Get Your Brave On

Morning friends,

We’re only two weeks away from our 2018 CONQUER Conference. I am so excited to be able to meet some of you. I’ve been thinking and praying about what specific things God wants me to share about Being Brave and Growing Strong. So many of you have been brave and grown strong and I’ve witnessed your growth through your comments on this blog.

Here is a woman who needs our love and support. She’s scared to move forward and feels very stuck. Let’s wrap our arms around her and give her our love and God’s love.

Today’s Question: After 45 years of marriage and husband’s affairs for 43 of those years, I feel helpless. I am close to being 65. Two years ago he told me and our adult children that he has a 25-year-old daughter. I know her mother.

The daughter is now pregnant. My husband has repented and confessed. I feel like he has another family and I am not part of that life. My heart is broken to the core. It isn't about me trusting him anymore. I can't accept this daughter he has and now going to be a grandpa again.

I have forgiven him over and over again. Financially this will hurt us to divorce. But I have no respect, no love for my husband anymore. We did go to counseling but didn't get anywhere with that. I have begged him to go to a personal counselor for sexual addiction. He won't. He gets very defensive with me because I haven't erased these past 43 years of his betrayal.

I don't want to sleep with him. He gets upset. I desperately need help. I will be lonely but I am praying God will forgive me. My husband has confessed and no more affairs, but his daughter and another family will always be in His life.

Answer: My heart breaks for the suffering you’re going through. And don't feel guilty for not erasing 43 years of his betrayal. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean forgetting. In fact, sometimes it’s very helpful to remember the past. Why? So you don’t keep repeating it. Here’s an article on why you should not forget the past. Click here

But a big piece of this suffering you’re experiencing now is in your own head. First, you’re praying God will forgive you if you get divorced.

Dear one, Biblically you are allowed to get divorced for adultery. You especially have grounds because of the circumstances of chronic and repeated adultery as well as another child being conceived outside of marriage. So what are you praying for forgiveness for? If you divorce your husband after all of this, I think God will probably say, “it’s about time, you’ve suffered enough.”

Your husband has said he’s repentant and not doing it anymore, but after a 43-year track record of continuous affairs, how could you ever believe him? He’s also not willing to do any personal work on why he’s lived his life as a serial cheater. So I wouldn’t believe that he’s not still cheating or looking for opportunities to cheat.

I certainly understand you don’t want to sleep with him nor do I think it’s safe. Has he been tested for STD’s after 43 years of multiple affairs? Of course, you don’t have admiration or respect for the man your husband has chosen to be throughout your marriage. He’s been a deceiver and a cheater. He’s refused to get help for his problem and it’s cost you a lot of grief. Not much to admire about that. Stop beating yourself up. You’ve had enough and it’s okay to say so without feeling you’re failing him or God.

Another way you are causing your own suffering is worrying about the future (I won’t have enough money, I’ll l be lonely, etc). I’m not saying don’t think or plan for the future but Jesus tells us specifically not worry because we don’t control the future, only he does (Matthew 6:3).

Worrying about what might happen to us only causes you to miss living well now and creates more suffering for you now. If you weren’t worried about the future “what if’s” how might you experience today differently? Click To Tweet

Personally, I have suffered way too much worrying about things that might happen that never did. I ruined the joy of my entire first pregnancy worrying about everything that might go wrong that never did. Worry doesn't prevent hard or bad things from happening. But worrying robs you of living well today. Don’t give worry power over your heart. Proverbs 4:23 tells us “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well-spring of life.”   

The third way you are suffering is because of this child he conceived and now this future grandchild. Yes, it was wrong and sinful for him to have a sexual relationship with her mother – probably a former friend of yours. I’m sure it churns your stomach and makes your heart hurt every time you think of it. But his daughter and her unborn child are not your enemies. In a way, they too are victims of your husband’s sin. She didn’t ask for the parent she had. None of us get that choice. But God does have a plan and a reason she was born as well as a plan for this new little baby’s life. Can you trust God with that?

You are creating more suffering for yourself because you are projecting some of your anger for your husband’s sin onto her. It’s not her fault he did what he did, nor is it her child’s fault. You may choose to never have a personal relationship with her, but please let go of your anger and hatred towards her. It is only hurting you and robbing you of energy you need to focus on rebuilding your life now.

Last, you are suffering because you believe you are helpless. But I’m going to tell you a truth that is hard to absorb, but it’s still true. Just because you feel helpless, that doesn’t mean you are. How many times in your past did you “feel” something like, “I can’t do this,” or “I can't take one more thing” or “I’ll never get through this.” and guess what!  You did.

You may need some counseling, coaching and/or girlfriend support to get brave and grow stronger, but you can do it. You’re not too old and it’s not too late. How do I know that? Because it is God’s will for you to thrive, not merely exist.  

He tells you “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly”(John 10:10). That does not mean a life without suffering or trials, because he also tells us that life is difficult (John 16:33).

However, it does mean that you have all you need to face difficulty in a godly way (2 Peter 1:3). Whether you “feel” it or not, you have the power of Christ in you to live this life unafraid, full tilt ahead, letting your light shine so that you might be like Him and show the world what he’s like even when people betray you and let you down (Matthew 5:14-16).

So, friend, I’d like to offer you a complimentary ticket to our CONQUER Conference in Lincoln, NE in two weeks. I don’t know if you can get there, but I think you need to get your brave girl on. We will help you.

Friends, when present life stinks how do you get your brave on and press on?  

134 Comments

  1. Janice on September 26, 2018 at 7:48 am

    I would like to tell this precious woman that as a daughter of the King she has been abused and degraded for far too long and it is not ok with her Heavenly Father! My heart is broken by hearing what she has endured throughout her marriage to a sinful,selfish man. What finally enabled me to get my brave on was rereading “Necessary Endings “ by Dr Henry Cloud.It was the right message at the right time and gave me the courage to finally end the pretense of my marriage and decide to legally separate at the age of 64.I have peace that my future is securely in Gods hands and I lay my marriage at the foot of the cross.It is beyond my ability to fix. My friend gave me this motto from 12 step recovery “ you didn’t cause it,can’t control it and can’t cure it”. This also helped me to put my husband in God’s capable hands and focus on my health and healing.I urge this dear sister to not accept her situation as a victim but learn to be victorious as she leans into Truth and continues to reach out humbly for help…it will come.

    • Mona on September 26, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      Amen! What wonderful words of encouragement and truth. I believe they were meant for me today as well. I praise God for His amazing grace and how he uses others journeys and trials to show us that victory can be ours if we choose it. I will be praying for my sister and continue to lift up those of us who need to cease carrying the pain of our abusers…We will not let it define us any longer. We are more than conquerors in Him!

      • Nancy on September 26, 2018 at 4:22 pm

        Mona,

        ‘Ceasing to carry the pain of our abusers’. Wow,

        This is what actively guarding my heart with boundaries has done for me – it has put the pain back with who it belongs!

        • JoAnn on September 26, 2018 at 5:19 pm

          Nancy….put the pain back with who it belongs to…and I would say, anger too. I’ve experienced having someone else’s anger dumped on me and I learned to put it back where it belonged, not on my back. Many abusers dump their anger onto their victims, but realizing that their anger “doesn’t belong to me,” is very releasing. I also carried someone else’s pain for many years, and it was so freeing to release that, too.

          • Nancy on September 26, 2018 at 6:39 pm

            Hi JoAnn,

            My husband and I are prayerfully considering writing my siblings a letter explaining why we will not be going to my brother’s for Christmas. Now that we are setting boundaries with my mother, my brother is taking on her pain and becoming angry with us ( he sees this as being ‘protective of his mother’).

            At this point, we think it’s important to ‘speak truth in love’ to them about why we will not be going – we are not willing to be a target for their anger or their guilt.



          • Aly on September 26, 2018 at 9:40 pm

            Nancy,
            I feel for you and also the steps you are making as you know I have had similar issues and my husband and I tried our best to navigate a very enmeshed family system.

            Early on I think I was naive in thinking that those we felt we had somewhat mutual & decent relationships with would understand our situation, but it became very clear that no-one in my family of origin ‘enmeshed’ btw.. didn’t want to have any individual relationships. They would only do the enmeshment, which was hard to accept in the beginning.

            My prayer and hope for you is that there are some reasonable and willing individuals ‘siblings’ that will understand your situation and have the emotional and spiritual health to have individual relationship while your family (your nucleus) is living out your boundaries in behavior.

            For me, our counselors were a bit surprised at the level of reaction from my FOO, and it certainly pointed to the level of dysfunction and fragility of the family system… which then pointed to the deeper marital issues between my parents that have never been addressed.

            Not that I personally care that much if they ever deal with those.. but there certainly is a covert ripple effect across the family system.
            This bleeds into the rest of the marriage dynamics in the next gen, (all siblings& spouses of siblings) this is a confirmation by our own professional counselor who has assisted in our grief process.



          • JoAnn on September 26, 2018 at 9:56 pm

            Nancy and Aly, I really feel for the challenges you are facing. One of the main tenets of family therapy is that because it is a system, when one part of the system changes, the whole system reacts and has to regroup. That shuffling can be very unsettling, and sometimes, rarely, the system can change in a positive way, but usually they have to try to find their own equilibrium again, which will exclude the “changers.” You are both fortunate in that you have helpful therapists to go along side of you, plus your husbands are with you in the effort to establish a healthy family dynamic. Praise the Lord for that!! Keep your boundaries firmly established. The FOO are the ones who lose out because they don’t get to enjoy what you have to offer.
            Nancy, I trust that the Lord will guide your writing of that letter. Grace be with you.



          • Aly on September 26, 2018 at 10:12 pm

            JoAnn,
            Thanks for that encouragement and clarity on the FOO system, that is very close to what has been described to me about the tenticals as you described the rebalancing.
            Never did I think that I ‘the changer’ would be completely excluded and then twisted to be told that I’m the one who has harmed them.. you know that story… they are now the victims.

            Probably 8 mos ago my mom said she might consider counseling after we have been estranged for 2 plus years…
            She request 5 things I had to list out of the things I would find important for her to bring to counseling.
            I hesitated in listing anything and first encouraged her to seek the counsel.
            Mind you this would be the third attempt.

            I can’t remember but on another thread many were saying never to give them a ‘list’ of things if they requested a list.

            I spoke with my counselor and the take away was to stay consistent and give the 5 things (this wasn’t simple)
            Guess what;
            After I wrote it out… not one response or even a gesture of acknowledgement. Silence for 8 mos or so.
            Yet peace too in other ways.
            Maybe someone can remind me of why the list they request is bogus??



          • Nancy on September 27, 2018 at 7:07 am

            JoAnn, Aly,

            Thank you both for the encouragement. I find the Lord so consistent in His desire to rid us of these idols. Since coming to Him 6 years ago, each Christmas has presented significant events that have challenged my definition of Love.

