Morning friends,

This week I am in Texas with a group of lovely women ministry leaders. We’ve been coming to this place for about 8 years to refresh, recharge, exercise, and encourage one another. I’m blessed to have a group of women who know the pressures and responsibilities of ministry who can speak words of truth to me.

How about you? Are you a part of a small group or have a core group of women friends who know what your life is like, who love you, hear you, question you and encourage you? If not, I highly encourage you to make that one of your goals for 2016.

At the end of the month, Chris Moles (a pastor and batterer intervention specialist) and I will be presenting a free webinar on Effective Counseling Strategies for the Emotionally Destructive Person. If you know someone who is interested in learning how to better work with these people, please let them know of this important FREE webinar. It will be Wednesday, January 20th at 7:30. Registrations are now open. CLICK HERE to register.

 

Question: Since my husband wants to work on our marriage, I believe the right thing to do would be to work on our marriage. But this is not what I want, and not even what I think I am capable of. What advice would you give an abused wife whose husband now wants to work on the marriage, but she feels unwilling or unable to do so?

My husband has been, emotionally, and spiritually abusive to me for 8.5 years. He has been controlling, manipulative, angry, bitter, expecting me to be like him for 8.5 years.

Now in the last week, he has radically changed, at least for now. He is trying to get right with God and telling me he wants to save this marriage and is not giving up on this marriage.

I was not too far away from leaving because he has been abusive and because he has tried to prevent me from following God and from living a Christian lifestyle.

I was planning to leave soon, and was looking forward to it. I am very disappointed that he wants to work on the marriage, because it's not what I wanted, I don't know if this is real or if this is one more way to manipulate me, and I don't like the idea of having to continue to live with him.

He has changed me, and hurt me so much. Can you help me? How do I know if the changes in him are real? How do I deal with my own feelings? Thanks

Answer: Last week I answered a question from a woman who had strong feelings of attachment and didn’t want to let go of her husband even though he said wanted a divorce. You feel the opposite. It’s understandable that you feel done and ready to close this chapter of your life and marriage. Your ready to stop being abused and don’t want to go back to that – ever again. That's good.

Don’t be too hard on yourself for feeling the way you do. Most healthy people would. However, just because you have these feelings, doesn’t mean you should write off the possibility of future reconciliation. You said that you believed the right thing to do was to work on your marriage, especially since your husband showed such a radical change.

But I think you are mixing up two separate but related issues. Your marriage definitely needs work and repair if it’s to be reconciled, that’s a given.

However, his abusive behavior is not a result of his marital unhappiness. It’s a result of his own wrong thinking, inability to handle his own hurt and negative emotions and unreasonable expectations or demands of you and marriage.

That said, for your marriage to be reconciled, your husband will need to accept responsibility for his problem first and do the work he needs to do to change these things BEFORE you can attempt to work together on your marriage problems (whatever they may be).

Why is this sequence important? Because in his mind he abused you because you did something wrong; you made him unhappy or angry. All along he has justified his behavior to himself because of your failures and your sins. Because of his hurt he’s told himself it’s acceptable to hurt you back. Therefore if you start with marital counseling, it will become about you changing so that he doesn’t feel hurt, disappointed, or angry. That’s the same merry-go-round you’ve been on for years, only now with a counselor  “helping you change.”

Your husband’s entitlement attitude (I’m entitled to a wife who never hurts me, never upsets me, never angers me, never disappointments me) doesn’t get addressed, nor does his rationalization or self-justification. It becomes about you dancing harder to make sure you become what he needs you to become so he doesn't get upset.

In the marital counseling your counselor may also encourage him to care about your needs. However, the basic issue of wrong thinking and entitlement is usually never confronted or healed.

In every long-term healthy marriage there are disappointments, expectations that never happen, some needs that are unmet, and times when one spouse feels angry at the other. However, in all that messiness, abusive behavior is not the response. Instead there is constructive communication, discussion, forgiveness, and reconciliation (tweet this).

Your husband must come to understand the truth. He didn’t abuse you because you disappointed him or hurt him or angered him. He abused you because he chose to and felt entitled to. This is what he must work on before joint marital counseling will really make a difference. He must learn to handle his own anger, disappointment, and hurt in ways that are non-abusive. When he has learned do that, then there is hope for true reconciliation.

How will you know if that’s happening? For starters, it might be that you tell him that before you’re willing to consider joint counseling, he needs to get help for himself as to why he felt justified in treating you this way all these years. See how that goes over and whether he actually does it. Does he still want reconciliation if that’s what you need for him to do first? Or does he want it his way and on his terms?

How will you know change is happening? Here’s what the rough roadmap looks like. Ask yourself, “Is he growing in self-awareness” – does he look at why does he do the things he does or does he still blame you or others? When he sees he repeats behaviors or attitudes that are hurtful, is he developing self-control so he can stop them?

Is he growing in humility – a willingness to get help, listen to wise others, submit himself to accountability, and receive feedback from you when you see him falling back into his old ways? Does he self-correct or is he excusing and justifying?

Is he grateful that you are willing to give him time to work on these changes or is he demanding that you forgive, trust him and reconcile without seeing enough evidence of lasting change?

Is he willing to hear how he has hurt you, ways that his behaviors have been smothering and toxic to you and does he show some remorse and empathy for the pain he’s caused?”

These things show he is growing to be a healthier, godly man, which may give you renewed feelings of love and energy to work on your relationship with him. Without these changes however, there cannot be any real or lasting changes to the marriage.

Meanwhile, you have your own work to do. You said, “he changed me.” While understandable that you feel that way the truth is the only one who can change you is you. Therefore, if you don’t like the person you are right now, it’s a perfect time for you to work on yourself.

You can say to your husband something like, “I’m thrilled that you’re wanting to follow God and be a better man. And, I believe it would honor God if we were able to reconcile our marriage. However, right now I need time. I have my own work to do. I don’t like the person I’ve become in this marriage and I know I don’t want to return to the marriage the way it was. I don’t think marital counseling is the right choice for me because I don’t think either one of us is at a good place do sustain that kind of work. I’m going to work on me and I hope you work on you.”

You’ll see if “change” is really happening in him if he hears you, allows you to have a voice and gives you the space you need right now without pressure. Otherwise, it’s still manipulation, albeit a nicer version of it, but still manipulation.

Friends, how did you know change was real and how were you able to keep your heart open in the meantime?

80 Comments

  1. Kate on January 13, 2016 at 7:32 am

    Leslie, your blogs always come at just the right time. I have recently divorced an emotionally abusive man. He claimed he had changed many times, but the changes were always short lived (2-6 weeks). Then the blame and demands began all over again. He still claims he has changed but even now that we are divorced I’m getting ranting texts about things that happened 25 years ago. Thankfully my counselor helped me insist on ‘sustained change over time’ so eventually I was able to get free, but I still struggle with feeling like maybe I should have done more. Your blog helps me let go of some of that and rest knowing that I was not asking too much of him. Your books and resources have been such a help through the whole journey. Thank you.

    • liz on February 5, 2016 at 11:44 am

      thank for the comment. I’m in a 13 yr cycle of abuse. This article is where I am. He’s done “everything” but change, demands me to move back in or divorce them will not file papers he’s threatened to do Can’t even trust him to divorce me. Now in the last 3 weeks after silence he sends me an email he’s “praying for reconciliation. I can’t even respond any more……….

  2. susen on January 13, 2016 at 9:06 am

    One or two weeks of sack cloth and ashes is not indicative of change after years of abuse. Of course he didn’t want a divorce . . . I was essentially taking away his slave. Even a bratty kid is good the week before Christmas.

    I do not believe a leopard can change his spots.

    When I was a mere shell of a person, ready to give up on life itself, I was given another chance at life with the miracle of his walking out the door.

    I filed for divorce, but told him that if he had really changed that we could try again in a year. I had to have a year to heal.

    Of course we went to counseling, but he heard only what he wanted to hear. In one of our last conversations, he said, “If I take responsibility for all of the bad stuff, then I would commit suicide. You don’t want that, do you?”

    He didn’t want me back, he wanted his well-trained slave back.

    Lesley says we choose to change. Yes, but only if we know we have the right to choose. Somehow I missed that lesson. I think it is the most important lesson we can teach our daughters.

    May God bless each of you on your journeys. susen

    • CBPP on January 13, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      As Leslie would say, “Tweet this” or in other words THIS IS IMPORTANT! What you said is so good I am going to repeat it for everyone.

      “Leslie says we choose to change. Yes, but only if we know we have the right to choose. Somehow I missed that lesson. I think it is the most important lesson we can teach our daughters.”

      I grew up in a great family but as I approached 60 yrs old, I came to realize the reason I put up with too much in my dating and now 41 years of marriage was that I was dominated by my older sister’s needs, wants and desires so I did not learn that I had a right to my own feelings, how to form or express my feelings or that I should expect reciprocity in a relationship.

      • susen on January 14, 2016 at 7:31 am

        CBPP~I am blessed that my post resonated with you and joyful that you have had the insights into your family that you need to go forward to a healthier place.

        Working out family of origin stuff has been a life-long quest for me. As with everything else in my life, I tackled this with a fervor–get it all figured out, put it in a box, and get on with it. Ha! It’s taken me many years to come to grips with the fact that no matter how enthusiastically I pursue the “whys and wherefores,” the only real truth is God’s Truth. The only real plan is God’s Plan. The only real peace is God’s peace. So, while it is a twist on the old cliché, “Let go and praise God” has blessedly replaced my all too human need for the answers to the unanswerable “why’s” of this life.

        I have been given the gift of today. Please, Lord, let me live it well.

