Morning friends,

Thanks for your prayers. My poison ivy is getting better and my yard is looking better. Next week I’ll post some new pictures.

I’m so glad many of you responded positively to our blogger who wrote about staying well.

Next week I’ve invited another woman who is walking that same journey of staying well to share her thoughts. Remember, staying well doesn't’ necessarily mean anything positive is happening in your marriage, it means that you are dealing with whatever is happening in CORE strength and for now, it’s best for you to stay.

Leaving well also requires you to walk in CORE strength. Our next class is coming up in August.

Today I’ve invited Dawn to share her experience of knowing when it was time to leave her destructive marriage and what steps she took to leave well. Here is her story:

 

I sat shredding the tissue in my hands that I’d been clutching for the past hour. Meeting her gentle gaze I asked the question that would plunge me headlong into this journey, “How do you know when it’s time to go?” She met my gaze with a steady confidence and replied with three simple words, “Oh, you’ll know!” The thought that surfaced first was, “I’m really not that smart!”

Fast forward four years, three life crises, two interventions, one horrifically broken wife and those words came flooding back to me … “Oh, you’ll know!” As we sat with three of our four children in the family room begging my wayward husband’s return I listened intently as each of their shattered hearts poured forth: that there wasn’t anything that couldn’t be forgiven, that our family needed him, how much they valued his presence here, and how even in this the cross’s power could triumph. I watched as time suspended for what seemed like an eternity before the verdict was rendered by a man whose face had crumpled into his tearstained hands, “I can’t. I need to go.” In that instant, there were the words, flooding back, each one of them weighing a thousand pounds, being lifted from my back by a gentle Savior accompanied by a feeling of literal physical release, “Oh. You’ll. Know!” A flashback of that moment in her office, her voice, the instantaneous feeling of freedom from the weight, all came together in a well-choreographed crescendo. Amidst the devastating carnage surrounding me I remember uttering, “Thank you” … I knew.

I’m not sure everyone’s experience of release is that well defined but what I am sure of is that everyone, once they are confident in their decision to leave needs a well-defined exit strategy. Mine looked like this:

Choose to accept the reality of the situation: The starting line is the ability to stand in the middle of the ugly and utter the words, “I choose to accept the reality of this situation.” Understand that this is war ~ the enemy is waging war on your family. While the stakes are high, we know the ending of the story, God wins!

Internalize the fact that the enemy bows to our living God. Don’t succumb to fear and let it color your reality. For years I had chosen to ignore reality, dress it up, paint it, and just downright lie to myself (and others) as to what was really going on inside these four walls.

Infidelity wasn’t the problem, it was just the symptom of a larger problem of a heart that had hardened for one reason or another, years of unhealthy communication patterns, subsequently developed destructive coping mechanisms built on the foundation of the pre-marital baggage that we each dragged down the aisle unpacked. Like the proverbial floating duck, all looked great on the surface, but if you peered underwater you would find me paddling like crazy to maintain the image of “the perfect family”.

Delineate your boundaries: As women we tend to incorporate “moveable marks” where we should be placing “finite finishes” as to what is tolerable. This is often in response to errant biblical teaching and our inability to distinguish between wishful and hopeful thinking.

Hopeful thinking is reality based – there are definitive markers in the direction of progress, ie true repentance, counseling with progress. Wishful thinking says, “If I just work harder I know I can make him come around.” Or “I see his potential I know he can do this.” All of this as the same sinful patterns are maintained. This is baseless thinking without anything to link progress to. Fix markers as to what is acceptable and what is not then affix tangible events to those markers. The absence of positive events is what often those markers often allows abuse to escalate. That is reality.

Determine your breaking point: There is a tipping point in which the pain of staying outweighs the fear of leaving. The faster you become grounded in the above points the quicker you can determine this axis point. I called this the “Breakout Moment”. Mine occurred that evening in our family room.

I incorporated much prayer for that moment’s revelation – asking that I would be assured beyond a shadow of a doubt, I enlisted my prayer-warriorAaronesses to hold up my arms and storm the Throne Room on my behalf…and daily they went. Like a soldier reporting to war, I wanted to ensure that I had followed the orders of the Spirit to a tee ~ my survival depended on this.

Structure your Exit Strategy: Develop principles from the start that will guide your journey. Write them down and return to them often. For me it netted to three tenents: 1.) Be honorable in every detail. 2.) Get through this without lasting anger or bitterness. 3.) Purpose to help those behind me in the same situation. Guiding principles will give you a tenable structure to which you can affix yourself when the free-fall feeling of insanity prevails (which for me was daily!)

Develop your support system: I can’t emphasize this enough. It is critical to your survival. As if plotting war strategy, determine your Circles of Support and the criteria for yourself and for those in those circles. For me it was purposing to be transparent and vulnerable. The determining criteria for my support circle were true biblical understanding of the situation, the ability to lovingly speak truth into it, non-judgmental grace and empathy.

This wasn’t hard. In the midst of all of this, like Gideon’s army, my support network was whittled down to a scant core – but mighty they are. My counselor, a recovery-based support group, and three friends whom I could trust would come in the middle of the night if I needed them. Like David’s cave dwelling clan, I refer to them as my “Mighty Band of Brothers”. They have truly grounded me in the insane moments, carried me and believed in me when I could do none of that for myself.

Firmly ground yourself in your Christ given identity and mission: This is no easy task. It incorporates a myriad of components. Make no mistake, you are walking into a gray area of biblical interpretation.

In this situation I needed to understand not so much who I was but whose I was and who was fighting the battle I had been called to. I also needed to have a very clear understanding of exactly what the real battle was.

I experienced the ripping away of the majority of things familiar – they were taken. Our financial resources, my church leadership and family who were ill equipped to handle the level of trauma that was being dealt to our family; the mishandling of the situation by church leadership (ie being told that there are worse marriages in this church than yours, or everyone argues you just need to find a way to make it work, or my parents fought, but ultimately us kids were glad that they didn’t destroy our family unit).

The resulting damage that was inflicted was deep and scarring. There were the friends who just couldn’t bear to walk into the ugly with us and fled as the situational temperature escalated. Or worse, those who attempted to assuage the situation with an inappropriate sense of humor. “Well once he’s gone you can head back out onto the open market.” I have found in these times that understanding of all of our own shortcomings is what enables me to be a good grace extender. We are a broken people dwelling in a fallen world. Learning to extend and receive grace is an integral part of survival.

Another integral part of survival was the rewriting of my own tapes ~ learning and incorporating new habits. Being gentle to myself. Speaking kindly to myself. Forgiving myself. Understanding that I could release myself from the “consummate overproducing” role I had been playing my entire life. Most importantly understanding that I was not abandoned, but had a new-found Groom in Christ. He was now my Kinsman Redeemer and I was His true bride. That enabled me to understand that the situational victory wasn’t contingent on my efforts but was directly correlated to how quickly I could release it to the hands of my mighty Husband Savior. In Him dwells every victory.

Learn to fail victoriously: All these plans and yet we fall. Learning that even in the best laid strategy we will lose some battles to the enemy. Time spent in the penalty box is directly correlated to my unwillingness to repent. I had to learn to fail victoriously. Succumb quickly to the chase of my Relentless Pursuer, quickly confess, look for and assimilate the lesson to be learned, tuck it in my toolbox, forgive myself and move forward. Understanding that the mark of a true failure is a lesson forfeited at the altar of a hardened heart.

I have learned that with a soft heart in my weakest moment I am 100 percent stronger than I ever could believe I was … because of Jesus. (tweet that)

To quote my daughter, “Mom, when all we have is Jesus we are able to most clearly see that He is all we need.” In Him lies the ability to fail victoriously.

In the midst of it all may we hear that still small voice that whispers to our broken hearts, “I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in loving kindness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord.”  Hosea 2:19. May we listen and believe when He tells us, “They looked to Him and were radiant, and they will never be ashamed.” Ps. 34:5

March on, Sisters. You WILL know! If you leave, leave well!

Friends, if you have left well, what else would you want our sisters who are still struggling with knowing whether to leave or whether to stay to know?

 

282 Comments

  1. Ann on July 15, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Thank you for this incredibly helpful and eloquent piece about leaving well.I left my marriage 21/2 years ago and fought a hard legal battle to obtain what a wife of 35 years is entittled to,by law.Looking back,I made mistakes,for sure but I absolutely know I was ” carried” in His loving arms to ” the other side”. Your advice is excellent and comforting to the many questioning ” when they will know”…. Prepare for the battle by enlisting a few ” warriors” to pray and give sound,godly advice is critical to leaving well and staying well.I have a ” low grade ache” most of the time as dividing a family is just hard and painful.But there is a newfound freedom that I would not trade for anything.And,He IS faithful and WILL work all things for good in the midst of the pain.Thank you for sharing your story.I would encourage you to write more as you are very gifted!

    • Dawn on July 15, 2015 at 8:13 am

      Ann,
      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. This is no easy calling for certain. I believe each of our callings remove us miles from our comfort zone … on purpose.
      Your comment about the “low grade ache” resonates deeply in my heart. I am truly comforted and confident in the fact that in the final reckoning that ache will be sorted out and gently removed by our Savior Husband in eternity with a beautiful reconciliation of all things broken in our families. I so look forward to that day – for all of us !
      XO
      Dawn

      • Ann on July 18, 2015 at 8:21 am

        Dawn,you are so very right .That low grade ache will be completely healed and there will be joy in the morning! Leslie’s encouragement and instructions in staying and leaving well are so critical.I do not want to be a bitter woman,an unforgiving soul or miss what God has for me in this new season of life.Like yourself,it sounds,I lived an incredibly materially lavish life.My former husband has been a very ” successful” Christian “leader “and businessman who had had quite the following.It was so difficult to finally realize I was not crazy as ” everyone loves him”,so it must be me.Good counseling,a few very close friends/ prayer warriors( like you described) ,Leslie’s good teaching and a ” final straw” experience freed me to leave. It gives me such comfort to know that I am not alone; He is with me,for me and in me……and there are others that understand.Praise be to God!

        • Dawn on August 7, 2015 at 5:31 am

          You are a precious treasure to Jesus , Betsy. ps 34:5 days, “They will look to Him and be radiant and never be ashamed,”

        • Vivienne on August 18, 2015 at 7:08 pm

          Hello Dawn,

          I have that low grade ache too, a pervasive heaviness whenever my husband is in the home, only lifting when he is absent.

          I saw that like me you had invested many years in your marriage and you had to fight for what you were due in relation to that. My husband is trying to avoid my doing that. What did you manage to achieve? I ask because I may face the same fight and although I realise laws differ from country to country it might help to know anyway..

    • Susanne on July 15, 2015 at 8:54 am

      Ann, I just went through a 3 year battle with lawyers and we have finally just signed our separation/divorce papers. I didn’t go to court in the end because I was exhausted and so stressed out. I settled for a lesser amount just to get this thing over with because it should not have dragged on so long. My husband was abusing me through the legal system and I said “enough, I want this over with today”. I might have been able to get more, but it’s done and I’m free of all the back and forth to the lawyer’s office. I know I made a decision out of fear and frustration, and for that I know God has forgiven me.

      • Ava on July 15, 2015 at 10:20 am

        Suzanne, You didn’t do anything wrong by settling. I did the same thing. My ex was dragging my children and me around and around. He had moved on and was living the life of a single man, while telling everyone who would listen that he didn’t want the divorce and that I was unforgiving. David knew when to engage in battle and when to run and fight another day. God knows the future and he knew what you needed to do. My wonderful and wise counselor told me that sometimes God’s will is in your “want to”. When you are in prayer, seeking wise counsel and seeking God’s will…I firmly believe you will “want to” do what God is telling you to do. Its ok that you were afraid and frustrated! To do what God asks sometimes makes you feel that way! The definition of bravery is to be afraid and go anyway! God wants you to trust Him with your future. You didn’t need to go after more. God already has plans to provide all you need.

        • Susanne on July 22, 2015 at 9:47 am

          Ava, Thank you for sharing this with me. Your words are very comforting. God bless you on your journey with Him. 🙂

      • Dawn on July 15, 2015 at 12:50 pm

        Susanne,
        He knows, He sees and He is Oh so mindful that our frames are but dust — so fragile are we His Princess Brides.
        I am asking today that He show Himself to you as Jehovah Jireh — our provider.
        He is enough. Stand there today!

        • Susanne on July 15, 2015 at 1:16 pm

          Thank you so much Dawn

      • Lonely wife on July 15, 2015 at 3:05 pm

        Sounds like your husband was passive aggressive…they like to do that! I’ve read that lawyers hate doing divorces when a PA is involved because they drag everything out and drive everyone around them crazy!
        So glad you’re finally free from all of that, Susanne!
        May God bless you even more abundantly!

        • Robin on July 15, 2015 at 10:30 pm

          I agree Susanne- you fought an honorable battle. It’s time to be kind to yourself and move on. Well done soldier!!!!

          • Susanne on July 22, 2015 at 9:53 am

            Hey Robin – I have just started to think that way. I just got some not so good news from the cardiologist and now I need to look after myself and get healthier. I trust that God will see me through this. I have peace. Thank you my friend for being there for all of us. God bless you BIG! 🙂



        • Susanne on July 22, 2015 at 9:49 am

          Lonely Wife, Yes he was passive aggressive, among other things! Yes, he did drag the separation agreement out, but of course blamed me and my lawyer for doing so. I am soooooo thankful to the Lord that I am finally free of all of that. I receive the blessings, thank you. Huge blessings to you as you look to the Lord each day. 🙂

          • Robin on July 25, 2015 at 12:01 am

            Susanne- stress definitely takes its toll on us. I’m sorry to hear you have health issues- but now you know and you can move forward. Please keep us posted.



      • Ann on July 18, 2015 at 8:35 am

        Susanne,my heart breaks reading your post.You did absolutely nothing wrong; you wanted to have closure and move on.I am well aware that I was able to fight only because I was allowed to dip into inheritance( not everyone has that), I had a legal team that was superb( that’s an amazing story in and of itself) and friends praying for me all the time.Also,our three sons are now adults.I should have left awhile back but I just did not have the strength or the courage and I did not want to bring the boys into it( although our oldest was,unfortunately) There are no easy answers or formulas ,Susanne.I question alot if I did it right and just come to our Lord and Savior …..and lay it all before His throne.I love the story in Mark of Jesus telling His disciples ” let us go to the other side”( US,not ” you”) and then a bad storm arises on the lake which He calms as He is Lord over the winds and the waves…..and they make it to ” the other side”. We will have storms but He will be with us and get us through those …..and we WILL get to the other side…. with Him.Blessings on you!

        • Susanne on July 22, 2015 at 10:05 am

          Ann – My lawyer did not seem to fight real hard for me and yet he was the one I believed in my heart that God led me to. I could have started over with a new one, but we were so far into the case I didn’t believe that would be wise. In the end God has provided what I need and more. He was always with me through all the struggles and pain. My ex wanted to take it to court and I just could not go through that for the difference in the money, along with the increased stress. I said he could have the money if he wanted it that much. He fights to win, however, here was no winning, because he had already broken down and lost another marriage. I just wanted it to be done honestly, which I did right from the start. So I can hold my head up high and continue on with the Lord. God restores what has been stolen from us. Huge blessings to you Ann! 🙂

        • Dawn on August 7, 2015 at 5:36 am

          Ann,
          I love your usage of the Mark passage — I had never thought it in those terms. He truly is faithful to bring us to the other side, and He’s not afraid to do it! Most importantly – He commanded the journey be done.

      • April on May 3, 2016 at 12:48 am

        Thumbs up! I also just said stop to the crazy to find peace and freedom.

    • Liz on July 15, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      Ann, I’m about to enter that battle, 38 years for me. Any words of wisdom or advice? I have some good prayer warriors on my side. He said to prepare for a fight because he will not give me what I want. I just want what is fair, half.

      • Leslie Vernick on July 15, 2015 at 8:58 pm

        Get your support in place. Get a good attorney. Decide you will act honorably even if he acts dishonorably. Minimize contact with him once you file because he will mess with your head. Keep reminding yourself of the truth and the cycle – as he may try to win you back into the same old dance instead of making the changes he needs to make. And pray pray pray.

        • Robin on July 15, 2015 at 10:35 pm

          I so agree Liz to minimize contact. I have to tell you I think it was one of the chief things I was led to do, and do well. I accepted no texts, and only emails thru the lawyers (that’s what you pay your lawyer for- to resolve issues). Not having contact, allows one to clear their head. If we let them keep playing old tapes that brought mass confusion, we will never sort things out.

        • Lisa on July 15, 2015 at 11:52 pm

          Leslie,
          Would you mind expounding on being honorable?

          Lisa

      • Ann on July 18, 2015 at 8:51 am

        Liz,Leslie is right.If you can afford a good attorney,get the best.Make certain you are surrounded by a few praying friends that can hold you up in the battle; it IS a fierce battle .I must say if I had known what I would be up against for 21/2 years , I am not certain I would’ve fought so hard,but looking back,I think it was the right thing to do and I was able to get my ” fair share”.I had to constantly put it all in God’s hands and realize He was in charge of the ultimate outcome.You truly want to be ” as wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove ” which can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit and very good counselors and godly friends.My prayers are with you,Liz.

    • Ann H on August 18, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      Vivien, I think you were responding to my response to DAWN’s posting.I decided to file for divorce after finding some very troubling info on my husband’s desk( this was after I had left for other reasons..,,emotional abuse for many years and another relationship with a young woman discovered) It appeared that he was making very serious financial investments without my knowledge or consent. I felt that I needed to fight for what I was entitled to,by law, before he could do more damage and possibly hide money.Little did I know that this would be a very expensive and horrendous two year battle which ended this past April.We have only seen each other and/ or spoken a few times over the last 24 months and it has all been about money.So tragic that a marriage of 36 years ends in that way.As I mentioned in a previous email,I could not have fought this legal battle without taking money from one of the few joint accounts we had as well as dipping into future inheritance.I cannot advise any woman to go this course without counting the cost financially and emotionally,Also I had very close godly friends advising me along the way.In addition,our 3 sons are adults and mostly on their own so it has not impacted them in the same way having younger children would but I pray for them ( as do others) as this is a painful part of their story whether they realize this at this point,or not.I know I made mistakes along the way; it was harder than I had ever dreamed,but I still believe it was the right course of action.I pray daily that God would use this all for good in all of our lives.I trust He will whether I see it or not.I pray you will have the wisdom that only He can provide and a few godly friends that love you both that can give good counsel.

  2. Amy on July 15, 2015 at 8:41 am

    I hope with all that you have had to move through that you can see the beautiful gift and talent God has given you for writing. Your article was beautifully written and touching.

    • Dawn on July 15, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Thank you, Amy! Like Mary’s oil — it truly has cost me almost everything I have. As in the beginning of all of this when I poured it out at His feet, I asked Him if it might eventually be used as a sweet aroma to bless others. I hope this is the start of that.

    • Dawn on August 7, 2015 at 5:44 am

      Amy,
      Thank you for your kind words. I so appreciate the encouragement. Writing is cathartic and has always been a wonderful processing tool. Most importantly, I ask that He use it to help others in their journey.

  3. susen on July 15, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Looking back, I think the point when the one I vowed to love, honor, and cherish made me feel worth less than nothing is the point where I began to rewrite the rules for myself.

    As a first-born daughter, I was a people-pleaser and rule follower. My definition of myself was in how I could earn others’ approval.

    Ten years into my twenty-year marriage, my husband announced that he had just taken out a $50,000 life insurance policy on me. “Wow!” I thought too soon, “He really does value me.” He went on to explain that it would cost him that much to hire someone to raise the kids if anything happened to me.

    Ten years later, his last ditch effort to make me stay married to him was “we can’t afford a divorce.”

    So, to address Leslie’s question about leaving well . . . I didn’t. I gave up, anorexia kicked in to full gear, I willingly embraced the release of death. The fight was just too much.

    But God wasn’t finished with me yet! This took place twenty-five years ago, but I remember every detail. I walked into his room (the third counselor I was dragged to made him move out of our bedroom) and told him that I was 107 pounds and tomorrow I would be 106. If he didn’t want to be responsible for my death, he had to leave. The most amazing miracle was his departure. I still feel the wonder at his walking out the front door.

    We are God’s daughters. Give no one the power to make you feel less than that. It took me a long time to learn to live that way. My marriage was a “victorious failure.” And I am grateful every day that God didn’t give up on me.

    Blessings to all,
    susen

    • Susanne on July 15, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Susen, what a powerful testimony! Glory to God. I rejoice with you. Your story will encourage so many other women. God bless you.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 15, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Susen, thanks for reminding us that even when we don’t leave well or fail at something, God never wastes it and we still still learn and grow from it. So many of the OT people failed didn’t they? They didn’t do it well sometimes – from Moses to Abraham to David yet God still used them and their lives were imperfect but not a waste.

      • Susanne on July 15, 2015 at 10:39 am

        Leslie, thank you for your comment. I really needed to hear that this morning.

      • susen on July 15, 2015 at 12:17 pm

        Dear Leslie~

        Thank you for your affirmation. I am able to embrace my mistakes only if I learn from them. I’m even able to accept myself, with your help over the last months, as an imperfect (to my mother), but godly, daughter!

        Funny that you should bring up Moses. He was the subject of our first vacation bible school lesson this week. We discussed God’s intervention and preparation, his rescue as a baby, his youth in the Egyptian court, his rashness in trying on his own to save the Israelites by killing an Egyptian, and his time of waiting as a sheepherder. (Didn’t realize it before I did my homework, but Moses was a shepherd for 40 years and then shepherded the Israelites for the same number of years.) All of these life experiences prepared him to answer, “Here I am” when God called to him from the burning bush.

