Morning friends,

I want to invite you all to participate in a LIVE free webinar I am doing next week on The Five Red Flags That You Are In A Destructive Marriage AND What To Do Next. You must sign up ahead of time to reserve your spot. If you know another woman who might need this, please invite her to attend. Click here to learn more. 

Also, please pray for me. I am speaking Thursday, Friday, and Saturday back on the East Coast and I need God’s anointing on my feeble words. Please pray that the Holy Spirit touch hearts there in a powerful way.

 

 

Question: I have been married for 23 years. I met my husband at church and so looked forward to serving the Lord together. About ten years ago after a series of crises, my husband no longer wanted anything to do with God, church, or anything Christian.

I have three sons, and I found myself pleading with God, “But, Lord, how am I to raise them to be Godly men with a father so opposed and indifferent?” God has been faithful. He has always met me in my distress, and the more I get to know Him, the more I know that He is all I need.

When my husband decided Christ was irrelevant, he also pulled away from us nearly completely (i.e, we had a gas leak in our garage one evening some years ago and he pretended to turn off the pilot light to the water heater, and then laughed the next day when the gas company informed me that it wasn't turned off).

The boys and I had our lives, and he had his, a life that included outings with other women, pornography (and all the sexual expectations that accompany it), neglecting the kids (one of whom has a serious chronic illness) and mostly just being completely indifferent to our well being or even existence at times. I often wondered if I would come home to find him in a catatonic state he was so disconnected.

I have my own business and work from home. My husband's job would not support our family for one month. He wants me to pay the bills, and so if we need more money to cover whatever, the expectation is that I will simply work more to try to cover it. I stopped sleeping except for 2-3 hours a night, sometimes going 48 to 72 hours with no sleep to try to make things “work.”

I have asked him to take over the family finances, to consider and get other work to help, all to no avail. Twice with the advice of counselors I asked him to leave. In my pathetic weakness, the first time he didn't even leave the house, and the second he left for perhaps two weeks. With promises to change, and his tears of disbelief and distress, I caved and he stayed.

Now I am in crisis. My health is deteriorating, and the doctor has told me if I don't change something, I am headed for a serious health crisis from stress, lack of sleep, etc. Financially we are suffering, and there simply aren't enough hours in the day to work more. My memory is failing from lack of sleep, and I simply am on empty.

My biggest question these years has been what does God require of a wife? There have been times I have been crushed by the weight of contemplating that God would expect one of his precious daughters to continue in a marriage that is on paper only, but if I was convinced that's what He wanted, I'm willing to give my life. My Jesus is worth it. I'm so thankful that my oldest is striving after God, and all three of my dear boys have kind and compassionate dispositions. They continue to come to church with me, and I'm so thankful for them. They are 18, 16 and 13.

In the last months, God seems to be softening my husband’s heart in that he is trying to be more involved, but I find my spirit dead and unresponsive. I am so, so very tired….it is a weariness not of the body so much as of my very soul.

I simply do not know how to continue on, how to set boundaries, how to “count it all joy.” When I do sleep, it's on the couch for the most part, and I fear that I am teaching my boys to accept a twisted and distorted idea of marriage. I am at a loss and worn completely out. What now?

Answer: Oh my. My heart goes out to you. You have done what so many good Christian wives and mother’s try to do. You have worked yourself to the bone, to the point that your health is compromised. You knocked yourself out trying to take care of your home, your children and your finances while your husband played and partied with other women, and checked out of his commitment and responsibility.

What’s wrong with this picture? I’m so glad you have raised good children and I’m sure they saw and appreciated your sacrifices. And, God is pleased when we sacrifice ourselves for another person’s good – in this case your children. However, they have also seen another picture. One of a mother and wife who doesn’t take good care of herself. A woman who allows her husband to be in a relationship with other women with no consequences. And a distorted picture of a Biblical marriage where one person leaves the marriage vows and the other over functions to the point of sickness. This is not a picture of a godly or biblical marriage.

You did not just sacrifice your health for your children, but also to support your husband and his sinful behaviors. For what purpose? This is where it gets cloudy.Was your sacrifice necessary? Was it for his benefit and his good? For example, if he had been hit by a car and couldn’t work, you might work extra to support the family. Or if he was sick with cancer and needed chemotherapy and had to work less, you might work extra to support the family. But you worked yourself to the bone while he partied and slept with other women. And you wonder if that’s what God expects from a wife?

I don’t think you would find any example in Scripture where one person is to carry the load for one who is lazy and sinful. In fact, Scripture is quite clear that if a man won’t work, he shouldn’t eat (1 Thessalonians 3:10). And each person should carry his or her own load (Galatians 6:5). And when a man will not take care of his family, he is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).

I don’t believe God expects a wife to hold everything together while her husband goes off and acts as if he is not married or responsible for the children he bore. The vows he made to provide and protect mean nothing to him. There are many men who step back from their faith, but they still choose to love their kids and provide for their family. There is a whole lot more going on with him then a loss of faith. There are deep character disturbances in his life that keep him in a me-first, selfish position with absolutely no concern or conscience for the effect it has on you or the kids. Why have you allowed him to stay in the home and continued to provide for his food, car, gas, internet, and shelter?

You mention that you are in counseling with someone and I’m glad. You have all the signs of a classic over-functioner, and enabler, and if you take anything from this experience it’s that God does not expect this of you.

God does not expect you to sacrifice yourself in order to enable someone (even if he is your spouse) to be irresponsible, sinful, sexually unfaithful, immoral, and deceitful.Click To Tweet

Right now your first priority is to steward your own health, mind, and spirit. You have sacrificed and sacrificed to your own peril and your body is finally saying ENOUGH ALREADY. It’s on the verge of total collapse and so what God wants you to do right now is rest and restore. That feels scary to you but what’s going to happen if you don’t do it? You are not to think about your marriage problems or your husband’s problems, only about restoring your health. And if you were to ask me, allowing him to come back home will not help your health.

If indeed his heart is softening, then ask him to show you by earning enough money to pay the bills, even if he has to work two jobs. He can sleep on the couch if he can’t afford to live elsewhere. You sleep in the bedroom on the bed with the door closed and locked. Your boys are not infants and if you have raised them as I think you have, they will show care for you and they can pick up some of the household responsibilities for cleaning and maintenance of the home.

God sees your heart. He sees that you have tried with all you have to serve and please him and raise your boys to love and honor him. But your body is now reminding you that it has limitations. It needs sleep. It needs refreshment and recreation and time to reflect and be still. Your husband needs to step up and be the provider and take some responsibility for his family’s needs. And if he continues to refuse, it’s time to put your foot down and say “No more freeloading. You are a grown able bodied man. Whether or not you are a Christian, you still have obligations and responsibilities and it’s not okay that you function here as if you are one of the children rather than one of the parents. It is your choice if you want to abdicate your responsibilities, but then you cannot live here any longer.

Please do not expect yourself to jump up and down and get all excited because your husband’s heart seems a little more tender. You want to see behavior change. You want to see him step up and be responsible and work hard to meet the family’s financial needs. Otherwise, it is just grandstanding to get you to feel sorry for him and once you do, he will continue to do what he’s always done, think only of himself.

If you are not strong enough to stay firm, please ask other women to hold you up in prayer. God does not expect you to take care of your husband like he is a disabled child. That is not your responsibility as a wife or as a Christian.