        God’s peace be with you. susen

    • liz on March 7, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Got the email that I have a problem with his personality..after 14 months of separation and telling him it was abuse and him admitting it. He’s back to a personality issue. Then the divorce is not biblical so he will not be part….. bible verses. Well if he was so worried about being a biblical person he would treat me correctly and I wouldn’t have a problem with him. It’s like he doesn’t hear what he’s saying…..How’s that for the crazy cycle….

  3. HisEzer on January 13, 2016 at 9:21 am

    As usual, great advice.
    “Is he willing to hear how he has hurt you, ways that his behaviors have been smothering and toxic to you and does he show some remorse and empathy for the pain he’s caused?”

    If not able to acknowledge these things, it is so true that his appearance of wanting reconciliation is only that – an appearance. It is really just more manipulation in disguise…

    • Lonelywife07 on January 16, 2016 at 1:02 am

      Very, very true!! My husband never shows any remorse, so now I’ve stopped trying to get him to try to understand my pain…he just doesn’t have it in him.

      • Roxanne on January 17, 2016 at 1:28 pm

        We have come to the realization that my husband does not know how to empathize and also lacks perception skills. Any other opinion other than his goes thru a filter of self. He corrects people because that is “not what he was saying.” This happens because he can’t empathize nor perceive others as individuals with their own perceptions. So counseling is long and slow as a man tries to learn empathy and the right for others to exist beyond his concept of self. These are all things a healthy person should have developed in childhood. So to support the blog, even if you do talk yourself into working on the marriage, only he can do the work and very few people ever make much progress.

  4. A on January 13, 2016 at 10:09 am

    A big I would stress is he willing to be accountable.

    Leslie said that, but this one ended up being a big one for me before I left. He was willing to tell me anything, but would lie to other to make himself look better. He wasn’t really ready to be honest with others.

    The ‘should I stay or should I go’ book has a great two chapter guide on what the men can do to get help. Its by Lundy Bancroft. (I don’t believe he is a Christian writer but it was very informative for me after doing Leslie’s classes) It’s for the abusive partner to do on their own. Leslie, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to share that or not since it’s not your book.

  5. Jennifer on January 13, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I told my husband (who sounds exactly like this and his anger results from his past issues that he can’t come to terms with), that I was through the day after New Years. He has now moved out and Friday he is filing for divorce. I’ll be honest, once I had that courage there was no stopping me the faster it’s over the better. My teen girls (from my 1st marriage, which was also emotionally and verbally abusive were his main attack, then me because he thought I taught them their so called disrespect). Our house is so calm and happy. My girls and I talk, they come out of their rooms and even have friends over. I was through believing he was “better” and in a few weeks it was the same old stuff. I still pray hoping I’m doing what God wants me to do, but I have to believe I’m doing the right thing for us.

    • K Michelle on January 13, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      Wow! Really? You know my husband travels for work often. When he’s gone, the kids and I have a grand ole time. The atmosphere is so light. Refreshing. We can breathe.

      • Lonelywife07 on January 14, 2016 at 9:55 am

        Same here K Michelle, my kids don’t even ask where their dad is, or when he’s coming home, if he made it safely to his destination…they simply don’t care, nor do I.
        He’s a very unhappy person, he acts like a grumpy old man when he’s home and he feels that we should all worship and adore him, because he works hard for us to “give” us nice things…except we all know he buys “things” so he can brag about how he “spoils us!”
        I pray all the time for my husband to leave on a business trip, and thankfully God hears and answers prayer and my husband is gone about 10 days a month, which allows me to refresh and be able to breathe.

      • Jennifer on January 15, 2016 at 10:03 am

        Yep, exactly. Today he’s filing and after text messages yesterday I’m so relieved it’s over.

    • Jenni on January 13, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      Jennifer, this gives me hope for better days ahead. I am in 2nd marriage with 2 kiddos from previous marriage. I am still in the storm and dread going home, going to bed, waking up and facing ANOTHER day in my personal Hell. No one truly understands the struggle. Sure, it may look good in pictures or face-value, but there’s so much going on internally and behind the scenes. I was done after this weekend – he called my 11 yr old a B (in front of her, I might add). I am done with the abuse. Just waiting on that tax check (although this weekend, I was ready to just LEAVE). Thank you for giving me hope for brighter days.

      • Jennifer on January 15, 2016 at 10:09 am

        Jenni, that sounds like my husband. I truly believe my girls were just an expense and hassle for him. You can do it. I’m a little worried about being able to pay rent and now a car payment but I believe God has a plan. He refuses to help and said he won’t support us at all. Trying to split taxes and stuff.

    • Robin on January 13, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Go Jennifer– so happy for the freedom you are experiencing!!!!????

  6. Maggie on January 13, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    I think someone must be secretly giving you my diary when you make these posts.After years of abuse I have gone through these kinds of questions. There really has not been change. He also went and tried to sabotage my friendships with others by telling them I was hard hearted and unchristian for not reconciling. I calmly explained why when people came to me and eventually he couldn’t maibtain the charm and showed his true colors. I am very sad but I have a hope I haven’t had in a long time.

  7. […] keep our eyes open and arm ourselves with knowledge! Anyway, article is here-it's a great read! He Wants To Try, But I Don?t | Leslie Vernick- Christ-Centered Counseling Peace to y'all today-one day closer to […]

  8. K Michelle on January 13, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Hello, my name is Michelle. I am currently in such a relationship as described by the posts before me. We are a blended family with the youngest child between us.my biggest issue is trying to know where the line of devestation for my kids is. To stay seems devastating to my two older ones. To leave, even temporarily, could devastate my 5 yr old. Yes, there is favoritism. Now there are moments of what seems like change. It’s short lived. When something happens, blame begins again.
    If it weren’t for my youngest (he loves both his parents so much), it would be an easier decision. I would definitely protect my two oldest ones at all cost. But there is my youngest to consider also.
    So, I just keep praying for guidance, new solutions, searching my heart for what’s wrong within me that I can change,…

    • CBPP on January 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Have you thought about how your 5 year old sees and hears all the destructive talk and will incorporate it in their life. “If it is happening to them, it might happen to me, therefore I must be perfect, avoid expressing my feelings, be a people pleaser”, etc. If your 5 year old is a male, he will use his father as his model of how to view life and treat women. If your 5 year old is a girl, she will never have the proper love of a father to help form her proper view of life, of men, of sexuality. Both boy and girl will suffer from their perspective of God being like their earthly father.

      My NPD husband is the most destructive to myself and our oldest son. The 2 younger sisters did not get that kind of treatment but they grew up learning to stuff feelings, to be people pleasers, to develop eating and body illness disorders even though they are beautiful, Godly women but they did not feel beautiful, and to fear relationships with men so they did not really date till they were almost 30 yrs old .

    • Robin on January 17, 2016 at 1:14 am

      K Michelle- instead of being so focused on each child’s needs if there was a separation, it might be more beneficial for you to make a decision based on what is best for you first as God guides. The children will come around if Mom is getting healthy and is at peace. But i will say staying at n a unhealthy relationship is not healthy for children and there is a great cost . Consider carefully making a next step towards getting healthy and protecting your children!!!

  9. Angela on January 13, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Leslie, thank you for this. I have been “stuck” for over a year now. I left my pastor husband of 33 years 15 months ago, after verbal, emotional, spiritual and sexual abuse. He is waiting me out, telling others I am impaired because I’m going through menopause ( I am not.). I struggle with proceeding, and there is a terrible deadness inside regarding him. I am so much better when I am seperate from him.

    • K Michelle on January 13, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      Terrible deadness? I’m afraid I sometimes know what you mean. It is terrible and scary. I don’t want to feel that way. I try to think of a time long ago when I felt love, not deafness. This concerns me.

  10. Karen on January 13, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    I will speak from the perspective of one who has bent over backward to try everything to save her marriage with an emotionally, financially and occassionally physically abusive and porn addicted and at the very least, emotionally unfaithful husband. I am at the tail end of the self healing year of separation and although he “says” he is changing and wants help to do so he has not done much to get the deep help he needs at all. I even left him two books to read nearly a year ago Leslie’s and Intimacy Anorexia by Doug Weiss. I read them both in 4 days. He has only read the first few chapters of doug’s very breif book. I told him when i left that if he wanted any chance to reconcile he needed to understand those books and why i could not live there any longer and prove he was following their advice and really getting the help he so desparately needs……………..crickets. After last night being the first evening we purposely spent time together in about 6 months he proved he still wants to take the easy way out and working on himself is not a concept he understands at all. I had to bail his car out of car jail because he chose to park in a tow zone……….no sleep until after 5 am this morning. Par for the course with him………i am always put in the position of being Mom and i can no longer do this after 38 years. When he parked there i calmly said well i hope your car is here later……..but would not argue as i would have in the past. I am now totally exhausted and drained 2 days before I am to leave on vacation with my sister —- which may have been his intention all along as it would fit in with his passive aggressive abuse style………i do believe folks CAN change but can not be forced to do so. If they do not want to be a better, kinder, more loving and less self centered and hurtful individual nothing you can do or say will convince them to do so. The year of working on yourselves separately will make your future clear as a bell………and you can finally hear God’s voice again away from all the noise, static and stress of dealing with the ongoing abuse, indifference to your pain and entitlement of a spouse who doesn’t seem to return your love, effort or sacrifice at all.Praying for each of you who need this clarity..

  11. Francis on January 13, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    The root problem lies in two mayor things here. One is the word “try” in the title…
    My opinion, ‘you either “DO” or you “DON’T”! Someone who is “trying”, will eventually find an excuse why it did not work.
    ( I found out the hard way)
    In love there is no “trying”.
    Try what…? Work on the marriage.., which brings us at the second problem.
    The “marriage” is a good! It is a sacred bond between a man and woman. This is Gods design and when it is Gods design, believe me no work is needed. The main concern should be on this man, his main concern is the man he is… The work is on him and if he hasn’t lived up to fulfill the role of husband. Changes are he never will! And especially not when the man is willing to just try.

