Morning friends,

This is a long blog post so I’m not going to write much here. But let’s remember to love one another well here and give each other the benefit of the doubt. We are all at different stages of healing and we are all working on becoming a healthier version of ourselves, growing in Christ-likeness, even in the midst of our own pain.

Let’s not devalue one another’s voices as many of you have had enough of that growing up and in your marriages. All voices are welcome here as long as you are respectful of the other voices here. Disagreement is allowed. Questioning is allowed. Even gentle challenging is allowed (Some blogs do not allow that but I disagree with that perspective). These things are all part of healthy relationships and learning how to handle differences, disagreements and even conflicts are necessary if you want to have loving connection and community.  

 

Question: I am at a loss for where to even start. I’m 28 years old and I’ve never been married until now. When I started dating my husband, he was everything I’ve hoped for and more. Even my family loves him. He has a young child and I’ve grown very close to her. Her mother is not in her life so I have filled that role. He proposed and we got married 4 months later. It happened so fast, but we were so happy it was like living a fairy tale.

It didn’t last. The last few months have been some of the hardest of my life. He yells at me, calls me names, blames me, threatens to leave or does and more. Now I am catching him in little lies and I don’t feel like I can trust him anymore. It isn’t consistent though. He is one way sometimes then the opposite the next for no reason at all that I can see?  

I feel like I am shutting down totally, and am starting to hate him and nearly feel disgusted towards him because I am so tired of hurting. My heart is so broken, and still, I don’t want to give up on my marriage. What is happening to me and my marriage?

Answer: I’m so sorry. No new bride wants to wake up in her dream marriage and realize she is in a nightmare. But I am so glad you have reached out for help early in this cycle. Too many women keep trying harder to recapture the flame of that magical feeling that you first experienced together. They are not only blamed for what’s wrong but usually believe it and blame themselves. They spend way too many years hoping things will change and nothing ever does except them. They shrivel up, shut up, and after years and years, they no longer recognize the person they have become. Please don’t let that be you.

You haven’t given me a lot of information but from what you have described you have married someone who probably has a high degree of narcissism. Maybe even narcissistic personality disorder. Your description of the fantasy courtship, the quickness of your engagement, and his dramatic turnaround after marriage are all classic signs. The back and forth of his kindness and cruelty is all part of the cycle. The first part is love bombing where you are treated like a queen. You are the most important person in his life. He’s never met another woman like you. The second part is the cruelty and discard of your voice, your feelings, and your very personhood. Please understand that both the love bombing and discarding are part of the same abuse cycle, and confusion is what keeps women caught in the abuse cycle itself.  

When it’s good between the two of you, it seems very good and this bonds your heart back to him in the hope that “he really does love me” and “things are changing.” The bad can also be very bad and that’s what feels so hurtful and shocking. How can a man who says he loves me so much, turn around without batting an eye and devalue and degrade me with no remorse or genuine repentance?

That’s what begins another downhill pattern within you called the crazy cycle. In order for you to stay in this marriage, you find that you need to make excuses for his cruelty and indifference. “He’s tired, he’s just under stress right now.”  Or, “I’m not sensitive enough to his feelings.” Or, “God wants me to be the person who shows him the love of Christ even when he abuses me.” Or, “He really loves me he just doesn’t know how to handle his anger, he had a harsh childhood.” There are endless excuses.

So let me answer your first question of what’s happening to your marriage. Despite what you believed during courtship, your marriage is not an equal partnership where there is mutuality, reciprocity, and freedom.

Let me explain. In a healthy marriage, there needs to be a relationship of mutual caring, mutual respect, mutual honesty, mutual maintenance, and repair of marital wounds, and mutual repentance. When only one person is regularly being honest, caring, and working to repair problems, the marriage is lopsided and not healthy.  Click To Tweet

Reciprocity means both individuals in the marriage partnership share power and responsibility. There aren’t rules in the relationship that only apply to one partner and not the other. Here is a common example of a lack of reciprocity in marriage. “You have to ask your husband for approval in order to spend any money on yourself, but your husband does not have to also ask you.”  

The last important ingredient in a healthy marriage is freedom. I don’t mean the freedom to do or say whatever you want, but the freedom to be a separate person with your own thoughts, feelings, desires, goals, and needs. The freedom to be who you are and share who you are without fear of punishment or retribution.  

I suspect those things are not present right now even though he was able to mimic them in your courtship. As things are shifting in your relationship you are discovering that your role as a wife is not to be his equal partner, but his unconditional cheerleader. He requires you to support and love him without question. That means you must bounce back with a smiley face and forgiving heart whenever he knocks you down, no questions asked. You are waking up to a harsh truth in your marriage. You are not a person to love, but an object whose sole purpose is to meet his needs, take care of his child, and to support/love him without any question, any personal boundaries, or any needs of your own. Not a pretty picture nor is it anywhere close to God’s picture for marriage.

Your second question is what’s happening to you? You are getting confused in the abuse cycle between love bombing and abuse. Remember, the love bombing or “nice” phase is not him “getting it” and changing. It is just part of the same cycle. A good sign that he was getting it and changing would be that he no longer scares or threatens you with his words, his finances, or his actions when he’s upset. Changing means that he recognizes that those “habits” and patterns are destructive to you, to him and to any long-term loving marriage between you. Please, please don’t get confused by Dr. Jekyll, when he refuses to own or change Mr. Hyde. They are both the same person.

So what’s next for you? The Bible is our guidebook here and that doesn’t mean you need to be silent and submit to mistreatment although some misinformed Christians might advise that.

But you do say that you are becoming filled with hate and disgust. Please hear me. Your anger is legitimate and feeling it may help you have the gumption to take some wise and even radial action now. However, when anger is fueled by hatred and disgust, Satan wins.

God gives us a different way. God tells us that we are not to be overcome with evil, but instead to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Overcome is a fighting word, not a passive one. So here are 7 Biblically good things that you can do to fight back against this evil that is happening to you and in your marriage.

1. Protect yourself.  It is good to protect yourself from violent people (Proverbs 27:12). God is not asking you to lay down your life to allow someone to continue to sin against you, even if that person is a spouse. Your physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, sexual, and financial safety are important to God.

2. Tell someone what’s going on. It is good to expose deeds done in darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Call your local Domestic Violence shelter and ask for their free counseling help to start developing a strategy for how you are going to handle this crazy cycle and perhaps even separate if things don’t change.

3. Speak up for yourself. I suspect you are already doing some of that but perhaps in a way that doesn’t feel good to the person you want to be. When we return evil with more evil of our own it changes us and not for the better. God’s word tells us that it is good to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:25).

Here’s an example -“I want my marriage to work with you but it’s not okay that you treat me this way. If it doesn’t stop I will separate from you.” Believe it or not, you have leverage with a narcissist. Their biggest fear is rejection and abandonment.Please do not use that knowledge manipulatively. But when you speak truth with a loving attitude coupled with strong boundaries, you will have the best chance of getting through to him. If you are mean and hateful, believe me, he will always be meaner and more hateful back leaving you to feel like you’ve been through a shredder.

4. Separate if necessary. It is good to stop someone from sinning against you when possible. Matthew 18:15-18; James 5:19-20; Proverbs 19:19.If words don’t work, you may have to distance yourself from him. Please don’t allow well-meaning church people to tell you that these Scriptures I’ve referenced don’t apply to marriage. All Scripture is given for our benefit and the Bible is full of practical application on relationships. There is no exception clause for marital relationships. Serious unrepentant sin breaks relationships apart, including marriage, even if you both stay legally married and living together. The relationship is broken.

5. Let consequences be a good teacher. The Bible tells us that it is good for someone to experience the consequences of his /her behavior (Galatians 6:7). Sometimes we’re taught that forgiveness and reconciliation or renewed trust are all the same but they are not.The consequences of abuse and deceit are a broken relationship and broken trust. We are still called to forgiveness and love (even an enemy) but precisely because he or she remains an enemy we cannot reconcile or trust that person.

6. It is good to see the fruit of repentance before reconciling. Remember the fruit of repentance doesn’t look like love bombing. The fruit in this instance looks like recognizing one’s sin, repenting of it with observable behavior and attitudinal changes and learning new ways of handling one’s own negative emotions and frustrations. Read Joseph’s story on how he forgave his brothers but did not reconcile or trust them again until he observed that they had changed (Genesis 42-45).

7. It is good to be gracious to your enemy (Romans 12:20). Love and grace for one’s enemy is the hallmark of Jesus’ teaching. It is counter-intuitive and sometimes repulsive to our own way of thinking and it must be empowered by God alone. However, extending grace doesn’t mean we remove real consequences. Consequences aren’t punishment, they are meant to teach someone that he can’t sow weeds and expect a good crop. Sadly sometimes people never learn and they continue to sow weeds throughout their life, never learning from their mistakes.But when you can be gracious with excellent boundaries, then Satan doesn’t win. You have overcome evil with good.

For more information please sign up for my free webinar on March 7 that will give you some free practical help on getting started on building CORE strength in your life. Click here to register.

Friends, when you feared hate and contempt was getting the best of you, how did you handle it?

215 Comments

  1. Remedy on February 21, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Good morning. By my experience, Leslie is probably spot on with the problem of narcissism here. If there are traits, good professional intervention if the husband WANTS a healthy marriage may turn things around. With full blown narcissistic personality disorder(NPD)……the prognosis is probably quite bleak. I once saw a psychologist who told me if you offer a group of them 10 drug addicts or 1 NPD person, most will choose the 10 drug addicts to work with. Professionals!! That made my eyes pop out of my head!!!

    I am 29 years in. My devaluing began a few months in and he used the guilt of my previous marriage to guilt me to stay and tolerate unbelievable acts of cruelty in the name of true commitment. Everything in me screamed ‘RUN, RUN RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!’ But his unending guilt trips and my own insecurities about it held me bondage.

    Four rounds of counseling, separations, pleadings, tears, letters, books, boundaries, consequences and more……NOTHING has gotten through with a change of heart toward a lasting healthy relationship.

    Dear writer of this question, get help as soon as possible from a professional to learn what you are dealing with here. Then make wise decisions about how to proceed with the precious life God has given you. If it is NPD, get educated. In my opinion, divine intervention by the Lord is the only hope for the true NPD person. It is a deeply entrenched disorder. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • Working Towards Freedom on February 21, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Just seconding the above. My children and I will be forever affected by the abuse we endured for almost twenty years (and will continue to endure as long as my children are court required to visit their father.) However, I have full faith and confidence that my LORD is going to redeem the years the locusts took in my life and in my children’s lives. The negative effects will be turned into strengths and ministry opportunities. Do not allow an NPD and the flying monkeys (look it up) in the church to steal your faith in the goodness of God! I was almost there before God pulled me out and opened my eyes to the truth of what was happening.

      • Amy on February 21, 2018 at 9:46 am

        Amen, Amen, Amen!!

      • Brendolyn on February 26, 2018 at 9:46 am

        Beautiful faith. I too have lived your life and I thank God every day for rescuing me and my kids out of the trauma.

    • Maria-Elena on February 22, 2018 at 10:30 am

      I feel for the writer of this plea for help. Only four months into her marriage…. My troubles really began to surface 6 months into my marriage. I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I had made such a mistake marrying my former husband. I had made my ‘bed’ and felt that I must lie in it. I essentially began to ‘punish’ myself for my mistake. I did not have the understanding, knowledge, wisdom or insight to make sense of matters or know how to bibilically handle them other than to be sacrificial or try harder. So, I did…. for six more years at a tremendous cost (literally and figuratively) to myself… only to end up in the same place that the relationship was inevitably headed… divorce. (due to his infidelity.)
      If you feel shame or embarrassment…. don’t, or get over it quick! Put yourself first, not the thoughts about what others might think, or the money that you may have spent on your wedding… or even the “I told you so’s” that you might anticipate form those that might have told-you-so ( for such a whirlwind courtship). You are fortunate to have the resources you do to seek clarification as to your situation, how to handle it and how to set boundaries, Now you need to take actions to keep yourself safe and sane. Maybe it’s not too late to effect positive change and favorable outcome.

    • John on February 24, 2018 at 10:46 am

      Please, find a quiet place for two hours and listen and take notes. You will not come out the same person. Encourage your husband to do the same and anyone who reads this post for that matter. The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand.

      http://www.ubm1.org/sabs/02-14-2018.mp3

      Be blessed. You can walk off the boat and onto the waves and if you start to sink cry out and He’ll save you.

  2. Seeing the Light on February 21, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Just a quick comment that I couldn’t wait to post as I was reading this. I really think Leslie’s response was so good and the narcissist personality disorder suspicions are justified. I just found myself wanting…(I actually got interrupted in the middle of that sentence by a spontaneous raging tirade by my NPD husband. No kidding. Let’s try this again). What I wanted to say was that I just found myself wanting to recommend as earnestly as I possibly can: DO NOT GET PREGNANT. I know you are already close to his little girl, but your options will be severely limited and your problems will go through the roof if you have a child of your own with this man. Please be so careful until you know what you want to do. Don’t let a honeymoon phase or a love-bombing let you drop your guard in this area. I don’t mean to be telling you what to do. If it’s coming out that way, it’s just because I want to warn you so badly and save you what I and so many others have gone through once you have a child with an abuser.

    • Remedy on February 21, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Oh….Seeing the Light….i so badly wanted to say this exact same thing, but felt I was mb being too strong with my thoughts already. I agree with you wholeheartedly!!! So so much more could be said about this. I might be questioning why this man has a daughter with the mother out of the picture. It may be a problem with the mother, true….but could have something to do with what went on in the breakdown of that previous relationship. I’d be asking questions of more than the father if something is off about it.

      Never take NPD lightly!!!!

    • Working Towards Freedom on February 21, 2018 at 9:43 am

      DITTO! Nothing will break your heart more than being forced by the courts to send your precious children into further abuse. I understand now why there used to be so many milk carton kids who disappeared with their own parent.

    • Ashley on February 27, 2018 at 9:33 pm

      Oh how I wish I had heeded this advice before I became pregnant. 3 months into my 2nd marriage my NPD husband convinced me to have a baby together. HUGE MISTAKE. 1 month later I was pregnant and watching him shoot a gun out my bedroom window to prove a point of how powerful he was. I too felt like I had made my bed and must lie in it.
      Since then (4 years ago), I have lost my self worth, my voice, my freedom to work, and have 3 children with this man. He refuses to work more than half the year every year and berates me to no end if I disagree with his authority.
      If you think he is too good to be true-HE IS.
      The same man who claimed he loved the Lord won’t even attend church and won’t allow me to attend more than a few times a year.
      He drinks liquor as often as he has money and demands sex his way in his time. He blames me when he has a tirade and breaks my things for not listening to him better or being a better wife or mother. It used to bother me when he called me names and accused me of affairs or lying. Now I am numb. I don’t love him. I don’t hate him. I nothing him.
      I love the Lord and am so grateful He hears me and He sees me. He hears me when I cry out to Him. He sees me in my pain.
      I am just stuck here in this mire now. 3 children in 4 years and now there is no way out. I am a prisoner in my own home. It is what it is now. I simply must lean on the Lord more for my strength.
      My spouse is only happy when his needs are met and leaving him would be danngerous for me and the children.
      I am already estranged from my family and isolsted from the world on a heavily wooded piece of country. It would likely be weeks before anyone noticed I was missing.
      Do not wait until all hope is lost! Don’t let him talk you out of your values or force you into early commitment. It will be so painful in the long run.
      These days, I only survive for my babies. I’m worn out. I wake up tired and disillusioned every day.
      Don’t end up like me. Learn who they are BEFORE you marry them.

      • Seeing the Light on February 28, 2018 at 8:57 am

        Oh, Ashley, I am hurting for you. I wish I had something helpful to say. I will tell you that I have prayed for you and that you are going on my regular prayer list. Your situation is so heavy.

        Are you able at least to not have any more children without suffering consequences? I only ask that because sometimes it ends up being a matter of holding on until the youngest child reaches a certain age so that you can escape.

        “I don’t love him. I don’t hate him. I nothing him.” Yeah. That’s a good way to put it.

        • Renee on February 28, 2018 at 9:22 am

          Hi Seeing The Light

          I have many people to respond too and hope I can get some responses back this evening. Busy, busy week.

          STL you said: Are you able at least to not have any more children without suffering consequences? I only ask that because sometimes it ends up being a matter of holding on until the youngest child reaches a certain age so that you can escape.

          I responded to her with Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 King James Version (KJV).

          3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

          So agree with what you said. The Lord will help her find her season.

        • Ashley on February 28, 2018 at 10:40 am

          After our first was born, he refused to allow me to use contraceptives. Within 3 months, I was pregnant again. 😳 He controls everything. Even my own body. Now that we are having our 3rd child, he says I can get my tubes tied because, “Kids are annoying and you are crazy when you are pregnant. I don’t want to hear about it anymore. Get your tubes tied so you can get over it.”
          When I have tried to tell him how helpless and hopeless I feel having all these kids and hardly any income, he says I just blame him for everything and I’m never satisfied. It gets on his nerves so we don’t discuss it. I talk, he ignores or rails at me for being a chronic complainer.
          (last year he made $13k! See why I worry???) I rely on welfare to meet my family’s needs! Isn’t that sad?! I never had to when I was a single mom. I just worked hard to provide for us. That makes sense to me. But he sees work as a necessary evil. Something he HAS to do occassionally. And to him, I should be happy to spend more time with him. (After all, he is all I need, remember?)

          • Renee on February 28, 2018 at 7:15 pm

            Ashley

            Your marriage is so much bigger than Leslie’s book! Now that I have way more information from you, I agree with Nancy. You and your kids are in an emergency situation. I believe Leslie’s book should come secondary – like once you and your kids are in a shelter.

            Right now you need a plan. Would the neighbors know if you were in trouble?

            You mentioned being on welfare. Does your husband accompany you to those follow-up appointments? If not, have you been able to confide in someone – your social worker? You also mentioned being pregnant. Does your husband accompany you to those appointments? If not, have you been able to confine in someone – your physician.

            http://www.thehotline.org



      • Renee on February 28, 2018 at 9:17 am

        Hi Ashley

        Hugs and Love from all of us here on the blog. I hope to hear back from you but will understand if you can’t or don’t wish to respond to my questions.

        If you are new here, – you are no longer isolated. Good first goal. I hope we can help you safely work toward reducing your isolation.

        So question: How long between 1’st and 2’nd marriage?

        You said: I had made my bed and must lie in it.

        (The devil is a liar!) (The devil is a liar!)(The devil is a liar!) See Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 if you are able to read your Bible. If not, I will post it at the end.

        What that being said, don’t do anything drastic because you will need a safety plan big time if this is your end goal

        You said: The same man who claimed he loved the Lord won’t even attend church and won’t allow me to attend more than a few times a year.

        So question: Why are you not able to attend church? Is it due to transportation? Travel time? Due to his hell to pay if you do mentality? What?

        You said: He blames me when he has a tirade and breaks my things for not listening to him better or being a better wife or mother. It used to bother me when he called me names and accused me of affairs (affairs – Roger that) or lying. Now I am numb. I don’t love him. I don’t hate him. I nothing him.

        Of course he does. Easier to blame you. That way he will not have to examine himself. And if he is in the bottle, my God he can’t even see. Accept your feelings that now. Right now there is nothing to love. Don’t beat yourself up for not feeling different. How can you?

        You said: I love the Lord and am so grateful He hears me and He sees me. He hears me when I cry out to Him. He sees me in my pain.

        He absolutely does hear you. The Lord is already working in you. He brought you here and as you can do so safely – keep posting. If nothing else, your heavy load may start to feel not so heavy.

        So question: What are the ages of your children? It does not have to be exact for safety reasons. Are the kids being isolated as well?

        You said: I am just stuck here in this mire now. 3 children in 4 years and now there is no way out. I am a prisoner in my own home. It is what it is now. I simply must lean on the Lord more for my strength.

        (The devil is a liar!) (The devil is a liar!)(The devil is a liar!) See Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

        I feel a good goal for you will be safely working out of that isolation. Do you all agree that a safety plan and working out of that isolation MAY be something to consider?

        Be careful with your computer use. Never bookmark sites, always use the private portion of your browser (incognito, private browsing, inprivate browsing) clear browser history, etc.

        Of course this will not work with a computer savvy abuser.

        Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 King James Version (KJV)
        3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
        2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
        3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
        4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
        5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
        6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
        7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
        8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

        I promise to check back in on everyone later. It has been a busy, busy week.

        • Ashley on February 28, 2018 at 10:15 am

          11 Years between marriages. My first was a drug addict when I was 20. He left me when I had our son. I didn’t think I was wise enough to remarry and that no one would want me anyway. So I lived my life with my son and it was good. After the first incident with my new spouse, my son decided to live with my parents (can’t blame him). I foolishly believed I could help my new spouse become a great man.
          My family decided that I didn’t need help if I chose to stay with him.
          Our children are 2, 1, and the newest is due in June.
          My spouse refuses to allow me to attend church regularly because he says I don’t need anyone but him. That I only go to be social (I do love people) or that I will cheat on him.
          If I defy his wishes he punishes me with name calling, sceeaming, threats, and breaks more of my things. (He broke my hair straightener last time). It’s honestly just easier to stay home and let him be ‘normal’ than to fight that battle weekly.
          I don’t have a computer but I use my phone. Yes I am very careful with my browsing.
          Thank you for the encouragement. I need it. I feel very alone.
          I did order Leslie’s book yesterday and look forward to reading it. I am having it delivered to my neighbor’s house. She is great like that. I plan on hiding it inside the cover of a different book. My husband sleeps most of the day so I can read it then.
          This season feels long. I am now 36 years old and I can’t see the end from here. Some days, I just want to give up and daydream of dying to relieve this suffering.
          BUT- I don’t want to be a victim my whole life! I want hope and peace! I want to LIVE not just exist. I want to take back my power and for my husband to respect me as his equal and stop treating me like a child, i.e., “You need me to tell you what to do. You aren’t smart like me. Our kids would be hopeless if not for me. You can’t remember anything, not even our kids.” None of that is true of course. When he works, I take care of the house and the kids. No one dies, lol. But I do have trouble remembering things now. (a result of gaslighting, I suspect)
          Nothing is ever his fault. Ever. It’s always someone else that caused our marital problems. Always me not doing, following his clear directions, enough.
          *sigh* It is what it is.
          I am glad to have found this site yesterday! Such a good group of ladies who I know are more spiritually mature than I am. I knew that I would hear what the Lord alone can say through His people.
          Thank you again!
          Pray for me. I don’t want to be bitter and resentful. I want my children to flourish not wither. Pray that God gives me strength to set boundaries (as soon as I figure out how! Lol)

      • Nancy on February 28, 2018 at 9:52 am

        This really concerns me, Ashley. Your husband has a gun and he uses it to intimidate you.

        This sounds like an emergency. Not something that you should be waiting out.

        Please phone your local abuse shelter and begin making a plan to escape. You and your children are worth giving everything up n order to protect. The Lord sees you and hears you cry. Please take some steps today, toward safety.

        • JoAnn on February 28, 2018 at 11:26 am

          Yes, Nancy I agree, and also with Renee’s caution about clearing all her computer history. We all must surround Ashley with prayer. Protective prayer.

          • Remedy on March 1, 2018 at 7:43 am

            Ashley…..i am brokenhearted for you!!! What woukd happen if you went to your parents and asked for their help to escape? They have taken your son in……so there is love and genuine concern. This will not get better on its own. Drastic measures for you and the safety of your children.

