Morning friends,

Thanks for your prayers. We are still living in chaos. I think it will last at least through the end of May. But I’m liking the result. Our bedroom was painted this week and two walls are a bluish-green color and it looks really peaceful. I can’t wait to get the rest of it done and put back together. Prayers are appreciated as I have a busy travel schedule over the next two months.

Question: I am currently separated from my spouse of 24 years. I tried everything I “thought” was godly & honorable to make my marriage better, but nothing worked.

My spouse throughout the history of our marriage developed a pattern of engaging in secret relationships with other women. I have witnessed him for the first 20 years of our marriage engage in physical contact with female friends including horse playing, rough-housing, and intimate contact. I confronted him on many occasions and asked him to stop the behavior, but he refused to comply.

In addition, he has been verbally and emotionally abusive to me throughout our marriage. The final straw for me was last October of 2017. We got into a heated argument that escalated into him grabbing me from behind, strong-arming and tussling me against a wall in such a way where I had to threaten to call the police if he didn't release me.

And so, I left home in October of 2017. As a result, I lost everything, my home and the life that I had become accustomed to. Lastly, during our separation (November 2017) I discovered that my husband was involved in yet another secret friendship with a woman who is young enough to be my daughter. When I sought help from my Pastor and a Christian counselor, my Pastor rebuked me for leaving my spouse. The Christian counselor said that my “account” of my spouse’s actions were not concrete evidence to separate but were simply my “subjective experiences.”

Now, I'm alone. I filed for divorce, I lost my church family, the friends that I thought were ours were really my husband’s! I've been living in a hotel since October 2017 afraid to go back to my spouse, embarrassed to go back to my church, all the while trying to find peace in my spirit that my decision to leave the chaos and the violence was a wise decision.

And so, I guess my question is – did I sin against God, my marriage, and the church by leaving my spouse? What do I do now? I'm 53 years old and I feel like a wandering lost child who is trying to navigate the world on her own. I do somehow sense that God has His loving hands in my life. Thank you in advance for addressing my question.

Answer: Your question and your entire experience breaks my heart and I want you to know it breaks God’s heart too. I’m so sorry you’ve endured so much pain. The disrespect, the demeaning, the devaluing of your experiences both from your church and your counselor, and the continued deceit from your spouse along with the abuse is sinful and harmful.

But you asked me a question. Did you sin against God, your marriage and the church by leaving? No. Your physical, emotional and spiritual safety and sanity are important to God.  You are his daughter and you are precious to him. God hates what happened to you both in your marriage and from your church and counselor.  

God never approves of a husband flirting with other women, lying to you, and physically and emotionally abusing you. Paul cautions husband’s to “love their wives as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25) and Peter reminds them “do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19).    

I believe that the Bible is clear. The church has a duty to protect the oppressed and confront the oppressor.  Sadly some churches tend to protect the oppressor and ignore and try to silence the oppressed if they are married to one another.  Click To Tweet

But I also think you are facing another harsh reality that is not talked about enough. Leaving a marriage, even when it is abusive, brings a new set of problems and challenges. For a woman who has been dependent upon her husband for financial support and has not prepared herself to be self-sufficient and self-supporting, leaving a bad marriage may create stress (in a different way) than continuing to live in a bad one. Perhaps that’s one reason God speaks so strongly about certain kinds of divorce. It not only tears apart families but also leaves many women destitute, without any means of support, especially in Biblical times.

But I don’t think the answer for you is to crawl back to your husband or to your church. Rather it’s to figure out how to grow into an independent woman. So many women marry straight out of school – either high school or college and never live on their own, or establish a sense of their own ability to care for themselves. Then they live as wives and moms, caring for their family, but still not their own selves. Now at 53 you feel lost. Your roles as wife and mother are over. You’re living in a hotel, too scared to establish your own home. Are you working? Have you made some new friends? Are you going to a new church?

I don’t think the answer for you is to go backwards. You said you know God has his loving hand on your life. I think the answer is for you to go forward. What does this new season have for you? What skill sets do you have that will help you get a job or build a career? Where can you plug in for service, ministry, or just to meet new people for friendships?

I remember when my sister was looking for a job after staying home and raising her four children. She had zero computer knowledge, but when she interviewed she emphasized her excellent people skills. She knew how to handle conflict (raising four kids) and customer service skills. The person who eventually hired her said, “I can teach someone computer skills, I can’t teach someone people skills.”

It’s important that you rise from the ashes of your broken life, grieve your losses and start to rebuild. God isn’t finished with your story yet, but you have some new chapters to write. 

Friend, how did you regain your bearings as a single woman after being divorced in your 50’s or 60’s? What steps did you take to find employment, make new friends, and build a new support system?

157 Comments

  1. Robin on April 11, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Amen! You did not make the wrong choice, but it will not be easy finding a safe group of people who won’t condemn you but still hold to Biblical principles. I’m amazed at how often pastors and even female counselors are quick to blame the woman in any relationship conflict. You are not alone. You’ve made a great start by getting involved in this group!

    • Marsha on April 25, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      Thank you Robin,

      Marsha

  2. Amy on April 11, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Though it’s scary, you absolutely made the right choice! I, at 56, have experienced much the same thing, and with too much evidence to share here, I brought it to my church and ultimately they try to get me to leave the church because I was so “emotional“ about this devastation. They wanted rather to have him come back and be at the church even though they knew he was having sexual relationships with other women. They did not want to deal with the “drama“ of what I brought to the table. My husband at the time just wanted to cover it up, and to this day lies that he has ever had multiple sexual relationships with anyone other than me during our marriage Financially,… I was only working a part-time job and now it’s scary to think about all this responsibility and getting a job to support myself. What has helped me tremendously that may also help be a support for you and gaining new friendships and safe places to be with people and talk to people is Al-Anon! I never thought I would be saying that but it has helped me stop my crazy thinking, and for me that’s one of the biggest things holding me back from forgiving my ex-husband and all the pain that he has purposefully caused me. I know if you hang on to God with all your heart and work a strong program, that God can heal absolutely anything and everything, even if you can’t forget. I tell myself that almost hourly, because I know it’s true…God is truly faithful !

    • Jo on April 18, 2018 at 1:33 am

      Sounds like a case of shoot the messenger. Iam in my late 50’s and preparing to separate from my husband because of emotional abuse. I am not where I’d like to be and am struggling to move forward. I too have been cold-shouldered by a pastor at a former! church, and ignored by leadership in more than one. Sadly, my husband has not gotten anything from the church anything either. There are times that the church must take a stand, but sins instead.

      • Sandra on April 20, 2018 at 12:27 pm

        Dear Amy & Jo: I also was rejected by a former church, after my divorce. I had moved to a subsidized senior apartment, and the ladies there planned a surprise celebration party when I returned that day from court. One of the ladies snapped a picture and posted it on Facebook, and my pastor’s wife saw it and soundly scolded me, saying, “We do not celebrate divorce!” I told her that in my case, it was a “celebration.” I was shunned after that, and finally left the church. I later joined another church and was lovingly accepted, and even taught a Sunday School class.
        So, dear Amy, God understands and will never reject you, as some churches may, as sad as that is. Just trust in God’s love and grace alone! Love & prayers, dear Sister

        • Nancy on April 22, 2018 at 3:56 pm

          HI Sandra,

          It is so interesting to me that the rebuke came as a “we” statement. “We do not celebrate divorce!”

          In small group studies that I have done, the guidelines encourage taking responsibility for oneself: The use of “I” statements, not “we” statements. Using “we” abdicates me of responsibility.

          Often when someone is scared, in the church ( like whoever rebuked you for celebrating your divorce) they confuse unity with uniformity. The church is called to be united in the essentials of the faith ( who Christ is, and on questions of salvation). But we are called to give one another liberty in non-essentials of the faith.

          People who are not used to being disagreed with, become destabilized quickly and feel threatened with those who have different opinions – it leads to having homogenous churches that are very uniform, where disagreement is offensive. Dangerous indeed.

          So glad you found a healthier church body.

    • Marsha on April 25, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      Thank you so much Amy,

      Marsha

  3. Robin on April 11, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Here I am again. I separated from my husband after 35 years of marriage. I was terrified. I found a temporary home with a relative, and I prayed a lot. But really quickly I found a support group (a Boundaries group, recommended by my counselor, which just “happened” to be starting right as I needed it). I found a job working in a before and after school program, took a course to begin a new career, found a church, and bought a car. I had not “worked” in 30 years. I did all this within 3 months. Although my separation was temporary, I also began searching for a place to live. There are Christian ladies who are looking for roommates, and even Christian older people who need live-in caregivers. I felt so much more confident as I tackled each new situation – moved through my fear with lots of prayer – and saw myself as valuable.

    • Mary on April 11, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Unfortunately, this treatment of the abused wife by the church is the norm, rather than the unusual. Our family “lost the church” in the divorce as well. I’m glad that my daughter’s ex has stayed in church, but I want the leadership to speak truth to him. Instead, she was condemned for following when God provided a way of escape, and he continues to get a pat on the back for being such a nice guy.

      As Jesus said, they just don’t know what they have done.

      It’s a wake up call for all of us to be available to help women starting over under often such desperate circumstances. Help finding housing–sometimes even shelter from harm–financial help, of course emotional support. But let me say this–if we encounter someone trying to be safe, it’s not enough to just say, “I’ll pray for you.” Those prayers are obviously good, even mandatory, but they need to be supplemented with action.

      Women coming out of emotionally destructive relationships will carry those scars forever, and it may take years to actually feel normal again. There very well may be symptoms of PTSD cropping up when least expected, fear of rejection, fear of failure, just plain fear. As my daughter said, “I know it wasn’t normal, but it had become MY norm.”

      God is the One who heals the broken-hearted; it’s our responsibility to do good.

      • Becca on April 11, 2018 at 6:40 pm

        Yes! We now need to be the helpers! I too was turned upon by my church when I wouldn’t reconcile with my unhealthy husband. I was fortunate-I called in a mediator who worked things out between me and the church. And God simultaneously changed my husband’s heart. Now I hope to work *with* my church in advocating for hurting women!

        • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 10:45 pm

          Becca,

          Praise God for this!
          I agree and love that you see those who might not get ‘that advocate care’ or outcome?
          That you are wanting that place for hurting women (maybe men too) to have the support From a church!

          Recently, I was watching a bible study from
          Francis Chan ~ Courageous,
          He said, ” there are no cowards in heaven”…
          It was bold yet his point was valid as he sighted scripture in Revelations.

  4. Free on April 11, 2018 at 7:59 am

    In answer to the question of how move forward, I recommend physical activity, continuing education, community activities and travel.

    In regards to your concern if you were sinning to leave an untrustworthy adulterer, the answer is, “No.”

    • Marsha on April 27, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      Hi Free,

      Thank you for the advice of getting my life involved in physical activity and other nurturing things that will help me thru this Painful season of my life. Since I received that confirmation that I needed from Holy Spirit and Leslie’s reply, I have started the process of rebuilding my life. I’m so sad & horrified that so many women (especially Daughters of God) many of us live in these silent prisons of abuse. And when we finally, finally, finally find the courage to leave or lift our voices against the abuse, the church, the abuser, friends you thought you had, your “support system”, all reject you & turn away from you. But the worst, my abuser has somehow, somehow, someway turned my own Mother against me. He & her communicate every week & she is totally convinced that I should not have left the abuse. I’ve tried so many different methods of explaining to my Mom that my sanity and my safety is vital, but she will not respond accordingly. In fact, I’ve had to sadly cut my conversations and whereabouts of my daily routine and locations with her, because I discovered that she is feeding him information. For example, in the early months of me leaving him, I would be at a store or going to church and he would appear!. Again, I tried my absolute best to explain to my Mom that he (her son-n-law) is not the man she thinks he is. I suspect that he is manipulating her with financial assistance, because he knows that the best way to my mom’s heart is , money. I’m praying that God will give me a strategy with my Mom, so that I can keep myself self, not become bitter towards her and maintain an honorable relationship with my Mom. May God also continue to bless you and strengthen you as rebuild your life into something beautiful and experience the abundant life that Christ came to give you.
      Marsha

      • Liz on April 28, 2018 at 10:52 am

        I just want to say that my ex left me just before I turned 53, after I began to read Leslie’s blogs and books, go to a support group for friends and family of addicts, and get stronger boundaries. I honestly thought that getting healthy woud help restore our marriage, but instead, my husband of 27+ years left in a crazy sequence of events. God mercifully sent kind friends and family to help me, my church has been caring, and I’m still very involved there. I think being a little more transparent about what was going on at home before my husband left really helped people see something was going on in him, and I was trying my best to work on myself and my part, but he was spiralling downward.

        I hadn’t worked full-time in 25 years, and was terrified, but just asked God to help me one day at a time. I kept my part-time job and started job searching, asking others to pray. I saw a former employer and said I was looking for full-time work, and wanted to thank him so much for all the job skills I’d learned in the 18 months I’d worked for his office part-time a few years earlier. Well, to my surprise, he called me after talking with his staff, and they asked me back for a full-time career. It has been just what I needed. I may not be the fastest, smartest person there, but I work hard, stay humble, keep learning, and love our clients.

        It’s been almost 5 years, and I’ve had to help with many care needs for my elderly parents for 3 years, and have learned to handle stress better and set healthier boundaries. It’s not easy, but I’ve learned to take care of myself as I love others. My ex wouldn’t have lifted a finger to help my parents, and I’m thankful I can help them through this hard season, even though it’s very challenging for my sisters and me. I still haven’t dated, but am open to it some day.

        All I can say is, BELIEVE GOD! Obey Him and trust Him with your fears, and He will get you through. Try a Divorce Care group, a different church, and to develop some new interests and passions, and you will find others in similar situations and make new friends. God bless you as you rebuild your life!

  5. Carla on April 11, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Wouldn’t it be helpful on a practical level to encourage her to seek help from a ministry to abused women in her area, or at least some websites and book resources to help her understand what she left, what abuse really is and how to help her get stronger? It’s hard to go down her path alone. New friends may not be the best to share all she needs help with.

