Morning friends,

Well, I finally have a new puppy. Meet Addison, Addie for short. Someone from this blog actually told me about a breeder who had puppies, Dallas Labradoodles, and Addie is amazing, but a ton of work. I forgot what it’s like to have a new puppy. It’s just like having a baby except you can put it in its crate and walk away when you need a break. And although she does cry and cry and cry when she’s in her crate, I’m very happy with her, and she is adjusting to her new home and routine.

I also wanted to make you aware that I am starting a 3-month coaching group in April called Walking in Core Strength. If you’d like more help in learning how to stop reacting emotionally and live more confidently in the woman God made you to be, check out the details here.

Thank you for all your robust comments and support for one another over the past 3 weeks on this guest blog post. It’s heartbreaking to see how much sexual abuse goes on in marriage. It’s time that we talk about it and empower women to speak out against it. You are not an object to use, you are a person to love.

This Week’s Question: My husband and I have been married for 34 years. During the early years of our marriage he was unfaithful several times (I believe one night stands). He tells me now that he has not been physical with another woman for many years. He has, although, continued to flirt when we are out together and stops in to see woman (who he calls friends) during his work day, he is a truck driver.

He has also been very controlling and was very nasty to our children when they were young, emotionally scarring them. Two years ago he began acting very weird for about 3 months and one of his co-workers didn't know that I was his wife and came in to a public place and was telling the women there that my husband was a REAL womanizer. Of course, when he found out that I was his wife he said that he was only kidding. That was the last straw and I left my husband, separating our assets.

We have been separated for 18 months now and our divorce is in its final stage. I have had a really difficult time with the separation, probably due to co-dependency. I was 17 when we got married. Now we have decided to try getting back together and see if we can make this work.

I bought a condo and he sold his house and moved in with me. He lost money on the house as the market dropped, therefore he insists that we put our money back together or it is not a marriage and he is going to finalize our divorce.

I am afraid to put the money back together as he was very nasty when we split and said that I didn't deserve as much as him. I ended up agreeing to take less, and my lawyer made me sign a paper stating that I did not do what he had advised and what was legal (split the assets 50/50). My husband is also very manipulative and lies. We went to New Life Weekend and the counselor there said that he is narcissistic. 

My husband has been going to a prayer group at his church 3 mornings a week and reading scripture and praying. He has also tried to form a relationship with our boys and grandchildren. I would like to believe that he has changed from the inside out.

My counselor advised that I do not put our money together or retire (as he also wants me to do that). He said that he is going to tell our sons this weekend that he just can't take any more, and that he is calling his lawyer on Monday to finalize the divorce. I'm panicking because I don't know whether to stop him and just give in.

Any advice that you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: It sounds to me that your husband is still controlling and you're still being manipulated. You will have to decide whether or not you want to live the rest of your life that way. 

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Click To Tweet

From what I read, nothing much has changed on the inside even though he’s going to prayer meetings and reading his Bible. Please don't live in the fantasy of who you wish he was. Open your eyes and see where he really is right now. Then ask yourself if you want to go back to the same old things?

You didn't listen to your lawyer, you're not listening to your counselor, I'm not sure you’re ready for my advice either but I’ll give you my thoughts.

I wish I had better news to give you but I don’t see genuine change happening. I encourage you to continue your individual work. It would be foolish to put yourself at risk financially by joining monies or retiring right now. Perhaps he’s changing, but there is not enough evidence to trust that. Only time will tell.

If you want to give your relationship with him a chance to see if deeper change has really happened, tell your husband that although you love him and would like to see if you can reconcile your relationship, he’s had a history of deceit, controlling behaviors and manipulation and you are not comfortable with pooling your financial pot at this time. But over time if you see that he’s truly changed, then you will reconsider in a year.

See if he’ll respect you and understand that his past behavior has caused this breakdown in marital trust and that it’s up to him to be patient with earning your trust back. If he is, that’s encouraging. However, from what you wrote, he’s already threatening to go through with the divorce because you’re not giving him what he wants. Sound familiar?

I understand you’re scared. You fear losing him if you don’t comply. But if you do, what will that cost you long term? Is that what you want?

Friends, when you’ve felt scared to stay firm with your boundaries, what helped you not cave in?

99 Comments

  1. Free on March 27, 2019 at 9:09 am

    No changed or recovered man “insists” on anything, especially with a threat attached to it! Proceed with the divorce. You were so close to getting free. Don’t give up now. When or if he ever gets better you will know it for sure and not have a single solitary doubt. Kick him out of the condo ASAP. A loving man who is repentant and in a program would completely understand, give you the respect and space you need and would not pressure you. No, don’t dare share your money. If he ever gets better you can always remarry him. I hope you haven’t been sleeping with him. Be sure to get STD testing.

  2. Sheep on March 27, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Dear question writer,

    I think you said something that is really key here, you said “My husband is also very manipulative and lies” Do you understand what you wrote? You didn’t say that in the past tense, you said it in the present tense. He Lies. This means that you can’t trust anything he says or implies, at least until he shows you (by his actions and words) a long term pattern of not lying or manipulating. Part of that would include brokenness and repentance on his part that will be shown by humility and vulnerability. Because of some of the things you described, it doesn’t look like that has happened. You say that you think his early adultery was “one night stands” The key word his is that you think, this tells me that he has never been honest or forthcoming about that adultery or else you would know exactly what they were.

    He tells you that he has’t been physical with another woman for many years, but his actions would say differently. And once again, He is a lier. Faithful spouses do not stop to see other women. Even if there wasn’t something going on, a faithful husband or wife that cares about their spouse, would not do anything that would even hint that something might be going on. They wouldn’t want to hurt their spouse like that. ESPECIALLY if they had already committed adultery and were serious about not doing it again.

    It speaks volumes that his co-worker knows what kind of man he is and felt the need to warn other women about him.

    You also say “My husband has been going to a prayer group at his church 3 mornings a week and reading scripture and praying. He has also tried to form a relationship with our boys and grandchildren.” I’m really sorry, but anyone can go to a prayer group and read their Bible, especially short term, but even long term. This absolutely does not mean that they have repented and changed. This can be yet another tactic to manipulate you into giving them what they want.

    To put the cookies on the bottom shelf, Do his words and actions show that he cares about you? Or do they show that he cares about himself? From what you have said, it seems fairly clear that he is simply trying to avoid the negative consequences for the bad choices he has made seemingly his whole life.

    He says that if you don’t combine your finances that he will proceed with the divorce? So now you are scared, Why? You have already lived without him for 18 months. If you give in to this manipulation, what will he want next time? He will already know that all he has to do to get what he wants is to threaten divorce.

    • Peachy M on March 27, 2019 at 10:25 am

      Sheep,
      Love the insight! You helped me as well.
      God bless

    • JoAnn on March 27, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Well put, Brother! I hope she hears you and Leslie, but her past decisions don’t bode well. I would encourage this woman to get back into counseling and begin to deal with her co-dependancy issues.

    • Free on March 28, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      Great reply.

  3. K. Webb on March 27, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Evidence of change is so important here. If true ” change” in behavior is not present in a sustained way, then the pattern of behavior is repeating itself, even if the intervals between conflict is longer. It sounds like the spouse has been given multiple opportunities. So, the change must take place in the person who has been victimized. If that means leaving the relationship for the sake of your own and your family’s well-being, then so be it.