            The services of a local shelter also are great options. Could your neighbor get you and the children to one?



          • JoAnn on March 1, 2018 at 12:30 pm

            Ashley, I agree with Remedy. It is important to begin to think of possibilities, and we here are offering some to you. All of the collective wisdom of many who have been where you are is being offered. Please take these thoughts and ideas to the Lord and ask Him what your next step should be. We are praying for you.



        • Ashley on February 28, 2018 at 11:49 am

          Nancy, that incident happened a few months into our marriage. Yes, I left and filed a police report. He sold the gun and I returned home. He has never used a weapon to threaten me with since.
          He uses tactics like keeping my name off the bank account so I can’t leave; spending evey dime he makes so I can’t save enough to leave; threatening to take our children away and leave me; threatening to kill me if I try to leave him again; pulling his fist back like he wants to punch me; throwing things and screaming; punching walls; threatening to kill the kids if I dont do what he wants.
          Weirdly enough, when times are good, they are so good that I start to believe I am making things hard for us. That I am exaggerating the abuse in my head. That things will be better when- blank. That I am crazy not to think he is the best that I can do.
          In my head, I know that is just conditioning. He uses this like clockwork. I.e., things will be going well, I get comfortable, then he gets upset about something small, the tension builds, he feels disrespected, and then blows up over whatever excuse he can find. It’s a crazy cycle. Yes I want to get out but I haven’t enough resources. If I leave and he finds me, I can only guess what the consequences will be.
          So for now, I wait and keep the peace until I have a plan that will work.

          • Renee on February 28, 2018 at 7:31 pm

            Copied from this blog post https://www.leslievernick.com/worth-trying-run/

            Hope that was ok to do Leslie and Sunshine

            Sunshine says
            November 3, 2017 at 7:49 pm

            It is not pride. It is negative self talk. Remember abusers disregard our needs and take away our choices. You have been trained to devalue your needs and choices, often in deference to the abusers needs and choices. That is why you think you don’t deserve something that was designed to help you.

            I can’t say enough good things about my local center. It was there that I finally found people who understood exactly what I was going through. I got free individual professional counseling from a licensed social worker who believed everything I told her. That was the first shock when compared to our Christian marriage counselor.

            There was a private undisclosed location and a shelter available in another undisclosed location. There was a play area for children and a secret code to get through a series of doors to provide security. Because I needed a restraining order, the center provided a lawyer whom I met with multiple times,for free. She prepared my documents and attended court with me. The center sent an advocate to sit with me when my lawyer was up by the judge so I wouldn’t be alone.

            I owe my life to the efforts and services of my local domestic violence shelter.

            So, no it wasn’t Christian. But Renee, they were respectful and professional. They were helpful and patient. They maintained my privacy and dignity, all for absolutely nothing. I am welcome to use the services any time I like in my journey all for free! What a gift!



          • Nancy on March 1, 2018 at 1:55 pm

            Hi Ashley,

            He threatens to kill you.

            I am praying for quick and complete escape from him.

            Have you contacted your local domestic abuse centre?



      • Seeing the Light on March 9, 2018 at 2:58 pm

        Ashley, I don’t know if you will see this or not, but as I was thinking of you and praying for you today, I wanted to remind you that you have not been forgotten. May the LORD protect you and deliver you.

  3. Starlight on February 21, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Thank you Leslie for this wise godly counsel. Christian women who have grown up in the church or are counselled in the Christian evangelical church have a very hard time recognizing that it is important to protect themselves and flee from evil, just as you describe in your advice.
    My prayers are for the women who are currently subjected to this destruction in their marriages but still feel it is not godly to separate and actually think they are being godly by cleaving to an evil man. They subject their children to terror and chaos in the name of godliness. I have seen social media postings by abused women claiming they are honoured and thankful to be married to their best freind meanwhile he is hurting and ravaging her and her kids daily – where is there any truth in this??
    Being a door mat in hopes of winnnng their husbands to Christ and being devoted to him no matter how horrible and mean he is to them does not work, it only feeds the monster!!
    Your godly counsel is so needed in our Christian circles, thank you, thank you, thank you !!! from one grateful escapee!

    • Nancy on February 21, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Starlight. “It only feeds the monster!!” That is so very true. It’s so important to look inside our own hearts as to why setting and standing firm in boundaries is so very difficult. Perhaps, the ‘love him at all costs’ mentality is fuelled by an unwillingness to take responsibility for oneself?

      I’m so grateful this young woman is taking responsibility for her heart. May The Lord bless and guide you as you seek Him with your whole heart. He is so very faithful!

  4. Daisy on February 21, 2018 at 9:18 am

    The second paragraph sounds like I could have written this, except I was married nearly 18 years before I really knew something was wrong. And I didn’t piece it all together until after the divorce with the help of a few counselors.
    I would say get out while you are still sane. By the time I left, I had no sense of who I was anymore. The verbal, emotional, and mental abuse had taken such a toll on me. Still, I did get out. 7 years later, I’ve (mostly) glued myself back together. But, just yesterday I found out it didn’t end so well for a girl I went to HS with. She had planned to leave her abusive marriage last Saturday. She never made it. She was killed in a murder suicide on Friday night by her husband.

    • Nancy on February 21, 2018 at 9:26 am

      Oh Daisy, I am so sorry 💔. What a tragedy.

  5. Sherry on February 21, 2018 at 9:45 am

    I just left a narcissist after 32 years of emotional, sexual, financial, psychological abuse. I believe God delivered me! My children are caught in the middle. I tried to hide his abuse but two of them understand the abuse. The third one is his father’s golden child and my ex is filling his head with lies about me.
    I tried everything to keep the marriage together but a marriage has to be two people working together and hopefully listening to God.
    Get out while you can! My husband began his abuse very shortly after we married but I didn’t understand what he was doing and lived across the country from my family and friends. If your husband is a narcissist he will not change even if he says he is a Christian.

  6. Debra on February 21, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Dear Friend,

    I understand your shock and fear. I too felt this sick feeling, the very week of our honey moon. My story is so similar to yours so similar it gives me the creeps.

    My advice to you is to act now. I waited not knowing about the personality disorder. I felt I needed to be a good wife and keep the family togehter for the kids’ sake. Now three young adult children are all in counseling due to the verbal, emotional, and even physical abuse that we all experienced. My first born is so angry and bitter that I didn’t have the guts to leave that she is suicidal and does not speak to me.

    Submission should not feel wrong. It is not supposed to involve covering up and smoothing over things so that your marriage and family “look” nice to the church and outside world. We need to stand together and show the church how they can help – but this won’t happen if we are quiet.

    My advice is to confide in a good friend. Tell your parents if you feel they will believe and support you. Document what is going on (record his rages at you as proof b/c many will not believe you). Seek a counselor who understands personality disorder. Make plans to get out. You will need to copy financial papers and make prearations to set emotional boundaries, before leaving.

    Meet with an attorney (they usually have a one hour consultation offer for a low cost). Expect to recieve a hateful attack and sheer war that will ensue when you leave. He will make you out to be the crazy one. That doesn’t matter. The truth will come out eventually to others, even to those who are his “friends”. Don’t shy away from protecting yourself in fear that it will make him “mad”. That is a sign you are being abused already.

    You will have thoughts that you should stay and hope for change as that is a logical step between two healthy minds. However you cannot help him and chances are very high that if you ask him to get help, you will be in danger or attacked. He will try to charm and woo you back then will shift to calling and yelling at you. Stand your ground. Insist that you are done. Note that marraige counseling is a train wreck. They charm the counsellor and you end up a nervious wreck and belittled and he ends up being fueled by having an audience to win over to his side so that he is “right”.

    Get out – you are young and have the chance to live a nice full life where you can use your gifts freely.

    I am so sorry you are hurting, please know I am praying for you this day.

    • Remedy on February 21, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      So articulate and loving Debra. Only those who have truly lived in it can understand the nightmare life becomes trying to live in normal relationship with such a one. Articulating it helps us wrap our minds around it and think clearly how to proceed. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Sally on February 21, 2018 at 10:26 am

    “Friends, when you feared hate and contempt was getting the best of you, how did you handle it?“

    I take a step back and literally breathe. I hear Leslie’s instructions in my head to “live out of my big circle.” To think and act and respond like the godly woman I want to be.

    I don’t want to be fearful and I don’t want to hate. So I remind myself that only God and I can prevent those thoughts.

    Definitely not perfect but I’m starting to understand!

    • Nancy on February 21, 2018 at 10:50 am

      Hey Sally,

      Can you expand on ‘living out of my big circle?”

      • Sally on February 21, 2018 at 10:04 pm

        In Leslie’s CONQUER courses, she illustrated three circles: one large and two small next to the large. The large circle represents YOU:Your dreams, hearts desires, core values, the person you WANT to BE. The smaller circles represent your THOUGHTS and your FEELINGS. She taught us not to live our lives ruled by our thoughts and feelings, because they are not always who we are, or who we want to be, or who we should be as a godly woman. They are not reliable and they are not “us.” They are external.

        Rather, let our BIG CIRCLE control/guide/motivate how we live, act, respond.

  8. Marcia on February 21, 2018 at 10:37 am

    I volunteer with a domestic violence organization and what surprised me the most from hearing women’s stories was how predictable the abuser was in his tactics. And it helped me see clearly my own situation which ultimately ended in divorce. It’s the same story over and over, and yours seems to be following the same pattern. The violence only escalates as time goes on. I urge you to take Leslie’s advice to contact your local DV organization. They can help you work through your confusion and help you develop a safety plan. Whether you decide to stay well or leave well, you have options and you have support. I am praying for you.

  9. Melossa on February 21, 2018 at 10:48 am

    This blog had so much useful and practical information. Thank you so much. Sometimes I resist Christian advice in this area bc it sounds so trite. Hearing someone say that God will change my husband, but not in my timing, is not comforting at all, and I feel even rebellious in that regard. But this advice, also with scripture, while plain and easy to understand is not a trite statement. I see the difference between the two.
    I feel led to love my husband by choice and without feelings, that is very hard to flesh out. And I have learned not to set myself to be hurt in the process and that can be hard to navigate.
    But this is great advice to hold on to. Thank you!

  10. Connie on February 21, 2018 at 11:00 am

    “Friends, when you feared hate and contempt was getting the best of you, how did you handle it?“

    First, I cried out to God (well, first and third and fifth…….etc.) and got specific answers. Also, did a lot of reading. I learned to emotionally detach, and part of that was a determined reigning in of the mind. My mind wanted to go over and over and over the scenarios, what I should have or could have said, how I could defend myself and explain……blah, blah, blah. These guys will not reason, they will not listen, they will use EVERYTHING you say against you, especially the things you share when the love bombing happens. At first I needed to change my thoughts every few seconds (to prayer and praise), but after a while it became more of a habit, though sometimes I catch myself at it again.

    Their main aim is to own you, which includes owning your brain and emotions, so be prepared that detaching will bring strong reactions. They’ll do anything to get you to reengage. Don’t. Just don’t. As long as you’re in the some house, if you can’t just leave, live your life as though he isn’t there as much as possible. Don’t react or respond except with really strong boundaries.

    I would recommend reading the last 5 blogs on a cry for justice, about a new book by Don Hennessey. He seems to have a good (?) handle on the why’s and how’s of this dynamic. I found it interesting and refreshing that the only prerequisite for being targeted by these guys is that you are kind, putting others ahead of yourself. I know, that’s what the Bible says to do, but then we tend to forget that it also teaches boundaries. Also, he explains that the offender knows your highest goals (being the best wife and mother, wanting to look pretty, etc.) and goes for the jugular in those areas to make you feel like a huge failure. The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy everything you hold dear. But Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted. Far, far too many broken hearts on this blog. Thank you, Leslie, for doing this, and all you others who share and pray and bring hope and healing.

  11. Mary on February 21, 2018 at 11:06 am

    What do you do if you suspect your child is in this boat and he has cut off his whole family (parents, 5 younger siblings and extended family) because of his wife? How do you get him help? Do we have to wait til he wakes up 30 years from now? HIs personality has already changed so much in just 2 years.

    • Free on February 21, 2018 at 7:19 pm

      Do everything you can to be the safe person. Don’t accept being cut out. Send him links, books etc to educate him on abuse and hardest of all, lead by example. If you are in an abusive marriage get out of it. Talk about the evil. Don’t keep the secrets.

    • Blessed on February 25, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      Some are surprised to find that men find themselves in the position of being married to a wife who is a narcissist—it happens!

      • sheep on February 26, 2018 at 6:16 pm

        That would be me. I know it full well but I still make excuses for her, looking for that little bit of hope that deep down I know isn’t there.

        • JoAnn on February 26, 2018 at 7:37 pm

          Sheep, this is surely something to be praying about. I realize that it is different for a man to leave the marriage; you have different responsibilities, so it can get complicated. I can’t remember: are you seeing a counselor? You are going to need lots of support in this situation, and having a christian brother along side of you to fellowship and pray with can make all the difference. I pray that the Lord will provide that for you. The Lord never intended for us to make it on our own.

          • sheep on February 26, 2018 at 11:11 pm

            JoAnn, You are right, it is complicated. Yes, I have a multitude of councilors. I occasionally still see the female counselor that we started seeing together for marriage counseling even though she no longer goes (The counselor has told me that there really isn’t any reason for her to go because she isn’t going to do what is necessary to heal, reconcile, and build a new marriage.) It is good to be able to get the prospective of one of the few that has actually heard the whole story and that has talked to us both at length. She has really helped me to see that I’m not crazy and that her behavior is narcissistic and abusive. But thankfully I do have a lot of support.

            One of the things that I often see on here is women that are suffering from abuse on one side and suffering from people and “the church” on the other. Because people want the marriage to work and so they tell the wife just to submit more, put up with more, and just love more. much of this stems from them wanting to fix the marriage but are unwilling/unable to confront the abuser (not that they will respond) and it is just a lot easier to tell her to submit.

            But in reality I have found the same thing for me, and for the same reasons. My wife will not respond when/if they confront her and so in an effort to “save” my marriage they tell me that I just need to love her more selflessly, as Christ loved the church, expecting nothing in return. That I need to examine myself to see what I am doing wrong. And I actually agree with these things and I did them like a trooper for a very long time. And I still do them, they have just started to look different. I do love her selflessly as Christ loved the church. But that does not mean that I ignore sin. And I am now to the point where I realize that my fear of her and my desire to reconcile have shielded her from the natural consequences of her sin. I believe the most loving thing that I can now do is remove that “protection” and let her experience those consequences. This will most likely mean that I will soon file for a divorce that I don’t want. At that point others will learn of her adultery and she will have to deal with that loss of reputation.

            Maybe someone else can speak into this dilemma that I have. I have stated that I don’t want a divorce and that is true. But at the same time I am getting to the point that it would just be a relief to be divorced. Every day now I realize how extensive her emotional abuse is and how it has effected me and to a different extent our kids. But yet I still love her. And then again I’m ready for it to be over. I just realize that it absolutely can not continue the way it is. But I also know that without a Damascus road experience, she is not going to change.



          • JoAnn on February 26, 2018 at 11:48 pm

            I appreciate how hard this is for you. You have tried very hard to do the right thing, even in the face of a valid, scriptural reason to divorce. You say that you “still love her,” and I have to wonder what there is about her that is lovable? Perhaps your loving her is a habit that has been with you for a long time?? Just guessing, but I do think the first step for you would be to examine that question closely. Then, since you feel that the only real option is divorce, you will need to start separating inwardly, which it sounds like you are doing to some extent by allowing her to reap what she has been sowing and not protecting her anymore. Protecting can be enabling, so by letting her bear the consequences of her behavior, you are loving her in a “tough love” kind of way. That is actually the Lord’s way with us, isn’t it? He allows us to reap what we sow. He has been granting you the grace that you need thus far, and I am sure that He will continue to show you the way to go on. Be strong in your spirit, and lean on the Lord. His grace is sufficient.



          • sheep on February 27, 2018 at 11:48 am

            JoAnn, You asked “You say that you “still love her,” and I have to wonder what there is about her that is lovable? Perhaps your loving her is a habit that has been with you for a long time?? ”

            Like many Narcissists, she can be quite nice when she wants to be, and a lot of the time she is “nice”. Unfortunately I cant look too deeply at that because I realize that her niceness is just one of the masks that she wears to shield herself from being vulnerable and honest about herself. It also plays into her fantasy that nothing is wrong and she just doesn’t understand/care about how crazy making that is.

            But more to your point, there isn’t a lot right now that is lovable. But, my love is not based on her lovability, it is based on my decision to love her. If it was based on her, I would have stopped loving her a long time ago.

            You are also right in that I do believe that some of it is out of habit. It is what I have always known, That love is to be unconditional therefore I made it a habit to love her no matter what.

            It is just now that I am realizing that just because love looks different now and it is increasingly “tough love” It is in fact still love.

            I have been in a class on forgiveness and have seen that I am to forgive regardless of how the other person responds. The part I have been missing is that just because I forgive, that does not mean that I am required to reconcile. It only takes 1 to forgive, and that is dependent on me. Reconciliation is impossible without BOTH people, and is based on the offender doing the work necessary to make reconciliation possible.



          • Renee on February 28, 2018 at 8:16 pm

            You said: But, my love is not based on her lovability; it is based on my decision to love her.

            When I read that I was like ah we have a hopeless romantic among us. But let’s be sure. Can you expand a bit on that statement Sheep?



          • Remedy on February 27, 2018 at 1:12 pm

            Sheep…..have you said your wife is or has been in adulterous relationship or multiple ones during your marriage? And displaying behaviors like the question writer has described about her husband?

            I have likely missed some posts you wrote describing her abusive and destructive behaviors toward you.



          • sheep on February 28, 2018 at 11:09 pm

            Renee, Yes I suppose you are right in some ways I am a hopeless romantic. But maybe in a different way than you think. I was always very romantic in dating and the early time in our marriage, and I tried to be later on. But I stopped acting as romantic when I realized that generally she didn’t respond in kind. Now I just long for romance, but have no hope that it will ever happen again.

            But none of that has to do with my answer. I have always been taught and I believe that love is a choice. I choose to love others. I chose to love my wife and committing myself to her, for better or worse. Of course there are feelings involved in marital love but I believe that those feelings can be influenced by choosing to love and acting on that choice. Of course, Love for my wife is very different than love for my next door neighbor.
            As we look at the ultimate example of selfless love, Christ’s love for me is based on His choice to love me, not because I’m lovable.
            So, I guess when I talk about love I am not really referring to the gushy feeling type of love, even though I long for that.

            Does that make any sense?



          • sheep on February 28, 2018 at 11:48 pm

            Remedy, Yes, there are other posts where I have elaborated (probably too much) But too make a long story short… Three years ago I learned that she had an adulterous affair 20 years ago that, from what I can learn, lasted at least several months. I do know who it was with, but she won’t say much more than that, claiming she doesn’t remember.

            One year ago I obtained proof and confronted her about an adulterous affair she had all of 2016. To this day I don’t know any more about it than I knew that day.
            already by that point I had for a couple of years realized that something was really wrong in out marriage and I thought it was me. So I had already been doing everything I could to save our marriage. I read every book possible, I went to a couple of counselors, I started being discipled by a very Godly man. And I put into practice the things I learned.

            After I confronted the affair I still did everything possible to try to get her to reconcile, but nothing worked. She didn’t do any of the accountability things needed to show honesty, and a desire for faithfulness. In fact she flat out told me that our vows meant nothing and that she wouldn’t promise she wouldn’t have another affair.

            After awhile we started marriage counseling, I went a lot more than she did. But nothing changed, she wouldn’t do anything. It was like she didn’t feel anything that she had done to everyone else. But she usually acted for all the world like nothing was wrong.

            Several months into the counseling, I started thinking about a lot about little things that had always bugged me about her, but I had never dared to say. eventually I picked up the emotionally destructive marriage and honestly I let it sit for a long time before I was willing to read it because I was afraid of what I would find. From the first words it was like the scales fell from my eyes and I started having the awful realization that I was being emotionally abused and that I always had been. That book was so difficult but refreshing because it was saying the exact same things that I had been thinking and using the very same words. The descriptions of emotional abuse in the introduction… All of them applied to me. In the 60 question test… I was being generous and answered “often” to 29 of them.

            I begged our counselor (when she wasn’t there) to tell me that I was wrong and that she wasn’t abusive. She told me that I’m not wrong, that she is very abusive and that she could see that from the very beginning but she couldn’t tell me because i would never have believed it until I learned it for myself. She also told me that if I was a woman she would have already told me to get out of the home. After awhile she asked me if I have ever heard of NPD and I said no. She told me that my wife has all the traits of NPD. She recommended I read “why is it always about you” I had the same reaction to that book as I did to TEDM. It described her very accurately.

            Most of her abuse is emotional, although some is verbal and she has been physical. She has threatened to lie and destroy my reputation. She has systematically destroyed the man I was when we married and changed me into something totally different and I went right along with it. I spent our entire marriage being afraid of her, trying to please her, knowing full well that she has never accepted or loved me for who I am.

            Now I am learning who I really am, and i am not trying to be who she wants me to be. We are getting very close to the end, but even in that I still want to give every chance possible. It is an ugly situation, but I am responsible for my actions and attitudes. I want to have a clear conscience before God and man that I have gone over and above what is necessary to reconcile our marriage. I do not take lightly the vows that I made. But I am also finally at peace, believing that I can divorce her with a clear conscience.



          • JoAnn on March 1, 2018 at 12:17 pm

            Sheep, I believe the scripture is absolutely clear that because of her unrepentant infidelity you are fully released from this marriage. She was the one who broke the covenant. She is the one who refuses to repent. Sometimes “love” requires the other person to bear the consequences of their sin. Free yourself from this destructive entanglement, and recover the man God intended you to be. Be the father to your children that they need you to be. Become the godly man that your Lord wants you to be, trusting Him to show you the way, step by step. His grace is sufficient. Learn what this means.



          • Remedy on March 1, 2018 at 2:58 pm

            I must agree with JoAnn….no question what the Scripture is giving you permission to do. I wonder what it is you are fighting to hold on to especially since she has truthfully revealed she won’t promise it won’t happen again. Seems very cut and dry. Have peace in the Lord’s provision for you.



  12. TB on February 21, 2018 at 11:12 am

    In reading all your comments, I am totally empathizing. Living in a relationship like this will absolutely destroy you. And, I agree, that if you can find a way out without having children with this person, do it. If you are suffering as you are already, imagine a young child who cannot understand being affected. It will leave damaging scars that only God can heal. I’ve walked through it and am now walking through the aftermath after leaving. It’s awful. Without God, it would feel hopeless. I am so thankful for Leslie and her wisdom and guidance. She is truly a gift from God for those of us coming out of this kind of life.

  13. adrikoz on February 21, 2018 at 11:37 am

    How can you know if it’s narcissism or something else, like BPD, or something? Obviously to get an actual diagnosis a psychologist would have to do it, but are there things from personal experience that point to it? I’ve researched it a lot, and don’t think my husband is extreme enough to be narcissistic, but he does live in a false reality, is very good at cutting people down with “humor” (he’s so good I’m not sure he’s aware he does it), and can tend to expect others to tend to his needs (at home, while out he’s very serving).

    • Remedy on February 21, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      Total, complete lack of empathy. Mercy and compassion are connected here also. Begin there. I would say a person totally lacking in this area will have a difficult time being in close and true relationship with anyone.