  6. Caring sister on April 11, 2018 at 8:07 am

    My prayers are with you dear sister. If you lived near me you would be welcomed at my Bible believing church and we would wrap our arms around you and help you. If your church will help you, go back. Don’t be embrassed. But if they condemn you, seek God for a new loving church who helps and walks with you. Recently we had a lady in our congregation who left and no matter what didn’t come back. She recently came back and to find out, she too went through a divorce and had hard time. We wrapped our arms around her and she is full of smiles to be back. We are full of smiles that she is back. As a pastors wife I would encourage you to find a great church if yours is not. Stay in the Word and to grow into independent woman. Do not sale yourself short! You can do this and thrive!

  7. Angie on April 11, 2018 at 8:33 am

    My husband decided he no longer wanted to be married and that he didn’t love me anymore (it’s been almost a year and half since that revelation). I didn’t lose just him…I lost my church (who turned their backs on my daughter and I)…I lost people I thought were friends….it feels like I have lost everything and have had to start over. I did learn to drive at 42 years of age…which was HUGE because cars and driving one totally freaked me out. But everything else is proving to be so crazy hard. I am 43 years old and just took on a part time job (on top of my full time job) to save so I can move out of the house. I don’t know how to make friends at 43. I know I need to create a new life but how do you do that and still do the work of healing? What career could I possibly go back to school for. When would I find the time. I mean I am still finding it difficult to find a place to live. But I know I can’t be under the same roof with him much longer. The toxicity is like liquid poison seeping through every crack of pain and hurt in my daughter and I. But you know what even through all of that, there is something in me that keeps getting up every day out of that bed and moving. So, there is a part of me still resting…resting in God’s hope that He won’t leave me and where my strength ends…His is right there. So, celebrate the small the steps forward that you make and just keep moving. Don’t give up and don’t go back. God’s loves us so much more than we can ever imagine and He wants the very best for us. He wants us to want that for ourselves as well. I say these things not just for you to read but because I need to remind myself as well to stay in encouraged and keep moving forward and keep leaning on and trusting Him. I initially was responding to encourage someone but I in my writing from my heart I got off track and I am not sure if I did that or created more confusion. Know this…. You’re SO LOVED by the Almighty and He wants You safe because YOU MATTER SO MUCH TO HIM. Blessings!

    • Free on April 11, 2018 at 9:02 pm

      To be a bit confused at this point is normal Angie. When you get out of the house and leave your abuser the fog will lift quickly. You will be amazed how your energy level and mental capacity will soar once you are no longer being drained by your toxic situation.

    • Jo on April 18, 2018 at 1:40 am

      Have you seen a lawyer yet to fund out what you can legally get in your situation. Your local domestic violence shelter is a good resource to walk along side you for the very practical issues you are dealing with.

  8. Renee on April 11, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Reader my heart goes out to you. You won’t have to feel alone anymore if you stick around and not just post one time. As people comment, come back and post under the comments and receive much love and be attended too.

    I have time to quickly comment on being embarrassed. It is part of our healing. It has to become part.

    When I think about the things that took place in my marriage, I too feel embarrassed. The embarrassment comes from several areas. One is how others make us feel when we try to tell our story (our church, people we thought were mutual friends, family, some counselors, etc.) Our abuser installs that factor so it is easy to come to the surface – no one is going to believe you.

    The other part of the embarrassment factor come from us being hard on our self. Why did we not leave? Why did we accept? How we going to make it? I’m too young or too old to start over. Why was I not able to change the outcome? Maybe the abuser was right. Like it or not, the abuser does chip at our self-confidence and self-worth and we do feel weak and helpless at times.

    I think of Sheep when you said embarrassment. Imagine the man who has to tell his story when the image and stereotype is that the man is strong and macho in all things. He beats his chest, he scratches, he rules all things, he conquerors, etc.

    But the thing is that feeling if you work hard at it, can slowly calm down and it won’t feel like it has such a strong hold anymore. Maybe, you can take a first small step. It seems church was important to you, so if you don’t have this anxiety factor like I do with new crowds, consider finding another church to attend. Another way is to find a good counselor and attend faithfully. You will find that the more you share, like you did here, you will start to not feel so alone.

    You asked: did I sin against God, my marriage, and the church by leaving my spouse? No

    You asked: What do I do now? The grace and mercy shown to your abuser revoke his privileges and apply it to you full force.

    You said: I’m 53 years old and I feel like a wandering lost child who is trying to navigate the world on her own.
    I bet you will get better and better at that navigation. Even the GPS system gets it wrong at times, but may times it will self correct. And when it does not, we have to simply input new information.

    And at 53, you are still young!!! Much love and hope for your future.

    • sheep on April 12, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      Renee, Thanks for the shout out. It is amazing the things the abuser tells us and we tell ourselves that keep us hanging on. And there are so many things that we are embarrassed about. Embarrassed that it went on for so long and I just thought that was how normal married people behave. Embarrassed that now looking back there were so many signs that I should have seen but either didn’t or I ignored them. Embarrassed of how much I tolerated in the name of “unconditional love” when really all I was doing was enabling sin. Embarrassed that I took the responsibility and blame for so long for her problems and her sins. Embarrassed that I was so scared of her for so long.

      And at the same time I am mourning all of the above, and mourning all that I thought I had but really never did. Mourning that the person that pledged herself to me, never really gave herself to me and ended up giving herself to others.

      • Aly on April 12, 2018 at 6:26 pm

        Sheep,

        Your post is heartbreaking yet also maybe freeing in a way too?

        You mentioned that she (your wife) ended up giving herself to others… this is horrible and I’m terribly sorry for your pain and your grief as you grieve the losses.

        God really does know what he’s talking about when it comes to the sacred intimacy of a marriage and where our hearts, minds and bodies are designed for covenantal marriage (healthy dynamic) and outside of this union.., it’s pure chaos and pain.

        God can heal your heart and your loss with what certainly was offered up in a convenant to you.

        I understand how you expressed (your wife) and it being seen as she is giving herself to others, but I hope it might help that ‘what she is giving’ is still empty because she doesn’t ‘possess’ it to offer!

        Praying for your journey and your strength.

      • Nancy on April 15, 2018 at 9:32 pm

        Sheep,

        What honesty you have expressed here. May God continue to bless you with this willingness to be transparent and vulnerable with ‘safe others’.

        And may He continue to strengthen you and enable you to appropriate His authority in all situations.

        I echo what someone said earlier this week. I hope you stick around here. You have grown a lot over a short period of time, and you have a lot to offer. Your posts are insightful as well as loving.

        Your wife is a dough – head

      • B on April 24, 2018 at 3:28 pm

        Dear Sheep 🐑,
        I feel your pain. I too was betrayed by my husband after 21 years of marriage and. The pain was excruciating and still is sometimes. Although we reconciled, I’m still haunted by all of the ugliness that transpired. One of the reasons why I married him was because I thought he was trustworthy and in it for the long haul. When he left me for another woman and asked for a divorce I gladly complied and retained an attorney. That’s when things became very ugly and he fought me tooth and nail through the court system. I often ask myself why I agreed to reconcile. I did because I was scared and tired of the fight. I could also see how this was adversely affecting my children in varying degrees and ways. My children begged me to take their dad back and I acquiesced. I lost friends because of my decision and that saddens me greatly. I was in a storm ⛈. My pastor also advised me to reconcile for the sake of my suffering children. We live in relative peace but not as man and wife. I can’t bear to be intimate with him because I’m afraid of getting hurt all over again. I’m not attracted to him. He knows this but still wants to continue with the marriage. I feel like I’m living in limbo and just waiting for him to get sick of the situation and ask for another divorce. That scares me because I don’t have a career. I’m trying to rebuild my life by studying but my time is limited. There is no right answer. Betrayal is so devastating and traumatic. Be thankful that you have gotten through the divorce process. I will pray for you sheep and thank you 😊 for sharing your story. May God bless you and keep you strong

        • Renee on April 25, 2018 at 9:04 am

          Hi B You said: I lost friends because of my decision and that saddens me greatly.

          Have you tried to reach out to those friends? Maybe their heart will soften if you explain it the way you explained it here.

          I think this you said would be a great start (I often ask myself why I agreed to reconcile. I did because I was scared and tired of the fight. I could also see how this was adversely affecting my children in varying degrees and ways. My children begged me to take their dad back and I acquiesced. I lost (YOU) my friend because of my decision and that (REALLY) saddens me greatly. I was in a storm. My pastor also advised me to reconcile for the sake of my suffering children.)

          I would add to the end of that very short letter that you miss them and would love to have them back in your life and ask to have coffee or lunch this month or next month?

          If they were really your TRUE friends they would walk with you, hand in hand, regardless of your decision.

          If they do not reach out to you, time to make new friends.

          Hugs to you B

          • B on April 27, 2018 at 2:23 pm

            Thanks 🙏 Renee for the very sound advice. I did explain it to them and on the surface were receptive. However as time progressed I could see they were distancing themselves and not inviting me to functions. I was accused of being weak and manipulative. “If things were as bad as you say they were then why are you going back?” “You’re very transparent. I can see right through your facade of strength and confidence” etc. I wasn’t exaggerating. My husband was using the court system to intimidate and frighten me into submission. It didn’t work. In the end he begged for a reconciliation. Things are now better because I have learned to set boundaries and protect myself. He doesn’t dominate me anymore but I have to keep forcing myself not to allow him to intimidate me. I feel as if in order for me to remain friends with these women, I would have to do what they want rather than making the decision on my own. We are no contact and although it saddens me I don’t want to re-enter into a friendship that probably wasn’t healthy from the beginning. I’m looking for affirmative friends who won’t belittle me. Thank for responding to my post. I really appreciate your advice.



        • sheep on April 26, 2018 at 9:01 pm

          Dear B,
          So sorry for what you have gone through and are going through. I get it. I must correct you though, you said “Be thankful that you have gotten through the divorce process.” That is not the case. We haven’t even started it yet.

          She continues to live in the home and pretends that everything is fine. She has done none of the work needed to reconcile and I know nothing more about the affairs now than I did the day I caught her. She has said that she can not promise she won’t do it again. Our councilor has told me that she will do it again. She has all the traits of NPD, and she has yet to show remorse or take responsibility for what she has done. That includes decades of emotional abuse.

          I have told her that I will divorce her if those things done happen but she continues to live as if nothing is wrong. She is “trying to be nice” but that falls far short of what needs to be done and I have told her so. She doesn’t want to be divorced because of what that will do to her reputation and because she doesn’t want to be responsible for herself. She doesn’t want to be divorced, but she doesn’t want me either.

          I asked her a couple of months ago to move out and she said she would, but wanted to wait till May. So, we will see what happens.

          I have been waiting on a couple of practical things to happen before filing for divorce. One of those things has now happened, so it should be fairly soon now.

          I have been trying to come up with a short explanation of what this “marriage” feels like. It eluded me for a long time, but I think that the word “empty” comes the closest to describing it.

          • Nancy on April 27, 2018 at 12:20 pm

            Hi Sheep,

            I would imagine that the emotional pressure is building inside of you, as May quickly approaches.

            If that’s the case, I hope you have increased your counselling sessions accordingly, as well as whatever other interventions you have in place for yourself.

            What is your cut-off date, for her to be out of the house? Do you have a plan in place in case she refuses to leave?

            I’m guessing that it won’t be her that remembers her commitment to leave in May. You’ll need to remind her. Have you reminded her? what is your sense of what will happen when your ‘cut off date’ comes?



          • sheep on April 27, 2018 at 12:49 pm

            Hi Nancy,

            Yes, the pressure and anxiety is building. I think a lot of that is due to her constant act that everything is fine. We do not talk about anything of substance and she seems perfectly happy with that, while I am dying on the inside because everything is just so wrong.

            Mentally and emotionally, I am actually doing pretty good, all things considered. I think that is because there is finally a resolution coming and I have accepted that. I have been able to stop taking my anti-depressant and I feel pretty good.

            I have gotten to the place where I am ok saying (not to her yet) that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with her. And that if things were different I wouldn’t want a divorce, But things aren’t different, I don’t see that they will ever be, so I do want a divorce. Believe you me, that is one of the biggest mental battles that I have fought.

            I have reminded her a couple of times that she said she would leave in May, but no real conversation or information has come out of that. My guess is that she thinks everything will work out if she keeps pretending and being nice. Even though I have told her multiple times that is won’t.

            I don’t have a cut off date yet, but I will start pushing for one in about a week (after this one things I am waiting on happens). If possible I would like for her to be out of the house before I start pushing for a divorce. I am hoping we can do the divorce through a mediator, but I am prepared to just file myself if I have to. I have suggested a mediator to her, she said she would think about it, but hasn’t said anything since.

            I’m just ready to have this over with.



          • Nancy on April 27, 2018 at 1:38 pm

            You sound pretty grounded to me, sheep.

            It is a huge accomplishment on your part to have come to the place of saying that you don’t want to spend the rest of your life with her. God is so faithful to bring us into reality.

            I really hope you are keeping in close touch with your counsellor through this escalating time. And yes, I would agree that it’s so loaded for you because her level of denial is unwavering – even in the face of her own deadline so close on the horizon. Crazy. Making.

            Check out Psalm 91- it may be a good time to lean into that one.



          • B on April 27, 2018 at 1:48 pm

            Dear sheep 🐑,
            I’m so sorry to hear this. I mistakenly thought you were over the worst but I was wrong. However, I’m happy to hear that you are preparing yourself for this new phase in your life. If she refuses to accept ownership for her infidelity then you are right in planning for divorce. People with npd can not change. You really need to remove yourself from this destructive relationship before it destroys you; which is what she wants because it gives her control. Narcissists can not stand to be discarded. I don’t think 💭 that’s what you are doing in planning and preparing for a future sans someone who’s unfaithful but since she’s probably very myopic, a narcissistic trait, then that’s how she’s going to perceive your filing for divorce and she will try to manipulate you back so she can discard you. It’s a dangerous and sick game. I’m so sorry you’re suffering this. Continue to prepare yourself and if the agreement was that she would leave by May then stick to it and hold her accountable. Do not wait for her to see your side of things because she never will. She doesn’t care. I pray you will be able to be free from this marriage. At the same time, if children are involved I understand your hesitancy in filing. I wish you the very best and I pray that you set some really good 😊 boundaries to protect yourself from harm.



