Am I Being Spiritually Abused?

Morning friends,

I so appreciate your prayers. I was in Virginia Thursday and Friday morning and then drove to Maryland to speak at a women’s event Friday night and Saturday. What was supposed to be a 4 to 5-hour drive turned into a 7-hour drive from getting lost and dealing with Washington DC traffic. I was physically exhausted but God kept my energy high and my mind clear. It was all due to the prayers you sent up on my behalf. Thank you so much. It means so much to me.

For those of you who are interested in joining CONQUER, membership opens as of this evening after my webinar and will close again for another 6 months on May 12th. CONQUER is an ongoing educational and support group for women in destructive marriages. If you’d like more information about joining CONQUER click here.

Question: I am thrilled to have discovered your book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, after months of searching for a Christian perspective and understanding of what is happening to me. But still, even now, I have to ask… is the abuse real? Or am I just going crazy?

My situation has a particularly messy spiritual element to it. My husband has spent most of his life studying the Bible and theology, went to an ultra-conservative seminary, and regularly dissects God’s word as an academic/ scholarly pursuit.

In the course of our marriage I have been very submissive, have followed him to church environments that feel comfortable to him (even when I disagree with some of their beliefs, or I don’t align well with their culture and community). He has essentially rendered it impossible for me to have an opinion about anything, because he is the one who studied it, who knows more, and he stands on the side of truth. It is all very black and white to him.

I feel so many spiritual threats hanging over me. When I felt called to try a different church one time (and rightly so, as it deeply ministered to my crushed spirit)— he told me that I would have to face potential church discipline, perhaps be officially declared no longer a Christian. I have gotten to the point where I believe that as soon as I step “out of line” I will be sent straight to hell. For a while, I became terrified of God, terrified of all church leadership, and I subconsciously began to equate all of these things with my husband. It was as if “his word was God’s word” and it left me unable to defend myself or have an opinion. It was after that church incident that a friend of mine suggested that spiritual abuse is happening here, along with the many years of emotional abuse.

The thing is, I really believe that he loves me in his own way and doesn’t intend to harm me. He believes he is standing on the side of truth and that everything he says and does is for my own good. He doesn’t believe that he is attacking my personhood; he believes he is attacking my beliefs and ideas that need to be changed, according to him. I don’t know what to do. I’ve become such a shell of a person. I visited my mom recently and she observed “you used to have so many thoughts and ideas, you used to share with me everything you were learning and thinking…now you don’t even feel comfortable speaking.” It’s true. My voice is gone, my spirit is crushed.

I don’t currently have the support of the church in suggesting that he is abusive. If I were to consider leaving him, I would probably be excommunicated and as outlined in scripture, I’d be expected to return to him. I did read your book and felt a huge weight lifted, now that I’ve seen a name given to my experience and finally understand that I have choices within it…but the only support in my life right now is long-distance family and friends. I don’t have a local support system, and definitely can’t go to the church over this.

I am completely shackled and don’t know how to convince him that he has hurt me. He has said that if I feel like I have no voice, it is my fault I’m not using it, he would never take away my voice. Yet I only feel like I actually have a voice as long as it conforms to what he wants it to be. He really does not believe he is at fault in any way. He believes he is on the side of truth, on the side of God’s word. The abuse feels like such a gray area because there is no physical abuse or petty name-calling.

Is the problem all in my head? Am I going crazy? How do I know if God is for me or if he just wants me to stop complaining?

Answer: You ask, how do you know if the problem is real or is in your head? Look at the results. You say your spirit is crushed. Your mother said you are not the same person you once were. Your friend suggested that you’re a victim of spiritual as well as emotional abuse. What do you think God might be saying to you?

The problem is that your husband wants to be your god. He does not want you to have a relationship of your own with God, but only the relationship he decides for you to have. That is controlling and soul destroying.

Your husband’s problem is spiritual pride if he thinks he is always right and you are always wrong. He also desires to control your thoughts, beliefs, feelings and actions through spiritual intimidation. Implying that if you disagree, or choose to think or believe different than he does, you are not only wrong, but you are so wrong that God will send you directly to hell. You have no freedom to think for yourself what God might be saying to you since he does the thinking for both of you. You are not allowed to function as an adult but only as a small child. That is not God’s plan for you as an adult woman or as a wife.

You said that if you chose to attend a different church, you would be up for church discipline, even declared an unbeliever. That’s pretty scary and intimidating. It sounds as if the church you both attend also believes that their way is the only way and anything other than their way, is heresy.

You also say that you believe your husband loves you in his own way. If you call smothering someone to death love, then perhaps he might love you in his own way. But he is not encouraging you to flourish. He is not encouraging you at all because there is no you in the relationship. You exist to affirm his beliefs.

Here is what I’d like you to do. I’d like you to start reading God’s word for yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to show up.

God is for you and not against you. – Click To Tweet

He doesn’t love men more than women or your husband more than you. He wants you to know Him for yourself and have your own relationship with Him, one that is not mediated by your spouse.

If you are to love your husband, what is in his best interests right now? Is it to submissively collude with his idea that he can do all the thinking for you? Is it to silently stand by his side and throw the stewardship of your own life and mind in the trash? Or, is it to take him up on his own words and use your voice to calmly and clearly say, “I disagree” or “No” or “I don’t want to” or “I don’t like that” or “I don't believe God’s word says that.” Perhaps his biggest need right now is to see he can’t be God for you. That is idolatry for him and for you.

He will want to argue with you because in his mind he is the expert and he’s always right. When he does that, tell him, “I’m not debating this with you. You are entitled to believe your way, but I am also allowed to see it differently. I am not you and I don’t see it the same way. You told me to use my voice and I am using it. If the Holy Spirit shows me I’m wrong, I will listen.”

Let me ask you a question. Do you have a voice in non-spiritual matters – such as what you wear, what you eat, how you spend money, where you go, who you are friends with? Does his control over you extend to these things as well? You said you’ve always been submissive, but does that mean you get no choices? No freedom to do what you want to do or spend your time like you’d like to spend it?

I suspect his control extends beyond the spiritual domain of theology. Again, your personhood is being squashed under the guise of Biblical headship. But as the expert, he surely knows Christ’s definition of headship does not include a leader squashing and controlling those under him. In fact, Jesus demonstrated to his disciples what he meant by leadership and headship when he showed them by washing their dirty feet.

Does your husband demonstrate a servant's heart? Does his head knowledge of theology translate into the application of service towards others? If not, I would question how “spiritual” he truly is. Satan knows more theology than you or I do but he does not follow or submit to God. As studious as your spouse is, his application of Biblical truth seems selective to the things that serve his desire to control and to judge.

Bottom line. You need some support, you need some fresh air and you need to gain CORE strength. I would highly suggest you start by attending my free webinar tonight or Friday afternoon – Click here to register for 5 Red Flags That Indicate You Are In An Emotionally Destructive Marriage. Also, consider joining CONQUER for added support (Click here for more information).

Friend: If you were being spiritually controlled, how did you break free of that oppressive control and the fear of God’s wrath if you disagreed?


  1. Wonuola on May 3, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Dear Leslie, I am eternally grateful to God for you!
    Many stories I read feels like mine with a fear of doing what is right before God, whilst feeling enslaved, oppressed and battling with a crushed spirit as well as concerns of the impact on my children.
    The Truth sets free:
    God is love.
    God has called us to freedom- Gal 5:1
    God has not given us the spirit of fear. (Fear has torment!)
    God has given us a spirit of power, love and sound mind( contrary and whatever breeds it is not of God).
    God does not control us, so why should we let any one or anything else?

    The letter killeth, the spirit gives life.
    Evil communication corrupts good manners( Godly / healthy company strengthens in God’s will.
    Jesus died to set me free, paid the highest price for me and yet does not control/ abuse. Why should anyone else?

    These are some of the truth I have learnt to appreciate and empowered me to walk forward in the confidence of God’s love for me.
    I pray this helps someone else too🙏🏾

  2. Ruth on May 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Original Poster,

    When I read your letter to Leslie, I felt the weight crushing your soul. 😔
    Yes, you’re being spiritually abused and emotionally abused.
    Abusers like these take some scriptures and elevate them over others. They ignore how pride is spoken of as a sin God HATES but it is their big pet sin – as in “I’m so good, good, good better than that sinner over there; look at me at! I am superior to the average ‘Christian’ American. I have deep revelation. I tithe! I never miss a church service.” Maybe they’ve got some ‘revelation’ on the sabbath or baptism that makes them feel superior to everyone else but if this ‘revelation’ is accompanied by abuse, it makes me question the validity of the whole denomination your husband affiliate himself with. So if you get excommunicated for leaving an abusive marriage, then good!! You can find a good non-toxic church. Either your church is full of baloney or your husband is or both. You need to know the truth and the truth need to set you free.

    You are married to a man who professes to be a believer. And not just a believer but a leader in the church. He knows enough of the gospel to know he is supposed to love you as Christ loves the church. And yet he’s tearing you apart with his own words. 😔
    I want to say much more, but for lack of time let me just add one more thing: please be aware you’re going to want to normalize your situation in your mind. You will want to think “it’s not so bad”. You will want to backtrack on the progress you’ve made. For example if you move out and go to your mothers. Your husband will convince you to move back. Or if you get a job so that you have some income and he can’t control every nickel and dime, he might convince you to quit because it was easier in the “good ole days”. Or if you move out of the bedroom and start sleeping on the couch, he might guilt trip you back in to the bedroom unless you stand firm. Firm. Firm.
    As women, especially Christian women, we are so conditioned to please and submit that it’s practically impossible to stand firm against our husbands in abusive situations.
    For me personally, I put up with way too much crap (verbal) until I started seeing it happening to my daughter and then i had to finally open my mouth.
    My prayers are with you my sweet and precious sister.
    When you ask yourself “is it really abuse?” I’m saying in the Holy Ghost: – “yes! it’s real and it’s wickedness.”

    • Ann L. on May 3, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      What Ruth says. You’re not going crazy. Been there, went through that. It’s very scary for a person who’s based their entire identity on what a church (or any human-run organization) tells them it is. They’ve drunk the koolaid and surrounded themselves with fellow koolaid drinkers, and we, the outsiders, the unsaved, the questioning, the ones brave enough or awake enough to question, find that if we are to walk away, we lose relationships, friendships, social support, and maybe even (for a time) our sense of who we are.

      Leslie’s Core Strength is very scary stuff, or was for me, at least, because it provided a way to question all my sense of self. It felt…dangerous. As though it was a pre-determined path to the wrong decision. In my case, it was about marriage, not religion, or maybe both, because, you know, we’re told that we’re supposed to stay married forever and ever til death do us part. Yikes!

      So–your husband finds his identity in being a man of God. That’s his journey, and his idea likely includes strict expectations of what his marriage should look and feel like. His marriage, not yours, not the joint relationship.

      Best wishes to you as you find your way. It isn’t an easy journey, but it’s well worth it.

    • Pauline on May 9, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      Hi! I struggle with my husband giving me the guilt trip, and going from church to church and I finally stay with the church he brought me to after 3 other churches. He is going to his 6th one since I met him and says he is getting too old to switch. Every time I brought some abuse to the church, he was lovingly confront in their sincerity to help him he would leave. Now he is going to 2 churches with out me and trying to be used the way he was with the church I now go to. He is trying to sing with the worship team like he was doing at my church and left when darkness was brought to the light or the pastor or members offended him.
      His last episode was yesterday morning when I came downstairs ( I sleep separate ) and found all our wedding pictures out of our master bedroom and in my sewing room. I gathered them up this time and boxed them away, because they met something to me. He didn’t this other times before when he was mad at me. This time it was because I wasn’t giving myself sexually to him and most other times he has done it for that reason. After I put them away and not back up on the dressers like before he says he was just testing me. guess to see if I really loved him. I told him that was no way to deal with it and it only drew me away more. I told him the night before I need to be connected mentally and emotionally before I can give myself that way to him. He insists he need that and it is just the way he is. He can’t help it God made him that way. Like it is God’s fault he can’t control himself. He says I should just give in and I would see his anger would go away and things would be a lot better. I say I’m not responsible for his angery reaction to life’s hardships. They will be and there is not getting around them. We got to go though them with God’s help and no one has a life where everything is going their own way. It may seem that way, but it is just because I have learned to control my anger with God ‘s help and in the proper way or any of life’s hardships.
      He goes to church for I don’t know way. I think sometimes it is to see how I should as a professing Christian from what he comes home and tells me, directing the sermon to me. It’s like if he gets me to live as a perfect Christian as he see it in his head then he don’t need to change. He says I know I’m a hypocrite, I admit I’m not living like I should or a Christian should. At least I admit it you don’t. He also only serves himself and doesn’t serve others or care who he hurts in the process and lets his anger vent towards blacks and says they shouldn’t be loved because of the crimes he sees them committ on TV. He serves me to try to get what he want and withholds servanthood to me when he is upset with me. O Lord give me wisdom. If you feel so moved please reply to me. Thank you. Pauline

      • Contentinchrist on May 10, 2017 at 10:28 pm

        Hi, sweet Pauline…. I am praying for you right now. I don’t have a lot of time to respond but wanted to know you are loved and cared for and understood. Praying for wisdom for you, courage and peace and to feel the presence of God and His love and concern for you.

      • Nancy on May 12, 2017 at 9:54 am


        I am praying for you right now 🌷

  3. Kathy on May 3, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Is your abuse real because it’s got a spiritual element to it? You better believe it is real & it is ABUSE!! Unfortunately the church is one of the BEST venues for Legalistic, “holy” abusers who are very adept at making the Bible say what THEY want it to say!! They need to real Gospel of Christ to reveal their sins and prompt them to repent and change their ways so they can truly become Christ-like. Your husband is NOT Christ-like now.

    Get out of there!! The real God of the universe, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit will take care of you.

    I speak from experience! I am giving my husband guidelines today that include – NO Contact at all until I hear from the therapist/counselor of your choice that you are making certifiable, measurable accomplishments in coming out of your selfish, self-serving lifestyle, along with 2 accountability partners to keep you on track. Meanwhile I’ve got 2 accountability partners and a God-loving counselor to help me keep on track. The reason for doing this? I’m NOT going around in the same circles and arguments anymore, and I will NOT enable my husband’s SIN which keeps him from having a real relationship with Jesus Christ. I am tired of NOT being a respected wife, but instead actually playing the part of a “paid prostitute”!! That does NOT glorify the God Who sent His only Son to shed His blood for me!!

    Very admittedly, this is much easier for me than you since I never moved in to my husband’s house and we have lived separately.

    But you can do this. God will surround you with supporters and His timing is PERFECT!

    Go (at least call) to your local Domestic Violence Center. They deal with emotional abuse just as though it is physical abuse (because it is just as bad) and will keep you safe and everything will be confidential! They are very experienced with this and probably have a counselor available who is spiritual and will strengthen your walk with the Lord. Our local one is GREAT!

    Run! Do NOT walk or stall! God bless you!

  4. Aleea on May 3, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    “Friend: If you were being spiritually controlled, how did you break free of that oppressive control and the fear of God’s wrath if you disagreed?” . . . . Blind belief in authority looks like the greatest enemy that Truth has. It may be that the quickest way out of abuse is to deeply, seriously start questioning things and don’t stop questioning. Re: Trusting Doubt —just like the scientists do. They try to prove what they believe wrong, —not just right. They know that will help them discover more of what is really, really real. . . . .The problem, as everyone fully knows, with the Bible is that it has so, so many interpretations. I know mind bogglingly credentialed people with hearts so full of love and who have spiritual lives that boarder on mystics (—they would die for Christ) moreover, they are experts in ancient languages and contexts BUT when they translate they come to vastly different views on all kinds of issues all across the Word-of-God. Equally credentialed, sincere and qualified scholars coming to vastly different conclusions. . . . .I’ve never, ever been able to come to peace with that (—something seems so, so wrong with that) and it really makes me wonder just what is going on. We need more seriously qualified Bible scholars who are deeply in love with Christ BUT who understand and have practiced psychology and therapy to tell us what is going on with all these divergences. Is God telling all of them totally divergent things? Are they, (God forbid) repressing things they don’t want to deal with and so we are getting all these divergent messages??? Truth converges; error diverges and splinters off. . . . People don’t see the world as it is but as they are? Maybe no one can know the absolute truth because our reasoning is just too motivated. When I read Dr. Carl Jung, (Swiss psychotherapist, psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology) take apart God and Job in the book of Job, it stops we dead in my tracks. The insights Jung has into God and Job just floor me. Too bad Jung didn’t have a Ph.D. in New Testament Greek and one in Systematic Theology as well because then we would have heard some unparalleled insights into these answers we seek. That is what psychotherapists do. They ask deep, serious questions. People asking those kinds of questions are probably uncontrollable. People don’t want to ask those types of questions because they upend everything: Marriages; Theology; Beliefs, . . .but how do we grow and learn without serious critical thinking? . . . .Anyways. . . .

    “Is the problem all in my head? Am I going crazy? How do I know if God is for me or if he just wants me to stop complaining?” . . . .Just put your head in God’s lap and ask question after question . . .and ask and ask and ask some more. You’re not going crazy, that is your mind trying to free itself from man-made religion. “Am I going crazy?” —Of course not!!! Lose your mind and come to your senses! Jesus’ message was and is “I want you to be free.” As the church became institutionalized, a male power grab ensued. The early church “fathers” jammed a lot of control in there: See, for example: “The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture; Women and the Texts of Scripture; Women in the Early Church; Textual Alterations Involving Women” Look at that volume of redactional inserts to control women. . . . .You can trace for yourself how the idea of women being prominent in the early church being way too much for many church “fathers” and many male scribes, and so the text came to be changed in many manuscripts. How do we know? Archaeologists have long found manuscripts that date earlier and can track the changes and do track them. . . . .Only Jesus gets to control us —no one else. . . . . My point always is to take back your mental sovereignty. Ask lots of questions. Then ask yourself: What is consistent with real love, with Christ’s love? Jesus in Luke twelve says: “Why don’t YOU judge for yourselves what is right?” You have all the consequences, you have the choices. The solution for “I can’t live this way anymore” is basically, “Good! Don’t live that way anymore.”

