My Top 5 Post On Destructive Marriages

Morning friends,

I got home safe and sound from a wonderful dream trip to Italy. I’ve wanted to visit Italy for years and years and this beautiful country did not disappoint. There was so much history, so much beauty, so much fun, beautiful weather and great food to feast on day after day. Here are some of my favorite pictures. You can see more on my FB page.

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I so appreciate this community supporting, challenging and encouraging one another even in my absence. I could not get into my blog response panel while away so I couldn’t comment, but did read everyone’s post.

I want you to know that I welcome comments relevant to the purpose of the blog even if I don’t agree with them. The reason I do this, is not only for my benefit (I’m not always right and I need good feedback from others), but also for you to continue to grow in your abilities to think for yourself, to go to God with the scriptural validity of certain comments, to disagree when you need to and get practice handling differences and conflicts from your growing CORE strength. These are crucial components to your emotional, mental and spiritual stability. What better place to learn and practice sharing your own ideas and speaking up about something that is bothering you than in this community?

I’m starting a brand new three-session class on Letting Go of Negative Emotions starting Thursday, May 28th. If you would like more information click here.

Instead of doing a new blog for today, I’m posting my top 5 post on emotionally destructive marriages.

Sad girl during quarrel

1. Ten Truths Every Christian Needs To Know About Marriage

“In a destructive marriage one person pushes and pressures to get his/her own way by ignoring stated or implied boundaries, trying to get a person to back down, or to make him or her feel guilty or afraid so that the person will give in and give them what they want. In a destructive marriage, the victimized spouse is not allowed to be different, have her own thoughts, feelings, desires or agenda. She is not loved for who she is, but for his idea of who she should be. When she fails to live up to his idealized image, punishment results.”

2. Five Indicators Of An Evil Heart

“They want you to believe that their horrible actions should have no serious or painful consequences. When they say, “I’m sorry”, they look to you as the pastor or Christian counselor to be their advocate for amnesty with the person they have harmed. They believe grace means they are immediately granted immunity from the relational fallout of their serious sin. They believe forgiveness entitles them to full reconciliation and will pressure you and their victim to comply.”

3. Four Way To Create Emotional Distance In A Destructive Relationship.

“For you to guard your heart you will need to set boundaries on what you will listen to or engage in and what you will walk away from when your spouse is destructive. When he blames you or tries to draw you in, you will tell yourself the truth, “This is not my fault, I do not make him choose to act this way and I will NOT take responsibility for his behaviors or feelings.”  When he’s charming and brings flowers, you will need to say to yourself , “Don’t be fooled.  These token gestures of kindness are meaningless when I see no change in his heart.”

4. How Do I Live With A Basically Good Man Who Is A Tyrant?

“Truth will help you know when boundaries are important and how to set them. For example, when he begins his angry tirade you might stop talking, turn around and walk away. If he continues, leave the house. When you return you can say something like, “I can’t listen to you when you scream at me. You would do the same if I talked to you that way.” Keep it short and simple. Or “I don’t want to feel angry and hateful toward you so I’m leaving until you can cool down.” Then do it.”

5. Why Marital Counseling Isn't Wise With Destructive/Abusive Marriages.

“The standard thought in marital distress is that it takes two to tango, and therefore both parties need to be present in order to understand the dynamics of the relationship as well as work toward a solution. However, let me give you a few reasons why couple’s counseling is not helpful and can even be dangerous in destructive marriages …. ” 

Have you heard all the talk about our CONQUER Support Group? Find our more here.

Friends, what blog post or newsletter articles have been your favorites? 

