Morning friends,

I just returned from a long travel schedule from Nashville and Ancaster, Canada. Thanks for your prayers. I leave again Thursday for Akron, Ohio and am speaking Saturday all day on relationships, healthy, and unhealthy for women. I would love to meet you. Click here for more details. 

Next week I head to New Jersey to speak one last time before I take a much-needed vacation. Continue to pray for safety and impact. I love speaking about these topics but getting tired of all the travel.  

Thanks for all your prayers for me. They are deeply appreciated. 

Today’s Question: Some of the friends that my ex-husband and I had together in the church left the church where he attends and joined together with our pastor to form a new reformed church. My ex, however, still goes on backpacking trips with them. These friends know that he was abusive in our marriage and they also know that he refused to cooperate in seeking counseling for possible reconciliation. They also know that he hurt me deeply.

I am working to forgive these people for “associating” with an unrepentant abusive man. I do hope that he will gain something from being among them; however, I cannot help but think that in his self-centered mind, this is a victory for him.

I am working to just let God handle it but I have moments when I feel betrayed to some degree. How do I steer away from thinking that this is really not right? Should I distance myself from this new church or learn how to accept that they may never know the depth of what I experienced and they are just not equipped spiritually to know how to handle this situation. I know they love both of us.

Answer: Let’s start with the fact that you know your friends love both of you and go from there because if you know that’s true, then you know they are not going backpacking with your husband to take sides or to intentionally hurt you. It might be he has invited himself to go with them and they don’t know how to graciously tell him no. It is also true that they might not be equipped to know how to handle this situation. However, they might have tried to handle it as best they knew how and your husband remains blind to his own sinfulness.   

When a couple divorces, especially when there has been a betrayal of trust or abuse and there is no repentance, it is natural for the injured spouse to want their friends and family to take their side. We want them to bear witness to the reality of our betrayal and the sinfulness and injustice of the situation. It hurts when it seems to us as if they are acting like it’s not a big deal anymore or that both sides were equally at fault. 

You asked how to steer yourself away from obsessing about the injustice of it all. Excellent question because steer away you must. Please don’t allow yourself one more moment’s angst whether your ex considers backpacking with church friends a victory for him. You don’t know what he’s thinking. But when you continue to link your well being to him or his thoughts about things, you still give him the power to torment and hurt you. Don’t do it.   

I’m so glad you recognize that it’s important to forgive your friends for associating with your unrepentant abusive ex-husband. Have you considered the possibility that your husband is not only unrepentant, but he is not even a Christian? Perhaps your friends realize that despite what he professes, his actions do not reflect the heart of someone who knows God.  

For example, the Bible says, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in darkness.” (1 John 2:9). “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are. Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” (1 John 3:10). “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (1 John 4:20).

Your church friends may see these backpacking excursions as “neutral” ground to have deeper conversations with your spouse about his relationship with God precisely because of their awareness of his abusive relationship with you.

The apostle Paul does tell us to distant ourselves from unrepentant believers, but not from unbelievers – for if we did that, how would we influence or share with them the gospel of Christ? (1 Corinthians 5:9-11). Could it be that your friends want to be a light to him and to continue to have opportunities to bring him to the truth?  

I want you to remember an important truth to steer your thought life towards truth.  Our perception determines our reality. When you view your friend’s backpacking with your ex-husband as something they do as friends and they are not thinking or caring how deeply it wounds you for them to associate with him after he has treated you abusively, you will be tempted to feel hurt and betrayed. However, if you look at it from a slightly different angle – that your friends feel compelled to continue to have opportunities in a “non church” venues to speak truth to your husband with the hopes of helping him see himself more clearly, then you might feel differently about what they are doing and it might not hurt as much.

Finally friend, please work hard to take your eyes off your ex, and off your mutual friends. They love you but they will disappoint you at times. 