  5. Donna on May 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    I am on the verge of divorce. My husband is controlling in many ways. He was verbally emotionally financially and sexually abusive asking me to do things that are against Gods laws like be a swinging couple. He also committed adultery. He also held a position of authority in the church and acts holier than though. I buried my head and pretended all this didn’t happen. My pride and ego wouldn’t let me believe that someone could do that to me….that I wasn’t loveable or attractive enough for him to resist temptation out of the home. I also let my pride and ego stop me from leaving him because we were the perfect family and I didn’t want to be emabarrased. The other big thing is I didn’t want to wreck my children’s lives. I stayed thinking I could handle this on my own. But in so doing I made bad choices just so I could cope. But his abuse was slow covert and insidious until I hated him so much. Now I am going to file for divorce and I will be the evil woman who tore apart a family. Our children are all grown. But it still will hurt them.

    • Robin on May 5, 2017 at 12:12 am

      Donna, do you believe staying in a destructive relationship, will not damage your children?? You have already become a broken family when he dishonored the wedding vows. Don’t take on mis-truth and guilt. I don’t believe you will be the evil woman breaking up your family- I think you will be a strong woman defending herself and children from his disrespect and abuse. Too often women feel guilty and think they are invthe wrong. I think they will only be in the wrong if they stay in a relationship where everyone is being damaged and no one is movingvtoward healthy choices.

      • JoAnn on May 6, 2017 at 9:54 pm

        I agree, Robin, and I also think that Donna should talk frankly with each of her grown children to explain to them exactly why this divorce is happening. Give them a chance to ask questions and help them to understand. They no doubt know that things weren’t all good in your family, and exposing the lies will help them to heal.

        • Donna on May 6, 2017 at 11:46 pm

          My kids love their father. They have witnessed him controlling me, criticizing me and making up lies so he is always right. They have been in the car with him while he has had road rage. But there have been many good and wonderful times as their father. He treats me the worst of everyone. The kids don’t know the extent of what he does. They certainly don’t know about his unfaithfulness. I don’t believe it’s my place to tell them that. I have been telling the kids that things are not right, that I am going to counseling but their dad won’t. But I don’t want the private details told. I don’t want to mud sling. How do tell adult children. What should I say. Our 35th anniversary is in June. My attorney said to wait until after that. My heart is breaking because i never thought I would be at this place in my life.

          • Aly on May 7, 2017 at 2:10 pm


            I’m so sorry for where you are at 35 years of fighting for a place in a marriage that sounds nothing like one.

            I am confused about you having children in the home currently or that they are all adults out of the home.

            If your children are adults I think the infidelity issue is serious enough that they ‘need to know’ the truth of their family of origin for their own benefit moving into adulthood and marriage themselves.
            These betrayals seem to be passed down generationally as well as abusive mindsets in marriages.
            The apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree so to speak.

            I’m also confused about the lawyer comment.. I’m thinking that you are headed to divorce, am I right?

            I wonder if you feel that you have been a family image protector of your h all this time and it is hard to reveal the truth to your kids?
            I think this would be common and difficult to deal with but you are a child of God and you don’t have to continue to cover for your husband ~ he certainly didn’t do anything to protect the marriage or your heart!

            You have been betrayed in the worst ways and forms in my opinion and yet, he is also adding more betrayal by not coming clean to your children (adult) … this is more abuse toward you in my opinion and is offered in an indirect way but it’s still heart wrenching…. 😢

            Praying for your journey and the truth to heal!

          • ContentinChrist on May 7, 2017 at 7:42 pm

            Aly and JoAnn,

            Do you believe it’s always best to tell the children – no matter what age they are (in age-appropriate ways, of course)?

            I have not done this. I have been protecting my husband — but honestly, also protecting myself because I think if I say anything to them, all hell will break loose. I wouldn’t be surprised at any counter-attack my husband would throw just to keep his “nice” reputation.

            I’m worried I would lose relationship with my kids.

            I know that my past sins will be brought up (which is fine — I have no problem confessing to them, but I also know that my past infidelity will most definitely make me look like the really bad one and in some ways will make my husband look even better in their eyes).

            All so complicated.

          • Donna on May 7, 2017 at 8:03 pm

            That’s my problem also. My husband will deny he did what he has done, because he even denied it to me and to our religious leader when I presented an email between him and a woman. Somehow he spins his way out of it. He twists things around and blames me. It’s weird. My kids still enjoy my company and reach out to me to talk and do things with them. If I tell all the private details of what went on it can get to where they are so disappointed in both of us they may not want to be around either of us.

          • Aly on May 7, 2017 at 8:56 pm


            Are you still together or separated?

            As far as your question.. maybe JoAnn would have a more qualified answer.

            I don’t know the ages of your kids so with infidelity as this issue not sure if you need to bring this in.. especially if they are too young.

            If you are separated and possible headed toward divorce.. your children naturally on some subconscious level like to blame themselves on these adult issues. Which of course isn’t true.
            Hopefully your counselor can assist in helping you navigate, I think sometimes these areas are difficult because of the age of the children.. older children can handle more and really need to the truth for the healthiest grieving, in my opinion.

            It’s ok to not tell details either.. if your children are young you can tell them that you will give them more explanations as they get older but you can continue to reassure them that the cause is never about them.

            Hugs and prayers for your heart my friend 💖

          • JoAnn on May 7, 2017 at 11:31 pm

            Aly, Of course your advice is sound. Because each situation is different, I think it is best to discuss the details of the disclosure with your counselor. As others have said, the ages of the children is an important factor, as well as possible repercussions from the h. I just know that children are very perceptive, and talking honestly with them will help them to better understand what they have witnessed.

          • JoAnn on May 7, 2017 at 8:10 pm

            Donna, I am truly sorry for all these very hurtful and difficult things that you are going through now. Be assured that the Lord knows your pain, and He will see you through all of it. I appreciate that you don’t want to share all the things your husband has done with your children, and that is fine as long as they are not deceived into thinking that the divorce is your fault. Your husband has broken the marriage covenant, and if they are at all confused about why this divorce is happening, you might have to tell them the truth. I would encourage you to at least discuss this with your counselor, so that if the time comes when you feel that they need to know, you can be ready. That’s not “mudslinging,” it’s simply the truth.

          • Aly on May 7, 2017 at 8:43 pm

            JoAnn and Donna,

            I agree with you JoAnn about the truth being essential~

            When my h and I were setting boundaries and healthy expectations to my enmeshed family our children were definitely in the middle of sorts…
            It was our counselor who thought it was best to answer questions in truth so we could validate their reality rather than try to manage their grief.
            Basically trying to minimize the impact on them might have lead to more grieving issues later in life…and they need to know their parents will be truthful and not be liable for guarding/protecting some destructive behavior.
            Of course this all age appropriate and each age sometimes requires different levels but also the unique needs of the child will also be a factor.
            It was important that we confirm their realities so they don’t take on any responsibility that isn’t theirs and thus they can begin their own grieving process in truth.
            Makes for a transparent safe environment for us all to heal and grow in….
            rather than the unspoken tension of secret keeping or not telling the truth.
            As we want them to value honesty and integrity, we must also model that for them.

            My h grew up in a home where negative emotions were not allowed, where the reality of certain things were minimized or distracted away… he learned some damaging coping skills and on some level it fed his under-developed ’empathy’ which cost him emotionally more as an adult and those around him.

          • JoAnn on May 7, 2017 at 9:18 pm

            Aly made a good point about confirming the realities that the children already know but probably haven’t voiced. It’s about the emperor who has no clothes, or the proverbial “elephant in the living room.” Kids are very perceptive, and your children have grown up with some very distorted ideas about how marriage works. The sooner you can have some frank conversations about what they grew up with, the better, even to the point of apologizing to them, if necessary, for allowing it to go on so long.

          • ContentinChrist on May 8, 2017 at 10:12 pm

            Thanks for the responses. I will definitely speak the truth if I ever hear of any lies being said about me. However, my husband is Mr. Covert and I believe he would likely have ways of “getting his point across” without actually coming right out and saying things. In that way, I think this kind of behavior is more destructive – it is really the same kind of abuse he dealt to me and it is so covert that it can take you years to wake up to. I worry that he will do that with them, but so far my relationship with them all seems pretty healthy (although none of them want to talk about any of it at all).

            Thank you for the reminder to keep letting them know at various times that it is not their fault and has nothing to do with them. I know I shouldn’t overdo that message, but something in my spirit says that yes, that is something I need to address every so often with them.

            He is Disneyland Dad and says yes and finds it very hard to set boundaries with them, so he is well-liked. However, my 19 year old son is aware, based on a very short conversation we had a year and a half ago or so, that his dad is emotionally unavailable. He has made other various remarks lately that make me know that he is craving that kind of relationship with his father. It breaks my heart. He is a pretty smart kid and I think he might be aware that I would not separate for no reason. But, maybe that is wishful thinking on my part, too.

            For myself, I think I feel the most peace just praying for him every so often when I am praying for all of us – not in specific ways necessarily of what he’s done wrong, but just asking that God would show him how much He loves him and what He’s done for him in Christ.

            My mom and dad had a really broken marriage and my mom went through an extremely bitter period that, to this day, turns several of her children off to a closer relationship with her (even though she has worked through a lot of it). So, I am very aware of that possibility and I do not want that.

            If my kids ask questions (like my son did right after we separated), I will answer them truthfully and in age-appropriate ways. If they don’t, I will trust God with it all. If I hear that my husband is trying to influence them against me by lying or twisting the truth, I will have no problem telling my side of the story – also, in an age-appropriate and careful way.

            I think that’s been my plan so far and I will continue it.

      • Maria on May 7, 2017 at 7:12 am

        Robin, glad to see you are back. I have been praying for you.
        I am also of the opinion that you should explain why you are doing this. I have younger kids, and when my husband tells them lies about me, I defend myself to them. Usually it involves assigning a motive to my actions to them.

        • Donna on May 7, 2017 at 3:47 pm

          All my children are adults now. One is on a religious mission. I covered for my husband and kept my mouth shut and allowed him to hold high callings in the church and perform religulious ordinances he should not have been holding. I found out the infidelity right before our older son was going on a mission and our kids were making major life decisions getting scholarships and going to college. So I kept quiet not wanting to have the worlds crash down on them. God told me it’s time for me to not allow anyone to take advantage and disrespect my body, mind or soul anymore. I moved into my own bedroom last September to really let my husband know I mean business she hope his heart would change and he would go to counseling and be real and truthful. But he stayed in his high religious position and joined people to his mulitillevel marketing program and joined people in our church to it… including the person he cheated on me with. He throws it back on me and says it’s my fault and what I do is as bad and I am 50 percent responsible. I hardly speak with him. That did start 10 years ago when I found out he cheated. So I really haven’t given him hardly any attention since then. But he was unrepentant and would not show me with actions he changed. He just kept criticizing and controlling. I have no access to our joint money. Idk what he is doing. Luckily he is a miser who doesn’t waste money. But I am divorcing in June. I will tell the kids some very serious things occurred and they will need to trust me that it was bad enough that I needed to leave.

    • Gigi on May 7, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Donna, if you go to Leslie’s page on Facebook (Leslie Vernick – enriching relationships that matter most) and watch the replay of her FB live called “Defining Crazymaking: How you lose yourself in a destructive relationship” that was posted on May 2, at about 18 minutes from the end she answers a question about how to tell adult kids that you are planning to separate/divorce. I think you will find that helpful. Prayers for clarity and for good communication with your kids.

      • Incognito now on May 9, 2017 at 9:51 am

        Thanks- I have been at all of her live facebook events and her recent webinar. But I will go back and re-watch that part about how to tell adult children. I need to get those ideas refreshed in my mind. Thanks!

    • Shirley on May 9, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Donna, You have biblical grounds for divorce. When he committed adultery, he broke your wedding vows. It is more destructive for you to stay, because that tells him that you condone his behavior. If he cheated on you once, he will do it again if there are no consequences. If your children are adults, they are old enough to understand what adultery is, and why you are ending the marriage. I grew up in a very abusive family, and I remember begging my parents to get divorced. Your children will understand better than you think they will, and you will actually be showing them what is acceptable in marriage, and what is not. In time they will come to respect your decision. God bless you.

  6. Many years on May 3, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    I am so sorry for your spiritual and emotional abuse, dear sister in Christ. You need to begin to disentangle yourself from the spiritual enslavement which your husband has entrapped you in. And also, disentangle yourself from the very twisted beliefs in the church you are being forced to attend.

    There is no such thing as being ‘excommunicated’ from the TRUE Body of Christ. Jesus is the one who adds daily to HIS church, through repentance in your own heart to him. You owe no other man or church institution any explanation as to who you are in Christ.

    If you end up being ‘threatened’ with so-called excommunication from the church your husband attends, then all the better for you!

    I was in a church environment for over 50 years which held the authority of the pastors and the husbands as THE guideline for submission to Christ for the families who attended that fellowship. It was as though the accountability requirement stopped short, right at the authority figures, as all people who were beneath that pastorial and familial/husband authority had to live by the so-called spiritual rules and regulations set forth by the clergy.

    It was a warped ‘entitlement’ theology which did not allow the Holy Spirit much place in the heart of the individual believer. If a person questioned the ‘authority’ of the leaders, the leaders did not allow much room for argument. Which diminishes the entire faith based belief in Jesus Christ!

    I believe when this happens, even some of the most prominent leaders are wolves in sheeps clothing. They are for ‘themselves’, and the theology which is so entrenched in their minds gives way to the big word PRIDE. Which ends up with them ‘weeding out’ people from their own flock, which those people are then called ‘heretics’ because they won’t go along with the ‘system’ of that church; which then, involves the so-called excommunication process from that church.

    This type of mindset is totally against God, as the word ‘heretic’ means ‘those who go and forget God’ which many, many times is the fartherest from the truth when a true believer is ousted from a church which is ‘performance’ based and not heart-felt belief and conviction.

    This is exactly what is happening to the one who wrote this question about spiritual abuse. Her husband is spiritually abusing her and so is that church.

    It is a toxic environment where one cannot grow spiritually. There is no life-giving sustenance in her marriage, nor in that church, as Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the ones who produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, not some overrated, theological institution which has a form of godliness but they deny the true Power of God.

    Ask for God’s will in your life, and it may take some time, as this has been an on-going circumstance in your life. This is why the unbelieving Jews, at the time of Christ’s ministry, rejected Christ’s teachings because the Jews were entrenched in their own belief and law system. They didn’t want the freedom that we have in Christ.

    ‘The sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us’, in Jesus Christ when he comes to redeem his own.

    I know many of the theological arguments which enslave men, which causes them to not want to leave an unhealthy church environment and the worst one is ‘the Fear of man’.

    If we suffer for Christ, happy are we. The joy of the Lord is your strength. Not that any type of suffering is justifiable when it is indeed abuse.

    I hope this helps. Praying for your peace of mind, knowing that many are praying for you here on this site.

  7. Cyndy on May 4, 2017 at 12:34 am

    It was a slow process…one piece of Truth reveled at a time…one light bulb moment at a time…one voice from solid people at a time. But the dawn did break and it was amazing to look back and see how God orchestrated life events and held my hand, gently directing me one step at a time. I, too, suffered from a missionary pastor who thought he was the one who had a corner on truth. As God helped me “buckle up” the belt of Truth every morning, he proved to me that He could speak and I would hear. That was a significant turning point for me. I still need to be reminded of that…just last week (after more than 6 years) He made it blatantly clear that He still speaks and I still am listening and hearing correctly. He will do the same for you, precious sister!!!

    • Wonuola on May 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Amen! I am confident He will. He has done the same for me too.

  8. Hopeful gal on May 4, 2017 at 5:59 am

    My husband, who is divorcing me,is critical of my faith and spoken prayers of hope in restoration of our marriage and family through the power of God.

    He is a Christian and attends a Catholic Church.

    I am wondering if he is threatened by my strongwalknwith Jeus, is he angry because I was a lukewarm/self willed believer when we were still functioning as man and wife, or he is under conviction because he seems to be living under the worlds ways and not the will of God.

    • JoAnn on May 5, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Dear Hopeful Gal,
      I don’t know if you, or anyone, can diagnose what is going on in your husband’s mind, and it is not necessary for you to be able to go on in the Lord. What is important is for you to find healthy, scripture based fellowship so that you can pursue the Lord with other Christians and be built up in the fellowship of the Body of Christ. Ready your Bible daily, pray often, and get as much support as you can find, preferable with a good counselor who will help you deal with all the fallout from the divorce. Stay in touch here, on this site, where you can get a lot of good, sound help from others who have been down the road you are now having to travel. Grace be with you.

      • Hopeful Gal on May 5, 2017 at 1:59 pm

        Thank you Joanne

        i am blessed with great counselor, super solid Christian women in a small group that I am involved with. i also received support from a couple of standers groups on Facebook. We support each other with prayer, scripture, and hope.

