Morning friends,

Summer is well underway but it feels different this year doesn’t it? We’re in the midst of history-changing moments and my hope is that it's creating change for the better. My granddaughters left to go back home this weekend. We had fun painting and horseback riding. My prayer is that they grow up to be strong women of God who can be confident in who God has made them to be so that they can navigate forward with strength and dignity smiling at the future unafraid. 

Today’s Question:  

I am separated from my husband as a result of indifference and apathy towards my kids and my needs as well as major addiction and unwillingness to change and not really understanding a need for him to change. He comes to drop things off in the evening and I'm wondering if it's okay to sit by the fire with him or will it send him mixed messages?

I'm definitely not ok with the way he has treated us and I'm finding it difficult to discern what's best to protect myself. I don’t want to pretend everything is fine but the reality is we have 3 children together so I will have to have some sort of relationship with him. He says he has been listening to lots of podcasts including the ones I have sent him from your website and he says “it's not looking good” for him. It seems he’s just starting to understand there are major changes needed and understands the separation is long term and we won't be having any physical contact. I message him regularly with things about the kids. Not sure how to proceed.

Answer: Separation can be a confusing and murky time in a marriage because the boundaries of what’s okay and what’s not okay aren’t always clear both in our own heads, as well as in the relationship.  

So perhaps a good step to clarify things for you is to redefine why you felt it was important for you to separate from him, to begin with. Was it for safety reasons? Was it for your own healing and sanity? Was it in the hopes he would wake up and want his family back? Some of each?

Once you’ve clarified why you separated, ask yourself the next question. Do I want reconciliation? If so, then define what is needed for that to happen? What is your work to do? What is his work to do? What is marriage work to do? Write all those things out in as much detail as you can for your own benefit (not necessarily his).

The reason I ask if you want reconciliation is that sometimes the destruction and damage is so great that trust and safety can never be completely repaired. If or when you move back together and attempt to do marriage and you still live afraid of danger or harm, this is NOT how God wants you to live or to be married.

Let’s assume that reconciliation is your desired outcome. Therefore, your other questions can now be looked at. First, you say that he comes over frequently to drop things off. So since he is there and you have three kids together, would it be okay to invite him to sit by the fire? Or, you wonder if that will send a mixed message to him? 

Some of my answers depend on why you separated in the first place. If it was for safety and/or sanity reasons for you or the kids, then I think it’s confusing both to him, to you, and to your kids, for you to initiate fun family times. Is anything different now from when you separated? Why would you invite him in for a family fire, if you asked him to leave the home? It does sound confusing. I understand him wanting to see the kids for visitation time and you working together to make that happen, but as you described, that’s not what’s happening.

You indicated one of the reasons you separated was his apathy and indifference towards you and the kids. When you invite him into “family time” aren’t you still initiating his work to do and enabling his own apathy and indifference to continue? If he’s not taken steps to repair or rebuild a relationship with you or the kids, what’s any different than before he left? What’s going to change? As long as you continue to over-function, he will under-function. Yes, the warmth of the family fire time can make it appear that things are better when in reality things are just the same as they were before you got upset and asked him to leave. If he can depend on you to make “family time” happen, why should he have to do any of his own work to talk with his kids, visit with them, initiate a phone call, or take them somewhere?  

The second reason you said you separated was his addiction that he sees as no big deal. I don’t know if this is a substance addiction which makes allowing him to drive the kids someplace else more dangerous or a sexual addiction he acts out in private but perhaps you feel safer with him as a parent when you can supervise some of his contact with the kids. Many women get into this situation where their husband “drops” to see the kids instead of taking them to his place or doing something with them alone. This is an easier way for him to have contact with his children, especially if he doesn’t have a separate residence. However, here is how you can make it less confusing for him, for you, and for the kids.

If he wants to come over to see the kids (and you’re okay with that), then let him spend this time with the kids, not you. You do something else. Go read a book, fold wash, call a friend, play solitaire, or hearts on the computer, do ANYTHING but family time with him. His visits will quickly fade if his main purpose was to come to be with you in a lazy man’s kind of way. When he can enjoy family time, even a home-cooked meal and then go drink, drug, or watch porn, be as indifferent and apathetic as he’s always been, he’s still living the same life he’s always lived, only now with more freedom and less responsibility. That isn’t helping him or your marriage. Don’t enable that.  

Your work is to continue to get clear on what is okay with you and not okay with you. As he’s listening to some podcasts you say he’s becoming more aware that “It’s not looking good for him.” I’m curious what that means to him…and if I were you, I’d probably ask him. “What does that mean?” Not in a snarky way but in a curious way. Does it mean he’s being convicted that he can’t have an amazing family life and live recklessly and indifferently towards those he says he loves? Or does it mean “I resent you for holding me accountable to change?” You’re not really sure, and maybe he’s not even sure and won’t dig deep to ask himself unless you invite him to.  

