Morning Friend,

It’s hard to believe that we are near the end of 2017.  If you could make one change in yourself for 2018, one change that you would be most proud of, what would it be?

This week’s question comes from a woman who isn’t seeing the change she needs to make quite yet. Let’s help her move from victim to owner mindset.  

Today’s question: This is my second marriage, 9 years long and I support my household financially. Not because my husband does not earn a decent income, but because he does not have the credit to purchase items in his name. He does not manage his earning well and spends on what he wants instead of paying his bills and meeting financial obligations.

Meanwhile, I'm the one consistently put in the position to decide on whether to help him out once again financially for items like gas for his work van, etc. At times he just helps himself to my debit/credit cards.

When we go out to eat or weekend adventures, I am the one who pays for everything, because he never has any money. I recently found out that he had used my Social Security number on an internet provider account without my knowledge or permission and let the account go to collections which are now showing up on my credit report. All over $135.

How do I protect myself from him financially? I do not combine or place his name on anything and do not co-sign with him on anything. There is a thief and liar in my home and I do not know how to make it stop. Advice would be welcomed. By the way, I am an accountant and do understand the laws surrounding what he did using my social security number.

Answer: Hmmmmm. You are asking me a question that you already know the answer to. You said, “I do understand the laws surrounding what he did using my social security number.” You also know the “laws” or “best practices” of financial management and mismanagement, being an accountant.

The bigger question I’d like to ask you is what’s going on with you in this marriage where you get to pay all the bills and he gets to spend all his own money on whatever he wants? And you get to also help him pay his own bills when he runs out of his own money? Was this your pattern in your first marriage as well?

Now don’t get me wrong. In some marriages, one spouse who earns more money may choose to carry the entire load of the financial responsibilities of the household and the other spouse who earns less uses their money on extra things. Or the other spouse who earns less contributes more in other ways such as managing household tasks and responsibilities.  

But I don’t hear that the way things are going financially is a mutually acceptable agreement. In fact, I detect a bit of resentment that you have to pay for everything when he runs out of cash. I also hear you loud and clear that you are deeply troubled he took your social security number and used it illegally.

So my question to you is why do you allow it? You’ve heard the saying, “We teach people how to treat us.” You’ve been married 9 years. Your husband has somehow gotten the idea that you’re the one who is supposed to pay for everything. Where did he get the idea that it’s okay for him not to contribute financially to the household? When did it start? Have you never spoken up about this, even when you were deciding to join your lives together 9 years ago?  

It would be very tempting to focus on him. His deceit. His financial irresponsibility. His selfishness. In fact, you said yourself, “There is a thief and liar in my home and I do not know how to make it stop.” You can’t make him stop, but you can stop your part of the problem.

Here’s how to make it stop. By changing your part of the dance. What would happen if you stopped paying his bills when he runs out of cash? What would happen if you stopped taking him out to dinner all the time and paying for it? What would happen if you told him if he ever illegally used your social security number again you would press charges?  

You are a smart woman. There is a reason you haven’t stopped your part of the dance. So I’d like you to focus on you right now and not on his problems. I’d like you to challenge your own passivity, codependency or enabling behaviors or whatever has kept you stuck in this place that you obviously are unhappy about. This is your work to do right now or you will just repeat it in other relationships. What are you most afraid of if you change and say “no more free lunch here?”

Are you afraid of losing him if you say, “I’m not doing this anymore.” Are you afraid of being alone? Would you feel like a mean person if you let him experience the legal ramifications of what he did?

Only you can do that deep work to figure out your own part of this destructive dance you are in. Click To Tweet 

Please take some time to do that. Get into your own counseling or coaching to help yourself change so that you don't continue to feel like a helpless victim of your husband’s financial problems.

Friend, how did you wake up to discover that part of the problem was yours? How did you begin to change you so that destructive patterns didn’t continue?

180 Comments

  1. Aly on December 6, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Dear Leslie,

    You wrote:
    “Friend, how did you wake up to discover that part of the problem was yours? How did you begin to change you so that destructive patterns didn’t continue?”

    In my case, ‘changing’ brought on more destructive patterns from my spouse. It was not a good thing but overall the best thing! Because it brought light to the situation and revealed much about myself, my husband and yes the dance 😏.

    I began a long journey asking God to reveal and equip me for His purpose.
    I think it’s Jim Burns who quoted, “the pain of staying the same must get greater than the pain of changing”.

    We do teach people how to treat us as you said, and we do fall along into these dances or dynamics in marriage and other relationships all the time. Usually the ‘imbalance’ isn’t that big of a deal in the beginning but as time goes on.. as I think you have pointed out the person always ‘yielding’ isn’t going anywhere.
    More often than not the immature person, rarely is thinking about ‘yielding’ also or having a reciprocal relationship.

    I think the first steps are acknowledging that there is a problem and that I was not ok with ‘what the current’ health of it was. Then looking for options to change the problem and what was the change needed. Often it was ‘me’ everytime to change.
    I had to be willing to face my reality…’knowing my root value& identity in Christ, while upsetting my husband.., and plenty others that would have preferred the ‘other Aly who tolerated much’.

    Going back into my history and my current family of origin relationships it was apparent I had adopted and implemented ‘imbalanced relationships’, lack of boundaries, and a mother who consistently taught me that this ‘was’ the loving way.
    In reality, it was the convenient way for my mom to function and me having or requesting a healthy mutual relationship basically meant a ‘non-existent’ one. 😥

    Often times I tried speaking up, voicing my preference etc. only to be discredited, dismissed.
    I realized they were ‘training me’ how to not have ‘healthy boundaries’ or ‘exist’ and not make them not-pleased or make things easy for them.

    As God continued to reveal more and more I realized this ‘discrediting, dismissing and lack of personhood’, I didn’t like, so I would ‘do alot’ to not have to face this ‘true reality’ of the unhealthy responses the people in my life had to ‘my ‘no’s’ or ‘this doesn’t work for me’.

    Not only did I need to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem, and ask God for severe Armor but I needed courage to face the pain of whatever the outcome would be.
    I needed to trust God and wise counselors to help me face my Fears and realize that many people who take advantage ‘as a pattern’ will not want to be in relationship with me.

    In reference to the letter above, I would have a really hard time not knowing ‘where’ the money goes of my husband. This would cause me great distress. I would also be curious to understand who are the women around her and who are her support people? This is critical in changing too.
    Prayers for each of our journeys.

    • Renee on December 6, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      This grieves me as well. I never had a problem when hubby used his credit or debit card. I didn’t feel a need to dig. But when he started pulling out extra cash from the ATM and store in the form of cash back, I started getting curious. I felt out of place to ask for receipts to see what he purchased, so I never asked. But I did ask why the need to withdraw more than he said was needed to pay a bill and was met with he just like having cash in his pocket.

      But when I started doing the same, I was keeping secrets.

    • Lilah on December 7, 2017 at 1:57 am

      Being dismissed is something I have been pondering. It is a cardinal sign of abuse that I never really thought about. Destructive people take away our choice and ignore our needs. Affirming all family members opinions and desires shows respect and provides dignity to all.

  2. JoAnn on December 6, 2017 at 9:29 am

    I agree with Aly’s last point: where is his money going? A little investigating is in order, I think. This could be greater cause for action if, for example, he is spending it on online porn, drugs, etc. Knowing where the money is going will help motivate her to take action. Nevertheless, she definitely needs to learn boundaries and ways to stop enabling this. Great response, Leslie!

  3. Nancy on December 6, 2017 at 9:42 am

    HI Leslie,

    Getting my eyes off of my husband’s behaviour and onto my own ‘part of the dance’ was SO HARD! It was breaking an addictive pattern. Focusing on his behaviour, his motives, his attitudes etc…. only fueled my own cycle of being irresponsible with my heart. This over-focus on him kept me running from having to face my own uncomfortable feelings. I had a very limited range of emotion ( that I allowed myself to feel) and so focusing on him was a great distraction.

    That’s why I agree with Aly that a support system while learning to take responsibility for oneself is so necessary. For me this came in the form of regular counselling, an in-depth Bible study and an overall complete re-organization of my priorities ( as I look back, The Lord had begun to re-organize this support around me about two years prior to confronting the problem with my h). It took depending on Him in a way that I never had before. Those patterns that I had in my marriage dynamic were so ingrained.

    Dependance on God, instead of on old dysfunctional patterns, will always lead us into freedom! He is so very good.

    • Aly on December 6, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Nancy,
      Yes I can relate to you in many places. I’m grateful that you have the support and found the way of depending on the Lord in ‘life changing’ ways;) praise God for these changes as He is in the Business of transforming and redeeming✝️
      Real Peace.

      One of the common unhealthy patterns in my FOO was to ‘always’ flip the focus on ‘what was I doing?’ When I brought any ‘valid’ complaint up even a relationship one that isn’t pointing blame, but distress to the dynamic.
      For them, it was their defense tool to not have to ‘look at’ there being any problem or acknowledge my position.
      Because of my sensitive conscious, I think I easily swayed the pendulum.
      In ways, the ongoing shifting became such a pattern that it became a blessing🤗
      I had to face ‘what was my part’ ?
      Much of what the Lord answered was my tolerance level and normalizing unresolved conflicts in order to have any form of a sliver of a relationship.
      The Lord taught me a lot about having a healthier standards for resolving these ‘tough areas that are not always so clear on the surface’.

      We have a culture that really doesn’t want ‘standards in relationships’ let alone healthy ones. And to desire healthy ones, creates us as instant enemy to any comfort & status quo. This is similar to some of the church culture when it comes to having a stagnant faith or cultivating a deeper walk with Christ that ‘actually does change us by the Power of the Holy Spirit’

      I’m seeing more each day my circumstances and the Lord is such a source of strength and Love. Some days are better than others and sometimes I’m finding acceptence of being disliked or rejected for doing the ‘right things’.
      A support network is essential. 💜

      Hugs & continued Prayers Nancy ~ God keeps His promises.

      • Nancy on December 6, 2017 at 11:32 am

        “Some days are better than others and sometimes I’m finding acceptance of being disliked or rejected for doing the ‘right things’.” I can relate to this Aly, but not quite to the degree that I’d like.

        My ‘ask’ for 2018 is that I would no longer be ‘nice’, but instead be kind. This will take more dependence on God in finding – as you said – ‘acceptance of being disliked’ because my MO for my entire life is ‘being liked’. Now, I’d like my MO to be ‘integrity’.

        Yesterday my h put a package in the mail that returned our daughter’s birthday card and gift to his mother, along with a letter that permanently severed our relationship with her. We wrote and re-wrote that thing, showed our counsellor and he prayed over us yesterday.

        As I write this out I am completely numb. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks reeling from a mean-spirited message from her. (this, the last straw in a year and a half process of setting boundaries, having them violated, us having to go minimal contact). It became clear in an instant what kind of person we had allowed into our little family. It was as if all the puzzle pieces that were floating in the air, came down and completed the picture for us: Destruction. Even her relationship with her grand daughters became clear. She uses the younger one to get at the older one (guess where she is in the birth order, in her family? Yup. She’s the younger of two sisters.) When this became clear ( I can’t believe that we never saw this connection before) we knew we couldn’t keep contact ‘for the sake of the kids’. They were being harmed just as much.

        My h and I see how we were holding onto a thread, except that thread was imagined. There never was a relationship because there was no ‘us’ in it. Yesterday we let go of a very unhealthy woman and pray that God can help us forgive her ( and ourselves) for the chaos she brought, and that we allowed, into our lives.

        Now we have the task of letting his siblings know because they have always counted on us to be ‘on the ground’ ( we are the only ones near by) in her constant health crises. We can no longer be there for her in the same way. We will ensure her physical needs are met ( likely from a distance, through a third party) but there will no longer be familial or emotional support from us.

        My h is really grieving and that is healthy. Me? Numb. I’m not even sure how to feel. I’m RELIEVED. But I’m also sad for the years we wasted allowing the toxicity into our family. Mostly though I’m angry and I know that holding onto that won’t help me grieve. Just not sure what I’m supposed to grieve….maybe the MIL I never had.

        We also have to tell the girls. Christmas is coming and we won’t be seeing her. This is like a divorce for us. Although not like them experiencing their parents divorcing, but them divorcing their grandma. How sad. Except it’s for their protection. How complicated!

        Thanks for listening

        • JoAnn on December 6, 2017 at 12:18 pm

          Wow, Nancy. How very sad that you all are having to go through this. Family dynamics can be so toxic at times. That was true in my own FOO, but my sister and I grew through it, and your children will, too. Some thoughts about that: Kids see a lot and understand more than we usually give them credit for, so exposing and validating their perceptions of what has been going on will help them to grow through this. Your goal is for them to learn to have constructive and kind relationships, so showing them what was wrong about what the grandma did and why you felt it necessary to cut off the relationship will be a good model for them as they develop friendships and, eventually, spouses, will be a great object lesson. One concern came up for me was when you said that you will be sure that her needs are met through a third party. I have a couple of questions about that: first, are the other sibs on board with this approach? and second, how can you do this without giving her a way to keep pressing for more and more as a way of continuing control? There need to be boundaries there, too. Be careful and prayerful, and allow yourselves to enjoy being free from this burden, after you finish grieving. Your counselor will help you to open up that numb place in your heart, then just let it flow. You will get through this. The Lord will carry you when you can’t walk anymore.

          • Nancy on December 6, 2017 at 1:03 pm

            Hi JoAnn,

            To answer your question. We have told my h’s most trustworthy sib, who along with his wife have been praying for our marriage for the past year. They are supportive. A card arrived in the mail the other day affirming this. it was lovely. The other two sibs are not as trustworthy. We will be sending an email to all 3 in the next couple of days ( because my MIL will recieve the letter, around that time) Our email to the sibs is simply communicatng our decision to sever contact and let them know what that means in terms of ‘crisis intervention’. We suspect that his sister will be supportive and his brother will not. What if they aren’t supportive? Do you foresee something else?

            To your second question :we are trying to figure out what ‘to honour’ means and ensuring physical care is what we came up with. Through a third party ( nurses, caregivers) was to remove the manipulative/ coercive control element. Thoughts?

            Thanks for your words about the kids. Clear communication will be best for them. The 14 year old, I’m not so worried about. The 10 year old will be trickier because of her age plus she’s the one who was manipulated to ‘get’ her sister. She was treated ‘nicely’ by grandma. Plus she’s not a terribly intuitive kid. Emotional but not intuitive. Please pray for God’s help in the communication.



          • Aly on December 6, 2017 at 3:36 pm

            Nancy,

            I will for sure being praying about this! You know I have a similar journey 😩
            and I think anything I could offer is to best prepare yourself for those ‘who you think are supportive and understand the complexities as well as capable to have individual relationship apart from your mom or the family system’… as those who you think might not be supportive of your choices.

            I’m sorry for all of this but grateful that you and your husband are doing your part of recovery.

            You wrote this, was hoping maybe you could expand what it means to you,
            “Our email to the sibs is simply communicatng our decision to sever contact and let them know what that means in terms of ‘crisis intervention’.”

            I wonder if it’s similar to my husband and I’s path..?
            We went no contact and said the door is open to healthy honest (no lying) relationships where we can also have individuality fostered.. (as we are all invited to grow but certainly in different places)
            rather than be smothered by the family system ‘kook-aid’ and taking our kids into a scenario where they would be forced ‘to drink unhealthy generational sin’ and desensitize as well as tell them ‘family blood has different allowances, compromises & standards.

            In my opinion your not severing your ‘mom’ but the toxic behavior that corrupts the healthy growth?
            Am I understanding this…
            I’m long winded, sorry ☺️



          • Nancy on December 7, 2017 at 1:41 pm

            Thank you JoAnn, Aly, Renee and Dawn for your empathy and encouragement.

            Aly. So, as far as his sibs: Two are on the other side of North America, plus one is in Malaysia. Family gatherings are few and far between ( although the first family gathering casualty for us, is the wedding of our nephew – son of the brother that we know supports us in our decision. We called them to let them know we had to cancel being at the wedding, and told them everything that had happened. The other two sibs do not yet know.)

            We have developed relationships with each of his sibs, individually. We see them if they come through town, for example. We do take trips to see the brother that we trust and are closest to. Each relationship is quite separate.

            Because we are the only ones who live close to their mom, we have become – over the years- the ‘crisis managers’. We feel they need to know that they cannot count on us to be there for her the way we use to be. We also want to let them know that this is the reason that we will not be at the wedding in Feb.

            So…we are not changing our relationship with his sibs, or requiring anything of them. We do close the email saying that ‘although we do not expect full understanding, we ask that our decision be respected.’Their responses to that request for respect will deternine the next step in each relationship.

            I appreciate you saying that we are severing the toxicity, not the person. We are reminding ourselves of this a lot. And yes, I’ve read a lot about how ‘the minions’ will come out of the woodwork to challenge our choice. We expect that her response will be telling people how worried she is about her son.

            Our counsellor has equipped us if we get a worried call of concern from one of her puppets. We’ll say, “oh yes, we’re all doing really well!” Because at the heart of all this pain, and struggle is a choice to embrace Life. And now that the letter has been delivered, we let go of the toxicity, and we put our faith in Him and His promises.

            He brings Life out of death.



        • Renee on December 6, 2017 at 11:06 pm

          Hi Nancy

          I think you are feeling all of the above stated. The numb may be the last to go because it may come with sadness and tears. Speaking of myself, I fight with the feeling of being relieved. Sometimes being relieved doesn’t feel Christian like. I never had the desired MIL as well and yes you do grieve that part of the family connection. I always thought my MIL would be someone I could share the journey with but it was impossible.

          Hugs to you and your husband.

          • Dawn on December 7, 2017 at 10:52 am

            Hi Sweet Christ Sisters,
            Can I encourage us all to take a moment here to recognize the power of redemption and resurrection in the blood of Christ. He is so proud of the John 6 work of believing that we all are diligently leaning into that sets Him free to do the Is 58:12 work of rebuilding, raising up foundations, repairing breaches, and restoring the streets of our families in which we will dwell in peace. Praise Him the Way Maker.
            Yes! Most definitely these healing paths are excruciating to walk … yet they are the paths of life that the word speaks of repeatedly.
            As we stand on the quarter’s edge, we have the vantage points of both the head and the tail. We rejoice in the good and mourn the damages of generational sin and the losses these entail.
            Let me encourage us all with His promise to the disciples in Matt that we do not give anything up on His account that He does not replace 100 fold. He comes w healing in His wings for us. The question isn’t , “Is the healing there?” The question is, “Are we willing to be obedient to do what He requires of us to receive it?”
            Praise Jesus for the work that is represented here by all of us — Healing is on it’s way!! May we open our hearts and families to receive it!!!



          • Nancy on December 7, 2017 at 1:45 pm

            Thanks Renee



          • Nancy on December 7, 2017 at 1:48 pm

            Thank you Dawn. ‘Are we willing to be obedient to do what He requires of us to receive it?’



          • Nancy on December 13, 2017 at 3:59 pm

            I missed this, Renee. Thanks for your support 🙂



  4. Aleea on December 6, 2017 at 10:40 am

    “Friend, how did you wake up to discover that part of the problem was yours? How did you begin to change you so that destructive patterns didn’t continue?”

    “. . .What would happen if you told him if he ever illegally used your social security number again you would press charges?” . . . .Now that is so often my solution for other people: the law, the court systems, et.al. . . . .but I really like Leslie’s other questions: “What are you most afraid of if you change?” . . . “Are you afraid of being alone? Would you feel like a mean person if you let him experience the legal ramifications of what he did?”

    . . .There is something you are getting by not doing what you know to do, some payoff. ―For me, often it is having victim as my identity. There are advantages to being labeled the victim. You are listened to, paid attention to. Sympathy is bestowed upon you. The problem with the victim mentality is that we forget to see the blessings of the day. Because of this, our spirit is poisoned instead of nourished. . . .I am not a victim. No matter what I have been through, I’m still here. I have a history of victory. I used to think I was a victim of my story until I realized the truth: I am the creator of my story. I choose what type of person I will be and what type of impact I will leave on others.

    Victims evokes sympathy, right? Victims are not responsible, right? Victims have the moral high ground . . .someone else is causing the misery, right? Victims can easily justify why they are right. . . .But all that keeps us stuck in the status quo and we excel at seeing the faults in others, ignoring our own responsibility. And damn victimization is the toxic wind blowing through families, fanning the fires of dysfunction. ―Lord help me never choose the destructive path of self and outward victimization. . . .Why not?

    It does not glorify God and life *is not* compassionate towards victims, ―at all. We know that. ―And there is a very tricky, fine line between all this beautiful self-compassion that I try to practice too and a victim mentality. Real, appropriate compassion is a healing force and comes from a place of kindness towards yourself but playing the victim is a toxic waste of time that, for me, not only repels other people, but also robs me of ever knowing true happiness.

    The world, the church, et.al. is not responsible for me, I am. I hate to say it because it is a statement against my own interest but selfish people tend to have victim mindsets. My actions often plant seeds of loneliness that I can then cry about upon blooming. . . .We relinquish our power when we blame others for situations in our lives. The blame does not change the situation and only keeps me in a victim mentality. Accept that the situation occurred and find remedies at law to transcend them and you will reclaim your power. Exercise some civil law jurisdiction, enforce your rights, create some new rights even and impose penalties. . . . Just don’t forget Christ in all this or you will have yet another *huge problem*. ―What is the shape of truly wise love? How do I love more than my desire to be affirmed or approved or have power or whatever the reward is. When you choose to act on your husbands issues, when I choose to act on my abuse issues, you(I) cease to be victims of circumstances and become forces of change. That’s when we transition and can even become an inspiration to all those still in the victim’s mindset. We are all powerful individuals. Let’s use that power to create something truly loving and beautiful! For me, everything starts with self-awareness. I cannot take a truly loving approach without taking accountability, and I cannot take accountability without understanding how and why I avoid it. . . .It’s . . .it is like we are holding our own breath and then blaming husbands for our inability to breathe, ―me too.

  5. Connie on December 6, 2017 at 10:52 am

    This reminds me of what happened in my h’s family several years ago. His mom died and then his sister immediately took the dad to a lawyer to change the will (she black-mails her dad over something he did). She had some other joint paperwork done without my h’s approval. She smiled sweetly and said, “Oh, I saw you write down your SS# and memorized it, so I just used it.” Before we married, the will said h wasn’t getting the farm because he wasn’t married. Now he’s told he would already have the farm if he would only get rid of me. I’m not inclined to believe that, but who knows? Families are interesting, aren’t they?

    We are currently separated for over a month and I’m not sure this can be resolved. So many lies and head-games. He thinks I think like he does, so he makes up games in his head so he can blame me for his depression. Like being angry that I hand his shirts the wrong way…..for 8 years….but he never told me he wanted them hung the other way. His dad and sister treat him meanly, but he wants their blessing so badly that he takes it out on me. I think that controlling me in every detail gives him some semblance of not feeling out of control of the rest of his life.

    It all boils down to surrendering to God, and the question of leaving and cleaving.

    • Aly on December 6, 2017 at 11:17 am

      Yep Connie,
      Projection at its core!

      I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were recently separated. Praying for you💕 asking for God’s will and His best for your heart.

  6. Aly on December 6, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Aleea,

    “Leslie’s other questions: “What are you most afraid of if you change?” . . . “Are you afraid of being alone? Would you feel like a mean person if you let him experience the legal ramifications of what he did?”