    When someone repents a sin in scripture and Jesus forgives him, and delivers them, Jesus is not saying:
    Go, you are forgiven, “TRY” not to sin anymore. Jesus commands,” DO NOT” sin anymore!

  12. Leonie on January 13, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Leslie – thank you for this enlightening post. God is definitely using you to bring us truth! I am seeing this with the child protection agency that is helping us with custody issues now. Everyone is so eager to give my ex the benefit of the doubt and they all mistakenly believe that he is a good, kindhearted normal man like everyone else. Then they put it on me to fix his rages and explosive outbursts (while our daughter is in his presence/custody) while complying with his bail conditions to stay 200 meters away from him. They put equal responsibility on both of us and now the people with the masters degrees are saying his rages are a result of the custody conflict???
    My answer is in this post – it is a result of wrong thinking and entitlement thinking. I can not stop his rages and I left him because I was refusing to be exploited, denigrated, physically, emotionally and financially abused and treated like a slave by this man any longer. He used to boast that Canadians are stupid and easy to take advantage of (he is Nigerian – don’t worry I have met many wonderful, kind, genuine Nigerians too!) and that women are a dime a dozen and he will just move on to the next and he will be sneakier, play smarter and have it better with the next one! There is no end to his specialness, it is all a game of wits for him (yes, there really are men out there prowling for a sucker like this) and I am so worried that our daughter will have to go and live 1/2 time with him under court order! Please pray for her protection. When I met him my mistake was the same as everyone else’s, I believed him and gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought he was nice and had a general attitude of goodwill toward people in his life! The truth is he is a master of deception, an exploiter, a good pretender and has everyone fooled. I am praying that those in positions to make life altering decisions for our daughter will not be fooled by his facade and truth and her safety will be upheld. No one wants to believe that someone they meet that is slim, fit, good looking, has a job and appears normal or nice – is not like they are, that they can be liars, masters of manipulation and exploitation and deliberately have a heart filled with evil that manifests once you get to know them and only to those closest to them.
    I don’t think women that have had their hearts closed by being abused by their spouses should try keep their hearts open. The spouse that wants his wife to stay needs to do the work of repentance and change then slowly her heart will open as trust is rebuilt, by him the long hard way by demonstrating true change and love consistently over a long time. A man who has truly changed won’t have to say it, she will see it, it will be obvious and he won’t need to claim it and try to convince her with words. (Words are plentiful when the action is missing).
    I like what Susen said about taking a year to heal, that is brilliant!

    • susen on January 14, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Dear Leonie~

      You and your family remain in my heart and nightly prayers.

      Well, I offered him the opportunity of that year, but his actions only proved his unwillingness or inability to change. And that released me to tend to my own healing and growth and missteps.

      Today’s devotional in “Jesus Calling” was about pretense, and that is what the remainder of my post concerns. (I love knowing that so many are reading the same page each day as I read from that book! It’s “two or more gathered in His Name.”)

      I hope that sharing the following story will help you. My “rebound marriage” (Oh WHY didn’t I read more books before I took that step! But I wasn’t ready to listen yet!) lasted nine months. I was one of those “dime a dozen” your ex speaks of. However, this predator attitude towards others will eventually take its toll one way or another because your ex, too, is a child of God and there are lessons in store for him, as well, that are between him and his Father. There was nothing I could have done to have prevented my husband’s suicide. He gave up on life. Thanks be to God, I didn’t.

      I understand your frustration at the legal system and the need to protect your child. I’ve been there. Trust your gut instincts and trust in God.

      Making a case to “blind justice” requires level-headed action and trust in God’s Plan. I’m in a legal mess with my eighty-four year old mother who will stop at nothing to get her way. She presents herself very well–a still beautiful woman with all the social graces intact . . . whose one remaining goal in life (now that my dad is gone) is to destroy me and she has plenty of money (and pills) to see her through the process.

      I have to make a case on paper. Practice much self-restraint. Trust in God. Praise Him for this opportunity to employ all that I have learned. And enjoy the blessings of today.

      May God bless you with peace, dear Leonie. susen

  13. Amy on January 13, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    It can feel so difficult to discern whether an abuser is truly sincere about wanting to change. When my ex walked on me and our boys in ’09 after 20 years of an abusive marriage I felt a peace like I’d never had before. I felt like I could breathe again, didn’t walk on eggshells in a constant of worry and actually started feeling happiness again.
    My ex put on the same ol’ act of being willing to do anything, but I truly didn’t want him to try because I was so dead inside and so very done with that marriage. But things very quickly came out after he left that showed me he had not and very likely was not going to change. He sent me nasty emails, closed a couple bank accounts out from under me, told people I had kicked him out when in reality he left on his own and whenever I tried to discuss things in my feeble attempt to try and work something out, it was all thrown back in my face. His words were empty and meaningless to me.

    I like the explanation Leslie gives on why joint marriage counseling typically doesn’t work in cases of abuse. To me, from my personal experience and what I hear from other women, it is a joke and usually just puts more pressure on the victim to try harder, forgive and move on. After all, we’re told, it takes two in a marriage…but I disagree! It takes two to get married but it only takes one to destroy that marriage. And no matter how hard one person tries to save an abusive marriage it is fruitless if the abuser will not acknowledge and take responsibility for his issue which is the true cause of a fractured marriage.

  14. Aleea on January 13, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Leslie, I love your list! DOES HE: understand the truth? handle his own anger? his disappointment? his hurt? Is he growing in self-awareness; self-control; humility; accountability; self-correcting; Is he grateful that you are willing to give him time to work on these changes or is he demanding that you forgive, trust him and reconcile without seeing enough evidence of lasting change? *That is Beautiful*

    Listen, I totally forgive you but I can’t be with you anymore because it is making me completely ill and unhealthy. I’m not asking you to change but I am going to change and get healthy and I can’t be around you while I am working on my own issues. I am just way too fragile and susceptible to manipulation and your influence. Listen, you don’t ever have to change for God to love you. He will always love you and He loves you just the way you are because that is what Grace is all about. That said, God may love you, but I don’t love you. In fact, I hate you and that is why I can’t be around you. I need to love you to be around you and I don’t. I can’t have you around while I am trying to get my heart back open. To me, change is real when I don’t see any more agendas. Don’t ever give up on yourself, God will never ever give up on you, but I will.

    A very important relationship exists between guilt, the Law, and Repression. Grace is the only mechanism for lasting change. Grace doesn’t ask or demand that you change anything but only God can operate like that because He is God. A husband saying “I won’t_________ or _________ or _________” leads only to dealing with symptoms, rather than the real crux of the issues. Shaming, blaming, shoulding only fuels addictions. How do we create an atmosphere of love, grace and acceptance where people are not told what to do? I don’t think we can, only God can do that work. The difficulty of living in a life of “love, grace, and acceptance” is that these things are impossibly hard. This is why it is much easier to externalize our faith into ethical principles, biblical knowledge, or coat our language in so much biblical jargon. Love drives people toward Christ. Guilt drives them away from Him. In other words, while there are destructive things we do, they can only be brought to the true healing light without fear of condemnation. That is God’s work totally! Everything else sends the whole thing underground. It just morphs. A state of grace cannot co-exist with judgement. -God’s work start to finish!

  15. CBPP on January 13, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    As I read the original post, I keep thinking of things Leslie has said in previous posts, so I went back to my notes and looking in the blogs. I think everyone will find it good to review the wisdom that is given her by Leslie ( Since this is such a long post with 5 blog posts mentioned, I have used divider lines between them)
    ————————————–
    The Fruits of Repentance
    Excerpt from Leslie Vernick blog dated November 29, 2010

    “We must be discerning of an individual who may be sorrowful, but not necessarily repentant of their abusive behaviors. Here are some of the things I look for when trying to discern if someone is truly repentant:
    1. They accept full responsibility for their actions and attitudes (no blame-shifting).
    2. They acknowledge their brokenness and sinfulness in detail.
    3. They recognize the effects of their actions on others and show empathy for the pain he/she caused.
    4. They are working to develop new behaviors and attitudes of healthy relationships.
    5. They can an accept consequences without demands or conditions.
    6. They are willing to make amends for the damage they caused.
    7. They are willing to make consistent changes over the long term.
    8. They are willing to be consistently accountable to someone.

    Go through this list. Has your husband shown enough evidence of these 8 steps and do you see specific progress in step 4, working to develop new behaviors and attitudes of healthy relationships? If so, then I think you can be his greatest cheerleader. If not, then perhaps you need to press pause and wait to see the fruits of repentance evidence themselves more fully.”
    ———————————–
    Three Essential Ingredients for A Healthy Marriage
    Excerpts from a document adapted from The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick

    “(1) MUTUALITY means that both individuals contribute specific qualities essential for the care, maintenance, and repair of the relationship. They are honesty, caring, respect, responsibility, and repentance. In marriage, both individuals make efforts to grow and change for the welfare of the other and the preservation of their relationship. Destructive relationships lack mutuality.

    (2)RECIPROCITY means that both people in the relationship give and both people in the relationship receive. Power and responsibility are shared and there is not a double standard where one person gets all the goodies in the relationship while the other person sacrificially does most of the work.

    (3)FREEDOM means that in your marriage you are allowed to make choices, to give input, and to express your feelings without fearing you’ll be badgered, manipulated and punished. When freedom is present, we’re not afraid to be ourselves nor are we pressured to become something we’re not.

