stick with what you know to be true.

      • Sandy Bills on March 5, 2015 at 1:32 am

        Jennifer, my heart aches for you. I gave a retainer to a lawyer who pushed mr off to a partner and after I had spent hours telling my story to that lawyer I was told a different lawyer was going to represent me and then I spent more time and money sharing with this third lawyer, and then a fourth lawyer. It was the worst thing I ever experienced. And I suffered emotionally. I took my eyes off the Lord and worried about money and everything. But my children are adults now and they are all very proud of me for doing it. I even jad to ho on food stamps for a while. It was a very humbling experience.

      • Survivor on March 6, 2015 at 9:45 pm

        Thank you, Shan. I have heard so much of this stuff–from far more people than just my MIL–that I don’t allow it to influence my decisions anymore. It’s just so wearying and there are so few people in our individual communities who understand and are helpful. It’s really refreshing to be supported and encouraged in this online community. One thing that I have told several people recently–in response to their insistence that treating him lovingly, respectfully, kindly, and praying for him will change him–was that if I actually believed that, it would be SERIOUSLY arrogant of me!!!! Those individuals have stopped throwing their barbs at me.

        • David on March 12, 2015 at 11:53 am

          and praying for him will change him–was that if I actually believed that, it would be SERIOUSLY arrogant of me!!!!

          • Survivor on March 12, 2015 at 12:03 pm

            David what is your point? Why do you insist on running all over this post and terrorizing women who have been severely hurt by men? You are not helping your cause by your antagonistic comments……..



  6. Laura DiBiagio on March 4, 2015 at 10:50 am

    The five listed points of struggle are just what In retrospect of my past abusive marital situation kept me functioning in resistance to removing myself from danger.. Pulling within God was how I got saved. Praying for God’s guidance every step of the way is the only sane approach to becoming free of the pervasive lies abusiveness penetrates into one’s being. The abusive relationships faced can only be counseled by God. God helped me sort through to the true Savior and saviors who were placed in my path for my safeguarding. God pointed me ( a foolish one ) to and away from situations ( control, denial), people (fools), places and things that were not within the realm of love. REAL LOVE, situations, people, places and things, planted within GOD and only GOD are the answer. Seek and you will find the right guidance. For example I was lead to this web-site from a encounter with a pastoral counselor who I met quite unexpectedly as I was praying for God’s guidance and intervention in a situation I gave up to HIM. The miraculous and briefest of conversation lead to prayers that opened me up to ending a curse that caused many set-backs.It also lead me to a great fellowship where her brother Pastor Ray leads a wonderful congregation of God loving people the church Life chapel in Pt. Pleasant, NJ. In order to conquer resistance need to be steadfast in prayer, for curtailing abuse even after removing yourself physically from a situation. Old habits die hard and if you have children who lived along your abusive journey it may have produced residual affects, good, bad, ugly and honorable too. Be aware that evil rears its’ head in many fashions; destructive behaviors, dissension, deceifulness, duplicity, deception all the ugly d words. d and evil go together but not as Divinely as D for devotion, dedication, deference, delight and every other valuable word in action with all the glory, praise and honor of GOD! Stick with GOD! Dear, Lord touch the minds and hearts of all those who suffer from the bondage of abusive situations. God please allow Your will to prevail, taking off the chains that bind. Bring them into the freedom of the fact all things that are possible lie within Your power and gather them to Your everlasting LOVE! AMEN.

    • Monica on March 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      Amen

  7. Stephanie on March 4, 2015 at 11:25 am

    I believe, understanding about boundaries for myself would of been huge, as I knew nothing about boundaries. I had been in an unhealthy marriage for over 20 years. Stayed because I believed God could heal it and still do. However, now I have been working on myself for the last 3 years and it has helped so much. There are so many biblical self help books available now, it’s awesome! I also, worked the biblical celebrate recovery program and found I have had issues I otherwise would have never known. Although, I did know I was codependent having alcoholic parents.

  8. Monica on March 4, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    This post is so on time. I’m completely amazed. God is so good. I’d like to first thank Leslie for being led by God and for the advice that you give. This is so perfect. I just gave the lawyer the okay to proceed with the divorce because my husband finally agreed to the terms for uncontested divorce. but it was not easy pressing the send button for that email. This year we would have been married 3 years and have a beauiful 11 month daughter. I left in August and returned for one night back in September maybe and for three nights two weeks ago. This has been the hardest thing ever. I can identify with all of the 5 reasons but #1 and #3 stand out the most followed by #4. for #1 what made me realize the degrees were turning up is when a voicemail was “accidently” left on my sisters phone of my husband yelling at me. I called her one night when he was yelling because I was feeling nervous. I got her voicemail, I honestly thought I hung up, but apparently I didn’t. It wasn’t until days letter that she even got the message and of course my husband had apologized and made up for his behavior at the point. And I had started seeing it as normal. It was incidents that happened that involved family etc. that brought to my attention and led me to reading Leslie’s book on destructive marriages. I left because I didn’t want things to get worst and I saw the signs. I never thought that he would get worst, more angry because “I took our daughter from him” I was hoping he would be open for help but he isn’t. I didn’t anticipate the emotional turmoil, confusion, etc. That I have endured. The ambivalence that is supported by reason #3. I want my marriage. but its a fantasy because its never been healthy. NEVER. I was loosing me and giving in to his demands on how to think about things, life, etc. Before I even learned more about destructive marriages I would tell him that he was being a bully. And of course I would prefer my daughter to grow up in two parent home. And for some reason, I feel sorry for him. Maybe its part of codependency that causes me to feel that way. But people around me or more fed up with him than I have been. But the final straw for me is when he told me a few weeks ago that if it wasn’t for my daughter he’d “piss” on me.” because I’d been there for three nights and was going back to my place that night. He was upset. Its embarrassing that even after that I still have been resistant. As I am growing closer to God, and that has been amazing, I am getting stronger and I do wonder if I fought hard enough spiritually with prayer. “spiritual warfare”. But despite the fantasies and all the other resistance, I’m moving forward. I’m taking it one day at a time, one moment at a time, with scriptures posted up all around me and constant prayer. Thanks for all the support from the people on this blog. ONe thing that I realize is that even though I’m proceeding with divorce, its not over because I do have a child with him and have to learn to set boundaries. Like now, he wants to come over and see her tonight before he goes to work. I wanna say no, but feel obligated to let him come see her, but I feel I’m not protecting myself or setting good boundaries. its frustrating and still confusing and painful, but one day at a time.

    • Monica on March 4, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      I jsut wanted to add that the significance of my sister hearing the voicemail is that she said no one should ever be talked to like that. its like the darkness was exposed to the light which made a light bulb come on for me. Thats when I started reading. etc. Seeing the pattern and what was really going on.

      • Robin on March 4, 2015 at 5:01 pm

        I am so happy for you to be walking in truth, Monica.!! We have all experienced similar things as you, and know how hard it is tomake final steps toward divorce. I’m proud of your strength and resolve!!!!!

        • Monica on March 5, 2015 at 10:03 am

          Thanks!

      • Laura DiBiagio on March 5, 2015 at 7:12 pm

        Hi Monica, stay strong. Fool~Proofing Your Life; How to Deal Effectively with the Impossible People in Your Life by Jan Silvious and Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend are two great resources of christian based guidance to help point out handy free tools for safeguarding against unhealthy relationships.The teachings are the mortar to cement the building blocks or characteristic for constructing a defense against problematic behaviors. Factors to build a strong foundation for structuring worthy qualities that will solidify within a internal knowing a barometer for safe people. Oh, my Safe People is another great book by Cloud and Townsend.

        I stayed in a nearly 29 year marriage that had drained of any clear understanding of what God expected of me because I misunderstood my part in relationships. You Monica are on your way so take flight, be a shining example for your precious baby girl. I was fearful of doing what you have so bravely done and my children have suffered. Stay courageous and don’t condemn yourself about feeling you’ve not conducted sufficient, “spiritual warfare”. The Power of a Praying Wife Book of Prayers by Stormie Omartian was my beside reading for two entire years until I realized that prayers about changing me had the most value in God’s eyes. The “ Serenity Prayer ” a petition to my Lord and Savior made me a survivor, a victor of a life circumstance God has stamped His seal of approval on.

        • Monica on March 23, 2015 at 6:31 pm

          Laura D, this response is a little late but wanted to say thank you so much for your words. I think the embarassing thing for me is that Henry Cloud and John Townsend have been my favorite
          Christian writers almost 15 years. I read Safe people over 10 years ago. Boundaries was the first book by them that I ever read. I was so inspired by them that I went to undergrad at Biola University the school that they got the doctorates from. I ignored all the warning signes of my husband being unhealthy because I was 35 and wanted to be married. I think thats where a lot of my guilt comes in also bc I ignored the red flags and in the beginning when it was all of the arguments etc. ALWAYS followed by apologies, I felt I made my bed and now I have to lie in it. Then it became degrading and belittling and more anger control repetitive and overwhelming. I so appreciate insight and feedback from all of you who endured for so long. As I’m growing in God, the question about the spiritual warfare still floods my mind, and I guess time will help with that. I think its a combination of “normal” feelings that come with a “necessary ending” that are so raw, being Christians that believe in a powerful God mixed with what Robin would say making my husband reality my reality and so many other things that make this confusing.

          • Laura Di on March 24, 2015 at 5:02 pm

            Dear Monica,

            Thank you, please realize I don’t feel any disappointment in not hearing from you sooner, and it’s nice to get some validations for thing I suggested instead of my ex’s typical tirade throwing the books at me yelling to place them where the sun don’t shine. Now I can chuckle and change the negative internal wiring from such actions to a positive charge.

            Having reposes from loving sisters in understanding and faith has been a blessing. It is such strong emotional reinforcement to continue to be connected to women who care and share about such deeply important subjects. How fantastic if admitting our old tendencies toward oversightedness now inspire prompting someone else to incorporate the tools we eventually used much faster. Directing someone toward their personal freedom and the benefit of emancipation from unhealthy connections is something to smile about.

            Laurie



          • Monica on March 25, 2015 at 1:33 pm

            Laurie, interesting that you said its nice to be validatedfor something you suggest instead of youEx typical tirade, well for me its nice to be extended grace when I haven’t done something immediately instead of my soon to be ex tirades. I like what you said about the rewiring.CCan’t wait to get there. God bless sister.



  9. Linda on March 4, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Leslie is right on. I can personally relate to no. 2. I was taught if someone is sorry, you forgive them 7×77 times. My ex reminded me of that all the time: ” I SAID I was SORRRRYYY!” And that was supposed to be the end of it. Forgive and move on. When it became very apparent after numerous counselors, marriage seminars, marriage retreats and even a marriage intensive, that he was stuck and not changing, I knew I had a decision to make. I educated myself on Domestic Violence and found Leslie’s resources. I developed a plan to get out and stuck to it with the help from God. (Although my ex says it was the devil that lead me out.) I have accepted the fact that he has a warped view of Christianity and it is not my responsibility to correct that. God is in control, He offered a way out for me, and I am singing His praisies. Yes, ladies it’s hard to leave, divorce is expensive, but when I came terms with the destruction and abuse, I realized my sanity and well being is priceless. I am a child of God, and abuse in His eyes is NEVER ok. Once I accepted that, I felt the freedom to be released from a very unhealthy destructove 16 year marriage.

    • Angie on March 4, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      This is a mirror image of my marriage and susequent divorce. I, too, sing praises to God for preventing this frog from boiling.

    • Monica on March 5, 2015 at 8:19 am

      So I’m not the only one being led by the devil. I’ve been told there’s no way I can be hearing from God by taking his daughter away when God has told him he’s supposed to be the one raising her etc. Yes he is but he seems to not be hearing from God about how to treat his wife. Sad situation. But I too am glad God has provided a way out. My heart aches. But I must live in reality.

