Morning friends,

Wow, I am home at last. It's been a long, long road trip. Sleeping in my own bed with my own pillow feels so good. Thank you for your prayers. I’m quite sure I would not have gotten through these days without them. Lesson learned: I do not like to travel (personally or professionally) for too many days a row. It’s too draining. So, shorter trips from now on.

This is the thing. Every experience gives us a chance to reflect and realign. In my 40’s I could have managed traveling this much without too much fatigue. Now, not so. For many of us, gaining awareness leads to shame. We beat ourselves up when we “can’t” do something or don’t do it as well as we think we should. But every glimpse into our weakness is a win if we allow it to teach us something.

I had the opportunity this week to hear Susan Garret speak. She is an internationally recognized dog agility trainer and competes in national dog agility events. She said, “I always win. Every time. If I don’t win the gold medal, I win because I learn from my losses, my failures, what I did wrong and what I could do better.”

This is the mindset of a person who owns her life. She doesn’t blame second place on circumstances or other people.  She doesn’t see losing, weakness, or failure as a bad thing but another opportunity to grow and to learn.  On Tuesday, December 4th I’m going to be doing a webinar at 12:00 PM EST and 7:30 PM EST on this very topic: Moving Out of Victim Mindset to Owner Mindset. You will not want to miss it.  

This week’s question: In your book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, many of the abuser’s behaviors are external manifestations of issues – they are the man doing something that is unacceptable. What about a husband who is ‘avoidant', ‘withdrawn' or 'emotionally detached'?

The wife in these situations lacks connection, which is emotionally destructive to her well-being. How in the process of confronting her husband can there be an appropriate consequence for his inaction?

Or is it that he has to deal with the root cause in individual counseling?  

My experience is that any change ‘stick's for 3-4 days and then regresses. For example, if one request is that you have couple time every day but he doesn't ‘show up' or contribute, what is the consequence then?

You can't force a person to connect with you. If a wife is to ‘stay well' in this marriage how is she to have her deep emotional needs met by another human being?

Answer: Great question and I do speak of indifference in both of my books, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage and The Emotionally Destructive Relationship as a form of emotional abuse. Indifference isn’t something you DO, it’s something you don’t do.  

When a spouse is indifferent, he or she fails to show care for his or her partner in the most basic ways. He or she ignores the emotional, financial, physical, mental, sexual and/or spiritual well-being of someone they’ve committed to care about.  

The opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference. Click To Tweet

It’s an attitude that says, “you don't mean enough to me for me to give you my time, my energy, or my money to meet your needs.” It means, “I want you to meet my needs as a maid, a cook, a mother to our children, a paycheck, a sexual object, but I don’t want to give back or expend myself or sacrifice myself to meet your needs.” 

Indifference is rarely spoken about as abusive and it’s hard to prove if you are looking for outside validation from your pastor or Christian community. I wrote about this topic in my blog post Is Marital Indifference Emotionally Abusive?

In your question you describe a chronic lack of emotional connection. That may indicate a pattern of indifference or it may be another issue that your husband struggles with, which of course impacts you.

Therefore, the first question for you to ponder is: “Does he show care for you in other ways?” For example, is he a good steward of your family finances? Does he help you with your children? Does he help maintain the house and/or pitch in with household responsibilities? Is he kind to you when you “need” his specific help with a project or a problem like fixing a flat tire, helping you do something that is important to you, or making sure that the house is safe, or making dinner for the family?  

If you answer no to these then your husband isn’t just emotionally disconnected, he’s indifferent. He is failing to take his responsibilities of providing for your care in every way, not just emotionally. His lack of care is hurtful and over time can be toxic to you because it communicates that you are not important enough to him to give you his time, his energy, his money, or his care.  

If that’s true, you have to ask yourself why you would want to stay with someone who shows absolutely no concern for you or your well-being? Is it even possible to stay well in that situation? You might also consider having a tough conversation that says “If you don’t care about me or my needs, why are we still together? I don’t want to pretend to be something (a happily married couple) we are not.”

However, if he shows care and concern in various other ways but lacks the ability to connect intimately, his problem may be more around attachment issues. The book How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich may be helpful for you, and even him if he’s willing to read it. What is his family of origin like? Are they emotionally connected? Is it possible he’s never learned how or never experienced those connections?  

You’re correct. You can’t force someone to emotionally connect or into emotional closeness anymore than you can force someone into physical closeness. You indicate that when you speak up or complain, he complies for a few days but then he reverts back. This is not uncommon when trying to change behavior. Just think of all the failed New Years resolutions we all make. We start in earnest and with all sincerity but then we stop. Not because we didn’t want to change or have good intentions, but because change is hard.

When you press into this problem with him or share with him your loneliness or hurt, does he show compassion or care? Does it matter to him that this affects you or that you’d like more of an emotional bond and closeness? If so, then suggesting some individual counseling for him to unpack his resistance and fear around this may be helpful.

I ask you these questions because the truth is, no husband or wife can meet or fulfill all of your needs/wants. Some spouses are great with emotional connection. They can be romantic, have deep conversations, and you can feel very close and special during those moments. But if the toilet leaks or there isn’t enough money to pay all the bills, they don’t know what to do. This can quickly put a damper on that emotional closeness you just felt. Other spouses are kind, decent people, helpful and handy with things that a family needs done, but are not very deep in the emotional intimacy department.  

Your question asked me how do you get your emotional needs met if your husband refuses to “go there with you or doesn’t know how?”

Let me ask you a question. How would you get them met if you didn’t have a husband?  

There is a huge myth in our culture that sells a lot of romance novels and movies. That myth is that if you find the right man, he will meet all of your deep emotional needs, and all your other needs for that matter. But when we have a story line that our spouse is supposed to fulfill us and make us perpetually happy, we can live chronically disappointed, hurt, and angry.

The truth is, most long-term marriages are C+ to B relationships most of the time. There are A+ moments and probably a few D- moments, but overall, a good marriage is a safe and loving partnership experienced over the long haul.  

Marriage was never designed to meet all of your needs and when that is an expectation, you will live disappointed and angry. What can you do to start meeting some of your own deep emotional needs?

Do you have close friendships with other women? That’s a start. How about your relationship with God? Does that meet some of those needs? And, how do you live peacefully, trusting God, even if some of your needs or desires aren’t met in this life?  

I think of women who are unmarried. They do not have a husband to meet their sexual needs. Yet they can still be a whole, fully alive, and healthy person even if their sexual needs are unmet? I believe they can.

So first ask yourself is your spouse overall indifferent to you and your needs or is it just in this one area?

Second, if it is primarily in this one area, remember to be appreciative and grateful for the other areas where he does show care for you instead of solely focusing on his deficits.

Third, speak up about this area, although it will be hard for him to address it because there is a deep wound there that keeps him shut down. Therefore be as kind and respectful as you can, showing empathy and compassion for his wound, while still asking him to take some steps to address it so that your marriage can get even better, at least better for you.

Fourth, remember you too are not a perfect wife and there are areas where you are not and cannot meet all of his needs either. This helps you to have more realistic expectations for marriage so that you are not overly dependent upon one person to meet all of your needs (nor is that person that way towards you).  

Fifth, deepen your female friendships as well as your relationship with God. I believe as you do this, you will have greater clarity as well as peace in living well with an imperfect, yet caring partner, even if he can’t show care in the way you would most like.

Friends, what do you do to meet your deep emotional needs when your spouse is unwilling or afraid to go there with you?

89 Comments

  1. Nancy on November 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Hi Leslie,

    Your comment about your energy level and accepting new limitations really hit home. I am a person who has always had many limitations (I’ve recently discovered the term Highly Sensitive Personality – it was so validating to find that I am not alone, although in the minority).

    I am learning that The Lord wants me to honour my limits – it’s the way he created me. This is hard, because I have always had a ‘push through it’ type of mentality.

    But respecting my limitations is a critical part of respecting myself.

    I’m happy for you, that you are not self-shaming around your new limitations!

  2. Free on November 14, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Regarding the question for discussion, I feel a huge disconnect. I think the yearning for deep emotional issues sounds like a needy codependent style personality. I hope no one expects their husband or anyone else to fill such a deep need. Who says it is a need? Gosh, where is their basic self worth? I would run away from such a person ASAP.

    • many years on November 21, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Free, you are correct because God says ‘My God shall supply all your needs according to the riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’

      So, our own definition of ourselves should come from our shepherd who cares for us. as in Psalm 23 ‘He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake. Yea, though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil. My cups runs over. I shall have no wants. He places a table before me in the presence of my enemies.’

