Morning friends,

Well, we had quite a challenging week at leslievernick.com. Our blog didn’t post correctly last Wednesday and therefore your responses weren’t showing up. Then we discovered other problems with people trying to access our CONQUER membership site. After two days of searching, we found that our hosting site had installed a plug-in that negatively affected my website. The website was down all weekend, but I had a great tech team on it and they worked tirelessly to restore it. I really appreciate all their hard work, especially on a holiday weekend. Thank you, Martha, Cassandra, Jael and Howard.

If you posted a comment to our blog on Men being victims of Domestic Abuse it probably didn’t post and was lost somewhere during the transfer of my entire website to a new hosting site. However, I would encourage you to take a moment to go back and repost what you said in your comments. It’s that important of a topic.

And, when you think of it, pray for me. I am feeling way overwhelmed and stressed and I don’t like that feeling. I guess moving and trying to stay on top of everything has caught up with me and I am not on top of things, and some things are falling through the cracks. We also decided to do some remodeling of our house before we have company in March, which has everything torn due to our floors and countertops being replaced. I’ve been living in my bedroom for 8 days and it’s starting to get to me. Plus, it poured rain all weekend – in the desert of Arizona. Am I whining? A little bit, but I want to keep it real sisters. How can you pray for me if you don’t know a little bit of what is going on?

 

Todays’ Question: After 20 years of financial, spiritual, verbal and emotional abuse by my husband, one of my pastors woke me up to the fact that the way I was living was not the way a professing Christian man who served on the worship team was to treat me and our 5 kids. In the following 3 1/2 years my church stood behind me by confronting him, removing him from the worship team, and supporting me.  We engaged in couples counseling with 2 different psychologists, 2 pastors and I was in a group with 2 other ladies who had husbands with mental illnesses causing abusive behavior at times. Nothing impacted him to look at himself and the abuse was worse during those 3 years.

This fall I wrote an appeal to the elders asking for intervention after a particularly hard week. Since husband was on worship team he had to agree to meet. I met with our counselor and told him I was done with couples counseling, as it was damaging me and not helpful. My husband’s behavior was confronted by the elders and he lied, gas lighted, blame shifted etc.

They asked us for a report from our psychologist who wrote the behaviors were abusive, saying he had times of altered reality affecting his perception of events and recommended individual sessions for him. The elders removed him from the team, rebuked him in love, confronted his behavior, supported my physical boundary (no sex) and appealed to him to meet with 2 of them for accountability.

We have met every other week with a group of 3 elders and 2 women of my choosing, and are going through a study called “solving marriage conflict” by Gospel Way. The men are spirit led and since my husband respects them so that they are able to push hard. A month ago, all of a sudden, he seemed to “get it.”

He humbled himself, repented and began immediately to make amends. He is learning and continues to be in individual counseling and with his 2 men accountability partners.

My problem now is that I feel numb, and frankly do not feel love for him. I am committed to staying married; my kids have said they prefer that. He has repented in front of them. I believe I have forgiven him, now the reconciliation process is possible and I'm not sure I want that. I’m not sure why I wouldn't want that after all this.

The issues are his lack of respect for my boundaries…not to smother me with hugs and kisses and to stop being critical and create issues where there are none and still being mean when talking to our middle child. He doesn't show the same attitudes and behaviors towards the other kids.

These are some areas that I feel are still unhealthy and cause me anxiety and prevent me from healing and feeling close to him since these are very regular occurrences. How often should these unhealthy occurrences happen and what should I expect from him? I just don't know how to shake this gut feeling that it's just not right. On the other hand, I struggle with the fact that he has made much progress and know he has put forth effort enough to change in the past.

Please help me be able to clarify if this behavior is okay.

Answer:  First I want to applaud your church for their leadership, their care, and for faithfully standing beside you and your husband for many years.

That is rare.

You mention that it’s only been a month since your husband had this wake-up time of repentance and that as a result, he immediately began to make amends to those he has hurt. I assume that has been with you as well.

The problem now is that your feelings are numb and cold towards him, you’re not real excited and you don’t feel like jumping up and down for joy just yet even though you think you have forgiven him.

You are in exactly the right place, which is that you don’t trust him yet. You’ve forgiven him, it seems like he is willing to do the work of repairing the damage, but you are in a wait and see mode to see if he will keep his word, respond to constructive feedback and self-correct when he falls into old unhealthy destructive patterns.

A destructive person never does a complete 180 turn around in every area of his or her life in a month’s time. That would be unrealistic. Recovering from blindness often occurs in stages, just like the blind man who Jesus healed. Remember when he said, “I see men like trees walking” (Mark 8:24). He didn’t see clearly yet, but it was coming.

In the same way, your husband isn’t clearly seeing all he has done to harm you and your children, he’s only at the beginning of his journey. Therefore, he will still engage in behaviors or attitudes that you consider “old habits” or “old history” which he hasn’t begun to recognize as destructive yet.

Right now you don't know what will happen long term. You long to see some new history that God is at work in his life and that his change will continue. During this early phase of change, I want you to pay attention to two primary areas. The first area is do you see greater humility? We can’t see humility itself but we can see its fruit. When someone is humble we see a teachable spirit, a willingness to be wrong, and gratitude for forgiveness and second chances. Are you seeing those fruits in his life?

The second area I want you to pay attention to is an offshoot of humility. As you interact with him do you see him open (as opposed to defensive) to your and other people’s constructive feedback? For example, when you say to him, “I don’t like you coming at me all lovey-dovey right now. It feels yucky for me and I want you to stop.”  Does he hear you?  Is he open to stopping his behavior? Does he respect your feelings that you are not at a place right now to receive his affection? It might feel confusing for him because he’s trying to express love or affection and he doesn’t “see” that as harmful or wrong. And it’s not.

Where the old destructive pattern is repeating is that he’s not hearing you or respecting your wishes that he not does it to you right now. That is the repeat pattern that he needs to see. In his mind, if it feels good for him, it must feel good for you. Therefore, part of his new seeing has to include seeing you as a separate person who does not always like what he likes or feels what he feels or wants what he wants.

Here’s another example. How does he handle your feedback when you say to him, “I notice that you are speaking harshly to our middle child when you don’t talk that way to the other kids? What’s going on with you?”  Does he stop and reflect? Or does he minimize your feedback or worse, ignore it?

If he truly wants to change, he is going to have to come to a place where he sees you as his greatest helper in the change God wants to make in him. Not that you are going to do it for him. You can’t. But you are going to function as a mirror for his blind spots, the things he doesn’t see or can’t see just yet. When a husband and wife can do this for one another in a spirit of humility and love, the marriage thrives and each person grows stronger and more godly. When one person refuses to hear, or listen to the feedback of the other, the marriage relationship deteriorates and old patterns repeat over and over.

The biggest mistake we make with our mistakes is that we don’t learn from them. When we are not open to feedback, we can’t learn and self-correct (Click To Tweet).

Therefore, if you see your husband humbly learning and receiving feedback, and reflecting on that feedback and correcting his mistakes, then be encouraged change is continuing. If you see defensiveness, blame shifting, an unwillingness to listen to instruction or counsel from his mentors or feedback from you, then understanding whatever is happening, it is not enough to repair a damaged marriage.

Friend, what things have you looked for or seen that has helped you have greater confidence in the change process?  

279 Comments

  1. Aly on February 22, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Leslie;)
    Praying for you and the transition. Will pray for continued strength for you and your ministry, ~thank you for all you continue to do for the kingdom!

  2. Dory on February 22, 2017 at 7:55 am

    > When a husband and wife can do this for one another in a spirit of humility and love, the marriage thrives and each person grows stronger and more godly. When one person refuses to hear, or listen to the feedback of the other, the marriage relationship deteriorates and old patterns repeat over and over.<

    YES, be careful not to get too judgemental – as the very wounded wife looking for healing. I looked to get ALL of my healing from my husband he reverted. I could have sought my own healing better from the Lord and supported him better even in his stumbles. I fear that I caused him to stumble, all the way back to "Egypt" – even though friends tell me I carry false guilt. Sister, PRAY OFTEN for humility and wisdom. I am praying for your walk. It is a balancing act.

    • Dawn on February 24, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Hi Dory,
      You make a beautiful and excellent point. One that I am seeing confirmed continually (even as it was in my own life): It is nigh unto impossible to heal from burns while you are still in the fire.
      In other words, it took me many months away, secluded and sequestered, to realize that I was a HUGE part of the problem in the “we” and none of that had the ability to be healed (if there was a chance) until I healed the “me” portion of equation.
      Once away I realized how desperate I had become, and how much my contribution of wrong behaviors had allowed things to spiral to the point that it did.
      So I often ask Christ Followers to seek His face about separation with the goal of reconciliation whenever possible. For me it was the gamechanger Once I was able to get enough healing apart from the situation, the clarity came, and with it the answers.
      God’s love and guidance are there, we just need to allow ourselves to be put in the place of humility in our own souls and circumstances to receive it.

      • T.L. on February 24, 2017 at 10:41 am

        So true, Dawn!

      • Leslie Vernick on February 24, 2017 at 1:01 pm

        Thanks Dawn for your vulnerable transparency in sharing that you were part of the WE. YOu were not responsible for him but you were partly responsible for how the WE got off track and by separating and praying and looking within, you were able to get greater clarity to help you heal your part. I wish that for all the women here. That they would let go of trying to fix him and just get with God and work on themselves so that they can heal and grow. It’s only then can you see if there is any hope for WE to be healed.

        • Dawn on March 2, 2017 at 9:39 am

          Yes, Leslie et al. It took me a long time to realize that my own baggage (ego, reliance on my skills, gifts and talents) allowed me to drive the marital situation sideways first then into a ditch.
          Never the quitter, always the fixer, 200 percent effort were the exact things that the Lord needed to strip away in my own life…OUCH!!
          He reminded me that before I was a “WE” I was a “ME”. He needed to heal the “ME”. So began the process of pain with purpose. It stripped me.
          He showed me that I had a lot of “wrong identity tape” recorded. He needed to fix that. Learn to rest in Him. Receive His care. Understand love as He intended it ~ sacred, beautiful, without intent to harm, PERFECT.
          What I learned was that I was in no position to process being in a relationship as I was incapable of doing it from a vantage point of healthy. OUCH.
          These are the things Christ Sisters (Brothers), Here is what I see as I learn to live life from the Ps. 16:11 perspective ~ “He WILL (emphasis mine) make known to me the pathways of life, in His presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forever more”. This is His love for us. What is keeping us from experiencing this love with our mate? Look inside not outside.
          One of the best … absolute best results of this experience has been that I have seen and come to know as an inherent part of life, an abundance of the Spirit Fruits! Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Not to mention contentment. In my entire spiritual life of close to 50 years, I am experiencing these bountifully for the first time. I jokingly say that it is like the moment in the Wizard of Oz when the movie transitions from black and white to technicolor.
          All of this while I am navigating some of the most horrific circumstances surrounding the marriage and family.
          Christ Sisters, THIS… I encourage you to sit with the Master and seek His face. Lay it out to Him and ask Him to lead you to the Path of LIfe. What is that? Once I allowed Him to show me (and that is an ongoing work) that I was responsible for the change I wanted to see, the playing field changed dramatically.
          Praying for all of us as we allow Him to have His perfect way with our hearts. May we all continue to lean in and learn.

          • JoAnn on March 2, 2017 at 12:42 pm

            Dear Dawn,
            I am impressed with your spiritual insight and wisdom, obviously gained through many years of walking with our Lord and learning from HIm. I, too, have been learning Him for nearly 50 years, and as I look back, it is the stormy times that I passed through that caused me to know Him in the most precious ways. The Lord sovereignly designs these “storms” to strip away the Self, and make room for more of Himself to fill our being, so that eventually we glow with the light of His life in us. What I see here on this blog is many dear, precious daughters of our God, leaning into their painful experiences, encouraging one another to trust Him, learn His ways, and be filled in spirit with His holy nature. This is what our God wants, after all. This life is a difficult journey, but with the loving encouragement of the other members in the Body, we can move forward and grow with the growth of God.



    • Aly on February 24, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Dory,

      I agree with your comment,

      You wrote:
      “When one person refuses to hear, or listen to the feedback of the other, the marriage relationship deteriorates and old patterns repeat over and over.”

      A person who refuses to hear or acknowledge the impact of their choices and behaviors of the other is not an emotionally safe person (spouse)

      You wrote:
      ” I looked to get ALL of my healing from my husband he reverted.
      I could have sought my own healing better from the Lord and supported him better even in his stumbles. I fear that I caused him to stumble, all the way back to “Egypt” – even though friends tell me I carry false guilt. Sister, PRAY OFTEN for humility and wisdom. I am praying for your walk. It is a balancing act.”

      I can see your point here in places in regards to healing and I guess I would lean into what your friends express as false guilt.
      You wrote based on your behavior of looking to get all your healing from your, he reverted to old cycles (im paraphrasing)
      An emotionally unsafe person ~ is basically that. Not trying to sound harsh.. but you taking on ,too much responsibility’ for that of an emotionally unsafe person can set us up for a repeated dynamic.
      I believe each spouse is responsible for their ‘own response’.
      An emotionally unsafe partner tends to lean into the idea that their behavior is not their full responsibility.
      I think this is where the crazy making happens.

      I do believe the Lord does the healing and the growth, but we (both spouses) are in need to be surrendered to that process so we can be changed and our behaviors can be evidence of that ‘healing’ process.

      For my own journey, I’m a strong believer of restitution in relationships where spouses have ‘stolen’ the emotional safety out from the other .. usually more accountable spouse.
      This is a healing journey of developing trust where two can thrive and grow as God would be pleased with.

      Prayers and hugs for you and your journey.

      • T.L. on February 24, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        Aly,

        Your thoughts on “stealing” from the relationship in this post and some other posts has been helpful to me. Thank you.

        Also wrote to you and Lori, but it is “awaiting moderation” not sure why; it wasn’t that long. Maybe because I put a Facebook link?

        • Aly on February 24, 2017 at 6:35 pm

          T.L.

          My thoughts on the ‘stealing visual’ seem to resonate best with my feelings~ when it comes to violating someone’s sacred position in a marriage.
          I’m sure there are better terms.. hope it’s not too offensive, that’s not my intent, nor is it meant to vilify the destructive spouse.
          For some reason it’s resonates with my h visually.

          Im sorry if this is repetative…😬 It helps me to write it out at times.
          In case there are other readers too…maybe it will clarify.
          The ‘stealing’ is where the spouse takes what is not theirs and or misuses what their power is.
          Such as if each spouse vowed to have a ‘covenant marriage’ where both are heirs and both are equal in value as their Identity rests in Christ as a Child of a God.
          Both have Sacred Power and privleges while also encompassing different roles within the marriage.

          The ‘stealing’ can be obvious or more veiled.
          If a robber comes into your home and robs you.. the violation alone feels unsettled. A person is going to see the physical damage or loss of items and know the house has been compromised. This person is going to ‘not feel safe’ and take measures to protect another intrusion.

          When the stealing comes more overt and emotional hard to see from someone that we are logically supposed to trust, it’s harder to scale. We feel unsafe, possibly powerless the protect ourselves… but we don’t see the entry intrusion always in emotional abusive situations. The abusive spouse tends to struggle seeing intangibly what that are clearly ‘taking emotionally/mentally’ from the other. Thus stealing what isn’t their own, and or misusing what power they are equally given.

          Just thinking outloud precious sisters in Christ~

          • Dawn on March 2, 2017 at 9:51 am

            Aly,
            This is such a great visual. Since the items are less tangible ~ honor, safety, respect, boundaries ~ they are harder to inventory than if it were a physical robbery.
            I was often left feeling defeated, deflated, actually most often dishonest in my assessment in order to preserve the family.
            It was quite normal for me to replay and question frequently the scenarios ~ questioning my own judgement. Finally getting to the point of really doubting my own ability to make decisions when things were at their worst. I literally felt crazy at times.
            When trying to describe this to a dearest Christ Sister who had no frame of reference for any of this her reply was, “Geez, I wish he would just hit you so there would be bruises we could see ~ that would be so much easier.”
            These are difficult waters at best to navigate. Your illustration makes them quite a bit easier for those on the outside to grab a hold of.



          • Aly on March 2, 2017 at 3:35 pm

            Dawn,

            So so can relate to your experience and process that you wrote below. I do think these forms of abuse are complicated to sort through mentally because they are familiar interactions and yet the are ‘incongruent’ with feeling loved, respected and valued.

            You wrote:
            “I was often left feeling defeated, deflated, actually most often dishonest in my assessment in order to preserve the family.”

            If you feel like sharing …How did you come about getting honest with yourself?

            You wrote:
            “It was quite normal for me to replay and question frequently the scenarios ~ questioning my own judgement. Finally getting to the point of really doubting my own ability to make decisions when things were at their worst. I literally felt crazy at times.
            When trying to describe this to a dearest Christ Sister who had no frame of reference for any of this her reply was, “Geez, I wish he would just hit you so there would be bruises we could see ~ that would be so much easier.”

            I think it is common experiences that (maybe) many of us have been told this before by a friend and or pastor/mentor which certainly doesn’t give that understanding or clarity we are in search of.
            Trauma is much of the brain replaying it over and over trying to find a place. It just doesn’t fit anywhere… who wouldn’t feel ‘crazy inside’?
            And this certainly goes against living with fearless abundance as He most lovingly secured for His children;)



  3. Rose on February 22, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Hello my dear friends,
    I noticed i cannot post on our original blog (keeping hope alive/false hope) any longer. Is anyone else having this problem as well? Is this blog where our communication will continue? I miss all of you dear ladies so much. I read the posts everyday, although I do not always respond. I feel so disconnected and honestly…having great anxiety, since the technical issue. Can you pls tell me where we will resume communicating? Here on this blog? I miss everyone so much. Much love, Rose

    • Nancy on February 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      Good morning Rose!

      It’s nice to see you 🙂

      Have you gone to see a doctor, as so many of your sisters have suggested?

      Know that I am praying for His strength for you.

      Hey, you know what I learned last week? The word ‘comforter’ for Holy Spirit is from a Greek word that cannot be easily tranlated. It means ‘One who comes alongside and provides STRENGTH.’ This was new to me Rose. The Holy Spirit provides STRENGTH. The Holy Spirit provides divine help! Divine help, Rose. And if you have asked Jesus to be your saviour, then you have access to divine help, 24/7!! So do I!! Isn’t that amazing Rose?

      Here’s my prayer for you, Rose:

      I pray, Father, that you would grant Rose a sensitivity to The Holy Spirit. Make Rose aware, Lord, of Your strengthening presence within her as You lead her on Your healing journey for her.

      In Jesus precious name, I pray. Amen.

      • rose on February 22, 2017 at 1:04 pm

        Dear Aly and Nancy,
        Im so happy to see my dear sisters in christ are still here for me. Thank you so much for not giving up on me.
        I have talked with my dr (who is also a friend of mine, as well as a believer). She tried to convince me to stay in my marriage, regardless of the issues and “keep praying for him”, as she did when she was having issues with her husband. She told the story of how he “came around, but it took years…so if i just keep praying and hang in there, my husband will see my pure conduct and will eventually turn the corner as well”. I explained, not every man turns the corner. She did not agree. In fact, she told me, if he wants to stay in the marriage..you dont leave”. WOW. I left the office more confused than before. I know she means well, and perhaps she was not dealing with an abusive husband. She then gave me a prescription for an anti depressant, which I filled but have not taken. I am very afraid to take this medication. I do not want to rely on medicating myself every day to deal with my problems. The withdrawal from these medications scares me. Why cant I do this with God’s help? Why do I need to take medication to alter my mind? So, the pills sit in my drawer for now. i do have to make a decision this week though. I do not want to divorce my husband. But, to remain seperated opens a door for deceit and vulnerability financially. It puts power in my h hands, in regard to the pension. That is the ONLY reason I am considering divorce…to protect myself financially. Some wd say this is selfish, or I am making the pension more important than the marriage. My h has not demonstrated any remorse or desire to change. Still very harsh and cold to me..he is not a safe person for me and so it makes feel very insecure to put such power in his hands.
        And I have also researched finding a counselor who deals with abusive relationships. I have yet to find one. Focus on the family was not a help. Havent heard back from Patrick Doyle website either. Then if I do find one that sounds good, they do not accept my insurance and the out of pocket cost is high. But I will continue to look.
        Thank you with all my heart for your thoughts and prayers for me. I am weeping as I write this. Thank you for caring about me.

        • Lori on February 22, 2017 at 1:27 pm

          Rose!

          Oh so very good to hear from you here. I missed the posts and “connection” with others here as well.

          You sound stronger/clearer now as to what you believe: “My h has not demonstrated any remorse or desire to change. Still very harsh and cold to me..he is not a safe person for me and so it makes feel very insecure to put such power in his hands.”

          I agree dear sister. He has threatened to put you in prison because h thinks he has authority to do that. It sounds like he would prefer to “lock you away”. That doesn’t sound safe to me at all.

          ” I do not want to divorce my husband. But, to remain seperated opens a door for deceit and vulnerability financially. It puts power in my h hands, in regard to the pension. That is the ONLY reason I am considering divorce…to protect myself financially. Some wd say this is selfish, or I am making the pension more important than the marriage.”

          Yes, SOME would say it is selfish, but of WHOM is it selfish? If h is unrepentant, cold and hostile in his abuse to you (lock you away), I would say HE is selfish and does not intend to learn or obey the way of love.

          My opinion is, that if he is not protecting you (from his abusive self) as love would protect, then allow God to protect you (yes financially). Finances are necessary for self care and survival.

          Rose, I think your empathetic heart is beautiful toward the things God cares about (people, marriage etc.). I am personally learning that my empathetic heart is not valued by the abuser. I am not to give the abuser power to destroy my empathetic heart. I am to guard it. Your h appears to have himself in mind (with no intent to improve) and not the marriage or you. That, to me, is divorce from the heart and Jesus looks on the heart, not the outside.

          A “paper” divorce would be a manifestation of the true condition of the relationship. (my opinion)

          If your h were to change (down the road a ways), one could always consider re-marriage.

          As to the anti-depressants, I would suggest you follow your gut in prayer about those. I will be asking God to guide you in His peace about that.

          I have found my depression lifting to a place I haven’t known now since I married my husband 30 years ago.

          I attribute this lifting to the separation I initiated 14 months ago. Being away from constant mental, emotional confusion, blame and enmity of my abusive husband no longer causes me to feel the problem is only me. When I thought the problem was only me, I had thoughts of doing away with the problem. Not any more. Now I am thinking of how I can be kind to the victim, how I can build her up, take her out, believe her, get to know her, be a friend to her. Not kill her.

          I have been praying for you in your very important decision coming soon and I pray God lead you in His will, discernment, and peace.

          Blessings dear sister Rose.

          • Aly on February 22, 2017 at 2:29 pm

            Rose and Lori,

            Your comments so resonate with me!
            I can understand the confusing messages and definitions we all might have of selfish actions etc.
            Given the chaos of these destructive relationships it’s common that the giver feels quite the ‘out of water’ experience when needing good heartcare and protection.
            Rose, our hearts go out to you and we deeply see and do not doubt the traumatizing things that your h has voiced over you. Below you made a reference that makes perfect sense of why you would think this direction given what you have been harmed with.

            Rose you wrote
            “” I do not want to divorce my husband. But, to remain seperated opens a door for deceit and vulnerability financially. It puts power in my h hands, in regard to the pension. That is the ONLY reason I am considering divorce…to protect myself financially. Some wd say this is selfish, or I am making the pension more important than the marriage.”

            Since some of us here have a bit more of the back story (from other posts) I wanted to chime in and I hope that’s ok.😬

            I agree with Lori’s words and especially love how she expressed her heart over the mental confusion she endured and eventually escaped from~ Amazing because we know it’s His glory and purpose but it’s so neat to hear how you are taking the time to tend to (her). Beautifully written and inspiring!

            Rose, you protecting your financial situation is not in anyway being ‘selfish’, it is being Responsible;)
            Especially if you have yourself and minors to take care of.
            ~ Has your h been ‘responsible’ in the recent past to bring any protection or security to your family?

            I’m sure it feels foreign in ways to give yourself good selfcare, and that is ok. It will take time to learn how to do this, and that is ok and good.

            I’ll will go back to your previous post to send those links.
            Praying and holding you up to Him Beautiful Rose;)



          • T.L. on February 22, 2017 at 2:39 pm

            Dear Rose,

            Such good, kind advice from Nancy, Lori, and Aly.

            I have little to add to their wisdom except to tell you that i am still praying for you!

            If you go to Psychology Today’s website, you can search for a counselor in your area. They have detailed filters. You can click on “Christian” and “Domestic Abuse” and that can narrow it down for you.

            I’m sorry that your doctor did not give you helpful advice AT ALL!

            Much love and lots of prayer for you.



          • Dawn on February 24, 2017 at 8:54 am

            Ahh Lori,
            I love your expression of the beautiful practice of self-care you found when you took yourself away from the abuser and let the Beloved love on you as His own.
            THAT, Christ Sisters, is how He sees us. THAT Christ Sisters, is WHO WE ARE!!
            May we all begin to re-write the tapes, reel by reel, to align ourselves with and in Him, our one true Husband!
            Yes!



          • Leslie Vernick on February 24, 2017 at 12:58 pm

            So true.



        • Kelly on February 23, 2017 at 8:12 pm

          I am so sorry these people can’t hear or validate your worry, anxiety, and fears! I’m so sorry they can’t validate your pain! I too have lost people I loved when I separated. We are here for you. You shouldn’t EVER stay with an abusive husband!!!! Please, please Hear Me!! It only keeps enabling him to treat you as a door mat. His behavior can send him to Hell if he doesn’t repent. I left this past July and I have 8 kids two of them under three and in diapers! Ask Father God to open that door if it’s his holy will for you. Every person has an inalienable RIGHT to protect and defend themselves from Evil. Please note this can be demonic in nature as well. I will keep you in my prayers and please know YOU DO HAVE CHOICES IN EVERY SITUATION :!!!-) They may not be the choices that we want to make but with God All things are possible my sister! 🙂 God Bless you!

        • JoAnn on February 24, 2017 at 6:25 pm

          Dear Rose,
          I am so glad that we all are now able to connect on this blog. Thank you for coming back. I am very concerned about what your doctor told you; when we get a “message” that makes us more confused, that is NOT god’s word. His words give light and peace, and it seems clear that your doctor can’t really relate to what you are going through. About the medication: Our Lord has made it possible for us to get this kind of help. If you had the flu, I feel pretty sure you would go to the doctor to get as much help as you could. Luke, the writer of the third gospel, was a doctor. I believe that all of us here have felt pretty clear that antidepressant medication would help you to see things more clearly and have more energy to do what you need to do. I have been under a moderate depression and recently began taking something, and I am amazed at how much it has helped. I am living my life more comfortably and with more energy. There are some things you can do to help without medication, like eliminate sugar from your diet and getting exercise, but even these few things seem like mountains to climb when you are depressed. We all are here for you, Rose. Be well.

          • Rose on February 25, 2017 at 1:51 am

            Dear Joann,
            The medication that was prescribed to me was Paxil. After researching it, I saw that it has a higher than average side effect rate, which makes me very uneasy about taking it. Do you know what medications are in the “milder” category? With fewer side effects? And for how long do you take this medication before deciding to taper off it. I have read these types of medications are very addicting. I think perhaps I may be at a point where I need this. Thank you for any insight you cd give me.



          • JoAnn on February 26, 2017 at 7:43 pm

            Rose, First of all, there are quite a number of antidepressants on the market, each with different side effects and some have more than others. Some general practitioners just routinely prescribe their favorite, without much consideration for the ultimate effects. This is a reason to seek help from a psychiatrist, as opposed to a family doctor. The thing about these drugs is that it takes time for them to become fully effective, like three weeks or more. That is a minus in my book. It takes a while to find out if it is going to work for you. How long to take it? You probably want to give it a year or more, because once it starts working, it takes your body time to recover from being depressed. Some people stop taking it too soon because they start to feel better, so they think they don’t need to take it anymore. That is not the way these things work. The great benefit of taking something is that you have more energy, you can think more clearly, and you can work on healing yourself without feeling so bad all the time. We all have been encouraging you to take care of yourself. That will be easier when you are not so depressed. Then, when you are ready to get off the medication, you have to wean yourself off very slowly, so you don’t crash. Your brain needs to learn to produce the neurotransmitters on its own that it needs, so you have to give it time. Meanwhile, working on taking care of you, healing your heart, can benefit from working with a counselor. I hope and pray that you can find someone. We are all here, cheering you on, and praying for you. Every message from each one here has something very precious to help us move forward. (Did you see Leslie’s post on Feb 24?) God bless you.



          • Christine on February 28, 2017 at 9:45 pm

            Personally, Rose, if you got away from the abuse then most likely the anixety will begin to lesson. My daughter struggled heaps with anixety and when her husaband left it halved and it keeps getting less because her mind is not played around with every minute of the day. She used to be bedridden, now she is active and enjoying her young child. There are still days where she struggles but been in the word and around believers encourage her on a daily basis.



        • Maria on February 28, 2017 at 9:54 am

          Rose, your story resonated with mine, as I have also walked this journey. You absolutely do not need medication if you do not want it! So many people out there that want to “Fix” our lives, not knowing that they are impeding on our own walk with the Lord as WE try and discern how God wants to lead us. I would tell you that you are not selfish to think about yourself financially or any other way. You must prepare for your future. You must be clear with how God is leading you. The quality of a marriage is the sum of two individuals, not one. I rode the “crazy train” and can attest that your friend is wrong, not everyone changes. Our divorce was difficult and 1 year later led to a 2.5 year drawn out custody battle over our 2 children, ages 5 and 8. Find good counsel, but read the Bible, girl, read that Bible, read what God says about you, about relationships. We are never asked to sacrifice our own health, our sanity, our financial future, our very lives and the good fruit within them to an abusive person. Jesus said for us to lay our lives down for HIM, and for the life he wants us to live. We are not asked to lay our lives down for evil. That sounds vaguely familiar to laying our lives down for the enemy, and that is the completely against scripture. We are not to lay our lives down for evil, period. Do what God is laying on your heart to do. He will show you the way, I know from experience. He will guide and direct His sheep!

          • Rose on February 28, 2017 at 11:54 am

            Dear Maria,
            Thank you for supporting me in my fear and apprehension of taking medication. I want to rely on Gods Word, not medication, to build up my strength. I need to know HIM better..to claim HIS promises, and begin to see myself as HE sees me. That’s where my confidence and strength will come from. I’m working on it every day. However, I do fail everyday and it is very very discouraging and I find myself losing heart quite often. But I have to keep at it..no matter how difficult. My husband recently told me I am “not be godly woman I think I am..far from it” and that “my heart is not all gold”. He went on crtiticize me about how I was not “the wife to him that the bible talks about”. Here I was doing everything I knew to do..to the point of submitting sexually, even when he was mistreating me in that area. Only to find out..I never recognized my efforts..all that time..all those years. When I explained how he was emotionally, mentally and sexually abusive to me, his response was “if I was so abusive, why did you wait 20 years to say anything”. Good way to deflect from the issue and turn it on me..that I waited so long. But never addressed the abuse issue. He thinks I’m being “dramatic, making excuses, and just trying to find a way to justify divorce”. My deadline passed a few days ago. My attorney is livid with me. I need to make that phone call today. I am just so scared of making it. I know In my heart…I need to divorce this man. Why can’t I make that phone call??? I am tormented today.



          • Lori on February 28, 2017 at 2:02 pm

            TL,

            Thank you for your prayers and words of supportive encouragement. Highs and lows of this journey always catch me by surprise. 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

            I am coming to really believe in the power of prayer in getting through these times and am grateful for the prayers offered in this community on each other’s behalf. Somehow I know that when women here say they will pray, they will pray. Powerful support!

            Thank you TL.



          • Aly on February 28, 2017 at 2:30 pm

            Rose,

            Many are praying for you!
            If I was in your shoes I would be scared as you sound in your writings.
            I’m so very sorry that this has been going on at the length that it has, and many of us here understand the difficulties in that retraumization of your marriage.
            As many have said, it is your choice.
            I will continue to pray for God’s will for this and that you have the support network around you.
            If my h had said those words to me ~ it would be evident that he has already divorced me in his heart in addition to the other behaviors you have posted. Doing the SAFE thing for you Rose is what I believe the Lord would want for your heart and your ability to heal.
            If the safest thing for you is to move forward with the divorce, you might consider that for your overall well being.
            Again Rose, i a so sorry for what you have been through, Rose the Lord will hold your heart💜



          • Lori on February 28, 2017 at 2:40 pm

            Aly, Rose,

            Once again Aly, you seem to have such a gift of sharing what is so helpful in the hearing.

            I agree with every word you have written.

            Blessings dear Rose.



          • Maria on February 28, 2017 at 1:11 pm

            Rose,
            Dear sister, my heart is breaking for you. I am about to take my lunch break and will be praying for you, as today is an important day. I will tell you that you need to get away from your husband. You do not need to listen to him tell you these things all of the time. It is toxic and he is speaking against what God’s word says, therefore “He is a liar and the truth is not in him.” If you can get away this afternoon and either move forward with the divorce if you know God is leading you to do this, or get away to pray that God will make it clear to you what you are to do. God has a purpose for you, Rose, just like he does for me and for every person on Leslie’s blog. It is so important that we all start getting to the business of finding out what God’s purpose is for us! Hebrews tells us to “run our race with endurance.” the Bible teaches us that “each must carry our own load.” Ladies, we’ve got to focus on what God has for our lives, how he wants to change us, to grow us, he has a future and a hope for us! Another benefit about drawing near to God and his purposes for us is it allows other people in our lives to lead their own lives, too. Maybe your husband will change, maybe he won’t, but the beautiful thing is, he’ll be able to be free of anyone else’s expectations and he can live the life he chooses to live. Your life is your choice, his life is his choice. Plain and simple. If I live in debt or debt free, it’s my choice. If I stay well or leave well, it’s my choice at the end of the day with God’s guidance. If I seek God’s will or I don’t, it’s my choice. Let go of the guilt, my friend, let go of the need to make everyone else’s life right. It’s heartbreaking, but if our spouses loved us, we would not be treated this way. The ESV translation doesn’t say that God hates divorce, it says that the man hates his wife, therefore divorces her. I’m happy to talk with you more. My email is maria@mariayoung.me. I am building a website of free articles, resources to help women just like us going through this at mariayoung.me. If you decide to leave, get all legal documents, anything of value packed slowly where he does not notice, just put stuff in your purse, grab family memories, kid’s stuff, etc. this is tricky if you have children; I write about this on my website. Regardless of the legal process you decide to pursue, get away from him and start to discover what God wants for you. We have no control of anyone but ourselves. I promise only by letting go, in a mental/psychological way, can you find out how God is leading and directing you. God bless, one day you will be helping others with your story, God is creating a masterpiece from all of our adversity.



