Morning friends,

I am back in the USA but in the next few weeks, I will be visiting family in Chicago. As lovely as other countries are to visit, there is no place like home.  

Thank you, Aly, for sharing with us last week.  

Today I’ve asked another woman from our community to share her story as a wife of a ministry leader. TL’s marriage has a different ending but I believe it will be helpful for you to hear her process of gaining clarity. It’s a little long, but I didn’t want to split it into two parts and make you wait for the rest of the story. Next week I will go back to answering one of your questions.  

One more thing. Next Tuesday I am doing a free webinar on Four Lies That Can Make you Crazy And How To Stop Them. I am doing the webinar twice, once during the day and once in the evening but you have to sign up in order to have access.  Click here to answer a quick question and claim your set for this free webinar.

For 35 years I was married to a man who was an evangelical pastor and missionary. He appeared to be a godly man and we appeared to be an almost perfect family. But about 2 years ago, I separated from him, due to his habitually abusive behavior. I want to share some of what I have gone through; the lessons I have learned, and how I learned them.

I was 20 when I met my future husband, having known the Lord for only about a year and a half. I was attracted to this young man who seemed to have a deep passion for God and great knowledge of the Bible. He was a strong leader—something I felt I needed in my immature, fledgling life of faith.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t alarmed as he worked to isolate me from my family members and friends during our dating and courtship. No one was “good enough” for me in his eyes: they were either “unbelievers” or a “bad influence” or both. Believing in his greater knowledge and understanding of God and God’s ways and also in his love for and desire to protect me, I followed his lead.

Our romance and early marriage went from him putting me high up on a pedestal of admiration, to him slamming me down hard with disrespect, disregard, disdain, and even disgust.

Our first year of marriage was tumultuous and shattering, as my dreams of being cherished, loved, and respected plummeted. No matter what I did, or how hard I tried, there was no pleasing him. He was a perfectionist and was constantly perturbed that neither I nor the children were perfect.

We sometimes forgot things, spilled things, or broke things. Therefore we were irresponsible because, in his world, there was no allowance for accidents; there was simply carelessness. No matter how he treated me or our children, he acted as if he was entitled to be treated with the utmost respect and consideration. He spoke harshly whenever it suited his mood, but I was expected to “be sweet” at all times, no matter the provocation.

He had an unreasonable double standard and justified it with scripture. I realized that I was expected to be subordinate to a superior being who was entitled to respect by virtue of his gender and position, and not by virtue of his character and actions. I learned to defer; as I was taught by my husband and the respected evangelical leaders (James Dobson, John Piper) we most listened to. My Christian “book mentor” was Elisabeth Elliot. I wanted to be a godly wife, and that meant I needed to submit to my husband’s God-ordained leadership and trust God to correct him if he needed correction.

I learned from these teachers that even if you are in a miserable marriage, you “suffer well” for God. So I tried my best. For 35 years I cried and prayed and believed that God would effect change in him, and in my marriage. I know now that what I then called faith was foolishness: it was denial and wishful thinking, not faith.

Eventually, we had six children, whom we homeschooled. They were wonderful children, and we looked like the ideal family, as I supported my husband’s ministry as best I could. But privately at home, my children and I were suffering. In our years of homeschooling, there was a heavy slant in some circles toward patriarchy. That gave further support to my husband’s domineering, controlling ways, which he learned in his own patriarchal family of origin. He had grown up in an abusive home and unfortunately, the cycle was to continue for many years in our family, as I was paralyzed by bad teaching and spiritual abuse.

My husband’s behavior was confusing; he was often warm and affectionate. He knew how to say the right things at times, and would often proclaim his love for me and for our children. But he did not care for our hearts. Everything revolved around him as The Important Person in the family. He was the head, the leader, and he was basically a dictator. Our thoughts and feelings had almost no effect on him. He knew what was right for the family, and no one else’s opinion mattered, as he was “the God-ordained leader.” He seemed to be perpetually unhappy and angry. He expected perfection of me and the children, and when we did not measure up, there was an emotional hell to pay.

We walked on eggshells, as the saying goes, always hoping not to set him off. If he became angry at me (often for trivial things) he would insult and berate me. This was done hundreds of times in front of our children; he thought nothing of it. In disgust, he would sometimes not speak to me for days, sometimes weeks. If he had to talk to me, for some practical reason, it was either coldly, or with outright disdain. Meanwhile, I was expected to be gracious, kind, and forgiving. I was expected to perform wifely duties, no matter how I was treated.

Outside of the home, my husband performed in his role of pastor/teacher/missionary well. He was hard-working and productive. He knew God’s word and could teach and preach it with skill. Being a pastor gave him the status he needed to be admired and esteemed. He treated me well in front of people, as this reflected well on him. But at home, his behavior was often ungodly. He was selfish, domineering, dictatorial, and he had frequent outbursts of anger. When these were directed at my kids, my heart would break, and I would grow angry, like a protective mama-bear. I would enter the room and plead with him to stop. He would then yell at me that it was “none of my business” and that I was just “making things worse.” He would never, ever apologize for his actions.

Afterward, I would speak to my child, comforting him or her, wiping the tears away, and validating the feelings I knew they had: your father is wrong to treat you this way, this is not Christian behavior. I would assure them that they were not at fault; he was, and we would often pray for him. Many times, I could feel the anger and resentment they struggled with, and I struggled with it too.

I was not silent. But my voice was unwelcome, and it was dismissed, disrespected, and ignored. I confronted him frequently on his harshness with me or the children. My words would almost always be twisted and thrown back at me, “Well, you’re not perfect either! Do you know how hard it is to live with someone who is ______ (irresponsible, undependable, etc.)

He would tell me that my job was to take care of myself before the Lord and to just pray for him; that I was not the Holy Spirit; or that I was the problem (I know now that this is what is called “gaslighting”). Often, we would have big, loud fights, as I stood up for my children or myself, and he turned it back on me.

Over the years I asked, cried, and pleaded with my husband to go to counseling. He refused, telling me that we could solve our problems ourselves with the Lord and that we just needed to pray and “work on things together.” Sometimes I would threaten to go myself or go to the leadership of the church. But over the years my husband had often spoken of how much he valued loyalty—implying that if I reached out to others, I was being disloyal.

But the real thing that kept me from reaching out for help was my mistaken notion of what was pleasing to my Lord; what I believed the Bible to be saying: that I must submit, even if he was not obeying the Lord…that he would be won, without a word, by my holy behavior, as I understood Eph.5:22-24 and 1Peter 3:1-6 to be saying.

I endured a lot of mistreatment, and so did my children. I was in denial, and it took me a long time to name what was happening in our home: abuse. It was verbal, emotional, mental, financial, and spiritual abuse. I believe the spiritual abuse was the worst because it is what kept me trapped for so long. Had I not been convinced by poor teaching in the evangelical church about what it meant to be a godly wife, I would have gotten help much sooner, and separated myself and my children from this angry man’s ways. I was trapped by twisted Scripture. I was misled by an abuse of power and authority in the church and in the home.

I reached a breaking point five years ago while we were living overseas. The cognitive dissonance I was feeling about my marriage could no longer be ignored. I understood the Bible to be telling me I must endure, but my heart was screaming, “Something is terribly wrong!” In desperation to get alone with God, I went to a remote place on a silent retreat for a week. I took long hikes in God’s beautiful creation and I cried and I mourned the loss of a dream that I had longed for and invested in for more than 30 years: a healthy marriage. I cried out to God, asking Him my Big Questions, such as, “Why don’t you help me? Why don’t you hear me? Why do you empower him?” In response, I “heard” a holy, blessed word of correction:

“Beloved! I stand with the oppressed! NOT the oppressor!”

I broke, as His Spirit ministered to me…

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are inclined to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12

His face was against evil. He had been with me through every moment of pain, suffering, abuse. He had endured with me; He was a “man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief,” and He never leaves His Beloveds alone. As he ministered His truth to me, through his word and through the Spirit, I began to feel encouraged. I was beloved by God. And He was angry at this unjust, abusive treatment of His daughter.

I had begun my retreat with a “Fearless Moral Inventory,” having finally realized the truth that I had often heard, but never before accepted: that the only person I could change was me. I asked God for the courage to look objectively at myself; to understand what it was in me that contributed to my situation. What in my past “set me up” for this destructive relationship, and what was I contributing to it? This self-examination led me to face and process some things about my family of origin and to identify some deep flaws in myself, primarily passivity. I reflected deeply on this weakness and all of the sins it had allowed in my life and in my family.

I repented and asked God for the grace and strength to be courageous, intentional, and assertive instead of passive. By the time I left, I had written many pages in my journal and a long letter to my husband. None of the letters was about him and his faults. It was about me and my faults, and decisions I had made before the Lord and how those decisions might impact him. I did something that was very scary for me, but I had been strengthened by my time alone with my Father: I told my husband in that letter that I would no longer submit to him, because he was not safe to submit to; that in spite of his words, he did not care for my heart, and he did not care for God’s heart. I would submit only to God. I told him he could expect consideration from me; but I would not submit to his fear, power, and control any longer, for these were sins, and I would no longer feed into them. I told him, ”One day, I will stand before God and give an account of my sins, and there will be no hiding behind yours. And I want to make my choices fully alive; fully aware, fully as me.”

My life changed dramatically after that retreat. I stepped down from my position as Women’s Ministry Director in the church, as I did not want to support my husband’s ministry any longer, or give the illusion that we were united. I stopped pretending. I decided to walk in the light, to expose the habituated sin in my home, and invite my husband to step into the light too. I stopped enabling sin, and I took responsibility for my life, health and welfare before the God who made me and to whom I was accountable.

We, humans, are first of all accountable for how we steward the generous gift of our own lives. And I had done poorly thus far. I had shown compassion for my husband to a fault and had woefully ignored my own need for protection from evil and destruction.

I put increasingly stronger boundaries in place, as he showed no signs of repenting. I explained that the boundaries would not come down unless he got help and fully repented of the strongholds of entitlement, pride, and superiority that controlled him.

My husband mainly ignored me and continued on at the “important work of ministry,” in spite of the fact that his marriage was falling apart. When I told him that he could not count on me staying in this marriage if he did not get help and become a healthy partner, he was shocked. He challenged my commitment to the Lord and my marriage and reminded me of the vows that we took.

I believe the Holy Spirit gave me inspiration at that moment to speak words I had never thought of: “No. You are the vow-breaker. The vow is “to love and cherish”… “till death do us part” is the time frame. You have broken our marriage, and I will no longer pretend.” I suddenly realized that in effect, my spouse was using the marriage “contract” to hold me hostage: in his mind, he could treat me however he pleased, and there was nothing I could do about it. The “vows” were his trap, and I was his prisoner.

I hasten to add that not one of us loves and cherishes perfectly. We all fail. But what is our response when we fail? Do we go to the offended partner and say that we are sorry for failing to love them well, and ask for forgiveness? Or do we treat them with habitual disregard, as if they are not worthy of respect? Do we work to repair the damage we have done to the relationship? Or do we take for granted that our spouse will just absorb our mistreatment…over and over and over again?

While on my retreat, I had cried out and asked the Lord to help me to understand the scriptures properly. I sensed the Lord impress upon me that I needed to back up, stop microscopically taking the scriptures out of their larger context, and remember who He was: “Who am I? Am I a cruel taskmaster who approves of or empowers oppression? What is my heart for the poor and the orphan and the widows; and for all who are oppressed?” I read scriptures on the topic of oppression and gained a deeper understanding of Him. And then I turned to the “God Hates Divorce” passage (which had been used to keep me in a powerless stance) with an open heart; with The Blessed Defender of the Oppressed opening my eyes. And I saw something new—for the first time, I saw His heart in this passage: (My commentary in italics.)

“It is because the LORD is a witness (He sees what’s happening!) between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been unfaithful. (Unfaithfulness does not exclusively mean adultery. To refuse to cherish is to be unfaithful.) Yet, she is your companion, the wife of your marriage vows. (God expects faithfulness to the wedding vows; to love and to cherish; which makes for loving companionship.) Didn't God make you one? (That means unity, togetherness, mutuality. Not one who overpowers and absorbs the other; not domination.) Your flesh and spirit belong to him. (We are His; our lives are subject to Him; we are accountable.) And what does the same God look for but godly descendants? So be careful not to be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. (Breaking the covenant vows, whether by cruelty or adultery threatens the hope of godliness in the next generation.) I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel. (God hates the breaking of the marital covenant; unfaithfulness to one’s promise to cherish the other, whether through adultery or abuse.) ” I hate the person who covers himself with violence,” says the LORD of Armies. “Be careful not to be unfaithful.” (God hates those who use violent means in a marital relationship; those who bully others. Marriage is not to be characterized by one person fighting for domination, but by two people walking together in unity and peace. Notice here; the reminder, the warning, that he is the Lord of Armies—it is as if He is saying to the one who abuses power: “Watch out! You don’t know Who you are opposing!” He has all the forces on His side, and so woe to the one who deals violently with his covenant partner! )

The study of this passage in multiple translations helped me to understand how twisted this passage had been by those who pretended to value the marriage covenant, but really just valued the shell, the facade.

Many of us have had guilt heaped on us by Christian leaders who admonish us that marriage is meant to be an example to the world of Christ and the church; so we must not shame Christianity by getting a divorce. But I say that if marriage is meant to be an example of Christ and the church, then it had better set about becoming one! God hates hypocrisy! If one partner is making a mockery of that picture, then that one should be dealt with strongly!

If a man is treating his wife violently, whether that is physical or emotional, then for shame! Christ is dishonored by the implication that He is abusive to His bride! There ought to be swift church censure, discipline, and shunning of one who calls himself a Christian husband but abuses his wife in any way. For too long abusive Christian men have been tolerated and even enabled in the body of Christ, while their wives have been burdened with the task of “trying harder” to please them. This is worse than nonsense. It is a great wickedness in the church, and I believe God is purifying His bride. I suspect that the divorce rate in the church will rise higher than out of it as He does so.

Just a couple of months after my retreat, God led me to Leslie’s blog, where I was deeply relieved to find sound, biblical encouragement, confirmation, and support. I am beyond thankful for Leslie’s clear, corrective voice in the Christian community, as so many women and children have been hurt by the church’s empowering of destructive, abusive men, in the name of male headship and leadership. Leslie’s blog, books, videos, and some personal interactions with her greatly helped to strengthen and empower me.

When my husband did not respond to my letter or boundary setting, I reached out to his closest friend, who had been his supervising elder in a previous church. I told him my story; and thankfully, I was believed. (Sadly, I know many women in my situation are not so fortunate). This friend confronted my husband, who had an arsenal of defenses, justifications, and excuses ready. I spoke with this friend a second time, appealing to him with these words: “I know he is your brother, but I am your sister, and I need your help.” This dear friend moved into action, and together with another friend, my husband was encouraged to take a sabbatical and get into intensive counseling.

He ignored the advice. Next, I called our mission agency and the head of our group of churches. I told them what our home life was like and that I considered my marriage terminal if my husband did not get help. The mission agency intervened and tried to work with us. Eventually, while still overseas, I separated from my husband, and he was forced to step down as missionary-pastor. It was hard because I didn’t want to hurt the innocent people in our church or disappoint our kind supporters, but I knew that it was what I must do in these circumstances to stay true to my commitment to stop pretending and stop enabling sin. I watched in amazement as my husband continued to pretend; and to minimize, justify, spiritualize, and deny.

After returning to the States, I watched as the Lord surrounded me with support and became my strong tower. He has given me strength and courage. He has secured a peaceful home for me and my daughter, with a firm boundary of protection. He has given me the emotional, physical, social, and financial resources that I need to take care of myself and my daughter well. He has rescued me from captivity and secured His bride for Himself.

Friend, how do you respond to the idea that God sees the oppressed and hates the oppressor in light of what you have been taught about being sacrificially submissive to mistreatment to “honor God in your marriage?”  Do you struggle with passivity as TL did?

366 Comments

  1. Joy on August 1, 2018 at 8:02 am

    T.L., thank you for your courage to tell your story and share how God Himself enabled your release from your chains. I would love to talk to you personally, please. I could have written your story myself as it is so very close to my own – married at 20, same abuse (only with physical added), 39 years married before I fled, missionary/pastor overseas, same twisted verses and thinking used as weapons, children… I told my story on “60 Minutes” and many other women with similar stories are still contacting me a year later! Would you be willing to email me at harrisjoy77@gmail.com? If you prefer not to, I understand. All the best, dear sister.

    • Jane on August 1, 2018 at 8:10 am

      My heart is so sad to hear these stories so repetitively about “men of God”. I can only imagine how God feels as they blaspheme Him and destroy His daughters and their children.

    • T.L. on August 1, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Hi Joy, yes, happy to speak with you! I’ll email you.

  2. Jane on August 1, 2018 at 8:05 am

    TL

    Fantastic, thank-you for sharing. Your story is almost identical to a woman I know. It is so sad that the number of abusive men in authority positions in the church are so high.

    I still struggle with the previous spiritual abuse teaching and current truth. Last night God took me to Isaiah 1: 3-11 and Isaiah 3:11. This has to do with God destroying the evil from His people. My heart breaks because I love my husband and don’t want to see the pain that this will bring. I asked God, “Did it not hurt you to do this to your people?”. His response was that He had to to save the good that was left (the remnant). If I have to stand up with the truth and see pain in my husband to reclaim that 10% of good that might be left in him, then it is worth it.

    I know I can not save my husband, but I am not helping him by enabling his sin to continue. I do still struggle with passivity but I think this is in large part due to physical safety concerns right now, but honestly it also has to do with hating confrontation. God is working on that part too.

    • T.L. on August 1, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Hi Jane, I agree that we don’t help our husbands by enabling sin. It is a hard fact to face that our “sticking in there” is actually giving sin a place to thrive; providing it a home and nutrients to grow. Once sin habituates, its power is a stronghold of the enemy that is hard to break…and we contribute by enabling it with loyalty, secrecy, and submission, instead of disabling it by exposing, enlisting help, and confronting and opposing it. This is what I can now see that I was doing, though at the time, I thought I was obeying scripture.

      I understand that you love your husband and don’t want to See pain” in him. But what if a doctor let that stop him from operating on someone with cancer? Habituated sin is a cancer that keeps consuming, left undealt with. Also, to have compassion on him and his feelings, while subjecting your own personhood to his abuse is not healthy, obviously.

      One of the most important steps I took was going on that silent retreat: getting out of the home environment, getting alone with God, and dealing with the sin in my own heart. I went from the agony of confusion and despair, to the peace and joy of clarity and hope in a week.

      • Jane on August 1, 2018 at 12:16 pm

        yes, I wish I could really have time to do this. As the only bread winner that is not an option.

        Interestingly, my husband went to be a support to his brother at the divorce hearing where settlement was made. It made him very sad. He said they gave up and that was the problem. In truth she was abusive because he married his mother. I had a hard time putting into words to my husband that they did not necessarily quit. Especially when it wasn’t a they. Any help with this?

        • T.L. on August 1, 2018 at 12:36 pm

          Perhaps your life circumstances don’t allow for exactly this, but is there a way to get out of the fog the manipulator’s orbit? Stay with a relative or a friend for a week, telling them that you need some peace and quiet to seek God?

          I’m nothopefuld that there would be right words to help your husband see, as he is viewing marriage not as a gift of a relationship for human thriving, but as a test of human endurance. Something’s wrong there.

          But you could say, “They didn’t have a marriage, which is the two becoming one and promising to love and cherish one another. They had an ungodly relationship of one partner wielding power and control over the other. That’s what makes God’s heart sad, not the end of such a relationship.”

          • Jane on August 1, 2018 at 2:37 pm

            Excellent, thank-you.

            I get space away when I go to prayer time weekly. It was space away at church Sunday’s but he has started coming back after our last fall out.

            I don’t know that I can isolate my kids like that. I am not home much because of my crazy work hours that I embrace to escape home anyway. I spent 1 night away for safety a couple of weeks ago and the next morning the way God was speaking to me and revealing truth was huge! I may take a couple of days away soon, this may be very important. Thank-you for these ideas and sharing your story, it is a real motivator for me.



        • T.L. on August 2, 2018 at 10:57 am

          Hi Jane, I wanted to add that everyone’s case is so different and must be walked out uniquely. I only had one late-teenchild in the home when I began to come out of the oppression.

        • T.L. on August 2, 2018 at 11:00 am

          Hi Jane, I wanted to add that everyone’s case is so different and must be walked out uniquely. I only had one late-teenchild in the home when I began to come out of the oppression. You have a lot to think about with children still in the home. I know women here who choose to stay to protect their kids, as they would have to have shared custody, so he would have time alone with them away from mom. Very important consideration.

          Others may know your case, but I don’t: you mention you are the breadwinner. Does your husband work?

          • Jane on August 2, 2018 at 2:03 pm

            TL,

            As my husband is both narc and sociopath he can not keep his job. He did work with me (can’t really say for me) after self imposing into my office. The other business here finally asked him not to be physically present here when his employees were here because the other staff was afraid of him. This was after I had discussed the concerns about his behavior with my husband two other times, very carefully and he was defensive and angry about it. He absolutely delights in finding something wrong that someone is doing and lording over them or making something wrong that is not. He hovers, gets a very sharp tone and intensity that is physically very intimidating. I understand the real issue. Unfortunately my husband thinks the problem is that he is a very tall and big guy and is intimidating just due to his size. I have discussed with him that I know other people as big that are not intimidating and that my dad who is a tiny man can be equally intimidating (especially when in a mood). My husband was fired from his last job after only 3 wks several yrs ago for getting a bit physical with a coworker that was, in his opinion, bullying him.

            Prior jobs he also lost due to intimidation issues, poor work ethic, even though he felt he was their best employee, etc. Every job or opportunity that has not gone well for him was my fault in some way. Typical narc stuff that used to confuse the heck out of me and make my head spin, now I understand where it comes from and what is going on. I still get whiplash at times when he gaslights, but I am able to recover quickly as soon as the truth dawns on me.

            Two of my kids or out of high school but still in the home and one is being home schooled. They are all physically safe though my oldest is terrified of my husband, my middle is not and is actually the one that understands the most that the behavior is wrong but excuses it under the guise of my husbands insecurity and fear, and the third is totally brain washed! Breaks my heart.

            I am very excited to report that God gave me opportunity with a group of teens from church this week to discuss the truth about ephesians and peter, etc. All those out of context scriptures. Eyes were definitely opened and they were grateful to have talked about this, boys and girls alike. My daughter did not have much to say about it but at least she heard it. It was totally off subject but we got there because one of the girls is being annoyed by a boy that is flirting with her that she has no interest in. Her mom told her she has to be nice to him despite unwanted social media contact, etc. Even the boys in the group find this guy to be not right. We discussed how she needed to be honest with him and herself and how she needed to protect herself and why. Then we started talking about future relationships, observing how a man treats other women, especially family and waitresses/servers, etc. Then we got into the scripture. It was fantastic!

            Thank-you all, and especially Leslie, for educating me so that I can help make a difference for future generations!



  3. Faith on August 1, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Wonderful post. The rebuilding part and the life after the boundary setting that cost so much. How does one face life and get over the pain and the loneliness of losing so much. How do you not blame yourself forever or face the changes that come. How do you have the courage to face life alone.

    • T.L. on August 1, 2018 at 11:03 am

      Hi Faith, I think the answer to that question is that God gives the grace needed when we take steps forward into truth, light, and goodness. He doesn’t typically give grace and empowerment ahead of time, but at the point of need, at the moment of the obedience of faith. So His provision and empowerment have met me at every step. That said, there are plenty of times that I still struggle with sadness and grief over the failed marriage. I’m sad that I couldn’t reach him by staying, and I couldn’t reach him by separating. But I remind myself (and others remind me): I was not the one who failed at the marriage. I was the one who invested, cared, tried, agonized, and begged him to get help. I finally publicly acknowledged the private truth that there was no marriage: there was a dominion.

      I am deeply grateful that I have an unusual amount of support, which has been key, too. I was believed by those I reached out to. I’m so sad that so many of my sisters aren’t believed. I have the full support of my children, as well, who know what I lived with, and lived with it, too. That also gives me strength.

      I can’t overemphasize the importance of reaching out to others, starting with the amazing women on this blog. I learned soooo much by listening to other’s stories, and seeing repeated patterns in these “power and control” driven men. I remember over a year ago, I stayed up very late reading several blog posts and aaallll the multitude of responses. Helped me immensely. Leslie has provided us all with such a safe and helpful place. I also formed a close relationship with two women on this blog, Aly being one of them. They listened to my stories, and reflected back the truth to me. Other eyes and ears are so important, because we live in the fog of being gaslighted by manipulative men.

      And then how do I have the courage to face life alone? The support is essential. Dear friends, counselors, and a good church/pastor that understands. Those are wonderful blessings God has provided me with, and I don’t take them for granted. But also, He has shown Himself to be so present, and so dear through all of this. He is the best Father, Husband, and Friend, all in one. I know his nearness as my Provider in a deeper way, as I have stepped out into the unknown. There’s a strong foundation that will hold us.

      • Aly on August 1, 2018 at 1:52 pm

        T.L,
        Love you sister in Christ! Your written story is heartbreaking for me to read as your friend and the heart you have been so gifted in.
        I’m thankful you are thriving away from someone who clearly took and took habitually.
        You have been such a support for me and I think the Lord knows what He’s doing when He brings such pivotal people in our lives… in seasons… for certain purposes.

        I’m thankful and am a better person having been touched by your inspiration, your faith and your life here.
        Much love, prayers and virtual hugs!💜
        Aly

        • T.L. on August 2, 2018 at 3:25 am

          Thank you, dear Aly. Your support meant so much to me as I struggled. Love you!

    • JoAnn on August 1, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      Faith, I sympathize with what you must be facing, as your questions reveal. It is important to realize, that T.L. was empowered by the revelations that the Lord gave her as she opened her being to Him and searched in His word. When we receive such speaking from the Lord directly, through our private times with Him, He then grants us the grace to respond to His leading. I think what was so crucial in T.L.’s experience was that time alone with the Lord where He could speak directly to her heart. That empowered her, and directed her. Praise the Lord for that!

      T.L., Thank you for sharing this. I remember some of your posts on the blog while you were going through this, and I am so thankful that the Lord has brought you through. More blessings to come, no doubt.

      • T.L. on August 2, 2018 at 10:52 am

        Thanks, JoAnn. I’ve not had as much available time to stay connected on the blog as this past year has been packed with transitioning internationally, getting a few new jobs, and reconnecting with people, including my kids and grandkids.

        What you said to Faith is very true. Making the space to get alone with God was key for me. He is speaking to us all the time, but often we are clouded by the fog from a controller/manipulator, or we silence Him ourselves by our fear, denial, or bad theology. That was the case for me. Being alone with the Lord was transformative in terms of insight, clarity, and strengthening.

        • Vigilance on August 4, 2018 at 9:45 pm

          Hello T.L,

          Thank you so much for writing this post for all of us out here that are still confused/in denial or just don’t understand that what is going on in their marriage is totally against everything that Christ wants the picture of marriage to look like.
          Last spring I prayed that God would give me enough courage to call the sin out in my marriage. It was one of the scariest things that I have ever done…..But you know what?? He gave me that courage I asked for and he would never give me the courage and not be there to walk alongside me. He has blessed my family 10 fold and the blessings are still coming, not that this isn’t still unbelievably hard and lonely at times.I was married for 13 years when I decided to confront the sin. I had already been begging him to go to counseling for the past 8 years and he refused. He told me he didn’t need counseling and if I wanted to go to counseling I would have to go on my own. He also told me that if I went I was not allowed to talk about our marriage(because its private) this was the first counseling I went to and its also where I gave my life to Christ. I have 4 children, currently raising on my own and working full time.
          My husband has chosen not to be here because with us if he couldn’t continue to live in sin. He has currently offered to come back and “help” (his words) if he can come back without changing his sinful ways. I told him he cannot. He tells me I must not want help raising our children since I won’t allow him to come back, and that I want my life to be hard. I’m so thankful for the Lords Grace and faithfulness through this all.
          When my husband left we went from no place to live, I had no job since I had been a stay at home mom, no savings, no money, a broke down car, and no health insurance with 4 children. We now have a home, a working car, I have a full time job, a little savings, and great health insurance. I have praised him through the good and bad and watched him keep his promise of taking care of us through this tough trial. I’m replying to your comment because when you said this “He is speaking to us all the time, but often we are clouded by the fog from a controller/manipulator, or we silence Him ourselves by our fear, denial, or bad theology.” it really struck me because this is what I’m still struggling with. I would appreciate if someone would be willing to email me personally about this. there are some things I rather not write about on here yet.

          Thank you

          • Nancy on August 6, 2018 at 8:22 pm

            Hi Vigilance,

            Welcome! Thank you for commenting here and on Sheep’s post, too. It is so good to see The Lord’s faithfulness to you and your children as you stepped out on faith!

            May The Lord continue to Bless you.



          • T.L. on August 6, 2018 at 8:42 pm

            Hi Vigilance,

            Our God is so faithful to come alongside us as we step out and trust Him! So good of him to supply you with the courage you needed, along with all the provision he has given! He knows how to take care of us, and proves his everlasting lovingkindness over and over.

            Welcome to this wonderful place. I can’t begin to say how God used all these voices: Leslie’s, Lori’s Aly’s, Nancy’s, JoAnn’s, Free’s, and many others to encourage me and strengthen me when I felt weak, confused, unclear. Please keep reading and learning from this wonderful community of (mostly) women.

            I’m so proud of you for staying strong in the face of your husband’s (and hell’s!) offer to “help” you. Your Heavenly Father will continue to give you all the help you need as you lean on Him.

            I would be happy to email privately with you. I set up a special account for that purpose; for you or anyone else to contact me privately. Feel free to write me at: tl4freedom@gmail.com



  4. Wendy on August 1, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Wow! This is so well said. You have expressed so many things that I struggled for years to put into its proper perspective. Not with an abusive marriage, thankfully, but in other close relationships where the same type of abuse was present. I too was far too passive and confrontation avoidant. But no more! I have been freed and will no longer be enslaved. Hallelujah! I have learned and am learning how to speak up for myself in a way that is honest, kind, and firm. God bless you as you help other women to be empowered through the Holy Spirit to complete freedom in Christ!

    • mary on August 1, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      Thank you for sharing. I, too, was too passive and was taken advantage of by many people. It all started in y dysfunctional, alcoholic home where I learned that I don’t matter. So, I became a people p!easer and didn’t even know I was one. I was trying to get some love, a sense that I mattered. Still to this day, I have a hard time believing how much God loves me. I have been betrayed by friends, lied to, stolen from, and dismissed by people I thought cared about me when I needed them most? At this time I do. At this time i do not attend a church because of things hat I experienced there too. The phone masks and people who say they will call and don’t, a man tippng a table upside down in anger because i said I won’t date him, a pastor who told me my son that God gave me called focus on Jesus…that God didn’t give that to me, etc. It’s way too much to go through. And, I go to a secular counselor because they don’t tell you to deny your feelings and guilt people with the scripture.

      Please pray for God to heal me because I fight bitterness due to severe trust issues especially with people and phone Christians. One thing I want to do is be real.

      • Jane on August 1, 2018 at 2:27 pm

        Mary,

        That is terrible, I am so sorry. I have found incredible support from my church though at first fathoming the degree of abuse was hard for them. I have a Christian counselor that actually told me I should be angry when I am not (not bitter or hateful) because that is an emotion God gave us for a reason and it may help me keep my boundaries better.

        It sounds like too much of the Christian community is throwing the oppressed under the bus, but there are the real Christians that live true Kingdom principles out there. Please don’t give up. And for sure, stay real!

        • Nancy on August 1, 2018 at 3:01 pm

          Jane,

          Getting ‘in touch’ with my anger – actually listening to what it was telling me – was KEY for me as I set and maintained boundaries, consequences and requirements with my h.

          ‘Stuffing’ my anger was so habitual for me. I considered anger to be ‘wrong’. It’s not. It can tell us a lot. My h was very covert and I had to become ultra sensitive to my own feelings and really learn to trust them.

          I heard a podcast the other day where the speaker talked about how our body often knows we are moving away from The Lord before our feelings even register. Pay attention to stiffness in your neck, your stomach getting tight etc…. Ignatius of Loyola talks about ‘consolation’ and ‘desolation’ – and our bodies are an amazing ‘listening tool’ for becoming aware of how near we are to The Lord.

          I also did a small study of anger passages in the Bible. Do you know that Jesus healed a man immediately after becoming angry with the Pharisees. Anger can propel us to righteous action!

          • Jane on August 1, 2018 at 4:44 pm

            Nancy,

            Thank-you, excellent words. Funny part is, I am not stuffing the anger, at least I don’t think I am. I am not angry, I am sad, hurt, confused, longing for righteousness, and often afraid. Maybe I should be angry, maybe I just don’t feel strong enough about me being wronged. Maybe God is angry enough for the both of us. By not becoming angry I have been able to guard my mouth, speak truth, be calm, and safely get through situations with rational thinking. Maybe its just a God given thing right now. I do believe there is righteous anger and that, pretty much everyone I know would be rightly angry about what he says to me, I’m just not!

