Am I Manipulative Or Am I Implementing Consequences?


Morning friends,

I put a new video up on my site home page entitled Building Your CORE Strength. Even if you’re not in a destructive marriage, I think you will find it helpful. Please share it with others.

This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you’d like to help a woman in need, here is one way you can do so:

Thanks for your prayers for me and balance. I’m working on it, and still need to find the right rhythm between work, rest and play.

Today’s Question: I still feel stuck when it comes to asking my husband for changes in his attitude or behavior. He has asked for specifics so he can see what I am referring to in what he calls a “blind spot.” I sense the need to define it also.

I do not want to manipulate; so how do I ask for action yet not manipulate? If I spend time away or separate in some way to let him know this is serious and I am asking for a response, aren't I forcing my hand? My request?

I think part of it is that I need a plan if he says “no” and sticks to that. He has to have the freedom to say “no”, but that involves consequences and raises the same type of question again: How do I give consequences and not cross the boundary into manipulation or sounding peevish (well, since you won't, then I will…). I feel like if he continues as is, I need time for balance away from the chaos for myself.

I do check myself by asking: Am I handling this biblically? Am I being subject to authorities with respect, gentleness and a quiet spirit (I Peter 2)?. Yet, am I doing well, which I think probably includes more than tolerating and peacekeeping. I don't want to put the tools of boundaries before God's leading.

Answer: I appreciate your question and the heart-felt anguish and thoughtfulness in trying to discern your own heart’s response. Let me make sure I understand what you’re confused or unsure about.

You ask your husband to do something or change something that you would like him to do or change.

You want him to have the freedom to say “no” if he doesn’t want to.

But then, where does that leave you if he doesn’t change? You don’t want to manipulate him into saying “yes” by giving him a consequence. But on the other hand, if you have no consequence, that seems to minimize the seriousness of your request that changes must be made

Without more details on the specifics you want changed, I can’t answer yes or no because I can think of examples where it could be either. Therefore, I will just respond theoretically and give some examples.

First, there are many things that we might like to see our spouse change that have little or nothing to do with our safety (physical, emotional, financial, spiritual or sexual). I might want my husband to be neater with his papers around the house or help more with household chores. These are legitimate requests that might even bring some consequences if he chooses to not change, but they would be mild and they usually do not threaten the stability of the marriage

For example, if he doesn’t want to be neater with his papers, a consequence might be that he can’t find the bills he needs when they are due–especially if I gather them all together and put them in a single box in his office instead of leaving them spread all over the kitchen counter.

If he chooses not to help around the house, a consequence for his decision might be either our house would be messier or there would be less money available to spend for fun things because I had to hire people to help do the things he didn’t want to do.

So, the first principle of consequences is that they should match up with the situation in which you are asking for a change. For example, if your husband drives recklessly or while intoxicated and he refuses to change, a consequence to his refusal might be that you don’t drive with him anymore unless he allows you to drive the car. Manipulation would sound different. It might sound more like a threat, “If you drink at the party tonight, I won’t speak to you” or “I’ll never go anywhere with you again.”

A consequence of infidelity or financial deceit is broken trust. Asking for bank records or passwords to rebuild trust would be reasonable. To refuse would mean continued broken trust and perhaps separation if you did not feel safe. However, adding, “If you don’t give me your passwords, I’m going to call your mother and tell her everything you did to me,” would be crossing the line into manipulation.

Controlling spouses are manipulative and bullying, but often use the term “consequences” to confuse you and make it seem like they are not doing anything abusive. However, there is no genuine choice because if you don’t do what he or she wants, there is a punishment (not a consequence). For example, if you don’t stop arguing or disagreeing and he loses his temper and becomes violent, it’s your fault and a consequence because you would not stop when he said to stop. Or, if he told you he didn’t want you to talk with your friend on the phone but you chose to talk with her and he took your cell phone away or cancelled it as a consequence of you disobeying him, that’s controlling and abusive. That is not implementing appropriate consequences.

Good and bad consequences are a natural result of someone’s decisions and don’t include guilt trips, lying, bullying or threats, badgering, name calling, deceit or emotional tantrums. Manipulation, on the other hand, contains some or all of the above.

