Morning friends,

I’m here in Chicago for a few weeks visiting family. I am appreciating the cooler weather but I am getting homesick. Getting out of my regular routine and surroundings is good for a bit, but I’m a regular habit girl and I can never seem to find my stuff living out of suitcase for 5 weeks. But next week we’re headed home. I saw the question on the blog asking what is the difference between co-dependency and trauma bonds and I will answer soon. But this week I’m responding to someone’s question as I promised.

Today’s Question: I am looking for some help or direction. This month will be my 25th wedding anniversary. I have a 14-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son. Much has happened in 25 years. My husband had two affairs, a porn addiction, control issues, verbal and mental abuse and last year it turned physical. I had him arrested and had a restraining order against him.

He was out of our home for about six months. I knew all of it was wrong but he took an anger management course a domestic violence course and spent a night in jail and time out of the house. I honestly felt it was enough for a major change in him and he said it was. He says he is a Christian. I missed him while he was gone. It was hard managing the house and kids by myself. He continued working so that was good.

Since he has been back things are slowly regressing back. He has called me a few nasty words in front of our kids. He is back to blaming me for everything. He constantly says I attack him and I am always defensive and that justifies his behaviors.

He has not been physical. I did, however, inform his therapist and probation officer about the tantrums and name calling. They said since he is not physically hurting me there is nothing they can do. He will be extra loving to our kids when upset with me yet our daughter sees through it. She is having panic attacks so I now have her seeing someone.

I know I am not innocent in all this. I apologize for things but he wants me to admit I am wrong and grovel, not just apologize. I can't do it because I know it's not all my fault. I started a PT job but it's nothing I can live on. I have no family or friends to help.

I keep turning to food for comfort. I am 250 pounds and have horrible health problems. I just don’t have the energy to work on them. Every few days we go through this cycle then have a good week or two. I am reading a book on borderline personality disorder. He was never diagnosed but seems to fit. We have been to all the counselors and church pastors. They can't help. Nothing changes and he feels we all gang up on him. He is a victim and no one else sees the truth because I somehow managed to trick them all. At times I don't feel sane. I was on high levels of anxiety meds from https://www.urgentway.com/xanax-buy-now/  but have gotten off and am now on an antidepressant. We argued recently and my husband told the kids that I ruin everything and when they get older God will open their eyes to the truth.

I don't see divorce or separation as a possibility because he pays all the expenses and I have no one. Plus I would still have to deal with him because we have kids. I don't know how to do it. I am so tired out and read so many books including yours but just remain in the cycle. Can you offer any help?

Answer: I know it feels overwhelming right now and you feel powerless but if you want changes, they must begin with you. I’m so glad you recognize that you are sinking into depression and your health is being affected. Food is not your answer, although I agree, it provides a lot of temporary comforts.But you are now seeing the longer-term consequences to your own health if you continue coping in this way.

Anger management classes are not an appropriate treatment protocol for issues of domestic violence. You were right to inform his counselor and probation officer that the old verbal abuse and blaming patterns are returning but I disagree that there is nothing they can do. They can speak into his life about it and call him to be accountable to the changes he said he wanted to make when he was arrested. Perhaps your definition of him being a Christian needs to be revised. If there is no fruit whatsoever, maybe there are no roots.

However, for you to make your well-being dependent on him changing or getting appropriate help is to put yourself in a very vulnerable and unwise place. Your efforts have gone into his change, but not into your own. Please stop that. For right now it may not be possible for you to be employed full time but you must devote more time to taking care of you.

Your daughter is in therapy but what about therapy for you? You say you have no support but there is support available to you. Support through this blog, support through CONQUER, support at your local Domestic Violence shelter. The latter usually has free counseling and group support for women even if you’re not ready to leave yet. Contact them to see what kind of help they can offer you. If you don’t know where one is, call 1-800 799 SAFE for locations near you.

Can your pastor help you find a mature wise woman to come alongside you to take daily walks, pray with you, and help you learn to make better food choices? Your husband is embracing a victim mindset blaming you for all of his woes, but it’s important that you don’t join him.

You may be a victim of his anger or violence, but when you embrace a victim mindset you stop taking ownership (or stewardship) of your own well-being and life. You feel helpless and powerless to effect change in your circumstances and that's where you are at right now.

You may not have the ability or means to separate and live on your own, but you can reach out for support and help like you did here. You can go to therapy, or hire a coach, or go to an exercise class or take a daily walk and built up your physical stamina and strength. I know you probably don’t feel like doing those things in your current state of mind, but you must if you want to get well. You will have to draw strength from God and from a deeper place than your temporary depressed feelings.

Just by writing this to me I know you have a desire to be healthier and a will to thrive, not just exist. Your husband is unhealthy and abusive but you also agreed you are unhealthy in your own ways. For now, stop focusing on him or your marriage and put your energy to working on you. Not to be a better wife for him, but to be a person you are proud of. A woman of strength and dignity who can smile at the future unafraid. When you get to a better place, you will be much more capable of taking on additional employment, have better boundaries in your marriage or knowing you are capable of living without him if you have to.

Please invest in you. You are so worth it as a precious daughter of God. He has more for you than this. Click To Tweet

Friends, when you have gotten stuck in this helpless, victim mindset, what has jolted you awake to invest in your own healing growth?

118 Comments

  1. Barb on August 8, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Yes it often does feel like there’s no way out when in the natural we are financially dependent. My way out was to call on my provider to provide a way out. It was painful. In the end it was for the best. I know it can be hard to see that when one is in the circumstance.

    • Aly on August 9, 2018 at 8:37 am

      Barb,
      You are right it’s hard to see and financially dependent causes more fog.
      The pain of staying in the circumstances must be greater than the pain of changing for Jolts to expose I think.
      Both sides are painful and a process it’s picking the pain that will bring the outcome of freedom and true peace that God offers all.

      If we have lived a significant amount of time believe and thinking we are financially dependent on our spouse, it can be hard to break.
      Especially hard if the destructive spouse has set up the financial environment as such for power and control! It’s really hard to see what are the legal rights of both individuals.
      Many spouses who have taken the passive role find themselves thinking that they are dependent financially when it’s been the abusive person who has been writing that narrative all along.

    • Mel on August 21, 2018 at 9:40 am

      Good for you! I wish Leslie had encouraged this woman to seek legal counsel. If she were to separate or get divorced her husband would most likely have to continue supporting her and the kids until she is able to transition to supporting herself. It’s nearly impossible to get strong and take care of yourself when you live with an abusive person.

  2. Caryl Ann on August 8, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Bless your heart. For the longest I too focused on my husband and how I could not upset him or say the wrong things that would set him off. I started to effect my health. Weight loss. Unable to sleep. Depression. I now take sleeping pills and meds for depression.

    My now ex husband went to jail three time last year. He went to all the classes and made all the promises. I went back for about 2 months. Little by little the old self returned. He was even meaner and angrier than before. Blamed me for everything. He said it was my fault he went to jail. An cruel and abusive man can’t change as long as they play the victim and blame woman in their life. They have to realize they are the one with the issues and want to make the change. It’s also needs to be with God’s help.

    I left for the final time on December 22. Just three days before Christmas. I would not allow him to treat me with such cruel and disrespectful behavior anymore.

    I had to find a job, a place to live, and basically start over with my life at age 61. It hasn’t been easy. I have struggled financially and emotionally.

    The main thing is that I am happy and very content. I have my two dogs and my cat. Good friends and a church that I love. I enjoy my time alone and my Hallmark channel. I love the place I work and the people I work with. My divorce was final on the first of this month.

    It is a scary thing to start over. You need to realize that you deserve so much more than you are getting. No one has the right to abusive another person. God does not want you to live in that kind of atmosphere. or under that kind of stress.

    Sometimes all we can do is step out in FAITH and know that God has your back. Yes, you will have difficult times but in the long run it will be so worth it. Lean on friends and family. If they offer to help you in any way, let them.

    I wish you strength and courage to do what you need to do. I pray that God will direct your steps like He did mine. Most of all I pray for you to have some much deserved happiness and peace in your life.

    God Bless You,

    Caryl Ann

    • Aly on August 9, 2018 at 8:45 am

      God bless you! Wow such courage and strength! Praise God for this and your faith filled with action.
      I love that you are content and away of such chaos.
      Ladies (Men too) all ages here… we are receivers of His grace and purposes! We are His Beloved, and He offers this kind of peace like Caryl Ann has described!

      This isn’t to say there isn’t suffering for the Kingdom overall, there is as Christians walk boldly living out their truth in who Christ is, but it’s ‘defining’ what kind of suffering are we engaging in?
      Leslie has an older post on this topic on her blog and it’s essential when dealing with those that have mixed and inside down theological beliefs.

  3. Jane on August 8, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Prompting by the Holy Spirit. “It’s okay to need people”. This is when I started really letting select people into my life to speak love and truth. Reading your book Leslie, this also helped a lot!

    Physically I still stink at caring for myself and put everyone else first, I am trying to work on this and have forced my self to go to bed every night regardless of how much work is left. I still can’t eat because of the physical effects of the stress and I don’t think there is much I can do about this. I need to start walking daily, even if only for a short walk, and I think I will do this, it helps my mind set so much.

    I also realized I needed more experienced help with someone that gets DV. My pastors are trying but they really don’t know what to do, so I do have a good DV counselor for myself.

    Leslie, your work changes lives, keep it up and enjoy your down time, you deserve it. I hope you get the rest and rejuvenation you need.

  4. Leslie C on August 8, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Amen Leslie, loved “…put your energy to working on you. Not to be a better wife for him, but to be a person you are proud of.” Dear sister, I am praying for you. It is so hard to take the first step, but once you do, the second, third, and fourth steps will come.

    • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 11:33 am

      Yes, I agree, Leslie C. So important to take care of (steward) ourselves first. Otherwise, we are self-abusing the greatest gift God has given us: our own bodies and souls. That’s not to incite any guilt; I am preaching to myself, as one still learning to do this.

      Praying for you too, dear sister who wrote in. You need support, as Leslie so well described. You need other voices who are speaking truth and encouragement to you to combat the lies and discouragement you are being bombarded with. I hope you will keep writing in here, and let these dear sisters (and Sheep!) gather round you. But praying for “in-person” support for you, too.

      One thing you mentioned: he hasn’t been physical. But he is clearly in the cycle. He is gradually exhibiting worse and worse behavior. His behavior was “arrested” and so was temporarily modified. But it is clear that his heart (of pride, power and entitlement) is unchanged. You are not safe, dear sister. As hard as it is to get out, as scary and challenging as it is, I would encourage you to take baby steps to prepare yourself. Have a safety plan for when (not if!) things escalate. Counseling and coaching and support are essential. I hope you will follow Leslie’s advice.

  5. Nancy on August 8, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    “What has jolted you awake to invest in your own healing and growth?”

    I would like to be able to reply that it was the quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit.

    For me though, that has not been the case at all. Where I have been enmeshed in destructive relationships it has indeed taken a “jolt” – each time.

    In the case of my marriage, it was a huge fight that prompted a type of inner protest that I had never before experienced -jolt.

    In the case of my mother it took me witnessing her heap quiet, jealous, raging emotional abuse on our two daughters – jolt.

    In the case of my mother in law, it took witnessing her attacking my h ( in response to him carefully and respectfully setting a boundary with her) in a way that I couldn’t ever have imagined a mother being capable of doing – jolt.

    All these ‘jolts’ lead to me choosing to do the healing work, that then allowed me to develop the sensitivity to listen to the quiet promptings of the Holy Spirit.

    I don’t know but I think The Lord’s design is pretty amazing. After years and years of abuse ( FOO and then carrying that mindset into marriage) I still had a ‘breaking point’ where I just could not tolerate the above events. Thank God!

    Just this afternoon I felt the quiet prompting of the Holy Spirit to correct our 10 year old in an unappreciative way that she was treating me. This was subtle and I am grateful for the sensitivity that He is developing in me.

    When I was in denial, I had no sensitivity at all.

    • Jane on August 8, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      Yes Nancy,

      I found I no longer tolerate as many of the dirty looks or eye rolls from my daughter without calling her out that it is disrespectful and not acceptable behavior. I used to just shrink away from this. I didn’t want anyone upset with me ever. So funny how boundary setting does really work, if for no other reason than for the person setting them.

    • Amy on August 9, 2018 at 6:11 am

      Jolt….I like that word. That is what it was like for me too. I still didn’t know what my reality was, but without going into all the details, he was pulling a huge manipulative move on me with his false humility and it was literally like I was jolted with a bolt of lightning. I confronted him on his lying and manipulation and it was like my eyes and heart were jolted open after 24.5 years silent covert emotional and mental abuse. I have told friends that it was like all the mixed up puzzle pieces of my mind were thrown up into the air and then they landed on the ground in a perfectly put together puzzle. I still didn’t know about the sex addiction he hid from me our entire marriage and still didn’t know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but I knew. Only the Holy Spirit can give you insight and truth like that when you still don’t know what is going on. That moment is what I continually go back to because it really was the Holy Spirit opening my eyes to what was true. h, of course, has worked over time at rewriting our marriage and accusing me of being the abuser. Projection…

      • Ruth on August 9, 2018 at 9:33 am

        Amy,
        Praise God for your testimony! God really does want to free the innocent! It’s awesome that the Lord gave you discernment like that!

  6. Moon Beam on August 8, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    I have to stop you in the comment “I am not innocent here.” Oh, YES YOU ARE! You are not and never have been abusive.

    Lundy would recommend an accountability group and then consequences. He doesn’t get to speak to you disrespectfully, even once. There is no relapse with healed abusers. Then again healed abusers are found once in a blue moon.

    Time for you to make plans and build your support network.

    • Jane on August 8, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      I wonder what that blue moon looks like? The wonder of God’s work in those lives!!

      • Moon Beam on August 8, 2018 at 6:09 pm

        The description of a changed man is in Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why Does he Do That?” It reads like a checklist. Every box needs to be permanently checked. Some of us checked the boxes on the list, but the behaviors only lasted for a brief period of time. The Blue Mooners, never, ever, relapse. Not once, not ever.