When we look for justice or fairness in the kingdom of this world, we often are let down, but when we fix our eyes on Christ, the knower of all, the guardian of our souls, the keeper of our heart, then we can let go and trust Him to breathe new life into the broken places. Click To Tweet 

Your ex-husband trashed your marriage, ravished your spirit through his abusive attitudes and actions, please do not allow your understandable hurt, anger, or unforgiveness rob you of one more minute of your life.  

Trust God as you work hard to rebuild your own life and make some new friends. That will take enough of your strength and energy. Don’t waste any more mental or emotional energy on what they’re doing or not doing.

Friends, what have you done to refocus your thinking when you’re stuck in hurt or anger over what your friends have or have not done to support you?

46 Comments

  1. Debbie on October 23, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Boy, did I need this! Two years divorced and still giving my power away. Gotta get a grip on it!!
    Thank you for the question! And thank you, Leslie, for walking us through healthy thoughts.

    • Susan on October 23, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      Amen. That was a good reminder and it’s now 10 plus years since my husband left me, our family, and the church and his I assume his faith in God because of his actions. He immediately married the woman he was having his affair with.
      I’m still so Thankful to have read this reminder to not let him have control and power over me. As my thought life is still curious and hoping he is miserable. Finding ways of Moving on and away from him was my best way of healing. God helped me. I would Find new friends, even a new church whatever it takes to not see him. My thought is he is probably looking for validation and wants to feel less guilt by trying to hang out with your old friends. Pray for Gods peace in your own mind and to be set free. It is not easy and I agree Yes people disappoint even our families who say hurtful things but God is the God who sees and our true love and security is only from Him. Thank you Leslie.

  2. Renee on October 23, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    I completely identify with the one asking today’s question. My husband was the senior pastor of a church who had an affair with a married ‘friend’ of mine in our church, we divorced/she divorced, they married, and still there were those in our church who wanted him to return as pastor after he married the other woman.

    But, there are others who will never be able to grasp the level of betrayal and devastation I (and my children) felt because this didn’t happen to them. They do not have the empathetic band width to identify with the devastation wrought in our lives and congratulated my ex on his new marriage like my children and I never existed. They’re proud of themselves to being so ‘forgiving.’ One of my kids said to me, “Mom, I those people loved us.”

    My kids and I moved away and started brand new lives with brand new friends. It took time before I realized what former friends think and how they relate to my ex is none of my business–if i want to be emotionally and spiritually healthy. It took even more time before I realized I had to block all those people on social media and to not let the few people from our former life with whom I still communicate to call to tell me any new information about my ex.

    I finally understand that I cannot grasp the new God is giving me if I still have my hands tightly grasped around the past. But–that took time and there’s not a formula for that because everyone is different. I began getting better when I began to trust my gut and gave myself permission to leave behind the people I can’t trust. It’s okay to let them all go.

    • Nancy on October 26, 2019 at 8:05 am

      Renee,
      This sounds so painful. And yet how gracious God is that you were able to move away and start again!

      I love this, “it took time before I realized what former friends think and how they relate to my ex is none of my business”.

      And at the sa,e time it absolutely is okay to let them go. Good for you.

      • Renay on October 31, 2019 at 5:46 pm

        Thank you for your kind affirmation, Nancy. To some my ‘leaving behind’ or ‘shutting out’ old friends may sound harsh, but it’s a healthy boundary for the best for me and for my children. I couldn’t put new wine in old wine skins!

    • Elle on November 8, 2019 at 6:24 pm

      I don’t agree with the answer at all. Why are you giving these so-called friends a pass for possibly not knowing how to have integrity and character? A true friend would not affirm an abusive man by including him on trips. Period. There are few people of character anymore. But find them. Don’t make excuses for those without it

  3. MoonBeam on October 23, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Another thing that is helpful is to remember that God is just. This life is temporary and is not our real home. We are only here briefly. Our abusers will have eternity to deal with the consequences of their actions. If we can just keep our mind on heavenly things, then it is easier to pray for those sinning against us.

    • Janice D on October 24, 2019 at 7:06 am

      MoonBeam, Thank you for reminding us of this precious truth.It is so helpful to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and our real home with Him.I agree that this mindset gives us the strength to pray for those who have mistreated us and leave the consequences in Gods hands.