      And I had this thought about the Narcissist spouse, who, if they feel out of control, they are the needy one, as they can’t survive without their Narcissistic supply from their victims. They are the most needy individuals as they cannot let go of the idol of themselves. Hence they are trapped within their own world, creating a vacuum where they only exist to please themselves. They cannot escape their own introverted concepts of life. They have no true relationships, and they are stuck, deep down inside of themselves with no way of escape.

      They may suck their victims dry, but the Narcissist has a bottomless pit of disparity which never is filled.Their hunger to fill the void within their own soul is never satisfied. I would rather be an empathetic person than a Narcissist. At least God can fill my needs when others disappoint me.

  3. Moon Beam on November 14, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Yes, avoidant and detached behavior can be abusive. Especially if a partner has clearly and politely expressed their desire for communication and none is offered. Silence can be a purposeful action plan to hurt the partner who exposed the desire.

    The vindictive abuser knows what is most hurtful and does it on purpose. It gives them the rush they d site as they exert their power and control. Remember that is all most abusers want, power over you, their object of desire and ownership. The spouse is an objectified possession that can never have an individual choices or a separate identity.

    • Sherry on November 15, 2018 at 8:50 am

      Moon Beam, what a good point! So very true!

    • Aly on November 15, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Moonbeam,
      I agree here and certainly personally experienced this in my marriage.
      You wrote:
      “Yes, avoidant and detached behavior can be abusive. Especially if a partner has clearly and politely expressed their desire for communication and none is offered. Silence can be a purposeful action plan to hurt the partner who exposed the desire.”

      Advoidant and detached behavior can be rooted from many places and I agree with you it can be very abusive regardless of where it’s originated from, my h had attachment issues to unpack and learn new ways of bonding and relational vulnerability etc.
      (Something that will probably be life long in learning and developing)
      Leslie touched on this in her answer, and being that the writer said a couple key things that her h would try and follow through for 3-4 days shows that it’s probably rooted in attachment?

      I also experienced it in the vindictive way too for more control and especially if my h was feeling insecure.
      I also agree with you on the last comment you made about the affected spouse cannot have individual choices or separateness. This is SO common, UGH!
      The individual choices tie into them also not being offered free agency to have individual needs! Needs that are unique to them and they are needs that usually the avoidant person (running from being known) will try to minimize or make the spouse feel ‘overly needy’, when in reality we all have a place of connection in us and many people miss out on these types of safe relationships in general and especially in marriage.
      They are essential to our wellbeing because we were designed for connection and not false relationships.

  4. Dawn on November 15, 2018 at 2:39 am

    Indifference is the tip of the iceberg in my marriage. I have realized that my husband’s behavior resembles that of an immature 16 year old, and he is 60. I think it all stems from his addiction to porn. He told one of our counsellors that he lied every day to “keep her happy”. He was brought up in the church and knows what is expected as far as outward appearance goes. We haven’t been intimate for a decade and he blames me. I tried setting other boundaries, which I still maintain, but it has failed to change his behavior towards me. In fact he is quick to point out to others that I’m not a submissive wife. He lacks responsible behavior of an adult, hides income and purchases etc. Anytime I call him out on something he becomes more sneaky. I tried never saying anything so he couldn’t say I was argumentative, but that just made him more arrogant. And me more fearful and depressed. Our adult children know there are problems but believe in the permanence of marriage and patriarchy, and will blame me if I leave. I’m trying to stay well, but am so worn out.

    • Autumn on November 17, 2018 at 7:13 am

      Now Dawn, you and I know what you are living in is not marriage. Patriarchy and permanence don’t apply to your situation. Your ‘patriarch” is an abusive hypocritical, lying porn addict, not a repentant servant of the Lord. He mocks you, his duty, his vow and has selfishly chosen to be his own God. He should be ashamed of himself!

      Ths is tough stuff to read, yet it is the truth. Your job is to accept, believe, acknowledge and live in the truth. You are not to submit yourself as a lamb to the slaughter, Christ did that. Prepare yourself practically, and leave your abuser either physically and psychologically or both. There is no living well in this situation! You need protection from your destructive parnter and the committee of crazy talking people who have conned you.

      The “permanency” and “patriarchy”, they refer to doesn’t apply to your situation. Expose your abuser, live in truth and get free of the demonic oppression you live under.

      Be courageous, value yourself, shake up your world and stop enabling the lie and the liar.

    • Aly on November 17, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Dawn,
      Maybe you can expand on what you believe defines ‘the permanence of marriage’?
      Your adult children might have a similar definition to yours but also could be skewed.

      I think Autumn pointed out some important things, what do you think/feel?

      If your husband points out that you are not a submissive wife, then I would agree to an extent. Because no wife is supposed to submit to unaddressed pornography with a spouse, nor addictions etc.
      From what you describe, you don’t seem to have a marriage, let alone two people trying to have a Godly marriage/friendship.

      If your decision to stay is rooted in not being blamed by your adult children, your priorities are misaligned because Honoring God and caring about how He would see things must come first, rather than caring what your adult children would choose to do or blame you.

      Where there is no trust, there is not safe intimacy. Your husband’s lying is abusive to your well being. Porn obviously has its character issues rooted in objectivity and certainly stunts maturity, but your husband needs a lot of help and intervention. The more time goes on with the destructive nature of his behavior and thinking the harder things become.

      • Dawn on November 17, 2018 at 3:50 pm

        Thank you Autumn and Aly for your strong words of encouragement. I admit that I have not been courageous, I have continued to go along with the situation to keep the peace, and keep the family intact. Because of that I have harmed myself. He is comfortable in the facade, it took me decades to realize that. But now I also realize that I have learned to play along with it on the “outside”, but I’m full of anger and self pity, so that surely isn’t what God wants! Being courageous and stopping to enable the liar, thats a huge point. How to walk in the truth is going to be a huge learning curve, because enabling for the sake of peace has left me not knowing how to speak up for myself or confront him, or have a discussion about where our marriage is. I’m afraid about what to say to people. This summer my daughter spoke to me and said that it was my fault that there was discord because her father has such a good facade. She chooses not to remember what he was like when she was still at home. I didn’t feel comfortable telling her the truth about her father, though I did hint at things, I’m not good at all with uncomfortable talks and I tend to skirt around things. I told her that God cares more for the individual than the institution of marriage and she absolutely disagreed. The permanence of marriage has been taught in our church circle as staying no matter what (one woman in our church left because her spouse had prostitutes, used drugs and financially ruined them, and she was blamed for not waiting for God to act and redeem her spouse.) I keep my thoughts to myself and a few close girlfriends whom I trust, but I obviously need to confront my “fear of man”.
        Aly what you said – Honoring God and caring about how He would see things must come first- that is the most important thing. I have some work to do. Thank you both for the encouragement.

        • Sherry on November 17, 2018 at 5:04 pm

          Dawn, My husband had a habit of frequenting strip clubs, not just once or twice a year, but 32 times one year. I was 60 too and terrified at the thought of leaving and starting over. It seemed impossible but with God’s help I left after 32 years of a miserable marriage. My kids were ignored by their dad and they saw his rages and knew how badly he treated me and them although one of them didn’t speak to me for 6 weeks, after spending time alone with his dad that changed. My ex showed his true character to them without me there to be the buffer.
          My point is you can be free. No one should be treated like you are being treated. It took me several years to see how awful my ex was and turn to God to deliver me from the ‘house of bondage’ that was my marriage. The Father will free you, and He will. I had very little support from friends and no family around. I went to 2 churches for help and got none from them. But one day it was like the doors swing open and I was free!

          • Aly on November 17, 2018 at 5:39 pm

            Sherry,
            Praise God for this! So glad you are free.
            To others reading its important that a husband with character issues doesn’t have to go to strip clubs, watch porn, have affairs etc to have behavior that is Still not tolerable or damaging to the other spouse.



          • Autumn on November 17, 2018 at 7:01 pm

            I like your reply Sherry. I concur that it takes time, often years to understand the depth of a destructive spouse’s depravity. Yet, none of it can be fully realized while in the environment and relationship with the sick person. One just can’t see clearly without leaving the abuser.

            I agree too that it will take time, but the destructive person will reveal himself. Truth will win out, just wait and trust the process, Dawn.



          • Dawn on November 17, 2018 at 11:15 pm

            Oh Sherry, I’m so sorry to hear of your difficult marriage, how that must have been devastating during those years. I’m so glad you were able to escape and have now found freedom and that your children understood after seeing your ex’s true colors. It’s a shame that the people of the churches you attended didn’t come along side and minister kindness and understanding. Thank you for sharing, it is an encouragement to me to look for the door to freedom!



