Am I Making Up My Abuse?

Morning friends,

Hope you had a great weekend. I got a bad cold but had a great speaking event at the Casablanca Bridal Shop in Newport Beach, California. The sponsoring organization, Celebrate Forever, seeks to educate couples on what makes relationships work, and equip them with the tools and skills to transform bad relational habits into ones that will help their marriage last a lifetime.

Several years ago I discovered a poem at an airport bookstore and I’ve reflected on it since. I want to share it with you.

I Will Not Die an Unlived Life

I will not die an unlived life,

I will not live in fear

of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days,

to allow living to open me,

to make me less afraid,

more accessible,

to loosen my heart

until it becomes a wing,

a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance,

to live so that which came to me as seed

goes to the next as blossom,

and that which came to me as blossom,

goes on as fruit.

– Dawna Markova

Does this poem resonate with you too? Tell me how.

This week’s question: I just read your book about Emotionally Destructive Relationships. I’ve been feeling emotionally abused by my husband for the past 7 or 8 years. We’ve been to counseling to little avail. I am now on medication for depression. I’ve been taught that the only reason for divorce is adultery, so I’ve been feeling very stuck.

Almost every day I get a lecture about how I communicate and instructions on how I could have said things better, in a way that doesn’t push his buttons. I can’t be myself and I find myself guarded with what I say and always expecting a lecture. I try to let it slide off my back but it’s getting to me. I used to explode a lot when he said demeaning things and insulted my intelligence. Now that I’m on the medication I can keep my emotions under control better, but I’m wondering if I should continue to put up with this. It affects our kids. They hear their father talking to their mother in very condescending tones and it’s not healthy. And sometimes they hear me sobbing or yelling when I can’t take it anymore.

Here are some of the phrases he uses with me:

“You didn’t bother to….”

“I don’t understand why you want to lose.”

“You are a very unique woman”

“I’m waiting for you to get your head out of the sand.”

“That isn’t very smart”

“You’re not paying attention”

“This does not bode well for getting good results.”

It’s not just the area of communication where he acts controlling. He doesn’t want me to make any decisions on my own. I can decide regular daily stuff, but anything new or different he demands he be consulted. He gets very upset if I circumvent his authority. Here are a few examples.

He got upset with me telling our daughter that she could go somewhere without consulting him about it first. I went to pick out new glasses after my prescription was filled without asking him first. I invited my parents to come take pictures of my daughter and her date for the prom without letting him know first.

Even though I apologize for these misunderstandings, he continues to bring them up and remind me of my failures.

He refuses to allow me to get on his computer, even though he’s had a problem with pornography. He gets upset if I move any of his stuff when I’m trying to clean up the house. Heaven forbid if I move any furniture without getting his approval first.

Are these things controlling and/or abusive or is this just every day common behavior that I’m taking too personally?

Answer: I’m so glad you asked. We’ve been talking about why it takes some women so long to recognize abusive behavior and because your husband’s putdowns are more subtle, they aren’t always recognized as abusive.

My definition of an emotionally destructive relationship is this: Pervasive and repetitive patterns of actions and attitudes that result in tearing someone down or inhibiting a person’s growth, often accompanied by a lack of awareness, lack of remorse and lack of change. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to take the test at the end of chapter 1 of The Emotionally Destructive Relationship or at or take the free test on Emotionally Destructive Marriages . Click here for the test.

In many of these kinds of relationships, you can’t point to one specific abusive episode of grossly sinful behavior to “prove” that the relationship destructive. That’s the hard part, especially when trying to get pastoral help or explain it to a counselor.

But you know deep within that the person you once were is dying and you don’t know how to live in a healthy way in this relationship any more. You mention that you used to explode in anger and now with antidepressants you keep your emotions better in check.

I’m glad you’re not exploding anymore. That’s not healthy for anyone. However, my concern for you is that by dulling your emotional pain, you’re not paying attention to your internal warning bell that’s telling you something is very wrong.

Here’s what I mean. When you break your ankle, the pain drives you to the doctor. That’s a good thing so that you get help for your problem (broken ankle) and then you can take the pain medication and get crutches while you heal you’re ankle. If you just took pain medication so that you don’t feel your ankle pain and then continued to walk on it, you would make your ankle worse.

In the same way, when you feel continual marital pain, you need to ask yourself what’s wrong? Pain motivates us to take some action, to get help in order to fix the problem. If you just mask the pain with medication, you won’t solve the problem and the problem can actually become worse. (tweet this)

You said counseling has been little help. You’re not alone in this. I think it’s very difficult to describe the kinds of abuse that this kind of relationship entails. It’s also very hard for counselors to grasp. Much of what your husband asks of you sounds so reasonable.

For example, it’s normal (not controlling) for husband’s (and wives) to want to be included in decisions regarding where the children go, money spent (especially if the budget is tight), and in laws visiting. I’m guessing the problem is deeper than just a lack of information (in that you failed to inform him). But rather, he feels that it’s his right as the head of his home to decide the final outcome.

What happens when you do talk with him about these things and you have a difference of opinion? How do you resolve these disagreements? From the phrases he uses, it sounds like he has a very strong sense of win/lose in problem solving rather than mutual consideration, respect, and compromise. He believes that his authority entitles him to always have the final say.

But for you dear one, take heart. There is a God who see’s you and who knows what you are going through. There is a God who hates abuse and warns husband’s not to treat their wives harshly. Right now if all you can work on is you and not your marriage, start there.

Deal with your depression and anger. Do what you need to do to learn how to communicate in a strong and firm way that you will not engage in conversations that are disrespectful and demeaning anymore. It is only from a position of wholeness can you then invite your husband into healthy change and make good decisions for you and your children.

Friends: To help this woman shorten her learning curve, share the first steps you took to get healthier and find support when you began to wake up to what was going on in your marriage?


  1. Marianne on March 18, 2015 at 7:20 am

    My heart goes out to you. One of the first things I did was get into a bible study with other women in similar situations. It was facilitated by our counselor, so she knew the situations were similar. This bible study was something I had to fight for in a subtle way and the counselor helped a lot by telling my now ex-husband that it would be good for me and for us. In that small group I was able to build up my strength and gain a tiny bit of perspective as I heard the other women’s reactions to things that were commonplace in my marriage. They also held me accountable for my responses, especially when he eventually was unfaithful again. I had said if it happened again I would ask him to leave and when it happened again, I was petrified to ask him to leave. They held me to it though and it was very helpful. If I didn’t do it then, he wouldn’t have agreed to leave (with the help of the counselor and a few other men I enlisted to help me) and I would still be in that terrible place. Baby steps end up being the key to getting free from the craziness and free to be yourself. So don’t discount the baby steps.

  2. Brenda on March 18, 2015 at 7:32 am

    I read Ms Leslie’s books (all of them), I read Barbara Roberts “Not Under Bondage”. I prayed every morning through many shed tears. I said, No I would not be treated this way any longer. I tried to leave and told him I was leaving. He cried and repeated for 3 weeks how he didn’t want me to go. I stayed for 3 more years, got counseling from a good Christian counselor. One day I tried to leave the house while he stood in front of him. He had during that 3 years tried to convince me that it was all my fault for how he reacted. 3 weeks later I had moved out and filed for legal separation. Within a month he was seeing his ex-wife. When I called him on it he demanded that I file for divorce. That was the final thing that he told me to do that I followed through on. Now 2 years later and my saying “NO contact”, he still sends the occasional text and lets me know of things happening in my life. My daughter has blocked all of his relatives from her FB page because they are the only possibility of him knowing. I do not respond to his texts. He now has changed his tactics to scripture bombing me via text. Yesterday it was Ps 27:1, which I found to be very comforting, but I am sure that in his mind it came from a totally different view point.

    I would say to you that this behavior is definitely abusive and whether you stay or go, you need to be you. No man should want anything less. You don’t have to ask his permission for each step you take. Be free and don’t train your children that they must wait for every move on their dad. You can make a decision without him.

  3. Brenda on March 18, 2015 at 7:34 am

    One day I tried to leave the house while he stood in front of me. Sorry.

  4. Jennifer on March 18, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I live this way too and can very much relate to the subtle abuse and the feeling of part of one self is dying. I too take medication to numb the pain. I know divorce is an option but with someone so controlling and unrealistic in expections I feel that would only make matters worse. We have tried counseling, talking to the Pastor etc. it doesn’t go anywhere, my only hope is knowing God does see all and He will be the one to judge someday

    • Leslie Vernick on March 19, 2015 at 1:55 am

      Yes Jennifer God is the only judge but you will have to decide the toll this behavior is taking on you and your children. Sometimes the price is just too high as you will see from other’s in this community.

    • Lynn M on March 20, 2015 at 6:08 am

      Jennifer, I thought the same thing about the futility of proposing divorce with someone so controlling. But once I got into “right action” things started to move. I marshaled resources (lawyer, financial planner, etc) and presented my case, and he was the one who backed down. I was as shocked as anyone!

    • Robin on March 21, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      a question I might ask myself, when taking medication to tolertae my husbands behavior — is this a red flag to take a action, I havnt been brave enough to do yet??

    • Robin on March 21, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      Jennifer, I do believe God does see– and is very grieved when us abused women stay in a situation, we are not receiving abundant life, but a life that destroys our family. After a very long time, and much longer than it should have been, I recently pulled the plug and stopped these destructive behaviors. No more pills or medications- just a peace from God because I no longer tolerate constant chaos.

    • Lauren on April 1, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      I dealt with depression for years (7) and was on antidepressants. I had been seeing a counselor and one day he asked about my abusive marriage…I was so confused I didn’t say anything, I didn’t know what he was talking about. I went home that afternoon and started researching abusive relationships, came across Leslie’s blog and was completely shocked to discover that my marriage was indeed very abusive. That afternoon as I read more and more, my depression lifted. I felt light. For years I had been trying SO hard to fix myself and our marriage and all at once I was free. It was not my fault after all! I ended up separating from my husband 2 years ago. The amazing thing is that I haven’t been depressed in 2 years! I am not necessarily advocating separation but am encouraging you to take small steps to regain your own sanity and a sense of who you are. It is hard but as Leslie said, you are paying a high price… just to keep the peace.

  5. Jane on March 18, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I took the quiz in “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.” It helped me to see – in black and white before my eyes – with a numerical score – how I was actually living with very calm and subtle abuse. I also read online about the Passive/Aggressive personality and saw – again in black and white before my eyes! – how my husband is a “textbook case.” Please take care.

    • Lonely wife on March 18, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Yes. Passive Aggressive abuse is just awful…very hard to define. Passive aggressives are called “Crazy makers” and they do make you feel like YOU’RE the crazy one when they gaslight you!
      I’ve educated myself on that PA behavior so that I don’t get sucked into the “PA dance” any longer!

      • Joyce on April 7, 2015 at 9:30 pm

        My husband, a medical professional, tells me I am PA. He obviously does not know what a PA is because his actions come right out of the book. but, again, it is the crazymaking of it all.

  6. Val on March 18, 2015 at 10:54 am

    There is hope! Let me assure you of that!! After 23 years of his refusal to get a job to support us (3 kids), and my carrying the entire load, I finally said “enough”. The last child was self-sufficient, and everyone was well aware of the emotional and verbal (and occasional physical) abuse. It took me this long to get up the courage to take a stand, regardless of the consequences. I had the help of a few very supportive and godly women, who stood by me and encouraged me to see the Lord above all during this extremely stressful time. When I filed for separation, he was repentant, contrite and willing to do “anything”…but we had been down that road of “repentance” before, so there was no point in repeating the cycle. It took me a year to untangle the finances, and close down my daycare business, and get a job outside the home to support myself. Initially, he said he never wanted to see me again, etc,, to which I replied that that was entirely up to him, but I did not harbor any resentment and forgave him, just as Christ has forgiven me. God definitely guides and gives grace beyone anything we could ever muster up on our own, when we put HIM first!
    I now have a very good relationship with him…he has his own place…and he is very helpful in many ways, but no longer is controlling my life. He has to rely on himself to figure life out, and is repairing his relationship with the Lord. I would not consider returning to him, however, as there are still areas in which he has not taken accountability, but we have a “workable” relationship and keep things positive and inclusive with the kids and their families.
    Since my divorce (which he initiated), I have had to opportunity to do things I never would have had, had I stayed in that abusive relationship: I’ve been to Siberia on a missions trip, done street evangelism, run 2 ladies bible studies, and am Pastor of Women’s Ministries at our church. God will take what you surrender to Him and lead you into all kinds of adventures you never could have imagined…so take heart! 🙂

    • Emilee on March 19, 2015 at 1:05 am

      You are my hero.

      • Grace on March 19, 2015 at 10:39 pm

        Thank you for sharing your testimony. I am at a crossroad. I am hopeful for the light at the end of this tunnel.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 19, 2015 at 1:54 am

      Thanks Val for sharing your story.

      IT’s so helpful for other women to see where you all have been and where God has brought you now.

    • Emilee on March 19, 2015 at 7:54 am

      These words – all of your words – are priceless. Yes and amen. Thank you.

    • Susen on March 22, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Val~you got your Grace together much sooner than I did. I applaud the continued relationship with him. I have been unable to do that–not for lack of trying, but he is so uncomfortable around me that he makes the whole family edgy. It’s just easier for me to not be there. I do still pray for him. Thanks for your sharing. susen

  7. Brenda on March 18, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Thank you for telling your story. It is truly inspiring. May I ask how long you have been on your own?

    • Val on March 18, 2015 at 11:10 am

      I’ve been divorced for five years now, and loving the peace and quiet of my “sanctuary” condo/townhouse! Wow, how the Lord has “grown” me over these last years!! Amazing. Soli Deo Gloria!! 🙂

      • Jilly on March 18, 2015 at 5:04 pm

        Thank you, Val. So you have not had stygma in the church against you being so involved in leading Bible study? I fear that separation (if I should consider it) would nullify my being accepted as a godly woman who walks with the Lord. I feel God is calling me to leadership and teaching Bible study, but fear that taking action to separate from my husband would disqualify me from any church leadership. What is your experience there?

        • Lonely wife on March 18, 2015 at 7:58 pm

          Jilly if that’s the case in your church, them perhaps you need to find another! I’m now in a church that I know beyond a doubt, if I separate from my H, I will have full support….I can’t say that about the church I was a member of 4 yrs ago and that’s one of the reasons I left! 🙂

          • Sandra on May 26, 2015 at 9:07 am

            Dear Jilly & Lonely:
            Thank you for sharing about your church not supporting you in your divorce. As I’ve been sharing as well, my divorce was finalized May 12, 2015, and I was reluctant to let my church know because of its “marriage until death” teaching. Yesterday I finally decided to announce it on Facebook, where many of the church ladies have “friended” me. Much to my dismay, not one of them has checked Like or commented. Consequently, I have now decided to find another church, and will attend one this Sunday that I contacted by phone. I’ll miss many in the “old” church, but need to feel support and acceptance in my Christian fellowship, since it’s so vital to my life. Thank you all for your prayer and support on this blog, and it’s certainly mutual. In His love

        • Kathy on March 19, 2015 at 11:52 am

          That was my fear as well, I am heavily involved with leading the music in my church and others in the area. I found that while they may not understand the abusive part at first, they had no trouble with my willingness to search for and follow God’s will – even if that meant leaving my husband. There ARE valid reasons to leave, and it isn’t just for marital unfaithfulness. Leslie has helped make that so very clear in her books and blogs. When faced with those truths, the pastors have actually become very supportive of me, while still trying to steer my husband in the direction of repentance.

  8. Laura Di on March 18, 2015 at 11:11 am

    I admit I made lots of mistakes before finally realizing I needed to go with my heart, the core place where God and His deep love resides. Drawing in constant touch with God, stopped my second guessing, the insane reliance upon falsely viewed sacred vows, misinterupted biblical teachings, all conditionings causing me to misconstrue God’s desires. I am remorseful because I used my misconceptions far too long, for by relying upon them I was courting weak excuses to remain in danger. My own foolishness of the truth of the condition of “fear’ kept me complacent until outside help redefined it as , “false evidence appearing real”. My naievity held me captive, for even though praying is worthy and of value it can be misused. I share that prayed from, ‘”The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie O’Martian incessantly for two years straight, reading and thinking that things would change with my spouse, when the most important step was that things needed to change with me. I additionally read many books great self-help books, it was actually, “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans that alerted me to my reality of being emotionally abused in a pattern described as a triangle of anger that motivated more attention to my situation. I even attempted to share my reading with my now ex husband in hopes of recieving understanding, instead he threw the copy I handed him at me along with a rude response directing me exactly where to put it. ( And a side note I found my copy of the Stormie O’Martian book on a pile of clean -up week trash that I was alerted to by one of my children more than a year after the divorce. The items were ones the ex texted for me to come get in writing stating he’d leave them waiting for retrieval from the driveway of our marital home, where he’d placed them and covered from natural elements.) I saw clergy, even playing back harsh recordings I had taped of his tirades. The result was that it prompted them to ask for my promise to set a plan of safety for me and three children. I even mistakenly approached his family for intervention help in a crazy move of desperation. The result brought me more insanity because often apples do not fall far from trees. Sadly, after being open with in-laws it backfired, for the very next day he sat me down on a bench in front of our marital bed, knelt down, positioned his hands close to my neck in a strangulation gesture screaming, “ If it wasn’t for God I would kill you right now”. I then called them again only to be admonished by being told somethings need to be guarded with personal loyalty. Despite this shocking revelation, it still took me from late May to late June to present divorce papers and additional months of abuse before his actions led to removal from our marital home.This I embarrassingly confess came after God placed a free local abuse counseling group meeting into my path, as a divine intervention it was where I learned more about the abuse cycle, the signs of increasing dangers and three prominent clergymen implored me to leave. God was always working but wanted me to finally set me on the path to some personal protection by listening to His leadings. That was in 2009, the subsequent confusion that went on for additional years created parental alienation, and sick modeling situations that have affected my children’s behaviors.I now have a restraining order against one son, due to his uncontrollable anger and see the damaging results of my inability to set good examples of boundaries, causing collateral damage with another son and my daughter who can not discern for themselves how to separate from abusiveness.

    I hope this post can compel others to draw closer to God! I implore all to see the price of confusion, and to not fall into the trap of self reliance. It can not only be costly it can be deadly. I had tolerated so much for nearly 29 years. I had been depressed, and saw counselors, many times to the point of their intervention for suicidality that called for hospitalization. I agree with Leslie that the medications can prolong the agony because they sometimes make the related symptoms of abuse less distinguished by flattening the affect response. I was subjected to further abuse due to my struggles with abusiveness. I was deemed crazy and unstable. A hospital interventionist set my mind on her observation of ” situational depression” in 2006 and that did impress me to press into that fact with dragging feet. Miraculously, It wasn’t until last year at this time of year when I saw a Christisn Counselor for issues directly related to my delayed understandings of all I’d experienced in the past before my brain engaged to a clear understanding of what God wants for His children. I learned if a situation is causing confusion it is not of GOD. From that point I saw clearly that I needed to cling to a Trinity of Love for support so the triangle of anger could be halted to an end. Through reliance on all things holy, Father God, His Son Jesus and The Holy Spirit all decisions are blessed. Unless we allow the Power of God to rule there is no solution.

    I wish anyone struggling with thoughts of their part in an unhealthy relationship as them making up their abuse to realize with God there is no confusion,1 Corinthians 14:33 – For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace…… May peace triumph with all those who doubt themselves about the conditions of abusiveness. May all who suffer, instead long to cling to God for breaking free of abusive treatments and finding joy! Amen

    • Leslie Vernick on March 19, 2015 at 1:53 am

      Thanks Laura for sharing your story.

    • Lynn M on March 20, 2015 at 6:13 am

      Your comment about the book struck me. I had copies of all of Priaticia Evans’ books in a stack of books by my bed, turned backward so you couldn’t see the titles. There was no way to really know they were there unless you dug throught he stack and looked for them. A couple of weeks ago I noticed they were gone. Everything else in the stack still there, but those books had simply mysteriously “disappeared”. Hmmm….