  4. Rose on February 22, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Dear Aly,
    I just noticed you posted here! So happy to see your name! I can’t believe how i have come to rely on you ladies so much for support. Just reading your posts..makes me feel comforted, not so alone and like I’m not losing my mind..I admit, I often question myself after dealing with my husband. It’s like Patrick Doyle says…you begin to think you’re going crazy.
    I want to ask you two questions, if I may.
    What is trauma bonding that you mentioned? And what is reactive abuse? It is the way I am dealing with my husbands behavior, considered abusive toward him (as a reaction to his)?
    Thank you for helping to clarify. Rose

    • Aly on February 22, 2017 at 11:54 am

      Dear Rose,

      I have been in prayer for you and others this week;)
      First, it’s so okay to be where you are.
      No you are not crazy!
      And dear Rose you are not alone ever, even in the moments you can’t help but feel so alone.
      Many of us here can relate and we care so much for your precious heart to get the healing…. where I believe HE (our mighty savior) calls us home into His safety and His truths for our hearts.

      Continue to listen to P. Doyle he has so much posted that I hope will give you the hope you need for your own peace of mind (especially given the situation you are in)

      I will find some links later today that hopefully I can post about ‘trauma bonding’ and maybe it can be of more help and clarity.
      With the help of a professional counselor you will be able to explore those things in a deeper way, where I feel face to face can be so helpful in healing because we are usually most harmed (face to face) thus the trauma takes place.
      Trauma can change the way we think in our brains and give us conclusions or fear based choices we are unaware of~ this being some instances.

      You are going to get through this, with lots of prayer, support and love.
      It won’t be easy but it’s worth the work, even though you might have moments of doubt and wanting to go back to some sort of normal you were living.

      You also mentioned reactive abuse… I’ll have to reply and post later as I have to run..

      I think Leslie might have other posts that explain better and I’m sure many of our friends here would be able to give a better understanding. Many times it’s hard to see how desperate we can become to dealing with such a spouse that it unwilling to respect or hear their own wives!
      To be ingnored or treated with indifference is abusive and it also is very mentally confusing for the spouse inflicted because it’s in conflict with our role as being a person that our husband claims to care for and of.

      Sending hugs your way and most certainly hoping you receive this … reply
      🤗

    • Aly on February 22, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      Rose,

      Hi! Below is a link about trauma bonding..
      There are also lots of videos on YouTube (free) and Newlife TV (if you type in Trauma bonding in the search area they will come up) but this website is one that is a paid one I believe.

      Here is a link,
      I have another one too.. hopefully I can past both in.
      http://www.andreaschneiderlcsw.com/blog/breaking-the-ties-that-bind-trauma-bonds-with-an-extreme-narcissist

      This isn’t to say your h is a narc. And that is irrelevant in ways when someone is very destructive to another person. But he does show certain aspects of cruelty and ‘asleep’ that would be highly suspect of his response to your attempts to wake him.
      Just a thought. If you can focus on the article of the symptoms that you may be experiencing as a result of continued behavior and the cycle of abuse.

      Praying for your strength and your clear voice for your heart Rose!

    • Ruth on February 25, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      Rose,
      I haven’t been actively discoursing back and forth with you like the other ladies, but I feel like I need to add my 2 cents when I saw you specifically mention Paxil. My sister took that medicine and she told me the withdrawal coming off that med was horrible. I don’t see using medicines for anxiety and/or depression as anything to be ashamed of. In my case, I have always a fairly anxious type personality, but I have always managed without medication. Last year however, my marriage hit an all-time high point of stress. I had so much anxiety that it affected my ability to sleep and I had never had sleep problems before. I went to my doctor and asked about anxiety meds. I wanted to be on the LOWEST DOSE, with the LOWEST SIDE Effects. I clearly explained my situation and told him if you think this could be helpful to me then let’s give it a try. But if you think this could start a drug addiction then let me continue to tough it out.
      I’m taking a mild anxiety medication.

      Rose, on a different subject, i’m sorry your doctor who you would trust to give you sound medical advice to save your live, would give you advice to stay with an abuser which is detrimental to your spiritual and emotional and mental health. What good is it, if you stay alive on the outside but everything inside you is dying? How sad.

      • rose on February 25, 2017 at 8:15 pm

        Dear Ruth,
        May I ask which anti anxiety medication you are on? I would like to research it. i am looking for exactly what you wrote..the lowest form with the lowest side effects.
        Thank you
        Rosem

        • Ruth on February 26, 2017 at 12:44 am

          Rose,
          I currently take Citalopram 20 mg. It’s brand name is Celexa. I thought it was an anxiety med, but when I looked it up, I found it’s a depression med.
          Before that I briefly tried BuSpar (buspirone), an anxiety medicine. It made me wake up numerous times each night, but it might not have that effect on everyone. Seems like it also gave me a dry mouth. No other side effects and no trouble when I stopped taking it either.
          The medicine I’m currently taking, the citalopram, seems very mild. I don’t feel like it alters my personality at all. It seems to just take the edge off my anxiety, especially when I anticipate trouble brewing with my H. I abruptly stopped taking it for a couple of months when I briefly thought our marriage problems were over and I had zero withdrawal issues (my H pressured me to stop taking the medication; he didn’t like it). A couple of months past and then sadly, my H’s abusive behaviors returned which triggered my anxiety. So I re-started the citalopram.
          Rose, of course all medicines affect everyone differently ; this one has been pretty good for me. With that said, I went to Wikipedia to refresh my memory on this medicine’s side effects. I was surprised to see a familiar Nemesis listed under its side effects: ‘tinnitus’- ringing ears. For the last several months I thought my ringing ears were just a part of the migraine package. My general doctor and the ENT completely brush off the tinnitus as a serious issue but I find it just about as draining as my chronic migraines.
          So, I may go off the citlopram again and see if it makes any difference in my tinnitus.

          • Starlight on February 26, 2017 at 2:55 am

            escitalopram (Cipralex), sertraline (Zoloft) and venlafaxine (Effexor) seem to be popular ones that I see a lot of doctors prescribe.



      • JoAnn on February 26, 2017 at 7:56 pm

        Rose, Celexa is one that is prescribed a lot. Also, there is Effexor, Prozac, Zoloft, and Wellbutrin. Those are all antidepressants that different clients of mine have taken. There are really a lot more, but those are the ones I hear about the most. Pray about this, and ask the Lord to work sovereignly with the doctor to give you the right one. What you read online can sometimes cause a lot of confusion.

  5. Hope2 on February 22, 2017 at 9:33 am

    My husband has had periods of humility and teachable-ness, but it has always flipped back into the destructive mode of completely ignoring me and others and forging ahead in his selfishness. I’m not certain if this is because he was only pretending to be humble, or if it’s due to mental illness, or some of both. I tried to work with him for 18 years, but his “downturns” were getting worse, almost like dementia.
    Now he is in a “humble” place again. He asks me what he must do to repair our relationship, but I have nothing to answer. I’m tired of the cycle.
    If he’s truly repentant, does he really need my help to see things that I and counselors and the church elders and other friends have been trying to tell him for years?

    • mommyof3 on February 22, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Hope2,

      I totally understand where you are coming from. I feel like we shouldn’t have to remind our H to treat us and our children respectfully, especially since they’ve been counseled about these issues time and time again. It is a terrible cycle.

    • JoAnn on February 24, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      Hope2, Sometimes the kind of behavior you are describing can be because the real roots of the behavior have not been dealt with, like cutting a weed off at the surface of the soil, but because the root is still there, it grows back. Some counselors are better than others at getting to the roots, so a different one than you have seen before might help.
      Another possibility, if he really does recognize his bad behavior but feels helpless to stop it, is that he may have a neurological problem. He can talk to a doctor about that.
      Setting boundaries around his negative behavior will be the best way to deal with them.
      May God bless you and give you His grace to deal with this.

  6. Nancy on February 22, 2017 at 11:54 am

    “Friends, what things have you looked for, or seen, that has helped you have greater confidence in the change process?”

    The greatest measure of change in our relationship is a question I regularly ask myself:

    Is he respectful of my boundaries- even the ‘smallest’ ones like not wanting a hug or kiss- wether they make sense to him, or not?

    At the beginning he tried EVERYTHING in his arsenal to guilt me into not standing firm in my boundaries. When he layed on the guilt trip it became a spiritual battle WITHIN ME to not allow that guilt monster to consume me. Of course, after so long together, he knows all my trigger points, but recognizing that this is MY battle, has been empowering. In those moments of overwhelming guilt, here’s what has worked for me:

    I take my iPad and put on Christian worship music, and place it right beside me. I turn it up. I lift my arms in praise to my Lord and worship Him. This in a tangible way, places The Lord between my h and I, and I turn my attention to my Lord.

    No matter what I am doing – making dinner, or whatever – this is what I do. If I can continue in my task with one hand, and worship with the other, all the better. Wether my h is nearby, or the kids, it doesn’t matter. What they see is mom worshipping The Lord either ‘out of nowhere’ because they have no clue of the tension, OR if they are aware I am struggling, then they see me worshipping The Lord through my struggle. Good things 🙂

    This confused my h originally. He never asked, or interrupted my worship and I never explained- it’s between me and my King.

    As we move along in our healing journey this strategy is not as needed as much because I am finding words to guard my heart and he is hearing my words- the guilt is lessening with each definition and assertion of Nancy.

    • JoAnn on February 24, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      Wonderful, Nancy! “Always rejoice, unceasingly pray, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Amen!!

      • Nancy on February 24, 2017 at 10:02 pm

        Thanks JoAnn 🙂

    • Ruth on February 26, 2017 at 12:51 am

      I love that “the guilt is lessening WITH EACH DEFINITION AND ASSERTION OF NANCY.”

      that’s boldness with grace.
      Warrior worship.

      Very inspiring😇

      • Nancy on February 26, 2017 at 10:18 pm

        Thank you Ruth ❤️

    • Dawn on March 2, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Nancy!
      LOVE your warfare tactic. Our enemy is not flesh and blood but in the spiritual realm. These are front line battles being fought here. They are won in the word … in the reciting of the word out loud in praise over these situations with fasting. Once that spiritual armor is in place (Eph. 6) we battle.
      We praise for the victory that He has already secured for us. I was reminded this week that we battle FROM victory not FOR victory. Christ has secured our victorious position. We are His and He has ZERO losses on His score card.
      Battle On!

      • JoAnn on March 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm

        I agree with both Dawn and Nancy about fighting the REAL enemy, from a position of victory in Christ. Our praising defeats the devil, and another effective way to defeat the enemy is to take the covenant, the word of God, and preach to Satan regarding what the Lord has accomplished for us: “Satan, you have been crucified on the cross. Now leave me alone, and leave my loved ones alone.” According to James 4:7, when we actively resist the devil, he must flee. Preach the word of God to him. He is our real enemy. Christ is Victor. Hallelujah!!!

  7. Dawn on February 22, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Dear Christ Sisters,
    What a beautiful picture of the church was portrayed today in the question above. Yes, I affirm Leslie in that the way it should work is most often not the way it does. When you find yourself in a place that does ~ embrace the help of the right “others”. When you don’t … question why you stay where oppression exists.
    I would encourage each of us to continue to “shake the dust from our sandals” and keep moving until we find ourselves in a community of safe, solid and secure believers.
    They are there, PRAISE JESUS!! We know that, as this space is a testament to that very thing.
    Sometimes, I feel that separation from the situation, even in times of repentant healing offers encouragement on two levels: 1.) To gain our own strength and realistic vantage point in an isolated environment away from chaos (even healing can be somewhat chaotic and require emotional energy that can be best expended on ourselves). 2.) It is an encouragement for the abuser to continue to faithfully do the work that needs to be done in an uninterrupted environment of his own.
    If we remember that it is actually the two individual souls that comprise the covenant of marriage, we can better internalize that those two souls need to be as healthy as possible to sustain the covenant.
    March on, Sisters! Most of all remember, each and every day that we don’t battle FOR victory, we battle FROM victory ~ one that has already been secured for us from a faithful and loving Husband (Ex. 14:14) who desires to show us the pathway out of destruction into His presence where there is fullness of joy, treasures in His right Hand forever more (Ps. 16:11). May we each find our rest there today as we wait on Him to renew that strength!

    • Lori on February 22, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      “Nothing impacted him to look at himself and the abuse was worse during those 3 years.”

      I am not as convinced the church was as “supportive” as it seems others here are.

      During the 3 years of church intervention, the writer says the abuse got WORSE not better. Then she states that she wrote an “appeal” to the elders again for intervention (this past fall after 3 years) and since her h was (again?) on the worship team, he HAD to meet with them.

      How was this h reinstated to worship team when wife says during the 3 years the abuse got worse?

      If indeed the h WAS reinstated to his position on the worship team in the church, then it seems to me the church undermined the wives testimony of abuse. Of course the abuse got worse if h was allowed to continue in h position on the worship team.

      Also, it seems she is saying only in the fall (after wife requested) did the elders ask for a report from h psychologist which clearly state he needed individual therapy and was abusive.
      Why wasn’t this report requested as a matter of ongoing “care” during the 3 years the couple was “getting help”?

      Why was it that the elders seemed to respond to the wifes request for intervention in the fall instead of being already in a posture of intervention/overseeing during the 3 years?

      Requiring “Couples counseling” with a partner who has a mental condition that keeps him from operating in reality from time to time and is verifiably abusive to the spouse seems abusive in nature by itself.

      Maybe I don’t have the timeline right, but if I do, I see a lot of red flags here regarding church “helps” to this couple.

      • Jackie on February 23, 2017 at 11:41 pm

        This was my story so I will answer a few more questions…in the beginning my husband was removed from the worship team. He did not respond to church pastoral leadership and began to distance himself from the church, but continued couples therapy. I met from time time alone with the therapist and pastors to “strategize”. We all felt that since h was still going to counseling it was perhaps my only hope for change. Honestly my church wanted to help but my husband was very manipulative and none of us really knew how to handle it. (I had just stumbled on Leslie’s book and we knew it abusive but not what to do next). My church leadership allowed me to “drive the bus” and stood ready to intervene at any point. Therapy was really hard on me, but I always thought he would get it “the next time”. A point came when I saw him still in counseling, still in church and still in our home but getting farther away emotionally so I asked if he could again serve on the worship team. I wished to draw him into fellowship again and hoped he would make progress in couples therapy. They allowed him back with the stipulation he stay in therapy with the current psychologist. That did not go well and the abuse did escalate since he saw that as the church backing down. During these several years I had constant support from my pastoral staff and ladies group, and I was not ready until that “bad week” to confront again because I knew it would be bad and perhaps he would leave. That was when I asked for intervention from a much larger group (elders). Since it was wider now than just pastors, they asked for the report. Until my husband saw the written report from the therapist he continued to blame shift and gaslight. It was truly amazing. I think if it had been done in any other way my husband would have left long before. The key players really have been the Spirit led elders. They all had to learn and read about abuse that is not physical, as well as believe he really did those things. Then confront, rebuke and love him while teaching him new behaviors. I hope this helps…..

        • Lori on February 24, 2017 at 12:03 pm

          Hi Jackie,

          Thank you for sharing more details about your story. I did have a few questions.

          In an effort to consider the possibility for “improvements” the body of Christ can make to support people in destructive marriages, would you make any suggestions in your experience?

          One thing I noticed that concerned me in your more detailed explanation is this:

          “My church leadership allowed me to “drive the bus” and stood ready to intervene at any point.”

          My concern about this is many fold:
          1. We have a wounded victim of abuse driving a bus. I am thinking the best place for a wounded victim (depending on extent of woundedness) is a safe place for healing separate from having to navigate difficult and unknown territories.
          A wounded victim may suffer from complex PTSD, or PTSD or various other behaviors from the abuse that might clearly render a victim incapable of driving the bus.

          2. The bus driver bears the responsibility (all of it really) for the destination. Good or bad. That is a lot of responsibility (and liability) and needs to be in the hands of someone who has driven a bus before. I am concerned that allowing you to be in the drivers seat put you (and possibly others) at greater risk than you already were.

          Not trying to criticize but to analyze the situation for the purpose of greater function of the church in these situations, and certainly protection of the victims already in trauma.

          I am glad you felt supported by your church. That seems to be the opposite of what many have experienced when dealing with the “invisible” destructive nature of some very adept abusers.

          Blessings Jackie and prayers for your safety, Gods continued guidance and peace.

          • Leslie Vernick on February 24, 2017 at 12:50 pm

            I applauded her church for caring, for being involved, for standing with her, supporting her. I didn’t say they did everything right, but at least they tried, at least they showed concern and were willing to go the distance, which is so much more than most churches do for women today. The question was not about her church help but about the progress her husband was or was not making. Do I think the church at large has a lot to learn about this? Of course. And could they have reached out for more “expertise”? Yes. But again my goal was to answer a question asked, not to critique the entire process. I hope the church will review some of their procedures in handling these situations and become more educated and aware of how to handle abuse issues, but from my point of view they are miles ahead of most churches.



          • Lori on February 24, 2017 at 2:03 pm

            Hi Leslie,

            Your response to my recent post to Jackie (I think it was to me?) regarding the church process prompted a question within me.
            I am wondering if you feel personally criticized by my post, my expressed views or opinions?

            Your post looks defensive in nature to me. Is it?



          • Leslie Vernick on February 25, 2017 at 10:53 pm

            HI Lori, so glad you asked. Appreciate it. I’m sorry if it sounded defensive, I probably just wrote too fast. It wasn’t defensive, but it was explanatory as to why I didn’t address more what the church didn’t do as opposed to supporting what they did to. I don’t know if it was you or not but the very first day the post was put up there was a pretty harsh criticism of the church and everything they did wrong. I didn’t get a chance to respond to that post that day and didn’t have time to search for it today, but when I saw yours (which was not harsh at all and very soft) I thought I could explain a little bit why I chose to not comment on what the church might have done better and instead encourage the good I saw them do.

            Also I have tried not to be overly critical of any particular ministry who is attempting to do something in this arena even if they haven’t always done what I would have liked. There is another blog that does that quite well and I don’t see that it honors God for us to beat one another up even for a good cause.

            But I do appreciate your comments and reaching out to me too. I love this blog and want to keep it as helpful and productive as possible. There is such a sweet spirit here I want to preserve it and so I do get a little defensive of that spirit, but not defensive of me. I’m very open to you telling me I said something off, and people have done that and I appreciate it. No one is always right on every subject and that’s why I always invite nasayers here, even if I don’t like what they have to say because they do force me to rethink what I have said, and sometimes God and bloggers on my blog show me things I need to revisit.



      • Dawn on February 24, 2017 at 9:24 am

        Lori,
        Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I haven’t gone through the time line of events either, but you make some very valid points.
        Here’s my thoughts. As a body, we will continually be a work in progress. So to go back and “fine-tune” the processes in place is, I feel, both a healthy and necessary process to assure we are aligned in Him to the best of our abilities. That being said, I offer this not knowing too many of the particulars about this situation.
        I have found it very difficult for the body of Christ at large, especially many in lay-leadership, to even begin to understand the nuances of destructive relationships. Many, in my experience, can’t even fathom the levels of evil that I have seen exist IN the church. So they simply turn a blind eye.
        The fact that this church made an attempt to create an infra-structure of support helps me to see that they are willing to do the work of the gospel ~ protect those under their headship and support their walk.
        Yes, we all have distances to go until we get it right, but I believe it is an ongoing process.
        That is where I am ever grateful for people in our positions, who have experienced these traumas and are willing to go back and assist in bringing the healing into the body. We can bring the gospel of healing in this regard back to the hurting.
        So whenever I see progress, I’ll applaud it. It is a FAR cry from what I experienced in the body when I brought it forward many a years ago.
        Thanks be to God, who is desirous of bringing the healing and for the Christ Followers who are being used as tools in its delivery.
        March on, we are needed!

        • Lori on February 24, 2017 at 12:16 pm

          Hi Dawn,

          Thank you for your comments. I appreciate how you articulated:

          “I have found it very difficult for the body of Christ at large, especially many in lay-leadership, to even begin to understand the nuances of destructive relationships. Many, in my experience, can’t even fathom the levels of evil that I have seen exist IN the church. So they simply turn a blind eye.”
          This seems to be the very sad and harmful experience of many.

          And: “The fact that this church made an attempt to create an infra-structure of support helps me to see that they are willing to do the work of the gospel ~ protect those under their headship and support their walk.”

          I can agree with part of this statement, the part that shows they are willing to do the work of the gospel, but the part of “protect those under their headship” loses me in Jackies illustration.

          I do not see how letting her drive the bus protects her or puts her “under their headship”. I feel it has the effect of exposing her (she is responsible for the weighty decisions being made) and that they actually came “under her”, by offering to “support her” bus driving.

          Not trying to cause a problem here, however, my spirit is very unsettled about how we (the body of Christ) define what support looks like to the victim. I cannot call this support when it looks like exposing her entirely to more liability and responsibility for the navigating of such dark and destructive waters ahead.

          I agree with you that: “Yes, we all have distances to go until we get it right, but I believe it is an ongoing process.”

          And I agree also that: “So whenever I see progress, I’ll applaud it.”

          I do think also, it is important to discern if it is real progress we are seeing.

          • Dawn on February 28, 2017 at 9:44 am

            Hi Lori et al,
            I love the dialogue on this topic (as I tend to be analytical). I also appreciate the additional information that was shared by Jackie to shed further light (i.e. her statements about the leadership letting her “drive the bus”, etc.). Together as a body, coming out of these places, it is us (my belief) that are charged with bringing the healing message back into the church. Since my comments were made prior to the sharing of that additional information, I agree to some extent, with your comment about liability and protection. I know when I was in the throws of all of this, I knew I needed assistance. I kept going and asking for it, yet it never came. As a matter of fact, the responses I got enforced the idea to me that I was the one with the “problem”, needed to try harder, etc. So, by default, was left to “drive the bus” with no assistance, or worse yet, leadership laying landmines in it’s path. However, in response to Jackie, I must say, what I gleaned from that experience is “I understand how it happens”. While well meaning, as Leslie pointed out, these are lay people. Where I rejoice is the process has started. The dialogue is beginning. The infra-structures are being built , Praise Jesus!
            Here is another place where I see us all being used mightily ~ when we take a seat at these tables of recovery and lend voice to the process. That is a mighty and necessary balm as society (and the church) enter this continually darkening age.
            As we learn the lessons we grow. We acquire new tools, we learn to use them (and I know my own new tools have cut off a leg or two ;). We walk with the wise to grow wise as Proverbs shares. For this group I am ever grateful, for the whose scales are falling from their eyes, they are a light on a hill. When we are gifted with these lessons we have a sacred trust to share them as Jesus instructed Peter after his “sifting” to “turn and strengthen the brothers”. . Let this be the place where “iron sharpens iron” and we can take our swords of the Spirit and bring them to help extinguish the darkness.
            Love you, Christ Sisters! So thankful to be able to journey this road with you all.
            THIS is the place, in the presence of safe “others” and in the perfectly protected arms of our One True Husband, where the weak grow strong!



          • Aly on February 28, 2017 at 9:56 am

            Dawn,
            So true!! I agree with your comments and I’m thankful for you on this post.
            Elton Trueblood writes,
            “The renewal of the church will be in process when it is seen as a fellowship of consciously inadequate persons who gather because they are weak, and scatter to serve because their unity with one another and with Christ has made them bold.”

            Lord, I’m praying for all these precious daughters and I’m so thankful that someone like me has an opportunity to offer ‘love’
            and to be loved ~ during such difficult times.
            💜
            Stay sane and safe;)



          • Lori on February 28, 2017 at 2:23 pm

            Hi Dawn,

            One thing I learned from the dialogue regarding the church’s response to a blogger here was that Leslie and Chris Mole’s are working with churches regarding how to help those in destructive marriages. This being Leslie’s website, I did not realize commenting critically about the churches response may have a negative impact on Leslie’s blog.

            Frankly, I am not sure where this conversation should take place, or if I have a part/place to speak, but I don’t think I will be sharing anymore about it here.

            I want to respect the focus of this blog. To help individuals to discover what constitutes a destructive marriage, and how to set boundaries, get CORE strength and recover from or get out of the destructive cycle.

            May Gods peace rest on you.



        • Leslie Vernick on February 24, 2017 at 12:58 pm

          Thanks Dawn. Well said. I see efforts too, and I shudder at the mistakes I made in the beginning when I didn’t even really know what I didn’t know about all of this, but my heart was in the right place and I wanted to help and I believe God honors that and helps open our eyes to what we need to learn so as to be his vessels to hurting people.

          • JoAnn on February 24, 2017 at 7:01 pm

            I guess the real question is to Jackie: did you feel supported when they put you in the driver’s seat, or was it too heavy a burden for you? Of course, if a person doesn’t know how to drive or where to go, that becomes a big problem. But perhaps having the freedom to ask for what you needed was empowering and helpful?



          • Jackie on February 26, 2017 at 8:15 pm

            My daughter married yesterday so busy. I am thankful for the support here.
            Lori-improvements for body of Christ- Well when my church learned of my situation 3 -4 years ago they knew it was abusive and began to educate themselves by reading materials,, watching Leslies videos etc. I have spent hours per week reading, learning about it and talking to them. They also educated themselves, but had to balance learning about destructive relationships with other concerns. I have not ever felt unsupported. We have all had to rely on God much because it is so very complicated.
            As far as being the “bus driver”, I was clear during the entire time that I wanted to try to preserve the marriage -5 kids. I would have been supported if i had left, as a matter if fact the kids and I could have stayed with one of the pastors if we needed. They felt I was generally tracking w/ the peace that passes all understanding and was hurting -yes – but not tracking in woundedness. They also watched my kids in that area.
            Did I feel responsibe for outcome? No. I knew God was in control even when I hated it. I had 3-5 people I could call or talk to the entire time.
            Yes Leslie- they did go the distance and now 3-4 years from initial confrontation are mentoring my husband as he continues to show humility and admit more and more. They are rebuking him in love and after years of denial he is looking at some hard things. There are many.
            It is Leslies job to understand this incredibly complicated subject…..these people are pastors (with all the associated responsibilities), an engineer, a farmer, a RR conductor -regular people pouring into our lives and learning also.
            I am also in a confidential ladies group, we all have “irregular” husbands and regularly pray for them, our children and our marriages. We understand each other and challenge each other to keep God first, not our marriages.
            From what I’ve read here for 3 or so years I am incredibly blessed in regards to church support. Could some things have been done differently, i suppose so, but it is so complicated …..
            Most people involved believe as I do that unless God does a big work, things will not be ” normal” with h. But the abuse has stopped.
            My heart is what needs to heal while being guarded….another process.
            Ladies, this all has been very complicated and tiresome. My main question was answered by Leslie in regards to why I was feeling guarded and “numb” even though my husband truly seems different. (And in these 3-4 years he has had many fake repentances). This is different.



          • Dawn on March 3, 2017 at 9:48 am

            Thanks to all of us participating in the dialogue. Yes, especially when processing. I am ever grateful for this “place of process”. As my Dad often tells me, “Honey, we learn to operate by operating”. I So grateful for each of you here. For the safe place of others that Leslie has created for openness and support.
            Thanks so much for all of the sharing ~ the right “othering” and fervent prayer of the righteous effects much. On we go!



  8. Nancy on February 22, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Father, I lift Leslie up to you, in prayer.

    I ask for a heightened sensitivity to The Holy Spirit, in Leslie, to enable her to discern what tasks/responsibilities/habits need to fall away during this continued transition time. I pray that anything that does not glorify You will be immediately made clear to her and to her husband, and that You would empower them to allow those things to quickly fall away. I pray for Your protection from any guilt that might arise as a result of these decisions. I pray that You would empower Leslie to take every thought captive to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    In His precious name I pray.
    Amen.

    • Kelly on February 23, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Oh Wow! That’s an awesome prayer :-)!

    • JoAnn on February 24, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Amen!

  9. T.L. on February 22, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Oh, hello, my wonderful sisters! I have missed you all so!

    Leslie, praying for you: wisdom and discernment to let non-essentials go (and to know what those are!) and for peace in the midst of annoying chaos with the house. Like you tell us: be kind to yourself, please!

  10. T.L. on February 22, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Dear Lori,

    I don’t know if you saw it or not, but I posted (just after technical difficulties) the recommendation of a counselor for you:

    http://livingwholehearted.com/about/our-team/terra-mattson/

    It comes from someone I know in your area. She’s a bit expensive, but very good, I am told. Also, the other site I sent you, from Psychology Today: did you notice that you can apply filters? For example, what I sent you had the “Christian” filter applied. But there is also one for “Domestic Abuse” that can narrow it down further for you.

    Personally, I have had a difficult day…difficult talk with h. Just feeling really sad and in need of H.S. comfort and strength–just as you said, dear Nancy.

    Maybe I can share more tomorrow. Still processing.

    So glad to be back with you all!

    • Aly on February 22, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      T.L

      I’ll be praying for you too!
      I’m so sorry.
      You’ve been on my heart and I can’t express to you in words what your past post & encouragement has meant to me as I’m navigating and dealing with the grief of my mom.
      It feels like there are such few who can understand.

      I find it of only one coincidence we are all on here~ Praise God that we can trust Him as he sees our hearts.
      Thank you again… although I’m learning more and more about myself I count it such a privilege to get to know each of you and the opportunity to pray with you💗

    • Lori on February 22, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Hi TL,
      Thank you for your work at providing a reference for me. I am really looking for someone with lots of experience regarding narcissistic victim abuse. Finding some leads myself.
      I am sorry for your current difficulties but am not surprised. 🙁 I do pray for you and our dear sisters here who long for truth and true connection with our h and loved ones. I am blessed to be sojourning these dark and difficult paths (which sometimes break our hearts), with such wise, compassionate, empathic, intelligent women. I especially appreciate the encouragement we give each other to care for ourselves as we seem to have taken on too much care and responsibility for fixing a marriage at times. You have been on my heart during this reboot time TL. Hugs from overe here.

  11. Nancy on February 22, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    I’m going to the bus stop to get my daughter from school.

    As I walk, I will lift you up in prayer, T.L.❤️

    • T.L. on February 23, 2017 at 7:14 am

      Dear Nancy, Aly, and Lori,

      Thank you for your prayers. I’m doing a little better today. Yesterday we had to talk about practicalities: the fact that rebuilding our marriage (if it is even do-able) will be a long term process. The fact that I am not willing to let him move back in. Those two things mean that he will need to officially resign and we will be moving back to the States in summer. He tried, (gently and respectfully this time–he has learned that much at least) to make a case for why he should move back in–how else can I see how much he is changing? We can work on things together, etc.–it all makes perfect sense from his perspective. We see things so differently, and to some degree I found myself feeling sorry for a man who is stuck but can’t see it. And that I appear to be the one blowing up his dreams…(I know I’m not responsible–he is.)

      When we finished coming to terms/ making exit plans, I teared up. I had a strong desire to hug him and cry and say “how did it come to this!?” And so I got up and walked away, and went to my room and threw myself in my Father’s arms and cried there instead. My heart was feeling so much grief…it puzzled me, because it wasn’t that I’d learned anything new. All of this was known and expected. But I think I was feeling an inkling if our Father’s grief over our broken covenants…men who are supposed to care for and love their wives as Christ loves the church (dying for her), but instead care for themselves and do violence to their vows. And then what can an honest, Christ-following wife do but say, “You are a fraud, and I cannot be a part of this facade!” and extricate herself.

      That’s some of what I was feeling yesterday. And today, still recovering my strength and equilibrium.

      Lori, I’m glad you are finding helpful resources!

      Aly, it was timely to receive your affirmation regarding my being helpful to you with the grief over your mom. If you can think of any way I can help more at all, please tell me.

      Nancy, what you wrote to Rose about the Holy Spirit was timely and helpful to me also. He doesn’t comfort us in a “pitying, weakening” manner, but in a bolstering way. He comes alongside us in our pain and says,” Take courage, you who are beloved of God. We are with you. Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” What hope and peace.

      • Free on February 23, 2017 at 8:27 am

        This sounds like a rough conversation to have undertaking. Good job remaining strong. I liked your reference to a facade. I hadn’t thought about this before. I come from a long line of women who keep up the facade. Women in difficult, some destructive, marriages and they just endure. I can think of only a handful of relatives whom I would say seemed to love their spouses. Marriage, as I lived it was more of a duty or responsibility. I realize now that that is how girls are groomed to be have their “no” taken away and used as objects rather than respected as people. Thanks for bringing up the discussion.

        • Aly on February 23, 2017 at 9:17 am

          Free,
          Thanks for posting. I’m very sorry for what has played out in your adult marriage, but as your name states~ free is the virtue~destination
          Glad you are finding our way out to safety and freedom~free!

          You wrote:
          “I come from a long line of women who keep up the facade. Women in difficult, some destructive, marriages and they just endure. I can think of only a handful of relatives whom I would say seemed to love their spouses.”

          I come from ‘the same and or quite similar generational line/patterns’ and the word and action of Love is very well ‘distorted’ underdeveloped… I guess is my best description.

          My ‘no’ was and will always be a threat, even if I began my journey as a little girl knowing deeply ~ something is very wrong here!

          Where you find ‘facades’ you usually find deep broken intimacy issues. To be authentically vulnerable or broken is such an ‘anti of false self’ that it’s quite common or predictable given the long line of reinforced false beliefs (women) pass on in spoken and unspoken ways.
          there is no evidence of a teachable heart &spirit, only space for their own lense.

          And this my dear sister/ friends, is the blessing He grants us in His Truths for our hearts to enter in the healing process💜

      • Aly on February 23, 2017 at 8:45 am

        T.L.

        Goodness, I wish you could feel my hugs for you! Im am praying for you that you will feel and know His guiding and His comfort!🌅

        I’m so sorry as I think you know I can relate much to what your experiencing. The pain, the grief at the same time trying to navigate the present process.
        I’m thankful you share with your daughter the things you are learning and understanding~ it’s sounds like she has a good ‘sense of self’ given some of the circumstances that go along with a broken vows.

        You wrote:
        ” Yesterday we had to talk about practicalities: the fact that rebuilding our marriage (if it is even do-able) will be a long term process. The fact that I am not willing to let him move back in.”

        Yes, you are correct it’s a long term rebuilding process, as well as first a the process of taking out what is necessary to have stable ground to begin again~ if that’s possible and God’s will. Course, the majority of work will be on him. Is he surrendered to this..apart from living together?