 

 

 

51 Comments

  1. Maureen on May 20, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Hello Leslie, I remember about 2 years ago riding in my car listening to Midday Connection on Moody Radio and the topic was “fool proofing your life” I was glued to the radio with thoughts racing through my head that this was my home life that I was never able to explain or describe in words to anyone. I have been to my church and 2 Christian counsellors that basically said suck it up and just do better for God and he will come round . I went on to read your book on abusive relationships. Which helped me on the path to find my sanity. I’m in the process of reading the emotionally destructive marriage which has greatly helped me find the core strength I didn’t know I had or deserved to have. I have made the choice to leave after 18yrs of marriage. I want to leave well but my spouse has stepped up the abuse ( not physical) to a whole other level. It is like he read the list of what abusers do and he told me the other night these are all the things I do to him behind closed doors and I am not going to get away with it bcz he has plans for me..it was beyond scary, Made my head and heart go crazy for 1.5 days till Christs comfort finally took hold of my heart. I have already started arrangements with a lawyer for legal separation and I am asking for prayers to be strong and not fall into his crazy making.. You are Very right that making the decision to leave is Grave but there does come a time when you just know. Prayers and love to you Leslie and all my struggling sisters. Maureen

    • Leslie Vernick on May 20, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks for your prayers. I deeply appreciate them.

    • Brenda on May 22, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Maureen,
      I will be praying for you as you continue on through this difficult process. The xh stepped up the abuse and crazy making for a long time before and after the divorce. It does concern me when you say that your H has said that “he has plans for you!!”. While Jesus gives you peace and calms your fears, please be cautious at the same time. I hope you will keep us posted of how it is going for you.
      Brenda

      • Maureen on May 23, 2015 at 1:47 pm

        Brenda, thank you for the prayers and I will post as things move forward. I have a very good support system in my family and all of the wonderful woman on this blog who give me great hope and encouragement with your stories of struggle, strength and honesty. I will be cautious and know whatever plans my H says he has planned for me Gods plan is the plan that will prevail.. I pray you are doing well, and are healing through your journey to wholeness… Maureen

    • Hope on November 15, 2015 at 8:54 am

      Why do abusers accuse their victims of abuse? My husband bought “How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong” and he views me as the unstable person. He is quick to point out any mistakes I make in relating, views himself as the martyr, and thinks generally that I am and have the big problems in our marriage.

      Is it because they learned abuse by being abused? Is he hyper sensitive? Or is he deflecting from his own responsibility in a major way?

      Whatever the reason, it’s such a horrid thing to have walked so far w his abusive behavior only to have him turn around and treat me as the abusive one. Talk about crazy-making!

  2. Kathy on May 20, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Leslie, when does the conquer session start?

    • Leslie Vernick on May 20, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      It started May 1. Not too late to join. Our first phone call will be Tuesday, May 26, so if you’re interested contact my assistant Martha@leslievernick.com

  3. Pedro on May 20, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Is it always fully the Man’s fault?! It seems to be the viewpoint of a large majority of the audience to this website.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 20, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Pedro, men are abused as well as women, but my book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage was written to women in destructive marriages hence most of the comments on this blog are from women who are in these kinds of marriages. But for sure men are victims of abuse too.

    • rodney on June 17, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Pedro…Great question…I was in a toxic relationship…my soon to be ex wife still does not understand many thingsand tries to reintroduced toxicity into simple communication…as men we are still called to do the right thing….it is not always easy but if you choose obedience to God over emotional investment into a sick mind that will abuse you…God will show you how to walk through the more and come out resting in Him.

      • Pedro on June 18, 2015 at 5:26 am

        Rodney,

        I asked this question to point out that this site is filled with people justifying their Adultery (Divorce and Remarriage)… mostly women blaming men.

        Pedro,

  4. Hope on May 20, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Maureen,
    I would have never believed it until I am face to face with this myself. None abusers will work hard to right their wrongs. Abusers are more broken by their strong holds released. My husband is raging and it isn’t for loss of love, family, God’s will for his life; it is because he has lost his control of my heart. I can not, my body will not allow it it’s as if a force greater than I has said no more. I believe the Lord has gone before me and made my path clear, I feel safe. Charles Spurgeon’s daily devotion described it to me as well and made it clear. Let’s walk in faith, we will not be weary in well doing. This blog is surreal they are very predictable and I love the point here, it isn’t our fault how freeing is that for us. That puts the blame were it should and this is very maddening to the abuser.

    • Maureen on May 20, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Hope, yes it is very freeing to have strong godly women like Leslie to speak up and let woman know that God is absolutely not for this. I can’t believe the depth of brokenness that was underlying as I tried to do better. It has taken me 2 yrs and lots of godly book counseling by Leslie and others to start to heal. I think one of the hard things for me right now was how much it effected my relationship with Christ. I would walk away from counseling and say ” you can’t be serious God, really your telling me to do better I am falling apart here but okay “. We are loved by the King, I am moving on and Gods not mad!! Love and prayers!