        • Jane on August 8, 2018 at 6:18 pm

          Since your the 3rd or 4th person to recommend that book on top of the other books I’ve read, I guess I need to listen (keep my cOre). I just don’t have a lot of time to read it but will find a few minutes here or there. Thanks for the heads up.

          • Moon Beam on August 8, 2018 at 6:28 pm

            Google his name and watch the video lectures. Watch Patrick Doyle and a a televised radio interview with Irishman, Don Hennessy.



    • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 11:11 am

      Amen, Moon Beam! Though she likely has stumbled into “reactive abuse” under the great provocation of living with such a one, she is innocent of being a user and abuser, liar and manipulator. She is a well-meaning person who desires love and peace. He is a power-monger who craves selfish control over others. Lundy’s book is so helpful with this. Another enlightening writer on this topic is Dr. George Simon. His “In Sheep’s Clothing” helped me too. We stay stuck with our abusers for so long because we so easily give the benefit of the doubt. We think the best of others, because we mean the best. They simply don’t.

      • Aly on August 9, 2018 at 12:10 pm

        T.L.
        How true is this to the core of the issue:
        Their part and our part!
        You wrote:
        “We think the best of others, because we mean the best. They simply don’t.”

        They don’t is simple but they wish they could be something like thinking the best of others in a sense they just don’t and prefer control over ‘space’ and room to see another side.

  7. Free on August 8, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    “How he gets into Her Head” by Don Hennessy, p.226

    We regularly hear that clients are advised to talk to their abusers because that seems like the reasonable thing to do. We need to impress on our clients the futility of this approach. Almost invariably the best advice is to tell the client to desist from talking to the abuser about his behavior.

    • Alene on August 8, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      I had such wise advice a year and a half ago not to have ‘conversations’ with my husband. I’m still pondering this to define the difference. I did stop and it is much more peaceful. I can’t have a reasonable conversation and I can’t expect a reasonable response. I’d been trying to have conversations for years in the hopes he’d hear or see. It was futile. I can’t articulate what doesn’t work about it exactly. It is something to do with expecting or needing a response.

      CORE helps: just make simple truth statements, when you can. This is about you and it is about balanced truth and strength.. They are respectful with quiet strength and truth. Don’t expect a response or agreement. Scatter them like seeds.

      • Aly on August 8, 2018 at 8:14 pm

        Alene,

        I can see this as a good thing! I would imagine it’s helpful to speak your truth and allow ‘yourself’ to even hear your own voice.

        Doesn’t the Bible speak of fools not listening to wisdom?
        Again truth is for those who see and hear;)

        • Nancy on August 8, 2018 at 8:37 pm

          I found this helpful, too, Aly and Alene.

          Speaking truth (in love) about a situation, or comment, and walking away. This broke the pattern of me waiting for him to validate my perception or experience.

          • Aly on August 8, 2018 at 8:45 pm

            Nancy,

            Huge wisdom written here!! So thankful you wrote this!!

            I experienced this sort of thing also, it’s so freeing even when working on repair.



    • Nancy on August 8, 2018 at 8:33 pm

      Free,

      This is one of the most important boundaries that I set during our separation. I would not engage in conversation about our relationship. We could talk about daily tasks, getting kids to activities, what to make for dinner…..but NOTHING emotional or relational.

      It was by the grace of God that I set that boundary.

      Now that I think about it, setting and enforcing that boundary was simply making real what was already the case in our marriage. We lived on the surface (pretty easily) but when I tried to go deeper, he engaged in such avoidant / manipulative / defensive dialogue that we never did get anywhere deep. There was no emotional or relational connection anyways!

      That boundary was me finally accepting and acknowledging what our marriage really was.

      • Aly on August 8, 2018 at 8:43 pm

        Nancy,
        So well articulated here!
        There are those that deal with reality and those that avoid it. When we reap the reality of what ‘is’ we get to see what it really IS…not just hoping or wishing. We are aligning with the truth with our behavior. So this isn’t just words it’s actions followed.

        This also opens the invitation to healthy aligning behavior, not all want to live there.

        • Nancy on August 9, 2018 at 3:01 pm

          Hi Aly,

          Yes, aligning our behaviour with reality = walking in truth.

          Seeing the misalignment in another’s character is a start, but if we do not then adjust our own behaviour to match what is really going on, then we are complicit in the lie (no matter how hard we pray about it ) and we risk all manner of further illness (mental, emotional, physical).

          ‘Healthy aligning behaviour’ is a great way to describe another way to say ‘walking in truth’.

      • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 11:18 am

        I did this, too, Nancy. Before physically separating,(we were in house separated) I instituted an, “I will not discuss our relationship with you, unless in the presence of a counselor” rule. This was because he would twist everything, gaslight, you name it. This boundary was what made him finally agree to go to counseling. The counseling was fruitless for him, but the boundary brought me a measure of peace, at least.

      • Susan P on August 10, 2018 at 8:11 pm

        Hello All –

        This is one of the distinctions that makes me think that I am not in an abusive relationship … just a really disappointing one. As Leslie has quipped, abusive relationships can be referred to as “D-minus marriages” … I think mine is maybe a “D” or a “D-plus,” which is still pretty hard to deal with.

        From what I’ve read here and elsewhere, my h is not “abusive.” He is more “obliviously neglectful.” He doesn’t yell at me or try to control me. He has never been physically violent. But he also doesn’t connect at an emotional level. At all. I’ve mentioned before that he has a long list of “diagnoses” including ADHD, PTSD (from an abusive childhood), OCD, depression and anxiety. Maybe those issues explain why he is the way he is. He has a terrible memory, to which he attributes the fact that he “doesn’t remember” things (ranging from remembering to call to check in when he promises, remembering explicit hints about what I’d like for Christmas, or remembering to ask me how my brand new job is going).

        I spent the first 10 or 15 years of our relationship trying to connect on some level deeper than, “how was your day?” (To which he would occasionally, but not often, respond by asking about my day). In the last five years or so, I have just given up trying to connect. I truly don’t think that he minds that we never talk about our relationship, our feelings, or anything beyond, “what do you want for dinner?”

        So far, my distancing myself has not driven him to a counselor or caused him to say that he “misses me.” I think he actually prefers it this way.

        I’ m disappointed and discouraged, and the last year or so, has finally been a slow-motion JOLT to the reality that I have no choice but to focus on my own healing and growth. As for my marriage, there’s no there there.

        • Aly on August 10, 2018 at 8:38 pm

          Susan,
          I’m sorry for your situation, it sounds really painful.

          I can understand how you might define your marriage as disappointing. It’s yours to define and live in.

          From what you describe, I would ask that you consider you may not be seeing the abusive behavior because there is no requirements of your husband to invest in a relationship that would take involvement and intentional action to ‘water’ a marriage.

          That abusive reaction might be under the surface and at bay based on your tolerance?

          If you study Gods design for Marriage, you might see it as Gods standards and purpose for marriage to have two become one.
          To have such a sacred place of companionship is something that God designed, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

          Neglect is a form of abuse. You might disagree because it’s passive but it’s still a form to misuse someone’s covenant commitment to God and their spouse.

        • caroline on August 11, 2018 at 6:25 am

          Wow. please don’t take this as snarky but I am wondering how you even got married in the first place. Did he used to have better communication skills?

          Aly is right, neglect and abuse are both mistreatment, and grossly out of God’s plan for a marriage which is SUPPOSED to be a picture of who God is: perfect unity and community, harmony and love, submission and self sacrifice.

          The feeling that hubs prefers your distance is probably not a far off. There is something called “Intimacy Anorexia” that is really common in some types of people, the description of your marriage sounds like this.

          Try looking up Married and Alone by Doug Weiss. Its a book, but I think he did several interviews that are on youtube.

          Now because of my own history I tend to see evidence of pornography addiction behind every rock, and when I read your post I see some signs that hubs has another reality where he really “lives”. Does that idea resonate with you at all?

          • Aly on August 11, 2018 at 7:25 am

            Caroline,

            I see where you are coming from with your post!

            You wrote:
            “ Now because of my own history I tend to see evidence of pornography addiction behind every rock, and when I read your post I see some signs that hubs has another reality where he really “lives”.”

            I don’t think based on your own history and what you have been through you are off in speculating, honestly we have an epidemic here and while not all are dealing with an addiction type of pattern, ‘avoidant to intimacy’ is an even bigger core issue!

            But no doubt is pornography involved at some level (even if it was way in the past) based on such a low level of relationship.

            Something that goes untreated reveals itself in more ways down the road.



        • Jolene on August 12, 2018 at 5:33 am

          Susan, I live with three people with the Inattentive type of ADHD, and it is particularly painful on the entire household. People think it means difficult paying attention, and having high energy. However, the “Inattentive” type of ADHD that my family has, means that they hyperfocus on a topic or task to the exclusion of functional life tasks (chores, time management, intimate conversation). The attention problems for them are often due to a poor working memory (remembering grocery lists, birthdays, wish lists), among many other cognitive processes. It appears to parallel narcissism in many ways, however ADHD is both neurological and psychiatric in nature, instead of a personality disorder. It is a living hell for a spouse, who often feels like they have another child in their ADHD spouse. Throw anxiety/depression on top of it, which often accompanies the diagnosis due to the difficulty of coping, and then your husband’s PTSD, and it’s a recipe for withdrawal from intimacy, which can appear to be neglect, however, the person just can’t cope. Maybe you know all of that, but I just wanted to say that ADHD can be helped by medication and lifestyle modification, and often right away. I have literally seen a different person within thirty minutes of medication being administered. However, a person with anxiety and depression may not be able to initiate that treatment on their own. If you haven’t already, please seek out some forums and articles from spouses of ADHD patients. They often describe marriage as you did. I’m so sorry this is happening. I just wanted you to know you aren’t alone.

          • Aly on August 12, 2018 at 9:52 am

            Jolene,

            A great post and such an important topic! I agree with you on many things here.
            Also, I think it’s highly likely that ADD or ADHD can, ‘not always’ contain ‘comorib’ areas such as higher Narc traits and like you said anxiety and depression.
            To me, it makes since that someone would grow up with character development fractures due to ADD or untreated ADD.

            One of those places can be emotional neglect in marriage. And regardless of the ‘why’ a spouse is experiencing neglect, it’s still the outcome they are experiencing that is a ‘misuse’ of the vow taken. Especially when we are talking about treatable interventions available.

            If something is treatable, then that person must choose to be responsible to address their issues or have accountability in place to do so.

            Many marriages are suffering from what you describe and many marriages have dissolved over these issues, it is not that the marriage itself failed but the ‘FAILURE’ to treat what needs addressed is what fails.

            I agree with you on some stance, that they don’t have the coping skills… but those coping skills they can choose to learn and get other treatment to assist them along the way.



    • Jane on August 9, 2018 at 9:38 am

      What I am doing now is not talking about it! He wants to “talk”, he “misses” me. It’s rarely talking, it’s usually bating into the ability for him to abuse. When it is talking, it is still excusing, minimizing and blame shifting most of the time. I am trying to leave the “talking” up to the counselor.

      • T.L. on August 12, 2018 at 10:19 am

        Hi Jane, I can’t remember if I already mentioned this, but have you read anything from Dr. George Simon? He speaks a lot on “character disordered” individuals, whose very orientation to life is aggression, fighting, winning. Period. He From a blog post of his:
        “As I point out in Character Disturbance, the willingness of covert-aggressors to prey upon the conscientiousness of others says all anyone really needs to know about the depravity of (and lack of empathy in) their character. But to readily pick up on this fact, you really have to understand the various character types, the various disturbances of character, and the kinds of behaviors impaired characters use to manipulate others and resist change.”

  8. Alene on August 8, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    PS to the above; the other person is then left to deal with that truth. I’ve seen it make some impacts. But my hope isn’t in the impacts.

    • Nancy on August 8, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      ‘But my hope isn’t in the impacts’ Amen Alene.

      Keep walking in CORE strength – The Lord is so faithful!

  9. Alene on August 8, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    I’ve been faced with the word “acceptance” lately.

    I still don’t want to accept that I am living with this problem but acceptance is part of truth. I accept much more than I used to. I think where I am struggling is with the effects; I have to accept those too. (Grieving is very valuable & I was reminded this week, don’t forget to grieve. It is a part of freedom.) I have to decide my response. I have to live responsibly. I have to gain strength and wisdom.

    I gained some weight curing the years 2003-2018. I gained 20-25 lbs. It was simply hard to live in this situation. There was losses and ongoing problems and fantasy hope and enmeshing and trying to help someone who wasn’t taking responsibility and a strained relationship with my older son.

    Jolt. THAT did it.

    I began to get help and make changes.

    This year I know that I have to make progress with my health. Yes, the things happened. Yes, it was beyond hard. Yes, things continue to happen. Yes, I am wiser and yes, I can grow humbly wiser and stronger still.

    I have a friend who went through a difficult marriage and it became clear she needed to leave. She gained weight. We are accountability partners since March. I have 5 health goals and 5 clutter goals and we check in once a week by text or message. If I’m struggling in a certain area I confess that and get it out in the open (if I hit a situation with stress, I tend to eat more or feel discouragement and do the same). This is working well. Recently, I hit a larger slump – I was faced with some reminders of loss when I made a visit to some relatives + ended up eating out twice on that trip. It was hard to get back on track – I think I was feeling some residual feelings from that. This Monday I had a relative get together and could feel it again. It is MY responsibility to deal with life and my health. I ended up talking with my accountability partner & sought the Lord because I know I need to be open and seek help when I feel stuck. BTW, I had lost 15-18 lbs and dropped one size. I might have gained a couple back these last two weeks when I struggled more. I need to regroup right now. oh, I would like to lose 8-10 more if I can.

    • Ruth on August 9, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Alene,
      Your response is great is the original writer to read. You were wise to choose a friend to support you in working towards your goal. I admire your plan. You are very self-aware. When it come to food, I wish I could be self-disciplined.