            Now the body thing is for sure. Not that I have moved away from God, just the physical effects of the mental and emotional and spiritual stress are taking their toll. It’s been almost 3 months since I admitted to myself that this is abuse and I still can’t seem to eat without significant stomach pain and nausea. I’ve lost 34 pounds, which is ok I guess, I had it to lose. If he is gone for a day it does ease up some. I know it’s my body’s way of reminding me there is a problem, doesn’t really seem to reflect my spiritual state though.

            I do think it’s cool that my counselor calls sin sin and embraces the God given emotions without encouraging them to become sin. She challenges me in very hard ways with truth. I thank God for her and you all for helping me grow and heal.



          • Nancy on August 1, 2018 at 5:36 pm

            Hi Jane,

            Your counsellor sounds like a gift from God!

            This statement is very interesting, “I know it’s my body’s way of reminding me there is a problem, doesn’t seem to reflect my spiritual state though”. From what you’ve written here, you seem very close to The Lord indeed! All while your body is under enormous stress.

            I have experienced these kinds of ‘splits’ too. I wonder if it’s a process that will eventually lead to greater integration overall – soul, body, spirit…? This has been my experience. I’ll be thinking about this…it’s really interesting, I find 🙂

            I put my back out about a year -and- a -half before The Lord began to reveal our destructive marriage, to me. I went to physiotherapy. It turns out that my back went out because my core muscles were weak. I had to work on strengthening excercises.

            When my focus counsellor recommended Leslie’s material to me, my back started acting up again. I went to physiotherapy and she reminded me, “don’t forget to work on strengthening your Core!”

            Talk about a tangible sign from God! Now, when my back hurts I do my excercises, but they mean much more to me than simply “working out”. I often recite each letter of CORE and what it stands for as I do them 🙂 I’ll have to remind myself of the associated verses too.



          • Jane on August 2, 2018 at 7:28 am

            Nancy,

            wow, my back too, in fact required surgery about 18 months ago when our relationship went so bad it wasn’t funny. Once I had surgery and I was dependent on my husband for everything, even putting on my underwear, things were better, for a season, because he was so the hero.

            I have been concerned recently that some of the neurologic pain down my leg is returning and I am a bit concerned, I refuse to go down this road again (the stomach thing I can deal with). I feel like a dope that I did not relate it to the situation! Thank-you. I will pray about this very much.

            The CORE thing is probably my issue too. Maybe this is God’s way to keep me focused on my CORE in all ways.

            Timing is uncanny



        • mary on August 2, 2018 at 7:20 am

          Thanks for responding but I don’t know where this real Christian community is that you speak of. There’s more support at an alanon meeting because these people hit a bottom and are ready to be real and stop living in denial. But what bothers me about 12 step meetings is the whole higher power thing. We, as Christians have the Highest power. The true God, who knows and sees it all! So, it’s hard to sit and hear that somebody’s dog or long lost relati e is their higher power. And, they will say this isn’t a religious meeting but I do say when I go ow and then that I believe in the God of the Bible. The true church of Jesus ought to recognize that this abuse is taking place and come alongside anyone being abused and become a house of healing and restoration. But a lot of churches have become religious clubs.

          • Jane on August 2, 2018 at 7:46 am

            Mary,

            you aren’t wrong. that is how it is in many churches, but that is not God’s Kingdom. If you can find a church that truly seeks God’s Kingdom as their way of living, maybe you can find some godly support too. I pray you can, it means so much to have people praying, loving, and correcting me when needed.

            I was recently told to not let this become my label and to not let it consume my life and pull me away from the other things that God has me doing. They are so right. If this pulls me away from praying for others, intercession, worshipping and doing my job with God first (my job is my ministry) then the devil won this battle, even if I get out of this hell. God must remain my label and my focus, even through all of this. This was said carefully and with love from one of the prophetic empathetic women that I trust. It was hard to hear but I knew it was truth, this can not become all consuming. While I am desperate to see the end product and for the process to be over because the fire burns so hot during these times, I can not rush it, and pouring my entire self into this one thing and away from God’s focus will destroy me. I want to stay with the gold in the pot, I don’t want to go the way of the junk being burned out.

            Keep searching, may God provide your every need, including that for people, good godly people.



      • T.L. on August 2, 2018 at 11:18 am

        Mary, I’m so sorry for your hurt and disappointment in people. You mentioned that to this day you have a hard time knowing that god loves you. I think when we are not convinced of that, it leaves us vulnerable, as we tend to look outward (other people, things, jobs, etc.) to feel good about ourselves. But other people and things will disappoint.

        You are loved, Mary, because you are His. He made you in His image, in love. He made you specifically the way he did, because it pleased Him. He’s an artist, and everything He does is beautiful. You are precious to Him. Unique. Special and treasured.

        I know His heart was grieved as His treasured daughter was hurt in an alcoholic home. He was with you all those years, hurting with you, feeling the neglect as if it were His own, because you are His own. You are loved.

        He wants to heal you, Mary. Keep going to counseling. And spend as much time as you can reading His word and thinking deeply about who God is and that He made you in His own image and for Himself. Sin that was done to you, and sin in you made a barrier to His love. But He came after you, He came to break that barrier down, to dismantle it, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.” He came for you, Mary, because you are precious and dear. May His love break through, convincing your heart, and bringing peace, health, wholeness, and joy.

        • Jane on August 2, 2018 at 2:11 pm

          absolute truth beautifully spoken, thank-you TL

  5. Barbara on August 1, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Thank you TL for sharing your story. It is an encouragement to hearing from you and the other ladies who shared comments. It is one of the most difficult things to do after 52 years of marriage but after 47 years I began learning about boundaries and though he hated them things seemed to get better at times but I think it was partly because I gave in at times. By God’s Grace I am standing firm. I don’t know if this will lead to separation or just straight to divorce but I can’t stand the emotional abuse of not knowing how he will treat me. Unfortunately our children were raised in this atmosphere along with being in a cult like church for 20 years. They are still effected by his emotional rollercoaster and also don’t know how he will be at any given time. He does not see this at all. I lost control 3 nights ago and hit him with a pillow and now he says he will call the police if I ever do that again. I hate how this will effect our grandchildren but they have experienced the angry side of him and they are all adults now too. I feel selfish to want peace and quiet but I keep reminding myself that God hates his unloving, selfish spirit and I don’t want to become like him. Barb

    • Ruth on August 2, 2018 at 11:03 am

      Barbara,
      Please don’t be afraid of him calling the police bc you hit him with a PILLOW?!? At that point, I think most people would have busted out in laughter and offered to call the police for him as a joke. How pathetic!

    • T.L. on August 3, 2018 at 3:57 am

      Barbara, you are not selfish to want peace. Jesus died to bring you peace, with God and with man. You are not the unpeaceable person, he is. You can refuse to live in hell, and choose to step into Kingdom peace and light and invite him to do the same. Then see what he chooses.

      • JoAnn on August 3, 2018 at 9:42 am

        T.L., you said, “see what he chooses.” This is exactly the strategy that is outlined in the book by Mark W. Gaither called “Redemptive Divorce.” He provides a strategy for putting the burden on the abuser to save the marriage. If you would choose to follow his advice, it is important to follow his plan to the letter; otherwise, it could backfire. But I think it is a possible solution, especially for those here who don’t really want a divorce but can’t continue to live with the abuse, either.

        • Nancy on August 3, 2018 at 4:56 pm

          HI JoAnn,

          I haven’t read the book that you recommend here. I’m just wondering how it’s different than Leslie’s advice?

          As you know, if one follows her advice in EDM, it also puts the burden on the abuser to save the marriage.

          Just curious…?

          • JoAnn on August 3, 2018 at 11:40 pm

            The author’s plan is more specific and utilizes documents and procedures of the civil court to allow the wayward spouse an opportunity to choose either healing and restoration of the marriage or divorce. The choice is to repent, to give time for healing and restoration, which will allow the marriage to continue, or to choose not to change and end the marriage. After much preparation with the counselor and a lawyer, an intervention occurs using three documents: a carefully written letter from the upright partner that emphasizes the desire for the marriage to be redeemed, including what exactly needs to take place; a legal document offering a separation agreement and what needs to happen for the marriage to continue while the “healing separation” takes place; and third, a divorce decree.
            There is much more to this plan, but this is a thumbnail sketch. The point of using the legal documents is to emphasize the seriousness and legality of the situation.
            It is definitely recommended to NOT try to do this without the careful preparation outlined in the book.
            This approach is very helpful for those who want to feel that they have done absolutely everything possible to save the marriage, and to put the decision onto the wayward spouse in a definite and legal way. Not for everyone, for sure, but surely could be helpful for some.



          • sheep on August 4, 2018 at 9:28 am

            Nancy and JoAnn,

            This was a really good book for me. Not really because of the redemptive divorce process although I thought that would probably be good too in the right situation. But because of his very long and detailed explanation of biblical marriage and a historic look at marriage customs in the bible. It is this book that explains how we as believers think incorrectly about marriage and divorce. He puts it basically like this…
            We as believers would hold that there are three components that are involved for someone to get married. First there is the spiritual component of making vows to each other before God. This being the most important, and the component that everyone would agree actually “marries” a couple. Then there is the ceremony which is the community aspect which is to show the community that the couple is now married. Last there is signing of the marriage license which is the civil aspect. All this is doing is informing the government of what has already happened. How many times have you heard of a couple getting married and when they return from their honeymoon realize something wasn’t filled out properly on the form? Does everyone shrink back in horror because they were having sex out of wedlock, since the license wasn’t done right? No, of course not because the government paperwork isn’t what married them, God was.

            In the same manner a birth certificate does not cause a baby to be born nor a death certificate cause someone to die. They merely inform the government of what has already happened.

            So, Why do we as believers place such a heavy emphasis on the governments divorce decree? The government didn’t marry us, God did. This is where so many miss the real truth. The divorce actually happens when the marriage covenant is broken and the vow breaker decides they are not going to live within those vows and they are not going to reconcile. In my case, my wife divorced me when she committed herself to adultery and then decided that she wasn’t going to do the work of reconciliation. Filing for divorce only informed the government of what has already taken place.

            This is a big shift in thinking for christians. If more people would understand this, it would take away a lot of pressure that is placed on the victim to keep them from filing for divorce. This would also place a lot of pressure on the perpetrator, because they would be viewed as the one that divorced their spouse.

            I have experienced that all to clearly where people totally see what she has and is doing, they totally see and admit that she doesn’t want reconciliation, they totally see that she is only trying to use me for her own selfish purposes, they see how destructive and manipulative she is to everyone around her. They know that she has said has said multiple times that she will not promise to be faithful. BUT they tell me that I should not file for divorce yet. They tell me that my even telling her that I want to start the divorce process is standing in the way of God working in her life. Sorry, I can see the truth of those things now. I realize that God doesn’t need me for Him to work in her life, in fact, my efforts to “save my marriage” might very well have done more harm. My efforts to avoid that divorce might well have hindered God’s work in her life because she has never been forced to confront herself, her own sin, and she was able to avoid a lot of the natural consequences of her actions.

            Now, imagine what might have happened if the christian community had actually put that pressure on her for abandoning her vows and her marriage. If they would have stood as one and said “by your actions, you have divorced your husband” we give him our full support, and you will get no comfort or support from us until you repent. Because… that is what love should look like in this situation. Be kind? yes. But let us not allow the sinner to be comfortable in their sin. This is the heart of church discipline. Repentance for the sinner and purity for the church.

            Oh, by the way, it would also go an awful long way toward supporting the victim.



          • JoAnn on August 4, 2018 at 11:01 am

            Sheep, thank you so much for this!! You have articulated so well what some of the main issues around divorce are, and also what helped you from that book. A divorce decree is simply informing the government, and the community, of what has already taken place. YES!! A wonderful paradigm shift. Thank you for writing.



          • Nancy on August 4, 2018 at 11:47 am

            JoAnn and sheep,

            Thank you for expanding. I really like this, “by your actions, you have divorced your husband” YES.

            For the more covert, neglectful, chronically avoidant spouse who has not ‘done anything wrong’, I would add,

            ” by your attitude of neglect and self-protection, you have divorced your spouse”.



        • T.L. on August 4, 2018 at 11:42 am

          Sheep and JoAnn,

          Thank you both for what you wrote here. Sheep. I haven’t had time to respond to your response to my posting, but my heart goes out to you. I am so sorry for the horrible way you have been disrespected. I am so glad the Lord has illuminated your heart and mind, and given you the freedom to distance yourself from your abuser. Your words here recently are so very helpful. Thank you for that.

          And JoAnn, as always, you are full of such seasoned wisdom and grace as you help people out of “mind traps.” I appreciate this book recommendation from you both. Thanks for explaining the process to everyone. I wish I had read it before proceeding, as that process seems to “force” both the spouses and onlookers to deal with the truth of the situation. Blows away all the smoke and mirrors that manipulators are so skilled with.

          • T.L. on August 4, 2018 at 11:47 am

            Just wanted to add to that, Sheep, that I’m sorry you have people making false judgments about your situation. I’m so glad you can see through the faulty thinking. Praise God for clarity! He wants to rescue his sheep, not condemn them to misery and abuse.



          • JoAnn on August 4, 2018 at 11:49 am

            Thank you, T.L. for your kind, affirming words. I love this community!



          • Aly on August 4, 2018 at 3:56 pm

            Sheep,

            This is so very spot on and seems to be such a repetitive pattern that many of us have faced when doing the ‘right and healthy thing’ to bring about the best chance of true repair.

            You said this:
            “This is a big shift in thinking for christians. If more people would understand this, it would take away a lot of pressure that is placed on the victim to keep them from filing for divorce. This would also place a lot of pressure on the perpetrator, because they would be viewed as the one that divorced their spouse.”

            This is so correct! Why do so many fall trap to not wanting to see the offender as the offender, and continue to put more responsibility in the one who has been betrayed or abandoned?

            I believe this grieves the Lord!
            Not only does he see someone hurting and dealing with the loss of the marriage vows, but to added burden and guilt upon someone who is not the perpetrator is additionally traumatic and can cause more harm in the healing process.

            Why are so many people Ill-informed, I’ll-equipped to take a full comphrensive view of these issues, even the complicated marriages?

            It’s seems to me that many ‘within the church’ claim to have a Christian biblical marriage view point really don’t, what they have is a worldly point of the civil aspect that you mentioned about the marriage license for the government.

            Also the biblical viewpoint seems to be used based on convenience not on accuracy of covenant vows.

            Sheep, I’m sorry there are some people who won’t be able to offer their support or encouragement based on their ignorance, my prayer for you is that you will stand firm in your truth and your situation. Don’t dialog with these individuals, instead offer them your post here ‘above’ and see if they are willing to be safe and certainly a bit mature spiritually for such a place to dialog.

            If they can’t get through your ‘short example here’ then clearly they can’t interpret clearly what you are bringing to light about God’s truth and design about vows.

            Why are so many individuals resistant to this type of study or information on a subject that is all so critical of our communities and individual families?



          • sheep on August 4, 2018 at 6:30 pm

            Aly,

            You ask “Why do so many fall trap to not wanting to see the offender as the offender, and continue to put more responsibility in the one who has been betrayed or abandoned?”

            It has taken a long time to see it, but the answer really isn’t very complicated. It’s because it is easier. It’s hard to confront the sinner. It’s hard to take a stand against someone, knowing that their relationship with that person would be in great jeopardy. It’s hard to “choose sides” especially when the choice is obvious because that will mean that actually have to stand against that person. It’s hard to confront someone that they instinctually know is going to reject what they have to say anything.

            On the other hand, it is easy to tell the person that is already trying, to try harder. It is easy to lay an unintentional spiritual guilt trip on someone that actually cares about doing right in the sight of God. It is easy to say you don’t want to choose sides, but still pressure the abused to continue to put up with it. And these things are easy for them to do because they really don’t understand the depth of the abuse problem. They can’t really identify with the victim because they have no context in their own live to draw off of. Even with adultery, they really cant imagine the pain of seeing their spouse with another person. They cant imagine the depth of the pain that comes with knowing their spouse has rejected them for another. They cant understand what it feels like for their spouse to be sharing intimate conversations, stolen kisses, inside jokes, and weekend getaways with someone else. Until you experience it, you really cant fathom it. Therefore, pressing the victim instead of the perpetrator is a way for them to continue to live in ignorance of that pain. It is a way to keep the dream of marriage alive when it is really dead. They want to hope that it is going to be healed and to do that they have to keep telling themselves that it is still alive, which would mean that the perpetrator hasn’t already killed it.

            The marriage is dead, the vows broken, the covenant shattered. But it it victim informs the government of that fact, it makes it official. It is living in denial.



          • Aly on August 5, 2018 at 6:20 am

            Sheep,

            I’m not sure this is posting in alignment.

            Anyway, thank you for your response and yes I agree with you on what ‘is easier’ for those who need a simple answer and that answer has ‘Their own personal issues linked to it’ …

            This is deeply costly to our communities as a whole, how can this not stump emotional and spiritual growth?

            In the podcast that Nancy posted and Dr. Clark outlines such important steps in exposing and walking through Matt 18.
            And that doesn’t even have to be a marriage to apply that process to.

            Even those that came together to crucify Jesus, did so as even those groups were not on good terms but they had a ‘common enemy’ and that was enough for them to move forward with more resistance to truth, the truth that they don’t want to embrace about themselves.



  6. Bestill on August 1, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Thank you for this post. My story is so incredibly similar. Pastor and leader of a missions ministry. But thankfully mine only lasted 11 years. Thankful for you sharing your story. Would like to know how you or others in similar situations have been able to sit under the authority of those in the church again. I struggle to trust.

    • T.L. on August 1, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Hi Bestill, this is another area I know I am unusually blessed in, as I am in a wonderful church with a pastor who cares about the oppressed, understands my situation, believes me, and supports me. And there are at least 2 other local churches that would have been the same supportive environment. Woe to the churches who stand with the oppressors, rather than the oppressed. It is so important to be in prayer and have your radar out as you look for a healthy, nurturing, supportive church.

      • Anon on August 8, 2018 at 12:56 am

        T.L. thank you for sharing your story. Would you be willing to contact me? bes1156@outlook.com. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanking God that you found the grace and strength to escape. The Lord is good.

        • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 4:05 am

          Thanks for your email. I contacted you. For anyone else who wants to get in touch, I can be reached at tf4freedom@gmail.com

  7. Mindy on August 1, 2018 at 9:51 am

    I love this post because of your faithfulness to the Lord. So many years of trial and you remained grounded in God. This morning I was meditating on Phil 4:12

    I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

    Intellectually I know that life’s trials can be survived with God. The love of Jesus is the great secret. Still my heart is so broken. Today I called a lawyer. Knowing I had to do this caused me to break down last night. I want things to work out and I really want to go home. I feel pressure to say he will never change and I should divorce. I am just not ready for this! I need more time and it has to be my decision. I’ve suffered before in life but this feels like death. Jesus don’t leave me.

    • T.L. on August 1, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Hi Mindy, I don’t know your whole story, but I know that we each have to walk our own path at our own pace.

      You need supportive people around you to reflect truth back to you, because abuse is crazy-making, and we get in a fog of confusion. We don’t see clearly, and we prioritize our spouse’s feelings above our own safety and sanity, which is not godly stewardship of the gift of our own souls. But I hope the people who are trying to support you will honor your need to make your own choices in your own timing. After being dominated and by another, it takes some time to be able to make our own choices. Its scary to do so. It feels like dying because our hope and dream of a godly marriage is dying. That’s sad. But we can’t fix it. There is grieving involved, and that’s ok. Just take one step at a time toward light, truth, and health. Your Father will meet you at every step.

      • Anon on August 8, 2018 at 1:08 am

        “We prioritize our spouse’s feelings above our own safety and sanity, which is not godly stewardship of the gift of our own souls.” This is so true and convicting.

    • Kristine on August 1, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Then wait. God will give you assurance when His timing is right. It took me 4 years to move from “I’m not leaving” to moving out. Just focus in n yourself, getting close to God and leaning on Him, and being careful to hold counsel up to God’s Wird. There are a lot of religious blind guides out there who will heap on guilt and shame.

      • Mindy on August 1, 2018 at 1:14 pm

        Thank you TL and Kristine. I’m feeling better. I saw my therapist and remembered why I left in the first place. My husband wants me to be addicted and severely depressed. When I really started getting better it became a problem. When I left he told me all my doctors know I’m crazy and they won’t help me. He also called the police and told them I was a danger to myself. It’s nice to feel stronger in the knowledge that those are lies. Like maybe I really can handle this.

        • Aly on August 11, 2018 at 8:55 am

          Jane,

          I’m posting something that Mindy wrote, it makes me really appreciate yet again this blog where we can expose things that are so very toxic. I can only imagine the agony of what she is up against and I continued pray for her safety.

          Mindy wrote:
          “My husband wants me to be addicted and severely depressed. When I really started getting better it became a problem. When I left he told me all my doctors know I’m crazy and they won’t help me. He also called the police and told them I was a danger to myself. It’s nice to feel stronger in the knowledge that those are lies.”

          Talk about such a smear campaign as this gal gets stronger and wiser… it is such an outrage to see this ‘abuser’ will abuse at any length to keep things ‘status quo’.

          This really is an evil power tactic and it’s very alarming to me.
          What this h is doing is circling the wagon and trying to begin a narrative of lies to others before his character and abusive choices are exposed by his own doing!
          This is traumatic for the victim/survivor because it’s so painful to accept the destructive lengths a spouse will go to … in order to draw them back into the relationship when they sense things are changing and out of their abusive control.

          The only danger needing to be reported is the danger of his distorted reality and his entitlement of control upon another person!

    • Jane on August 1, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      Mindy,

      It’s not over, you just started your journey. One step at a time. No one knows the end in this case, just the numbers and probability. Only God knows! Grow, learn and be open to others but decisions have to be yours and only when you are ready. Don’t avoid them because they are hard, they are not going to get any less hard, but wait until you have the strength.

      • Mindy on August 1, 2018 at 2:15 pm

        Thank you Jane. I really want my clothes so I hope I will find the strength to go get them soon. I really would prefer to avoid all of these awful decisions. That’s how my mom got through it.

  8. Leslie C on August 1, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Thank you so much TL for this beautiful testimony! God is enough! I too suffered from abuse, and there is nothing better than the sensation of God lifting you from the miry clay and putting your feet on solid ground. Leslie V, God Bless you for holding up his light to lead us out of darkness!

  9. Kristine on August 1, 2018 at 10:27 am

    This is post is—I can’t find the right words. What an encouragement to suffering women and what a rebuke to the “Christian” community which continues to protect and enable the abusers!
    This especially spoke to me:
    “I believe the spiritual abuse was the worst because it is what kept me trapped for so long. Had I not been convinced by poor teaching in the evangelical church about what it meant to be a godly wife, I would have gotten help much sooner, and separated myself and my children from this angry man’s ways. I was trapped by twisted Scripture. I was misled by an abuse of power and authority in the church and in the home.”
    That was exactly my experience. And only once I came to understand who God truly is and how much he loves the oppressed was I able to finally find my way to freedom. And I also love the discussion of the marriage vows— how true that they are so much more than sexual faithfulness. But the “Church” discounts the breaking of all other parts of the marriage vows except the case of adultery, and some not even then.
    I’m saving this blog to read over and over and to share. Thank you TL.

    • T.L. on August 1, 2018 at 11:36 am

      I’m so grateful to be an encouragement, Kristine. Thank you.
      I know that our good God never wastes anything, least of all his children’s pain. It is a comfort to see mine used to strengthen others.

      I am grateful to Leslie for the unflinching truth she speaks, and the way she has given us all this place to “meet.” I learned so much from her books, videos, and blog posts.

    • Amy on August 2, 2018 at 10:32 am

      And then there is the confusion and misunderstanding that pornography and all that comes with that is not considered adultery in the church. My abuser (what I am now choosing to call my hopefully soon to be ex) had a secret sex addiction for the 25 years we were married. We shared a laptop! He and his family have basically labeled me the abuser because he has convinced them I emotionally abandoned him and he had no other course to take except to engage in porn and who knows what else. They actually have told me that all men look at porn and how wrong I am to abandon him and not honor my commitment that I made on our wedding day. I have not found the church to be a safe place. Jesus…yes…the church no. My hope is that one day, just as these ladies are sharing, I will be able to share my story and the Lord will be allowed to love on and encourage another sister with the truth and healing he is providing me. Maybe in a formal church…maybe not.

      • FLGal on August 3, 2018 at 2:19 am

        Amy,
        Blaming the victim is typical abuser behavior. It excuses and minimizes their actions and ownership of their sinful behavior. Your husband sinned by engaging in porn and also by abusing you by blaming you for his behavior. Whatever the sinful behavior, the other spouse is not to blame. My h has always said that if I only spoke a certain way he wouldn’t lose his temper. Like if I danced on eggshells and never called out his behavior or showed any negative emotions, if I praised him all day long, then he wouldn’t react. This is entitlement and yes they expect and demand us to put up with it or we’re the abusers for having boundaries.

        • Jane on August 3, 2018 at 4:55 am

          Why do I still doubt? I was in psalms this morning where it was saying God is for the oppressed. But how many of us, would our spouses say they are the oppressed, they are the abused? I know that I know this is not true because of how God has been speaking to me and because of the similar truths being shared here, but then why do I still question? So frustrating to be double minded like James warns us against! Lord help me, I am weak!

          • Aly on August 3, 2018 at 5:31 am

            Jane,
            Questioning and considering is part of the remnants of the destructive behavior you have been on the receiving in. Part of the nature that you have is willing to be wrong, willing to have accountability, willing to see someone else’s perspective.

            An immature abusive type person only sees their way or that they are being treated poorly when they face boundaries of most kinds. They don’t think the same way as someone with empathy would. They have very underdeveloped emotional capacities and honestly it comes down to training you well, to not battle with them… keeping their tantrum or other abusive behavior from escalating.

            Jane I doing think you are double minded but it seems that you are also early in your clarity of how bad things are and what your marriage has ‘not been’.

            A doubleminded person says one thing, yet does the opposite of what’s right and then has no consciousness of seeing the duplicity lived out!

            You are stopping and assessing your situation and this takes time to process. Be kind to yourself and the mental trauma you have gone through by not having the kind of safe partner essential in marriage!

            The key word is essential because having an unsafe partner is not good for our mental, emotional & especially spiritual health.



          • Jane on August 3, 2018 at 6:47 am

            Aly,

            Thank-you. Words desperately needed this morning. It is just so hard whenever we are back in honeymoon phase. I also read a letter he kept that I wrote him a few years back that he kept, expressing my love and gratitude for him and I was proud of him for pursuing God by reading his bible and praying more. It breaks my heart because I do love him still and always will, my love is unconditional, but my acceptance of his behavior is not. I had been very sick prior to this time and while almost everyone abandoned me, he was in heaven because he was so needed. I saw him as being sacrificial and understanding. I did not understand the codependency for him of being so needed and me for being “loved”.

            My words were not false, but he continues to read it now with his own understanding. I am afraid he will use this letter for fuel against me later, but I hope right now it is a reminder to him that he is loved (I just wish he could see it and experience it, really these individuals can’t properly love themselves even though they over love themselves, so dysfunctional).

            I finally understand that there is no way for me to ever love him enough, nor can I actually change him. All I can do is confront sin carefully with truth and love and work on my own security in who I am in God. I appreciate your loving words that you share so readily on this site.



          • Amy on August 3, 2018 at 7:34 am

            Jane, I went no contact with my abuser in March of 2017. I have finally moved past the anger, I think, and into accepting the reality of who he is and dealing with the “shame” of being so manipulated and deceived by a man I met at Moody Bible Institute graduate school. The man of my dreams!! I completely understand the doubting side of things and you are NOT double minded. You are an empath who feels and cares deeply. You are the person who considers others feelings, sometimes before your own. You are the one who is probably always willing to look at your side and how you could have handled if differently. My abuser would leave me in tears after a barrage of “word salad” (look it up, its pretty fascinating) then I would come back and apologize because of how I might have said one thing wrong. They get into your brain through gaslighting and manipulation. They know just how we work and play us. Then throw in the cognitive dissonance…this man is a Christian, he says he loves me, sometimes he buys me $5 Walmart flowers…surely he isn’t my oppressor. And we are trying so hard to save our marriage because “God hates divorce.” Our poor little brains are so shredded with all of their accusations, manipulations and crazy making that it takes time time time to sort it all out. I just went through another doubting of myself stage after reading some letters he wrote my son about how I non verbally abused him and abandoned him and turned my back on him. How I never loved him. I had to work it all out again…maybe I did abandon him…did I non verbally abuse him??? NO! I did not! So my thoughts for you, as I sit here with tears in my eyes is don’t condemn yourself as you work through all of this. So many other voices can drown out the voice of Jesus and create confusion….especially if you are a pleaser like me. It is hard work and it takes you to some deep places as you begin to recognize how you ended up in this place. But how thankful I am that the Lord has brought me to this place and I see Him more clearly than I ever have.



          • Jane on August 3, 2018 at 7:56 am

            Amy,

            Thank-you. Voices like yours really touch my heart and encourage me to keep my boundaries up. Right now it is hard. He fixed me a “special treat” last night to eat. He is trying to fix the last blow up and repair things with food, he does that. The crazy thing, I can barely eat so he feels rejected when I barely eat of his “hard” work. I appreciate that he has though about me in some way, but I don’t think his heart has changed. I don’t want to reject attempts at healthier behavior but I don’t want him to think this makes it all better. Empathy is tough all around in life.

            Silly thought. Maybe I’m just selfish. I don’t want him to hurt because of how much it hurts me to see him hurt. Is this thinking for real? God be with me today, my brain is lying to me, speak your truth to my heart, open my eyes and my ears!



          • Mindy on August 3, 2018 at 8:05 am

            Jane, I normally let the others respond to everyone in this blog because what do I know about marriage or destructive relationships? (Disregard my self deprication). I have to jump in though. You are not selfish. I am certain that you are a caring, giving person who wants those around you to feel good. You may be a people pleaser but definitely not selfish.



          • Jane on August 3, 2018 at 8:18 am

            Mindy,

            Thank-you. I just have to keep in check that I do good, because it is good, not because it makes me feel like a good person or special.

            My mom was very active as PTA president, church involvement and the HOA president and everyone thinks she is so sweet and kind. The reality is she did those things for attention and power and would lord that power over others. I remember driving around the neighborhood TRYING to find houses whose color was even 1 shade out of the allowed color. Yuck! I remember that feeling of empowerment and pride and yet how uncomfortable it made me and sad for the people we were doing it to. My real self hated it. I guess that helps answer why I do what I do, I just prefer good, and definitely prefer God. Thank-you Mindy.



          • Mindy on August 3, 2018 at 8:41 am

            When I was little (middle school) I used to believe that I was only a Christian to make others believe I was a good person. I constantly felt guilty. One night I had a dream that I was being held captive. In my dream I drew a little cross on the wall and begged Jesus to save me. When i woke up I realized that even in my sleep I believe that Jesus is God. It meant that I was not faking it to impress others. I was so relieved. I hope God will show you that your motives are pure and holy. We know it by it’s fruit!



          • Amy on August 3, 2018 at 10:05 am

            Jane,

            He used to make special meals for me too to try to hoover me back in. It was always rotisserie chicken from Wal-mart, these green beans drenched in BBQ sauce and these nasty Lipton chicken noodles. The smell and thought of these foods literally makes me nauseous. He is trying to hoover you (think of a vacuum) to get you back where he needs you. He isn’t doing anything nice…he isn’t being nice. It’s all a part of his game. Does he realize he is doing it? Who knows. But he is playing his game.
            Look at all the ways he plays the victim, just in this one fixing of a meal for you.
            I read this quote this morning:

            “When the feeling of love is real, no one has to ever say a thing, let alone convince another that it exists and promises are rarely made and then broken. After life with a narcissist, we have to re-train our brain to recognize the difference between what is and isn’t normal behavior in a relationship and then never settle for anything less.”
            I think about the verse that mentions Renewing our minds. We, I am speaking to myself, have to allow the Lord to renew our minds and re-train our brains. Trust me, I am in the same boat. I’m just not living with him anymore so it is much easier to focus on what is true. I am not in the battle of manipulation and crazy making anymore that always made me question myself.