    Fear so important to process and unpack.
    Sometimes being surrounded by all the ‘wrong people’ is the Loneliest place possible. 😔

    When I realized I was already a survivor in my lonely & destructive patterned marriage it helped empower my courage to chase harder after God and be willing to face hard things for the chance of healthier God fearing things and thus healthier relationship dynamics.

    • Aleea on December 6, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      “. . .When I realized I was already a survivor in my lonely & destructive patterned marriage it helped empower my courage to chase harder after God and be willing to face hard things for the chance of healthier God fearing things and thus healthier relationship dynamics.”

      “courage to chase harder after God” ―that’s really beautiful. “Healthier God fearing things” ―yes, equally beautiful.

      Thank you Aly, ―wonderful points.💖 💛 💕 🌷 🌹

      . . . .For me, it is so hard to believe that He is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference and is relentless in pursuing us at whatever cost to Him. To believe that God does not live in a perpetual state of disappointment over who we are, like growing up. . . . ―I guess the issue is fear and the even deeper issue is trust. Can we trust our lives, our futures, and the lives of those we love to God? Can we trust a God we can’t control in any even small way? Can we trust this God whose take on life and death and especially horrible suffering is so, so very different from our own?

      . . . .and opening my clenched hand and allowing God access, actually saying yes to God, His plan, His way. ―So hard. Not, “Are you a believer?” but instead, “Are you a follower of Jesus?” Not, “Are you saved?” but instead, “Are you able to drink of this cup?” . . . . John 11:16 “. . . Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may also die with Him.”✞❣ . . .Christ wants us to crucify our selfish, me-first identities and die with Him outside the city walls, —nasty, horrible stuff.✞ It frightens me Aly, and yet I am so, so attracted to♕ Him ♛at the same time. It is like a magnet that just reaches to my heart and pulls me. That this God of ours is a God of life, of goodness and we can lay down our fear, pick up Jesus and live beyond fear. . . . .Fear is such a wicked, powerful, crippling thing in our soul and hearts. Time doesn’t heal emotional pain, we need to learn how to let go but if we are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to our estimate of it and this we have the power to revoke at any moment.📩 🍬

    • Renee on December 6, 2017 at 11:33 pm

      Yes Aly, the writer probably feels a bit of this (being a mean person). Christians should always be nice and never mean. That’s what I experienced growing up. So pressing charges may feel mean as well as a bit deceitful. She may feel it will be hurting her husband more so than helping him grow. She may feel husband will never let her live it down so it is better to keep quiet and suffer in silence.

      Even when we know a spouse needs help, it just feels disloyal at times to ask others for help. But I do hope she can turn this around because it is not right at all. I was speechless after reading.

      • Aly on December 7, 2017 at 7:24 am

        Renee,

        I believe in certain situations the ‘wrong kind of help’ can actually hurt the person we are ‘wanting to help’.

        Co-dependency thrives on help that doesn’t exactly help a situation but empowers more dysfunctional behaviors.

        You wrote:
        “Even when we know a spouse needs help, it just feels disloyal at times to ask others for help”

        Something may ‘feel’ a certain way but that won’t always be true or the best directive.
        I’m wondering about that message of ‘disloyalty’ ?
        Where is originates?

        I actually felt more uncomfortable and disloyal by not ‘getting help’ for our situation. I felt that I would be held responsible for my part in not getting help if I had chose that path.

        • Renee on December 7, 2017 at 10:22 pm

          That message of disloyalty originated for me a long time ago and followed me into my marriage. In my parent’s home, I would remember my siblings or mother telling me something going on in the family, but then tell me not to tell dad who is living in the same home because he may tell outsiders. Or, don’t tell this sibling about this or that.. How dare they put me in this position, but then I played along.

          Whenever I would reach out for help in my marriage, I’d be met with you should not be telling others about our business. You are trying to taint my image. What are you telling these people? Even today when I was trying to get the teens income turned over to me I felt this disloyal feeling.

          I awaited my call or text from husband because I knew it was coming. How can you be so distrusting? How can you be trying to hurt me? How can you feel this way about me? How can I not take what you just did personally?

          I just can never understand how he always comes to such extreme conclusions. The weekend I had lunch with my friend he came to the conclusion that I placed lunch over the sake of the family. We did not have family or couples plans.

          The only response I could think of was our family is safe, cared for, and loved. I just became a broken record repeating that statement because nothing else would come out.

          Again trying to make me feel I was being disloyal to our family unit. Maybe he sees this weakness and uses it to his advantage.

          I just don’t know how to make it stop.

          • JoAnn on December 8, 2017 at 12:15 pm

            Oh, My! So stealing your money isn’t being disloyal to the family? abuse isn’t disloyal? Sorry, Renee, you aren’t going to be able to “make it stop” until he is out of the family and you are managing things on your own. Boundaries and more boundaries. Also, being in the Word each day will strengthen you and give you the help you need. Prayer, developing your CORE, other women to support you….all these are necessary for you now. Work on strengthening yourself, and keeping your eyes on the Lord. “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”



          • Renee on December 8, 2017 at 3:58 pm

            JoAnn, I guess it is important that I’m clear. By him being on disability, he receives a small amount each month to help care for the kids until they turn 18. He did not know that once he left the money had to remain with the kids. I did not know that as well until informed by a caseworker. So what he did this month was bring one of the checks over to apply toward the mortgage and took the teens clothing shopping. Right now, I’m holding off on child support because I don’t want to cause him to be homeless resulting in him having to come back home. I can’t force him to stay out of the family home permanently without a court order. Our local courts are only willing to do so through filing for divorce.

            Today he texted saying he had his first day in counseling.



          • JoAnn on December 8, 2017 at 5:39 pm

            Renee, those are all positive steps in the right direction, and I respect your desire to not take child support so that he would be homeless. Does his disability mean that he cannot do any kind of work at all? What about job training for him to learn to do something with whatever ability he does have? It would seem that an important step for him, in addition to counseling, would be to look into becoming self supporting, or at least to augment his disability income somehow.



        • Nancy on December 8, 2017 at 6:51 am

          It’s so good to recognize Renee, 1) this message of ‘disloyalty’ is a lie ( straight from hell) and 2) where it originates.

          There is something very active you can do. You can open yourself to The Lord’s healing and Truth by praying for Him to cleanse you of this.

          Renee, are you part of a Bible study? Being in The Word, regularly is SO important. It’s good brainwashing!

  7. Aly on December 6, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Aleea,

    Thanks so much for your post and your honesty in fear. Goodness we do fear! Indeed I can relate.
    However, God’s truths help me align this, He says not to Fear goodness over and over and for me it means,
    To not let Fear make my decisions or give fear the power, but let His power and courage ‘overcome’ the fear. ✝️🌈
    This doesn’t mean I feel shame or frustration from God because I have fear but He wants to help me walk through that and find the treasures through fear because of ‘only Him’.
    I think fear He understands graciously and wants to equip us to ‘Fear the right things’ and not the worldly things.
    I’m learning each day (at least trying to learn)
    Much love and prayers 💜

  8. Aly on December 6, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Aleea,

    You wrote;
    “For me, it is so hard to believe that He is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference and is relentless in pursuing us at whatever cost to Him. To believe that God does not live in a perpetual state of disappointment over who we are, like growing up.”

    Wow, I’m sorry it’s hard for you to believe or maybe it’s just a small voice that says those things??
    But those descriptions are not the God we worship and Love.
    He created us to be dependent on Him, not independent of Him.
    It’s hard if we have been injured by parents that ‘were weary’ and certainly they are human ..don’t misunderstand me but parents that parent out of their own strength and love and not out of Gods, will draw often empty and can bring a lot of wounding to a child.
    …’As they are forming their child’s lens of who God is.’

    But even God interferes and can overcome these beliefs.

    Indifference is worse than most anything, it says you don’t matter and that isn’t true.
    You were made in the image of God and as a child of God we definitely matter. He delights in us 💕💕💕😍

    A mom or dad will have a hard time offering what they have not received themselves or have not looked at the past injuries of .. I’m experiencing this often in my grief 😥

  9. Renee on December 6, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    James 1:19
    This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

    I think the misinformation around this verse (slow to speak and slow to anger) has caused so much dysfunction. I am so glad to hear Leslie’s take after finding this blog.

    Have blessed night everyone.

    • Lilah on December 7, 2017 at 1:49 am

      I think we have to be very careful about what verses we apply to our situations. There were not that many audiences in the Bible of victims in destructive relationships. Sometimes we can really hurt ourselves by taking a verse out of context and slapping it into our situations.

  10. Jen on December 7, 2017 at 3:28 am

    Leslie,

    I think you are being unfair.

    It is also true, that her husband is treating her how to treat him. If there is a seriously devious character issue with her spouse, it could be what she is afraid of is retribution of a serious nature. She could be being part of the dance to keep a level of safety, because going thru the rage of someone who has an evil heart can actually be life threatening.

    To the original Question Asker: I’d say trust your intuition. When you ask yourself about the financial situation of why do you pay, don’t dismiss toughts or feelings that you are doing this to appease for more than just keeping him happy. Do you feel unsafe? Don’t dismiss your gut feelings, and if you don’t know what they are, all the more reason to listen get more help and really know before you act. If you feel you have “irrational” fears, I’d suggest getting some understanding of abuse dynamics and what happens when you set a boundary. Is it bulldosed? Be careful and get help.

    I say this, because when I set boundaries in my relationship, over what I thought was serious, (I personally consider using my Social Insurance number very serious) and things were much scarier and my partner much more capable of indifference and retribution I did not anticipate. It put me in very serious and dangerous situations.

    Sometimes when we own our part and take an action without understanding, that our partners are training us too, and perhaps know what they are doing (at least on some level), we can discredit why we are playing the dance. Sometimes its to be safe, and that means, get out, get out slow and quietly to really actually get safety. To me it does.

    Don’t mean to fear munger, just want people to take seriously the dynamics we are in when there is abuse.

    For years I owned my part, look at my responsibilities, set boundaries and that was good, but he plowed thru all of them overtly and covertly, and I used language like in this post to say to myself that I’m at fault for my partners exploitation of me, I needed to realize it was exploitation and I didn’t have control by design of the situation I was in, and it was my partners design, not mine. He didn’t allow me any control of my property (body, time, money ect), and wasn’t going to because that’s how he was teaching me to treat him: that I was his, and his to do what he wanted with: And that mentality is on him, not me. What it did mean is that I needed to leave his slavery hold on me, and to leave things got scary just using principles of changing my behavior and thinking that would make things better, it made them worse, but it revealed what I was in.

    Just saying trust your gut, and you aren’t at fault if your relationship is exploitive, your partner is. Period.

    Lots of prayers for your situation to improve and you feel financially safe. And in all other ways safe. 🙂

    Much love.

    Also much love to you Leslie. I appreciate your work very much.

    • Aly on December 7, 2017 at 7:11 am

      Jen,

      Your post was so very good at detailing what must be considered on such a covert controlling level. So valid to be discerning here and I’m so sorry for what you went through in a relationship.
      Hoping you are free from such an individual for good.

      You are correct when you state that your partner set up an exploitive dynamic. I don’t think these dynamics are easily spelled out for the one victimized ‘early on’ or else most would run or not be so lured in. It seems to happen more subtly. I think some of these abusers are exploitive by nature and that’s their only ‘comfort norm’ in doing relationship as if people are objects and possessions.

      If they can’t objectify or treat a person in their relationship as a possession, often ‘then their is NO relationship based on these terms’.

      You wrote:
      “She could be being part of the dance to keep a level of safety, because going thru the rage of someone who has an evil heart can actually be life threatening.”

      Being ‘unsafe’ and sorting out if the behavior is ‘for a level of safety’ is important for anyone dealing with trying to better understand their part of the dance.

      I think it’s also important to see that there are two forms (maybe more) of life threatening dynamics, those that are immediate danger, or reactive rage from another, and those that are a slow drip version.

  11. Aleea on December 7, 2017 at 6:54 am

    “I have fear but He wants to help me walk through that and find the treasures through fear because of ‘only Him’.”

    . . . that’s beautiful Aly. “Only Him,” —That’s incredibly strong. . . .This is a spiritual battle and no one will succeed without the Holy Spirit. There is NO route out of this maze on our own because our fears and our enemy are real, living things. They are alive and the maze is constantly restrategizing against us. The maze shifts as I move through it just swallowing me up. I can walk hand-and-hand with Jesus in the freedom of really surrendering to real Love, real Life (Christ) —and it is almost impossible to consistently do (—I’m being honest!), maybe actually impossible (i.e. our models of reality may be inadequate) —And it sure looks like the foolish path so many times. . . .so many times it makes me wonder (—I’m being honest!) —Or, I can stay on those shadowy Elm streets where I let my insecurities just cut me to gummy ribbons. There’s a deeper place to go (re: Hebrews, Romans, Philippians) but it is straight up and the slope is a sheer rock wall. . . .At the same time, no one will “white knuckle” themselves to any lasting change. It has to come from a totally new understanding/ realization. . . .A new revelation from the King♚-of-Kings♛ ❣💕 💞✝ ރ♔“metanoia” ✔after the transformational experience talked about everywhere in the New Testament.

    “I think fear He understands graciously and wants to equip us to ‘Fear the right things’ and not the worldly things. I’m learning each day (at least trying to learn). Much love and prayers” . . . .First thank you so, so much for the prayers. —Oh how I ask for prayer. —Best gift 💗 🎁💗 ever!

    . . .And, I think of friendship like this. . . always these three questions:
    💖 1) How are you *really* doing in your relationship with Jesus. . . .
    💖 2) How can I pray for you. . . . .
    💖 3) Are we ensuring that Christ’s story totally overtakes our abuse stories. . . .This is about Him✞✝
    (Even when I try to make it about me!)

    Fear the right things☑✓✔ Fear God Alone. . . .Luke 12:4,5,6
    4I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear the One who, after you have been killed, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him! 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.…
    Berean Study Bible

    I do fear God but I do not understand His methods. . .You better love Me or I will throw you into 🔥 hell 🔥. I have a “choice” but look at the choice. . . .I know hell awaits those who question God’s infinite love. ☠ ☣ ☠ ☤ ✘ . . .It seems Christ is offered through the covert fear of hell🔥. That makes it like a mugger in a back alley. “Give me all your money or I’ll shoot you dead.” “―Aleea, I don’t want to shoot you dead, because I love you but I will if you don’t obey.” ―Do you see the abuse in that? I see the abuse in that and it’s totally abusive and it sounds just like my mother’s “love”☠ ☢ ☣. I’m sure I’m somehow wrong, because I am always, a-l-w-a-y-s wrong but at least I am being truthful about what I see. And that’s one passage. The Bible is just full of that stuff☠ ☢ ☣ . . .And that is NOT an issue with you Aly❣, it is an issue with God Himself ―And yet, if I am totally honest, I still so deeply love God and want Him✝❤ 😊✨✝💕 💞 ❣ 🌟 even though I can’t reconcile all those texts enough to not see s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t abuse.

    . . . . Μερικές φορές δεν έχει νόημα, δεν έχει καθόλου νόημα, καθόλου (Sometimes it makes no sense, makes no sense, makes no sense, makes no sense, makes no sense, makes no sense, makes no sense at all, . . . .at all). . . . Reality is not the way I wish things would be, hope things would be, pray for things to be, have been led to believe that they are, but just the way things really are.

    “Wow, I’m sorry it’s hard for you to believe or maybe it’s just a small voice that says those things??” . . . .Yes, just a small voice many times but a voice all the same.

    “. . . .parents that parent out of their own strength and love and not out of Gods, will draw often empty and can bring a lot of wounding to a child. …’As they are forming their child’s lens of who God is.’ But even God interferes and can overcome these beliefs.” . . . Then please Lord Jesus interfer and overcome my beliefs because I want You.✝❤😊💘❣ 💟 🌟

    “You were made in the image of God and as a child of God we definitely matter. He delights in us A mom or dad will have a hard time offering what they have not received themselves or have not looked at the past injuries of .. I’m experiencing this often in my grief “

    Aly, I get it. . . .I think I get it, but can’t always live it. . . . Who am I to be cherished, who am I to have real affection, who am I to be treated like a precious treasure, who am I to be really loved? —And I know some of the answers but I don’t know (experience) even those answers. I know them, I don’t/can’t/ will not do them. . . . .I mean, actually, who are we *not* to be [cherished, have real affection, be treated like a precious treasure, really, deeply loved]. If we truly belong to the Lord, then we are champion eternals. Daughters, et.al. of the Living Light. Persons of the highest caliber. Children of God. . . .I know my not loving myself does not serve the Kingdom of God.

    The way I see it, and maybe this is wrong but. . . . . .it is this: I (Aleea) don’t want to be what I am, I want to be *what continually changes what I am* (Romans 8:26-27; John 14:26; Acts 1:8; Romans 5:5; Acts 2:38) . . . .Because, Aly, it seems to me that the things we most need are always to be found where we least want to look (―that dark places ―the deserts of the REAL). . . . To really learn is to die *voluntarily* and be born again, in great ways and small.
    .
    .

    Re: Renee

    “. . . .She may feel it will be hurting her husband more so than helping him grow. She may feel husband will never let her live it down so it is better to keep quiet and suffer in silence.”

    . . .🙋speak/ live the Truth even if our voices and hands shake❣ . . .Once the Truth gets involved everything is exposed for what it is. The Truth brings down everything in its path. Whenever Truth finds a nutshell —it cracks it completely open and totally disturbs the “tranquility.” —That holy desolation where only the Truth survives. . . .BUT, The Truth🎤🙋, as best we can articulate it, also always brings the best possible world and relationships into being. . . I say, and maybe I am wrong, but I say: tell the Truth even if it deconstructs and demythologizes God and Jesus themselves, —God forbid!!! —but it could. That’s how powerful just simply telling the truth is. —No abuse stands where the entire Truth is told.

    —Truth needs no believers because it is the Truth. That’s how powerful just simply telling *all* of the truth is. —Speaking🎤🙋 the Truth, as best we know it, always puts our lives back in God’s hands, because we are not outcome engineering, peace faking, pretending. . . .It is an act of Faith. ✔ The Truth, as lived and spoken, produces the best possible outcomes long-term❣ I can’t always do it but I sure see its power 🌟🎤👍🙋and effectiveness.ツ✞✝❤ 😊 ⌘

  12. Roxanne on December 7, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Jen, I completely understand what you are trying to say. Some readers are in difficult marriages and in that case the advise applies. Yet, for those in dangerous relationship ie with a battered for example, the advise isn’t wise. For those in extreme danger, anything other than obedience results in reactive behavior from the abuser.

    Jen, living in terror with a dangerous husband has to end. I understand some of us are in that situation and sometimes the discussions just will not apply. There is no way to live well, we survive, but not thrive.

    It is good to read your perspective to those of us in that horrid subgroup of
    being both wives and domestic prisoners.

  13. Kathy on December 7, 2017 at 7:45 am

    How do Leslie’s suggestions make you feel? It’s been painful but very healthy for me to tell my husband several years ago, ” I will no longer live like this anymore. ” He didn’t like who I grew to be : someone who took classes to learn financial and moral responsibility for myself, calling the law for physical abuse, etc. It was hard not to rescue him from his own painful consequences. But it’s helping me know what I do and don’t want my own life to look like and to continue to not just say it but do it. You can do it too. I’m cheering you on.

  14. Aly on December 7, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Aleea,

    Jesus spoke the truth and look at the outcome. Of course He had a mission but the outcome was of death and overall conquering of death for Life 💜
    True eternal life;)

    You had so many things I wanted to reply to you about but this one stuck out at me;

    “. I have a “choice” but look at the choice. . . .I know hell awaits those who question God’s infinite love. ☠ ☣ ☠ ☤ ✘”

    I’m pretty sure I don’t agree.. to question God’s infinite Love does not await hell for me.
    Trust me Aleea, do I ask AloT of questions?
    God does not anger with my questions. He holds them, helps me discover what I’m looking for… all the while He’s holding my ‘pinky finger’ as I look into scripture and ask for the healing I need.

    Those who enter ‘eternal hell’ are those who do NOT accept Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross for sin, for their own sin. Those that don’t or won’t see Jesus as the Savior from eternal hell.
    So yes, there is a disctinct decision to be made. I can’t save myself.

    If you can accept that is ‘Jesus’s work/sacrifice on the cross’ that grants this promise, then you receive Eternal Life.
    It’s only His death (alone) that grants this. This is the GoodNews!
    Nothing added to it, don’t try to add the sanctification process to the Salvation and justification Promise. That you can do nothing about or add to because its Jesus who justified our debt alone.

    But it’s also important to see that Salvation is the beginnings of transformation. Transformation is life long journey. ✝️💕

    Aleea, if someone paid your mortgage off .. and you kept sending checks to your bank, your bank would return your checks to you, because they would be able to deposit against a ‘non debt’. The bank would communicate the debt is paid in full.

  15. JoAnn on December 7, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Re: Truth….I believe that recognizing the Truth is really the first step, but whether or not to speak the truth in these abusive situations is a matter of considering whether or not it is safe, as Jen said above. The word is “you shall KNOW the truth…” and we ask the Lord to reveal that to us, but there will be times when speaking it can do more harm than good. There are going to be situations in which it is neither wise nor safe to speak Truth.

  16. Ruth on December 7, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Nancy,
    I didn’t want to reply directly under your comment bc the margins were already very narrow which makes it hard for me to read on my phone so that’s way I’m replying down here.
    Here goes: Bravo 👏 to you and your husband for not letting your MIL continue her toxic behavior. It is hurtful for her daughters to know she was so destructive that it was necessary to go no-contact.
    But Oh how much worse it would be to let your daughters watch you condone it and see the cycle perpetuated.
    I’m impressed that your husband would stand up to his mother like this. I had never seen this type of crazy til I got married and my husband told me stories about his paternal grandmother. She played blatant favoritism towards his sister. Apparently one no EVER challenged her about it. I heard my MIL talk about how it made her angry (no comment from my FIL); my H would joke about it, but that was his way of covering for a hurt. The ironic thing is that my MIL makes a HUGE deal out of giving the same monetary gift to each grandchild for Christmas and birthdays BUT as far as her attention 90% goes towards my SIL’s kids. It puzzles me that she could watch her children get hurt by an insensitive GM and then repeat the pattern. I’ve come to realize self-awareness is in low supply in my husband’s family, BUT C’MON PEOPLE!
    We have little contact with them. Fortunately, my mom is loving and sweet enough to make up for their other grandmother’s lack of interest. My
    Nancy, your situation with your MIL sounds even more destructive than just favoritism so I realize your response needed to be very strong . I am so sorry you are going through that.
    You operate with such grace and humility to not have grown up in a ‘safe’ believing home. I appreciate your heart and your courage. I can understand when you say ‘you felt numb’- God’s just giving you a chance to settle into this new alignment a little bit at a time. You’ve had to feel TOO MUCH for TOO LONG from TOO MANY SIDES. Naturally, you’d go to numb at first.
    God doesn’t push. He’s the Good Shepherd who gently leads. He restoreth your soul. He leads you to the still waters. (But getting there can be ROUGH sometimes.)
    I recently heard this song; it reminds of leaning into God when you feel weary. Let’s see if I can post a link. It’s “We Dance” by Bethel Music.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fFfw6OSbUwE

    • Nancy on December 7, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      Thank you for your lovely words, Ruth. Generational sin is something isn’t it? Like you said, it just doesn’t make sense.