        I have to let my husband go. He may pick at me and my walk with God because he is choosing the exact opposite. That is between he and God.My husband claims that God and his Christian support system have encouraged him to divorce me (which I know is not true)

        I do not know how I would be able to get through this divorce with out God. This is a spiritual battle and I am learning about Spiritual Warfare and sticking close to worship music, sermons on Youtube, and scripture.

        Thank you for kind words

    • JoAnn on May 5, 2017 at 11:40 am

      It may be all of the above.

  9. Kate on May 4, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Dear Sister, I have been in a similar situation for 30 years. Co-dependency caused me to “cover” for my pastor husband for years. I began to understand my freedom in Christ as I grew in my faith. Press into the Lord – do everything you can to grow in your faith. Get in the Word, read strong Christians, listen to worship music, listen to teaching other than your husband and church. Ask God to give you a sound mind and heal your heart. Find a good Christian counselor. Be brave. Keep taking steps toward freedom.

    As I began to break free the Lord has continually told me, “Be brave.” My husband has not pastored in 8 years but he cannot stand to attend church unless he is in leadership. And he didn’t want me to even want to. He sees the fact that I can go to church as a rejection of him as my pastor and that is all he wants to be. A year ago I started attending a different church rather than support a bid for leadership while he was not even speaking to me at home. He did not take it well but eventually we entered counseling. The anger is better and he says he loves me but he straight up says I will never be more important than ministry. He claims marriage and ministry should be equal under God but it definitely plays out that ministry is more important. It is where his identity is. Right now our boundaries allow for peace and I am just taking it a day at a time with the Lord. I do not know how our story will end. Be encouraged. God sees. He knows. He will give strength.

    • Aly on May 6, 2017 at 8:48 am


      I’m so very sorry for your situation but glad that your h is not pastoring as it doesn’t seem to be a beneficial thing to your marriage especially.

      You wrote:
      ” The anger is better and he says he loves me but he straight up says I will never be more important than ministry. He claims marriage and ministry should be equal under God but it definitely plays out that ministry is more important. It is where his identity is. ”

      I’m confused because as a pastor (your husband) he would be quite familiar with the scriptures and Paul addresses this in 1 Corinth. I believe about serving in ministry as the main priority or the other priorities of marriage and it quite clear on how it should look, if a person decided to get married.

      By the way, our marriages are designed to reflect the Glory of God~ With both parties surrendered to God at the center!
      There isn’t individuals marriages between husband and wives in heaven.. no need for them there, like God designed here on earth.

      • Free on May 7, 2017 at 8:00 pm

        Aly, I used to remind myself that there is no marriage in heaven as a way to endure the misery. I would think, finally, I will be free. This may be another discussion but has anyone felt like I fell with a fear of being buried with your abusive spouse? Of course the spirit is gone and alive with Christ, but I just have these terrible unsettled feelings like he could grab at me through eternity just like he grabbed at me in life. This crazy thought blocks any thought of “rest in peace.”

        • JoAnn on May 7, 2017 at 8:27 pm

          Oh, Dear Free! That is just a fantasy, and can’t possibly happen. Our righteous God will require justice for those who sin against His beloved, and even more so if the abuser claims to be a christian. We all have to answer to the One on the throne for the sins we have not confessed and brought under the precious blood of Christ. (Matt. 7:23 and more). Our loving heavenly Father will not allow such a terrible thing to happen to you. Your rest in the Lord’s presence will be full of peace and joy. I was so encouraged by reading “Waking up in Heaven” by Crystal McVea. Her experience in the Lord’s presence was so wonderful. Read it and be encouraged.

          • free on May 8, 2017 at 5:33 pm

            Thanks. You are right! I think this thinking just exemplifies the depth of the abuse I suffered and its lasting effects on my brain.

        • Wonuola on May 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm

          I remembered as well that there is no marriage in heaven and in addition every man will give an account of himself, not account for husband or wife. My desire is to give a good account of my life, including wise use of my time and care of my children, rather than let someone else abuse my time and subject vulnerable children to unhealthy environment. The marriage covenant is over when one spouse dies so he has no power / authority to grab at you in eternity. Hold on to God’s peace, embrace your Father’s love, His Truth sets us free from every unhealthy captivating thought 💕

  10. JoAnn on May 4, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    In addition to all the wonderful truths that have been shared already, I would add that no one can “condemn you to hell”, once you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. My goodness, how can a true believer in Christ and the word of God even say such a thing??? Our salvation is eternal. I would encourage you, along with Leslie and all the others here, to spend a lot of time reading your Bible, so that you can really know the Truth. Keep a journal of the things your h says and the verses you find that contradict what he says. Seek to know the Living Christ, the One who came to us as Truth. The Lord will show you the way He wants you to take.

    • Many years on May 4, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      I love your response, JoAnn.

      I do keep a journal too, and some of it is just not nice, as far as the things my husband has said to me in his angst filled mindset, along with his controlling behavior. I like your thought about finding verses in scripture which contradicts what he has said to you, and write the scripture verse in the same journal entry, which will confirm that we are not the ones doing the ‘crazy-making’.

      I think sometimes we tend to minimize the verbal abuse, but then, writing it down shows that we clearly see what is happening in any given circumstance where the verbal abuse is very apparent. And it is so harmful and hurtful and cuts us to our inner heart.

      What are some verses which some of you have found comfort in? I like: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” Jesus’ words.

      I have connected more with Romans 8 verse 27 of late, more than with Romans 8:28. Verse 27 says: “And he who searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for God’s children according to the will of God.” As with verse 28, it is sometimes desperation when people glibly quote to us “And we know that all things work together for good, to them who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.”

      In other words, some churches tend to make light of abusive suffering glibly saying “it will all work out for good.”

      When all is said and done, and we have fought the good fight, this will be the case, but in the mean time, there will be suffering which will be unfair. And the road will not be an easy one. Jesus trod that road of suffering alone, yet he is beside us on our journey to comfort our sufferings. So, we are never alone with Him beside us. This is an immense comfort to our hearts.

      My other favorite verse is in the same chapter of Romans, verses 38 and 39: :For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the LOVE OF GOD, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” KJV

      This is why we MUST strengthen our inner woman, our inner core. We HAVE to do this for ourselves and not loose heart or hope, knowing that Jesus sees everything and He is there to comfort and to guide us. I could not be doing this without Jesus my Lord!

      • Nancy on May 5, 2017 at 5:03 pm

        Hi Many Years,

        You said, “when all is said and done, and we have fought the good fight, this will be the case, but in the mean time, there will be suffering which will be unfair. And the road will not be an easy one.”

        I’m hoping that the suffering you are referring to is not suffering that allows your h to continue in destructive ways toward you. That wouldn’t be forebearing.

        The way that you worded it concerns me a little bit.

        • Aly on May 5, 2017 at 6:52 pm

          Many Years & Nancy,

          I was confused and concerned a bit too?

          Maybe it’s because those verses were used against me to just continue the ‘intolerable’..
          Can you expand.. these can. Be confusing to others on the blog especially if they have been false guilted and false shamed for speaking up and questioning wrongs.

        • Many years on May 10, 2017 at 7:33 pm

          Thank you, dearest Nancy, and Aly, for your wanting some clarification about how we can address some suffering which is inescapable even though we have confronted our husbands.

          I see it this way: Because I have been on a journey to perceive if my husband is truly a born-again believer or not, it took me many years to figure this out. As it did not even dawn on me to find a different approach than using confrontation to try and reach him in his abuse towards myself and our (now grown) children.

          And since I believe he is not a believer, yet he is ‘religious’ there will be an element about him which will never be able to face any kind of confrontation until he sees his own need of a Savior which requires repentance.

          So, at this point in time, I had just confronted him, ( and I confronted him, with the thought that he WAS a believer, but now I have huge doubts about that) and after that, his subtle reaction, which it took him an entire day to deceptively attempt to pass it off as no big deal to himself, as there was no real compassion toward me, nor any desire to ask forgiveness from me, nor was there a repenting heart, as all he said was ‘God has forgiven me.’ which he was meaning himself.

          This ‘one on one’ type of thinking for men, and some church pastors and leaders is relagated to ‘I am only accountable to God’ in what some of the clergy has done in the cult-type church we grew up in. It was kind of like ‘don’t let the right hand know what the left hand was doing’ which leads to terrible communication issues in a marriage. Translated: Don’t let your wife know what your sins are.

          This is what I mean about the on-going emotional and mental suffering I have endured which the craftiness of my husband’s heart, from the deceitfulness of an unrepentant heart, which is blind to being confronted because the human mind cannot comprehend the freedom in Christ that a new person in Christ has.

          I am seeing that no amount of confronting will ever do him any good unless he repents of his sins and accepts Christ as his personal Savior.

          He is unable to change on his own, nor can he change through any degree his own human heart. He may ‘appear’ to ‘do better’ but that type of maneuver just doesn’t work, as he is still chained to his human mindset. People can have a ‘form’ of godliness but it does not come from the heart.

          Why it took me so long to figure out that he is most likely not a true believer, may be due to the fact that ‘religion’ comes in all shapes and sizes to fit the agenda necessary to feel ‘accepted’ by other so-called ‘religious’ people, and it is that kind of a lie which keeps him chained to a religious dogma that he only has to be accountable only to God.

          He obviously cannot comprehend the verse: ‘Confess your faults one to another so that you may be healed’.

          Hence, no accountability to any church leaders, no accountability to his wife, no accountability to his children or family. And hence. I continue to suffer because my husband will not change until he accepts Christ. This is the suffering that I am talking about.

          No matter how hard I would like for him to change, he is blind to his own sins. This is what growing up in a religious cult does to the mind of those who live in the fear of man, and not in the fear and compassion of God.

          So yes, my husband’s destructive ways WILL continue toward me, at this point in time.

          Because I have just figured out a lot of this myself, just in the past year and a half, by going to abuse blogs and psychological blogs in order to prove that I am not crazy, it has been a journey which I had to prove for myself which has opened my own eyes to the dilemma which I am still facing.

          I have become far stronger in the Lord through seeking to find some answers which I desperately needed. That is why I am on Leslie’s site here, as there are clarifying answers to help make a clear path for my feet.

          And no, I am not happy about it, as far as thinking that the confrontation should have had some revelations as to what I could do as I was expecting something in the way of an apology from my husband, and it did not happen.

          Which also confirmed that what I confronted him with went right over his head. He does not ‘get it’ as he can’t, because he is not a believer.

          But this confrontation truly confirmed what I had been asking for an answer from the Lord to help me to discern who my husband is, and I believe the answer is: He needs salvation through Jesus Christ in order to have that transformative power to overcome his human flesh.

          I have a girl friend whose dad waited until he was 89 years old to accept Jesus as his savior. Her dad died within the month after that. God is a lot more patient than we can imagine. And there are other people who have accepted Christ on their deathbed. Not that any of us want to wait that long for a loved one to accept Christ.

          As, sometimes we want things done in a hurry, and to see immediate results; and sometimes, it does take years to find the right answer for each individual marriage.

          But don’t take my marriage as an example for your own circumstance. I would definitely look for your own answers through this blog, and through Leslie’s council.

          • Aly on May 10, 2017 at 9:58 pm

            Many Years,

            I’m so very sorry for your situation and thank you for writing back and expanding what you meant and what you have been going through. I’m glad that you have found support and answers for your heart that you need.

            Maybe your situation is something that Leslie Vernick can address and give feedback in another posting, when it comes to a professing believer vs a non professing believer.
            I do think it can be confusing… I know nonbelievers that do not treat their wives as you have been treated and I myself went through a long road of being treated with abuse by a professing believer. Similar to some of the behaviors you described in your recent posts.
            For the most part they do act as they have done nothing wrong, nor do they want their behavior pointed out at all and many of the additional tactics they react in are quite predictable, something like that of a toddler tantrum and underdeveloped teen mix.
            Unfortunately this behavior seems to be more common in immature men (believer or non) that have ‘little discomfort’ in their lives,… what would bring about change in that case?

            A counselor at our church told me once that he could wrap our entire church parking lot with women struggling in their marriages where the ‘Christian husband’ is neglecting many parts of his role in a covenant marriage.

            So what gives? Is it possible to have many men that are Believers yet they continue to feed the flesh and not the spirit, so the stagnant place remains in its infancy? Why is this such an epidemic in our churches😢.

            Relationships in general are a lot of work, so sometimes in my understanding I don’t see it as a believer or non believer place but as a place where a person is either interested in being in a mutual relationship or they just choose they are not.

            For a long time my h had quite the benefits of a marriage and a relationship with me without any real effort on his part… I mean what would motivate someone to change if they already are quite satisfied with their status quo and very little relational participation or investment.

            I do tend to think that what we invest in we tend to value, and what we value we invest in.. so some husbands with little relational investment will struggle showing the value and regard for their partner even if they are a believer and especially if they are very immature overall.

            Hope that you continue to find your path Many Years and that you experience God in His most precious ways for your heart.

          • Many years on May 11, 2017 at 4:57 pm

            Thank you so very much, Aly for the spiritually perceptive insight into men who just can’t seem to grow in their own faith, and it does seem like an epidemic.

            And yes, my husband is successful in business, and is very self productive, which is also a trait of the narcissist. Which does account for their lack of empathy and comprehension for the feelings and of the wife.

            Yes, like you mentioned, he (or men who are similar to him) definitely have ‘lower discomfort’ in life. And I don’t know why this is, but it’s as though Satan isn’t interested in them as far as causing them to suffer, as he already has them in his clutches which is very scary.

            And so, we are the victims, not only of our husbands, but Satan knows this too as that evil, beguiling devil does not want their souls to be saved, nor for them to be productive in Christ.

            I will write again later in regard to this.

            God bless your faith and, like me, we know who our trust and hope is, are settling in to who we truly are and can be in the Lord, in spite of the trials.

          • Aly on May 11, 2017 at 5:38 pm

            Many years,
            Thank you for your response, just to clarify my husband was very comfortable for a long time based on my inability to place healthy boundaries and requirements.

            Growing in this changed my victimization place to someone that will choice better for myself and for our children.
            Boundaries and Requirements were a necessary agent that God helped me put in place to where my husband was no longer as ‘comfortable’ as he would have preferred. Praise God!

            Yes, I was victimized in many areas like what you are experiencing from your h but I now see myself as free from that state and claim victory over.

            My husband has had to get a lot of intervention for his narc traits but it’s not always my belief that men are stuck or can’t grow in maturity or their faith, sometimes it more that they ‘won’t’. And they especially most typically won’t without discomfort, unfortunately.

          • Nancy on May 12, 2017 at 10:11 am

            Hi Aly, Many Years,

            I so agree Aly. It is the discomfort of boundaries and requirements that God can use to create the necessary discomfort that our husbands need.

            This is what being an Ezer is. It is going to war against the evil that has ensnared the one whom God has joined us with.

            We are not fighting our husbands, we are fighting the sin that has taken hold of him ( maybe ever since he was a very young boy). And wether he ‘understands’ what I am doing, or not – thanks to Leslie and her work – I do.

          • Aly on May 12, 2017 at 11:04 am

            Nancy & Many Years;)

            Nancy, Just love how you said this!!!:
            “We are not fighting our husbands, we are fighting the sin that has taken hold of him ( maybe ever since he was a very young boy). And wether he ‘understands’ what I am doing, or not – thanks to Leslie and her work – I do.”

            This couldn’t be more accurate and the generation patterns of sin that get passed down.
            Fighting for that young boy, what was taken and not protected.. but the ‘discomfort’ gives an opportunity for a decision. ( and yes we might have sit with the discomfort of them not being pleased with us wives) Now, if further abuse escalates… boundaries and requirements also will increase!

            Not all husbands decide they are interested in taking a longer look at the history and God’s design to guide them out and into His purpose.
            But we as His daughters can work with Him rather than against Him in making it easy and cushy for h’s to remain less aware or challenged.

            Regardless if the marriage restores.. its the true Identity of the ‘young boy and his beliefs’ that’s God desires for His children’s freedoms🌈

          • Many years on May 12, 2017 at 5:35 pm

            Aly, (and Nancy too) to your reply to me on May 11th. So much of what you have said is exactly what I have gone through with my husband for years.

            And I seriously believe, that when I have confronted my husband, and when he ‘offers’ me an apology such as ‘I’m sorry’ with his head bowed, that it is not so much the apology but his attitude, which really revolves around his perception of his apology, which is still all about ‘himself’ because he is not really sorry, but ‘FEELS SORRY’ for himself for being ‘found out’ or confronted.

            Sadly, it is not about a genuine apology in his mind at all, but the ‘I’m sorry’ in his mind, ‘gets him off the hook’ for a while, until he settles back down into his old pattern of manipulating and verbal abuse.

            I have had to take a step back with the perspective of viewing my husband as God views him, which is, God is waiting for true repentance from my husband, and until then, nothing will really change.

            And because my absorption with the marriage dilemma revolved around my husband for so long, it began to affect my own relationship with the Lord.

            For years I did not have an agenda for my own survival, including the spiritual survival we need in order to let God intervene and for the Holy Spirit to be the one to take over where we have tried to cope on our own; and I knew I had to focus on who I am in Christ.

            This is when I began to find there is hope and love, and support online, from others who have been through very similar circumstances.

            As a Christian, I think the important thing to remember is, you are a separate entity from your husband. You may be one in the flesh, like the scriptures point out when we get married, yet, before you entered that marriage, you had a spiritual relationship with the Lord which was already separate from your husband.

            I thought that when I got married I would have someone I could talk with about spiritual things, having a Christ-centered marriage, which just didn’t happen. And that was a huge disappointment to me.

