Morning friends,

Whew, I’m glad I’m in Arizona and not in Pennsylvania. This week the East Coast was hit with a March blizzard and friends back there are sending me their pictures digging out of the snow. Here in Arizona, we are in an unusual heat wave. Temperatures are in the high 80’s and the sun is hot. But I love it. I’m so glad I don’t have to battle the snow anymore.

Just a quick reminder. There are many people who read this blog who never post or respond. But I do want them to gain the value from all of your responses. So many of you are so kind to give so much of your time and wisdom to one another and I deeply appreciate it. Just keep in mind that when you respond to a particular person, especially over and over, it may feel a bit awkward to others who are reading your responses, as if they are listening in on a private conversation.

I 100% support and value your personal responses to others on this blog. Please don’t stop. They have been meaningful to those who have received them. But let’s not forget that we are also a group. I don’t know about you, but I still have lingering insecurities from when I would go to a party or dance in junior high school. I’d stand there, trying to fit in, and a few girls were talking to each other while the rest of us stood around watching.

After a while, my negative self-talk would take over and I would tell myself that I wasn’t wanted, I had nothing to contribute, and I might as well go home. I know we can’t control what other people think but I do want to remind all of us to be mindful of the larger group, even while we are encouraging a specific sister.

Today's Question: I need guidance…

I got married at the age of 21 to my husband who is 7 years older than me. It's been 10 years now. He is a workaholic who cannot organize his life. We have 3 children together. Since I married him he has always been rude, belittling me, not supporting me and allowing his family to also disrespect me.

In my first year of marriage, I graduated university with a bachelor's degree with honors and ambitions to strive further. I was threatened by my husband that he would leave me if I pursued further education. His father told me that my husband would cheat on me since he is a businessman and that I should be by his side with his business. So being a naive newlywed I listened.

Throughout my marriage my husband has been obsessed with work, I never know what time he will come through the door, I take all the kids to their activities. He's hired me a nanny so that she can assist me with the kids since he works so many hours. He would reject me in bed, numerous times.

I try and focus on the positive. I say thank God he hasn't physically abused me, or is not an alcoholic… but then I don't want to ignore everything else.

He would get in arguments with me if I tried to put the kids to bed early. He has told me I am stupid, I'm a bitch, and that a stranger’s slippers are worth more than mine will ever be. He let his father crack jokes about our marriage, saying that if I don't sit beside my husband another woman will come and take him.

I used to be a strong female. I used to be tough, I used to be happy…. it's hard for me to be a good mother when I am dependent on him financially and have 3 little children.

Does anyone have any advice???? Please help me, I am lost. I have always been religious and prayed, I was even a virgin getting married, he was my first ever encounter and I feel so crippled.

Answer: You have come to the right place. In addition to my response to you, there are many women who have been in your shoes who will reach out to you and help you take your next steps forward so that you aren’t feeling so lost anymore.

The problem isn’t your husband right now. It is you. You are lost. You have allowed yourself to be diminished and squashed so long that you no longer feel like yourself. The strong capable woman who graduated with honors at 21 now feels like a crippled, unhappy, scared and dependent person.

So what can you do to get un-lost? To revive yourself? For so many women, they get stuck right here, expecting that their husband should change or their marriage should change so that they can be fine. But you have no control over your husband changing. You do have some control over your marriage changing once you learn to change your own dance steps in the marriage. But the only person you have any real control over is you. So change must start with you.

One of the things that happen to many women in destructive marriages with husbands who are like yours is that they isolate. They get busy with children and trying to be a good wife and mom and they neglect themselves and/or developing strong relationships with other women. Other times, their spouses control how often they go places by themselves or with who. They do this to isolate their wives.

Isolation is a strategy of control. It is one of the most dangerous things that can happen when someone is in a destructive marriage. Let’s look at why. In our country we have the freedom of the press, but lately, there are two very different camps of press coverage. The conservative bent and the liberal bent. Both are saying very disparaging things about the other. Both are polarizing. Both cast the other as the bad guy. If all you watch is the conservative channel or the liberal channel, your thinking becomes limited. You only look at things from one vantage point. You only see things the way the media wants you to see them. However, if you watched both, read various perspectives, prayed and thought about what you believe, you would have a much better chance of understanding what’s true.

In the same way, when all we hear day in and day out are the rants and remarks of a person who believes he’s always right we start to question ourselves. And, when we regularly hear that we are stupid, incapable, foolish, crazy, selfish and worse and there is no other input to counter those statements, we start to believe them. We lose the person we thought we were and may even become the person the other person accuses us of being.

That’s why children are so vulnerable when they have a parent or parents who regularly tell them that they are incapable, stupid, ugly, evil or a loser. When you have only one voice regularly defining who you are when you’re a child you usually believe it. You may even become that person. That’s why it’s so important for you to stretch out of your box and start to connect with other women. This blog is a good start. You may want to join CONQUER when it opens in May. Please look for a good church to attend and find women you can be real with and talk to.

Just last week a friend of mine wrote me an email, He had gotten skewered on another blog about some things he wrote about wives ministering to husbands. Someone accused him of awful things, none of which were true. It rattled him so much he reached out to me to ask for feedback. This was only a short encounter with a caustic person but it rattled his sense of himself for a moment. What helped was reaching out for more input. He needed more information so that he could put what he heard in its proper place.

In the same way, you need other people who will remind you of the gifts and abilities that God has put inside of you. You need women who can encourage you and challenge you in a good way not to allow yourself to be diminished by an insecure and difficult person (or his family). In fact, the only possibility for your marriage to be any different is for you to regain your strength. That is one of the things that attracted your husband to you in the first place. Now you must work hard to build it back.

What does that look like? It might mean you start to read books that help you grow and not be so impacted by your husband’s harsh words. It might mean that you get involved in a support group for women in destructive marriages. It might mean that you get a part time job to start building back your confidence and become less dependent on your spouse. Since you have a nanny, you might even start taking some on-line classes to further your education so that you are preparing for a career that uses the gifts and talents that God has given you once your children are older.

If you were lost in a large shopping mall, the first thing most people do is either ask for directions or head for a map of the mall. You’ve done that by asking for help. The map says you are X (here) – in a destructive marriage, feeling squashed, diminished, flattened out and depleted.

The next question you have to ask yourself is where do you want to go? You said you want to go to a place where you feel less dependent, stronger as a person, more resilient to his negative comments.

You also said you’ve always been a religious person and sexually waited until marriage. But this problem in your marriage is testing your faith. I believe God wants you to know him in a deeper way. Not just believe in him, which is what religion teaches us to do, but to actually believe God, which requires a deeper relationship with him.

For example, we can believe in God’s existence but not ever really have a relationship with him. God wants you to know him and to trust him with what’s going on. He loves you. He created you. He wants your good. He hates the way your husband treats you and he longs for you to see yourself as his daughter. It pleases him to make you strong and capable and wise. He doesn’t want you to allow the words of one person, even if he is your husband, to determine your value or worth.

Only God can give you the wisdom to handle this situation with strength and dignity. Only God can teach you how to overcome evil with good. Only God can show you how to forgive when you don’t want to or don’t feel like it (Click To Tweet).

Part of moving from lost to found is finding yourself in a deeper relationship with Jesus, even if not your husband. That is where your healing will come from, not your marriage or your man. That is where you will learn how loved, precious and forgiven you are. That’s where you will learn to handle disappointment and anger and hurt in a way that doesn’t damage who you are and who you were meant to become. And that’s where you learn how to love the unlovely and forgive the one who hurts you. Those things don’t come from human efforts, but from our security and trust in God and his love for us. From that new “found” place we become wise. We gain courage, and we grow strong so that we can change our own dance steps in our destructive marriage as well as invite our partner to change his.

Friend, when you felt lost, what helped you to find your way back to spiritual, emotional, and mental strength?

114 Comments

  1. Nancy on March 15, 2017 at 8:15 am

    What a clear answer, Leslie 🙂

    To the writer: You are only 31 years old and have reached out for help at this young age! That is good news. You may feel like you’ve been in this forever, and I’m not minimizing your pain here, but you have time to build CORE strength, and to grow into who The Lord created you to be.

    One step at a time. But with each step, make sure you point in the direction of Jesus, who loves you dearly❤️

    You are not alone. Read God’s word, connect with other believers, read Leslie’s books. Begin to feed your soul. One.Step.At.A.Time. You can do this!

    • Victoria on March 15, 2017 at 10:32 am

      I’m saddened to see I’m not alone in a marrage of physical and emotional abusive from a husband. God made a man and gave him the authority of our superior as the woman’s protecter. Just this past weekend my Son drove 8 hours with two deputy sheriff’s and removed this man from our property with a 24 hrs to be off the property. My husband is 50 yrs old and my Son is 27. My son confronted my abuser informing him of his full awareness of the abuse he’d done to his mother. This was not the first officence nor the first female he’d beaten. I fiered for my life just knowing my next beating could take my life. His abuse would go on for hours and nothing would stop him. Once he literally beat the pee out of me breaking ribs and bones of my face. Black eyes and then had sex with me. To me this was sick like he was proud what he’d just done to me enjoying looking at the black and blue marks he’d just put on me sickly asking me to preform anel sex for him.while asking me if it hurt like a loving concerned husband would be to a new bride . Then when he finally was finished ordered me up and clean him up with warm water and towel. Then ordered me to clean the blood up off the floor from the beating I’d just took. Then he’d let me rest.

      • T.L. on March 15, 2017 at 4:38 pm

        Dear Victoria,

        I grieve for you–for the aassault of your God-given dignity as a child of God. Your husband is a very evil man, and I am so sad that this has happened to you. Praise God for an honorable son that got help for you. Are you safe now? Is your husband in jail, I hope? What is the current situation?

        One statement you made that I wanted to maybe help you think about in a healthier way: God did not make men superior to women. It is true that He gave more muscle, more physical strength, and perhaps that is what you meant. I’m bothering to mention this because it is unhealthy and unsafe to think of men as superior to women. The Bible tells us that

        “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Gen.1:27 We are both created in the image of God, and one is not superior.

        Please tell us more about you. You are valued here and we want to know you and pray for you.

      • Aly on March 16, 2017 at 8:28 am

        Dear Victoria,

        Goodness, I don’t feel like I have words to express my protest and grief for what you have been through!
        I agree wholeheartedly with T.L.’s response.
        How can we encourage and love of you best? Your h is dangerous and I’m so thankful that you are alive and can escape to a safe place where you can begin healing your outer and inner places with the Lord.

        Your experience is nothing short of horrendous and your h has no concept of how to treat a bride let alone another human being.
        To say he then had (sex) after the battery/assault, would not be sex in my language, it is something far from that! ~ and as TL said… possibly he is in jail and needs to be there.

        I will be praying for your heart and I’m thankful that your getting support around you! You are a beautiful daughter of the King, who is granted dignity and identity through Him.
        Sending hugs to you 💜

    • T.L. on March 15, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      Great encouragement!