          • Nancy on April 27, 2018 at 1:49 pm

            A small extra: I recently learned in my emotionally healthy relationships course that:

            Unrealistic expectations are a leading cause of depression.

            ( if the past 5 Christmases have been filled with family tension, how can I expect things to be any different, this year?)

            Learning to live in, and accept reality, will help to guard us from creating unrealistic expectations.

            ( I bring this up because you mention that you are off anti-depressants, sheep. Do you think unrealistic expectations played into your depression?)



          • sheep on April 27, 2018 at 3:52 pm

            Nancy, I think this is totally right. Unrealistic expectations do play into depression. First of all you want everything to work out, you want to be loved, you want to be accepted. Then, we as believers are (incorrectly) taught that if we just pray more, love more, accept more… then God will do a miracle in them and they will see the light and the marriage will be healed. While this does happen, especially when there are two normal people of good will that love each other, It obviously doesn’t happen in other situations. God does not promise that everything will work out like we want if we just do more.

            So, we have this giant desire to be loved, and those around us are counseling us to love more, give more, and trust more (because it is easy to tell the victim these things and it is much harder to tell the abuser they are living in sin) But, the reality that we cant bring ourselves to accept is that there is no evidence of change in them and there is no desire on their part to change.

            I think our brain tries to convince our heart that it will all work out. But deep down we know that it isn’t. I think the depression comes from that battle. (as well as the whole adultery thing) I think my depression started to get better once I accepted that it was over.



          • JoAnn on April 27, 2018 at 7:31 pm

            Sheep, surely you realize that we are all behind you on this. You have come a long way, and now for things to move forward in a good way, it is important for you to set a specific date for the move out, with specific consequences spelled out if she doesn’t do it. For instance, if she doesn’t move out by a certain date, her things will be boxed and put outside and the locks changed on the house. For someone like her, she is going to continue to push against whatever you say unless you have defined very specific consequences and hold fast to them. Also, you must be careful that she can’t do something vindictive while packing up, so be sure to watch her do it. I would also be sure to put the conditions in writing for her. God bless you as you move forward. You have every right to do this, and He is for you.



          • Aly on April 28, 2018 at 11:21 am

            Sheep,

            I’m sorry I can’t post directly but this is a reply to your post:
            April 27, at 3:52pm

            You wrote:
            “But, the reality that we cant bring ourselves to accept is that there is no evidence of change in them and there is no desire on their part to change.”

            Sheep I’m so so sorry for this reality and yet I agree it’s hard to navigate what you described.

            You articulated this ‘mental and heart battle’ so well!

            About evidence NOT being there.
            Believe their behavior not their words. Especially when you have a repeat offender and someone with a destructive personality disorder.

            Believe their Behavior!!

            Believing their behavior ~ helps with grieving reality which really does get us moving in a direction.

            For a person to desire to change they must be able to agree that their behavior is ‘in need of a overhaul’, transformation really!

            If they can’t at the core acknowledge or be in agreement with this ‘change’ it will be very difficult for them to participate with the Holy Spirit to do a work necessary for repair and rebuilding with such offenses.

            For your wife:
            The nice-ness, doesn’t remotely touch the resitution needed!
            Also, even if their wasn’t actual physical adultery~ ‘hard-heartedness’ is a similar rejection and dismissal of the relationship on her part, so is faking and being a phoney person.
            This applies to many relationships and especially our genuine relationship with God.

            A fake relationship with God is not a relationship ~ nothing is authentically established and we serve a patient God but this is why He designed free will.

            Sheep, you are worthy to be loved and desired authentically and the Lord will walk through this with you each day!



          • Aly on April 28, 2018 at 11:26 am

            Sheep,

            Oops one other thing I wanted to mention:

            You wrote:
            “But, the reality that we cant bring ourselves to accept is that there is no evidence of change in them and there is no desire on their part to change.”

            The no desire to change i believe is because they are the ‘Dishers’ of the relationship dysfunction, and not the receivers!

            If they were the receivers they might have a different lens but because they dish it out they don’t see a need to change!

            To them: it’s normal funcationing operations since they are not the receivers of the ’empty’!



  9. Jane on April 11, 2018 at 8:47 am

    I developed a Recovery Plan. This included Divorce Care (5 Classes), Celebrate Recovery, Daily Exercise, Conquer Program, Daily Prayer to See, Hear and Feel God’s Presence, and Decision to Focus on Jesus, not my storm. Chose to exercise my faith, to Trust and Surrender. Sought help and accepted help. I love my two recovery groups, DC and CR – people are real, Jesus is present, and healing happens. New friendships within DC and CR have been such a gift. Recovery is work, and it is a very slow walk, but well worth the journey.

    • Angie on April 11, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      Jane your comments have encouraged and inspired me. I never thought about it that way….”develop a Recovery Plan”. I, too, am in DivorceCare and it has been great in helping me heal. So grateful for it!

      • Sunshine on April 11, 2018 at 9:09 pm

        Be careful of the men you meet in these groups. My husband went to Divorce care. We are not divorced! He went will a pity me story that his wife left him. He didn’t share that he had a protection order against him for domestic violence! So, just beware, these support groups are not places to look for new partners. Not that all people are unsafe, I am just throwing out some truth to ponder.

        • Janca on April 25, 2018 at 11:11 pm

          Yes beware! I have been going through a divorce for 1 1/2 years and my husband has been in several divorce care groups sharing his pity stories and hosting their socials at my house where he has kept all my personal belongings hostage since I left because I was too afraid to stay in the house jan 1 2017. He is a police officer and charms women with his serve and protect persona. He is extremely wicked and preys on vulnerable women. I should know.

          • JoAnn on April 26, 2018 at 6:52 pm

            Janaca, Is there no one you can report him to? No way to gain access to the house while he is on duty? This sounds so very unrighteous. Of course, his being on the police squad means that his buddies are on his side, unless and until he makes a big mistake. If I were in your shoes, I would pray to the Righteous Judge to allow your h to get caught in his evil acts. A man like you describe needs to be out of uniform and off the streets.



    • Carla on April 14, 2018 at 8:44 am

      I like your “Recovery Plan”. I had put together an expanding file folder of important documents, a back up of my computer…and a section called “Self Care” where I filed all sorts of things that would help get me and keep me on my feet in the midst of suddenly being away from home.

  10. kristine on April 11, 2018 at 8:49 am

    I will pray for you right now. I am so grieved at the utter failure (again) of the professing church to aid the victim and instead enable the abuser. I too left after 24 years of emotional and verbal abuse. Reading your story, I realized I actually observed much of the same flirting and inappropriate sexual banter in my husband. But his other sins were so pervasive and dramatic I guess i overlooked that. While my church didn’t overtly condemn me, they were very supportive of my husband in his “trial.” I hate to ascribe evil motives but it has been pointed out to me by several that my husband was a huge financial contributor to the pastor personally and to the church.
    One previous comment alluded to other Christian women in similar situations—is there a network available to connect women with reasonably priced legal assistance, housing, job networking, etc? I know there are resources for domestic violence victims but not sure how much there is for Christian women in non criminal domestic situations.

    And finally, given the all to common theme of women either trapped in a destructive marriage or left destitute after it ends because they have no employment prospects—what about the young girls we are bringing up today? I am very disturbed by the trend I see especially among very conservative religious groups to bar girls from being anything other than a “child bearing vessel.” Not naming any names but we’ve seen that on a very popular tv program—and also what happens when such a young lady loses her provider. My father was adamant that my sister and I acquire skills so that we could support our families if we were left alone (not all men are terrible—some die unexpectedly too). Because of that—when I was ready to leave I could walk away. I did not need him. It was hard enough to break through the spiritual chains of religious guilt and blaming and the 24 years of spirit crushing verbal and emotional abuse. Let’s do all we can to empower young ladies and not set them up to be trapped in circumstances beyond their control. If the only way a man can “hold on” to his wife is by having her completely dependent on him there is something seriously wrong.

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

      Bravo Kristine! You bring up some excellent points! I envision the day (hopefully in our lifetime!) when there is a whole network of “healthy” churches that “get it” about their own women being in destructive relationships and offer the services/ministry that you mentioned – housing, legal assistance and job-networking. Like you, I was able to leave a destructive marriage with relative confidence that I could provide for my kids because I brought an education and good job skills into my marriage. I am burdened for the women who have not been as fortunate and pray that somehow I can be part of a solution to help them. There is much work to be done!

      • Free on April 11, 2018 at 9:27 pm

        My career and education has made freedom possible for me too. I have come to appreciate the “just in case” scenario preparation, that enabled me to save myself later in life. Praise God!

    • Jen on April 11, 2018 at 10:14 am

      I bought into all of the teachings in conservative homeschool circles (Created To Be His Helpmeet), etc. I raised my daughters to not seek a career for themselves and to wait for God to bring a husband to provide for them. God never did and now may daughters are floundering to provide for themselves and grasping at all the wrong types of men! How destructive. These teachings only serve to feed husband’s narcissistic flesh. It keeps godly women trapped under the abuse of a tyrant! It also silences them and keeps them from reaching out to get help, because church leaders will reject them or invalidate them. It gives the children a horrible example of how marriage is supposed to work and daughters end up marrying someone just like their abusive father. I know this is not the end of the story, but it sure is devastating!

      • Suzanne on April 11, 2018 at 7:55 pm

        I can relate to your background. My ex was, and is, a huge fan of the Pearls. Yet, when I realized ours was a emotionally destructive marriage and started setting boundaries and asked him to attend counseling with me, he refused…said he would not subject himself to psychology (“Face it! You married a Michael Pearl!!” he said), then he filed for divorce. Yes, HE filed. Said he needed to set me free. The children and I were shocked.
        I’m 49 and still have 4 of our 6 children at home. Alimony and child support are my main income, and I’m working part time. But I plan to take classes at our local community college to acquire a better job in the near future.

      • Suzanne on April 11, 2018 at 8:02 pm

        I can relate to your background, Jen. My ex was, and is, a huge fan of the Pearls. Yet, when I realized ours was a emotionally destructive marriage and started setting boundaries and asked him to attend counseling with me, he refused…said he would not subject himself to psychology (“Face it! You married a Michael Pearl!!” he said), then he filed for divorce. Yes, HE filed. Said he needed to set me free. The children and I were shocked.
        I’m 49 and still have 4 of our 6 children at home. Alimony and child support are my main income, and I’m working part time. But I plan to take classes at our local community college to acquire a better job in the near future.

        • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 10:21 pm

          Suzanne,

          I’m so very sorry for your situation and being in a destructive marriage.

          It’s interesting how some people react when ‘invited’ into health and a healthier marriage dynamic, like you did with counseling and boundaries for yourself.

          From your post it sounds like he had no interest in a mutual marriage that has accountability toward another.

          Thankfully, he did set you free and although it was shocking, it could be the greatest thing for you to thrive in!

          For some disturbed individuals I do think they can only do relationships ‘their way’ and if not their way then you realize quickly there is No actual relationship!

          Painful and horrible to come to terms with the reality of it all and especially all that you had invested prior. But he certainly isn’t intereted in a marriage where it won’t be emotionally exploitive ~ he sees no other form, sad for him and sad for who he might lure next.

          I’m sorry for all of this and the trials but greatful you are released! 🤗

          • Suzanne on April 12, 2018 at 9:59 am

            Thank you, Aly. God is faithful!



    • Free on April 11, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Regarding “non criminal,” we may be selling ourselves short with our perception of what is criminal. The new term IPV (interpersonal violence) is defined in four categories. They are physical, sexual, stalking and psychological aggression. If you have experienced any of these four things you have been criminally violated. This is very new information (2018) national guidelines.

      Stalking includes getting calls, texts, flowers or emails from someone you asked to leave you alone. I hadn’t thought of that as stalking, but it is
      So if you have separated to a safe place from your destructive partner and made it clear to leave you alone, his pursuit of you is stalking.

      • JoAnn on April 12, 2018 at 5:14 pm

        Wow, Free! That is great information. Thanks. I assume that it will take a while before the courts recognize this, but it is a great start. Where did this information come from?

        • Free on April 12, 2018 at 7:24 pm

          EVAW. The organization, End Violence Against Women.

          • Free on April 12, 2018 at 7:26 pm


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


          • JoAnn on April 12, 2018 at 7:44 pm

            Free, thank you.



          • Free on April 12, 2018 at 8:55 pm

            Also, marital rape has been illegal since 1984. Why do we women hide such behaviors and protect our criminal husband? I think we think we are protecting him and the familily. There are of course many factors and I am not throwing stones because I protected my “Christian” rapist too. I just realized now that I was breaking the law by aiding and abetting a criminal. This is hard to process, but sadly, true.



  11. Lynn on April 11, 2018 at 9:33 am

    This is a situation that I can truly relate to. I separated from my husband when I was 59 and I am now 63 and going through a divorce. This was definitely not in the plan of my life to living as a single woman at this age, but it is my reality right now. I spent most of my marriage as a stay at home mom and during that time I homeschooled my four children as well. I worked part-time, but had no steady income when this situation in my life came about. When I decided to file for divorce, I did two things. I transferred some money from our joint checking account to a personal account so I would have some money to live on (I did this in fear knowing that my husband would be furious, but I still did it). The second thing that I did was to speak with an attorney for advice. He told me to file for domestic support right away as I had no steady income. That was such a blessing as I started receiving support within about 6 weeks. It gave me a breathing time to settle into an apartment, work on a budget, and look for a job. I did use the website Care.com to help me find some good child care jobs and a tutoring job as well. They also offer help in finding other service care jobs. With getting domestic support, that it is taken from my husband’s work checks and directly deposited in my account, and my part-time jobs, I am making it financially until the divorce is settled. I have also spoken with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and a financial planner for help with my finances. There is help and assistance out there. I struggled with going for help as I felt so helpless and thinking I couldn’t move forward with this, but I did reach out and I am so glad I did. Don”t be afraid to seek out help and advice!

