Morning friends,

We’ve had some lively dialogue over the past few weeks and I’m going to continue our discussion about boundaries and consequences over the next few weeks.

Next week I’m going to tackle the issue of how a diagnosis of mental illness impacts personal responsibility for wrongdoing. And, how or when we should implement consequences for destructive behaviors or set boundaries with a spouse who is mentally ill.

The following week I want to talk a little more about finding a good counselor and what professional boundaries look like. Some of you contacted me privately and told me counselors who failed to maintain professional boundaries have harmed you. You thought it would be helpful for me to expound more about what specific boundaries a professional counselor is supposed to maintain and what to do if he or she fails.

This is our final week to sign up for CONQUER. CONQUER is an on-line support group for women in destructive marriages. You don’t have to currently be in a destructive relationship to join CONQUER but the focus of the group is to get strong, build CORE strength, and have an on-line support group with other women who know what your life is like. CONQUER will be closed to new members at midnight, October 31. For more information, click here.

Today’s Question: I would like to have you explain what “enabling” the emotionally abusive person means? The balance of walking the Christian walk, submitting to my husband but not enabling is a very difficult line to draw. I don’t feel I enable, and my husband is not physically or verbally abusive, but he is emotionally abusive, without knowing it, even though I have tried to raise his awareness of it. The Christians I confide in say that I am an enabler, but I do not like that term and I don’t feel I am. Can you clarify?

Answer: It’s difficult to hear people tell us something about ourselves we don’t believe is true. And, you’re right sometimes it is a fine line. It might be helpful for you to ask them what they see in you that make them think you enable your husband’s emotional abuse. But let me ask you to look for a few red flags that might indicate enabling behavior.

1. Do you ever lie, cover up, or make excuses for your husband’s emotionally abusive behaviors? You might believe you have a very good reason like you don’t want to embarrass him or disrespect him by calling it what it is, but right now, just be honest with yourself.

Sometimes we think that this is our duty or responsibility as a submissive wife or godly person to cover up sin, but I don’t believe God wants us to exchange the truth for a lie or call evil good.We can speak the truth with a gentle spirit and in love (with their best interests in mind)(tweet that).

The apostle Paul says that we are to having nothing to do with the unfruitful deeds of darkness but rather expose them (Ephesians 5:11). When abuse remains hidden and secret, it flourishes.

2. Do you do regularly change your behaviors, stuff your feelings, or guard what you say just to keep the peace, prevent an argument, or make him happy?

Again in any marriage there is a fair amount of give and take and at certain times for good reasons we might do any of the above. But when we are the one who is doing most of the accommodating or significantly changing who we are or stuffing how we feel then the relationship is unhealthy.

For example, perhaps your husband is insecure and jealous. For these reasons he does not want you to work, or go to Bible study, or even go to the mall without him. To accommodate such controlling demands actually enables his insecurity and jealousy to flourish, not to change and heal. That’s where the fine line between submission and enabling starts to blur. Do you submit to your husband’s demands to stay home all the time or it actually better and healthier for you, for him, and for your marriage to challenge them?

3. Are you doing things for your husband that he should be doing for himself?

Again in marriage, there are times spouses do extra and do favors for one another. But when you are the one doing the most of the work and your spouse is not sharing those responsibilities, you are enabling him to be selfish, lazy, and indifferent.

4. Are you taking the responsibility or blame for things that you are not responsible for. For example, when your husband loses his temper and says “if only you were more organized, or more submissive, or cooked better, or didn’t upset him” do you enable him to blame shift and make you responsible for his bad behaviors?

In each of these things, you cannot change your husband. You may be doing all you can and he still may be abusive. You can’t make him help you, or take responsibility for his own emotional outbursts, or be more secure and less threatened.

I don’t know your particular story or what your spouse is doing that you feel is emotionally abusive, but you can and must look at the part you play in enabling his behaviors to flourish and grow without protest or consequence.

Friends: How have you learned to walk the fine line between enabling and being a godly wife?

240 Comments

  1. Sunshine. on October 28, 2015 at 7:15 am

    This is cold hard truth for me. Since the beginning of our marriage, I have covered for my husband’s bad choices. Only when it became clear that the truth was public and i couldn’t deny it any longer was I able to face reality. Now I am told that I am harsh and cold because I tell my husband, no, that is not true and look at your part in this situation. I want to leave for the sake of having peace in my life and safety for my emotional state. At this time, I feel as if the last stand and effort needs to be for me to stand up and be a truth speaker to my husband in a kind way. I have to do this because I need to be the godly woman God has asked me to be and the wife I could be. I don’t want to deny reality and cover up lies and bad behavior. I can’t. Our children see it and call their dad out on it. I can’t deny the kids their reality to save my husband’s pride.

    • beth on October 28, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      I was taught pride goeth before the fall. Get free Sunshine. The truth will set you free. Wait, that great teaching is biblical too. Don’t you just love our Lord. He has us covered.

    • Michele on October 29, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      I would really like to read further on how to deal with an abusive spouse when you believe they have an imbalance, such as bipolar. My husband is also not saved which makes all of this much more difficult. Thank you so much.

    • Alyssa on January 2, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Sunshine,I am in your situation right now.I know I need help.I need to stand up for myself and what is right.I am seeking wise cousel and praying that I can have a voice.I’m afraid it will get worse, but this way I will know after 19 yrs I’ve tried my best before I leave

  2. Brenda on October 28, 2015 at 7:52 am

    I never did find a way to walk that line. I was a stuffer. He often was angry, threw things, hit walls, slammed doors aka: anything to put fear in me. One day after many years of this I blew and did not stop yelling my feelings for about a half hour. He blame shifted that one time to me abusing him. I thought I was being a godly wife because I never raised my voice and whenever he said the “D” word, I would say something like, “because we disagreed”. He would sulk and give angry glares for 3 days and then act like nothing ever happened until a few days later when it started all over again.

    I never spoke up when he sexually abused me. If I said “that hurts”, it was me not wanting to have sex with him, there must be another guy. Why I would want one I still don’t understand. Wasn’t putting up with this stuff from one man enough?

    I didn’t talk about it with anyone until I began realizing that I had to think about leaving. That was a lengthy process and the abuse escalated during that time while I attempted to get somewhat healthy.

    Legal separation that quickly led to divorce was the best thing for me. I’ve said recently that being single isn’t easy either, but far better than being in an abusive situation.

    • Amy on October 28, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      Brenda,
      Your story sounds so similar to mine.

      One time in all the 20 years with my abusive ex I blew! Mostly I would stuff everything, not speaking up in my own defense, but one time about 10 years into the marriage all that stuffing resulted in my losing control and lashing out at him for almost an hour.
      I screamed and yell, and spoke in a voice I didn’t even recognize. It scared me and at the time I truly felt possessed. I can remember that night so clearly — I had him backed into a corner of the bedroom covering his head and weeping. And I admit, I finally felt I had this power over him for once in our time together. I had him crying, I had him cowering and no matter how wrong it was on my part, it felt good to give back in one night all that he had dished out to me for 10 years at that time.

      Of course, there was the next 10 years in which I became a believer and never again reacted that way. But I did go back to enabling him to continue his abuse toward me and our boys, and when he left 6 years ago I found others continuing to enable him by feeling sorry for him, telling me I was not submissive enough and should reconcile, etc, etc.

      I think the longer a person is in an abusive relationship, the easier it becomes to enable because of wanting to make things better. And especially as a Christian, we are taught to turn the other cheek, forgive 70 times over and stop looking at what the abuser is doing wrong and focus only on what we the victim may be doing to contribute to the issue.
      It’s always interesting to me how God’s Word warns us about an evil person and yet in the case of abuse it is the victim who is often treated as the evil one.

      • Aleea on October 28, 2015 at 1:11 pm

        Amy,
         
        I still remember you posting this (below) and I still find things every day to thank God for because I found what you said so powerful.  I was thanking God just this morning for my eyes. 
         
        “. . . I would find anything and everything I could to be grateful about and it really started changing my outlook on life and drawing me closer to God. It helped me see that He is always there and even in the little things can we give Him thanks!  I would be grateful for a cup of coffee, a sunny morning walk, the spring time birds chirping outside my window and I remember times going to the mailbox and opening up a $10 rebate check I had completely forgotten about! That totally made my day and I thanked Him over and over for that small measly check, for when you are suddenly on your own and barely making ends meet, well that was a miracle to me that day! . . . . “
         
        Powerful, I still remember and do it, even on days I doubt everything!  I try to get my whole family to do it too.

      • beth on October 28, 2015 at 5:07 pm

        When you felt possessed, now you know exactly how he felt on a regular basis. Your one time incident is his lifetime. Thank you for recognizing this issue for what it is, an act of Satan.

  3. Brenda on October 28, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Sunshine,
    It is wonderful to hear that you are putting your children first. That is awesome.
    Brenda

  4. Wanting to Grow on October 28, 2015 at 8:35 am

    In the last few years I have discovered I am allowing my husband to step back from the family due to his inability to deal with negatives. He checked out on me and his responsibilities with the family while our kids were young and did not help with anything. I believed I was somehow the problem, until I received some counseling and prayer. He was not a father, not a partner. He literally did nothing at home for anyone but himself. He is a very kind man and stuffs his emotions. Other people see the kindness and believe he must be a perfect husband and father. I continued to let everyone believe that through the years. I have always done it all myself and I have “kept the peace” because he can’t handle it any other way. Could not handle the confrontation and negativity that comes from raising kids. He has lost several jobs and now is in a steady job, but we are both afraid of another job loss. He is the main provider so I feel I can’t rock the boat too much.

    We have been married almost 30 years and my kids definitely bear some scars from having a dad that was there but not “present”. His heart is good but he needs to deal with some things. There have been small steps forward but he needs counseling and I need to be stronger to help him understand what he has done. Not sure at all how to do that.

    • beth on October 28, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      I am struggling with the comment that he is a very kind man. Is he not selfish and self obsessed. The word that I think describes this behavior is entitled. He may be passive with others, but rest assured, he loves himself profoundly and unabashedly. It sounds like he is good at fooling people, thankfully you are much smarter than that.

    • JC on November 2, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Wanting to Grow, I love that “handle.” The Lord has created that desire in you and there is so much to learn here from Leslie and the others that will help you grow. Praying you will also find support around you “in the flesh” as you begin this journey.

  5. Aleea on October 28, 2015 at 10:39 am

    “Friends: How have you learned to walk the fine line between enabling and being a godly wife?”
     
    —As always, thank you for this post and all the great information.  —Also, I wanted to thank you for not monetizing your site by having ads popping up all over the place and for having the new post always come out so early, very helpful.
     
    . . . . It is so hard to close my open hand out of love. . . . . So, I walk no fine line.  It is equally hard for me to keep modest as a giver.  . . . . I know I am accountable for my actions; their affect and influence on my own life and the lives of others but maybe I don’t understand the true meaning of accountability because nothing I do, nothing I see, makes me strong or enables others to learn much.  . . . . Outside my home, and especially at work, I often change my behavior, stuff down my feelings, and I am guarded as to what I say to keep peace, prevent arguments, and make others happy.  I don’t know who I really am and every time I let a bunch of me out, I run the risk of somebody getting deconverted.  
     
    “Are you doing things for your husband that he should be doing for himself?”  Absolutely not.  He is mostly great.  He is a dentist and everyone hates the dentist, so I try to be extra kind to my dentist.  Dentists’ have the highest suicide rate of just about any professional because everyone thinks Dentists hurt them.  The hurt prevents bigger issues, of course, but no one wants to hear that!  I have a picture in my office it says: “I love my dentist & My dentist loves me!”  . . .And I sincerely hope we do not have many precious folks here who can’t work, go to a Bible study (—I mean a Bible study!  Most Bible studies are totally controlled anyway:  —The way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….that gives the illusion of freedom.), or the mall without your husband???  . . . We live in a world that is massively beyond our control, and life is in a constant flux with change.  So we have a decision to make: keep trying to control a storm that is not going to go away or start learning how to live within the rain.  If we ever have any control it is achieved by letting go.  
     
    —That’s it. . . . No search for the truth or theology or my mother’s “wisdom” for now. . . . as that little internet curmudgeon Grumpy Cat (Google Images: Grumpy Cat) would say: “GOOD!”

  6. Jennifer on October 28, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Obviously I am doing something to enable his abuse towards me because he keeps doing it. In fact he has gotten worse over the years. The if only I could be more Godly, If only I read the bible more, If only I organized my time better-resonates with me. I hear those phrases and more-If only’s then he would’t have to pick up my slack as he calls it if I ask for help or ask him to run to the grocery store.

    • beth on October 28, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      No, you are not obviously doing something to enable his abuse. He likes what he does and will continue to do it whether you act differently or not. It is his behavior problem, not yours. We can’t change anyone, nor are you ever responsible for his behavior choices. He is 100% responsible for his every thought, word and deed.

      • Daisy on October 28, 2015 at 9:34 pm

        Wonderfully said, Beth! I, too, have realized it’s a choice they make. After all, do they act that way to everyone? My husband didn’t. People were completely shocked when we got divorced.

        • Leonie on November 2, 2015 at 8:09 am

          You’re right Daisy, it is also shocking when we have that ah ha moment and realize that they have deliberately targeted us, the ones they are supposed to love and cherish to exact their evil on! I wonder if they truly want to destroy their own families?
          Jennifer, is he too special to go to the grocery store – you are his family, I see many men doing groceries for their families – some following a list and others with small kids in tow. I bet a lot of them cook when they get home too.

  7. Belle on October 28, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Currently, I do #2. How do you express your feelings and not guard what you say when you know without a shadow of a doubt that your feelings are absolutely not going to be considered? I tried over and over for many years to express myself. It took me a LONG time to learn that he wasn’t going to listen. I used to wonder at myself why I kept trying. Finally I accepted the fact that I can’t talk about the ways he has hurt me. I HAVE to keep quiet.

    There is so much to do and I can’t do it if I express myself. I loose what precious energy I have because of the emotional drain. I still have inward pain because of the relationship, more at some times than others, but at least if I keep quiet it is much more peaceful and I can serve my family better.

    Any thoughts?

    • beth on October 28, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Patricia Evans writes of a client who tried for over 60 years to reason with her husband. She thought she just must be explaining things incorrectly because he just couldn’t seem to understand what she was saying. Finally, desperately, she learned he had no interest in understanding her perspective and never would. She regretted all the years of her life she wasted trying to reason with a selfish, abusive person in the name of being a submissive, Godly wife. What a fool she was and realized much to late. She didn’t gain this insight until her husband died, degrading and criticizing her even unto his deathbed. Ladies, is this what we want from life?

      • Aleea on October 28, 2015 at 8:57 pm

        . . . . 60 years???. . . Unreal. . .You would think her resentment would have been her inner signal that she was ignoring an important God-given responsibility -that of making choices.  Love means surrendering the desire to control the other person, any person.  The two—love and controlling power over the other person—are just mutually exclusive.  If we are serious about loving someone, we have to surrender all the desires within us to manipulate the relationship and that goes both ways. . . . The idea of submission is never meant to allow someone to overstep any one’s boundaries.  Submission only has meaning in the context of boundaries, because, to me, those boundaries promote self-control and freedom.  . . . If a women is not free and in control of herself, she is not submitting anyway.  She is a slave subject to a slave driver, and she is out of the will of God and living in blatant sin while practicing some perverted “spiritualized” form of situational ethics.  —Unless I’m not thinking correctly.

      • Daisy on October 28, 2015 at 9:38 pm

        Oh my, I sound like Patricia Evans! I’m still hoping that something I say or something someone says will get through to him (and I’ve been divorced over 5 years and married close to 20)! My recent discovery that he has narcissism has opened up a new and freeing world to me! I now realize it would be more profitable for me to try to reason with a brick wall!

        • Beth on October 29, 2015 at 7:24 am

          Daisy, Why bother with him at all. Beating your head against a brick wall is a great description. Any attention or thought you give to his life just subtracts from your. No reason to give the narcissist anymore ammunition. What is he doing to make amends to you? How has he apologized, righted wrongs, or changed his behavior? If none of this is happening, leave him alone. Any effort toward an unmediated abuser is a waste of your wonderful and precious life.

          • Daisy on October 29, 2015 at 6:00 pm

            I wish I could, but he has custody of the kids.



          • beth on October 29, 2015 at 8:32 pm

            Daisy, that is sad to hear. Great job getting all the information and support you can for the journey. The stronger you get the easier it will be to see through his agenda. Lundy Bancroft has a new book of daily meditations. It seems very encouraging.



      • susen on October 29, 2015 at 7:56 am

        Beth–thanks for that question regarding Patricia Evan’s example of staying stuck.

        With God’s help, we do what we can do when we can do it.

        Self-recrimination and regret come from dwelling on the past. That kind of thinking clouds the peace and joy that the Lord offers us in the present and impedes healing. (Sharing my experiences here from a 20 year abusive marriage–thankfully 20+ years ago.)