      Interestingly about a week before we recieved her abusive email, my h talked to his aunt ( my MIL sister). He called to find out about relational patterns in the family- exactly to find out the generational sin patterns ( an excercise in the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality course).

      His aunt told him that 1) she was no longer in contact with her sister – she couldn’t do it anymore 2) her ( the aunt’s) father told his wife when their youngest was born ( my MIL) that he ‘would only love the youngest, everyone else could love the oldest.’ Hearing this is what made the veil come down, for me, on her favouritism. OF COURSE she would favour our youngest daughter! She’s only repeating the generational sin pattern! ( our youngest is also partially sighted and my MIL is severely disabled so..another thing to identify with) This overt favouritism by her father also explains my MIL’s entitlement and complete lack of self-control. His aunt told my H that even when she was a young girl, my MIL was mean-spirited. This aunt is wonderful, BTW. She was giving him the info he asked for, but not in a mean spirited way, at all.

      God is just so good in the timing of all of this. This is why my h is able to go ‘no contact’ – even though it’s painful we can clearly see the hand of God at each step. (my h just did the session called ‘enlarging your soul through grief and loss’ in the EHS course. I’ve seen him cry a handful of times, this morning was one of them).

      I’m so glad that you have a lovely mom, Ruth, and that your kids have that kind of grandma.

      Thanks for the song – I’d never heard it before it’s just lovely ❤️

      • Roxanne on December 7, 2017 at 5:41 pm

        It does help to see the cause of the generational sin. I have to be careful to stay strong against the present sin and not move on to pity. Something like, oh that is so sad, I can be more patient with whomever. Yet, I know as adults they had plenty of opportunity to learn, grow and fix themselves. Yielding to God, can fix any heart.

        When I hear my H harboring issues against his mother I say, yes, but she has been dead for 14 years. What are YOU going to do about Your problem.

        Of course this is not the same as what you are dealing with. Congrats to all of you for pulling the plug on craziness.

        • Nancy on December 7, 2017 at 8:58 pm

          I can totally relate, Roxanne, to, ” something like, oh this is so sad, I can be more patient..”

          My counsellor reminds me not to be too empathetic because she doesn’t process things the way that I do.

          I’m just wondering out loud here….is being empathetic with someone who is narcissistic in fact just projecting my own, very sensitive, feelings onto someone who isn’t even able to feel many of the tender things that I’m imagining they are feeling?

          • JoAnn on December 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm

            Nancy, a thought that I often tell myself in situations like that is, “It must be hard being her.” That is a sympathetic thought, but it doesn’t take you as deep as empathy does. There is a difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy means that you can “feel sorry” for the other person, but you don’t enter into their feelings. There is detachment with consideration. Empathy allow you to actually feel with the other person. You enter into their pain, grief, etc. That is not healthy in all situations. However, to be able to forgive someone, sometimes it is helpful to be empathetic to the extent that you can understand why they do what they do; that they are acting out of their own woundedness, and therefore you can let go of the offense; not hold on to it. Does this help?



          • Nancy on December 8, 2017 at 1:34 pm

            Yes that helps, JoAnn. I suppose that empathy then, is not imagined…it’s real. In the sense that it is a ‘real time’ experience of ‘being with’ someone in their feelings as opposed to imagining what someone must be feeling (the latter would be projection, I guess).

            Sympathy keeps boundaries. So empathy then is VERY VERY precious.

            Would you remind me about the relationship between ‘Giving the gift of Grace’ to someone I don’t trust, where reconciliation is not possible ( no repentance) but I need to forgive? Grace causes me problems. I don’t see how to maintain boundaries while giving grace…?



          • JoAnn on December 8, 2017 at 5:32 pm

            The gift of grace…. well, grace can be a lot of things, but one of the ways of describing grace that I like very much is “I can’t, but God in me (the Holy Spirit in my spirit) can.” God in me can be kind to someone who is unkind; God in me can turn the other cheek; God in me can be sympathetic; God in me can speak Truth in love…. God in me can even walk away when necessary. And the Lord Jesus in me can forgive, even when I can’t. Remember, that forgiveness is simply releasing the debt, and releasing the debtor into God’s hands. It’s not saying that it’s okay that s/he did what they did, but it is declaring that you are not going to hold onto the offense any longer. Think RELEASE. For a more thorough look at what the scripture has to say about forgiveness, visit June Hunt’s web site http://www.HopeForTheHeart.org.



          • Nancy on December 9, 2017 at 6:53 pm

            JoAnn, “God in me can even walk away when necessary.” I am so very aware that it is ONLY by His Grace that we have done what we’ve done.

            We spoke to the girls this morning. The 10 year old got it, after saying she’d miss her grandmother she said, “but Dad, that’s your mom.” my H and she were able to just grieve together. The 14 year old already knew – she had picked up a lot. She asked if she should give a charm bracelet back. I told her that it’s hers and she should do what she would like with it, ” I want to keep it,” she said, “I don’t want to forget her, even though every time we saw her it was so awkward”

            I know that God was with us because we were able to convey that this was a sad reality. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone 🙁



          • JoAnn on December 9, 2017 at 11:50 pm

            Nancy, It sounds like you and your husband have handled this very difficult situation very well. Of course there is grieving to do; not so much of what was, but of what you hoped it could be. The relationship that you had was toxic, and you are right to rid yourselves of it. With my grandmother, it was unpleasant, and we did not like her, but it was never so toxic that my mother had to cut off contact. I’m glad for that, but my sister and I would not have minded so much. for your daughters, I think they will see things more clearly as time goes on. Perhaps now the focus needs to be in helping them to repair the damage the grandmother caused in their relationship. May the Lord give you much wisdom for this.



          • Aly on December 9, 2017 at 11:56 pm

            Nancy, JoAnn,

            JoAnn;) well written. Nancy your not alone in this, I do understand on a level as you know, I’m sorry. Be patient and ask the Lord to continue to walk you into your grief and your joy! He loves you and you can trust He will restore the stolen locusts. Reclaim your family nucleus and love on one another💜
            Praying for your hearts



          • Aly on December 10, 2017 at 9:31 am

            JoAnn,

            You wrote:
            “With my grandmother, it was unpleasant, and we did not like her, but it was never so toxic that my mother had to cut off contact. I’m glad for that, but my sister and I would not have minded so much. ”

            Not that you need to expand but it does make me want to see how a grandmother can be disliked by grandkids? You describe her as unpleasant, and mention the level of toxic involvement.
            I really get to wondering about the toxic levels and how others can be aware of what is toxic.
            Sounds like maybe there is a level of toxic behavior ‘we can’ tolerate?
            I say this because many of us in certain circumstances really don’t know how bad ‘an issue’ is when all you have is a baseline of what you have been exposed and conditioned by?

            My family system isn’t what many would describe as toxic but so wonderful that everyone takes such care of ‘being there’ for each other. But don’t expose their non intregrated lives or lack of congruent spiritual fruit and hypocrisy filled with double standards.

            For us, it was when it gets revealed you can clearly see the ‘fuller toxicity’ by the responses of unhealthy behavior! Something that isn’t seen while things are in hiding or at least not challenged.

            I have/ and had a couple friends who struggle seeing how a daughter can go no contact with a parent figure. Something about this dynamic that boils them inside…?
            Meaning like, how it that even an option of mine? Often as we know here, we don’t begin a process of going no contact in the beginning but it’s the final and last unfortunate outcome based on many many other attempts of getting destructive person(s) to wake up!

            My health and boundaries then have been turned/twisted (by these individuals that think drawing the line of toxic issues isn’t my right) that it’s now a character attribute problem ‘I have’ versus the offenders, I get accused because I don’t know how to better tolerate destructive relationships.

            I know this is not a true accusation coming from a clear lens of sort on the subject but nonetheless I do think many struggle seeing ‘where are the lines here of toxicity of extended family situations’ especially with all of our own histories and normalization of these dynamics.

            Many of these individuals who don’t have nor are willing to learn ‘healthy boundaries’ are not equipped to take a position one way or another.
            Often what is revealed I that they ‘just want a small reflection of reconciliation’ even if it’s not true.
            They are quite satisfied with the false reconciliation and pride themselves on ‘love covering multiple sins’ when in reality they haven’t embraced what does it mean to TRuly Love another out from the Love we have first received from the Lord himself.
            Or is the love flowing from fear, abandonment wounds, and a broken version of love that often family systems create ‘unhealthily’ but not on purpose?



          • JoAnn on December 10, 2017 at 10:07 pm

            Aly, I can elaborate a little. But first, I would like to point out that defining what level of “toxicity” is tolerable is a very subjective thing. My mother was the target of my grandmother’s abuse. She didn’t like my father and gave Mom a lot of grief about that. My grandmother gave my mother to another couple to raise for several years, and when Mother went back to live with her, she became very jealous of my mother’s relationship with them. They were a very loving couple, and she disliked the fact that we loved the “foster” grandparents and would visit them more often than we went to see her, even though every time we went to see her, she would fight with my mother. So even though she wasn’t unkind to my sister and me, she still wasn’t loving toward us, and she made our visits unpleasant. Cold. Mother still tried to honor her and help her when my grandfather was an invalid the last 7 years of his life, but it wasn’t easy. Our grandfather was a very sweet man, and we liked him. So, the point of all this is that we basically put up with her coldness and sometimes nastiness, but it wasn’t to the point of needing to not have any contact with her at all. We only saw her a few times a year, and that was ok. I don’t think it would have entered my mother’s mind to stop seeing her altogether.
            We all have our stories, and the challenges we have to deal with make us stronger and teach us things. I have no regrets about it, but I do understand that some situations are absolutely intolerable, so when you say that for the sake of your family’s health and sanity, you have to cut off contact, I can appreciate what that means to you. I know that you wouldn’t make that decision lightly. Some people are just downright evil, and nothing you can do will change that. I am very sorry for the grief it has caused your family, and to have that compounded by friends who judge you for it, makes everything worse. Forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing. They haven’t walked in your shoes, not faced those challenges, so it is not their place to judge you. I am so very sorry.



          • Aly on December 12, 2017 at 9:13 am

            JoAnn,

            Thank you so much for your post and taking the time to answer my question.
            I agree in what you said about the level of toxicity being subjective, I can see that.
            Thank you also for your encouragement to to forgive those that don’t understand and certainly don’t have the room to comprehend our situation.
            I don’t hold unforgiveness toward them, but I do think when you do set healthy boundaries for yourself (maybe disagreeing with them about your own situations that involve you alon) you see clearer what the relationship is, what they can or cannot tolerate and what they are ‘unforgiving’ in.

            As for my situation, and what I’m going through is merky because evil and sometimes close to evil, isn’t clear. I don’t think my mom is evil, by far. I do think she and many of the family members she is surrounded by are quite immature (lacking empathy), prideful (due to great shame) and have a lot of things of wrong-track-thinking and upside-down-reasoning. This is what I feel keeps reconciliation from happening.

            Plus it’s one thing to have one or two people in a family system show these character traits, but to have the majority feels like a room of crazy mirrors. Its really hard to be surrounded by these individuals and call it ok or normalize it. Even worse spiritualize it!

            The family members just can’t see my mom’s very hurtful behavior of continued abandonment and neglect in many levels, because it’s not behavior that they personally experience, she makes it’s really obvious of who she can be available for and who she chooses to not be there for.
            This is what reminds me of the covert harming relationships of what I went through in my marriage and what many face behind closed doors which isn’t the obvious things of harm.

            My biggest concern is for our children’s heart and I find it almost more difficult to expose our children to the ‘level of norms’ on an ongoing basis.

            By norms~ I don’t want them to identify and adopt the unhealth of:
            ‘Unprocessed feelings and pain’
            And misplaced anger.

            One of the main drivers that keeps me from my extended family is the projection of anger toward me only, as if I’m the offender alone. Too much for me to try to receive and survive. Plus, it keeps them further from the healing of the ‘Father’s Love’.

            I asked you about your grandmother because I feel our histories with our mothers and our grandmothers (father’s too) tell a story and usually offer some perspective of what sorts of behavioral things and standards for relationships get passed on.

            I’m thankful that the Lord showed me my dysfunctional low standard and where it originated. I want to teach and model better for our children, regardless if people are blood… I don’t think this offers a ‘pass of destructive behavior’ in fact the fact we are family in my opinion should create a greater standard of true love for our family members and greater care for them. But this is not often what happens in these destructive patterns of relationships.

            JoAnn, thanks for being on this site and offering such comfort and wisdom.
            Hugs and prayers to you!
            Thanks you for your caring heart💕



          • JoAnn on December 12, 2017 at 10:54 am

            Thanks, Aly. I feel that I am getting to know so many of you on this site and loving you as sisters in Christ. I praise and thank God for each of you. I have learned so much that is helping me in my counseling practice.
            You expressed concern for your children being exposed to the disfunction in your family. Honestly, I don’t think it will harm them if you take time to talk with them about what they experience and how they feel about it. It can be a very valuable lesson about how to get along with different kinds of people they will meet in their lives, which is a character trait that few people exhibit these days. I learned to tolerate my grandmother’s cold and nasty behavior and still be respectful. That and many other situations in my FOO have taught me a lot, both about how to be respectful and tactful, and what kind of behavior to either avoid or embrace. I thank God for it all. We can’t fix our children’s lives, nor should we try to. What we need to do is equip them with the skills and character traits that they will need to be successful adults. Raising kids in this age, the Bible calls it a “crooked and perverted generation.” is not an easy task. We surely need the Lord’s wisdom to do it.



          • Aly on December 12, 2017 at 11:43 am

            JoAnn,

            I respect you and your position and maybe we see it differently and have had different levels of injury.
            You wrote something imp:
            “It can be a very valuable lesson about how to get along with different kinds of people they will meet in their lives, which is a character trait that few people exhibit these days.”

            I feel I have a lot of space for engaging with different kinds of people and decide how much I can invest and offer. I don’t see different ‘as bad’ … I’m thinking that when it comes to the extended family situation it’s not a difference issue~ overall, but more that it is a destructive one often called different.
            Wrong thinking process lead to wrong values, lead to character shaping. Wrong isn’t different, it’s wrong.

            Let me explain:
            The issue: its fine for ‘them’ to be different as they define and there are allowances for that, but a double standard for others. Meaning they can’t tolerate difference in others, but others must put up with their needs and comforts. What’s ok for them, isn’t ok for the other. This is a power control issue&
            is an imbalance off the bat, which can begin all sorts of dysfunctional behavior and low standards of growth.

            Also in these dynamics, they can be fully aware what’s wrong with another person’s behavior, let’s say selfishness as an example….but can’t see ‘their own’! Which is crazy making.

            I’m assuming you are familiar with PatrickDoyle and his position on emotional abuse.
            He by far defines the ongoing ‘unresolved’ issues that the offender will not usually acknowledge, let alone want to address. This is not a ‘difference’, but a destructive character trait that needs addressed.

            You mention a key ingredient for parenting ~ equiping them for the skills and character traits to be successful adults. I agree FULLY!
            Because I have this privilege and I take this privilege seriously, my extended family erode and try to dismantle the very virtuous things I try to equip my children with.
            Our public school system is more supportive of these character virtues.

            sadly, our ext family.. tend to think it’s rather ‘funny’ because they don’t have core respect for another person’s perspective or difference. Difference is only allowed for ‘them’ when its convenient for them.

            A person who lacks true empathy… and insight, lacks many other characteristics needed to be successful adults.
            Not to mention what we are called up to be as Christian adults!

            Children are highly influencial and certainly can catch many things and get shaped in their home.
            For ex:
            My husband’s FOO a family norm was ~ lying isn’t a big deal especially the little lies.
            His family has a core belief or sorts & thinks it’s humorous to lie and think that all people lie because they do. Just not true.

            He paid a high price for this wired in behavior and as an adult he also passed down the baton of sorts to his children prior to his recovery work.

            Proverbs addresses the dangers of being influenced by ‘fools’ and corrupt behavior. And it’s pretty clear, I think we have a generational issue that isn’t getting ‘healthier’ in some places. Character being a big one!
            Like you mentioned it’s a ‘cooked and perverted gen’

            Should our ‘safe family homes’ mirror this type of character, no!

            I also had a cold grandmother, who I tried to love well and i accepted her coldness as her ‘injury’, but the cost was little investment and little exposure because we show people what we will tolerate being treated like.
            Plus, I think many people are also given the opportunities to change, she was…. but choose to not because they are quite satisfied and normalized with the coldness and the interactions of low character stds. The more we normalize this for them, the more they are entitled and the sins get passed on.



          • JoAnn on December 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm

            I’m sorry, Aly, I certainly didn’t mean to minimize the challenges you are facing in your family. I only wanted to allay your concern for the impact this could have on your children. I was really touched one day when I took my children to a nearby park, and as I was talking with another mother, her little girl came up to her and said, about another child who had been unkind to her, “she must be having a bad day.” That impressed me that this child already had the perception that the other child’s behavior wasn’t about her, but that she must have been having a bad day to behave that way. I realized then that I needed to help my kids understand that other’s behavior isn’t about my kids, but that others have problems that cause them to act that way. I am sure that you are working hard to help your family get through this, and I pray the Lord will give you the wisdom that you need to guide the children.



          • Aly on December 12, 2017 at 1:16 pm

            JoAnn,

            Thank you for this I really appreciate it, and yes I agree it’s important to help our children have these perceptions formed earlier, rather than later.

            I’m writing in case others here are going through similar situations.

            Children who don’t know how to own their own feelings and process in a safe place, become adults that often blame others for their behavior and attitude. This blame is sometimes the only coping skill they feel safe in, sadly.
            And it’s destructive to those involved. This stuff is rampant in families.

            You mention a person having a bad day, this is important.
            Having a bad day doesn’t release our responsibility at taking accountability for the behavior we choose ‘while having a bad day’.

            I had a close friend ‘blow up at me often’and thought I should continue to understand because she was ‘overcommitted and over tired not getting adequate rest!
            It’s not my problem she doesn’t sleep ~ or doesn’t get help with why she isn’t sleeping. It’s also not my problem why she overcommits and is angry that she feels ‘used often’ because she can’t say no to certain people. Boundaries were obviously a problem…But she had no problem thinking this blow up crazy making behavior was reasonable ~ saying I should be willing to tolerate and offer her more grace.
            The problem was this was not a person having a bad day but a person having a ‘bad pattern’ there is a difference.
            I think the patterns are the key, you are describing a person having a bad day an responding badly and the importance of not letting that being taken on personally.
            I agree. This is something we should be teaching our children a healthy form of self and value.

            But when you are on the receiving end of this as a pattern, often those with the pattern think they are entitled to this type of coping. Like you said they need an outlet in another post.
            When we refuse to be their outlet~ we have officially become their offenders.

            In the scenario of our ext family issue. Our counselor has reminded me that ‘i’ represent being the solution.. not in a boastful way but in a role and my unwillingness to be the target and outlet ‘being the solution’ to the family destruction, and for them to embrace a solution is to admit and see a ‘problem’.

            The pattern has been not to acknowledge a problem exists.
            The pattern has power. For ex: Can you imagine not seeing your daughter& grandkids because maybe you choose to not see a problem?
            How committed is a person to not seeing ‘a problem’ and at what cost?

            Thank you for your prayers JoAnn.💕 Sorry this is long. Thanks for listening to my grief.
            Some days I feel like I’m fighting for my children’s coping skills ~ coping skills I’m called as a parent to help guide them into. I know I’ll mess up, but I continue to ask the Lord to help equip me.



          • JoAnn on December 12, 2017 at 2:30 pm

            I love you, Aly. You are a very courageous and resourceful woman, and you are a blessing to this group here. Grace and peace be with you,
            JoAnn



          • JoAnn on December 12, 2017 at 11:07 am

            Aly, a P.S. about the anger related to you. Please remind yourself that the anger that they are expressing does not belong to you; it belongs to them. It is their anger and you can set up a wall around yourself that shields you from it. That wall is truth: the truth that it isn’t yours. These are people who have been carrying around a ton of unresolved anger about whatever is in their history, and people who are angry are always looking for an outlet for their anger, and for whatever reason, they have chosen you to be the target of that anger. When the Lord showed me that my mother had been dumping her anger toward her mother onto me, it changed everything in my relationship with her. I “gave back” that anger, disowned it, and it freed me in ways I could not imagine. She never even knew what I had done, but it changed the dynamic in our relationship. It was incredibly freeing. It also allowed me to be empathic toward her, for I realized just how much her mother’s attitude toward her, the abandonment, had hurt her.
            I hope that this can help some of you. Think about this: people are acting out of their own woundedness. Few people are actually cruel by nature; they are just wounded people who are trying to cope with their pain. And much of the time, the ways in which they try to cope are destructive, both to themselves and others. When we see this, we can be sympathetic, or even empathic.



          • Aly on December 12, 2017 at 12:03 pm

            JoAnn,

            I agree fully with this.
            And we teach and help our children try to understand and process their own pain and anger in a healthier way.

            Those that do what you described above are quite comfortable in the continued misplacing of anger especially if they dont have a parent to help guide them. And especially if they don’t have core respect for that person it’s falsely targeted on. Sadly.

            And yes JoAnn we do act out of our woundedness. Ask my children, I have had to often ask for forgiveness.
            ~ My empathy for my husband’s wounds drew me closer and closer to the Lord, the Lord helped me require more of him at the same time love him better. Even if that meant separation for the purpose of reconciliation.

            I’m glad that your mom had at least ‘some respect for you’ that wasn’t overshadowed by her unprocessed pain and shame.
            💜
            I pray for my mom.



          • Connie on December 12, 2017 at 1:08 pm

            JoAnn, my concern about ‘understanding’ that someone has had a bad day or a bad childhood, is that we have tended to use that as an excuse for bad behaviour. Because guess what? I’ve had my share of evil done to me as well, yet it doesn’t mean I have to take it out on others. A few years ago I knew that the Lord spoke to me, “No more excuses.” I was not to allow myself or others excuses for being mean. It really opened my eyes to how often we do use excuses. Each of us has access to the Bible and the Holy Spirit. And good books and counselors. Proverbs says that ‘only by pride comes contention’. (10:13) They say, ‘hurt people hurt people’. Well then we all should be hurting each other, oh well. But the Word says ‘proud people hurt people’. And that is the battle we are in. Not against flesh and blood but against sin.

            I have learned so much from the book, “Bold Love”, and by putting it into practice, I’m seeing a chink in the armour at this point in time. I’ll keep the details for now, but please keep praying for each other and for me. Thank you,



          • Aly on December 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm

            Connie;)

            Just want to say Praising God for whatever may be the ‘chink in the armor’, sometimes that can be first of the domino effect. 🙏🤗

            I also agree that hurt people hurt people. For sure, but often people that hurt in a pattern lack sufficient empathy and justify their bad coping skills.
            Those that have empathy ~ will try to not continue the behavior, not make it a pattern, not minimize it, see their is a problem or an offense, and they don’t think this coping skill of hurting others as justified is a reasonable resolution.

            My husband once said in joint counseling ~ describing and answering the counselor’s question about his choice of behavior;
            “I’m going to hurt her before she hurts me”
            I was thankful! One of his most defining moments of ‘finally’ being truthful! He gave himself a gift first.



