Morning friends,

Well, my front yard IS looking better. Change is taking place and I like what’s happening. Perhaps that’s a good picture for your life. You took a good hard look at what you saw and didn’t like what was staring back at you. It was time to remove the deadwood, the diseased and even the areas that were functioning too well (like my huge front bushes) but disrupting the overall balance and beauty of your life. Yes, it looks messy for a while, mud keeps getting on your shoes, poison ivy might catch you unaware, but the results are worth it.

photo (13)

Here is my interview with M. My question are in bold, her answers are in regular text.

After many months of being separated you decided to return to your home. Tell me a bit about how you made that decision and how it’s been for you.

When I first separated I knew I wasn't staying well at all. I was scared to speak up. I owned all his negative responses. Somehow it was always my fault and I believed him. I was the bad guy, blamed for everything that was wrong with our family. We had gone to numerous counselors but nothing was working. I was feeling more and more depressed and defeated. I knew I had to separate for my sake and to get myself in a different space mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

When you separated, what did you do to help yourself get stronger?

I had two goals when I separated. One was to get stronger and healthier for myself. The second was I hoped my husband would wake up to his part and want to work on the things he needed to face. I told him I needed to do personal coaching and asked him to do the same since marital counseling had not worked for us.

Before I left I talked with my pastor asking for his support letting him know I was working with Leslie and hoping my husband would be willing to work with him. My pastor tried, but my husband disagreed with his approach and did not continue and left our church.

I asked several women from the church to pray for me and hold me accountable for the work I needed to do. I shared with my children what I was doing and they were unsupportive. They didn’t understand my decision to leave and it was tough to hear that they supported their father.

During that time I worked with Leslie to build my CORE strength and deal with my own attitudes and behaviors that contributed to our destructive dance. I learned that I wasn’t a great listener, sometimes (unknowingly) would say things that shamed my spouse. I also learned that his reactions were his, not mine to own and I could control the way I said things, but I could not control the way he heard them or responded to them.

I learned how to take better care of myself, how to find my voice and speak up, (not only with my husband but with my adult children), to set better boundaries and stop over-functioning all the time. (tweet this)

My relationship with God deepened tremendously. I kept asking him to change my husband but he was working to change me.

What happened that you decided to return home? Did your husband “get it”? Were things different between you now?

I returned home solely because felt that’s what the Lord wanted me to do even though nothing had changed in my husband or marriage. I went home with the understanding that I could have no expectations for a good marriage, no demands on my spouse to change and communicated such to my husband. I also told him my boundaries. I would not “pretend” we had a good marriage publically by going to friend’s houses together or dinner parties. We had separate bedrooms.

At first I cried every night to sleep. I wanted so much for my marriage to work. I had to pray for God to lift that terrible sorrow. I knew I couldn’t stay well that way very long.

Thankfully God answered that prayer. I don’t cry anymore at night. My coaching and support people have been a great help, but I have two faithful friends who have stuck through this whole process with me and continue to be a big support even now.

Right now I’m in a different church than I was before I left. When my husband left our previous church – I ended up following him, hoping that would help but he quit going there. He hasn’t gone there for a year and half.

In order to continue on my path to wholeness and accountability, I joined a 24 week Faith Walk Class. It built on a lot of the CORE values that Leslie helped me with. I had the opportunity to put into practice what I was learning.

Two things that helped me the most – we talked about learning where I ended and my husband started, owning how much I let him define me. I couldn’t quite get it even though Leslie talked about that in our coaching I was still fuzzy. How do I walk this out?

A book was recommended to me to read, Scary Close by Donald Miller, and it was very helpful. One particular illustration really resonated with me – the three pillows illustration. The counselor placed 3 pillows on the floor, one for the husband, one for the wife and one pillow placed between them. The pillows that each of them stood on represented them – their thoughts, their beliefs, their feelings, convictions, likes and dislikes.

The wife could not step on her husband’s pillow nor could he step on her pillow, however the pillow between them they could both step for it represented what they shared together. This really helped me understand more clearly that I can be me and not feel bad about myself. I have thoughts, dreams and likes and that’s who I am and no one can take that from me.

The other thing that really helped me was to learn to listen better and hear someone’s heart. To ask questions and reflect what you’ve heard until they know you’ve heard what they said. At the end when they feel you’ve understood, you have opportunity to share your thoughts. Even though this process doesn’t seem to make a difference in my marriage learning this has helped me. That’s been huge.

Two years ago I used to own everything he said about me and it would devastate me. How could I be so awful? But God is helping me to not own his anger or his hurtful remarks.

This has been a big change in me and it’s taken a while. I’m holding myself accountable to walk closely with Christ and I am trying to keep my life on the right path. I have also had to learn to keep a clean slate and forgive my husband again and again, even though he never asks. He seems to feel no guilt.

Sometimes I have doubts and condemnation starts to rear its ugly head, but I’ve learned how to deal with it so it doesn’t take over my soul or spirit.

So what I hear you say is that you’re staying well but your marriage is still bad.

Yes, but I have learned how to be authentic, I don’t pretend anymore.

In a lot of ways, I see myself living with a little boy in a man’s body. I have learned to accept that. I have come to accept that things may never be different. I can’t say it’s easy and I still have lots of hard and lonely times and I’m making it day by day by God’s grace.

However, what’s different is now I’m able to stand up and hold my head up and I’m becoming more of who Christ is calling me to be despite the circumstances of my marriage.

How have your adult children responded to your return home?

Kids are fine. They don’t say anything. I would welcome a discussion, but I don’t bring it up.

The kids are good with me but I feel that they are more partial to their dad. I can’t change that. But I’m grateful that they aren’t isolating me as I felt during the separation.

I enjoy our family times and the grandchildren are very precious to me.

What else are you doing for you?

I’m working part time. My friend opened a shop and invited me to work with her a few days a week. I love it. It gives me something to focus on.

For a while I stopped praying about my marriage but God put it on my heart to continue to pray for my husband. He said, “Who is going to pray for him if not you?”

This class I took has taught me that I do matter. That God says I have value. And, that I can be in ministry and speak into the lives of other women even while still having a bad marriage. That surprised me but God is good and I want to glorify him in my life.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not easy to stay well. Some days are harder than others but these days I’m feeling good about me. I have hope for a future ministry with other women, and for that I’m very thankful.

Friends, what are some of the things you have learned from the three past blogs that you will need to do for yourself if you want to stay well or leave well?

157 Comments

  1. Kim on July 22, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Please pray for me this morning. This post resonates with me because I’m choosing to stay well. My husband and I have 8 children, the youngest of whom is 10, and we would fall into the low-income category, so I really don’t feel I have a choice to leave. However, I can stay and model Christ to my family. This morning, we have our second joint session with a counselor who has informed me that after meeting with us separately several times, he feels that the root of our issues is needing to apologize and truly be sorry. I politely but firmly expressed in an email that I disagree with him. So I’m not excited about the session today. Please pray!

    • David on July 22, 2015 at 9:45 am

      You ask for prayer but you refuse to say your sorry!?

      • Lonely wife on July 22, 2015 at 11:56 am

        David….did you pick up on what the counselor said “The root of our issue is needing to apologize and truly be sorry?”
        That is NOT the root of their issues, and that’s what Kim is disagreeing with…when you live with an abusive spouse, saying, “I’m sorry” fixes nothing, it goes much deeper than that!

      • Susan on July 22, 2015 at 11:58 am

        Being forced to apologize for something you did not do is not healing, it’s coercion.
        I don’t know the situation or what you’re being told to apologize for, but if your being told to apologize for not being a better wife (and that is why your husband is abusive to you), I would never apologize for that either- and THAT is a sign of healing in my opinion. The fact you refuse to take blame for his hateful actions against you.
        (Again, I don’t know what you’re being told to say sorry for.)
        I have lifted you up in prayer for extra strength and courage. Being a mother to 8 is draining enough, let alone with a man who belittles you. 🙁

      • Lonely wife on July 23, 2015 at 12:44 am

        I Agree, Islandgirl!

      • David on July 23, 2015 at 8:30 am

        not sure why you consider my comment as being “obnoxious”. Refusing to say your sorry for something you have contributed is obnoxious … many people have this problem tho.

        • janet on August 4, 2015 at 9:25 am

          your comments sound angry and full of judgment David. you say you are sorry when you know what you have done wrong.
          how can this couple say they are sorry when the counselor hasn’t even taught them healthy behaviors. the counselors recommendations are putting the cart before the horse. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. a family member in my family continues to say she is sorry, with no changes. of what use is that.

      • Samella on July 24, 2015 at 9:25 am

        Cough, cough…TROLL!…er…I mean…LOL!

      • Kathy on August 4, 2015 at 8:15 am

        If there is one thing I’ve learned from everything I’ve been through it’s this: apologizing for something you did not do serves no good purpose for anyone in the relationship. If you didn’t “do” it, you have no responsibility to apologize. In fact, just the opposite. The truth will set you free – nothing else. True honesty is the only way to live in any relationship; even if it hurts sometimes.

    • CB on July 22, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Kim, If I’m interpreting your post accurately, it’s not a matter of you refusing to apologize, it’s more a matter of disagreeing that this is the root of the issue. I can relate to that. My husband and I have been with our current counselor for almost two years. He has focused on communication in our marriage. Believe me, both of us need to work on these skills; however, I feel like we have skirted around the root issues that have contributed to the emotionally destructive patterns in our relationship. Many times I feel frustrated and discouraged after going to counseling. I am praying for you, your husband and the counselor.

    • Susanne on July 22, 2015 at 10:48 am

      Kim – Praying for you, your husband and your children. You sure must be busy with 8 children. God bless you! Praying for truth, peace and God’s comfort as you look to Him for your needs. He will supply ALL your needs, according to His riches in Christ Jesus, according to Phil. 4:19. Lean on Him. Trust Him. He is your source. Keep your heart open to hear His voice and see what He is telling you about your situation. In my marriage, although my husband was very abusive, I continued to search my heart to see if I needed to repent for anything I might had done or said. This is a good daily practice for anyone. Question: Are you going to a Christian counselor?

