Morning friends,

I was encouraged to see John and Lisa Bevere address the issue of abusive relationships in their recent podcast.  If you’d like to hear more you can listen to it at HERE 

Please pray. I believe (hope) the church is beginning to wake up to ways it has not only been silent but actually enabled domestic abuse to be excused and minimized for years under the value of keeping the family together. Let’s continue to speak up and speak out for those who need to see this issue more clearly.

Question: I just finished The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. It's a wonderful resource. I was especially interested in the concept of reactive abuse, but wanted to know if this can occur without other abusive behavior? I see my husband exhibiting this quite a bit in his interactions with me, but his threshold for a response seems incredibly low.

He reacts poorly when I am legitimately stressed by work deadlines, frustrated, or when I try to talk about marital issues. When my dad was dying of cancer, he became cold and intractable because he thought I was overly stressed and not handling my family correctly.  He did eventually apologize and mostly has not repeated this degree of poor behavior.

Of course, this makes discussing relationship problems almost impossible, because even with a gentle start-up on my part, he becomes defensive and begins lashing out with very hurtful words.

In other areas of life, my husband is a very good partner. He supports my career, is an engaged father with our kids and does more than his fair share around the house.

He grew up with a very volatile father, who would yell and rage when he was in a bad mood, which I think explains his hair-trigger response. My husband does not think that is the issue and says that this is just “who he is.”

I want a marriage where I can feel emotionally safe, even when I struggle or am not perfectly happy, and I'm frankly exhausted from trying to sidestep around his sensitivity.

What else can I do to help him and our relationship?

Answer: This is an excellent question because it is important to differentiate reactive abuse from controlling abuse.

It’s also important to note that even someone who displays abusive behaviors can be kind and helpful in other areas. Click To Tweet

You indicate that your husband reacts negatively to you when you are stressed and in his opinion not handling yourself the way he thinks you should in those situations (work, your dad’s death). He also reacts negatively when you try to discuss touchy marital issues.

Does he react to other people this way too or just you? Most people who are “reactively” abusive have trouble with other people too. If it’s just you, then his “reactions” would seem a bit targeted to a purpose.  

It does sound like he gets triggered because of his own background but that doesn’t mean that he’s not abusive when he gets triggered. Two key characteristics that I’d like you to think through are the fear factor and the amount of control exerted. I see that he tries to control how you handle your stress, and he tries to control what you say to him regarding your level of marital distress or problems that you want to talk about. By “reacting negatively” it puts you on notice. This topic is off limits. Or “you better get your act together right now.”

It may be true that he feels very threatened when you criticize him or are feeling overwhelmed yourself and he doesn’t know how to talk about it. But instead of admitting that to himself or to you, he tries to shut you down or get you to stop feeling stress or instead make it about you doing something wrong.  

Does it work? Do his negative or explosive reactions make you feel like you have to stop bringing up issues or get your act together pretty quick when you’re feeling stressed or out of sorts? Do his reactions make you believe that there is something wrong with you?

And, if you don’t get yourself together or do what he wants, like when your dad died, what happens next? Is there more escalation? Threats? Punishment? Any danger to you? Are you afraid?

Your husband is comfortable with you working, he’s helpful and a good dad, but he’s uncomfortable with you not being okay or in any kind of distress. Instead of being a supportive partner for you when you struggle, he tries to shut you down and silence you. Again, this may be due to his inability to handle his own feelings about your distress, and instead of owning them as his issues, he tries to silence you. And from your question, it sounds like it is taking a toll on your own emotional well being.

So there is good news and bad news here. It sounds like your husband cares about you and your family. When he realized that he behaved poorly around your father’s death, he did own that and you say he has not repeated his negative reactions to the same degree. He is responsible financially, generally helpful and a good parent. Those are all good things. But you’re right, you don’t want to continually walk around on eggshells, fearing if you don’t do things exactly the way he thinks you “should” you’re in for another explosion.

So to answer your first question, from the limited information you gave me, I see a degree of control here. Not as much as in other marriages, but I see it. Second, reactive abuse can be just as toxic and lethal as controlling abuse so don’t minimize it.  Reactive abuse just has a different treatment plan. It’s more about immaturity and perhaps PTSD or addiction issues. It usually is also displayed in other settings and with other people.  

Your second question is what else can you do? Stop pretending. Stop tiptoeing around the issues. Don’t get provoked into being reactive yourself or harsh with your words, but speak honestly with him about how you feel and where you see your marriage.

You might say something like,  

“I’d like to talk to you about a problem I’m having. (When you start a conversation with a defensive and/or reactive person, it’s less likely that they will immediately shut it down when you talk about your problem rather than their problem).

I feel exhausted in our marriage trying to tiptoe around your anger. When I get stressed or upset about something, there doesn’t seem to be any room for me to express my own negative feelings without you getting really upset. I feel I’m only allowed to have one channel and that is “GOOD” all the time. I’m not allowed to be crabby or angry or stressed, or discouraged, frustrated, or irritated.

I’m tired of having to pretend I’m GOOD all the time so that you don’t get upset. I don’t want to have that kind of relationship. I want to be able to be myself, good and yucky sometimes without being afraid that’s going to trigger you.

I know you hate when I get stressed out, but I’m not perfect and I do feel stressed sometimes. I do feel yucky sometimes and I want a partner who can give me a hug, and not put me down or get furious with me. I don’t want to feel I have to wear an emotional straightjacket when I’m around you.” 

Then stop and let him respond. If it feels safer to you, you may want to put this in writing or e-mail or text so that he has a chance to think about it on his own before seeing you. I don’t think you will help him or your marriage by continuing the same dance. It will only reinforce his strategy that his anger is effective in keeping you under wraps. In addition, he never has to face whatever uncomfortable feelings your distress brings up in him. I don't think that’s best for his growth either.

Friends, how might you encourage this woman to take good care of herself or speak up with her spouse?

159 Comments

  1. Kathleen on March 28, 2018 at 8:02 am

    I’m not sure I have any advice because this is also my marriage in a nutshell. Married 41 years because I believe marriage is a commitment not just those nice happy feelings all the time. But this kind of behavior does hurt. I ignore it. But it bothers me. He is not open to talking about any problems we may have. Believe me I’ve tried. Just trust my truly loving Father will get me through each day.

    • Sunshine on March 29, 2018 at 7:27 am

      But when you live like this you disrespect God’s most precious creation, you. Living with an abusive man advances the fool. This is not marriage as God designed. It is a prisoner/jailor relationship. You have learned to appease and thwart your life to survive. I hear you say that you have learned to endure the abuse. I hope one day you get to enjoy widowhood, finally free indeed.

    • Darlene on April 10, 2018 at 11:00 am

      Married 49 years to a verbally explosive husband. I should have gone years ago. Abuse is abuse, is abuse! I became silent and lost my voice and myself. I don’t talk on the phone in front of him because he will use something I said,
      against me. I can’t believe I allowed all the abuse. Don’t lose yourself at his expense. Remember, You are the daughter of a King! He loves you when no one else does!
      Would He want you in this situation? I can only speak to you as one who has been there and still am. When there’s no respect for your feelings, then there’s no respect for you. You can’t change him, you can only change you. Character says it all. God bless, you need it!

    • Cat on April 11, 2018 at 8:37 am

      This is also my marriage. Almost 10 years and it started after the 1st year. He does like to communicate with me about “matters of the heart” and will be critical of me however, when I am critical in return, it turns into world war three. He normally apologizes after he yells, and is explosive. And just when I start to feel secure, it starts again. The eggshells all start to break!
      He is (claims to be) a Godly man, was raised in a very strict household and had a dad that was a yeller, his mom passed away when he was 28, he was very close to her.
      We used to go to church, and will still watch sermons online from our church. We stopped going due to his working non-stop for 13 days at a stretch with only one day off every 2 weeks. Says he’s too tired to go to church and wants to just watch it online. I love going, but am made to feel as though I can’t go if he doesn’t go. I try to do what I can to “not crack the eggshells” in our home. I do feel like my love for him is being destroyed by his demeanor and bad attitude. There are many times when he is truly loving and caring, but then his criticizing questions start and things get explosive again. Am I to always be the one who is criticized? Don’t I have a voice? This is how I’m made to feel. I do not like confrontation, never have. I get closer and closer to just wanting to dissolve our marriage. Being 58 years old, it’s a bit scary. I don’t have many friends and my siblings don’t really care for him (his antics have scared them off).

  2. Itswell on March 28, 2018 at 8:16 am

    This is my marriage too and we try church pastors but he flips out each time he was told the truth
    I am at point that I fear for my love and that of my kids because of what he does when he gets angry. Physically emotionally financially verbally abusive constantly
    Very nice outside but monster at home for 15 years

    Leaslie has really opened my eyes over the years because I use to bel woo young hubby that he perfect while I am ungrateful and insane foolish wife.
    Very very controlling but he is allowed to do anything including keeping female friends in the name of business

    He will be the first to tell me that he wants us to talk and will talk for hours(abusively)

    God give me wisdom to deal with this and show me way and solution

    • JoAnn on March 28, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      Itswell, have you read Leslie’s book, “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage”? (Available on Amazon.) This will help you to understand what is happening and how to deal with it. It is extremely important that you make a way to be safe for yourself and your children. Have an exit plan, so that you can get out when he is abusive physically. In the book you will learn how to become stronger inwardly so that you can deal effectively with the abuse and your husband. We will be praying for you.

  3. Annie on March 28, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Good morning,
    I understand. We been married 31 yrs. I have been unsuccessful in talking about anything important for years without crazy tactics. I have reacted badly over years out of ignorance and getting better walking away. Recently after revelations of affairs, porn, and being separated, talking is still impossible and I am learning to recognize signs but stuck in emotions because I was so badly to be heard. I have come to realize it’s only going to be God that changes him and I have to work in CORE.

    • Sunshine on March 29, 2018 at 7:31 am

      Annie, have you read Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Should I Stay or Should I go?” It would be a great reasource for you!

    • JoAnn on March 29, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Annie, zare you still separated? I hope so, because you need time away to get clearer on your situation and heal your heart. You apparently have plenty of scriptural basis to leave him, because of the adultery. gather a support system around you, and see about counseling from your local battered women’s shelter, if possible. Don’t worry about him changing; you need to heal now. Get as much help for yourself as you can manage.

  4. Kendra on March 28, 2018 at 9:43 am

    I am in a similar marriage. (Although my husband doesn’t help around the house, doesn’t keep jobs, and parents the children strictly and arbitrarily.) I don’t feel safe being honest with him about my struggles. Everything is about him and how it stresses him out. He will eventually use my weaknesses and failures against me (make blanket judgments about me, use it to convince me that I can’t do something…). Also, MY allergies are something he can’t endure much longer. MY emergency surgery really stressed him out and he has got to get more sleep. The toddler’s dirty diaper made him late for work (when he has had hours to have gotten himself ready).

    Anyway, I do rely on email and putting things in writing. That way I can carefully say everything I need to say and he has time and space to process.And I don’t get interrupted or silenced or caught in a web of defending and explaining what he is challenging/misunderstanding. Sometimes he ignores it, sometimes he writes a lot back, sometimes we talk about it. We also save conversations for times we can do it with a mediator/counselor/third party. That helps us as well. But largely we have just been spinning our wheels for years. I learn to cope and let his crap bounce off me.

    Email/writing and third party help are the main things I recommend. And time. Lots and lots of self-care and time.

    • Sunshine on March 29, 2018 at 7:33 am

      Help me understand why you stay in such a relationship? Don’t you fear for your toddler’s future?

      • Kendra on March 30, 2018 at 1:42 pm

        It complicated. I don’t “know that I know” that I should leave. I don’t have peace.

        Also, I have 6 children. And I expect my husband to make the custody battle nasty. And I feel that I can protect them from him better while being present than being separated from him.

        And we keep working on things and moving the goal/bar. Have had different counselors which prolongs the process. And none of them have “approved” of divorce yet.

        • Nancy on March 30, 2018 at 3:03 pm

          Hi Kendra,

          Do you know that couples counselling is not advised by most experts in abuse? Unless someone is trained specifically in abusive dynamics, the couples counselling will waste you lots of time and money and only add to the damage being done.

          It’s not a solution.

          • Cure on March 30, 2018 at 5:06 pm

            Kendra I agree with Nancy. I have five kids and thought I could better protect them from him. Fast forward 17 years later and he has no relationship with our kids, my two oldest sons are starting to exhibit his same angry outbursts. Counseling did not help us. And we had many different counselors. I should have taken the kids and left earlier. U need a support group set up if u decide to go. No counselor is going to ‘advise’ u to leave especially in front of him. They don’t truly understand what is going on in ur home unless they are abuse counselors. He needs to go to counseling separate from u who also needs counseling to learn how to be empowered. U need to pray and ask God to help u find safety and security for ur kids. Don’t wait.



        • Aly on March 31, 2018 at 9:10 am

          Kendra,

          Separation and divorce are not the ‘same thing’.

          Also I’m not sure that any one who has gone through or considered separation or also divorce, would ‘have peace’ given an abusive dynamic.

          You said;
          ‘That you have learned to cope and let his crap bounce off you’.

          This is one way you may see it right now.

          As for some of my areas of recovery:
          My mom tried hard to convince me of taking this approach with my sisters.
          In other words, my mom was wanting me to be trained to put up and tolerate their behavior~ basically enable them so that their would be ‘her definition of peace’ and lack of accountability.

          Your children are looking through a different lens. They are also looking to you as their safe advocate and will suffer greatly by seeing the patterns and treatment that he ‘continues’.

          Separation is probably necessary for their to be any chance of hope that he can do the kind of work needed~ and even then it might be slim given his character issues.

          I do believe often that in the moment we don’t always ‘feel a feeling of peace’ when making choices that are very very difficult. Especially choices that are very different than our previous coping choices in a destructive marriage and abusive partners.

          Kendra, have you considered working with a women’s shelter program?

        • Jennifer on April 10, 2018 at 10:17 am

          When I left this situation, I was scared out of my gourd, was completely opposed to the mere suggestion of leaving, felt the Lord saying LEAVE and I was having none of it (mad as a hatter at the idea, thinking, that’s DEFinitely not the Lord, right?) and I too was confident that I was “protecting”our kids from him when we lived together. How wrong I was! Now We are 3 years into healing being away from him, and I’m absolutely blown away by how much they suffered disturbing emotional damage, and how much they are blooming now, in safety, joy, & peace.
          They’re actually sad/mad that I stayed as long as I did “making it work” and praying to no end daily.
          When they were smaller I was scared they would never know a happy childhood home with laughter and peace – they finally do for the first time NOW.