Friend, When you found yourself worn down to the bone by constantly taking care of other people what finally woke you up enough to stop?

68 Comments

  1. Anewanon on April 26, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Being a true Eve, I too would take it upon myself to rationalize and self blame that I wasn’t doing enough or I wasn’t doing the right thing towards my husband.

    Finally when I had so much fear inside that adrenaline and cortisol constantly coursed thru my veins, a psychosomatic symptom that I had absolutely no control over, a symptom that I could no longer ignore because it felt like pins and needles and fire in my veins non-stop, I knew that God wanted my attention. it wasn’t until then that I finally gave control over to God to let go of my husband.

    He too had no love, no care for the children nor I. He cared in earnest only for himself.

    If he cares for the children at all, it is only for the purpose of looking good to others.

    I do believe that it come from his own father not caring for him. And he had a chance to change his ways. But he didn’t cling to the truth and he let go.

    Now it is for me to cling to God to care for my children and I.

    It’s hard, but at least my body isn’t burning up from the inside out. God will provide. And out story of overcoming adversity will be great and victorious.

  2. Rosie on April 26, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Q: “Friend, When you found yourself worn down to the bone by constantly taking care of other people what finally woke you up enough to stop?”

    I am getting out of a destructive marriage right now. I knew things were bad for a long time, but for many reasons, chose to stay far too long.

    One thing that happened was I had another birthday & another New Years. I realized I had been asking myself the same question for several birthdays & New Year’s Days past: ‘is this next year going to be any better?’ That is pretty silly, thinking back on it. But he would promise things would change. Another lie. I finally decided I didn’t want to live in a one-sided, dysfunctional relationship any longer. I quit participating in our lop-sidedness. I quit contributing to our downward spiral. It was like trying to fill a sink with water without a drain plug in. Nothing was ever enough.

    He & I fit very well together for a time. But just because things or people fit well together, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Sometimes what’s produced is very chaotic & damaging. Even tornadoes need the right environmental conditions to come about.

    I concluded that he had no incentive to change, unless I did something to cause him to change. He had a pretty sweet deal. Why would he change (apart from God convicting him & changing him)?

    • Nancy on April 26, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Rosie,

      I love this…” I quit participating in our lop-sidedness”. This says it all!

  3. Brooke on April 26, 2017 at 8:51 am

    This is a very timely post as always. What woke me up was this. Three weeks ago I hit an emotional and physical breaking point. i just couldn’t do it anymore. I wound up at the ER with erratic heart rate and shortness of breath. Honestly, I thought it was a panic attack. As it turned out, after numerous tests, I now have a very serious and life threatening illness. At best it’s very disabling and debilitating. At worst, well, I don’t want to think about that. I truly believe stress and carrying the load for the family brought this on. I had just started seeing a counselor right before this happened and she told me something had to give. I was already preparing to make changes but then this physical nightmare hit. If God allows my health to be restored changes are coming. If not, I am at a complete loss. The environment can be toxic at times, further stressing me. But now I am facing possible declining health and not being able to work and make my own money. No money means I’m pretty much stuck. I could use your prayers for healing if you would. And my advice to someone else would be to listen to your body and protect your health. Sometimes you HAVE to put yourself first and not enable bad behavior. So much more I could say and I may come back later. Right now I’m still trying to process the not so good news.

    • Refocus-Reclaim on April 26, 2017 at 10:05 am

      So sorry Brooke. That’s not where you ever thought you would be, but our God is good and He will bring good out of this. You are in my prayers!

      • Brooke on April 26, 2017 at 10:56 am

        Thank you so much!! I just wish it wasn’t a struggle for every breath I take. I just want to be here for my kids. God’s got this and I just need to believe that.

    • Nancy on April 26, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Brooke. I am praying for you, and will do so each time The Lord brings you to mind ❤️

      • Brooke on April 26, 2017 at 10:44 pm

        Nancy,
        I appreciate it so very much. I truly do.

    • Many years on April 30, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      I am praying for you too, Brooke, dearest sister in Christ, Since you have a disabling illness you can get government aid and leave your husband, and get nursing help too. Just a thought. The stress of years of walking on egg shells is so debilitating to the body, mind, and soul. Most of the women who are posting here have been abused for years and this is not God’s plan for our lives. He wants us to truly be free from this horrendous evil that we have had to endure, and it hasn’t always been the choices we made that caused it. It was the heart of an evil person in our own lives who has brought this upon us, and most of them will never change. God has a better plan for your life. You need support from those who help women who are helpless to help themselves, in order to help them through intervention for abused women.

    • Free on May 3, 2017 at 6:27 am

      Brooke, if your health declines you can receive disability provisions from the government. There is no reason to stay in such a relationship, is there?

    • Aly on May 11, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Dear Brooke,

      Just wanting to send prayers to you and my hope for your heart is that you will be able to continue your counseling that you just began. I’m sorry for the circumstances and all that your taking in. May you feel our prayers for your heart💕

      • Brooke on May 11, 2017 at 8:50 pm

        I appreciate that so, so much. We are still trying to determine what I am dealing with and how serious it is. Thanks for your kind comments. It is my prayer that I will be healthy again so I am here for my kids.

  4. libl on April 26, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I kept having nervous breakdowns and anxiety attacks. Now, my body and mind can’t handle too much stimulation or excitement. I had to stop home educating my children just to recover somewhat.

    I still over function for my spouse, but unlike this lady in today’s blog post, my husband is one big gray area, which is why my user name is living in blurred lines. Is he legit or sinning?

    He works his 40 hours. He provides for our household. He works extra at times. He has a chronic illness that goes in and out of remission. He helps with the kids. And I don’t want to be that “never pleased, he never can do enough” wife, but I keep having that niggling feeling that this still isn’t right.

    Why am I crawling around our dangerous attic extracting a squirrel while he has shut himself up with the TV AND his phone in the bedroom? Why am I wrestling for an hour to get the kids in bed, only to have him emerge last minute after they have finally quieted and settled, only to burst into their dark bedroom and bark orders and cuss at them?

    But, this is him. Jekyll and Hyde.

    But, he says he needs his rest. Between being sick and working a hard labor job, he needs to chill and sleep. Ok, yes, I agree, but I am left over compensating, and feeling just a bit like he is milking it.

    He knows there is a squirrel in the attic. He told me there is one. So, why doesn’t he go after it?

    Our house looks like a redneck shack instead of the cute bungalow it is. It is falling apart. I can’t keep up. He doesn’t seem to notice or care. I live in embarrassment over it.

    But, he has “legit” excuses.

    I have been to pastors and others about this and more, but even they have a hard time discerning all of these gray areas, from Game of Thrones, to resting, to cussing out the kids, to our house falling apart…because none of it is “bad enough.” Or he has good reasons.

    I am told everyone is at different levels in their walks with Christ. Pray more. Blah blah blah…

    Even having to set boundaries all the time is exhausting and feels like over compensating for someone’s sin, laziness, or ineptitude.

    I need Biblical wisdom in this.