    • Lonely wife on July 22, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      Kim….I’ve read over and over again that joint counseling with an abusive spouse is a bad idea.
      A lot of times the abusive spouse takes what was said in counseling and uses it against you later….my spouse did that!
      Also, most abusive people can be very charming…and they charm the counselor into feeling sorry for them…again, my H did that!
      When I told our counselor that my H was using what I said in counseling to attack me during the week…He said NOTHING, but then told me that my “tone of voice” was wrong when I talked to my H!
      Oh brother! I’m sorry…but when he’s sitting there, all pious and saying how sorry he is that he’d hurt me…when not 15 mins before that he was griping in the car about me “dragging” him to counseling…yep, I guess that aggravation in my voice came through loud and clear!!
      I’m starting counseling next week, on my own…I’m doing this for ME, so that I can stay well…and I’m not even telling my H…why should I? He doesn’t care about me or our marriage, he’s made that obvious!

      • Lonely wife on July 22, 2015 at 12:04 pm

        PS… I am praying for you!

      • Lisa on July 22, 2015 at 12:20 pm

        In ABUSIVE marriages:

        Couples counseling = Fishing expedition by abuser to use against his wife

        Might happen on the way home from the session, the next day, the next week, month, or year. But it IS going to happen!

        • Lonely wife on July 22, 2015 at 1:51 pm

          You’re right! It WILL happen!

        • Susanne on July 22, 2015 at 8:19 pm

          Absolutely! It happened to me, and not too long afterwards either.

        • Victoria on July 23, 2015 at 5:29 pm

          I agree & have experience d as well as any time I’ve been vulnerable with him. It got to the point that I took him off all my emergency contact list. And I requested Doctor’s offices only talk to me & not leave details on the home phone voicemail

          • Lisa on July 23, 2015 at 6:38 pm

            Totally relate. He especially abused when I was sick, going through an extended family trauma, trying to help someone else. I told him not to come to doc appts any more and assigned someone else as my medical and financial power of attorney.



      • Susanne on July 22, 2015 at 4:42 pm

        I went through the same thing in counseling. We went to more than one counselor together. When my ex h went to one on his own and his counselor asked to see me after several sessions, I went in and almost immediately the counselor told me I was co-dependant and that co-dependants break up marriages. Wow! He had only heard my husband’s stories, and they were just that…stories (he made up and probably even believed). I decided to go for my own counseling for myself because nothing else was working. At first I talked about my ex quite a bit until one session I said I was there for me and my counselor said she was waiting for that. From then on I worked on beginning to get healthier.

        • Susanne on July 23, 2015 at 3:57 pm

          I’d like to add that one of our church pastors at the time insisted on counseling for us

          • Maria on July 24, 2015 at 8:44 am

            Suzanne, it just shows that we need to be extremely careful who we choose to give counsel to us. We both met with our pastor for counseling for a time, and some of his advice was really bad. I’m glad that although I was very broken and down and vulnerable at that time, I still had the good sense to logically think through his advice (I had a good support network- family and female friends) and not take it. The counseling drained me. One thing the pastor said, and he quoted some verses about it was that I was sinning by not have sex with me husband. But when I did, I was in so much emotional turmoil that my responses to my husband were not pleasing to God. Then the pastor and my husband would focus on those responses. Looking back, if I had continued on that path, I would have lost myself. When I was going through this, I realized that I had no energy left over to be a mother. I thank God that I had the good sense to stop the counseling. I think the pastor had good intentions, I have no bitter feelings towards him. Pastors are in a position to give advice to others, but are not held accountable for the consequences that follow. My wise dad told me this when I was going through this- it’s easy for people to give advice, they are not the ones to bear the consequences. It’s so important that the person being counseled, look at the consequences and not just follow what someone is saying because they are the pastor.



          • Samella on July 24, 2015 at 9:20 am

            I think one of the problems with church leaders is that they can’t imagine their wives acting like we do. So, they give advice based on how THEY and their wives would/should respond. Come on ladies, what’s he missing? Simple. A destructive relationship is no where nearly the same as a normal one or even a disappointing one. They advise based on “normal” not on abuse. They couldn’t possibly give good advice.

            I’ve given my associate pastor Leslie’s book (which he liked) and Lundy Bancroft’s book (which he did not.) Didn’t work fast enough for me so with the blessing of our head pastor, we fired the associate (from our case) and got some professional counselors who know abuse. Night and day! Pastors are sinful human beings not supermen.



      • Victoria on July 23, 2015 at 5:31 pm

        I can totally understand your feelings and referred going for couples counseling.

        • Victoria on July 23, 2015 at 5:31 pm

          Regretted. Sorry.

      • Robin on July 24, 2015 at 9:55 pm

        Lonely wife I’m so glad you’re taking a step forward for YOU and getting personal counseling. I would like to say when I submitted to personal counseling (weekly) it advanced my growth about ten fold but TRUTH would be more like 100 fold. As hard as we can work at reading good materials and praying for God to work- signing up for a class with Leslie or meeting with a therapist specialized in trauma and abuse will literally change your life!!!! They can help point out the weak area’s and give u the support u need!!!!!!

      • Robin on July 28, 2015 at 8:41 pm

        Island girl- DITTO!!!!!

  2. Listening Ear on July 22, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Praying for you Kim

  3. Remedy on July 22, 2015 at 8:53 am

    M…thank you for sharing truly from your heart the sorrows and the victories you have experienced living in a destructive marriage. Can you describe the day to day interactions and way you do life at home while unreconciled in a marital way with your spouse?
    Thank you.

    • Remedy on July 22, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      I think I am bothered by the ‘not good’ loneliness problem in the Garden of Eden, for which no animal was suited to properly satisfy and the reason for a helpmeet and marriage. Is God glorified when loneliness characterizes our marriages usually because one (or both) in the relationship choose to regularly violate the vows/promises they made when they chose to marry.
      This is one area of continual confusion for me when we observe how most churches handle marital issues.
      Am I the only one who really wrestles with this?

      • Robin on July 24, 2015 at 10:06 pm

        No Remedy, I think u are right on. We can’t really determine how or what others will choose- but thru counseling I came to the point how could I possibly glorifying God by living in separate bedrooms, using separate finances, and only talking when necessary- or for the children’s sake. My children were all adults living on their own- but HATED their parents arrangement. How can we possibly be a good role model when we are allowing our spouse to sin against us- and we choose to stay in a place we must tolerate it. I know many won’t be able to hear me– but living lives separately even when you are standing up to an abusive husband – is not a Way I believe God puts His hand of blessing on. When I left my situation, my life did not just improve immediately by stopping son, God has met every single need sometimes before I even ask. I think the point is in this blog- not all women are ready to take the next steps. And so this blog is about hearing what they tried, did it work, and how much longer can you hold up in doing this?? We always have to remember, not everyone is in same place and some need more time because of their individual circumstances. But I totally hear you!!!!

  4. Daisy on July 22, 2015 at 9:18 am

    How do you know when going back is becoming once again a codependent/enabler and when it is something healthy to do for all involved? I’ve been separated for over two years and my two oldest kids have sided with their dad and have rejected me from day 1. I have never been asked to return home. They are too proud for that. I would never want to undo the progress I’ve made personally by returning to the same dysfunction. They are experts at making me feel guilty, though.

    • Robin on July 24, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      Daisy I’m so sorry for the way your children are treating you. I have learned thru counseling and my lawyer that it is very common for children to jump to the spouses side that holds the most power. I lost 3 children when I filed even tho at the time they wanted me to stop the chaos. I believe there is a great cost for Standing for Righteousness, but the reward will come. When there has been dysfunction and chaos for a longtime in a family it will continue also thru the divorce or separation. I wondered initially had I made an error. But I quickly learned we don’t make our d visions based on what our children think. We make it based on what God is telling us.

      • Remedy on July 25, 2015 at 2:59 am

        Robin…thank you for your thoughtful response to both me & Daisy. Your situation is very similar to mine and so your wisdom is a blessing to me. The Bible does tell us that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But we are also told ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.’

  5. Mary on July 22, 2015 at 11:36 am

    M. Thank you for your honesty & transparency. This blesses me. Kim, I am joining in prayer with you for God’s best life for you & your family.

    For all of us, I love Isaiah 43 beginning of the chapter in the Message translation:
    Don’t be afraid, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.
    When you are in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you are in rogh waters, you will not go down.
    When you’re up between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end. For I am your God, yur personal God, the Holy of Israel, your Savior.
    I meditate on these verses quite often. We are not alone. He is there each step we take to love & help us through our journey.

  6. Julie on July 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    M – I really needed to read this. I am so encouraged that you have chosen to stay and stay well. I will admit, however, that while reading your comments, part of me longed to be able to do the same thing but do not believe I can do that. After a year and a half of separation,11 months of counseling, and a PFA still in order, I have recently decided to divorce my husband. He, too, has not shown any change. He would say otherwise, but it has been clear to me that he really does not see how abusive he has been and still blames me for the physical abuse he has taken upon me and just excuses it away. I feel like if I could be sure he would not physically bring harm again, then I could stay and stay well, but just by many of his recent reactions during counseling and elsewhere, have shown me he cannot be trusted and leaves me feeling very uneasy.
    We have 8 children and 21 years of marriage, so making this final decision to divorce has not been easy. I know I am going to meet opposition, especially by the church. But I am remembering the promise that my “God has promised good to me”. I had hoped to be able to do what you are doing, but I have now decided to LEAVE and leave WELL…..

  7. Alene on July 22, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I am thankful for the real life testimonies this week and the past weeks; they flesh the word ‘well’ out into real life.

    I am aiming to stay well – yet I feel like I am needing to define ‘well’ more and more clearly.

    I suppose ‘well’ is a journey in understanding and growth.

    How can I stay well when certain items from the past are unaddressed and unresolved? as I slowly spot them and bring them up calmly yet truthfully, they can move to the ‘resolved’ category. i.e. having a conversation with my husband that put the weight of a past decision fully on him resolved that for me though he himself did not resolve it. Recently, bringing up an area of impact in the extended family and asking for action; just bringing it up resolved it since I had now addressed it, made it known and asked for action. Opening up about the truth of the marriage dynamics brought real relational connection with a family member I had isolated from.

    How can I stay well when there is truth to clarify? I am slowly breaking the silence on things that happened, just letting the truth come out, seeking to do so in wise ways with quiet strength. I think staying well means accepting it is a process of steps but making sure I keep alert for opportunities.

    How can I stay well – accepting what is, functioning, blessing others, finding joy – if I am still struggling to not to feel overwhelmed or depressed … or distracted by seeking to see and overcome in the relationship or with the children who learned to tolerate the weird ‘normal’? hmmm… how do I find the balance of living well in the reality simply able to be myself not pulled one way or the other but steadily walking the steps in front of me with graceful truth?