        You remaining strong to not let him move back in (I’m sure is not easy, but you have also found your voice again and your heart)

        You don’t have to answer, but do you know what it is you will need from him down the road of his recovery process? Does he acknowledge he has a problem and does he see his destructive behavior that has come to this?

        You wrote:
        ” He tried, (gently and respectfully this time–he has learned that much at least) to make a case for why he should move back in–how else can I see how much he is changing?”

        There is some possibility to this… I’m curious if he can express what the past behavior was/is with what the present and if he can identify the root of why the past behavior plays out?
        Obviously ~ this is only the verbal part, but the behavior will have to align.

        You wrote:
        ” We see things so differently, and to some degree I found myself feeling sorry for a man who is stuck but can’t see it. And that I appear to be the one blowing up his dreams…(I know I’m not responsible–he is.)”

        You are correct about this and it’s hard to have the empathy and not feel any responsibility, but you know your part.
        Does he have space for understanding how differently you both see things?
        The fact that he doesn’t have insight (I’m assuming) into what you have been through highlights a beginning process of counsel recovery for him. (I’m not sure if he has been getting the therapy necessary) maybe he has.

        You wrote:
        “And so I got up and walked away, and went to my room and threw myself in my Father’s arms and cried there instead. My heart was feeling so much grief…it puzzled me, because it wasn’t that I’d learned anything new. All of this was known and expected.”

        Boy can I hear your heart here! I think you running to your ‘father’s heart for comfort’ is a wise choice.
        I’m not sure I understand the known and expected part.. I would like to understand more, and especially what you feel ‘I guess ‘old hat’?

        T.L.
        I’m regards to my moms situation ~ the fact that you can even see it, helps a daughter not second guess.. feel like the betrayer (when in fact she was clearly)
        Our counselor’s have been clear and factual with what has been playing out (addiction wise) and have been there to hold my heart in the process. But to have another mother say ~ I see you! Is huge! I can’t express in words what healing that I know God has administered here. 😍
        I know His healing is comprehensive and I am so thankful!
        He has a plan for all of His precious daughters and I’m so thankful for your time to write and to be of so much care to all of our situations. Your ‘Children’ will be blessed!

        Holding you in prayer and in comfort🙏

        • T.L. on February 23, 2017 at 5:09 pm

          Hi Aly,

          First of all, thank you for your comfort and understanding.

          You wrote:

          “…Course, the majority of work will be on him. Is he surrendered to this..apart from living together?”

          To be honest, there has been little communication between us for many months now, beyond practicalities. I have felt the need to have space away from his influence and oppression. So I have not wanted to talk. And he is mainly in a defensive posture. He doesn’t want to hear what I am thinking at all; because I am telling him what I see instead of what he wants to hear. I am not pretending. At all. He feels harshly judged by me. I would not say that he has “a surrendered posture” at all except (sort-of) to two requirements I made: take a sabbatical and do counseling with a specialist in “men with power and control issues.” This feels mostly like “box-checking” to me, though. He is applying himself, but truly surrendered to it? I don’t know…I think he feels great shame that he is having to submit to something like that. He likes to remind me that he is in counseling with the person *I chose* (as if that should score points) and that he stepped away from ministry responsibilities *for me;* (more points) to show me that our marriage was that important.

          As far as him knowing the majority of the work is his?: he knows I think it is. I don’t know if he would agree. He thinks he’s done a lot. He thinks he has been changing. He thinks I have trouble forgiving and leaving the past behind. He thinks I am not really giving him a chance. (All of this; I know, is the thought process of an abuser/minimizer/blame-shifter)

          “You don’t have to answer, but do you know what it is you will need from him down the road of his recovery process? Does he acknowledge he has a problem and does he see his destructive behavior that has come to this?”

          No; he acknowledges he *did* have a problem, but he thinks he has changed and is changing every day….but I can’t see it because we are living separately and so occasions to see his change are so minimal.

          Do I know what I will need from him down the road from his recovery process?…If you mean in his behavior; I have some idea. I could put much of it into words. If you mean support and interventions…I have some idea, again, but will need help with specifics. After he finishes the 6-month program for abusers, I would like to see him do a counseling intensive for childhood trauma/and possible PD or attachment disorder. I would then need us to have ongoing counseling support for a long time. We are not in marriage counseling and I am not sure when I would feel he/we are ready for that.

          Maybe it is time for me to write out what I am thinking along those lines in a letter or email so he has a concrete copy of what it is I am asking for.

          You wrote:

          “There is some possibility to this… I’m curious if he can express what the past behavior was/is with what the present and if he can identify the root of why the past behavior plays out?
          Obviously ~ this is only the verbal part, but the behavior will have to align.”

          Not sure I understand…like I would contrast how he is asking this time with how he did last time and then see if he can identify his selfishness that made him pressure me to try to get what he wanted, instead of giving me free choice? (I know that he sees this as me taking his free choice away–he wants to live in our home, and I won’t let him. So I am now controlling and abusing him and taking his choice away.– this was his tune back at Christmas, anyway.)

          You wrote:
          “Does he have space for understanding how differently you both see things?
          The fact that he doesn’t have insight (I’m assuming) into what you have been through highlights a beginning process of counsel recovery for him. (I’m not sure if he has been getting the therapy necessary) maybe he has.”

          He admits that he *was* verbally and emotionally abusive, but believes he has changed/is changing, and I am just unable/unwilling to see it.

          Absolutely the only therapy he has had so far is the online program for controlling and abusive men (it’s a 6-month program–he’s in the 2nd month) with lots of reading, videos, reflection and answering questions that he has to turn in, and a session of follow-up counseling/coaching every other week.

          You said:
          “I’m not sure I understand the known and expected part..”

          I just mean that I knew that we were headed to have to leave the ministry base where we are; that he would have to step away from his dream. That we would need to move “back home.” As an empath, I felt his pain and shame. And I felt our brokenness as a couple. All this I knew…it just hit me hard in the moment.

          Regarding the situation with your mom, Aly: I am so thankful to be of help to you in any way! Praise God for a little bit of salve applied to that wound.

          Thank you for asking good questions. It has strengthened me to answer them!

          • Aly on February 24, 2017 at 12:47 pm

            T.L.

            Thanks so much for writing yesterday.
            I’m so thankful for your Christlike compassion given my situation and how you and I can relate to well these ‘controllers’
            Some obvious some covert right?
            Thank you for seeing my heart and my journey it has been validating and also so hopeful to see you step out in ‘true faith’ at where you are at, that it can be done and that given your long marriage you are choosing to not sit back any longer.
            You are claiming what He has secured for you regardless of h’s choices.
            So thankyou again for your time and voice here is pivotal.

            You wrote:
            “And he is mainly in a defensive posture. He doesn’t want to hear what I am thinking at all; because I am telling him what I see instead of what he wants to hear. I am not pretending.”

            This saddens me given the interventions in place. i can relate and your not alone in the grief of this place…I do think… ( could be wrong) but is this his first year or attempt … at beginning to look at how unhealthy the marriage dynamic has been?

            I say this because the amount of continued time that he has supplied false-self can greatly impact his ability to come to terms with the reality of well let’s just say his ‘thief mentality’ sense we are talking posture here.

            I do hope you are free to bring these postures and attitudes to his counselor the next check in.

            I happen to believe that deep down with these postures they are so in the way of themselves~ where the fear of remotely feeling inferior (although it’s not being inferior at all, it’s being humble for being irresponsible) but the mindset to them is inferior, so thus you can see the outward behavior posture like you are witnessing.
            This posturing can change on a dime depending who they are dealing with. His posturing in his program could be very different especially if he sees himself as an equal.
            But then in your presence it’s so wired in … in him, that there is a dynamic to retain for power and safety (for him)

            I write all of this to you T.L. Hoping you feel validated, (I know you are clear headed) but I want you to know that I’ve been down similar paths.

            You wrote:
            “He feels harshly judged by me. I would not say that he has “a surrendered posture” at all except (sort-of) to two requirements I made: take a sabbatical and do counseling with a specialist in “men with power and control issues.” This feels mostly like “box-checking” to me, though. He is applying himself, but truly surrendered to it? I don’t know…I think he feels great shame that he is having to submit to something like that. He likes to remind me that he is in counseling with the person *I chose* (as if that should score points) and that he stepped away from ministry responsibilities *for me;* (more points) to show me that our marriage was that important.”

            Box checking is critical sign of … can’t I get a quick result of my limited investment?
            The fact that he is still in the place of an attitude of what he’s doing for ‘you’…
            Shows compliance but not ‘brokenness’ over what was taken, and taken and taken.
            This is just my opinion.. but because he is married I see his biggest ministry responsibility being that of his own convenant marriage and family legacy as priority 1. Yes, his relationship with God first too.

            You wrote:
            “He thinks he has been changing. He thinks I have trouble forgiving and leaving the past behind.”

            Yes you and I know you are solid on the manipulation tactic of this one. We both agree this isn’t a forgiveness issue.
            Unless a PAST gets an autopsy~ Given these marital dynamics…
            The past will continue to be the present and possible future.

            The autopsy is critical because it can assist in dealing with the disease rather than managing the symptoms.
            Many h’s are willing to entertain the managing of symptoms but rather non-compliant to the disease at hand because of what is required.

            You wrote:
            “No; he acknowledges he *did* have a problem”

            How do you feel when you hear this?
            Does he express what the problem ‘he had’ was?
            Is he more concerned or invested with the problem than anyone one else in relationship with him?

            You wrote:
            “I would like to see him do a counseling intensive for childhood trauma/and possible PD or attachment disorder. I would then need us to have ongoing counseling support for a long time. ”

            I so support you with this! As you know I believe that this is critical to these mindsets
            And yes it’s a long time process of healing ~either route~

            You wrote:
            “I just mean that I knew that we were headed to have to leave the ministry base where we are; that he would have to step away from his dream.”

            If it’s ok, I’d like to know your dream too?

            ~ your friend& sister in prayer!



      • Lori on February 23, 2017 at 11:24 am

        TL,

        First off, hugs for your heart sister. I can feel your pain from way over here. 🙁

        “He tried, (gently and respectfully this time–he has learned that much at least) to make a case for why he should move back in–how else can I see how much he is changing? We can work on things together, etc.–”

        Did he remain gentle and respectful when you said “no”?

        Do you think he was being respectful and gentle in sincerity? Do you think he might have behaved this way to work his way back into your house?

        If this is the first sign of you h being gentle and respectful of you, it is curious to me (at best) that it comes hand in hand with such a big request. I am not trying to plant seeds here TL. Just sharing honestly some things that came to mind.

        Also, dear TL, it seems as though your h only offered ONE option for how else you could see if he has changed, or how to work on things together. He offered only HIS option of moving back in which you state you are not ready for yet.

        Surely, (and with the help of other accountable persons) there are other (safer) options to explore your h progress, or to be able to work on “things” together, if you are wanting to.

        What might those other options be?

        I am grieving with you for the heartache of your experience: “When we finished coming to terms/ making exit plans, I teared up. I had a strong desire to hug him and cry and say “how did it come to this!?”

        Oh, TL….I believe this is why God hates divorce. It tears us in two. Not saying I think your marriage will end in divorce, just saying I feel the tearing of your heart dear friend. I am so very sorry for your pain.

        I am encouraged you ran into our Fathers loving arms. Praying for your heart and your h heart today. Much love from here.

        • T.L. on February 23, 2017 at 6:37 pm

          Hi Lori,

          Thank you for your kind compassion, and for your thoughts and questions. Like Aly’s, they helped me get clear again.

          He did remain gentle and respectful when I said no. I think…mainly. Now I am questioning it a bit. There was no obvious pressure…but no, I don’t think it was in sincerity. I believe it was because he had learned from last time that if he tried to pressure me I would get up and leave. So yes, I think it is a change in behavior to try to get what he wants, rather than a change in behavior due to a deep heart change. It wasn’t gentle and respectful to show me his care for me. Thank you for helping me sort that.

          Lori, you wrote:
          “Also, dear TL, it seems as though your h only offered ONE option for how else you could see if he has changed, or how to work on things together. He offered only HIS option of moving back in which you state you are not ready for yet.

          Surely, (and with the help of other accountable persons) there are other (safer) options to explore your h progress, or to be able to work on “things” together, if you are wanting to.

          What might those other options be?”

          These are really good points and questions. You are right. There are other options. We need more accountability/intervention people in place to ask HIM those kinds of questions, too. Thank you.

          I have had little desire at all to work on the marriage with him…I have sensed that he has lots of work to do so that he can see the piles of garbage that need to be hauled out of the way so we can start building. And I have needed time to heal and recover. At some point, though, I would like to try some marriage counseling again–with someone who understands destructive marriage dynamics–to see if he has made any progress and if it is even possible to build a new marriage with him.

          Thank you for your questions and caring. The support is so strengthening.

          • Nancy on February 23, 2017 at 8:15 pm

            Hi T.L.,

            I just want to let you know that I am amazed at your clarity. I’m so proud of your ability to see, and to know, that the loss of your h’s dream is entirely his responsibility.

            My heart broke for you and rejoiced with you all at the same time, when I read about the moment where you ran into your Father’s arms ( instead of saying, “how did it come to this?”)

            The amazing questions that both Aly and Lori asked are invaluable in becoming even clearer and staying on track.

            Thank you for sharing the details. Your reliance on the Holy Spirit in the encounters with your h and as you wade through the aftermath, is inspiring ❤️



          • T.L. on February 23, 2017 at 9:49 pm

            Thank you so much, Nancy. Your words of affirmation also help comfort/strengthen me. ❤️



          • Lori on February 24, 2017 at 12:46 pm

            TL,

            “I have had little desire at all to work on the marriage with him…I have sensed that he has lots of work to do so that he can see the piles of garbage that need to be hauled out of the way so we can start building. And I have needed time to heal and recover.”

            It is interesting you have illustrated the situation with your h with piles of garbage that need to be hauled out. This is the exact illustration I chose when trying to explain to h some years ago about what it was like in marriage with him. Bags and bags of garbage in the house and a very definite blind man as to the situation. How convenient to not see, hear, feel or smell the squalor of the marriage.

            How traumatizing for the one who does see, hear, smell and feel the toxicity of improperly managed refuse left inside the home (hearts of spouses).

            Have you seen any of Christine Louis de Cannonville teachings? She shares her decades long knowledge about NPD and how the NPD takes absolutely NO responsibility for their toxicity and are much empowered by their denial of it. The unfortunate reality is the dumping continues and so does the denial of it.

            Christines teachings have done much to validate my 30 years of experience in marriage to an NPD (for which I previously had no name for or description of). The validation of my experience has had the very positive effect of my no longer feeling responsible for the refuse, or the oppression of h disorder. I have experienced validation that it is not my Christian duty to make sense or attempt to “win” my NPD h to sanity. I pray for him still every day, but perhaps my prayers are even more effective now as I am no longer hindered in them by my reactive abuse to my h.

            It is amazing how manageable life is really when I am no longer crawling over and sitting in toxic trash every day. The path to the front and back doors are clear now.

            Still cooperating with the HOLY Spirit as He works at tearing down strongholds within my mind and heart learned while navigating through the toxicity, but I rather prefer HIS method of disposal (you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free) than the NPD h’s.

            And: “And I have needed time to heal and recover.”
            Same here TL. Doing the math with the equation you and others have provided here. For every 10 years of abuse=5 years of recovery.

            Sounds like we may be at this “healing and recovery” awhile. For me, that is all I have the strength for right now. I do pray the Lord bless our h with the truth the Lord would have for them (whatever that may be) so they too can be free.

            Thanking God for His truth and mercies which are new every morning. For today, I am going to rejoice in His faithfulness to me and trust Him with my marriage and husbands heart.

            Love to you TL



          • Rose on February 25, 2017 at 9:49 am

            Dear Lori,
            Hello my dear friend. Wow… I have reread your message to TL several times. May I say, you write so beautifully. You articulate your words very well and create a “vision” or “mental picture”, as your words unfold. It is a gift indeed to be able to write so eloquently. I relate so well to your “stinking garbage” analogy. Wonderfully put Lori. I have gained so much insight from reading your posts about your journey with your husband. Thank you for sharing your heart. Pls know it is helping others who are not as far along in their journey as you are. You mentioned you have been seperated for about 14 months now. That’s quite a long time. My question is..how long do you plan on staying seperated? Indefinitely? At what point to do you say..enough..I am divorcing this man.
            My next question is..how did you stop the reactive abuse? I am really struggling with this. My h is so harsh with his words and so manipulative, that I find myself taking the bait every time and arguing back with him in order to defend myself. I am so offended by what he is saying, or feel so strongly about “correcting” him in his denial or warped sense of thinking…that’s he’s making all this effort (when he clearly is not) that I end up coming back at him “to set him straight” that his lame excuses are not going to work anymore. I want him to see that I am not that weak, naive woman anymore..who for years bought into his rhetoric. I know better now. The veil has been lifted. I can easily spot the manipulation now. And so, I get so angry that he continues he’s to treat me like I’m a fool…and so of course I want to defend myself. I begin shouting at him and my tone becomes harsh, just like his. I begin to hurl the insults back at him. Hence, creating the crazy cycle one again. We go around that same exhausting mountain for hours at a time..getting nowhere. I hate the person I am when I have to deal with him. I become an ugly person. I am ashamed at my behavior and lack of discipline and self control during these conversations. I am behaving no better than he is..and I’m the saved person! Shame on me. I am operating in the flesh, rather than from the Holy Spirit within. I have always felt such guilt and shame and disappointment I. Myself after my behavior with my h. I began setting boundaries. He disrespected the boundaries and continued the unacceptable
            Behavior. I then walked out of the room or hung up on him. He wd text me and tell me how immature I was by hanging up or twist it and tell me “you hang up on me every time you don’t like what you hear. There’s something wrong with you”. There’s the bait…and I fell for it every time. I wd either call or text him “to set him straight”. Of course…that led to the crazy cycle again. I learned he will take any attention from me…even if it’s negative attention. I must stop myself from engaging in this exhausting and fruitless nonsense. how did you do it Lori? How did you stop the reactive abuse? (I never knew it had a name until you mentioned it). I want to be pure in the eyes of God. I want to behave as a godly woman. I want to be that example, to him as well as my children…yet I fail every time I talk to him.



          • Lori on February 25, 2017 at 12:41 pm

            Rose,

            Precious sister. I think of you and pray for you. You said: “I find myself taking the bait every time and arguing back with him in order to defend myself.

            I have come to believe there has to be a better way to defend ourselves from a persons unrepentent abusive behavior. I used to believe I was relating with a person who had my best in mind and heart. After all, that is what he told me over and over and over again. He also told me if I didn’t believe him, something was wrong with me. (It’s called blame-shifting) He was more of an expert at that than I was at straightening him out.
            Rose, I have learned the abuser will always have more power than the victim if we continue to allow them access to our hearts.
            I was wrongly investing MY power into his disorder whenever I took the bait. It always had the negative effect of validating his position that I was the problem when I raged at him.
            Of course I didn’t begin my “straightening out my husband” with rage. In the beginning, I would pray until I felt I could share a message that was tempered by the Lord and my hurt was held by God, making sure my heart was not avenging myself. Over the years (nearly 30) of appealing to my h for change (h behavior was destroying me), I digressed in my appealing (still thinking his heart was good toward me while ignoring h behavior which was evil toward me). I digressed down a dark stairway to an emotional torture chamber where my words were chosen to destroy h. Primitive efforts to survive and so we had a kill or be killed marriage.

            You described what I felt too Rose: “We go around that same exhausting mountain for hours at a time..getting nowhere. I hate the person I am when I have to deal with him. I become an ugly person. I am ashamed at my behavior and lack of discipline and self control during these conversations. I am behaving no better than he is..and I’m the saved person! Shame on me. I am operating in the flesh, rather than from the Holy Spirit within. I have always felt such guilt and shame and disappointment.”

            The shame is a killer. Oh my, the very nature of it as it infuses our entire being starting at the core; our hearts. Like a dense fog, it covers us and doesn’t let us breathe or see.

            Because our h deny their evil behavior, the shame of it (which I believe God intended so as to create in it’s owner a desire to be free of it) has to go somewhere. One is not meant to live with this heavy oppressive cloak, but seek to be free of it. As Christians, the way to be free of it is to allow our shame to bring us down on our knees, confess our wrongdoings to God and others, and accept (in humility) that we are pardoned by a Holy God who loves us and will willingly carry our sins AND OUR SHAME.
            My h (although he claims to have Christ as h Savior) was ever quick and willing deny h evil behavior and felt no shame for h evil behavior. He would more gladly do this than rend his heart. In the opposite spirit of Christs, my h cast his shame on me (or whoever was close by ie: kids) to carry it.

            My reactive abuse to my h added to my burden of shame carrying. Now I had my own evil behavior (it was nasty Rose) to be rightly ashamed of. My heart was tormented to a greater degree by my reactive abuse (my sin). I tried so hard not to sin in this manner, but was not able to stop while in h presence.

            The stopping for me came when I was broken by my shame and desired to be free of my sin and shame. I cried out to God for help and REPENTED from reactive abuse. Perhaps like 2 addicts, we were not going to get any better with only one of us repenting. I could no longer live with the guilt and shame and I asked God to deliver me. He did and I heard myself using my power in a way I only feebly attempted to earlier in the marriage. I demanded the separation.

            Rose, my h still blames me 100%, and I see it in necessary emails and texts, but I am not marinated in it. I am no longer sinning in my reactions to him. I am able to step back and get my Godly balance back and treat him with the respect every human being deserves. However, he no longer has access to my heart. When h barbs and arrows of blame come my way, I can safely work through it with my Shepherd from a great distance away. My Shepherd has comforted me with truth (His rod and staff), Counseled me in truth and wisdom and LOVED me enough to descend that dark stairway and take up residence there where His light can now shine. (Tears as I write). What a wonderful Savior, and how Majestic His love. I can better pray for my h from this place. Now that I am in the safe presence of Love and not evil, I can face the toxic garbage bags I am responsible for. It is a work I am accepting as necessary and I know my Lord has a good purpose and good future for me. This is where I have been called to by Him, not to the evil place of straightening out his other servant (my h). I have business and pleasure here in this place with my Savior. I will trust Him to work out His will in my and my h life. It is not mine to know whether my h will descend the staircase and own his shame and evil behavior. If he chooses not to (Love gives choice), I am not to be unequally yoked with him. What fellowship (unity) has darkness with light?

            I hope this helps answer your question: “I must stop myself from engaging in this exhausting and fruitless nonsense. how did you do it Lori? How did you stop the reactive abuse?”

            Rose, I have come to believe my reactive abuse, or efforts to change my h (or anyone) is more than exhausting and fruitless. I believe it is sin to be repented of. The only way I could do that was to separate from the cause of it.

            You also asked: ‘You mentioned you have been seperated for about 14 months now. That’s quite a long time. My question is..how long do you plan on staying seperated? Indefinitely? At what point to do you say..enough..I am divorcing this man?”

            Currently, my youngest daughter is not old enough to be considered emancipated, so in our state, the courts would most likely create joint custody status for her. She vehemently wants not to be with him and I feel it would cause her much trauma. I don’t think it could be proven to the courts it would be traumatic as h is in church 4 times a week serving and to our small community, he appears “perfect”. He has worked very hard on that appearance and has fooled nearly everyone he has met. Expert.

            In meeting with my lawyer (who is waiting in the wings to start paperwork), she advised as long as h is not harming our finances or mandating visits with our daughter, kick the can down the road strategically until she is old enough to be emancipated 1 1/2 years.

            A year ago, I asked my h to drop up paperwork together with me to divide our assets and enter mediation in order to keep lawyer costs down. He passionately denied this idea due to his deeply held religious beliefs that he not disobey Gods word and divorce his wife. (Such righteous passion!)

            That said, I don’t think he will lift a finger to divorce me. He will not do wrong. However, he will also not repent and do right. So we are at a stalemate and I am using this time to learn, grow, be in “community” with supportive, wise sisters and ENJOY my children, knowing Who holds my future.

            This is so long.

            Rose,may I encourage you to stop and repent of the evil work of fighting evil with evil that we are so inclined to. It destroys us more than our husbands evil behavior has the power to.

            I believe God has brought you to such a place and time as this to repent and do good. Stop trying to make sense to him. Stop trying to defend yourself. Stop trying to fix the marriage. Take back your God given power and bring it to the One who can set you free, the One who believes you and does not accuse you, the One who hears your hearts cry for righteousness and love. Bring your precious brokenness, tears and HEART to the One who holds it perfectly. Trust the future to His perfect care. Let go of that which tethers you to evil and grasp His holiness.

            The shame burden will ease and you will see even more clearly as time passes.

            You are precious and greatly prized by the King of Kings Rose. Let that matter more to you than how you are devalued and discarded by your h. He is wrong in his value of you.

            Hugs Rose.



          • T.L. on February 25, 2017 at 12:57 pm

            (Lori, I feel like a majestic orchestra should be accompanying these beautiful words! Glorious goodness, and glorious transformation! Beauty from Ashes (B.f.A!) Hallelujah!)



          • Aly on February 25, 2017 at 2:11 pm

            Hugs to both of you precious sisters in Christ!
            Such wise questions in search of clarity and truth for your hearts.
            Beautifully written Lori💜



          • T.L. on February 24, 2017 at 4:56 pm

            Hi Lori and Aly,

            Aly, you are right; it is the first year he has begun to look at his responsibility in the relationship. I started, in earnest, 4-5 years ago. I have released him to his own work, if he will do it. And I am doing mine. But sometimes there are practical matters that must be discussed and that is when my heart suffers a bit.

            Your notes about posturing and mindset are on point and helpful; thank you.

            Of course his first priority in ministry should be marriage and family legacy. He knows this very well in his head, and teaches this; but has been living in denial in the application to his own life.

            In answer to a couple of your ?’s: He admits to verbal and emotional abuse in the past. No; he is not more concerned and invested than anyone else around him. Still trying to minimize and avoid from what I can see so far. It makes me feel unsafe.

            My dreams? My dreams were never well-defined…I never had big major ambitions for myself. My longings tend to focus on relationships; the Lord and people. I love writing; poetry and otherwise; especially if it can inspire/motivate others. I love being with my family and friends. I love supporting others in their journeys with the Lord. Right now, I mostly long to be near my children and grandchildren again. (Thanks for asking that, Aly.)

            Lori, I’ve never heard of Christine Louis de Cannonville, but I will look her up.

            I relate to much of what you say. It is refreshing to our spirits to release them and focus on our own health, and let them focus on theirs, if they so choose.

            God is the changer of hearts, and He is also the revealer of hearts. We can’t do either; we watch as He reveals and works.

            Also, Lori, I wanted to say that I thought your questions/objections about the church leaders putting the abused/injured wife in the role of driving the bus were very insightful, relevant, and helpful. I am sure they meant well, and they really tried, but that was not the ideal or helpful way to go about it. The church has so much to learn! I know Leslie and Chris Moles are working hard to educate pastors and staffs in churches. I also came across this new ministry just the other day:

            http://www.claireroise.com/2017/02/03/psalm-82-initiative/

            https://www.facebook.com/Psalm82Initiative/



          • Lori on February 25, 2017 at 1:18 pm

            TL,

            “Lori, I’ve never heard of Christine Louis de Cannonville, but I will look her up.”

            https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiU97v-66vSAhUK4mMKHTGUBTsQtwIILDAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DW2zM2jPNOuY&usg=AFQjCNG9lj-nmbQLZI5ymEIMQCVUTY-BFw&sig2=6PrQqc5pUrxYrbv4I6oQZg

            Youtube has a link with her speaking to therapists on the effect of narcissistic abuse victims. Incredible personal story, incredible recovery.

            Thank you for saying: “Also, Lori, I wanted to say that I thought your questions/objections about the church leaders putting the abused/injured wife in the role of driving the bus were very insightful, relevant, and helpful.”

            As part of the “C” in Core strength, I am practicing being committed to truth as I experience it and sharing it in a respectful manner. If I was in error somehow on either of these points, I want to be open to honest feedback from women here.

            Hope you are well today TL.



          • Nancy on February 25, 2017 at 11:44 am

            Hi Rose,

            I hope it’s ok to interject on your question to Lori about reactive abuse. I look forward to her response 🙂

            For me, not reacting is a question of developing what Leslie calls CORE strength. It’s an acronym that has helped me immensely.

            I have watched her video ( posted here below- 7 minutes) MANY times. I have each of the scriptures associated with each letter on a cue card.

            I’m confident this will help you as much as it has helped me❤️

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LyPCvrKquck



          • T.L. on February 25, 2017 at 12:00 pm

            Rose, I hope you don’t mind my chiming in with Nancy. I totally agree with her! I took Leslie’s CORE class, and it was very helpful! Her book How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong helped me too.

            And of IMMENSE help was separation and other clear and firm boundaries: “I will not talk about us without a third party present.” These helped me get away from the “crazy making” and have the space to work on me: becoming stronger and healthier.



      • Kelly on February 23, 2017 at 8:45 pm

        Hi I’m Kelly ava new here. I left my h last July and we have 8 kids two in diapers. He’s around all the time helping with the kids which is great but I feel the exact same way as you said in your post. I can’t get past the “I can NEVER TRUST HIM OR LIVE IN THE SAME HOME WITH HIM AGAIN” feeling. He lives in an RV and is getting ready to permanently park it off site. He’s doing the work sms seems more humble. I however literally get sick thinking of putting on my wedding ring again and thinking of letting him back in my home. It’s so toxic my well being and health are being affected negatively when I have to talk to him or be around him too much. I’m grateful he’s not bailed on us as he very well could’ve but here’s my question,
        If it’s hurting my well being to live with him and who’s to say that he won’t revert back to his old evil patterns of abuse, how do I get past this?? I want my own home separate and a legal separation but I’m concerned about the money and the kids reactions against me. I’m also concerned it may cause them to lose faith in marriage. I don’t believe I was EVER married out loved by him. I don’t believe him capable of that kind of intimacy and empathy. So how do you get past those feelings?

        • T.L. on February 23, 2017 at 9:08 pm

          Hi Kelly,

          We are glad you are here and hope that we can offer you some help and support.

          You did the right thing to get yourself out of the abuse and into safety and sanity. It’s very normal and healthy to feel what you are feeling after being in an abusive relationship. Depending on the severity of the abuse and how long it lasted, it can take a very long time to recover. I think Leslie has said for every 10 years of abuse it takes 4-5 years of recovery. You should not easily trust an abuser. He must feel deep conviction, have contrition and brokenness, repent fully, and be transformed and reformed. That all takes time. And he will have to earn your trust back over a long period of time, if ever. Do not let him or anyone else rush you.

          You have a lot to consider with 8 children in tow. But you have choices and options and one thing for certain: you do not have to and you should NOT, live in a toxic, abusive environment.

          I think we would all have lots of questions: are you in counseling? Do you have much support from family, friends, church? Is your husband in counseling? How extensive was the abuse? (Verbal, emotional, spiritual, financial, physical? All of the above?) What accountability does your husband have?

          We have all found Leslie’s books, blog, and videos tremendously helpful. Read and listen as much as you can. We can recommend other resources too.

          Praying for you, Kelly.

        • Nancy on February 24, 2017 at 4:59 am

          Hi Kelly,

          Welcome. So glad you found this community of support. I have found the ladies here to be knowledgeable, discerning, intelligent and ,especially, faithful to God.

          T.L. has asked some great questions and made good points. The one I’d like to underline is her point about time. She said, “don’t let him, or anyone else rush you.” I agree completely.

          Keep relying on The Lord, Kelly, day by day, and moment to moment when he is around. Stand firm in The Lord.

          This is the best testament to Christ that you can give your children.

          I’ll be lifting you up in prayer, Kelly.

          Lately, I’ve found comfort in a worship song that T.L. had pasted a while back called Take courage by Kelly Dimarco
          Here it is:

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r49V9QcYheQ

        • Aly on February 24, 2017 at 8:38 am

          Kelly,

          I’m so very sorry for what you are experiencing and that even in such a difficult time you are being strong minded and asking ‘healthy’ questions. For me, knowledge empowered me for what I was up against.
          First, you are not alone ~ as maybe you have seen from the last comments. Such wonderful caring beautiful women here that are so wise and supportive🌅
          Leslie’s materials and books are very good at helping equip women with truth and love!

          T.L. Wrote many questions I would have asked you because I do believe ….healthy loving support is foundational given any emotional abuse (what this does to our brain) especially if a spouse is good at false shame or guilt that can be placed upon another over and over.

          Many of us are technically ‘more empaths’ here on this blog so we can relate to the pain of the process, whether you are getting out or navigating through to an outcome that is redeemed together or an outcome that is also redeemed (for you) but possibly apart.

          Given your comments you have been able to get some space, was there a final straw for you?
          Are you fearful of him harming you or the children?
          Do you fear for your safety?
          Is he respecting the space and any boundaries you have given~ meaning is he clear why the marriage is where it is (him Losing the right to be around you) and his contribution so far? Does he believe his behaviors are abusive and destructive to your well being?
          Not to say that there isn’t any ‘many’ more steps for him.. but I guess it seems like he’s ‘being compliant’ ..
          You wrote:
          “If it’s hurting my well being to live with him and who’s to say that he won’t revert back to his old evil patterns of abuse, how do I get past this??”

          As far as the behavior coming back~ again some of us here might have different thoughts given our current journeys of how we might answer you~ This is my experience.
          If you are dealing with emotional and verbal abuse (which is just as harming in ways as physically) and it has been a pattern in your marriage dynamic, I can confidently tell you the behavior patterns will return especially if he does not have ‘intense interventions’ for dealing with what I tend to call a ‘mindset’. Meaning it’s ‘set in’ and needs to be dealt with deeply at the core belief level.

          You will need a lot of support and a really good Christian counselor that can help you along your process of healing. It is something you will get through (especially with the Lord everyday guiding you)

          You wrote:
          ” I want my own home separate and a legal separation but I’m concerned about the money and the kids reactions against me. I’m also concerned it may cause them to lose faith in marriage.”

          I’m so sorry for this for you, I can relate in many ways as your concerns are so valid …but would you say to your children that the marriage they are witnessing is a marriage that two people both working to Glorify God in a covenant marriage?

          It sounds from your writings that you don’t have an ounce of trust in your h, my belief is that this is extremely hard for children to ‘not absorb in ways’ regardless of their age because children can pick up on a ‘unsafe home’ especially the well being of mother~ They do take the cues from the mom’s well being…this isn’t your fault and it is good that you are making choices to protect the emotional environment.

          I will pray for your mind/heart and your discerning because you are valued beyond measure and God does want a safe place for you to thrive!
          💖

          • Leslie Vernick on February 24, 2017 at 1:02 pm

            Thanks ALy for your kind and wise response.