          • SunRiseIsland on November 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

            Sherry,

            Its been a long time since I’ve posted but OMG!!!!! My story is yours, except replace strip clubs with night clubs, street life and friends (both men and women). As we hit midlife (age 48) and close to 20 years of marriage, he became someone my children and I did not know. He was a jekyll and hyde tyrant behind closed doors yet in public was the fake doting husband and family man. He adopted a mindset that he was single just like the awful friends he associated himself with & would literally tell me “I can do whatever I want with whomever I want” – YES, that meant (other women, dinner dates, staying out all night, drinking, club hopping, porn, you name it) and believe me he carried out every one of these horrible acts without an ounce of shame or concern for the pain it caused his family. Indifference at its best. God and church became the furthest thing from his mind but he complained I was not submissive or following his lead 😶 This became the behavior of one who was raised in the church and his FOO was very spiritual.

            I was never afraid of leaving, as I had lived on my own and adulted many years before marriage or children (I know what it means to survive alone). After two years of doing everything in my power to return this imposter back to the once loving man I married, (including saying nothing to keep from rocking the boat hoping that he’d turn around on his own or turn back to God) NOTHING worked. I’d had enough and finally took my children and left. After a year of separation and his worsened behavior, I filed for divorce, it was hard for me to FINALLY execute but definitely necessary. My children and I have not had contact with him since divorce finalized.

            God has been with me every step of the way. For as much devastation as I endured at the hands of the person I trusted most, my life is just now resuming a sense of normalcy, acceptance and peace. I still have moments of utter disbelief that this is the turn my life has taken bcuz this would not have been my choice but my dear Sisters ❤️ – NEVER allow any man to get comfortable disrespecting you. Even if it is the one who vowed to love and protect you. The moment the mask falls and he shows you who he TRULY is and deep down who he always truly was, regardless of the person he pretended to be, do not tolerate unacceptable behavior – leave!!!!!!!!!



          • Aly on November 18, 2018 at 9:55 am

            SunRiseIsland,
            😍🌈
            Praise God for your freedom!
            I’m so sorry for what you went through and your ex husband’s choices.

            I love this comment you wrote;
            “but my dear Sisters ❤ – NEVER allow any man to get comfortable disrespecting you. Even if it is the one who vowed to love and protect you. The moment the mask falls and he shows you who he TRULY is and deep down who he always truly was, regardless of the person he pretended to be, do not tolerate unacceptable behavior – leave!!!!!!!!!”

            This is very well said!!
            Thank you for writing this;)

            I can relate to many others in my life getting to a place of comfortably disrespecting me and me not knowing how to respond. Eventually, I realized that separating myself from those that do this is sometimes the ONLY response.



        • Autumn on November 17, 2018 at 7:17 pm

          I don’t get the comment about honoring God and seeing how he would would see things, Aly and Dawn. This seems like a thrown on platitude for Christian guilt that will result in enabling more sin.

          Really, Ladies How are you going to “hear God.” Haven’t you read his word? Can’t you see this horrible relationship is not love? God has spoken, you don’t need any more “hearing” you know right from wrong bat this point.

          Now, one needs the courage to trust the spirit within you and believe the word of God and the flee the obvious evil you have talked yourself into enduring. Trust and believe God will protect you as you act.

          • Aly on November 17, 2018 at 7:40 pm

            Autumn,
            My comment was the opposite from enabling sin.

            You wrote:
            “I don’t get the comment about honoring God and seeing how he would would see things, Aly and Dawn. This seems like a thrown on platitude for Christian guilt that will result in enabling more sin.”

            Dawn seemed to care more about what her adult kids would think or Blame her etc. rather than caring what God thinks or what God would say is an honoring marriage that would glorify Him.
            I don’t see a marriage that glorifies God in what Dawn was describing.
            Many are stuck in thinking staying is honoring God, when often it’s the opposite.



        • Aly on November 18, 2018 at 9:45 am

          Dawn,
          Given the situation that you have tried to post about your dynamic with your porn addict husband, your response about wanting to have a conversation about ‘where the marriage is’, seems very disproportionate.
          ???
          No more talking to him about this, but action is necessary. He knows you care about ‘the image of family’ so that gives him security that you will cover and pretend for him with your adult children.

          Porn is betrayal. All the other horrible behaviors and character issues that also exist around the betrayal are harmful for your soul.
          Your being treated like this because your h needs serious help and you need serious help and specialized care for recovery. Not having courage is one thing, but you will need a lot of support to take necessary actions. It’s no wonder that you feel you have been here for a long time, this isn’t a lack of courage, you are in a the vortex of serious trauma and abuse by your so called partner and he has orchestrated the family system to partake. Your daughter is ill equipped to speak into this situation or give directives. Especially if your not truthful about the situation. Your protecting your h from your daughter knowing the truth about his addiction. She sees the abuse I’m sure, but doesn’t link the root.

          Are you in individual counseling for trauma?
          Do you have a support group for partners of sex addicts etc.?

          Your husband needs serious requirements because he obviously has a deeply wired mindset.
          This mindset is What is destructive and is what has destroyed the covenant and what stands in the way of healing and any real chance of a real relationship or marriage.

          Your daughter is telling you to live in a burned down house because of the permanence of marriage mindset but also because you are not being honest with the state of things and the betrayals. You are still trying to protect your betrayer and abuser at the expense of truth in your own heart and your ext. family.

          This isn’t offering true love to them. You can’t have true love without truth, and where there isn’t truth, there isn’t love!

          You will not be able to take the necessary steps alone, you will need a team of specialized people who understand your situation and how you have tried to cope living like this.
          Sending prayers for your heart.💜
          And especially your freedom.

          • Dawn on November 18, 2018 at 11:18 am

            Thank you, you’re right i am fearful, but I need to walk in the truth and in the light of Gods Word. I have been harming myself because of my inaction. Thank you for your words of truth and your prayers



  5. many years on November 16, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    I appreciate this question and answer rhetoric, and I see that most who have commented understand the depravity of the abuser with not having a definite connection of discernment which they display which involves lacking to supply some of the emotional needs of the victim. To begin with, the abuser doesn’t even understand it. Otherwise, the marriage is only about the mundane and physical attributes of life. The abuser has learned ‘role acting’ as far as knowing how to act in order to appease the victimized spouse. They can turn on the charm at the drop of a hat, and yet, it is not genuine.

    To me, when there is the lack of an emotional connection, between a husband and wife, and it is due to the family of origin, which the abuser chooses over and over again, NOT to address, there can be no true progress in the area of emotional connection. And to me, emotional connection is a large part in understanding where the other person is coming from.

    And therefore, a couple who is not able to discuss areas of the marriage which display either denial, or withdrawal of the abuser to the degree they refuse to do anything in the emotional arena to come to terms with the hurt they have definitely caused to their spouse, the abusive spouse continues their preconceived entitlement to be the sole owner of the victim, so there can be no solution, nor change, and no progress on the part of the abuser.

    The abusive spouse can be a great person, as far as supplying the needs of a family, yet when pressured, becomes full of rage when the least thing provokes them, or when conflict of interest happens, when they feel they are loosing control. This person is not a healthy person to be around. The switch from Mr. Nice, to not so Nice is what keeps a family constantly on eggshells as no one knows what will trigger the abuser.

    This is because the abuser never learned how to have a true emotional connection with another person. So, all relationships the abuser has with other people are shallow and there is no substance of relational value. It doesn’t matter to the abuser how they treat anyone, as they never learned how. Which is the sad plight of many people who may never come to the knowledge that there is something really disconnected about themselves.

    You can’t teach a Narcissist to become an Empath. Only God can change the leopard’s spots. But the leopard has to be willing to want to change.. And, yes, the abusive spouse will ‘act’ like they have changed, just to get the victim off their back, but it doesn’t last. It’s the mind-games the abuser plays which ends up unhinging the victim. So, yes, the victim has to learn to not engage in arguments which are counter-productive.

    And because I have had this type of marriage, what happens is the mind begins to play its own arguments over and over as to what MIGHT happen if the victim does something which ‘upsets’ the abuser. Which ends up becoming a very unhealthy scenario. The mind is where one has to begin the disconnect and embrace truth instead.

    • Nancy on November 17, 2018 at 7:40 am

      Hi many years,

      You say ‘because I have this type of marriage…’

      It’s important for us to tell ourselves and others the truth. This is not a marriage at all.