          • Debi on August 3, 2018 at 6:44 pm

            Jane, I too struggle being double minded.I have been reading the posts for almost 2 yrs but 1st time to post. I have been separated for almost a year but see see each other all the time. It is hard for me to say no. My h is a subtle covert narcissist, couldn’t figure out what was going on for a few yrs. Married now 7 yrs. We are both retired. I have prayed for God’s wisdom, direction etc. A few yrs ago out of the blue God said does he honor your marriage covenant, quick response was n I separated in ’15 God said wait 6 mos, moved back in 4 mos, h was over continually, thought what was the point. We had gone to 2 counselors who both work with narcissist, went couple times to each. When asking God what to do He said no don’t go back. Every time I ask get the same response. Both counselors said I should not go back. They are Christian spiritfilled counselors.
            I know God has said not to go back, it is hard for me to not think about it all the time. Am I wrong, did I hear accurately… My h & I talked about a week ago, he asked why did you leave. It’s so hard to tell him why. Explained briefly again. I was so scared talking to him, my stomach was knotted up, felt naucious. I have been so afraid to talk to him about it. I go from believing God & not going back to give up & go back. It is not heathly for me to go back. When I left I was emotionally & physically exhausted. I slept late every day for a few months.He is a good provider, does things around the house, takes care of the cars. He’s controlling, wants to know what I’m doing all the time. It’s the same scenario for all of us just different circumstances, no physical abuse, all emotional, no name calling. I’ve was in denial about it for a long time but realize he has not changed nor probably never changed. The doubled mindedness: he’s a nice guy charming, yet there is all this under tow, think is it that bad, then yes it is. I’ve been doing a lot of hard work on myself & he says I haven’t changed, I’ll never change even if your counselors tells you or God tells you, you’ll never change. I have but he doesn’t want to see it. I love him. He doesn’t care about my heart. At a very young age I was physically & sexually abused by my dad. Alot if trauma, have worked through that with counselors. I know the hard work. Am doing so so good because of God working a miracle in my life. He does not accept that I was traumatized to the extent I was. He says just believe God & it won’t have to affect you any more. Like what’s the big deal.
            I have been wavering so much lately, can I trust myself to hear accurately from God, I know I do, yet struggle at times. I’m sorry this is so long, but I’m asking for wisdom & guidance. I don’t have a big support system.
            I have learned so much from all if you & thank you for opening up your lives for us.



          • Nancy on August 7, 2018 at 2:38 pm

            Debi,

            Congratulations on speaking out, here!

            When posts get so many comments, it’s common for later ones to go unoticed because of the ‘traffic’.

            Debi. It’s essential for you to pray for a strong support system. I’m so happy that you have chosen to speak out here. There are many here that will be willing to speak truth and life to you! It’s also though, important to develop ‘face to face’ support. I’m so glad that you have a counsellor.

            Stick around here. We are for you!



  10. Patty on August 1, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Wow! Thank you for sharing. I need to hear this over and over again that my sin (without feeling shame) is listening to other’s distort the Word of God. If I am in His Word, it will not be easy for others to twist it around. Thank you for sharing your story and your wisdom.

  11. Pauline on August 1, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Sounds exactly how my marriage was and I’m so glad I seen the light and brought it to the light. God has been really empowering me. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Julie on August 1, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    This is an amazing testimony…packed with truth and Biblical standing. Thank you for sharing your difficult journey and encouraging those of us in areas we need.

  13. Kaye on August 1, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    This is also my story, with my husband being in worship team and an elder. Double abuse is a term I learned two years ago. I suffered through “christian counseling” and pastoral advice that supported the patriarch. Early on I was told my demand for resolve ( of issues) shut my husband down. I took the blame and submitted to ongoing abuse as identified in TL’s story. My husband left as his infidelity was discovered. I was devastated as the family was torn asunder. Now I am now coaching women in Healthy Spirituality and living In God’s love and Light. I am grateful for bligs like this bringing Hope to other sufferers.

  14. sheep on August 1, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Wow, great post. I find myself identifying with so much of it and I am a man. Many of the things we experienced are the same. Men get stuck in the same place for a lot of the same reasons. Well meaning people tell us the same things, use some of the same scriptures, and add others to keep us in abusive marriages. We are told to just “love her as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her” I like how the word “just” is added, like it is a simple thing to do, but as much as was possible, I did it. And ya know what? She still didn’t love me, nor was she willing to commit to faithfulness.

    You said something that really struck me. “The vow is ‘to love, honor, and cherish’, “till death do us part” is the time frame” I had never thought of it that way. The next paragraph was also wonderful reminder because I am a person that seems to take responsibility for everything. On the occasions that I actually worked up the courage to try to gently confront, every failing in my life, real or imagined, would be drug out to remind me that I’m not perfect either. We all fail, but the key is our response to our own failings. Do we take responsibility, work to make it right, show true sorrow and repentance, and change? ” Or do we treat them with habitual disregard, as if they are not worthy of respect? Do we work to repair the damage we have done to the relationship? Or do we take for granted that our spouse will just absorb our mistreatment…over and over and over again?” Wow, you really said that well.

    My wife moved out 1.5 weeks ago at my request. It is amazing how much more clearly I am thinking and seeing things now. When you don’t have to tolerate the intolerable, walk on eggshells, and live with constant gaslighting and manipulation, it just makes it so much easier to see things as they really are. Unfortunately, it has also lead to having to deal with a LOT of pain from her affairs that I just had to burry until now because there was just no way to deal with it while she was still in the home. That is really rough right now.

    I feel more at peace and more free than I have in 25 years. I have realized that I really don’t mis her. I do miss the familiarity of having her (someone) here, but I don’t miss her. I miss having someone to share with (even though we haven’t shared anything in a long time) but I don’t miss her.

    I understand your talking about being in ministry. I am in ministry and I am having to deal with the fallout of that now. So far, people have been pretty understanding, but a few… not so much.

    I also am beginning to understand more about not letting her lie continue. She just wants to say that we are agreeing to separate/divorce, that we are both at fault. But that just isn’t the truth. We are separating/divorcing because she was unfaithful and will not do the hard work of reconciliation. We are separating/divorcing because she will not even verbally commit to faithfulness. We are separating/divorcing because she is abusive and will not even listen to that. I am divorcing her because I refuse to live in an “open marriage” I don’t want to go around telling stories about her to “make her look bad” but I also don’t want to participate in her fantasy world. It isn’t good for me or the kids, and it isn’t good for her.

    • JoAnn on August 1, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      Sheep, I appreciate that this is a difficult time for you, but it is also a healing time. You are coming out of the fog, and that is going to enhance your relationship with the Lord and with the people you minister to. I do hope that you have a counselor who is helping you to process all of this. It makes a difference. I also pray that the Lord will give you many words of encouragement as you seek His will. Thanks for staying in touch here. Your contributions are valuable.

    • Jane on August 1, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      Good job sheep, keep the truth and that resolve of the truth up front. I am sorry it is so hard right now, but your story and how you have been able to find strength is a real encouragement to me.

    • Connie on August 1, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      About the sin-leveling. Maybe all sin is equally bad, but all sin does not have equal impact.

      • Amy on August 2, 2018 at 10:37 am

        Sin-leveling…I like that phrase. A good Narcissistic way to justify their behavior and their sin.

    • Aly on August 3, 2018 at 5:56 am

      Sheep,
      I’m am really sorry for your situation and as time moves on and you process the pain of not just her infidelity but her overall character that is nothing short of ‘extreme brokenness within’.

      You and I think TL wrote:
      “On the occasions that I actually worked up the courage to try to gently confront, every failing in my life, real or imagined, would be drug out to remind me that I’m not perfect either. We all fail, but the key is our response to our own failings. Do we take responsibility, work to make it right, show true sorrow and repentance, and change? ” Or do we treat them with habitual disregard, as if they are not worthy of respect? Do we work to repair the damage we have done to the relationship? Or do we take for granted that our spouse will just absorb our mistreatment…over and over and over again?” Wow, you really said that well.”

      This pattern or cycle takes a toll on someone’s well being! You said the part about ‘real or imagined’ and that is where most of the pain I think can be when dealing with someone like this. They live somewhere in a state of mind that is so distorted and disturbing On so many levels!
      They need the marriage for their own ego and image not to cherish and honor a partner. The marriage is scene as an entitlement by ownership, not as a place to ‘give’ oneself to become one.

      You were capable to be in a Marriage, not a perfect partner but you were capable and willing, sadly she is not capable by choice, the dissolvement of that is on her.
      You can’t help that her defenses blind her of truth and growth. She chooses to stay locked behind them in a destructive way that she may think is reasonable. It’s not reasonable for any marital union because it takes the sacredness out immediately and puts marriage at a very low place that does not honor God.

      You saying no more is saying yes to wanting to Honor the Lord and answer to Him.

    • Vigilance on August 4, 2018 at 11:26 pm

      Sheep your post just took my breath right out of my lungs….
      Its for me to even get through writing this response. Your situation without the infidelity(to my knowledge) is a mirror of the way I was/am treated.
      I say it took the breath right from me which I mean literally, since the separation I have developed panic attacks….I’m still confused at times to whether or not I’m the problem not him, which is what I was told every time I brought up a sensitive issue to discuss with him. for 13 years plus I have been isolated from family, friends, church events, not allowed to work, not allowed to discuss our marriage with anyone, no access to the bank accounts all in the name of being a biblically submissive wife. I’d like to add this wasn’t a foreign way for me to see marriage since I came from an islamic upbringing. I did not except christ until about 7 years into my
      marriage.

      When I read comments like yours and others on this blog that mirrors my situation it further validates that I am not crazy. my counselor has me working on repeating Gods truths each time I start to revert back to believing the lies I allowed myself to believe before my spouse and I separated.

      “I feel more at peace and more free than I have in 25 years. I have realized that I really don’t mis her. I do miss the familiarity of having her (someone) here, but I don’t miss her. I miss having someone to share with (even though we haven’t shared anything in a long time) but I don’t miss her.”

      your comment that I copied above are also my exact feelings and ai have always been scared to say that because I thought not missing him meant I was a awful person. I too have never felt so the peace and clarity that I have now compared to when he was here clouding my thinking.
      A few of your other comments on here has helped me also so thank you so much again for sharing what you have learned through your situation, it will help many.

      May God bless you and continue to heal your heart.

      Blessings

      • sheep on August 6, 2018 at 9:10 pm

        Vigilance,

        I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I’m glad that you are seeing through the fog and learning to live in truth. That is powerful. Truth is powerful, first in your own life and then in the lives of those around you. I have been seeing truth for a while now, but really, I have just started on my journey of living in truth. For me this means not pretending an no longer agreeing to live in the pretend world of others.

        I will no longer allow her to control the narrative and say that “we are both at fault” or “there are no good guys or bad guys in this” Quietly going along with this is not living in truth and it doesn’t do anyone any good to allow that lie to continue. Am I perfect? No. But I did try to move heaven and earth to “save my marriage” I did do everything asked of me and more. I am not the one that abandoned my vows, and I’m not the one that refuses to be faithful. All the while acting like it is just the most normal thing in the world.

        I know we have just separated, but living in truth for me means that I will be pressing forward with divorce soon. Truth recognizes that there is no movement on her part, there is no acknowledgement of fault, there is no accountability. Not only will she not do the work of reconciliation, she has never even said she wants it. She has actually told me “why can’t we just be friends that have sex and raise our kids?” This is in the same time frame as saying that she will not vow to be faithful. She was saying these things while I was still drinking the proverbially kool-aid. I never even realized (until I came out of the fog) that in essence she was telling me she wanted an open marriage! For her at least, she had already told me she would divorce me if I had done the same things she had.

        I so get what you are saying when you said “I have always been scared to say that because I thought not missing him meant I was a awful person.” It took me awhile to recognize that it doesn’t make me an awful person to not want to live my life in a constant state of being verbally and emotionally assaulted. It doesn’t make me an awful person to not want to have to have to live with someone that never tells the truth and doesn’t even recognize it. Who wants to live with someone that is never wrong? And really, does it make me a bad person since I don’t want to have to deal with the constant torment of wondering whose bed she is in?
        NO! It doesn’t!

        And, it doesn’t make me a bad person when I say that I don’t want to reconcile anymore. I have no desire to live the rest of my life with her. I will say that there is still a very small part of me that is willing to reconcile, but because I live in truth I know this isn’t going to happen. Is this because I don’t believe God is big enough to do this miracle? No. It is because I know that God doesn’t usually work that way. He is not going to change her until she is willing to submit to Him, and I don’t see that happening.

        In fact, I tend to believe that my efforts and the efforts of others to “fix” my marriage and to encourage kindness and “love her till she comes back” attitude, have probably hindered the “saving of my marriage”

        I know it takes awhile and I am still struggling with it, but you are not a “bad” person because you don’t miss him. But, he is a “bad” person for not recognizing and dealing with his pride and selfishness that have destroyed his family.

        • T.L. on August 6, 2018 at 9:34 pm

          Vigilance and Sheep,

          It was the same for me: took a long time to stop denying the truth of the situation and face it barely and squarely. My husband used to use Eggerich’s Love and Respect language on me: “We re two good-hearted people…blablabla.” So confusing, until the day I decided to face the truth: “NO! We are NOT 2 good hearted people! We are ONE good-hearted person and one abusive person!”

          I also finally admitted that I did not love him; not as a husband. And that wasn’t my fault; it was his. I told him he had systematically destroyed our marital love, and it was true.

          Now that I have had time and distance, I do feel love for him again. But it is as I love other human beings, not a romantic love.

          It is not selfish to want peace and freedom and good relationships. It is normal, healthy, and godly.

          • sheep on August 6, 2018 at 10:09 pm

            T.L.
            I did the love and respect book as well. Actually I read it while (unbeknownst to me) she was in the depths of her affair. And I tried it, I really did. Actually I agree with a lot of that book,(maybe I should be careful saying that, it has been 2.5 years since I read it” however the key is ” Two good hearted people” Without that, it is only an open ended invitation for more abuse. And it does take a long time to be able to bring yourself to say that your spouse is not good hearted, and yes, even evil. That is tough to say about anyone, let alone your spouse.



          • Aly on August 6, 2018 at 10:32 pm

            T.L., Sheep,

            My h and I actually did go through the book together and took the class 4 times, yes 4 times!

            By the 4th time I said to my husband, the very fact we are on the fourth time should tell us something, that something IS ‘that it doesn’t stick’, why is this,Husband?

            Things would get better for a short period, but then cycle back to the pattern of abuse.

            One of the basic places of love is to respect an individual, if someone doesn’t have a level of respect for their partner and yet they are trying to love them well, that Love is pretty empty ~ most importantly without the Love of Christ within!



          • Moon Beam on August 7, 2018 at 7:45 am

            TL, thank you and others for bringing up the discussion of love. I lost any love for my abuser early in the marriage. The abuse was glaring. It was unnatural to love a person for maligns your every word and action, not to mention of physical, sexual, religious and sexual abuse.

            Yet, I stayed in the relationship like a submissive slave as in a prisoner of war camp. I was patient and kind. I beared all things. I hoped all things in obedience to the scriptures. I acted living but I did not have any love.

            I am safe and free now. But I do not have any emotions of love. Don’t miss my abuser, not even once. Common sense prevails, he is an abuser. The term husband never really applied.



          • Aly on August 7, 2018 at 8:20 am

            Moonbeam,

            Glad your free and enjoying your journey! Praise a God for this!

            Some of the things you mentioned above, remind me of this scripture passage;
            “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7”

            Do you think many omit ‘Love rejoicing withTruth?’

            Without truth, is love possible? I think they go hand in hand!
            So to me, it more than common sense it’s truth that prevails, just like the scriptures align with. Just like Jesus proclaimed being truth!

            So I think many want to hope all things and spiritualized this scripture passage and don’t really want to also digest truth.

            For there to be Love there must be truth. For there to be truth, you will see love; even if it’s tough love sometimes.



          • Jane on August 7, 2018 at 8:38 am

            Aly,

            Love this. I wept when I read in Leslie’s book the flipped use of this scripture as to what love is not. Not impatient, unkind, envious, boastful, arrogant and rude…

            This use made me question, does he love me at all, is he capable?…

            It’s hard because sometimes he does seem loving, then it flips. Sucks how they can confuse you so well. I think your comment about love rejoicing with truth may be the ultimate test in if it is love or exploitive tactics.

            Thank-you for this reminder.



          • Aly on August 7, 2018 at 9:22 am

            Jane,

            I’m glad you are questioning. I do think these destructive individuals ‘do love’ in they way they believe Love is and when its convenient based on their temporary feelings or mood.

            Just also remember that when you place healthy boundaries for yourself and follow through with requirements and consequences~ the abuser most likely will accuse you of being ‘rude’ selfish and unkind’ the list will go on.

            Even though our situations are all unique I do think there could be a ‘brain issue’ contributing to these individuals ‘quickly flipping the tables.
            Some people call the defensive protective mech layers but when it’s habitual at such a toxic level one could be wise in looking for other co-morbid disorders going on.

            Not saying to make this a focus Jane, just to prepare yourself for the backlash… because often it happens. The more this gets exposed about them the more the escalate the smear campaign trying to distort all sorts of things.

            They are masters at trying any form or length at any cost to bring false guilt to their victim.

            When they see that these things no longer have power they resort to being the one abused!
            It’s appauling but also, I have to remind myself that I do nOT think like this from a protective posture, so it’s foreign to me to understand why do they habitually do such sabatoging behavior AWAY from truth and growth opportunities.

            Deep rooted insecurities and deep wired abusive thinking behaviors!

            At some level …They must allow themselves think it first and then act on it.

            They seek superiority at the cost of all and all we can do it pray that they may be willing to risk the vulnerable places that need GOD first!

            When we stand with God, we can honestly say we have given the best opportunity for truth to be offered.

            If they see weakness or misinterpret our posture of kindness and mutual respect, they see another opportunity to dominate a dynamic.
            This does not honor God.

            So when we decide to omit ourselves from the dynamic, it’s the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and the other.

            Emotionally immature or distorted/ fractured individuals see this as rejection rather than an invitation to health, truth and well being of becoming a healthier person striving after the work that God has promised to completion.

            If you see the kickback, it’s reasonable to study the book of Hebrews and face the reality that maybe they really are not within the Kingdom postures?
            And maybe even those that haven’t done their homework or have a blocked conscious who come along to support them in their destructive habitual behaviors are also ‘skewed’ and may not be within the likemindedness of the Kingdom?



        • JoAnn on August 6, 2018 at 11:32 pm

          Sheep, your post is so very clear and helpful. I really appreciate your faithfulness to relate your experience here. We all have seen the Lord do a great work in you, and he will continue to guide you into all truth.

        • vigilance on August 6, 2018 at 11:44 pm

          Sheep,

          First off I should be in bed lol I have to be up very early to get the kids to childcare and head off to work. I’m so very thankful for this community of people who know exactly what I’m going through. I literally thought I was alone in dealing with this which is why I struggle so much with guilt and possibly on the verge sometimes of giving in and letting my husband come back home. Its also very disturbing to me that are so many people going through the same thing as me who are believers and their spouses who are the perpetrators claim to be believers….
          What does that say about the Christian community??

          This comment you made is me:
          “I will no longer allow her to control the narrative and say that “we are both at fault” or “there are no good guys or bad guys in this” Quietly going along with this is not living in truth and it doesn’t do anyone any good to allow that lie to continue. Am I perfect? No. But I did try to move heaven and earth to “save my marriage” I did do everything asked of me and more. I am not the one that abandoned my vows, and I’m not the one that refuses to be faithful. All the while acting like it is just the most normal thing in the world.”

          I have to admit I am still continuing to do this.I have gotten a lot better but not 100%. Even in this post there are some things I won’t say because I still feel like I don’t want to slander his name or say anything against him. He is someone that is a community leader or was….and I feel like I still need to protect that Rolle/job for some reason. I have found that it does more harm to my situation than good when I do that but its something ingrained it me(from the emotional abuse) that makes me continue to do it.
          We have been separated for 7 months now, with zero progress on his part to work toward reconciliation which is what I’ve decided a couple months after he left that I would consider(did not want prior to operation starting) after speaking with church
          counsel. I want to move forward with divorce proceedings but I’ve been informed that the Bible has no time limit on reconciliation and that there have been people that reconcile after 10 years….I’ve been seeking other counsel on this issue.
          If anyone has any biblical insight into that please let me know.

          I wonder about this often….since this was me and what I was?still am being told.
          “In fact, I tend to believe that my efforts and the efforts of others to “fix” my marriage and to encourage kindness and “love her till she comes back” attitude, have probably hindered the “saving of my marriage”

          I know it takes awhile and I am still struggling with it, but you are not a “bad” person because you don’t miss him. But, he is a “bad” person for not recognizing and dealing with his pride and selfishness that have destroyed his family.
          “This is what I’m working on the most within myself. For instance he hasn’t called and spoken with our children since the day I told him he couldn’t come back to the house, which was last week. That is what he does to punish me. I told him you’re hurting the children not me.”

          ok, off to bed.
          have a good night 😊

          • Jane on August 7, 2018 at 6:54 am

            Just as a thought. Getting a divorce does not mean you can’t reconcile later. I have seen people remarry years down the road once the struggling or evil or lustful or whatever partner had their “come to Jesus” moment and truthfully and with great work turned their lives around.

            Just wanted you to know you can do the one and still keep the other open to the Lord. You need to do what the Lord is leading you to, not what the church, this forum (no offense guys), or your family are telling you to do. Just be sure what you are hearing is God’s voice and that it aligns with His Word. This forum is amazingly helpful for that as is Leslie’s book as, if you were trained with scriptures tossed out of context at you as I was, it can be difficult to understand what the scriptures are really saying.

            I love that this forum does not throw scriptures around as much as debunk myths around them by highlighting the very character of God and how the misuse of certain scriptures is not in alignment with the very personhood of our Lord and Savior. This has been huge for me and I am grateful for the support that I receive here. I hope you find the same support and love to be as helpful if not more so.



          • Moon Beam on August 7, 2018 at 7:55 am

            He was hurting the children when he lived there by not honoring you. His abusive behaviors are in their subconscious covertly affecting their brain. Whether at home or away he hurts the children. Nothing has changed. Him not calling the children is just an obvious symptom of his selfishness and sickness. Either way he is a bad parent. Your children need at least one good and healthy parent to survive. You are that parent, not him.



          • Aly on August 7, 2018 at 8:06 am

            Moon beam,

            Good post and very clear! I agree.

            It’s important to dialog about the behavior you are seeing and experiencing-away from him Vigilance.

            It can be a good perspective to see that what someone ‘says’ isn’t what they do in behavior.
            And treating your children the way he has shows that he is off way off in his pity party.

            Many of us know first hand the pain of a husband or someone else projecting negative behaviors upon an innocent person. It just goes to show just how far away from maturity this individual is.

            You are enough as well as directly them to the Lord each day for comfort and encouragement! You can hold them close and grieve with them.
            Most of all be consistent and it be that most likely your more hurt by his actions than they are in actuality of them especially if he’s been in such a destructive place toward you.



        • JoAnn on August 7, 2018 at 10:11 am

          Moon Beam, I think it is normal to not feel any love for your abuser. My only word of caution would be that you not allow hatred to take root in your soul. When you look at him from a more objective stance, you may eventually arrive at a feeling of pity for him, and you can constantly turn him over to God every time he crosses your mind. This kind of detachment is healthy.

  15. Lisa on August 1, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    My situation was similar with 30 yrs married with verbal and emotional abuse/neglect but my h was an elder in the church. I had always been very active in childrens’ ministries. I needed a separation to think clearly. Thank God for the resources provided by Leslie Vernick. I loved my husband and children enough to NOT enable sin to continue and to live in truth. Are you still separated? I am now divorced. God has shown me many verses to show how the marriage vows were broken. What’s going on with you?

    • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 3:02 am

      Hi Lisa,

      Were these questions for me?

  16. Cathy on August 1, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    I have separated myself from an abusive husband who does not love and it has taken me 33 years to realize I need and deserve the emotional food that he was denying me.
    I understand and believe that God does not want me married to a man who has already turned away from the marriage.
    God is my Protector and I am leaning on His map for my life.
    My 2 adult daughters have rejected me and this is the hard part as their heads are filled with his comments about me. I do not have a friend or advocate who can intervene for me and this is so painful. I have no where to turn but God and that is where He wants my attention right now.

    • JoAnn on August 1, 2018 at 6:23 pm

      Cathy, a good marriage and family therapist might be able to help you to have a healing interaction with your daughters, and also to help you heal. You have a lot of history to overcome and heal from. Get help.

  17. Casey on August 1, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I felt like I was reading the story of my life. Tears streaming down my face as I read her eloquent words. My story also included physical abuse. I’m encouraged by her words and God’s desire to come to the rescue of the oppressed. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Barbara B on August 1, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Truly we have an awesome God who shepherds our souls with faithful and true words of life! Your story reads like a miracle story, TL! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m curious about one thing. How is it that your husband’s coworkers and your church were so ready and so equipped to support you? What had they done over the years to prepare themselves to respond so beautifully and correctly to your need?

    I think the question of passivity is a hard question to answer. Sometimes for safety it seems better to walk on eggshells and avoid confrontation, which could be seen as passivity. Timing seems important, too. I can see how the Lord might say to a person, “Right now, pick up your things and your children and leave!” But at other times He might direct a person to keep her head down for the time being and that He will show her when it is safe to leave. In the second scenario, I think the wife might look passive, but in reality she is actively seeking and following the Lord just as the wife in the first scenario is doing. It’s complicated.

    Recently the Lord has clarified for me an important point about submission. He said, “Submission is not a role. Submission is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. A role can never do what only the Holy Spirit can do.”

    I am in a community of believers who mostly follow the Piper system of complementarian roles. That teaching always bothered me, but I never understood why until the Lord showed me that living by a role is not biblical! I think it’s so much better to ask for the Lord’s direction rather than live by the rules of roles. Asking God what to do next is always an active posture, never passive, whether He says stay or leave, speak or remain silent.

    • Seeing The Light on August 1, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Barbara B,

      You are so right about roles. This resonated for me because my stbx is obsessed with roles. After our relationship was long dead and his relationships with the children were dying, he refused to talk about relationship, love, warmth, empathy, etc. All he wanted was everyone to just obey their roles. If everyone would just live inside their role, we would all be happy, everything would be good. It was so eye-opening to hear him talk this way.

    • T.L. on August 6, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Barbara B.

      I hope you’ll see this delayed response to your question. For the sake of space (my post was already so long!) I did condense some things. The first person I reached out to was one of my husband’s closest friends, a former elder of our former church. He is a kind, loving, gentle man. By the time I reached out to him, I had prepared myself well. I knew what I needed to say and I was very open, blunt, and clear. I told what had actually been going on in my home all those years, what kind of a man my husband was at home (bully, dictatorial, inconsiderate, angry, etc.) and examples of his behavior. I followed the description up with, “…and if he doesn’t get help, I consider my marriage terminal, because I can not do this anymore.” That shook him up, and he confronted him over a long phone call. Assurances were given, but in short order I could see that no change was happening, and the friend had receded into the background. I called him again and made the statement I mentioned in my story above. After explaining that nothing was happening, I told him: “I know he is your brother, but I am your SISTER. And I need your help.” He said later that that motivated him to action, and he got a 2nd friend involved. I wrote them and our mission agency emails and spoke over the phone, sharing what God had taught me through Leslie, Chris Moles, Patrick Doyle, and Diane Langberg. As my husband was confronted, addict-type behaviors were clearly exposed: minimizing, justifying, spiritualizing, denying. It was pretty shocking to everyone, and made it all very obvious and convincing.

      In short, I think it had less to do with them preparing themselves, and more to do with God’s equipping of me as a spokesperson for truth as I became clear and shared what I had learned effectively. (Which really was a work of God after all those years of paralyzing confusion.)

      I really like what you said about roles. People hide behind roles, and that is not God’s heart. His heart is relational intimacy and authenticity.

      I think the best enemy of complimentarianism is complimentarian men! They are inadvertently dismantling the concept by their own unchristlike behavior. Its rather obvious that most in this camp are invested in retaining that power, not divesting themselves of power like Jesus did. (Phpp 2:5-8)

      I have some more thoughts on submission I’d love to write about later…

      • Barbara B on August 7, 2018 at 6:33 pm

        Thanks for your reply, TL. What I hear in your story is that you did not approach your church family for help in deciding what to do. You had already decided in advance what your plan was and you asked for their help in implementing the plan. I think your approach is much better than asking “Help me, what should I do?” because first of all, no one really knows what to do besides the Lord and you have to hear Him for yourself. Secondly, if you ask 10 people in the church what to do, you will get 11 different answers and then you are worse off than before. Making your plan in advance seems like the best way to garner both the church’s
        support and concrete help in confronting the erring spouse.

        • Jane on August 7, 2018 at 6:46 pm

          Barbara,

          Excellent point! Going to my church, while loving and supportive, they have no clue what to do or how to proceed really. I think if you have a spiritually sound plan and they are receptive to the truth and the Holy Spirit, you are more likely to get the help you need.

          But you also have to be willing to ask for the help you need. My church is helping me to finance my counselor as it is hard to hide the money I need from my husband and its a cost I really cant afford. I did not ask for this, one of the elders wanted to, even before she knew the entire story. I was hesitant to accept the help because I feel like there are so many other people that could use the money. But they want to bless me, I could use the blessing, and they could use the blessing they will receive for blessing, so I chose to humble my pride of “I can do it” and I am grateful for their help.

        • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 3:27 am

          Hi Barbara,
          I don’t think I had a real, solid plan. But I had confidence and determination that had been gained by educating myself (Leslie, Patrick Doyle, Lundy Bancroft, Diane Langberg, this blog) and spending time out of the fog and listening to the Lord. I couldn’t go to my church because my h. was the pastor, and there was only one other elder at the time. By the time I reached out, I knew what I knew, and I think what I said was convincing, because it was true, and they discerned my honesty.
          When I reached out and got others involved, I would tell them, “Nothing I say is confidential. You can tell (my husband) anything and everything I say. I think he should know that we all know the same things so there is nowhere to hide.”

          I think very slowly more churches are learning how to help. Leslie’s influence is growing. Chris Moles is trying to reach churches and train staffs.I’d love to be a part of that effort.

          In my new church, when I went to tell my new pastor about my situation, his first concern was, “Do you feel safe?” I knew then that I was in a good shepherd’s hands.

          Jane, I love that you are letting your church help you with paying for counseling. They may not know what to do exactly, but they are doing what they can, in that way. God bless them for that!

  19. Nancy on August 1, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    T.L.,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. You have articulated your own journey so well, as well as exposing the hypocrisy of twisted Christian thinking and teaching, that so readily enables sin to hide and to thrive in Christian families.

    Regardless of your h’s response, you have been his Ezer!

    • T.L. on August 11, 2018 at 12:42 am

      Thank you, Nancy. ❤️

  20. Charlotte on August 1, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    I am married to a minister (46 years) who has left me to do God’s will for the past 20+ years … he just keeps doing his thing and feels it is God’s will.
    Now at age 69 I have asked him to resign to stay home and not leave me to hold down the fort and to run the family business. He said no. He is considering divorce.
    I am now separated.
    My whole family has lived in turmoil for so many years. My “ good” family is all split up. I am the scapegoat and not allowed to see the grandchildren. I barely know how to cope with my two daughter in laws abuse or my sons. I have 4 out of 5 children who speak to me and one who is helping me to keep a roof over my head. Two of my boys don’t like me for making changes.
    Emotionally and spiritually I have been Very low. However Leslie and other goodly women’s stories are helping me to face Truth and To see what changes I can make for myself. Like so many of you, I have given the best years of my life to a man who has not cherished me or supported me. Today I want to choose joy and not allow the family I wanted to love suck the life out of me by being upset about all that has been going down for years.
    I am trying to surrender to God to gain an understanding of what loving myself means —-and to give God all the losses that I feel relative to the dreams I had of marrying a godly Christian man. I am so glad that TJ’s kids can support her. My major loss has been losing my children and grandchildren. Four of my grandchildren would not even recognize me. They might not even know my name. They all know my husband. He sees them and is fine that i am not allowed to see them. I am taking steps forward and feel a deep sense of loss in the midst of transitioning into a healthier way of life. I do not feel like a victim. I lived the lie for many years —afraid to rock the boat while I lived the lie. Six years ago I rocked the boat and have been slowly facing reality and know that God is not against me. That is a praise.

    • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 3:32 am

      Hi Charlotte,

      I wanted to check in and ask you if what support you have around you. I’m concerned that you say you have lost your children and grandchildren–that is horribly painful. Are you in counseling? If not, I encourage you to get one. Do you have supportive friends? Church family?

      Praying for you.

  21. JoAnn on August 1, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Barbara B, you are correct: we aren’t called to live out a “role.” God has called us to live by Christ’s life in us. In Gal. 2:20 and other places, the apostle Paul proclaimed that he lived Christ. When both parties are truly living Him, there is a beautiful marriage.

  22. JoAnn on August 1, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    Charlotte, I am so very sad about what you have been through and are now going through. Have you found a good counselor or spiritual guide who can help you through all this? You need to have a team of supportive people around you to help. If you can, print out T.L.’s testimony so you can read it over and over again. There is a lot of help there, and here as well. She has offered a good pattern.
    The last chapter hasn’t been written yet, and the Lord can still make a way to recover your relationship with your children and grands, but you are probably going to need professional help to make that happen. May the Lord be your strength and your song in these days.

  23. Kim on August 1, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story – although my husband is not a pastor, he is a well-loved and respected teacher in the community who is an angry and abusive man at home. My story is very similar to yours, and I thank God for Leslie’s clear Biblical teaching.

  24. Mindy on August 1, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    I left my home on Friday and have not had contact with my husband since. He has an appointment Friday with a DV counselor. I know I can’t go home until I’m sure things will be different. Still couldn’t I text just to make sure he is ok? Advice please.

    • T.L. on August 1, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      Hi all, today/tonight is a really busy day for me, so I will respond more tomorrow.