  9. Robin on March 18, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I would encourage you to start by gathering resources. Get on Leslie’s website and view her videos- they so helped me to see truth about my relationship being abusive and destructive to myself and my children. Next consider reading Leslues books and see if you can relate to how she describes an emotionally sbusive relationship. I personally jumped right in and found a therapist. This step definitely got me off anti depressants and anything I was doing for depression. Jus it helped me to uncover lies and see more truth. As I became healthy, more truth came. There is also a wonderful resource in this blog- the ladies here will walk alongside you and be there for you. Don’t be afraid to be open and honest. I would also look for a great support team. People like a Pastor who is knowledgable about abuse and will support you, perhaps a domestic violence counselor which was a huge step for me but definitely changed me from being blind to seeing truth, a few supportive friends that pray. When you have a strong support team it makes a world of difference. And of course get as close to JESUS as you can. We will be praying for you, let us know what you need!!!!!

    • Leslie Vernick on March 19, 2015 at 1:47 am

      Thanks Robin, I hope to be doing a series of extra video’s this summer to help provide additional help. Stay tuned.

      • Robin on March 19, 2015 at 7:25 pm

        One of the things other than telling the truth I thought you did so well on the video’s– was keep them some what short so you didn’t lose anyone’s attention. My husband, against his will pretty much, watched just about everyone and had not an argument in him. Actually he never did respond. But he heard the truth .

        • Leslie Vernick on March 20, 2015 at 1:14 am

          Thanks Robin.

  10. Debbie on March 18, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Poem reminds me of a quote I like: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Anais Nin Poem also brings to mind videos I’ve seen of young hawks learning to fly. They are totally helpless just out of the egg. Then they get their feathers and look like adults. But they remain in the nest and flap their wings for practice. Sometimes they will even start to lift off, but they grab back for the nest. Everyone can see they were born to fly but still they wait. Finally one day they decide to jump and fly. I feel like that’s where I’m at–fully ready and capable (I wasn’t always this way–it’s taken years of growth). I just need to get the courage to jump and fly. I know in my head I will be ok and yet I still have lingering fears. But I can feel my courage building to ‘do it afraid’. Grateful for all your prayers.

    • Elizabeth on March 18, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Thank you, Debbie. You have said everything I would also recommend. Become knowledgeable, counseling with someone who understands emotional abuse and a support group like this one and those in your everyday life. Most of all grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus who loves you more than you will ever comprehend. One step at a time…. that next step whatever it is that God shows you. Blessings and many prayers.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 19, 2015 at 1:45 am

      I hope some day you get the courage to fly. It reminds me of a poem I used in my 6 month EMpowered to Change Group recently. It said: “We took them to the edge and bade them fly. They held on. Fly we said. They held on. We pushed them over the edge. And they flew.” Guillaume Apollinaire

      Sometimes we just need a push.

  11. Kathy on March 18, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Oh how I can relate to your situation! I too spent many years wondering what was wrong with me – trying everything I could think of to make things right. I knew something was very, very wrong but, like you, I had the idea in my head that God hates divorce. He does. But He doesn’t expect you to stay if your husband is unfaithful or not leading you/the household in a manner that respects the person God made you to be.
    I’ll confess that I purchased the two Emotionally Destructive books, and then let them sit on my shelf for about 3 years before I was brave enough to actually READ them. When I did: I’d have sworn someone had sat in my living room and written about me. What an eye-opener! I thank God every day for Leslie’s ministry and her determination to spread the biblical truths about these icky situations.
    Something that helped me in a HUGE way was deciding not to hide it anymore. I found 2 or 3 friends that were solid and trustworthy, and filled them in on my life. I gave everyone I talked to – every counselor too – the link to Leslie’s website and a copy of her book (if I had an extra). Everytime I felt like I was going crazy, or was screamed at, or anything else, I checked my facts and feelings with these godly people. That and writing out a list of the passages that tell me WHO I am in God’s eyes has been an enormous help. It has kept me grounded even though everything around me is in turmoil.
    I’ve been working this through for almost 5 years, after living with it for nearly 10 years while wondering what I was doing wrong.
    There is one other book you may find very helpful – Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft. It’s not written from a biblical perspective, but it is very informative as to what causes and sets off this type of behavior – surprisingly, it isn’t what most people think it is!
    Choose your counselors and your friends wisely, and lean on the Almighty. You are in my prayers.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 19, 2015 at 1:44 am

      Thanks for sharing your journey.

  12. Andrea on March 18, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Boy, can I relate to this! Just today I was struggling with these thoughts. Am I overreacting? Am I making too much of this? Thank you so much for this post.

    For me, the process has been a slow one as I’ve read resources that have a clear biblical perspective. For many women in our situation, the dominance that we’ve grown used to has us seeing God only as a judge with strict rules. (“I said no divorce. Suffer through it to honor me.”) But as I’ve begun asking God if that is truly His perspective, he has been reintroducing himself to me as a Protective Father, as The Comforter, as the Lover of My Soul, as my Provider. As I explore these aspects of His character, I understand that He and I both hate divorce. I’m still praying for my relationship to be restored, I’m still working on my issues, I’m still trying to do my part to love my husband — but I’m also accepting that God loves me more than an institution and he is my Defender.

    Here’s an example that helped me: It’s incredibly important to me that my kids have a strong relationship and friendship. But sometimes they fight with one another. When one is hurting the other, I don’t ask him to submit himself in hopes that it will stop. I intervene. I defend the one being hurt. I separate them. Then I work on reconciliation between them — heart change in the offender (not tight lipped apology), forgiveness in the offended (not blind trust).

    In the same way, I think God is willing to allow boundaries and even physical separation between spouses until reconciliation can be reached. And when reconciliation isn’t possible, we can know that we’ve done all that we can to live at peace with everyone — and that’s all God asks of us.

    I’m so thankful to have other women on the journey with me — both on this site and in a therapy group. That support makes all the difference when the journey is especially tough.

    • Jilly on March 18, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      That example is amazingly good! It makes so much sense to approach two children fighting the way you said, but I have been blinded to seeing similar disagreements between my husband and me in the same light. Of course one would not expect the one being hurt simply to submit more and hope it stops. We instead teach our children to stand up for themselves in a godly way. Thank you, Andrea!

    • Leslie Vernick on March 19, 2015 at 1:43 am

      Love your example Andrea.

    • Kathy on March 19, 2015 at 11:47 am

      This is a great analogy! Thank you for sharing.

  13. Andrea on March 18, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Another critically important thing in my journey is individual therapy. Marriage counseling was not at all helpful because I couldn’t have the honesty with the therapist I needed while I was still trying to protect myself and even my husband during those sessions. My husband still criticizes this, but I know I wouldn’t be where I am without it.

  14. Janet on March 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    It took me 30 years before I said “enough” and left my abusive relationship. Read Leslie’s books, take her classes, and find a counselor that specializes in this kind of abuse to help you.

  15. Amy Lin on March 18, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    The day I realized that I was holding my breath as he came in the door because I didn’t know what kind of mood he would be in. I was scared. Life shouldn’t be like that.

    • Lynn M on March 19, 2015 at 5:16 am

      That was a realization point for me too. I would see his car in the driveway and “police” the kitchen to make sure nothing was “wrong”. And I would quickly mentally rehearse my “story” for any thing I knew I needed to explain.

      • Robin on March 19, 2015 at 7:32 pm

        Wish I couldn’t relate to that- but I’d be lying.

      • Leigh on March 19, 2015 at 8:32 pm

        I completely relate to Lynn and Amy Lin. I can feel the anxiety well up inside of me almost instaneously on the drive home knowing my husband is there. If he is not going to be home, I feel at peace. It is a shame this is our reality and that we all can relate. I get angry at the ridiculousness of it all. It is so unnecessary. I know I have the peace of God to go because I have tried and still continue to try. But I am frozen still. I have an inability to act to make things better for me and my children. Slowly, I will get there. I hope we all will get there.

        • Leigh on March 21, 2015 at 12:35 pm

          Islandgirl, that is exactly where I am. My husband will not speak to me. He retreats to my oldest child’s bedroom while she is away at school. It has been 1 1/2 years since he slept with me. I have two younger ones left at home. He wants a divorce but won’t act. I have tried and still try to love him from afar. Possibly enabling his behavior to some degree. I am refusing to take the lead on a divorce because I feel he is looking for that to be a victim because that is his mentality. He blames our situation on me when I have tried to discuss my faults in our relTionship/marriage and owned up to them but also discuss his contributions so he can see we are both broken individuals. But he has compared our mistakes and somehow come out on top. This is an awful way to live. I often wonder if it would be worse for our kids to be separated from this. But I do everything for them so I lose in a divorce. I lose time with them. And I’m not willingly to give that away. I know God can redeem my situation but only with both parties. My hope is low. I try to be that light for my children. I don’t initiate conversation with my husband because it always explodes and my children hear things they shouldn’t. They have already heard and seen so much that I’m blown away. I wonder where that motherly instinct is in me that should have protected them from that when it first began. I think that you are slowly chipped away until you don’t know who you are. I’m slowly discovering who I am again. In the meantime though, I have the inability to act and that infuriates me with myself.

      • Tanya on March 20, 2015 at 1:05 pm

        Wow, that describes how life used to be. I still occasionally get panicky around 4:30 because I “should” be home and waiting with dinner at the ready, kids cleaned, lined up for inspection and everything in its place. Life is different today. I work. He helps around the house. I walk past things that need to be done if it truly is not my priority. If any of it bothers him enough, he does it or gets it done without the attitude and blaming me for life not being PERFECT.

        • Tanya on March 20, 2015 at 1:13 pm

          One more thing, I read the word paralized in a comment. I have done and said things that I thought I could never do. A famous bible teacher says “do it, scared” and I did. My knees quaked, my voice shook, I may have let tears escaped but for the health and safety of myself and children, I made my needs and wants clear. I still tremble at standing up to my husband but he is a better man today because I share the truth with him. The more I caved to his sinful and ridiculous requests, the further from God I got. I was not doing my husband any favors by feeding into the fantasy that he can have whatever his mind wantsor whenever he throws a temper tantrum. It’s my job now to raise my sons to hear No and respond appropriately. I know what a grown man looks like when he has ever been told No. It is not pretty and makes for a miserable marriage. It certainly doesn’t honor God.

          • Connie on March 20, 2015 at 2:10 pm

            Yes, Tanya!!

    • Amy on March 19, 2015 at 11:31 am

      No life shouldn’t be like that! I hope it is no longer like that for you.

      • Monica on March 20, 2015 at 11:39 am

        Reading this about each other being able to relate to the feelings of anxiety makes me think of 1 Perter 5 come alive about “brothers” around the world…. 1 peter 5:7-11 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he craes for you. Be self-controled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, stand firm in the faith, BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT YOUR ‘SISTERS” THROUGHOUT THE WORLD ARE UNDERGOING THE SAME KIND OF SUFFERINGS. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” I hope this encouraged someone as much as you al encourage me. God bless!

        • Robin on March 20, 2015 at 5:31 pm

          Monica, for most of 30 years I thought why was I picked to endure such an evil, unkind relationship?? I was shocked when my eyes were open, that there were women everywhere in the same boat as I was. I so love this blog for bringing those pain-filled women together to love one another!

          • Leslie Vernick on March 21, 2015 at 12:29 am

            Robin – you bring up a very important point. You are NOT alone. You are not uniquely in a bad marriage. There are hundreds of others – both women and men who are in destructive marriages.

  16. Lynn M on March 19, 2015 at 5:47 am

    It took me a long time to realize what was going on. At first I thought there was a problem with our communication, so I kept trying to fix that — talking about it, reading books — probably eight marriage books and trying to get him to read them too. Went to three counselors and a Christian marriage weekend conference. Nothing worked. Nothing made it better. If finally took a physical blow up where he came at me with his fists clenched and eyes blazing saying he was going to “do something”. He grabbed a lamp by my head and threw it across the room. Then he threw furniture down the stairs, terrified our 13 year old daughter who ran out of the house and was headed for the woods. At that point I visited one more Christian counselor who specialized in destructive marriages, and she said “your marriage sounds abusive”. She had Leslie’s book on her shelf. I started Googling and reading obsessively about emotional and verbal abuse. Patricia Evan’s book also opened my eyes. All of them were like they had been written about me. The tricky thing about this kind of abuse is how stealthy and insidious it is. When you describe each individual incident to someone, each can be explained away. It became clear for me when I followed the format in the book The Verbally Abusive Man and documented the statements, actions and behaviors in a written document that was three pages long, single spaced, which listed the words, behaviors and actions he had used against me over the years. I presented it to him and he said ,”I don’t want to do these things to you” but then simply proceeded to keep doing the, just a little less often and more subtle. I asked him to seek personal therapy to find out why he did those things and he refused. He said “You just want to see how much I’ll do, don’t you?” I told him, no, I’ve already seen what you will do/won’t do. I tried to talk to him about the physical incident and how scary it was and he said ,”Oh, you’re really going to use that, arent’ you?” That’s when I knew. that was last August, and I began systematically, copying documents (accounts, tax returns, insurance policies, a couple things a week and putting them in a safe deposit box and a separate bank. I interview lawyers, went to a women and divorce seminar and met with a financial planner who specializes in helping women with divorce. I also found two friends who I had shared my stories over the years, and I told them, Whenever I question whether this is real, whenever I question whether I am crazy, remind me of my reality — of how much pain I have been in and how destructive my marriage has been to me. those friends kept me on the path to getting out and getting safe. When I was ready I went to our bank and I withdrew half the savings and set up my own account. I did this on the day after Christmas to make sure he paid attention. Since then I have initiated the divorce process (collaborative) in which we have scheduled meetings and I have lawyers advocating for me. I presented to him that it is in the kids best interested to have a stable place to live so I bought a small condo near the house and in the school district. I have a uhaul truck this Saturday and I am moving out. Such a planned exit might not work for many in an emotionally abusive relationship, but I have found that each time I stand up and bear my fangs, he backs down. I really think that is because insecurity and fear are what’s at the heart of this behavior. And also shame — he knows he has done these things, I think, but can’t admit it. He continues to tell me he is the one that was harmed in this marriage and I am to blame for our difficulties. I too assumed that there was no way out for several years. I thought no one would believe me. I thought that his controlling resistance would be too great for me to break free. I was consumed with guilt about being the one who would ultimately “tear our family apart” which is what he would say to me when I would say I was unbappy in the marriage (plus he would sneer and me and say something like “you’re always unhappy….” “you’re always struggling with something….” Well, I am done struggling with the marriage and I am , I hope, done with the unhappiness. to anyone else who is in this, you CAN reclaim your power. You CAN get out, and you CAN take the steps to take care of yourself. I agave 16 years to learn a very powerful lesson about my own power and that is how I am choosing to look at this. Thank you to everyone on this blog. I read it every week and it has given me so much courage!

    • Diane on March 19, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Lynn M. – thank you for a clear and precise plan! It takes a lot of courage. You clearly understand how the pull is to try to stay – and you addressed it well by having friends their to remind you. I’m in the process of doing what you have done… Finances have kept me in this much longer than I anticipated, as well as dealing with the emotional trauma of my h’s affair, lies, and deception… The hardest part for me was the thought of my family breaking apart. All the while I was trying to keep them together I was falling apart…
      Your story is very inspiring.

      • Lynn M on March 20, 2015 at 6:24 am

        Diane, I hope you can put all your steps in place to do the same. Yes, the friends were actually the most important part. Because you do question your reality, every day. Even last week, racked with guilt, I told my friend, I think I’m making a mistake. she set me straight immediately. Once I had a talk with my husband and told her about it and she said, “Lynn, the is NOT the conversation you were supposed to have!” You were supposed to say this!”. she is helping me move tomorrow!

    • Elise on May 24, 2015 at 9:46 am

      Wow. I am so proud of you for sharing this.
      Wow. So proud of you for doing this.

  17. Aleea on March 19, 2015 at 11:07 am

    “. . . .But for you dear one, take heart. There is a God who sees you and who knows what you are going through. There is a God who hates abuse and warns husband’s not to treat their wives harshly. Right now if all you can work on is you and not your marriage, start there.”
    -That’s a beautiful statement. It is gentle. It is kind. It is full of love, even in the ominous warning: God hates, which equals eternal ruin. It is motivational. . . . . The “if all you can work on is you” is no small place to start. You change your internal dance steps, that husband will have to change his, even if it means exiting.
    One of you said a few BLOG posts back “—And don’t tell me the answer is more Jesus!” -Well, for me, the best therapy I’ve ever had, including the most answered questions to what I carried around and why I did the things I did, why I felt “less than” so often, why I struggled, etc. were from the Word-of-God=Logos=Jesus. The Bible just pegs the human condition spot on. I really didn’t see the spiritual problems that lied deep within. You cannot repent too soon, because you do not know how soon it may be too late (-not just from an unfulfilled, unlived life but an unfulfilled destiny, eternity). That husband (above story) content to go on in sin, is an enemy, an adversary of God. Hell, not heaven, follows at the end of life. No one should comfort another in that state, least of all the faith community, the church. They must repent! God has promised forgiveness to repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to procrastination. The importance of repentance is demonstrated by the fact that every Christian teaches it.
    The poem “I Will Not Die an Unlived Life” by Dawna Markova is not bad at all but I think it is missing important elements that Jesus always taught (RE: Christ-centered counseling deals with eternal matters, an unfulfilled, unlived eternal destiny).
    Does Dawna Markova’s poem resonate with you too? Tell me how. —If I delete the Gnosticism and Post-Modern deconstruction elements from Dawna Markova’s works, here is what I see: If you are in Christ (The WAY, not a way!) -You have all the seeds of your own healing inside you. All learning is remembering. All of it. Water those seeds and nurture those tender shoots of wellness within you. You are not making up your abuse, it is everywhere (inside of you (your dance), parents, work, spouse, etc.). But you are charged to guard, not wall off your heart and to heal. Don’t even ask “How?” How stops you dead. How is not your first business! –If your child fell into the ocean would you say: Well, you know, I’d like to save her but I don’t know how to swim? –That is you in the sea and you are also the parent. If you are in Christ, all learning is just remembering, don’t forsake the call, it is not accidental. It does not matter if your parents didn’t show you how. (I, for example, would have been better off raised by monkeys. I had no real role models, nothing.) –But it is our destiny to go against the trend, Romans 8:28-30. Don’t forsake your destiny, your place within His will. No one else can take your place. You are an adult and you are in your own care.
    I’m loosely translating a whole stack of verses here –all at once–:  If you bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will save you (eternal gain). If you do not bring forth what is within you, that which is within you will destroy you (eternal ruin). This (-I would humbly submit) is way more than a situation of an unfulfilled life or not reaching your earthly potential. The Kingdomof God, the pearl, you either release it, allowing it to flow freely from you, and it eternally saves you –or- you keep it bottled up, and it destroys you (eternal ruin).
    I would invite you to write your own poem. Not dogmatic or projecting sectarian squabbles. –Even our small acts of generosity with our time and our talent to those abused, —-those acts, they don’t just reach across time, they reach across eternity. –I do like how Dawna Markova went for six months of seclusion in a cabin in Utah at 8,000 feet –that was very smart. All of us need to quite our minds and get in touch.
    First steps I took in trying to get healthier: I started really believing Matthew 6. I went into my room, I closed the door. I went into my walk-in-closet, I closed that door. I closed the door of my mind. I quieted my mind and started doing daily introspection…Heavenly Father what is going on here?. . . “why” am I still struggling and striving and still just not living life in a way I know it was meant to be: . . . Why not? I had to get past the self-pity stage: a donkey in a downpour. Finally, I started seeing the rainbow. I asked Christ for discernment regarding the parts of my Soul to align with Him and which parts to repent from (enslaving mind viruses). I’m seriously cleaning my heart so God’s love can flow. I find prayer extremely powerful, helpful and comforting and I can feel the love of God deeply when I pray –oh, that is wonderful. I just keep asking myself questions and I just watch and observe without judging (. . . well, still judge, shame and “should” myself but I try to recover quickly RE: go back to just observing.)
    To me, the problem with husbands like in the scenario above is that they have to realize what is going on and want to change. If only men (and women too) understood that they are actually totally & completely “Out-of-Control” when they are “controlling” everything -they wouldn’t do it, unless they were irrational. They wouldn’t do it because it crushes the spirit of their precious wife/ spouse. They are actually “In-Control” when they give you as much freedom and acceptance as possible. Smart husbands/ wives realize this very quickly. The more freedom they give you, the more energy, excitement, honor, respect just flows naturally. What smart husband wants to kill those qualities off with controlling immature narcissistic responses? Apparently, a lot, because males are raised to “WIN” (-whatever that means, control, dominate, be emotionally distant and shut down) and so they often lose everything. That said, people constantly make irrational decisions and people are also very self-destructive (-both women and men). That’s why we need more of the Holy Spirit (-and more Jesus!) not less. You need vast spiritual power to have solid relationships. We really do need saving from our own selves, honestly. “I want you to be free,” Jesus said that to me.  
    Can you imagine what all these relationships and marriages would be like without sin, paradise! I’m sorry for daydreaming about heaven. Christ’s love to you. . . .