  5. Sandra on May 20, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Welcome home, dear Leslie! You all were in my prayers for safe travel and a wonderful trip that was so deserving.
    We all certainly missed you on this blog! It’s a tremendous blessing to be able to share and receive this godly support. Heartfelt thanks and blessings, Sandra

    • Leslie Vernick on May 21, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks so much Sandra.

  6. Aleea on May 21, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Leslie,
    Thank you for these top five posts, they are very helpful, especially “How Do I. . . . Who Is A Tyrant?”  . . . So, I understand from reading these posts a second time that the purpose of the blog is serving people by helping them repair or leave abusive relationships and helping them connect with Christ. . . .Moreover, I sincerely apologize for any consternation my postings caused you or anyone else while you were gone.  If I had it to do over again, I would have posted nothing while you were away.  Usually people have nothing to say about what I post and I mistakenly made that assumption. —I am realizing, at least for me, as time goes by, the only thing that is worth seeking for is to know and to be known by Christ, moreover, that usually terminates abusive relationships, it rarely repairs them.  There is hope by God’s power but both parties would need to put everything on the table and go to all the lengths and no one will ever be able to do that except Christ is doing it in them.  Marriages can be “improved,” but what everyone has seen again and again and again is that so-called “adjustments” here and there almost invariably result in the development of new and different ego defenses.  Ultimately, one will pay for putting up with the distortions, fantasies, un-realities, and magical thinking of their spouses, as well as those we conjure up ourselves.  —I am saying that marriages can’t survive on the basis of co-signing each other’s unrealities instead of a commitment to mutual empiricism (—what is really, really, real!). . .And I think the issue is our pride.  Arrogance is truly a weed that grows marvelously on a dunghill.  It is easy to be that hill. . . .I am so blinded by my pride and my pride is so tricky that if it perceives even humility as honorable, it goes and borrows her jacket, her skirt, her shoes —it is that ridiculous.  Yet, I know where grace is.  Grace, like water, flows down to that lowest point and I know Jesus is waiting there every time I go that low.  There, the nadir, is where I have no questions to ask of anybody, no new information to acquire, nothing to inquire after, no worry over text deconstruction people use to “prove” things; for in resignation to God, I am in the very arms of Christ, content to let the world go by. . . .  to, as we sing, know no gain or loss. . . .But then, because of life pressures, I am back to caring what others think of me because. . . .because I forget that my identity should be in Christ and not what others think of me. . . .Oh Lord, I am far too much influenced by what people think of me.  Which means that I am always pretending to be smarter, nicer, happier, et. al. then I really am.  I beg the Lord, please, prevent me from trying to attract attention.  Don’t let me gloat over praise or be discouraged by criticism.  —And Lord, please, how do we get the drama out of all of this.  Me weaving these time wasting situations in which the most heroic, charming, witty person present is myself —that stench is nauseating!!!  Show me how to be humble of heart like You, Lord.  There I can think of others and not myself.  I want to be pleasing but not a people pleaser, telling people what they want to hear when I just know better and I should be speaking the truth in love, no matter the cost.  —Or even worse, doing the same without benefit of using primary sources, critical review and discussion beyond my confirmation bias, especially on issues where I haven’t done the hard technical work with primary scources to know if I really agree or not. . . .Jesus put our needs ahead of His own.  He considered us more valuable than Himself.  —Oh, how I pray I can do the same for others too.  It seems to me that real love depends upon all parties being up and out of the box of church conditioning, ideas, ideals, notions, concepts, assumptions, presumptions, convictions, rules, regulations, requirements, doctrines and dogma, et. al. . . .Charles Spurgeon from 1864, I think here he is still as relevant as ever: Our best tears need to be wept over, the strongest faith is mixed with serious unbelief, our most flaming love is dead cold compared with what Jesus deserves, and our intensest zeal still lacks the fervor which the bleeding wounds and pierced heart of the crucified might claim at our hands.  Our best works need a sin offering, or they would condemn us immediately.