      But I reslly would like to respond to you, briefly, Mindy. I’d like to ask you to think about how you would feel looking into your situation if you weren’t you. Maybe if you were your daughter, or s dear, sweet friend you love very much. What would you think about the way you have been treated if you were an objective onlooker? Would you tell your precious daughter to “caretake” her abuser? Neither would your Father.

      Maybe ask yourself: what message am I sending if I “check on him?” That what he has done is not so bad…that you don’t really deserve to be respected or treated well…that you will cave in and put up with it. And maybe you would be sending a message that what you have done is worse…you left. Poor him. He is worthy of the utmost care no matter what his actions, and you are unworthy of basic care; you’ll just tolerate whatever.

      I hope that helps, dear sister. You are going to get through this. We are all praying for you, and our Father is your strong tower of support. Lean in hard. You are precious to Him. He is for you.

    • Aly on August 1, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Mindy,

      Why? You are walking in the right path by separating yourself from such behavior. If you get into counseling you will see that your draw to want to text him ‘if he’s ok’ has meaning to you that’s unhealthy.
      Shouldn’t you be the one receiving that kind of care from safe people who understand what your the recipient of?
      Have you looked into trauma bonding Mindy?

      What your h HAS, won’t go away easily and simply. Abusers have deep rooted issues that take time to unravel and rewire and most likely are difficult to repair.
      They need lots of interventions on how they think and respond to others.
      You also have your own work to do in recovery that will be different from his.
      I can understand that your In a lot of pain but I’m wondering if this make sense to you given your situation?

      • Amy on August 2, 2018 at 10:55 am

        Understanding the difference between trauma bonding and codependency was so eye opening for me. I was definitely trauma bonded to my ex. I also had the sad opportunity to watch my father verbally abuse and degrade my mother last night and I know my mother lives in a trauma bond state…and then to watch my father spin Jesus into the mix of his narcissistic abuse is hard to stomach. But now I can be there to love my mom through it and I see the root of my “issues” and why I stayed with my abuser for 25 years. I have tears of thankfulness that so much light is being shed upon this type of abuse. And that we are learning and believing that the Lord has been guiding and directing us into the decisions we have made so that we can be free in Him.

        • Jane on August 2, 2018 at 11:03 am

          Can anyone explain to me what exactly trauma bonding is and what the difference between it and codependency are?

          thx

          • Amy on August 3, 2018 at 7:46 am

            From what I understand Trauma bonding is different than co dependency because with co-dependency, the co dependent is “getting something” out of being a co-dependent. An unmet emotional need in our lives is “met” when we can be somebody’s “savior” and help them. So we allow them to violate boundaries or abuse us because we believe we are helping them. A trauma bond is created when the abuser gives and takes love intermittently and it actually rewires our brain. So we work very hard to get back to the stage where they “love” us almost like we are waiting for that “high.” Then they remove it again. It becomes a game of survival. At least it did in my case. My boys used to always say how nice it was that we never argued. Well…why was that??? I had been trained to not disagree or fear the rage and the wrath…over the smallest of things. So I never argued or disagreed. I didn’t know I was doing this. It’s all so crazy!! I don’t know if I explained that very well…there are a lot of good explanations out there on the web. You can look up Stockholm Syndrome, as well.



        • Aly on August 5, 2018 at 9:17 am

          Amy,

          Your post about. Trauma bonding and Co-dependency is very good and well articulated.

          I think it’s common with addicts that they tend to have a few codependents orbiting around.. contributing to the denial and bondage.

    • Barbara B on August 1, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      Dear Mindy,

      No, don’t text him.

      Sweet friend, could you maybe just do one thing tonight, and that is, turn your phone off and put it somewhere else? Put it in your car (unless you need it near you for safety). Then spend the evening making sure YoU are ok. You can walk around, put on music, sing and dance, cook some food in the kitchen, take a hot bath, read a book —anything that feels like you are taking care of yourself.

      Your new job is to take care of yourself first, and let God worry about your husband.

      I’m sorry it’s so hard. Hang in there! You are not alone!

    • Nancy on August 2, 2018 at 7:10 am

      Hi Mindy,

      Please don’t text your h. I like what all these ladies have said to you. Especially the part about your new job being; you taking care of you.

      This takes a whole new focus. It takes you leaning into your Father for His care and provision, and trusting Him with your h.

      As Aly said, your recovery work will be very different than your h’s. It’s really important to set your heart and mind to that work.

    • Jane on August 2, 2018 at 7:35 am

      Mindy,

      TL is right. What would you say if you knew someone in the same situation? I think I know.

      Trust me, he is fine. A person who puts himself first is going to make sure he is fine, even at the expense of others. Ensure he walks out the path to healing and that you have heard from his counselor that it is a safe time to reengage before you even consider it. Not telling you what you have to do, just what would likely be safest for you.

      • Mindy on August 2, 2018 at 7:56 am

        Yes Jane, I would tell my dear friend to leave and not look back.
        My biggest problem is that I don’t know my husband. He may be super manipulative and selfish. Or he might be clueless and selfish. I wish I could get another opinion but no one else really knows him better. I know the Lord knows his heart. I didn’t text him yesterday… and don’t plan on it today. I wish I were stronger but I am my mother’s daughter and I just want to go home.

        • sheep on August 2, 2018 at 8:27 am

          Mindy,

          It might very well be that your husband is manipulative, clueless, and selfish all at the same time. I have found with my wife that a lot of times she is all three. Unfortunately, being clueless is a choice. It is a choice not to look deeply enough at ones own actions to see or care about others. They choose to be clueless because then they can look at themselves in a better light, they don’t have to see how they are hurting everyone around them. This cluelessness is sometimes accompanied by words like “Yes, I did wrong but don’t you remember what you did?” “Oh come on, that’s not really a lie, everyone says that” “Everyone only listens long enough to come up with their next argument” or “sometimes I manipulate a little, but everyone does that”.

          The cluelessness is just another excuse, if they don’t let themselves know what they are doing, or excuse it away, then they don’t have to deal with the person that they are.

          Have they been told about their behavior? If so, then they are choosing to be clueless, they are choosing to deny the truth about themselves. Which, is just another form of selfishness because then they can avoid dealing with who they are and can continue to live in the fantasy world they have created with themselves sitting firmly on the throne, and everyone else bowing down and hoping for scraps from their table.

        • Jane on August 2, 2018 at 10:57 am

          Mindy,

          sheep is wise! This is why he now has a counselor who has open eyes. Trust the counselor to provide the feedback you need.

        • Jane on August 2, 2018 at 10:59 am

          Oh and don’t own that generational curse! You are God’s daughter! Take on those characteristics and break free from the earthly learned ones. You can relearn.

        • K (who's posted before) on August 2, 2018 at 11:05 am

          Hi Mindy I noticed something in your post from 7.56 am (Aug 2nd) . Feeling tired and distressed, you wrote “….but I am my mother’s daughter…..”, then went on to say you just want to go back. Mindy, are you aware of that pattern in your thinking, and how strong, and negative that self-talk is when you are exhausted? In many of your previous entries her, you’ve blamed or ‘given up’ on yourself because of comparing yourself to your mom, almost like you are seeing it as inevitable that your footsteps will be exactly like hers.

          That’s not true, Mindy, but it is one of the lies that gets into your head, and keeps you thinking ‘it’s never going to be better for me’.

          God’s truth for you is different, Mindy!

          I don’t know if your hsbnd reinforces that negative idea when he’s attempting to manipulate you. I don’t know what your relationship is or was with your mum. But i do know that when you are deeply distressed, you tend to default to the things that didn’t work for your mum in her life struggles, and assume that writes your story too.

          God’s truth is so different for you, Mindy!!
          1. you are your mum’s daughter, sure, but before even that you are a daughter of the Most High, The One Who set the stars in place, and created you to bear His image.
          2. your mum had struggles, and you’ve had similar ones, but you have also made different choices than she did to change those choices.
          3 you have decided that working on sobriety and safety are important for you; your mum may not have understood that for herself
          4. you are not cursed, or destined to live out the life your mum has; you walk in the way of the Lord, and can look to HIM and His Word for guidance your mum couldn’t share with you, or couldn’t model for you.
          5. you have found this community (not by chance, but certainly the Lord’s leading!!!) who encourage and pray for you, many of whom have footprints really similar to yours, and even your mum’s………..but without the assumption that you are doomed to repeat and only receive what your mum struggled with.

          Mindy, when you say to yourself “….I am my mother’s daughter…”, say it without the “but” that tears you down into defeated thinking. Say it with a declaration that “and most of all, more than that, I am a daughter of the Most High!!”

          Be blessed, Mindy, from this sister and daughter.

          • Mindy on August 2, 2018 at 6:52 pm

            Thank you K. I know you are right.
            My mother was actually an amazing person with a very difficult life. I’m just really struggling with the sad parts of her. She grew up poor in a racist culture where the word Mexican had to be whispered like a dirty word. She was the first in her family to graduate high school. When she married my father she took on his 3 preteen daughters with love that they remember to this day. She was a strong Christian and studied the Bible faithfully. She was abused by her mother, rejected by her step father and then assumed her position as the one who took the brunt of my father’s temper. Life wore her down and her alcoholism took over. She just died a few years ago at the age of 60. Since I got married I feel like I’ve drastically changed. I was fearless but now I see myself doing everything to just get along. I would like to learn from her mistakes but if I could be half the woman she was I would be blessed. I guess like most mother daughter relationships it’s complicated.



        • Aly on August 5, 2018 at 9:25 am

          Mindy,
          I know this is hard for you but as you focus on you and tend to your needs and individuality you will begin to see more and more if ‘yourself’ in a healthy way and not in a selfish way…. trust me this isn’t selfish.
          Your abusers or those who prefer to have you take a back seat … want your old ways of interacting back. Not because they are looking out for you, but they need something from you that you most likely cannot afford to offer.

          This isn’t to be selfish but to be a responsible steward.

          I would think, (not saying im right) but …The longing and sadness you are experiencing is wanting the companionship and the familiarity that you have experienced pre-marriage, this isn’t a healthy or safe familiarity.

    • Mindy on August 2, 2018 at 8:11 am

      I know you are all right with your advice. I honestly was not sure what you all would say but it is very meaningful to me that you all care. I will ask the Lord to teach me to care for myself.

  25. JoAnn on August 1, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Mindy, you mentioned wanting to get your clothes (correct me if I’m wrong) and i want to tell you that if you need protection to go back to the house to get your things, a policeman can accompany you.

  26. Searching on August 1, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    My story is similar, six children, homeschooled, abused in many ways, betrayed….. my question is, how do I leave? I can’t abandon the children. Do I have to take it through the court system? We both want the children. The children so want us to be a complete family….but it’s marital chaos on a daily basis.

    • Lisa on August 2, 2018 at 11:48 pm

      I feel your pain. Question for you – what are your children being taught through watching about marriage?

      • Moon Beam on August 3, 2018 at 6:59 am

        Although I have the utmost respect for homeschooling. I agree that the best first step is to stop homeschooling. Getting them out if your destructive home environment for a number of hours a day will help them transportation into a new life. Yes, public school may not sit well with you. Yet, when you leave, you will probably need to work to support the family.

        I imagine you may resist this post because my message is so sad. It may be too soon to speak such truth to you, but I do it to get you thinking of the future, a future without abuse. It will be difficult and painful to flee your abusive spouse and it will be the best thing you ever did for your children.

        Can you start counseling for yourself now? You will need a team of experts and friends to help you organize your exit. Hopefully, as often happens, you and the kids stay in the home and the abuser is evicted. A gracious and convicted sinner should leave on his own accord, yet he may not repent of his sin for decades, if ever.

        • Moon Beam on August 3, 2018 at 7:01 am

          Transistion. correction. Not transportation.

    • caroline on August 7, 2018 at 8:13 am

      Hello Searching.
      I so feel for you my sister. I have many children and I home school and several years ago I had to take a stand against the darkness of my husband’s hidden double life and I wasn’t sure how he would respond.

      I knew something was off with him, but not exactly what.

      I came to a place where continuing was more painful than changing, so I chose change: confrontation, new boundaries, consequences, and an unknown future.

      I did not feel God was asking me to put my kids in school or to get a job first. I just knew the game was over. I realized I would rather have died than continued in the way we were going , so anything short of death was going to be a good change for me.

      I came to see that depending 100% on God to sustain me wasn’t crazy after all. I learned through scripture that it was God who had been taking care of me my whole life!!

      He used my father’s income when I was a child. He used my own employment as a young woman. He had used my husband’s jobs and small business to provide for me as a stay-at-home mother, and God would handle this new phase too. If I needed a job, there would be one.

      God is not limited in His resources as we are. He knows the details of our situations better than we do, so we can always rest assured He has an exit strategy too.

      My friend, if He has led you to this site and the many testimonies shared here, He is leading you into the truth about what your life has been. Its not for nothing that He does this. He means to make us dissatisfied with continuing to live in the fog of betrayal and abuse.

      And sometimes we don’t even have to be the one to “leave” because it is light that overtakes the darkness. Darkness cannot bear the light. Sometimes when we begin to shine the blinding light of truth into the dark corners of our homes and lives, the darkness will flee, (or at least do something really stupid that he can be arrested for).

      We cant let fear of scarcity paralyze us. If He has brought you this far, He will not abandon you now.

      • Aly on August 7, 2018 at 8:32 am

        Caroline,
        Love this post! It’s so clear and so filled with wisdom!

        You wrote:
        “He means to make us dissatisfied with continuing to live in the fog of betrayal and abuse.”

        This is where things that are SO upside down and things that are twisted need a reset for any opportunity to be redeemed!

        So many are counseled poorly to find more coping skills to ‘the dissatisfaction’ of something that isn’t a marriage in reality!

        So many are counseled poorly and often cause more harm because these things are not aligned and are disproportionately skewed at the motivation of keeping a family together at any cost!

        Destructive families need to be broken up first to see if their is true hope of something to hear good fruit and growth.

        True reconciliation is a joining of ‘something that has been separated’ … something must be separated in order to have the recovery of reconciliation.

        I’m not trying to say ‘separate’ but many of us who haven’t physically separated, must emotionally and spiritually separate or see that we are separated in reality.

        Gods love is fueled by truth and truth is fueled by Love, you can’t have one without the other.

      • T.L. on August 7, 2018 at 10:25 am

        Caroline, that was beautiful and every word true! This has been exactly my experience, too. Thank you for your words about our kind and trustworthy Lord.

  27. Barbara on August 1, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    I am so grateful that this lady took the time to tell this story.
    I have struggled with being in denial and having false hope.
    I know that I now must do spend some serious time with the Lord
    to know my next step.

  28. J.B. on August 1, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing this powerful story and your new understanding.

  29. Jan on August 2, 2018 at 6:18 am

    Thank you so much Leslie for sharing this story. It mirrors my life as a pastor’s wife. I need to hear how others have struggled with those same messages from Christian leaders and lived in denial, thinking they were doing what God require. I too am presently hearing over and over in bible verse how God stands with the oppressed. Sometimes even after 2 years of separation and entering into divorce, it is hard to believe I was oppressed and God favors me and is seeking righteousness on my behalf. I am learning to lean into Him and trust the words He speaks to me!

    • Moon Beam on August 3, 2018 at 7:09 am

      Jan, I live the Lord too. When I step back from pouring over doctrine and talk in prayer to God, common sense kicks in. Asking awoman or anyone to stay in an abusive relationship just isn’t consistent with our Lord’s character. It just doesn’t make any sense! There is no way we are to be slaves and worse yet, matrys. That isn’t liove.

      I have wrestled with what you are thinking about. It is just illogical nonsense drilled in our brains. Stop those thoughts for a while. Get alone with the Lord. Seek him and listen. His voice is wise, loving and peaceful. Rest in it.

      • Jane on August 3, 2018 at 7:46 am

        Moon Beam,

        I agree with what you are saying, but so as not to confuse some of the women. Being a martyr for Christ is when you promote Him and His Kingdom and standing against sin despite being stoned! This kind of martyrdom God is ok with. Self martyrdom that enables sin and promotes destruction is not what God wants. Just for those that do believe in martyrdom, I want them to understand the difference.

        • Moon Beam on August 3, 2018 at 11:37 pm

          Jane, I meant being a martyr to the marriage. Suffering for a distorted cause and a twisted evil reason. Think door mat.

      • Aly on August 5, 2018 at 9:32 am

        Moonbeam,

        This is well said!
        You wrote:
        “Asking awoman or anyone to stay in an abusive relationship just isn’t consistent with our Lord’s character. It just doesn’t make any sense! There is no way we are to be slaves and worse yet, matrys. That isn’t liove.”

        That isn’t Love is so point on!

        Especially if you ask someone who has behaviors that are emotionally abusive, asking them to define ‘abuse’ overall, they won’t define it the way that some of us here might define it… because they behave similar and don’t see anything wrong with it, to them it’s not abusive but normal day to day operations. And a even if a person will admit to the behavior as problematic they think ‘everybody’ loses their temper or gets cranky.. everything is explained away and rationalized.

  30. Aleea on August 2, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Re: Friend, how do you respond to the idea that God sees the oppressed and hates the oppressor in light of what you have been taught about being sacrificially submissive to mistreatment to “honor God in your marriage?” Do you struggle with passivity as TL did?

    I do struggle so much with passivity, much as I try not to —especially in person. I think the really sad issue here is that the Bible gives us unlivable and unworkable standards on marriage, divorce and remarriage —sans harmonizing, —sans vast text and context deconstruction, —sans text twisting, et. al. . . .I see the issue as the Bible in its extant copies *clearly* saying one thing (affirmed by thousands of years of faithful Christians) and the logic that us abused people are utilizing as to what constitutes human flourishing as saying something else. . . .But I think the Bible has already lost that debate. The far deeper question is if the Bible is teaching timeless truths. Truths that more time will not wash away. The influence of what the Bible says in churches is so rapidly retreating and its words on, for just one example, homosexual marriage and LGBT issues seem likely to fall too. It seems only a matter of time until God never meant any of that either. —God has those types of vast failures to communicate clearly? —What it says depends on when you lived? That is massively depressing for me because it points to issues far deeper than marriage, divorce and remarriage.

    . . .If you want to see the Bible’s texts in the earliest extant copies available —and equally dated fragments do often differ from each other —but none in the way we want them to: “The Living Text of the Gospels” chapter 5: “The Sayings on Marriage and Divorce”. https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/living-text-of-the-gospels/6A44C5F7C878C1C42B2B3444E30E0E45 . . . . The truth will set you free, but first *it will* break your heart. . . .It certainly broke mine.

    Re: God sees the oppressed and hates the oppressor
    . . .But what does that really, practically mean? God hates and detests all manner of things. Using the exact words and contexts all across the Bible. God hates divorce. God also hates shrimp in the Old Testament (—eating certain kinds of seafood (including shrimp) are an abomination (super strong words), they are completely proscribed there.) —He hates multi-fabrics and bands them. —What are we to really think? God hates mold —Leviticus 14:33-58 . . .I mean, I don’t like it either but. . . . God hates all bodily fluids —Leviticus 15:19, 15:16, 12:2 . . . .God hates owls —Leviticus 11:13-19. —Owls, —I mean owls. God is highly displeased with all manner of birds, which is really weird, because it makes me think that He didn’t make them on purpose, He just started hating on them. Leviticus 11:13-19 “These are the birds you are to regard as an abomination . . . the eagle, horned owl, screech owl, gull, hawks, little owls, the cormorant (—whatever that is —Phalacrocoracidaes, looks like some type of long-necked water bird), the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl . . . .I mean God hates owls? —What are we to r-e-a-l-l-y think about things like that? Does that sound like God or a man writing that?

    . . .What about this: (Ephesians 6—salves obey your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ. . . 1st Peter: Likewise, wives, be in all subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the chaste behavior of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; et.al.) And on and on and on . . . .Biblical injunctions that empirically derived knowledge has shown are just wrong (re: abuse). It sure looks like God asks people, as taught in the Scriptures, to do things they simply can’t live with.

    . . .TL, thank you also so, so much for taking all this time to share your story and I am praying for you too that Christ blesses you and your family exceeding abundantly above all that you could ask or even think! . . .That we have the biggest possible faith that produces the greatest possible abandonment to God and love for others!!!ރ✝❣😊💕

    . . .Anyways, . . .I have been working through this great study: Going Far Deeper: A Series of Devotional Studies in Knowing, Loving and Serving Our Lord Jesus; Jan 10, 2017 Kindle Edition . . .Lord, it’s Your breath in my lungs . . .So I pour out my praise . . . .I pour out my praise to You . . .Help us all Lord to use logic, reason and evidence-based thinking about what constitutes human flourishing. —Lord God, You gave us super strong rational reasoning abilities to help us survive. . . .The key to understanding in life can’t be to shut them down (—especially for the level of claims involved). . . .But we don’t know Lord, maybe it is —is that possible?†ރ ✝❣😊 💕

  31. Jane on August 2, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Guess what, I did get angry last night, and rightly, but it didn’t make me feel better to do so, though it did get me to confront that it is not okay to excuse away my kids lack of helping around the house (kind of a back hand suggestion to him that its not ok for him either, but this was not understood). I guess anger is good in that way, but that could also start a spiral of verbal and emotional abuse so I have to be very careful if I get angry. I guess maybe that’s why I just don’t usually.

    It is difficult being an only parent when there are two grown ups in the house. I am frustrated that he doesn’t shepherd the kids in how to care for themselves or the home, but he doesn’t do it himself so I guess it does me little good to get frustrated or angry anyway.

    • Nancy on August 2, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      I like this, Jane : “I did get angry…but it didn’t make me feel better to do so, though it did get me to confront…”

      I think this is key. Being aware of our anger ( and expressing it wisely) is not about chasing after a good feeling. Anger alerts us to injustice. I think you are very wise and self-aware to realize that it could spiral.

      My weakness is not in an ‘outward spiral’ of verbal abuse. It’s my thought life that I have to be extremely careful about. If I allow anger to get a hold of my thoughts, then I can spiral toward depression.

      For me I have to use my voice, but then refrain from ruminating. This is diligent work! Taking thoughts captive is my responsibility, but I often catch myself choosing / wanting to be a victim of them. Maybe this is where my passivity comes in….

      • Jane on August 2, 2018 at 2:14 pm

        Nancy,

        Thank-you. Yes, I can do this too. Usually when I get angry I get defensive, which never helps, then retreat into my own world of how can he do this and why do I have to…, etc. You are so right to be leery of that internal angry voice that just drags you down.

        • Nancy on August 2, 2018 at 3:04 pm

          Oh goodness….defensiveness….me too.

    • Aly on August 7, 2018 at 7:31 am

      Jane,

      Just wanted to say that there is a difference in ‘anger’ and what I might say is healthy PROTEST.

      If your living in a destructive environment the environment is continuing to erode what is healthy protest in others who need individuality and want to behave in a healthy relationship. Unhealthy behaving people don’t see it this way, because day in day out it’s normal to them to behave destructively.

      Just want you to remember that healthy, firm yet loving protest can be foreign at first but often ‘if safe’ given your specific situation it can be critical to getting your voice back.
      Only you and the Holy Spirit can guide you through this and it doesn’t happen and our abusers ‘accept graciously’ this shift. We walk toward faith filled courage and wisdom in obedience to standing our boundaries for ourselves.
      (Again emphasizing safety here)
      Your h isn’t going to wake up tmr and have a revelation that he’s a taker and he has been dominant in the relationship and he needs to stop doing that. He likes being dominate and the dynamic things are. He isn’t going to offer you your voice to be respected and valued. The fact that he doesn’t have this to offer is critical and should continue to guide you through your journey. That broken place within him isn’t going to be repaired without his willingness to seek it out and get to the bottom of that mindset.

      You can walk uprightly and you can hold your head high as you love yourself (not selfishly obviously) but loving yourself is from receiving that abundance of love from the Lord, first. 💜

  32. Mindy on August 2, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    I work for a fortune 100 company. Normally very supportive and has a ton of associate resources. For a few reasons I had to tell my boss that I had to leave home when I was not safe. I assumed they would be compassionate. I have been working remotely this week but had to go into the office briefly today. I was there 5 minutes when security found me and asked me to leave. They were concerned that I was putting my coworkers at risk by being there. I got a call just now from HR. They were asking me very personal questions and when I hesitated to answer they became angry. I understand that this is a big liability for them. I just think they could keep in mind that this is already humiliating for me.

    • Aly on August 2, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      Mindy,
      This sounds really painful, especially sense this is bleeding heavily into your work. You should not have been treated harshly and why would you be a threat to your co-workers? This seems upside down?
      I agree with you that they have a liability situation to carefully address.
      Support is critical for you that understand ‘abuse’ because as people get involved, it’s common that I’ll equipped people can cause all sorts of second guessing and putting you in a position of being the problem versus dealing with the one who is the greater threat.
      Remain calm and stay secure in your truth! This is why many people here find writing helpful because it helps confirm what has taken place and helps you have a voice of truth.

    • Connie on August 2, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      Mindy, I’m wondering if your husband called them and told them lies about you to get back at you for leaving.

      • Mindy on August 2, 2018 at 8:01 pm

        Hmm that is possible. HR would have contacted him at least once in the last few days. It’s still hard for me to imagine him trying to hurt me.

        • Aly on August 2, 2018 at 8:49 pm

          Mindy,
          I know it can be hard to understand why he would hurt you ‘even if it’s indirectly’.
          But given the patterns and the behaviors he has hurt you and chooses to not take responsibility for his actions.

          What might be helpful is to see that he doesn’t think like you, he thinks entirely differently about the situation especially if he is using manipulative tactics to attempt control or whatever drives his insecurities.

          His actions or behaviors are not your responsibility. Because you seem to be more worried about him and how’s hes doing through all of this, I want you to think about that and see if it’s disproportionate?

          He’s not going to think or act like you or I might.
          Takers take, givers give.
          Not trying to say they can’t be helped but just trying to simplify.

          Don’t you think if he’s going to be able to cause chaos and destructive behaviors in your marriage, that he’s highly Capable of twisting the scenario to cover himself or save face to his work environment?

          It’s very common for abusers who abuse to turn the table quickly on their victim and blame their victim to try to entangle more cohersion and isolate the victim.

          • Mindy on August 3, 2018 at 7:01 am

            Thank you Aly. I pray that I could see the truth. For now I struggle from one minute to the next trying to understand what his intentions are. There are very few instances that I can recognize as being definitely manipulative or destructive. It is so confusing. I try to hang on to the few times when he was clearly selfish or mean. I don’t want to hold a grudge. I just want to understand what is really happening. It makes me feel crazy or stupid.



          • Nancy on August 3, 2018 at 7:31 am

            Hi Mindy,

            You are not stupid or crazy. Not at all. You are in a fog (fear, obligation, guilt) and it’s REALLY hard to see through that!

            What Aly said, “he’s not going to think or act like you or I might” is really important.

            Because when you “try to understand what is really happening” while applying your own empathetic ‘giving’ thought process to him, yes, you will get confused.

            When you think about him and his behaviour, you will need to take a step way back and analyze….empathy will only confuse you because he does not operate that way.



          • Aly on August 3, 2018 at 7:55 am

            Mindy,

            Nancy is also very point on with what you are dealing with.

            I want to emphasize that holding someone accountable for their repeated destructive behavior is very different than holding a grudge!

            Abusers use this terminology all the time to try to twist the real truth of what’s taking place.
            Also even if it’s your terminology it’s maybe a place where you could’ve willing to see it differently as what is being accountable and responsible versus holding a grudge.

            I say this because I have also been falsely accused of holding a grudge by a long time friend who also is destructive in behavior. And because after many attempts to take this person’s word for it that they will stop the behavior that is harming, they don’t.
            The relationship has dissolved based on this person’s unwillingness to see that it’s their choices in not changing their behavior, it’s easier for them to say ‘your holding a grudge or being unforgiving’ then truly look at the repetitive nature of what they do.

            Don’t fall for it Mindy, your h needs a lot of intervention and it’s not your job to do his work or figure out his intentions.



  33. Seeing The Light on August 2, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    I have so much I could say to comment on this week’s post. It is so full. My time, however, has been short as it has been a busy week divorce-wise.

    I sure would appreciate any prayers for a hearing tomorrow morning. Please pray that the judge would grant me full temporary legal and physical custody with no visitation. Please pray that the judge will see through my husband and also reject a motion his attorney has filed to try to force my kids into therapy they do not need and strongly do not want.

    • Aly on August 2, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      STL,
      I will pray for you! Did I understand that you don’t want your children to have therapy?

      • Seeing The Light on August 2, 2018 at 9:47 pm

        Aly,

        Yes, you did understand me right. I do not want the children to have therapy in this manner. Over the last few years, as the tension in our home was ramping up, I offered counseling to each of my kids on multiple occasions, even up until recently. None of them wanted it or want it – and strongly so. I understand that. They are feeling controlled and manipulated and this has resulted in a strong desire to maintain the privacy of their hearts and minds. None of them are acting out in any way to warrant therapy. They are doing very well in school, sports/job, and with friendships. They are interacting well with me. The only issue is that they want no contact with him, which is a reflection on him, not a problem with them. I actually hope that one day each of them will be in a place where they are ready to work through the stuff that has gone on here if necessary as there may be longer-term issues from childhood that crop up as they did for me in my adult life and if that involves professional counseling, I hope they will take that opportunity.

        What my stbx is doing is trying to force it on them. He is asking for individual therapy for each child and family therapy for all of us to be required throughout the course of divorce and as far beyond as the judge will order. His premise is that the kids are under the influence of parental alienation syndrome at my doing. He will not listen to the kids when they tell him that is not the case and that are responding to him for who he is and thinking for themselves. He has tried to get us all into counseling to fix us. He wants to “expose” me and make them have relationship with him according to his rules and roles. Under these circumstances, forced therapy will only increase their anger and the sense of violation they already experience. That concerns me greatly. My own counselor, who I visited with today, said that forced therapy is the last thing they need right now – that they need to have some sense of control over their own lives, (especially at their age-they are teenagers).

        My daughter already knows at least one friend who was forced into counseling with bad results (she won’t share the whole story) and has a negative feeling toward the whole premise. I don’t want that to become worse for any of them so that they are further hardened to the healing that could come later should they have long-term issues.

        Thank you so much for praying, Aly!

        • JoAnn on August 2, 2018 at 9:59 pm

          STL, I wonder if your lawyer can get an ad litem lawyer for the children who will promote their interest in the process. They should at the very least be allowed to have a private time with the judge, so he can hear them directly. Maybe that’s not done in the courts where you are, but in some places that’s part of the process.
          We’ll be praying for you.

          • Seeing The Light on August 2, 2018 at 10:07 pm

            JoAnn,

            I am told that when it comes to permanent custody, each child will have a time with the judge and the two attorneys. At that time they will express their wishes directly.

            What is frustrating to me is that this hearing tomorrow is the first one. It will cover temporary custody and temporary financial support. He has added this motion for required therapy to be heard as well. All of this takes place with just the judge and the two attorneys and affidavits and motions. The divorcing spouses/parents do not go and the children do not go. From here I have a lot more confidence in the long-term process than the short-term process. Temporary custody could last for quite a while, though, as could this therapy thing so it seems very significant for it to be handled this way. My attorney will object to the therapy, so we will go from there.

            Thank you for praying, JoAnn! My hope is definitely in God in this, not the system.



          • JoAnn on August 3, 2018 at 8:51 am

            The Righteous Judge is the One who is reigning over all of this. Sister, if the judge does indeed order therapy, then we should take that from the Lord and help the kids to be ok with that. The therapist will be on their side, and they can benefit from it if they don’t resist. Take it all from the Lord’s hand.



          • Jane on August 3, 2018 at 9:12 am

            JoAnn is so right. We can pray for what we think should happen but also we should ultimately turn it over to Him and trust His will in this. He will turn what is meant for harm into good.

            Praying for you today.



          • Seeing The Light on August 3, 2018 at 10:30 am

            JoAnn, Jane, and others,

            I appreciate your prayers so much. I absolutely agree about taking the LORD’s answers as His will, but unless and until He says no, I pray fervently in battle for a yes. I find He honors that and invites me to importune Him until I “wear Him out” and delights to answer yes far more than we often expect. That’s how I go into prayer and that’s why I ask for prayer from others. I invite them to importune with me and to seek His favor and the desired answer. So I thank you for your prayers on behalf of my children and me.



          • Jane on August 3, 2018 at 12:21 pm

            absolutely



        • Free on August 3, 2018 at 7:16 am

          Praying too. Let us know how it goes today.

          • Seeing The Light on August 3, 2018 at 7:53 am

            Thank you, Free.



    • Nancy on August 3, 2018 at 7:36 am

      I’m praying STL.

      • Seeing The Light on August 3, 2018 at 7:53 am

        Thank you, Nancy.

        • Sherry on August 3, 2018 at 11:34 am

          Praying for you too!

          • Seeing The Light on August 3, 2018 at 12:38 pm

            Thank you, Sherry!



    • Seeing The Light on August 3, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      Well, it took until nearly the end of the day to hear the outcome, but I got temporary custody. The kids will have a couple hours with him once a week. I also got some good financial support ordered. Therapy was not ordered today, but is still a possibility. All in all, a good outcome for which I am praising God! He answered, yes. Thank you all for your prayers. I have no idea what comes next, but the kids and I will be breathing a sigh of relief this evening.