          • Aly on April 10, 2018 at 11:13 am

            Jennifer,

            Praise God for your courage and the healing you have all experienced!

            Does your h have access to the children?

            I think you said it clear for your situation that you were believing the ‘false beliefs & negotiations’ about remaining in the environment and the other outcomes of an alternative environment might bring for you and your children.

            What do you think helped you the most in gaining the strength and courage to take action in your situation?

            I guess I’m wondering what helped you see a different perspective?



    • Debbie on March 30, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      I have the same issue with it’s never safer to talk to my husband. He always returns things around to it’s my fault. Or if something bothered me he makes me feel bad about myself. It’s just impossible to talk to him about almost anything. And he never talks. We can ride in the car for a long time. If I don’t start a conversation it’s total silence. I’m so tired of living this way. But we are retired and I just don’t want to try to make it financially on my own this late in life. Out house is always serious no joy.

      • Kendra on March 30, 2018 at 1:46 pm

        I’m just resigned to a lonely marriage. I have learned how to be whole and healthy all by myself, despite him. And I have grown in understanding the importance of self-care.

        And I pick my battles. I confront things or share things only when necessary. And I PUT IT IN WRITING! For reference, proof (when he tries to say I never said that or we never agreed to that), and for clarity and being fully heard (or at least getting to fully speak).

        • Connie on March 30, 2018 at 3:39 pm

          Yes, I did that for years. With 2 different h’s. I am learning that it is NOT love to allow bullies to get away with bullying, and it is not good parenting to teach your children that bullies always win. I’m glad you’re doing something. Even if we stay, at least we need to teach our children, somehow, that it is not right that bullies win. And that women don’t have a voice. I keep praying, asking God what more I can do.

          Each week I’m more disturbed at how many new women come on here with such heartbreaking stories. So so glad for this site and all the encouragement.

          • sheep on April 2, 2018 at 10:13 am

            Hi Connie, First, I want you to know this is a genuine question and I’m not being critical. I’m asking because it is a fear of mine that after I divorce I will somehow miss the signs and end up with someone just like her.

            What happened that you ended up with 2 husbands that are bullies? Did they not show this till later? What advice can you give to help others avoid this?



          • Connie on April 2, 2018 at 10:48 am

            Sheep, I don’t know if you are familiar with the site “A Cry For Justice”? They recently had a series of articles with excerpts from Don Hennessy’s book, “How He Gets Into Her Head”. I know that book is about males abusing females, but bear with me a minute here. Don says the only attribute you need to have to be a victim of an abuser is kindness. Yes, you read that right. You need to be a person who thinks of others before yourself. They exploit that to the nth degree. Think of it, who else would satan want to kill, steal from, and destroy?

            Why did I end up with a second abuser? I was single for 8 years and truly thought I’d healed and now knew better. On the other hand, my first abuser was harassing me and telling such awful lies about me around town that I was a tad desperate to get out of dodge and so probably wasn’t quite as cautious as I should have been. And I didn’t realize how many narcissists are out there. I dated a number of nuts and thought there must be someone!

            So here are some mistakes I made. I didn’t listen to the caution of others. Four totally unrelated people warned me. The reason I didn’t listen was because they had such bizarre reasons for their warnings. Now I think that God prodded them to warn me but they didn’t know why so they made up something. Maybe?? One said he looked like #1 (not at all). One said to pray that God kills #1 first before dating another (huh?). One said that #1 would fall back in love with me just before my marriage to #2 and then I would have to break the heart of #2 (didn’t happen – #1 already was heavily invested in his own #2). His sister didn’t want him to marry me because of inheritance issues and because she is just nasty……which is another red flag (family secrets and issues). I know I didn’t have to tell you all this but it does have some entertainment value…..a bit of comic relief, if you will. 🙂

            I also should have talked to his friends and family and seen as a red flag that he didn’t really want me to meet them and talk to them and that his sister was already warning his parents to stay away from us – and we lived across the road. Especially family. It would have been smart to talk to the x too but I didn’t think of that. These people are very very charming and clever in their courting practices. He even went to an ‘engagement’ seminar where they told him he should be teaching the course instead of taking it, he just knew it all! I think the #1 thing I would advise is to say no to the person. When you’re dating you want to please that person and don’t always think of how would they react to a firm ‘No’.

            For a lot more to answer your question go here to these articles:
            https://cryingoutforjustice.com/what-are-signs-that-someone-might-potentially-be-an-abuser-red-flags/



          • sheep on April 2, 2018 at 11:26 am

            Thanks Connie, Well, kindness and putting others is my thing. In the face of the most horrible things from my wife, I continued to be kind and put her first. That has changed now as I am very distant and I really don’t want to be around her. But even with that, I am still polite. I just cant bring myself to be mean or cruel. Part of that is just who I am but part of it is who I am in Christ. Please note that I will and do speak hard truth to her, or at least I occasionally do now since I have given up on her ever changing and there is no point in “casting pearls before swine”

            Thanks for the advice, although that will be a long way our for me. Once this is totally over “legally” I am not going to rush into something else. And I really cant think that way at this point. I am just being realistic because I know me. And frankly, I really long to know and experience a real marriage. One where we both give unconditional love to each other. I would like to know what real intimacy feels like.



          • Connie on April 2, 2018 at 1:39 pm

            Don’t we all wish?



          • Nancy on April 2, 2018 at 1:49 pm

            What comes to mind here Connie and Sheep, is authority. I mentioned in another post that The Lord has been speaking to me lately, about appropriating His authority.

            Authority is modelled by a father figure. It’s a masculine trait. My Dad was always very distant and not at all authoritative ( as opposed to the ‘macho’ authoritarian). He was passive.

            Appropriating His authority can be done while playing with your kids ( or grandkids) by ‘commanding armies as they go to war’, or ‘stomping out snakes’, or any other authoritative type play.

            I’m not sure exactly how this relates to your discussion, but think it may somehow be linked to discernment.



      • JoAnn on March 30, 2018 at 6:16 pm

        Debbie, has he always been this way? or since a certain event? I’m thinking that if it’s just as he got older, he might “simply” be depressed. That “grumpy old man” thing is real, and it can be because of retirement (not having purpose in life) or hormonal, or some disease process, like a past heart attack. Some heart doctors routinely give antidepressants to their heart patients without even asking.
        For Debbie and Kendra: I hope that you have some friends and outside interests to help you to have some enjoyment in your life. You are surviving, but that’s just not enough for God’s chosen ones.

        • Debbie on March 30, 2018 at 6:37 pm

          He has always been this way. He does try to control his temper out bursts more in the last couple of years. I’m pretty isolated right now. We have no couple friends he doesn’t want any. But it’s extremely hard in my area to make friends. No one lets you in. Our house is up for sale now. Hoping when we move to get involved in a church and volunteering and making new friends. I have been married twice. And I have always been lonely in marriage. I don’t know what it’s like to have a husband that really talks.
          I take walks, I love to be outside and find joy in the simple things.
          Good idea to write things down because they always twist what you say to fit their agruments and make you look wrong.
          Thank you all for your encouragement.

        • Aly on March 31, 2018 at 9:22 am

          JoAnn,

          I agree~ they are surviving!

          They are surviving, so that they can move forward with God, with where HE invites them into.
          Freedom from this dynamic because being in such an environment chips away at someone’s worth and ability to care for themselves and offer the best for their partner.
          Even if the best is from a ‘distance’.

      • Sunshine on March 31, 2018 at 11:53 pm

        I just wonder if you are respecting yourself enough. Why i

        • Sunshine on March 31, 2018 at 11:59 pm

          Why is it ok to live 1/2 a life under someone else’s oppression? Is that the life Jesus was willing to die for? So women can be used and mistreated while their talents and gifts are wasted on managing a miserable partner? I just don’t get that thinking.

          • Aly on April 1, 2018 at 7:01 am

            Sunshine,

            He has Risen! Praise God;)
            Yes He died for the abundant freedom of captives and all those who are His Beloved! This is our hope and our joy;)

            I think the difficult part for women who are in a such a scenario of ‘oppression’ is that they themselves are not in tune with the reality of what an abusive dynamic looks like. The oppression isn’t as obvious as what they have been wired in to think what oppression is….and they are also unaware of their lack of freedom for their own health and those who rely on them most.



        • Debbie on April 1, 2018 at 12:11 pm

          Probably not, I’ve been the middle man peace maker in my family for so long. My husband was hard on my older girls. So I took as much of his frustrations and abuse so he would leave my daughters alone. It was my only way of protecting my daughters. He is obsessed with our youngest daughter who is his only biological child. If I would have left with her. He would have just went nuts. I always felt life would have been even worse if I left. I’ve been taking the abuse for so long. And everything single time I stand up for myself it NEVER works. He always manages to turn it around on me. It’s just easier to give up. We have our house up for sale. And plan on moving to another state. When we get settled I plan on reevaluating things. I need to get past this transition period first.
          I keep praying that God help me know where to go from here. Ultimately I would like a life’s change to change the environment. But if it doesn’t. I know I need to make changes.
          Once again, it’s always so complicated with these men.

          • Aly on April 1, 2018 at 12:38 pm

            Debbie,
            Do you have a couple supportive women ~ who ‘know’ what’s going on… truly know what your dealing with?

            Do you have a professional involved? Someone that understands abuse and the dynamics of being chipped away at?

            Getting to a place of ‘change’ as you speak of takes a lot of support and interventions, we don’t do it on our own.



          • Debbie on April 1, 2018 at 6:51 pm

            Aly, no I live in southern New England people are not friendly and don’t let you in. I have tried and tried and just gave up. But I learned that the Lord brought me to this place of total dependence on him. I turned to studying the Bible and learning and developing the gifts if the spirit. Things I never believed in before. He has been preparing for a future ministry. He has used me here to get my feet wet. But I knew in my spirit it was for a future date not made known to me. I do share with my daughters some. But it’s hard he is always picking up my phone and reading my messages and eavesdropping when I’m on the phone.
            I’m hoping when we relocate, I will join a church and volunteer and hopefully make new friends. I’m trusting and praying God lead my life. I’m totally committed to what he has planned for me.
            But so far any support has been nonexistent here. And personal therapy would be out. It would just
            Open a can of worms I can’t and don’t want to deal with. Talking to my husband is like talking to a wall. And he just will not admitnhe is wrong. It is always someone else’s fault. My daughter came for the weekend. And she said she can never wait to leave even after just one night.



    • adrikoz on March 31, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      This is how things are for me. My husband can’t keep a job, never goes to church, is limited in what he does with the family and does next to nothing around the house to help out (projects that are important to him get done). All because of migraines. Sometimes because of his stomach or an injury, you name it. Counseling is out, the one time I mentioned it after a bad blow up he said the options were for me to change, leave, or him kill himself. No conversation aboit concerns goes well. It either turns into a tearful pity party about himself or turns it aginast me. Much of the time he’s pleasant enough that it makes it hard to think things are bad enough to warrant separating. I think things aren’t “bad” because we don’t cause friction for him. I have learned to bounce the crap off, too, but I worry about my kids!! Separating and divorce isn’t easy, either. My mom finally divorced my alcoholic and verbally abusive dad when I was in highschool and none of us supported her.
      We have 9 kids, our oldest (20) said to me me that she’s done with it (constantly feeling critisized, like nothing is ever good enough or right) and has moved out but he wasn’t the reason. I see the frustration in our other kids that are old enough to see it as well.
      I don’t know what to do next! I’m emotionally checked out of the relationship, the only times he mentions noticing something is wrong he says he wishes I wasn’t “bitter” or asks why I’m so grumpy (both imply a sinful attitude on MY part!)

      • Aly on March 31, 2018 at 3:28 pm

        Adrikoz,

        Your situation is serious.

        You wrote:
        “Much of the time he’s pleasant enough that it makes it hard to think things are bad enough to warrant separating. I think things aren’t “bad” because we don’t cause friction for him.”

        Your skewed version of not that bad is what CAN change.
        Your definition of much of the time he’s pleasant enough is very incongruent with the facts that you list out.
        This is what’s upside down and in your ability to get help for yourself to change your understanding and why you have convinced yourself that this is a marriage or even a relationship at best.

        You wrote:
        ” I have learned to bounce the crap off, too, but I worry about my kids!!”

        Sometimes choosing the bouncing isn’t truly bouncing it’s enabling more of the unhealth to grow.

        • adrikoz on April 1, 2018 at 2:21 am

          I guess I don’t know what the next step would be. I don’t think he’s narcissistic, which would make it easier, but seems to battle something else, BPD maybe.

          • Aly on April 1, 2018 at 7:19 am

            Adrikoz,

            Our Hope is in Him and He is Risen! Trusting God is not always something we show well in action. It’s easy to trust Him in joyful and simple loving ways, it’s much more difficult to trust Him in our fears and our actions.

            You mentioned: that it would be ‘much easier’ if your husband is narcissistic.
            What would be easier?

            I understand why you want to identify the character issues, and many of us here are well informed that narc.PD is on a spectrum.

            your husband may very well be a good example of someone with a character disorder that is causing great grief and chaos in your family and especially tormenting you in an abusive manner in my opinion.
            Regardless, if that’s the identity of the problem, one still has the responsibility to address (or respond) to the Behavior.

            How are you choosing to respond to the behavior?
            Do you have a counselor for support and clear instructions of steps?

            You mention your h having migraines and basically not participating in being a healthy partner that you can rely on…. what things are you willing to require of him to confront his behavior and abandonment/neglect?



          • Sunshine on April 1, 2018 at 8:00 am

            I don’t think you need to know what is wrong with him. Your are only responsible for how you treat yourself and how you treat others. You can’t change him.

            I think I would start with examaning your financial situation. I would also get a free legal consultation to learn about your states laws regarding separation or divorce. It doesn’t mean you have to act on what you learn, but be informed.



          • Aly on April 1, 2018 at 8:00 am

            Adrikoz,

            To answer simply, the next step would be to acknowledge just how bad things are.

            You wrote:
            “Counseling is out, the one time I mentioned it after a bad blow up he said the options were for me to change, leave, or him kill himself.”

            Does this seem reasonable or close to a healthy conflict conversation?

            To resign Counseling is out.., is concerning.
            What about you? Is counseling out for you also?

            This above is a hostage and power battle gone nuts.
            The extreme response from your husband should indicate how bad this is..& his level of power and control he is yielding upon you in a VERY abusive manner.

            Let’s go back to his response to you:
            3 choices he pulls out,
            you change? You leave?
            Or he kills himself?

            Your next step can be;
            to Change by getting help for yourself and support in being in healthy relationships, counseling etc.
            This may lead to or require separation for your own health and healing.

            You wrote:
            “No conversation aboit concerns goes well. It either turns into a tearful pity party about himself or turns it aginast me.”