    • Samella on July 23, 2015 at 6:44 am

      Alene, it’s ok to be right where you are in the process.You’ve already learned some things. You’ll learn some more things tomorrow or next week. Don’t beat yourself up because you don’t know EVERYTHING you need to do right now.

      If you fail. So what?! Guess you’re a sinner like the rest of us. Repent and enjoy the cleansing grace of our Lord.

      You’re doing a great job already! It’s obvious that God is leading you on a path of health and sanity. Learn to trust yourself and your ability to hear from God. You know a lot more than you think you do!

    • Jackie on August 5, 2015 at 2:10 am

      Alene, Beautifully put! You have a gift of expressing yourself in a open and honest way. It didn’t seem like you were beating yourself up but more telling how it is. The way you wrote helps clarify this season more clearly. You were able to express what I could not put into words. It helps me to identified in ways of how I feel and also thought provoking ENCOURAGMENT of the truth. Thank you for sharing. God has blessed me through you.

  8. Gloria on July 22, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Knowing whether a couple should seek marriage counseling for marital issues or if the abusive person should seek counseling for help becaue they are abusive, whether married or not, would really help right?

    Why do we beat ourselves up trying to make something wor
    k and not realizing that it may not be a “we” problem? Just a thought.

  9. Maria on July 22, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Alene, I have decided to stay, and I feel I’m staying well. When my husband behaves poorly or says something unkind, I have learned to hold him responsible for his words and actions. When he blames me for his words and actions, I objectively analyze it, and if I find out I’m not to blame, I don’t let it affect me. Many times there’s no point explaining to him why what he’s doing/saying is not my fault. I’ve accepted that. Several times there is no resolution to issues. Staying well means I’ve accepted that reality, and I’m at a place where it does not affect me. I choose to focus on the truth- what God says about me and what the Biblical principles are concerning what’s going on. When I fail, I don’t beat myself up, I realize I am also a flawed individual, in need of His grace and strength. I had to emotionally disconnect from him in order to do this. Now I’m able to respond well to him even when his behavior is not good.

    • Lonely wife on July 23, 2015 at 1:09 am

      Maria, how is that working for you, being emotionally disconnected? Does your H say anything to you about it?
      I’ve had to do that as well, and my H accuses me of not being affectionate, or tries to snuggle up to me and hug me…I move away from him and he says “What? I can’t hug you? You’re my wife, I just want to hug you! What’s wrong with that?” What’s crazy about his behavior is that we haven’t been intimate for over a year, and he refuses to talk about it…I’ve explained that I want to have an intimate relationship with him, but not the way it’s always been…emotionally manipulative and abusive.
      It really frustrates me how he wants to pretend that all is well, even though I’ve explained many times that since we don’t have the kind of marriage where I feel safe, where I don’t trust him (history of emotional affairs) and where he never, EVER resolves ANY conflict between us, he wants to keep acting like all is well between us!
      I have an appt to start counseling next week, and I plan on addressing this issue with my counselor…but I’d like to know how others are handling being emotionally disconnected, or more precisely what are your husbands reactions?

  10. Listening Ear on July 22, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Hopefully this is not an inappropriate question , but when you ‘ ”emotionally disconnect’,”how do you manage to be “real” with sexual intimacy. Quote frankly, sometimes I feel like a prostitute with my husband due to years of neglect and unresolved issues,

    • Maria on July 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      Listening Ear, I am not sexually intimate with my husband. I would feel really cheap if I were considering he does not behave in a living manner with me.

      • Maria on July 22, 2015 at 6:02 pm

        I meant “loving”

    • Lisa on July 22, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      I felt exactly the same so I stopped being intimate. He is divorcing me, because he says I’m not being a wife to him. He denies and minimizes abusing me and that’s o.k. with him, but I’m suppose to ignore all that and give him what he wants.

      • Susanne on July 22, 2015 at 8:17 pm

        I was in the same situation….no intimacy with him due to abuse = more abuse/separation/divorce. Intimacy with him prior to that = abuse and disrespect anyway. You can try everything and anything with someone like that….nothing changes unless there’s true repentance.

      • David on July 23, 2015 at 8:38 am

        Exactly my case but the roles are reversed. I stopped being ‘intimate’ with my wife and she left me saying that I was not a husband to her. She denies all she has done but I am to ignore and be her gigolo … no thanks. It works both ways you know.

        • Susanne on July 23, 2015 at 11:21 am

          David, we do understand that there are women abusers as well. Its not always the man who is the perpetrator. I’m sorry that you have gone through this. We know the pain and can empathize with you brother. I pray that God will comfort you and give you peace and wisdom and that you can glean from the many here who have gone and some still going through abusive situations. God bless you!

        • Betsy on July 26, 2015 at 12:53 pm

          David.. Curious how your wife was abusive to u. When did it start? My husband has been calling Mr abusive, manipulative, and a ” shitty wife.” I definitely bsee where I have been selfish and hurtful as a wife. And he has been the same to me. Would love to know your story.

    • Lonely wife on July 23, 2015 at 1:33 am

      Listening Ear, I haven’t been intimate with my H in over a year, and yes, I also felt like a prostitute for many years because of the way he treated me!
      It was after I read Leslie’s book that I finally realized WHY I was feeling that way…and I sat my H down and explained about reading Leslie’s book, and I told him exactly what she suggested in her book…my H said the same thing he always says, “I understand.”
      And that was it.
      Recently he did come to me and asked when can we have sex again, and I told him that I miss intimacy also, but since he is continuing to lie to me and stopped counseling again, and has also flirted with other woman right in front of me, and then accused me of “looking for something to get angry about” and that I still don’t trust him, that I can’t have that kind of relationship with him until I feel safe.
      He didn’t like it, and gave me the cold shoulder for a day or two….but I’m use to that so it no longer bothers me.

      Honestly…you can’t be intimate when you’re in an abusive relationship…you are defrauding yourself every time, and it hurts, mentally and emotionally.

      • Robin on July 28, 2015 at 8:47 pm

        Ladies I have a hard time understanding if you think you are staying well- when you say you don’t feel safe to enjoy a sexual relationship- and often you live in separate bedrooms. So do you call that staying well. And do you not feel these separations you feel you are making from your spouse serve as red flag warnings- that something is very wrong- and if you feel unsafe in your relationship, have you considered that perhaps your children feel unsafe also??

        • Robin on July 28, 2015 at 8:53 pm

          Staying well as I have interpreted it from Leslie’s materials, means living from our core and choosing to be real and honest in your relationship. So maybe if you want to stay well, a better way to think about it is NO I will not participate in a sexual relationship because it dishonors me but I look forward to the day you want to work on things and we can be united sexually, emotionally and physically. Perhaps then you would feel empowered to why you feel so badly if you give in to sex – and you would know that it can’t honor God. ???

          • Robin on July 28, 2015 at 9:04 pm

            When I had read Leslie’s many materials she had to answer all my questions– I sat down and asked my husband to view her videos with me. When he was done I asked him do you understand why I can’t respond to intimate relations with you? He said I heard what she said. I think that meant he heard but didn’t like it. I had him listen to all her videos as I wanted him to have enough info to respond well if he chose. Joe chose not too. I could not stay well. We had been in separate bedrooms for years. I no longer felt I was being honest with myself. 2 weeks later I filed for divorce. He still didn’t respond. Today I live a very real and honest relationship with myself. I am filled with peace and joy which I had none while staying in a destructive relationship. Thank you Leslie for those videos. They truly rescued me.



          • Leslie Vernick on July 29, 2015 at 12:39 pm

            You’re welcome. I appreciate the feedback. I hope to so some more in the near future.



        • HisEzer on July 29, 2015 at 2:27 pm

          Robin,

          I think you resolve the question somewhat in your own follow-up points made to this post… but just in case you are still wondering (or in case another reading this is still not clear)… There are varying degrees of “feeling unsafe.” When many of us state we no longer share the same bed or have intimacy with our husband it is not necessarily because we feel threatened by potential physical harm but rather threatened by ongoing emotional, spiritual, and psychological harm… the kind that comes from feeling taken advantage of…of being lied to… the kind that results from going through the motions of pretending all is well when in fact the relationship is quite unhealthy… (because self-absorption, dishonesty, desire for control, attitude of entitlement, and other forms of destructiveness remain in place and have never been acknowledged or repented of). That kind of lack of safety is not necessarily harmful to children — just harmful to the wife. When an in-house separation results in de-escalation of the destructive behavior and produces a semi-peaceful environment equal to that of basically being house-mates who go about their daily lives separately with no interaction beyond what is absolutely necessary (such as urgent household matters which arise…) This is what it is like for many of us — an outcome which remains quite disappointing (heart-breaking) but is still less problematic than it would be to leave. For we’ve come to understand how many — particularly those with children still in the home — continue to encounter terrible difficulties even after leaving. Instead of finding peace, it is discovered that one set of harms has been replaced by a new set— and it usually revolves around the children’s needs — issues regarding visitation, and concerns with what dangers they might be exposed to while with their dad, etc… So, for many of us, in-home-distancing has become the lesser of two evils — the overall best solution to a bad situation. By it, we are simply choosing to walk in the truth that the relationship is broken … that we will no longer tolerate destructiveness… we will no longer publicly prop up a lie that all is well when it is not… we will no longer enable our husbands to live in self-delusion.

          However, for those women whose husbands continue to daily badger them, daily threaten them, daily engage in destructive behavior, endangering them mentally, emotionally, or physically — THAT is a different story and different level of being unsafe, and you are right, in those cases a woman with children in the home directly observing the destructiveness really has to determine if staying is actually more of a harm to her children than leaving… My heart breaks for women facing this level of destructiveness. I know some of them, and it is very hard to escape it… no matter what path is taken. Some of them manage to. Others we read/hear about in nightly news reports… 🙁

          Hope this clarifies the understanding of different levels of “safety.”

          • Melanie on August 4, 2015 at 10:29 am

            Beautifully explained.



          • betsy on August 4, 2015 at 1:49 pm

            His Ezer..thank you for this post. Two weekend ago my husband had knee surgery. He was nice to me, we went out in public together, he was affectionate. Slowly as he has stopped taking his pain medications he is back to treating me with disdain. This past weekend we were intimate. He actually kissed me. For the last two days he has avoided all physical contact with me and is rude. I am once again heart broken. I am waffling between fear and courage. I can’t take this much longer. We r going to the beach as a family in a couple of days so I want to keep the peace so I can have a good time. When we get back I will set the no seex boundary until he starts treating me like a wife and reinvests in our marriage. Living like roommates isnt going to work for me. Divorce will have to come from him since he blames me for the state of our marriage. Today is tough for me.I made a commitment to stay in the marriage and repent of my sins and work on myself. I dont know how I will make it. I would rather he beat me..it would be obvious and easier .