      • Jane on August 3, 2018 at 6:00 pm

        Praise God, I am so happy for you, I can just imagine the feeling of weight lifted off

      • JoAnn on August 4, 2018 at 12:00 am

        Hallelujah!!! Thank You Lord!! A big weight lifted. Rest well.

      • JoAnn on August 4, 2018 at 12:01 am

        STL, is their visit with him supervised?

      • Mindy on August 4, 2018 at 9:37 am

        So happy for you! Thank you Jesus for hearing our prayers!

      • Aly on August 4, 2018 at 2:40 pm

        Praise for This STL!
        I’m thankful there is relief and comfort.

      • T.L. on August 4, 2018 at 5:55 pm

        Praise God for granting the cries of your heart; giving you temporary custody and financial support!

      • Sherry on August 4, 2018 at 9:38 pm

        Great news!

      • Seeing The Light on August 5, 2018 at 12:14 am

        Thank you all for your prayers and for rejoicing and thank God with me. I am exhausted, but relieved.

        JoAnn, no, the visits are not supervised.

      • Nancy on August 5, 2018 at 7:56 am

        Praise God, STL!!!

  34. Jane on August 2, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Lord, grant my sister peace, may Your Spirit be with her and grant her favor with the judge. Give the judge wisdom and discernment and protect her dear children with all Your fury like roaring waters. May the petition fall on deaf ears and full custody be granted without visitation. Let your Spirit fill my sister right now with the calming warm oil that You pour over her, that she will have deep restorative sleep and be ready for tomorrow. Fill her lawyers mouth with the words to speak. Thank-you God for all you have done and are yet to do!

    • Seeing The Light on August 2, 2018 at 9:47 pm

      Thank you so much for your prayer, Jane. God bless you.

    • Nancy on August 3, 2018 at 7:37 am

      Amen

  35. Sherry on August 2, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    T.L., Thank you so much for telling your story and being so honest.
    I struggled so much with passivity in my marriage. i was miserable from the beginning. My husband was controlling and extremely selfish and abusive. One day while cleaning my bathroom I cried out to God and He heard me! ‘Who will take care of me?’ And Father said, ‘I will!’ and He has!
    He led me through so many books, by Leslie and others, and I started seeing a Christian counselor. I learned that I let my husband treat me badly because I didn’t like me very much. I picked him because I thought he was such a good Christian man and He could help me ‘grow up’! Instead God used my marriage to help me grow in Christ by showing me His unlimited love and kindness.
    I knew our marriage had to end because no matter how hard I prayed my now ex would not listen to God and change. Every time I thought of leaving I would be filled with terror, until last year.
    I am free now and have a wonderful peaceful home without my ex! The first month I left I lost 10 pounds because I couldn’t eat because of the fear of my new life. But I gained it back (darn it!) and life is much better than I thought it could be. My kids are now adults and I have good relationships with them. And most of all God has spoiled me rotten because He is so good!

    • Moon Beam on August 3, 2018 at 7:26 am

      Your last line “he spoiled me rotten” struck home with me. I echo your comment! The Lord has supplied all my needs and then some!

      I suffered greatly in mind, body and spirit I was fearful to leave. The process of leaving was long and tortuous physically, emtionally, legally and financially. YET, the Lord made a way for me.

      Today I live in peace and fredom! My needs are met, I t am well fed in every imaginable way and rejoice in the spirit too!

  36. JoAnn on August 2, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Yes and AMEN to Jane’s prayer.

  37. Joanne on August 2, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    I don’t really have the words to describe this letter from TL, thank you, thank you, for sharing your life with us.i continue to be amazed at how many woman have gotten enough courage to leave after many years of marriage! So comforting to know others have much the same story as I do. You were able to speak the truth so eloquently!
    There was a lot to take in. I will re-read this letter a few times over…
    <3 Joanne

  38. Suzy on August 3, 2018 at 12:08 am

    After reading the first comment, I googled ‘joy harris 60 minutes”. Wow. What a story. Our family was also a part of Independent Baptist churches. They’re dangerous! The pastor answers to no one, and so I had no higher up to appeal to when our pastor refused to discipline my abusive husband. He protected him! So many churches today have a “men’s club” that disgusts me.

  39. Jane on August 3, 2018 at 7:39 am

    for all:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8TkUMJtK5k

    Great freedom song, speaks to me every time

  40. T.L. on August 3, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Praying for your court case today, Seeing the Light.

    • Seeing The Light on August 3, 2018 at 1:08 pm

      Thank you, T.L.

    • Jane on August 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm

      Interesting. I agree with the confrontation when safe, this is very much along the lines that leslie talks about in her book. It does highlight the distant abuser but not the intentional narcissistic sociopathic directed abuse that is not avoidable. I think the same steps are possible but may have to be done once already separated. I don’t like that they don’t acknowledge the damage of emotional and spiritual abuse adequately, though. I think steps are different in that situation.

      \Just my 2 cents. Or 5 dollars if we’re counting inflation.

    • Barbara B on August 3, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      Totally worth the listen just to hear him say, “That’s the dumbest idea in the world!” about trying to be nicer and more loving to an unresponsive distant spouse.

      I think Dr. Clarke’s ideas have merit. However, I wonder how realistic it is to expect most women to be able to carry out step two: Bring in her pastors and Christian friends to support her in a powerful and serious confrontation that has teeth to it. Unfortunately, I think it’s pretty rare to find church leadership that wouldn’t just tell her to try being nicer.

    • Nancy on August 3, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      Hi Jane and Barbara,

      I thought the same things. He doesn’t talk about those who are dangerous. And yes, “the dumbest idea in the world!”.

      It might be wise for a person to have church leadership listen to this podcast before bringing up specifics. Because it’s on Focus, it will have credibility perhaps, with some who might not otherwise ‘have ears to hear’.

    • JoAnn on August 3, 2018 at 11:58 pm

      I agree with you all….this would not be a safe thing to do in a destructive/abusive marriage. There is still a choice to be made, and I think it is more likely to get a positive outcome when there is no physical or emotional abuse. That is not to say that marriage to a “stick” isn’t emotionally abusive, but it is not purposely abusive.

      • Jane on August 6, 2018 at 5:54 am

        thank-you, couldn’t figure out how to word the difference in the type of abuse

    • Aly on August 4, 2018 at 2:31 pm

      Nancy,
      Thanks so much for sharing this podcast link. I listened to both of them and I found them to be very good at describing what I think many marriages find themselves in ‘more than any of us would think’.

      I really appreciate all of the specifics that Dr. Clark pointed out about how a ‘stick’ would interpret things and how that is so problematic when working on issues.
      I technically married a ‘good stick’ that battled & resisted hard to be on the fence of being a ‘bad stick’.

      Had I had more tools I think I could of saved myself a lot of letters I wrote him often.

      Part 2 was very good in that it shows such support for the one offering such an opportunity at a redemptive marriage/relationship.
      This is hard hard hard to do.
      I also agree with Dr. Clark fully when he states that once things get to that ‘very crisis situation’ and there still is no repentance that the inevitable happens! This is critical because it allows the offender the Offendee opportunity to move into healing from the true loss of what they really did loose…. versus being in limbo hoping for repair that isnt there.

      My counselor a while ago said something similar to me regarding my mom and her refusal to face our issues. My counselor said that even though she only came once to an appointment and refused Another meeting that her unwillingness was going to happen in the beginning or six months in, saying it was inevitable when someone is in that much denial even if they give the illusion of wanting to repair.
      Our counselor right away brought truth and transparency to the table.
      It was painful to have an answer so quick, but looking back I wonder if it was for our own good overall?
      Rather than more years of manipulation and someone in the thick of toxic codependency.

      • Nancy on August 5, 2018 at 10:20 am

        Hi Aly,

        Yes, I thought Dr. Clarke did a great job of articulating the application of Matthew 18 in covertly abusive situations that are not dangerous.

        I also appreciated how he did not pull any punches in calling a person who has resisted church discipline a “sinning dirtbag”. As well as how he unapologetically defined sin in a husband as anything less than Christ loving the church. The host called this neglect and I think that’s accurae for many although ‘destructive’ is a better word I think because when a ‘stick’ is confronted they often move into move extreme defensiveness which crosses then from neglect into abuse ( even if it is coming from a self-protective mindset).

        He also acknowledged that divorcing a person who has resisted all levels of confrontation is simply making real what has already happened ( that person left the marriage long before the confrontation process began).

        I’m glad to know that you are seeing God’s hand in the earlier – rather than later – revelation of the level your mother’s denial.

  41. Mindy on August 3, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Evenings are the worst. All I can think about is going home. I dream of putting all this behind us so we can have our life together. Then on the other hand… what he has done to me is shocking. How will I ever get over it? I know I’m not supposed to think 15 steps ahead of where I am but in the evening everything becomes so sad and confusing.

    • Nancy on August 3, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      Oh Mindy,

      I’m so sorry for the grief you are feeling. Cry it out. Just don’t let these confusing feelings draw you toward him. It’s not him you are missing, it’s the dream /wish of a good relationship that you didn’t have 🙁

      Hugs to you, sister.

    • Aly on August 4, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      Mindy,

      I just want to acknowledge that your ability to speak freely about your feelings and what your experiencing will benefit you moving forward. You are able to identify specifics about yourself and how ‘maybe’ this pattern of drawing back in ‘thinking things like..” this all going away and have our life together”, might be where you can see your own journey out of the cycle.

      Your awareness and vulnerability with a counselor and others who can support you (even a blog like this) will assist you in leaps and bounds because you are able to articulate it.

  42. Mindy on August 4, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    I signed up for a gym. I’m excited (my h wouldn’t let me go to one). This will give me something to do in the evenings. Plus hopefully help with my mood.

    • Aly on August 4, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Mindy,
      Such a great choice for you own self care! I agree with JoAnn too!
      Did your h give you a reason why he didn’t want you to go to a gym to get exercise? That seems extreme.

      • Mindy on August 4, 2018 at 2:07 pm

        He didn’t want me to leave the house. At first he said it was for safety but later he told me that other men would look at me in a gym.

        • Aly on August 4, 2018 at 2:10 pm

          Thank Mindy, I didn’t want to assume his reasoning but it was my hunch. What do you think about his reason? Do you think it seems controlling?

          • Mindy on August 4, 2018 at 2:16 pm

            I can’t see his manipulation but I can recognize when he is/was controlling. I wasn’t allowed to go to a store or even walking down our street alone. When the walls started closing in on me I knew that his rules were not about holy submission. I used to be really independent…



          • Aly on August 4, 2018 at 2:37 pm

            Mindy,

            Holy submission? Seriously.., did he try to use this on you while he is also as you say preferring to be drunk or high?



          • Mindy on August 4, 2018 at 2:45 pm

            Holy submission was a burden placed on me by my church. My husband just knew I would follow his rules and didn’t really care why. Getting me high and/or drunk was a very effective manipulation. It’s hard to recognize truth when one is impaired.



          • Aly on August 4, 2018 at 3:23 pm

            Mindy,

            Thanks for giving this example. That’s certainly twisted.

            I would think that he has underestimated your strength in seeking help and clarity.



  43. JoAnn on August 4, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Good for you, Mindy!!! Yes, it will definitely help with your mood, plus you can congratulate yourself on taking this step toward empowerment.

  44. Aleea on August 5, 2018 at 4:37 am

    . . .💬 ✈ 😊 📓†ރ📤 and so my understanding of what we do here is some type of Liberation Theology nested inside huge doses of text and context deconstruction. . . .A women’s “No” to “what the Bible says” or “what God says” can be every bit as helpful as her “Yes.” —No, I will not stay in this relationship, et.al. . . .Truth is found in questions, not answers, in seeking, not finding. People over ideology, or I say it looks like: “truth that serves life.” This is not a story with a happy ending for the texts, in the sense of “happy” meaning neat and tied up at the conclusion. It is a happy ending in the sense that there is an awakening, an opening, a space and a place that admits we must seek and search and maybe — just maybe — find.

    . . . . και ο κίνδυνος που θα μπορούσε να σας σπάσει είναι αυτός που θα έσωζε (and now, the risk that might break you is the one that would save) . . .A life you don’t live is totally lost!!! —Or, the caves we fear to enter hold the treasures we seek —or a monster. Once you realize how patriarchal Christianity was and is, you can never unsee it. Feels like flying without a net but maybe that’s how freedom feels.

    . . .Behind all the rhetoric, what did it all mean, especially if a person already believes in being kind, loving, and honest. Most people’s “problem” seems to be mainly that they don’t know the requisite passwords and shibboleths: “Christ is my personal savior,” “I’m ____________.” Is there really that much difference between “them” and “us”? What is the accepted, demonstrable, qualitative difference between the “saved” and the “unsaved.” If I am sitting on a plane talking with other Christians, am I sitting in a “no-damnation” section of an otherwise “unsaved” plane. . . .Sometimes in a flash, I feel we are all just people. —Just people.

    . . .Anyways, the point is to help break the false distinction between the idea that there are those who are whole and those who have a lack. For the true distinction is between those who hide their lack under a fiction of wholeness and those who are able to fully embrace it. Our husbands are complete, total messes —but so are we. . . .Life is suffering, anyone who tells you differently, I don’t think understands life. That is “The Way” early Christians kept talking about it: Life is suffering. Love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated (That’s what you witness here when people seek to help each other). Dialogue is the pathway to truth, especially when we are *deeply* honest about everything (unfiltered). Humility is the recognition of my personal insufficiency but my willingness to learn from God. . . .so that truth can better serve love, so that suffering can be ameliorated, so that we can all stumble forward to the Kingdom of God.☄🌏📶📥†ރ😊

  45. Aly on August 5, 2018 at 6:04 am

    Aleea,

    You wrote:
    “Dialogue is the pathway to truth, especially when we are *deeply* honest about everything (unfiltered). Humility is the recognition of my personal insufficiency but my willingness to learn from God. ”

    Aleea while I see your point and can see that we all ‘are people’ I do see that not all people choose the honesty you speak about.

    They may say they are saved or Christ is their savior, they may even understand on a one dimensional intellect way, but not on an emotional level due to many reason but usually a deep wound they themselves are even unaware they are coping through life with.

    So have they embraced the fullness of the Father? As much as anyone of us are capable to?

    It’s hard to heal that wounded place without exposing it to relationship with Christ and others.
    ‘Others’ being also key here to help offer Love and acceptance with Christ’s love within them… wearing human skins at this time. But this process is much bigger than I could ever adequately express.

    • Aleea on August 6, 2018 at 9:49 pm

      Thank you Aly 🌠 —I a-l-w-a-y-s appreciate your words.

      “They may say they are saved or Christ is their savior, they may even understand on a one dimensional intellect way, but not on an emotional level due to many reason but usually a deep wound they themselves are even unaware they are coping through life with.”

      That is a serious possibility because the easiest person to fool is ourselves. Even if I feel I have given Christ my whole heart, I am sure that there is always some hidden part of my heart/ or more to give.

      Aly, do you have any ideas on how to get to those parts? I mean, I repent of everything I can think, daily. I’m always open to suggestions. . . .

      This is what I was thinking about when I decided to check the blog —I put it here because it might help you help me. I haven’t thought it through very well yet. . .

      {. . .Maybe the literal “plain meaning” of the texts has deprived us Evangelicals of anything real???

      . . . .you know, while nearly all Born Again Christian organizations swear by the literal sense of scripture as the infallible rule for faith and practice, it seems that only the hardliners take this seriously in the particular areas of practice —like divorce and remarriage. It used to be that all these questions were answered by organized Christianity. —Slowly, these answers have come more and more to be based on natural, empirical facts and less and less on Christian “revelations,” sacred texts, et.al.

      Answers now come from elsewhere (—psychology, evidence, logic, reason) and then Bible verses are added later. . . .

      . . .Because when you hear the plain sense of texts that nearly all Born Again Christian organizations swear by as the literal sense of scripture; as the infallible rule for faith and practice, it seems none take this seriously in the particular areas of practice.

      You see this “canon-within-the-canon” since they must choose and cherry-pick (—I like cherry’s 🍒 too by the way) which text’s plain sense is to prevail as authoritative. The other texts will be harmonized into it, as if some “less obvious” sense, unavailable by exegesis of the text itself, would give a more agreeable reading.

      . . .But where do you draw the line?
      In other words, how does such an apparently innocent device as “culturo-linguistic” method of exegesis (i.e. we don’t have to take the sayings of Jesus on divorce and remarriage at face value) . . .how does that differ in principle from Bultmann’s program of “demythologizing.” . . .If you say this and that don’t apply to us today because of their culture. . . .Well then, maybe lots of things don’t apply. Maybe that is just the way people talked about and how they honored their heroes back then???}

      . . . .Anyways, just when I think there is no more darkness. . .
      The Lord shows me a corner I’ve kept from Him. . . .
      My fear and pride keeps it out of sight!!!🌠

    • Aly on August 8, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Aleea,
      Wow, that was really well deflected.

      You wrote:
      “ .I fear we teach people here, and encourage them, to break Jesus’ commandments and then we give them vast comfort in doing so (me too).”

      To make such a statement I think it would wise to give a couple examples of this and how this has been done.

      Maybe it would be reasonable to ask if others see themselves as doing such before saying that ‘we’ here on this blog are doing so and then add yourself too at the end.

      • JoAnn on August 8, 2018 at 9:46 am

        Aleea, I’m not going to try to address all of your comments. Sorry, but most of that is just “off.” However, the matter of fear. The antidote to fear is trust. This I know from experience. The more I get to know my Lord as a loving, caring Heavenly Father, the easier it is to trust Him with my whole life. My God is sovereign, and He acts according to His divine Purpose, which is hidden in Christ, but not always revealed to us. And yet, He has revealed His purpose through His word, especially through Paul’s epistles. I’m not going to go into all that now, but you read The Normal Christian Life, and it’s there. So if, in all our circumstances, we have an opportunity to gain more of His divine life within us, me, so that I can live Him: “For to me to live is Christ,” that stance nullifies any fears I might have an allows me to live in peace, knowing that He is in control. One thing many people fear is losing control. But the reality is that we really aren’t in control. The only thing we really have control over is our will, to choose either life or death, Christ or Satan. Unfortunately, the default setting is death. We must actively choose life, that is, Christ. I might venture to guess that your deepest fear, Aleea, is losing control. Surrender is a frightening word to you. On the very deepest level, to be totally surrendered to God is to be free. It is peace. It is joy. My prayer for you is that you will get there.

      • Nancy on August 8, 2018 at 2:06 pm

        Aleea & Aly,

        At our church, during our first ’emotionally healthy spirituality’ group meeting, each individual agrees to use “I” statements ( not ‘we’ statements) when sharing.

        This practice develops an individual’s personal responsibility as well as maintains an emotionally safe environment for the group.

        Aleea, would you be willing to agree to refrain from using ‘we’ statements, and use “I” statements?

  46. Mindy on August 5, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    I called my husband. He cried. I have no idea if it was real but he is seeing a DV counselor and a psychiatrist. He still won’t go to work until I come home. He says he is too upset. He says he really doesn’t understand why I left. It’s true that I am not a good communicator. So basically you all were right, calling him made it worse.

    • Aly on August 5, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      Mindy,
      T.L. Is so right and her response I would read a few times because there is so much wisdom in her response.

      Mindy, you wrote:
      “He still won’t go to work until I come home. He says he is too upset.”
      Really, so does this position seem controlling?
      When someone is too upset to follow through with adult responsibilities it is manipulation and entitlement!
      Again you see his choices are determined by his feelings which is exactly what he does in an abusive dynamic with you.. allowing his emotions to decide his behavior.
      Pretty childish and I’m glad he’s made the step to see a DV counselor and a Psychiatrist, it’s right now the very minimal of what he needs to be doing.

      You also wrote:
      “He says he really doesn’t understand why I left. It’s true that I am not a good communicator. ”

      He again wants you to convince him of your healthy boundaries, which isn’t a place you need to be. If he doesn’t understand it’s his job to receive and get help with why he doesn’t understand.
      To then put it back on you that you are not a good communicator is again a blame shift.

      My h would do this often about blaming my communication when he didn’t like ‘what I was saying’ or requiring of him.
      It works like a charm and often teenagers are experts at this type of dialog… (no offense teens hopefully you will be loved well to be challenged with these tactics to out grow these games)

      Mindy, your work in this is going to be completely different, than the work that your h would need to embrace.

    • JoAnn on August 5, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      Mindy, If you have trouble communicating, then I suggest you work with your own counselor to identify some goals and conditions for your h to meet before you will even consider talking with him again. Put them into a clearly written letter, and then wait. But i doubt it’s that you aren’t a good communicator; he just doesn’t want to hear you. None of this is your fault. It seems that at least one item on that list should be that he must get employment and then stay employed for at least a year. During that time he can work with his therapist to deal with the issues that have kept him from keeping a job. That line about not working until you come back to him is a bunch of B S. More manipulation. I hope you see that.

  47. T.L. on August 5, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Sweet Mindy, manipulators manipulate through whatever means they think will work. Of force and anger aren’t effective, they will try appealing to your emotions and empathy. So important to remember: his sorrow is very, very likely for himself—not you! He’s upset that his “bully self” isn’t getting what he wants, so he’ll see if his “baby self” can. Ask yourself who he is concerned about? Your welfare? Or his own? You are not “doing this to poor him.” He’s where he is because of his own choices of selfishness.

    These boundaries and consequences are the most loving thing you can do for him. It isn’t loving to indulge a spoiled bully.

    Stay strong sister. Keep placing his soul in God’s hands and keep your hands off. Work on your love relationship with Christ, and safe boundaries. He loves you jealously and is rescuing you out of a pit that has grieved his heart for far too long. Rest in His arms and love.

    I hope that helps. Praying for strength and peace for you.

  48. JoAnn on August 5, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    T.L., I think your advice to Mindy is spot on. She is very vulnerable right now, so let’s all keep praying for her.

    Lord, we lift up our sister to you and ask You to guard her heart and grant her a clear understanding of who You are and what You want for her. Grant her Your peace through this time.

    • T.L. on August 5, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      Agreeing with you in prayer, JoAnn.

      • Mindy on August 5, 2018 at 7:11 pm

        I’m so lost. I feel like I am making this all up in my head. Maybe he had done nothing wrong? Everyone keeps telling me he is manipulating me but I don’t see it! I know I should listen to my doctors but I feel like I must have made things sound bad. This is terrible. Thank you for your prayers. I don’t know how I will get through this.

        • T.L. on August 5, 2018 at 7:26 pm

          Dear Mindy, above, maybe yesterday you said, “Then on the other hand… what he has done to me is shocking. How will I ever get over it?“ It is important to remember what he has said and done to you that made you say that. It would d important thank Bay you stay completely a ay f I’m him while you are feeling weak and vacillating, because he knows just what to say to confuse you all over again. Shelter yourself from him, give yourself time to get clear. Exposing yourself to his words and influence are unhealthy for you at present.

          Praying for you. Strength, protection, strong boundaries, peace of mind and heart. God has not given you a spirit of fear, Mindy. But of power, love, and a sound mind. Stay close to Him. Lean in hard. You are going to make it.

        • JoAnn on August 5, 2018 at 7:30 pm

          Mindy, maybe when you are feeling lost like this is a good time to go to the gym.

          • Aly on August 5, 2018 at 7:43 pm

            Mindy,
            Maybe also listen to Patrick Doyle’s YouTube’s while at the gym too?

            Listening to wise people who understand these issues were very helpful to me to stay focused and keep the reality in place rather than my vulnerabilities to sway.

            And yes you will get through this! None of us are trying to vilify your h, he needs a lot of interventions for there to be opportunity there for the kind of character growth that would require a healthy marriage.



        • Aly on August 5, 2018 at 7:36 pm

          Mindy,

          This is part of the trauma bonding that you are experiencing in the ‘pain’ of doing tough hard things.

          Sometimes doing the hard and right thing doesn’t usually reap the better benefits until later on when it has time to grow fruit.

          You are being manipulated and your thinking process of doubting yourself at how bad it is will only draw you back in and most likely your h will become even more destructive… you have no idea what he could do.

          A person who kicks a wall and breaks his foot, has some real obvious impulse and anger issues to look at!
          He doesn’t just have a temper he has a serious control issue and wants to treat you as a possession not a person to be cared and cherished.
          This is from what you have written.

          It’s seems confusing because it’s manipulation.
          I will also pray for you and your heart I know this isn’t easy and it’s painful holding boundaries. That’s why Support is so essential.
          Your not alone and many of here know what your are struggling with at some level.

          It’s far better to be alone and with the Lord & Sade, than with someone (like your h) and unsafe!

          Also most abusers who behave like your h are masters and trying to convince you that they are ‘safe’ and going to act better.
          But this is usually short ~lived because they react emotionally and see that as such a reasonable thing.

        • Jane on August 6, 2018 at 6:10 am

          Hey, when he breaks his foot kicking something next to you and leaves damage in the wake, YOU are not manipulating or twisting anything, you simply stated a fact. When you confronted the fact that having sex with someone that is too impaired to consent isn’t right and it makes you upset, you didn’t twist anything, you stated a fact.

          You may have wanted an excuse to drink, but if I love someone, I will do everything in my power to keep them safe and healthy, even if it means I lose out on some of my own needs. That’s what love really does. There is NO excuse for what was done, and you can not make it sound worse than it is, trust me. You have overall sugar coated it and I understand. Facing the truth about this kind of thing is hard and will take time. Do not let him back in your head if you can. Let God’s truth ring as the loudest voice. Louder than his, ours, your doctors and your own!

          Worship song for you to meditate on
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VldoqcqslE

          You are loved!

          • Mindy on August 6, 2018 at 6:15 am

            Thank you Jane. I can see it was a mistake to contact him right now. I was not strong enough to handle it. I will try to get through this week with a more level head. ❤️



  49. JoAnn on August 5, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Mindy, listen up….this confusion is nothing other than the enemy of God trying to keep you in the FOG. Do you have your own counselor? If not, then get one! Work on strengthening your CORE. Find the real Mindy who has been hiding out in your soul. Dive deeply into Christ Jesus, and start reading your Bible. Get to know your Lord and His love for you.

    Mindy, we all have been saying these things over and over to you, and it’s time for you to get onto your own path of healing and strength.

    By the way, if nothing else, the fact that he won’t keep a job and care for you the way God’s word says he should is VERY WRONG. There’s at least that, but as you have shared here with us, we all see many other things that are wrong. I know I have suggested you keeping a journal of the things that happen. If you have done that, then go back and read. If you haven’t, then start now. That’s going to be your best way to see the Lord’s hand in all of this and will be an anchor of reality.

    • Mindy on August 5, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      I’m sorry. I am listening to you all. I reread your posts to me several times. I’m grateful to have people to talk to.

  50. JoAnn on August 5, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    Mindy, you will get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. Don’t be foolish or naive, but don’t despair, either. With God’s help, you will get through this.
    (Quoted from the book “You’ll Get Through This” by Max Lucado, worth a read for encouragement.)

  51. Nancy on August 6, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Hi Mindy,

    I’m just wondering what your plan for this evening, is ?

    • Mindy on August 6, 2018 at 8:33 am

      Nancy, so sweet of you to check on me. I have an appointment with an attorney today. I need to make sure I don’t lose the house that I bought. I have a dr appointment and will try to go to the gym. So hopefully not enough free time to really get upset again.

      • Nancy on August 6, 2018 at 2:25 pm

        This is all very proactive, Mindy. Good for you 🙂

  52. Aly on August 6, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    Aleea,

    I’m confused about your response. I’m not speaking of the topic texts of divorce or remarriage.

    I don’t have an answer for you Aleea, it’s seems to me that you ask a question, yet you get redirected to the texts etc.

  53. JoAnn on August 6, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Aleea, there you go again….getting all twisted up in theological exegesis and allowing yourself- and us- to get confused by all the different texts that you look at. I’m sorry to say this, but we have asked you many times to refrain from writing about these things. It’s not helpful to anyone, and it actually seems rather prideful. At least, to me it does. What is helpful is when you share something from your own experience and personal insights.
    It seems that you are confused about what the scriptures say, or have said, about divorce, because you want to find the answer in all the various texts that you study. You are not in the throes of trying to decide whether or not to divorce, so that point isn’t even relevant to you. Surely when you read the experiences of so many women here, you have to understand that some situations are so utterly intolerable, that you would not feel good to try to convince a woman in a destructive marriage to stay there? I like what Mark Gaither says about this: That divorce is simply a declaration of the fact that the marriage is over, and may have been for a long time.
    Aleea, you have had some very insightful things to share here, when you share your love for the Lord and how He has moved in your life. That’s what we enjoy hearing from you.

  54. Aleea on August 7, 2018 at 6:22 am

    Aly & JoAnn,
    I simplified the above: Some Christians form their beliefs based on Scripture, just like the noble Bereans (Acts 17:11) and what God tells us everywhere to do. Some hold fast to half-truth errors even when Scripture refutes them (2 Timothy 4:3). . . .There are many popular beliefs in Christian circles that are simply worldly psychology and “counseling philosophies” repackaged using Christian words. They do *serious* damage to texts and contexts and Christ’s testimony in the world. The only remedy is a deeper respect for God’s Word and a commitment to check all teachings, no matter how popular, against the words of Scripture. It is my prayer that I will not be taken captive by human philosophies that contradict God’s Word (Colossians 2:8).

    . . .but I deeply love that you care enough to interact with me and I deeply care for anyone suffering. I just hate that people’s marriages are all messed up and ruined and so many wives have low trust and high anger with their husbands. I can also clearly see how the desire to help people would cause us to start leaving historical consensus, leading to text twisting, context shifting, cherry-picking, et.al. . . .People lose their minds in groups. People can justify anything in groups . . .but take those extant copies of the Bible and thousands of years of what faithful Christians said about those verses and you get alone with the Holy Spirit and see what God tells you, alone.

    . . .Aly & JoAnn, —you know what? . . .I am praying that Christ blesses you and your families exceeding abundantly above all that you could ask or even think! . . .That we all have the biggest possible faith that produces the greatest possible abandonment to God and love for others.

    I see 👀 fairly clearly how people get to text positions they have, but that doesn’t make them correct and that doesn’t make me correct. —But as Christians, we are all always doing theology, there are no areas of exclusion. . . .A woman came up to me after a class I was teaching Sunday at church and said: “Aleea, Aleea, I pray to God always: Where is my Boaz?” . . .I so hear that from people who wanted to get married but found themselves single for most of their adult lives.

    . . .I told her I had no answers but I would pray with and for her and stood their thinking. . . .Life is just so much suffering and you have to cope with the disappointment of not getting married just like those here have to cope with the opposite.

    —How do we go deeper and deeper with Christ, to me that’s the question. Awe, love, and wonder, and a much more fulfilling, spiritually enriching, and overall more satisfying relationship with Christ!!!ރ✝❣

    JoAnn, I’ll pray to God about my pride and sin issues . . .and I thank you so much for having the love for me to point things like that out. I know you love me and that your heart is good. . . 😊💕Speaking a painful truth should be done only in love . . .like wielding a sword with no handgrip —it should pain oneself in direct proportion to the amount of force exerted. . . .Rebuke without love is abuse. But, a love that would never rebuke? I think that, too, would be a kind of abuse. —So thank you!

  55. Jane on August 7, 2018 at 7:03 am

    I know this may seem an odd prayer request.

    My husband will be going to counseling for his behavior for the first time today. I would appreciate support prayers that he would actually do this with eyes to see and ears to hear and a willing heart (this last ones the toughest).

    I am also personally concerned that it will fire up his anger if he hears things he doesn’t want to or that he refuses to believe and that things will go downhill at home. I am very tired and worn down from several crisis with the women I work with at my job and I need prayer that I will be strong, be able to guard my tongue well during this time and only speak what God would have me say, and that I will be able to hear God clearly during this time.

    Thank-you all

    • Aly on August 7, 2018 at 7:41 am

      Jane,
      I will indeed pray for you!
      I just posted a reply to an older post about anger.
      Hopefully you can see it also.

      So your h is open to a third party opinion? How did he get to that point…?
      Why jointly? Is this a counselor that you have seen individually?

      Your fear about his response I get! Boy do I get it. But I will also pray that you will continue to hand that responsibility back to him and detach yourself from it. I know this isn’t simple.

      His anger is used to control and fuels the cycle and pattern you both engage in.
      In fact, if he picks up on your fear guess what all the more easier for him to avoid his issues.
      The more detached you behave and ‘not care’ or fear what he chooses to react to, the better that he can see ‘you have changed’ and he can’t control you this way.
      Does this make sense?

      • Nancy on August 7, 2018 at 9:01 am

        HI Jane and Aly,

        This is so key….”… I will also pray that you will continue to hand that responsibility back to him and detach yourself from it.”

        This can only be done consistently if you ‘leave him’ in your heart. There are many ways to say this: leave your marriage at the foot of the cross, or leave him at the foot of the cross, or ‘give him to God’, ‘get out of the way’ etc….

        in my case, The Lord removed my h as saviour after a terrible fight we had. That night The Lord severed my attachment to him and to our destructive marriage. In my case, The Lord did a work in my heart that allowed me to consistently emotionally detach, from that evening onwards. I even remember the date that He did this. (Please note that the consistent work afterwards, was not easy, I needed lots of support from you all, here on this blog. But the original ‘detachment’ was done by The Lord himself).

