Morning Friends,

One of the biggest criticisms I receive about my work with women in destructive relationships is that I speak to the “victim” about recognizing her part of the destructive dynamic. To my critics, that feels like I blame her for being abused in the first place.

Let me be crystal clear. If you are a victim, you are in no way responsible for someone else’s behavior towards you. However, if someone else’s behaviors are continuously damaging to you, you are responsible for you. What are you doing to do to protect you? In other words, when you allow yourself to be a repeated victim, if you want to get healthy, you must look at your part.  Either your passive participation or active participation in this destructive dance you are in.

 

In last weeks’ blog I talked about consequences and used the metaphor of the dance steps we take. When we continually dance with someone who repeatedly crunches our toes, we have choices to make. Are we going to continue to dance that way or change our dance steps? And when we change our steps, the dance changes. Not always for the better, or in the way we want, but once we stop dancing with someone who mashes our toes, the marital dance does change.

We had a lot of dialogue and responses to my post about consequences and one reader sent me a response that she felt was too long to post it on the blog. I thought she did a great job talking not only about what worked and what didn’t work in implementing consequences but how she learned to change her own dance steps. I asked her if I could share it with and she generously agreed.

This is her response: 

I’ve tried implementing many consequences and each one of them served a purpose. Some were reactionary and unhealthy; others were healthy, and right alongside the practical steps Leslie presented in this blog. Throughout my personal healing and restoration from my destructive marriage, I began to learn the purposes behind my consequences, or choices.

My reactionary consequences included things like: flying home with the kids to stay with my parents, arguing (with logic and emotion), angry outbursts, or, most often, silence, shame and self-degradation. Some of the purposes they served were to reveal to me the damaging and traumatic affects of my spouse’s sexual sins, that I have needs, that God created me to be loved and respected, and that I am imperfect and desperate. I was hoping these consequences would wake up my spouse. Instead, I experienced a temporary reprieve from the destructive attitudes and behaviors, but no permanent change.

My unhealthy consequences included giving him more sex; trying to be perfect; walking on eggshells; taking the blame; not using my voice; giving him the benefits of a good marriage.

The purposes they served were to reveal my own capacity to sin and my propensity to make my husband my idol. I had the hidden belief that my happiness was dependent upon how well I made my spouse happy. I thought I was pleasing God by pleasing people (namely, my spouse); and I thought God would bless me more as I was more submissive to my spouse, etc.

What I was really doing was condoning sinful behavior, which God does not bless (I am so glad God does not bless sin!). I had hoped these consequences would make my spouse want to change. Instead, he became a better manipulator and I became easier to manipulate. I had hoped he would see how good he has it and decide that it was better than anything else. But why would he change if he were already getting what he wanted? Furthermore, I was competing for my spouse’s faithfulness and marital intimacy. How sad is that! A wife should never have to compete for her husband’s faithfulness or marital intimacy. The very definition of marriage includes faithfulness and intimacy unique to husband and wife.

My spouse was neither physically nor verbally abusive. Nonetheless, his behaviors were cancerous and our marriage was perishing. He had an anger and identity (self-esteem) problem for which he attempted to solve by withdrawing, controlling, manipulating, lusting, viewing pornography, and committing adultery. I didn’t really know my husband, as much as I tried to study him and “figure him out” in an effort to “help” him. After all, isn’t that what a good, godly wife does?

The sad fact was that he didn’t want to be known, or he was afraid to be known. In the state he was in (and in the state I was in), I was never going to “figure him out” or be able to help him. Frankly, I painfully had to learn that helping him overcome his sins wasn’t my job. God didn’t create me to be his Holy Spirit (not to be confused with having a voice or speaking the truth). And, quite honestly, I was more interested in stopping my pain – in making him stop hurting me – than I was in helping him be a better Christian (In the past, I would have denied that last statement).

My spouse didn’t know how to be honest or vulnerable and he didn’t trust anyone. He was a professed Christian and regular churchgoer and volunteer, but at home, his love was more like lust and his faith more like friction. It took me years to identify unhealthy and unbiblical love, and more years to acquire the tools to change and fight against it. Until then, in my desire to be the best biblical wife I could be, I submitted to his “needs.” I submitted to his “leading.”

I committed to respecting him. I naively allowed the destructive dance to continue. I tried staying on the dance floor in close-hold with him, believing that if I try hard enough and long enough, I could not only learn my new dance steps, I could also successfully help him learn his. No wonder I was crazy-making! My spouse was unwilling to change the dance. The bible says only in Christ’s will, way, and time can I do all things. And, God doesn’t need my help to do His work, although He may choose to use me.

After years of personal counseling, support groups, learning new truths about myself and God, reading Leslie’s books and blogs, and after many mistakes and God’s help, I grew in CORE strength to leave my spouse, in an effort to wake him up and encourage godly change. He was denied the benefits of a good marriage. To keep with the analogy, I pulled away from close-hold dancing; we stopped dancing altogether. I never believed I would ever leave my spouse. I thought it was an act of unbelief. Now I know it is an act of love.

It was tumultuous at first. My spouse resisted the separation and tried manipulating to get me back home, but it didn’t work. Instead, God was at work. I stood still. My spouse ended up leaving the house and staying at a hotel so that the kids and I would not be homeless.

Before that time, he had already been getting outside help and was in personal counseling for several months. But there were no signs of real change. Now he was gone for 5 weeks and was showing real progress. He was stepping up, and learning new dance steps without me.

Without me! That was humbling and fantastic! It’s best to let God do the work. That’s how I’ll know he is repentant and more merely remorseful; the change is permanent and real, and not simply his attempt to show me, temporarily, what he thinks I want to see, so that he can get what he wants. He was doing the work of identifying his problem and taking responsibility for it.

Because I was too angry to speak with him unless a counselor was present, he wrote his work on a spiral tablet and we communicated back and forth that way. I was so glad to recognize my anger and the limitations it would bring to healthy communication. That was evidence of my healing and maturation.

My consequences were less reactionary and unhealthy. They were more healthy and God-honoring. When I let him back in the house and eventually back in my bed, I knew that there were no guarantees. I trusted completely on God to help me see what I needed to see if things ever began to turn back to the old dance.

We both still had work to do and a lot to talk about, but we were on the right track and could get there if we kept communicating honestly and doing the hard work we started. We were still learning the dance steps but willing to practice together. Like Leslie said, “Consequences can be a first step to the wake up phase but are not the only or last step in repairing or restoring a broken relationship.”

Five months later, I knew he was acting out again – not because I snooped and found something (which isn’t necessarily wrong), but because I recognized the relational unhealthiness and covert manipulation returning. I ended up discovering he was lusting and pursuing inappropriate relationships through social media. I confronted him, told him that I know he is acting out, and pressed him for the whole truth. He shared more than I knew but not all that I discovered.

During the months, I had continued practicing my dance steps, but in the previous month, God was showing me flags that my spouse was not practicing his. I was willing to see those flags and willing to put on courage to respond with healthy – though painful and sad – consequences. I successfully resisted the visceral temptation to deny that things were going back to the way they were. Yeah!

Finally, I ended up setting a firmer and clearer boundary with my spouse of 15 years at the time: “I will no longer be in physical, emotional, or spiritual relationship with you for a year.” Our three children were between the ages of 8 and 14, so they were clearly affected by the separation. They, of course, were also affected by the covert emotional abuse, but those affects were less in comparison, since his destructive behaviors were mostly directed towards me.

Despite his destructive behaviors in the marriage, we managed to be on one accord when it came to providing for our children and caring for most of their needs. Gratefully, we are financially sound and have a large home, so he agreed to move to the basement so that he can stay home and help me raise the children. This was a wise choice both financially and to maintain some sort of stability for the children.

I resolved that my marriage was dead. And, it seemed impossible to me that it could ever work. But I know Christ and He has the power to bring the dead to life. So I memorized and repeated daily, God’s truths. I resisted temptation (despair, anger, betrayal, etc.) the way Christ did, with scripture. My life verse at the time was, “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

This didn’t mean I believed that my marriage would be brought back to life. I know I needed to keep what was true so that I can keep my sanity and sound mind. Reciting that scripture gave me peace and disabled the enemy’s pursuit to ruin my day.

I learned to trust God more and more with the process and outcome of my life, even when I don’t like the process and when I don’t get the outcome I want (tweet that).

This consequence worked. It was around month 11 when I started to see change. There were promising moments before month 11, but they were followed up by his old patterns of thinking and behavior. So, he wasn’t ready yet. He was no longer acting out in sexual sin but the unhealthy and ungodly attitudes were still there.

The one-year boundary came and went, and we still stayed physically separate. However, we were growing in emotional and spiritual intimacy.

He has learned to trust God and to trust his support. He is honest and vulnerable. He confesses his sins and has a true broken heart for the pain he has caused me. He is finally seeing himself for who he truly was and is still capable of being.

He is unashamed to admit his failures publically when relevant. He still goes to counseling, has had and continues to have an accountability partner, and is still a committed member of a local support group. He sees me differently now; I am a gift from God, not an object to be lusted, conquered, or dominated. He sees me as a person separate from him whom God created for His unique purposes and for His glory.

My spouse is sensitive to the pain he caused me and listens tenderly when I need to share that. He’s more emotional and other-centered than he’s been since childhood (we are high school sweethearts). All this is the beginning of rebuilding trust. When we have conversations, we have learned how to say the hard stuff, to be honest about painful topics and still hear one another, not to get easily angered, and not to judge one another. We’ve both committed to understanding one another and to be understood.

That means we stick it out when the conversations lead to disagreements or hurts. We respond like adults by asking questions to bring about clarity and solutions. We’ve both learned what to take responsibility for, and what not to. We both have a respect for one another and are willing to gently speak the truth in love. We both see ourselves as fallible human beings, yet capable to give love and worthy of love. Forgiveness is evident. We have grown in patience to allow the Lord to do the perfecting, all the while trusting Him with the process. We confess our temptations to one another and they are received with compassion. This activity has especially helped rebuild trust. Christ is miraculously bringing our dead marriage back to life. Sometimes, I still can’t believe it.

To answer the blog question succinctly, the consequences I’ve tried did make a difference in my marriage, because they first made a difference in me.

Friends, what are the dance steps you need to change in order to get healthier yourself?

 If you’re struggling with how to change your dance steps, check out CONQUER, a group for women who want to get healthier. To learn more click here

247 Comments

  1. Brenda on September 9, 2015 at 7:35 am

    I am glad for this writer and her family. She is a very strong woman. This doesn’t work often enough.

    • sandra on September 12, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      To answer, What worked and what failed:

      – Calling the police and getting a restraining order worked.
      – Getting my own bank account worked.
      -Going to the security officer at work and telling them to watch out for my H, because I have a restraining order worked.
      -Having an security officer walk me to my car at night worked.
      -Having the police accompany me when I returned to my home alone worked.
      -Showing up in court and filing charges worked.
      -Have an escape plan, funds, keys, cell phone and change of clothes on hand worked.
      -His decision to repent, get help and change the way he thought worked.

      Fails:
      -Believing he may have a point and it really could be my fault, resulted in more abuse.
      -Growing comfortable and forgetting to have my spare cash, cell phone, change of clothes and keys with me at ALL times, failed.
      -Praying night and day that he would stop being abusive didn’t change was a failure. (It changed me, but not him.)
      -Reading self help books, attending lectures and conference on marriage and communication was useless. Abuse programs helped, but he never completed stopped until HE decided he wanted to stop. It is his work, not mine.

      • Shellie on September 12, 2015 at 7:40 pm

        This is awesome! AMEN! Thanks for sharing.

        • sandra on September 12, 2015 at 10:02 pm

          I would like to add:

          -No means, No! Works.

          -No phone calls, no emails, no text messaging, no begging to come back, no talking through the children, no pumping our friends and family for information, no following me or sending me gifts.

          -Working the program of an abusers men’s group that he can’t talk his way out of his behaviors and blame his wife, circumstances, childhood or job etc… Tough men willing to talk tough. Iron sharpening iron, Works.

          -Accountability. Works. Get names and numbers and call when he starts thinking or acting like a victim.- There is only one victim here, and it is NOT him.

          • Shellie on September 12, 2015 at 11:32 pm

            Nice! I agree completely. Although, we don’t have to stay a victim. I’m glad to say I’m no longer one. 🙂



  2. Pamela Brooks on September 9, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Thank you so much ‘Dear Reader’, for walking out your response and then writing it out to share with us. (What an encouragement!) I *loved* your “learning to trust God more and more with the process and outcome of my life, even when I don’t like the process and when I don’t get the outcome I want.” You put into words what’s been the most difficult aspect of all this for me.

    It’s tough to ‘stay well’, setting and maintaining your boundaries while refusing to become someone else’s Holy Spirit. Especially when things ‘go South’ and aren’t the way you want them to be. To be able to fix your eyes on God and resolve your marriage to be dead– without feeling as if its up to you to shock it back to life, but to walk in your own CORE strength– is such an excellent litmus test as to whether or not you’ve truly entrusted it to God. Or not.

    Why should someone take up his or her responsibility when it’s already being carried out for them? >Sigh!< You're willingness to step back and stand still took real courage– and a willingness to keep your marriage in the right place in your heart. It sounds as if both of you are taking responsibility in a healthy way, without the 'over-functioning' I've heard others write about in their 'success stories'. Thank you. I love your 'without me' part. To God be the glory!

  3. Remedy on September 9, 2015 at 9:57 am

    I think that my definition of love and how that is lived out must be way off here. If a person professes to love their spouse, and yet hurting that person repeatedly and has to be pushed to that extreme consequence to effect a change of heart….does that hurtful, destructive spouse really love you?

    What about the personality disordered….ie, narcissistic personality disorder. The more boundaries that are set, the more emboldened they become. And capacity to charm, and lie, and rewrite history, and justify their extreme cruelty. What then?

    Scripture says that when we are reborn, God removes the heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. I get the pleadings of a loving spouse begging for recognition of the destructive ways…..but I don’t get the dismissiveness of the other spouse when the covenant promise was to love, honor and cherish.

    I am in a place of total frustration realizing the inevitable of my ‘so called’ marriage. And at this point, after 25 yrs, why would I even want someone who has no concern or love whatsoever for me. Even if there were some outward behavioral changes, I don’t think I could ever trust again that there is or was genuine love there after a lifetime of such cruelty and heartless manipulations to make me believe there was understanding and change of heart.

    Of course, I will trust the Lord with my future as reality has to be faced for what it is, and not what I wish it to be. I just don’t see there is love here when someone has to be pushed to that point to treat you like a real human being, and even more like their most beloved.

    • Robin on September 9, 2015 at 10:28 am

      I agree wholeheartedly Remedy. There are some who soften and may desire to learn by boundaries but in my case those consequences only heaped greater pain my way. I really wish I would have had my eyes opened to reality many years sooner. But I will say boundaries and consequences can serve as a real test to see what is in their heart.

    • David on September 9, 2015 at 10:48 am

      my God can do the impossible … hope that my wife is not so cold hearted and unforgiving as you.

      • Remedy on September 9, 2015 at 11:27 am

        Not about forgiving or unforgiveness David, of course we are commanded to be forgiving. But reconciliation or hope for it is the topic here. There are some people the Scriptures absolutely warn us to stay away from. Have you seen some of those admonishments in Scripture? It is shocking to me when I read them, yet they are there for our instruction and wisdom.

        • David on September 9, 2015 at 11:49 am

          so what you are saying is that according to the Bible there is no hope for me and other abusive husbands … I hope your inter is wrong

          • Maria on September 9, 2015 at 7:57 pm

            David, what are you doing to change from your abusive ways?