        For the situation of the widow you spoke of, she now has the opportunity to enjoy all of the fruit of the spirit. Ten minutes of that kind of freedom is a glorious “present.”

        My parents were married 62 years, although I never understood celebrations of their anniversaries–why pay homage to staying in abuse? I was Daddy’s girl and stayed almost every night with him during his four months in the nursing home. “Our time” together, our evenings of conversations, remain precious, precious memories. But the saddest thing he shared with me was: “I always thought she’d die before me.”

        He now is in heaven, free from her talons.

        My question is “how can we best serve the Lord?” Are we serving Him when we remain quiet in our abusive situations? Is there any glory in sacrificing our very souls to another’s sins? The years, the energies expended on someone else’s ungodly choices–what if we freed ourselves to put that energy to God’s glory?

        With God’s help, we do what we can do when we can do it.

        Blessings,
        susen

        • Aleea on October 29, 2015 at 12:01 pm

          “how can we best serve the Lord?”
           
          Those are beautiful memories of your father Susen.  I so wish I had those.  . . . . . A clean heart just automatically repels bad men; evil, duplicitous, dysfunctional “friends.” -It does that just naturally. People seriously living for God are very upsetting, unless God is drawing you into his arms.  Then they are like a magnet, even though from the world’s standpoint they are totally NOT cool, sometimes creepy and even appear to have mild touches of mental illnesses -which people only think because they are so blinded by our sick, godless culture.  Holy people convict you every time you are around them and you are constantly repenting (-I love that type of repenting/ heart cleaning!) It seems to me that the number one proof that you belong to Christ is that you have repented and you keep on repenting; keep on examining; keep on pursuing. . . . .
           
          My pastor always says: “No matter how tough the situation, you still have to hang on.”  No, No, No. . . . . . It’s crazy what a heart blinded by bumper sticker Christianity can lead you to believe.  Let me tell everyone something you can verify if you are serious.  If you are staying in your marriage because of what the Bible says, you should seriously spend lots more time –seriously- studying Christian origins and how we got the Bible.  The solution for “I can’t live this way anymore” is basically, “Good! Don’t live that way anymore.”  Get the love and support you need. . . .The Kingdom of Heaven is not for the well-meaning it is for the absolutely desperate to find God. . . . What we wait around a lifetime for with one person, we can find in a moment with someone else. . . . . .
           
          Page 182 of the The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: “. . . . Recently while speaking for a women’s group, a widow who knew God well shared her favorite verse with everyone: “Your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heavens Armies is his name!  He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.”  Afterward, a married woman whispered in her ear, “I wish I had your husband.”  The good news is, this woman can, and so can we.  God invites us all (even you, men) to have a personal and intimate relationship with him, the Creator, the Lord of heaven and earth.  He promises us that he loves us more than the best husband or wife or parent or friend could, more than we can imagine.  He tells us nothing could ever stop him from loving us, and that he is absolutely for us, not against us.  He sees you right where you are, and he knows your pain. . . . “ 
           
          Page 183 “. . . . The people who know God well—the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover,  . . . . . always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. . . . . “
           
          It used to take three years to become a member of a church in the early 1800s.  It is because they were afraid of false converts.  They knew clearly about the real struggle of faith.  John Calvin’s struggle of faith lasted twelve years; George Fox—twelve years; John Wesley—twenty-three years; George Whitefield—ten years; Jonathan Edwards—five years; David Brainerd—nine years; John Newton—six years; Charles Spurgeon—four years.  Virtually every account before 1900 of the born-again experience is characterized by a period of illumination and a serious struggle of faith.  This is detailed in the book: Why Most Decisions for Christ are Ineffective.
           
          I’m here to meet with You
          Please come and meet with me
          I’m here to find You
          Reveal yourself to me. . . .

        • Aleea on October 29, 2015 at 12:33 pm

          “how can we best serve the Lord?”
           
          Those are beautiful memories of your father Susen.  I so wish I had those.  . . . . . A clean heart just automatically repels bad men; evil, duplicitous, dysfunctional “friends.” -It does that just naturally. People seriously living for God are very upsetting, unless God is drawing you into his arms.  Then they are like a magnet, even though from the world’s standpoint they are totally NOT cool, sometimes creepy and even appear to have mild touches of mental illnesses -which people only think because they are so blinded by our sick, godless culture.  Holy people convict you every time you are around them and you are constantly repenting (-I love that type of repenting/ heart cleaning!) It seems to me that the number one proof that you belong to Christ is that you have repented and you keep on repenting; keep on examining; keep on pursuing. . . . .
           
          My pastor always says: “No matter how tough the situation, you still have to hang on.”  No, No, No. . . . . . It’s crazy what a heart blinded by bumper sticker Christianity can lead you to believe.  Let me tell everyone something you can verify if you are serious.  If you are staying in your marriage because of what the Bible says, you should seriously spend lots more time –seriously- studying Christian origins and how we got the Bible.  The solution for “I can’t live this way anymore” is basically, “Good! Don’t live that way anymore.”  Get the love and support you need. . . .The Kingdom of Heaven is not for the well-meaning it is for the absolutely desperate to find God. . . . What we wait around a lifetime for with one person, we can find in a moment with someone else. . . . . .
           
          Page 182 of the The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: “. . . . Recently while speaking for a women’s group, a widow who knew God well shared her favorite verse with everyone: “Your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heavens Armies is his name!  He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.”  Afterward, a married woman whispered in her ear, “I wish I had your husband.”  The good news is, this woman can, and so can we.  God invites us all (even you, men) to have a personal and intimate relationship with him, the Creator, the Lord of heaven and earth.  He promises us that he loves us more than the best husband or wife or parent or friend could, more than we can imagine.  He tells us nothing could ever stop him from loving us, and that he is absolutely for us, not against us.  He sees you right where you are, and he knows your pain. . . . “ 
           
          Page 183 “. . . . The people who know God well—the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover,  . . . . . always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. . . . . “
           
          It used to take three years to become a member of a church in the early 1800s.  It is because they were afraid of false converts.  They knew clearly about the real struggle of faith.  John Calvin’s struggle of faith lasted twelve years; George Fox—twelve years; John Wesley—twenty-three years; George Whitefield—ten years; Jonathan Edwards—five years; David Brainerd—nine years; John Newton—six years; Charles Spurgeon—four years.  Virtually every account before 1900 of the born-again experience is characterized by a period of illumination and a serious struggle of faith.  This is detailed in the book: Why Most Decisions for Christ are Ineffective.
           
          I’m here to meet with You
          Please come and meet with me
          I’m here to find You
          Reveal yourself to me. . .

        • Aleea on October 29, 2015 at 3:49 pm

          “how can we best serve the Lord?”
           
          Those are beautiful memories of your father Susen.  I so wish I had those.  . . . . . A clean heart just automatically repels bad men; evil, duplicitous, dysfunctional “friends.” -It does that just naturally. People seriously living for God are very upsetting, unless God is drawing you into his arms.  Then they are like a magnet, even though from the world’s standpoint they are totally NOT cool, sometimes creepy and even appear to have mild touches of mental illnesses -which people only think because they are so blinded by our sick, godless culture.  Holy people convict you every time you are around them and you are constantly repenting (-I love that type of repenting/ heart cleaning!) It seems to me that the number one proof that you belong to Christ is that you have repented and you keep on repenting; keep on examining; keep on pursuing. . . . .
           
          My pastor always says: “No matter how tough the situation, you still have to hang on.”  No, No, No. . . . . . It’s crazy what a heart blinded by bumper sticker Christianity can lead you to believe.  Let me tell everyone something you can verify if you are serious.  If you are staying in your marriage because of what the Bible says, you should seriously spend lots more time –seriously- studying Christian origins and how we got the Bible.  The solution for “I can’t live this way anymore” is basically, “Good! Don’t live that way anymore.”  Get the love and support you need. . . .The Kingdom of Heaven is not for the well-meaning it is for the absolutely desperate to find God. . . . What we wait around a lifetime for with one person, we can find in a moment with someone else. . . . . .
           
          Page 182 of the The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: “. . . . Recently while speaking for a women’s group, a widow who knew God well shared her favorite verse with everyone: “Your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heavens Armies is his name!  He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.”  Afterward, a married woman whispered in her ear, “I wish I had your husband.”  The good news is, this woman can, and so can we.  God invites us all (even you, men) to have a personal and intimate relationship with him, the Creator, the Lord of heaven and earth.  He promises us that he loves us more than the best husband or wife or parent or friend could, more than we can imagine.  He tells us nothing could ever stop him from loving us, and that he is absolutely for us, not against us.  He sees you right where you are, and he knows your pain. . . . “ 
           
          Page 183 “. . . . The people who know God well—the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover,  . . . . . always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. . . . . “
           
          It used to take three years to become a member of a church in the early 1800s.  It is because they were afraid of false converts.  They knew clearly about the real struggle of faith.  John Calvin’s struggle of faith lasted twelve years; George Fox—twelve years; John Wesley—twenty-three years; George Whitefield—ten years; Jonathan Edwards—five years; David Brainerd—nine years; John Newton—six years; Charles Spurgeon—four years.  Virtually every account before 1900 of the born-again experience is characterized by a period of illumination and a serious struggle of faith.  This is detailed in the book: Why Most Decisions for Christ are Ineffective.
           
          I’m here to meet with You
          Please come and meet with me
          I’m here to find You
          Reveal yourself to me.

        • Aleea on October 29, 2015 at 3:58 pm

          “how can we best serve the Lord?”

          Those are beautiful memories of your father Susen. I so wish I had those. . . . . . A clean heart just automatically repels bad men; evil, duplicitous, dysfunctional “friends.” -It does that just naturally. People seriously living for God are very upsetting, unless God is drawing you into his arms. Then they are like a magnet, even though from the world’s standpoint they are totally NOT cool, sometimes creepy and even appear to have mild touches of mental illnesses -which people only think because they are so blinded by our sick, godless culture. Holy people convict you every time you are around them and you are constantly repenting (-I love that type of repenting/ heart cleaning!) It seems to me that the number one proof that you belong to Christ is that you have repented and you keep on repenting; keep on examining; keep on pursuing. . . . .

          My pastor always says: “No matter how tough the situation, you still have to hang on.” No, No, No. . . . . . It’s crazy what a heart blinded by bumper sticker Christianity can lead you to believe. Let me tell everyone something you can verify if you are serious. If you are staying in your marriage because of what the Bible says, you should seriously spend lots more time –seriously- studying Christian origins and how we got the Bible. The solution for “I can’t live this way anymore” is basically, “Good! Don’t live that way anymore.” Get the love and support you need. . . .The Kingdom of Heaven is not for the well-meaning it is for the absolutely desperate to find God. . . . What we wait around a lifetime for with one person, we can find in a moment with someone else. . . . . .

          Page 182 of the The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: “. . . . Recently while speaking for a women’s group, a widow who knew God well shared her favorite verse with everyone: “Your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heavens Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.” Afterward, a married woman whispered in her ear, “I wish I had your husband.” The good news is, this woman can, and so can we. God invites us all (even you, men) to have a personal and intimate relationship with him, the Creator, the Lord of heaven and earth. He promises us that he loves us more than the best husband or wife or parent or friend could, more than we can imagine. He tells us nothing could ever stop him from loving us, and that he is absolutely for us, not against us. He sees you right where you are, and he knows your pain. . . . “

          Page 183 “. . . . The people who know God well—the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover, . . . . . always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. . . . . “

          It used to take three years to become a member of a church in the early 1800s. It is because they were afraid of false converts. They knew clearly about the real struggle of faith. John Calvin’s struggle of faith lasted twelve years; George Fox—twelve years; John Wesley—twenty-three years; George Whitefield—ten years; Jonathan Edwards—five years; David Brainerd—nine years; John Newton—six years; Charles Spurgeon—four years. Virtually every account before 1900 of the born-again experience is characterized by a period of illumination and a serious struggle of faith. This is detailed in the book: Why Most Decisions for Christ are Ineffective.

          I’m here to meet with You
          Please come and meet with me
          I’m here to find You
          Reveal yourself to me. . .

        • Beth on October 29, 2015 at 5:02 pm

          You are right. The word is the perfect source of all wisdom! Glad you had some precious time with your father. The end of life has its’ own beauty.

        • Aleea on October 29, 2015 at 6:24 pm

          “how can we best serve the Lord?”
           
          Susen, those are beautiful memories of your father.  I so wish I had those. . . Anyways, . . . I think a clean heart just automatically repels bad men; evil, duplicitous, dysfunctional “friends.” -It does that just naturally.  People seriously living for God are very upsetting, unless God is drawing you into his arms.  Holy people convict you every time you are around them and you are constantly repenting (-I love that type of repenting/ heart cleaning!)  It may (see book below)*** be that the proof that you belong to Christ is that you have repented and you keep on repenting; keep on examining; keep on pursuing. . .
           
          My pastor always says: “No matter how tough the situation, you still have to hang on.”  I don’t think that is the case re: marriage.  The solution for “I can’t live this way anymore” is basically, “Good! Don’t live that way anymore.”  Get the love and support you need. . . .The Kingdom of Heaven is not for the well-meaning it is for the absolutely desperate to find God. . . . What we wait around a lifetime for with one person, we can find in a moment with someone else. . .From The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: “. . . . Page 183. . . The people who know God well—the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover,  . . . . . always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. . . . . “
           
          It used to take three years to become a member of a church in the early 1800s.  It is because they were afraid of false converts.  They knew clearly about the real struggle of faith.  John Calvin’s struggle of faith lasted twelve years; George Fox—twenty years; John Wesley—twenty-three years; George Whitefield—ten years; Jonathan Edwards—five years; David Brainerd—nine years; John Newton—six years; Charles Spurgeon—four years.  Virtually every account before 1900 of the born-again experience is characterized by a period of illumination and a serious struggle of faith.  This is detailed in the book: ***Why Most Decisions for Christ are Ineffective.
           
          I’m not very successful, obviously, but every morning I pray: “I here to meet with You; Please come and meet with me.  I’m here to find You, Lord; reveal yourself to me.”  . . . I would like for my relationships to be better, who wouldn’t but more than anything, I want to know God and try to understand something of Him.

  8. Amy on October 28, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Aleea,

    I’m glad those words spoke to you…you’re words meant a lot to me today.

    I’m one to believe there is always something to be grateful for even in the midst of a storm.

    🙂

  9. Maria on October 28, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    “3. Are you doing things for your husband that he should be doing for himself?”

    This is difficult when there are kids involved because of the impact on the kids. It’s especially difficult when he is too selfish to care that the kids are impacted.

    • Sunshine. on October 28, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      This was a problem for me. At some point, I realized that I was doing more than needed. When I told my husband no and let it drop, he turned it around on the kids. He just tells them to do it. A real eye opening moment for myself and children was when my husband spilled some craft supplies. He left the mess. When my daughter found it, she asked who did it. Eventually her dad confessed but he made it sound like it was her fault that he made a mess. She questioned why he didn’t clean it up. I don’t believe he ever answered her. I ended up helping her clean up the mess. My daughter learned that expecting dad to clean up his own mess was just expecting too much.

      • Beth on October 29, 2015 at 7:29 am

        How incredibly sad for your daughter! Your heart must break. She is being groomed to be an abusers wife. I hope she has some exposure to healthy, normal relationships and that you can openly address the controlling, childish behavior of your husband before she is too brainwashed into thinking it is normal. Wow, what a tough situation. I can’t wait until you get you and your children out of it.

        • Sunshine. on October 31, 2015 at 10:39 pm

          Thankfully she has seen it and heard it and recognizes the lies and bad behavior. We talk openly about its his behavior and not her responsibility to make him act right.

    • Beth on October 29, 2015 at 7:26 am

      Maria, the kids are not stupid. They are not being fooled. Mom can not make up for Dad’s deficiencies. Having them live with the coverup just prepares them for their own abusive marriage.

      • Maria on October 29, 2015 at 3:09 pm

        Beth, I’m not talking about covering up his behavior. It’s more about not doing his share. If it’s not done, the kids are the ones who lose.

        • Beth on October 29, 2015 at 5:03 pm

          Yes, I remember trying to protect my children from my husband’s behavior. Peace was important. I always put myself in harms way to protect the children. But…why would should we live like this? Why enable him?

          • Maria on October 29, 2015 at 7:27 pm

            Beth, it’s not about false peace. Life is unfair, we should not have to live this way, you’re right. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: He’s supposed to drop the kids for something, he’s late or forgetsorvrefuses to. The kid bears the consequence. Since it means so much to the kids, I’ll finally do it.



          • beth on October 29, 2015 at 8:26 pm

            Oh, my. What a disappointment. I would take away his “supposed to do” because he can’t be trusted. Find anything he will do consistently and everything else, will be your duty, unfortunately. Single parenthood seems safer with him than expecting him to do something which is then just harmful. Even this action is calculated and meant to create an atmosphere of power and control over all of you.



          • Maria on October 29, 2015 at 8:42 pm

            Beth, I don’t think he’s controlling, just lazy when it comes to such things.