          • JoAnn on December 12, 2017 at 2:20 pm

            Yes, Connie, I absolutely agree with you. No excuses. I brought that up in the context of realizing that the other person’s anger doesn’t belong to me. I don’t have to receive it or carry it around with me. I don’t have to absorb it or own it, even when someone says (wrongly) “you make me so angry.” No, not true. “You are angry because….but that anger is yours. I didn’t make you angry.” And you are right: being angry, or sad, or frustrated doesn’t give you the right to harm anyone, not even the dog. That’s why teaching our kids how to handle those feelings is so important, and that’s also why imposing boundaries on those who do dump on us is vitally necessary.



          • Aly on December 12, 2017 at 3:28 pm

            JoAnn,

            Thank you JoAnn for your kindness and loving care for me… and So many here~ you are well loved and greatly appreciated ✝️
            I hope it’s ok I bring this up below.. just to clarify for myself.

            This you wrote is true;
            “I brought that up in the context of realizing that the other person’s anger doesn’t belong to me.”

            Just because the anger doesn’t belong to us, doesn’t mean an infraction or offense hasn’t occurred.
            There were plenty of times that I was unsettled & upset at being sinned against~ How the behavior of another person impacted me, affected my children too.

            This is where I think these things need unraveling.. the offense needs validated.

            Jesus was angry at ‘others behavior’ and what that behavior represented and the implications of that behavior.
            He didn’t pity them but called them out!

            Sin against another is never solo~ it impacts lots of things.
            Sin is also progressive if not addressed and acknowledged.



          • JoAnn on December 12, 2017 at 3:35 pm

            Of course you are right. I didn’t cover all the angles, but you and Connie added in the other necessary points.



          • Connie on December 12, 2017 at 2:42 pm

            Exactly, joAnn. For 12 years I’ve tried to ‘get it right’ in this marriage, wondering how I was bringing all this anger on myself. I knew it wasn’t me, yet…… So now I realize that the wrong that his father and sister have done and are still doing to him is what is wrong. And he’s taking his (legitimate) anger out on me. That is why I knew I had to do something. No more. I need to be strong to stand up to it, just as he needs to be strong to stand up to them. First, to realize that God is big enough for this, that he doesn’t have to cling to control so hard. ‘He who gains his life will lose it.”



          • JoAnn on December 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

            YES!!! God is big enough for this! I love it.



          • Aly on December 12, 2017 at 3:46 pm

            Connie,

            Yes, Praise God for this! ✝️
            And yes his legitimate anger is legitimate but sad that he doesn’t have healthier coping skills.
            Maybe he’s ‘finally’ considering to look at the anger and his choices of control ~ which really isn’t control in reality but a prison. Hard work, But with God He specializes in these things;)
            Sorta like you said!

            When my husband could see his misplaced anger, he could see he had choices.
            It took courage for him to look at his true legitimate anger, he was afraid of it and the anger undealt with contributed to all sorts of character traits.
            He couldn’t get to the pain, the hurt and sadness with all the anger controlling (covertly).
            Once he saw the truth, he was set free to walk his grief with the Lord.

            By the way the person he offered to the world thought he was the nicest pretty reasonable person, but they never got to meet the person I got to.~ this added to my confusion of reality at times.



          • Nancy on December 12, 2017 at 4:50 pm

            Connie,

            The dynamic between your h and his father and sister, is perhaps similar to what my h had with his mother. My h was just drenched in his mother’s dysfunction ( anger, guilt)- which absolutely infected him and as a result, us and our children.

            God has done amazingly more than I could have asked or imagined in my h’s heart.

            As JoAnn said….”Yes! God is big enough for this!”

            He absolutely is. I am praying for you.



          • Nancy on December 12, 2017 at 5:24 pm

            JoAnn,

            I want to thank you for sharing how ‘giving your mother back’ her anger, accomplished some serious healing in your heart. Because you shared this a while back, I did this and ‘gave my mother back’ a whole host of emotions that I was her repository, for.

            God used that excercise to change me.

            My mother isn’t going to change. I’ll always need to ‘keep that wall up’ when I am with her ( even on the phone) because she really is an expert projector. I need to use my voice in her presence (and stay CLOSE to my h). Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. I pray that our girls will witness their mother interacting in a boundaried and loving way with a sometimes intrusive and guilting woman.

            The difference now is that I can just love my mom for where she’s at. For me, I see now that I was caught in a cycle of trying to change her ( because I SO desperately needed a mommy) and this trying to control her was coming from a lack of ‘understanding’ of who I am in Christ.

            Changing her is not my job. My job is to love her, with the love of Christ. We love because He first loved us.

            That’s freedom ❤️

            So you see JoAnn, this blog may be helping you with your clients ( as you shared above), but you have also helped many of us here!



          • JoAnn on December 14, 2017 at 12:08 pm

            Wow! Thank you, Nancy. I’m so glad that my experience was helpful to you. I really believe what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:4 about comforting others with the comfort with which we have been comforted. I realized a long time ago, that what He brings me through can be a ministry to others, and that is exactly what is happening here on this blog. We are sharing our experiences of Christ with others who haven’t traveled the road as far as we have. Praise the Lord! And may the Lord continue to supply you with His all-sufficient grace as you continue on your journey.



      • Aly on December 7, 2017 at 7:34 pm

        Nancy, Ruth,
        Wow such important exchanges here! I’m glad I got on board with the details because Nancy I thought this was originally about ‘your mom’ not your MIL. I missed that.

        Ruth what you wrote about the low self awareness generational pattern and also highlighted ‘little challenge of the behavior’ … goodness these mixed is a base recipe for ongoing unhealthy relationships.

        Is it really ‘low self awareness’ or a high degree of the ability to Lie to oneself?

        Nancy,
        You wrote:
        “He called to find out about relational patterns in the family- exactly to find out the generational sin patterns ( an excercise in the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality course).”

        So thankful for a willing ‘aunt’, this is such a blessing! It’s rare because many don’t want to share the family generational secrets! In fact they often will do anything to cover up these relational patterns just enlarging the shame.

        We have had only 2 extended family members sort of willing to share about my husband’s side of his family and the generational patterns, while sharing, we were also told not to tell where the info came from😝… more secrets and dishonesty no one wants to make anyone upset!
        Could be a Netflix series sadly.
        But oh well.. the pieces fit and this can bring greater clarity to behavior that we sometimes want to dismiss or compromise on, because everyone else does. 😏

        Nancy, I know it’s painful and I’m so sorry but there will be blessings. Different kinds of blessings.
        I’m praying for you and your husband🙏🌸

        • Nancy on December 7, 2017 at 9:01 pm

          Yes Aly, auntie Sylvia is wonderful. In fact I’m going to send her a Christmas card thanking her for the gift that she gave us!

          I’m glad you have some willing relatives to get some info from ( even if they shall remain nameless !). It’s worth researching. For my side of the family, I called and got together with two much older cousins. Oh boy…the stuff I found out. So. Interesting.

          • Aly on December 7, 2017 at 9:49 pm

            Nancy,

            Yes, often the pattern ‘coping behavior’ gets replayed over and over. Sadly.

            It’s ok though, if you are going to carry the torch to healthier change.. you might get a few small burns at first but the light will be the brightest to see the path as you walk (never alone ofcourse 😉🌈).



        • Nancy on December 8, 2017 at 7:04 am

          Hi Aly,

          Yes, it’s my MIL. We are at minimal contact with my mother. Unlike MY MIL, my mother is capable of respecting us, and is capable taking responsibility for crossing the line when she is corrected.

          I ‘googled’ verses with ‘rebuke’, the other day. Very interesting.
          To rebuke is a loving thing to do. My h and I were giggling the other day, imagine hearing a sermon on ‘ to rebuke is loving’ …? Would chaos break out in the church…?

          • Aly on December 8, 2017 at 8:41 am

            Nancy,

            Praise God that your mom can have some space and offer respect also. (I really see it as more of a maturity level whether someone can take feedback~ especially if its feedback that might cause negative responses).

            Ours is the similar dynamic but opposite as yours ..it’s my MIL/FIL that will offer respect and support for what we are going through. They were not very supportive at first but after many dialogs and them wanting to try to understand ~ they are ‘trying’ is the best I can say.

            I think also the level of ‘lying in many (not all) family systems and extended family is ProFound’ it’s almost like their are 2/3 categories; those who think lying is necessary in the family system and just accept it as ‘it is what it is’ and those who are in denial about all the lying taking place. The 3rd category is the place of ‘its unhealthy’ and we try not to see the family but for a short moments during the year, and its family so our hands are tied.
            And often the MO (destructive lie) is this is acceptance and grace: to be a good liar!
            How sad.

            If anyone rejected this as being less than reasonable ~ then you are being ‘disloyal’😲!
            So how twisted is that?

            Many times the lying isn’t the issue at all, just the ugly symptom of what many family members are choosing to be incapable of~ processing their ‘own’ feelings and dealing with anger. Usually along time ago anger and pain.

            I recently had an extended family member ask me, ‘what do you think is at the core of this family problem? Or what do you think began such a ‘divorce’ of sorts for the family system?

            I said; Lies and unprocessed pain. I received a look of ‘crazy making’ because as you and I know denial is so powerful.
            I went on to explain such an example:

            We often so badly want to get to ‘the resolve’, we don’t want the negative feelings to process, we want to tell ourselves we are not ‘that’ upset anymore about something, and move along only to find that it really never did get dealt with. The Lord shows us to keep short accounts for a purpose, for our own emotional health. Unprocessed pain is ugly when it reveals itself and often to the wrong ‘individuals’, it’s misguided.

            I’m so glad you and your husband are doing your work in a safe place. You are probably witnessing such ‘growing pains’ in each other but worth the trekk.

            It took my husband a long time to see I was not the ‘reason’ for his pain, but I was the revealer of it..,,
            being in such a close relationship such as marriage. That pain and anger eventually leak out all over the place.

            Throughout the Bible anger is highlighted as so important to deal with ‘rightly’ with the Lord and others.

            ~But we decide if we will participate in this process or not.
            You mention Chaos in the church when speaking in terms of correction /rebuke being loving, so true Nancy.
            It’s also an important valuable and loving thing to grow spiritually and emotionally as part of the body? Or at least to want to grow?
            Often this requires participation yet again from fellow believers, I think this is why we see such many (not all) unhealthy churches ‘all over’ teaching and preaching ~lack of participation in these virtues as normal behavior.
            The lies/character issues that came from the family systems/ and the certain individuals in the system.. just get reinforced at the church level. Painful.

            As you know you and your family are in my prayers!
            💜
            Giving praises for your giggles too with your husband.



  17. Aleea on December 7, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    “Jesus spoke the truth and look at the outcome. Of course He had a mission but the outcome was of death and overall conquering of death for Life 💜 True eternal life;)” . . . .Aly, —Y-E-S, that’s right. —That is exactly correct and notice that perfect example of telling the Truth *always* lead to the best possible outcome ever!!!

    “God does not anger with my questions. He holds them, helps me discover what I’m looking for… all the while He’s holding my ‘pinky finger’ as I look into scripture and ask for the healing I need.” . . . .Aly, you know how when you get so, so, so much of God’s Word in your head that you inadvertently collate (Seriously COLLATE) the passages. . .AND IT gets W-A-Y OUT-OF-HAND and it feels like the Lord r-e-a-l-l-y gets sick (—like totally sick) of hearing my constant questions. I fall asleep asking Him questions. —Not good. . . .Lord, what is UP with the fact that Luke (—who wrote Luke & Acts) has the ascension occur on Easter evening in Luke 24 but forty days later in Acts chapter 1. —Wow, Lord, that shows about as clearly as one could ask that Luke was NOT EVEN trying to keep the facts straight and didn’t expect us (—the readers) to think so. —Lord, anyone who can change the story this much is just not interested in getting the facts straight! . . .Dozens and dozens of them are right now in my head, way more important than that.

    “If you can accept that is ‘Jesus’s work/sacrifice on the cross’ that grants this promise, then you receive Eternal Life.” . . . I do, I do. . . . I just don’t understand because if a husband told a wife all those variants, she would think he was lying to her. This is God Himself.

    “Nothing added to it, don’t try to add the sanctification process to the Salvation and justification Promise. That you can do nothing about or add to because its Jesus who justified our debt alone. But it’s also important to see that Salvation is the beginnings of transformation. Transformation is life long journey.” —Absolutely, maybe I have the two confused. 🌉

    “Aleea, if someone paid your mortgage off .. and you kept sending checks to your bank, your bank would return your checks to you, because they would be able to deposit against a ‘non debt’. The bank would communicate the debt is paid in full.” . . . .Yes, I understand Aly. —But that seem to me that you are making a category error. This is not a parking ticket that you can pay for me. These are moral sins against an infinitely Holy God. . . . .Let’s say I had a daughter and you killed her, could JoAnn go to jail for you? —No, that doesn’t make any sense at all. I think that is confusing tort law with criminal law. Our sins are against a Holy God and they are not mortgage debt or parking tickets. —How can Jesus pay for our sins like it is a parking ticket (tort law)? If my husband hurts someone, *he* has to go to jail (criminal law). I can’t go to jail for him like I can pay his parking ticket. I think this is 1) a confusion of moral categories right there and 2) a logical contradiction? On logical contradictions, they are everywhere in the Bible and we just, I guess, have to ignore them or they drive us from God. . . but that really makes me wonder, even more.🔃

    .

    “. . . but there will be times when speaking it can do more harm than good. There are going to be situations in which it is neither wise nor safe to speak Truth.” . . . .JoAnn, maybe you are right and maybe even in many situations . . .but I just think ―wow, ―in so many of these situations all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people not speak up, not utilize the police, the legal, the court systems, etc. where needed. . . .But I do see the “more harm than good” situations, it just looks like too many err on the side of saying nothing and evil just rules. ―It just absolutely rules the land. . . .Don’t we have to stand in the gap? 🍬 🍵

  18. K on December 7, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    For the Lady to whose question Leslie responded —

    I dearly hope that reading Leslie’s reply helped you to recognize stirrings toward that hope and change which are possible for you!! While it may have been a difficult read the first time, or second (or more?!), her comments outlined some really important thoughts that are in line with God’s Word. It seemed particularly aligned with John 8. 31- 38 (…’the truth will set you free…’). I think, even in submitting your question for Leslie’s consideration, dear sister, you were responding to the Spirit’s prompting to tell yourself the truth about your situation. Whether or not your husband wishes to hear the truth is a different matter, but you must begin by telling yourself the truth.

    It was interesting to see that in a few places, even as you asked what you should do, you went on to describe several of the things you are already doing, or have considered but not yet implemented. And yet, you are not quite at the point to resolutely tell / admit to yourself that his actions are specific choices, not mistakes; that he is capable, but chooses not to be responsible; that his behaviour of stealing/forging your Social Security information (identity theft) is a criminal act, not just a husbandly failing. What is holding you back from telling yourself these truths? When you are clear about that, you will begin to be clear about how you need to protect yourself, because you will be wise about the truths you listen to.

    You are in my prayers, as so many of these lovely ladies have also shared with you. Be wise!

  19. Aly on December 7, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Aleea,

    “These are moral sins against an infinitely Holy God. . ”

    Yes Aleea you are correct, that’s why it is ONLY Jesus who can offer that salvation because He was the perfect ‘sinless’ sacrifice for our sins.

    Your other points don’t align with the point I was making about the mortgage debt.
    It was a simple example to show that once a debt is paid in full ~ we can’t add more payment ‘to earn’ the mortgage payoff.
    The importance of justification is understanding that what the sin is and what the cost is ~ we couldn’t earn it or pay for even if we tried. Jesus fulfills this!

    If you are holding on to the ‘shame’ of sin, you are not resting and flying in His freedoms for you.
    This doesn’t mean you won’t have questions and a lot of them.

    I wonder if you ‘love Jesus’ but struggle with believing His promise for His own?

    Do you believe that He (Jesus) is the Savior? 💕✝️
    That His blood only covers our sins?

  20. JoAnn on December 7, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    “Stand in the gap”….maybe, but this is definitely a time when we have to get a clear sense from the Holy Spirit whether or not to say something. Jesus Himself was careful to speak only what the Father spoke in every situation, even though He was Truth itself.
    Now, I would like to address a point of confusion that you mentioned, and I am not really sure if you were actually referring to the resurrection or ascension, but there is a passage in John 20 where Mary saw the Lord on the day of His resurrection, and wanted to touch Him, but He would not allow her because He had not yet ascended to the Father. A footnote in my Bible tells us that this was a secret ascension to the Father for the Father’s satisfaction, and it is forty days prior to His public ascension. Later that day, He appeared to the other disciples and they could touch Him then. I think it is so sweet that the Lord cared so much for Mary’s broken heart and her love for Him that He made a special visit to her. Then He said, I ascend to My Father and your Father, My God and your God. This was His way of announcing our oneness with Him; we are now His brothers…no longer sinners, but brothers of Jesus Christ. How wonderful is that?!?!
    I hope this helps to address some of your confusion. BIG HUG to you.

  21. Aleea on December 8, 2017 at 11:54 am

    re: Aly

    “. . . .If you are holding on to the ‘shame’ of sin, you are not resting and flying in His freedoms for you. This doesn’t mean you won’t have questions and a lot of them.”

    I have shame for my former sins, —yes. I have shame for my current sins, —yes. I have self-shame, —yes. Can I do something about that other than cry out: “Jesus, help me?”

    “I wonder if you ‘love Jesus’ but struggle with believing His promise for His own? —Yes, I do. Again, can I do something about that other than crying out: “Jesus, help me, —please?”

    My mother’s “parenting” was completely shame-based, she taught me not to value myself. —Toxic shame. I’ve been pursing Jesus relentlessly to heal me of toxic shame but He has not.

    Do you believe that He (Jesus) is the Savior? —Yes, I do. . . . .but I have thoughts, —lots of them and I like to study, fact check, consult primary source documents, etc.

    That His blood only covers our sins? —Aly, yes, I do and I need cover for my sins. . . . . .but, again, I have thoughts, —lots and lots of them and I like to study, fact check, consult primary source documents, etc.

    Thank you so, so much, Aly.🌄 🌅💞💟✝

  22. Aleea on December 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Hello JoAnn,

    “. . . .this is definitely a time when we have to get a clear sense from the Holy Spirit whether or not to say something. Jesus Himself was careful to speak only what the Father spoke in every situation, even though He was Truth itself.”

    —Okay, I agree and I am going with you on that.

    “. . . . I am not really sure if you were actually referring to the resurrection or ascension. . . “

    Yes, the ascension not His resurrection. It appears that Luke (who wrote Luke & Acts) has the ascension occur on Easter evening in Luke twenty-four but forty days later in Acts chapter one. But you bring up a very important distinction. . . .

    . . .Lord Jesus help me to communicate correctly, please Lord: In the N.T. documents, originally, it appears that the ascension and the resurrection were understood to be the same thing. This is apparent from the widespread New Testament use of Psalm 110 as a model for picturing the resurrection of Jesus: “The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’” For that text to be used to illustrate (—or to understand) the resurrection means Jesus is pictured as rising directly to the right hand of the Father. It does not exactly preclude resurrection appearances, yet it is certainly sufficient without them. If you think for a sec. about Stephen’s vision of Christ in Acts 7:55-56, where he gazes into heaven and spots the Son of man standing at the right hand of the Father. These early resurrection appearances look like heavenly glimpses of the enthroned Christ. The idea of there having been a separate ascension subsequent to the resurrection is a later, and a concretizing development. It presupposes a material body that must rise physically into the sky to enter heaven, conceived in the manner of those 1st century folks as a horizontal plane vertically above our own flat earth???

    “. . . .this was a secret ascension to the Father for the Father’s satisfaction, and it is forty days prior to His public ascension.” —A secret ascension??? I guess I simply don’t understand that. . . .Have you ever wondered why the gospel writers, if they had actually remembered the passion as a series of recent events, why the earliest gospel crucifixion account (Mark) is such a terse narrative made up from quotes taken, without acknowledgement, from Psalm 22? . . .and I have often thought, why does 1 Peter have nothing more detailed than Isaiah 53 to flesh out his account of the sufferings of Jesus? Why does Matthew supplement Mark’s version, not with historical tradition or eyewitness memory, but with more quotes, this time from Zechariah and the Wisdom of Solomon? —Wow, that always makes me wonder. As an attorney, if I ask for *your testimony* and you quote from another persons writings, well, I would really start to wonder. . . .Again, the fact that Luke has the ascension occur on Easter evening in Luke 24 but forty days later in Acts chapter 1 shows about as clearly as one could ask that Luke was not even trying to relate “the facts” and didn’t expect the reader to think so???

    “I think it is so sweet that the Lord cared so much for Mary’s broken heart and her love for Him that He made a special visit to her.” . . . .I do too!!! —That is so, so beautiful JoAnn and that is a point I totally missed until you mentioned it!

    “BIG HUG to you.” —Thank you JoAnn so much and many prayers for you from me . . . .and my prayer group. . . . .JoAnn, let me be as honest as I know how, it seems to me that I only think *deeply* when I don’t get real love. When I get real, pure love, I don’t even care what is or is not true. I know that is very shameless but it is the way I feel. It’s like I can’t be adult enough to just ask people for real love and prayer. Instead of just saying: “. . . .will you tell me the most beautiful experiences you have ever had with Jesus that totally convince you . . . and would you pray for me. . . instead my mind “protects”??? itself by “thinking”??? 🌄 🌅💞 💟✝ރ

  23. JoAnn on December 8, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Dear, dear Aleea, read and pray over Romans 5:5, 9:3, 10:11, 1 Peter 2:6, then lift up your voice in PRAISE to the One who took away your shame. What’s missing in your prayer is thanking and praising Him for what He has done. When you pray, “Help me Jesus!” you are essentially denying the fact that He already has done it all. Speak Truth to yourself, Sister! Speak Truth to the devil! Praise the One who has accomplished everything to make it possible for you to enjoy freedom from sin, death and the devil. And shame. He already washed you, but you keep saying, “No, I’m still dirty.” That’s denying the work that He accomplished on the cross. Turn your cries into praises and see what happens.

  24. Aly on December 8, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Aleea,

    I believe you.
    You wrote:
    “My mother’s “parenting” was completely shame-based, she taught me not to value myself. —Toxic shame. I’ve been pursing Jesus relentlessly to heal me of toxic shame but He has not.”

    I appreciate your honesty here. I wonder how you would define being healed if Toxic Shame?

    I think this could be an imp question to consider.

    Also, all the studying and fact finding and sources you factually factually consider to be reliable… consider asking what’s motivating the relentless seeking?

    When we have a history of broken trust ‘from a parent figure’ we often have a pattern playing out of a broken ‘ God-Parent’ … making it hard to trust God.
    If we can’t trust Him, it’s hard to receive that True comforting& healing we all desperately need filled (only He can provide).
    This isn’t a statement of ~ all we need is Jesus and our lives will be complete. You know where I stand on that often popular Christian avoidant message.

    Pain is significant Aleea, and what you ‘went through’ was significant. If you try to take the road to discredit the Bible ‘in ways’ not saying that’s your goal.. but if that’s your motive?, then it minimizes your Savior, your Healing, your need for healing. If the motive is about making something less significant, such as lets say a painful experience, then we can tell ourselves the pain does have value, and if it doesn’t have value than it’s not significant. And if it’s not significant … here is the big one Aleea, … then it doesn’t have a true purpose.