          • Islandgirl on September 9, 2015 at 11:03 pm

            Oh sheesh,David, are you here again?



          • David on September 10, 2015 at 2:21 pm

            Hi Maria. I am reading much, book as well as the Bible and viewing many vids. Also saw 4 different counselors am still seeing one and 3 pastors – still on-going. But is all moot as the wife said over and over that she never loved me – why she married me and had two kids is beyond me – I just do not understand lying to many for 20 1/2 yrs. Also I had heart problems about 3 years ago but when she left my health improved, I have had not a single episode (heart) since which I find interesting



      • Lisa on September 9, 2015 at 6:00 pm

        He’s baaack!!!

        • Lonelywife07 on September 9, 2015 at 10:31 pm

          I ignore him, Lisa…he’s admitted he’s an abuser, and continually blames his wife for her “cold heart”….if he were truly repentant, David would not write the things he does, so what works best for me is to ignore him.

          • Lisa on September 10, 2015 at 12:34 am

            I think he is a troll. He’s a broken record.



          • Paula on September 10, 2015 at 9:14 am

            Lonely wife, same here. I believe ignoring him is the right path to take. I know each person has to do what they need to do when they read what he writes to bait people. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to speak truth and answer back. Heaven knows how often I take the bait in my own home even after I resolve not to engage my anti-husband again. However, I would love to see his comments go completely ignored out here. I think it’s the only way to cut off the “supply” he gets when he gets a response.



          • David on September 10, 2015 at 2:24 pm

            If I do not agree with you I am not repentant



          • Lisa on September 13, 2015 at 5:10 pm

            Lonelywife07 & Paula,

            I agree. It’s freeing not to respond. I use to think I had to reply to abuser–h’s nastiness, but then I happily realized no response is its own response.



        • Paula on September 10, 2015 at 9:09 am

          Lisa, I almost wrote the exact same thing yesterday. You made me smile.

          • Lisa on September 10, 2015 at 3:58 pm

            “David”‘s timeline and supposed facts about “wife” & what he is “doing” are just made up drivel. “David” isn’t even a man. “David” is here to disrupt. His usefulness as an exercise to learn how to respond to an abuser is enough already. Leslie please ban him once and for all.



          • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 5:33 pm

            Lisa, I have written to David and I am also asking you to refrain from attacks and name calling on this blog. You can stick up for yourself and your position without attacking others. This is part of CORE strength which I’m sure you want.



          • Paula on September 10, 2015 at 6:08 pm

            Leslie,

            Perhaps it is not my place to add a thought, but I was concerned that you thought Lisa’s remark, “I think he is a troll,” was meant to be name-calling. I could be wrong, but when I read it, I took it in the context of a current definition of “troll” with respect to the Internet. From urbandictionary.com a troll is “One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.” There are more in-depth definitions of the use of this word out there. I found her to be sharing her belief about his purpose on your blog and no more.



          • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 6:20 pm

            It was not her remark that he was a troll although it could be taken a number of ways but that he wasn’t a man which was a derogatory comment as David’s was. Again if we are going to learn and practice CORE strength we are going to be responsible for ourselves and respectful towards others (even those we don’t like or disagree with) without dishonoring ourselves.



        • David on September 10, 2015 at 2:29 pm

          Never went away, just was quietly reading our posts. I am still a man so you won’t still like me!!

          • David on September 10, 2015 at 5:20 pm

            Lisa, you are extremely rude and nasty. If anyone should be banned it is you. If you were abused you may have well deserved it – your enough to drive anyone nuts. I AM A MAN, AM 54 LIVE IN TORONTO. My timeline and facts ARE NOT JUST MADE UP DRIVEL. Anyone you says things like you accused is OBVIOUSLY NOT A CHRISTIAN. Leslie and Brenda were very kind and helpful but not you … please go away and do not respond to me.



          • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 5:32 pm

            David, you have also been rude and nasty on this blog and I am asking all participants to refrain from name calling and accusations. You can stick up for yourself without attacking someone else. David you have called people on this blog names -and judged some of us as non Christians. Lisa was also wrong for name-calling and I will write to her also. I think we can disagree and we can discuss, but we are not going to attack one another on this blog. Not on my watch.



          • Robin on September 12, 2015 at 7:36 pm

            It’s important for all of us to listen well and be respectful even where we might get annoyed. Best way to deal with it might be to go on past those posts . On this blog we are learning to stand up for ourselves, and to do it respectfully. I agree it’s challenging at times. That’s when I take a break for a couple days till I can regain my composure.



        • Lisa on September 10, 2015 at 8:02 pm

          Leslie when I said “David” is not a man I am speaking to the true identity;of this person is probably a woman/girl presenting herself as a man, “David”.

          And Paula is correct concerning the troll statement.

          • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 8:07 pm

            I hear you. David is a biological man as far as I know. I think we need to stay away from accusations and attacks and I would like our comments to be constructive and bold when we need to without having to attack another person in the process. I know David can wear on our nerves, but God has put you all on this site for a reason. There are a lot of men who read this blog who stay in the background, never saying a word. I know this because they e-mail me. They want to understand better. They don’t get it. But I want us to practice CORE and to treat others as we would want to be treated.



          • David on September 10, 2015 at 8:16 pm

            I am very much a man



        • Maria on September 10, 2015 at 9:07 pm

          David, sometimes you sound very bitter when you talk about your wife. I would encourage you to focus your eyes on Jesus, and aim at pleasing him. He never fails us. Change from old thinking/habits is a process and takes time. Hopefully, you can stay the course, and when you look back you will be able to see differences in your thinking and action.

          • David on September 10, 2015 at 9:56 pm

            Not bitter, just discouraged. I still much love my wife but has she never loved me any changes in me are moot as far as we are concerned. It has been 2 1/2 years now so should just give up and move on.



          • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 10:49 pm

            If you are changing to win your wife back then it is mute. If you are changing because it is what God calls you to become then it is not pointless. It is important.



          • David on September 10, 2015 at 11:01 pm

            Hi Leslie. I’m kinda hoping that because my wife did marry me and even had two kids that despite what she said that she did love me



          • Leslie Vernick on September 11, 2015 at 6:39 am

            Sadly, love is not enough to hold a marriage together sometimes. Especially when people can’t be honest with one another, communicate kindly and clearly and respectfully. Or love dies when it is not nurtured. Again, the best way to get through this is learn what you might have done differently and learn to be the kind of man that is easy to love.



          • David on September 11, 2015 at 9:15 am

            Hi Leslie. Thanks for your post. I was with the understanding that love is not a feeling but a commitment, love ebbs and flows within a long term marriage so without committing to your vows the marriage will never make it – or is this teaching wrong.



          • Leslie Vernick on September 11, 2015 at 11:35 am

            Commitment is the glue – yes, but many people stay in loveless marriages and are miserable. I’m not saying the alternative is to leave loveless marriages, but most people enter marriage loving their spouse, but they don’t always continue to love, especially when their partner is harsh, uncommunicative, and/or disrespectful towards her or him. Therefore, if we want happy long term marriages, it’s best to make sure we are doing all we can to be the kind of person who we would want to be married to.



          • David on September 11, 2015 at 12:33 pm

            Thanks again Leslie. “Therefore, if we want happy long term marriages, it’s best to make sure we are doing all we can to be the kind of person who we would want to be married to.” a strong reason to not get married again, your best may not be good enough to make the wife happy.

            .



          • Leslie Vernick on September 11, 2015 at 12:43 pm

            Perhaps that’s the error in your thinking David. We can all change and improve and get better. I think if a husband or wife shares with his or her spouse that they are not happy or feeling the marriage is not strong or stable, then their spouse listens, makes efforts to change and grow. You are the one who says “If abusers can’t change what hope is there?” But if you are honest with yourself, there are times we aren’t doing our best, or we don’t know how to do any better, but we can learn. For example, We can learn to talk to someone we disagree with without putting them down or criticizing their character. In fact, I’m encouraging you – challenging you to learn just that David. You’ve been on this blog a long time. There are posts where you communicate cleanly and many others where you have disagreed but then hurled accusations, judgments and criticisms towards the women on this blog including me. That might be the best way you know to communicate but it is TOXIC to all good and loving relationships. So I challenge you to improve this one thing – communicate your different opinion or thoughts without having to put anyone else down. Try it. Prove to yourself that you can change. It would help you to have much better real relationships.



      • sandra on September 12, 2015 at 7:32 pm

        David, do you mean X wife? What are you doing to help yourself grow into a man that woman man desire? Education, exercise, travel, community service, music, new friends and hobbies etc…make you more interesting. Are you trying anything new to improve yourself?

        • sandra on September 12, 2015 at 7:33 pm

          I meant- “into a man that women desire”

        • David on September 12, 2015 at 10:49 pm

          Hi Sandra. We are separated, the D not been finalized yet so why I still call her my wife, also emotionally I cannot give up, still wear my ring. I’m old now, almost 55 so do not travel much outside of NA, my wife was living in Hong Kong when met, met in Bangkok on the plane, first dated was in Singapore, married in Manila took the entire wedding party to our first honeymoon stop, paid for their airfare, accom, food etc then went on to NZ, Fiji, Hong Kong and Paris. Had three factories in South Korea (so been there many, many times, traveled extensively in China and travelled much in Canada and the US, in fact just came back from NYC and DC but like I said rather not go outside of NA and purposely do not wish to travel as I’m tired. Re exercise, used to play hockey (til 45, my back), first season in my life I didn’t skate and ski but do lift weights, walk, push ups etc everyday. Have seen 4 counselors (Christian)‎ , 3 pastors my regular next week (even tho in another city) , also read much, I have screwed up and hurt my wife and want her to love me again as I realize now how much she means to me and how much I do love her. You asked about community service, not much as financially my back is against the wall but do drive for Cancer assist and they wish me to sit on their BOD but do not have the bandwidth. Sorry long winded but you asked me much. 
          ‎,

          • Sandra on September 13, 2015 at 8:13 am

            Thank you, David. It sounds to me as if you have tried to live life to the fullest. What exactly were your wife’s concerns?

            How is your relationship with your mother? My husband experienced difficulty with his mother, something counselors called “emotional incest.” My father in law had been a poor and then absent husband, so my mother in law had chosen my husband for intimacy. She used and befriended him in a way that a son never should have been used (provider/protector). This left him emotionally used up, and the only space left in his mind for women, was to see them as possession and sex objects. He didn’t realize that until his mother (abuser) finally died. With her death, his abuse finally stopped, but then he had to unlearn damaging thinking patterns and address issues of entitlement and pride.



          • David on September 13, 2015 at 9:32 am

            Hi Sandra my wife’s concerns, I didn’t pay her enough attention, didn’t have enough sex with her but she liked money so had to work. My relationship with my mother is normal, she is a great cook and baker, just ask my dad!!!



    • Paula on September 9, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Remedy, I am too weak today to say much, but I want to say that I, too, am in complete agreement with your comment.

      • Maria on September 11, 2015 at 9:00 am

        David, isn’t it time to start accepting reality? Your wife has left you and has said she doesn’t/has never loved you. I think you will be stuck and not be able to move forward if you keep dwelling on the past. Why is it so hard for you to accept that she never loved you? Many of us here have had to accept our spouse probably never loved us. It was tough for me, but in order to heal I had to grieve that. Once I did that I focused my actions on pleasing God. By doing that we make ourselves more attractive/ love able, as Leslie has explained. If you focus on your wife, you will get discouraged and give up.

        • David on September 11, 2015 at 9:20 am

          Because I thought married love was a commitment. If I were find another it would always be in the back of my mind that in 20+ years I will be informed that she never loved me. There seems to be no commitment. Also why marry someone and have to kids with someone you don’t love and lye to yourself, husband, family, friends etc for 20+ years!?

          • Lee Ann on October 28, 2015 at 7:29 pm

            I would not want to be married to a man who’s definition of “married love” is “commitment”. Commitment doesn’t take into account the feelings of the other person, and we are called to love each other, not commit to each other.

            I would want “married love” to be a RELATIONSHIP where the golden rule prevailed.

            Your ex wife never loved you. That is outside of your control, so why keep dwelling on that fact? There is nothing you can do to make her take back those words or change the reality of the fact that she never loved you.

            Dwell on what you can control -you!

            I agree whole heartedly with Leslie – one action step you can take is to vow to never put down, accuse, criticize, or judge anyone in this group ever again – then follow through on that commitment.



        • David on September 11, 2015 at 9:27 am

          Thanks for the very discouraging post

        • Leslie Vernick on September 11, 2015 at 11:36 am

          well said Maria.

        • David on September 11, 2015 at 12:35 pm

          “Why is it so hard for you to accept that she never loved you? ” the next wife may well be no different

          • Leonie on September 11, 2015 at 3:25 pm

            The next wife?



          • David on September 11, 2015 at 3:42 pm

            Hi Leonie. Re the next wife, not my idea just repeating what I “heard” – think it was on this blog. If it took 20+ years for former wife to tell me that she never loved then why would any other be different



    • Lisa on September 10, 2015 at 12:32 am

      I agree Remedy.

      • Leonie on September 13, 2015 at 6:12 am

        No one on this blog deserves to be abused. David commented about Lisa “If you were abused, you may have well deserved it – ”
        Women are not to blame for the abuse they suffer – any abusive man is responsible for his own actions. If he abuses his wife he has a problem and so does she – his problem is being abusive to his intimate life partner whom he should love & cherish. Her problem is him. When she removes herself from her abuser she no longer has the problem because he was the problem. That is a typical abusers perception – that anyone deserves to be treated badly or abusively.

        • David on September 13, 2015 at 9:17 am

          Hi Leonie. Unfortunately some people DO deserve the negative treatment they get. Lisa essentially called me a liar and was very nasty, do not think that this is her first time, so any negative treatment she got either from her husband or others she brought upon herself. Many wives believe that it is OK to nag and other forms of verbal abuse but not acceptable for the husbands but marriage is a two way street and sometimes women are to blame‎. Sorry to burst your bubble

          • Leslie Vernick on September 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm

            David no one is to blame for the bad behavior of another person. It’s not okay to treat people poorly and it’s not okay for us to retaliate if we’ve been treated poorly. Paul says Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). How we treat people is a statement about who we are, not what they did. So if someone nagged me or criticized me, I don’t HAVE to treat them harshly or cruely. Of course I would be bothered by their treatment of me and say so and set boundaries in place if they didn’t stop, but I don’t have to treat them in an ugly way just because they treated me that way.



          • Maria on September 13, 2015 at 3:03 pm

            Leslie, I’ve been reading some of your quotes on your Twitter page and they are very powerful. “How are treat others is a statement of who we are, not what they said”. I share that with my kids a lot. Also when I say something unkind, I ask myself what that says about me/ what wrong belief do I have that needs to be changed so that I can be the person God wants me to be. It’s amazing how, how we behave can be traced back to our beliefs.



        • Lisa on September 13, 2015 at 5:20 pm

          Thank you Leonie, beautifully said.

    • Shellie on September 10, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      This blog series below – by Brad Hambrick, a counselor for the church – really helped me know how to respond to narcissistic behaviors. Hambrick calls this “Marriage with a Chronically Self-Centered Spouse.”

      Reading and studying this blog series gave me a huge boost to my healing process. Leslie just mentioned Matthew 7:6, in a comment here, which Hambrick expounds upon in the blog series.

      I found Hambrick’s blog post as a footnote in one of Leslie’s latest books (either The Emotionally Destructive Relationship or …Marriage). God bless you Leslie!