          • beth on October 29, 2015 at 8:47 pm

            Where does laziness come from? Is it not sin rooted in selfishness? It would be interesting to explore our scriptures for the mention of sluggards and laziness. Your situation seems very difficult. Yet, I would still suggest you are dealing with entitlement. Somehow he thinks he has the choice to be lazy. When is your choice to be lazy?



          • beth on October 29, 2015 at 8:50 pm

            I just thinking. When he doesn’t shoulder his responsibilities, what is his reward? The reward he gets is why he uses that excuse with you as a form of control. Everything is about power and control, everything. They are so good at tricking us that we think their issues are about something else. It is all about him getting what he wants. Isn’t he good at tricking you?



          • Maria on October 29, 2015 at 9:27 pm

            I have to disagree with you because it is my choice to take the kids in this situation. He couldn’t care less if I did or I didn’t.



          • beth on October 30, 2015 at 4:26 am

            Goo to chat with you Maria and it is interesting to see things differently too. I am hearing you say that he couldn’t care less about what you or the kids do. There is something wrong with that. That dysfunctional behavior is called entitlement thinking. He should care a lot! Most fathers actively participate in the rearing of their children with passion and stewardship for all parties involved. Yet, I guess you already realize that. He has conned you into thinking is brooding teenage behavior is acceptable. Let me guess, he still wants sex? Or is he too lazy for that too?



        • Chris on November 2, 2015 at 9:23 pm

          I’ve experienced this too. It has continued since the divorce. I realize he is continuing to try and manipulate me and have had to make the very tough decisions of whether to allow it or not. It’s taking time, but I have seen that not taking up the slack is wiser. And doing so is the opposite of protecting my kids. I was giving them a false sense of who he is. It’s not healthy for me to hide his bentness. They can handle it if they do see. The truth is always better than a lie.

      • Robin on October 29, 2015 at 11:21 pm

        Amen and oh how true!!!

        • Maria on October 30, 2015 at 6:12 am

          Beth, the intent of my original post was to show how it is difficult to put consequences in place when kids are affected by those consequences. Yes, he does behave entitled in many areas, but in this instance, that’s not the reason. Accusing me of being conned by his behavior because I disagree with you is not beneficial. I can honestly say I am not. I am fully aware of what’s going on.

          • Beth on October 30, 2015 at 9:07 am

            Oh, Dear. I did not mean to accuse you of anything. I am very sorry. It is completely and wonderfully fine to disagree with me anytime. We are all in different stages of this journey.



          • Maria on October 30, 2015 at 10:17 am

            Beth, No problem. I know you mean well. Since this is a public forum, I’m sure many are not comfortable giving specifics. Some of us have chosen to stay due to certain situations. I feel I am staying well. He is certainly reaping the fruits of his behavior- emotional, sexual distance. I do not cover up his behavior- the kids know what’s going on. Like Robin said, having a strong CORE is the key.



          • Leslie Vernick on November 2, 2015 at 10:11 am

            AMEN



  10. Kaycee on October 28, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    I spent 16 years trying to help my spouse to understand the pain he was causing. His actions never changed. He would be nicer for a bit but he was really good at acting like he didn’t understand, or he forgot how important “our discussion” was. I don’t know why I kept trying to explain, i used word pictures, stories, prayer, verses, If you believe that “love always wins” and “problems can be solved”, you end up like a gerbil on a wheel when you are with an abusive person. Yes, I realize now that he was always abusive. When you start to wake up, you have a perspective that makes you reevaluate why you do things and how you tick. I know now that I do not need to extend God sized love to people who treat me badly. I can pray for them at a distance and be kind. I do not have to solve problems with people who don’t want to work with me. God allowed for divorce for people who were stuck with abusive spouses. I don’t think he made divorce possible because he thought staying with an abuser was better. Know that if you have spent years “trying to help someone understand and do better” you are not alone. It was from love and belief in someone loving you that you tried so hard.

    • Beth on October 29, 2015 at 7:20 am

      I hear you! Many of us are led like lambs to the slaughter as we forgive,cajole, be peacemakers, pray fervently and endure. The abuser has no understanding or knowledge of the sacrifices the abused makes. He is stuck in a world of self. So he was never really ready or available to marry anyone. He was so wrapped up in himself and his dysfunctional, entitled thinking, to ever be a spouse to anyone, yet alone yield to God. How can these things be exposed in premarital counseling I wonder?

    • Beth on October 29, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      So Kaycee, My abusive husband didn’t expose himself until the honeymoon. When everything was signed, sealed and delivered he let his guard down and felt entitled to take up ownership of his fancy woman (me). So people say today, the solution is to live together first. Test him out and see what you are getting yourself into. “You Christians and your virginity issues…pleeeasee…look what saving yourself got you!”

      Of course I know the work of God is supreme. Love the Lord and believe his word is holy. Tell me, how have you rebuked the charges of the world on this one?

  11. Robin on October 29, 2015 at 1:35 am

    I think what I learned was the remedy for ‘enabling’ is building up ones core and living in truth and reality. My husband was an entitled bully. We learned in our family to walk on egg shells. Leslies materials filled me with strength and resolve, and I leRned how to confront his bully behaviors and abuse by standing back and standing up. Being Godly was about speaking up and not backing down. As I practiced these things our relationship dwindled because he loved his entitlement more than he loved me and his marriage. Standing up to truth comes with a high cost- but it gives us an opportunity to walk in truth and like who we’ve become!!

    • Beth on October 29, 2015 at 7:31 am

      Love that comment, Robin. Loves his entitlement more than he loved me. He may say, after much counseling that he doesn’t know any other way to think. The entitlement is all consuming and fueled by Satan. Great job getting strong and wise. It is truly our only way out.

  12. Susie on October 29, 2015 at 6:20 am

    I was made to pour out. I had been dreaming of the kind of marriage where there is mutuality. I wasn’t merely blind to his lack of generosity, but also to the fear. I didn’t realize how much the children and I walked on eggshells. I wasn’t sure how setting boundaries would affect him, or us as a result. But I finally did put up a wall to him. Things escalated and we are divorcing now. I am so relieved to be free from him and from my dreams and plans for my life. I spent a good deal of last year “telling myself the truth” and grieving the death of these dreams. Now God can heal my broken heart and He can “build my house” so I will not be laboring in vain.

    • Beth on October 29, 2015 at 7:34 am

      I know you know this, but Jesus loves you more. He loves you, he loves you, he loves you. The future is going to be so very wonderful, expect surprises, growth, delight and peace. The past is the past. So glad you were saved.

      • susen on October 29, 2015 at 8:11 am

        Susie~

        I rejoice with you for your walk in the Light.

        It is a challenge for those of us who were born to “pour out” to learn to nurture ourselves. Refilling, after we find ourselves on empty, takes vigilance. It’s a whole new concept–giving to ourselves.

        I keep asking myself: what example do I want to set for my daughters?

        Thank you for your sharings.
        Blessings to you and your children. susen

  13. Brenda on October 29, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Standing up to truth comes with a high cost- but it gives us an opportunity to walk in truth and like who we’ve become!!

    Amen, Robin!!!

    • Beth on October 29, 2015 at 7:36 am

      You are right Brenda and like Susie said. Standing up for truth can be dangerous. It often leads to escalation as the abuser tries various tactics to get you back under his control. I don’t hear us talking much about escape plans. They are essential.

  14. Brenda on October 29, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Beth,
    Standing up for truth can be dangerous.

    I know this all too well, but survived. It is a good feeling when first set free, like breathing in and out for the first time.

    Brenda

  15. Beth on October 29, 2015 at 7:43 am

    I like your reasoning about submission. Submission by choice verses coercion. Anything else is slavery.

    • Kaycee on October 29, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Can you figure out that your soon to be spouse is an abuser? I do not know. Mine was in Seminary with me. He believed like I did and acted in those beliefs. However, after one week of marriage -a rejection of my most vulnerable self and a hardness to my tears should have shocked me into an annulment but I just suffered from shame–alone. Forward 16 years and I would tell any young bride who was hurt so callously to inspect and get wise counsel. I would also advise her to look into the future to see what life with this kind of spouse brings. Narcissists are great at charming and wooing and can keep up a great act. I don’t know if it is possible to really know you have one before you marry them. Even then, they do have a choice to commit to their vows in covenant or remain a Narc.

    • Kaycee on October 30, 2015 at 12:14 am

      Beth,

      I think the “world” has a good argument about living together first. If you think that you can control your destiny, it does seem like a good idea. However, I do not believe that I, only I, control the future. There are too many variables and too many players. In the past families lived in smaller communities and there was more accountability of how spouses treated each other. Today, those deep roots have spread out far and beyond. Being that I am only in the finalization in divorce, I have no interest in looking for another spouse. However, if I ever do get to that place I will sit in an engagement for a long time. I would purposely put my partner in situations where he would feel uncomfortable. I’m thinking service projects, visiting relatives, book clubs, etc. I would dig deep and broad to find out about his past friendships. I would look for red flags and wait. I felt God gave the green light on this almost over marriage. I think my spouse had the opportunity to grow and change but chose to stay selfish and prideful. I know we had crossroads and he chose poorly each time. If there is a next time, I would still wait for a sign from above, I just would be a little more wiser and a lot more observant of things.

      Oh, I think letting someone know that while you hate divorce, you believe that God takes covenants seriously. When there is repeated, intentional breaking of covenant you can say that you are willing to divorce and get free I think it is unromantic but realistic. Perhaps it would scare some abusers away.

      • Leslie Vernick on November 2, 2015 at 10:06 am

        I think your plan to handle future dating relationships is sound. It’s good to “see” how someone handles all kinds of situations, especially stressful and uncomfortable one’s as they do come up. However, I’m not sure I agree with your phase, “I’m the only one who can control my future” The future is really uncontrollable. We can make good decisions, plan for the future, and move forward, but ultimately what happens can be ripped out of our control in a second. We can get in a car accident, we didn’t plan that changes our life. We can be in a natural disaster that destroys our home and all it’s contents. We can meet someone who we never expected to meet and this person can be a great influence on our lives. All these things are not under our control, but the things we CAN control – the stewardship of our body, finances, family and mind are things we ought to control. So there is a balance between self-control and being responsible the best we know how, and trusting God who does know the future.

    • Lynn M on October 31, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      I’ve been thinking about this question of “how do you know” before hand. I too saw glimpses of things that didn’t make sense when we were dating. But nothing huge at the time and I was so caught up in all the other things that were good. But, I think there is an answer to this, and it’s not them, it’s US! There were other, healthier women who probably dated these guys, saw this stuff and said no thank you. When we begin to wake up and “see” , what we really need to see is what drew us to this person — that caused us to accept or be attracted to someone who didn’t see us, or didn’t validate us. I believe as we wake up and “see” — our real job is to learn about ourselves. I think these things were there in their personalities and in the way they interacted with us, but there were things in US that deep down inside said, “this is OK — this is how I should be treated.” Whether that is coming from an abusive or alcoholic home ourselves, or something different. My husband was 35 when we married and he had not had a successful long term relationship (or short term for that matter). That tells me that other, healthier, women saw these things in him — but I chose not to. I am spending a lot of time these days looking deeply within to what caused me to be attracted to a disordered person, and I am learning a lot!

      • Leslie Vernick on November 2, 2015 at 11:53 am

        Lynn, I couldn’t agree with you more. No one deserves to be treated that way but when you are healthy and you are “dating” someone who does some of these things you usually think, “Hmmm, this doesn’t bear well for a long term relationship like marriage, so even though he has good qualities, these things are not tolerable.” Plus the only person you can change is you so use the pain to help you do just that.

    • Sandra on November 10, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Beth, I don’t know if living with someone without marriage is really a true test. Because without that marriage contract that BINDS you your attitude is not quite the same. I don’t believe people truly act the same way. When you marry it should be a covenant between two people. Sharing all that they have and all they are. It is to be for a lifetime. You don’t go into it halfheartedly. It is to be permanent. where we are both going to work on do the best for eachother. Not at all like just moving in and sharing a place.

  16. Brenda on October 29, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Amy,
    I agree, it does become easier to enable over time and even feel normal. It does them harm by escalating their sense of entitlement and us no good either. In my marriage the only person put in a corner was me. I was in that corner a large percentage of the time. Even though we are divorced I can still feel the broken glass from the one he threw over my head and shattered over and around me. How carefully I had to get out of bed so I didn’t get cut. Of course, it was up to me to clean up the mess since it was my fault that he threw it. Ugh!!!

    The first 2 years that I lived alone it felt so good, I could feel my joy oozing out. It is getting harder now. Until this summer at least I had my cat to come home to, but she is gone now and it feels empty coming home. I don’t intend to get another. I have enough trouble taking care of myself, working full time and keeping the apartment tidied up. It is exhausting. I feel like a nap just thinking about it.

  17. susen on October 29, 2015 at 8:22 am

    I could hardly wait to share with you all what “I” (Ha!) found in Colossians this morning:

    See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather on Christ. (Col 2:8)

    Hope this resonates as strongly with some of you as it has with me!

    Blessings to all,
    susen

    • Vivienne on November 24, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Love that Susen, thanks for sharing. Have read this passage many times but it has meaning in my own situation right now.

  18. susen on October 29, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Oh Beth~ my dad and I had a lifetime of wonderful memories. I have to share just one: each time we would round up goats together, I would shut the gate and then give him and kiss and say, “I love you.” He would act surprised every single time! But I knew I’d need those kisses someday. And now when I round up goats, I know he’s right there . . . telling me what to do, as always!

    Thanks for letting me share. susen

    • beth on October 29, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      Keep the beautiful stories coming. We all need the encouragement! We deserve relationships as loving as you and your father. Thanks for the happy place.

      • susen on October 29, 2015 at 9:39 pm

        Thank you. 🙂 susen

  19. Maria on October 29, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Aleea, great post!

    • beth on October 30, 2015 at 4:17 am

      Thanks, Kaycee. I enjoyed reading your reflections on cohabitation. It is a sticky subject in todays world. Thank goodness we have the word of God to keep the light before our paths.

  20. Robin on October 30, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Maria, I did say having a strong core is the answer I believe. But when you say the kids know what is going on – I wonder what that implies. For them to know what is going on and know their Mom is choosing to keep them in it- is that a strong core?? Part of having a strong core is taking responsibility for self and not enabling others. ??

    • Maria on October 30, 2015 at 11:12 am

      Robin, given my circumstances, that’s what’s best for now.

      • Lonelywife07 on October 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm

        Maria, same for me!
        My kids are older, late teens early 20’s and they see what their dad does, or doesn’t do, and they have all told me that they don’t want to act like their father when they get married, so that is good that they see that and it opens up a chance to talk with them, and to show them what Gods word says about abuse and how a husband should treat his wife.
        My situation is not as “bad” as others on here, my H is emotionally abusive, he treats me to long silences, or “forgets” to do something he said he’ll do…but I’ve been working in my CORE and I can now walk away from him when he’s acting like that, when in the past I’d beg him to talk to me, I’d cry and plead with him to “do the right thing and talk to me” etc….now, I just don’t care anymore how he acts.
        I’ve put boundaries in place, we haven’t been intimate since June 2014 and he knows that as long as he continues to treat me the way he does, our marriage will stay broken.
        I had a dream this week that my H died, and I was so very sad because I didn’t know if he was in Heaven, and when I woke up I knew I’d have to tell him about it and ask him one more time to please get his life right with God and if he’s truly NOT a believer, to pray and call out to God, that I’m very concerned for him!!
        My H thanked me for my concern…and that was it. He had nothing else to say.
        A normal person would be concerned and possibly ask questions, I know I would!
        It’s always like that. I would bring my fears and concerns to him, and he gives no input at all, just acts like it’s no big deal…we have no “intimate” conversation…ever!!
        But my life isn’t “miserable” per say, yes, I feel lonely at times, but I’ve surrounded myself with a few really great friends who know my situation and are a great encouragement to me, plus my children are very supportive also. 🙂
        I did see an attorney recently, I’ve never done that and I wanted to know what my rights are after over 30 yrs of marriage, and I’ve come to the conclusion that staying in the marriage is better for me right now and my children agree!
        But like I’ve stated, my H isn’t verbally or physically abusive, if he were, if be reevaluating!!

        We are all on our own journey, and for some, staying well, works….but for others, it does not.

        • Aleea on October 31, 2015 at 5:46 am

          “I had a dream this week that my H died, and I was so very sad because I didn’t know if he was in Heaven, and when I woke up I knew I’d have to tell him about it and ask him one more time to please get his life right with God and if he’s truly NOT a believer, to pray and call out to God, that I’m very concerned for him!!  My H thanked me for my concern…and that was it.  He had nothing else to say.  A normal person would be concerned and possibly ask questions, I know I would!”
           
          That is the worst, just polite indifference.  If you have ever shared the gospel out in public that is the thing that is really hard to take.  Someone arguing, giving rebuttals, —oh my, that is far better than polite indifference.  —The ability to be emotionally attached to others, without giving up our sense of self and our freedom to be apart seems vital.  People withdrawing emotionally yet politely (—it is your own husband after all) seems to me to be trying to control you, especially if he sees how important it is to you. 
           