            Ofcourse it goes this way, because the outcome is still the same result, your husband (even if he is deeply sick) is still dictating the level of health standard! His tactics of abuse ‘work for him’ to remain where the dynamic is.
            The abuser is creating the environment~ walking in egg shells

            The sick should not be the one determining the overall environment but Yes… often they create a hostage situation and do.
            But you have choices to make so that your husband can also be free to make his own choices.
            And he certainly can choose to live an unhealthy destructive life. But let’s not ‘cloud’ his reality by participating in his environment and giving him a family togetherness illusion.

            Giving requirements are not you being controlling especially when you are inviting him into healthier choices.
            He can still reject your requirements and chose the outcome of not tending to the concerns & VALID complaints you have!

            Your children are rightfully frustrated ~ they might see that you carry healthy power and chose to let your ill husband decide whether or not you will exercise it.

            Let me speak of this in a different way,
            See if you choose to ‘not change’ not get help for you etc, … you reinforce to your h that he’s just not that bad or worth battling for. (Spiritually speaking here)

            If you choose to ‘not leave’ (separation), then you reinforce that internal message that he’s not that bad in his behavior/abandonment/neglect to separate~ so he continues his patterns of unhealthy behavior.

            Even if you had only 1 or 2 children, they would be just as hurt and angry to find themselves in a (one parent) or often in these situations it’s
            a No Parent experience.
            The more siblings there are it can sometimes add to the ‘scarcity of neglect and other children step into parenting or dysfunctional roles and can ultimately resent both parents’.

            I’m sorry for my length, many here care and want to encourage the best Health available. I want to reinforce the choices that you DO indeed have within reach~ 💜
            Sometimes it’s so very hard to see that next step or choice when your in the process and that’s why we need a lot of support, prayer and Christ’s courage through our journeys.



          • adrikoz on April 1, 2018 at 10:07 am

            Thank you, I appreciate the input from both of you. I know his responses are not healthy in any way, and that it keeps things in his favor. I see the way he words things in such a way to criticize or put blame on…..small things that add up yet remain too “trivial” to mention individually.
            My biggest fear is what his reaction will be when his reality collides with truth. But I need him to acknowledge that his responses are not what a healthy person does in a normal relationship. From there, I guess my next step would be based on how he responds and follows through. I’ve been praying forthe truth to be revealed, for change, whatever that might bring, and I’ve reached a point where I can’t sit back anymore, bit a little afraid of what lies ahead. And afraid of being wrong or too extreme….



          • Aly on April 1, 2018 at 12:18 pm

            Adrikoz,

            There is a lot of help and resources available to your situation.
            You said some important things that maybe you could consider more of how your own thought process is handling such a serious environment.

            You wrote:
            ” I know his responses are not healthy in any way, and that it keeps things in his favor.”

            You knowing that his responses are unhealthy is not the reason why the dynamic hasn’t been interrupted, you also have choices to make decisions that don’t have to be determined by only his level of behavior.

            You can control and change only yourself. What form of action might you be willing to take now that you see how unhealthy the ‘non type of marriage’ is and how he is continuing to use tactics to make something your fault, when he clearly doesn’t want you to distrupt or point out his denial.

            Sometimes having a non-response or the wrong response to a unhealthy individual can be just as damaging to the problems and certainly lengthen them.

            You wrote:
            ” I see the way he words things in such a way to criticize or put blame on…..small things that add up yet remain too “trivial” to mention individually.”

            With someone such as his character as you describe, nothing would be too small or trivial, in my opinion.

            You wrote:
            “My biggest fear is what his reaction will be when his reality collides with truth.”

            Wow! This is true and I’m sad for this. By reaction, maybe you can explain more here?
            There is nothing wrong in being scared or fearful, it makes sense.
            There are such things that you can work out well with a therapist to walk you through rational fears and possibly any irrational ones that he has been a contributor of.
            By no means am I saying there are irrational ones, buts its wise to get a professional involved so you can identify the fear, true fear and validate it!
            Once you have that clear, it often helps make the next steps out of Faith and Your previous evidence versus out of any fear that make keep you from taking the steps you need for yourself and your children.

            You wrote:
            “But I need him to acknowledge that his responses are not what a healthy person does in a normal relationship.”

            I think it would be normal desire for you to want this. Boy, do I get that!
            ~I’m wondering is it enough that YOU acknowledge what is clearly unhealthy for your standards of care?
            I think so. You are enough to be able to say this isn’t healthy or an emotionally safe relationship at best.

            I think wanting or desiring our offender to see their offense is natural but not always possible with certain individuals.
            Remember, their unhealth’ skews what they might deem normal healthy standards of behavior.
            And personally to go along with them in their denial and skewed version isn’t loving them well, or loving them like Christ has loved us first with.



          • adrikoz on April 1, 2018 at 11:56 pm

            Thank you for those thoughts! I have a lot to consider. My mind has been analyzing things non-stop (it feels like it) for a long time, trying to figure things out. I don’t have money for a counselor, so I’ve pretty much been trying to have the Lord direct each step, give me wisdom. I’m clinging to the verse “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding……”



          • sheep on April 2, 2018 at 11:01 am

            Adrikoz, I know what you are feeling, because our situations have much in common, including number of kids and ages. That is a heavy weight. I have been here for a long time as well, but I’m now coming to the end. After long term emotional abuse it can take a long time to realize that you don’t deserve this treatment AND that it just isn’t normal. That has been part of the journey for me is just realizing that this isn’t a normal marriage relationship. (honestly, that is a danger of spending too much time in the comment section of this blog. When I am here I have to remind myself that the people here have experienced a lot of abuse and that is why we are here. But we do not represent good, normal marriages)

            Like you, much of the time things are “OK” But that is really based on her acting OK, not what I or anyone else in the family actually feels. But I know that calm is only going to last for so long. This is part of the pattern. Bad behavior followed by being “nice” or “calm” or “OK” but then the explosion will come again. Why? Because the real issue of their heart and bad behavior is never actually dealt with. Change is impossible for him when he won’t admit or deal with his own problems.

            You said “I don’t think he’s narcissistic, which would make it easier” I know what you are thinking with this, that it would be easier to have something concrete to blame the bad behavior on, But trust me, there is nothing about NPD that makes it easier. Even knowing she is NPD really doesn’t help me, because it still doesn’t explain the crazy making attitudes and behaviors. And it gives even less hope for change. (which is actually probably a good thing because it keeps me from being willing to live with it forever)

            One of the things you said “Counseling is out, the one time I mentioned it after a bad blow up he said the options were for me to change, leave, or him kill himself.” That isn’t the method my wife uses, but it is a pretty narcissistic thing to say because it is all about him. He has dictated to you the options available. You change (because I’m not going to) You Leave (because I’m not going to) ORRR… He will kill himself (woe is me, if you try to make me do anything I’m going to kill myself) This is totally to manipulate you, he got what he wanted didn’t he?

            My best friend’s mother was very NPD. when he was young, she would manipulate him by threatening to kill herself by running the car into a bridge. One day he got sick of it, when and got the car keys and gave them to her. she asked what that was for and he told her to go ahead an get it over with if she was really that miserable and if that was what she really wanted. She was of course angry but she never did it again because it didn’t get her what she wanted anymore. Please note I am not telling you to say this to your husband. I don’t know him or what his problem is or if he really is suicidal.



          • adrikoz on April 2, 2018 at 12:42 pm

            Sheep,
            After 20 years I now look back and see all the things that concerned me but at the time I took as isolated incidences and not as a pattern of control. I read the comments on this forum and feel like I relate but at the same time can’t say it’s nearly as bad, and therefore maybe doesn’t warrant extreme action on my part. But then again, I know it’s not normal or healthy or good, and I don’t really know what normal is. I grew up in a Christian home but it wasn’t a healthy marriage that I saw. Now I’m wondering what the best course of action is for my kids’ sake. I don’t know how much they’re aware of, what is affecting them, etc. My dad was an alcoholic, distant, and I remember things he said to my mom that were hurtful and I knew wasn’t right, but it wasn’t until I was in highschool that we found out he was an alcoholic and my mom divorced him over the emotional abuse. My childhood was good, though, nothing Rocky,good teaching. Maybe it’s better for my kids to have both parents. It’s hard for me to assess it.



          • sheep on April 2, 2018 at 1:03 pm

            Adrikoz, I get it, it is the same for me. Since I actually came to the realization of abuse, things stand out a lot more, but most of our marriage, there were just little things that would keep saying to me that something isn’t right. But I couldn’t put my finger on them, and I learned early on to keep my mouth shut about them. It was not worth what would follow to bring them up. And they never resulted in change anyway so why try?

            I often read what others here have and are going through and I think they have it so much worse than me. But if you are like me, I think that is part of the coping mechanism we have developed to avoid the constant pain of being rejected by the one that promised to love, honor and cherish us.

            In some ways, I think my decision to move toward divorce is easier because my wife also committed adultery several times. (I’m not saying that the situation itself is any easier because the pain of that is awful) But this would have been a harder decision for me to deal with without the adultery. I only say that because I know myself and I know that without that shock to wake me up and her statement that she will not promise she will never do it again, I would probably still be stuck in trying harder to “earn her love” Fully convinced that the problems were all my fault and if I just gave a little more of myself that she would respond the same way and everything would be perfect.



          • adrikoz on April 2, 2018 at 1:54 pm

            Sheep, even though it would be painful, I almost wish there was infidelity because then I’d have a “biblical reason” to divorce and the truth would be more apparent to me. In no way am I implying that I want him to sin, or that adultery makes the situation easier, it’s just something that would bring closure for me, I guess. External proof other than my memories and thoughts.



      • Sunshine on April 1, 2018 at 12:09 am

        Is it possible that you difficult childhood situation had blurred your perception of what isn’t so bad? Ad an outsider reading what you wrote, your arrangement is certainly very, very bad. I am concerned for you and your children. If you husband is not contributing of what use is he? Aren’t you all better off without his drama and toxicity.

        I spoke to a woman at church last week. She has been married to an abusive man for 41 years. There child and in laws are all deeply affected by her staying. He sibs, although intelligent and successful, all took on Dad’s entitlement thinking. He daughters beg her to leave and ban grandchildren from coming to their abusive home. So…I’m just saying the kids are not benefiting from living in such a situation. They often grow up to disrespect the mother who wouldn’t leave. Gee if she doesn’t respect herself, how would they learn to yr

        • Sunshine on April 1, 2018 at 12:15 am

          How would they learn to treat her any differently.

          I know we kids don’t respect my mother being a martyr. We think she is mentally sick and doesn’t respect herself.

          • adrikoz on April 1, 2018 at 11:59 pm

            Would it be wrong to get my 20 year old daughter’s perspective on things? Keep it basic, not lead with the questions? I’d really like to know how she sees it, if his criticism is just a thing to deal with like any other parent issue, or if it crosses a line. I know what I see Is still different than what others see, but I also think others see more than they let on.



        • Sunshine on April 1, 2018 at 12:17 am

          Son’s not sibs

          • JoAnn on April 2, 2018 at 11:08 am

            Adrikoz, personally, I think having a frank talk with your daughter would be a good idea. Listen, listen, listen for understanding. For sure she has a perspective, and you might hear some things that are painful to hear, but if you can receive what she has to say without being defensive, that will go a long way to helping you figure out what to do. You might even find yourself apologizing to her for some things, which will help to build trust and understanding between you and your daughter. Pray, then go to her.



          • adrikoz on April 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm

            If I talk to her and she tells me that his behavior is frustrating and at times hurtful but nothing that can’t be ignored (we all hurt others sometimes), then that will further complicate things. It will mean that I truly am the only person to see it, but it might mean that a Frank conversation with him will move us forward. Is it even possible to break these behavior patterns without counceling?? I’ll talk with her, but something keeps holding me back.



        • Debbie on April 1, 2018 at 12:02 pm

          I completely understand it’s a really complicated decision to make. Getting out is the ultimate fix. But the unknown is a lot to deal with as well. Financially it is going to be difficult to provide for yourself and the children and day care costs if necessary. Being in retirement finances is a definite concern. My daughter left her abusive husband she has 3 kids. And she struggles to make ends meet. The state of AZ let her ex get away with paying very little.
          I underand you want to feel comfortable that you can provide. These men just make life so complicated. Even getting out isn’t cut and dry.
          And talking to them just brings more stress than getting things aired out and into the open. It’s hard and complicated!!

          • JoAnn on April 2, 2018 at 6:44 pm

            Adrikoz, you said, “I’ll talk with her, but something keeps holding me back,” and I wonder if you know what it is that is holding you back from talking with your daughter? Is there a fear there? Fear of what? How bad could her response be? She might tell you how she thinks you have contributed to the problem, and while that can hurt, it is also valuable information. She might also totally validate you and tell you that she wishes you would walk away from him. In any case, it is important that you identify what is holding you back, and then when you talk to her, you can tell her, as a way of being open with her. Of course, you know her, and because you know her, you might have an idea of what she will say, but in any case, I think it might be worth a gamble to get her on your side. As I said before, pray first, that the Lord will use that conversation to help you and her to understand each other better.



        • Kay on April 2, 2018 at 11:12 pm

          When tryng to come to terms with whether my spriitual, financial, emotional, and verbal abuse was “enough”, (he also has been seen in online pictures multiple times with a particular lady, but denies having sex with her), my wise counselor asked me what I would say to my adult married daughter if her husband was treating her in just one if those areas like I had been treated. That rrally hit home.

          • adrikoz on April 4, 2018 at 9:55 am

            That’s a good point. Oirview can become so tainted that we don’t see it as bad until we put someone else in the situation. What would I tell daughter or close friend if they went through something similar?
            Right now I don’t think separating is the right choice for me. I know I need to say something, because I’ve cut myself off from him emotionally, we don’t talk, but we haven’t really for a long time. If he notices anything is wrong, he hasn’t said anything or acted differently. We could probably go on like this forever, and part of me is tempted to do so. He acts out, I call him out on it, we move on, pretending things are fine but with no real realtionship. It’s peaceful, at least. I get to stay home with my kids (even though he doesn’t work consistently, it’s better than me struggling on my own…..). If he was horrible all the time it’d be different.



          • Nancy on April 6, 2018 at 9:06 am

            HI adrikoz,

            I want to gently challenge you here. You say that it’s ‘peaceful, at least’. Yes, we are called to be peacemakers, but I don’t think you have peace in your home. You and your husband are actually peace-faking.

            ‘Sweeping things under the rug’ causes an emotionally destructive environment. There is an elephant in the room – and your children know it- but the adults deny it’s existence.

            I grew up in a home like this. Very. Confusing.