  4. M on October 23, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    “Our perception determines our reality.” Hm, that is not an absolute truth. If I have cancer, and will die of it because it is incurable, my perceptions do not and cannot change that fact. I may perceive that I am very healthy, having several real indicators that indeed I am. Yet, if in fact I have an incurable disease, I am not healthy. Regardless of my perceptions, I am dying of cancer.

    Our perceptions may be extremely genuine and clear to us. But no, they are not what determine our reality.

    Objective reality exists outside of us no matter what we perceive or think about it.

    Objective reality is the truth and the truth actually reigns, absolutely.

    Our perceptions definitely influence our choices, and our choices do have a real and meaningful impact on our reality. But our perceptions are by no means THE determinant of our reality.

    To the writer: Your so-called friends are disobeying God as well as grossly violating common decency. God says that people who claim to be Christians but are revilers (abusers) are wicked and we are forbidden to even eat with them. What your so-called friends are doing is sin.

    They are not being charitable witnesses. They are disobeying Christ, our absolute Ruler. They are not caring about Him.

    They are betraying you, not loving you, treating you as worthless. It’s wretched. You have every reason to feel heartbroken.

    May you cling to Christ, the truth, and turn away from all lies. God will avenge, it is His to repay. Peace and love to you!!!

    • Leslie Vernick on October 23, 2019 at 9:14 pm

      Hey M. Notice that I didn’t write “our perceptions determine reality, but our perceptions determine our reality” I stand by that statement. I agree with you. Yes there is objective reality out there and we are experts at lying to ourselves (the Bible teaches). Therefore, if I believe I am cancer free and I live like I am cancer free – that does not negate TRUE reality – I am filled with cancer and will die soon without treatment) but when I ignore anything that doesn’t line up with my own version of reality then I am going to make some critical mistakes in judgement….which people do all the time. That is the curse of our fallen nature. That’s why we are to examine our thoughts to see if they line up with God’s reality and truth, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, which is what I encouraged this woman to do.

      • Aly on October 26, 2019 at 10:12 am

        Leslie,
        I agree with our perceptions determine ‘our reality’ comment. This makes sense to me.
        I think you touched on a lot of great topics in this recent blog.
        I still struggle with many of the things you highlighted about 1John above. I agree that we can have a professing Christian in our lives and yet see behavior or actions that do not reflect the heart of someone who knows God!
        Does this mean they are not a Christian? Or maybe they are? And this is where the level of relationship or engagement gets murky for me at times. Plus, I feel strongly that only God can ever really be the ultimate judge of professing belief.
        When you mentioned 1 Cor 5:9-11, Paul says to distance ourselves from unrepentant believers and yet also witness or be an influence to unbelievers. An unrepentant believer often looks like an unbeliever (especially over time) and how are we to determine what is the best for ourselves and possibly an unbeliever, in this case?

        • JoAnn on October 26, 2019 at 4:02 pm

          Aly, as we learn to protect our hearts from those relationships that are not profitable, we need a spirit of discernment. That can mean staying away from even believers who do not bring us into a closer relationship with Christ. All believers are at different levels of maturity, and Paul addresses these differences in his letters. It is such a joy to be in fellowship with others who are “like minded,” while it can bring a sense of death/darkness to try to fellowship with those who are not living in oneness with our Lord. We do need a spirit of discernment. Over and over in the Old Testament, the Lord made it clear that His people were to stay away from death, not even touching any kind of dead thing. This is a principle for our living. You are right: only God can judge whether a person is truly saved, but we also can have the mind of Christ to know how to relate to others. Sometimes just speaking a word of Truth can change a person’s heart. I find it is often easier to share with an unbeliever than a hardened believer, maybe because they have been damaged by religion.