    • AKoz on April 26, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      I also have a husband that is a “gray area.”. He deals with chronic migraines, but I feel like I and the kids are left carrying the load. It seems like he also milks it, and I think more often than not there is depression and anxiety, not migraines, that he doesn’t want to admit to having. My husband doesn’t go so far as to not care about the house or cuss at the kids, but he gets them to do the work instead of helping out, and can be critical. He is no longer helpful spiritually, either. He used to go to church and be very involved but hasn’t been to church with us for probably two years. Any spiritual conversation is rare, almost non-existent, and I can not understand how a Christian could be so incredibly lax in raising godly children.
      The problem is that nothing is overly bad (except for those times when I push too far and he sees any sign of disrespect or I point out an issue). It can all be explained away, justified, and I’m left wondering if I’m wrong to feel this way.

      • Nancy on April 26, 2017 at 8:37 pm

        Hi AKoz,

        My guess from reading your post is that if you were to voice your needs and set boundaries, things wouldn’t be so ‘gray’ anymore because he might label these as a sign of disrespect. At that point you’d not be wondering if you were wrong to feel the way you do.

        Clearly communicating your needs and boundaries will quickly surface an abusive mindset, if it is there.

        • Contentinchrist on April 27, 2017 at 6:23 pm

          Very clear answer, Nancy. So true.

      • libl on May 1, 2017 at 7:25 am

        AKoz,

        I read all your posts in this comment feed. Living in these gray areas is a huge challenge. Questioning the validity, intensity, and even the truth about how you feel is all too common. What you can do is record the incidents in a journal, seek counsel (preferably with someone in person that you trust, but if not, stick close to this website), and pray about it that God reveals the truth and the lies clearly for you.

        Build up your CORE strength. This will help keep your head clear and discern truth.

        Build boundaries. Face your reality rather than fight for your fantasy ideal. In my case it meant enrolling my kids in public school. It was an agonizing decision, but God opened doors wide and practically shoved them in Himself while I protested. They are doing phenomenally well, and I have time to heal and not be harried all.the.time.

        Work with your reality. That might mean very simple meals during the week. That might mean paper plates or disposable diapers. That might mean not keeping the house perfectly tidy. Or perhaps it means whittling toys down to bare minimum, not growing a garden.

        Recruit your children to help. When you speak to your husband, tell him plainly what you need and that you’d appreciate it if he did xyz to help. Don’t expect him to help, but don’t let that stop you from asking. Let the Holy Spirit weigh it upon him.

        If you get into a fight with him, simply stop arguing, and calmly but firmly tell him, “we aren’t getting anywhere arguing like this. I am calling in a third party to mediate.” Find a pastor, deacon, friend, family member, or counselor that you can call. (In my case, I only had to say it. I never even had to make the phone call. Him just knowing that I would call caused him to shape up and talk instead of yell).

        You need to decide whether you are going to leave or stay well. And you need to figure out what staying well means to you.

        It is ok to mourn your loss (of a loving husband who treats you like Christ loves the church), but don’t get stuck there. Face reality and make it work for you the best you can. This isn’t selfish. This is self care.

        • Sophia on May 2, 2017 at 12:54 pm

          Infinitely helpful!!!!!❤️❤️❤️Thank you for this!!!

        • AKoz on May 2, 2017 at 5:35 pm

          I appreciate everyone’s input! Thanks! Right now I’m working on putting all of my trust in the Lord’s provision and protection, despite my husband’s actions (or lack of). I think in the past I expected the Lord to work through my husband, but that didn’t always happen. Now I will try to be loving but not be a willing participant in the false reality, and trust the Lord with the rest.

    • Free on May 3, 2017 at 6:30 am

      Have you read Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why does he do that?” The grey area you mention isn’t really grey. The book will give you the answers to why he is behaving that way. You have every reason to release yourself from HIS destructive behavior.

      • libl on May 3, 2017 at 8:41 am

        Every single copy of this book in every single library within a 200 mike radius is out right now. That is scary!! There are a LOT of suffering women out there.

        • free on May 3, 2017 at 10:53 am

          Wow, Buy it used on amazon. Also he just did a webnair on his book. That may be why so many copies are unavailable.

          • libl on May 3, 2017 at 2:00 pm

            I know why he does it. Insecurity and childhood issues. And I reacted poorly to it because of my Insecurity and childhood issues. Selfishness is another biggie, but also differences in opinions and preferences.

            We are learning to navigate all of this the slow way. He isn’t a horrible, abusive man, though there were times in our marriage it was destructive and I thought about separating. Now, I wouldn’t even say it is damaging or difficult. Just annoying at times.



  5. Aly on April 26, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Dear Leslie V.

    I appreciate that you have this blog and these articles to reflect and connect with others on. Such a blessing to so many of us. Prayers for your upcoming speaking event and for hearts to be open to much of what I feel is so veiled in our culture (Christian or secular).

    This particular article just breaks my heart and I do think that this writers dynamic is more of the extreme side of things going on but I seem to know and meet so many women living something similar ~ maybe their husband’s are not sleeping with other women but much of the daily responsibilities are so unbalanced.
    I do worry about these individuals because they are on a hampster wheel and even that hampster wheel keeps them from other healthier relationships that might highlight the toxicity.

    I have found other women look to ‘other women’ and see that there is nothing that wrong or that bad with their situation because so many women in our communities are operating in this fashion~ so in a way they normalize and are contributors to a growing problem in the body of Christ. And the legacy repeats itself.
    I guess my main question is how are we to be of any support to a women in a similar situation when the ‘over functioning’ robs her time and her resources to seek health for her own well being?
    Where the over functioning is almost ‘her way of depleting any availability to be involved on other relationships that might be able to pour healthy truths to her dynamic?

    • Nancy on April 26, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      Hey Ali,

      As usual, I love your insight. Something popped into my head when I read your question at the end, ” how can we support [ the over-functioning party]?”

      Is it too harsh, or simplistic to say, that we could ask them if they would like us to pray for their own conviction? This is how The Lord got my attention about my codependent ways – conviction. Nothing else in my own strength, or the strength of a friend, or of a professional counsellor, or a well-meaning sister in Christ, could have shed light on my own enabling behaviour.

      That’s The Lord’s territory.

      It’s tough love for sure, but some of us need tough love ❤️

  6. Learning to Live Free on April 26, 2017 at 10:13 am

    “What finally woke you up enough to stop?”

    What woke me up was the realization that I was using the sufferings of myself and my children in an abusive marriage to try to bargain for my husband’s and children’s souls. It was as if I was saying to God, “Okay, I’ll agree to suffer in these ways if You guarantee me you will save my children and my husband.” I realized that is an unbiblical works salvation – not that I was working for my own salvation but for the salvation of others. I don’t need to do that because Jesus already did it! Instead, I was allowing my husband’s various addictions and abuses to slowly kill off my own faith and providing my children with a horrible picture of what God wants for us as His children. Thanks to Jesus and a group of believers who opened my eyes to Truth, we are getting free. I know that He will redeem the time spent, and that our ordeal is going to be used to bring Him glory.

    • Free on May 3, 2017 at 6:36 am

      Learning to Live, I understand your feelings. I believed some of the same things you thought. I thought I needed to suffer for the family’s salvation. I thought it was part of the journey and that i took a vow to live in sickness and health. I thought it was my lot in life to get the “sickness” part. What finally helped me is a Christian counselor telling me that only Christ himself can die for other people’s sins. It was not my job or responsibility. His shoulders are big enough for such a burden, mine were never designed for such a purpose.

      I am so glad you are finding a way out of the destruction. How are you doing today?

