Morning friends,

I recently became aware of a tragic story that I want you to know about. Karen and Jordan Root were missionaries when she discovered that her husband was viewing child pornography. She was devastated, yet took the appropriate action, disclosed it to her mission board and church, where they promptly brought them home for an evaluation.

Jordan repented, and said he was never inappropriate with a child despite having a long-standing sexual attraction toward prepubescent females. Karen didn’t know if she could believe him, nor would ever be able to trust him or live with him since he’d lied to her for years. She filed for a legal annulment (and qualified for one) as she felt Jordan married her under fraudulent circumstances and lied to her even before their marriage.

Her mega church (Matt Chandler’s – The Village Church, in Dallas) embraced Jordan’s repentance, sought a path of healing and restoration for him with boundaries to his access to children in their church. Although they were seemingly sympathetic to Karen’s pain once they heard that Karen decided to seek an annulment of her marriage they began church discipline against Karen because she, as an adult Christian woman, made this decision without their knowledge, consent or approval.

(Karen was a member of The Village Church – which gives them the right to have some say in her life, however Karen respectfully withdrew her membership before she filed for annulment stating that she didn’t believe the church could effectively deal with both her and Jordan’s needs).

What happened from there reads like a bad movie.

I want to publically applaud Karen for her courage and bravery – for taking a stand for herself, for abused children, and against the misuse of church authority. She refused to pretend or cover up the sin of her husband for the sake of preserving her marriage or ministry. She refused to stay silent about Jordan’s problem when she worried that there might be children who he had molested, even though he denied it and her church preferred she wait until an actual child came forth with an allegation. And she refused to be bullied by the church leadership who believed they knew what she needed more than she did, even though she assured them she had godly counsel and believed God led her to move forward with an annulment.

This story is an example of the shortsightedness of church leadership, where they value the sanctity of marriage and their church “rules” over the safety and sanity of the individuals in it.

How could Karen ever trust her husband again? How would she ever feel safe with any children brought into their home or marriage? Would you?

The Village Church recently issued an apology which sounded more like a calculated PR move designed to curb the growing public outrage rather than a genuine apology toward Karen for their misuse of their authority and mishandling of her well-being.

You can read one bloggers response to their apology here.

You can read more about the details of the case here  and here.

Friends, it is time for women and men to speak up publicly about abuse of power, abuse of authority and abuse of people, whether they are children or adults, male or female.

 

Question: My husband became verbally abusive after I gave birth to my son 12 years ago. Is this common? I walked on eggshells. I believed I was as worthless as he told me. I believed I was lucky to have him and that he was so wonderful to even consider keeping me around. I believed I was stupid. I was a whore.I thought he was so smart and loved me, so why would he lie?Well, the day came that his rages were targeting our children.I put my foot down and told him I would file for divorce if he ever raged again. (Which he had done weekly for 12 years).This has been 4 months ago now and he has not raged since. In fact he is the passive one now. I prayed for God to give me the strength to leave him or to change him and I got both. Leslie, it seems I got exactly what I wanted but now I am filled with resentment.If it was this easy to change, why didn’t he do it long ago? Why would he have ever treated me or the kids this awful way? How can I ever forgive him? He was a downright monster.

Answer:  First it is not uncommon for women to report that abuse begins during her first pregnancy or after the birth of their child. That’s when your attention is shared, it’s not only him but now you are also focused on your child and he feels insecure, ignored, jealous, or slighted.When he started verbally abusing you, what was going on in you that you would still tell yourself that he loved you and you were lucky to have him when he was so cruel and abusive towards you?

Obviously his awful words penetrated some of your own inner insecurities and lies you believed about yourself that you would have so easily surrendered to his bullying and rages.But as it happens, often when you start to see your little one’s being treated the same way, somewhere deep inside of you a well of courage erupts and you say ENOUGH! You know they don’t deserve to be treated this way (even if you believed the lie that you did). You spoke up, set boundaries and told him the consequences if he ever did that again.

And he stopped. Four months now.

You are shocked that you had more power than you thought you did.

You are shocked that you believed that you were helpless and voiceless but the truth was, you were not.

You are mad at yourself that you waited twelve long years before you found your voice and set boundaries and consequences in place.

You resent that you and your children suffered in fear with emotional abuse for twelve years before he stopped.

You are furious that he had a whole lot more control over himself than you believed he had. Now he’s quiet. He’s passive. He hasn’t raged. All because you said “if you do this again I will divorce you.”  You didn’t have the strength to change him, but you did have the strength to tell him what would happen if he didn’t change and mean it. That’s why he changed.

Now you have a quieter man but not necessarily a better marriage. You are struggling with your own feelings – anger, resentment, lack of trust and unforgiveness. If you don’t address these emotions, they will tempt you to retaliate with some of your own emotional outbursts towards him. I’d encourage you not to take that path.

Instead it’s time for conversation #2 with your spouse. Make sure you do your own work before you have this conversation and decide what you want to say and how you want to say it.

For example, you might say something like this.

It’s been four months now where you have not raged or called anyone in our home a name. I’m grateful that you took my words seriously, but I’m also pretty dumbfounded that it was that easy for you to stop.

It makes me angry that you would willingly choose to hurt me and the kids for twelve years until I finally had enough. It makes me angry that you would think that’s okay and never once apologize or realize you needed help.

It also makes me very angry to realize you had control over your tongue and temper all this time. You could have chosen to stop anytime you decided to, but you did not until I threatened you with dire consequences if you did not. 

Your rages have stopped and that is a good thing but it doesn’t repair all the hurt and damage that your rages did.

Let me give you an example; If you punched holes in the walls whenever you raged, after twelve years there would be a lot of holes. The structure of the walls would be weakened. If I said, “if you don’t stop punching at the walls, they are going to fall down” you stopped. But the holes are still in the walls and you have not made one effort to talk about the holes, to repair the holes, or to say you are sorry for ruining the walls of our home. Stopping is the first step but it’s not enough to repair our home.

In the same way, stopping your emotionally abusive rages was the first step but it’s not the only step that needs to be made if our marriage and family is going to survive. 

Obviously you don’t want a divorce – that’s why you stopped. I don’t either. But I want a marriage where there we can talk about how we are going to repair the holes in our marriage and family that were made over these past twelve years. I want you to realize how much you’ve hurt us and I want you to genuinely feel sorry for the pain you’ve caused and never repeat it again.  

I need you to understand how angry I am for what you put us through and care how deeply we hurt.

Then stop, see how he responds and see if he’s willing to take that next step of not only stopping abuse, but also repairing the damage he’s caused.

Meanwhile, do your work to continue to get stronger, to get those old lies out of your head that you deserved to be treated that way and help your children heal from the wounds their dad caused.

Don’t be surprised once it’s safe around the house that your children may get angry with you that you waited so long to protect them. Validate their anger. Try not to get defensive. Tell them they have a right to be angry that you weren’t stronger back then. But make sure you encourage them to express their anger in constructive ways rather than destructive ways or they will simply be repeating the same patterns their dad engaged in. Do not allow your children to be emotionally abusive with you in their own anger or pain.