      • Autumn on November 19, 2018 at 12:13 am

        Great point, Nancy.

    • Aly on November 17, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Many Years,
      You wrote:
      “This is because the abuser never learned how to have a true emotional connection with another person.”
      Many people are or have been in this predicament. They are invited into learning and growing. The root cause isn’t because they don’t have insight, it leans more on their unwillingness to learn and grow!

      You wrote:
      “ So, all relationships the abuser has with other people are shallow and there is no substance of relational value.”
      I would agree with the shallow part but the relational value to this kind of individual is that there IS value to them (the wrong kind of value mind you), to use another, to get things on their terms, so to them there is substance from their own perspective even if it’s selfish and immature. They are getting the substance of USING Another! It’s our responsibility to not intertwine and participate in being used in this dynamic.

      You wrote:
      “It doesn’t matter to the abuser how they treat anyone, as they never learned how.”

      Again, us they didn’t learn how but they are responsible to learning how and I would imagine that they have been invited in ALOT to this kind of development and they have decided to go their own way.
      Some of your comments here tend to lean toward feeling too much empathy for the person who doesn’t have the basics of treating another with care or respect, let alone taking a marital covenant. The covenant has been broken for Many Years!
      It’s hard living and walking out reality of our situations and relational truths.

      You wrote:
      “Which is the sad plight of many people who may never come to the knowledge that there is something really disconnected about themselves.”
      Don’t you think Jesus modeled this many times of what to do in these areas? He also shows how there are many who are given the opportunity over and over to come to the truth.
      Many Years, it is sad but none will be offered the excuse, ‘I don’t know any better or I didn’t learn how to treat people’

      • Ruth on November 17, 2018 at 8:12 pm

        I was praying and was lead to read Jeremiah Chapter 2 in my iPhone. I have it set to the Amplified version. Here’s part of verse 30 where God is speaking to the prophet about the rebellious people of Israel but it also applies to abusers who don’t benefit from consequences:
        Jeremiah 2:30
        “In vain I have punished your people [with the consequences of their disobedience];
        They received no insight from correction [and refused to change].

      • many years on November 18, 2018 at 3:23 am

        Thank you Aly and Nancy,
        And by my comment you can tell that it has taken me literally YEARS to figure all of this out. I pointing out how I have perceived my own marriage, and yes, this is ‘no marriage’ as you have both pointed out.

        I was discussing what I have learned I appreciate what Ruth has said about Jeremiah Chapter 2, and she hits it on the head.

        Yes, and so true, Aly, “none will be offered the excuse ‘I don’t know any better or I didn’t learn how to treat people.’ God says the ‘law is written in their hearts’ so I guess I have to back-tract on part of what I said. ‘But by the blindness of their heart…they have rejected God’s way.’ A person who is blind cannot see, but not, at the judgement seat of God, there will be no excuses. It will be Christ’s final answer to them who rejected them ‘I never knew you, depart into everlasting darkness.’

        What I meant about the abuser never learning how to treat people, is they didn’t see it in their family of origin, and they think their life was ‘normal’ to them, which it wasn’t. Yet they learned how to lie, to cheat, to deny, to use duplicity, they learned that very well. And no, it is no excuse to treat another human being badly.

  6. Kathy on November 17, 2018 at 7:53 am

    I am in the same emotional disconnect situation as the person in the question, but while attending counseling I realized that my husband has many of the traits of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. It has helped me to read more about this topic. Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Asperger’s Syndrome by Eva Mendes has been helpful.

  7. Ruth on November 17, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Dawn,
    Your church sounds toxic in their treatment to victims of abuse EVEN if your husband had a Saul turning to Paul getting knocked off his horse conversion, I would still strongly recommend moving into a healthy church. Personally, I don’t want to financially support a church that teaches imprisoning doctrine that empowers abusers and brainwashes the congregants.
    I am sorry you aren’t supported by your adult children. I find that surprising but you can’t let it stop you from following God’s leading step by step.
    You are seeing things realistically now. You probably lived in denial to survive for years. God wants us to in the truth. But it’s ok if you need to take things one step at a time. For what it’s worth, I HIGHLY DOUBT you’re not a submissive wife. I suspect your husband just wants to hurtfully label you bc he’s an a$$hole.

    • Autumn on November 18, 2018 at 12:50 am

      Very well said!

    • Dawn on November 18, 2018 at 11:38 am

      Hi Ruth, yes it’s an unhealthy church I think. It is a small church of less than 100 people. 2 of my children married spouses who also grew up in this church and who’s families also attend, so they are steeped in it. It was a healthier church when we first started attending 25 years ago. My children are invested in staying, and my h is complacent. He has no friendships there, just people he’s comfortable with casual acquaintance with. I do have a few really wonderful friends there, who are not related to me by my children’s marriages! Yes, he does throw statements out there that are untrue, that’s one of his tactics. I’ve asked God to reveal the truth, but maybe I need to get out of the way first. Thank you for your kind words

  8. Janice D on November 18, 2018 at 5:53 am

    Wow,I am reflecting on the recent posts and finding so much truth here! The thought of having no sense of how disconnected one may be from themselves and from others is just so sad.I believe this is where my husband is at.Another point brought up was about learning how to treat people.I had an experience many years ago ( and this has only happened to me a few times) where the Lord spoke truth to me personally and He said”It’s all about how you treat people”.I have never forgotten these simple yet transforming words.Sometimes we make our faith walk so much more complicated than it really is.Another simple yet profound statement from a renowned Scottish preacher”Life is hard,God is good.Dont get the two confused”I love theology and thinking deeply about things but sometimes we need to remember to trust our Heavenly Father and put our hand in His as a young child does with her daddy.I believe we are all confronted with truth and it is ultimately about our willingness to humble ourselves and ask for help to receive it.I can’t explain why the Lord opened my eyes to perceive certain truths,I can only live in gratitude that He has and pray that my husband will also one day find this same freedom.We have been separated for almost 4 months after 26 years of marriage.I have supportive friends and my son and daughter-in-law have been great(I ‘m leaving today to visit them for Thanksgiving) Praying for all the brave warrior sisters(and a few brothers) on this site during the holiday season… let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and not our circumstances.Life is certainly hard (and it stinks at times) but God is always good and loves us beyond our ability to ever completely comprehend it!

    • Aly on November 18, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Janice D,
      I like your post and I agree with you that there are some certain things in relationships that are simple. Being a child of God and receiving His love personally is what begins the transformation process and we can only really treat others in reflection to the value we have received from the Lord.

      I think I remember you posting previously Janice. I’m sorry for the separation but glad that you are moving toward your healing journey. What brought about your decision?
      And thank you also for the Thanksgiving blessings! I have been blessed by so very much and feel that God’s words of (blessed are the Peace makers) could not be more evident in circumstances in my marriage and several other relationships.

  9. Janice D on November 18, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Aly… I lived for 2 years separated in-house( I was in the basement).I told my husband he needed help and had to go to counseling.He continued to attempt to bring me into his issues and I saw no growth.We had previously tried marriage counseling for many years and again no progress was made at all. I am seeing a wonderful Christian counselor and my decision to legally separate took a long time.I am realistic and have put the marriage in Gods hands.I don’t know my husband as he doesn’t want to be known.He hides behind many things and refuses to accept responsibility for resolving his FOO issues.I believe his failure to “ leave and cleave” has contributed to the lack of intimacy in our relationship.I am in a wonderful apartment and am blessed with financial resources which I am thankful for.

    • many years on November 19, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      Janice D.

      Similar circumstances with our husbands, Janice. Mine never left the mind-set of his FOO, allowed his dad too much liberty in how to treat me in the cult mind-set of the wife being entirely submissive and not to tell the wife much of anything in the way of finances, etc.

      The ministry we grew up in pretty much took the scripture verse about the wife ‘being the weaker vessel’ as meaning in all aspects of personality, lacking in spiritual perception (Ugh! How untrue!) so how can a wife be treated with respect if that is the case.

      In attempting to undo the damage the cult did to our families some have escaped, and others are still stuck, mostly in the realm of ‘women are to keep silent in the church’. But scripture says they can pray openly? Something is wrong with that doctrine. And I have read that the King James scribes diluted a lot of the description of words which down-played the role of a wife. Whatever. I am not a Bible student per se as far as going to any theological school. Yet, I have the Holy Spirit which God says ‘He will guide you into all truth.’

