Good morning my friends,
Coach LeAnne Parsons here! One of the most exciting things I get to do as a follower of Jesus Christ is to partner with the Holy Spirit to accomplish God‘s work here on earth through this ministry as a professional certified coach on the Leslie Vernick Team. I have the privilege and honor to answer this week's question.
I believe one thing most all of us can agree upon is that change is certain. It is the end of October, and throughout the world most of us are experiencing a change of seasons. The weather is shifting, the temperature changing, and the leaves are turning from shades of green into a glorious palette of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. Many of us have experienced a change in our relationships, jobs, and zip codes. I see changes in my appearance as I grow older and tenderly invite a change of heart as I walk through both good and challenging times.
I am so grateful that Christ doesn’t change. He is my solid rock. He is unwavering in his devotion, steadfast in his promises, and eternal in His love for me. He will not be moved or manipulated. He is constant, safe, and secure even when it feels like everything around me is in some stage of transition. This truth is so life-giving for me.
What do I do now that my husband knows I mean business, and I am not going to put up with his emotional abuse? He’s been on his best behavior. I’m thinking the real him will come out because he hasn’t got help and he is a blame shifter.
Thank you so much for your question. I appreciate your heart and your desire to shift and change the atmosphere in your home, in your heart, and in your relationship.
The first part of your question invites the discussion “what do I do now?”
I am assuming that you have had some hard yet honest conversations with your husband that have included how you would like to be treated moving forward. How he chooses to respond/react over time to your newfound strength will say much about the condition of his heart.
Congratulations that you are no longer willing to receive his emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is harmful and destructive to any relationship, it grieves the very heart of God.
Before we talk about what you can do, let’s be honest about 3 things you cannot do:
1. You cannot control your husband, his emotions, his actions, his thoughts or his behavior.
2. You cannot force him to respect your wishes.
3. You cannot change his mind, opinions, or behavior. Only God can do that.
God will not force anyone to change or grow if they do not want to. Your husband will think his thoughts, feel his big emotions and show up with you as he chooses. It’s up to him to choose whether or not he will invite the Holy Spirit to help him. He cannot do it alone. You cannot do it for him.
Perhaps, you are tired, weary, heartbroken, angry, afraid and unsure about what to do next.
I hear you, you want him to get it. You have experienced the depth of pain and tension that his emotional violence has had on your heart. Most likely his emotional immaturity has impacted your body, your soul, your minds, and your spirit.
In my work with women over the years, I have observed that while many dynamics are present in destructive relationships, a big issue bubbles to the top. A lack of real intimacy. For real intimacy to develop there must be boundaries.
So what CAN you do?
You CAN be a Catalyst for Change, YOU CAN Seek Clarity. YOU CAN Set Boundaries. YOU CAN Hold them respectfully.
1. YOU CAN get very honest with yourself, God, and at least one other safe human being about the impact that his emotional behavior has had on you. The ripple effect is real.
When emotions run high, the stories we tell ourselves can become scary, and the words spoken can become destructive, deforming, and violent. With practice, prayer, and a pause, you CAN use your words in empowering ways. So how will you do that?
2. YOU CAN Get very clear, committed and prayerful about how you would like to be treated as you walk into this next chapter in your marriage. Knowing what behavior is okay with you, and what behavior is not okay with you is a gift not all are willing to give and receive. My friend, you are God's precious daughter and worthy to be treated as such. All relationships need boundaries to thrive.
3. YOU CAN discover who is responsible for what. Your boundaries are yours, and yours alone. They may align or clash with those you care most about. That is okay, and will offer you great information about the current depth of relationship you can share.
4. YOU CAN Practice what you want to say and how you want to say it ahead of time. You can use confident body language. Be respectful. Listen and consider the needs of your husband.
YOU CAN say:
“I am not comfortable with this”
“Please don’t do that”
“This is not acceptable”
“This doesn’t work for me”
“I will not stay in a conversation where I am being criticized, dismissed, shamed, blamed or talked down to.”
“I will not share if I do not feel safe discussing this with you.”
YOU CAN Hold space for this boundary.
As you step into the doing, the next question is …Who will you BE?
5. You CAN BE Committed to grow, mature and become the woman God created you to be. Your words and actions will define you. They will tell your husband who you are, what you believe, what you want, and what you don’t. This step is so empowering.
6. YOU CAN BE Firm. Press pause, pray and partner up with God. You have declared to your husband, and to us that you are no longer willing to put up with his emotional abuse. Don’t back down.
Good for you! That is a huge step into healthy land.
7. YOU CAN Be Aware. Avoid taking ownership for your husband's life. He will show you who he is as you walk into healthy land. If he does not accept your invitation and honor your boundary, please honor it for yourself. Walk away from the conversation peacefully.
If there is a boundary violation- and emotions start to run high, and his best behavior takes a back seat to blaming, shaming and abusive language toward you, how will you respond?
You CAN R.E.S.E.T.
R- Respectfully refuse to participate in a destructive conversation
E- Excuse yourself from his presence.
S- Steward your emotional and physical safety and self awareness
E- Engage again when the emotional atmosphere is calm
T- Trust God with the outcome
Committing to a RESET will allow you to take responsibility and ownership for your feelings, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and choices. This is your load to carry, says Galatian 6. You and your well-being are not at the mercy of your spouse’s behavior or problems.
YOU CAN BE Responsible for what you value. If your husband refuses to seek help, he may never change. Please do not depend on him for your wellbeing.
Finally, YOU CAN be open to the Holy Spirit, surround yourself with life giving girlfriends, and start building into your life with Christ at the center.
The choice is yours. I believe in You!
My friends, what other thoughts or suggestions might you have for this woman so that her commitment to herself of “no more emotional abuse” holds firm?
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