Remember, you are working towards getting stronger and healthier for you, for your children, and hopefully your marriage. (tweet that)

Therefore it’s very important that you nurture your courage, deal with these negative emotions now in a constructive way, and invite your husband to make more changes.

Friends: How did you get over your anger at your own self when you realized that you should have done something sooner?

 

91 Comments

  1. Becca on June 3, 2015 at 7:45 am

    I never did. I contributed to their baggage because I was so fearful and afraid that divorce was a sin. There is no such thing as staying well because the kids are the ones that will always suffer the most. Preserving your marriage at the expense of the kids is too high of a price.

  2. Brenda on June 3, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Leslie,
    I am glad to see that Karen’s story continues to get out to the masses and revealing the wolves in the church. The control and manipulation in TVC’s leaders is appalling. They don’t even seem to get the fact that they are not to be dictators, but are sheep like everyone else in the church. They should be servants to the sheep.

    I applaud Karen’s courage to go out on her own and do what she needed to do. We’ve seen these things unfold too many times. The next step in the church discipline would have been to put her out for not continuing the marriage and not just for not consulting the elders. We only account to Jesus Christ, not men or a church in name only.

    Absolutely not!! I would not ever trust a man that was into pedophilia of any form. Jordan went out of his way to put himself in positions to be around children. I am waiting for people to start coming forward. I lived this with a wicked stepfather. The church can coddle him all they want. Watching children in these contexts is no different than doing the deed themselves.

    Brenda

  3. Linda on June 3, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Leslie, I think you are way off base in saying that their apology sounded just like a PR attempt. In saying that, you are judging their hearts and assuming that you know what their motives were. I have been in a similar situation as Karen. My husband was a pastor and I had to out him on some things that eventually brought his ministry to an end and brought our 33 year marriage to an end, and leadership definitely attacked me too at first, but when and if leadership repents and bears fruits of repentance, we can’t dismiss that and claim omniscience, as though we know the motive of every person’s heart. I heard a public apology yesterday from the Village that was posted on Facebook and I was wondering what had happened, and now I know. It was very sincere (as sincere as words can be) and now that body has the task of watching to see if actions and words line up. We would hope for the same if we were the ones repenting. We need to guard our hearts against cynicism and self-righteousness or we give a foothold to the enemy.

    • Leslie Vernick on June 3, 2015 at 8:28 am

      Linda, you are welcome to disagree. I read the original apology, I didn’t listen to it. But from what I read, certainly there were aspects of humility and acknowledgment of haste but it didn’t feel like it was written to Karen and their judgment of her, but it was written to manage the outrage of the public as well as the confusion from their church members and that’s why it sounded more like a PR move than an apology. …and perhaps they were not apologizing to Karen but to their church members, but I think an apology to Karen is in order as well.

      • Linda on June 3, 2015 at 8:35 am

        I agree with that wholeheartedly. She deserves an apology.

      • Churner on June 3, 2015 at 10:38 am

        There was first a written apology that was fairly nebulous, followed by a sermon last Sunday that seemed to demonstrate a greater level of repentance. Time will tell.

    • Living Liminal on June 3, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      Linda, you are correct in saying that we cannot know the hearts and motives behind an apology, but we can use experience to guide us when hearing one. There have been way too many ‘church leaders’ who have said the right words (even sounded really sincere!) and yet have continued with exactly the same abusive behaviour.

      I hope you can understand that some people have been badly burned by accepting an apology too readily from abusive leadership, and they need to guard their hearts until the sincerity of the words is proved by actions. That is not cynicism or self-righteousness, it is wisdom and self-care.

  4. Linda on June 3, 2015 at 8:32 am

    One last thing: leadership is human. They make mistakes. That does not qualify someone as a wolf. We all have to work together to heal the church, and call out anyone in leadership who is abusive, neglectful and controlling, and we have to see church discipline work effectively for everyone, including those in leadership, and then it is our job to restore people, not forever deemed untrustworthy. If we don’t see true and consistent fruits of repentance, then no, we should not trust them, but we have to take into account that leadership fails too.

    • Leslie Vernick on June 4, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      I don’t think anyone called anyone at a wolf. I’d be happy if they acknowledged wholeheartedly that they made mistakes and hurt people and were committed to doing better – much like Bethlehem Church (John Piper’s former church) did.

      Of course leadership fails. We all fail. It’s not the failure that concerns me, it’s the unwillingness to take a good look at what really happened, why they didn’t consult more experts in the field before making critical decisions and why they revictimized Karen by starting church discipline against her.

  5. Lynn on June 3, 2015 at 8:40 am

    What a great analogy about holes in the wall! Counseling, books and articles helped me. It takes time. Once I was out of it I could actually begin to process it, analyze why I stayed & give myself some grace. When you are living in that environment in a state of constant fear you are only surviving. I would doubt that this man has actually changed. More than likely he is stuffing and will erupt again.

    • Elizabeth on June 3, 2015 at 10:42 am

      Becca and Lynn I too stayed in order to save the marriage not realizing until many years later the children suffered terribly. I was in survival mode and living in a fundamental, legalistic environment of believers. I did not see clearly until the children were long gone and I was receiving Biblical grace filled counseling. Now that I do see more clearly myself and my husband, I have chosen to stay with clear guidelines that keep him from abusing me verbally or emotionally in public and in our home. We are moving and I will no longer attend the same church or do “social” life with him. I will have my own safe space in our new home. These are the places where the abuse was most acute. I am at peace and thankful my pastor supports me completely. For me the apologies over the years were about damage control because he got caught or called on his behavior. I have never received an apology that took responsibility for the sin, pain and consequences caused to me or the children. Yes, there were times when the behavior changed for a while but never over many months or years. To me then the key is taking heart deep responsibility with a willingness to do the hard work of honesty, accountability and humble changes over a long period of time. At least a year or more.

      • Anewanon on June 3, 2015 at 11:47 pm

        honesty, accountability and humility are the marks of a true Christian. As such, the key to KNOWING if the heart change is authentic is if these changes are permanent (not for just a year).,

  6. Listening Ear on June 3, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Thank you for posting this Leslie. Very powerful example of abuse of women in the church – I hope everyone shares this so it out in the open to see the subtle and flagrant abuse that so many are oppressed with in homes and churches.

  7. Listening Ear on June 3, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Linda,

    I would refer you also to the blog “http://cryingoutforjustice.com/
    to see more enlightment of church abuse of women in abusive situations.

  8. Brenda on June 3, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Linda,
    When “leadership” is using power, control and manipulation to lead the flock to do their bidding, they are disqualified as leaders. Signing a church covenant is not something that I am ever going to do. We are only to follow Christ, not other sheep. The leaders are to tell the gospel in truth. The TVC has taken control of people. That is God’s place and his alone.

    Brenda

    • Dea on June 3, 2015 at 10:46 am

      I agree Brenda, I also see how a deceitful person can so easily wrap a well meaning leadership (that really sincerly believes in restoration) around their sly little fingers….and get the sympathy votes of people in leadership (by playing the repentance card) this is why I appreciated Leslie’s “Five indicators of an evil heart”. It helped me.