    If you feel comfort in finding things to you that discredit the scriptures, then you are finding comfort in discrediting God, based on a trust wound.

    If you can convince yourself to discredit God based on trust, then you can discredit the impact and significance of your pain. If it isn’t significant then it’s easier to put aside or minimize.

    This is a coping skill that often loops and loops.
    Here is the Good News, He is the Healer! HE can and will set you free and put you on a path!
    But trusting will require you receive His Love and Truth first.

    I’m praying for you 💟, meet Him and know Him enough to trust that He can and will heal the toxic shame more than you might be aware of at this moment in time.
    Hugs and sister love 🌸

    • JoAnn on December 8, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Good insights, Aly. I already posted a reply, encouraging Aleea to thank and praise the Lord for what He has already accomplished, based on Romans 5:5 and 9:33 and others. What He has accomplished in His redemption is definitely worthy of our praises, and praise defeats the negative things in the universe.

  25. JoAnn on December 8, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    So the account that you refer to in Luke 24 must be coupled with the ones in John 20 and Revelation 4:1-3. These all refer to the first ascension which was immediately after the resurrection. In Revelation 4, we see the triumphal celebration in heaven when the Lord completed His work of redemption. Then, later that same day, He came and appeared to His disciples, both on the road to Emmaus and in the upper room. Then, for the next 40 days, He appeared and disappeared to His disciples, to “train” them, if you will, to learn to live by His invisible presence, until He was finally ascended publicly.
    Aleea, all the writers of the Bible were writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and all the so-called inconsistencies do not bother me, because there is Truth to glean from every verse and chapter. What concerns me is the effect that your studies of so many theologians is having on your enjoyment and appreciation of God’s word as He has presented it to us in the form that we have now. It is His gift to us, by which we can know HIM, and His purpose. Put the books away. Treat the Bible as your daily bread. Eat it with thanksgiving, and take joy in the truth presented there. I promise you, that if you will do this, all your questions, doubts and fears will be gone.

  26. Jolene on December 8, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Just a bit of practical advice for those of us in financially abusive situations: FREEZE YOUR CREDIT. You can google how to do this. Your spouse won’t be able to open any new accounts, and you will get peace of mind.

    As I was reading this post and discussion about financial abuse and destructive generational patterns. God revealed some of my own situation. When I was 16, my older sister (a Borderline personality who had already ruined her credit) stole my SSN and used it to open $2K with of accounts in another state. I didn’t find out until I was refused a car loan at age 23 and the address listed on my credit report was that of my sister’s. The loan officer advised that the only way to remove this information and wipe my credit report clean, was to file a police report. I went to my (narcissistic) mother for advice and help. She said, “If you turn her into police, YOU will tear this family apart!” Out if fear of what that meant, and having been thrown out of the house on my 18th birthday, I didn’t turn her in. Message: allow the financial abuse or we will abandon you.

    My mother paid the balance (enable much???), and as a result, it was as if I admitted that *I* had made those charges as a minor in another state, and it was in my credit report until I turned 30. We all know the financial consequences of that. That address is still in my credit report 26 years later.

    Fast forward to my marriage, and what I connected from reading your posts today: I am being financially abused! My (narcissistic) husband gives me an allowance, and I don’t have access to any of his paycheck otherwise. I am a SAHM with no income, at his insistence, because even though I worked 24 hours on the weekends, I had to quit because “no one ever gets a break” (meaning HIM). He has gotten angry with me before, and turned off my credit cards, once stranding me at my mother’s with three small children, a dog, no money, and 500 miles from home. I have a $20K student loan that he insisited I refinance to lower the payment ten years ago (to interest only payments) with big promises to pay it off every year with his bonus, all the while making $100K for the last ten years and buying himself lavish items and adding to his firearm collection.

    Well no wonder I allowed all this, with the patterns I grew up with!!! No more. NO. MORE. God will break every chain. EVERY chain. And I feel so empowered today from everyone who has contributed and shared their story, which in turn helped me with mine. Thanks, and God bless you all.

    • Roxanne on December 8, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Praise God for your break through!

      • Jolene on December 8, 2017 at 11:18 pm

        Thank you. It just all tied together and made sense!

    • Aly on December 9, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Jolene,

      So glad you are seeing freedom in patterns and those ‘decisions made from fear’ we often don’t always see at first.
      Praise God for your willingness and His Love& Truth to pull those messages together.

      One of those messages being formed about abandonment above from your mother & family.
      Something like…” allow (fill in the blank) or else we will abandon you.”

      The most sad message that this ends up being in reality is that it actually is abandonment in its statement!
      We actually do find ourselves abandoned ‘ not aware consciously at the time’. Often we end up abandoning our own rights and healthy places of power in relationships ~ without even knowing it. The abandonment isn’t physical but it is emotional, mental and mostly spiritual.
      Abandoned ‘by others’, But Not God!

      I’m so sorry Jolene for this! It’s wrong and it causes most often a person such a wired path. I’m thankful you see the freedoms and the love of Christ that can place you on a new path! 💕

      Do you have a support group or some strong women in your circle? Are you getting individual counseling?

      Your moms ‘words and thought process’ ring familiar to me and my journey even though mine isnt related to financial abuse specifically. I also am a SAHM.

      I think you said that you were told if ‘you turn your sister into the police, that action would tear the family apart’….
      THIS is so important on so many levels for many of us here.
      That concept above is basically saying, if you have a sibling or any family member face their own consequences (by you doing the right and responsible/loving thing) , then you are the one responsible for the fall out of the already ‘fragile insecure family system’!

      Twisted. Wrong.
      This is where I see over and over again so many ‘thinking they know ‘how to Love’ another or what love actually is in the family unit, it isn’t the person they love it’s what that person represents to them. (As part of an object in the family)

      Your mother idolizes ‘the fragile insecure family’ over healthy responsibility and mostly Loving with truth and grace that one can only offer ONCE received from Christ ‘first’.
      She had you suffer consequences for your sisters choices, (bipolar or not) this is not right.
      She stole, ‘your right to say, no this isn’t ok with me’. Because had you done that, she would have had to face more of her own realities and addictions.
      My mother operates at the same level and tells herself this type of negotiations are healthy and loving. There are different allowances for different siblings based on her own addictions to the ‘family sickness’ based on her own fears of abandonment, the family unit is the security & identity for her and she will defend that ‘mountain lion’ at any length. Sadly this is not freedom. Nor is it love.

      I’m a huge threat to her as I am a ‘chain breaker’. I have sympathy for her ‘enabling addictions’ but I don’t have to be a co-contributor.
      Her message to me was;
      “If you can’t co-contribute, then the best I can offer is surface conversations only and it can only be about the weather or recipes, oh and on my time availability’.

      Wow! Where do I sign up! 😜

      The silver of time above represents something important; it is a silver because being in your presence ‘at all daughter (me)’, causes me such emotional/spiritual awareness of things (things where I knew to do the right thing but chose not to)..things that I have tried to deny my entire path.”

      Sorry I got off track ~ Jolene but hopefully it is of any help.
      Mostly I want you to see how you are not alone and you have choices.
      Part of looking at our ‘own part’ is seeing those patterns and taking responsibility for where they originated and how long we held on to them. This is part of getting free from having the victim mindset, but embracing the owner mindset, given our circumstances.

      Such a new path and such Hope and freedom💜
      Trust that He will equip you with things that your mom could never of offered up, because she herself chose not to receive Jolene!

    • K on December 11, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      Jolene

      So many wise, and experienced, women here care about you and the story you have shared. May the Lord use these replies to help you build hope, strength and wisdom for your own journey.

      You mentioned that your husband continues to spend lavishly upon himself, especially regarding a firearms collection. Knowing this, dear Jolene, please be wise and be safe!!! If you have difficult decisions to make around setting healthy boundaries, please choose for safety to be among the priorities.

      Many of us are praying for you!!!

  27. Aleea on December 8, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    RE:JoAnn

    Read and pray over Romans 5:5, 9:3, 10:11, 1 Peter 2:6,

    Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.✔ 🆗

    Romans 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race. . .??? ☒

    Romans 10:11 As Scripture says, Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame. 🆗✔

    1 Peter 2:6 For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ 🆗✔

    then lift up your voice in PRAISE to the One who took away your shame. 🆗✔

    What’s missing in your prayer is thanking and praising Him for what He has done. . . . .I guess I didn’t *fully* realize I could just claim things like that.

    He already washed you, but you keep saying, “No, I’m still dirty.” . . . .Turn your cries into praises and see what happens. ✔Okay. . .🎉👍 🎆❤

  28. Aleea on December 8, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    RE: Aly

    “I wonder how you would define being healed if Toxic Shame?” . . . .I would say being centered and grounded in Christ to the point where at deepest level, toxic shame does not trigger any basic or automatic defensive behavior. No automatic primary ego defenses. Because it has been my experience that once those defenses are in place they function automatically and unconsciously, sending my true and authentic self into hiding. I would be healed of avoiding my avoidance.

    “. . . Also, all the studying and fact finding and sources you factually factually consider to be reliable… consider asking what’s motivating the relentless seeking?” . . . .I share Christ 💕 with ❣💜 👋❣ 😊 💕 lots of people and I get many, many, —too many questions that I need far/much better answers for. 1st Peter 3:15 “. . . .Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you. . .” Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give reasons. . . . I want the Truth even if it makes me sadder. I want what is really, *really* real. I don’t want to be an ideologue, but objective —as much as possible. I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible.

    “. . . discredit[ing] God, et.al.” . . . .Aly, I can’t discredit God. He is God. He would not be God if I could discredit Him. I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible. . . . . .It just seems to me that unsubstantiated faith is an ironic gift to return to the Creator of human intelligence. . . .

    “This is a coping skill that often loops and loops.” . . .Hmmm, that could easily be true and I’ll have to think/ pray way more about that. Some things in the Bible are not true in any objective way but they are still truer than true. Things can be true without being literally and factually true. They are the way things never were, —but *always* are. They are truer than true. Words whose purpose is less to describe the past than to affect the present, which is, by the way, the definition of a parable: a story that never happened but always does.

    “I’m praying for you 💟, meet Him and know Him enough to trust that He can and will heal the toxic shame more than you might be aware of at this moment in time.
    Hugs and sister love 🌸”

    . . .That is so, so beautiful and so kind and gentle. I so appreciate that Aly. . . .Lord I need Your help to trust You enough to heal me. . . . .I do pray and seek God about this *lots* -but I will seek to trust more. Re: Instead of saying, “I’m damaged, I’m broken, I have trust issues” say: “I’m healing, I’m rediscovering you Lord and myself, I’m starting over.” . . . .Lord help me not to miss the blessings of growth that come through humbly trusting You and Lord thank you for *all*💜 💛 💚 💙 💜 🙏 💗🙏 💗 🙏 🙋 the beautiful people You bring into my life who love me so much that they would pray 🙏 for me.💝 ✝ ✞💒✞♥✞❣😊 💕

  29. many years on December 8, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    JoAnn Your Dec. 7th post about the Truth.
    And to all of those who are here to learn and live in the Spirit. I mean WOW! What a varied and deeply moving experience it has been, reading all of these posts.

    And to those concerned about God and his love for us, this is one of the most beloved verses in God’s Word. ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me and I give unto them eternal life.and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them ME (Jesus speaking here!) is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.’ John 10:27 – 30.

    Okay. Back to speaking ‘your’ Truth to someone who needs to hear it, or when you need a True answer (yet ‘they’ never seem to appreciate your honesty) I have experienced this very thing, when I have spoken for what I have felt to be the Truth to my husband.

    My husband is angered by the Truth, when I speak it, and I am wondering what demon is whispering in his ear at the time, as his usual responses hinge upon blasphemy against God’s Word. I will state a case in point which goes very much with what is being discussed with the original question about social security and the husband stealing from the wife.

    I had a similar issue with my husband yet he is a very good provider, he has always paid all the bills, yet ‘he feels’ that the money coming in for me for social security through his name because of the ages we are now at, anyway, he ‘feels’ that that money coming in is for ‘family’. I told him that the legal law (in our state) stated that half of the income coming in from either spouse belongs to the other spouse.

    His response to me was ‘I don’t think that is the case.’ (Of course he wouldn’t think is was!). So, I printed out the exact wording from online and gave it to him. No comment from him and nothing more about what I asked for It was a ‘closed’ subject, once ‘he’ had made up his mind, not even the legal aspect of it would change his stubborn mindset.

    At the time, (back to me attempting to ask for some of my rightful social security) I had also told him that we were ‘Heirs together’. His response back to me was ‘That’s E-R-R-0-R-S together, Errors!’. To me his twisted ‘take’ about God’s holy Word about ‘being heirs together of the grace of Life” was nigh on blasphemy against God’s own word. And yet he WANTS everything that he can get from ME! So ‘heirs together’ to him means: he gets to have everything from me that he wants but not vise versa.

    So, with that being said, he has no concept of the true unity of the spirit which a Christian husband and wife are to truly to have with one another. And not just the spiritual, but the physical, and all that entails building a Christian home together.

    I seriously could hardly believe what I was hearing when he said what he did about ‘errors’ together. And he did not want to believe me that with HIM putting my designated social security into an account which heretofore, he has not let me take funds from, as I was asking him if he could let me deposit half of those monthly funds into my own small bank account, he said it was the same as if I were asking for a divorce.

    At that point I told him to calm down. ( I do have a savings account which HE purposely set up for me, strictly for depositing and cashing a check once a week which he gives to me for groceries and necessities). So, I NEVER really know how much money he keeps in two other bank accounts. And no, I didn’t marry him thinking that I would be a clueless bimbo about our ‘mutual’ ‘family’ finances.So, I must not be ‘family’. You get my drift.

    Then his next response, and next defense was: ‘I give you money when you ask for it.’ Meaning he will continue to be the sole distributor of all monies which come into the household. (And maybe this is what some couples do is to ‘pool’ all monies into an account which is used for all the ‘family’.) But since I am ‘part of the family’ then I should know about finances just in case God decides to take my husband out of the picture.

    And I know many, many wives who are kept out of the finances of running the household. My husband’s own father basically ran his own household the same way, as though the wife was the ‘lesser’ of the twain. So much of his dad’s life was ‘Don’t tell the wife!’ Which goes back to a church dogma they were both raised with that women are spiritually in capable of the same high degree of understanding of spiritual matters, so therefore, how could they control the finances? Hog wash!

    But with all of this being said; it was my husband’s very apparent attitude and disrespect and humiliation of the marriage vows instituted by God HIMSELF of being ‘Heirs together’ which was the problem.

    So back to the dark days, the archaic dark church days, where the man is the provider and the wife is basically the slave and this mindset has got to go! I do know of other wives whose husbands have done the same thing, where the wife was going to use some of her legally, allotted social security money from the government for using on the grandchildren etc. or doing other things FOR THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD, not just for the sake of her ‘immediate’ family.

    So, wives in this case are being ‘robbed’ by their own husbands for not being allowed to be a blessing to others through whatever gifts God would wish for her to bestow upon others.

    Maybe I am splitting hairs here, yet when a wife has hardly had a clue as to how much money the husband makes in a year, or let alone for the entire marriage! (except when she can slip a glance at the income tax papers she has to sign once a year, where she can glance a quick look at her husband’s yearly income (which all I can say is, my husband doesn’t need my piddly amount of social security income for our household to survive) or have much of any say in where the money goes, and she is put down for asking logical, legal questions, and accused of ‘asking for a divorce’ when the intention is all about ‘fairness’ in the financial realm of the marriage, to be shamed by the husband in such a manner is not honoring the wife, nor is it honoring God.

    I told my husband after his outright deeming me by him saying that we were ‘ERRORS Together.’ that if money was the only object holding our marriage together, then what was?

    So it all boils down to what JoAnn was saying about ‘speaking our own truth,’ and how others will continue to distort and twist what we say, even though what we are saying, is, in fact, the truth because it literally will be like ‘Casting your pearls before the swine.’ They will rend your truth to pieces as being invaluable.
    Praying for all who are here on their journeys to figure it all out in God’s timing. As God’s timing, no matter how the trials go, is perfect.

    No matter what Truth you speak to get their attention, or to cause a change and effect, ‘they’ always have a ‘come back’ retort on the tip of their tongue; so ready on their lips, you wonder how they learned to be so cunning and deceitful. It is truly disturbing to live with someone like this, which does point to the OCD/Narcissist mindset and there is no fighting the enemy within them, which fights against Christ, and comes from the most diabolical evil principalities which control men whose hearts are debased by Satan himself.

    The husband has lost his headship by lording it over his wife, by putting himself in the place of being a little ‘god’ over his wife, making nul and void his authority as a husband, because he is not being a godly husband; as he is not allowing God, who is the husband’s head to work through the Holy Spirit to enact how a true Christian husband should treat his wife.

    The status has changed from one of what was supposed to be a loving relationship to a self-made-man, who has lost his right as the ruler of his own home.

    I have decided that my husband cannot carry on a normal, serious, conversation when it deals with any type of his control in our marriage. He thinks any type of logical questions I have, which are truly based upon logic, he takes it as an affront upon his self-enacted headship. A woman in a marriage like this is not allowed to ever become a true ‘help meet’ as she is not ‘seen’ as a ‘help meet’ to begin with, She is seen as an affront to the man’s own domain, which if he thinks it is HIS domain, God can deal with him, and maybe God and the Holy Spirit are the only one who can reach such a self-sufficient man. May God have mercy upon the souls of such men.

    • JoAnn on December 8, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      Many Years, I am so very sorry for what your husband is putting you through. Financial concerns are very unsettling, and what he is doing is illegal, but is the problem significant enough for you to do something about it? The first thought I had as I read about him taking your SS income is that you can go online, arrange to have your check put into an account that has your name only on it, and you can set up a very secure access to the SS account that he cannot get his hands on. The same with the bank account, and especially if you set it up in a different bank from the one the other account are in. Access to the SSA online site makes it easy to set this up. Even I was able to do it.;-) Now, you have to think about what he will do when he finds out that you have done this. Is he likely to get violent? Stop giving you any money at all? If these are concerns, then you need to first of all think through a strategy for protecting yourself. Sister, as I have read your messages here over the past year, I realize that you have been putting up with his shenanigans for a very long time (many years, right?) And I wonder, how are you taking care of your heart in all of this? If I remember correctly, there are some difficult circumstances that you feel prevent you from
      leaving him, but are you able to “stay well,” as Leslie advises? How is your relationship with the Lord? Peaceful? I surely hope that you have come to experience His all-sufficient grace in so many ways. Trusting Him, and not the financial situation. He is taking care of you, no doubt in ways you aren’t even aware of. May He be your Comforter and your supply, day by day. May the peace of Christ dwell in our heart, by faith.

      • Renee on December 9, 2017 at 9:34 am

        If I remember correctly JoAnn, social security has two options for your pay (I realize that could have changed). The first one was their card and the second was a checking account. If you don’t have bills to pay that require a checking account (like credit card bills) their card may be an option.

        So sorry Many Years

      • Renee on December 9, 2017 at 9:46 am

        Trusting Him, and not the financial situation. He is taking care of you, no doubt in ways you aren’t even aware of.

        JoAnn self is fighting with this statement right now. I’m trying not to concentrate on my financial situation. But it shows up. How you going to make ends meet? How you going to sustain your lifestyle? How you going to handle the unexpected now? How you going to handle the pastor(s) messages on tithing? How is God accepting the turmoil you are feeling toward finances?

  30. JoAnn on December 8, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Sorry for the typo. That was supposed to be Romans 9:23: In order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory. Yes, we are vessels of mercy, not having done anything to deserve His redemption, but He poured out His mercy on us and took away our shame. Yes, Aleea, speak truth to yourself, and in doing so, simply claim what is yours.

  31. Aleea on December 8, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    RE: JoAnn

    🔝 I appolgize I can’t put this closer to your comment, I just don’t see any “reply” to do that with. . . . .

    “. . . .Put the books away. Treat the Bible as your daily bread. Eat it with thanksgiving, and take joy in the truth presented there. I promise you, that if you will do this, all your questions, doubts and fears will be gone.”

    . . .but the issues don’t arise from reading other books, they arise from *seriously* studying the Bible itself. I grew up in the Catholic Church and I still remember nuns telling me to not ask so many questions, God will not like that. How can asking questions be bad??? Asking questions opens up new doors and new ideas. It helps you think and discover. To seek Truth requires one to ask lots of questions. . . . .And yet, . . . .maybe the take away is to be more heart-driven and childlike in that quest, always asking questions, always wanting to understand —but breaking down any ego first. . . . .Sort of like if the mind is in the way, the heart won’t see anything. . . . 🌈

    “I promise you, that if you will do this. . . ” —Okay, 💯percent I’ll try it ☑ ❣ ✝

  32. many years on December 8, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Thank you JoAnn for your wisdom about my social security If it comes to that, I will certainly be able to discern the ‘signs’ which I am seriously beginning to doubt some of my husband’s mental stability. He has recently been having some ‘gaps’ in his short-term memory and this may possibly be triggering the more ‘self’ assertive personality traits which affect his self-esteem. Part of his narcissist supply comes from my piddly s.s. income, which makes him ‘feel’ more in control of me as HIS wife. Sorry to disappoint his ego, but only God owns me.

    I am ‘staying well’ at the moment in my marriage. I do believe God is and has been watching over me, my entire marriage.

    And, if need be, I have relatives from both sides of our family who know who my husband ‘is’ as far as his character traits are concerned, etc. And I will have support if the situation requires it. But I don’t want to face a raging bear, or take the bull by the horns. The s.s. money is just not worth it, and the Lord’s guidance and protection have been with me thus far.
    Yes, as you said, I do believe God IS definitely taking care of me in ways I am not even aware of. Yes, the Holy Spirit, Leslie’s blog, beautiful souls such as yours, and everyone on this site. Our journeys are similar and God knows about every one of us.

    Thank you for you continued prayers as I could write volumes here, but I am attempting to ‘stay on the subject matter at hand.’

    Years ago I chose to love the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind and I have been filled with such assurance and reassurances for a life-time full! Over flowing and abundant in Jesus our Savior’s name! But not without the trails of life and that is what has put the strength of the Lord to test my purpose and will, and hopefully coming forth shining as gold…but all glory goes to our Lord!

    • JoAnn on December 9, 2017 at 12:19 am

      Many Years, I’m glad that you feel covered by the Lord and are “staying well.” So important. I have another thought I’d like to run by you. Your h does not want you to have any access or control over his finances. Okay, I get that you won’t be able to get him to let you in on that. But I wonder if you can speak to his sense of control by suggesting that he write a document in which he puts down his account numbers and makes a will stating that should he die, you should have access to all of his finances. This document can be kept in a secure place, or in a safety deposit box, so that you don’t have any access now, but in case he gets into an accident, or has some other life-endagering event, you can be taken care of. We all need to have a will anyway, and perhaps he can be persuaded to at least do this much. This may not work, but it was an idea that I had while reading your message. Be well, Many Years. I care for you.