      So there is such a contrast which some scriptures point out what the role of the woman and wife is, which is hounded into them, yet the men get off scott free. Such has been the case of the church dogma for eons. I think that is why the fear of man, or authority over the woman has been of terrible consequence for women in general, more so with the past generation and those women who are older.

      More later, life is calling me. Praying for everyone here.

  10. Venetia on November 19, 2018 at 3:23 am

    I think I am in an emotionally disconnected marriage.Almost from the start of the marriage, my husband avoided sex and twenty years later he accused me as the cause as I was not sexy or appealing enough.I never conceived which is nothing surprising. We have an adopted son.

    I have caught him watching porn over the years and he has had an affair I know of. He actually used my income to pay some expenses for his girlfriend..He has not worked for the 19 years of our 20 year marriage.

    On his good side, he has made sure the family eats and he would get my car repaired and takes care of our son. For whatever reason what he does is not enough for me and I keep thinking I got a bad bargain in this marriage. He is more like a housemate than a husband. I don’t have any connection with him either physically, mentally or emotionally. I have to work (and I am happy to work) make sure all expenses are met, save for the future, etc. I am in my mid fifties now and feel I let my life pass me by. My husband has access to my account and uses the funds to pay for household expenses. But we seem to have very little savings compared to what I earn and I suspect that he may be spending it on other girls or keeping some money aside for his nest egg. I think my husband is a freeloader who married me probably knowing he would be comfortable financially. I hate the fact that he controls a big portion of the family income and never listens to my ideas on investments, etc..

    I am not sure if I should put up with what my husband does just because he contributes to the family well being in his own way.There are days I dread growing old with him and wish I could divorce him and meet someone else and have a normal relationship. Am I wrong to have these thoughts? I just feel so alienated and lonely. My situation is embarrassing and I have not shared about it with anyone.

    Hopeless

    • moon beam on November 21, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      Why does your husband have access to your checking accout? It is time to get direct deposit into a new account with only your name on it. He can ask you for money. Not that you won’t share, a workman is worthy of his wage. You my friend are the “workman” not your husband. Value yourself and set some guidelines. If he needs more money he can get a job or sell some stuff on Craig’s list. Don’t be a doormat. You were not designed to be misused.

    • Connie on November 26, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      Venetia, you and your h have not been intimate because he gets it elsewhere. This is actually very common and has nothing whatever to do with how sexy you are. Nothing!. He may not even be able to be intimate anymore. See yourbrainonporn.com Even 20-year-olds cannot be intimate with a woman if they’ve done too much porn. Besides, their fantasies are always perfect and require nothing of them. How convenient is that? Noah Filipiak compares it to eating apples instead of owning the orchard. Orchards are hard work.

      The Bible says not to be partakers of sin but rather expose it. I am 65 and it has taken a long time for me to realize that I was sinning by covering up h’s sins of porn and lying and that the most loving thing to do was to bring it into the open and set very firm boundaries and requirements. We’ve been separated for over a year now and after an initial several months of him doing nothing and thinking ‘she’ll be back shortly and things will be as usual’, he is finally putting some effort into recovery, study, and restoration. But he has to deal with his own sin before addressing the marriage. Porn is the worst sort of addiction, not only because it so often leads to more (as addictions do, you need a bigger hit to get the same rush), but it can be done so sneakily and it affects the brain so much. He needs serious counseling, study, accountability, etc. and you do too.

      About the boundaries, I would do something about the money situation for sure. Have you considered that you are contributing to his serious sin by letting him have unaccountable access to your money?

  11. Janice D on November 19, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Hi Many Years…My Father-in-law told my husband and I to lie to our son about his adoption due to cultural pressures and I had to be the one to correct him as my husband can’t confront error from his family. Another time a family member yelled at me ( in a language I’m not fluent in) in front of my husband and he asked me what was wrong and never confronted the man disrespecting his wife.My husband professs to be a believer yet cultural and family loyalties are stronger than Biblical values ie leave and cleave and honoring and protecting your wife.My husband thinks his culture and FOO can do no wrong. After 26 of marriage I decided I no longer wish to compete for his allegiance and have separated from him.I pray for truth to penetrate my husbands heart and leave my marriage in Gods hands.As far as religion degrading women I am amazed at the self-righteous arrogance of men who fail to understand Gods good creation of men and women as equal. Jesus elevated the status of women in his male dominated culture and choose a woman to announce his resurrection to.He then told her to go tell the guys the good news… and people say a God doesn’t have a sense of humor😄

    • many years on November 19, 2018 at 5:01 pm

      Thank you, Janice!

      Yes! Jesus knew the rhetoric ‘of the day’ concerning how women were treated, Himself being God. I love your beautiful example of how God used a woman to announce Jesus’ resurrection. Excellent!

      I don’t have the cultural differences in our marriage, but I did have the FOO and did ‘stand up’ to a sister in the FOO (this was eight years ago) and afterward my husband said ‘Aren’t YOU glad you stood up to her?’ He couldn’t do it himself yet what she was doing, and he was doing too, was undermining his own home,and my household too with her butting into caring for my mother-in-law, which I was doing in our house, the adult daughter, had ‘separation’ issues because she was no longer in control of taking care of her mother, and ‘being needy’ taking her mother’s money whenever she wanted to. There wasn’t a time would go by, that when the sister came, my husband and she would have arguments to say to each other.

      When I did stand up to the sister, she left our house, in a huff, and with crocodile tears thinking we were being ‘mean’ to her. She didn’t understand the verse ‘Remove your foot from your neighbors house lest he hate you.’ As it was turning in to a nasty situation with her coming to our house to see her mother, and staying four days at a time, any time she felt like it. I had to put my foot down to that scenario. That, plus the fact my husband hardly ever thanked me for all I was doing for his mother.

      Both of my husband’s parents have since passed away, so I don’t have that in my life anymore. But I totally can relate.

    • Aly on November 20, 2018 at 10:44 am

      Janice D,

      I like how this is so simply states and I believe this is often a deep root for many in these destructive relationships or even difficult ones.
      You wrote:
      “My husband professs to be a believer yet cultural and family loyalties are stronger than Biblical ”

      My broken family with my parents and extended family is also rooted in this.
      The loyalty of keeping the peace or continuing to orbit around certain family members that are not kind, full of indifference or that do not share similar values/morals has its cost over time.

      This is where someone does believe or profess believe but they really are not wanting to put their action to their belief. They like the idea of Jesus giving us eternal life and that all we have to do ‘is believe’. But they have no loyalty to the Lord overall, their loyalty is toward their idols and misaligned priorities.
      Keeping the peace was never what we as Christians were told to do, the blessing is in being an active Peace Maker.

      Janice, sadly I think this is such a generational epidemic in regards to one’s walk of faith.
      I’m glad your free Janice and living out truth and loyalty to the ONE and only!

  12. No one down here on November 20, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Ladies, this is a totally unrelated to the discussion issue. I have been attempting to stand up (as possible) for the truth. I have also attempted to own my own problems and confront my spouse’s. Unfortunately, this did not end well.

    Instead of listening and being humble and willing to work toward a healthier marriage, I am being called out as “bitter.” I was also informed (not for the first time) that my spouse is “building a case” against me. His basic case is that I am a depressed, paranoid, abusive person. He has been suffering under my depression for our whole live-long marriage. He mentioned divorce. I was like, wait, what?! I wasn’t working toward divorce in the conversation, I was working toward reconciliation. So I was like, I felt we were going to work together … Then came the threats. Threats that I “don’t have to be there when he files.” He can have me “declared mentally incompetent.” These are real, actual verifiable threats.

    In my state, I cannot file for a fault divorce without proof of adultery, abandonment, or physical cruelty.

    I am coming to the realization that he is a deliberate liar. Possibly has planted evidence against me. For sure, he provokes me to try and get me to act against him in a way that would make me guilty.

    I do NOT know if the things he says are actually true or if they are just threats. He started spouting off Scripture out of context. This is unbelievable. But life is less than zero fun right now.

    Any ideas? How can I separate without him knowing? how can I separate and keep the kids when he’s trying to convince me that I’m crazy. He’s laid groundwork for this for years, now that I put all the pieces together.

    • Nancy on November 20, 2018 at 7:11 pm

      NODH,

      Here’s a video on reconciliation

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yrNVTZdipjE

      • No one down here on November 21, 2018 at 8:42 am

        Thank you. It is with heartbreak that I listen to this. I believe it would ultimately be better if I were not in this marriage.