      • Free on February 21, 2018 at 7:21 pm

        I like the advice to see how he acts when he doesn’t get his way. That is telling.

    • JoAnn on February 26, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      Adrikoz, does it really matter what the diagnosis is? You are dealing with his behaviors, and the damage they cause. That’s what matters. Keep a journal, write things down daily. Then look for patterns. There will be “good” days, or at least, “not so bad” days, and that’s when you need to be able to remind yourself just how bad it can get.
      Both NPD and Borderline Personality Disorder are very difficult to treat, and it is very hard to find qualified therapists who will work with those patients. That being the case, who in their right mind would expect you to live with someone like that? Get help for yourself, and be well.

  14. janice on February 21, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Wonderful advice Leslie. Thank you so much for what you do.

  15. Renee on February 21, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    I will never, ever, never ever understand the abuser who says you can leave or that he will leave. But when you finally make peace and try to do so, no they take your life.

    I am afraid for my kids to get out there talking about finding love and it makes me afraid.

    • Seeing the Light on February 21, 2018 at 10:22 pm

      Renee, so far all of my kids say they are never getting married. I’ve got to admit I feel better when I hear it, but I know how easily they can change their minds depending on the people and situations that come along. For as long as I can remember, I had no intention of getting married. In fact I told my now-husband that when we were just “friends.” Ugh.

      • JoAnn on February 26, 2018 at 7:47 pm

        STL, Of course the reason your children don’t want to get married is that they have not seen a really good model. You might suggest that they get some help with relationship building, and also some warnings about how easy it can be to “fall in love” with the wrong person. Harville Hendrix has written a good book for singles called “Keeping the Love You Find.” I would recommend it. His book, “Getting the Love You Want” is for married or engaged couples. Both helpful.

        • Seeing the Light on February 27, 2018 at 9:02 am

          JoAnn, I replied but hit the wrong reply button so it’s below I think.

      • Seeing the Light on February 27, 2018 at 9:01 am

        JoAnn, yes, I assume part of the reason they do not want to get married may be the lack of a model of healthy marriage. Another aspect, however, from what they have said, is the realization that there are so very many people performing a charade as something they are not – basically, wolves in sheep’s clothing. They have seen that at home in their father. They have seen it at school. They have seen it in people from church, including the pastor. It’s tough when marriage requires a great deal of trust, when they now don’t trust people, and I can’t even say that they are wrong because there are so, so many people that can’t be trusted and it’s extremely hard to tell the difference before you trust them. Then there’s the fact that the single life is as high and holy a calling as marriage and that may be what God desires for them. I have no intention of remarrying if I ever get away.

        • JoAnn on February 27, 2018 at 9:52 am

          STL, yes, I agree with you. In my comment, I surely wasn’t covering all the bases, and the matter of trust is so vital in any kind of relationship. There is a danger here, however: when you believe that no one is trustworthy, that belief clouds all your relationships and can lead to isolation, and that distrust also makes it hard, if not impossible to trust the Lord. Every situation is seen through that lens, and when troubles come, it is difficult, if not impossible to trust in a loving heavenly Father. To learn to trust in a loving God is so important for our going on with Him.

          • Seeing the Light on February 27, 2018 at 10:10 am

            JoAnn, I agree. I am reminded of some of C.S. Lewis’s comments on love and vulnerability and what happens if you instead choose isolation. Yet, what are we to do? I mean that seriously. I grieve over the situation. I don’t think no one is trustworthy and I don’t know if my kids take it that far. It’s just when you are raised with someone so untrustworthy – and in my case, you step in it and repeat it – I pray they don’t – it becomes a matter of – okay, I know there are trustworthy people out there, but there are wolves everywhere, and it is exhausting, if not impossible to tell the difference so often. I have some experience now and some education under my belt and I am getting more skilled at recognizing red flags, but I just had another person to whom I was giving the benefit of the doubt revealed to me this weekend. One more person knocked off the trustworthy list. I’m not really disagreeing with you. I’m just expressing my frustration with the whole situation.



          • JoAnn on February 27, 2018 at 11:34 am

            STL, I agree and I sympathize with the loss of yet another “friend.” As I see it, there are two ways to look at this. One is to be thankful that the Lord revealed to you that this person is untrustworthy, and the other is that it can feed an attitude of cynicism. Be careful what thoughts you allow to take root in your mind. In relationships, we must ask the Lord for a clear sense of discernment about just how far we can go in trusting another person. There are levels of trust, and it takes time to learn just how far to go with anyone. There is an inner sense that will give us warning when we have to stop and guard our hearts. I think that most of us have a desire for an intimate, trusting relationship with another person, and ideally, this should be our spouse. Of course, most of the people here on this blog are here because they don’t have that. But we also need at least one or two other close, same sex, companions with whom to share and pray. I believe that this is something that is God’s desire for us, too. I am blessed to have a couple of close prayer partners that I can open to for prayer, and they help me to grow spiritually. I am learning from them. I believe this is God’s way for us to grow in the divine life.



          • JoAnn on February 27, 2018 at 11:37 am

            P.S. to STL, May I add that “benefit of the doubt” is probably not the way to learn trust. If there is an element of doubt, that might be a good sign that this is not a person to fully trust. Trust gets established step by step, and at each step, there is a test. Something is revealed, and then the reaction is observed. We need a discerning spirit. That’s the bottom line.



          • Nancy on February 27, 2018 at 3:02 pm

            You and your kids could read ‘safe people’ together and discuss it…?



          • Seeing the Light on February 27, 2018 at 5:12 pm

            JoAnn,

            “As I see it, there are two ways to look at this. One is to be thankful that the Lord revealed to you that this person is untrustworthy, and the other is that it can feed an attitude of cynicism.” Yes, I agree. I am very grateful to the Lord for his revealing of this person. I can’t share details about his person’s role in my and my husband’s life, but knowing the truth about this person is quite significant in terms of possible future trouble-making.

            “May I add that ‘benefit of the doubt’ is probably not the way to learn trust. If there is an element of doubt, that might be a good sign that this is not a person to fully trust. Trust gets established step by step, and at each step, there is a test. Something is revealed, and then the reaction is observed. We need a discerning spirit. That’s the bottom line.” This is very good. Thank you for this.

            Also, I took a peek online at that first book you mentioned above by Hendrix. I will think about that (I haven’t checked on the other one yet). Thank you for the recommendations.



          • Seeing the Light on February 27, 2018 at 5:13 pm

            Nancy, I took a peek online at “Safe People” and I will think about that. It looks pretty good, too. Thank you for the recommendation.



  16. Monica on February 21, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    This story was also my life and you have validated everything I went through and now believe!
    THANK YOU!

  17. Sarah on February 21, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    I had a question. A lot of people have mentioned that she should leave before having children, which makes sense. I wonder, though, if she already feels responsibility for her step-daughter. It sounds like she has been bonded to the daughter for awhile and might be afraid to leave her alone with an abusive father.

    I am by no means suggesting that she should stay with him. But when I put myself in her shoes, I would feel scared to leave a child I cared about in the hands of someone who had abused me. He might not be abusive to his daughter, but if does have NPD, then he probably would be.

    Just wondering if anyone has thoughts about this issue and what if anything could be done. Again, I do not think that she should stay because of this, but I know for sure that if it were me, I would feel torn up about it.

    • Ann on February 22, 2018 at 4:54 am

      It’s a rough choice but in a marriage that includes a narcissist there is eventually a narcissist enabler. That’s usually the other spouse who finally gives in to the narcissist and becomes conditioned to behave in ways that pacify the unhealthy actions of the narcissist.

      Being a child in that situation is rough and thousands of kids have to put in hours of therapy when they get to be adults to deal with their messed up childhoods.

      Most likely the daughter will be ok until she starts to speak her mind. She’s still a doting step on his pedestal. She’ll also be conditioned to either pacify her father’s inconsistencies and self centered actions or she’ll become a narcissist herself. In either case her step mother really won’t be able to affect that outcome too much. It’s sad, but not being the biological mother unless there’s an adoption she has little say.

      • Maria-Elena on February 22, 2018 at 10:09 am

        I can’t help but wonder the REAL reason that the biological mother is not involved in her life. I suspect there was more to that story than the writer was privy to. After my experience in a disappointing/destructive marriage, I’ve concluded that it would have served me best to have met with the ex (no matter what bad things I might have been told about them) in order to try to gain some insight as to the person I’m contemplating entering a marital relationship.

        It is a tough position to be in, not wanting to leave the child, but as Ann mentioned, the non-biological parent has virtually no legal rights in the circumstances.

      • Free on February 22, 2018 at 8:19 pm

        Regarding the term narcissist enabler, I would switch it out with the term, survivor. What a remarkably strong and flexible person it takes to adapt to a narcissist! No enabling if you ask me, more like smart, cunning and shrewd. Who can endure such a horrid life? One hell of a strong woman if you ask me. Like a prisoner of war, is the battered and abused woman, she withstands horror fit for war. She has her reasons and it is not about enabling, it is about her character, values, religious beliefs or financial concerns. She gives beyond measure. Now she just needs to formulate a plan and stop the madness before

        • Seeing the Light on February 23, 2018 at 9:37 am

          God bless you, Free. This was very encouraging. I needed to hear this as I am in the thick of that war right now.

    • JoAnn on February 23, 2018 at 1:52 pm

      I was wondering if she has taken steps to adopt the child, and if she has, then she might be able to get custody, though that would be a huge fight. The thing about NPD’s is that they “feed” off on anyone who will cater to them. His daughter will be fine as long as he can control her, but when she becomes old enough to try to be herself, then the trouble will start.

    • Crazy Marriage Writer Girl on February 23, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      In response to questions involving my stepdaughter – I appreciate your concerns, truly. Based on his version of things…. her mother was a cheater and liar throughout their marriage. She was also a habitual drug user. He supported her so she could be home with their daughter. In the end, he caught her using and tried to help her. But she had no wish to improve… he divorced her and got full custody. Whether that is true or not, I’ll never know. But I do know that the mother’s own parents stood behind him in court instead of their daughter, for the sake of their grandchild. She still sees them and speaks to them as well. As for the mother…. She lives out of state and is a heroine addict. That is very true and apparent, to anyone. She hasn’t seen her child in nearly 3 years. She tries to contact her maybe once or twice a year…. And that only started when she got word that he was engaged to me though. I will say, he is a very good father, from what I’ve seen. She is the love of his life… he does seem to be getting more temperamental with her though. Both she and I have noticed…. I’ve been blaming myself, assuming it’s because he’s unhappy with me and fussing at her because he’s in a mood. And yes, she and I are very close…. while we have only known each other for a year, it feels like it’s been much longer. She is 8, and will be 9 in Sept… and she is a bright, loving, and caring child. Honestly, her father has been the only consistent variable she has had in her life …. so I feared she would be jealous and unaccepting of me and sharing his attention. But she was loving and accepting of me from the beginning. If anything, she pushed us together rather than trying to come between us. She clings to me… I think maybe because she has been deprived of the motherly things that he couldn’t provide himself? I’m not sure. But its true… I have grown very close to her over these last few months. Going from single and childless to almost being “mom” has been an experience and taken some serious adjustment on my end… But I wouldn’t change a thing in regards to her or her being in my life. It breaks my heart knowing what she has been thru, and knowing that she hurts over it hurts me now too. I have realized how much wiser than she should be at only 8 years old.
      …. and sometimes I’m astounded after we have those random talks that you aren’t really ever prepared to have. Honestly? It’s wild, but she even looks identical to me…. people believe she is mine, and his stepdaughter instead, constantly. My mother insists that it was all in God’s plan… that he knew they’d find me and knew that she would need me. Mom insists that God didn’t want her to look in the mirror every day and hurt when she saw the reflection of a mother that walked out on her and broke her heart. So she looks like me instead, because he knew I would be in her life and he knew I would love her like a daughter. She sees me when she looks in the mirror, my mom says, and she doesn’t hurt for it. …. I try not to argue with him in front of her, and I would never talk down about her daddy in front of her or to her… I don’t believe in that. But she seems to have figured me out enough to know when I’m pretending to be okay vs when I really am. She knows if I’m upset, even when I hide my emotions and force a smile. I expected her to cling to him, and “side” with him without realizing it… shockingly, she does the opposite. She gets really upset at him or with him if she feels that he has been “mean or hateful” to me. Many times, she wanders into my bedroom (if I’ve slipped off to try and avoid being upset in front of her)… just to randomly tell me that she thinks I’m perfect or beautiful, or an angel God sent, etc etc. Then she wants to give me a kiss and tells me she loves me, before wandering back off to do whatever. …. I cannot tell you how much those actions and words have meant to me…. or how many times she has been the light at the end of the tunnel on the worst of days. She gives me the strength to continue trying… And she doesn’t even realize it. And I know that her love is real, and sincere, because even though she has suffered, she is innocent and her love comes straight from her heart. …. it makes me sick that her mother left, like she was nothing. Like she was insignificant and her love didn’t matter. If I just give up on him and walk away …. I’m no better than that woman because I’ll be walking out on her, just like her mother did…. to me, she matters… and she is worth every tear and all of the hurt and effort involved in this. I can’t just give up and walk out on them. Especially her. She deserves more than that… even if it is tough at times. She shouldn’t be forced to suffer for our mistakes, or left to deal with the consequences of my decisions.

      • Connie on February 23, 2018 at 11:11 pm

        Something about this, I think because you say he was a good dad and is getting worse even toward his daughter, makes me think that I would try to find out if he’s into porn. It really can change a person. It is pure evil. They want to live in their heads ALL the time and get angry and resentful when someone needs anything from them. You are interrupting their fun, getting in the way of the fantasies, as well as not living up to the horrible expectations of the porn.

      • Nancy on February 24, 2018 at 8:01 am

        Hello Crazy Marriage Writer Girl,

        What does your mother say about the abuse? Does she know the extent of it, and does she profess the belief that you should just continue to ‘try harder’?

        Do you have ‘real live’ support of people who understand what you are dealing with here?

        I’m very concerned that you won’t be able to implement the consequences that your h needs – his best shot at being woken up – because of false guilt ( example, ” how can I put this child through more ‘trauma’ etc…).

        From where I sit, you’re going to need to lean into The Lord like never before. Ask Him to put wise others in your life.

        It sounds like your mother has lots of influence in your life. I really hope that she is willing to learn to support you in what it means to be your h’s Ezer.

      • Sarah on February 26, 2018 at 3:15 am

        Hey, there–

        That is a lot of deal with. I would feel as you do. When I read your original question, I thought that in some ways you are in a harder position than you would be if you were her biological mother, since you have no legal rights.

        But I agree with what Nancy says about false guilt–I do not think that you putting in place boundaries, including separation, is equivalent in any way to abandoning your child to become a heroin addict. Nonetheless that does not remove your concerns for your step-daughter’s well being.

        I really recommend re-reading all of Leslie’s suggestions. All seven can be unpacked. Even more I recommend studying The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, if you have not read it already. It is really such a clear and useful book.

        One thing is that unless safety is a concern, you do not need to fix everything this second. It is important not to let this go and see yourself nearly destroyed, as many have posted. But you also do not need to figure out exactly what you are going to do all at once. The Emotionally Destructive Marriage is helpful in that regard, as it helps you think and pray about your situation, and be proactive, yet not reactive. You can pray about what next step God wants you to take and then take that step, and then another. I think that is especially important regarding your situation with your step-daughter. I also agree that outside wisdom from “real life” people in your life is key here.

        I did find that attending individual counseling (for you by yourself) is really helpful–and for that I say the sooner the better!

        Best of luck!

        • Nancy on February 26, 2018 at 10:52 am

          Sarah, I so agree with your statement that ” unless safety is a concern you do not need to fix everything this second”.

          This is exactly the reason I love Leslie’s book. It’s a step by step process that invites The Lord in, all along the way.

          It’s not an emergency. The trick will be for this writer to continue forward in the ‘new’ reality that she has begun to awaken to.

    • Blessed on February 25, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      Yes—I’ll be praying for this little girl as well. ):

  18. Ann on February 22, 2018 at 5:02 am

    If Leslie is right with the narcissist diagnosis for this situation one thing she didn’t mention is that once you detach from a narcissist their predictable next step is to turn other people in your life against you. You have to be the unstable evil one who ruined the marriage so their image isn’t tainted. I was only married 2 years to a narcissist but when things went south (less than 2 months into the marriage) and throughout the rest of it, the year separation and divorce he repeatedly tried to convince multiple people that I was crazy… my bishop, multiple therapists, my friends, all of his family and friends. When I corrected them or showed surprise at the accusations he accused me of snowballing them. Be prepared for this happening in your life as well. That was actually the worst crazy I had to deal with because of the relationship.

  19. Aleea on February 22, 2018 at 5:52 am

    “Friends, when you feared hate and contempt was getting the best of you, how did you handle it?”

    . . .I always ask myself questions:
    1) How am I doing, *really* doing in my relationship with Jesus? . . .And I tell the Lord when I am disappointed and feel hate and contempt for people. I tell Him why in detail.
    2) I pray specifically about the hate and contempt and repent of it. . . . .But many times my repentance even needs to be repented of.
    3) I ask myself questions: Lord what do you want me to see that I am not seeing??? . . .Lord, what am I supposed to be learning from this???

    “I feel like I am shutting down totally, and am starting to hate him and nearly feel disgusted towards him because I am so tired of hurting. My heart is so broken, and still, I don’t want to give up on my marriage. What is happening to me and my marriage?” . . .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, so, 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. But you already know that no one will “hate and contempt” themselves into anything good.

    . . . .“He yells at me, calls me names, blames me, threatens to leave or does and more.” —I’m praying for you and him and his daughter, —everyone. . . .It’s complex, very highly nauanced, people know almost nothing about the brain in any real, demonstrable sense and psychology is in its absolute infancy, —neuroscience is too! Even the labels are highly questionable. . . .Crying out to God to help you and seeking Him is an old, old, old science and it has lots of longevity data going for it. —And here is the most powerful technology ever: Be totally and completely honest, —even about God and Jesus and especially with God and Jesus.

    “I feel like I am shutting down totally, and am starting to hate him and nearly feel disgusted towards him because I am so tired of hurting. My heart is so broken, and still, I don’t want to give up on my marriage. What is happening to me and my marriage?” . . .A spiritual battle and no one will succeed without the Holy Spirit. I believe the goal of marriage is to create a permanent bond in which we endeavour to help each other along the path of theosis (becoming more like/ closer to God a.k.a sorting yourself out). —And it is a total hellish cross as much as it is an incredible gift. Every single day my husband and I pray together. “God we don’t have any idea what we are doing, please help us!” . . .and we talk about our relationship for at least 20 min. each day. . . .It usually ends of being far longer w/prayer. As utterly furious as my husband and I have made each other over the years, I can say without hesitation that God has used our marriage to make us far better holier people and maybe I am kidding myself but I certainly feel happy and seriously in love.

    H. . .I am going to handcuff myself to you, and you’re going to handcuff yourself to me. You don’t get to be in this if you are not —all in [re: “He . . . .threatens to leave or does and more.”] . . .And then we’re going to get to tell each other the absolute, real truth, and neither of us gets to run away. Once we know the nasty truth, all of it, then we’re either going to live together either in mutual torment, or we’re going to try to deal with that truth and with God’s help straighten ourselves out –and straighten ourselves out jointly! —And that’s going to make us more godly, powerful and more resilient; and deeper and wiser as we progress together through life. Marriage is humbling and totally humiliating. The things we have had to forgive each other: mind-boggling. When you get married, you are essentially giving a person the power to just destroy you. That’s why people don’t marry much anymore. Marriage is an act of mutual submission. That’s why our relationship with Christ has to be alive, we need vast spiritual help to be married because it involves telling the truth —not easy in the least.

    Like many people, I’ve seen so, so many marriages fall apart. In so many instances, these were people I knew intimately, people I stood beside as they said their vows. That I daily prayed for. There was a common thread in these failed marriages. Infidelity was involved in all of them, BUT . . . .but I assure you that the infidelity in each case was preceded by an absolute avalanche of lies and deceit. The best way to avoid such a fate? Be totally, completely honest, —even about God and Jesus and especially with God and Jesus. . . .The ruler of your marital life should be your vow to tell each other the utter, absolute truth.

  20. Ruth on February 22, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    This sounds SO much like my life!
    I foolishly married my husband after only knowing him for a short period of time – I thought I had I the peace of God about it.
    so what does why does it matter if we what a year like everybody else does? Of course, he was the one who suggested that, but I was fine with it.
    A few months ago I read Joyce Meyer’s book “How to Hear from God”. She said sometimes you can mistake excitement for peace especially if it’s something you really want, so in that case, it’s wise to wait a while. She said excitement while wane, but God’s peace will abide.
    I married at age 24 and now I’m 21 years into this marriage. I should have divorced my h when I realized that he was not a stable person – which was just like the original Post writer RIGHT AFTER THE HONEYMOON. We have had seasons of peacefulness but there have also been long terrible periods too.
    When I met him had just been through a divorce initiated by his first wife.
    My H during the first months of our marriage when he would see me be sad (from HIS hurtfulness) would NOT APOLOGIZE, be compassionate, or any or the APPROPRIATE RESPONSES. Nope, he would say: “don’t let my kids see you cry! They’ve already been through enough with that divorce their mother forced them go through.” He also talked about how terribly the divorce hurt his parents.
    BUT…
    I found out later that during the time of the divorce he made the kids (ages 4 and 7) while he told them about their mother’s affairs and how she was tearing up their family. Now, who was trying to intentionally hurt the children then? 😞
    I was legalistic in my thinking back then. I thought unless my H had an affair that I had made a horrible mistake, now I had to serve out a life sentence.
    If you read Mark Chapter 10 in the Amplified version though you’ll see Jesus does not mean for marriage to be a life sentence for abuse victims to struggle. Divorce does provide a way of escape. It is not a sin. It is God’s way of protecting the innocent.
    Writer of this original letter, I feel like I am writing to my Yonger Me “Go, Be Free. Don’t wait till he destroys your soul. Don’t wait til you develop anxiety problems. The longer you stay, the more he’ll get in your head. You will start to believe you ARE part of the problem. Just go.
    Seeing the Light is right too Go before you get pregnant. Have your babies with a psychologically healthy man who loves you and loves Jesus. You’re still young enough!! Praise God you’ve got time and you had the sense to ask for help – when I was you’re age I was too scared and ashamed to ask to help. Good for you! We’re rooting for you! But if you stay, your story will probably sound the same as most of ours in 20 years. Read our posts. Would you want that?

    • Sherry on February 22, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      Ruth, you are so right! I too did not know my husband for very long and felt at peace about it. God did use my marriage to help me grow and I have my kids but I pray this dear lady will leave very soon and go on to find someone she can build a true Christian marriage with. These guys like my now ex are not capable of a true loving relationship with anyone because of their lack of empathy.

    • Ruth on February 22, 2018 at 7:16 pm

      Sorry for my garbled sentences. Because I’m a bad typist, I usually proofread my posts before I submit. Have you ever been REALLY sleepy while you were writing something? 😆 You restarted sentences. Plus, my phone likes to autocorrect which sometimes is helpful, sometimes, Not so much. 😜
      Most of the time, I would not TELL an abuse victim what to do like I bc they need to learn to trust their instincts. This young woman needs to be empowered to Hear from God for herself without her husband’s tyrant’s voice or her fears blocking the still, peaceful voice of the good, good Father.
      O how I WISH SOMEONE HAD GIVEN ME THIS ADVISE YEARS ago.