  10. Jeanine on March 4, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    I hold space in my heart for all of you. These are all very valid reasons to stay, and I can particulary relate to what Jennifer says. I stayed for 12 years because as women and mothers we are the glue that holds the family together. We overlook constantly while the “black holes” that we are married to are always looking to us to fill their narcissistic void….it will never be filled because they do not respect or love themselves. When a woman has a child and lives with toxicity of any kind, because the law does not allow us to leave and to protect and leave with our children, we stay. That’s why I stayed. Every day without him meant some time w out my daughter (my son had just gone to college) and most of the time in the eyes of the law, a spouse can be financially controlling, emotional and verbally abusive, having affairs, even be homosexual on the “side”, and physically abusive, and this still will most likely not affect time with their children. These spouses are typically full of rage and anger, and if you have ever seen your child hide under a bed when their father comes home, or get nervous when they hear the garage door open, or get yelled at because the child didn’t fulfill their “make me look like father of the year” role, you will then understand why some mothers stay ..so that every day they can kiss their child good night, pack their lunch, go over spelling words, sign home work, send in permission slips, peel the skin off the apples the way they like, go out on the trampoline when daddy is having a fit because he is shameful for his private affairs…then you will understand why women stayed. I am happily out for 2 years in June. It was a long hard road…some days tore my heart out. But by loving myself, and treating my heart, soul and body with the repeat that I so desperately craved and deserved, I did it …one day at a time. You can too. I even wrote a book about surviving a toxic relationship.
    I refused to give this black hole any more of me..and I empowered by children by helping them navigate through it all…knowing he would never..change. Prayers to all of you…one day at a time Bella..one day at a time. Get a plan..there is only one way out..through the pain. Keep communicating with your children and let them know that no matter what, they are your priority, and can always talk and confide in you without you getting emotional because a kid who sees their mom get emotional may shut down to sharing. They know you are in pain and feel they are adding to it. XO

    • Jennifer on March 5, 2015 at 8:58 pm

      Yes Jeanine, yes! I am so glad you are on the other side. Hugs to you!

  11. Ruth on March 4, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    I think I can identify with all five of your reasons. And I have stayed for 52 years tho’ I should have left at just under two years when he first was unfaithful (with the church organist!) Thro’ subsequent affairs I was always the last to know and I didn’t want to make public the shame I felt. Remember that in that time it was ALWAYS the wife’s fault that her husband had an affair. The rationale promoted then was that, obviously, the wife was not a good wife in one or many ways or her husband would never have been unfaithful. It was never thought that an affair might solely his fault because (1) he was emotionally immature, (2) he was irresponsible, (3) he was prominent in the church and knew people would believe him, not an offended wife, (3) he didn’t think at all, acting only on his passions, and on and on. But as we’ve aged the emotional abuse has intensified. I know that I am “first after anything he wants to do.” I have reduced my dignity by airing my pain, to which he silently ignores that I am in the same room or says, “I don’t know what to say.” That’s his most frequent return. I do worry about how we could make it financially unless I took all the land acquired through my family. Our kids do not know and I am sure blame the tension in our marriage on me because Dad, doing what he wants, is not stressed. Our Christian friends would be shocked to learn. We have moved three times through the years and his slate is wiped clean with each move. I’ve thrown away my life in many ways, tho’ on the other hand, I had a great professional career. I have garnered a lot of respect in the Christian community by using my gift of teaching and my musical talent in the worship of our churches. Now I am lonely and almost have to schedule an appointment with my husband to see him throughout the day. It’s like living with The Sphinx–and like being a Sphinx myself because My emotions have had to have a protective coating around them. But also, on the plus side, I have lived in the word and God has whispered peace to me and held me next to His heart. I have felt like Leah, the unloved wife or Abigail who did all in her power to cover for her husband Nabal. Leave while you’re young, dear. Divorce will hurt but you eventually heal and be able to build a good life at sometime. I made a big mistake and the beautiful relationship I hoped would come someday because of my faithful love and commitment will never be. If I left now, I think I would be completely misunderstood. God knows and someday every wrong will be made right. God will reward my devotion to Him and my faithfulness to the marriage vows we took before many, many friends. I am only responsible for me, not for my galavanting spouse.

    • Jennifer on March 5, 2015 at 9:02 pm

      Praying for you Ruth!

    • V on March 6, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      My heart breaks for you. Your pain is before the Lord, may He bless you and make up for the years the locusts have eaten. Sending you love.

  12. Chuck Sigler on March 4, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Here is a quote from Oswald Chambers that I like on repentance:
    Repentance always brings a man to this point: ‘I have sinned.’ The surest sign that God is at work is when a man says that and means it. Anything less than this is remorse for having made blunders, the reflex action of disgust at himself. (My Utmost for His Highest, December 7th)

    Here is a link to a modern language version of Thomas Watson’s book, “The Doctrine of Repentance.”
    http://www.onthewing.org/user/Watson%20-%20Repentance%20-%20Modern.pdf

    Watson has chapters on counterfeit repentance and true repentance. Getting the repentance of an abuser right is crucial.

    I’ve read Watson’s book and written some reflections on it. I think it’s a clear, through discussion on true repentance.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 5, 2015 at 12:50 am

      Good quote by Chambers. Why do you think it’s almost impossible for abusive men to say I have sinned?

      • Aleea on March 7, 2015 at 10:43 am

        Leslie, it will be interesting to see what Chuck says to your question but, if you have time, would you also answer your own question for all of us? That seems like a very critical question (Why do you think it’s almost impossible for abusive men to say “I have sinned?”).
         
        I would say that they never repent because they know something that we don’t know. They know that our bond with them is not based on love. It’s based on domination, co-dependency, fear, resistance to change, and addiction. They know from past experience that they DON’T HAVE TO treat us well. They can treat us like garbage, and we’ll still stick around for more. They have no motivation at all to repent, apologize or change their ways, because they don’t take us seriously, and they don’t care one bit about our feelings. –And to me, that is the definition of an un regenerate person in serious danger of the judgment of God. (The reason they can’t say they have sinned is the reason almost everyone in the entire world can’t say they have sinned: -because only the Holy Spirit can create real repentance in a person’s heart. Real faith and real repentance are gifts from God.)
         
        If you detect bad-will, start translating everything. Ask God to help you see things as they are:
         
        “You’re too sensitive!”  =  I’m not about to take your feelings into account.
         “You shouldn’t feel that way!”  =  You should feel that way.
        “I’m not trying to control you.”  =  I want you to feel worthless; that is the way I make sure I have “control” over you.  
         
        If we don’t (with the Lord’s help) really heal, totally fix, radically renovate/repair the factory of ourselves (our CORE?), the same issues and results keep coming out of that factory and show up everywhere again, and again, and again –even with a “new” spouse. You can’t attract someone new if you are not really new. They will do old dance steps if ours are not new dance steps (I’m stating the obvious here).  Thirty years with one spouse vs. three different spouses for ten years each, etc. -Oh, but my former husband hit me over the head with a red frying pan, this new husband hits me over the head with a blue frying pan —-that’s different. How is it different? No one broke my heart, I broke my own!
         
        We have to fix the dance we are doing with ourselves or nothing will ever change.  We have to tune into a new frequency and change the music playing in our own life (RE: How Do I Know God Better –And Align Myself With Real Love).  We change our dance steps it changes everything from who we attract (that’s really important) to their dance steps with us. If you are not really healed of all your old wounds, how will you keep from not making the same mistakes with a new spouse?
         
        What would help in taking the steps of safety and healing sooner?
         
        1) If someone who is claiming to be abused asks for our help, we help them, we don’t make excuses. Ten plus years ago a women in my church came to me and asked for my help. Instead of lecturing her about how “I am a corporate tax litigator” not a family law attorney, I should have said: Yes, yes -I will stand with you and I will not cease to pray for you and I will help you find the best legal counsel and if all else fails I will represent you.
         
        2) People need to really know God wants them to heal as soon as possible. We need a church culture that supports and understands why divorce is necessary. Divorce does not mean that Christianity does not work or that Jesus isn’t real. We don’t only pray satellites into space, we have extremely complex delivery systems that get them there and yes, sometimes, even with our best efforts, they explode and it is a total, catastrophic failure (We have processes and systems set up ahead of time for this too.) 
         
        3) We should always ask ourselves how we attracted a person like this to begin with. (For me, No one broke my heart, I broke my own!) The enemy is also within (the dance we are doing with ourselves). Really renovate (Jesus-fueled, radically transform) the factory of yourself and what is coming out of that factory changes too. True Holiness and Godliness really repels people we don’t want to be around anyway. -Fine, they will not want you and they exit F-A-S-T-E-R.
         
        And I can sit here and wait forever for “them” to “get it” but they may never “get it” …So let’s see why I want to put my life on hold and wait for them to SEE that they never showed me how to accept and connect with feelings, how to be present, how to build true intimacy with God …. Don’t refuse to see that the Lord God equipped you with this capacity even if your parents didn’t “water” or activate this capacity within you; even if your husband didn’t “water” or activate this capacity within you. Jesus can water and activate that capacity within me. The oasis waits for those who roam (John 4:10,13-14, John 7:38). Once there it will seem so hard to think there was a time that you used to call this wasteland (the abusive relationship) home. Jesus invites us to drink the living water until we are satisfied. You don’t have to get by on the scraps they throw you. The Lord can provide you with three meals a day plus snacks (-I’m, obviously, talking about the love/ affection/ respect we all need.) -Whosoever will won’t ever be denied. (I’m also saying you need to show up for and parent yourself.)
         
        So, the closer you get to Wellsville (A deep, abiding, real relationship with the Lord God, true holiness and a seriously clean heart, –no idols!), . . . . . The closer you get to Wellsville, the weller your fellers (your husband and everyone that interacts with you, -even us on this BLOG!) will be.  (-Texas talk, I know.)

  13. Leslie on March 4, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I didn’t know it was abuse because my mother was abusive and I thought it was my job to be kind. I ended up making kindness more important than being obedient to the Holy Spirit. I couldn’t hold him accountable….I couldn’t make him engage in our family….I couldn’t see any abuse because it all happened so slowly….was very subtle….and he was hiding his addiction. I ended up feeling crazy. I thought it was all in my head. I thought if only I could be more loving and kind, then he would love me. I was wrong. My sin played into staying for 25 years. Thank you for helping women see earlier. Thank you for making loving ourselves possible and standing up for ourselves possible in a Chirstian marriage. (mybeautifullybrokenlife.com)

    • Monica on March 5, 2015 at 8:08 am

      Leslie, its interesting, you mentioned that you didn’t see it as abuse bc of your mom. I remember before I started learning more, how my husband was would remind me of how my mom was/is. I easily compared them. I was reading in the book necessary endings, how some of us have a higher tolerance for pain.

  14. Sandra on March 4, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Leslie, how I wish your books and also Patricia Evans had been available early in my destructive marriage. I fit into both # 2 & 5 of the above description, and stayed for 57 years, until my husband finally left me. However, about 10 years ago I was looking for a book at a library, and scanned the self-help section, where I saw Patricia Evans’ book about verbal abuse, and checked it out. It help to open my eyes to actually put a name to what i had endured throughout my marriage. Through her blog, I found your website, and then purchased your book as well, and later the boundaries books. I then realized I didn’t have to tolerate that abuse, and soon insisted on the boundary that I would no longer sleep with him until he changed. Then the abuse only increased, until he finally left. However, he returned and broke into our house twice, begging me to take him back, that he make a mistake leaving, but never once did he admit to any wrong on his part, but considered himself the wounded one. I refused to reconcile, and now that he’s been gone over a year, I have filed for divorce. I’ve written about all this before, but I thank God for the wonderful peace and freedom to serve Him as never before. Although I’m now 75, I still have a few years remaining to bask in this way. Thank you for your ministry to us all!

    • Robin on March 5, 2015 at 12:12 am

      Sandra, you are a blessing!! We need 75 yr old women telling the younger ones, not to wait!!!!!!!!!!! It was hard back in the day, we didn’t have many tools, resources, or good bks like Leslies.

      • Sandra on March 5, 2015 at 1:20 pm

        Thank you, dear Robin for your encouraging comment. I must admit that I do regret all the wasted years, when I could have possibly found a loving husband. I often look at other devoted Christian couples and feel cheated. However, Jesus is my true husband and has blessed me beyond measure with His love and grace, both now and forever!