        Now…I don’t know what others experiences are here in that regard…but from my own experience I would suggest you pray for Him to do this work in your own heart. For Him to do the work of ‘detachment’, and then to enable you to walk in that.

        what do you think about this? ( question for everyone).

        • JoAnn on August 7, 2018 at 9:35 am

          Nancy, isn’t that what the “gray stone” concept is about? Emotional detachment. Great idea, but not easy.

          • Nancy on August 7, 2018 at 12:39 pm

            No, not easy, JoAnn. In fact it may well be impossible without Him doing the initial severing.

            I don’t know about the ‘gray stone’.



          • JoAnn on August 7, 2018 at 1:40 pm

            I seem to remember that someone on a previous blog mentioned that she read about becoming a gray stone in the relationship….Maybe Lundy Bancroft? Perhaps someone else will know what I am talking about. Anyway, the idea is to basically shut down emotionally so you don’t respond to the baiting.
            The Lord can and does, when we ask, cut our emotional ties with others. Important to be selective, because you don’t want to detach from everyone around you, just the the damaging ones. Think of it this way: you are “plugged into” a person, or to your genetic legacy (whatever) so you pull the plug out of that socket and insert it into the socket that is Christ as your source. This is the reality of our rebirth. When we receive the Lord, we become a new creation, with Christ as our source, so any ties we have in the old creation need to be severed anyway. Then the Lord can do what He wants to do with those relationships. Sometimes He restores them in a new way, and sometimes He takes them away. I have had this experience personally. It is freeing.



          • Nancy on August 7, 2018 at 2:06 pm

            Thanks for the explanation, JoAnn.

            I like how you describe the reality of our re-birth. You say, “… so any of the old ties we have in the old creation need to be severed anyway”. Yes, I totally agree. And as we renew our minds with the reality of our re-birth, and status as His beloved children, He enables us to face and live into that reality.

            He enables us more and more, to say, “thy will be done”.

            Praise Him 🙂



    • Aly on August 7, 2018 at 7:53 am

      Jane,
      One more thought as I reread your post.
      You wrote:
      “I am also personally concerned that it will fire up his anger if he hears things he doesn’t want to or that he refuses to believe and that things will go downhill at home.”

      Ok, let’s be realistic as best as possible. I think you said he’s a sociopath and high on Narc behaviors?
      This posture is often a given that they will ‘only hear what they want to hear or interpret’
      Even if the counselor offers a healthy perspective to reveal his issues, he will hear or refuse to dismantle anything that doesn’t mirror what he believes about his ‘false self’
      They often become enraged because when the mirror held up its tells a different narrative~ one they are absolutely against and will go to great lengths to protect that false self.

      Remember to be committed to truth and live in reality even though you are praying for eyes to see and ears to hear.

      Also the behaviors that you have described about h and labeled for simplicity, remember that they are core to this kind of person, this kind of person believes that ‘they don’t have to abide by rules that others have to… that they are special and deserve entitlement type of treatment of being ‘special’.

      What is his possible motivation of seeing a counselor?

      • Jane on August 7, 2018 at 9:54 am

        Aly,

        Thank-you for your up there post and these posts. To answer your questions, no not together. This counselor is one that we did see together 18mo ago as a “marriage” counselor. He is the one that confronted me about my husband being a narcissist. He saw right through it and has read ALL the good books like Vernick, Moles, Lundy, etc. He started me on Boundaries. But as marriage counseling isn’t going to work those efforts dissipated and my husband refused to continue and just claimed that I was the one that needed counseling and this counseling was just making things worse (because in the counselors office was the only place I ever felt safe to have a voice).

        Fast forward to my walking out for about a day 12 days ago when we went from honeymoon to tension, escalation and full on abuse in just a few hours. For once I properly set a boundary and followed through. One of the things I said to him for the millionth time during his “talk” with me was that he needed counseling. I told him that his words are mean, he doesn’t know it but that they are mean and he won’t hear it from me so he needs a counselor to help him with this. This was the only time I was kind of physically concerned during the “talk”. I have never seen his face like that. He was livid. 4 days later he told me he agreed to counseling but was thinking it would be wise to go to a counselor at the same group as where my counselor is. (He full well knows I am making sure he can’t find out where she is- and this is for her safety especially as well as my own). I told him that would not work. Then he claimed this is not to find out where she is but so the counselors could talk to each other whenever they saw each other in the office, because he might not be able to tell the counselor what is wrong as he can’t see his own behavior! OK, not. He asked me if I had anyone in mind. Given that the prev counselor had pegged him in just a couple of meetings,I included him, as well as 2 other abuser counselors in our general area in the list I gave my husband.

        The next morning he asked for the names again, then asked me if I knew these people. I said no, not personally. Then he asked how I know about them (again looking for my sources I think). I told him I had been doing research for a while to find people that might be able to help. (truth is I got their names from one of the DV resources/conferences in our area). He decided to go back to the original guy and I think that is a great choice. I did speak to the counselor on the phone about the situation and where we are and told him mostly about the extent of the abuse. There are some things I just can’t share, here or with most people. I probably need to tell him as these are big root heart problems for my husband, I will need God to grant me peace to do that at some point.

        I don’t know if this was real heart change that made my husband willing to go and take a deeper look or if it was just, I will step through her hoops and prove to her they don’t work kind of thing. It seems genuine but so have other things in the past. My personal favorites are the apologies that start out like an actual apology but are followed by an excuse or a blame. No true repentance at all. So who knows, but maybe if some truth spoken to him by a man, a real man and a godly man, gets through just a sliver, maybe goodness will come out of it.

        I don’t know if I posted this or journaled this privately. God keeps taking me to scriptures in Isaiah which are tough. Isaiah 1: 3-11(summary: Israel is sinful and does not really know God and God continues to allow its destruction to save the remnant) and Isaiah 3:11- “Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him”.

        Those that have read my prior posts probably know I hate to see my husband hurt but this struck me and I asked God, didn’t it hurt Him to see his people hurting like that. Then God reminded me it was necessary to save what was left that was good. This saddened my heart but I realized that if we have to separate to save what is left that is good in my husband than I need to be willing.

        I don’t hold out a lot of hope about counseling and I full well expect him to reject the counsel as he has rejected all other authority in his life. But if I don’t at least try this route then I haven’t made every effort. It well may be that this pushes things to the point that I have to leave, but God can change him if my husband is actually willing. Only the fruit over time will tell.

        Thank-you all for your prayers.

        • Aly on August 7, 2018 at 10:15 am

          Jane, this sounds really healthy and thanks for explaining a bit more.
          It makes sense to me and I think you are on the right course of follow through and action.

          For someone like your h who wants to be willing but has some tough disordered armor,
          It could be helpful to writeout on your iPhone
          One-liners

          I did this in my process.

          One liners like:
          Husband your behavior is incongruent with what you say you want to take responsibility for.

          Husband, your issue isn’t with your wife, your issue is with God himself.

          Husband, you have a serious problem in how you define ‘normal’ and healthy relationship.

          Husband, your consistent defensive behavior when others offer real feedback reveals your attitude & entitlement problem.

          Husband, you are in this situation because your behavior and choices have brought you here.

          Husband, I am not your enemy, you are fighting with someone who has been your partner or at least has attempted to be your partner.
          You are fighting the wrong person.

          Husband, you are foolishly against yourself which will cause you to fall and fail.

          Husband, why do you feel so attacked when you are questioned about things? Why does questioning feel like such an offense to you? Questioning is a normal part of life and especially a huge part of relationships that are trying to repair.

          Husband, your side of the street is your side of the street, my recovery will never look or be similar to what you need to face and grow up in!

          Those are just a few examples. I’m sure others have better ones.

          • JoAnn on August 7, 2018 at 10:31 am

            Wow! Excellent one-liners. Good to have in your pocket.



          • Jane on August 7, 2018 at 10:40 am

            Aly,

            These are great, but my stomach was sick reading them even thinking about expressing these to my husband, all but the last one. What anger these would provoke. This may be good a little further into the process. Outside of telling him his words are mean and he doesn’t know it (though he probably does), I have not confronted him that he is abusive. I am not ready to do this and my counselor will not “allow” me to
            do this while I am still living under the same roof. I have admitted to myself that this is wise counsel.

            I will keep these for later though, thank-you.



          • Free on August 7, 2018 at 10:54 am

            I agree with Jane, these replies are much too dangerous for her to speak.

            I am concerned about his ‘livid” face. Many of us know all too well what comes next.
            Please stay safe and do not be another woman murdered by her abusive spouse when she tries to flee.



        • T.L. on August 7, 2018 at 11:40 am

          Praying for your husband’s meeting today, Jane. And so impressed with your insight and wisdom. Like many of us, you are an Abigail married to a Nabal, I think. Securing her own freedom from that surly many was not an option for a woman in that culture. So God did it for her; that’s how precious she was and how stubborn and destructive Nabal was. I thank God Women in our culture have “a way of escape.” For is, the hardest prisonis the psychological or spiritual one.

          You did share your Isaiah insight about the remnant here before. One thought further in that: when God secured his remnant, it was whole, righteous people away from hell-bent people. This may be what God is doing to secure you, not a “remnant of good“ in your husband.

          I sure get the need to feel we have done everything we know to do to give them a chance to wake up. But I do look back on my own journey and wonder if I had left him sooner and more cleanly, instead of gradually, would have offered him a better chance for a wake up call? Like the shock might have brought him to his knees? Instead of gradually getting used to firmer boundaries, and modifying behaviors that left the heart unchanged. I can never know the answer to this. But I do know that the Lord is merciful and sovereign, and has offered him every chance at Life.

          I suspect you are right about the importance of the counselor knowing the deep things you see as key in your husband.

          I’m so glad to know that you have a good counselor, and that you are walking in so much wisdom. Your safety must come first. I hope you can get out of your threatening environment soon.

          Love and prayers.

          • Jane on August 7, 2018 at 12:12 pm

            TL,

            Really didn’t see it that way about the remnant. You may be right. What keeps impressing me here in Isaiah and throughout the Psalms, the abusers own hand or own sword hurts him! His behavior is the problem and is what is leading to this hurt, I am not hurting him. I have to remember this.

            I have to laugh and maybe this is off base or a bit jaded humor, but when you said, “I sure get the need to feel we have done everything we know to do to give them a chance to wake up. But I do look back on my own journey and wonder if I had left him sooner and more cleanly, instead of gradually, would have offered him a better chance for a wake up call?” I just remember waiting for our very old dog to die. She would get bad enough that we would think about putting her down, then she would have a few good days and we just couldn’t, then she would go downhill again, then bounce back. It just got worse until finally she broke her hip and we had to wait til the next day to put her down. It was so sad. Perhaps we could have avoided so much pain for her and us if we had put her down sooner.

            Not saying put down your husbands! Just saying it is so much like the cycle of abuse and holding out for hope with each positive turn, then well maybe its bad enough that I need to leave, then its okay again! Somehow that situation with her hit me with this and I think it really fits. I think God’s got a funny sense of humor to have used that old dog to teach me something here 🙂

            But yes, I feel like right now my husband is in shock, I am very physically and emotionally removed. Last night he told me he misses me while he gave me a bit of a hug. I was exhausted after a very difficult and emotionally and psychologically taxing day with one of the women that I work with and I did not feel like trying to have that conversation so I put it off to my long hours of work and said hopefully I can get caught up with work soon. Then I went to bed. I think its this distance that has him agreeing to counseling, but will he here it or does the shock need to go deeper, we will see.



          • caroline on August 8, 2018 at 3:18 am

            To Jane
            I had to laugh at your putting a dog out of their misery comparison. Its true, but maybe only a death of the ego is needed!

            It is well known that addicts (read abusers & idolaters too) rarely change until they have a major “hitting bottom” experience where life AS-IS becomes more painful than the unknown life-as-it-could-be.

            Several years ago, it occurred to me that a wife (or spouse–sorry Sheep) is often so scared of the unknown future, that they live sprawled out on the floor waiting to break their addict’s fall, so the crucial “hitting bottom” never does come. Very unkind of us.

            Everyone deserves the chance to broken by their own sin. Its only common decency. Its loving our neighbor (enemy). And of course there are times where true sacrificial Christ-like love will look like calling 911.

            The truth may seem harsh at times, but that’s what sets us free. Freedom comes when we embrace truth. (John 8:32) Christ IS the truth, so we are safe in the arms of truth. We need never fear the future when we are in His arms.

            One more word. Remember when we confront someone’s gross and dangerous sin patterns they will have one of two reactions: Repentance or Deeper sin. We pray for one and prepare for the other.
            Hugs!



          • Nancy on August 8, 2018 at 2:19 pm

            There is such wisdom in Caroline’s post about what kindness looks like when dealing with an addict / abuser.

            IT IS indeed unkind to be ‘sprawled on the floor’ waiting to break their fall. So. Unkind.

            Christ-like, sacrificial love sometimes does look like calling 9-1-1.

            It has always been far too easy for me to be nice. I got tremendous payoff from being ‘mild mannered’ as a child and carried that ( often manipulative) behaviour into adulthood.

            Jesus was not nice. He was kind.



          • Kay on August 10, 2018 at 12:01 am

            In regards to a “livid” face- When I saw that I was sure it was satanic and I would look directly at those eyes and say the name “Jesus” and repeat til he backed down. At that mighty name Satan must flee, and does.



    • caroline on August 7, 2018 at 9:08 am

      Praying Jane.
      Lord, I thank you for your precious servant Jane. I thank you for her hard earned wisdom that she freely shares here, and her openness and willingness to let her ongoing story be used for your glory.
      Lord I ask you to hold her this day, and give her your strength for she has none of her own left. Be with her and let your presence be felt as she walks this dark valley before her.
      I pray for discernment for Jane and the counselor as her husband takes this new step . May they both be wise and unmoved by smooth words.

      And lastly Lord I ask for a miracle of brokenness for Jane’s husband . Father, you alone know the depth of the harm we each have endured. You alone know the extent of darkness and perversions that have warped and twisted this mans understanding of marriage and sexuality and human dignity. Lord I ask you to cut through the thick armor and the violence and pierce his heart today. In Jesus name. Amen.

      • Aly on August 7, 2018 at 9:59 am

        Amen!
        Such a blessing of a prayer and i will ask for the Lord’s will to be done, regardless the outcome even though hopeful outcome is that your husband is ‘awakened’ from his slumber and foolishness authentically.

      • Nancy on August 7, 2018 at 1:46 pm

        Amen.

      • JoAnn on August 8, 2018 at 9:54 am

        Yes, and amen! And Lord, I thank you for Caroline’s wisdom here and her willingness to share with us. The insights of those who are further along on their journey are such a blessing to all of us. Thank You, Lord!

    • JoAnn on August 7, 2018 at 9:31 am

      Jane, we have seen some wonderful answers to prayer here, and so, we will pray for your husband’s session today. May the Lord Himself visit your husband and do a deep work in him. We also pray for the therapist, that he would be guided by the Holy Spirit to help your husband.
      Meanwhile, just in case he responds badly, be prepared to exit if necessary. May you be empowered in the grace of Christ.

    • Jane on August 7, 2018 at 10:08 am

      you are all amazing, the prayers are so moving and real, thank-you. And yes, His will be done, I will trust Him, wherever it leads (no matter how hard).

    • Jane on August 8, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Thank-you all for your prayers and support and wisdom. Guess it went ok as he was not angry. Did get the jab when he said his counselor would be contacting me to find out who my counselor is. I made sure my husband signed a release so that his counselor could speak with mine. He said he did and filled out that he could speak with “you” and “whoever your counselor is”. The statement had that disgust that he doesn’t know. I just ignored it.

      His counselor did contact me to tell me to sign a consent at my counselor so they could talk. I already let him know who. The counselor emailed, “He stated that he wants to know what you think is wrong.” This was disappointing. It means he still doesn’t get it. He is going to the counselor, yes, but without any understanding as to why! He is still blind to any of his behavior. I pray the counselor will be able to open his eyes.

      When the counselor does confront the problems I know things are going to get rough at home. I appreciate continued prayer.

      • Nancy on August 8, 2018 at 3:49 pm

        HI Jane,

        You sound surprised that “he still doesn’t get it.”.

        Can I ask you…why does this surprise you?

        • Jane on August 8, 2018 at 4:04 pm

          Silly me thought (or hoped) that when he agreed to counseling that maybe he understood that his words are hurtful, I specifically told him he needed counseling because his words are mean and that he doesn’t know it. He went from so violently angry acting when I asked him to go to counseling, to gently agreeing to go several days later (though still prying to find out who my counselor is the whole time). I had really hoped that he had used that time to reflect and decided he needed help.

          I don’t want to believe it is all a manipulation tactic, but it very well may be. Leslie mentioned it last night, LOVE BOMBING! Light bulb, maybe that’s whats going on right now. Makes me sad to think there is no motivation of real love, rather to gain back control 🙁

          I get pulled in to believing the false hope all to easily. I feel silly and somewhat hopeless about it all. I fear so much that counseling and confronting will rock the boat and make things far worse (I think it will really). It is almost easier to chicken out and tell my husband that he doesn’t need to go to counseling, just forget it. Fear would have me do this, NO, (pardon the language) screw you fear, NO. If I must endure more to do what is godly and right and confront sin in truth then I will, with the strength of Christ in me and the Holy Spirit dwelling in me!

          I have a new understanding of what it means to walk it out in fear and trembling. I will continue to walk, one step at a time, but I am actually trembling while writing this. I know it should be the fear of God, but I do fear my husband, which sucks! I haven’t been this anxious in years and I am ready for the feeling to go away. I wish I could share why, but I can’t. Please just pray for me, I am sure you do already as we all often do for each other.

          • JoAnn on August 8, 2018 at 4:31 pm

            Jane, I wrote to Aleea this morning, I don’t know if you read it, that the antidote to fear is trust…trust in our loving Heavenly Father who knows your case and loves and cares for you. It matters to Him concerning you. He is operating behind the scenes for the benefit of all concerned, not only for you, but also for your h and the kids. When we totally surrender to His will in all things, then He can do what He needs to do to take care of everyone. He has ways that are beyond our understanding. Be safe, dear sister, and hide in Him.



          • Aly on August 8, 2018 at 4:35 pm

            Jane,
            I totally get this and understand your fear to the best extent that I can.

            The thought that counseling will make things far worse, is a thought that could use some ‘aligning’.

            Does counseling make a relationship worse, or does it actually expose an unhealthy relationship?
            I think it exposes the reality.

            Does counseling escalate an abusive dynamic where there is power dynamics and control issues going on? YES.

            Does counseling really cause all sorts of bigger issues than prior to seeking counsel?
            Rarely I would think.

            Many people in unhealthy marriages try counseling and yes it exposes a lot and many often reject working on that process.

            Abusive dynamics are even more complicated but often the counseling will expose the issue that’s there, it’s not the origin of the issue.

            Insecure individuals like power and dominance, why?
            It makes them feel more secure in the wrong place but it’s natural to them, and they will battle for that security place.
            This example is common amongst many people and is exhaserbated with individuals that have addiction, mood disorders etc.



          • Jane on August 8, 2018 at 4:59 pm

            JoAnn and Aly,

            Thank-you. My mind gets it. While I trust it is ultimately in the hand of God, I hate the tension and anger and toxicity. I understand that counseling isn’t the problem, believe me I get it. It is his heart. I just know what the confrontation of this is going to do. If I don’t finish pursuing this then I will never know for sure, I will never know that I did all that God asked me to do as a godly wife.

            I am also afraid that I will have to leave again for a longer time if he escalates. This leaves me in limbo as to what to do with the kids, etc. I just don’t fell ready for this and yet God is saying its time so I know I need to trust Him, Lord help my unbelief!

            Just having an anxious day. Waiting for the next bomb to drop. I need to change my focus to just God. I already know the bomb will drop, it won’t surprise me, so stop looking for it and just let it come when it does! I’m kind of mad at myself right now for being so weak, but again in my weakness he will be made strong- I must trust.



          • Nancy on August 8, 2018 at 9:30 pm

            Hi Jane,

            You said “it makes me so sad that their is no motivation of real love, rather to gain back control”.

            This is where the grief is. Right here. If you can stay with that, then you will step out of the FOG of his manipulation.

            The problem is that when we grow up with abuse we have to develop many strategies that wire in AVOIDANCE to grief. Minimizing, rationalizing, spiritualizing, denying, addictions. And because of all of these ‘staying with the grief’ is a Goliath in itself

            Grieving cuts through the FOG and puts us face to face with reality. It’s worth asking The Lord for significant help with this, in my opinion.



          • Aly on August 8, 2018 at 9:45 pm

            Nancy, Jane,

            Nancy what you wrote I think is really pivotal about a past of abuse.

            The avoidant strategies you speak of are key but I might also add the Tolerance to someone trying to ‘gain back control’.

            Once these past avoidant strategies and tolerances are severed I think healing can begin in a profound way.

            Jane, what do you think about these avoidant strategies and tolerances that are usually ingrained early on and sometimes sets us up in terrible situations later on in life (like marriage)?

            The hope is in what we can acknowledge and continue to ask the Lord for His strength and truths about what we need and what we ‘wont’ tolerate in relationship.



          • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 3:54 am

            Hi Jane,

            Along the way in my process, battling fear was a reality, too. I personalized a familiar fear scripture, and as many times as the fear crept up on me, I repeated this scripture, often out loud. “No! God has not given me a spirit of fear. But of power, and love, and a sound mind.” (No to fear; yes to power and love, and sanity.)

            I’m longing for the day you no longer have to battle that kind of fear, and can live in the safety and security and peace of Christ.



          • K (who's posted before) on August 9, 2018 at 2:33 pm

            For Jane, (responding to August 08th, 4.04pm) The most recent episode of your husband’s manipulative / covert behaviour (going to counselling & signing the release forms) has spun you into the same old place of fear and confusion. I wonder if these bits can help you with that:

            1. Remember, the Lord Who loves you is not a god of fear & confusion, but The God of Truth, Life, and Hope.

            2. You are working with your counsellor, and pressing on, because you choose to get healthy.

            3. Whether your husband chooses to work truthfully with a counsellor, (pressing on in the uncomfortable truths rather than the convenient lies), is not your responsibility, or your burden.

            4. Whether your husband chooses to get healthy is not your responsibility or your burden.

            5. Whether or not you want / ask / invite / expect / require your husband to seek counselling doesn’t make it within your power to see that he does so authentically and effectively. Focusing on it is only getting you tied up in knots and worries.

            6 Stop worrying about whether he is or isn’t doing the healthy work with a counsellor. You keep on doing yours!!!

            7. As our teachers used to say in school, “eyes on your own paper, please!”

            lovingly for you, Jane
            K ,



          • Jane on August 9, 2018 at 3:35 pm

            Wow guys thanks. Bringing tears to me this am when I read these. I have just recently learned to start grieving that my family is my church, and only so much, as they have their own family. My mom loves the best she knows how, but each act is really a way to affirm herself. She’s a mess, insecure and is a different type of narc than my hubby but is one none the less. Just learned this a month ago or so while talking with my sister who I speak to 1-2 times a year. My dad, whom I idolized as a child and desperately sought for approval that could never be achieved, loves but doesn’t really know how to either. He has his issues and has anger and control problems. Both my parents were very good at letting me know I wasn’t good enough and never could be and that I really wasn’t worth their time. It still feels this way (I won’t go into why). I am still grieving that I don’t have loving and caring parents and that I don’t have a sister because she was the perfect child and ran from the abuse and maintains little contact with any of us. She was abusive to me when I was a kid, she now knows this and has legitimately apologized a couple of years ago, this was very healing.

            She told me a month ago that she always wondered why I didn’t handle the dysfunction (abuse) like she did and just stay disappeared all the time, but that she had realized it wouldn’t have mattered what I did, it would have been wrong. My soul stopped right there with the realization of truth spoken out loud, and by another person too! There was relief that I wasn’t crazy and I wasn’t this bad kid that I was always treated like, but there was also great sadness that the abuse that I suspected was my life growing up was real and is real.

            When you’re a child you can’t grieve this, you have to live in this and with this, so yes avoidant would be the word. I am still avoidant, I rarely confront the mean things my mom says, and I will not confront anything my dad says or does. I don’t believe it would heal anything or change anything. They are old and set in their ideas.

            Trying to understand what you mean by tolerance. I don’t think I do.

            I am still avoidant now, largely for emotional safety with my husband, I off and on grieve the marriage I will never have and never had, I grieve the man I prayed he would be, and I grieve that I have never really been loved until my current church family.

            You are all amazing and so helpful, thank-you



          • Nancy on August 9, 2018 at 4:04 pm

            Oh Jane,

            I feel for you and these multiple realizations about your past. I can relate to these feelings…they are painful indeed.

            I am praying for you, sister.

            One thing I want to say is that choosing to use our voice and speak truth has nothing to do with changing the other person ( you said, “I don’t believe it would heal anything or change anything. They are old and set in their ideas.).

            Using your voice is about guarding the wellspring that is your heart ( Prov 4:23). So while you are likely very relalistic in thinking that your parents will not change. The lie in your statement is that nothing would be healed or changed. YOU would be changed by using your voice, Jane. In using your voice, you open up a space for God’s healing to enter in. This active guarding of your heart is essential – in physically safe relationships.

            I went through a period where I had to see prov 4:23 as a command. It does say, “above all else guard your heart”. In fact the entire boundaries book is based on this proverb! If our hearts are full of holes how do we overflow with Christ’s love for others? We MUST guard our heart! It is His dwelling ❤️

            with your h the guarding of your heart will likely not involve using your voice much – it’s dangerous.

            But with your parents and anyone else that you need to speak out, in response to. Practice using your voice.

            This will not change them. It will change you.

            Hugs to you



          • Aly on August 9, 2018 at 4:55 pm

            Jane, Nancy,

            Jane what Nancy wrote is so key and it’s worth thinking about and really asking the Lord to leave a new understanding of what she is expressing.

            Nancy when you said, it changes ‘you’ it’s true.
            The change is ourselves, and it may not change the other, but also important to see is that it might also change the relationship!



          • Jane on August 9, 2018 at 4:56 pm

            Thank-you, what you say is wise and godly. This is hard for me but I will try to find a way to respectfully speak truth.



          • Kay on August 10, 2018 at 12:10 am

            What I had to accept was that men like that are biologically unable , yes unable to have insight into themselves, have empathy and counseling does no good. Only a miracle from God can fix that level of mental illness.



          • Jane on August 10, 2018 at 12:39 am

            So much to say.

            K- your right, thanks for the keister kick, “eyes on my own paper!”

            Kay- you may be right, but if your right, do we have the right to hold them accountable for the actions or inactions? Something that still holds me back some.

            I will post the rest at the bottom of the next group



      • caroline on August 9, 2018 at 9:47 am

        Jane, he is likely asking you to define the problem on record so he can “solve it” on record and silence your voice again.

        He can then say he tried it your way (counseling) and you’re still not satisfied, therefore the problem is you and your blasted discontent.

        Or something like that.

        Confrontation is a lot like offering the other cheek. In a way, it’s chance to be struck again, but for a holy purpose: to expose the depth of sin we deal with.
        – A simple person who yearns to be wise, will be sorry, embarrassed, maybe even a little angry, but eventually broken, repentant, and willing to make amends.
        -A fool might be ashamed, angry, haughty, and vindictive enough to take that opportunity to strike us a second time.
        -But when an evil person is confronted, the truth of their wickedness invades every aspect of their person.

        Rage boils behind their eyes. Contempt oozes out of their pores. Their voice may be calm and the hand may not strike right then, but the battle lines have been drawn. You dared come against their absolute authority, and This Means War…

        And how do we love our enemies when they have been exposed as truly evil men?

        We love them by destroying their access to victims (self included) We love boldly by removing their ability to do more harm. So we take to the hills and hide or stand firm and aim straight. Whatever it takes to disarm the enemy, we do it.

        • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 10:47 am

          Caroline, this is so clear, powerful and true. Thank you!

        • Jane on August 9, 2018 at 3:37 pm

          Caroline

          You said “Rage boils behind their eyes. Contempt oozes out of their pores”

          This shocked me, you put into words the look on my husbands face the other day. It was frightening. I am sorry that you so well understand this look.

          I love the way you expressed this about confrontation, it is a real encourager to me.

          • Kay on August 10, 2018 at 12:13 am

            That look is from Satan. Say the mighty name of Jesus out loud for immediate protection.



          • caroline on August 10, 2018 at 6:17 am

            Oh yes, Kay, the look of evil-working-on-a-weak-mind, yes, quite spiritual and devilish. “If looks could kill”, so to speak.

            My husband’s father was master of this face and often withered his family for most of my husband’s childhood. In hub’s teen years, dad was a beloved pastor and the family masks were suffocating.

            I have one much older brother who has that very same evil face and it’s dang scary because I know he could so easily flip and go violent with me or our 86 year old mother.

            Last month this brother knocked a hole in her wall with a hammer because he didn’t like something she said.

            He has been following the NAR movement (New Apostolic Reformation) for years and believes everything he hears or sees on YouTube, especially the more garish faith healers and prophets and prosperity folks.

            The more wild, violent, vulgar & wealthy, the better: kicking old women in the face because the Holy Spirit told you to, looking forward to a coming “blood letting” in the church, time travel. That kind of crazy. He makes the most bizarre unbiblical claims and expects you to believe them just because HE said them.

            And this is where his rage comes in.

            When anyone questions his delusions he goes stark raving mad. His eyes do that crazy thing, his breathing changes and his neck twitches a little too. Two years ago he cornered me in a back bedroom at my parents house and physically blocked my way out. I stood my theological ground until he was yelling at me, his face getting redder, his eyes so wicked. I plead with him: I’m not God. I don’t control God. “YES YOU DO. YES YOU DO…!” he shouted over and over.

            In the front room our dad, 84 years old, lay shriveled and dying of stage 4 prostate cancer spread all over his now tiny body, and my brother was blaming me for it.

            Apparently I was “blocking the healing” with my unbelief. My father should live forever, and I was a “rabid dog” because I didn’t accept my brother’s “anointing” as a healer. He wanted me to confess my sins and declare with him over our dad’s body, so everyone would finally recognize his apostolic gifts.

            I was just trying to get out of that room to go sit with my dad who I knew only had about 1-2 hours left in this world and I wanted to be there when he left.

            I prayed for someone else to come into that room. In seconds another sister came storming down the hall hands on hips , “You need to leave.” she told this brother. He turned from me, and drew back his fist as if to aim a punch at her face. I shouted “No! stop!” and stood up putting my body between them and quietly said “please go”. He make a grunting animal-like sound and stormed out of the room and house.

            This brother is now claiming he has been to Heaven 200 times. Yeah.



          • Jane on August 10, 2018 at 6:39 am

            Caroline,

            Wow! What CORE you have. I am sorry about your dad. My husband was raised by a very fundamentalist pastor father who enabled the physically, emotionally and spiritually abusive mom! My husband was raised to hate “sinners” as they see them- homosexuals, addicts, etc. Very racist. Yet they all think they have a mainline to God (yet there is no heart, just knowledge, and power, yet without love- Paul addresses this well) I see this developing in my daughter who used to be the most loving, kindest girl, now a racist or off colored joke or slur comes out of her mouth shocking both me and her older brother, but my husband laughs (it’s funny, he says!).

            I pray you stay safe around that brother of yours. Is he spiritually fooled or actually psychotic and delusional? Should he be hospitalized and seen by a psychiatrist? Maybe he has a brain tumor as this is newer for him, right?



          • caroline on August 10, 2018 at 6:27 pm

            To Jane-
            Gosh where does one start. I dont know about a brain tumor, but sure there are lots of letters I could put on him: OCD, BPD, DID, PTSD…he still has a huge capacity for guilt and shame, so he’s probably not PAN…
            But I would mostly say his antisocial behaviors come from a major flaw in his theology aggravated by some other complexities.

            Basically he doesn’t believe in sanctification. Just BOOM “stuff” falls off of you when a Mighty Man of God declares it. No work, no struggle, The Kingdom is ushered in right here, right now. Heaven on earth.

            And that’s going to be frustrating, right?

            This brother also has a history of drug & alcohol use in and i suspect many decades of pornography. Never married. No kids. Lives alone. Trouble keeping jobs because of anger. A few times in jail. A mother’s worst nightmare when she holds a newborn man-child in her arms. My mother feels a lot of guilt and sorrow over him, so that’s why he’s is still allowed to be a part of things.

            I avoid this brother for the most part. And after the death bed incident (he came back that night and tried to raise my dad from the dead, looked at me and said “but I see there is a presence in the room, so it won’t happen”) The next day I sent him an e-mail saying I loved him but will not allow him to abuse me like that and if he wants to talk to me he will have to learn some basic civility.

            I cc’d that message to my other two brothers and told them (in writing) that I was concerned for his pin pointing the blame for dads death on me and my 17 year old son (who with a team of other grandchildren had been caring for my dads body over the previous 2 months) and that I was afraid for our safety because of his views.

            I did that so there would a written and dated record of my concerns in case I needed to involve authorities. At the funeral and memorial services he was fine. Kind and mannerly even.