Your last question, “How do I protect myself?” I’m not sure what you need to protect yourself from, but my sense is you might need to protect yourself from yourself. Your own wishful thinking, unrealistic hope, or believing he’s changing when he’s not. I’d encourage you to join a support group of other women who are also in this journey of growth and greater healing. You can get on the waitlist for CONQUER which will open again early September. To be reminded when conquer registration is open, click here.  Or contact your local DV shelter as they often have support groups for women, although, with the COVID-19 virus, I’m not sure how they are meeting with the women these days. But you can call and find out.  Also, get an accountability partner who can help you “Guard your heart above all else for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23). Your heart (Biblically) is not just your emotions, it’s your mind, your energy, your thoughts, and your will. You need to stay focused on the changes you wanted to make, and the changes you need to see in him for reconciliation instead of getting enticed by the lure of a warm fire and a friendly moment.  

Friends, if you have separated, how did you guard your heart against wishful thinking or actions that would confuse the situation?  

45 Comments

  1. Ann on July 8, 2020 at 9:10 am

    I got a child protective order a year ago and am seeking to extend it since my husband’s mindset has not changed. Many unequipped Christians don’t support the decisions I’ve made and I’ve been belittled and intimidated by pastors. I have spent a huge amount of energy over the past year educating church folks and some counselors about wisdom in dealing with survivors, their kids and a masterfully manipulative husband who works an influential job in our community. God has used articles like this to help my brain get free from foggy confusion. Over the years, most counselors, pastors and “helpers” have done great harm to me and my kids but God’s truth and grace continue to prevail. He keeps pressing in in with Himself!!! This article is just what I needed today. I’ve been over performing to initiate and make supervised visits between my husband and our kids meaningful. I am going to use a number of quotes from this article when I go back to court. This article couldn’t have come on a better day and the wording Leslie uses is like gold to me. Her article on how divorce can be a gift when offered with a God-honoring attitude was also like gold to me. Since I believe that a marriage is never beyond repair, even after divorce, I am seeking a legal separation and will continue to fervently pray for my husband. Ladies, be encouraged that God can guide you to create very strong boundaries while continuing to deepen your love, compassion and forgiveness for your husband. I marvel at how God is making me into someone I don’t recognize. My times of prayer for my husband have caused me to come face to face with my Savior in ways that are glorious. My kids will be forever blessed by the humbling and strengthening work that God is doing in me. Ladies, I urge you to be willing to lay all on the alter before God as you seek God honoring boundaries while asking God to gift you with the ability to stand in the gap and intercede for your husband in profound ways. This journey will cost you more than you ever imagined as you die daily to yourself and come more alive to Christ, but it is beyond worth it. Christ in you, the hope of glory!!!! Please shoot up a prayer for me. An adult protective order I requested a few weeks ago was completely dismissed by the judge as it was a year ago. I’m concerned that my husband has many flying monkey allies in our community. It keep focusing on all the “BUT GOD’s” in scripture–ie. God showing up in the midst of hard hearts, sin and apparently impossible situations.

    • Meg on July 8, 2020 at 10:52 am

      I have kept a journal for years. When I start to feel guilty, taking on the blame, and wavering in my separation decision, I revisit my journal. I read about the crazy conversations and happenings I was living in. That is enough to set my resolve to stay separated and realize my husband has not changed and done his work. Often I find the Lord leads me to articles and blogs (like this one that has been immensely helpful and I am forever grateful) to keep me focused on the purpose of my separation.

      • Suzanne on July 8, 2020 at 6:57 pm

        Yes, Meg. I do the same thing. When I am in the love-bombing phase of the abuse cycle, I read my past journal entries to remind myself that this is a temporary stage and that he has not changed, has not done his work, is using this “nice” behavior to continue to try to control and manipulate. When i do that, it feels like I’ve been slapped across the face and told to, “snap out of it.” Reality comes speeding through and like Connie coined, my “hopeium addiction” is quashed. It’s definitely a good wake-up call and reminder that without repentence there is no trust.

        • Autumn on July 9, 2020 at 2:11 pm

          I want to give credit where do. Hopeium, however it is spelled, is a concept Patrick Doyle constructed. Thanks, Patrick.

  2. Connie on July 8, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    I really like Leslie’s reply to this question. When my h says things like, Its not looking good for me, he’s gauging my response. Banking on my hopeium addiction, if I will get all soft and back into enabling mode. Which I have done too often. Look, you’re sending him this stuff. Do you think that he can’t find the necessary information by himself? Nothing short of contrition, repentance, and a detailed description of his sin, plus an extended period of hard work, and change, regardless of your response, should be required. Become an observer from a distance. Grey rock. And use that time to get back your power and become whole in Christ alone. All the best to you on this journey. It’s tough, but worth it.

    • Sue on July 8, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      Yes! I agree! Great comment. Great advice. And I can relate…

    • Moonbeam on July 8, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      I was told “I don’t know your heart anymore” while separated. That sounds pretty inviting doesn’t it? Yet, what does “I don’t know your heart” mean? I learned with the help of my counselor, that it meant I am losing power over you. I no longer have enough current information to successfully manipulate you.