      • Free on February 22, 2018 at 8:09 pm

        I too mistype and suffer with auto correction issues. Some of us don’t have the luxury of getting private blocks of time on the web.

        I do like to give and get advice on this blog, so few people will speak the blunt truth to abuse victims.

        Please someone tell me the truth I begged. I don’t have time for placation and niceties. If I have a brief moment when my abuser isn’t with in ear shot or monitoring my conversations, please use that time to help me! I don’t want bible verses quoted at me. I want practical advice from people who lived this nightmare too. The rest of the world can’t imagine what we have been through. We need places like this blog to be real with each other. After we are safe we can talk all we want about hope, healing, God’s goodness and power to save and change people. The time for such discussions are not when the victim is still in the relationship. Remember her abuser is often a master manipulator and she can’t think straight until she gets distance from the brain washing she endured.

  21. Nancy on February 22, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    As I wrote in one of my responses, I’m so happy that this young writer is taking responsibility for her heart so ‘early on’. It may not feel that way to you, writer, it likely feels like an eternity to you. Your post is heart-breaking and it probably doesn’t feel like a hopeful situation- regardless of your age.

    But I do really appreciate Leslie’s advice. As usual, she breaks things down one step at a time.

    The key here – I believe- is one step at a time. There are lots of posts saying ‘just get out!’. And While I appreciate the sentiment behind these statements, they’re not realistic. There are many steps to take out of Egypt. This precious writer needs to lean into The Lord so that He can lead her out of bondage – one. Step.at.a.time.

    Who knows, The Lord may use her walk to wake her h up. He also, may not. This will only gets answered though, as she takes her steps in Christ.

    Wether a person has been in it 2 years or 65 years, The Lord is capable of leading us all out of bondage. He is able. We start with the thing that we can control (our heart), and we follow Him. One.Step. At. A. Time.

    It’s not for us to predict the outcome based on our own stories. We need to trust The Lord with each individual situation. That’s what walking in CORE is all about.

    • Free on February 22, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      I see the situation a little differently. Run out of the burning building, don’t look for ways to put out the fire, discuss a fire safety plan or check if the garden hose might reach. Once out of the flames and safe, then do the work when the burns stand a chance of healing. In this case there is no time for reflection and praying. Safety is paramount, no earthly healing can be done when one is being suffocated and suffering from smoke inhalation. I agree heart work can be done, but let’s make sure the heart is still beating first.

      • Nancy on February 22, 2018 at 9:10 pm

        I didn’t get the impression, Free, that this writer was in imminent physical danger. If she feels at all that she is, then yes, run.

        My impression from her letter is that she is just awakening to a terribly destructive man. He tells lies, yells at her, calls her names. Awful.

        Telling her to just run does not take her state of mind into consideration : that she does not want to give up on her marriage.

        Telling her to just run is projecting onto her. That’s not listening or responding to her story; It’s reacting out of my story.

        • Nancy on February 22, 2018 at 9:25 pm

          To clarify…

          what I meant by ‘ she is just awakening to a terribly destructive man.’ is not meant to minimize, a clearer statement would be ‘beginning to’, instead. As in:

          ‘she is beginning to awaken to a terribly destructive man’

        • JoAnn on February 23, 2018 at 2:32 pm

          Nancy and Free,
          It would seem that for her to separate would be a good option, so that she can get some clarity and the husband can get a reality check to see that his behavior is unacceptable. We have talked about this in previous threads. The danger, however after separation, would be if he convinces her to come back too soon, before he has demonstrated real repentance and change. We are dealing with a similar situation with our granddaughter, who recently left an abusive husband. They have been married only 2 years and now have a 6 month old baby. Her experience is reflected in so many of the shared experiences here. Sad.

          • Nancy on February 23, 2018 at 7:28 pm

            So sad about your granddaughter, JoAnn. Good that you are equipped with such ‘real-time’ knowledge to help her!

            I agree that separation is a good option. It stops the ‘crazy cycle’ enough to get one’s bearings and begin to build CORE strength. From that emotionally safe space, a much more objective perspective on him can be gained.

            Emotional disconnection is absolutely KEY because that’s what he’ll use to manipulate her. The clearest way to achieve that disconnection is by separating. It’s amazing how the fog clears once we can get emotionally dis-entangled!



          • JoAnn on February 23, 2018 at 7:35 pm

            Nancy, you said, “Emotional disconnection is absolutely KEY because that’s what he’ll use to manipulate her. The clearest way to achieve that disconnection is by separating. It’s amazing how the fog clears once we can get emotionally dis-entangled!” and I agree. When you are in the situation, it’s hard to think clearly. Plus, he will know that you are serious about the boundaries. It gives him an opportunity to change.



          • sheep on February 24, 2018 at 10:20 pm

            JoAnn
            You are right about emotional disconnection being necessary to be able to really see what is going on. Unfortunately we have not been able to separate yet, but I have really been working to emotionally disconnect from her. I’m still not particularly good at it, but I’m a lot better than I used to be. Just this evening at dinner with several other people, I was having a conversation with someone. That person asked me several questions and every single time I would barely get a sentence out and she would interrupt and totally take over the conversation. This happened multiple times through the evening and I noticed it right away. In the past I never would have noticed it and then after we would get home she would complain about why she always has to carry the conversation when we are with others. Of course this is after 25 years of telling me to stop talking in public because I embarrass her.

            We have been talking separation and divorce because she totally ignores what I need for her to do for us to reconcile from her adultery. Earlier today she was suggesting something she wanted to do that would cost me a significant amount of money and I just looked at her, baffled that she would even suggest such a thing knowing the direction we are headed. She tried to guilt me for awhile, but gave up. Had I not already been emotionally detaching, I would have absolutely given in even if I had believed it was a waste of money.

            The emotional detachment is also
            helping me to not be so depressed.

            I have realized that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It isn’t what I wanted it to look like, but there is peace and rest in knowing that this will not last forever.



          • JoAnn on February 25, 2018 at 10:04 pm

            That’s good progress Sheep. Well done. May I offer a suggestion? The next time she interrupts you, just turn to her and calmly say, “please allow me to finish.” That is polite, and it should get her attention without a fight. It might help her to recognize that she is being rude. Maybe you have already tried this, and if you have and it hasn’t helped, then I have nothing more to offer about that. But I do encourage you to continue on the path you are on. We are here to encourage you.



  22. Crazy Marriage Writer Girl on February 22, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    First, I want to say how much I appreciate Leslie’s response to my message. No, it did not magically fix my marriage issues, but seeing her response makes me realize that I must take action. Ive got to correct the root of the problem instead of bandaiding it. To everyone else that commented…. I appreciate each and every one of you. I guess I didn’t realize that remaining silent and continuously dealing with this myself was taking such a toll … Seeing your responses and reading your encouraging words has been so touching… Just realizing that there are people that understand, and that I’m not just being emotional or crazy gives me relief, and I thank y’all for that from the bottom of my heart. Know that my heart goes out to each and every one of you that have dealt with similar situations, and to anyone that has ever hurt over the people they love. …. I’ll briefly update you on where we are at, and ask that you continue to pray for us. Know that ill do the same for y’all too. … This past weekend brought about a series of unexpected events. One night, I woke up from a night terror in a sweat and panicked from having a nightmare about being tortured and killed. Oddly enough the tools were dumped in a trash can, at which point I woke up. I ended up in the guest bathroom… thinking to myself that I am finally losing it. After a series of random Bathroom events that I chalked up to being nerves and my crazy mind… I found a stash of tobacco products that my husband had been lying to me about obviously. They were hidden in the bottom of the trash can, somewhere I’d never look… actually wasn’t looking then! I kept my mouth shut, for days, telling myself to be understanding. But one night, as he looked me in the eyes and told me yet another lie, then continued on to tell mw how terrible of a person l am… I finally cracked.
    It didn’t go well. He blamed me for his lying, as always, so I told him if that was acceptable for him, then I don’t want to continue our marriage. He never even looked at me or spoke. The next day, I snapped. I told him to make arrangements and get out… that I have the papers complete already and I’m done living this way. To sum it up, it didn’t go well. At first it was silence. Total silence. Then anger. Then a “I’ll show her” type of attitude … and he left, taking my precious stepdaughter with him. He didnt attempt to pack or take much though and I wondered why. I couldn’t bring myself to cave… I guess I felt that I cant take any more, finally I was at my limit. On day 2, for the first time in what feels like forever, he sat down with me, and he actually listened. I told him that I love him more than he will ever know, and I feel the same love, if not more, for his daughter… but that I refused to live this way any more. No more silence. No more yelling. No more lies… etc etc. I told him if he comes home and it continues, that I would serve him papers, whether I love him or not. … He’s been home for 4 days now, and while it’s not perfect, I can definitely say that there has been vast improvement. I don’t know if it will last… I am hopeful, however, still being realistic and mentally preparing for the worst…. please, continue to pray for my family. Thank you again and may God Bless and keep you <3

    • Nancy on February 23, 2018 at 7:19 am

      Hello Crazy Marriage Writer Girl 🙂

      Have you read Leslie’s book EDM? If you haven’t, please do. People who have such deep seated defenses, such as deception have much deeper problems that call for multiple interventions. He needs counselling – serious counselling ( and so do you, but separate at this point). He needs to be part of a men’s accountability group. He needs much more support than just ‘deciding to change’. Has he admitted that he is not trustworthy? His problems run deep and he needs help, but in order to get it he first needs to admit it.

      You do have a long road ahead of you – even if he chooses to get the multiple interventions that he needs. Please stick around here and get some support, but also get yourself a personal counsellor ( or join Leslie’s conquer group – I’m not sure if she has one going now).

      Praying for you!

    • Free on February 23, 2018 at 10:40 am

      Four days of peace is a good time for you to formulate an exit plan. Always leave when he is at his best, not when he is engaging in unhealthy marital behaviors.

    • Maria on February 23, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      Crazy Marriage Writer Girl,

      One of the things about being in a relationship with a narcissist is that are not 100% abusive the entire. They know when you have reached your limit. I am married to one and even when he does something nice for someone else, it is for selfish reasons.

      • Free on February 24, 2018 at 4:56 am

        Not to be difficult Maria because I understand what you are saying but, yes, they are abusive100 percent of the time. Everything has a motive to serve themselves, even the nice times. Each and every kind word, act or deed is calculated for their own benefit. Believing they are not abusive all the time is how many of us rationalize staying through the rough times. I know I got tricked by this thinking. Narcissist are ALWAYS thinking of themselves and only themselves.

        • Maria on February 24, 2018 at 8:30 am

          I was really trying to make the writer aware of the domestic violence cycle. There is tension, abuse then the honeymoon phase. Please google for more information. People may think the abuser is changing their ways during the honeymoon phase. As time goes by the honeymoon phase gets shorter as abuse escalates. One of the reasons many stay is because of this crazy cycle. Abusers subconsciously or consciously know that if the abusive phase lasted 100% of the time, victims would pick up and leave. It’s the honeymoon period that is confusing and many stay because they think think that during the good times he is changing.

          CMWG, you have written that he is improving. Here’s a link to Leslie’s article on how you can know someone is truly sorry

          https://un184.infusionsoft.com/app/hostedEmail/1915618/222266259e9451a0/

          Here’s a link to Leslie’s article on reconciliation

          https://www.leslievernick.com/newsletter/033114-newsletter.html

          CMWG, many women spend years before they realize their abuse spouse will not/ has chosen not to change.

          A book that helped me understand the crazynesss is “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft. Abusive behavior is usually a result of entitlement thinking. To change that way of thinking takes a lot of hard work, accountability, humility etc.

          Some practical suggestions while you are staying:

          1. Make sure you can support yourself financially. If you don’t have a means to support yourself, he may start abusing you financially.

          2. Like others have suggested, another child in the picture will complicate things. He already is using your step daughter to hurt you- he took her away. He obviously wasn’t even looking out for his own child’s good. In many instances, narcissists use children to hurt their spouse. They sometimes try to turn the child against the other parent to hurt them.

          3. Learn as much as you can about narcissism. Like I mentioned before with my husband, even the nice things that he does can be traced back to selfishness.

          4. Develop your CORE and make self care a priority. Narcissists tend to suck the life/energy out of people. They are users and don’t care about the well being of the people they use.

          5. Love is looking out for a person’s good. That doesn’t mean doing what they want always. In fact when we do what they want and not focus on their good, we enable their bad behavior.

          Leslie has several great articles in her archive newsletters.

          • Free on February 26, 2018 at 8:19 pm

            Excellent post!



        • sheep on February 24, 2018 at 10:23 pm

          Free,
          And that is why it is so crazy making. “normal” people just cant think that way. When she is being nice it is hard for me to remember that she is wanting something out of that. Much of that is because I WANT TO BELIEVE that she is thinking of me. But then reality sets in and I’m more depressed than before.

          • Nancy on February 25, 2018 at 8:08 am

            Maybe the depression comes because you believe her behaviour speaks about who you are. Somehow, if you could change enough, she’d love you, and you’d feel worthy.

            God says that you are a His precious son.

            Let that define you.



          • Nancy on February 25, 2018 at 10:21 am

            And when you say, “I WANT TO BELIEVE that she is thinking of me”, this is, as you well know, not realistic.

            The pathway out of the fantasy world, is grief work. The depression is telling you to grieve.

            The more grief work that you do, the less of a grip she’ll have on your identity.



          • Free on February 25, 2018 at 2:22 pm

            I agree. It is beyond on thinking pattern to use people in such an evil way. It shocks our brain that family members would ever behavior that way. It is just illogical.

            I watched a family video a while back and say myself as this cute little girl in all her smiley bouncy glory. As an adult, now I think, what kind of sick people treat a cute little girl like I was treated? Who does that? Crazy, sick, evil people mistreat children, that is who. Ugh!



          • sheep on February 27, 2018 at 12:08 pm

            Nancy, I had to sadly chuckle at your comment “because you believe her behaviour speaks about who you are. Somehow, if you could change enough, she’d love you, and you’d feel worthy.” That is exactly how I have felt for 25 years. I have always had this sub-conscience voice telling me that if I just changed a little more, If I just did a little more, that I might be worthy of her, that she might love me like I love her.

            Of course I could have never actually admitted that to myself because it would have destroyed who I thought we were. It would have destroyed who I had always thought she was.

            The interesting thing is that from day 1 she set out to change me. comments like “I wish you would just be quiet in public, you embarrass me so much” Constant prodding me to be more like her spiritually. I learned to be scared of sharing what I really thought because of the condemnation that would have followed. Over the years I did change, I did become what she wanted. I stopped talking in public, I stopped being the life of the party, I became the spiritual leader that she always claimed she wanted (Although that was because God did a work in me, not her)

            And what happened when I became what she wanted? After being with others she would criticize me for not talking much. I was criticized for not being more outgoing. My spiritual changes and “leadership” was rejected because “who are you to talk to me about anything spiritual” And in the end, like the beginning, she has an affair and gives him everything that I ever wanted from her. But to add insult to injury, she refuses to do anything to reconcile the relationship and just acts for all the world that nothing is wrong.

            So, I no longer believe that I have to do anything to be worthy of her. I know that there is nothing I can do to make her love me. That being said, old habits are still hard to break.



          • Renee on February 28, 2018 at 8:23 pm

            You said: So, I no longer believe that I have to do anything to be worthy of her. That’s great news.

            You said: I know that there is nothing I can do to make her love me. They say you can, but I don’t buy that anymore. I guess it works for some.

            You said: That being said, old habits are still hard to break. You better believe they are but let us not give up.



          • Renee on February 28, 2018 at 8:24 pm

            On ourselves Sheep. Not speaking of the relationship.



          • Nancy on February 27, 2018 at 3:26 pm

            Thank God that he has saved you and is allowing you to find your identity in Him, sheep. Really! Can you picture doing ANY of this growth work, in particular boundary work,mwithout Him? I know for me it would have been impossible.

            I had idolized ‘my marriage’ and thought of it as the thing that would save me. Had it not been for The Lord’s intervention, and Him enabling me to cling to Him, I never could have released ‘my marriage’ to Him; and ‘the marriage’ would have destroyed us both.

            I loved how you separated repentance and forgiveness in another post. This is so KEY. ( see how Joseph tested his brothers to know if he could trust them by putting the cup in Benjamin’s bag)

            Do you think that you can forgive someone for a sin that is on-going?



          • Nancy on February 27, 2018 at 3:27 pm

            Sorry, Not repentance and forgiveness….reconciliation and forgiveness!



          • sheep on March 1, 2018 at 12:04 am

            Renee, There is nothing we can do to “make” someone else love us. And I no longer want to make her love me. Why would I want to force her to do that? How can there ever be an intimate relationship with someone who has been made to love me?

            I know what you are saying about “they say you can” and I get what they are saying. And I believe that 2 “normal” people with love and good will for each other will naturally respond to loving actions and feelings, thus “making someone love me”

            But, when the other person is a narcissist, all those things that “they” talk about and most marriage books talk about are exactly the wrong thing to do. Yes we need to be loving, but those actions just feed their narcissism. The more you give, the more they will not only take, but require from you. Once a Narcissist tires of you and decides that you aren’t making them look better any more, you are relegated to inferior status, never to return to being equal let alone better. Everything that you give is never enough and they will always require more.

            You know at one point while my wife was having her second affair (I didn’t actually know about the affair, but I think I “knew” in my heart) I actually told her that “I am such a lousy husband that even if you were having an affair, It would be my fault” That tells you how conditioned I was to taking responsibility for everything bad in our marriage. How I had been trained to believe I was worthless.

            So anyway, I totally get what you are saying and agree



    • Renee on February 23, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      CMWG, [Ive got to correct the root of the problem instead of bandaiding it.]

      What do you mean, “I’ve (emphasis on I) got to correct the root of the problem?” What does that look like? Do you think this is something you can handle on your own? Are you going to fix him?

      CMWG, [He blamed me for his lying, as always]

      Of course he did! It amazes me on this one. Little people come here, it seems, blaming others or maybe it is a learned behavior. I don’t know. Anyhow, when our kids/now teens blame I always say, “Got to blame somebody.” It feels better that way doesn’t it? They always laugh and we have our quick discussion on ownership. Of course, blame is also manipulation. Another set of skills to learn if you stay in this relationship.

      CMWG, [so I told him if that was acceptable for him, then I don’t want to continue our marriage.]

      Communicating that you don’t want to continue your marriage, even during an argument, can be very damaging. Is that what you really want? If not, don’t say it – say what you really want. Then if he can’t give that to you, then what?

      CMWG, [I told him to make arrangements and get out… that I have the papers complete already]

      Again, communicating that you don’t want to continue your marriage, even during an argument, can be very damaging. Is that what you really want?

      CMWG, [I told him that I love him more than he will ever know, and I feel the same love, if not more, for his daughter.]

      I think that was great communication and scary, vulnerable.

      CMWG, [but that I refused to live this way any more. No more silence. No more yelling. No more lies… etc etc]

      I have yet another book that I’ve been reading. It is called, “What To Do When He Want Change” by Jack Ito. In one of his email messages he communicated how important it is to not be confusing with our messages and to focus on being clear.

      At first it was not clear when you said, “to live this way.” But then you recovered by saying, “no more silence, no more yelling, no more lies.” Good job!

      Not saying the relationship will be cured but you would be giving it every opportunity. Remember it does indeed take two.

      CMWG, [I told him if he comes home and it continues, that I would serve him papers]

      Again, communicating that you don’t want to continue your marriage, even during an argument, can be very damaging. I also believe threats can be very damaging and does not foster closeness, which is what I believe most of us want. I get every reason why believe me. But, now your side of the street is getting muddy if this is not what you really want and really mean.

      This is a random thought and sharing. I was reading elsewhere (I stray from here at times). This lady on the forum said, “I can’t absorb that right now.” She explained how her husband would be mean and then once it passed for him, there would be the profession of love. She learned rather than returning the silent treatment, this was a better fit for her and helped her to feel she was doing what she could for the relationship.

      Non-legal disclaimer: Not saying I am right about all I’ve said, just sharing my thoughts and what I think Leslie and others want us to learn regardless of the outcome of the marital relationship.

    • John on February 28, 2018 at 7:50 am

      Might be worth checking out these two videos. They sure made me think a little differently about how I think 🙂

      How to stop the Pain:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVn70q8TqUo

      The Secret Source of Pain
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mU_HkKgVP3w

      • Nancy on February 28, 2018 at 9:43 am

        John,
        This video is an answer to prayer for me. Just last week my counsellor gave me a quote about self-importance,

        ” Self importance is man’s greatest enemy. What weaken’s him is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of his fellow man. Self-importance requires that one spend most of one’s life offended by someone or something”

        I’ve been thinking deeply about this quote. I also decided to give up ‘being offended by others” for the rest of lent.

        Then you posted this video. It’s very practical, thank you.

        I would add one VERY IMPORTANT caveate for anyone trying to escape abuse. This work will only become a priority AFTER safety and sanity have been established.

        The establishment of safety and sanity come first. If you’re reading this and you have not established those two things, then do not confuse yourself further by trying to work on this stuff!

    • Ruth on March 1, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Dear writer,
      I think God was warning you in that dream that you are in DANGER- not necessarily physical danger, at least yet. In retrospect I can see how God was revealing things to me in the early months of my marriage. God showed me who my husband REALLY was and it was NOT who he had presented himself to be during our engagement. He had hidden IMPORTANT information from me that would have been marriage deal-breakers for me. I believe this was God’s gracious way of saying ‘GET OUT!’ Unfortunately, I was too legalistic and shame-based to believe for the help to escape.
      ⭐️Try this: Re-read your posts and pretend it was not your life. Instead, pretend it was a dear girlfriend. Unless you’ve totally deadened yourself to your God-given instincts, you would probably tell your girlfriend that you feel scared for her. Your GOD-GIVEN fight or flight response would be triggered.
      In your comments to us, you appear determined to ‘get to the root of the problem rather than just bandaid it’. I’m going to suggest to you- get alone with God [away from your abuser and anyone else who would try to sway you one way or the other].
      💜 Ask God to help you to trust Him with the outcome of your marriage, whether it’s healed or whether it ends in divorce. God will make a safe place for you whether in the marriage or outside the marriage but you MUST go where He leads.
      💜Ask God to reveal to you where you are trusting in yourself to fix things rather than casting your cares completely on Him with utter trust.
      💜 Ask God to help you grieve the loss of being married to a man who presented himself to you during your engagement as a kind, decent, loving man, but that was only a shallow facade for a deceptive abuser.
      You need to grieve.
      Jesus said blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted.
      Did you read Sheep’s and Nancy’s posts about grieving? They are very good.
      💜 Finally, only after you get those other things sorted out (WITH NO CONTACT FROM your abuser to rattle you) just ask God,”Lord, do you want me to stay in this marriage any longer or do You want me to leave?” Then quietly and peacefully wait for Him to speak. Read scripture. Listen to worship music. Don’t be anxious. He will lead you and when He answers please don’t say “But God…..”