            So, the topic of Leslie’s post is spiritual abuse. So, the lack of the spiritual element in my marriage was deeply harmful and also disappointing to me, as I truly desired to be the Proverbs 31 woman, whose husband would rise up and called her “Blessed”. This never happened in my marriage.

            Yes, we went to church, or to church events, but that was about the extent of it.
            There was no scripture reading in our home by my husband to his children.

            I would put my children to bed at night and tell them Bible stories about Jesus, and all three of them accepted Jesus as their Savior at young ages. Thank the Lord for that!

            So, with the majority of our marriage, with our young family which most of our lives revolved around their dad (which all of my children are grown with their own families) it was a very shallow marriage indeed.

            So, at this point in time, becoming strong in the Lord for myself, is lonely without my husband being able to enter in to the joy of the Lord with me. Since this is my journey of survival, I have to keep growing in the Lord for myself.

            And Aly, what you said about ‘we are not fighting our husbands’ this is so true! We want for them what we have in Jesus! That ‘young boy’ just doesn’t want to grow up, and we can’t make that happen, only God can. It is their choice.

            My husband was definitely not interested in getting to the bottom of some of our family’s generational patterns of sins. He said it ‘repulsed’ him, oddly enough, because it fit exactly his own ‘relational’ pattern of relating to life itself.

            My husband is still doing things ‘his way’ being proud of his financial successes. I would rather see a man who recognizes to be humble in the Lord is a far greater treasure than success in life.

            And so we pray for our husband’s deluded souls and their distorted concepts about living in the world, where we as wives on the other hand, have the freedom which comes from serving our precious Savior. As our freedom really does come from Jesus.

          • Aly on May 12, 2017 at 6:33 pm

            Many Years,

            I’m very sorry to hear more of your journey. It sounds like you have tolerated a lot of disappointment, verbal abuse, and a shallow marriage as you have expressed. I’m sad for that and what you continue to go through in the marital dynamic. Have you implemented boundaries or requirements to guard your heart in a healthy way?

            You wrote:
            “So, with the majority of our marriage, with our young family which most of our lives revolved around their dad (which all of my children are grown with their own families) it was a very shallow marriage indeed.”

            You mentioned that all 3 of your children received Jesus as Savior which is such a joy.. 🤗🌅. are you able to enjoy watching your children pass their faith down to your grandchildren?

            Did your husband’s role influence any of your now adult children to follow his path?

            You wrote:
            “So, at this point in time, becoming strong in the Lord for myself, is lonely without my husband being able to enter in to the joy of the Lord with me. Since this is my journey of survival, I have to keep growing in the Lord for myself.”
            I’m sorry for this loss but glad that you desire to grow in your journey and I hope you have a fulfilling community to celebrate and grieve with!

            You wrote:
            “And Aly, what you said about ‘we are not fighting our husbands’ this is so true!”

            Actually I think this was Nancy’s comment that I agreed with given the boundaries and requirements for possible change for the others’ own good!

            You wrote:
            “We want for them what we have in Jesus! That ‘young boy’ just doesn’t want to grow up, and we can’t make that happen, only God can. It is their choice.”

            I agree to that, but I also believe that my previous behavior with my h was MY enabling that little boy in many ways to stay stagnant and actually become more accustomed to getting ‘his way overall’ Back to the discomfort .. he was very comfortable so there was no urgency to tend to a problem that he was comfortable having. (It was me and my children that we’re being impacted in discomfort)

            But it does seem like maybe you are not understanding what Nancy and I are referring to when it comes to boundaries and creating a ‘standard’ which really is a loving place for our husband, ourselves the health of our marriages and children overall.

            You wrote:
            “My husband was definitely not interested in getting to the bottom of some of our family’s generational patterns of sins. He said it ‘repulsed’ him, oddly enough, because it fit exactly his own ‘relational’ pattern of relating to life itself.”

            Ok so it repulsed him but he doesn’t seem to really have a motivation to look at his own pattern and at how he is influencing your family.
            So why entertain his apologies as you mentioned previously if you think they are shallow and not authentic?
            And certainly when the behavior is repetitive? Why participate with him self deceiving himself on apologizing?

            You wrote;
            “My husband is still doing things ‘his way’ being proud of his financial successes.”

            Is there anything in your marriage dynamic that you would say is a ‘joint way’ or something your way?

            You wrote:
            “I would rather see a man who recognizes to be humble in the Lord is a far greater treasure than success in life.”
            I agree with you here and think that this is such a treasure and when a husband is surrendered and has a humble posture to the Lord, they also are aligned with a God being their authority overall and this blesss their character growth and ability to change.

            I’m confused about this below.,
            You wrote:
            “And so we pray for our husband’s deluded souls and their distorted concepts about living in the world, where we as wives on the other hand, have the freedom which comes from serving our precious Savior. As our freedom really does come from Jesus.”

            I guess I’m confused because are you referring to both Nancy and my husbands? Or are you speaking in general about the husband’s that are referred about in this site overall.

            My h doesn’t have a deluded soul, he used to struggle with distorted concepts immensely but has received lots of help because I decided that it was essential to my own health and sanity and I required him to. The Lord gave me the strength & the Courage to face the battle and continued to equip me with my worth and my responsibility as a mother.

          • Nancy on May 13, 2017 at 7:38 am

            Hi Many Years and Aly,

            2 Corinthians 7:10 says that “… worldly sorrow leads to death.” This is the ‘getting oneself off the hook’ apology that your husband is offering you.

            I hope it’s ok to challenge you here. How can you – the next time he offers you this worldly sorrow – clearly not accept, and stand up to, his facade?

            Maybe you interrupt his performance and say, ” I have decided that I will no longer listen to dishonest talk,” and leave the room.

            The first letter of Leslie’s CORE is committed to Truth.

            It’s important to not give the facade any space inside your home. Keeping silent will only allow it to grow.

            Speaking Truth is essential.

          • Nancy on May 13, 2017 at 10:17 am

            To continue from my last post…

            Or maybe you say something like, “I hear your words but they do not match your actions. Being truly sorry means a change in behaviour, and I keep hearing ‘sorry’ for the same thing. I’m afraid I can’t accept your apology, because when words and actions don’t match, that means you’re not speaking truthfully.”

            I don’t know, Many Years, what words you might find to expose his facade. But it will become necessary to use your voice ( followed by actions) in stopping yourself from living in the illusion, and taking steps into reality.

            Un-challenged, sin grows.

            I hope I’m not being hurtful, here. I just want to give ideas of practical steps to take.

          • Aly on May 13, 2017 at 10:52 am


            This is so true.. in our home sure there are plenty of moments when we as a family needs simple do~overs! For messing up and humbly taking quick responsibility.

            When children and likewise husbands are Not challenged for bad behavior is grows like you said here… Nancy.

            “Un-challenged, sin grows.”

            Sin is always progressive, and one thing that really resignated with people who continue to repeat ‘bad behavior’ is that they are ‘sorry ‘Sayers’ and not ‘sorry doers’!

            When bad behavior is unchallenged, what message does the person get or even the children watching get?

            When a person truly cares how their behavior impacts another you will see a change in the behavior after the apology especially. To me.. this is elementary and begins in the early years of character growth.

            No, my husband didn’t get to have this kind of parenting but he did later in life and was ‘re-parented..’myself too and we are continuing that process until He returns.

            Nancy, again love your directives and the action items;) that are practical and clear examples too.
            God is giving you the courage and strength to stop the crazy making and the participation of ‘silent approval’ and it will bless your family and your legacy passed down.

            In prayer… & Cheering with you and for your precious family!

          • Nancy on May 13, 2017 at 11:47 am

            Thank you so much for the encouragement, Aly.

            “God is giving you the courage and strength to stop the crazy making and the participation of ‘silent approval’, and it will bless your family”

            It is exactly that – the silent approval – that God is so involved in changing in me. Finding and using my voice is the hardest battle I have fought.

            Realizing that pressure was mounting inside me, this morning I spoke a need to my h, and in doing so, I realized that it is in the SPEAKING of my needs ( and limits) that I am being healed.

            Wether my h can meet my need is another matter all together. Just the SPACE to speak my needs is what is so precious. Of course, my h automatically went into Mr. fix it, mode! But drawing on new habits, we were able to circumvent a fight and ended up connecting amid my tears (my tears used to scare the poop out of him, because my tears automatically used to mean that he had failed).

            Thank you, Aly, for your encouraging self!

  11. Many years on May 4, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    And I love the thread of the Spirit’s guidance throughout all of these comments. As this is our supernatural, spiritual connection which the natural human mind cannot even begin to grasp. This is the beauty of being One in Christ as a believer; which is so apparent, the unity of the Spirit which confirms TRUTH.

  12. Sophia on May 4, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Ellie Holcomb has a song called ‘Fighting Words’ that is worth listening to…I will fight the lies with the truth! I will speak the truth into the darkness, I will use my fighting words.’ Where there are lies there is an OPPORTUNITY to drive the truth home in that place. I loved the advice from a Sister above..,to journal the lies and record verses that declare what God has to say. This is hard work!!! And here we are!

  13. Nancy on May 5, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Dear original blog poster,

    I was re-reading “Released from Shame” by Sandra Wilson last night and came across a section that I will transcribe.

    “Like the unhealthy families they resemble, all shame-based religious systems project expectations that distort and deny truth. In a shame-based family system, the expectations of participants don’t match the truth of child development and human imperfection. Further, these religious systems distort truth about God. And if they are shame-based Christian religious systems, sincere but problem-laden believers feel different and less than the mythical perfect Christians who are purported to fill the pews….And this sense of shame leads to perfectionisric pleasing and performing to earn the right to live with, and relate to, God or other Christians….In shame-based churches we find many misconceptions about God’s expectations for his children. One of the most pervasive is: “God wants you to be a bonds servant to others”….Now that is obsessive over dependancy [ her word for codependency] in a Sunday suit!”

    Grace and Peace to you as you lean into His Truth.

  14. Nancy on May 6, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Hi Aleea,

    The Lord put you on my heart yesterday. I am praying for you 🌷

    • Aleea on May 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Thank you so much Nancy. I really, deeply appreciate the prayers. . . .I really believe that God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers live out before God, and God’s heart is set on them.

      Only prayer helps me. I so love prayer: nothing to translate/ mistranslate; interpret/ misinterpret; argue about “historical context”; consider variants, hermeneutics, misconstrue, etc. . . .Oh, if you haven’t, maybe read this book with your children, I think you all would really like it: “With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray”.

      Tomorrow at church we start a new course: “Praying with the Psalms.” You can’t see me smiling but I am. —After the last course on the Book of Revelation (—just a vast sea of interpretations, arguments over historical contexts, hermeneutics, etc.,) this is going to be so much more productive for me. . . .According to all the church fathers, to circa the middle of the 3rd century CE, the book of Revelation was not even considered to be a divine text, but the opposite, a devil-inspired heretical text. All the Primary sources that survive show every early church father such as Origen, credited with being the first chronicler of the history of Christianity, condemning the book as written by Satan. —Anyways, you get the idea. . . .

      All I want to do is pray! . . . And thank you Lord for putting me on people’s hearts and that they pray for me! May our darkness be broken into by inescapable light from You. —Oh, and thank you for the pink spring tulip too!

  15. Nancy on May 6, 2017 at 8:34 am

    I just had to share a small, but significant, victory here. After many months of keeping conversation to a minimum with my mother, I phoned her yesterday with an intentional offer her help with a particular thing. She tried everything to guilt me, turn the conversation around on me to make it about her and her needs….her usual manipulative tricks. But none of it worked! She hadsn’t changed a bit, but you know what? I have.

    The other day I read about not allowing a root of bitterness to grow ( Hebrews 12:15). Don’t cultivate your bitterness. My biggest issue in the past is that I would look back at our interactions and think about why she did this, or said that. Well, that was me cultivating bitterness. She may never change, but that’s not mine. It really does only take one person to change a relationship 🙂 I have been asking The Lord to show me how to forgive my mother. I have committed to forgiving her, knowing that it is a one time decision followed by a process of recommitting in difficult times ( a process). A new relationship has been born between us – one where there will be a Nancy in it. Our relationship used to be me entering into her presence and disappearing. No boundaries. No me.

    No. more. 😀

    • Aly on May 6, 2017 at 8:53 am


      Praise! Joyful to hear that you see the change in you granting freedom and existence~
      Hugs and much love to you🌸

      • Nancy on May 6, 2017 at 11:56 am

        Thanks Aly ❤️. “granting freedom and existence”- so good.

        In co-dependant relationships there is neither.

        God is so good. In providing sisters here, and as counsellors, too 😉

    • JoAnn on May 6, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      Good for you, Nancy!!! Wonderful.! I had a similar experience with my mother. It seemed she was always pushing my buttons and I hers, but then one day, I asked my counselor to help me deal with it. I was anticipating a visit from her and dreading it because of the tension. He helped me to let go of so many things, disconnecting the buttons, really releasing all of it to the Lord, and wonder of wonders….the whole relationship changed, because I changed. After that, I was able to take care of her in a loving way without gritting my teeth, and her last two years were very loving and pleasant. I am so happy for your experience, Nancy. Praise the Lord!

      • Free on May 7, 2017 at 8:06 pm

        Something that has always helped me with difficult family members is to just see them through the eyes of pity. I pity there poor choices. It must feel terrible to live in the trap of their mind. This way their craziness doesn’t affect me and I think only God can help you, sweetie. This is too big for me and not my problem. Keep the visit short, sweet and if necessary only visit with a third party present.

        • JoAnn on May 7, 2017 at 8:51 pm

          I agree with you, Free. I will sometimes ask the Lord to allow me to see the other person through His eyes, which often results in a realization of how hard it must be to be that person. Then the compassion comes, but that doesn’t mean I must allow the hurt to continue. It does change my attitude, however, and helps me to maintain the boundaries.

    • ContentinChrist on May 7, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Beautiful! Rejoicing with you. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • HopeInHim on May 9, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Thank you for sharing your victory. You put into words so completely about my struggles with my father – I am dimished & disappear in his presence. One of my goals in Conquer is to learn how to overcome.

      Another struggle is to have confidence speaking up to h. Interactions are generally calm as long as I don’t ask for something or make waves. I’ve been managing his emotions for too long. I’m coming back to life as I take these steps.

      • Nancy on May 14, 2017 at 4:13 am

        I had to go back and read my post where I was excited about the boundaries that I am setting with my mother. Although I know that God is with me as I walk through this distancing from my mother, today is Mother’s Day…..and I am not at all excited. I am waffling between sadness and guilt. Guilt out of old, yucky, habit, but the sadness….

        Standing firm in those boundaries forces me to come face-to-face with the reality that my mother is just not capable of love. She is not able to see me for who I am…only what I can do for her. That is just so sad.

        I used to feel the sadness for her. What it must be like to be so empty? Now, though, with lots of counselling, I’ve come to be able to feel the sadness, for me. I just think of the little girl that struggled so hard to be seen by the most important person in the world to her, but who was incapable of seeing anyone but herself.

        I thank God for His loving presence in my life. The ONLY way I would be able to fight the guilt, and grieve this enormous void, is with Him by my side. He is Faithful and True.

        • JoAnn on May 14, 2017 at 9:42 am

          Oh, Nancy, how painful that must be for you!! I am so sorry that your childhood was so lacking in the most important thing: your mother’s love. Your testimony that the Lord has come in to fill the void is sweet. I have enjoyed seeing Him as our wonderful Shepherd, who carries us on His shoulders, through the dark valleys and to the resting place. So many times in my life, He has carried me, even when I didn’t know it. May He continue to supply you and heal you and fill your heart with His divine love.

        • Aly on May 14, 2017 at 10:28 am

          Dear Nancy,

          I want you to know I see you too;) Happy Mothers Day 🌷because you are a mother and you are being the kind of Mother you didn’t have the opportunity to have yourself as a little girl. Your children are blessed by you;), your authentic faith and your courage to grow and face the difficulties that can rob a family system. My prayer is for your heart Nancy, that you see ‘your mothering’ today and throughout as also moments for little Nancy;)

          I have a similar situation with my mom, so I can relate to the pain of not being accepted and loved because you or I don’t reflect back their ideal picture of how they must see themselves. But as you said,you believe your mom is not capable of love, and how sad that emptiness must be. I think it is most painful for the people ‘who want to feel and choose to learn to feel’… my mom chooses to not feel and not live in reality. My mother IS capable of love which makes me very sad at the loss and what she chooses to miss out on.

          But I don’t miss out on motherhood, I LOVE being a mother and today I woke up with the birds singing and such joy in my heart because I have been blessed by such wonderful children by the Lord!

          I feel so privileged that I get to be the mother I needed ‘myself’ but I get to offer that to them and they get to reap those continual moments of being loved, nurtured, connected to, played with, laughed and cried with… they get to be scene and heard, validated and accepted, they get to feel Known by (both mom and dad) and guess what.. I get to experience those times too, even though I’m in the mother role;)

          Sending you a hug today! 💖 And Joy for your journey throughout!

          • Nancy on May 14, 2017 at 10:59 am

            Thank you JoAnn and Aly,

            My prayer this morning is exactly what you expressed, Aly. That I would find joy in the gift that The Lord has given me, in being a mother.

            I know that you can identify with the void that I feel, Aly, and I will lift us both up to The Lord this morning in prayer.

            I used to find my identity in being a mother, but this year studying the Gospel of John, The Lord revealed that my identity is Nancy, daughter of the most High King, and that being a wife and mother were His gifts to me! What a blessing that He continues to make right what was upside down for so very long.

            JoAnn I love the imagery of being carried on my Shepherd’s shoulders. How lovely.