      He knew “my heart.” I told him for decades over and over to stop his abusive behaviors. I just finally took a stand and removed myself from being his readily available live in counselor, sex slave and domestic servant.

      • graceiscome on July 23, 2020 at 3:30 am

        Hi again Moonbeam. Your comments help me so much. I never could understand why when I am asked “How are you feeling?” or “What’s on your mind?” — why instead of feeling like someone is caring about “how I’m feeling” or “what’s on my mind” that instead I felt vulnerable or that I needed to protect myself from something. I still don’t quite understand why, and still somewhat wonder if it’s partly me just being a very suspicious-of-motivations type person. But when I read this post, it sounded a lot like those types of comments I also grew quickly suspicious of. I guess maybe it’s that if someone is truly interested in what’s on your mind (in your heart) or how you’re feeling, that person won’t simultaneously (or later) criticize (or abuse) you if what’s on your mind/how you’re feeling isn’t appealing to him, is different from him, or even disagrees with him or aggravates him. I got so tired of hearing how I was the sick one, how I was crazy, how I …. no doubt I have my issues, idiosyncrasies, and flaws…but to be told that you get under someone’s skin, how you’re contentious, how you’re….etc., etc.; and like you, he knew a lot of what made me anxious (or bought me peace), he knew what was on my mind (sometimes he even admitted he was just testing me), but he never consistently did (or didn’t do) things that would help in those areas. And yet he would still ask, still often expect an answer, and I became increasingly nervous that I wouldn’t answer what he wanted to hear. Thanks again, Moonbeam. (And I hope my post here maybe sheds light for another woman/women as well). Thanks.

        • Lori on July 23, 2020 at 3:03 pm

          graceiscome, You are exactly right. While you didn’t completely understand why you felt this way at the time, you knew something was off. It’s part of the grooming cycle to draw you in to confide in them so they can find out which of their techniques are working. If you guard your heart, knowing they are manipulating you, they can play the victim. If you give them details, they can criticize and tear you down right then while saving other information to use against you later. It’s all win win for them and all part of the game biblical fools play so they can feel superior while training you to stay in your “place.” In my experience, I’ve found if I don’t react, take time to respond and give very little information, they have less to work with. God bless you and keep you.

    • Suzanne on July 8, 2020 at 6:50 pm

      Love that: Hopeium addiction. It’s so hard to give up on loved ones. But I’ve come to accept that some people see nothing wrong with their behavior, or at least see nothing wrong enough to make the effort to change. Even Jesus reminds us, ‘don’t throw pearls before swine.’

  3. Matt on July 8, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Ladies,
    I am so sorry for what your husbands have done or are doing. I’m so sorry for what I’ve put my wife through. Recommend you have your husbands read Brent Hofer’s “Confessions of an Angry Man.” I recommend you also read it. There is hope for some of us. I think Sherry sets a good example of how to be separated well. I’m sure it was ALOT harder than he lets on and it is his side if the story. I think she should write a companion book. Like always, Leslie asks good questions.

    • leaningonhope on July 9, 2020 at 5:40 am

      Matt, please tell us (possibly again), what was the catalyst for you that opened your eyes to the need for change?

      • Matt on July 9, 2020 at 6:13 am

        Counseling, Leslie’s book, and reading the comments in these blogs for the past couple months. I thought all the problems in our marriage were because of my wife’s insecurity, alcoholic / dysfunctional childhood, lack of emotional control, anger…. I thought if she would “just fix her issues” life would be great. We’ve always placed a high value on marriage and have been part of or led so many marriage studies. We’ve had weekly dates for years and have done something just for us once or twice a year for ever. We’ve been married for 23 years last month. She graduated HS in May of 1997 and I came home on leave from the military and married her and drug her off to see the world in June of that same year. It’s been a hard life for her, but she would add “but it’s been good.” There are more good than bad but we’ve been stuck in a negative cycle and all we could see were those bad things in each other. We have not communicated well. She had not boundaries and no voice. All my emotional and mental abuse and control have taken a toll on her. After a recent overseas deployment I committed to going to counseling. We both got individual counselors and we have a separate marriage counselor. It’s been good but the break through came after reading “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.” I read it twice this year. My eyes weren’t opened overnight but I see the damage I’ve caused now. The first time I mentioned some of this to my counselor he was “a gasp.” I was like “really dude, we’ve been talking for a year now and you didn’t see this in me?” Our marriage counselor called it a breakthrough and practically cheered. He asked the same question you did. I also have a friend who is in ministry who told me a lot of hard things. I told him what I was learning in counseling and had read and he said, “I see that…let me tell you what I also see…” it crushed me (the wounds of a friend bring life). I’ve never hit my wife, never withheld money or isolated her, haven’t done a lot of outright yelling. But I’ve demeaned her, undermined her, controlled her, lived a “crazy-making life”. I’ve been prideful, played the fool so often warned of in Proverbs, and almost completely killed her love for me. Mostly I’ve been selfish and self-centered. We’ve got 4 great kids one of them is a missionary, another is joining the military and going to boot camp next month but I’ve still got two young boys who need to learn how to respect and treat women. I’ve raised some strong wonderful daughters who are just now seeing my “feet of clay” and developing healthy relationships with their mom and seeing the how hard it was for her. Being in the military and being part of a family that places so much emphasis on ministry, even while not my vocation, has given them a missionary lifestyle. They’ve been raised ministering to homeless or in foreign countries all at my wife’s expense. I remember taking my wife and kids to some dangerous places and getting angry when she got scared.