  4. Working Towards Freedom on March 27, 2019 at 11:03 am

    If your divorce isn’t yet final, don’t sign those papers! You said you didn’t listen to your divorce attorney and have currently written in less than your allowed 50/50 split. Instead, listen to your divorce attorney and have new papers drawn up to reflect the 50/50 split you deserve! But you do still need to go through with the divorce, as it is evident that even you believe he is still lying to you.

    It doesn’t sound to me like he’s changed. Despite what others may tell you, divorce in and of itself is not a sin. Remember, God divorced Israel. If he has changed, or if he will change, it will be evident in his behavior and in his fruitfulness (or lack thereof)! If at some point in the time he does change as proven by his actions over an extended period of time, then you can certainly consider reconciling with him. However, that would involve keeping living arrangements and assets separated unless he proves worthy of remarrying.

  5. Janice D on March 27, 2019 at 11:43 am

    This is such a timely topic for me.After 8 months of separation without any discernible change I am praying for wisdom.I am at peace living on my own and financially independent.I know how strong the desire for reconciliation is yet believe we have to be objective about our situations.It has taken a long time to see clearly without the fog of confusion and deceit.God is a God of order and does not desire our lives to be in a constant state of chaos.Yes, it is always possible to reconcile,however our spouses would need to show sustained mature change over time( I’m thinking at least a year or 2) without any pressure or ultimatums.Praying for the Lords guidance for all who frequent this blog site.May we continue on our individual journeys toward our C.O.R.E. as we are clothed in strength and dignity by our Savior Jesus.Always grateful to Leslie and other helpers who God has equipped in this area

  6. DJ on March 27, 2019 at 11:48 am

    You are very fortunate to have all this wonderful advise/wisdom. Take it and be blessed. There are many very unfortunate women whose husbands scheming has left them penniless and destitute; they were making a new life for themselves. Your husband is still in the game trying to manipulate you; therefore, you have this advantage to protect yourself from further harm.

  7. AD on March 27, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Dear Questioner,

    I read an article just this morning that was very hard to swallow, because I too have been trying to figure out how to recognize change and decide how to proceed.

    https://www.patreon.com/posts/recognizing-25287330

    I hope you find it as eye opening and helpful as I have. May God give you peace and healing as you continue on your journey!

    • Jane on March 27, 2019 at 9:00 pm

      I found this very helpful. Thank you for sharing

    • Free on March 28, 2019 at 11:19 am

      The link was great. I read it three times.

  8. Nancy on March 27, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    To answer Leslie’s question, I would say that drastically changing my priorities helped me to stand firm in my boundaries. Leaning into The Lord. Bible studies, prayer and worship. Those were constants that helped me stand firm during the storm of my own emotions. Because that’s really what you are up against here – your own emotions. (Your h knows exactly how to put you into chaos and as someone above said, our God is a God of order, not chaos).

    For this writer:
    Counselling, Bible studies with mature Christian women, prayer groups, a CODA group might be very helpful for you.

    Outward lifestyle change (living on your own etc…) needs to be accompanied by an even larger interior lifestyle change. Re-build your life around The Lord – allow Him to be your rock.

  9. Aly on March 27, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Dear writer,
    Wow! Such great comments and support for your question.
    Reconciliation is about trust having been rebuilt… not about reconciling to see if trust is going to be rebuilt.
    Consider what your ‘ husband’ is doing right A blessed warning to you and why he is not safe to be in a relationship with on many levels.
    Leslie’s question is important because many of us here have had to face our issues with boundaries. And boundaries always seem to get put to the test.
    What helped me was to remind myself that my heart was to please the Lord and His ways not another person’s requests.
    Especially, one so deceiving!

    The betrayal you have been through is horrific and your heart needs lots of healing. I didn’t hear any recovery or interventions for his sex addiction and heart issues?

  10. liz hyde on March 27, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you ladies for each of your replies. Reading each one has helped me in my own circumstance. So much wisdom and truth.

  11. Chuck on March 27, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    I am in the same situation with my wife. She says she has “done everything humanly possible “ to change . I don’t hear it in the words she speaks, se it in her eyes, or in her body language. I am about to go to our first divorce mediation meeting, I have been asking God to show me how this can be changed right now because the divorce is about to go down. The answers I am getting today are just be faithful, and I’m with you. I understand what the original poster feels, the confusion, etc. it is all surreal but stay faithful, and let these people here help guide you.

    • JoAnn on March 27, 2019 at 10:41 pm

      Chuck, the article that AD posted, above, is very helpful, and if you haven’t read it, I would encourage you to read it before you go into your mediation. Keep your boundaries, and stand with the righteous God on your side. Praying that the peace that passes understanding will guard your heart.

      • Chuck on March 28, 2019 at 6:50 am

        JoAnn,
        That article sums up what I have learned about apologies and true apologies/repentance. It is sad that I hear someone say “I’m sorry”with anger in their voice, and body language that belies their words. My mediation meeting was calm. I had a peace in me that God is telling me “I got this, we will get through this together.” Thanks for the advice and prayers.

        • MoonBeam on March 28, 2019 at 1:45 pm

          Chuck, the words I got when I prayed before an important meeting, were “He is sick, you are not.” Short and sweet. When I hear from what I believe to be wisdom from the spirit it is usually direct and to the point.

          • Chuck on March 28, 2019 at 1:59 pm

            Amazing how he answers us if we listen. A few months ago I was torn about weather Or not to go back to my wife, and while praying in my car, I heard an audible voice that told me “Don’t do it , don’t go back.” Never had that happen before or since.



  12. Sheep on March 27, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Hi Chuck,

    I was (and somewhat still am) in the same boat as you, I have just paddled a little further down the stream and our divorce is almost complete. My wife has done literally nothing to show repentance or work toward reconciliation. But she tells others that “she done everything she needs to do”, or “she is willing to do anything I want her to do”. Then she follows that up with “But that isn’t good enough for him, he doesn’t want me” The reality of the situation is that she hasn’t done anything that I have asked of her… no accountability, no openness, no truthfulness, no counseling, no commitment to being faithful, no taking responsibility. These statements are designed to confuse others and make people that have very little inside into the situation feel sorry for her.
    You are right, the whole thing is very confusing. People of honesty, truth, and goodwill are naturally confused when someone tells them or others one thing, but their actions say something totally different.

    • Chuck on March 27, 2019 at 8:17 pm

      Sheep, I’m with you and understand. My therapist has told me that she believes what she does and there is no changing it. Typical narcissist. This is so surreal and crazy making that unless you have lived it you don’t believe it.

    • JoAnn on March 29, 2019 at 11:35 pm

      Sheep, I sincerely hope that you have at least one or two friends who believe you. It’s hard to go down this road without that, but you know that the Righteous One is standing with you, and eventually the truth will prevail.
      Your journey has been so encouraging to everyone. Thanks for staying with us.

  13. Jane on March 27, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    I only left 3 months ago. No cheating, just an abundance of abuse. I intermittently struggle with the questions of should I ever try to reconcile, when would that be, how would I know, etc.