            Thank you both for your support ❤️

  16. Day by Day on May 6, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    There is something so encouraging and affirming just to know that there are other women who have and who are experiencing similar things as me. I’m the original poster and so thankful to read through everyone’s stories, advice, scripture, prayers. As Leslie said, I need support now more than ever, and I’m so glad this can be a community of “strangers” who feel very near to my experience.

    I think the challenging thing for me lately has been a recognition of the “cycle of abuse” in my home– that we will have an episode with all of the belittling, crushing, insulting, misusing theology/ scripture– and then the next day he will “repent” and apologize for hurting me. We go on living in the status quo for days and weeks, where I avoid any type of real conversation (this is the only way to keep the peace in my home), where we can only talk about surface level things (such as what we are having for dinner). Then the unhappiness of living as roommates builds up, and we try to talk, and the conversation almost always degenerates into another toxic and abusive episode. How can I break the cycle?

    I don’t feel like I have the choice to leave, especially when he apologizes and expresses his desire to reconcile. Yet I just don’t have a lot of trust that things will actually change. At this point in time I have become so emotionally detached from him that I constantly feel like I am living a lie… And I honestly have no idea how to be in a marriage that lacks love and respect.

    I guess we are called as Christians to forgive seventy times seven… and we are told that the marriage covenant is until death do us part… but how can we cope with a crushed spirit for that long, and simply being out of love?

    Thanks again for prayers and comments, they are much appreciated. God bless!

    • Aly on May 7, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      Dear Day by day,

      Thank you so much for responding to the comments and the support that is essential to your own healing regardless if the marriage survives or dies.
      In my opinion the cycle and marital dynamics must die and then you can see if there is any reason to move toward restitution and a ‘possible new healthy marriage’.

      As you know and what your children are being exposed to and confused by is not a ‘marriage’ certainly not a covenant one given the destructive nature.

      You wrote:
      “I think the challenging thing for me lately has been a recognition of the “cycle of abuse” in my home– that we will have an episode with all of the belittling, crushing, insulting, misusing theology/ scripture– and then the next day he will “repent” and apologize for hurting me. We go on living in the status quo for days and weeks, where I avoid any type of real conversation (this is the only way to keep the peace in my home), where we can only talk about surface level things (such as what we are having for dinner).”

      You are correct in identifying the pattern /cycle and the behaviors overt ones and possible covert ones too.
      Your h is teaching you how to respond to a very scary place that he goes to. He’s teaching you to keep the peace otherwise if you don’t.. look out the ugly is going to begin and this ugly is damaging to your soul and your sanity.

      He is also modeling for your children let’s say a boy.. how to treat a wife and for a girl.. how to peace keep and what is acceptable behavior by a husband. Which clearly he is out of control in my opinion, but he also knows how to use the cycle and has grown quite accustomed to having control and power even during the ‘fake reconciliation stage.’

      See many of us can relate deeply to what you are going through because we ourselves have been abused in this way, the attacks and conflicts are SO UNSAFE that we will gladly take the minimal (I’m sorry) for my behavior and let’s get back to a more less heightened out of control Place. It’s certainly a trade off and sometimes we tell ourselves that they really mean ‘their sorry’.

      What your h is doing is saying he’s sorry rather than following through with what sorry behavior entails. …
      Which is changed Behavior.

      You wrote;
      “Then the unhappiness of living as roommates builds up, and we try to talk, and the conversation almost always degenerates into another toxic and abusive episode. How can I break the cycle?”

      You can break the cycle by stopping your usual behavior and path which will entail lots of boundaries and you getting lots of support to keep those boundaries.
      I’m glad your in counseling and counseling can help you change regardless of your h changing.

      You wrote:
      “I don’t feel like I have the choice to leave, especially when he apologizes and expresses his desire to reconcile. ”

      Do you think there are many other requirements that you can put into place before the option to leave etc.?
      ~Such as you (h) will need to get help from a counselor to address your behavior.

      For some h’s boundaries and requirements can do a lot better than just leaving. Besides your the wife and probably the main child provider so if anyone is to leave, it should be him.
      Why~ he continues to break his covenant to how he is treating and reacting to you as the equal partner in your household and that is unacceptable. There is little trust in his behavior because his response continues.

      You wrote:
      “Yet I just don’t have a lot of trust that things will actually change”

      You should have very little trust.. only watch his behavior and his choices.
      His words at this point are meaningless because he doesn’t follow through.

      You wrote:
      . “At this point in time I have become so emotionally detached from him that I constantly feel like I am living a lie… And I honestly have no idea how to be in a marriage that lacks love and respect.”

      Yes I would agree that it’s impossible to be in a healthy growing marriage one that pleases God when the roots of issues are still their in the ‘soil’

      You wrote:
      “I guess we are called as Christians to forgive seventy times seven… and we are told that the marriage covenant is until death do us part… ”

      You can’t forgive something that is ongoing.. his forgiveness process is null and void. The trust issues are present and he wants to be trusted but his behavior keeps revealing more issues that are not dealt with.
      Please watch every Patrick Doyle YouTube on Forgiveness and Reconcillation if you are able.

      You wrote:
      “but how can we cope with a crushed spirit for that long, and simply being out of love?”

      I’m so very sorry for your crushed spirit and the feelings you are having.
      I feel like I’ve been their in many ways, so my heart is heavy for you… I do want to encourage to find your strength for your heart and what you need each day to rise up and lead your children to healthier perspectives and ways to be in relationships with others.

      The Lord will heal your crushed spirit and heart apart from your husband behaving.. it may mean the marriage doesn’t survive..
      but it’s important to get all the help and support you need to see clearer and find your strength!

      Given strong boundaries..for your heart and process…
      You can still invite your h to a healthy marriage and to a healing process but his work Is essential here. He may decline and then you know your answer and can move into the next stages of growth and grief.

      Praying for your strength and your purpose to Glorify God by His Truths.

    • Nancy on May 7, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Day by Day,

      So glad to hear from you.

      I love what Aly has shared and want to underline her suggestion for you to watch Patrick Doyle videos on the dove tv through youtube (especially on Reconciliation, Forgiveness and Boundaries). He is very clear and consistent in his message to not listen to words of apology, but that real change will always be evident through long term behavioural change.

      It is very difficult to disregard the words at first, because our husbands have been so adept, and successful, at drawing us into the old dance. But It truly does only take one person to change the entire dynamic of a relationship. You can choose to build your CORE ( Leslie’s material) and begin challenging the lies he is feeding you.

      As Aly says, you cannot forgive what is ongoing. Also your h has not been convicted by The Lord, or you’d be dealing with a different man ( again see Patrick Doyle- reconciliation). His ‘repentance’ is an act.

      I see it like this. I have been commanded to guard my heart ( Prov4:23). If my heart is not guarded, then I am not able to love the way The Lord desires me to. With an abuser, it is tough love that is required. That means creating a new standard for what I will, and will, not tolerate. That is how I guard my heart : By speaking my limits and following up with action when those limits are trespassed upon, when my heart gets wounded.

      From my guarded heart, I can go to war for my h’s soul. That means requiring things of him ( counselling, accountability to me and to others….) to rebuild trust. If I pretend to trust my h when I don’t, I’m engaging in denial and wishful thinking. This is not living in reality. That’s why Leslie’s first step in building CORE strength is being Committed to Truth.

      Jesus said, ” The Truth will set you free”.

      An abuser is caught in a stronghold of sin.

      “Our fight is not against people, our fight is for people, against sin.” Paraphrase of Eph 6:12

      • Aly on May 7, 2017 at 4:36 pm


        This was well written:
        “From my guarded heart, I can go to war for my h’s soul. That means requiring things of him ( counselling, accountability to me and to others….) to rebuild trust. If I pretend to trust my h when I don’t, I’m engaging in denial and wishful thinking. This is not living in reality. That’s why Leslie’s first step in building CORE strength is being Committed to Truth”

        I see this as a one area of a safe place if a wife ‘should’ attempt to ‘stay well’ … otherwise it would be living a lie in the marriage if she is wishing for change and getting a similar result.

        And yes many of us know here.. abusive mindsets don’t like boundaries or requirements ~ goodness talk about a toddler tantrum.
        Some are covert and seething and some are overt .. just need to see what they can work with..
        But when a wise wife stands strong and is in strong support..,,those boundaries remain and give the greatest chance for true heart change and behavior to follow.

        The boundaries and requirements are a loving posture and wanting the highest good for the destructive partner.

        Sometimes I do believe it can be too easy to be desensitized by this kind of abuse and power dynamics.

        Without consequences of behavior.. many abusive mindsets see no reason to change because they are getting a message that their behavior ‘isn’t that bad’ or else wife wouldn’t overly tolerate… see they self deceive themselves in a destructive way.

        Boundaries and requirements are essential with abusive mindsets.
        See the pain of staying the same must be ‘greater’ than the pain of changing, this is why requirements add more hope to a process.
        They don’t guarantee change but they do stop 2 people from spiraling down further into my abuse and exposing this relationship to others in their circles.
        Children, friends, extended family members, church families etc.

        Nancy, so glad you are finding your voice and yourself ~ as you chase hard after Him ~ yours children will be blessed by your courage and your tough love!
        The Lord is strengthening, guiding & loves you with beyond words! 💜

        • Nancy on May 8, 2017 at 8:30 am

          Hi Aly and Day by Day,

          Love this, Aly:

          “Those boundaries remain and give the greatest chance for true heart change and behaviour to follow.”


          “Boundaries and requirements are a loving posture”. This is TRUTH. Boundaries and requirements are LOVING.

          Day by day, as so many of us here, you have been conditioned to believe that guarding your heart ( and being a separate person) is not loving. That is a lie.

          The most loving thing you can do is begin to define YOU. Speak YOUR limits. You are a sepearate individual. This is how we begin to truly love those around us- by guarding our heart so the Love of God doesn’t seep out.

          Are you considering joining Leslie’s conquer course?

          • Aly on May 8, 2017 at 9:51 am

            Day by Day & Nancy,

            My heart also goes out to you at your attempts to stand as and equal and be considered as your feelings and position are worthy~

            Many of us have been there through all the blame shifting and toxic behaviors of self protecting.. they actually are like dealing with Tephlon.. nothing sticks.. and we are much for willing to accept areas, blame.. that are like Velcro.

            Trust me most spouses who are like tephlon do not want that dynamic power to ever change.. that is the last thing they want to surrender.

            My h has had ton of interventions, boundaries and requirements.. he and I both know what half hearted recovery looks like and it isn’t Glorify one bit… in fact it actually betrays the injured partner in the worst of ways … because it’s a check box and going through the motions.. it’s basically counterfeit.

            If you were to ask my h today if he would have miraculously woke up and said wow ‘I’ve been unfair in the marriage and I’ve been mistreating and dismissing you’ .. oh and by the way I have been beating you down with emotional and mental abuse’.., he would agree that boundaries and requirements gave him a door to walk into that I think he might not have seen the need to walk through.

            Everything that Nancy wrote is so true and it’s a complicated journey because it’s definitely going to change your stance and how you interact with your h.

            You desperately want to feel heard and validated by him I’m assuming and he might give if the safe signs that he will listen but he has some deep spiritual and character. Work to tend to!

            As you change, through the strength of the Lord.. the dynamic changes and your h does see that things are very different from how they used to roll.

            Yes it can be scary to create requirements and boundaries.. but ultimately they are for a much greater good and purpose.
            Yes it takes a lot of time and energy to grow and change like we are talking about but living in freedom (like I am today) is so worth every second of educating and equipping my mind and heart for the journey.

            I really don’t see another option.. for many women that are suffering.., sure they can go on doing the same cycle but the ‘sicker spouse’ in your case your h, just gets more entrenched and distorted in their thinking and behaving!

            You probably are the healthier of the two of you and therefore you might have to make some tough decisions that are uncomfortable to do in order for the greatest outcome.

            Regardless if my marriage survived, I wanted and still want to hear, “well done good and faithful servant”.

            My h now gives that affirmation to me because of our long journey.. but any motivation of glory & purpose is for His pleasing.

            Day by Day, God will give you the strength and the support you will need..
            He orchestrates many people and resources to do this.
            Conquer would be a great resource and support~ if you are considering it.

            Prayers and hugs to you 💜

          • Leslie Vernick on May 9, 2017 at 10:48 am

            So agreed, until you stand up to respect and honor your own self (in a godly way) he will not see any need to change his destructive dance. Even when you do change, he may resist strongly or try to get you to go back to the marriage centered, people pleasing, fearful woman you were, but don’t do it. Your change glorifies God and it is the only way your husband will see he either has to change or things will not get better, only worse.

          • Aly on May 9, 2017 at 11:15 am

            Leslie Vernick,

            Thank you Leslie could not agree more here:

            For me when I did this and continued to… it became not only a ‘born again’ place in my husband but a born again place in our marriage.
            The ‘old dynamic’ most definitely wants to come back in.. as you state here..
            “Even when you do change, he may resist strongly or try to get you to go back to the marriage centered, people pleasing, fearful woman you were, but don’t do it. Your change glorifies God”

            Change is hard and so is consistent change but I have found that couples that make it through it’s because of the ‘action taken after prayer’ where the new life begins to form a new dynamic~ where a healthy marriage can grow;)

            Thank you again Leslie for your amazing ministry! 💜

          • JoAnn on May 8, 2017 at 10:26 am

            Yes, and we help our husbands to become true men of God by not allowing them to be any less than that. That’s where the boundaries come in. There is lots of help here, Day By Day, stay close and keep on keeping on. Grace be with you.

          • ContentinChrist on May 8, 2017 at 9:26 pm

            JoAnn, Aly and Nancy (and others), your comments are so encouraging and keep me feeling sane. Keep me remembering that I’ve done the most loving thing I could do.

            Thank you for your grace-filled, truth-filled responses and comments.

    • Free on May 7, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      I would suggest that you DO have the choice to leave.

      Think about this please. His apologizes are well calculated and insincere. Your abusive spouse uses them to get what he wants from you. Remember his one and only desire is to control you. Controlling you makes him feel good about himself. His thoughts and desires are all that matters to him, because in his mind he is entitled to complete submission. The apology cycle is working for him, that is why he keeps repeating

      • Free on May 7, 2017 at 8:20 pm

        Grammatical errors in quite a few of my recent posts. Can’t read what I wrote until I post it. Thanks everyone for your patience with this.

      • Day by Day on May 7, 2017 at 11:57 pm

        Thanks so much for all of the thoughtful responses and prayers, Aly, Nancy, and Free… they mean more to me than you know.

        I tried to talk to him again today about the cycle where we get stuck. I quickly realized that a major problem we have in conversation is that he *very* frequently dismisses what I say and throws it right back at me. If I say, “I do not feel accepted by you in this relationship,” then he will respond by saying, “well, I don’t feel accepted by YOU.” It feels like we can’t get anywhere because he almost always changes the focus onto MY sin and shortcomings. Of course I want to be humble and learn areas of growth, too, (and I fully believe that I am a contributor to the unhealthy relationship) but I don’t know how to address the abuse if he is always going to shift the blame like that.

        I guess I don’t really know how to take the advice of setting boundaries, walking in truth, lovingly confronting, etc. if it is just going to be thrown back in my face, and I am essentially told that I need to do the very things I am asking of him. It’s another thing that makes me feel like we are talking in circles and have no way of progressing.

        Many times I have gotten to the place where I think that my only good option is to leave. Yet I have been *so* conditioned to believe that I will completely be cast outside of God’s grace by making such a decision, and that there is no real way to repent of the sin of divorce (except to return to the spouse and try to reconcile). I have really appreciated all of the people who have told me that leaving is a choice that I have before me, but how can I find assurance that this is a choice that GOD gives me, and that it might even be part of his will?

        • Donna on May 8, 2017 at 1:03 am

          My husband would do exactly that…. spin it around and began talking about my faults. I would say I have done whatever it was, but we are not talking about me… we are talking about your temper or whatever it was I was asking him to please stop doing. It never changed in 35 years. I basically just stopped functioning in the marriage. I stopped discussing anything. I stopped doing anything for him that he could criticize me. Counselors xsnr even pin them down. My husband was neglected by his mother as a child. I wonder if yours was as well.

        • Nancy on May 8, 2017 at 8:16 am

          Hi Day by day,

          I can so totally relate to things being spun around and put back on you. Blame-shifting is part of a manipulator’s skill set. Day by day, you will not win at his game. He is a master. He is taking advantage of your ( beautiful) willingness to take responsibility. I know how painful that is. Part of the reason that was so painful for me was that when I woke up, I thought I could convince my husband to wake up.

          It is The Lord who wakes us up. We do not have God’s power of conviction.

          Please don’t fall into the trap that you can convince him, or that he will understand. He won’t. The only thing that MIGHT help him wake up, are boundaries.

          This is a journey that YOU need to take with The Lord. This is not one that you can take with your husband. Resist the temptation to believe that he will walk this with you. That is a fantasy. In fact, he will fight you.

          Facing that reality will be key in building your CORE.

          I know how scary it is. Realizing that The Lord is my husband ( Hosea 2- near the end) helped me a lot in guarding my heart for my Lord.

          This is YOUR journey, day by day. Lean into Him. Trust in Him. He will guide you as you build intimacy with Him.

          You are embarking on an amazing journey Day by day. The Lord is just delighted that you are turning to Him!

          I pray Father, for Day by day. You know her heart, you know her inside out. Bless her with an intimate revelation of your presence with her today, Lord. That she may know that she is yours. Strengthen her to take steps into your loving arms. Embolden her to rely on you and to walk into Truth.
          In Jesus name, I pray.