        That was long. Sorry there’s so much. I’m just at beginning of seeing things clearly. The real answer to the question should be “God answered my wife’s prayers and opened my eyes to see.”

        • Ann on July 9, 2020 at 9:51 am

          Thank you so much for your courageous vulnerability. My prayer is that through the strong boundaries I am creating by extending a child protective order and seeking to be granted an adult protective order (my 3rd try) that my husband who is in the ministry will come to see similar truths that you have seen. No one is born perpetuating an abusive lifestyle. You may benefit from reading The Body Keeps the Score and Bancroft Lundy’s books. Thank you so much for sharing. Although I now see that I’ve suffered from hopeioid addiction, I also believe that God has granted me faith that can move mountains. Please tell your wife that I was deeply blessed to read your testimony of her commitment to you. She may enjoy books written by Laurie Goddu at hismoseic.com and For Better or For Worse by Lydia Press. Lydia Discipleship Ministries is a fantastic resource for shattered folks. Dr. Pakkala’s testimony is incredible. Know that you and your wife now have a unique ability to speak into the lives of shattered people. Please pray that my marriage will end well.

        • Leslie Vernick on July 11, 2020 at 5:24 pm

          Thanks for sharing Matt. God opened your eyes, and began to humble your heart so that you could learn and hear in new ways. Then you humbled yourself, admitted to others and received feedback and accepted accountability. The journey isn’t over and I pray that you and your wife can learn to communicate in safe healthy ways and that your children can also grow and learn through this time.

  4. Sue Glee on July 8, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    I’ve kept a journal for my own sanity for the past 10 years. My h left in Sept of 2018, and every time I started feeling lonely and weepy and missing the companionship, the old days, the fun times, the laughter, the great adventures, the financial security, and the “love,” I’d go read my journal filled with thousands of crazy, exhausting conversations, denials, lies, demeaning and dismissing comments, deceptions, and countless stories of indifference, manipulation, unfaithfulness and betrayal …all at the hands of this unrepentant man who continues to mock and blame me for it all instead of being the loving, faithful, protecting husband he promised to be 15 years ago.

    And then I praise the Lord that He’s forgiven me and delivered me from evil. He calls me His beloved. He delights in me just for being me. He provides, protects and comforts me. And He has given me His peace. He has a future of good things in store for me. Praise the Lord!

  5. Linda on July 9, 2020 at 9:56 am

    When I separated I treated myself as if I was an addict. And I was. I was addicted to the chemistry of my body when I was in an abusive relationship. I’d read enough to know that the addiction would assert itself in peaks and valleys of desiring him back again. And I also could see that in this life a woman’s desire is for her husband. It’s the curse of the Fall from the Garden of Eden. This desire is in constant conflict with my desire for Jesus such that if I had my husband back I would again be focused on him and trying to stop the abuse. So when my desire for my husband was peaking, I would phone a sympathetic friend who could remind me of the pain. I took walks, went to work, prayed, went to church, and worshiped at home and at church. Eventually the chemistry of my body began searching for a new normal and I could be at peace. I strictly monitored my thoughts and didn’t allow myself to build up that longing again. I was building my own boundary system of stuff I would not do because I knew the end result of what would happen if I didn’t honor my own need for safety and peace. That’s how I began to differentiate the difference between God’s love and false love, God’s hope vs false hope, reality vs what I wanted to be real.

    • Ann on July 9, 2020 at 10:14 am

      Thank you so much for sharing. You confirmed what God is teaching me. I posted about false hopeioid addiction versus true hope in God right before reading your post. God’s Word, His double edged sword of truth, is the only answer to discerning between what is of Him and what is counterfeit hope and twisted “truth”.

    • Autumn on July 9, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      Linda this is really helpful. Thank you.

    • Jennifer Hooker on July 9, 2020 at 5:04 pm

      Thankyou so much. Did not realise my addiction in the areas you shared. So true of me. At 71 I’ve been separated 3 years now and it’s a wow moment for me and my walk forward.

  6. Ann on July 9, 2020 at 10:05 am

    I like the term hopeioid addiction and know that I’ve been guilty of this. But I also know that satan tends to counterfeit the truths of God. There is a pure, holy, God-honoring hope that is birthed in laying all on His alter, dying to my own ways, and choosing His truth. This hope is focused on God bringing good out of every evil effort that attempt to kill, steal and destroy. As I seek an extension to a child protective order and seek an adult protective order for the 3rd time (since it’s been denied by judges ignorant about domestic violence) I continue to fervently pray that my husband will recieve God’s gift of repentance as I create for him the gift of increasingly stronger boundaries. As I learn to pray for him, my heart gets more free to hope in a way that is God honoring and Devinely freeing.