  18. Val on March 19, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    If you believe that God is equipping you to be a bible study leader, and you feel inhibited by your church’s stance, you need to consider a move to a church where you are encouraged to exercise your God-given gifting. If they do not recognize that we are all broken people, and that it is only God’s grace that allows us to be his hands and feet, then maybe it is they who should be examining themselves. Take it one step at a time, and see what God opens up. He honors those who honor Him and seek his glory!

    • Jilly on March 19, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks, Val. I have moved to such a church and have been encouraged to get my feet wet. I am sure many of my concerns are from inside my own head from years of being in more legalistic/judgmental places. It is helpful to keep up with this forum on a regular basis! Thanks to you all.

    • Ann on March 25, 2015 at 12:16 am

      I am afraid. I spoke with an elder in our church. I described to him all that my husband was doing to me. Even how he only has a relationship with me as long as I’m intimate. If I don’t there is a price to pay. He withholds his love from me. His “love” for me is conditional. I cried on the phone with this elder pouring out my heart how I know I am being gas lighted, tracked via gps on my h’s phone, recorded and now trying to convince people I’m a narcissist. GOD knows the TRUTH. And this elder responded with “If you are not willing to come and have bible study time with your husband and me to reconciliate, there are disciplinarian actions that could take place and possibly lead to ex communication. Our Christian counselor just called him out on being emotionally destructive and abusive towards me. I told this to the elder. It went right past his head. He said as long as there are no bruises or signs of physical abuse then you must stay in the marriage! I feel sick to my stomach. I feel so little and unimportant and unheard to the extreme. I am do glad to have Leslies book. It is really helping me to feel more secure and uplifted. I just am afraid I am going to get excommunicated if I am done in this marriage.

  19. Dee Bea on March 19, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    This husband is “out of control” with his control.
    Each one of the responses from this community has a wealth of advice and inspiration. God has certainly not left us alone. Please be sure to realize that while there are so many similarities in our experiences, everyone’s healing path will look different. But eventually the healing process includes some very common elements: recognizing abuse, realizing the cycle of abuse, hope for change, disappointment because of no change, regret, grief, grief, more grief, standing up, falling back down (or being kicked back down), regret, empowerment, self-doubt, more empowerment…
    Do not look back regretfully that you didn’t act sooner…(as I often have)… Pray through it all… lean into our Abba, Father as He truly is – non-condemning but forgiving, saving and gracious. YOU ARE HIS DAUGHTER! Don’t let religious dogma define you any other way as you try to navigate these serious problems in your marriage!

    The steps that Andrea has detailed above are outlined beautifully. She outlined some “safety” features in her plan… (like planning her financial security)…
    IT IS NOT A LINEAR PAVED ROAD! It is a rocky, circuitous route with a lot of ups and downs. It is a process. So please be very patient with yourself in the process.

    I, too, experience depression through all of this – except no pill helped with that but rather made it all worse for me… I felt crazier on pills (with suicidal thoughts). My depression was because of my marital situation – and my own thought processes – excusing away his treatment of me, diminishing my own experience in comparison to his difficult upbringing (which was one of his tactics to manipulate me – I adopted it, too….along with so many other self-deprecating thinking)
    My naturopathic doctor has been a godsend – she does just women – so she understood best how to support me through my perimenopause, a miscarriage, and all the hormonal shifts, and the effect of continual stress on my adrenal system and my mind and spirit. (shop around for one you like – some are more of eastern philosophies but not all are – there are also Christian ND’s out there…another option is an osteopathic doctor – they look at the patient more holistically as well…
    TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF – be sure to treat yourself well! If I am sure to respect myself, I am able to convey my own boundaries better. (Depression robs you of that self-care/self-respect frequently…)

    Books and any resources by: Leslie, of course; Lundy Bancroft, Patricia Evans, the Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend, and the many resources available through New Life Ministries ….so many others…there are so many more resources out there now than there were 20 year and just 10 years ago…

    Because you mentioned your husband’s pornography – PLEASE LOOK INTO “Women in the Battle” workshops through New Life. My husband also had an affair and influence of porn and a sex addiction. Control and abuse frequently go hand in hand with those behaviors….
    It is very traumatizing for you! It really distorts them, too. New Life has a weekend that is phenomenal and will help you gain a sense of your self again and help you sort out what is going on and pave a way towards your healing…and help you find your voice again.
    it is a process. . ( I was amazed how many women in my small group and across the larger group talked of emotional and verbal abuse as well). They also have a website. It helped me realize my husband’s mindset and how to set boundaries. The WITB weekend will helped me develop a plan of action – and understand the importance of a plan to heal, and the persistence that is required.

    Domestic Violence Services have counselors and group meetings. I had not gone for a long time because, well, “I wasn’t physically abused” … but I was afraid of my husband’s responses and his temper. (and his threats that he would take our kids away from me because I was “so unstable”)… that was enough – and DVS is not just about physical abuse. I o 2 tried 2 different meeting locations – one was more suitable to me than the other.

    I had talked myself out of help for so long – because of my h’s control and his “expectations” of me that he himself couldn’t live by – I was supposed to be accountable to him, but he was accountable to no one… a cheater and porn addict is used to hiding everything so they can be insidious liars and deceitful.

    It has to start with you finding your voice again and claiming control over your own self again, and setting boundaries. A counselor will help you figure out what a safe way to do that is….
    I’ve met too many women who did not prepare well (physical, and financial) and it became more difficult than if they had planned differently..

    Having the trauma of both porn and abuse in my marriage has been complicated – I bounced back and forth between what I was “healing” from and how to improve my marriage – establishing boundaries is the only way to establish the expectation of respect.

    Leslie’s 6 month coaching really has helped me build a better framework for healing – all of the other sources are what is allowing me to rebuild the walls on that framework… by listening to other women on those calls, and in the groups I’ve been involved with in the course of several years, has helped me recognize and name the abuse – the disrespect… It’s helping me find my voice and my personhood again.

    I’ve been lucky that I’ve had some degree of freedom and autonomy – not all victims of controlling husbands – I didn’t at first – but because of my depression I started with counseling services for me alone. I had to change my own responses and understand myself first… (I had wasted more time than I care to admit – years – trying to change him and change the marriage – ultimately I can only be responsible for me.
    Praying for you, my sister.

  20. Connie on March 19, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    You say you are confused because you were taught that the only reason for divorce is adultery. First, it is not the only reason. But, he HAS committed adultery. Porn IS adultery, with multiple people, in sick ways. We promise at the altar to forsake all others. Porn breaks that promise, is an insult to you, and drives most of what you describe that he does. When a man is into porn, his mind is filled with smut and every time you or your children talk to him he is angry because you are interrupting his smut-swimming thoughts. He is terrified of getting caught, he is trying to cover his guilt.
    As some of the others have mentioned, I needed to let Christ fill me with His acceptance and a deep sense of how much He values me, then I needed to cry out to Him for courage to stand up to my h. The Lord said to me,, No more excuses! I was not to make excuses for my fears or for his abuse, and I was to call him every single time he made an excuse. It is amazing how many excuses were flying around in the universe once my eyes were opened to them. Then I was lead to take a free short course on line called You are a Target. I was expecting to have to leave, and would have, but in my case, my h decided to do the wise thing and is changing. He knows that if he goes back, I will be gone.

  21. Brenda on March 19, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Amen to all you said. I am glad to hear your strength. The course you took, “You are a Target” sounds like a must see.

    • Robin on March 20, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      Brenda, I was worried about you. I hadn’t seen you on here for awhile, and wondered if you were okay????

  22. Monica on March 19, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    I get so much encouragement from reading these post and being brought back to reality. I don’t have time to type a lot right now, but I am really in a tough spot right now, feeling every emotion possible. My heart is aching and my mind is confused. My husband is so good at getting to me. I have been building myself up in God and doing good, and range of events that have happened has gotten me in a place of fear. It has to do with where I’m living. My husband doesn’t approve, its so complicated ladies. I had a dream the other night that I opend the door and he was there and hit me so hard and knocked me out and it was like when I woke up from it, it was me waking up from my dream.It was scary. he hasn’t been physically abusive. Its been emotional and verbal. There was a crazy incident the other day at the babysitters house where the cops were called. and that where I rent an apartment. So he doesn’t want me there with our baby girl. I don’t trust this woman anymore either, I hope to find time to write about it on the blod about breaking up with destructive friends. I fear the escalation if he drives by and see my car parked there. We’ve only been married 2 1/2 years. I am in the process of filing fro divorce. He has blown my phone up in the last few hours, making accusations and saying how wrong I am and minimizing the verbal and emotional abuse. Its all my fault because all he wanted was to move us forward to server God, and when I wasn’t in accord with him he got frustrated and handled it wrong. Ladies, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. God bless all of you. Please pray for me and any words of encouragement would be appreciated. It feels good just to type this out.

    • Monica on March 19, 2015 at 6:09 pm

      I didn’t ralize I posted under this topic, but either way, from hearing my husband talk it does leave me to wondering if I’m making it up. And now with the living situation stuff, I feel like I should just go back to him, because we talk a lot sometime and. uggh. there’s nothing more to say, I can go on and on. I almost feel like I hate myself for being the way that I am and feeling so weak. I always need people to tell me what to do because I am so confused right now. But I know better logically. I just gotta get it together.

      • Robin on March 19, 2015 at 7:48 pm

        Monica, thank you for being so honest so we know specifically how to be praying for you. It sounds like your husband is still wanting to be a controlling voice in your life that threatens you confused you and scares you. Is it time to put some more space between him and you??

        • Robin on March 19, 2015 at 7:50 pm

          I will never forget my counselor saying to me a dozen or more times that an abused woman makes her destructive husband her reality—- instead of finding her own true reality.

          • Robin on March 19, 2015 at 11:13 pm

            Monica, are you in personal counseling on a regular basis?? It might be a good move for you to have someone speaking empowered words into your situation, to help you with your confusion and feelings of weakness???

          • Lynn M on March 20, 2015 at 6:28 am

            Robin, I love that. It is so true. I wasted so much time and energy focusing my life on “fixing” my marriage.

        • Monica on March 20, 2015 at 11:12 am

          Yes, Robin, you are right. It is time, but I have had a hard time doing it. I’ve noticed that the times of not talking to him and interacting with him are the best. But when he calls about seeing the baby, etc. things get started up because he makes comments to make me feel guilty and question myself. Having our daughter, I don’t know how to distance myself. I could feel a huge difference from how I felt yesterday and how I got peaceful as the night went on and again this morning. Thanks for the prayers. I carry so much guilt and feel obligated to let him know things about the baby, but that only invites his controlling attitude and behavior. And I don’t like to lie to him because it bothers my conscience. I don’t want to go on and on because its almost futile. I think what happened this week with babysitter and that situation really knocked me on my bottom and got me all off focused. I just gotta refocus and keep going, doing what is right and best for me and my precious daughter,despite emotions and all that other stuff that comes with being in this situation, when there’s still part of me that longs for the fantasy instead of reality. But I am so grateful for this blog to be able to read, recieve encouragement and vent or rally support when I need it. Thanks everyone.

          • Monica on March 20, 2015 at 11:29 am

            Yes, Robin I have been in counseling, but it seems more like I just tell her what the latest is going on with the marriage and my husbands actions and behavior. she advises and suggest me moving forward and points out his abusiveness and keeps me in reality, but no real talking about me and empowerment. I am a part of an empowerment group of women that meet once a month. Our church sermon series this month titled “I am brave” its been awesom. Just got a little off this week. Robin, I always appreciate you and the questions that you pose and comments you make not only to me but all the women here. You are a vital part of this blog community. Thank you!

          • Robin on March 20, 2015 at 4:57 pm

            Monica, what comes to my mind as I read your words is – your abusive husband is doing exactly what he intends to do- throw you off track. When I was hung up on that my counselor kept reminding me to go to God and hear what He has to say, more than my husband. It is hard. It is very hard. We have been brainwashed to think we must fear them. God will speak louder for our husbands- as we look to Him, but it is a growth process. Would you want to consider asking Leslie if you could join one of her core classes to build up your heart?????
            Monica, I want you to know wherever you are, its okay. We support you and want to help you along. I was listening to a Worship Song this morning say over and over, don’t try so hard. Sometimes what we need is to sit still and listen for that small quiet voice to speak.

      • Leslie Vernick on March 20, 2015 at 1:15 am

        Monica, it’s time that you start thinking for yourself instead of depending on other people to tell you what to do. It’s ok that you are weak right now. What would need to do to get yourself stronger?

        • Monica on March 20, 2015 at 6:02 pm

          Leslie, I’ve been tossing your question around in my head for most of the day and I think to make myself stronger, I need to accept the reality of my situation, no matter how painful and keep moving forward. I MUST meditate on the scriptures and be in prayer. I feel like I need people to tell me what to do. I’m so scared of doing the wrong thing. I have a different thought about my situation pending on whom I have talked to. I think another thing that tripped me up this week is that I had to fire my lawyer and find a new one and it felt like having to make the decision to divorce all over again. Plus going back and forth with the husband on no fault vs fault divorce. Its interesting that I was asked that question by you and started considering as I went to teach my emotional regulation class on the CDU today. And later today taught a self esteem class. HOw come I can teach this classes and skills to others but when it comes to myself it flies out of the window? To finish answeing your question, Perhaps I can give myself permission to not have to make the perfect decision right now and also, moving out of where I’m living. I found a new daycare today, so I feel good about that. What I would tell one of the patients is “to put some space between” herself and her husband so that she can build herself up, like what Robin suggested to me.

          • Val on March 20, 2015 at 6:45 pm

            Monica, I have a wonderful poem that I keep tacked up on my board where I can read it frequently (I’m on my own now, so I can do that!!). I have no idea who wrote it, or where it comes from but it goes like this:

            How can a woman not love the Lord? * He is a gentleman, *He is confident * He is a provider and protector * He is rich and powerful * He owns everything, there is nothing He wouldn’t do for me *He perfects all things concerning me *He anticipates my wants and needs *Every day He tells me and shows me how much He loves me *I don’t have to perform in order to earn His love *He keeps all of his promises *No one can influence His opinion of me *He is the ultimate intimate partner *He can’t “disown” me because I am a part of Him *He prepares a table before ME (Selah: think about that!) *He covers me and doesn’t expose me *He wrote his loving words down so that I’ll never forget how He feels about me! *NOW THAT’S LOVE!!! *Any man, who wants pointers on how to love a woman, should study GOD! *Wake up every day and thank God for being the best “man” in your life!

            I hope this encourages your heart ….

          • Robin on March 20, 2015 at 9:43 pm

            Monica, I only share that – as it was shared with me- and I found it to be very helpful. My counselor used to say, when we get you out of that house with him, you will be able to start healing. (My husband has about 7 different disorders of which he wouldn’t acknowledge or get help.) I only know these things, as they were worked out in my own life. I like esp what you said about not having to have a perfect answer. Ive been working on just being .

          • Leslie Vernick on March 21, 2015 at 12:28 am

            Monica – I think it would be a great idea to give yourself permission to not have to make the absolutely perfect decision right now. You are a limited, finite human being who cannot possibly see into the future to make the perfect decision. All you can do is the best you can do with the information you have right now. Stop beating yourself up.

          • Monica on March 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm

            Thanks Leslie and Robin, I started doing being more mindful of not having to make a perfect decision, it started with the decision I needed to make about what to do regarding my daughters babysitter situation. I made a decision, I followed through with it. (pulled her from the babysitter who is a destructive person) Afterward I was worried about the way that I did it, and the way she responded to me (wich was rude as usual, I wanted to call back and defend myself etc. etc.) but someone helped me see no need to do that bc thats one of the reasons I was pulling her) Anyway I told myself. I did what was best, it may not have been perfect but I had to make a decision. I never really stopped to realize that I want to do everything perfect and thats one of the reasons I get so indecisive. Robin I pray that once everything settles down with divorce and as finances are stable that I can join one of the core groups. Thanks everyone for support and prayers. Today has been anxious because of other things that has taken place in my family, its a lot. But meditating on scriptures and knowing that God is with me. Also I paid the new lawyer today, and like I said before it was like making the decision all over again to get divorce. I’m grateful for this site.

    • Aleea on March 19, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      “My heart is aching and my mind is confused. My husband is so good at getting to me.”
      Monica, I am praying for you. Keep seeking God and let Him get better at getting to you than your husband. He loves you, you have the greatest value; He gave His life for all you’re worth (see Matthew 10:31) You can be transformed when you find the key. Think on the things that will bring you peace: Proverbs 23:7, 1 Peter 1:13, Philippians 4:8, 2 Corinthians 10:5

  23. Brenda on March 20, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Praying for you all. Rely on God and he will help you decide what to do next. Take all of your cares to Him and he will give you peace.

  24. Monica on March 20, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks Aleea! 🙂

    • Robin on March 20, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Oh my Goodness Val, what a poem you shared. Definitely gonna have to copy it down and frame it, and maybe sell it!! Never heard it before, but one to be memorized and buried deep in our hearts. Thank you so much!!!!

      • Monica on March 22, 2015 at 6:52 pm

        Val, so sorry for the delay. Yes the poem really encourages my heart! 🙂 thank you so much for sharing it 🙂

  25. Brenda on March 20, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Robin, Bless your heart. I am alright. I have been very busy at work and have been on a quest to find ministries, DV shelters and such to give copies of Barbara Roberts book, “Not Under Bondage” that she sent over to the U.S. I volunteered to coordinate the distribution. I have been getting about as far as reading posts on the blogs but no brain matter to answer. I put in a one liner here and there. I have so much going on in my little pea brain that I can’t see straight. lol I have had a couple of MS flares, probably too much stress and had an MRI today. Over all I have just been crazy busy. The book give away is going well. The Big News is I’m going to have a grandbaby sometime in August. Yeah! The Lord is good in all things and at all times. It makes me feel so good that you have thought of me as I have not stopped praying for all of you.

    • Robin on March 20, 2015 at 9:35 pm

      Wow Brenda, that is awesome, what a privilege to work with Barbara and dispensing materials. Totally cool. And a new grandchild oh how very sweet. Im sorry to hear about your medical issues, please keep me posted so I can pray for you. You have been such a encourager on this blog- yes you are very missed when God is using you in other places. But Praise to His Name for doing so!!!!

    • Leslie Vernick on March 21, 2015 at 12:26 am

      Grandchildren are the best. I have 3 now and loving it.

      • Brenda on March 21, 2015 at 5:29 am

        Leslie, Each time that I read of another place that you are spreading the news and getting through to people that need to be more accepting targets of abuse it gives me hope. I don’t say it often enough, but I do appreciate your work and you have been an enormous blessing in my life. This is my second grandchild. The first was taken home to be with Jesus. They are only borrowed, they belong to the Lord. My prayer is especially for my daughter that she will be allowed to borrow this child for much longer.

  26. Brenda on March 20, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Val, WOW. That poem sure encouraged mine.

  27. Val on March 20, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Robin, I am happy you liked the poem…it certainly is one of my “go-to’s” when I need encouragement! However, I don’t think you should “sell it”, as whoever wrote it might not be too happy!! 😀

    • Leslie Vernick on March 21, 2015 at 12:25 am

      I liked it too.

    • Robin on March 21, 2015 at 1:08 am

      I was kidding- it was my way of saying it was awesome!!!

  28. Brenda on March 21, 2015 at 5:33 am

    I’m still going to hang on my wall. I won’t try to sell it and I will keep it in my bedroom, where NO ONE is going to see it, but me. lol I did share it with a friend who is a survivor. She won’t sell it either. lol Robin I knew you were joking.