        • Lori on February 24, 2017 at 1:09 pm

          Kelly,

          So glad you have found this community of supporting, loving, understanding and enlightened women. They have together, banded together to comfort me in some of my darkest, most painful “sharings”. I have not felt judged at all here. Quite the opposite. I love their statements of affirmation and clarity as well as their questions.

          I have to say when I read your post my heart went completely out to you with so many babies in your care. It is hard for me to imagine the dire straights your marriage must be in for you to consider it easier to raise 8 children alone. (with his help at times).

          I love what our dear sisters have shared in response to you and have come to believe they are here for us.

          You asked: ““If it’s hurting my well being to live with him and who’s to say that he won’t revert back to his old evil patterns of abuse, how do I get past this?”

          What patterns of abuse have you seen?

  12. Aleea on February 22, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    —Thank you to ALL who worked so, so hard to restore leslievernick.com. You know. . . . I guess we could all just put out thoughts in a journal but that has never really worked for me. —If I don’t have the disciple of posting them (—when it is possible, given the site software, server changes, “plug-ins” —whatever that is, et.al.). . . well, I just never do any more than read the article/posts. I don’t really think deeply about them like when I post, interact, analyze, do some research, —that is, get value from them. . . .

    “Therefore, if you see your husband humbly learning and receiving feedback, and reflecting on that feedback and correcting his mistakes, then be encouraged change is continuing. If you see defensiveness, blame shifting, an unwillingness to listen to instruction or counsel from his mentors or feedback from you, then understanding whatever is happening, it is not enough to repair a damaged marriage.” —I agree, self-awareness is the foundation for change. But sometimes all the “humble learning”, “receiving feedback, and reflecting on that feedback” could be a fear response to potential loss, not real, deep, lasting change. See for example clinical psychologist and professor of psychology Dr. Jordan Peterson’s “YouTube” lectures: 2017 Personality and its Transformations. —We pray to be blessed, but not to be broken. I know I so fear being totally broken. Lord, help me to trust You even to shatter me to pieces. —That makes me afraid even to pray that, even if it is for my own good.

    “The biggest mistake we make with our mistakes is that we don’t learn from them. When we are not open to feedback, we can’t learn and self-correct.” —Absolutely! . . . .Also, if we have an explanation for things then it decreases uncertainty, anxiety and reduces your cognitive load. . . . Its appeal is strong but a pot’s use comes from its emptiness. . . . So, I don’t think that we usually have any deep insight whatsoever into our capacity for good until we have a well-developed insight into our capacity for evil. “All I know is all that is necessary to know” is a total state of pride because we know next to nothing, —really next to nothing. What is our friend? —often, the things we don’t yet even know. There’s a lot more things we don’t know and the things we don’t know are the birthplace of all our new knowledge/ actions. . . .by changing what we cling to in the present, we should, with God’s help, be able to alter the future.

    “Friend, what things have you looked for or seen that has helped you have greater confidence in the change process?” . . . . . —Change is an ever-evolving process and it often takes lots of detours, especially if counseling is involved. God often transforms people one area at a time. It is not until our identity matches our life blueprint that we will understand why everything in the past never worked. Transformation is the scariest because it requires the greatest changes in our lives. . . . .I think the point of life and Christianity is real, deep, ongoing character transformation. If character doesn’t change, the story hasn’t changed either. —And if they haven’t changed. . . .well. . . .But, always, there is nothing that even approximates “perfection”, only beautiful versions of brokenness. . . .And, obviously, the key is love. . . .Fear is VERY bad soil. It grows obedience like corn, which grow in straight lines to make weeding easier (—nothing authentic grows in that bad soil). What we need is not change from one thing to another but transformation from who I am into who I was meant to become. . . .Where love rules, there is no will to power; where power predominates, there love is totally lacking. The one is the shadow of the other. Pure love contains no attempt to hold power over the other person and if you are attempting to hold power over another person, there is no room for real love. . . .And more than that, practically, we don’t know what is best for us. —So what do we do? We put our lives back into God’s hands by clearly speaking the truth as clearly and as precisely as we know how to our spouses, to everyone. —Your truth, —things *you* know. We don’t use our language to manipulate, control situations —no outcome engineering. —Why? Because we have no real idea what is best for us, only God does and when we speak our truth clearly that self-selects people into and out of our lives. i.e.“Don’t use your language instrumentally” . . .Don’t use language to try to get what you want, ever. —But Why? —Because it destroys God’s path for us and we don’t really know what is best for us anyway. Again, only God knows what is best for us and the only way to be on that path is to be careful to, as clearly and as best we know how, tell spouses the facts without in any way trying to use our language instrumentally (—to get our way). We let God decide the outcomes. That lets God run our lives not us deciding what outcome we are trying to control/ engineer. . . .No old road leads to new destinations! If they have changed their mind, if we have changed ours, they/we will have different actions to match!

  13. Nancy on February 22, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    You said, “by changing what we cling to in the present, we should with God’s help be able to alter the future.”

    Amen, Aleea!

    Choosing to cling to Christ makes all the difference for me. He is my strength, my fortress, my rock, my everything. When I choose to cling to Him, to focus on Him, He leads me beside still waters, regardless of externals. “The Lord is my Shephard, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures….Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

    I recently memorized this Psalm (23). It is full of beautiful imagery of a loving, nurturing and protective Shephard. He cares for us in such profound ways. Our Lord really is The Good Shephard ❤️

    • Aleea on February 22, 2017 at 7:58 pm

      “He is my strength, my fortress, my rock, my everything. When I choose to cling to Him, to focus on Him, He leads me beside still waters, regardless of externals.” . . . . That’s really so beautiful Nancy. I totally get it: —my rock, my fortress, my comfort, my peace, my salvation, my refuge, my God. I too have Psalm twenty-three memorized, along with whole sections of the N.T. —Absolutely. I pray on good days; I pray on bad days; I never stop praying. . . .I’m sure my counselor is sick of me saying praying is the best thing we do. . . But I’m sure you know how good that feels: praying for ourselves and others. . . . and just thanking God for stuff, for me that can go on for a long time! There is something transformational about us constantly saying “thank you” and “yes” to God. When you take His hand, step out of that boat and are really brave. I get His hand in mine but then start to ask questions and I sink. . . .Women receive messages from childhood that they will be rewarded and protected for maintaining a childlike comportment such as being demure, obedient, passive and subservient. It is simply not true. Jesus is about the most radical, sweeping, encompassing empowerment. Our deepest fear should never be that we are inadequate; our deepest fear should be that we are powerful beyond measure. ―Beyond measure, Nancy. . . .But, the more I learn, the more deeply I realize how truly little I know. Oh my Nancy, how very little I know. . . But that center of Christianity, it is so, so beautiful . . .praying, caring, loving, sharing. That is the power of the cross. That is why Christ came, so we can have a really clean heart, real love, real forgiveness, real compassion, and real tenderness. . . .So, I understand exactly what you say and by the way, your obedience brings The Kingdom of God right to the earth! I don’t just understand the things you say, ―I feel them. I know what they feel like.

  14. Free on February 22, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    To answer the question from the post, Nothing ever changed for long. There were periods of “Aha!” moments, that last at its’ greatest length of six months. Finally, my abuser said, “I just can’t do this anymore.”

    I was so hopeful and at times so very convinced that my abuser was getting well. All he was getting was smarter. He knows the buzz words and terms for domestic abuse inside and out. He wants to lead a support group for abusers and facilitates people he meets to get help. He just loves to talk about his problem!

    Yet, what has happened in my life is that my abuser just learned more and more new tricks. I fell for them. He was smart and convincing. Heck, he fooled our pastor, neighbors, a number of noted counselors and his employer too.

    It took decades, but eventually I caught on. Now, I see crystal clear. My abuser is wickedly smart. Power and control dominates his mind and he doesn’t know how to change. A very interesting form of mental illness to live with. Entitlement delusions and self justification are behaviors I don’t need from a man or anyone else.

    • T.L. on February 23, 2017 at 6:45 am

      Hi Free,

      When your abuser said, “I can’t do this anymore,” what was he referring to? Kind and considerate behaviors? Being open to your feedback? Counseling/therapy? All of the above?

      It’s helpful to hear the accounts of others because we can learn from other’s mistakes and hopefully gain wisdom into our situations.

      “It took decades, but I finally caught on.” Are you divorced now?

      • Free on February 23, 2017 at 8:18 am

        Thanks for asking TL. I am separated with a restraining order for three years.

        “He can’t do this anymore” was followed by an explanation that he “can’t let me win”. I found this bizarre until I heard from Lundy Bancroft that it was a very typical response. My H/abuser continues counseling. He likes the attention. He loves ruminating on anything that is about him. What he couldn’t do anymore was wear a mask and try so hard to be nice and care. He was trying to learn empathy, but he just couldn’t.

        • T.L. on February 23, 2017 at 7:48 pm

          That’s interesting, Free. My h. is utterly ashamed to be in counseling. : /

    • Kelly on February 23, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      I worry about this very thing and I really just want to be done. I know he’s a slick covert Narcissist but he will never admit this and so round it goes. I keep standing firm against him and can’t live with him because he’s just not safe for my well being line. So far so good 🙂 I really think trusting these types is extremely dangerous. I really think deep down they only want us totally annihilated but as I said before they are covert and under the radar so I know there are things that I can’t see that he’s doing behind the scenes to hurt me. Thanks for your post.

      • Free on February 24, 2017 at 7:09 am

        I am learning in my separation that so much of my mind has been taken up with navigating my abusers issues. It takes up real estate in my brain that I am trying to reclaim. One thing I have done is stop trying to figure out why he does such a thing or what might help him. He can do his own work if he wants to, yet sadly, even with much help, no one can change him.

        On one of our last counselor searches the counselor said if you have seen counselor, X, Y and Z. What makes you think I can help if so many other professionals have been unsuccessful. You have to get away from this man, he told me. Leave now! Leave Yesterday! I found this abrupt from a Christian counselor, yet he was trying to save me.

        These extremely intelligent, masterfully manipulative types are wickedly dangerous. Sly, slick and sweet, their cycles go round and round and round without an end in sight.

        Now, I have made an end. I grow happier and stronger each day. I see thing clearly because we only communicate via email. I change my name a lot on this site because for some time he followed it. He has read Leslie’s books, watch when she was with Chris Moles and we heard her speak live. So beware with these types and reclaim YOUR brain.

        • Nancy on February 24, 2017 at 10:42 am

          I love what you said here, Free, about recognizing how much of your mind has been taken up navigating his issues and at the end of your post, “reclaim YOUR brain,”

          This has been a huge piece of my own journey. Ultimately, for me, this is a boundary issue. It’s choosing to take responsibility for what is mine and letting go of what never was mine to begin with. Me letting go of that piece is what has ‘upset the apple cart’ for us both.

          And these are deep seated thought issues (or brain issues). Recently a sister prayed that The Lord would empower me to take each thought captive to Christ Jesus. That’s the level of intervention that is required.

          • Leslie Vernick on February 24, 2017 at 12:52 pm

            So true Nancy and others. Our own healing is our responsibility and our spouse, even with making amends, cannot heal us. They can contribute to us rebuilding trust, or the safety of the relationship but they cannot do our own healing, nor can we do theirs. That’s why it is so crucial for each person to learn how to walking in CORE strength with the HOly Spirit and not depend on another person to fix them or do it for them or they will always be lame.



          • Free on February 24, 2017 at 1:48 pm

            Thanks for the love and support. Oh, what fun I am having using MY brain. It works pretty darn good.

            My girlfriend said, “I haven’t heard you laugh like that since we were children!” Yup, freedom is really sweet!



          • Aly on February 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm

            Hi Nancy!

            So glad to hear your experiencing freedom in places for your heart❤️
            (Even given the upsetting of the apple cart)

            You mentioned a friend praying for you to take every thought captive~
            2cor 10:5,
            If you are able can you expand on this and what this means to you?

            ~I have heard a couple different interpretations and it’s been a verse my mom has used time and time again to keep me from ‘living in reality’ of my situation.



          • Nancy on February 24, 2017 at 9:48 pm

            Hi Aly,

            It’s amazing that scripture can be so twisted. When you mention your mom using 2cor10:5 to keep you from living in reality, this is astounding. Is what she suggesting that you take any Holy Spirit inspired thoughts (that would lead you toward freedom in Christ) and make them captive to the enemy…?

            My understanding is simply that I ask The Lord to have dominion over my thoughts (which is the genesis of behaviour) to His Glory.

            Specifically: the enemy is constantly trying to put thoughts in my head that would have me trespass ( or cross boundaries), and I have to ask The Lord to remind me what is NOT my business and what IS my business.

            For example: I am generally good at reading situations and people, but the question is, is it my business to do that? Sometimes it is. The Lord has given me that gift for a reason, but I can easily misuse it by neglecting to keep my focus primarily on my own heart. This ‘over focus’ on others ( co-dependence) starts in my thought life.

            My first thought being something like, “I wonder why he does that?” instead of “I feel annoyed when he does that.” Of course there’s a place for analysis and as you’ve pointed out keeping a clinicians mind has helped you stay sane. But skipping over my own experience in the moment, and jumping straight to analysis of his, keeps me in denial of the reality of the interaction. I’ve just skipped over LIVING that moment. Instead I’ve gone straight into my head. Does that make sense?

            Taking my thoughts captive to Christ is asking The Lord to direct my thoughts where HE would have them be as opposed to where I am most comfortable.

            Taking my thoughts captive to Christ is asking Him to guide my thoughts SO THAT I respond to the reality of each moment, and as a result ENTER INTO what is.

            Thanks for asking!



          • Aly on February 25, 2017 at 1:54 pm

            Nancy,

            Thank you so much for writing back and bringing your personal perspective to this passage and how you apply it to your life.

            I believe it’s a powerful passage of Scripture that highlights the spiritual war at hand and how we are to defend our Christian beliefs.

            In regards to what I reference in what my mother would bring up against me..
            You wrote:
            “Is what she suggesting that you take any Holy Spirit inspired thoughts (that would lead you toward freedom in Christ) and make them captive to the enemy…?”

            Yes.
            ~I believe this to be the case over and over. Talk about toxic messages for a young Christian wife.

            As I was studying more of God’s word and asking the Holy Spirit to grow me into more truth and freedom, many things (wrong things) were being exposed~ my own Marriage and family issues.
            This specific place of scripture was so misused against myself as I was choosing to (think critically about my own choices and thoughts)
            I was shamed by my own mother and told that the enemy was putting thoughts into my head and I wasn’t being a good steward. Basically I wasn’t going along with family system’s beliefs.~ which translates to (don’t think) and most certainly don’t weigh that thought against Gods word.
            Even if a situation was specific to my abusive spouse’s.. behavior somehow i created the problem by exposing my point of view or simply.. (hmm, that doesn’t work for me.., can I share why I might see it differently?)

            When in reality I was (thinking and weighing the word of God against the stronghold belief)

            Here is the very sad place, my belief (which isn’t from the enemy) but from evidence confronted… my mom is in great bondage to ‘her comfort’ and or a ‘false image of safety perfect family’ although at the same time claiming the truth of God’s word.
            Asking to understand scripture from her point of view, wanting to entertain her own thought process~ would cause such distress and crazy attack reaction! I mean if we are at peace and confident with God ultimately given our position as a child of God (not of any of our own doing) why be SO angered at going deeper in understanding God’s truths? Are we not called to know and be an active *life long learners* of God’s scriptures and purpose for His glory?

            I do believe sadly her response comes from fear based thinking that has been the stronghold that is not being obedient to Christ. Thinking at all seems to anger her, …
            Goodness in our home our current children are rewarded for ‘critically thinking’ and choosing to ponder deep truths and virtues. 👏🏻
            Basically the fear thought is she is fearing ‘man relationship’ over her relationship with God.
            She has used every possible scripture to twist that will enable her (peace faking) enabling evil, and comfort of (not thinking deeply of the scriptures) in a veiled way of course.
            I believe there are many false teachers teaching comfort and prosperity over Freedom in Christ.

            You wrote:
            “Taking my thoughts captive to Christ is asking The Lord to direct my thoughts where HE would have them be as opposed to where I am most comfortable”

            I agree with you here given this application. As you can maybe relate our realities at times are usually not the most comfortable place to be.
            I like how you want to discern what is your business (as God would instruct) and what isn’t.

            I believe it’s imperative daily to open our hearts and minds to God to search out these things in us, in our broken state and be in a process of continual growth.

            As far as taking thoughts captive, as it pertains to the passage of spiritual warfare, Paul instructs us to demolish the arguments and thoughts (not our thoughts/the thoughts of the contrary beliefs against the sword of the spirit) thoughts that sets itself up from the things that prevent people from knowing God.

            Spiritual warfare is the opponent of the Kingdom of God and with God’s armor we can be used for His glory, I do believe the important parts of this passage encompass the true obstacles that stand in the way of the Kingdom of God being made complete and maturing in Christ.

            Thank you again for your writings and heart on this matter. Thank you for letting me share some of my story too.
            Hugs and blessings to the Full!



          • Lori on February 25, 2017 at 2:52 pm

            Hi Aly,

            “my mom is in great bondage to ‘her comfort’ and or a ‘false image of safety perfect family’ although at the same time claiming the truth of God’s word.
            Asking to understand scripture from her point of view, wanting to entertain her own thought process~ would cause such distress and crazy attack reaction!”

            Oh Aly, as much as I see you have understanding and truth as to your mother’s condition, my heart cannot help but grieve for what you have endured so she can stay where she is.

            I grieve with you for her “sealed off” state to the Word of God which would set her free. I grieve with you and wonder if it feels like you got in a lifeboat to escape the “perfect family named Titanic” and saved yourself. The rending of your heart to know your escape separates you from those beloved people we call mother, father, sister, brother….

            I grieve that you have been alone in your lifeboat of escape, but this is what has called me to cling to Christ. Has it had that effect on you as well?

            I hope to encourage you that although we know the ending in the Titanic story, God is still able to save our captured loved ones…I am just so sorry for the pain of separation from your mother, who should be someone who nurtures, guides, gives truth and freedom to explore your truth seeking efforts. Someone who embraces you for who you are Aly, a beautiful, wise, compassionate, strong and God fearing woman. Your commitment to yourself and others is such an inspiration to me and your kindness and nurturing to others is what appears to have been missing from your mother to you.

            I am sorry for your loss Aly, for the years that precious little Aly was confused and blamed by her mothers neglectful and powerfully wrong messages. I do see how your heart has been prized by our Shepherd and how He has rescued you.

            Now I pray that in His Kingdom, He supply what has been missing for you.

            Much love and hugs Aly



          • Aly on February 26, 2017 at 9:23 am

            Dear Lori,

            Thank you so much for your post. I had to take a moment to take in what you wrote~ your words are so caring and validating that brought healing tears!

            I plan to write back to Nancy too, as it seems like both of you can relate to a person we love (like a ‘claimed believer’ h Or mother) that has caused such injury to our hearts. It is a specific one (not that it worse that others, that’s not my intent at all…but our counselor has been clear that it’s ‘specific’ based on the role of protection and spiritual confusion aspect to it. It’s also becomes a deeper loss when (we) ourselves are ‘mothers’ and see the responsibility so different.

            You wrote:
            “I am just so sorry for the pain of separation from your mother, who should be someone who nurtures, guides, gives truth and freedom to explore your truth seeking efforts. Someone who embraces you for who you are”

            This just floored me, goodness thank you for your caring and understanding! 😢You get it and can see the battle that was going on~ nor was I ever designed to carry the ‘burden’ and the more I looked for help an direction.. the more resistance and dismissing I received.
            Your words are familiar, my h has pleaded with my mom to shed light on this and his own confessed behavior of tearing down someone who ‘might be different’ from them. Thank you so much for your time to write on such a painful topic and one that you yourself have encountered and been harmed by with your h’s spiritual behavior ~ I’m grieving with you in that place too.
            It’s so healing and inspiring to see your confidence in knowing WHo you are in the boat with😉🌅 Lori!

            Maybe you have heard this before in regards to the Shepherd, but when a shepherd is calling in his sheep each once in passing the gate entrance~ and He is looking over each one for any injury or abrasions… he would apply oil to the wounds.
            Jesus said:
            “I am the good shepherd;
            I know my sheep and my sheep know me”
            John 10:14

            I give Thanks to God for the understanding and for the vessels He places for our hearts. He knows who are His and yes He rescues them!🌈

            As for my family it has been such a place of deep loss that I do think the grief will continue in ways… but we move forward wanting Him to continue to change and grow us up in Truth and Love ~ so that we can offer something glorifying for the Him.
            We will always continue to pray for their hearts!



          • Aly on February 26, 2017 at 10:27 am

            Dear Nancy,

            I responded to Lori, and hopefully it will post, I tried to go back to reply directly to your post and for some reason it wouldn’t give me the option.

            Nancy, wow thank you so much for your response and your care to see my heart in this situation of great grief and yes as you have so validated.. confusion!
            Thank you for that and the Lord must know where my heart is needing to special care at times and I thank you for lifting me up in prayer as I will do the same for you and I’m confident He hears our prayers and brings healing.. not always the outcomes we hope for but authentic healing!
            Praise Him for that!

            You wrote:
            “Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I can relate to so much of the divide that you experience with your mother. While my mother has very little scriptural knowledge, her week revolves around her church and yet I’ve never seen her apologize for anything. Such a deep contradiction.

            And Very confusing growing up. It still is.”

            I’m am sorry for this contradiction as well for you and the navigation that goes with it.
            My situation is similar not just with my mother but others within the family system…and the hard part or confusing part is that they really don’t want to ‘be known’ nor do they want to know ‘others’.
            It’s just operational (at least that’s what it feels)

            My h being a part of that camp.. has helped in some ways at exposing the underlying motive..
            control. The ‘nice’ polite kind… but it’s still a safe place of control and comfortable.
            Anything uncomfortable ~ means well war (emotionally and spiritually)

            Thank you for writing… I do believe it is helpful at times to expand these thoughts and feelings especially to safe people because the injuries have come from well very ‘unsafe people in ways’.

            You wrote:
            “I have often wondered if my mother is saved at all, or is it a disobedience issue that blocks The Holy Spirit? I sure do hope she is saved but really don’t know.”

            Boy can I relate to this!
            The fact that I empathized more for her heart than she could for her own .. drew me down a deep place.
            My counselor did help me carve out some guidelines for my responsibility and interactions.
            Here what helped me.. because my mother claims Christ and believes in Him as her savior~ I am to treat her as a Fellow sister in Christ.. especially since she is no longer in the mother role.

            This didn’t go over so well… the counselor helped me find my voice and my loyalty to being my authentic self regardless of what offended the ‘claiming believer’

            This might sound a bit harsh, it wasn’t it was me being true to my process and not adjusting to treating her like the unbeliever she asked me to treat her like.

            It would somehow offend my mom that I would want to teach my children scripture~ The meaning etc with help of others more equipped than myself of course,
            What? Yes, this was uncomfortable to her that I had a desire for our children to learn about God and His living word for their hearts…
            I mean isn’t this what we pass on in our Christian homes? This puzzled my heart greatly! Who is this person (called mom & grandmother)

            Eventually it got to the point that she asked I only speak of the weather with her, basically she was in control of the emotional well being of the relationship.
            Our counselor guided us to challenge this .. as being authentic Christians is this a contradiction…
            I mean I can have conversations about the weather with ‘Siri’!
            Basically what took place was my mom admitted she wanted the surface relationship~ thought that was healthy and this was in order to keep the status quo.. she also admitted that what was her ‘feelings’ determined the relationship. So plainly what was ok with her, needed to be ok with us and there was NO room for the concept of ‘other’ to be present.
            Such a double standard.
            Sorry for my long post here😬

            You wrote:
            “One year ago I set some strong boundaries with my mother ( with Patrick Doyle’s help), and she is finally deciding to respect them ( not because she respects me at all but because she understands that she loses me when she crosses those lines- it’s nothing more than operant conditioning – so very sad) Our relationship is completely on the surface, because I share nothing at all personal. That is all the relationship I’ll ever experience with my mother. Some days I’m overwhelmed with grief over that thought.”

            I’m grieving with you and I understand the thought of loss and knowing the struggle of reality with it.
            Even though my situation may be a bit differing in that I was wounded for sharing some of my personal path of who I am… I was told not to be that person.
            I would be interested in understanding more of your heart and the boundaries crossed, only if your comfortable sharing and what that looks like.
            I agree that there are those relationships that are surface based on a person not being safe emotionally and P. Doyle gives great example of this.
            My counselor’s sadness has helped me sort through the chaos as I am a safe person and was wrongly accused by the unsafe people who claim to love me that I’m not safe .. based on ‘me being me’
            Which again, the double standard… is we can be us, but you cannot be you.

            You wrote:
            “I hear you, Aly. That divide is a painful one to accept and to grieve. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to completely accept her for who she is.”

            Nancy I hear your heart and will pray for your grief here specifically on acceptance~
            I’m so sorry I do know how painful this is in similar ways😢
            I certainly know I’m not there yet but being further away for me and going no contact unless something changes has helped my family remove ourselves from the confusion so our own family won’t be exposed to such the double standards and contradiction in spiritual aspects that could hinder our own healing.

            Thank you again for holding me in prayer! Your a blessing to so many here that read your prayers and care for us!



          • T.L. on February 26, 2017 at 11:17 am

            Dear Aly and Nancy,

            I just wanted to come alongside you to say I feel your pain over your mothers and wish I could comfort you both, as a mom.

            The enemy must just be gleeful at every broken relationship he causes. There is darkness over your mamas. There is a blindness that causes them to believe lies because they can’t see. We know who authors those things.

            What would any of us do without the light that gives light to every soul? So grateful to have that light. I am praying for your moms today…that our Father will bring to bear just the right circumstances to deliver them from blindness and allow them to see the light of the gospel in the face of Christ.

            Aly, I have shared with you my own experience as a blind mom, caught in the vortex of a narcissistic man and bad teaching from sectors of the church. I thought was honoring God by remaining loyal to my husband as the leader in our home. I certainly disagreed with him on many, many points, and I let him know. I confronted, I cried, I wrote, I wept. But he was the “head of the home” and could choose not to listen to me; a choice he made almost 100 % of the time. To go against him, to outright oppose and expose him, was, in my mind (because of what I believed about headship and submission) diabolical. As I have told you, two of my daughters, upon reaching adulthood, broke away from our oppressive, legalistic, abusive family system. It was extremely difficult for them, and very painful. It meant being cut off, in many ways.

            What I want to say in all of this is that besides being very painful and confusing for them, it was excruciating pain for the rest of the family too. To have to “choose sides” between husband and daughters, or for my other kids, sisters and father, was horrific. My choice appeared to me to be no choice at all. I had to remain loyal to my husband as the head of the home. Yet the cognitive dissonance, the pain and anguish, was so extensive and intense that I felt I would perhaps literally lose my sanity. I say this to let you know that your moms may be in much greater pain than you can see. It is so hard to strike the balance between recognizing sin and deception in “the other” and not somehow dehumanizing them. While I fully affirm your need to protect yourself and your family and heal, I hope that you can keep in mind their humanness and know that they are also probably in much pain. I hope that pain will be part of what the Lord uses to help them out of their false systems of thinking.

            Finally, the light of Christ broke through my blind and forced and false loyalty to my husband. That day came. I know the circumstances are different, but that day could still come for your moms. I was able to go to my daughters, confess my sin and failure, validate their pain, and experience beautiful healing in our relationship. It would be hard for me to imagine being closer to either daughter than I now am. Our relationships are deep and authentic. The Lord has been so gracious to bring that healing.

            I pray for a similar story of healing for each of you. But if not, we also know his promise:

            “Truly I tell you, said Jesus, “- no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for My sake and for the gospel will fail to receive a hundredfold in the present age—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, along with persecutions—and to receive eternal life in the age to come.

            I wish I could give you both a motherly hug. xoxo



          • Aly on February 26, 2017 at 3:36 pm

            T.L.

            Thank you for the motherly hug… I do feel it and I’m so thankful for your heart extended in these painful areas.
            I’m so overjoyed for you and your daughters to be reunited in a healing and authentic way!!
            Praise God for this and for your relationships with your children;)

            I am in prayer and hope for that day between my own mother and I want to accept that it may not come for me on this side of heaven.

            I do see what your vortex was and what you were surrounded in, so I understand your grief in your dealings with your very one-sided husband.
            Thank you for being so gracious to seeing both sides of the matters here and I do have compassion for my mom however her situation isn’t that of a ‘domineering marriage’ like you were under and held captive too. So maybe it’s different and most certainly I could be blind myself of what I cannot see exactly.

            You wrote;
            “I certainly disagreed with him on many, many points, and I let him know. I confronted, I cried, I wrote, I wept. But he was the “head of the home” and could choose not to listen to me; a choice he made almost 100 % of the time. To go against him, to outright oppose and expose him, was, in my mind (because of what I believed about headship and submission) diabolical.”

            You confronted and you disagreed with your h, you attempted to bring truth to the table.
            My mom will do this.. well in the past in subtle ways behind his back I guess disagree with my father and his leadership, but then in his company continue to stroke the emperors’ non clothing in the family image setting.

            See my father is far from a fundamental headship type spiritual leader.. I would describe it more like the born again Christian that has no interest in knowing who God is or growing in a deeper faith. He wants his own agenda and his own Jesus.
            So in some ways the dynamic is differnt in that my mom is not in a place of fearing him spiritually if that makes sense.
            He doesn’t take his spiritual life seriously nor does he want anyone else to in the entire family! I guess this is where the more covert control lies.

            ~We have never asked for my mom or father to take sides.. we have open our home to have a relationship that is authentic and individual if they would like? They don’t want that, they only want us as the large family gathers~ any individual relationships are a threat to the family system.

            This is where it gets murky.. but yet as a parent myself… it’s crazy making because I do have individual relationships with my own children because they are individual and I choose to meet them where they are. (Same is for my h)

            You wrote:
            “To have to “choose sides” between husband and daughters, or for my other kids, sisters and father, was horrific. My choice appeared to me to be no choice at all. I had to remain loyal to my husband as the head of the home. Yet the cognitive dissonance, the pain and anguish, was so extensive and intense that I felt I would perhaps literally lose my sanity. To have to “choose sides” between husband and daughters, or for my other kids, sisters and father, was horrific. My choice appeared to me to be no choice at all. I had to remain loyal to my husband as the head of the home. Yet the cognitive dissonance, the pain and anguish, was so extensive and intense that I felt I would perhaps literally lose my sanity. I say this to let you know that your moms may be in much greater pain than you can see. It is so hard to strike the balance between recognizing sin and deception in “the other” and not somehow dehumanizing them.I say this to let you know that your moms may be in much greater pain than you can see. It is so hard to strike the balance between recognizing sin and deception in “the other” and not somehow dehumanizing them.”

            I agree with you here in many ways and given what you were dealing with your h…and especially the cognitive dissonance that you were so held by. I’m so sorry for the pain you were in all those years. 😢
            But so glad you are free and working out the truth.
            You have your daughters back and they are I’m sure SO thankful for your courage and faith!

            You wrote:
            “I say this to let you know that your moms may be in much greater pain than you can see.”

            You could be right here TL but it’s a struggle for me to grasp whatever deeper is going on.
            I feel my mom as an addict, it’s so easy for her to (NOT FEEL) everything is so walled off and anyone’s pain let alone her own is dismissed or (not that bad) … what does bad have to look like in her interpretation?
            I have to look at the actions and her turning her back on me ~ then acting as she is the one victimized!
            It’s very similar to what our h’s choice of manipulation would be.

            I agree with you that in humanness, that there is pain, but the reality of how much pain there is has been clear by their actions.
            My h can relate to my parents in a unique way… as he says when the heart is so walled off from feeling.. it is not feeling pain or loss of authenticity or intimacy.. it hasn’t grasped anything if the sort… so how can one feel the loss of something they haven’t yet experienced or allowed themselves to be vulnerable too? The pain if any at all… is a simple tantrum of not controlling something (little) that was satisfying their simple hunger of image keeping.
            Or getting the relationship needs met they way they only desired to do relationships.

            I really hope in my writing I’m not coming across as dehumanizing~ I don’t want that and that’s not my heart, my heart wants truth and healing for myself and my entire family of origin.

            You wrote:
            “Finally, the light of Christ broke through my blind and forced and false loyalty to my husband. That day came. I know the circumstances are different, but that day could still come for your moms.”

            Wow T.L. Would you be willing to share this moment and what it came down to for you and how Christ broke through?

            Again, I’m so thankful for your heart and your prayers for us daughters still sorting through the pain and thank you for being such a mom voice!
            I need it!
            Hugs from over here too💕



          • T.L. on February 26, 2017 at 4:15 pm

            Hi Aly,

            You are right; there are so many differences in where I was compared to where your mom is. One thing that has really become clear to me in this most recent description of yours is that it would be better for me to compare your mom with my husband than with me. His heart is very walled off; mine never was. That’s why my pain was so intense. His pain was really more the disappointment and fear of losing control, and shame. Mine was the pain of loss of relationship.

            The ultimate breakthrough for me came when I got alone with God for a week. I could then face head on what I had been afraid to face. I was able to see that being loyal to my husband was not honoring Christ, but dishonoring and hurting Him. I returned home a changed woman.

            You are absolutely right, Aly, to pray for change in your family of origin, but not to allow that to steal your time, thought life, and emotional health. it’s God’s burden, not yours. You are free in Christ, and passing on that new legacy to your children, praise God! I’m proud of you for fighting for truth, righteousness, authenticity. xo



          • Aly on February 26, 2017 at 5:09 pm

            T.L.
            Thank you so much for that encouragement ~ with such love and care!
            It has meant so much!
            It’s so powerful to see God work in your life, Thank you for sharing your heart and your pearls!! Truly blessed🌷



        • Leslie Vernick on February 24, 2017 at 1:13 pm

          Free, so glad you are free….and so glad you stopped fixating on his issues and began to tend to your own. I always tell my clients “What is your problem” They say, “he’s a narcissist.” I say “that’s not your problem, that’s his problem. What’s your problem?” They say, “I am not safe, I feel empty, squashed, broken.” “Now,” I say, “what are you going to do about your problem” That clarifies what work YOU need to do. Glad you are doing it.

          • Nancy on February 25, 2017 at 5:53 pm

            Hi Aly,

            Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I can relate to so much of the divide that you experience with your mother. While my mother has very little scriptural knowledge, her week revolves around her church and yet I’ve never seen her apologize for anything. Such a deep contradiction.

            And Very confusing growing up. It still is.