    There was a list of 16 questions to answer if see of your marriage would be rated as “healthy”.”
    ——————————–
    Critical Heart Changes For Successful Reconciliation Excerpt from Leslie Vernick blog dated July 16, 2014

    “The following are three heart changes that you must see evidence of because they form the foundation of the change of habit that must occur for reconciliation to be successful. You want to see:
    1. Humility rather than pride
    2. Willingness rather than willfulness
    3. Gratitude rather than entitlement
    ————————————-
    Sometimes Words are Not Enough Excerpt from Leslie Vernick blog dated July 22, 2014

    “When someone says they’re sorry but they don’t back their words up with real and lasting changes in their behaviors, sorry becomes meaningless. It is not enough. John the Baptist says it best when he challenged the religious talk of the Pharisees when he said, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (Luke 3:8).

    “I’m sorry” is important, but it is only a first step. When Zacchaeus, the tax collector, repented of his love of money and extortion of his fellow Jews, he not only felt sorrow, his change of heart moved him into a critical change in behavior. Zacchaeus offered financial amends to the poor and made financial restitution to those he had harmed by his greed (Luke 19).

    Often it takes time to see evidence of the fruits of repentance develop in a sorrowful heart. Like Joseph from the Old Testament did with his brothers, an injured spouse may extend forgiveness but still not be able or willing to offer trust or reconciliation to their spouse until they see evidence over time of changed actions and reactions, especially when tested. (See Genesis 42-46.)

    In areas of repeated serious sin, instead of taking someone’s words at face value, let us encourage them to show their sorrow. It is in the showing that the relationship has the best chance of being restored and rebuilt. To pressure a wary spouse into premature reconciliation can be harmful to her, to her spouse, and to their marriage and family. We do not love well when we collude with someone’s self-deception that all is well when it is simply whitewash.”
    ——————————–
    A Man’s Story – I Am Changing
    Excerpt from Leslie Vernick blog dated July 29, 2015
    In this blog post, a repentant man lists 10 things he is working on to improve and help the marriage work.
    ————————-

    Blessings and prayers to all of you reading this. CBPP

  16. Shar on January 13, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    I hope it works for you ;). We tried counseling & my ex always said he would change but it only lasted a week or so… It’s really hard whichever way you decide but I hope you find peace & happiness. You deserve it. God is by your side ????????❤️❣????

  17. Larry on January 14, 2016 at 8:37 am

    The Lady says to Leslie
    My husband has been, emotionally, and spiritually abusive to me for 8.5 years. He has been controlling, manipulative, angry, bitter, expecting me to be like him for 8.5 years.

    Emotionally, and Spiritually abusiveness is relative. I would ask the Lady for specifics Leslie. My wife says I emotionally abused her, in reality it was because I didn’t always agree with her. If I didn’t she would go away and cry. For instance I wanted to take my daughter to gymnastics one day. She says ” no no that’s my job” I said ” I have never gone before can I go this time” immediately tears started flowing. Was that emotional abuse or was I being manipulated? What does the Lady mean when she says she was spiritually abused? No specifics. Leslie you immediately took sides without the benefit of hearing from the other. You have just solidified the Lady’s position, empowering her to divorce. For all you know she may be a Narcissist and projecting her own identity on her husband, or out right lying. With all due respect Leslie, you have just thrown gas onto the fire. If any marriage partners want to reconcile why would you not encourage that? How do you know what God is doing in His heart, or hers. Always remember what Jesus said about forgiveness, I say to you 70 times 7. God hates Divorce but loves reconciliation after all He reconciled Himself to us when we hated Him. Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts God gives to all Believers. I read your article on Evil People, you were right on. The name for all of the symptoms you described is called Narcissism. These people are infiltrating the church in vast numbers because that’s where they can easily get their emotional needs met i.e. sympathy,money,showing themselves as a poor victim etc. and all the while trashing their spouse, maliciously lying, and eventually gaining support to divorce their spouse thus destroying a family. What GOD has joined together let no man/woman separate. If your book Emotional and destructive marriage empowers any women to divorce her husband as it has with me and my five little girls I would take it off the shelves and beg God for forgiveness. My wife is a narcissist and has an entire documented life of lying, manipulating and destroying people in a very subtle way. She had me arrested for allegedly punching her in the face while pregnant. I never touched a woman in my life. I forgave her even though she never repented until 10 years later. Then she stated in her letter ” I understand your frustration of me for not admitting that you never hit me I can say now you have never hit me but I can’t say that I lied because it was my intention to tell the truth and the spirit won’t let me say that I lied” Please describe to me what you see in that statement (which I have in writing). Please be careful. May God have mercy on you and especially on those who may be using your book to get out of an unhappy marriage and ruin one Gods families. By Grace Larry Melvin, He.issovereign@gmail.com would love to hear from anyone who would like to dialog with me. I am also on face book with my picture as the icon. you can see my beautiful family in the albums section along with a picture of the man that God has created. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words. By Grace, Larry

    • susen on January 14, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Larry~

      I am not prepared to invest the emotion required to enter into a dialogue with you. So I will only say and not comment again that I will pray for you, your family, and the obvious pain that you are in.

      Lashing out at Leslie and condemning her work is not going to gain you any traction. There is godly wisdom available here to those who are in a place to hear.

      May God bless you on your journey. susen

    • Amy on January 14, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Larry,
      Sounds like your wife was abusive, sorry for your hurt and pain.
      That is the type of thing many of us here have experienced. I was married to a man for 20 years who was abusive, much in the way you describe your ex-wife.
      After he walked out on me and our boys seven years ago, God did an amazing work in my life.

      I am now married to a godly man and live in a healthy marriage. There is no doubt in my mind that what I lived with for 20 years was abusive and destroying me and my two boys. I’m grateful every day for the Lord taking that marriage away. Out of the ashes He created something beautiful in my life.

      Have I forgiven? I like to hope so, but forgiving my ex had nothing to do with reconciling with him. That would have been foolishness on my part.

      And a picture can be very deceiving. Anyone can smile for the camera, pose just so and appear a certain way all for the sake of appearing as a healthy happy family, and I did that for two decades of my life.
      My pictures now on my blog and facebook are completely different though from years back. I am happy, healing and full of gratefulness…and it shows!

      I pray that you are in a better place today and glad you no longer live with abuse.

      Blessings!

      • Aleea on January 14, 2016 at 6:45 pm

        Amy!

        I know I have told you this before but we all need to be reminded of this concept from your posting last year (below) and I still find things every day to thank God for because I found/ find what you said so, so powerful. The power is just in how crazy simple it is to do and, yet, even for me (—who looks for a coffin anytime I see flowers, just like my mother taught me) it really works! I spend time every morning thanking God for even little things. So powerful, and I still remember and do it, even on days I doubt everything! Again, God inhabits the praises of His people and if that is not in the Bible it should be or I will just conflate some textual variants/ passages and make it so:) God can really work with us/ reach us when are hearts are thanking Him and grateful. —Everyone, you don’t even have to believe it (—I didn’t at first) just start doing it and see what happens. Having a thankful heart brings blessings to your life.

        “. . . 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! . . . .”

        But how could it be that simple? I have NO idea, maybe to trick people like me who think it is too simple.

    • Amy on January 14, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      Many red flags, ladies. Be careful.

    • Leslie Vernick on January 19, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Larry, this blog is not an arena for me to do “counseling” with anyone. I do not know the people who write in questions so I answer them as if they are factual. I can not call the “other person” to verify facts and get their side as you suggest. That would be impossible. However, in this particular blog I also encouraged the woman that she should not rush into divorce but do her own work and wait and see what changes her husband shows. I’m all for reconciling a marriage but reconciliation takes two people willing to work hard to make the necessary changes. Sadly, most of what I see is only one person willing to work and the other expecting amnesty for all past sins and hurts but no changes.

  18. Larry on January 14, 2016 at 8:47 am

    John 13:34-35English Standard Version (ESV)

    34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    That is a Command. Also forgive how many times? 70 times 7. Forgive forgive forgive. There are no exception clauses in our marriage vows to God. Nope, it is til death do us part. God always honors and heals a marriage that seeks Him. If only one is doing that, then pray pray pray and wait on Almighty God to do a miracle in your marriage. Anyone who is reading this should Check out Rejoice Ministries. By Grace Larry

    • Lonelywife07 on January 14, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Almighty God loves his daughters and doesn’t want us to be abused, all while praying, praying, praying for our husbands to change.
      My God CAN work miracles in a marriage, and sometimes, rarely, that happens….But in most cases these men, who also have free will, do not WANT to change and continue to abuse their wives because many in the church have covered for them by telling their wives to pray and submit to their abusive husbands even more…thus giving the abusive husbands even MORE power!
      I choose to believe that my Father God loves ME more than He hates divorce….and sadly Larry, it’s men like you who help to perpetuate the abuse in many “Christian” marriages today!
      My advice to you Larry…buy Leslie’s books, and read this blog, open your eyes to what is REALLY the truth of Gods word, not the man made version.

    • Amy on January 14, 2016 at 10:26 am

      Larry,

      We are commanded to forgive 70 times 7, but why would you think that has anything to do with staying in an abusive marriage? Forgiveness is necessary to release us from bitterness and hatred towards another person, and it allows God to work in that person’s heart if they are open to His healing. Forgiveness does not equate allowing abuse to continue in someone’s life. That’s stupidity to just stay and let someone hurt you.

      In scripture, we see over and over how God hates violence towards His children, and his command to love again has nothing to do with staying in a destructive marriage in which His children are being destroyed. That’s just foolishness!