    I know it is not time as he still tells the pastor he thinks this is all because I am mentally ill or am suffering from demonic oppression, yet my kids tell me a different story. In front of them he acts like this is in part due to him but not his fault overtly. Things like claiming he spoke truth without love (when it was lies and manipulation), it is hard to explain but he plays a spiritual victim. My 20 yr old son was surprised when I told him that my husband was still claiming I am nuts to the pastor. He is masterfully manipulating the kids and it sucks, the pain and loss sucks and I want to just run home and pretend like this never happened yet being home was literally physically killing me from the emotional, psychological, spiritual, etc. abuse.

    I know this time is about my healing and my time with God and there is no promise that my husband will ever change. I feel the ungodly soul ties are broken, but I still love and care about him.

    I guess my question is this… As I have pretty much gone no contact with my husband, how will I ever know for sure he has or has not changed. My pastor indicates to this point there seems to be no ownership, but even if he makes a “miraculous change” to the pastor, everything I read here is terrifying. Women (and some men) that have been convinced their spouse has changed so they reconcile, and when they do, the cycle just begins again. How does one ever truly know?

    • Chuck on March 27, 2019 at 8:20 pm

      Jane, unless he has a Damascus road experience, he will never change.

    • maria on March 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

      Jane,

      What is he doing to change his ways? If he is not growing by going to a counselor that understands abuse, a support group, having people he is accountable to, he will not change. And even if he does all this, it change takes time.

      • Jane on March 27, 2019 at 9:11 pm

        He does see a counselor who mostly understands abuse but there is no accountability. He knows my husband is a narcissist and is abusive in many ways from us initially trying marriage counseling a couple years ago. But there’s no accountability. All he knows now is what he is told. Our pastor tries and supports me as best as he can, but you can tell he’s never totally sure what to believe and rarely calls my h out on his actions. He does not see himself as abusive or controlling even, though he often knows when he is controlling but it is justified in his mind because he is somehow helping or protecting me or the family in his justification. I just don’t know that there is enough happening for him to even submit to accountability. Sad to admit, but thank u for helping me remember that.

        • JoAnn on March 27, 2019 at 10:51 pm

          Jane, at this point, the best thing you can do for yourself and your kids is to put your relationship with your h on the altar before the Lord. Then take your hands away. Let it go. The time may come when he repents and changes, but he probably won’t, so what’s best for you now is to go on freely, without holding on to that relationship. Once you have fully divorced yourself from him, it won’t matter if he changes or not, but if, by a miracle of God, he does, I think God will give you a way to know, and then, from a distance, you can decide whether you want him back or not. Now is your time: time to find yourself again, time to strengthen your relationship with the Lord and with your kids, and time to heal. go for it!

          • Nancy on March 28, 2019 at 6:46 am

            This is wise advice.



        • Aly on March 28, 2019 at 8:38 am

          Jane,
          I agree with JoAnn’s comments also. I’m very sorry for what you have gone through all this time but one thing to consider about the things you discribe about your h, is that these kind of people easily rob us from ourselves and what our own healing needs. He has done enough time damage and it’s time for you to discover more of Jane and the beauty she has to offer to her kids and others.

          Jane, abuser’s rarely see themselves as abusive. This is a common theme! The more you ponder on his accountability and the hope you have for his heart, the focus Is back to him.
          This is where it is disproportionate. Guard your heart and focus of how worthy you are to be loved and cherished, his loss that he can see his foolish ways.

          You wrote this:
          “Our pastor tries and supports me as best as he can, but you can tell he’s never totally sure what to believe and rarely calls my h out on his actions.”

          This pastor in my opinion esp. if he has declared your h as a narc, and knows of ALL the abuse, isn’t supporting you as best as he can especially if he rarely calls your h to accountability.
          My hypothesis, is that if he did call him up, then the relationship (pretense one) would disappear pretty quickly because your h wouldn’t be able to have that kind of account and boundaries on behavior.
          The pastor could possibly be doing more damage by making it appear this Husband is getting pastoral counseling, but where is the real fruit?

          • jane on March 28, 2019 at 9:50 am

            Joann your comments were a great reminder of what God Himself asked of me during this time, thank-you.

            As for the kids, they are still with him so its tough. The older 2 are 19 and 20. I meet with them individually almost weekly, hang out for hours and get more quality time with them this way then I ever had at home where we had to always monitor what we said or did so as to not come under my h judgment, criticism, and lectures about how wrong we all are or what we must do. The 16 yr old girl unfortunately is caught up into his narc manipulation and lies. I had gotten little response from her and she only would get with me every couple of weeks if she wanted something. Ever since her dad was given the formal separation papers she won’t respond to anything. This is part of my recent shakenness. I know God has promised me that she will be fine (this does not mean she will be ok with me ever again) but it is a loss and is hard.

            My pastor isn’t really doing a lot of counseling, more so listening and praying with him. He has gone as far as to ask my husband to not come to our church any more because of how terrifying it is for me and I am now free to worship again without being watched! He has spoken with my counselor to try to gain more insight. He really is trying. He doesn’t fully get what narcissism is and he is one of those people who wants to believe the best even though he himself said he thinks there is only a 5% chance my h will ever change. I educated him that this is indeed the number that both Lundy Bankroft and Chris Moles quote. Christian or secular, this seems to be the outcome. So there is some comprehension, but he wants to believe that my h is really overall clueless which is what my middle child wants to believe, and that he just needs to be taught. He rejects all authority so he can’t be “taught” and unfortunately this past year has really shown me how much my h is actually aware of his behavior. I think that part has been the most upsetting.



    • Ruth on March 27, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      Jane asked how she would know if an abuser had truly changed. Today, I read an excellent article on that subject. I’m gonna *try* to insert a link to it. I am new to website this article comes from. The website is called The Psalm 82 Initiative. It’s stated purpose is to help churches deal with abuse and what I’ve read so far is refreshing and great!

      https://www.patreon.com/posts/recognizing-25287330

      • Jane on March 27, 2019 at 10:02 pm

        Ad also included this. I do find it very helpful. I will have to explore this site more. Thx

        • Ruth on March 27, 2019 at 10:53 pm

          Wow! I didn’t see another person had already linked this. God really wanted this article to get read.

          • Aly on March 28, 2019 at 8:40 am

            Ruth, AD,
            Thank you both for posting that link. Excellent article.



    • Free on March 28, 2019 at 10:04 am

      Jane, start with one year of no contact separation for every year of your relationship. For example, if you were in the relationship for nine years, he needs at least three years of counseling to begin to change or heal. The important factor to consider is that is only possible with a repentant heart and a desire to change. Which is about as likely as a blue moon.

      The time spent apart doesn’t change the abuser, but it should change you. The most common response from the abuser is posing as and developing the fake role of a victim.

      • Maria on March 28, 2019 at 5:11 pm

        I’ve wondered if I were the abuser and was convicted by the Holy Spirit that I was doing wrong what would change look like? I’d be grieved because of the hurt I had caused another human being. If I falsely apologized in the past I would give the person space and start working on myself. Read all the books I can, get counseling, ask people to hold me accountable and pray for the right time to apologize. Pray that they would forgive me. And if they don’t and don’t want to pursue a relationship with me, accept it. No pressuring, manipulating etc. And in general the way I treat others would change.