The bottom line is that these terms are sometimes inadequate words to flesh out all of the nuanced ways we can be sneaky to push to get our own way. Therefore, make sure your consequence is appropriate to the situation as well as biblically appropriate. To refuse to talk to an adult child for 6 months because they didn’t come home for the holidays is manipulative. To be genuinely disappointed about his or her decision is a natural consequence, and for them to expect otherwise would be unrealistic.

Friends, how have you discerned the seemingly fine line between implementing consequences that serve as a wake-up call to sinful and inappropriate behaviors verses being tempted to manipulate someone to get him or her to change their decisions or do what you want?




  1. Jerry on October 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    In my own personal experience, we do not ‘get’ what we do not [specifically] ‘ask for’. In other words, the answer is always, “No, [I will not change that}”, if I do not know what needs to be changed.

    Susan and I have been married 42 years and have had more than our share of conflicts. But I remember vividly [19 years ago] when our marriage was at a tipping point. My infidelity had been discovered. It was not hard to see that my sexual proclivities had to stop.

    But, there was more. Susan had a short list of changes she wanted to ‘see’ in me. They were not unreasonable, because a faithful Christian husband would want to see them through. I still remember them, because I still do them.

    Now, our marriage has an element of understanding. If Susan sees a defect in me, then she states it specifically. Manipulation never crosses our minds. There are times when I feel like she is overbearing and I state my need for her to evaluate everything and we come to an agreement.

    You may ask how I work through this if I want Susan to change something. I haven’t crossed that bridge yet… :):):)

    • Alene on October 14, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      Jerry, it was very helpful to read your thoughts. Thank you for taking time to share. I am quite sure others will be blessed as well.

  2. Alene on October 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    I’ve looked at boundaries and understand the other person must have the freedom to choose, to say no.
    The situation involves an ongoing persistent frustration pattern that involves things like put downs, name calling, blame, bitter remarks, impatience, talk behind people’s back, looking down on people who don’t work well, extreme reactions, self focus, lack of empathy/listening, dishonest slant, etc.. (It isn’t hard for me to see roots in his childhood) I named it a few weeks ago as a frustration pattern and asked for specific action to address it (anger course/accountability). He has given it some consideration which is as far as he went and a bit of effort but not specific action. He has taken some small insufficient steps over the years, better than nothing with limited improvements but the pattern remains.
    We both felt that giving specifics was the next step on what he called a “blindspot”.
    He has been very resistent and given minimal effort or avoidance in this area over the years (25 married). It has wrecked havoc in various ways (ministry/family/relationships). It has been so serious that it must be addressed with serious action.
    My part was needed growth to be strong enough and directly specific enough and call for real action. I knew how to keep peace but learning to make peace is a new thing. I appreciate your input as I learn this new strength.
    I will be praying and giving him a write up of the specifics this weekend; I like Jerry’s idea to include what I want to see for behavior and his encouragement that this is reasonable to ask a faithful Christian husband, which my husband considers himself to be, to address. I have already asked for action as stated above. The pattern has been strong and also subtle; he needs help to see it and needs to take responsibility for it himself. He may say no or give excuses which is why I want to understand the difference between manipulation and consequences and how to walk this well.
    A friend of mine needed to be separated for a while, overwhelmed by what was happening with frustration in her home. I don’t know that that is right for me and my situation. It is hard to be strong for a step with consequences and know how to do them/what they can be; to go far enough but not too far. Your input is appreciated. I want to maintain respect and humility and do it well. A friend suggested something that would fit my husband’s love language: sleeping downstairs possibly; his love language is touch, would this also be appropriate to the offense because what he does creates distance in the relationship while not going so far as for me to leave for a time. I have taken some time away twice recently for some quiet and that has emphasized this is important. I could still cook and meet his diet/health needs if we do separate rooms right now. I am strong enough to be taking these steps, and am thankful for how I’ve grown this last year and a half. I am building a circle of strength and support in several areas outside the home and taking some growth steps myself. Consequences is a new step and I want to take it well.

    • sandy on October 17, 2013 at 12:23 am

      Dear Alene, Twice I separated from my husband because of his controlling ways with me. He became physical on both occasions. I would return to the house on the week ends during both separations. I don’t believe my husband ever really got the message that his behavior, his desire for control and the verbal and physical abuse drove me out of the house. He did make promises to change before I returned. However, these promises were kept for only a few weeks each time. I believe that because I did not stay completely away he did not get the full message of why I left. I am once again ready to leave.