  7. Refocus-Reclaim on April 26, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Wow. This was ever so timely… I think Leslie, that you have esp!

    I can so relate to this person. I didn’t go as far as she has, but my body is now screaming at me to slow down, rest, take care of me! I am out of the marriage, but the fallout of over 20 years of over-functioning is still a struggle. I have recently come to the realization that I still ignore my own needs/wants to make sure others have what they need… but often to my physical detriment. Why? I’m still struggling with the concept that Yes, I AM worth it… Yes, I AM important… Yes, I have a very real purpose on this planet.

    I still can’t tell you what “I” want… because I can’t sit down and let myself think it – dream it – because I’m fighting the belief that nothing I’d want would be worth doing… work out, etc.

    Its fascinating and so very frustrating how this type of abuse can control us long after it physically stops.

  8. Linda on April 26, 2017 at 11:07 am

    It’s funny, I had the very same stuff going on. In addition to his refusal to help carry the burden of life, he also wanted me to carry his spiritual burden. He readily admitted his inability to receive from God. He was always on the verge of breakthrough and just needed a little more help understanding. I thought it was a good thing to be his intercessor, his teacher, and he was oh so unable to help himself because of his childhood issues. I thought I was in God’s will to carry his burden. And God allowed me to do that, even pointing out that Simon carried Jesus’ cross for awhile. And God gave me a song to sing about it. Welcome to My World. I felt so appreciated by God and favored to be given a glimpse at His heart. But then I started seeing the effects it had on my relationships with other people, that I was being painted with the brush that belonged to my husband. The spirit they were attributing to me really belonged to him. And God said That I’m not made for that. I’m His child, not the savior of the world, or my husband’s savior. Jesus carried that cross, not me. Simon helped him for a minute, but Jesus is the one who died. I’m not that strong and God never intended for me to be that strong. My cross is mine and my husband’s cross is his. My husband continues to demand to be poured into endlessly. I’ve separated from him and am in counseling myself so I can learn better thought patterns and boundaries. We were only married a little over a year. We are middle aged so no kids between us. The hooks he has in me are in my strength, my empathy. It has to be redeemed and healed, because that’s where the enemy finds a weakness.

    • Free on May 3, 2017 at 6:40 am

      I agree with your comments, “Jesus carried the cross, not me.” “I’m not that strong and God never intended for me to be that strong.” I would add, he never intended for you to be anybody’s Savior.

  9. Connie on April 26, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Over 20 years ago I checked myself into a psych ward and the Christian dr. told me he wouldn’t let me out until I’d made arrangements to separate. I’d been physically and emotionally totally broken down (some people close to me still wonder that I’m still alive), but didn’t think I was ‘allowed’ to do anything about it. Feeling trapped is putting it very mildly. Aly, respectfully, I don’t think this ‘extreme’ example is all that rare at all. Not only do we think we can ‘save’ him, we believe that if we work harder and harder he may wake up and realize how much he loves us! I worked so hard, with 10 kids, that at one point in time I spent only $10/month on all our needs. I sewed, gardened, canned (1000 quarts a year), butchered………..nothing was ever good enough but somehow I thought some day it would be. And I was proud to be such a martyr, I think. Bill Gothard and others used to preach that no matter how sick a woman was, she was to keep having children and submitting and obeying in all things. I knew a lot of BGs followers that were much like me. I hate to even admit here how stupid I was, but I was desperate to have the perfect family, which is what he promised us all. Blech!

    Yesterday I was listening to Patrick Doyle shows, and learned something I wish I’d learned a long time ago. When we learn about boundaries, we are always told to say this and say that. And I’ve always been terrified to do that, even playing h’s answers ahead of time in my head because I know how it’s going to go over, and that he will intimidate me before I’m even done speaking. Patrick says to NEVER set boundaries by speaking, ONLY on paper, with consequences clearly laid out, because abusers always spin everything you say and confuse the heck out of you before the conversation is even part way done. So pray, write it down clearly, give it to him, then keep the consequences firmly. Preferable with another supportive person present……like an intervention I guess…..but be careful who you choose as that supportive person.

    Even before doing that, he says to write down, without editing, what the problems are and why you feel you are in an abusive situation, so that you have it clear in front of you what the problems are.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi7IkucDXyE

    I hope it’s ok to post these. I’m thinking that Patrick and Leslie work together sometimes so it shouldn’t be a conflict?

    • Many years on April 30, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      This is the crazy-making we wives live through, even after we have written things down and faced our husbands with what is wrong in our marriages.

      And when all is said and done, I can say, I have written a few emails to my husband with the same result. He weasels his way out of any accountability, my faith, and hope and trust in the Lord means nothing to him.

      He asks me ‘what triggered’ me to write the abuse I have endured from him, in an email, which I have suffered at his hands, mostly emotional, mental, and spiritual, with some financial greed on his part.

      My confronting him seems to go right over his head. He cannot discern the spiritual aspect of a marriage, although he claims to be a Christian and goes to church, prays, etc. etc.

      We all know the scenario in such a marriage. Some of you ladies have been through a greater ‘hell on earth’ than I have. Yet, no abuse is ever fair in the lopsided marriage.

      And I can say the same thing about confronting them verbally is: that just does not work.

      When the wife is terrified to confront, knowing that the husband will twist every word she says, even when she has played it all out in her mind what she will say, the husband has a sinister way of dealing with any type of confrontation to the point of exactly how Satan dealt with Eve, and how Satan attempted to tempt our Lord Jesus Christ.

      The subtle shift that is used to counter any type of consideration for the wife’s feelings is what causes the angst and unfairness that follows this type of getting to the bottom of the whole issue.

      The issues will not be faced by the husband. I have seen this over and over again and again. The husband is just not interested in revealing himself to you or to God.

      And yes, even through all of the years we have tried to ‘save’ our husband, through our love first and foremost to Jesus, WE CANNOT SAVE THEM!

      I asked the Lord to reveal to me who my husband is, and this is the answer I received from the Lord, through much prayer. It is the very fact that we are not responsible for another person’s sins. God revealed to me that my husband is not interested in his own accountability.

      Because of the attitude my husband had with my latest email from him, he would not even begin to address where he had abused me as he cannot see his own sins.

      Because my husband was raised in a household where the dad said ‘What happens in this house, stays in this house’ which meant, NO ONE was to know what went on behind closed doors.

      In other words, the sins of the family were of no business to anyone outside that house. The fear of being found out that a person is a sinner, was the trigger to not repent, as that was made out to be a source of FEAR in the heart of my husband. And yes his dad was the type to shame and criticize his own children and family with violence often in the mix.

      So my husband is basically ‘stuck’ in his childhood mind, through the fear of being ‘found out’. Which is so sad because the freedom we have in Christ, who accepts us for who we are, has never entered into the heart of my husband.

      He learned at a young age to lie in order to not be shamed or reprimanded by his dad. So, his own perception of God is one of shame if he repents. And therefore, he would rather lie to me than to be ‘found out.’

      My husband would not face his generational dilemma years ago when I attempted to go back to both of our family origins. He said it ‘Repulsed him’. He couldn’t face his own fears.

      And my own attempt at trying to get to the bottom of our relational dilemma is only something that God can do through the Holy Spirit in order for my husband to change, if, he is even a Christian.