    • Free on July 9, 2020 at 1:23 pm

      Praying that your protection orders get passed or better yet, your husband agrees that he needs the orders and pleas no contest.

      • PeaceSeeker on July 11, 2020 at 5:09 pm

        Echoing your prayer for protection. As a former domestic relations attorney I remember the fear and anxiety of my clients, even as I live out their experience. Praying that your plea will be heard with discerning ears and heart.

  7. Bay Breeze on July 9, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    Sometimes doing the “work” doesn’t work. Although I am very encouraged by success stories, the reality is most abusive spouses don’t, can’t or won’t change.

    My spouse did his “work.” He attended three sessions of Paul Hegstrom’s life skills classes included two private (extremely expensive sessions) with me of something called, Stepping Stones. He attended two sessions of an Angry Man batters’ workshop recommended by the State. (He walked all over those people, learned new abusive techniques and sits on their board now!!)

    He read both of Leslie’s books and saw her speak live in California. He let me do a conquer session but listened in to the discussions. We did counseling with an associate of a famous Christan trauma counselor Diana L. from Pennsylvania.

    My husband read all of Lundy Bancroft (he said Lundy tells all abusive men’s secrets) Don Hennessy’s, Sam Vaknin’s and Dan Allendar’s books. He called Patrick Doyle, Don Hennessy in Ireland and Jeff Crippen. He read F. Scott Peck’s, “People of The Lie.” Our Pastoral team preformed an exorcism on him. He and we have had biblical counseling and attended healing services for decades. Oh, and he did a ten week group session for sexual violence (recommend by his PhD secular counselor )and Leslie’s Divorce Care (when we were separated.)

    So, what was the outcome? A professional, pathological, skilled predator. A psychophile, with Narcissistic Personality Disorder who is both masochistic and sadistic. Sweet, polished manipulation drips from his every pour of his being. He claims he is an “expert” on abuse and is healed. Yet he has a criminal mind and has paid off many people to polish his public image. He spins denial and delusions while blaming anyone but himself for his behaviors. He introduces himself as a Christian Gentleman, then gives his name.

    Today would be our wedding anniversary. Yet 37 years later, after two restraining orders and two separations. I am finally divorced and free from physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual, financial and verbal violence. I would have never chosen such a life. I was deeply entrenched hopeium and guilted to stay due to my understanding of scriptures.

    Sadly, we all need to acknowledge many abusers can’t change even if they do the “work.” Usually the only person we can change is ourselves.

    • Denise Donndelinger on July 10, 2020 at 8:03 am

      Oh my sweet lady – that is the hardest abuser I’ve EVER heard of!!! You are to be praised as a survivor and woman Jesus loves – I pray that now as you live as a single woman you can heal and be safe in the arms of Jesus❤️

      • Bay Breeze on July 10, 2020 at 10:19 pm

        Thanks for your kind words Denise. I have been in trauma counseling and have C-PTSD. Yet, God….has supplied ALL my needs and then some. It hurts to grieve so much loss and get out of denial. I did everything I could think of to stay, pray and obey. It took physical violence to finally make me leave. I heard Dr. Ramona Probasco say that most women leave 6 to 8 times before they finally leave. That was true of me too, even if it was to sleep in my car for a few days. I look forward to asking God why the Bible isn’t clear on abuse. I am sure it will all make sense when I see him. For now, I am trying to learn what it is like to live free.

        • Autumn on July 11, 2020 at 11:47 am

          I learned in a situation where an abuser agrees to long periods of counseling, they are really doing it for their own benefit, not because they intend to change. They agree to counseling so they can learn how to control other people better. They often love being the focus of attention, so counseling and groups feed their attention needs. If someone is going to change, they don’t need decades to get around to doing it.

    • ruth8318 on July 11, 2020 at 12:16 pm

      This man surely is a reprobate with a seared conscience. Anyone who could listen to the hard hitting godly counsel of Jeff Crippen and still choose evil 😈, well, that’s a COLD HARD CHOICE!
      Wow, now that’s sick.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 11, 2020 at 5:20 pm

      Your story illustrates that it’s almost impossible to rebuild trust with someone so cunning and expert at “looking like he is doing his work” when he is just getting more skilled at manipulation and covert tactics. So sorry for your experience but thanks for sharing it with us here. Like Daniel 12:10 says, “the wicked will continue to be wicked”

    • ann on July 11, 2020 at 5:41 pm

      My heart aches for you. My story is so similar. You are a strong and brave for having survived!! I’m learning that my pain gives me a platform to speak Christ’s truth, hope and love into the hearts of other survivors. You did this for me by sharing your story. I’ve been strengthened by the story of Joseph, Daniel and Paul and how God preserved them through abuse. I’m learning how God doesn’t always prevent evil, but preserves us as evil and abuse attempts to destroy us. I’ve been blessed by lydiadm,org. Dr. Pakkala, the founder, wrote two books, The Roar of the Lamb and another book that tell her story of healing from Satanic Ritual Abuse. Her web site is full of helpful resources. Look under the Hurting Persons tab which is under the Training tab. Another great resource is hismosaic.com. Laurie Goddu’s husband had extreme DID and God used Laurie to pray him through to healing and integration before he passed away from cancer. These women, and many other survivors have been used by God to strengthen my heart in the Lord in amazing ways and in God’s impeccable timing. May God continue to give you many opportunities to speak into the lives of others.