    • Robin on March 21, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      I might give a copy to my counselor , I think she’d love it as much as I do!

  29. Susen on March 21, 2015 at 10:33 am

    On our twentieth wedding anniversary, we renewed our vows. As I began repeating those words, I began crying and couldn’t stop. Even that priest couldn’t ignore my obvious pain, and he said he hoped my tears were tears of joy, but they weren’t. And he knew it. Looking back, that ceremony was the funeral for my mangled dream of happily ever after. We got in the car with our beautiful girls and went home. As I took off my pretty dress, I began considering the words “till death do us par,” My own death was the only option I could see that day The very word “divorce” was such an anathema that I dared not even entertain such failure. I was on empty. I began attending church–the denomination that I grew up in, instead of his Catholic church that he refused to attend. Against a barrage of verbal abuse and manipulations, every Sunday morning a fight, I dressed and went to church. That hour in God’s house was the only place there was adequate oxygen to breathe. I had to go. My body took over–I could not eat. He dragged me to three counselors to “get me straightened out.” Two of the counselors told me to go home, count my blessings, and submit to my husband. He sent me to the doctor to get hormones so that I would respond to his nightly demand for sex. I was a zombie. The third counselor blessedly told him to move to another bedroom to give me a place to breathe. (I was the only breadwinner, school was starting, and I couldn’t function as a teacher if I couldn’t get to a semblance of sanity.) I walked into his room one morning and said, “I am 107 pounds. Tomorrow I will be 106. If you don’t leave, you will be responsible for my death.” The most amazing thing happened–he left. That was when I knew that God wasn’t finished with me yet!

    God held me up through the following year of acrimony. I read Peter William’s book “How to Survive the Loss of Love” every night when I went to bed. I made a lot of mistakes in trying to fill myself up, but God has forgiven me for all of my false starts, He has guided me to stand strong on my own two feet, and He continues to walk with me as I meditate on His Word and witness to my daughters and the world the amazing blessings of an ever-growing Christian life.

    Fifteen years after the divorce, God brought a wonderful teammate to my life. I wasn’t looking for a husband. I couldn’t even say the words “marriage,” “husband,” or “wife.” but we were a team. It felt right. We said our vows simply to appease family, but we did not need to swear before God to honor one another. We have shared ten amazing years together, I can now smile and say “married” with a smile in my heart. He does honor me, and I honor him. God is, indeed, good.

    My blessings to all and a prayer for safety and peace, susen

  30. Val Douglas on March 21, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Thank you for sharing your mirrors my own in so many ways. God is our sorce of refuge, for sure!!

    • Susen on March 22, 2015 at 12:27 am

      Peace. susen

  31. Brenda on March 21, 2015 at 10:55 am

    This is an amazing story of redemption. It brought tears to my eyes. I’m not sure how you made it through renewing your vows without passing out or running screaming out of the church. Where I attend and was still married they wanted us all to renew after reading John Piper’s book which is no divorce for any reason mumbo jumbo. There was no way that was happening. I am so glad that you are happy now. It gives me hope that maybe someday I will find a God honoring man that I can honor as well.

    • Susen on March 21, 2015 at 11:19 am

      Thank you, Brenda! One of Peter William’s poems in the book I referenced is about circles. He says that two halves come together because they have to in order to be complete. But when two circles come together, that is love. Don’t have the book, so I can’t quote it exactly (I keep giving away my copies!) but that’s the idea. I wasn’t looking for a partner.

      Going back to that time is painful, but I just told my best friend this morning that I share my story to try to help others. But you have blessed me with your acknowledgement–wow, unexpected blessings are best! Leslie’s website is truly a place of hope and support. Godspeed you on your journey. Remembering the “Footprints” poem, we never walk alone. susen

  32. Susanne on March 21, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I went through 13 years of emotional and physical abuse. I minimized it, blamed myself for not being the best wife (although I couldn’t really pinpoint anything specific I would have been doing so wrong). Yes, an abusive person has a way of saying and doing things that make the abused person feel it’s all their fault. We separated for 6 months in 2010 and I took him back because he told me he had been going to anger management and God took his anger away. Of course I wanted so desperately to believe him. All along, I was not only examining my heart to see where I needed God to change me, I continued to beat myself up, even though it has been 2 1/2 years after we separated. I hired a lawyer that I believed God pointed me to, however, he has not worked very hard for me; actually, he has procrastinated and not followed my direction, even when it meant providing pertinent information to the other lawyer. My husband has been trying to abuse me through the legal system as well. Abuse all around me!! I finally said “enough” and am now going to settle for more than $10,000 less than what I should rightfully and justly have from our home. I refused to take any more abuse from my ex-husband, my lawyer, or anyone else. Of course, I began to beat myself up for not standing firm and going to court to fight for what is just. My lawyer advised me that my ex is filing for a divorce. As a Christian woman, I could not understand why he is filing for divorce since I did not commit adultery, nor did I abuse him. Then the reality set in. If my husband could abuse me mentally, emotionally AND physically over all these years, why would I think he would act like a Christian man now and work towards reconciliation. After all, he never did repent to this date. I’m sure God would have sent him to me if he was seeking the Lord and in true repentance, wouldn’t He?? Now my lawyer is saying, no matter what they say in the court papers, we will not respond. I feared that my ex would make up lies because of course he does not take any responsibility for his actions (typical of an abuser) and always blames someone or something else for his marriage failures. I was his 3rd wife. I didn’t hear the truth from him and in our first year of marriage he kept his anger at bay…he hid it well from me somehow anyway. I hate the thought of divorce. I’ve never wanted to be divorced. I did everything I knew to do to stay in my marriage: many counselling sessions, alone and with him; trying to communicate with him….all the things we try to make things right. I do know it takes two to make a marriage and it sure can take only one to break that covenant. I need to keep my eyes on Jesus and not fear what man might say and do. I know this, but I do have a difficult time with this sometimes. I’m working on it.,

  33. Hope on March 21, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Reading Genesis 25 this week shed some light on my circumstances. Isaac was blessed and promised the same as Abraham; watched his father receive these precious promises. I think this was extremely rare; here we all believers receive promises. Isaac’s line was singularly blessed, imagine. Here he is told where to dwell to be blessed, exceedingly. Promptly he lies to the men of the land and states “Rebekah”, his wife “is his sister.” The passage says he feared he would be killed(the man has been with and blessed by God) because she was fair to look upon. He denies God’s provision of prosperity given for generations to come and is dishonoring his wife and the vows he’s made according to her. He loved his life more than his wife.(no! He loved her but this plan is so much better than God’s.)I believe he was outside of God’s blessing some but not completely that’s impossible. Genesis 8 states, when he had been there a long time(Rebekah must have been full of fear and experienced all emotions that come with living a lie). We can imagine Isaac’s unrest, though they were protected. I know what it is to watch my husband deny God’s provisions and guidance while we reap his disbelief and unwillingness; and consequences. Suffering goes well known to God and we grow and are pruned lovingly by God even over a long time. Finally truth is revealed, it always is. Through Abimelech, God revealed Isaac’s
    sin; then gives Isaac a lesson in the fear of God. “One of the people might have lien with thy wife and though shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.” Isaac wouldn’t die for his wife. We know who did Praise the Lord, we have a savior who died for us, Jesus Christ. God blesses Isaac abundantly here after, as he promised. But I can’t help but notice Rebekah and Isaacs’ one up relationship. Favorite children, more lies and deception. Faithless decisions, you know the story. In Hebrews 11, Isaac is said to have faith while giving the blessing. I suppose it was like blind faith, before death, because he couldn’t see to be sure who he really was blessing, so he finally left that to God and his Word was fulfilled. Esau brought them grief and Abraham committed the same sin against his wife. History repeating itself. God will protect us but it is foolish to have things our way. His way is perfect. Those willing to deny themselves and seek God’s will in whatever it may be have peace and are known by their fruit. Many times I’ve seen repentance at the door in my husband’s heart, but he chooses to wait. He chooses transgression because he loves strife. The strife is worth his ultimate comfort even if it is very brief. He feeds on the strife because there is a one up feeling at times. Transgressors have created a mirage and once you start peeling it away, watch out. They hate the truth and as it is revealed they run for cover (more strife, lies, manipulation).Why, they fear truth because a lie is more comfortable than the sacrifices and work(ouch) it takes to be upright.

  34. Brenda on March 21, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I am not looking either, but I am questioning myself about what I would want if I did find someone. So far I have only come across weeds that would choke me out. I don’t intend to go there again.

    • Susen on March 22, 2015 at 12:00 am

      James Garner in “The Notebook.” Nothing less! My best for your future happiness, susen

  35. Annette on March 21, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    It truly amazes me how I can have gone through all the stuff I’ve gone through and still question his motives . 24 years I should have got out 12 years ago . He’s in the some what ” sweet spot” right now. But it’s going to swing back around in about 3 to 4 weeks. I’ve got in down to timing now, I forever being told ” I can’t be who I am. I’m a shell of a man and that he’s been kissing my but for two years now. All because I started telling and seeking help. they pretend to be doing better , all of this is a mind and spirit placement , I’m husband dislikes women . One min he’s loving and thankful for me the next he’s telling me I’m mean , no one likes me , I’m using him or your going to make in big and leave me. It’s mind boggling . And has sucked my trust in him . Gods working in my life I see it everyday . This has been a 3 year eye opening experience , but I’m tired . Really , Really tired. I would say to anyone just starting out and seeing any thing in their marriage like what we all here talk about …. Get Out Now! Get help for your self and move on . That life kills you slowly .

    • Susen on March 21, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      Dear Annette~ As long as there is breath in your body, it’s not too late to make a new life for yourself. You are tired. I understand that familiar, beaten down, giving up place. But even Christ shook the dust from his sandals and moved on when people wouldn’t listen to him. That image still gives me hope.

      My dad was a very wise man. When he learned that I was leaving the girls’ father, he said, “You won’t be getting rid of all of your problems, but it will be a new set of problems.” The new challenges were mine–all mine, and I joyfully began seeing each as an opportunity to grow. There was no growth in my life of servitude–only atrophy of what had been a vibrant, positive, talented child that married far too young. But I got her back! I’m me again. I love life.

      God wants good things for His children. He knows you are hurting. I send a prayer that your Spirit may once again soar. susen

      • Annette on March 22, 2015 at 9:33 am

        Thank You Susan , I’m in that place right now with getting out. I’ve tried before but sadly I came back but I know for sure now it’s not me. I always questioned if it was me . It’s not ! . I have a new therapist that’s great she’s helping me understand what’s going on . It’s crazy how you give your selfe away to someone and then have to pay a very high price to buy your self back.

        • Kathy on March 23, 2015 at 12:09 am

          Annette, you have already been bought back – with Jesus’ blood. I know how you feel – I’ve been there – I struggle with it still. The only difference is I’ve stayed through an immense amount of mind games, knowing full well that if I did leave I would never go back – I was trying to give him every chance to stay together. He didn’t want it – he just wanted control. And as we’re going through this divorce (which he initiated) his true colors are showing. And not just to me. Stay strong, and stand up for what you believe to be right. When we let someone take that away from us, we have let them assume the position of power that only God can hold. You are God’s precious child, and He will come to your defense… but you have to get out of His way – take care of YOU, and let God worry about the person hurting you.

          • susen on March 24, 2015 at 12:19 am

            Kathy~your reply to Annette was what I wanted to say but I hadn’t yet formed the words. I have a whole page in my prayer journal about giving and buying of the self, and I will get my thoughts together on it and post in a few, but my reply tonight is to you: I lived in a small town, had taught for years, and my former husband was on the school board when I initiated our divorce. I expected everyone to be appalled–how could I possibly want to leave such a handsome, charming “bigshot”? It was August, the first all- district assembly, he had just moved out, and I felt the eyes of every pretty young teacher questioning me. Well, end of semester meeting rolled around. He had apparently dated most of them during those months. The sympathy I received would have been laughable had it not been so pathetic. So, while we did not have a church family to appease, I initially received sanctions from my peers, but he proved his own colors, all by himself. Just thought sharing this might help. Blessings. susen

    • Monica on March 23, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      thanks ladies, As a person who is only almost 3 years married, thank you for your warning, this helps as I just went to pay the new lawyer today. I still find myself questioning if I didn’t give it enough but reading your post help me. I think its the pain I’m trying to avoid. The pain of an ending and having a 11 month old daughter who will grow up with divorced parents. it hurts so much.

      • susen on March 23, 2015 at 11:11 pm

        Dear Monica~your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health will create for your child the environment of a loving, Christian home without strife, arguments, anger, and abuse. A strong, independent, happy mom is best. Believe in yourself. God blesses mothers as He blesses no one else. Hang on. Trust God. Trust your Mama Bear instincts. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. Oh, and forgive yourself. God already has! susen

        • susen on March 23, 2015 at 11:30 pm

          p.s. I walked away from my computer and recalled: I used to pray that I would hurry and be twelve. I knew that was the age that a child can choose. I was so sure my dad would leave my mother (he told me he would many times)–she’s a horrible person, always has been and still is–and my dad and I were a famous team even with her presence in our lives. My parents should have divorced. Why he endured for 62 years? Don’t know. But I do know that those four months in the nursing home, he did a lot of thinking about it. He told me that he always thought she would die first. That’s what he was waiting on to be able to start living. My point is that divorce isn’t the worst scenario you can give a child. Remaining married to someone who delights in destroying others is far worse. You and your daughter will be that famous team! I’m sure. susen

          • Lynn on June 25, 2015 at 2:17 am

            Thank you for sharing that. How sad for you and your Dad. Makes me think…..I like how you said, ” My point is that divorce isn’t the worst scenario you can give a child. Remaining married to someone who delights in destroying others is far worse.” My mother stayed married to an abuser for over 50 years, he abused her and I,,, it almost destroyed me. Then I married my husband and I always felt he was going to finish what my father started, my total destruction, I call my life my never-ending childhood. Yes, your words are penetrating my soul, I have stayed through the years thinking it was best for my children. Sadly I probably was wrong. Thank you for your thought provoking statement.

          • susen on June 26, 2015 at 7:48 am

            Reply to Lynn~

            I do not know where you are on your journey, but this site is a safe place to rest. You are among godly friends.

            Abuse is a cycle, as you have testified. my mantra for years has been “the abuse stops here.”

            I married “my mother.” The abuse seemed so natural, so “deserved,” as I assumed Daddy’s role as the peacemaker.

            The only way that I can accept my father’s death is that he is no longer the victim of an abusive marriage.

            The abuser continues, now focusing on me, but “the abuse stops here.” Leslie has helped me so much! She has guided me to be a godly daughter and given me the tools to set limits for protecting myself from hurtful behaviors. I honestly have considered emancipation! But that step would only be to hurt Mom, and I don’t need to do that. Ultimately the act would only harm me, as she would just take it in stride, as she does everything else.

            I pray for her. Indeed, I pray for all abusers–that they may recognize the evil that they do, that their hearts may be softened, and that they will stop hurting others and find peace.

            And I pray for all of us–that we will feel God’s arms around us when we need comfort most, that we will rely on His Strength, and believe our way to a godly life, full of the fruit of the Spirit, so that we can go forth and glorify His Name in the way that we live our lives.

            Blessings to you, Lynn.

  36. Brenda on March 21, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    That is wise advise. Don’t wait, get out before it gets worse, because it will. I truly believe that a part of my medical issues are possibly caused by years of abuse.

  37. Annette on March 21, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Sorry , my keys on this device are not working well to day .

  38. Robin on March 21, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    I’m just now reading, ‘Cry for Justice’ and here’s some words I am promising myself I will memorize and keep them in my heart, just to remember what abuse is and how it starts. (By Jeff Crippen). To say that abusers cannot change, removes responsibility for sin. They can change, but the vast majority choose not too, which is what the experts state. When God punishes them, their punishmnet is just. Abusers have options for treatment and are accountable. Once the marriage covenant is broken through abuse, the abused partner does not need to stay in the marriage waiting for the abuser to change. The abusers recovery is a separate issue andhis change is his own responsibility, not his wife’s. This is the mistake most churches make. These churches have over-sentimentalized marriage and are legalists. Abuse is fundamentally a mentality. It is a mindset of entitlement. The abuser sees himself as entitled. He is the center of the world, and he demands that his victim make him the center of her world. His goal is power and control over others. For him, power and control are his natural right, and he feels quite justified in using whatever means are necessary to obtain that power and control. The abuser is not hampered in these efforts by the pangs of a healthy conscience and indeed often lacks a conscience. While this mentality of power and control often expreses itself in various forms of physical abuse, it just as frequently employs tactics of verbal, emotional, financial. social, sexual, and spiritual abuse. Thus, an abuser may never actually lay a hand on his wife and yet be very actively terrorizing her in incredibly damaging ways. ABUSE IN ANY OF ITS FORMS DESTROYS THE VICTIMS PERSON – ABUSE IN THE END IS MURDER.

    • Susen on March 21, 2015 at 11:56 pm

      Robin! Your review of Crippen’s book is powerful. “Once the marriage covenant is broken through abuse, the abused partner does not need to stay in the marriage waiting for the abuser to change.” That’s the key–the broken covenant. He breaks the covenant when he fails to honor and cherish. Period. But it’s crazy how the victim takes on all the blame–I’ll clean the house better, cook something fancy, lose some weight, get a new hair do, make the children be quiet, act like I want sex, take some action, do anything to earn back being cherished. Why in the world do we do this to ourselves? We can’t fix him. As far as he is concerned, he doesn’t need fixing–the problem isn’t his. Living in fear is no life. And all the while we are modeling for our children the same sick relationship for them to repeat.

      Is the decision to leave tough? You bet it is. The act of leaving is even tougher. But the rewards are worth it.

      I asked the girls’ father for a divorce for a year. I told him that if he acted honorably through the divorce, we would try again. He didn’t. We didn’t. That was his last chance. And he lost a good woman.

      • Robin on March 22, 2015 at 12:02 am

        Well said -Susen!! You said e aptly what we do and think. We are nurturers and we need to understand when an abusive spouse has to deal with his own issue, and quit trying to be responsible for it! Sure wish I had known this 20 yrs ago!!!!!

        • Susen on March 22, 2015 at 12:33 am

          Yep, but I certainly am glad I know it now!

    • Monica on March 23, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      This is going to be my next book to read. Thanks Robin!

    • Sandra on March 31, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      Robin, I filed for divorce 2/5/15, and mailed the papers to my husband in CT Certified Mail. In NC the green return receipt is required for the judge to set the court date. However, I never received it after two weeks, so I had the package traced by the post office. Well, he failed to even pick it up, so the package was finally returned to me 2/28. I then decided to contact the CT marshal in the county where my husband lives to serve it, who said he would do so for $65. I then mailed the the divorce forms to him, along with the check. the marshal called me a week later to inform me he had served them to my husband on 3/10/15, and that my husband then told him he planned to come down to NC to visit our daughter. I told the marshal I was afraid he thought there was a chance of reconciliation, and that I needed the Return of Service form ASAP. Well, it is now 3/31, and I still have not received it. I have called the marshal several times telling him so, but he keeps putting me off, saying he’ll mail it “next week.” He always mentions my husband’s visit, and I told him my daughter said he plans to come visit her the next week. I wondered why the marshal was so interested in that! I waited another week for the form, and again called the marshal it still hadn’t arrived, and he said he’d fill out an affidavid (sp) and have it notarized and mail it. I finally again called the marshal yesterday (3/30), to again say I hadn’t received, and was getting “desperate,” and he said he was “busy and would do it this week.” I told him the court requires proof that my husband has been served before the Judge can set the court date. He said he understands, but then asked again about my husband’s visit. I told him whether or not he attends the divorce hearing is up to him, but that there’s no chance of reconciliation, as, I endured abuse for 57 years and need to get this finalized. Well, after I hung up, I again wondered why the marshal keeps asking about my husbands visit to NC, and I truly believe my husband gave him a sob story when he was served, about how he has begged for reconciliation, and is the wounded one, etc. Believe it or not, I think the marshal has been holding off sending the proof of service form to me because he hopes for reconciliation before the divorce! Today I mailed the marshal my copy of the Return of Service form, along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and letter asking him to fill it out and return it to me ASAP, with a P.S. that there is no chance of reconciliation! I can only wait another week, hoping & praying for the crucial form to arrive in the mail, so I can submit it to the court for the judge to set the court date for the divorce. I’m at my wit’s end, although I know the Lord is in control and His timing is perfect. I guess I’m still being tested! God bless you all!