  7. Leslie Vernick on May 21, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Aleea, no apologies necessary. You are welcome here as all, but I think what people miss from you is the personal story you are living. You have some great insights and I have appreciated much of what you say but it’s said without knowing who you are or where your story fits in with all of this. Many women here have been very open and vulnerable and would like to have that reciprocated from others who regularly contribute. I also think as I said in my blog, that we all need to learn to speak up for ourselves, share where we differ, share our opinions or thoughts in a grace-filled way. I hope you continue to let us know you.

    • Aleea on May 23, 2015 at 8:28 am

      Lord Jesus,
      I again ask your forgiveness because what those here don’t know is that on that initial comment I made, YOU clearly told me: Do not post that burst of verbiage just coming off the top of your head, un-reflected on, on the fly. . . . (I always pray about these comments . . . That post: I Don’t Trust My Husband… was/ is on a serious, very important and dangerous topic that requires lots of prayer and serious study not an esoteric reaction from me that was off-topic.)  Lord, you clearly were saying to me: you just pray for people, encourage someone if you can. . .Lord, I pray to hear You all the time and then when I do hear You, I don’t even listen.  Lord God, help me to do a much better job of listening to You and help me not to run ahead of You. I’m so sick of what happens when I don’t listen to You. Lord God help me, I am incapable of acting on what You tell me about even the smallest of things. Lord, again, when I do hear You, help me to really listen.  
       
       
      Leslie,
      I so much appreciate that comment but I still needed to apologize.  . . . .It is just amazing how raw honesty just deconstructs anything in its path.  It takes it all down.  Buy the truth, sell it not (Proverbs 23:23).  Most problems are from not telling the unvarnished truth to ourselves, to others, to God.  People spinning their feelings, spinning their thoughts, spinning their reactions, spinning their source materials, spinning their data, spinning their texts.  Sure, we all have filters, but we can work hard to ensure that we disabuse people of even potential misunderstandings.  For me, the key is to not run ahead of the Lord and be on the look out for myside bias. . . .The tricky thing is my own internal “yes woman” just echoing back my confirmation bias.  I am sure the way to avoid that is taking it to the Lord in serious prayer (and then actually listening to Him). 
       
       
      Brenda,
      “You seem to have a firm awareness of what this blog is about and for, but how does it relate to you personally?” . . . .So, my husband does not abuse me, per se, he just destroys our property, his stuff too.  Actually more of his stuff.  He was changing the tire on his bike recently and I could see he was getting more and more frustrated that the new tire would not go on the rim.  He became so angry he started bending the spokes on that front wheel.  I know he ruined it because I saw him ordering a new wheel on-line later that day.  He never lays a hand on us or the pets. . . . . My mother abused me and as I told my counselor Monday, she would beat me so badly she was afraid someone would find out. I am working up to conforting her on that.  That will be a total nightmare, I sure of it.  . . . .I’d like to see my counselor roll her chair over and kick my husband in the leg like I understand Leslie does.  I would like to see his reaction to that because I think it would tell me something very important.  I guess I should just ask her to do it.     
       
       
      Robin,
      RE: Commenting & Preaching  “This blog is set up for us to comment on each other’s posts.”
        . . . . . Maybe that is true for you but for the past many months my comments take on average three to five days to get posted (to be moderated – whatever that even means; I assume it means released) “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” I have had comments take six days to get posted.  With delays like that, if folks start real time commenting, I can’t even really respond and certainly can’t interact.  When Leslie was gone my comments would get posted very quickly during the day but then at night would be moderated “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”  Whatever is going on with that means it is risky to try to interact in an environment where days and days and days go by before comments are posted or released or whatever is going on.     
       