  8. Sharon Parsons on July 12, 2020 at 6:15 am

    I’m getting ready to separate from my husband. I have reconciliation in mind. Without even knowing all the details a pastor told me I was making a mistake. He shared about a man being the “head of the household” and a “covering” for his wife. I’ve been praying and crying out to God for some time now. I believe God has opened some doors for me. I also believe this pastor spoke prematurely and out of his selfish needs. He said he saw real spiritual maturity in me and that we could be an asset to his ministry.A woman trying to separate is such a heartwrenching event, especially with a man who has gaslighted you, etc. I believe it takes God’s strength for us to follow through and hearing this from a spiritual leader can be devastating and, in my spiritual opinion, destructive. I’m seeking healing, peace, and wisdom. When I have to “guard my heart” from my own husband, there’s an issue. I pray the woman above can stay strong and continue to seek God for direction.

    • JoAnn on July 14, 2020 at 3:45 pm

      Sharon, as others here have written, keeping a journal of things that happen in your relationship and the feelings that are generated by those events will help you to clarify for yourself and others the best route to follow. Please find a counselor who specializes in domestic violence to help you to sort out your feelings and perhaps find new ways to deal with your situation. This counselor can also help you to plan carefully for the separation. You are hoping for reconciliation, and that is fine, but please, don’t be in a rush to get back together. He will promise you the moon, tell you how much he has changed, etc., but you must wait until you see actual “fruits of repentance.” Getting back together too soon will keep you entrapped in the relationship. It will help you to join Leslie’s CORE group that will start up again in September. You need to get stronger inwardly so that you can see things more clearly and make better choices for yourself. Also, and this is important, cultivate a deep and intimate relationship with the Lord, who will heal your soul and guide you into truth.

      • Sharon Parsons on July 14, 2020 at 7:37 pm

        Thank you. Yes, that confirms what I’ve been thinking and feeling. I’m moving out of state, which I know will help because I won’t be easily accessible. Also, the pastor I mentioned even preached a very specific message after learning about my leaving that same weekend. My husband said he thought about me the whole time. I believe this pastor is desperate for good people in his ministry and he’s using scripture to deter me. What are your thoughts on this? I do believe that God has opened doors for me and giving me the strength and courage to do this.

        • Janice D on July 15, 2020 at 5:21 am

          Sharon,It sounds like you have given this a lot of thought and prayed for the Lords leading.Many pastors are well meaning but not necessarily wise in these matters.You have discerned a personal agenda with this pastor which must question his motives in “ counseling “ you.I,too, separated from my husband of 26 years almost 2 years ago. We both want reconciliation,however our definitions of this couldn’t be more different.My counselor wisely cautioned me against believing what comes out of his mouth and waiting for genuine evidence of change.It was the hardest decision I ever made but well worth it.There is sound wisdom and counsel available and I believe God honors our hearts desires whether or not our husbands submit to His ways and Word.Lean into Jesus,he will lead you lovingly and well.Trust His heart for you.Praying for you now

          • Sharon Parsons on July 16, 2020 at 1:31 am

            Janice, thank you! Yes, I’ve been seeking the Lord about this, but as you know while you’re in the midst of it, things can get cloudy and distorted. Emotions are high as well. I felt the same about this pastor. I know he loves the Lord, but I honestly believe he has no business counseling. That’s not to day he can’t lead someone to the Lord and point them in the right direction, but marriage counseling, no. I left that meeting feeling frustrated, but also very thankful that God gave me the strength to stand in truth and discern his selfish ambitions. I do believe that many church leaders mislead so many troubled and battered women. I don’t think they’re trying to cause more damage, but it’s my prayer that God would wake them up and give them discernment and understanding. God wants his children protected, free and loved.