          • free on May 8, 2017 at 5:46 pm

            i agree Nancy. Any effort to convince an abusive partner of their behavior is useless beyond the first time it is mentioned. Think about it, if a friend said, “I am concerned about something.” You would listen, care, connect, affirm and change your behavior right? So when a spouse ignores you and doesn’t respect your comments, just give up. They are not teachable. Repeating yourself is foolish. You got their answer. They do not care what you say, think or feel. Now what would you like to do about that response?

        • free on May 8, 2017 at 5:41 pm

          Day, I have thought like you. What do you think about separation? In the state I live in, one can be separated indefinitely. It provides all the protection and keeps our religious beliefs intact.

        • ContentinChrist on May 8, 2017 at 9:40 pm

          Day by Day, please do some study on divorce and look at some other viewpoints (not the traditional ones that you have heard all of your life).

          Specifically, look into the “God hates divorce” verse and look at the different interpretations that are out there. Very conservative biblical scholars agree that God is not saying He hates divorce, but rather the way that men treat their wives with violence (not just physical). That is what God hates. God hates oppression and people abusing others. The more you read about the character of God, the more you will see that God never would require someone to stay in an abusive relationship if they could be free.

          Also, consider that God divorced Israel. And, consider that Israel rejected Him ultimately (when they rejected Jesus) and God opened His heart and love to another people – the Gentiles (this was something that came to mind in my ruminations about possibly marrying a second time, if our marriage ends in divorce and if I were ever to heal enough to trust another man again, lol).

          Ask God to show you the truth and let Him know you are willing to follow Him no matter what. He will show you.

          • Elisabeth on May 10, 2017 at 3:05 am

            Just wanted to encourage that the “God hates divorce” thing is a mistranslation!!!

            The original Hebrew word used in that Malachi verse is actually the word, “sending away’ and not the Hebrew word for divorce. Malachi was supposed to have been a contemporary of Nehemiah. In context the husbands were taking second wives from among the Pagan nations around them, but instead of giving their Jewish first wives a clean certificate of divorce as the Law of Moses commanded them, they were sending their wives away but keeping them in a holding pattern in a life of disgrace. She could not move on with her life and was blocked from all sorts of community participation until he gave her the ‘gitt’. You see this happening in Orthodox Jewish communities even today sometimes, where even if she gets a legal divorce from the state she still has to get a ‘gitt’ from her husband to be considered divorced in the spiritual community. It’s a terrible form of abuse as the husband spitefully keeps her trapped and isolated from community life that way. In a well know case in the newspapers, one Rabbi was so upset at this that he even resorted to hiring thugs to go try ‘persuade’ the husband (!) but eventually he went to jail for that.

            In that mistranslated Malachi verse, if you read the passage around it you see that God was rebuking the husbands for dealing treacherously with their wives and also telling them that He hates the abuse of ‘sending away.’ i.e. refusal to give a proper gitt. It is quite shocking that this has been mistranslated (deliberately?) so blatantly. The arising God-hates-divorce myths and resulting false teaching perpetuated for centuries have kept women in bondage in marriages to sons of perdition and wolves in sheep’s clothing out of fear that God will hate them if they divorce and that divorce is a ‘sin.’ As God himself divorced Israel it’s impossible for divorce to be a sin because God can’t commit sins Himself.

            If ever you want some encouragement that Jesus prefers to separate abusive sheep/shepherds away from the abused members of his flock, read Ezekiel chapter 34. He does not like to see his beloveds abused! This is a very powerful passage to pray out loud, insert the abusive person’s name there and watch God work! Also decree out loud for yourself the passage. “If God is for me who can be against me, who can lay ANYTHING to the charge of God’s elect. It is God who has justified me, who is he that condemns me. It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God who makes intercession for me!” Very powerful! It binds the abusive spirit. Husband will find it harder and harder to tap into the evil energy he relies on as the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God goes to war for you in the spiritual realm.

            You will need to persevere. Sometimes the spouse’s abuse will temporarily intensify at first as the enemies of your soul try to resist the Word in hopes you will get discouraged and give up. They want to keep you crushed and down as they are terrified you will get a revelation of the power and authority you have in Christ.

            Some other verse-prayers I have found powerful in results:
            “Thank you that the foot of pride will not come upon me nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.”
            “You have crowned me with glory (Hebrew kabod which means weight – YOUR words will have weight) and honor.” (Abuser will spiritually perceive that and find it difficult to dishonor you.)
            “I am surrounded with favor as with a shield.”
            “I am clothed with Christ and armored with Light. God is light.”
            “Thank you that You have established my footsteps in Your Word (Jesus is The Word) and You do not allow ANY iniquity to have dominion over me.” Not the iniquities of my husband nor his parents/ancestors nor….(as the Holy Spirit leads).
            “I am seated with and in Christ at the right hand of God in the heavenly places FAR above all rule, all authority, all power and all dominion and every name that is named (now is a good time to name things) both in this age and world and in the age and world to come. All things have been put in subjection under Jesus’ feet (including abuse and false ideology and the spirit of the Nicolations) and therefore under my feet as I am flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone and one Spirit with Him and Jesus has been given to me as head over all things, to me and to the Church, his body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all.”

            “Thank you that the enemy will not deceive me nor extract usury from me nor the son of wickedness afflict me. You will crush me enemies from before me and strike those who hate me.” (Referring to the rulers, powers, world forces of this darkness and spirituall forces of wickedness which abusive people unwittingly partner with. Some of them are the Spirit of the Nicolations, Leviathan ( who twists and distorts words and meanings – he’s very found of denial, blame shifting and gaslighting etc.) and the accuser of the brethren along with spirits of pride. I have had great improvement in abusive relationships by binding them with scriptures such as those above as it is written that scripture cannot be broken.

            Nico means ‘victory over’ and laitians means’ laity.’ The spirit of the Nicolatians is a religious pride spirit that likes to divide the body of Christ into the ‘priest’ class and the ‘laity’ class (instead of empowering the whole body), where they are the ‘powerful spiritual ones’ and the rest are the powerless sheeple. Those claiming to have spirituality, morality and insight superior to others, whom they deem ‘the little people,’ are usually partnering with this spirit which Jesus says in Revelation, he hates! Not very often you hear Jesus saying he hates something. Examples of this spirit’s activity in the secular world would be doctors with a god-complex and abusive people!

            Thankfully, Jesus has already won us the victory, guaranteed in the blood of His cross.

            If you like to pray/sing in tongues Jesus will use this to refresh and rebuild your crushed spirit, plus do some of His best warfare ever for you.

            Lastly I recommend Pastor Joseph Prince’s teaching, “Condemnation Kills.” You are probably being oppressed by a spirit of condemnation and just listening to this or any of JP’s teaching for that matter always successfully washes me from both overt and covert condemnation I may have inadvertently received subliminally.

            An abusive husband is partnering with Satan, the accuser of the brethren, not Jesus. Jesus always likes to empower His Bride, not crush her. “The things I do you shall do and greater things than I do you shall do as I go to be with the Father.”

            I hope mentioning these evil spirits that work to tag team us behind the scenes through the abuser was not too heavy a spiritual topic. Apologies if so and also for not giving location of the verses quoted but most all came from the older version of the NASB if you want to find any.

          • JoAnn on May 10, 2017 at 4:26 pm

            Elisabeth, I agree that praying these verses out loud, so both I and the demons can hear, is a powerful way to claim truth and victory in situations where a person is oppressed. Our warfare is, in reality, a spiritual one. Thank you for sharing this. I do wish that you had included the references. It is good to have these verses highlighted in my Bible.

          • Day by Day on May 10, 2017 at 2:32 pm

            Thank you, everyone. What amazing prayers and encouragement and considerations! It all means more than you know.

            I do appreciate the notes about scripture. I actually do not have any qualms about the “I hate divorce” statement in the OT because I understand what God meant in that context, directed specifically towards treacherous and abusive husbands. The parts of scripture that I don’t quite understand are from the NT, from the words of Jesus himself and Paul, after the era of the New Covenant has been ushered in. We are now living under the New Covenant, thanks to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

            Under this New Covenant Jesus says, “But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.” And Paul says “But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife.”

            I don’t know how to read these verses and believe that leaving is a God-given option. God makes it very clear what he expects a marriage should be, but he does not make it very clear what to do when it marriage strays so far from his design.

            Please pray for me, sisters. I ended my initial question above with “how do I know if God is for me or if he just wants me to stop complaining?” I was feeling so encouraged and strengthened for a few days, starting to live in the truth, acknowledging what is happening in my home and facing it. I was going to make some big decisions in the coming month. And then last night I found out that my spouse’s mother was diagnosed with cancer.

            Now I will have to walk (limp) into the coming days putting all of this on the back burner as I try to support him and his family in the best way that I can. I am not sure what God is trying to tell me. It almost seems as if He does want me to be quiet and stop complaining, as there are bigger problems in the world than mine, and it must have been incredibly selfish for me to bring this up in the first place.

            Please pray for strength, as now I’ve admitted that the abuse is real, but I have no choice but to remain in it indefinitely. And please pray for healing and positive results for my mother-in-law. Thank you ladies.

          • Nancy on May 11, 2017 at 6:39 am

            Hi Day by day,

            I’m so sorry for your mother-in-law’s diagnosis 🙁

            Just cling to Christ, Day-by-day. It is normal for woman like us to feel immediately guilty for guarding our hearts when we find out someone else is in a bad way.

            Your guilt reaction (seeing your speaking up and getting yourself help over spiritual abuse as ‘complaining’ as well as minimizing the abuse in comparison to a loved-one’s cancer diagnosis) is not from The Lord.

            Please remember that we are commanded to ‘ above all else guard our hearts’ as well as to walk in Truth.

            Walking in Truth doesn’t mean bailing on your responsibility to your mother-in-law. The Lord can show you how to be supportive of your mother-in-law, as well as compassionate towards your husband WHILE guarding your heart and walking in Truth. ( Leslie’s E from CORE is empathy without enabling).

            Day….I feel like you would, now more than ever, benefit from Leslie’s conquer group. The small group format will give you access to her in asking specific questions about your situation.

            Grace and Peace for your heart.

            Don’t abandon you. Cling even closer to Him. He will see you through.

          • Aly on May 11, 2017 at 8:55 am

            Day by Day, Nancy,

            Day by day I’m sorry for the recent diagnosis of your husband mom. And yes I think many of us can relate to how life adjusts and how we can still respond without loosing ourselves and our truths to a situation.

            What Nancy wrote is SO true, it was exactly what I was concerned with but didn’t know how to articulate it,
            “Your guilt reaction (seeing your speaking up and getting yourself help over spiritual abuse as ‘complaining’ as well as minimizing the abuse in comparison to a loved-one’s cancer diagnosis) is not from The Lord.”

            This is common for many who have been in an inferior position and have just started to look out and see perspectives that can assist in growing in you CORE and beginning to hault the destructive cycle.

            Our brains do get so wired in a way in these abusive cycles that our thinking does start to make comparisons and tactics to negotiate with ourselves.
            My own mother would do this all the time outloud to me.., she might see a stranger on the street that was handicapped and she would say.. wow” I have nothing to really complain about nor should I”… so her cycle of reasoning was usually to only focus on others and not the situation at hand that she actually did have some control and choices over.

            I think if you do decide to do Conquer you might like the benefits of seeing your choices in life again.
            Many of us in these marriages lost our choices and it took me some time with God’s orchestrating to find them again and see what my options are. It’s very empowering and I hope for you heart and healing that you will find the support you need. Prayers for your husband’s mom;) and your path.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 9, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Day by day – your husband apologizes and expresses his desire to reconcile but his behaviors don’t change. To me that makes reconciliation not possible. You can forgive him – 70 x 7 but reconciliation means that the behaviors are recognized as sinful and the person makes effort to change them. So I would suggest the next time this happens you say “I hear your words, but your actions don’t line up with it because you have continued these same patterns for years now without any outside help or accountability to change them. SO how sorry are you? If you mean sorry – that means Biblical change – and that you are putting off the old and putting on the new. Unless you get help for this problem, there will continue to be no change and this cycle will go on and on and on and I don’t think that is good for me, for you or for the glory of God.

      • Gigi on May 11, 2017 at 5:26 am

        Day by day,
        I’m so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. This certainly brings a lot of new stress into the entire family. Who knows what things God intends to bring out of this situation. It may indeed be the case that God is telling you that this is not a good time for you to make a major change in your relationship with your husband. I can relate to how you are feeling about your concern with your own situation; God has convicted me, as well, about complaining and grumbling. Do beware of falling into self-pity, but it is not sinful to take ownership of your situation and find ways to change things! So if you are feeling guilty for having faced the reality of the mistreatment you have been dealing with, and allowing yourself to be grieved by it, then that is just the enemy trying to keep you stuck!
        Even if this is not the time to majorly stir things up relationship-wise, you can still be supportive and gracious in non-enabling ways rather than in ways that enable continued mistreatment by your h. You can still set some boundaries to keep yourself sane and healthy, and take this time to continue building your CORE strength and praying for God’s grace and guidance.
        Praying for you in these difficult days. Stay strong! God is with you!

        • Nancy on May 12, 2017 at 7:07 am

          Hi Gigi, Day,

          I agree that we can’t know what God intends to bring out of any situation. And to be careful to try to interpret what He is trying to “tell us” when major life events come our way.

          The only thing to do is lean in closer.

          “Trust in The Lord and lean NOT on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your path straight”

          I don’t know what “big decisions” you were considering making, Day. But the Godly changes that tend to precede outward behavioural changes, are inward heart ones.

          Allow the Lord to continue to work in your heart. He will not lead you astray.

          • Aly on May 12, 2017 at 8:56 am

            Dear Day by Day, Gigi & Nancy,

            Such good direction you gave Nancy and Gigi to a situation that is just heart breaking.
            Day by Day, I’m also sorry to hear of your husbands mothers diagnosis;(.
            I agree with both Nancy and Gigi on how you can still walk your path while still putting on your ‘own oxygen mask first’. This is good healthy self care.

            I went back and re read your original posting sent to Leslie V and she had some really great questions for you and your situation.
            I wonder what you are hearing (interpreting) back from many of us hear and what we are expressing as it comes to a very abusive dynamic in your marriage!
            It sounds as you also may be involved in a more toxic church setting too, which will only reinforce the messages that your husband continues to express that are just plain not true!

            It saddens me that you don’t have current support where you are, but staying on Leslie’s blog and joining Conquer might be a critical ‘pivot’ to your situation.

            A say ‘pivot’ because from your writing and and how you are reasoning your situation I feel that your h has definitely damaged a healthy sense of self thinking…in his emotional and mental/spiritual misuse-abuse.

            You say that you know your h ‘loves you’ in his own way, I’m wondering what other evidence and safety in your relationship would support that. I want to highlight ‘his own way’ part because I think I can relate to that type of thinking and that type of belief.
            My mom used to say that a lot to push away the negative feelings and try to convince herself things just ‘are not that bad’. She wanted to convince me of the same when troubles came, I was taught early on to minimize my realities and difficult relationships.., it set me up for some pretty tough falls.

            Someone who has been overpowered and been in a top down relationship for a long time tends to have thought processes that not only enabling but reinforce the abusive behavior from continuing… even when they hear a healthy message.., or direction…. the long term messages that have been somewhat survival in a toxic situation are wired in. So the smaller healthy perspectives get crowded out by the long term louder messages in our head. These messages and bent thinking toward abusive situations…well we don’t hardly know are there unless we sit down and write it out thought by thought. Frame by frame. When you take those to scripture or healthy perspectives you can see the lies in them and the bondage type of thinking they create.

            Nancy wrote out a very important scripture;
            ““Trust in The Lord and lean NOT on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your path straight”

            This is valuable because in order to trust in the Lord, it benefits us to ‘know Him’ as accurately as we can through scripture and the Holy Spirit will help us discern what is truth.
            Because we live in a broken world, our lenses are broken, but to the saved he is restoring daily our view of Him. Your husband’s lens is very broken based on how he interprets scripture~ this is what has been confusing and of great harm to your soul.

            It sounds like you have been emersed in an environment that’s has altered the Truth of Who God is and what He has done and will do for His own.
            When your emersed in twisted theology it’s twists your view of God and how to make daily decisions. It can begin to twist how you might interpret scripture for yourself. The danger in this is that it might reinforce unnecessary suffering and more hard wiring harmful beliefs to ones path!

            Scripture is essential daily to help us renew our minds, to help us align our lives for His purpose.

            I’ve been in a similar situation but more with a parent telling me what they think scripture says~ the more I followed them and their faith the more I found myself in bondage with unhealthy thinking.
            It became clear that I needed to see the danger in following someone that WAS NOT following the Lord.

            As I began following the Lord and finding other supportive ‘healthy safe people’ to help me validate those truths, people that were following after God.. it was the beginning of my journey ‘out’ of that type of thinking and reasoning.

            I’m sorry this is a long example, I will pray for the renewing of your mind and that you will see God in His ways, not your husband broken interpretations.
            Hugs and prayers for your journey💖

          • Day by Day on May 15, 2017 at 1:55 pm

            Thank you again – I can’t thank you enough for all of your kind and thoughtful words. I’ve had a little bit of time and space to process my Mother-in-law’s diagnosis and I took your comments into account, as well as my mom’s and my best friend’s. Everyone has said unanimously that her cancer is a separate tragedy that has nothing to do with my abusive marriage, and that it is not a “message” from God telling me that my concerns are invalid.