            I can’t imagine, Aly, how much fortitude it would take to try to come out from under a specific scriptural attack. As you said, ” talk about toxic messages for a young Christian wife.” No kidding, Aly! The very person who should have stood alongside in seeking Truth as you combatted the evil in your marriage, was muddying the waters, using Scripture, for her own benefit ( the benefit of comfort, I would guess from your post). Very confusing indeed.

            You said, “I do believe that sadly, her responses come from fear based thinking that has been the stronghold that has not been obedient to Christ.” This is so interesting, Aly. I have often wondered if my mother is saved at all, or is it a disobedience issue that blocks The Holy Spirit? I sure do hope she is saved but really don’t know.

            One year ago I set some strong boundaries with my mother ( with Patrick Doyle’s help), and she is finally deciding to respect them ( not because she respects me at all but because she understands that she loses me when she crosses those lines- it’s nothing more than operant conditioning – so very sad) Our relationship is completely on the surface, because I share nothing at all personal. That is all the relationship I’ll ever experience with my mother. Some days I’m overwhelmed with grief over that thought.

            I hear you, Aly. That divide is a painful one to accept and to grieve. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to completely accept her for who she is.

            When I lift my relationship with my mother to the Lord, and He brings you to mind, I will lift you and yours up too ❤️

            Gosh it’s nice to talk things out.



  15. Connie on February 23, 2017 at 12:42 am

    I agree with Leslie’s answer completely. I’m nearly done the 2 week course in prayer counseling, and many of the things we’ve learned go along with her writings. One childhood wounding we learned about today was, “What happened to your ‘no’?” When and by whom was it taken from you? A healthy child learns that he/she can make some decisions about themselves to protect themselves and that they are allowed to say no at appropriate times and be respected for it. I think many of us lost that and therefore have been the targets of predators.

    On the weekend I was able to get together with my youngest daughter (24) and son-in-law. I told her that I was on a site where women talked about how to stand up to abuse, and that there was a ‘pastor’ who came on and said that we were obligated to have sex no matter what. She said, “That’s rape culture!! He should be arrested!” I’m proud of her!

    • T.L. on February 24, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks for sharing about your course, Connie. I have been thinking deeply about that “when was your no taken from you?”

  16. Aleea on February 23, 2017 at 6:32 am

    Ruth! . . . ―thank you so much for reading what I wrote and for your comments. ―I hope you see this. I apologize but for some reason, my responses to you simply would not post or stay posted, ―attempt after attempt, after attempt, after attempt. ―Anyways, now it finally did here on this thread!

    Ruth why, ―oh why, would you ever think you are not “intelligent enough to interact in my conversations.” I am the one pulling *hard* on the door that clearly says “PUSH.” ―Please, if possible, ―please don’t feel that way. Look at my grammar, syntax, spelling in my posts. It is a total embarrassment and I had to take remedial English even in college, ―in college. That is exactly what the course title was “REMEDIAL ENGLISH” and people probably thought I was retarded. Ruth, honestly, my stupidity even amazes me at times. I would bet that most people on this board are far smarter than I am (―I’m pretty certain standard intelligence tests would easily prove that out.) ―Anyways, here is the bigger point:

    We are damaged because deep abuse was applied instead of real love. We keep looking for abuse because it is so familiar to us and looks just like our original family environment ―until Love, real love, deep love heals us. Love is the answer, deep caring love. . . .I don’t know, but I would think when the other person is hurting, confused, troubled, anxious, alienated, terrified; or when they are doubtful of self-worth, uncertain as to identity, then understanding is called for. The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance… that provides illumination and healing. Sans mental illnesses, in most situations, we need husbands personailities transformed, not changed or just “changed” in the sense they are repressed by fear. . . .We cannot get them to transform, we cannot move them away from what they are, until maybe we/they thoroughly accept what we/they are. Then transformation maybe has a chance of coming. Maybe when they have been deeply listened to and when they have been heard, they are able to re-perceive you and their world in a new way and to go on. . . . . People, sans serious mental illnesses, are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset from an airplane window, I don’t find myself saying, “Lord God, please soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” When a person realizes they have been deeply heard its like, “Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it’s like to be me!” The more we can keep a relationship free of judgment and evaluation, the more this will permit the other person to reach the point where, maybe, they recognize their center of responsibility and how that lies within them. This is like, hmmm, a transcendental CORE of us. The degree to which I can create relationships, which facilitate the growth of others as separate persons, is a measure of the growth I have achieved in myself.

    . . . .And Ruth, I bet the measure of our real intelligence is our ability to transform ―and way more than once! So while we all hate to readjust our thinking, hate to give up old ways of perceiving and conceptualizing, at a deeper level I have, to a considerable degree, come to realize that those painful reorganizations are what is known as actually learning. . . . I’ve always felt I had to do things because they were expected of me, or more importantly, to make people like me. That’s a really deformed idea. Transformation threatens, and its possibility creates frightened, angry people. In all of us there is the fear of it, ―me too. Possibly, if we are willing to enter others worlds and see the way life appears to them, without any attempt to make evaluative judgments (―so, so hard), we run the risk of being transformed ourselves, that is –maybe, the only learning which significantly influences behavior is self-discovered, self-appropriated learning. Instead of ideas being fed to us, we explore our own questions and serious doubts, and find out where they lead. The intolerant “true believer” is a menace to any field, ―how can they learn?. . . and yet I suspect each one of us finds traces of that person in ourself. I know I do. Our assumptions are our windows on the world, we need to scrub them off every once in a while, or the Light simply won’t come in. It takes something more than intelligence (―the Love of God) to act intelligently ―and actions are what really matters. ― Ruth, again, thank you so much for taking the time to comment, ―its wonderful.

  17. Aly on February 23, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Dear Aleea;)

    So glad to read that you are feeling His refuge! Such a powerful truth of the tangibles and intangibles. His love is so vast!

    You wrote:
    “Our deepest fear should never be that we are inadequate; our deepest fear should be that we are powerful beyond measure.”

    Trying to understand your fear here… I can relate to complete inadequacy of knowing logically and emotionally that I can ‘never measure’ His love, nor do I fear to, it’s too enqulfing for me personally.
    For me, His love is Beyond Measure and that I can find refuge (peace) in.

    I guess the amazing mystery of His vast Love is something that I can’t box in..due to my limited designed capacity…yet he holds me as a child, teaches me as an adult (trying to walk) and walks beside me as a friend and protector.
    It is in this, that He can encompass such a mystery yet a define reality of relationship that I praise Him and feel safe ‘to be known’ by Him~ down to ever cell in my being.

    • Aleea on February 23, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      Hello Aly,

      I agree “re: amazing mystery” —God is infinite, way beyond our understanding. —I really think He chooses to reveal Himself in ways that spark even more questions rather than settling them. That is the way it has been with me. If we are in a relationship with an infinite God, it is all going to be s-e-r-i-o-u-s mystery, right? . . . .But the positive is that waiting on Him exposes all our idols and throws a wrench into our coping mechanisms. It brings us to the end of what we can control and forces us to cry out to God. —And in that way, Aly, God doesn’t waste our waiting. . . .Aly, I tell God all the time “I don’t need easy, I just need possible. It can’t be so much unbelievable mystery as to be nothing.” —Anyways, the mystery of seeking God is that HE is the One who finds us. . . . I think that sometimes you can be touched by God, but not healed. —Do you know what I mean? When this happens, maybe, —maybe He is using our pain for a greater purpose.

      “…yet he holds me as a child, teaches me as an adult (trying to walk) and walks beside me as a friend and protector. …” —So you think of God as a gracious friend who is accompanying you on this journey, a friend who wants to carry your burdens and speak into your life and shape you into who He really is and who you want to become? —That’s really beautiful. I love that. . . .You know what Aly, what comes into our minds when we think about God is probably the most important thing about us. . . .God has me travel down roads that are really hard to revisit. It’s gotten horrible in counseling. However, He will keep taking me there, until I have healed. I was thinking today . . . . I care deeply about healing from my abuse but I love when we can discuss the presence of God Himself. I like reading the mystics too, like Madame Guyon —Spurgeon was heavily influenced by her books. “A Short Method of Prayer” by Guyon (Google: +pdf +“A Short Method of Prayer”), a women thrown into prison for sharing her faith one too many times and spent her life praying behind 30 ft. thick prison walls. That women knew how to pray and pray the Scriptures. . . . —She never stopped inviting the Holy Spirit to deep clean and guard her heart! —Amazing.

  18. Ruth on February 26, 2017 at 2:54 am

    Hi Aleea, don’t worry. I saw your post at one point before it vanished back when the blog was up and down.
    I shouldn’t have prefaced my post to you that way. It made it sound like I was trying to fish for sympathy for just for being pitiful.
    I’m not sad about my intellect at all. Everyone has wishes for things. Now, I would like to be articulate.
    I used to work with an English teacher. I used to marvel at how articulate she was! That lady could talk and write and do it FAST!!
    Me, I start out with my ideas. I think through things. I get distracted… ALOT. I ramble. I make typos.I rewrite. It’s an awkward, slow process.

    Also over the last couple of months, the pain from my chronic migraines has been so persistent that I have I difficulty concentrating any reading/writing that’s not super brief. That’s another reason I don’t engage in the longer conversations.
    On a different subject, one of your posts (I think it was a reply to me?) you made a analogy about Christianity. You said it’s like a swimming pool. The ones at the shallow end are the ones making most of the noise. You didn’t mean this analogy to be funny but here’s what I visualized per what you described. Loud-mouth grow adult know-it-all’s in the baby end of the pool with blow up baby floaties shoved around them while they yell and clamor.
    That was an excellent analogy. Very true. Sadly true, I think. (And also a very funny when you imagine it visually 🙃 ) I know that’s not the point but I’m a very visual person. And when I first read your post about this pool analogy, I visualized Donald Trump as one of the people in the shallow end of the pool wearing a suit shaking both fists in the air. It was very funny.
    I’m sorry Aleea but Trump ruined your lovely analogy LOL.🙃

    • Aleea on February 26, 2017 at 7:36 am

      Hello Ruth,

      “Also over the last couple of months, the pain from my chronic migraines has been so persistent that I have I difficulty concentrating any reading/writing that’s not super brief. That’s another reason I don’t engage in the longer conversations”

      —I’m so, so sorry Ruth. I can’t image how bad that is. I got a headache this week that literally made me ill to the bottom of my stomach. No amount of aspirin, et.al. made it better. —I can’t imagine what “chronic migraines” are like. I would think that would/ could lead to depression. I pray that is not your case. Anyways, I’ll put that on my prayer list.

      “That’s another reason I don’t engage in the longer conversations.” —Absolutely, you do what works for you. Maybe by taking the time to focus on your mental and emotional well-being, you can minimize the triggers and reduce the likelihood of recurrences? . . . I don’t know, but I think to live as happily and as fully as possible, we must listen to our bodies and trust our instincts. If we want to live happy and joyful lives with migraines —whatever we have —we all have things, it is vital that we acknowledge and deal with the emotional realities. No one can understand your life, symptoms, etc. like you can.

      “. . . . I know that’s not the point but I’m a very visual person. And when I first read your post about this pool analogy, I visualized Donald Trump as one of the people in the shallow end of the pool wearing a suit shaking both fists in the air. It was very funny. I’m sorry Aleea but Trump ruined your lovely analogy LOL” . . . . . . —ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .I see it! —ha, ha, ha, ha. —I love to laugh, especially at myself. You know Ruth I think people are their most beautiful when they are laughing, playing, really and seriously telling the deepest truths (—I love that!) . . . —Oh, and being chased in a fun way! . . . I don’t know what to say because Jesus simply did not go around really laughing at stuff, —that we know of. . . . .To me, laughter is a tangible evidence of hope. Kids go around laughing at everything —Ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .What are they always laughing about? I have no idea. . . .But, when people laugh together, they tend to talk and touch more and to make eye contact more frequently. It is so easy to observe. —Think about what happens when we really, really laugh. Our defenses are down. It is a very Holy-Spirit-like moment. We are completely open, completely ourselves when that message hits the brain and the laugh begins. That’s when new ideas can be implanted!!! If a new idea slips in at that moment, it has a chance to grow. . . . . But what I simply meant by that “pool” illustration was that the deeper you go with Christ, the less you really have to say because it becomes mystery wrapped in mystery (—deep waters!) You see that all the time with Christian mystics trying to get as close to God as possible. In fact, from “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship” . . . page 183. . . “The people who know God well—the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover, . . . . . always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. . . . .” . . .And that’s it, God Himself —not joy, —not peace, —not even blessing, —just God (Love = God)! We all want more real, healing love in our lives.

  19. Nancy on February 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Hello Aly and T.L.,

    First of all I feel so blessed by you both and thank God for you.

    T.L. your words of affirmation and encouragement touched me so deeply. I will read and re-read them. ❤️

    I have always intuitively known the enormous pain and chaos of my mother’s heart. As a child I became her emotional care taker, her scape goat ( I’m not sure if these two are the same if anyone has insight here, I’d appreciate it:). Any kind of separateness would be interpreted by her as attack. I was not allowed privacy or a relationship with anyone else. My ‘no’ was taken a LONG time ago. “But, Nancy, ” she’d say, “when you don’t want to share your thoughts with me, that HURTS me.” Then she’d cry. I automatically became engulfed, no…annihilated, in her presence.

    About 6 years ago when I began to say no in small ways, she responded with “this feels like abuse! And my minister agrees!” And you know, she was right because it most certainly DID feel like abuse to her. Her pain was real but she was blaming it ( always had) on me.

    Praise God that a few years later, a friend who was a few years further down the road in dealing with her borderline mother, offered to come alongside and support me in the work of defining myself. With her help I began to identify the insidious nature of this evil called Borderline and learn to guard my heart. As I’ve often said here this is the proverb 4:23 that directly contradicted EVERYTHING I had been taught about loving. Hallelujah !

    So, Aly, to your question about specifics. My mother came for Christmas dinner 2015 and when she was not the centre of attention (my h and I were having a private conversation with another guest, who had been through a lot), she took out her anger on our girls. Our eldest came to me to tell me that her grandma was ….pause….”bitter” ….and ….” Resentful”. Amidst the opportunity to have time with her two grand daughters, while my h and I were having a private conversation, she quietly seethed about my absence ( and her lack of control over the entire crowd).

    I confronted her on this and she played victim as usual. She wouldn’t have even been angry had I been a better hostess, and not been so rude.

    I took several days to write a letter ( with Patrick Doyle advice) that was basically my heart on a plate. Telling her I loved her but until she was able to take responsibility for subjecting the girls to her anger, I would not be able to trust her. I told her that I prayed she would take my letter to someone to help her deal with whatever pain that my letter caused, but that person could not be me. I could no longer help her with her pain.

    The backlash was manic and extreme. My girlfriend was there for me with each retaliation, each blame shift, each time she showed up acting the victim. In the summer, she called me saying she missed me and ‘what has happened to us?’. In my response, I mentioned that letter. She had forgotten. She had lost it.

    Yup. My heart on a plate. Lost.

    I offered to re-send it if she would like. She never asked me to. The good news is that amongst the tears I asked if I could pray for us. She said yes and I poured my heart out to The Lord on the phone with her. He met me in that. He lifted the burden.

    My mom came over yesterday for tea. We talked weather.

    We are in the process of standing firm in boundaries with my mother in law too. Realizing she has always been abusive but not seeing it because she is physically disabled and uses that against us in horrible ways.

    I can’t tell you what a blessing Leslie Vernick and Patrick Doyle have been to me in helping to come out of the fog.

    Sorry for the length ladies. I guess I really needed to share. ❤️

    • T.L. on February 26, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Nancy,

      I am sorry that you had to “carry your mother’s pain and emptiness.” That’s how it sounds to me. You were her depository. What a heavy burden for any adult, let alone a child! I am so sad to hear that your mom is BPD. That is such an utterly destructive disorder.

      What a precious wonder that the Lord has brought you up out of that whirlpool of illness to be standing now in His grace and goodness. I really do pray that watching you grow in grace and health (including healthy boundaries that affect her!) will serve to bring your mom to a healthier place. I know that the prognosis for people with PDs is not very optimistic. So Nancy, stay strong, dear one.

      So many “conservative Christian families” of my generation bought into such unhealthy and ungodly dynamics. Such a shame.

      But I feel like we are living in a time where there is a intensifying of Jesus’ cleansing the Bride…we are seeing deeper fulfillment in Jesus’ prophetic statement that “…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

      Praise His holy Name for that! Do you know this worship song?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhasSpSBdEE&index=28&list=PLydPbwctkyiEnxyV1gh7XnV3yCq0NfB2B

      Much love to you, dear Nancy.

      • Ruth on February 27, 2017 at 1:44 am

        TL,
        That’s my new favorite worship song!!
        For several days I was praying really hard to hear for a specific direction from the Lord, but it seemed like I heard nothing. I was discouraged.😐 I wa driving home from the grocery store. I passed a neighborhood church and read their sign; it said: “stop listening for a voice and start living on a verse.” The first Bible verse that came to my mind was
        Psalm 34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times. His praise will always be in my mouth.
        (I couldn’t remember the reference at the time) and then the awesome thing was I turned on Christian radio and they were playing that song. “Ever Be” I had never heard it before.
        I like how it says ‘she learns her TRUE NAME’. I won’t go into the details but that ministers to me💜
        Nancy, you are so strong, through all you’ve endured with your mother. Wow. I can’t believe what a graceful wise person you are – you are amazing!!

        • T.L. on February 27, 2017 at 1:56 am

          That’s so cool, Ruth! I love how the Lord dies special things like that to encourage us! Such a precious song! That verse that contains the “true name” lyric and all that it says about the bride is my favorite!

          Thank you for sharing that, Ruth!

    • Aly on February 26, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Nancy,

      Giving you a hug here!
      Your words I understand and do grieve along side you.
      Especially the letter, I’m so sorry for that exchange and the impact it had on your heart but as you have mentioned you are discovering Nancy and it’s a privilege to read your thoughts here.
      I agree with what TL wrote about you being the ‘pain carrier’. But proud of your healthy requests and the protection you are offering your own daughters.

      The dinner example I can relate to not that my mother was that role but another person in my life that had no space or concept of ‘other’ ~ so I was the lightening rod of lots of projection.
      Weird place to be but definitely like the scape goat role as you briefly mentioned.

      These are just my thoughts.. not saying this is what is the issue. But I hope to validate and add to any affirmation as you are discovering more of ‘Nancy’….
      Someone who doesn’t have a confident identity or value is in a lot of undefined pain.. this pain is projected and usually given to the safest person (usually not the person with strongest boundaries) as an attack or cycle of control.
      Your focus went to someone else at dinner and somehow that made you not a good hostess~
      All good and all bad declarations.
      The comment about the abuse and that the minister thinks so to .. is outlandish.
      I’m my experience when you disappoint these types of people, they have NO tolerance for their own pain or how to hold it themselves that they must push it off and give it to the one that will hold the negative feelings (so they don’t have to feel bad).

      I’m so glad and rejoicing with you that you are finding the peace and confidence in your (no)
      I’m smiling and hugging you sister in Christ!!

      I will be praying for you and your family~ thank you also for your prayers for me!

  20. Ilene on February 26, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    I had 2 years of lovey-dovey from my abusive stbx. Two years he was counseled and held accountable. Yet, something was off between us. Looking back, it was exactly the things Leslie mentioned. 1. He did not have humility. Oh, he confessed to doing bad stuff and said he’d change and even made some surface changes, but he was not humble. 2. He did not respect my boundaries and expected automatic return to trust (though he claimed to be willing to wait). Others were trusting him. Why couldn’t I trust him? The abuse pattern continued and lasted another decade before I was discarded and that was, of course, my fault. I have made a list of things to look for in any relationship, since in the past I’ve been so thoroughly foolish. Humility and respecting my boundaries are the top two.

  21. Nancy on February 26, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    God is so good, T.L.

    “What a precious wonder The Lord brought you out of that whirlpool of illness to have you now standing in His grace and goodness.” That statement clarified something profound for me. I have recently become very aware of a tornado like feeling when thinking of my mother. And it IS a precious wonder that He brought me out of that reality.

    He is mighty to save.

    “I know that prognosis for PD is not very optimistic. So Nancy, stay strong, dear one.” This realistic and loving statement breaks my heart, T.L. I am so very tired of all the bleeping boundaries I am setting. Your compassion jumps through the screen and just seizes my heart.

    Oh and no, I didn’t know that song. Well, I’d heard it but never read the lyrics….especially this, “your making me like new, clothing me in white. Bringing beauty from ashes for You will have your bride. Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame and known by her true name.” That’s what He’s doing. In me- in all of us here.

    I can’t believe the depth of His love for me. That He would walk with me through all that He has. Each step of the way making me stronger and also requiring more of me. And I can see from interactions with lovers of Christ such as yourself T.L. that He will continue to grow me more and more like himself. What a priveledge to be rescued from such destruction into His grace and goodness alongside women I have never ‘met’ and yet love me.

    As painful as all of this is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. As Peter said when Jesus asked if the disciples would leave too, ” Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life.”

    Thank you, sister ❤️

    • JoAnn on February 26, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      Such precious insights, Nancy. Hold on to them, for in them is the fountain of life. There is so much going on behind the scenes, in the divine realm, where God is working, but we can only see what is in front of us. Our hope and trust is in the God who loves us, our Heavenly father.

      • Nancy on February 27, 2017 at 6:57 am

        Hi JoAnn,

        Faith is believing in things not seen. Thank you for the reminder that there is so much going on behind the scenes. There must be because it’s spilling over into my life in such tangible ways, and I am so very grateful.

        • JoAnn on February 27, 2017 at 10:06 am

          Yes, and Amen! I recently enjoyed reading some books by Karen Kingsbury, a series of three she calls “Angels Walking.” Of course, it is fiction, but it is about what goes on “behind the scenes” when angels assist God’s chosen ones to fulfill His purpose. It was fun reading, and I imagine not too far from reality. He wants to work, but often it is our fears that get in the way. “Let go and let God” comes to mind. 😉

    • T.L. on February 27, 2017 at 2:06 am

      Nancy, you have such a beautiful heart! I love hearing what the Lord is doing in your life!

      Regarding that song: yes, that is the very verse that moves me so deeply as well!

      Multiplied blessings, dear ❤

  22. Nancy on February 26, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Hi Aly,

    Your interpretation of my mother is spot on, especially your observation that “these people have no tolerance for their own pain or how to hold it themselves so that they push it off to the one that will hold negative feelings ( so they don’t have to feel bad).” Yes. This describes her to a tee as well as why I have fought depression for much of my life.

    T.L. assessment and your agreement of me carrying my mother’s pain is accurate. This is my deepest wound. Being a scapegoat, or “lightning rod of lots of projection” as you aptly described.

    In a previous post you had talked about how your mother and father had resisted individual relationship with you. That that went against the ‘family system’. But you felt that this was where things got muddy for you. I wanted to share that this aspect feels familiar to me- likely for different reasons. I have always felt much more comfortable with my mother one on one, than in a group. In our case it’s because she works so hard to be ‘queen’ and control everyone in a group. One-on-one ‘the queen’ can take a break- she has less anxiety, I guess. I’m just curious Aly, why would that area be muddy for you? What’s the conflict? If you feel like elaborating.

    I was especially touched to know you think it’s a priveledge to read my thoughts. What a gift. That’s precious to me ❤️

    • JoAnn on February 27, 2017 at 12:02 am

      Dear Sisters, I have had the same experience of carrying my Mother’s pain, and also her anger toward her own mother. That was a very surprising insight to me. It was my counselor who helped me to see that, and after realizing what it was, he used a “gestalt experience” to help me release it. I imagined my Mother sitting in a chair opposite me and I “gave her back” her pain and anger and said I wasn’t willing to hold it anymore. What a profound experience!! It not only freed me, but it also changed the dynamic of my relationship with her, without even telling her about it. She just didn’t push my buttons anymore. What I experienced was a kind of forgiveness, which is very releasing. I will always be grateful for having had that experience.

      • T.L. on February 27, 2017 at 2:00 am

        JoAnne, I think it is wonderful how effective that was! A friend of mine did a similar thing in therapy, and it brought her freedom too.

        • Nancy on February 27, 2017 at 7:08 am

          How beautiful, JoAnn.

          This fall I went to a post abortion healing retreat. The first night we did a living scripture of the woman caught in adultery who was to get stoned. At the end of that night we were to each choose a stone. We needed to have that stone with us the entire week end ( it had to even come in the shower with me!). When we were ready to put it at the foot of the cross we needed to identify what it signified.

          It was the chaos of my mother.

          Then I chose a small stone from a basket. I turned it over to see the word Believe. This was, for me, a direct reference to John 6 where Jesus tells his disciples, “your work is this: to believe in the One The Father has sent.” Jesus met me there that week end, and I thank Him for those tangible experiences of His Love for me ❤️

      • Sharon on February 27, 2017 at 7:05 am

        I had be instructed to write a letter to my destructive mother-in-law by a counselor. It was very illuminating to see my hand write pages and pages of issues i would have liked to communicate to my deceased mother-in-law. My counselor had said to let the “paper hold the pain”. For whatever reason it worked. One can chose to burn the paper, take it to their grave or toss it in the sea. Whatever brings release.

        On a similar topic. I once attended a ladies retreat in which we were given stones and sharpies. We were asked to select a stone, write something you need to let go of and give it to God. Releasing yourself from the burden of carrying something that was not yours to carry. Once we wrote on the stone, at our own time and pace the stone was tossed into a very deep lake.

        • JoAnn on February 27, 2017 at 10:15 am

          What Nancy and Sharon experienced worked, and we can devise our own way of letting go of the pain. One thing I also found helpful was to notice where in my body I was storing the pain, giving it a size and a shape and a color, then “lifting” it out and disposing of it. All these “ways” are about taking something that is intangible and giving it a concrete size and shape so that we can deal with it more effectively. I can’t tell you why this is so effective; I just know that it is, and that’s good enough for me!

    • Aly on February 27, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Nancy,

      I’m so glad your feeling and experiencing God’s love and freedom in dealing with your own mom.
      To clarify (I’ll try the family system is quite enmeshed) so It can be hard for even myself to understand what’s taking place at times.

      The best that I can describe is since my h and I have been getting the help we have (both needed) to have a healthier dynamic in marriage, the family system (which is filled with several marriages) pushes back~ against others that are (well different or have a different course) it’s not not just one person in the family it’s a few and all the other people have to orbit around.

      You wrote;
      “In a previous post you had talked about how your mother and father had resisted individual relationship with you.”

      What I was referring to was the fact that once it was very obvious of a sibling that was very covertly (abusive) towards myself … had been since early childhood.. I had to distance myself because it became very clear that in order for there to be a relationship with this sibling I must ~ do all the work to keep the relationship and all the compromises. (Hmm similar to my marriage dynamic…go figure) praise God for that change in me and the freedom He has given.
      Anyways, after many years of trying to walk the fence and protect my own children from well being influenced by … I call them ‘heart & entitlement attitudes’ it became clear that less and less was better, not only for myself but especially for my h. As you know he struggled with similar things.

      My sibling issues obviously are rooted from my parents marriage in ways (not saying it’s their fault. Now that we are adults it’s most certainly not their responsibility)
      because they (parents in dysfunctional families chose and will continue to protect (the side) the ‘bully’ rather than the one that is being mistreated.

      Me getting my own voice and our own family priorities… that went against the ‘family system’. So back to why my parents were So offended to be invited into individual relationship with me, my h and our children~ However they wanted to engage with that.
      They were upset that we couldn’t continue even on the limited family gatherings our participation given the sibling attacks, but we still were willing to have relationships with many in the family if they were willing to find other time to spend time together where it could be a healthy exchange.
      One comment came from our youngest, about going to church together with grandparents and then to take them to breakfast .. ‘simple stuff’
      But for my parents they had no interest unless they could organize the entire large family gathering.
      Well that’s just unrealistic in logistics and well we go to different churches too. Plus then is becomes a situation where the one or two that everyone is orbiting around.. have to rearrange their own schedule to meet the one who is limited.

      Our heart was to have more time with them where we could develop a healthier more intimate relationship with them and our children especially …. rather than it always needing to be at a party environment. Our children hardly ‘know them’ and used to want to. So that’s what I get at with the individual relationship scenario.
      Also I was desiring to have more time with my mom as an adult, I certainly didn’t get that as a child. But I was willing, she was not comfortable with this at all, she needed (siblings or a friend involved) and plus anytime she attempted to make it again based on her schedule….She was so preoccupied by (orbiting around my father) and he wouldn’t even be present!!
      The phone calls, the texts messages .. it’s was obnoxious.
      Also, these explanations are being summarized over years of trying to find ways of toggling through the family of origin chaos at the same time healing a very unhealthy marriage. As painful as it has been; Jesus has continued to shine his light for me and given me the strength to not have to people please or compromise just to have some sort of connection with a family member~ especially if they are harming. My desire was to be loyal to what I claimed and our invitation to the family, was that ‘an invitation’ where both parties can be respected and exist mutually given everyone’s schedules. They wanted the ‘old Aly’.

      Anyways Nancy I hope that explains some of the chaos for me and the position of having a preoccupied mom for well most of my experience. I’m very different than my mom and that has always been the case and for some reason that difference isn’t comfortable to her.

      I’m sorry for the length…
      It does help me write it out and I hope that’s ok.

      I’m thankful for you that you have been able to have one on one time and enjoyed your ‘mom-time’ especially as you are raising your own children. That is precious!
      🌸

      There were some times that I had past glimpses of this with my mom but when it came down to it I had to face the reality that how my mom defined relationship and how I defined it was very different and most certainly she wanted me yet again continue to do all the compromising and wouldn’t meet half way.

      Awhile back I invited her to meet with my counselor since the communication was not going well without a 3rd party. There was one meeting (both parents)
      Didn’t go well.
      Them my mother called my counselor to set up a private meeting with her to yes ‘discuss me’ the problem.
      My counselor was very polite and invited her back with (me) so that transparency would be regarded and helpful to healing. She rejected.
      Then got her own counselor for her and I and im willing I WANT to have a relationship with her and want to reconcile i went and knowing it’s a little bit of a process, she went once didn’t like what was told to her about some inner conflicts of error Biblically and she never went back.

      We met on one more occasion where she was not willing to give any space to hear my position and that was when I had to go no contact unless that attitude would change.
      She’s now the victim in her mind and is upset with me and where I’m at because she can’t have things her way or to her pleasing. But she has no room to see another point of view or experience.

      I’m sad at times but thankful for being able to leave the situation and the outcome out of my hands. It’s still easy for me in moments to want to take the blame and all the responsibility….. but going back to that could set me up for relapse in my marriage and family environment and I can’t afford that.

      I’ll keep praying for your healing and your heart!
      Thank you for your care for mine… it’s profound to be heard and understood by someone and amazing other women I have never met face to face but I have met their hearts!
      So thank you for that sisters in Christ! 💖

      • JoAnn on February 27, 2017 at 10:36 am

        Wow, Aly, you sure have done a lot to try to connect with your mother! It’s really too bad that she can’t see that, but she now has the ball in her court, so you just need to go on, and perhaps grieve the loss of a relationship with her. That is painful, and I am so very sorry that it has come to that. It sounds like you have a really good therapist to help you through this. A family is a system, and anytime one element of the system changes, the whole system goes into chaos and tries to reorganize. How to cope with the result is hard, and sometimes pulling out, as you have done, is the only way to get through. May God’s grace abound to you in these days.

      • Lori on February 27, 2017 at 11:24 am

        Hi Aly,

        This breaks my heart for both of you: “Also I was desiring to have more time with my mom as an adult, I certainly didn’t get that as a child. But I was willing, she was not comfortable with this at all”

        What a canyon of loss for both of you and the Kingdom of God. Praying about this.

        And: “They wanted the ‘old Aly'”.

        I bet they did, but I am so glad to know the new Aly. She is wise, maliable, humble, abounding in compassion, and dedicated to truth.

        If they had ears to hear and eyes to see, they would be so very proud of you and rejoice in Gods wonderful work in you. They would be blessed by your heart for relationship with them and would not accuse you of it’s failure. They would not try to change you to get the Old Aly back, but rejoice that the new Aly is gloriously fashioned in the likeness of her King. She has a new name and He is not likely to allow her to be snatched from His capable hands.

        No, the way forward, (to the promised land you and Nancy so beautifully share) is exactly that: Forward.

        I hope your exhaustive and extensive efforts to connect with your mother are somehow relieving to you that the only way to connect with her now, would be if you choose to be the Old Aly, or if she chooses to put off her old self and put on her identity in Christ.

        You have learned so much and been tempered to such a large degree through this suffering. I can see in you the Glory of our Lord.

        Press on dear sister. Your walk is inspiring.

        • Aly on February 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm

          Lori,

          Thank you for your heart and for your prayers! Your words and those of Nancy, TL and JoAnn are healing~ I’m grateful!
          These wounds run deep as you know and it’s SO hard to find safe people that ‘get it’ not that they have to agree or totally see everything but that they can touch the area.

          You wrote:
          “What a canyon of loss for both of you and the Kingdom of God. Praying about this.”

          Thank you for your prayers… it has been a loss but God continues to replenish as He promises!
          The spiritual wound is probably where I struggle the most at certain times..
          I really wanted so badly to believe that my mom had spiritual truth that would triumph all of this.
          I never would have guessed I would have been persecuted by my own ‘believing’ parents for wanting to spiritually nurture my own children.. but then again the relationships that are very unstable with their ‘other children’ don’t have the same outlook Or desires. That’s ok with me and feel that their freedom.. can I have my freedom too?

          Going no contact (unless you know) has given the freedom basically… and it’s sad but it’s been essential.

          Thank you again for your writings with visuals for me it helps me with my tears and yes lots more tears today. Healing ones though.
          I’m sending hugs to all of you as you!
          His LOVE redeems🙏

          • Lori on February 27, 2017 at 1:05 pm

            Dear Aly,

            “I really wanted so badly to believe that my mom had spiritual truth that would triumph all of this.”

            I believe you Aly. I really do.
            Maybe it is this wanting to believe that the love of those we love so much is authentic that we have such a tearing time letting go of that belief. We need so badly to be loved authentically by our parents and knowing God would want that too makes it all the harder to let it go, or maybe more accurately speaking, to measure it rightly, truthfully.

            I remember my mother telling me how my father loved me and to the degree that he would “lay his life down for me”. It so conflicted with my reality as I was made to wait in his car while he “nurtured” and “counseled’ newly divorced women who needed his services. My friends later helped me measure rightly (although it was so wounding to my heart) when they described the various women my father was sleeping with in our small community. I knew it to be true while waiting in the car for him, but my mother (in her desperate need to believe he loved her fiercely) tried to convince me of his fierce love for me. She was an excellent assistant for his endeavors.