      Here is the link: http://www.bradhambrick.com/selfcenteredspouse/

      • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 8:10 pm

        Yes I think Brad’s booklet is great and endorse it.

      • Maria on September 10, 2015 at 9:26 pm

        Shellie, thank you very much for the link. I have just started reading it and it has a lot of good information.

      • Grace on September 13, 2015 at 4:51 am

        Hi Shellie, I really wanted to thank you for sharing this link. I started reading the series last night and It was so eye opening and so helpful in understanding my H (and myself) and how Jesus handled each level of self centeredness and where my H is on the spectrum.
        I am so grateful for Leslie’s blog and each person who contributes to it. Your sharing has helped and encouraged and given me many needed reality checks. God bless each one who shares along their journey to healing and those readers who stay in the background. Also God bless you dear Leslie for creating and maintaining this blog as a safe place for us to learn and grow. It is so very much appreciated! May His wisdom, peace and strength be with you!

        • Shellie on September 13, 2015 at 7:14 pm

          Hey Grace, you’re welcome. I felt the same way when I read his blog series too. Hambrick has other great series on his site as well. He has a free video seminar that is excellent, if relevant to your situation (Well, it’s probably very valuable even if it doesn’t exactly fit your struggles.). It’s called SEMINAR — TRUE BETRAYAL: OVERCOMING THE BETRAYAL OF YOUR SPOUSE’S SEXUAL SIN.

          Here is the main link: http://www.bradhambrick.com/seminar-true-betrayal-overcoming-the-betrayal-of-your-spouses-sexual-sin/

          • Grace on September 14, 2015 at 12:57 pm

            Hi Shellie, Thanks so much for taking the time to answer and post this new link! I will check it out tonight.



          • Leonie on September 14, 2015 at 6:37 pm

            It is so good to hear something for the victim, not only the perpetrator.



    • Vivienne on September 14, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      While I identify almost word for word the above story, I also know the pain of being with someone who you describe Remedy and I too have wondered if I have ever been truly loved. I feel I have been useful, I have been used, and now that I am facing up to myself and his behaviour it is ever more painful. I have separated myself physically but am not seeing any sign of him wanting to repair what was lost – he appears unconcerned. It is painful to acknowledge the possibility that a long standing (34 year) relationship has been largely fake. My H is angry, and much of his anger stems from the consequences of his bad choices but also because I no longer try to patch things up but rather confront him, I am not allowing him to get away with stuff and it hurts him – I have become a bad person in his eyes and he says I am the worst example of a Christian (despite my forgiving him all manner of atrocities in the past). Applying consequences to a Narcissistic personality is extremely soul destroying.

      • David on September 14, 2015 at 8:08 pm

        Hello Vivienne , 2 cents from a husband. I can only speak for my situation… I loved and love my wife but I screwed-up. Money success came very easy to me prior to being married and when it didn’t happen I got angry… at the whole world, including my wife. I took all of her debt when she left and told her that I will work from my current 54 to 74 to provide for her retirement… my lawyer thinks I’m nuts and so does my parents and pastor so just no longer tell them. So maybe you were much loved but your H made a huge mistake but is embarrassed to admit it

        • Maria on September 15, 2015 at 6:24 am

          David, have you read Leslie’s articles on CORE? I would encourage you to give some thought to “O” being open to the Holy Spirit and others. I don’t know the details of what you are going through, but aren’t you setting yourself for more bitterness and anger by working into your seventies to provide her with a retirement? What if she still decides to be on her own or if she remarries? At that time how will you feel when her new husband is living off your money?

          You mentioned that your wife did not tell you that you were aabisive, but that you came to that conclusion. In what ways do you think you were abusive?

          • David on September 16, 2015 at 7:16 am

            Maria, thanks again.
            If she were to remarry then I wouldn’t need to participate – as long as she was being looked after. If she decided to remain on her own then I would still feel obligated.  
            As already mentioned, when money didn’t come I got bitter and angry and took it out on my family, the counselor says he sees this a lot but is still stupid – it may well have been the actual money tho!? And if she never loved like she said then doesn’t matter..



      • Ally on September 14, 2015 at 8:08 pm

        With Narcissists and Borderlines, the consequences are for our sanity rather than their holiness or restoration.

        • Maria on September 14, 2015 at 8:42 pm

          Ally, you are right, narcissists retaliate and think turn against us when we put consequences in place. The consequences are really for our sanity and protection.

      • Maria on September 14, 2015 at 8:56 pm

        Vivienne, your husband is trying so hard to push back at the consequences you have put in place. The dance has changed and he probably wants to go back to what was happening before you put the consequences in place. My husband says a lot of unkind things, but I have made the choice to not listen to his negativity. I replace what he tells me with a truth from a God’s word. When I would focus on what he said, I would be devastated. Now, I am much stronger. Sounds like you are getting stronger too.

      • Remedy on September 14, 2015 at 11:58 pm

        Anything, anything will be said or done to deflect the failure of the relationship back on you with zero responsibility from your spouse. These personality types are flawless in their minds and I have found after 25 years, it is an exercise in futility to get them to see it any other way!

        Leslie is right…we must get ourselves healthy especially if there are still children needing raised. Emotional and spiritual health are first priorities.

      • grace on September 20, 2015 at 6:44 pm

        Vivienne,
        I am divorced after 27 years of marriage. I let my husband ravage my soul because every voice in my world told me that divorce was not an option for a Christian woman. This man never yelled. His calm ripping of my soul gave power to his control over me. I began to set boundaries and life for me turned darker and my soul was a gory, bleeding, dying mess. I read The Emotionally Destructive Marriage and while I was terrified, for the first time in years, I felt like my soul wanted to live. I left realizing that the only contact that I could have with this man was through my attorney. He dragged me through the mud and tried to destroy every relationship in my life. He was largely successful. He remarried and after 10 Mos of marriage, he is getting divorced again and somehow this provided him an opportunity to harass me again through my children (adults) and my friends. He has moved his new girlfriend in with him though he is not divorced yet, so I have calm in my life again for the time being. The marriage was hell. The divorce process was hell and every step on the path to freedom and life has been more difficult than I could ever imagine. But, I AM ALIVE. My soul sings! My body is free of chronic pain! My eyes see beauty in the creation! I laugh freely! I cry freely! My senses are becoming sharp. God is digging me out of a grave and He has put a shovel in my hands so that i may actively participate in my own life. Whatever your path to life is, I encourage you to lose the “life” you cling to now. It feels great to be alive! God will be with you so have courage!

        • Leslie Vernick on September 20, 2015 at 8:33 pm

          I’m so glad you shared your story. So many women need to hear it.

  4. Michelle on September 9, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Thank you Leslie for sharing this criticism you receive. This is what sets you apart -in a good way- from other (more progressive) voices, which can’t see or acknowledge sin in victims, much less the humanity of abusers. I so appreciate your voice for affirming the needs and perspectives of women victims, while also calling them to be responsible for their own actions and treat abusers with dignity and good boundaries.

    • Leslie Vernick on September 9, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks Michelle. I appreciate you.

    • Sandra on September 11, 2015 at 2:33 am

      The only criticism I have heard about this ministry is that their is an endorsement associated with it and a local divorce law firm. I have also been informed that Leslie no longer holds a license to practice as a social worker. Whatever the explanation may be for these concerns. I don’t see how they pertain to her work.

      • Leslie Vernick on September 11, 2015 at 6:37 am

        Sandra I’m curious who informed you that I no longer hold a license to practice social work? That is not true. I am licensed as a clinical social worker and have been for many years. Also I am not associated with any divorce law firm. Whoever is feeding you information is not accurate.

        • Sandra on September 11, 2015 at 9:16 am

          My Christian counselor told me this when I mentioned reading your books. She felt their was a conflict of interest between her work and yours because she thought clients were being pushed towards divorce. She flatly told me that the license to practice in Pennsylvania had expired. Leslie, I am so very sorry to bring this up. This kind of talk sounds like slander to me. I need to confront the counselor. Thank you.

          • Leslie Vernick on September 11, 2015 at 11:33 am

            Thanks Sandra, I would appreciate you asking her where she got that information and informing her it is not true.



          • Maria on September 11, 2015 at 9:51 pm

            Leslie, thank you for the work you do to help people who are in abusive situations in spite of all the criticism out there.



          • Leslie Vernick on September 12, 2015 at 8:23 pm

            Thanks Maria.



  5. David on September 9, 2015 at 11:46 am

    ” There are some people the Scriptures absolutely warn us to stay away from. Have you seen some of those admonishments in Scripture? It is shocking to me when I read them, yet they are there for our instruction and wisdom.” Again my God can change people … so that they are not the people that we are warned …

    • Leslie Vernick on September 9, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      David I think God can change people – that’s the whole idea of our sanctification. The point of the blog is we can’t change someone else, especially if they don’t want to do the work to change. Even God doesn’t interfere with a person’s choice. And when we see NO change, and the abusive behavior continues, even if forgiveness is granted, reconciliation is impossible.

      • David on September 9, 2015 at 1:11 pm

        Tks Leslie, also encouraging

    • Remedy on September 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Note…..David I did not say God cannot change people. Yet you insinuate that I did and accuse and even attempt to shame me for pointing out a Scriptural truth found several places in the Word of God. This is classic abuser crazy making, manipulative tactics, rhetoric used to deflect from the actions of the intentionally cruel spouse and somehow blame the other spouse for addressing it and asking for change.

      How long can one live sanely in this type of relationship where every word in a disagreement gets twisted, there is no reasoning with such a one, and nothing gets solved. Just endless going in circles to avoid dealing with and repenting of sinful and unloving behaviors toward our spouse. Seriously, I think this is precisely why the Scriptures teach such things. After of time of trying to reason, leave the person to the Lord. If there is to be change, the Most High will do it with the change to a heart of flesh. Only then can truly loving relationships be built.

      • Leonie on September 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm

        A cry for justice post for today was about that warning and addressing this issue of who is and who is not a believer even if they sit in our churches. It is worth the read.

        • Robin on September 13, 2015 at 7:26 pm

          Leonie why don’t you give website for that ministry so others who haven’t read it yet, know where to look for an additional resource!!!!

        • Leonie on September 13, 2015 at 7:53 pm

          The website is cryingoutforjustice.com
          And the article was from Sept 9/15 – entitled “To properly confront sin in the church we must first understand the nature of that sin.”

  6. Brenda on September 9, 2015 at 11:55 am

    David,
    Our God can change anyone, BUT they must be a willing vessel. God does not change those who do not want HIM.

    • David on September 9, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      thank you, thank you … this is very encouraging

      • Alene on September 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        David,
        The only thing you can do is to humbly and honestly seek the Lord to discover the unhealthy and reactionary behaviors you have been doing, getting to the root of what is driving you and doing the work to take responsibility and implement healthy behaviors and attitudes.

        As this woman said, there are no guarantees.
        There is so much you can learn from her example, “I learned to trust God more and more with the process and outcome of my life, even when I don’t like the process and when I don’t get the outcome I want.”

        I noticed her husband used manipulation even during the separation. David: be honest with yourself: you will want to get off the hook.

        There is one quote that caught my attention, “He is finally seeing himself for who he truly was and IS still capable of being.” At every step my own husband wants to think thing are better now, he’s nicer now, and so on. When he can speak not only about the past, thus separating himself from the problem and looking pristine, but also about how the past impacted people and about the present, what he still struggles with, what he doesn’t realize yet, then we can truly begin to build trust.

        A thought for you: God is a fisher of men so perhaps being on the hook isn’t something to avoid.

  7. Elaine on September 9, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Sounds just like my story only with a different outcome. My husband did not change and we divorced. I tried for 23 years. Now after 2 years apart and divorcing does he say he wants me back. Clearly nothing has changed on his part. He still uses manipulation and threats. His actions and words don’t match. It’s sad. I’m well, I’m alive again and my relationship with the Lord is better than ever.

  8. Alene on September 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    I so appreciated this lady’s story.

    She indicates that it was a process. It took years to learn what unhealthy love was and years more to learn healthy tools. Even at this point, they are ‘beginning to rebuild trust’.

    She had to be willing to see and to have courage to take a stand.

    “Why would he make changes when he was basically getting what he wanted?” I paraphrase.

    She indicates there is more than consequences to the process.

    I used some unhealthy and reactionary consequences; interesting that she calls them consequences.

    She is vulnerable and honest with her story.

    What she shared helps me evaluate where I am in the process…and rejoice in the progress I have made and encourages me to keep going.

  9. karen on September 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I appreciate her courage to share the process and am grateful to hear the positive outcome and see God at work and the proof that nothing is impossible with God! I needed to hear this as i am in the second separation stage and praying constantly for my husband of 35+ years who (as mentioned above) has been tested and diagnosed as both narcissistic and severely passive aggressive with some shadings of DID and diagnosed with frontal lobe degeneration as well . DID seems to run rampant in the males in his family we are learning as god has brought out this truth in past 5 years and although i have seen frightening things in this regard he is not diagnosed. Bottom line i know even this is NOT impossible with God………… But only He can heal this and only with my husbands willingness per the professionals we have attempted to work with over the years. My efforts have proven hopeless so i had to get out again to protect myself emotionallly, financially, spiritually although the need for physical protection seems to be in the past i still did not feel safe\secure in my home. So i have left him in gods hands……..People can humble themselves before God and be changed\healed and i know many of us are still beleiving God for this…….but it is not easy at all. Thank you all for sharing.

    • karen on September 9, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      Yes her description is the truth of my life right now and i pray for a similar result……praise God for his work and miracles! Just wish the outcome was always positive but i think that only happens when BOTH parties are wiling to repent change and let god work . i thank him for the way he is at work in me as he worked in her and continue to pray for an open and soft heart toward my husband i have finally reached the forgiveness stage but will serve in any way god allows while i am waiting ………..

      • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 5:43 pm

        Yes both parties have a lot of work to do if the marriage is truly going to be healed.

  10. Aleea on September 9, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    “Friends, what are the dance steps you need to change in order to get healthier yourself?”
     
    I need to stop shoulding, shaming, blaming and criticizing myself and using it as my source of motivation. . . . . Lots of my own church’s teaching (—which I have internalized) includes elements of: criticizing, shaming, blaming, demeaning and even demoralizing.  Although, the teaching and preaching can often sound as if “it’s for my own good.”  The teaching —even with finesse and tact, is often a way subtler blend of the same elements: the shaming, the blaming, etc.  —Anyway, I need to catch myself by observing and then releasing it (—easy to say, a lifetime to do?)  But then I hear the Holy Spirit say: “Aleea, it is only as hard as you are resistant.” . . .Jesus is brilliant with the women at the well: He just makes observations in kindness and love (. . .You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now living with is not your husband. . .)  I don’t see any criticizing, shaming, blaming, demeaning or demoralizing (-maybe an edge exists in the Aramaic language that Jesus spoke but I don’t see it in our Greek or English Bibles).  “. . . I know that when the Messiah, the Christ, comes, he will explain everything to us.  Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”  —It’s brilliant.  Jesus is not saying what she is doing is okay.  He is saying: “. . . . If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would give you living water.”  —Lord give me (—give us) all living water, not criticizing, shaming, blaming, demeaning, shoulding, ought-tos, have-tos, -illusions of ideals.  . . . .Nobody who truly loves you will want you to feel bad about yourself, including yourself.  I just realized I could use a divorce from myself many times. 
     