    • Susan on April 11, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      I have been a stay at home mom too didn’t home school I wanted to but husband was dead set against it. tried many things to become financially independent because one of the powers he used was withholding money. I’m 65 married 4 years I am praying to God to open the door for me to get out I’m making plans putting aside money every time I can and preparing a place to live in find a lawyer.
      to the sister who has left you did the right action so sorry the church you have attend doesn’t get it. Keep moving forward, I’m new with Leslie and learn so much in a couple of months. God Bless XXOO

      • Lynn on April 11, 2018 at 2:05 pm

        My husband controlled the money as well. He even took most of our money and hid it for awhile because I would not end the separation. He threatened to make me penniless if I did not do what he wanted. That is why I knew I had to transfer money into my own account before I left. I knew he would hide it again.

        • Free on April 11, 2018 at 9:53 pm

          I found freedom was worth more than money. Try the best you can but we can never beat these guys at their own game. Switching to the new lawyer is a good idea. I was blessed with great attorneys. They believed me. Have you tried a female attorney?

    • Elise on April 11, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      This is amazing counsel. I wish I had taken these steps. Be safe. Be wise. Trust God. Be grateful.

  12. Sherry on April 11, 2018 at 9:36 am

    My heart breaks for this woman. As a Pastors wife we have seen so many broken lives and it always pains me. Let me first ask forgiveness for this unwise Pastor and Counselor. It always makes us cringe when we hear stories like this. I want to encourage this sister to not give up on the Church. Not all Pastors will reject you or treat you unfairly. Pray and ask God to lead you to a Church where there will be true soul care and love so that you can heal. A place where they will listen to your story and help you to go forward with your life.

  13. Amy on April 11, 2018 at 9:37 am

    I am in a similar situation….and I am 53! Sadly, I have to say I am thankful that I was not attending church when I filed for legal separation in March. 2017. I had enough of the old “church” tapes playing in my head. I can’t imagine having a pastor and church actually verbally laying blame on me. I had supportive friends and family….thankfully, including my amazing supportive sons who saw their father’s abuse and manipulation. My son’s actually told me to leave him. I know how blessed I am to have true friends, supportive sons and a loving family to carry me through this daunting time in my life. I just love how Leslie and this ministry supports us while we are so lost and somewhat confused. She said something in her response that really hit home with me. It’s time to find ourselves apart from our spouses and even our children. I was married after Graduate School (where I met my husband and Moody Bible Institute!) but my sons and my husband certainly became my life and I became a very good co-dependent while he engaged in adultery and abused me throughout our 24+ years of marriage. He is still abusing me financially by refusing to allow our divorce to be finalized. On top of that, I have an abusive lawyer who rages at me, won’t include me in decision making and actually threatened to fire me as his client because he said I wasn’t listening to him. Sounds like my marriage! So sought out the counsel of another lawyer and he advised me to try to come up with a separation agreement on my own with my future ex, just so we could finalize the whole process. Long story short, just like I knew he would, his mask come back up as he tries to act like the good guy while he is manipulating the heck out of me regarding a possible separation agreement. My point…maybe its time that I just count the financial loss of what I could have gotten money-wise so I can be free from my abusive husband and abusive lawyer. My health is being affected negatively from carrying around all the stress. He will think he has won…but I will be the winner…because I will be free. And I will have the love and support of my sons, while he only has their disrespect and disgust with who he actually is as a human being. Best to you, dear sister in Christ.

    • Free on April 11, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      I found freedom was worth more than money. Try the best you can but we can never beat these guys at their own game. Switching to the new lawyer is a good idea. I was blessed with great attorneys. They believed me. Have you tried a female attorney?

    • Janca on April 25, 2018 at 11:29 pm

      I am currently on lawyer #3 with $75k paid so far on my teacher’s salary. They say third time is a charm. I too had a very abusive lawyer who would scream at me over and over “gd it, you were free white and 21, you allowed this man to do it to you”. I say find a good female attorney. After two separate mediations with 2 different lawyers and mediators, I am now heading to court in a couple of weeks.

  14. ~ Pam on April 11, 2018 at 9:43 am

    As someone who exchanged personhood for a lengthy destructive marriage? I feel your pain. = : \ I also applaud the courage demonstrated each & every time you chose (( not! )) to continue enabling what was happening!

    Hip! \o/ Hip! /o\ HOORAAAAAY! \o/

    That’s worth celebrating! And those of us who’ve ‘been-there-&-done-that’ know just how excruciating each & every one of those choices can be.

    Refusing to choose is still a choice, but instead of remaining paralyzed? You (( DID )) what you’ve believed was right! [The roar of wild cheering & thunderous applause in the background!] Don’t lose heart now. Keep asking, seeking, & knocking–(online in Leslie’s groups & face-to-face where you are)–until you find relationships in the community of Christ providing the brand of encouragement you need when the walls start closing in.

    We’re saved by the God-of-Three-Persons into Christ-centered community. We weren’t designed to do this on our own.

    One of the many surprising things about obeying God, leaving my marriage, and learning to confront destructive relationships has been the degree of difficulty involved–not only in my outward circumstances–but inside myself. (!) After 37 years denial was automatic & facing reality was hard simply because I hadn’t done so in so very long. (My ‘reality abilities’ had atrophied.) Even after five years it feels as if I’m swimming up-stream, walking up-hill, and against the wind inside myself much of the time and praising God for this doesn’t seem right, but it is. I’m no longer enabling a destructive marriage and suffering for it. I’m suffering the birth pains of a new life!

    “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces HOPE! And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ~ Romans 5:3-5

    The sense of being irredeemably broken and unworthy of love and belonging was my ‘default-setting’ for many decades. It’s not easy going ‘against the grain’ making different choices (even when they’re the right ones!) And it just doesn’t seem fair when obedience makes things harder instead of easier.
    But as Brene Brown says: “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” Something bigger, better, deeper higher is at work here: I only come to know the truth of that (( in! )) the struggle I was made for!

    When you’ve forgotten who you are, it seems easier to keep swimming around and around in the puddle of toxic shame at the bottom of that pit instead of making one small, hard,
    (( different! )) choice at a time to climb out…

    But you can do it! (We can do it!) And it’s worth it because God created us to do just that during just such a time as this!

    • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 11:40 am

      Pam,
      I think your post is profoundly amazing! And your words are so true and uplighting in such reality. The struggle is there, it’s just identifying what struggle is producing the character growth and development.

      I think there were already listed out so many tangible examples for this women to take her steps forward, so I won’t relist.

      I do think though it can be helpful to assess and write down a narrative history for this person who has been repeatedly victimized by the people she was supposed to trust and feel safe from the most.
      ‘Similar to a parental wound’ and the damaging effects of that.

      The question was:
      “Did I make the wrong choice when I left my marriage?”
      Ok.. starting with the words and defining them may help.
      Defining if this was a marriage may also help. And defining the words ‘I left’.. may also re establish reality.

      The offending spouse has a long history of secret relationships with others = this is betrayal of the marriage covenant.
      The word ‘long’ shows that it’s repetitive and non repentive to turn away from and not continue.

      For a wife to be verbally, emotionally and physically abused by the husband, these actions are to abuse the marriage and further violate the covenant of marriage. The covenant is broken.

      So, did this writer ‘leave a marriage’?
      No this writer courageously left the false reality that she had an intact marriage!
      The writer~ was not the one to leave the marriage. (Non marriage)
      You can’t leave something that is actually not there in the first place.

      She was left, abandoned and betrayed by her husband who doesn’t have a clue how to live up to marital vows.

      I think it might be beneficial for this sister in Christ to see a true narrative that aligns with her experience and it might empower to not entertain the thinking that she ‘left a marriage’.
      She fled for what is rightfully hers,her freedom!

      • Connie on April 11, 2018 at 7:10 pm

        Thank you, Aly. You are right.

        • Aly on April 15, 2018 at 11:11 am

          Connie, Pam, Others Sisters here,

          Pam what you wrote is so true and as my husband and I try to teach this to our children, we find it becoming more and more of a battle everywhere we go.

          Pam you wrote:
          “It’s not easy going ‘against the grain’ making different choices (even when they’re the right ones!) And it just doesn’t seem fair when obedience makes things harder instead of easier.”

          It’s strange how in these destructive dynamics that….
          Doing the right thing, often does lead to rejection,betrayal and abandonment of those we want to have a healthy relationship with.

          And as you said Pam we are not to swim upstream ‘on our own’ we need community;)

          • Nancy on April 15, 2018 at 9:42 pm

            I agree, Aly. When we decide to take steps into health, it can be surprising to see who wants to join us (as well as who doesn’t).

            It’s the potential for loss of relationship, I think, that keeps so many of us from making healthy choices.

            For myself, it had to become unbearable, for me to be willing to change.



    • Marsha on April 27, 2018 at 2:51 am

      Amen Pam,

      May Gods Choice Blessings Be upon you.

      Marsha

  15. Jen on April 11, 2018 at 9:51 am

    I married right out of high school after my boyfriend pressured me to have sex. I soon discovered we had nothing in common and he refused to help with household responsibilities. I also realized I was only there for sex and to provide a homelife for him. For 30+ years I was naive to all the signs that he was a serial cheater, porn addict, internet gambler, etc. I was empty and lonely in this marriage and threw myself into mothering my children. He was verbally abusive to all of us and played narcisistic mind games with me. One time he admitted to adultery. My elders told me I could not divorce or even separate. I threw myself into saving my marriage. My counselor did not tell me what the signs of true repentence were. I got lots of tears and lots of words. He continued to be unfaithful and I continued to try to save a sinking ship alone. I lost ALL of my friends who kept telling me God hates divorce and that I need to be more submissive and he will come around. I was told husbands are only unfaithful because their wives aren’t fulfilling their biblical roles as wives, they are failing them.
    Anyway, the Lord Himself led me out of my marriage. It was amazing. I had no church, no money, no friends, no college degree, etc. Life is very hard now as a single mom, but divorcing him was the best thing I have ever done! People misquote the Bible where Jesus Himself says “except for sexual immorality.” Some church leaders say it says “adultery” and they say that pornography is technically not adultery or if there was not actually the act of intercourse, so that women do not have biblical grounds. HOGWASH! Read it again! There are TONS of ways someone can be “sexually immoral.” To stay and be there to meet his “sex needs” when he cares nothing for your needs IS immoral! And Jesus has compassion on the ones who are vicitimized. The marriage covenant is broken and the wife has an open door. Trust Him to provide! To stay with an evil man is sinful, I believe. I have seen the Lord provide in the most miraculous ways! A year later and I still haven’t found a job, but He continues to provide anyway! I still have young children at home to care for, and have to work out visitation – Ugh! But I have such peace that the Lord led me to do this and I am so thankful! He even provided a divorce attorney who took my case pro bono! This is a faithwalk! Many days come when I don’t know where food or rent money will come from, and then He provides. My car acts up and I think it will break and then it keeps going. I do not live on government assistance, but total trust in the Lord! I will write a book some day about my story! Get out – God will lead you! Trust Him for He is faithful!

    • Debbie on April 11, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      Jen,
      That’s beautiful! This experience taught you to completely rely on the Lord. And to listen and learn from his Word. Even with small children to provide for God is making a way for you.
      I’m 61, and getting to the point that I don’t know if I can do this destructive marriage any
      Longer. My husband doesn’t cheat. But it’s like living with a stone wall. Will not talk about anything, just keeps me in check if it even seems like I have a complaint. Deals with constant depression. There’s just a dark cloud in the house a the time.
      I haven’t worked in 27 years and have no degree. I have thought I can’t leave for financial reasons. But have thought I need to rely on the Lord and get past the fear. I really appreciate your testimony. That’s exactly what we need to do when we know the Lord is leading us to this decision. God Bless you and your children.

    • Starlight on April 11, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      I so completely agree with you Jen.
      “ Trust Him to provide! To stay with an evil man is sinful, I believe. I have seen the Lord provide in the most miraculous ways!”
      I was literally pulled out of my destructive marriage to a very evil man, a physical abuser and a thief/con artist.
      God has confirmed to me in so many ways that he is caring for me and that escaping the marriage and going to court to stop him from continuing to ravage mine and my children’s lives is the right thing to do. God continually puts me in the path of other women who need to get out of their destructive marriages and many of them are very scared to do so because of finances or physical threats or fear that they will be unable to cope by themselves. I was there and scared for many years as well and over and over I see God’s faithfulness to us and to others who are his own! It is so faith building to look back and see that many times God carried and cared for me and my children in ways I never would have imagined and his care was so much better than I possibly could have chosen or arranged myself! I have to admit I did not have much faith and need to repent of that as I look back and am totally overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness, love, care and protection!! If you are in a destructive marriage, God will lead you out. Focus on God, sing praises to Him, get into the bible, cry out to him for help and deliverance! He wants to free you from toxic and harmful destruction at the hands of deliberately evil people and lead you to a better place for your good and for His glory! It is truly empowering to realize God is against evil and is for you and your children and he has a hope and a future for you! Our faith in him and in stepping away from evil at his leading honors Him – you do not have to have all the answers and much of it is super scary but he will make a way forward for you!!