            My story is very similar to yours in my “getting out” of the family system with all the fingers of blame pointed at me. The fingers of blame also came from my h family of origin when I stood against their family system of denying sexual abuse in their ranks while claiming to be Christian. My h has believed both my family system and his family system that I am the problem. It is excruciating and isolating and the only reason I think I have survived is I want my children to have a better life than I did. I want them to have the freedom to think critically and be able to be committed to truth and reality.

            I am having a tough day at the present as I am realizing how isolated I am in my life. I have really just been in survival mode and am not even certain what it would mean to thrive. (yep…more tears….)

            I am trying to help my children have a better life and a life that has a future, and I don’t even know how to do that myself.

            I literally have no family on either side with whom to walk this life with. My h has returned to his family of origin although they continue to deny any truth regarding how they abuse each other.

            I am coming to the realization (after 14 months) that he is carving out a different life for himself and moving on.

            It is very difficult not to question my sanity when so many people are pointing at me as the problem and appearing to have functional, church going lives.

            I believe you Aly, that you wanted so to believe they had the spiritual truth that would triumph all of this. I believe you Aly, because I get it. I really do.

            And: “Going no contact (unless you know) has given the freedom basically… and it’s sad but it’s been essential.”

            Grieviously, overwhelmingly, excruciatingly sad. The death of relationship and loss is almost too much for me to bear. Without Christ, I could not. With Him, I barely can.

            No wonder others have chosen to stay within the system. This valley of the shadow of death is………no words….deep, palpable excruciating grief.

            Sorry to be on such a downer here….just keeping it real for where I find myself at the moment.

            Praying for you that the Lord will comfort, heal and guide you ahead Aly. You are precious to Him and I see Him smiling over you.



          • Aly on February 27, 2017 at 1:50 pm

            Lori,

            Thank you for sharing and for seeing the grief in it. No need to apologize here for walking your journey. I’m not going to try to make you ‘feel better or escape the negative feelings that encompass grief (at least I hope not too) but I am leaning into your pain.

            It’s pain that none of us can bare on our own. That’s why we are to come alongside and carry burdens .. regardless of our journey God creates the space for us. Many people I’ve encountered more on the face level don’t choose to lean in because they feel the need to be all restored. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way. Yes we carry our own load as He equips us.

            I’m so sorry for your experience with your father! But you and I can both share in the pain of the ‘assistant
            You wrote profoundly well:
            “She was an excellent assistant for his endeavors”

            Wow this for me is where the pain lies because ‘little girls’ learn a lot from their moms and this is what cost me (maybe you too)
            But what i mean ~ sorry not trying to make it about me but trying to connect with you where your at,
            Little girls are influenced greatly by the same sex parent and the role that is played out.

            I think it would be safe to say, we both didn’t have safe strong moms but the blessing that can come..
            Is that we can be that to ourselves and model that to our children only through knowing Him and being changed by Him.

            I’m sending a hug to comfort you in your pain today~ it may feel bleak at moments but in grief we do find some treasures that we would not have found had we not ventured into the pain.
            It draws us closer and closer to the Lord in a deeper way as He does ‘feel deeply’ deep Joy and deep pain!

            You wrote:
            “I am coming to the realization (after 14 months) that he is carving out a different life for himself and moving on.”

            Yes you might be right about him carving out a different life, but I’m not sure it is moving on to Freedom from bondage.
            You are moving on ~ although through the grief to Freedom and to a new legacy.

            The wordly standards won’t be able to measure what it means to grow and especially Thrive, but to His purpose He is patient to prepare the soil and produce the crop to come!

            I know the pain of the ‘outcast’ given both our paths upbringing especially. I will pray for your heart. You are Brave, more than you know. I will pray also for more safe supper for your journey.
            Your alliegence is with Him and those who want to thorwt that will always murky the waters…
            you can stand tall (even in your grief).
            God will continue to provide and will be there to shine His light.

            Not that you want to write a book, but if you did.. I’d buy it! Your story is His story and He’s still writing it but it’s a story that is filled with profound truth, courage and Love❤️

            Thank you for graciously understanding my heart, my hope and prayer is that you feel understood and not alone🙏



          • T.L. on February 27, 2017 at 2:48 pm

            Lori, I just want to say that my heart is aching for yours, and I am praying for you–I know that Jesus sits with you in your grief, feeling all that you feel, for “He daily bears our burdens,” and is “a man of sorrows, well-acquainted with grief”. And we bear your burden too, dear Lori. We weep with you.

            I pray that the Lord will soon lift your spirit, and make your face shine again with His joy. In the meantime, He holds you near in His Everlasting Arms that are beneath you.

            Praying that your desert days of lack of Christian community will soon end, and you will walk in a flourishing garden of life among His precious saints.

            So much love to you. xo
            :



      • Ruth on February 27, 2017 at 2:19 pm

        Aly,
        I read thru your post and I just amazed. God’s grace is all over you. God has taken you up and not left You as an orphan. you’re handling this terrible, complex ordeal with the wisdom of Solomon.
        When I read posts about failure in parental love, I am just dumbfounded. How a mother can just abandoned her children is completely foreign to me. For me, it would be like thinking: “well, today I believe I might cut off my right foot.” My own mother is is so loving and kind it; I realize most people don’t have a mom as tender hearted as mine. She such a good person and has so much love I wish I could share her with you ladies.💗

        • Aly on February 27, 2017 at 6:12 pm

          Ruth,

          Thank you so much for your healing words and affirming kindness! Yes, we can praise God for His hand in this very complex situation.
          You actually made me laugh~ about the cutting off foot comment!
          I’m thankful for you that you had a special nurturing mother;) such a treasure indeed.
          I can add that my mom had and has some good aspects to her role as mom at times, which I was blessed by.

          I think the abandonment wound came more full circle as things became clearer and clearer given the family system.

          Some days are better than others, I carry more of the mother role, so it’s different to let go of completely. I can see why it’s emotionally easier for her.
          Some days I have to think of her as an old high school aquaintence with serious boyfriend issues😜 (To lighten the load)

          Hugs and thank you again for your healing presence here!

  23. Nancy on February 27, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Aly, You have done some heavy lifting in the work of your family of origin.

    Not engaging in the ‘family party’ is a very healthy choice given the destructive dynamics. And the lengths you have gone to in trying to establish a healthy relationship with your mom is something you can stand firm in. It sounds to me as though you did everything you could possibly do. How devaluing it must have been to be so disregarded by her when you were together.

    It is heart breaking that you had to go, no contact. The alternative would be to subject yourself to fighting for visibility you know you won’t get in her presence. I’m so sorry for that 🙁

    I pray, Aly, that The Lord will provide for you a ‘kingdom mamma’. One that can soothe and nurture your precious heart and recognize the amazingly intelligent, insightful and compassionate woman that you are. You are loved beyond measure Aly. I pray for this very particular Healing for you.

    Can I ask another question? Did you write your reasons to them? Not to ‘explain yourself’, rather to have a record of your love for them as well as your lack of trust in them, and what they would need to do to earn that trust ?(maybe even for your kids to see later on). P. Doyle suggests getting boundaries in writing. I’m not suggesting this is best, just wondering.

    Can I ask you how old your kids are? And how do you explain this no contact to them? If at all? This is a difficult thing for me. Our eldest sees me change in the presence of my mother ( I’m guarded and talking about things my daughter knows I couldn’t care less about) but I cannot burden my daughter with the incredibly complex nuances of BPD. I suppose it comes down to her witnessing me trusting my heart to various people to different degrees.

    I’m so happy that Jesus continues to light your path, Aly. To partially quote T.L.: What a precious wonder that The Lord has brought you out of all that to stand in His grace and goodness. The length that our Lord has gone for us, is astounding.

    You said to me Aly ( and it’s now on our fridge- I made a little art project out of it 🙂

    He has secured the promised land but equips us to claim it for his glory.

    May The Lord continue to bless your heart as you follow Him straight into the promised land.

    • T.L. on February 27, 2017 at 10:50 am

      Dear Aly,

      I just want to add hearty agreement to all of Nancy’s words! And JoAnn’s too. 💗

    • Lori on February 27, 2017 at 11:30 am

      Nancy,

      I thought your reply to Aly was so very beautiful and loving. So very affirming and compassionate. It was wonderful to see your care for her expressed in words.

      Especially: “I pray, Aly, that The Lord will provide for you a ‘kingdom mamma’. One that can soothe and nurture your precious heart and recognize the amazingly intelligent, insightful and compassionate woman that you are. You are loved beyond measure Aly. I pray for this very particular Healing for you.”

      In agreement prayer on this one!

      • Nancy on February 27, 2017 at 3:26 pm

        Thank you, Lori.

        I’m sorry to hear you are having a bad day 🙁 Thank you for keeping it real in your communication about that. It’s a blessing to see others express themselves honestly. 💕

    • Aly on February 27, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Nancy, TL and JoAnn,

      Thank you all for your (listening) reading my reply and answers to my process.
      It’s a blessing to me to have souls like you all who allow space for another person’s story~ joy and pain.

      The joy part is that I get to be the mom in our home that will hopefully always choose ‘growing’.

      To answer Nancy’s ?’s:
      Yes, I wrote and communicated ( my h included in the process)
      But the bottom line in respect is that it requires respect to give ears too.
      Someone who doesn’t have an ounce of respect for another~ will not authentically hear them.

      So yes the attempts (written and texted) not advising text were given.
      My father was angered at me that I wasn’t loving them ‘unconditionally’ ~ again it always went back to how they were being impacted.

      After the counseling attempt and my moms failed attempt to meet privately with our counselor ~ she then went after our close circle of support (that we had developed over the years)

      This was ugly and uncalled for.
      I fought back as best as I was able, as well as reacted (verbally) to them! I’m not proud of my choices and I asked for forgiveness from them.

      After she went to our support circle.. my boundaries increased but I was still willing to problem solve via a counselor, a church elder(s) whatever they would be willing to do since they already ruled out that our main counselor wasn’t going to buy into the system.

      So then the all out Smear campaign came from my father within the family and my mother standing by as usual supporting the tactics and being the victim.

      Needless to say our children have been traumatized ~ to some extent. Our counsel has helped tremendously to get them out of the crossfire and most importantly walk through with them their own grief of this. I do see their faith strengthening~ Praise God!
      The older one is the most affected in ways but is quite in tune to the behaviors and harm when a person rejects personal responsibility on every level. Boundaries are essential. Plus, our family is just interested in the children anyways… this is not ok with us based on what type of apathetic onesided world they want to live in. They would be most pleased if we would hand over our children for they care and influence (especially if it fits their schedule and convenience).

      Since a lot of time has passed and in that time we have been getting the comprehensive help ~ we have seen the children thrive again in different ways that have given us such joy!
      Having an inner support system with close friends validated a lot of the chaos for them.
      In the early stages~ although not witnessed but they could emotionally feel the tension …, that everyone was turning away from (mom and Dad) so in that they concluded.. (they are children with little ability to process trauma) that mom and dad are the Problem!
      Then if this was true then they thought mom and dad might not be safe. I don’t blame them for this thought.
      Thankfully God gave us the grace and tools to work through this especially with our oldest.

      As the seasons came and went… the more ‘little things’ played out they could understand the relationship terms were very one sided and ‘self centered’ given the family system.

      Not that our little family is only ‘child centered’ but the children are a focus to be loved and nurtured and the adult is responsible for creating safety in the home not the child.

      Hope that answers the questions and some of the process we have been through so far.

      Can’t thank each of you in words for your gracious encouragement!!
      It’s a weird place to at times being in some of the greatest places of joy while also dealing with the greatest places of grief! This is where He found me yet again and carried me, yet again… and sat me down and covered me, yet again!

      Thank you for all your prayers I need them!💟

  24. Nancy on February 27, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Aly,

    Thank you for so graciously answering my questions.

    The backlash from your parents around the boundaries you set, is so harsh. I just re-watched P.Doyle’s video on boundaries the other night and he said to expect pushback. Wow. You got pushback and retaliation!

    You have come so far in your healing journey. This – doing what is necessary to protect your heart and your own family – is God honouring ❤️

    I asked about a letter because for me, going back and reading that letter gives me a solid perch from which to view the situation – as opposed to getting sucked into thinking about the blame shifting and muddying that occurred before and after the letter. I agree that “someone who doesn’t have an ounce of respect for another will not authentically hear them.” This is true. Just remember, Aly, that our boundaries are about guarding our precious heart, not changing the other, or even gaining respect from them. Interestingly, I gain respect for me though, with each assertion of my limitations.

    As I said in my last post to you, I believe you can stand firm in your attempts toward building a healthy relationship with your parents. I pray that you REALLY believe that too!

    I love what you said, “the joy part is that I get to be the mom in my home that will hopefully always choose growing.” Beautiful. Yes. Because God designed us to be continually growing in Him. Orientation toward growth in Christ is a home filled with LOVE. Not distorted love. Real Love.

    A home filled with…The Lord Himself.

    Hugs, Aly!

  25. Ruth on February 28, 2017 at 12:48 am

    This is a BEAUTIFUL conversation. What a great example of speech that is edifying and encouraging! 🙂
    I’m hesitant in sharing this because it would change the direction the thread is going in currently.
    My marriage is somewhat reminiscent of Jackie’s experience (the original poster) minus the lengthy pastoral support. [Actually, our current pastor offered us free counseling to bless our family but my H said- “No, I don’t need counseling. That would be a waste of the church’s money. Let them spend their money on kingdom business.”
    I need to also apologize in advance that this post focuses so much on my husband; God is leading me to STOP fretting over him. I’ve wasted far too much of my mental time in angst over him. God is nudging me to focus growing my relationship with HIM and enjoying my children.
    Here goes🙄
    I’ve also been married 20 years. I have 3 kids at home. 2 grown step kids.

    Before I dive into this humdinger of a story, I need to give a big thank you!! to Leslie for the wisdom, tools, and compassion this site and from her marriage book.
    I also need to say thank you!!! to Robin 💗. Robin, last spring you challenged me to stop minimizing my abusive marriage [ now, after you read my post – you might think I am still minimizing the level of abusiveness in my marriage. But let me assure you – it is getting better and I am finding my voice ]
    Robin, you confronted me in love and it really made me do some soul-searching. God was definitely moving to bring darkness out into the light bc it wasn’t a few weeks after your challenge to me that my H found my private journal which is whole big post for another time. It was God’s offer to him my husband to look at the mess he’d made and repent. But he didn’t. He couldn’t bear to to look at it. Before I could really do the business of healing there was also some darkness of my own that needed to come into the light. I had misappropriated money from our business. Out of fear of asking him for every nickel and dime, I had taken small amounts of money from our business over the course of the last two years that were unaccounted for. Last summer, my husband’s company caught me. He could’ve got into a lot of trouble and even had his business shut down because of what I did. When he told me about the meeting he had with his superiors and security team, I figured: “well, maybe this will be the thing that pushes him to go ahead and pursue the divorce he’s threatened me with so many times.” Sorry Aleea. I know your people don’t like embezzlement either – 😐.
    I was sick, but relieved that the lie could finally be over at the same time. Strangely he was not as mad as I thought he would be.

    As the summer moved on, we had a series of fights that centered around his harshness toward my middle child and favoritism toward my youngest child. The amount of rage and hatred he would spew at me bc I would call him out on bad parenting is just mind-boggling. He asked God to judge me, told me I was going to hell, etc. All the while, he called himself Righteous Lot vexed by the evil around him. In July he said: “if this fighting doesn’t stop then I’m asking God to kill one of us and based on the way you’re acting, it’ll probably be You!”
    Then in August one night I remembered reading here that you could just leave the house when your husband started a yelling tirade. This particular week he’d already kept me up late for a couple of nights and I was already dreading what this night would bring. So, I waited till the kids were sleeping (that’s when he yells anyway). Sure enough he let into me. Now maybe if I’d laid out the sacrifice of sex on his altar, he might have spared me. But I was way too broken for sex.
    I asked him to stop talking to me.
    He wouldn’t stop. I had already moved to sleep on the couch.
    I said Do not come in here.
    He wouldn’t leave me alone.
    He continued to badger me.
    I felt my anxiety escalate.
    I grabbed my purse and phone.
    I said Do not call me. I do not want to speak with you.

    Me leaving the house that night had a profound effect on him.
    The next day I told him we were
    either doing an-house separation or I was leaving. I had never gone for counseling and was so lonely.
    For a myriad of small reasons- long drive health, tiny church staff, my shyness, my husband’s secrecy, my pastor’s own fragile health – I never reached out for help. Plus, they were so Word of Faith, I was afraid if I went to my pastor and his wife, being the Word of Faith people they were – they would say “Ruth, what he’s doing is wrong and we love you. There’d be lots of compassion bc they’re loving people but I assumed their ‘strategy’ would be pray and believe. No thanks. [turns out I out them pegged wrong]
    It also discouraged me that at this church where words of knowledge were given, prophetic words, etc. – There sat my abusive H. soaking it all up. I WANTED HIM TO BE CONVICTED. Probably, he never was.
    I’ve promised myself to never to ‘curse God and die’ to never doubt God’s goodness, but I did struggle with the question of – Why didn’t God convict him my H EVEN AT ANOINTED WORSHIP SERVICES? Maybe, my H is really that hardhearted or maybe it would only last a few days so why waste your conviction work in someone’s heart that’s heart that’s the rocky path.
    What a waste of time it is to try and diagnose evil?!
    Anyway, back to what I was saying… I called my Pastor’s wife after our big blow-up. I told her everything and she wasn’t surprised. She said “your children had a heaviness about them.” She also told me: “Ruth, God will make a Safe place for you, whether in the marriage or outside the marriage.” Those were comforting words.
    I told her I was going to take the kids to a church closer to our house and a larger church where I could go to a day-time ladies Bible study and fellowship bc part of my problem is being isolated. Plus, it would have more youth activities for my teenagers.

    Then I told my H my conditions
    for in-house separation. I would’ve preferred leaving but we seem to always be on the precipice of losing our business. The main condition is I get a separate room that locks so I can’t be harassed at night. (Not for physical safety; he just yells, never hits) That he no longer schedules us to work together at our business. Working with him to toxic. I’d be better off working a shift opposite him or seeking employment elsewhere. And for the kids, I become the sole disciplinarian because he is too harsh. He must immediately stop favoring our younger daughter over our middle daughter. He must make amends to our middle daughter for the hateful ways he has treated her. There were other details but those were my bigs. Basically, I wanted QUIET, CIVILITY. We would be like co-workers; not pals, just polite and courteous. For me, I didn’t want to work on the marriage at this point. I couldn’t stomach talking about it. I told him sometime MAYBE months later I might consider working towards reconciliation. But that would only be after I felt my heart was healed, my anxiety level had consistently gone down and most important I saw him consistently acting decently to our children.

    H didn’t like the idea the he had to move out of bedroom. He didn’t like me calling the shots. He said you’d better watch out or else this might end up in a divorce. That would really hurt the kids. Then, it be on your head. (Just amazing how he rationalized fault) I said “Newsflash!” The older 2 kids have BEGGED me to divorce you for years.” He accused me of lying. He asked them. They had courage and told the truth. You could have knocked my husband over with a feather. The next day my husband really repented. I believe he did anyway.
    He asked his children to forgive him and give him another chance to be a good dad. He sobbed and wailed. He even got choked & gagged. [We believe went through deliverance]. He had gone through deliverance a year before we got met. He never told me this before, but at the end of the exorcism the lady conducting it asked him “I hear this name______?” She said “Do you feel anything? Do you sense anything else? Or does that name mean anything to you ?”
    He told me that he answered her “no” but that all these years that he’s wondered if that was the last demon that never left him and it finally had to go when he humbled himself that day. The name was Rodan.

    He seemed so sincere. I wanted to give him a chance now that it seemed his eyes were opened. He was so happy to have a second chance; he was afraid I was going to leave. I think he has abandonment issues.
    Within no time, he really wanted to push the physical touch boundaries so badly. He was SO HAPPY and he being so good to the kids. All of a sudden, he loved me like never before. I knew he wouldn’t be perfect like this forever but I let my guard down and got caught up in his tenderness. It was the appreciation and love I’d always wanted. He was kind and thoughtful. I think it was real, but I think it was emotion-driven and I should have remembered that emotions are like the wind blowing a sailboat; they will lose their strength and you have to choose to get your arms out and ROW if you want to continue moving forward. Rowing is hard work.
    Rowing is unpleasant.
    Rowing can be inconvenient.

    It’s been about 6 months now. Many times he has gone back to the old paths, but not as hardcore.
    I’m not staying for love. It’s the just lesser path of misery – at least for now. It’s a little more stability for the kids. Our business couldn’t handle one more expense ( as in separate housing).
    💙 I want to end by sharing a story and asking for you ladies to prayerfully discern what if any truth in these words that were spoken over me.

    Late last fall, my husband and I were back into a normal marital relationship. (Normal, as in, we were having sex again). Sex or sexual touch can make me very anxious. [backstory: I’ve had zero sexual abuse history. I have a very inhibited personality. H has pressured me about Quality and quantity of sex during our marriage, so it’s a source of resentment and anxiety for me] So… I do not allow for intimacy on any day that has been stressful. Not even if I’ve just heard him be abrupt or sarcastic or huff and puff. Because, that will make me anxious – and if he touches me, I will get panicky. And i could go badly during sex. As I said earlier, we had gone through a major upheaval in August. About the same time, I started having almost daily mild-moderate migraines. Debilitating migraines twice a month. This is something new for me.
    Super early in our marriage my husband initiated sex. At some point, he got his feelings hurt because I didn’t warmly accept his advances so he decided that whenever I wanted sex I could be the initiator, as in 90% of the time! Ridiculous 🤢. So he abdicated responsibility. But the funny thing is if I didn’t initiate frequently enough to suit him- I had hell to pay.
    Fortunately, this dynamic improved after our big August blow-up. Plus, the chronic headaches that started this summer have also cut his fun time down to a rare occurrence. Well, one day rolls around when my husband has been fairly pleasant and I feel physically ok. I tell him we’re ok to have sex…
    Here’s my old familiar self-talk:
    “you ought to have sex today.
    It’s been several days since we’ve had sex.
    You don’t have a headache.
    The kids are ready for bed early.
    But I don’t want to.
    But you HAVE to.
    He’s being good.
    Chances are you’ll have a migraine tomorrow. Then who knows how many more days when it will be possible. Or what if he asks for sex in the morning after the kids go to school – I HATE that. I don’t like him to see my face and I DON’T want to see his!
    What if he starts getting mad at me again?
    He’s been good lately. What’s the big deal? I can do this!
    Sigh. I wish I didn’t have to.

    I initiate. It’s the usual shallow act of phoniness on my part. But operating at a shallow level is a survival skill for me. Just beneath the surface churn some painful emotions; I’m trying not to let that pot boil over.
    I do TRY to enjoy sex. If there’s zero chance of physical arousal but my Emotions are calm, then I’ll try to stay present in the moment. If however, I feel start to feel anxious, then I try to mentally escape to a calm place before I freak out or start feel really resentful.
    That night however the sad thought hit me so fast; I didn’t have time to deflect it. Here’s the sad thought that hit me: One day earlier in summer, I tried to explain how dehumanizing sex is when he treats he with contempt and rudeness all day with NO apology and still expects sex. I said it makes me feel so sad. It makes me feel like a whore or like an object.
    His response was “women ARE kinda like sexual objects for men to use.” I can still visualize him standing by the backdoor when he said that to me. Then that night during sex his words came back to me: “women are kinda like sexual objects for men to use” and my spirit sank. I fought off tears. I managed to get distracted enough to get through sex without H ever realizing my struggle.
    The next day I had to run a quick errand to the library. A book on the ‘New Books’ display caught my eye. It was titled something like ‘healing PTSD’. I thought it might be helpful to keep away hateful words I don’t want popping in my head. And yes, I absolutely reject his statement! But I got busy and never got around to reading the book. My H saw the book; he googled the author. She must have been a liberal, feminist. Boy, did that get him riled up. He saw this book as dangerous LOL. I think he’s afraid I’ll read divorce propaganda. When he wouldn’t cool it, I finally leveled with him. I told him: Look, a couple of weeks ago when we were having sex, I remembered something hurtful you said and it bothered me. I grabbed this book to try to help our marriage.
    A little later that afternoon H said, “God told me ‘Ruth has been poisoned.'”
    My initial reaction was skepticism, but I ask “poisoned by what? Is that literal? What does that mean?”
    He says “I don’t know”

    Now, my question to you readers is “what does the spirit say to you?”
    “Have I been poisoned by something?”
    “And if so, what’s the antidote?”

    I have my own ideas but I want to see what you all think.

    • Aly on February 28, 2017 at 5:24 am

      Dear Ruth,

      I’m so sorry for what you have been going through.
      It’s wonderful that you have found Leslie’s material to be encouraging and helpful to you.

      Sounds like you were Brave and began some boundaries with him last August. Boundaries for me was not an easy process in my marriage. I have had a lot of counseling to help me understand boundaries better and why my boundaries have been (in the ditch). Boundaries with someone like your h with possible attachment abandonment issues that you noted is not going to be easy oceans, you will need lots of support and healthy voices to drown out his ‘dysfunctional protest’, that’s just my opinion and much of my own personal experience.

      I agree with what Starlight wrote to you about the question you posed. I’m so sorry that you were verbally attacked by your h!
      You made a clear attempt to investigate yourself and identify more of what ‘could be’ contributing to the symptoms you are having.
      Your h has said some outlandish horrible comments misusing spiritual boundaries and by recognizing this behavior isn’t to make him (all bad) but his Behavior and his reaction to you are not reasonable in any form. They are not safe for your own beautiful soul.

      I’m sad for what you have been going through… you mentioned lots of yelling from him and tirades, what is this about? Does he do this every evening to you?

      What is with all the anger from him? He does sound like he has an abusive mindset and I wonder if you are fearful of him in more areas?
      His comment on the poison is to me very ‘strange’ and spiritually shaming/manipulative in a way. It doesn’t resonate with a husband called to cherish and come alongside his wife.
      What do think a healthy response would be from a safe spouse, after seeing that you had a book on ‘healing from PTSD’?

      I mean does his reactions to you seem unproportional?

      I think your response (which I’m sure was not easy) to telling him the truth about what you experienced with his comment on being as sex object and to be used by men… needed to be out in the light. He sounds like he needs some ‘serious interventions’ given his behavior and reactions toward you, his wife, Ruth.
      This isnt meant to demonize him at all. The behavior is very concerning because one minute he seems to be using Godly ‘chatter’ and the next minute he is verbalizing sexist comments that are SO Far from a Glorify sexual experience that God would be pleased with.

      I will pray for your heart here and your healing. Your a precious gift here Ruth and as you can read our posts..many of us care deeply because we can relate deeply to the woundedness.
      🍎💜 Much love and hugs for you

    • Aleea on February 28, 2017 at 6:02 am

      Ruth,
      ―Generally, often historically & even currently, every word that comes after “And the Lord told me to tell you” . . . is generally a lie. re: your husband

      . . . It sure looks like a woman must be financially independent to be free in love. Maybe live as if you have already lived and died, now do what God wanted you to do earlier in life. ―Giving up is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. To know that you can’t win a particular battle may be wisdom. ―But I don’t “know“ that for you Ruth. . . What seems important is not just to fight, but to fight the right enemies. The extent to which two people in a relationship can bring up and resolve issues is a critical marker of the soundness of that relationship. ―And you know, nothing changes if nothing changes. You might ask yourself: Do I like myself when I’m with H? Do I like myself when I’m with myself? Do I like myself when I’m with God? . . . .I think so often people end up unnecessarily prolonging their abuse because they buy into the notion, often unconsciously, that their abuser must be coming from a wounded place and that only patient love and tolerance (―and lots of misguided therapy) will help them heal. An emotionally abusive relationship, maybe this is too simplistic, ―but, it seems much like standing up in a way too hot bath and sinking back in so as not to feel so dizzy. . . .It seems in so many of these situations, the woman knows from living with the abusive H that there are no simple answers. Maybe allow yourself to know what you already know, ―and that is not as easy as it sounds because that involves change. Mind control is built on manipulation of attachment needs . . . but Ruth, you know far better than I do what’s good for you. ―God, obviously, knows best.

      ―Where love rules, there is no will to power; where power predominates, there love is totally lacking. The one is the shadow of the other. Pure love contains no attempt to hold power over the other person and if anyone is attempting to hold power over another person, there is no room for real love. People use the Bible’s texts in an attempt to get power over others but that which is done out of real love is always beyond good and evil, ―just like God. But as always, I don’t “Know” that, Ruth ―it seems that way however.

    • T.L. on February 28, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Ruth,

      I meant to have your name there…I’ve been praying for you, Rose and Lori, especially these past few days.

      The others have responded so well to you already, but I just wanted to specifically answer your last question, because you asked for our opinions.

      “Now, my question to you readers is “what does the spirit say to you?”
      “Have I been poisoned by something?”
      “And if so, what’s the antidote?” ”

      A man who uses power and control, fear and intimidation, lies and deceit, is clearly influenced not by the Spirit of Christ, but the Enemy. Your husband is serving himself, not Christ. He did not hear God, because he does not know how to listen to God. He listens to lies. And he knows you are being influenced to stop believing his lies about you, his control over you. Jesus is setting you free, and to his selfish and twisted mind, that is poison, because it is against him.

      No antidote needed. Keep walking in the light, Ruth. Stay true to your true Husband, who will never harm you. Do whatever you need to do to get away from this man, Ruth. HE is poison. You need safety and sanity so you can begin to detox and heal.

      • Brave Rabbit on March 1, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        Proverb 17:1 this hit me this morning during Mr devotional, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife”

        I find myself meditating on this verse today. I’ve not left my h yet. I think I’m driving my one friend to distraction as she cannot for the life of her figure out why not! I asked her to just love me through the process.

        Some days I feel cast adrift and the evil one placing obstacles in my path. I did reach out to my former counselor to help me sort through my thinking. She’s not in my network and I dread starting with someone new.

        I’m getting off track here. What I want to say is that no matter your circumstances, change is hard and going through the process is taxing. Cling to our Father and bathe in His Word and know that what ever you choose He will be with you. Even as I write this and faithfully believe, it’s still hard to process what I need and want to do.
        💞 praying for all of us sweet Sisters.

        • Nancy on March 1, 2017 at 1:52 pm

          Hello Brave Rabbit!

          So glad to hear from you ❤️

          That proverb is beautiful.

        • JoAnn on March 1, 2017 at 7:51 pm

          Dear Brave Rabbit,
          I like the name you have chosen….Brave. Yes, it takes courage to do what you need and want to do, but I have found that taking baby steps makes the doing seem so much more doable. It helps to start with the goal in view, then outline the various steps you need to take to get there, in small, easy to manage pieces. Once you have your steps identified, it is easier to go one step at a time. When you cross a step off your list, it feels so good. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but you have to know what those steps are. May the Lord guide you on your journey, and grant you His all-sufficient grace for each step.

    • Nancy on February 28, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      Hi Again, Ruth 🙂

      I’ve gone back and re-read your story here and want to add something.

      I think it’s important to judge repentance only in retrospect. Here’s what I mean.

      Worldly sorrow can be just as painful as Godly sorrow, from an emotional perspective. Because of this surface similarity, P. Doyle says repentance is judged by LONG TERM behavioural change. Also contrition is a piece that is really important. This position that “I have no rights” is accompanied by a willingness to be corrected and to be accountable.

      Is he willing to be corrected and accountable? If not it wasn’t Godly sorrow to begin with. It was an extreme worldly sorrow for what he might lose (his marriage, his kids), followed by extreme relief that he didn’t lose the marriage and the kids.

      The spiritual language he uses is extreme and dark. ( Vexed, poison, demon, asking God to kill one of you ( you)). Sounds to me like he’s spiritualizing his tantrums. Don’t allow that stuff into your heart, Ruth. It’s spiritual abuse.

      I’m praying for you, Ruth. 💕

      • Aly on February 28, 2017 at 8:18 pm

        Dear Nancy and Ruth,

        Nancy I totally agree with your post here.
        Ruth, I do hope maybe you are able to watch some of Patrick Doyle’s videos, they can help with seeing and affirming some of this chaos. You asked for some response and I hope I’m not overwhelming you but many have responded in a similar way.

        Ruth, I’m so sorry for what you are experiencing, you mentioned to me in a previous post how loving and nurturing your mother was to you and I don’t know … but how you are being treated and threatened in ways would scare any mother. Does your own mother know what’s been taking place?

        Do you have a counselor?
        I can relate to what is our ‘normal’ at times and it seems as though your husband is reacting in scary ways, as you seek to get help or get healthier..
        Does he know about this blog and info? How might you predict his reaction if he did? …. that might tell you what level of safety you are in.

        Just thinking here… and you know your safety level better than I could ever assume, but the patterns are very concerning.
        This can be the hard place of boundaries in a marriage.. it is common that when boundaries are enforced, the real behavior reveals a level of the heart condition.

        We are in prayer and wisdom for you Ruth.

  26. Starlight on February 28, 2017 at 2:46 am

    Ruth, if something spoke to him I don’t think it was God. I would not put too much weight on what he says either, he is abusive.
    That comment is probably about you reading that book – even if you didn’t.
    One time a friend told me that if I didn’t do something it was because satan was stopping me. I discovered this was not true, am glad I did not listen to her and that it was a way to manipulate. Now I am wary of her advice too that she would be that bold try to manipulate.

    • Aleea on February 28, 2017 at 6:06 am

      I agree with you Starlight and I very much like your screen name “Starlight” . . . Once I had travelled from Spain into Morocco and from there south to the Atlas Mountains, at the edge of the Sahara Desert…one night, in a “hotel” that was more like a stinking stable. . . ha, ha, ha . . .I woke and walked out into a snowstorm. ―But it wasn’t snow it was stars. . . Just stars, everywhere . . . .A storm of stars swirling around me. I remember no light pollution. I remember no lights at all. But do I remember the light around me and the sense of being lit by starlight and that I could see the ground to which the stars seemed to be floating down. I saw the sky that night in three dimensions: the sky had depth, some stars seemingly close and some much farther away, the Milky Way ―so well defined it had what astronomers call “structure”, that sense of its twisting depths. I remember stars from one horizon to the other, making a night sky so plush it still seems like a dream. . . . .Just thanking God and praying and praying. It was a time in my life when every day I was experiencing something new.