            I am trying to let that truth sink in and take hold of my heart. You can see how I have to “unlearn” so many unhealthy ways of thinking that I’ve been conditioned to think.

            I am encouraged though, thanks largely to all of you, that the Lord is helping me to start walking in the truth, even if it is just the baby step of admitting what is true. He has also convicted my own heart of some intense idols that need to come down, such as my debilitating people-pleasing. This idol makes it SO hard for me to say No and to set boundaries (with my husband and all others), and I am starting the difficult process of being OK with disappointing them and acknowledging that they may not like me for it. It’s a tough idol for me to break but absolutely necessary.

            After some very toxic conversations, apologies, blame-shifting, and acknowledging the cycle of abuse– my h and I have arrived back in the “status quo” part of the cycle where we don’t really talk about anything significant or meaningful. It is the part of the cycle where there is “peace” in the home but absolutely no emotional intimacy. This is the state where I get *SO* confused and start to question whether it is all in my head. He can be very nice to me during this status quo– he’ll bring me home my favorite food or share with me some music he has recently discovered. He reverts to this state where everything is fine between us, and he treats me okay here, as long as I don’t bring up relationship, religion, politics, etc.

            It is in these moments that I start to question the abuse and I wonder if I am just creating an excuse to “get out of the relationship” for selfish reasons and without trying. I’m really having trouble discerning what is true here, what is real. I also don’t know how to process my emotional detachment and “being out of love”– and I am wondering if that is influencing everything else.

            I’ve also acknowledged that my h tells a very different story to people, to his pastor, to his small group of men at his church. To them I am the wayward and unsubmissive wife whom they desire to gently bring back. How can I navigate the involvement of a church who does not believe this is an abusive situation?

            Thanks again for your prayers, hugs, words, and for helping me to find freedom from my unhealthy thinking and idolatry. Blessings.

          • Aly on May 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm

            Day by Day;)

            I hope your ok I chime in here, I want to encourage you with my perspective and my own victory out~ but I have a h that is also out too and God has blessed out willingness to look at our cycle, patterns and overall areas to grow in.

            Wow! I’m excited for you.. I know the journey is hard and scary an let’s just say ‘total confusion’ at times.

            You wrote;
            “I am trying to let that truth sink in and take hold of my heart. You can see how I have to “unlearn” so many unhealthy ways of thinking that I’ve been conditioned to think.”

            This is so KEY I can’t jump up and down enough!!! Those unhealthy thinking imprints/conditioned false beliefs are a big reason why you are in the circumstance you are. So those same patterns are not going to help you on your journey out.
            Consider maybe a book..
            (rethink how you think) this helped my h tremendously because he was so trapped by his dysfunctional thinking it was natural as breathing for him.
            And yes he was imprinted with the mindset of his thoughts were superior to anything.
            Praise God we don’t live that life anymore!
            He was ‘bonded to those patterns’ and those thinking patterns assisted his character and treatment to me.

            No you are not in the same thinking patterns but the fact that you can write that comment above is HUGE, it’s insight and wisdom for your own health to move to a different place;)

            You wrote:
            “He has also convicted my own heart of some intense idols that need to come down, such as my debilitating people-pleasing. This idol makes it SO hard for me to say No and to set boundaries (with my husband and all others),”

            Huge again!! Such a benefit for you to admit this to yourself and your fears that created this pattern.
            Are you familiar with;
            ‘How we Love book?’ Or attachment/bonding?
            I think it’s a must read .. just my opinion.
            I was the pleaser and my h was the avoider/controller when ever I decided to bring up something uncomfortable to him ~

            You wrote:
            “I am starting the difficult process of being OK with disappointing them and acknowledging that they may not like me for it. It’s a tough idol for me to break but absolutely necessary.”

            Yes, this is hard and it takes time to learn to sit with others displeased by us.

            You wrote:
            “It is the part of the cycle where there is “peace” in the home but absolutely no emotional intimacy.”

            This is Not peace, it’s actually false peace or peace keeping.
            His behaviors or comforts are teaching you what he need without any regard for your place and need in the relationship. Nothing is Really resolved.. if you understand what I mean.

            You wrote:
            “He reverts to this state where everything is fine between us, and he treats me okay here, as long as I don’t bring up relationship, religion, politics, etc.”

            Of course he does.. and everything is fine as long as he is getting what he wants the emotional climate and connection to be.
            I do believe there might be great hope for your h if you change and begin to set boundaries and requirements.

            You wrote:
            “It is in these moments that I start to question the abuse and I wonder if I am just creating an excuse to “get out of the relationship” for selfish reasons and without trying. I’m really having trouble discerning what is true here, what is real. I also don’t know how to process my emotional detachment and “being out of love”– and I am wondering if that is influencing everything else.”

            Your pattern and cycle are there. I’m sorry for that. But are you interested in changing your part?
            If you are, that might be the greatest hope for your h to also get the help he needs and the greatest way to love him ‘really’.
            I don’t think you are just searching for a way out from the marriage… but maybe you are searching for a way out of the cycle? Which is healthy?
            Until the cycle stops and new things get in place it’s hard to know if the marriage could survive… it might or it might not depending on your h’s willingness?

            You wrote:
            “How can I navigate the involvement of a church who does not believe this is an abusive situation?”

            Your church is not educated or equipped to handle this situation, I would not continue to allow their thinking patterns in the process anymore.
            You need to evaluate if your church is even healthy enough for either of you to be getting influenced by especially right now where you are at.

            Day by Day, I’m praying for you and so thrilled that you can see certain aspects of your participation in not saying ‘NO’ has caused you harm.
            Sometimes we say ‘no’ to the places we really need to begin to say yes too! Such as learning healthy boundaries etc.
            trust me I know.. I’m a ‘recovering Pleaser’
            Sometimes we find ourselves saying ‘yes’ to all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons.. and I think you are wise to be able to self reflect and discern where you are, it’s loving you and loving others better in the long run.

            By the way, you will need a lot of support and validation for your journey.. regardless if your h chooses to join us and the marriage chooses to get the treatment it needs.
            Sending my hugs and I’m cheering for you!!💖

          • JoAnn on May 15, 2017 at 8:00 pm

            Day by Day, We all applaud you for your “baby steps” and especially for realizing and acknowledging the lies you have been programmed to believe. Great first steps!
            I know that the peaceful times can be so misleading and confusing, so allow me to make a suggestion, one that’s been mentioned here before by others: keep a journal. Especially during those times when the abuse is happening, write down as accurately as you can, exactly what he has said that hurts you so much and your reactions to them. This will serve as a reality check when you are questioning yourself and your sanity. Then you have “evidence” that you can take to your counselor and get help to work through it. Also, when he speaks a lie, or an accusation to you, write it down and then look up verses that nullify what he has said. This will be your best defense. We are all rooting for you, Day, so hang in there. The prayers and advice of your fellow sufferers here will strengthen and supply you.

          • Nancy on May 16, 2017 at 9:15 am

            Day by Day!

            I am rejoicing with you in the steps you are taking. You are leaning into God and He is showing you the way.

            What a blessing, that you’ve been convicted and are seeing through the dense fog ( fear, obligation, guilt). The Lord gives us new eyes to see and as we walk with Him, that fog diminishes, and eventually, goes away.

            Keep up the great work, Day. I am praising God for His faithfulness to you 🌷

          • Nancy on May 16, 2017 at 9:17 am

            Eph 3:20

            “And to Him who is able to do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us” !

  17. JoAnn on May 6, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Praying through the psalms is a real blessing. I do it as part of my morning time with the Lord nearly every day. Actually, praying the word back to the Lord is really the very best way to pray, because it is His speaking. No need to wonder if your prayer matches His will; when we pray the word, it is His will. The prayers in Ephesians are especially powerful to pray. The word of God is our food. We don’t need to dissect it or study it. By praying the word, we are actually eating His word. “The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life.” (John, chapter 6)

    • Aleea on May 7, 2017 at 7:38 am

      “Praying through the psalms is a real blessing. I do it as part of my morning time with the Lord nearly every day.”

      —That’s really beautiful JoAnn. —That you have that time every morning, with the Lord —just beautiful. I recently read: “An Introduction to the Psalms” along with “The Influence of the Holy Spirit” both by Hermann Gunkel, a German Old Testament Hebrew scholar, he taught at the University of Göttingen and the University of Giessen a long, —long time ago. . . .it left me speechless. It is exactly as you say: “No need to wonder if your prayer matches His will; when we pray the Word, it is His will.”

      . . . And that’s what we want. We can’t possibly know what is best for us. . . . Our souls can do without everything except the Word-of-God, without that, none —at all— of our needs/wants are provided for. . . . Gunkel would always say: “The common man prays, ‘I want a cookie right now!’ And God responds, ‘If you’d listen to what I say, tomorrow I will bring you 100 cookies.”

    • Hopeful Gal on May 7, 2017 at 7:43 am


      What do you mean when you say ” praying the word back to God ?” Can you give me an example of how you do this?

      Hopeful Gal

      • JoAnn on May 7, 2017 at 9:09 pm

        Sure, I am glad to do this. Ephesians 6:18 says, “Receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in al perseverance and petition concerning all the saints…” So we are told to take the word by means of all prayer. you can do this with just about any verse, but as an example, I will go to Eph.3:14 – 17. This is a prayer of Paul’s, and we can pray it, too. “For this cause I bow my knees to the Father…Father I am coming to you. I am bowing my knees to You. Of whom every family in the heavens and on earth is named….thank You, Father that You have named me and my family. We belong to You. That He would grant you , according to the riches of His glory, Yes, Lord, according to the riches….oh, the riches of your glory….to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in to the inner man,….Lord, Strengthen me with this power, with Your power, the power that raised Christ from the dead. Lord, strengthen me with this power….into my inner man, my spirit, that You Lord may make Your home in my heart through faith. Yes, Lord, make Your home in my heart.” When we touch the Word in this way, it becomes real food to us. Martin Luther prayed the Word this way daily, and that’s how the Lord led him to fight for the truth. I hope that you can read what I have written with the joyful release that I feel when I pray this way. It truly nourishes my heart.

        • Hopeful gal on May 8, 2017 at 5:47 am

          Thank you JoAnn. Thank you for taking the time to explain to me.

          I will start praying this way.

          BLESSINGS TO YOU❤️❤️❤️

          Hopeful gal

          • JoAnn on May 8, 2017 at 10:16 am

            Also, as you read the Psalms, you will notice that many of them actually are prayers. find the ones that fit your feeling and pray them to God.
            Bless you!

    • Aleea on May 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      Absolutely wonderful conversation and so positive a topic!

    • Wonuola on May 8, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      Thanks JoAnn. This is refreshing…❤️

  18. Ruth on May 8, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    (I’m jumping into This conversation, hope that’s ok 😉)
    So, Nancy, if I’ve been getting this correctly as I’ve been listening to your comments, what you’re saying is- you set boundaries and THEN your husband made progress towards a more respectful, non- manipulative relationship?
    BC as for myself, I am strong enough to face the truth of my own weaknesses and the shortcomings of my childhood and propensity toward depression etc. BUT if we don’t face the elephant in the room (his propensity towards blinding pride and crushing abusiveness) then our marriage will constantly cycle in and out trouble.

    We’re currently in a period of great peace. The question is how long will it last. The other thing that’s REALLY bugging me – our counseling. 🙄Either: 1. This counselor lacks the discernment after 2 sessions to realize that my H was verbally abusive. OR
    2. This counselor considers verbal abuse not-such-a-big deal issue. This counselor did after all say “we all are selfish people”; a sin-leveling statement.
    3. Or #1 and #2 could both be true 😬

    As bad as that sounds, this guy still basically told my H to ‘chill out’ and stop fighting picking a battle over every insignificant detail. Still, I want my H to hear someone to say the words “You were ABUSIVE and it was NOT her fault.”

    But Nancy, back to my question, what kind of boundaries did you set?

    • Nancy on May 8, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      Hi Ruth,

      After reading Leslie’s book ( recommended to me by my awesome Focus on the Family counsellor ), I spent about 3 weeks sleeping on the living room floor. I identified three areas of conversation that were safe for me ( kids, planning family stuff and day to day logistics). Discussing our relationship was off limits.

      At the end of that 3 weeks my h and I went out to dinner where I delivered him the message ( well rehearsed and written down, which .i gave him afterwards). The message told him what the problem was ( he had never taken responsibility for the baggage he brought into our relationship)’as well as what I required in order to get back together ( individual counselling, accountability to me, an accountability group). All this stuff came straight out of Leslie’s book-,I basically followed it like a recipe. Also had my own individual counselling with my focus counsellor in order to stay strong.

      He didn’t move out but we were separated. Our relationship was non- existent except for those three safe areas. When he trespassed at all , I simply say, “I don’t feel safe” and leave the room. No apologies, no explanations. It was VERY HARD. He tried everything to draw me in. I learned to lean on ?The Lord in a way I hadn’t before. Many more nights on the living room floor. He was INCREDIBLY frustrated. I watched P. Doyle videos obsessively when I felt crazy and read this blog a lot.

      After 8 months I saw him transformed ( it happened this past Christmas 🙂
      We started marriage counselling after much prayer in ?late January ( I was very scared of this step.Leslie is clear that safety and sanity have to be present for marriage counselling. I had been burned in the past)

      It is good. We are now working together. He has taken responsibility and is accountable when he slips up. This is a completely NEW marriage.

      I believe it’s new because The Lord enabled me to put my old marriage on the altar and watch it die. It was an excruciating 8 months, but oh so worth the boundaries and requirements. I am now in the process of finding my voice in other relationships too.

      God is so faithful. Our ending will not all look the same but Leslie’s steps to develop CORE strength will enable us each to be well ( regardless of the outcome)

      I hope that helps Ruth!

      • Ruth on May 8, 2017 at 7:22 pm

        Nancy, yes. That was a helpful answer. I am chewing on that.

      • ContentinChrist on May 8, 2017 at 9:45 pm

        How did your husband finally own up to his part? It seems like there must have been a key moment or time (I guess you said around Christmas) where he said something or showed you somehow that he was ready to do the work he needed to do. Is he a believer? Was he before?

        Just curious more than anything! 🙂

        • on May 9, 2017 at 6:30 am

          He went into individual counselling very soon after I confronted him, although with a secular counsellor. It took him another 5 months to get an accountability group.

          I gave him a trip to do a 4 th musketeer week end ( you can google it). This was not manipulation, it came straight from God. That really opened his heart ( this was end of September). He came back different.

          At Christmas we had a conversation where he realized that he had idolized our marriage. This was HUGE. Because after 7 months, he agreed to the separation. He had been fighting it all along, but now in agreeing to it, we were finally fighting satan together.

          So,,,there was effort on his part all along the way. But I had to make sure The Lord was with him. At Christmas I saw the grief overtake him when he realized what I had told him 7 months earlier.

          I found our couples counsellor ( through a sister) and he jumped on it when I suggested it. ( It turns out his secular counsellor had been advising him to divorce me since I wouldn’t discuss anything- he hasn’t been back to him).

          Oh. Another key decision when he agreed to the separation at Christmas was that we asked trusted couple friends to pray for us. Because we were living together still, not many people knew. That was really key for us to, together, destroy the ‘perfect family ‘ image.

    • Aly on May 8, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      Dear Ruth,

      Hope it’s ok I chime in here too..
      You mentioned 2 sessions in counseling with your h so I’m assuming you are just beginning a process, please correct me if I’m wrong.

      Your questions about the counselor are so important and valid, my hope for you would be that this counselor will work individually as well as together throughout your process.
      I also want to highlight that for abusive mindsets and codependent relationships it usually takes an extensive amount of counseling because it’s a longterm behavioral issue overall.

      I think some people tend to stop a process prematurely because well it tends ‘to get worse’ before it gets better when both parties roll up their sleeves and get to work! Think of peeling back a bandage that didn’t get proper care from the beginning it’s infected and needs lots of cleaning.

      Most of us here are in the American culture of.. we want results immediately~ where as therapy tends to be a gradual approach.

      Since you are in a marriage with an abusive person, counseling is only one part of a comphrensive approach (additional accountability necessary) and intensive programs or weekends that your counselor might suggest.

      Given your concerns about the counselor.. maybe it would be best to have an individual session where you can ask your questions. But it will also benefit you the most honest and transparent information you can give about your marital dynamics.
      Sometimes victims of long term abusive cycles tend to want to sit back and hope that the counselor or person mediating will be the messenger of the abuse dynamic.
      I’m wondering if that’s what your experiencing and if your fearful to bring your real raw concerns to the counselor privately?

      • Ruth on May 8, 2017 at 9:24 pm

        Aly, your insights are right on the money. And yes, one big issue going forward, that I’m praying about is accountability- bc WE don’t have any 😯. I would like to have accountability partners. My H would need to have a man who’s strong in the Lord.

        And yes, I’ve considered asking this counselor for individual counseling – heck, I might *strongly suggest*tell my H the next 2 sessions are individual, as in me one week, him the next. But, knowing the seminary this counselor was trained lead to believe he’s *probably* despite his best intentions, one of those ‘let’s stay married no-mattered what’ guys. In fact, I’ve heard him say such already but I didn’t feel like taking up the cause for divorce for abuse in his office during the session. Maybe I’ll print off some of the Cry for Justice materials and anonymously leave it by his office door LOL.

        • Staying Incognito on May 8, 2017 at 9:40 pm

          We did couples counseling. The counselor met with us together and then one session each alone and then together again. I also gave the counselor my journal of what had been happening and told him some very private things. I thought the counselor was on the same page, but when we met together it just devolved into my husband acting all calm and charismatic and denting. He told the counselor that I was not appreciative, always complaining and unforgiving. I switched to a different counselor and go once a week. My husband will not go back. He felt more confident that he was in the right.