        • Free on March 29, 2019 at 5:07 am

          This is a tragic comparison, but sometimes I think to myself, imagine if I ran over my neighbors child while carelessly backing out of the driveway. Yes, a horrid thought! How would I feel? Terrible! The sorrow and remorse would permeate my heart for a lifetime.

          That is the attitude and countenance I expect from the repentant abuser. I expect a ceaseless nag in their soul of sorrow and remorse that would last a lifetime. Anything less than that is their own self serving game play, contrived and orchestrated to polish their public image.

          • Ruth on April 3, 2019 at 12:08 pm

            Well said 😭



  14. KAREN on March 27, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you to all who are commenting. This is such an important post because I think it gets to one of the primary issues with which we all deal as we move forward. Our spouses tell us we should stay in relationship and attach arguments/justifications or threats or excuses or delusional platitudes that tempt us to believe them or make us feel guilty or anxious if we don’t. I followed the patreon links that Ruth and AD shared, and found them insightful. Thank you both. I had never heard of that blog before, so I read a few posts. One that really made A LOT of sense is found at the link below.

    http://www.patreon.com/posts/love-vs-abuse-24514961

    Words, greatness in other areas of life, and even doing things “for you” is not evidence of change or of a safe person. We need to see that; our pastors and counselors need to see that; ideally our spouses could also see that. It is not generally in their [perceived] best interest to abandon their self-serving narratives, however, and get on board with striving towards healthy, mutual, and functional relationships.

    To the writer of the letter that started this thread: those who care about you in dispassionate and disinterested capacities are unanimously advising you not to “give in” to your husband. The manipulation is so clear that I am surprised it isn’t setting off alarm bells in your head and heart. “If you don’t do what I want, I will push for the divorce.” That is so black and white. Like pretty much everyone else here, I hope and pray you will stand strong and not give in to him. If he gets away with it, there will be no rest and no peace for you. “Not a sermon; just a thought!”

    • Jane on March 27, 2019 at 10:11 pm

      While I agree it seems clear looking from the outside, the inside is so muddy it can get hard to see. Do not feel shamed for not seeing the control and abuse, but be commited to your CORE…. truth is a bunch of empathetic people, men and women who have seen abuse, are telling you it’s overt control, be open to this insight, be responsible with this knowledge and how you use it while staying respectful, and do not enable your h to continue in this behavior even if u can empathize with his fear of losing u, his literal “object” of affection

    • Aly on March 28, 2019 at 12:11 am

      KAREN,
      I agree with so much of what you posted!
      To the writer:
      Please keep in mind that your husband’s betrayals biblically has disqualified himself from his conditions.
      A man after God’s own heart would never, NEVER give that kind of stipulation towards a wife he has injured, in fact he would be doing everything possible to be so far from those financial conditions given what he has stolen from you and the marriage.
      A man in recovery and repair would never have that posture or even expression.
      If you are lonely, I know of many rescue dogs and esp. golden retrievers. Your care would be much more appreciated than the husband who has somehow moved into your condo.

    • Autumn on March 28, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      Karen, I would add that I have been steeped in denial. My brain selectively down plays the bad things that have happened to me and almost completely blocks them out of my conscience thought. I have been told that denial is a coping mechanism. Over and over I have had to remind myself of the terrible things that my spouse has done. I find that after something horrible is done to me I just put it in a box and forget about it. The abuse is so horrid that my brain doesn’t have a place for it.

      My thinking is very common among long-time survivors of abuse. The denial protects us and allows us to function on a daily basis. Journaling helps us recall the events. It is important when a victim is thinking about reuniting with their abuser that they read their journal and let the truth break through their denial.

      • Chuck on March 28, 2019 at 2:04 pm

        Autumn , I have to do the same sometimes, remind myself the reasons that I am where I am. I block out things too.

      • Karen on March 28, 2019 at 2:24 pm

        Hi Autumn and Jane, too,

        I am so sorry if my comments served to impose shame on the writer or on anyone at all. My heart was to help secure clarity for her and any others-myself included. I, too, struggle with denial, fog, loss of clarity, confusion, cognitive dissonance. My H is still in our home but in separate quarters, and he is constantly sharing with me either verbally or sending me via text prayers and platitudes that make me crazy with confusion. “He’s such a good guy,” right? Well-not entirely. That good person has been the source of a tremendous amount of pain and verbal abuse and imbalance in my life for almost three decades. He does not and likely never will see or believe that, but I have to. I wrote in an effort to support, not shame. Please forgive my tone if shame was the effect.

        • Autumn on March 28, 2019 at 3:39 pm

          Karen, I didn’t read any shame into your comments at all. All good here.

          • Karen on March 28, 2019 at 5:14 pm

            Oh good! I wasn’t sure. This is the blessing and curse of having a sensitive nature I think!!! xxoo!



        • Jane on March 28, 2019 at 5:17 pm

          It’s ok. No shame was intended, but I know I struggle with the shame I feel realizing all the red flags were there while we were dating and not subtle flags either, they were more like flashing warning signs! I still feel like an idiot about it and self blame and self shame. I also felt embarrassed over the fact that everyone and I mean everyone recognized I was being abused without me saying a word and before I recognized the abuse. I just dont want anyone to feel that shame. I know it’s false, but easy to fall in to in this situation.

          U r trying to be caring and protective like everyone else here. Totally understood.

          • Karen on March 28, 2019 at 5:20 pm

            Thanks Jane! Simply put, your experience is hardly unique.
            We didn’t know what we didn’t know and couldn’t see what we couldn’t see. But now we know (thank you Leslie and others!), and now we see, and, with that, now we can be free!



  15. Moon Beam on March 28, 2019 at 1:52 pm
  16. Maria on March 28, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    So your husband insist you putting your finances together again, or it will not be a marriage at all??? Sounds dangerous. And weird. I believe he is not interested having YOU back. He is after your money.
    I believe he is a dangerous man. Let him proceed with the divorce. You will be much better without him.

  17. Jolene on March 28, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    I am in the middle of trying to leave, and predictably, my husband has become “the perfect husband” as of late. I suspect this technique has worked on me before, or he is putting on a show to be able to say how he gave it his all to prevent me from leaving. I mean, he is truly checking every box (acting like a great father, showering me with gifts, helping around the house). I have been praying that God would show me if this was true change, or if his actions were just part of a “hoovering” cycle to suck me back into the abuse. I think I have my answer with this blog post and attached articles. And if those two things weren’t enough, he started an argument last night because I refused sex. Apparently he was expecting reciprocation for all those good deeds he thought he was doing.

    I am so grateful for everyone who has shared their stories, and for this blog. You all are truly a help.

    • Jane on March 28, 2019 at 10:02 pm

      Yes, the I’ll be a good boy if you’ll give me sex or I’ve been a good boy now u better give me sex. I’ve lived it. He would tell me his meanness was because of not enough sex. That was one of his positions about our problem the entire marriage, whether we were having sex 4x a wk or once a month. At one point I tried having sex every night for several weeks and I had to be the instigator because he was afraid of rejection. Know what happened? He got WORSE!

      I dare to say, if u lovingly suggested an undetermined length of separation for a time of healing, he would likely show himself. If he lovingly agrees so u can heal, fantastic. What I would expect though is manipulation, anger and guilt tripping. Either way, if you were at that place, some separation may be appropriate either way. I haven’t been separated long but some things are easier to remember, realize and understand since I’ve been out of the daily toxic cloud.