      “And when you say you regret sAying anything in Leslies absence – do u think her as our mentor- we would not speak just as honestly whether she’s here or on vacation. We are glad she is checking us and helping us if we get off the path of truth and supporting one another.” . . . . . I regret the initial post that the Lord clearly told me not to post.  Certainly you will speak freely, honestly and timely.  Honestly, Robin, I don’t even know sometimes if I am still allowed to comment at all as three to five days go by of “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”  When I disobeyed the Lord, I thought, well that comment has a high probability of not even being posted, not even being released until Leslie gets back.  Usually everyone is on to a new thread and my submission still says: “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”    
       
      “This is how we learn- by sharing our stories and our learnings . This blog wouldn’t be effective at all if we just got on to preach.” . . . . . That is an excellent point that I need to take to heart. . . . . . Robin, I just don’t want anyone here to have gone through everything they have already suffered and endured and then miss real love, real life, a relationship with Christ.  Maybe my fears are completely unfounded, but when I hear people talking about their ages like this life is all there is (Not that this life is not exceedingly important, right here, right now, it is!!!), but when I hear people talking about their ages like this life is all there is with no hint that they are a soul that lives forever, I really start worrying, when I ought to start praying.  So, I start praying but then, things like 1 Corinthians 15:19 jump into my head: . . .And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. . . .that triggers preachy comments.  But saying things is easy, praying for everyone is really, really hard work so I am sure what the Lord wants me doing: way more praying and less preaching.  . . . . . But many times I’m trying to preach myself UP because I start having serious questions and doubts.  Maybe, I should simply ask people (but it seems rude): Please tell me why you believe in Jesus?  Please tell me how do you know Jesus lives in your heart?  Please tell me how you have experienced Him specifically?  How do you guard your heart and let God’s love flow in after everything that has happened? How is that possible?  . . . . . A safe, judgement-free zone. . . .A palm tree garden oasis of spiritual knowledge and insight.  Please tell me about that as real and unedited as you can.  Not a place of worthless arguments and standard spin but where sincere, real questions are tolerated and answered by people who, because of what they have been through, would seem to have a much lower probability of optics in answering.

      Robin, look at this, the very first e-mail I open today: Aleea, My husband still isn’t remorseful about his affair from two years ago. I still don’t have his heart back. I’ve tried everything else I can find, will the Lord help me? . . . . .See, that kicks me into lecture/ preaching mode when I should just share resources and offer to pray. . . . . Why is this so hard? We can live but only by dying to self everyday (1 Timothy 4:12, Ephesians 4:1).

  8. Lonely wife on May 22, 2015 at 1:14 am

    I will be sharing these with a friend who is in a very destructive marriage! Thanks for all you do Leslie…yours is a voice crying in the wilderness, and very much needed!

  9. Brenda on May 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Aleea,

    You seem to have a firm awareness of what this blog is about and for, but how does it relate to you personally?

    Brenda

  10. Robin on May 22, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Aleea I don’t understand what u are trying to say when you said usually people don’t comment on your posts and you assumed they wouldn’t — even as Leslie was gone.
    This blog is set up for us to comment on each other’s posts. This is how we learn- by sharing our stories and our learnings . This blog wouldn’t be effective at all if we just got on to preach. And when you say you regret sAying anything in Leslies absence – do u think her as our mentor- we would not speak just as honestly whether she’s here or on vacation. We are glad she is checking us and helping us if we get off the path of truth and supporting one another.
    That is what this blog is for- to support and love and share. This isn’t the place for preaching .

  11. Brenda on May 22, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Robin,

    Amen Sister,

    Brenda

  12. Lynn M on May 23, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Well, yesterday we had what u think will be our final legal meeting to arrive at a settlement. I initiated our separation in December and it looks like dissolution will be final in July. I was very clear with my husband about his pattern of abusive behaviors and i even documented all of the emotional and verbal abuse in a three page document and presented it to him and my lawyer. Once presented, he wanted to run from the truth as quickly as possible. There was no acknowledgement, no repair attempts (except to say “I’m sorry” and then just switch tactics and tell me the problem was u couldn’t forgive — you all know that drill!) every time I stood my ground in the negotiations he backed down and I have ended up with a pretty nice settlement, given that I am 50 and have been a SaHM for 15 years.

    I could NEVER have done this without the information on this blog and for Leslie who is truly a beacon in the darkness. I thing the biggest help from this blog is that I can read the posts and discussions and KNOW without a doubt that I am not crazy and that this kind of abuse is real, and it WAS happening to me. Without all of this sharing I honestly think I would have continued to believe it was my fault and I just wasn’t working hard to fix it. I think my biggest regret is that years ago I dug into the relationship even further to keep trying to fix what I now know what not fixable.
    Thank you all for your sharing and support. I’m starting to look ahead now to a new chapter…. I have no idea what it will look like, but j feel really strong facing it.