      I cannot break the chain of the subtle mindset which has been in my husband’s character for years. This is how Satan blocks the minds of many sinners.

      Very much like when Jesus said: ‘This type (talking of demons within those he was casting out demons) are not cast out without much fasting and prayer’.

      Even Jesus’ disciples couldn’t cast out some demons. Only Jesus could.

      I am just trying to help us all see that we are up against an enemy, which may not be our husbands, but the foe that fights to claim the souls we are praying earnestly for.

      But we do need to remember that He (Jesus) who is within us is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world. We claim Jesus righteousness, his death, burial, and resurrection which is really what this is all about. The good against the evil which is our battle in the spiritual plain.

      I don’t think many of us even realized what we were getting into when we married our own husband. There may have been some ‘red flags’ but sometimes love can be deceived into believing ‘it’s not so bad’ when it really is.

      But no wife should have to suffer at the hands of someone who has no compassion for the other person. Or no care of feelings. There is no real love in that marriage.

      If there is no Christ-like sacrificial love for the wife from the husband, then God does not hold you responsible for the mess and you are free to choose your own path and get out while you can.

      • Aly on April 30, 2017 at 7:10 pm

        Many Years,

        I’m very sorry for what you have been exposed to.
        I agree with you on one very strong point that we (wives) cannot save them! But we can save ourselves by allowing God to ‘save us’ and orchestrate our way out!

        You wrote:
        “The subtle shift that is used to counter any type of consideration for the wife’s feelings is what causes the angst and unfairness that follows this type of getting to the bottom of the whole issue.”

        Yes I agree and this is where 3rd party intervention (4th party.. a team really) can help in many cases with strengthening a person who has been abused. Regardless if the husband surrenders his abusive mindset.. the confrontation isn’t for him but for the drawing the boundary and empowering the once oppressed.

      • Free on May 3, 2017 at 6:46 am

        Many years, So it sounds like you have devoted a great deal of time and energy trying to understand your husband’s issues. How has he devoted his life to learning about your life and your childhood? Wouldn’t it be odd if he did give his life to trying to understand and fix you? To me, this is not marriage but rather a life long counseling session with a non compliant client. When can you be free of such a twisted situation?

  10. JoAnn on April 26, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Oh, How my heart aches for every one of you who are suffering so intensely. You all are loving, caring mothers, who want the best for your families, and when the men in your life don’t participate in that, they are sinning against you and the Lord and their children. Before the Lord, pray for the wisdom and insight to know how to stop enabling their sinful behavior, because that’s what you are doing, when you “over function.” As to the one who wrote the original letter, your husband has committed adultery, and there is no basis for allowing him to stay in the house. When we act on the Lord’s righteous requirements, the Lord Himself will honor that and make a way forward. May the Lord grant you His mercy and grace to do the right thing.

  11. Maria on April 26, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Friend, When you found yourself worn down to the bone by constantly taking care of other people what finally woke you up enough to stop?

    Fornunately, even at my lowest, I always did things to care for myself- exercise, good nutrition, Bible study, fellowship with others. I knew that if I fell sick because I didn’t take care of myself, I’d be useless to me my kids. But because my husband does not help with the kids the way he should, I have had to shoulder the responsibility of raising them for the most part. If I didn’t do that, he would not step up, and the kids’ needs would not be met. Fortunately, as they grow older they are able to do more for themselves and help more, so things are easier. The advantage of him not being very involved is that they spend less time with him and his bad behavior. Of late, every so often he tries to get very involved and tries to turn them against me. Fortunately, it doesn’t last very long.
    Leslie, on Facebook live, you mentioned that you were thankful your dad did not speak ill of your mom. I have found that when my husband tells my kids an untruth about me, I have to explain my point of view otherwise they will believe him. I have learned that he behaves very well when he wants something and have explained this to my kids. Just hoping that the kids will figure him out, in my situation at least would not be wise.

    • Remedy on April 27, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Maria….I think that trying to navigate the “crazy making” in these types of marriages is profoundly difficult…..and having children still under 18 yrs of age at home adds unspeakable stress. I struggle so deeply in this area regarding what to say and not say.

      The spouse here grew up in very dysfunctional home, but mother always smiled and complied with whatever was dished out to her, giving the sons the DEEPLY INGRAINED idea that she was fine with bring mistreated, dismissed, disrespected…basically unloved. This had, in my opinion, a profoundly negative and destructive effect upon both sons as they went on to believe this is normal from a woman and this is what love and commitment and family looks like.

      I pray constantly for God’s mercy as I stand against that by speaking out and demonstrating something different…..but it is a constant challenge in already overwhelming stress. May God gives us the wisdom we all need!

      • Maria on April 27, 2017 at 8:52 pm

        Thanks Remedy.

      • Free on May 3, 2017 at 6:48 am

        Oh, yes and when we stay in such situations, our sons learn the same terrible lesson.

  12. Sherry on April 26, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    I finally stopped running my husband’s business, my business, taking care of my sons and trying to keep my house when I became ill with fibromyalgia. My husband spent most of his time watching tv in his bedroom while I stayed downstairs with my sons. I started going to counseling and worked through many issues. My counselor actually listened to me and told me he believed I was being emotionally abused. I thought if my husband didn’t hit me he wasn’t abusing me.
    Thank God the counseling changed my life and I learned to take care of myself and now I exercise every day and most of the time the fibromyalgia is no longer much of an issue. I’m still working on details of leaving this destructive marriage but that will come, soon I hope.

    • Free on April 27, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Bravo Sherry, this post is encouraging!

  13. Laura Di on April 27, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Friend, When you found yourself worn down to the bone by constantly taking care of other people what finally woke you up enough to stop?

    The first step was learning to be lifted from the isolation of the circumstances. Reaching out to godly resources. God wants us to fellowship. I finally woke up when I truly recognized the damage I was doing to myself mentally, physically and spiritually. “EGO” or “edging God out”, was debilitating. Trying to control things on my own and working on overdrive to fix, fix, fix, nearly destroyed me. Once I woke up to the reality of this vicious cycle I sought out healthy avenues for revival. Aligning with activities and people brought clarity to the insanity I was accepting. Getting involved with domestic violence counseling, secular groups like Al Anon, joined in on church activities: ie; pastoral counseling, Celebrate Recovery, Bible study, prayer groups.There are also many great authors for example Henry Cloud and John Townsend wrote “Boundaries” a series of books applicable to numerous struggles. People need people but often shy away due to shame, embarrassment and pride…..all silent killers. I did the isolating and can attest to the fact communicating and getting involved with healthy outlets is freeing!

  14. AKoz on April 27, 2017 at 11:12 am

    What are some examples of boundaries one could use in this type of situation? I feel that if I refuse to do something, it’s more I and the kids that end up suffering. There are things that have to be done. One example, he has always had me email or call his bosses when he’s sick. I’ve mentioned to him that I find it ridiculous (necessary, sometimes since he has migraines, but certainly shouldnt be a rountine job of mine). And he misses a lot of work. In and out of jobs. So if I don’t do it and he loses his job, we all suffer. Us probably moreso because he can lay in bed while I have to figure out bills and take on the stress of that. Not to mention the fact that he always ends up moving us somewhere else, and the kids and I get to do the packing.
    Deep down I feel it is abusive, but it’s so hard to pinpoint and giving examples just ends up making it sound trivial. Plus, he often has a pleasant attitude and is apologetic or playful with the kids, so I feel bad questioning him.