        I am not a perfect person. Throughout the entirety of our relationship, I have been accused of harming my spouse; he is angry with me for disappointing him, ruining everything he wants. When I try to see things from his perspective, I can understand what he is saying. However, it’s complex. It’s not getting the “right” cake mix at the store. It’s not knowing a certain light was supposed to be on (or off) and turning it off (or on). It’s accidentally (carelessly) closing the refrigerator door when a drawer was open, and cracking it. It’s not remembering to be careful where some tender plant was and stepping on it because you didn’t know that’s where it was, you weren’t thinking, didn’t think to ask just exactly WHERE the plant was. It’s waiting until the deadline to pay a bill instead of doing it a month ahead of time. It’s buying the same kind of chips two weeks in a row. It’s moving a candle from one room to another. It’s forgetting to trim a candle. It’s a million and a half things, some big, some tiny. I can be so sorry for them all. I can feel contrite about it. But, I can’t “fix” it. So, that’s his perspective, best I can come up with it. I am a destructive person..

        On the other hand, he makes all these things into sins – lack of love for him, destruction of all the things he wants and works for – Then, there’s the other ways where he is a toxic person. All of them, though, are thrown back on me as though I’m the toxic one.

        In this way, there can be no reconciliation.

        • Aly on November 21, 2018 at 9:27 am

          NODH,

          Oh my! This is not a place to live and replenish yourself from the world we live in.

          Things are always replaceable, but people are not!

          You wrote:
          “It’s accidentally (carelessly) closing the refrigerator door when a drawer was open, ”
          Seriously??
          Ok, I have done this several times and the sound is terrible but sometimes it happens and that’s life. What I’m thankful for is that knowing that these drawers are ‘replaceable’ and you don’t have to buy a new fridge.
          Who hasn’t had this happened in their kitchen??

          This husband of yours needs to organize and prep the meals himself within a short amount of time. He might even have the same minor issue from time to time!

          NODH, you need to get independence and get your resources of help pulled together, this is no way to live and not is it healthy for him to behave in this manner toward a daughter of the king!
          Your only regrets will be not getting help for yourself sooner.

          You are not a destructive person. Nor the toxic one. But you have been enveloped in his opinion too long.
          Remember who is making the accusations and weigh them accurately.
          They are not true they skewed with his distorted ways of how he values NON-valuable things.

          • No one down here on November 21, 2018 at 10:19 am

            he is now meal planning and grocery shopping because he doesn’t like the way i do it. he has informed me i cannot do it well. mostly I’m the one doing the meal prep still, although he steps in sometimes, depending. i have not been allowed to go grocery shopping on my own for a couple months now. He says he is capable of doing everything right, and I mess it all up.

            Come to think of it, I wonder if this is part of his plan to prove I am not mentally competent.



          • Nancy on November 21, 2018 at 3:30 pm

            I hope you see NODH that your h is the one who is destructive and unrepentant – the offender.

            I really hope that you didn’t watch that video thinking that you were the offender!

            What I hoped you would hear loud and clear is what he said to the one being offended against ( that’s you). If he is non repentant there is nothing that you can do to make him see.

            He really emphasizes that the one being offended against needs to lay their marriage at the cross.

            Please watch the one on Boundaries. In it he talks about the fact that if you come away from a conversation and feel confused – you are being manipulated.

            You are not destructive NODH. He is. I really hope that you get free of this man who has twisted things so greatly.



          • Aly on November 21, 2018 at 3:59 pm

            Nancy, NODH

            So agree with you Nancy! Well stated and good reminders.

            The person who is living under the same roof, does not deserve to share a life with another, based on his WAY of what he thinks is right. Etc etc.

            From the sounds of your experience with this person, he needs to live alone and then he can have nothing out of place or broken etc.
            He is only committed to himself and how he wants to be in a marriage and that indeed is an area he is WRONG about.

            Let him live alone with himself. It is toxic for you to be near a person that is building a case against you and someone who has such contempt against you especially being his own wife. We are not to be around such environments because of what it does to our soul.

            Contempt will harden one’s heart and poison the air. We must be wise and discerning with what we will expose ourselves to as Daughters of the King.



        • Autumn on November 21, 2018 at 5:00 pm

          The comments about all your actions are called abuse. It is very typical of a narcissist. Narcissists are just about untreatable. The information is so hard to accept yet, it is the truth. You have never, ever did anything wrong, your abusive spouse doesn’t know you exist as a person other than as an object he owns. All the world revovles around his even if he is choosing the noble persona of Christian to fool everyone just how self absorbed he is. He is incapable of empathy and incapable. of love. All the marriage was one big scam on his part. You loved and obeyed, yet he never can.

        • Sunshine on November 22, 2018 at 6:10 am

          NODH,. I can relate to the comments about not getting the “right”cake mix. I lived under similar abuse. I too was told I didn’t sit in the correct chair, touched the curtain or shade after her adjusted it, or worse yet touched the theromstat or his gloves, tools, suitcase etc., Etc, etc. My crimes even including breathing incorrectly, not being affection enough, talking on the phone, not cutting up his meat before it was served and daring to sleep when he wanted me awake.

          The motivation for such evil actions and comments come from the abusers sense of entitlement. I hope you have read Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why Does he Do That?” I understand that you are unsafe to leave for group support sessions. Tell the shelter that please. Gradually you can work yourself away from your abuser and attend sessions. Your safety is of Paramount importance.

          Your spouse is not unique, he fits classic behaviors of an abusive personality. There are lots if men in prison just like him. They are his true peer group, not the church felliedhip.

          Logically your spouse will escalate his abusive tactics if he senses he is losing control.

          Therefore, I can’t stress strongly enough that you must make an escape plan and activate it. I imagine you can sense his cycles. The safest time to get away is when he is nicer, in the “honeymoon” part of his cycle. You probably already know this.

          Stay strong, have courage as you battle evil remember the power of the Holy Spirit is on your side.

          • No one down here on November 25, 2018 at 11:27 pm

            Sunshine, what you described is startlingly familiar. I also think he is escalating but he’s too smart to be physically abusive. Rather he is taking a high road and telling me I am bitter. Telling me I am defying him. These things are not true at all.



        • many years on November 24, 2018 at 7:33 pm

          NODH
          Please, please, if you haven’t already, have a journal you can write the circumstances down, in which your husband is verbally abusing you. Even if you don’t tell anyone else about what you are journaling, you will at least have it written down, in your own words, and how your husband’s control has and is, affecting your life. You can also use your journal as evidence if you feel the need to share it with a counselor.

          And always pray about what you answer your husband, fight for your own honor. These types of men are deceitful, and cunning, they know exactly how to manipulate a conversation to get the ‘heat’ off themselves.

          I totally agree with Nancy talking about the Boundaries video that ‘if you come away CONFUSED from a conversation with the abuser, then you know you are being manipulated.’ This is so true, as the ‘bait and switch’ a manipulator uses is always on the tip of their tongue.

          It creeps me out to know that these abusers are so adept at taking the focus off themselves and shaming or blaming the victim. These abusers cannot be accountable, and use various tactics to change the subject, or make the victim look like the ‘crazy’ one.

          I wish to God I had known so much of this years ago, but the information just wasn’t ‘out there’ for access. Go and grow at your own speed. Don’t stress out, even if well-meaning people begin asking you questions. Build up your own strength, ask for clear wisdom and direction from the Lord, and from others who are positive in helping you.

          I am the type of person who wilts when I think I am getting any type of negative feedback, when I have not come that far in my own processing of how to reach certain decisions for myself.

          I am done being a puppet, I have disconnected on several levels of my life with my husband, so my journey is improving. But it takes time, unless you are truly in a very, dangerous marriage and you need to get out, then ask God for protection, and go to the people whom you know can help you. Many who are on this sight have been there and know the danger signals. Email Leslie Vernick. That is what she is here for.

          • Free on November 24, 2018 at 10:37 pm

            Regarding the journal, great suggestion, but it needs to be hidden or written in code. If NODH isn’t safe to attend group sessions at the shelter, she is definitely not safe in her own home if her abuser finds her journal.



          • No one down here on November 25, 2018 at 11:32 pm

            Many years and Free. I am keeping a journal in the cloud 😅 email address no one knows about. I always struggled is it all my fault ?? Is he a narcissist? I could never tell. When he started threatening me, that’s when I figured it isn’t me, it’s him. I still waffle though. I am only now starting to grieve. Trying to figure out next steps, if any.



          • Moon Beam on November 26, 2018 at 6:06 am

            NODH, I am really glad you found this site and are getting the resources you need. It will take a little while for your heart to catch up to what your mind knows is true. Take it from other victims and survivors, YES you are being abused. Do not doubt for a minute that you have any responsibility or fault in the crazy talk your husband slyly pours upon you.