      An abuser breaks the marriage vows, not the victim. God can do a mighty work in anyone’s life, but He will not force someone to change their ways. Sometimes He needs to completely destroy something to build something more beautiful.

  19. Lonelywife07 on January 14, 2016 at 10:27 am

    My husband keeps telling me that he’s working on himself, that he is “changing”…even though my children and I all have told him that we don’t see it, he keeps insisting that he’s changing. That’s his delusion, there’s nothing I can do to convince him otherwise.
    I live my life, I have my own interests and friends, and my children, and one day, grandchildren.
    I am trying to stay well.

  20. Aleea on January 14, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    . . . . I used to think I knew a little something but if all these “great” Bible scholars and “serious” Christians of the past totally, completely, utterly missed it on slavery (Missed it HUGE), why would we think the “greats” of today could not be completely wrong too? And very importantly, what else are we totally missing it on? Aren’t wives of abusers just the slaves of today? Studying the past should totally, completely, utterly humble us and cause us to listen well to anyone with a good argument (the arguments are more important than the people making them, the degrees, the denomination, etc.) Why is divorce usually peddled as a last resort? Maybe it is a first resort? Every situation is different and no one ultimately can tell women what to do except the Holy Spirit of God. If a women really doesn’t have the Holy Spirit, what does what the Bible say even matter? The Bible says a lot of different things anyway, RE: divorce, remarriage. . . . . Lord God re-enter history and set this straight!!! We need YOU, not fallible biased humans to tell us, we really missed it on slavery Lord!!! . . . . . . I love that a spouse (going either way) should never tolerate the other spouse harming them. To me, that is consistent with real love and the life of Christ but a lot of people disagree with me and say this life is so brief we cannot risk deconstructing marriage and divorce. But we have totally deconstructed slavery. . . . What would Jesus deconstruct? I just don’t know. When you start doing text deconstruction where does it end? To say I get to make up the meaning of “ἀποστασίου,” or to say, which is even worse, that ἀποστασίου doesn’t mean ἀποστασίου, is superfluous, ultimately some of these words are not capable of holding their own meaning in context. . . . . Anyway, I try to see everything through the lenses of the love of Christ. Source criticism, form criticism, textual criticism, redaction criticism . . . . . Lord, I just want to be free without being intellectually dishonest. What I see a lot of pastors doing, including my own can be summed up as: A Mighty Fortress Is Our Mentality. . . . . Once one has adopted the belief that the Bible must function as the final authority in all matters, some strange results follow. Hermeneutical ventriloquism: The pastor may chant “The Bible said it! I believe it! That settles it!” But in practice this often amounts to “I said it! The Bible believes it! That settles it!” One does the scripture the dubious favor of attributing to it one’s own beliefs. The psychological process goes like this: “My opinion is true. The Bible teaches the truth. Therefore the Bible must teach my opinion.” One suspects that many a pastor has simply become so accustomed to dogmatizing that appealing to the Bible is just his way of asserting the truth of his opinion, wherever he got it. Saying “The Bible says” is tantamount to saying, “Verily I say unto thee…” See, for example: “The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture; WOMEN AND THE TEXTS OF SCRIPTURE; Women in the Early Church; Textual Alterations Involving Women” Look at that volume of redactional inserts to control women. My point is to take back your mental sovereignty. Ask lots of questions. Then ask yourself: What is consistent with real love, with Christ’s love? Jesus in Luke twelve says: “Why don’t YOU judge for yourselves what is right?” You have all the consequences, you have the choices. The solution for “I can’t live this way anymore” is basically, “Good! Don’t live that way anymore.” . . . .How are our beliefs functioning? What are they keeping us from confronting? Beliefs are often used to cover over our serious anxieties and prevent a head-on encounter with this disturbing fact: lots and lots of precious women are abused. We must prevent the Bible from being structurally used as a defense mechanism that provides psychological cover for all forms of abuse, even spiritual.

  21. Leonie on January 14, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Aleea, I am so glad to read this! It reminds me of the run of short verses in 1Thes. 5 where Paul exhorts us to – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus!! … Thanks for telling us the blessings of obeying his word!!

    • Aleea on January 15, 2016 at 8:26 am

      “Thanks for telling us the blessings of obeying his word!!”

      Thanks Leonie, I think I know what you mean!!! . . . .Obeying His word is not rule conformity. I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve the oppressed when I have a clear opportunity to help. I deny the resurrection of Christ each day that I turn my back on the poor and it seems like every day there are more poor. I can’t believe it. I have learned to just walk by them faster and faster. . . . .I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of those exploited by and lend my support to, unjust and corrupt systems. I sit in Starbucks talking about the evils of major corporations and Starbucks is a major multi-national private investment corp. with many violations of foreign corrupt services practices acts. We deny the resurrection of Christ any time we abuse others by text-twisting scriptures (—as well as not disclosing the level of accuracy we actually have about those scriptures) to control them. Jesus wants us to be TRULY free. The things we are told we must/ cannot speak of are the very things about which we must never stop speaking. . . . . . I was sitting in church last week and we were praying for the children in the coca fields in Somalia. . . . . Leonie, you know what I was thinking about? I lent my crock-pot to Susie and she never returned it!!! I have like seven of them, it simply does not matter. I need to face the fact that I simply don’t care about those children and pretending does not make it so. I tell my counselor every time I see her, “I want to bring this ridiculous idealized version “Facebook” version of myself in line with the material reality of me. I don’t want to play hide and seek with myself. I tell myself I am this nice person so I don’t have to face the fact that I deny the resurrection of Christ each day in so, so many ways.” I love praying with my counselor, it is the best thing she does. (—Sorry, Dr. Meier. I know you have so much knowledge but it just is.) and being grateful to God is extremely helpful in getting my heart open too. Grateful is so, so important.

  22. Amy on January 14, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Aleea,
    I’m glad my simple words helped you. It is simple and something I was just talking to a friend about today

    🙂

  23. Anne on January 15, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Thanks for this blog – much truth here. My husband refused to seek individual counseling and would only agree to marital counseling, which fell apart after two sessions with one counselor, four sessions with another. Four years later, the marriage is worse than ever. (We’ve been married 34 years, and we have had very few “good” periods.)

  24. Leonie on January 15, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Jennifer,
    I am sure when you get to court the judge will have something to say about your husband not wanting to share finances and support you & the girls. Are there any social programs that can help until you get on your feet?
    Keep you eyes looking to Gid – cast all your cares on him and he will supply all your needs according
    to his riches in Christ Jesus!

  25. Carolee on January 16, 2016 at 1:02 am

    “However, his abusive behavior is not a result of his marital unhappiness. It’s a result of his own wrong thinking, inability to handle his own hurt and negative emotions and unreasonable expectations or demands of you and marriage.”This helps so much. Thank you

  26. Leonie on January 16, 2016 at 8:59 am

    I think that is so very enlightening because controlling spouses do try to get you to accept responsibility for their unhappiness! (that really keeps us on a treadmill, going around & around trying to fix the unhappiness) when it is not ours to fix!

    • Aleea on January 16, 2016 at 10:34 am

      . . . . Leonie, I think this happens even if there is NOT another person there to project on to. . . . .This is illustrated by a joke you hear in psychotherapy: . . . .So, rescuers were picking up a lone soul who had been shipwrecked and lived on a isolated desert island for 17 years. . . .When they landed the plane to do the rescue they asked to be shown around the island and were accommodated. . . . .“This is my house that I built when I first got here and the building next to it is my church that I built where I go every Sunday to pray and study my Bible.” “What is the building next to it?” “—Oh, I don’t want to talk about that.” “No, tell us what is it?” “—NO, let’s just go, I don’t want to talk about it!” “Come on, just tell us?” “Okay, okay. . . . .That is the church I used to go to!!!” . . . . We always want to put everything out THERE instead of realizing that most of these issues are coming from within. We will do anything not to face ourselves. That is why I have to be ever so careful with scapegoating, projecting, blaming, et.al. When I point a finger, four are pointing back at me. As I said above, in grace (the experience of actually accepting that you are accepted) we can admit to who we are without excuses, or even trying to change. For in grace we accept that we are accepted as we are and don’t have to change anything. The power of grace really comes to light when we realize that it is only as we are able to find this acceptance and admit to our darkness that the darkness begins to dissipate and our basic operating code begins to change. The rest is simply scapegoating, projecting, blaming, et.al. We can only change when we realize we can’t change anything AND we give up all trying, that is where grace can take over; otherwise, the whole thing is forced down and goes underground. You can easily get short-term, unsustainable results with force, that is why everyone uses cloaked/ masked/ “kind” force, except God. . . . I will fully embrace my brokenness because if I don’t, it will always seep out in other ways (—through frenetic activity, self-hatred, hatred of others, etc.) I can generally maintain my inner facebook profile (—the idealized image I have of myself) but only at great expense. Way too expensive. Jesus wants us to be TRULY free, especially from ourselves. (Anyways, that is what I was thinking, could easily be completely wrong. I certainly do not know. A hundred years from now psychologists and researchers will probably be laughing at what we thought.)

  27. Aleea on January 18, 2016 at 5:48 am

    From my e-mail (below) Your return address does not work! &^%$*!!! . . . .So, I am putting it out here hopefully you will see it:

    Re:”Thank God I’m not like them: On shaming people’s defenses as a defense”

    Re: “. . .Apart from anything else, shaming someone for being a narcissist means falling for the lie of narcissism. In short, categorizing people via their symptoms is a reductionist and violent act that allows for dehumanization and lack of empathy. It allows you to distance yourself from others, and to temporarily avoid those parts of yourself that you fear. All of us have defenses, and the game of “thank the lord god above I’m not like them” is evidence of one of them. Narcissistic defenses has no moral dimension. It is simply an unconscious response that an individual employs at certain times in their life. If morality enters in to the discussion, it comes into play regarding the position we take toward our defenses. . . . .”