    • Laura DiBiagio on March 5, 2015 at 7:25 am

      Hi Sandra, seems like we have read many of the same books. I’d like to recommend Fool~Proofing Your Life; How to Deal Effectively with the Impossible People in Your Life by Jan Silvious. Jan is a “practical communicator of God’s word”. I wish some of the books i have read on boundaries by Townsend and Cloud were available when I was younger. The books by Evans, Silvious, Cloud Townsend, Peck etc. should be prerequisites for christian marriages. If i had these tools and resources way back when I’d have been less likely to have experience the long hard role I played in a destructive life circumstance. The marriage gave me the blessing of three children but the affects of the turmoil of living in an emotionally toxic atmosphere has hurt them too.

      • Sandra on March 6, 2015 at 9:35 pm

        Thank you, Laura. I’ll buy that book by Jan Silvious. I also have been blessed with two lovely and devoted daughters, but as as your children, they have been emotionally wounded in our dysfunctional home. They both have divorced and remarried, one now happily and the other not. God bless you!

    • V on March 6, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      Oh Sandra, women like you have been mu utter inspiration. If even one woman listens, you would have redeemed her. May God bless you in miracles. Thank you for teaching us by your life ( I wish we coukd sit with you under different circumstances but this is the path.) Bless you.

  15. Liz on March 5, 2015 at 2:00 am

    I’m separated now, after almost 40 years of marriage. I knew something wasn’t right but continued to try harder. Finally, after marriage counseling, I was told he probably has a drinking problem and I realized he did but felt I couldn’t leave because it would be abandoning him just because he has a disease. I went to alanon and because I had 2 small children, stayed. It got so I preferred it when he was gone and he did travel for work and I got busy with my kids. I initiated counseling again and knew we weren’t communicating but nothing changed. I was the frog in the pot. Later, I became a Christian and #2 came into play. If only I were a better Christian wife, things would change. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that a counseling session revealed the abusive relationship I was in. I read many books and we were a textbook case. My kids are grown now and I have realized I can’t save the marriage, I can’t do enough to make my husband happy, and I don’t deserve to be treated the way he treats me. Leaving earlier would have been better but I didn’t have the strength. My children have been negatively affected by seeing the emotional abuse I endured. They, too, were abused at times. I was afraid to stand up to him and I tried to be who my husband wanted me to be and not myself. I’m just now trying to discover who I am. I do know who I am in Christ and that gives me hope.

  16. Broken on March 5, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    just read an article on another blog. they wrote (& i quote) the following:
    ‘ in the book Stones From the River by Urseula Hegi. This is set in Nazi Germany during the war. It speaks, I think, to the issue addressed here:

    “‘Your ability to adapt,’ her husband said, ‘is far more dangerous to you than any of them (the Nazis) will ever be. You’ll keep adapting and adapting until nothing is left.’”

    I sadly understand this.

    I sadly understand the quote. I’ve adapted for 38 years to the point that I since i’ve moved out, I yearn for the old familiar, because i could adapt to all of it. I was like the sand on the beach of time, eroded by his constant demands of change on me. all that i feel i have left of me, are the rocks, sharp edges, caustic, hurtful, broken.

    I just plain hurt!

    • V on March 6, 2015 at 11:28 pm

      Dear Broken… that was powerful. May you find the last bits of strength to make the choices God asks of you. All I know is He Sees and He rescues. ( He got me out of a 20 yr marriage). Will carry you in prayer.

  17. Debbie on March 5, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    I prayed a lot of years for my husband to ‘wake up’ and ‘see’ the truth of his behavior and how it hurt me and our kids. He seems to have a seared conscience. I used to think he didn’t see or realize what he was doing to us. But he knows–I know he knows based upon him describing his own behavior to me and others. That was a major revelation when I realized he knows, and still he chooses to hurt us. It is hard for me to wrap my head around that. He seems to have no remorse and blames us for his behavior. My husband’s way of thinking, his reality even, is very different from mine. It makes communicating and relating to one another virtually impossible. I’ve learned to work around it to keep the family going and my sanity intact. His behavior has lost me and he doesn’t even know it yet. After 20 plus years of marriage, I am ready to end this marriage that is a lie in so many ways. I feel I have nothing left to give. I don’t hardly ever approach him to ‘discuss’ anything I want or need because I know I am just opening myself up to abuse. I feel like he has ‘trained’ me to expect very little and ask for very little. He seems most to despise more than anything another person having a voice. If he changes eventually, good for him–I hope he can be happy. But it will not be with me. And yet, and this is where I am currently stuck, there is a resistance in me, like you talk about. I dread the ‘I want a divorce’ conversation and the ugly behavior that will follow. I have sought God’s will and direction all these years. I believe He is leading me out at this point. I do not regret staying this long. God has used this trial and pain to grow me. He has kept me. He is my solid rock, my firm foundation. A strong identity in Christ is critical. So I am moving forward hopeful, but honestly, somewhat scared. Your website, book and support is a God-send Leslie. Emotional abuse can be very covert and insidious. People on the outside have a hard time understanding. Knowing there is even one Christian woman out there who understands is a tremendous help to me.

    • Robin on March 6, 2015 at 12:52 am

      Debbie, I can relate to you. There is not one thing you said, that didn’t mirror my destructive relationship!! Glad to have friends to share our stories with– but sorry they have had to experience so much pain!!!!

    • Sandra on March 6, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      Debbie, I hope you an get the courage from the Lord to leave now. You still have many years left to have the peace and freedom to serve our Lord without living in that toxic environment, as I did for 57 years. Since he left, I have grown tremendously, since I can now pray, read my Bible, sing hymns and attend church to my heart’s content, without having to deal; with his abuse. Prayers for you and all our dear Sisters and Leslie. We are blessed with each others love & support! <3 +

    • Lynn M on March 9, 2015 at 8:56 am

      Debbie, everything you said is identical to my situation. I could have written every word! I am in the process of leaving — moving out in two weeks. I will post more of my story below. I too dreaded the “I want a divorce” conversation because I said it meany times. I finally had to take action he would listen too. On the day after Christmas I took half of our savings (after spending six months copying all financial documents and moving things to a safe deposit box) I told him what I had done and that I was moving forward with divorce and would not consider any other path. I had to have that concrete action of physically taking the money to make him pay any attention to me at all! I found that just talking about divorce or separation would be completely ignored.

      • Leslie Vernick on March 9, 2015 at 3:43 pm

        what a brave girl you are.

    • David on March 10, 2015 at 8:29 am

      “If he changes eventually, good for him–I hope he can be happy. But it will not be with me. ” your comments are very discouraging

      • Debbie on March 10, 2015 at 4:53 pm

        I am not the least bit discouraged actually. Do I wish things had happened differently? Yes. This is not the marriage I wanted. Here’s the good part–The Lord encourages my heart every day. He truly saves. I have come so far–you have no idea. This realIy is abuse we are talking about here. One person trying to crush another person’s spirit; trying to break them and push the life (spiritual) right out of them. I have hope that God has a plan in all this for myself, my kids AND my husband. I hope my husband and I will be friends always for our kids’ sake. But I know now that I am not required by God to remain in a marriage in order to ‘save’ my husband. Jesus is the Savior, not me.

        • David on March 10, 2015 at 6:18 pm

          You may not be discouraged but your comment much discourage me. Did you never love your husband. I like to think that the Lord can do anything – including repairing our former marriage

  18. Erica on March 5, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Where are your classes located??

  19. C. Lynn on March 5, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    I agree with your 5 points, but would add another. When you enter into a relationship with an abuser, he does not show you his true self. He is very good at understanding what you want and need. Then he gives it to you…until. And that “until” represents some form of commitment, usually marriage. Then, as you say, he turns up the heat little by little. At first, you explain it away until finally you cannot. However, I believe this is why you hear abuses women say, “But I love him!” What they really mean is that they loved the person they were shown before the commitment. They want that person to come back. Unfortunately, he will not come back and likely never truly existed. It is a difficult thing to accept this. It is a difficult thing to give up the hope for a happiness you had a taste of.

    • Debbie on March 6, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Sometimes an abuser does not show their ‘true self’. My husband is very much a Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde. He presents a super nice guy persona to the world and saves the angry, abusive self for his family. I have been told numerous times over the years by other people how incredibly nice my husband is; how he is the nicest guy in his office. Out of respect for him I hold my tongue– but it is hard to listen to. Even our kids have commented on how he treats everyone else super nice and is mean to us. The fact that he controls his behavior in the outside world, tells me he could control it at home if he chose to. It took me years to see this. I too thought he was the ‘nicest guy’ in the world. I always blamed myself for our problems and for his anger. At my low point, I hated myself and felt like a complete failure. I felt like I was going insane. Christ truly ‘saved’ me-my soul, my life and my mind. Jesus has, and continues to renew my mind. I would say at this point I care about my husband, but I don’t know that I love him very much; I certain don’t love how he treats us. Still it is very hard to give up the hope of healing and happiness with him. However, I’ve realized recently, that sometimes LOVE tells us to walk away.

      • Andrea on March 11, 2015 at 10:04 am

        Wow! You are very honest. Thank you, Debbie, for having the courage to acknowledge the truth of your situation and seek the love and protection God intends for you.

      • Robin on March 12, 2015 at 1:06 am

        Sometimes as hard as it is to walk away– we are choosing to no longer participate in unrighteous activity and getting out of the way. With me out of the picture, he has to either see and acknowledge his sin, or find someone else to blame.

    • David on March 10, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      Wow! You are very negative!

  20. Loretta P on March 6, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I would have been able to break free if I’d have had support, known that God wouldn’t judge me for leaving (bad teaching growing up), had positive self-esteem (I believed the abuse was because I couldn’t get it right), and been able to support myself! I am an advocate for women getting an education so they can support themselves if they need to. I stayed because I didn’t want to return to my parent’s dysfunctional home, didn’t want to live on welfare, didn’t see any way I could support myself. I was terrified that God would judge me. I had such bad teaching as a child and was told by many in the faith I just needed to submit. I didn’t know that God hates a bad marriage just as much as divorce! He also loves me and doesn’t want me living in abuse. There were many things my husband did that I didn’t know were abusive. I just thought I was getting what I deserved! I was raised in abuse and had a very low self-image. It’s a long road to healing. It’s taken me through years of counseling, prayer counseling (with my Pastor and his wife), reading many good books, lots of prayer and talking to God, being open to God to let him heal. I’m still in counseling both with a Christian counselor and my Pastor and his wife (he is trained in counseling and a great counselor. His wife is very intuitive and is there for our sessions).

    I’m still in the marriage and it’s been difficult. I’m not sure how this will end as I’ve set new boundaries / consequences and he’s working with a counselor, seeing a Psychiatrist and under church discipline but still not fully honest. This is his last chance and I’ve got connections to a good attorney, talked to my bank and am planning my strategy if he doesn’t make changes from true heart change. He is trying harder but it feels like he’s only doing the “outside” things to keep me in the marriage, his heart doesn’t seem to want deep change. He’s not been honest with the Psychiatrist who calls him on it!

    He’s praying more and I see God opening doors for him to have resources he’s never had before. We all feel this is his last chance to save the marriage and be reinstated in the church. It’s sad that he can be so stuck in sin that he doesn’t really want to break free. He’s into pron, has a history of abusing me in many ways and has been diagnosed as a Narcissist.

    The abuse has ended because I’ve gotten strong enough to set boundaries and I will call the police if he rages at me again. Thankfully I have the support of my Pastor, the church leadership and a circle of Godly women! That has given me the strength to begin healing and setting boundaries / consequences. Where this will lead is up to him and his choices. I will no longer stay with him if he continues to walk in sin and be destructive. It’s been six months since this last episode came to light and has been a highly stressful time for me! Learning to have CORE strength as Leslie talked about in her great book is helping. I’m a work in progress and unless God changes my husband’s heart – I’ll soon be single.