            Christmas time is filled with obligation, ritual, and unGodly assumptions about ‘what family is’. Year by year – around Christmas – He reveals another unGodly aspect of our FOO.

            I am so grateful for the words our Lord spoke about family. Who is my family? He asked His disciples.

            It has been very difficult, but I would not have it any other way. We get to know His character a bit more with each painful lesson.



          • JoAnn on September 27, 2018 at 12:08 pm

            Aly, about why the list is “bogus”…probably because they can’t relate to it because they are on the abusive side and you are writing from the victim perspective. Also, because the abusers think they are fine and what they are doing is “normal” ….for them. They are blinded by their own disfunction. Keep in mind, that all abusers are acting out of their own woundedness, and their defenses have developed out of a lifetime of survival strategies. When you threaten those survival behaviors, you are touching their core, so they simply cannot see what you are trying to show them.



          • Aly on September 27, 2018 at 1:12 pm

            JoAnn,
            Thanks for answering about ‘the list’. I think what I don’t understand is that ‘they ~those who are acting out their dysfunction… are either pretending to be interested in 3rd party Counseling or something else?

            It was a few weeks ago that some here were giving advice of never to give a list to the one who is asking.
            (I can’t recall the details)

            But here was my dilemma some time ago,
            My mom wrote that she is now maybe in a place ‘considering counseling’ which I have always said is an essential for us to move forward especially if she can’t take responsibility for her actions.
            She also refuses (also my dad) to listen to my experience or see where our (h & myself) Boundaries are and why.

            So the list was requested of 5 things and it was noted as considering counseling as long as the couseling is solution based- hence the 5 things
            I didn’t want to do this.

            My counselor also thought that if I didn’t give a list then the consideration of counseling and reconciliation would be yet another easy excuse of avoiding professional counseling to address the family system issue.

            I’m sorry I am somewhat off topic but I do feel like it relates to being consistent about being brave.
            I also am wondering if this is yet again another tactic behavior and pattern of a person ‘who won’t take responsibility’?!

            I have a lot of sympathy for the wounded abuser JoAnn, but I guess to an extent especially when they profess having Jesus and being saved!
            Yet missing such important theological aspects and contexts.



          • JoAnn on September 27, 2018 at 1:23 pm

            Aly, unfortunately, not everyone who is saved is walking in truth and light. It’s like someone who never got out of kindergarten. If it makes us sad, then I’m sure it breaks the Lord’s heart.
            The reason I mentioned that abusers are acting out of their own pain is to help us recognize that their behaviors aren’t about me (the victim). That’s where empathy comes in, but we still have to defend ourselves from their abuse. We need the shield of faith. We are not cowering behind that shield. Our feet are firmly planted in the Truth, and our heads are covered by the helmet of salvation. I can deflect the pain and anger and not let it penetrate, because I recognize that those things don’t belong to me.



          • Aly on September 27, 2018 at 1:41 pm

            JoAnn,
            Yes I understand what you are saying and the importance of understanding that truth.
            I agree with you also here.

            I think spiritual abuse comes into this space because the abuser ‘wounded person’ twists and as we ‘appropriately defend’ ourselves and guard our hearts we often are accused of ‘not walking in light’ or not being Christian as our boundaries are followed through on.

            But it’s true.. offenders see their behavior as ‘nornal’ and see no reason to delve deeper and certainly it’s all too convenient and comfy to blame the one who raises the issues and stands brave with Truth!

            I have to consistently remind myself.. ‘I don’t think like them’ it’s foreign to me and probably why often I felt quite like a foreigner amongst the FOO.



          • Nancy on September 27, 2018 at 3:23 pm

            Hi JoAnn, Aly,

            I like this statement JoAnn “I can deflect the pain and anger and not let it penetrate, because I recognize that those things don’t belong to me”

            This is true and so important.

            What is also true, in my case anyways, is that part of deflecting the arrows involves me using my voice to claim “I will not accept this”.

            I don’t know why this is so critical for me, but it has to do with me being mute in the face of attack, in the past.

            I don’t see the mouth as being a piece of the armour of God but I do know that using my voice appropriately helps me to guard my heart. Does anyone have any biblical insight here?



          • Aly on September 27, 2018 at 4:13 pm

            Nancy,

            I don’t have any direct biblical insight here.
            I do think I can strongly relate to what you have experienced and why it’s important for you to voice ‘I will not accept this’ in words and action.

            I do want to circle back, you brought up Jesus defining ‘family’ and this has been such a good and blessed part of my journey to have those examples in scripture.

            Something that has also been helping me in my journey is defining the difference between
            ‘Being related’ and ‘family’.

            I am related to several people who think that because we are related ‘all behavior is acceptable and one must forgive and reconcile always because we are blood’.

            Then there is the real term family and the meaning of the ‘family of God’.
            This is far different than being related.
            ‘Family’ is people who love and care and treat one another with sacredness as we all work to do build God’s kingdom in His will.

            Some of my family members are not those who I am ‘in direct bloodline’ related to.



          • Nancy on September 27, 2018 at 5:21 pm

            I appreciate you untangling who is family from who is related, Aly. These are clear distinctions.

            I have felt that the whole ‘boundaries’ process feels very ‘unChristian’. That’s because the idol we bowed down to in our Christian home, was ‘no boundaries’!

            It takes a lot of support and reassurance from other believers when you believe that God is asking you to do something that goes against His very character.

            How could The Lord ask me to be so consistently unloving toward my mother?

            Turns out that my definition of love is seriously inside-out.



          • sheep on September 28, 2018 at 9:26 am

            Hi JoAnn,

            Not only pain and anger need to be placed back where it belongs, I have had to learn that guilt and responsibility must be placed back where it belongs too. I cant be guilty of someone else’s sins actions and attitudes, therefore I am not responsible for those things in others either.



          • Aly on September 28, 2018 at 9:52 am

            Nancy,

            This is so key and so important!
            You wrote;
            “It takes a lot of support and reassurance from other believers when you believe that God is asking you to do something that goes against His very character.”

            You then wrote that you had a definition of ‘love’ that was turned inside out.
            I think this is almost epidemic in our church cultures.

            The Support and reassurance are so essential! For me early in my journey… I needed support and the Support I had also carried a definition of love inside out, upside down etc. it was skewed yet tagged with Jesus’s love as the Love.

            Again as you say the idol in your FOO was no boundaries, I understand and I’m sorry for that imprinting. Some families can recover and truly transform with the Holy Spirit guiding the process and us participating.

            For my situation the idol of the FOO I think was primarily to define their own comfort gospel and then make certain verses fit their lifestyle.
            Among plenty of other issues.
            I’m just speaking of the spiritual impact this has on a FOO.
            Another big idol was to fight off the truth and dismiss anything that would threaten the family system.



          • Nancy on September 28, 2018 at 12:21 pm

            My goodness Aly. I think I have a better picture of the ‘ever-changing’ idol in your FOO. If the idol is ‘comfort gospel’ then it is subject to morph and change, and be flexible in the face of life’s inevitable discomfort. And then verses are cherry picked to re-work and solidify the comfy position of the day.

            These are the thoughts that came to me but if it’s not accurate, please flush….I’m just trying to understand.

            Gosh…only Christ can break through that kind of ‘flexible fortress’.

            That must have taken a TON of work to figure out what was going on!

            I’m sorry for the pain and confusion of this but also know that it is all being used in your life for His glory!



          • Aly on September 28, 2018 at 2:17 pm

            Nancy,
            Thank you for understanding and my hope and prayer is that it also helps in your journey too? Not saying the situations are identical but certainly similar with the enmeshment places.

            You are SO on point with this and thank you for articulating! It’s helpful to me to read;
            “And then verses are cherry picked to re-work and solidify the comfy position of the day.”

            Yes, they are cherry picked indeed because they offer ‘that place of staying stagnant or stuck’.

            I do think that a core factor is the intimacy issues around God and how the marriages in the system are established.

            I do believe a marriage union brings opportunities to share & or reveal our deep intimacy issues with God ultimately and hopefully bring about healing and beauty.

            As long as I’m the ‘problem’ in the FOO….then the intimacy issues are never really addressed whether that be in their own individual marriages or with God ultimately?

            (Certainly not my place or responsibility)



          • Nancy on September 29, 2018 at 5:28 am

            Your willingness to process your journey here is very helpful, Aly 🙂

            The Lord is so good in bringing us all here to learn from one another.



          • Aly on September 29, 2018 at 10:05 am

            Nancy,
            Thank you for your support and encouragement.
            Grief is difficult and yes I feel so blessed to have community in the format, I think writing is helpful as we get to take our time to process our thoughts.

            God definitely keeps His promises in sometimes different ways .. I think to delight in surprising us! 😍

            Hugs and continued blessings for you all.



          • Nancy on October 10, 2018 at 10:18 pm

            Hi JoAnn and Sheep,

            With regards to ‘giving back’ various emotions that have been dumped on me…

            I have recently been able to remember a specific event where I ‘took in’ my mother’s sadness. I was able to invite Jesus into that memory. He stood between us and absorbed her sadness. I was also able to give Him the ‘stored up’ sadness of hers that I had carried for so long (I held onto it because I believed that the sadness ‘grounded me in reality’. When He told me that reality is found in Him, I was able to give it to Him).

            I was also able to do something similar with anger and blame.

            In both cases it involved giving these to Jesus.

            Sheep, when you say that guilt needs to be put where it belongs, is that the same thing as blame?



          • JoAnn on October 10, 2018 at 11:12 pm

            Nancy, my heart leapt for joy when I read about your experience of giving back your mother’s sadness. (Oct. 10) Wow! That was beautiful, and how freeing it must feel to you now. Praise the Lord! He truly bore our pain and sickness. We just need to surrender it to Him. Thanks for sharing that.



  2. Suzanne on September 26, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Our faithful Father is with you and will indeed meet your every need, dear one. Regarding finances, remember you are entitled to half of your husband’s assets. Some things to seriously consider being included in your divorce petition, if you decide to file, are: half of his 401k; you should remain the sole beneficiary on his life insurance policy; you could sell and split the proceeds of your current home (hopefully enabling you to buy a home of your own), alimony payments for one third the duration of your marriage…These things and more are completely reasonable to ask for and most judges would agree. Also, if your husband’s social security payment at retirement is estimated to be higher than yours, you are entitled to the amount he will receive, since you have been married over 10 years. These are just a few concrete examples of provision available to you. I hope it eases your mind a little. You are in His good, tender hands!

    • Laura on September 26, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      Hi Suzanne,

      The provisions you’ve mentioned to the writer are very valuable examples. And considering her age and marital status as you mentioned, if she divorces. she is entitled to Social Security based on the greater of the benefits of each eligible party but just half of the husbands payment if higher. and all the other provisions may apply, but not all things are absolute. Correction that is besides the absolute promises of Jesus Christ.