    . . . I do NOT agree with that!!! My own mother has given me serious PTSD and everyone uses labels, how else can we talk about anything? (—And by the way, I fear all the parts of myself.) In fact, I’m not sure, but I think even therapists use those labels, don’t they? . . . . Listen, I know you think it is wrong to reduce people to some kind of symptom (narcissistic, paranoid, etc.) but don’t we need some words to describe situations? Everyone uses words like narcissistic or paranoid don’t they? I guess we could call it an issue that covers over deep self-shame, self-hatred, self-loathing? Would there be any real difference? I understand that we all have defenses, we all understand that. . . .Some of us are splitting; some employ denial; some engage in regression or displacement. My counselor says like 40 plus defenses exist and people are employing 7 to 15 at a time. That’s a total mess, how are we supposed to know what is going on, especially if we don’t apply some labels? Why are labels —interpersonally exploitative, psychotic, emotionally unavailable, devoid of empathy, etc. wrong??? God labels me a sinner, etc. I guess I don’t understand that but tell me more, I will try to listen but I will have my 15 defenses going too, so it will not be easy.

    What I see the Scriptures teaching:
    He makes me feel loved + smart + attractive + valued + cared for: I STAY
    He doesn’t: I LEAVE ASAP
    Once I leave: THIS IS THE REALLY IMPORTANT PART: I face the facts of being what I am, because that is what changes what I am and ensures I don’t attract/ fall for another —interpersonally exploitative, psychotic, emotionally unavailable, devoid of empathy, ________ (—I know that is more labels and shaming but I don’t know how to say it otherwise.) I have no idea how one gets a new mother but that would be sweet!

    People you encounter in life can’t be controlled by you and that totally drains the life out of them anyway (—Who wants a Zombie?) Don’t you want someone who is full of life and playful and blah, blah, blah? You only have control of yourself (—and I am not even so sure of all this free-will lots of neuroscientists, psychiatrists doing chemical analysis in laboratories don’t think so. . . but let’s assume that because I don’t know what we have got if that is not operating!) Building your life around a relationship with Christ and achieving what you’re passionate about may be the way to do that? When you let go of what you can’t control, that is the path to achieving emotional balance? . . . . See, I am most interested in how your beliefs are functioning? What are they keeping you/us from confronting? Beliefs are used to cover over our serious anxieties and prevent a head-on encounter with this disturbing fact: lots and lots of percious women are abused. We must prevent the Bible from being structurally used as a defense mechanism that provides psychological cover for all forms of abuse, even spiritual. . . . .Maybe I am tea, totally wrong but it looks like Salvation takes place within our unknowing and dissatisfaction, we have to break our idols of addiction to certainty and satisfaction, i.e. you will be dead, so long as you refuse to die (—that is be really crucified in Christ). Christ wants us to crucify our selfish, me-first identities and die with Him outside the city walls, —nasty, nasty, nasty stuff (rejected by the religious, the culture, et. al.) On the Cross, Jesus lost it all. It is beyond our comfort-laden, abundance-filled, self-improvement-addicted culture to understand that, and we (I) am immersed inside that culture —big time.

    * All idols rob us of the type of pleasure that we could have if only we were able to free ourselves from the false promise that something will render us complete (—marriage, money, mojo, etc.)
    * You can easily make an idol out of God Himself (placing God in the same category as marriage, money, homes, family, success, etc.) with the hopes of eventually not feeling suffering any longer (—just using God instead of money, position, marriage, power —to get stuff we want.).
    * The Good News of Christianity: You can’t be fulfilled; you can’t be made whole; you can’t find satisfaction. Not in this world.
    * Instead of God being that which fills the gap at the core of our being, the God testified to in the Scriptures exposes the gap for what it is, —obliterates it, and invites us to participate in an utterly different form of life, one that brings us beyond slavery to ALL idols.

    Our culture of consumerism has turned God into a product to be marketed, something that will satisfy, rather than God as one who cannot be marketed, and has come not to satisfy us, but to free us from our need for satisfaction. Do I really, r-e-a-l-l-y love and want Christ or do I just want Eternal Life and Happiness? (—yes, the later for me —lots of times!!!)

  28. Ruth on January 18, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    i am sad for the lady who posed this question for Leslie. After 8.5 years of a destructive marriage, she be all means should move towards a positive change whether that means counseling for her husband, if he would humbly approach it, or a divorce if his heart is too hard and his mind is too deceived to receive correction.
    My marriage is destructive but not as severe as many on this blog. I’ve purposed to stick it out till my youngest child is in college. At that point, I’ll make a serious re-evaluation of our marriage but divorce is very likely. That’s about 10 years away. That will be 28 years of marriage. I will be 54.

    • Ruth on January 18, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      I wish I had the fortitude to do it sooner. But he would unleash an furious attack if the children were home and I just don’t want to drag them through it. I know even if they’re living away from home that he’ll try to poison them towards me and gain their allegiance. No child should have to ‘pick sides. At least if they’re not living at home they’re exposure to his hatefulness will be minimized.
      Another problem I have is extraordinary anxiety over conflict. It’s not like I want to blindside him with a divorce just to be vindictive, I just can’t stand the idea of how ugly ‘working it out’ would be. BC he would just crush me with accusations of “I yell because you….. And “I’m angry all the time because you….” He’s told how terrible I am for YEARS now. At that point, I think I would rather just throw in the towel.

      • Aleea on January 18, 2016 at 9:11 pm

        Ruth,
        I am so, so sorry. . . . that sounds just soul-crushing. I am praying for you and I have a group that prays for people here too, in case all my prayers don’t make it past the ceiling. I don’t know of anything but counseling for you (without him); prayer, prayer, more prayer and knowledge. Even in counseling, we really have to solve the problems ourselves so read and read and read some more. I know this is your husband but all the women I’ve talked to on this subject of Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, I’ve never encountered a story of someone seeking help. Also, one may forgive but asking to trust is a very different issue. Many adult daughters seek to go “no contact” in order to protect themselves. I was not that smart. Additionally, in reading, even if such a mother sought help, some, like me still have such serious PTSD that even a mother in recovery would feel very unsafe. I was just at counseling today wondering if I will ever feel safe from her. I have so internalized that monster.

      • Marie on February 4, 2016 at 12:50 pm

        Ruth,

        You are living my life as well. I have three children 9, 7, and 5. My priority is their mental health and my husband would also make hell for all of us in a case of a divorce. It breaks my heart. I have spent the whole duration of our 10 year marriage under emotional and verbal abuse. At this point I have so much resentment and anger that I wish he would just walk on. I also am thinking to keep myself well as much as possible until my children are older and at that point make a decision and progress through it. Now it’s hard for me to relate to him knowing what I feel in my heart and don’t know if you feel the same way. I pray so much. Ruth you are not alone.

  29. Desperate on January 20, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Leslie my problem is that my husband does not work but somehow wants to control the finances. Our marriage has dwindled to nothing and we probably stay together for our children’s sake. I think he is still involved in porn.
    He has no savings of his own since he has not worked for years. I pay for all the family’s expenses. I partly funded his studies.I have my own bank account. The church has said that having separate bank accounts is not healthy for married couples and that it is a control issue on my part. I keep my own account as a security measure since our marriage is not normal. I do give my husband the freedom to handle my salary but not my savings. I have helped him out with finances in the past although he turned around and asked me “what have I done for him”?
    He now wants to start his own business since he said that he is too old (56) to work for an organization. He has not said it yet but any funding for his business will have to come from me. He could have found small jobs in the past to help out but he found it unworthy of his time. He could have some savings of his own by now had he worked. Th counselling we have received from church emphasized that I must be submissive and be willing to share my money on equal basis which please God and that this my even change my husband.
    The lawyer I consulted was not a Christian so his advice was not Biblical but more on my rights under the law.
    I think that he is being manipulative as he can be very nice when he wants something from me. He wants joint ownership pf the house too but legally he can only contest for the house in the event of a divorce. I am so upset that he asked for the house since he should have provided a house for the children and me in the first place. I always end up feeling guilty and helping him out as he has no one else. Please help.

    • Roxanne on January 20, 2016 at 1:09 pm

      Do you know the verse, A workman is worthy of his wage? You husband is not working, and has no wage. Please see proverbs regarding sluggards. Is it possible to get counseling outside of your church. Have you called the national domestic violence hotline? You may say, wait a minute, I am not being abused. Yet you are. If you call the hotline, they can find you counsellors in your area, yes, Christian ones too. No, do not give this man any of your savings. His fantasy business is just that. There is plenty of work for 56 year olds. He thinks he is too good for those jobs. No, no, no, you don’t owe him a penny and he shouldn’t be touching your salary. Switch to direct deposit and bring his computer browsing record to your pastor. Expose his porn addiction, you likely know just the tip of the iceberg, because he does all kinds of evil when you are at work and he is free to run amuck.

  30. CBPP on January 20, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    I totally agree with Roxanne in her reply to Desperate!.
    The first thing that came to my mind was 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “Even when we were with you, we were giving you this command: “If anyone doesn’t want to work, they shouldn’t eat.” (CDB version). What you are viewing as helpful and respectful by letting him control the finances appears to me to be more of enabling him to not reap what he is sowing. If he is not working and providing for the family, he does not have a RIGHT to control the spending, especially since he has an expensive addiction.