    • Leonie on March 11, 2015 at 11:21 am

      Loretta, this is where I am at as well. I will call the police if my husband rages at me again. My body can’t take anymore. On family day I had an ah ha moment and confronted my abusive husband who I think has intermittent explosive disorder that I think he wants to be single. Everything he does & says & the way he behaves shows me he wants to be single. He has 1 foot out the door in regards to our finances,
      That must have flipped a switch with him & he has been nice ever since, he exploded once while I was out of the house, which was a first. I would have called the police had I been there and I think he knows it. I feel my strength coming back and I am beginning to feel a bit normal again. If he goes off again, I am set to spring into action.
      I am laughing at David’s posts, when I confront my husband about his massage parlour use, his comment to me is that I am being negative. Well, no, but I am confronting a negative behavior that has no place in marriage. I think when he says that it is to deflect the attention from the real issue to one of his unwritten rules I am am breaking, the presumptuous sin of being negative!

      • David on March 11, 2015 at 11:44 am

        Dear Leonie. Why are you laughing at me. That alone speaks volumes. What is wrong with separating but not divorcing? is that not Biblical? I am being serious and trying to understand the way all the posters think … there is a time to laugh … this is not the time.

        • Ann on March 11, 2015 at 6:25 pm

          I don’t find any of your remarks anything but disruptive, manipulative, fault finding, and pot stirring.

          • Monica on March 11, 2015 at 7:15 pm

            I Agree.



          • David on March 11, 2015 at 7:19 pm

            Hopefully someone, ie Leslie, will answer my question re separation or divorce. Thanks



          • Leslie Vernick on March 12, 2015 at 2:04 am

            David, for some reason I haven’t seen your question. What is it?



  21. Maxie on March 6, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I would have not taken any steps any sooner. I left after 20 years… and needed to buy time.

    I asked God over and over to get me out and every time I asked, He said wait. I have journals and journals of this.

    And in the meantime, I stashed money, up to $300 a month sometimes so I could have money to get out.

    By the time my son was a teen, and felt stable from anxiety, and I believed he could stand on his own, I heard the ok from God to get out.
    I had 15K stashed. I only needed 5K for all lawyers fees.

    It nearly cost me my health, my sanity, and ultimately, my safety. I left after he threated to hit me, I felt the Lord urge me to leave. There was no more counseling, no more lies of apology.
    Ultimately, 6 months later, when we were separated, I asked him about it.
    He blamed me for getting him to that place and what more did I want.
    In that second I knew God’s hand got me out.

    I don’t wish it happened a day sooner or later. I just know God moved him on and out.

    Before we were divorced he had a girlfriend.

    My biggest lesson was that even in my imperfection and sin and all the things wrong in the relationship, that I mattered, that I deserved love, that I didn’t have to choose this type of life.

    I’ve been out nearly two years. It’s just now that my body is starting to stop being anxious, my soul finding deep peace in the day that I didn’t even know existed, my heart joyful. I’m not dating yet. Need time.
    But my son is soaring.
    And God is good.
    And I’m free.

    (A huge thanks to the women here who absolutely never told me I needed more Jesus, who told me I was on the right path – regardless of what that looked like, and who told their stories at 25, 30, 40 years of either wanting out or getting out and wishing they did it earlier. I listened to you. You bought me 5-10 years of my life. May God return that favor to you.)

    • Leslie Vernick on March 7, 2015 at 11:28 am

      I think you bring up an excellent point when we hear God say “wait”. I think he’s often telling woman to “Wait” until you’re ready and the time is right. And perhaps he may also be saying “Get Ready”. In other words, prepare, get some education so you can work, get a skill, network with supportive others, save money, get some therapy or coaching to get stronger so that when you do leave, you can stand strong.

    • Robin on March 7, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      Maxie, I love your story as it reminds us of the most important thing, and that is waiting and listening for Gods voice to speak into our individual situation. Each one of us shares a special story, and we need to hear them all, to be reminded that God will pick out a special plan for each of us. All we need, is to sit still and listen for his direction. Thank you for your honesty!!

  22. Sandra on March 6, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Carol, my prayers are with you, as I stayed in the same kind of marriage for 57 years, and would still be in it if he hadn’t left because of boundaries I had to try, hoping he’d change. You still have a lot of years left to live in peace and freedom, as I am. since he left. I wish I had left when he first began being unfaithful, but I kept forgiving him, and praying he’d change. However, it only got worse with the verbal abuse, insane jealousy and putdowns and accusations. Please leave before it gets worse. Prayers for you, Sandra

  23. Leslie Vernick on March 7, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Thanks Aleea, I think you covered things well. What I say is whatever is going on in the inside (internal dance) will repeat itself in your external world. That is why it is so important to for women to look within and understand their own internal drama or dance so that they begin to change things on the inside – for example, stop beating themselves up on the inside for mistakes, and when they do that, they will be more empowered to speak up when someone has a pattern of disrespecting them on the outside world. That’s why in the last several months I have talked about our own “internal cast of characters” because women who live with abusers long term, also have an internal abuser who lies to her, who tells her she isn’t worth anything. She must address those voices before she can be successful at stopping abuse in her external world against her. Yes, she may break away from one relationship, but then repeats it in another because the internal dance hasn’t changed.

    As to why men don’t repent, think of it the same way. What is their internal dance – it’s never my fault, I don’t reflect on my behavior, I refuse to look within, so therefore when someone on the outside world gives feedback, they refuse it. I also think it’s a great deal of pride, shame and what you said – the relationship isn’t based on love, but on control and dominance. You are in my life to meet MY needs and when you fail, or refuse, you will pay.

    • Aleea on March 8, 2015 at 10:57 am

      (((HUG))) -Thank you for helping me heal, crying & tears.
       
      “You are in my life to meet MY needs and when you fail, or refuse, you will pay.” –That’s a monster, a vile abomination and the stench from an open grave (Romans 1:18-32). –Radical depravity that is actually destroying the abuser too. His very soul is eviscerated by operating that way but seeing that and radically repenting of it is a gift from God, just like real, saving faith in Christ. 
       
      We don’t even know what our real needs are without the Lord regenerating our hearts and us daily seeking to align our hearts with God’s real love. So we search with so few finding the difference between truth (God’s real love) and lies (all of our false selves).
       
      I’m impressed with the Lord God when I see what He has done in and through your life. -I feel overwhelmed and I need to pray. . . .   
       
      Lord God, please give us holiness because without holiness, we will make just about ever mistake possible (Hebrews 12:14) and never see You.  Lord give us humility because we know You oppose the proud and overconfident.  Give us grace to humble ourselves under your mighty hand so that You may lift us up (I Peter 5:5-6). Help me, always, Lord to have a servant’s heart in all things, especially when the going gets rough.  Help me, Lord God to trust only in your strength. And Lord God (for me) –MOST of all— I plead and pray for wisdom because I really lack it so badly.  Lord, I feel as if my retardation in the wisdom department is demonstrable, so I beg you for wisdom. . . . .My rock, my fortress, my shield, my strength, my comfort, my peace, my salvation, my refuge, my God.
       
      We don’t love our husbands if we allow them to stay stuck, we are being selfish and harming them. –And we don’t love others and ourselves if we allow the “factory of ourselves” (our CORE?) to remain broken producing defective product year after year. No one broke my heart, I broke my own. I am responsible to guard my heart (Proverbs 4:23–26) with wisdom and understanding. I am responsible to parent myself (love myself well). We are to follow the narrow path that Christ calls us to follow, and in Him to die to all those false selves, -my masks. “Death” –necessary death– the death of my ego, my impulses, and the mask of myself –which isn’t ME…but it pretends to be me! (-That’s got to go too.)

    • Aleea on March 9, 2015 at 11:46 pm

      “. . . but I think that so often women “die” to their very personhood, their “self” not their false self or ego which is not what Christ asks.”
       
      –Oh, certainly –so, so true. Christ never asks us to die to our personhood. NEVER ever lose that. —Moreover, a wise husband will bring that out in his wife through sincere and ongoing affection (an environment of affection, caring, protection, nurture and thoughtfulness where she will blossom.)
       
      “When we yield our will to His in surrender and submission (to God), that is the dying to self God calls us to.”
       
      –Exactly, surrender and submission to God and that is how we know we have eternal life (i.e. are genuinely born again). We are to examine ourselves, fully repent of all sin and  ensure that we are in the faith and prove our own selves (2 Corinthians 13:5). –Oh please, after all everyone here has been through, let’s all get this right. It is so beautiful when we are filled with His Spirit, allowing Him to be our LORD. –And because He is perfect, we can fully submit without fear, we can walk in obedience to Him by His power, and recognize how God is working (or not) in our lives (-and take corrective action if necessary) by seeking Him more, refining our motives so that ultimately everything is all about Him not about us or what we want. We don’t lose our personhood but we die to our selfish selves, we live for God, we learn to pray fervently, to recognize idols, to become godly women …surrendering, submitting and dying to our perfect God and accepting His discipline when necessary (Hebrews 12:6, Proverbs 3:12).

    • Ann on March 10, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Aleea you said, “No one broke my heart, I broke my own.”
      I disagree. My abuser husband broke my heart with his verbal, physical, emotional, and financial abuse; I did not do that to myself. I will not take responsibility for his sin.

    • Aleea on March 12, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      Ann, that truly may be your situation, your abuser is 100% at fault, you are 0% at fault. It is so hard to write generally speaking and I would NEVER discount your direct experience. I’m saying for me no one broke my heart, I broke my own, BECAUSE, I did NOT guard my heart well AND I did not parent myself (bring healing to my broken parts and dysfunctional dances). Marriage is NOT: I will take care of your heart and you take care of mine. We never lose responsibility for our OWN hearts! Only Jesus gets your heart and you are responsible to parent yourself –and parent yourself well- applying God’s love to all those broken parts of yourself that need to healed (the factory of yourself). WE have to parent ourselves and guard our hearts well!!! –That’s all I’m trying to say. –And here is what that looks like from day one on: Husband (abuser), I am going to Zion (the city of God) with or without you. I invite you to come and join me. Come and join me in the Sunlight! But if you refuse –or say you will but then isolate (cave-sweet-cave vs. home-sweet-home), if you become emotional distant, abusive, have no interest in really following the Lord, want to be a carnal Counterfeit Christian, if you don’t even understand or have the Holy Spirit, I and the Lord WILL leave you behind. I will still love you, forgive you and pray for you but at some point I will not be with you. –And I really think real holiness would self-select lots of undesirable people from our lives. So let’s make sure we have real holiness (-Way, way, way harder than it sounds). We are not to compare ourselves with others who call themselves a Christian. We are told to compare ourselves with the scriptures. “Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; prove your own selves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Jesus told me to follow BUT to count the cost I’m willing to pay (Luke 14:28), right? -So what is that cost and how do I count it? Real Christians are those who bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, what is that fruit? One of the greatest evidences of being truly saved is that God will not allow us to talk like our flesh wants to talk, act like the world, speak like the world, and listen to the “wisdom” of this world.
       
      Much love to you Ann and I send you a huge HUG! I truly know what you mean (I get it and I hear you. I understand –and at that level, agree.) but I hope you know what I mean too because it is very important. I’m more concerned that I see you in heaven than in the divorce court but if we are with an abuser who stays in a flat-spin, we are going there too (divorce court).

  24. Sandra on March 7, 2015 at 11:47 am

    My prayers for dear Ruth and all of you Sisters in Christ. I love the Bible promise: And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten. Joel 2:25 God has promised to restore all the pain of our past, the heartaches from broken relationships, the struggles from defeat, and the frustrations of our lives. Let’s just Praise the Lord for His blessings. My love & prayers for Leslie and all of you!

  25. Sandra on March 7, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Wow! God bless you for this godly insight, dear Leslie! It has encouraged my heart more than you know, and I sure our others Sisters here! With my love & prayers for you, Sandra <3 +

  26. Sandra on March 7, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Aleea: You have written such an encouraging message in response to Leslie’s. I’m sure it will bless the hearts of all our dear “Sisters” here, as it has mine. God bless you!