            The very first piece to put on in the spiritual battle, is the belt of truth. All the prayer, church going, etc…is useless if you don’t practice telling the truth.



          • adrikoz on April 6, 2018 at 4:32 pm

            Thank you, you are right. It seems many people know there’s an issue but no one says anything. I don’t know where to start, I guess. Most of the criticisms or half-truths and false reality statements are seemingly trivial when looked at individually.



          • JoAnn on April 6, 2018 at 5:33 pm

            Adrikoz, you say you don’t know where to start. May I suggest that you begin by writing in a journal about the behaviors that your husband does that are hurtful and how you feel about them. Be as specific as you can about what it feels like when he does/says what he does. Make note of how he acts toward others: the children, relatives, etc. After a week or longer, a pattern will emerge that you can look at, and also pay attention to how you are participating in or contributing to his behaviors. Your own attitudes, words and actions are all part of the “dance” that is going on in your household. As you read over what you have written over a period of time, you will get a clear picture of what is going on and what you can do to create change. Then you can decide what boundaries you want to put in place and what behaviors of your own you need to change. Give it lots of prayerful thought.



          • Nancy on April 7, 2018 at 11:55 am

            Another practical tool is to use the words, ” I’m puzzled…” they are neutral words.

            And it’s perfect for small inconsistencies for example . “I appreciate that you want to get this issue sorted out, I’m puzzled though because yesterday you said that you were in no rush’

            I’m puzzled because just two minutes ago you said the opposite….

            I’m puzzled because I was under the impression that this was important to you.

            Etc…..



  5. Nancy on March 28, 2018 at 10:07 am

    If indeed this husband’s behaviour is reactive abuse, this is encouraging.

    It’s encouraging because there is perhaps more hope for a heart change, on his part, than someone with NPD, for example.

    But regardless,…the course of action is no different. In all cases ( reactive abuse, or not), the practical steps are the same ( See Leslie’s book EDM). He needs to be held accountable for the poor job he is doing of stewarding his own heart, and consequently his marital relationship.

    When I confronted my h, my big ‘ask’ of him was that he needed to ‘take responsibility for the baggage that he brought into our marriage’. That was the main problem…the generational sin that he refused to deal with was flooding our marriage, and was often landing on my shoulders.

    Leslie’s practical steps helped tremendously in drawing a hard line between what was his, and what was mine.

    • Aly on April 7, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      Nancy,

      This is in reference to April 7, 11:55 post.

      Yes! Well said Nancy;)
      Yes I agree it’s neutral a majority of the time.
      To a person who abuses, or doesn’t look inward… heed caution and look out for further harm as a posibility.
      Because when we approach a situation (whatever or however small or insignificant it might be seen) a defended person will not want these inconsistencies revealed!
      Such as, ‘I’m puzzled, you said this was important and yet this was your behavior, can you help me understand here?”
      This IS neutral and an invitation for introspective thinking…. but a person unwilling for this type of reflection or dialog will be annoyed at the question and want to dismiss your experience as invalid.

      To them… all aligns in their own head. And anyone calling it to attention is the enemy for pointing out the inconsistencies.

      • Nancy on April 8, 2018 at 8:33 am

        Yes, for sure Aly, they will not like the question.

        Adrikoz mentioned that these issues were ‘insignificant’ when each looked at individually. I can totally relate to this. My husband’s issue was deception. He couldn’t tell the truth where it IN ANY WAY even MIGHT point to some MINUTE failure on his part. This posture became tighter and tighter over time and became utterly ridiculous.

        Deciding that I would challenge each inconsistency was a big step for me ( I knew I was not in physical danger!).

        At that time, I used, “I’m confused because…” Because I was neutral and stood my ground, over- time the pattern was revealed as ridiculous. ( otherwise I would have continued to minimize it and question my sanity. Or rationalize that the escalation was not worth it. The Truth, though, is always worth it. It will move the relationship- you need to always ensure physical safety, though).

        You are right, Aly, things got worse because he was so invested in ‘not letting me down’! And the more his lying was exposed (coupled with me being very neutral about it – the hurt, the anger, etc…I took it to The Lord) he could no longer deny it.

        Eventually he recognized that he was not trustworthy.

        It all started, though, with me deciding that no matter how ridiculous the inconsistency, I pointed it out. And standing firm in truth.

        Actually, it all started with The Lord showing me that I had idolized my h and my marriage. Once He set me straight in this regard, Then I was able to implement the practical steps in Leslie’s book.

        • Aly on April 8, 2018 at 9:56 am

          Nancy,

          You wrote some critical specifics down that I think highlight such a core issue ~ trustworthiness.

          What similar paths we have journeyed through. Certainly not exact but I can relate to much of the process, for me my husband kept wanting me to place him (and his version of marriage) as the idol ~ and thus we had a battle from the beginning. I was ill equipped.
          For us, it wasn’t about him not wanting to let me down but not wanting to deal with any conflict or me challenging anything ‘whatsoever’ and the way he saw ‘himself’ was how I was required to see him also~ even if it was distorted.
          Talk about maddening! He needed me to mirror whatever ‘lying of a mirror’ he would hold up so I could align with what was his version of identity~ validation and reinforcing denial.
          Talk about keeping God far away. The God that wants to free us from having so many barriers to His true Love ❤️ for who we are to Him.

          The mirror I held up caused problems for my husband! I was not a co-conspirator with his narratives. Which relates to you challenging those inconsistencies you mentioned (regardless of how insignificant they may seem) that brought further recognizing of his untrustworthiness by your husband.

          You wrote:
          “Actually, it all started with The Lord showing me that I had idolized my h and my marriage. ”

          Nancy, what do you believe was behind this idol of marriage and h?

          • Nancy on April 9, 2018 at 7:29 am

            Hi Aly,

            You asked me what was behind my idolizing my h and my marriage.

            Disney…for a start ( well, I can’t blame Disneyl!) Idealization of him. Idealization of ‘the marriage’. Also an unwillingness to take responsibility for myself ( my choices, my attitutudes, my emotions). If either he or ‘the marriage’ was perfect, then it, or he, would always be there to ‘rescue’ me…even from myself.

            I look at that now, and the pressure that must have put on him…oooouffff! But he wanted that, too. We both were very invested in he ( and the marriage) being saviour.

            When I accepted Christ 6 years ago, there was a two year period where he was very jealous. (very much like the guy in ‘a case for Christ’ when his wife accepted the Lord before he did. The similarity in his attitude towards her was very familiar!)

            We lived for over 20 years without The Lord. It was a house built on sand.

            My h accepted The Lord about 2 years after I did, but God waited a bit before He began dismantling our biggest idol.

            He is sooooo good!

            If you didn’t idolize your h, Aly, what kept you locked in your dynamic for as long as you were?



          • Aly on April 9, 2018 at 10:14 am

            Nancy,

            Thanks so much for taking the time to answer and answer from a place that you see your steps & motivations.

            What a Praise to the Lord for your true Rescuing and security in His Kingdom;)💜

            I think we ‘often’ find replacements for our true Rescuer. And often those motives get formed early in our lives.

            You asked:
            “If you didn’t idolize your h, Aly, what kept you locked in your dynamic for as long as you were?”

            Being raised and a believer (Jesus lover) as a young child, I think there were many contributors.
            1:Family of origin of ‘women’ modeling low standards for tolerating husband’s that would say they believe, but behavior wasn’t often consistent.

            2:as a child:
            Being raised in a home where somehow I was the one who took more responsibility for my behavior and ‘others’ where the rules where different for different family members.

            3: as a child, learning how to cope with being mistreated and disrespected by my siblings ~ as normal and tolerating the intolerable.
            Being the one to always be the compromiser and being the bigger person ‘as my mom would tell me’

            4: Being modeled by my mom ~ that you are loved by God so it really doesn’t matter how others treat you. Wrong thinking there.

            5: Being raised witnessing my mom’s coping strategies out of fear not to take a stand for truth and healthier family dynamics. By my mom rationalizing, minimizing and really spiritualizing toxic behavior… thinking she can love (by enabling) a family member toward Christ.

            6:By being wired early on that we are to think the best of others ~ even if we see wrong behavior toward ourselves.

            7: Being told that I should be more patient and forgiving toward my husband so that God can do His work.
            Basically telling me that I was powerless to do any healthy action on my part and advocate for help for myself & my husband.

            That’s a long list, but I do think I really wanted to believe what the women in my circle told me, because I trusted them and their words.
            Then I decided to investigate and observe behavior as an indicator of congruency.



        • Aly on April 8, 2018 at 10:44 am

          Nancy,

          You wrote:
          “My husband’s issue was deception. He couldn’t tell the truth where it IN ANY WAY even MIGHT point to some MINUTE failure on his part. This posture became tighter and tighter over time and became utterly ridiculous.”

          How much does this behavior of having this posture or lens harm our intimacy with God and keeps God out of our reality?

          I think ‘profoundly’.
          I’m thankful the Lord showed you the eyes to see and tighhold on a destructive individual pattern that your h brought to the marital table.

          • Nancy on April 9, 2018 at 9:04 am

            Yes, this underlying unwillinesd to face his own failings was a well fortified defense!

            And this attitude can still pop up, out of ‘seemingly’ nowhere. When he’s insecure, he’s inclined to default back. I can sense this posture a mile away and need to slow things wayyyyy down in order to not fall back into my old way of relating to him.

            I know this next week will be rough because our counsellor has asked him to do some ‘homework’ with regards to intimacy. He hasn’t done anything. Last night, I called him on it, and it wasn’t pretty.

            I’ve been praying Ephesians 3:14-19 for myself. I’ll need it in particular, this week.

            Intimacy is an extremely scary place for him. I need to keep my boundaries in place so that I don’t ‘take on’ the responsibility that he has neglected over this past couple of weeks.



          • Aly on April 9, 2018 at 10:32 am

            Nancy,

            This is to respond to your post April 9, 9:04am

            I’ll pray for you Nancy and that your husband deals with the entrenchmet of those long term behavior patterns.

            You wrote:
            “And this attitude can still pop up, out of ‘seemingly’ nowhere. When he’s insecure, he’s inclined to default back. I can sense this posture a mile away and need to slow things wayyyyy down in order to not fall back into my old way of relating to him.”

            Oh boy can I relate here~
            Something that maybe the counselor can assist with.., this helped my husband look further..and get objective about my confronting him on his continued character and intimacy work:
            ‘Husband, why do you think I am more aware or conscious about your ability to default (relapse), pop back up etc. than you are?”

            You wrote:
            “I know this next week will be rough because our counsellor has asked him to do some ‘homework’ with regards to intimacy. He hasn’t done anything. Last night, I called him on it, and it wasn’t pretty.”

            What does it wasn’t pretty mean?

            Was he able to repair and respond differently using different tools?

            Also, he has to be honest with the counselor ‘about not doing it ‘and letting the result or pattern continue to reveal itself.

            The consequences then are,???
            I’m assuming less trust from you..?



          • Nancy on April 9, 2018 at 2:04 pm

            Hi Aly, Yes, the consequences are indeed less trust from me, and I told him that last night.

            ‘It wasn’t pretty’ simply means that old defensive patterns sprang up. Blaming me for an unwillingness to listen to him.

            He tried cutting the conversation off saying that we should wait to take it to our counsellor – in 9 days- because he felt ‘we were out of control’ to which I replied ‘I’m not out of control’. Then ‘well, this conversation is out of control’ to which I replied ‘I’m not out of control’. ( I felt the Peace of the Holy Spirit just wash over me).

            This “reset” our conversation and he was able to get back to some tools that we are learning. He was able to get back to his feelings. He needs A LOT of boundaries to stay on his feelings ( he tends to say, “I feel….” followed by an assumption about me, instead of his feeling. Example, “I feel that you are judging me”.)

            After the “reset” He was able to say that he felt abandoned. I asked him what he needed and he said “I need space”. Usually I’d ask for a commitment from him when he would come back ( and negotiate the time if it’s more than 10 minutes), but I didn’t. It was late. I was tired.

            I slept like a baby, though. I’ll be gently but persistently confronting him when he comes home from work today 🙂

            Thanks for your prayers. The rhetoric that he tells himself is that “Nancy never listens to me, this is why I can’t trust her”. This is a rhetoric I believed too for a long time: That I couldn’t listen. What I’m realizing that I won’t listen to; is blame tucked in behind the words, “I feel”.

            Yes, the weight of him not doing his homework will fall squarely on his shoulders in the counsellor’s office. I’ve done A LOT of work over our past couple of sessions. It’s his turn.



          • Aly on April 9, 2018 at 6:58 pm

            Nancy,

            I’m sorry these replies are not in order.

            Wow~ so glad that you spoke with clarity and felt the the Holy Spirits peace in a situation that was escalating ~ based out of him choosing to be (or fall squarely) defensive toward you.

            Your convo is so almost to identical ones I’ve had ~ glad you pointed out that he didn’t follow through with the ‘heartwork’.

            It’s heavy lifting and I’m sorry!

            I love how you pointed out the ‘rhetoric tape’ and what you no longer will give weight to because what he did was to shift the focus onto you as the ‘out of control problem’ when holding him accountable.

            That’s convenient ~

            I will pray for you and thankful you have a counselor working together with both of you.

            I wonder if it’s his place to initiate the repair given that he didn’t follow through with the original task?



          • Nancy on April 9, 2018 at 7:37 pm

            HI Aly,

            Thank you for your prayers. I spoke to him as soon as he was settled after coming in from work.

            He accepted and apologized for not taking responsibility for re-initiating conversation last night, after the ‘space’ he needed.

            We talked about the argument and both persisted through some defensive barriers – the key for us here is persisting through. We can both withdraw and avoid.

            He ended up sharing some deep seated beliefs about not feeling valuable enough to be heard. He got there by identifying that he was feeling confused, and insecure. He talked about how going to the place of anger and upset is so much safer for him than admitting the ‘weak’ feeling of insecurity. And that him channeling his insecurity into ‘upset’ actually gives him fuel and makes him productive. He made some connections around work and how he’s not a good communicator but makes up for that by being extremely hard working. So he gets quite a pay-off from avoiding vulnerable feelings. He’s the guy that just ‘gets things done’.

            We joked about how communication is not his forte and yet here we are about to lead an emotionally healthy relationships course! And we find ourselves being counselled by a professor of communication – exactly what we need.

            I pointed out how this coping strategy costs us intimacy. He didn’t get that at first, but the lights ended up going on.

            I’m going to encourage him to write it all down because he made a lot of connections that surprised us both. He’s tired, but his heart is soft.

            God really used this altercation to teach us how to love one another better.

            Thanks for your care for my heart, Aly. You are a blessing to me and to this community.