          • Aly on October 26, 2019 at 5:04 pm

            JoAnn,
            Thank you for your post. I agree, discernment is essential here.
            You know my situation and it indeed was a spiritual one at the core, I guess I struggle with a lot of the framework here.
            Maybe I was surrounded by believers that were offended by truth (oxymoron) and prefer to live and seek ways of denial? Then again some of the things you mentioned are difficult. Almost sounds like (oxymorons) hardened believer?
            I do think there are those who are ‘dead in their faith’ and there are those growing in their faith.
            I agree with you about a principal for our faith and staying away from those things that are dead, guess it’s hard to see & accept WHO and what those dead things are. 😩



          • JoAnn on October 26, 2019 at 11:00 pm

            Aly, as an example, there is a sister in the Lord who I have been “shepherding” for some time, but recently she has had a psychotic break, with some hospitalizations. She insists that her husband is abusing her, and I am inclined to believe her, but the situation is so chaotic, and there is much lying from both of them that I can’t tell whom to believe. I am a helper, and my natural inclination is to try to help here, but within me is such a strong sense of darkness, and I feel a clear sense from the Lord to refrain from getting involved. What I can do is to pray, but the Lord isn’t allowing me to do any more than that, even though my natural heart wants to rescue her. I must obey that inner speaking. I know that this seems harsh, but that inner feeling is the Lord’s leading, and I can’t violate it. Yes, it’s hard to see and accept, but the Lord knows more than I do, and I must trust Him to take care of her. (I hope that this doesn’t seem even more confusing to you.)



        • Nancy on October 28, 2019 at 7:12 am

          OH my goodness Aly, can I ever relate to two of your comments to JoAnn.

          1) “does this mean they are not a Christian? Or may be they are? This is where the level of relationship or engagement gets murky at times. Plus I feel strongly that only God can be the judge of professing belief”

          This is where I get caught too. The last statement , which I feel strongly too, is what sets me free. BUT I still need to discern the level of engagement AND it’s extra tricky when it’s parents! Ouf! I think JoAnn you are right, this has to be a Holy Spirit directed thing. My brain gets twisted in a knot otherwise!

          2) “Maybe I was surrounded by believers who were offended by truth”. Wow, maybe I was too – in the case of my mother, not my sibs- they are not believers. But then how can a believer be offended by truth. This is so confusing. But this is why I love the passage about iron sharpening iron. Loving someone means truth telling.

          For a long while I was worried about my mother’s funeral (she is very healthy). What would I say? Would I speak? This past spring I went to a funeral that was lovely. The woman was a dear sister who had done much for The Lord. But then I spoke with a friend who pointed out that there was little mention of Christ – the One who this sister had spent her life serving.It was all about what she had DONE as well as her gifts (she was a pianist) and her service.

          After that I became clear that if I were to speak at my mother’s funeral, I would tell the story of The Lord’s faithfulness to her, in her life. As I look at her life, she was rescued very young from a terrible domestic abuse situation. Rescued by God, through a minister. Brought from a northern village to the city for her mother to work in the home of a well-to-do doctor, who loved her like a daughter. She got a great education in the city. Since then she has always been heavily involved with the church. Regardless of her response, or lack of response to Him, His hand has been on her, her whole life. I can see that. If I were to speak at her funeral, it would be about Him, and to bring the Gospel to those who have been brought there to hear it.

          This decision (wether it comes to pass, or not) has brought me a measure of peace.

          • Janice D on October 28, 2019 at 8:04 am

            Nancy,I relate very much with your situation.My mom has been a church going professed believer her entire life and I can’t say what her relationship with the Lord is.It is in Gods hands and I am not to judge that.I see that she seems to have little comfort or correction from the Holy Spirit and no amount of talking with her gets below the superficial “Christianity”.Sadly,this is also my husbands story…he talks a good talk claiming to want “godly reconciliation “ without evidence of true repentance.If either were to die before me I would be at a loss as to what to say about their spiritual condition.They are both somewhat truth allergic with their own perceptions of reality.



          • Nancy on October 28, 2019 at 8:44 am

            Janice, the way you describe your mother sounds very familiar to me.

            So, may I ask you a question with regards to your relationship with your mother?