    “. . . .One of the biggest criticisms I receive about my work with women in destructive relationships is that I speak to the “victim” about recognizing her part of the destructive dynamic.  To my critics, that feels like I blame her for being abused in the first place. . . . “ —Nothing I have ever read or listened to of yours strikes me or even “feels” as if you are blaming women for being abused.  I just don’t understand how that could be being said?!  We can’t get better if we don’t own our part of the destructive dynamic even if it is only 5%. . . . . People e-mail me and say I am totally naive to the problems and serious issues with Christianity.  —Wow, I mean just wow, I don’t even know what to say to that.  I am constantly reading the counter-arguments.  That is why I am so confused.  . . . We can’t people-please.  It will destroy us, especially people just saying unsubstantiated things.  Praise God that courts understand that: what can be asserted without facts and evidence, can be just dismissed (—summary judgment) without facts and evidence. 
     
    “This is her response:”  —Whoever you are, thank you so much for sharing so much.  That’s a lot of what worked and what failed to live through!  You should be very proud of yourself!  “. . . .Christ is miraculously bringing our dead marriage back to life.  Sometimes, I still can’t believe it.” —WooHoo!!!, Awesome.  I love it when Christ gets ahold of people, even if they have to get a divorce.  —As long as He gets ahold of them, but I so pray for you and all others that he would bring their marriages back from the dead.  I love total miracles, Christ gets all the credit.

  11. Sunshine on September 9, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    I appreciate this post. The words that jump out at me are about the separation. When things were at their worst, I told my husband we needed to separate. His response was to contact a pastor friend that I didn’t know. I agreed to meet with him and his wife. It was a mistake. I was raked over the coals for asking for a separation and was told that whatever my husband had done was not as bad as me trying to break up our family. It’s encouraging to see so many posts about a separation that is for the purpose of working on your own issues in order to bring something better to the marriage. I have been told almost the exact same words “Why would he change when what he is doing is working for him?” Until I am bold, in Christ and speak the truth in love, Iam not helping my husband, I am just enabling him to carry on in his entitlement thinking ways.

    • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      You were not trying to break up your family, you were crying for help for your family. I’m sorry that the pastor blamed you instead of looking the reason you wanted to leave in the first place.

      • Sunshine on September 10, 2015 at 9:24 pm

        Thank you.

      • Maria on September 11, 2015 at 5:45 pm

        Aleea, is emotional abuse punishable by law?

        • Aleea on September 12, 2015 at 11:12 am

          “Aleea, is emotional abuse punishable by law?”
           
          Maria,
           
          —Again, not my practice area (Here is a typical question I answer: Is Dow Chemical’s current reverse triangular merger with Olin Corp. going to be a tax-free exchange to Dow Chemical’s shareholders?)  . . . . but generally, v-e-r-y generally, emotional abuse is punishable by civil law, not criminal law.  There are exceptions.  Stalking is a criminal law violation.  You have to be able -always- to show damages and that is extremely hard.  It is a very high bar to demonstrably show a Post Tramatic Stress Disorder for example, absent high profile circumstances/ bodily injury.   . . . I can sue you for looking at me the wrong way and talking to me harshly (—I would ask the Lord and He would almost certainly say just forgive Maria) but it will be dismissed without the ability to show connections to damages.  What are and how will you prove the damages?  If any attorney brings too many frivolous cases, they can be disbarred and it happens more than you think.  . . . . .If you sense powerlessness, fear, and dependency, you need to work with people like Leslie.  Even if you win a judgment (—which is very good), how will you regain your most valuable asset: your security and sense of self sovereignty?
           
          I hate to be sappy and naïve (—People are always accusing me of that. . . I need to learn to let that go.  Why is it that so hard?  —Stinking Pride???) . . . but I so pray that people can learn to really love each other.  I hate “p-o-w-e-r” Christianity (—but I absolutely understand why we have to stand up, leave, use the legal system —absolutely!)  Here is a question for all of us (—me too!): Is Christianity (being a Christian) a distinction without any real difference?  How do –you- quantify that real difference beyond feelings? . . . .On the way to discovering God’s Real Love, I guess we also have to find and discover everything we hate.  Everything that blocks our path to what God desires for us.
           
          Your friend in Christ who loves you and prays for you every day —but more importantly Christ loves you, you have the greatest value.  He gave His life for all you’re worth.

        • Sandra on September 13, 2015 at 8:32 am

          As a person who has pressed charges, I would like to say that law enforcement really wasn’t interested unless there was bruises, blood and broken furniture. My trip to the Emergency Department and a CT scan results spoke volumes. If it bleeds, it leads.

          We need to understand that police respond to many domestic disturbance calls each shift . It can be hard to determine which situation is truly dangerous. Police report that a woman may call in fear and would seem that she should get out of a dangerous relationship, yet they never press charges. Law Enforcement can get fatigued of repeat calls, often from the same home, in which no action is taken to solve the problem. Every call police respond to has extensive documentation associated with it.

          The best way to catch a person who is emotionally abusive is to record conversations on your phone, save documentation (banking, business, receipts, phone logs etc.) and all emails and text messages from them. When materials are gathered, make an appointment with your police department’s detective. Present the material and ask for guidance. Detectives are trained to see things that you and I don’t realize. They work with criminals and they can see abnormal interactions and know what is punishable by law. Seek out your domestic violence shelter, in the US they have lawyers, often pro bono, who will assist you.

    • Sandra on September 11, 2015 at 2:52 am

      Sometimes separation is very necessary and helpful! If nothing else, it gives you a chance to think for yourself and hear your own self talk more clearly.

      Speaking of consequences, separation is the most obvious and effective action. The bible supports it for a season, which helps ease any guilt or doubt one may have about implementing it.

  12. Paula on September 10, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Oh, Islandgirl, I know just what you mean. I do not think this will work for everyone. Each person, each husband has choices to make and they will not even all respond to the exact same set of consequences and circumstances the same way.

    You said, “He sees the consequences I impose (distancing myself and emotional detachment) as sinful behavior on my part – abandoning our marriage and refusing to obey God’s instructions for wives. How do I make him understand that that isn’t it at all. I simply can’t be close to him or have any fellowship with him when he has hurt my and my children for so long and has not even acknowledged or repented? I feel rather stuck.” I have been there and I am there. We have been living separated in the same house for a few years now by my initiative. Over that time there have been countless discussions about our relationship and the situation at large. I have definitely done as you expressed that you have – distanced myself and detached emotionally. I am being judged as much as ever. I am in sin and I will have to answer to God according to my anti-husband. He judges the children who have distanced themselves from him as well. He distorts the Scriptures and uses the Bible and God as his weapons. There has been no responsibility taken on his part for any of the relationship issues or failure. He freely proclaims that he is not the problem, I am. I do not think that you can “make” you husband understand. I hope you will not waste your precious energy trying. I have tried. WIth each new issue or discussion, I get baited and I waste energy that I can’t spare (due to my very poor health), trying to have a rational conversation with him. Each time he reveals more of who he really is. It is chilling. His responses to me reveal a very hard, entitled heart devoid of love. I do not think he even knows what love it at all – God’s love, parental love, spousal love – any of it. His eyes go blank. His real passion is his defense of his right to be in charge and his demands to be obeyed. I never knew this man from the start. I was living with a stranger.

    The scary part is that under different circumstances, he might have been able to behavior-modify enough to fool me if I had handled things differently. If I had done things the “right” way and handled things more like the woman in the original post, I believe he would have simulated cooperation – and as he is a consummate actor – I might have been back in bed with the same vampire. He would likely have studied the right things to say and do to play the role. That would be a nightmare compared to the “stuck”ness I am experiencing now. I do not have much confidence in the metamorphosis of those who must be taught repeatedly by others how to treat a person decently. I think a changed heart should be taught by God in the inner places.

    • Paula on September 10, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Islandgirl, I hear you. They do sound so much alike. One of his hallmarks is the blaming and blame-shifting. I was the scapegoat for everything until there were children to share some of that load of guilt.

      My children are in the teen age range. Before I woke up to what he was doing (he was so covert and I was so blind), I held him up to them as the best dad in the world. When I woke up, I stopped doing that, but I still tried to keep things as normal as possible and hide the harsh realities from them. You are right. They do notice. I would put out little feelers at that time to see what they were noticing and they could tell we didn’t speak much and didn’t touch and so on. Then a while ago, one of my children overhead a conversation of mine with someone else. I didn’t think the child was in earshot. It opened the floodgates for this child and another to begin sharing all of their thoughts and feelings about their dad – things I had no idea they had realized even before I had! They now have open communication with me and I let the truth of who he is be unhindered. It’s tense around here because there are children distancing themselves from him, too, but it’s better in the sense that his deceptions are exposed.

      I would like to share one thing that I got from a counselor that I think was pure gold. The counselor said that whatever the children pick up on for themselves or notice about him (or anything really) – do not deny it or try to convince them it’s other than what they have picked up on (as long as it seems like they have hit on truth). They need to begin to trust their own intuition as early as it starts to function. By way of example, when the first child started sharing with me, this child thought that he loved his job more than he loved us. I thought about it before I answered and it was one of the first times I didn’t cover for him. I told the child that might be true.

      • Remedy on September 10, 2015 at 11:42 am

        Paula & Island Girl….you are describing my situation almost to a tee. With minor exceptions, as it pertains to my teenage children, I live the same nightmare you do. There is zero, zero reasoning with this spouse.
        That is why my first post on this blog asked about the personality disordered. Have either of you considered this as a foundational problem? Another responder spoke of getting psychological evaluation. I just don’t know what is involved in getting that done and at least some answers to why a ‘relationship’ cannot work here.
        It gives me great comfort knowing I am not the only one experiencing this type of ‘black hole’living. Tho I wish none of us had to experience it, knowing others out there share this same continuous state of agony lets me know I am NOT crazy. Thank you for sharing your stories.
        May the Lord continue to lead us all as we hunger and thirst for righteousness.

      • Paula on September 10, 2015 at 3:38 pm

        Remedy, I am sorry that you are a member of this club. I know what you mean when you say that there is zero reasoning with him. It’s mind-numbing.

        I appreciated your first comment on this week’s blog. Yes, the personality disorder issue is a foundational problem. I have spoken to a couple of counselors in the last couple of years at length. When I have described my anti-husband and scenarios that occur here to them as objectively as I possibility could, their reactions included that he has narcissistic personality disorder, is very definitely passive aggressive and/or covert aggressive, and may be a sociopath because his conscience appears non-functional. He also lies pathologically. I don’t know what it would take to get a psychological evaluation. It’s usually hard to get them diagnosed because they don’t believe they have a problem and they don’t want anyone changing their minds about that. Relationship – by any definition that is healthy – with such a person is not possible.

        After my own research and prayer, the counselors ended up confirming what I had come to suspect. We know these men better than anyone else. Could you get a hold of enough resources to familiarize yourself with the personality disorder conditions and where he seems to land? There are some great authors that can help a lot with how to manage them. Both of my counselors do not encourage me to deal with him as a normal, rational person, but rather how to manage him as best I can. I hate it because it feels like manipulation, and I despise anything but absolute, straight-forward relationship. I have learned, however, that this is the best the kids and I can do until we can get away. He knows where I stand. It is in the day-to-day functioning that we have to predict his responses to situations and change our course to avoid his reactions. I have to be careful when I am too solicitous about honoring his rights because when I do, he uses it as an opportunity to take away mine. Everything is backwards.

        I am looking forward to the day we can get away from him, my health and custody being the biggest obstacles. Remedy, do you have any plans to get away?

        • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 5:36 pm

          Paula, I agree you can’t have a normal relationship or even a normal discussion with certain people. It’s impossible and as Jesus said it well, “Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” Matthew 7:6

      • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 5:37 pm

        Your counselor was very wise. That is so important.

      • Paula on September 10, 2015 at 6:10 pm

        Thank you, Leslie.

      • Remedy on September 11, 2015 at 2:19 pm

        Paula..every day, many desires and plans to get away but paralyzed by fear to enact any one of them. The twisting and distortion of Scripture by the spouse and how that would continue to play out with my offspring haunts me continually.

      • Paula on September 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm

        I understand, Remedy. Same here. Every word.

  13. Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Islandgirl – you can’t make someone understand something they don’t want to understand. Stop tearing your hair out. Jesus talked and talked and talked to the religious leaders until he was blue in the face. They didn’t get it. They didn’t want to get it. The preferred to stay blind.

    • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      Consequences may serve no purpose – just like with a rebellious child. But that doesn’t mean you stop putting them into place. It is not only for their benefit – and if they don’t get it, it is for your benefit. We don’t know what God or circumstances will do. We just continue to walk in truth and love.

      • Robin on September 17, 2015 at 2:12 pm

        I think as we lay out the consequences even when they don’t seem to be working for abusive spouse- they are working mightily. They help us to come into more light and see the reality of our relationship going nowhere. In my situation when consequences increased it gave me opportunity to see my spouse as he really is- and not what I thought he was. This was one of the most learning phases for me- to have to see the truth. My husband rebelled, threw a fit, and much more, revealing absolutely no interest in pursuing a healthy life and marriage. Increased consequences did so much for me, who wanted help, who was looking for new growth and they significantly gave me a strengthened core. As hard as they were to put in place- they became the win-win for me that brought me true freedom.

    • Sandra on September 11, 2015 at 3:12 am

      I think something different, Island. He gets it. He gets it full well. He has you fooled into thinking he doesn’t get it.

      It is a way of controlling you and making you think you are crazy. I believe he is thinking circles around you and you are letting him off the hook with assigning labels and various diagnosis for his bad, selfish behavior. This gives him the chance to blame shift and excuse his behavior as a victim.

      Please hear me, he knows exactly what he is doing and he is doing it for a reason. It may hurt to think this way, but reports from other abuser support this. He has you right where he wants you, enslaved to his rule.

      • Lisa on September 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm

        Sandra,
        This is my experience with abuser-h. He has perfected the feigned not getting it. When I finally saw the truth of his wau

      • Lisa on September 13, 2015 at 4:59 pm

        Sorry, reposting after I hit reply by accident before finishing.
        **********************Sandra,
        This is my experience with abuser-h. He has perfected the feigned “not getting it.”

        I began no contact in the home and the fog lifted enough for me to see him for who he really is. God let me find things he is involved in that I wasn’t even looking for and they’re not good. Did it lead to any repentance—not one bit. He blames me for every natural consequence of his own actions and financially abuses me. Abusers count on a continual flow of grace from their victims. Change doesn’t come from the abuser, because there is payoff abusing us. And when we say no more usually there is an increase in abuse. They don’t want to lose control over us so they ramp up or add new ways of abusing. It seems best to prepare to go while praying for a their heart change.

  14. karen on September 10, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    The only reason my husband has gone through the psychological evaluations (8 hours in depth both times) was because of several things:

    1. He was unemployed for 10+ years after being fired from job.
    2. I found he had embezzelled/stolen money from my business to the tune of $250K+ over a 2-3 yr period — he was supposed to be “helping” me run the business a few hours per week. Not so helpful.
    3. We learned his Dad had a 2nd “secret” family while he was growing up and that his brother was diagnosed/treated for several years re: DID/Multiple personality disorder as a result of severe early childhood abuse and my husband was having similar issues……… that were driving me around the bend.

    Later, After finding the money missing, a heart attack and several other issues (porn addiction, call from another woman etc.) I finally had to know if he was doing these things on purpose and just using me for the money or if it was a severe health/mental issue and forced the tests be done — with his MD’s help — who was very supportive. The answer from the neuro-psychiatrist after 8 hours of testing was — both. The passive aggressive and covert narcissistic disorders and pathological lying were definite on the graphs. The DID was not addressed, (did not know about brother then) but they found severe frontal lobe degeneration in process — possibly leading to early onset frontal lobe dementia.