  10. Aleea on August 9, 2018 at 4:43 am

    “Friends, when you have gotten stuck in this helpless, victim mindset, what has jolted you awake to invest in your own healing growth?”

    Unfortunately for me, and it seems so many others, it is psychical issues coming from the victim mindset that has jolted me awake. I think the victim mindset versus an owner, survivor mindset so often collides with Christianity. If we are to wait on God; trust what He brings us; not run ahead of God; . . .well, the “if it is going to be, it is up to Thee” mindset collides with the reality that if it is ever going to happen, I have to act.

    Generally, and very probably specifically, nobody really much cares about us at all —and so often as we see here, husbands too. . . .But the really g-r-e-a-t thing about all this is that they don’t care!!! They just don’t care. They don’t even care enough, generally, to even try to hold us back. That is fantastic news because it means we can do anything we want and the place to start is always inside. The more we work inside, the less co-dependent, in deed of confirmation, etc. we are.

    . . .We know that our victim mentality gets us nothing. I know better than to fall into the victim mindset but sometimes I do. This usually happens because I have a disempowering perspective of the circumstance. I forget or sometimes stop believing about who we are in Christ and that God is in control because the evidence on the ground is often v-e-r-y thin.

    . . .And yes, for everyone using logic, reason and evidence-based thinking, YES, there is something viciously circular about God helping us vs. if it is going to be it is up to me. There are logical fallacies in there but somehow it works together. That’s an answer that would be demolished with logic and evidence-based thinking, —I get that: Pray yes, but don’t stop rowing to shore. Going to the doctors vs. “Call the elders of the church and the prayers of faith shall heal the sick.” Saving for your retirement vs. “Take no thought for the morrow.” Praise the Lord BUT pass the ammunition??? . . .Yes, there is something viciously circular about God helping us vs. if it is going to be it is up to me. There are logical fallacies in there but somehow it works together but I know that even saying that is special pleading.

    Let’s say you have filthy rodents where you live (—if you don’t, thank God for it because untold numbers do) and you want to get rid of them. Now, prayer + putting out rodent traps and poison will kill them. Can you remove the prayer and still get the same result by just taking action? Yes. —Yes, you certainly can and you know you can. . . .But there is something so tender and so nourishing and so empowering about the correct thoughts: —Matthew 10:31: Christ loves you. You have the greatest value. He gave His life for all your worth. . .But after we have powered-up, we still need to take serious action. . . .And that applies to all of us here, especially working inside (on us). If we can’t even clean up our own rooms, hearts and lives, —how can we move forward? . . .It’s like, to put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order; we must first put our personal life in serious order; to do that we must first clean our hearts and set our hearts right with God. . . .And yet, so many are ardent about “changing the world” while being profoundly neglectful of their own hearts (working inside). That approach to life is a recipe for angst and depression. Dwelling on things you cannot change (—friends, husbands) leads to feelings of frustration and impotence. —And neglecting the things you can change leads to stagnation and crisis ✞ރ✝❣😊

  11. Lisa on August 9, 2018 at 10:20 am

    My pastor requested that I compose a list to help my husband understand what it will take to begin to rebuild trust. I agree that there are some things he will need to agree to, but Leslie says here, “Anger management classes are not an appropriate treatment protocol for issues of domestic violence.” If not, then what is appropriate?

    • Mama Martin on August 10, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      My pastor also asked for a list to help my husband. I froze in fear knowing that my husband would check all the boxes of any list I provided and then demand that we live together again – with no heart changes on his part. All I could tell the pastor was that ‘he has to treat me like a valuable person – and that includes listening to me. I need to be a partner, not a doormat.” The pastor didn’t understand and pushed hard but has since understood when my husband turned on him.
      Please do not give a list of words or actions – there must be a change in attitude that comes from changes in the heart.

      • Free on August 10, 2018 at 10:21 pm

        Ladies, ladies, please listen to me, your Pastor’s have the “list”concept all wrong!

        The list assignment is for him, not you. He is to list for as far back as he can remember every time he was abusive or controlling to another human being. He is to think and write a time line of every single offense.

        Don’t you dare write a list! That us poor counseling and dangerous! It absurdly puts the blame on you! Don’t take it, push back.

        • Lisa on August 13, 2018 at 5:24 pm

          Leslie talks about creating a commitment list for your husband (Ch. 10, Stand Up Against the Destruction) in “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.” Mama Martin, I too froze at first (asked the pastor to create a list instead) then realized, after living with this for many years, that I need to do this in order to begin to find my own voice again, and to create a boundary for him to enter into, should he commit to. I see it as part of developing my CORE. We are meeting this week to compose a list he will need to commit to in order to begin to rebuild trust.

          Confession has never changed his behavior as there has never been repentance nor reconciliation (“I’m sorry = we don’t talk about it or deal with it ever again” with him), so I’m not sure how him writing his own timeline will help, except to work on his Celebrate Recovery steps of confession and repentance. This is just another checklist, if you ask me, and he’s very good at making lists.

          I am looking for changes in behavior, regular accountability, shared finances, and restitution of things destroyed in anger for starters, but am still not certain what IS appropriate for addressing the DV, something he escalated to recently. I know it cannot continue, but how will I know when it IS okay for him to be back in the home (no kids, just me and the dog)? It has been a month of separation, and this mostly due to his travel schedule, and the pastor is already pushing for us to be in the same house. I, on the other hand, am sick to my stomach at the thought of it because from thousands of miles away, all I have are his words…worthless.

          • Jane on August 13, 2018 at 5:38 pm

            Lisa,

            While I have not been to that part of the journey, what I know is that feeling in your gut is God given. Trust it. The other people here will tell you more, but, believe that feeling is not lying to you.

            Too many people think this is a quick journey that will just, “poof” happen. My husband is one of them. Absolutely not. These problems are issues of the root, the deepest part of being of a person. Jumping through hoops won’t mean there is change either. You will know by the subtle jabs, the undertones, the general feel. I am waiting for this to really change. Right now I am hearing what he thinks he has to do, but waiting for the hard work, the real change, the consistent softening.

            I should not feel like upchucking, crying and running for the door if my husband asks, can we talk. I should not shake for hours after my husband touches me. When he has been consistently gentle in his words, in his looks, in his driving, in his attitude towards others; then I believe these other things will change, for now I will trust what my body is telling me.

            I pray you find your way through this with strength and grace, may God grant you wisdom and discernment so that you can see the truth and reality amidst the wolf in sheep’s clothing (and may that wolf really become a sheep).



          • Nancy on August 14, 2018 at 11:36 am

            Hi Lisa,

            You might want to google “Patrick Doyle reconciliation youtube’

            It’s a 20 minute video that will completely validate your point about behaviour being what counts….not words, or lists or intentions etc…



    • Jolene on August 12, 2018 at 5:44 am

      Lisa, Lundy Bancroft has an entire chapter devoted to this subject in his book “Why Does He Do That?”. Bancroft is a counselor for abusive men and advocate for abused women, who also agreed with Leslie’s statement that DV is not an anger problem, but rather a character problem involving the man’s sense of entitlement, lack of respect for the woman, etc. Anger management counseling does not address this, and therefore fails. Bancroft also includes a checklist that may be of interest/use to you, when discussing conditions of relationship with your husband.

      • Lisa on August 13, 2018 at 5:52 pm

        Thank you Jolene. I guess I’m ordering another book to read before my husband and I interact in a week.

        This is all so new to me, this realization of what has been building for 32 years. I’m just now starting to speak truth, gathering a small group of Christians around me (and our marriage), asking that they not be like Job’s friends and give well-meaning but inappropriate advice. Already, when my husband contacted me after three weeks of silence (and travel for work), and I commented to a dear friend that it was all words at this point, she admonished me for having a critical spirit. I partially take blame for this, as I’ve been covering up his destructive patterns for too long. In truth, I might have said the same thing, had the Lord not opened my eyes. Fortunately, my pastor and an elder believe me, after I recorded and played a rather frightening drive to church.

        If my husband is willing, as he says he is (I know, just words) I certainly don’t want to send him in a wrong direction with a list of equally well-meaning but inappropriate and ineffective items to commit to.

        • Aly on August 14, 2018 at 11:44 am

          Lisa,
          What Nancy recently posted is correct.
          Again, many ‘acting behaviors’ are also something to look out for.
          Anyone and especially those who are more manipulative ‘in their nature’ can do a really good job acting.
          Often though, it’s not only the words and action aligning that matter, it’s the consistency!

          Even them with consistency it’s critical that the person can offer introspective understanding to what ‘was’ the driving of their past choices, thinking, and behavior outcomes.

          If they cannot connect the dots (which takes a lot of time and interventions) then its often going to ‘root’ back up again. Many of ways can be predictable.

          • Nancy on August 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm

            “If they cannot connect the dots ( which takes a lot of time and interventions) then it’s often going to ‘root’ back again.”

            This is so very true, Aly.

            Last fall I had a big ‘root’ of enmeshment / control pulled out of my heart through one particularly painful counselling session. Despite the pain of the session and spending the following day in my P.J’s crying, it was ‘work’ AFTERWARDS for me not to FORGET what happened.

            Our counsellor made sure to ask me, the next session, how I interpreted it all and he asked me if I wanted to know what he had observed, and why he had challenged me so consistently.

            During the session I was so confused and angry but I also trusted this guy to know that he knew what he was doing. Once that ‘root’ was pulled out by The Lord in the time following the session ( because I left the office enraged and confused), I was exhausted. I grieved and cried. But my point here, is that even though it was removed, satan worked hard to put my mind back into a FOG.

            It was essential to revisit the session, as well as my interpretation of it and the counsellor’s. Had we not done this, my memory would be very fuzzy on what caused all that pain. That ‘root’ could easily have grown back.

            I think it comes down to be willing to constantly fight deception.

            That’s why it’s so important to do the work of connecting those dots!



  12. Aly on August 9, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Aleea,

    I’m wondering if you saw Leslie’s response to you on the previous thread/ blog post?

    • Aleea on August 10, 2018 at 7:50 am

      Aly, thank you so much, . . . .no I had not seen Leslie’s comment until I asked someone to send it to me. . . .often when a new thread opens, I can’t get back to the older posts, —at all. I don’t know why, software, networks, spam filters on either side of networks/ firewalls, etc.

      . . .Given my posts for years and years and years, I am totally flummoxed by Leslie’s brief comments. I’ll be trying to process that for days. . . .But I love comments even when they utterly confuse me. I know everyone is so, so busy and the texts of the New Testament . . .well, they have textual variants/ textual alterations/ interpolations/ redactions/ additions, et. al. Fantastic treatment on this: “The New Testament and Its Modern Interpreters” by Eldon J. Epp and George W. McRae. . . .Not the best but a new book, I think this is the first time I have listed it —so it posts.

      But more even than that, I have listed untold references and texts and church fathers and so, so many females scholars discussing Jesus’ commands on marriage and remarriage. These people are language and context experts, and their work has gone through international peer-review. Their work is very frustrating because it involves the study of context, original words, et.al.

      In fact, I have listed those so, so, so many times that I can’t even list them here anymore, try as I might, without the blog blocking them as SPAM. Never once has anyone here, ever to my knowledge, checked, read, consulted a source I have listed or referenced. This may be true because if they had they would not be so sure of themselves. I used to be so, so sure of myself, how little did I know and I am still learning so, so much.

      Unless they are deleted, they are all in my much older posts re: untold footnotes and references. I have referenced and cited the best peer-reviewed evidence in the entire world, time after time, after time. I had to start listing less and less of the best references as the site started blocking sources as SPAM or whatever is happening on either side of the firewalls.

      . . .Here is an example of what I mean:

      Mark 1:41 our oldest witnesses, called Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis, rather than saying that Jesus felt compassion for the man (look at the texts), that text says He became angry. In Greek it is the difference between the words SPLANGNISTHEIS and ORGISTHEIS. Everyone wants the manuscript to say: Jesus felt compassion and pity for this man, and so he healed him. What would it mean to say that Jesus felt angry at him? . . .Well, scholars know what happened. A later scribe copying this text changed it to say that Jesus became compassionate instead of wrathful. The reason we know this is that Papyrologiststs (scholars that deal with the texts and the contexts re:The American Society of Papyrologiststs) and archeologists found much earlier manuscripts and they all say Jesus became angry even if it is not what we want to hear. I don’t want to hear that either. The reading that indicates Jesus became angry (actually furious) is also the more difficult reading and therefore more likely to be original. Scholars have long recognized that Mark was the first Gospel to be written, and that both Matthew and Luke just used Mark’s account as a source for their own gospels but where they didn’t like what it said, they changed them. In some many other areas, they just flat-out copy Mark —even down to the spelling errors. —Down to the spelling errors!!! . . .Most of the 450,000 to 800,000 textual variants in the New Testament’s earliest manuscripts are spelling errors but they really do matter. Re: It’s All about Variants: A Variant-Conscious Approach to New Testament Texts. Not the best, just what I can post without the SPAM filters blocking it because of number of times posted.

      Mark is the earliest gospel (—I have never met a person alive who disputes that). . . .Actually, maybe “The Q gospel” (from the German Quelle, meaning “source”) is earlier but I have never met a person alive who has ever seen that source, even a fragment of it and yet everyone says Matthew and Luke are based on it.

      . . the example above is multiplied many times over on the sayings on divorce and remarriage.

      Anyways, I love all of you and I just want the truth even if it makes me sadder and that is usually *exactly* what happens. —Jesus says r-e-a-l-l-y hard, radical things. . . .I always pray for all of us that we all have the biggest possible love for Christ that produces the greatest possible abandonment to God and love for others in our actions. . . .Use your critical thinking skills. Most are in their situations because they did not use critical thinking skills. . . .The actual texts are a very foreign country. They do things VERY differently there. They are incredibly nuanced and complex and you can’t get above the spin without looking at them yourselves. re: Looking at what expert scholars in those texts and contexts say say -not what I say. re: Maybe look at my years of older blog posts. The references and cites should be there.

  13. Nancy on August 9, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    I’m re-reading ‘released from shame’ by Sandra Wilson.