      • Jolene on March 29, 2019 at 5:41 pm

        Oh, yes Jane. So many excuses around sex: he complains there is/was never enough sex, or sex was not kinky enough, that he has biological needs that I am required to fulfill as his wife, that physical touch is his love language and I’m not loving him in a way he understands. In reality, my counselor says he has very low emotional intelligence, and he needs the intensity of climax to feel any feelings at all toward me. Sickening. I have also tried to be the initiator at one point, only to get consistently refused, because he wants total CONTROL.

        I have asked for separation. He says we may as well just divorce. Another control tactic. He also claims he will not pay support should that happen. Okay, then. God is my provider and always has been. Poverty doesn’t scare me as much as my husband does. Time to go.

        • Jane on March 30, 2019 at 3:19 am

          I hear strength and truth in your words.

        • JoAnn on March 30, 2019 at 9:27 pm

          Jolene, the state you live in will have laws about support, so be sure that you have consulted a lawyer so that you will know just what the law says. And don’t make the same mistake a friend of mine made and “give away the farm” just to be rid of him. NO! Be sure to get every last penny that you deserve and the law allows you.

          • Jane on March 31, 2019 at 12:29 pm

            On the flip, I struggle as the only provider with a spouse who couldn’t keep a job and for years now can’t or won’t get a job. I want to just give everything away to make it over. I also struggle with my 16yo still needing support. I’m afraid there won’t be enough left for food and electricity after the cable and internet bill are paid. It’s going to bite me in court if I don’t cut him off, but this means cutting her off financially in some ways. She has already cut me off otherwise. It’s a real temptation on either side to just give in so the abuse can end. I think that’s a real indicator of who the abused really is sometimes.



          • JoAnn on March 31, 2019 at 10:26 pm

            Jane, please get legal advice and counseling for this. Your youngest daughter needs counseling, and your lazy, do-nothing h needs to put on his big boy pants and get himself a job. He has lived off of you long enough, assuming he’s not disabled, and you have graciously supported him, in spite of his abuses. Speaking of “biting the hand that feeds you.”! Take a step back and look at what is happening. Never, never make decisions based on fear. God has this. He cares about you and your kids, and he will operate in their best interest, even if it requires them to suffer a bit. Let your Lord have His way here, and you will not regret it. On the other hand, if you resist what the Lord is telling you, I can guarantee that you will regret it. It’s time to trust your Lord.



          • Jane on April 1, 2019 at 4:40 am

            Joann,

            Thank-you. Your advice is the same as my lawyers, counselors and wise godly prophetic counsel. My head knows this is right and is what God is asking me to do. I need to get out of God’s way so he can do what he needs to in my h life and allow God to do what he needs to in my life. It’s hard to get my heart on board. I also know my pastor will struggle with this because my h plays the victim so well to him. My pastors still support me throughout all of this, but I have definitely taken a step back from seeking their counsel because they don’t comprehend what they are dealing with, though they try.

            My h told my pastor that he would agree to sign a release for my therapist, his therapist and my pastor to all talk. Now I found out that he asked my 19yo if he should resign the release that would allow his therapist to talk to me and one so he can talk to my therapist as well. Unreal. Why do you need a 19yo boy to make this decision for you. And what are you hiding if you won’t let your counselor and my counselor speak with the pastor? After all, I’m just mentally unstable right now according to my husband. Wouldn’t these two medical professionals agree with him?

            I clearly see that things aren’t changing yet and I know the direction this is going. God has put that on my heart and it hurts, but I will be obedient to Him. Thank-you all for your support and prayers and for being brave enough to share your own stories. Those stories often remind me why I must do what I am doing.



          • Aly on April 1, 2019 at 7:46 am

            Jane,
            What you are going through is certainly confusing ‘at times’ for sure because of all the counsel involved. Why say the pastor is such a support to you or why do you see him as even a past support when he clearly is enabling your h to not financially provide for his family through most years and especially through a separation?

            I’m glad you have taken a step back from seeking this pastors counsel, but it seems like this pastor is more of a ‘nice’ guy than a good man… there is a difference. I don’t mean to sound harsh, yet your pastor may need more exposure to Leslie’s resources. She has a site for Pastors and counselors where they can gain better understanding of the things that you don’t think the Pastor quite gets.

            The sad reality of the power of the pastors role here is that his involvement creates a false sense of support for your husbands behavior.
            Also many pastors and lay leaders in the church have their own beliefs about professional counseling etc. You may find that he doesn’t really validate the professional counseling aspect, yes he may entertain you or them for a bit but he could also be a stumbling block based on his own ignorance.
            I have seen and experiences many similar things.

            Leslie had a really good article posted on this dynamic not too long ago, maybe someone can find it quickly and post it.
            Maybe you also saw it?



          • Jane on April 1, 2019 at 9:42 am

            well, my church is paying for my counselor for now. My pastor has been there whenever I have needed prayer, night or day. And, as my PTSD heightened after the separation, the panic at church when my husband would randomly show up was overwhelming, so my pastor agreed to ask my h not to come to our church right now. My pastor admits it’s confusing to him but knows God’s heart is with me in this situation.

            Unfortunately I think you’re right that he is a nice guy more than a good guy in this regard, but he is working on learning. I have sent some of Chris Moles podcasts his direction and he thought they were very good, but I don’t think he takes it on himself to listen weekly or even read his book because of time constraints working full time and pastoring most time as well.

            I guess what bothers me is that if he was questioning where my heart was in all of this, why didn’t he call and ask? You can be guaranteed that what my h is telling him is a bunch of junk! He has been “looking” for a job since July of last year. He has interviewed with 5 or 6 places only in that time, yet my pastor is convinced he is trying hard to find a job because my h left the 2 job applications on the table for my pastor to see when he came over several weeks back. Yet amazingly its only those 2 job options I have heard about for the past 2 months. He is not really looking for anything else. The 1 option was a reject with 2000 available positions! How?! The second will be a commission only job, not a real job if he even gets it! Yet my pastor doesn’t get how I can need to stop enabling him to sit at home and do nothing. It’s not like he has or does cook every night or keep the house up, though I am sure he has to do a bit more now that I don’t live there any more.

            I guess, unfortunately, that I feel responsible for helping him learn for the sake of others in the church. It’s hard for me not to listen to his opinion in this but I am submitted under the authority of a strong ministry separate from my church where there is much better understanding, strong godly counsel and wisdom, and powerful warrior prayers. I guess I should leave the counsel part to this ministry and my lawyers and counselors, and surprisingly now that I have been transparent with my parents, even my parents are fully supportive and are sharing how they have felt this entire time. I would never want to leave my church as they have truly become my family.



          • Nancy on April 1, 2019 at 2:14 pm

            Why not directly ask your pastor, “is it ok with you that my h has only had 6 interviews in 8 months? Is it ok with you that my h hasn’t held a job in over X amount of years?”

            And then wait for his answer.



    • Free on March 29, 2019 at 5:18 am

      The other sad part, Jolene is that he obviously knows how to be a better man and has withheld that from you! Apparently his cruelty was fully understood and under his control. He knew exactly what he was doing all along. That is a scary thought! He chose and is choosing his every word, thought and deed to advance his self serving agenda. He chooses abuse.