  16. Sally on April 11, 2018 at 10:02 am

    This story absolutely breaks my heart and is almost exactly what I experienced in leaving my verbally, emotionally and physically abusive spouse. I had to leave my church of 20 years because I had a protective order against my husband and received no support from my church leadership. I had many months of feeling the loss of my many close friends. But I did have several close friends and my adult children for support. I learned who I could trust, and I made finding another church who had an understanding and compassion for women like me a priority and I can say 2 years out, this was the best decision I ever made. I am happier, more at peace and filled with more joy each day. Praying you can find the support you need – but I know the Lord is with you and He will never abandon you!!!

    • Renee on April 12, 2018 at 9:22 am

      Thanks for the inspiration Sally.

  17. Carrie on April 11, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Dear Child of God
    I just want to send my love to you. I FEEL your pain. You are SO loved! I’m praying for your broken heart right now!! Lord lift her up. Give her a double portion of goodness and love and bring Jesus sisters into her life right now Lord! In Jesus Name

  18. Daisy on April 11, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    It’s been almost 8 years since I was in your exact situation. Verbally and emotionally abusive marriage after being married 18 years. I, too, lost everything – my home, my kids (who were very young at the time 9,7, & 4), my insurance, my source of financial support, my friends, my church. I had been a stay at home mom for 10 years. Although, I had a college degree, I didn’t want to go into that area (probably because of the emotional destruction my husband caused obliterating my self confidence – what little bit I had). Despite having various counselors, for the next few years, I, too, questioned if I’d made the right choice in getting divorced. I was discouraged, depressed, sad, angry, and frustrated.
    I love Leslie’s answers in this post. It reassures me when she wrote, “Your physical, emotional, and spiritual safety and sanity are important to God.” And she is also right – you trade one set of problems and challenges for another one. I was lost for many years. But, I have become independent and can live on my own now (when we were married and he traveled, I was scared to stay home alone. I always stayed with a friend, even after we had kids).
    I’m going forward. My life isn’t what I want it to be. Maybe it never will be, but I’m trying to make progress. I have 5 part time jobs just to pay bills. I had to find a new church following the divorce (that kind of happens when you are married to the Pastor)! The one I found is great. Slowly, I’m making progress.

    • Ruby on April 12, 2018 at 9:05 am

      I’m sorry you went through this. It’s hard being a pastor’s wife and broken up. My friend was the same and she was a homeschooling uneducated wife who was abused for many years. When she broke up with her husband she was in such a bad way that she attempted suicide. But it is funny how God turns things around. He can give with one hand an-husbandd take with the other. Now she has educated herself – has a masters, is the darling of her children, and of all things, when her ex-husband did further study she became his supervisor and had to assess him. Isn’t it interesting how God can turn things around.

      • Free on April 12, 2018 at 7:20 pm

        This is a great testimony of how the Lord loved a dear daughter of his. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Ruby on April 12, 2018 at 9:05 am

      I’m sorry you went through this. It’s hard being a pastor’s wife and broken up. My friend was the same and she was a homeschooling uneducated wife who was abused for many years. When she broke up with her husband she was in such a bad way that she attempted suicide. But it is funny how God turns things around. He can give with one hand an-husbandd take with the other. Now she has educated herself – has a masters, is the darling of her children, and of all things, when her ex-husband did further study she became his supervisor and had to assess him. Isn’t it interesting how God can turn things around.

    • Suzanne on April 12, 2018 at 10:05 am

      You are an inspiration, Daisy.

  19. Sandra on April 11, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    I can relate well to this dear sister because my marriage was similar. However, I stayed in the marriage for 58 years, finally divorcing at age 75! Since I had retired by then, I rented an apartment in subsidized senior housing (which i disliked, in addition to struggling financially). A year ago, my ex-h begged me to return, promising we’d “forget the past and live for the future.” I did so reluctantly, stressing there would be no sex or verbal abuse. However, he soon pressed me for sex (which I refused) and the verbal abuse followed. Ironically, he became very ill six months ago, and I was his caretaker until he finally died two weeks ago. Will God punish me for saying, “free at last!” ?

    • Sandra on April 11, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      Please read my reply above.

    • K (who's posted before, different from K who posted in early April) on April 11, 2018 at 5:20 pm

      Hi, Sandra

      Dear sister, I don’t believe the Lord has judgement and punishment in store for you because you are now able to say, with absolute safety, and I think deeply prayerful thanks, ‘Free. At Last.”

      You are not making cruel and sarcastic remarks regarding your ex-husband’s death. You are not cheering that he was very ill for the closing months of his life. You are not being vile, in any way ‘returning evil for evil’. You are not singing the “ding dong the witch is dead” song from the Wizard of Oz!!!

      You have simply stated the facts of what happened. And in that narrative, you astound us as you enacted the same servant-leadership Jesus modelled………when you were this man’s caregiver during his illness to the time of his death…….to the very one who had caused you decades of pain. That’s ALOT like the character of Jesus, Sandra!

      Your post today is like the children of Israel who crossed the Red Sea, and were astonished that the Lord had clearly, truly and absolutely freed them from the slaveries of Egypt. They witnessed the end of Pharoh’s armies, and gave thanks the Lord for His mercies. And they were thankful they could no longer be gripped in Pharoh’s cruelty. The cruel man you were married to is no longer able to manipulate and abuse you. No one is cheering and throwing a party because he has died, but we do rejoice with you that you are Free. At Last.

      Blessings dear sister as you walk through the time of grief, strengthening, and making sense of all these fragments. You are a beautiful mosaic at 75+.!!

    • Starlight on April 11, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      Oh Sandra, thank you for sharing this with us, I remember your story and you telling us you got divorced and then when you went back to him. Thankfully you are free at last, you have been through so much! Praying for you as you deal with his passing and all that entails but I am so relieved for you as well!

    • Renee on April 11, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      Will God punish me for saying, “free at last!” ?

      You are free of him physically. Hopefully in time, you will be completely free of him in every way.

    • Free on April 11, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      Oh,Sandra I am so happy for you! Free at last!

      Would you advise the same course of action to others? I have a friend who has been married 42 years to a horribly abusive man. She is waiting for him to die. He is 78. She suffers terribly but says if I took it this long, surely I can wait this out. What do you think, Sandra?

      • Sandra on April 12, 2018 at 12:14 pm

        Thank you, dear Free!
        Regarding your friend, I would be the first to advise her to leave, rather than waiting for him to die. Only God knows how much longer he’ll live, and she could be free from his abuse now. Tell her not to wait like I did all those wasted years!
        God bless you & her! Sandra

        • Free on April 13, 2018 at 6:43 pm

          I agree. She seems to think that death is the “cleanest” way for her to get out. It is so sad to speak with her.

    • Debbie on April 12, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      Sandra,
      No way will God punish you for saying free at last. You went above and beyond the call of duty by taking care of your abuser until he passed. God will bless you, because it had to be so very hard!!
      I have thought the same things too many times to count. They only way I can be free is if and when he passes.

      • Sandra on April 12, 2018 at 4:37 pm

        Thank you, dear K & Debbie! Your loving replies brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Even though I tried to care for my ex-h as unto the Lord, it still was very difficult and I became overwhelmed at times and irritable (but God knows I did my best to the end, and even my h told my daughters that he truly loved me, the night before he died).
        Love & prayers, Sandra

        • ContentinChrist on April 14, 2018 at 2:17 pm

          Sandra, I, too, have read your comments over the last couple of years off and on as I’ve visited this blog. Thank you for sharing. You are an amazing woman, Sandra. You truly loved unconditionally in taking care of him in his last days. I wish I had more eloquent words, but know that my heart is full as I read your story. I pray that God astounds you with rapid healing in all areas of your life; I pray that you will experience a time of joy and gladness that is simply beautiful during this new season of your life.

          • Sandra on April 14, 2018 at 3:18 pm

            Thank you, dear Content, for this lovely blessing to my heart! Is it any wonder that I’ve continued to love Leslie and all of you dear Sisters on this blog?! I don’t know how I’d have managed to survive over these stormy years without you (and of course our Lord’s unconditional love & grace). It’s so true that “we’ve been there,” which is why we’re able to empathize so well toward one another in a way that others may not. I keep you all in my heart & prayers, Sandra XO



  20. Daisy on April 11, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Did you sin? Absolutely not!
    In time things will get better. It took me three years before I felt good again. I started over just like you at the age of 45. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I would rather be homeless and live under a bridge than to be with an abusive man.

  21. Linda on April 11, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    I am in the same situation, I am 65 yrs old no money no place to go. Been together 27 years, of emotional abuse and control. I realized today as he was yelling and slamming doors I have no choice but to get out. Physically abuse is just right around the corner he is out of control. I don’t know what to do? any suggestions?

    • Free on April 11, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      Where to live is difficult. If you truly have no money, I would get a tent and go to a state park. My rents tent sites for $7 a week. Some state parks rent cabins cheap especially in the off seasons. If you are really desperate you can sleep in your car too. Rustic charm goes a long way when combined with peace and quiet.

      • Free on April 11, 2018 at 10:12 pm

        “my state park rents”….

        • Free on April 11, 2018 at 10:18 pm

          I would also suggest separation with a request for spousal support. Temporary support can be established very quickly by the courts. You do need a lawyer to file it for you.

          • JoAnn on April 12, 2018 at 7:51 pm

            Not all states recognize separation or have accommodation for them, so it’s important to speak to legal counsel to learn what is possible in your state or country. Don’t assume that you know what your rights are. You may have more rights than you think.



      • Michelle on April 13, 2018 at 3:29 pm

        I would be very careful in advising this. I do know a woman in very similar circumstances that chose to camp out for months in a state park. She was raped. I do not think this is the best choice. Physical safety is a necessity, especially for someone going through separation and divorce from an abusive spouse.

  22. Mary on April 11, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    There is a Christian ministry for victims of domestic abuse in a few states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Florida, Idaho, Tennessee, Minnesota, Montana and Illinois) called ARMS (Abuse Recovery Ministry & Services). They have support groups for victims as well as recovery groups for abusers. The national phone number is 1-866-262-9284 and their website is http://armsonline.org. It has been wonderful to be a part of a group who understands what you are going through and can support you. Hope this helps some of you out there.

    • ~ Pam on April 11, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      Thanks so much for posting this Mary = : ).

    • Free on April 11, 2018 at 10:19 pm

      How have I not heard of this organization? I think I just found a new 501c3 to support! Fabulous!

  23. Aleea on April 12, 2018 at 6:01 am

    “Friend, how did you regain your bearings as a single woman after being divorced in your 50’s or 60’s? What steps did you take to find employment, make new friends, and build a new support system?”

    I don’t have that situation (—only by the Grace of God) but I would encourage every last one of us to always be future oriented and careful. . . .For example, when we get married, I fully understand why anyone would let professional designations lapse (—all the fees, —dues, no one enjoys spending money on professional licenses, —all the continuing education (CE) requirements, et.al. become very expensive and time consuming). That said, retaking all those exams, CE, et.al. would be so very hard, especially if you are in a crisis and older. It is hard enough when times are good and we are younger. I would always consider keeping designations (—even if in inactive status), keep taking the minimum continuing education and deduct as much of it as you can from your taxes. . . . Usually, if you let designations lapse (—this is in general, I don’t know about certain industries just law, exam prep classes are not deductible, nor are expenses relating to getting a license —I know it works that way as an attorney.) —For example, I have bar dues, fees and CE in lots of states and all those CE expenses that go with them but I keep all of them active. The bar exams were hard enough to pass the first time. . . .I had to take some states twice. . . .I think we need to be future oriented and careful, none of us know what tomorrow brings.

    Re: Did I Make The Wrong Choice When I Left My Marriage? “And so, I guess my question is —did I sin against God, my marriage, and the church by leaving my spouse?” . . .I think, honestly, only you can really, truly answer that question. . . .Maybe see for example: “The New Testament on Divorce and Remarriage” ✅ Yordan Kalev Zhekov (Chapter three: The New Testament Passages p. 84-on and Chapter four: The New Testament Canonical Context p. 188-on. . . .I think maybe the key is using only rigorous internationally peer reviewed research, especially see the footnotes. . . .The “answer” when you explore divorce and remarriage in a realistic fashion it is very unsettling. That’s a question through the gnashing rocks of Christian Orthodoxy all the way to the VERY furthest shores of your imagination. . . .That is one wild ride. . . .Whole entire volumes are devoted to just an analysis of the variation units in the pericopaes on divorce/remarriage in Mark 10:2-12; Matthew 5:27-32; 19:3-9; and Luke 16:18. I think that the reason for this textual complexity in the sayings of Jesus is precisely the importance accorded to them by Christians closest to Jesus’ ministry, . . .and I would add that one aspect of their importance was their relevance and applicability to the everyday, real-life issues in Christian communities. Very practical and it goes right back to the gospel itself.

    . . .Anyways, . . .Finding friends and a new support group will probably be a lot easier than finding good employment and certainly easier than answers to serious Bible questions. . . .Finding friends and a new support group may be as easy as finding a new, solid, church, Bible studies, recovery groups and just getting deeply involved. I know it is so easy to just say that but the first step is usually always the hardest. I pray God opens incredible doors for your life this year.😊💛 But rather than just turning the page, sometimes . . .sometimes, it’s much better to just throw the entire book out. Once you cry it out, it’s supposed to vanish . . .but that’s not true, ―is it? It’s just a little less painful! Just a litte. . . .Re: “I feel like a wandering lost child who is trying to navigate the world on her own.” —You have no idea just how many of us feel that way. . . .Just because you feel lost doesn’t mean that you are. . . .Maybe don’t look for someone to find yourself in. You already have that in you. Find you: push through all that hurts you, work past all the memories that are haunting. A life without experience, in my opinion, is no life at all. Never stop yourself from living. The smart risk that you think might break you is the one that could save you, again, just because you feel lost doesn’t mean that you are.😊⌘

    Melody Beattie, in the The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency: “I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction. Other people’s lives, problems, and wants set the course for my life. Once I realized it was okay for me to think about and identify what I wanted [—We can’t figure that out without God —How would we know what we really, seriously, long-term sustainably wanted??? Philippians 1:21 —that’s even deeper than that “Did I Make The Wrong Choice When I Left My Marriage?” question], remarkable things began to take place in my life.”