  33. JoAnn on December 9, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Aleea, I think you answered this for yourself: “maybe the take away is to be more heart-driven and childlike in that quest, always asking questions, always wanting to understand —but breaking down any ego first. . . . .Sort of like if the mind is in the way, the heart won’t see anything. .” The Lord said that we need to be child-like in our relationship with Him. Simplicity personified. If you will see the word as your daily bread, just to eat and enjoy and be nourished by….when you eat a meal, do you spend a lot of time wondering about the ingredients or the nutrients in the food? Maybe you do 😉 but most of us just enjoy the taste and the feeling of satisfaction. There is a way to read the Bible with the mind, and that’s not wrong; we do need some information and understanding, but then there is the way to read the word with the heart/spirit engaged. Then it becomes spiritual nourishment. “The words that I speak to you are spirit and life.” And again, He says “I am the bread of life.” How do we eat this bread if not by eating His word? This is my plea to all of the dear sisters here: the word is our daily bread; we can be strengthened and nourished by daily spending time in the Bible. It is also how we can know Him and enjoy Him.

  34. many years on December 9, 2017 at 3:04 am

    Ah! JoAnn, (first I will address what you and I have been discussing) and Aly, and Aleea, and others the discussion about God and how He has set up the plan of salvation.

    It took me two years to get my husband to at least show me all of our financial records, which he has flow charts on his computer so that if something does happen to him, he has it all on his computer. At least I have that to be thankful for.

    And yes, I know that I could go into my own computer with my own s.s. password to my own account, as no one else has my password. And my husband knows that by law, he is NOT ALLOWED to have access to my own personal s.s. password to my own, private, online s.s. account and I will NEVER reveal it to him, even though he had to be the one to set it up for me initially with the s.s. office. I don’t have HIS s.s. account password so why should he have mine? Same thing.

    So, anyone else here ever give their spouse their s.s. online information? DON’T! And you CAN go in and change your password, at any time, and also change where the s.s. money goes to a separate bank which only you know about if you are living in dire straights, and have a ‘plan’ of escape you may have formulated with people to help you get out of whatever dangerous situation in your marriage you are in.
    I’m not saying everybody here is at the age of receiving s.s. as yet if it is through your husband he has to set it up with the s.s. office if you don’t have the points necessary to begin receiving your own s.s. benefits. It can be quite convoluted.

    Kind of got off track there, JoAnn. About your question whether we have a will. We do have all of the necessary documents fulfilled in lieu of the death of either spouse. Winner takes all! (Being funny here).

    And to address what else is going on with this blog discussion:
    When did so many things become so difficult in our religious perceptions? Confusion does not come from God, confusion comes from Satan, and unbelief. (Well yes, we could go as far back as the Garden of Eden!) But at this point in time, a lot of the confusion is due to the fact that the world is being run by the rulers of the darkness of this world; and by people who have rejected the Lord and are consequently damned through THEIR OWN UNBELIEF. God did not damn them! God reconciled the world unto himself through his only begotten Son.

    We are all ‘free agents’ and ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God, so he gave mankind a second chance so that we could be able to bear the loss that the human race had to recon with in the Garden of Eden. We all have the same choice that Satan had, the same choice that Adam and Eve had, and the millions who have lived before us. God is a VERY FAIR CREATOR. He only requests that we believe in his Only Begotten Son. Is that so difficult to do? Yes, it is for the UNbeliever, as that person won’t understand the concept of ‘that instant unity’ with the everlasting Spirit of God who transforms us into a new creature in Christ!, and the natural heart of man, wants none of that, because they will only see the difference when they DO accept Christ into their heart.

    That is the way the good, the bad, and way of salvation works. That is THE universal code of God who lives in the Holiest of Holies where no man can approach unto, as God cannot sit in the seat of the scornful wherein sin lies at the door to his Throne. God is holy and he wants us to be holy. That is the crux of the matter. ‘Be you holy for I am holy’, and you shall find rest unto your souls (two verses meshed together.) So, we take Jesus our Savior’s righteousness, as we really don’t have any of our own righteousness to begin with, unless it is SELF-righteousness, and we apply Christ’s pure righteousness to our own lives, ‘and HIS righteousness will be added unto you.’ A powerful verse! No one can ever save themselves, (so stop trying to save yourself!) only Jesus can do that, the holy and harmless, undefiled, spotless Lamb of God. That was HIS job, HIS purpose for living the life in a sinless body upon the earth, because HE WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD EVER DO IT! All our own righteousness is as filthy rags.God tells us so. Why? Because we were born into a cursed world where all the rules were already here. God says he will ‘Wash you as white as snow’. This is a glorious salvation! God SHALL was away all tears. Forgive yourself! Because God HAS forgiven you!

    There is none other name, given among men, whereby we must be saved. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! There’s something about that NAME! So, yes, it is cut and dried. Yea, or Nay. God does not lie, neither does he tempt us, we are tempted when we are drawn away of our own doubts and fears, which God can takes those away from us too.

    People are complicated, and the more they hide behind what ever walls of defense they put up, the more difficult it is to even reach that inner domain which like someone wrote on their post here: ‘Break every chain, break every chain, break every chain!’ Amen! And may Jesus help us all to break those chains! ‘He breaks the power of (already) canceled sin, he sets the prisoner free, his blood can make the foulest clean his blood applied for me! Take that verse from a powerful hymnal and run with it and be free from your doubts! It’s is the simplicity of KNOWING Christ as your Savior which can set you free! And if you be free, you shall be free indeed!

    Go with God beside you, and when you look down and only see two foot prints in the sand, that is when he is carrying you.

    Praise the Lord for his wonderful mercies to men! Those who reject Jesus have no other recourse, they have nothing remotely better to offer as there IS nothing else besides our loving Father’s arms to heal and to shield and save us.

    I hope this helps some wounded hearts here. Prayers for everyone in Jesus name.

    • Aly on December 9, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Many Years,

      You wrote;
      “We do have all of the necessary documents fulfilled in lieu of the death of either spouse. Winner takes all! (Being funny here).”

      I see the funny here and it also reminds me of an older woman who was and IS in an abusive destructive relationship.
      She has also passed compromising on to her next generation and to others in her limited circle.

      Her husband 5 years ago was carted to prison for physically attacking her.
      They have had a turmoil of a relationship, the kind that soils the heart. There was obvious no love between them, just abuse.
      She claimed her love for Jesus and she was/is a very religious ‘elder woman’ at her home church. It’s small so I won’t disclose more here. The marriage was chaos to say the least.

      Anyway, my friend ( her daughter) and I tried to support her getting some outside help emotionally & spiritual counsel, she was plus 70yrs…and she tried for a very short time but here is what she said:

      “I’ve decided that I am pretty sure I will ‘outlive my horrible husband’ I can’t bear the thought that I would only get half of our money, if I were to separate now. I have been working hard all my life and I deserve all of the financial assets as I will stay as healthy as possible to outlive him…
      (This statement is true she is physically one of the most healthy older women I know.. eating light and lots of exercise)

      She continued
      Even if I have to live like a prisoner I will be the winner overall because I will have the entire amount of money to show for it!”

      Wow! As if the one last to survive gets the prise of the finances and final control? As if it’s a competition?
      I wonder if she sees that him having the control for the entire marriage was his goal and success anyway? Once he passes, he might not have a care of the control then..?

      Nonetheless.. these are her reasonings.

      Ok so this person could have divorced her husband because of the continued threat and chaos of abuse, but didn’t want to take her share and live in True peace. This is how she rationalized staying.
      There was plenty of money (her share) and support from ‘even her daughters’ so that she could be free and live a life that God had secured for her. But she didn’t want to see her husband claim half of their earnings. She didn’t want him to live with 50 % and his consequences of the abuse. Her revenge was getting more than the 50%.
      Does this seem logical and Christ like reasonings?

      She couldn’t handle her husband having half of the money! She wanted the final amount as if that would be vindication for her. She would win.

      None of us know when our last breath will be! This was astonishing to me to wrap my brain around.
      It was also profound at the level of self harm she would put herself in to be a winner over money. Money and holding out became the goal rather than safety and good self care. Money was her idol even more that the Christ that she clearly knew the scriptures of. Money has a level of power to her. Money controlled the choices that were available to her.

      Her goal of being the one with the final amount of $ fueled her ability to live with such harm and chaos! Even risking her own grandkids safety!
      Money was the root of her tolerance of such abusive ongoing behavior. She thought she was being wise and sneaky.

      It’s important that we offer enough space in our lives to stop and consider why we do what we do that motivates our behavior.
      If we keep ourselves busy and distracted it’s hard to stand still and allow those processes to unfold, often they are for our own benefit of well being overall.

      • Renee on December 9, 2017 at 11:31 am

        Wow indeed Aly.

    • Renee on December 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Many Years you say: he has flow charts on his computer so that if something does happen to him, he has it all on his computer.
      Also make sure you have this backed up somewhere outside of that computer. How about a USB/junk drive that’s put up in a safe?

      Many years you say: And yes, I know that I could go into my own computer with my own s.s. password to my own account, as no one else has my password. And my husband knows that by law, he is NOT ALLOWED to have access to my own personal s.s. password to my own, private, online s.s. account and I will NEVER reveal it to him, even though he had to be the one to set it up for me initially with the s.s. office. I don’t have HIS s.s. account password so why should he have mine?

      We have come to this in our marriage. However, I would have never/ever married anyone’s son if I had known that marriages make such ugly turns. I don’t feel this facilitates trust and security in the marriage (my thought and opinion). It just doesn’t feel like oneness and how on earth does this please God let alone the people in the relationship. It definitely does not please me.

      My husband and I got along so much better when there was one back account, shared credit, one mailbox with both of us having keys, and we had access to all passwords and could read each other’s mail. We gave each other that permission. But oh then, he had to change the rules. A rule he now claims he doesn’t remember implementing. Now he’s uncomfortable because I started following his rule.

  35. Aleea on December 9, 2017 at 7:18 am

    RE: many years says
    RE: Reality || Integrated Personalities

    I have seen so, so many situations where even a well thought out prenuptial agreement, separate trusts/ with asset protection structures PIC-structures/ firewalls, et.al. made the difference between the woman being destroyed/ completely ruined.

    I don’t know what to say, God protects us if we protect ourselves. I never understand that. . . . I don’t get it. . . .Keep your own funds separate. . . . Keep your own real estate separate. . . .Use non–marital funds to maintain non-marital property. . . .Keep bank statements/ retirement accounts separate. . . . and so, so, so much more.

    . . . .Untold amounts of women would have been better off with that stance. . . .Reality isn’t the way we wish things to be, nor the way they appear to be, but the way they actually are. Either we acknowledge reality and use it to our benefit (—it seems that has to be the case no matter what the Bible “says”), or it will automatically work against us. Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away. . . . .See that is the thing I never, e-v-e-r can understand.🔑 🚪

    💌 All this needs to be put into place and maintained from the start of the marriage. Divorce lawyers stoke anger and fear in their clients, knowing that as long as the conflicts remain unresolved the revenue stream will keep flowing, you want no part of that. Lawyers were notorious for finding cases in the most unlikely places, especially ones with huge potential for fees. How about an Asset Protection Trust that owns a Private Foundation (or Donor Advised Trust) that owns a PIC (for all your investments and retirement funds) all inside a prenuptial agreement?

    Πρόβλεπτος (Foreseeable!) . . . .Or as Jesus said (Matthew 10:16) ” . . . . .Therefore be crafty as snakes/ wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” This is actually an integrated person: A serpent is “wise,” keen eyesight and is quick to learn and kill if it has to. A dove is innocent, meek, gentle, kind, caring. Somehow we have to be both. For example, if you always want to surrender, you have a shadow self that can be aggressive *beyond* what you think you are capable of. We need to be integrated personalities. Really integrate our shadows and become more present and powerful for Christ in the world!📩

  36. Aly on December 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Aleea, Many Years,

    Aleea I agree with you:
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away. . . . .See that is the thing I never, e-v-e-r can understand.🔑 🚪”

    My only first thought is, ‘reality IS there, wether we are ‘in tune/present’ with it or not.

    When reality comes into focus even if it’s ‘not crystal clear’ we can see how that alignment of truth benefits us and is critical for our integrated journey with Christ. It creates opportunities for decisions even little ones we are not always aware of.

  37. Renee on December 9, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Sorry it took me so long posting to the original author of this question.

    How did you end up being the one to support your household financially for nine years? When was that decision made and how was it made? Was it a mutual agreement or was it slowly entered into without you speaking up for fear of rocking the boat and someone or both falling over?

    What has he done to build/rebuild his credit in those nine years? It is possible to end up with a great credit score but why should he have that worry if you will continue to take on that responsibility. He can start by viewing his own credit reports to make sure all baddies have fallen off as they should. He can negotiate with creditors he did not pay (pay for delete or paid in full). He can purchase his own fico score to see where he is financially. He has an income, pay someone to attend to this if he is too lazy.

    You say he earns a decent income, so why can’t he get setup with some good secured credit cards. There are many available even from companies such as Capital 1 and Bank of America. Even with bad credit, he could apply for several regular credit cards although the limits would be very small. Is he a member of the local credit union, they are wonderful about helping individuals build/rebuild their credit.

    However, this can be dangerous if he will be looking toward you to make the payments.

    You can also set a boundary. For example, how about no co-signing for six months or a year? I know you say you don’t co-sign but yet I wonder if you are being totally honest. Sorry, just have to ask again.

    Why are your debit/credit cards lying around now that you know you have this problem? It may make some work for you, but you may have to purchase a safe for your financial documents and cards. Implement that safety daily. Invest in a good paper shredder. Invest in a post office box and have all your mail forwarded – no more mail coming to your home. Ahhh, but this is no way to live. Every time a new credit card offer comes in the mail, bingo for him. Opt out of credit offers for now if you are not interested.

    If he is not an authorized user at this point, I would change all online passwords and pin numbers. Of course, you are going to get some heat so safety first. If push comes to shove and you have to really get drastic, you may have to close all of those accounts and start over. Contact each creditor and see what they suggest for your protection. I know you don’t want to lose the credit history from those older accounts, but it may be a way to protect yourself.

    Baby girl, take yourself to dinner or go on that weekend adventure with a good friend.

    I would say it’s time to leave/ask him to leave but that does nothing for the information he has already stolen. Even if you have the cards, I’m sure the numbers are written down somewhere. Get on the phone asap with the creditors and just try to stop your part piece by piece. Setup notifications so that you will know anytime purchases are made. Have it set to come directly to your phone. You can also require that your online accounts require a security code before logging in – that can also be set to come to your phone. Just in case he knows how to bypass the measures you are making.

    I can’t remember which credit card it was now but I remember going to the store to make a large purchase. The creditor called me right there at the register to make sure it was me. Ask the creditors if this is possible.

    I know you may not be ready to stop supporting his gas and other habits. So whatever amount you are currently giving him, cut it drastically (1/2 that amount or less). I don’t see how this is not bothering him having to ask you for money for gas, etc. Eventually the goal still will be to stop especially if he is capable. Set a deadline.

    I don’t know. It’s hard for me to suggest not making a police report. Because just doing a threat that if it happens again may not work. I wonder if an inquiry can be made without setting things in motion. Is it possible to file a report without pressing charges? Having it on the record.

    Every time you see a document where he has used your information without your permission, please keep a copy in a safe place just in case this thing continues to go further south.

    Don’t be afraid of losing him. I wish you well.

    • Aly on December 9, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Renee;)

      “Don’t be afraid of losing him. I wish you well.”

      Such care Renee! So clear and truthful.
      I agree, ‘don’t be afraid of losing him, ….be more afraid of losing yourself, your sanity, your emotional health and well being, your love and care for the things that God has placed and positioned for Good works in us all! 💜

      Besides if we lose relationships by doing the loving and responsible thing, what relationship have we really lost?

      I’m not trying to minimize the grief or loss of something worth having but often these individuals only want ‘to use’ those that really do want to have a relationship that’s well and thriving as God can produce in our hearts.

  38. Renee on December 9, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Many Years

    You said: At that point I told him to calm down. (I do have a savings account which HE purposely set up for me, strictly for depositing and cashing a check once a week which he gives to me for groceries and necessities).

    Really? Really? Oh really, really? Reading this is making me very angry and sad.

    You said: Then his next response and next defense was: ‘I give you money when you ask for it.’

    How do these people come up with the idea that their wife (their wife) should have to ask for money? How about babe do you need anything today? Better yet here is your card to the account.

    I wonder how he would feel if this situation could be turned around on him where he would need to do the same. Ask you for money. Hum?

    But try this one on. How about going to the store at the same time, shopping for the same household, but then you have a his basket and her basket? This can get quite hilarious at the checkout when you hear the cashier say, but I thought you two were together. Aren’t you two married? In my mind, it would be yes I thought we were as well but I guess I’m wrong.

    You said: And maybe this is what some couples do is to ‘pool’ all monies into an account which is used for all the ‘family’

    Yes, that is how we were in the beginning until about four years ago. We pooled all of our money into one account which was then used for the family. We each had a card and a checkbook to that account. We each had access to the online account to see purchases made. The only time we said we needed to ask each other was for large ticket items over a certain amount.

    Then he made the rule that we both needed to have separate bank accounts. This started when I would give $10 or $20 dollars here or there to help my parents with bills or food. But I could help cook, wash clothes, do hair, pay bills, and do other stuff to help care for his mother once she became ill.

    I did none of this in secret and he was told each time until he started making it a big deal. Maybe it should have been a discussion each time. But the way I saw it was ok, nothing is being cut off at our home, we are not missing any meals, all of our bills are getting paid, all of our other needs are being meet. So what’s the problem?

    • many years on December 9, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Renee
      Like you, I also did take care of my husband’s invalid mother, in our home for two years. Very hard work, and other things in the mix, which many of us end up doing. (she was one of the sweetest Christian ladies!) But never much thanks from my husband, it was basically ‘expected’ of me. My own health suffered greatly from the experience.

      “So what’s the problem?” you asked. The problem is the secrecy of all of the money which comes from my husband’s income because he is a Narcissist and does need to feel in control of everything. And they freak at the least provocation (in their eyes) when ‘questioned’ for ‘additional information’. But yes, my social security is pooled in with all of the money to pay all bills.

      For my husband to say ‘I give you money when you ask for it’ means he doesn’t want me to know how much money we really have, and all I want is to know if I am going to have financial security when something happens to him which will change all of that, and also where all of that information is kept.

      Like I said to him, “If you died, I would have to sell everything.” And he said “Yes”.

      So the fact-of-the-matter is the unequal division between the sexes in most marriages.

      I know, lots to pray about in life. And God is with us.

      • Aly on December 9, 2017 at 11:49 pm

        Many Years,

        You wrote:
        “For my husband to say ‘I give you money when you ask for it’ means he doesn’t want me to know how much money we really have, and all I want is to know if I am going to have financial security when something happens to him which will change all of that, and also where all of that information is kept.”

        Ok I realize you are obviously not exactly looking for perspective here or bouncing off thoughts …,but in case someone else is going through your situation and maybe is barely emotionally surviving or worse,…. I can’t help but highlight the type of standard you wrote above.

        First, you say your husband doesn’t want you to know how much money ‘we’ really have.
        There is no ‘we’ in what you have described.
        You wrote that ‘all’ you want to know is if your going to have financial security if something happens to him.

        All? Many Years, I do care about your heart and what you have tolerated from who you say is a narc husband. Which is so so painful….. I care deeply what you tell yourself😲
        but I believe your self care ‘standard’ is very low. You are reinforcing to him that this standard is acceptable by what you ‘only want’ to know about the finances.

        Also I think it’s important and part of good self care that you are responsible to know your financial situation.
        Is it also not your legal right to be informed fully?

      • Roxanne on December 10, 2017 at 7:25 am

        Gee, I have heard that a lot. “I give you money when you ask for it.” To which I recently replied, “How about we reverse that? I’ll control all the money and I can give it to you when you need it.”

        Just imagining that scenario revealed to me his power, control and attitude that he was the adult who portioned money out like I was the child.

      • Renee on December 10, 2017 at 10:17 am

        You said: Like I said to him, “If you died, I would have to sell everything.” And he said “Yes”.

        Many Years, I don’t want you to feel we are pushing you into anything. So this is for anyone else who wish to read and elaborate more on my thoughts. I would not assume what his intentions were with that statement. Immediately fire off questions. Exactly what does this mean could be the first question?

        So honey, are you saying the mortgage will not be paid off if something happened to you? Hum, can you show me how we are doing with the payments and how much is left to pay? Well, honey, what about the insurance policies that you purchased? Will they not cover all remaining debt plus funeral expenses? If not, maybe we should get on the phone with the insurance company.

        Well honey, it sounds like we are living beyond our means. Can we start a budget today? Let’s review those finances you laid out a few years ago.

        Do we need to sell your car and get something more in line with our budget? Something we can pay off in a couple of years.

        His social security file would show how much you and a child would be entitled to if anything were to happen to him? Who are the beneficiaries on any insurance policies, wills, bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc.?

        When was the last time those documents he revealed were updated?

        I smell something foul from that statement.

        I’ll stop rambling now and leave a couple of versus that I found.

        Proverbs 19:20
        20 Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

        and

        Proverbs 3:13
        13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,

        Hugs ManyYears and all of us here!

        • JoAnn on December 10, 2017 at 9:33 pm

          Very good suggestions, Renee. I like that.

      • Rebecca on December 10, 2017 at 10:41 am

        In addition to some of the other replies, many years, I would like to suggest one more approach. That would be to contact your financial institutions directly.

        I went to the bank with out my husband, acted a bit naive and got print outs of our on line statements. I too have the situation in which the passwords and accounts all belong to him.

        I have another troubling situation in which my husband has control of the cell phone bills which means he can track my every call and text number.

        My suggestion and is to dig through file draws and figure out who your insurance agents are and call them, privately. You may need to use a friend’s phone so he can’t figure out what you are doing. If any account is in your name BOTH of you are the agent’s clients and you both are entitled to all the information.

        While you are at it. Check and see who the beneficiary is of his policies or investments. When I did this detective work I discovered many 1/2 truths. I saw the methodical strategies in my husband’s control tactics.

      • Sunshine on December 10, 2017 at 10:48 am

        Also, if he doesn’t answer your questions he continues to have the upper hand. Certainly he knows security is something you value. Look beyond the obvious and delve deeper into his probable motivation here. He maintains dominion over you so you need him more. That makes you much easier to control from his stand point.

  39. many years on December 9, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Hi gals, Aly, Aleea, Renee

    Thank you ever so much for your concern for me, but I think you all missed the very clear indication that God has been watching over me, and not all people’s circumstances are the same.

    I appreciate the story about the older woman, etc.
    I tried to say as least possible that I could so that no one would be ‘jumping to conclusions’. I tried to keep it brief as possible as to what I can do IF my situation ever does escalate. I can but trust my Lord in this. JoAnn had asked me those two questions and she wanted clarification so I was as brief and as clear as possible.

    Thank you all for your concern.

    Please in my post I was attempting to praise the Lord, glorify Him, as that is where I am in my own life at this point.
    All glory to Jesus in all things.

    I pray that all of your journeys will be in the timing that God has for you and that He will give you the strength for wisdom and courage as he has done with me. Things are playing out in my life and I see God’s hand orchestrating them.

    I have taken to heart all of what all of you have said. Thank you for your deep love.

    Please continue to pray for me, as I pray for all who are here too.

  40. Aleea on December 9, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    RE: many years

    Yes, I’m praying for you. . . Romans 1:9, 2 Corinthians 10:4

    “Please in my post I was attempting to praise the Lord, glorify Him, as that is where I am in my own life at this point.
    All glory to Jesus in all things.”