      • Jane on March 29, 2019 at 9:24 am

        Free, oh man what an eye opening thought. Grieves my heart today to accept this truth. Saddness is overwhelming in all of this at times. To wonder, were u ever really loved?

        • Jolene on March 29, 2019 at 5:49 pm

          Oh, yes Free. Abuse is a choice. An established pattern of destruction and neglect to a marriage over and over and over again. It takes more than flowers to repair a heart that has been stomped on repeatedly. The gesture is quite pathetic now, really. And to think of how powerful that flowers would have been for a birthday or anniversary he had bothered to acknowledge. Because after all, it isn’t about the gift, is it.

          And Jane, I don’t think spouses like this are capable of loving anyone above themselves. I was surely never loved. I was valued for what I could do to make life good for him, but never for who I was as a person, nor my hopes, talents, dreams, or preferences.

    • Aly on March 29, 2019 at 8:10 am

      Jolene,
      I don’t know what you have been through, I certainly don’t know how many times you have been pulled back in to the relationship dynamic with him, I am sorry for your pain of this marriage.
      I’m curious though about any interventions your husband has had? I’m wondering if you are experiencing your husband acting out of fear ‘trying to win you back’ rather than love and all of the things and postures that flow from that.
      Often this is a very long process for those willing to transform from an immature boy in a man’s body to a God loving man who knows how to treat and cherish his family.
      This process rarely if ever happens with an isolated person (such as your h)

      • Jolene on March 29, 2019 at 6:09 pm

        Aly, interventions for the marriage have included me going to marriage counseling, alone, throughout the marriage. He accused me of being the one with the problem, and the cause of all things wrong in the marriage, and he refused any help beyond one counseling session. I have mainly been accused of anger, depression, and withholding sex. I am responsible for his “loneliness”. He doesn’t see these behaviors as a response to infidelity, verbal abuse, financial abuse, lies, manipulation, laziness, betrayal with his family, and his lack of active participation as a spouse and father. I overcompensated for the entire relationship. That is my error. I let him think that was an acceptable way to treat me. I take full responsibility for that, and I prepare to leave knowing that I gave the marriage everything I could. God sees that as well. Can my husband say the same? He has had no intervention, and until the last few weeks has assumed no responsibility. I do not believe his new revelations of apology and responsibility come from a place of regret, but rather a place of fear (as you point out) and desperation to hold on to his personal maid/cook/sex object. He has recently ordered some relationship books to read. However, they are all about how to revive a sexless marriage. These books are not targeting the root problem and will prove to be useless.

        • Aly on March 29, 2019 at 8:24 pm

          Jolene,
          I’m sure you know this, but your responses to ‘his betrayals of a covenant marriage’ are reasonable.

          The person who does the harm rarely wants to experience the consequences of their own choices.
          Not only do the do the injustice of robbing sacred things in this relationship but they also want to rob you from ‘you own response’!
          Who would be angry, depressed and not particularly interested is the vulnerable act of sex with a very untrustworthy person!

          Your posture towards caring about yourself and your own well being are healthy given his own behavior and how he has chosen to ‘recently’ act on good behavior out of his own selfish fear.

          Had he chosen interventions for his own learning, he might have been able to growth into further mature developmental stages that might have further helped him with a possible sex addiction?

          I don’t know any individuals who recover in private quarters reading marriage sex books. Addicts though tend to have that common theme of action.

          Sounds like you have a really good counselor walking alongside you, praise God for this!

        • Free on March 29, 2019 at 10:46 pm

          LOL on the ordering of books on how to revive a sexless marriage. Ha! The absurdity of his actions are downright ridiculous.

    • Nancy on March 29, 2019 at 9:07 am

      Saying ‘no’ is an on-going test that will reveal his heart attitude ( not just to sex, but to anything at all).

      Healthy people respect another’s free will.

      • Jolene on March 29, 2019 at 6:11 pm

        Nancy, you are correct. The word “no” is the perfect test to see where his heart truly is. It usually results in my husband’s rage or self-pity/victimhood. Before, I would not use the word “no” out of fear of those repercussions. Now, the Lord has brought me to a place of apathy to my husband’s display of emotions, which I believe is to help protect me during this time.

        • Nancy on March 30, 2019 at 9:53 am

          Praise God, Jolene, for His protection of your heart as you speak ‘the unspeakable word’…..’no’ 😉

          • Susanne Delledonne on April 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm

            No is a complete sentence. One might ask what part of no don’t you understand?



  18. Chuck on March 28, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    I have to tell everybody something. I’m a hard ass man, testosterone flows through my veins. But I will tell you abuse in any form is wrong, love cares for you, has disagreements, but wants the best for you. It really hurts that there are so many of us here, none of us ever wanted to discover this blog. I pray that the Lord touches everyone here. We are all in the same boat, thank you for your advice, love and prayers.

    • Free on March 29, 2019 at 5:30 am

      I also think that eventually none of us will need this blog. In time, we will all heal and grow away from this community. We will live in abundance and the soul and spirit will thrive without thet uneven yoke of an abuser steering us into the ground. A lot of our potential success hinges on the ability to escape abuse “well” and embrace the purpose God called us to before we became entrapped.

      • Nancy on March 29, 2019 at 9:01 am

        This is true, Free. I have felt it in myself and seen it in others too. This blog was an instrument of awakening and support, during the most intense and pivotal times in my marriage. I thank God for Leslie’s heart for the oppressed in marriage, and I thank God for those who showed me Christ-like care through this blog. I ‘need’ this blog less and less as I journey down the road of integration and healing. Praise God.

        • Maria on March 29, 2019 at 9:12 am

          Nancy & Free

          I agree that as we heal we need the blog less and less. But I’m sure many of us are grateful for the wisdom/experiences of those who have experienced abuse and are free.

          • Jane on March 29, 2019 at 9:28 am

            Agreed ,I thank God for the voices of experience here that have stayed on the blog even after getting strong. If we are all the blind encouraging the blind we’d all end up in the same pit



          • JoAnn on March 30, 2019 at 12:00 am

            I strongly agree with all of the above: we need the help and support of those who have succeeded in finding freedom and peace. I hope that even if you feel that you don’t “need” the blog anymore, you will stay to offer your insights and experiences to those who are need of help and encouragement.



          • Nancy on March 30, 2019 at 9:48 am

            Yes, Maria, Jane and JoAnn, This was exactly my point. Many come to this blog ‘needing it’ and I thank God for Leslie and those who have gone before.

            Those who stay on choose to do so – not out of need – and THAT (change in motive) is evidence of the abundance of Christ.

            Those who choose to move on from here, do so in freedom. We are each called to different places, and that is for each of us to sort out with the Lord.



  19. Listening Ear on March 29, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Jolene..you speak with such clarity and courage….thank you

  20. SteVee on April 1, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    I found the links very helpful.

    Today was the day I brought up many instances of my wife’s abuse in the counselor’s office. According to the ground rules, she took notes and didn’t interrupt, but spent the hour after I left blame-shifting, and justifying her violent behavior. The counselor had none of it. He got her to acknowledge that what I said actually happened, and when she tried to blame-shift, he pointed out that the common thread was her uncontrolled anger.