        Extrapolating from this lesson of God’s preparation: I pray that those who are having to face of the question of “Do I stay or do I leave?” will be able to take something positive from all of our stories, perhaps learning from our steps and miss-steps. He’s always there, watching, waiting for us to turn to Him for His Guidance. He will receive each of us with the blessing of His Grace and Mercy! Remember, we are His daughters, and He wants us to reflect that in all we do. susen

      • Betsy on July 17, 2015 at 10:23 am

        Leslie. I love what you said about g
        god not wasting anything. Through this ordeal in my marriage and the feelings of rage an abandonment, I have acted out in ways that I didn’t think I had in me. Of course my husband has used them against me as “deal breakers” He has given me so many mixed messages in the last year that I had no idea that we have a deal in negotiations. God keeps giving me opportunities to grow, yet Satan plus and pulls in me everyday. Today I feel anxiety and fear..it is all consuming.

    • Susanne on July 15, 2015 at 11:44 am

      Susen, I was just going over the comments and II wondered if you would understand why I said what I did in my last post. I don’t want it to be misunderstood. You went through a horrific time in your life and for that I am so sorry. When I said I rejoice with you, I meant that although you said you gave up, you realize that God was with you and He pulled you through it. Today you are giving glory to God and you are free. That is what I am rejoicing in.

      • susen on July 15, 2015 at 12:20 pm

        🙂 Of course!

        Blessings,
        susen

  4. Susanne on July 15, 2015 at 8:46 am

    I stayed in the same house with my husband for 11 months after we were separated. He had already physically abused me. We went to work and went wherever he wanted. We slept in separate bedrooms and didn’t go anywhere together. During that time, I was civil with him whenever we happened to see each other in the house. Without repentance, he tried to get me to have sex with him or go on a vacation. He tried giving me a few small gifts. I remained calm and was waiting for our home to sell before I left. He should have left the house, but he refused. My church did not help, but only wanted to send us for yet more counseling! Anyway, I kept the peace and believe in that way, I left well. FYI: I wasn’t a stupid woman….I had a phone with me at all times, but at that point in our marriage, I believe he knew loud and clear that if he ever touched me again, I would call the police. I didn’t call them our of fear, which is another story, but I wanted to share how I believe I left well. Perhaps I should have left years before, as some would tell me, but I didn’t. We were separated for 6 months two years prior and I took him back on his word that he was delivered from anger/rage. He did seem to have changed for quite awhile, but all that was is that he held it all in and then exploded into a violent rage and pushed me down. Yes, abuse usually does escalate over time. It is only after being actually away from him for 2 years that I am now seeing things more clearly. We beat ourselves up and question ourselves, but deep in our hearts, we know we’ve done the right thing. We believe lies. For 2 years I prayed and believed for true repentance and change. I would not go for a divorce, believing for a miracle! After all, things are possible with God….there was nothing. It took me all that time to realize that my ex didn’t want to change. He was not sorry for what he had done. I knew he was already on a Christian chat before we even physically left each other! I had an ideal of what I wanted my marriage to look like….a godly one, with my husband being the spiritual head of the household. He has just filed for divorce with no biblical reasons, but he has to answer to God for that. Knowing my ex he probably thinks he has a good reason for a 3rd divorce!. I still continue to think about all of this and really want to fully put it behind me. I do believe that I did the best I could in the given situation.

  5. Betsy on July 15, 2015 at 10:09 am

    I am new to the concept of staying or leaving well. I have signed up for the August CORE class to help me regain myself.

    This may sound crazy….there have been many times where it would be easier to be physically abused. The emotional and mental abuse, blame, shaming, criticizing leaves me in a constant state of confusion, anxiety, shame, and feeling crazy. I question myself daily. I question my abilities as a mother, wife, human being and have for over 20 years.i have no idea what God has planned for me, my children, and my marriage. I am scared.

    I DO know without an doubt that I am sick of being treated like a housemate, a less than, the confusion for me is that my husband feels justified to treat me like this because in his words ” you left the marriage long ago..” This hits my core of shame and feeling like everything I touch I ruin lie.

    I am staying in my marriage for now. I am believing for restoration..yet I need to believe I myself too.

    • Ava on July 15, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Betsy, Just because your husband tells you something about yourself DOES NOT make it true! You have obviously not left your marriage. You are a warrior who is staying and fighting until God tells you to leave. I believe his promise to say to us “this is the way, walk in it”. Don’t let other people tell you what God is saying to you. But be open to the possibility that he might tell you to leave well. I agree with the author that “you will know”.

      • Betsy on July 17, 2015 at 10:28 am

        Thank u Elizabeth. I feel crazy everyday. I am excited to diminish the strong hold of fear and confusion that I have lived with for years. I don’t want my marriage to end…I do want the patterns in my marriage to end.

      • Betsy on July 17, 2015 at 10:34 am

        Ava..you are so right. From day one of my marriage and even before I never considered that what my husband said about me may not be true. I put him on a pedastal and believed that his word was gospel. If he said I was a bad mother then it must be true. If he said I was “shitty wife” which he did a couple of months ago..then it must be true. When he told me that he doesn’t wear his wedding ring because he can’t stand me…I believed that I was damaged. How painful it is to write this out. My guts is nauseas. How sad it is to have to go around asking my family and friends who I am and do they think I am a bad mother, wife. I am a warrior for my dignity and self respect.

        • Dawn on August 7, 2015 at 5:29 am

          You are a precious treasure to Jesus , Betsy. ps 34:5 days, “They will look to Him and be radiant and never be ashamed,”

    • Susanne on July 15, 2015 at 10:43 am

      Betsy, my prayer for you is that God will give you His peace as you continue to look to Him for strength and comfort.
      Phil. 4: 6-7

      • Betsy on July 15, 2015 at 3:03 pm

        Thank u so much Susanne. I know that I am not alone in this trial and that God will clear away any spiritual any demonic obstacles so that peace will be felt.

        I am beyond thankful for this blog and reading the stories of other’s

    • Ann on July 15, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Betsy, your words ring true with me. I’ve often wished for a physical blow because then I would know, without a doubt, what I’m dealing with.

      I question my perceptions. I wonder if I’m crazy or if it’s all my fault. I sense contempt and anger towards me and the kids, that is vehemently denied. My husband has denied that he’s said certain things or acted certain ways. If he admits to them, he says that he didn’t mean it that way or I’m misinterpreting.

      I pray daily for God’s wisdom and discernment.

      Both of my boys, especially my 13 year old, say that their dad needs to go away. My youngest says that he has heard his dad mutter ugly things under his breath like “i’m sick of these people, damn kids, worthless Americans, etc” I made the mistake of confronting him one time and he said that the boys are trying to put a wedge between us and are manipulating me.

      Does anybody else have any experience or advice with their children wanting dad to go away??

      Ann

      • Liz on July 15, 2015 at 9:14 pm

        My adult children don’t want to have much to do with their dad. I’ve always tried to encourage them to foster a relationship with him even before they moved out but they said, “Why would we want to, he is not a nice man.”They invite us both to family functions but they try to avoid having to spend time with him. Very sad but then he has not apologized to them or me for his bad behavior, though he thinks he has. They were not surprised and said, it’s about time when we separated. So much less stress in all our lives. They all have negative physical reactions to stressful situations. I probably should have separated sooner.

      • Lisa on July 16, 2015 at 2:10 am

        Ann, One of the things that influenced my decision to leave was my 2 teen daughters begging me to separate and ultimately divorce. That had more wisdom and insight than I did at that time. It took them, along with several dear Christian friends, to convince me of the unhealthy situation. Sometimes our kids can be our teachers!

      • victoria on July 16, 2015 at 3:19 am

        This sounds so familiar!

      • Betsy on July 17, 2015 at 10:39 am

        Ann and Liz…my boys adore their father. He is a good father to them.

        When I read your comments I feel some evny. Would it be easier if my boys could verbalize how they feel about mom and dad? Would it be easier if they could say how they felt when they hear Dad raising his voice and belittling me?

        • Lisa on July 19, 2015 at 11:05 am

          Hi Betsy,

          I use to tell everyone my husband was a good father too. It became part of the reason others saw him in such a good light. I stopped doing that, because it is *not* true. A man that belittles, abuses his wife is instilling an attitude of disrespect in his children towards women in general and their mother!

          “The emotional and mental abuse, blame, shaming, criticizing leaves me in a constant state of confusion, anxiety, shame, and feeling crazy. I question myself daily. I question my abilities as a mother, wife, human being and have for over 20 years.”

          “he said I was “shitty wife” which he did a couple of months ago..then it must be true. When he told me that he doesn’t wear his wedding ring because he can’t stand me…I believed that I was damaged.”

          Betsy I have experienced the above exact things. The men we are married are abusers. They are not good husbands and therefore not good fathers. They are destructive to one’s soul and body.

          Tell yourself this truth and the fog will start to lift.

      • Lisa on July 19, 2015 at 10:44 am

        My children are teenagers. Neither want me to stay with their father after they go off to college.
        They have seen how unpredictable he can be. They are concerned for me and also don’t want to have to worry what he might be doing or saying when they’re no longer around.

        Many times children don’t choose sides at all or they side with the dad blaming the mom for breaking up the home. I think this happens because:

        1. The father has been covert in the abuse by doing and saying things to the mother where no one else hears and sees or he provokes her in masked ways that others don’t catch. He purposely says things he knows will hurt her, then he steps back as the wife has reactive anger. The father calculatingly stays stealthily cool, speaks in soft tones and remains physically restrained. The mother outwardly reacts from all the crazymaking. The children may only see the effect on her and wonder ‘what’s wrong with mom? She’s always crying, raises her voice’, and see her as starting fights.

        2. The father “buys” his children with gifts, lets them stay up way past bedtime, let’s them eat treats in quantities not good for them, basically removes healthy boundaries.

        3. The father will spend time with the children when he never use to or at least not that much.

        4. The father is planting false ideas in the childrens’ minds about the mother. He does this by out right calling her crazy, an angry woman,
        mean, uncaring. Or he twists things she does or says to put her in a bad light.

        5. If the mother has stayed home and will find it hard getting a job, the children may fear for their needs going unmet if mom leaves dad. He has the financial power. They don’t want to leave the home they are in, their friends, the activities they participate in.

        6. The father threatens the children, but the mother doesn’t know about—possibly to harm the mom, them, friends, or even their pets or take things they cherish away from them.

        To me if children say they don’t want the father around, they are seeing him for who he really is in spite of all the tricks in dad’s bag to try and change their accurate perceptions.

        We must not deter them from this. They need to be able to speak the truth. We want them to be able to trust their gut so that when they come across people in their lives that are not safe they will not be afraid to put up appropriate boundaries or walk away all together if need be. Just because it’s a family member must not matter. Unsafe is unsafe. We don’t want them repeating our mistakes.

    • Elizabeth on July 15, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      Betsy, I know what you mean, (This may sound crazy….there have been many times where it would be easier to be physically abused.) I felt like I could at least understand the pain I was going through if it were physical. I could understand that it was abuse if I saw the bruises. Emotional abuse and control is just as damaging. I am so glad you have signed up for the CORE class. Leslie has Biblically helped me to see God’s heart. God Bless You!

      • Betsy on July 17, 2015 at 10:28 am

        Thank u Elizabeth. I feel crazy everyday. I am excited to diminish the strong hold of fear and confusion that I have lived with for years. I don’t want my marriage to end…I do want the patterns in my marriage to end.

        • Dawn on August 7, 2015 at 5:56 am

          Great distinction — wants g the patterns to end.

  6. Sandra on July 15, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    This story is beautifully written. I can well relate to it because I was reluctant to leave my destructive marriage, not because I knew it was beyond repair, but I guess I simply didn’t have the courage or confidence that I could make it on my own.

    After the first 10 years, I believed, as taught at my church, that I needed to be more submissive, and keep praying and trusting the Lord for my ex-h to be saved. So I stayed, although he remained agnostic, and the closer I got to the Lord, the further we grew apart. The verbal abuse, controlling and jealousy escalated to the point that I had to resort to the boundary of not sharing his bed until it stopped. However, it only got worse, until he finally left. Although, he later begged to return, he never admitted to any wrong on his part, only continued to blame me. I had never enjoyed such peace and freedom, and refused to reconcile, and after two years I filed for divorce. As you said at the beginning of your story, “You’ll know!” Praise God for your peace and freedom as well!

    • Liz on July 15, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Sounds a lot like my story only I stayed 24 years after I became a Christian.

    • Dawn on August 7, 2015 at 6:00 am

      He is faithful to. Provide all our needs as we walk in obedience with Him.

  7. Lonely wife on July 15, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Reading the last weeks post and now this one, has really pushed me to go back to counseling.
    I’d made an appt back in May, went for the intake/interview part, and when contacted by the counselor, I changed my mind and told her I didn’t want/need counseling at the time, but I see now that I do because I need to prepare for whatever might happen.
    My husbands behavior is escalating since I put in boundaries last year…talking about me behind my back, cursing at me, vile words, again, behind my back, but my 15 yr old son overheard him…when confronted, my H lied and said he didn’t say THOSE words, but he did say soe thing else…and last Friday, we had been having what I felt was a mild disagreement, my husband grabbed my shirt by the front and pulled me towards him!
    He’s NEVER shown aggression ( he’s passive aggressive) like that before…he’s a very quiet man, rarely shows emotion, I’ve never seen him cry in our 30 yrs together, but with all of this happening in the last couple of months, I now feel I need to prepare myself for possible separation.
    I sense a darkness about him now…like he’s pulled even farther away from God, not that he’s ever had a close relationship with God before…I can’t explain it, but it’s been bothering me for quite a while…and it scares me to be honest!
    In the last 4 months our son had to have emergency surgery, while my husband was out of town, several weeks later I went to the Dr. for what I thought was a routine visit and ended up having a biopsy that same day, while my H was again out of town..he even commented on that, saying “Why is this happening when I’m not here??”
    I to,d him that maybe God was trying to get his attention…he didn’t respond….I then asked, “What is it going to take for you to see that your family is precious…for you to wake up and stop playing games with God…is it going to take YOU being flat on your back, in a hospital bed, staring at the ceiling??”
    Well, about two weeks later…guess who was in the hospital, in severe pain from a kidney stone…again, while out of town on a business trip??
    And when I reminded him about my statement, he looked at me and said, “I wasn’t flat on my back, I was in too much pain to lay down!” He would not admit that my words had come true…and that maybe God was trying to reach him.
    My husband has NO fear of God, no respect…and I see that now more than ever.
    I am staying well, but I have a feeling that my H is going to either have another affair, or leave our family…so I must prepare myself, so my first step is get back into counseling, NOW!
    I thank God that my children are grown…for all of you with little children, my heart goes out to you!

    Leslie, your blog has really become my lifeline….I thank God for you daily!

    • Loretta P on July 15, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      Prayers for you as you face difficult decisions.

      • Lonely wife on July 17, 2015 at 1:30 am

        Thank You, Loretta P…

    • Leslie Vernick on July 15, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      It is my joy to minister to you all. Hope someday we can have a big retreat – a blog retreat where we all can connect in real life and give each other big hugs.

      • susen on July 16, 2015 at 9:33 am

        I’m in!
        susen

        • Lonely wife on July 17, 2015 at 1:31 am

          Me too! Wouldn’t that be amazing??

      • Kim on December 11, 2015 at 11:33 am

        A retreat would be awesome. I love the stories, the shared triumphs and defeats help me with my own story. I feel so much empathy to and from the women here. In a sense, we are small family.

        So much has changed for me since I have commented on your blog. I filed for separation from my 28 year marriage in Jan. I had such turmoil for the first 3 months. He never moved out and wouldn’t, so I did. I did for my sanity, I was emotionally traumatized and was becoming every ill after getting the needed revelation of his on going affair of 2 years. Since then, He has gone underground and tries to leave the impression to all that are watching, that I am the one who filed and left and he just had a minor indiscretion. He has and is still involved in a full blown physical affair for over 2 1/2 years. My 4 adult kids ages 18-25, all know the truth, 2 despise him to the point of saying, “Don’t mention his name unless we are expected to go to the morgue” It breaks my heart. I have no hate, just disgust and disappointment of years lost. Going through the snap shots while sorting them to distribute to the kids and take what I want, I noticed a very happy wife and children, but a very distant and unhappy husband. Why did I not notice that before. Inmost of the photographs, he looks as if he is not there, like he wanted to be somewhere else, discontented. I never noticed that. I noticed in his words that he was unhappy and blamed me, but this showed me that I gave my all, was always involved and I was genuinely happy, he didn’t chose to be happy and no one could change that, that was his choice. This was a major breakthrough for me. I dare you, look at old family photos, what do they reveal?

        I am no longer feeling betrayed, I feel an amazing amount of detachment and I am moving on, the problem is, we haven’t even begun to get through the legalities so that I can really move on. We have not talked in 3 months, I avoid him,under advisement. The lawyer sees that he is a manipulator and even his own attorney said, “I don’t get it, you are a young attractive couple, he obviously needs you, what is the problem? It was news to him that his client was seriously involved with another woman. He lies to everyone. He will not take any ownership and has only projected blame, going so far as to say, that he has known for 30 years he should have not married me. that he stayed and lied rather than hurt me. I am like: “what, hurt me, if I had known that I could have spent these past 31 years with someone who loved me.” . He has moved on and is with her everyday. He writes that he hates me, has financially cut me off against court order and projects on to me things like, you are the cheat and you have been sneaking money out of accounts for years, to justify his irrational behavior. I stopped defending myself and am leaving it to my attorney. As a result, I am calm and less codependent. I am less reactive, I am having fun and laughing and sleeping, breathing, and able to be of use to others. Thank God for recovery.

        I keep hearing about divorces that take 5 years, I hope that isn’t me. I feel freeier than I have ever felt in my entire life. I am job seeking after being a SAM for 27 years. A friend has partnered up with me to join and gym and see a personal trainer to get in shape. A potential job requires that I jump over a 7 ft wall. I see that as a metaphor for my life and I tell myself, with the right attitude, support, encouragement, determination and hard work I will! Jumping the wall is a requirement for a physical agility test for a position of Deputy Sheriff Trainee. I failed the first time and passing all the other requirements, written and physical, philosophical and background checks. It felt good to hear the Sergent ask that I return Jan 11 to retest, he believes I would be a candidate. Applying for this job has raised a few eyebrows, as I am 52, but I feel confident and strong and consider doing this to be part of my healing.process. Whether, I get the job or not, it has challenged me to not give up on myself or my potential. I has helped to to reject the lies I believed, that I am all washed up and lost my chance to live life fully.

        I’ve joined a few local communities and met some lovely, caring and safe people. I started attending Toastmasters to gain some speaking skills in hopes that it will help me with future job interviews.

        I am loving my life through the pain. I will get to the other side, until then I will not give up on myself. Everywhere I go I meet people who have struggled through similar loses and came out the other side. I am reminded that I have had a full life, be grateful and hold the memories dear, but that there is still more life to be lived and to not give up on myself.

        The hardest thing is the loss of family time during the holidays. I rent a room and have to be creative in how to bring my boys and I all together. They are still suffering and show anger from time to time, mostly, toward me. I get it, I am safe, so I try to not deflect it, instead, keep safe boundaries and stay committed to them, available when they are chose to be respectful. Wow this has been a crazy roller coaster of a year.

        Praying my Jan 11 court date will be some resolution and I can continue to move on with more and more clarity. God has granted me so much peace.

        Thank you ladies and Leslie for me being here. This blog is a life saver as it is a safe place to land an glean much need wisdom and connection. I do not feel alone.

        PS: I considered getting a tattoo, Don’t worry I wont, it was just a fleeting thought, but If I did, t would read “I Am Not Alone or “IANA” as a reminder to me where I gained my strength, from God, community (Friends, you women, books, blogs and church), God’s word and the peace in my heart from the presence of the holy Spirit.

        Kim

        • Leslie Vernick on December 12, 2015 at 3:24 pm

          Thanks Kim for sharing. Hope you get the job. Would love to hear. Stay in touch.

    • Leonie on July 15, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      Lonely wife, Your husband may be acting out in some way that he is hiding from you. I recall my husband (now ex) having a real blackness about him at times too. It is quite unexplainable but made sense when I discovered he was a sex addict and was using prostitutes. In my experience he consciously chose & clung to this soul ravaging evil. I have truly seen & experienced how evil operates and how it blinds and ravages those who give themselves to it.
      I definitely had to come to ‘ah ha’ moment on several levels before I left but when I did I didn’t feel guilt, I had just come to the place where there was nothing else to do. I think getting my young daughter out of a high conflict situation was one of my biggest motivators. God is good, the more time passes the more I realized how warped everything was at home and don’t know how I lasted as long as I did in that situation. Now my ex is saying that he is entitled to my home and plans to move back in when his criminal charges are settled – part of some scary messages that passed through when I had no lawyer for a week or 2! Yes, I need to guard my heart & cleave to my protector who hides me in the folds of his garment, covers with with his pinions & upholds me in his righteous right hand!

      • susen on July 16, 2015 at 9:27 am

        Dear Leonie~

        You’ve remained in my prayers. I am so sorry to read of the continued threats to your well-being. Have you considered a restraining order of protection?

        If I recall correctly, the house was yours initially, you have the children, and he now has a criminal record. No judge will allow him to move back in–your ex is living in la-la land to think he has any rights to a home he cared so little for while he lived there.

        Your godly steps and preparation throughout this part of your journey continue to inspire me–what a witness you are to God’s Strength!