      I sent this list to one of my pastors to try and get him to help me (in hope he would believe me and see some of the manipulation and deception I was subjected to)….His reply was simply to tell me my emotionally abusive husband “really loves me” and to remind me that I have sin too and to urge me to have a “spirit of reconciliation”. I was not validated or supported in confronting the sin…it was more of a “well you are both sinners” attitude.

      I gave up trying to be heard after that….but understand he meant well.

      • Churner on June 4, 2015 at 2:16 am

        But what does it take for church leaders to wake up and learn about the dynamics of abuse? It almost seems like they WANT to remain ignorant and offer platitudes and excuses for the abuser. Is it just an attempt to make things “all better” so they don’t have to deal with the reality of the situation? Does the fact that they don’t seem to be able to distinguish between normative and abusive sin say something about them? Can you shed light on why this response is so common, Leslie?

  9. Cheryl on June 3, 2015 at 8:54 am

    What does, “taking that next step of not only stopping abuse, but also repairing the damage he’s caused” look like? In my case, the abuse has stopped months ago. He says he’s praying about it. He also says he has owned up to stuff, but claims not to remember the worst of it and, has only agreed that he ‘didn’t always handle things correctly or use words correctly’. He has agreed to marriage counseling one time a month. Will time itself be the proof and time spent together getting along enough to rebuild?

    • Anewanon on June 3, 2015 at 11:54 pm

      WHo broke the trust? Who broke the relationship that is supposed to be built upon that trust? He did. The onus is upon HIM to care that YOU FEEL SAFE in this relationship. Thus you should be able to call the shots with regards to what that will look like. It is HIS job to ASK you to help him understand what his “”stuff” is. It is his job to ask you if you feel safe. Does he WANT to be trusted or not? Calling the shots (one time a month0 and making excuses is NOT trust building behaviors and attitudes of the heart. IMHO

    • Lisa on June 10, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      Hi Cheryl,

      Your husband’s watered down confessions—“He also says he has owned up to stuff, but claims not to remember the worst of it and, has only agreed that he ‘didn’t always handle things correctly or use words correctly’” are just like my husbands. Mine has said over the years he “doesn’t remember” and he was a “bad husband”. They are minimizing the abuse which is piling on more abuse. It’s a backhanded way of saying we are crazy, over sensitive, exaggerating. My husband gladly went and wants again to go to couple’s counseling; it’s a feeding frenzy to hone in on out weaknesses. If he wants to be right with God and you he needs to seek out counseling/accountability for his sins.

      • Lisa on June 10, 2015 at 5:12 pm

        *our* weaknesses

        • Lisa on June 10, 2015 at 9:57 pm

          *my*

  10. Alicia on June 3, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I am in the same situation too it seems. My husband has made some changes but only when I told him I would bring someone from our congregation in to help me weed through his lies. He has helped more with the kids and around the house. He thinks this makes up for our history and I should be forgiving and move on. He has pretty much refused to do any “wall repair.” I am working on myself and think it is going really good in that area. Still praying to release angry and “what-could-have-been” syndrome. I am still taken by surprise at times, even after being married for 21 years, that this marriage is difficult and has never been healthy and might not ever be. Realizing I am in and emotionally difficult/destructive marriage is fairly new to me. A question I have is this; after the husband has stopped raging but yet unwilling to repair the marriage, where does that leave the wife? In a difficult marriage or destructive marriage? Does she then just focus on herself and staying well?

    • Leslie Vernick on June 3, 2015 at 11:16 am

      I don’t know enough details – 4 months of no abuse doesn’t guarantee it will never reoccur but it does show he is able to control himself. My guess is as she brings up the #2 conversation about wall repair – the abuse will start again, or hopefully he will continue to do more work on himself. I hope it’s #2 but experience says it’s usually a revert to old behaviors with “you are so ungrateful or picky or ungodly” for asking more of me than I’ve already done. But I have met some men who really do want to do the work, are willing to do the work and hang in there – even in fits and starts and that shows me that growth and change are possible with God’s strength and help, if we are willing.

    • Churner on June 3, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      I very much identify with your situation, Alicia, and I’ll share my experience. I first strongly confronted my husband’s anger/entitled attitude about 25 years into our marriage. There was significant immediate improvement in his external behavior, but I didn’t see much change in his underlying attitudes. After another couple of years, an incident between us led to my exposing some of his behavior to our church leadership, of which he had been a part, which led to further external improvement. His primary motivation has seemed to be to be perceived as a “godly” man by those outside. In the 2.5 years since I’ve refused to pretend that everything is okay in our marriage, I have become the enemy who must be discredited, and lack of trust has prevented any meaningful relationship between us. We have been separated “in-house” for the past 6 months, and while his behavior toward me and our children has been as good as it’s ever been, he has not dealt with the internal issues that are at the root of his abusive behavior. I am not optimistic that he will ever address his wrong thinking–and certainly not without it being spurred by further pain. I am seeking God in my next step.

      • Lonely wife on June 5, 2015 at 6:23 pm

        I could have pretty much written what you wrote Churner…my husband refuses to deal with the internal issues, so I’ve put up boundaries and have stood strong for almost a year now, and still….no change.
        It’s very important for him to look good to others, he’s threatened to quit going to church if I go to our pastor…I told him that’s his choice, and it’s between him and God, that this is MY story and if I chose to tell it, I will.
        My husband and I are not “separated” per say, but we haven’t been intimate for almost a year, and I refuse to hold hands, sit with his arm around me in church, etc…
        My close friends know our situation, and he didn’t like that I told them, but again, my life, my story….He knows I won’t protect him any longer, no more being a “Peacefaker” so yes, I assume he thinks of me as his enemy…I have seen a look of anger on his face at different times, my second oldest son has seen it also, so I know, in spite of his passitivity, he is deeply angry, but he buries it a lot, as most passive aggressives do.
        I’m just living my life, enjoying my children, and thanking God that they aren’t babies anymore!!

        • Churner on June 6, 2015 at 7:23 pm

          I’m glad you’re growing stronger, Lonely wife. Praying for you now. I know how hard it is to respond rightly minute by minute.

          • Lonely wife on June 7, 2015 at 1:05 am

            Thank you for praying, Churner! Yes, it’s hard to not respond, but I am stronger now, then I was a year ago…this month is exactly one year since I read Leslie’s book…and it set me free!
            No more legalistic bondage! No more unemotional sex where I felt used, then tossed aside, no more blaming myself because it’s “obvious” this is all my fault because I wasn’t “submissive” enough, or “Godly” enough because I was angry over the way I was being treated!
            I now know that being angry was ok, because I was being emotionally abused…it’s a natural reaction to abuse!
            I’m doing ok now….thanks to this blog and others that I read….I know that I’m going to be ok…even if my marriage isn’t!



      • betsy on July 12, 2015 at 3:17 pm

        Churner..can u describe to me what your in house separation looks like and what boundaries you have in place?