    • Barbara on April 27, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      Dear AKoz,

      This situation sounds pretty unfair to me and I agree that his actions and attitudes seem fishy.

      You asked about examples of boundaries so here’s a thought I have. You seem like an energetic, smart, and hard-working person. I wonder what would happen if you would take the energy you are pouring into taking care of him, which is getting you nowhere, and instead use that same energy to create something productive and stable for yourself and your children? For example, find gainful employment or go to school as preparation for beginning your own career. That way you can create a home and finances that are stable because those things depend on you, not him. Your job and the money you earn would be your boundaries that he would not be allowed to invade or use. If he wants a nice soft bed to lie in, a roof over his head, food and groceries, etc. he will have to contribute financially or At Least make his own phone call to his boss since you will be too busy to do that for him.

      I know from a distance it’s easy for me to say do this or do that, so my idea might not fit. My biggest thought is for you to know that I see intelligence and common sense in your writing so I think you have a lot going for you. I’m sure that once you begin to believe you are not crazy, your own smartness will be a good guide to you.

      • Free on April 27, 2017 at 5:11 pm

        My understanding is one of the first ways to heal from trauma is self care. I agree to refocus the wasted time and energy and pour it into yourself!

      • AKoz on April 28, 2017 at 11:04 am

        Thank you for your encouragement! Some day I would like to do what you suggested, however we have 8 kids, ages 19 down to 2, with number 9 on the way (I’m 30 weeks along). I homeschool them, so it makes the situation tougher. My hands are tied.
        Last night I finally vented to my husband about how I feel, and it went as expected. He told me he gives me a lot of leeway because he can’t help out as much as he’d like to, and he can’t believe I’d stab him in the back like that. He pointed out that he has tried to give suggestions with the kids, etc, but the problem is I don’t need someone standing on the sidelines sporadically giving “constructive criticism” or stepping into the ring once in awhile to try and help and get in the way if what I’m already doing. I need someone who can stand beside me and fight.
        I don’t feel like I have anything else I can say to him, and I question the legitimacy of what I have said. It all seems so trivial, especially when I hear some if these other stories women have shared. Now I’m just more confused, question how well I’m doing with the kids, and wonder if I’m out of line being critical of his ability to help (even though deep down I know things are off, there are other abusive tendencies, but it’s all so subtle…).

        • Brooke on April 28, 2017 at 11:33 am

          This is the definition of crazy making. He has somehow spun this to make you wonder “if it’s all in your head” and is causing you to second guess what your gut is telling you. I believe you. I’ve lived it. Just this morning I had a similar conversation and am FINALLY strong enough and wise enough to see it for what it really is.

        • Nancy on April 28, 2017 at 11:39 am

          Hi AKoz,

          I want to come alongside you here, and validate your feelings. You know deep down something is off. Trust that. Trust in God and lean into Him. God gave us feelings. Feelings are not supposed to run our lives, but they are indicators. Trust them.

          God doesn’t light up the entire path so that we see the destination, He lights it just ahead of where we are so that we can take one step towards Him. In other words, you don’t need to know the name of what is wrong in your marriage, or in your husband. All you need to do – if you desire to walk with God- is lean into Him and take a step.

          I have written this to others: your confusion is confirmation that you are not being treated well. If your husband had your best interest at heart he would be able to empathize with the sheer volume of workload you have ( let alone anything else).

          AKoz, be gentle with yourself. I know how crazy making manipulation is. My h was never overt in his destructive ways…always covert. Very. Difficult.

          Have you read Leslie’s the emotionally destructive marriage? She talks about how there are two foundational elements in a marriage that must be there. Safety and sanity.

          Have you watched her 7 minute video on CORE strength?

          Don’t allow his masterful deflection of responsibility to make you doubt yourself. Get with God, get time with Godly women.

          It used to drive me crazy that I couldn’t label the problem. I secretly wished he’d hit me. I see now that The Lord used that confusion to draw me nearer to Him. To develop my trust in Him and to develop trust in the process He was walking ME through ( developing MY CORE strength and leaning on Him).

          Your situation may feel overwhelming, but our God is MIGHTY TO SAVE.

          Trust in Him.

        • Barbara on April 29, 2017 at 4:10 pm

          Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your baby! Now I’m sure I’m right in my guess that you are smart and capable, and a hard worker, too. My goodness! Nine children and homeschooling, not to mention keeping the household afloat. My dear AKoz, I do not believe that our Savior wants you to live with a feeling of tied hands. I’m praying that He will provide you with some wonderful ideas for your freedom and sanity. I know this can be a touchy subject, but may I suggest the possibility of looking into other types of schooling for your wonderful children? I have participated in all types of school over the years for my children and we found pros and cons for each.

          • Free on May 3, 2017 at 6:52 am

            I would add that it seems our friend is actually having her 10th child because her husband is behaving like a boy. It would seem to me the only time he remembers he is an adult is when he wants to exercise his sexuality. I pray for our friend that she can love herself enough to end her part of the crazy cycle. I pray too for a support team to help her make it happen.



  15. Aleea on April 27, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    “Friend, When you found yourself worn down to the bone by constantly taking care of other people what finally woke you up enough to stop?” —Nothing. —Absolutely nothing, —nothing does. I think, not sure however, psychologists call this the “death drive” where we just keep going WAY beyond what we know we can sustain. Obviously, the Holy Spirit does not want us doing that. I don’t really know why we do it but it may come from a false idea that we can (ourselves) make it all better if we just work hard enough. We get locked in “over-drive” because I think really, really deep in our unconscious we don’t want to live anymore. —And think about the secondary gain if we worked ourselves to death for our children! . . .Now, (our questioner) probably already knows what she has to do but somehow, maybe, you don’t want to know that you know. I’ll tell you, in my counseling, my biggest issues are resistance and repression. —Anyways, maybe get with the Lord and try very, very hard to understand what you are really getting out of this enabling. I think you will find that all action is motivated. Often, it may be, that we work, work, work to keep from confronting ourselves and making the changes we know Jesus wants us to make. —Or we try to make ourselves some type of archetype martyr/hero by working ourselves to death (—maybe, see the books: “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” and “Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious”) . . . The tyrant dies and her rule is over, the martyr dies and her rule begins —see the crazy secondary gain in that! . . . Anyways, there is no answer but Jesus (“My Jesus” as you say —Awesome!!! —Absolutely beautiful!!!) but we all have a really hard time listening to Him. I don’t know why, —maybe because it is so good for us to listen to Him and maybe we don’t think we deserve good things???

  16. Linda on April 27, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    I wanted to add to my comment above. I want to tell a little of my story. See, my brother committed suicide and in a way, my husband is committing spiritual suicide.

    My husband is extremely passive aggressive and manipulative. He refuses to take any responsibility around the house and he doesn’t care if I work 60 hours a week and we still can’t make ends meet he’d rather sit without any food on the table than get up and get a job. That is a hard enough burden for me to carry.