      As in my case at the time of my divorce and being younger than the writer those possibilities were undermined by my now ex husband. In the time I hesitated to move on to the promises of the Lord, he had the ability to make certain that not only I but he himself was placed in a desperate financial situation position. My situation became dire before I had the courage to divorce. At that time I was not only financially but emotionally bankrupt. How I got my brave on and pressed on in a stinky situation was by praying for Divine inspiration and getting involved in activities that built up my core strength. I joined woman’s groups and church groups that helped me extricate myself from the situation I was living in. These were wonderful forums for teaching me to forgive but not forget the the truth of my situation that strongly required me to make an uncomfortable change. From that learning point I discovered the importance of self-care had became an attainable desire prompted by the Lord. As Leslie mentioned; “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly”(John 10:10). That does not mean a life without suffering or trials, because he also tells us that life is difficult (John 16:33). Even though I had little money I took a leap of faith and enrolled in a program to become certified to teach yoga. That became an accomplishment that gave me additional confidence and a resource to earn some money. I then applied for and received financial assistance for education that allowed me to earn an Associates Degree. Though I could not afford to continue in getting a Human Services degree for Social Work it fortified me in my capacity as a volunteer facilitator for a children’s grief group and in understanding how to conduct a Trauma Sensitive yoga session. So in the end both my ups and downs proved to be valuable. Life hasn’t been easy but the bumps have been smoothed. One fact, God pointed out to me was that, worrying about what might happen to me, as Leslie also mentioned, would only causes me to miss living well now and creates more suffering for me now too. So now I get busy letting God have my full attention and the leadership role asI live each moment.Matthew 6:34 New International Version (NIV)34,” Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” And so when I falter I continue in prayer asking God to not only help me help myself but to assist others by sharing my successes and experiences.

      Godspeed to all in the face of their’ troubles, and may God bless them with answers to their prayers!

      Laurie

  3. Tonya on September 26, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Great question and great answer. I am also in the middle of a terrible situation where spouse has history of cheating/voyuerism and married for 34 years. I have chosen to divorce and actually see the attorney today. God has showed me “I MATTER” and that He is here for me. My time with the Lord has become my lifeline and yes friends and counselors are here for me as well. Just making the chose to move on and get whole for myself is what I am responsible for, not his recovery/healing. I do not feel love/respect therefore cannot be “true to myself” if I continue to go through the motions as if I did love. When I separated 5 months ago, the fog began to lift and now I see much clearer. I have seen God’s faithfulness and she will too. Praying for all the betrayed women because I am overwhelmed with the amount of hurting. God is faithful!

    • JoAnn on September 27, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      Tonya, how did the meeting with the lawyer go? Learning what your options are is an important step in moving forward. So often, ignorance and fear keep people from doing what they need to do. You are brave to move ahead. God is with you.

  4. Aly on September 26, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Friends, when present life stinks how do you get your brave on and press on?,

    Such an important question. So many ways to press on and get Brave in the process.
    Bravery is key and I think for me the only way I found my bravery or my courage was to know what God’s Word said about who I was to Him.
    Studying scripture about His truths for me and for my worth we’re essential in aligning myself to understand what is healthy (or healthier) verses what is not and what is me tolerating such garbage from individuals?
    We are indeed all broken and in need of Jesus as an essential, but there are some who seem to say they have Jesus, yet continue to dump their mess or never take accountability for their choices towards others.

    This brave woman made such a courageous step by writing in and asking for help. This will hopefully be a beginning for her to begin her journey of freedom away from such a serial sex addict who has been far too accomplished in letting her think (& believe) that she should carry all the guilt & shame over his betrayals. And certainly carry the responsibility of forgiveness and repair! How dare he??
    I want to wrap my arms around this precious soul…pray with her, hug her, feed her and hopefully find some smiles about the future to come.

    She has been surviving such a war zone. My heart hurts for how she has had to cope living with this person because I certainly can say.. this is the farthest thing from a marriage.
    My hope is that she is brought into good care and restoration for her heart as well as the wisdom to know that the person she has been dealing with is an expert at ‘not taking responsibility’ and won’t most likely ever change that behavior.
    It is NOT loving nor is it really healthy forgiveness as we are ambassadors of Christ, to be in proximity or relationship with such individuals while the behavior is continuing. Even if the behavior has ceased, the very fact that he refuses to get help and repair is evidence of his heart condition.

    Hope you make it to the conference and make your way to freedom! 💕

    • Nancy on September 26, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      I completely agree, Aly.

      It is only in accepting my status as ‘daughter of the most High King’ that I was able to muster HIS courage in me to combat the DRAGON that was the years of accumulated pain that was not even my own. To place boundaries against any new guilt and then begin healing from the mountain of old guilt.

      • Angie on September 29, 2018 at 8:16 am

        Yes, thank you for sharing, Nancy!

  5. Alene on September 26, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I know what it is like to feel stuck like this. No my husband didn’t have affairs. No the story isn’t the same. Yes the feelings are the same. Yes my husband is not taking responsibility to own his stuff and change. Yes my husband says ‘forget’ (ummm, that is not reality because if the patterns aren’t dealt with and changed then it isn’t in the past, it is in the present and a myriad of other truth could be included here like minimizing, avoiding, etc.).

    It has been a process to get into a healthier perspective. I was off kilter and that is why it looked like God would be angry with me if I divorced (I haven’t at this point but I am talking about the feelings and questions and doubts; it has only been since last December that I am in active mode if that needs to happen). I felt stuck because I didn’t see my options and I lacked a clear sense of self and a healthy amount of strength and value in myself and the truth and also had a lack of clarity and balance. I needed a spot in my heart healed from an experience when I was young that involved a fear of being alone and things happening to me and me not empowered to do anything about it.

    I began the journey to get healthier and face reality about six years ago. I was afraid to really look the truth in the eye and really name it…I didn’t want to go too far (hence one reason why things with my husband had gone too far)…I was not only afraid of divorce (good christians don’t right? what would people think? what would God think? what would the children think – oh my oh dear this one is hard and it was only last month that I crossed that barrier.)

    Until I let the marriage go, I can’t truly deal with it. I don’t mean divorce, I mean let go of the outcome before God and simply stand in the truth.

    There is a book called “No More Christian Nice Girl Becoming God’s Good Woman” – doesn’t the title say it all?

    The process included the beauty and difficulty of finding I needed to change and grow and get stronger and face my part of the dance that had kept the destructive dance going. It was a process of steps and practice and slowly beginning to speak up more and losing more and more fear in the process. But the beauty is that it is free-ing. I feel so much clearer and healthier and I keep growing. I love Leslie’s CORE strength acronym; it has been an big part of the process.

    I now realize that:
    there are times that separation is a good and wise choice for the well being of the people including the children so the destruction is limited
    that there are many verses in the Bible besides the 2-3 marriage ones that can be over emphasized and keep us stuck; verses that speak wisdom about difficult people and situations and responsibility
    there is a beautiful balance in “empathy without enabling” (I was really good at empathy!)
    when Jesus talks about a hard heart he isn’t talking about the one who tried and tried and sees and is willing to do her own work, he is talking about the one who wouldn’t (I twisted and took it on myself, that is part of the reason we stay stuck, and it comes from fear and insecurity probably).
    and more….

    Good job for reaching out.

    Here’s a word someone gave me when I said I had tried to talk with my pastor (this was spoken by an older woman; perhaps there’s a reason younger women are encouraged to listen to older women – I’ll include older women as those who may be younger in years but are farther on the path): “you need someone who has been there” – I can’t remember word for word but it was a light. The two women I was speaking to had both faced difficult (for one) and destructive (for the other) behaviors in their spouse and had over come!!! They knew. They could speak from experience what it takes for a woman to be truly godly and walk that path. Though both their marriages had been healed…they are clear in the truth that the outcome is up to the husband, not the one standing in the truth.

  6. Dianne on September 26, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    I get my brave on by Galatians 2:20 …yet not I, but Christ that lives in me. Understanding this truth helped me to see I was not alone .
    In 1991 I experienced for different traumas . My entire world fell apart. I lost both parents within a month apart .I lost a thriving business and a 26 year marriage .I struggled for 12 years to survive the pain alone .
    In 2003 I could no longer do it in by my self. I had been a Christian from age 13 so I sought Christian help. I called Grace Life International in Charlotte NC.
    I received the help and support I needed to walk through with Christ . I have a support group of friends who walk this with me in Grace leading me to truth in my life.
    I would encourage this dear lady to keep reaching out as she was so brave to do with Leslie Vernick. Don’t wait I would encourage you that there are woman who understand and want to help and stand with you. My thoughts and prayers are with you .

    • Aly on September 27, 2018 at 8:39 am

      Dianne,
      I’m so sorry for what you have gone through and so glad that you found support and community! Praise God for this!

      • Dianne on September 27, 2018 at 10:23 am

        Thank you ! Hugs to you sweet sister in Jesus

  7. Loretta on September 26, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    I came so close to divorcing my husband this summer. Not because of affairs but because he needed medicine for emotional problems. I had friends and family telling me to divorce him but I had one friend who told me about problems she and her husband were having and that divorce was wrong. I finally quit listening to everyone and turned my marriage over to God. I also practiced “tough love” with my husband. In being married almost 18 years, I had never before practiced “tough love”. Through prayer and “tough love” we are now seeing a Christian marital counselor, he has apologized and thanked me many times. He is now taking 2 psychotropic Rx’s and has made me his #1. His daughter has always been his #1 in the past. We are now doing a daily devotional, as suggested by our counselor, and I feel our marriage will become stronger as a result of all we’ve been though the last 1 1/2 years.
    I didn’t want to be alone but I trusted God to take care of me, if I did become single. I also prayed for my husband to get the needed medical help he needed. This summer he actually hit “rock bottom” and I was the only one who helped him. His daughter or 2 sisters did not get involved. Our marriage is now in God’s hands and I trust God to take care of us as long as we continue to rely on him. Doing a daily devotional and having open discussions is helping our marriage. I pray for anyone in a bad marriage. I was receiving “emotional, mental, and some physical abuse”. He knows that I will not take anymore abuse. I have worth and am to be respected. Told him he needed to first Respect me before he could Love me. I feel like I’ve been through the wilderness and back the last 1 1/2 years. I lost about 40 lbs @ stress and lost a lot of sleep.

    • Loretta on September 27, 2018 at 12:36 am

      I’m reading a good book that our counselor mentioned. It is entitled “Boundries” and authored by Drs. Cloud & Townsend. I am now setting boundries in our marriage. I’ve been abused and will not take it anymore. Will not take him correcting me or telling me I am “confused” all the time. Told him he made a nervous wreck out of me. Earlier this year he pulled to side of road, slapped me couple of times and threatened to put me out in rain. Yesterday, he was telling me how to drive and making a nervous wreck out of me. Came close to telling him he could get out anytime.
      I want our marriage to work but “no more abuse of any kind”. I realized that when I was living alone for 5-6 months that I could make it alone. Of course, it is easier with him here: financially, taking care of things outside, but “no more abuse” Good luck to any of you ladies who are living in am abusive relationship. God will be with you and above all else, “you have value and worth”. Don’t let anyone make you feel like less”.