          • Elizabeth on August 25, 2015 at 8:45 am

            Yes, beautifully explained, HisEzer. Your statement “By it, we are simply choosing to walk in the truth that the relationship is broken … that we will no longer tolerate destructiveness… we will no longer publicly prop up a lie that all is well when it is not… we will no longer enable our husbands to live in self-delusion.” describes it well and succinctly. I no longer want to live a lie and have just recently put some of these things in place as we moved and it was a good time to make a “room” change. I am so thankful I did and feel more at peace and able to respond to my h. better. Blessings to you all in whatever part of the journey you are. God is there and faithful to us.



  11. karen on July 22, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    How do you stay accepting when it is your husband who stopped touching you twenty years ago and used every possible excuse to avoid any kind of intimacy? Does God find honor ina marriage\ministry that is a total lie? I am also curious to know and hear from women who are not dependent on husband for income in this situation (and much worse) who chose to stay, forgive, accept and know they are not loved, wanted or respected for anything except for the income they bring to the equation? Anyone out there who has been primary wage earner most of their marriage (almost 40 years) who have stayed and survived and stayed healthy? I have tried so hard but it has been a terrible roller coaster of passive aggressive\narcisstic\porn addicted\financial\some physical and nearly constant emotional abuse and control. Any thoughts appreciated feel i have tried everything ……….and am still trusting God to bring something good out of this but starting to lose hope in a big way….again

    • Floridagirl on July 22, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      I, too am choosing to stay but can not seem to stay well! I provide the only income while he sits at home watching tv all day and his mother pays his bills. I have 2 young boys (great example for them, I know!) and they are the reason I stay. I have separated more than once and can not endure the depression and worry I feel when my children are in “his care”. I can not seem to control my anger and bitterness living in the same house with him, watching him eat everything I work hard to provide for my kids. It is beginning to effect me physically AGAIN! I just don’t know how to do this!!

      • Maria on July 25, 2015 at 7:13 am

        Floridagirl, you’re in a tough situation, I feel for you, and will pray for you. Can you find a good counselor (for yourself) to talk things through? Leslie has a “CORE” class coming up soon that would be great for you to attend. Once you start working on yourself through counseling/ classes, you will slowly find yourself having a sound mind, and your decisions will be better.
        On your bitterness, although your feelings are perfectly understandable, bitterness will “kill” you. Even if you decide to leave, looks like there’ll be a period of time that you will have to stay. In order to stay well during that time, you may have to accept that staying with him will involve him eating the food you buy. Is it possible to put some consequences in place that will make it so uncomfortable that he gets a job? I know a friend who put some tough consequences in place, but the husband did not budge. She finally left him. I think it is important for you to talk through your options with a counselor and come up with a plan. Otherwise you will continue to get bitter and it will not be good for you or you children.

      • Jane on July 31, 2015 at 12:43 am

        Floridagirl, What is your relationship like with his mother? Is she using your husband like an emotional crutch? Can we get her to counseling and some way team up to let this boy/man grow up, finally! I understand you trying to keep the kids safe. Are they in counseling? What consequences can you put on boy/man? What are you getting suckered into as a role of a mommy instead of a wife?

        • Jane on July 31, 2015 at 12:45 am

          Also, I was taught in medical school that depression is “anger turned inward”. Can you find a healthy outlet for your anger? Please don’t blame yourself, you have a lot to be angry about.

          • Leslie Vernick on July 31, 2015 at 10:59 am

            Please consider joining my free webinar on Depression on AUgust 6th. TO sign up go to my facebook fan page.



    • Lisa on July 22, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      I unfortunately am without any good earning potential. If I was in your situation I wouldn’t stand for one more minute of his abuse. Considering what you wrote about him and the fact you can’t change his heart, what good is putting up with all that abuse?

      • Lisa on July 22, 2015 at 10:11 pm

        Maybe the good God wants to bring out of this is to bring you out of that abusive household???

      • David on July 23, 2015 at 8:39 am

        “I unfortunately am without any good earning potential. If I was in your situation I wouldn’t stand for one more minute” yes I understand, it is all about money.

        • Lisa on July 23, 2015 at 10:21 am

          I’ll address you thus one time.

          David I hace seen your remarks on other blog postings and you are an instigator and troublemaker. I highly doubt you have any real dealings with being abused, more like you are the abuser.

          • Lisa on July 23, 2015 at 10:24 am

            Really sick and tired of your inflammatory posts.

            I wish Leslie would ban you from here.



          • Leslie Vernick on July 23, 2015 at 8:49 pm

            Lisa I don’t ban David or other’s like him because his thinking is so unbelievably twisted, yet on the surface can sound so “biblically right” that I like to leave him on here so you all can “see” how unhealthy it is and to speak up for yourself in good and godly ways. This is practice ground for seeing clearly and speaking up for yourself. And, I am so proud of how you all deal with David. We can pray that someday he will wake up and understand his hurtful ways and repent.



          • Maria on July 23, 2015 at 6:23 pm

            Karen, it sounds like you have stayed all these years hoping your husband would change. It doesn’t even sound like he’s telling you he’s willing to change. There is a recent post in the “cryingoutforjustice” website on what it takes to change. Please take some time to read that. If your reason for staying is because you think your husband will change, I don’t think you can be healthy and stay well. Leslie has mentioned that it is a huge burden to bear when we feel we are responsible for someone else’s changing (in my own words). Only God has the power to change another person. When our focus is on our spouse changing, it is like a roller coaster because every time they do something wrong, we’re disappointed. Accepting his abuse and staying may be enabling his behavior. May I ask you why you haven’t considered leaving?



          • Betsy on July 26, 2015 at 12:58 pm

            I thought David was legit and just commented to him oh gosh..
            Too late to delete.



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

        Lisa, sometimes because of the constant put downs, we start believing the lies and think we can’t make it. I’m not sure about your situation, but that was the case with me. I had not had a job for a while, and I was in the dumps when I started looking for a job. When I got one and then did well at the job, my confidence began to grow. God put the right people in my life at that time, and looking back, I’m still amazed. If you don’t having training in a particular field, there are so many opportunities out there.

    • Lonely wife on July 23, 2015 at 1:40 am

      Karen…if I had an income…things would be different! I’m trying to stay well because I’ve been a stay at home mom for 30 yrs and my options are limited, and also, my H isn’t verbally or physically abusive…he just disconnects emotionally…if he were verbally or physically abusive, I’d have to rethink “staying well”…

    • AJ on July 23, 2015 at 5:49 am

      Have you even considered placing your hope in the good that may be found in your leaving someone who has broken their wedding vows in so many ways? If your spouse is not taking full responsibility for his actions and committing to the work of change then I think you are free to pursue Christ and remove yourself from this evil environment. Hope for sure, but maybe not in this marriage. It takes time to discern the right path but He will show you. It takes much grieving of the lost dream but for sure there is great hope and freedom and joy. I am overwhelmed with how God has blessed every step of my long journey toward healing and freedom.

      • David on July 23, 2015 at 8:43 am

        Wow, wow and I thought this was a Christian site but I had doubts but this where you are pushing, persuading, advocating breaking up a marriage is pure evil and now I know with 100% certainty that site is NOT Biblically based. Thanks for the clarification

        • Remedy on July 23, 2015 at 10:11 am

          With all due respect David, choosing to marry and making vows to love, honor & cherish your spouse have implications upon the life of the one entering the sacred covenant of marriage. Refusing to honor and keep those vows/promises in a regular basis is the true ‘pure evil’ and sin against not only the spouse, but against The Most High. He does not delight in the one who makes a vow and fails to keep it by refusing to repent of it.
          When this is the reality of a marriage, you have only a piece of paper…..NOT MARRIAGE. We do not marry a piece of paper or a law…..but a person for which we enter into an extremely unique type of relationship. No other relationship on earth is like marriage.
          Be very careful throwing the word ‘evil’ around unless you are aligning it with what God calls truly evil.

          • Remedy on July 23, 2015 at 10:31 am

            When one consistently chooses to break their vows/promises, they have abandoned the marriage whether their physical body has left or not. They have brought destruction to the special bond of trust and love that is defined by God as what marriage truly is. If it continues without confession and repentance, abandonment is addressed in I Corinthians 7….of the Bible. Therefore, according to the Bible, some marriages may and likely will come to an end.
            We enter a covenant when we enter marriage and The Lord will hold us highly accountable for what we did with our part of the covenant. Let us not be deceived in this.



          • David on July 23, 2015 at 2:27 pm

            Read the other posts, especially those that speak of forgiveness and not being bitter, seems they don’t agree with you



          • David on July 28, 2015 at 9:06 pm

            Even common sense would tell you that it is just as wrong for the wife to withhold sex as the husband – it works both ways you kno



        • Susanne on July 23, 2015 at 11:36 am

          David, most of us have been through years and years of abuse before we even considered leaving our spouses. In my case, we separated for 6 months in 2010, went for counseling, together and separately to no avail. My husband said he went for anger management and believed he was delivered from anger. I wanted so desperately to believe him so I asked him to come back home. Within 2 years of verbal/emotional abuse it escalated to physical abuse, leaving me injured for the past 3 years and on medication! Would you suggest I should have stayed in this marriage after that? I don’t think so. God does not want us to be abused. A true Christian spouse would not continue to do so without repentance. There was absolutely no repentance on his part. He simply wanted to continue on in the marriage as if nothing happened! My health, my self respect, my life is much more important than living with someone who wanted to control me with violence. I did everything I knew to do to keep the marriage going, but he didn’t. For those who can stay and keep well, as long as they are not in any danger, God bless them. I was in danger for my life with this toxic violent man. During our 12 years of marriage he said we were through so many times I can’t count them. I was on a roller coaster ride that was scarier than any I’ve ever been on! Does God really want us to live that way? What happened to love your wife like Christ loves the church? Would my h have laid his life down for me? No, I think he would lay me down for his life! That’s how I was feeling in the marriage. My ex h has now filed for divorce after 3 years of separation….no repentance on his part, no trying to reconcile. So please don’t be so quick to criticize or judge us, but look at the heart’s of those who have gone or are going through such horrific lives with their spouses.