        Continued prayers for your safety,
        susen

        • Leonie on July 16, 2015 at 11:06 pm

          Thanks Susen. I may need a restraining order ready for when his charges are dealt with & the police conditions lifted.
          I have another prayer request – it is hard & I do have a lot of battles to fight. My ex won’t disclose where he is living and is lying about where he is. I am scared to let my child go & spend the weekend with him if he is “on the run” – I need to know where she will be for the weekend. Pray that I would handle this the right way – I am upset about it and worried about her safety. Thanks for your support & kind words.

          • Separated on July 16, 2015 at 11:15 pm

            Leonie, I suggest you check it out with the police before you let your little one be with him. Her safety is paramount. Praying for strength and wisdom for you.



          • Lonely wife on July 17, 2015 at 1:39 am

            Praying for you and your daughter Leonie…and yes, please check with child protective services, the police, your attorney before you make any decisions in regards to your daughter…that IS scary!
            And as for your comment to me above…yes, I’ve felt for quite a while that my husband has some deep secrets…I think that’s why he won’t go to counseling…he’s afraid they might get something out of him that he doesn’t want known!
            I believe it might be other women…he’s has two affairs, one was an emotional affair…the other…I’m not sure!
            I do suspect there might have been other women also…some things from the past don’t add up.
            I’m just trusting that God will reveal anything I need to know, when I need it…we are no longer sexually intimate, it’s been over a year, so I don’t worry about that aspect of our relationship any longer…he is going to do what HE wants to do, but I am doing what I can to keep me safe in that area!



          • Susen on July 17, 2015 at 10:35 pm

            Oh Leonie~ I know that fear–and my child was a teenager at the time. We are most vulnerable through our children. I am praying for you and your daughter.

            I agree that Child Protective Services may be able to insist on supervised visits. Your caseworker already has background on your situation. I’m sure you have already mined that resource, as you have shared your amazing steps to enlist aid from agencies in the past. Another idea–have you established a rapport with one of the police officers involved? If so, he might be glad to have a little “chat” with your child’s father about his threatening behaviors. Bullies back down when confronted.

            Know that many mothers’ prayers are being offered up for you. susen



          • Lisa on July 19, 2015 at 11:14 am

            Leonie,

            Not disclosing his address is a big no, no with judges. Document this, save all emails, texts requesting this information. Even his lack of response in this situation is an answer.



    • Paula on July 17, 2015 at 2:17 am

      Lonely wife,

      I don’t like the sound of him grabbing your shirt and pulling you towards him. I know you don’t either and you already see the big red flag, but it gives me chills. The shift sounds very significant. The darkness you describe about him also gives me the creeps. It sounds like he is being given over to the hardness of his heart. You be careful and please stay in touch. I’m praying for you.

  8. Loretta P on July 15, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I’m in the process of leaving a 40 year marriage. It’s a very difficult decision, but one that is long overdue. Now that I’m working on leaving he’s trying to be real nice to keep me in the marriage. I find I have to focus on truth and what’s happened the last 40 years to keep up my nerve. I have peace from God that I’m doing the right thing but still so much paperwork, many decision about the future to make. It not easy. I’m also working on my heart as I have been filled with anger and bitterness and that needs to go so I can heal. I look forward to what God has for me on the over side of this marriage. I’m looking forward to living in safety and not walking on egg shells around my husband.

    I needed to leave years ago, but finally have the support group around me to leave and be ok. I pray for the others on this site that are struggling with such a life changing decision.

    • Lonely wife on July 15, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      Loretta P…it’s hard to leave after 40 yrs…I know this because I have 30 yrs invested, but if it has to be done, then we know that God will go before us!
      Praying for you Loretta P

      • Leslie Vernick on July 15, 2015 at 9:03 pm

        There is something called Sunk Cost Bias. Meaning when we have invested a lot of ourselves in something – emotionally, financially, spiritually, mentally, it’s hard to let it go when it turns out to have been a poor investment. We keep hoping it will turn around. I’m going to write a newsletter article about a $200 blazer that sits in my closet. Not because I love it. I’ve only worn it 1 time. But because I paid $200 for it and I can’t seem to admit that I made a big mistake. I paid a lot of money for something that I thought was great and it wasn’t so great. But it’s still hard to face it and let go of. I keep hoping that next year it will look better when I try it on. Nope this is the 4th year – looks just as bad. People who play the slot machines in Vegas have the same problem. They sunk $200 in the slot machine with no return. They keep hoping, next time, next time, next time. When there probably is no next time.

        • susen on July 16, 2015 at 10:07 am

          Leslie~

          I have one of those suits. It’s hung in my closet for many years. (However, I have worn it to court . . . it’s black!) Because it is a classic, it will be the basis for a work wardrobe for a friend who must now earn money for her family–and her current wardrobe is self described as “just $5 tee shirts and a pair of jeans.” If it doesn’t fit, and a tailor can’t fix it, we’ll go another route, but I’m betting it will suffice.

          Happy tailoring!
          susen

  9. Sharon on July 15, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you for having the courage to share your journey. Your honest recognition of the confusion many of us feel when deciding to stay v. leave is a comfort to those still hanging in the balance. Furthermore, your commitment to “leave well” and to remain honorable in God’s eyes despite the pain and abuse you you have suffered bears witness to your faith and serves as a great encouragement. I love your daughter’s quote that when all we have is Jesus, it becomes clear that He is all we need. Indeed, His strengthen is so brilliantly displayed in our weakness. I believe He knows our every struggle and honors our obedience in trying so desperately to choose the right path. Keep leaping into His arms, sister…and keep praising the work He is doing amidst all of the ugliness.

  10. Stacy on July 15, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    how go u sign up for the August core strength class

    • Leslie Vernick on July 15, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Stacy, there is a link right at the top of the blog – I believe the first or second paragraph that says CORE Class in blue. Just click that and it will give you information about the class.

  11. Mavis on July 15, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Betsy,
    You were created by God, not your husband. Who you are as a person has nothing to do with what your husband thinks. Praying for you to begin to understand that you are a complete, whole person. God loves you and will carry you through.

    • Betsy on July 17, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      Thank you Mac is. You are so right. Who I am is what God says I am……beautifully and wonderfully made. All of us are.

  12. MJ on July 15, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Feel blessed to read your article and hear a spiritual warrior’s perspective. I am at the crossroads. After I had told him we were”done! Marriage over!” when my young teen daughter almost caught him viewing porn — for the 4th time! I called an attorney but cannot afford the hourly fee. Naturally my h continues to act as if nothing has changed. But then I went with a close friend (who supports me and knows the emotional and in the past physical abuse I endure) to see another friend who is only slightly familiar with my situation. That friend was talking about how she attended counseling and learned how to offer help to others without being presumptive or intrusive. In demonstrating how she handled a situation where a physically abused wife had come to her for advice. She grabbed MY arm and looked ME in the face and said “Save your children! They will either love you for doing it now or resent you for not doing it.” I knew it was from God that I was hearing those words, even though they had been meant for someone else. I am resolved, but dealing with 2-3 years of depression that makes it difficult for me to think clearly or for a long time, so much hyper-vigilance over my life and my children’s lives has exhausted my mental strength. But I am resolved. Please, if you can assist or advise me in any way. The Bible says to wage war with many advisers so victory is assured. I truly appreciate your stories. Please also pray that God will direct my steps through his Holy Spirit. Glory to our Lord Jesus Christ forever!

    • Leslie Vernick on July 15, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks for sharing your heart. I will be doing a free 90 minute webinar on How not to Let Depression Get the Best of You on August 6th at 7:30 PM ET. I hope you can attend. There will be an invitation to sign up for this on my newsletter next week. From there this fall I will be doing a 8 week class on Depression Proofing Your Life. So many women are struggling with depression of some sort and according to the National Institute of Mental Health, the highest depression rates are for unhappily married women. No surprise here. Please check out the webinar. It will help you a lot to understand what’s happening to you and give you some real tools to not let it get the best of you.

    • susen on July 16, 2015 at 9:09 am

      Dear MJ~

      My heart and prayers go out for you. I’ve walked in similar shoes. For me, just living one day at a time, one moment at a time, helps me focus.

      Here is something you can do right now. Breathe in slowly, slowly– a full, full breath. Expand your lungs as far as you can. Make as smooth a transition to breathing out as you can. Exhale to empty just as slowly and do the same smooth transition to the next inhale. Do this five times, concentrating only on your breath. While it sounds too simple, it works.

      Something else you can give yourself today is a walk outside. I walked and walked through my divorcing. Sometimes I would be several blocks away from the house before I would even become aware of my body, but focusing on movement of arms and legs, my breathing–these thoughts were a “vacation” from the turmoil. And it helped me get through.

      I’ve been to enough counselors over the years to be able to say without reservation that Leslie is as trustworthy a guide as you can get. She truly is a “Godsend.” I am certain that God directed me to this site at exactly the right time. Her wise counsel has given me the tools that I sorely needed to change my life from a world of worry to being able to relish the sunshine. Please make every effort to give yourself the upcoming phone conference. Leslie is simply amazing throughout those marathons.

      In subscribing to this blog, you have enlisted faithful prayer warriors. The experiences shared, the care and support offered, the Godly Presence–all are balm to an aching heart.

      God has been preparing you for this moment. He will not abandon you. And there is the life He wants you to rejoice in just on the other side of your current steps.

      Godspeed on your journey,
      susen

  13. Liz on July 16, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Mine claims to be. He berated me and called me unchristian for filing for separation. He told me we had to work it out because “God hates divorce” and that isn’t an option. Now he is changing it to a divorce. Don’t understand that one.

    • susen on July 16, 2015 at 9:11 am

      The devil cites scripture for his purpose.
      susen

      • Sandy on July 21, 2015 at 11:02 pm

        Amen!

  14. Susanne on July 16, 2015 at 9:29 am

    My ex husband also claims to be a Christian, however, I don’t understand how a true believer in Jesus Christ can verbally and physically abuse his wife with no true repentance. I didn’t ever see the fruit and I certainly never even knew if he had any kind of a personal relationship with the Lord. He is now at a small church and the pastor allowed him to do worship immediately after our separation. He just filed for divorce with no biblical reason…he was the abuser….it’s difficult to understand any of this but God knows our hearts. We certainly cannot fool Him.

    • susen on July 16, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Dear Suzanne~

      Just let him stew in his own juices.

      The farther I distance myself from my girls’ father (geographically, mentally, and emotionally), the better off I am. He has become a successful businessman, a political figure, he has a relationship with our daughters and their families, a fiance’ of eighteen years–but his actions, successes, his Soul are none of my business. Harboring resentments only hurts me. I pray for him occasionally, but he has absolutely no power over me anymore because I am dead serious about preserving my own mental health and fostering my own spiritual growth.

      After our separation, it was crazy-making how people would want to tell me about where they’d seen him or what he’d been doing–. In retrospect, I’m sure they were doing the same to him. Hadn’t thought of that before now. But boundaries are boundaries–even with well-meaning friends–and especially with gossip mongers.

      Keep enjoying the blessings of sunshine.
      susen

      • Susanne on July 16, 2015 at 3:31 pm

        Susen, The same thing has been happening to me recently. Two women I know have told me they have either seen my ex somewhere with a woman or know he has someone in his life through Facebook. The one friend was angry at my ex and said she wanted to talk to him. I asked her not to, but if she decided to, please not to tell me anything. The next thing you know, she just happened to see him a couple of days later and proceeded to tell me about it. It was too late after she blurted it out. I spoke to her about it. Months and months later, during a conversation, she told me that he said he didn’t want the marriage, all the time she knew I was still hoping for change. I felt betrayed. I am not answering her phone calls right now for my own mental health. I really need to guard my heart and create those boundaries. Thank you Susen. God bless you richly.

        • susen on July 16, 2015 at 10:45 pm

          Dear Susanne~

          Please forgive my misspelling of your name before. We have another “Suzanne” on the board, and I goofed.

          I have been blessed richly. After fifteen years of navigating on my own, the most amazing man walked into my life. We have been happily married for almost ten years. It took almost five years before I could consider myself a “wife” as the term had been such an anathema to me. We are a team, and that is what we remain. The thing about marrying at 54 is that we both had learned that you don’t try to take the corners off the other! And it is a miraculous fit.

          There is life, and life abundantly, after divorce.

          Re: boundaries.

          I once had to set a boundary with my dad–whom .I loved and respected beyond measure. It was a big deal at the time–can’t even remember why now! But after I set the boundary, I expected the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to sing “Alleluia.” But there weren’t even any cheerleaders cheering. That was a big surprise to me–no one rewards you for setting a boundary. I had to have my own quiet celebration of success.

          The dynamics of friendship do change after divorce. But I found the best friend of my life after mine. I’d met her years before, but our divorces changed us–and she and I shared four wonderful years together despite the cancer that took her. I think that the strength that we gain in making the decision to end marriages helps us winnow out “friends” that really aren’t worthy of our time. At least, that was my experience, and has remained my experience to the present.

          I send prayers for healing,
          susen

          p.s. Your former “friend” sounds like a real busy-body. You are so right to guard your heart!

      • Susanne on July 17, 2015 at 9:24 am

        Susen, Thank you so much for your last post. Most people try to spell my name with a Z, so that’s okay…you got it right now, lol. You have so encouraged me. I am now 64 years old and have been wondering if there will be anyone out there for me again. I do have one good friend now for the last couple of years that I have known for years and hadn’t seen each other for years due to various circumstances. We are there for each other and I am so thankful for her. I am so sorry about your friend. As far as life abundantly after divorce, I know I will get there. Actually I haven’t even received the divorce papers yet, so I’m believing things will change once I do. God bless you abundantly Susen.

        • Susen on July 17, 2015 at 11:56 pm

          Susanne~

          Thank you for the condolences–Sarah has been at rest for a long, long time. She’s creating beautiful water colors in heaven now, and smiling down on the many who loved her.

          A quick story–when Sarah and I were both healing from divorce, we went to my family’s ranch. Armed with permanent markers, we picked up every rock in one of the barn pens, wrote a name on each, and threw those rocks as far as we could over the fence. We laughed and laughed as we threw away resentments.

          Controlling husbands never encourage outside friendships. It’s an insidious way to isolate and clears his way to create and enforce his reality. And aren’t there so very many ways they “discourage” our interactions with the outside world! My girl friends now are a cherished blessing.

          I did not plan to remarry. I dated, but not seriously. I enjoyed my life–took up guitar, had a great dog, and moved to the country–100 miles from a Wal-Mart, so you can imagine how isolated it was (and still is–we live there now). I taught online for a university and helped run the ranch. No television. Cell phone rarely worked. Nearest neighbor was four miles. A life not meant for everyone, but I love country living.

          Then a man with a honeyed southern drawl called one Sunday afternoon in April and asked if I remembered him–I had dated him briefly ten years before and would have recognized that voice anywhere. We talked every night on the phone for months. The rest, as they say, is history, but if it had not felt right as rain, I would not have taken that step again. We married the following September and have lived happily ever after. I thank God every night for the love and respect that we share.

          To address your waiting until the divorce papers arrive to start a new life–my advice is start today. Repaint your bedroom. It’s cathartic. Clean out your closet and pitch everything that is associated with a bad memory. Journal your feelings with a plan to burn it in one year. Invest in healthy foods and exercise regularly. These things helped me not only survive but begin to thrive. I also took a road trip with my Sarah. It was the first time either of us had gone on a vacation without spouses. We had little money but that made no difference. What a trip that was. I left her for a few days with her daughter and I walked to the bottom of Grand Canyon. Started out on my own and emerged with a whole group of new friends. And I proved to myself that if I could do that, I could do anything.

          I share this only to show you that life is out there–waiting for you to begin living it. You don’t need his permission to do anything anymore!

          Hope I haven’t overstepped in my enthusiasm. I write with the heart of one who recognizes pain. When the time is right for you, you will know.

          God’s peace be with you,
          susen

        • Susanne on July 22, 2015 at 10:16 am

          Susen, Tears were rolling down my cheeks as I read your post to me. You have no idea how much that spoke to my heart! Thank you! I was just telling a friend that I cannot seem to journal right now. I’ve tried, but for some reason couldn’t stick with it. When you said :Journal your feelings with a plan to burn it in one year:, I thought that was a great idea. Thank you for all your encouragement dear Susen. I rejoice with you in your new life and pray many blessings over you. Ps. 91

  15. Betsy on July 16, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Susen..your comment on this post is beautiful.

    God directed me to Leslie’s block through another woman that I connected with in an on line Bible study…and just when I needed it and am ready to emotionally handle the reality of my marriage.

    I am visiting family in NC as I write this. I have been full of anxiety wording about what my husband is doing in my absence, so I ha sent been fully present to being here away from my home and my heart ache.

    Thank u for reminding me to breath and focus on the here and now so that I can take an emotional and spiritual break from home, work, marriage.

    • Betsy on July 16, 2015 at 11:40 am

      Sorry for the typos…cell phone acting up

      God help me to let go of what causes me pain so I can enjoy my family and change of scenery which my soul desperately needs.

      • Lonely wife on July 17, 2015 at 2:07 am

        Betsy…our church is planning a missions trip to South America next year…my sons and I are planning to go…my H won’t commit, saying he’s not sure if he wants to take the time off of work, after saying for YEARS that he’d LOVE to go on a missions trip sometime, and now that he has the opportunity, he’s backing down….I am worried about him home all alone..he has a history of cheating…but I’m going to go and serve God and let my husband do what he wants…I don’t even know if we’ll be living together by then anyway!
        I pray you can relax and have a wonderful time with your family!

        • Robin on July 18, 2015 at 2:10 am

          Lonely Wife I love to hear you are planning a Mission Trip, not waiting to see if your husband will attend. In my healing, I have learned that’s called owning myself and my life. It’s a great feeling– agree????

          • Lonely wife on July 20, 2015 at 1:23 am

            Yes, I totally agree! I’m starting counseling this week, making steps to own my life! 🙂



      • susen on July 18, 2015 at 9:12 am

        Dear Betsy~

        I’ve been trying to figure out a helpful reply to your for a couple of days now, as the nausea and anxiety you have reported are symptoms I have known. I feel sure all of us have experienced those debilitating feelings–and we do a lot of overproducing and self-recrimination to try to make them go away. For me, I wound up on empty.

        This may sound a bit nuts, but it was what I did to jumpstart (or confirm?) my will to live. Each morning (after the miracle of that front door closing with my soon to be ex on the other side of it) I went to the river. The water is spring fed and colder than kraut. When I hit that water, I knew I was alive. With each breast stroke, I confirmed that I was capable. After each swim, I gained confidence to face the day ahead.

        As Dawn so aptly spoke of the breaking point: “There is a tipping point in which the pain of staying outweighs the fear of leaving. ” While you want to remain married, you want to leave the old patterns behind. Conquering the fear in staying is a way to begin to break old patterns. You can only control your own steps–not his. You are responsible only for your own actions–not his. As Leslie said in an earlier article (which I have searched for, but cannot find), you can be a godly wife but a godly marriage takes two.

        I’m certainly no example! After sobbing uncontrollably through the renewal of our wedding vows on our twentieth anniversary, I went home, hung up my pretty dress, and, standing in that closet, I simply gave up. His rages every Sunday morning as I prepared to go to church (the one place I could breathe free air) had made life intolerable, and I felt powerless to change anything. One Sunday he said, “I can’t believe you are going to church again–we’ve had such a good week.”

        So . . . a non-example? Yes. But also a witness that God doesn’t give up on us even when we give up on ourselves. Your dis-ease is telling you that something has to change. Trust in God’s strength and His love for you to take whatever steps He requires of you for you to begin to live a life that reflects His Glory.

        A very real help for me was reading Leslie’s article entitled “Scripture Support For Separation From A Destructive Spouse.” There’s a lot bigger message than “submit” and “turn the other cheek.”

        God speed you on your journey,
        susen

        • Betsy on July 22, 2015 at 6:08 am

          Thank you Susen for your support.

  16. Sandra on July 16, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    After reading through all these postings, my heart and prayers truly go out to you all. I can’t express how this blog has blessed me this past year, through my separation and divorce, and now the continued support and encouragement from Leslie and all you dear “Sisters.” As Susen noted, “Leslie is the best Christian counselor we could possibly find.” I also believe this blog is the best support group.
    Seek a godly response to disappointments. God always has a plan; anticipate the good He will do and await His timing.
    In HIS love, Sandra

    • Susanne on July 16, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      I live in Ontario, Canada and my counselor recommended Leslie’s site to me awhile ago. I am so grateful that she did! Thank you Leslie….huge blessings. 🙂

      • Susanne on July 22, 2015 at 10:17 am

        I am in the Niagara Region

  17. Lisa on July 16, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Leslie,
    Would you mind expounding on being honorable?

    Lisa

    • Robin on July 18, 2015 at 2:07 am

      I’m not Leslie- but my definition of being honorable is not acting out like my husband would. Getting my core built up so I have taken care of my own issues, so now I can respond in a way that honors God, and is helpful to my husband. It’s not reacting to his poor choices- but taking time to think how I choose to respond.

      • Leslie Vernick on July 21, 2015 at 2:25 pm

        Yes that’s acting honorably for sure.

    • susen on July 18, 2015 at 7:43 am

      Dear Lisa~

      I’m sure that Leslie will expound on “acting honorably.” In the meantime, I will share how she helped me understand “honor my mother.” (A little background here-I found Leslie’s site late one night through her article on “Five Indicators of an Evil Heart.” Five out of five.)

      First, she said expect no relationship with my mother.

      Second, she said to protect myself.

      Third, I am to say no words of disrespect, no words of anger, no words or actions that display anything but a godly daughter. Her assignment was for me to write down what a godly daughter looked like–to pray and work that list out with God. Then to live up to that list of descriptors.