  9. graceiscome on July 14, 2020 at 12:44 am

    Hello. I so appreciate all of your posts, as I too am separated and am having an incredibly difficult time knowing if making a “clean break” is what needs to happen or if there is any hope that we can (after 14 years of knowing one another and 3 years of marriage) stay together. Unfortunately, much of that difficulty stems from my own issues of co-dependency, depression, etc., for which I am receiving good counsel (thank you, God); but it also stems from the ‘simple” fact that my h also has issues he’s dealing with, and there was definitely abuse involved. I too struggle with the whole “hopeioid addiction” and the awful internal conflict of giving him (and myself) false hopes that, if never to be realized, will only keep us both from moving forward….but it’s like I need that hope (I guess that’s why it’s called an “addiction”?). I came across an article just prior to reading these posts about a biological reason for maybe why we go through “hopeioid addiction” and why it is often so palpably hard to be apart from someone, even when there was craziness (I do the journaling thing too, and it helps. Thanks for those who shared about that!). The article comes from Amen Clinics which focuses on how our brains operate in the midst of different physical, emotional, and psychological events. It’s called “Why Breaking Up is So Hard on Your Brain” amenclinics.com/blog. It’s just interesting and gives some good pointers. Of course we all know that being in the situations we are (or were) in is much more than just a brain event,, but it helps to know that there could also be a biological reasons for all of the mixed and confusing emotions that are involved. Thanks you guys for being so caring to share with one another (which includes me). God bless you!

    • Moon Beam on July 14, 2020 at 5:14 am

      Thank you for the link. Something that helped me was considering if my relationship could be defined as an equal partnership between to individuals or a parasitic one between two needy people. I came to the conclusion that I was an independent person who was being preyed upon and obligated to be a dumping ground for my Dr. Jeykll/Mr. Hyde partner.

      Separation allowed us both to identify who had a personality problem and who didn’t. I hear you saying you have identified some problems you are successfully working on. It would seem that a pause in your relationship would give you time to become the woman you needed to be fourteen years ago. Then you can revisit if you should have this relationship in your life. Co dependency, if that is really you situation, can cause a person to focus on others rather than themselves. I am glad you are working on yourself.

      Don’t rush back into anything. A good man will wait for you to heal and will be actively trying to improve himself. It takes time, lots of time. If you don’t process your own issues, you will just find yourself in the same situation over and over again. Stay strong and be encouraged, life is so much better without abuse.

      • graceiscome on July 14, 2020 at 11:18 am

        Oh my gosh, Moon Beam. These words could not be more needed at this time. I keep telling myself “I can’t go back” (now…or ever) into chaos. “Prey” and “Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde” were also often terms I thought of regularly, yet I could never fully understand why (the feelings of that too) and would often think it was just me not being trusting in relationships/my own personality “quirks”. I desperately want to heal/be in God’s purposes now more than ever…and I don’t want anything to impede that. My feelings are that a marriage should help each one do that, not distract from it. And I do agree that it cannot be “two ticks and no dog” (as one person once put it)…and usually in an unhealthy relationship, it is two ticks…and I don’t want to be a tick anymore!!! (smile). God bless you Moon Beam…and thanks so much again for your words of encouragement which confirm what I am also feeling and know that I need to stand strong in God.

        • Moonbeam on July 14, 2020 at 5:09 pm

          Have you gone to Dr. Ramona Probasco’s web page yet? You might enjoy listening to one of her podcasts. Also there is a site called Flying Free with Natalie Hoffman. You might find support there in addition to the excellent information available here.

          • graceiscome on July 23, 2020 at 3:32 am

            Thanks Moonbeam. I’ll take a look.



  10. GodismyLord on July 29, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    I have separated the second time. The first time, I went back but it was premature. Separation is very difficult and my grown sons are against it and look at me as the “bad” person in this. My daughter is with me but struggles too. I had to leave home since my husband wouldn’t leave the house and there are other issues involved as well. I don’t know if we will ever get back together, but my intention is reconcilliation. Yet, he does not do what is needed for this to happen. The articles and videos are helpful, but I struggle with getting on facebook. hope to learn more how to utilize this means of support. I feel I really need it as I’ve been discouraged for the past few weeks and not able to get out of it.

  11. Nancy on August 5, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    When I was separated it was clear that any communication was around logistics of raising our girls. Surface stuff only. No discussion about personal growth, or emotional things and certainly not our relationship. We both had a lot of individual work to do. I took a giant step back so that I could observe. I would not have been able to see clearly if either of us got at all emotional.

    Separation is a time to get untangled. Stand firm

  12. karen sue phoenix on February 13, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    what can i say… i was told of this ministry by a dear friend who knows i am struggling. I can see all of the signs of my “submitting because it is what the wife ought to do.” i have completely lost any identity. If it were not for my children i would have ended my life – yes this is how low i am at this point. thankfully there is no physical abuse. or maybe that would have been a clear cut way to end the relationship. but the complete disregard for who i am and the lack of any communication is so deeply hurtful. this man who asked me to marry him, who vowed to love me, is doing anything but. oh i am quick to acknowledge that i am far from the good wife. but i am clearly being neglected and emotionally ignored. i am so tired of living this way. i want to put a stop to it but i am so very afraid. i am devouring the blogs and books but still have no strength to confront correctly. i am afraid that i will mess it all up. he has a way of never being wrong, misconstruing anything i say or do, and turning everything into my fault. i am afraid to continue but just as afraid to stand up for myself.