    As to the “counsel” from your church: They are being abusive to you. It took Leslie’s questions, Are you in a emotionally destructive relationship?” for me to realize that I was not only in an emotionally destructive marriage and that emotion abuse is ABUSE but that I was also in an emotionally destructive relationship with my counselor, who was acting unprofessionally, and with the church leaders that that I turned to get help getting him away from the counselor. All were helping him maintain his “I am the victim” and all were being disrespectful and manipulative to me.
    To Desperate and any others who need to hear this, I urge you to stop talking and listening to those at church as they are involved in “spiritual abuse” when they misuse scripture or do not apply scripture, when they do not hold your husband accountable to the scriptures for his lack of work, his controlling nature, his demeaning of you and/or children, and any addiction (that includes power addiction, too). Seek solid counsel with someone who understands emotional, mental, sexual and spiritual abuse (which includes).

    • CBPP on January 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      * Error in my post.
      That verse was from the CEB version.

      • CBPP on January 20, 2016 at 5:32 pm

        * Error in my post
        Drop the last 2 words.

  31. Michelle on January 24, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Leslie, I appreciate your work and information. You provide info that helps hurting, abused women have hope and strength. In your above response to the question in the article, I see the you wrote, “You said he changed you. The only person who can change you is you.” I need to share that one of the motives of narcissistic abusive men is to cause change to their wives, to mold them into what they need in order to feed their narcissistic supply. When a woman challenges that, he becomes more abusive using crazy-making, gaslighting, isolation, and a number of other techniques to ensure that he is the exclusive provider of defining reality, his reality. The design is to get her to a place where she chooses his reality that she is to blame for the problems, she needs to fix things,etc. It is covert and cunning. It is much like the brainwashing tactics used on prisoners of war. Your comment throws responsibility back in the lap of an already traumatized victim. We need to hear validation that the design of these narcissistic a users is to change their intimate partners in order to feed their insatiable narcissistic appetites and that although they have been victim of this, they can be empowered to help themselves heal and support is available for that. Thank you for all your work in validating us and shedding light on truth.

    • CBPP on January 24, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      Michelle, you have eloquently defined the motivations of the narcissist and the deceptiveness of the brainwashing that happens to the family of one.

      It is difficult to define boundaries with a person who does not believe you have any personal rights and everytime you try to stand up for yourself or the kids, there is, at least, an emotional beating 1) to put you back in the place they have defined for you, 2) to totally avoid the subject, or 3)to turn it around to place the blame on the one who is really a victim. Often, we have to be pushed to the edge of the cliff before we can see the dangerous game plan they have had all along.

    • CBPP on January 24, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      Michelle, you have eloquently defined the motivations of the narcissist and the deceptiveness of the brainwashing that happens in the home of one.

      It is difficult to define boundaries with a person who does not believe you have any personal rights and every time you try to stand up for yourself or the kids, there is, at least, an emotional beating 1) to put you back in the place they have defined for you, 2) to totally avoid the subject, or 3)to turn it around to place the blame on the one who is really a victim. Often, we have to be pushed to the edge of the cliff before we can see the dangerous game plan they have had all along.

    • LA on January 28, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      Hello Michelle,
      Bravo! I agree with what you said about narcs wanting and working hard to change you, they are energy suckers and leave the victim exhausted beyond belief at times. I thought I was going crazy as h spoke out of both sides of his mouth. When I would challenge his words at one moment and the next he says he never said that, but what he meant was… Imknew it was nuts because it couldn’t be both!!! I began to see that his objective was to keep me off balance and that he ” needed” to be the center of my universe! It didn’t matter if it was positive or neg attention, as long as he got the attention… Not being a counselor, not understanding his tactics until a few years ago, left me either jumping through hoops trying to hang onto “Reality” or totally exaughsted, to the point that I just didn’t care… Having another person shame you and blame you and twist words theirs and yours, is an energy that has a devastating affect on anyone! He didn’t change me at my core, but pushed me closer and closer into the arms of my Loving Father!!! So in a sense he was a catalyst for change… he certainly affected my energy, spirit, emotional and mental peace at 1st … So Learning to keep my balance was a change in me… I’ve gotten on an even keel… Things still affect me, but I get back to peace quicker than ever before!!! So did h change me, or did God change me? Or did I choose to change? I’ll have to ponder that!? ???? what I do know is that there was a lot of Oppression in that house, and since I’ve been gone, I am enjoying my freedom and my peace of mind! Like the story of the frog in the water… Put him in boiling and he jumps right out, in a pot where the heat is slowly turned up and he will boil to death… I’m so glad I realized and jumped OUT!!! Sheesh, it took me long enough!!!!
      Just Breathing and Trusting

  32. susen on January 24, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Michelle~

    Excellent post.

    I’d like to readdress the “right to choose.” There are a myriad of reasons (not excuses) that affect a woman’s right to choose. The older we are, the more powerful the reasons because constraints were more effective several decades ago than that are now. But those constraints continue. And that’s what makes Leslie’s work so important!!!!

    Personal: Narcissists are careful to select a hard-working mate who is dedicated to making him the happy part of happily ever after. The quality of self-sacrifice is paramount.

    Familial expectations: I married during college, but my degree was only to be used if something unspeakable occurred. Direct quote from my mother: “She is far too fragile to actually hold down a job.”

    Economic: “Good little wives can’t possibly tend to the home, bear children, and invest themselves in a career.” I was surprised to learn that psychologists were paid by the government during the fifties to tell women that it was detrimental to their children to work outside the home in order to free up jobs for men returning from the war. Also the inequality of pay scale was further justified by its being only a supplemental salary.

    Societal/cultural expectations: Once the thank you notes for china and silver had been sent, I was to set about making a home that reflected my best efforts at a “Father Knows Best” household. Pretense replaced reality. It had to look good from the outside–even if it killed me. Becoming a “divorcee” was a scandalous personal failure that carried shame and made one a pariah.

    Religious expectations: We all are aware of these. And I held myself fully accountable while never considering that his morality, the one I had foisted upon me, was killing me one year at a time.

    The “right to choose” isn’t freely given. For some of us, it must be paid for with a high price. However, this right is the only way to step from the role of “prisoner” to that of a free person.

    Thank you, Leslie, for providing the support to help so many take the steps to free out spirits so that we can emerge from the darkness and begin to fully live in His Light.

    susen

  33. LA on January 26, 2016 at 4:00 am

    Thank you for this answer to this question! I copied and pasted it to my note book and emailed it to myself! After 22 years of this so called “marriage” I finally left quietly… As advised by my counselor. We lost our house in a fire in 2012, 4 mos later I was diagnosed w Breast cancer! All the insurance paperwork was a nightmare on its own, and chemo and radiation and all that goes with it, it was truly a living hell! I went through all with the Lord as my husband! Our insurance agent actually asked me if my h and I were really married!? A complete stranger saw the huge chasm between my h and me! My h had totally “checked out” shamed me and humiliated me in front of strangers and employees, refused to help me with my paperwork because he was totally focussed on his. I could barely function after each chemo treatment and felt totally abandoned by h. It was truly the grace of God and prayers of His people that got me through it all! Our house was finally finished 1 & 1/2 years later and I was exaughsted, worn so thin I could barely function! This is when h decided we “should work on our marriage, I said I’m too depleted and I don’t have the emotional, physical or mental energy to work on anything! Until I can trust you emotionally I quit! No more shame, no more blame and no more telling me that I’m walking in sin because I cannot meet your “needs” ie. sex… No more pressure, I need to heal! When I moved to the spare room, which was upstairs, because he felt entitled to the Master bedroom, he made fun of me, like it was a game? 15 mos later the cancer was back. More chemo, more Rads, I finished this round at the end of April last year, I had called a lawyer the previous Nov and was waiting till after the holidays and gaining strength to file. The diagnosis came in Jan. 2015. He told me if we were going to live like roommates, I needed to get a job and pay 1/2 the bills! I said we’ve been living like roommates for 15 years, the only difference was you got “benefits” ie sex, then … We were never friends and never have had an emotional connection or spiritual connection, so the benefits stop now! When you can see and own the damage your attitudes have done to this “so called marriage” I’ll be willing to work on it and not a moment sooner! And…. He checked out again! So in Nov. I left quietly the morning that he “forgave me” for having anxiety attack after his tirade… I filed for a Divorce and I haven’t been back since! I haven’t regretted it for more than 1 minute. My level of peace shot through the roof as my anxiety dropped to the floor. He was shocked of course, but he will get over it! I pray for him and ask that God bless him as he works through this loss. I’m still in treatment but I just couldn’t do one more second of his condescension…
    Just Breathing and Trusting

    • roxanne on January 27, 2016 at 1:10 am

      LA, you sound like a remarkable woman to me. How are your treatments going? Has your prognosis improved? Seems like you are entitled to a huge survivor party or at least a blow out vacation, when treatments are over and the divorce finalized. Talk about being set free. Great work respecting yourself and pulling away from evil.