          • Connie on May 9, 2017 at 12:50 am

            Same thing happened to me. Couples counseling rarely works.

          • Elisabeth on May 10, 2017 at 6:19 am

            The specialized domestic violence counselor the local shelter provided me banned me from being talked into attending couples’ counseling with the abuser. I was solemnly warned that statistically, couple’s counseling in a domestic violence situation usually further traumatizes the victim and often gave more power to the abuser to increase the control. The awesome Lundy Bancroft book “Why does He Do That?” says much the same but in further detail.

            Sadly that is what we are told to do though, by those not extensively trained in domestic violence counseling. Even the legal system required mandated couples counseling of us! (Which was a disaster.) Those not in the know really still think it’s a mere marital issue.

          • JoAnn on May 10, 2017 at 4:33 pm

            Elisabeth, you are right about the couples counseling. What often happens is that the things the wife reveals in the sessions gets used by the husband to further abuse the wife. There is no compassion or empathy there, no honoring of her or acknowledging of her pain. Not a good idea, especially if he thinks that he has done nothing wrong.

  19. Dawn on May 8, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Sweet Christ Sisters,
    I’m glad to be back, I was off doing “life” for a bit. I LOVE your thoughts on praying through Scriptures, Joanne. Precious. These words are our sword in which we find victory for the battle.
    Love it! Thanks so much for sharing.
    Praying for you, Aleea! Have missed you all.
    So thankful to be back.
    Many hugs!

    • Aleea on May 9, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Thank you Dawn so much for the prayers!
      I very much appreciate them.

      “. . . I was off doing “life” for a bit.” -Excellent. Good for you.

      . . . .I would say that prayer changes us because that’s what relationships do. . . . just steeping in the Holy Spirit can’t help but change us.

  20. Incognito on May 8, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    My boundaries were set last September. I continue my Counseling sessions and I watched Leslie’s videos, Patrick Doyle and Pia Melody. I also watch Joyce Meyer and other Christian Pastors online or on my Roku tv morning, afternoon and night to stay strong and positive while I stick to my boundaries. He gets irritated when I have one of their videos on especially Joyce Meyer. i sent my husband a list of videos that spoke about boundaries so that he understands that I am not being vindictive or punishing him. He does not get it. He called me a bitter hag and says he feels sorry for me because I can’t just be happy and move forward and forgive because he is being nice now. He said he is reading self help books and he is changed (the self help books he reads are the ones for multi level marketing like Think and Grow Rich and a guy named Cardone who is so ego driven). Those types of books just beef up pride and ego more. Everyone’s comments have really helped me. I am still married. We have not even started a legal separation. If I saw great humility on his oart I might be hopeful. But so far nothing.

    • Aly on May 8, 2017 at 10:49 pm


      Glad you are educating and seeing the benefits of taking a path that can lead to your own safety and sanity.
      Your h seems quite insensitive to the marital dynamic based on his attitude about ‘change’.
      I wonder if you might think that he’s still pretty comfortable in the marriage as is, and it’s functional for him and that’s all that he’s focused on?

  21. janet on May 9, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Rom 8:11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
    God made each of responsible for ourselves and for our relationship with him. No one else can have their relationship with god through another person. That is not in the bible.
    Do your own work well and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others. We each much carry our own load. Gal 6:4-5

    If your husbands premise is that we have to study the bible so academically, isn’t that what the Pharisees and Sadducees did?
    Furthermore if his belief is really true does that mean that i am not saved because I don’t study the bible perhaps as academically as he does???

    Additionally, even in the bible there is no black and white thinking in the bible. Even the seemingly black and white commandments of thou shalt nots are not black and white. For example… though shalt not commit adultery and in the new testament. Jesus said that if one even looks at a woman like that he is committing adultery. (initially one would think it is just the actual act of committing adultery)
    Additionally, if god was so academic and so black and white then we all would completely be able to resolve all of our sin problems with actions and works which god condemns and why on earth would we even need god and his marvelous grace. another example of what is not black and white is how do you possibly explain god’s magnificent grace and how do you explain faith. words, academics have limitations. although it is good to study, that is why god gave us a brain, there are many, many people who love and adore god without the academic brain work in their relationship with god. How do you explain those living deep in the jungle who come to know god without all that studying! (they don’t even have a written language!) each person has their own relationship with god that is unique and special and on their own terms because each of us is unique in many ways and god does not judge us for that he created that difference and he knows our heart due to our circumstances. if we humans were so good at saving people God would have made each of us responsible for saving each other and god has no where in the bible made us with the ability to save someone or also to destroy their faith. god knew we could never accomplish that and never gave us the responsibility to actually save people. He instructed us to spread the word. He never said your actions will save people,because God is the one who does that.

    have your own relationship with god based on your relationship with god. No one, not even a pastor, or me has any authority over you. you have a brain, use it. if you make mistakes… god iwll forgive you just ask him. your salvation is based on grace,NOT ON WORKS. that is why Jesus came darling. yes we want to learn and grow in his likeness but it is not my job to judge how slow or long it takes someone. and yes people’s actions have consequences, both good and bad, but in those actions grace is still applied by god. there is no sin that i can commit that is not covered by god’s grace. THAT IS FREEDOM. by that i mean that gives me peace to know that it is not by works. because the truth is i commit sin and the truth is god forgives me through the actions of my lord Jesus. this applies to everyone. your salvation cannot be lost. but you are the one who needs to have your own relationship with god and he will show you what you need to know. just read the bible for yourself. he will guide you. its not that hard. do you think that god would go through all this trouble and pain of having jesus die on the cross and then make it hard for us. NO! RELIGION AND GOD ARE NOT THE SAME THING MY DEAR. god is way better. xo

    • JoAnn on May 9, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Religion and God are not the same thing! Yes, and AMEN!!

  22. Spiritual Abuse. – Free2flyDesigns on May 9, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    […]… This article really was hitting home for me in what I went and go through. I really sympathize with others who are going through this and may not realize what is happening to them.  It can be a helpless, soul crushing journey.  I believe God will always provide a way out when we can no longer endure it and put an end to what HE knows you and your soul can’t take anymore.   No matter what storm we are in, God is always with us and that is so awesome!  During my days of doubt, I’ve always held onto these verses.   […]

  23. T.L. on May 11, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Aleea, this is flat out false.

    “According to all the church fathers, to circa the middle of the 3rd century CE, the book of Revelation was not even considered to be a divine text, but the opposite, a devil-inspired heretical text. All the Primary sources that survive show every early church father such as Origen, credited with being the first chronicler of the history of Christianity, condemning the book as written by Satan.”

    I don’t know from what unreliable sources you gleaned this information, but I for one object to you representing these flaky opinions as facts.

    • Aleea on May 13, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Just saw this right now and I am late for an appointment but quickly. . . .T.L. for the love of all that is Holy, you know way better than that. We don’t know who wrote half the New Testament, just to begin with. Revelation was highly disputed in the early churches. It was never uncritically accepted as canonical. This is the view of every scholar I know outside radical fundamentalists. . . . .Let’s let people research it for themselves. They will find way more issues than you or I are talking about. When I started looking at just who wrote 2nd Peter before I even got to Revelation, I saw a lifetime of issues with authorship, canonicity,

      I sincerely wish I knew how to approach this better because this is about identity, not facts or evidence. I tell people these things because I was lied to from my earliest Sunday School days onward about the quality of our sources. Everyone needs to research for themselves from multiple vantage points. I still believe but the source documents. . . .well, people can research for themselves. . . .You know the issues with what you are saying and so do I.

      T.L., beyond that, what are we doing? It’s like we are trying to convince ourselves by convincing each other??? I’m saying “Look. . . really think and really research and critically evaluate for yourselves.” You’re saying “Aleea is flakey, no need to worry, nothing to see here, everything is as told in one narrow, non-critical approach to the sources.” That’s not true and you know it. . . . .I just got through reading “Who Wrote the New Testament?” by Burton L. Mack but people should read whatever they want. . . just read lots and lots of viewpoints and deeply think. Critically engage, don’t shut your mind down. What T.L. or Aleea says is irrelevant; people have to come to their own conclusions after seriously studying things. I also love the Spectrum Multiview Book Series from InterVarsity Christian Press. They offer all kinds of careful, peer-reviewed research on topics: The Historical Jesus Five Views —five extremely divergent views in a really hard hitting but totally understandable dialogue. That book was 2011 Christianity Today Book Award winner! I think this helps us think more carefully about what we believe and appreciate more the perspectives of others. That series covers Biblical Hermeneutics, Attonement, etc., etc. Honestly, . . . .honestly tell me after reading some of those how crystal clear it is?

      Dr. Elaine Pagels, a well-known author, and Christian origins professor, a world class expert in these documents. She says. “. . . putting the Revelation in the New Testament was a mistake, the result of a misunderstanding. In her latest book, “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, & Politics in the Book of Revelation,” she says the Book of Revelation was not a Christian book, but a warning issued 90 years after the death of Jesus, from a refugee of war-torn Jerusalem named John of Patmos, that Jewish followers of Jesus better not form a new religion, let alone consort with pagan followers of Christ who dare to eat non-kosher food, etc. Pagels goes through every church father and what they said, primary sources that were peer-reviewed. . . . in fact, until 367 we find the first occasion in which a list of canonical New Testament writings contains exactly the 27 books of our version without additions or subtractions. However, even at that late date that should not be taken to mean that the issue was settled; this was only the personal opinion of ONE bishop. A contemporary of Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus (330—90) and so many others still omitted Revelation from their lists, and Revelation was not added to their New Testaments until several centuries after that. . . .

      Anyways, I love you. I just wish I knew how to be more effective at really getting people to critically think and research for themselves. . . .Arguing will not do that. Loving people will do that. I don’t need to learn more data and peer-reviewed scholarship. . . . I need to learn to love people better. I know the facts, data and evidence but people don’t care what you know until they know you care and they are also afraid because it is just frightening to learn the facts from multiple credible sources, especially when you see how different they are from what you were taught at church. . . . me too, I go to a fundamentalist Bible church where no one wants to “burn in hell” for doing something wrong. They are totally afraid to question. It is not a search for the truth. The church is addressing safety and security needs. You can’t tell people there is only a 23% chance that the book of Revelation belongs in the New Testament, even if you know that is the highest probability. People demand certainty not a probability distribution.

    • T.L. on May 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm


      I am not a bit interested in arguing with you. What I am interested in is calling someone out when they represent their opinions as facts. Your statement that I quoted is untrue. It is unsupportable.

      Also, please don’t insinuate that only fundamentalists could possibly object to your views–untrue and insulting again.

      And please don’t tell me what I know, as you did here: “T.L. for the love of all that is Holy, you know way better than that. We don’t know who wrote half the New Testament, just to begin with.”

  24. Aly on May 13, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Dear Aleena,

    I would like to chime in here briefly also. You and I have had past post discussions and I have most definitely agreed with your plea for ‘the importance of critically thinking behavior’. But I have also challenged you on a couple things that you have yet to respond to:
    Those things being.. statistics of Prophesy , and the manuscripts evidence and how they determine the ‘canonicity’ for the Inspired Word of God.

    Aleea you wrote:
    . . . . I need to learn to love people better. I know the facts, data and evidence but people don’t care what you know until they know you care and they are also afraid because it is just frightening to learn the facts from multiple credible sources…”

    You said ‘you know the facts, data and evidence’… I respectfully disagree, based on my challenge I have kindly asked you to investigate yourself before making statements as you continue to do.
    How are you qualifying your credible sources? What makes those scholars to you credible?
    What measure are you using to deem them credible?

    You wrote;
    “I go to a fundamentalist Bible church where no one wants to “burn in hell” for doing something wrong. They are totally afraid to question. ”

    Aleea, I’m sorry for the church you choose to attend. Maybe it’s time to dust of your sandals.
    You clearly know I’m not afraid to question, or critically think or do my homework… trust me I have plenty of homework to do.

    You wrote:
    “It is not a search for the truth. The church is addressing safety and security needs. You can’t tell people there is only a 23% chance that the book of Revelation belongs in the New Testament, even if you know that is the highest probability. People demand certainty not a probability distribution.”

    It feels to me you are lumping many of us in your church norms and comforts?

    Aleea~ what is it you need most from me, us or your Christian sisters in general?

    My heart goes out to you for your past traumas and how people misinterpreted scripture to control and abuse you, but that was an outcome of many things.. esp people with very broken lenses and blindness reinforcing their comforts.

    Please do the statistics Aleea since you are continually asking us to critically think and ponder, and too many of us here have been deeply harmed by ‘double standards’.
    ‘This being an attitude of what is expected of me, but not expected of yourself.’

    Much love and prayers for you Aleea, I value prayer because Gods Word affirms, aligns and reinforces its truth.

    Prayer and Action do go hand and hand;) 💖

    • JoAnn on May 13, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      So many of the dear Christians who post messages here have testified to how the words of scripture have ministered light, life and peace to them. Jesus Himself said in John 6:63 that the words He spoke to us are “spirit and life.” In several places He condemned those who searched the scriptures in a mental way, not respecting those writings as God’s speaking….words of life. So, to respond briefly to this discussion, particularly related to the validity of the book of Revelation and whether or not it is a valid part of the scriptures, I have to testify that having completed a recent study of that book, I can honestly say that it ministered “spirit and life” into my being. Of course, that is because of the insight and relevance that were conveyed in the study. The whole debate about the validity of scripture is totally dependent on who the so-called experts are. Some of the best and most enlightened expositors of the Bible were the Plymouth Brethren from England in the 1800s. The Lord used these men to open so many of the truths that had been hidden in the scriptures for hundreds of years, and we are now standing on their shoulders in the recovery of the wonderful gems of truth in the Word. They demonstrated a clarity of understanding of the the book of Revelation and other prophetic OT writings that has never been matched since. John Nelson Darby was just one, who wrote an exposition of the New Testament.
      So, my main point here is that we must take the Word as God’s speaking to us, as food for our daily living, and not get caught up in details and disputes about who wrote what and when. It has come to us in it’s present form as sovereignly from God to us for our spiritual food and drink. If we take it in that way (read John 6), then we will be supplied and nourished to pursue and enjoy our dear Lord Jesus.
      In another blog, the question is asked “how do I find a church?” To me, the most important issue is how does the teacher treat the scripture? Is it respected as God’s nourishing provision for His people, or is it taught as doctrine? Spiritually, we need to be fed, not taught to question, which in Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus is condemned.

      • Aly on May 13, 2017 at 9:53 pm

        Dear JoAnn,

        I’m not the one questioning the Bible as the inspired inherent Word of God for His children. I believe strongly it IS through the overwhelming evidence of the manuscripts, the archeological evidence found, the prophesy and the statistics of the prophesys.
        I was challenging Aleea in how she was claiming credible facts by certain scholars that don’t believe the Bible is credible… and her posting …especially on this blog.
        I do believe it’s beneficial to learn the value of critical thinking as an asset to being an active and life longer learner.
        We are called to love the Lord with all our mind, all our heart, soul and strength.

        • JoAnn on May 13, 2017 at 10:47 pm

          Aly, My comment was meant to address the whole issue, not one person in particular. I meant it more as a personal testimony than a critique. We may not know or understand all of the nutrients in a delicious dish, but we can enjoy eating it. While knowing some of the background of scriptures can be enlightening, doctrinal interpretations, more often than not, take away from the “food value” of the Word, and there are so many conflicting views. I am sorry if you were bothered by my comment. Perhaps this is a good time to let this issue rest. This isn’t really the place for doctrinal disputes, anyway. I apologize.

          • Aly on May 14, 2017 at 9:56 am


            No apology necessary, when I read your comment it came to my window ‘addressing me’,so for some reason I thought maybe you had misunderstood my comment/question or thought I was in the belief of questioning the validity of scripture.

            Yes I agree with T.L we are both in agreement. Although the topic of this is not easy I do think it’s important to speak up in all areas when someone is claiming such matters.
            I’m sorry for the confusion now I understand better that you were writing your take.
            Thank you! Much love and care to you;)

          • JoAnn on May 14, 2017 at 10:50 pm

            Thanks, Aly. I really do love and care for all the dear ones on this blog, and I pray that each one will find an intimate and sweet relationship with the Lord, who is light and truth. That’s why I enjoy praying the Word, and even “eating” it as my spiritual food. He is so rich and sweet when we come to Him in simplicity of heart.

        • T.L. on May 14, 2017 at 4:06 am

          JoAnn and Aly, You are obviously in agreement with each other. We question the Scriptures only in the way that the Bereans did-searching them to see the confirmation of Scripture with Scripture…to see the full counsel of God, so that we are not mis-led, either by those that would twist the Scriptures to abuse us, or those that would try to undermine them. This certainly isn’t the appropriate place for disputing the authorship or validity of Scripture. There are plenty of other venues online exactly for that. I have felt it right to speak up when an unsupportable and false statement(s) is made expressly for the purpose of undermining the validity and trustworthiness of Scripture. It seems there is an ulterior motive for being on this site than getting help out of abuse or helping others out of abuse. And that really makes me mad.

  25. Shellie on May 26, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    This wonderfully written book by Sharon Jaynes may help sort out what God thinks about women. It propelled my growth in Him and understanding of God’s Word about women. I too had to detox from the spiritual abuse from my church (and thus my spouse) in the early, highly influential, and formative years of my marriage. ” What God Really Thinks About Women: Finding Your Significance Through the Women Jesus Encountered” by Sharon Jaynes

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