    My problem, is that as a codependent, I care TOO much about her feelings, her abusive childhood, and her difficult future if we divorce. My heart is scar tissue, I was dispassionate about recounting the times she followed me around the house with a knife in hand, screaming and threatening me. I have a hard time connecting with my emotions, and even more so in the presence of the one person I trust least.

    We’ll know in a few weeks if she can own her sin. That will be a miracle. She has never been unequivocally wrong before. The closest she has ever come to an apology is, “I’m sorry for yelling at you when you antagonized me.”

    • Jane on April 2, 2019 at 9:18 am

      SteVee

      You are strong and brave. I will share my experience and hope it helps. My h has a lot of junk from his past too with abuse from a crazy mom and passive, hyper-religious dad. I wanted to fix his heart. To love him past it. I wanted to be the wife that prayed him into healing. Essentially I wanted to be God! That was a hard realization. Recently, during a soaking prayer time while I was praying for my h, God showed me a closed eye vision of something hideous. It was frightening to see. Not in a violent evil way, but in a distorted grotesque way. It had the appearance of a severely deformed fetal pig. I asked God what this was after I saw it a second time. He told me it was my h very soul! This wrecked me. I just wanted to fix it and I started praying for his healing. God told me no! That my h needed a soul transplant. In shock I asked God if He does that (which obviously He does or He wouldn’t have said that, plus He gives us a heart of flesh for our heart of stone). I wanted to pray for that and again God said no, only He could do that. Essentially, God is the surgeon and I’m just getting my hands in His way.

      God has put on me harder and harder that I need to get out of His way. For the empathetic and loving (co-dependent or not) it is hard to watch someone suffer, but, if in the end, it is for the greater of what God would have, who are we to get in the way. It has taken more love for me to leave my husband than to stay! My love is healthier now too. Whether my h heart is changed or not is not up to me, I am not his savior. There is freedom in that. I am called to do one thing, obey and love the Lord my God with ALL my heart, mind, and soul. If my spouse is holding my heart, mind, and soul captive, I am not free to do this.

      “Have I not commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear nor be dismayed. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”- Josh 1:9

      You can not love her as much as God does. If He is telling you to go, she may hit rock bottom, she may struggle, but this may be the very thing that is needed to turn her heart of stone into a heart of flesh. Trust Him!

      • Nancy on April 2, 2019 at 9:34 pm

        Hi Jane,

        This is a personal question and of course, don’t answer it if you don’t want to. Why do you think The Lord said ‘no’ to you praying for your h? Do you think it’s because somehow to continue to pray for him is to somehow stay connected to him and The Lord wants to free you of whatever unhealthy connection is left?

        Our God is so personal. He speaks to me in images too. What a great God we serve.

        I do love Him, but really want to know a fear of Him. I know it means to ‘be in awe’, and I certainly feel that, but there is more to it than that, I suspect. I have trouble with this.

        • JoAnn on April 2, 2019 at 9:44 pm

          Nancy, I believe that perhaps the Lord told Jane not to pray because her prayer was in the context of her intention to “fix” her husband; in other words, she was taking responsibility for his “soul transplant.” I think that at this point, the best prayers are prayers of surrender. “Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way….”

      • JoAnn on April 2, 2019 at 9:39 pm

        Wow, Jane! I am so amazed and encouraged at the revelation you have received. You have waited and prayed for a long time to get to this place, and what the Lord has shown you is profound and also very freeing. Praise Him!!

      • SteVee on April 17, 2019 at 8:43 pm

        Jane,

        Thanks for your thoughts. I had to chew on that for awhile. You are spot on. I’m not God, and -our marital history shows- my enabling behavior, my desire to save the marriage at all cost has been idolatrous, and has gotten in the way of His work.

        I cannot love her as much as God does. What’s more, a drowning man cannot save another drowning person. Thank you for being loving enough to share that with me.

        • Jane on April 17, 2019 at 9:08 pm

          I pray you both find healing and restoration to a God who loves you more than life itself, more than words or human emotion could ever express.

  21. JoAnn on April 2, 2019 at 12:06 am

    SteVee, Thank you for bravely chiming in. You are dealing with a very sick woman. She would benefit from ongoing therapy to deal with her abusive childhood which is no doubt the source of her deep-seated anger. But that doesn’t mean you must continue to subject yourself to her abuses. I would encourage you to seek therapy for your own issues, so that you can move on with your life and have a close and intimate relationship with the Lord. There is healing in His presence.

    • SteVee on April 2, 2019 at 11:02 pm

      @Jane
      “Whether my h heart is changed or not is not up to me, I am not his savior. There is freedom in that. I am called to do one thing, obey and love the Lord my God with ALL my heart, mind, and soul. If my spouse is holding my heart, mind, and soul captive, I am not free to do this.

      “Have I not commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear nor be dismayed. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”- Josh 1:9

      You can not love her as much as God does.”

      Thanks for those great thoughts. I needed that. I am so numb, and in such a fog.

      @JoAnn
      “She would benefit from ongoing therapy to deal with her abusive childhood which is no doubt the source of her deep-seated anger. But that doesn’t mean you must continue to subject yourself to her abuses. I would encourage you to seek therapy for your own issues, so that you can move on with your life and have a close and intimate relationship with the Lord. There is healing in His presence.”

      She was badly abused as a child. I’m sure I don’t know the half of it. She says she has forgiven her father and that all of the problems are with me. When I confronted her this week, I started with inappropriate anger and violent rage that started the month before the wedding and early in the marriage before we had any history to possibly blame for her anger.

      I feel more isolated from God now than any time since I’ve been saved.

      Regarding Therapy: We’ve been in counseling for 2-1/2 years now. I attend weekly; she goes a few times a month. After the first three months, she said she was going to quit, and I told her she could quit, but I would initiate divorce. I wasn’t living in this broken marriage unless she was willing to do her part.

      I discovered my codependency and her Borderline Personality Disorder last summer. Since then I’ve read “Human Magnet Syndrome”; “CoDependent No More”, “Boundaries”, Leslie’s book EDM, “Victory Over the Darkness”, and am reading “Redemptive Divorce” and “Abuse of Men by Women”. I’ve also read numerous articles and watched numerous videos, many recommended on this blog. I started building my CORE before reading Leslie’s book, so once I read it, I was only a few months away from being ready to press issues with her in the counselor’s office. I also attend CoDA meetings, and meet with other men with similarly disordered wives, some diagnosed and some not diagnosed yet.

      It is EXTREMELY difficult for a counselor to sort out the truth in the he-said, she-said of accusations. The narcissistic wife believes every word she says passionately and with tears; while the numb, emotionally scarred husband, sounds like an accountant giving the weather report as he recounts the seemingly unbelievable abuse from the sweet lady that is 70 lbs lighter than he is. Most people won’t or can’t afford to stay in counseling long enough for a violent or passive-aggressive recurrence to happen right before a session. Which is necessary for the counselor to get the two of them to describe it, and for him to cross-examine them based on each others’ description. My counselor told me that codependent men are so rare, that he wasn’t expecting it in me. To his credit, he gave me a list of descriptive narratives indicative of codependency prior to me discovering it. I prayerfully read it night and day for 6 weeks but could only see two or three characteristics. Ross Rosenberg’s videos opened the floodgates for me.