      What balm!

      Now my mother’s behaviors and ugly words roll off me like water off a duck’s back. And I offer her up to God each time I think of her and thank Him that she is currently thriving–at least by her own definition of thriving.

      I try to live in such a way that my words and my actions make the Holy Spirit inside smile. That’s my best definition of “living honorably.”

      What it does not mean is sacrificing our health and well-being to another’s false idols.

      Hope this sheds a little light for you. God bless you in your search. He is right there with you.

      “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
      And He delights in his way.
      Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
      For the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24

      susen

      • Lisa on July 19, 2015 at 8:34 pm

        Thanks so much Susen. I am reading this several times over.

      • Leslie Vernick on July 21, 2015 at 2:25 pm

        Susen, I will expound on what acting honorably means in a future blog post. I had too many thoughts to put it in here but wanted you to know I heard you. Was busy teaching all weekend so couldn’t respond sooner.

  18. Lonely wife on July 17, 2015 at 2:00 am

    Yep…my husband claims to be a believer…but I’ve never seen any evidence of it!
    Two years after “being saved” he had an affair…we’d only been married two yrs at that point and had a baby!
    Fast forward 25 yrs later, and he has another affair, an emotional affair..but he doesn’t consider that cheating..right. Tell that to my broken, betrayed heart!
    He’s shown no repentance for his affairs, all I get is a “I apologized, you just want to punish me now” from him…
    During his second affair 5 yrs ago, he was nominated AND a position as deacon in our church!
    I found out about his affair 3 weeks later and told him that if he didn’t bow out of his position, I’d be forced to tell the Pastor and head deacon about his affair…he suddenly got very overwhelmed with work and had to step aside as deacon 😉
    My H sleeps like a baby…every.single.night. Nothing and I mean NOTHING keeps him awake…..not even his wife, downstairs sobbing over her broken heart…nothing touches him emotionally.
    He has closed himself off to his family and God. He doesn’t hear my pleas…and I don’t believe he hears Gods voice…..if he ever did.

    • Lonely wife on July 17, 2015 at 2:01 am

      *AND accepted

    • Paula on July 17, 2015 at 2:11 am

      Lonely wife,

      Same here. No affairs I know about, but very passive aggressive and entitled and the rest of the abusive personality picture. He totally uses work as an excuse to get himself out of a jam. He has always slept like a baby, too, even when I was crying out on the couch or lying in bed next to him, tears streaming down my face because of another soul-killing sexual encounter. He has no emotions except some anger. I just had another long conversation with him tonight, trying to find anywhere some light could get through into his dark, cold heart. Nothing. I am so tired of having these discussions. Raw entitlement. His expectations of how everyone else needs to get in line and respect, submit, and follow him. There is no one in there. I am sick and tired of engaging him.

  19. Sandra on July 17, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Dear Leslie: Once again, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your godly ministry to all of us hurting women. I keep you and this ministry and blog, along with these dear Sisters, in my heart and prayers.
    In HIS love, Sandra

    • Leonie on July 19, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Many thanks to Leslie, it would have been a lot harder and longer wake up time for me had I not discovered your godly wisdom in your book and on your blog! At so many points God has taken my hand to guide me away from my treacherous husband. I am so eager to take your core strength course now that I don’t have to hide it or only do it only at certain times. Now I am free to do it at home without fear of my husband finding the cookies on the computer and exploding at me about it!!
      Your God given wisdom sets oppressed women free from having to do the impossible and realize that the Holy Spirit & the mighty power that raised Jesis Christ from the dead lives in us and he sets us free from the captivity that our husbands wished to keep is in, free to have an abundant life instead of an oppressed one! May God bless you for standing up & advocating
      for the weak, the powerless & the voiceless and helping us to find our God given voices and His strength which is mightier than the bluffing of a bully any day.

      • Leslie Vernick on July 21, 2015 at 2:19 pm

        Thanks Leonie

  20. Betsy on July 17, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Sandra,,

    Amen to your comment. I am new to this blog and already feel that I am not alone.

    My prayer for Leslie and all of the women on here is that we feel Gods love and comfort I all that we do.

    Betsy

  21. Aleea on July 17, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Really wonderful insights in this post, wow.  Thank you! . . . “In Him lies the ability to fail victoriously.”  “Learn to fail victoriously.”  “Understand that the mark of a true failure is a lesson forfeited at the altar of a hardened heart.”  -Those are excellent insights. . . . .No speed limits exist on the road of repentance.  God always lets me go as fast as I want on that road.  Self-seeking is the road by which I always depart from peace & real life; abandonment to the will of God (-even if I can’t see but one small step ahead clearly), that’s the road by which His peace returns.  If I repent, instead of escalate (-usually not letting go because my pride is involved), I will not suffer needlessly. . . .and praying, I can’t say enough about it . . .I can’t seriously be praying for people and hold grudges against them; I can’t seriously pray and have bitterness; I can’t be seriously praying and not feel God’s love.  We blame Satan so much, but it is so very easy to sabotage our own prayer lives by not even seriously having one.

  22. Separated on July 17, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    A couple things: some of these posts remind me of Leslie’s post on the 5 characteristics of an evil heart. I believe it was January 19th of this year. Very insightful and helpful.
    Secondly : my husband gradually and then totally abandoned me. I am continually surprised and grateful how God has and is providing for me day by day and step by step. From sending someone to fix my car and lawnmower, cut up my downed tree, cause my investment to increase so have not needed to go back to work. As some of you have said, God is my husband, provider, etc. He delights in me vs the emotional abuse of my husband.
    I want to encourage those of you who are afraid you cannot make it on your own. God is there for you!

    • Robin on July 18, 2015 at 2:02 am

      Great words of encouragement, Separated!! It is so true- God is waiting for each of us to let go of what is not working, and reach for Him, and then He pours provision in exchange for our faith that He will!!!!! But all of us experience fear before we get our cores built up enough- to trust God like that!!

  23. Leonie on July 18, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Susen, reading about your life now & how you have healed & moved to the country & got a dog… Makes me drunk with eagerness & excitment over what life is going to be like again when all the drama dies down & life goes on!! How many times I have said to myself, if this marriage doesn’t work out I will not bother with another man, I will get a dog! But I am so glad that remarrying has worked so wonderfully this time for you, I agree, only if it is right as rain…. Thanks for your encouragement, there is a terrific officer on my case that would be willing to have that chat with my ex – in fact, I think my ex has to notify him of where he is staying at all times right now. Thanks.

    • susen on July 18, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Leonie~

      Whew!

      And thanks. I pray for sunshine for all on this board.

      And, as I have said before, I also pray for the abusers, that God will soften their hearts, stop their abuse and prompt them to begin acting in such a way as to promote healing for each family.

      susen

  24. Sandra on July 18, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Wow, Susen, the comment you related about your exh asking why you had to go to church, after the good week you had together hit the nail on the head! My ex-husband hated my going to church, and even accused me of being in love with the pastor. In other words, he was jealous of God, and wanted me to make him God of my life. The closer I got to the Lord, the wider the gulf in our marriage, until he finally left.
    Thank you for your wise advice, dear Susen and God bless you, Sandra

  25. susen on July 18, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Sandra~

    So glad that some of my ramblings have been helpful.

    That was a control thing with my ex. He didn’t even know enough to be jealous of God. You are so very right that he did everything he could to make me worship him–as he worshipped himself!

    I hope that you are beginning to live life to the fullest! It’s been quite a year, yes?

    Blessings,
    susen

  26. Faith on July 18, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Thank u ladies 4sharing yo stories in ds platform.

    I didnt kno abt Leslie until I cam across her book “An emotionally Destructiv Marriag” at a bookstore.I am glad I bot it & started reading d blogs.

    Thank u Leslie 4allowing God 2use u.We got married less dan a year,didnt realky kno wt emotional abuse is until I started reading d book.I answered d questions in d 1st chapter & realised I am in a destructiv emotional marriage.

    I thank God 4His Word,peace & strenth evryday.I pray dt He wil continu 2guide & give us direction as we stay/leave well.

  27. betsy on July 18, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Susen

    Thank u for this prayer for abusers. I so want the hearts in my home to be softened and healing to happen so that my family of four stays a family of four.

    Betsy

  28. Sandra on July 19, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Note to Leslie and all my dear Sisters on this lovely therapeutic blog: First of all, I keep you all in my heart and prayers. What a blessing your ministry is to us all, Leslie, and your godly sharing of your heart and insight. It’s such a source of comfort to be able to share with other abused women, who can relate and understand our heartbreak.
    The past two years have been an emotional roller-coaster for me, but the Lord sustained me through it all. I’m now attending a loving church that accepts and supports me, where I hope to reach out to other hurting women. I definitely will tell them about your wonderful books and ministry, dear Leslie!
    In His love, Sandra

    • Leslie Vernick on July 21, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks.

  29. betsy on July 19, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Thank you Lisa

    I hear you loud and clear.

    I contributed to the breakdown of our marriage. I neglected him. I didn’t know how to handle certain situations and conflicts in our marriage. So I shut down and sweeped things under the rug. Always hoping that a new day was a good day.

    I have no idea what is going to happen in my marriage. You have given me food for thought for sure. He is good to the boys but hurtful to me.. I see how the boys treat me, very similar to their dad.

    WOW..sad isn’t it.

    • Lisa on July 19, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      Betsy,

      You still believe the lie he is a good father—-“He is good to the boys but hurtful to me.. I see how the boys treat me, very similar to their dad.”

      The boys are already repeating the pattern THAT makes him a horrible father!

      I’m not sure what you “neglected” him means. My husband says that about me, but I shut down after years of crazy making. I sleep in a different bedroom and interact only where it concerns the kids. Frankly, after everything he has done or purposely not done for me I don’t care if he is or feels neglected. My health has been severely impaired and I need to do what I can for the kids and me.

  30. betsy on July 19, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Lisa

    I failed in the following ways
    – didn’t help him when his mom was sick
    – spent a lot of time on my computer building a coaching practice and way to much time building a presence on social media
    – gave other’s too much attention
    – pushed him away sexually and emotionally too many times

    – did not always agree with parenting
    – spent too much money, poor communication about money
    – didn’t resolve issues and conflict
    -lived pretending that we had a good marriage
    – and more that I am still learning about

    I shut down because I had no clue what to do.

    I take full responsibility for my failings and I am 200% willing to work on them. He says its too late.

    • Lisa on July 19, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Betsy,

      I have to wonder if these were your ways of escaping or fighting the abuse. These things can be wrong, but I also know when you’re being abused sometimes you do things not as blatant acts of defiance, but as coping mechanisms.

      As far as not helping when his mom was sick–sometimes we can’t do it all when we have children of our own to care for; especially if he has siblings that should have pitched in. Nobody agrees 100% on parenting. When he’s being so abusive why would you connect emotionally or sexually to him?! I just hope you are not falsely beating yourself up.

      Hugs,
      Lisa

    • Leslie Vernick on July 21, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Betsy, it’s good that you are seeing things that you have done that have hurt you marriage – perhaps too late for your husband to want to work things through but never too late for you. I was teaching all weekend and just getting back to responding to the blog but am glad you are getting support from this group of wonderful women.

  31. betsy on July 19, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Lisa…definitely coping mechanisms and ways to escape and numb out from the feeling that something is scary in my life and I can’t clearly put a finger on it.

    I read a comment earlier on this blog from a wife who partnered up with her husband and agreed with him on how bad of a wife she is to avoid further confrontation. I do this a lot. No more.

    Thanks so much for gently asking me questions and opening my eyes.

    Betsy

    • Lisa on July 19, 2015 at 10:39 pm

      Betsy,

      Even things we’ve done to cope can be so blown out of proportion by the abuser; they say it so much we internalize it and wonder if it’s true. *He* needs to own what he has and continues to do to you. And whether he humbles himself and stays or whether he goes, God is and will continue to take care of you.

      Lisa

      • betsy on July 19, 2015 at 10:53 pm

        Lisa. You are so right.

        I am traveling home right now after being away for 5 days with my boys. There has been very little contact between my husband and i during the time away. I have had a rollar coaster ride of feelings the whole time. Will he be happy to see me? Will he be indifferent towards me Did he spend the time alone? Do I have a right to come home to OUR home and sleep in OUR bed? Crazy thoughts. Satan thoughts.

        I feel the Holy spirit speaking and encouraging me to go home, unpack the car, take a shower, and quietly slip into the bed, all the while keeping my expectations low.

        I have a right to be in my home

        Thank you for mentioning that the abiaer blows things out of proportion. I have felt this often. I am guilty of this myself.

        God will care for me and give me strength. And I am a delight in Gods eyes That is my truth right now.

        You are a delight in Gods eyes as well.

        Hugs

        Betsy

  32. betsy on July 19, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Lisa. You are so right.

    I am traveling home right now after being away for 5 days with my boys. There has been very little contact between my husband and i during the time away. I have had a rollar coaster ride of feelings the whole time. Will he be happy to see me? Will he be indifferent towards me Did he spend the time alone? Do I have a right to come home to OUR home and sleep in OUR bed? Crazy thoughts. Satan thoughts.

    I feel the Holy spirit speaking and encouraging me to go home, unpack the car, take a shower, and quietly slip into the bed, all the while keeping my expectations low.

    I have a right to be in my home

    God will care for me and give me strength. And I am a delight in Gods eyes That is my truth right now.

    You are a delight in Gods eyes as well.

    Hugs

    Betsy

  33. Lisa on July 19, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    That is so great you and the boys were away together! High five ✋!!!

    “Will he be happy to see me?” — not your monkey, not your circus.

    “Will he be indifferent towards me?” – not your monkey, not your circus

    “Did he spend the time alone?” — Wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove. (Proceed with caution.)

    Do I have a right to come home to OUR home and sleep in OUR bed? — You betcha!!!

    Hugs,
    Lisa

  34. Lisa on July 20, 2015 at 12:38 am

    Many of us have had to deal with whether we think our abuser is serious when he says he is sorry and is going to change. This advice from domestic violence counselor and author, Lundy Bancroft, answers that: http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2015/07/16/thursday-thought-what-does-the-process-of-change-look-like-for-an-abuser-insights-from-lundy-bancroft/

  35. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Lisa

    I made it home last night after 12. I tried to connect with my husband. He claims that he didn’t hear us come home because he was sleeping.

    This morning I hugged him and told him how I missed him, no response.

    He was guarded this morning while having coffee and getting ready for work. Again dismissed me when I told him that I missed him and loved him.

    I feel so punished. But like you said..” Not my monkey; not my circus.” Still hurts aweful.

    • Lisa on July 20, 2015 at 10:18 am

      Betsy,

      That does hurt when you want to build a marriage. But be careful not to accept his false narrative that you were a bad wife so you deserve to be punished.

      I’ve experienced being shunned in many ways over the years. I took the chance of just being happy without wanting a thing from him. It made it possible for me to see him as he really is, because I wasn’t all twisted in knots trying to get him to love me. It took me out of the heavy fog. The anxiety I experienced all through the years both dominantly and low laying just below the surface, which manifested as panic attacks, stopped when I separated myself by being almost no contact within our home. I found out I don’t like this guy—-he’s unsafe in several ways.

      If your heart says to continue displaying affection, etc…then you should. Detaching any expectations of him reciprocating is hard; but really what is your choice?

      Since your husband said he is finished, I think it would be a good idea to prepare yourself practically by getting copies of all paperwork you would need in case he files for divorce. Do it, but don’t tell him. Put the copies where he can’t find them. Sometimes these guys will take all the paperwork. You want to be able to do this before anything disappears. It doesn’t mean you’re getting a divorce, it just takes some of the pressure off knowing you have prepared just in case.

      Continue to enjoy your boys and set boundaries with them that you will tolerate ZERO disrespect from them. They need to see you have respect for yourself even if their father doesn’t.

      Allow yourself to be happy in spite of him.

      Hugs,
      Lisa

  36. Leonie on July 20, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Betsy – I remember being this way with my husband- it is so hard to be pleasant & kind when you know your soul will get squished again.
    Once I started to pray for God to help me live in the truth I started pulling back & observing if he ever reached out for me – he did so very rarely. My oldest son verified to me, Mom, I can see that he has no love for you at all. Once I started to acknowledge the reality of it, I could no longer be sweet & lay my self out there for him to crush my spirit any longer.
    Lisa, that is wise advice to get ready. I packed an emergency bag too at that time.
    Leslie said for me to tell
    my self the truth internally & even out loud even if my husband can’t hear it or respond to it and to speak truth to your children matter of factly – so they trust their own percprions. This really helped to start clearing the fog at our house.

  37. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Leonie

    My husband has told me that he loves me as a person, not as a wife, that he doesn’t ant a divorce but doesn’t want to be close to me, and has told me that I will never be a trust worthy person to him. Maybe I am the one who refuses to accept reality. I keep fighting for him to show me something of appreciation.

    Coming home last night to my husband in bed and does not acknowledge me, to having him leave for work this morning without saying a word to me when I told him how much I missed him and loved him, has ripped me apart today.

    • Lisa on July 20, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Sounds like he wants to keep you for a maid while he has a relationship some where else.

      Has he ever had an affair?

    • Leonie on July 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      I would ‘t give this man any more power to hurt you. He is not well intentioned, he does not have the same goals as you – you intend for good but he intends to keep you around for convenience only. The line about he loves you as a person but not as a wife – I think he wants to pick & choose – you stay here and care for my kids but i have no other use for you – what’s with the no trust thing, you haven’t betrayed him. When my husband fell in love with someone else he would give me lines like this. Only you know if that is a possibility or not. I am praying for you – ask God for his wisdom and to show you the truth, guard your heart – this man is showing you he is only going to hurt you and probably takes joy in doing so. I am not a professional, just know from experience what they do.

  38. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    He claims that he hasn’t .

    I don’t know whether to believe him or not. There was a book I found from a young girl that he states is a friend

    I don’t know what to beleive

  39. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    What did u talk to your children about?

    How did u talk to them?

    • Lisa on July 20, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Are you asking me Betsy?

      Lisa

    • Leonie on July 26, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Betsy, When my husband did something abusive I tried to express the truth of what was going on toy kids. The blog a few months back about telling ourselves truth, Leslie outlined how to speak truth internally to ourselves so that you can counter your husbands lies as he speaks them. Lundy Bancroft also writes about how to talk to your children – “describe to them concretely which of their anusive father’s behaviours are unacceptable and ask them to talk about their feelings.” “Don’t lie on your partner’s behalf or over up for his behaviour.”
      “Give them a moderate amount of information – children figure out what is going on in an intuitive level & need information to make sense out of what they witness & if you equip them with a digestible amount of knowledge regarding the reality of their father’s abuse of you he will find it harder to lie to them and manipulate them against you.” (That is from When Dad Hurts Mom by Lundy Bancroft.) now when other people do things too sometimes I find myself thinking “that’s a lie they are acting on – the truth is ….”
      The Holy Spirit speaks truth to our spirit but his is a quiet sensible voice that we have to intentionally tune in to. When my husband used to rage I would think to myself that his voice twisting things is louder than (or overruled) my thinking.
      There are so many effective strategies in Lundy’s book especially in the chapter about “defending your role as a mother”. He says ” time is of the essence; the deeper the wedges your abusive partner drives between you and your children, the harder the road to recovery can be.” & “Stop believing that your abusive partner is a good father, a good father does not abuse his children’s mother since doing so shows tremendous disregard for the children’s feelings and needs. He is still being irresponsible and uncaring towards them for what he is doing to you.” There is so much good advice in that book to help you & your kids. Basically by being around my abusive husband since birth and witnessing his abuse of me, my daughter has had an intensive crash course in how to disrespect mom. It is slowly getting better now that he is gone and I am insisting on respect, civility & truth and londness & gentlemess with all of us. I see so much damage that happened to my bigger kids and they wlll still defend my 1st husband’s abusive ways & how he was so hard on them when they were small.

      • Betsy on July 26, 2015 at 7:26 pm

        Leonine, thank you for sharing with me what you and your children have been through. I especially like the sentence that says how a husbands treatment of his wife shows tremendous disregard to the children. I can apply this to myself as well as my attitude towards my husband hasn’t been the greatest. I need to give this more thought, however I wasn’t hurtful towards my husband in front of my boys, it was in quiet, in my thoughts, and acting out. When I finish up Leslie’s book, Lundys book is the next ” summer” read.

        Thanks be to God that I am learning new ways, because God has given me Grace.

  40. Ann on July 20, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    My husband had a long term emotional affair( affair of the heart)It was hard for my pastor ( a friend of ours for 50 years, married us)and a few others to accept this as grounds for divorce until there was evidence of much more wrongdoing.Another very close friend,also a pastor,argued my case on the grounds of abandonment.He cited what he believes is the best treatise for grounds for divorce written by the Presbytery( Leslie may be familiar with this) Anyway,it can be physical,( adultery or physical abuse),emotional, even financial,In my case it turned out to be all,just different degrees.He was not willing to do all that it would take to make our marriage work and be healthy before God,simply wanted to stay married on his terms.I felt it was a sham and dishonoring to the Lord……and finally decided to leave.
    An amazing and beautiful reconciliation just took place with the very young gal ( a Christian who worked in my husband’s office) who had participated in the emotional affair for over 2 years.I felt the angels were rejoicing.It provided some much needed closure for me.

  41. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Ann

    I am curious how you felt closure and reconciliatio n with the young woman in the office.