  27. Yvonne on February 28, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I truly understand your situation, as I have that same struggle, with the numbness and committed to staying married., . My husband has changed than what he used to be, but when I don’t agree with him or make strong statement to allow him to hear what he is saying, he normally does not own up to it. He responds with a personal attack where I fall short. I really don’t have any advice, but I just want you to know that you are not alone and don’t let him define you. Your commitment lets me know that you are strong and beautiful. Thank you for stepping out and being totally transparent, because Leslie’s answer to you has helped me in my struggle that my husband too has made much progress from his past, but I too am numb and tired that I feel emotionally detached. Keep Strong and Know that God is there in your presence.

  28. Ruth on February 28, 2017 at 10:05 am

    I reread my post. I need to clarify something. When my husband found my private journal, he did read it or or at least part of it. But he wouldn’t face the ugliness my journal exposed. The Lord showed me already that he wasn’t ready to face truth. Because I had already posted on this website a week or two prior that if he could truly see how destructive he had become, then he would have a mini-mental breakdown and go back into denial. That’s exactly what happened.
    First, he blew up at me incredulous that I would have the audacity to be mad at him. He said, “we’re done!” Then, 12 hours later he gave me a twilight zone apology where he said, “i’m sorry for what I’ve done. I’ll try to be a better husband. Please don’t remind me of the terrible things I’ve done I can’t bear to think about it.”
    He abused me and HE can’t bear to think about it. Right there proves he wasn’t repentant if he can’t even look at the effect it had on me. And I’m not the type to beat people up over their mistakes and he knows it; on the other hand, HE is that person to the extreme.
    Then he wouldn’t give my journal back to me. He was a holocaust denier. He tried to destroy my personhood and then denied it ever happened. A couple of months passed. I cried out in righteous anger to the Lord. I prayed “Lord, help me get that journal back with his knowledge.” God answered my prayers. The Lord didn’t let that man burn my journal. It took me about a week to transcribe that journal into an online journal where my memories are safe.

    • Ruth on February 28, 2017 at 11:15 am

      oops. Typo. I meant to say Lord help me get that journal back WITHOUT his knowledge.

      • Nancy on February 28, 2017 at 5:36 pm

        Thank you, Ruth, for sharing. I thank God for your courage in writing this all down as well as for Robin, in her challenge of you.

        It sounds as though your in house separation has afforded you much clarity. I am so sorry to hear about your headaches. Migraines are horrible 🙁 A friend of mine suffers and I see how she becomes completely non functional.

        Aly, as usual, has fantastic questions that will likely help you in clarifying things further. I completely agree with her about the ‘poison comment’ from your h: that it seems ‘strange in a manipulative/ shaming kind of way’.

        I love what T.L. said about ‘no antidote needed’. Her assessment is spot on!

        Yes. Keep walking in the Light Ruth. One. Step. At. A. Time.

        I love what your Pastor’s wife said, Ruth God will make a safe place for you.

        I am praying for you dear Ruth. 💕

    • Connie on February 28, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      The journal thing is HUGE. Love and respect are required of God, as His children, that we need to have for others. Trust, however, is earned. I’ve always felt SO violated when I found out that h was reading my journals and otherwise snooping. Sure, he said he didn’t think it wrong. Well then he wouldn’t have been sneaky about it, right? Evil is done in the dark, in secret. I’ve never felt safe since I found that out, and I believe almost nothing he says to me anymore. And that he kept the journal? What sort of twisted thievery is that? The more I read here, the more I see how much ‘trauma bonding’ there is and how terrible it all is. And we keep trying to make sense of it. Why? That makes us as nutty as they are in some ways. I’m not being insulting and I’m talking to myself because I see myself in almost all the posts in some part of my life or another.

      I guess I’m just trying to say that ‘nice’ is highly overrated, that in the name of being ‘nice’ we just have given far far more than was ever required of us and hence have enabled far too much evil, making it worse than ever. These stories are just so heart-breaking. I pray that every one of them will be laid on the altar and used by God to take back ALL the ground that satan has been handed far too easily. Love you all so much.

      • Nancy on February 28, 2017 at 7:55 pm

        Connie,

        These are great points. Thanks for your clarity 🙂

    • JoAnn on February 28, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Ruth, it sounds like your h is a very angry man, and angry people are always looking for a relief valve; they are like pressure cookers, and any little event is an opportunity to blow off some of that angry energy. So, it tells me that he has some pretty deep issues that he has not dealt with. Even being delivered of some demonic oppression is not going to deal with the anger unless he recognizes it and opens to the Lord to remove it from his heart. It just makes room for more darkness. (Matt 12:43-45)
      Another thing I noticed from your story is that he sees sexual intercourse as strictly physical, whereas the Lord intended it to be an act of love between a man and wife. Hence, the difference between “having sex” and “making love.” How sad that is for both of you, and especially for you, to feel used like that. He doesn’t see that and may not ever realize it. How can he express love toward you when he is so full of anger? A person can keep a lid on anger only so long, then they have to explode. Be careful, dear sister, and keep yourself safe.

  29. Lori on February 28, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Rose,

    The Lord has laid you on my heart at different times throughout this past week and I want you to know I have been praying for you. I did wonder how the deadline was coming for you and have been asking God to guide you.

    Much love to you dear sister.

  30. Lori on February 28, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Aly,

    I want you to know I am sorry for responding to your post regarding your mothers neglect and abuse of you by telling my story. I think I could have empathised better with you without making it about my story.

    I also think that He is re-writing my story and wants to add the victory part, the praiseworthy part of it to the telling.

    I see that part in your telling and I praise God with you for his wonderful faithfulness in your story. It is so very evident that He is the Author and Perfecter of your faith.

    It is a privilege to be part of this community of women who are being re-claimed and redeemed for His Kingdom purposes.

    Much love to you dear sister. Prayers for you and all here today.

    • Aly on February 28, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      HI Lori,

      I so appreciated your response and what you can relate too.. having you validate does help with the false guilt at times given these messages.
      Also, I hope you got my response, I don’t always see if my reply posts.
      Anyway, just so appreciated your heart and understanding, I didn’t take it any other way that such care as these things are not easy for many to grasp the depth of the pain these wounds.
      I relay things back to my experience too so I hope not to come across at making it about myself either.

      It’s so healing to be in a place that is safe to share, thank you for your love and care during such difficult times!
      Hugs and prayers for your heart🙏

      • Lori on March 1, 2017 at 10:06 pm

        Aly, dear sister,

        Thank you for your gracious response and for the understanding you offer. I would so enjoy sitting over coffee with you and sharing more one on one.

        Seems we share so much in common.

        Blessings my friend. Prayers for you also.

        • Aly on March 2, 2017 at 8:59 am

          Hi Lori,

          I would enjoy coffee with you too! I do think there is so much healing and strength that comes from sharing our stories and common (yet not healthy) experiences and exposures to our souls. But God is all about restoring, I love that He doesn’t wait until Heaven to begin giving back what was taken and restoring what peace and comfort we can immerse ourselves in.
          We were never intended to do these journeys alone~ He is building His kingdom in profound ways💜

          Praying for your strength and peace today.

          ~hope this posts~ sounds like there might be some delays.

          • Lori on March 4, 2017 at 12:39 am

            Aly,

            I love this that you shared:

            “I do think there is so much healing and strength that comes from sharing our stories and common (yet not healthy) experiences and exposures to our souls. But God is all about restoring, I love that He doesn’t wait until Heaven to begin giving back what was taken and restoring what peace and comfort we can immerse ourselves in.
            We were never intended to do these journeys alone~ He is building His kingdom in profound ways💜”

            I so appreciate this encouragement from you that He isn’t waiting until Heaven to begin giving back what was taken and restoring peace and comfort to us.

            Thank you.

            Also, a while back you mentioned you were going to be sharing your testimony with some. Has that happened yet?



          • Aly on March 4, 2017 at 8:58 am

            Lori,

            How are you? I just saw your post here to me and I wanted to respond, I do hope it goes through. The reply Windows are doing different things.

            You asked if I was going to give my testimony. I’m praying about it… it’s been heavy on my heart, especially for the women in our church.
            My biggest struggle is that my mom shares her testimony in different settings and I really find myself praying that the fragile hearts or those in abusive dynamics in the audience won’t gain familiarity with her path and think that it’s doing ‘the right sacrificial thing’ to enable evil behavior or minimize these marital issues.
            I do believe there is a path and there are different levels of abusive dynamics that cause for different interventions.
            I know now what was modeled and taught by her to me…assisted in making (my part) my marriage destructive.
            ~ I got married young and I am not trying to come across as I blame her, I believe her modeling and twisted beliefs in scripture added to my cognitive dissonance. I take full responsibility for my own marriage now but can look back at those in my closest circles of influences and see where I struggled getting the healthy support and healthy boundaries needed for being in relationships with well very ‘superior’ inferior dynamics.
            The ones who are in the superior place never see a problem with the relationship and trying to adjust the health causes them to (usually react) if they are not secure in the first place.

            I feel like I have a lot to sort out when it comes to
            Sharing what God has done to bring healing and hope to my journey.

            I want to be obedient to share in that sort of venue..if I’m supposed to but in other settings I share freely to others my path (given they are safe)
            as that’s part of myself to be congruent in all settings as best as I can.
            Hope that answers;)
            Praying for you to feel His love today💖



          • Lori on March 4, 2017 at 1:16 pm

            Hi Aly,

            ” I struggled getting the healthy support and healthy boundaries needed for being in relationships with well very ‘superior’ inferior dynamics.”

            I bet you did. Seems to be the theme of so many here. Amazing to see how vast Satans kingdom has extended over “Christian” marriages. I sure hope we the church can equip ourselves in this battle to set the captives free and bring Gods Kingdom to the Christian marriage covenant.

            Seems if we are to turn this tide, it will take some fortitude, truth, standing and more standing before the whirlpool slows to calmer waters. Definitely feels like swimming against the force of darker doctrines and misused scriptures meant to keep the system in place without question. 🙁 So very grateful for this blog and Leslie’s work at equipping churches. I feel she and those who are working at this really need our prayers.

            And: “I feel like I have a lot to sort out when it comes to
            Sharing what God has done to bring healing and hope to my journey. I want to be obedient to share in that sort of venue..if I’m supposed to but in other settings I share freely to others my path (given they are safe).”

            Yes Aly, I agree. Safety is important in our sharing. Especially if the “superior” is in much support of the old order.

            I wonder if you have ever thought of starting a support group in your church? Like the one that is happening here online? I think you would be an excellent facilitator. I do think it would be essential to have the support of those in leadership in your church. (I am guessing that you would have already figured that out.) 🙂 I know I would go to a group facilitated by yourself. You have so much love, compassion, warmth, empathy and don’t seem to jump to judging. Your insights, experiences, willingness to be transparent about your life, love for God and the full counsel of His word would be so valuable to others. Seems you also have a strong desire to help others where you would have appreciated being helped.

            You asked how I was doing.
            My heart feels like a ship that is tossing on a tumultuos ocean. Although my anchor is in my Savior, the seas are tossing wildly about. I feel at times like a foreigner in a strange new world with very little knowledge of it’s topography. I often feel disoriented and confused as to my current setting, yet I feel a sense of hope in the midst of this upheavel. This sense of hope is tangible at times, yet it slips away just as quickly. I feel completely cast upon my Lord to calm my fears, guide my heart, steady my soul and secure my path. I question almost incessantly whether I am on the right path with my Lord. I have to delve deep in His Word for guidance and assurance. I have to carve out the space and time necessary to cleanse my heart and prepare it for His wonderful counsel. At times, I hear and see so clearly. Other times, I just don’t have the energy or ability to quiet myself enough to clear the table of my heart for a private session with Him. 🙁

            This I know: Whether I feel His presence with me or not. He is with me and faithful to complete that which He began in me. He is more committed to securing my holiness than I could ever even hope to be.

            That is what it is about for me Aly. Walking every new day in the beauty of His Holiness. I know so well that apart from Him, there is NO GOOD THING in me, and I am at peace with this knowledge of His PERFECT HOLINESS working its way through the dark places in my soul. Shine on dear Jesus. I don’t want any dark secrets of shame to block His Presence from access. He is wading through the toxic waste land of my soul and delivering me from it’s poison. He does a lot of heavy lifting, but he calls me to lift and discard as well. A beautiful picture of partnership with a Holy God committed to a fallen sinner. He does lift me up to His level and I am overwhelmed at how “with me” He is in my mess.

            Good company.

            In terms of tangibles, I am wondering what I can do for employment now that I have been out of the work force for some 30 years and am 57 years old. Looking at the possibility of finishing up a degree I started 40 years ago but never completed.

            You mentioned in one of your posts that you enjoyed my writing. Aly, when I was around 16, my father once asked me what I thought I wanted to do when I grew up. I hesitated to answer him as I was fearful of his reaction. It was clear to me instantly from my heart that I wanted to write. No hesitation in the knowing of the answer, but in the sharing. Share I did, and his answer crushed me. He said, “yeah, the time for dreams of rock star status need to come to an end sooner or later and you need to grow up and be realistic. How about a nurse? Besides, if you write your thoughts down, anyone can see them and you can never take them back.”

            So, off to the university I went to become a nurse. No. I have as little interest in being a nurse as I do a dump truck driver.

            I LOVE to write. It was my way of speaking my heart. I could dive down and explore my thoughts, fears, ideas and griefs….make friends with them, assure them I see them when no one else does or seems to want to. I could give them life outside of the dungeon they were forced into. It was my sanity to see my voice in words. Beautiful, terrifying, naked, dark, sad, confused and angry words. It was my way of mirroring to me my authentic self in a world that mirrored to me what they needed me to be: sweet, kind, gentle, unspeaking, compliant, unseeing, unhearing, manipulated, controlled, amicable….etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

            If I was courageous enough, I could find words to describe who I really was. I wrote a lot and kept it in journals. I spent a lot of time alone to have time to explore what I needed to.

            Perhaps it was threatening to my father, perhaps he was sincerely concerned that I have a stable career. Regardless of his motives, I think writing is what I am most passionate about in life.

            Your saying “not that you would ever want to write a book, but if you did I would buy it.” meant more to me than you can ever know. It is what I think I would like to do, but I hear my father’s voice as to it’s impossibilities. Maybe it is time to re-write the narrative I grew up hearing?

            Much love to you Aly as we seek to live our lives in the pursuance of His holiness.



          • Aly on March 5, 2017 at 9:46 am

            Good Morning Lori;)

            Hopefully, it’s morning.
            Wow, thank you for sharing and I do enjoy your writing and getting to know you more. I believe there is so much we can all learn and embrace from your journey, your bravery and the healing.

            You wrote:
            Maybe it is time to re-write the narrative I grew up hearing?

            I love this! It’s so essential in regards to the residuals of being in destructive relational dynamics. It’s such a blessing we get to rewrite here to others and ourselves. Other get to add in to encourage and offer truth in love~ especially when we are going through such dark places of confusion and healing from traumatic experiences and grief.

            You wrote:
            “we seek to live our lives in the pursuance of His holiness”

            Couldn’t agree with you more.. it is about His holiness and it always has been! I do think happiness gets twisted but happiness (true not of the world) comes from the by product of this pursuit.

            Wow! Your story about your writing is pivotal~ I am so sorry for what crushed your spirit and I Do think you have a special gift in writing. It makes sense why you might have to rewrite that message.

            You wrote:
            “For some of us here shine on dear Jesus. I don’t want any dark secrets of shame to block His Presence from access.”

            This is exactly what ‘shame’ is and does! It’s blocks the truth for our hearts. Shame is the ‘message of lies’ that once untangled we can be freed up to hear more truth to our hearts and how much we are Loved by Him!

            My h struggled so so much with these past shame messages that yes continued to (steal)
            the grace that was laying out a path of hope and healing in truth messages.

            Some of us here who have been reading the blog..,know more of your story (from other posts) know in our hearts you have a story (Part of His story) to share to those who care and listen/learn with love. So maybe as God is moving you through that He will use your message, one of hope and healing in so many ways. I’m thankful that I could be of any encouragement to your writing.

            You wrote:
            “A beautiful picture of partnership with a Holy God committed to a fallen sinner. He does lift me up to His level and I am overwhelmed at how “with me” He is in my mess.”

            I just love this;) how you articulated this given many of our similar experiences….because yes He is committed and He continues to reveal His beauty in partnership.
            I love that He makes the marriage convenant ‘a picture’ of His own love and how much we can embrace Him as Bridegroom!

            I’m sorry for what your earthly father said to you about writing and equating that to Rock star status? He is probably a fair bit older than I but still quite the leap~

            You wrote: meaning your father’s words..,
            “Besides, if you write your thoughts down, anyone can see them and you can never take them back.”

            I find this statement profound because I want to understand why he believes this and also given his counseling background ~ that’s puzzling to me.
            But more importantly I see a message that ‘words’ are powerful! Which I believe they are!
            Words have the power to hurt and or heal regardless if they are in writing or in verbal expressing. Writing shows the clarity in ways (not all because tone and body language are super important too in exchanging) but by clarity I mean it gives us an opportunity to analyze a belief or a thought.

            This is where (maybe you might agree) but much of our culture resist stopping long enough to critically think and or connect the mind, heart, soul and body.

            You wrote:
            “This sense of hope is tangible at times, yet it slips away just as quickly. I feel completely cast upon my Lord to calm my fears, guide my heart, steady my soul and secure my path. I question almost incessantly whether I am on the right path with my Lord. I have to delve deep in His Word for guidance and assurance. I have to carve out the space and time necessary to cleanse my heart and prepare it for His wonderful counsel.”

            I will continue to pray for your provisions as you are getting further healing away from h dynamic and finding more of ‘beautiful Lori’
            It will take time to discover her, hold her and the moments of grief you are experiencing from times where things feel clear and other times where you question is…i think quite reasonable given all you have through.
            In Proverbs.. it says that there is safety among a multitude of counsel.
            (Paraphrasing) a multitude where safety is comprehensive in ways.
            This is true and God wants nothing less that an abundance of healing for your heart and traumas you have been through. This takes special care in counseling and of course time. But I want to encourage you the questioning of your path… is normal given the traumas.

            Ill have to write via another post.. not sure this one will post via the length…

            I can understand your place of your tangibles and making decisions about school or work.
            I do want you to know that I am so so impressed by your ‘bravery’ to respond to your core value especially given your age and season of life~ this is a cultural belief. Truth is age a number….Many women I have been exposed to over the years have little desire or courage to live in reality of their harming marriage. The response is that they really are willing to tolerate anything regardless of the impact on others because they feel they are too old or don’t see a future..It’s their life and that’s ok, but we are all part of the problem and solution in ways as a Body of Christ in my opinion.

            Lori ~ I praise God for equipping you to be ‘Brave’ and He will continue to reward you as your earnestly seek His will!
            Holding your hand… and praying for the continued recovery He has for us all choosing fearlessly abundance!
            💟



  31. T.L. on February 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Dear Sisters,

    I have been reading along and praying for you (right now, especially Lori and Rose.) I don’t have the energy to write much, but so enjoy reading the beautiful ministry that takes place here on a daily basis.

    I’m struggling with low mood and energy. I had the difficult conversation with h. last week that I wrote about, then a difficult conversation with a friend (having nothing to do with the former.) It wasn’t that big of a deal, but my resilience is down. I have a place of deep grief I have not mentioned here, because it is huge and off topic. But these difficult conversations caused me to spiral down into the place grief.

    I know the Lord will lift my spirit again; He is ever faithful and so tender. But I just wanted to let you know and ask for your prayers.

    Love you all.

    • Aly on February 28, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      T.L.

      I will pray for you and what your going through. I’m sorry that the conversations and us sharing are effecting you in this way. I’m deeply sorry for my sharing.

      You are right about His faithfulness and I will ask the Lord to renew your spirit and your strength.
      We are in this process together and we know we can count on His truths for our hearts healing.
      I’m sending big hugs to you💗

      • T.L. on February 28, 2017 at 5:45 pm

        Oh Aly, no! You have misunderstood! Your sharing has not affected me in this way AT ALL! I love and am encouraged by all that you all share. My struggle comes from something entirely different. I just wanted to ask for prayer and tell you why I’m a little less active for now.

      • T.L. on February 28, 2017 at 5:47 pm

        Oh, I now see why the misunderstanding: the difficult conversations I referred to are the one with my husband and the one with a friend. They just made me sad, and that can trigger my deeper grief. It had nothing to do with the conversations here. I love this body ministry.

        • Aly on February 28, 2017 at 6:39 pm

          T.L.
          Thank you TL, and you most certainly don’t owe us any explanation for your space, we care for you and are in prayer for your heart!
          Thanks for clarifying anyways.
          I’m praying that you can feel God holding your heart.

    • Aleea on February 28, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      Re: “I have a place of deep grief I have not mentioned here, because it is huge and off topic. But these difficult conversations caused me to spiral down into the place grief.”

      T.L.,
      I’m so, so sorry to hear that, as well as the low mood and energy. I’m praying for you and I’ll have the prayer group I’m part of pray for you too.

      . . . T.L. life is suffering for sure. We all want to do something to mitigate the pain of loss or to turn grief into something positive, to find a silver lining in the Lord. ―We do/ God does. . . but I really believe there is real value in just standing there, being still, being really sad. That’s the really hard thing about grief, ―the grieving. For me, it’s another language, and, at least for me, the words I know always fall so short of what I wanted them to say. “Blessed are they that mourn. . .” ―Eventually, but it is so different in reality. ―Give sorrow words. I know from my past and now in counseling that the grief that does not speak locks down my heart until it just breaks.

    • JoAnn on February 28, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      Dear T.L,
      I am sorry that today you are feeling low, And it’s good that you realize that it will lift. I am encouraged that you know where it takes you, to that deep place of grief. Have you had the experience of, when you are in that place, inviting the Lord to come and be in there with you? I have done that when I find myself in a dark place, and it helps. Sometimes He even speaks a comforting word when we are there together. I have found that, rather than try to avoid that darkness or distract myself, it is better to let myself go, to bawl my eyes out, and invite Him to come in. He brings in healing light. Dear T.L., your presence here is such a help to all of us. Be encouraged.

  32. T.L. on February 28, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Aleea,

    That is so kind of you to pray for me; thank you so much, Aleea. Thank you for your empathy and understanding words. Don’t worry, I sit with my grief when it comes; it is like a work of the soul. And I speak my sorrow, too. I just haven’t here, as it is mostly a separate topic.

    Thank you again, Aleea. So sweet.

    • Aleea on March 1, 2017 at 4:21 am

      “And I speak my sorrow, too. I just haven’t here, as it is mostly a separate topic.” . . .Well, one of the most important things we can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone. There is a really deep sense in which we are all ghost towns, regardless of the amount of counseling and therapy one has had or even if they are a counselor/therapist. I sure see it with my therapist but it took me like a year to really understand it. ―We are all haunted houses, piles of unfinished business. As everyone here knows, that presence haunts us until we make our peace with the grief and let it go. Only maybe to pick it up again and then let it go, ―again. . . .I know I tend to spend a great deal of energy in attempting to avoid the truth. I construct an image of myself that seeks to shield me from a confrontation with my ghosts. Hence, I encounter them only late at night or in the corridors of my dreams, ―also while praying. . . .We can’t truly heal from a loss until we allow ourselves to really FEEL the loss, ―deeply. I know everyone here knows that. . . .But all these tears shed for others are not signs of weakness. They are a signs of pure hearts.

  33. Nancy on February 28, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Aleea, your empathy is just lovely

    T.L., praying for your beautiful heart, sister

  34. JoAnn on February 28, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Aleea, what a lovely experience and what a lovely way to share it with us. the universe is a wonderful place. I had a similar experience out in west Texas on top of a mountain, where it seemed like we could reach out and touch the stars. It gives one a sense of being close to God.

    • Aleea on March 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      JoAnn,
      Thank you so much and I apologize for not seeing your comment sooner. JoAnn, it just makes me so sad that we can’t enjoy each other more (—women, —men, —kids) and what God has given us re: your experience out in west Texas on top of a mountain. . . . .I used to live in West Bay in the Cayman Islands. Pretty nearly every single night I would walk seven mile beach and pray the whole way. Unbelievable stars, chain-lightening out past the reefs in the summer, those little crystal clear waves lapping up on that white beach. It does bring one closer to God and cleans all that junk out of our hearts. . . . .JoAnn, the thing that always, totally floors me is how a man could not comprehend what marvelous responders women are when they get an environment of sincere, ongoing affection, caring, protection, nurture, thoughtfulness. . . ―Everything just blossoms.

  35. Connie on February 28, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    There has been some talk about depression and medication here. I am not against meds when necessary, but here’s my story about that:

    Antidepressants just made me sick, so in my case that was not the answer. I did take Clonazapan for a while for the terrible panic/anxiety, then tapered off it.

    Taking thyroid medication helped a lot, but you have to know what the numbers really mean because a lot of docs have far too big of a normal range. Try an integrative medical doc maybe.

    Taking lots of folic acid…..for a time up to 7 per day….helped me and my daughter a lot. I’m down to 2 now. Also calcium and magnesium. The magnesium powder gave me the runs so I make a magnesium skin butter……you can find recipes online. Remember that years of stress can cause your intestines to shrivel and you end up with malabsorbtion syndrome, so I needed lots of supplements for a time. Also high probiotics.

    Once I was in menopause I was prescribed bio-identical hormone cremes (forget the regular horse-pee ones, they made me crazy) that have been a life-line. Like I said, years and years of stress wears a person down, hormones and all.

    5HTP was really helpful for a time as well. I went about 15 years not sleeping more than 1-3 hours out of 24 and I was in bad shape!!!!

    Last, but surely not least, separating from my h was amazingly helpful, people noticed how much better I was immediately, but it has still been a long haul with my health……that was 20 years ago. Hope this helps a little for someone.

    • JoAnn on February 28, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Connie, I am so glad that you mentioned your experience with not-drug approaches to healing. Even though I wrote some information about various anti-depressants, for myself, St. Johns Wort was what lifted my depression. I have much more energy now and feel better. The cloud is gone. The good thing about SJW is that you will know fairly soon, in a few days, if it’s going to help you. The bad thing is that it doesn’t do much for severe depression, although you can experiment with various doses to see if a different dose will work. However, much of what’s wrong with us, both physically and emotionally, leading to spiritual problems, is biological. It sounds like you took a good approach and I’m so glad that it helped you.

  36. Robin on March 1, 2017 at 12:01 am

    Today, after waiting 20 months since my divorce and court ordered payments be released, I received a large back payment that was quite significant plus- monthly payments begin on my ex’s Retirement Pension be split so I have income for the rest of my life. He is a sociopath/narcissist with about 7 other disorders, and he fought me tooth and nail to do whatever he could to rob me, from what was due me. I just wanted to share a quick word to those who have heard how tough it is for a victim of abuse to come out on top in the court system. I completely believe the Lord protected me and fought for me every step of the way, and I am so grateful for His Provision, strength, and leading me thru what felt like a never ending struggle.
    My heart is so relieved and so in love with Jesus as being such a good husband.

    • JoAnn on March 1, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Hallelujah!!! Praise the Lord! Time for a vacation??? Reward yourself, Robin. You fought long and hard.

    • Ruth on March 1, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Robin,
      I’m so happy for you. You are an inspiration for so many of us! 💜

    • Brave Rabbit on March 1, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Thank you for sharing. You deliver hope and encouragement!

      Yes, celebrate and do something special for yourself! 😊

    • T.L. on March 1, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      Praising God with you, dear Robin! Soooo happy for this positive outcome of provision for you.

    • Lori on March 1, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      Robin,

      I have thought of you often over the past week. Rejoicing with you about your news! I am so grateful our God has been so very good to you!

      Thank you for sharing this news with all of us here.

  37. Nancy on March 1, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Robin!l

    I am rejoicing with you🎶

    Our God is an awesome God. Your story is a testament to His provision on every level. What a blessing Robin. Makes me think, “He will restore the years that the locusts have eaten”

    Father. Thank you! thank you for Robin’s witness to Your provision, healing and love. Thank you for Your protection of her heart, mind, spirit and body Lord. May it be ALL for Your Glory.

    Amen.❤️

    • JoAnn on March 1, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Amen to your prayer, Nancy.

  38. T.L. on March 1, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Hello Dear Sisters,

    I am so behind on keeping up with responding here, but not behind with reading and lifting you all up to the Lord. I do confess it is often with weak, feeble prayers, but in the past year I have come to the freeing realization that the power is not in my ability to pray but in the One who answers the prayers…and He hears every feeble one.

    I had another “logistical” meeting with my h. today. It wasn’t encouraging to see where he is at. We may as well speak 2 different languages, as we seem to live in alternate realities. But it is information I need to see to walk wisely.

    I have avoided mentioning this because it is such a huge wound…one that has nothing to do with the forum here. But I so love you all, and feel so loved and supported, and it seems stupid to keep making cloaked references, so let me just tell you; about a year and 1/2 ago, our darling 24-year-old daughter died in a horrible car accident. She was beautiful, bright, in love with the Lord; headed for grad school, “promising future.” She was also one of my closest, dearest friends on this earth. I miss her terribly. The Lord has been near and dear through it all. He has proven himself faithful. He has comforted me and “been there” for me. He has brought me through the valley of the shadow of death with a deeper, richer, surer, certain hope in Him and in His “great and precious promises.” I know I only have need of patience, for one day I will see my girl once again. But it doesn’t stop me from heavy waves of sadness that come, sometimes out of nowhere.

    The waves of overwhelming grief are further and fewer between now, a year and 1/2 later. But they do still hit. Last week when I had that hard talk with h., I felt such sadness and grief again at the loss of the dream of a healthy marriage….and that grief plunged me into the place of grief over my girl. And then a sort of a depression, a heavy blanket of sadness came, that I couldn’t shake for a week. I am still recovering, but I do think I am on the way back up from under the wave.

    I have a lot of support; incredible support in my loss, from amazing friends. I am honestly not looking to you all for that. I just thought you should know that big, huge, significant loss that I bear and that colors my world. And it is a lot, to be going through that and the “loss” of the marriage…the dream of a marriage, anyway. It would be so nice if we could be there for each other. But the Lord is my dear husband, father, friend. He is everything to me. I’m so grateful to know Him and have His comforting presence.

    Love you all.

    • Lori on March 1, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      TL, dear TL,

      I am also behind on posting, and just barely keeping up on reading the posts here. Haven’t had any energy to post. Just sat down tonight to see how my sisters are doing and saw your post regarding your beautiful, precious daughter.

      I cannot fathom the grief your heart is bearing regarding this.

      You shared this with me a couple of days ago:

      “Lori, I just want to say that my heart is aching for yours, and I am praying for you–I know that Jesus sits with you in your grief, feeling all that you feel, for “He daily bears our burdens,” and is “a man of sorrows, well-acquainted with grief”. And we bear your burden too, dear Lori. We weep with you.”

      Oh TL, now I understand how you can minister to others with the compassion you have been ministered with.

      TL, we weep with you dear sister.

      Lifting you in prayer and hugging you tenderly from here. I do wish I could be really present for you in person. Praying the Lord continue to hold you so so very close.

      So much love to you TL. I will carry you in my heart.

      • T.L. on March 2, 2017 at 8:39 pm

        Dear Lori, Aly, JoAnne, Nancy, Ruth, Brave Rabbit, et.al., thank you all for your kind expressions of compassion. I appreciate you all so much.

        Praying for all of you, my dear, courageous sisters. Xoxo

        • Lori on March 4, 2017 at 1:03 am

          TL,

          Thinking of you often and praying the Lord comfort you as only He can.

          Much Love to you.

    • JoAnn on March 1, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      Dear T.L., We all can offer our deepest sympathy and loving concern, but only our Lord can heal that kind of pain. As you said, it would be so nice if you could be there for each other, but now your marriage is dying, too. That’s a lot to deal with. Grief is so very personal, and no two people go through it the same way. Just know that it will heal and become a memory, but it takes time, and His presence becomes more precious as time goes on. I’m not going to make this about me, but we had a similar experience about ten years ago, so I can fully identify with what you are going through. He will comfort you. He is the great Comforter.

    • Aly on March 1, 2017 at 10:33 pm

      T.L.,

      I wish I could hug you and sit with you in this. I feel the same as Nancy with any words but felt the need to respond.

      I’m so deeply sorry for your loss and can’t possibly imagine but I see and read God’s heart in your presence here!
      Oh TL, I will be praying for your heart and the healing work of the Lord.
      Love to you 💜🌅

    • Ruth on March 1, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      Oh TL, I knew there was a deep and heavy grief in words. Oh, how you must miss her. Dear wonderful mother and woman of God. I love you. My heart aches for you.

  39. Ruth on March 1, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    I’ve tried numerous times to share a lengthy post. When I hit the “Post Comment”, it just disappears. It doesn’t say: “Your comment is Under Moderation.”
    Maybe I’ve been flagged as ‘crazy woman’ LOL. Or maybe we’re having technical difficulties again?

    • JoAnn on March 1, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      Ruth, some of my posts haven’t shown up, either. No. you are not “crazy.”

  40. Nancy on March 1, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing your deep, deep grief with us, T.L.

    Your precious daughter.

    Words seem so inadequate so I am lifting you up to our Lord in silent prayer. For comfort, Lord, please comfort my friend T.L.

    Love you too.

    • Brave Rabbit on March 2, 2017 at 12:02 am

      Dear L.T.

      I can echo what everyone has already said. My heart hurts for your painful loss. I pray for you and imagine my warm hug and love I send your way.
      🌷🌸💞💜

  41. Ruth on March 2, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Part 1
    [Since I can’t seem to get a long comment to post I’m gonna try to break this comment up into parts]

    Here are my thoughts on my husband’s statement: “God told me Ruth has been poisoned.” :

    At first, I was skeptical.
    My husband has a tendency when I’ve been ‘out of line’ to correct me with some spiritual threat. So I mostly disregard his ominous warnings. Plus, I told him stop speaking to me from God. I can listen to God for myself. I know this sounds ridiculous but he’s actually making progress in this area. He’s caught himself the last couple times recognizing ‘hey, I shouldn’t have said that.’
    But when he said “you’ve been poisoned” and he never backed up on it, I really gave it prayerful consideration. One reason was bc I thought it might be related to my chronic migraines; like God was trying to warn me about a medicine trigger or food allergy/intolerance – Yes, that’s flaky, but chronic pain will drive you do desperate things. Also, I was fearful of the times that my husband had said: “I am binding judgment on you”. I had this nagging fear my migraines were a result of his words against me. Now in hindsight, I don’t think this had anything to do with my migraines.

    • T.L. on March 2, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Ruth, isn’t it interesting that your husband “uses” faith/religion as a weapon against you? It reminds me very much of “Simon the Sorcerer” who was just after the power he saw to use it for himself.