    Here are the unspoken rules in a family that does not live in reality ( high denial and therefor unhealthy)

    1) be blind
    ( to your own perception of reality, to mixed messages, to role reversals (kids having to be emotional caretakers etc…))

    2) be quiet
    (family secrets)

    3) be numb
    (To feelings, to personal boundaries)

    4) be careful
    ( walk on eggshells, kids have low trust level of authority (and will project this onto God)

    5) be good
    ( a good child: never inconvenience parents, or embarrass or disappoint them, never have needs, never has a critical or separate thought, thrives in instability, chaos and pain, never remembers anything but happy times)

    • T.L. on August 9, 2018 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks for that Nancy. Sadly characterized my family. No more, though, praise God.

      • Nancy on August 9, 2018 at 3:09 pm

        Ours too, T.L.

        I was recommended this book almost 4 years ago and devoured it at that time, overwhelmed by the degree of shame that I carried.

        I am re-reading it now, and praising The Lord as I do. He has done a great work in my heart, and in our little family.

        He is mighty to save.

    • Ruth on August 9, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      Nancy,
      Thank you for mentioning this book. I would like to read it even though my FOO thankfully wasn’t abusive. Then I think I’ll pray and ask the Lord who should I give it to/lend it to. It sounds like a book that half the ladies sitting in our churches today unfortunately need to read. 😥

      • Nancy on August 13, 2018 at 2:28 am

        Hi Ruth and others here,

        I just want to mention that this book isn’t just for overtly abusive families. The way that she defines an unhealthy family, is:

        the degree that the family is committed to living in truth.

        So all families are on this continuum. Even families that battle deception well, will have something to learn.

        It’s excellent. Not only for looking back at where we come from, but also to look honestly at level of shame we may be contributing to our existing family system by not being committed to walking in truth.

  14. Marilyn on August 9, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Ladies, I was in the same boat for 30 years. I went to counsellors. Under protest, my husband went to anger management and counsellors

    There are no easy answers. But you do have to look after yourself. I had to make a choice. I did everything I could to change him. But, I realized I couldn’t change him, that was God’s job. I could only change myself.

    With counselling, I realized I did not deserve to be treated that way. I used to make excuses for his behaviour and blame myself. With the counselling we set up some written boundaries signed by all 3 of us. I did leave my husband for a couple of months while he wasn’t following the boundaries. I stayed with a friend. I worked on myself. I did go back to my husband. But, I stand up for myself and do not allow him to be disrespectful to me.

    -Dont allow your husband to disrespect you- tell him you don’t deserve the way he is treating you and just walk out of the room. He will continue. Ignore him. It will be very hard to do. Put in some earphones and listen to music. Tell him you will not talk to him when he is acting like this. Tell him if he wants to have a discussion- not a yelling match- you are willing to talk about it when he calms down.
    – my counsellor asked me what’s the worst thing that could happen if I didn’t give in and stood up to him- my husband would sulk for 3 days and not talk to me. The counselling said to let him do it. Just don’t show him any sign of giving in if it is something I feel strongly about. I got 3 days of peace to refresh myself. Then my husband usually was ready to talk. He wanted an apology. I told him he was wrong to treat me that way and I was ready to put it behind me now. Sometimes he still sulked, but I ignored it. Let him. Don’t engage in arguments. Say your piece and let it go. He will try to argue. Tell him again and walk away.

    This will only work if you both want the marriage to work. My husband did not want me to leave him.

    It is very hard to do, but the counselling helped give me strategies on how to stand up for myself.

    It’s been 5 years. Things are not perfect. We don’t always get it right. I don’t always like my husband. I do look after my own emotions I’m only responsible for me. Sometimes I have to let my husband be miserable and sulk. That’s his choice and I always let him know that he can choose to sulk but I’m not going to. When he is ready to speak kindly to me I will be ready to talk. He continues. I tell him I am not willing to talk to him when he is like this. I walk away. We still have days of sulking but I am ok with that. I go about my life and take care of myself. It has gotten lesser over time. I have to let a lot of things go. Not everything is worth fighting over. I made a choice to stay with him. Now, I find ways to live with it. It’s hard sometimes. I realize I can’t change him. I stand up for the things I need to. There are many days of tears. But, it is important not to let your tears show your husband that you are weakening in your resolve not to give in. I absolutely stay calm when giving my point of view. I try not to cry when standing up for myself. Stay calm. It’s hard but worth it. Even if you feel turmoil inside. Try not to show it on the outside. Say your piece and walk away if there is anger in his response. I have cried later though.

    It is really important for you to find a Christian friend who knows what you are going through and is willing to be a support for you. One or 2 people at the most. I have a friend who I can just text and say ‘“pray”. She knows it’s a difficult day. Pray lots. I used to complain about my husband to too many people. Now I have resolved to not complain anymore. Pray for him when you feel like complaining about him. Or complain to God. My friend already knows what’s going on. I just ask her to pray. People don’t need to know every little thing my husband does.

    Then I take everything to the Lord.

    I rely on God’s strength every day. He helps me through the difficult times. There are days I just say to the Lord, “ Lord, you see what’s going on. You know how I am feeling. If any part of this is my fault, please show me. Help me be willing to do my part to make things right again. If my husband is in the wrong, help him to realize it and work on his heart. He’s all yours Lord. I can’t fix this and I need your help. Please help me Lord. Amen

    Then I try to get into the Bible , pray, go for a walk and calm down.

    Praying for you!!!!🙏🙏🙏🙏
    Realize that you can only change you. Decide if you can live with it. Set boundaries. Be willing to walk away if you need to. There is nothing wrong with separating for a time for your own sanity. Then it will give you time to think clearly. Get advice. Pray. It won’t be easy either way.

    But, our God is in the business of miracles. For 30 years I was miserable. I didn’t see any hope. I let my husband treat me disrespectfully. I don’t anymore. That in itself is a miracle.

    Thank you God!!

    Sorry. It was quite a rambling. Hope it made sense!

    • Aly on August 9, 2018 at 10:41 pm

      Marilyn,

      I understand what you speak of and I can see how you learned to stand up for yourself and discontinue to engage.

      My husband used to do many ‘pout fests’ when he didn’t like something or I disagreed about something. The withdrawal and silent treatment was emotionally damaging to me especially when he was the offender of the circumstance. What this means is his behavior brought about a conflict, I would try to confront the conflict to resolve, and then he would try to still control out of the silent treatment for feeling bad about being ‘called out’ about something. It was exhausting!
      In counseling, my h was given a strict timeline 24 hours to sort out his stuff and he also was to initiate the conversation to repair.
      Quickly after seeing that the 24 hours didn’t really work too well and he actually enjoyed his pout fests , where this leaked into our daily lives with our kids, he was given another time limit of ‘a hour’ to step away and return to repair.
      This actually worked far better, because giving him a whole day to think he was the victim was not healthy for him!
      And it reinforced the thinking patterns said our counselor.

      I feel sad for your situation and I am assuming there are not children to navigate this behavior around, which can make it a tad easier to go do your own thing.
      When children are involved though the boundaries and requirements have to be strong and firm!
      Because with certain individuals, if you give them an inch, they take a mile and then some.
      Getting to the root of his control issues helped greatly but so did me drawing the line of what I would not live with anymore and not tolerate anymore, the behavior was childish and certainly didn’t help any trust building.

      Looking back, often he can laugh at his foolishness and how he acted often and sees just how damaging it was. It kept him from relationship and gave him a counterfeit sense of power, which in the reality it only sabatoged him from what he truly did/does want a healthy secure loving relationship with his wife.

      • Jane on August 10, 2018 at 12:31 am

        Marilyn and Aly,

        Thank-you both for giving two examples of how to stay well. Marilyn, I am not sure I have your strength, God would have to work hard on me, and Aly, absolutely he loves the pout fest and, yes, the longer he has to stew the more the Leviathan spirit twists his own thinking and memory of the events (it’s almost frightening when I have seen him do this to a conversation I was present for but not part of- I do become angry at that spirit!! That is when I become angry).

        I want to thank-you both for sharing your story, still not sure where mine will take me but I love to know what others journeys have been and where they are now.

        • Nancy on August 10, 2018 at 1:04 pm

          Hi Jane,

          You say, Jane, these are two examples of staying well. I agree.

          I would ask, though, staying well…in what?

          • outofthefog on August 30, 2018 at 1:22 pm

            Hello Jane. “Staying Well” vs. “Leaving Well” refers to what Leslie said in her book. She said if you leave your destructive marriage, then “leave well” and if you decide to stay in your destructive marriage, then “stay well”. This means live within your CORE values. Do not dishonor yourself. The book is ” The Emotionally Destructive Marriage”.GREAT book.



          • Nancy on August 31, 2018 at 3:26 pm

            HI OOTF,

            ( there’s a good website by your name).

            Thank you for clarifying what Leslie means.

            My question was meant to ask us to consider what the person is ‘staying well’ IN?

            Personally, I believe that if a spouse is abusive then s/he has broken their vows and there is no marriage.

            At that point, a person may choose to ‘stay well’ under the same roof but not in a marriage, in my opinion.



  15. Jane on August 10, 2018 at 8:10 am

    I mostly want to stay out of this, but here’s the thing. The heart of God and the truth of the Gospel and directions about Kingdom living are pretty consistent no matter which translation your using. If you can drop the legalistic approach and the intellectual approach and just trust the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you (as long as it is consistent with God’s character, so you know its of God) then you can release all of this fear. God does not command you to know the texts, God requires us to know Him and to be intimate with Him.

    I would encourage you today to actually stay out of the books. Focus on worship, praise, and stillness before God. Try to quiet the ever running thoughts that I see here, slip into peace in His presence and just enjoy intimate time with Him.

    Just a suggestion.

    • Aleea on August 11, 2018 at 6:32 am

      That’s really beautiful Jane. Thank you. It took me a long time to pray and think in silence about that (―as silent as I could make my mind). I absolutely love the worship, praise, and stillness before God.

      . . .I fear something Jane, I just don’t know what it is. Everyone loves the benefits of Christian faith ―and there are so many. But genuine believers also submit to the responsibilities and difficulties of faith (John 14:21). Maybe Jesus didn’t write anything down because He wants us to not focus on what He said. . . .but who He is? I don’t know how that could be but I appreciate you encouraging me to love Jesus more fully. I see the beauty in what you are saying. I love when I am encouraged to love Him more fully.

      I feel incredibly blessed to be allowed to even have the opportunity to share my thoughts:

      . . .Here’s the thing: Why don’t we drop the legalistic approach to gay marriage and LGBT issues? We tell people God is okay with this and that re: marriage and divorce based on the texts. We get those commands from the texts. If they can’t get married based on the texts, we can only get divorced only in *very* narrow exceptions and definitely not remarried.

      . . .When you read that “no fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith rests on disputed scripture readings” ask yourself why that word of warning is e-v-e-r even needed. It is needed because the opposite could easily be true.

      “Try to quiet the ever running thoughts that I see here, slip into peace in His presence and just enjoy intimate time with Him.” YES, yes and yes. I love that. Honestly Jane, sometimes when I am just praying and talking with God it is like I strongly feel this from the Holy Spirit: . . . .“For the love of God, please stop asking ME questions!!!” . . .I guess God doesn’t want to hear it either. . . . .But who else would tolerate all these questions???

      . . .I think I understand why people blow through all this and hand wave it off. It is basically unworkable. You tell people the truth or that they can’t do what they want, I would think your church is just finished. More than this, why wouldn’t God communicate clearly what He wants and simply not let it be out-of-control, like it clearly is now. God could have easily made all ancient extant Bible manuscripts indestructible, unalterable and self-translating —vs. scholars constantly, I mean constantly! disagreeing all over the place about context, the meaning of words, phrases, chapters, paragraphs.

      In a marriage, who decides what? How did the church in the first five hundred years of Christianity decide what to do? The governing determinate of those matters, it sure looks like to me, was not the individuals themselves, but rather a board of elders or a session of a local church. But even given that, they had to know what the Bible says on the matters. People just blow this off as totally trivial, probably because they are going to do what they want to do anyway, but it is a huge deal and makes being dogmatic impossible.

      So, the first printed edition of the New Testament with apparatus (apparatus noting all variant readings among the manuscripts), was produced by this printer Robert Estienne of Paris in 1550. Since then, 300,000 to 800,000 more variants from even older manuscript finds have surfaced (No one knows the exact number ―but it is huge). ―160 km southwest of Cairo is this archaeological site, considered one of the most important ever discovered. For the past century, the area around Ὀξύρρυγχος (Oxyrhynchus) has been continually excavated, yielding an enormous collection of our oldest Bible papyrus texts with tons of great margin notes many still left untranslated. . .

      So, Mark (―the first and earliest gospel), focuses on divorce as adultery and also as consisting in remarriage by men or women. . . .In the apparatus, (noting all variant readings among the manuscripts):

      Text Family 1) The Caesarean text: “If a woman divorces her husband and marry another, she commits adultery; and if a man divorces his wife, he commits adultery.”

      Text Family 2) Note that the text here, although it is widely accepted today, is not attested by *any* surviving manuscript. By none at all and yet it speaks only of the man’s remarriage as adultery: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her (his wife); and if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

      The Sinaitic Syriac Text Family 3) “If a woman divorces her husband and marry another, she commits adultery; and if a man divorces his wife and marry another, he commits adultery. . . .but not all of the members of that text family agree, some omit the second half (and if a man. . . ) ―Tell me men are not involved with that!

      The Alexandrian text family of manuscripts: 4) “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she, divorcing her husband marries another, she commits adultery.”