    • Ann H on July 20, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      I am delineating myself as Ann H as I see there is another Ann.
      This young gal had been almost like a daughter to me.We actually were acquainted with her parents when we were all at Oxford U.39 years ago,Unlike another young gal that my husband got involved with( physically I am certain,but he denies it) K is a follower of Jesus and I felt,at some point,I needed to talk to her.Through our mutual friends,I asked if we could meet about a year ago but I suppose she was not ready.She recently got in touch with these friends to ask if I was still willing to meet and I said absolutely.I insisted that the mutual friends be a part as well.She agreed. We spent a morning together….lots of tears ; K asked for forgiveness ,we prayed together. It was very hard but beautiful. I have been doing the work of forgiving these past two years,and it IS work,many times two steps forward and three back.Meeting with her was part of that work and I am very grateful.

  42. Sandra on July 20, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Dear Betsey: Don’t keep blaming yourself! Yes, we all make mistakes, and it takes two to make or break a marriage. However, it sounds like you’re willing to change to save your marriage, but not your husband. I think the fact that your sons are also becoming abusive and disrespectful toward you indicates the need for counseling. If he refuses to go, at least go yourself for your own and your sons’ emotional heath.
    Blessings, Sandra

  43. Maria on July 20, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Betsy, was wondering what are the reasons you think you’re to blame for your marriage problems (I may have missed some of your previous posts). The reason I ask you this is because it is very common for abusers to blame their spouses for their bad behavior and it sounds like your husband has convinced you that you are the problem.

    • edmund on December 9, 2015 at 11:46 pm

      maria…edmund here. i don’t miss the drama, but this site was a good outlet and exercise for my mind and heart. you represented the best of what it had to offer (for my personal goals of honest conversation). if you’re interested in occasional, non-obligatory, side bar discussions about the same topics covered on this public forum…shoot me a note. turkishdlyte@gmail.com. we can address acceptable ground rules and expectations first thing and choose to agree or disagree to communicate. i’m still married and intend to stay that way despite the circumstances. blessings!

  44. Maria on July 20, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Betsy, I just saw your post listing some of the reasons you feel you have failed. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. I’m sure your husband has also made some mistakes. Your husband’s reaction to your shortcomings seems really extreme, especially since you’re willing to take responsibility for what you feel you’ve done.

  45. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Maria..

    It is such a long story. So many layers. I have hurt him. He has hurt me. This past year he has blamed me for himm wanting a divorce. He says that the severity of our marriage is the consequence of ” leaving our marriage long ago.” I didn’t know how to handle things between us so I shut down.

    Right now I feel like he is making me pay and is punishing me. He does regret treating me with disdain, yet continues to do so.

    I just started reading Leslie’s book. I wonder how many women in this blog has hidden the book or kept it in the open. I plan on sharing the book with my husband.

    My husband is very extreme. Very touchy and prickly. Has been since the day I met him. Very withholding if he feels crossed, disrespected, threatened. He would rather discard me and our family, then deal with his part. This hurts beyond measure

  46. Maria on July 20, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Betsy, we don’t have the power to change anyone but ourselves. Therefore, leaving books out for you husband will most likely not do anything. In fact, he may get angry and accuse you of trying to control him. One book that really helped me understand my husband’s behavior was “inside the minds of angry and controlling men, why does he do that” by Lundy Bancroft. I, like you, was quick to blame myself, especially because I was not proud of the way I reacted sometimes. Then with the help of counseling and reading, I started focusing on myself not on him. I now respond in ways that I feel honor the Lord, but the core problems have not gone away. They can only be addressed by my husband. I don’t take responsibility for his bad behavior although he tries very hard to convince me that I am to blame for it.

    • Lisa on July 20, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      I second reading Lundy’s book. It let’s you see his behaviors from a whole new angle. See if your library has it; if the don’t request that they purchase it. You can go there and read it in peace.

  47. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Mari . The book you mention is on my wish list to read.

    I want to read Leslie’s book openly. I may share with my husband that I am reading the book because I want to change and see where I have fallen short. He typically has no interest in what I read.

    Are u still with your husband? How have you managed to make your marriage work? Do you have children ?

    I have taken the blame for years..just like what I did as a kid..every thing was my fault. So I retaliated as a kid and teen. Just like I have done in my marriage. And my husband reminds me on a daily basis by his coldness to me, and other ways he emotionally punishes me.

    In his words, he says that he is not the same person and is done playing my games.

    I am going to learn how to stay well….up to a certain point.

    • Maria on July 20, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Betsy, Why do you feel you need to tell your husband that you want to change? You may be opening the door to more comments about your lack of change etc..
      I am staying well right now. I have children. I do not cover up my husband’s bad behavior. I spend a lot of time teaching them what’s good behavior, what’s not. They’ve also been exposed to “normal” behavior by others in church and extended family, so they know when husband is not doing the right thing. They are doing well so far. They do comment about how they wish their dad would be a better dad to them. When husband says negative things, I am no longer affected by them. I don’t believe them if it doesn’t line up with what God says. I’m trying to teach my
      kids that too. I don’t think my husband has what it takes to be a good husband or father. I have accepted that and do no try to change him.

  48. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Hi Lisa…I am not sure. The question may have been for Maria..feel free to answer☺

  49. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Thank you Maria.

    What kind of boundaries do you have in place with your husband.?

    For years I didn’t believe that I had a choice to consider that this may NOT be all my fault. I am now beginning to gain some footing to be strong and courageous as a woman of God and to do things to honor God, not get my husbands approval ( though I want it so badly). Its not going to come any time soon

    There seems to be a real chill in the air since I went away for 5 days with my boys.

    I appreciate your input and experience a ton.

    Betsy

    • Maria on July 20, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      Betsy, I too desired to have a good marriage like most women. My husband became my idol. I wanted so much to please him. He exploited that desire, by blaming me for his bad behavior. I believed I was to blame. I think by blaming myself I felt I could fix our problems by fixing me. After reading Bancroft’s book, I realized that my husband wanted to be worshipped. When I didn’t he would punish me, by giving me the silent treatment etc. I would feel really bad and blame myself and approach him to make things right. Now, when he behaves that way and I know I have done nothing wrong I let him sulk and be miserable. I thought his behavior was due to a lack of self esteem, not so, he is full of confidence, he really doesn’t ever feel he’s in the wrong. When he talks disrespectfully to me I tell him if he continues I will leave the room. We are not sexually intimate.

  50. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Maria

    My husband has always said actions speak louder than words. Throughout our marriage I said I would do things and change, then had poor follow through. This is why he doesn’t trust me.

    And he may have had expectations of me that were not expressed correctly on his end. He is a rager. Once he rages I emotionally disappear.

  51. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Maria

    Our stories are so similar.

    I have made my husband my God. I never questioned anything he said. He was always right. I was always wrong.

    I have codependent issues from a crazy childhood. I have allowed them to suffocate me in my marriage and other areas in life, because his silent treatment and emotional abuse feels so familiar.

    We were sexual however when the therapist confronted him as seeing me just as a friend with benefits and I set a boundary that if he doesn’t want to be part of our marriage, I would not be sexual with him. We sleep in the same bed. I miss affection from him terribly. It doesn’t have to be sex. I am starving for touch. He avoids me. He is very confident in some areas..he loves to tell me how women attach to him quickly. I use to shut down, panic, and sulk. Now I say ” that’s awesome. You are attachable. Good for you.”

    So painful for is all, isn’t it?

    • Maria on July 20, 2015 at 7:40 pm

      Betsy, A pastor that counseled me gave me good advice- my husband wasn’t capable of being a good husband, that is reality. So he said I need to make good female friends and get support from them. Now, years later, I see myself the way God sees me, so I don’t desire the relationship my husband wants with me. Not only is such a relationship unhealthy for me, it is not for my husband’s good. Keep reading the books recommended here, get healthy by signing up for Leslie’s classes. If you decide to go for counseling, I think Leslie has a good post on how to chose a good counselor.

      • betsy on July 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

        Maria.
        I signed up for Leslie’s CORE class in August. My husband and I are in counseling now. The therapist seems to be able to pick up issues very well.The drawback is that the counseling is not Christian. I make up for that through online bible studies, great support from women in my life who are Christian, and the women who I am learning from with this blog and a couple others that I follow

        • Maria on July 20, 2015 at 8:37 pm

          Betsy, if there’s abuse going on in your marriage, and you open yourself up during counseling, your husband may use what you say to hurt you. It can be very taxing on you. I thought your husband said he did not want to work on the marriage. If so, why has he agreed to counseling?

  52. Listening Ear on July 20, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Hi Betsy

    The Lord helped me by revealing my co-dependent issues.
    A book by Nancy Groom: From Bondage to Bonding ,facilitated my journey of healing… the unique part of this book was that said that my co-dependent behavior was self protection and not fully trusting the Lord…and the answer was repentance.

    Often co-dependents are such nice people pleasers that calling co-dependency sin is hard to swallow….but the book led me to repentance and changed the dynamics with my husband who has narcissistic tendencies.

  53. anonymous on July 20, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    I need help in discerning if my husband is indeed emotionally abusive and if my husband may or may not have some sort of mental issue.

    We have been married 17 years. The first few years of our marriage he would impose motives on me and when I would try to explain what my true intent was in a very calm manner it was like a block was there-he remained believing what he wanted to believe. At times he would force motives on me in anger and other times not in anger. It’s like he pulls things out of a hat and goes off on me assuming that is my motive.

    There was a time he yelled at me in the car for staying too long in church talking with a friend. There are more incidents both yelling and not yelling where he makes me feel stupid when I voice my opinion if it doesn’t make sense to him. He also does this with our oldest son-which upsets me.

    Last March he blew up during a discussion with our oldest son while in the car coming home from our church group. My oldest son tends to want to debate things-he is very smart and thinks of things from all angles. He began telling my husband his thoughts on a topic and was passionate about it. He challenged my husband’s view in a passionate way and then it heated up and my husband finally blew up and started yelling at him.

    Then last Wednesday the same thing happened in the car on the way home over my son’s opinion on something in the news. He was voicing his opinion and my husband told him his views were crazy. As my son challenged his opinion he started conversing with him in a laughing sort of belittling way. It was over being evil and intending to be evil-what the differences were. My husband really blew up-worse than I have ever seen him-this was out of control yelling. I had to drive the car around the neighborhood because I didn’t want to go home where the neighbors might hear them.

    I told my husband last night that it was abusive. He apologized to my son and me for his anger, but he doesn’t think it is abuse. He said that is a strong word. He said after reflection and prayer that he is going to change and knows God is at work in him and that he just wants to show me it is real. I told him I can’t trust him yet..so many times before I think he is sincere and then he later justifies what he did after thinking about it some more.

    During this conversation, to try and soothe him, I brought up when I used to get frustrated with our boys and had gotten angry but I never belittled them and it was always geared toward behavioral issues-not just regular conversations. Even then I haven’t raised my voice toward our boys for years. Then he smiled and said, “oh, so you have abused them…hmmm..yes you abused them too..yeah that is abuse.” I stopped him there and said, “that is what I am talking about. You are coming across as truly repentive and I am desiring to trust and be vulnerable to you again, and then you say this this way..then he smiled and said, what do you mean? I wasn’t getting back at you or anything.” I think it hurt him that I said what he did was emotionally abusive-but it was and I am tired of living a lie and not saying anything when he does this.

    Yet on the other side my husband can be the sweetest nicest man. He says he is sorry when he has his anger outbursts. They have lessened these past 6 years-which is great! It used to be more often but I stopped it by never challenging him, and praise God he has given me tools to communicate in a non-threatening way or my husband would have more outbursts toward me than he has.

    So it happens about five to six times a year when he gets out of control as opposed to every month. This is why it is hard for me to know what to do.

    Another issue is last year I caught him looking at pornography and he was enraged that I looked at his phone-and twisted it to blame me for looking at his phone-and he justified looking at it. He had fallen asleep and it was on his phone and I picked it up and saw it. I caught him two times prior several years ago.

    This entry is getting too long-sorry! I just need to know what his mental condition is called..Is he narcisistic? or is he just normal and I am being too sensitive?

    All I know is that now it is hard to trust him-beause of the porn in the past and the anger blow ups, the belittling etc.. I am not sure that when he is tender is he sincerely tender or forcing it? Is it pasted on fruit or real fruit of the Spirit.

    • anonymous on July 20, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      Also, if you think it is okay to post my comment, would be so kind as to keep it up for a few weeks and then take it down? I would really appreciate it. I feel uncomfortable posting this on the internet, but I so need some feedback on what is going on. Thanks so much!

      • Kaycee on July 30, 2015 at 10:21 pm

        Anonymous,
        Oh, I feel for you. You are waking up, coming out of the fog and are seeking for answers. I too have had a very difficult marriage where my spouse would “assume” my motives and find ways to justify anything he did. I have found http://cryingoutforjustice.com/ a great source to help me define some of the issues that are difficult. Also, porn is a very damaging and destructive evil. Do not overlook its impact on your husband’s behavior. While it does not excuse his anger or bad treatment of you and your son, it does encourage his selfishness. Just like this article says, find your support team of girlfriends or family. It makes the difference! God also will answer each of your prayers when the time is right so do not take a “wait” or silence as not caring. God has you on this, he has each of his daughters on this. My prayer is that you see His faithfulness more and more as you walk this hard path. And yes, I think your husband exhibits some narcissism but don’t spend too much time studying that. (My spouse exhibits many aspects of NPD but in the end it doesn’t really matter) Look to Jesus healing you and helping you grow. I’ve been letting Jesus heal my broken heart for 3.5 years before he revealed to me that the time was right to leave. I’m still seeking healing but God is good and I’m confident he will help you too.

    • Leonie on July 27, 2015 at 6:26 am

      Anonymous, my heart is breaking for you and your oldest son. My husband used to do the same thing to me. He would always decide what my motive was and what I was thinking and feeling or even how I should feel. I came across an interview with Patricia Evans lately and she says no one can define what someone else is thinking and feeling – God made us individuals each with our own minds, thoughts & feelings.
      I remember my husband asking me “who told you that” about something I don’t recall and I would explain – “no one, I thought of it all by myself.” His behaviour was so audacious – as though I had no ability to formulate thoughts or assess & see through his nonsense.
      He would define things I said or did as me having an evil motive. Now I know that it was about him & his way of thinking but it was a horrible way of twisting things to “make me the bad one” is how a close friend described it. He would twist the focus onto me and tell me how evil I am & my motives were but it was to distract from what he was doing in the marriage & family that was the real issue – like his massage parlour use. It was also a way of making sure the truth of the matter doesn’t come out.
      Basically, when someone is doing evil to himself, his wife and his family they start doing all kinds of things to deal with the situation & so they can live with themselves – unfortunately he was not an island and the innocent bystanders got caught up in the nonsense and hurt too. It is evil and it is pervasive. I know my exhusband is a narcissist. I am praying for you that God will show you the truth & how to protect yourself & your son. I think the conversation about evil & intending to be evil was probably too close for comfort. He is annihilating your son’s right to have his own thoughts, perceptions & opinions with his scary behaviour & yelling. It is sad because kids want to learn and engage and think & grow & he must be at a perfect age for you guys as parents to do that with him safely in his own home but your husband has made it it unsafe for him. He is definitely verbally abusive. This is a safe community with women who will love you and pray for you, we are glad you posted and hope you find answers & God’s love here!

  54. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Listening Ear…thank you go the book suggestion. I love what you shared about codependent behavior is self protection and not fully trusting our Lord. That makes a lot of sense. I need to think about pray on this idea.

    What characteristics of codependency lead you to repentance? I have read several Melodie Beatty books ” Codependent No More” as well as ” Boundaries”. Over the weekend I picked up a Christian book on Codependency at a garage sale. I was just about to order it at full price on Amazon..God is good.

  55. anonymous on July 20, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    After thinking about it more could you not post it? I should have thought about it before I posted it. I am putting out there some really private things my husband struggles with without his permission and I know it would hurt him if he knew i did this and I don’t want to do that. So sorry.. I am going to see a Christian counselor soon but it is the first time. If you would pray with me that God would give her wisdom to see what is going on inside us so that we can heal in our marriage. The good news is that my husband does see some issues in himself and that is a great start. I see some in me too and I am SO ready for his light to shine on our darkness..and get to the truth even though painful so necessary..I am learning God loves dead ends because without them we can’t draw closer to Him. So…although in pain I am ready. 🙂

    • Maria on July 25, 2015 at 7:49 am

      Anonymous, you may want to read Lundy Bancroft’s “in the minds of angry and controlling men, why does he do that”. It may answer a lot of your questions. From what you have said, he does not sound repentant, he’s saying the right things, and then blaming you. Be careful that you don’t start blaming yourself for his behavior. We all make mistakes/ sin, if we use that as an excuse for legitimate problems in marriage, there’s no solving of these issues.

  56. betsy on July 20, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Maria..he agreeded to counseling so that we can parent our boys peacefully. His agenda is just that. Mine is for marriage restoration.

    He did admit in counseling that he doesn’t know how to work through his feelings around the marriage. He can’t understand why it is that now that I want to work on our marriage. My answer to that is that I wasn’t ready to face my truth and failings. I know how to place blame too.

    The fact that he still agrees to go is a big win. maybe his heart will soften, however with Gods intervention only.

    He wants to get along as people. Not husband and wife. I wonder if he wants to make things so painful for me that I eventually cave and leave. He did this to his first wife.

    I hand him over to God…again and again, and again.

    • Lisa on July 21, 2015 at 2:09 am

      “I wonder if he wants to make things so painful for me that I eventually cave and leave.” —
      This is what my husband is doing only he is doing it by withholding access to the money.

      “..he agreeded to counseling so that we can parent our boys peacefully.”—This to me is bunk. If that is his aim then he would stop abusing you.

      You mentioned about a book that he said belongs to a young girl who is just a friend. What married man has young women or girls for friends? That deserves some looking around to see if he is keeping company with her.. My husband has denied things (that I had proof of, but he didn’t know that) and he looked as innocent as can be when he lied!

  57. Listening Ear on July 21, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Betsy

    Basically as a codependent , I repented of idolizing my marriage, repenting of living a fear based existence, not loving others enough to risk confrontation when wronged, and not loving myself enough….the list goes on

    The book by Nancy Grooom is very cheap on Amazon and she expands on this beautifully! Ultimately God’s grace conquers our self-sufficient strategies!

    • Betsy on July 26, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      Leonine, thank you for sharing with me what you and your children have been through. I especially like the sentence that says how a husbands treatment of his wife shows tremendous disregard to the children. I can apply this to myself as well as my attitude towards my husband hasn’t been the greatest. I need to give this more thought, however I wasn’t hurtful towards my husband in front of my boys, it was in quiet, in my thoughts, and acting out. When I finish up Leslie’s book, Lundys book is the next ” summer” read.

      Thanks be to God that I am learning new ways, because God has given me Grace.

  58. Leonie on July 21, 2015 at 11:03 am

    I have found some more good resources by Lundy Bancroft. The biggest one for me that truly helped me understand why had to leave my husband was a 1 hour and 50 minute lecture on YouTube called “Inside the minds of angry and controlling men”
    He speaks about the abusive husbands sense of entitlement and also what causes boys to become abusers. Another was “Understanding the Batterer in Custody and Visitation Disputes” – an article online & I also bought a book called “When Dad Hurts Mom – Helping your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse.” Also by Lundy. He says when boys absorb the entitlement of their abusive fathers they become abusers themselves. We really need to protect our children and pray for them – that they see what normal is from us, our friends in our churches, teachers and healthy role models in their schools and help the recognize the truth of what their father does (without bashing him but pointing out what healthy behaviour is.) Leslie has some real wisdom about how to do this well so that the generational cycle of abuse is broken with Gods help & in his strength & power.

  59. Leonie on July 21, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Ladies, thus post from Valerie back in May truly helped me see the light & separate from my husband – only you each know your situations but I found this so true & helpful.

    Valerie says
    May 16, 2015 at 10:17 am

    I’m hoping that this will help someone out there. Many of these posts have made me angry and frustrated. My anger and frustration comes from hearing about how these beautiful women are starved for attention, zealously looking to improve their marriage to the point of condemning themselves if they thought that would make an improvement. As Leslie stated- why is it that women are expected to carry the weight of a healthy marriage? How is it that women who make mistakes that they show remorse for are scolded and reminded they are not being Christ-like while husbands who are cruel without remorse as classified as an imperfect human being?

    This is where I was just over a year ago and the chains of enslavement to my husband’s emotional whims was debilitating. While it is true that we all have our faults I think I have yet to read on any abuse blog/forum of a wife whose behavior has led to the destructiveness of the marriage that has made it abusive. I’m so angry and frustrated that there are so few people willing to speak the truth like Leslie and a few others. Two to tango and other such nonsense has needlessly kept women in bondage.

    I was in an emotionally abusive marriage for just over 20 years. I thought we had the same goal of a healthy marriage, so when he was destructive I thought on some level he grieved that inside and wanted to change. I made the mistake of assuming we were working on the same motivations and goals. So when he said or did something hurtful—-scratch that—-ABUSIVE, I thought he felt bad about it because I knew I sure would. I thought that when he was acting civilly toward me that this was his true nature and when he acted abusively this was when he “got off the path”. What a reality it was for me to come to grips with when I realized the opposite was true! His abusiveness WAS him acting truthfully to his character while the moments of kindness….sometimes what I (gulp) mistook as loving….those were the times of him showing his grand acting ability. He was only_acting_ lovingly so that he could continue to abuse me.

    The stress within my body, the times when I thought my heart was being ripped out of my chest and my mind being lost to seeming insanity was because I wasn’t acting on reality. The problem is that I had NO ONE to tell me otherwise. “Christian” women, books, even counselors were keeping me believing the lie. My body and mind were so broken as a result. My good mind (what I know now was all along) was telling me the sky is blue. My H is acting as though the sky is green in every way, but he is TELLING me the sky is blue. My “support” mentioned above was telling me the sky was green and might even question my character for saying otherwise. The dissonance caused between what I knew to be true and what everyone else was telling me led me to be nearly suicidal. I felt trapped in my mind and was to the point of not trusting myself to make the smallest decisions.