          —And it is far from one and done.  It used to take three years to become a member of a church in the early 1800s.  It is because they were afraid of false converts.  They knew clearly about the real struggle of faith.  John Calvin’s struggle of faith lasted twelve years; George Fox—twenty years; John Wesley—twenty-three years; George Whitefield—ten years; Jonathan Edwards—five years; David Brainerd—nine years; John Newton—six years; Charles Spurgeon—four years.  Virtually every account before 1900 of the born-again experience is characterized by a period of illumination and a serious struggle of faith period.  This is detailed in the book: Why Most Decisions for Christ are Ineffective.  I’m not very successful, obviously, but every morning I pray: “I here to meet with You; Please come and meet with me.  I’m here to find You, Lord; reveal yourself to me.”  . . . I would like for my human relationships to be good, who wouldn’t, but more than anything, I want to know God.  It is so wonderful that you care about your husband’s soul.     
           
          So obviously, relationships fail because someone chooses not to show up and really, truly engage.  It is not like he says “Listen, I appreciate that you care about my eternal soul.  Give me some time to consider your dream, process what you are saying and let’s get back together Monday at 8pm and fully discuss it.”  Who knows what casues a man to leave most of his words unspoken. . . . . Anyways, when you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you, in every situation, you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval.  I know for me, putting a voice to my soul helps me to let go of fear and regret.

        • Aleea on November 1, 2015 at 4:10 am

          “I had a dream this week that my H died, and I was so very sad because I didn’t know if he was in Heaven, and when I woke up I knew I’d have to tell him about it and ask him one more time to please get his life right with God and if he’s truly NOT a believer, to pray and call out to God, that I’m very concerned for him!! My H thanked me for my concern…and that was it. He had nothing else to say. A normal person would be concerned and possibly ask questions, I know I would!”

          To me the worst thing is just polite indifference. If you have ever shared the gospel out in public that is the thing that is really hard to take. Someone arguing, giving rebuttals, like a week ago in Vons (—our grocery store here in CA): “—Born-again living seemed to me just a crutch which no longer facilitated healing and growth, but actually protracted immaturity!!!” —Oh my, that is far better than polite indifference. You can work with rebuttals! Polite indifference, you can’t even deconstruct that. —The ability to be emotionally attached to others, without giving up our sense of self and our freedom to be apart is so vital. People withdrawing emotionally yet politely (—it is your own husband after all not someone in a bloomin’ grocery store!) seems to me to be trying to control you, especially if he sees how important this is to you.

          —And that conversation about being a believer is far from one and done, no way. It used to take three years to become a member of a church in the early 1800s. It is because they were afraid of false converts. They knew clearly about the real struggle of faith. John Calvin’s struggle of faith lasted twelve years; George Fox—twenty years; John Wesley—twenty-three years; George Whitefield—ten years; Jonathan Edwards—five years; David Brainerd—nine years; John Newton—six years; Charles Spurgeon—four years. Virtually every account before 1900 of the born-again experience is characterized by a period of illumination and a serious struggle of faith period. This is detailed in the book: Why Most Decisions for Christ are Ineffective. Obviously, the signs of life in a newborn Christian are faith and repentance, inhaling the love of God and exhaling distress, deconstruction, demythologizing (—whatever your personal issues are). —And at that point, God provides exactly as for a newborn infant, comfort, protection and nurturing. —Children are adorable by the way.

          Anyway, it is SO wonderful that you care about your husband’s soul. . . . . . Obviously, relationships fail because someone chooses not to show up and really, truly engage (re: polite indifference). It is not like he says: “Listen, I appreciate that you care about my eternal soul. Give me some time to consider your dream, process what you are saying and let’s get back together Monday at 8pm and fully discuss it.” —Who knows what casues a man to leave most of his words unspoken, it is maddening. I have never understood that. . . . . But when you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you, in every situation, you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. I know for me, putting a voice to my soul helps me to let go of fear and regret.

        • Aleea on November 1, 2015 at 4:23 am

          “I had a dream this week that my H died, and I was so very sad because I didn’t know if he was in Heaven, and when I woke up I knew I’d have to tell him about it and ask him one more time to please get his life right with God and if he’s truly NOT a believer, to pray and call out to God, that I’m very concerned for him!!  My H thanked me for my concern…and that was it.  He had nothing else to say.  A normal person would be concerned and possibly ask questions, I know I would!”
           
          To me the worst thing is just polite indifference.  If you have ever shared the gospel out in public that is the thing that is really hard to take.  Someone arguing, giving rebuttals, like a week ago in Vons (—our grocery store here in CA): “—Born-again living seemed to me just a crutch which no longer facilitated healing and growth, but actually protracted immaturity!!!” —Oh my, that is far better than polite indifference.  You can work with rebuttals!  Polite indifference, you can’t even deconstruct that.  —The ability to be emotionally attached to others, without giving up our sense of self and our freedom to be apart is so vital.  People withdrawing emotionally yet politely (—it is your own husband after all not someone in a bloomin’ grocery store!) seems to me to be trying to control you, especially if he sees how important this is to you. 
           
          —And that conversation about being a believer is far from one and done, no way.  It used to take three years to become a member of a church in the early 1800s.  It is because they were afraid of false converts.  They knew clearly about the real struggle of faith.  John Calvin’s struggle of faith lasted twelve years; George Fox—twenty years; John Wesley—twenty-three years; George Whitefield—ten years; Jonathan Edwards—five years; David Brainerd—nine years; John Newton—six years; Charles Spurgeon—four years.  Virtually every account before 1900 of the born-again experience is characterized by a period of illumination and a serious struggle of faith period.  This is detailed in the book: Why Most Decisions for Christ are Ineffective.  Obviously, the signs of life in a newborn Christian are faith and repentance, inhaling the love of God and exhaling distress, deconstruction, demythologizing (—whatever your personal issues are).  —And at that point, God provides exactly as for a newborn infant, comfort, protection and nurturing.  —Children are adorable by the way. 
           
          Anyway, it is SO wonderful that you care about your husband’s soul. . . . . . Obviously, relationships fail because someone chooses not to show up and really, truly engage (re: polite indifference).  It is not like he says: “Listen, I appreciate that you care about my eternal soul.  Give me some time to consider your dream, process what you are saying and let’s get back together Monday at 8pm and fully discuss it.”  —Who knows what casues a man to leave most of his words unspoken, it is maddening.  I have never understood that. . . . . But when you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you, in every situation, you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval.  I know for me, putting a voice to my soul helps me to let go of fear and regret.

        • Leslie Vernick on November 2, 2015 at 10:14 am

          I think that is always a choice a woman has to make for herself. As she grows or things change, she may reevaluate her choice but it is her choice and let’s be respectful of that.

      • Edmund on November 4, 2015 at 11:32 am

        The pressure in this forum for you to stand up for yourself and your rights and “set boundaries” with your husband (i.e. – leave) is amazing. I’m very encouraged by the seriousness with which you are taking your covenant vows. GIven the way you interact in this forum, I suspect you are very honest and open in your interactions with local advisers. I don’t know the whole story and can’t go back and try to piece together all your posts, but from what I have seen – you are a great example of someone who is engaging the tools provided here while defaulting to “self-sacrifice” for the benefit of others instead of pursuing your own happiness. “When we were still sinners (abusers), Christ died for us.” You are an example of Christ. Should you decide to separate, I know you will not have taken it lightly. Should you choose to divorce, I suspect you will do so as a last resort and out of necessity. Your position is evidence of a soft heart. Jesus made it clear that divorce was an accomodation for the Jews because of their hardness of heart.

        Because of time and the format, I am going to post. I don’t want to speak for you. If my perception of you or representation of you is inaccurate in any way, please feel free to correct me. There is no presumption intended and we all have a tendency to read our own needs and wants into the comments of others. Blessings!

        • Edmund on November 4, 2015 at 11:33 am

          That was for you, Maria.

          • Maria on November 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm

            Edmund, when I got married, I did not for once think I’d have to consider sepation or divorce. I took the “till death do us part” very seriously. I know the Bible specifically calls out adultery and desertion as reasons for divorce. That’s what I believed. I was raised in a Christian home, and not exposed to wickedness. But now I know that just because someone claims to be a Christian, that isn’t so. When a person continues to do evil and tries to cover it up and blame, that person is probably an unbeliever. Such a spouse can make it a living hell to be around. This is not a person willing to preserve the marriage and I believe the Bible allows divorce in this case.
            Whether we decide to stay or leave, it’s important that we stay/leave well. Being bitter or angry in either case will destroy us.



        • Edmund on November 5, 2015 at 6:57 am

          Well said. i’m praying that God gives you wisdom and discernment. While I do not know your husband or his perspective on the situation, I can pray that He experiences a sincere encounter with the Father that will prove to preserve and benefit the family that God has joined together. Perhaps it’s happened before, but I would love nothing more than to see a forum like this become a place where hurting spouses can come to announce and share stories of triumph and redemption because we prayed with one heart and one mind for reconciliation. I realize that can’t always happen, and it may not happen in your case, but I want to be faithful to proclaim and announce and declare God’s “good news.” He WILL fix everything that is broken and make ALL things new! If your circumstances are not redeemed in the short term, I am thankful that you can cling to the settled Hope that God will bring redemption for your broken family in His time – even if its on the side of eternity. If your husband is a genuine Christ follower, his brokenness will be redeemed and restored as well. If he is not, let’s pray that God woos him to the full extent He is willing to do so (since His love won’t let Him force Himself on anyone) and that your husband chooses to let his heart be captured. I suspect there are those here who are already praying along these lines.

          I am very sorry for your hurt and pain. Your honesty, personal responsibility, and self awareness are refreshing. You are also displaying great wisdom in looking beyond symptoms and checklists (which are helpful tools) to heart issues (which is the true source/root of an individual). I can’t help but affirm and applaud these things.

          While I am bullish on preserving marriage – even at high cost – and stating my firm conviction that it is never sinful to choose against divorce – I believe divorce is allowed and that each person is responsible to God for their choice. I speak as one who chose not to consider divorce despite often being
          ‘abused” (i wouldn’t call it that, but I’ll go with the native language here) and dealing with strong feelings of unhappiness. It doesn’t make me better, more right, an authority, etc. I simply want to make the respectful suggestion that I do not speak in this forum as a hypothetical theorist, rather, as one who has experienced a deep level of pain and heartache but chose to stay as a result of the convictions I espouse here. My wife chose to leave and it would be easy to just let her go. But I will fight for her by fighting for truth. Participating in these discussions and interacting with folks like you has been a blessing and an encouragement. THX.

          • Maria on November 5, 2015 at 7:10 am

            Thanks for your prayers, Edmund.
            Was wondering how you propose to fight for your wife if she has chosen divorce.



          • Maria on November 5, 2015 at 5:04 pm

            Edmund, Here’s a link to one of Leslie’s posts on reconciliation.
            https://leslievernick.com/a-mans-story-i-am-changing/



          • Edmund on November 9, 2015 at 11:45 pm

            Thanks for the link. I really appreciated that man’s heart and testimony. It also helped that he referenced concepts that I recognize from my own theological tradition and convictions.

            My divorce is not final. One way I am fighting for my wife is to pray and believe it will never go final. I am also setting boundaries in my interactions with her, and working to expose the ways in which the evil one has managed to detach perceptions from reality. Our common enemy is satan, not each other.



  21. Robin on October 30, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Maria, I believe no one knows their circumstances better than you. But it’s easy to lie to ourselves because we’re not as strong as we think we are. I’m not suggesting you are. But I have talked to many women who thought they were handling the abuse- only to find out later- they now have to pay for not getting their families out — sooner. Do you attend regular counseling so you have someone helping you make these critical decisions??

    • Maria on October 30, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Robin, I have not made these decisions lightly- I’ve been in counseling and consulted other reliable and trusted sources.

      • JC on November 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm

        Maria, I admire how you conduct yourself here and can sense a wisdom in choosing the battles. I hear strength and dignity in your responses.

        • Maria on November 2, 2015 at 5:13 pm

          Thanks JC for your kind words. It’s great that this is a positive place where we can come and be encouraged and challenged to grow and learn from others. Although we disagree with each other sometimes, most of the people here are sharing from their experiences and mean well.

    • Beth on October 30, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      I agree with Robin. The blinders stay on our eyes a long time, once lifted, we finally see the truth. I understand the different circumstance why we stay. Money and the fear of doing without it can be a strong reason think that staying in a bad situation is bearable. Paul Hegstrom’s wife, Judy reports that in early adulthood her children were mad at her, not their Dad. She was shocked by the time she put a separation in place and was finally free from abuse her kids let her have it. The said because she was the healthy one, she should have gotten them out of their abusive situation first. She says she never saw that coming and those words were just as hurtful as the years of abuse. Maybe it might be interesting to read her book. She has many of the PTSD symptoms we all have.

      • Robin on October 30, 2015 at 4:51 pm

        I have read Paul Hegstrom book – and thought it was excellent. What’s his wives book name ???

        • Beth on October 30, 2015 at 4:55 pm

          Her name is July Hegstrom. There are You tube teaching by both of them too. Some say their information is too anecdotal, yet they are both strong Christians and feel inspired to help others trapped in abuse. As we have mentioned earlier the resources for this kind of thing are far and few between. I applaud any professional trying to give this mess a whirl.

          • Beth on October 30, 2015 at 4:56 pm

            Judy, not July.



        • Beth on October 30, 2015 at 5:01 pm

          http://www.lifeskillsintl.org

          Based in Colorado, they have various multiple week programs with sessions for men or women in area churches around the USA.

          The Christian counselor who are argued with and later realized she was spot on correct was from Focus Ministries in Illinois.

          http://www.focusministries1.org

      • Maria on October 31, 2015 at 4:48 pm

        Beth & Robin, First of all, I am not staying because of fear and finances. Also, I am at a point where my husband does not influence how I think. You are assuming that the non-abusing spouse will get custody of the kids. More times than not, this is not the case. Abusers can be very charming and are great at fooling the legal system. A lot of abuse is bad behavior that the courts cannot do anything about. I’m not talking about physical abuse, because in that case, they can be held accountable for that. Abusive behavior is because of a way of thinking. Spending time alone with the abuser, without someone explaining the wrong thinking/ behavior increases the chances of the kids becoming like that.

        • Leslie Vernick on November 2, 2015 at 11:56 am

          Maria I have always seen you as having a pretty good head on your shoulders. I’m sure you have thought long and hard what’s best for your kids. There are women here who swear staying only make their kids more influenced by his bad behavior or “wrong” thinking patterns, and that very well can be the case as our kids absorb what they live with day in and day out whether or not we want them to or not. On the other hand, it’s pretty darn scary to turn your little ones over to someone for the weekend where you can’t even see what’s going on there or reinterpret things for them. So friends, let’s challenge each other in a good way to think hard and deep, and let’s respect one another’s choices, even if we disagree.

          • Maria on November 2, 2015 at 1:19 pm

            Thanks Leslie. Thus far, I have not seen the way of thinking that is present with the abusive mentality in my kids. I think being there to talk about what’s wrong and right is very important.



  22. Robin on October 30, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Maria, I looked back your recent texts. You are doing what every mothers heart seems to do- try to keep husbands poor choices from hurting the children. It’s a noble desire. But I believe it’s impossible. The only thing we can do as Godly moms to protect ‘the innocence of children’ is remove them from living in the environment of an abuser.

    • Beth on October 30, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      Robin, thanks for being brave enough to join in the conversation. I have found that some people are just not ready to change their circumstances and are waiting it out with a plan in place. Unfortunately, the longer the abuser has your ear, the more he can influence your mind. Without accountability to those of us who have walked a mile in the same shoes, we often slink back into the destructive thinking patterns that we have developed to cope. I remember talking to a domestic abuse counselor and saying many of the same things I have been reading. I hotly protested the comments by the counselor that I should leave and things would only get worse. She doesn’t know my situation, I thought. I can handle this, the kids are young and they need me. But, Oh how the counselor was so very, very, correct. It took time and in my case, a change in the way I “danced” to set him on attack mode. As I became less easy to control he had to think up new strategies. Eventually, only physical violence could contain me.

  23. Robin on October 30, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Beth I was very fortunate as I had a domestic counselor and a counselor who understood sociopathy. I still remember the night my counselor asked, why haven’t you left?? I looked at her and said yes why do I stay? I so wanted my situation to improve, my counselor helped me by giving me permission to leave. I had been so deceived by church leadership that I could not leave and remain in a Godly stance- I did need permission to believe I would be doing the right thing. I agree with everything you said Beth. Many women are looking at things they don’t understand they can overcome by leaving. But it is true, leaving opens the door to freedoms we never imagined for us and our children.