    • Robin on May 23, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Lynn, I’m so relieved and happy with and for you. This is a huge step you just made and it sounds like you were very prepared. We’re rooting for you in your next steps. They will be steps of more freedom and peace than you can imagine!! Praying for you!!!

      • Lynn M on May 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm

        Thank you robin. I am looking forward to that freedom and peace. It feels elusive right now but I know and trust it will be there.

        • Robin on May 23, 2015 at 1:21 pm

          Lynn, I filed 16 months ago after trying everything! I really thought he would see thru my filing a need to get good counsel and eventually repent. NADA! Never once contacted me unless it was about his precious money that he didn’t consider half mine. We just settled one month before court trial, at our 2nd settlement conference. It was not the abusive spouse that was kind to me, it was God looking out for my future. I don’t know if I’ll ever get off my knees in my heart for the Abundance God has provided all thru this journey. This does not mean all of the days were easy. I had some huge afflictions to work they and to prove to my lawyer and judge his evil intentions and manipulations were only a means to control. So stay plugged into the blog and hS your head up. You can do this with dignity poise and grace as God fills your every need !!!!

    • Leslie Vernick on May 23, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      We’re behind you Lynn and God will pave the way before you.

      • Lynn M on May 24, 2015 at 6:54 am

        Thank you Leslie. I can already see that he is, and I cry tears of gratitude, not sadness, nearly every day.

  13. Brenda on May 23, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Lynn M,

    Praise God for answered prayer and the building of your CORE strength. I know this is not what you wanted for your marriage, but it is a blessing to experience true freedom in Christ.

    Brenda

    • Lynn M on May 23, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      Thank you brenda

  14. Brenda on May 23, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Aleea,

    I cannot speak for anyone else, but if you did ask any of the questions about my relationship with Jesus or how do I know I am saved, I would probably tell you that you are preaching and it is very unnecessary. I have been belittled because of it and kept from a good solid relationship through an idolatrous way of thinking about marriage. When Leslie writes about, :”Do You Know God or do You Know of God?”, That is quite different. There are people here that might need that message and while she is the blog owner she does not come across as preaching, but is genuinely concerned and talks in simple terms that all can understand. You do not.

    Although, your husband may get angry with “things” it sounds more like frustration and not a destructive marriage. Your relationship sounds in tact even though you may not like that form of behavior in front of your children.

    Why is it that you are just now talking about your mother? You know, Leslie has been very open about her mother’s abuse and getting through the destructiveness of that relationship and choosing not to continue the pattern with her own family. I am sure she would have already have interacted with you on that one, since you may have things that you could share.

    I am not exactly sure why someone would come to you with marital questions personally as you are an Attorney and not a counselor, but ok. I also feel it is not a good thing for you to pass that information on when someone has confided in you if this is a personal relationship. But, yes instead of lecturing and/or preaching you should be saying: YES, the Lord will help you, but the answer that you want may not be the one that He will give. First and foremost you should lay it all at the cross and let Him guide you. Also, there are very good resources and here they are: 1) 2) 3)!!!

    For me, most of what you have said so far is crazy making. There is a lot of name and scripture dropping and at the end I am scratching my head. I’m sure this is the lawyer in you, but then again, I live right across the hall from a lawyer that has been in practice for over 40 years and he does not make me feel that way at all.

    Praying, Brenda

    • Aleea on May 24, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Brenda,

      ” . . .There are people here that might need that message and while she is the blog owner she does not come across as preaching, but is genuinely concerned and talks in simple terms that all can understand. You do not.” . . . . . I agree she does very much so, you can feel it and I agree I don’t. I feel what you are saying on re-reads. I do see what your saying. One is inviting the other demanding.

      Why is it that you are just now talking about your mother? . . . .Because I didn’t want people to know my mom was a monster and maybe I am too. I pray it is not this way but maybe the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree. I couldn’t even get through the FamilyLife interview with Leslie about her Mom. I got to the point where Leslie talked about dislocating her son’s arm because he was acting out.