    I say that to tell you that although there may be disorders at play in your relationships as well (sounds like it) until they become unable to function normally in society you will need HELP to ever get them to be tested. And you will need leverage to justify this. Following Leslie’s steps/consequences may help but bottom line is you must stop keeping their secrets and get help for yourself first — even if it is just to talk to a friend or accountability partner regularly. I kept everything secret for 35 years and that was the biggest mistake of my life. We were in ministry so thought I had no choice but to protect our reputation — dumb — and nearly destroyed me.

    A place like Celebrate Recovery may help you find someone to share with and encourage you through this process. But the hard truth is that if you are 100% dependent on your husband for everything you have to get stronger first and then find a way to prepare and train for freedom to be able to support yourself and children. Not finding a way to do this will keep you stuck for the rest of your life. I understand that sometimes this is not possible because of health or financial control issues but maybe you can take classes at home while he is at work………..or find a work from home job or business/hobby to start or start out as a volunteer somewhere — maybe at a women’s shelter.

    I know I was in a unique position as the primary wage earner most of our lives and I stayed for different reasons that were not financial based at all — but I regret not getting the help that I knew we needed by the 2nd year of our 38 year marriage, Maybe if I had done so after his first “emotional affair” and/or after finding out he had passed an STD on to me his “virgin wife” 2-3 yrs in we would not be where we are now. Instead I choose to keep his secrets and suffer through the pain alone – with much prayer just to survive. I pray you will not be in my shoes 30 years from now.

    Something that really was a reality check for me was attending my aunt and uncles 60 yr wedding anniversary 3 years ago and realizing I might have 25-30 more years of this ahead of me. That is NOT an option — That was the most frightening and miserable thought I had ever had. Literally gave me nightmares. So I had to start the process of bring all the truth to light as I heard in my heart and dreams over and over. Thank you, Lord.

    My children are grown and fully aware of what is happening and why now. It was not easy to break the silence but I had begun to see things in their marriages that were hitting too close to home as well and realized what a poor example of marital truth and love they had seen lived out before them.

    Find a way, however creatively/quietly, to get help and prayer support for you first and continue to do spiritual warfare on behalf of your marriage/husband for the truth to be shouted from the mountain top and then let God do the shouting — believe me He will. Then you will be equipped and prepared no matter what happens — it is always possible they may leave you when you enact consequences — so best to be prepared if at all possible. I am still praying for healing and restoration but it is in God’s hands. I am done leading him to water he will not drink………..

    • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      I agree and wholeheartedly encourage all those living with someone like this to get all the help for yourself that you can. Otherwise they will drain you dry, suck the life out of you and you won’t even resemble the woman God created you to be.

    • Shellie on September 10, 2015 at 8:04 pm

      Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story so intimately. I rejoice over your courage to break the silence and seek help for yourself. You give wise words for those whose spouses either cannot or will not love you in a God-honoring way. May God richly bless you and restore to you 100-fold.

      May these verses in the MSG version be an encouragement. They are my hope and my prayer for all of us.

      From Deuteronomy 30:3-14:

      “GOD, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. No matter how far away you end up, GOD, your God, will get you out of there and bring you back to the land your ancestors once possessed. It will be yours again. He will give you a good life and make you more numerous than your ancestors.

      GOD, your God, will cut away the thick calluses on your heart and your children’s hearts, freeing you to love GOD, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live, really live. GOD, your God, will put all these curses on your enemies who hated you and were out to get you.

      And you will make a new start, listening obediently to GOD, keeping all his commandments that I’m commanding you today. GOD, your God, will outdo himself in making things go well for you: you’ll have babies, get calves, grow crops, and enjoy an all-around good life. Yes, GOD will start enjoying you again, making things go well for you just as he enjoyed doing it for your ancestors.

      But only if you listen obediently to GOD, your God, and keep the commandments and regulations written in this Book of Revelation. Nothing halfhearted here; you must return to GOD, your God, totally, heart and soul, holding nothing back. This commandment that I’m commanding you today isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach. It’s not on a high mountain—you don’t have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it. And it’s not across the ocean—you don’t have to send sailors out to get it, bring it back, and then explain it before you can live it. No. The word is right here and now—as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest. Just do it! -‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:3-14‬ ‭MSG‬‬
      ‭‭
      And Mark 10: 29-31:

      “Jesus said, “Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life! This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first.””
      ‭‭-Mark‬ ‭10:29-31‬ ‭MSG‬‬

      • Leonie on September 11, 2015 at 9:35 am

        Wow, so powerful!

      • karen on September 11, 2015 at 5:35 pm

        thank you……….praying the word of God over my family, husband and situation is the only thing that has gotten me through and I thank you for your prayers for all of us.

    • Sandra on September 11, 2015 at 3:21 am

      I think Celebrate Recovery just dances around situations and doesn’t offer any help. I think proof of this is how long you have participated in this program. Does anyone get better and leave Celebrate Recovery? Maybe it was just the chapter I visited, but I was not impressed.

      • karen on September 11, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        -I have not found my help there no…..but my husband has at least regarding his pornography addiction I have seen that improve at least but there is so much more he needs to deal with that they have only scratched he surface, yes. But if you do not have a close friend you can talk with at all (God provided a couple to me and a professional counselor who helped me) you may find a friend there that you can trust to talk to or a prayer partner OUTSIDE of the formal meetings. It might be a start towards speaking the truth also — but for it to really help you must do the entire study not just go to meetings. That helped my husband most although he has still not completed the process/study 100% as he needs to.

    • Sandra on September 11, 2015 at 3:40 am

      I agree that it is best to tell the truth. Keep telling and telling people until someone finally believes you. Don’t tell him that you are going to tell someone. Do it now, before he finds a way to talk you out of exposing his actions.

      Karen, it is so very sad that your husband gave you an STD. You never deserved his adultery. You are fully woman enough to make any healthy man so very thrilled that you are his wife. Unfortunately, your husband is too selfish to be a good husband. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you!!

      I like your comment about the 60 year anniversary insight. I was in a church group women’s class for difficulty marriages. (Hooray for my church for addressing such a thing!) There was an older woman who spoke softly and slithered down in her chair like a puddle. She was just physically crumpled from decades of mistreatment. One of her husband’s issues, that I will never forget, is that he was so angry that he couldn’t control the weather. He would listen to the radio and get madder and madder if he didn’t like the weather forecast. He ranted and ranted because he thought he had control of everything and everyone in life, but he just could not control the weather. The poor wife lived he life in fear of the weather forecast too, because it affected how cruel her husband would be that day. Imagine sure a life!!

      Anyway, so many women in our group were affected by this woman. They thought they got a glimpse into their own furthers and didn’t want to be like that woman who was in her 70’s with over 50 years in an abusive “Christian” marriage.

      The image still haunts me. You should have seen the fine tremors, in her delicate little hands, when her husband entered a room.

      • karen on September 11, 2015 at 6:11 pm

        Thank you Sandra……….I may never know for sure how the StD was passed on….thank God it was one that could be easily treated. Through much research and study the past couple of years I have learned it could even have been something he carried since possible childhood abuse — he finally acknowledged there was an abusive situation very early involving porn but cannot remember being touched — but truthfully he can not remember anything about his childhood — or would rather not. That acknowledgement of the initial cause of his porn addiction never would have happened without Celebrate Recovery, by the way. He was in full denial about that and always lied or blamed it on someone else every time I found it……sad that it took my leaving the first time and his finally getting a little help by starting CS to finally admit the truth. Honestly, I had repressed that STD memory somewhat also until I started the 5 steps to forgiveness program 2 years ago while first living apart and getting counseling. The first thing I had to do was write out every “hurt” that I could remember and ask God’s help to remember it all clearly, heal from it and finally forgive and let it go………..turned out to be 40+ pages and I barely hit the highlights. Eventually I shared that journal with him — that was a real God moment. I was just recently able to write a letter to my husband letting him know that God had worked me through that process (I couldn’t get past step 3 the first time……and God kept bringing things up that I thought I had already forgiven but apparently not so much :), I am more at peace than ever before now but still dealing with major consequences of having waited so long to be obedient and let go of the secrets. I started with that 40 pages when it was time to get professional help and share the truth with my children and was very careful to only share it with the most trustworthy 2 or 3 friends/professionals that God brought to me — not everyone wants to help and one or two that learned more than they should have did use it against us…….so talk and speak truth but be WISE and ask for Gods help to be very selective about who you share with.

        • sandra on September 11, 2015 at 6:52 pm

          I enjoyed reading your reply. What was your husband’s response when he read the 40 page essay? Did he show remorse or did he deny the allegations?

          Thanks too for your impressions of Celebrate Recovery. The Christian community seems to be having more discussions about addiction to pornography. How is your life with your spouse at the moment?

          • karen on September 11, 2015 at 7:55 pm

            Eeek, I started a response but my computer (me….) may have deleted it I will try to do that later have to go now but short version………..When read the 40 pages he acted like he was sorry and acknowledged the truth of every word in the 40 pages (he could not deny) and started to get help but he quit again after 4 months and started the lies and theft again and I am 7 months into the 2nd separation. He “says” he wants help and 3 weeks after reading the short letter telling him of my forgiveness and what had to be done for restoration/amends he has just finally actually asked for my forgiveness for all……for the first time ever. Actions still speak louder than words and he/we still need much help he is not willing to get…………..yet. So I am trusting God to have my best at heart — whether that includes my husband or not. He understands it is up to him to follow through and get the care he needs or not. Consequences never guarantee the outcome — but my God does — and I finally have peace with that..



  15. Sandra on September 11, 2015 at 2:44 am

    Aleea, Reading about your church teachings, they sound very similar to the teachings of the polygamists cult leader Warren Jeff’s. Where you part of that FDLS church?

    • Aleea on September 11, 2015 at 11:51 am

      Hello Sandra,
       
      . . . No, just plain old legalistic, fundamentalism, hyper-Calvinism —the masochistic perversity of the Hopkinsian-style.  The kind that has not made contact with the last 275 years of Biblical research, manuscript finds and archeology (—No fun, way too much mental control.)  . . . Deprogramming and deconstruction was/ is still necessary. . . . Sandra, I will tell you, mind virus deprogramming is the worst!!! . . .I am not so sure I will ever be truly free.  . . . . .Evil seeks to discourage others to think for themselves (—it fosters dependency).  That is why we have to help people understand not what to think but how to think.  How do you evaluate what you see without letting your emotions hijack your intellect?  That is not easy to do as our own world views carry their own criteria for plausibility.  . . . . . Anyway, when I am in trouble, my first instinct is to run to the Lord God and I start praying.  —Waiting on God in prayer.  I pray while snuggling into the Lord God’s arms.  When I hurt, am lonely (—I travel a lot), or I am blown away by what I read in the Bible (—and not in a good way, in a, —this makes no historical or theological sense way*, I let Him cradle me, comfort me, reassure me.  . . . . But when I really get in trouble with all those devils of bad fundamentalist theology (* which is a lot!), I completely drop praying for myself, comforting myself and only pray for the needs of others.  I pray down through these blog post threads.  I have found that if, instead of praying for my own comfort and satisfaction, I ask the Holy Spirit to bless others and enable me to correctly pray for them, pray for you, an amazing thing often happens —I find my own needs wonderfully met and my calm returns.  I am sure it is as simple as focusing off my issues and onto other’s hurts and taking them to God.  . . . . I would think, if you took anyone, in any FDLS-type “church” and put them through any serious research theological seminary, not one of them would come out a FDLS, et.al. on the other side.  —Logic, evidence, logic, education, logic, historical analysis, logic, full empowerment (—and more logic!)  It is simply that unsubstantiated blind faith (—the kind that makes us dependent on parental figures to interpret the Bible) is a sorry gift to return to the Creator of human intelligence.  I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.  How is it that Chemists all agree on the fundamental facts of chemistry?  Why would the Lord God leave fallible, sinful humans to deliver an endless plethora of confused and contradictory messages?  —And I am still –hopelessly- in love with Jesus Christ and want God’s love.  I just have a lot more bath water that has got to go.
       
      Christ’s love to you Sandra!

  16. Sandra on September 11, 2015 at 2:59 am

    Island, I don’t believe that distancing yourself is a consequence. That is a coping mechanism you have developed to survive your abusive relationship. In reading previous posts, it seems to me that your are living a life of emotional enslavement. Your H is extremely dangerous. In my opinion, the best course of action for change is to physically remove yourself from this man, and speak to one another through a third party, until he repents and changes his ways.

    • sandra on September 11, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      As long as you don’t’ really leave, there is no consequence. He just get a break from dealing with all of you. You say you will not tolerate it, yet you do.

    • sandra on September 11, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Do you have young children? This makes things so very complicated or/and all the more challenging to protect them from an abusive father.

      What have you found to do to live well? Would the children say they are living well?

    • Robin on September 12, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      I agree Island girl. Sandra not sure I agree that she has to move out to show she is not tolerating abuse. Learning to stand up to abuse is a Process. There are many steps to applying consequences and watch them work.i also backed away from my husband as a consequence to his choices to treat me poorly. But it took some time in watching him to know when it was time to leave.

  17. Brenda on September 11, 2015 at 5:29 am

    David,
    I am fairly certain that your wife did love you, but was hurting and wanted you to feel her pain. Perhaps she even wanted that feeling back, but people that aren’t walking on the same path grow apart and can’t remember what it was that they ever saw in the person they married or who they were.

    Leslie has valid points. You should grow in the way God wants you to be. He just may have better plans for you than you do for yourself. I know that I can put a monkey wrench in the process, but he still loves me and will pull me back to the right path even if it means making the road bumpy to do it.

  18. Brenda on September 11, 2015 at 5:32 am

    One more thing. We are all works in progress. While walking with a friend yesterday morning there was a beautiful sky with a bright crescent moon and possibly the planet Venus glowing so brightly and I was thinking if that picture that God painted was that bright, how bright is God in his Glory. How much more beautiful can he make us if we only allow and want Him to.

    Words with a picture to think on.

    • Leslie Vernick on September 11, 2015 at 6:34 am

      Sounds lovely

  19. Brenda on September 11, 2015 at 7:20 am

    “learn to be the kind of man that is easy to love.”

    There are certainly not enough of those in my experience.

  20. David on September 11, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Sounds like the brethren which is a very evil cult and all brethren should be strongly punished ie life in prison. Thankfully many countries like Australia, NZ, UK, and now th US and Canada, had a cabinet minister give me a call as a heads up

    • Aleea on September 11, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      David,
       
      . . . Yes, somewhat like that!  . . .But postmodern Christianity (postmodernism) goes nuts in the other direction denying absolutes and is equally bad —just on the other side of the theological spectrum.  . . . Anyway, that is why questions are our friends: Does Jesus Christ live in my heart?  Am I listening each day for the Holy Spirit?  Is the Christ of faith the same as the Jesus of history?  What is the best explanation for unjustified pain and suffering in the world?  What is the best explanation for religious confusion? et.al.  Questions (all kinds of questions) are our friends.  We have to empower people to logically evaluate evidence and reason to conclusions not put them in a new cage.  —And evidence needs to scale with the claim.  —Again, serious questions are our friends, they uncover the truth.
       
      People should and do go to prison for abuse.  Mental and spiritual abuse is extremely damaging.  —No one I have ever heard of has ever committed suicide over a broken arm or leg but it is well documented that many, many have killed themselves over a broken, abused mind. 
       
      I have been and will continue praying for you!  I so hope you have someone to work with on any issues you may have.  We all need help at times, ever last one of us. 