    God shows us the true color of the sky in His word. I finally grew unwilling to deny what I was reading in scripture. This was extremely hard because I had only 3 people in my life who were supporting me in that. Most of the others told me it was sinful and unsubmissive of me to allow my husband the consequences of sowing and reaping. Twisting scripture to convince me that continuing to bury my head in the sand would somehow glorify God.

    I plead with any of you who are still in your abusive marriages to pretend you are deaf and can only SEE your husband’s true intentions. Scripture says out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. So when my husband was in acting mode and SAID the right things I thought that came from his heart. Yet when I realized that he was intentionally deceiving me with his words, then what does the truth of scripture then say about where his heart is focused?? Out of the overflow of his heart he was intentionally manipulating me with his words.

    Please earnestly consider Leslie’s advise when she says that someone who is repentant WANTS to be held accountable. It is extremely confusing because many abusers can be so adept at manipulation. They are skilled at giving plausible excuses (only I mistakenly saw them as reasons, not excuses). When asked about accountability my husband proudly stated that another man (who was abusive to his wife) was holding him accountable!! He would look at me as though there was something bitter in me that did not consider that a healthy choice. He seriously wanted accolades for his “sacrifice” of this “accountability partner”. If their response to your pleas does not match the gravity of the situation…then please, please consider what God is telling you. God has given you a sound mind and you can trust your instincts!! What freedom (and sanity) I found in only trusting God’s Word for truth and not what everyone else was telling me!

    A clueless husband looks for help to gain clues to remedy the problem. A cruel husband will fight to cover up his cruelty. The darkness hides and fears the light for being exposed.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Great reminder. Thanks.

    • Remedy on July 21, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      Wow….plain truth from webs of schemes and lies. Thank you for sharing this post from Valerie, Leonie. Can you share the blog post she was commenting on?

      • Leonie on July 22, 2015 at 5:49 am

        Remedy,
        It was from “I Don’t Trust My Husband, Should We Be Having Sex?” Dated
        May 6, 2015
        It is quite far down in the blog.

  60. Sandra on July 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Dear Betsey: I wanted to relate about how I also tended to accept the blame for what I had done wrong, when my xh constantly accused me. This happened before our marriage. I was only 16 when I met him. and I was also writing to a childhood sweetheart, who was in the military. Soon after my Xh and I began dating, he began demanding sex. I told him I wouldn’t submit without a ring on my finger (meaning marriage). He than asked me to quit school and marry him, but I had only one more year before graduation, and refused. He then bought me an engagement ring (for the “ring on my finger,”), and I foolishly gave in to sex, fearing I’d lose him. Two months later, I went to spend the summer in another state with my older sister, where my childhood sweetheart happened to be home on leave. We dated and although we hadn’t been previously intimate, I guess I thought I had nothing to lose (sic), but felt somewhat guilty about sexually “cheating on my fiance’. My Xh and I resumed dating when I returned to school, and by October I was pregnant! I quit school and we were married in January. The marriage was a failure from the start. He resented “having to marry me,” and I for having to quit school, when so close to graduation. We did have a beautiful baby girl and three years later another, but by then he was partying on weekends and having affairs. I was heartbroken and wondered if God was punishing me for my sins, even though I didn’t come to faith in Jesus until seven years into our marriage. I was so relieved that my sins were then forgiven, and began taking my daughters to church and praying for my xh’s salvation.. He hated my going to church and was very jealous of God and my new-found faith. I began keeping a journal, and while I was at a weekend ladies retreat, he read it! Unfortunately, I had written about how God had forgiven my teen sexual sins. From that time on, my xh constantly accused me and said he would never forgive or trust me, even though he was guilty of adultery. I then began to blame myself for our failed marriage, believing my Xh was punishing me for trapping him into marriage and cheating on him.
    …..Fast forward: I stayed and prayed for 57 years, while the verbal abuse only got worse. Finally, I found hope in reading both Patricia Evans’ and Leslie’s book, realizing I didn’t deserve to live any longer with that abuse. I set the boundary of not sharing my xh’s bed unless the abuse stopped, until he finally left me. Our divorce was final in May, and I praise the Lord for the wonderful peace and freedom I now have to serve Him, as never before.
    It’s never too late for you to enjoy this as well, dear Betsey, Prayers and blessings, Sandra

    • Leonie on July 22, 2015 at 9:30 am

      Sandra – you’ve been through so much – the signs were there at the beginning & you stayed. That happened to me as well. I remember 1 1/2 years into my 11.5 year (1st) marriage, before I even had kids with him, he showed me the door – my career was still intact, I could have gone home & gone back to work as a nurse, no children would have been involved … I could have lived my life near my family instead if 1/2 a continent away…. I would never wish my 4 amazing children away but I just recall those early signs & chances that were there.
      I was so committed to the permanence of marriage & I was so full of idealism and too naive at the age of 23 to see that I couldn’t make the marriage work without my husband having the same intentions & goals (& value system) that I had. I had no idea that he had a porn addiction and I was in his way.
      Thank goodness you are free! You are so brave to have gotten out when you did! Praise God for his leading and His loving care & kindness! I love hearing you rejoice that you are out & free!
      I am still rejoicing that I can call a plumber when I need to, have lunch with a friend without dreading that where are you phone call, no one is here to be angry & give me the silent treatment almost every weekend! We really are free to serve God and be all that he created us to be and love life – I am glad you found a supportive church too! Blessings!

    • Betsy on July 26, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      Sandra

      Thank you for sharing your story with me.

      Hugs

      Betsy

  61. Jennifer on July 21, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Dawn, I am so grateful for the courage and vulnerability it took to share your story. Your own experience has given voice to so many others who share a similar story…

    Grateful for you. Prayers are with you.

  62. Maria on July 21, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Betsy, since our situations are similar, I thought I’d share a couple of things in hopes that they may be of help to you. Firstly about my experience during couples counseling. Initially my husband said the right things and changed dramatically for about a month. Then he started using the things I had shared to hurt me. I was devastated and emotionally drained by this. We all have a finite amount of energy, you are probably doing most of the work raising your kids so you need to conserve your energy to be a good mother. Also you need energy to work on yourself and get healthy. I stopped the counseling when I realized our goals were different and how much I was being drained.
    Another thing that I’ve learned is in a relationship when one person is continually giving more than the other, it can result in a power imbalance and it is very unhealthy. If you reverse what’s happening with your husband and you-imagine him trying to save the marriage and you criticizing him constantly without doing any work, doesn’t that seem
    crazy? I think I took my desire to be a good wife to unhealthy extremes. The more I tried, the more he said how bad of a wife I was. I finally had an ah ha moment when I asked myself why I was trying to please him so much when he was not putting in any effort in the relationship.

    • Betsy on July 26, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      Maria

      I have spent the last year looking for ways to fix our marriage. Through the help of this blog and others, I am learning to let go and leave my marriage and husband to God. I have good days and bad days. I give and give with a sincere desire to live by the fruits of the spirit. I want peace and freedom in my soul. I am not ready to leave my marriage. I am ready for relief. How that will come will be up to God.

  63. Robin on July 21, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Betsy, welcome to this blog and I’m glad you have made several woman friends on here already, that have walked thru what u are now starting too. It pains me every time I hear you say 2 things. 1. That you want to do more in being pleasing to your husband. I think that is a natural place we all start. But I hope your supporters on this blog have convinced you- it’s ineffective to need to please your husband. Most destructive men will not be pleased – unless they are controlling and dominating their home and their family, 2. I believe I heard you say you want to do more so God will be pleased. Do you know that God is very pleased with you
    right where you are and you have to do nothing to earn his Pleasure and Delight in you???? You are surrounded by women who will be praying for you and holding you up– as you walk this journey. I’m so happy you found this blog and have some excellent resources!!!! You can do this. !!!!!!!

    • Betsy on July 26, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      Robin

      Thank you for your support and wisdom. I am beginning to understand that pleasing my husband will not work. Pleasing God is what WILL work.

      I am becoming more aware that God has forgiven me, he does not want me to continue to take the blame. I do not have to earn Gods love.

  64. Sandra on July 22, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you for your empathy and support, dear Leonie! Your note brought tears to my eyes. I thank the Lord for this blog and Leslie and all the dear “Sisters.”
    I only wish I’d had this knowledge and support early in my marriage, so as to have had the courage to leave, rather than staying for 57 years. I lost all those years of peace and freedom that I now enjoy, although God’s timing is perfect.
    Blessings, Sandra

  65. Patti on July 22, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    i haven’t left well (or even stayed well), I feel so far from God that I can’t hear anything but static. We live in the same house but I separated myself to another area of the home 2 1/2 years ago. 3 years ago I had an affair. There is absolutely no excuse and I knew it was wrong. It was short lived as the guilt was killing me. I think the guilt is a huge part of why I stay. I knew each step of the way it was a slippery slope, but the feeling of being “seen” and appreciated was overwhelming. I am a people pleaser and have abandonment issues. I grew up in an unhealthy home and didn’t realize it. I married a man that embodied the worst traits of both my mother and father. Passive-aggressive, manipulative, controlling, workaholic. He is never home, traveled as the kids were growing up and I would joke I was a single mom who didn’t work because my roommate paid the bills. He wasn’t interested in being intimate very often (I had a high drive at one point, but learned it was not acceptable to him so I gave up trying to be intimat unless he initiated which was very rarely). I know I have a lot of anger, bitterness and depression. I wanted to kill myself after the affair (not because of the guilt but because of the hopelessness of living in a loveless marriage where I feel like an object or possession). I didn’t because I didn’t want my children to live with the stigma and guilt. We have been in therapy with a Christian counselor for 18 months. She thinks his attributes are “asperger like” (agrees he does not have aspergers). I see his attributes as narcissistic like. He will not have any evaluations. He is brilliant, successful, wealthy. He pushes his way to the front of lines, thinks rules are for other people, laughs about upsetting service people, has no friends, won’t take responsibility or apologize for anything (if he does then there is always a “but” or justification attached). He lies over little things to the point I don’t believe anything he says. He does not want a divorce and says he loves me but won’t make any adjustments or changes. He has said point blank he is not going to tell me what he thinks or feels because it won’t progress our relationship forward (he has never fought with me…it is all passive aggressive. He thinks he is a “bigger person” for not fighting or confronting issues directly). I stopped telling him things that were important to me because he never remembered. He wouldn’t remember the conversation even a couple of hours later.

    I know I haven’t been an easy person to live with. I get angry a lot, I’m easily hurt, I can be sarcastic, I’m insecure, I’ve battled depression for many years. I can’t figure out how to set appropriate boundaries. I’m either a door mat or I’m closed off. I’m indecisive and easily manipulated. I am trying to address these character flaws and grow to be a better person, but I don’t have any feelings left for my husband. If he never spoke to me again it wouldn’t bother me. I feel like that makes a terrible person because we are commanded to love others regardless of how they treat us. If I’m required to love my enemies, how much more so the father of my 3 children? I don’t feel like I love God either. If I did then I should be able to follow His commands. I should be able to have mercy and grace and joy instead of anger, bitterness and depression. If I loved Him, I should hear His voice. I should trust Him fully and I don’t. I’m too scared and sit like a deer in headlights. Neither staying well nor leaving well.

  66. Kim on July 23, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Ladies,

    Even when I don’t have time, I find myself reading all the way to the last comment. What a display of love, grace, truth, compassion and hope. My heart goes out to you all. We all seem to be sharing a similar battle. A battle for truth over the lies. A battle to not make our marriages or our husbands our idols. A battle to obey the Lord, even if it requires letting our marriages die in order to save our life and turn our hearts back to his truth. I am blessed by your honesty and compassion. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    After reading this interview (http://everythingehr.com/the-emotionally-destructive-marriage-an-interview-with-author-counselor-and-speaker-leslie-vernick), I believe for me the biggest thing that stands out, the thing I could have done sooner. It could have spared me from having to endured unnecessary anguish and mental distress.

    I should have “blocked all contact” When I don’t do that, he gets into my head. I know I deeply want resolve. I tend to give him credibility, but he has done nothing to support trust, in fact,, he has only acted in ways that damage his credibility. When I listen to his words, read his texts and letters, I end up second guessing myself and letting down my guard. The Lord has commanded me “Guard your heart with all diligence, it is the wellspring of life…Out of it the heart speaks” I am disobeying the Lord out of my desire to save my marriage.

    I need to tell myself the truth. I am being proactive. I have been involved in a deep bible studying, studying the word, memorizing it, going deep and discussing within a safe small, intimate, and safe group what each passage means to me. I have already read the “Emotional Destructive Marriage”, I am reading this blog, visiting “the Cries for Justice” blog site, I watch the videos found at TV.Newife.com and I am reading a great book called “Telling yourself the truth” by William Backus, I am still attending my weekly Celebrate Recovery group (4 years now) and I am taking a daily inventory of my own strengths, weaknesses and habits.. I am not a victim, but I see how I can be a participant in the deception. I know that I have a responsibility to stay in the truth.

    I am trying to look past the carnage and stay in the hope of what will come out of the ashes. My family is a wreck. As of the past week, my H has decided to broadcast his unfaithfulness to his boys through emails and letters (they will not talk to him) and they are not willing to read them. They tell me, “If he has something to say, he can say it it to my face.” I feel jealous of their courage to say that and not feel guilty. I struggle with guilt when I stand my ground.

    Last week he started reaching out to people, selective people, who know very little and telling them he is trying to make amends, but why them? they know nothing of our problems, my filing for separation or my moving out. I believe it is another form of false humility. He is gaining their sympathy. These same people are coming to me saying “You two need to talk” . Where were they when things were the worst? I didn’t shame him by sharing with anyone that would listen. I was told to not talk to people outside our family, not even my kids. His rebuke was, it is unhealthy to tell my kids negative things about him. He has preached at me on that, “It is the single most destructive thing you can do to your sons”. He is a Christian and even works with the Jail under the chaplain as a volunteer. But now he thinks it is appropriate to air our dirty laundry, not just his? Plus, he is bringing up details from over 30 years ago, not in context, misleading them to think he was doomed from the beginning, that it was never meant to be. He is painting a light that is not accurate. Am I alone in this?

    I do not want to spend energy defending myself to them. I will not go back and become his victim. Been there, done that. He is not seeking my heart and he has done nothing to show true concern for what this had done to me. His affairs have brought pain, but, to be honest, it is the years of indifference that have caused me the most damage and distrust. He has made me out to be his excuse, he has chosen watch me wither and die and do nothing to care for me while it happens. But he has chosen to demand his rights. NOW, wants to play it out to all that will listen “he has a small problem and he is owning it, but it stems from a bigger root that is my fault” This is a man who has lied for 5 years, that I now of, stolen, cheated, had numerous affairs, and has abandoned his family in all ways but limited financial support. .

    He started a new men’s group “12 Step” a week ago. This is his 3rd study in 4 months, he has quit the previous ones. . I have gone through 3 of these “12 step” studies. There are 12 Steps. The study takes a minimum of 9 months. t wasn’t until step 10, that I could share my amends with others. Now, Here, he is is not even worked on step 1, trying to wrap it all up in a pretty package for the whole world to see.. NO! That is bunk!

    I am not so much angry, I just don’t believe he is sincere. I believing he is trying to save face. He isn’t putting our family or marriage back together. During this same day or two, I received the latest from his attorney, he requested a court date on our separation. So far, I have done nothing but file. He is playing two sides of the field. What team is he on? Not mine. I need to stay true to the truth. Repentance and remorse is more than a public apology for making a mistake. Thank you Leslie, for making that clear.

    I need to take her advice of, “No contact” I’ve heard it from my biggest supporters, but I have failed over and over again. It has messed with my head. I get sucked in.

    Pray for me to be stringer and Block all communication.

    • Susanne on July 23, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Kim – Praying for the strength you need guard your heart and look after yourself. Sounds like you’re on your way.

      My ex h wanted to look like the victim. After years of abuse he asked me to go to marriage counseling. We had already been to several counselors and nothing changed. I told him I would go to a marriage counselor with him once he got rid of his anger and rage. He said he would go back to anger management, which he went to before and didn’t help him at all. You see, he could manage his anger any time he wanted and choose when he wanted to yell, scream and push me around, which of course was never at work, at church, in public. After separation he is playing the victim. He played games and tried so hard to abuse me through the legal system. It really bothered me for the first while when I heard things he had said, but then I realized that God is my defender and I don’t need to be concerned about what my ex h says or who might believe his lies. I know the truth. God knows the truth.

      God bless you on your journey with Him!

    • Leslie Vernick on July 23, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      We will. You need a break for yourself to stay clear and perhaps he needs to show that he is doing his recovery for himself and not for you to “see” or do anything else.

  67. Liz on July 23, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Kim, I will pray for you to be strong. It is so hard. We were just communicating by text and occasionally the phone. I always got sucked into defending myself and trying to explain. With a friend’s help, I texted him to tell him I changed my mind about him coming over to get something. He got mad and called me a liar and tried to convince me to meet with him. I finally did what my friend said. I told him he had a choice to continue the conversation or choose a restraining order. He was confused, so I texted it again. When he continued to object, I said, so I guess you are choosing a restraining order. I never heard another word from him. Now we communicate through attorneys. He has said many of the same thing your H has, he’s done everything and I’ve done nothing, he’s in a 12 step program but wouldn’t tell me what for or what step he is on. I really doubt he’s still going. I filed for separation but he has just recently petitioned to change it to a divorce yet, he’s told his family members and friends I want a divorce. So on and on it goes. Be strong, sounds like you understand the games they play.

    • Kim on July 23, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Liz, thanks for sharing your struggle, sounds weird, but it helps to know I am not aloe, I am not crazy.

      I, originally, filed separation simply to bring him to a place where he would have to decide what to do. After over 2 years of indifference, complete distance, I had to do something, it was killing me. Not to mention of the evidences of potential infidelity. I know now, betrayal begins in the heart, the betrayal wasn’t just the sleeping with another woman, it was allowing himself the space and lack of boundaries and instead giving a place for another woman to be close to his heart or body. I was told, file for separation to protect you until you know what is really going on and to put it in his position to decide if he wants to be married. So he would have to do something. So I did. I was creating a crisis so that we can work on solutions and do what is right. His response was “You want a separation, I want divorce” Now, he is telling people, I filed, I moved out, or worse yet, I say, I allowed him to move out of out room, let him be gone all hours, because somehow I didn’t convince him to be with me. I am grateful the kids, now, know why mom filed, why mom moved out. I moved out because he wouldn’t and it was destroying my kids and I was living in a prison to avoid him.

      He had plenty of opportunity to do the right thing. He needs a bargaining incentive. To me, it is simple. Do the right thing, honor God, and everything will work out. No bargaining required. It has been hard, my integrity of character has been questioned by him to take the spotlight off him. It a joke, What have I done? I was less than perfect, I know that, I have always wanted to be the perfect wife. Like Leslie talks calls it, he wanted the fantasy wife, but I have never measured up. It wasn’t because I didn’t try my hardest.

      In my heart of hearts, I just want to be accepted for who I am, to be comfortable in my own skin, to be able to love without fear or threats of abandonment and grow to be all God has called me to be. God is my source and has always been present to affirm me. With my H, not only did I not find peace to just be me, but according to him, I am the source of all his anger, hatred, disappointment and regret.

      How can one person be the source of happiness or unhappiness? I know this is a big lie and I pray that he gets sets free from this lie too.

      Ladies, Keep up the good work of staying in the truth. I am have to be careful to not let my rehearsing all the pain to lead me to be an enemy to God, instead, I want to use it to grown in the Lord and help others while being rooted and grounded in his word, strengthened in every area, in and out of season, and grateful in every circumstance.

      I do not want to become a tool of the enemy, another angry, bitter, scorned and hardened woman. The Lord commanded me, over 2 years ago, Guard your heart, Do not let your heart become hardened” I am trying to obey, minute by minute, day by day, surrendering the pain, hurt, loss and disgust to Him.

      Bless you and you follow God and live in His truth.
      Kim

      • Leslie Vernick on July 23, 2015 at 8:43 pm

        Bless you – guard your heart – don’t harden your heart. BIG difference.

  68. Betsy on July 23, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Today my husband and I had a very painful counseling session.

    Why is it so hard for me to accept that he does not wanntbto be married to me. He states that he doesn’t trust me. No matter how much I apologize and own io to my failings it is never enough for him to want to stay married.

    Has anyone in this group worked really hard to make changes and your husband still did not want to stay married.

    I think he said today that he doesnt want to be a divorced man and doesn’t want our children to become a divorce statistic…yet he won’t budge with me. How does one go on?

    • Robin on July 23, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      Betsy 20 years ago my life mirrored yours. Couples counseling kept me in constant chaos. I spent years and years trying to figure out why nothing I did kept him pleased. Then a counselor told me that’s what destructive men do. They keep lifting the bar and nothing you or I could would ever be enough. I would say run out of coiled counseling and het your own counselor to help you. Couples counseling is an port unity for him to perform for the counselor andale you look like the crazy lady. I was actually checked into a hospital on the emotional wing the morning after one of those counseling sessions together. You need to be caring for helping yourself heal and let go expectations for the marriage and allow God to work to heal the marriage or show you more truth. I hear your heart that wants to sAve your relationship but it’s really up to God to do and He can’t till you let go and trust Him . I know you are in a hard spot right now. You will make it. But give up your hope that you are the answer and God will do things you never imagined possible.