            How do you interact with your mother? Is it a one-sided ‘ministry’ relationship? (As opposed to a mutual relationship of give and receive). How do you determine when to interact with her?



          • Aly on October 28, 2019 at 9:42 am

            Nancy,
            I’m thankful and glad that you have many areas of peace of things with your mother and the interactions. From what you describe, your mother Seems to carry an identity that is more heavily in church membership or church community than in being (and more importantly knowing) a daughter of the King.

            My situation is still estranged since going no contact. No to mention the full enmeshment of the rest of the ext. family in this.
            At the core and separation it’s based on ‘truth telling’ go figure!

            If there wasn’t truth telling or turning on the light, I would still be in a thick murky water navigating through with confusion and knowing something ‘is OFF’.

            I agree 100% about loving someone well in truth telling. But this has cost me many relationships that are not open to:
            1. Having a safe two sided relationship of respect & trust
            2.Or having a one-sided relationship where I would have some healthy boundaries.



          • JoAnn on October 28, 2019 at 2:08 pm

            Nancy, I love what you came up with to say about your mother. That is kind and loving, and true. You said, “loving someone means truth telling.” Yes, I agree, but we must be selective about what truth we speak, according to the hearer’s capacity to take it in. Some truths are only for the Lord Himself to say, as in Matthew 7. So, I conclude that our truth telling must be without judgement and in love….His love. Your mother has a remarkable history, and we can’t begin to know the impact that all those things you mentioned have had on her, nor do we know the teachings that have shaped her decisions. Perhaps her service in the church is her way of “working out her salvation.”

            My mother had a difficult childhood, but she figured out a way to cope with it. She lived through the Depression and WWII. As a counselor, I could think of several issues that she needed to deal with, but she had worked things out for herself, and it wasn’t my place to challenge those. I appreciate her courage and fortitude in the face of a lot of adversity. So, that’s what I talked about at her funeral. I could do that because I had already forgiven her from my heart, knowing that she did the best she could.

            Mother issues are so complex, aren’t they?



          • Nancy on October 28, 2019 at 2:16 pm

            HI Aly,

            I’m sorry that the situation with your parents is estranged 🙁
            We are also still ‘no contact’ with my h’s mother… That’s hard, especially at Christmas time….

            #2 ( at the bottom of your comment) is the relationship that I have with my mother. It took so many times getting hurt to realize (and APPLY) that my mother is not a safe person to entrust my heart to. There will likely always be grief associated with never having had an emotionally nurturing, or emotionally capable mother, but there is no longer the on-going pain of getting hurt by her.

            We (my husband and I) are now strong enough to be able to interact with her in a healthy way. We are grateful to God for the way He is equipping us to model healthy and loving boundaries for our girls! What a 180 degree turn from where we were only a couple of years ago. (Plus my mother is not nearly as dysfunctional as his is….reaching out to her would be a very different situation!)



          • Nancy on October 28, 2019 at 2:35 pm

            Yes JoAnn, I agree, we must speak truth with discernment.

            It’s very possible that her service is her working out her salvation…Like Janice D. I see that “she seems to have little comfort or correction from the Holy Spirit” and that is confusing indeed.

            This is why focusing on Christ’s faithfulness TO HER is a great comfort to me. It gets me away from trespassing into her very personal choices. They really are none of my business.

            And yes…she lived through hell up until 9, and at 9 lost everyone except her mother…but she gained stability, a much safer environment and a wonderful father figure. No wonder she has lived in the same house since 1967!

            Yup….mother issues sure are something else.



    • Mitzi on October 24, 2019 at 10:27 am

      I agree wholeheartedly with you, M.

  5. Annie on October 24, 2019 at 12:45 am

    Remember your ex is usually great at presenting to the outside world and chances are your friends may not understand what you have been through until they themselves have had to confront or say no to him, and actually experience the abusive response directed at them. Even though they believe you they may not be able to feel what you feel. Having said that I am sorry you have to go through the grief of this betrayal.