  23. DG on February 22, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    I agree there’s a good chance these are narcissistic traits, it not narcissism. Adrikoz, you can Google Narcissim, or Cluster B personality disorders, or narcissistic traits, or narcissistic abuse…you’ll get a ton of info to help have a clearer understanding. To me, it seems some of the hallmarks are lack of empathy/compassion, feeling people are either all good or all bad when they’re angry (ie: may feel disrespected by very small things others wouldn’t even blink at, often acting out in a narcissistic “rage”), superiority and entitlement. My husband has become very aware of his narcissistic abuse. To me and his therapist he claims that he’s a narcissist, yet he is so kind, charming, even (pretend?) “humble”, to the extent that when he told his close friends and coworkers that he abused me, none of them will believe it, saying he couldn’t do that, I must have provoked him, etc. His abuse started immediately after marriage, escalating to such a degree that I had no choice but to flee after only 6 months, and move out when he was at work at 8 months, for my own safety. My mother and I gave him the “benefit of the doubt” so much, and didn’t see what should have been at least yellow flags.
    I know how hard it’s been, how much work I’ve had to do to heal after only 8 months living together, 2 years in marriage – I do not know how people living in this 20 years can survive and overcome. It’s beyond words how they destroy who we are, our Selves, in what feels like a 1-person cult of brainwashing.
    To his credit he admits what he’s done and is getting help. I get so frustrated and hurt by his therapist who is always telling me what good work he’s doing, how he’s making so much progress – he wants me to reengage and talk about the “future of the marriage” when I’m trying to be no contact in order to heal and regain my Self. I keep asking, “if he’s doing such great work, why was he still abusing me?!” The therapist is the expert in helping him change, but I am the canary in the coalmine, the only one who can really determine whether it’s surface behavior modification or true heart/core change. This is my first/only marriage and it was never at any point a true marriage, not even the first night. My husband has admitted in writing much of the abuse, even saying “our marriage is based on fraud, lies, deception and manipulation.” And when confronted saying, “it’s what you do to get the girl.” I’m undecided what to do, other than care for myself, heal, get stronger, regain my SELF, and honor God as I support my husband’s growth. I will always care for him as a person, and would love for him to be the person he presented to me, who I thought I was marrying. It breaks my heart that that person never existed.
    I agree with everything said above – RUN! And please do whatever it takes to avoid getting pregnant. It limits your options, and you do not want to raise a child in a narcissistic home, with the child receiving narcissistic abuse. In addition to all the heartbreak, there’s a good chance they will adopt the same narcissism, and may even turn on you. A woman I know was in an abusive marriage. Her husband raped her hoping to get her pregnant and further dependent on him – it worked. I’ve heard of men going to the police and accusing their wives of the violent acts that they actually inflicted on their wives. These women, two I’ve met personally, had to do community service/court ordered group counseling for violent acts that were actually perpetrated against them! It’s sick. It happens and is more than enough reason to be overly-cautious.
    Also – We generally speak in terms of men being the abusers, but important to remember that women can be the abusers too.
    I’ve read so many excellent books that have really helped me understand not only my husband and other narcissists, but also myself and how I contributed to this situation – narcissists will only be with excessively nice, empathetic, affirming people. They take great qualities and use them against us. HOLD YOUR BOUNDARIES and they might just appreciate them and respond well!
    There’s an app – Quora – that’s free and filled with TONS of good (and some not so good) information. Just be discerning in what you read.
    Friends – I’m so sorry for your experiences and what you have/are going through. I don’t wish this for anyone, ever! I apologize if it’s overstepped or spoken too bluntly. I want to help anyone here if I can. God is good; even this He will redeem! I’m just hoping our situation will be used for part of His good. ~xox

    • Starlight on February 23, 2018 at 4:55 am

      Ditto to this statement!!
      “It’s beyond words how they destroy who we are, our Selves, in what feels like a 1-person cult of brainwashing!”

      • Free on February 23, 2018 at 10:34 am

        What was an eye opener for me was realizing the symptoms of this personality disorder are documented and universal. I thought my husband had this unique problem. It is not unique at all! He is not a special person with a special emotional issue. He has clinic pathology of a diagnosable illness. We kind, loving, prayerful wives, can not fix mental illness. We can live with it, but why?

    • Free on February 23, 2018 at 10:38 am

      DG, quite frankly, many don’t overcome. Eighty percent of women break their own restraining orders. The abuser manipulates them and they withdraw the agreement, not the abuser. It is close to impossible for a woman to break free from abuse the longer she subjects herself to that environment.

  24. Dianne on February 23, 2018 at 10:48 am

    I had to separate to keep my sanity intact . The book The Wolf helped me to understand a Narcissist personality. I am in my 5th month of separation and 70 years young starting over … He has had no concern for my well-being.
    I am standing on Jeremiah 29:11

    • JoAnn on February 23, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      Dianne, May the Lord grant you a rich supply of His all-sufficient grace.

    • Free on February 26, 2018 at 4:30 am

      Dianne, I am in awe of your bravery. Excellent job respecting yourself and honoring God’s wonderful masterpiece, you!

    • Brave Rabbit on March 2, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Diane, you are an inspiration! 💕💖💞😀
      God bless you. xox

  25. Maria on February 23, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I have shared this before- a very good blog on narcissism
    In the link below. The writer usually has a new post every Friday.
    https://graceformyheart.wordpress.com

  26. John on February 24, 2018 at 1:30 am

    At least someone her is preaching it like they should!
    God Bless you Aleea. You are in a bees nest and you know it.
    Praise God for his people who are out there really doing the work He is doing through you. You are an inspiration.

    • Aleea on February 24, 2018 at 9:24 am

      “You are in a bees nest and you know it.” . . .John, we are all totally broken, wounded bees that need to learn to love ourselves deeply and not to sting each other ―especially me.

      ―Let’s not separate into camps, we could easily *all* be wrong. I know that is hard to understand but I cannot even believe the things I used to think were correct. We are so busy worrying about the next world or relationship that we never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the blog threads and just see the results. . . .Everyone loves a witch hunt as long as it is not their witch that is being hunted.

      John I appreciate what you say but . . . .but this is not a battle anyone “wins”. No one “wins” anything. . . .I think this is a special place where people come and instead of triumphalism (―excessive exultation! ―victory!!! and “conquering” things) we really try to relate in total, utter brokenness and acceptance. Life after death? . . . .how about real life *before* death? ―Christianity’s radical insight: Christ is not simply another identity to place alongside our others: wife, lawyer, et.al. Instead, Jesus cuts across all these concretely existing identities [Jew/Gentile, slave/free, male/female, etc.] those who identify with Christ are no longer held captive by categories [as much as is possible they are outside of of them as total outsiders]. . . .Because we are all outsiders and die outside the city gates with Christ, with no identity just like when He died. Unless I don’t understand and correctly feel it, Christianity is not one more identity marker. It is the experience of losing your identity and identifying with the One who lost His identity on the cross. In those days, when you were crucifixied, you were no longer in any political, cultural, or religious system. You were ripped of identity.

      . . . The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are in Christ. . . .Who you are, who God wants *you* to be, not people pleasing (―just one of my many issues). ―Who Christ wants you to be. . . .I would say to tell the truth as best and as deeply you know how. That puts our lives back into God’s hands. Tell the truth and don’t try to control the situation or be an outcome engineer. Just tell the truth as best and as deeply as you know how and let God decide the outcomes.

      Nancy was talking to me about getting far more in touch with my feelings and I realize now that my feelings are a much better place ―for me― to work than facts. We all need to work in the areas where we aren’t strong so we can be more balanced. I am very strong on understanding and processing facts and very weak on feelings and processing them. . . .Many here seem very weak on facts but have Ph.D.s in feelings and there is so much to learn from them. It is hard to get behind the initial resistance, however. I know how they feel because when I try to share facts they shut down. They don’t want to know what they already know about the facts. I am down that road as far as you can take it. . . .When they try to share feelings I shut down. I don’t want to know what I already know about my feelings. I think too much and feel too little. People want to shut down the side they are weak on so they don’t have to grow and learn and be balanced, ―me too. We can feel things or we can find a way to shut down. . . .Once I start feeling things, I can’t often decide exactly what to feel. That’s the trouble with letting them in at all. They make a total mess of the place, just like I do with the facts. That is why people don’t want to let the facts in, facts (like feelings) make a total mess of the place.

      Lord God❣help us (especially me) to be gentle with each others precious hearts so no flying debris from our abusive pasts hits anyone or even hits us. . . .Lord God, please send us clarity or whatever we need. I certainly don’t even know what I or we need. . . . .But Lord, we want to be healed and changed into the likeness of You. Continually change us into the likeness of You and make this about You, even beyond our abuse stories. More of You, less of us. Take me and melt me, mold me until I am complete in the likeness of You.

    • Renee on February 24, 2018 at 9:49 am

      I believe this [At least someone her is preaching it like they should!] statement is unfair. That is ok though! Thankfully we are in a place where we (including you) can express our thoughts and opinions and our voice is not silenced. We have many, including myself, who take time out of their day to say more than just leave.

      However, I have found on here as well as other boards that we tend to gravitate more toward the person(s) and post providing the suggestions/comments/thoughts based on where we are mentally in our marital relationship. So if one is sharing how to stay regardless of how one is being treated, we would gravitate to those posts. When we are ready to leave, then we will gravitate to those posts.

      If you are not ready to leave, then be willing to learn and at least try different approaches. However, it truly takes two to make a marriage better. One can try and get it started, then the other has to come along.

  27. Connie on February 24, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Thanks, Aleea, I appreciate this post of yours. I’m just reading a book, “A Mind of its Own” by Cordelia Fine. It’s an eye-opener on how very often and easily we all can deceive ourselves and be deceived. I find it quite humbling.

    • Aleea on February 25, 2018 at 5:53 am

      Hello Connie,

      Re: “A Mind of its Own” by Cordelia Fine . . . .Wow, I’ll read that. I was just looking through it. . . .hard hitting. Re: the brain’s tendency toward self-delusion

      “There is in fact a category of people who get unusually close to the truth about themselves and the world. Their self-perceptions are more balanced, they assign responsibility for success and failure more even-handedly, and their predictions for the future are more realistic. These people are living testimony to the dangers of self-knowledge. They are the clinically depressed.” ―Cordelia Fine

      ―Absolutely they are clinically depressed. All the white paper research shows that. In the church world it sounds like this: The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken woman is happier than a sober one. . . .Reality is one tough, nasty road. . . .Connie, I don’t know if people can actually live with too much reality. I know how hard it is for me. I don’t know what to do. I want to live in reality but the desert of the real wipes away so much of what I love. Too much reality, it is such a hard road.

      I also really see value in her research on gender: Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference. . . .Look at the “p values” for statistical significance in that research!!! Why? . . .Because it is more interesting to find a difference than to find no difference. You see there the thousands of failures to observe a difference between men and women that go unreported, whereas the 1 in 20 finding of a difference are likely to be published. “This contributes to the so-called file-drawer phenomenon, whereby studies that do find sex differences get published, but those that don’t languish unpublished and unseen in a researcher’s file drawer.” . . . .In part of my world that is called the primary source “textual variant drawer” where Bible manuscripts recently discovered and translated (the last 275 years) and most importantly dated earlier than current ones used to translate current Bibles are left in the file drawer because they deconstruct what people who buy Bibles want to hear.

      . . . .I get it. I totally understand because I do it too. I can only deal with so much reality. I so often fall back into fantasy. . . .Here is my really bad joke to sum that up: Connie, what is the hardest tea to swallow? ―reality!!! . . .I know that is bad . . .To me, the most incredible thing is to try to wear *no mask* at all. . . .just pass through pure signal. . . People will not even believe it so they will project onto you a mask. It is like they are trying to hand you a mask. The mask = pretending to know things we really do not know. Here is what we all pretend to know, pretend too. Our brains exquisitely trick us and so, so many times we want them too.

      Even when we clearly lay out our biases, they are ever so tricky because they are learned implicitly within cultural contexts. . . .And then often, people will just use them to discount what we say. Look at her work on gender: It’s messy. And it demands a different way of thinking about gender. But that is what the research shows is true. . . . I have such a hard time with that in my marriage re||engage classes at church. People want to separate into armed camps: women against men; men against women. But it seems one of the most important things we can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone and encourage them (Lord help me!!!). . . .Women are just extraordinary creatures but so are men. The most incredible thing is when you have a break through with a couple and people heal. The years go by and they heal even more and more each year. It a-l-w-a-y-s amazes me. I think, Wow, what happened Lord???. . .Look at what You did despite all my ridiculously biased “teaching” and “facilitating” and deconstructing. It’s an absolute miracle. ―How is that even possible??? It just shows you to “Don’t Believe Everything You Think” because “What You Know Often Isn’t So”.

  28. Renee on February 24, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Crazy Marriage Writer Girl wrote: “I feel like I am shutting down totally, and am starting to hate him and nearly feel disgusted towards him

    Aleea this is a great.
    1)I tell the Lord when I am disappointed and feel hate and contempt for people. I tell Him why in detail.
    2) I pray specifically about the hate and contempt and repent of it
    3) I ask myself questions: Lord what do you want me to see that I am not seeing??? . . .Lord, what am I supposed to be learning from this???

    Crazy Marriage Writer Girl wrote:. . . .“He yells at me, calls me names, blames me, [threatens to leave] or does and more.”

    Aleea, this is what I tried to covey to CMWG with my post yesterday. We too (the other partner) can fall in that trap or vicious abuse cycle by using divorce or separation to try and get compliance from the other. Of course, we are trying to get what is hurting us to stop. But this does not work. Now we are contributing. Threatening someone with divorce or separation is done to create fear and/or compliance. I do not believe it helps a marriage but rather hinders and destroys. If this is not what you truly want, then don’t say it even in the heat of the moment. Only use it when you are there or that option is truly on the table. Using those words constantly means you already have one foot out the door and it will not take more for the other one to come along.

    Aleea, I was going to ask how you would explain this so that no particular person would feel attacked or condemned by me and you did it I love this you wrote. [H. . .I am going to handcuff myself to you, and you’re going to handcuff yourself to me. You don’t get to be in this if you are not —all in [re: “He . . . .threatens to leave or does and more.”] . . .And then we’re going to get to tell each other the absolute, real truth, and neither of us gets to run away. Once we know the nasty truth, all of it, then we’re either going to live together either in mutual torment, or we’re going to try to deal with that truth and with God’s help straighten ourselves out –and straighten ourselves out jointly! —And that’s going to make us more godly, powerful and more resilient; and deeper and wiser as we progress together through life.]

    Husband came to help with some plumbing issues at our home yesterday and we got onto a brief conversation about us. I told him I’m open to him coming home but with the conditions that you stated. Well all except the part about mutual torment (absolutely NOT) Now I can put it in writing Ha, Ha. Thank you.

    • Nancy on February 24, 2018 at 11:49 am

      Hi Renee,

      I agree that it’s not productive to ever ‘threaten’ separation or divorce. If someone is ‘threatening’, then it’s coming from a place of trying to control the other person’s actions.

      That’s why it’s essential to put the marriage at the feet of Jesus BEFORE confronting our spouse with ‘game changing’ boundaries and requirements. This process of releasing the marriage to ?God,mcan take some time. (BIG CAVEAT HERE: of course if there are safety concerns then, just get out, and then do the heart work, afterwards).

      We must always get the log out of own eye first before requiring something big of someone else. And that means taking full responsibility – to God and to our h – for our contribution to the dynamic.

      And if a person hasn’t done this, but separated out of a place of control…what do you think they should do?

      • Aleea on February 25, 2018 at 7:02 am

        “And if a person hasn’t done this, but separated out of a place of control… what do you think they should do?”

        I don’t know but I think they should repent but it is highly nauanced and very complex.

        Jesus showed that fidelity and permanence in marriage is the positive good and the path to inner freedom. When we don’t take our marriage vows seriously, we cripple our ability to be open with one another because we fear that being truthful to ourselves with our spouse will give them license to leave us. In a world where the majority of divorces are filed unilaterally, Jesus really has a point!!! Look at the words used in all the marriage verses, without using the Greek, it is basically a form of voluntary enslavement. . . .it’s an adoption of real, serious responsibility. The responsibility, Jesus looks like He is talking about is to help each other solve each other’s hardest problems, which is only possible, He says, within that boundary of permanence, with the knowledge that your vows truly do hold their real meanings.

        It’s a vow. It says, look: H, I know you are real trouble even though I met you in a serious Bible study. Me too. Aleea is real trouble. So, we won’t leave. No matter what happens …That’s why you take that vow in front of God. That’s why it’s supposed to be a sacred act.

        ❣✝. . .What’s the alternative? Everything is totally mutable, everything is performance based and the whole thing changeable at any moment.

        “We must always get the log out of own eye first before requiring something big of someone else. And that means taking full responsibility – to God and to our h – for our contribution to the dynamic.”

        Absolutely . . . .And that is just beautiful: Set your house in order . . .extinguish the duplicity in our own hearts first …making peace inside our own hearts makes paths. . .Marriage is very dangerous and people need to be very, very careful with entering into it. You have to commit to honouring your own soul before you can honour another’s. That is a total handful right there.

      • Renee on February 25, 2018 at 10:34 am

        Nancy, I wanted to respond to you last night but was run down. We had a beautiful afternoon together yesterday as a family (biking, walking, and grilling outside) but then came evening, the plumbing acted up again. I think we have it fixed completely this time.

        Anyway, I believe we have to do something really, really, hard and scary. Be vulnerable to the other person. I must admit this use to be a struggle for me but I am getting a bit stronger bit by bit. But many have stated here when I first came, I had good reason to not be so vulnerable.

        I have to take responsibility. I can’t ask my hubby to take responsibility for his behavior if I can’t ask the same of myself on my behavior. I can’t ask my husband to be willing to be vulnerable if I myself am not willing to be vulnerable. I would also repent. Repentance is for everyone, right?

        I would have to communicate that my reason to separate came from a place of control. [Oh brother, I can see it now. Yes wife you were. You are always trying to control me! That is the part that makes being vulnerable scary. Not wanting to give the other person a weapon to beat you over the head with.].

        Now that you admit having a tendency to be a bit controlling, now the other person want to use it all the time to convince you that you are the problem.

        I would have to come clean about what I really wanted to see happen in the marriage. I would have to come clean that I separated actually to hurt you rather than heal us (if that was indeed the real reason).

        I would have to come clean! That’s the best way I can sum it up!

        Nancy, what is your take on what would need to happen?

        • Remedy on February 25, 2018 at 2:06 pm

          In an ideal world with two people who genuinely desire to be in relationship with each other. It doesn’t always for into this box and so Jesus discussed the exception with the disciples about hardheartedness. Sometimes a separation is necessary for all sorts of safety reasons….short and long term. Sad….yes. But reality of living in fallen world. Each one of us must stand before the Lord.

          • Renee on February 25, 2018 at 3:43 pm

            Hi Remedy

            I understand that sometimes a separation is needed. I am merrily speaking of myself. Separation feels too much like divorce. I never wanted to physically separate because why not just end the suffering (as much as possible – harder with children).

            Then you mentioned long-term separation. I just can’t handle that idea even more. Six months and we are working – sure. One year and we are working – sure. Six months and the same – no. One year and the same – no. Two years and the same – ouch.

            My feelings about this could change. But right now its different places but same old stuff – so why? How long is too long? I feel that physical separation should not last over a year. I feel like the two people should at some point come back under the same roof and keep working.

            Again, my mind could change about this over time.

            My husband mentioned this morning about us getting along much better being in two different places. Nice try hubby! He knows how I feel about this. So he gets to make a decision and I get to make a decision.

            It’s like the kids counselor mentioned to us over a week ago. Since he is adamant about not trusting me in any fashion, shape, or form – he needs to make a decision. Do he want to be with someone he can’t trust?

            Then she turned to me and said, I also have to make a decision. Do I want to be with someone/continue to be with someone who does not trust me?

            Last week, she said when she asked him about trust. She could not believe the amount of hostility that he still shows after three months. She also says she could not believe or understand some of the things he is angry about. She also mentioned depression and jealously.



        • Nancy on February 25, 2018 at 2:12 pm

          Hi Renee,

          I’m so happy that you are creating these fun moments with your family. So great!

          I think I’m in line with what you said about coming clean, Renee.

          I think the most important part about coming clean would be to be broken before The Lord. Then ask Him about next steps.

          If the h is not safe then admitting this to him would be unwise, I think.

          The conviction and repentance in my own heart would create a big change in my heart towards him, as I continued to wait and observe his behaviour. He would likely feel a difference.

          If I decided to get back together (after seeing real change in him – as Leslie has described in detain, in other posts), then I MIGHT consider telling him. But then, I’m still not sure how much it would matter…I’d have to take that to God.

          Yeah.. my motives are never totally pure. That’s no excuse before The Lord, and this is why I would need to fall on my face before Him. But being vulnerable before another person – we need to ensure that they are safe! If not, then it’s self-destructive, I think.

        • Nancy on February 25, 2018 at 4:47 pm

          Hi Renee,

          Is your H getting help for his trust issue?

          Your discomfort with separation is really obvious and I wonder if your h is not just ‘biding his time’ because he knows this.

          Renee, have you gone before The Lord and asked Him to help you identify what you will no longer tolerate in a partnership? Have you gotten crystal clear in your own spirit what you need from a partner? Have you identified these things knowing that you have no control over wether your h does them, or not? Because this part – the part I’ve just described, is very, very scary. If I get honest with myself and I admit my limitations, then I come up against an excruciating fact :

          I have no control over wether he will do the things that I have identified that I need. It feels much safer to be vague.

          If I am crystal clear, then I realize that I have no control over his part. I have just dismantled the “we” of our marriage and identified “me”. Very. Scary.

          If indeed you have gotten very clear within yourself what you need. Have you communicated this to him? Because if he isn’t doing those 2 or 3 things, then what’s the point of any ‘relational’ discussion with him, at all? There’s no point. There’s only waiting, but it’s waiting on The Lord.

          You say ,” 6 months and we are working”. This might be a flag, Renee. When I was separated, there was no more “we”. It’s very easy to shift responsibility onto the “we”. For me, I used “we” to delude myself into believing I had control over the work he put into our relationship.

          There is you and your work, and there is him and his.

          If he hasn’t had conviction and repentance, that only The Lord can bring about, then what will a 6 month deadline do? I see an investment in time here, Renee.

          Time heals nothing at all.

          • Renee on February 25, 2018 at 7:10 pm

            Is your H getting help for his trust issue?

            No Nancy, he is not. Remember, in his mind, I am the sole problem. Not each take responsibility. If I would do A then he would be able to do B.

            Your discomfort with separation is really obvious and I wonder if your h is not just ‘biding his time’ because he knows this.

            Probably so. The only thing is this time it will end badly for us all.

            Renee, have you gone before The Lord and asked Him to help you identify what you will no longer tolerate in a partnership?

            Yes, I have. It was revealing itself even before the physical separation.

            Have you gotten crystal clear in your own spirit what you need from a partner?

            Yes, I have.

            Have you identified these things knowing that you have no control over whether your h does them, or not?
            Yes I have. He has no intentions still and I have no control. His choice.

            Because this part – the part I’ve just described, is very, very scary. If I get honest with myself and I admit my limitations, then I come up against an excruciating fact : I have no control over whether he will do the things that I have identified that I need. It feels much safer to be vague.

            No more vague happening. At least on my end. But now he is saying I am trying to be controlling and force him to make a decision. And I don’t care how many times, I say I am communicating my needs/desire/wants, he doesn’t accept that fact.

            If indeed you have gotten very clear within yourself what you need. Have you communicated this to him?