      Jesus came to love us, bless us, sacrifice for us, lay His life down for us. Does it sound to you as if your husband is truly a Christ follower? Or even truly knows Him? He does not bear the marks.

      Do not be afraid of his “bindings” his “words of knowledge” etc. The source is his selfish imagination or worse, not God. And greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. I pray you will take courage and stand strong and step away from his ungodly influence.

  42. Ruth on March 2, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I am trying to leave part two of my post, but when I hit post comment it disappears

  43. Ruth on March 2, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Part 2
    After much prayer, Here’s what I heard from in my heart:
    yes. you’ve been poisoned.😔
    But you didn’t get poisoned by reading Lundy Bancraft books or Leslie Vernick books. You didn’t get poisoned by reading on this website. Your husband is stirred up by you reading as what he perceives as feminist propaganda where you’re finding your voice and where you’re finding freedom from the chains of controlling bondage sold as a package called “good Christian wifely submission”; yes, you have been poisoned, you’ve been called a Jezebel. You’ve been poisoned by exposure to his toxic pride and negativity. 😞

    • T.L. on March 2, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      Yes, Ruth! And now you are taking the antidote and getting healthy! Praise God!

    • Connie on March 2, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      At the school, we were shown a picture of a heart with cuts and bandaids all over it. The next picture was another heart with a dove (Holy Spirit) hovering over it, the cross beneath, and lips on the healed heart, “Because a healed heart has a voice”. I was so touched by those paintings! I keep thinking about that, “A healed heart has a voice”.

      • Connie on March 2, 2017 at 10:26 pm

        I wish I could give each woman on here a copy of that picture.

      • JoAnn on March 3, 2017 at 12:08 am

        I like that, Connie. Thanks for sharing: A healed heart has a voice. Amen!!

    • JoAnn on March 3, 2017 at 12:06 am

      Wow, Ruth, that’s a pretty powerful “message” and insight that seems right on to me. There are a lot of ideas floating around out there, but as we spend time in the word of God and learn His truth, we learn to discern what is truth and hence, life-giving, and what is “poison.” The true antidote is the word of God. Praise Him!

  44. Nancy on March 3, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Connie,

    ” A healed heart has a voice ” wow. I have been trying to find my voice for a couple of years now. Sometimes I feel that I never will. There is such HOPE in this statement 🙂

  45. Nancy on March 3, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Hello Sisters,

    Am having a very hard morning. I went for a session on Tuesday and the psychologist asked me if I thought my husband was negative ( after my husband talked about how he gets very critical when he’s under pressure). “Nancy, do you think that overall he’s a negative person?” I couldn’t answer this question. It was so hard. Like standing in a fog. In the end I said yes, I think he’s pretty negative. It so distresses me that I can’t see my husband clearly and that .i have to work that hard.

    It bothers me so much. And I’m just so anxious this morning, to the point of nausea. I can’t eat anything. I think that anxiety has been the driver of my life. I think I might be a pleaser, Aly. But I can’t believe this because for so long I was told that I was controlling. And the anger of the vacillator reasonnates deeply too. Anyways, I don’t want to figure this out, I just need to feel.

    Another question he asked me was what was my anger about in a specific situation. I couldn’t say. That’s my homework this week, to think about not what triggered me, but what the pool of anger that got triggered, was. I think it’s anger that is protecting a very deep terror. I can’t find another word on my soul words feeling list that describes my feeling better than terror. Terrified. ( pools of tears now). I do have an enormous amount of anger, but it’s protective, I think. Protective of a terrified little girl that is defending against violation. Violation of who she is at her core.

    I’ve spent the last year ‘listening to my anger’ so that when I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach, I walk away, or stop the conversation. And have found that yes, there is A LOT of anger there. But now I’m wondering if it’s actually terror of being trespassed upon.

    One thing that terrifies me is being made a scapegoat. This fear came out two sessions ago. I sobbed like I hadn’t since I was a little girl. I have a tool now to guard that little girl, here it is. When I feel that fear I say, “I’m afraid I’m about to be scapegoated” and we continue. We don’t analyze it, we don’t try to fix it. The 3 Rd time I said this my h asked, “should we talk about this?” “No” I said “let’s move on”. That was so freeing. I could speak my fear without having blame assigned anywhere. This is very new for me. I always feel as though someone had to own it and if the other person doesn’t then I have to pick it up. What freedom to just be allowed to feel!

    I have a reading to do at women’s world day of prayer this afternoon. I don’t know anyone who is going and it’s at another church ( ecumenical service). Before I started writing this I didn’t know how I would make it there. But just this- writing my experience to loving, listening ears, has lightened the burden.

    I don’t know if I can eat yet. But now I can go and take a shower.

    • T.L. on March 3, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Dear Nancy,

      You mentioned recently that you haven’t found your voice…I just st want you to know I hear your voice, I love your voice, and it’s a good and valuable voice! I am sorry you are having a hard morning. I praying for you.

      When we don’t even understand ourselves, and can’t identify what we need, isn’t it comforting to remember that there is One who does? I am so glad you know Him so very well. This song is a good reminder for me; I pray it will be one of the things used to strengthen you.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=woChDvIXRH0

      • Nancy on March 3, 2017 at 12:02 pm

        Thank you T.L.,

        I had never heard this one. Yes, it is such great comfort when I’m feeling overwhelmed and confused,not know that He knows me so intimately. And that He will reveal to me what I need to know in His time ❤️

        • Nancy on March 3, 2017 at 12:03 pm

          “…confused, to know that He knows me so intimately.”

    • Aly on March 3, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Nancy,

      I’m so sorry your having a difficult morning, I will pray for your heart! 💕
      I certainly can relate to your comments and I think it can be helpful to allow yourself the permission to feel~ this doesn’t mean let your feelings decide your choices/ behaviors. It just means that in the event you find yourself discovering old and new feelings you might begin to get more comfortable exploring them. It takes time and ‘a lot of safety’ to sort them through. If you were the (negative feeling holder/ scapegoat) growing up in your family of origin this will be hard at first to get to those primary feelings, but your faith is bigger than your fear or any fearful feelings! I know that from your writings;) 🌸
      Allowing ‘Nancy’ to feel and deal so to speak will be new and you don’t have to figure it all out. You might not have been given that freedom in most of your pivotal primary relationships…such as mom, dad, husband, siblings. Be patient with yourself and remember the things that do bring peace to your Heart💗
      Him ~ He is our comforter and our purpose, and yes He is a deep feeler too! Think of Mary at His feet in worship and presence.

      I do believe that given any relationship dynamic ~ we are not just one attachment style, sometimes we find ourselves in a few ‘styles’ and that’s common.
      My h~ ‘was’ but still Continues to work on not being the (pleaser) to our children and his work environment.
      To me he ‘was’ the Avoidant/controller. I was the pleaser to him. As I was growing out of my pleaser role.. yes this changes the apple cart as you have mentioned in past posts. It usually changes the apple cart in many relational dynamics that are not mutually respected overall.
      I hope that helps.

      You wrote:
      “Nancy, do you think that overall he’s a negative person?” I couldn’t answer this question. It was so hard. Like standing in a fog. In the end I said yes, I think he’s pretty negative. It so distresses me that I can’t see my husband clearly and that .i have to work that hard.”

      I’m sorry your feeling the distress and yes this can be hard to feel as you are working hard to see clearly. Sometimes the tears and messages need to come to the surface to sort through.
      I’m not sure if this will help… but it helped me in my dynamic.
      A negative person … as some might say, can be pretty hard to be around at times especially if they don’t do well with problem solving or have limited coping tools. I like to think of them as more A person that ‘reacts’ negatively. This helped me keep the space I needed to keep my heart soft (in a pocket) as I walked through this process.

      I can relate to my h having to do lots of work here regarding the negative aspect.. he began to see his first quick (reaction) was not a response, it was that a reaction. Sometimes we have had to laugh at the QuickDraw! Or the quick reaction to that quick protection. I mean it was done with no thought process or little seeking clarity. He grew up as surviving of ‘self’ ~ self was primary. So that makes me (the enemy)?
      This I had to get very objective about in order to function daily~ my counselor helps a lot with this because (guess what the scapegoat/truth teller.. is always the enemy in these systems.
      Sorry I digress.,

      So he (my h) had little space to feel an allow myself to have my own feelings.. especially if they were opposite and or unpleasant (like hurt, sad, fear, uneasy) you get the idea.

      I do hope I can offer comfort here for your feelings, praying that today you will rest in Him!
      Hugs from far away!

    • ruth on March 3, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Nancy, I am praying for you to have comforted in the warmth of the God’s love. I can sense He is holding you on His lap. You are so special to Him. He loves your tender heart – because it is like your big brother’s Jesus.
      Jesus was the scapegoat – He knows what’s that’s like on a grand scale. He wants to take all that away from you.
      I wish it was “Poof!” magic wand instantaneous experience. It doesn’t seem to work out like that for most of us, but I know we can trust Him.

      • Nancy on March 3, 2017 at 3:21 pm

        Oh Ruth! Thank you for reminding me that Jesus knows what being a scapegoat feels like.

        I kept telling myself that Jesus is the scapegoat so I have to stop allowing it ( beating myself up for the sin of it- trying to be Him). But I never thought of how He can relate to how I feel. And that “He knows what that’s like on a grand scale.” Wow. Thank you.

        I looked for a magic wand emoji to put here! That made me laugh. No ‘poof’ happening today, but yes I can trust that He’ll walk with me through the valley.

    • Lori on March 4, 2017 at 1:02 am

      Nancy,

      Praying for you dear sister.

      • Nancy on March 4, 2017 at 7:35 am

        The fear is back this morning. I feel like a rat in a cage trembling in the corner with a snake watching my every move. I’m not in any kind of physical danger. It’s all under the surface but he is seething right now that I said no to praying together right now. I told him, later. He can’t stand to see me tapping away on my iPad, not knowing who I’m talking to.

        He can’t stand the boundaries, but won’t say it out loud. He’ll just act like a victim now, and be super caramel sweet to the girls and later, to me. Ickkkkkk.

        Thank you for praying Lori, and sisters. I feel your prayers and am strengthened. Time to read Psalm 91.

        Lori, your post last night on to the ‘what if he changes’ blog, took my breath away.

        • T.L. on March 4, 2017 at 7:48 am

          Dear Nancy,

          I AM PRAYING FOR YOU!!!

          Greater is he who is in you…the fear is a big fat lie from the pit. If/when I have been oppressed with it I say out loud, “No! God has not given me a spirit of fear! But of power, and love, and a sound mind!” As many times as the fear comes, I meet it with that powerful word.

          Are you able to get out of the house for awhile? Getting away from the oppression in your home can help. Being constantly in the presence with one who manipulates and plays the victim is destructive and oppressive. Do you have any other options, currently?

          • Nancy on March 4, 2017 at 8:00 am

            Yes. I’m going to go and do my excercises, then take a shower. Connect with my body.

            During that time I’ll pray about what The Lord would have me do today. There is nothing planned and I do need some structure.

            God HAS given me a Spirit of POWER, and LOVE and SOUND MIND. ♥️

            This morning I listened to the new song you gave me ( I call it the psalm 139 song- can’t remember the name) when I was so full of fear, The Lord’s quiet assurance came through loud and clear.

            God is so good. How is it possible that He uses women from all over the world to strengthen one another in times of great need?

            He is mighty to save



        • T.L. on March 4, 2017 at 7:48 am

          Dear Nancy,

          I AM PRAYING FOR YOU!!!

          Greater is he who is in you…the fear is a big fat lie from the pit. If/when I have been oppressed with it I say out loud, “No! God has not given me a spirit of fear! But of power, and love, and a sound mind!” As many times as the fear comes, I meet it with that powerful word.

          Are you able to get out of the house for awhile? Getting away from the oppression in your home can help. Being constantly in the presence with one who manipulates and plays the victim is destructive and oppressive. Do you have any other options, currently?

          Love and prayers.

        • Aly on March 4, 2017 at 10:26 am

          Nancy,

          I’m sorry for your fear this am and have been keeping you in prayer. Getting alone even if it’s a long walk … for some time is helpful to find space for your feelings.
          I’m not sure if I have missed other previous posts because I was unclear of the following.
          You wrote:
          “I’m not in any kind of physical danger. It’s all under the surface but he is seething right now that I said no to praying together right now. I told him, later. He can’t stand to see me tapping away on my iPad, not knowing who I’m talking to.”

          You most definitely don’t have to clarify but I’m assuming you said ‘no’ to prayer because he was drawing close ‘maybe misusing prayer to feel better for him’ but without resolving an incident. I could be wrong and I’m assuming because I do see you as such a strong prayer warrior for your family &sisters here!

          Here is precious verse that I hope encourages you to embrace so much of love the father has for our hearts and your healing;) especially when fear and exhaustion try to deplete us and His promises.

          “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men strumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

          Isaiah 40:28-31

          I’m sending my virtual hugs to you all precious sisters in Christ ~ of great strength🌷

          • Nancy on March 4, 2017 at 11:39 am

            Hi Aly,

            Yes, drawing close by misusing prayer. I said no.

            Thank you for the encouraging verse 🙂



        • Lori on March 4, 2017 at 11:55 am

          Nancy,

          Thanks for keeping it real dear sister.

          Saturdays were the worst for my h and I. Without any planned activities, we often fell or got sucked into a very dark place of “relating”. It sometimes started in the a.m. and went on into the evenings.

          Saying that to say I worked very hard to make a “to-do” list for h to do to keep him busy. It felt so controlling at the time and I see that I was only hoping not to have his presence inside the house. Now I look back and say there must be a different way.

          I feel your trembling from way over here Nancy and it is such a place of stress and adrenal overload. It is a red light flashing on your dash dear sister. Danger. Danger.

          Your h reaction to your “no” to his prayer request is quite telling in my opinion. It appears to me that h feels entitled to a yes if it is for the good thing of “prayer”. God Himself has boundaries as to whether He will hear our prayers. He hears some and closes his ears to others. That your h was furious about your “no” tells me he is also not submitting to God. When did God ever FORCE someone to pray?

          Your h behavior is very concerning and I would be trembling also. Good that you see his manipulation with regard to his being carmely sweet to the girls and later to you…iccckkkk. I am guessing if you confronted him regarding this Jekyl/Hyde behavior you would see more of his negative behavior patterns come to light in a hurry.
          I wonder if you can even begin to predict these behaviors?

          It is very reminiscent of the patterns of my marriage.

          For me, weekends needed to have a HUGE amount of structure/planning in order to not fall into the patterns. However, even the best made plans were not full proof.

          I am praying the Lord guide you in His wisdom as to how you can take care of yourself and have good boundaries so you don’t continue to be put in this situation where you are a caged mouse with the snake watching your every move. What a terrifying position to be in.

          Nancy, has the Lord spoken anything to you regarding separation of any kind?

          • Nancy on March 4, 2017 at 2:08 pm

            Hi Lori,

            Thank you for your concern and your question.

            Through crying out here, excercise, prayer and worship ( awesome music thanks T.L) I was enabled to appropriate His Peace 🌷

            Yes, I separated from my h last April 1 (no joke;) Went out to dinner, delivered a speech and then a letter ( re-iterating the speech).

            It was an in-house separation, following Leslie’s book ( EDM). After 8 months, in December, I decided I would go into couples counselling. We have been to 4 sessions now. I am confident in The Lord’s provision as we walk through this together.

            As safety increases my fear is coming to the surface. My feelings are VERY strong lately and I am learning how to manage them ( a lifetime of denying my own negative feelings and taking on my loved ones negative feelings)

            I wouldn’t be doing any of this if I wasn’t confident of The Lord’s hand on my h’s heart. There are very deep seated strongholds (ie). disregard for my ‘no’) but He is providing for me and encouraging me to stand firm in Him ( one big provision is all your prayers and encouragement!).

            My fears are HUGE…the other day I could find no other word on my feelings list except terror. But I have to recognize that these are fears that originated LONG before I met my h (absolutely compounded and grown by our destructive dance).

            Once I sense that my h has gone before The Lord, I will pray with him.

            Again Lori, I wouldn’t be doing this work alongside my h if I weren’t confident in the signs I’ve had along the way.

            Thank you for your concern and your encouragement to continue seeking The Lord ❤️



          • Lori on March 4, 2017 at 3:32 pm

            Nancy,

            You wrote: “I wouldn’t be doing this work alongside my h if I weren’t confident in the signs I’ve had along the way.”

            I am so happy to hear you are walking closely with the Lords work in your life and marriage. I hope my questions didn’t cause you to doubt the Lords leading. I am aware that my own reaction to feeling like a rat in a cage with a snake watching my every move causes me to go into the mouse hole and hide away, or fight.

            I respect and admire how you are walking it through and finding out more about your own defense mechanisms in the process.

            I also hope you don’t need to explain your decisions to me, I don’t know what your situation is, or how the Lord would guide.

            Glad to know you are asking Him.

            Blessings Nancy.



          • Nancy on March 4, 2017 at 5:24 pm

            No, Lori your question didn’t cause me to doubt The Lord’s leading. It gave me the opportunity to re-visit my journey.

            Thank you for caring, and asking 🙂



  46. Nancy on March 3, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Aly,

    Yes it is very hard to get to my primary feelings. I never know which are mine or another’s. As safety grows, I now at least have the space to explore my feelings. Thanks for pointing out that my faith is bigger than my fear of my fearful feelings!

    Mary at Jesus feet is my favourite display of intimate and ‘who-cares-what-others-think’ worship. I love that passage.

    It is helpful to think of the attachment styles as being more fluid. I thought “if he’s the pleaser then I can’t be that, I must be one of the others.” We do change depending on who we’re interacting with.

    The psychologist talked to him about not being able to give away something we don’t possess. We can’t love our neighbour as ourselves, if we don’t have love in our hearts to begin with ( by Loving God first). He gave us the image of toothpaste tube, “what comes out when you squeeze it?” Toothpaste. Wether you squeeze it hard of soft, that’s what comes out. So wether my h is under pressure or not, it’s still toothpaste. ( we got here because my h admitted how hard he is on himself. And admitted how hard he can be on the girls. The psychologist asked him if he ever had moments where he thinks ,” wow. I did a great job. I couldn’t have done that any better!” No – my husband responds. Then he gave the example of not being able to give away something you don’t have – the toothpaste. Oh and then said, before turning back to me, “there are things you can do to change that if you would like. And left it with my h. Brilliant.)

    Thanks for your insight Aly. Very helpful.

    • T.L. on March 7, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Nancy, just wanted to say that it’s really great to get to see the hard, good work you and your husband are digging in and doing in counseling. It sounds like you found a wise and skilled counselor (yayy!) and it sounds like you are both growing! Sometimes growth feels good, and sometimes it feels scary and bad…but is still good. I pray for grace and patience for you both! Bravo!

  47. Leslie Vernick on March 4, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    So true. Sounds like a lively place where you used to live.

  48. Lori on March 5, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Aly,

    You shared:
    “He is committed and He continues to reveal His beauty in partnership.”

    Profound and beautiful truth. He never forces us to partner with Him, but His invitation is undeniably magnetic.

    And:
    “I will continue to pray for your provisions as you are getting further healing away from h dynamic and finding more of ‘beautiful Lori’”.

    It is so very foreign to me to think of myself in this manner and it takes my breath away to be described this way. I do see the need for rewriting the narrative in this place.

    And:
    “It will take time to discover her, hold her and the moments of grief you are experiencing from times where things feel clear and other times where you question is…i think quite reasonable given all you have through.”

    All I have been through is what I normalized and it is definitely an adjustment to not be constantly on guard, or in a toxic environment. This new normal is bound to take some getting used to. Especially the tears that seem to have a life of their own. Scary.

    And:
    “I want to encourage you the questioning of your path… is normal given the traumas.”

    Thank you Aly. It is encouraging to think it is normal to question the path I am on. It is so very unfamiliar.

    And finally:
    “Lori ~ I praise God for equipping you to be ‘Brave’ and He will continue to reward you as your earnestly seek His will!
    Holding your hand… and praying for the continued recovery He has for us all choosing fearlessly abundance!”

    Like TL shared, you have a beautiful shepherdess heart Aly. Quite remarkable given the relationship lack/enmity you experience with your mother.

    You seem to have determined to know and rightly apply scripture to help the body of Christ flourish and be guided into freedom, healing and truth.

    Bravo dear sister! Overcoming evil with good. Praise God for His faithfulness in providing for you and polishing his precious diamond Aly.

    • JoAnn on March 6, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      What a beautiful interaction between the two of you, Lori and Aly. It reveals that underneath all the pain and hurt you have experienced are beautiful hearts full of love and compassion. Lori, take time to get to know yourself, the person that the Lord created you to be, without all the trauma and trouble you have been living with for so long. A healed heart is a happy and peaceful heart, and our Precious Lord Jesus is the Great Physician.

      • Lori on March 6, 2017 at 8:32 pm

        JoAnn,

        This means a great deal to me that you said:

        “take time to get to know yourself, the person that the Lord created you to be, without all the trauma and trouble you have been living with for so long. A healed heart is a happy and peaceful heart, and our Precious Lord Jesus is the Great Physician.”

        It is certainly a process to do so. What a wonderful place to explore and encourage one another here.

        Praying for so many who are really in trying times right now.

        • Aly on March 6, 2017 at 10:14 pm

          JoAnn, Lori…

          Thank you both for such caring and healing exchanges. I’m thankful we have an opportunity to offer love and any strength that the Lord has given.
          Lori, I know I have said this before but it’s such a privilege to get to know more of you and your journey. This journey to me is never about arrival but which will we walk in..?
          How will we love? How will be embrace our freedom and security while growing in His truths?
          There is a lot of grief on this journey but that doesn’t scare me, what scares me is those outside that don’t enter and miss the treasured Jewels here💖
          And even if they miss it everyday the Lord is reminding me that He doesn’t.
          Much love and hugs to you all!

  49. Ruth on March 7, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Aly, I would like to confirm what Lori said. I believe she pegged it when she said “you have a shepherdess heart”. Are you already in bald directly in a women’s ministry in your local church? If not in your local church perhaps in a women’s crisis center? Or counseling center? Or the Domestic abuse center? You are able to cut to the core of issues and press in with a loving persistence. You give great energy and thought to every lady to respond to. You never wallop them over the head with the obvious “are you insane lady?!? leave him yesterday!!!! Drop him like a hot potato!!!”
    But at the same time, you don’t let them off the hook – you give them thought-provoking follow up questions.
    To the most crushed ladies, like Rose, you give tender compassion.

    Jesus needs 100 more of you in every church.🙂

    • Aly on March 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Ruth,

      Reading your post made me cry! I don’t have words to say other than we can thank the Lord for any good or attribute you see in me. It is hard for me to take in your thoughts especially from what I have been in a battlefield with and rejected/ & told I have no relevance by those I have loved the most. The wound has been deep even though I know the disrespect and devaluing comes from their chosen capacity. God’s Word continues to align with what He has written on my heart.
      My hope is to offer what has been graciously offered to me in my ongoing journey of growth.
      I desire to be the wife, mother, sister and friend~ mostly the servant God calls me to be, knowing I fall short of that daily.
      Thank you for your words and I agree we need many of us out there helping spread truths to our sisters going through such difficult relationships. We all are accountable as a community is my belief.

      Yes, to answer your questions, I am and have been in women’s ministry.
      It’s been deep in my heart, I just love the preciousness… that God made us women in a such a purposeful but beautiful design.
      The enemy continues to steal this in all forms, and this is very close to my heart.
      I do think Leslie’s ministry is amazing and the more people get educated and gain knowledge I believe the healthier we can become. I want to be as healthy as I can for those around me~ especially my children, they leave the most beautiful fingerprints 🤗 everywhere~ they are only ‘on lend, I’ve been told’.. but such a privilege to walk as ‘parent’ to them. Many days I don’t feel worthy.

      The more we seek out learning and growing with one another, we can grasp His wisdom, His ways that continue to reveal in relationships.
      Not just gaining wisdom for our head.. but truly ‘walking in’ what we believe in!

      Hugs and prayers to you;) and heres to chasing after His Heart for the rest of our days!

      • Ruth on March 7, 2017 at 6:23 pm

        Ha, Ha. Now I figured out what ‘ in Bald’ was supposed to mean (sometimes i use voice dictation on my iPhone for posting) . It was supposed to say: say INVOLVED.
        But you got the gist of my garbled message.

    • JoAnn on March 7, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      I agree with you, Ruth. This blog is so helpful in so many ways, and both Aly and Lori have learned so much from their experiences ( and they are not the only ones, for sure), and express themselves so well. Sisters, as helpful as this blog has been, sharing in person in a recovery group setting would be such a blessing, and even more so when in person. I wish there were a way for some of us to the together over coffee or tea and get to know each other in a personal way. Some of us could be living in the same neighborhood and wouldn’t even know it! I love you all, and I especially love to see how each one is processing her experiences and getting to the Lord in the process. He is faithful!

      • T.L. on March 7, 2017 at 7:31 pm

        JoAnne and others: what if one of us, who didn’t need to be concerned about anonymity at present, started a secret Facebook page (you can start a secret group through your own FB), and told the others to private message her if we wanted to join the private, secret group. You could join with your existing FB, or start a “made-up name” FB. We could all join that and then find out who lives near who! And/or we could organize a group FaceTime or Skype call and at least have a coffee date with each other in front of our computer…a little complicated, but do-able, I think!?

        • JoAnn on March 7, 2017 at 7:41 pm

          T.L., That seems like a good idea, and I would like to do it, but I think we should hear from Leslie before we do anything about it.

        • Aly on March 7, 2017 at 7:42 pm

          T.L.
          I don’t have really any problems with anonymity ~ it’s interesting you suggest that as I was thinking something similar but with the help of someone on Leslie’s team to pull the emails and then we can coordinate a call if that was even possible? Or of interest?
          As far as the latest FB version goes I think I need a class to sharpen my skills compared to old FB😜

          • T.L. on March 7, 2017 at 8:05 pm

            Aly, that would be an idea, but would make work for Leslie’s staff, and it seems that would be a lot to ask.

            If one person gave their FB page/name, we could private message that person to add us to their secret group. It’s actually really simple, unless you don’t have a FB.

            The complicated part might be organizing a Skype call, but still not so very hard.

            We can wait and see if Leslie or staff have any problem or caution with this idea.



          • JoAnn on March 8, 2017 at 2:28 pm

            The way I think this works is that the private FB group needs to have a person who is a monitor and can vet the person asking to join. This could be a password that we set up from our blog group. It’s not hard to set up or to join. There will be a place on the FB page that indicates the name of the group and all you have to do is click on it to get in. Someone set one up for the town I grew up in and we have had a lot of fun sharing stories about what it was like to grow up there. I know it is possible to do groups on Skype, but it is a little more complicated, and not very reliable. If there is someone on the group who is good at doing these things, not I, then that will be helpful.



          • JoAnn on March 8, 2017 at 4:37 pm

            Dear Sisters,
            Leslie has a new post about setting boundaries with a manipulative mother. I probably will not join that one, as that has not been a particularly difficult issue for me. I expect to remain on this site. You all have become precious to me. I hope that I can continue to meet with you here.



          • T.L. on March 8, 2017 at 6:10 pm

            I’ll stay connected with you here, JoAnne! ❤



          • Aly on March 8, 2017 at 6:20 pm

            JoAnn, T.L.
            Me too!💟
            Thank you for posting.. however I’m not sure I’m getting or seeing all the posts, I didn’t see Kay’s post for instance and wanted to reply but can only read a sentence or so in the preview window…
            FYI



      • Lori on March 8, 2017 at 11:22 pm

        Hi JoAnn,

        You wrote: “Sisters, as helpful as this blog has been, sharing in person in a recovery group setting would be such a blessing, and even more so when in person. I wish there were a way for some of us to the together over coffee or tea and get to know each other in a personal way.”

        Me too Joann! I have come to feel so close to “strangers” whom I have not even seen their faces. I have seen your hearts (or parts of them) here and I am blessed to get to know each of you.

        You are my family.

        • JoAnn on March 9, 2017 at 9:23 am

          My feeling, too, Lori. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us.

  50. Aleea on March 7, 2017 at 11:34 am

    . . . Leslie, I especially miss my home church I attended there and the pastor and his family. . . .Arizona is a lovely place too. I have only driven through the state a number of times on the way to California but the land just unrolls to the farthest distant horizon hills, . . .with those “Saguaro” (I think that is what they are called) . . .those huge cactus standing as sentinels in their strange chessboard patterns, towering above the mesquite trees. . . .Of course, until air conditioning and irrigation things were very different: “The entire region is altogether valueless. After entering it, there is nothing to do but leave. -Lt. Edward Beale, Report to Congress on Arizona, 1858″ . . . .The same with the Cayman Islands until air conditioning, mosquito control spraying, et.al.

  51. Ruth on March 7, 2017 at 11:36 am

    😂 LoL crazy Voice dictation typo: I have no idea why it inserted the word ” BALD” into the sentence about women’s Ministry .

    Sorry about that I should have proofread all the top to the top of my post.😜

  52. Ruth on March 7, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Something has been stirring in my heart since last week that I would like to share.
    I wrote a journal entry about it that I’m going to *try to* cut and paste into this comment:

    ☀️Friday morning 3-3 was a sunny day. Usually, I take the girls to school first. But on Friday morning, Mark said mom, Please take the girls first because I want to get a breakfast sandwich at McDonald’s. So, I took the girls to school. Then I took Mark to the McDonald’s drive-through. We pulled out of McDonald’s onto Broadway; I pulled my Ford Expedition into the left lane. The traffic light at Lebanon Avenue was red. Cars in my lane were already backed up all the way to the N. Popular Ave but there were no cars in the right lane next to me. Rather than pull close to the bumper of the van ahead of me, I left plenty of space as not to block the North Poplar intersection. Mark ate his breakfast sandwich. While we waited at the red light, a nice black vehicle, a small sport utility vehicle, came in the oncoming turning lane. It was driven by a older gentleman with white hair and a beard wearing a suit. He put his left turn signal on. The black vehicle wanted to turn in front of me to go to N. Poplar St. however there was no way he could see around my big Expedition to tell if the right lane was clear. I said to Mark “Surely, that man wouldn’t turn in front of my car .” It would be the kind of foolish thing you would expect an inexperienced driver to do; not a person who appeared to be in their late 60s-mid70s. At any minute, my traffic light would turn green. I looked in my side mirror. Still, I did not see any vehicles coming in the right lane, but this was a tricky spot. I quickly considered: should I watch for a clearing for this man and then wave him on ? I felt reluctant. There were too many places cars could just zoom right side cars could come from the car wash, from Lee’s Chicken Restaurant or the BP gas station. While I was still mentally debating – to my amazement, the black vehicle presumptuously whips out in front of me – not slow and careful trying to peek out around my car. As soon as he had cleared my vehicle, a small brown car came flying down Broadway in the right lane and T-boned him in the passenger side. The black vehicle flipped over on. Immediately, a young woman jumped out of the brown car and ran to that black vehicle to assist the injured man, but he was trapped. My light turn green.
    Mark asked “mom, do we need to stay?” I answered “Mark, there’s nothing we can do. The rescue squad people are just two blocks away. They will be able to help that man. I will come back after I drop you off at school. I will tell the police what I saw. We know the girl who hit him is not fleeing the scene of an accident. It is obvious what happened.”
    I was so distraught. I had already been emotionally sensitive all week because of our own personal family drama. Reading TL’s terrible loss and then witnessing a car wreck that I felt *momentarily* responsible for also stirred the pot of my emotions.
    After I answered Mark’s question, I began to cry.
    I cried: “I should have blocked the intersection ! Jesus, don’t let that old man die. Please let him be OK.”
    I cried to Mark: “What if God was trying to tell me to block the intersection, but I wouldn’t listen and now that old man is hurt and young girls car is smashed?”
    My son said mom that wasn’t your fault. [By the time we got to his high school I was in full-fledged tears and snot; my son was probably doing silent praying of his own; prayers that none of his friends would see he’s crazy mama ]
    When I got back to the scene of the accident, I was relieved to see emergency services personnel had that man out of that vehicle and he looked to be OK; he only had a big knot on his head. Then I saw the driver of the brown car up close. Someone asked her about her baby that she had just dropped off at daycare before the wreck happened. I guess she was about 24 years old. She kept saying to the old man “I am so sorry; I am so sorry”. He nonchalantly told her “it’s OK it was my fault after all”. He wore a black or dark gray suit; he had been on his way to the funeral home.

    After some time to clear my mind and talk to people about wreck, I abandoned the notion that was responsible I was responsible for that man. That was just my reflex reaction unhealthy, overcompensating for everyone else typical Christian-woman way of thinking. 🤢this disgusts me to say it but I know it’s the truth.

    What I realize though as I watch that poor girl profusely apologize to that old man who so nonchalantly took all that time from those rescue squad people, SHE felt RESPONSIBLE to HIM and
    SHE was the VICTIM HIS recklessness 😡. All he could get was the flip apology. Most people who would happen upon that accident would have assumed she was the one at fault because she was young; she had three or four piercings; she had the crapper car; he was Mr. snooty tooty institution, establishment, influence. What if her baby had been in that car?
    I WISH I’d had the presence of mind to pull her to the side and say you don’t have to apologize to that man. He should be apologizing to you.

    In prayer that day, I cried out earnestly about seeking the Lord and never falling back into being lukewarm. Then I feel like the Lord showed me something in that wreck. The whole time I was distraught thinking God wanted me to block the intersection to protect the man. But it wasn’t for the man, the protection was for the WOMAN. God wanted me to block the man from being able to get to the woman. To build a hedge for HER.
    That man in the black car represents evil, reckless, abuse of women. He was headed to the funeral home to pick up demonic assignments, a place of evil. His appearance said respectable guy; She was skinny, young with several piercings, smoker, with the crapper car; she was driving a little too fast.
    I feel like God wants me to be an intercessor for abused women:

    The date rape victim asked for it. she’s that kind of girl, God wants me to intercede for that kind of girl. God wants me to intercede for the girl who feels like she’s bearing that ugly secret all alone. 😞

    • Ruth on March 7, 2017 at 6:05 pm

      Sorry for the typos & duplicate words. My migraines make the concentration necessary for editing difficult.
      Also- Being that this was originally a journal entry, I had used specific street names. I realized after posting that I should have taken out the street bc they were unhelpful to readers unfamiliar with my town.

      • JoAnn on March 7, 2017 at 7:31 pm

        I believe you got the message God had for you. Lesson learned. So often I ignore those little promptings, and then find out later that I should have obeyed. After all, the Lord does want us to live in oneness with Him, and that means saying “amen” when He speaks. We are all learning, and He knows that. So, we confess, repent and go on. Lord, have your way in us!!

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