      • Leslie Vernick on July 23, 2015 at 8:39 pm

        I just love reading all the support and love and encouragement on this group. You gals ROCK.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 23, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      Betsy, perhaps it’s time for you to let go. It seems he has an agenda to stay with you to punish you but not to love you, forgive you or reconcile with you. I’m don’t think that is God’s intent for you. So if you were brave enough, perhaps you might say, I accept you don’t want to be married to me and you are free to go.” That staying married in name only does not honor God. The kids might fare better with both parents in the home if you both can be respectful and get along but if there is this underlying contempt towards you for your past, I don’t see it as healthy for you or the kids.

      • Betsy on July 26, 2015 at 7:55 pm

        Leslie
        We have had maybe a turning point, or it’s just the after affects of anthesthia. Friday my husband had knee surgery. He wanted hugs when he was waking up from the surgery. He has been affectionate on and off throughout the weekend. He is on crutches so I have been caring for him. He is even talking about a family vacation in August.

        As each day goes on, my anxiety has been increasing. Eventually he will begin to return to normal and won’t need me to be his nurse and caretaker.

        Maybe he has had a sincere change of heart , maybe it’s the pain medication. He has been harsh in his words and tone of voice. I am learning to wrap my heart in Teflon to let the words roll off. I am gaining courage to tell him that I do not like the way he is speaking to me.

        I need to pay attention to how he may be punishing me. He doesn’t wear his wedding ring and hasn’t this past year. He wore it a couple of days at Christmas, then boxed it up. THIS feels like punishment to me and is immature in my eyes.

        I have a lot to think about.

        • Lisa on July 27, 2015 at 3:01 am

          10 to 1 when he doesn’t need your care he will return to Mr. Nasty.

        • Leslie Vernick on July 27, 2015 at 8:20 am

          Yes you do but NOW is your call to change you – don’t put hope in him changing – if he does that’s great. But stop allowing yourself to be the punching bag for whatever angst he is going through.

  69. Ann H on July 23, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Betsy,I truly ” feel your pain”. It is so very hard to come to the realization that the men we married who took the same vows we did,are not willing to do ” everything it takes” to make our marriages work.We went to two different counselors,a couple where we were making good progress until my FH hired them to lead seminars at a non profit organization he started ….they were then compromised in counseling us as they were beholden to him.The second was a woman that my counselor recommended and after 7 sessions she said she was not able to help us ,with no explanation.But it was clear to me why: I was crying throughout the whole session ; she asked what he felt seeing me cry like this.His response was ” I have no feelings”. I knew then that I and our marriage were not worth fighting for,to him,That was the beginning of the end.It was five years ago; I left during that period and returned and then left again in 2013. I know it was the right thing to do as there is no way to work on the marriage alone and I was not willing to remain in the marriage just in name only.It had been 21/2 years since I left ; two months since our divorce……and it still hurts .It hurts that he wasn’t willing to work at it and that is rejection,And rejection just plain hurts.But that’s when the Lord is willing to be our husband and we have the opportunity to know Him in a way we would never have without walking this painful period.Small consolation? No,actually a big one.That is what I hold on to.I pray you will be able to receive that as well.I am truly sorry for the pain you are experiencing but as Leslie and Lundy Bancroft have accurately pointed out,sometimes marital counseling,in the case of emotional abuse,does more harm.Sad,but often true.

  70. Betsy on July 23, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Ann..my eyes are welled up in tears. I can relate to your story. Why do we deny reality? Why do we continue to try and hope that our husbands will come around?

    Some days when I am feeling courageous, I find hope knowing how much God loves me and he is my true husband. Other days I will fight to save my marriage even if it is just me fighting for it.

    I follow Rejoice Marriage Ministries and find hope in the testimonies.

  71. Betsy on July 23, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Robin..thank u. A lot of what u said makes perfect sense to me. Wow.

    I always feel like the bar gets higher and higher. I know that I am changing for the better yet my husband refuses to acknowledge anything I do. He is still yelling at me about the same things that he was many months ago. I wonder if he likes to see me so from up…like he is thinking ” ha ha its payback time..”. He claims to be a man of God..yet treats me like I am an unworthy person.

    God can be the OnLY source of reconciliation. I have to hand my husband over to God. The only connection that I have with my husband is raising our boys in a home that is hurting and split apart. I pray that God reveals more truth to me. I never thought of asking for that.

    I m reading Leslie’s book and signed up for her CORE class in August.

    • Robin on July 23, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      I’m glad you have some resources Betsy. An abused woman needs information to exchange for the old thinking. My number one resource was Lundy Bancrofts book- should I stay or go?? My daughter handed it to me and asked me to please read it and leave dad. She knew he was never going to change. Leslie’s books definitely steered me in some of the how’s I was struggling with. The third book I recommend isn’t necessarily the third in the priority – I wish more women would read this book early on in their painful process. A CRY FOR JUSTICE- Cripens, this is written by a Pastor who felt it was time for church leaders to be informed in how many women in their churches are suffering due to an abusive mans deception. I love all three of these books- they teach much about how to walk Godly, how to learn to care for ourselves and our children and how to thrive. Betsy I want you to know I am thriving. 3 years ago I was living with a man who abided me everyday and wanted nothing to do with me except to have his sexual needs met. I tried every trick I knew of to overcome the distresses in our relationship. In the end I learned I would never be enough. Rapists do what they do, they rape. Abusers do what they do- they abuse. Women have to come to the place where they are ready to stop jumping thru all the hoops hoping their husband is going to notice. Yes, God can heal. But if he is an abuser, Lundy Bancroft and Leslie Vernick to name a few, say it’s very rare. They have to be serious about acknowledging their abuse and so many won’t. We’re all praying for you!!!!!

      • Susanne on July 24, 2015 at 11:50 am

        Robin – I just finished reading “A Cry for Justice” as we discussed in an earlier post. It is an amazing book with loads of truth and healing for anyone who has gone through abuse. I couldn’t wait for it to come in the mail so I purchased the e-book. After reading it, I am going to make an appointment with my pastor to discuss this very important topic. I believe all the leadership should have these resources (and actually read them).

  72. Betsy on July 23, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Everyday I feel like I am jumping through hoops. I get nothing.

    I know deep in my heart that I have apologized several times, asked God to change my heart, asked God to help me see why I was disrespectful, have asked for forgiveness, have allowed my husband to treat me poorly because I hurt him etc…I have repented, I have been willing to do what it takes to heal, and my husband still says ” no”. Why don’t I wake up?

    • Robin on July 23, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      Betsy God created women to be nurturers. It’s understandable why you havnt given up. It sounds like you’re beating yourself up and I’ve yet to hear anything that unforgivable. My husband did the same to me. It’s one way they can keep control– by heaping guilt they will never trust us again. Please tell me where in Scripture it says we can be unforgivable. I would encourage you to understand this is one way an abuser- abuses. You need to forgive yourself and move on. As long as you stay focused on what you didn’t do well- you will stay stuck where u presently are. Taking care of past issues is simple– God I’m sorry, please forgive me. I don’t want to simify it, but it’s quite simple. Please don’t allow your husband to hold you down with the past. You have new information. It’s time now for you to decide if you believe it.

  73. Betsy on July 23, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Robin..you are right on. I do have new information. I can move forward. Staying stuck with him is a tragedy.

    You have given me lots to think about

    • Robin on July 23, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      Let me encourage you with something that really helped me. Whether you stop needing him, or get a separation, or file for divorce…..IS NOT THE END. You are simply drawing a boundary saying, I will not participate in your disrespectful and destructive behaviors. You are free to make a choice. You can choose to love me, you can choose to leave me, but I will stand up for myself and not accept anymore of his behaviors. You are never closing the door in his face no matter what he says. You are being a good steward of yourself which God expects us each to do. You go girl!!

      • Betsy on July 26, 2015 at 7:57 pm

        Robin..love how you say ” it is not the end.” That feels so hopeful.

  74. Ann on July 24, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Good word,Robin.Betsy,Leslie rightly points out that whether we stay or leave,it WILL be painful and that is why it is so important to have strength in your core.Back to the original blog that all these comments have emanated from,Dawn said, ” you will know”. I must say I knew years ago but stayed out of fear of the unknown….fear of loneliness,fear of being tagged a ” divorced woman” and the repercussions of that( soon after the divorce papers were signed,I had a drs appt.It was the first time I had to check the box,” divorced”, I just burst into tears!), fear of financial uncertainty,fear of how our adult sons would adapt to a divided family…..and on and on.Once I realized that I was not staying because God was calling me too but because I didn’t trust Him to be my Husband,as He has promised ,knew I must leave.I love the verse in DT.” He that honoreth Me,I will honor”. I believe my leaving honored the Lord and I know He will keep His side of the bargain! My prayers are with you,Betsy.

  75. Betsy on July 24, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Thank u Ann…

    I am sitting in a waiting room as my husband is having knee surgery. I am reading Leslie’s book.

    I have been the abuser in some areas in my marriage. Especially page 54, Indifference and page 68, unfaithfulness, not in the sexual realm.
    A thought came to me that I was treated the exact same way by my own parents and some family members. I didn’t know that what I was doing was so hurtful to my husband. I just knew that I was surviving the best way that I knew how. No one gave me an instruction manual on marriage or parenting.

    …and now he is doing this to me.

    The good news is that I can own my behavior, confess to God, ask for repentence, confess my sins to my husband, and then leave this in Gods hands.

    I have a friend who shared with me the visual of taking our sins and brokenness and visualizing walking up to Jesus and leaving them in his wounds on the cross.

    I will honor God. I will ask for His truth to be revealed. I will learn to trust him with my marriage and my husband. Jeremiah 29:11 tells me to trust and have hope.

  76. Ann h on July 24, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Betsy,I pray the Lord would ” direct your path and orchestrate your steps”. I too made mistakes,: I had alot of anger that I directed towards my husband for years.Looking back,some of it( possibly most ) was wrong and misdirected and some of it was part of the crazy dance we had going on.I brought baggage into our marriage; so did he.However,his parents both died when my FH was in his 30’s so my family dysfunction got the entire blame for our marital problems.He actually said to me,and to others,100% of our marital problems are due to my upbringing.Sadly,I knew and have learned more since leaving,that he brought alot of ” stuff” into the marriage,including a father that had had a longtime affair with a secretary and a mother that had some sort of mental illness that the family didn’t really discuss.He has now come to recognize some of his childhood pain and is looking into it( unfortunately not with Biblically sound counseling,but a very new age approach)I am thankful he is finally addressing it for himself and our sons and their future families; but it breaks my heart we weren’t able to ” be broken together”. I heard a song on the radio last fall( oddly enough it was only played a few months ,as far as I know) It was ” Broken Together,Married Forever”,by Casting Crowns,I think.I literally had to pull over on the side of the road as I started crying uncontrollably ( yes,I AM a cryer!:))I actually emailed my FH with the words of the song telling him just what I have said to you.I wish it could’ve been different.But our Lord knows and Jer.29:11 tells us His plans for us are good,to prosper us and not to harm us.I pray,Betsy,that you will prosper and not be harmed in any way by any one.

  77. Betsy on July 24, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Ann H.. I know that song by Casting Crowns. I can’t listen to it without crying.

    What happened in your marriage that made it too late?

    My husband and I are still married, in the same house, same bed, sepearte lives, talk mainly about our boys and superficial stuff. He threatened divorce exactly a year ago. Nothing has happened. He doesn’t want to be a divorced man yet doesn’t want to ever trust me again or connect with me. Time and God is all that I have left…and of course myself. I am slowly gaining courage to not take things personal and to confront him when he hurts me.

    • Robin on July 24, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      Betsy, I’m not sure I understand why you condemn yourself for past mistakes??? Do you not accept Jesus paying for all our mistakes? And do u not believe your husband as well as all of us make many mistakes?? Your husband has you right where he wants you/ until you fully accept you are forgiven. This is a crucial step and need for you to move forward. As long as u choose to self condemn you are believing things about your husband that aren’t true. Self condemnation takes all the power away from us. Please don’t focus on your own mistakes. That minimizes what your husband is doing . And there can be no victory in that!!!!!

      • Betsy on July 26, 2015 at 8:04 pm

        Robin

        Such wisdom in what you shared. I need to really take a look at why I continue to condemn myself for my mistakes. It has something to do with the power I give my husband. When he lists all that I have done..I just take it. This takes all power from me.

        Now I need to move far away from the shame, blame, and condemnation to a place that is proactive, honoring to God, and honoring to myself. My husband may not join me. He may stay in a place of self protection, lack of trust, bitterness, contempt, and a mindset that divorce is the better option.

        I want victory and peace.

        • Robin on July 26, 2015 at 8:19 pm

          Betsy – let me state it very simply.
          You made mistakes. I made mistakes. Your husband treats you destructively and so did mine. It is what men do that have abusive issues, they load their spouse down with guilt so she feels crazy and he wants the attention off him. It’s that simple.

          • Robin on July 26, 2015 at 8:21 pm

            All we do is learn better how to set personal boundaries to protect us from abuse. Some men respond- but most don’t. But we’re not taking hope from them. We are actually helping them learn to love their families. It’s all up to them, not us.



        • Leslie Vernick on July 27, 2015 at 8:19 am

          Yes Betsy you do. How can we help you do just that.

  78. Ann H on July 24, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Betsy,it is much too long for an email but the short answer is my FH had a long term emotional affair(!which he never really owned), was in the throes of another as I found through texts and emails ( at a time that I thought we were doing much better!)and I have strong evidence it became physical,but he denies it.She,like the other gal,could be his daughter,and works with him.I asked,after discovering the communication between them( late night calls as well) for her to be removed from his staff.He refused….also alot of verbal and emotional abuse.And after leaving,I discovered he had been moving money ,making huge investments without my kniwing( this is after 35 years of marriage!)so more and more deceit.I think he wanted to be married in name only to protect his reputation in the Christian world .Very sad as he is one of the most gifted people I know.I pray for him daily and for our family to be protected from the evil one.My lawyer was very afraid that I would go back to him,probably with good reason.But I feel the Lord protected me as he showed no remorse ( just denial) and no desire to make the marriage work.

  79. Sandra on July 24, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    God bless you, Betsey, and I pray God will direct you and give you the courage to leave this destructive marriage. Don’t wait 57 years as I did! Believe me, it doesn’t get better!
    Sandra

  80. Caroline Abbott on July 24, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    I love your discussion of boundaries, and your statement, “As women we tend to incorporate “moveable marks” where we should be placing “finite finishes” as to what is tolerable. This is often in response to errant biblical teaching and our inability to distinguish between wishful and hopeful thinking.” Ten years out of my abusive marriage, I still have trouble settling boundaries with my loved ones. I just never learned to do this in my growing up years. People set lots of boundaries with me but I was never allowed to set any boundaries for myself. Great blog. Thanks Leslie!

  81. Sandra on July 25, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Anonymous: My goodness, I’m not a counselor, but the way your husband treats you and your son truly sounds like “crazy-making” that Leslie described in her books. It will certainly damage both of you emotionally. I know, because it happened to me. My heart and prayers go out for you. Sandra

  82. Sandra on July 25, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Oh, dear Patti, my heart aches for you! It certainly sounds like your husband may have Autism or Apergers (sp?) Syndrome. Would counseling help if that, in fact, is diagnosed? I’m praying for you to trust in the Lord for direction. You can fully trust in His love and care for you. Praying for you, Sandra

    • Patti on July 25, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Thank you Sandra. He will not go for any testing. He said it would hurt his self esteem to be diagnosed with anything. The therapist said he does not have aspergers, just “asperger like characteristics”. I don’t know what the difference is. She said that we would never have a great marriage, but we could find some “sweetness” in time (like 5 or 6 years). I spent over 20 years believing everything he told me. Now that I am starting to question him on things, I find he lies or twists things around almost constantly. Even in areas where no twisting or lying is needed. I don’t think I will ever trust anything he tells me again. He refuses to discuss anything slightly negative (because he says I won’t react well) so we never address issues between us. He is angry but I have to guess about what when I get covertly punished. I’ve also become aware of manipulation techniques and I’m now able to spot them and stop them more. I’ve learned that when I confront him he will say very little and I will start talking again OR he will talk nonstop and the discussion ends in a different direction where he has not addressed the issue and my head is spinning. It is only later that I realize he actually never answered me. I’m learning how to stop both of those (either by being silent until he HAS to say something or by stopping him and redirecting him back to the original issue). Neither of these go over very well and he gets upset. There are times he can’t remember anything and then other times he can tell a third party everything in perfect detail. It is very confusing. I’m trying to trust God. To own my own flaws and sins and grow. I’m in therapy and he is in therapy and then we have a third therapist working with us as a couple. She has said she will always advocate for marriage no matter what as it is Gods plan. She has agreed privately there is financial and covert abuse by my husband. But I guess if I stay then the financial control won’t matter because he will continue to support me. My main concern right now is trying to rebuild my relationship with Christ. But it feels like a catch 22. The only thing I know is that He has told me to step out in faith. But is that step to move back into the bedroom or to separate and trust God to take care of me emotionally, physically and financially? And since I’m not clear I sit where I am….staying, but not staying well.

      • CincyCC on July 26, 2015 at 6:05 am

        Patti, You need to educate yourself about Asperger’s syndrome. From everything you’ve written, I think this is possibly your root problem. It has affected my marriage for 35 years. Google Aspergers and marriage. There are many resources online and lots of books available. You’ll read your story, written by other women, all over the Internet. There is no cure, only strategies to deal with it. One thing that really helped me was taking a class based on the Cloud book Boundaries Face to Face. I also recommend A Cry for Justice web site. It’s helped me get closer to God and understand what His Word really says about marriage/divorce.

        • Patti on July 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm

          Thank you CincyCc. I am reading Boundaries In Marriage. I will look for the other book and the cry for justice website.

  83. Ann H on July 26, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Patti,as I was reading and praying through your last post,I felt you might want to reread DAWN’s blog from which all of our very helpful postings intiated.Dawn said ” you will know when to leave”. I am simply wondering if you know but,like so many if us,are postponing the inevitable.Dawn gives very practical and critical advice : good legal counsel,a strong ” band of brothers” constantly praying( SOOOOO important!); correct analysis of the unbiblical counseling you may be receiving from your marriage therapist( simply false)and any others etc,Even if you are not ready to leave now,it is important to get ” your ducks in a row”. I also strongly agree with Leslie’s advice about having no contact with him, if you choose to leave.The first time I left,we had contact and saw each other for counseling; it was truly crazy making,The second and final time,I had no contact except through my legal team.It was the hardest thing I hope I will ever encounter in life but I feel I have left Egypt and onward toward the promised land….either on earth or in heaven! Prayers are with you,Patti.Take comfort that many have tread this painful path as well.

    • Patti on July 27, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Ann H., thank you. I have felt like I want to leave, but it is selfish and wrong. I truly do want to honor God (which I know I am not doing right now regardless). I have a very hard time thinking God would be okay with my leaving, regardless of the issues between us. I want to be positive I am not rationalizing or justifying things in my own head. I have no hard proof he has been unfaithful, just circumstantial. I don’t really know if porn watching is actual unfaithfulness, or if being uninterested in physical intimacy throughout the marriage is abandonment (some people have told me this is the case and others have said it is not…it depends on their biblical interpretation).
      As far as no-contact if I do leave, we have 3 children so that would be impossible.

  84. Sandra Babcock on July 26, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Patti: Since your husband “has symptoms” of a serious mental health disorder, I’m not sure just how Leslie would advise dealing with him. Should you go or stay??
    However, unless your husband prevents you from going to church and having Christian fellowship and support, you can certainly do that on your own, and have private Bible study and prayer. I did that throughout my marriage, and would have been a basket case otherwise. God knows and is in control of all, and will bless you as you trust in Him.
    Praying for you, Sandra

    • Patti on July 27, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      Thank you Sandra. I’m looking for a bible study. Our church has one but I don’t feel it is the right group for me. The leader is a lovely woman with a good heart, but her judgement can be questionable at times (she revealed some things I told her in confidence to the entire group so they would know specifically how to pray for me and my marriage. I didn’t know the group very well and I was completely mortified). Again, I believe her heart was in the right place. I had revealed to her that I had been hurt by church leadership in the past and wasn’t ready to open up. I had not told her a lot of the things that were going on in my life and kept it very general (thankfully). But I still was mortified and hurt.
      My husband is not a Christian but he will attend church and has allowed our children to attend Christian schools.

      • Sandra Anderson on August 5, 2015 at 1:48 pm

        Patti: I can relate to your not feeling comfortable joining the Bible study you mentioned. I think sometimes others share personal issues they’ve been told in confidence as prayer requests, when in fact, they are on the level of gossip. I had to leave a church for that and other reasons soon after my divorce. However, don’t give up your search for another Bible study group because the right one would be a wonderful source of support, just as this blog is to us.

        I also want to mention that my ex-husband had a stroke about 15 years before our separation. He recovered, but with some dementia, which I think contributed to his extreme jealousy and verbal abuse. I wondered if I should leave someone with limited mental health, but even after setting boundaries, the abuse only got worse, and had I stayed, it would have escalated to physical abuse.
        You need to consider yours and your children’s well-being as well. Prayers for you, Sandra

  85. Beverly on July 26, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    Dawn your blog is filled with great wisdom and insightfulness. As you know, I walked the same path many years ago. Unfortunately, I do not recall having a real exit plan…but I found that God, by his amazing grace and mercy, took my hand and lead me through it all. He is so good. He will carry you when you cannot walk and lead you to the life He has for you. Bless you and your family.