        • Leslie Vernick on July 23, 2015 at 8:52 pm

          David, you have made this statement before in previous blogs yet you continue to come on to engage. No one is advocating breaking up marriages for every situation. In fact the person’s post you posted on is staying well, even though her unrepentant husband has not changed. So again you twist things to suit your purpose and your point. Up to now we have assumed you are just a misguided, rigid thinker, but you seem bent on not allowing any fresh air into your thinking. How sad. Perhaps God wants you to listen instead of thinking you know all the answers.

          • David on July 28, 2015 at 9:10 pm

            You will only accept and like my posts if I agree with you but I cannot as am a Christian – sorry



        • Survivor on July 27, 2015 at 2:58 pm

          David, you are constantly criticizing others’ comments on this blog. You have shown no support or encouragement to any of the women on here–who, I might add, are ALL in difficult situations!!!! To me, this indicates a serious lack of empathy for others. I can only imagine what your wife must have experienced from you. If you really feel a need to be so critical of someone, my best recommendation would be that you take an honest look in the mirror and begin there. Only then can God begin to open your eyes and reveal to you the bitterness in your own heart. You cannot fix anyone else. You cannot even speak healthy words into another’s life until you have dealt with yourself and find your identity in your Creator rather than in what you cause others to believe about you! May you begin your journey to a healthy relationship with Jesus and may He be with you every step of the way!

          • David on July 27, 2015 at 6:26 pm

            These comments on this blog really bothered me, the attitude that women were good and that men were bad, that it was fine for wives to withhold sex but condemned if husbands did and the unforgiving, vengeful spirit and hatred towards men and husbands but then it was made very clear to me that this was NOT a Christian blog and it made me feel much better and there is a chance for me to change and for my wife to love altho she said many times that she never has which would be a lie to many including the Lord whom I thought she believed in but maybe she is like many on this blog‎



  12. Listening Ear on July 22, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Karen
    when I think of accepting, I think of accepting reality, never accepting evil. Also, I believe we must forgive, ( refuse to seek vengance) but
    reconciliation takes 2 , which includes repentance of the part of the abuser

    also, in my spiritual walk I think often of how the Lord is both my husband and father, and in a short while all accounts will be justified

    • karen on July 23, 2015 at 1:25 am

      Thank you each for your supportive comments and prayers

  13. J on July 23, 2015 at 12:06 am

    It’s hard for me to read this. I’m trying to stay well but the cost of me staying is that I have to deaden myself. Is that living? I wonder if you feel like you are living or existing. It sounds like you’re living a bit, but I can’t quite tell. I am afraid to leave my marriage but living the rest of my life like this would mean I’d give up a lot of who I am and a lot of what I hope for my future. Do you feel fully alive?

    • Robin on July 24, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      You can’t get away from feeling dead inside, until your core is built up. At that time you will go into healthier ways of thinking, and will be able to make healthy choices that will lead to being fully alive.

  14. Faith on July 23, 2015 at 3:57 am

    Thank u M 4sharing wid us how u decided 2stay well.

    Wt I hv learned frm d 3blogs is dt u cn b at peace & b strengthened by God in d misdt of an emotional destructiv marriage.Thou it does nt mean dt u shud pretend or keep quiet abt things dt r goin wrong.

    • Gloria on July 23, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      ???

      • Susanne on July 24, 2015 at 7:47 pm

        I believe what Faith is saying is: “What I have learned from the 3 blogs is that you can be at peace and be strengthened by God in the midst of an emotional destructive marriage. That it does not mean that you should pretend or keep quiet about things that are going wrong.”

  15. Daisy on July 23, 2015 at 8:04 am

    i have been separated a little over two years from
    My husband for emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse. My two oldest sided with their controlling father immediately. They have never asked me to come back ir even came looking for me. I deal with a lot of guilt because of the “God hates divorce” bible me verse that they constantly use against me. Once in a while I wonder if I should go back for the sake of the children, but then I feel that would be choosing to be codependent again and not facing reality. Where is that line drawn? I’m strongly leaning towards finalizing the divorce, but I hear my husband’s voice in my head again telling new that I will have to live with my choices. Either way you suffer. Having peace and Being able to make choices for the first time in my life has been very gratifying.

    • Lonely wife on July 24, 2015 at 12:53 am

      Daisy, I would recommend reading Leslie’s book if you haven’t already, and then read Lundy Bancrofts book “Why Does He Do That?”
      I’ve found that educating yourself and knowing exactly what Gods word says about abuse and divorce will quiet those accusing voices in your head and also those people in your life who are accusing you of doing wrong!

    • Robin on July 24, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      Daisy, sounds like you are doing awesome and have moved away from enabling others. We all get doubts at time- did we do the right thing for the children? I might say, if you did the right thing for YOU, you did the right thing for the children. Unfortunately, they are influenced by how they grew up in abuse. Give it some more time. What I’ve learned to do is fully focus my life on pleasing Christ. As I do that, He will put the things in my life, that will prosper me. And give me the life I’d like to live. It’s hard making huge transitions in our lives. I’ll be praying for you!!

  16. Jane on July 23, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    I am learning that staying well involves creating emotional distance. As painful as that is (I have wanted a relationship with my husband but he has made it clear that he does not want one with me), I am learning to create a life of my own. Sometimes it feels “sneaky” to think and feel and do things without telling him…. but that is how he has lived for 29 years and continues to do so. I see now that he is reaping what he has sown.

    I am learning that my thoughts and actions can still please God in this (abnormal) situation. As long as I do not allow bitterness and unforgiveness to creep in, and as long as I set and communicate my boundaries and stick to them.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 23, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      Jane, good for you. I think it’s very hard for someone to do what you and M are doing – living in a loveless, relationshipless home and still trying to thrive as a person. It’s not for everyone, but I think for some women, it is the right decision, perhaps for a season. But I think this blog shows that each woman has her own journey of getting strong and healthy and it doesn’t look the same for everyone.

      • ByGraceAlone on August 5, 2015 at 9:13 am

        Leslie – I’m replying to your earlier comment about the depression webinar – I have a child’s school meeting to attend but would like to hear this information. Can this be downloaded and listened to later (if I sign up?)?

        Also, I’ve been SO blessed by your book (the emotionally destructive relationship) and website, videos, and these blogs. I would like to ‘enter in’ to the blog community and introduce myself etc but need tips on where to do this and where to find your response and others responses. I praise God for you – there just aren’t words to express the help you have been to me and have spoken so directly to my situation with an emotionally destructive marriage. Sry so long.
        (Now I see the email option for follow up comments – well that leads to – my husband has access and can view this shared family site – not good probably – I will need to begin using a different email set up under yahoo that I rarely use… Thx – sry to be off topic

    • Lonely wife on July 24, 2015 at 12:57 am

      “I see now he is reaping what he has sown”…I’ve never thought of it that way…That is sooo true, Jane!

  17. Remedy on July 23, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    David, I wasn’t addressing unforgiveness & bitterness. However, since Scripture admonishes husbands particularly against these sins, I think it is safe to assume men have a greater stronghold/struggle in this area than women–in general.

    I was speaking of confession & repentance for continual violation of marital vows/promises which is necessary for a true reconciliation. ‘Yes’ to forgiveness and not holding a grudge, but NO true reconciling can happen until confession & repentance (naming and forsaking the sin for its harm to the relationship). That is true BIBLICAL reconciliation…. and for what this website is striving. This is necessary even in…and especially in marriage because of the uniqueness of intimacy involved here. Trust must be restored to have true relationship.

    What do you not understand on this subject? Marriage comes with it a definition and parameters set by God, the author and creator of it.

  18. Lisa on July 23, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    All this explaining to David I find upsetting. It reminds me of being bated by my anti-husband and when I use to exhaust myself trying to explain myself. A huge waste of time with someone who enjoys falsely accusing their victims and then watching them go through contortions trying to get their point across.

    • J on July 23, 2015 at 11:31 pm

      Agreed Lisa.

    • Lonely wife on July 24, 2015 at 12:48 am

      I agree Lisa….and from here on out, I’m not going to comment on David’s posts…when you give an abuser attention, they thrive on it, even if it’s negative attention….we all need to remember that and not give David the attention he so desperately craves!

      • Maria on July 24, 2015 at 8:22 am

        For us who are staying, and also for those who have left and have to spend time with their ex, we experience this- they try to engage us, ask us questions, make comments etc. The reason for this, I think is for attention, to cause us to slip up and say something we didn’t mean that they can use against us, to create conflict etc. I have fallen bait to this so many times. It is exhausting. Now, I am learning more and more to focus on whatever goal I have at that time and on solving that problem at hand. I have also noticed that when I engage, he visibly gets energized. It has also helped me to realize that he is not asking questions, making comments because he wants to be part of the solution. He just wants to create confusion. Responding in instances like thes is to “throw your pearls to pigs”. I am still puzzled at why certain individuals in this world love to create confusion and don’t want to live in peace. I think it takes more effort to create confusion (they have to be constantly thinking of ways to make trouble).

        • Lisa on July 24, 2015 at 11:59 am

          “to cause us to slip up and say something we didn’t mean that they can use against us,” –this what anti-husband does now that he has his divorce plan in place. He tries at every corner to create a false narrative against me to use in court.

          I don’t think it takes any effort on their parts to engage in covert dialogue as it is just a part of their deceptive, lie-filled hearts.

          • HisEzer on July 24, 2015 at 3:12 pm

            Yes, Lisa and Maria. Staying involves gaining a lot of growth in self-control and not falling for their crazy-making-bait, for as you have pointed out well, some of our abusive husbands actually thrive on either gas-lighting activity or whatever negative communication they can invoke. (I think for many of them involved in pornography, this is part of how the addict mind works — seeking to find a good excuse to engage in it. In their minds, if they can find something for which to blame us, they rationalize and distort it into feeling they deserve the slip. It’s all so convoluted!). A small example of this attempt to provoke some kind of negative interaction occurred this past week… The very night I had responded to someone’s FB post picturing some delicious watermelon — commenting to them how much I love it, too, I came home to find half of one on the kitchen counter eaten down to the rind. (There was no other half… just that one). All of it had been scooped out and eaten except for about 3/4 inch of melon all the way around — basically, it was slobber and seeds left and no flavorful flesh. I got up the next morning to find it had stayed on the counter all night (and was surprised it was not covered in ants!). While getting some coffee, he came into the kitchen and had the audacity to ask, “Do you want any MORE of this before I throw it out?” (knowing all along it hadn’t been touched when I came home as there had been nothing left of it to eat… ) It was clear he was hoping that factor would be pointed out in exasperation… but I guess he was left totally disappointed and minus the hoped for “rush” when instead I simply replied in passing, “No thanks — I never ate any of it.”