      • LA on January 28, 2016 at 4:16 pm

        Hello Roxanne,
        Thank you for your kind words! I am learning that I am a remarkable woman! However, I think we all are! I believe that everyday, keeping our heart alive and surviving the traumas that life can bring makes us all remarkable!
        My treatments are going well, no longer actual Chemo drugs, but hormone blockers… I get an infusion through my port every 3 weeks, I will be on this treatment indefinitely… Which essentially means when it quits working and or if the cancer comes back. I was dx at stage 4, so far so good! I don’t know how long I have, but God does! He alone holds the # of my days. Of course I pray that God heals me so that I don’t have to deal with it anymore! So, BC caused my daily life to come into very sharp focus… I saw clearly what I longed for and walked step by step with God through the process of “getting out of the mud” realized I had been spinning my wheels and now that I’ve left h I’m out of the “rut” and off his hamster wheel completely! Life is so much better from where I’m standing now! I am no longer concerned and distracted by h and what he thinks and what he says and what he believes… I can finally focus on the things God has shown me and continues to show me about the important things of life… I am so very grateful for these warrior women on this blog and the many truths spoken here! Thank you again for your kind words, I hope that you too are in a good place in your life! Let me know!
        Just Breathing and Trusting

  34. LA on January 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I’ve read through this original post again this morning and the truth and grief is overwhelming. I have a 21 year old son who still lives with his dad, he is our son. He is very loving and we are doing our best to continue to love each other and sort through this mine field. However the last time we spent some time together he sounded exactly like his dad and I asked him to leave. This was very difficult for him and for me. I pray it’s not too late to teach him again and some more about the love and grace of God. My h is very legalistic and I’m all about grace and mercy. My son knows this but he is struggling to find God’s truth for himself. Any prayers or advice would be appreciated! My son has a tender heart however I am am a concerned mom when I hear him repeat what he is hearing from his dad. I haven’t seen a post on how to deal and heal with adult children after filing for a divorce. I have two adult children from a previous marriage and this was difficult for them at 1st until they put their heads together and remembered how difficult it was for them to live with h as their step dad. They are managing to have a relationship with h and me as they each have a grandchild and are navigating this very well! Thank you God for their wisdom! I am staying in touch with my son and praying God continues to walk him through these difficult waters as he works through his grief about my leaving and as he deals 1st hand with his dad’s reaction.
    Just Breathing and Trusting

    • Angela on January 26, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      It can be heartbreaking when you feel a sense of rejection from adult children! As much work on boundaries and codependency issues as I have done, this mother’s heart is still easily bruised sometimes!
      My very legalistic pastor husband forcibly sodomized me, among other things. I struggle with how much to share with my kids. They are judgemental, and sadly, I helped to raise them that way. I should have stood up to their dad long, long ago. He wants me to come back, but my heart cannot. I know too much.

      • LA on January 26, 2016 at 4:42 pm

        Hi Angela,
        I’m so sorry for the trauma that you lived through! How horrid!
        I struggle too with how much to share with my son. My girls have their own understanding of my heart and why I left because they lived through some of his crazy behavior. In some ways I Thank God it wasn’t frequent, and rarely directed at them. However, the infrequency also kept me from leaving sooner and my heart was torn for my son who looked up to his dad. All I know is I did the best I could with the understanding that I had! I’m learning more and more how to be kind and gentle with myself as my Lord is ever so kind and gentle with me! His conviction always comes with encouragement and gentleness. For He alone knows how I need to be spoken to in order to heal from all of this. My adult children and I have always had loving relationships. But I can tell when my son has spent too much time listening to his dad. It breaks my heart to hear him repeat to me in the form of accusations, what he’s been told by h. I believe if I continue to ask him the right questions in order to give a different perspective, he will grow to understand more about respect and lack of respect in relationships? The other night for instance, he said how am I supposed to ever trust a woman if you are going to just give up and take 1/2 of everything!? And I said, ” son, more importantly, it is your responsibility to be found trustworthy, women will trust a man who shows himself trustworthy with their heart and their soul. You build a relationship with a woman treasuring her and loving her, Not by shaming and blaming her! If you Learn to be humble enough to own your mistakes and apologize, there isn’t a woman that I know of who wouldn’t trust you with her heart! She too must be able to reciprocate this humility with you! It’s about sharing hearts, not controlling people, it’s about loving and caring and being true to yourself! Learning to be that vulnerable is difficult, but as you are loved and honored and accepted in that place of vulnerability, you learn who to trust and how to be trustworthy as well, with the heart of another!”
        It is more about reciprocity than we may ever understand! God’s kingdom is about giving and receiving… We reap what we sow every time… I know my son loves the Lord and is still a babe in Christ, I’ve done what I can to teach him what I know, and where I’ve failed, I believe God’s grace will fill in the gaps. This is my prayer…
        Just Breathing and Trusting

        • Angela on January 26, 2016 at 6:08 pm

          LA, What wise, beautiful words you were able to share with your son! The truth will stand, as will God’s unfailing love.

          • LA on January 27, 2016 at 1:03 am

            Thank you Angela, sometimes I surprise myself when the words flow like butter! I wish I could be that articulate all the time! I’ve asked the Lord a long time ago, to help me paint pictures with my words like He does with the parables He spoke. He’s done a very good job teaching me, but now I’ve asked that He teach me to ask the right questions in order to redirect the responsibility that we carry to be God aware and self aware… It’s been a tough learning curve and requires a lot of thought, but sometimes I am able to just allow it to flow… Still learning… Feels like I’m still in kindergarten!

            Just Breathing and Trusting



  35. […] someone here posted a link to this article a while ago: He Wants To Try, But I Don't – Leslie Vernick- Christ-Centered Counseling Here is a quote from it that you might find relevant: …in his mind he abused you because you did […]

  36. kay on July 4, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Hi,
    Thank you for sharing,where does anyone begin to explain all the pain and heartache of 31 yrs of hell and confusion my marriage in . Abuse suc__s from parents to sexual abuse 3 preditors for me before the age of 12. Not to mention the alcoholics in my family .Struggle as I may I cant get a .break for happiness.I am working on me now, one step at a time. After being sexually abused by my husband. A womans SHELTER director and counselor ABUSED ME, AND extorted money from me.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 4, 2016 at 9:21 pm

      That’s awful kay. Have you reported the counselor to the state licensing board for malpractice?

    • CBPP on July 4, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      ( I posted this earlier but realized that you might not see it if you only signed up to get replies to your comment, so I am reposting it here, too)

      Kay, I hear your pain and disgust that abuse keeps showing up in your life. I am glad you hear you say, I am working on me, one step at a time. Obviously, your boundaries were violated when you were very young and it is hard to realize you have a right and a need to set boundaries. I have found that wen you draw the line with anyone, it helps you draw the line with the most difficult people in your life. It takes practice.

      I would suggest you get proper counsel on bringing into the light the sin of abuse by the women’s shelter director and counselor.Reporting abuse will help you realize the power that you do have to make things change. I had to report a bad counselor and it was very empowering! It ends up she was not licensed to be one.

      REPORT it to the authorities! I am not sure what the abuse entailed but extortion is a crime. Abuse is a crime. Misusing a position of authority is a crime.There are many authorities that need to know of this! You do not want this person or organization to hurt others. You can stop abuse. Seek good counsel and make a plan. Call abuse hotlines if needed to have someone to talk to about this. REPORT it to the police and ask for an investigator to help you report it to other authorities. These people need to know: the board of directors of the shelter, the state licensing office that issues the credentials for the shelter, and the state licensing office that issues and oversees counselors.If the shelter is financially supported by any churches or other local civic organizations, let them know. Call free Legal Aid organizations to see how they might help you report this abuse.

      Praying for your strength to follow through with this. This is step one to the new, stronger you.

    • CBPP on July 4, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      ( I posted this earlier (July 4, 2016 at 8:39 pm) but realized that you might not see it if you only signed up to get replies to your comment, so I am reposting it here as a reply to your comment)

      Kay, I hear your pain and disgust that abuse keeps showing up in your life. I am glad to hear you say, ” I am working on me, one step at a time.” Obviously, your boundaries were violated when you were very young and it is hard to realize you have a right and a need to set boundaries. I have found that when you draw the line with anyone, it helps you draw the line with the most difficult people in your life. It takes practice.

      I would suggest you get proper counsel on bringing into the light the sin of abuse by the women’s shelter director and counselor.Reporting abuse will help you realize the power that you do have to make things change. I had to report a bad counselor and it was very empowering! It ends up she was not licensed to be one.

      REPORT it to the authorities! I am not sure what the abuse entailed but extortion is a crime. Abuse is a crime. Misusing a position of authority is a crime.There are many authorities that need to know of this! You do not want this person or organization to hurt others. You can stop abuse. Seek good counsel and make a plan. Call abuse hotlines if needed to have someone to talk to about this. REPORT it to the police and ask for an investigator to help you report it to other authorities. These people need to know: the board of directors of the shelter, the state licensing office that issues the credentials for the shelter, and the state licensing office that issues and oversees counselors.If the shelter is financially supported by any churches or other local civic organizations, let them know. Call free Legal Aid organizations to see how they might help you report this abuse.

      Praying for your strength to follow through with this. This is step one to the new, stronger you.

  37. CBPP on July 4, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Kay, I hear your pain and disgust that abuse keeps showing up in your life. I am glad you hear you say, I am working on me, one step at a time. Obviously, your boundaries were violated when you were very young and it is hard to realize you have a right and a need to set boundaries. I have found that wen you draw the line with anyone, it helps you draw the line with the most difficult people in your life. It takes practice.

    I would suggest you get proper counsel on bringing into the light the sin of abuse by the women’s shelter director and counselor.Reporting abuse will help you realize the power that you do have to make things change. I had to report a bad counselor and it was very empowering! It ends up she was not licensed to be one.

    REPORT it to the authorities! I am not sure what the abuse entailed but extortion is a crime. Abuse is a crime. Misusing a position of authority is a crime.There are many authorities that need to know of this! You do not want this person or organization to hurt others. You can stop abuse. Seek good counsel and make a plan. Call abuse hotlines if needed to have someone to talk to about this. REPORT it to the police and ask for an investigator to help you report it to other authorities. These people need to know: the board of directors of the shelter, the state licensing office that issues the credentials for the shelter, and the state licensing office that issues and oversees counselors.If the shelter is financially supported by any churches or other local civic organizations, let them know. Call free Legal Aid organizations to see how they might help you report this abuse.

    Praying for your strength to follow through with this. This is step one to the new, stronger you.

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