      • Aly on September 27, 2018 at 8:31 am

        Loretta,

        I think it is good that you are reading Boundaries, they also have additional books…
        Boundaries in Marriage etc.

        My concern is about your last two posts and the abusive cycle in general.
        You also mentioned that your h is on medication.
        It seems that maybe the medication is helping with some things but do you have other interventions also for when he decides to stop taking the Meds?
        Or if the meds eventually plateau?

        I ask this because I wonder if you see that the level of abuse you have described is far past … ‘boundaries’ in many situations. Meaning that boundaries are not something that can keep you physically safe if your h decides to escalate or not self manage his anger etc if the deeper issues are not being addressed by ongoing care.

        Has he and is he continuing in a recovery plan and accountability for his abuse (emotional, mental & physical) ?

        I agree that devotionals and connection are important in any marriage. However, given your recent post of you driving yesterday and him telling you how to drive and feeling nervous would be beginning red flags of the cycle building. What do you think?

        Are you also in counseling individually for your healing?

        • JoAnn on September 27, 2018 at 12:30 pm

          Loretta, I agree with Aly. The abuse has become dangerous, and at the very least, you need to have a counselor you can be working with…but be sure it is someone who has experience with abusive relationships.
          Abuse while driving is very dangerous, and I recall one sister here saying that she would no longer drive in the same car with her husband because his driving is too dangerous. Perhaps you don’t have that option, but instead of getting “close” to letting him out, perhaps next time you should actually do it. If you are going to have a boundary about him not harassing you while you are driving, then you must have a consequence, or the boundary doesn’t work. “If you harass me while I am driving, I will pull the car over and either you will get out or I will. I can always call the police to come pick me up (or a cab)” This is what it means to “put your brave on.” The Lord will empower you.

          • Hope on September 27, 2018 at 10:42 pm

            My husband has also frightened me badly, driving and being very angry simultaneously.I began always carrying a bus fare card in my purse and put the Uber app on my phone and learned how to use it. I also carry a car key, even if he’s driving (in case he might not give me the keys). I arrange my schedule as often as I can so I can meet him places instead of us driving there together. I feel much safer now, knowing that if he melts down he can either get out and I can drive away OR I can get out (if he refuses to) and I can get to a safe place.



          • JoAnn on September 27, 2018 at 10:55 pm

            Hope, those are good ideas. It’s always good to be prepared for potentially dangerous situations. Do you have any other strategies in place for other safety measures? Escape plans, supportive friends, etc?



      • K (who's posted before) on September 27, 2018 at 11:22 am

        Hello, Loretta Along with Aly, and other women listening and speaking here, I’m concerned for your safety, and for your awareness of it. You write that “Earlier this year he pulled to side of road, slapped me couple of times and threatened to put me out in rain.” Loretta, do you recognize this for the physical violence/abuse that it is?? Whether or not he is on Rx’s, he is still responsible for his actions and how he handles himself, especially toward you. The verbal and emotional abuse is clear, so also is his physical abusiveness toward you. One of the important questions you need to ask yourself is, whether or not he is on (or off) medications, does my husband treat ANYONE ELSE the way he treats me? When the answer is NO, then it’s pretty clear the core issue is not about his mental health (in which case everyone…..neighbours, strangers, employer, police…..would receive the same treatment you do); the core issue is about his mindset that it’s ok to treat you in this destructive way, BECAUSE HE CAN. Loretta, please start telling yourself the truth, and get working with a trusted, abuse-informed counsellor for yourself. You are precious to the Lord, and cared for by the community here.

        • Loretta on September 27, 2018 at 11:36 pm

          We are seeing a marital counselor and he has been made aware of what has transpired in the past. With my husband on his 2 psychotropic meds I know he will be a calmer man. He also knows that I will not tolerate anymore bad treatment (even verbal) and is still thanking me daily for saving him. I let him hit rock bottom. I had an EPO taken out on him and Divorce papers filed. Had he not changed his behavior and way of thinking he would be an ex-husband. I question him daily about taking his meds. He has mentioned several times when we were doing our daily devotional that he thought I was going to leave him. I believe him when he apologizes now. His family, my family and friends support me if I choose to leave him (if he ever mis-behaves in the future). He is a different man when he takes his meds. He has been diagnosed bi-polar and taking the proper meds has made a difference.

          • Aly on September 28, 2018 at 9:34 am

            Loretta,

            It sounds like you have interventions in place. I’m glad that you are experiencing a husband doing the necessary treatment in order to stay stable. Sounds like you have a support system also and that is so important.
            Bi-polar or not what you have been through with your husband is still traumatic and you getting the care for your heart and healing is also important. Are you in a support group of other spouses with similar situations?

            I’m assuming that when your husband was physically and emotionally abusive toward you he was not on medication? Or maybe he wasn’t getting enough other interventions at the time?

            My concern for you as was a few others, was if you felt like you could see the cycle of abuse pattern? (Bi-polar or not) there is still a relational dynamic that gets formed in these types of marital issues).

            From what I understand about certain individuals with Bipolar and other types of depressions.. it’s very common in fact a high % of the person deciding to Discontinue taking their meds. Are you concerned about this? And the behavior outcome to follow?

            I’m thankful for you that you are experiencing a completely different ‘man’ and that he is treating you with respect and awareness of how willing you are to not participate in the chaos.

            I have had a similar experience with my husband as interventions are in place even though it’s still a ton of work & in my opinion complex.



  8. Becca on September 26, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you Leslie for putting my life, marriage story out there. I have read your answer of wisdom for reminding me I can get my Brave On. Thanks to God for ladies who actually understand. Every reply was God given. I just read the blog and yes, I cried and felt so encouraged. I am going to re-read all tomorrow. I know God has big plans for me. Realizing that 65 can be a start of a new life with God leading and me following. We are.all Sisters In Christ.

    • JoAnn on September 27, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      Becca, thank you for sharing and revealing yourself. We hope that your continued presence here will be helpful both to you and to all of us here. Keep us informed of your progress and challenges. There is lots of help and support by many who have “been there, done that.” Thank you for being brave enough to share with us.

      • Becca on September 28, 2018 at 4:17 pm

        I have other issues with adult child, her husband and a two and three year old who Iive in same house with me. Really can’t sell because they have no money. My husband works about 1.5 hrs away. I have begged him for years to sell. I am facing that stress as well. They have stole money jewelry etc. With that being said, my husband can leave I am stuck. Been 10 years they have been here. I will not kick them out with the babies. That is sonething I am slowly accepting, but hold alot of angry with my husband because he won’t help me with this situation. I have been so encouraged and read these blogs everyday. I am so tempted to let my husband see these posts. I will definitely keep you posted. We have no retirement. He cashed it in with gambling issues and etc. My email has not been letting me see posts since last night. I hope this gets posted. I feel like I have new friends who actually understand..God knows where to put us. Just have to be brave and say Ok God I’m reaching for your help.

        • JoAnn on September 28, 2018 at 5:11 pm

          Becca, i can’t help but wonder…why don’t your daughter and her husband have any money? Aren’t they working? They could both work if you watch the kids. It seems that there is a need for some boundaries here. They won’t bear responsibility if you don’t force them to.
          Are you able to work? The brave thing for you to do now is take care of yourself, and your needs. Take baby steps and allow yourself to feel empowered by each step you take.

        • Moon beam on September 29, 2018 at 12:03 am

          Becca, lets prioritize you! Your adult children can care for themselves and their children. Give them the chance to do that. The first thing I would do is look for a job and find a place for you to live. You are not responsible for anyone but yourself. You can put your home on the market and move. YOU have choices, YOU have value and only You can change your life.

        • Nancy on September 29, 2018 at 5:41 am

          Hi Becca,

          Have you read ‘boundaries’ by cloud and Townsend?

          Many here have read it and have found it to be an invaluable resource. It’s very helpful in allowing us to see where we are taking too much responsibility for others and not enough responsibility for ourselves.

          I highly recommend it!

        • Aly on September 29, 2018 at 10:00 am

          Becca,

          So glad that you wrote to Leslie and you can see her response to you. Your husband sounds like he has severe issues with multiple addictions. I’m so very sorry for what you have been a recipient to! You do have choices to make if you choose to and they can be ‘new beginnings’ each day. You are so worthy of safety and sanity.

          The people on here do often understand and can see you and truly care. Many of us have been cared for and carried at times through God’s provisions.
          Do you have a counselor?

          Couseling and a lot of support will be needed as you take healthy steps away from your situation as well as show ‘love’ .. probably tough but true love to your family.

          • Becca on October 3, 2018 at 6:47 pm

            So many loving and caring Christian women. First I thank God. I thank Leslie for using a ministry like this to help those of us who feel lost. This blog has helped me to stay strong and Brave. I have been a Christian for 54 years. I wish there would of been sites like this 43 years ago. However I know that all is in Gods planning. I have 3 adult children and 10 grandkids, all involved in church. Blessed! I know it is my time now for ME TIME. The scriptures, the books and the awesome words of encouragements have given me the courage to move forward. I had said before that I was stuck in a house that my daughter and her family lives with me. My husband works in another city, about 1.5 hours away. He has rented appt there before and did not have to deal with their yelling, no money and son in law drinking. I am now looking for my own place. He said he would stay here. I am holding him to that. He is starting to manipulating me again, not sure he ever stopped. I am excited. I do want to say that I never hated or blamed his daughter for anything. He is the one that has caused issues with her and my family. Still hurts but I know she was “a secret” for 25 years. That is how she feels. Sad. I wish I could meet all of you. I can’t make it to the conference. Little far from where I live. I feel like I have new friends who understand my life. One concern I do have is divorce or seperation? I have had and going through medical issues right now. He has great insurance. He says he will always take care of me financially. If he pays Cobra that is more money being used each month. I need to be smart here also. He is living the month of Oct in a rented room close to where he works. But coming here one or two nights for weekend. I have decided to not be here. I don’t need to see him. He will be very upset . God and I have talks and many tears from me all day long. I am learning what God says is ok for me to do. I know He gave me life to Glorify His Name and live my life in abundance. Feeling Braver everyday. I pray for all you wonderful Sisters.



          • Aly on October 3, 2018 at 9:49 pm

            Becca,
            I’m confused and I’m sorry for what you are facing and dealing with.

            My confusion is, who’ house you are living in?
            Your daughter’s and son in laws?

            I’m also confused about how you say that your husband says he will always take care of you, yet you also posted that he gambled your retirement away?
            These two comments conflict.. do you agree or am I missing information?