  21. David on September 11, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    “Hi Leslie … me again. “I think if a husband or wife shares with his or her spouse that they are not happy or feeling the marriage is not strong or stable, then their spouse listens, makes efforts to change and grow.” My former wife never, ever mentioned anything to me. “You are the one who says “If abusers can’t change what hope is there?” It wasn’t me that said that , I got that from this blog. “For example, We can learn to talk to someone we disagree with without putting them down or criticizing their character. There are posts where you communicate cleanly and many others where you have disagreed but then hurled accusations, judgments and criticisms towards the women on this blog including me.” I agree that I was wrong. “So I challenge you to improve this one thing – communicate your different opinion or thoughts without having to put anyone else down.” Doing much to transform myself.

    • Maria on September 11, 2015 at 6:56 pm

      David, have you asked yourself if you contributed to your wife’s behavior? You say you were abusive- abusive behavior kills love. Also, maybe your wife was not comfortable talking to you. A number of us, I’m sure do not feel we can approach our spouses because they will respond with abuse. Or maybe she tried to tell you, but you did not listen. I am not accusing you in any way, just offering some suggestions since you said you’re working on changing.

      • David on September 12, 2015 at 10:05 pm

        Your input/comments are much appreciated

        • Maria on September 13, 2015 at 3:06 pm

          David, I’m beginning to enjoy reading your posts!

          • David on September 13, 2015 at 3:21 pm

            Maria. Oh no! We can’t have that! Lol!!



  22. karen on September 11, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    David, I have avoided addressing you and was waiting to see God at work in you — I believe your last post shows that to be the case. I doubt you have any idea how many of the women on here pray for you and your situation every time they see a post from you. Yes, you can get under our skin 🙂 and remind some of us of the pain we are dealing with in our marriages but I believe you are still hanging around (after much negativity from us toward some of your comments) because you are sincerely looking to understand and hopefully forgive and heal from what your wife did. Like you and myself some of us may never be able to “move on” to any other relationship but we all need to experience the forgiveness, healing, peace and transformation that God desires to bring into every relationship and individual represented on this blog. I still have a long ways to go but He is at work – and I am glad to hear that He is at work in you too. I actually sat down and wrote you a much longer letter two weeks ago (not negative!) but continued to pray over it and felt God tell me I should wait that He was at work………….

    And in some ways you more than anyone have made my point for me now. When a woman tries to pretend that all is well and never addresses the issues and gets help to heal and let go of the secret pain she is keeping inside — even if she thinks that is what a good Christian wife is supposed to do — then the husband never has the chance to be transformed and become what God wants him to be. Then it is often too little too late when/if he does. Don’t quit trying, David, even if it feels that every woman is against you — that is not true. Some things you have said have triggered responses that may not have been helpful but I am sure there are many more praying for you here than you may ever know. Take care.

    • David on September 12, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Many thanks Karen. I have read your kind msg several times and will keep so I can read more times. BTW, my wife never said I was abusive but I think I was, I certainly was not as kind as I should have been to her. She seemed, despite what she says, to deeply love me and I hope that returns. Thank you again, Karen.

      • David on September 12, 2015 at 10:07 pm

        Very humbling knowing that praying for me!

        • karen on September 14, 2015 at 1:37 pm

          That is really what I know each of us is here to do, try to get understanding and wisdom of what has happened in our lives, realize that none of us — including you — is alone in this even when it seems we are. And determine how God wants to change and grow us while prayfully supporting each other and hopefully our spouses if we are still in the relationship and former spouses if not. Unfortunately, things may not work out perfectly for all of us but this blog and Leslie’s willingness to allow us all to speak our “truth” no matter how painful or even pain causing it may be is helping all of us learn how to deal with these issues and how to become strong enough to do whatever is needed to let God transform first ourselves and then those who have hurt us if/when they will do so. I will continue to pray for you, David, and feel sure I am not alone :).

  23. Lisa on September 12, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Leslie you said:
    “There are a lot of men who read this blog who stay in the background, never saying a word. I know this because they e-mail me. They want to understand better. They don’t get it.”

    What don’t they get?

    • Leslie Vernick on September 12, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      These are men who are abusive and read my blog content and criticize me or condemn me for what I am encouraging women to do. Set boundaries, implement consequences, stand up for themselves, etc. They are reading because their wives are on this site or have been told this is for women who are abused. But they are blind to their own part.

      Other men read this blog because they too are victims of women who are abusive. It’s tough for them to admit that publicly and there is little support for men in abusive relationships. I hear from them privately. They get it but as the victim, not the abuser.

      Some of them don’t want to understand, but others do ask questions, invite dialogue. But they are stuck in their rigid ways of thinking.

      • Leonie on September 13, 2015 at 6:26 am

        No abuser wants his wife to get strong and remove herself from his control. There must be something that feeds them because it is so hard to break it & get out of it – no abuser wants to let go of that entitlement to abuse and will go to great lengths to maintain his control or get revenge for her trying to get away, many times stalking her or using the court system against her for years. What reward does an abuser get from trying to continue this unwanted dynamic? There are so many ways to invest your life in things that are positive or truly rewarding yet they cleave to this need to destroy?

        • Sandra on September 13, 2015 at 8:56 am

          Yup, you are right.

          Now, how do we help teens learn not to date people with such tendencies? Various ministries have started dating education seminars for youth. I know Focus Ministries has one. I would challenge the women who are staying well and/or doing in house separation to be sure to enroll their children in programs which educate teens to recognize destructive relationships. It would seem like the duty of those mothers (since they are unable to remove their children from the abuser), to do everything they can break the cycle.

          • Leslie Vernick on September 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm

            I agree.



        • Maria on September 13, 2015 at 11:35 am

          Sandra, it’s a very good idea to educate kids on destructive relationships. But kids from healthy homes can also end up with an abuser. I was brought up in a Christian home, but ended up with an abusive spouse. He was really charming, did and said all the right things. I introduced him to my family and friends, but he is a very skilled con man. Many people at church would be shocked if they heard some of the things that he says at home. I think people who are especially vulnerable are people who have been brought up in the church.

          • Leslie Vernick on September 13, 2015 at 12:56 pm

            You’re right because we automatically up our “trust meter” if they go to our church or profess our faith. Therefore we aren’t as discerning or careful because of course they wouldn’t lie, or cheat or con me. They’re like me – a Christian. Not so. The Bible tells us clearly there are wolves in sheep’s clothing and to beware



        • Grace on September 13, 2015 at 2:51 pm

          I am not sure if I am responding in the correct thread but think the idea of educating our youth about healthy relationships is such an important and valuable tool for our families, in the church and in our schools to aspire to. Does anyone know if there are any books or programs adderssing this? I sure wish it was taught to me early. It possibly could have averted a lot of pain.

  24. Robin on September 12, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Consequences ARE NOT EFFECTIVE for one that has his ears shut. I feel that’s the reason for consequences- to see what he really is willing to do.

    • Lisa on September 13, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      I agree Robin.

      • sandra on September 14, 2015 at 8:05 pm

        I think you just have to find the right consequence to open his ears. Certainly something is floating his boat. What is it? Once you figure that out…. cut it off, drown the ship, pull the rug out from under him….make him squirm so he feels the consequences. If he isn’t squirming then their isn’t a consequence, right? It would just be called a change in the dance step. Consequences should not be pleasant.

        • sandra on September 14, 2015 at 8:36 pm

          My “there” is frequently posted as “their.”
          Oh, well.

  25. Maria on September 13, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Aleea, thanks for your reply and your prayers. It would be great if the legal system could provide consequences for emotional abuse just as they do for physical abuse. I can see how difficult it would be to prove a case of emotional abuse. When I posed this question to a lawyer, he said adults in an emotionally abusive situation can choose to leave. They don’t have to endure it. But how about kids? A parent can get away with putting down kids, financially and emotionally abusing them. My heart breaks for kids in these situations.

  26. Brenda on September 13, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    David,

    You said, “Unfortunately some people DO deserve the negative treatment they get.”

    Have you ever heard the expression, “kill them with kindness”. We do not have to retaliate. We do not have to draw blood or out do another with evil talk.

    No one deserves to be treated poorly, especially by a spouse in what is suppose to be a Christian marriage. Disagreements should be able to be worked through. It is when one person refuses to work through it, pray about it and work it out that a problem arises.

    David, you really need to reread what you write about people before you press “post comment”.

    • David on September 13, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      I stand by that statement “Unfortunately some people DO deserve the negative treatment they get.” some people bring bad stuff on themselves by the way they speak (Lisa is a good example) and treat others whether it be in personal life or in business – sorry but just reality , nothing to do with me.

      • Leslie Vernick on September 13, 2015 at 12:54 pm

        If I read my Bible correctly we are NOT to treat people as they deserve right? We are to treat people as we would like to be treated.

        • David on September 13, 2015 at 1:50 pm

          yes, that is correct but not the way 99% of people (world) think/work

    • David on September 13, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Have you ever heard the expression, “kill them with kindness”. – yes I have, many times but unfortunately many do not use/agree with that principle. It is just a fact of life… tend to reap what you sew… again, reality

  27. David on September 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Brenda, I do re read before I comment, marriage is a two way street, both spouses need to treat the other with kindness and respect, Lisa seems to feel that wives should be given a free pass and allowed to nag etc but the husband cannot verbally abuse, strange

    • Leslie Vernick on September 13, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      David please don’t speak for Lisa, you don’t know how she feels. Just speak for yourself without putting someone else down. Remember, those are the rules.

      • David on September 13, 2015 at 1:48 pm

        Ya, guess it was Leonie not Lisa

  28. Brenda on September 13, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    David,
    What my mother always told us kids and we passed on to our kids is this: “if everyone else jumped off a bridge, are you going to do it too?” Because 99% don’t act right, doesn’t excuse us.

    • David on September 13, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      I agree but we need to expect from the 99%. I have done biz around the world and is kinda reality

  29. Leonie on September 13, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I do wish my almost grown kids could read Patricia Evan’s book that defines abuse so clearly or one of Leslie’s books that describe how to refuse to be abused and learn Core strength. It would help them to say yes – I saw someone I my life do …. but I can see that is it wong and now that I know, I can recognize the dynamic and ask for and do better!
    I love this series of verses from Romans 12 – scripture always brings dignity to our lives instead of feeding evil. It does break the cycle with us who love God instead of letting us be stuck in negativity and repaying evil for evil. Christians are called to be separate and to be different.
    Romans 12:9-21 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    • Grace on September 14, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Thank you for this Leonie. I needed that Romans 12 reminder.

    • Robin on September 14, 2015 at 7:09 pm

      Leonie I’m going to be brave and ask why you posted Rom 12. I know you have fought a long difficult battle . What thoughts were you having when you were looking at Rom 12?

      • Leonie on September 15, 2015 at 11:34 am

        I just love that passage of scripture and the way God’s word brings sanity and dignity to the craziness of our world. No one deserves to be treated with abuse. We are to be a separate people, we are to be holy, not to revile in return. God is our righteousness, we don’t have to seek revenge – he’s got it in his hands! I need to persevere in trials, to be diligent, and try to live in peace as far as depends on me…. Obviously we find out that with an abuser that is not possible so we have done our part & their part too in order to have stayed as long as we did….. I am in no way defending accepting abusive treatment but to use Core strength that Leslie teaches so we can stand up & tell the truth & do what is right and abhor the evil being done to us.
        I just found out that my husband intends to plead not guilty to the assault charges laid in May against him & now I have a trial date coming up. My biggest concern is for my daughter & her protection from him & his lies.

  30. My Temptation to Self-Harm | Visionary Womanhood on September 14, 2015 at 2:48 am

    […] After several years I was beside myself with confusion. Surely this is not what the Bible taught about relationships? Surely there were more constructive and mutually satisfying ways to deal with conflict other than taking sole responsibility for everything that went wrong? After a few more years I wasn’t sure how I was going to get to the end of my life without ending up in a funny farm. And after a few MORE years, I decided I was done. Something had to give. The pain was now greater than the fear of bucking the system, and I decided to stop playing my own role in the sick cycle and see if things might shake down enough to bring about a healing change for both of us. (I just read a terrific article on this concept HERE.) […]

  31. Aleea on September 14, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    “ . . . . A parent can get away with putting down kids, financially and emotionally abusing them.  My heart breaks for kids in these situations.”
     
    Maria,
    I so agree because those precious kids will do what they see modeled, sans a New Testament miracle.  They will grow up to be abusers themselves.  It is so, so horrible because it keeps sending the problems -full strength- to the next generation to pass on. . . . .We need better everything: education, tests, laws, et. al.  Better laws will not happen until we have better tests for such abuse.  Better ways to really quantify it.  How do you test for emotionally-absent, borderline sociopath, sex-addict, narcissistic personalities?  . . . Even when we get the tests and the laws, they can be enforced haphazardly.  All of it has be worked on. . . .When I am in town, I live in So. Cal., I run on mile tracks near our home —a huge high-school is there.  Night after night, I hear “coaches” yelling at the top of their lungs because kids are in the “wrong formation” or they have “missed a block” or whatever is going on.  I have noticed the same thing with the “drill teams.”  Thank the Lord for prayer, it really centers me!!! .  . . .To be cherished; to have real affection; to be treated like a precious treasure; to have real love. . . . .  
     
    —You know what?  . . . . To hurt people is the easiest thing in the world, it takes no (zero) talent whatsoever.  To help people grow; to teach them what real love is. . .to help them heal. . . . it is everything.  . . . .We have to work with where we find ourselves in history but I am pretty sure that a hundred years from now, they will view what we allowed as totally barbaric (—treatment of animals too.)  . . . . We are in our infancy.  Intellectually we are like babies trying to learn to crawl.  We delude ourselves into believing that we are fully conscious, when in reality we operate in a trance induced by a multitude of delusions.  To overcome these delusions we need to develop the habit of questioning things.  Why is it okay to scream like a wild banshee at the top of your lungs at these kids because they are in the “wrong formation” or they have “missed a block?”  Even if these kids go home to loving parents, this is okay?

  32. Ally on September 14, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    BTDT, Islandgirl. I’m so sorry 🙁 My ex husband has yet to admit any fault years later, and has convinced quite a number of people that I up and left him for no reason. That’s eventually what I had to do–get up and leave. He pretended he was willing to go to counseling but was always too busy. Not interested in changing behavior, opened secret credit cards. . . Finally for my own protection I moved out. Five years later and he still denies everything, so I know I made the right choice. Sometimes they don’t want to get better, no matter what, and we have to protect our selves and know before God that we did the best we could. It was really hard for me to leave and it took several years to muster the support and practical ability.

  33. Robin on September 14, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    I love to hear some stories where consequences produced a good result. Mine pretty much failed. From the very first day I started setting firm boundaries and consequences- my husband made it clear- his punitive measures would be greater . He was a narcissist, borderline, OCD, Sociopath. Trusted no one. I read Leslues books and followed every word she taught on standing up and speaking up. As the consequences increased the nastier he became. That was 3 years ago. My Life has blossomed since the divorce – but he still wants revenge for exposing his evil. I recently moved his things out of my house because he was unwilling to be agreeable to what my lawyer suggested. Received paperwork today that he is going against me charging me with $1900.00 in attorney fee’s because I moved his things out. He has the judge wrapped around his finger. It’s a very long story- all to say consequences ARE NECESSARY and at times – just for you- not the abusive spouse . It’s been a very painful 3 years . But the Lord has been faithful through all my exhusbands manipulations, deceit, lying……. God has used it for my own personal growth. I’m glad for those women on this blog that consequences healed their marriage- for me it healed me- building up my core and teaching me who I am and what is inside me.