    • Kelley on March 15, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Beautiful response! It takes such courage to reach out! Nancy is correct in her encouragement that you have much time to grow in CORE STRENGTH now.
      I happen to have come down with the Shingles virus…on my FACE😫 I am very fortunate that I caught it early before it did any extensive and permanent damage to my eye. Although this is painful, irritating, and unsightly I know that I am heading in the right direction and that healing will come in time. Slowly I am told. Self care is critical! And the love and support of friends. So happy that you took the first steps to reach out for help. Read Psalm 27

      • T.L. on March 16, 2017 at 3:50 am

        Kelley, so sorry to hear about the shingles! I’ve heard stress can trigger it–and you’ve certainly been under stress. Glad you caught it early, and will stop and pray for you right now.

        • Kelley on March 16, 2017 at 10:58 pm

          Much appreciated! It has been pretty miserable affecting my jaw front tooth and roof of my mouth which rivaled the actual rash in pain. Today I feel much improved and am looking forward to feeling like myself soon. It is true that it can be brought on by stress. From what I have read specifically bereavement-which we all know we who live in destructive marriages experience many layers of grief over time which does seem to have an accumulative effect. I am happy to be learning how to care for myself and to detach with love. This has been a very difficult and challenging learning curve for me.
          Thank you for your kindness and the prayers on my behalf!

    • Anita on March 15, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      I have prayed for 35 years to learn what Leslie teaches. I lived in a in a destructive marriage for 17 years, but I finally left. My first husband manipulated me, lied to me, cheated on me and was addicted to pornography. I sought help within the church and counseling to learn what made me vulnerable to a person like that. 5 years later, I married again, and this time even though it is a disappointing marriage, with Leslie’s encouragement and the Lord’s wisdom, I believe it can improve. I can definitely see my faults and how trying to be a submissive wife has caused me to lose myself and to lead my husband into a dominant role. I am looking forward to building my core strength and continuing to strengthen my dependency on the Lord.

  2. DJ on March 15, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Wow! I wholeheartedly agree with all that Leslie wrote. To address her question; what I did when I felt “lost” is I began searching for the Lord. Early in my marriage, I too knew about the Lord (religion), but I did not have a close relationship with him. I searched for him by looking for a good church, by turning my heart to him via prayer, by reading his word. I ultimately surrendered my life to him. I realized he had a good plan for me…. see Jeremiah 29:11. I decided I didn’t want anyone else in control of my life anymore, just him. I found he is not selfish at all. He is a giver, not a taker. He began to place “healthy” friends and people in my life. My journey to inner healing and not feeling lost all began with me turning to him.

    So proud of you for reaching out to receive help, wisdom and advice. Jesus loves you more than you will ever know!

  3. Laura Di on March 15, 2017 at 8:18 am

    An idea for “Guidance”……. to find your way back to spiritual, emotional, and mental strength!

    Bible Power……..scriptural fortification………AFFIRMATIONS!

    Maybe start here, or search for scriture that speaks to your heart and especially to God.

    “I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ”
    Corinthians 5:21

    “God has a good plan for my life”
    Jeremiah 29:11

    “Nothing can separate me from the love of God”
    Romans 8:35

    “We are more than conquers through Him who loves us” Romans 8:37

    “The Lord turns toward my family and delivers us because of His unfailing love! ”
    Psalms 6:4

    The Lord forgives my family and all our iniquities and heal all our diseases
    Psalms 103:3

  4. Kate on March 15, 2017 at 9:28 am

    You were same age as I was when you got married. So young! You don’t know who you are yet at that age. I am only now finding my true self at age 46 (recently separated.) 24 years later! Looking back I see the things that helped me the most were staying in the workforce on some level, continuing my education and gradually building my career prospects. I am now able to be financially independent because of those choices and this has enabled me to escape from a toxic marriage that was slowly killing me spiritually, emotionally and affecting my health. It’s v possible from your description of your spouses behaviour that it will get worse over time…..and you need to put yourself and your children in a space where you are not so vulnerable.i suggest you start to put aside a little savings money for yourself just in case. I work with women who have been victims of financial abuse and it’s often too late after the fact many years down the track to turn things around , and they cannot ever fully recover on a financial level. I don’t mean to sound negative. Pray for him and work on self care as recommended. But also position yourself so you have means to leave or support yourself and your children as controlling men don’t easily change. In fact be prepared for him to get worse once he senses you becoming stronger. It is wonderful for your sense of self worth and purpose when you can use your gifts to make a contribution to the world through your work , and be a role model for your children. Go be your best self God created you for !

    • Marie on March 15, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      The healthier I got over the course of a year the more the accusations came and the spiritual abuse. The more I set boundaries and made myself have an opinion (often I “go with the flow” and am flexible to the point that I don’t even know what I want) the more frequent he became irritable with me. Often times I need to reach out to friends who know me and love me and remind me that indeed this was abuse because it’s so easy to question everything and think everyone else has it worse. Often times I pause and say “Lord, where is your voice? Let me hear You.”

  5. Amanda J on March 15, 2017 at 11:12 am

    One of the things that has helped me is meeting weekly, or almost weekly, via FaceTime with a dear Christian friend. We read through a book together and share prayer requests, our struggles, etc. We don’t live in the same area but have know each other for over 30 years. She is in a strong and healthy marriage, so that perspective really helps me too. Recently, as I shared about how I needed to initiate a difficult conversation with my husband, she said that she felt that I am in a much stronger place than I was a year ago when we first started meeting. That was encouraging to me. Reading a chapter or two of a book together and then discussing it gave us lots to talk about with respect to our faith, what the author was saying, etc. Maybe this is an idea that other women would benefit from, and actually is reflected in the advice Leslie shared above about developing relationships with other women.

    • T.L. on March 15, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Amanda, what a beautiful testimony of God working through a precious friendship to grow and strengthen you in a unique way. Thanks for sharing that idea with us!

    • T.L. on March 15, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Amanda, what a beautiful testimony of God working through a precious friendship to grow and strengthen you in a unique way. Thanks for sharing that idea with us! Would you mind sharing the name of the book that you went through together?

      • Amanda J on March 15, 2017 at 11:37 pm

        We read “A Praying Life” by Paul E. Miller. Very refreshing and the the author shares a lot of his personal struggles in the book. Now we have started the book called “Extravagant Grace” by Barbara R. Duguid. I heard her speak at a conference and always wanted to come back to read the book. It has thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter, which I find helpful.

        • T.L. on March 16, 2017 at 3:45 am

          Thanks, Amanda. Both of those books look really great. Thanks for sharing them.

  6. Trina on March 15, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I put 27 years and six children into my marriage. I was submissive, modest, keeper at home. My husband treated me basically the same way. I thought I could never leave because God would want me to stay. Through Leslie and resources she led me to I’ve learned so much. After much prayer and consultation with my preacher I had my first consultation with a divorce attorney last week. It’s like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders!!! The oppression of my soul was relieved. I asked my preacher, “How can seeking divorce feel like I’m in God’s will?” But for me it does! I cannot wait to make all my arrangements and leave this mess behind!!!! I praise God for sustaining me.

    • Lori on March 15, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Trina,
      Your testimony is powerful. It would be nice to hear how you plan to support yourself after this long being at home if you care to share.

      I find your statement: “The oppression of my soul was relieved” both exhilarating and tremendously sad. I don’t believe God intended for marriage to oppress either of it’s partners. I am sorry it was so for you, but rejoicing with you in the lifting of the oppression!

      • Trina on March 15, 2017 at 10:11 pm

        Well… The good thing about him being a work aholic and control freak is I found out the worth of our assets and half is gonna take care of us. God blessed us. Lawyer says if I want to go back to school he has to pay for it and give me spousal support. My family has land and I’m moving a tiny house in. All my kids except two youngest are grown. We’ll be fine.

      • Trina on March 15, 2017 at 11:46 pm

        And I saved every little bit I could for two years. My family is going to help me out until I can get my divorce settlement. My lawyer said the court will force him to pay support during separation before divorce is settled.

        • Free on March 23, 2017 at 6:40 am

          Trina, about the little bit of money you saved for two years. Isn’t your husband demanding 1/2 of it? I see that happening in my future. I have been putting money aside and my abuser asks me frequently how much is in that account and tries to guilt me into how I am spending that money. We are separated and he keeps asking about that money. This when he has a business expense account with its own credit card and checking. I have access to nothing like that. I think and may counselor said, it is the only way he has to still control me. Financial control has been very difficult for me to see through. He has earned more money than me and he thinks it is his money. To a certain point I agree, because he did earn it. He sees himself as incredibly generous to share it with me.

          • T.L. on March 23, 2017 at 2:50 pm

            Free, did you have and raise children? If so, and you cared for the children while he worked, then think of yourself as having earned all the money that would have paid for a nanny, preschool, and taking care of a home. (Cooking, cleaning, laundry.) You earned a good share of his income, if children are in the picture.



  7. Debbie on March 15, 2017 at 11:58 am

    I’m so glad you’re getting help at this young age. I put up with it til I was 53. Wasted a lot of my life on a person who doesn’t care about my needs or happiness. Good for you! Go to work part time and have your own money. Save what you can, you’ll most likely need it one day when things get too bad with him. Go to school. It will boost your self respect immeasurably.

  8. Dawn on March 15, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    What a beautiful answer, Leslie. Kind and true. To our sweet young questioner, “Jesus loves you … perfectly.”.
    I would ask you one simple question: “Can you be brave enough to ask Jesus to begin to reveal Himself to you on a very personal level?”. If you can be brave enough to do that you will have a strong foundation on which to begin your journey.
    You are loved with an everlasting love by Jesus He paid a precious price for you on the cross. He promises that when we seek Him with our whole heart, He will allow Himself to be found. I encourage you strongly to start there, and then turn to many of Leslie’s resources as you begin the process of rebuilding your strength.
    Use your resources at this point to your advantage. I, too, had a workaholic husband. I learned to see the resources as an advantage to be used to benefit me in my healing ~ a gift.
    When you are feeling weak, find comfort from trusted friends who are walking through their own similar journeys (there are lots of us here). This is an amazingly supportive community.
    You are welcome any time.
    Hugs,
    Dawn

  9. Sophia on March 15, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    The fact that you are aware of the brokenness is a gift from God. The counselor I am working with said recently…just because something is in your trash can does not mean it’s your garbage. I can dig through it and quickly identify …’not mine, not mine, not mine’. If someone repeatedly called me a ‘wild man cowboy’ I could laugh it off, so ridiculous!!! I would seriously question the person who sent that message. But over the years we can slowly question and even start believing belittling and dehumanizing messages from those closest to us. But HOPE begins by saying something is wrong here!!! Maybe the message sender is broken. This site helps me so very much by seeing other women work toward TRUTH. Strength is found in what CHRIST says about us. He really is the only one who gets a vote. I am so glad!!!❤

    • Ruth on March 19, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      Very true words.

      We must be careful what our ears and hearts absorb. I asked the Lord today to help me stop being like a sponge for the toxicity without SOMEHOW becoming hardened.

  10. Aleea on March 15, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    “Only God can give you the wisdom to handle this situation with strength and dignity. Only God can teach you how to overcome evil with good. Only God can show you how to forgive when you don’t want to or don’t feel like it” . . . —Absolutely, nothing to add to that, —that is complete.