    But he is masquerading as a spirit-filled believer. He doesn’t know God, but he keeps on saying he’s learning. And then he gets into these despondent moods where he says things like,”I don’t feel like this is home.” “I figured out its safer to not have any desires at all.” “I’m getting really tired of life.” I tried and tried to get him to see hope, to receive love, to receive the Spirit for real, to relax and play. And he did for awhile. And then he didn’t. And he refuses to have hope, at least that’s what he tells me. But it’s not true because he’s always so much at peace. When I’m having a meltdown because I’m frustrated with not being able to get anywhere with him about him just sitting there all the time, after I apologize to him, he’s always there to comfort and forgive me. And he sleeps so peacefully there beside me while I’m praying for God to strike me dead.

    But the really hard part is he wants me to carry him into heaven, or hide behind me so God can’t see him and he absolutely refuses to receive love. He even said that to me. I asked my friend if she had ever loved anyone who refused to be loved. That’s my husband.

    So I just read this article about guilt after suicide and I realized that what the Lord taught me through this is that I can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. I can’t save someone who has chosen death, even spiritual death. Not even God can save someone who is determined to die. And there was this great quote at the end of the article: “To assume responsibility for this death, or to place responsibility upon another, robs the one who died of their personhood and invalidates the enormity of their pain and their desperate need for relief.”

    what a great article it was and so timely since I want so badly for my husband to change and be good and not evil that I feel guilt at times for leaving him. But I can’t save someone who won’t grab the lifeline. I can’t fight his battles as well as my own. There’s only enough oil for me.

    • Aleea on April 28, 2017 at 4:15 am

      I’m praying for you Linda and your husband. What you are saying makes lots of sense.

      “. . . .But the really hard part is he wants me to carry him into heaven, or hide behind me so God can’t see him and he absolutely refuses to receive love. He even said that to me. I asked my friend if she had ever loved anyone who refused to be loved. That’s my husband.” —This is the hardest of all: to close your open hand out of love (real love), and keep modest as a giver. —I’m so praying for you.

      “. . .he wants me to carry him into heaven, . . .” —At some level he must know that is just crazy. God has no grandchildren and we can’t cover for anyone else. “. . .or hide behind me so God can’t see him” It’s God: nothing is hidden and at some level everyone knows that.

      . . . It could be that he is using this false self to defend against pain —not deal with reality. We want storybook outcomes, but this is reality and reality is a very, VERY hard road. —Maybe, he is afraid that if he really cries out, if he really opens to love, asks for love, if he really screams for help, that it won’t come re:Mark. . . . . The “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”—horror. —Think about that, God rejects God. That’s a very different portrayal of Jesus going to His death than any of the other gospels —and Mark is the earliest.

      “I can’t fight his battles as well as my own.” —Absolutely. . . .One of the most important things we can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone. . . .but all of us, all of us have to slay our own dragons, —ourselves. Maybe suggest to your husband that . . .That the caves we fear to enter hold the treasures we seek. . . . but who wants to go in there? —That’s where the dragons we need to slay are. . . .That’s where those black as night moments are (—in there), the moment when the real transformation is going to come. —At the darkest moment comes the Light. . . .Our job is to clear our own hearts enough to receive it. Not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within ourselves (—within ourselves) that we have built against it. Solve it in your CORE, the factory of ourselves and it is pretty much solved. If we get things right in there, everything coming out of the factory will look different and will cycle into our world changing everything in our world because we have been changed.

      Leslie says above: “Also, please pray for me. I am speaking Thursday, Friday, and Saturday back on the East Coast and I need God’s anointing on my feeble words. Please pray that the Holy Spirit touch hearts there in a powerful way.” —That’s beautiful and humble and I certainly have been, always do and will pray for you because, honestly, nothing good happens if the Holy Spirit is not in it. . . . .Leslie, thank you so much for this blog and the teaching, the consistency and providing this electronic journal for us. It is unreal how, even this morning, I woke up just overflowing with work concerns (—stuff that doesn’t add up to anything but looks so big) but the very min. I start praying for, reading and thinking about these real problems, in the spiritual world, my mind calms and my burdens are much lessened. It must be the difference between thinking about something that really matters and thinking about work “problems.”

  17. Linda on April 28, 2017 at 10:17 am

    That is one thing about my husband, he will help you define your faith. As I struggled to find something for him to grasp onto, I found lots for me to hold onto. He’s determined to go down into the pit and take me with him.

    We were out at the tide pools one day. in each pool of water, I was searching for what was alive in it. I found sea urchins, barnacles, tube worms, even a tiny lobster. I even started finding tiny abalones and prehistoric crustaceans on the dry rocks. He was looking at the rock formations. He was thinking of all the eons that those rocks had seen. Of course, that is not a problem in itself. But it symbolizes the character of our marriage. I was constantly searching for life to rejoice about and he was looking at the dead stuff and thinking of the past.

    He does not want to live (in Christ) and I don’t think he wants me to live either. But he took all I gave him and used it to paint a better mask on. The Lord told me to stop sharing my insights with him because I was only giving him a better vocabulary.

    It becomes a death trap, to keep going in to try and pull him out and all he wants to do is pull me in with him. Eventually, The Lord filled me with terror and told me to run. Now, when I have any interaction with him, I feel that terror, and I have to shut my heart away from him. There is a darkness in him that is terrifying.

    I cant do it anymore. I’ve gone through all the arguments. I’ve dredged to the bottom. I need the Lord’s rest. My husband is in His hands.

    • Linda on April 28, 2017 at 10:25 am

      And what you said about God rejecting God is true for us as well. We have to reject ourselves. We have to die to ourselves in order to live again through Christ. So he has to reject completely that person of pain, that person who lives for creating pain in himself and in others. He has to reject that person inside him who wants death.

      Thank you. I think that is the key.

    • Aleea on April 28, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      “As I struggled to find something for him to grasp onto, I found lots for me to hold onto.” —That’s very good Linda.

      “He’s determined to go down into the pit and take me with him.” —That’s so sad but I really understand that. When people become bitter, angry and resentful, they are looking to pull as many people down there with them as possible.

      “I was constantly searching for life to rejoice about and he was looking at the dead stuff and thinking of the past.” I’m so, so sorry Linda. . . . It’s so hard to stay really positive but try we must. One way to do that, as you many know, is to find things to be thankful for each and every single day. . . .We keep journals and we write down three things daily we are thankful to God for and we make sure to thank Him when we pray.

      “The Lord told me to stop sharing my insights with him because I was only giving him a better vocabulary. It becomes a death trap, to keep going in to try and pull him out and all he wants to do is pull me in with him.” —I fully understand that at a level that is really deep because I go there myself at times. Always do what the Holy Spirit shows you to do, that’s always safe. . . . .I work very hard on heart cleaning but I so struggle too.

      “I cant do it anymore. I’ve gone through all the arguments. I’ve dredged to the bottom. I need the Lord’s rest. My husband is in His hands.” —Absolutely, I’m sure you have tried it all. That’s why it is so important that you do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do. I can’t possible know what that would be for you but I can and will pray for you and your husband and I am so, so sorry it has gone that bad.

      “. . .We have to reject ourselves. We have to die to ourselves in order to live again through Christ. So he has to reject completely that person of pain, that person who lives for creating pain in himself and in others. He has to reject that person inside him who wants death.” —Wow, that’s really, really good. I never really thought about it that way before. I need to do that too! . . .It takes a lot to be psychologically healthy, we have to fight it all the way. . . .That gives me a lot to think about. I just wish I had way more self-awareness because I know self-awareness is so important in healing. . . . For me, no one’s approval is enough to make up for a lack of self-love, which is really a lack of self-awareness. . . .When I feel a desire to be loved, it isn’t other people’s love I need. It’s my own relationship with love (with God, with Jesus, with real life) that I am so, so longing for, my own awareness of being interconnected with Him. —No one can ever compliment us enough to supplement for the acceptance that we need from our own selves, in each and every moment. —Anyways, thank you so much Linda.