          • Aly on April 9, 2018 at 10:03 pm

            Nancy;)

            So sweet! Praise God for all the work and repair that is taking place🎉

            I know it’s hard work and so thankful that the Lord is helping and equipping you both 💜

            And yes, such good things to write down and recollect for further brain pathways;)

            The enemy did not gain anything here; your husband’s courage is his strength in making a fairly quick turnaround and being honest about his fears.
            So healing!!



  6. Connie on March 28, 2018 at 11:14 am

    I really get tired of the ‘he’s a good father though’ line. If he is abusive to the mother of their children, he is not a good father. He is training his sons to be abusive and he is training his daughters to take it lying down. That’s terrible. Also, if he can treat them well, he is quite capable of treating their mother well.

    • Itswell on March 28, 2018 at 11:42 am

      Perfectly said
      Mine is angel caring generous kind etc to others but he is opposite to me and kids

      So anyone I go to
      After speaking with him tell me
      “ oh he is such a nice man etc”

      • Nancy on March 28, 2018 at 11:53 am

        HI Itswell,

        That is absolutely crazy making! Also why it is important that you begin to speak truth as you encounter this. You could say, “oh, wow! Does he ever have you fooled”

        Or ” yeah….he’s masterful at ‘being good’, in public”
        Or “if you saw him at home, you wouldn’t think he was at all nice”

        Find ways that fit your personality and you are comfortable saying. Maybe it’s a one-liner that you rely on each time this kind of thing is said. Trust God with this. Our first responsibility is to be truthful.

        • JoAnn on March 29, 2018 at 10:17 am

          Well said, Nancy. I like those replies. That will also be a way to see who might offer support, by watching their reaction to such a statement. Some will turn away because they “don’t want to get involved.” But some one might just express concern and offer help. That is a friend you can open to. Support is important if you are going to try to exit the relationship.

          • Itswell on March 29, 2018 at 9:31 pm

            Sorry joAnn but I don’t think I understand your point
            Thanks for replying



          • JoAnn on March 29, 2018 at 9:37 pm

            Itswell, Nancy offered some one-liners you could say when people comment on how “nice” your husband is. I said that I like those replies, and as you watch the reaction of the person you speak it to, you can tell by how they react whether they will be sympathetic or disbelieving, or if they just brush it off. It will be helpful for you to have a friend or two who believes you and supports you in dealing with your husband, and by answering the way Nancy suggested, that might help you to find someone who is sympathetic.
            I hope that this clarifies what I said.



      • Jenny on March 28, 2018 at 3:35 pm

        This is interesting to me. My husband has always been the same way – very uncomfortable with me being not okay, sick or otherwise in any kind of distress. All the times over the years when he was the most abusive to me it was because I was upset or feeling down. He can be breathtakingly cruel to me when I am sick or depressed. If I am perfectly happy and joyful and only have nice things to say to him, he’s usually not too bad…but heaven forbid I’ve had a long day and am feeling stressed and tired. He instantly becomes cold and distant, rude and uncaring.

        My worst memory of hurtful abuse in recent years was when I had a really bad “crash” with my chronic fatigue…I felt like death for a couple of weeks and he was so incredibly cruel to me during this time although I was so ill I could barely get out of bed. In fact he tried to kick me out of the house. This was such a slap in the face considering he had been friendly for a few months before that time, but literally the day I became ill he turned viciously on me.

        This of course is not the only thing that sets him off. He also becomes enraged if I show independence in any way (this gets me a long and angry lecture about how he doesn’t accept my lack of obedience), if I challenge him and naturally if I criticize him even very gently. Sometimes the trigger is something else entirely, like HE had a hard day at work…but generally speaking, the main way he has broken my heart over the years has been by being cruel and cold to me all the times I was down in some way and needed him to be there for me.

        Now, I need to figure out why it is that feels rage when I am sick or sad? Leslie answered the woman above, “Instead of being a supportive partner for you when you struggle, he tries to shut you down and silence you. Again, this may be due to his inability to handle his own feelings about your distress, and instead of owning them as his issues, he tries to silence you.” I wonder if this would apply to me. And if so, it’s hard to fathom a man in his 40s showcasing this degree of extreme immaturity.

        • JoAnn on March 29, 2018 at 10:13 am

          Jenny, figuring out why he behaves the way he does isn’t going to help you one bit. You are not safe. I strongly suggest that you begin to develop an exit plan. I don’t know how long you have followed this blog, but there have been numerous suggestions for how to plan to leave, and there are some in the book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. No doubt much of your health problem is a result of his abuse. Get help, in the form of a pastor, or one or two trusted friends, or perhaps your family. Don’t let him know that you are making plans, but work on it. Baby steps. May God be with you.

          • Jenny on March 29, 2018 at 10:38 am

            Thank you, JoAnn. Yes, my health problems are due to many years of stress from all the abuse – my doctor agrees with me on this. I sometimes dream of leaving but it is very complicated. I loathe the idea of having to live off of government assistance but I can’t work. And if I leave, our kids lose their home, a farm, which they love. Despite that it would be easy to leave if things were always bad all the time, but of course they are not, there are good times when my husband is kind and charming and I get sucked back in again. Sometimes he seems very sincere when he apologizes, and it seems like it would be heartless of me to not give him another chance…

            I said I needed to figure out why he gets so angry when I am sick or sad, because I thought it would help me to be able to see it at a distance and not feel so hurt.

            Maybe I should speak to my pastor about this, but I am afraid he will not take me seriously. I hinted to him before about what life was like for me and he sort of brushed me off, saying “Well, you know you can’t change him, you can only love him the way he is.”



          • Itswell on March 29, 2018 at 11:43 pm

            Thanks for your advice JoAnn

            This typically of my hubby
            He is good today and horrible tomorrow
            I stated making plans to leave but ended giving him the money
            I started again ans he found out
            I don’t feel safe at all
            I don’t want him to kill me or the kids yet no one seems to believe me because he is charmi and can talk his way out of any situation
            I am in shock when my pastor who has been my back nine and supporter changes tone after having meetings with him
            Not everyone is qualified to identify “narcissistic”
            Husband

            It’s very tricky



          • Itswell on March 29, 2018 at 11:43 pm

            Thanks for your advice JoAnn

            This typically of my hubby
            He is good today and horrible tomorrow
            I stated making plans to leave but ended giving him the money
            I started again ans he found out
            I don’t feel safe at all
            I don’t want him to kill me or the kids yet no one seems to believe me because he is charmi and can talk his way out of any situation
            I am in shock when my pastor who has been my back nine and supporter changes tone after having meetings with him
            Not everyone is qualified to identify “narcissistic”
            Husband

            It’s very tricky



        • JoAnn on March 29, 2018 at 9:28 pm

          Jenny, I don’t know how long you have been with us, but there has been lots of good advice about how to set boundaries and how to keep yourself safe during his tirades. Have you read Leslie’s book? That would be a good starting point. You need to have some supportive people on your side, as well as an exit plan. He is abusing you, and it is unhealthy for the children to witness this. But once you read the book, you will learn some valuable lessons on how to talk with him and how to set boundaries.. It can also be helpful to use your phone to record some of his tirades; then you can take that to your pastor to show him what you are dealing with. Journaling is also a good way to keep track of what is going on.

          • Jenny on March 30, 2018 at 8:33 am

            JoAnn, thank you. I have read Leslie’s book and I do understand about setting boundaries. The worst part of my husband’s abuse is the coldness and indifference – yes he is angry and enraged even, but it comes out more in evil glares and stony silences, in ignoring me or in simply being rude, than it does in tirades. There wouldn’t be much for me to record. Not that there haven’t been some glorious tirades which I wish I had recorded, but that’s not the most common thing.

            I do keep a journal of abusive treatment, as Leslie advises, and I have found it helpful in keeping my sanity when he tells me I am the crazy one and he never did or said any of the things I claim he did.

            Perhaps I could share parts of my journal with my pastor – hopefully he would believe me.



          • Aly on March 30, 2018 at 5:35 pm

            Jenny, JoAnn,

            Jenny, I have tried following the dialog with you and JoAnn.

            I would be concerned for you to bring anymore of your experience to your pastor~ his response you posted, sounds to me like a warning sign that he (the pastor) is ill-equipped to handle or intervene into your covert abusive situation that you are experiencing from your husband.



        • Aly on March 30, 2018 at 6:16 pm

          Jenny,

          I understand why you would want to better understand the ‘why’ behind the abuse of your husband.

          For me, some of what you describe is similar except your situation sounds extreme in that you are a huge problem ‘to him’ if your sick or not meeting his expectations of a partner.
          Also, I would imagine that he might allow those inconvenient places ‘for himself’ but not for you and thus the double twisted standard.

          Back to the ‘why’ ~ for some of us victims of abuse seeing ‘the why’ helps detach and get objective about the situation. Some victims find strength and further courage to see clearer and thus make choices to empower themselves.

          You mentioned the 40’s ~ extreme immaturity scenario.
          You are correct and also with abusive Mindsets and behavior ~ extreme immaturity go hand in hand.
          Their coping skills are very skewed and the tactics reveal such character issues.

          The sad scenario with the immaturity is that I think there is high percentage of this amongst husband’s who were never modeled generationally ‘Godly healthy Charcter’.
          This doesn’t mean they still can go seek it and find it especially from the Lord (Core).
          But lots of interventions must also take place and the person must also be in agreement that their ways of feeling and ‘dealing’ or not dealing ARE destructive.

        • Debbie on March 30, 2018 at 6:47 pm

          Stress definitely contributes to autoimmune diseases and triggers flare ups.
          I also understand how hard it is to leave with no visible means of support. We recently retired, I’m 61 and haven’t worked outside the home in 26 years. It’s not always bad here either. But not pleasant most of the time. All my kids left as soon as they could. Livingnwith my husband drains the life out of you.
          It’s always so complicated. I will be praying for you Jenny

      • Sunshine on March 29, 2018 at 7:21 am

        The fake mask he wears is because he loves his public persona. Heck, he just plain old loves himself. There is no room for anyone else in his heart. I know this is shocking and it took me a long to to say and think this but, you my friend are just an object to him. He is using you as part of his entitlement thinking. The dual life he exhibits is his attempt to hide the burning selfish thoughts within him. The behavior you described is a typical sign of his personality disorder.

      • Maureen on April 10, 2018 at 12:23 pm

        That has been my reality. My co workers and people in our dance studio think my husband is a fantastic guy and probably would never believe he acts as he does at home.

    • Remedy on March 28, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      Connie…yes!!! Thank you for stating this in such clear, simple language anyone who cares about the effects on everyone in an abusive home can understand.

    • Sunshine on March 29, 2018 at 7:34 am

      Amen, say it sister.

      • Sunshine on March 29, 2018 at 7:35 am

        I was trying to respond to Connie’s truth telling. Amen!

    • Aly on March 31, 2018 at 9:24 am

      Connie,

      Well said! Clear and a great example of reality.

  7. Loretta on March 28, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    I’ve been married for 17 1/2 years and he is becoming more abusive all the time. It started as trying to control what I said, what I did, and then it got to the point that I’ve been walking on egg shells to keep peace in the home. When he took car keys away from me & hid them, I knew he was becoming too controlling. That was last year.

    This year he has wrecked my car twice. Totaled it the last time, saying he would give me some money when I purchased another car. Almost killed us with his reckless driving. I refuse to ride with him & was told to get car ins elsewhere since he had 3 accidents in 5 weeks. then it progressed to physical abuse.
    I am in the process of getting a divorce in order to be safe & safe my sanity. He is draining me emotionally, financially, & physically.

  8. Loretta on March 28, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    I’m getting out of my marriage before he kills me physically, emotionally, or mentally.

    It has been a controlling, abuse relationship for last 10-12 years.

    He is draining me emotionally, financially, mentally and with prayer & support I am leaving the relationship..

    • Free on March 29, 2018 at 6:43 am

      Loretta I will pray that the Lord guides your way as you leave well. Stay strong sister, the other side of life without abuse is fabulous!

      Get a team together because getting out will be challenging at times and you will need help. Now that I am free I can see how God was at my side throughout the whole process. He provided what I needed.

    • JoAnn on March 29, 2018 at 10:46 am

      Good for you, Loretta! Be safe and stay close to the Lord. He will guide you through this process.

    • Aly on March 31, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Loretta,

      Praise God for your awareness and your willingness to get help an out of such a dangerous path.
      I will pray for your safety and your support system to continue to build strength and courage!
      Your Brave and so deserving to be in a safe loving environment💜

  9. Michelle on March 28, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    I definitely relate to her, only my h does not engage so much with my two older children, only with our youngest. One of the ongoing hot subjects which comes up nearly daily is the way he talks ‘at’ my children rather than to them with respect. It’s so awful. I often refer to myself as the family butter knife.
    I like what you said, Leslie, about nothing changing when you keep doing the same dance. I find myself trying to discern which is safer, to let it go and talk to my children later about it, or say something and risk ‘crazy’ coming out. Eggshells is exactly what it is. Last night was near crazy, but after a little light tiptoeing and a few shed tears by my 15-yr-old son, it passed. I, too, am not wholly comfortable when my h is home. I really hate it. I can’t be myself. At all, 100%. I’m so tired.
    I look forward to reading comments on this as well.

    • adrikoz on March 28, 2018 at 11:58 pm

      I’m also feeling like I have to follow behind and “fix” things after my husband handles things wrong or speaks too rough with one of the kids. Often he’s great (there’s that excuse again, it’d be so much easier if he wasn’t), but our kids are becoming more aware of issues as they get older, and I sense a lot of irritation, frustration, hurt because of it. I want to be a godly wife but at the same time, I don’t know how to help the kids. I feel very very stuck right now.

      • Sunshine on March 29, 2018 at 7:05 am

        The best way to help your kids is for you to believe what they say and agree with them. Validate their concerns as true.

        The next step is harder because you have to model self respect and take a stand against his abuse. The best way to do this is to get him to leave the house permanently. You need the home for the kids. If he won’t leave, then you need to leave.

        Nothing can get better, if ever, with all of you being mistreated. One episode is too much. Men who change, the rare few,did so because of consequences.

        Your safety is paramount. The manipulative things he does to the kids are damaging to their growth and development. You must know that. Children who grow up in this kind of environment become at risk teens and troubled adults. Have you thought about how to get away from this man?