    “Part of moving from lost to found is finding yourself in a deeper relationship with Jesus, even if not your husband.” . . . —Again, absolutely true! You can tell Jesus anything without Him blowing up, shutting you down, etc. No eggshells to walk on with Jesus. . . .But at least invite and keep trying to pray with your spouse. Let me tell you, it is such a hidden treasure.

    “Friend, when you felt lost, what helped you to find your way back to spiritual, emotional, and mental strength?” . . . Only prayer helps. I so love prayer: nothing to translate/ mistranslate; interpret/ misinterpret; argue about “historical context”; misconstrue, etc. . . .I really believe that God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them. I don’t want Christ as an archetype of inner therapy. I want to experience the outward reality of Jesus, deeply, consistently —truly. Lord God please, may our darkness be broken into by inescapable light from You. . . .I also think prayer is like the most tangible expression of trust in God, otherwise why would we be praying? —And it so focuses us. If I only looked at what I’ve lost, I’d never be able to see all I have. . . . .I’ll tell you in counseling sessions, it is the best thing we do. I so love in counseling how we will seriously pray before we even start and pray when we are stuck (—when I am stuck) —which is a lot!!! . . . .What is it about prayer? It is totally, completely other. . . .To me, prayer trumps Bible study any day with all the systematic text issues, all the battles over hermeneutics, et.al. Prayer bypasses all that but it’s hard work too.

  11. Ruth on March 15, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    My dear, Since you are finally understanding the situation in which you find yourself and your children, you are now accountable to yourself to make some decisions with all of you in mind.
    I have been married 54 years and so wish I had understood, at 31 years of age, what I now understand clearly. I have had a marriage of struggle much like yours. However, the standard teaching of the church used to be things like:
    You are not submitting to your husband,
    You are not creating a good home for Him,
    Neither divorce or separation are ever God’s plan.
    I have carried the load of his numerous infidelities, always believing if I tried harder, I could change things.
    Finally I ran across Leslie Vernick on the internet and have followed her teaching since, learning that verbal abuse, neglect, disregard of my needs and interests is as serious as physical abuse. I now fully understand I SHOULD have left decades ago. Now, there is not enough money for us to live separately, so I no longer have an option.
    Your self-esteem and personal worth are being steadily eroded by your remaining in this relationship. That erosion is never acceptable and will destroy you physically and emotionally. No marriage partner should be allowed to treat with you like yours is treating you.
    Leslie has written several books to provide a sort-of “guidebook” for how to make the necessary preparation to leave and how to address your decision with your spouse. Go to Leslie’s website to find the titles.
    Because your marriage is so dysfunctional, let me assure you that your spouse is actually teaching/showing your children that you don’t deserve to be respected. My kids, while I know they love me, often attack me like their dad does when I express a feeling or belief about which they feel differently. I had no idea when they were small how my husband was teaching them by example. All three of our children have had major marital difficulties, I believe, because they did not see a marriage they could emulate. (To my knowledge, they have no knowledge of their dad’s infidelities. I was determined to keep it all hidden, thinking I would eventually be able to turn things around.)
    Please stay in touch with Leslie’s website/postings. You are a worthy person and you are not responsible for choices your husband makes or behaviors he continually evidences to you.
    Though I may never meet you, I love you and will keep your name on my prayer list. More importantly, God created you to enjoy an abundant, purposeful life. You are His creation and God never makes junk! That may seem trite, but it is Truth.

    • T.L. on March 15, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      Dear Ruth,

      Sharing your story to help another sister who is stuck is so precious and so powerful! Thank you for allowing the Lord to redeem your loss by helping others. I am so moved.

      Grace, peace and joy to you, deep within.

    • Ruth on March 18, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      Hello other blog reader who chose the ‘Name’ Ruth!😀
      I knew sooner or later there’d be another Ruth, given that many of us ladies want to post anonymously – Ruth is a popular Bible name. For me, there’s a special ‘Ruth’ who’s already gone on to be with Jesus.

      I just wanted to point that there are 2 of us now. For the time being, I’ll keep an avatar, which does distinguished us. My avatars will all be zoomed sections of photos of my kids. I’m being stealthy about which images I chose. I’m picking isolated areas of older pics that my H won’t recognize JIC he picks up my phone with this website up. But I am super careful about that NOT happening.

  12. Gwen on March 15, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    P S: My husband’s biggest problem with me seems to be my use of my Kindle and computer. I use them to post encouraging messages to help others. I get good feedback. He just SCREAMED at me, “I Hate that red thing.” at the top of his lungs. I only get out with him. He is my caregiver. Using the internet is my social outlet

    • Aly on March 16, 2017 at 8:17 am

      Dear Gwen,

      I’m looking for your original post. ?
      You wrote:
      “P S: My husband’s biggest problem with me seems to be my use of my Kindle and computer. I use them to post encouraging messages to help others. I get good feedback. He just SCREAMED at me, “I Hate that red thing.” at the top of his lungs. I only get out with him. He is my caregiver. Using the internet is my social outlet”

      I’m so sad to hear this and that your h seems to be trying to further isolate you from others. Usually with support and community we can begin to see things with better reality and take action, spouses who control dispise when a spouse has access to healthy messages and ecouragement from others to make right choices.
      Again, I’m sorry I can’t see your original post. I’m sorry for what you are experiencing in your marriage. Hopefully you can also be encouraged and loved on here💕

    • Free on March 22, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      I would guess your technology use is the only aspect of your he can’t control. That must infuriate him. What other aspects of your life can you take back control?

  13. T.L. on March 15, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Dear Writer to Leslie,

    I am so sorry that your husband has abused you rather than cherished you, and that he is part of an entrenched family system of misogynistic and narcissistic generational sin. As our wise friend Leslie and others here have told you, you need to call out to Jesus, our rescuer and redeemer for help. He WILL help you. He will lead you into truth, by His Spirit. He will help you to rightly understand and apply God’s Holy Word to your own life.

    I also urge you to read lots of topics Leslie has posted on in her blog, read her books, and begin to reprogram your mind, which has been assaulted with lies.

    I hope you will watch Leslie’s video on CORE strength, and learn more about working on yourself–the only person you can change.

    As you read other women’s stories here in the comments, you will find many who understand what you are going through, and who are here to help and support you.

    I will pray for you.

    • Gwen on March 15, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      TY

  14. Lori on March 15, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    “Friend, when you felt lost, what helped you to find your way back to spiritual, emotional, and mental strength?”

    1. Separating from my husband and those who promoted the emotional neglect and abuse he was walking in.
    2. Praying to God for His guidance and WISDOM.
    3. Reading the word with the Holy Spirit as my teacher.
    4. Journaling what I thought the Holy Spirit was teaching me.
    5. Reaching out to others via this Blog site.
    6. Feedback and prayers of dear sisters on this site.

    Pretty much in that order for me.

    Prayers for you dear sister writing in. So glad you reached out in your 30’s. Perhaps you are stronger and wiser than you might believe?

    I do believe God has a plan for your life and a purpose for your reaching out here.

    Blessings

  15. Susie on March 15, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I would just like to add that the path ahead of you may feel like only dead ends but God CAN make a way. The obstacles in front of you may seem impossible to surmount, but they are not too big for God. Your heart may feel shattered to pieces, but God is near to the broken-hearted. I know he sees and hears and feels what you are in the middle of. I think you might find comfort in this scripture: Matthew 11:28-30.

    I am still on my way to finding strength and courage. There have been a lot of steps to getting out of my denial. And I wish I had time to share all of these markers of my awakening with you. I think that truth that you can’t change him or fix your marriage but you can begin to work on cooperating with God in changing yourself was key. Setting down my dream of having this great godly marriage and my focus on trying to make that happen (which truly is a burden too heavy to bear), and shifting my focus to the first commandment and my relationship with the creator.

    And acknowledging the truth that I needed to ignore my fear of rejection and insecurity and get back into Christian community. I am a full speed ahead efficiency kind of person so as soon as I knew where I was (point A) and that there was another place I wanted to be (point B) and that these two things were keys to getting there, I started going to two churches and joined a women’s bible study prayer group and continued with therapy and reached out for prayer and counseling from Pastors and attended a DAIS support group. I also began forging friendships and trying to rekindle old ones. I was very honest and vulnerable about my needs. And reading up on this stuff to become wise while remaining innocent (esp Leslie’s book, which was given to me by a pastor). It was amazing and beautiful to see how Gods faithfulness has sustained me not just through scripture but through His people.

    I was planning to be “finished” in a year and a half. This summer will be three years after the beginning of my awakening. I have emerged stronger and more free and bold than I have EVER been in my life. He has turned this for good. I still have a long way to go. But I am looking forward to His promise that He will finish the work He began in me. Although I still find myself occasionally dismayed at my (now) ex’s unwillingness to change, I have unending gratitude for and trust in THE ONE who never changes and is always GOOD!

  16. Connie on March 15, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    For me, the first step was to say, “Jesus, you said that your sheep hear you voice. I’m your sheep, and from here on out I trust that You are enabling me to hear your voice.” Then I started asking Him questions, even little ones, sometimes in a kind of screaming desperate voice (God! Where did that come from?), sometimes quiet, and then I’d go about my day and let Him decide when to answer, and He does answer. Not always right away, and certainly not in the same way (Bible, someone says something, still small voice…….etc.).

    The next step was to ‘change my mind’. I used to go over conversations in my head, over and over and over…..what I should have said, what I could say next time he does/says something mean. God led me to Proverbs about how answering a fool just gets you in trouble and they don’t listen anyway. So I would intentionally turn my mind to praise and thinking about other things. “Thank You Lord for what happened, what he said. Thank you that when I give it to you, then even if he meant it for evil, You will turn it for good somehow. Thank you that You are bigger than this…..etc.” and affirm who you are in Christ. Letting go. At first I had to do this every few seconds but eventually it gets to be a habit. I try to see God as my husband. If h doesn’t give me money, I go over his head and ask God to provide (h gets mad about that but that’s not my problem).

    These are just a few things, hopefully it makes sense.

    • Kelley on March 15, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you for the reminder that although something might be meant to harm us, God can and will use it for our good as we Let go. I needed to have that called to mind as I put things in their proper perspective it is easy for me to stay close to God in His wisdom and protection!

    • Content on March 15, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      Love the things you said here, Connie! Very good, thank you.

  17. Marie on March 15, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    Something that was so helpful for me over the course of the year, once I named the abuse and started to do my research was to journal. I set up a private account and sent e-mail after e-mail of incidence and things that were said to me from my husband. It’s even helpful now, when I question myself or think someone else has it worse to go back and read some of these stories and remind myself that these are things that should never be said or done to another human being. Not to get angry or bitter but in my questioning and in the place where doubt and guilt try to reign and rule I can stop and hear the truth and here the Lord tell me I am loved. He is not the voice of condemnation.

    Also as a reminder that my h will need to physically repair a lot of damage done and that a verbal “I’m sorry” is not the place to start. And I am still in need of my own repair and in seeing my worth and strength so that I do no repeat.

    Each step matters and I believe naming and bringing light to dark places is a HUGE step– one of the most important ones.