        • Lisa on July 24, 2015 at 4:14 pm

          HisEzer,

          Bravo for rendering his nasty plan and covert lie of no avail!!!

        • Beth on July 30, 2015 at 7:06 pm

          Maria, I too get lots of questions and set-up comments from my H when I lay down boundaries on how much or how little we talk and even when he picks the not so right moment to talk:( I feel really reluctant to talk and engage but know that it’s going to be either used against me or he’s on a fact finding mission with the intent of exerting more control. He says a lot that he’s trying to understand me but his actions following those type of conversations show differently. I’m so tired of these type of games and feel so much older and drained. I have suggested bringing up those kind of conversation at other times of the day apart from bedtime( when we are both not so tired) and in other locations( outside the bedroom) But he says it’s the only time of the day when he feels he has my attention….. I told him to set up a time, coffee dates etc, but it never happens.

    • Remedy on July 24, 2015 at 9:14 am

      It appears David does not believe we are responding Biblically, therefore we are not Christians. I responded with Biblical truth about vows/covenant promises, confession/repentance, abandonment of the covenant promises, God’s displeasure with those who make a vow and fail to keep it and I Corinthians 7. David seems to live in a world where marriage is defined simply as ’til death’ and whatever goes on from wedding day til death is acceptable to God because he wanted only the til death part, and free reign to anything his self absorbed heart wants in between.
      He skillfully uses this manipulative tactic because he knows it works to unnerve true Christians who desperately want to follow Jesus.

      I always have a flicker of hope that something will get through to such a law hardened heart, but also responding with Biblical truth is the way we are to do spiritual battle. And this is a battle…..Satan’s plan for marriage vs God’s plan for marriage. We must advocate for God’s plan by untwisting the plan of Satan and his advocates to destroy something God created as a good gift to mankind.

      David’s remarks can be very triggering and unnerving to many visiting this blog we may never hear from through commenting.Satan and his host are firing flaming darts and we need to be able to extinguish them, lest they devour us.

      • Leslie Vernick on July 24, 2015 at 12:09 pm

        Great points Remedy.

      • David on July 28, 2015 at 9:20 pm

        The truth always hurts. Why does nobody wish to address the fact that wives (like my former) left me because I didn’t show her enough intimacy but it is OK for the wife to withhold (as many of these wives have made clear) – seems like a double standard to me.

        • Gloria on July 29, 2015 at 8:53 am

          Truth is hard to find in your comments David. But it certainly gives us some insight of the situation your wife and possibly others may have had to suffer in relating to you. We pray for them, as they may have been sorely distressed, overwhelmed and confused trying to get through to you. We pray that the Lord restores them with His truth about who they are, what’s right or wrong according to His Word, and that He floods their hearts with forgiveness and compassion for you as they love you from afar.

          We also pray that you truely come to understand what a “Christian” really is. And that just because someone disagrees with you, that is not reason enough to judge them to be an believer.

          Question for you; suppose your spouse spit in your face, called you names, made you feel lower than dirt and as soon as you got in bed, she smiles at you and says, “let’s make love”. How do you respond to the Opressor? As long as he/she is an oppressor, persecutor, bad-mouthing, never wrong, never apologizing, how do you “make love” with someone like that? What happens is that you allow yourself to be used by that person to satisfy their lust.

          The sad thing about it is that that spouse is so twisted in their mind, that they don’t even realize they are abusive and that there demands for intimacy are abusive as well as repulsive and degrading to their victim/spouse.

          As you continue to demonstrate you lack of true spiritual understanding, we will pray for you and your victims. We are not victimized by you, because we recognize who you are.

          Lovingly & prayerfully submitted.

          • David on July 29, 2015 at 9:25 am

            I will never in your eyes have “true spiritual understanding ” until I agree with you 



          • David on July 29, 2015 at 9:29 am

            “someone disagrees with you, that is not reason enough to judge them” , that is funny because that is exactly what you and these other women do, if someone disagrees with you they are judged, lol



          • Leslie Vernick on July 29, 2015 at 12:37 pm

            Great points.



        • Rebecca on July 31, 2015 at 12:56 am

          David, changes is sexual behavior is an indicator that other problems exist. Forcing one’s self to have marital relations out of duty is self betrayal. Can you imagine what that feels like? It would seem like deception. Certainly, when other issues are aligned, sexuality is the normal outflow of marital health.

          • Carolyn on August 14, 2015 at 6:54 pm

            Dear David,
            As a first timer to this site, I have read with interest the exhanges on this site. Perhaps, because you keep returning, there is something that you are seeking besides an argument?

            Regarding judgement, the Bible does call us to judge others actions and words, according to it’s instructions, in order to protect ourselves and others from hurtful and unhealthy people, and to make good decisions. What it tells us not to do is to condemn.

            Forgiveness has nothing to do with. Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation and is not for the adulterer. Forgiveness is a gift the hurting spouse gives to herself in order to heal and not be scarred with bitterness. Because of the harmfulness of adultery – the destruction of lives, relationships, children, the marriages that God sanctifies – it is the only sin along with hard-heartedness (probably present in every adulterer) in the Bible that God permits as a reason for divorce. Forgiveness is commanded of followers, but can only occur with time and healing, prayer and God’s help. Nobody deserves forgiveness. That’s the point.

            Reconciliation is earned. It is earned through a changed heart, changed life and restitution. The decision of the betrayed spouse to forgive and/or reconcile is nothing you can demand or expect. It takes time and a changed heart, behavior and restitution made on the part of the adulterer. And a lot of apologies. Without expecting anything back. An adulterous spouse, who is grateful and humble for any chance he has to reconcile, who gives his wife the empathy and compassion she desperately needs and deserves, shows a repentant heart.

            The truth is, when you commit adultery, the hurt spouse has the right to divorce you and take half of everything you own together and not look back. She has the right to remarry and rebuild her life with God’s permission.

            And finally, adultery is never the betrayed spouses fault. In a world of imperfect marriages, it is never justifiable and is one of many choices available. The choice of adultery reveals a lack of the character and the integrity of the adulterer alone.



          • Leslie Vernick on August 15, 2015 at 12:57 pm

            Welcome Carolyn. Glad you’ve joined us.



    • ByGraceAlone on August 5, 2015 at 9:32 am

      I liked the way you expressed your insight Lisa. This reminds me of my first meeting by myself with our previous marriage counselor – he expressed how he noticed husband’s abusive ways – and compared it to a ‘white water rapid ride’ he had been on and hit his head on a rock and was disoriented underwater and felt he was going to die…. He encouraged me to *not enter in* to the “discussion” and take the bait etc bcz he wasn’t wanting to hear me and resolve things and I would just get pulled under trying to “explain” – that really helped me. I’m new to this blog/site with responding anyway – our need to talk can be helped here – and with prayer – I see as we work through emotionally disconnecting from our spouse as needed.

    • Elizabeth on August 25, 2015 at 8:58 am

      I agree, Lisa and have been there more times than I want to remember. Thanks…

  19. Daisy on July 24, 2015 at 11:33 am

    I’ve read Leslie’s book, and I just ordered the audio book of “Why Does He Do That?” I remember the abuse shelter recommending that book.

    • Lonely wife on July 24, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      It’s a great book Daisy…I just read it recently, and passed it on to a friend who is in an abusive marriage and she’s found it to be really helpful!
      Also, read through the posts on this blog, I’ve found Leslie’s posts from months ago have really helped me also.
      Do you have any friends who are supportive? I’ve also found that that is sooo encouraging, especially when I have “bad days!”

      • Daisy on July 24, 2015 at 6:12 pm

        God has allowed me to have a good support system of friends. I did lose some close friends when I decided to separate; friends that I had known for years through home schooling. They unfortunately sided with my husband who is very convinceable.

    • Robin on July 24, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      There is a chapter in Lundy Bancrofts book I adore????. He tells women how to quit spending their energy on abusive spouses who are not responding well– and using that energy to move forward and start creating a life that builds up your gifts and allows you to learn how to thrive as you start focusing on them!!! Great read.

      • Daisy on July 25, 2015 at 8:32 am

        Yes, I’ve been told by the social workers at the abuse shelter and personal counselor that I have to focus on me now. Their goal is to empower me to move forward. I am much stronger now than I was a year ago. My husband has told my kids that I am mentally ill and that is why I have made all of these irrational choices. It is up to me to prove them wrong by continuing to empower myself even if it makes me feel like I’m being selfish.

  20. Aleea on July 24, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    RE: Here is my interview with M.  . . . . “M” thank you so much for sharing so much.  You say: “. . . . I have learned how to be authentic, I don’t pretend anymore.”  —Oh, absolutely, wonderful !  —Always go for the truth.  Truth is what can stand up to any level of questioning.  All truth is safe, but nothing else is safe.  It will not endure.  I’m praying for you, truth-seeker warrior! . . . . When I am afraid to speak the truth because I will lose affection, or reputation or my life will be harder, I put myself above my husband’s and even other’s highest good.  We are either in the process of resisting God’s truth or in the process of being shaped and molded by His truth . . . . and sometimes, we are just simply trying to find the truth because the Bible truly is a book of puzzles and mysteries.  —Unfortunately, it always seems most of the great truths of God have to be learned by serious trouble; burned into Aleea (—your fellow sufferer who understands) with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise I don’t comprehend and receive them.  God’s truths that I know best I have learned the hard way.  —Lord God, never let me be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of peace.­—   . . . In fact, the attractiveness of a belief is all too often inversely proportional to its truth. . . .To allow “relevance” to be given greater weight than truth may easily be a mark of moral irresponsibility.  God often reveals His truth in proportion to how desperate we are to really find it.  —And so, as often happens, I just admonished myself.

  21. Daisy on July 25, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I don’t think there’s anything worse a father can do than to turn his kids against Their mother. My hope is that they will one day understand my choices once they are older. I don’t think staying would have helped them as much as leaving has. Just maybe I can be that bridge to mental health for them in the future.

    • Robin on July 25, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      Something my eldest daughter kept saying to me- thru out my divorce proceedings and I found it to be true- ‘ He may look like he’s winning now,but his true colors will come out, and everyone will know what kind of character he has.
      The last time we met in Settlement Court he did exactly that. But oh how I longed for it to be much sooner!!!!!

  22. Maria on July 25, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    When people use their kids as pawns to hurt their spouse, that is truly wicked. Even animals have instincts to protect their young. Beware of such a wicked person.