  6. Janice D on October 24, 2019 at 7:01 am

    As believers we are to strive to align our reality with Reality and our truth with Truth.Asolute Truth and Absolute Reality is a person,Jesus.Leslie is a faithful servant of God who helps battered women( in all its many forms) and some men as we face the facts of our marriages and begin our journey out of the fog and into the clear air.To M,I would like to say welcome to this blog.This is much for us to learn together if we are humble and teachable.Leslies wisdom is invaluable because it is wisdom from the Lord.We are to search the scriptures and ask the Lord to search our hearts and the Holy Spirit confirms His Truth in our spirit.

  7. Mitzi on October 24, 2019 at 10:26 am

    I know how the question asker feels. My husband (we’re still married) betrayed me with secret drinking and lies on 6 occasions over the last three years. He would seemingly repent and “do the right things” like go to recovery meetings, etc but a short time would go by and he would betray me again by lying about secret drinking to drunkkenness or other important things. I finally set a boundary that we would separate if he lied again, and I think, hope, and pray that it has finally sunk in for him that he cannot keep doing this if he wants to stay together (and he definitely does).

    Our friends at church, especially our small group and the men he did recovery meetings with, were aware of the details of his betrayals and continued to give him “pats on the back” and attaboys while basically ignoring me and the deep, deep hurt I felt each time he betrayed me after promising he wouldn’t do it anymore. It is so hard to not feel like they have “chosen to be on his side”!

    But like the question asker, I know that our small group loves me too, and I believe their actions simply reflect the fact that they don’t fully grasp what it feels like to be betrayed at a deep level. I’ve felt the same hurt with the family members who know what he’s done (not all do) and praise him for stopping his horrible behavior but seemingly have little to no empathy for what I’ve been through with his behavior.

    I pray every day for God to heal and bind up my brokenheartedness and I believe He will with time. I think once more time has passed without a betrayal, I will begin to feel safe with my husband again too.

    • Nancy on October 30, 2019 at 6:53 am

      Hi Mitzi,

      I think it’s critical for us to speak truth to these ‘well meaning’ ‘friends’. I remember one time during a conversation with someone at church this lady started talking about how generous my h was. I looked at her and said, “generous… I suppose that true some of the time.”

      This stopped her in her tracks because she was in the process of painting a fantasy picture of him (something that used to happen a lot). She then looked at me and said, “well, I guess I’m not married to him, am I?”and then she giggled. I got to laugh and agree with her. “Yeah”I responded “real life isn’t that pretty”.

      That was an example of me arresting conversations that were headed into ‘fantasy land’.

      I used to think that to add anything to someone’s uplifting comments about him was akin to me tearing him down. But it’s not. It’s the choice to operate in reality – where our Lord and saviour operates.

      What kind of real response can you give to someone who is praising your h’s behaviour?

      Maybe something like, “yes, he seems to be doing well, doesn’t he? Only The Lord knows if there has been real heart transformation, though. The bible warns us all of worldly repentance. That’s why I have to be extremely careful about giving my trust back to him. I’m sure you can understand how delicate this is for me”

      • Nancy on October 30, 2019 at 6:58 am

        “I’m sure you can understand how delicate this is for me, given the fact that he has acted this way each of the 6 times he has betrayed me.”

        • Aly on October 30, 2019 at 8:52 am

          Nancy,
          This is a good example of how to kindly but honestly speak inviting another to consider the person who has been on the recipient side of these places.

          • Nancy on October 30, 2019 at 3:48 pm

            Thanks Aly. And Even if speaking up does NOTHING to change the other person’s perspective, it does wonders for our own heart. We won’t need others to defend us if we practice defending ourselves 🙂



    • Aly on October 30, 2019 at 9:04 am

      Mitzi,
      I’m sorry for what you have been experiencing. I think it’s extremely deep when a person betrays us in a repeating pattern, especially when we haven’t healed from the first offense.
      I believe a repeat offender situation takes a lot MORE time and interventions to earn trust again. Yes! Your heart will heal with the Lords love apart from your husbands decisions.
      Because you mention alcohol and your h lying to you about it, I wonder if you think he might need more interventions than a few meetings etc? Especially if you see relapse. Often times there are other things that drive our choices or coping behavior and if those are not being addressed it’s common that the way one deals with them will repeat.
      If he secretly drinks again and tells you the truth, is there something else that you have lined out in response to that?