  86. Stacy on July 26, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I just want to thank u all for your posts it has been a great inspiration for me. I live in limbo everyday on what to do to leave or stay. My husband has anger for past 13 years it usually is very bad in April and August. I can’t understand why am I such a pleaser he fractured my ribs and couple weeks later I take him away for his birthday for a weekend only for things to return back to anger. I am trying to read as much as possible and these posts have really helped me. Currently he said he will not divorce me but has a separate post office box and now has control of the money. Anything I need for me or kids I have to ask him. I can’t even get a gallon of milk. It’s very hard to live this life and what scares me is to leave and not be able to sustain the same life style for my kids. Please continue to share your posts they are really helpful. I am again in limbo unsure of what to do I hate to go through divorce with kids and custody I truly feel stuck.

    • Robin on July 26, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Stacy, it is not an easy process to put a name on our marriage problems is it?? I do understand, and I want to share that everything you said in your note I did too. It takes time for us to understand what is going on in our home. The one question I will ask is — you mentioned wanting to have same lifestyle for children. I guess I’m not really asking as much as sharing– I would rather my children live in a safe home without anger and control. God will take care of you as you lean on Him.

    • Betsy on July 27, 2015 at 6:20 am

      Stacy..I am new to this as well. In an earlier post, I shared that ui wished my husband physically abused me because the abuse would be obvious. Mental, emotional, and spiritual abuse is less obvious. I am still in denial that my husband is emotionally abusive. When I read about your fractured ribs…my first thought was to find safety immediately for you and your children. I would rather go without and trust God, then to be treated with such disdain. Stay in touch with this group of women. I have received a ton of help and hope in a few short weeks.

      I have no idea what will happen in my marriage, but I DO KNOW that I will be come stronger, saner, and solid.

      No on is talking divorce at this point. Clearly your situation is about your safety and your children’s. Ask God to guide you. Shout out to God that you need him NOW. Talk to an abuse shelter or domestic violence liaison. Arm yourself with knowledge. Start a daily journal of things your husband says or does. Writing down in black and white has help me. I am praying for you beautiful child of God. The women in this blog and Leslie are full of wisdom, support, and strength.

      • Maria on July 27, 2015 at 7:57 am

        Stacy,I have not experienced physical abuse, but from what I’ve read, things don’t get better, only worse. If your husband is capable of breaking your ribs and has uncontrollable anger, you and your kids are in danger. Please get the police involved and try and get to safety as quickly as possible. Leslie has pointed out many times that God values our safety. It is very important for you to get the police involved so that these incidents can be documented. If the kids are witnessing you getting physically assaulted, it can be very damaging to them. In my opinion, it is better for your kids to have less materially than to be exposed to this violence. There will be major consequences for them living in such violence. Documenting his behavior (by reporting it to the police) will help you get custody of the kids later. Look into resources in your community that help battered women- shelter houses, counseling etc. You are living with a very dangerous man. In my opinion safety for you and your kids should be your first priority.

        • Maria on July 27, 2015 at 8:08 am

          Stacy, another thing I wanted to add- I don’t think it is possible to stay well when there is physical abuse.
          Is your husband the only one working?

          • Leslie Vernick on July 27, 2015 at 8:10 am

            No it is not wise or possible to stay well when there is physical abuse, I agree.



          • Susanne on July 27, 2015 at 2:39 pm

            I could NOT stay well when my ex h was physically abusing me. Here it is 3 years later and my health has suffered due to the abuse.



    • Leslie Vernick on July 27, 2015 at 8:13 am

      Stacy, I think it would be better to sustain a safe lifestyle in poverty than a middle to upperclass lifestyle with fear and physical abuse. You and your children are living in danger and you need to consult with a woman’s shelter, get a protection order for abuse so that he will be mandated to leave the home and perhaps even put in jail. Please do not allow yourself to be repeat victim.

      • Lisa on July 31, 2015 at 12:28 am

        One thing that does worry me is living at poverty level puts us in another kind of danger—living in dangerous neighborhoods. We lose either way.

    • Lisa on July 30, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      Stacy,

      Don’t listen to what he is saying—‘currently he won’t divorce’—financial control and getting p.o. box are divorce mode tools. He is posturing himself to get one. Mine is doing the same. Start educating yourself on the divorce process—without his knowledge—just in case.

      This book is for divorcing someone like our husbands:

      “Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder” by Bill Eddy

      See if your library has it; if they don’t, you can put in a request for them to purchase it.

      Lisa

    • Lisa on July 30, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      Stacy,

      Don’t listen to what he is saying—‘currently he won’t divorce’—financial control and getting p.o. box are divorce mode tools. He is posturing himself to get one. Mine is doing the same. Start educating yourself on the divorce process—without his knowledge—just in case.

      This book is for divorcing someone like our husbands:

      “Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder” by Bill Eddy

      See if your library has it; if they don’t, you can put in a request for them to purchase it.

      Lisa

  87. Mavis on July 27, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Stacy,
    Please don’t enable your husband’s anger and disrespect of you and your children to continue by tolerating it. He does it because he knows he can. God loves you and your children and wants health and safety for you so that you can be all he designed you to be.

  88. annette on July 27, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    I’ve been out for almost 3 months now . i have good days and i still have bad days too. I don’t regret leaving i hate being a burden on my dad and stepmother, my money is so tight its hared for me to give them anything right now. my dads very understanding . but i finally came up with the money to pay my lawyer. see i didn’t pay back evil for evil i tried to deal with honer ,with my the man i have a contract with.i don’t call it marriage because its not. I’m using everything he’s done ,not for revenge but because i had put an investment in us and he broke that. i have to be able to recoup some of that . i lived whit it all verbal, physical, financial ,mental and sex abuse . when i left i ran our of my home and literally hit a tree trying to get away. i don’t hate him, but i don’t feel sorry for him at all . if he wanted to be a different action taken ,he should have acted differently. i don’t want my pound of flesh ,just a some of whats mine. he hates women anyway so he’s going too fight me . what a jerk, i’ll never for get when he told me “if i take all the money away you’ll leave”.i ran to counseling for two years trying to understand so i could fix me to be able to live in that nightmare. Thank God he got me out.

  89. Susanne on July 29, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Dear Sisters – I sent an e-mail to my church elders, along with a copy of Leslie’s Scripture Supports for Separation from a Destructive Spouse. During my separation I was nominated for deacon and again this past year I was nominated, but the church leadership decided that because of what I was going through, they wouldn’t even call me for an interview. My question to the elders is simply to ask what the church’s position is regarding abuse, separation, divorce and allowing someone to be in a leadership position. The response I got back was that they would love to meet with me and talk about my concerns next week, but before they do, they want to ponder it and pray about it. Is it just me or do you think the answer should be simple, straight forward, right from the rules and regulations of the church or policy and practices, whatever they go by? I know we should pray about everything, but I’m not asking for an opinion in this case, nor do I want it sugar coated. I’m having a little trouble knowing how to reply without sounding like I’m demanding an answer. I do know that these particular elders had both been previously divorced before they got married to each other. I have to wonder if I need to get married again before I can serve in my church! Not doing that, just saying 🙂

    • Robin on July 30, 2015 at 2:33 am

      Susanne, I say DITTO To what Brenda said. Sounds like you’re ready for this meeting. We’ll be praying for you!!!!

      • Susanne on July 30, 2015 at 11:26 am

        I received a response from the elders after I said I simply wanted an answer to my question about the church’s protocol on this issue. I am sharing what they wrote, but have X’d out the name of the church. I had already advised them that I was not seeking a position of deacon or elder. I was humbled by being nominated two years in a row.

        Here’s their reply:

        ” In the past, some members of XXXX have experienced similar toxic relationships and of course XXXX has always tried to encourage reconciliation. However that is not always possible when one or both parties do not want to reconcile for whatever reason. XXXX has taken action in the past in abusive relationships by physically being involved in removing a wife and child from the marital home and helping them in their new life. People in the congregation stepped in to help, all the while praying and hoping for reconciliation which has never come. There are other examples as well.

        Our church will always try to help and protect those being abused, whatever the circumstances. We are not professional counselors but we are believers in the power of our Lord and Savior and in the power of prayer.

        At XXXX, no one is held back from being a Deacon or an Elder for example because they may have been abused in a relationship. XXXX and I have both experienced unwanted divorce but are now Elders at XXXX in spite of. However, we were counseled to hold off and wait until we were ready to serve in any position for a period of time; looking back that was very wise advice. We needed time to process our new lives before we committed to any volunteer position in the church. And when we did volunteer, we started slowly and let the Holy Spirit direct us. I personally was nominated twice for the position of Deacon or Elder but declined until I felt I was ready to serve in those positions.

        The process for becoming a Deacon or an Elder in XXXX is a formal process that involves a nominating committee reviewing the names of all candidates put forward and discerning through prayer and discussion the suitability of each nominee. Some of the determining factors include the spiritual walk of the nominee and also if there is something going on in a nominee’s life that may interfere with the discharge of their duties. One of the purposes of the Nominating Committee is to lovingly protect all members of the ‘flock’ including the nominee.”

        • Robin on July 30, 2015 at 9:38 pm

          Susanne. I know you asked a simple question but received much more but how do you feel about the info they sent??

          • Susanne on July 31, 2015 at 11:33 am

            Well Robin, I felt as though they did kind of answer my question, however, the part about always encouraging reconciliation unless one or the other doesn’t want to reconcile for whatever reason, didn’t quite sit right with me, but I just let it go. I provided Leslie’s Scripture Support article and I hope they choose to read it and pass it on to the other leadership in the church as suggested.



          • Susanne on July 31, 2015 at 11:37 am

            By the way, I made it clear that I wasn’t looking to be a deacon or elder in the church. I just wanted to know their take on separated/divorced people, that’s all.. At this time, I really have no desire for any position, but I am seeking the Lord for my marching orders each day. God bless you sister. 🙂



  90. Betsy on July 31, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Susanne..

    .I love how you say “but I am seeking the Lord for my marching orders each day.” I needed to read this. I am struggling today in my marriage and holding on to my self worth and dignity. I leap into fear and forget that I have a Lord who orders my steps and has me in the palm of his hands.

    Betsy

    • Susanne on July 31, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Betsy, believe me, I’ve been there over and over again…in fear, trying to figure things out. It has taken me many years of pain, anxiety and fear to finally realize that we can make all kinds of plans and then worry about them, but it is the Lord who truly has the final answer. I slip back into that mode now and then and have to be reminded that He has everything under control….we only have to believe it and cast ALL our cares upon Him. Oh how I worried and worried. I told someone once that I worried over worrying, lol. All the worry, fear and anxiety doesn’t get us anywhere but ill. God bless you Betsy as you look to the ONE who does have you in the palm of His hands. Praying for you sister.

  91. Betsy on July 31, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Susanne

    Thank you !!! The key for me is to not take back what I hand to God, right now it is my marriage and husband.

    You are right…all the worry, planning, wondering, assuming, fixing, etc does nothing but make us sick.

    I heard someone say today that it is not what we think, it is what we do.

    So I pray that you and I and all of the women who read and share, do what is pleasing to God even if our thoughts are not so pleasing.

    • Susanne on August 1, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      Betsy, yes, instead of being a people pleaser, I now choose to please God, or at least I’m doing my best to do so. My counselor said to me: “audience of one” and that really stuck with me. Huge blessings today. 🙂 🙂 :-),

  92. Betsy on August 1, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Susanne…

    I am working on the same thing. I only need to please God.

    I was watching a utube video this morning on Codependency. Such a powerful addiction. Whatever the counselor said described me and how I relate to my husband.. I have looked for his approval from day one and now that he wants a divorce and treats me poorly, the urge to ” use” my need for approval addiction is stronger than ever. Slowly, I am releasing this addiction and seeing how valuable I am. God and women who love me are the ones that I need to help me walk through the unknown in my marriage.

    Hugs
    Betsy

  93. Traci on August 2, 2015 at 6:35 am

    Hi,
    I’m ready to leave. When I realized my husband was a covert narcissist and didn’t just have some bad habits from a rough upbringing, I was ready.

    It’s only been 2 months since the light bulb moment, but 10 years of gaslighting, lies, deceifullness and no empathy.

    I did not love him when we martied. So leaving is not breaking my heart. My Achilles heal is my son. I dont want to hurt him by not waiting for a miracle but my husband has started his smear campaign to friends and family already. Worst yet, he’s begun to bad mouth me to my son! He is only 5 and is angry, sad and confused. He (son) told me last week that he was mad at me because he “can’t trust me!” Who does that to their child???

    I’ve pleaded with my husband, broken and crying to stop hurting our son in this way. But I get denials and once a promise to stop.

    I feel he’s crossed the line. Am I wrong? If he has no problem hurting a child just to hurt me, his sickness is deeper than I’ll ever know.

    Opinions please ♡

    P.S. Other issues are:
    Addictions
    Hiding money
    Lying
    Stealing (even from his son)
    no empathy
    gaslighting
    Disrespectful
    etc

    • Maria on August 10, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      Traci, you say your husband is using your son to hurt you. He will more than likely hurt your son more when you tell him you want to separate. You are in a tough spot. Get all the information you can, before you finalize any decisions. It would be a good idea not to share any of your plans with your husband until the last minute. One of the ladies here shared how she left yrs ago, and how her husband bad mouthed her to her kids,and now her kids have turned against her. I can’t seem to find that post. Please look through the past posts.

      • Traci on August 10, 2015 at 10:35 pm

        Thank you Maria.

        I’ve read many times to get my ducks in a row secretly and agree. My husband is constantly sneaking around the house looking through things, reading my journals and stealing to the point that I’ve had to purchase safes to keep anything private. (And then learned I needed the keypad kind because he kept stealing one of the 2 keys to 3 different boxes I bought. Each time telling me he couldnt believe I had “lost the key AGAIN!” I ended up finding those stolen keys among his things.)

        Im wondering if you know of any books or articles that explain step by step what we need to do. I want to do this the best way possible for everyone involved especially my son. 🙁
        Thanks again for responding

    • Aleea on November 6, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      He has crossed the line and you are not wrong. That is a really bad (-and long) list.

  94. Liz on August 2, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Why did you marry him if you didn’t love him? Sorry to hear how he is involving your son, that is so cruel. Praying for your son’s protection and discernment for your next step. Please think things through carefully especially with a child involved. Have a safety plan in place and get good legal advice before proceeding.

    • Traci on August 10, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      Good question Liz! Lol

      The proposal was completely out of left field. He asked in front of all my family and I didnt want to embarrass him.

      My parents had let it be known that being single in my 30’s was concerning and a disappointment. So when I said yes the “plan a wedding” train was quickly in full gear and I let myself enjoy the ride.

      I left a message for my bff that I wasn’t sure I should be doing this but she never called me back. Plus, my husband was in the love bombing phase where he treated me like a queen. I thought it would work out. Lol

  95. Nadjia on August 7, 2015 at 6:40 am

    I am currently separated from my husband. We have a long history of emotional abuse from day one. We have been married 19 years and I am currently living in Spain preparing to return back to the States on August 21. We have been missionaries for one year here. My husband was sent home six weeks ago after I stood up against the sin and abuse in our marriage. There is also a history of going to counseling twice in our marriage. The last time we went through counseling was six months before we moved here and I honestly believed he had changed. The transformation was so miraculous that even the counselors released him. However, he went back to his old patterns literally the day after he left counseling. At the time, we were in such a good place that I didn’t believe it was happening. So we moved to Spain a month later and within six weeks of moving here we were worse than ever. I tried to talk to him and I pleaded with him to remember what we learned in counseling. I was vulnerable and willing to work on it. He blamed me for everything and the conversation ended with him telling me, “if you don’t shut the f*$# up, I am going to beat you.” Things obviously got worse from there. I felt I was living in a nightmare. Finally, I reached out to a friend who is a counselor. She recommended Leslie’s book to me. WOW!! That was about four months ago, and I have been through a lot, but haven’t looked back.

    Here’s my problem. In the past, my husband has been very good at convincing me and everyone that he is changing. He talks, talks, talks, talks. Even now, he is crying, emailing, texting all the right people with his brokenness. He says he takes full responsibility for everything. He is meeting with the counselor and has even increased his sessions. He is meeting with a pastor for mentorship on Wed. mornings and three other guys on Wed. nights for accountability. He talks about how God is doing a deep work in his life. However, since the day he left, he has not respected my boundaries, not once. I told him I needed space and that I would contact him when I was ready to talk. I was open when he left about my feelings and what I wanted. He has completely ignored that and has not stopped pushing marriage reconciliation. He makes sure to let all the right people know how much he wants to change. He also talks out of both sides of his mouth and manipulates information. When he’s called on it, he acts innocent, like he misunderstood. He did this last time. He will spend hours reading, reflecting, journaling, talking, talking, talking…..but no real, lasting change. So now in front everyone else, I look like the stubborn, disobedient woman who is staying separated from a man who is working so hard. I keep hearing things about how the power of God will change him and I should be careful and give him another opportunity. This is coming from the authorities over us now (not my church or the counseling office), the mission agency, my boss here in Spain. I’m okay with them not agreeing with me, but for a recovering people pleaser, it’s hard. I wish he would just leave me, but no….he’s so obsessed with me that he won’t. Not to mention the on-going addiction to pornography. He had an affair ten years ago that we worked through. He didn’t actually have intercourse, so technically, it’s not an affair as stated in the Bible. He has been destructive to me and my children in all the ways that are covert. Not enough for me to be justified in divorcing, but yet I’m expected to give him another chance. I won’t compromise my need to see lasting change. At this rate, I don’t believe it will happen. My oldest son, who is 15, wants me to divorce him. He says he hates him and doesn’t want to see him again. As soon as we get home, I am putting him and myself into counseling. I have been careful with the two youngest to preserve their relationship with my husband. I am also trying to help my 15 year old with this anger by not fueling it with information he doesn’t need. He can see truth for himself, and he has lived his own pain with his father.

    Thanks for letting me share my story. Leslie, you wouldn’t believe how much sweeter my relationship is with the Lord as a result of the truth you are sharing. It was like a magic healing balm for me to say out loud that my life is just as valuable to God as my husbands. For years I believed that his was more valuable than mine and that I was to suffer so that he could be well. I was so deceived! I still believe my husband’s life is valuable to God and that God loves him and wants to see him walking in truth. I finally found the courage to get of the way of that, and it feels so good to walk in freedom and truth. Thank you sister.

  96. betsy on August 7, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Dawn. Thank u . I really needed to read this.

    Betsy

    • Maria on August 10, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      Nadjia, Leslie has a blog about what true change looks like. She also has one on a sincere apology, I think. Please look back her archives, that information will be very helpful to you.

  97. Sandra Anderson on August 10, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Nadjia: My heart aches for you, dear Sister. It’s incredible that a missionary of the Gospel could behave in this way. My ex-husband committed adultery and was extremely verbally abusive, jealous and controlling, but at least was not a Christian (although I was taught at my church that I must forgive, be submissive and keep praying for his salvation, which I did for 57 years, to no avail). When I finally read Leslie’s book, I realized that God didn’t expect me to live that way any longer. It’s a long story, but I’m finally divorced and praising the Lord for the blessed peace and freedom to serve Him as never before.

    Oh, I also want to remind you that even though your husband claims he didn’t actually commit adultery, Jesus said that even if a man looks lustfully at a woman, he’s guilty of it, and that includes pornography, in my book!

    Prays for you, Sister, Sandra

  98. Wendy on October 5, 2015 at 10:24 am

    First off – thank you to the author. I so needed this today. I am approaching the year mark of my separation and my husband has told me multiple times that I must be the one to divorce as it is not biblical for him. I have children that are caught in the middle. I have never expressed to them the emotional abuse that took place but have rather talked about the effects of words and how one shows love. I have never spoke ill of their dad to them in an attempt to protect what relationship they have with him. My question is this, how have any of you dealt with this issue? How do you teach your children to see the effects, to understand why you left because of abuse without actually calling it abuse? My children are teenagers and old enough to understand but I do not want to damage their relationship with him, but rather want them to see and understand abusive techniques and be able to recognize them and confront them – with him and anyone else that they may deal with. This is the one area that I have found hardest to deal with and would appreciate any help you ladies can offer.

    • Robin on October 5, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      One question I would ask– if your husband abused you, surely he did much the same towards the children. Do they not remember??
      In my case my children were treated as poorly as myself – but as they began those years of becoming young adults their dad did start trying to have more relationship with them/ to try and win them to his side. I don’t want to sound negative, but try as you might and some good ideas were shared here- the abuser will win the children until they are ready to acknowledge the truth about their dad. I try to keep my goal to continue to do what is right – and remember God is in control when my children will finally awaken. I wish for you the very best in helping your children!!!!

  99. Liz on October 5, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I think you just point out when he says something abusive and tell them it is hurtful and not the way to speak to people. You point out the sin and talk about peaceful confrontation and exposing sin. Talk about boundaries and forgiveness. If it is abuse, I would call it what it is or just call it sin. Explain that you feel unsafe or what ever the reason was that you separated. Tell them why you are still separated, he hasn’t confessed, he still does it, he doesn’t think he did anything wrong, what ever the reason. Just tell the truth and explain how God loves us even when we sin but the fellowship is broken until we confess and repent. Sounds like you have done this, pointed out the sin without tearing him down as a person or expressing a desire to get back at him. My kids heard the abuse and don’t want to be around their father because of that. They are having a hard time forgiving but he hasn’t apologized to them either. Hope this helps a little.

  100. Sandra Anderson on October 5, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Wonderful advice, Liz! This parallels my destructive marriage as well. It sounds to me, Wendy, that your children are already aware of their father’s abuse, without your having to explain it, as was the case with my grown children. God bless you dear, Sandra

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