            Now, he still has this idea that I have some special “gift” and need to join forces with him. He sees me and my children as somewhat “clean” and “whole” in some weird spiritual way. So when he gets desperate and really needs someone to talk to he just shows up at my house or calls me out of the blue, because he actually trusts me and my mind. He still believes he has the truth spiritually, and cant understand why I wont drink the NAR cool aid.



          • Jane on August 13, 2018 at 9:57 am

            caroline,

            That is fantastical! And frightening. Is this something where you need to be afraid for your safety physically? If he ever pulled something like what you described at your father’s passing, would you consider calling the police.

            I am so sorry about your dad, and even more sorry that it could not be a peaceful event in which one of God’s children went home.

            I pray you are able to maintain a healthy boundary with him



          • caroline on August 13, 2018 at 5:32 pm

            O thank you Jane. You know, it was very peaceful when the moment of death finally came. My dad died like a Christian. Surrendered to God and at peace with his loved ones.
            Obviously I don’t believe like my brother so I was in acceptance of Daddy’s death. I had said all the important things back when he could hear me. I was sad but at peace about his passing, and so were my kids.

            I did make it back into the room and it was empty though the house was FULL that day with family. My oldest son came in and we sat quietly on either side of the bed. He swabbed Daddy’s throat like the nurse had taught him and we just sat. My young niece came in to pull a chair next to mine in the quiet.
            Her mother (my sister) had died of cancer just two years before and that had also been treated as a “faith healing failure” so, yet another family trauma filled with blame. I was so glad she of all people came in to sit with us.

            I held my dad’s frail hand as the front room filled with the rosy glow of an evening sunset. My niece talked of her brother trying to come to see Grandfather next week. I said “Oh sweetheart, he wont be here next week.This is it, he has maybe an hour left.” “Oh.” she said as the words sunk in. We sat in that quiet glow, whispering low and listening for each labored breath, the pauses between them getting longer.

            Finally there was silence. ” Mom”, my son said.”He exhaled over a minute ago and hasn’t taken in another breath yet” . I felt of his tiny wrist, the pulse just a flicker, “Go get Grandmother.”

            My poor mother teeters between reality and all the TV preachers, and so she was never fully accepting of his disease as fatal. She began tapping his hand and saying “Come back, COME BACK! Don’t leave me!”. The room began to fill with others, but I was still there and able to say “I feel a slight pulse, he can still hear you. Say it mother. Say it now. ” And my mother finally said to her partner of over 60 years ” Good by, I’ll miss you. I’m sorry about all the ugliness over the years. I love you!” His pulse continued another 30 seconds or so. Amazing.

            It was later that my brother tried to blow breath of life back into him.

            About my brother and calling for the police…well it depends on where we were. The police are quite busy in our state with a crime wave of epidemic proportions, and probably wouldn’t be much help if I was actually in eminent danger.

            And a restraining order is a piece of paper. So IF we are talking about a person who already thinks they are above normal rules of civility, that paper can often serve as a invitation to prove their super human status.

            Honestly Jane, if I really thought he had came to my home to do bodily harm, I would remain calm and try to “talk him down” while getting to a gun as quickly as possible. I would tell him to go and if moved towards me I would say “HALT! Remove yourself from this property.” He fully knows the legal meaning of this phrase in our state, so if he still moved toward me after I said that phrase, I would know 100% that he meant to do bodily harm, and I’d stop him.

            With my written and dated record of concern over his behaviors I would be in a good position legally if it came to that.

            I would encourage everyone here to do research on the self defense laws in their own sate because they can differ quite a bit. I’m in Alaska and we’ve got some pretty good ones, but you have to know exactly what to say and be ready to defend yourself.

            Much harder if you are dealing with a husband who has legal rights in his own home, so you’ll want to know exactly what the law says and be prepared.



          • Jane on August 13, 2018 at 5:51 pm

            Caroline,

            You should be a writer. You had me misting up, that was so beautifully written. I am glad you were able to be with your dad during that moment and gently take your mom through it. You have an amazing strength! Definitely a gift.

            “And a restraining order is a piece of paper. So IF we are talking about a person who already thinks they are above normal rules of civility, that paper can often serve as a invitation to prove their super human status.”

            Again, you put into words my very thoughts. I am married to the man that always brags that he can walk in anywhere and go to any part of a building because he knows how to act like he belongs and no one can really stop him anyway. All this is true so far (25 years at least).

            In our state I know you have to say that you were afraid for your life! But what if it was your husband? I think I will look into that, just in case, though I don’t know that I could do more than a warning shot. How twisted is the brain to think I wouldn’t want to take away my kid’s dad from them. I’m not sure I could live with that (unless he was hurting one of the kids, which he doesn’t). Silly brain needs to work that one out still.



        • Aly on August 9, 2018 at 5:03 pm

          Jane,
          Hope you get this post. I’m sorry it’s out of alignment.

          Someone a while back, I think it was Renee posted a link from Lundy Bancroft stuff ‘for the man who is serious about changing’

          I thought it was very well worth looking at, in fact you can give it to your counselor (his counselor)
          Maybe it doesn’t apply here but from the last few days of posts it was a conversation of you believing your h doesn’t get what he needs to do to change.
          And conveniently so… this is so common with destructive individuals … if they can remain in denial or clueless state then there is no work to be done, no relapse, no expectations for them to adjust etc.

          I’ll try to find the exact link:
          But this is the title for now;
          resources for the Man who is serious about working on change.
          Chapter 1 – your first steps

          It’s a 15 page document and it even goes into the counseling Battlelands and arguments the abuser wants to use to avoid change.

          • Jane on August 9, 2018 at 5:16 pm

            Thank-you Aly.

            His counselor is the one who suggested Lundy’s book to me on top of Leslie’s and Chris Moles that I had already read. I will ask him if he uses this resource.
            \

            To Everyone; need genuine opinions but not overly jaded opinions here.

            Was talking to my doctor about this and she thinks it may be intentional to start a fight, but I mostly feel like it is just him trying to be rescuer at all costs even if it crosses boundaries.

            My stomach is a hot mess since all this started and I can’t eat much. It is irrelevant in general as to whether its bread, water or pizza that goes down, it just hurts and is nauseating. My husband keeps trying to figure out what I can eat. “how’s that hitting you?” I tell him over and over that all food hurts the same for the most part and please stop trying to figure it out. He will then “I made you something special”, a food I typically love, to try to force me to eat more because I am sure he is worried. If I don’t eat it he pouts and says off comments to me because he is hurt, yet if I eat the food I feel awful. I have asked him to stop, but he doesn’t. I even told him I feel I have to eat it or he gets upset, of course he denied that.

            Now I do wonder if my doctor is right, that he is trying to start something or trying to have a reason to point out that I am not appreciative or in some way that I am not a good person, see how loving he has been? When we discussed this, the reality that this might be the case sucked and hit me like a ton of bricks.

            Am I over reading into this, is he just a concerned husband? Or is this just another “thing” to be leary about.



          • Aly on August 9, 2018 at 6:01 pm

            Jane,

            I would consider this skeptical.
            Your an adult and you can decide how you want to deal with your nutrition, you also are in a destructive relationship so it makes sense that you are having bodily issues.
            The body ‘tells’ a lot.

            I’m sorry for them though just so you know.
            As far as someone provoking a fight or sabatoging something… yes this is common with very unstable people, they are looking for drama anywhere they can find it even if it’s about the dumbest thing!

            I make my h food at times and if he doesn’t eat it, it’s ok, I respect his choice and his space in deciding what and when he wants to eat.
            Vice versa from him as well.
            If he is causing a fight like all addicts try to do so they can go off and do what ever it is they do…. then he’s searching for anything to find rejection about.
            They can have their pout fest over something really unreasonable.



          • Jane on August 9, 2018 at 6:20 pm

            Aly,

            You said “searching for rejection” Wow!. Yes. Everyone is rejecting him all the time somehow! Then he quoted to me research that shows rejection has the same chemical effect in the brain as physical pain! A felt like telling him no duh as his rejection has done this to me for years as did my parents, but of course I didn’t. I let him use it to try to manipulate me to not reject him in any perceived way. This was such a strong and helpful statement, thank-you!



          • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 6:58 pm

            Hi Jane, I think it is wise to “trust your gut,” figuratively and literally here. Your stomach is screaming for you to take care of yourself. Our bodies have a way of doing that. And your suspicions about his motives in making you food are consistent with the character he exhibits. So trust your gut.

            My husband would do similar things: show kindnesses that were exceptions to his general character at times. Usually he was trying to convince me, himself, or others that he was a good guy. But the pressure and control were still evident in the “nice things.” That’s not love. Love gives freely, and gives freedom. This is another opportunity to practice calm, dispassionate detachment. “No thank you.” And walk away. No explanation needed. You already have it; he doesn’t care. If he pouts, let him. Go watch your favorite show, read a good book, or take a walk. Breathe deeply. Let go of him and cling to Christ. It is for freedom that He has set us free. Jesus is so kind.



          • Jane on August 10, 2018 at 12:58 am

            So here goes. I talked with my dad tonight for an hour! May be a record. He has changed a lot over the past several years and, while he still struggles to not control everyone and everything, he has worked on it and his anger has been remarkably better. As of late though he has put his head in the sand and would say, “you two are adults, you have to figure it out” whenever I would try to talk to him. I was desperate for my dad to understand or at least hear me. He listens to my husband too, including his blaming me for everything so it has been hard for my dad to see the truth.

            Well you all did it to me, its your fault so thank-you. I found my voice. I told my dad how much it hurt for him not to believe me. He was shocked, he didn’t know he was doing that. Most of the rest of my story started pouring out. Before my dad even understood it was abuse, he felt we needed to separate because its just enough of the unhappiness. Once his eyes were opened my dad shocked me. He told me I was going to eventually need to get a protective order (I didn’t know he knew what one was) and I would need a lawyer very soon. He sounded like the sooner the better.

            Caroline, thank-you again for that descriptor, it really drove the point home as to why I am afraid. I even told my dad about the one solid slap/hit that my husband did while we were dating. My dad told me he has been for the marriage to this point despite the unhappiness but now that he knows what he does he is for me, my health, safety and sanity outweigh the marriage! This is what everyone’s been saying, but to hear it from my never say die, and quitting is not an option mentor; I finally sobbed. I haven’t cried like this in over 2 months despite the difficulty of it all.

            My dad first started telling me what I had to do now, but amazingly he caught himself and told me he knew I would do the right things and that he would be there for me whenever I was ready to take whatever step I needed to. I’m not as familiar with this man as the one that I grew up with, but I praise God that these men do change over time (he was controlling and angry but not narcissistic nor sociopathic- so don’t worry, it’s not like it gave me hope for my husbands change.)

            I think I truly wept over the fact that I am almost certain that I know where this is going, yet I can’t take any steps in that direction until we try the individual counseling route that he just started.

            Robert Morris had a message tonight that made me stop. He was talking directly to my husband about sin is idolatry and how this is an affair against God. He was talking about how when in sin and with idols you can think your hearing from God when really that is not the spirit you are listening to. My husband was just over there saying uh huh, that’s right, as if he knew it all, while he was also playing is phone game that he is addicted to. I so briefly hoped God would actually reach through the TV and slap my hubby, but no, not how God worked tonight. But the message also spoke to me and the idol of my husband and the idol of my marriage and how sin separates from God. I know that at times I have allowed these idols to pull me far from where God would have me and even now my time is spent on figuring this out rather than focusing on God! What a helpful message.

            Keep praying guys, I feel God moving. I do hate the direction it is going, but I hate the sin more and trust that God will work through all of this!



          • Nancy on August 10, 2018 at 7:48 am

            Praise God for your father’s support of you!



          • sheep on August 10, 2018 at 7:56 am

            Jane,

            I am so glad that you were able to share your heart with your father and he seemed to understand. I am also glad that he seems to be taking a step back and realizes that this is a road that you have to walk and you have to make decisions based on where you are at in that walk. He is there to walk the road with you and support you, but it is your journey.

            I so know what you mean about hating the direction it is going. I still feel that even though I am at peace about her leaving. I still feel that even though I really don’t want, and can’t even imaging having to spend the rest of my life with her.

            Just yesterday I was finally getting around to dealing with the mess she left in the bedroom. I just wasn’t able to face it yet because there were just so many memories strew about the floor. But I started in the closet, putting things away and finding new homes for other things. Of course this is where we kept all kinds of pictures. Dating, marriage, early years with the kids, old anniversary, birthday, and fathers day cards. Letters from grandparents passed away, an dog course our wedding album. I went for awhile but had to stop. It was just too hard to continue with the kids in the house. Too grief stricken. Grieving over what had been lost, grieving over what never really was, grieving over what never will be. Grieving that my kids now have to live like this. Grief over the destruction sin, pride, and selfishness have wrecked upon me and my kids. Grief for the woman that I loved and what she is, and that she will probably never know the true love of Jesus. Believing the whole while that she has it all under control. Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.

            Even sitting here writing this, I’m weeping. But I am at peace. I suppose it helps to just stop denying the truth that it is over.



          • Jane on August 10, 2018 at 8:04 am

            Sheep,

            God bless you, I pray the Comforter is with you as you go through this grief.



          • Aly on August 10, 2018 at 9:03 am

            Jane,

            I’m so glad you had a real honest conversation with your dad and he acknowledged the truth of your situation rather than hope for more ways to ask you to go back into the ring and sort it out with someone who ‘doesn’t sort things out’!

            I praise God for this as you decide your steps and journey. All of our story’s are similar and parts are different too, but I have some things to share.

            Youwrote:
            “My dad told me he has been for the marriage to this point despite the unhappiness”

            This is critical here because what your dad (was) doing was defining your destructive abusive marriage as ‘unhappy’.

            Many people within the family system use this term to deny any form of an abusive marriage.

            Then you continued to write:
            “but now that he knows what he does he is for me, my health, safety and sanity outweigh the marriage! ”

            Praise God, I think it is a blessing when ‘we are seen’ because it does help validate the chaos.

            What your dad once said was unhappiness, can now be accurately termed as living in constant termoil and oppression!

            I am curious how your father rationalized your husband not working all these years?

            Also Jane I want to say that I hear you talk about the marriage as your idol or your husband etc, and I get that I really do. But when you spoke of the slap on your face during ‘dating’ it said something else to me.

            You have been in survival tactics for a long time, I don’t think I would consider you having your h or the marriage as an idol place but that hoping that somehow that relationship can ‘heal’ the very broken and abusive man is understandable why you would try your best to cope in survival ways.

            I’m sure you have your own journey to work out and your own sin in places but it’s important to give CERTAIN things the attention they need and doing this isn’t making an idol out of anything it’s walking in wisdom and strength.

            I agree with you on putting your focus on God is key and especially as you see more and more of His Character and Love, which is quite the opposite fruit that your husband reveals.

            Jane, I hope as you walk out your journey you will be filled with comfort and understanding.
            When you decide to NO LONGER tolerate the treatment of you, it’s amazing to see that the outcome isn’t in your control. You stand your place and accept the outcome. Even grieve the outcome, Jesus Modeled this well for us.

            Sometimes the outcome isn’t what we want or desire most for our loved ones but chosing healthy responsible living is key and not everyone wants to live in that space.

            Are most capable? I believe so but many want to stay within such ill thinking patterns, it’s their choice and the outcome is not for us to decide for them to ‘change’. Sure they are invited to change but that takes a lot more introspective work and aligning with a convicted heart about their behavior.

            That Focus on the Family thing is really good for this kind of ‘outcome’ reality for those that are ‘sticks’ by choice and even after painful consequences.

            Prayers and hugs for your courage and your strength!
            The Lord will equip you;) and what you are experiencing when you say you see the road a bit, but don’t like it… understand that some of that is trust and obedience in our Savior to know He has our backs.



          • Aly on August 10, 2018 at 9:16 am

            Sheep,
            I’m sorry for your pain and all that you have gone through.
            You have done some really tough things.
            My prayer is that you find comfort for your loss and that each day you begin to discover more and more about yourself and the Love of the Father!

            You wrote something so valuable here and many of us can relate to this kind of loss;
            “Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.”

            Isn’t this sometimes the hardest to deal with? Someone who uses godliness against His own children, but doesn’t have anything within. Talk about counterfeit!
            Being fooled and hoping that it wasn’t someone posing.

            Sheep, your wife can have her shame back, even though she probably will never feel it through her armor.
            Either way the Shame is not going to be upon you or near you. Lay it at her house to deal with, hold your head high and hold your children close!
            You’ll get through this with Him!



          • Nancy on August 10, 2018 at 9:24 am

            Aly, Jane,

            “When you decide to NO LONGER tolerate the treatment of you, it’s amazing to see that the outcome isn’t in your control. You stand your place and accept the outcome. Even grieve the outcome. Jesus Modeled this well for us.”

            This is so well articulated, Aly.

            This is what surrender looks like.



          • Aly on August 10, 2018 at 9:38 am

            Nancy,
            Abusers, takers etc cannot stand that this boundary is drawn.

            As I walked this out with certain individuals, it was amazing to see their rejection and in reality the relationship that was not there overall because relationship means (two people existing) not just one.



          • Jane on August 10, 2018 at 9:39 am

            Aly,

            Thank-you for your words of encouragement. Just want to clear up that he slapped my thigh, not my face (maybe this shouldn’t matter, but when my mom slapped me across the face for trying to be a part of the conversation she was having with my sister- that was an entirely different shock, the face feels more personal I think).

            But yes, I have been figuring out how to survive in the abuse since we started dating. I always just thought it was me, I was insufficient and needed to be a better person, or try harder, or love deeper, or sacrifice more. I was always confused and always scared. He would show up to places I never told him I would be at and he was not welcome at and would insert himself, even into the main event back stage type stuff. When I confronted him that I did not tell him where I would be, he told me he can find me no matter where I am, he is just that good! Unfortunately I am afraid this is probably true. I pray I have my safe house picked out well for if I need to run, I will definitely keep my car in the garage at their place. I hate to think it, but I probably need to memorize where the various police stations are along the route from their place to my work, etc.

            I was shocked that my dad mentioned the DVPO. I still question how much physical risk I am in, but if anyone knows my husbands potential it would be my dad, sad, I wept quite a bit when my dad told me that because I really don’t want to ever have to do that- it will hurt my husband and my kids, but I know it will be necessary if I have to really leave again, it’s really hard to do the right thing, I have real awe for sheep and the others that have gotten as far as they have at this point. I am also in awe for those that have confronted and stayed too, that is a frightening thought as well. Thank-you for being such a loving support.



          • Aly on August 10, 2018 at 10:43 am

            Jane,

            I’m assuming that you have been living in this dynamic of ‘hope for the best’, ‘make the best out of the situation’ and on and on.

            You wrote something important about physical risk but my hope is that you will also the the emotional and spiritual risk you are in….
            You wrote:
            “I still question how much physical risk I am in, but if anyone knows my husbands potential it would be my dad, sad, I wept quite a bit when my dad told me that because I really don’t want to ever have to do that- it will hurt my husband and my kids, ”

            It will hurt your husband and your kids more if you don’t do necessary things with obvious unstable people.

            I’m not saying go do the PO, but the way you are thinking about it and how it will impact them is upside down.

            And yes hitting you on the thigh versus the face is not different to me.
            Hands are not for hitting!

            You must have been taught or interpreted all sorts of reasons to minimize abuse early on. (I get that)

            As you do more of this history work you might see that much of these rationales are linked to finding ways of keeping relationships intact even if they are unhealthy.

            Maybe you were taught or interpreted in your FOO, that personal boundaries are not respected and the bullies of the family call the shots and the environment based on their ever-changing chaotic mood!



          • Jane on August 10, 2018 at 1:27 pm

            Aly,

            Once again a lot of wisdom from you. Yes my head and heart war with each other often these days. And sometimes I can’t tell which one’s which to be honest.

            My FOO (family of origin, right?) was definitely unhealthy and still is, but both of my parents have grown some in the past 10yrs, my dad more than my mom overall. I grew up terrified of my dad yet seeking his love and acceptance. We were pretty much on “his time” most of the time. That meant if we wanted to be up and around we had to be silent and still or he would become angry and we would be spanked or grounded. I didn’t even know what personal boundaries were until I was well into my 30s and I learned I had none and this was massively impacting my life. I have gotten better about that with others in my life but not so much with the people I am closest too. Telling my dad that he did not believe me and that it hurt was scary but I could not let him brush it under the rug just because he did not want to get emotionally invested in it (probably because he is afraid he will have a hard time holding back his anger towards my husband, though maybe just because denial is a wide comfortable river).

            My mom is the verbal abuser and the surprise anger outbursts person and the one I could never please, thus never pleasing my dad. I was called lazy bones jones growing up, pulled out of community sports when my dad would lose his job but be told it was because my grades weren’t good enough, and I was constantly compared to my sister. I have two learning disabilities that went undiagnosed until well into my adult hood that effected my grades and my ability to complete and organize tasks, school work and house work. My mom was very lazy and addicted to soap operas and my sister and I (mostly me because “she has homework”- which was her reading a pleasure book) did the house work and a lot of the yard work. My mom would call me fat because of my slouching posture. If I dared speak out I would be grounded or spanked with the belt, and when my mom slapped me that one time for interjecting into the precious conversation my sister and she were having, there was no doubt left in my mind that I was not wanted. There were so many other insults like this, one in which my aunt stood up for me to say that what they were going to do under my moms direction was just not right! I thank God that she did because even the fact that they were going to leave me like that during the Christmas break, so the two of them could go away by themselves and visit my mom’s extended family supposedly,but it was really because my sister chose not to come home that year for Christmas and my mom was hurt, that one still hurts. The list is infinite and while I have forgiven both of my parents, my moms words are still often mean and even hurtful though I try to just let the words fall. Once in a while the jab gets between the armour.

            That dynamic has changed some. My sister is still the favorite and her many kids are treated so much better than my kids and my parents carve out a lot of time for her family (my kids have noticed and appropriately keep their distance- it also helps keep her toxic words to a minimum so maybe its better that way).

            Growing up feeling totally unwanted and unloved led to significant mood problems, depression with suicidality, severe anorexia, etc. I was a bit healthier by the time I met my husband because my family had moved many states away from where my sister had been and for once I was not so and so’s sister. That was my whole life. Now was a fresh start and at least that shadow was gone.

            I am sure that I latched on to the first person that showed interest in me. He love bombed the heck out of me. He was always scary and mean and forced things I did not want to do, but at least he wanted me. Someone actually wanted me. (This is cathartic so if its long just ignore it, very sorry. Odd realities coming out).

            The abuse and the problems have always been there, but I have been really healing a lot by the amazing grace of God and the work of His Spirit for the past 3 years. I find the healthier and stronger (and more independent) I become, the more controlling and angry my husband has been. The closer I draw to God, the more evil the treatment is. Things will seem fine, then “bam” Sunday morning he gets up early just to be able to be sullen and angry and tell me he is sick of being beaten up. Smack, back reeling on my heals, not even sure where that hit came from, or why. I know it’s an enemy attack to try to ruin my ministry at church but it doesn’t keep the words from hurting me.

            I love the group Casting Crowns, but my husbands favorite song is broken together. I hate that song! I don’t want to be broken together and stay there, I want to be whole together. He just wants us to wallow together in our brokenness like a couple of fat hogs rolling in our own filth! I also hate the five love languages book. I am sure it is good for non abusive marriages, but in mine it is a source of what I am not doing right, and his love tank (which can not be filled) was always on empty no matter what language I spoke. (Incidentally, this was the book thrown at me at my office after everyone left. I was told “You need to read this, my love tanks on empty.”)

            He chose my love languages for me, told me what they were (one to include physical touch-not!), then denied it to our counselor and said two others and a few weeks later changed it again. By the third time I new what gas lighting was and knew that he was doing this on purpose, as did the counselor.

            Yes I feel it right now as I reread this, I am holding out for hope! I finally resign to no hope for the future I dreamt of, but then maybe (though I know it will never be my dream, maybe it will still become a marriage?) Some people think I am giving up on what God can do, I just feel like I am giving up on my husband becoming willing to see and change. I am giving up on the marry go round of hope, destruction, despair, hope, destruction, despair. This is where I have let him become my idol. Our relationship being ok has, in the past, dictated my happiness and well being. I must be grounded in Christ and find my joy and peace there so that I can walk on the water despite the waves and winds. I must keep my eyes on my Savior, not on my past, my pain, my fear, my doubt. I must know, beyond all that, He has me and whatever the outcome I will be okay. More than okay, he has promised an abundant life full of joy, love and peace (not things, don’t confuse that).

            Thanks for listening to this emotional vomit. This forum brings up some of the most important things I need to dig through to heal.



          • Aly on August 10, 2018 at 2:36 pm

            Jane,
            I hope this posts correctly in alignment.

            Anyway, please never apologize for writing your story. It’s important to take the time you need to sort through some things that might feel ‘unnecessary’ but critical to your journey.

            I’m so sorry for what you experienced and the messages you received about yourself.
            I’m thankful you know your Savior and the truth about your value through Him alone.
            Parents are supposed to ‘ECHO’ these in their words and actions, but many fail terribly.
            Parenting is a sacred privilege I believe and I make plenty of errors along my way. But it’s how we respond that matters.

            I think looking at the past is helpful as you sort through things, no it’s not to get stuck there, but if we can’t look at the past we often live it out in our present situations more than we realize.

            It’s stretching and working out an emotional muscle that not everyone wants to utilize.

            This blog is a great place to process things and be heard. There are amazing people here who are compassionate and can offer the kind of care and wisdom that your ‘mother certainly lacked’

            I’m thankful you got to experience a healthier conversation with your dad and you felt loved and seen. This is a blessing and my prayer will be that he keeps his position and posture



          • caroline on August 10, 2018 at 8:13 pm

            Jane, I hope this posts in line. Its supposed to come after your bravely written story. Its not too long.

            I think writing out our stories in community is one of the most powerful tools available for spiritual growth and maturity. I love reading honest stories, and I love getting feedback when I share too.
            First I’m really sorry you were the target for so much of your mothers moral failure, and I’m sorry it made you open to your husbands mistreatment of you.

            Jane I hate the 5 love languages book too. HATE IT. Its a classic poop right in there with Love & Respect, Created to be his Helpmeet, Every Heart Restored, Light His Fire, The Total Woman and its fabulous sequal…The Total Woman Cookbook (NO JOKE there was such a critter).

            Manipulation guides at best, clubs to beat people with at their worst.

            I do love the Broken Together song, but maybe I have a radically different idea of what it means to be broken than your hubs. Its supposed to lead us away from our own devices and to HIM, who has the strength to do all things. Its step one of 12 steps of AA and its supposed to be leading us somewhere else. Not staying in the mess but saying HEY this is a mess, lets change something.

            In the end you wrote:
            “…Yes I feel it right now as I reread this, I am holding out for hope! ” and then “…Our relationship being ok has, in the past, dictated my happiness and well being…”

            I think every married person has lived like this. And yes, to be mature Christians growing in the Lord we will all have to leave that behind, and RISK going forward all alone.

            Sometimes the spouse has had life changing growth as well and we have a God honoring marriage after all, but not because of us or through us. Indeed we must step away, and allow for the possibility of failure. Both for our sake AND theirs.

            This is how holding proper boundaries ends up being one of the most profound ways we love others. It is actually believing in a husband and his human dignity to say “NO MORE, you were made for better than this!!” in regards to his harmful choices.

            Saying he CANT ever change is very different than admitting he most likely won’t.

            Thanks for sharing so much of your story. So, so brave.

            You are likely feeling really drained and empty right now. Find something healthy to “fill up” with. A long walk , some hymns, a cup of tea, a hot shower, painting, drawing , singing…
            I go for a walk or swim in our lake on warm days or go out to the barn and hold a baby bunny or new duckling. A cup of coffee and my bible taken to the orchard. Painting or sketching, and playing the piano helps me feel like myself again too.

            xoxo
            caroline
            .



          • Jane on August 13, 2018 at 11:02 am

            I get a lot of wisdom from this group so I am going to keep this post here.

            This weekend was interesting, hopeful, and exhausting.

            After triggering me unintentionally on Saturday when I felt cornered and was receiving unwanted affection I started trembling. He picked up on this and backed off. I quickly got out of the cornered situation and he wanted to talk. Once I felt I was in a safe position to talk we actually talked. My husband feels like God has been talking to him, telling him that he has been having a very long pity party for himself and that this needed to change and he needed to get over himself. I was not going to disagree with this. He then wanted to know more about what was going on with me. I told him how afraid I was the other day when I had to walk out and what the look on his face was. He assured me if he ever got to that place he would walk away, I pointed out to him that when I needed him to walk away he refused. To that he apologized. I confronted him on some other more significant abuse issues that I don’t want to share here and how these are a consistent problem (which I had just figured out with the help of my doctor the day before). I don’t know that he fully understands why it is wrong but he did seem sorry that he hurts me.

            I set down two boundaries right now. I will not ride in the car with him at all. He frightens me with the way he drives and his aggressive rage and the more afraid I am the worse he drives on purpose. He seemed to receive this well. I set the second boundary and explained why. I really needed to be able to set this one for my own well being. He seemed to accept this one as well. We were supposed to be at someone’s party during this time but it was a talk we needed to have. He did do a little blame shifting or mentioning things like we were both emotionally immature when we got married. I agreed but told him that I have grown and I told him that when he had previously accused me of being on version 4.0 and that he can’t keep up with which person I am, that he is right. I am choosing to grow, heal and change and he has chosen to stay stuck. I told him that the healthier I have gotten and the closer to God I have gotten the angrier he has been. He seemed to accept this.

            The next morning he felt that he was being led to apologize and ask for forgiveness. While I would have liked to clarify for what he was apologizing, I was trying to get to church. He seemed to be genuine and repentant, unfortunately he still seems to be focused on the end being fixing us and he is asking me not to give up on him. I probably would have received that request better if it wasn’t preempted with “I didn’t give up on you”. This was a different situation altogether and related to actual illness, but to him it’s the same. He knows he may not deserve the chance to keep working on it but is asking me to keep fighting for us.

            He told me he thinks the healing will happen quickly, I explained it was a process and would take time, and may even get worse for a while as we go through this. He doesn’t seem to want to believe this. I made sure he knows that if I have to walk out again for my safety that it will not just be for a day and that we will have to keep working on ourselves, but would have to do that work apart from each other for a while. He looked sad at this but not angry. There were a lot of positive confrontations during this time so there is some hope.

            Keep praying, you have all helped me to find some of my voice when I am safe, thank-you.



          • Nancy on August 13, 2018 at 11:34 am

            Hi Jane,

            Good to hear from you. Thanks for the update.

            What came to mind was Patrick Doyle’s video on reconciliation. Your h has seriously broken trust with you and the burden needs to be on him – long term – to restore that. That will come through his behaviour, not words. If you haven’t seen this video, it’s worth your time.

            I’m continuing to pray for you.

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



          • Jane on August 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm

            thank-you, will watch it



          • caroline on August 13, 2018 at 8:24 pm

            I’m going to echo Nancy. here. We must learn to “listen” with our eyes, not our ears.

            Words are cheap and potentially mesmerizing. Many addict/abusers have depended heavily on their way with words. Changed actions, when they are consistent over time, will show us the real changes going on inside.

            Hubs reaction to your fear of him could very well be evidence of a turning tide or it could be just another level of manipulation. Only time and consistency will tell.
            xoxo- caroline



  56. Aly on August 7, 2018 at 7:18 am

    Aleea & JoAnn,

    I think Aleea stated that it’s her fear and pride that keep circling back to this-at the end of one of her recent posts.
    Of Aug 6, 9:49pm

    JoAnn, I agree with you in your response here to Aleea. Aleea I said above that you asked me a question anout’how do I get to those parts’?

    I’m not convinced in the dialog here that you are genuine in wanting to seek that out because you also are honest about your fear.
    Your fear is almost habitually opposing that process (it seems) as you digest the patterns and try to look objectively at the behavior here, even on this blog.

    You wrote this:
    “The only remedy is a deeper respect for God’s Word and a commitment to check all teachings, no matter how popular, against the words of Scripture. It is my prayer that I will not be taken captive by human philosophies that contradict God’s Word (Colossians 2:8).”

    This seems very contradictory in the essentials. Meaning… studying something against the word of scripture can very well take you captive or get you in a place of ongoing confusion and convenient distraction like we have brought up before.

    None of us here are debating or making the topic ‘the divorce or remarriage’ the focus.

    Why such the emphasis and redirection (deflect & distract) on this Aleea?
    Why not go back to focus on what you fear? Or what your original question pertained to?
    Because the fear of intimacy with the Lord I think is at the root of it. (Not saying I’m right)

    But don’t you think it’s very possible that you are distracting yourself from really the simple way of seeing and experiencing the intimacy of the Lord?
    But one cannot embrace this if they are wrapped in fear and plenty of habitual avoidant behaviors.

    This is where I think it’s important to seek further professional counsel and psychiatrist perspective (neurologically) because I hear you saying ‘come near Lord, and then watch the other behavior of all this pushing away using the distraction of the texts and theology to make it the focus.