  11. Trina on June 3, 2015 at 10:33 am

    I struggle with this incident involving the Village Church and not for the reasons you might think. With all the articles out there it’s hard to miss what a great disservice was done to this young woman. But I’m struggling because the Village Church is a good church, it preaches sound doctrine, it does a lot of good, it preaches the truth. Unlike so many “feel good” churches out there that only feed us what they think we need to hear! Yes they have handled this badly. Yes they need to rethink how they handle difficult situations that arise and new policies need to be put in place. It’s a good wake-up call for them. What worries me is that the bloggers are not just knocking them for their handling of this situation, but are knocking their whole ministry (a ministry modeled after the Bible in a world that is moving further and further away for the Acts way of doing things.) I believe if we don’t follow the Bible as our model for church, then we are no different than any other religious system. The Village Church is tried, convicted and condemned. All the good they do, all the people they save, all the Biblical knowledge they impart is being stripped away. Labeled as ultra conservative, here’s a quote from one of the articles linked: “rigid-leaning, Bible-thumping, male-dominating, faith-intensive environment—a far cry from most of today’s more popular seeker-friendly hipster-filled churches.” I hope they survive this, because it would be a shame if they don’t. I pray they are wise enough to learn from this episode and recover despite the damage that has happened and may still happen.

    • Leslie Vernick on June 3, 2015 at 11:12 am

      I hope they survive this too, keeping all the good they do and preach and recognizing their weaknesses and ways they have not loved others well.

  12. Dea on June 3, 2015 at 10:36 am

    It amazes me that church leaders (all too often) do not understand natural consequnces. In this case, the offended and wounded spouse simply did what her husband decisions and choices drove her to, he made the choices to deceive and be a pedophile and because he fronted up for “church discipline” shes supposed to ‘ stay and work throught it’….part of his discipline should have been in them (the church leaders) also supporting her to seek annulment or divorce. That would have been a full and complete discipline process for this person (like going to jail if you steal or murder or rape).

    It was her husbands choice to break his vows and his actions annuled the marraige, long before she was pushed to make it official by law. The damage of divorce and annulemnt was done long before it was legally regonised….done by her husband…. Not her.

    So often this is truth is overlooked, the spiritual and relational divorce, seperation or annulment have already happend when a spouse is abusive…the breaking has occured. The legality is a formailty giving validation to the reality that has occured already! Yet, so often, when the abused spouse files for a legal process, this spouse is criticised or judged….when all they did was file for a legal process that they HAD to choose as victims….and the finger is pointed at them….when all they are doing is allowing the natural conaequnces of the abusers behaviour….its so obvious, but so misunderstood.

    Guess common sense is not so common!

    • CeeKay on June 3, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      Yes, yes, yes!!

  13. Dea on June 3, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Sorry about the typos….its late at night !

  14. Cindy R on June 3, 2015 at 10:38 am

    As far as the apology from the church unless you have been in the place that many of us abuse victims or advocates have been in you would not see the scripted words for how they were.
    They send out an email to all their members and Karen did not receive the email even though they did not remove her from membership as she requested. Kinda going behind her back don’t you think?

    I got an apology from someone in the church that played in deceit with my husband towards me and the apology read. “Though Larry called me and you were witness to it, there was no deception. I indeed did read the chapters and have saved them to review.
    So sorry for your incorrect conclusion.”

    This person would say that they apologized but did they really?

    As far as the second part of Leslie’s newsletter. I have met abusers and chemically dependent people that stop for a time frame. He may have stopped raging for 4 months but that doesn’t mean it is over. Abusers usually don’t pass the test of time. If they don’t get what they want it starts back up again.

  15. Churner on June 3, 2015 at 10:50 am

    I applaud Leslie for this step of courage on her part in speaking out about this horrible situation regarding Karen Hinkley. She is obviously strengthening her own core in addressing injustice perpetrated by a popular Christian leader. Unfortunately there are cliques in the church just as there are cliques in high school, and I’m encouraged by your bravery, Leslie.

    I am also so impressed with the way Karen Hinkley has handled herself in all of this. If you have time to read her own words from the documents on the Watchkeep blog, I think you will be impressed. What an incredible display of grace under fire in the midst of a horrible situation–especially for such a young woman!

    • Leslie Vernick on June 3, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Thanks Churner. I hope those who struggle with this do read Karens own comments plus others from this church who also have felt unheard, mistreated and shunned when they didn’t go along with everything the church wanted them to. I have no doubt that there is a lot of good going on at this church, but there are some blind spots that God is exposing and I hope and pray that Matt Chandler and the rest of his staff are seeking expert counsel (not just legally) but spiritually about ways they have overused and abused their authority and wounded, blamed and disciplined inappropriately members who were seeking help and protection.

      • Churner on June 3, 2015 at 11:44 am

        I so agree, Leslie! Part of humbling oneself is not only admitting that you have behaved badly, but also being willing to hear and learn from others so you can correct your mistakes and walk in light. The leadership has asked to hear from those they’ve harmed, and I hope they will also seek counsel from those who are experts in abuse and apply what they learn to restoring relationships and implementing real change. The Village Church can be a model for church leadership in righting their wrongs, or be one more example of abusive leadership that continues to think they know best. Praying for the former!

  16. Karen on June 3, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Hi ladies.
    I was in a 22 yr marriage to a “godly” man, and finally divorced him 3 years ago after his verbal and emotional abuse escalated to the point he threatened to hurt me physically. I had desperately wanted to save my marriage; and believed God could heal it. But as Ruth Graham Lotz says, “God is a gentleman, and He won’t go where He’s not invited.” My husband at the time refused to be accountable, showed zero empathy or remorse, and was on dating websites despite saying he was “working” on our marriage.

    About a year after I kicked him out, and after several reconciliations and counseling attempts, I was waffling about divorcing or staying to save the marriage. One nite, God clearly spoke and said “You are free to go.” I felt such relief, peace and direction that I filed for divorce and have never had a second thought.

    That’s not to say I have not struggled with mixed emotions (not about the divorce, but about loving the good parts of him, and struggling with the abusive side of him) sometimes daily–but I know God knows what He’s doing, and I trust Him. Now, 3 years post divorce, my ex has not changed one bit—he is abusive to my children and still tries to be with me—But I have such peace! I see now that God knew my ex’s heart, and was protecting me from another 22 years of abuse and cruelty.

    As my pastor said: God loves marriage, but He loves us more. And God hates divorce, but He hates violence more. Amen!!

    I agree that forgiving ourselves is the most difficult. I am surrounding myself with good and godly people who build me up and validate me. I am doing things that I enjoy that give me confidence again. And I forgive my ex. I see him now as a broken man who is lost, sick and miserable. He has many broken places, and I am now thankful I am not a part of that. It has helped me tremendously to see his abuse as his broken places.

    In fact, I wrote a children’s book on emotional and verbal abuse, and how children can make sense out of living in an angry home. We discuss this very thing—the broken places in an angry parent. It’s called “Lizzy Lives In An Angry House” and is available on Amazon and Kindle.

    This is a brutal journey, but one I am convinced God will use to bring beauty from the ashes. My very best to all you overcomers!!! 🙂

    • KSN on June 4, 2015 at 7:00 am

      Karen,

      How do you forgive when the abuser continues to emotionally abuse your children when they are with him. I hate sending my young children for their time with him as I spend so much time repairing the damage. The healthier I get, the easier I see the damage he is doing to them. It’s easier to spot and help them through it. I have found a great counselor for them, it’s just so hard watching them go through some of the same manipulation that I did. My comfort is that at least they are not living as witnesses and recipients to this abuse all the time – only during visitation……How do you handle this?