    • Aleea on October 30, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      re: “permission to leave”
       
      So it is hard because technically understanding the Scriptures (-translating them), or any part of them, is just not enough.  It took me so long to realize that the interpretation that does not build up the love of God; the love of individuals does not glorify God, it leads to error.  . . . For example, again, the idea of submission is never meant to allow someone to overstep any one’s boundaries and it only has meaning in the context of boundaries, because, to me, those boundaries promote self-control and freedom.  . . .If a women is not free and in control of herself, she is not submitting anyway.  She, again, is a slave subject to a slave driver, and she is out of the will of God. . . . Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, great pain comes from leaving . . . The pain of the leaving can tear us apart.  -But, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving.  And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair.  The danger is that in this move we may lose what we have now, and not find anything except loneliness.  -Don’t believe it. . . .There is a big difference between hurt and harm.  We all hurt sometimes in facing hard truths.  Oh, I know that from my current counseling, but it makes us grow.  It can be the source of huge growth.  That is not harmful.  Harm is when you damage someone by staying.  Facing reality is usually not a damaging experience, even though it can really hurt.  In the language of Ecclesiastes trying to heal something that should be killed off; Embracing someone you should shun; Searching for an answer for something when it is time to give up (-I am guilty of that); Again, harm is when you damage someone by staying.

    • Lynn M on October 31, 2015 at 8:24 am

      One thought on when to leave as it is relevant to the kids — I know since my kids were very young that something was wrong with my marriage. I went to a couple of counsellors and told one “I guess I’m looking for permission to leave” she said I can’t give you that — but looking back on it now, she did not pick up on the cues that I was in an abusive marriage.

      As soon as I saw it affecting my kids in a “cognitive” way, as in I could tell by the things they were saying and doing, I knew it was time. They were 12 and 14 (my divorce was final two weeks ago). I believe it was the right time for me and for them. I was married to a narcissist and I have heard so many stories about how they manipulate and either get custody or turn the kids against their mother. I knew that once my kids were seeing “it” they were seeing “him” and it was the right time to go, to protect them from future damage and show them what a boundary truly is — no matter how hard it is to implement. It has not been without its hardships and repercussions on them by any means. But my son recently said to me “mom, this divorce is the best thing that ever happened to me”. Everyone’s journey is different — but mine is working.

      • Beth on October 31, 2015 at 9:01 am

        Lynn, Thank you so much for sharing your comment. I can just imagine how your poor little boy was carrying the burden of the world on his tiny shoulders. Thanks for relieving him of his duties and giving him a chance to grow. Its these testimonies that may motivate those who are stuck in enabling and enduring. When the time is right you know it. Also, I must say, if you see incredible change, repentance, remediation, true sorrow and action plans in our husbands we can always reunite in a biblical marriage. Yet, sadly, we know those circumstances are as rare as a blue moon.

      • Leonie on October 31, 2015 at 1:33 pm

        Wow, it is so amazing that your kids understand that he is a narcissist! My bigger kids defend their dad although they must experience his narcissism over & over – they don’t get it. They do voice certain things like that they don’t feel comfortable inviting friends over to their dad’s house… I thought the oldest would figure it out when he was gone to university for 4 years but now it seems he is sucked on and controlled by his dad again. I separated again in May and my daughter is starting to invite school friend over now – I am so glad for her – she does feel safe now too.

        • Leonie on October 31, 2015 at 2:07 pm

          I meant ‘sucked back in’

        • Lynn M on October 31, 2015 at 4:19 pm

          Hi Leonie, I don’t think they know he is a narcissist. They don’t really have an understanding of that concept. But they do know “how Dad is” — That is really interesting, because one of their biggest issues with him is that they don’t want to invite friends over when they are at his house (or when he was home, when we all lived under one roof). One thing I have done with them is validate, validate, validate! When they are frustrated I listen and say “I hear you. I know that’s really frustrating. What do you think you could do about that? How do you feel about that? I would be really angry too if Dad did that”. One thing I am careful not to do is join in and agree, or badmouth him or give them anything that they feel they have to defend him against. I decided early on to “take the high road” so that I am modeling loving acceptance, peace and validation. I decided not to add to the negativity ..(Don’t read this as I am saying you are…. I’m just explaining myself…) But I think since i do not attack, they don’t feel they have to defend, so it lays the contrast pretty bare. My son gets very angry if I say anything negative about his dad. I do see my son’s confusion over who to side with, and he is often negative toward me when he comes back home. I just keep modeling love and acceptance. It hurts like crazy to see him taking up some of his dad’s behaviors. So much of the dysfunction got built into their programming, unfortunately.

          • Leonie on November 1, 2015 at 9:55 pm

            Yes, I agree – to validate. Actually my oldest son had his C&C group over last weekend too. That, is what having a big family and a large home is for, to embrace & enjoy the kids & their friends and have it be a safe, fun place!
            Before I left my abusive husband, I would tell them my dreams, what I wish they could do – leave their back packs from school in the living room or kitchen. Leave their shoes in the entry, use the whole house instead of scurry to their rooms and stay out of his way …!



  24. Brenda on October 31, 2015 at 6:33 am

    Aleea, AMEN!!!

    “love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. The danger is that in this move we may lose what we have now, and not find anything except loneliness. -Don’t believe it. .”

    Thank you for the reminder. Love, life and hope are all found in Christ. We/I need to remember that I need look no further than the cross, burial and resurrection to find all of these things. Fear, death and despair all come from the carnal nature of the flesh. We/I am no longer trapped in the flesh as we/I look to Christ for His grace and mercy. Whom shall I fear, This life is merely a journey on the way to life everlasting. Eternity begins today.

    I hope you are all aware that I will some time in the future need to be reminded again. I am human and it gets lonely sometimes, but living in abuse is even lonely all of the time.

    Brenda

    • Beth on October 31, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Thank you so much for a testimony on loneliness verses safe solitude. I agree that freedom and safety trumps loneliness and the terror of marital slavery is so much worse. It hurts to be alone at times. I remember long nights sleeping on the floor in a bare cold apartment with my radio tuned to “Through the Bible”. I was comforted by the soothing voice of the broadcaster reading scripture all night long.

      On a side comment Brenda, Are you sure you might not consider adopting another cat? I know a kitten might be a lot of work, but an older lap sitter might be a good for cuddling this winter. My friend who has sustained a lot of loss has gotten herself a bird (a talking parrot of all things!) and it makes her apartment seem more friendly. The parrot says hello to her every time she walks in the door.

    • Leonie on November 1, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      I agree Brenda, I was far lonelier in my marriage than I am now!

    • Robin on November 1, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      Amen Leonie I love every word of your last post. Our homes are for our families– not for a bully to have whatever he wants. Thanks for saying that. A great reminder indeed how we can care for our families needs when the bully is gone!!

  25. Brenda on October 31, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Lynn M,
    Praise God that your son is being helped by your boundaries. He will be a better man because of it.

    Brenda

  26. Robin on October 31, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Leonie, I agree with you. I would find it doubtful a child could see the narcissism clearly enough to stand up to it and not be sucked into that system. I think we can talk to them about it and even suggest having them read a book on it (which I did/ and they said they saw it and still got duped) . I think a child just is not able, even if they want to explore ‘narcissism or sociopathy’ as they will still have a need to be loyal and having lived several years with this influence- will hook them.
    One thing I want to make clear. I am not a man hater nor do I encourage all women to leave their marriage. But what I do – do is WARN OTHERS WHO HAVE ESRS TO HEAR of the danger of thinking you’re managing the abusive environment in your home. You cannot manage it- and there is a very costly price to pay to linger in it. One of my largest excuses was I didn’t want to break up my family. My counselor helped me to understand the family was already broken and removing myself helped empower my cause by saying I will no longer participate in his abusive behaviors. It took me out of the middle as the scapegoat, and he would either find a new victim or my absence might lead him in a better direction. I also realized my marriage was dead and took my blinders off. It was possible for my husband to turn away from his entitlement, arrogance, and abuse but he was t going to drag us thru it with him. If he chose to attend counseling seriously he could win us back. I was merely stating a new boundary that says you have crossed the line, and I’m not going with you . Nor will the children be destroyed by this. I am stepping out in faith, that God has a different plan for us. One that is beautiful, freeing each of us, and healthy.

    • Leonie on November 1, 2015 at 9:34 am

      Amazing, Robin

    • Chatura on November 2, 2015 at 4:39 am

      I had a similar story.

    • JC on November 2, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Robin, Please explain ESRS?

      • JC on November 2, 2015 at 8:09 pm

        ESRS = EARS (ears?) (left and thought about it for a while… 🙂

  27. Robin on October 31, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Lynn, it sounds like you are living honestly as far S you can. I commend you for your living behavior. While I hear all you’re doing to have a living environment and not creating a situation where kids feel they must pick sides- I’m not sure either if this is healthy for children. Don’t you think they are wounded by your marriage being so unhealthy? While I have very strong beliefs children must be safe and well protected – I honor the fact that there are many ways to handle abuse. I will be interested in the days ahead to hear if you were successful. I don’t judge you, I only caution you to measure the cost to children when abuse reigns and is allowed . It’s hard to endure a difficult marriage and keep children safe, and it’s also hard to set a strong boundary in hope the consequence of separTion or divorce will cause him to seek for a new heart.

    • Robin on October 31, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      Not living– but LOVING.
      Sorry!!

    • Lynn M on October 31, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      Robin — you may not have caught my whole story. My kids and I moved out last spring and my divorce was final two weeks ago. I was referring to how I talk about him now that we are divorced. I don’t speak negatively about him but I validate the experience they are having with him when they are with him. I do tell them that his behaviors are not acceptable and that is why I implemented the boundary of divorce and I help them set their own boundaries when he mistreats them.

      • Robin on October 31, 2015 at 9:21 pm

        Lynn, I sincerely apologize for not giving it a thorough read. That is wonderful the things you are committed to do with your children in choosing the high road. It’s so easy to slam the other spouse esp when their is abuse going on. Can you share the ages of your children?? Some of the ladies on here don’t think it’s workable while we still have children at home. Also- you didn’t say anything about yourself. Has it been a good move for you, and has much of the stress and chaos diminished???

        • Lynn M on October 31, 2015 at 10:05 pm

          My kids are 12 and 15. Making the decision to leave was gut-wrenching ly difficult but it was without a doubt the best decision. Looking back now, I see how my husband was not able to uphold his vow of love, honor and cherish. I fought through and my life is already so much better, even though the divorce process has been awful. My kids are thriving and grateful that I removed them from the chaos. My daughter recently broke up with her boyfriend because he didn’t want her to see her friends — she recognized it as controlling. I truly believe my kids are thriving and they tell me they are so much happier now. It has been hard but worth it. I am healing and I feel really strong.

        • Leslie Vernick on November 2, 2015 at 11:57 am

          I agree. The high road is always the better road.

  28. Robin on October 31, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Lynn thank you for Sharing!! I have been divorced since July 1 and I share the same kind of joy you do. I never dreamed lufe would get this lovely. My divorce was also grueling and even after the divorce process was over he kept trying to find reasons to drag me back into court. I never tell others my life is perfect. It’s just fairly simple figuring out solutions now when things come up. I waited and hoped my husband would contact me after the divorce, saying he’d do the things necessary but not even once did he. I love my new life and now I enjoy sharing my testimony so others can see God never intended us to be oppressed and so unhappy. You sound like you have made some excellent choices!!! I’m happy for you!!!!

  29. Robin on October 31, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    Sunshine, I had a similar event happen with my daughter. I had taken dirt out of garden to plant some flowers and when my husband got home and saw I had taken some dirt out of his garden he raged like there was no tomorrow. He went on and on feeling completely justified to act that way. I hadn’t make a mess of the garden I just took some dirt. My daughter was so upset seeing her dad behave like that she ran out to fix it. I tried to talk to her to let him take responsibility for his own poor response but she was frightened to upset him — and decided she needed to fix it. I could explain the truth to her and she saw it for what it was but he manipulated the situation blaming it all on me. It was a no win situation. I would talk to my children when these events happened and acknowledge their fathers behavior being very wrong– but they weren’t strong enough to stand up to his bullyness.

    • Sunshine. on October 31, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      Robin, I recognize something in your words. You say “his” garden. Is that because you have such separate spaces? and things? everyone knows what is his.( don’t touch)and what is mom’s? We have this at my house. I have never really felt I was a part of my own home. I have hesitated to touch things or do things, knowing that he would be mad if I even looked at his things cross-eyed. Now more and more when I ask for help and don’t get it, I use what I need. If he complains I can offer up the reasoning that I did ask for help but “you” ignored my request. It really made me feel like a child when my husband told me I couldn’t use things we both owned. Our kids see things things and are altering themselves to be the perfect little body that daddy needs in order for his perfect world to be perfect. This is what angers me most and convicts my heart. I must do something to snap out of this crazy because my kids will grow up and repeat this cycle.

  30. Robin on October 31, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Yes Sunshine help your kids snap out of this. I have 4 children and only 1 went to counseling and got the help needed to correct this abusive and erroneous thinking. I actually caught myself when I typed it out that I was saying ‘his’ garden. But I left it as that’s the wAy it was when we were married. I’ve been divorced 3 months now. He considered everything his. When either myself or my children would say it correctly – this is moms house too or moms garden – he would manipulate things to make it sound like it was my mistake to call it what I did. There was seldom anytime he considered anything mine. My lawyer took me in penniless and I could not pAy him because he was so shocked a man wouldn’t share 50-50 with his wife. He was very controlling and entitled and he kept this control by FEAR. Definitely help your kids learn what the correct and healthy thinking sounds like. The cost to you will be very high, if you don’t. He will use all this to manipulate and keep the children from you.

  31. Robin on November 1, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Sunshine, as much as I want to advocate for children to be taught about the crazyness of these issues I want to say to you, please do it for you. I love that quote that says, you don’t have to worry about what others think, teach yourself what to think. I think this is so true. If you believe and tell yourself everything in the marriage is half yours- then as you start living like that is true- your children will learn it with you.

    • Lynn M on November 1, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      One of the things I have become very clear on, is even if you try to manage it and explain it to the kids, you are still sending the message that this behavior is ok. If you tolerate it, you are in a sense endorsing it in their eyes. I felt I was teaching my kids what unacceptable behavior was, but also that our role was to tip toe around it, not draw the line and make it stop. Once I gave my husband ample opportunity to stop his destructive behaviors and he did not, there was no other choice.

  32. Robin on November 1, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Well said Lynn. I would do anything if I could go back and do it right. It is such an unfair place – to put a child.

    • beth on November 1, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      A wise older woman once said to me, the longer she lives the more she has to regret. We can’t beat ourself up about yesterday, the past is the past. I have learned it is never to late to apologize to your children and it is always a wise action plan chose your words with sensitivity to their hearts rather than their actions.

      • beth on November 1, 2015 at 10:48 pm

        I am also thankful that the grammar check genie is merciful when they read my blog posts.

      • Robin on November 2, 2015 at 10:32 am

        I don’t live in regret Beth, I have worked thru that. But thru my growth and seeing healthier ways to benefit everyone, I do look back and see things I could have done healthier. I think it’s important to see how we need every step of our journey to be where we are presently.

      • Leslie Vernick on November 2, 2015 at 12:00 pm

        If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have regrets. we all wish we coulda shoulda or woulda done some things different or better. Satan can grab hold of those things and accuse, attack and blame. IT’s important that we acknowledge our mistakes, make amends where possible and move on and learn from them.

  33. Aleea on November 1, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    “I had a dream this week that my H died, and I was so very sad because I didn’t know if he was in Heaven, and when I woke up I knew I’d have to tell him about it and ask him one more time to please get his life right with God and if he’s truly NOT a believer, to pray and call out to God, that I’m very concerned for him!! My H thanked me for my concern…and that was it. He had nothing else to say. A normal person would be concerned and possibly ask questions, I know I would!”

    To me the worst thing is just polite indifference. If you have ever shared the gospel out in public that is the thing that is really hard to take. Someone arguing, giving rebuttals, like a week ago in Vons (—our grocery store here in CA): “—Born-again living seemed to me just a crutch which no longer facilitated healing and growth, but actually protracted immaturity!!!” —Oh my, that is far better than polite indifference. You can work with rebuttals! Polite indifference, you can’t even deconstruct that. —The ability to be emotionally attached to others, without giving up our sense of self and our freedom to be apart is so vital. People withdrawing emotionally yet politely (—it is your own husband after all not someone in a bloomin’ grocery store!) seems to me to be trying to control you, especially if he sees how important this is to you.

    —And that conversation about being a believer is far from one and done, no way. It used to take three years to become a member of a church in the early 1800s. It is because they were afraid of false converts. They knew clearly about the real struggle of faith. John Calvin’s struggle of faith lasted twelve years; George Fox—twenty years; John Wesley—twenty-three years; George Whitefield—ten years; Jonathan Edwards—five years; David Brainerd—nine years; John Newton—six years; Charles Spurgeon—four years. Virtually every account before 1900 of the born-again experience is characterized by a period of illumination and a serious struggle of faith period. This is detailed in the book: Why Most Decisions for Christ are Ineffective. Obviously, the signs of life in a newborn Christian are faith and repentance, inhaling the love of God and exhaling distress, deconstruction, demythologizing (—whatever your personal issues are). —And at that point, God provides exactly as for a newborn infant, comfort, protection and nurturing.