            There is a way out. God will guide you but you have to do your part to be brave and just as cunning in your escape. You are dealing with the demonic here, not a Good fearing man. The mean person is his true self, everything else is a cover becsuse he loves himself and his public image.



          • Connie on November 26, 2018 at 5:52 pm

            NODH, if your child or friend did those things (lights, cake mix, etc.), would you tell them that they were rebellious and incompetent and ruining life for you? I sure hope not!!!!



  13. Aly on November 20, 2018 at 10:31 am

    NODH,

    I do hope many others will chime in here. If I remember correctly you were going to get an individual professional counselor involved?
    A safety plan in place also? I don’t know if your h is full of empty threats or not, but it would be enough for me to see his attempts to say such things as believable and you must take protective action.(even if he’s just trying to control you and say things that are unacceptable)
    Who do you have in your inner corner to assist with you situation physically and safety wise?
    Have you gotten legal advice also based on what your rights are?

    You say life is less than fun right now, but I wonder if you see just how unsafe your ‘h’ is?
    What groundwork does he have and what does he have via a case against you?

    Things to remember when dealing with a destructive mindset:
    They will fight against you gaining any of your rightful power back over yourself.
    They will intimidate you with words and many false or twisted accusations.
    They will try to cause you fear over your next move to control you and gain power over you seeing things clearer.
    They will want to make threats that no one will believe you but everyone will believe them.
    They rarely will ever take TRUE genuine responsibility for their behavior and choices.
    Often they will accuse the other of abuse when they are confronted with their unacceptable behavior.
    Oh and the scripture thing will be all over the place like you mentioned in a way like venom.
    (Out of the mouth reveals the heart)

    There is no talking to a person like this especially ‘alone’. They will bully and spin the room.
    Deep down they are such fractured insecure people who only really care of controlling others to any expense.
    And yes they will try to turn anyone against you and especially your children. They have no conscience to care how this effects others. They don’t care.

    • No one down here on November 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      Aly, I have been seeing a “professional” counselor through the local woman’s shelter. However, so far it’s only what I can read online. Not sure how much help it actually is, but it is what it is.

      I have a few people in my court. Strongly considering taking advantage of “free hour of attorney counsel” but timing is rough – I cannot go ANYWHERE without consent or knowledge. Working on that best I can.

      Strongly considering a private investigator – but no idea if that would turn up anything. I have no rights unless there is adultery or physical danger.

      Safety plan, not so much. A couple people I can contact in case of extreme emergency.

      Basis for threats are largely blown out of proportion incidents, but he being who he is, I am personally convinced he could convince anyone. Could he in reality? I don’t know.

      • Nancy on November 20, 2018 at 3:21 pm

        HI NODH and Aly,

        I feel that you should ask your counsellor to prioritize helping you make a safety plan. Especially given his escalating threats / behaviour.

        I would have thought that would be a priority for her, as a counsellor from a woman’s shelter?

        • Nancy on November 20, 2018 at 3:30 pm

          Also, I couldn’t agree more with Aly saying ‘there is no talking to a person like this especially ‘alone’.

          Once you accept this, this is when you will stop engaging him.

          He’ll continue to use your engaging with him against you, to make you feel unstable.

          Maybe you think that if only you could just say the right thing, then he’ll get it. NODH what he will ‘get’ each time you engage him is more ammunition to get inside your head.

    • many years on November 24, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      Aly, NODH
      You have given, very pertinent information for NODH…Aly. Thank you for sharing such crucial questions and answers and down-to-earth truths.

    • No one down here on November 26, 2018 at 11:13 am

      working on finding some free legal counsel to see if I have any options.

      • Moon Beam on November 26, 2018 at 6:25 pm

        All lawyers will give you a one time free meeting. It is part of the selection process. You can visit a few and get opinions from each. You will learn a lot!

        • No one down here on November 27, 2018 at 12:51 pm

          so far, most lawyers have told me their consultation is $200 or $250!!! I found one who talked on the phone for free – basically can’t do anything unless we are living separately. Talking with a victim’s advocate who works in some solicitor’s office – just for advice. I have thankfully figured out that I am NOT crazy – there really is something seriously wrong going on. As flawed as I am, it is not all my problems to own.

          • Nancy on November 27, 2018 at 1:57 pm

            YES!

            AND it isn’t even a marriage problem. This is a character issue – not being able to take responsibility for faults is a SERIOUS character issue.



          • Aly on November 27, 2018 at 7:35 pm

            Nancy,
            Agree with you here! Such a simple explaination.
            It is often in the context of a ‘marital relationship’ or any longer term dynamic that these character issues are revealed!

            This goes for all types of relationships, not just marriage roles.



          • Aly on November 27, 2018 at 7:43 pm

            NODH, Nancy,

            Nancy’s is right on clear here!

            NODH You wrote:
            “As flawed as I am, it is not all my problems to own.”
            This is true in many common circumstances. But you may benefit from seeing that you are trying to understand an individual problem of your h (ALONE) and making it a marital problem where both parties contribute to a marital problem.

            This thinking above must shift in your thinking or you may continue to find little traction.



          • Moon Beam on November 27, 2018 at 8:02 pm

            Great work. Good information for sure. Clues. Help. Wonderful. Even a phone chat helps. Look what you learned!



          • Nancy on November 28, 2018 at 7:40 am

            Aly, NODH,

            It is so common to try to make his character issue a marital problem. Why? Because this gives us some (false) measure of control.

            The fact is, he had this character issue long before you came into the picture. It is not your responsibility to fix. We can only be responsible for our own heart.

            There is freedom in accepting this. As Aly said, you won’t get much traction until you make this shift in your thinking.



          • Aly on November 28, 2018 at 8:41 am

            NODH, Nancy,

            So true what you wrote Nancy. So many people and especially those in the church try to generalize marital issues as CO-created problems and give co-responsibility directives.

            I think when on-going long term marriage issues get a closer look with professional eyes (especially) these character issues show up and are seen well before you both came together like Nancy said.

            Treating a character issue with a marital directive is often a difficult and fruitless struggle.

            Let’s not forget that many in these types of dynamics have no interest in looking or seeking help for their character issues that are horribly affecting the marital relationship.
            In fact, looking closer many of their relationships will fall into dysfunctional ways of relating, sometimes have no other relationships at all or very shallow versions and certainly not any relationships where they have authentic accountability.

            NODH, because your husband has so many complaints against you and continues to abuse his power and role, even giving threats about your capacity etc… I think it would be reasonable to (for yourself alone) to understand that his claims are not backed up by any help or action, he says that you guys don’t have $ for the counseling that he thinks you need.
            This is negligent of care.
            What I am trying to explain here is that, his actions are not being backed up by his complaints.

            It would serve you well to start shifting how you see your situation and how you see his actions.

            You have choices and there is additional help and resources that will empower you as you walk along and hopefully out because your husband shows no evidence of wanting to consider or adjust his way of being or how he wants things to run.
            His dictator role gives him control ~that’s out of control! But he prefers this way.

            Changing the way we think about things is a brave Step for you to consider, but then often changing the way we think and aligning that to our belief about ourselves will bring about ACTION one way or another.

            Praying for your journey.



          • No one down here on November 28, 2018 at 11:24 am

            This is a difficult thing for me. The things that have happened are so unreal – Who would think a person like this could even exist?! But then, here I am. I love coming to this site – I have so little actual real fellowship with other ladies.

            Easy to make it a marital problem also because he says it is so. As in, I’m such a horrid wife with so many awful habits and he is the perfect husband that so many girls would have loved to have married…

            And then, today is okay, and yesterday was okay. no real “love” but peace. And I think it’s all in my head after all.

            The memory of ruining Thanksgiving dinner last week by draining the water out of vegetables fades. Comforting a child who has been yelled at fades. Did he really say that he is going to make me want to leave and the best part is that none of it will be his fault? yes, I wrote it down.



          • Aly on November 28, 2018 at 1:37 pm

            NODH,

            Your situation is severe. You may not have that affirmed yet in your own process but I think it’s great that you are writing things down. It will continue to clarify things… however staying and being around the environment keeps the crazy making near and you begin to go back to second guessing.

            You wrote:
            “Easy to make it a marital problem also because he says it is so.”

            Who made him the decider of this?
            No-one!

            You must realize that you allow his version of things and definitions to dictate a truth that isn’t coming from a healthy reasonable place.
            It’s easy because you allow it to be that way or quickly entertain his narrative.

            Weigh the accuser. Be wise.