    • Aleea on March 9, 2015 at 11:53 pm

      Sandra, thank you. That is humbling. . . . Obviously, the difficulty we find in letting go of abuse is that usually we have something tangible in our hands that we think is going to bring us some type of pleasure and happiness.  When we let go of it, we do not YET have anything tangible in our hands, yet we have opened our hearts and the doors to our own freedom in Christ.  This, to me, is the very essence of faith: The way we rid ourselves of abuse is the exact way we find our way back, to God’s heart!  It always seems the problem is letting go.  In letting go there is a perception of a loss.  Yet in many cases it is the loss of something that is usually an illusion.  Yet, what seems to be is always better than nothing, then nothing at all, right?  So, like a drug that makes us high for an hour, we think, if I let go, I’ll miss out on something really valuable (-and we know better, we just know better!!!).  We know that is an illusion too but we take it as true.  Loss means sadness, and most of us are petrified of experiencing sadness.  The reality is, by holding on we are already experiencing sadness.  It is just disguised in the form of depression, anxiety, perfectionism, addiction, eating disorders, you name it.  We are losing our very selves.  If we let go of everything but the Lord, we have nowhere to go but UP.  However, we do not want to invite loss and sadness, because we think to experience sadness would immobilize us.  Yet we must travel through this sadness if we want to rid our lives of abuse, really follow Jesus in love, forge a new path, create a new story, and build unbreakable bonds with our REAL lost love, our Lord God.

  27. Mimi on March 7, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    In fact, I am so thankful I discovered this blog. I have been married 16 yrs and 13 yrs ago a pastor adviced me to leave cos I was still young but I have hanged in cos of the ministry work ( we are pastors) and the kids. I have contemplated leaving several times but I freeze in the end. Reading from all of you ladies who have stayed longer, hmm. Makes me wonder. I really need support to do this.

  28. Patty on March 8, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    The “process” of leaving an abusive spouse, divorce process, moving, etc. is very stressful and can be complicated but after just having gone through it, I can say it is worth it. I have done it twice now, first time with 3 young kids. The one thing I can say for those raising kids is that it is BETTER not to even think about another relationship with a man until you are fully recovered and look at yourself and your shortcomings. Celebrate Recovery and Al-Anon, etc are great free programs built on the 12 steps and biblical principles that help you focus on yourself and find support, peace, and strength. I mention these because I continue to be part of a “program” and have greatly benefitted so far. I am not an “addict” of anything but I do have some major hurts and habits that affect the way I think about relationships. I am more broken now than my first divorce. I did not date for 7 years, and read a number of good books on post divorce that advise waiting until after kids are grown since it will be “easier” on you and the kids. I think blended families are harder and more stressful than a single parent family. I was not only “attacked” by my spouse but also his grown kids. I think the church needs to take on the counseling of couples going into a 2nd marriage much more seriously and follow a premarital counseling that is specifically geared to 2nd marriage and blended family issues. You really have to be your own best advocate in life for yourself so you can also be a great advocate and healthy mother for your children. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your kids. Do you want them to repeat what you have modeled in your marriage? Denial is a huge block to getting help and better. It is very difficult to figure out your “shortcomings” on your own. God is there to show you, listen very carefully, pursue HIm and watch how he is pursuing you.(and get into a program) He wants to use you to be His instrument of glorifying Him on this earth by doing His will. Being strong and courageous for Him and the children He blessed you with. He promises to give you that strength and peace. The Serenity prayer has been huge for me, I have memorized it, the full Christian version. It truly helps me deal with all my stress and issues, ONE DAY AT A TIME. To gather the strength I need each day (because I am grieving hard the loss of my marriage, home, family, etc). I NEED that prayer and the wisdom it holds. I need to surrender to God and totally trust Him that if I surrender control of my life to Him and His will, He will take care of me AND my children. This is almost like a David/Goliath issue, or a Esther/King issue, God gave us people like this to show us that with His help and trusting HIm, we can make a difference, stand up against evil and have the victory!
    I would not be quick to judge others as betrayers if they don’t have compassion on you. I’ve had a few chosen friends that I had to be patient with and EDUCATE in order for them to stop thinking and speaking “God hates divorce” and see it from a more broad and educated perspective. I ordered dozens of the RBC booklet, “God’s Protection of Women, When Abuse is worse than divorce.” I have seen more openness and compassion, once it is read. One friend, read Leslie’s book on Emotionally Destructive Relationships and listened to the audio cd’s I ordered. Now these friends are helping other abused women and are so much more discerning!
    I am not going to allow myself to get majorly discouraged because this culture we live in or friends and family don’t believe me. It hurts but more importantly, there is a lot of work to be done, educating about this issue! I am so thankful for Leslie and other courageous authors, leaders that are speaking out on this. We need to keep them in prayer and help by getting the word out. It is God’s job after all, to change minds and hearts but we can help plant the seeds!

    • David on March 10, 2015 at 7:01 pm

      The Bible never allows for another marriage based on emotional abuse. If a wife separates from her husband then should pray that the Lord change him so that you can reconcile – not kill the marriage completely. Can separate but not divorce

      • V on March 11, 2015 at 8:29 pm

        Here is a great resource that may help you think through this differently… it’s been referred many times by Leslie and others here, and maybe this will help further your Biblical perspective.
        Don’t forget that Jesus said that Moses permitted divorce because of the hardness of heart. That’s an awful thing to live with and is in line with emotional abuse. This book discusses the Biblical and Jewish history of divorce, so it’s pretty profound (written by a pastor who is not divorced). All the best as you wrestle honestly with this really tough subject…
        http://www.amazon.com/Divorce-Remarriage-Church-Solutions-Realities/dp/0830833749

  29. anonymous on March 9, 2015 at 2:03 am

    What if we alternate the she/he pronouns? What if a man is doing #1, 2 and 3, after decades of abuse from an emotionally destructive wife? It sometimes seems that women have the freedom to leave, but that men need to stick it out for whatever reasons. (And BTW, I’m a female who is watching a male cousin be destroyed by the emotional abuse/control that he experiences.) I know this is a less common situation, but he still has the right to be free of that, doesn’t he?

    • Loretta P on March 9, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Abuse is wrong no matter if it’s against a female or male! It’s sin and it’s wrong. Any person (male or female) being abused has the right in God’s eyes to leave. It’s sad that our world is so broken and so many people are being abused, wounded, injured. It’s such a difficult problem because many abuses don’t have physical scares so it’s more difficult for others to understand the abuse happening.

      I’ve stayed for 40 years and am now paying for it dearly in physical stress problem, emotional struggles. I’m working to build my core, planning an exit strategy if he refuses help. He’s now seeing a counselor and Psychiatrist and is fighting what the Psychiatrist is telling him he must do. I don’t know how this will end, but without divine intervention it will soon be over after so many years. I wish I would have listened to a GYN doctor that begged me to leave years ago, but I had no support at that time, didn’t make enough to support myself financially, and was in a church that preached submission. Now I have support at church, from my Pastor and wife, and this blog! So thankful!!!

      Please encourage your cousin to leave and be safe!

    • Leslie Vernick on March 9, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      I do think that men who are being abused are often mistreated by those they seek for help in different ways than women are. Women are usually not believed or have told they are to “endure suffering” for Christ’s sake. Men who are emotionally abused are often shamed for either allowing it to happen or for being a wimp and crybaby about it. It’s terrible either way.

  30. Joy on March 9, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Definitely knowing that God not only would give me “permission” to separate and “air our dirty laundry” by telling someone, but that God would WANT me to stop enabling the marital and child abuse.

  31. Amy on March 9, 2015 at 9:40 am

    The fact that I am still in the marriage causes me so much disappointment with myself, because I intellectually know better and I have not left. No matter how good a mom I am in other areas the fact that I have not left is the reason I feel terrible about myself as a mother. I speak up for myself, although it has done little to no good. I am blessed with an education that he can’t take from me and a good paying job. I am so proud of you ladies who have done the hard thing and left. I so wanted my kids to have a good family. My sons love their dad who plays with them and is involved but has even said he doesn’t want to be a parent (he wants to take care of the sports – because that is what he likes ) but finds the day to day family life a burden which causes him to be extremely moody. I am not treated well and I am frozen! I am not proud of myself at all. I am certainly not being the strong women and mother I should be. No matter the treats he makes to financially destroy me my lack of action shows a lack of faith in God that really displeases me. It isn’t that I need to wake up, I am fully aware – but frozen! Proud of you all who have done the hard thing. I hope to one day do the same.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 9, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      OK Amy if you hands were frozen what would you do to get them functioning again? You’d put them in hot water, if that didn’t work, you’d go to the doctor – immediately because you need your hands. In the same way you need your spirit – you need your personhood to thaw so that you can make good decisions on behalf of your own self as well as on behalf of your kids. Stop beating yourself up for being frozen and instead get help to thaw out. XOXO you are loved and supported.

    • Monica on March 9, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      “I hope to one day do the same”. I’m glad you have hopes of getting to the point of leaving. You’ll get there. Draw close to God and find support. “A bruised Reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice
      ” we have to do our part. God is FAITHFUL!

    • Leonie on March 11, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Amy, my thoughts are – you have a good paying job, go, what is stopping you? I was so broken down I couldn’t do my job and was let go. If I had a job I would be out so fast!
      But I can’t fault you, I feel very frozen too. My daughter loves her dad and he loves her, how do I break that up? I fear for her on weeks that she would be with him, she is only 4 1/2 – he says he wants 1/2 custody. She loves mommy and daddy both so much, how do I break that, although it is actually him who has broken it by his abuse and rage that I cannot cope with. Monica, that is beautiful, Leslie, thank you, this is a time to get ready!
      I have a dear Christian friend who is telling me “dump the fear” – “hold his toes to the fire, don’t let him get away with his bad behavior, don’t tolerate the secrecy, anger, bad moods …. I was doing all that when I first discovered his addiction to massage parlours but that is what got me abused, how can I go back to doing that again. I am at the point, like someone else mentioned where everything I say just opens me up to more abuse I just leave him alone and stay out of his way. I have been praying though a Stormie Omartian book and am experiencing changes in me, more than who I was praying for. Thank you to all the ladies who are sharing their stories, many of them give me hope again, especially Robin, who got out!

      • Robin on March 11, 2015 at 6:31 pm

        Leonine sorry to give a hard answer but read Leslie’s book on chapter on core where it talks about doing nothing– comes at a huge price to pay. I encourage you to move ahead in and by faith- be a warrior for Righteousness!!!!! Not easy, but sometimes if we don’t make a move with courage, something dies in us for our passivity. Love you and praying you– forward!

      • Amy on March 11, 2015 at 7:43 pm

        Leonine, I understand your view. I know that the fact I can support myself makes it easier a than for some women who don’t have that blessing. It is never simple in these relationships. I also have very young kids…so not really excited about not being there every day….especially when I worry about his patience with young kids. He also won’t leave the house and it takes a long time to sell a house in our area. he uses threats about money to get to me. He has said he would sue me for alimony….this is a working man for heaven sakes and that he would push for every dollar as he said he deserved compensation for being married to me…..don’t get the wrong idea I don’t make that much just blessed to have a decent job. Having small kids and having him be a nightmare to break up with is scary.

        • Liz on March 16, 2015 at 12:37 am

          Amy, I don’t know about your state but mine has no fault separation or divorce. It isn’t about punishing the other or making them pay, it is about dividing assets and not letting one be over burdened financially above the other. You can ask to have him leave the house. When I filed for separation the court ruled he had to leave and I don’t have children living with me. I’ve heard many times they allow the wife and kids to stay in the home because it is easier on the children. You need to get legal council. Praying for the strength to do what God is leading you to do, be it leave or stay.

      • Sandra on March 12, 2015 at 1:23 pm

        Leonie:
        I can so relate to you regarding leaving your abusive spouse because I was also fearful of that early in our marriage. Although my husband was unfaithful, alcoholic and verbally abusive, we had two young children, and he was a good provider. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a job and earn enough to support myself and my daughters, and didn’t want to depend on welfare or child support, so I stayed, even though I felt “trapped.” Since you do have a decent job and means of support, please seriously consider leaving, for your own mental heath, as well as your children’s. I pray God will give you the courage and His love and care through it all.