    Anyway, it is SO wonderful that you care about your husband’s soul. . . . . . Obviously, relationships fail because someone chooses not to show up and really, truly engage (re: polite indifference). It is not like he says: “Listen, I appreciate that you care about my eternal soul. Give me some time to consider your dream, process what you are saying and let’s get back together Monday at 8pm and fully discuss it.” —Who knows what casues a man to leave most of his words unspoken, it is maddening. I have never understood that. . . . . But when you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you, in every situation, you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. I know for me, putting a voice to my soul helps me to let go of fear, as well as regret.

  34. Survivor on November 2, 2015 at 9:16 am

    For years I said “I only know to either shut up and not say anything, or else confront the wrong and it comes out harshly–and neither works! There HAS to be a third option!” I believe that just about every woman in an abusive relationship probably experiences this. Some choose to shut up, and others choose to confront. There is (obviously) a ditch on both sides of this road. What I have found, however, is that churches will applaud the silent women–if they ever find out what is going on–and chastise the women who speak up. As a general rule, one seems to be considered more godly than the other. I am of the opinion that, while neither is right, at least the confrontation allows for a chance at something different. If we are just silent, there is very little chance for help unless he does something really huge and obvious. In the last year or so, I have had the enormous privilege of working with a counselor who is helping me to learn the ways of addressing the issues without being so harsh. It still is a very fine line, and still, people who do not understand abuse believe that it is wrong, unsubmissive, disrespectful, etc., because all the abuser has to do is holler that that his wife is ‘out of line’ and everyone jumps on that and chastises her.

    I saw a quote last week about addicts that I believe also applies to abusers:

    “If an addict (abuser) is happy with you, you are probably enabling them. If an addict (abuser) is angry with you, you are probably trying to save their life!”

    My path is to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His direction and not be afraid if my abuser–and all the people he has in his corner–are angry with me! Easier said than done………

    • Leslie Vernick on November 2, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Sounds like you are now on the right path.

    • Edmund on November 4, 2015 at 11:50 am

      Survivor – i really appreciate the post, the thoughtfulness, the spirit, and the content. I admittedly feel tension when I read the generalized statements about the dynamics in the church. There are situations where the church gets it wrong, and there are situations where they get it right. Sometimes the spouse that is claiming abuse is, in fact, out of line or abusive in their response to not getting their way. There is no question that we each be led by the spirit and take responsibility for our own choices, but it was God’s idea to instruct us to also use Scripture and the Church to help us discern His will. I think its dangerous for us to be discrediting the church or issuing blanket warnings about the church with such broad strokes. God chooses to work through the communities he ordained and established, and He is Sovereign enough to accomplish His purposes for us even if our specific church communities don’t agree with all of our theological positions and sometimes make mistakes.

      Again, I recognize that this is being read by a broad spectrum of people – from those who are legitimately and severely abused to those who are simply unhappy with their spouse and want an abuse diagnosis to justify divorce to those who are falsely accused of abuse. There is no “one-size-fits-all” answers to the question of divorce and separation, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” caution to the danger of church’s who hold more traditional and conservative interpretations of marriage, submission, etc.

      • Survivor on November 4, 2015 at 12:53 pm

        Edmund, I have in the last year experienced something different from church. Unfortunately, these healthy experiences with churches in these destructive dynamics are far too few and far between. My situation at its worst was dire–my husband almost killed me with his bare hands in fits of rage on several occasions–and yes, I am still here. Crazy? Maybe!! But, I believe in a God of miracles Who changes lives!! And I am now in a church who believes that as well–but they also believe in another very important part: we must also see FRUIT to evidence the change!! We cannot take the person’s word for it that they have changed. That was the problem with the other church experiences that I had–they believed in God’s power to change lives, but they were far too willing to accept that the change was real without seeing fruit. And I was condemned as not being ‘forgiving’ since I was unable to trust where there was a lack of fruit……… Those who were close to the situation were very frustrated at the way things were handled. I was not protected. I was judged. He was not disciplined. He was allowed to continue with his positions in church. When I finally gave enough evidence that they were convinced that he should no longer hold office, it wa called ‘marriage problems’ and I was included in the disciplinary action ‘since we know that marriage problems are always two-sided’. I have never made a claim to perfection, but I do feel that action to have been extremely unjust. There were those in the church who actually went so far as to publicly accuse me of being the one who was abusive since I was the one speaking up about the problem. And this church is not the only place I experienced these things. And I am by no means the only one who has experienced this type of thing from church. I believe that it is imperative that we call our churches to become educated in these dynamics and how to handle them. Many church leaders will be hesitant to call something abuse because of the fear that every woman who is unhappy will ‘cry wolf’ so to speak in order to receive her ‘get out of jail free’ card. But I believe that if leaders are willing to do their due diligence, if they are properly educated and are led by the Holy Spirit, they will be well equipped to discern between the true cases of abuse and those who are just looking for a way out. As much as these situations occur, it distresses me greatly that there are not more leaders who are willing to equip themselves to properly care for those in these situations.

        No, I do not say that EVERY church has this problem–I am currently in a church where I am experiencing something far better. But it is FAR more widespread than what many are willing to admit and it is a crying shame. That is NOT the way JESUS treated people who were suffering!! Sadly, when an abused woman reaches out to her church for help, all to often what she faces is more abuse from her church–the place she trusted to help her, and the place that SHOULD be a place of shelter and safety for her. It truly is a tragedy that churches have earned themselves the reputation for being unsafe for victims of abuse!! But the reality is that the reputation is founded in real life experiences. 🙁

        • Edmund on November 10, 2015 at 12:01 am

          Yikes! I’m glad you are OK. So any comment on “my husband almost killed me with his bare hands” is just going to be understated…especially from some dude in the blog world. I can’t imagine and won’t pretend to. There are undoubtedly hacks in church leadership, in addition to well-intentioned ignorant leaders, as well as good biblical leaders who are wrongly mislabeled. I suspect we agree. I can’t argue with your personal hangups – that’s for sure. These types of issues always make me wonder about God’s true intentions for church leadership. Regardless of your position on Catholicism (and other high-church structures), and there is no question they are fallible and filled with humans who make mistakes, they a least promote a structure that is capable of some consistency and accountability in leadership. As a bible loving, individualistic, american, evangelical christian – I’m not always comfortable with the fact that any Joe Blow can claim he is “called,” start a church, and claim biblical authority.

          i feel rushed and like I am not engaging like I should as i work backwards to find my last blog conversations, but I like talking with you. Thx. If I missed an important point or didn’t make sense – just say so and i’ll get back here (if i don’t get lost).

    • Alyssa on January 2, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Thank you for the quote.I have been reading for hours the comments hete.I’m so blessed to find out the truth in my marriage now.I just read Leslie’s book.I have been in an abusive emotionally marriage for almost 19 yrs.My eyes are now opened.I’m seeking wise counsel.I’m struggling to stay well or to leave well.My kids are 11,8,3.I’m sick of walking on eggshells.I want to change,but it’s so hard

  35. Jennifer on November 2, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Yes my husband apparently is too special to go to the grocery store, he will go only after he makes sure to lecture me on how I handle my time and how he resents the fact that he has to “pick up my slack”. Of course he forgets that he helps consume the food here. Forgets also that he leaves home at 5:45 am and is back by 6:45pm leaving me to get the kids up, bring to school, meanwhile I work full time plus overtime, get the kids, start dinner, homework, activities etc. He is the most selfish, narcissist, self-centured person I know. I know the option is leaving, but Leslie how do I stay well when I find myself becoming an angry, bitter, resentful person?

    • Jennifer on November 2, 2015 at 11:00 am

      I forgot to mention he has a 3 hour work break this is usually the time I ask for him to help out, as I am working and only get a half hour work break, enough time to walk the dog. I don’t get 3 hours to myself ever!!!

      • Maria on November 3, 2015 at 7:26 am

        Jennifer, If I may offer some pointers/tips:
        1. We live in a country in which we have freedom of speech. Anyone can say anything, we need to decide whom we will allow to speak into our lives. Just because your husband says you’re not doing a good job doesn’t mean you’re not. If you can set you goal to please Christ in all you do, it will be easier. That way you’re not looking at another human to define what you should do. Also, there is no point defending yourself to your husband,it’s wasted energy.
        2. One way to avoid bitterness/ resentment is to check your attitude when you’re doing things. I feel like it is a privilege to raise my kids. They are truly blessings. I am grateful that I’m able to do things for them. If my spouse doesn’t want to participate in certain things, he’s missing out. But when I do stuff, if I have the attitude that he should be doing this, I will be robbed of joy.
        Sounds like in your case, there’s not point asking your husband, he just won’t help. If he were willing to help, you could have a conversation with him, as Leslie suggested.
        3. Teach your kids to do things for themselves. As your kids get older, they will be able to do more and more. It’s important that the kids are not raised with an entitled attitude. Having them do things for themselves, and teaching them to be thankful for what you do is important.
        4. I have observed that healthy people know their limits, emotionally, physically etc. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits, you will be of no use to yourself or others if you do. Don’t let anyone talk you into going beyond your limits. People who try to push you beyond your limits are not healthy people to be around. When you reach your limit, let go of what needs to be done. Be satisfied that you’ve done your best.
        5. None of us parents want our kids to hang around people who will negatively influence them. If your husband is a bad influence, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that he doesn’t want to hang around them.
        6. It is very important to talk about wrong and right behavior. Your kids need to know that

        • Maria on November 3, 2015 at 7:44 am

          Jennifer a couple more things:
          If we focus on pleasing God in our responses, our kids will respect us and will be more inclined to listen to what we say. If we’re responding in the same manner that our spouse responds (if he responds negatively), the opposite is true.
          We will fail sometimes on this journey, but hopefully as time goes by, we’ll see that we’re growing and becoming more like Christ. When we fall, it’s important to give ourselves grace and not best up on ourselves.

    • Leslie Vernick on November 2, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      Sounds like you have to sit down and redivide responsibilities. You are working full time AND managing EVERYTHING at home – kids, shopping, etc. He is working full time – and if you ask him to help he things you’ve been slacking? Something wrong with this picture? I dont’ think he forgets, I think he thinks this is the way things are supposed to be. He’s entitled to work and come home and relax. You’re supposed to do the rest to make his home and kids function without asking anything of him. Hmmm. Time to not just ask him to pick something up for you, but time to ask him to bear more of the household load.

      • Alyssa on January 2, 2016 at 9:03 am

        I agree I’m in similar situation ,but what if I talked to him and he still doesn’t do anything?

  36. Jennifer on November 2, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    I would love to have that kind of relationship where we can sit down adult to adult but we don’t have that. there is no communicating-rationally. He always has an excuse for his behavior, his job is stressful, harder than mine, I am called to sacrifice, I am supposed to be a loving, attentive mother (like I am not?), he says he does his part, I am just controlling, a slave driver, I have no patience, we are called to rest blah, blah, blah meanwhile we still need food to live. I do 99.9% of the shopping but I’m not superwoman.

    • Robin on November 2, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      I am so sorry for the difficulty and lack of being willing to communicate honestly. I lived in a relationship like this where everything was mine to do and when I didn’t he punished me and talked very badly about me to my children. After attempting counseling, small groups, talking to everyone I could- I finally saw the light . I had to be willing to change. I started setting stronger boundaries and when the consequences didn’t matter to him, I listened to Leslies advice in her books about stepping back . In the end I saw he wasn’t willing to change anything. I made plans to file for divorce because we had been living separately in the house and that only made things worse. If he can’t hear and honor your voice and value you as a person with needs- is there a mutual relationship worth saving??

  37. Jennifer on November 2, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    I am at the same place Maria is, I don’t want to leave for that reason of turning the little ones to his care without me. I know I am not staying in this marriage forever but for now, I need us all intact because if he is not rational now, God only knows how he will be if we are not married. I don’t feel God is calling me to leave at this point, if anything God is fine-tuning my strength.

  38. Robin on November 2, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Jennifer if you’re determined to stay in your unhealthy relationship– one thing that works is increasing consequences. When my husband retired and sat in his room all day on his computer and I worked till 6 but he wanted dinner on table at 6 and verbally abused me constantly – I said no more. You have time, you can buy the groceries and you can cook dinner. I’ll cook on my days off. Yes it made him rage but it was one way I could take charge of my life and not give into his abusive behaviors toward me.

  39. Jennifer on November 2, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    No, this relationship is not worth saving for me. I just don’t want to do it all alone, I don’t want to be a single mother, I get too tired, I need help. because like everyone and the (cycle of abuse) there are times when he is helpful or takes the kids off my hands. No one is 100% bad all the time, it’s just when they are you start to question, does that make sense. I just try to cherish any down time I can get right now.

    • Beth on November 4, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      The truth is, the quality of any relationship is only as good as its worst day.

      Yes, abusive relationships can have some pleasant moments. Yet don’t be fooled! I suggest we reason quantitatively and realize the good times are measly outliers.

  40. Jennifer on November 2, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks Robin, that is good advice, because I am sure by doing the majority of all the work it just keeps enabling him to do nothing.

  41. Robin on November 2, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    I understand Jennifer – my daughter went thru the same thing. She had 4 kids and she was definitely needing a break. But she felt abuse was sin and she thought it would be worse to keep them in an abusive environment so she opted to trust God to help her. Her family pitched in and did help her. Then 2 years after the divorce the Lord broke her exhusbands heart and now he loves to help her and his children — and has had a complete heart change. I know these things take lots of different options to go towards and are grueling to walk thru. There’s just one thing I want to say- no everyone is not bad all the time. But no one should live in abuse for 5 minutes. The cost is more than any of us want to have to pay. I will be praying for you!!!!!!

    • JC on November 2, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      What we accept teaches people how we are willing to be treated.

      • Alyssa on January 2, 2016 at 9:10 am

        I needed to hear this.Thank you.I’m seeing now I’m not helping my h I’m hurting him by enabling him

  42. Jennifer on November 2, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Thank you so much Robin

    • Robin on November 2, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      ????❤️????????????????????????

    • Lynn M on November 2, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Jennifer, how old are your kids?

  43. Jennifer on November 2, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I have 4-two from my first marriage 20 and 16 (17 in a few weeks) two from this marriage, 8 and 6
    My older children don’t get along well with my husband, we all live under the same roof, but he is gone enough where they don’t see him much. My strong willed 16 year old daughter and him butt heads the most. My husband is closer to the young one and is hard on the 8 year old. He also has a 23 year old from a previous relationship that doesn’t have much to do with his dad.

  44. Jennifer on November 2, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I know JC, that is what I hate about it all, that I wasn’t strong enough to leave at the first red flags, that I’ve allowed too much abuse in my home, it makes me sad and depressed to think about it.

    • Maria on November 2, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Jennifer, There is no point dwelling on the past because we can’t change it. You know your situation and state of mind better than anyone else. Sounds like you’ve decided to stay for now. Like Leslie has said, that may change at a later date. Keep focusing on strengthening your core.

    • Lynn M on November 2, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Well, don’t beat yourself up about “not being strong enough”. Everybody follows their own path. This marriage was also my second (I impulsively married my college boyfriend who was an alcoholic. We had no kids and divorced after six years) since it was my second marriage, I was absolutely determined that I could fix it. There was no way I was going to stop trying, even though the red flags turned into bombs! It took awhile for me to learn that one person can’t fix a broken marriage. so it’s totally understandable that with two sets of.kids involved you aren’t rushing ahead. Things will unfold as they should.

  45. Robin on November 2, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    JC – I have no idea what you are asking about. ESCS??? I’ll need more information before I can answer you. And I’m wondering who you are and why you’re involved??

    • Remedy on November 2, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      I think it was a spell check geenie mistake…let those who have EARS to hear…not ersrs or whatever came up.. Lol!! It was several posts back Robin.

  46. Maria on November 2, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Robin, “ESCS” is in one of your posts, maybe a typo.
    Isn’t this forum for anyone, as long as they are not desrespectful?

  47. Robin on November 2, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Maria when someone says my name out, and I’ve never heard of them, yes I ask who they are. Of course anyone is included but when someone is a complete stranger to me – I like to know whom I’m talking too.

  48. Leonie on November 2, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Jennifer, it is much easier to be a single mom with kids on your own than to be married and always have to fight your husband before you can do what you have to do. It is so much better. No one gives me the silent treatment or is miserable in the house or punishes me or makes it difficult to do what I need to do. My kids can help – put a chicken in the oven before I get home so it gets cooked before I get there or make sure the dog gets let out … or vacuum or clean a washroom or whatever. They are no longer scared to get it wrong because all of that is out of the house now. I have no dealings with my ex except through police or lawyer or CPS but I am free to pick up the peices and get my life together again. It is a huge relief for me and it feels like I did the right thing for all of us. I am still dealing with my ex’s explosive rages through support services that are available to me but now my life is not unbearable anymore. It is hard and I have to work hard and I have a lot of responsibility but it is nigh bearable anymore and I feel good when I do a good job and everything us so much easier without the chaos and fighting. No one undermines me anymore so I am regaining my confidence too. It just feels good and right.