          • JoAnn on October 8, 2018 at 11:33 am

            Becca, You said that you are trying to decide between divorce and separation….there is a clear answer to that. He has already broken the marriage covenant many times, so the divorce papers are just a legal way of declaring that. With divorce, you have many legal rights, which differ from state to state, so what you need to do is visit a divorce lawyer to find out what your rights are. If you only separate, then you have no legal recourse should your h decide he doesn’t want to support you anymore. With a legal divorce, your h will be required by law to support you financially and possibly keep you on his insurance plan. So, I suggest that in addition to looking for an apartment of your own, you seek out the advice of a divorce lawyer. You are taking great steps in a positive direction, and I applaud you for that.



        • K (who's posted before) on October 1, 2018 at 2:58 pm

          Hello Becca

          (I was in the middle of writing a note to you when the computer went a bit squirrely, so unsure if it will show up 1/2 posted at some point!!! Apologies to all if it does end up wasting space!!)

          Anyway, Becca, I want to encourage you to add 1 more book to your current reading list. Along with Leslie’s truth-telling, life-giving “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” and “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship”, please do yourself a kindness and add Allison Bottke’s “Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children”. Absolutely biblical, common sense and encouraging!!!! You do not need to be trapped by false guilt feeling responsible for taking care of your capable (but unwilling) adult child and her family. That is not God’s true word for you.
          Do read it, Becca. Think carefully and prayerfully about how the Lord wishes to have you proceed…….you may find yourself very surprized!
          Blessings to all here.

          • Becca on October 3, 2018 at 6:56 pm

            I have read the boundaries book. I have for the past 10 years to sell the house and then they would have to be on their own. Husband never backed me on that. I am going to move out now and he can deal with them. I pray for the baby boys for Gods protection. Everythin you say is right on. Thank you.



    • Nancy on September 28, 2018 at 9:44 am

      Becca,

      Already you have taken two brave steps in writing to Leslie and in commenting on the thread, claiming your story. This is very brave!

      Stick around and allow yourself to be loved on 🙂

    • moon beam on October 4, 2018 at 6:46 am

      Becca, This is out of sequence but I want to way WOOOHOOO for moving out! You go girl! Nice!

      Best wishes on your new beginning. Buy something cute for your new place and decorate with the colors you love. Fill the place with praise and worship music and celebrate your victory.

  9. JoAnn on September 26, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    Sisters, I enjoyed these verses today and thought I’d share them with you, because some have admitted to having difficulty finding themselves after an abusive relationship. This is 2 Corinthians 1:21-22: But the One who firmly attaches us with you unto Christ and has anointed us is God, He who has also sealed us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

    Isn’t that wonderful?!!! He has sealed us, meaning that He possesses us and has put His stamp/seal on us. We belong to God, and we are firmly attached to Christ! Chew on that, meditate on it, praise God for that fact, and your life will be changed. Hallelujah!

    • Aly on September 27, 2018 at 8:34 am

      JoAnn,
      Yes these verses are wonderful and necessary! Thanks for posting and thanks for your continued support here. 💜

      • JoAnn on September 27, 2018 at 12:18 pm

        Hugs, to you, Aly. I always appreciate your wisdom here on this blog. It has come out of much pain and suffering, but now you are able to comfort others with the comfort with which you have been comforted. God has a wonderful way of turning the worst experiences into gold for His purpose.

  10. Karen on September 27, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Dearest Sister in Christ,

    You have lived through so much pain, and I am so sorry for that. It is a blessing that the fog is lifting and that you are beginning to see things in their proper perspective. As I, too, work to extricate myself from a destructive marriage, I often get confused about what course of action is “right” or “wrong.” It helps me to remove myself from the equation and think about whether I would advise my daughter or dear friend–or even a stranger–to stay in the situation in which you find yourself. If the answer is “no,” then you have once again found your clarity and center. Don’t keep yourself in a situation you would not encourage others to stay in. Love yourself as Christ loves you. Trust Jehovah Jireh. He WILL protect you and provide for you.

    • Nancy on September 27, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      Karen,

      “Love yourself as Christ loves you.” Yes 🙂

      This is the active choice that leads us into emotionally health. It is the ‘as yourself” part of the greatest commandment!

  11. K (who's posted before) on September 27, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    This is for Aly, (re: your wondering about writing “the list” that your destructive family member/s demand of you.)

    I can appreciate your counsellor’s encouragement to do what you can on your side of the equation with your parents, but that clearly doesn’t bring you to a place of peace, so it is worth paying attention to why. You know when you are being manipulated.

    The reasons that ‘demand lists’ are not helpful in situations dealing with someone who is abusive are:

    1. it often turns out to be just another way of manipulating, “buying time” (more like wasting time) with you concentrating on trying to get the list together, before they can figure out another way to bail out of of actually following through with counselling. Sometimes you get the blame for that, sometimes its blamed on the cost, or the inability to find a ‘qualified’ counsellor, or the distance to appointments, or any of a thousand other ‘reasons’ (excuses) not to follow through.

    2. if someone wishes to go to counselling, they need to go for their own reasons, not to fulfill someone else’s ‘wish list’. That works in both directions; you can’t go to fulfill your parents’ demands, and they can’t go to fulfill your demands. Healthy counselling just doesn’t work like that.

    3. Abusers and manipulative people will often take “the List” — whether they thought of it or not — as simply another challenge to conquer, leaving you with no place to turn when they ‘complete’ the list, but don’t change their treatment of you. In truth, this often looks like paying lip-service to the items, rather than truly working on the underlying issues. Abusers and manipulators are very good at showing up for counselling appointments, with absolutely no intention of change, and they do not bother to listen or learn anything to integrate in to a changed life. They simply ‘show up’ (basically a bum in a seat), but thereby ‘technically’ meet the expected condition of ‘going to counselling’. Then they put the onus/responsibilty back on you to change for their needs. This tactic is abundantly clear when you consider people mandated to counselling by the court: ‘I have to show up for my 10 sessions to get this judge off my back. Fine. I’ll show up. (End of story, I don’t have any interest in learning or changing)”. If a person ‘technically’ meets conditions of ‘the list’, they will simply find some other tactic by which to continue manipulating or abusing. For example; men sent to ‘anger management’ for domestic violence may never again use physical aggression against their wives, but will develop a whole host of other aggressive/destructive behaviours that take that place. The result? a woman is still being abused in her marriage, but is ‘obviously to blame’ for it, because he’s already been to counselling.

    4. Finally, the problem with giving abusers ‘the list’ of things they need to work on is it absolves them of having to do the hard inner work of looking at themselves, and figuring out their own stuff. Waaaaaaaay easier if i just have to tick off a bunch of things somebody else points out, than digging down into my own soul to look at what i’m responsible for.

    Think carefully and prayerfully, Aly. If your parents have previously indicated they will go to counselling, then have not, there’s very little chance that a list from you at this point will be their true and healthy springboard into change.

    • Aly on September 27, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      K,
      Thank you so much for your clarity here. I agree with everything you said. I very strongly resonate with #2 and 4.
      In fact # 4 was my hesitation in even replying with a list (that I certainly didn’t want to spell out).
      The list is not my request by far just to clarify. In fact I really felt cornered into a position but then again was reminded to face the outcome ‘of yet again an opportunity for them to dismiss or reject considering my thoughts’

      The request of the list by (her) I felt could have been a dig on counseling in general, and I was hesitant to think it was genuine seeking out…because my mom stated that she wants ‘solution based’ counseling (her words)
      Where there are solutions and not more of the same unresolved situation. Which really is what we currently have. (Unresolved and not reconciliation at all).
      But as you probably know, I can’t be responsible for something that isn’t my part to resolve anyway?

      As far as excuses (she has none) or they together have none.
      My husband and I offered to pay for the couseling.
      Both my parents went to our clinician and after one session all together in family counseling, they refuse to return.
      Then, my mom found another $$$ Counselor (who she felt would not be bias, yet was told the SAME thing and she left that session never to return to the second appt)

      When confronted with the problem, she leaves and goes back to blaming ‘counseling’ and how psychology has impacted our world for the negative… yadda yadda yadda.

      This last attempt was a 3rd Counseling possibility?? but then the list was also asked of me.

      I’m also a person who doesn’t expect anyone to read my mind, my wants etc.
      So there is a place of me that sees these things important to voice in a safe place and process.
      But with abusers not all things are this reasonable as we know.
      For my situation it comes doesn to a core issue of basic respect and authentic relationship. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, the fact that my FOO chooses to not engage with this type of invite is all the more telling that it’s far beyond destructive for me to be involved in.

      You really spoke truth here to those who keep at the same shanagins;
      (They have no interest in learning, growing or changing)
      Transforming really!
      Why? I think because they prefer to stand where they feel Jesus accepted them and that’s how they want to be accepted throughout life, even if another individual feels disrespected or harmed by their choices and actions…. they don’t care because Jesus loves them and accepts them.
      And yes.. these are some of the exact phrases I have been told.

      Talk about false guilt put on others to compromise having extremely unhealthy family relationships!

  12. Barbara B on September 27, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Friends, when present life stinks how do you get your brave on and press on?

    I’m re-reading the book Boundaries and this time around I really notice the emphasis in the book about having a strong support system. The older I get, the more I realize how much my brothers and especially sisters in Christ are necessary to keep me functioning well in life. I need my Christian girlfriends. They put my brave back on me when it falls off. I’m going to the Conquer conference and I sure hope the original writer comes. It doesn’t have to be super expensive; I found a nice AirBnB a couple of miles from the church. I have missed some of the recent blog posts so maybe this has been covered already, but is there a way we can meet each other at the conference? I don’t want to be creepy, maybe people prefer to be anonymous, but I would enjoy meeting in person if anyone else wants to.

    • JoAnn on September 28, 2018 at 11:07 am

      I agree, Barbara. I am going to the conference with the hope of meeting some of you face to face. I also hope to connect with some who live in central Texas, so that perhaps we can get together from time to time.

      Leslie, can you make a way at the conference for the women who post on this blog to meet one another?

      • Leslie Vernick on October 1, 2018 at 11:57 pm

        Yes, if you let me know who is coming. Privately e-mail Martha and we will make every effort to help you all connect.

  13. Nancy on September 28, 2018 at 10:51 am

    I received “boundaries for your soul” cook & Miller in the mail and want to share an excerpt:

    “The focus of this book is to help you access the Spirit of God abiding in your soul and to encourage you to invite his Spirit to be near those parts of your soul needing his care.

    Having the Holy Spirit within doesn’t automatically bring peace and joy, however, because some parts of your soul can be stubborn and resist God’s will….Thankfully, you can play an active role in connecting the troubled parts of yourself to the Holy Spirit who dwells inside of you. You can invite him to be with them, and you can witness his power at work- in partnership with God you can befriend and lead the unruly parts of your soul into an abundant life ( John 10:10). All parts of you can abide in Christ, as he abides in you.