  32. Monica on March 9, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Wow! Powerful prayer and words. Thank you Alea! I had to take notes on what you wrote. “Change dance steps ” “true holiness “, “I can’t sit here and wait forever…….” this all spoke volumes to me. Interesting thing is that I’m having to put an end to relationship with the lady I rent apartment from who is also my daughters babysitter. She has been very destructive, but the dance I started out with her was as a victim etc. Yesterday was last straw of disrespect
    I informed her this morning, I’m moving out
    She can keep the rent I payed for this month. I’m tired of being disrespected by her and anyone else. Enough is enough. But it’s only through going close to God that this is possible.

    • Aleea on March 10, 2015 at 12:02 am

      Monica, thank you. That is humbling.

  33. Leslie Vernick on March 9, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Good points but I think that so often women “die” to their very personhood, their “self” not their false self or ego which is not what Christ asks. When we yield our will to His in surrender and submission (to God), that is the dying to self God calls us to.

  34. David on March 9, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    So if the husband changes the wife should refuse to love and forgive!?

    • V on March 9, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      Hi David, no one here is saying that. The husband (or wife, whoever the offending party is) needs to show
      1) true repentance (truly remorseful that results in change of heart and actions)

      2) true change (over time, like, months)

      3)Not manipulating (as in, I’ve changed now you owe me – this could be anything from believe I’ve changed to you owe me back into the house).

      For sure a wife shouldn’t control or punish a husband ever. But the reality is that her safety (emotional and often otherwise) has been threatened and only actions over time will help heal each person and the relationship.

      • David on March 11, 2015 at 11:53 am

        thanks

    • Leslie Vernick on March 9, 2015 at 11:48 pm

      Hey David, I hope a godly wife would love and forgive whether or not her husband changes, but if he truly changes, then perhaps she could give him another chance at making their marriage work. But love – at least Biblical love doesn’t mean allowing or enabling continued sin with no consequences, it means acting in his best interest, which is not to enable his blindness or sin to continue.

      • David on March 11, 2015 at 12:05 pm

        thank you Leslie. Is there any compelling reason why the spouse that is thrown out would ever want to come back? What is stopping the victim spouse from throwing out the partner again 30 years down the road due to disagreement – the victim spouse may well consider it nagging and more verbal/emotional abuse. Once done is it not easier to do it again? Seems somewhat arrogant to assume that the offending and transformed spouse would come back – no? The offending but repentant and transformed spouse may not wish to live with threat for the rest of his/her life. I would think that trust would be gone from both parties.

        • Leonie on March 11, 2015 at 12:45 pm

          It’s funny that you mention trust, my husband, who I now know is addicted to massage parlours often says he doesn’t trust me. But I always ask about what? The 2nd sense I have to realize that he hasn’t quit using prostitutes? That I am still attuned to his behaviours and moods that show me he is lying again? He comes home and is really distant and will only speak to my 4 year old but not to me. He tells her about the traffic on the road and how he can’t sleep past 3 am and his body is breaking down because he is so tired I feel like I am overhearing him talk to his wife, not a 4 year old. It is odd but that’s how he behaves.
          I doubt there are any all powerful wives here who would throw their husbands out after a disagreement, if we were that all powerful we would have no need for this forum & each other’s support! I wish abusers would stop claiming they are changed, ask the wife, she’ll tell you if he’s changed or not, ask what her experience is. It may take awhile for her to get over the sick feeling inside & believe it, that will take time – the same time it will take to see if the change is real.

          • David on March 11, 2015 at 1:17 pm

            Ya your husband ‘s actions are very weird, however I am talking about a spouse who has repented and with God’s help has transformed by why would the offending spouse, often the husband, want to come back?



        • V on March 11, 2015 at 8:25 pm

          I really sat with this issue of trust today, David. I believe that both parties have the right to say “I don’t feel like I can trust you or work this out so I need to a) work harder with you to rebuild more trust or b) go no further”.
          Both parties are equal in needing trust and the offending party can say it’s not worth moving forward for fear of more punishment. This is incredibly empowering for both, and might be able to level the field of worth and value should they both decide to try to repair.

          The offending party doesn’t wear a scarlet O around their neck forever. At some point to heal the relationship, both equally need to agree to move in increments and rebuild.
          Just my opinion. 🙂

          • David on March 11, 2015 at 9:44 pm

            I hope your right re my wife



          • David on March 11, 2015 at 9:49 pm

            I much love my wife but I have screwed up and treated her bad (emotional) , but she said that she never loved me so maybe no hope



          • V on March 11, 2015 at 9:53 pm

            David, I feel for you, as it sounds like you are in a really tender place. The only thing you can do is be yourself. You can’t change or control someone else. Be you. Let God do whatever He needs to do. It sounds like you’ve paid for your sins but she needs her own time and space in her heart to deal with whatever went on. Let her have her space with no demands from you. Be you – the healed, giving you. And after that, let the chips fall. You also decide if it’s safe for you. Everyone deals with their own side. It’s truly all you can do. This may be the frustration you feel here in the posts – we’re all coming from a place of utter personal responsibilty, and learning that we matter, and have a say.
            This goes for you too (even if you are the offender).
            Honestly, this may be the best chance you both have to reunite in a Godly way – both of you showing up, not demanding of the other, sharing who you really are, and coming from a place of CORE power (you can look up Leslie’s videos on YouTube that talk about this). All the best to you, and we are all hoping for God’s highest best for your situation.



          • V on March 11, 2015 at 10:00 pm

            I think what’s really important here is that two hearts are broken and hurting. As you find your worth and forgiveness in God, and forgive yourself, and heal and over time, show her actions that show you’ve healed (with no required outcome on her part), then you can see what God wants from this – and honestly, maybe nothing. I hear you love, miss and want this back, but you don’t get to have a say in that. You get to have a say in your life before God, and give her space to feel safe again. Please understand that you are on a blog with women who have been unsafe and wounded for years. Maybe it’s good for you to see what your wife may be dealing with here. The rebuilding process of a heart is safety, and then a little worth, and then space and a million other little things that only God can give. Please let go of controlling her or her return, or her responses to you. Just be. Truly repent and let God’s forgiveness of you be enough to rebuild who YOU are… like over a loooong time (personally, I’d say at least 6 months). Yep. That much.
            I think from your responses here, it feels like you want to know what’s next, how to deal with things, etc. but maybe a GREAT first step is to consider working with Leslie in her new class, or whatever else to build yourself up -so you don’t repeat things in the future with anyone. God bless your honesty, and your willingness to fight for what you love. May God make Himself known to you.



        • Survivor on March 12, 2015 at 8:09 am

          David, many of the things you say sound very similar to the things my husband says to me. I would encourage you to be very willing to look at yourself and ways that you have sinned and have less focus on ways that you feel you have been sinned against. The only person you can change is you. If you are making changes for the purpose of changing your wife or to get her back in your life, you will only be disappointed. Change needs to come from the bottom of your heart out of a love for Jesus and the work He has done for us all. That is the only way your wife will be able to experience a change in you and trust it. Watch the movie Fireproof and observe WHEN things began to change in that relationship and what was happening as long as the man was focused on himself and his ‘rights’………

          • Leslie Vernick on March 12, 2015 at 1:49 pm

            I agree. David we have encouraged you to work on you in the past and it’s interesting you keep returning to this site periodically. Do you think that perhaps God wants you to learn some new things instead of trying to tell everyone else what they are doing wrong?



  35. Lonely wife on March 10, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I feel I’m at a crossroads in my life….really not sure what to do! My marriage isn’t “abusive” , as in verbal or physical abuse…and I’m not even sure if it’s emotional abuse.
    My husband had an emotional affair 4 yrs ago, and other than apologizing, and going to counseling a handful of times and then quitting, he’s done nothing to help me deal with the pain of the betrayal, or to rebuild trust in our marriage!
    I’ve begged, pleaded, threatened, cried, etc…and I get no where.
    His first counselor said he’s passive aggressive, and lacking in empathy…and I clearly see the truth in that statement.
    When I bring up the past, he shuts me out. He tells me it’s been four yrs and I need to let it go, that he’s tired of talking about it, that he said he’s sorry!
    My eyes have really been opened to how my marriage has been for the almost 30 yrs we’ve been married…my husband has skated through married life, working, eating and sleeping, letting me have the responsibility of raising our now almost grown children, dealing with all the pressures of life, chronic illness in one of our children, finances, etc…while he took the path of least resistance, and had two emotional affairs in 25 yrs…
    I love him as I would love a friend, but have no romantic feelings for him at all.
    I’m staying in the marriage for the money. That sounds bad doesn’t it?
    But I’m not unhappy, per say. Do I feel loved, no. Do I yearn for a deeper connection with my husband, oh yes! But I’ve accepted that that is never going to happen, because my H is emotionally avoidant, and cannot/will not give me what I need so I’ve stopped expecting anything from him! I’ve let go of any expectations I’ve had about my marriage…I am now serving God in the many ministries He’s given me, and I get my feelings of self worth and pleasure from that, plus my children! They all see how their dad acts, he doesn’t fool them at all!
    We are a team, my children and I, and we talk and have fun together!
    My H and sleep in the same bed, but have not had sexually intimacy since last June when I told him that I am tired of being used for his sexual pleasure, when I have told him repeatedly that I am getting nothing out of it…and his response would always be, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” and nothing would ever change.
    So I assume he’s ok with the way things are right now, even though he says he’s not happy with it…but he’s made no effort on his part to change and I just can’t have sex with him anymore, knowing that he doesn’t care enough about me to even try to work on the many issues he has.
    And yes, that’s all it’s been over the years…Sex. Meeting HIS needs…No affection, no cuddling, no romance. I felt so used, and hated it!
    Now I feel free to be me.
    My husband let’s me do whatever I want, yes, he might grumble a bit about a church related activity I’m involved in, but as soon as we get to church, he’s Mr. Happy, smiling and acting like there no place he’d rather be…he’s a fake, and I’m pretty sure that he’s not saved, as I have NEVER seen any evidence for a love for Christ in his life! I’ve talked to him about this several times, and he assures me that he’s a believer…so there is nothing I can do, other than pray for him. I’ve discussed this with my two adult children and they agree and are also concerned for their dad’s salvation, so I know it’s not just me.
    I write all of this just to say that I am “Living Well” as Leslie puts it, and I can clearly see that God is giving me the desires of my heart, not in my marriage, but in my friends and the ministries at church that I’m involved in, so I focus on those things, instead of the negative.
    My children and I are very close, my H see this and I know it makes him angry, but I’ve told him that HE’S the one who has put himself on the outside, looking in. And he’s the only one who can unlock that door and come join us…
    Thank you Leslie for all you do. Reading your books and blog have really helped me to stop feeling sorry for myself and to look past my emotionally destructive marriage, and see the many opportunities that God has for me!
    I feel I am doing ok, I rarely cry over the state of my marriage, I’ve let go of all my hopes and dreams that my husband will ever change, in fact, I’ve stopped trying to “change him” I am NOT God, and it’s not my place to try to change anyone!
    I will continue to live my life, serving God, serving others in my community, and being a parent to my almost adult children.
    My life is full, even though it’s not quite how I thought it would be. 🙂

    • Tara on March 12, 2015 at 11:56 pm

      Thank you for sharing this. I think it’s where my life is and is headed for long term unless the Lord works a miracle. I’m so glad the Lord has blessed you with joy and friends. I have a similar marriage and a husband who has little to no empathy. I can say “what you did/said really hurt me” and he doesn’t bat an eyelash…..only hard thing is he is very restricting and controlling so I am not often “allowed” to leave the house.

      • Loretta P on March 13, 2015 at 12:31 pm

        Tara, being restricted and controlled is abusive! It’s sad that men think they have the right to control as wife. I hope you can find freedom from your abusive situation. You are worth more than to be abused by your husband!