    • Lynn M on November 2, 2015 at 7:01 pm

      So true! And add that you can breathe when you walk in the front door and you don’t have to dread him coming home — or police the house for things that are “wrong” before he walks in. The hard work and responsibility feel good when your actions are directed toward your and your childrens’ healing.

      • Leonie on November 2, 2015 at 8:43 pm

        Yes, Lynn, you are right. I was beginning to have post traumatic stress symptoms from my husbands angry and explosive outbursts and rages – I often felt nauseated or like vomiting when I saw him coming home from work. If he was brewing and angry when he got home on a Friday, I knew he would blow up at me on the weekend and I was a basket case – he really didn’t have to blow up any more, I felt like he already had, just by giving me the silent treatment and stewing & brewing.
        My husband was extremely abusive so my case was really clear cut and I have no doubts about having separated but it was still a heavy decision and now I am in the position where my daughter is not under my protection every other weekend. It is so hard, she is exposed to his anger and rages and cps is telling me I need to let her see him more and then they are after me for not wanting to let him have more access. At the same time they are looking at me to stop his rages but I can’t – I can’t even have contact with him because of his bail conditions. A month ago she came home with scrapes on her back saying she fell off a chair that broke and now she just got home with a huge bruise on her face saying she slipped and fell on a coffee table – she is 5 years old. I am so scared for her safety I could cry that this is happening to her and don’t know what to believe. I am totally with any mom who doesn’t feel she can leave yet because then she no longer is the buffer between the abuser and the kids. Things that are second nature to me are not to my ex so I don’t even think her environment is safe nor is he vigilant over her safety like most moms are. I had to leave but it is not the same for everyone.

        • Robin on November 2, 2015 at 8:47 pm

          I’m so sorry to hear that Leonie. Praying harder!!!!

        • Lynn M on November 2, 2015 at 10:12 pm

          Leonie, I am so sick about what you have to go through in your situation. If the abuse is documented I’m really surprised that CPS is pushing for her to be with him more. That has to be so hard! There’s no way you can get supervised visits? I will say a prayer for you and for her.

          • Leonie on November 5, 2015 at 3:18 pm

            Yes, Lynn, that is what I am trying to do.



  49. Robin on November 2, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Wow Leonie, those words match my heart exactly. It only gets better- not the opposite like so many think!!!!
    Thanks for sharing Leonie!!!!????

  50. Brenda on November 3, 2015 at 4:19 am

    Leonie,
    All that you have said to Jennifer about it being better as a single mom rather than put up with the abuse an indifference of an abuse spouse and still have to do the same things, I give a Big AMEN!!! I dealt with both and being a single mom came with a lot of work and sleepless nights, but it was so much easier knowing that we could make it on our own. There were smiling faces that replaced those of fear.

    I did not get it all right. I could be a mother. I had no idea how to be a father. I didn’t have one either. Raising a son without a good male roll model was hard and at 40 years old, he is still my problemed child. He resents me, but it is more that I am the only one that was close enough to take his frustrations and anger out on. It is still better than what he would have continued taking from his father. There is a lot of wisdom in this blog. We need to truly listen to one another. I don’t have children at home anymore. That doesn’t mean that I have stopped being a mom and Lord willing Maggie, my granddaughter, will be arriving in the spring. I pray that she will never have to go through the abuse that her mother and I have, We need to stop this cycle that is passed on to our children.

    • Robin on November 3, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Brenda- your words were so excellent , tears are flowing. You are so right. No matter how we might mess up as a single mom it will definitely not be as bad as living and being dealt abusive behaviors that degrade, tear a child’s self esteem daily and make them grow up feeling like they are nothing.
      You should save that post and enter it in a woman’s magazine. Beautifully said my previous friend. You have done so well as a Mom that did what she could. Hold your head up high- You are a Kings daughter!!!!!

  51. Brenda on November 3, 2015 at 4:33 am

    Leonie,
    Take that precious child in to the hospital each and every time she is returned home that way. She could very well be being told what to say and possibly threatened if she does not comply. Get records from the doc and the police could very well be brought in. CPS is not handling this the way they should. Praying for you and your precious 5 year old.
    Brenda

    • Maria on November 3, 2015 at 6:01 am

      Leoni, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. I’m glad to hear you’re getting stronger. Praying for you and your daughter.

    • Leonie on November 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Yes, Thank you Brenda. I have take some steps. I hope they can hear me and see the truth.

  52. Jennifer on November 3, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Thank you so much for your honest feedback, I am going to take these to heart and really do alot of praying and searching my own attitude. I really want to not worry so much what he is doing and focus on all the good in my life. I really appreciate this blog and all the women who share their stories and offer advice. It really feels good to vent and be heard.

  53. Jennifer on November 3, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Thank you again Maria, I needed to be reminded that I am here to serve and please God before anything else in my life. I am going to really try to focus more on God than self and how I feel, or how wronged I feel etc.

  54. Jennifer on November 3, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Thank you Lynn, I trust that they will as well.

  55. Robin on November 3, 2015 at 10:16 am

    A wise woman once told me Jennifer to ever be so care Gil on what you FOCUS on. A lot of time, and energy is wAsted when we allow our focus to be on an abuser spouse. That is exactly what he wants. And his goal is to drive you crazy. Many times over the years I’ve had to reset my focus. As long as it’s on what I can do and heAri g from the Holy Spirit I know I’m on the right track. Any thought i go to towards my abuser veing in my head is SELF DESTRUCTION.

  56. Aleea on November 3, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Everyone,
    Please forgive the multiple, out-of-date-order postings above.  I had an issue where everything I tried to post was going into, I think, the Word Press spam filter (-probably right where the Lord himself wanted them to go!) but Martha had her developer release all that. . . The Blackberry will not take “no” for an answer and just kept sending things again and again. . . . . You know what?  It doesn’t even matter what happened. . . . Ha, ha, ha, ha –life is just totally, completely crazy anyway. 
     
    . . . . Okay, so today I am on a plane and I am reading a very interesting book: Jesus Said to Her: Life’s Secrets from Conversations With Women.  For every woman (-all of us) who question in our minds why it is that women seem to be more spiritually in tune than the men in their lives and why in many cases we lead our families. . . . . For all of the women who see that men acting as the spiritual “leaders” (aka pastors and church deacons and elders) have dominated church arenas knowing most of them just don’t get it, yet women keep quiet about it.   . . . . For all women who feel denigrated as a societal whole, this book shows clearly that in God’s culture, woman are designed for a special role -a role that has been denied them far too long.  Women were intended to be the protectors, providers, guides and relationship managers in marriage and in the community.  Without understanding that crucial foundation, marriages flounder and ridiculous gender issues remain unresolved.  Dr. Moen is making the case that scripture’s perspective is that it is the MAN who needs a woman, not the other way around.  A defective understanding of God’s design for women leads directly to broken relationships.  Displacing God’s order destroys ALL order.

  57. Brenda on November 3, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Aleea,
    Technology has a mind of its own. That sounds like a good plane book. I am traveling over the next couple of weeks….something I rarely do by plane. I think I will pick up a copy.

    • Aleea on November 3, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      Brenda,
      . . . . Moen digs deep into every single encounter Jesus had with a women.  Moen’s idea is that the Hebrew mind is way more important than the Greek mind in interpreting scripture. . . . .And it is very true that almost anyone studying the New Testament has often been developing their thoughts according to the Greek translation, the Greek mind set.  I think Moen realizes, more than most, that the culture has to be front and center to understanding the meaning.  Everyone pays that lip service but doing it is r-e-a-l-l-y hard work.  I never even realized (-as usual!) that we must think in terms of the Hebrew mind to truly understand the meaning.   Truly, the mysteries are in the Hebrew mind set and Moen does a wonderful job of expanding on what is really meant in the words.  Moen, to me, shows fresh insights into Jesus’s view of the incredibly special role of women.  . . . . This is my point when I say our deepest fear should not be that we are inadequate but that we are powerful beyond measure.  It should be our light, not our darkness that should most frighten us.  Jesus is about radical, sweeping, all encompassing-style empowerment.

  58. Edmund on November 4, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    “Jesus is about radical, sweeping, all encompassing-style empowerment…” for His Glory, for His Kingdom, for His Will, for His Design, for His Redemption of all Creation. It’s not about men or women. We are all “victims” and we are all “abusers.”

    I am fascinated by the fact that the resurrected Jesus first revealed himself to women. This was very culturally bold as women in the Jewish world were not considered to be credible witnesses. Yet Jesus made the women at the tomb the first eyewitnesses. Despite this fact that was not lost on anyone in the first century Jewish world, including Paul, God still saw it fit to give distinct job descriptions to men and women. It’s never about personal empowerment. It’s always about empowering the Body, the ordained community(ies) – of which the Godhead is the perfect example-, to function in unity for the purpose of advancing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

    Aleea – I admittedly have not made the time to dig into your posts. I read one for the first time a few weeks ago, realized you were very thoughtful and informed and had good things to say, but also recognized you were consistently thorough and I could not possibly interact with you at an educated level without considering all your information! I would really like to do so at some point. I suspect I will relate to your style (whether to your content or not remains to be seen :)) Thanks for your contributions.

    • Aleea on November 5, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Hello Edmund,

      I very much appreciate your thoughts. I have had m-u-c-h trouble posting lately and really all the time, so I appolgize for not responding sooner. —I have a really hard time knowing who posted what where, so anyone who posts on Leslie’s site, if I don’t respond to you, please feel free to put your post in an e-mail and send it to me anytime. I welcome anything biblical, appropriate and God-glorifying. —My e-mail is in my Gravatar.

      You say: “I could not possibly interact with you at an educated level without considering all your information!” . . . .Are you kidding me? I’m the one pushing on the door that clearly says “PULL.” What I have learned by interacting with so many of you in e-mails is the you are ―dangerously― intelligent and resourceful.*** Intelligent people are the ones that don’t even need or want to look ‘intelligent’ anymore.

      Okay, . . . well, girls can be athletic. Guys can have feelings. Girls are very smart. Guys can be very creative. In Christ, no male or female exists. So, I guess you are right. . . . It is very important for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! —And I can not tolerate man-hating, which I see all the time (—men are just extraordinary creatures!) –or– women-hating, which is equally horrific (—women are just extraordinary creatures!). We all need each other. Men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus instead we are all just people. —Just broken, hurting people.

      You say: “I am fascinated by the fact that the resurrected Jesus first revealed himself to women.” — Edmund, I am not and I don’t mean to be harsh. I so hate harsh and appreciate your comments. —But it is very clear who Mark, our first gospel writer, says Christ came for: —The marginalized. —The objectified. —The weak, like me. —Secondly, women were a m-a-j-o-r target of the Christian mission. Historians agree that “many more females than males were converting to Christianity in its first centuries,” and they recognize “Christianity’s appeal to women as an important factor in its success.” —Most of Christianity’s early opponents among the pagans, including, for example, Celsus, claimed Christianity was made up largely of children and women (i.e., those of no social standing in society at large). Women played a major role in the earliest of Christian churches. Then men started abusing power (—see the serious scholarship on early Christianity: Gillian Cloke, “Women, Worship, and Mission: The Church in the Household,” and “The Early Christian World,” ed. Philip Esler, vol. 1 (2000): pp. 422-51. . . . .Women, in short, played a very, very significant role in the churches of Paul’s day, —unusual in the Greco-Roman world. Indeed, “in the first Christian centuries the new belief system used women and their position in the family/household environment to transmit and reproduce itself.” —And I think it was rooted in Jesus’s proclamation that there would be equality of men and women. You know all the passages: If you are baptized into Christ you put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free; there is not male and female; for all of you are one in Jesus Christ. This got lost, writ large in the late first century when we see massive male power grabs.

      You go on to say: “It’s never about personal empowerment. It’s always about empowering the Body, the ordained community(ies) – of which the Godhead is the perfect example-, to function in unity for the purpose of advancing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.” . . . . Hmmm, I see your point, I will have to think more about that. . . . anyways. . . But, Edmund, it is true that all individuals have moral deficiencies, and when introducing these to reality one not only strengthens himself but also the confidence of others in the human exigency for Christ due to a reflection throughout the body of Christ.

      . . . For ALL of us (male, female, shemale, —whatever you are) our value comes simply in the fact that we live, period. Life is a gift only God could ever give. We are valuable and special simply because we are here, period. . . . —Christ loves us. We have the greatest value. He gave His life for all we are worth. . . . Or as Leslie said, a few posts back which I now have memorized: “. . . . . What if I told you that I know for sure that although you are not perfect, you are beautiful, precious, valuable, worthwhile, important, and special? How do I know that? —Because God says it. He’s the final authority on who you are and who you were meant to be, not your husband, not your mother, not your father, not even you. Therefore what God calls good we must value and take good care of. You have vast value and worth to God. You are deeply and fully loved by Him. God desires to give you a clean slate by forgiving you and bringing you into a close relationship with Him. You belong to Him, he adopts you into His family. Your life has meaning and purpose. You are not an accident. . . . . If you want to heal, make me a promise. From today forward the words you choose to use with yourself and the words you choose to listen to and believe are going to be life giving words of God’s truth.” —I absolutely love that!!! —And I do have some days when I actually believe it. —Woohoo!!! Doubt is a question mark; faith is an exclamation point. The most compelling, believable, real testimonies have both.

      I am praying for you and everyone here; Please pray for me.

      *** I put them in categories: 1) excellent, wow, I am mostly persuaded!; 2) complains about everything, especially her husband, no problem, so do I, I’m here to listen but I want to change and have a grateful heart (—Thank you Amy. I hear you!!!); 3) didn’t do her homework, no problem but uses outdated research and is interacting with dated arugments; 4) poses excellent questions that I can’t answer; 5) just angrily gainsaid everything, no problem, passion means she is still engaged, still cares about the truth!!!; 6) dishonest and illogical fundamentalist apologetics; 7) makes me laugh so,so hard I have to excuse myself to the back of the plane to keep from totally embarrassing myself; et. al. . . . .I even have a category for myself: muddled and not well thought-out, relies on premises she didn’t know were false, but wants desperately to find God.

    • Edmund on November 10, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Wow! So i did the speed read. Need to go back – but bottom line….i think i agree with a majority of what you said – and – I’m not quite sure how it came across that I wasn’t giving total props to women. Is it just me, or were you rebutting more than agreeing?? And do you think i’m trying to look intelligent – like some poser – or it respectful to actually attempt to give complete thought to someone’s arguments before responding??

      These are honest questions being posed with a playfully wry smile and heavy eyelids while sipping on a decaf after midnight. You’ve got awesome info and a great spirit…i just either need to move into moms basement and become a full time blogger, or sit next to you on an intercontinental flight if i’m ever going to do justice to a conversation with your consistent volume of content.

      my point in a nutshell….women are absolutely equal and Christ went out of his way to make them the first eyewitnesses to His resurrection (in addition to all your intel). There is a distinction between individual value and inclusion in a community – no jew or greek, slave or free, etc – and the responsibilities or functions of individuals within the community. Jesus and Paul worked to correct the strong deficiency that their culture placed on the value of women (and others) but affirmed roles and functions within the newly established community of Christ followers. individual worth is always the same across all categories, roles are not the same but of equal importance.

      love the categories. does any of the regulars want to suggest a category for Aleea based on her own definitions. None of us can self-diagnose very accurately, you know! That’s why we need each other 😉

      • Leonie on November 10, 2015 at 8:59 am

        I hope my rating is in psalm 139!

      • Aleea on November 10, 2015 at 10:27 am

        Edmund,

        “I’m not quite sure how it came across that I wasn’t giving total props to women.” . . . . .No, I know are.

        “–or it respectful to actually attempt to give complete thought to someone’s arguments before responding??”. . . . . . . No, it is respectful to give thought before responding, absolutely. . . . .I can’t wait for the next version of these blog experiences (video conferencing, in real time. . .where we can see each other, and more importantly share resources -instantly, etc.) . . . Yes, it will still have glitches and things to work out but the amount of misunderstandings from just static written words. . . well, the misunderstandings are truly incredible. So much of communication is lost without being face-to-face and not being able to put the reference documents right on the screen for all to see.

        “but affirmed roles and functions within the newly established community of Christ followers. individual worth is always the same across all categories, roles are not the same but of equal importance.” . . . . .I totally agree but I also see some double talk. . . . Because woman’s subordination is deemed intrinsic to God’s original creation design, and is necessary, permanent, and grounded in woman’s unalterable ontology, it cannot be merely a “role” that has no bearing on “being.” On the contrary, if female subordination is, in fact, divinely mandated and justified for all women for all time, then it logically entails women’s fundamental inferiority in being and not merely in function. Thus woman’s subordination is contradicted by woman’s equality. It is not logically possible for woman to be essentially equal to man, yet universally subordinate to man on the basis of an essential attribute (i.e., femaleness). I just don’t understand that without going outside of logic. . . going right = wrong-style! . . . . anyways. . . .