      5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13) 14) 15) 16) 17) 18) 19) 20) 21) So on and on the families go and there are like twenty-one major variants in the apparatus just on that verse (―the apparatus ought to be the actual Bible because it is the actual Bible) and I have concentrated on the variants with the most agreement. There are also variations within the manuscripts in the way the words are spelled in each passage. Sometimes the differences between the manuscripts of one passage are greater than those between our printed Gospels! In other words, the problem is not simply one of explaining the differences between Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

      The point is that this double prohibition above (―men and women) that is distinctive to “Markan versions”, they presuppose that a woman divorces her husband. This was possible in the pagan world, but certainly not in Judaism. What that can easily mean is that the clause referring to the woman divorcing a man is therefore a formulation of the Roman community, in which Mark’s Gospel originated, in Rome around 70AD. The other gospels are decades later. It is the first clear instance of sayings of Jesus being adapted to new circumstances (―changed/ altered from the saying source). In Jesus’ culture, a woman could not divorce her husband. Therefore, it was not an issue which Jesus would have even addressed with the people He was preaching to because that clause about a woman divorcing her husband would be meaningless to her, in her Jewish setting. We also have to ask whether Matthew could have condemned divorce because it makes the wife as though she were an adulteress, and then in Matthew Chapter 19 condemned because it was “. . .not so from the beginning.” Clearly there are difficulties aplenty there, and the difficulties are spotted by many church fathers.

      I assume everyone is very familiar with the relevant texts:
      1. Mark lacks the Matthean statement “for any cause” (Matt 19:3b).
      2. Matthew’s “exception clause” (5:32; 19:9) is also absent in Mark, the earliest gospel.
      3. In Mark (10:10) the disciples request further explanation in private, whereas in Matthew (19:9) the explanation is given to the disciples publicly.
      4. While Matthew notes that “whoever divorces his wife, except for porneia, and marries another, commits adultery” ( 19:9), to the same statement Mark adds, “against her” (10:11).
      5. Mark’s statement, “and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (10: 12), is not found in Matthew.

      Mark contains no comment about “eunuchs” nor does he mention the disciples’ remark, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (19:10). If Jesus condemns divorce as being due to hardness of heart, does He then not go on to actually give voice to such hardness by permitting divorce on grounds of porneia? And that clause “except for porneia” does not find its way into any copy of Mark or of Luke, and is absent from no manuscript of Matthew. So, there is a pattern of change that prohibits divorce in the sources.

      So, if there is a married couple in the church, and one spouse files for divorce without biblical grounds, the church has a responsibility to step in and say, “You can’t do that.” If the person persists in divorcing a spouse without just grounds, it is the duty of the church to excommunicate that person. The guilty spouse is to be excommunicated in order to protect the innocent party. However since secular law does not require excommunication, almost all churches abandon their responsibility at that point. . . .Elders are empowered by God to oversee those under their charge (I Peter 5; I Thessalonians 5:12,13) and the congregation is to obey their guidance (Hebrews 13:17). Examples of elders acting within a New Testament context (involved in various kinds of disciplinal matters) I Corinthians 5:1-13, II Corinthians 2:5-11, II Thessalonians 3:6-15, I Timothy 1:18-20, I Timothy 5:19-20 and Titus 3:9-11. Elders are involved in all sorts of corrective application of discipline. Certainly, this oversight extends to making or breaking of the marriage covenant. . . .What a total mess.

      Re: “then you can release all of this fear. God does not command you to know the texts, God requires us to know Him and to be intimate with Him.” . . .I know when I love, cuddle and snuggle with God, the questions never go away. But it sure feels a lot better. . . .How do we go deeper and deeper with Christ? What’s the equivalent of that with people? Maybe praying with and for them, letting them know that they are not alone?

      Christians view Scripture very differently. . . . .Some Christians form their beliefs based on Scripture, just like the noble Bereans (Acts 17:11). Some hold super 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 philosophies repackaged using Christian words. I would think, I don’t know, but I would think they do serious damage to our walk with the Lord. Maybe 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. Re: It is my prayer that I will not be taken captive by human philosophies that contradict God’s Word (Colossians 2:8).

      . . .Anyways, Jesus is no person’s personal property. He belongs to *all* of us who know Him. . . .And who really knows who knows Him??? If we get to heaven, I bet we will be amazed at who is there and who is not there. . . .But an even better question is probably not will we live after we die but can we live, r-e-a-l-l-y live, right here, right now, before we die.

    • Aly on August 11, 2018 at 7:48 am

      Aleea,

      Seriously! Help me understand why you are back to the ‘biblical grounds argument’?

      Are you wanting to have dialog about something that many of us agree on fully?

      You wrote:
      “So, if there is a married couple in the church, and one spouse files for divorce without biblical grounds, the church has a responsibility to step in and say, “You can’t do that.” If the person persists in divorcing a spouse without just grounds, it is the duty of the church to excommunicate that person.”

      The above is clear, but what you and I might not agree on is your comment on ‘without biblical grounds’.

      This can happen at many different places.
      But so can biblical grounds.

      So I think it’s important to see that divorce comes first in the heart and followed through in more outward actions.

      Again, maybe your argument IS defining what is actually the scope of ‘biblical grounds’ rather than focusing on the textual variants that you seem so overly consumed with.

      There are many people today walking around with their ‘civil marriage certificate’, yet in the reality the marriage isn’t in tact and one spouse or both are experiencing less than what God would desire for them in this union. One spouse could have already divorced the other based on neglect or abandonment and or adultery of the heart!
      These are serious issues to God and he doesn’t tread them lightly.

      I have birth certificates of my children, this doesn’t make me ‘a parent,’ it makes me a parent to care and nurture them each day… it’s in action and commitment that a relationship lives.

      Again, the issue is in how you might define biblical grounds or ‘without biblical grounds’. Marriage is more complex and abstract (just as our relationship with the Lord is) rather than accepting him as savior and getting a salvation certificate.

    • Aleea on August 12, 2018 at 6:35 am

      Aly,

      I’m sorry if I frustrate you, —I so hate that.

      My point is that I am trying to find what Jesus said on the topic. What Jesus said. What is the earliest thing Jesus said on the topic. I want to know what Jesus said in the earliest extant docs. The earliest thing Jesus said is among those textual variants in Mark. It is one thing to say that the originals were inspired, but the reality is that we don’t have any originals of anything —so saying they were inspired doesn’t help me much, unless I can reconstruct the originals. Not only do we not have the originals, we don’t have the first copies of the originals. We don’t even have copies of the copies of the originals, or copies of the copies of the copies of the originals. What we have are copies made later —centuries later. And these copies all differ from one another, in thousands and thousands and thousands of places. And where they don’t it is because they are copying each other (Matthew and Luke copy vast sections of Mark right down to the spelling errors). If you have ever looked at this documents, you know it is a major problem. . . .Oh, btw, I have noticed in very ancient manuscripts notes in the center margins . . .scribes calling other scribes “fools” and admonishing them to stop changing the text to win arguments. . . . “αφες τον παλαιον, μη μεταποιει” “Fool and scoundrel, can’t you leave the old readings alone and not alter them!”

      “These are serious issues to God and he doesn’t tread them lightly.”

      . . .Then why does He leave vast disagreement and uncertainty about the whole of it: InterVarsity Christian Press: —Divorce and Remarriage: Four Views, —The Historical Jesus: Five Views (That’s a good book, but extremely frustrating). —Biblical Hermeneutics: Five Views, etc., etc.

      . . .And yet the earliest church fathers (who had access to manuscripts long gone) all seemed to amazingly agree. I don’t know how. “The early church fathers were in complete agreement. Of all the early recognized Church Fathers who ever wrote or who were written about concerning every discussion and every debate in thousands of surviving documents over hundreds of years, there is not a single dissenting authoritative voice on the essential core doctrines of marriage, divorce and remarriage. Each taught the same doctrine, each held the same opinion and each enforced the same moral standards.”***

      Here is what all those early church fathers taught***:
      * Whoever marries a woman who has been divorced from another husband commits adultery.
      * Should the husband put her away, he must remain by himself. But if he put his wife away and marries another, he commits adultery.
      * Whoever marries a divorced person commits adultery.
      * Whoever contracts a second marriage is sinning against God (while a former spouse lives). God does not, and the Church must not, take into account human law when it is in violation of God’s law.
      ***See: Divorce and Remarriage: Whom Shall We Believe (Chapter 1: Teachings of the Early Church on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage in early Christianity): Joseph A. Webb Th.D., Ph.D. & Patricia L. Webb Ph.D.

      I don’t think that is the best book on the topic but I have posted the other references to the point that they are considered SPAM by the SPAM filters.

      How is it that all of a sudden we smart 21st century folks know what these verses and passages really mean and not what thousands of years of faithful Bible teachers/ scholars confirmed? To me that is a “process theology” that is floating along with the culture. Is the Bible teaching timeless truths or not?

      Timeless truth means to me that we don’t need text deconstruction to fix the culturally, psychologically unacceptable “hard” parts. Jesus says really radical, hard things constantly. It’s very upsetting to me and seems not good on God’s end.

      Re:clarity . . .Something is wrong with this approach to communicating vital information.

      Mark 10 (hypothetical)
      A woman of Judean never wanted divorce. Divorce was not at all what she wanted. But she was married to a Narcissist who was also BiPolar. The mental abuse she suffered was simply unbearable. She went to godly counseling, got the church involved, she went above and beyond to save her marriage but it takes two and he wasn’t willing (in fact he thinks he’s the victim). She filed for divorce, which was granted AD18 and begged God to somehow forgive her. She was riddled with guilt for not following God’s plan. But I say unto her: Daughter, you don’t have to ask my Father to forgive you, you have done God’s will in the matter.

      God is able to communicate in u-n-b-e-l-i-e-v-a-b-l-y clear fashion so we are not left riddled with guilt and uncertainty. This uncertainty even extends to salvation Re:—Salvation: Seven Views.

    • Aly on August 12, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Aleea,

      I think what’s frustrating is that you have a question and you are not satisfied with not having it answered for you.

      Is this frustrating?
      What’s frustrating is your unwillingness to answer a direct question.

      Leslie has asked you a simple question and I don’t think there has been a response.

      I hope you understand that this particular blog and this discussion isn’t debating this issue that you are searching for, or the answers you are unsettled by.

      You wrote:
      “My point is that I am trying to find what Jesus said on the topic. What Jesus said. What is the earliest thing Jesus said on the topic. I want to know what Jesus said in the earliest extant docs. The earliest thing Jesus said is among those textual variants in Mark. It is one thing to say that the originals were inspired, but the reality is that we don’t have any originals of anything —so saying they were inspired doesn’t help me much, ”

      This is your agenda, and I’m asking you to see that there are many other places you can take this argument to rather than here! The topic you want to discuss isn’t what is even being asked in the writer’s story or in Leslie’s discussion question.

      And also your agenda misses the hearts of people bravely posting here about serious and painful marriage dynamics, who need community and others to come along side them in understanding.

      Is this who you are wanting to be or represent? Someone who bypasses another and makes their ‘need’ superior?

    • Aleea on August 14, 2018 at 6:21 am

      Aly, I apologize for not getting back sooner.

      So I hugely misrepresent myself by making it this simple but Lord God help me, I will try:

      Here is the oldest recorded words Jesus said on the matter, sans newer discoveries. All the rest comes much later with decades between and lots of textual variations, many deliberate:

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

      Matthew and Luke are copying Mark, in many places right down to the spelling errors and then they are changing Mark in places, who knows why. No one I know understands why. John comes so, so much later. . . .the first time John 7:53 – 8:11 appears in a manuscript is the fifth century. The Christians that I know will never accept that this passage doesn’t belong in the Bible. They read right past the notes in their Bibles saying that the passage was not part of the Bible or what Jesus said. They don’t even appear to care that this passage was not originally in the Bible. It was added by later scribes.

      . . .Why the harmonizing, historical context shifting, text deconstruction? We appear to give people vast comfort in not even confronting Jesus’ commands.

      Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life”

      It sure looks like we say Jesus said: “I am the way, the psychological and current cultural conventions and the life.”

      I think I understand abuse victims and arguments and have enormous compassion because I know all too well myself. I hate what men and women do to each other and I hate the severe emotional and mental distress from PTSD. But I also fear what these types of psychological arguments mean. The logic wipes away the whole foundation: If these passages are cultural vestiges of outdated times (and maybe I don’t understand what anyone is saying), but if they are, maybe heaven and miracles are just a vestige of an outdated culture and misunderstandings too (Innumerable serious liberal Christian scholars argue powerfully that they are!)? Maybe, . . .maybe I can’t take the resurrection of Christ at face value? Maybe the resurrection is just the way people back then honored heroes with elevated tales of virgin births and dying and rising gods and stories of miracles (—because they sure did!) Maybe, miracles are a vestige of that outdated day and age? I just fear the trajectory. I am terrified of the trajectory. Aly, you see that trajectory, right? How is it different, logically? How is it not just special pleading, appeal to emotions, question begging, red herrings, double standards, straw woman arguments? When the very logic, text deconstruction, reason, evidence patterns, hermeneutical patterns you use to get where you want to with the Bible can be used to deconstruct the resurrection of Christ from the dead. We just don’t go deconstructing those passages because we very much like them and they give us comfort and hope. No one deconstructs passages about heaven, bringing in other passages and wondering if they really mean what they say.

      During the first five centuries plus of Christianity, our concept of divorce followed by remarriage was unheard of. Even Origen (circa 182-251 AD) and Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) all commented on how serious a sin remarriage was, they all wrote against it and they had access to much better manuscripts than we do today.

      . . .Anyways, I love you Aly and I love everyone here. . . .I wish I knew how to communicate better. Sometimes I wish, God forgive me, that we didn’t even have the Bible. We just went with the inner witness of the Holy Spirit speaking to our spirit about what to do and when. But I realize that would be a free for all. . . .Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, how can we trust our own hearts? How is our inner lawyer not going to get all over harmonizing, historical context shifting, text deconstruction of things we don’t like, special pleading, appeal to emotions, question begging, red herrings, double standards, straw woman arguments?

      I don’t like what Jesus said either. . . .I’d like to get a papyrus from the first century, tear a blank space out, mix ink with the right ink migration et.al. and rewrite the passage and put it in a clay jar to be “found”. . . .But that wouldn’t make it right.