    • Free on March 23, 2017 at 6:52 am

      Marie, I have kept smiliar notes of things my husband said to me. I hid them in purses, notes from work, scrawled on the binding inside my bible. There are years and years of notes. Now that I am free, I am reading those notes. Year after year, I read my suffering. My abuser/husband’s tactics changed, twisted and repeated, but he never, ever stopped and has not stopped today. It has been quite a reality check to find those notes. I have also read notes and exercises we did together in counseling. What a bunch of baloney. What a waste to go to a marriage counselor who knew nothing about abusive behaviors. Years and years and years of my life tangled up with a man who never loved me. I didn’t know it. He was so very convicing and tricky. I know now that he was too ill to ever love anyone. I don’t have any angry, just a shake my head kind of response to the depth of sorrow for living with someone elses personality disorder.

      I went on a bit there. But, I agree. Keeping private notes can be a great help. I have also received emails from my abuser and then reread them answering how I really wanted to answer in red ink. I save them and my counselor reads them to see if I am on the right track. I am getting better and better at identitying abusive tactics.

      Last week I found a note in a old purse. It was six year ago in March. I wrote: “Huband has called me a shi— wife” REALLY? “Husband walked by me and pulled my pants to the floor to inspect my legs for bruises” “Husband said, You call that a real hug? Next time I want to see an improvement!”

      How did I live with such a terrible man?

  18. Aly on March 16, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Dear writer if I am lost, I need help,

    I have read the responses and agree with many of these wonderful wise people. I agree with Leslie’s directives and can see the great wisdom that will offer you! I agree wholeheartedly that any change will come from your action. Your faith in who God is and His desire for your heart and health will give you the strength and clarity you will need.

    I also have a bit of ‘other direction’ and opinion on some of the areas in your post that cause me to address, …mainly because I can relate to a lot of what you are going through. 😢

    I married young to an older guy~ he became a workaholic as well.
    We have battled through~ but it has taken a lot of interventions.

    The verbal and emotional abuse you are suffering in is horrible and feel like this doesn’t need to take a back seat. The things you wrote that you h and even the comments your father in law has said is outrageous!
    These dialogs send me warning flags for your heart and for getting into a place of reality.

    A husband that calls his wife names, rejected her in bed.. allows his own father to imply adultery is a huge cause of underlying concern to me. (This doesn’t ADD up for me, and their might be more serious things going on with your husband)

    In my opinion, your h could be ‘full of shame’ for something other than just working (a lot) shame causes people to despise themselves and then through off those horrible feelings they have about their own behavior into an innocent person.

    My h’s affair was his work and basically himself (which is a horrible place) But many workaholics take things beyond this, because of their mindset.. their mindset is all about (entitlement).
    They are entitled to do and act as they feel they should. Your h’s name calling and treatment of disguard is serious enough that I do think it would be wise to pray and seek evidence of any further betrayals. Imbbot sayinh im right, I just feel like a lot of what you wrote about the current place your in, seemed to not address what ALL the more could be deeper roots to the behavior of your h that you are the recipient of.
    Yes, you need to get stronger and your change is best chance of hope in any direction. I agree with so much of what Leslie and others said, but I also feel that there is a lot here that will need to be pressed into so you can get as healthy as God calls you to be.

    I’m praying for wisdom and care for your journey.
    There are many sisters here that can come alongside to encourage you with hope and redeeming your courage!
    💗💗💗

  19. So sad on March 16, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I am so strengthened by all the comments and replies on this blog. And the blog itself of course. Thank you all. I am just daring to start sharing but I am in the process of strengthening and had a sort of awakening as described above. After an emotionally destructive marriage of nearly 19 years. I am so sad about it but have, eventually in the last few months let go of the idea things will change and starting to strengthen my core and build up courage to act. Thank you for this amazing resource.

    • Nancy on March 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Hi So sad,

      I can totally relate to the sadness you are experiencing, having ‘woken up’ to the reality of your situation 🙁

      It is a very sad place to witness dreams come crashing down, but I can assure you that living in reality and operating from here is a much better place. It’s a place of true Hope. We learn to place our Hope in Christ, not in our spouses or our marriage.

      And from that place we grow in Him as daughter of the Most High.

      Thank you for sharing So sad. I’m praying for you ❤️

      • T.L. on March 16, 2017 at 3:05 pm

        So Sad and Nancy,

        So well stated, Nancy. Adding my support to Nancy’s; totally agree with her, and am praying for you, too, So Sad. In spite of the sadness, the truth really does set us free, and you will be walking in that freedom more and more with each step forward.

        • Aly on March 16, 2017 at 4:45 pm

          Dear So Sad,

          I’m so sorry for what you are awaking to as you described. It can be scary to take steps of faith and your in good caring company here.
          I also agree with what Nancy & others have encouraged you in and ‘invited’ you into. Your not alone and God will be equipping you every step of the way.
          I have found that taking the risk of sharing ‘amongst those that can understand my dynamic’
          …Has been liberating and empowering to continue my walk~
          These sisters are such blessing to wounded areas that take special support and understanding. My prayer is for your heart and that hopefully God can use any of our pain and support to drawn near to know you.
          💜

  20. Aleea on March 16, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    To our questioner: . . . . I was thinking as I was praying for your situation today about how you said this: “. . . He would get in arguments with me if I tried to put the kids to bed early. He has told me I am stupid, I’m a bitch, and that a stranger’s slippers are worth more than mine will ever be. He let his father crack jokes about our marriage, saying that if I don’t sit beside my husband another woman will come and take him.” . . . .As you well know, that kind of total crazy talk comes from not understanding reality, a realist assessment of self and how fortunate we all are, as well as how very, very little all of us really knows. Arrogance is a weed that grows marvelously on a dunghill and God just hates it. We all need to be humble. I’m praying that for your husband and I’m praying it for me too, as well as, pleading with God for wisdom. . . .The thing that always, 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. . . . .Questioner, maybe realize that all that is happening inside your husband too. He is doing that to himself before it makes its way into your world. That’s maybe how you can remember to have compassion. I finally realize something of the nuance of the “violence in the heart” my abusive mother must have been experiencing because she must have been abusing and objectifying *herself* internally for that to be manifesting *externally* on me. That is the way most psychologists, psychoanalysts, et.al. have explained it to me. The abuse (―whatever form it takes: controlling; objectifying; belittling) would not be happening *externally* if was not happening *internally* first. Your husband is doing that to himself internally: objectifying, abusing, belittling. That is the only way it happens externally. It is coming from his CORE, his factory of himself. —Which may mean don’t even seek love externally, ―it’s fleeting. Go beyond the ego and awaken God’s love that already exists within. I’m trying to do that too. That seems the goal always. Confidence is knowing your value in Christ, instead of expecting a man’s love to provide you with value. If we belong to Christ (―and that’s not easy to know in any honest assessment), maybe the way to exit that loop is to have all your identity resting in the knowledge of who you are created to be.

  21. Rosie on March 17, 2017 at 10:10 am

    In response to Leslie’s question, “Friend, when you felt lost, what helped you to find your way back to spiritual, emotional, and mental strength?”:

    I’m glad to have the opportunity to share some of what helped me the most. I think the first & most valuable thing I had to do was identify my fears. Once I identified them, I could test them to see if they were real. So for me, my biggest fear was to fail financially. That fear crippled me for so long. I had no idea how a budget worked. I set up a mock bank account in my private, password protected journal. And as bills would come in, I’d pay them out of my mock account so I could see how it worked. I tested it for three full months & forecast my expenses for an entire year. I needed to get out, from his negative influence & presence. By keeping a mock budget, I saw I could actually leave. After I left, my thinking became clearer.

    Another thing I did was I gradually became close to 4 women. I would try to keep a scheduled time out with at least one different friend a week. We’d meet for coffee or lunch. It gave me something to look forward to & gave me a chance to listen to what was going on in someone else’s life. It gave me insight as to how to pray specifically for my friend & her family. It helped me learn how to give and take in healthy relationships. I think it helped, too, to not lean too heavily on any one of my girlfriends.

    I also began listening to YouTube videos from Patrick Doyle. When I worked out in the yard, or would do household chores, I’d just let them play in my head phones. I received much validation & encouragement. I began phone counseling with someone from Veritas Counseling, the counseling center Patrick heads up. I read Lundy Bancroft’s “Why Does He Do That”, and later his daily wisdom book. Both books are very helpful when deciding what to do about angry and controlling people. I susbscribed to blogs like this one & found others. I subscribed to them all & kept subscribing to the ones I found helpful.

    I have a wonderful Bible Study I go to. But, I actually pulled back from serving there so I could focus on my personal relationship with God. It was helpful to me to dig in the Scriptures for myself & be led & taught directly by the Holy Spirit. I found I can’t take anyone else’s word for it. I found a group to go through a 12 step Biblical program with. After completing that, I joined a different support group for people going through divorce.

    I began exercising regularly & that’s been so helpful.

    I think it’s important that we don’t look for formulas to strictly follow, as tempting as that is. I think it’s more like a custom-made recipe for each one of us. And I think it begins with walking with God & seeking Him. So much of what is working for me, seems contrary to what I expected would work.

    • JoAnn on April 2, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Rosie, how brave and wise of you to do what you did!!! And thank you for sharing it with us. There are some common steps that seem to be a thread through all the things that different ones have shared here: realizing that things need to change– a sort of “awakening”; getting deeper into a vital and loving relationship with the Lord; taking steps to figure out how to get out of the relationship; getting counseling when possible; spending time with friends; reading books about abuse; and reading and sharing here on this blog. I especially like how you used a mock bank account to see how you could manage on your own–clever! In various ways, I think everyone here is either taking these steps or being encouraged by others to do so. Thank you for sharing. I hope we will hear more from you.

    • Kelsey on April 11, 2017 at 11:09 pm

      Reading these comments has been so eye opening for me. I am 22 and my divorce was just finalized in February of this year. I was only married for about 9 months. I did not realize I was in an abusive relationship until my mom sent me a copy of Leslie’s book “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage”. It wasn’t until after I read it that I began to recognize the patterns of manipulation, the guilt tripping, constant criticism and belittling. Within the first month of us being married, my spouse started looking at pornography. It broke my heart and made me feel like trash. At first he told me about it and felt so sorry for what he had done, but after the second time he wasn’t sorry anymore. He began to tell me that I was unforgiving and critical because I felt so heart broken. I knew something was wrong in my marriage, but I didn’t attribute it to my spouse because for one I was afraid to even in counseling settings, but I truly had come to believe that I was the problem. I had become a shell of my happy outgoing former self. My grades were sinking and I was taking a toll physically. I am a cross country athlete at the university I attend, and I lost so much weight that I could no longer compete. I could see my husband was putting distance between us and crushing my goals and dreams as he went. I felt distant from God and I felt lonely and unloved. It seemed that everything that was important to me was falling apart.

      Leslie’s book gave me the opportunity to try and save my marriage. I confronted my husband with a contract of things that I needed to see change to stay in the marriage. He was incredibly upset with me but started seeing a counselor. He did not make any progress on the points I had outlined despite my trying so desperately to look for the good in him. I can say with confidence that I did everything I possibly could have done to try and save our marriage.