    Prayers for your journey Aleea and please don’t follow up with more avoidance about your fear or tactics to debate these textual things.
    I’m willing to discuss an honest genuine conversation where we both can be vulnerable and understanding toward the hurting communities as ourselves also have been impacted.

  57. Moon Beam on August 7, 2018 at 8:18 am

    This reply is for an earlier first time poster who recently removed herself and her precious children from a destructive home life. I can’t find her post to post beneath it. But I want to acknowledge the difficulty of her situation and affirm her strength and wisdom to leave.

    In response to the thought that it hurts that he doesn’t see the kids and it is hard to battle through this period… I reply.

    He was hurting the children when he lived there by not honoring you. His abusive behaviors are in their subconscious covertly affecting their brain. Whether at home or away he hurts the children. Nothing has changed. Him not calling the children is just an obvious symptom of his selfishness and sickness. Either way he is a bad parent. Your children need at least one good and healthy parent to survive. You are that parent, not him.

  58. JoAnn on August 7, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Thank you, Aly, for affirming my point. Aleea, I appreciate that you have received my response in the spirit in which it was given. The Lord has indeed put a love in my heart for all the women here, and I trust Him to give me the words when He prompts me to reply.
    Dear Sister, you often refer to what you say as your problems….fear, pride, etc. but my question is, “What do you do with that”? If the Lord has deeply convicted you of pride, then confess that to Him and open that part of your being to Him. Let Him reveal to you what is the source of that pride, or fear. What is that fear about? Fear is a hard thing to look at, and it is possible that the enemy has used that fear to create a stronghold in your being that prevents you from having a real, honest, and intimate relationship with the Lord. Let His perfect love cast out the fear in your soul, but for that to happen, you need to see it. A doctor will not remove a tumor surgically without first “looking” at it with an MRI. The Lord wants us to see what’s really there, then we can open that up to Him and give Him permission to deal with it. In His time and His way. In my experience, this is how we go deeper with the Lord.

  59. Jane on August 7, 2018 at 10:41 am

    To All,

    Mindy has given me permission to let you know she is safe but will be under the radar for a few weeks.

    Thank-you for keeping her in your prayers.

    • K (who's posted before) on August 7, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Mindy — we are praying for you! Even though you will be “under the radar” for a time, I hope you will still view the conversations and encouragements here. You are very much a part of this community, and cared for. Bless the Lord for His deepest love and care for you.

      Jane — thanks for letting us know regarding Mindy. And know that we are praying for you, too, Jane. (and all you other sisters who are just entering, or in the midst of making these very hard decisions about keeping yourselves safe.) The Lord sees and cares for you each, just as He did Hagar, and Esther, and Ruth. Grace, Mercy, and Peace in His name and action on your behalf.

    • Nancy on August 7, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks Jane.

      Mindy’s last post made me think, “I’m so glad that there are so many here online, at different times, so that when a crisis comes up, someone can be there for support.”

      Her decision to go under the radar, eliminates that benefit for herself ( I’m sure she has good reason).

      You have shared that you are exhausted from supporting women going through crisis, at work. Is it wise for you to be her contact, just now?

      Wise for you? ( you are exhausted from supporting others, as well as in an unsafe situation personally) Wise for her? (What if you have your own crisis?)

      Obviously, I don’t know the nuances of why she has to go ‘under the radar’, but, as you can tell, I’m concerned as to the pressure that this may put on you…?

      • Free on August 7, 2018 at 3:52 pm

        Excellent points Nancy.

      • Jane on August 7, 2018 at 5:33 pm

        Sorry I can’t go into more details. This is her story to tell. I wish I could share more about me and my story too and why I am in this position, but I can’t without compromising my true identity nor her privacy. It is a privilege that God has granted me. I do need to care for myself and have a much better support system in place, even in crisis I can be there for others because of the safety system I finally have in place- thanks to you my sisters and my experience learned by helping others.

        I also have others helping me with her situation but their role is different, thank God these others are in place and have been such a support for her and me as we get her to the other side of this. I will extend your guys love to her as she is also unplugged.

  60. JoAnn on August 7, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Jane, thanks for passing that along. We will keep her in our prayers.

  61. Aleea on August 8, 2018 at 5:54 am

    Re: fears; distractions; honesty; going deeper with Christ

    . . .I fear we teach people here, and encourage them, to break Jesus’ commandments and then we give them vast comfort in doing so (me too). . . .I feel I have taken the best counsel in the world, for years, on what those texts say and meant in context. It’s not finding what Christ commands that was hard; for me it was facing it. . . .And it is easy to shift the issue to attacking people vs. what those texts we say we believe say and mean. But then. . .

    . . .but then I look at the suffering of people here vs. those commandments, and I wonder if the commandments are from God Himself at all.

    . . .Then I look at the behavior of “Christians” (including myself, definitely) and wonder if there are Christians at all or is it a distinction without any real, substantive difference.

    All I know to do is to keep facing what scares me about reality. Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away. Suffering is as real as it gets, no one can deny it. . . .I don’t think reality is ever the problem. It is only the ideas about reality (including those taught in the Bible) that become a problem. . . .When we eat too much chocolate, we get sick of it . . .so we should gorge ourselves on ours fears because that should help us overcome them. In fact, almost all the evil in the world has its origin in the fact that some one is afraid of something. I fully agree with that.

    —People here often think they are making the smart, safe decisions. But fear is insidious. It takes anything you’re willing to give it, the parts of your life you don’t mind cutting out, but when you’re not looking, fear takes anything else it pleases, too. From my childhood I know a lot about fear. I know what a relief it feels like to give into it at first. It’s not hard to persuade yourself that you’re doing the right thing.

    We can’t experience Christ (love) on our own terms. He doesn’t love that way. Lord help me not to be afraid to be the person who loves the most even if it means getting hurt the most. . .🕆🏺

  62. Leslie Vernick on August 8, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Hey Aleea, can you clarify what you mean by this statement? .I fear we teach people here, and encourage them, to break Jesus’ commandments and then we give them vast comfort in doing so (me too). . .

    This causes me concern that you are saying that I am teaching people to break Jesus’ commands and I’m not sure that’s what you are saying but if so, it’s a strong statement that I’d like you to back up with some specific examples so I can address them because as much as I know, that is never my intent.

  63. Debi on August 8, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you Nancy for your response. I did not think to pray for support, I shall do that. I love this blog, all the support, encouragement and wisdom, it has been a great help to me the last couple of years. This morning in talking with God wanting clarification & understanding of scriptures to stand on being separated from my h as there are so many on God hates divorce. I was reminded of how the Israelites was delivered from their oppressor, wondered around 40 yrd because of their unbelief that God would provide away into the promised land.
    God said to me Those who are oppressed, I deliver them from their oppressor. He said I have released you from the oppressor, your unbelief keeps you oppressed.
    Unbelief has kept me in a place of being double minded, “did God really say not to go back to my h, as Satan said to Eve, paraphrased, did God really say… ” I have struggled with this for a couple years. Yesterday God said Rest from your labors. I have been striving to figure it all out, I’m exhausted & realized I’m depressed. The unbelief was: can I hear accurately from God, will He provide for me. I was not trusting Him completely. In Jn 10:10 it says The thief does not come except to steal & to kill & to destroy. I have come that you may have life & have it more abundantly. He wants us to enjoy our life. But do I? No
    even though most of the time I trust God I don’t alot also. It’s walking it out in the natural realm what has already been done in the spiritual realm. That’s the hard part for me, what if it’s wrong, am I doing it right, what if….
    As the Israelites they believed they could not over come the Giants in the promised land (whatever the promised land is for us, peace, security, safety, love..) they died in their unbelief in the wilderness. Only 2 of them said we can over take them.
    I have been walking this journey for 6 yrs, it’s not as long as others & have struggled for so long. I was in denial of what was going on because it was so subtle but ripped me part. I’ve been ashamed, felt guilty about separating from him, still seeing him, going to church together etc and not able to tell anyone at church because h doesn’t want them to know or his friends. I have felt like such a hypocrite. The cycles of abuse keeps me off balance. Things are ok even though we see each other daily, I have time alone, that’s why I think I should just go back. It is very difficult for me to tell him no.
    So today, I hold on to God’s word that He has delivered me out of the abuse and Trust He loves me & provides for me.
    Thank you Leslie for this blog of godly women and for all of your wisdom you pour into us.

    • Nancy on August 8, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      Wow Debi. What great insight about the Isrealites in the desert!

      One day at a time. I love how you ended your post, “so today I hold on to God’s word that he has delivered me out of the abuse and Trust He loves me and provides for me.”

      That’s all any of us can do, really: Trust God, today.

      • Aly on August 8, 2018 at 4:05 pm

        Debi,

        I’m thinking you are different than (Debbie).

        I agree with Nancy’s comment and say praise God for that rest for you!

        Your example is so very true and applies to our circumstances.
        These dynamics of abuse are complex individually, so be kind as you walk through.

        It’s true, the Lord secures the Promise land for us to participate in claiming it! 🌈
        So glad your on this blog!

        • Debi on August 24, 2018 at 2:56 pm

          Aly thank you. Yes I am different than (Debbie)
          The dynamics are different for each of us, & we each walk it out differently. I appreciate Leslie’s blog. I have been reading it a couple yrs but never posted.

      • Debi on August 24, 2018 at 2:31 pm

        Thank you Nancy for your response. Sometimes it’s harder
        to walk it out than other times. I’ve taken a long time to respond, I apologize.

    • Ruth on August 9, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Debi,
      I want to respond to what you said in your post above, but there wasn’t a reply link under your first post. And now I can’t find it way – there are so many posts!!
      Debi, you said you suffered verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse from your father as a child. 😞 I am so sorry! That is horrible!! Absolutely do not accept your husband’s minimizations of your sufferings and all the affects it’s had on you. Jesus was lovin, right? Besides the most obvious display of His love for us, dying on the cross, when I think of Jesus’ love I think of Jesus being “moved with compassion”. Is your husband ever “moved with compassion”? My guess is No! Most abuser spouses are not compassionate which IMO is the defining way to measure their love. I would not measure their love in their words or in their romantic gestures, but how compassionate and kind are they?
      But back to your recovery from your childhood abuse,He is had no understanding of the subject. He SELFISHLY wants you to be all better, so all the focus on be on HIM, HIM, HIM!
      I think you were hearing from God! I read the Joyce Meyer Book “How to Hear from God”. It has been the best JM book I’ve ever read.
      Bless you dear sister!

      • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 11:36 am

        Such great encouragement to Debi, Ruth. All so true!

  64. Barbara on August 8, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    I didn’t realize for the first week of the interaction I could have with so many. Wow! In reading so many it is amazing how many things we share. Right now my husband of 52 years wants me to act sexually like I’m a 20 year old. I am not a prude but he emotionally abused me for so many years and I used sex to offset his horrible behavior I have no good feelings about sex with him. Every comment he makes seems to be relating to sex. I refused sex for 8 months and he seemed nicer but now that we’re having sex he’s obsessed again. I am praying for 30 days and if I still feel trapped I will confront him again. I am also working on my CORE strengths and going to Conquer in Oct. Thank you Leslie for your book on the emotionally destructive marriage and all you ladies for being open and sharing.

    • Aly on August 8, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      Barbara,
      I am really sorry for what you are going through!
      What do you mean by he’s obsessed again sexually speaking?

      Not trying to pry but I also don’t want to misinterpret without better understanding from you.

      • Barbara on August 8, 2018 at 10:28 pm

        Hi Aly, He is very addicted to sex to the point that his addiction for pain meds he is on will be put off taking them to have sex. He gets mad and expects me to tell him how many times a week I think we should have sex. It makes me feel awful. He is in denial that what he feels is wrong. How can I feel loved and respected when it’s put to me this way?

        • Aly on August 10, 2018 at 8:28 am

          Hi Barbara,
          I’m really sorry for how hurtful this is. I can see that from your perspective how could someone feel loved or valued when emotional safety isn’t there.

          A person focused on number of times per week isn’t focused on loving a spouse,so I get that. And in addition how does this not put you in a position ‘knowing’ what you know from how he communicates his insensitive motives, to not be in an emotional safe place to offer yourself freely?

          I can imagine maybe you don’t feel like a ‘person or wife to be cherished’ but a body or possession to be used?
          Not saying this is how you feel but I am wondering…

          So Barbara, do you think he is and has been for a long time in your marriage hiding a sexual addiction of some sort?
          Has he always been like this?
          Have you discovered porn use from him?

          There are a lot of things that are usual symptoms of deeper issues going on. Your posts of what you describe show a RED flag of maybe someone ‘sexually obese’ and out of context with a relationship being the first focus.

          Sexually obese or warped views of sexual behavior, focus on activity etc… all point to more going on within that person.

          Do you have a counselor you can talk to and get more directives from?

          I’m sorry I asked so many questions but sometimes it can help as you try to navigate safety and especially boundaries/ requirements in this situation.

          • Jane on August 10, 2018 at 9:18 am

            Barbara,

            I also empathize. I was constantly told that if we had more sex his behavior would be better, after all that’s how he knows everythings ok. I am not going to go into the rest of the issues around physical intimacy with him, but when I tried to have sex every day to every other day at the least, there was zero improvement in his behavior and it actually became worse. I pointed this out and he said it would take more time for this to help him. I figured after 2 months of this I would see some change. Nope.

            This is definitely just a massive control and self gratification issue! I pray you find freedom from this, it can be so damaging to know you’re not enough and when you have been coerced, manipulated and violated why should you ever want to be intimate with someone who is not physically or emotionally safe to be intimate with.

            God bless you my sister. Hang in there.



          • Aly on August 10, 2018 at 9:27 am

            Jane,
            I am so sorry that you went through that in addition!

            Barbara what Jane said is important to see that your h doesn’t have a sexual problem more than an intimacy issue!

            Also if we are speaking in terms of using a wife’s body like this, then we are talking about sexual addiction and dopamine levels.
            This is serious stuff and again there is a lot more help out there for victims/survivors also.

            It’s still amazing to me how much the sexual abuse of these individual abusers is linked to their lack of character growth. They take from all levels.



    • Moon Beam on August 8, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      After 52 years, procreation is not even possible, so the desire of a 20 year old is old. Well, unless your husband was 20 years old.(ha)

      I believe he is punishing you for the eight months you stood up for yourself and enacted consquences. He thinks he is entitled and you owe him back wages so to speak. Anyway you look at it, it is still a selfish act on his part. His energy is about greed and anger. How dare you, he thinks. He wants to win, win, win. He’ll show you who is boss, he thinks!

      • Moon Beam on August 8, 2018 at 5:29 pm

        Desire of a 20 year old is odd.

  65. Moon Beam on August 8, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Jane,he knows why. He is digging for information. The more information he gets, the better he can control you. Oh, he gets it. He orchestrates all of it. He is just testing the players to see who will give in and who he can use as an instrument of his desire.

    Concentrate on you Jane. Enough about him.

    • Jane on August 8, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      Believe it or not this is working on me. Being afraid of setting boundaries, confrontation and anger are not ok. I have to step out and follow through with this, its just really stinking hard!

      I don’t think he gets it. He thinks he’s right and that calling someone ignorant is not mean, its just a fact, etc. I really don’t know how much he knows that he does. My son also admits that sometimes the evil things my husband says are on purpose, and sometimes he is just an idiot and is clueless as to how his words come out.

      He says these stupid things to and about everyone anyway, then has no idea why he doesn’t have any “friends”. Not that he wants them since they are all so stupid in his opinion, There is no one that is good enough to be his friend. He believed his calling in our church is to show the pastor all the neat and amazing stuff in the bible that the pastor has never seen or understood before! He has publicly told the pastor that if he continued to help a user/abuser family, that the pastor has failed at the current test that God was presenting, etc. (BTW my pastor finally set a boundary with that family, he couldn’t not help them that time because he had never set that boundary with them.) My husband knows it makes him feel good and special to be able to do that to other people, do you think he knows it is hurtful if he then still expects these people to be his friend? I am not sure, that sociopath side keeps me guessing too much.

      • Aly on August 8, 2018 at 6:50 pm

        Jane,

        This is why many refer to the term ‘crazy making’!
        I so do get you at that level and trying to understand a sociopath, goodness I don’t think that’s possible because the thinking is so warped.

        I’m wondering if you find that giving yourself the space to work through the anxiety and have the support helps?
        The anxiety & fear I think is normal given all the long term abuse.

        Think about patterns for a minute and see that there is a pattern here and why does it work?
        You said above it’s working on you..
        So only you can change if it won’t work any longer.

        What about this? As you are in this really horrible situation and trying to take steps, would it be helpful to tell yourself that you do see it, you do believe that he is well aware of what he’s doing to hurt and dominate?

        See on some level, I wonder for your own well being if stating that you see clearly now his tactics, that you can further detach?
        Being firm and in a healthy way, stating clearly that he does get and it’s been quite convenient for him to have ‘you’ think that he doesn’t get it, when in reality he does!

        Personally, I think he gets it but chooses to flood his thoughts with self talk that draws him back to ‘I’m not that bad of a guy’?
        Tell me for the 100th time again what I did?

        If he can keep you thinking he’s clueless, then he’s feeling great power by that.

        Remember, aside from the abusive behavior he could have several other coexisting disorders he’s developed all these years going on also. That takes a hefty recovery road.

  66. Ruth on August 9, 2018 at 11:17 am

    TL,
    I’m late in responding to your article, but it was sooo good that I was overwhelmed. I just didn’t know what to say! Your story has turned out to be such a victory for the Lord!
    I hope your children are well! I know part of your heart ❤️ is already in heaven – How you must miss her!

    • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 11:48 am

      Oh Ruth. Thank you for those kind words. And thank you for remembering. I’m of course, seeing some fallout from the years under tyranny in my adult children. They have been hurt and damaged. But the Lord is faithful, and I also see them fighting to overcome. A son has been so courageous to go to long-term counseling because he was falling into behaviors he hated in his dad. So proud of him for that. Yes, you are right, how I miss my daughter who is with the Lord. But I have grown so much in my understanding of all that God has promised. I know all that we seem to have “lost” here will be restored to us in overflowing fullness one day. So I wait in the certain hope that is in Christ. Thank you, Ruth. xo

  67. K (who's posted before) on August 9, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    For Jane (responding to August 9th, 5.19pm) Jane, your doctor had a wise reflection for you. It seems like your husband is just looking for another way to control / have power & make demands of you.

    And yet, you excuse his destructive behaviour toward you by self talk that sounds like “maybe he’s really worried” “maybe he’s looking to rescue me” ‘he gets upset when i don’t eat it so then he gets mean because he feels bad’ ……………even though your very own experience is testifying to this forced food & overbearing ‘attention’ making you feel sick, questioning your own ability to meet your needs, or know what you actually want to happen to your life / body.

    None of that sounds like a truly compassionate caring husband, but like someone who is intent on making you do what he decides is best / right / necessary. Speak truth to yourself, Jane!! The Lord is leading you through it.

  68. Nancy on August 10, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Hey Aly,

    You said in a comment ( somewhere) above that addicts are always looking for a reason to be rejected,,,,or something like that.

    Would u mind expanding on this? Why this is the case?

    • Aly on August 10, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      Nancy,
      I am sure I said something like that.
      I think I was trying to validate Jane in the crazy making that is happening ‘even over someone making a meal for another’.

      I think there are many reasons for this via addictive behavior, but it does seem common.
      I think what I was trying to say as rejection is that it often gives then a reason to respond (in their addiction whatever frame of addiction that is) so they don’t have to feel they are personally making the choice to behave or ‘act out’ in the way they choose.

      For ex: an alcoholic who prefers drinking at the bars all night, might provoke a fight so they can exit the home and responsibilities of parenting and being a spouse etc.
      sometimes ‘their fights’ or issue is so irrational the conflict erupts and they exit quickly to go off to do what they prefer.

      As far as rejection, this can be instigated by them so they have a fuel to give them a pity party .. something they can focus on or claim to have a grievance to distract them.

      Not saying I’m right Nancy, just my opinion of some of these scenarios.

  69. T. Lee on August 24, 2018 at 11:04 am

    I don’t even know where to begin as this story you shared was my very own story as well. I was married to a Pastor for 22 years and lived in this environment until the day I didn’t want to live anymore, which was my wake up call. I reached out to a counselor friend who helped me understand that I was living in a domestic abusive relationship. Through counseling, I was able to get back up on my feet, find my voice, and stand up against my husband and draw those boundaries. And in that process, just as you did, God showed me how much He loved me as my Father and how much he despised the abuser. Having heard the same words from my ex husband, “God hates divorce….” I, too, in my own study time realized the true meaning of that scripture and passage through the years.

    The only painful thing to add to my journey is after drawing the line with my ex and learning how to make it with my 3 children as a single mom, I put myself into a similar situation again with my current husband.of 3 1/2 years. After counseling, he cannot see his own abusive behavior or take heed to their counsel which our church has stepped in to try and help and instead he has given me the ultimatum to either follow his headship or we’re done. In this…I have learned more about myself and what lie I have chosen to believe that has caused me to lay my life down for someone else in such a way and not realize who I am in this process. I struggle even grasping that I’m in this place again, but I can also see clearer than I have ever seen before regarding myself and finding wholeness in Christ and Christ alone.

    I literally just found Leslie Vernick’s book about the Emotionally Destructive Marriage a few weeks ago which led me to her website…..I’ve been looking for books and resources like this for years and cannot tell you how thankful I am to not only gain strength from the wisdom that the Lord has given her, but also see that we are not alone. I have also been able to pass on her book to several of my friends who are in similar situations….

    Thank you for sharing your story……it breaks my heart to know there are many more stories that are like ours and I pray these women find their true freedom in Christ as He so longs for us to live and be.

    • Jane on August 24, 2018 at 2:43 pm

      I am so sorry. I am glad you are growing in your self and becoming aware of the weaknesses or hurts that made this a more likely scenario. I pray you find the strength to make it to the other side of this with the full knowledge that you are the daughter of the Lord Most High. His princess. You have the rights of royalty and His Spirit living within you.

      God bless you on your journey and let us know if we can help guide you in any way. Chris Moles has a good book and website. His book is The Heart of Domestic Violence and his website is chrismoles.org. Calledtopeace.org is also a good website. There are so many other good resources that the women here have mentioned previously but I can not think of them. I know I still need to get Lundy Bankrofts book Why Does He Do That, its secular but supposed to be helpful. Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend also major helper.

      • T. Lee on August 24, 2018 at 3:11 pm

        Thank you Jane!!! That is the prayer of my heart as well to gain the full knowledge that I am a daughter of the King. Your words permeated my heart….

        And thank you for the resource tools ~ I will definitely check Chris Moles site out/books out. I also just found the book, Boundaries in Marriage, just this past week.

        I’m so thankful for a strong community that God has surrounded me with and then finding this site has been a massive blessing to be a part of a community, walking similar paths, holding each other’s arms up because where I’m at, I need that support. Every day is hard as I’m having to build boundaries in my marriage for my mental and spiritual health and my youngest son who is still at home (college age). Not sure of what tomorrow will bring but I’m fully trusting that God does…..one day at a time.

    • T.L. on August 28, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Hi T. Lee,

      I am so sorry to hear that you share a similar story to mine. We were taught and believed so many lies. Untwisting scripture and unraveling lies is key…and I have found that it happens best in a community like this one: where others reflect back to you where you may be “off,” because we all have blind spots. So I am glad to hear that you have a strong community. But I would encourage you to keep engaging with this one, as it is full of godly women who have learned how to climb up out of the pit of bondage and into the life-givinggreen pastures that God has prepared for them.

      I am so sad to hear that you have found yourself back in another abusive marriage. Good that you are reaching out for help and support, and not enabling destructive behavior to continue.

      I agree with the recommendations tat have been given: Leslie’s books, articles, blog and videos. She also offers some classes that are very helpful. Patrick Doyle videos, Lundy Bancroft’s book, (and he has a couple of helpful videos too,) Dr. George Simon’s book In Sheep’s Clothing, and Diane Langberg’s videos: Narcissism and the System’s it Breeds, Use and Misuse of Authority in the Church and Home, and Culture, Christendom and Christ were all very helpful to me. Chris Moles is doing a good work, too. At my request my husband worked with hris remotely while we were overseas. He received a lot of good information, but unfortunately I didn’t see the attitudes of his heart (entitlement, pride, superiority) change.

      One thing I would want to ask you, T.Lee, is if you have looked at your own childhood much? You went from an abusive relationship into another. Lundy Bancroft, Leslie, and others warn about that likelihood, if we don’t deal with our own baggage that sets us up for that. I am wondering if you grew up in an abusive home? (Neglect is also a form of abuse.) Because it seems you received a deep message that you are not worth treating well, you are not important, you are not worth protecting, and that is a lie. Have you done much counseling around that? Part of my journey was facing the fact that I was the adult child of an alcoholic (he was a functional alcoholic, so I dismissed it as not affecting me. I was wrong.)

      I pray that the Lord will help you to get to the bottom of what lies you are still believing that make you choose men like your previous and current husband. Is it the lie that you aren’t worth any better? Or maybe the belief that you could “help” these men?

      Praying for you to be surrounded by a team of supportive people that help you get you and your young adult child out of abuse.

      • Tracee on August 28, 2018 at 1:04 pm

        T.L ~ I appreciate you reaching out to me. Everything you said resonated deep inside of me. And I would agree wholeheartedly that I am staying connected in this community I have found through this site walking along other women that have and are going through the same struggles I have ~ that is the one thing that I felt so deeply when I went through my divorce with my 1st husband was how alone I felt. The church I was a part of wasn’t there for me and most of my pastoral friends deserted me…that was a hard 1 1/2 years of getting through some of the deepest pain I have ever known in my life and in a sense, starting all over again. I had to learn to trust in the Lord again and was honestly afraid too…thankfully I did not stop going to church, and sought counseling for a year after that, which I eventually came to that place of saying, God, I trust you in my life. I searched in so many different ways for a support group like this and began to wonder if there really was something out there like this….I have had so many women come to me with their own stories of abuse in these past 6-7 years so I am so thankful that I now have a place I can lead them too like this site.

        You nailed something that made me cry when I read your words when referring to my childhood ~ when I saw a counselor a few weeks back, she asked me, “What lie have you believed that has caused you to lay down your life in such a way that you forget about yourself?” That hit my core because I realize that I have somewhere along the course of my life, have believed this lie…..and yes, it makes me realize that I have to start in my childhood and realize that the two things I can relate to in those years was feeling neglected and my dad, who was/is a Pastor, was verbally abusive and controlling towards my mother and us kids. My mom was there for me as best as she knew how, but with the struggles she was facing as wife, mom, living in a foreign country as Missionaries (I grew up in Spain), I lived a lot of my life figuring it out on my own. My mom also came from an abusive childhood – her father was a functioning alcoholic and was extremely verbally and emotionally abusive towards her. My sister above me and I have made a comment before about our growing up that “we did a pretty good job raising ourselves.” So, I didn’t have parents that were ‘present.’ My dad was short fused so asking him for anything was out of the question. He honestly scared me at times growing up. I had a lot of fear of his reactions towards me. I have never talked to a counselor about this but I realize I have to because it is something that is painful when I think about it and not resolved. I have a decent relationship with my dad as an adult but in all honestly, it has always brought a sense of pain knowing that he maybe calls me once a year to see how I’m doing. And when I went through my divorce he never called me one time to see how I was doing. So, yes, this is definitely something I realize I need to walk out and through to get to some core things inside my life that have caused me to believe the lie of not feeling loved. I, like you, dismissed that my childhood had anything to do with my adult life because not everything in my childhood was painful – I actually loved much of my childhood years and experiences, but this gap in my relationship with my dad and the feeling of neglect has been lurking inside of me for years. Painfully lurking.

        I think that the decision’s I have made with my first husband and my husband now, is I’ve always had a longing to be loved, to be believed in and supported in life. Which I think is that gap I’ve been trying to fill in my life from not feeling loved growing up by my dad in so many ways. What’s weird is I’ve always actually ‘believed’ my dad loves me but yet there’s this missing link in my life because his actions don’t follow that as far as staying in relationship with me. So, being that I was very insecure in my teen years, when my ex-husband reached out to me at 17 years of age, it was the missing link I thought I was looking for. By 20 we were married but within 4 years, he went into a depression and never came back out for the remainder of our 22 years of marriage. And that started the battle of what he was fighting in his mind which he vented towards me and eventually our children. Which, towards the end of our marriage I was living in no less than 8+ hours of brow beating a day, locking me in a room…screaming and yelling at me for things as simple as not getting the mail at 10:30 a.m. or not fixing the right dinner.

        I realize how I was not in a good emotional state when I married my husband now, as I had completed a year of counseling, but had sunk into a season of life where I was struggling to be alone, once again having that gap of wanting to be loved, and struggling to make ends meet for me and my kids. Having never been the main provider, even though I did many worship conferences, speaking, Girls Ministries Director for our denomination, etc in my past, I was working 4 jobs to make ends meet. And from there, I met my current husband. Now knowing how dangerous of a place I was at that time to make a commitment in this way as it was one that came out of loneliness, longing for love, fear of being alone and fear of being the only provider. Sadly, I saw some signs of control during our dating, but not enough to stop me in my tracks and question because I was afraid that if I voiced my concerns in a few areas, that he would leave me. #flag!

        So here I am now, understanding how I got here, and sadly wishing I could’ve told myself 4 years ago…hold on….keep looking up to the Father and He’ll fill these gaps in. But I wasn’t strong enough at that point emotionally. I can see it now….but cannot believe I am facing a place of having to decide on my future with my husband and what I need to do for my mental health, my personal growth and healing and safety for my youngest son who still lives at home (freshman in college). At this point, he’s refused all the advice and wisdom given to him in the counseling sessions we’ve gone too over the course of this summer. Everyone is wrong according to him, and he’s right. He’s been told he’s an abuser, he leads like a dictator, and he doesn’t have the ability to listen, and he doesn’t know how to correctly apply God’s word from the counselor’s we have seen. What brought us to this point is when he continually tried to divide my family apart and pull me away from them, not allowing my oldest son in our home…I knew I couldn’t live this way anymore. So I drew a line and said no more. One thing I can tell that’s different inside of my heart is, I am not afraid of looking into my future alone. In my pursuance of the Lord these past few years that’s been deeper than ever before, as well as having some further counseling this past year, I know without a doubt God is continually bringing healing in my life because realizing that I am very likely looking at a future where I am going to have to walk away for the mental safety of my life and children, does not scare me as it once did. But, I also know there’s no way I will be able to walk this journey without more counseling (which begins tomorrow) or the support of groups like this, the support group from my family, children, friends and my church support.

        Thank you for your words of encouragement ~ for speaking directly into where I am at and what I need to dig in to get to the core root of all of this….My overall prayer this year for my life was PEACE. And I know that God is placing me on a path to truly discover the peace He has for my life and to know, that yes, I am good enough….just as I am.

        Blessings my friend…..T.Lee

  70. JoAnn on August 24, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    T.Lee, My heart is so very sad for what you are going through. It truly grieves me that so many women are in abusive marriages, and I have taken the step of speaking with the elders in our church (we don’t have a paid minister), to help them understand how to help in these situations. May the Lord guide you through in these days, to true freedom in Jesus Christ.

    • T.L. on August 28, 2018 at 10:03 am

      I love that you have spoken to the elders to help them understand the dynamics of abusive marriages, JoAnn.

      • Catherine Chandy on December 10, 2019 at 1:16 pm

        Hi TL. Can you please text or call me. 917-257-6190. Thanks—Catherine

        • assistant on December 10, 2019 at 3:25 pm

          Hi Catherine, Leslie is no longer doing coaching. Are you hoping to do 1:1 coaching with one of Leslie Vernick coaches?

  71. Catherine Chandy on December 10, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Hi TL. Thank you so much for your transparency ! I am in a horrible situation as well. Can you please text me or call me. 917-257-6190. Thank you!

  72. Deb Braus on February 5, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    TL. Thank you so much for sharing your story. God is amazing! I’m so happy for you and encouraged to be strong. I’m in an emotionally destructive marriage (32 years!)… God told me to stop lying aka pretending everything is ok. I wrote a similar letter to my husband and he hasn’t replied for 2 years. I keep sending it to him every 6 months. In the meantime I’m finding my voice and waking up….it feels like I was brainwashed. Im still here but I know it’s time to leave. Unfortunately Im isolated and suffering from severe brain fog/burn out. I need a plan and a counsellor. I guess those will be my next steps. Thanks again.

    • TL on February 8, 2021 at 12:53 pm

      Hi Deb, thanks for reading and responding. I’m so sorry to hear that you are in a destructive marriage. That’s not God’s desire for you; you are his beloved, you are precious and dear, and he wants you to take proper care of yourself, not allow another person to abuse you. Consider not sending your letter to your husband again. He has already replied: silence. When I wrote that letter to my husband it was the first time I had no expectation for a response. I didn’t need one, and in fact had told him that there would be no discussion unless it was with a counselor present. It was not about him, but about me: what God had shown me about myself, how I had repented of my passivity, and what I had decided to do: stop pretending, and stop “submitting” to him; that I would submit to God alone. Have you taken steps to find a counselor? Isolation will keep you stuck in the fog. It’s very important that you have supportive people who help you to make healthy choices for your life.

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