    • Liz on March 16, 2015 at 12:52 am

      Lonely wife, that was me too and as long as the kids were around, I had activities and things to do and he rarely complained. He was still pressuring me to be physically intimate but he was so distant. I thought I was fine but once the kids left home, I felt I needed more so we went to counseling and so many issues came up that were never resolved and I saw how resentful he was for many things in our past. He seemed to get angrier and blamed me more and more, finally the abuse got really bad, so I separated. Still in the process but feeling such relief and freedom from stress. Hope things don’t get worse for you as your children grow up.

  36. Sandra on March 10, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you for your kind and inspiring reply. I certainly couldn’t seem to “let go,” until I set the boundary of no intimacy until he stopped the verbal abuse. However, he didn’t and finally is the one who left, thank the Lord! What a blessing to live in peace and freedom to finally serve the Lord, without his abuse. He has returned several times and begged me to reconcile, but has never admitted any wrong on his part, saying he’s the “wounded one!” He has been gone a year and I’ve filed for divorce. I love your ending statement that we must travel through this sadness if we want to rid our lives of abuse, really follow Jesus in love, forge a new path, create a new story, and build unbreakable bonds with our REAL lost love, our Lord God. I know that Jesus is my true Husband, and HE will never leave me! Amen! <3 +

    • Sandra on March 10, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      The above is to Aleea for her response to me for thanking her previously!

      • Aleea on March 10, 2015 at 4:11 pm

        Sandra, thank you -but it is terrifying to actually influence someone in marriage matters. Leslie has as “O” -Open to the Holy Spirit to help you in the CORE. Ensure you have the Holy Spirit witnessing to your spirit that you are born again -this is no light matter –RE: “Examining ourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5) and then let Him (the Holy Spirit) lead you. That is the safe course (Listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance). These cases are very complicated and unique. -I’m praying for you.

  37. […] got quite a response to last week’s blog on five reasons a woman may be resistant to “seeing” or “stopping” the destruction in her […]

  38. Caroline Abbott on March 11, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I was married to my abusive husband for 20 years. My main issue was definitely #2. I knew on some level I was being treated wrongly, but I felt God cared more about my marriage being intact than he cared about me and my sanity. It took me a long time to realize that wasn’t true. Once I did, I left the relationship in a very short period of time (6 weeks), as soon as I could possibly leave safely.

  39. Ann on March 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Love this!

  40. Sandra on March 12, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    V: Thank you for reference to David Instone-Brewer’s book, Divorce and Remarriage in the Church. Even though I have been greatly encouraged regarding this by Leslie’s teaching, this book will be of further help. I’m in the process of divorcing my abusive husband, and admit that I still have some feelings of “guilt,” even though I now know God will not condemn me. HE knows all and loves me unconditionally, now and forever! My love and prayers for all of you!

    • David on March 12, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      Just curious, why not separate and pray vs divorcing. Do not get upset with me – just trying to understand. Thanks

    • V on March 12, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Sandra!!! That book will blow you AWAY!!! I was separated for four months nearly 8 years ago because I didn’t want divorce. I’m sure you’ve done all you can and then some.
      We did reunite and although there were moments of good, they were too few and far between to make up for the damage in between (regardless of the prayers, the 15K on counseling, the promises to get, be and do better). In the end, he told me he didn’t try, he kept me from making money, and other things that just made me honor what my spirit and body were telling me – GET OUT. I want you to know you are going to be better than ok, find your sanity, and feel safe. In one year, I hope your life is unrecognizable to you in the very best way imaginable. Love and prayers!

  41. Sandra on March 12, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    David, I stayed with my abusive husband for 57 years, and prayed for 50 of them for his salvation and change in his behavior, but it never happened. He’s the one who finally left me because I tried boundaries that he refused to accept. He later returned and threatened me to the point that I had to apply for a Protection Order. He is again threatening to return, which has given me the impetus to finally file for the divorce. God understands all and is in control.

    • David on March 12, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      Oh. Now that is patience! Wow. Wish my wife had been like that

      • amy on March 12, 2015 at 9:29 pm

        David…not sure if you even realize that many of your posts are about how you are disappointed with your wife. She is clearly not living up to your fantasy….and I can’t see how any plan of hers to ever live with you again would not just be another chance for you to let her know that she disappoints you.

        • David on March 12, 2015 at 9:43 pm

          Thanks for the extremely discouraging email

          • Amy on March 13, 2015 at 7:51 am

            David. Just so you know I received a reply to my post that I was not taking good care of myself and in turn not making good decisions. I could also say that was discouraging….but it is called truth. I thought about that feedback all week and about how “I” could make changes. I need to be focusing on what “I” need to do to change me so won’t get too concerned about commenting on your future posts anyway.



  42. Sandra on March 12, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Dear V: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sweet encouragement. The Lord has wonderfully blessed me since my husband left a year ago, and I have grown so much, due to the ability to serve the Lord more freely, prayers and Bible study, and also Leslie’s encouragement and all of you dear ladies on this Blog. I didn’t think I’d need it as much, now that I’m finally divorcing, but I find I do, and also hope I can be of some help and encouragement to others, as you all are to me. My love and prayers for you all!

  43. Elizabeth on March 12, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    thank you, Leslie, for these reasons why we stay. I am in everyone of them. The strongest was the 2nd in that I believed for a long time it was up to me to fix our marriage. I also believed God would be mad at me for divorcing and I would have a blot on me the rest of my life. Counselors told me No Divorce ever for any reason and I believed for a long time. I know God does not want divorce and neither do I but I am thankful for Leslie who sees God’s heart in this. He cares more for us than the institution of marriage. I finally had a counselor who understood this and I was able to separate for 5 years. Unfortunately I reconciled believing there was change and was sorely devastated when too late I found out there was no real heart change. We are married now 52 years and I am learning to live my own life apart from my h. and his emotional and verbal abuse. It is a daily dependence on Christ pressing into His grace as Leslie says.
    I would have been greatly helped in earlier years if I had had the support of those who understood and had the courage to support me in more drastic actions against the abuse. I know that for me God has used it greatly to show me His love for me and grow me in that love.
    Thank you all for your encouragement and support of each other. I love you all and pray for God’s guidance and power as you walk through these murky waters.

  44. Tara on March 12, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Reading this makes me feel sick….cause it’s all true. Oh boy :/ I’m thankful for your making this real to me but its really, really hard to realize this and finally admit after so many bouts of thining maybe we have and issue, to see yeah we do and it’s huge. It’s like a giant elephant In the room that’s been ignored. Ouch.

  45. Sandra on March 13, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Elizabeth, I could have written your reply to Leslie. It looks like you and I stayed in an abusive marriage the longest and for the same reasons. You may have read my comments, and although I regret the wasted years when I could have been free to serve the Lord and possibly found a true Christian husband, I praise the Lord for the few years I have left to do so in the peace and freedom I never had while with my husband. Since he left a year ago I have grown tremendously, and know Jesus is my true husband, Who will never leave me. I also know that divorce is not an “unpardonable sin,” and I’ve file for divorce. “Keep pressing into His grace,” as Leslie tells us! With love & prayers for you. <3 +

  46. Sandra on March 13, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    David: Just a brief P.S.: It sounds like you agree to separation, but not divorce, but I know it’s not an “unpardonable sin.” I recommend the book, “Divorce and Remarriage in the Church, by Davide Instone-Brewer. Even though I’ve filed for divorce, I don’t intend to remarry at my age (75), but if the Lord provided a suitable mate, I believe it would be in His will. Praying for you.

    • David on March 13, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Sandra. You know that divorce is not the ‘unpardonable sin’ but the Bible that only those with a harden heart divorce and altho the Lord may forgive there is the government of God. If my wife believes as you do then I am screwed … I was kinda hoping that Christians believed that God can transform the offending spouse. I was with the understanding that a Christian marriage was unto death but maybe not

      • David on March 13, 2015 at 5:04 pm

        altho thus said (just re-read your post Sandra!) that if your husband left you then that is a diff story. The question comes to mind why would anyone (in your case your husband) just throw away a marriage – altho people do – very strange. All those years but many on this board are doing just that and they mistakenly think that the Lord will be with them and bless them for breaking their promises (vows).

        • Survivor on March 13, 2015 at 7:04 pm

          David, you love those passages that speak against divorce! But what about the ones that speak to how a man should care for his family? I notice that you do not engage in conversation with anyone who calls you to Truth, but only comment where you can stir up trouble. Many women–and it sounds like your wife is included–are leaving “marriages” that have already been broken! By their husbands!!! You can’t break up something that doesn’t exist!! You need to look at how YOU destroyed your relationship with your wife and stop blaming her for leaving!! You talk about the offending party changing……from what I can observe by the words coming from you, you are not at a point to be worrying about that yet!! You haven’t changed! You are still blaming her and trying to change her!! Leave her be and get your own heart right with God! As a wise professional counselor once told my H: “stop picking at the speck in her eye when you need to deal with a log-jam in your own”!!!!!

          • David on March 13, 2015 at 10:59 pm

            I agree



          • David on March 14, 2015 at 1:45 pm

            Aside from agreeing, I have left her alone. The only time we com is via text / email and only re the kids, legal or tax issues es



          • David on March 14, 2015 at 1:49 pm

            I much feel bad for her as she had a bad marriage because of me but do not know what I can do for her now



      • Sandra on March 14, 2015 at 2:11 pm

        David, yes, God is able to change the offending spouse, but HE cannot force it. It’s up to the offending spouse to repent, admit his sin, and then trust the Lord to change him.

        • David on March 14, 2015 at 2:40 pm

          Thank you for your email

        • David on March 14, 2015 at 2:43 pm

          This gives me hope – thks

  47. David on March 13, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    maybe diff here in Canada … divorce is only if wish to marry another (even the Lord commands his to reconcile to our spouses) … whereas here in Canada a separation agreement will divide all assets, determine child support, alimony etc . so a divorce is just added expense

  48. Sandra on March 14, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Survivor, you answered David perfectly. He just doesn’t get it though!

    God does not expect anyone to stay with an abusive mate, and once a marriage is broken beyond repair, I believe HE does not condemn divorce.

    • David on March 14, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Let’s agree to disagree as I firmly believe as well as many Christians that the Bible /Lord does condemn but not the point as I do “get it” (as far as what you are saying). I read recently telling wives to never ever give up on your husbands – and I hope she doesn’t!!

  49. David on March 14, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    He can force it but chooses not to!

    • Robin on March 14, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      David I have patiently been reading your posts. It seems u are going on and on. If u want help, write LESLIE and ask if u can join her Core class. If u don’t want help and want to disturb all the precious people who are seeking healing- please leave and let us carry on. It seems your posts go on and on. I think it’s time to cease.

      • Survivor on March 15, 2015 at 8:28 am

        Well said, Robin!!!!!!!

        • Monica on March 15, 2015 at 11:27 am

          I agree well said.

          • Robin on March 25, 2015 at 11:07 pm

            Monica, I feel like I hear you being hard on yourself a lot and wanted to say a few what I hope is inspiration. We all made many choices we wished we hadn’t. We all or most of us, stayed too long. I know for me I still wanted to live my husband and make my relationship work even after I absolutely knew I needed a Necessary Ending. It’s hard to give up. It’s hard to feel divorce is acceptable when the marriage covenant has been destroyed by abuse. I just wanted to tell you, you are very brave and you are standing up and I’m proud of you. It’s not easy. But it’s necessary. Many of us are right there with you!!!



          • Monica on March 26, 2015 at 10:44 am

            Thank you Robin, I hatetthat you enduredyyeyearsof abuse, but I’m gladyou have chosen to share and encourage us. I am Brave is our sermonsseries at church. 🙂



          • Monica on March 26, 2015 at 11:10 am

            Thatmmay not have cone across right. I’m using my cell and the box is tiny,aand of course as I was typing this,iI. See my pattern of everything having to be done and said right. Uggh. At leahest t he lightis shed on this about myself.



      • David on March 15, 2015 at 2:52 pm

        Reason why I have in some of my posts repeated myself/question (or as you put it ”on and on”) is I wasn’t getting any answers and thought maybe I just wasn’t being clear altho in all fairness some posters got it and gave me helpful info. to them I thank but as I mentioned before I came to realize that I was not welcome here as a Bible believer and a male … I see on a regular basis two pastors and a Christian Dr (who has been instructed to never give or make any suggestion(s) unless he can show me in black and white where is in the Bible. … based on the posts here this all about male bashing, feminism and anti-Bible … I wish to find a Christian site that can make some good and helpful comments. Thanks.