    • Robin on July 26, 2015 at 12:00 am

      Well said, Maria.
      It reminds me of the blog
      ‘Does he have a evil heart’. Why else would a spouse turn the children away from their mother.
      My ex-husband is a sociopath/narcissist. He has no conscience and only he matters in his world- that’s how he can do it.

    • Daisy on July 26, 2015 at 11:32 am

      Very true. Abuse is a very base and unnatural behavior. Not what God had intended for marriage, that’s for sure.

  23. David on July 26, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Been reading the blogs, the common thing stands out… women are good, men are bad

    • Susanne on July 27, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      David, Nobody has said those words on here, except you. Anyone can share their story with sincerity and we will pray and encourage. Otherwise, why bother wasting your time or ours?

    • David on July 28, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      Ya, now that I know for sure – was always holding out hope but glad that you agree and see it too

      • Aleea on July 30, 2015 at 6:06 pm

        David,
        Can we make a bright-line distinction between rank assertions like: “This is not a Christian blog”*** and facts that can be substantiated by evidence?  What you are doing does not encourage any critical inquiry.  It doesn’t further any of these discussions.  If you make some claims substantiated by evidence, we can at least evaluate and discuss them.  —The other approach is just name calling.  Even when you are name calling, notice how many here are still willing to think through issues with you.  Imagine what you can accomplish if you actually state your facts, evidence and issues vs. just making unfounded, groundless assertions contrary to all evidence and precedent on this blog (RE: “This is not a Christian blog” etc.)  . . . . Here is a homologous comment to the kind you are making: —I can fly!  How can anyone evaluate that? (—except in a negative way!) . . . Don’t despair or pout, or sulk, if you have real concerns, make claims substantiated by evidence.  —If you are just lonely or tired of living, etc. flat-out say that and ask specific questions: How would you/ did you__________ —Whatever the issue is articulate it.  Riling everyone up (—for sport) only gets you approbrium.  ***(“. . . very clear to me that this was(is) NOT a Christian blog”)
         
        . . . . I also think it is very important for all of us to discuss issues not attack people.  If arguments are sound and valid, at the end of the day, that will come out, not some ad hominem semantics about “women” vs. “men.”  To me, all ad hominem attacks on individuals instead of critical discussions of the issues are the theological equivalent of “. . . . look over there!”  Arguments based upon appeal to emotions, question begging, non-sequiturs, poisoning the well, red herrings, special pleading, double standards, straw woman arguments get us nowhere sustainable.  Moreover, a willingness to adapt, modify, or entirely abandon positions as new evidence or credible arguments become available is one of the most important and valuable foundations of God’s Truth. 
         
        Hopefully, every last person here is trying to bring more Real Love into their lives and one way we all can do that is to treat others with respect and even err on the side of kindness.  . . . . David, how do you stop your emotions from hijacking your intellect?  —Do you?  It is a good question for you, —for me too, and for all of us here (—prayer seems an excellent place to start.)  . . .We all know that we can’t receive anything until our hearts are open and it is very hard for us to leave our hearts open, so most people just don’t.  Just decide to do that.  . . . David, I’m still praying for you.  Pray for all of us here too, it will soften your heart.  —I can’t even believe all things I have learned from others on this blog.  —Whoever in history said: “. . . all ground is level at the foot of the cross” was a genius because it surely is.

  24. Survivor on July 27, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    This resonates with me so much right now!!!! About a year and a half ago, I took my children and left my abusive marriage for about 6 months. The children are very young–currently 3 and almost 7. They and I made great strides in recovery during the time we spent in a safe environment. I worked really hard with a personal counselor. That time was very enlightening for me as I was able to see what I could be if I were healthy. Eventually, I returned because I believe that God wants me to learn to stay well. Some things that I have learned are to express my boundaries with more confidence, clarity, and firmness and not to allow guilt to persuade me to back down from them. I have also learned to experience my Heavenly Father in a new way. I have found that He communicates SO clearly through the Holy Spirit and that has been an incredible comfort and security to me. Also, I am discovering that He is developing the spiritual gift that He has blessed me with and that is making me feel so significant and valuable to Him. I continue to learn to be more aware of what is happening and how to be a buffer for the children without causing more fights and/or turning the children against their father. These things are not easy, nor are they always clear cut, but staying open to the Holy Spirit and hearing Him when He speaks is an amazing thing! He gives us direction right when we need it most, and knowing that He will makes it possible to face each day knowing that I don’t have to figure this all out on my own! And I am continuing personal counseling and growth. Off to get ready for this afternoon’s appointment! Blessings to you all on your journeys! We all have similarities and differences, and our journeys are all difficult! I so appreciate the support here! Leslie, thanks again for creating this community–and for allowing us to practice our voices on David!!! ????

    • Maria on July 27, 2015 at 5:28 pm

      Survivor, it’s important to be truthful to your kids about what’s going on. When we cover up for our husbands and portray them as someone they’re not, we lie to our kids. Also they end up with a false opinion of who their father is. It may come as a huge blow to them when they realize their father isn’t who they thought he was. Also, they may end up siding with their father rejecting you because don’t believe he’s capable of doing wrong.

      • Survivor on July 27, 2015 at 8:51 pm

        Thanks Maria! What you say is very true! That has been one of my big concerns as well and something that we are working on. There is such a fine line between being truthful with them and badmouthing their father. They will likely be upset with me if they feel that I am ‘mean’ to their father as well!!! ……and I surely don’t want to be mean, but I tell you what: it can certainly feel mean when the truth is so ugly and still has to be said out loud!!!!!! ???? But we go on, and God gives grace, and, through His Spirit, gives direction in those incredibly difficult moments!,

      • Rebecca on July 31, 2015 at 1:03 am

        i agree it is important to be truthful, yet let’s remember to be age appropriate. Children already know something is wrong. They talk to their friends and have found out that their friends’ Daddies don’t act like their Daddy. Very little is hidden. I have found that sexual abuse can be hidden from the children, because usually that is done behind closed doors. I learned not to scream and to tolerate many forms of sexual abuse while the children slept soundly in their rooms.

        • Leslie Vernick on July 31, 2015 at 10:58 am

          Please don’t tolerate sexual abuse anymore. IT is wrong and damaging to you and him. He thinks he’s entitled to treat you like a object and you end up feeling like one. Please don’t allow that to happen to you.

        • Survivor on July 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm

          It’s true, Rebecca, that we need to be age appropriate. My children are very young and I do not expose them to things that I can avoid. I talk with them about the things that they actually see and experience. My main point is for them not to have the confusion in their mind of trying to believe that something is right and okay just because Daddy does it, but yet deep down in their being it feels so wrong to them. That is just not fair! It’s not fair for them to have to experience it in the first place, let alone having to try to believe that it’s okay.

          And I echo what Leslie says: please don’t allow yourself to be sexually abused!!!!

          • Rebecca on August 1, 2015 at 10:21 pm

            Thanks for the love ladies. The sexual abuse happened for decades. I survived by choice, as endured to keep the family intact. It isn’t for everyone or anyone and was torture beyond belief. I just zoned out and endured. When he moved on to beating me after the children left for college. I got a restraining order and he finally repented. He would tell you today that he had a conversion experience that involved dark voices from Satan and our Pastor doing what seemed like a scene from the Exorcist. After that experience he was greatly improved and continues counseling today.



  25. Betsy on July 27, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Survivor.. Thank you for sharing. So much hope in what God is doing for you and in you. I have felt similar feelings myself. Staying open to The Holy Spirit and slowing down to hear the spirit is key. Not easy to do when our marriages and hearts are blowing up.

    • Survivor on July 27, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      Yes, slowing down is key. And yes, hearts and marriages are blowing up and making us want to blow up too, rather than slow down!!!! I am glad you are able to hear His Voice as well! It is such a secure, peaceful feeling to know that He’s got this!!!!

  26. karen on July 28, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Hi, sorry for delay in response have been out of town with grandchildren and that would be the main reason i have stayed all this time actually. Not wanting to leave a legacy of divorce and being the first,only one in our family to go through that and not wanting to set the example of a failed marriage for the few hundred teens that i was youth minister too for
    20 + years. i was called and working in ministry before marriage and during while working 50-60 hrs per week in career to support family.. Realized after children were born that i was in an unequally yoked relationship from day one and twenty years in husband was “saved” and i clung to beleiving prayers had finally been answered only to watch him become much worse after that in every way……..think maybe he did that because he knew i was on verge of leaving and giving up but it worked for a while. I kept hoping. Yes i now know that it was mostly pride and making my marriage an idol while i hung on by my fingernails and clung closer to God just to survive the mind games every day. Then 2 years ago some terrible and undeniable truths came out and i left for 6 months to find some healing, peace and strength to go on but felt I should return and did so with very strict requirements — which he broke within first few months. Then caught him in more lies and the theft of more money that was supposed to go to mortgage and was again being tied in knots by his selfishness lies and manipulation and control and had to separate from the insanity again to survive emotionally. there was miraculous provision of place to live temporarily at that time too. It has been the most peaceful time of my life…….although also a lonely time as first i have ever lived alone in life..Now ,6 months later will need to find new place or move in with family temporarily and husband is pressuring to try again. I dont think i am strong enough…. Maybe never will be how do i know? God has led me very clearly till now but He seems very quiet right now. so since i dont really have friends i can turn to i am reaching out here. I have always said i would never divorce him but living apart is not any better for my family but seems to be only way to not live in constant rejection deceit and emotional turmoil. It always feels that i have failed everyone……..and that others see it that way too and that as a Christian i should be strong enough in my faith to bear anything outside of ongoing physical abuse (was some many years back but i called police and drew line after first non sexual anger only incident) or infidelity (depending on how you view porn and emotional affairs…..maybe one real one long ago…….). There is far to much to cover here……..learned of terrible abusive childhood in his family 2 years ago and thought i could feel compassion forgive and start again. he has made a few changes but i fear trusting them to last again as they never have and he still plays mindgames and lies.Why is it so difficult to let go of what feels like your whole life’s purpose after 38 years? How do you make a final healthy break while having deeply entwined family grandchildren and church family that will be impacted? Is it just too late?How do i just stay in the gray area of not living together? That just seems wrong…. ..but it doesnt seem to bother him…….

  27. Gloria on July 29, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Thankfully, it’s the Lord and His word you have to agree with. He has the final say so. He is the ultimate Judge. Get to know Him before it’s too late.

    As we see your posts, we will be reminded to pray for your dear wife, for healing, restoration, that she continually feels the Lords presence and assurance and that He strengthens her for a contined walk in Him. that you still need help. We are thankful for the privilege to be a part of the Lord’s work in you and her.