  13. Kathy on January 24, 2022 at 1:13 pm

    I have been married to a 25-30 year crack addict. Not sure how long since i did not know for the whole duration of time. I was married at sixteen he was 19 in the military. I had a baby at seventeen and we have been married going on 42 years. I was saved at 19 and he was saved about 10 years later. Yet the drug addiction never quite left. We have been ordained as Pastors had our own ministry have 4 grown kids not and 7 beautiful grand kids.
    We have a huge family and l know Lots of people.
    This site is a God send. I have been to many pastors and leaders and only regretted that I shared my problems with my husband,. Help was always short lived and honestly I feel like the Church has hurt us maybe unintentionally.
    I have been confused ALOT in a FOG alot. He just talks better talk than me for sure. Yes he came from an abusive household and abandoned as a child and I am paying for that. My goal was to keep the family intact and to have a normal life as much as possible. I prayed I warred I tried to keep peace.. He was clean for 7 months longest stint in all theses years yet we are still dysfunctional. We started teaching at a mens home on addiction until we had a fight. I lost it because I have no more capacity to take his manipulative behaviors and I lost it pushing him and scratching him to get away from me and he started choking me so I kicked him out of the house. My kids look at me like what are you guys doing this is not normal where is your Church? Where is your accountability ? Where are the tools you have learned all these years, I am embarrassed ashamed guilty and I have no answers on why. I was delivered from drugs instantly when I met Jesus at 19. The Holy Spirit showed me the Spirits behind the drugs. That was not my husbands road.
    Beyond the addiction their are abusive manipulating behaviors, there was always the hope that God would deliver and save our family from the heartache of it all and the hope of restoration, I too have been to Paul Hegstroms 7 month course many codependent courses bible studies, I have taught them! What stuck out to me in theses articles were two things. If someone is going to change they don’t need decades to do it. Also Hopeioid addiction. Yikes that is so me. I have my faults enabler empathizer ect, I felt like I was giving up on Gods power, I lacked faith ect ect.
    You guy have made the most sense in decades. I am 57 years old and I am a fixer. Financially and every way around. I cannot take it anymore and I am tired of being blamed for him. Please help me! Your similarities tell me I am not crazy this is a real thing and I love my husband I love the good guy not the manipulative addict. Even clean he showed terrible unstable behaviors. He is getting help from the veterans and has been deemed 100% disabled recently like a month ago. He promised to pay off the incredible debt we have because of years of financial abuse. Now that he has his own money oh that scares me more. I cant trust him at all and he swears to everyone he is done using!! A functioning fixer is that what I am? great

  14. Cathy on January 24, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    I have been married to a 25-30 year crack addict. Not sure how long since i did not know for the whole duration of time. I was married at sixteen he was 19 in the military. I had a baby at seventeen and we have been married going on 42 years. I was saved at 19 and he was saved about 10 years later. Yet the drug addiction never quite left. We have been ordained as Pastors had our own ministry have 4 grown kids not and 7 beautiful grand kids.
    We have a huge family and l know Lots of people.
    This site is a God send. I have been to many pastors and leaders and only regretted that I shared my problems with my husband,. Help was always short lived and honestly I feel like the Church has hurt us maybe unintentionally.
    I have been confused ALOT in a FOG alot. He just talks better talk than me for sure. Yes he came from an abusive household and abandoned as a child and I am paying for that. My goal was to keep the family intact and to have a normal life as much as possible. I prayed I warred I tried to keep peace.. He was clean for 7 months longest stint in all these years yet we are still dysfunctional. We started teaching at a mens home on addiction until we had a fight. Just another group of people hurt again I lost it because I have no more capacity to take his manipulative behaviors and I lost it pushing him and scratching him to get away from me and he started choking me so I kicked him out of the house. My kids look at me like what are you guys doing this is not normal where is your Church? Where is your accountability ? Where are the tools you have learned all these years, I am embarrassed ashamed guilty and I have no answers on why. I was delivered from drugs instantly when I met Jesus at 19. The Holy Spirit showed me the Spirits behind the drugs. That was not my husbands road.
    Beyond the addiction their are abusive manipulating behaviors, there was always the hope that God would deliver and save our family from the heartache of it all and the hope of restoration, I too have been to Paul Hegstroms 7 month course many codependent courses bible studies, I have taught them! What stuck out to me in theses articles were two things. If someone is going to change they don’t need decades to do it. Also Hopeioid addiction. Yikes that is so me. I have my faults enabler empathizer ect, I felt like I was giving up on Gods power, I lacked faith ect ect.
    You guy have made the most sense in decades. I am 57 years old and I am a fixer. Financially and every way around. I cannot take it anymore and I am tired of being blamed for him. Please help me! Your similarities tell me I am not crazy this is a real thing and I love my husband I love the good guy not the manipulative addict. Even clean he showed terrible unstable behaviors. He is getting help from the veterans and has been deemed 100% disabled recently like a month ago. He promised to pay off the incredible debt we have because of years of financial abuse. Now that he has his own money oh that scares me more. I cant trust him at all and he swears to everyone he is done using!! A functioning fixer is that what I am? I need help with legal separation, I need to protect myself. I am not even sure that is the way to go but i have to stop this insane merry go round.

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