  24. Kathy on April 12, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Check out divorcecare.org for sessions/classes in your area. Leslie is one of the professionals appearing in the various weekly videos. It is for divorced and/or separated people. They urge no new relationships between the sexes until you’re really emotionally healed, close to Christ, and cognizant of His will. Great emotional support and dealing with all that you’re going through: anger, disillusionment, forgiveness, finances, children, etc. It’s FREE.

  25. Suzanne on April 12, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Remember friends, if you have been a stay at home mom, you are entitled to spousal support for a duration of 1/3 to 1/2 the number if years you were married (I was married 22 years and my ex agreed to pay for 8 years).
    You will also receive child support if the children reside with, or primarily with you. My ex lives 2 hours away so those under 18 visit him every other weekend. There are child support calculators online. You also may find a spousal support calculator. These will help you get an idea of where to start negotiating.

  26. SunRiseIsland on April 12, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    My heart truly goes out to this reader – it’s almost as if the originator was telling my story. I too had the unfortunate and almost identical experience as this reader in that my STBX engaged in secret relationships, double life, adultery, lies, verbal, mental & financial abuse, rage and tyrant bullying tactics to assert his authority in the marriage. I tried everything known to mankind to get him to change his behavior so that our marriage could be restored but nothing was ever good enough. There was plenty of blame-shifting, gaslighting, no empathy, remorse or accountability on his part. I too said enough was enough and left my marriage.

    Our pastor advised me in conversations separate from ex to read up on NPD (he believed my ex suffered from) and also confirmed the abuse and punishment he believed was being imposed upon me but would NEVER address the abuse directly with ex (in counseling ex manipulated the conversations and played the victim in an effort to have counselor focus on getting me to work harder not to upset him). While never taking ownership for the pain his betrayal and disrespect caused me.

    Just as this reader, my final straw came in the form of a physical altercation where ex was intoxicated, enraged and got physically aggressive with me. It was the push I needed after enduring horrible behavior for such a long time and still “solely” working on a marriage while ex lived two lives.

    It has not been the easiest road having the life and marriage you vowed with a person you thought was your life partner come crashing and crumbling right in front of you and still trying to make sense of how or why you truly never knew the “devil” you spent so many years of life with only to end up divorcing midlife.

    Although I havent posted or responded in quite some time, reading some of the heartbreaking and painful events that many on this sight have endured has helped me through my divorce more than any of you will ever know. I no longer know this man I am currently divorcing, nor do I want to know him – he is NOT the man I married and I dont want him back.

    I was never dependent upon ex, being educated and resilient, I took care of myself financially even though I dont get any support for the children from ex. His finances are reserved for adulterous affairs, drinking, partying and his double life – not the family he vowed to protect.

    To this originator, you are not alone, I KNOW your pain and NO you did not sin or make the wrong choice escaping an abuser. It takes an extreme amount of courage to do so and I applaud and validate your thoughts, feelings and most of all your reality. There is NOTHING you can do to change this immature person. So many of us share similar stories and this forum will comfort you during times when you feel most invalidated from family and people you thought were your friends.

    Focus on YOU, look forward and not back. Read, read, & read some more about the narcissistic personality (to understand the crazy making and that it WAS NOT YOU – it was really him), rekindle friendships, embrace nature, do something exciting and constructive that you’ve never done before (rock climb, camping, skydiving, bold new haircut, dinner or movie alone) – it was what helped me gain some solid strength to move forward. Reading helped me gain a healthy understanding and truth of exactly the real person I was dealing with. I also realized that regardless as to who it is – sometimes when a person shows you who they REALLY are, you have to meet and leave them right where they stand!!!!

    Sheep, Aly, Renee, Robin, Nancy, Free, Starlight, Amy – your sound advice and willingness to share your experiences have been valuable to many, especially me. Thanks to each of you and the MANY other members on this blog for your valuable input.

    “You may not see much from me but please know that I am here!!!”

    • Free on April 13, 2018 at 4:04 am

      Thank you for taking the time to post this. The phrase that “sometimes when a person shows you who they really are” hit home with me. My husband’s could be so intelligent and well spoken that I would get lulled back into thinking he was getting better. I learned the charming behavior was calculated and ALL his actions were manipulative. That was his REAL self everything other than his dark hearted evil was a mask he put on for society. Accepting who he really is still has not fulling sunk into my brain. The more I live my happy, healthy life, the more obvious his sick reality of an existence is apparent.

      • SunRiseIsland on April 13, 2018 at 6:11 am

        You are very welcome. Although I am moving forward in my life and faith, I sometimes still struggle with reality sinking in that he wore a mask for a very long time (20 years). The charm he displayed in public was in stark contrast to the jekyll and hyde monster he displayed in private and behind closed doors.

    • Aly on April 13, 2018 at 8:39 am

      SunRiseIsland,

      What a moving and inspiring post! You have been through so much~ you have described the pain and confusion well but more importantly the freedom & beauty of moving on and setting the accurate truth….Which I believe is inspiring and motivating for many who have found themselves in these ‘crazy making’ dynamics.

      Your pastor was discerning and wise in telling you things in private that you would need for your trek…immature people often ‘don’t & wont’ listen to any wisdom or ‘anyone’.

      You wrote:
      “There is NOTHING you can do to change this immature person. So many of us share similar stories and this forum will comfort you during times when you feel most invalidated from family and people you thought were your friends.”

      The similarities are profound!
      I think some of the most painful parts of traumas are what you wrote about the family and friends ~ that are the most invalidating and often reinforce the abusive individual with their misguided understanding of such things.
      It takes a lot of courage for someone to speak up and often (I know I wasn’t) we are not prepared for the backlash and the persecution from fellow Christian families. This is an ugly truth about the deep complacency & ignorance that ‘thrives’ in our church bodies/ families and doesn’t come alongside those with burdens to heavy for one person.

      The Lord still finds a way though! I’m so thankful that your embracing your healing and your new life! Praise God for your heart and your time to post and offer such critical words of understanding & comfort!
      💜

      • SunRiseIsland on April 15, 2018 at 4:59 am

        Aly,

        Blessings and God”s grace to you as well and thank you for the time you spend ALWAYS offering such sound and authentic advice❤️

  27. caroline on April 13, 2018 at 4:57 am

    Q. ” Friend, how did you regain your bearings as a single woman after being divorced in your 50’s or 60’s? What steps did you take to find employment, make new friends, and build a new support system?”

    As this is always a possible reality for me, I do have to be prepared for it.

    I have watched three older sisters navigate through separation/divorce with 3 vastly different worldviews which resulted in 3 very different experiences for each of them and their kids. I have seen God do enough miracles in my own journey with my recovering husband to know which sister’s path I would follow.

    I am 41 and I have eight children under 18 years old. I did go to collage but I haven’t worked in that field for almost 20 years and I wouldn’t really want to now. In addition to homeschooling and running a mini hobby farm, I have only had one very small very unprofitable business. Not so great on a resume, I know. But that really doesn’t bother me. I believe if God calls me to earn our support through work, He will also give me that work to do. Ultimately, I work for HIM. I always have.

    So… IF I were to wake up tomorrow and find that my husband had relapsed into his addiction and broken our boundaries, this is what I would do:

    1. Fast and Pray. Face down on the floor, with bible open in front of me. I would ask God to show me exactly how to implement proper consequences for the broken boundaries.

    2. Tell someone. There is safety AND courage in numbers. I have found an amazing group of ladies online that I would not care to be without. (one free and private support community is: restoringgodsdaughters.ning.com )

    3. Find out where my family stood. I was there for my sisters and their children, but not everyone in our family was. My own husband is pretty popular with my kin, so I’d have to feel out the situation with each person. Would they offer support emotionally/spiritually/financially? Branch out to friends later.

    4. Look into programs for poor folk: non-profits, church based, or government funded. Just in case I needed them. I was raised that this was practically THE unforgivable sin, but I have since been convicted that this is probably mostly my pride. This is what those programs are for, and if I did use them, it doesn’t mean it would be forever.

    5. Find a church where no one knew me! I would look for a big one that offered recovery groups, grief share, and divorce care, but one where no one knew my husband either! Churches can be very dangerous for wives, but the ones who offer the above kinds of support are more likely to know about sex addicts and the whole “double mindedness” that a wife must deal with. They will also know about abuse and shelters if something became dangerous.
    .
    That’s my plan B.

    I know that ALL MY LIFE GOD HAS PROVIDED FOR ME. As a child He used my father through the United States Air Force. As a young adult He used several jobs of mine to pay for college and build up my savings. As a mother of many children, He has used my husband’s various jobs and more recently his own small business to care for our growing family . It was God all along. And He will do it yet. He is Jehovah Jireh: God my provider.

    • Nancy on April 15, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      Caroline,

      I love your first step. Wise. The rest are very practical and well thought out. Very smart.

  28. Aleea on April 13, 2018 at 6:59 am

    . . .Maybe this is wrong, but I think some of the best proof that our Christian language is patriarchal is what I have been hearing for the last couple of days. All of it w-a-y oversimplifies our feelings. . . . .The word sin is derived from the Indo-European root es-, meaning to be. . . .To be, . . .when I think about that etymology, I intuitively understood that for a person trapped in patriarchy, which is basically the entire planet, To Be in the fullest sense is To Sin . exhibit A, B, C through Z: http://t4g.org/

    . . .It’s easy to see the problems, but I have no workable answers. The dominance hierarchy just resurfaces with new faces as a power base. What are we going to do, replace a male regulated dominance hierarchy with a female regulated dominance hierarchy or a mix? It’s still a dominance hierarchy! . . .Where is the no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. . . .Is it only for after people are dead?

  29. Dr. Ken on April 14, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Leslie,

    According to Matthew 19:9, you have grounds for divorce. The word in the Greek pornia means sexual immorality of any kind.

    It is too bad you didn’t call the police when your husband became violent with you. He would be the one who would have to leave the house.

    In answer to your question, “did I sin against God, my marriage, and the church by leaving my spouse?” The answer appears to be “no.” In fact, the opposite seems to be the case. They have sinned against you, by not taking the words of Jesus as well as your claims with the seriousness they deserve.

    To the Christian counselor “who said that my ‘account’ of my spouse’s actions were not concrete evidence to separate but were simply my ‘subjective experiences,'” I say, “your comments are simply your own subjective opinion one step removed from reality. How can you say what Leslie reported is not true when you were not there and she was?”

    Dr. Ken Newberger
    Ph.D., Conflict Analysis & Resolution
    Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary
    http://www.MarriageCounselingAlt.com
    Serving Couples in Southwest Florida

    • Free on April 15, 2018 at 11:50 pm

      Thank you for reading this blog and participating in the discussion.

    • Aly on April 16, 2018 at 9:44 am

      Dr. Ken, Aleea,

      Dr. Ken this is exactly on point! Well examined and pointed to the ‘true ones who have done the sin against the writer’.

      Aleea please see that Matthew 19:9 as Dr. Ken pointed out.
      Many forms of immortality. To ‘be unfaithful’ to a spouse comes in many ways to break the marital covenant.

      Neglect is also abandonment. Often many of us have found ourselves in marriage situations where we ARE being neglected (emotionally & spiritually) and our spouses are unwilling to listen to our hearts and our needs, they are satisfied with the status quo and get angry at mentioning the true reality of the unhealthy environment.
      This neglected place gets more normalized the more the years move along and especially if there are many other distractions.
      My point is that there are many other forms of neglect and abandonment & abuse than a person physically leaving the dwelling.
      It’s important we understand the deeper and fuller understandings of covenant meanings.

  30. Violet on April 14, 2018 at 8:28 am

    The original post was living what I am living now. She had the courage to stand up for herself against evil; I can’t seem to get the courage and take that big step and leave. However, I found it very helpful to read Leslie’s advice and all the resulting posts because being old (53) and being married for 34 years was one of the obstacles holding me back.

    I’m not sure how to find and keep courage and stand up to the scary monster that is my husband. I too get lulled by his “good” days and desperately want to have a home full of peace for my remaining children. When I place boundaries on what I will tolerate, he says it is bizarre behavior and accuses me of hurting him.
    I think the originator of this post is so strong and I applause her for having the strength to do the right thing.

    • Debbie on April 14, 2018 at 9:27 am

      I completely understand about trying to keep courage. I think all day about how to approach an issue with my husband. He is so ultra defensive it’s impossible to talk to him about almost anything. He either blows up on me to make me back down. Or he just goes completely silent.
      I think all day how to start and what to say. The anxiety gets so bad about bringing anything up. I just give up and never say anything.
      I finally did tell my husband yesterday I was afraid of him. And said some of the things I said here. He did not say one single word, he just looked at me. It’s impossible. I told him we have been married almost 27 years and we should be able to talk about things. I’m not trying to criticize him. Just talk about things. Still complete silence. I understand and feel your pain!!!

      • Violet on April 14, 2018 at 10:01 am

        Debbie, I am sorry to hear you are in the same boat as I am, but it helps to know there are others who struggle with the same things I do. Thank you for you kind words. I’m amazed at how generous and compassionate all you women are despite your pain. Keep working on getting stronger—you are so worth it, Debbie. May God’s peace be with you.