  28. Leslie Vernick on July 31, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Thanks Aleea you said it well.

  29. Remedy on August 1, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Agreeing with Leslie, Aleea…..well said.

  30. Maria on August 1, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Aleea, great post.

  31. Valerie on August 4, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I appreciate Leslie’s comment about why she has chosen to let “David” comment here. Even after realizing the truth of who my ex husband is and familiarizing myself with NPD, I admit that there have been several people that have come into my life even up to recently that have still managed to fool me at first. There are common threads among them but they can manifest in such different ways that it may be difficult to see those common threads at first.
    My ex fooled many friends and trained counselors over the years so I don’t blame myself for not catching on to some of these people at first. Adam and Eve had a perfect life in the garden and a perfect relationship with God before the devil came and manipulated them. A question I often ask people is, “How do you know when you’re being deceived?” Think about that for a moment. Once we realize we’re being deceived, we stop being deceived; but until that recognition we are in the process of being deceived.
    My ex would take words that I said (to him or others) and repeat them to other people and act as if they were his own thinking. This was one of his effective ways at deceiving/manipulating. People would hear him and think he had empathy or understanding of the situation. This was my education in learning that good sounding words mean nothing in and of themselves. Here’s what I notice in David’s posts: lack of empathy, accusatory, blame shifting, word twisting, antagonistic…just to name a few. What reminds me of my ex is his subtle attempt to control. David makes blanket statements as to what is true, but doesn’t offer them as his thought or suggestion but claims them as fact and also said in a controlling way that suggests if you don’t listen to him you are either naive or unintelligent. Abusive people don’t want to help you learn, they want to control your thoughts by telling you what is true and right.
    Another thing I see that reminds me of my ex is how he focuses on what he knows is important to the listener and then uses that against them. How many times have you expressed a fear or concern to your husband only to have him use that against you later? You question if you are a good parent and later he says so and so is such a good mom because they do XYZ (something you aren’t doing so the insinuation is that you aren’t a good mother). Its pretty obvious this is a Christian site and people like David can read how the commenters are concerned about pleasing God so naturally he attacks our Christianity. Its as old as Genesis…”Did God really say…?”….”Are you sure you’re really a Christian and trying to please God” is how I hear David attempting to deceive.
    When we answer people like David we expend energy. Until these kind of people exhibit a teachable spirit any energy on them is wasted energy. We expend energy trying to help them understand because we think they want to understand (we think they are like us in wanting to understand); however people like that do NOT have the same goals as we do. When their goal isn’t having a healthy relationship or gaining understanding it does no good to speak to a goal they don’t have. You don’t attempt to teach a 4-year old about 401Ks, yet a 4-year old can be very adept at learning an Ipad because he is motivated. Learning that people don’t have the same goals and putting that truth into practice has made a significant difference in my life.
    This is just all my opinion, of course. 😉

  32. Diana on August 4, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Wow, that was comforting to read about these very honest and real situations. I am trying to balance this all out in my head, as well, having a daughter who loves her dad when she too chooses to believe him and have a close relationship with him over me. However, I have to extend grace, love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness to her since she was 3 1/2 years old when I separated because he wouldn’t go to counseling any more and previous counseling was unproductive because he believed as soon as I was fixed we would be all better. I left the weekend he went camping with a pregnant woman from his church, this is a man that said, ” I love you and I want you to stay” but since we weren’t having sex at the time because I too couldn’t stomach sex without relationship, endure the physical pain and he refused to see the verbal and emotional abuse I guess he felt entitled to go elsewhere. Even though I left with our daughter to protect her from him I wasn’t strong enough to tell him no to picking her up 2x a week for a year and a half before our divorce became final. It broke my heart to let her go crying (she was so tramatized that she has lost all memories of our mother/daughter bonding the first 3 1/2 years when he wasn’t much a part of our life). I am trying to forgive myself for not standing up to him then and not rescuing my daughter however I didn’t realize he would tell her during those visits with her, “that it is all your mother’s fault as she left”. Looking back it now all makes sense why I was woken up at midnight from my daughter night terrors and her body flalling around her twin metal framed bed and I would try to keep her body from being injured by the metal frame. Sometime later he told me what he had told her everytime he picked her up in an effort to stop her crying. Did he not care for her more and let her stay with me while he spend time with her? I am still trying to understand why I let him take her screaming because she wanted to be with me. Why didn’t I go too? Now she is 24 years old, she worshipped her dad, respects and honors her mom but not much depth to our relationship. I am learning to set boundaries with her more and not be so available and let go and let her decide when she is ready to know me and be known by me. She now is married to a man she dated since she was in high school, finished college and working so I couldn’t be more proud of my daughter. Her father married another woman within 5 months of our divorce and thankfully is still married to his second wife. I have been remarried for the last 6 years to a Christian man. I have decided that she is a grown woman and it is her choice to decide her relationship priorities and to accept that. I can move on and prioritize relationships with people who celebrate me and choose to know me and be known by me.
    We were able to celebrate her marriage as a blended family on the surface for the most part. To this day my ex has never taken credit for his part in the failed marriage and I have to accept that too but I am no longer carrying all the blame for the mistakes in our marriage. I did the best I could to restore us by focusing on getting healthy but I gave him the freedom to choose us or not. The craziness statements I can relate to when they blame you, say you are crazy and that they love you, only you don’t feel loved by the name calling, angry outburst, neglect, lying, and twisting of everything you say. I have to stop bringing up my divorce, feeling like I have to justify my decisions to leave and file for divorce back then so that his plan of kicking me out and not letting me see our daughter wouldn’t come to fruition. What hurts is that his behavior is rewarded with a close relationship with our daughter and he not only made the marriage bad but the divorce as well. The funny thing is I don’t hate him or wish ill of him I just would love to hear, I am sorry for the way I treated you and turned our daughter against you enough to tell her the truth. I do find some comfort in thinking maybe he is a narcasistic sociopath but then how can I view my daughter’s dad that way because she has his genes too. He moved to Montana a few years ago to live so he, his wife and our daughter could start their lives in the west, a plan he created since our daughter moved in with him when she was 15. I resently, learned from a 3 page letter of their lives the past 10 years that he read during her wedding reception to welcome her husband into the family. I have finally accepted the fact that I am her mother in name only as I have suspected for years based on trying to have a deeper relationship with her to no avail.

    At my daughter’s friend’s wedding she was hurt for being the last bridesmaid when she was suppose to be this person’s best friend and I having resently experienced that deep hurt at my own daughter’s wedding said I understand and tried to comfort my daughter. I am not proud (that I put her husband on the spot by telling him in response to his comment, “she has suffered alot of hurt over her life” I said, I know why my daughter has a deep hurt from childhood when she 3 1/2 her dad told her the reason we aren’t a family is because your mom left). I told him he can do what he needs to with this information. I checked in with my daughter by text days after the wedding to see how she was no response. I knew I had blown it again with growing closer because I couldn’t let go of all this garbage and hurt. Two weeks later she texted me after this wedding to ask me about what I wanted to say. I said I didn’t want to text the information and if she really wanted to know we could talk in person otherwise there was no point and we can move forward. I did ask again why did you say to your dad on the phone when we together in Alaska, ” this is due to the divorce? “. She doesn’t remember is the only answer then and now that she will give to me. I felt that at this time sharing truth would be of no good because the brainwashing is so deep that the truth could never penetrate through and would only make me dishonor God by saying truth but not good things about her dad so I need to give this all to God and let God reveal truth to her about what happened to her parents marriage.

    I am focusing on becoming the woman of God I am suppose to be with the help of Leslie’s Godly wisdom, my walk with Jesus and the support of my husband and friends. I pray I have the wisdom to know how to respond to conversations in the future about all this.

    Thanks for listening I needed to get this off my chest and tell someone who understands the deep hurt of wanting a deep relationship with your only child but more importantly needing to heal and move forward to be a healthy child of God myself.

    • Maria on August 4, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Diana, thanks for sharing this. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I pray that your daughter will open her eyes to the truth and that you will find comfort in God. Your post will give insight to others in this situation, and help them with the decisions to be made.

    • Daisy on August 9, 2015 at 7:58 am

      Diana,
      I have experienced a similar rejection by my daughter as well. Even though we live 15 min. away, she has only slept over my house less than 5x in the past two years. My divorce isn’t finalized since I put it on hold as I tried to again reconcile with my husband who is an expert passive controller. My daughter is 14 now and has chosen to reject me. Whenever I say something in front of her, she laughs. It is a constant mockery. She too worships her father. I have two other children. The oldest is in college out of state. He has also sided with his father and has very limited contact with me. My youngest is 9 and I do see him every week through a shared custody arrangement. He has a good relationship with me so far. To be rejected by your own children is one of the most painful experiences a parent can go through. I am learning, though difficult, to not make my children idols. I am learning to put my hope and trust in Jesus who promises me that he would never reject me or leave me Psalm 27:10. I continue to be part of support groups and work on myself so that I don’t feel like a victim all of the time. I also continue to reach out to my children in monetary ways since that is the only thing that evokes a response. My conscience is clean before God. I also try to appreciate the other people or children that God puts in my life (I am a teacher.) I let them fill the lonely parts in my heart as well. God uses many different avenues to fill the void that we have. I have given my children up to God, and all I can do is hope that one day they will understand why I left their father. And if they never do, then I will have to accept that as well. I feel your pain. Read this story in the bible. It’s the one I have held on to for the past two years. This good mother was willing to give her child over to an evil woman in order to prevent the child from being killed, and God honored her choice. 1 Kings 3:16-28
      Sometimes our children will have to be with the evil parent for some time because of the laws of the land, but even then God promises to protect the innocent ones. Luke 4:18
      I pray that these words will bring comfort to you in some way.

  33. Diana on August 4, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Valarie,

    thanks for your comment.

  34. Gail on August 4, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Thank you all for taking the time to write. It’s hugely encouraging–even David’s comments. Leslie’s correct; it’s good practice to consider how to respond to him in a godly manner. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a good marriage, so–until I found out who Leslie Veronick was–I regularly said, “Women don’t need help knowing how to have good marriages, they need help knowing how to be a good Christian in a bad marriage.”

    • Gail on August 4, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      ‘Vernick . . . Vernick . . . !” (Stupid spell-checker!)

  35. betsy on August 4, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Diana..my heart breaks for you and all involved. This is a great group of women who help and honor one another to be what God saws we are

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