    . . .Absolutely, I see it now. My ability to misunderstand things is *very* refined, so I did misunderstand. Praise the Lord for His mercy; His everlasting love; His kindness; His Son. . . .absolutely!

  41. many years on December 9, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Dear, sweet Aleea
    I see in you a very deep, and beautiful heart for the Lord. You are one of the most sensitive and intuitive souls and your desire to get to the heart of things is a gift from God. Your keen spiritual perceptions will keep you on a clear path in continuing to help others. God bless you dear sister!

    Thank you for praying for me! And for the verses of scripture.

    I have a dear cousin in the Lord who also sees every aspect of every situation with a magnifying glass of the Holy Spirit. It is quite a gift. Some times it becomes a bit disconcerting, as she too, can ‘read’ into things which ‘could very well possibly be there.’ In a way it is a protection, and when she does expound her spiritual opinion, she is giving her Truth. And for the truth you were giving, with your own spiritual perception, I accept it as such.

    In fact, it did put me on guard to watch out for those very ‘red’ flags which you suggested. You would make a very good counselor!

  42. Nancy on December 9, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Hey Aleea, Many Years, Aly.

    Aleea – I loved your thoughts on Matt 10:16- being an integrated person. Very wise.

    In fact that whole chapter is about the results that come from applying the Word. Jesus is sending out his disciples to action. In the message translation he talks about how if they are persecuted, they are to leave because survival that is their task. It’s a very interesting read.

  43. Aleea on December 9, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    RE: JoAnn
    “….when you eat a meal, do you spend a lot of time wondering about the ingredients or the nutrients in the food?. . .”

    . . . .Yes, I do think about ingredients and the nutrients –but I know what you are saying and what you mean. . . . .Too little enjoyment/fun (—with the Lord) and too much deep thinking (—what is historically going on with these passages, contexts, words used, etc.)

    . . .I need to *enjoy* the Lord —way, w-a-y more. I agree so, so much with that. . . . 🍴Taste and see that the Lord is good, He’s got milk and honey for you. Come and dine at the Master’s table, He’ll serve bread and wine to you. . . . —And, actually, I just love all the soft stuff, what you call “Simplicity personified”, I have to r-e-a-l-l-y work at the rest.💌

  44. Aleea on December 9, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Re: many years

    . . . . Oh, many years, it is a privilege to pray for you and your family and everyone here. To know Christ and to have *any* part (—no matter how small) in His kingdom is just overwhelming to me(—tears). . . . ―I was thinking about it last night. . . . .Christ seems to continually be shouting through the universe: “You have a love that is already yours. You have nothing to prove to anyone. You have nothing to prove to Me. You are significant and pre-approved and utterly cherished. Not because you are in any way good, but because you are Mine.”❣😊💕

  45. Aleea on December 9, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Hello Nancy!!!😊

    -Absolutely, the ministry of the twelve had survival as an important element. In those days, if people did not welcome you. . . .you had to shake the dust off your feet and leave that home or town because you had no other means of survival.. . . first-century Palestine/Judea/Galilee, 9 out of 10 persons lived close to subsistence level or below it. ✝ރ❣

  46. Aleea on December 10, 2017 at 7:26 am

    . . . .So “that book” (—there are so, so many) is: “Smart Women Protect Their Assets: Essential Information for Every Woman About Wills, Trusts, Asset Protection, et.al.”

    That’s our pocketbooks and heads. . . . .

    . . .Our hearts:
    1) How are you *really* doing in your relationship with Jesus. . . . —*really*
    2) How can I pray for you. . . . .
    3) Are we (Am I) ensuring that Christ’s story *totally* overtakes our abuse stories. . . .This is about Him✝ރ❣😊 💕. . . .Again, even when I try to make it about me which is so, so often! . . .my own heart, at times, can be as black as a coal-pit and twice as foul and even my repentance needs to be repented of. . . .But, I also know I am *hopelessly* in love with Jesus Christ. . . .In the first three centuries of Christianity, the Church was a gathering of t-o-t-a-l, absolute nobodies to worship the only real Somebody: Christ, raised from the dead, seated with the Father, Authority over all, Holy in His perfection, —the only perfect.☕❄

  47. Rebecca on December 10, 2017 at 7:33 am

    I have a friend in a happy, healthy marriage who said, “We check in with each other any time we think about spending any amount with three zeros.” Other than that, they have complete freedom to spend THEIR money
    Trust has been established over years of living a lifestyle of responsibility after a few budget discussion here and there as needed and agreed upon. I see this as a good reality check for those of us on the other side of normal.

    • JoAnn on December 10, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      I can relate, Rebecca. My marriage is very much like your friend’s. My husband makes all the money for our household, and I pay the bills and try to keep him apprised of our status on mortgage, car loans, etc. We discuss big investments, but are both free to spend what we need to. It is a matter of respect and trust. This wouldn’t necessarily work for everyone, but we have a good relationship, and so far, I have been able to manage things well, though not without some mistakes. His ability to tolerate my “boo-boos” always amazes me. He is a gem.

  48. Nancy on December 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    I was referring to Jesus’ instruction for his disciples to prioritize survival, and shaking off the dust, as an application for our ( his disciples) current situations.

    We are to prioritize our survival (physical, emotional, spiritual) so that we can do the kingdom work he calls us to. This means shaking the dust off, of the people who refuse to hear his call.

    So….for wives who are staying ( even if they are staying well) because they think that their perpetually unrepentant h is their mission field, this seems pretty clear to me that Jesus does not advise this.

    We are not saviour, He is.

    I just thought it was interesting that you were in this chapter, given the thread of discussion here.

  49. MJ on December 11, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    I have been going through the comments on this blog and have found them to be so affirming. I’d

    My husband and I have been married for just over two years and have now been legally separated for over six months and actually separated (as in separate households) for around a month.

    I could spend an entire day writing out the history of our relationship, but for your sakes I’ll be brief: The final straw came in May when I found out the “job” he got didn’t actually exist and was instead him lying for 3+ months about going to work everyday. That’s when I insisted on the separation. But before that, there were multiple lies (overtly and by omission), threats of physical violence (faked punches, holes in walls, etc.), a suicide threat on his part, and the fact that he has refused to work and contribute financially for the entirety of our marriage.

    His side of the story focuses on his chronic illness (that does exist – and I have acknowledged it) and how it basically precludes and/or justifies him in not working and not having to fulfill his Biblical role as a husband. I understand that he’s got health battles to climb, and I don’t expect superhuman efforts from him. But at the same time, it just doesn’t sit right with me that his health issues are a justification for him financially abandoning me on top of the lies, threats of harm, etc.

    Anyway, after the fake “job,” I told him that I wanted to be separated, but he refused to move out of our house (that I alone paid for). I was finally able to force him out a month ago at the behest of my counselor who said that allowing him to live for free was enabling his behavior. Since he’s been out, I feel at peace like I haven’t in a while. But of course now he wants to go to counseling… even though I asked him to go for months and he refused.

    The human part of me wants to be done with him and wants a divorce, but the Christian part of me thinks that I should at least try counseling. The cognitive dissonance is driving me absolutely crazy. I’m afraid God will be mad at me if I seek a divorce, but I’m also afraid of what the rest of my life will look like if I choose to stay with him.

    Any advice, prayers, etc. is incredibly welcome. Thank you in advance.

    • Nancy on December 11, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      Hi MJ,

      Thanks so much for sharing part of your story here. I’ll be brief: Leslie and many others who are specialized in abusive relationships DO NOT advise marriage counselling. Your h has a lot of personal work to do to face his serious lack of integrity and character ( nothing to do with his illness – the lying, the punching walls, the threats).

      If he’s so eager to go to counselling, encourage him to do so. By himself. His willingness to get help FOR HIMSELF would be the first of MANY steps and signs to look for, before you even CONSIDER another step.

      MJ, you have done great work separating. Don’t let false guilt pull you back towards destruction. Focus on building CORE strength and require him to do his own work.

      • Sunshine on December 11, 2017 at 7:50 pm

        I agree with Nancy.

    • Aly on December 11, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      MJ,

      I agree with what Nancy wrote.
      The positive thing is that you don’t have Years and years of the cycle to unravel.
      I also am assuming based on your post that you have a good counselor and will continue with that counseling.

      Im wondering if it would be possible for your counselor to also see you husband (separate of course) ?
      I say this so you don’t get dragged into another counselors process with your husband and personally my husband and I have benefited greatly by having one counselor who is seeing both sides.

      Since your husband is willing via his words only, now is where you what what he choses to take action on.
      He sounds pretty destructive and quite immature so you are going to need a lot of support around you to deal with the cognitive dissonance as you mentioned.

      You are Brave💟 And you did a really hard loving thing.
      Usually when it’s this kind of hard, it’s often the right thing~

      Praying for your heart and your journey.

      • Aly on December 11, 2017 at 9:29 pm

        Oops!
        Lots of corrections with my post.

        what = wait
        Sorry I’m a mess 😉

      • K on December 12, 2017 at 2:41 pm

        In a situation such at this, the only way to guard safety, confidentiality, and the integrity of counselling for the purpose of moving forward, is for the wife to seek / work with her own counsellor, and the husband to seek/ work with his own counsellor. Where there is abuse, trying to see if one counsellor will work with both separately for the sake of convenience, or because it gives the ‘illusion’ of working together toward a marriage goal, or ;’keeps people informed’, only works into the manipulations & sabatoges that the abusive one exercises. When, and only when, both people have gotten to a healthy place individually, may it be time to consider consolidating counselling work, with a new counsellor for whom the marriage (not either person) is the client. Please do not get pulled into the idea of doing counselling together with someone who has not done all the work needed to change into someone who is actively committed to no longer being abusive or manipulative!!!!!

        • Renee on December 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm

          Hi K, I missed your post earlier.

          Your post makes sense to me. Husband has his own counselor. The wife has her own counselor. Once individual counseling has been concluded (gotten to a healthy place), then couple’s counseling can be considered. Use a brand new counselor for couples counseling to eliminate bias.

        • MJ on December 13, 2017 at 10:24 am

          Thanks to all of you who replied. Your replies were very helpful. My husband is now pressuring me to go to counseling together, saying that either we go to counseling or I should file for divorce. (Of course he won’t file because he doesn’t want to pay for it.) I was considering taking his offer until reading your comments, and then I realized that it wasn’t OK. He hasn’t followed through on any of the requests I made of him – individual counseling, meeting with a pastor, stabilizing his life, finding an income, etc. – yet he continues to make demands of me. I’ve stood firm and let him know that he needs to show good faith in following through on his end of the bargain first; once he does that (and subsequently starts to earn back my trust), we can then move forward with couples counseling.

          As of this morning, he upped the ante again. He says he wants to go to counseling AND to move back into our home, otherwise I should file for divorce. I just finally got him out of the house a month ago – there is no way I’m letting him back in right now! Would it be wrong for me to file for divorce, or should I stick it out and make him file? He is unequivocally telling me to do it, but I know that the Bible says that we aren’t to “submit” to unbelieving spouses if they ask us to do something that’s wrong.

          Advice? Thoughts? Thanks in advance.

          • Aly on December 13, 2017 at 10:47 am

            MJ,

            This is just my take, not saying I’m right but this is what it seems like.
            He’s trying anything to grasp an inch. Let him file for divorce if that’s how he sees it.

            I think you and your h are FAR from couples counseling.
            This isn’t to say that you are not capable of this process ‘yourself’, it’s your husband that IS not mature enough to create a growing and healing process jointly. It’s a HE problem given the items you listed of behavior.
            He’s a typical taker who needs serious boundaries!!

            I know, I know.. he will twist it and tell those in your circle that ‘you refuse’ to work on the marriage. Not true. You can assure anyone that comes to his victim defense, you are working on yourself and the marriage.

            It’s going to be a trek either path you take, get equipped.
            Stay safe and sane. You were brave in getting him out, he’s wondering if your strong on all points and is looking for your weaknesses that would fall back into enabling him.
            Hugs 💜 MJ
            and prayers for Gods will



          • MJ on December 13, 2017 at 10:54 am

            Thanks, Aly. I guess my question is this: Paul says that if an unbeliever leaves, to let him/her go and be at peace. My h didn’t leave my house by choice – I asked him to go – but now he is choosing to tell me to file for divorce. I guess my question is whether or not I should stay the course and refuse or take him up on his “offer.” The human part of me wants to absolutely be done with all of this mess, one way or another, but that doesn’t mean it is the right thing.



          • Aly on December 13, 2017 at 11:37 am

            MJ,

            It’s not easy to ask our husband’s to leave is it? It feels so unnatural in ways. At least it did for my scenario.

            But your husband’s behavior continued to tell you he’s not Behaving As a Safe spouse to be under the same roof.

            You did a loving thing for yourself and for him to ask him to separate. His behavior has created the consequences of this magnitude.

            Separation is not divorce. And many here struggle with this precaution and sometimes necessary element for destructive marriages.
            There are many on the site who will support you for your healthy boundaries.
            Having requirements for him is also loving. This doesn’t mean he will do them or that he ‘hAS to’ he has a choice to not do them and those choices produce consequences.

            It’s going to be a journey either road you take, so take the road that keeps you close with the Lord! Follow Him.
            Leslie wrote a post today and she highlighted to the writer the importance of ‘her part and work’ to do or the woman most likely could find herself in yet another controlling imbalanced relationship (playing over and over).

            What is it in you that saw a loving equipped type of Christian partner that would be a good fit for you?
            Maybe there were other things motivating this dynamic.?? I don’t know but I do think we all have a history to look into, not stay in, but sort through.

            He wants you to be the one to file for divorce, so he can remain the victim and hold the responsibility of the marriage failure.
            In his mind, not saying I’m right but based on his immature nature he probably thinks that the one who files ~ holds the final ownership of failure.
            He doesn’t see that his behavior is what has been failing the marriage covenant.

            Be a broken record to him;
            “Husband, we don’t have a marital problem alone, you have a character and maturity problem to deal with first before we can attempt to work on a marriage problem.”

            Sounds like he was hoping you would be ‘mom and dad’ for him given his behavior and his choices at lying.

            I’m sorry for all of this but it’s messy yes!
            I’ve had similar dynamics by destructive individuals it’s painful. I’m sorry😥🙏💟



          • Aly on December 13, 2017 at 11:43 am

            MJ,

            P.S I forgot to say I would stay your individual course. You can’t remind him to do his own work apart.
            His offer.. isn’t an offer MJ it’s a manipulation to get you to give in to what ‘he thinks’ is going on.
            Now, don’t follow contribute to a foolish irresponsible person’s perspective.



          • Nancy on December 13, 2017 at 1:09 pm

            I agree with Aly, MJ.

            ‘His offer isn’t an offer, it’s manipulation’.

            Where he’s concerned : Keep your boundaries ( you may need to up them on the communication level) keep your requirements.

            Where you’revconcerned: work hard on CORE strength. Stay the course. Spend time with The Lord and wise others. Stay strong. The Lord will guide you. Exodus 14:14 comes to mind.



          • MJ on December 13, 2017 at 1:12 pm

            Thanks, Aly & Nancy. Now he’s saying that if I won’t reconcile with him basically today that he’s going to start seeing other people. I think my best bet at this point is to stop communicating with him, as you suggested.



          • Aly on December 13, 2017 at 1:52 pm

            MJ,

            I curious if you think he is deserving of any response, given his threats?
            I’m wondering seriously wondering what you want to say or ‘choose not to say’ after receiving such a garbage statement from him?

            Is that not one of the most emotionally destructive expressions to say to a wife who has healthy taken back her power (not all the power) but her healthy power.

            Everything Nancy said I also agree with, CoRE is essential and also essential is other women; do you also have supportive healthy women to come along who understand a bit about a destructive partner? This isn’t something not any of us do alone.



          • MJ on December 13, 2017 at 2:01 pm

            Aly,

            Thankfully, yes – I do have other women I can talk to, both friends and family. Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone locally – isn’t it funny how isolating a damaged relationship can be! – but I am working on joining a church and getting connected. Furthermore, I am working with a wonderful Christian counselor who is helping to motivate me and affirm that I am taking positive steps for myself. She feels quite strongly that I should file for divorce, stating that my h has invalidated our marriage covenant by lying before/after we got married, among other things. That is the one area where we don’t totally agree. Otherwise, however, her advice has been very helpful and Biblically sound.



          • Aly on December 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm

            MJ,

            So glad to hear you have support and it sounds like you have such a great counselor!
            Praise God for these vessels.

            You are making big positive steps and your spouse is reacting unhealthily, unfortunate.

            I might consider his inability to contribute financially, extensive lying, & profound immaturity to be a blessing overall.. it has assisted in you ‘acting’ and making some healthy choices for you.

            Not sure he want to step into adulthood let alone Godly manhood ~ where the standards are all the higher.
            Hugs and Prayers, you’ll get through this. You sound ‘grounded’🌸



          • Renee on December 13, 2017 at 11:04 pm

            MJ, this is just a thought. Not a fact.

            Your spouse may not want a divorce but may want the same thing as you – the easy button. I want it myself. Either way, the way I see it as for the text messages is that you may be responding to text that you should let roll. Or, maybe you are responding too fast and he is sensing fear or that you are sitting around waiting to hear from him. I know you may be also trying to respond to, keep him from showing up at your door. Not sure which one. Hugs to you sister.



  50. Aleea on December 11, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Hello Nancy,

    I want you to know I so appreciate you and very much value you and your thoughts and insights.

    “So….for wives who are staying ( even if they are staying well) because they think that their perpetually unrepentant h is their mission field, this seems pretty clear to me that Jesus does not advise this.”

    Here is what I think, but as always, I don’t know. I’ve have so tried over the years to take good counsel. I humbly submit for your consideration: See: Divorce and Remarriage (In early Christianity): Joseph A. Webb Th.D., Ph.D. & Patricia L. Webb Ph.D.*** Dr. Margaret A. Schatkin, “Divorce In Christianity”, 2nd ed., edited by Dr. Everett Ferguson, New York: Garland, 1998. . . .And so says Dr. Elaine Pagels, Professor of Early Christian History; Dr. Susan Barnett, Professor of Early Christianity; Dr. Margaret Barker, Systematic Theology; Dr. Karen King, Hollis Professor of Divinity; Dr. Barbara Thiering, et.al. I’m citing women because this was important to them and they are very, v-e-r-y careful researchers:

    *** “The early church fathers were in complete agreement. Of all the early recognized Church Fathers who ever wrote or who were written about concerning every discussion and every debate in thousands of surviving documents over hundreds of years, there is not a single dissenting authoritative voice on the essential core doctrines of marriage, divorce and remarriage. Each taught the same doctrine, each held the same opinion and each enforced the same moral standards ―Here is what all those early church fathers (―many who died for Christ) taught:”

    “* To indulge in lust is to be guilty of adultery of the heart. (―We all agree with that!!!)
    * Whoever marries a woman who has been divorced from another husband commits adultery.
    * Should the husband put her away, he must remain by himself. But if he put his wife away and marries another, he commits adultery.
    * Whoever marries a divorced person commits adultery.
    * Whoever contracts a second marriage is sinning against God (while a former spouse lives). God does not, and the Church must not, take into account human law when it is in violation of God’s law.”

    . . .Again, I know people can torture the scriptures until the texts “confess” but the rule through time was: If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense.

    I think there is something holy and right about what is taught here, but I don’t understand how it can be reconciled with Classic Christianity and when I see scholars debate these issues, I don’t see post-modern Christianity making their case on the texts or the history.

    . . .One great path to Truth is to try (―and try hard) to disprove what you like.

    . . .Evil is the force that believes its knowledge of what God wants and says is complete. I certainly know mine is unbelievably *not* complete. . . .But I also know that the things we most need are always to be found where we least want to look —for me too!

    The whole thing just makes me weep because so much pain has occurred, I don’t know what to say. I see post-modern structuralist Christians deconstructing all kinds of Christian doctrines but that doesn’t make it right.

    God created Aleea without asking her; He will take Aleea’s life away one day without asking her; He saved me without asking and I praise Him so, so much for that!!! . . .It could be that to look to Christ to meet our perceived psychological needs is to Christianize our lusts. We are asking God to give us what we want, so we can feel better about ourselves or so we can have more happiness, not holiness, in our lives. I am trying to get rid of my unbelief and disobedience and ridding myself of the fear of others is always part of that. I either fear God or I fear other people.

    . . .And let me tell you Nancy, you and so, so many here have been such a blessing to me. ―You and they have pointed me to Christ. The gospel is only available to people who know they are unclean: . . .my own heart, at times, can be as black as a coal-pit and twice as foul and even my repentance needs to be repented of. . . .But, I also know I am *hopelessly* in love with Jesus Christ. . . .in the first three centuries of Christianity, the Church was a gathering of t-o-t-a-l, absolute nobodies to worship the only real Somebody: Christ, raised from the dead, seated with the Father, Authority over all, Holy in His perfection, —the only perfect.

  51. Nancy on December 11, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Hmmm Aleea 🙂

    Ok….so the above are external / behavioural examples of marriage, and divorce, right? If a husband is perpetually unrepentant ( as in my example above) hasn’t he not even entered into the covenant promise to love his wife as Christ loves the church?

    Are two people married in the eyes of the Lord if they are married by a pastor in a beautiful church building with all the right words and all the right verses – but one of them has a heart of stone?

    • JoAnn on December 11, 2017 at 11:57 pm

      In Matthew 19, the Lord said that Moses allowed divorce “because of the hardness of their hearts.” And then He said that “from the beginning it was not so.” Of course, God hates divorce, but He also knows that hard hearts can make a godly marriage impossible. I agree with Leslie that once the covenant is broken, it is the same as a divorce; all that remains is to make it legal. If we try to hold the line at the original plan, no divorce, what help is there for a woman who is being abused? I believe our God is more merciful than He is legalistic.

  52. many years on December 12, 2017 at 12:39 am

    Thanks for this, Aleea, which you posted for Nancy. There is so much information and pertinent scriptures to peruse here on this entire blog post.
    I need to go to WalMart and get some more ink for my printer and save ALL of what has been posted and review it all and take it to heart.

    I will chew the fat and let the Holy Spirit help me to digest it all.

    Thanks every one for all of your input and thoughts!, prayers, love, hope, inspiration, patience and fortitude in Jesus name!