      • Becca on June 8, 2015 at 11:47 pm

        Check with your attorney, but you have to agree and encourage visitation, don’t force them to go. They can say no.

  17. Robert on June 3, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Leslie

    When reading your blog, it seems many of the people responding have been hurt but I have not read any suggestion that the only real healing from these hurts are when the person can actually forgive. Also it would appear that many of those responding are extra critical of there mates or churches which results from a bitter heart. No apology or I’m sorry will satisfy a heart made bitter by hurt. Forgiveness seems to be the only answer. In many marriages where emotional abuse is occurring it usually is a two way street, meaning both couples are usually participating in the abuse. It reminds me that without a real work of grace in our hearts, we are without hope, with this work of grace comes Christ transforming love, wherein our concern begins to change from what my mate can do for me to what I can do for my mate; no longer looking to ones mate for something they cannot give that being fulfillment. (Did not write this in response to the article about the man abusing children who was a missionary.)

    • Connie on June 3, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      Most of us writing here have forgiven and forgiven, probably more than 70 times 7, because we thought it must be at least partly our fault. So we tried harder, worked harder, spent less, dressed better, lost weight……..and it got worse. We are not bitter, we had our eyes opened to the fact that we were deliberately abused and are now trying to find the most godly way of dealing and healing.

      The old saying, “It takes two to tango” is so true. If one partner is dancing and the other is not trying to dance, and deliberately stomping on their partner’s toes, there is no dance. It is far worse than if the first person was dancing alone.

      • Vivienne on August 20, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        I agree wholeheartedly Connie – well said. I too forgave and forgave, and forgave 70 x 7 but without my partner being willing to change I only enabled the abuse. Because of the confusion caused by abuse, it sometimes takes a leave of absence to discover what is truly happening.

    • Anne on June 3, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      From what I have learned, there are three areas in which it is never a “two-way street”: Adultery, Addiction and Abuse. The partner of the adulterer, addict or abuser is not responsible for these behaviors. Perhaps both partners have one or more of these behaviors. Perhaps it is only one partner. It is up to the individual to confront their own monster, begin the hard work to heal, and seek repentance. Only then can work on the marriage begin.

      The partner of an abuser knows that they can never give enough, never sacrifice enough. They can give up friends, family, acitivities, charity–it is never enough. It is exhausting, impossible and puts too much focus on the sick individual. It becomes a twisted kind of idolatry.

      • Vivienne on August 20, 2015 at 3:55 pm

        Agree totally.

    • Lynn M on June 3, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      Robert, I would encourage you to read Lundy Bancrofts book and the analogy of the man who cuts down his neighbors tree, and what must be done to repair the damage done by his destructive acts. Many men will say “I apologized and she couldn’t forgive, and that is the problem. She just has a bitter heart ” when a woman has been repeatedly hurt, dismissed, diminished and torn down over the course of one, two, maybe three decades, by the man who promised to love, honor and cherish her, a few words and then “let’s move on” in no way repairs the damage or returns her heart to a place where she can love or trust again. As in the analogy of the repair of the tree, a new tree may take years to re-grow in the place of the one cut down. That new tree might need to be watered and fed for years. It’s the experience of many on this blog that an “I’m sorry” just means “I don’t want to truly accept responsibility or make amends for the pain I have caused you, I only want my own pain to go away.”

      • Anewanon on June 4, 2015 at 12:06 am

        THANK YOU Lynn for sharing that.

        Forgiveness doesn’t mean restoration. Jesus forgave us, but restoration can’t happen on a one-way street. WE need to repent to the Father BEFORE we can be restored to him. Repentance looks a bit different than just mouthing the words “I;m Sorry”. True repentance looks 180 degrees different than the crime, When a person truly repents, then the offended (especially a wife) has little problem forgiving the man that she was created to desire.

        • Lynn M on June 4, 2015 at 6:46 am

          Yes, I love your 180 degrees comment! Turn and walk I a completely different direction with me, and do it long enough that I can trust that THIS is the new you

      • Leslie Vernick on June 4, 2015 at 1:20 pm

        Robert thinks like many people who don’t understand abuse think. I’m so proud of you all on how you are responding. It’s important that we understand they don’t understand and do what we can to help them understand – if they choose to.

    • Leslie Vernick on June 4, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Without the work of grace we are without hope is right. I believe many of the women in this blog have the work of grace in their hearts. The problem isn’t with their unforgiveness – the problem is with their husbands lack of repentance. Therefore true reconciliation cannot take place if the abuse continues again and again and again. Then it is their responsibility to guard their heart and protect their hearts (and minds and bodies) against continued mistreatment so that hopefully their abuser comes to his senses and repents. Sadly, you will read most women do not have that experience. Instead of repentance he may mouth I’m sorry, but grace has not filled his heart, nor has he changed. Therefore the marriage cannot move forward and heal.

      • Living Liminal on June 4, 2015 at 10:37 pm

        “Maybe Robert has seen the abused spouse yelling back etc”

        Heather, I am interested to know how you think someone should respond to being abused. “Yelling back” at your abuser does not mean you are being abusive – it means you have reacted with ‘fight’ rather than ‘flight’ when you are attacked.

        From my own experience of abuse, I know that you can get to the point of acting crazy because you’ve been driven to the point of utter desperation.

        • Lynn M on June 5, 2015 at 6:59 am

          Maybe Robert could share some of his personal experiences and we could respond to them. I know that Bancroft talks about how men who have been emotionally abusive actually do feel that they have been wronged, because the spouse did not live up to an impossible set of unrealistic expectations. — the entitlement thinking that leads to the abuse (my spouse WILL be EVERYTHING I want her to be — creates an unrealistic expectation and will the spouse doesn’t live up to that expectation, he perceives SHE is wronging HIM. I’d like to hear more from Robert about his personal situation.

    • susie on June 5, 2015 at 8:02 am

      Forgiveness and reconciliation are 2 completely different things. The only apology I have received from my husband is “you need to forgive me”. He won’t even admit what it is I need to forgive him for. And that isn’t even an apology. I can and do forgive him for more than 100 mean things he has done against me. But as nelson Mandela said “bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die.” Forgiving our enemies is important. When my enemy is my husband who refuses to stop working against my well-being I need to guard my heart and distance myself while at the same time forgiving and healing. I have only found the strength and courage to do this in Christ and in his work on the cross. He sets me free from bitterness And He sets me free from abuse! Hallelujah!

      • Leslie Vernick on June 5, 2015 at 8:26 am

        Great response.

      • Lynn M on June 5, 2015 at 9:23 am

        I agree. Sometimes it is only in the leaving that we can find it in our hearts to forgive. Our hearts have to heal before we can forgive, so that we do not turn bitter. Distance from the destructive behaviors creates the environment for forgiveness — for the lucky few, that distance is created within the marriage when the spouse stops the emotional abuse and commits to healing. For most of us that distance has to come through separation, so we can then heal and ultimately forgive

        The apology I got was my husband getting on his knees in a mock prayer pose with his hands clasped, in front of our counselor, with his voice dripping with sarcasm, saying “I’ve been a bad husband. That’s what you want to hear, isn’t it? I’ve been a bad husband, are you happy now?”