            Yes. And as we have some conversations, opportunities do present themselves, and when they do I communicate. However, this is his constant response. You’re only thinking about you. The things you want. How you think things should be. You don’t think about how I want to be treated or feel. You can take your out at any time and find yourself a doormat.

            And when I do ask him – he loops around and never answer the question and sing the same old song.

            Because if he isn’t doing those 2 or 3 things, then what’s the point of any ‘relational’ discussion with him, at all? There’s no point. There’s only waiting, but it’s waiting on The Lord.

            I don’t know the point. Is there really one? However, as I mentioned, when an opportunity presents itself, I take my opportunity.

            Ok Nancy what does that mean [There’s only waiting, but it’s waiting on The Lord.]? Waiting on the Lord to do what? I understand the working in our heart. Is that what you mean? Aly reminded me about that one when dealing with a counselor, ask questions don’t assume what someone meant. So that is for every relationship.

            You say ,” 6 months and we are working”. This might be a flag, Renee. When I was separated, there was no more “we”. It’s very easy to shift responsibility onto the “we”. For me, I used “we” to delude myself into believing I had control over the work he put into our relationship.

            I am not concerned about his work. Could care less. No, I am not trying to be heartless. At this point, he does not have to change one single thing. I just ask God to forgive me but I intend to follow through with my divorce in three more months. In six months I can get the help of our state to keep from going bankrupt trying to get a divorce and I am still saving as I can.

            Do I want a divorce? No! But I don’t want what this darling husband of mine is offering anymore.

            So when I say work I mean when the opportunity presents itself, ask for what I need. He too has time to ask for what he needs. Instead he uses it to say I’m trying to make him into a doormat, I’m trying to control him. Anything to try and make me feel guilty about asking for what I want. That’s all I want right now and maybe I’m still asking too much of him,

            If he hasn’t had conviction and repentance that only The Lord can bring about, then what will a 6 month deadline do? I see an investment in time here, Renee.

            I don’t understand Nancy (I see an investment in time). Agreed, time heals nothing.



          • Starlight on February 26, 2018 at 2:11 am

            When an abuser says he doesn’t trust his spouse it is a whole different mistrust than the mistrust you have for him. I always found that claim to be a distraction from the real issues.
            I didn’t trust my ex because he was cheating on me. He didn’t trust me because I might call police if he got physically aggressive with me again!!



        • Nancy on February 25, 2018 at 8:46 pm

          Thanks for responding so thoroughly, Renee.

          If you’ve been crystal clear about your needs with him, then it is defeating the purpose of the separation to ask him again. If you continue to engage him, you are physically separated but not emotionally separated. You are engaging in a push-pull dynamic whenever you ‘take your opportunity’.

          I hope I can say this in a way that doesn’t offend because I certainly don’t mean it to be hurtful: If you are ‘taking your opportunity’ to re-iterate what you need from him, doesn’t it make sense that he feels controlled in this? I’m not saying that you are controlling. Nor am I saying anything about your overall dynamic. But for this instance put yourself in his shoes: you’ve asked him to take responsibility and that you cannot live with him until he owns his stuff ( in whatever criteria you’ve given him). You then separate physically, but at every opportunity you remind him of your requirements.

          This is not a separation in my view. In my view, you’re keeping the drama alive and that does not allow the marriage to die.

          That’s what I meant when I talked about ‘waiting on The Lord’. It’s also what I’ve meant when I’ve asked if you have laid your marriage at the foot of the cross. It’s deciding to stop speaking to him about it, and leaving his decision entirely up to him. ( and in the meantime praying your heart out for his conversion).

          Blessings for your heart, Renee

          • Renee on February 26, 2018 at 6:05 pm

            I agree Nancy. This is not a separation.

            Husband is trying to be too physically involved and I’m still emotionally involved at times.



        • Remedy on February 26, 2018 at 10:35 am

          Clarification of my sentence…..all sorts of safety reasons, short and long term. Some effects from living in such conditions go on and longer term healing and evidence that safety has returned. We do not sin when we obey the Scripture instructing us to guard our heart.

          We must be so careful handling Scripture and having a good grasp on the WHOLE counsel of its message. Otherwise, we can take one verse…..mb even out of context……and build an entire theological position without consideration of other verses that would contradict.

          Hope this helps.

        • Nancy on February 26, 2018 at 8:54 pm

          Renee. It is very brave of you to admit that this is not a separation. So I guess the question then becomes,

          What are you hoping to accomplish through this?

          • Renee on February 28, 2018 at 9:08 pm

            What I wanted to see happen was us learning to communicate. What things he needed to change and what I needed to change. However, so far we are still in a loop. But we are in a loop from a distance thank God. So I still find myself mostly at peace now Nancy.

            Let me give you this idea and you and others can let me know how to handle this better if possible.

            For example; we had a home repair issue. He helped us get it back working. As he was finishing up, he kept saying I can always call on him. I said you are appreciated but I shouldn’t rely on you now (to do lawn care, car wash, house repair, etc.) that we are separated. He insisted that I could and I insisted that I shouldn’t. It doesn’t feel right I said. He then says he didn’t want any other man cutting the lawn or working on the house. It’s still his house also. He goes even if we divorce he better not come up in there and better buy me a house. Of course, that went sideways and I told him he absolutely could not dictate to me especially if we divorce. That the courts would make that decision and we may even have to sale. I told him he had a decision to make.

            So later that day he texted me about I was putting pressure on him trying to force him to come home, trying to force him to make a decision, and he felt control. So I have not been bringing up the relationship. That’s how it came up that day.

            So a few days later I did not offer the friendly hug and if I had to change clothes, I closed my bedroom door.

            So now he is like, you know I don’t like you closing the door on me and you have not given me my hugs. I was like you said I’ve been putting too much pressure on you.

            So of course, he doesn’t accept my explanation. That is my truth. I had been flirty, welcoming, friendly, etc. Addressing that I was ok with him coming home when he felt he could offer me what I needed and vice versa. But only when he would say he was thinking of coming home.

            So that is what I mean when I say I was being clear at every opportunity. When the opportunity presented itself.

            So to answer you now Nancy, I have no clue.



        • Nancy on March 1, 2018 at 8:06 am

          Thanks for sharing, Renee.

          A separation is severing the relationship. It is a divorce, minus the paperwork. It is practicing daily life as a single parent.

          There are lots of actions and words here that do not line up with the reality of the separation.

          Hugs for one. Flirting. He should not be allowed into the house, let alone near the bedroom.

          He’s not reaping any consequences, Renee, – he can ‘come home when he felt he could offer you what you needed. But only when he would say he was thinking of coming home.’ Why give him that option?

          What keeps you from releasing this man, Renee? From what you have described here, you are ambivalent and giving him all kinds of access that he shouldn’t have.

          There are so many open doors to get entangled. That’s what boundaries do- they sever the entanglement. But you are still very wrapped up in each other.

          Do you see how inappropriate it is for him to complain about you closing the door when you change? He wouldn’t have that complaint if he weren’t allowed in the house.

          I’ll write again later.

          • JoAnn on March 1, 2018 at 12:39 pm

            I agree, Nancy. The question remains: what do you want? And what is stopping you from getting what you want? Obviously, there are enough “good times” to make Renee feel like there is something to recover here. OK…then what needs to happen in order for the marriage to be recovered? And if you and your h decide to work toward recovery, then what are the next steps? The separation is supposed to give him the wake up call that he needs to be willing to change, but your (Renee’s) “boundaries” are so fluid as to be meaningless. Consider: Exactly what am I willing to do to get what I want? I propose these questions as how you must go to the Lord to get clear answers to them. Pray for the Lord to make you clear.



          • Renee on March 2, 2018 at 9:52 am

            Nancy, I can’t get this back under your post.

            You said: Hugs for one.

            It is hard to be consistent on this boundary. We are in front of our teens and he is going oh so you can’t give me a hug. You acting like I am a blah, blah, blah. You shouldn’t be like that – what kind of an example are you setting? I refuse, then (I feel) he is making me out to be the monster.

            Then it is said not to engage (What kind of an example are you setting), so now what?

            You said: Flirting.

            Not the kind that may come to your mind. I’m taking about trying to be at my best (looks and mentally – laughing and happy) when he is around. I’m trying not to appear needy, helpless, or distraught.

            You said: He should not be allowed into the house, let alone near the bedroom.

            Tell that to the courts, police, and attorneys in my state. Until there is a divorce I can’t even change the locks to the home. If I do, he can knock out a window and enter and nothing can be done. Been there and asked that question numerous times. So I can say you can’t come. Then guess who can escort him to say he can. Therefore, for now when he says he needs to come over I just agree.

            I am trying to pick my battles. I’m trying to control what I can (the bedroom) but not the entire home.

            You said: He’s not reaping any consequences, Renee.

            I do not agree. I will say maybe not as many as he should.

            You said: he can ‘come home when he felt he could offer you what you needed. But only when he would say he was thinking of coming home.’ Why give him that option?

            Because as I mentioned to Ruth. There’s much conflicting information on what that means (working on your marriage) from coaches, pastors, counselors, marriage gurus, family and friends, etc. Even we on this blog are in conflict about what that really means.

            You said: What keeps you from releasing this man, Renee? From what you have described here, you are ambivalent and giving him all kinds of access that he shouldn’t have.

            I agree. Too much trying to figure out what is right or wrong. Now, I see why many choose divorce.



          • Renee on March 2, 2018 at 10:02 am

            Lordy, you all are causing me to have such a very emotional week. A needed kick in the pants none the less.

            THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!



          • JoAnn on March 2, 2018 at 12:15 pm

            I’m sorry, Renee. We hare are trying to offer options and new ways to think about your situation, not so much tell you what to do. Even as Nancy has said so many times, that a vital first step is putting your marriage on the altar, before the Lord, then asking Him to make you clear about what He wants for you….that’s the goal for you to move toward. So, on the one hand, what do I want, then on the other, what is the Lord’s will? When you have got to the place where both of those questions come together, then you will be able to move on. But I still think the issue that you need to be thinking and praying about is: What do you want? What is your ultimate outcome? Until you are clear about that, you can’t address the next question about what is stopping you from reaching that goal. Then, once you are clear about that, you will be able to identify the next steps. I sympathize with your conflict and confusion, and the only way to get out of that place is to go to a different place: the altar and the cross.
            As I said before, it is obvious that there are times when you enjoy being with your husband, so that makes this a very difficult issue for you to be clear about. Prayers of surrender; that’s what are needed.



        • Nancy on March 1, 2018 at 8:38 am

          One thing I noticed about myself when going through setting boundaries with my mother and mother-in-law, was that there was a piece of me that was addicted to the drama. We had lived with drama for so long that I didn’t quite know how to be ‘even’. Maybe this is happening with you?

          Through this process ( of changing ‘our part’ of the dance) we needed weekly counselling. It was essential because so many of these behaviours are deeply rooted.

          I believe that you need regular counselling, Renee, to help you to walk in CORE strength; to set appropriate boundaries, and to stand firm in them.

        • Seeing the Light on March 1, 2018 at 9:27 am

          Nancy,

          I just had to chime in here. I have noticed something very similar in relationship with my mother. When I have set boundaries with my mother, and after all the dust settles, somewhere in there would be a conversation without the drama, with normal, decent subjects – the weather, the garden, the grandchildren. (This kind of thing wouldn’t last and I would drop my boundaries). Yet I noticed when I would get off the phone after such a conversation, there would be a sense of void. It felt so uncomfortable. At one time my counselor and I had discussed how for a borderline like her, intimacy is defined by the drama and the pain. Even though I don’t relate to other people this way, I think somewhere it was imprinted on me that connecting with her equals all the drama. I think after decades of that, relating to her in a healthy way felt like we hadn’t connected at all. It was like there was more of a void talking to her – which left parts of my brain expecting a drama “hit” and not getting it – than not talking to her. It was surprising and strange. This is definitely not a good reason to wallow in the old, unhealthy drama and it’s important to get through that and set up new patterns (I’m still not there), but it was definitely something significant to notice.

        • Nancy on March 1, 2018 at 8:44 pm

          I agree JoAnn, the question remains for Renee: what do you want; and then what are you willing to do to get what you want?

          STL, I totally hear you about the sense of void when there is no drama. I’d never heard that intimacy is defined by drama and pain for a borderline..it makes sense though. It also explains that that’s what I learned intimacy was….drama and pain! Explains the ‘void’ feeling after a normal conversation, as well as the sensevof being addictied to drama.

          I also relate to dropping boundaries after a normal conversation. So often I’d fall into the trap of believing that because she had had this normal conversation I could suddenly trust her with my heart. Not. So. I have to remind myself when I feel like confiding in her, that she is simply not trustworthy.

          Our limited relationship will only ever be about gardening and the grandchildren. It’s sometimes sad, but it’s the reality of the mother that God gave me.

          I am starting to appreciate that ‘mundane’ reality is so much better than the drama. The drama is mighty engrained, though. Thank God for His patience; and that His conviction of us is for our freedom 🙂

        • Nancy on March 2, 2018 at 12:06 pm

          Hi Renee,

          As far as the hugs are concerned. He’s using the kids to manipulate you. So what if he says you’re the monster? So what if there is an awkward moment? If he escalates, you increase the boundary and you leave. Standing in CORE will allow you to withstand such ridiculous tactics. And what about the teens…seeing mom hug dad. This has gotta feel very hypocritical / confusing for them. Stay true to yourself, Renee.

          You said that there is conflicting information on this blog as to what working on your marriage means. This statement is telling, Renee. Think about it: is that what you are doing? Working on your marriage?

          As far as I can see, there is no conflicting information on this blog as to what the purpose of a biblical separation is.

          It is making the decision to STOP working on your marriage. It’s separating from your marriage; and focusing solely on you. It’s praying that the drastic changes will act as a wake up call for your spouse. It’s releasing any investment you have in the relationship, to The Lord.

          Maybe this is the reason for the double messages you are sending, and for your fluid boundaries?

          That you’re not clear in your own spirit as to what you hope to accomplish with this ‘non separation’?

          I’m sorry that you’ve had such an emotional week, Renee. My intention is not to cause pain, for it’s own sake.

        • Nancy on March 2, 2018 at 2:24 pm

          Hi JoAnn and Renee,

          I’m glad you mentioned JoAnn that our ideas and questions are not to ‘tell you what to do’, but to offer you questions or perspectives that might help you to think about things differently.

          From my own experience, I could not have kept my boundaries or requirements without surrendering to The Lord. Walking in CORE strength during my separation would have been impossible.

          • Renee on March 2, 2018 at 6:44 pm

            Nancy and JoAnn, I do not feel you are trying to tell me what to do.



    • Aleea on February 25, 2018 at 5:51 am

      “However, I have found on here as well as other boards that we tend to gravitate more toward the person(s) and post providing the suggestions/comments/thoughts based on where we are mentally in our marital relationship. So if one is sharing how to stay regardless of how one is being treated, we would gravitate to those posts. When we are ready to leave, then we will gravitate to those posts.”

      Renee, that is just so, so ture. We all gravitate towards confirmation biais. If we are to learn, we must be willing to learn. The truth of the world is that it is actually chaotic. That truth is very frightening, sometimes rudderless. We want simple, clean, black and white. The world is totally messy, complex and highly nauanced.

      I’m fairly sure God often thinks: Did you ever really read My Words, or did you merely finger through them for proof texts which you thought might valuably support an already conceived idea concerning some distorted connection between us. It is so, so hard to be open. I have to fight so hard to not just cling to what I want to hear, discarding the evidence that doesn’t fit with my beliefs, giving greater weight to evidence that does. Lord God help me!!! With enough mental gymnastics, just about any fact can become misshapen in favor to one’s confirmation bias. ―And even peer-review can become just Group Think. Confirmation bias is the most effective way to go on living a lie. All I know to guard against it is to ask God to help me. The research clearly shows that when one who fantasises is presented with reason, logic, evidence their fantasies actually increase. When one talks to such a person, their words become the very cause of that person’s fantasy. . . .Again, all I know is to ask God: Please Lord, don’t let me become even more of an idiot than I already am. ―Help me. ―I so need your help to find my way. Lord God, I *seriously* lack wisdom but You said “. . . .if anyone lacks wisdom, let them ask of You, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given. . . .” Help me Lord God, please change me and I don’t even know how to ask what that change should be many times!

      ⍟ Renee, I am praying for you and your husband. Please always consult the Holy Spirit about anything I am saying but here is what I was saying:

      re: “Well all except the part about mutual torment (absolutely NOT) Now I can put it in writing. . .”

      I’m trying to say this:

      Renee, . . .you shackle yourself to him and him to you and then you say: neither of us are running away *no matter* what happens and that’s important because then you don’t get to run away . . . .you see, the thing is. . . .

      . . .if you can run away you *can’t* tell each other the truth because if you tell someone the truth, the real truth and all of the truth about you and they don’t run away, ―Renee, they weren’t listening. 🐵🙊 🙉 Do you know what I am saying???

      That is one of God’s purposes for marriage: someone around you can count on ―NOT― to run away because then you can actually tell them the truth. In my marriage classes I see it all the time. No one can tell each other the truth because the other will just run away.

      Imagine if at church they told me: ―Aleea, you can be a member no matter what you tell us. Then, I am actually, really free to tell them *all* of the truth about what I think. That’s what I am trying to say.

      I say: H, I bet on you and you bet on me too. You don’t get to be here unless you are ALL in. I’m all in and he is too.✔

      🔷 😷 Renee, you and I have to be actually, *r-e-a-l-l-y* stuck with the consequences for the next 50 years to fully be motivated to make everything better. That’s what Jesus was actually talking about in the primary source documents of the Bible. Jesus said neither of you get to leave because I need you both telling each other the complete truth.

      When I realize, Wow Aleea, we can either straighten this out with H or you can suffer through it for the next five decades, I get to work praying, cleaning my filthy heart and negotiating with him and he does that with me too. That’s what I am saying because it is what Jesus said.

    • Seeing the Light on February 27, 2018 at 10:00 am

      Renee,

      In reading through the conversations this week I was struck with similarities in how your husband interacts with you and how mine interacts with me. I no longer allow myself to be vulnerable with my husband as he has shown his true self and he is not safe. My husband probably does fall under the category of NPD and/or sociopathy, but he has also chosen evil, I believe. Do you have any suspicions or confirmation on whether your husband is personality-disordered or character-disturbed (a term from George Simon)? Perhaps you have already addressed that in other comments on other posts.

      I have seen your conversation with Aleea regarding the matter of being handcuffed to your partner and so on. I have resisted chiming in until now. Aleea’s post of February 22, 2018 5:52 am (particularly the second to last paragraph) was strikingly similar to the thoughts of Jordan Peterson (not a Christian). http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/jordan-petersons-advice-marriage-brilliant If you don’t have time to read the entire post, I suggest skipping right down to the second gray highlighted box. The bits about handcuffing and mutual torment particularly caught my attention. I completely disagree with this perspective, most especially in the context of destructive marriage. Good grief, if I were handcuffed to an abuser, I’d be looking for any tool I could find to bust those things in bits. Since her comment is so in tune with his, I exposed myself to a little bit of his beliefs this week. He seems anti-divorce in the extreme. He seems to know a bit about NPD and BPD, etc. as he is a psychologist and a professor of psychology, but I have yet to find anything regarding his opinion about marriage and divorce in the presence of abuse. I think from what I have read and viewed these views only work in a fairy tale land where everyone has a good heart and they’re just scared to be open and truthful. Naive. I did not enter into marriage with the understanding that I would submit to torment. I certainly never had nor do I have the intention of tormenting someone else.

      The author of the post itself, Jon Miltimore, would agree with Aleea that marriage gives the other person the power to destroy you, or she would agree with him (in the paragraph immediately below the second gray highlighted box). [Sidenote: I would also suggest reading Aleea’s last paragraph in the same above-referenced comment and the paragraph written by Jon Miltimore immediately below the second video/photograph]. Certainly, marriage carries an immense power for destruction in the wrong hands. If that is what your spouse chose to do with the power they were given, by all means, take that power away from them – in good conscience – with no more romanticized notions about never, ever leaving no matter what.

      • Remedy on February 27, 2018 at 3:44 pm

        Could not agree more! Marriage, according to the Scriptures, is to model Christ’s love for His bride. This does not model Satan’s plan for marriage… which would be our total destruction.

        Again, we must be so careful handling the Scriptures!

      • Nancy on February 27, 2018 at 3:54 pm

        Wow, STL. It’s so important to know the background of who we listen to. Thank you for researching.

        This guy Peterson’s perspective sounds like a secular version of what unhealthy churches rely on – fairy tale thinking; which only adds to the destruction.

      • Aleea on February 27, 2018 at 8:07 pm

        STL, Nancy, Renee, et.al. any one else,

        . . . What about what the Scriptures actually say? Just what they say, nothing else. . . .You can get that the entire book just by Googling it.

        ipabookih.info/the8181930.pdf

        . . . Chapter 5: Those are actually the oldest extant copies of what Jesus said on marriage and divorce and look at what they say. I mean, Wow!!!!! . . .Not what we are saying here. They are the actual words of Jesus. I don’t see Jesus teaching what we teach here. I don’t think you could make the case from the actual texts but I am interested if you care to try together. I will too.

        Let’s start with the first saying of Jesus on the subject and lets look at them one by one. Pick anyone you want but lets do one at a time so we can stay together on it and get consensus for any conclusions we come to.

        . . .And if we get thrown off the site by Leslie for simple Bible study at least it was in a noble effort. If we don’t care what the Bible says about the matter then we got nothing anyway.

      • Renee on February 28, 2018 at 9:34 pm

        Seeing The Light. Never been diagnosed. If so, I haven’t heard. The counselor working with the kids assessed him as suffering from major depression and anger (which she feels is interchangeable). The way she explained it is that an angry person can suffer from major depression and a depressed person can be very angry. She also assessed a bad case of being stubborn, prideful, and immature. His abuse is stemming from these things. The counselor also said she could not believe how hostile he was after three months. She spoke with him personally concerning how we need to operate around our kids. When she mentioned trusting me, he lost his cool and turned away from me. Her assessment matched the assessment that I got from the book Should I stay or Should I go.

        So what does all that mean? I don’t know.

        • Connie on March 1, 2018 at 12:51 am

          Patrick Doyle explains it this way: Depression covers anger. Anger covers hurt. Hurt covers injustice that has been done to you. You need to deal with the injustice. Forgive, deal with the bitterness, give it to God (ask Jesus where He was when it happened and how He would want you to respond. Ask Him to comfort you, etc.) .

          I finally separated and told h that I knew he was angry with his dad and sister but taking it out on me (and himself actually, since the anger/depression was harming him in a big way), and I was going to stay away until he dealt with all that. He’s come a long way, but we’re still on it.

        • Seeing the Light on March 1, 2018 at 7:58 pm

          Renee,
          Thank you for answering my question. Our husbands sure do share some similarities. I don’t think my is depressed, though. Angry, yes! He won’t admit to it, but he is a very angry person. We have not been to counseling together, but he responds with disdain and a sort of self-righteous look at the mere mention of trusting me since I am so untrustworthy. I think I actually have the book you mentioned, but about the time I got it, I was realizing that this was probably never going to work out so I didn’t read it. I should look for it and check it out.

  29. Renee on February 24, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Aleea, I see this part of your comment [But many times my repentance even needs to be repented of.] comes from and I am quoting this “Continual Repentance,” in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, ed. Arthur Bennett (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust), 136-137.