    God has given you agency. He invites you to participate in the work he is doing in your life. Your task is to trust neither your thoughts nor your feelings but to lead them in step with God’s Spirit. As you do, you can turn the most challenging parts of your soul into your greatest allies”

    • JoAnn on September 28, 2018 at 11:09 am

      Excellent advice, Nancy. Thanks for sharing that.

      • Nancy on September 28, 2018 at 12:05 pm

        JoAnn,

        I have always had a desire to ‘look within’ even before I was a believer. This is a gift from God – we are supposed to get the plank out. But it turns into something destructive the second I see something undesirable and then react by condemning myself for it.

        I am slowly learning to ‘befriend’ these pieces of myself that either over or under function, and invite Christ into these spaces.

        Curiosity about myself is a ‘spirit – led’ head space. Condemnation certainly, is not!

        • Karen on October 2, 2018 at 12:19 pm

          We have to be so very careful with this issue. It is one thing to “look within” and be ever vigilant to seek God’s face and ask Him to create a new heart in us. This humility can be so easily manipulated though. I have to pray fervently when I am being barraged with my H’s “logic” and “arguments” that the Lord help me to distinguish what is true and what is a soft spot of mine being used to manipulate me and control either my feelings or an outcome or both.

          • Nancy on October 2, 2018 at 3:05 pm

            This is a good point, I completely agree Karen. ‘Looking within’ should only be done with safe people. The safest of course, is Jesus.

            In the presence of ‘hard hearted’ people we must be vigilant to guard our heart against manipulation and false guilt!



  14. trusting on September 30, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    Please pray for me as I am taking baby steps of bravery. I have started going to church by myself, as my husband and I haven’t been to church together since January 2017. I also am starting to sell some greeting cards made from digital photos of some of my artwork. My husband is threatening to stop supporting me, so I need to look for work. There is lots involved with this as I only have a small amount of money, and we are far from decent sized towns. I also have responsibilties on our farm with care of animals. I need God’s wisdom and guidance. I posted formerly as “confused”, but I think I am seeing things better now. So I have chosen a new name. I am working on trusting God with my fears and unknowns. Thank you all for the counsel and encouragement that you share!

    • Free on October 2, 2018 at 7:08 am

      You have started the process, congratulations. Every small step is a victory. You are entitled to choice. Break some of your controller’s rules and choose life. Best wishes in your job search! Being around people who value you and what you can contribute to the workplace will be a great way to counter act the lies you are subjected to at home.

    • JoAnn on October 2, 2018 at 9:36 am

      Trusting….I love the name change! Great first steps, and the Lord will continue to show you, step by step, how to move forward. Above all, be safe, and do what you need to for your own safety and well-being.

      • Trusting on October 2, 2018 at 11:45 am

        Thank you Free, and JoAnn, for your encouragement and counsel!

    • Nancy on October 2, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      I too LOVE the name change. You are appropriating your identity in Him!

  15. Seeing The Light on October 2, 2018 at 8:35 am

    JoAnn, Aly, Nancy, Free, others,

    Please pray for me and my kids. The process is moving forward. My stbx got therapy ordered for the kids and I have met the therapist twice. She wants the kids to reconcile with him no matter what he has done. He got to her first and I don’t think she believes me. If she does, it doesn’t seem to matter. This is exactly why I did not want my kids in therapy under these circumstances.

    My kids are meeting with her for the first time – one today and one tomorrow and then the judge will decide Friday whether to increase his temporary parenting time. Please pray for these meetings and for the attorneys’ meeting with the judge on Friday. Please pray that God will work a miracle and not increase the parenting time because we really need a miracle at this point. Please pray the therapist will see through my stbx and truly hear my children and understand the damage he has done and can still do.

    • Aly on October 2, 2018 at 8:52 am

      STL,
      Will indeed be praying for you and the kids! 🙏
      In all things we can pray for God’s will even when we don’t see or experience God’s miracles.
      I will pray for the Therapist to see what’s essential for the children’s well being and care.

      • Seeing The Light on October 4, 2018 at 10:53 am

        Aly,

        Thank you for praying.

    • JoAnn on October 2, 2018 at 9:33 am

      STL, I am also praying that the children will feel comfortable speaking the truth to the therapist about how they feel about their father. Do encourage them to be honest and not be afraid.

      • Seeing The Light on October 4, 2018 at 10:54 am

        JoAnn,

        Thank you for praying.

    • Nancy on October 2, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      STL,
      I am praying for this therapist to see what is in the best interest of your children. That they will NOT be forced to reconcile with someone that they do not trust. I pray for confidence for them; that they find their voice and speak the truth about their feelings. I pray that the therapist will hear them and see the truth of the situation. I pray that the judge acts to protect them.

      And I pray for you, STL, that He gives you His Peace that surpasses ALL understanding.

      In Jesus name.

      • Seeing The Light on October 4, 2018 at 11:00 am

        Nancy,

        Thank you for praying and for sharing what you were praying for us. I do believe they did find their voice and spoke the truth about their feelings. Thank you for praying that. The rest remains to be seen, but I will add a little more update in a group comment. Thank you for praying for peace, too.

    • Seeing The Light on October 4, 2018 at 10:51 am

      Aly, JoAnn, Nancy,

      Thank you so much for praying. I’m sorry I did not respond to you sooner. It has been hectic and my mind is on overload processing so much divorce stuff, not just the events this week.

      My kids’ appointments with the therapist this week sound like they went okay according to what the kids told me. They spoke very frankly about my stbx. My child who saw the therapist yesterday shared the therapist’s reactions, and it sounds like she was responding with some shock and consternation at my stbx’s behavior and so on. This is encouraging since my own appointments with her did not seem this way, except in a few instances. Perhaps she has to approach me with more suspicion than the kids, especially since he has in all likelihood presented me as a parental alienator to her. I am supposed to see her again next week and I really don’t want to dilute the effect the kids had on her in any way.

      If you don’t mind continuing to pray, tomorrow (Friday, October 5) there is a hearing to review his parenting time. Please pray the judge will act to protect the kids and not give him any more time or any of the additional requirements he wants to place on the kids as he was planning to seek push for more. If it’s possible, it would great if the time was even decreased. Thank you so much for being here and praying for us.

      • Aly on October 5, 2018 at 5:46 am

        STL,
        Praying for you sister in Christ! You are battling well in your journey, you are not alone and God sees your kids 💜 (His kids) also.

      • Nancy on October 6, 2018 at 5:03 pm

        How did it go on Friday, STL?

        • Seeing The Light on October 10, 2018 at 2:33 pm

          Nancy,

          I just saw your question. I don’t know for sure. My attorney sent me an email, but I have not seen the official order yet. I have not heard anything about parenting time increasing, but again I haven’t seen the order. It sounds like therapy is supposed to increase, but after seeing the therapist and hearing her perspective right now, an increase seems contradictory to what she is saying. I’m really kind of confused right now. That’s why I didn’t update. I’m still just praying it will all work out. Thank you for praying and checking in, Nancy. I’ll post more when I know more.

          • Nancy on October 10, 2018 at 9:50 pm

            Thanks for the update STL.

            We are praying along side you.



          • Seeing The Light on October 19, 2018 at 7:42 am

            Nancy and others,

            Well, I saw the first draft of the order and my stbx’s attorney is trying to interpret the increase in therapy as mandatory weekly sessions with the therapist, the stbx, and the individual child. This is not what the therapist was recommending to me at this time. My attorney is fighting it. Please pray.



    • Seeing The Light on October 4, 2018 at 11:11 am

      Aly, JoAnn, Nancy,

      Thank you so much for praying for us. I am sorry that I did not respond to you sooner. It has been hectic, and my mind is on overload with so many divorce things – not just this week’s events.

      I do think the kids appointments went okay. One in particular seemed to go as well as could be expected. According to what the child shared with me, the therapist reacted to my stbx’s behaviors and so on as shared by the child with the appropriate level of shock and consternation. (Perhaps my experience was a bit different because she had to view me with suspicion after hearing my stbx’s description of me). I am supposed to go in again next week and I am praying that appointment doesn’t in any way dilute the effect hearing directly from the kids has had.

      If you would continue to pray, tomorrow is the hearing to review my stbx’s temporary parenting time. Please pray that he does not get any more parenting time – less would be even better – and that he does not succeed in adding any more parameters and requirements on them as he threatened to do recently. Please pray the judge will decide in our favor.

      Thank you! God bless you all.

      • Nancy on October 4, 2018 at 4:09 pm

        STL,

        I am Continuing to pray that The Lord make clear to the judge the emotional danger these kids are in, in their father’s presence. I pray that this judge takes bold steps to protect them. I also pray that the judge sees that your stbx is attempting to manipulate and use the court system to his own ends. I pray Lord that you open the judge’s eyes and use him or her to YOUR glory.

        I also pray Lord that you give STL your strength, your courage and your Peace. Enable her father, to draw near to you like never before.

        In Jesus name I pray.

  16. Nancy on October 3, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Recently it’s been bothering me that when my mother and I speak it’s me who has phoned. If I don’t pick up the phone, we don’t talk. ( the last time we spoke was mid-summer – because I called her). I have been praying about how to communicate this to her. The opportunity presented itself last week;

    Last week she sent me an email asking if I had a dish of hers. I wrote back saying yes, I had it. She then asked if we wanted to get together for thanksgiving. I responded that ‘yes we’d like to get together, why not give me a ring and we’ll sort out the details’ She replied, ‘will do’.

    A week passes, no phone call. This coming week-end is Thanksgiving (Canada).

    This morning ( 7 days later) she leaves a message. No acknowledgment of the delay, she’s calling to invite us over for Thanksgiving.

    ( my h and I have already decided that we would be ok meeting her at a restaurant. Now though, I’ve spent the last couple of days in turmoil and she hasn’t acknowledged the delay).

    what do I say to her?

    • Aly on October 3, 2018 at 10:12 pm

      Nancy,
      I feel like your saying two things but please help clarify for me.
      First, it sounds like you are hurt about having to be the intiatiator in the relationship (maybe its one -sided?) and that this hasn’t exactly been clearly communicated to her yet?

      Also it seems from your post that the Thanksgiving plans are delayed but I also wonder if your mom believes they are delayed?

      Do you need more prep time with planning? If so, she might need specifics on this like….
      “Call me a week prior mom, so I can get organized and work out the details to do Thanksgiving.”

      My concern is that you seem hurt by her not acknowledging the delay… and I wonder if she is well informed of what you need?

      Nancy, have you been able to tell your mom what you need or would like? Do you fear her reaction? I wonder if you feel like an after thought or not a priority…?
      I don’t want to suppose but I do want to understand better and try to help with a response, sorry for all the questions.

      • Nancy on October 3, 2018 at 11:01 pm

        Hi Aly,

        Yes, the relationship is one-sided. My mom has ( a flavour of) borderline – all or nothing. She’s in a ‘nothing’ phase. No reaching out, resulting in all the responsibility for any communication on me.