      I can honestly say the him leaving me was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I am not sure I would have been strong enough to do it on my own (to leave him). But after hearing these experiences I feel fortunate and grateful to have gotten out of this as early as I did, before it became even more aggressive forms of abuse.

      To this day, I still have nightmares about him at times. But I feel God’s love in my life again. There is hope. I am learning to rock climb and do things I always wanted to do. I am competing again and representing my school in track meets. I am planning to go on to PA school in the next year. I still struggle with the thought of dating seriously. But I am open to meeting people and making friends. I know all of this progress has been through the love and support of my Savior.

  22. Connie on March 17, 2017 at 12:03 pm
    • T.L. on March 17, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      Just read it Connie; really good. Thank you for sharing it.

      • T.L. on March 17, 2017 at 9:05 pm

        Connie, I’m really enjoying other articles on that website, too, like the one on submission. So well-written.

        Lori: you will like and glean much here too, I think.

      • T.L. on March 17, 2017 at 9:06 pm

        Connie, I’m really enjoying other articles on that website, too, like the one on submission. So well-written.

        Lori, and others: you will like and glean much here too, I think.

        • Lori on March 18, 2017 at 10:32 pm

          Hi TL,

          “Lori, and others: you will like and glean much here too, I think.”

          Thank you for the encouragement to look into this. I plan to.

          Carrying you in my heart prayerfully.

          • Aly on March 18, 2017 at 10:51 pm

            Lori, T.L.

            Just wanting you both to know you are on my heart and I’m praying for you💖

            I was at a conference this weekend ~ focusing on grief and loss and the healing that comes with the tears in the presence of ‘One-Anothers’

            Sending hugs to you!



          • T.L. on March 19, 2017 at 7:07 am

            Lori, also, not sure if I provided the link to Dr. George Simon’s website…? He has lots of articles on narcissism, character disorders, manipulators, etc.

            https://www.drgeorgesimon.com/

            Aly…would you be comfortable posting your email address? Or maybe you can give permission to Leslie’s assistant and those of us who want to connect can get it from her?

            Thank you for your prayers, both. Having difficult last couple of weeks. Praying for you too.



          • Aly on March 19, 2017 at 10:05 am

            T.L.

            I will reach out to the assistant, to give my email/ contact info. Thank you for the encouragement and staying on the blog;) here.
            Also thank you for the links too! I find Lundy’s to be very helpful because he seems to hit the abusive attitude (that self talk) as such a core component to a repeat offender in the emotional and verbal abuse arenas.

            For me it makes sense to see the length and time it takes to reprogram/ recovery… the super highways of the brain.

            I’ll let you know what I find out from the assistant, so I can post here to anyone else who is interested in the same;)

            Love and hugs to you all precious sisters! 🌸 You’ve been on my heart and in my prayers!



          • T.L. on March 19, 2017 at 10:25 am

            Great! And thank you!



          • Lori on March 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

            Aly, TL,

            I would like to be included in the email connection with both of you. Not sure how to do this, but I will try to provide my email to Leslie’s Assistant. Is there a way to make this an email “group” so we can see conversations among ourselves? (Saves posting more than once).

            TL,
            A while back you posted that there was lots going on and you would be hoping to post about it here. Just know I have been praying for you.



    • Marie on March 18, 2017 at 12:45 am

      This article was reassuring that I am where I need to be even if my heart is dragging and crying for it all to go away. Good reminders like these keep me grounded when I feel wavering and unstable. Thanks for sharing.

  23. So sad on March 19, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Thank you so much for your comfort and encouragement, I am so so strengthened by this, I can’t believe the difference it makes. I seem to go through waves of grief and sadness and feeling so wobbly and then suddenly strengthened forwards. I am also really trying to allow myself to feel the hard and difficult and sad feelings and that its ok to walk through them and allow them, I will be ok. Every time I do this I see things clearer after and feel a bit free-er from this subtle stuff that sticks in abusive dynamics. Even now I can’t believe what I have let myself live with for so long. Some of it is so subtle. I am really praying that God will accelerate my abilty to walk in and accept Truth as I can see already how freeing it is, if heart breaking at the same time.

    • T.L. on March 19, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Hi So Sad,

      Yes, you WILL be ok. In fact you will be better than ok. You are coming out of the FOG of abuse, and that is where one can finally begin to breathe in real joy. Be patient and kind to yourself…you are loved, and abundant life is Christ’s purpose for you. He said so.

      I was listening to a helpful radio broadcast (previously recorded) by Lundy Bancroft this morning. You might find it helpful. He talks about how the abuser acts like a wonderful person at first, who is all about you, and slowly, slowly encroaches on and steals your personhood. This way he can make you think that each small, progressive step is no big deal, until you finally get to a place where you, at one point in your life, would never have believed you would tolerate. Here is the link:

      http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yourmentalhealth/2008/06/24/lundy-bancroft-why-does-he-do-that-inside-the-mind

      • Aly on March 19, 2017 at 2:10 pm

        T.L.
        Thank you for posting that link! It was excellent and for me Lundy makes so much sense given the ‘social movement’ toward awareness and freedom for victims!

        • T.L. on March 19, 2017 at 5:07 pm

          Aly, glad you enjoyed it. And hopefully the email idea will work.

          Lori, yes, we will be able to do group emails if we can figure out a way to share our email addresses with those who desire to be included.

          I think I’d rather wait to see if that succeeds before writing too much here for now. But I am thankful to have had 2 good days in a row after 2 weeks of really low mood, exhaustion, etc.

          Regarding my marriage, some decisions are being made (that I can’t mention yet.) I see some hopeful signs and then disappointing ones. The main thing I discern is still a “damage control” mindset…behavior modification just to the point of being able to get things back to how he thinks they should be…at least that’s what I discern so far.

          The other day we had a conversation that didn’t go well. He asked if I had decided about something. I told him what I thought I was going to do, but that it wasn’t a firm decision yet. He began explaining to me why I should do what he thinks I should do. I stopped him and told him that I don’t need or want to hear why he thinks I should _____; that I will decide for myself. He went into defensive mode; why he should be able to tell me his thinking on this. And so I abruptly ended the topic by saying if he wanted to discuss it more we needed a third party present.

          He also asked what I was looking for to end our separation. I told him I needed to see complete repentance, contrition, brokenness, humility. He said that was ridiculous, that, “YOU don’t have COMPLETE repentance, etc.” I told him that he was again falling into the false idea that we were 2 average “sinners” who occasionally sinned against each other. I reiterated the truth of the situation as I see it: that he operated/operates in entrenched strongholds of sin that were/are systematically abusive and destructive to me and to our relationship, and until and unless I see complete repentance and contrition I will not live with him.

          Thank you for your prayers. So appreciate them…and you.

          • Aly on March 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm

            Hi T.L.

            Maybe we will hear something this week from the assistant. I have sent an email.

            I’m so sorry to hear the recent interaction and I will pray for your heart as it can be very triggering emotional as your h is beginning to look into the mirror. (Possibly, right?)
            I think your discernment is wise and I won’t write much either here, but wanted to respond to you with any written support. I’m hoping I can understand more (via email), it seems like you have brought up the 3rd party boundary to him before, just wondering what his response (if any action) on his part to that has been? No need to reply to that… I just didn’t want to forget to ask you;)

            Hugs 💟



          • Lori on March 20, 2017 at 2:14 pm

            Hi TL,

            I am happy to hear that you have had a couple of good days. You have had a real tough go of it lately with the heaviness of the grief of your daughter and all. Praying God touch, carry, heal, refresh, restore, lift and guide you today.

            In response to:
            “I told him that he was again falling into the false idea that we were 2 average “sinners” who occasionally sinned against each other. I reiterated the truth of the situation as I see it: that he operated/operates in entrenched strongholds of sin that were/are systematically abusive and destructive to me and to our relationship, and until and unless I see complete repentance and contrition I will not live with him.”

            Regarding specifically: “I reiterated the truth of the situation as I see it:”

            Your voice is clear and strong TL, even if you don’t FEEL clear and strong. I see the Lord speaking His message through you. I see it as THE LORDS MESSAGE OF TRUTH TL. Perhaps you can find some rest in knowing that if it is the Lords message:

            1. He will continue to speak it through you or others of His choosing and,
            2. He will continue to DEFEND it and YOU.

            Can you discern where your fatigue and low mood are coming from? Is it in the amount of energy it is taking from you to continue to engage in these conversations with your husband? Is it in this continued “reiteration” effort that serves only to backfire and cause you more injury? If so, do you sense any release from the Lord from continuing to share the message?

            Here you say:

            “He also asked what I was looking for to end our separation. I told him I needed to see complete repentance, contrition, brokenness, humility. He said that was ridiculous…”

            To him it may be “ridiculous”, but I find his response to your honest and truthful answer “ridiculous”. Especially coming from a self proclaimed God fearing man.

            He requested you answer his question (as though it was a sincere question) only to:

            1. Call your answer “ridiculous”.

            2. Shine the focus on you for your failings.

            I wonder if these are emotional “beatings”, (feigned as your h attempt to reconcile”?

            I believe his response is telling that he is not ready or willing to even write these answers down and go pray about it, but casts them (and you?) as “ridiculous”.

            I wonder if this is his first “blow” of verbal abuse and the “second blow” is to blame you.

            TL, I think your answer was sound biblical God fearing doctrine (opposite of ridiculous) and I think your husband is rejecting GODS message through his wife to him.

            I am concerned for the destructive effect this has on you and am wondering if God would like to remove you as the “vessel” or “mouthpiece” to an unrepentant son of His.

            Perhaps it is time to guard your heart more diligently from these types of “conversations” with him?

            Concerned for you and praying with much love and care.



          • Aly on March 20, 2017 at 3:10 pm

            Hi Ladies;)

            I received a response from the assistant today.
            Here is the email;
            theals1212@gmail.com

            I plan to respond to the above there.
            Sending hugs and prayers to all of you💕



          • JoAnn on April 2, 2017 at 8:16 pm

            T.L. and Lori, I agree 100% with what Lori shared. She is pointing out some of the reality that is behind what your h is responding with, and I agree that you might need to consider protecting your heart even further, perhaps by not engaging in these discussions with him at all. Someone pointed out that this can be a matter of “casting your pearls before swine.” You send him truth and he tramples it underfoot. As they say in AA, “If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.”



          • T.L. on April 3, 2017 at 3:22 am

            Hi JoAnn,

            Thank you for your thoughts. I certainly agree with all that Lori said as well. Her insight is deep and clear,m.

            I find it astounding how clearly I can see when another person should stop subjecting themselves to such treatment, but when it’s me; I keep giving chances… 😕

            I have some present circumstances that make it very challenging to go “no contact.” But am getting closer.



    • Aly on March 19, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Dear So Sad,

      Just want to affirm some of what you are experiencing in what some call a grief process as well as… at the same time (a life changing process too).
      That’s a lot to feel and deal with but with support and reality… as you described there are moments of strength and clarity that fall upon our journeys.