    • Leonie on September 15, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      I am sorry you have to keep going through this, I know how stressful it can be. When it becomes nonsense and pettiness, the judges and lawyers do begin to see through it and get fed up with the type of person they are dealing with.

      • Robin on September 16, 2015 at 8:34 pm

        Leonie and to many others–
        My daughter is paying my ex-husband off to get him out of our lives . He was taking me to court again to charge me with attorney fee’s and damages from move. She said this afternoon ,Mom lets quit playing his game. I have the money, I’ll call his lawyer and make arrangement to pay off the $3000.00 he thinks you owe him. GOD HAS MOVED ONCE AGAIN IN MY LIFE. I’ve been in bed for over a week with a slipped disk. Those nearest to me believe this illness came on by Evil forces trying to destroy me. This is such a huge revelation that God always takes care of us. He always has a Plan for the ugly things that come . Thank you for your many prayers and kind notes!!!!

        • Leonie on September 17, 2015 at 9:25 am

          I am glad your daughter is there for you. That will surprise him & take the wind out of his sails for awhile!
          I hope your back will feel better soon.
          We had a bit of drama again yesterday too. When I went to pick up my daughter from her visit with dad he became abusive with the friend that came to help me with the transfer because of the bail conditions in place. He refused to release my young child, began about I g at my friend in the public place that we were in and he shoved our child in the car and drove away. I called police and he quickly came back & dropped her off on a sidewalk far from us and again quickly drove away in his car before police arrived. The police were so good and so kind and reassuring. They told me they are willing to be present the next time if I want and just to call ahead. They gave me an incident # and said they would follow up with him. I really felt supported and like I have permission to be safe so it turned out to be a positive experience. I will relay the whole thing to my lawyer now! I may have a case to get supervised exchange in place because every time someone helps facilitate access they get abused and yelled at by him.

          • Leonie on September 17, 2015 at 9:28 am

            **and began shouting at my friend – I feel so bad that anyone who dares help me gets abused – it is a hard thing to ask.



          • David on September 17, 2015 at 10:16 am

            Think I’m starting to see what you guys are up against. Holy Moley, I only this stuff in movies! As much as I say that wives should have some feelings the same goes for the husbands, would think he would have feelings for the lady he had been with for a long time



          • Robin on September 17, 2015 at 2:16 pm

            That’s wonderful news Leonie. I’m so rejoicing with you!!!!



          • Leonie on September 17, 2015 at 2:42 pm

            I think the worst thing is that our small child bears the brunt of it – today she was crying that she is scared and said daddy is fighting again. She said she was scared because the police had to come. I feel like he doesn’t care if she’s getting damaged by his aggressive and unreasonable behaviour or if she is even safe, he dropped her off on the sidewalk a distance away and not with the friend that came along to help us with safety.



          • karen on September 17, 2015 at 2:56 pm

            Am praying for you and your child Leonie.



  34. karen on September 14, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    To vivianne and remedy…..you are both right it is very soul destroying to realize after 30+ yrs that because you believed that love meant mutual sacrifice that you have sacrificed every dream, your calling to ministry, future plans and hope years of work and all your finances and business to a person who is incapable of loving at all and has just been faking, lying their way through to get what they wanted out of you and to use you in every way they can to make themselves look like a good christian leader and guy. unfortunately it took professionals telling me this before i could believe it. although i knew that i had not felt loved since year two of marriage i blamed myself and just worked harder to be worthy of love……..but that never works. It only made me feel less loved and i modeled that one sided love marriage to my children which is my greatest regret.

    • Robin on September 14, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      Karen you are not alone in your regret. Many of us have worked hard to fill in missing puzzle pieces-and greatly regret not coming to these truths sooner. I cling to Gods Words that say, He will RESTORE all the locusts have eaten’.
      These are tough things to work thru. I’m praying for you and your children.

      • karen on September 17, 2015 at 12:43 am

        Thank you Robin

    • Robin on September 17, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      I agree Leonie. It’s always the hardest thing to watch our children suffer at the hands of an abuser who can’t seem to care more about his child than he does, himself. But there will come a freedom in this eventually. You’ll stop expecting it will ever be anything else. I’m so so sorry. She is blessed with a loving and nurturing mama that will help her as they together walk thru this. Anytime you know they will be together you can write on this blog informing us and we can surround her in prayer!! Love you both!!!

  35. karen on September 15, 2015 at 2:27 am

    Thank you robin………i still swing back and forth emotionally but am standing on that promise as well. This was a tough day because i am having to move back in with my mom temporarily and give up the house God miraculously provided as a safe house the past 6 months where i have found more peace than ever before in my life and am feeling very confused about next steps job and living arragements……..just trying to trust in God for all..The fact that my husband is still living in the home i have made all payments on the past 20 years after my name has “somehow” disapeared from the documents is not helping right now. He wont leave so i am the one having to scramble for a place to stay until i find another consulting gig or something. Really am hating to pull my 80 yr old mom in to this again though but i believe God must have a reason even for this happening again…..your prayers are needed and appreciated!

    • Grace on September 15, 2015 at 6:12 am

      Praying for you Karen.

      • karen on September 17, 2015 at 12:39 am

        Thank you Grace!

    • Aleea on September 15, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      . . . This is why all people must be empowered —the more empowerment, with humility, the better. . . .This is the issue with subordinate roles, they are very dangerous.  Imbalance sucks something out of the very soul of every woman and man who’s confronted with it. . . . . .We can’t let power in the church, power in the home, et.al. roam around unchecked, unchallenged.  Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, your talking, your learning; hence, grappling with seriously hard mental work. . . . i.e. I will ensure I know where all our family assets (current, retirement, savings, etc.) are. . . .That they are managed correctly, titled correctly, in the correct structures, etc.   . . . I always seriously pray not just that the Lord would restore for you and others what the locusts have eaten but that He would bless you exceeding abundantly above all that you could ask or even think! . . .All of us need help being godly and this is why all people must be empowered —the more empowerment, with humility, the better. 

  36. Maria on September 15, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Aleea, is there a way to find out if one’s spouse has secret bank accounts, investments, transferring money abroad etc

    • Aleea on September 15, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      ”. . . .secret bank accounts, investments, transferring money abroad etc.”
       
      Maria,
      Not that I am aware of and especially not if they are well advised by equally dishonorable, unethical individuals.  For example, many never travel to their offshore bank or make transfers directly.  They do that through layered entity structures (—“business” doing “transactions.”)  So if people are willing to take illegal actions, the answer is usually no.  If they are by-passing all the required reporting, I don’t see how because most offshore banks will not report it either.  To their credit, most offshore banks try to avoid taking money in what are known as fraudulent transfers (—fraudulent conveyances used to hid assets where a cause of action exists.)  The offshore bank may not care that these are tax violations but fraudulent transfers most banks try to avoid (—because the movement of those assets is almost always to avoid claims, especially in divorce, lawsuits, and many times is criminal.)  . . . .In the U.S., bank searches conducted illegally cannot be submitted to court because it would reveal that you engaged in illegal actives.  In the U.S., you can pay for a forensic accountant to execute a search via the courts in a legal fashion.  —Not so offshore, especially where they have bank secrecy laws.
       
      Offshore, often, money gets hidden through layered entity structures.  Whichever spouse is doing it may start, for example, with a Private Foundation (—sounds fancy, anyone can do it) that owns an IBC, that IBC owns a PIC (Private Investment Corp.) that “corporation” is usually undercapitalized but often engages in some type of an “active business” and it could do lots of things but let’s say it is doing the hiding through derivative trades of all sorts.  Pair trades are done with one leg showing that they have “lost” the money (some are even so bold (stupid) enough to then take “the loss” carry forward) but the money is not “lost.”  Paired derivatives inside of those layer entities allow you to lose, even declare bankruptcy but keep the assets.  Also, revolving lines of credit can accomplish the same.  This could, obviously, be a massive discussion. . . . Most of these “techniques” are obvious reporting, as well as tax violations.  In offshore accounts, you will get little co-operation from banks where they have strict secrecy laws.  That said, little honor exists among those that foster these structures (—even if they are attorneys or accountants) and often others can easily be paid to tell the truth, if you know who those people are.  The IRS pays and even has substantial rewards for such information.  The “look through” “see through” rules get to the motivations of these structures no matter how much individuals you have tried to build in “economic substance” “business purpose,” et.al.
       
      Even if you have an okay marriage, you can’t be doing things without informing your spouse.  Say your husband has purchased a rental home without informing you.  He thinks, well, we have insurance and he thinks that is enough.  Someone gets injured in the rental home and because the property was not put in a Limited Liability Company or LLC —really inexpensive to set up and maintain— the lawsuit bankrupts you both. . . .Obviously, like everything else, the key is getting the finances out into the open.  I have no idea the show-down it would take with an uncooperative husband but if you can sit down and go through finances together, consistently, periodically and keep making sure each person knows where everything is and has at least some responsibility when it comes to finances, that is really, really important.  . . . . .That is going to be really tough at first, especially when secrets have been kept for years.  But, it is well worth it.  It is short-term pain for long-term gain.  It may even help you dream again and make plans for something good together. . . . Life is never easy for anybody.  If we can be kind, tolerant and compassionate that love and kindness may move mountains.  . . . With serious personality disorders, neuropsychological issues, narcissistic personalities and various mental disorders, etc. that will not work.

  37. karen on September 15, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Thank you for your prayers…..

    • David on September 18, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Hello Aleea. “God can do anything, absolutely BUT, I think, it is very important to realize that God very, very rarely sets aside the laws that normally govern the universe.  He set those laws up and they operate very consistently.  We have to be on guard for magical thinking, right?  “… this is not very encouraging, for someone that wishes to turn their life around. I hope you are wrong. 🙂

      • karen on September 18, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        Hi Aleea and David,

        I hope she is wrong too……..but have been forced to face the fact that she may not be over the past couple of years :{.

        Per your comment: I don’t see reliable medical tests for emotionally unavailable, narcissistic personalities and various mental disorders (interpersonally exploitative, devoid of empathy): there is an 8 hour long/one on one evaluation (don’t recall name??) that shows the results on a large graph with personality disorder breakdowns across the graph and the reading of results by the neuro-psychiatrist who did this for my husband (after the brain scans, etc) said exactly those words including “total lack of empathy for others” and “complete inability to understand how anything he says or does could impact another person whatsoever” and he may be “completely unable to love as you or I would” — among tons of other stuff. H was sitting there with me and has denied none of it — either time. (thought things were getting worse and did test again 2 yrs later since frontal lobe degeneration is an early age onset disease but had only devolved a little…..) but was told I was now living with a 55 year old man who had a 70 year old brain — on top of the personality disorders. Maybe Leslie is familiar with the name of this test? I might be able to tract it down if not with a phone call or two……..but it was very in depth and the most accurate (based on my many years of personal “data” 🙂 that I have ever seen.

        Some one asked why I have not divorced him and that is the bottom line — the tests have never clearly stated this is 100% on him for how he has treated me over the years. I would not/could not leave him knowing this was a disease that he has zero control over per my marriage vows — nor would I leave him unable to care for or support himself leaving it on my children to do so. I have been told by attorney recently that the laws have changed in TX and I would likely end up supporting him by paying him alimony and having him declared incompetent would guarantee that. Then when I moved out last time for a tiny bit of peace, I uncovered the truth of the horrible secrets/abuse in his family (that caused the DID/MPD in his older brother) and thought that finally knowing the truth of the “why” that I could forgive, try again and be more compassionate and understanding — basically try to be a better wife again. But I found it impossible to keep living with ongoing consequences of his continued behavior/lies no matter what the root cause is, unfortunately. Came to realize I had made my marriage an idol in my life (because so many people depended on our example in ministry……..I have done much youth, marriage prep and marriage support advising over the years) So, now here I am again………….he knows exactly what he needs to do to bring about healing and restoration but is not acting on it so I doubt he wants healing ……..or me at this point. And I am starting to be OK with this but am just not quite there yet. I am still clinging to a little “magical thinking”…… I hope that made sense. It is just really hard to acknowledge a total lack of love or even just a one sided love in your marriage of 35+ yrs when you have advised so many others to work through and find restoration – so pride is an issue for me as well – but God has been humbling me BIG time.

        • David on September 18, 2015 at 8:40 pm

          I want to change but sounds like it is impossible as I may well have frontal lobe degeneration as well and therefore nothing I can do about it, very depressing

          • David on September 18, 2015 at 8:41 pm

            I can do nothing…



          • karen on September 18, 2015 at 11:24 pm

            Not true!! I posted a more complete response but it did not land in this string for some reason. Please find it David. You can improve and I know this for a fact. Praying……….



          • Leslie Vernick on September 20, 2015 at 8:45 pm

            I imagine it could be depressing, but you can ask people to give you feedback and help you with what you are not able to “see” by yourself. That takes humility and a willingness to be taught and helped which is hard for someone who has seen himself as strong and intelligent, but it is possible.



        • Aleea on September 18, 2015 at 10:46 pm

          Hello Karen,
           
          I am so sorry and heartbroken over your story.  That blows me away. . . .  . and I had no idea such extensive tests existed.  I have asked a number of Ph.D./M.D. researchers before and they felt the standard errors where took high on scans but I know technology changes so rapidly.     
           
          You say: “It is just really hard to acknowledge a total lack of love or even just a one sided love in your marriage of 35+ yrs when you have advised so many others to work through and find restoration – so pride is an issue for me as well – but God has been humbling me BIG time.” . . . . . If God is humbling you, Karen, it is only to lift you up again and restore you.  I have always found that with God, at least I can humble myself without despair because God’s Grace is just like water, it flows down to the lowest point.  That is where the Grace of God is going to find you and I have been there so many times. . . . . Humble, but not gullible.  Organized religion has tricked many people into believing that they will be rewarded for their ignorance by calling it faith, they will not.  We can not be gullible bibliolaters who have not bothered to seriously investigate claims.  The Bible does not say the “gullible” are blessed.  —I am seriously praying for you Karen; God’s choice acquaintances are humble women.  God’s whole plan is to lift up the humble and cast down the proud. 
           
           
          David,
           
          RE: The laws that normally govern the universe and God setting those laws up to operate very consistently and being on guard for magical thinking. . . . . All that means is if I want a Ph.D., I have to work for it and if I want law degrees I have to work for them, etc.  I can’t just pray and they magically appear.  If I want to heal from my horrific past, I have to work with counselors and doctors and really engage the task. . . . . My mother, for example, has never understood that we need spiritual help AND hard work to reach our goals.  We need both:    
           
          Aleea’s Mother:  “You pray for water, I’ll dig a well.  Let’s see who gets a drink first.”
           
          Aleea:  “I will pray while digging a well.  Let’s see who gets a drink first.”    
           
          Ask the Holy Spirit what He wants you to do and then do it.  I’m not saying it is not excruciatingly hard.  I have left my counselor’s office and thought “Lord, I’m never, ever getting better am I?”  Then other times it is just the opposite.  I’m just saying it is worth it and we can’t give up no matter how hard it is.  . . . . My goal is the Lord God Himself —not joy, not peace, not even blessing, just God!  —And that is why I pray so much.  I really believe prayer expands our very soul; prayer generates strength; it generates vision; it generates power; and Satan wilI drive us away from prayer more than anything.  —That is why I really pray hardest when it is hardest to pray. . . . .Unfortunately, on the way to discovering God’s Real Love, I guess we also have to find and discover everything we hate.  Everything that blocks our path to what God desires for us.

    • Leonie on September 19, 2015 at 12:02 am

      Wow, Aleea! I love your answer!