        Have I told her this: no. My mother cannot handle any type of criticism. She can’t even handle me stating a need because that means that she has done a poor job of anticipating my needs and therefor is ‘all bad’. Her ‘not handling it’ means that she must scapegoat me in order to not get sucked into the black hole of her ‘all badness’. The stakes are high for her – that’s what makes her a master at scapegoating.

        This is a good point about her not being informed about my need for her to get back to me in a timely fashion. Technically you are right, I did not ask her to call me within a couple of days, I assumed that since she brought up getting together, she’d phone me many days before she actually did.

        The only get together that will work for us is at a restaurant, so my need for her to call back has nothing to do with meal prep. It has to do with her saying she’d do something (call) and then not do it within a ‘reasonable’ amount of time.

        Yes I feel like we are not a priority.

        My h and I went for a long walk this afternoon. We practiced how I can use my voice in an authoritative way that leaves no room for her to take control.

        “I was puzzled by how long it took you to get back to me given that Thanksgiving is such a busy week-end. Next time I’ll be sure to ask that you get back to me sooner.”

        This way, I’ve used my voice to address the delay. That’s what I need. To excercise my voice and then to maintain strong boundaries against scapegoating.

        My h reminded me that I did a great job of this with my brother and that I can do it with my mother, too.

        • Nancy on October 4, 2018 at 6:48 am

          By the way…we had not established which day that we would get together.

    • moon beam on October 4, 2018 at 6:51 am

      Nancy, my take on your situation is unrealistic expectations. Mom doesn’t communicate like you, probably never will.

      • Nancy on October 4, 2018 at 1:09 pm

        Your right, Moon Beam, my expectation about time-line was unrealistic because I did not communicate it, nor did she agree to it.

        I do need to voice being ‘puzzled’ by the delay. It is late to be organizing my family on such a busy week-end as Thanksgiving.

        I will communicate this knowing that it was not her responsibility to read my mind.

    • Nancy on October 4, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      Aly and moon beam,

      Update:

      I spoke to my mother and it went well for me. I addressed the delay without blaming her. (Thanks for the perspectives about my expectations being off).

      Despite it being somewhat last minute, we are available the day she suggested, so we will meet her for lunch at a restaurant ( I am not healed enough to go to my childhood home….perhaps one day I will be, but I am not pressuring myself).

      My h and I have a plan for staying united and Christ centered during our visit with her.

      Please pray for The Lord’s leading and my sensitivity to Him.

      Thanks

      • Aly on October 5, 2018 at 6:09 am

        Nancy,
        Glad you experienced a conversation that went well!
        Will also pray for you 🙏 !

        I think you took other perspectives well, but I do think it’s good for you to see that healthy expectations are reasonable and are mutually beneficial in these dynamics.
        Having expectations about things isn’t itself bad or unreasonable. I guess is what I’m trying to say.

        Your mom may need more specifics from you that are defined especially if you have a history of hurt by the relationship being ‘one-sided’. (Doesn’t mean she will follow through)
        Also, you are not the only one responsible for initiating communication or planning. Nor is she.

        I get ‘completely’ that she scapegoats if you show any hurt or feelings that would make her feel ‘bad or shame’.
        If your going to have any interaction with her at all moving fwd it’s ok that you state what is needed ‘logistically’ from you.
        Emotionally, she may never be healthy enough to offer what you need or would want to repair the dynamic.

        I wonder if you fear stating specifics to her because of she might not follow through? And then that would be clear?
        Or if you fear stating specifics because she might push back and reject your defined needs?

        • Nancy on October 5, 2018 at 7:36 am

          Hi Aly,

          I have no problem stating specifics like, “would you get back to me by the week-end,” for example. This is entirely logistical.

          Expressing that I would like her to take initiative once in a while is another matter entirely.

          When I set a clear and specific limit she will respect it. But asking her to initiate is entirely different because this would involve risk on her part and I will not be ‘specific enough’ about how and when to initiate – this is up to her to figure out. I can’t ( and shouldn’t) be responsible for defining what ‘initiative’ looks like.

          So the battle would become her insisting that I define it for her so that she doesn’t mess it up. This would not be initiative, it would be me telling her how to behave. The very concept of ‘initiative’ being her responsibility takes emotional maturity to understand. It is not nearly logistical enough for her and way too scary for her.

          This is why I have ‘minimal contact’. Our interactions are very limited in number, as well as in scope.

          Does this make sense to you?

          • Aly on October 5, 2018 at 9:12 am

            Nancy,
            It does make sense. Thanks for clarifying here. I went back and read your original post and how ‘thanksgiving’ talk came about.

            I’m sorry Nancy, you are right when you explain her emotional maturity and her fear and how that creates such a risk ‘really vulnerability to rejection’ I would think?

            Vulnerability & frequent quality time is often required in healthy friendships/relationships.

            I’m sorry she misses out on you Nancy. Glad that you have boundaries for yourself and you are limited in the reminder of her way of relating to you.
            Continued prayers and hugs!



          • Nancy on October 5, 2018 at 9:43 am

            Yes, all of it is about protecting herself from rejection.

            It is sad 🙁

            The verse that I am working in this week is Matthew 13:46-49. Jesus says, “who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”

            The insight I got into that one is that Jesus was in the middle of teaching. Then someone comes and interrupts because his bio family asked for that. ( they could have waited until he was done).

            So, I pictured Him there spreading his perfect love as He taught. A beautiful flow of love going out to all those around Him that chose to be there and take that love in. What a lovely scene.

            Then it’s interrupted. There’s this distraction that interrupts this flow. His FOO wants his attention.

            What does He do? He turns it into a teaching moment about what family is. In doing this He is including his FOO in the invitation to be his family without allowing them to interrupt the flow of love. He expands his perfect love to invite them in.

            He demonstrates how to cut the cord, in a loving way.

            How amazing is our Lord?



          • Aly on October 5, 2018 at 10:02 am

            Nancy,

            Yes! His Love is perfect in all ways;)
            Love that you posted that below and such a teachable moment for our hearts.

            You wrote:
            “His FOO wants his attention”

            How typical is this in many destructive family situations? They think they are entitled based on blood but not based on behavior.

            They also don’t like how He is causing disruptions to the Jewish community and traditions. He’s embarrassing them and their family image!
            Again we see the enmeshment even here within his own earthly family?



          • Nancy on October 5, 2018 at 11:03 am

            Yes, he is causing disruptions to the Jewish traditions. So true.

            This is likely why many of us, as we come out of the FOG begin to DREAD holidays.

            Christ has come to show us how to walk in freedom. This involves peace making. Creating His Peace in unhealthy family systems involves recognizing the disruption and addressing it by inviting family members into a new way of functioning.

            But it’s very scary to let go of traditions. This has to happen in God’s time.

            In the meantime, I walk closely with Him and allow Him to heal me. That’s really all that I can do.



          • Moon Beam on October 6, 2018 at 3:06 am

            Nancy, I really like that you are not going to your childhood home to unnecessarily traumatize yourself. Good job respecting yourself!



          • Nancy on October 6, 2018 at 6:10 am

            Thanks Moon Beam 🙂



  17. JoAnn on October 3, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    How about this: Mom when I didn’t hear back from you, hubbie and I talked about eating out. Why don’t we make it easy on everyone and go to a restaurant together?
    So easy to let resentment build over this. I have a similar issue with one of my adult kids who almost never calls me. I just have to keep letting it go.

    • Nancy on October 5, 2018 at 8:55 am

      Hi JoAnn,

      I didn’t see this post until just now.

      What I ended up saying was that I was puzzled by the time it took her to get back to us given the busyness of Thanksgiving week-end but luckily we are available the day she suggested.

      I went on to suggest going out. “So, you don’t want to come to my place then?” “No, mom that doesn’t work for us”.

      She never lets me ‘get away with’ a soft no, she forces my hand each time. Maybe I should see this as a blessing? ( in that I get to ‘practice hard ‘no’).

      Yes, I too just have to keep on letting go.

      • Barbara B on October 5, 2018 at 5:28 pm

        Actually, to me your reply sounds pretty soft:
        “No, mom that doesn’t work for us”. I think many people would take her question “So, you don’t want to come to my place then?” as an opportunity to emotionally dump on her. Instead, you simply decline with courtesy in a way that is clear but by no means hard. It’s a perfect answer.

        • Nancy on October 6, 2018 at 6:23 am

          Thanks for the perspective Barbara! It’s hard for me to see my behaviour objectively because I still see myself as a ‘bad daughter’

      • Moon Beam on October 6, 2018 at 3:12 am

        I wouldn’t invest my time and energy trying to think about why she does what she does. Maybe you needed that behavior in the past to survive the relationship and it’s painful interactions but just think of yourself now. There is no longer a need to be a student of her personality. The egg shell walking is over. Yes or No it does or doesn’t work for you. She is a grown woman and can like it or lump it. Her choice how she responses. Honor yourself and your family first.

        • Nancy on October 6, 2018 at 6:21 am

          Moon Beam. Yes, this is a really good point – to no longer be a student of her personality- and one that The Lord has been impressing on my heart lately.

          It was important, for a time, for me to understand her disorder so that I could separate out ‘what was mine’ and ‘what was hers’ ( she was masterful at making me think it was all mine).

          I’ve gotten what I needed from being on websites for adult children of people with borderline etc…. These places are helpful because they really validate a person as they are beginning to ‘see’ clearly and stepping out of denial, into reality.

          But that phase of healing is over now.

          Time to move on 🙂

    • Moon Beam on October 6, 2018 at 3:16 am

      JoAnn, so few young people call anyone. That behavior is sadly, a thing of the past. Today’s young people snap chat and text. Why not try texting your adult child. If you need to call, find out when they are in the car so they can speaker phone or blue tooth with you.

      • JoAnn on October 6, 2018 at 8:03 am

        Actually, that’s exactly what I do. I joined Facebook so I could know what’s happening in the family. We all live in the same area, and we are able to get together from time to time, I have to be content with that, but I know that they are very busy,, so I understand. It’s a different world.