        “None of us can self-diagnose very accurately, you know! That’s why we need each other.” . . . . . Absolutely we do!!! To me, the most important thing is this question: “Does Christ live in your heart and how do you know that?” –Not textbook theology: life, power, peace, authority! There are NO great women OR men of God. . . just weak, broken, doubting women and often equally worse men of a totally GREAT and absolutely merciful, AWESOME God!!! . . . .And I really appreciate anyone truly living/ searching for Christ! . . . . Again, I repeat myself and I say this trembling because I do know what it means: My goal is God Himself —not joy, —not peace, —not even blessing, —just God! So always, here is the question for us: “Are the things we are living for worth Christ dying for?”

      • Maria on November 10, 2015 at 4:15 pm

        Aleea, Love your logic

      • Maria on November 10, 2015 at 4:17 pm

        Edmund, What are your opinions on the roles of men and women?

      • Remedy on November 11, 2015 at 1:29 am

        Aleea….amazing logic on women and subordination!!!!

      • Edmund on November 11, 2015 at 11:43 pm

        Sweet! This is a beautiful, awesome conversation – regardless of the outcome.

        I want to spend some time thinking through the best way to explain my thoughts/reaction efficiently yet with some level of thoroughness. Can’t promise when that will be (and I am under no illusion that you, or anyone else, cares for more than a few seconds about what I think) but I will do it (and its important that I keep my word).

        Aleea – i need to hold your logic on subordination up to Philippians 2, among others. Does your logic line up with Christ’s logic on the topic.

        Maria – I know my opinion, but I know what stating that opinion accomplishes and doesn’t accomplish. I’m not saying I’m unwilling to put it out there, and it’s always up for modification based on further study and leading from the HS, but I don’t think there is any question that God’s design for marriage “works” no matter what an individuals stance may be on gender roles. The question I am asking myself is whether answering your question here helps my desire to be a credible voice in the discussion this site seeks to facilitate, or does it distract from it?

        Hope you both have a great night!

        (And I didn’t take the time to read all the stuff following in any detail, but I will be sad if Aleea’s category system and the responses it provoked – including mine – somehow went sideways. I totally saw that as fun and innocent.)

        (And rabbit trail from the rabbit trail – i don’t think there will be any miscommunication or misunderstanding in God’s fully restored Kingdom. What people say will reflect what they truly mean, and what people hear and understand will reflect what was truly intended. Brokenness in interpersonal communication is highly underrated in the “results of the curse” categroy and has fast become my least favorite curse symptom….and therefore the most anticipated form of redemption in the new heaven and new earth…..for whatever its worth. Catharsis alert…..brain dump….squirrel…..ADD??…is there any posts around here on mental illness??)

  59. Leonie on November 4, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Amen survivor, you are so right.
    I had a pastor tell me I was not being abused in my first marriage. They embraced my abuser and I went to a different church with my 3 children. that pastor then married him to a Philippine woman that he met later, not the one he cheated on me with and left for.

    • Leonie on November 4, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      I mean he did the marriage ceremony for him.

    • Survivor on November 5, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      Leonie, I am so sorry that you have to know the reality of these situations!!! They are so difficult, lonely, and heartbreaking!!! Hugs and prayers!!!!

  60. Survivor on November 5, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Aleea, your categories fascinate me!! I have yet to discern into which category I fall……

  61. Aleea on November 5, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    You fall in category 8) Wonderful, along with 96%+ of the posters here. . . . people whose lives have been transformed by the power of Christ. I was thinking about it this evening, materialism is not just sinful; it’s really stupid. Jesus is not calling us away from treasure; he’s calling him to treasure. . . . inshallah!!! Survivor, inshallah!!!

  62. Leslie Vernick on November 6, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks Aleea, you rock.

  63. Aleea on November 8, 2015 at 5:52 am

    It is okay to know things (data, facts) but I want to *really* experience Him. Like …*mind blown*… INTENSE, BREATHTAKING-style! . . . . The historical Jesus (the data, the facts), for me, blocks the way to the spiritual Christ in the chamber of my heart. . . . .

    Page 184, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: “. . . The best way I know to practice God’s presence and to quiet my body and mind is to sit still, then silently and slowly begin to mindfully breathe; I simply inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth. After a little while of this rhythmic breathing, I begin to engage my imagination. I remember recently becoming aware that what I said to God felt as watery as skim milk. Going through the motions of prayer. I was mumbling sentences that I wasn’t even conscious of. When I noticed my own fakeness, I invited Jesus to make himself more real to me. I imagined him sitting in my big red chair right behind me. I felt my tears well up and I began to talk to him, not with religious words but authentic words, pouring out my heart to him. For a long time I abided in and surrendered to his goodness, his love and his best for my life. Breathing in his Presence breathing out all my fears, worries, anxieties, anger, and everything else I needed to let go of.”

    ―That’s what I want . . . for Jesus to be more real to me than even other people. To pray seems the greatest thing I can do. It gets me beyond all the issues, text, facts, et.al. I never stop inviting the Holy Spirit to deep clean and guard my heart, even on the days I flat-line, crying out for answers that nobody knows. . . (―And it is not that we don’t have all the answers, it is that we have almost none of them, honestly, sincerely.) ―Lord, I need to hear from You deep inside my heart. . . . that’s it, God Himself —not joy, —not peace, —not even blessings, —just God.

  64. Brenda on November 8, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Aleea, your categories fascinate me!! I have yet to discern into which category I fall……

    Survivor, Yes thank you. I was wondering this myself. God ahead Aleea, I can take it.

    Brenda

    • Aleea on November 8, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Hello Brenda,

      Then I will give it to you straight: You are in the same category, wonderful —and especially lately. . . . As the Lord God is my witness, I have been thinking this way about you for over a month now. . . . —As I read your posts, and even this morning on the way to Sunday School, I was again having this very thought: What happened to Brenda from like three months ago? The current Brenda is way more calm, way more upbeat, way kinder. What happened, Lord? Maybe it was her sabbatical? Maybe she is going deeper with Christ and NOT sharing what she has learned! Maybe she is praying more, . . . etc.

    • Debbie on November 9, 2015 at 6:27 am

      I find the categories extremely concerning.It would seem that one contributor thinks they are entitled to judge the other contributors.We need to beware of other’s filters of truth and even more cautious when someone feels entitled to label motives. I smell the stench of legalism which has migrated to the writer’s core. Other thoughts?

      • Aleea on November 10, 2015 at 10:53 am

        Debbie,
        You are exactly correct and if I had it to do over again, —I wouldn’t. . . . . because people did not understand that the arguments fall into different classifications —the people are TOTALLY separate from their arguments. I ask forgiveness from anyone offended. Believe you me, it was NOT on purpose. . . . . .I have huge Journal full of text, logical, factual issues NO ONE has ever seen or read. That is my commitment to vomiting in the toilet, even if it looks like I am putting it all out here. From “Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy” by Leslie p. 71. “. . . . Sometimes we just need to vomit out all our negative feelings. It feels better when we do so, but vomit belongs in the toilet . . . . Journaling is a good way to dump out all those issues.” . . . ―I have said Journals. . . . . To hurt people is the easiest thing in the world. It takes NO skill to hurt people. To help people heal is the goal, always. I wouldn’t be up at 4am every morning praying for each person who posts here if I wasn’t seriously trying to love people. For all of us (—me too), we need to resist the urge to interpret and read all sorts of motivations and insinuations into what the other person is saying. Scripture condemns such thinking as “evil suspicions” (ὑπόνοιαι πονηραί See First Timothy Six). . . . . Think of how people want to stereotype and peg people. Straw man/women arguments and vast ad hominem arguments attacking a person’s character . . . . .For example: Counselors go into counseling because they have emotional and mental problems and are still trying to work them out themselves. Attorneys write nothing that is clear and understandable because they are trying to trick people. Scholars are so high and mighty and full of themselves that they can have no truth in them. Pastors tell people anything, just anything, because nothing about God and Jesus is provable anyway. All women care about is money; all men care about is sex; all kids care about is games; all animals care about is food. What a bloomin’ mess of vast red herring stereotyping!!!!! People are always wonderful and special.

      • Robin on November 10, 2015 at 10:59 am

        I agree with you Debbie. Thank you for boldly speaking how you feel.

      • Maria on November 10, 2015 at 5:06 pm

        Debbie, Aren’t you doing the same (labeling) by saying Aleea is entitled and legalistic? Of course, you’re entitled to your own opinion.
        While I understand why some would be uncomfortable with Aleea’s categories, I don’t think it was her intent to label anyone (Aleea, please correct me if I’m wrong).

        • Aleea on November 10, 2015 at 7:06 pm

          Maria, you are not wrong —at all. I love the people here and want to harm no one. I am a very sensitive person myself and I never want to hurt others. —And if I do, I want to make amends and undo the wrong. Honestly, I live with guilt and constant pain if I have unresolved situations and misunderstandings. I hate that. I am all for the broken hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood, —because that is me. Those people are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved.

          I also think it very important to realize that arguments and positions, the points you and I make, are not you (or me). You and I are wonderful and special even if our positions and arguments are objectively wrong. . . . “I feel the earth is flat.” Well, that is just objectively wrong but it doesn’t make the person who said it bad. . . . . To me, highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is this godless, disposable society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. I always encourage that. I get e-mails describing me as being a ‘hot mess’ or having ‘too many issues’ but being that way is the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world —just like Christ wanted. —As Christians, we are just a shadow of our future selves, right?

        • Debbie on November 11, 2015 at 4:16 pm

          I have never met Aleea. I have no idea who she is. I am responding to the post. The post was laced with legalism. Can you see it too?

        • Leslie Vernick on November 11, 2015 at 9:54 pm

          Please no labeling or judging here. If you don’t like what someone has said, you can express why, or your own opinion or disagreements but please do not put your label on someone else.

  65. Jennifer on November 10, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I’m not comfortable with labeling others either. I think the majority of us really just want to vent or seek answers/encouragement in this blog without fear of being categorized. I’m sure it may have been in fun but still alot of us myself included are a bit sensitive.

  66. Maria on November 10, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Aleea, a word of caution from personal experience- while it is good to search within when there are unresolved situations in our lives to see what role we’ve played, it can also be dysfunctional. When we’re so uncomfortable with unresolved issues, there’s a tendency to take the responsibility for someone else’s wrong doing. The way to prevent this from happening is focusing on pleasing God in whatever we do. If we have done that, and things are unresolved because someone did something wrong, it’s important to be ok with that unpleasant feeling.

  67. Maria on November 10, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Aleea,
    2 Cor 12:9
    And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

  68. Aleea on November 11, 2015 at 11:40 am

    “The way to prevent this from happening is focusing on pleasing God in whatever we do. If we have done that, and things are unresolved because someone did something wrong, it’s important to be ok with that unpleasant feeling.”

    Maria, you are so right. It is very hard to not be a people pleaser and not worry about our image. I don’t really know why that is because I know that people would not worry so much about what others think of them if they *really* realized how little they do. Please pray for me in this area, to be a God-Pleaser not a Woman-others-pleaser.

  69. Brenda on November 11, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Debbie,
    More problematic is that after the 7 beginning categories and 8th popped up. I was fascinated as to where I would fall in the spectrum of another’s opinion. I do not mind an honest answer. I might not take it well at first, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t think and pray about its reality. It wouldn’t be the first time that I was not agreed with or had the err or my thoughts come into question. I don’t even have to agree, but I do respect honesty.

    • Debbie on November 11, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      I would think only the moderator would be qualified to assign catagories. It feels terrible to think someone was reading posts and assigning judgement to them. It is even more concerning that when called out on it the hurtful and concerning behavior, the perpetrator was not repentive. They chose an explanation as to why they did what they did. If you listen closely we were told that we really don’t know how to make proper categories. To me this seems exactly like the behavior we are being taught not to tolerate. So, I am very thankful for this lesson and think it was just perfect for our exercise in enabling. Maybe a good discussion would be at what point do we possibly take on the actions of a destructive person ourselves. Does that happen? Why?

      • Maria on November 11, 2015 at 7:43 pm

        Debbie, if it doesn’t look like Leslie took offense to Aleea’s post. In fact, she commended her.

        • Robin on November 11, 2015 at 8:08 pm

          Maria, EVERYONE gets to have their own opinions aired freely on this blog. Leslie might choose something different than me but that doesn’t make me wrong. It makes each one of us free to sort thru how we feel and think.

          • Robin on November 11, 2015 at 8:09 pm

            For us to have to agree with one person– sounds like a rule and legalistic. Let’s all walk in freedom, honoring others beliefs and views!!!!



          • Leslie Vernick on November 11, 2015 at 9:40 pm

            No one here has to agree with anyone. This is an opportunity to speak and be heard – all opinions. I think we are expanded by listening respectfully to what other people have to say, as we are able.



          • Maria on November 11, 2015 at 8:18 pm

            Robin, I was responding to Debbie’s statement about the moderator being qualified to assign categories.



          • Maria on November 11, 2015 at 8:20 pm

            Robin, Who is saying we have to agree with one person, didn’t see that anywhere.



          • Maria on November 11, 2015 at 8:28 pm

            “Everyone gets to have their own opinions…”
            I totally agree with that.



      • Leslie Vernick on November 11, 2015 at 9:49 pm

        I hope no one is assigning judgment to anyone. This is a community which we try to help each other and challenge each other all in the spirit of Christian love and respect.

  70. susen on November 11, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Robin~I agree with you 100%.

    Leslie has created a godly place for each of us to come and “talk” things out. The godly support we give one another is the crux of this site. Leslie’s articles and questions offer guidance to those of us who are seeking godly answers.

    Personally, I simply don’t read what is not helpful.

    Blessings to all of us on this godly journey,
    susen

  71. Brenda on November 12, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Debbie,
    I am afraid that we all could become destructive at some point. I know that I have heard things come out of my mouth that I caught immediately and others were slower to connect. I not only felt it was destructive to the other person, but to myself. I have to be concerned about what is allowed into my heart and how it may hurt the other person who did not deserve the words that I had said. I need to be more aware that the other person is not the xh and certainly not a demon. It is hard at times to take thoughts captive.
    Brenda

    • Maria on November 12, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      Brenda, Great post!!

  72. Mentally Tired on November 16, 2015 at 6:58 am

    I would like to have someone’s opinion. I recently found out my husband has looking a porn again for the past 4 months. We’ve been in counselling for about 3 years on and off but this past year it’s been every month. I confronted him about the porn and he denied it three times and promised it wasn’t him. He only admitted it when I said that I needed to then talk to our young teenage son. He opened up and we had a good honest conversation of what it’s like for him. A few days later I saw that he had typed in my name when he was looking at these pictures. There are other things as well but I can’t get into it due to time. After I suggested he meet with the person who walks along side him he comes home and twists the helpers words and I walk away feeling guilty. I am now struggling with false guilt. I met with the person who walks along side me and I told my husband that I will not have any physical contact with him until he decides who he wants. He ignored me for three days until the person who walks alongside him asked how I was doing and I broke down. Now my husband is all happy again b/c he had a great talk with his “walk alongside” person. I trust our people who are helping us but I am seeing manipulation by my husband more clearly and I’m physically starting to show signs of the circus I live in. My husband lied to me, he blame shifted and now I think I see manipulation. I am going to my counsellor this week. My question is that we are going a trip as a family in six months and I don’t want to hurt my kids. I feel like I need to get off this merry-go-round but what will happen to our trip? We’ve never done this before and we are so excited to go but I don’t know if I’ll mentally make it until after we’ve gone.

    • Leslie Vernick on November 18, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      YOu have to set some pretty firm and clear boundaries with your spouse on this. There needs to be strong accountability (not by you but because he asks for it and wants to change) and I get the trip. It’s important to your kids but so is your mental health. I’d also not let him slide with twisting the words but I would check things out with his accountability partner to see if he’s telling the truth.

    • Ollie on November 26, 2015 at 10:55 am

      I am wondering if you think going on the trip would be pleasant? I have a friend whose husband stop having marital relations with her after the birth of their one and only child. He said he wasn’t attracted to her now that she had become a mother. They had a huge trip planned to go to Hawaii. She was so excited. She imagined how wonderful everything would be if only they could get to Hawaii. Well, they did go and all their problems came with them. Her husband used porn on the trip just like he did at home. He ignored her, told her she was disgusting, just like he did at home. She was crushed. Yet, she learned an important lesson. The fantasy of a happy marriage was just that. The porn was here to stay and it has for many, many years. She diligently stayed in her loveless Christian marriage until her daughter went to college. By then she was so depressed, not even medications could help her fatigue and despair. I met her at a church women’s group and our leader, thankfully, began an intervention and our group helped her get a job and regain her mental health.

  73. Vivienne on November 24, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I love this comment, and definitely confirms my own experience. It took me six years from having a head knowledge to getting a heart knowledge, I just would not let go until I had that.

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