      • Aleea on September 19, 2015 at 11:03 am

        Hello Leonie,
         
        . . . I so remember this from July (below). . . I can’t remember which airport I was rotting away in but this so made me smile when I read it and remember my Labrador Retriever growing up (—the angel that got me through it!):
         
        Leonie says  
        July 18, 2015 at 1:00 am    
        “Susen, reading about your life now & how you have healed & moved to the country & got a dog… Makes me drunk with eagerness & excitement over what life is going to be like again when all the drama dies down & life goes on!! How many times I have said to myself, if this marriage doesn’t work out I will not bother with another man, I will get a dog!”
         
        . . . We are the focus of their love and faith and trust.  Creatures evolved enough to convey pure love.  I will tell you this, if a Labrador/ Golden Retriever will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience and repent.  Dogs are the best example of a being who doesn’t need to lie to protect someone’s pride. . . . . They go out, come in, eat something, lie here, play with that, kiss you. There are less ulterior motives, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges if a request is denied.  ―And you can make a total a fool of yourself with them, and not only will they not scold you, but they will make a bloomin’ fool of themselves, too.  ―Men can be so very wonderful also, but res ipsa loquitur!!!
         
        I’m praying for you!

  38. karen on September 15, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I absolutely agree……now :). I was working 80+ hours per week and traveling a lot building a solid business (I thought) out of absolute necessity with him not working at all for 10 years. This gave him the chance to “help” during a time when he seemed to be doing much better and before I was aware of many of the issues I have mentioned in past posts. So, out of sheer necessity and lack of time on my part he did some things in our personal finances and my business accounts before I realized just how horribly broken we really were. But now I realize that some of the long work hours and focus on work were pure purely a self protective measure on my part. While it may have worked emotionally and physically it did NOT work financially at all. He signed my name on checks and other things without my knowledge. I thought I knew everything that was going on with the money but that was just part of the lies………….Believed we were on the verge of being 100% debt free including our home thanks to business success and debt free planning that I thought he was carrying out. Thought all our cars(we celebrated payoffs!) and all credit was paid off and that we were only a year or two away from having the house paid off per the conversations and direction he was receiving from me side by side each month. Then by accident one day I found something hidden in a drawer in a back bedroom that I never went into — ALL our credit/cars/house had only had absolute minimum payments made while he was transferring the full amounts I directed out of accounts each month for that purpose to make double and triple payments for the past 3 years. He did not pay the extra on anything and I have no idea what he did with all that money although I have my suspicians — based on a tearful call I received from another woman a few months after this. He cleaned out retirement and savings accounts and he also refinanced our home without my knowledge (stating HE was self employed rather than unemployed) and my name is no longer on the loan and we owe more than we can ever sell the house for. These were the things that made me finally insist on a full mental and psych evaluation. I had to know if it was just me and my imagination (like he claimed) or not. It was not and I realized too little too late just how far gone everything was…….so yes I hope no one will ever make the same mistake of trying trust over and over what these personality types will tell you. You must be sure you KNOW and have documentation for absolutely everything every single month. But I know that is easy to say and very difficult to do as these types of personalities (male or female) will rarely cooperate and if you think they are (I did) they will just go underground and live a secret life and THAT is what you must be watching for ……….thank you all for your prayers.

    • sandra on September 15, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      Karen, I just want to say that I don’t think you did anything wrong, at all. It would seem appropriate to trust your husband with your business and household finances. No one could have possibly imagined the deception you describe. It is the stuff of sinister plots from gangster movies. You have been robbed and you have a right to be angry about it. What kind of damage control are you doing at this point? How can you disentangle yourself from H’s financial blunders? Where to do you go from here? Maybe the tearful phone call lady wants him back.

      • karen on September 17, 2015 at 1:56 am

        Thank you for your supportive words. Well all accounts he had access to were closed 4 yrs ago and only opened new accounts under my moms address this past year he has no access (living separated last 8 months helps alot :). But he filed bankruptcy (my name not associated) a year ago and has worked fultime last year for first time in ages since i will no longer give him money or enable his addictions etc…….or pay the bills. He is truly on own for first time in life since we were only 20 when married and went straight from his Mom to me………which explains some of issues…….we are not divorced or even legally separated however so my credit is still affected by his actions ulimately i am sure………….struggling with any next steps unfortunately . hard to move foward and leave this legacy to children ……..clearly i dont give up easily feels too much like admitting defeat i guess.

        • karen on September 17, 2015 at 2:07 am

          Also i may be the one to end up paying alimony if i file for divorce per the attorney i did speak to since husband has been dependent on me most of marriage. He has to have proven ability to support himself…but even that may not matter in the end depending on his health etc…..does that answer your question? If i find myself making money like i used to i will need to set up some kind of irrevocable trust for my kids and hope that keeps some finances safe at least…….will cross that bridge if\when able.

          • sandra on September 17, 2015 at 9:31 pm

            Thanks, Karen. Why aren’t you divorcing this man?



  39. David on September 15, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    I do not know the law especially in your jurisdiction Karen but is not that stealing and a criminal offense!?

    • karen on September 17, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Yes probably…..I have been told that I should have charged him with embezzling but no strength to do so……it was 5 yrs ago and He had heart attack a few months later so I was his caretaker for 6 mths. 2 weeks after heart attack my business partner (with zero knowledge of anything) took chance to do hostile takeover of my business that was projected for first multi-million year. Way too much to deal with ……..tons of prayer and trusting God to get us through and provide. He did…..but have only been strong enough to face full reality last 2 years and God has been shouting much truth and opening my eyes while bringing many of husbands and his family secrets to light. Some has been totally shocking and I have been healing this last year from everything……no desire to revisit the pain now.make sense? God is my real husband and provider anyway…:)

      • David on September 17, 2015 at 7:33 am

        Yes Karen, I understand, just seems a shame that’s all

  40. Maria on September 16, 2015 at 6:29 am

    David, I replied to your post, not sure if you saw it.

    • David on September 16, 2015 at 7:06 am

      Yes, tks Maria, just up my eyeballs

  41. Brenda on September 17, 2015 at 10:24 am

    David,
    Where did you think they got the ideas for the movies. Many are from real life. I’m glad you are beginning to see.

    • David on September 17, 2015 at 10:27 am

      Maybe royalties would be in order – lol!!

  42. David on September 17, 2015 at 10:25 am

    “With serious personality disorders, neuropsychological issues, narcissistic personalities and various mental disorders, etc. that will not work.” again, my God can do the impossible and transform people. Furthermore, sickness shouldn’t be punished – you can get sick too. There are many illnesses that can look like narcissistism

  43. karen on September 17, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Praise God and thank you for your prayers……pleasantly surprised that my time in my “safe house” has been unexpectedly extended for a little while and have a promising interview pending as well. I have not moved to Moms yet :)……..I just want to be where i can accomplish Gods dreams and plans for my life whether here or not. Thank you all for being great prayer partners!

    • sandra on September 17, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      Seems like a difficult time at the moment. Soak up all the strength you can in the safe house.

  44. Ally on September 17, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    David, He can indeed do the impossible, but He will never override the offender’s free will to do so. I was encouraged over and over to pray for a miracle, but I had to leave seven years ago and *nothing* has changed. The miracle is that I am safe. I did not leave my ex because he was sick; I left him because he used it as an excuse to be helpless and abusive.

  45. Aleea on September 18, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Hello David,
     
    —I was praying for you this morning!!!
     
    You say: “Furthermore, sickness shouldn’t be punished – you can get sick too.”  . . . . . Oh, how I understand that!  It is not that the sickness is punished per se but we have a duty to protect our sanity and well-being while our spouse is being treated. 
     
    “With serious personality disorders, neuropsychological issues, narcissistic personalities and various mental disorders, etc. that will not work.” again, “””my God can do the impossible and transform people.””” . . . . . God can do anything, absolutely BUT, I think, it is very important to realize that God very, very rarely sets aside the laws that normally govern the universe.  He set those laws up and they operate very consistently.  We have to be on guard for magical thinking, right?  
     
    You also say: “There are many illnesses that can look like narcissistism” . . . . .David, that does really, really bother me because I don’t see reliable medical tests for emotionally unavailable, narcissistic personalities and various mental disorders (interpersonally exploitative, devoid of empathy), so you are correct and I bet they can be VERY easily be misdiagnosed.  I think that is why Leslie has the various separation strategies to leave well that involve longer time periods.  At least with those strategies, you are trying to ensure that you have a correct read on things.  —But David, I am telling you in lots of these cases, women have 10, 15, 20, 25+ YEARS of data and I am sure that is more than statically significant.
     
    In some cases abusive or damaged relationships cannot and should not be saved.  My mother beat me all she wanted, but I haven’t let her take away my will to somehow survive.  Her excuses were just a promise of repetition.  Now, being overly critical of myself I have a relentless, inescapable bully who follows me everywhere I go and abuses me.  My husband is in no way responsible for that.
     
    To me, possessiveness is at the core of any abuser’s mindset, the spring from which all the other streams spout; —But we belong to God and He is a demanding passionate lover who is unbelievable jealous if you are His.  He will be your life or He will be nothing to you.  God doesn’t want a partnership, He wants ownership.  God doesn’t want to share my life or yours.  He wants to own it!  So we belong to Christ not another human being, no matter how wonderful they are.  That makes abuse a problem of values, not of psychology, at least it sure looks that way to me.

  46. karen on September 18, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Hi David,

    Unless you have been fully and medically evaluated for this do NOT assume this to be the case not matter how familiar it may sound. Even then there is MUCH that can be done to delay the onset of full blown dementia. Just because the degeneration has begun does NOT mean it will play out to dementia. If my husband follows the many recommendations from the Dr (he does a few…..sometimes) we can clearly see improvement. Right now the Dr says he is “holding his own” and he has passed the average age of onset by 4 years now. That is a choice and to not do those things has a terrible consequence — so not doing them is really not an option for anyone who has been actually diagnosed. My husband made the mistake of just giving up on everything at the age of 45 when a Dr. told him that if he did not turn his severe health issues around he would be dead by 50……..I took that on as a challenge since I was in the room when it was said. And surprise — here he is at 58 “holding his own” but he really believed he would be dead and now he is having to figure out how to take care of himself for the first time in his life. It is NOT hopeless — but it will take strong self discipline to slow down the progress if actually diagnosed. There is no “cure” but you can control and improve upon the situation by your daily actions for better or worse. But the earlier you start the things that can help the better. OK I will stop nagging……..but will continue to pray for you a little more specifically now.

  47. karen on September 18, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Aleea,

    Thank you so much for your encouraging words and prayer support. I can not begin to tell you how much that means. God is at work in all of us and I do believe He has a better future planned for us all…..that is the one part of magical thinking I can not give up on :). And prayer and confession of His Word is all I have had during the time at the house he has provided the past 6 months….as it is not close to any family/friends so much solitude has contributed to my reaching out here……..it is such a wonderful blessing to know there are caring and prayerful people who have experienced similar things. Makes me feel a little less alone and a little less crazy :P. Thank you all!

  48. Leonie on September 19, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Thanks,Aleea, BTW, I did get a dog!!???? He is a white/toasted marshmallow color – mix of lab, collie & shepherd & we are loving it!

    • Aleea on September 19, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Leonie . . . WooHoo!!! 🙂 ♫✞★♥ . . . . white/ toasted marshmallow mix of lab, collie & shepherd   ―Absolutely wonderful! 🙂 ♫✞★♥   
      ―I love the puppy ♥♥♥ icon too!!!

  49. Leonie on September 19, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    That’s wonderful that you have fond memories of your dog too!

  50. Leslie Vernick on September 20, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks Aleea. I appreciate you and your diligence in responding to all of us.

  51. Aleea on September 21, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Leslie,
    Thank you so much for letting me respond and for all the hard work you, your assistances, your associates do to keep this resource going. . . .I love how you empower people.  Yesterday, at my Bible church we had a whole day of discussions on “body image: what we need, what we fear, where we fail, and how we sin.” . . .Wow, I’ll tell you, life is just filled with serious “GET IT” moments on all manner of topics.  They seem as numerous as the sand on an endless shore.  Good teachers like you make it possible for people to change their positions. . . . I’m off to my counseling appointment.  I’m telling you it is like a cross between an altar call, a dissertation defense and psychotherapy all at once.  I had no idea how much work it would be.

  52. Robin on September 21, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    I would like to ask for a extra coverage of prayer for the next ten days. I am standing in the midst of a very evil situation. I have been divorced for 2 months and my exhusband is doing everything he can to cause me to give up and fail. Recently I fell into a physical affliction that put me in bed for ten days- I am on a path of healing- but I know I need some real prayers surrounding me at this difficult road.
    Thank you to each of you for your sacrifice of lifting me up.
    Amen.
    Robin

  53. Brenda on September 22, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Robin,
    I am praying for you and it is an honor, not a sacrifice. ((((HUGS))))

    Brenda

  54. Aleea on September 22, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Robin,
    I too am praying for you every day but I will pray doubly for you during this very hard time.  . . . . In my life, I have learned -the hard way- that safety comes in my nearness to our Lord God, not in my distance from my tormentors. . . . . and as Brenda says it is not a sacrifice to lift you up but a privilege.

  55. Paula on October 25, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    There is one blog writer who tells readers “Inappropriate comments will be deleted”. The writer then deletes these. That may be one solution. I speak from experience when I say it’s a waste of time and emotional energy to allow another person to push our buttons in this way. A person who is unhealthy will say things in order to get a person to react, it’s intentional. That is a form of manipulation, and when we fall for that, we are being manipulated, and we are fueling this stronghold. It’s like a fire, that keeps burning the more fuel you add to it. I agree with the person who said to just ignore those comments. Let’s work on getting ourselves healthy, not waste time on back and forth that goes no where.

    • Moving Forward on November 18, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      I agree Paula, and I didn’t comment above mainly because these posts were from early September. However, I do want to make one point to everyone reading this blog – we are all here to learn and gain strength from each other. We’re all in various stages of working on our CORE. While I may not appreciate the tone in many of David’s posts, I also don’t appreciate the snarky comments to his posts. This is where we need to practice those CORE skills and show the respect we’ve been denied at home to another hurting human. I personally struggle with this concept, as our human nature wants to lash back; but when I choose to show respect, I grow – I move forward out of that pit another step. I’m finding it possible to show respect for another and still defend my own ideas and beliefs.

      I love the challenge Leslie gave him, and I hope he accepts that challenge. I think he needs what we all have to offer, and we can practice strengthening our own CORE at the same time.

      • Leslie Vernick on November 18, 2015 at 5:30 pm

        I agree. We will always have people like David among us and how we treat his says more about who we are than what he said or didn’t say. Please let’s always use this forum to practice our CORE.

  56. Lee Ann on October 28, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Aleea said, ” I have found that if, instead of praying for my own comfort and satisfaction, I ask the Holy Spirit to bless others and enable me to correctly pray for them, pray for you, an amazing thing often happens —I find my own needs wonderfully met and my calm returns.”

    I found this very helpful. I am in the middle of a nasty law suit that is temporarily causing me emotional distress that is worse than the chronic abuse and neglect of my home. I need something to take my mind off of the damage the other person is trying to do to me, and coming here to see women supporting each other to over come adversity is what I’m doing to take my mind away from ruminating on the facts of my case (or the wrongs he is doing to me).

    It is admirable that you pray for the people who post here. I’m sure that there are others who do the same thing. It warms my heart, and I will follow your lead.

  57. Erin on April 11, 2020 at 11:14 am

    Tears flow down my cheeks. This redemption story is what I needed to know is out there.

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