      • susen on April 1, 2015 at 8:18 am

        Dear Sandra~ Yes, it does sound very much like you are being played in the “good ol’ boy” arena. Your persistence and decisiveness will succeed. You wouldn’t be on this website if you had not already experienced manipulation. Keep the faith. I meditate on Psalm 37.

        When I called a former counselor to tell her I had finally made up my mind to move on with my girls, she said, “It will get worse before it gets better.” I thought it couldn’t get any worse–he had left the house! But the manipulations and all the accompanying behaviors continued. He even got on his knees in the lawyer’s office to beg me to come back. I was horrified.

        I did give him a last chance: I asked him for a divorce for one year. If he behaved himself for that year, then we would look at the possibility of remarrying. He didn’t. We didn’t.

        Twenty years later, it’s all water under the bridge. He still tries to manipulate through our daughters, but my reaction is just to shake my head, say a little prayer for him, shrug my shoulders, and go on. I no longer allow him to muddy the waters of my peace.

        I applaude your strength of conviction. I understand your exasperation. I send my prayers for your continued perserverance. Please keep us updated if you can.

        Godspeed on your journey,

  39. Robin on March 21, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    lADIES- I shared this after reading Annettes comments above, about it killing you. Please dont think our cases are extreme cases. ABUSE IS EXTREME. It will hurt your children, destroy a part of you that will take years to recover. Noone is trying to scare you- but perhaps we are trying to warn you. Seek for help and get out as soon as you can.

    • Susanne on March 21, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      You are so right. I believe I got out before it was too late. The anger and rage grew and I am still on pain patches almost 3 years after my husband pushed me down. If I hadn’t left when I did, I don’t know if I would still be here to tell my story and help other women to see the dangers of abuse.

  40. Brenda on March 21, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Robin, AMEN!!!!!

  41. Krystal on March 21, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    I was this woman. The emotional, verbal, and spiritual abuse was oppressive. After 30 years, and something he said and included my daughter in the disgusting attack on my character, it was the final straw. I left. I am now divorced. Unfortunately, if your husband thinks he is “all that” spiritually, and if he is stubborn and arrogant, he won’t be reached with counseling. Mine wasn’t. I wish I had more to offer you in encouragement. I had been so closed up emotionally, due to myself building ‘walls’ of protection from his onslaughts. Now that I am away from it, I wish I hadn’t waited so long. I stayed, because I know God hates divorce, I tried to forgive 70 x 7, and for the kids. But, I shouldn’t have stayed. My kids suffered no matter their age. My youngest son the most. Pray for him if you can, His name is Jonathan and he lives in a horrible situation. Please consider carefully if you think any more counseling will help. Don’t waste your years casting your ‘pearls before swine’.

    • Monica on March 23, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      This has blessed me to read the statement about counseling. (not that my husband even agreed to go to counseling. It was all I was asking him to do but he said we both have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only one that can help him. Its interesting that he is agreeing to a divorce bc he’s “giving me what I want” but he refused to give me what I want by going to a counselor. I will pray for your son. God bless!

      • Robin on March 23, 2015 at 11:32 pm

        Monica, it’s a good thing for a wife to encourage her husband to go to counseling. I’m sorry he resisted. My husband went to counseling, and as his counselor shared with mine, he never acknowledged a thing. He just talked about money problems which he had none except that which he could not control. Counseling isn’t the answer. It doesn’t always work. So maybe you were spared a lot of grief with his refusing it. If a man is looking for the right info- I believe God will bring him to the path of Truth.

    • susen on March 23, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Krystal, I have written your son’s name in my prayer journal, along with yours.

      I want to address regret: When I married at 18, I think I made the best decision I could have made at the time considering my context and maturity (lack of), and knowledge. I messed up. God forgives. Forgiving myself took much longer! Looking back, counselors gave me tools, but I had to be ready to use them. It is like women say on here–it’s fear of taking that first solo flight that held me back. If I’d had a strong faith and knowledge of His Word, I would have relied on “all things are possible in Christ.” But my spiritual growth stalled at age 18. So when I think of “those years,” I try to focus on what I learned about myself and how brave I was to take that solo flight, the many blessings that have followed, my opportunity to grow in my faith–not only in God, but in myself–instead of beating myself up once again on days, weeks, and years lost. One day of freedom to be me wipes out so much of that pain.

      Sharing with others is so powerful, and I am thankful for each of you. God bless us all. susen

      • Leslie Vernick on March 24, 2015 at 8:36 pm

        I hope no one beats themselves for staying too long. We do what we know and until we know how to do differently we do what we know. This blog is providing support and resources for women to learn how to do it differently and that is good news.

        • Susanne on March 27, 2015 at 7:27 pm

          I have already beat myself up for staying so long as well as thinking I could or should have done more!

        • Lynn on June 25, 2015 at 2:54 am

          I love what you said, ” We do what we know and until we know how to do differently we do what we know.” God is not a harsh judge to those who do not know they are doing something wrong,, he is a loving fair judge. I am learning this and thanks for reminding me not to be so hard on myself, when I ask God why has it taken 25 plus years to “know” what is wrong in myself and my marriage, he just leads me to all the lives in the bible that took decades to see the light for their mission, and sometimes included wandering around in the desert for 40 years, when your destination is so near but your so not ready because you don’t know the truth yet…

  42. Amanda on March 22, 2015 at 12:19 am

    By the grace of God I found this post. Today was a rough day with my husband–fighting and accusing. He even told me that he’s considering suicide because he feels he’s no longer useful to me. How’s that for manipulation. I have been uplifted by reading this. Thank you all and I wish you the best on your journeys. I fell that mine has been a long time coming and will be rough. I trust in the Lord to continue to guide me with his “signs”, which I perceive all the time. And, as a final comment, this abuse crosses socio-economic boundaries. My husband and I are equals financially. While that may put me at an advantage personnally, in actions I’m able to take, the feelings of self loathing and depression are the same. In God I/we trust. Best wishes to you all and God speed toward peace!

    • Leslie Vernick on March 23, 2015 at 11:53 am

      Amanda, I think you’ll find a safe and loving place here for you to think things through. And you’re so right. Abuse crosses all socio-economic boundaries and just because you’re financially stable, doesn’t mean you feel strong enough to speak up, stand up or step back if needed. I’d encourage you to read my books The EMotionally Destructive Relationship and The Emotionally Destructive Marriage that will give you more tools to help you.

    • Monica on March 23, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      God bless you Amanda, reading your post reminds me of what I posted earlier about the scripture in 1 Peter 5. This is a great site for support and encouragement. Most definitely get Leslie’s books. I agree with you 100% about your financial situation giving you more options but doesn’t take away the feeling of pain or depression. All of our situations are so different, some more extreme than others, but what we share are the effects of abuse of any kind. But the best thing we share is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God bless you. As many of us are going through right now.

    • susen on March 23, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      Dear Amanda~ A chill went down my spine when you reported that he threatened suicide. If he is going there in his sick head, please protect yourself. It is a very short step from suicide to murder-suicide. I know. I am a survivor. (My rebound marriage of nine months. Ugh.) The only reason my daughter and I weren’t killed is that I told him over the phone that I wasn’t coming home, that I was afraid of him. His rage took him out–he didn’t have the presence of mind to wait till we were home. Thank God. I took a gun away from him several months before. Doing so seemed like a dream state, the idea was so foreign to me–I thought he was just pushing another of my buttons. But I could not have been more wrong. God wasn’t through with me yet. Please take care of yourself. Prayers for safety and sanity for you. susen

      • Leslie Vernick on March 24, 2015 at 8:38 pm

        I agree. I talked with another woman whose husband threatened suicide too and she left the house and when she came back he hung himself. She is thankful every day that it wasn’t her and her children hanging there too. It’s sad that you can’t save him but you have to be the guardian of your kids and a good steward of you. If he threatens leave the house and call 911. They will know what to do to help him or stop him but don’t put that burden on yourself.

  43. Brenda on March 22, 2015 at 5:29 am

    That was well said and so true. We are never going to be trouble free in this life, but we can become the women that God wants us to be.

  44. Brenda on March 22, 2015 at 5:32 am

    James Garner, “The notebook” is the dream husband.

    • Susanne on March 23, 2015 at 11:40 am

      I love that movie Brenda. Yes, that would be the ideal husband to have, wouldn’t it?

    • Sandra on March 31, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      Yes, I also love the Notebook. Before my husband left, it was on t.v., and he flew into a rage, saying the girl in the movie acted just like me, and shut the t.v. off. I cried when I watched the movie alone later. I must admit that I wonder why some women are so blessed to have a husband like that, and not me? I guess I’m suffering the consequences of the wrong choices I made at age 17, but God has forgiven and blessed me now at age 75 with His love, joy and peace, and the blessed hope of more for eternity! Love & prayers for you all!

  45. Brenda on March 22, 2015 at 5:43 am

    I am so glad that you got out and are safe. Thinking about what he must have done to you brings tears to my eyes and for those who haven’t escaped and will pay the ultimate sacrifice today, next week and next year. I pray for those like Leslie who continue to speak truth to those that need to hear it. I pray for those who find the need to find blogs like this to help heal the pain. This should not be. Men are to LOVE there wives, not destroy them.

    • Susanne on March 22, 2015 at 9:27 am

      amen Robin! I thank God for my sisters in Christ and pray for healing and wholeness in Him.

    • Susen on March 22, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      I meditate on Psalm 37. God will see to it that justice is served, and that gives me peace.

      • Susanne on March 23, 2015 at 11:35 am

        That’s a wonderful Psalm Susen. I will be meditating on it today, thank you.

    • Susanne on March 23, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Sorry, I meant to say “Amen” to Brenda.

      • Susanne on March 24, 2015 at 4:11 pm

        My husband is still trying to abuse me through the legal system. I am taking a lesser settlement than I should in order to get this over and done with, after a long 2 1/2 year struggle, trying to get a separation agreement completed. He is not truthful and does not want me to have what is just and fair. He is now starting divorce papers.

        • susen on March 25, 2015 at 9:01 am

          Suzanne, divorce is the soon-to-be-ex’s last shot across the bow. The process won’t improve his character.

          This is how I view our divorce: From his perspective: how could I even think of destroying “our happy home”? My perspective: there’s oxygen to breathe out there . . . somewhere.
          His focus was past tense: the glory days of the lion strutting around his den and roaring. My focus was the possibility of a future: while I’d like to say I was the lioness, I was much more like the little mouse, miraculously escaping those paws and running for all I was worth. He lost his power; I gained my freedom. So, of course he roared his way through the divorce–lying, cheating, manipulating, intimidating–just like he’d done for years.

          • susen on March 25, 2015 at 9:14 am

            Computer issues, sorry.

            Lessons to pass along: get the best lawyer you can afford; don’t negotiate on retirement benefits; he initiated the divorce, so he pays for your legal expenses. Stay strong. Live fully each day. And may The Force be with you!

          • Susanne on March 25, 2015 at 9:17 am

            I still want to defend myself at times. During this separation I felt like I was battling my ex and his lawyer as well as my own lawyer who didn’t work very hard to see that things were completed. My lawyer did not take my direction to present important information to settle months and months ago. Now I am left feeling abused through the legal system as well!

          • Susanne on March 25, 2015 at 9:22 am

            Susen, do you mean my ex pays All My legal expenses or just the expenses related to the divorce papers?

          • susen on March 25, 2015 at 9:49 am

            Suzanne, you can try to negotiate anything you want. Sure wish I’d changed lawyers when I saw that mine wasn’t interested in fighting for me. Yes, you are in battle mode now. Yes, you are responsible for defending yourself. Yes, you can dismiss a lawyer who is not representing you well. I didn’t know these things when I needed the info.

          • Susanne on March 31, 2015 at 7:14 pm

            Susen, I’m now waiting to sign papers (soon I hope). My lawyer had asked me if I wanted to change lawyers but it was after so much time and money that I couldn’t see paying him and then starting all over with another lawyer, so I stuck it out. Yesterday I realized I need to forgive my lawyer for not representing me well. I know God will meet all my needs. I believe I will find more peace when this is all settled, once and for all. Thank you so much for your comments and prayers.

  46. Brenda on March 23, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    I’m not sure that he really exists, but I think some come close. You’ve gotta figure in the early years of Noah and and Allie’s characters. They fought with passion, but they also loved with as much passion. I could do without the fighting part, but we are talking about a movie. Perhaps we would pray with passion. I like that idea.

    • Susanne on March 23, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      Brenda, I love the praying with passion part. Amen to that!

      • susen on March 23, 2015 at 11:15 pm

        Me, too! susen

  47. Brenda on March 23, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Dear Monica,
    Being divorced is not what ended the marriage, abuse ended the covenant of marriage. It will be so much better for both of you to live without that in your home. I praise our Lord Jesus Christ that you recognized it early.

  48. Robin on March 23, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    Great words Brenda. Always a good reminder how abuse breaks the covenant!

  49. Leonie on March 24, 2015 at 7:04 am

    I keep thinking of the frog on the pot of hot water. I had to call police on the weekend because my husband was exploding in one of his rages again. The police & 911 lady were so good and my husband really “bared his soul” with them in a scary way – he had been drinking and it made him loose lipped. I am so glad that it happened and now I am starting to get a paper trail because we have a 4 year old daughter. Now he is telling me that if we are to work out our differences that my 3 children from my first marriage have to move out for at least 3 months – I refused. If he can’t allow our daughter to be with her siblings who are so good to her and I am not permitted to be a mom to all my children, not just the youngest, then I may as well work my stuff out at the courthouse. All the people that intervened on the weekend were so amazing and supportive. Then I told a friend at church and she gave me a key to her house so I can have a place to escape to. Her response was so kind and encouraging! Thank you Robin for the post about the destructive partner defining the reality. I know it’s not and am so encouraged. If I keep myself in God’s word that is my reality, his love and care for me and my family!

    • Susanne on March 24, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      Abusive men say some very strange things and make bizarre demands! So glad you are getting some help Leonie

    • Leslie Vernick on March 24, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      Leonie I’m so proud of you for taking that step to call 911. The problem in your marriage is not your 3 children. The problem is his temper, his drinking and until he deals with that – there is not working on marital issues.

  50. Brenda on March 24, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    That is a horrible thing for the H to suggest. Why would they move out? Where did he plan for them to go. You were a packaged deal, he knew that from the I Do’s.

    • Robin on March 24, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      My husband tried to send my child to foster home far away. Anyone have problem defining evil. ……? It’s so so sad!

      • Leonie on March 24, 2015 at 8:00 pm

        My husband wants them to stay with my ex instead if being home with me for awhile. They do not cause chaos in the home, only my husband does.

      • Leslie Vernick on March 24, 2015 at 8:30 pm

        Wow that is scary. I’m glad you’re not with him.

      • susen on March 25, 2015 at 11:37 am

        Robin, I’ve about decided that when Selfish and Selfless get together, there’s no end to the evil that can take place.

        When a father views children as a disposable commodity, he no longer deserves the title of father, husband, or anything else remotely human.

        So many women are saved through their Mama Bear instincts! We are blessed. susen

        • Robin on March 25, 2015 at 10:39 pm

          Susen, when my husband tried to send my daughter to a foster home, I was in the bathrm at DSHS. When I came out he said, I need you to sign this paper. I obviously did NOT sign. What a jerk!!!!!!!

          • susen on March 25, 2015 at 11:20 pm

            Robin, he wil answer for all of his sins. I am so very glad that you have it all together. Your comments to so many in such need are right on. My prayer for you is for continued growth in His Light. susen

  51. Leonie on March 24, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    My husbands big issues are also lying, infidelity and abuse. It is not looking like he will get help. I will not be controlled by an adult that behaves like a child – controlling the house and causing everyone to walk on eggshells because he can’t stop having temper tantrums. I am not his mommy and I don’ have to let him keep everything off balance. He is going to have to choose if he wants to be single or not.

    • susen on March 25, 2015 at 9:33 am

      If you were his mommy, you would have raised him better! Please consider a time-out. Your family will be a lot safer if you get a legal separation and change the locks. This gives him the opportunity to consider his issues, but, much more importantly, it will give you the safety of a place to regroup and begin to heal. Waiting on his next rage is dangerous. Typically rages accelerate in violence. God bless. susen

  52. Brenda on March 25, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Those behaviors are already making that choice. Stay strong in the midst of the battle.

    • susen on March 25, 2015 at 11:38 am

      Brenda, you said it best! susen

  53. Leonie on March 25, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks for the great advice Susen, You are right Susen, I have a 22 & a 20 year old son and they would never behave like my husband is.
    My 4 1/2 year old daughter & I have an appointment with the children’s aid society (like CPS) on Friday afternoon. Please pray for us. Again this morning my husband was telling me that my 16 year daughter has to move out before he will agree to go for counselling. I told him he can’t set conditions and must deal with his anger issues or He can not stay in our home. I just don’t want chaos in our home and the only one causing it is him.
    Thanks Leslie for reminding us that someone’s bad behaviour is all about him only. I am so relieved to be getting some help and support.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 25, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Me too. Let us know how your appointment at CPS goes.

      • Susanne on March 25, 2015 at 4:56 pm

        Leonie, keeping you in my prayers. Love and blessings, Susanne

        • Leonie on March 25, 2015 at 5:19 pm

          Thank you so much. I am praying that God will help me to see the truth (discern) when my husband speaks so I don’t get so off balance.

          • susen on March 25, 2015 at 11:24 pm

            Then, Leonie, that is what I will pray for: your discernment and a successful meeting on Friday. Please keep us updated. We care. susen

  54. Leonie on March 25, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Thank you, that is so kind. It is hard, daddy is daddy, no one can replace him so I just need wisdom to help him come to his senses.

    • susen on March 27, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Leonie~I’ve prayed for a good outcome of your meeting all day. I hope to hear from you soon.
      Blessings, susen

  55. Leonie on March 28, 2015 at 9:54 am

    My CAS visit went very well, my 20 year old son was able to be there, which I think helped a lot. Thanks so much for your prayers, my husband was saying that he doesn’t think he has talk to them but he will find out the importance of it. Pray that I will be wise and careful in the timing and type of action I take, when a counsellor gets assigned to me and I get some legal help them they will advise me on how proceed safely. I was wondering about the type of action to take but just the fact that every decision is based on fear of what he might do is helping me realize I need help.

  56. Brenda on March 28, 2015 at 10:02 am

    How true that is. We should not have to fear the one who vowed to protect and love us. It happens. My prayers are with you for strength, safety and discernment.

    • Susanne on March 28, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Leonie, thank you for the update. You are covered in prayer. I based too many of my decisions out of fear and then regretted doing that. Stay strong and know we have you in our prayers. Shalom, Susanne

      • Leonie on March 28, 2015 at 2:13 pm

        Thanks Brenda & Susanne for your orayers. I was just reading a verse that brought some calm yo my storm. Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7) it is a good reminder not to make a decision based on fear.

      • susen on March 28, 2015 at 11:16 pm

        Leonie~You are amazingly resourceful in building a varied and professional support system. Of course the meeting went well–you are a loving mother who wants a peaceful place for your family to thrive. The fact that your son chose to accompany you shows so much about how you raised him. You said in an earlier post that “daddy is daddy . . ..” The decisions you are making now will give him the opportunity to become a much better father and person. (My girls’ father transformed himself–at least as far as the investment in the girls.) Sometimes getting out of God’s way so He can work is the best thing we can do for our spouses.

        I read once that heroes are frightened, too–the fact that they take action in fearful situations is what makes them heroes. Your steps are heroic!

        Prayers for your whole famly continue. Blessings. susen

        • Leonie on April 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm

          Thank you, I have been feeling that I need to get out of the way so God can deal with him.
          I had a look at Lundy Bancroft’s blog & I really liked the quote about control that he had.
          ” Another useful, though tricky, concept: It’s control when you are trying to take someone’s rights away, and it’s self-defense when you are trying to keep someone else from taking your rights away. (The reason this gets tricky is because the controlling man will often say that you are trying to take his rights away, because he thinks he has the right to abuse you.”)
          “The abusive man will call you “controlling” for resisting his control. Noticing when this is happening will be a huge help to you.”
          I have been reading this over & over so I really get it in my head. So often if we speak up for ourselves against the abuse it gets turned back on us.
          Somehow, everything I do or the way I approach him or even the way I fightback is wrong, and he always tells me if I had done it different or if my motive wasn’t so evil then he wouldn’t blow up.