      So Sad, I don’t know specifics or even a general aspect of your journey other than you have said you have been in a destructive marriage for a while. I want to share a part of my story and I hope it encourages you as getting clarity on this often can bring pains we haven’t felt before. I’m praying that you feel the Lords presence wooing you to His shoulder and His freedoms!

      I can relate to your words about the ‘subtle’ and length of time you described.
      I think this can be a good thing because for me the subtle~ made me feel and experience feeling dooped or foolish!

      As I began to walk wanting to change and grow,… ‘shame’ tried to snatch be back into the Non-growing camp! This was even done on a subtle level.

      I do believe to simplify some here ~ there are 2 pain camps, one camp is the pain of Non growing and things stay the same, yet continue to get more desensitized and have greater chance of greater pain……
      The other camp is the pain of change, this one is painful but with moments of relief and hope for healing and freedom that will continue to progress as we move along.

      As you begin to investigate more and see how hard it is to see the things in the first camp, I want you to know (it’s not your fault) especially if you are surrounded by these individuals.

      As you move to the other painful camp and ‘invite others’ from the first camp, you might encounter more pain but you will be free to embark on your journey and not be obligated to remain the first camp.

      Both camps have their own process of work but they do not end up at the same destination so to speak;)
      This isn’t about heaven or hell? This isn’t about works or non works. This truly is about growing in character and asking God to search our hearts so that we can continue to grow more and more into His Christlike character/image.

      For me, this will never be complete on this side of heaven, but I’m so greatly for the journey and the people He uses to bring about His will!

      Hugging you So Sad, and hoping and praying for His will to be done in your journey💗

    • Lori on March 19, 2017 at 11:55 am

      So sad,

      You wrote:
      “Thank you so much for your comfort and encouragement, I am so so strengthened by this, I can’t believe the difference it makes. I seem to go through waves of grief and sadness and feeling so wobbly and then suddenly strengthened forwards.”

      Yes! That is exactly how it feels to me also. 2 steps forward and 1 backwards. The comfort and encouragement is what I feel strengthens the “forward” motion. Also, the validation I have received from women here is amazing and serves to solidify my foundation.

      And:
      “Even now I can’t believe what I have let myself live with for so long. Some of it is so subtle. I am really praying that God will accelerate my abilty to walk in and accept Truth as I can see already how freeing it is, if heart breaking at the same time.”

      You explain this process so well. Thank you! The range of emotions can (for me) be so great it can feel overwhelming at times. For me it is very difficult to “sit” in them long enough to allow them to teach me the truth. Denial has served to help me survive, but not to thrive.

      We will be more than okay dear so sad. Perhaps He is in the business of name changing! Blessings and prayers for you today dear sister.

      • JoAnn on April 2, 2017 at 8:22 pm

        Lori, your last statement reminded me of a wonderful book by Hannah Hurnard called “Hind’s Feet on High Places.” It is a wonderful allegory of the christian experience, where a young girl whose name was “Much Afraid” and in her walk with the Lord, He changed her name to “Acceptance with Joy.” I would encourage you all to get a copy and enjoy it. I have reread it numbers of times and always find encouragement.

  24. Ruth on March 20, 2017 at 3:09 am

    Nancy:
    I read a post you wrote on march 6th. It was in last week’s article. I felt led to respond to you then but I typed my response as a note on my phone rather than directing posting it here. My intention was to tweak my writing and share it the following morning. Unfortunately, a sinus infection hit me which has terribly exacerbated my migraines . I had very few moments of lucid thinking. On this website, when we talk about being in the fog, and not being able to think clearly – chronic pain, is a fog too.😔
    Nancy: You shared how your husband was protective of his mother and would not allow you to criticize her faults. You said he came to her defense whenever you would point out one of her shortcomings, but that he had finally had a breakthrough. He could now say she was abusive.
    During the course of his professional counseling, has he figured out why he must see her in a positive light and be loyal to her?
    His abusive mother hurt him and the ripple effects of HER sin have hurt your H and then he hurt you and your children. I am so sorry for that pain. However, DO NOT feel like you must rush to emotionally let him off the hook for the for the horrendous damage he has done to you and your children.
    Of course, you will forgive him in the sense that you are not going to speak out vengeful retribution on him- that’s where the Bible says vengeance belongs to the Lord.
    Nancy, I say think of this as a BIG step. It’s not like your husband jumped off the high dive and made a complete transformation. I believe it’s more like he has been peeling off of layers of dysfunction
    like the skin of an onion; there are more layers to go as long as your H stays humble in the process. I don’t think you’re safe yet. Your life’s verse about guarding your heart ❤️ – I think you still need to hold onto that jewel a little longer.😇
    Nancy, do you tend to minimize your pain?
    Do you regularly feel pressured to placate and play ‘all is well’ for your husband’s benefit?
    If so, then be VERY careful or you might shortcut the grieving process necessary to heal the emotional and spiritual wounds you have incurred.
    Take your time. 💗
    It might help to even get away from him and have your own quiet space with just you and your children for a while.
    It’s also OK to be angry with your husband and his mother even if he said he’s sorry.
    God was angry numerous times and God is PERFECT and HOLY.

    • Nancy on March 22, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Hi Ruth,

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful questions, for your insight and your persistence. It really touches me that you would preserve to get me this message ❤️
      To your great questions: Yes, I minimize my pain ( I just had an incident with my mother that shows me very clearly that in order to stay in close relationship with her ( in the past- I am no longer in close relationship with her), I had to deny my pain. I learned this very young. My most recent assignment from our counsellor is to “sit in my strong feelings”. I am amazed at what ‘allowing the pain to do it’s work’, accomplishes. It accomplishes clarity for one, and massive healing.

      I am learning that pain is an incredible teacher. I am learning to let the tears flow and allow my family to come around me in support. I am learning that relationships are designed to be the vehicle of God’s healing ❤️

      To your question if my h has figured out why he had to be loyal to his mother. Only in bits and pieces. Interestingly, the day you wrote this my h had sinus surgery ( I was sad to hear of your infection and headaches, Ruth. My h has suffered for years with headaches etc… it’s terrible) In preparation for that surgery we thought long and hard about how we would inform our mothers ( both narcissistic). The long and the short of it is that putting a tight boundary around ourselves and our children during this time is teaching us A LOT about how NOT doing that in the past ( especially during times of great need) has been destructive to our relationship. Again, there is pain because of reaction to those boundaries, but sitting with that pain has been very telling.

      I hear what you are saying about not letting him off the hook. I’ve made it clear that although I forgive him, he has to earn my trust. The counsellor validated this, too.

      I love that you brought up my favourite verse “above all else, guard your heart”! When my h was in surgery, I got a scolding email from my mother ( because I told her last minute as my h and I had decided was best). I sat there ‘all alone’ crying, asking God why .i had such a selfish mother, who could only inflict damage. I looked at that passage Prov 4:23. My iPad happened to be on the message translation. The Lord showed me the part that said, “get rid of all sideshow distractions”. I realized that my mother’s antics were a distraction that is used to tempt me off the path! So I said to God, “ok Lord, I recognize this as a distraction, I trust you to keep me and will try not to think about her”. The Lord blessed me with Peace. I got through the rest of that incredibly long and exhausting day with my priorities in tact. It also gave me an opportunity to grieve ‘the mother I never had’ in His Peaceful presence while I waited.

      You are wise to tell me to ‘take your time’, Ruth. I do tend to want to skip over the hard parts. Thank you for this reminder.

      I feel so blessed by your care for me.

      • Ruth on March 22, 2017 at 11:16 pm

        Nancy,
        I hope your H’s surgery will provide him relief.
        Ouch, on your moms comments but you categorized them perfectly. What a cloud of negativity she lives in?! She almost sucked you in, but you deflected her with the Word. (that sounds like a Batman comic line LOL)

        I’m happily surprised your H is choosing the path of healing and change. Sadly, it seems from my limited perspective that men seem to cling to an illusion of ‘all is well’ to the death. (someone else can chime in on this if you’ve got insight). These men are like the captain who’s determined to go down with the ship, but Jesus sent the Rescue boats 🚣! It only takes humility and contrition to get the Rescue boat.
        Some men will get in the Rescue boats for a brief season but, eventually they go back to:
        * calling the shots.
        * being entitled.
        * being prideful.
        * being selfish.
        Even if that FLESH ship 🚢 is sinking, taking on water as fast as his weary wife can bail it out.

        So Nancy .. that is good. Your H is one of the few who would even go this far. I hope he will be brave and commit to the God challenge of fighting the GOOD FIGHT. And NOT BACKING DOWN TO EVIL. It will be so scary for both of you. You’ve got a counselor and you post here which you find supportive.
        Does your H have any support system beyond a counselor? He may need more encouragement but I’m not sure you should be saddled with that responsibility; you need to focus on YOU and your daughters.

        • Nancy on March 23, 2017 at 1:43 pm

          Hi Ruth,

          Sometimes I sit with my girls to do art. I have my next art project: Batman ( or batgirl, in my case) deflecting my mother’s antics with the Word! That’s gonna be fun 🙂 The girls don’t need to know what inspired the project 😉

          My husband is part of an accountability group which he started. The guys he invited to join would be exactly the ones I would have chosen for him.

          He was seeing a secular counsellor but since going to our couples counsellor, experienced such a difference in the process that the other counsellor comes up really short. He hasn’t been back. We’ve only been to 5 sessions so far and I’m surprised at how much has been unearthed already.

          I love your analogy of Jesus sending rescue boats. Yes it sure takes humility to ask for help and get in those boats.

          I do feel blessed by my h’s decision but I’m also cautiously optimistic about it. My REAL Hope is in Jesus, who covers me, walks with me and loves me! ❤️

          • Aly on March 23, 2017 at 5:33 pm

            Nancy,

            I’m sorry to hear about the recent surgery of h but hopefully all is recovering well.
            I think I might have missed a previous post too?
            I’m excited for you that you are experiencing some good counseling in walking your journey;) praise God for this resource and area of support! God will continue to give you a solid foot placement,He’s so faithful in our grief. The faithfulness comes in glimpses for me at times because it can be overwhelming sometimes as I trace things.

            I’m sorry for the scolding email from your mother? I’m confused about why you would be scolded because of a surgery via your h? Please, know know you don’t have to answer either.

            I like your Batgirl comment ~ it’s darling;) if found it so related as my youngest asked if we could take ‘our bat mobile’ to school the other day, my response…
            of course what else does ‘batgirl’ drive;) 😂

            Much love and prayers for you!



          • Ruth on March 23, 2017 at 6:40 pm

            Nancy:
            See my reply
            Down at the bottom of the article.
            😉



          • Nancy on March 24, 2017 at 11:43 am

            Hi Aly,

            Yes my h is recovering very well 🙂

            My mother expressed her disappointment in finding out about my h’s surgery last minute. My h and I had decided that I would send an email to both our mothers ( individually) after he went into surgery. I did that. A couple of hours later I opened her response saying “OH!!! How alarming and upsetting to learn of this only now!’ Then she went on to wish us the best. My mother’s reaction comes from encountering a boundary. She is borderline where being enmeshed equals love. Boundaries equal attack. So she ran into this ‘wall’ and simply had to express her hurt. She really can’t see anything wrong with her ‘expressing her feelings’. To her, she’s not scolding me, she’s expressing herself.