    I see you use this quote much. Can you comment on why you resonate with it so much? Not saying it is right or it is wrong. I however, have never believed my repentance need to be repented of.

    So I am looking to have an understanding. But for now, I’m headed out to enjoy the day with the teens while they still don’t mind being around.

    God bless everyone!!!

    • Aleea on February 26, 2018 at 4:26 am

      Hello Renee,

      It is so, so much older than Arthur Bennett. . . .The Puritans were often just quoting the church fathers, who were quoting margin notes in acient Bible manuscripts. . . . .which were quoting others. Think about the quote in Acts 17:28 “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” That is coming from some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers who are are actually quoting other more acient philsosphers in different traditions. . . .Just like the Bible, so much is going back to oral traditions and the “quotes” are blends of concepts. . . . .When the N.T. was written it was just *crazy* times, women were widely understood as being imperfect men. . . .This is from the (authentic and proven authentic in international peer-review) Gospel of Thomas it is saying number 114: Simon Peter said to them [Jesus and the other disciples], “Mary should leave us, for females are not worthy of life.” Jesus said, “See, I am going to attract her to make her male so that she too might become a living spirit that resembles you males. For every female (element) that makes itself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.” 😓 Crazy stuff that lead to women being second class everything.

      But even in the evil, the good is still there. Some of it is so, so beautiful: Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas “. . . . These are the secret words which Jesus spoke, and which Judas Thomas, wrote down. . . .Don’t lie, and don’t do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that can remain undisclosed.” —Jesus, Gospel of Thomas Saying #6 Notice how that sounds just like Luke 8:17 “For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” . . .And Matthew 10:26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. They are quoting oral strands that go way, w-a-y back. From these sayings “Q” [Q is part of the common [identical] material found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke but not in the Gospel of Mark. et.al.] from them comes the source material for our gospels. Interpretative rewrites of oral tradition!!! How do they know that? They are exact, right down to the spelling errors. . . .You know people are coping each other when they even copy the spelling errors. Everything goes back to some oral tradition because Jesus didn’t write anything down.

      “Can you comment on why you resonate with it so much?”

      . . .Because when after repenting, I fall into the same sin (gossiping, getting angry, et.al.) again and again. So after awhile, it feels like a hopeless loop. Like the actual repenting is ineffective and almost mocking to God. . . . .Like even the “repentance” needs to repented of. I want to be able to get beyond things in my life and not have to keep repenting of them again and again and again and again. I love to gossip but it is just wrong and destructive. Why is it so appealing???

      “So I am looking to have an understanding. But for now, I’m headed out to enjoy the day with the teens while they still don’t mind being around.” . . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .Good for you Renee!!! . . . .Absolutely the right thing to do in both cases.

  30. Remedy on February 24, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    As we pray and contemplate these deeply troubling issues, I would like to share two passages from the Bible that are in the Bible…..I Corinthians 5:9-13 And 2 Timothy 3:1-5, along with the context of the teaching around them. These are given as guidance and even commands with no disclaimer saying ‘unless you are married.’ Read them, if you’re able, in several different versions. A reviler is a verbal abuser, by the way.

    I am curious to know how others interpret these very plain descriptions and instructions. It seems to me it is not addressing one who occasionally sins in these ways, recognizes and repents, but one who lives life in this manner amongst the people of the Lord. A mindset that shapes their views and actions toward other human beings.

    I must say…..any time I attempt to get answers on how to interpret these plain teachings, there is a lot of ‘crickets’ almost as if we, as Christians, have a hard time believing our own Bibles as it pertains to dealing with evil. Maybe that is why we struggle so much because our tendency is to squash that down or tell ourselves it only pertains to very high-profile acts and persons of evil, rather than face this is a more common problem that does walk amongst us.

    I spent the entire first half of my life totally naive in this regard and so I am really looking for answers on this topic. As the church, I do believe the whole counsel of Scripture can guide us but get very bothered with the lack of ‘conversation about this uncomfortable truth. It does exist in marriages😢, and many other relationships.

    • JoAnn on February 24, 2018 at 10:55 pm

      Remedy, thank you for bringing up those two passages. I had never before looked at them in the light of a marriage where one partner is “covetous and rapacious, or idolaters or fornicators.” It would seem that if the church is charged to “not mingle with anyone who is called a brother” who does those things, then how can anyone require a woman to live with a man who is? Wow. I do agree that many of today’s “churches” are very lax in applying the whole of scripture, which is no doubt why the church as a whole is ineffectual. Years ago, my husband and I were attending a denomination, and the pastor arranged for a week long gospel campaign. In the end, about half of the congregation, including my husband and me, responded to the altar call. I am thankful to the Lord for that time, which was shortly after we got married, but what does it say about a congregation that has so many “unsaved” people? So, I agree with you that there is a problem when we don’t take all of scripture, and I am glad you mentioned those passages, as it caused me to consider this matter of telling a wife that she has to stay with a man that the Bible tells us should be banned from meeting with the church. Wow…..

    • listening ear on February 25, 2018 at 9:13 pm

      Remedy…have you ever read Scott Peck’s “People of the Lie”

      Counselor Patrick Doyle refers to this book too that discusses

      the prevalence of evil among everyday individuals.

      • Remedy on February 25, 2018 at 11:21 pm

        I have not……but I do see that Scripture gives us instructions for a different way to handle this type of person. Even if they do not murder or physically beat people, they are still dangerous and cause much harm. We should handle them with the same serious the Scriptures handle them with.

  31. John on February 25, 2018 at 2:03 am

    Thanks Aleea, Well said. Really appreciate your insight. You have a gift! You too Nancy if you read this. I just like to encourage everyone to stay grounded in the Word. Nothing we learn will ever contradict it and if it does we have a decision which info we are going to toss out. Choose life!
    God Bless you all.

    • Aleea on February 25, 2018 at 5:56 am

      John, you are a gift too. Treat yourself like you are someone you have been assigned (―like a full-time job) to take excellent care of. ―Because God did give us that job. The better you treat yourself (―kindness, caring, compassion, with a good dose of truth and reality always), the better you will treat Adele. It all flows from the inside as you care for “little John” (the child within) where Christ lives in our hearts. ―You can actually, sacrificially serve her well the better you care for you.ツ

    • Aleea on February 27, 2018 at 4:57 am

      Hello John,

      . . .I was praying about your situation yesterday and it just was so laid on my heart to tell you: John please remember to provide an environment of sincere, ongoing affection, caring, protection, nurture, thoughtfulness with your wife and yourself especially. . . .Be gentle with yourself because everything flows from the inside out. . . .The thing that always, totally floors me is how all of us do not comprehend what marvelous responders all people are when they get an environment of sincere, ongoing affection, caring, protection, nurture, thoughtfulness (sans DSM-5-style issues). . . ―Everything just blossoms —I’m praying that for you. . . . and it goes both ways.

      . . .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; a “metanoia” after the transformational experience talked about everywhere in the New Testament.

      Transformational “metanoia” means something like “are you gettin’ it?” . . . .are you r-e-a-l-l-y gettin’ it? . . . .Unless I totally don’t get it, we want to be what *continually changes*☑✓✔ what we are (Romans 8:26-27; John 14:26; Acts 1:8; Romans 5:5; Acts 2:38). John, what we do not yet know is usually w-a-y more important than what we “know” or think we know. “metanoia”: what you do not yet know is often way more important than what you already know!

      John, what’s better: to not be afraid –or- to know that you can handle being totally afraid and totally terrified? We can’t bargain with the past but the future, —the future is a place we can bargain with. What’s the alternative: Ruling hell might be better than being a subject in hell, —but not by much.

      Many Christians think that they can build a delusion and then live inside that. Well, that’s going to fall apart, especially as you know more and more and more facts. What is there, then, that’s going to help you fight against suffering? It is what Christ is: Truth. It’s the Truth. The Truth is the antidote to suffering. The reason for that is because the Truth puts reality b-e-h-i-n-d you, so that you can face the reality that’s coming straight at you without becoming weak and degenerating and becoming resentful, and wishing for the destruction of Being, because that’s Hell on earth. The final Hell is your soul wishing for the destruction of everything, because it’s too painful, and you’re too bitter. . . . John I see that happen to people all the time —me too.

      The frontier is the edge between what you know and what you don’t know. You want to put yourself in Christ and He puts you right on that edge. Transformational “metanoia”: are you gettin’ it? . . . .are you r-e-a-l-l-y gettin’ it? . . . Too heady, too “deep,” too “hard” . . . .Then just act out an environment of sincere, ongoing affection, caring, protection, nurture, thoughtfulness, gentleness with your wife and especially yourself.

    • Seeing the Light on February 27, 2018 at 8:16 am

      Aleea said: ” . . .The thing that always, totally floors me is how all of us do not comprehend what marvelous responders all people are when they get an environment of sincere, ongoing affection, caring, protection, nurture, thoughtfulness (sans DSM-5-style issues). . . ―Everything just blossoms” —I just wanted to say that I completely disagree with this. I’m only speaking up because I think it’s dangerous to believe it. Not all people without DSM-5-style issues respond to this kind of treatment. There are wicked people. Not everyone who has chosen the path of wickedness is mentally ill (DSM-wise). Some people are just evil – and that’s biblical. One can give them an environment filled with sincere affection, nurture, thoughtfulness, and so on for years, and still get abuse in response, and sometimes even increasing abuse as the abuser – who has chosen his path – sees your behavior as making you even better prey.

  32. Renee on February 25, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Aleea..[If you can run away you *can’t* tell each other the truth because if you tell someone the truth, the real truth and all of the truth about you and they don’t run away, ―Renee, they weren’t listening. Do you know what I am saying???]

    Aleea, this is the part I don’t like about physical separation. I feel you can still tell each other the truth. However, I can’t see your trueness. Sure, I can gauge much by your voice reaction and words. But I would love to be open to seeing it all including facial expression, body language, reactions (storming out, slamming doors, shutting down) etc. Seeing your entire trueness.

    You know how a person can tell you everything is ok and they are not angry with you about whatever truth session you just had but then you have to pull teeth to engage with them the rest of the day. And, if it were not for you pulling from them you would get nothing. Or, they leave home and stay gone almost the entire day. When it would have been easier to say, I can’t absorb what was just said (be specific) and I feel hurt (what does that mean? What is that feeling – angry, confused, sadden.). I don’t want to be disrespectful to you so I need some time to myself and will spend it by doing xy and z.

    Don’t say you are ok with something when you are not!

    • Aleea on February 26, 2018 at 6:08 am

      “. . .Aleea, this is the part I don’t like about physical separation. I feel you can still tell each other the truth. However, I can’t see your trueness. Sure, I can gauge much by your voice reaction and words. But I would love to be open to seeing it all including facial expression, body language, reactions (storming out, slamming doors, shutting down) etc. Seeing your entire trueness.”

      Renee, I never thought about that but that is so, so true. What people are [which you can only really observe face-to-face in stress situations] speaks so, so much louder than anything they say.

      “You know how a person can tell you everything is ok and they are not angry with you about whatever truth session you just had but then you have to pull teeth to engage with them the rest of the day. And, if it were not for you pulling from them you would get nothing. Or, they leave home and stay gone almost the entire day.”

      Absolutely. I think I understand that. When you are really locked in and neither can just opt. out and the other person can’t just opt. out. either. . . . You can say “I am totally furious with you and I feel cheated because you did ______ with the kids but left me to _________, et.al.”

      . . . .So maybe, maybe for your husband, maybe that sounds like this: Renee, I *not* okay -at all- with what you have been doing and saying but you have said things that I want to fully process before commenting on them. Renee, do you understand why I need to do that? . . .and Lord God help me not to outcome engineer or peace fake when I do finally comment to Renee but help me to love as I should.

      The turth deconstructs e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g in its path but in so, so many situations people do not feel safe enough to even try it. They are resistant to the Holy Spirit —me too!

      Your husband: “Renee, should I drop my guard at the risk of being used by you?” . . .We have no idea how good we can be until we understand how utterly evil we *ALL* really are. Maybe see: Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. We are all totally evil to our CORES. You can’t be good until you really truly understand that. Carl Jung: If your branches reach to heaven, your roots go all the way down to hell. . . . Everyone walks around thinking they are not the Nazis. We are the Nazis and if we lived in the 1930s in Germany then we would be Hitler youth, swept up in our culture and socialization. Women are pure evil and so are men. That’s what I mean when I say “. . .even my repentance needs to be repented of” re:my answer to you below.

    • Aleea on February 27, 2018 at 5:48 am

      . . .Maybe model what you want to see even more and fully let him know what you are trying to do???

      Renee, I deeply apologize if you have done that and just gotten more abuse. —But only you know the truth. . .

      . . . Model the behavior you want to see??? Love like you have never, ever been hurt (—I can’t do it either but research shows it works). Forgive like it is the last day the earth will ever exist.

      . . .Maybe it is wrong, but I say if you are in a situation where your marriage isn’t of sufficient quality, you might ask yourself: Am I doing absolutely everything I can to fix it? I know it may be *disgusting* to hear someone say something like that after all certain women have tried but it is just true. The Lord God only knows how many doors will open if we are seriously doing everything we can to fix our marriages. That seems always worth pursuing (—sans actual DSM-5-style issues) that have been cross validated.

      —This place is u-n-r-e-a-l. Ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .In my world, imagine a tax law blog where random people share thoughts. —Hey Renee, what do you think is the best structure for a Reverse Triangular Merger? —Oh Aleea, I don’t know but maybe you should try using a Controlled Foreign Corporation and build in enough business purpose so that it is a tax-free exchange. Hmmm. . . .Then, five other random people just comment on all manner of Section 355 (IRS corporate tax law code re:mergers) “solutions.” . . . Unbelievably complex situations with all kinds of nuance and we are offering our thoughts and we are not even experienced tax attorneys. . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .the Kingdom-of-God, just unreal. —Our only connection is that we have had PTSD and been abused too. Just unreal. It is so beautiful but almost absurd. Of course, counselors agree on so very little from base methods to techniques. . . . Not so re:tax law, there is an actual answer. Some structures are optimal and others *will be* disallowed by the IRS.

      No wonder I can’t get my heart around it. I just know it is so meaningful to talk to people from here.

    • Nancy on February 27, 2018 at 7:17 am

      It’s dangerous in a destructive relationship to think, ” am I doing everything I can to fix it?”.

      That’s the type of thinking that leads to enabling and co-dependence. It only contributes to destruction. The whole point of this site and EDM book is to identify if it’s a destructive marriage, and then CHANGE your thinking!

      The only thing that gives him the best chance of The Lord getting a hold of his heart ( and it’s no guarantee) is to withdraw completely from the relationship, and allow him to make his choice.

      Then pray for him.

    • Seeing the Light on February 27, 2018 at 8:07 am

      I completely agree with Nancy. Exactly.

    • Remedy on February 27, 2018 at 8:52 am

      I hope this shows up under Nancy’s recent response. I agree totally. With a disordered person, it is reckless and foolish to handle on your own. Scripture gives plain instruction dealing with these types.

      In my very first response to the writer of the question, I suggested she seek professional help to get answers what she is dealing with. Then proceed with decisions about what the Lord would have her to do.

  33. Renee on February 26, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Thanks Aleea for responding back. Makes so much sense.

    Your husband: “Renee, should I drop my guard at the risk of being used by you?

    I have never been able to get all the way in.

  34. Aleea on February 27, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    If you have issues downloading, and want to, send me your e-mail at Aleea_Rodgers@yahoo.com . . . I’ll send the pdfs directly to you. We are trying to get to CHAPTER 5 the sayings on marriage and divorce. . . . Or tell me what saying you want to do first, we’ll start there but just one at a time. I feel that if we don’t go systematically, we are just trading ignorances. We have to go systematically and carefully to get agreement as we go along and to stay together. . . . .Or purpose a better way/ approach. I’m open to anything that is serious. We can just do e-mails too.

  35. Seeing the Light on February 27, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Aleea,

    I can’t get the link to take me anywhere useful. I got to a two-page pdf about ereaders and ebooks.

    I want to understand what you are saying here. You do not agree that what Leslie teaches regarding divorce for destructive and/or abusive marriages is biblically correct, right?

    Am I also correct in coming to the conclusion that from your previous comments, as well as your comment here, that you believe that the biblically appropriate response of a woman being abused, let’s say not physically, but any numbers of other ways, is to stay handcuffed to her husband and continue to take the abuse – no matter how severe and no matter the consequences to her well-being and physical health – staying in the marriage and doing everything she can to try to heal the relationship?

  36. Remedy on February 27, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    I Corinthians 7:10-11…..Paul having the mind of Christ and teaching Gentile believers. There are exceptions and parameters surrounding divorce……i believe for the very difficult situations, like hardheartedness which can be exercised by only one in the marriage and create a living nightmare for the other spouse. Abandonment, adultery, etc. There are exceptions according to the Scriptures. Again, we must be so careful. We will all stand alone and for ourselves before the Lord one day.

  37. Aleea on February 28, 2018 at 4:25 am

    . . .Okay, . . . .okay, . . . Lord Jesus, please help us all, especially me, to understand even if we hate what we find out and even if it makes us sadder. . . .So, let’s try *somehow* to just do it here. . . .Let’s just stick with the actual words of Jesus. Mark is the earliest gospel (—I have never met a person alive who disputes that but if you do could you please tell us your reasons?), so Mark 10:2-12 . . .By the way, I love all of you and I just want the truth even if it makes me sadder and that is usually *exactly* what happens. —Jesus says r-e-a-l-l-y hard things.

    These are the earliest manuscripts of the passage (below and numbered). You see very quickly that “the text” is not just one thing. There are critically important textual variants on equally dated manuscripts.

    Note below the text of No. 6, although it is widely accepted today, is not attested by *any* surviving manuscript. It combines elements from No. 3 (active ‘marry’ instead of passive ‘be married’) and No. 5 (‘a woman’ instead of ‘she’).

    No. 5 has the mark of ‘ecclesiastical sanction’ (. . .you know people in positions of power just making stuff up) The potentially confusing ‘she’ has been replaced with the clear ‘a woman’, and we have a simple prohibition of remarriage (not divorce, but remarriage) always applied to both sexes.

    Nos. 7 and 8 also recognize the potential confusions, and in addition they try to reconcile differences between this passage and the parallel in Matthew.

    Note Forms 1 and 2. They are highly unusual. They take the behavior of women as the more serious matter for concern and to be a difference in the act that ‘constitutes’ adultery. For a woman it is remarriage; for a man it is the prior step of divorce. I’ll ask everyone, is there any possible sense to this?

    The text might represent a reinterpretation of the tradition in the light of concern over the status of single, formerly married women in the Christian community. But the form of the saying in the Sinaitic Syriac (No. 2) suggests that W has omitted ‘marries another’. The second prohibition has also the effect of protecting a wife.

    But that is the least ‘rigorist’ form of the text. No. 4 may reflect a situation where formal divorce is not possible for a woman. She can only ‘go out’ from her husband.

    So, the Pharisees ask Jesus the question ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ In reply, Jesus quotes Genesis 2.24. But when they are alone, his disciples ask him for clarification.

    We have the following forms (—Just try to think about these, maybe really think about them.):

    1. (W —that’s just how they label manuscripts):
    If a woman divorces her husband and marry another, she commits adultery; and if a man divorces his wife, he commits adultery. In this part of Mark, —W has a Caesarean text.

    2. Two members of Family ι (ι 209) and the Sinaitic Syriac: If a woman divorces her husband and marry another, she commits adultery; and if a man divorces his wife and marry another, he commits adultery.

    Not all members of Family 1 (—the earliest manuscripts of the Bible are in different text families) agree. In fact, only one of them, 1 itself, has the text given above, while 209 omits the second half (‘and if a man…’). This error is probably mechanical, caused by the recurrence of the word translated as ‘commits adultery’. The other member of the group attested in the chief edition of the family has our Text 5«3

    3. ( O C ; N.-A. RSV NEB NIV NRSV REB)
    Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she, divorcing her husband marries another, she commits adultery. This, from the witness of Κ Β (—just the way they note different manauscripts), is the Alexandrian text.

    4. Codex Bezae (D) and (with minor variations) the Latin manuscript Codex Brixianus (f):
    Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if a woman goes out from her husband and marry another, she commits adultery.

    Codex Brixianus contains an Old Latin text that appears to have been influenced by the Gothic version. It has also been *extensively revised* to be brought into agreement with the Vulgate. It is not identical with the Vulgate here, although there is no difference in sense.

    5. (AByz;AV):
    Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if a woman divorces her husband and be married to another, she commits adultery.

    The abbreviation Byz indicates the Byzantine text.

    *Its oldest witness here is Codex Alexandrinus.*

    6. (Greeven JB GNB NJB):
    Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her (GNB ‘his wife’); and if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.

    7. (Three Old Latin manuscripts, with small differences between them): If a man divorce his wife and marry another, he commits adultery against her; and if a woman separate from her husband and marry another, she commits adultery against him; likewise also he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

    The double prohibition that is distinctive to all the forms of Mark’s version presupposes that a woman divorces her husband. This was possible in the pagan world, but not in Judaism. It is generally argued that the clause referring to the woman divorcing a man is therefore a formulation by the Roman community, in which Mark’s Gospel is likely to have originated. It is the first clear instance of a saying of Jesus *being adapted* to new circumstances. In Jesus’ culture, a woman could not divorce her husband. Therefore, it was not an issue which Jesus could have addressed; therefore, the clause cannot be from Jesus’ lips. The Roman church was faced with handling a completely different set of circumstances: are women still permitted to divorce their husbands? The words of Jesus are adapted to comprehend these new circumstances. Just like today when people find out something from psychology or neuroscience, they seem to go back and make the Bible ‘agree’ with that but the Bible just doesn’t. I think, and maybe I am totally wrong, either Jesus’ words mean something or maybe we have nothing but what people think as we move through time and that just gets shaped by culture and what people will accept and not by what Jesus said??? My assumption is that the Bible *is* teaching timeless truths, but that may not be a good assumption —but why would that not be a good assumption???

    . . .And Lord God, I’m asking You that question most of all. These are the earliest manuscripts of the passage. You know that “the text” is not just one thing. There are very critically important textual variants from equally dated manuscripts. Lord God what do you want me to see that I am just not seeing or understanding . . .or am I understanding it and it is what it is.

  38. Aleea on February 28, 2018 at 5:36 am

    . . . .Oh, and that is just the first passage we have to look at, the next is Matthew 5.27-32; then 19.3-9; then Luke 16.18, et.al. But let’s not move forward until we get some —real base agreement— on Mark. Maybe Mark first then we will look at all the others. . . . Codex Bezae (B) happens to be the sole survivor of that type of Greek text from which the oldest Latin versions were derived. You can Google things like “Codex Bezae” if you need to. . . .

    (B):
    Everyone divorcing his wife, except for the cause of porneia, makes her an adulteress, and the person marrying a divorced woman commits adultery. Plus all other manuscripts as well Vaticanus, and the Sahidic versions.

    ( K W P N.-A. Greeven AV RSVJB NJB):
    Everyone divorcing his wife, except for the cause of porneia, makes her an adulteress, and whoever should marry a divorced woman commits adultery. Codex Sinaiticus shares this reading and illustrates a very clean text there.

    . . . but let’s maybe not leave Mark (above) until we have some type of agreement on that??? . . . .Even if the agreement is tentative. I fully understand we have to look at all the verses and a whole bunch of other passages.