      I don’t think codependent men are so rare (40% of our CoDA group is male) it is just that codependency in a male manifests itself differently than it does in the more stereotypical ways we see in abused females. What’s more, someone may present codependent symptoms in a marriage, but be highly functional in the work place. Assertiveness may mask codependency to those not familiar with it.

      Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, our counselor tried to get her to see rage as sin, so she has mostly stopped raging; from my wife’s own words though, her motive is that her blood pressure gets too high and she doesn’t want to have a stroke, not that she is damaging me. She has gained some awareness and has been practicing techniques to help some. I have been detaching more, reacting less, focusing more on my mental health and recovery, so that has helped the marriage. I just don’t know if I can stay in the marriage long enough for her to get past the denial. These next couple of weeks will be a critical milestone. I am just so wishy-washy. I want to reconcile, I don’t hate her. Saying that though, tells me I must not love her as I ought, or else I would more easily maintain emotional distance.

      • JoAnn on April 2, 2019 at 11:48 pm

        SteVee, You said this: “She was badly abused as a child. I’m sure I don’t know the half of it. She says she has forgiven her father and that all of the problems are with me.” Even then, the forgiveness must be “from the heart” and it sounds like her forgiveness may not have gone deep enough. Please be aware that forgiving an abuser does not heal the wounds of the abuse, which is why she is still so easily triggered “by you” into rage. I am sure that you are compassionate toward her, knowing that she has suffered such abuse, but is this the way you want to spend the rest of your life with her?
        If your therapist is trying to use CBT with her, I’m sorry to say that I don’t think CBT will go deep enough for her. EMDR is much more effective for healing intense abuse ( PTSD) such as your wife has experienced. Perhaps you can find someone who has advanced training in that technique. There are some others here who have benefitted from it. I have, myself.

        • SteVee on April 3, 2019 at 10:04 pm

          Thank you JoAnn. I first heard of EMDR about 20 years ago from a psychiatrist in Oregon that was using it to help deputies deal with post-shooting trauma. I had completely forgotten about it.

          Today I went to the .org website for EMDR, and there are two certified EMDR counselors in my area. Both are female, and both have about fifteen years counseling experience, but I don’t know how long they have been using EMDR. I’ll read more about them on the weekend, and try to get an appointment to see if either may be a good fit to help me deal with the abuse I’ve dealt with. Maybe my wife will follow me to the counselor, maybe not.

      • Jane on April 3, 2019 at 6:49 am

        SteVee , my heart hurts for u. Yes, u love her, but there are ungodly soul ties that pull u back. That is not because u don’t live her as u ought. I encourage u both to engage separately in a ministry called restoring the foundations. It deals with the deep spiritual aspects that contribute to all of this. Generational curses. Ungodly beliefs. Word curses. Ungodly soul ties. Soul spirit hurts. Therapy with emdr is very helpful for reprocessing trauma into memory and getting some of the extreme reactions.

        As for distance from God, there have been times I swear I am in the desert alone and there are times I feel Him sitting and holding me and I can hear His voice clearly, but who He has been for me us El Roi, the God who sees (and cares btw). He has seen every hurt, every tear, every fiery dart, every moment of shame and isolation and fear, and He has wept with u, He has been righteously angry for u. It is because of free will that this is allowed for a season.

        Don’t quit being obedient to God. Let His voice be louder than anyone else’s if u can tune Him in right now, else use Godly discernment as to whose voices to heed. I know my pastor has a good heart but lacks discernment and godly wisdom in this matter. That still hurts me a little at times but I do not ask for his counsel in the matter any more. Im sure I’m not the only one praying for u as they have read your posts. Focus on your healing and surrender your wife to the Lord to deal with her, whether that leaves u together or apart, it allows Him to work in both of your lives. There really is freedom in realizing your responsibility is obedience to God, not fixing your marriage, not healing your wife, not being the head example of suffering, but loving and listening to God and knowing apart from that u can do nothing. And that’s ok.

        • SteVee on April 3, 2019 at 10:11 pm

          Hi Jane,

          I’ll look up restoring the foundations.

          “It is because of free will that this is allowed for a season…
          Im sure I’m not the only one praying for u as they have read your posts. Focus on your healing and surrender your wife to the Lord to deal with her … There really is freedom in realizing your responsibility is obedience to God, not fixing your marriage, not healing your wife, not being the head example of suffering, but loving and listening to God and knowing apart from that u can do nothing. And that’s ok.”

          Thank you for both the prayer and the encouragement. I needed to hear these words today.

  22. Karen on April 3, 2019 at 12:31 am

    Hi SteVee,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. I am sorry for all the torturous, confusing feelings and thoughts and experiences. In the end, you said you are, “detaching more, reacting less, focusing more on my mental health and recovery.” You said it is helping the marriage, but I am sure that, above all, it is helping YOU. I think we are all “wishy-washy” as we go through this. Our spouses are not ALL bad or we would never have married them. So much about this is confusing. Also, don’t worry about “feeling isolated from God.” He will never, never, never leave you or forsake you. You are just numb. It is normal.

    • SteVee on April 3, 2019 at 10:34 pm

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you for your compassion. Working on my issues has been helping me, but it is very disturbing too; like doing surgery on yourself. I keep finding more stuff that is dysfunctional. The fog is probably a blessing. I’m trying to accept it, and live in the moment, because I can’t deal with the past or the future right now. I know what my wife is feeling, but am completely confused about what I really feel and want, beyond feeling miserable, and not wanting to feel miserable.

      “Also, don’t worry about “feeling isolated from God.” He will never, never, never leave you or forsake you. You are just numb. It is normal.”

      I really needed to hear that. Thank you. I keep reading “Victory Over the Darkness” which talks about our identity in Christ. Slowly it is soaking in.

      • JoAnn on April 3, 2019 at 11:55 pm

        SteVee, “Victory over the Darkness” by Neil Anderson is an excellent book. Pray over every page, and let it sink into your soul. I could recommend it to everyone, to help you find your identity in Christ. When you know who you are in Him, then He becomes your life and your living. Strengthens your CORE.

        • Nancy on April 4, 2019 at 10:25 am

          I will ask The Lord if I should get this book. Thank you for recommending it.

  23. Lynn on April 4, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Take the advice of Leslie and the women on here. You have come so far and if he is really willing to change he will follow through, be consistent and prove himself to you. You said yourself he is manipulative and it sounds like he know exactly how to manipulate you into getting what he wants. And if he can do that he will only go back to his old ways once you are all settled back in together.
    I wish I had listened to the advice of all these brave women on here. I went back to my husband after separating and filing for divorce. I ended up getting pregnant, moving all our children to a new town for a fresh start only to find out a few months after we had our new baby that he has a new “friend” at work. Now I am in a worse predicament than before . I filed for divorce again but it is going to be even harder to leave this time. He is once again going through all the motions like he did last time to get me to stay with him. I saved text messages from him from the last time we separated and they are almost word for word with the ones he is sending now.
    Run my friend…you sound like you are so strong and did all the right things. You hit that enoigh is enough moment…I did too. And it’s so hard….because they know our hearts and know that we are loving and kind and want to forgive….but don’t let him use you. Your happiness is important. God wants you to be happy and healthy. Prayers for you to be strong….for me too.

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