  8. Lily on October 24, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    It’s easy to say ignore them, but when you’ve lived in the community for many years, all your friends and some family are there, and he makes flying monkeys out of them all, it’s not so simple. Then when you move away, he tells everyone that you’ve torn his fatherhood out from under him (even though he avoided having the kids as much as possible because he was so busy with a new interest, and you bring them to him more than he had them before). Over 20 years later and the smear campaign continues, and now you have a second h who is doing the same in your new community………….this is not an easy road. And no, they are not trying to win him to the Lord, they think I’m the one who needs converting. It’s not just friends, it’s family. Pretty hard to ignore. Yes, we can forgive and ignore, but to not allow ourselves one more moment’s angst is not possible when you have to visit family and face it often. No, I don’t obsess about it, but I do grieve it, and that process takes time. It’s a spiral. Especially when the children are a part of all that.

    In August, my children came together from all over the world. It was near their dad. They gave me 3 hours, and he got 3 days. I’m thankful for the 3 hours, and I did get to be with some of them individually here and there before and after, but I sure can’t say it doesn’t hurt.

    • Nancy on October 24, 2019 at 3:03 pm

      Hey Lily,

      Are you the writer of this question? If so, I’m confused. You ended the original question by saying that you know they love you And yet their attitude and behaviour toward you -what you describe above- does not seem loving at all. (Specifically when you said that they think you are the one who needs converting- this is not a loving attitude at all).

      • Lily on October 24, 2019 at 10:50 pm

        No I did not write that question. I just relate to who did.

    • Free on October 24, 2019 at 6:48 pm

      Lily, it sounds like you are dealing with a master manipulator. Have you read “People of the Lie” recently? I advise you review it or at least Google it and read the excerpts. You are never going to win with this guy. If I was you I would move away from everyone and start a whole new life. Anyone who really loves you will seek you out. In fact your willingness to start afresh will probably make you incredibly interesting. Lily, think big. Be good to yourself. Don’t adapt, make a choice that benefits you. Where is you dream location? Near a beach? On a mountain? In a new country? I say make it happen, shake the dust off your sandals and don’t look back.

      • Lily on October 24, 2019 at 10:56 pm

        If I had age and health on my side, that would be what I would do.

        • Free on October 25, 2019 at 8:38 am

          Ok, Dear. I am going to call you out. Age and health are not barriers, just excuses. Please value yourself, ask for help if you must to reimagine your life. Join a senior community in another area that is less expensive to live. I don’t think you are really living in your present arrangement, just surviving. As long as you have breath, there are possibilities. It is probable that your health improves in a new environment too. Come on friend, call someone today to research new housing.

    • Karin on October 25, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      Lily, Unconditional love does NOT mean “unconditional relationship”. Whether your present- or ex-husband are drawing family & friends into their manipulations or not, you have the choice to decide what you will limit from your life, what you will accept and what you will not. If your present husband is “poisoning the well” from where you draw your friendships, perhaps those are not healthy friends for you in the first place. Your relationships with them do not have to be unconditional (that is, without boundaries and limits). Jesus very clearly loved all people with unconditional love……..He laid down his life for the Pharisee’s as much as for the named sinners!!!!! BUT, He didn’t allow the false expectations of ‘being nice’ and ‘unconditional relationships’ to trap Him. He very clearly said He would not allow the Pharisees to put their laws on Him and thereby define the relationship for Him by telling Him what He had to be. Maybe this is something you can be thoughtfully prayerful about in considering your own situation. Be wise in the Lord, Lily!!