    . . .And we all know better now (even the most conservative like me) in the peaceful quiet hours. . . .We have to venture through the thorns (textual contradictions/ textual variants/ interpolations/ redactions/ textual alterations/ additions) to touch the flowers (re:Authenticating the Words of Jesus) . . .Eventually, maybe the time arrives to put away childish things (—being too simplistic about primary source evidence; —being victims; —blaming/ scapegoating men and others —me too and maybe me first!) remembering that all things work out for the good for those who love the Lord.

  39. Nancy on February 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

    Like I’ve said before, Aleea. I can only engage in conversation if I’m able to understand the point that you are trying to make.

    If you’re looking for that, then what I need is a couple of sentences that come to a point,

  40. Nancy on February 28, 2018 at 7:12 am

    And to your offer, Aleea, to go book by book ….no thank you.

    As I’ve told you before, I’m here to apply the entirety of scripture to practical, often horrendous, life situations.

    What you are proposing is not helpful for the purposes of this blog (We had all agreed on that a number of posts back).

  41. Seeing the Light on February 28, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Aleea,

    Thank you for being more clear about where you stand.

    My answer to your invitation is also – no.

    You said, in your February 23, 2018 6:08 am comment, “I deeply feel you are trying to bait me into doing theology again and drag me down into it. . . .You know how addicted I am to those issues and you offered me more drugs.” I must consider the possibility that your most recent posts are a continuing manifestation of that addiction. I will not be a part of that. The truth is I do not desire that kind of interaction. Nor do I believe it is needful , helpful, or healthy.

    There are others whom God has called to study these things and share with us what they have found. We then have the opportunity to pray, think, study, and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We can agree or disagree that they have hit upon truth.

    In addition to Leslie’s books, I would also recommend “Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion” by Barbara Roberts. I also recommend Jeff Crippen’s books.

    I am going to simply state that I disagree with you. I think it is important to state things clearly and plainly so that all who read here can know the perspective of the person they are reading. As far as I can tell – and it seems like you are making it much more clear now – though you often word your disagreement in the form of questions, doubts, and invitations, sometimes even appearing to advocate the opposite – that you do disagree with divorce for abuse. If that is the case, that is your right. You will not change my mind. If that is not the case, please say so simply. If you are undecided, please say so simply.

    I do find the following portion of your latest comment very telling. “. . .Eventually, maybe the time arrives to put away childish things (—being too simplistic about primary source evidence; —being victims; —blaming/ scapegoating men and others —me too and maybe me first!) remembering that all things work out for the good for those who love the Lord.” I’m going to admit I find this unfair, on my own behalf, but even more so on the behalf of my sisters who are in far worse situations than I am in. The women who have been abused and destroyed or nearly destroyed by their husbands are not being childish. These women are not blaming/scapegoating men and others. They are speaking the truth. Many of them have had to tolerate the decline of mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health that came in part with being scapegoated and blamed unjustly by those very men. It is hard enough to try to stand and throw that off without someone accusing them of doing what has been done to them. It is certainly not a childish thing to be a victim. Are you suggesting they are playing the victim? Because there is a huge difference in playing the victim and being the victim. There is no shame or childishness in being a victim – which these women are. They work very hard to arise and not be a victim anymore. The shame lies with the perpetrator. As to “being too simplistic about primary source evidence”, it is not a childish thing to receive the Word of God without going through the process you continually go through without coming to final conclusions – unless you are referring to childlike simplicity and humility. After all, a young child can come to saving faith and live a life of obedience to and love for the Lord without caring one whit about primary source evidence. And I think that pleases Him.

    • JoAnn on February 28, 2018 at 11:30 am

      Well said, STL, and I fully support your position. Amen.

  42. Connie on February 28, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I can’t seem to find Ashley’s post here, but the first thing she might do is change her name if she used her real one, and try to change details of her posts so they are not recognizable to anyone who knows her. My h has liked to find sites I was on and read what I wrote and hold it against me.

  43. Remedy on February 28, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Okay okay…..lets disregard Paul ‘s teaching. Typical response. Then the ‘logic is throw everything out past John. It was not Jesus’ actual words. And that’s how we go down the bunny trail…..and Satan just laughs and laughs and laughs.

  44. Remedy on February 28, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Not to belabor my point, but I want to share a real life example that happened to me with the teachings of Paul, which are a part of the 66 books we all say we believe are the Word of God.
    In my final round of extensive joint marital counseling in presence of two pastors, I had arrived at the point of following the I Corinthians 7 passage I mentioned. I brought it up in with the pastors stating this was an option, since counseling was failing and I was prepared to live within the parameters set forth and let the Lord take care of the rest. I asked….what about me taking that option. The pastors response. “Well, if you want to get technical!” I said “Well, I do want to get Biblical. ” Conversation over. WHY?? Because he knew if he began to deconstruct Paul and the plain words written there, he would have to be open to reconstructing Paul’s plain words everywhere!! That is half the New Testament and pages and pages of precious truths us reformed believers have held dear always!!
    Can you see why this becomes such dangerous territory and even a Screwtape Letter type of conversation. Let’s get these Christians infighting about their own Bible and watch the fun as the world watches.
    The whole counsel of Scripture gives the truth of what the Lord wants us to know about living in light, truth, love, righteousness. This is the ideal….but we also live in a sin cursed world where not everyone wants to live like that. Scripture then teaches us what to do.
    Leslie…..I thank you for your work and very courageous voice addressing this deeply disturbing issues. My apologies for the long post.

  45. Remedy on February 28, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Sorry…..deconstructing Paul everywhere. Although reconstructing could also apply to the theory.

  46. Seeing the Light on February 28, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Remedy,

    AMEN!!! And that includes all three of your posts – the two today and 10:12 pm last night.

    “The whole counsel of Scripture gives the truth of what the Lord wants us to know about living in light, truth, love, righteousness.” I heartily agree. I do not think you are belaboring things at all. This is so important, and I am glad you have brought it up. It is not just the words of Jesus as recorded in the Scriptures that God has given us to reveal His instruction; it’s the whole Word of God.

  47. Seeing the Light on February 28, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Remedy, I missed a post of yours – though it was short. That should say that I agree with all of your posts last night and today in this particular conversation.

  48. Seeing the Light on February 28, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Nancy,

    I also agree with you here: “As I’ve told you before, I’m here to apply the entirety of scripture to practical, often horrendous, life situations.”

    The “entirety of Scripture” is crucial. Everything has to be taken in the context of the whole Word of God to us.

  49. Seeing the Light on February 28, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you, JoAnn (for your comment of 11:30 am today).

  50. Aleea on March 1, 2018 at 6:03 am

    . . .Our conversations are always so full of total and complete misunderstandings of each other . . . .I can’t always understand you and you seem (from my perspective) to fully and completely misunderstand me. . . .STL, I had an edge to what I was saying and I think (and I may be totally wrong) it caused you to focus on how you were treated and not what I was even saying. I do apologize for that. I don’t want you to focus on how I treat you but on what the Bible may or may not be trying to say to us. I apologize for that. I’m a mess, I admit. But using “experts” to tell you what God says means maybe you may have abandoned *your* responsibility to find out for yourself. —Please STL, I am not saying *you* have. —Also, if your positions are never changing that may easily mean that you are not learning and growing, —me too. In fact, that may be why I can see that in so many here, because I am seeing it in me. . . .What you and I don’t yet know may be far, far, far more important than what we think we “know.”

    Everyone,
    When I communicate, I communicate poorly and it just seems to bind the rest of you together more into straight confirmation bias with everyone just piling on top. That is probably *not* a good thing. —I think, why can’t you see who I truly am, maybe because I’m not really seeing you (somehow), even though I sincerely, deeply try.

    . . .Nancy, . . .Nancy I know you f-a-r better, so this is as clear as I know how to say it: I think modern psychology, culture and what people will and will not accept (because their reasoning is always highly motivated, mine is too) is actually the Bible more than the Bible is the Bible. —Is that clear? What the Bible “says” is some type of totem. For many (—maybe me too) “God said it! I believe it! That settles it!” becomes “I said it! God believes it! That settles it!” . . . and Nancy, I shout into caverns too and then just like a women who shouts into a cavern, I hear my own echo and think someone else is replying. . . .Similarly, we can think we hear our own voice magnified through the Bible and mistake it for the word of God. That is what I am trying to say. Then Group Think and confirmation bias can fully take over.

    . . .I think I need help more than any of you need help and I think I am willing to let you help me, if you are willing to help me, as long as you are willing to say r-e-a-l-l-y honest things, and that applies to me too. . . .Nancy and I were talking back and forth one time and she said something like: “Aleea, I don’t care what those [early existing extant copies of the Bible] say.” That was so, so brilliant and refreshing and I thought about that for weeks and weeks afterward and still think about it. —Just real honesty . . .and at that moment because I was feeling loved by her. —Really loved, I knew she cared. . . .At that moment, in that moment, I didn’t care anymore either. —I just didn’t care anymore either because I knew she loved me. real love and care. —In fact, it was far worse, I felt like, . . .like how can I use what I know to prove what she wants to be true, even if it is not objectively true. . . . .I’m not sure but I think that is how people actually heal.

    So what can we do that is mutually benefitual? . . .If any of you are willing to do it. I understand if you are not. As hard as I try, my behavior is appalling at times. . . .And Renee, you know, I know we have to look at those other passages too. . . .I was just trying to start with some type of foundation. . . . .But looking at the Bible may not be helpful at all because I think something else may actually be driving morals. I just can’t fully understand it yet. The Bible is operating like some type of totem outside what people will and will not accept.

    All I know is that when I get enough real love, all the desire to find out what is true, what is independently and objectively true goes right out the window. That terrifies me because it is like with enough real love what is “true” is not even important. . . .And I don’t even know why . . .but that’s the truth.

    Real love appears to override what is objectively, really, historically true. It’s actually amazing. . . .In that moment, that brief moment, I saw it so clearly.

  51. Nancy on March 1, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    I have to admit, Aleea, I am tired of re-iterating my limits to you.

    Your dialogue to me does not respect the limit that I have clearly articulated.

    – I am here to apply the Bible to the topic at hand.

    From our interactions over these past weeks, I’m not sure if you are unable to respect this, or if you are simply unwilling to. Regardless of which it is, I am weary.

    I do care about you, Aleea. I cannot, though, allow that care to give you license to disregard me.

  52. Ruth on March 1, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    I want to add this to what I said to the original poster on March 1 2:39pm. What do you do if you pray but you hear conflicting answers? (I’ve had that to happen before when I was REALLY wanting to work out a certain way and also when I was around the patriarchial, always-blame-the-woman crowd of church teachers.
    Word of Advice- don’t go around those folks 🤢
    Ok. So if you don’t hear a clear stay or leave.
    1. Read Lundy Bancroft’s “Why Does He Do That?”
    2. Give yourself a deadline. How much of your life do you want to waste on an abusive marriage? If you want to work on this for one year or even 2 years, then do so VERY, VERY carefully, but do NOT tell your abuser about your deadline. Keep that secret. Do NOT get pregnant unless he has a Saul turned into Paul conversion. Even then, you need to SEE the fruits of repentance for a LONG TIME before he is really SAFE to parent with. MOST abusers who have a turnaround go back to abusiveness within a matter of months. Then at the end of that deadline if your marriage is still destructive, get out. Don’t make excuses. Don’t give him an extension. Don’t waste anymore of your life.
    The most troubling part of your dilemma is the stepdaughter. I don’t know what to tell you about that. I’m sorry. 😢Unfortunately, he will probably use her as a pawn to hurt you if you pursue a divorce and it will hurt her in the process. He might try to turn her against you: that will be painful for you to deal with. You love her very much. You’ll know he’s hurting her JUST TO HURT YOU WHEN he SHOULD be SHELTERING her. He’ll say you’re cruel for hurting the little girl. But do not accept his insults bc you wouldn’t have needed to file for a divorce if HE hadn’t been an abuser. He’s gonna try to guilt trip you into staying bc of her and I can see how this is going to tear your heart apart. What a bad situation for you and this little girl!
    I don’t see how he deserves your kindhearted love. I’d like to give him a kick in the rear end.

    • Renee on March 2, 2018 at 8:34 am

      Hi Ruth, I have not heard from you in a while unless I’ve missed a post.

      You said. If you want to work on this for one year or even 2 years, then do so VERY, VERY carefully,

      That’s the thing Ruth there’s much conflicting information on what that means (working on your marriage) from coaches, pastors, counselors, marriage gurus, family and friends, etc. Even we on this blog are in conflict about what that really means.

      The only information that seems firm is that each person should have an individual counselor and than at some point come together for marriage counseling.

      It is so frustrating and I resent being put in this position of not knowing truly what to do (as in what is the right answer – what is the right way)!!! Not talking about divorce. I’m talking about the in-between part.

      • Nancy on March 2, 2018 at 12:46 pm

        Hi Renee, I think that the advice given on this blog, especially by Leslie, is extremely consistent.

        Everything below happens amidst Developing CORE strength.

        1) Determine if safety is an issue, if so take immediate action (she has blogs on this ‘ signs of an evil heart’ comes to mind)

        2) Set boundaries and make requirements by communicatng very clearly and openly. Write it down, if needs be. Go into individual counselling – not marriage counselling (she has blogs on this).

        3) if he crosses the boundaries, increase them. If he cannot respect them, then separate.( blogs on this too).

        4) pray and wait on The Lord for true signs of repentance – lean on God like never before (she has blogs on this)

        5) if there’s true heart change, go into marital counselling. If not implore The Lord for a sign as to when you are released from this charade.

        I’ve simplified it, but I don’t see her deveating much from this big picture.

    • Nancy on March 2, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Ruth,

      I’m really confused about your advice here.

      You say, ” do NOT tell your abuser about your deadline. Keep that a secret.”

      So, you suggest that she ‘secretly’ work on this? How the heck does someone enforce any kind of boundary without communication? How does she secretly change her behaviour towards him? How does she secretly increase boundaries when he crosses them?

      Maybe I’m misunderstanding this. You have mentioned nothing about biblical separation which gives the offender the best chance at a wake up call. The thing about a biblical separation, is there is nothing secret about it. It’s all above board. Both hearts are brought into the light.

      • Renee on March 2, 2018 at 7:06 pm

        Hi Nancy

        I’m not saying Leslie is inconsistent. None of my post today were about Leslie or any particular person on this blog. I’m saying from guru to guru, from counselor to counselor, from peer to peer.

        Differing opinions on what should happen once separated, differing opinions about divorce, etc.

        Your response to Ruth’s post is a perfect example.

        Ruth Said, ” do NOT tell your abuser about your deadline. Keep that a secret.”

        You Said, “The thing about a biblical separation, is there is nothing secret about it. It’s all above board.”

        I too have heard conflicting information on whether or not to inform your spouse of your deadline.

        • JoAnn on March 2, 2018 at 11:37 pm

          Renee, advice is just that; advice. And it generally comes out of our experience. That’s why in every case, it is important to get real with the Lord, and get a clear sense from Him about what to do. He is the only One who can know what the best course of action will be, so we must open to Him, as fully as we know how, and let Him guide us.

        • Nancy on March 4, 2018 at 3:35 pm

          Hi Renee,

          I agree with JoAnn about taking it to The Lord. This is critical.

          The other important thing to consider is: who is giving the advice?

          Has the person gotten to the other side of the abuse? Have they ‘walked the walk’?
          Has the person walked with others, through abuse?
          Does the person have Godly wisdom in their advice, or are they ‘advising’ out of their pain?

          Not all advice is equal. We need to ask God for discernment and trust in the Holy Spirit to ‘flush’ inappropriate advice.

      • Free on March 5, 2018 at 7:15 pm

        My impute is that if I told my abuser about my deadline, I would be dead now. The point is, that a person fleeing from evil doesn’t notify the enemy where the allied camp is located or give them coordinates for the next troop movement.

        It depends, if you are feeling a difficult situation or a dangerous situation. The trouble is that as you leave or set boundaries the difficult situation can become a dangerous situation. By the time you realize you should not have said anything, it is too late.

        • Renee on March 5, 2018 at 8:52 pm

          Free, thank you.

          Thank you so much for bringing up this life saving point!!!

          Wisdom indeed!!!

      • Ruth on March 6, 2018 at 9:59 pm

        Hello Nancy,
        I realize I have taken a long time to respond to your questions. Real life has had some more-than-usual emotional and mentally draining assignments.
        My first gut instinct is to tell this young lady to make preparations to leave, but to get alone with God and let HIM confirm that to her. Anything someone tells you should only confirm what you feel in your spirit already.
        Now, I added the caveat of a
        time limit bc it that she feels compelled to work on the marriage. I hear that “But I love him 😍 sound is in voice”
        I see the likelihood she’ll end up stuck. And once you’re stuck in this type of an abusive marriage, it’s like quicksand – the more you resist,
        the more you get stuck,
        the deeper
        you in fall. You’re more devastated as time goes by. ONLY, if she gets EXCELLENT counsel
        will she grow stronger. EXCELLENT counsel is hard to find.
        Heck, I had a Christian marriage counselor guilt trip me bc I was drawing a boundary of no-sex just bc my husband had not been abusive for one month.
        I did not address what kind of boundaries, techniques, or counseling she should try. Honestly, I think her attempts to fix the problem (however she chooses) are futile.
        Here is why I say she should keep her deadline for a healthy marriage a secret-
        Until he’s trustworthy, keep your heart SAFE. If you tell him that you’re leaving on Dec 31 2020, then he may think:
        1. I’ll be a holy terror until dec 1 2020, then I’ll turn on the charm
        2. How dare she threaten me! I’ll make sure to get all the finances and credit cards put in my name only before that date
        3. Like Free said, he might decide that he would rather see her dead than to let her leave.

        • Ruth on March 6, 2018 at 10:13 pm

          I want to add that I like Leslie’s steps separation that you summarized. I am not in disagreement. But as this young lady has described this abusive husband, I see him as a man who would have a way of blameshifting, lying, crazymaking, and keeping this young lady so caught up in the fog of confusion that it’s nearly impossible to break away. The longer she stays the farther down the Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole of non-reality she will fall into. 😔

          • Nancy on March 12, 2018 at 3:04 pm

            He may be very good at manipulative tactics, Ruth, but his tactics are impotent against the power of Christ.

            This guy may be a master, but she has Christ; and reality is found in Christ.

            She’ll only be a victim of his tactics if she allows it.

            It’s her choice.



  53. Seeing the Light on March 1, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Aleea,
    “. . .Our conversations are always so full of total and complete misunderstandings of each other . . . .I can’t always understand you and you seem (from my perspective) to fully and completely misunderstand me. . . .” —Here’s the thing, Aleea. I have tried to ask you simple questions to clear away the fog of any misunderstanding, and I have noticed a pattern wherein you generally do not answer those questions. When you do answer, you do not speak clearly and plainly. I don’t think that is poor communication over which you have no control. I think that is a choice. (After all, you communicate well enough to function in your profession as an attorney and in your role leading a marriage class). In spite of this, I think I am coming to understand you quite well.

    “STL, I had an edge to what I was saying and I think (and I may be totally wrong) it caused you to focus on how you were treated and not what I was even saying. I do apologize for that.” —No. I focused on what you were saying. Since this is written communication and we don’t have facial cues or tone of voice to work with, I am careful to address what is being said more than how I am (and others are) treated (though that is important, too). This isn’t about me being offended by how I was treated. It’s about my concern over what you really think about these issues and, more especially, the manner in which you continue to present them.

    “I don’t want you to focus on how I treat you but on what the Bible may or may not be trying to say to us. I apologize for that. I’m a mess, I admit.”. —Actually, I wasn’t even focused on how you treat me necessarily, but it is disconcerting to have somehow say that they don’t want me to focus on that. Obviously, you don’t think you are treating me (and perhaps others) appropriately. It does matter how you treat others, and I see no reason not to hold you to the same standards as others in that regard. When people tell you that they do not wish to engage a certain kind of conversation with you and you respond to that with innuendos that they don’t want to know what the Bible actually says and that they are engaging in confirmation bias, I don’t think that’s okay.

    “But using “experts” to tell you what God says means maybe you may have abandoned *your* responsibility to find out for yourself. —Please STL, I am not saying *you* have.” —I suggest you re-read what I wrote. Additionally, there is nothing at all wrong or irresponsible in learning from others while remaining discerning. That is not tantamount to abandoning or abdicating one’s responsibility to find out for himself or herself at all. One, however, does not need to re-invent the wheel. If someone else has learned something that they can share with another, and it checks out, so be it. It also doesn’t mean that one had to agree with everything those others have ever written, by the way.

    “—Also, if your positions are never changing that may easily mean that you are not learning and growing, —me too” —Have no fear in this department for me. My positions actually have changed. I used to see the issue of divorce and remarriage differently, possibly kind of close to your views, in fact. I even put pressure on a dear wounded sister who was leaving a verbally and emotionally abusive husband. I told her that she was in the wrong. How brave and courageous she was and is. How much heavier I made her burden. I have had to seek her forgiveness for that. I learned and grew and now I have changed my position. The same thing has happened in other areas.

    ”In fact, that may be why I can see that in so many here, because I am seeing it in me. . .” —So you can see in so many here that they are not changing positions and therefore may not actually be learning and growing?

    “Everyone,
    When I communicate, I communicate poorly and it just seems to bind the rest of you together more into straight confirmation bias with everyone just piling on top. That is probably *not* a good thing.” —So if numerous others agree with each other on this issue and disagree with you, then your conclusion is that we are guilty of confirmation bias? If you could communicate better why we are wrong, we would see that? I disagree. Just because other people agree with each other in an area in which you disagree does not mean they are engaging in confirmation bias. (Actually, I am more concerned that I may have engaged in confirmation bias years ago before my position on this matter changed).

    Here is my take on the situation. You continue to participate in a blog where there is some consensus of opinion about the issue of divorce for abusive and destructive marriages. You appear to disagree that it is biblical. Numerous people here disagree with you. They have spoken clearly. I hear people expressing their own beliefs and encouraging and advising others from their perspectives sometimes disagreeing with each other. I hear you expressing your beliefs. Then, however, you go beyond simple disagreement. You seem to try to change others’ minds repeatedly, doggedly. You then accuse those who disagree with you of confirmation bias, especially when they raise their voices together. All of this is while you still seem to doubt the inerrancy of the very Scriptures to which you apply in order to convince others that they are wrong and divorce is unacceptable for them. All of this is while you do not even have a personal stake in this, as you have repeatedly described your husband in terms that depict him as a good and loving husband with whom relationship is safe for you.

    You believe yourself to have superior information and evidence (extant manuscripts, primary source evidence, etc.). You see yourself as holding to a more correct position and you will not let it go. I actually think most of the women you have been communicating with have a far better understanding of, respect for, and commitment to the Bible than you have expressed.

    You know things we don’t know, but…if we will just love you and love you, truth won’t matter. You seem to offer up a willingness to abandon what you know is true in exchange for love. You need others to believe as you do and see what you see, but if we will love you and love you, you could see yourself dropping it and possibly even tossing all truth out the window. You could even be motivated to help one of us deceive herself (from your perspective).

    That’s it in a nutshell. Just my two cents’ worth. I am afraid I can’t be more expressive of care for you right now because I don’t think you can handle it. I implore you to address these things in counseling and with your husband. This venue is not adequate for this.

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