  18. Connie on June 3, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    There is no real change without true repentance. The husband in question should not just stop verbally attacking his wife, he needs to say things like, “I am so sorry. I was wrong. Please tell me in detail how I have hurt you”, and then ask forgiveness for every single incident that she remembers, which may take a while, as in weeks. And then, “Is there more?” And, “What do I need to do to help you heal?” If he is still calling the shots, as in how often he will go to counselling, I wouldn’t believe him for a minute. He needs to validate her in everything. Otherwise I could predict that he is already doing the same things as before, only in passive-aggressive ways which she isn’t used to so may not recognize for a while because she is so relieved.

    As for Jordan, has he done that? Why is he not in an intensive addiction center for sexual addiction? Those generally take at least 6 months. Repenting because you got caught is not sincere. She had to press him, hard, to ‘repent’. And they are waiting for children to come forward? You’re kidding me, right? Children whom he has threatened with things like, “Don’t tell your parents because that will make your mom very sick……or I will……..” etc. etc. SO glad she found out before having children, and that she had the courage to do what she did!

  19. Connie on June 3, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    I was going to add: as a farmer, I think of the wheat and the tares. They both look identical until maturity, when the wheat bows its head and the tare still stands up straight. Humility is the sign of true Christianity.

    • Aleea on June 3, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      Connie,
      That’s a great word picture from your farming, Wow.  The greatest test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it produces an increasing humility in us.  To me, humility truly is the one thing needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell and shine through us.  The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is lack of humility.  The holiest will be the humblest.  Easy to say.  Easy to recognize, so hard to live.  You can counterfeit love, you can counterfeit faith, you can counterfeit hope and all the other graces, but it is very difficult to counterfeit humility.  The greatest friend of humility is time (Wheat vs. Tares).
       
      Friends: How did you get over your anger at your own self when you realized that you should have done something sooner?
       
      For my issues, I don’t know that I ever have.  Much easier to forgive others than myself.  I say I have forgiven myself but then my actions do not verify it.  Anyway, I like the point of “Do not allow your children to be emotionally abusive with you in their own anger or pain.”  That makes lots of sense but how do you get the balance?  I never saw balance modeled growing up.  It was either fold like a lawn chair or file lawsuits, nothing in between, no balance.  I also like the “repairing the damage” comment.  To me, repairing the damage = real repentance.  Also, I always think: What is another way to look at the situation that is more Biblical and more balanced than the way I was looking at it before (RE: my emotions don’t just appear mysteriously out of nowhere!)?  I try to eliminate as many of my selfish core beliefs as I can.  For me, they give rise to negative emotions like: I must be loved and approved by others; When people treat me unfairly, it is because they are bad people; It is terrible when I am seriously frustrated; If something is dangerous or fearful, I have to worry about it, etc.  Also, I work to avoid the should “shaming” statements.  Aleea you “should” do this; Aleea you “must” do that.  They only fuel guilt and shame.  Guilt and shame fuel addictions RE: anger, frustration, and resentment. 

  20. Listening Ear on June 3, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Robert,

    spend some time on this blog or reading some of Lundy Bancroft’s work from working with abusers ….. you will find that your comment ” both couples are usually participating in the abuse.” is not accurate when dealing with abusers

    Abusers are in a league of their own, both men and women, but rarely is it the case that abuse is on equal footing.

    • Lynn M on June 3, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      I would also like to add that there is a difference between a bitter heart and a closed heart. A bitter heart is angry, seeks revenge and seeks to fight back and return the hurt. If a woman stays in the marriage and returns her husband’s emotional hurts tit for tat, I would say her heart is bitter. Speaking for myself, I reached a point where my heart was closed. I wished no more pain, and felt j had done all in my power to get my husband to see the damage he had done. A closed heart is at peace, but in a place where it simply says “no more”.

      • Leslie Vernick on June 4, 2015 at 1:20 pm

        I like that separation Lynn. Guard your heart is also a strong warning from Proverbs.

      • Debbie on June 5, 2015 at 5:22 pm

        Your describing the distinction between a bitter heart and a closed heart really helped me. An ah-ha moment just now. You put into words what I’ve been living. For about a year and a half I have felt ‘I’m done’; it was as though my heart closed to protect myself. There just came a time when I knew I was not going to put myself out there to be hurt like I have been doing for so long. Last spring the Lord seared into me–
        Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
        I can’t really describe it well, but my heart doesn’t long and ache for reconciliation like it used to. I keep questioning why I’m not more upset about the current state of my marriage. I continue to search my heart and pray–am I bitter? I don’t think so anymore. My heart has just ‘closed’ and said ‘no more’. I saw a qoute by Iyanla Vanzant a short time ago–
        ‘If your heart had a voice, Beloved, what would it say?’
        Immediately, my heart’s response was ‘Save me, Save me!’

        • Leonie on June 7, 2015 at 11:26 pm

          This is where I think I am too. I don’t feel butter as much as I am just finished with trying to have a relationship with an impossible person. I learned some important truths that helped me distance myself from my abusive husband’s craziness and not try to fix it anymore, I just let him be who he was and refused to engage other than stating truth when he had some mind twisting garbage to fill my ears with. I truly don’t feel like I need to get even, mostly I want to get things settled and make sure my children are protected, especially our 4 year old. I am praying that God will reveal how much protection she needs. I fear my ex husband has/had intention to mess with her and was setting things up to progress in that direction. It is a fine line because I don’t want to create or accuse him of something that doesn’t exist but the inside of me is saying that she needs protection. This is in addition to worries that he would try to leave the country with her. Pray for us as we walk this line and sort out the most appropriate type of visitation. in the next few weeks.

        • Beth on June 21, 2015 at 2:10 am

          Wow, you just described how I feel right now. I know my heart is closed, for good reasons and I carry such peace that I was confused. Closed for protection and not retaliation. Closed to lies but not to truth. I’m still processing the peace part. I think it’s because I have really given my hubby to God and have no more desire to change him or try to make me different in order to fit in with his expectations..Is that what being free is like while still bound to a self destructive person??
          All I know is that it’s new for me, I like it but wonder what’s going to happen next????

  21. karen on June 3, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Robert,
    It sounds as tho you are coming from a place where you have not experienced abuse?? Because if you had, I don’t think you would say it’s a two way street. I take great offense at that. We, as the recipients of abuse, do NOTHING to provoke it. Ask yourself this question–would the abuser treat his/her boss this way? Probably not. So they do have control. They just choose to unleash at whoever will let them.