  9. Free on October 25, 2019 at 8:43 am

    Lily, I am going to challenge you here. Age and health are just excuses, not barriers. Find a senior community in a low cost area like Florida or Arizona and make it happen! Your health will probably improve in a stress free environment and you are sure to make new friends! You deserve to value your life and yourself. As long as you have breath you can do this. You are obviously intelligent do use your mind, be courageous, take a risk and do it!

  10. Heather on October 26, 2019 at 8:32 am

    I struggle quite a bit too with dealing with my feelings of hurt and betrayal because of how our mutual friends have acted toward him versus how they have acted toward me. Before I moved out, I had finally opened up to a few very close friends about the long term emotional abuse. Some were shocked because they had never seen that side of him. Some were supportive that it was time for me to go for my own safety. However, their feelings and actions have changed. They minimize his abusive behavior. Some have told me that they believe it is their duty to try to save this marriage. Some have decided to diminish their friendship with me because they believe that he needs their support more than I do because he is not emotionally well. The only contact I receive from some of them is when they call to ask what it will take for me to change my mind and work to reconcile with him. I know that they are not “safe” friends, but they were some of my closest friends for many years. It really does hurt seeing how little they care about me.

    • Bol on January 15, 2020 at 4:56 pm

      I am in a very similar situation, I never expected to have to deal with these feelings of hurt and betrayal on top of the abuse itself. I ind it unbelievably painful and think I will probably have to leave my church on top of my home.

  11. Janice D on October 28, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Nancy,my mom is 89 and 2 years post stroke with residual dementia.Yes,I would say it’s not a mutual relationship.I honor her and don’t expect anything from her.This has been a very long struggle for me as she basically blamed me for the childhood incest by my father.God has given me freedom to limit my interactions with her and have boundaries in place.She has lived with my older single brother for many years and as long as she can care for her grooming needs will continue to.My ministry now has to do with my brother and how he is managing things.I love my mom and have peace about our relationship.She lives her life on her terms and is a woman without grace in her life…very sad.

    • Aly on October 28, 2019 at 12:34 pm

      Janice D,
      I’m so very sorry for what you have been through.
      You wrote:
      “She lives her life on her terms”
      So consistent with what many of us here have been recipients of with people who don’t surrender.
      Sounds like she has similar things of your x-husband? Separated husband?
      I’m grateful you have made a life away from that scenario replaying over and over.

      • Janice D on October 28, 2019 at 3:10 pm

        Thanks Aly, Yes in many ways there are remarkable similarities between my mom and estranged husband.Much saner and safer to love them from afar and leave them in Gods hands while continuing to pray for their hearts to soften to the Holy Spirit.

    • Nancy on October 28, 2019 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks for responding Janice. The Peace you have comes through here.

      “Honouring her without expecting anything from her” is so key. I am beginning to experience the freedom that those two things bring.

      Praise God that He equips is with all we need. Especially his Peace.

  12. Debbie on October 30, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Dear Commentors,
    Today I thought to revisit this thread, as I was the first reply.
    As I began to read, I was moved to begin praying for myself over the many comments that struck me. Ways I hadn’t thought to ask for God’s help–it was meaningful as I was led by God’s Spirit. I feel encouraged. Praising God for this type of community, with insights that are valuable & formative. Saying a prayer for this group as our Waymaker grants His light to us 💞

    • Julie Kong on November 6, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      I just read this thread and am so encouraged by the wisdom of the responses, particularly re discernment when knowing when to trust even a professing believer. That’s what it comes down to: walking in step with the Spirit, including of course a heart humility on my part. Often I hear people react immediately with something like “stay as far away as possible from that abusive person.” Well, maybe, maybe not. If we stayed away from all “sinful people” where would we be? If God had stayed away from all sinful, abusive people….

      There is a time for speaking truth in love, and there is a time for removing oneself from harm.

      The timing of these remarks for a current relationship I’m in with a “friend” is remarkable. Thank you all for this post.

      And a different point that Leslie didn’t address in her response, that we also have to learn to deal with in a healthy way: when the friends have said in the past they “love” you but now are ignoring you and hanging out with your husband because they have believed only *his* story …… that indeed is challenging.

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