  16. caroline on August 11, 2018 at 7:47 am

    What “jolted” me was the realization that I didn’t really know my husband. I didn’t know who I was anymore, and I could in no way predict our future together.

    I was already considered to be a cynical, somewhat critical kind of person, so to realize I had thought WAY better of husband than he deserved was a total shock to my own sense of self. Who the H was I anyway if I could be so taken in? And by someone living so close!!!

    Once his story started coming out there were just so many “hidden chapters” being revealed, and I didn’t know where it would end. Was he a murderer too? I had a short list of particular “deal breakers” that I kept to myself. I knew if any of these things were ever part of his story I wouldn’t be willing to move forward with him.

    Some time passed and his last version (which I came to call his Fullest-Full disclosure) stayed the same. One of the trust building boundaries we had in place (still have in fact) was that he would answer any questions I asked about his behaviors and I had to be sure I really wanted the answer. His life was now 100% open to me, he put his new commitments in writing and agreed to do a polygraph if I ever felt unsafe or unsure of his answers.

    After a couple of years of zero new incidents, zero new information about old incidents, and only new insights that came from his own recovery work, I began to try to relax and come out of my high alert sate. It was hard. I had changed.

    I bought books, workbooks, seminars. I stayed in near daily contact with my support systems. We shared our tips and encourage one another with what we found worked and what was a waste of time and money.

    I thought I was doing pretty good. But the traumas & upsets just keep coming.
    Loss after loss. So many deaths and births and accidents and money issues. Miscarriages, weight gain, hoarding tendencies showing up. I find I’m often both internally and externally bracing myself for the next major loss. I don’t feel so much like a victim but more a chronic survivor, and maybe that’s the same thing in how it plays out.

    I discovered some things about cortisol and how ongoing elevated levels will cause weight gain and ruin your immune system overtime. I have found a number of healthy, god-honoring ways to lower the cortisol and raise dopamine. But I often don’t do what I should.

    • Aly on August 11, 2018 at 8:14 am

      Caroline,

      I’m really sad for what you have trekked through but proud of your Godly stance and courage!

      You wrote:
      “ so to realize I had thought WAY better of husband than he deserved was a total shock to my own sense of self. Who the H was I anyway if I could be so taken in? And by someone living so close!!”

      This is nothing short of trauma.Deception at one of the most sacred places.
      I’m so glad you found your recovery road, marriage Recovery or not, you chose healing for you!

      Where deception lives, trust and security are absent. And for anyone in this situation it’s a daily battleground of sorts to navigate.

      The closer we come to Christ’s Love and His desires for our lives, it’s entirely impossible to live and or succeed with such duplicity. Often it leaks out in many telling signs. So many peoples story are different and formed from different circumstances but Also it’s true that there are some flags and clues that are not all that inventive.

      Our sexuality is a core to our spiritual journey also, and when Satan can erode such a sacred place, he can have a legacy of bondage for generations.

      • caroline on August 13, 2018 at 9:55 pm

        Thanks so much for the feedback Aly.
        After posting, I re-read my reply and I wondered if it sounded like crybaby whining.

        I sometimes feel that I easily lose my sense of perspective about my own life.

        Some days I cant decide if I really am in a season of loss, OR if the marriage trauma with my husband destroyed my resiliency to the point where I lost my ability to deal with real life. I can see others, but I’m full of blind spots as I look at myself.

        Do you ever feel that way? Like you cant see yourself clearly?

        I needed some perspective so I did an online survey about a year ago. I saw that I really had been experiencing a lot of of life altering stresses without any significant break. And just days after I did that survey, I suffered a miscarriage where I lost so much blood I could have taken a transfusion! During that process, I had an assault-like experience in the ER. I feel like my mind was spinning for months after that loss.

        A score of 200 points or more on the survey indicated your health will likely suffer from the stream of stress, and I had a score of well over 800! Of course there were some serious stresses before the porn addiction came to light, but after that the traumas just seemed to snowball. Things got intense and wouldn’t stop coming.

        Right now I really struggle doing what I know is good for me. My regular life is already full of emotionally draining activities, good and worth while mind you, but draining all the same. I have made a list of “healthy fill-ups” and my goal is to do one or two of those everyday. Some are easier than others.

        • Moon Beam on August 14, 2018 at 4:36 am

          I hear you saying that you have so much stress in your life that you are being negativity affected by it. If you could rewrite your present situations, how would you change them? You are responsible for how you treat yourself and you have the power to change your life and it’s priorities. It is YOUR life to live.

          Does your relationship with your husband enhance your life and provide peace? I wonder how much you might be denying the weight that your relationship with him is detracting from your quality of life. In other words, you have been in a bad marriage for so long that an improvement seems good, when in reality, it is still a bad marriage. That may be the root of your sorrow, benign neglect from your partner which leaves you doing life without the benefits that healthy marriages give women.

          • Nancy on August 14, 2018 at 6:08 am

            Moon Beam and Caroline,

            Experiencing trauma and being real by sharing vulnerably about it’s effects, does not equate to not taking responsibility for oneself.

            It’s simply acknowledging that this journey called life…well, it sometimes sucks.

            There’s a whole book called Lamentations, and the Psalms are full of this kind of gut wrenching honesty.



          • caroline on August 14, 2018 at 6:21 am

            Thanks Nancy
            xoxo



          • caroline on August 14, 2018 at 7:19 am

            Thanks for all your thoughts moon beam.

            Alas, many of the very hardest and heartbreaking things that have happened over the last 5 years or so could not possibly be pinned on my husband, unless he is WAY more powerful than I am aware of. I don’t know, maybe he has been casting evil spells as I slumber, or maybe he’s the devil after all….

            We still have conflicts as a married couple, obviously. I don’t expect that we will ever be “conflict free” without serious and possibly illegal sedatives involved.

            Of course, I also don’t see that kind of life anywhere in the bible or in example. I can’t even see where that would be desirable as a human experience.

            I would say for the most part Chris (my hubs) is one of the better elements in my life. Especially now. Though I did promise “for worse” as well as “for better”. Poverty, sickness, that was in there too.

            Watching his willingness to change in really difficult ways has actually inspired and encouraged me to always be moving forward and striving after greater maturity. In some ways he is my mentor for change, an example of what it looks like to humbly own ones sin as well as the harm its created.

            If I, with my very limited understanding, rewrote my present situations I’d likely wrap everything into a really dull and boring drama all about myself.

            Starring Myself as the Hero, following my little lists and meeting my little goals. Me being true to me, and getting all kinds of glory and honor for small and unimportant successes. Everyone else playing foolish and brainless parts that support me being true to me… Something on par with an After School Special, or Hallmark movie.

            Okay for a pagan perhaps, but not quite worthy of an image bearer.

            Sin, harm, rebuke, confession, repentance, forgiveness, remorse, amends, reconciliation, sorrow, hope, joy.

            Love.

            These words are not just abstract concepts fit only for Sunday school classroom posters. They are the heart of the gospel and though its makes a kind of hard-to-watch horror/drama/comedy, they are life.



        • Aly on August 14, 2018 at 8:53 am

          Caroline,
          I think you bring up some really important places of many who take a journey that is self reflective.

          You wrote:
          “Some days I cant decide if I really am in a season of loss, OR if the marriage trauma with my husband destroyed my resiliency to the point where I lost my ability to deal with real life. I can see others, but I’m full of blind spots as I look at myself.

          Do you ever feel that way? Like you cant see yourself clearly?”

          Of course I do! I think much of the journey through is self discovery and seeing who we are in Christ, yet also our unique places that we discover. This is a time and life long road journey in my opinion.

          I don’t think I understand what you mean by ‘dealing’ with real life? Maybe you can expand.

          You have had tremendous loss ‘ layered’ I would think from what you describe. The trauma of what you are recovering from with your husband isn’t simple in any form and it will take a toll on someone. In fact, those that are with spouses ‘who are still in hiding’ or things are not quite on the table… might seem like they are dealing with ‘real life’ as you look outward. But this isn’t facing reality at the place that you have faced and the grief that had brought you.

          A person can only handle so much!! I think God designed us to have survival skills as we try to digest and work through grief. We all process differently and at different places and paces, so I would hope that you will offer yourself as much time and care your heart & head needs. 💕

          • Moon Beam on August 14, 2018 at 6:23 pm

            Ya’ll lost me in this coversation, gals. Sorry I just can’t follow any of it. Yes, it is our unhappiness and our life. Why can’t we make changes and live a better life? Are we spiritualizing things (Lamentations, really?)



          • Jane on August 14, 2018 at 6:54 pm

            moon beam,

            Yes. Lamentations, really. It is hard to grieve your loss and lay things down on the altar. Lamentations and psalms help put into words what your heart is feeling.



          • Nancy on August 14, 2018 at 7:32 pm

            Moon beam,

            You asked a specific question of caroline -“does your relationship with your husband enhance your life and provide peace?” You were concerned about her being in denial.

            She answered very clearly that “watching his willingness to change has inspired me and encouraged me to always be striving after greater maturity”.

            There’s nothing at all confusing about that.

            Now that you have the answer, it would be respectful to stop suggesting that she make changes to her relationship ( if that’s what you meant by “why can’t we make changes and live a better life?”)



          • Moon Beam on August 14, 2018 at 8:16 pm

            Thanks ladies. No I didn’t mean change her relationship Nancy. I meant any change that involved taking ownership of her own life and her own happiness.

            I still don’t get the Lamentations and Psalms comments. As I said, I am having trouble following this thread. I just don’t get it, which is fine. I am glad it makes sense to some of you. We are all in different places and in different spaces in life.



          • Nancy on August 15, 2018 at 11:15 am

            Ok, thanks for clearing that up Moon Beam.

            If you do want to ‘get it’, let me know. I enjoy the challenge of explaining things simply and directly.



          • caroline on August 16, 2018 at 2:25 am

            @Moon Beam – It’s okay that you infer husband might be the source of most my troubles, certainly as an addict he is at risk for relapse, statistically speaking, and that would be another over-the-top experience.

            Perhaps I have not been very clear as to the nature of my trials and “bigger” life changes over the past few years or so. Below are a few of the highlights:

            -Husband was laid off from his job
            -Started 2 new business, one failed
            -Miscarriage, followed by anemia from the severe blood loss
            -Sister S diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and dies in 14 months
            -Birth, baby boy, a mild depression afterwards
            -New change in state law costs us roughly half our business revenues.
            -Father diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, dies after 1 year
            -FOO crazy discord over “lack of faith” for these two deaths ( I am blamed)
            -Sister K suddenly dies on Mother’s Day from an aneurysm at 44 yrs old (just five weeks after dad’s death)
            -I fall down a flight of stairs while pregnant, spraining both ankles, breaking the right ankle & damaging my right rotator cuff (this just one week after sister K died)
            -Bed rest for most of summer, battled fear & depression
            -A niece moves into our home (her mother was sister S who died of cancer)
            -Birth, baby boy, shoulder dystocia during delivery, lots of damage in lower regions, very long and difficult recovery
            -My best online betrayal trauma support site was suddenly closed down (this was just four days after that birth).
            -After unsuccessful appeal to that ministry to reconsider the site closure, I start my own support website.
            -Last August, another miscarriage (#5 for me), dangerous level of bleeding, traumatic ER experience, and severe anemia follows for many months.
            -Business has been steady but slow as the economy here is pretty unstable and people are being cautious with money.

            –And scattered in there is of course all the everyday normal stuff of extended family drama, children, emergency appendectomies, farm animals, building our house, homeschooling, running our current business, and planning for another.

            -Add to that the mess with confronting my husband’s porn addiction and the ongoing recovery and trauma work of that, and that felt like 2 more deaths, both he and I are not the same people.

            So, when I did that “majors changes” survey online, it added up to a heck of a lot of points. From people here I really just wanted some feedback and maybe some laundry hints.

            I’m kinda backlogged and I’ve got a big family party scheduled for Saturday. Another sister is here visiting and her husband is dying of kidney failure.

            “…Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. … To love is to be vulnerable…” –CS Lewis



        • JoAnn on August 15, 2018 at 12:37 am

          Caroline, I would like to offer a perspective that I think applies to your situation, and that is a concept called “Satan’s wearing -out work.” Satan loves to wear down the children of God. He arranges things to happen so that we literally get worn out. This of course, is with God’s permission, as in the book of Job, but after Job had passed through all that suffering, he had an encounter with God in which he could say, “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees Thee; Therefore I retract and I repent in dust and ashes.” I would add, that not only do we need to have such an encounter with God, but we also have the right to say to Satan, “Get behind me. I won’t take this anymore.” Once we see that Satan is trying to wear us out, then we have the right to tell him to go away, because we see that he is the one behind all the suffering. When a whole string of bad things happen that are beyond human control, you can be pretty sure that the enemy is behind it, and you can tell the darkness to flee. You can’t bring back what was lost, but the darkness that came with that loss, that can be chased away.

          But then, what do we do? We let the Lord carry us through the valley, and we come out on the other side. You have been through a lot. There is a huge amount of loss. Let yourself grieve, and invite your husband to grieve along side of you. This will take time, but the Lord carries us through times like this and He knows our pain and sorrow. When you come out on the other side, you will have peace and joy. Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.

          • Jane on August 15, 2018 at 1:18 am

            Not sure if this will help but wow, really hit me hard, I am on my way to survivor but way too much victim left!!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N19OJbemZDw



          • caroline on August 16, 2018 at 12:31 am

            @JoAnn -Thank you so much for this view of Satan “wearing out” believers. Attacking until they are useless lumps of flesh. Apathetic and no longer a threat to his slimy work on this earth.

            I have had a thought myself that God is allowing me to be sifted for some hidden purpose of His own.

            Like some sort of horrible boot camp with a mystery end date. He has been asking me to follow Him into some dark and dangerous places, so maybe my natural repugnance to weakness, loss, sorrow, and suffering must die first.

            @ Jane -Thanks for the video clip. I see myself in both categories as well. I feel that I probably do complain a lot and it may look like I’m doing nothing.