    • Free on May 2, 2017 at 11:38 pm

      What next steps do you plan to take?

      • Linda on May 3, 2017 at 1:08 am

        I have to abide by the scriptures. God says not to argue with a fool. There are no arguments that he will listen too. He’s completely blind and wants to stay in the dark. The spiritual oppression was so heavy on me that I was getting suicidal. I had to leave. I’m now maintaining no contact. I’m in hiding. I have story about how the Angels saved me from suicide. I was planning on using the slick roads and the angle of this bridge to flip my car off and kill myself. The bridge was empty ahead of me. As I started to accelerate, out of nowhere 3 cars surrounded my car and kept me going slow. I was so mad at God! I started yelling at Him to just leave me alone. But He said he wasn’t going to let me do that. I have a job to do. So He started revealing more to me so that when the time came for me to exit, I would be ready. And my parachute would be ready.

        I have been away from him for 2 months. I got a job today, my sister is closing on a townhouse for me to live in on Friday, and my education is continuing. Yeah, I came home (I’m staying at my brothers house) this afternoon, all jazzed about getting a job, and my brother destroyed it. Then he took my sister in law out to dinner. So, I took myself out to dinner and even had a brownie and ice cream sundae. Pooh on the ones who hate joy. Ha ha! My fortune cookie tonight said, “He who has joy has everything.”

      • Free on May 3, 2017 at 6:55 am

        Wow, Linda!! I am so happy for you! Congratulations on your new job! You go girl! I like your attitude and i can’t wait until you get out of your brother’s house!

  18. libl on May 3, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Another thing that helps exit the crazy making cycle (and is part of having CORE strength) is that I went from being hurt and speechless about his words and actions, frozen when it happened, agonizing about it later, to recognizing it as wrong or crossing a boundary but not wanting to endure the battle of addressing it, to learning to address it when it happens and letting him be responsible for his own fall out.

    Standing firm on Truth despite the reaction of others is hard, but also a freeing boundary.

    Getting over the initial shock that someone would treat another that way, especially a spouse they claim to love, was a huge leap for me.

  19. mommyof3 on May 3, 2017 at 6:26 am

    Thank God and Leslie for this blog!

    Don’t we all have very similar stories to tell but variations of the same crazy. I have just found out (while my husband is out of work sick and is learning to walk/function again) that I have been lied to about my husband having Cancer. This is something I was told from the beginning, throughout our marriage and influenced our IVF decision to have our second child and he even told our son that he was a cancer survivor. I also found out that he lied about several things when we first met. He made up stories about his work, investments, buying houses, etc. All lies!!!!! He was a fraud from the beginning. We was caught in a few lies while we were seperated 5 years ago, had the chance to come clean and didn’t and lied again until now. Now he is home and I am his caretaker, a stay at home mom and a survivor of his emotional abuse that has since gotten better over the past 5 of the 15 years of our marriage. We have 3 kids one of which now knows divorce is a possibility when I made my husband come clean and tell him he was not a cancer survivor. My son asked point blank if we were going to divorce and without yes or no he is now struggling with the idea that mom and dad might split.

    Please pray for my kids as I now pick up the pieces, care for this man who turned our lives up side down and prepare for a life without him. We have to stand strong and at some point say enough is enough! No more. I just pray that my kids will understand one day. They are too young to know why I must end this sick life and love their father and it all “seems” to be a good environment because I’ve shielded them all these years.

    • Free on May 3, 2017 at 6:59 am

      They will understand one day. They need at least one sane, loving parent. When you pull away from him, the contrast between the two behaviors will be evident to the children. You won’t have to do a thing but be yourself.

      • mommyof3 on May 3, 2017 at 7:15 am

        Thank you Free! Your words are so comforting to me…. I just pray every day for God to lead me in the right direction!

  20. libl on May 11, 2017 at 9:06 am

    There is another gray area issue that I deal with. Now, my husband won’t forbid me from going out. In fact, he encourages me to. But, I feel like I cannot because when i come home, I come home to chaos.

    I have been invited to a Bible study, but I feel like I can’t go because if I don’t stay home and do the chores, I fall behind and come home to messes.

    I took one of our children to the ER recently and came home to dishes, food still out, and him shouting from the bedroom for me to let the dog out. There was a note from our oldest telling me that he put all the children to bed for me. Why? Because hubby was asleep.

    Yes, he was tired, he has hay fever, and he worked OT. I get that, but come on!! I will baby him, pamper him, make sure he is ok and rested, but throw me a freaking bone when I need it most! Our oldest isn’t even a teenager yet and he’s more “man of the house” than my husband is! So now our oldest is over compensating!

    I am fed up and making changes that I can make to simplify. But, it still stinks.

    • Linda on May 11, 2017 at 11:23 am

      You making changes to simplify so you can manage your life more easily is the result of him managing down your expectations of what you can hold him responsible for. It won’t ever become more manageable. He will always be one step ahead of you in shirking more and more responsibility. Poverty is a creeping spirit that steals your life little by little. Your husband is leading your household by abdication. As you relinquish your responsibility he will demand, by his passivity, that you relinquish more and more, until you won’t have anything left.

      • Aly on May 11, 2017 at 1:01 pm

        Linda, & Libl

        Libl I’m sorry for what you are experiencing but you do have other choices to entertain if you desire.

        Linda, I agree with your comment! It is so common in these marital dynamics for these tactics and they also take place and in all sorts of dysfunctional relationships (family, friends).
        You wrote:
        “You making changes to simplify so you can manage your life more easily is the result of him managing down your expectations of what you can hold him responsible for.”

        This is what he is doing in a more covert and punishing way.
        I’m not saying I know your situation exactly Libl, but the behavior is not all that inventive.
        Destructive spouses tend to punish their spouses… it is there attempt to see how you will respond and what you will tolerate.
        If you enable this and adapt to his inconvenience you are feeding a beast that will get a bigger and bigger appetite for control, in my opinion and I don’t mean this harsh but you are also robbing ‘fatherhood aspects from your children who are over functioning’ . Your children might not show the signs fully today but later on it can reap some very hard realities where the children might not feel protected by you, and also learn that the father position is entitled to this standard of behavior, sadly.

        You being a responsible parent will mean you will require that your h doesn’t get to check out of parenting or being a partner to you when it’s convenient for him.

        Obviously, I’m not trying to make my point that I think the gray issue is about dirty dishes and chaos in the home, there are deeper power issues to address it seems and they can get dealt with in a loving respectful way.
        I wonder if you are able to see other ways where you are being trained by your h to tolerate and accept his preferred way of a relationship dynamic?

  21. libl on May 11, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Aly and Linda,

    Let me just say that I love this blog. The commenters are so supportive and wise!

    My little alarm bells went off today. I have been considering joining a performance group and/or taking lessons. But, I feel trepidation in doing so because of this problem. But, at the same time I feel I almost NEED to join so that I step away from my over functioning role and force my husband and even my children to start functioning healthfully.

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