  53. Aleea on December 12, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Nancy, JoAnn, many years,

    . . . .What I have found, maybe it is totally wrong, is that we claim *near* certainty where we have none. The reason that we don’t know involves textual variants/ interpolations/ redactions/ textual alterations/ additions, et. al. “The Living Text of the Gospels” see chapter 5 “The Sayings on Marriage and Divorce”. . . every textual variant is explained in those chapters. Everyone (especially me) craves a level of probability over 75 percent, we have *nothing* like that. I just think we are not careful with our conclusions. You and I see in the texts what we bring to the texts. That is why we have to take counsel, especially from people who disagree with us. We know what we want it to say/ mean and we go about seeking confirmation (confirmation bias). I do that all the time. I generally don’t try to disprove what I like but that is how anyone gets to the truth on any matter. . . .Why do these careful scholars, who gave their lives for Christ, say the texts say and meant what they say in their contexts? . . . .Especially the early Christians, who had access to Bible manuscripts inside the now 275 year tunnel period where we have no surviving manuscript evidence beyond fragments. I don’t think I have been careful with my conclusions on divorce and I see the church just floating along with culture and psychology. . . .It terrifies me to think how wrong we could be on this and I am just as much to blame as anyone. . . . Because I want to be liked more than I want the truth. —Lord heal me of that!!! The truth will set you free but first it will break your heart. . . .It could be that to look to Christ to meet our perceived psychological needs is to Christianize our own lusts. We are asking God to give us what we want, so we can feel better about ourselves or so we can have more happiness, not holiness, in our lives. I am trying to get rid of my unbelief and disobedience and ridding myself of the fear of others is always part of that. I either fear God or I fear other people and what they think of me. —Lord heal me of that!!! . . .It’s Your breath in my lungs . . .So I pour out my praise . . . .I pour out my praise to You!!! . . .It’s Your breath in my lungs. . . . So I pour out my praise to You only. Help us all Lord!!!! The counsel of the Holy, the written Word-of-God . . .wisdom cries for all to read Psalm 19:7-11, 33:11, 119:105. ✞ރ✝❣😊 💕

  54. Aly on December 12, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Aleea,

    I’m really trying to follow along here and understand your thoughts and position.
    Are you saying that you don’t believe in the noted allowances for biblical divorce or you do?

    Also you wrote this above;
    “I generally don’t try to disprove what I like but that is how anyone gets to the truth on any matter.”

    Is this true? That is how anyone gets to the truth on ‘any’ matter..
    maybe you can see why I’m wondering if that’s a true path or something that has been shaped as a belief or core belief?

    • JoAnn on December 12, 2017 at 11:11 am

      I am confused, too. Thanks for asking for clarification.

  55. Connie on December 12, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Aleea, I realize that Jesus’ teaching on adultery seems very stringent. And, that many well-known scholars have said that it means exactly what it says (as translated by human scholars). Yet, the Bible also says that God sometimes uses the foolish to confound the wise. Just look at how many centuries scholars have used the Bible to support the subservience of women. Yet it doesn’t teach that, if you see the whole in context. One day, after shouting at me that I was to obey him without question because the Bible said so, I showed my husband the verse that said for men to ‘submit’ to the church elders and I asked him if he obeyed them without question. He turned his head away and said, “I don’t read what I don’t want to read.” Convenient, no?

    I have learned that we need to take the whole of scriptures and compare them. It says, ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses shall the word be established”. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses and every other cult use scripture literally, but they usually use a verse here and there out of context.

    Jesus’ teaching on divorce is part of the sermon on the mount. The whole sermon is meant to show us that we cannot keep the law. It is a preparation for everyone to see their depravity and their need for grace. If we took it literally, then we would need to execute everyone who called his brother a fool, right? And condemn everyone who worried about tomorrow. He was talking to people who self-righteously believed that they were clean when they were not, so he pointed out how each of us somehow has broken the law and cannot stand before a holy God. He was preparing them for what was coming, His sacrifice for us all. We are messed up. The whole world is messed up. So he is saying, “I’m here to fix this.” But first we need to know how badly we need fixed.

    • JoAnn on December 12, 2017 at 11:26 am

      Some good points, Connie. First we need to see how badly we need to be fixed. Amen!

    • Aly on December 12, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      Connie,

      This is well explained! Thank you for your words here.

      I’m sorry your husband is continuing to choose behavior as a ‘foolish powerfooled man’.
      Your worthy of Love💜

  56. Aleea on December 12, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Aly, JoAnn, Connie,

    Thank you all for even interacting with me. I so appreciate that and I always appreciate your thoughts. I’m blind to my own filters and I can’t see *lots* of my own faults, but you can and that is so helpful to me. I can’t self-correct where necessary without your help.

    I’m saying, and as usual not very clearly, I am saying . . .don’t you think what Christians said in the first 500 years of Christianity carries serious weight? They loved and actually many of them died for Christ and their beliefs. Very importantly, they had access to manuscripts of God’s word no longer extant.

    Why do I think what these first Christians said was very, v-e-r-y important: How many manuscripts of the New Testament do we have from the decades after the books were written —None that I am aware of. —Zero. How many manuscripts of the New Testament do we have from the *entire* first Christian century? —None that I am aware of. —Zero. How many do we have from the second century, we have one little scrap and it is the size of a credit card. P52 (papyrus 52) P52 puts us 150 years out from the source documents. These early Christians who said v-e-r-y different things about divorce and remarriage than we do had the source documents. —More importantly, they could read those documents in their native Greek and they lived in that culture which is v-e-r-y different from ours. We are guessing at the real meanings of lots of N.T. words, as well as reading our culture (—American-style Christianity) into what the copies of the copies of the copies (—all with textual variants) said. . If you Google: “It’s All about Variants: A Variant-Conscious Approach to New Testament” and “Going for the Bigger Picture” and “Eldon Epp” you will see what I mean.

    “. . .the Bible also says that God sometimes uses the foolish to confound the wise.” —Well, than God should be *mightily* using me because I am definitely considered foolish by the world (—what the world considers nonsense = Aleea). If you have shared the gospel with people, you know what I mean. I hear that constantly from people: What you are saying about Jesus dying for our sins no longer makes any sense. The human authors who penned those words they held prescientific, pre-neuropsychological beliefs and had very ancient moral standards. . . .et.al.

    “. . . . I don’t read what I don’t want to read.” Convenient, no?” —But at least he is honest about it. Your husband needs to repent and humbly spend more time with you in prayer and Bible study because he is missing out! . . .So often, I need to repent too and often even my repentance needs to be repented of. But your husband illustrates the point that deconstructs most “Christianity”: cherry-picking. The cherry-picking has effectively deconstructed post-modern Christianity, post-modern marriage, et.al. The Bible becomes the big book of multiple choice. Cafeteria-style Christianity. —Cherry-picking obedience.

    “If we took it literally, then we would need to execute everyone who called his brother a fool, right? And condemn everyone who worried about tomorrow.” —So are you saying the sayings on divorce and remarriage are figurative? I guess I don’t understand that. Postmodern readings of the texts that match our psychological trait and demand profiles . . . .would not that lead to cherry-picking too?

    How can it be that God intended *all* this constant confusion over time, ―what is and is not Biblical, etc. I remain but a curious and dependent little child, tugging frantically at God’s outstretched hands and pleading with every question and every prayer. ―That’s all I know to do.

  57. Nancy on December 12, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    Re:cherry picking.

    This is why we need to always take verses in context of the whole, (which reveals His character).

    God is for the oppressed. Always.

  58. Aly on December 12, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Aleea, Connie,

    Connie you wrote your husband’s phrase:
    ““. . . . I don’t read what I don’t want to read.” Convenient, no?””

    I’m wondering about this;? Is this convenient wisdom for a foolish person because he thinks what he doesn’t get exposed to (or informed on) he won’t be held accountable for.

    I see a lot of versions of this it seems.

  59. Nancy on December 12, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    A 6 minute video that looks at the overarching theme of justice in the Bible. These guys are great..

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A14THPoc4-4

  60. many years on December 13, 2017 at 1:53 am

    Hello, Aly
    I am just now having time to read your Dec. 9th 10:08 p.m. post about the elderly Christian lady who is going to ‘hold out until the end’ to get her share of the finances.

    In my case, my husband owns properties where our grown children live and pay rent. It would not serve for me to try and attempt to do anything with our finances at the moment, as it would jeopardize innocent ones, grandchildren, etc. and to me it’s just not worth the hassle for the money which is coming in for me from social security, as I know for a fact that money is being used to pay those monthly house payments where our children turn around and pay us rent. I mean, it’s a ‘wash’ but one of our grown children has a lot less funds coming in and God knows this is the way half the country is living these days.

    I don’t ‘need’ my social security money at this time. I mean, yes, it is being used to pay house bills, and it is helping my own grown children and grandchildren, which God says to ‘give’ willingly to those who are in need, and also especially ‘to the household of God’ which my children are born-again Christians.

    And even Jesus said ‘on earth as it is done in heaven.’ Which to me, means, taking care of one another when we have the ways and means to do so.

    God is caring for me. It’s just I wish my husband’s attitude of ‘entitlement’ because he is the ‘breadwinner’ of the household, would be of an attitude of not just extracting from me what he ‘feels’ is his to do with, but that he would really realize the ‘unity of the spirit’ in a marriage, which, from him, I do not get that type of respect.

    When my husband jokes about God’s word, and makes mind-games out of conversations he has with me, to make me look stupid in his eyes; I have come to the point where I will say to him, ‘stop the word-playing and get to the point’. As though I am supposed to read his mind while he is talking about something. He has a very twisted sense of controlling the conversation to the intent that he is actuality, very insecure, and is seriously uncomfortable about just saying exactly what is on his mind, instead of having a normal conversation like most people would have.

    But, maybe not on this blog as so many women here have had the same form of verbal abuse come at them from their husbands for no apparent reason. That is the crux of the matter, is the lack of consideration on the part of the husband to even want to have a decent conversation with the wife. Yet, they don’t treat any other women that way; just the wife.

    It is a conundrum. Which kind of goes back to the Garden of Eden when Adam told God: ‘This woman which thou hast given me…’ Blah, Blah, Blah. The blame game from the beginning.

    Anyway, thank you for the crazy story about the elderly lady who is ‘holding out’ til the last penny. Kind of sad really.

    • Aly on December 13, 2017 at 8:48 am

      Many Years,

      Goodness I’m sorry for the relationship you are exposed to with your husband.
      He owns property, but you don’t? Is it not joint ownership?

      Needless to say if he is the landlord of your children then goodness that is quite controlling to deal with, that is if you are not also the landlord.
      Are they not your joint children together?

      Just to clarify, about the elderly women I wrote about, she said she is holding out for the FuLL amount, not her part of finances where she could choose to obtain and live in a peaceful manner. Her part is quite plenty to live off. And she has other support and choices but sadly she chooses to not see the choices. Sometimes we can’t see things when there are big obstacles in the way that haven’t been addressed!
      For her, it became about money and her abusive husband ~ whom she obviously detests ‘not being the last one standing’ sort of thing. Which is yes, mind boggling in my opinion as someone who claims to know Christ, & the character of Christ, her choices and behavior about $, reflect something much more different driving the choices..,,but I believe has been tangled by abuse through many years. So with that I can pray for her, her safety, and for her freedom but also understand her wrong-thinking and how that has contributed to this long journey of pain and continued abuse.

      I can relate to an attitude of entitlement very much. Your h’s attitude of entitlement is just the symptom of his wrong thinking and his core behavior postures.
      My h learned in his family of origin ; he who has the money or control of the money has the power ‘wrongly’ of course.

      I’m sad that all you may request is his attitude change, I requested a complete heart & brain surgery for my h! Given all the symptoms he was showing day in and day out.

      And yes, I can relate to the constant word-games and verbal abuse tactics that are meant to deflect, exhaust and control. Sad.

      You both are missing out on probably a man worth changing and finding freedom and healing. Will pray for Gods purpose and will over you💕

    • JoAnn on December 14, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Many Years, from all that you have written, I see that you have managed to cope with things as they are and accept what you cannot change. You see the big picture of how your children are benefitting from the present situation, and that you don’t want to jeopardize their well being. I’m sure that some of the comments here have helped your understanding of the situation, and maybe even empowered you to make some changes in your boundaries, or whatever. So I just want to encourage you to stay well, guard your heart, and as Aleea says, “snuggle close to God’s heart.” You are a brave, courageous woman, and I love and care for you very much.

      • Leslie Vernick on December 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm

        Amen.

  61. Aleea on December 13, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Nancy, Aly, Connie. . . . . .

    Re: “. . . . I don’t read what I don’t want to read.” Convenient, no?”
    Re: cherry picking; video on justice in the Bible.

    We all do cherry picking and that is why we need to repent frequently and why we need each other.

    . . .Evil is the force that believes its knowledge of what God wants and says is complete. I certainly know mine is unbelievably *not* complete. . . .But I also know that the things we most need are always to be found where we least want to look —for me too! . . .The Bible says *all kinds of things* we dislike, ignore and don’t even want to consider.

    For example: What is this doing in the Bible. . . .Honestly??? . . . .book of Jude (Jude 1:9) Michael, the archangel and Satan are disputing over the body of Moses . . . . Just let that sink in a second. That is a very common *pagan myth* I see in the Dead Sea Scrolls and elsewhere (For example: Testament of Amram (4Q543, 545-548) way before the New Testament. They just use different names. A postmortem dispute in which Satan demands Moses’s corpse, protesting that Moses mortgaged it to him. . . see Jude 1:9.

    The approach I see, used here with “justice”, is “Truth” serves Life. . . .and maybe that is good but . . . .but it leaves the whole thing like Jello moving everywhere, in all directions and especially with what psychology, culture will/ will not accept.

    How is it that all of a sudden we (21st Century folks) know what all these verses and passages REALLY mean and not what 1900 years of faithful Bible teachers/ scholars confirmed? To me that is process theology that is floating along with the culture.

    Is the Bible teaching timeless truths or floating along with what will make Christians look acceptable in the culture?

    It took us 1900 years to realize divorce for all kinds of things is okay? It took us 1900 years to realize we should not scare people with the valid threats of hell in God’s Word? Now hell is out and divorce for all kinds of things is okay? —Which I like very much but I don’t think people understand what that trajectory really means. That seems like culture not timeless truth. What else is wrong, our view on gay marriage or hasn’t it been long enough yet?

    ―And I try very hard to pay attention because there is always somebody who doesn’t agree with me telling me something I couldn’t have ever figured out on my own! It’s a completely different way of looking at the world. It’s the antithesis of opinionated💕❣😊†ރ ✞💕

  62. Nancy on December 13, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Aleea,

    At some point, for our faith to become real, we ACT. Otherwise, it is not faith.

    I’m not interested in what scholars say. I’m interested in getting to know my Lord and King. I get to know Him and His character by reading the Bible to HEAR what He has to say to me. To listen for what He wants me to DO in my life, for His kingdom. Then, with God’s help and in His strength, I ACT.

    That’s is how we get to know Him. By ACTING in faith, and trusting that His Spirit will guide us.

    We can NEVER be sure. If we were, it wouldn’t be faith.

    • Aly on December 13, 2017 at 10:35 am

      Nancy,

      So true when you speak of Action.
      Action is so highlighted through the Bible through the ‘women of the Bible’ too!

      I think we can see lots of persecution and the spiritual battles unfold when they decide to act in view of Gods mercy and the kingdom mindedness.

      We have a culture that will not want to get ‘too messy’ in relationships, wash their hands of the realities of wrong and ask women to ‘pray harder’.
      Prayer is critical & essential so don’t get me wrong! It’s the courage He provides that gives us the strength to act.

      A fairly well know Christian counselor/psychologist says,
      “You can’t pray your way out of something you behaved your way into”
      Something like that.

  63. Aly on December 13, 2017 at 11:44 am

    MJ,
    Oops ..
    Can’t should be CAN, sorry!

  64. MJ on December 13, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Oh, and to answer your previous question about responding to him: I have a hard time deeming anyone “worthy” or not of anything because that feels like a task better left to God. That said, my counselor advises me to keep communication with him to a minimum. If I’m being honest, I continue to communicate with him to minimize my guilt over “forcing” a separation, but I realize that it is neither necessary nor healthy. I am trying to work on that. I guess I just struggle to understand how/why I would continue to stay married to him if I’m neither living NOR speaking to him, but hopefully I’ll find the strength somewhere. Thanks again.

    • Nancy on December 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Hi MJ,

      Praying for God to bring you tangible support in the form of wise others, as well as His Peace in the face of your h’s manipulative tactics. I also pray that He clearly reveal Himself to you in this journey.

      Some here have spoken of knowing exactly when God released them from their marriage. I pray for this kind of clarity for you!

  65. Nancy on December 13, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Aly,
    The ‘pray harder’ mentality is so damaging. So is legalism. Both negate the power of the Holy Spirit.

  66. Aleea on December 13, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    . . . .I think I understand Nancy and I love your honesty. . . .but scholars gave us all the Bibles we have. They translated and interrupted them. I think right information matters, maybe it doesn’t, but I don’t see how.

    . . .can you, but only if you want to, . . .can you give me an example when you acted in faith, after prayer and Bible study, and then found out you were seriously wrong?

    “We can NEVER be sure. If we were, it wouldn’t be faith.” . . . but what is your standard for “sure” 25%, 50%, 75% . . . .Don’t answer any of that if it grieves you, —I’m just trying to understand.

    Christianity *is* about action, it is a way of acting in the world. . . . .We deny the resurrection of Christ every time we do not try to help the oppressed (—across all the areas they are oppressed, even teachings that just aren’t true in any objective sense). . . . And yes, there is something precious in our being mysteries even to ourselves.

    Aly, “You can’t pray your way out of something you behaved your way into” Something like that.

    . . . We are in bondage to sin, don’t we pray for Christ to free us? We can’t act ourselves into salvation can we?

    My understanding is that God never asked us to meet life’s pressures and demands by acting on our own terms or by relying upon our own strength or actions. Nor did He demand that we win His favor by acting and assembling an impressive portfolio of good deeds. Instead, He invites us to us enter His rest. Hebrews 10:19,20 —He will receive us when we pray. . . .but maybe that is wrong too. 🌅 📶 💟

  67. Aly on December 13, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Aleea,

    He does free us and then invites us to walk in that~ it’s process.
    💜

  68. Nancy on December 13, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    My salvation is not an issue. ( nor is yours…you love Christ!) I belong to Christ and so there is no condemnation for me. So to answer your question, there has been no ‘getting it wrong’ on my part. God works all things together for my good. Do I make mistakes, yes. Will he use those too? Yes! So, there’s no ‘getting it wrong’. I’m under grace.

    My actions are about obedience to His will for my growth in Him. My actions are about sanctification (growing closer to Him) NOT salvation.

    My salvation isn’t in question because it depends on Him, not me.

    My growth in Him, is up to me. Do I cooperate and step out on faith? Or not.

    I hope this helps.

  69. Nancy on December 13, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Nothing I do will make Him love me any less.
    Nothing I do will make Him love me any more.

    My acting in faith increases MY love for Him! I get to see His hand in my life the more I ‘ live in accordance with The Spirit’

  70. Aleea on December 14, 2017 at 4:45 am

    re: Nancy,

    “My salvation isn’t in question because it depends on Him, not me.
    My growth in Him, is up to me. Do I cooperate and step out on faith? Or not.
    I hope this helps.”

    —Absolutely it does and it depends on Him. I think our growth operates the same way. If He lives inside us, the Christian life is something active, not reactive. It just happens because He lives in us. It has nothing to do with avoiding sin or with merely talking or teaching or believing things or principles or rules or tenets. It has everything to do with living one’s whole life in obedience to God’s call through action. Salvation does not merely require a mind, but a body too. It is God’s call to be fully human, to live as human beings obedient to the one who had made us, which is the fulfillment of our destiny. . . . .

    . . . .and it is not cramped, compromised, circumspect, but a like a crazy, wild, joyful, full-throated freedom —freedom in Christ. I had no part in my birth and I still remember I had *no part* in Christ transforming me. It is like He just took me. I don’t even remember cooperating with Him, I remember the opposite. To this day I just wake up and so want to pray and praise God and I don’t even know where all that is coming from so many times. I wake up and I sense Christ’s magnitude and feel the strength that makes my heart rejoice (. . .it’s something like Psalm 18:1-6 & Psalm 31, together). I find myself saying to God in prayer before I can really process it: I am available, I will go when you say go, I will stop when you say no (I know where I am getting the thoughts: Matthew 9:37-38, Romans 12:1, etc.) but I don’t know that I am deciding to say those things, they are just coming through. Alive —and coming from within (like . . . John 4:10,13-14, John 7:38-style). . . . .It’s like Lord —You’ve brought me to the cross and my desire is to quench my thirst in You but I don’t even know how it really happened.✞❣😊 💕

    .↪✈ ❄👧

    Re: Aly,

    Process. . . .YES!!! But sometimes sudden transformations too!!! Salvation, sanctification, the whole process belongs to our God. . . .The road to Zion (Psalm 84:5-7, the city of God) is within us and inside our hearts when Christ lives there. . . . The process takes our broken hearts and makes them whole again and again and again (Psalm 34:16-18, Romans 10:9-13).†ރ ✞✝❣😊 💕

  71. JoAnn on December 14, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Concerning the issue of what the scriptures say about divorce, I have a few thoughts, but not necessarily answers. One is, that our God is a God of mercy, and I believe that He is often more merciful than we are, when we hold fast to the law. Another thought is, if we are going to say that since God hates divorce, no one should divorce, then what do you say to the women who got what they believe to be a clear speaking from the Lord that they should leave their husbands? He also cares for the downtrodden, and an abused woman, or man, is downtrodden. Adultery is a breaking of the covenant of marriage, but abuse is also a violation of the covenant….shouldn’t it be held in the same way? We are called to live by the life of God in our spirit, and that is not the same as living by the law. Good and evil were BOTH on the same tree. What God wants is for us to live Him, express Him. If freedom from an abusive situation makes it possible for us to do that, the so be it. Nevertheless, we can also learn to be content in whatever circumstances we have, as Paul did. So the bottom line is, what is God requiring me to do? May we all learn to listen to His speaking in our spirit.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 17, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      I think I’ve talked about this before here but I don’t believe God hates ALL divorce. The passage in Malachi refers to a specific kind of divorce – a treacherous divorce where a man discards his wife like used tissue. That’s the kind of divorce God hates. I’m not sure he hates all divorce, nor do I think Scripture teaches that since divorce is allowed in certain circumstances.

    • Aly on December 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      JoAnn,

      You wrote:
      “Nevertheless, we can also learn to be content in whatever circumstances we have, as Paul did.”

      This is where I think a lot of necessary sorting out is needed like you emphasized JoAnn. And I believe usually this takes a lot discernment and wisdom from others with spiritual maturity on matters.

      Those of us that have been conditioned in the ‘whatever circumstances’ need special care. This was drilled into my mom’s brain as a way to cope ~ she then passed it to me and often accused me of lack of joy and being discontent ‘especially as I was facing my marital dynamics’ and taking inventory ‘privately’ of our many external & interval influences.

      Rebecca Davis on her blog
      Here’s the Joy; had a guest writer about this very thing. The title of the post was,
      “You just need to be content”- a response to Desiring God

      The writer goes into what things ‘we should be discontent’ about and has such a good message for any of us that have been told to be content in all circumstances, especially when someone is sinning against another repeatedly.

      • JoAnn on December 17, 2017 at 2:29 pm

        Speaking of Paul’s assertion that he had “learned, in whatever circumstances I am, to be content.” In Philippians 4, if you read the whole chapter, his contentment was related to his relationship in Christ. He was content in his relationship with Jesus Christ, who empowered him to live in whatever circumstances, to be abased, to abound, to be filled or be hungry. He even enjoyed the Lord when he was in prison, but it was his relationship with the Lord that made that possible. And it was from that relationship that he would have leading from the Lord where to go, whom to speak to, etc. This is why, here on this site, we encourage one another to be strong in the Lord, get to know Him in His word, and receive fellowship from each other. In the end, our CORE strength comes out from this relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only One who can lift us up out of our situation and take us to the High Places with Him. [Have you read Hannah Hurnard’s book, Hind’s Feet on High Places? You must. You will be so encouraged.]

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