  18. Becca on October 4, 2018 at 1:15 am

    Aly, I can understand the confusion. The house my husband and I own together, for 36 years, is split into two apartments. I live in the top floor which is small. My daughter and her family live on main floor. There is more room with the babies. We have ask begged for them to help with bills, they simply will not do it. My son in law watches the boys and my daughter works for 9.25 an hour. I have ask my husband to evict our son in law for years now. He says he will but never follows through. My husband, not.counting the past two years, had lived in an appt in the city he works. He works very long hours. We discussed divorce. He was actually part of the time living with a girl, our daughters age. She broke it off with him, so he wanted us to try and work our marriage out. He came back home and drove back and forth to work. 1.5 hrs. each way. He started going back to church. Says he has ask God for forgiveness and basically I should start living as a wife should sexually. He is renting a room close to his work for October. Works about 17 hrs a day during Oct. He gambled and cashed in our retirement years ago. I thought he had started a retirement plan after that. He didn’t. Just started one 2 years ago. At 67,not much there. So many lies and deceptions. He was here at the house Sunday and got very upset at me. I have not healed. He never gave me a chance to. He said he was done and that he will stay at our house, get it ready to sell. He said I could find a place to live by myself. That is what I need. So much anxiety with my daughter and her husband. He did say he would take care of me financially. He makes good money. I am living one day at a time. My have had 45 years with this man who has manipulated me and I have allowed it. So much has gone on. I can see where it is confusing. I am struggling right now. I start thinking that my husband might not of ever loved me. God and I talk alot. I shed many tears. I am on antidepressant and anxiety medicine. At times I look so forward to having my own life. Then I get scared. I have had counseling. I know I must go back for professional help. I am so sorry. I know this probably sounds like a very Insecure person. At times I’m not sure about anything. Aly u are probably really confused now.

    • Aly on October 4, 2018 at 10:44 am

      Becca,
      Thanks so much for responding and I am not as confused as I was about why you would be the one moving from your own home, not your home etc.

      Clearly I see that it is such an important step for you to move away from the constant environment you witness. Also you are right, you have a lot of healing to do and you need a space of your own! I loved Moonbeams last comments! So true;) and good advice for your courageous steps here.

      I am very sorry for your marriage situation but can’t help but feel that you are needing to do one important ‘self care’ actions.
      1.Place of your own
      2.Counseling weekly (individual)
      3.Support group near you
      4.Close friends within your church or ones who understand

      What you first described of your situation with your daughter and son-in-law, is such a difficult place to be in while your h gets to escape away from the reality of his long distance enabling.
      He also has betrayed you in multiple ways. Betrayal is also such a difficult place to be in and it takes a lot of care for your heart.

      Please stay connected, and get yourself the space and care for your healing.
      Also, you mentioned you sound insecure?
      I don’t think there is anything wrong with feeling insecure or being insecure, not saying you are… in fact I think it is the Wise who ask for help and couseling from multiple aligned sources.
      I think you are brave and wise and ready for your new journey where you can heal and not be in a situation that will effect your soul.
      Many of your examples are not your fault (you have to know that) but you also have to know how to take responsibility for you and your decisions apart from others poor decisions.

      One day at a time I think is a reasonable place for you to take your steps. Think about the essentials you need for your healing and how much God’s heart is about setting the captives free!
      He loves you and wants you to experience that love and acceptance that is unconditional and is true to your well being.
      Your value and worth are from Him alone and having a manipulative husband for 45 yrs can certainly turn things upside down and fill someone with a lot of fear and valid ‘insecurity’. The relationship by far is not secure or healthy as you know. It’s important that you know you can get healthy apart from him and your daughters circumstances and choices.
      Stay with us here, many wonderful hearts all walking out our journeys. 💜

    • Moon Beam on October 4, 2018 at 3:36 pm

      Sorry Becca, I don’t believe he works 17 hours a day. I think he is lying to you. I think he is covering up for all kinds of bad behavior.

      You could follow him to find out, but why bother. You are on a better path without him. Good job!

  19. Becca on October 4, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Aly, I know that God is showing me the path where He wants me to be. He has for a long time. I just wasn’t doing it. This co dependency thing stinks. I went through the celebrate recovery for co dependency. Started it about 5 years ago. Still with my group of ladies. We do Bible Studies together as well as talking about our lives. You have very wise words, as well as all the other ladies on the blog. I can feel a difference in my thinking. When someone’s mind has been messed with for so long, you start believing everything the manipulator says. I believe that it becomes a pattern. I am looking for a place for me and me alone. My husbands insurance offers 6 weeks of counseling. I am checking that out tomorrow. I have my friends from C R group. I never thought about a support group for ladies in my situation. Going to get into one soon. It is so comforting to know there are ladies who understand me. My children love their dad, but want me to enjoy my life. We have 10 grandchildren. Age 2 to 23. They all adore their Sabba. That is what they call him. I know they will be hurt, but I have lived my life for everyone else for so long. I am stressing out about Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have a large family and spend those times together. I know my husband will say let’s wait till after Christmas. I don’t want to be there with him. Then his grandbaby is due in Jan. Nights are the worse for me. I get on my knees and pray. I love to decorate. Looking forward to do that to my own place. My grandson was in nicu for 3 months when he was born. There are so many babies parents have to work or live far away. I said that one day I am going to volunteer as a “rocker” for these precious little ones. I am looking forward to do this. Just telling my story and reading blogs is giving me the courage to let God be in control. I know I am long winded. Sorry. I do read all post.

    • Aly on October 4, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      Becca,
      No need to apologize for length here. Please know that.
      In addition to the other essential support listed above, you would be wise to get in a COSA group today if possible.

      I’m glad and excited that you are getting a place of your own and that this is a secured financial responsibility of your addicted husband’s commitment for you, but you will also need to be wise and strategic in dealing with such a person of his character. This is to safe guard your heart and wellbeing.

      You mentioned Christmas and Thanksgiving as being possible obstacles and as you are in a place of thinking differently I would like to challenge your thoughts about these ‘family holidays’.

      Realistically you could have thanksgiving or Christmas all in one tomorrow if you were wanting to. Obviously that is short notice but wanting you to remember the meaning and purpose of these holidays.

      For many, the Holidays are important (which I believe they are) but sometimes they get skewed to be a family idol .. extended family idol really.. of which to all come together etc.
      Christmas is about so much more in my opinion and has so much more to offer our hearts and relationship with Jesus personally and collectively ‘given the health of the family’.

      I’m concerned about the words you speak of just how much all the kids and grandkids love their Sabba. I’m sure they do! Please don’t mistake my wording. Do they also know that they are being betrayed based on how he has treated their mother and grandmother?

      Are they being asked to pretend that this family system is functioning and not highly destructive?
      Are they being manipulated by your husband as he continues to act out his addiction and invite others to go along & participate?

      I ask these things because often we see how the abuser treats others or our children and we think well they are good to our kids at least? Or we say things like well at least he’s a good father… etc.

      In my journey, I was met with the truth and conflict that my h was neglecting me & our marriage and also being a good father.
      This was a huge wake up call for me to realize that he wasn’t being a good father because a good father or grandfather would not treat his spouse or the mother of his children in such a way!

      Part of being a good father or grandfather is treating the significant individuals in your life with healthy respect and love and safety especially if we are to be growing as one flesh.

      Your kids or grandkids might only have him on a pedestal or only know one part of him that isn’t the fuller truth.

  20. Becca on October 4, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Aly, I don’t have the time right now to respond. Question, what is COSA

    • Aly on October 4, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      Becca,
      I believe it is similar to AlAnon.
      But for Co-spouses of Sex addicts.
      Not trying to label here but because he has been unfaithful and has a serial betrayal pattern for decades as you stated in your letter, I think it might be something suggest.

      • Becca on October 4, 2018 at 4:47 pm

        Aly I will check that out. Figured it was something like that. Thank you

  21. Becca on October 4, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Moon Beam I really don’t want to say where he works, but I know during October and November he gets to work at 5:15 am and gets back to his room around 10 pm. I have a 360 on his phone. Many years he wasn’t working when he said. So many times I would call hospitals or jail to see if he was in an accident. I completely understand how u would think that. I am getting better at not wondering where he is. Like you say, New Beginnings for me.

    • Moon Beam on October 4, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      Glad you are on top of it! Yes, new beginnings. He wants s 100 percent responsible for his thoughts s, words, actions an choices. I look forward to hearing more about YOUR choices.

  22. Moon Beam on October 4, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    Messy post…

    Meant that he is 100 percent responsible for his actions. No one else but him.

  23. Free on October 9, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    I am just checking that the woman, Kristin from Kansas who just got murdered fleeing her abusive husband is not one of our peers on this site. She had six children. Her father was with her in the car, he was shot too.

    Ladies, we are all in so much more danger than we realize. Although leaving is often the right and only thing to do, no matter how brave we are, it is still wickedly dangerous for many.

    May God Bless and keep the six young children who became orphans today.

  24. JoAnn on October 9, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Very sad, and yes, when leaving it is so important to have a safety plan. Praying for those children.

  25. Aly on October 10, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Free and JoAnn,
    Such good reminders of the danger involved in certain dynamics. After reading more about the situation, it sounds like this brave mom of 6 did many things to get safe and had others involved as well as a protection order.
    From the details written, it’s sounds like she had a lot of the necessary things lined out for her.
    It’s such a tragedy that she was killed in such a brutal way, but her children can now be safe and cared for by her parents and build their life away from such horrible control and evil. God bless those children and the community that will come along and love them well.

    • Nancy on October 10, 2018 at 9:19 am

      This last point Aly, is so important. Our Lord specializes in bringing beauty from ashes.

      Heart breaking 💔

  26. JoAnn on October 10, 2018 at 9:30 am

    An angry, abusive man with a gun is not going to pay attention to a protective order. I wish we had a better way to protect women from their abusers. He’ll go to prison, but by then it’s too late for the motherless children.

  27. Aly on October 10, 2018 at 10:22 am

    JoAnn,
    I agree with you regarding a very unstable and angry abusive man. Sadly, the mother had thought the man (soon to be ex husband) was actually in Prison.
    He also killed himself per the report.
    But yes, I agree there needs to be more protection for these mothers/women.
    Not all these abusive dynamics are identical. Some abusive spouses will adhere to the legal ramifications and it becomes the only thing that creates the accountability & distance needed for these individuals who are making the right steps away from destructive marriages of this caliber.

  28. Teena on October 12, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Dear Sister in Christ,
    You didn’t deserve to have your life totally bombarded with your spouse’s dysfunctional ways. You have been loyal to him and you got nothing in return from him. You have been so patiently awaiting the day he gets his act together but he continues to crap on himself and you, the wife of his youth and the children who were there forgiving him all these years. No one deserved this treatment from him.

    What is your recourse of action? The ball is in your court. It appears he wants to be with you because he comes back time and again.

    I would agree that he needs to suffer the consequences of losing you and the marriage but you think he’ll just take up with the other family and not miss a beat.

    I am encouraging you to look at the big picture first. He has to eventually go before the judgment seat of Christ and answer to God. He has hurt a slew of people and have left so much destruction. On the other hand, you will need to heal, and forgive yourself for allowing him to cause the pain to you and your family. You will need to walk in faith trusting God for the healing and for your life going forward.

    You are clearly the heart and brains of this relationship.

    Isaiah 54:4-6 says do not fear for you will not be ashamed; neither be disgraced; for you will not be put to shame, you will forget the shame of your youth and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore for your Maker is your husband, the Lord of Hosts is His name and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, He is called the God of the whole earth. For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused…(verse 7) Now with enormous compassion I’m bringing you back.

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