            I really love therapists who are willing to be as honest as this:
            “…but it’s hard for me to accept this [love] even to this day. And that’s the process of sanctification that God is taking me through. Restoring me and revealing His love to me…” -Patrick Doyle



          • Aly on August 16, 2018 at 8:10 am

            Caroline,
            Goodness!! I’m so so very sorry! You have been and are still trekking through enormous grief and added traumas.

            My prayer and petition for you is rest. Much rest. 💜

            Asking God to bring comfort and His love in a new and tender way.
            Asking Him to remove any responsibilities that are not for your shoulders to carry ‘especially’ in this season.
            Rest in many different ways can bring replenishment that’s essential for the terrain. I’m praying for your heart and your time to replenish and be ‘held’.

            I love C.S. Lewis’s writings also💕



          • caroline on August 18, 2018 at 6:18 am

            Thank you Jane.
            I’m sorry to have unloaded all that on everyone here. I know everybody has their own master list of sorrows, but it seemed in the best interest of the thread to make it more clear that the only thing I could do to avoid most of these sorrows is to have flipped the bird to God and turned off my humanity (curse God and die…) But I do happen to give a rip about a lot of people and I don’t actually think that is my weakness or something I need to correct.

            I miss both my dad and my first sister very much, losing the babies broke my heart, less money does cause some extra difficulty, and having that support network closed down left a very sour taste for me, but I want to say the 2 hardest things to just “roll with” have been the ER trauma 11 months ago, and my 44 yr old sister’s sudden death on mothers day 2 years ago.

            The ER issue was hard because it was a vulnerability disaster that left serious damage inside my body. I can still feel it, so I know its probably permanent. My second sister’s death totally haunts because we were not on speaking terms when she died, AND it turns out her type of aneurysm is genetic.

            These two require a very different kind of “taking ownership of [my] own life and [my] own happiness.”

            I am 41. I look at my youngest son, he is so beautiful, so precious. I love him so much, and I wonder if I will have the honor of seeing all of them to adulthood. I wonder also what would be said of me after I was gone. Awful things are being said of both my dead sisters and I do wonder. Am I doing well by my family, am I doing well with all that God is asking of me right now? I dont know.



          • caroline on August 18, 2018 at 6:20 am

            I meant thank you to Aly



          • Jane on August 18, 2018 at 4:26 pm

            Caroline,

            One thing I’ve learned. This is a safe place to roll it all out. I am sorry you have been through all of this, even in one life time that is a lot, but in such a short time span that is terrible!

            I happen to know something about those genetic aneurysms. You should be able to get a screening test once a year to see if you have one developing and if they catch it you can get it treated. I have a friend with this crazy family genetic history of her dad, uncle and grandfather, she herself survived one that leaked and gets yearly screening as do her kids. I pray you don’t feel that your genes have signed your death warrant, this can be prevented in many cases!

            I love the heart you have for your family and for others. It shines through here, and while no mother or wife is perfect, if you are doing it with love, rest assured you will not be spoken ill of. Not by healthy people anyway.

            I am sorry you had such a traumatic experience in the ER, I know that sometimes those nurses and doctors just see you as another person to get out of there as quickly as possible, or, if you were bleeding out that severely, they seem to skip into rescue mode and forget there is a frightened human being on the other end of that body they are working on. I pray you can find peace eventually. I have been doing a lot of research into EMDR for trauma, it may be worth looking into for you. It doesn’t take away what happened, but it helps you finalize the processing of the emotions, physical reaction, etc with the memory and file it away rather than it staying constantly in the front of your mind.

            Thank-you for being raw and honest here, believe me, it helps us all to here your story and also to here your help. When the two are put together it makes it even more powerful.



          • T.L. on August 19, 2018 at 12:13 pm

            Dear Caroline, my heart also goes out to you. While my experiences have been different than yours, I have also walked through extreme multiplied loss, and grief. 1Peter 1:1-8 has come to have deeper meaning and significance for me. The “these have come” is a message for us to gain hope from in the midst of darkness. What “is kept in heaven” for us is precious and secure. We know Who we have believed in, don’t we? And that He is faithful, and can be trusted with what we have entrusted to Hum until That Day. That Day when the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven, and every wrong is made right, and that which was lost or stolen is recovered, returned, restored. And so we wait and we grieve in Hope, not despair. And we seek after they kingdom come thy will be done here, now, as much as is possible in a broken world. That means comforting the afflicted, and freeing the oppressed.

            Dear Caroline, your faith in the fire is a beautiful thing to behold. May the Lord bless you, comfort you, encourage you, as only He can.

            This talk helped me greatly in my grief:
            https://www.epm.org/resources/2013/Oct/30/cs-lewis-heaven-and-new-earth-gods-eternal-remedy-/

            Maybe it will help you.

            Much love and heartfelt prayers.



  17. Nancy on August 13, 2018 at 2:06 am

    God is so faithful.

    I spoke with my brother yesterday to invite him into a new relationship.

    He tried in various ways to muddy the waters. Subtle and not-so-subtle blame shifting etc… What was amazing was how The Holy Spirit provided me with such clear communication. I was able to keep focused on our relationship despite his repeated attempts to bring our mother into it (something we were all trained excellently, to do. Mom needs to be in the middle of every relationship. It is a cardinal sin to exclude her).

    What my h put together – after I got off the phone and we talked about it – was that my brother has now assumed the role of confident to our mother. This is the role that I stepped out of 6 years ago.

    Seeing that kind of relational dynamic ( between my brother and mother) is something that I usually would have picked up on, and then focused on telling him how dangerous that is etc…..but The Holy Spirit was so faithful to have me focused only on my relationship with my brother. There might come a time for me to speak into that dynamic, but it’s not now.

    I feel for him…I know what that role does. It makes you sick. He is on meds for anxiety. But these are his choices, and he’ll have to find his way through.

    One of the curve balls was an invitation to their place for Christmas. They have moved back to the same coast that we ( and our mother) are on. He brought this up in the midst of a ‘mom won’t be around for much longer’ speech. It was a strange / guilt attempting invitation. Again, the Holy Spirit enabled me to keep things very focused, and I did not respond to that. At the end of the conversation he brought it up again and I was able to tell him that that was another subject for another day.

    God’s timing is weird. I will see my sister tomorrow ( for the first time in two years). She and her family are coming through, and we will spend the day together. My sister will stay over-night at our mother’s house.

    When we were planning for she and her family to come over she got very nervous “but what will we do with mom? What if if mom asks, ‘can I come too?'” ( it is very anxiety provoking to break the cardinal sin of excluding mom). I responded to my sister, “then you tell mom that you aren’t in a position to invite her over to someone else’s place”.

    We decided that we’d spend the day together, and invite our mother to join us all for dinner.

    This short period of time ( dinner) all together will be fine. It may even be nice. My h and I now know how to maintain respect for ourselves within this particular dynamic.

    • T.L. on August 13, 2018 at 2:16 am

      Wow, Nancy! It’s beautiful to see how the Lord has strengthened you and to hear how the Holy Spirit empowered and guided you in your conversation! Well done!

  18. caroline on August 14, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Live it Aleea.

    Live it out as you read it, and don’t ever encourage anyone else to do what you believe to be sin. Ever.

    If HE asks us to be holy and obedient through Christ, then there’s got to be a way to do it.

    “Leaving” does not always mean filing for divorce, and “remaining unmarried lest you be reconciled” is NOT the same thing as participating in a sinful situation, giving a false cloak of respectability to a dangerous predator.

    There are not only two ways to see these issues.

    I hear your bible confusion, and maybe I’m just stupid, but it doesn’t seem that different to me.

    Personally, I prefer the OT for marriage concepts. Next to Genesis, Malachi is my favorite. God threatens to spread dung on someones face. So disgusting, and yet so obviously called for, what can it mean?

    And then He says He refuses to listen to the whining and droning prayers and offerings of treacherous husbands. Chilling isn’t it? And why? Because He wanted good families, and bad men who treat their wives badly don’t make good families.

    Its almost psycho babble isn’t it? Minus the dung of course.

    • Jane on August 14, 2018 at 9:05 am

      Aleea

      General rule. When in doubt Paul it out.

      If it is a sin to you, to your spirit, then if you do this thing, whether it is an unlawful act to God or not, then it is sin! However, when things are confusable or debatable by interpretation do not push your own understanding of these things onto others causing others to sin.

      There is no place in the ten commandments where it says thou shalt not divorce. But it does say thou shalt not murder/hate (that’s what I saw in my husbands eyes the other day). The two most important laws on which ALL the others are based: Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, mind and soul. The other is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.

      If these are the base laws, divorce is not a violation of these when it is to leave the oppression of one who is breaking these laws whole heartedly without remorse or repentance. Even God will turn us over to our own stubborn hearts and the consequences that follow.

      Just trying to make my point that arguing one words interpretation does not change GOD Himself. Yes God hates divorce, whatever way anyone wants to interpret that translation. He hates the brokenness of sin and the evil that brings divorce and the pain that divorce brings, etc. It does not say, thou shalt not…

      Seek His heart and the rest will be revealed to you. Rely less on others interpretation and more on divine revelation. Look at the fruit of your labor here. The fruit is confusion and fear, this tells me this is not a godly endeavor but a fleshly search for knowledge (sorry to be so hard, just would love to see you free of this.)

    • Aly on August 14, 2018 at 11:56 am

      Jane,
      I really agree with what you said here:

      “Even God will turn us over to our own stubborn hearts and the consequences that follow.”

      He does and those that are even deceived about what they believe about Christ, yet the stubbornness, ignorance, and power decide where their insight is.

      With your comment it’s apparent to me that these conversations with Aleea are ‘NOT’ conversations but only one person speaking and certainly not offering respect to answer simple questions.

      So maybe it’s a good lesson to many of us to where, when someone says such ‘I love you’s’ And sentiments that they are not genuine based on the behavior not aligning with basic levels of respect and offering dialog where (both parties) exist.

    • Aleea on August 14, 2018 at 9:56 pm

      Caroline,

      re: “Live it Aleea. Live it out as you read it, and don’t ever encourage anyone else to do what you believe to be sin. Ever. If HE asks us to be holy and obedient through Christ, then there’s got to be a way to do it.”

      . . .That’s pretty good . . .but could it also mean everyone is like their own standard, doing what is right in their own eyes?

      Anyways, Caroline, I appreciate the comments. . . . I don’t fully understand your Old Testament and ten commandments standard. But I’ll re-read and think more about that more.

      “If HE asks us to be holy and obedient through Christ, then there’s got to be a way to do it.” I would think so too.

      Jane,

      re: “If it is a sin to you, to your spirit, then if you do this thing, whether it is an unlawful act to God or not, then it is sin! However, when things are confusable or debatable by interpretation do not push your own understanding of these things onto others causing others to sin.”

      . . .That’s good too . . .but again, it also means everyone is like their own standard doing what is right in their own eyes. Maybe that is a standard but it sounds like no standards.

      re: “. . . it does say thou shalt not murder/hate (that’s what I saw in my husbands eyes the other day). The two most important laws on which ALL the others are based: Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, mind and soul. The other is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.”

      . . . .I’m so sorry for that Jane, why someone would do that I will never understand. . . .Why hate when you can at least try to talk to people. . . .Do you know how the Bible says that the witness of the Holy Spirit is how we know we are God’s children (God’s Spirit witnessing to our spirit), and I’m sure you have felt that before. It is just utterly overwhelming is it not? . . .I used to fall back hard on that assurance when my mother would abuse me when I was growing up, I held on to that and still do.

      re: “Seek His heart and the rest will be revealed to you. Rely less on others interpretation and more on divine revelation. Look at the fruit of your labor here. The fruit is confusion and fear, this tells me this is not a godly endeavor but a fleshly search for knowledge (sorry to be so hard, just would love to see you free of this.)”

      Jane . . .I don’t feel you are being hard, your like a fruit inspector and that’s okay.

      Aly,
      They are not simple questions and they have been answered in full detail with appropriate references in years past. The references have been posted so many times the site blocks them as spam.

      . . .But I can always work on my love for others, that is a good observation, and I will seek God more in improving that for sure.

      JoAnn,
      Please don’t read my posts if they upset you, just scroll through them or page down. I’m always amazed anybody reads anything I write. I am always totally amazed by that.

      . . .anyways, for me, there is lots to pray about.

    • Nancy on August 15, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Aleea,

      You say “I can always work on my love for others, and I will seek God more in improving that”

      That sounds like someone who wants to grow. But as we all know here, it is behaviour that tells the truth, not words.

      Well…your sister-in-Christ, Aly, has directly confronted you on the best way that you can put into practice – what you say you want to do – here on this blog.

      -if you want to choose to love the others here, then stop pushing your own agenda.

      This would be practicing love. It’s simple, and it’s your choice.

    • caroline on August 15, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      Aleea, good questions.
      I do love the 10 commandments of course, but I actually meant the very first parts of Genesis. Those few verses before sin! God taking something out of Adam to make Eve and them coming back together , and being naked and unashamed, those ones.

      And Malachi I love because it shows God as being so angry over misogynistic churchy B.S. and I just feel like that so often myself, its such a comfort.

      But about the “live it” remarks:
      NO I did not mean everyone being right in their own eyes like proverbial fools! We already do that right?? Doesn’t work really well.

      When God begins to convict us in an area of our understanding , He is usually asking us to obey Him in our real lives. This is hard to do without a community consensus, but we have sweet Daniel in our pocket and maybe he seemed really foolish too…until he came out of the lion’s den unscathed right?

      We are a family, and that means we are going to be at different stages of maturity, and therefore, we should be able to look around and find both mentors ahead and proteges behind.

      Its there in the scriptures, but I find so little of this in the church. I can hardly see a mature woman anywhere, because she trying so damned hard to blend in with the youth group!

      I just meant to say : Don’t give up on what God is teaching you. We must “live it out” so we can earn the right to say like Paul, “Follow me as I follow Christ”. And if that’s scary, it should be!! Teachers will be judged harsher and it should be thus.