        • Debbie on April 15, 2018 at 12:28 pm

          Thank you Violet, there is no true peace without the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I try to keep my eyes there so I can stay in peace in the midst of everything around me. But it does so help to hear other women experiencing the same issues. And praying for each other. It’s so hard to see the balance in things. I don’t want to point the finger at my husband all the time. I need to see what I’m not doing or doing to effect our relationship. It’s been confusing. It’s taken a lot of time to know that I am constantly evaluating my behavior. My husband is broken, hurt, bitter and depressed. I need to love him knowing that. But I’m learning, that he never elvuates himself. And I’m basically here to fill his needs and gaps in his life. He can be caring but more often than not he’s completely unaware of me and my needs. Leslie and this blog has helped me see through not spending so much time wondering what I’m doing wrong to contribute to things. And more of seeing how much I’m munipulated. And how much isn’t my fault and that there’s not a lot I haven’t already been doing that I can do. Especially when you are
          Living with a stone wall that won’t talk about anything.
          The women here are a real blessing along with Leslie. I pray for you as I read your stories. There’s power in payer, and godly people praying together. My husband is struggling with quitting smoking and things are real tough right now. Please pray he can kick this. And that I can survive. 😉

      • Aly on April 14, 2018 at 10:23 am

        Debbie,

        I’m so very sorry for the pain! I can relate to that dynamic.
        Do you have a counselor that you can talk with?

        It can feel like such a powerless place when dealing with someone who is on both sides of extreme reactions:
        Blowup or silent treatment?
        I felt like he kept teaching me how to deal with him and having children of toddlers ‘then’ I was blessed with seeing just how toddler coping the behavior was that my h was often resorting to! Maddening, confusing & disturbing~because toddlers should not have that much power in a household & operating in an adult body with adult privileges.

        This certainly was where my husband was stuck for years and it was reinforced without us getting any interventions.

        You wrote:
        “I told him we have been married almost 27 years and we should be able to talk about things.”

        Debbie in a healthier dynamic yes you are correct that 2 adults who love and cherish one another will feel the safety to address issues and two partners wanting to grow and love one another better each will want to ‘make changes’ that would help their partner feel safer, heard, respected and cared for.

        You wrote:
        “I’m not trying to criticize him. Just talk about things. Still complete silence.”

        I get this, I also think it’s ok to bring up issues and find solutions. Even if you ‘just want to talk’ it’s still ok and very reasonable that you have requests for changes too!
        I wanted to talk, but I also wanted my husband to hear what I needed and sometimes that might have meant for him to make adjustments… and vice verses for me also.

        When dealing with a defended individual, your dealing with tephlon, the longer time passes the longer that tephlon gets layered.
        My husband was so shielded that Gods love was hard for him to receive and that was what he needed most to deal with his deep insecurities about being or perceiving ‘correction or criticism’.

        He knew God on a head level but not on an ‘IDENTITY & intimate heart level!
        This is what felt impossible to me ~ so I relate to you feeling the weight of a long time pattern.

        If you have one ‘example of what you want to bring up with him or talk with him about what your needs are’ can you share it here?
        You don’t have too I’m just wondering if you would know what it might feel like to be listened to without the (blow up or silent treatment)
        Both are abusive in a marriage dynamic in my opinion.

        Something in my journey and my husband’s .. I often had to voice and write it down for him that
        ‘My needs were NOT ever going to look or feel like his’.
        This took a while to penetrate for my husband to understand he didn’t ‘marry himself’ even though he really behaved and treated me like I needed to have similar perspectives (which by the way… we can laugh now at how immature that thinking is). But that was where he was jumping off from and without me changing and doing my own work (still working here) there was never going to be enough discomfort in his life to bring him to another level of living.

    • JoAnn on April 16, 2018 at 12:23 am

      Violet, courage comes from the Lord, and He is your defender and your protecter. Keep your eyes upon Him. Then begin to take some small steps, like those that have been suggested by some of the women on this blog. Each step will give you more strength and courage, because you will begin to feel empowered. Start by looking online to learn what resources are available in your area, like battered women shelters, free legal help, abuse hotlines, etc. Make a plan, like Caroline did above (April 13). See about setting up your own bank account; it takes only $5.00 to open an account of your own, and you will then have a way to begin to put away a little money as you are able. Make an emergency plan, so you can get out quickly if necessary. Gather up important documents and make copies of them and keep them in a safe place. Get an extra set of house and car keys made. These are all small steps that don’t take much effort, but will be vitally helpful at the right time. You are stronger than you think, and God is on your side. Trust Him to take care of you, because He loves you.

  31. Aleea on April 14, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    . . . Further to this, the pathology of patriarchy is highly religious. https://twitter.com/T4GOnline?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

    But that doesn’t mean religion caused it. . . .How do you create and maintain stable, decent human communities that can remain in a sustainable relationship with the larger living world?

    In the church, we have institutionalized male dominance; almost a right to control women’s sexuality and reproduction, sans all our efforts. Those structural aspects bring violence and coercion that are at the heart of all systems of domination and subordination. Who knows how one would even overhaul the dominant patriarchal class structures? We’re told, you’re smart for a woman, you’re mouthy for a woman. Think of what people say: you’re brazen for a woman; dangerous and emotional, and I wonder. . .

    . . .Patriarchy has two structural aspects: A hierarchical system in which men dominate women, at best in slick and subtle ways. But it is also a system of intermale dominance, in which a minority of men dominate the masses of men. This intermale dominance hierarchy exploits the majority. So, patriarchy has no gender. ―It is genderless.

    So, there are an infinite number of dominance hierarchies that we operate in simultaneously: who has “authority”, who has the best ________ whatever, etc.

    Christianity should exist as a way to transcend the hierarchies (―not escape them because we are in the world). . . .And yet all Christian interactions are hierarchical. . . .Maybe by aligning ourselves with values that do not depend on competing with others but only competing with ourselves (working inside) / our relationship with God (―How can I improve myself? ―How can I better embody these Christ-like values?) . . . And yet still be operating in the world with its dominance/ patriarchical hierarchies. . . .As much as I strain to be outside dominance hierarchies and patriarchical structures, they are simply everywhere. Maybe they are biological. . .

  32. Debbie on April 15, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Aly, thanks so much for your kind words. You really do understand what my circumstances are and how I’m basically dealing with a toddler most of the time.
    My husband retired in July, it has been so frustrating. He is around all the time and I am a homemaker. I ran out hoise sndnoir finances. He does things all wrong and makes my life miserable. Because I can’t tell him how I have done things and what works best around her for me. He takes everything I say as criticism and immediately says sarcastically that I guess I’m wrong. It’s insane to me that he doesn’t see that this has been my domain. I have kept this hoise running well. Can find anything in the house we are
    Looking for. But he wants to do things the quickest easiest way possible so he’s done. H feels guilty if he doesn’t help. His father never helped his mother and they both worked. But he’s lazy and doesn’t care if it’s done the way I want. He satisfies his guilt by blaming me for criticizing him. How wrong is it to simple tell him how I have done things and in respect for me just do them. Or at least just talk about it. It’s not like I asked him to scrub the kitchen floor with. Toothbrush?! 😉
    You asked to to tell you and instance of not being able to talk about things.
    Also, I have no counselor. It would be a complete nightmare if my husband knew I was talking to anyone about him. That’s one way he controlled me earlier. He always said he never talks about me to other people. But I always talk about him. Well the abuse was horrible and I needed to talk to my family. None of my family like him for good reason. He’s rude to them often and they know and see how he treats me. But he always thinks it’s not him he’s educated and it’s my hillbilly family.
    That’s a little bit of my background. Thanks for asking.
    I appreciate being able to vent a little and be understood. No one hardly ever asked about me. I’m always caring for others and sensitive to their needs. You women on here are truly wonderful. 💜

    • Aly on April 15, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      Debbie,

      You certainly are not alone but it’s so important that you have a supportive couple of women or a counselor to talk through things. Not just to be heard or validated but to also see how can you address what is ‘a sleeping giant’ so it seems.

      I’m assuming I am not the only one who can relate to much of the interaction and dynamic you have taking place. I’m sorry for the situation and maybe now that your husband is home more often the unresolved issues are that more obvious to face day in and day out?

      You said that if you had a counselor that you talked to about your husband it would be a complete nightmare and that is how he ‘used’ to control you… how is then different from your freedoms today?

      Do you fear for your safety? Emotionally, Spiritually and physically?
      This is critical to assess for your own health and each day that passes.

      Couple things you might consider?:
      We were never designed to do life in isolation by God & His structure.
      We have legitimate needs and it’s ok to have places where we can ask for what it is we need.
      (In marriage or in relationships)
      Have you heard of Dr. John Townsend or Dr. Henry Cloud~ ‘Relationship Myths’
      And many other series they have.
      I highly recommend that one because it’s important to tend to your self care.

      You wrote:
      “But he wants to do things the quickest easiest way possible so he’s done.”
      Ok I understand this and it can be frustrating if he is unwilling to see that there is another way that might benefit you both with ‘redo’s~ is what I think I am hearing?

      You wrote:
      “H feels guilty if he doesn’t help. His father never helped his mother and they both worked. But he’s lazy and doesn’t care if it’s done the way I want. He satisfies his guilt by blaming me for criticizing him.”

      I can understand that he uses a blameshift to ‘avoid’ maybe follow through of what you are asking of him? Such as now the argument & focus is about you criticizing and not about a task needing some diligence?

      You wrote:
      “How wrong is it to simple tell him how I have done things and in respect for me just do them. Or at least just talk about it. ”

      There is nothing wrong with him offering up some space here for you and I hear your heart it does feel like he doesn’t offer the ‘healthy respect’ necessary to even listen to why you do ‘do’ things the way you do.

      The surface things are frustrating I get that Debbie, I also get that it’s lonely to be in a marriage where you have a husband who lacks areas of maturity and real partnership.
      But should he also control your ability to get the help and resources you need for your heart?
      Something I had to develop in counseling was a voice like this;
      “Tell me why husband when I tell you a ‘need’ I personally have you feel critized and judged?”
      I would also say things like,
      ‘I’m confused because I share what I need, not expecting you to read my mind but you say you feel critized and then reject my need ~ the result is often the same pattern: you not trying to meet or understand the original request and then you go and enjoy your pity party?’

      Just some examples that came to me and some of the benefits of ongoing counseling and role playing.

      Debbie, its healthy to reach out for help and for you to have needs. Certainly we ALL need God as our core but he also designed us with other needs too… Sometimes those places are designed for husband’s role and some needs are for others in community.
      💜

      • Renee on April 16, 2018 at 8:12 am

        Aly [“Tell me why husband when I tell you a ‘need’ I personally have you feel critized and judged?”]

        I understand Aly that your husband has grown. Mine is still stuck in this way. His other favorite card is, “I am older than you (11 years older) and have been around much longer” so I know best. It is so frustrating to be put in the parent/child position. Sadly it all comes back to him rejecting my thought or need.

  33. Debbie on April 15, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Thank you Aly for all your insight. First off, I don’t want you to think I’m being petty about household chores. It’s just an example of how the simplest things in a marriage can’t even be discussed. It’s ridiculous.
    And I know one big hurdle for me is. All these years I have taken the frustrations and abuse to shield my daughters and my family when we go for visits. I just took everything to keep him off the girls. And diffuse situations as quickly as possible. Otherwise he would be depressed and try to get even by his mean silence and scarcastic remarks.
    Once all the kids left, things were often better. But always the same underlying problems.
    I don’t think I completely knownhow to over come the fear of just trying to end the episode either a blow up or the scarcatic silent treatment. Rather than make the effort to defend myself in some way. When I do, it ends in nothing but trouble for me. And has felt like it’s not worth the effort. It’s more upsetting trying than it ianto just suck it up as usual.
    He is never physically abusive. He will hit or break something before hitting me. But it’s very scary. Emotionally there is no real health hear. Too much walking in eggs shells. Too much thinking about how to bring up an issue and deciding ir’s Not worth it.
    I have said in other posts. I have tried to make friends here. It is impossible. I finally got tired of being rejected. I recently have developed better friendships with 2 acquaintances and shared my story. They were very surprised and concerned for me.
    My mom was my best friend and I could always talk to her about anything. But I lost her 3 years ago this month. That made a big gap in my life.
    I feel like I made some progress telling my husband I’m scared of him. And I think about all day some thing I want to talk to him about. But decided not to after thinking about it all day. But where do you go from there. If you get the nerve to bring that up. Only to be met with complete silence?!
    I’m making progress but it’s slow.
    I’m just so used to taking care of every one else first and not sure to take care of myself yet.

    • Renee on April 16, 2018 at 7:53 am

      I am sorry Debbie about the loss of your mother (your best friend).

      • Debbie on April 16, 2018 at 10:12 am

        Renee, thank you, the loss of my Mom was a big blow. But God has been with me. And it’s such an comfort knowing she is in heaven no longer suffering and I will see her again. 💜

    • Aly on April 16, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Debbie,

      I’m also sorry for your loss of your mom and especially someone you could talk too.

      I don’t think myself or many here would see your examples of household chores as ‘petty’ .. the real issue is how you are treated and what you have ‘been trained to do’ in regards to coping around a person like your husband and his dysfunctional behaviors.

      Did you look into that series on Relationships Myths? It might be a place that you can see the benefit of the health of having your own needs and good self- care?
      Working with a counselor might also help those messages and beliefs about how you choose to find solutions for yourself or not find solutions for yourself?

      You mentioned that you have a lot of time spent on ‘thinking about bringing up an issue to your h’ and then you decide it’s not worth it.
      You also said that it’s the ‘cycle’ is if you do bring up something, it ends in more trouble for you.

      Boy, I relate to this especially if this this is a pattern when trying to ‘exist’ in this type of relationship. The reality is that there isn’t any existing of you if you bring your honest self to the table.

      You said, that when the kids where in the home you would try to diffuse things as quickly as possible, protecting your girls from the ‘abusive immature behavior’.

      I can understand why this would seem like the best protection in the moment but now you have different options and circumstances.

      Debbie, your not alone in growing and equipping in the things that the Lord has for us to ‘be free in’. He loves you and wants the freedom He offers! 💕

      • Debbie on April 16, 2018 at 10:19 am

        Aly, I will Check out the doctors you suggested. I know I need to find a way to transition from just diffusing the situation.
        It’s going to take a new mind set I’m sure. And to get over the fear of just bringing up an issue.
        Our house is up for sale. So trying to keep the house in showing condition all the time is a stress in it’s self. Our house has been on the market for 7 1/2 months. Which adds to frustrations.