  57. Teena on March 31, 2015 at 10:11 am

    I’m terribly sorry for your experience and I hope he learns to love you because know that you are beautiful. Leslie’s knowledge and wisdom is bang on. You’ll find peace in her instructions for sure. The areas that may help you from my perspective is to know who you married and then decide if he is the one you’ll live the rest of your life with. As many others have said, his problem with pornography is an issue because he sees women (not only you) as objects and he enjoys the secret of the porn. He needs you in that submissive role in order to have good feelings (if any) toward you and about himself. He is results driven and questions you as if you are not a willing participant. Dear heart, instead of controlling your life and emotions with medication, please take back your life by DECIDING to not be affected by his arrogance. You can choose how you feel toward him. I have learned to not react to my husband at all. For example, If he wants me off of the telephone because it annoys him, I acknowledge him out of respect for him but will wrap the conversation up IN CONFIDENCE that I’m in control. I have decided to ask my husband’s opinion about different situations before acting. I have decided to tell my husband when mom will be coming over later. I have decided that my husband’s problem with seeing women as objects and treating them as slaves IS NOT MY problem. When he is calm (and not aroused by emotion) is when I appeal to his more rational side. You are extremely intelligent and beautiful because he chose the ultimate woman. (At least that’s how I see myself from my husband’s perspective) and I know that because he rarely tolerates women at all, in order to tolerate me, I must be THAT ONE that he is willing to. So know that he has the ability to make good choices. I also decided to see myself from my daughter’s perspective because her dad and my relationship began to negatively affect her. She once saw me as strong and beautiful. I DECIDED to not talk back or even react to my husband’s condisending tones and comments toward me or others because those represented him, not me. Once you allow his behavior to become the bigger problem, not your behavior, his behavior will become more obviously inappropriate to outsiders and he will begin to see himself.

  58. Linda on March 31, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Well said Teena! I agree with you , we ALL have the ability to make good decisions.” Once I realized I was not responsible for my abuser’s poor decisions and destructive behavior, I was able to think with confidence and rely on God for His direction in my life. Once I let go, it became very clear to me that I was intelligent and beautiful without my condescending and abusive husband. Unfortunately when I allowed his behavior to become the bigger problem (not my behavior) his behavior DID become more obviously inappropriate to outsiders. BUT he did not begin to see himself….thus after 3 separations, I moved on (divorced) and am living in peace. I’m slowly healing and growing in confidence that I did the right thing.

    I agree with your

  59. Brenda on April 1, 2015 at 7:11 am

    I used to think that men like that in the movie, “the Notebook” did not exist, but they do. They are not perfect, but they do exist. My neighbor’s wife was in a nursing home for a long time. He went and spent time with her everyday even though she did not know him. I haven’t personally been blessed with a relationship like that. At this point in time having been single again for almost 2 years I am becoming much most at peace with being single and never feel alone. My Lord is always there. Would I like to have someone to snuggle with while watching “The Notebook” or a baseball game? Yes, but it is not mandatory. There are such beautiful love stories in the Bible. Ruth, the Samaritan woman, Mary and eventually Martha. Jesus is the top of that list. What love. He sacrificed His very life and died in agony for ME and everyone who would believe in Him. Such love I do not deserve.

    • susen on April 1, 2015 at 7:54 am

      I love Hannah. Can you imagine her grace as Eli interrupts her prayers to accuse her of drunkeness in the house of the Lord?

      And Naomi. She used the Hebrew laws to obligate Boaz to marry Ruth. Smart lady who used her head in a time of desperation.

      The faith of both of these women was so great that their stories have come down to us today to give us examples of God working in their lives for good.


  60. Brenda on April 1, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Umm!! Just thinking about these situations bring peace to my heart. Naomi, was a very smart and a little devious, but you know I really got the feeling that Boaz wanted Ruth for his bride. God loves us. He wants what is best for us. He makes good come from the bad. Thank you for the added thoughts!! God’s ways are such a mystery. I know it will all be clear someday. I pray the Lord’s blessings on you susen!!

    Praying for you on your journey home!!

    • susen on April 1, 2015 at 8:32 am

      Good morning, Brenda! Hope the world is well with you.

      “Devious?” Naomi used the laws that male Hebrews interpreted. I almost put in my initial post that it didn’t hurt that Ruth was attractive–but I didn’t want the focus to be on her physical beauty.

      However, we, as women, are given the power to attract. There needs to be a book on how to use that power for good. A book that every young girl needs to read!

      Esther used this power for saving her people.. But she combined her feminine power with smart thinking. (And, I think she was married to a dunce!)

      Hope your day is full of beauty and peace, susen

      • susen on April 1, 2015 at 8:47 am

        The more I think about this topic, (and this website makes me think, think, think!) I am inclined to conclude that if our message to our daughters focused on using the power of attraction for good, it would be healthier than the male perspective of preaching chastity.

        I remember my daughter sharing with me, shortly after her marriage, that the message of being a good girl before marriage conflicted with the message of being a good wife–her words were “It’s like a switch that you are supposed to turn off, but it’s not that easy.”

        I may be opening a can of worms here. susen

      • Leslie Vernick on April 1, 2015 at 9:53 am

        I think that would make a fascinating book – hmmmmm.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 1, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Thanks – day one is done. Day two starting. We have 5 days of traveling.

  61. Brenda on April 1, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Good Morning, susen,
    I hope all is well with you too. Naomi was definitely on her toes. I use the word “devious” in a playful sense. Esther was married to a dunce. That seems to be the men that I attract. I have said that I am an abusive jerk magnet and if there is one within 5 miles, he will find me, but I think I finally have the red flags in my brain and gotten over my dad abandoning his family before I was old enough to remember him and leaving me to be raised by a pedophile. I am at peace with what happened and the consequences of my poor decision making after all of that. I pray that my story will help someone else to avoid the traps that are set for targets.

    Have a blessed and beautiful day,

    • susen on April 1, 2015 at 12:40 pm


      I understand your analogy about the magnet. However, I “de-magnetized” myself after I filled myself up. (Those evil ones who prey on the weak are very good at picking up on insecurities–they also have all the lines to wiggle their way in!) Wonder if we’ve dated the same losers!!!

      My wonderful husband of nine years is a good example of what healthy attraction looks like. We dated for a brief time nine years before we married. I’ve shared enough of my story on here for you to understand that I started my self discovery journey with an empty tank of gas, and we met just after my second husband’s suicide. I was looking for myself at that point, and not for another marriage! Both of us were dating other people as well as each other. He chose another, and they moved across the state. When that marriage didn’t work out for them, he called me out of the blue–9 years later. We did work out! There is mutual respect–and no head butting. We talked all about what we wanted a marriage to look like–even tho, as I’ve said before, I couldn’t even say the “m-word.” We are a team–that in my mind is a pair of equals.

      Just a few more thoughts. susen

  62. Brenda on April 1, 2015 at 9:05 am

    I have to agree with you. What we tell out daughters can make a difference. I was always told to marry a doctor, lawyer or an indian chief. I didn’t do any of those things. I wasn’t told or shown what a good wife should be. The stepfather was abusive and just plain men. I thought this was how the world was. It doesn’t have to be. I wouldn’t know how to explain the use of the power of attraction for good. I do believe you are on to something. Keep thinking, perhaps you can write the book.


    • susen on April 1, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Brenda~I was thinking more in line of Leslie writing the book! I could be a case study chapter, for sure.

      I am so very sorry to hear your childhood history. My Granny was my Saving Grace with her unconditional love. But she couldn’t help me with my mother. Granny put bandaids on the hurt places, but she only said that she couldn’t understand all that fighting. Granny and I lived life deliciously whenever we were together. She is the Good in me.

      I “married my mother.” Ugh! There ARE books written on that topic. And I rebounded into an even worse nine month marriage. After his suicide I either had to learn or give up. God game me yet another chance, and I set out on a learning of self journey. Hurray for His Forgiveness!

      One of the best healing experiences for me was walking to the bottom of Grand Canyon–and back up. So much symbolism there.

      Re: marriage advice: Mother always told me I could love a rich one as easily as I could love a poor one and that life would be a lot easier if I married a rich one. I never even dated a “rich one.” I would probably never have learned to stand on my own two feet, become a professional, gotten my public voice, or learned my place as a child of God if my girls’ father had been rich. The power of money can be ugly. (It doesn’t have to be, and there are many wonderful examples of philanthropy.) In retrospect, my mother never learned any of those things I enumerated . . . and Daddy wasn’t rich either!until much later in his life. Now Mother has little chance to learn humility because of her financial position. It gives me new understanding of Jesus’ words about the difficulties of a rich man getting to heaven as compared to a camel getting through the eye of a needle. Not impossible, if the reference was to a very narrow gate in some ancient city, but the camel must be completely unloaded in order to squeeze through–more symbolism, for sure!

      Thanks for helping me think this morning. susen

      • susen on April 1, 2015 at 1:02 pm

        One more thing. I think we always have to be cautious when we face evil that replicates what we knew and accepted as children. Healing takes time, but it feels so “normal” when those scars are scraped again–even if it is a business dealing.

        We are expected to grow in discernment (Hebrew 5:14). I think I can tell when I’m being played, but I tend to trust and look for the good in people. But I can revoke that trust now if I am presented with evidence to the contrary. I heard a good line to follow on tv last week: Trust but verify. I can do that! susen

  63. Brenda on April 1, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Are the wheels turning for another book??

  64. Brenda on April 1, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Isn’t it wonderful how the depression just goes away when you get out of the abuse. I praise the Lord each day of being free.

  65. Sandra on April 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Thank you Susen — Your reply brought tears to my eyes because this has been so incredible that I thought others may think I’m making it up or just imagining it. I wonder if the marshal has any legal right to hold up the divorce by refusing to send me the proof of service form? I’ll wait until next week, and if I still haven’t received it, I may have to hire an attorney. Since this is an uncontested divorce, I filed myself, and now wish I had used an attorney in the first place. Well, I know God is in control and His timing is perfect, although my “trust” isn’t what it should be at this point. I’ll keep you posted! I can’t express how much this blog means to me and the love and empathy we all feel for one another and dear Leslie. My love & prayers for you.

    • susen on April 1, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Sandra~divorce laws were written by lawyers–they create their own jobs with all of that mumbo-jumbo double-speak. And many lawyers just pad their bills by creating more acrimony. All that being said, I have found one good lawyer through an amazing Christian friend. So, that would be my suggestion to you–talk to others who have found themselves in similar circumstances and see who they suggest. Then you will be ready if and when you decide you need one. You might want to schedule one appointment and just lay all of it out for him or her. One of the negotiations of the divorce can be that he pays your legal fees because of all of this delay that he caused. Mental anguish counts, too. (Sadly, I didn’t have this info or a decent lawyer–that’s why I’m sharing with you what I wished I’d known.) A couple of other negotiating points: children’s insurance. And make absolutely sure you have rights to Christmas with children–at least every other Christmas. I lost that, unknowingly, twenty two years ago. Traditions are set. One of my biggest sadnesses is facing Christmas without my kids or grandkids.–we have Christmas at Thanksgiving, but it’s not the same, no matter how I try to frame it.

      You have no idea if your soon-to-be ex is getting legal advice or just is pals with the sheriff–but you already know that you aren’t being treated fairly and it’s making you crazy to be manipulated.

      Hold onto your faith. Go with your gut instincts–I think that’s the Holy Spirit’s way of guiding us.

      Blessings and prayers,

      • Sandra on April 14, 2015 at 11:08 am

        Dear Susen: I finally received the crucial proof of service form from the CT marshal, and immediately took it to the courthouse, and have the divorce hearing on May 12. I’ll be so relieved to be released from that broken marriage. However, my exH has been here in NC this past weekend, staying near our daughter (an hour drive from me), and bought a cottage in a senior complex there. He plans to return to CT tomorrow to pack and move back down at the end of May. My daughter said not to worry about him bothering me, but I still feel he’s “too close for comfort,” and won’t be able to visit her as before, dreading he could show up while I’m there. Well, at least the divorce will be final before he returns, and I’m trusting the Lord for His care, as always.
        I’m so thankful for the love and support of all of you here, and I love and pray for you as well. Sandra <3 +

        • susen on April 14, 2015 at 1:27 pm

          Dear Sandra~

          It was as gift from God to you that the father of your daughter moved to CT. Geographical space gave you some respite from his presence–a place to breathe and get stronger.

          I am praising God that the legal system is moving toward setting you free.

          At the same time, I have a gut reaction to his continued attempts to manipulate you. Please don’t let him continue his manipulative abuse! When you share that he will have power to overshadow the joy of your visits with your daughter, I know that power–I hate that power–and the only hope that I can share is that you can be a godly former wife–you can’t make him a godly anything. This requires God’s time–for you to heal and for you to show His Grace in your new relationship. He has the opportunity to grow–it’s on him now. He probably won’t ever thank you for that opportunity. In fact, he will try at the grandbaby’s christening, at every funeral, wedding, birthday, and holiday to garner as much pity as possible. That’s on him.

          I’ve shown much grace to the father of my daughters. He plays the victim and it has worked for him for twenty years. He’s a great manipulator. Divorce didn’t improve his character. I have come to understand that a part of my “leaving well” is to have celebrations at my home at a different date whenever possible. When it’s not possible, I go forth in the armor of God, seeing it as an opportunity to rely on God’s strength. He carries me through with His Grace, and it offers an additional opportunity for me to witness to my daughters the power of my faith.

          A suggestion that comes to mind is to schedule morning visits with your daughter and he gets afternoons–at least for awhile as you take these steps of dealing with his renewed geographic proximity. He may or may not accept that boundary. Your daughter is a part of that triangle and this is a chance for her to draw a boundary with her father. Over time, there will be healing and growth for at least two of you in this triangle. But right now the wounds are too fresh. Scheduling might be a suitable Band-Aid as you all go forward to figure out what the family dynamic will become.

          You aren’t responsible for him anymore. It’s a relief past all understanding to let go of all those feelings of responsibility. I can only have power over my behavior, reactions, the content of my prayers for him–and I forgive myself when I fall short of being “a godly former wife.” (I’m borrowing on this week’s blog for the concept of godly wife.)

          It was great to get an update–

          Prayers of peace for you and your family,

          • Leslie Vernick on April 14, 2015 at 8:31 pm

            YOu said it well Susen.

          • Sandra on April 16, 2015 at 2:03 pm

            My goodness, Susen, I at first thought your reply was actually Leslie’s. You certainly have a gift of understanding and empathy for others. Thank you for your godly wisdom and advice. My exH will be living near our younger daughter, and we also have another daughter, who lives in the Florida Panhandle. She was not the “favored one,” so unfortunately, my younger daughter will be the one he looks to for elder care, and she realizes how controlling and negative he can be. She told him she’ll try to find another female to “take care of him,” but it won’t be me! I’m so thankful for this blog, and will keep you all posted on “what’s next!”

          • susen on April 16, 2015 at 3:42 pm


            These replies are now out of order–but I wanted to stay in the same rectangle for my subsequent reply. I am so glad that you found my ramblings to be helpful. It’s years and years of experience, keeping resentments at bay, stomach aches, etc., and finally reaching peace with it all that I wrote from.

            The topic of elder care–wow, if your daughter is signing up for that, learning how to make and keep boundaries with her father is invaluable. Starting early, it will be easier for her to teach him now rather than later.

            Maybe Leslie can suggest a book on boundary drawing (and keeping!)

            I’ve been through the mill taking care of my 83 year old mother who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. I mainly handled it all of my life by just staying away–left home at seventeen–but now I am 100 miles from her and Daddy is gone (after enabling her for 62 years) and she’s a parading manipulator. This time I’m ready with boundaries–she had me as upset as I have ever been the last go ’round. She tried to sell the family ranch where I now live–a ranch that goes back four generations. Not her family, of course, but Dad’s. It was most truly the biggest miracle of my life when God softened her heart at the last minute. My name is now on the title, so she can’t ever pull that on me again. Ever. But, I saw it that God had to wait until I learned that the ranch was not heaven, not the Garden of Eden, but a place I love–but less than and not more than I love God. When I got that lesson under my belt, He turned things around.

            So, she’s mad again . . . what’s new . . . but this respite and this blog board and all of the sharings and carings have taught me so very much about being a godly daughter (in spite of having an evil mother) and how to leave well–probably her hospital room, I’m guessing. I’m not taking any of her abuse–no matter what–anymore. She’ll just have to buy her companions from now on–I’m not for sale! Never was–but she has no concept of what love is. (Thank the Lord for my dear, precious Granny who did show me what truly unconditional love feels like. She saved me . . . well, along with God, of course!)


          • Leslie Vernick on April 17, 2015 at 8:15 am

            I’d recommend Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Parents by Allison Bottke.

          • susen on April 17, 2015 at 10:32 am

            Thanks for the book recommendation, Leslie. I’ll order it, study it, and may even practice a few lines out loud just to make sure I’m ready! Funny thing about boundaries. It’s such a huge step to create them. The first time I consciously did so, I thought to myself, “Wow, I just did that–where are all the cheerleaders and the entire Marine band to celebrate my courageous steps?” . . . And then I learned the effort it takes to maintain them. No band . . . no cheerleaders . . . but no self-recriminations, either!

  66. Sandra on April 1, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I agree, dear Brenda! Even though I didn’t have that “Notebook” kind of loving husband, I know Jesus is my true husband, who loves me unconditionally, now and forever, and will never leave me! God bless you!

  67. Angela Roberson on April 1, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    I found this article by accident, or so it seemed. As I read the comments, I kept thinking, “Yes, that was me!”

    For 16 years, that woman was me.

    So many of your stories are the same as mine. And, I stayed for my four beautiful children. And I stayed because God hates divorce. I read books, I prayed, I got counseling…..

    And, I stood for my broken husband and broken marriage until it almost broke me. I finally had enough a year ago, and have been divorced since last summer.

    My life, now, is amazing! I have freedom from my xh’s oppression, his subtle and passive aggressive abuse, the name-calling, the put downs, the contempt, the affair I caught him in (although he claimed they were “just friends”), the lies, and on and on.

    I am a changed woman. My sparkle is back. My heart is light. My spirit is renewed. And, my 16-year old son, asked me awhile back, “What took you so long?”

    Even though I stayed so long for the kids, it was still damaging and hurtful to them. They are now in counseling to deal with all of the damage that my marriage did to them.

    I am dong so much better, and met a man a few months ago who has been through some of the same stuff with his xw. He is kind, smart, sweet, funny, loving, understanding, romantic, respectful, and amazing. He has taught me what loving a woman should be like with his words and actions toward me.
    I am blessed beyond measure.

    My xh still tries to control and manipulate me, but I am learning how to NOT allow him to. He tries to turn my kids against me, and I pray that they will see the truth in who he really is and not get sucked into that. He has turned his church and our community against me. I am that “crazy” woman who left her sweet husband for no reason….if people only knew the crazy stuff I put up with, and allowed, in my marriage from my xh, they would never believe it!!!!

    So, ladies, there is peace and healing in letting go of a relationship that is so damaging to you, and to your children. Focus on getting yourself healthy, confident, and strong. Rely on God and know that He sees what you are going through.

    And, please, don’t wait as long as I did to get out of that relationship!!! You deserve to have happiness and love in your life. You are so worth it!

    • Leslie Vernick on April 1, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Thanks Angela for sharing your story.

  68. Ana on April 1, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    I can relate to this. I’m at a point where I just feel confused. There are times when the abuse is constant and intolerable and I’m sure I want to end the relationship.In time of high stress my husband goes into rages easily and insults me and curses at me, but then things get better for a while and I wonder if maybe I’m the one that is making a bigger deal of things. I find that when I ask myself if I am living in an abusive marriage I often have to run through a sort of mental checklist and “convince” myself that I am in one. I feel defeated though. I find myself getting angry and reacting to his outburst which end up making me feel horrible about myself. I’ve told him I would leave several times but haven’t gone through with it since he calls me and tells me to “come home” because all couples have their fights. I disappoint myself because I feel like I don’t have it in me to leave and my depression and resentment only grow deeper.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 1, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Ana it sounds like you need to work on building your CORE strength first. That will help you have the strength to do the right thing without guilt instead of reacting and then feeling guilty and like you are disappointed in you. I’d encourage you to look into joining my Walking in Core Strength Group starting next week.