            Maybe with time and space, I will be able to see her reactions that way, too. Do you think I overreacted? Am I over sensitive? I’d really like to hear what you think. Anyone is welcome to chime in here.

            This morning she is making a lasagna and driving it over. She wrote me that she would not ring the bell, as she did not want to intrude but will leave it in a box on the front step.

            I broke out in sobs when I read it. Guilt. All I could feel was how confused she must be. I know that she doesn’t get it. She CAN’T get it. To take responsibility for her feelings would be to lose her very self ( the essence of Borderline is this). So I can totally see her point of view and feel her pain ( ever since I was very little I knew this) but she is completely unable to do the same for me. Which is why I need to guard my heart. Not go to the door when she comes and simply say thank you, by text, when she’s gone.



          • T.L. on March 24, 2017 at 12:03 pm

            Nancy, thanks for permission to chime in. This account just breaks my heart! I find myself able to relate well with both your pain, and hers. If I did not know the history and that your mom is borderline, I would think you were overreacting. In a normal, healthy, mutually respectful relationship, she should be able to share her feelings, and you should be able to hear them.

            But you have had to make the boundaries because of a history of abuse, and you need to guard your heart.

            I do see your mom wanting to “be there” for you in a time of need, and that’s so kind. Perhaps the boundaries will serve her well, in the end, giving her an incentive for much-needed self-reflection. Perhaps she might even look for some help in how to have healthy relationships.

            Is it possible you both want the same thing? A good mother-daughter relationship? But individual healing and growth needs to happen first, for safety to be in place. I’m going to pray right now for that. May He surprise you because…

            “He uses things that we don’t expect to accomplish things that better than we expected.”



          • T.L. on March 24, 2017 at 12:12 pm

            Dear Nancy, one more thing:

            “I broke out in sobs when I read it. Guilt. All I could feel was how confused she must be. I know that she doesn’t get it. She CAN’T get it. To take responsibility for her feelings would be to lose her very self ( the essence of Borderline is this). So I can totally see her point of view and feel her pain ( ever since I was very little I knew this) but she is completely unable to do the same for me. Which is why I need to guard my heart. Not go to the door when she comes and simply say thank you, by text, when she’s gone.”

            I feel your pain here, and I so relate on the basis of boundaries with my husband. I want to affirm you in your beautiful heart of compassion. It is hard NOT to grow hard-hearted…but you are retaining your soft heart while maintaining your boundary. Easier to harden the heart, but destructive spiritually and emotionally. So I think you are in the right place internally, though it’s more painful.

            But the guilt? Tell it to go to hell where it belongs, in this case. It’s false guilt, which I know you know!



          • Aly on March 24, 2017 at 12:38 pm

            Nancy,
            Praise God for these places in your husband’s journey and yours too! It might feel like a new dance to learn and path;)

            I’m sorry about the interaction with your mom. In my opinion.. not saying I see the entire picture because I don’t…i wouldn’t necessarily say you are over-reacting.. first because you didn’t react back to her.
            But secondly, I wonder why you feel that you may have?
            I wonder if your emotions are fragile and you most certainly are going to be triggered by how she communicates like in her
            email response.
            Let me try to explain:

            You wrote via your mom’s comments:
            “OH!!! How alarming and upsetting to learn of this only now!’ ”

            This to me is a way of communicating possibly false shame, kinda that passive aggressive tone, where it’s in the ‘learning of this now!’
            As if that’s a failure on your part. Or the family image of lack of support…the family looking bad.
            I agree with you if she’s borderline… it’s usually going to be about how SHE is impacted by the news rather than the focus of the news being about the surgery and your h. Again her not able to prioritize the scenario apart from ‘her injured hurt’.

            Because you get enmeshed families there are variations of enmenshment and I’m wondering if both you and your husband’s mom’s happen to be OVER-involved in your daily lives and that’s why you didn’t want the added stress of giving them a heads up notification?
            Which if that’s the case, I SO understand that.

            Learning these new limits for your mom will be an adjustment, but I do think her dropping off a meal and not intruding is healthy (even if it’s a start)

            I like your idea of saying thank you in a text;)

            I’m wondering about your comment on feeling guilting? Is the guilt in not telling her earlier..?
            Is the guilt something else or something like predicting her behavior …

            Should you feel guilty for any of her past behaviors or now her responses to your boundaries?
            I’m not sure that would be healthy guilt… or if it would be taking on too much responsibility that isn’t yours.

            Don’t you think it would sound very different if you wrote her a last min email saying, we are headed into the ORoom and I need you to drop everything mom and get the kids from school and make us all dinner and place mints on our pillows?
            I’m pretty sure that was not your information email you sent to her about the surgery.

            One thing I wonder about Nancy, do you think your mom finds ‘her significance’ only in her role of being in the family?

            I’m thankful her beautiful daughter Nancy knows the intimate significance of being a child of God forever and ever! 💕



          • Nancy on March 24, 2017 at 1:02 pm

            Thank you T.L., for your honest and heartfelt reply.

            That is my hope for my mom too : That she would find herself some help. That she would take the opportunity to look inward. This is such an impossible hope though, because with Borderline the ultimate fear is that in looking inward they will discover the massive void that drives their life. My mom is so desperately empty. It breaks my heart. I have tried my whole life to fill that void, to my own detriment, and to the detriment of my marriage (not taking responsibility for the entire destructive marriage-just my part).

            Nothing is impossible with God. He can heal us, and as you say, T.L., maybe once I grow more in Christ, it just might be possible to be somewhat closer. I would like to love my mom for who she is, but can’t get too close if she can’t look in the mirror. She modifies her behaviour (not ringing the doorbell because she doesn’t want to intrude, for example) but it’s not out of respect for me, it’s out of fear of what she’ll lose (me).

            And so I set boundaries praying for the Lord’s intervention in her heart (and mine too).

            And yes T.L., we both want the exact same thing- a good mother-daughter relationship. The difference now is that I’m asking God to accomplish that.

            And the guilt? Go to hell!

            Thanks T.L.



          • T.L. on March 24, 2017 at 1:59 pm

            Praising God that you are breathing in health and healing deeply, Nancy. It’s so refreshing!



          • Nancy on March 24, 2017 at 1:35 pm

            Hi Aly,

            Thank you for your response and questions. Yes you got it, the problem is always that she is unable to prioritize anything above her ‘hurt her’, as you put it.

            I’m not able to hear her feelings because I’ve had enough of that for a lifetime.

            And yes, her communication is very ‘false shame’ based- that indeed it is a failure on my part that she is not included.

            My feelings are indeed very fragile where she is concerned. My mother and mother in law have not been involved in our daily lives but we have both a very strong codependent bond with each. Super. Destructive.

            My mom’s idol is family. I am the only one left. My sibs left years ago ( they are the smart ones!), my father passed away years ago. The pressure is immense. This is why it’s taken such extreme circumstances ( fighting for our marriage), to set boundaries with her. Because I am her ‘void filler’, satan tells me I’m killing her.

            “Get behind me satan!”

            Thank you so much for your care and concern, Ali. It helps so much to talk things out. Especially on days like today!



          • Nancy on March 24, 2017 at 3:48 pm

            Also, Ali, I’m thinking about your question about my guilt. That overwhelming feeling hit me like a ton of bricks after
            I read that she was going to be dropping off food.It’s because I can empathize with her confusion over the situation, and yet still, she’s trying so hard to love me in her way. She really doesn’t understand why I am setting the limits that I am. She doesn’t understand why I wouldn’t ask her to look after the kids for example, on that exhausting ( surgery) day. The problem is that she’ll ask that question, ” why Nancy, did you do that? ” [ whatever THAT was] and I would attempt to explain. But it would become immediately obvious that she didn’t ask the question because she wanted feedback about herself,she’d asked in order to convince me how wrong I was in whatever decision I had made.

            So my guilt is that I’m changing my interactions and she CANNOT understand the why of it ( I no longer explain my actions because I have learned. You might remember I had written her a heartfelt letter about my feelings explaining that trust had been lost, and she lost that letter. I offered to re-send it but she never asked for it).

            Because of her intense denial, all she knows is that she’s losing me more and more. She’s heartbroken. And I am heartbroken for her. She has no other family but me. Ooooof, that’s so heavy. And this is where ” Above all else guard your heart” as a command from the Lord is the only thing that will allow me to put myself first.

            He is showing me, with each step, how there is health in His ways.

            Thanks for your insight



          • Aly on March 27, 2017 at 8:49 am

            Nancy,

            Just wanted to follow up with you and send a hug. You are going through a lot of stresses and especially the changes you and your h are making will be waged against, something I can relate to personally. It’s hard enough to make those boundaries at times let alone feel like (certain loved ones will try to wrestle them out of your arms).

            I’ve thought a lot about what your last comments were and what you were experiencing in the pain of your mom’s denial.
            I’m so very sorry for your heart and the pain this brings.
            For me it felt like a tearing apart in my heart to deal with my own mom, it’s natural for those a bit more bent like us…to want to be loyal to our parents….especially if we see what they clearly can’t or sometimes won’t. The choice to be loyal to one (Him) sometimes takes us places that transform is far beyond what we can understand, I think if we really do sit and weigh the costs, I’m not sure I would have made some of the past choices I had, but I don’t regret listening and learning about His truth and His ways. I’m guessing you are also experiencing these fragrant moments along the road?

            You wrote:
            “She really doesn’t understand why I am setting the limits that I am. She doesn’t understand why I wouldn’t ask her to look after the kids for example, on that exhausting ( surgery) day. The problem is that she’ll ask that question, ” why Nancy, did you do that? ” [ whatever THAT was] and I would attempt to explain. But it would become immediately obvious that she didn’t ask the question because she wanted feedback about herself,she’d asked in order to convince me how wrong I was in whatever decision I had made.”

            Nancy, I hope this is helpful, but your mom’s dynamic reminds me of a dear friend of mine..
            I’m not comparing here~ at all, I just want to relate with the complete frustration and agitation these type of interactions can bring…. the fear, the eggshells of the reactivity..really in my opinion ‘it’s control’ that someone is taking.
            I can remember, the only thing I could count on was that this person would be ‘disappointed regardless’. The only prediction I could make is that there would be a reaction of some offense~ could be anything! Disappointment seemed to be sought out everywhere and somehow the person standing closest was responsible??
            I have a feeling you might relate to how those unhealthy guilt patterns can arise and get murky.

            You mentioned your mom not understanding your latest limits and the grief you have with this….and her questioning is really about pointing out ‘her disapproval’ or her issue with how your decisions effect her, she again is blending the boundaries (only one direction of course) and both parties don’t seem to have equal relevance?
            Because it’s ‘your choices’ for ‘your family’ etc, there really doesn’t need to be equal here, mainly because she’s not really the 3rd spouse if that makes sense.. the upside down issue is that she has been able to make it about (her). Your decisions are about you and your family and that’s OK to draw that line.
            The good news here for you and for her, is that she doesn’t have ‘to get it’
            This can and I believe in a healthy aspect…. should be ‘about you’ and what you need for your family as you are leaning on the Lord and guarding your heart💜
            I do think this is a loving act on your part to help the dynamic not get murky/dysfunctional ~ something your mom can’t do for herself right now…let alone the entire process of the family.