        • Leonie on March 15, 2015 at 5:50 pm

          Jesus tells us “You know that those who are regarded as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:41-46).

        • Leslie Vernick on March 15, 2015 at 11:02 pm

          David I think you have received some good comments here – not always perfect comments but good ones. There is no perfect man or perfect woman but God has brought you here for a reason. Perhaps not only to educate women as to how a man thinks about things, but also for you to understand the impact you have on women who have been abused and their need to stock up for themselves.

  50. Debby on March 15, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Sometimes I do not think recognizing the issue as abuse can be rushed. Most all of my 43 years of marriage have been spent in trying to understand what the problem is. It has resulted in emotional/psychological abuse. I believe the root problem is an attachment disorder.Book knowledge and counseling has not changed anything. I grew up in a home where I was not acknowledge, so I did not recognize this as abuse in marriage. It was “familiar” to me. But I was always frustrated – not realizing what was not “normal”. Is there any help for people with an attachment disorder? Marriage is a picture of Christ and His Bride; us – the Church. Does He ever quit on us? No. Is it really Scriptural to quit on a spouse, if/when he/she cannot overcome this kind of mental disorder of not being able to attach?

    • Leslie Vernick on March 15, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      I think there is no clear cut answer for these kinds of situations and therefore that’s why I say if you choose to stay, stay well. If you can do that with someone who cannot attach to you as a helpmate, as a partner and you can build a separate life while honoring your vows – much like Abigail from the OT did, then that can be a good thing. However, many women cannot do that. The attachment disorder is so destructive to them and their children that they cannot stay well. Therefore they need to know how to leave well. And sometimes different attachment disorders manifest themselves in different ways. Some are more avoidant therefore indifference may be more the situation, some are much more ambivalent and there are other more intensive levels of abuse.

  51. Sandra on March 16, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Debby, I can relate somewhat to your comment about Attachment Disorder because my husband has it. Like you, he grew up in a home with alcoholic parents, who never nurtured him or his many siblings. He is unable to give or receive love, as a result (but could respond sexually only). However, that’s not why we separated. He was also extremely verbally abusive, jealous and unfaithful. I’m not sure what Leslie would say, but I think a person with Attachment Disorder would require deep-seated therapy. Praying for you.

  52. Debbie on March 16, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    ‘Staying well’ would be my first choice. And I’ve tried a long time and I believe I have made the best of a bad situation. But in the last year at least I’m realizing I need to end the marriage and make plans to ‘leave well’. It is the only way I can be hopeful and optimistic about the future. I’m tired of the constant contention and having to stand up to him on a daily basis. It has taken a toll on my emotional well-being and starting to feel it taking toll on me physically. I don’t have the spiritual support from my husband that I need either. When I think about staying and continuing to live like I have been, I become very sad. We are living as roommates at this point. I’m lonely for a true husband. I’ve suggested counseling numerous times over the years and he will not consider it. Looking to God for direction, one step at a time.

    • Robin on March 16, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      My husband had attachment disorder as well. It is not an excuse it is an issue much like many issues in all of our lives- either we acknowledge it and request help or we continue to hurt those we love. My husband finally after many years of saying he wouldn’t go to counseling– did go 6 times. Counseling is NOT the magic pill when you can’t be honest with the counselor. It did not give him any motivation to change anything or seek for his own healing. Divorce is not something I considered lightly. Divorce was something I chose after spending a year of consistent confronting the issues and helping him to see how much good it brought into my own life, by taking personal responsibility for the inner healing I was in need of. Today he still has attachment disorder and yes I have empathy for him. But only he can decide to get the needed help.

  53. Aleea on March 16, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    David,
    You said: “. . . .who has been instructed to never give or make any suggestion(s) unless he can show me in black and white where is in the Bible. … based on the posts here this all about male bashing, feminism and anti-Bible … I wish to find a Christian site that can make some good and helpful comments. Thanks.”
     
    I wrote this a number of days ago but did not submit it for posting because I thought others did a good job of answering your questions, which they did.  I would only add that you should take a look at Luke 11:5-13. Read that a number of times. Jesus and His disciples spoke Aramaic, a dialect of Hebrew. That passage is so forceful in Aramaic, so everything you read in English just ramp it UP three or four levels. If you go C-R-A-Z-Y (-just absolutely GOT TO HAVE HIM!!!) after God to give you His Holy Spirit -like the man that wants the bread in Luke 11:5-13, God will give you the Holy Spirit to you, FULL STRENGTH. (Notice Luke 11:5-13 is a unqualified promise). God says if you really, really, really seek after Him, crying out and asking, asking, asking, asking (–in the original Aramaic substratum: Just humble yourself and FLAT OUT BEG!!! -That is what that is saying); If you beg God to give you the Holy Spirit (-keep re-reading Luke 11:5-13), He will. That is what you want to do, cry out to God until you know He has given you the Holy Spirit. Then let the Holy Spirit lead you as to how you should proceed in your life and relationships.
     
    If you put 1st things first, you get 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th things too.  If you put 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th things first you get what you have now. Your goal is God Himself, not “just get my wife back” -You could mess it all up again, maybe even worse, if you are NOT changed. Your goal is God Himself, not joy, not peace, not even blessing, God Himself, to know Him. Your wife can’t give you what you really need. Don’t make an idol out of her (-works the same way in the other direction too.) God has to be first, period. Spouse, children, friends, family –nice to have, NOT need to have (No Idols). Their love is important but it can’t be paramount. 
     
    In Leslie’s CORE model, everything flows out of the power of the Holy Spirit: honesty, being respectful towards others, being empathetic and compassionate, viewing your wife as a precious treasure, admiring her, depending on her, rejoicing in her, cherishing her, praising her, and REALLY sacrificing for her, etc. Once you get your vertical relationships solid, the Holy Spirit will show you God’s will in your horizontal relationships (The Holy Spirit can repair those if you are really renovated.) –Leslie’s books and MP3s (see her store; Amazon, etc.) they have GREAT information on how to get and keep your heart clean so you can experience this. You MUST get your heart clean and keep it clean, if you want God’s love, real life to flow into yours.
     
    We want to be anti-SIN, anti-No-Real-Spiritual-Growth, anti –ALL- God hates. Don’t waste your life with worthless questions you really don’t even have. I don’t want to be harsh, BUT honestly, I want you to really face yourself and really think. –Plus, you must know that no one here is anti-Bible, at least that I know of. Sadly, often, “Bible Questions” are just delay tactics from repenting and doing what we already KNOW is right. Don’t let this happen to you!!! —And you can do it: There are NO great women OR men of God. . . just weak, vile women and often, worse men of a totally GREAT and absolutely merciful, AWESOME God!!!
     
    If you want to follow Jesus because He’ll fix your marriage, give you a better life, that’s just worthless idolatry. We follow Christ for the sake of Christ. He is THAT worthy (The Holy Spirit can repair all those other broken things but that can’t be your motivation. -I’m sure you see why that is, right?). . . . Walk in Love and leave the navigation to the Holy Spirit, He knows the way (-And don’t try to control your precious wife using the Bible, that is not walking in love! –That is the definition of anti-Bible!!!) Finding your self-worth in who you are in Christ is bringing real healing and pure love into your life (Really go after it, you will see.) -I’m praying for your soul.

  54. janet on March 17, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    we have to make all truth our own. That requires work. Once we believe in a truth we can walk in that truth. We can never rely on another to provide or discern the truth for us. We have to do the work. Until I did the work, and made truth my own I stayed right where I was at. The truth helps us to stand strong when everything is against us. I can’t stand strong if I don’t make the truth my very own. That is what helped me.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 17, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Well said Janet

  55. Listening Ear on March 17, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    II wholeheartedly AGREE!

  56. Sandra on March 24, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Dear Monica: Your comments mirror mine in many ways. I also saw “red flags” right at the start of my marriage. My H partied every weekend, coming home in the wee hours, and then promising not to do it again, but it continued. I soon found about his adultery as well, but by then we had two children. I was only 21, and knew I couldn’t support myself and them. He at least always worked and provided for us, so I stayed. In the seventh years of our marriage I received Jesus as Savior, and was taught to believe that if I was submissive and prayed enough, he would be saved, and that marriage was until death parted us. I knew I had legal grounds for divorce, according to the Bible, I wouldn’t be able to marry again, and didn’t want to live without a husband (as bad as he was!), so I stayed, hoping and praying for his salvation and his change for the better. However, it never happened, but I “stayed,” thinking it was my
    “cross to bear.” I’ve written about this before on this blog, but thank God that I finally read Patricia Evans books and finally Leslie Vernick’s and the Boundaries books, helping me to realize God didn’t expect me to submit to that abuse. I then got the courage to set boundaries, praying my H would change. However, it refused to accept them and finally left me. I think he did it to “punish me” and let go of the boundaries, as he soon begged to return, never admitting any wrong on his part, but that he was “willing to forgive me for all I had put him through!” I refused to reconcile, and now after a year of peace and freedom to serve the Lord, I have filed for divorce. My advice to you and other dear ladies here is don’t stay and suffer years of needless abuse, as I did for 57 years. The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27

    • Monica on March 26, 2015 at 10:25 am

      Thank you Susan, God bless you and the others who share your experience. Especially freeing me of the lie that I needed to return so my daughter can be in a 2 parent home. I think I project onto her my feelings and pain from having divorced parents at a young age.

      • Monica on March 26, 2015 at 10:28 am

        Sorry, meant thank you Sandra.

      • Sandra Babcock on March 26, 2015 at 11:51 am

        Monica, I also felt I needed to stay with my abusive husband when my two daughters were toddlers, because I had seen my older sister, who had divorced her husband, living on welfare and poverty. I didn’t want that for my children, but they were no better off, living in a dysfunctional home. I truly wish I had left, because both my daughters and I were damaged emotionally. I truly regret it. I pray God will give you the courage to leave before it gets worse, as it did in my case. God bless you!

  57. Elizabeth on March 24, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Thank you, Laurie for those encouraging words. It has been “strong emotional support” for me as well. Often throughout the day when I hear sarcasm and anger from my h. I will think of some of your words of truth and reality that will replace the lies. One that has been ringing in my heart is “his behavior is NOT my fault” and “he really did say that or do that. I am not imaging or overreacting.” Bless you all and keep sharing. I love this community. It has been so great a support for me.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 24, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      Here’s another way of thinking that may also help. Not only is his behavior NOT your fault, his behavior is NOT about you. When someone treats you in a certain way – either good or bad, it is not a statement about you. It is a statement about them. For example, if I act rude to someone who is not waiting on me fast enough it’s because I’m impatient and rude, not because they are too slow. If they were too slow, I could still choose to be kind and compassionate towards them rather than rude and impatient. How I behave or treat people is about what’s going on inside me REGARDLESS of what’s going on around me. Jesus says it best. He said “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Luke 6:47.

      • Robin on March 24, 2015 at 10:47 pm

        Thank you Leslie. Excellent reminder.

      • Robin on March 25, 2015 at 11:01 pm

        Leslue I really appreciated your words. Sometimes when people treat me bad- I still assume it’s my fault. My parents were social alcohols and I still have some work to do in this area. Thank you!!

        • Robin on March 25, 2015 at 11:02 pm

          Alcoholics

      • Monica on March 26, 2015 at 10:34 am

        Leslie, this answers my question that I asked in regards to “tryings” commenton one of the other topics. In regards to husband blaming continued abuse on fact that spouse left.

  58. Elizabeth on March 24, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Thank you, Leslie. His behavior is a window into his heart. I know that in my head and am learning to believe it in the moment and that I am still loved and pleasing to my Father…

  59. Sandra on July 8, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Dear Carol, my exh also had NPD, and believe me, it only gets worse. They always will blame you, and never admit any wrong on their part. My advice for you is to leave this relationship for you own mental health and well-being, as I did mine. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. God bless you, Sandra

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