    • susen on April 2, 2015 at 11:48 am

      Dear Ana~

      I know where you are at, and I am praying for you. I’ve been blessed to add a bunch of new names to my prayer journal as I return again and again to this site. Thanks to Leslie for providing us with guidance and this Godly place to share and grow!

      Chipping away at my self-confidence, making me question my own ability to reason–that was the most insidious way I was manipulated (and, believe me, it was a long list to choose from!). “Thy Will be done,” to him, had nothing to do with Our Heavenly Father. It was all about him. He would reframe anything that happened to make himself look good, get his way, and tighten his control. His twisted logic and my desire just to smooth things over were a combination for disaster. Net result, confusion over just what “reality” was! I descended into self-doubt.

      Breaking this cycle wasn’t in my hands because I had given up. God wasn’t through with me yet, and He took over. In my desperation, I began to be able to hear and respond to the Voice Inside–now I know it was the Holy Spirit guiding me out of that blackness.

      Through my anorexia, God got him out of the house. Through a really bad lawyer, I finally was free to breathe.

      And I haven’t looked back longingly one time. Not once.

      Godspeed on your journey. susen

      • Ana on April 2, 2015 at 12:30 pm

        I thank you for your prayers. You are right. Confusions reigns in my life right now. I don’t feel like myself though sometimes I try to remember who I once was. I’m still struggling to find truth and direction in all this turmoil. Even when things are “okay” I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s not a matter of IF he will have an angry outburst again, but WHEN. During the “happy” times there is still a trace of deep sadness (depression perhaps) because I mourn the type of relationship I dreamed of when I was younger. I think twice before I do or say anything. I question my choices and feel like if I’m doing something wrong when I do something that I know he will have a problem with. For example, he doesn’t like for me to talk to my old friends because according to him “they are not true friends.”

  69. Brenda on April 1, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Walking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up makes me tired just thinking about it. I also get a visual of tripping over my own feet and rolling down to the bottom. Coming back up–only if there is an elevator.

    I understand the empty tank of gas. The Lord has been working on me in many areas. It takes a long time to fix the whole in the tank so that it holds again. I am so glad that you found a man (the Lord put him in your path) that has gotten you past the m-word and treats you as an equal. A team. What a concept.

    I believe our mothers were saying the same thing in a different way. It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one. I’m not so sure about that, but whatever. I am not comfortable around men at all and being around one that I am beneath in “class” would be a disaster. I never wanted to be rich unless of course it is used to help someone else. I have no need for a big house or fancy cars. Love and respect is enough.

    Blessings to you my friend. Brenda

    • susen on April 1, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      Brenda, from your comments here, I’ll bet you have more class in your little finger than a whole room full of stuffed shirts. I didn’t learn many positive lessons from my mother, but she always told me that the mark of a lady is in how comfortable she can make everyone else feel in her presence. I always try to be that lady. (not my mother!!!)

      Whenever I’m in a situation where someone else is putting on airs and making me uncomfortable, I just say to myself, they put their pants on one leg at a time just like I do.

      Agreed: “Love and respect is enough”!

      Grand Canyon: I was always afraid of heights. During my divorce I dreamed nightly of a huge cliff that I had to approach. After the dangers of the divorce passed, I had to do it for real. The experience was a benchmark in my life. susen

  70. Brenda on April 1, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Trust but verify.

    Word to live by. Amen!!

    • Leslie Vernick on April 1, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      I like that too.

  71. Brenda on April 2, 2015 at 3:42 am

    Come out of the fog. I know it is easier said than done, but when you continue to question yourself you go deeper into the fog that becomes crazy making. Step back when these things happen. Don’t react; respond by following through with what you have said you will do. It is like talking to a child. Do not set consequences if you will not follow through. The abuser only gains traction and becomes a Goliath when he sees that you are not going to respond with the boundaries that you have set.

    • Ana on April 2, 2015 at 12:33 pm


      Thank you for your response. I agree that I am creating a monster. I realize that I need to set and keep the boundaries. There are things at play that keep me bound to him though.(my children for one.) I also love him and feel horrible at the thought of “abandoning” him. Like I said before, I’m confused and even a little fearful.

  72. Brenda on April 2, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    You have the right to choose your own friends. I didn’t figure that out until I left. That should be a boundary. I choose my friends.

  73. Sandra on April 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Dear Ana: The treatment you’re receiving is much like mine was with my husband. I always “walked on eggs,” fearing his verbal abuse at things I said and did. He also resented my friends and communication on e-mail or Facebook, saying I was “putting him down,” and called my computer the gossip machine. His insane jealousy, mistrust and verbal abuse finally resulted in my my loss of love for him, and after I set boundaries, he finally left. However, he returned and broke into our house twice, and I had to get a Protection Order against him. I cannot reconcile, and wish for you the freedom and peace I now enjoy without him. Love & prayers for you!

    • Ana on April 2, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Thank you Sandra for your words. Just knowing that I’m not alone helps tremendously. Thank you for your prayers! God bless you!

  74. Sandra on April 2, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    I’m SO happy for you dear Angela! God bless you in your new relationship, and thank you for sharing a voice of confidence and hope to all us other hurting women!

    • Angela on April 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      Thank you, Sandra!

      For so long, I had no hope that my life would ever get better, that I would ever have peace and happiness, again. I lived in despair and sadness….crying on a daily basis. I wanted to be the wife my H needed, and I wanted him to be happy and fulfilled, too. So, I turned myself inside out trying to be that woman. He was so angry all of the time, and mean and hurtful. I blamed myself all of the time for not being enough for him.

      Yet, I slowly found hope in the stories of other women online who were able to break free. Who found their faith, again.

      I saw, in other women, strength, beauty of spirit, trust in God, etc. which then, gave me strength.

      I absolutely believe that God loves us so much that He wouldn’t want us to endure what some of us have endured. Some people, like my xh, have serious issues (even disorders….I think my ex is Narc) that we can’t fix or help, no matter how much we want to. And we destroy ourselves trying to help them.

      At some point, you have to realize that you matter, too. That you have worth and deserve to be treated with respect and love and honor, also.

      It is a difficult, heart breaking battle. Some days are easier than others. But, I just so wish I could help others see that there is HOPE and LOVE on the other side of all of this.

      Even if I never marry again, even if my boyfriend and I don’t last, even if I end up “alone” for the rest of my life….I never want to go back to the miserable, sad, lonely in my marriage woman that I was. I am so thankful for my journey and where I am today. Life is not perfect, but it’s good.

      • Leslie Vernick on April 2, 2015 at 5:27 pm

        I’m so glad you realized that you matter too. You are a person to love, not an object to use. Some people never see their need to change. And I don’t think God asks a wife to destroy herself to allow her husband to continue to sin against her. That is just plain nonsense.

        • Angela on April 3, 2015 at 12:20 am

          Thank you, Leslie!
          I bought “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” on my Kindle this evening. Can’t wait to start reading it!!!

  75. Sandra on April 2, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Brenda, I feel like we’re “kindred spirits” in so much you have written. I also don’t feel the need for a man in my life again, since I was so heartbroken with my failed marriage, and don’t know if I could trust another man. Also, I’m now 75, and why would I want to take care of a sick, old man anyway (?), especially with the peace and freedom I now enjoy to serve the Lord (and HE is our true husband, and will never leave us alone), Love & prayers

  76. Brenda on April 2, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Part of my problem is a total fear of another man hurting me. They seem to be sweet and kind until the certificate of marriage is signed. The xh was abusive from the start but once I was diagnosed with MS it was worse. He did not want to be bothered and I could not give myself many of the injections that I needed at the time because of tremors in my arms and hands. He didn’t have a choice but to learn how after my daughter moved out. He hurt me every time. I could have done it myself with my shaking hands and not move as much as he did. If I said anything, the screaming would get that much louder and I needed another injection in 2 more days.

    I am 57 and wonder if there is a man out there that would want a woman with the physical problems that I have. I am alright with being alone with the Lord always with me. There is a part of me that would really like to be held.

  77. Ana on April 2, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    It saddens me deeply to hear about how your husband hurt you. How did you decide it was time to leave him? There are days I’m sure that I’m ready to leave. But then he calls and tells me he loves me and our daughter and that he can’t live without us. He sounds so sincere that I always agree to come home. I worry about my little one so much…if I leave what will become of the father daughter relationship ..if I stay what example am I giving her about how women are supposed to be treated. Another part of me gets scared…my husband once told me he’d go crazy if I took his daughter away from him. He tells me that I better “play nice” and learn to get along with him because he will never leave his daughter.

  78. susen on April 3, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Dear Friends~

    Haven’t posted in a couple of days, but I read this blog daily and pray that all of the pain and disappointments shared will be transformed into opportunities for growth and change, and most of all God’s peace within you.

    I also pray that the thoughts I share this morning are received in the spirit in which in which they are intended.

    A counselor told me a long time ago that relationships can be compared to a dance. If one partner alters the dance steps, the other partner has the choice of continuing with his/her own steps or changing his steps to be in sync.

    To further this analogy, I love a good dance partner who takes the lead. It’s exhilarating to be in sync. But if my partner leads us into chaos, then I have the choice to follow or to change the direction of my steps. That’s all we have control over–our own steps. The partner then has a decision to make. If he grabs me like a rag doll and keeps dancing his own steps, or he tramples my feet, or growls or rages. or quotes the Bible or reminds me of my vows–or whatever–it’s no longer a dance but a power struggle. It’s ugly to be in–it’s ugly to watch . . for our friends, for our children.

    I know the power of those reconciliation calls. I wish I didn’t. After years of counseling, I still succumbed to that power and returned home to that ever briefer honeymoon period followed by chaos, once again.

    As women, we are conditioned to give the lead to our partners. If he leads us into temptation, then he becomes the evil one. But we are accountable to God for our own steps.

    The dance can continue, but it’s up to us. Do we return to the dance floor (or boxing ring) or not?

    A time-out can be a good thing. In the absence of chaos, we can begin counseling to gain in knowledge of ourselves. We can obtain the tools to navigate a relationship. We can grow spiritually. (There is little growth in the darkness of chaos!) He has the option to engage in the work of therapy, as well. My choice. His choice. Before it can be Our Commitment.

    (Professional dancers do weight training–both partners need to be strong for a beautiful pairing.)

    But if we know the dance doesn’t work, then it’s up to us to make a change in ourselves. Of course there will be resistance to change–he’s the one who led the dance in the first place and we have so many reasons to want to make him happy and just forgive and forget. But if his dance is killing our Spirit, keeping us stuck, destroying our self-esteem, keeping us in fear, then it’s no longer dancing.

    Closing with First Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace . . . ”

    I pray that you all have a blessed Easter. Jesus gave His all for us. Each of us is important to Him. susen

    • Angela on April 3, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      Beautifully written. What a good analogy!

      I, too, tried to reconcile time and time again with a partner who was leading our entire family into chaos. I kept thinking, “this time will be the time that he is really going to work on our marriage.” I didn’t want to give up hope in that, but at some point, I had to be realistic with what was really going on versus what I so desperately wanted to be true.

      A good friend recently reminded me (gently) that I, too, had to accept responsibility for what I had “allowed”….I had allowed my xh to treat me that way. I had allowed my children to see that and be damaged by it. I had the choice all along to get out of an unhealthy, and sometimes dangerous, situation….just took me awhile to realize it.

      I followed my xh’s dance steps, even though the dance was the wrong dance. Now, I will never place myself in that situation again.

  79. Aleea on April 3, 2015 at 11:43 am

    That’s excellent. –BE THE CHANGE you want to see (via new dance steps). You change, they have to change, even if it is exiting. They can’t interact with someone who is no longer there! Change the Factory-of-Yourself (via the Holy Spirit), everything coming out of that factory is changed. Usually requires a massive hit to our ego (Matthew 6:5,16, James 4:6). Oh Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee. I give thee back the life I owe. That in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.

  80. Sandra on April 6, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    To dear Leslie and all my sisters in Christ: I wrote last week about being frustrated in waiting for the proof of service from the Marshal who served my H the divorce papers on March 10. I’m so pleased to let you know that I finally received the crucial form in today’s mail, and immediately took it down to the courthouse. The court date for the hearing is May 12 @ 9 a.m., and my niece who’s an attorney in SC (and also helped me fill out the forms in the first place) said she’ll come up to NC to go to court with me. I told her I’d take her out for a celebration dinner afterward! I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you all for your love and prayers, and it’s mutual! God loves us and answers our prayers, and His timing is perfect! Romans 8:28

  81. Susanne on April 6, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Sandra,
    I rejoice with you and will keep you in my prayers for this May 12 date. Peace and blessings to you.

    • Susen on April 6, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      Please do something very nice for yourself while you wait on this court date–even if it’s just a bubble bath with candles–take a moment to celebrate and anticipate your new life.

      Also, there’s an app called Aspire that Loretta describes at the end of this week’s blog. The self-protection for you is still an issue. Please do not allow yourself to be alone with him. He has already proven he’s not trustworthy.

      God speed you on your journey. And please continue to share your journey with us. We care.

      Prayers for safety and peace,

  82. Brenda on April 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    That is excellent news and I am sure a load off your shoulders. It is all in God’s timing. Blessings, Brenda

  83. Sandra on April 7, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Dear Sisters:
    I’m in tears from reading your sweet and thoughtful blessings regarding my finally getting the court date for my divorce. I must admit and have asked the Lord’s forgiveness for my anxiety and lack of trust for His providence and perfect timing. I believe He was testing me, and I should have known that He’s never failed me yet! The mind of (wom)man plans (her)his way, but the Lord directs (her)his steps. Proverbs 16:9 Thank you all, and I send my love and prayers for you as well. Sandra

  84. susen on April 16, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I’m glad the analogy worked for you–it’s powerful to me, I guess, because I like to dance so much.

    Thought I’d share with you that I asked my daughter to read this dance posting last weekend. (I’d told her about how much I was gaining from Leslie’s site.) She took so much time looking at my post, that I began to fidget!

    Still don’t know if she was reading it as a daughter of her mother, a daughter of her father, a wife, or a psychiatrist. Maybe all of the above.

    Her only response was, “That’s good, Mom.”

    So . . .just thought I’d share. It’s hard to know just how much information is appropriate, even for grown children.


  85. Sandra on April 17, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Thanks again for your support, Susen, and also to you, Leslie, for recommending the book that would benefit both Susen and my younger daughter: Setting Boundaries with your Adult Parents, by Allison Bottke. Susen,I think you and my daughter will need all the help available to deal with these negative parents. God bless you! Sandra

  86. Sandra on April 21, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Thank you all for your godly advice. I now have another need for the same. I’ve been sitting next to a pleasant and soft-spoken gentleman at church every Sunday for about a year now. I also find him attractive, as he apparently does me, because after church when we wished one another a nice week, he asked me to go out to lunch with him sometime. I don’t know much about him, other than that he’s divorced (as I soon will be). I told him I think he’s sweet and handsome, and that I’d like to have lunch with him as well, and left it at that. I felt rather flattered and told my daughters about it (who have encouraged me to “find a nice Christian man”) and also asked another lady at church what she thought about it. She advised that I discuss it with our pastor’s wife (who is also my Sunday School teacher and mentor to us ladies), so I called her this morning. Since this is an independent fundamental church, she said that since this man (James) and I are still married in the eyes of the Lord (even though divorced), she wouldn’t recommend our going out together because of what it could lead to. I told her I’m not interested in marrying again, but would enjoy a Christian companion. She said she’ll discuss it with the pastor. I told her I wouldn’t want to hurt James, should the pastor talk to him about this (although I didn’t say “discourage him” that I was thinking). He may not even want to sit next to me in church any longer, and I’d miss that. I certainly don’t want to sin against the Lord in this matter or cause a breach in my church fellowship. I’ve prayed about this, asking for the Lord’s will and leading. Thank you Leslie and my dear Sisters for your continued support and prayers. Sandra

    • Leslie Vernick on April 21, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      Sandy, the desire for companionship is hardwired into our very nature. But at this point I would be cautious. Not for the same reasons your Sunday School teacher recommended, but for you to learn to be single and stand on your own two feet. When you do the healing you need to do, sometimes the person you found attractive when you felt weak or needy or unhealthy is not the same person you would be attracted to when you are whole and strong. Take this time for you to get strong, healthy and okay with being single, at least content and capable. That will give you a much better frame to pick good companions. Tomorrow’s blog will talk about some of these things.

  87. Kathy on April 21, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Sandra – I can sympathize. I know it feels nice when people notice us, especially when we feel (subconsciously or consciously) that we’ve been rejected. I too am in the last week or so of a divorce finalization. I didn’t want to go this route, but this is what happened. That said, I’ve already decided that I want nothing more than friendship for at least a year – I need to prove to myself that I CAN, with God’s help, make good choices and manage my own life. There is someone who would like me to think differently, but I flat told him “no”. I’ve been manipulated and controlled for the better part of 20 years and I would be doing a serious disservice to another human being to dive right into a new relationship without first clearing that residual sludge out of my head. It may take more than a year, but I know that I will be a better person if I do it this way and therefore more valuable in another relationship if that is what happens. The best part is – if these men really care, they will understand and respect the choice to wait as a wise decision.

    My apologies – I really didn’t mean to get on a soapbox, but I’ve thought a lot about this topic, and (obviously) have a very strong opinion on it. You will be in my prayers and I know that you will do what is right for you if you are listening to God’s whispers in your heart. God Bless!

  88. Brenda on April 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    If I might put my $.02 worth in: horse hockey. You are 2 grown people with minds designed for decision making. I don’t know why he is divorced, but I am quite sure you are divorcing for cause. It may be better if you waited until the divorce was final or people will definitely be talking. What’s wrong with a group thing initially to see if you are compatible outside of church?

    You may not be interested in marriage now, but that could all change. Be careful please. Take it slow. That is funny–you’ve been sitting together at church for a year. You are already taking it slow.

    I have been away from the abuser for almost 2 years and it scares me to death when a man speaks kindly to me. It scares me more when they don’t. I finally changed my phone number today so the xh will not be able to call or text me anymore. The only ways he has left will bring a PPO. If he calls me at work or comes to my apartment, I am going to court and fast.


  89. Sandra on April 21, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Thank you Leslie and also Brenda and Kathy for your wise and kind advice. I truly believe the Lord will direct me in this matter, according to His will for my life. I think I’ve enjoyed simply sharing a pew with James, since I’d so love to have a believing husband there. I also must admit it’s flattering to be noticed and admired, since I haven’t experienced that for so long. However, I do believe I mustn’t jump into a relationship for those reasons. This is another of God’s whispering to “trust and obey.”

  90. Li on May 22, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I’ve been married for 9 years. A year ago I started counseling (for the fourth time since being married) because I had an emotional affair for a month. I couldn’t believe I was capable of such a thing. In my first session my counselor asked me if I ever felt I was in an abusive relationship. I looked at her with tears in my eyes and said yes but no one believes me and/or doesn’t know what to say. In the first three months of marriage he would beat himself in his face. He punched walls. Within a year he started grabbing me leaving bruises and fingernail scabs in me. He always wanted to have sex in a certain way, even though I said it always hurt. He didn’t care. He is verbally abusive as well. Once the veil was lifted a year ago that I was indeed in an abusive relationship, I confronted him with it. He denied it and says it’s not a big deal. That he has testerone and that all guys do it. He then said I have no room to talk because I had an emotional affair. I feel so trapped. I have continued counseling. I am trying to find my strength in the Lord. But I feel like I have no right to be upset about my abuse since I had that affair. A month ago he officially raped me. My counselor said he verbally pinned me down. When my counselor confronted him, he said he could have gone to jail had I called the police. My husband said “oh anyone can call the police and say anything they want.” I’m so scared. I’m so unsure what to do because I messed up too. No doubt I messed up but does that mean I deserve to continually be abused by him? The abuse occurred before my affair (I say this because his mom said it all happened bc I had an affair). Granted the rape was afterwards. He is rough with my children too. I want to protect them but don’t know how. I feel so alone. I don’t feel like anyone understands what I’m going through. Especially since I did have an affair. I have suffered chronic illness since I married him, as well as Anxiety and depression. My family never understood why I was always sick until they heard about the abuse. They said it makes sense. All of this to wonder how I hold him accountable to his many forms of abuse and yet I sinned against him too? Do I have any right to be upset?