            You also mentioned that you didn’t experience ‘love’ or that things have been “ okay”,
            And been of peace.
            I’m going to challenge you on how you might define PEACE?
            You and I might have very different perspectives on this.

            Because your in a destructive relationship it’s easy to think when things are NOT world war 3, that there is peace, but I would doubt it. It’s just the false sense of you feeling a break in the dynamic where things are not full on attacks of your being based on your husband’s low level functioning and healthy reasoning.

            He is very sick, please don’t let a lost person (your h) chart the course or narrate the marriage.

            Yes, he certainly can have his own individual experience but he might find if he’s brave enough to look that he has some serious issues to address and how he choses to deal with his anger and unmet unrealistic expectations are for toddlerville.

            Godly Courageous Men RISE to the occasion of growth!



          • Nancy on November 29, 2018 at 6:50 am

            “Toddlerville” ! Ha! Funny. These people see themselves as so big and important. The truth is they behave like 3 1/2 year olds.

            It’s ridiculous, really.



          • No one down here on November 29, 2018 at 9:18 am

            scarier and scarier! He was counseling a couple who want to be married. They both strongly believe in male authority over women. Trouble is, her dad is abusive and doesn’t want her to get married. my H’s counsel is that “because the dad is physically abusive, he has forfeited his right to be her authority.” BUT the kicker is if it were “only emotional abuse,” it is the duty of a Christian to endure – due to the passage in corinthians where christians aren’t supposed to go to court.

            meanwhile, he has [at least temporarily] lost the overtly abusive techniques of yelling, etc…and is being exceedingly “normal.” i don’t trust it, though. such heavy burdens going on.



          • Aly on December 1, 2018 at 10:17 am

            NODH,

            As you can see the ignorant and often the Abusive mindsets think this way!
            You wrote:
            “because the dad is physically abusive, he has forfeited his right to be her authority.” BUT the kicker is if it were “only emotional abuse,” it is the duty of a Christian to endure – due to the passage in corinthians where christians aren’t supposed to go to court.”

            Because they think this way is skews how they read and interpret scriptures in a very unhealthy way.

            Your h is counseling others??

            The abusive mindset person will rarely see emotional/mental/spiritual abuse as that big of an infraction.

            To misuse scripture is wrong in all aspects and the linking of a Christian to endure and not go to court is being misapplied here.
            What about Matt 18:15-19?

            How your h defines who is to be qualified as the authority of another is very much inaccurate. Especially since you said he thinks that physical harm disqualifies a person. I believe there are many examples throughout scripture that would disqualify a person.

            Also, it is the Lord who is in the place of authority and many who are ignorant and or want to be in authority themselves think and misapply many areas of freedom and structure that The Gospel brings.



        • No one down here on December 1, 2018 at 10:34 pm

          Horrible day 😞 but some sense of clarity. No matter what “peace” may be temporarily affected, there is no real peace. A small group of people have gathered to provide support for me. I am overwhelmed at their kindness. I have some small “first steps” to take. And wait on God’s timing, but I am increasingly believing that I need to get out of this. Primary concern is safety for my kids. Please pray for wisdom, courage, and for the truth to be revealed—not by my hand, hopefully.

          • Aly on December 2, 2018 at 8:29 am

            NODH,

            Thankful for the small group of people who can give you support. This can be such a critical aspect for you.
            Good for you that you are making steps!



          • Free on December 2, 2018 at 7:57 pm

            Praying for strength and wisdom in your very necessary first steps. Yes, protect your children! You can do this. So glad for your support team.



          • Nancy on December 3, 2018 at 3:57 am

            Praising God for providing you with this support group 🙂

            He is so good.

            Praying for you NODH. For trust in Him, for wisdom and for strength, as well as for His Peace.

            Jesus said, I am truth. Cling to Jesus, sister ❤️



          • No one down here on December 3, 2018 at 1:18 pm

            So now he is spewing so many different things – he is contradicting himself all over the place. One one hand he tells me he can’t live with me, threatens me, is building a case against me, wants to know what we have in common, calls me all manner of awful things. on the other hand, he is making our future plans. on one hand he opens the floor for me to make any comments, complaints, concerns… but any that I give are met with his rock-solid defences. if I don’t open my heart, i am “putting up a brick wall.” not communicating, unhealthy…

            He actually threw a cookie at me. Now, this kinda sounds funny, but it hurt and I took a picture of the mark before it went away (probably lasted 30-45 minutes? maybe an hour? dunno) he threw a folding chair on the floor to demonstrate what “real anger looks like.” much more.



  14. No one down here on November 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Nancy, the shelter counselor is largely going through some “curriculum.” Basically, she is following a script. I don’t know if she’s actually a licensed counselor or not. So far, it’s all stuff I can find online. Right now we’re going over the “education portion.”

    Feeling a lot of emotions.

    • Nancy on November 20, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      NODH,

      Can u ask her to get ‘the script’ out on a ‘safety plan’?

    • Aly on November 20, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      NODH,

      I think that it’s important to see that a safety plan needs to be addressed today. You also need to be willing to contact those few people that you have for an emergency situation.

      You need for sure your free hour of legal advice anywAy you can get it.

      A healthy spouse would ‘want you to go get help and not withhold you getting legal advice or help outside of the marriage especially if they are claiming you are unstable etc.
      Withholding your freedoms to go where you need to when you need to is to withhold your freedoms and rights.

      Why do you think this person is behaving in a way that is safe mutual working together?
      You are thinking that he wants what you want in a healthy marriage? I’m thinking here.
      From your descriptions,His behavior is far from healthy and working together as a team.

      You are a highly educated person who knows how to do many things and then some!
      Don’t let this person define your abilities.
      Don’t let his threats or mind games determine your process.

      If he thinks he’s so in the right of ‘whatever case he’s building against you’ why hasn’t he taken action, his non-action would show negligence in the event you are a danger etc.

      Get your safety plan, your people etc and hold your head high and get legal advice immediately!
      Move forward with your own case and truth, not caring about his version of things or thinking he is a rational person who knows how to treat you with respect and care.
      By the way,
      his controlling ways are abandonment of his care and covenant to care for your heart.
      Pornography is also betrayal and a form of adultery.

      You won’t be able to go this alone you need a lot of support and wise people to walk beside you.
      💕🙏

    • Autumn on November 20, 2018 at 8:57 pm

      Nodh. It will get better. That is the preliminary stuff. Ask to speak to the legal volunteer. They will give you a ton of free information. Ask for group meetings too. That will be a big support.

      • No one down here on November 21, 2018 at 9:03 am

        Might ask about the legal part. I can’t get to group meetings. I don’t have enough independence…

  15. Grateful on November 21, 2018 at 9:23 am

    NODH – the comments that Aly said re destructive behavior are so very very true. I had NO idea just how true they would turn out to be. Trust me, you do not know his potential yet –
    The first thing you need to do is ask God to reveal truth to you. If you are like me, I kept my rose colored glasses on – seeing and telling all around me all the good in my stbx and then isolating myself b/c I couldn’t be authentic. But the Lord graciously revealed to me truth and He grounded me. Some of this truth was understanding the horrific situation I was in and how I had no idea of what my stbx was capable of. – this is a life for others not me (ha) -I was scared for me and especially my children but I remembered the promises the Lord gave me and I sat with Him and listened to Him. You need to stay grounded in the Lord and surround yourself with truth tellers. Ask God to bring them to you – I had more then I realized. More people who weren’t surprised by my story – who knew right? I am praying for you to surrounded by truth, fear to fall off of you and strength and wisdom to abound.

    • Nancy on November 21, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      This is such wise advice, Grateful! Our Lord can do anything. Asking Him to provide truth tellers is so key.

      When we practice denial for so long it is difficult indeed to come out of it. We desperately need The Lord, each step of the way!

  16. Ruth on November 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    NODH,
    Does he have guns in your home?

    In one of your first posts you listed off all the trivial things that make your H mad, then if I read it correctly you wrote “I am a destructive person”. Please never let him made you believe his FALSE SHAMING LABELS again. He’s JERK. You sound kind and good, not one bit mean. You might “oOps” step on his little plant; EVERYBODY has an oOps moment – it’s not like you started a forest fire, but that’s the way overreactors act!

    • Ruth on November 23, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      Believe it or not English is my first language. So when I typed “he’s JERK” rather than “he’s A jerk” and a dozen other typos it’s bc i’m A terrible typist 🙄

      • No one down here on November 26, 2018 at 7:53 am

        ha no worries, Ruth 🙂

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