      “. . .I am not exactly sure why someone would come to you with marital questions personally” . . . . . Who knows why but oodles of people have access to my e-mail and they send all kinds of personal info. I released no personal information.

      “First and foremost you should lay it all at the cross and let Him guide you. Also, there are very good resources and here they are: 1) 2) 3)!!!”. . . . . Lay it all at the cross -I LOVE THAT- and let Him guide you – I LOVE THAT- and yes redirects to qualified resources.

      I appreciate your prayers. Oh, how I need prayer.

  15. Robin on May 23, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Leslie, the name of this post — 5 fav posts — of destructive relationships reminds me of an older one. It led me to file for a divorce. You gave a homework assignment which you do rarely. You asked us to look ahead 5 years and see where you might be. Then write yourself a letter saying what you would say to yourself today. It was truly a gift for me. It helped me greatly to look past today and see what my future might look like if I did nothing………,,

    • Lynn M on May 23, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Interesting. One of the “straws” for me was coming across my journal notes from five to eight years ago and reading things that could have been written that very same day. That’s when the light came on. Nothing had changed and I was still fighting the same fights, thinking the same thoughts, feeling the same hurts.

      • Robin on May 23, 2015 at 12:52 pm

        Lynn, ditto. It’s so hard when we see that!!!!

  16. Brenda on May 23, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Both of those are interesting. I don’t remember the writing exercise. That may have been before I came to the blog. I never kept a journal for fear that it would be found. Both of those things are very helpful ideas. I realize that I am post divorce but thinking of where I could be 5 years from now isn’t a bad idea either.

    • Robin on May 23, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Brenda, it’s a great exercise wherever we are presently. It still helps to remind me on downer days- am I letting my past control my mind today? Am I living in my regrets – or wishing things would have could have been different. It has really changed my life direction to see how much control I have over me and where I’m headed !!! Writing ourselves a letter like that is EMPOWERING!

  17. Leslie Vernick on May 23, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Aleea, not sure why some of your comments require approval and others are automatically approved since you’ve been on the blog regularly. But if they are delayed it’s either because I have not seen them needing approval or I’ve been out of town. Sorry.

  18. Hope on May 23, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    I found myself crying and praying recently and the Lord put my child directly to mind as if he spoke his name. I went through the house hurriedly looking for him, he just turned two. The door was open and he was outside; he heard his siblings across the road and was standing at the edge of our property calling their names. I held him and praised God for his provision and felt his overwhelming presence. He showed me even a two year old understands boundaries. He showed me his provision and safety in all this and answered my prayer by an open door, when the Lord opens the door I will know it is time to go and he will provide. I love baring testimony of God’s work in my life. I used to preach; but when I stopped people asked questions and listened. That’s all I wanted all along.

  19. Brenda on May 24, 2015 at 4:20 am

    God is good in all things.

  20. Brenda on May 24, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Aleea,

    Outside of other writers, counselors and such that post comments sometimes, most here don’t have a picture and bio connected to their posts. They also don’t give out their email addresses with an open invite to contact them at any time. The fear is much too great initially and perhaps on going. No one would have been the wiser had you have come here incognito and poured out your heart about your mother. There are others here that could relate and possibly say some words of comfort.

    I don’t know what the stats are, but I think that thing about produce not falling far from the tree is a false statement. I could be wrong, that would be Leslie’s department. Most people that I know who were abused by parent or stepparent, as I was, run as far away from the tree as humanly possible and many, also like me, wind up finding another abuser in the process.

    Brenda

    • Aleea on May 25, 2015 at 7:54 am

      Brenda,
       
      I pray I am never, ever like my mother.  Always angry, always bitter and so, so ungrateful.  I can’t stand that constantly being ungrateful when the Lord God has blessed her/ us so much.  She thinks all Christians are totally brainwashed and need to “get themselves” a personal relationship with reality.  “Aleea, what has God actually done for you, that you haven’t, in reality, done for yourself???  Where is this God of yours that is just compatible with whatever happens???  You are saying nothing real.”  She says the only church that illuminates is the one that’s on fire!  It’s that bad.  I often feel like just writing her off but then the Lord, who has given me so many chances, directs me not to.  I so fear for her soul but I also know faith is a gift from God.  I know you know that.  A dispute exists if Mother Teresa, Kent Keith or someone else wrote this BUT, anyway
       
      ANYWAY
       
      If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
      -Do good anyway.
       