    It is the abusers choice. It comes from their broken and unhealthy places. Sure, we can REACT in unhealthy ways, but it usually is in RESPONSE TO abuse and cruelty. I will be the first to admit that while married to my abusive husband, I did react to his abuse with extreme anger at times. Not healthy, but a response to horrible hurt. For example, yes, I did yell and scream at him one nite, because he had locked me out of the house. And the day before that? Locked me in the garage. When we let someone bully us and don’t speak up, it comes out in unhealthy ways. I hope you can see that no, I was absolutely NOT abusive to him. I yelled at him because he abused me. Huge difference. I never tried to control or shame him. Or hurt and humiliate him. That’s the difference. What is the abuser’s intent? To control us through shame, guilt, humiliation and power. I am honestly not that way, and I would bet most women on this blog would agree. We are not perfect. But we do NOT provoke an abuser. Nothing is ever good enough for them. We could be a Stepford wife, and they would still find something to rage at.

    As for your forgiveness comment, please read my previous post. It is difficult to forgive ourselves first, and yes, then the abuser. I have forgiven him, through lots of counsel and prayer. I now see my ex as a very unhappy, broken, sick person who refuses to get help. God has healed my heart, and it was only thru surrendering my anger to Him. So I would respectfully caution you in making any judgements of us holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness unless and until you have walked in our shoes. Walking in freedom and victory is absolutely possible, for all. It is a deeply personal journey for all. Some forgive sooner, some later. Not wrong, just different.

  22. Brenda on June 3, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Lynn M,
    Well said!!

    • Robin on June 4, 2015 at 2:05 am

      I agree. Writing this one down!!!!!

  23. Robyn on June 4, 2015 at 3:42 am

    Leslie, I cheer you for bringing Karen Hinkley’s story to our attention. I fully support her, and i am thankful for your advocacy of her and all of us. I am deeply grateful for your faithful, true representation of Jesus as He speaks to our very difficult circumstances. If you’re able, please pass on our support to Karen.

  24. Brenda on June 4, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Cindy R,
    That was not an apology of any kind. All I heard was blaming the victim.
    Brenda

  25. Hope on June 4, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Changing outside behavior without inward reflection is temporary for sure, a man who hasn’t loved and cherished his wife and verbally attacked and disgraced his family, is probably tired of the negative response and at this point realizes it isn’t attaining his self gratifying ways anymore. What we are looking for is a real truthful and honest loving, nurturing and uplifting relationship. Men who act in such hurtful and harmful ways are probably incapable of this. Just because they have stopped blowing their top; big deal I say. God is willing to love and cherish me and I am still seeking that in an unwilling man if I’m waiting for him to fix something he hasn’t truly repented of(maybe he has touched the surface but all this runs very deep). That’s exactly what I have been doing looking for something real from an actor who is incapable of loving me the way God designed because in truth he does not love God. This is only making me frustrated. Ladies don’t expect anything from someone else; it is just like trying to change someone else. God can fulfill all our needs. Complete ownership is the next step, I did this grave sin and I’m 100% guilty. The selfishness here is unreal, just watch how selfish it is to stop having tantrums because that no longer works. We may be requiring behavior management but this should not take the place of heart management, because it will take both to have that life and family restoration that’s necessary.

  26. Brenda on June 4, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Trina,

    All the good they do, all the people they save, all the Biblical knowledge they impart is being stripped away.

    In what way are they saving people? I don’t understand what you are going for there.

    I do believe that most churches do some good, but so do many atheists. The TVC leaders need to apologize to Karen first off and stop their intensive authority seeking over her. Let her be, she has chosen to separate from them.

    A large bonfire of all of the legal documents that people signed to become members there that gives the elders authority over them would be a start in making amends with the congregation. Signing anything should never be necessary to join a local body.

    Brenda

    • Trina on June 5, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      Brenda,

      From the question you pose to me, I can tell we probably are not in the same place theologically. I replied to be polite. I do not wish to engage in the differences we probably share regarding our faith.
      I agree that women need to step up and defend themselves against oppression, bad practices, and man-made church rules.
      God Bless.

  27. Brenda on June 4, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    KSN,
    I am sorry that your children are going through this, but so glad that they have a mom who is healing and can help them through it. I’m not sure that forgiveness is something I could do while having to watch my children go through abuse and have my hands tied being forced to have them spend time with the abuser.

    Do you have an advocate through Friend of the Court or perhaps even the counselor may advocate for them? Someone that will attest that the kids are not doing well during and after visits with their dad? Maybe having someone with you when they return who will document behaviors when they are home with you. Years ago when this was an issue for my children, I was told to keep a journal, dates, times etc, My youngest would cry for 2 days after a visit and would refuse to bathe. Fortunately, he disappeared and no more visits.

    I feel for all of you that have to go through this with children. Praying for you as you travel in this valley.
    Brenda

    • k on June 4, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Thank you, Brenda for your empathy. Yes, I have found a wonderful LCSW who just began working with the children and have been documenting for a year and a half since all this began. During our first court hearing the Judge recognized some of the problems and awarded me sole legal custody, but there is still too much visitation. Working on this problem. I wish he would just go away – he never cared about the children when we were together. I think what’s so hard about this is that they are being used to wage war against me. It’s a helpless feeling. I find this blog, Lundy Bancroft, Dr. Cloud, Give Her Wings and so many other sites so helpful. Fortunately we have a huge support system including family, church and school. I’m trying to concentrate on getting myself whole in order to be the best Mom I can to counteract his abuse. Your kind and loving spirit comes through in all your posts, and I appreciate the time you spend replying.

  28. Living Liminal on June 5, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Lynne M, I’m sorry, there was no direct ‘reply’ button.

    I’d be more than happy to hear some of Robert’s experiences and respond.

    It is an interesting idea that emotionally abusive men can feel that they are the ones who’ve been wronged. Certainly makes sense of my own experience 😛

    • Leslie Vernick on June 5, 2015 at 8:28 am

      If you look up the Karman triangle – victim, persecutor and rescuer, when the rescuer stops rescuing sets up boundaries against the persecutor, or the victim stops being helpless and starts speaking up against the persecutor, the persecutor starts feeling like the victim.

      • Lynn M on June 5, 2015 at 9:27 am

        Wow Leslie, I’m going to read about that. Thank you.

        • Living Liminal on June 5, 2015 at 9:41 am

          Me too! 🙂

        • Leslie Vernick on June 5, 2015 at 9:49 am

          Remember, the whole triangle is dysfunctional and destructive. The goal of the healthy person is to stay out of either role – the persecutor, the rescuer, or the victim. But take note, even when you start getting healthy and function as an adult – speaking up for yourself, setting boundaries, etc, the persecutor will feel like the victim. But often when we don’t get healthy our selves or don’t practice CORE strength, we get angry (as we should but instead of dealing with it in a healthy way – we start becoming the persecutor, and that’s perhaps what Robert and Heather were referring to – in that we are still in the destructive dance ourselves).

      • Living Liminal on June 5, 2015 at 9:41 am

        OMG! That would explain so much! Thank you.