            I remember feeling similar feelings toward my h when I began to draw healthy boundaries, I felt like I was abandoning him in ways knowing that he didn’t have certain lenses on and little aspects of support… I knew his abandonment/ rejection issues better than my own pain of rejection by him….
            but the truth was, I was no longer abandoning ‘me’… the Lord had work to do with transforming me and He wanted to continue to show me His faithfulness and especially His rescue.

            I believe I see this in your posts and I’m alongside cheering you and will cry with you too knowing the grief that can come in moments.

            Lastly, I wanted to mention the letter you wrote to your mom that she lost. I’m so very sorry that your heart and sadness we’re not received by her, many of us here can See YOU, Nancy, I understand it’s not the same, but I do hope & pray you feel cared and loved in a way that do replace these losses.

            Nancy, the Lord has built you with some ‘special components’ for His Kingdom, I do think you are discovering those 🤗,
            May you always feel wrapped in His love to continue your trek;)
            Many hugs!



  25. Maria on March 21, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Thank you for all the articles, teaching ,comments. They had been my encouragement to keep on going. I have live in a destructive marriage for over 43 years . Some times I feel like a finally get a victory and then …is like I star over , is so desapointed ,I’m getting tired .

    • Maria on March 21, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Maria, I can relate to what you are going. Once I understood I was in a destructive marriage, I realized the reality of my situation- my husband will more than likely not change. So I have adjusted my expectations of him. There is a saying:
      Expectations minus reality equals disappointment.

    • T.L. on March 21, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Maria,

      I just want to encourage you to tell you many of us here know how you feel. It is exhausting to live in a destructive marriage. When you say, “Sometimes I feel like i finally get a victory…” can you explain a bit what you mean by a victory? Is it a victory in yourself? Or you think you see change in your husband?

      Many of us kept hoping for change for years, like you. But then we had to face that we were living in “wishful thinking.”

      Are you receiving any counseling, Maria? Do you have any support? Is there anyone in your life you can be really honest with and get help from? Can you get away fro awhile?

      I will pray for you right now.

  26. Ruth on March 23, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Nancy
    Yes Jesus is our real hope. This makes me think of the Chris Tomlin song JESUS in particular the line in the song:
    “HE walks on the water;
    he speaks to the sea;
    He stands in the fire BESIDE ME.”
    I love that part “beside me”
    Nancy, He was beside you when you opened that fiery email.

    Now, let me see if I can attach a link ( I am NOT TECH savvy at all 🤔) I apologize in advance if this fails:https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cEbQswNB6Wc
    Chris Tomlin “JESUS”:

    • Nancy on March 24, 2017 at 11:10 am

      Thanks Ruth ❤️

  27. Ruth on March 24, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    T.L.
    Recently, I came across a song on an internet search that I love. It blesses me, but when I heard it i thought even more of you.
    It appears to be part of a collection of great hymn remakes, but if this was a hymn, then it was one I was not familiar with.
    Song: Be Still My Soul
    Group: Page CXVIhttps://m.youtube.com/watch?v=f79VVBt6W4A

    This group also has a FANTASTIC version of ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus ❤️

  28. Ruth on March 24, 2017 at 11:36 pm
    • T.L. on March 25, 2017 at 5:31 am

      Hi Ruth,

      Thank you so much for thinking of me and sending this song. I have heard this hymn; it has blessed me deeply. But I had never heard this version. Their style is very unique and I think they have added some words that I’d never heard. It’s beautiful. I love it and will try to listen to the whole album. Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus carries special meaning for me. Thank you.

      • Ruth on March 25, 2017 at 9:50 am

        “Tis So sweet to trust in Jesus” has a special meaning for me also; I knew it growing up in the little country church I was raised in. It reminds me of precious women of faith, who for the most part have gone on to be with Jesus. My own parents are in their late 80s. So, I’ve been preparing myself for their glorious, yet bittersweet send-off. I’m so thankful up to this point they have been in good health!
        My favorite memory 💕 of “‘Tis So Sweet” is that it was one of a handful of songs that I sang to my babies when I rocked them to sleep. (I just had to change The rhythm of the song to match the rhythm of the rocking chair).

        This singing group has a uplifting, ethereal version of ‘Tis So Sweet.

        I’ll *try* to post a link, but tech skills are so archaic. And my teenage son is asleep; he’s my helper. So I’m left to do this all alone. LOL.

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fU0G-5_bIWc

        • T.L. on March 25, 2017 at 11:29 am

          Thank you Ruth! Loved that version! ❤

          • T.L. on March 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm

            Ruth, my eldest daughter used to sing Tis So Sweet as a solo at home and once at church. And so she sang it at my daughter’s Memorial. ❤️💔



  29. So sad on March 26, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Sorry for delay in responding to your beautiful responses to me. Thank you. I really truly can’t believe the strength I am receiving from you all. Yes I am really experiencing that bitter sweetness of this journey in terms of feeling freedom as every layer or realisation is peeled back and seeing things clearer. I’m so grateful at the same time, even though I’m not sure where the journey will end up. I have been reading about ‘gas lighting’ this last week and realise that my h has been doing that to me all my married life. I can also see how I already had templates set up for it from my mum in my childhood. Once I see it its so obvious but I guess that’s what denial does. It feels like I ‘knew’ much of it but wouldn’t let myself know – if that makes any sense!

    I am also loving those music links and the song versions, thank you!

    • Ruth on March 26, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      So Sad,
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the songs I’ve been ‘collecting’.

      I believe this will minister to any lady on this blog, but in particular to you.
      One day when I was wondering if God could possibly clean up the big flop of my life, I turned on Christian Radio and this song came on:

      You Make Beautiful Things

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1spkhp41ig4

  30. Ruth on March 27, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Oh, TL.
    I don’t know what to say. I’ve been waiting to respond all day because I’ve been trying to think what could I say? But nothing seems sufficient. I’d love to give your older daughter a big hug; I can’t imagine how much loneliness and grief she must feel. How is she doing?

    • T.L. on March 27, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      Hi Ruth,

      I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have mentioned…I didn’t mean to make it awkward. We are all trusting in the Lord, even as we process our loss. (I have 6 kids.)

      I’ll give a listen to that Lumineers song too.

      I’ve been praying for you today since reading a long post you wrote recently. I’ll try to respond soon, but you are being lifted up in my heart to the throne of grace. Xo

  31. Ruth on March 27, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    TL
    I find some secular music blesses me too.

    I like this piece by
    The Lumineers:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6q5Zn_ZkehM

  32. Nancy on March 27, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    HI Aly,

    I have read your last post to me a few times and I feel as though you really understand me. Thank you so much. There are many areas in the dynamic with my mom that you spoke about that have really blessed me.

    I especially loved how you spoke about how you setting boundaries with your h became about you no longer abandoning you. I think this is what the ” guard your heart” proverb is about. If we abandon ourselves to ‘serve’ someone else’s need, then we are not bringing glory to God. Love comes from the overflow of the heart, into the heart of another. I am not loving my mother when there is no separation between us. But the separation is the very thing that causes her so much pain. How not to abandon myself without causing her pain… I don’t think there is a way to accomplish both those things.

    I’ll have to leave her pain in the hands of my King, then grieve my own.

    Thank you for seeing me 🌷

    • Nancy on March 29, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Just thought I’d add an analogy that my counsellor gave me yesterday.

      He said that a person with a severe physical disability will experience TWICE as much pain with a good physiotherapist.

      I’m thinking deeply on this with regards to setting boundaries with my mother. I have been enabling her by not sticking to my boundaries.

  33. So sad on March 30, 2017 at 1:01 am

    Dear Ruth and Nancy

    Ruth thank you so much for the link to You make beautiful things. It is making me cry and I am playing it on repeat today! I just feel so so sad that I feel like I’m in a lose – lose situation. With a 2.5 year old I feel that whatever I do or don’t do will be hard and full of grief. And yet when I think of my own choices of husband etc I see how the templates passed down to me from my own parents have informed those choices so fundamentally. And so to not do anything will potentially pass that legacy onto my daughter in terms of what she subconsciously receives from the dynamics in the marriage.
    I guess I’m just having a grieving day :(((

    Nancy and Aly what you wrote about “I especially loved how you spoke about how you setting boundaries with your h became about you no longer abandoning you. I think this is what the ” guard your heart” proverb is about. If we abandon ourselves to ‘serve’ someone else’s need, then we are not bringing glory to God. Love comes from the overflow of the heart, into the heart of another.”
    That is so powerful, I must commit to not abandoning myself. What a journey

    • Nancy on March 30, 2017 at 6:41 am

      My prayers are with you so sad ❤️.

      God is faithful. He will not abandon you. His word is full of treasures for your heart. That proverb (4:23) is what helps me stay righted and anchored in Him when my world is spinning out of control because of manipulation and abuse. One step at a time. One moment at a time.

    • Aly on March 30, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      So Sad,

      Thank you for your reply. I’m so very sorry for your realities and the grief that comes into that but it can be redeeming grief.
      I’m thankful to hear that you are not abandoning yourself anymore~ this will Bless your children to come;)

      I can relate ‘too well’ to looking upon such a young child feeling the responsibility of their care and feeling the pain of direction and healing. Facing loss at what could have been, but what now is. I felt a source of hope in making new choices with the Holy Spirit guiding,…not powerless ones…that I was originally primed to do by my own childhood modeling.

      I do believe it is very possible to (not abandon ourselves/guarding our hearts in His ways) …and at the same time work along as with The Lords guidance to see if a healthy restoring relationship is possible.. it doesn’t always have to be one or the other and this takes a lot of time to evaluate. Both can integrate in a healthy form, I believe.
      I’m my circumstance, it required a lot of additional eyes and support to speak into my journey and how I would navigate my children away from the Unhealthy legacy.

      Sending prayers for your precious heart today! 🌸

  34. janet on April 11, 2017 at 11:46 am

    i think if you reread your statements posted today… you will know what to do because you are a wise and intelligent woman. you will know that it will be very hard and you will know that you can do it. perhaps you should sock away some money, get all the children’s documents together and your tax returns and papers together and save for a period of months. you could prepare your resume in the interim of slowing gathering your items together.. you can look for housing and check out the cost. you could practice going on interviews at jobs that you are not really interested in for practice. this all must be done on the down low. and when the moment is right, you wil be prepared to leave. you are an intelligent, wise woman. and when you surround yourself with people who believe this it will help you believe it too but it isn’t necessary actually. you believe it! you can do this and you have wisdom to make the right decision. your intuition is already telling you all the right things. believe it.

  35. Michele on April 11, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Don’t be afraid to “take a break”. Leave without notice, to prevent violence. Be in a safe place. Sometimes we need a break from current reality to step back and see how much it has affected us and decide whether we want to continue that life, or make changes and how to get to a different place in our lives, if that is what we want. Stay safe & take care of yourself. No one else will take care of you. You must be your own advocate for now.

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