      People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
      -Love them anyway.
       
      People really need help but will often attack you if you do help them.
      -Help people anyway.
       
      The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
      -Do good anyway.
       
      People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
      -Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
       
      What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
      -Build anyway.
       
      You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and the Lord God;
      -It was never between you and them anyway.
       
      . . . .Oh, how I need to remember that each and every day because all of us are provoking all of us, even if we don’t see it or mean it or intend it.  Martin Luther said once, ‘If I were God, I’d kick the world to pieces.’ But Martin Luther wasn’t God. God is God, and God has never kicked the world to pieces (Of course He flooded the entire world, so maybe Luther had not thought that all the way through but. . . . . Anyway, Praise God because we humans really provoke God.)    
      Oh, I was listening to Ravenhill again last night: “Are you living for what people think? God help you if you are.”  God help me because I do care far too much about what other people think.  I should know better.  It’s my stinking pride.  When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by Welch that’s a good book, as is Leslie’s “The Hidden Power of Humility” mp3.  Lord God help me, You know why you take us along these paths.  Let me, let YOU get better at getting to me than anyone else.
       
      Much love,
      Aleea

  21. Maureen on May 26, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Separation papers were filed today, I can’t describe my feelings of empowerment in my first few comments which I know was God giving me strength but today I can’t stop crying, my heart is breaking even though I know the abuse was destroying me. You can read and council but the heartbreak is almost as overwhelming as the abuse.. Just broken, Maureen

    • Leslie Vernick on May 26, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      I know this is so hard, so very painful. Grief is in order here. Cry it out friend. God will be with you in this dark place too.

  22. Maureen on May 26, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Thank you Leslie, I wasn’t prepared for these emotions but they are here feels horrible to cry this hard but also relief, you have helped me so much by listening and sharing God s wisdom and direction, God bless you and yours! Maureen

  23. Brenda on May 27, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Maureen,
    There is always grief that goes along with death. Ending a marriage is death of a former life, the unknown and starting over. I cry for hours and hours without even knowing why. It’s been 2 years since I left and am quite content with where I am now, especially since stopping any contact that he had. My daughter, who is a wise woman, says that we have deep feelings about things that bring us to tears even if they have been buried and we don’t understand why. Tears are a language God understands. He is collecting everyone and he will get you through this.
    Prayers for you Sister, Brenda

    • Maureen on May 27, 2015 at 8:39 am

      Brenda, Thank you for the kind words and support, I appreciate them very much, blessings, Maureen

  24. Robin on May 28, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Ending abuse is empowering!!! Ending a long term relationship and a dream of living with this relationship for a lifetime is very grievous. 2 weeks ago my divorce was finalized in a 2nd Settlement Conference where I received everything I needed. I should walk out of the courtroom very happy. But as I hug my lawyer goodbye, it dawns on me, it’s over- it’s really over. The chaos is gone but the marriage will not be resurrected. I spent many days grieving, questioning, struggling, crying, and it’s just part of the process. I expect more sad days will come. But this I know– I was rescued from 32 years of abuse. I was damaged, as were my 4 children. God says in His Word, Joy comes in the morning. I’m counting on that!!!!!

  25. annette on May 31, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I have to say sense I found you a year age I’m changed , God used you and others that understand what it’s like to live with these people that are Bully’s and Abusers. I started with boundaries, he never respected them. After 24 years and the last 4 have been a nightmare. and of course he’s done none of the things he’s done.I last Monday night left my husband for the 3rd time and the last . I have no money but i contacted a lawyer and started the paper work. Now he’s the one whose been abused per his new counselor. I was put in a teal spin when he told me this yesterday, But I can see the lies and fear in him. This is so time consuming and mentally darning .And I know it’s not going way soon. Crazy and Evil just begins to name what this man is. Please Pray For Me. Thanks

    • Maureen on June 1, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      Praying for you Annette!

  26. Brenda on June 1, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Praying for you Annette.

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