    • susen on May 26, 2015 at 8:51 am

      Dear, dear Li~

      You have poured your heart out on Leslie’s godly site. In sharing with us, you have already gained strength from the many prayers that are being offered up for you. Feel that power, know you are a part of God’s group here. You were created in God’s image. He is our Heavenly Father and wants each of us to thrive for His Glory.

      From your description, you are living in hell right now–a reality created by a sick person–a reality that is slowing killing your spirit and adversely affecting your children. The fear you wrote of is real. If his sickness were physical, like eboli, you would take steps for protecting your children and yourself while seeking medical attention for him–. You would do this despite his demands to the contrary. No one would have the right to tell you that you and your children had to stay in such a dangerous environment except, perhaps, the patient. To further this analogy, the patient might say to you, “You don’t deserve to wear protective clothing, etc., because you had an emotional affair. You deserve to be exposed to my virus. I’m suffering, so you have to suffer too,”

      This would make no sense.

      Your husband’s illness is contagious. The symptoms include controlling you in any way possible–his threatening rages, the rape, his mistreatment of the children, his refusal to take responsibility. I believe that he is using your emotional affair as another tool to control you. He has to discount the accusation of rape–and try his best to convince you that you would have no support if you took legal action against him.

      No abuser . . . not one . . . would ever agree with a decision to call the police regarding physical abuse or rape. In my second disaster of a marriage that lasted nine months, I was able to dial the 9 before the phone was ripped from my hand. I left one week later.

      Yes, Jesus said to take the plank out of our own eye before we address the splinter in another’s eye. This does not mean that we do not address that splinter. It just means that we are to address our own sins and then use the same discernment with others. This is my take on it, anyway. I think you are stuck behind the plank. God sent His Son to die for our sins. It was a big day for me when I realized that I wasn’t an exception–Jesus suffered for me. And who was I to deny that suffering?

      “I’m sorry” does not mean that I hand you my plank to hit me with anytime you feel like it.

      God guided you to this site, as He guided all of us who share here. I urge you to read Leslie’s posting on evil manipulators. Then read last week’s posting of the many Scriptures that will inform your faith that we have the obligation to separate from our abusers. I stayed stuck in my marriage with “turn the other cheek,” “submit to my husband,” and “forgive as you would like to be forgiven.” These verses served to keep me captive in a similar situation. We cannot live to glorify God when we are victims. Our Spirits cannot thrive in such an environment. Think of all of the gifts that you cannot share with others while your talents remain hidden in the fearful darkness. You have a light! You have found a place where there are many candles to help guide your steps.

      My prayer for you is that you will feel God’s Presence and gain strength through His Strength and His Love for you. God bless, susen

  91. Brenda on May 23, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Your having an emotional affair is not a reason for physical and sexual abuse or abuse of any kind against your children. You need to be calling the police and getting a record of it. He does not see the problem All of this IS a big deal. You and your children need to feel safe. Marital rape IS rape. If you have told him that his preference in sexual desires is hurting you, he should be making sure that he is not hurting you. NOT ALL GUYS do this. It is wrong morally and against how God designed marriage to be.

    Praying for you dear Li, Brenda

  92. Sandra on May 23, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Dear Li: After many years of enduring and forgiving my ex-‘s abuse, I also had an “emotional affair” with a supervisor at the office where I worked. He gave me the love and attention I didn’t receive from my h, but of course, it was sin, and I confessed it to the Lord and discontinued it before it became physical. (If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9). If you have done that as well, you are forgiven and no longer need to feel guilty.
    My h also wanted unnatural sex, and because I refused, he went elsewhere for it over the years (but I foolishly stayed and kept forgiving him). As I’ve noted before on this blog, after he became impotent (and blamed me for being a “cold fish”), the verbal abuse increased, and I refused to share a bed with him until it stopped. He finally left, after 57 years!, and later begged to return, but I could never reconcile, and have recently divorced. My prayer is that you will trust the Lord to lead you into a life of peace and freedom away from this destructive marriage, as He did me.

    • susen on May 26, 2015 at 9:15 am


      Brenda and Sandra and I represent over one hundred years of experiences in abusive relationships. We have learned and earned our freedom. Perfectly? No. We have shared many of our false starts here. But our steps are a testament to our growing faith and how God has worked to strengthen us for His Glory.

      We have lots of beautiful oak trees here in West Texas. Part of the beauty is in the amazing miracle that they could survive and thrive through droughts, lightening, floods, and disease. Not one tree grows straight up! Each has a gnarly part that testifies to a struggle for survival. Part of the beauty of the blessed shade offered by those branches is in those gnarled parts. I relate to those trees–the amazing miracle of survival and the blessedness of the gift of shade offered to those in need. susen

  93. Brenda on May 26, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Amen, Susen. That was truly good and wise counsel that you gave to Li. Prayers going up for both of you. Brenda

    • susen on May 28, 2015 at 8:23 am

      Brenda~blessings right back at ya. 🙂 susen

  94. Susanne on May 26, 2015 at 11:13 am


    Thank you for sharing with us. I want to say that after 13 years of emotional, verbal and then physical abuse from my husband, I finally realized that there is absolutely NO excuse for abuse. He is in denial after 3 years of separation. He has yet to repent, although he told a friend of mine he did! He has now filed for a divorce. Over the years I continued to look for reasons why he was so abusive towards me, until I finally realized that he was responsible for his words and actions and I did not cause him to be that way. I found out that he had been abusive to other women and children long before we met. All of this was kept hidden by excuses and lies, which I believed until I began experiencing the abuse after one year into our marriage. I also blamed myself. Perhaps I didn’t give him every thing he wanted or needed. Maybe I should have cooked more. Should I have not ever questioned anything he said or did? It took me a 6 month separation in 2010 and then another 2 years of the same thing over and over to finally get it. He wasn’t changing, nor did he have any intention of doing so. I cried when I signed the separation papers on May 7 but when I got out to my car I took a deep breath and thanked the Lord, saying “I can breath”. I am left with back pain from the physical abuse and still have to wear pain patches but the freedom from the abuse and the peace of God is so wonderful.

    Li, I am praying for you with the other sisters in the Lord. God bless you with much wisdom.

    Love and blessings, Susanne

    • susen on May 26, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      Howdy Suzanne~

      Your post made me think about my children’s father and the only “repentance” he ever showed for twenty years of abuse:

      An artist at manipulation, he said, “I told my counselor that if I took all of the responsibility for our failed marriage, I would commit suicide. You wouldn’t want me to do that, would you?”

      So, it was still all about him!

      p.s. My eye is doing better, so I can be back online some, but I still have to rest it many times during the day. I can read a little, but posting in this gray color really is challenging. I have two more months of having to be very careful. But I am here and I am, as always, praying for each and every one!

      • Susanne on May 27, 2015 at 11:07 am

        Hey Susen,

        Praying for speeding healing for your eye and that God would amaze you during this time of rest. Thank you for being so obedient to pray for others. I thank God that there is no distance in prayer.

        Love and blessings to all my dear sisters, Susanne.

        • Susanne on May 27, 2015 at 11:08 am

          I meant to say “speedy healing”

          • susen on May 28, 2015 at 8:14 am


            I’m humbled by your words of care. Thank you.

            I wish we could all just sit down over a great cup of coffee–and maybe some really decadent sweet rolls–smelling of cinnamon and full of nuts and raisins and dripping in hot buttery icing–and just share some fun stuff going on in our lives. Maybe it’s an old fashioned idea, but we weren’t born into a virtual world!

            Also, as I read of so much pain, fear, and heartbreak–gut-wrenching decisions–growth, relief, praising God–I pray that there is also some source of joyful activity for each person here. But, from dark experience, just surviving leaves little room for anything else. There is no balance of work and play when we live in a house with walls that threaten to crush, imprisoned behind a front door that presents one view to the passersby as it conceals our ugly reality within.

            I always had my separate world within my classroom with my precious and not-so-precious students who loved me through many years. But summer would come and that was always the pressure cooker.

            But, back to the coffee and cinnamon rolls, there is a need for balance for us to live fruitful lives. It’s okay to give to ourselves–without guilt! I generally think of what I would (and do!) advise my daughters to do for themselves and then try to take my own advice. (And that’s a laugh! But I am getting a bit better at it.)

            Well, my cup of coffee is empty this morning–no cinnamon roll–but I have imagined what it would be like to have you all around my table–and, like the thought of the yummy roll, it was a sweet time (without the calories . . or the hugs).

            Hope you all give yourselves something special today–even if it’s just a walk in the sunshine, breathing fresh, free air!


  95. Sandra on May 26, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you again for your wise and kind words, dear Susen, also the analogy of the strong tree there in Texas. How true that through adversity, we grow stronger in the Lord, and He’s with us through it all and never will forsake us. What peace and joy to finally be released from years of abuse and bondage, so as to serve Him in freedom! Prayers & Blessings, Sandra

    • susen on May 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm


  96. Sandra on May 28, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Dear Sisters: Since I had no comments from the ladies of my church toward the photos posted on Facebook, of the little celebration the dear ladies in my apartment complex had for me the day of my divorce, I decided to post an announcement of the divorce the next day (i.e., putting out fleece, like Gideon). I still received no likes or comments from the dozen or more church ladies, other than one. I’ve decided to leave the church, since I have received no support or acceptance. I sent a note to the Pastor’s wife to let her know, and that I felt led of the Lord to attend another church. She said they don’t believe divorce should be celebrated, nor do they condone it, but still love me and want me to stay.I replied that it is a celebration for me to finally be released from 57 years of abuse and bondage. She said the church will be always be open for me and that I’ll be missed. (Another life chapter closing) Thanking you all for your support and kind advice, and God’s blessings, Sandra

    • susen on May 29, 2015 at 8:38 am


      Been thinking about the discernment in your decision to leave your church, and I recalled one of Leslie’s replies some time ago about how our circle of friends change after we gain our freedom. (Not her exact words.)

      Yesterday I talked about front doors. We expend so much energy trying to put up a good front, living the lives that society dictates instead of the lives we were meant to live–hiding– at all costs–the ugliness within–that there is little energy for anything else. “Friends” at that time of my life had dedicated themselves to that façade. They were all, as I had been, rule followers.

      Then I broke the rules. Understanding and empathy had nothing to do with the shared reaction of my former circle. Those women were as invested as I had been in keeping up the good front. They had to react the way they did to my freedom because it threatened their worlds.

      (n writing this, I recall that several came to me later and inquired about what it was like to be single, crying on my shoulder about their unhappiness.)

      Anyway, in discarding the rules that almost took my life, I embarked on writing my own rules. So I didn’t fit in with my former circle of friends anymore.

      And then God blessed me with the best friend of my life, my dear, dear “back door friend.”

      Thanks for reading this “trip” back into memory. Hope it helps a bit with the disappointment you feel as your church friends cannot rejoice with you.


  97. Brenda on May 28, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    If being freed from bondage after 57 years of abuse isn’t cause to celebrate, I don’t know what is!! I pray the Lord will lead you to a new assembly that will support you through the next miles of your journey.

    Blessings and prayers for you, Dear, Sister,


  98. Leonie on May 28, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Sandra, your news is a huge cause for rejoicing. I just left my abusive husband. With each breath I am breathing relief and rejoicing and smiling and laughing all day everyday! We are rejoicing with you. I have been running around getting all kinds of legal things done sorted out but everyone is telling me I look so happy. I am!! It is all I can do not to tell everyone what happened!! Don’t worry, I’m not but am just feeling I have a new lease on life!

    • susen on May 28, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      For Leonie and Sandra–

      “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You:
      Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
      Let those also who love Your name
      Be joyful in You.”
      Psalm 5:11

      Seems like something from the Declaration of Independence would also be appropriate–“life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”!

      I am overjoyed for both of you. Prayers answered, God’s daughters delivered, the whole wide world before your feet!

      Only those of us who have been similarly delivered can truly understand the miracle. Rejoice! susen

      • Sandra on May 31, 2015 at 2:17 pm

        P.S.: I attended my “new” church this morning, and received a warm welcome. This is the denomination that I attended as a child, and also where I was saved and baptized, so it’s like coming home.

        Oh, I also “unfriended” from Facebook all the ladies from my former church, who refused to support me after my divorce “celebration.”

        Share with God’s people who are in need. Romans 12:13

  99. Brenda on May 28, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    I”m so glad you’re here. I have wondered how you are doing. It sounds like–better than I expected. Congrats!!!!


    • susen on May 28, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Me, too, Leonie. Blessings, susen

  100. Leonie on May 28, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Brenda, I felt like I was really finished with this nonsense a while ago. His yelling and cheating and explosive rages really had nothing to do with me and I knew I only had to get away because he only caused oppression & chaos. . I feel like he totally became irrelevant in my life. There was no partnership or sensibility there to work with. I learned so much from Lundy Bancroft, A Cry for Justice and especially from Leslie. I felt like a hostage in the situation and didn’t know how to get him out of our home. God really heard our prayers even when people said it was likely that he wouldn’t be charged. I thought I would have to go to a shelter for 4-6 weeks. I still have a lot to go through to get the family court situation settled but the police were amazing and I feel heard and supported and believed and my investigating officer was amazing and is great at following up on any attempted & unwanted contact. I feel like it would be really easy for him to breach his restraining orders because I’m sure everything within him wants to come and put me in my place or teach me a lesson or whatever his crazy mind feels I “deserve”. Thank goodness we are free from being terrorized because that is really what it was.

    • susen on May 28, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      Live fully, but care-fully. Praying for that hedge of protection and rejoicing in the sunshine. Blessings, susen

      • Susanne on May 29, 2015 at 1:22 pm

        Also praying for a hedge of protection and thanking the Lord for freedom!!!

  101. Brenda on May 29, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Leonie and everyone who God has set free, I give thanks to Him who can make the dead rise and be alive again!! Be safe Dear Sisters and keep your eyes on Jesus.

    • Susanne on May 29, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Brenda, thank you for all your encouraging words that I am sure everyone is so grateful for…..God bless you my dear sister.

  102. Leonie on May 29, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Ladies, I am so grateful & thankful for your prayers.
    My husband is very angry & unpredictable and I am very scared of him and what he could do (in this immediate breakup time) so I really treasure & covet your prayers during this time of crisis! When we have Jesus we have everything and what the world has to offer in comparison through all their counselling and programs is (helpful don’t get me wrong) but nothing compared to the truth and light of knowing Him and the truth he speaks into our lives.
    Isaiah 55:2 “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,and you will delight in the richest of fare.” Nothing else satisfies like His words do, where else would we go?

    • Susanne on May 29, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Leonie, I continue to keep you in my prayers. Praying for a hedge of protection….praying for warring angels to go on your behalf….praying for peace….praying for wisdom beyond your years.

      Father, I praise You that Leonie dwells in the secret place of the Most High and that she shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty—whose power no foe can withstand. She will say of You, Lord, “The Lord is my refuge and my fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I confidently trust!” In the name of Christ Jesus, Amen!

      • Leslie Vernick on May 30, 2015 at 2:44 pm

        Thank you for your tender heart Susanne and for praying for Leonie.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 30, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      Keep letting us know how things are going Leonie.

  103. Sandra on May 30, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Thank you once again, dear Sisters, for your caring and wise advice and blessings throughout my stressful divorce process, as well as the negative response from my church. I can’t tell you how much this blog, along with dear Leslie’s council, has helped to sustain and encourage me to keep my eyes on the Lord and trust in His love and leading.

    As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10

    My love & prayers for you all, Sandra

    • Leslie Vernick on May 30, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      We’re hear for you Sandra. XOXo

  104. Leonie on May 31, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Thanks so much for your comments of support & your prayers. It is a miracle that I am free! Today I opened all my windows, I haven’t been able to do that in a long time. I am basking in the freedom to do the simple things. The stress is falling off all of us. It is horrifying to realize the extent of the control my husband had over all of us. God slowly peeled back the layers of lies & deception in response my prayers asking Him to show me the truth, tell myself the truth and speak the truth and of course the pleading & pleading for him to deliver me from this horrible marriage!
    The morning I left my home & went to report the times my husband had assaulted me to police – he had been telling me that his colleagues at work were horrified at how I had beat him up and scratched his face. (At the time of the incident he had attacked me and I struggled to get away, somehow I scratched his face unaware, just fighting for my life) then later told me when I fight with him I should make sure to avoid hurting him in ways that would show. I was flabbergasted that he was putting his evil intentions on me and pretending they were mine!! Can you imagine that I want to hurt him intentionally and make sure the injuries are not visible??? The twists and intimidation were knctedible and he is so bold I defining these lies as reality. It is only by God’s grace that I had the mental space to realize that this would be used against him if I went for help. Wow, the level of subversion makes me shudder. I have not had contact now for 11 days and slowly the oppression is dropping off of me. A fresh breeze is blowing in now! All I feel is relief, over & over, breathing deeply and imagining how ‘squished’ we were for so long. My son no longer has to worry about locking the door wrong or pulling into the driveway with his step-mom’s car or whatever imagined offence he accidentally might commit with out knowing. We have come this far, Lord strengthen us for the battles ahead!

  105. Brenda on May 31, 2015 at 6:20 am

    I can hear the chains coming off!! Isn’t it amazing how the little things like opening a window are so liberating. I can see the smile on your face in your writing. I remember when I was counting the days and the happiness that I felt. Now that 2 years approaches in 3 days, I am watching the sunrise over Lake Huron and I get to enjoy making new memories of a place I didn’t enjoy coming to in the past. I’ve counted each swan, each goose and enjoyed every ripple of the waves coming into shore. My weekend here has not been spent surrounded by anger and the xh spending every penny we brought with us feeding a slot machine, but in peace and enjoy the nature that God created. The difference is so amazing. Yes, I brought technology with me too, but I spend most of the day leaving it behind. : ) I am so thankful that you are on the next steps of the journey and moving into peace with God’s help and provision. Yours in Christ, Brenda

  106. Sandra on May 31, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    My heart and prayers go out to you, dear Leonie. I can well relate to the emotional abuse you’ve endured; although my xh had threatened physical abuse as well, I always told him I would call the police. However, I lived in fear, knowing he was on the verge, and thank God he left before it came to that. I rejoice with you that you no longer suffer that abuse, and are now on the road to freedom and peace, with all that “craziness” behind you. God bless and keep you, Sandra XO

  107. Leonie on May 31, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you Susen, Susanne, Sandra & Brenda! You are God-sent, thanks for your prayers and beautiful verses of encouragement. I am sensing there has been financial nonsense that had gone on under the radar so I am just praying to be sesitive & that the Lord will show me what & how to deal with that as well.

  108. Sandra on June 25, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Thank you, Leslie, for the reminder that we’re not to berate ourselves for “not knowing”. Thank you also, Lynn, for that analogy of our walking around in the desert (like the Israelites) for 40 years. I was much like them, but unfortunately, did it for 57 years! But thank God that He also brought me out “to the promised land” before it was too late.
    God bless you! Sandra

Leave a Comment

Ask Your Question

Have a blog question you'd like to submit?

Read More

How do I move beyond hurtful words?

This week I have been diligently working on a new e-newsletter which hopefully will be in your mailbox by Friday. If you haven’t signed up to receive my newsletter on line, go to The topic of the newsletter is Do you Talk to Yourself? I’ve also been working to update my Facebook page with…


How can I tell if my daughter’s boyfriend is abusing her?

Q. My 16 year old daughter is dating someone and I’m concerned that it’s not a healthy relationship. He calls all the time and seems very possessive and jealous. She seems as obsessed with him as he is with her but I’m worried. How will I know if she is being mistreated or abused and…


My Husband Makes Me Feel Like an Object

Question: I’ve been married for 25 years to an emotionally and verbally abusive man. I feel angry and bitter toward him for the way he treats me. Yet, he still expects me to be loving and affectionate with him, especially in bed. I can’t do it. What does God expect me to do? (Rita in…