      • JoAnn on March 29, 2018 at 10:35 am

        Adrikos, on a previous blog, the one that asked “Is my marriage doomed?”, I think, Leslie asked about baby steps. There are some really good ideas there, and the best way to get unstuck is to start with baby steps. With each step you take, you will feel stronger and more powerful, until your core gets stronger and you can finally leave. The God who raised Christ Jesus from the dead is on your side, and He will make a way for you to be safe. As you read the book, and learn more here on the blog, you will realize that being a godly wife is not necessarily staying in an abusive relationship. Godliness is a living that expresses the life of Christ in you, and that just might mean not tolerating ungodly abuse from your husband, the one who is charged by God to love, honor, cherish and protect you and the children.
        Someone here on the blog mentioned 2 Timothy 3:1-5, and I had not ever seen this in light of the marriage relationship. Paul says, “from these also turn away.” Wow! If he would tell the believers to not associate with revilers, then I do believe that he also would not require a woman to stay in such a relationship. Do pray about this, and open to the Lord for His guidance, not according to your concepts, but according to His leading through scripture and the fellowship in the Body of Christ.

    • Sunshine on March 29, 2018 at 7:14 am

      Michelle, why are you asking asking your children to live in such a horrible environment? Surely they deserve at least one healthy parent.

      Please listen to their pleas and get the children in counseling so they can talk about their terrible home life. They are do very trapped. If they don’t get the ability to talk about their suffering in a safe place, they will act out in other less desirable ways. You may think they can talk to me. Yes, they can but they also need someone who isn’t being linked with their abuser to trust. Someone who sees the truth and respects them and you.

      How can you get this terrible person away from them and out of their lives?

  10. Cure on March 28, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Same boat. Married 17 years. 5 teenagers. In his most recent reactive outburst he took the boys devices and won’t return phone call or texts. Pretty childish if you ask me. He works out of town during the week and always brings his anger home on the weekend. We relocate in a few short months due to his job and will be near my family which will be refreshing for me as we’ve lived near his for the last 19 years. Not sure we’ll still be married in a year.

    • Sunshine on March 29, 2018 at 6:53 am

      I would go for the ride and relocate. Then i would begin to connect with safe family and formulate your exit plan. Enough already, you deserve to be treated with respect.

      • Cure on March 29, 2018 at 10:36 am

        Thanks! Plan is already in place. June just can’t get here fast enough.

        • JoAnn on March 29, 2018 at 10:52 am

          Cure, meanwhile, be safe, and have an emergency plan in case things ramp up before you move. Lean on the Lord, who is your shield and defender.

  11. Aleea on March 29, 2018 at 5:00 am

    “Friends, how might you encourage this woman to take good care of herself or speak up with her spouse?”

    [Theology Bracketed Off . . .] . . .It could easily be that they both need to take far better care of themselves. He is obviously not caring for himself and that is overflowing onto her. She needs a self-care plan too. He needs a self-care plan. Every single person needs a self-care plan. It seems that often women are pitted against men and that is beautiful if you want to keep the hostilities going (for counseling or legal work, etc.) but all that seems to accomplish is the ruining of the marriage.

    Re: cold and intractable; defensive and begins lashing out with very hurtful words; exhausted from trying to sidestep around his sensitivity; et.al.

    Maybe and maybe you already have . . .but maybe put w-a-y more time into understanding and practicing conflict resolution. . . .And you have to be able to practice this because when the real thing occurs, you know it happens so fast you will just fall back on your deep chemical pathways. We need to be able to fight like hell without wounding each other. . . .Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Gottman, certainly not Christians, heads of a research entity called The Gottman Institute. I’m sure many have heard of them. The Gottman methods are based on research, not on ideology. Anyways, . . . .all the nasty stuff: contempt, defensiveness, stonewalling, disrespect, mocking with sarcasm, name-calling, body language such as eye-rolling, et.al. . . .It is really hard to “fight” right but you are finished if you can’t.

    You want it ALL out in the open air so you can work on it, negotiate through it, et.al. . . .Once it goes underground, it just festers and everything is ruined.

    “Once you understand this, you will be ready to accept one of the most surprising truths about marriage: Most marital arguments cannot be resolved. Couples spend year after year trying to change each other’s mind—but it can’t be done. This is because most of their disagreements are rooted in fundamental differences of lifestyle, personality, or values. By fighting over these differences, all they succeed in doing is wasting their time and harming their marriage.”
    ―Gottman Institute, Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Experts

    How about that: “Most marital arguments cannot be resolved.” . . .But maybe the critical dimension is understanding and allowing each to influence each other. Re: the extent to which spouses can accept the influence of each other and be sensitive to emotional communication. ―That seems abosultely critical.

    . . .So in my case, I said (voice shaking and cracking, hands trembling, et.al.) . . .I would love if you would read and discuss with me: An Examination of the Scientific, Historical, and Philosophical Evidence & Arguments for Monotheism, et.al. . . .What did I hear: “Okay,” . . .Wow, who knew and you will never know if you don’t risk anything.

    Evil (pure evil) is the force that believes its knowledge is in any way complete. . . .The most important things, the absolutely critical things you and I may need to know, we may not even know yet. . . .We may not even know yet. It may be very important not to confuse our beliefs with knowledge in any way. Re: The Gottman Institute

    . . .Every day, every single day, we ask each other questions: “What do you need me to hear that I am not hearing or you feel I am not hearing?” “Here’s what I feel, and here’s what I need from you.” Or, in processing some negative event that has already happened: “Here’s what I felt, and here’s what I needed from you.” . . .Again, here’s what I feel (or felt) and here’s the positive thing I need (or needed) from you. . . . .It could be that the expression of our positive needs eliminates the blame and the reproach.

    . . . .And don’t forget the five hours (at a minimum . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .do as much as you can!) a week talking about your relationship and the processing of negative emotions. Converting all that contempt and all those complaints into positive needs via transformations from what is wrong with our husbands to what they can do that would work ―and the reverse too. . . .Oh, and making understanding the goal of listening (really, really hard ―tell me how we didn’t evolve from fighting precursor primates!) and nondefensive listening (r-e-a-l-l-y hard ―again, tell me really how we didn’t evolve from precursor primates!), not responding right away, getting in touch with each others *real* pain. “I now can totally understand why you have these feelings and needs, because….” . . .So, “my partner is selfish” vs. “my partner is sweet,” vs. “my partner is stressed” vs. If you don’t say what you really, deeply, honestly think, then you kill (you abort) your unborn self. . . . .Why?. . .because rejection of the unknown is tantamount to identification with the devil and Luciferian pride, which states: all that I know is all that is necessary to know. ―vs. the humble acknowledgment of the unknown (―I don’t know what is going on, ―lets learn together.) . . .that constitutes the process that constructs and maintains our protective adaptive structures.

    . . . .Yeah, I’d love to run home, but you know I’ve not got one because I have an abusive mother that is really best forgotten. Thank God for my marriage. No unwillingness to learn; no refusal to learn; no motivated refusal to learn. Think of how good most marriages would be if couples were as “all in” with each other as they are with the children.

  12. Free on March 29, 2018 at 6:38 am

    There is no need to “help him out.” You can’t do that. It is his personality disorder, not yours.

    You are responsible for yourself and how you treat others. You are never responsible for how others treat others, or how others treat themselves, or even how they treat you.

    It is magical thinking to train your brain how to adapt to such a living arrangement. Nothing you do will ever be good enough. It is not your problem, it is HIS problem. Now what are you going to do about what is your problem, living with an emotionally destructive fool?

  13. Sunshine on March 29, 2018 at 6:49 am

    I disagree with the categories of abuse. Your husband is still abusive. His “good times” all of them are still self serving and manipulative. You can’t probably see that yet. But a good father does not abuse a child’s mother. He is not a helpful partner because he cares about you or the marriage. He does it because it either makes him feel good about himself or because he gets something for himself out of it. Don’t be fooled. Your husband is a sick man.

    • Nancy on March 30, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      I agree with you Sunshine. The label isn’t really relevant. Walking in CORE strength, implementing boundaries and making requirements is what will bring her better overall health – as well as invite him into a new healthier place.

      Of course, she has no control over his choices. How he responds to these changes will be between he and God.

      • Aly on March 30, 2018 at 6:43 pm

        Nancy,

        I agree with you.
        It’s sad because some people don’t truly want overall better healthier living… as you mentioned the invitation~
        It IS an invitation, and the willing healthy growing person can remain in the healthy environment while ‘inviting’ the other to do their own work & process.

        How he responds may be to reject the invitation for the healthier ‘new place’ of living and thriving;)

        • Sunshine on April 1, 2018 at 1:44 am

          Then comes the hard part when he rejects the invitation. Then what?

          • Aly on April 1, 2018 at 8:11 am

            Sunshine,

            You wrote:
            Then what?

            Then you have the reality of their choice ~
            To reject the invitation will be painful and a grieving process. The freedom will be also knowing you offered the best you could offer and it still was rejected.

            Grieving in reality is the hardest and sometimes most healing place of grief.
            Sometimes the most Comforting of Christ’s care and understanding of our losses.



          • Nancy on April 2, 2018 at 8:02 am

            Right you are, Aly. Facing reality brings us into grief. And that is a place where Jesus loves to meet us and heal us in ways we could not begin to imagine. As we grieve and face reality – maybe for the first time, with regards to this relationship- our perspective, too, is healed. We begin to see with new eyes. We get the support we need and walk in entirely new ways. With this new, healed, perspective we are much better equipped to take next steps.

            Grief is an incredible opportunity to be made new.



          • JoAnn on April 2, 2018 at 11:12 am

            Reply to Nancy on April 2….Nancy, your words are so wise. I hope everyone on this blog will read this. Yes, grief is an incredible opportunity to be made new.



        • Aly on April 2, 2018 at 12:29 pm

          JoAnn, Sheep, Nancy and others

          JoAnn, I tried posting directly to your reply to Nancy and grief.

          Sheep, I hope you also read these because this blog is so much more than dialogues about people being in an abusive relationship…. but the invitation to become aware of our situations, our coping skills, and courageously Grieve our losses.
          In entering into that process it does help equip us with new eyes that develop new standards of how we will be treated and ofcourse how we will offer healthy standards to those we also love and care for.

          • sheep on April 2, 2018 at 12:45 pm

            Aly, I read these because it is so helpful to be able to talk to others that understand where I’m at because they have been there. Also to be able to speak to those that aren’t as far along in this journey, that maybe they can identify with something I say and that might help or encourage them.

            It often strikes me how much some of our stories sound the same even though I’m a man and most of the others here are women. I just wish there were more men out there that were willing or able to see their situation as it really is and not what they are pretending it is. But I suppose that applies to women also.

            I have a friend that is also emotionally abused by his wife. For awhile I thought he was going to end it. But I think he must have decided to live with it because he doesn’t really want to talk anymore. If so, he is doing this knowing that he will have to stop having an opinion on anything and he will have to do everything she says and ignore the control she has over him. It all makes me so sad that people treat each other that way.



          • JoAnn on April 2, 2018 at 1:02 pm

            Aly, I agree, especially with this: “but the invitation to become aware of our situations, our coping skills, and courageously Grieve our losses.” There is also the constant encouragement to lean into the Lord, to seek His strength and wisdom to move forward.

            Perhaps a word about what a healthy relationship looks and feels like: Mutuality is a word that comes to mind–mutual respect, care and love. Listening to each other respectfully. Having the attitude that “if it matters to you, then it matters to me.” Feeling safe and cherished. Having fun together. A common commitment to pursue the Lord together, and to pray together for mutual concerns, such as children, jobs, goals, etc. Accommodation is another word that comes to mind: learning to live with and accommodate each others quirks and differences (when they are minor enough to ignore). Appreciating each other’s strengths and respecting each others weaknesses. These would be basic factors that contribute to a healthy and satisfying marriage. So, for those who need a “measuring rod” to evaluate what you have, or to set a goal for recovering a marriage, these factors might help to consider. Let us guard against cynicism that it’s not possible or that there are no healthy marriages. I believe that the Lord wants more for us. In Ephesians, He likens human marriage to the relationship between Christ and his church. Christ is still offering Himself up for His church. Praise Him!



          • sheep on April 2, 2018 at 2:21 pm

            Thanks JoAnn. I love the whole concept of mutuality. I have it in so many relationships, except in marriage. It is something that i would love to experience some day.



          • Nancy on April 2, 2018 at 2:30 pm

            I agree Aly and JoAnn,

            This community is about SO much more than only sharing about abusive relationships.

            For me, this blog and my interactions in it, has helped me see my own tendency to WANT to live in fantasy. To construct an ideal version of my life, and live in that fantasy instead of what is actually happening. That is destructive in and of itself.

            It has helped me see that – in my case, I am not implying this is the case for anyone else here – ours was a destructive dynamic that I played as big a role in, as my h did.

            The Lord just chose to open my eyes first. This is not because I’m better, or wiser, or anything else. It might be because had my h been changed first, my pride might have dug in deeper! Who knows? Well, God does, and I trust in His plan for delivering me and my family into the reality of His Kingdom, a little more every day.

            He has saved us for freedom. Do not let yourselves be burdened again, by the yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).

            I am learning that He desires for us to walk with Him into the resurrection Life! He died and was raised to impart His very Life to us. How astounding is that? What a generous God we worship.

            Because ‘reality is found in Christ’ ( Col 2:17), I could not have even begun to walk in His resurrection Life, without first walking in reality.



          • Aly on April 2, 2018 at 11:43 pm

            Sheep,

            I wish I could respond directly to your posts but not lining up today;)

            You wrote at 2:21 today;
            “Thanks JoAnn. I love the whole concept of mutuality. I have it in so many relationships, except in marriage.”

            Sheep, I’m sorry! 😥

            This is so sad because the marriage is where it flourishes and thrives in beauty;) and you are worth that and deserve that. God designed marriage in such a way that it is what Glorifies Him.
            But like Nancy brought up, the Authority issue is a core of the issue ~
            Often self centered people are not God Centered and it’s pretty destructive to God’s design, hard for the destructive partner to keep marital vows when this is the selfish posture of a partner and they have themselves as the authority.

            I have also found that those ‘individuals with behavior like your wife’, do not have many mutual or healthy friendships either… it’s definitely more of a pattern relationally across the board. Sure maybe there are a couple super superficial ones but nothing where there is authentic connection and accountability

            For me, this can help depersonalize the offense and also grieve what could have been, should have been etc.
            It can help get more objective in relating to that individual from a safer place.

            It took me along time to realize that there are those people that can only have ‘one sided relationships’ for there to be ‘ANY’ form of a relationship or interaction at all. When it’s one sided, where one party is usually over-functioning then clearly it’s not a mutual healthy thriving relationship that brings safety and comfort.

            This is the loss, this is the grief. Because often these individuals are capable to offer such a mutual level of relationship but chose to be superior.