      • Aleea on June 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm

        You know what?    . . . . I kept thinking this weekend, haven’t I seen this “triangle” in old historical management consulting research papers. . . . .but, no, no, no it can’t be because that was Dr. Stephen Karpman not this Karman.  Maybe, I am wrong but I have seen management consultants use the Karpman Drama Triangle for management, employee relationships.  In fact, Dr. Ken Blanchard used to talk about it all the time.  But this is all historical management research because these guys are from the 60s (when folks were doing Transactional Analysis).  But yet, they use the same structure.  In fact, this comes from the same drama roles getting acted out within fairy stories (you see this in C.S. Lewis and especially the man Lewis took his inspiration from George MacDonald).  If this is the same Karpman, he always described it as:
        VICTIM:  Hopeless,  helpless,  and  powerless,  beyond  the  reality.  “You can make me feel bad or good”.
        RESCUERS: Appear nice and helpful. “I can make you feel good”.  A person is rescuing when she/he:
        Is doing something she doesn’t want to do; Is doing something she was not asked to do; Is doing something she can’t do (Boy that hits home!); Is doing more than 50% of the work; Is not asking for what she wants!!!
        PERSECUTOR: “I can make you feel bad”. People frequently take up the persecutor role in order to avoid being the victim.
         
        To me (and I am wrong about a lot, you all know that, so do your own thinking) here is all we have to know: Games avoid responsibility and intimacy.  We want both responsibility and intimacy.  Especially, we want intimacy.  We don’t want games or drama.  We want off that treadmill.  The Lord God can fill us with His love, so we don’t have to be “filled” by other people.  This gets us off that horrible treadmill of peer pressure, people-pleasing and codependency (so easy to say, I know).  Without God, we are merely dependent upon one another.  So, we need to be extremely careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God and keep inviting the Holy Spirit to do all that heart cleaning and healing that brings REAL love to all those dark, lonely and sad places.  Otherwise, we will settle our whole lives for little, lonely scraps of love/ approval/ affection from other people.
          
        So let’s think about the previous thread (blog post) where some folks were talking about their husbands hiding assets and maybe what to do about it: Anyway, the take away is to always stay on top of the entire financial picture from the start.  Have family meetings, make them fun (I know how hard that is, do it anyway.)  You need to know where all the assets are and how they are structured.  Really get involved and learn, ask lots of questions and read, even if you don’t like asset management discussions. 
         
        So, . . .this is for someone who it could be helpful to long after we have moved on to other threads. Often money gets hidden through layered entity structures.  Whichever spouse is doing it may start, for example, with a private foundation (sounds fancy, anyone can do it) that owns an IBC, that IBC owns a PIC (Private investment Corp.) that “corporation” is usually undercapitalized but often engages in some type of an “active business” and it could do lots of things but I see many doing the hiding through derivative trades of all sorts. Pair trades are done with one leg showing that they have “lost” the money (some are even so bold (stupid) enough to then take “the loss” carry forward) but the money is not “lost.”  Paired derivatives inside of those layer entities allow you to lose, even declare bankruptcy but keep it all. Also, revolving lines of credit can accomplish the same.  This could be a 1,000 page discussion, obviously, so. . . . .take responsibility for knowing.
          
        Husbands: Many of these “techniques” are tax violations and also involve what are known as fraudulent transfers.  I know you know what I mean!  More than this, there is little honor among those that foster these structures (even if they are attorneys or accountants) and often others can easily be paid to tell the truth.  The IRS pays and even has substantial rewards for such information.  The “look through” “see through” rules get to the motivations of these structures no matter how much you have tried to build in “economic substance” “business purpose,” et.al. . . . . . . Why not taste and see that the Lord is good?  Come and dine at the Master’s table and have real life!  I invite you to join us in the sunlight. God has so much more for you than you can “structure.”  . . . And if you have serious doubts or questions maybe put them out here. I would be amazed if you have had a doubt one of us hasn’t thought through seriously from cosmology, to biology, to theology, to whateverology!
         
        Oh, and at least from me, thank you everyone so much when you include your faith and praise statements in your comments: I trusted the Lord to. . . . .; I praise God because He. . . . . .  Those are so, very helpful when you do, at least to me (I covet those statements.  I’ll admit it.)  Where else could there be hope for change apart from Christ?  To me, that is what psychological and integrationist counseling lack: the hurting still retain the responsibility to please God and it is in pleasing Him where our truest and greatest happiness is found.  I love to hear when you have found just that.  That is so wonderful.

      • Susanne on June 10, 2015 at 7:17 pm

        Leslie, I recently read an article about the Winners Triangle, which is a contrast to the Karpman Drama Triangle, by Acey Choy. Just wondering if you have used this theory.

  29. Brenda on June 5, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Lynn M,
    I have wanted to hear Robert’s actual story also. I’m not 100% sure, but I believe Robert has been here before and possibly other sites that I have read, but has not responded to my questions.
    Brenda

  30. Jerrie on June 5, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Thank you, Leslie, for your comments regarding Karen Hinkley. The response of the powerful men of her church reveals the mindset of abuse: ENTITLEMENT. I admire her courage and devotion to expose the truth despite incredible opposition.

    Several years ago the church to which I belonged brought forth covenant. Membership would be revoked if current members would not sign. After much prayer and searching scripture, I was convinced that Jesus did not want me to sign. The message I heard was that I should not wear a burka. (See 2Corinthians 3 about the veil of the covenant.) I am amazed by His deliverance!

    The Church is the Bride of Christ, the Bridegroom. I have never been asked by a man to describe the role of a bride. Isn’t it interesting that scripture does not define the Church as friend or in a non-gender specific way, but as a that of a woman’s place? I am not elevating women above men, but it seems we have a lot to contribute as role models in loving.

    I am encouraged by Ms. Hinkley’s resolve to bear witness to truth. The men who attempted to intimidate her did not smear the name of Jesus, only their own. Sadly ironic that Ms. Hinkley glorified our Lord when men who are employed to do so would not. Power has an insatiable appetite. How was the decision reached to apply disciplinary procedures after lifting this matter before the One who “a bruised reed He will not break”? They confessed blindness. What of deafness?

    I have described my own circumstance as “I have no voice!” Slowly I am learning that I do have a voice but speaking to one who refuses to hear. And my words are of worth. I am worthy of love.

    This is the battle you engage, Leslie. Thank you.

  31. Brenda on June 5, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Lynn M,

    That “apology” was truly telling of the heart. I am sorry that you had to witness such a thing.

    Brenda

  32. Brenda on June 7, 2015 at 6:26 am

    Lonely wife,
    You have come a long way on this journey!! Prayers going up for you and Churner!!
    Brenda

  33. Separated on June 7, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Re: 4 month behavior change. A pastor told me once that anyone can change their behavior for up to a year. However, it takes a change of heart for the behavior to last longer than that!

  34. karen addison on June 7, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Please trust your gut!! If something is telling you he may try and take your daughter out of the country, it may be God warning you. Read Kelly Rutherford’s nitemare….. It can happen, and these guys are unpredictable and vengeful. Please be careful, and never underestimate.

  35. Loline on June 9, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Leslie
    I have been in an abuse marriage for 21 yes. Found out 6 mnrhs ago that my husband had another affair. He has since become very nice like NEVER before. Yet he has not truly asked forgiveness and besides being nice has not tried to be living or make up for anything. Although he adores his children he still acts abudively ly toward

  36. Churner on June 10, 2015 at 9:07 pm

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