  34. Aleea on April 17, 2018 at 6:15 am

    . . . .Patriarchy is Western Civilization. But free speech is actually not the basis of western civilization. Truth is. These folks http://t4g.org/ are correct: the Old Testament is never about free speech or “debating” what is good, it is about commandment and doom, if you disagree. Churches never were about discussing, free speech or serious debate. That does not come from the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Old Testament is certainly never about “debating” what is good, it is about commandment and total doom, if you disagree. The Churches never were about discussing with their critics but silencing them. . . .And Truth isn’t about free speech in the sense that you protect Error from Truth in order to spread . . .whatever we are trying to spread. That is called heresy, and perhaps it gives people a bit more pause when they consider the reasons why the Church went after “heretics” like they did. We’ve been taught to believe that the “patriarchy” is the Big Bad Evil, but it’s a codeword for so much more. . . . .And actually, maybe, there’s nothing even wrong with male authority on a personal, familial level or even at the level of government. It’s perfectly natural, maybe not, who knows. . . .Us conservative Christians have been trying to destroy free speech for thousands and thousands of years: blasphemy laws, book burnings, killing heretics, seeking to band everything: movies, music, speeches, etc. It’s almost impossible to keep balance: conservatism works too closely with racism, white supremacy, plutocracy, religious mind control.

    But, “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot even make yourself as you wish to be” ―Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ . . .now, that’s getting it; ―really getting it! 💬

  35. Upwealthy on April 20, 2018 at 2:46 am

    In a relationship compatibility is very important. It is very important to understand each other. If it’s absent in any relationship then it’s better to leave and move on. It’s not a wrong decision.

  36. Distressed on April 20, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    Leslie,

    I’m not sure if Im staying well or staying out of fear. My guess is that it is a combination of both. My husband, who in the past has demonstrated physical aggression (slaps, spitting on me, shoves, etc) is now saying how he hates my hometown and wants to leave the city, state, or even the country. I dont entertain his ideas, but I simply nod just to avoid his anger which will sure be followed by insults and threats. My family is here and they are my main source of support. I have almost lost touch with all my friends and when I do talk to them I end up having to skirt around the issues surrounding my marriage. He never attends any family gatherings, no holidays, no birthdays no celebrations. Its usually just me and my daughter and I can stay until he decides I need to come home. If I take too long to come home he accuses me of keeping his daughter away from him. When I am home he spends very little time with her and tells me to put her to bed early so that we can relax. I spend A LOT of time away from him just to avoid being around his quick temper and angry insults when he gets triggered. I feel guilty about this because sometimes I wonder if I am keeping him away from his daughter. Even she has noticed his quick temper and has started asking me questions like, “Is daddy grumpy today or happy?” She has also realized that he gets upset (mostly with me) of she gets any kind of bruise or scratch from her normal play activities. He has told me on more than one occassion that if she gets hurt in any way on my watch, the same thing will happen to me. He has never said anything like that in front of her, but he does make angry gesture (tightening his jaw, clenching fists) anytime he notices any little scratch. She tries to avoid him asking her questions about any scratches or any bumps or scrapes because of this. This is not something I have taught her and she began doing this fairly recently on her own.
    I dont know what to do anymore. I feel guilty for thinking about leaving him, and anxious about the possibility of having to leave my family and move far away.
    If my only recourse is to leave…how do I even begin. I love him, but mostly I just feel that he is in a lot of pain and doesnt know how to deal with life period. I want the best for myself, but mostly want to ensure that she is okay. He has spoken about seeing a psychologist, but he is convinced that they will do nothing for him because its everybody who is “trash” and he just needs to learn how to put up wuth it until it is time for us to leave.

    • Aly on April 22, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Distressed,

      I really hope Leslie and others chime in here. Your situation is very dangerous and I’m very sorry for what you are experiencing and especially your daughter who needs protection as much as you also need it!
      This is a safety issue that needs critical assistance.
      Are there any domestic shelters that you can look into or the possibility of your family that you mentioned being support for you? Do they know what’s taking place and what you are being controlled by?

      I know you say you love your husband, since you do…love him and yourself enough to remove yourself and your daughter from harm & even the daily harm that is taking place in his threats.
      This is VERY abusive and destructive. There is no freedom, nor safety here.
      I’m wondering how speaking to a psychologist has come up for your husband? Especially as you have described some examples of your dynamic… it seems out of place? Has he been told he needs to by authorities? Have you mentioned counseling to him for his abuse?

      Just remember abusers like your husband, want to isolate their victims and want to move them further away from *any* support and people that can intervene and help empower their victims.
      Again, I hope others will post in!
      Prayer and action for you💜🙏

      • Sandra on April 22, 2018 at 2:53 pm

        Dear Distressed:

        I also advise you to take your children and leave this abusive man ASAP! Go to a supportive relative’s or friend’s home, or a shelter, and also get a protection order. He sounds off-balance and a danger to you all.
        My ex-h was verbally abusive, insanely jealous and controlling. When I set some boundaries, however, he’s the one who left. Unfortunately, he soon returned and broke into the house while I was away, and I had to get a protection order against him which he refused to heed, and broke into the house once again, ending up in jail. It was a nightmare until I finally filed for divorce.
        Ironically, I hadn’t considered what other sisters have mentioned here, that abusers want to move their victims further away from any supporters. But that is what mine did, time and again!
        I’ll be praying for you and for your protection and strength to leave.
        Sandra

    • Free on April 22, 2018 at 11:33 am

      Distressed, you really do have a lot to be distressed about. The examples you describe are abusive and frightening. You are in the cusp of physical danger. It is time for you to protect yourself. No one wants the hardship and embarrassment of legal proceedings, yet sadly the time has come for you to rid yourself of your abusive marriage. What action steps can you take? Might you at least visit a lawyer and obtain information about a protective or restraining order? Both you are your daughter need protection from this man. I would also strongly advice that you do not move with him. You will need support desperately as you plan and strategize life without your abusive spouse.

    • Renee on April 22, 2018 at 11:35 am

      Oh Aly indeed this is beyond abusive. This is downright dangerous and a safety issue. Threats can be documented even with the police.

      You said: [My husband, who in the past has demonstrated physical aggression (slaps, spitting on me, shoves, etc.)]

      Not acceptable!

      You said: [He is now saying how he hates my hometown and wants to leave the city, state, or even the country.]

      How wonderful that would be for you and your daughter. I wish he would catch the first thing smoking and you would not try to stop him.

      No more guilt! You have a very good reason to shelter your daughter.

      You said: [ He has told me on more than one occasion that if she gets hurt in any way on my watch, the same thing will happen to me.]

      I hope there is not a next time. But if so. police report as soon as it happens.

      You said: [I don’t know what to do anymore.]
      But you do. Immediately start working on a safety plan. Today!

      • Connie on April 22, 2018 at 12:18 pm

        I think what he means by wanting to move away is to take the family with him, to isolate them from their support system. This is totally unacceptable and highly dangerous. When men’s deeds are evil, they love darkness rather than light. You are as sick as your secrets.

        • Renee on April 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

          Either way he tries to spin this, I hope she will not try to stop him if he decides to leave and for sure don’t follow or go along for the ride if he is meaning for all of them to go together.

          • Aly on April 22, 2018 at 2:36 pm

            Renee, & Distressed,

            I read it as…he (the husband) wants to leave the state with his wife and daughter?
            Maybe I totally have misread the post, I’ll go back.



    • Aly on April 22, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      Distressed,

      Others have also written some good examples of ‘what to take action on… because you said: you didn’t know what to do or how to begin.

      You wrote:
      “If my only recourse is to leave…how do I even begin. I love him, but mostly I just feel that he is in a lot of pain and doesnt know how to deal with life period. I want the best for myself, but mostly want to ensure that she is okay.”

      If the she that you are referring to, is your daughter? Then… from what you have described here~ she is in danger!
      You are in a serious situation that needs immediate attention.

      I realize that it’s quite possible you have been desensitized by your environment but there is help out there that you can reach for~ People in your city that will assist and help you with your steps.

      I say Desensitized because of your words above and how out of proportion they are to your crisis.

      You are emphasizing more with the pain of what your husband in is with dealing with life than the pain and fear you and your daughter are being wrongly victimized by!

      The disproportionate response is a part of the denial and coping but you can get help and get safe. You do need ‘others’ to help you.
      Have you looked into other women’s places for shelter and protective services for yourself and your children in your area?

      This ‘man’ who you say is your husband is not treating you like a wife and treating your daughter like a daughter ~ you both are being treated like possessions, not people to be loved and cared for!

      In no way is your husband’s behavior or choices in behavior your fault!! But it is now your responsibility (as another adult in the scene) to take action and find safety.

    • Nancy on April 22, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Hello Distressed,

      I want to add my voice here to what Aly was saying about you being desensitized.

      Your over-identification with your h’s pain, and under-identification with the pain and damage that he is causing you and your daughter, is at the root, I believe, of keeping you from taking any kind of protective action steps.

      Do you know that it is not loving towards him to continue allowing him to be a bully?

      Do you know that the most loving thing that you can do for him is to stop allowing this bad behaviour?

      Do you know that as a mother, you have a responsibility to protect your daughter from such treatment?

      Do you know that as a daughter of the most high King, you have a responsibility to protect your body, mind and spirit from any type of abuse?

      I know this is overwhelming, but your enmeshment with your h’s pain is destructive to your daughter, yourself and your h.

      Can you get counselling and ask The Lord for help getting untangled from the web of pain?

  37. Debbie on April 23, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Distressed, my husband is obsessed with our daughter as well. He was hard on me and my older daughters. My younger daughter, his natural child saw all the abuse. I didn’t know until recently. She is grown and married now. That this dynamic did great damage to her. She felt the responsibility to keep him happy so he left us alone. She developed terrible anxiety and depression. At one point the depression was so deep she didn’t want to live any longer. She’s doing fine now. But for you and your daughter’s sake get out. There are no good outcomes if you stay for either of you. Will be praying for you. And you keep praying for your situation God will show you and and provide for you as you lean into Him.

  38. Distressed on April 23, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Ladies,

    Thank you for your comments and words of advice. Reading your words puts me on edge. I fear that I am making the wrong choices daily. I would be lying if I said I wasnt scared. Im not exactly sure of what…maybe a combination of things like his reaction, my daughters response to being taken away from her father (or his from being kept from her). I worry about how I could keep us both safe from his anger should he start acting “over the edge” because I doubt a restraining order could do much if he really wanted to get back at me. Theres is so much uncertainty in my life and I believe the fear has kept me from making any moves.
    Maybe I am naive and blinded and desensitized, but I just dont know how to make myself make a choice.

    • Debbie on April 23, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      Distressed, I understand why you hesitate in leaving. I felt the same why that my husband would stalk us and it would be more miserable if I left. BUT my husband was never violent. That is kind of a game changer. I can only imagine how scared you are. Keep praying and looking for resources to escape. JoAnn gave yiunsome great advice. Keep praying and moving forward. Look into some of the great advice these ladies are offering. God will be with you.

    • Free on April 24, 2018 at 2:40 am

      I remember feeling as you describe. Your fears show you are actuvely being abused. Your husband has groomed you to obey by creating this fearful, dangerous environment. If you were about to be eaten by a bear would you runaway? Not if you were paralyzed with fear, right?

      It that case and in your case, you need the hunter and the game warden to protect you. Please, please continue to tell people and get protection.

      I see courage in you as you have reached out to this support group. The next step is a domestic violence service and an appointment with a lawyer and child protective services. You must, distressed or the bear will eat you.

      • Sandra on April 24, 2018 at 2:05 pm

        Words from a wise woman who’s been there! God bless you, dear Free!

        • Free on April 24, 2018 at 7:12 pm

          Thank you Sandra. Freedom tastes so sweet!!

  39. JoAnn on April 23, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Distressed, I do appreciate your concerns, and this is why it will be important for you to plan carefully and discreetly. Not knowing where you live, it’s hard to offer specifics, but try to learn if there is a battered women’s shelter or rape crisis organization in your area. That would be the best local source for you to get help. Also, you need to enlist support from at least one friend or relative to whom you can go for help, should you need it. You also need a very carefully thought-out escape plan, should he get violent. This involves having an extra set of keys for your car, copies of important documents, credit cards, medicines and clothes. Some of the women here have taken a suitcase with important emergency items to a neighbor or friend in case it is needed. If you will just start with these few suggestions, as you move along, you will begin to feel empowered and you will find that the Lord will guide your next steps. Other suggestions that have been offered are setting up a separate bank account in a different bank to which you can add some emergency cash, and taking a course or two online to prepare for having to support yourself. Every step you take, however small, will make you feel less confused and stronger.

    I believe that as you read and pray over all the messages that have been directed to you as well as some of the topics that have been addressed in the archives, you will get clearer about what your next steps should be. We all here are praying for you. Lean into the Lord. He loves you.

  40. Distressed on April 24, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Thank you Joann, Free, Debbie,

    I know I have work to do and I feel changes coming in my life. Its scary and sad. The uncertainty kills me, but I know I NEED change because I feel myself dying on the inside. I want to be free…to be myself, to live in peace…free of this oppression. Thank you again for your words of wisdom. Sending my prayers right back at you all.

    • Free on April 24, 2018 at 7:28 pm

      Distressed. Have you read Lundy Brancroft’s book, “Why Does He do that?” That book changed my life! I learned that what I thought was a unique behavior that my husband struggled with, was far from unique. In fact it was demented and predictable as abuser after abuser used the same range of control tactics. When I read Lundy’s book it was the first time I feel anyone “got” what I was living through. Again the shock to me was that my abuser was not special, or struggling, or had a poor childhood that made him act a certain way, but rather, he, like many other abusers CHOSE that behavior. They like the power.

  41. Upwealthy on April 27, 2018 at 2:32 am

    You made the right choice, you are an inspiration to many. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  42. Adnan Gujjar on August 2, 2021 at 8:29 am

    thank you for a great post.

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