  14. K on March 29, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    I wonder often how to approach my husband. I always want to show respect and when I bring up something important he gets very defensive and hurt. He drinks often and heavily and it is so very difficult to confront this issue because he is very high functioning and tries so hard in other areas because he knows he has a problem but won’t surrender it. He gets drunk at night and then the next day wants to act like nothing happened. I have tried so many times to relay my concerns and nothing seems to help. I have two children that I try so hard to protect from seeing their dad like that and losing respect for him. I feel so helpless when he doesn’t want the help. I feel like its a battle he fights every minute of the day and I don’t know what to do.

    • Cure on March 29, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      I was just going to suggest Al-Anon but someone beat me to it 😉 Its not just a support group, but they will help you find your voice and give you practical steps to empower you.

    • ContentinChrist on March 30, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      This is a great resource you might want to check out. So sorry for your pain, sister. Even though it’s hard to see now, God has good things for you. Choose Him over everything (marriage, family, etc.) and He will be faithful to guide you and speak to you.

      http://loveoveraddiction.com/

      • Lockhart on March 30, 2018 at 9:18 pm

        Thank you I will check it out!

    • Aly on April 1, 2018 at 8:24 am

      K,

      I’m sorry for your situation. I agree with the other replies of help available to you.
      The seriousness is that the alcoholism is masking the deeper issue with why your husband reacts so defensively to your concerns and is successful at shutting you down.
      The alcoholism has to be treated usually first before the person can begin to peel back and treat the other issues.
      His posture & character issues of not being considerate toward things that are important to you show his lack of regard and honor of you as his wife. Basically he is also dishonoring himself (indirectly). This goes pretty much for all of us who have been or are in such a dynamic.

      If your opinion starts to matter and have weight to him, then that requires a response from him in action. Given his state, he will do anything to battle for his protective coping skills.
      But you have choices you can make and your concerns are important and worthwhile in addressing.

  15. JoAnn on March 29, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    K, can you find an Al-Anon group in your area? That is a support group for family and friends of alcoholics, and it is so very helpful. You will learn from others who are or were in the same position about how they dealt with these issues. My sister is in a group and she feels that if she had been in Al-Anon during her first marriage, they might not have ended up in divorce. You should be able to google that name and find a place near you. I believe it is also an international organization.
    Grace be with you.

  16. Barbara B on March 29, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    I wonder what would happen if the original writer started living normally. One thing I think would happen, unfortunately, is her husband would probably have an increase in anger and rudeness. Although this would be unpleasant for everyone, at least it would become clear pretty quickly what kind of abuse is going on. Right now his immaturity and anger are being kept below the surface by her carefulness and caution not to trigger him. This makes it difficult to know exactly what she’s up against.

  17. JoAnn on March 29, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Barbara, I can agree with you, but she would have to have a safety plan in place for her protection and that of the children.

    • Barbara B on March 31, 2018 at 6:41 pm

      For sure! In fact, it might be a good idea to leave first. Go on vacation with the children or something.

      • Sunshine on March 31, 2018 at 11:39 pm

        I like the kids vacation idea. The contrast between one’s recent home life and the peace without the trouble maker will reveal a lot.

  18. Itswell on March 30, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Hi Jenny
    The hardest part of my abuse is getting people to believe me because like I said before
    He can talk his way out of mudér
    He will began to be nice to whoever that I was talking to ans go to any extend to help them in whatever away.

    I have recirdee things and have his text messages as evidence but sorry they did not make much difference in convincing anyone.

    The only thing that helped me keep my sanity is on my God and watching narssisstic husband on YouTube

    He is a powerful sweet talker and very influential so it’s very hard to get anyone on my side
    If you need examples I will write down some later.

    All they can say is
    “Oh he is a very kind hearted man just that he has anger issue which you should try to understand and bear with him”😳😳😳😳

    • Nancy on March 31, 2018 at 7:20 am

      HI again Itswell,

      Thinking about this is terms of ‘convincing’ people isn’t – I don’t think – the right mindset. You have the truth on your side. Just speak it. Wisely, consistently, and with discernment…and as JoAnn suggested, then watch for people’s reaction.

    • Sunshine on March 31, 2018 at 8:40 am

      I think you need to talk to people he doesn’t know at the domestic silence shelter in your area. They can steer you to safe, knowledge people. Telephone and Skype counseling is available. The organization may not be Christian, yet they know these issues well.

      I have my local shelter to thanks for my awakening. It was the first time a counselor believed me and tried to care for ME vs. his monopoly of propaganda in couples therapy.

      • Sunshine on March 31, 2018 at 8:42 am

        Violence not silence

        Ha. If only they could “silence” our partner’s nastiness too!

  19. Itswell on March 30, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Kendra
    You are right because not eveyime is trained or has experience about narcissism

  20. Aly on March 31, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Aleea,

    I think Leslie gave some excellent advice with the limited information given.

    The limited info here is key to weigh in and not forget.

    It is such an often situation where a wife thinks that ‘her marital dynamic’ is ‘Not that’ bad or abusive or unhealthy. Who would blame her when the husband also is ‘normal’ or supportive ‘at times. I totally get that.

    It takes time and a lot of listening from a trained counselor and other informed supportive people before more of the abusive behavior from the abused will trickle out. Survivors of abuse struggle with seeing ‘what is clearly unacceptable behavior’. They also struggle in seeing what are their options and often want to believe that they have some part or power in resolving conflict in such a situation.

    I’m responding to your post here because many women here might read it and think that their situation just ‘needs more conflict resolution’ and in abusive situation its RARELY about resolving conflict in a healthy healing place for the ‘offended’!

    Your suggestions of ‘conflict resolution focus’ are applicable to a marriage with two ‘willing and reasonable partners’ that do not abuse their power.

    Your suggestions are not the wisest in my opinion for a marital dynamic that is with an unreasonable and abusive person. Even if it’s reactive abuse from the spouse like Leslie has spoken about.
    Your suggestions point back to continuing to reason with an unreasonable person~ which often will just cause further harm to the victim/survivor. And it will reinforce the behavior of the abuser.

    This couple needs interventions and only 3 party interactions while the husband is getting help for ‘his deeper issues’.

    Again, I’m writing to point out to you that these Issues are not on this type of a platform:
    “Most marital arguments Cannot be resolved”
    These are not about a disagreements or arguments, but about power and control gone askew!
    The abusive person would love for them to be identified as arguments or disagreements. They are not about that.

    Sometimes it’s simple in a complex place~ For ex:
    Some people become ‘parents’ ill-equipped ‘to parent’ from a healthy growing place.

    Some people make marital vows and are ill-equipped to be a healthy growing partner for the other and the health of their marriage and the children involved.

    • JoAnn on March 31, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      Good points, Aly, and expressed well. Thanks.

      • Sunshine on March 31, 2018 at 11:42 pm

        Yes, I agree.

  21. JoAnn on March 31, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Great advice, Sunshine. Unfortunately, not all communities have a domestic abuse program or shelter, but we hope that Itswell’s community does. Check online or go to your local library. Your physician should know of something, too. Actually, your physician would be the first one to try. They have to keep everything confidential.

    • Sunshine on March 31, 2018 at 11:36 pm

      The physician is an excellent referral! Yes, that is a great place to start. The only thing is they are required by law to report domestic violence, so some of us won’t tell.

  22. Aleea on March 31, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Hello Aly,

    . . . .For what it is worth, —probably absolutely nothing. . . .I re-read Leslie’s post three times. I don’t always understand but I understand Tort law and how courts define professional responsibility and what consistutes evidence. I also understand the process of peer-review and what constitutes statistically valid research. . . .Maybe your right; however, I can’t get to that conclusion because the definitions of things are certainly not clear. The fact patterns are highly inadequate and we are left trying to guess at the definitions Leslie meant. —Also, no peer-reviewed research is cited. Sometimes things here are (—I assume) based on research (—although usually not cited), sometimes just Bible verses. All these posts generally lack firm connections to statistically significant research on what works and even the Scripture references can be used to verify v-e-r-y different conclusions. . . .If you asked other Christian counselors, you can get all kinds of different answers.

    —Could it be that if God really wants something from us, He will tell *us* through the Holy Spirit and His Word, —Himself. He wouldn’t leave someone else to do this, as if infinite God were short on time. . . .And He would certainly not leave fallible, sinful humans —who really don’t have the full fact patterns (—these are often exceedingly complex and highly nuanced situations) to deliver an endless plethora of confused and contradictory messages, as they see things through all their filters and biases —I don’t know, maybe He would.

    . . .I do know that Biblically based counsel is all over the map. The “answer” is a different answer depending upon even which century of Christianity you are asking it in. That question will yield very different answers: 1st vs. 5th centuries vs. 7th vs. 13th vs. 17th vs. 19th vs. 21st century. That “answer” is floating along with what culture inside the churches are saying at the time. . . .And that may be because morality does not come from a book, it comes from human minds learning. Maybe??? . . . .So, we want God to deliver His message Himself, directly, to you and to every one of us, and with such clarity as the most brilliant Being in the universe could accomplish. —And, you know how it feels, you hear Him and shout “Eureka!” So obvious and well-demonstrated will His message be. It will be spoken to *you* in exactly those terms *you* will understand.✅ That’s the Holy Spirit of God for you. 😊. . . .That is why, maybe, it is so, so important to point them to Jesus Christ Himself.

    These situations are unbelieveably complex and very highly nuanced and we don’t know anywhere near the entire fact patterns. More than than this, psychology, neuroscience, et.al. are very young “sciences.” The scope of our behavioral wisdom exceeds the breadth of our explicit interpretation. We act, even instruct, and yet do not understand. How can we do what we cannot explain? Even more than this, what we do not yet know is usually w-a-y more important than what we “know” —or think we know.

    Aly, I have never, ever read something that Leslie wrote that I didn’t agree with. Nothing that I can remember. I very much like Leslie. . . .One day I realized in prayer that I wasn’t thinking about, evaluating, etc. what she said at all. I just liked her and she says she loves Jesus and hates abuse and I want Jesus and I certainly hate abuse because of my mother . . .and certainly, whatever Leslie says is right. —It’s not always right. Form the way Bibles verses are re-contextualized and used to “prove” things to the non-cited research (—if these things are even based on peer-reviewed research). I just liked Leslie, I wasn’t evaluating the claims she made in any useful/usable way. That was just wreckless and wrong. —I was wrong.

    . . .From my world, imagine a corporate tax law blog where random people share thoughts. —Hey Renee, what do you think is the best structure for a Reverse Triangular Merger Spin-Off? —Oh Aleea, I don’t know but maybe you should try using a Controlled Foreign Corporation and build in enough business purpose and economic substance 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: “tax-free spin-off 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 actual techniques. . . . Not so re:tax law, there *is* an actual answer. Some structures are optimal and others *will be* disallowed by the IRS. . . . What if I walked into a tax court and said: Jesus spoke to me while I was praying and told me that a Private Investment Corp. held inside an International Business Corporation would provide a section 355 compliant tax free spin off? How do you think that would go??? —I would be disbarred. Actually, the judge would probably be so shocked he would say: Mrs. Rodgers, would you like to take some time to collect yourself and restate what you just said???

    . . . .And like everyone here, you are precious, valuable, worthwhile, important, and special —but your ideas (—like mine) can be totally wrong. I find when I deeply, carefully (—using primary source evidence/ addressed in a peer-reviewed setting), pain-stakingly, historically, research and fact check these things, . . . .well, I see what I believe could be lots of motivated reasoning going on, especially related to Bible verses used to “prove” things. It could easily be that we decide what we want to do and then find Bible verses that “prove” it. We see in the texts what we bring to the texts, —me too. The only corrective I see to that is to listen and listen hard to psychology and neuroscience researchers and Bible scholars that *deeply* disagree with us.😪 The people whose research shows the opposite of what we like. When I do that I am massively confused but at least I know in my heart that I tried, in my limited capacity, to really find the truth. Echo-chamber vs. internationally peer-reviewed evidence.🛰🌠

  23. Barbara B on March 31, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Aleaa,

    I think the difference between tax law and spiritual truth is the difference between the concerns of the world, which are important yet temporal, and concerns of the kingdom of God, which are eternal. The Spirit of God is at work conforming His children into His likeness. He is the recognized authority in that arena. Outside of that arena, as you say, it would be inappropriate to call on His leading as authoritative. Because of the presence of Christ, spiritual truth has a unique flavor of clarity and simplicity for believers. It’s so important to remember that we can have both humility and confidence in our decisions when we are sincerely seeking God’s leading to the best of our abilities. I think the women on this blog, including the original writer, need to hear strong encouragement to trust their ability to take the next step toward safety and sanity. As believers, we do not trust or have confidence in our own intelligence or power, but in God’s miraculous ability to lead His children in righteous paths.

  24. Sunshine on March 31, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    I like the kids vacation idea. The contrast between one’s recent home life and the peace without the trouble maker will reveal a lot.

  25. JoAnn on March 31, 2018 at 11:44 pm

    Aleea, what you are not acknowledging here is that Christ acts and speaks through the members of His body. He has no hands but ours, and no feet but ours. He also speaks through the members of His body who are exercised to be one with Him in their human spirit. While some professed christians do act out of their flesh, and therefore must not be obeyed, when we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the Lord can speak through us. So, as believers, we have an obligation to practice being one with the Lord, denying the self/flesh, and expressing Christ in our daily life. This is the way the Body of Christ is built up, and the members speak truth to one another. You really cannot equate this to tax law, which are only man made, after all.

    • JoAnn on March 31, 2018 at 11:45 pm

      P.S. The “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” operates much differently.

  26. Aleea on April 1, 2018 at 5:34 am

    . . . .It could be, maybe, . . .maybe we have a choice. We have two options as human beings. We have a choice between real, deep, hard, real life conversations with everything (even sacred🛐✝) on the table and tribalism. That’s it. Conversation or tribalism. . . .Faith is a r-e-a-l conversation stopper because people are using magical thinking (me too, I do it too). . . .Faith causes people to divide into tribes because they think they know. Faith also has an almost impossible time standing up to logic, reason, evidence-based decision making because it is the opposite of operating in that way.

    . . .We are trying to have a 21st century discussion about abuse and what to do about it and how to prevent it but we have this 1st century and much, much earlier overlay that is so, so beautiful and seemingly absolutely critical but highly impractical. People in abuse need very, very practical answers that involve family law, serious financial planning and legal protection. Our overlay involves very, very ancient documents that are text-twisted and tortured beyond any reasonable hermeneutic to “fit” the 21st century. [Maybe see: The Bible: N.T. Greek text with critical apparatus (all the textual variants on each word) – Aug 23, 2015 by Eberhard Nestle and The Spectrum Multiview Book Series from InterVarsity Christian Press: Biblical Hermeneutics: Five Views – May 20, 2012.]