      And BTW this polarizing happens to me ALL THE TIME. I’m am often left standing all alone in my positions. When I share my story it can divide any group straight down the middle. One side demanding I kill torture divorce and leave my husband (in that order) And the other half is finding how it was all my fault and how I’ve likely exaggerated everything and I have no right to judge anyway.

      This is okay. I get it. I was probably like this myself, and maybe at times still am. Hope I’ve made some sense. xoxo

    • Jane on August 15, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Aleea,

      Likewise, I am not saying throw out the law, but that the law is now something written on our heart. It’s not just don’t murder but that we understand that equates to don’t hate too. Yet not everyone is in the place of revelation or understanding, nor does God require the same from each person. When he says to whom much is given, much is required this means we are not all given equal responsibilities.

      If I am at a place in my life where God is asking me to be sacrificial and responsible, yet the fellow church member next to me is late and disrespectful in certain ways to the pastor during service, I can’t let my pride and indignation well up. I am not the one being wounded and the person being wounded is capable of speaking for themselves. Just because God has convicted my heart about a specific attitude, etc. it doesn’t mean everyone around me is under that same requirement. I am responsible for ME. (and no, I never want to cause anyone else to sin, hence my reference to Paul earlier.)

      This is what I mean when I say, if there is not a clear direction in the Word, then you simply need to apply God’s character to the scripture to the best of your ability and rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal the rest to you. This is what you are responsible for as a believer, not to understand every possible syntax that was used. It’s understanding and applying God’s heart to all that we say and do. THAT is what the WORD is all about, KNOWING God’s heart and being intimate with Him, not afraid of Him as we are of our abusive spouses, that if we don’t anticipate what they were really saying there will be hell to pay- that’s not my God.

      I hope this helps, otherwise I am going to stay out of this. I feel the perpetual back and forth and the frustrations that are coming out on this line are not helpful for anyone. I just read an old blog on “what if the abuser has a mental health problem” and a woman used it as a forum to bash the “labels” of mental health problems and to claim they didn’t exist and quoted so many references, etc.

      While she was entitled to her opinion, as you are, this clearly shut down so much of the blog and closed out those that may have wanted to post. I know several people with honest and real mental health illness. What if one of the individuals on this blog wanted to share their experience of achieving mental health despite the abuse they are in and to share that mental health issues are not a license to abuse or a reason to not put up healthy boundaries, etc. Instead, those on the blog might feel shame at having accepted these “labels”.

      Along these lines, I do share the concern that these ongoing posts of various texts and your confusion will cause other women to feel they will not be accepted for sharing their story at times. Not saying don’t search, don’t learn, and don’t ask; just wondering if this is the right forum for the specific scriptural dilemmas you seem to be struggling with.

      Any which way, I hope you find peace and trust that the Grace of God will cover any unintended sin as long as you are seeking Him with your whole mind, heart and soul (don’t forget the last two).

  19. JoAnn on August 14, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    I fully agree with what Aly said here (Aug. 12, 10:12 am) Aleea, we all have asked you many times to refrain from these discourses and debates. This is not helpful to those who are struggling here with life and death situations, and I really think that it doesn’t help you either, since we are not willing to engage with you on these debates. My heart sinks when i see a very long post from you, and many times I just don’t read them. This thread here is way beyond reason, and as Aly said, it is not ministering love and comfort to those who are struggling.
    Perhaps you would enjoy signing up for a degree at a theological seminary where you can debate these things with others.

    • Aly on August 15, 2018 at 10:04 am

      Nancy, JoAnn, Leslie V., Aleea, Other’s too,

      I really agree with the last few comments here regarding someone pushing there own agenda.

      There are plenty of places/spaces to debate these theological views. I don’t see Leslie’s Ministry as as giving advice contrary to scripture or many of us here doing this.
      In fact, quite the opposite and it’s becoming more of a theme that many churches,pastors and ‘especially lay leaders’ are ill- equipped to be the helpful resources for such dynamics!

      I’m posting today here as my ‘main’ concern for above and why this is problematic and I believe a bigger underlying issue when it comes to helping marriages when they reach to the church.

      Regardless of not able to receive a clear & respectful answer from Aleea, …
      My concern for others who ARE really battling destructive marriages and relationships, is that you Aleea are in a position at your church teaching and facilitating a marriage class!

      Aleea, you were offered in a gentle appropriate way many times to answer, with a simple yes or simple no to what was addressed about Leslie’s ministry.

      You answered with more flooding ‘evading’ of info, that you believe to be credible based on your own beliefs and research. This type of response works well in the courtroom Aleea to bury the other side in paperwork but it’s not an appropriate place here!

      Also, I’m confused as to why you interpret my question, others and especially Leslie’s direct question to you as a question to answer the marriage divorce question? This was NOT the question asked of you.

      It’s confusing because your so in-depth with details and specifics when it comes to studying biblical scriptures/sources yet this is incongruent with your response here. Do you see this pattern?

      Again…Leslie, many of us here have had our fair share of one sided relationships and one sided conversations that bring additional discord.
      Many of us have been hurt by others people ‘passing of their own injuries’, their own agenda to avoid facing their own journey.

      My heart goes out to many of you who have reached for help ‘bravely so’ and been further discredited or dismissed by people within the church, ‘hiding from themselves within the church’.

      Jesus said, “you will know them by their love”

      This is true and the posture is incredibly important but sometimes we are in such a vulnerable place that ‘love’ gets Mangled.

      By Love, I’m not meaning we will always like what another says or speaks truth into our journey, but we must also see the comfort and respect offered in consideration of another.

  20. JoAnn on August 14, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Aleea, The archives of the blogs are available when you sign up to receive the current thread. There’s a screen that lists all the threads that you have participated in.
    The point everyone is making is that you seem to be avoiding dealing directly with the comments that have been directed toward you. Leslie asked you for clarification on your statement that we are giving advice that is contrary to scripture. I have replied several times as have Nancy and Aly and Jane (forgive me if I forgot someone). I don’t know what else we can say. You are missing some very important points here.

    • Sunshine on August 15, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      How did we get hooked again into this nonsense. Just ignore the posts and stop the discussion, just like we would do with others who disrespect our “yes” and “no” by bullying and not listening. Enough already, Aleea.

  21. Sunshine on August 15, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    How did we get hooked again into this nonsense with Aleea? Just ignore the posts and stop the discussion, just like we would do with others who disrespect our “yes” and “no” by bullying and not listening. Enough already!

  22. JoAnn on August 18, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Caroline, I truly sympathize with all you have gone through; that’s a lot to process,and I hope that you have a good counselor, or grief support group, to help you with that.

    I often consider what will people say at my funeral (I’m 71 now), and I want to demonstrate a good character and love for the Lord that I trust will be spoken of, but much more important, I want the Lord to say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Your family will say what they say, and fortunately. you won’t be here to hear it, but you will be in the Lord’s presence, in peaceful rest. That’s a wonderful thing to look forward to. Keep your heart open to the Lord who loves you, and keep your conscience clear before Him. We often can’t understand His ways, but in that days, everything will be clear and we will be full of praise. If you want some encouragement about what’s on the “other side,” read Waking Up in Heaven, by Crystal McVeay. Wonderful story of her near death experience.

    Caroline, my heart aches for you, and I wish I could wrap you up in a BIG HUG right now.

  23. Mindy on August 18, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    I’m back. My time away was terrible and I’m glad it is over. Still I learned a lot in spite of myself.
    I’m not brave enough for the DV protection order. I thought and prayed for two weeks and still feel like that is the scariest option. I feel too sure that the court will not see this as domestic violence and I will destroy any hope of reconciliation.

    While I was gone, my husband, who had no idea where I was (I didn’t even have my phone) managed to get a message to me. He simply said that he was fine living without me. Hearing this was like someone died. I can tell myself he doesn’t mean it but that would mean he was ok with the hurt it would cause me. Either way…
    I’m not very strong but I’m open to hope. I can imagine some good things happening for me but they seem so far away.
    One nice thing about my time away was my dependence on God. I could not have gotten through it without His daily presence. I saw one person after another falling at His feet and was amazed. There are no atheists in a fox hole.

    • T.L. on August 18, 2018 at 3:35 pm

      So good to hear from you, Mindy. I’m so sorry for your abuser’s hurt-filled words. Purposeful hurt.

      I will pray today that our kind Father will bring all the support around you that you need to learn to take good care of yourself, hand-in-hand with Him. Just take it one day and step at a time. Call the DV hotline or Women’s Shelter. Completely safe and anonymous. Free counseling and assistance. And so much help here in this wonderful community.

  24. JoAnn on August 18, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    Mindy, we are glad you are back and that you had some time away. Could you share with us what was “terrible” about it? I think it would help us to understand.

    • Aly on August 19, 2018 at 11:11 am

      Mindy,
      Glad that your back and that your able to post and get support.
      I’m thankful you feel Gods presence and hope in that given these dynamics you don’t convince yourself that you ‘only need God’ and not others.
      He never designed us that way! Even for the joyful times;) community is essential to the Christian journey.
      If we only needed God in this life He would have given us our own planet or universe to be in relationship with Him and that’s just not how he designed it.
      He Himself is the trinity! A relationship in perfect form and Nature.

      When abusive and addictive things are involved, it’s often that isolation gets created so the abuse can be more underground and less light can bring further consequences to someone’s (your h) downhill spiral. The abuser gains more control through isolation.

      What your husband said to hurt your is just that.. ‘to hurt you’!
      He thinks if he hurts and beats you down you’ll surrender. Either way it makes him feel empowered to say such a thing in the hopes ‘ you will over-care’ about his words.
      But when you disengage with a person who brings hurt based on his motives and insecurities, you leave them to deal with themselves in their corner where they can not be a danger to others. Innocent others.

      Are you safely away from him now?

      His mind games are going to resolve to get better on there own. He’s not healthy and he wants to punish you emotionally for ‘doing the right and healthy thing’.

      He’s certainly been successful at feeding off your insecurities and enjoying your over~ investment in this dynamic. So let him be ‘fine living without you’.
      Even though this is painful to hear, maybe its necessary to hear to take your next step.

      When we align our behavior and ‘live it out’ with what the reality of our relationship dynamics are… we are walking in truth.
      This can be the most loving obedient thing we can do as we love the Lord and ourselves. 💕
      You won’t always feel so weak. Praying for you, especially your safety, sanity and healing journey.

  25. Nancy on August 18, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    Welcome back, Mindy.

  26. Joy on August 21, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    This is the first time I have posted on this blog although I have been reading for several years. I just felt compelled to address this situation. Three years ago, I left my husband of 21 years. He claims to be a Christian and even pastored for a few years, but I experienced much emotional and spiritual abuse in our marriage. I stayed because I didn’t see it for what it was. I thought I needed to learn better how to submit, then I began to lose myself and sunk into a deep depression. At times, I was even suicidal because I felt so trapped and saw no way out.
    Finally, I began to get counseling from a wise older Christian woman and I began to learn what God really meant marriage to be. Although I knew in my head that God loved me and studied my bible regularly, in my heart I saw myself as unworthy and unlovable. Counseling helped me to begin to embrace what God really says about me. Through prayer and support, God began to change how I viewed the Gospel message. That my acceptance by God is because of Jesus and has nothing to do with my own performance. After about a year of this, I finally began to be able to set appropriate boundaries with my husband and to be able to trust God’s love for me despite how my husband treated me. During this time, my husband’s behavior began to worsen. I think because he felt like he was losing his control over me. Finally I got to a place that I knew I had to leave, for his sake, for my sake, and for the sake of our kids.
    I like how Leslie addressed this situation. For me, leaving was not an immediate option. God first brought healing to my heart. I agree in this woman’s situation, getting counseling and working toward a place of strength and health (truly believing what God says about you) is the most important first step. After that, I believe you will know what God calls you to next and will provide! When I left, I had four kids with me and didn’t know where I was going to live, but God miraculously provided Everything I needed in many different ways.
    Dear Sister, I pray that you will learn to believe in your heart what God really says about you. That you are a worthwhile, valuable, loved child of His. Get out of bed, take a walk, find a counselor, read and listen to things that remind you of these truths. As you begin to heal, God will show you what His next steps for you are. I know He will lead you, and He will provide! He is so good and He cares for us with such love and mercy!

    • Moon Beam on August 21, 2018 at 11:12 pm

      Thank you for telling your story, Joy. How are you doing now?

    • Jane on August 22, 2018 at 8:34 am

      Joy,

      I know this wasn’t directed at me, but thank-you so much, I feel like you are an angel sent to speak the words I need at the moment they are needed!

    • Aly on August 22, 2018 at 9:50 am

      Joy,
      Wow, so powerful and true about who we are in Christ!
      I love that you were equipped by an older wiser Christian mentor to help you along your path. I think this is essential and the Bible even exhorts it’s importance. Mind you that the counsel given is accurate in its posture. This is such a praise!
      I’m sorry that your very unhealthy or ‘non’marriage ended as a casualty, but you are not! That’s what’s so joyful and so beautiful!
      Thanks for posting to us all here such an encouraging example of how you found your freedom and courage!
      Many virtual hugs and future full of abundant blessings. 💕

  27. JoAnn on August 21, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Thank you, Joy. You have a beautiful testimony of grace and courage.

  28. Joy on August 28, 2018 at 1:28 am

    Thank you for the nice comments. I love when God can use my story to encourage others. I am doing well now. Divorced for 3 years. Life can be difficult at times as I navigate things with my kids, but God truly has brought me to a good place and most importantly has brought healing to my heart in a way I never would have thought was possible. I continue to be in awe of the freedom He has given me and how He gives me peace in even difficult situations as He reminds me over and over of how great He loves me. My husband fought hard to get me back but I did not see any evidence of true change and had to drastically limit the contact I had with him (no more falling back into the abuse cycle). I still have moments of anger or grief when things come up with my kids. These usually remind me that my husband was not willing to get help and now I am left to handle these things on my own. Each time I have to choose again to forgive and give it over to the Lord. He graciously helps me to do this and reminds me that no matter what anyone else says, His opinion of me is what matters.
    I truly have experienced the goodness of God, and I am continually grateful!

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