    . . . .Lord God, please help me communicate, ―please!!! We often highly distrust science and especially (textual science studies) for good reason (if taken seriously) they often deconstruct what we believe. . . .If someone doesn’t value peer-reviewed evidence, logic, reason . . . .what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic? If I tell you that frozen yogurt can make you invisible, you are likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that I give you real, peer-reviewed scientific evidence. Why doesn’t this apply to everything❓ Maybe it doesn’t, but why❓

    People in abuse need practical, fast, legal, ―real solutions. If we are ―really― using the Scriptures (faith) on the other hand, for centuries and centuries the extant texts and the greatest Christian minds have said: this might be all part of God’s plan because there are no accidents in life ―or worse: everyone on some level gets what she deserves. These ideas, from Paul, Luther, Calvin are . . . .well, I have said it a hundred times.🔂🔄

    . . .Christian moderation is the product of secular knowledge (science and research) and scriptural ignorance (what these texts are really, especially in context, teaching). When considering the truth of a proposition, one is either engaged in an honest appraisal of the evidence and logical arguments, or one isn’t. Christianity is one area of our lives where we imagine that some other standard of intellectual integrity applies. We are using your own (21st century) moral intuitions to authenticate the wisdom of what people who are abused should do ―and then, in the next moment, we assert the Bible and that we human beings cannot possibly rely upon our own intuitions to rightly guide us in the world. That can’t be right, but I could be wrong in some way I can’t understand.

    The world may not be magic —and maybe that’s the most magical thing about it???✨ For example, the idea of “Ten Commandments” is a deeply compelling one. It combines two impulses that are ingrained in our nature as human beings: making lists of ten things, and telling other people how to behave. . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. ―Yes, I’m trying humor I always fail with logic, reason and evidence. . . . .Historically, what is true as we move through time has been very, very good at surprising us. . . . .Again, everyone here, you are precious, valuable, worthwhile, important, and so special —but our ideas (—mine too) can be totally wrong. The only corrective I see to that is to listen and listen hard to people that *deeply* disagree with us, maybe even sometimes our husbands??? The people who are saying the opposite of what we like. I hate that too because I want life to be simple and easy. It is not easy or simple.🤔🛩🌠

  27. Seeing The Light on April 2, 2018 at 12:26 am

    1 Corinthians 2

    “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

    We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:

    ‘What no eye has seen,

    what no ear has heard,

    and what no human mind has conceived’ —

    the things God has prepared for those who love him—

    these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

    The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,

    ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord

    so as to instruct him?’

    But we have the mind of Christ.”

    • Aleea on April 4, 2018 at 5:26 am

      Thank you Seeing The Light, I appreciate that! That’s r-e-a-l-l-y meaningful and seriously powerful.

      That’s a really solid strategy too, just quoting the Scriptures. I love just hearing the Scriptures.

      . . .I love just hearing the Scriptures. . . .The best sermons I have ever heard in my life are where people just got up and read the Scriptures . . . .Just read the Scriptures. . . . .Paul says: My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

      . . .But that’s not true is it❓❗ The Words are *unbelievably* powerful and impactful. They are πειθοῖς (persuasive) and σοφίας (wise) because they are not trying to be. . . .Do you see that❓❗ Does that makes sense❓❗ . . .That reverse logic that God always seems to use: The way Right is left; the way Up is down; the way to Save your life is to lose it completely.

      Of course, I don’t know, but that may be why they are so powerful and impactful because they are *not* wise and persuasive words. . . .I’ll try to explain but Lord God help me and have mercy, I’m not good at explaining anything (Seeing The Light, I know you know that.):

      . . .When someone is reading the Scriptures and reads all that foolishness BUT still wants to repent and follow Jesus, it can ONLY be because God Himself has done a supernatural work in their heart that has bypassed their logic, bypassed their evidence evaluating capabilities, and even bypassed their reasonableness (―God needs this magic blood to fix the Universe but only His has the power that will accomplish that —absolutely mad with serious pagan DNA on the face of it!) Even the Bible says that the gospel message is, as 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, t-o-t-a-l foolishness. . . . μωρία (foolishness) . . . .Barking mad, ―just insane. . . .But it pulls on our hearts, doesn’t it? You know what I mean, right? When I pray, I feel that pull like a huge magnet. . . .When my heart is broken before the Lord [I’m bracketing off all the science, logic, reason, evidence questions right now, just assuming things], when my heart is clean💖✨and thankful (Psalm 95:7-8, Hebrews 3:13, —Psalm 51 too!, etc.)!!! Christianity is Truer than True 💌 because what is true is what serves life and promotes human flourishing. ―And it’s fun. It is just absolutely fun because it allows us to deeply share serious questions and searchings. ツ ―I’m sure you know what I mean.

      . . .I don’t want to run straight into a brick wall and I appreciate when people here give me a talking to. I hate it, but I appreciate it. Those of you who did not have childhood abuse can see my childhood abuse issues very clearly, often crystal clearly when I can’t. I don’t have any serious marriage issues (—only by the grace of God, not because I know anything or am “whatever”), I can see some things too. —Yes, God’s ways, not logical, not practical, not modern, certainly not what psychology teaches, et.al. —It takes quite a spine to turn the other cheek. It takes phenomenal fortitude to love your spouse. It takes firm resolve to pray for them when they persecute you (Matthew 5, etc.) —just like the entire gospel and I didn’t always think that way but the text evidence from early Christianity (—which I was studying for how individuals come to know Christ) certainly changed my mind.

      But everything is understandable, these abuse situations beggar the imagination. In most situations there are no answers. . . . .And we are in a backwater here, people today don’t even get married anymore (—not as much, at all) and no wonder . . .but that creates a whole new set of unknowns. . . .Do you think that any individual can transcend her natural self with all its flaws even with the help of God Himself? Think of all these attempted suppression of psychological forces, urges, and brain chemistry (—that we always talk about here) that cannot be eradicated. Even when these husbands or wives or mothers “transform” the psychological forces, urges, and brain chemistry only seek expression in other, maybe more devious ways, often clothed in the language and pose of moral and spiritual superiority? As I have studied it, this is how Christian and other religious leaders eventually crash and burn, subverting themselves by means of what they think are virtues but they are actually vices. . . . . .Attraction to DSM-5-types (—serial substance/adultery, interpersonally exploitative, psychotic, emotionally unavailable, devoid of empathy, etc.) seems a behavioral problem that starts in youth. In the peer-reviewed research, it is shown most women grow out of it as they age. Maybe, somehow I don’t understand, it’s a necessary phase because if they weren’t living in *total fantasy land* in reproductive years, they would never reproduce? That is to say, if we knew now what we will know later, —well, —they would have an understanding that men and women don’t belong together except to create life? Re: the large, well constructed, statistically significant *seriously* peer-reviewed, out-of-sample, longevity studies.

      . . . .Love 💖 💗 💙 💚 💛 💜
      is giving up control. We control next to nothing anyway, very little in fact. Maybe not even ourselves, —not fully. People always say: When you come to the end of yourself, you are at that exact moment in the place where you can fully experience the God who is for you. Catherine of Aragon said, “None get to God but through trouble.” That’s what we get in marriage by the bucket fulls: The serious trouble that pushes us back to God Himself: Gift. Gift. Gift. When you get married, you’re starting a conversation that never ends. . . .

      Anyways, thank you and I apologize re: the delays. The site software doesn’t always allow me to post things. I don’t know why this sites Word Press software locks out on certain cites and names (—obviously, I can’t use those names or quotes or citations or it will seize up in the middle of a posting and lock out for a time.) Sometimes the Word Press (the site software) allows me to post certain book titles, people’s names, longer posts and other times it has issues with everything and just rejects the post until I remove all citations. Sometimes the site accepts longer posts and other times only very short posts. I just don’t understand but despite all the delayed, lost, multiple, etc. posts, it is so, so very meaningful talking with people here and I’m grateful that I get a voice despite all the posts that never post. Sometimes I can remove enough that something will post but then the post lacks real substance and other times it will not post no matter how small.

      . . . .Anyways, Scriptures. —I love just hearing the Scriptures, even when they are really hard to take. 💬🌠

    • Seeing The Light on April 5, 2018 at 10:55 am

      1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (NIV)

    • Aleea on April 7, 2018 at 3:45 am

      σῳζομένοις (being saved) right❓❗ . . .process! —I FEEL His presence; He makes me FEEL loved; He makes me FEEL safe “Logic is trying to trick my mind into believing that what my heart is saying, is a lie ~Your heart knows what your mind won’t always hear.”

      . . .2 Corinthians 2:15: For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are σῳζομένοις (being saved) and those who are perishing. . . .

      Εμπιστευθείτετηδιαδικασία (trust the process) ❓❗ —slow, —gain the lessons, —journey because it could be if we rush the process we arrive at our destination empty❓❗ . . .By the way (as you may know), in the Bible, there are no spaces between words, it is just continuous blocks of Greek text. People earned maybe a penny a day and a piece of paper cost like $38 dollars. Think about that, even the word separations have to be figured out and decided upon before you are deciding -anything- about the texts. . .

      . . . .So, none of this can be reached, created or manifest through our own effort and will . . .Like in the next blog post: Re: seeing the FRUITS 🍏 🍎 🍊 🍉🍇 🍓 of genuine repentance. . . .

      . . .So, that transformational metanoia (μετάνοια -72 times in the N.T.), is not an outcome, but the relief from the constant wanting through awareness❓❗ . . .I mean, I don’t know (—What do I know—) I’m asking you. Have you felt that? 😊💬

    • JoAnn on April 7, 2018 at 10:21 am

      Aleea, That FEELING of being loved by the Savior is what we need to hang onto when our mind is telling us lies. The enemy is good at lying to us; that’s what he does, so when we are feeling the Savior’s love and the peace that goes with that, it is from the Lord and is contrary to the lies that our mind/flesh is telling us. May I suggest….when you are in that place of love and peace, ask the Lord to allow you to see your mother through His eyes. This is the path to letting go, the path to true forgiveness. I have been reading “Effortless Forgiveness” by Ed Smith, the founder of Transformation Prayer Ministry (transformationprayer.org), and while I have used this type of ministry for many years, the book presents it in a very clear and helpful way. It is an amazingly effective way to allow the Lord to heal the broken places in our hearts. Perhaps this will help you. It’s wonderful that you have such an intense sense of the Lord’s love. No doubt that is very healing for you, as His love is for all of us, but not all of us have such an intense sense of His presence. I have observed among those whom I have ministered to, that those who have suffered such horrible abuse as you have, that the Lord is especially gracious to touch them in such a sweet and precious way. It provides an antidote, if you will, to all the poison you have absorbed, and his truth, as it comes through in these intimate moments, is a healing balm. Praise the Lord for that! In the light of His love, we can “bring every thought captive to the truth.”(2 Cor. 10:5)

    • Aleea on April 8, 2018 at 5:36 am

      I so appreciate that JoAnn.

      . . .And that makes total sense. I know from earliest extant copies of the New Testament that it *is* truly effortlessly with the right perspective. —It’s all like that. When we really see Christ, I mean really, we don’t have a desire to live other ways. It is only when that perspective becomes clouded. In fact, it only (truly) happens in effortless transformation—because it is the work of the Holy Spirit not our effort.

      —Something is wrong with effort-based transformation because it means we didn’t really see. I know from the Christians that left their thoughts in the first years of Christianity . . . .really seeing brings forth effortless transformation. Christ sees the depths of our hearts and He loves us the same —You are amazing Lord God❣

      . . . .I know what Smith is saying (—but I’ll look into it deeper) . . . They are effortless outcomes of seeing God’s truth with our hearts: It just feels so right and warm and true (Jesus holding me in His arms, et.al.) I do cooperate with the Holy Spirit at times, I know it is effortless when I do. Holy Spirit— help me to cooperate with you more. . .

      . . .Can we know if we have deeply forgiven?

      . . . If I feel sorrow over the circumstances instead of rage, if I feel sorry for my mother rather than angry with her. If I have nothing left to say about it all when I deeply think about it? . . .Does that mean I have forgiven her?

      I’m trying to get beyond something that is neurologically programmed into me at this point.

      I have a Jesus built neurological program running on top of that childhood program but the other is still there. It was programmed into me at adolescence and young adulthood. As an “adult” my brain is basically done developing and I’m stuck with this default to bitterness and hatred whenever I think of childhood.

      These days, often I don’t even have a problem at all with my mother (no contact). . . .I’m just addicted to thinking cynically and criticizing things . . .I guess because it gives me a sense of security that I’ve figured things out (—I have figured nothing out and I know it). . . .That I’ve exposed all the shortcomings and bad behaviors of others. . . .It just gives me a sense of power even though it’s making me weak and pathetic (—See my post on the next thread up as an example).

      Romans 7:15 . . .those two programs are fighting a war inside. JoAnn, I don’t think I can get rid of the childhood program I can only keep making it weaker and weaker? They are all linked. I can’t forgive, or love or ______ the way God does. I recognize my inability. His versions of love, forgiveness, ________ are so unnatural. His are so sacrificial and selfless and the most beautiful love, forgiveness, ________ you could experience.

      Forgiveness in God’s eyes is unconditional: no matter what my mother has done, she can receive forgiveness (—me too❣). God allows people as many chances as they need because God gives them endless chances. God is e-n-d-l-e-s-s chances❣ Christ focused self-love and forgiveness is liberation. . . .Compassion does not require forgiveness, once you have it, forgiveness naturally arises from compassion. . .

      1 Timothy 4:12, Ephesians 4:1, et.al. there are a whole array of N.T. Greek words but together they mean . . . .hmm, —they are like: “God hits you where you live” . . .that’s an authentic encounter with the Holy Spirit, —transformation follows. Lies transformed to peace. . . .

      Jesus will always be my First Love 💕 —Revelation 2:9, 1 John 4:19, Song of Solomon 2:4 —My very soul longs after Him. . . .Even when I act like a baby 🍼 I still feel Him. . . .😊💬✨💕

    • Aleea on April 8, 2018 at 6:02 am

      . . .oh, Genesis 3:15, Matthew 28:6, John 20:19, Revelation 6:2 He hears the SOS 💌. . . . .Effort-based transformation is no transformation at all. Transformation is Holy Spirit awareness Psalm 17:15, et.al. Truth creates habitable order out of chaos but burns like wild fire.

  28. Julie on April 13, 2018 at 9:20 am

    I encourage anyone looking for heart healing to check out Spirit of Life Ministries/Stephanie Tucker.
    Check out the Christian codependency online workshop
    And the House that Grace Built.
    You can also find some of the videos on You Tube, but I encourage you to go the Websight and reach out for more information.

    Blessings!

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