  3. Lynette on October 15, 2013 at 7:23 am

    “Yet, am I doing well, which I think probably includes more than tolerating and peacekeeping. I don’t want to put the tools of boundaries before God’s leading.”
    I wanted to address these words. We are called to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers, because peacekeeping is a few steps short of denial. You will never have peace if you are walking on eggshells or never confronting serious issues that threaten your marriage. Also, boundaries are not unbiblical or going ahead of God. There are multiple instances in the bible that say “if…then…” Respect gentleness and quietness doesn’t mean doormat. It means when you confront, you do it respectfully.

  4. janet on October 15, 2013 at 7:47 am

    what is the payoff to stay?

  5. Heila on October 15, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I think “reasonable” is a good word that Jerry uses above. We can evaluate if consequences are within reason or not. We can do this better with practice. But we all (with the help of discernment from God through the Holy Spirit, and the Bible and good counsel) have the ability to figure out “what makes sense.” There is a wonderful feeling of peace and “rightness” when we hit on the truth. And we can make minor adjustments along the way as needed, since none of us are actually perfect. But this feeling of peace like a river is so strengthening. When we are able to hit on what’s right and what needs to be done, there is no interfering bitterness within us. Any kind of manipulation, etcetera always has a consequence of uneasiness within our conscience – which will play out in behaviors that can be evaluated as destructive. This is the good kind of “judging.” We need to search for truth and go hard after it. Then when we find and know it, we can have the courage and peaceful strength to implement what we know will be for the good of everyone. Even when it gets hard. So, an openness & humility ourselves to God’s voice & a peaceful nature – versus a closed, suspicious and non-trusting feeling are our clues to whether we’re manipulating or implementing good consequences for growth. I actually think writing it down might help too!

  6. Tona on October 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Leslie – this is a wise article (and exhortation) indeed. I also appreciate what Jerry said.

    What is very sad (but not totally unexpected) is that the Courts know that there is abusive behavior coming into the courtrooms (first via pleadings) – but they do nothing to stop it (citing that it isn’t their job to do so). But that is the world and not Christ. Even sadder is when this same behavior continues to be tolerated in the body of Christ, from the pulpit on down. Where is the love of Christ in us by the Holy Spirit. Folks just don’t want to get that we learn by example and choice. Sin is painful when you are faced with it, many go the way of Cain and avoid while others go the route of David by confess and repent. Thank you again Leslie for sounding the trumpet. Maybe some others will listen and heed from the heart. May the Lord bless and keep you.

  7. janice' on October 15, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    My husband has been a grump and bully most of out 43 years of marriage. (he admits to being a bully)Early on i had an affair but soon realizied that i was only hurting myself more and was not helping the situation . Long story short- we both got counseling and it did help some. Most of the change came from me and the Lord helping me to love him. I also kept myself busy with friends,church, family,work and educational things. He had changed some and we had some great times but I continue to struggle being with him because of his jerky personality. The older i get the less tolerant i become and I told him in June if he didn’t stop the negative, argumentative, always right attitude i would not be able to have any kind of meaningful relaionship with him. He has chosen to continue being a jerk. It makes me sad because we could have alot going for us. Great kids and Grandkids, a wonderful place to live, great church, part time jobs and plenty of things to do. I was willing and still am able to deal with the consequences of not being connected with him but if i think about it it makes me sad . I am so turned off by him and now find myself being very angry at him for choosing to be so nasty instead of dealing with his frustration and anger in a better way and not direct it at me. Any way, Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Sheryl on October 28, 2013 at 10:05 am

      My husband is similar in grumpiness and always having to be right. He went to a doctor who gave him testosterone (for other reasons) and when he takes it, he is happier, not grumpy. He still struggles with the “always right “thing which he learned from his dad. Trying to point out that his dad has no friends does no good. Lately i just pointed out little times when i was right…about little things like a recipe, etc. and did it in a joking way “see, i’m right sometimes”. We’ll see if it works. But for him, the testosterone is key. I can tell when he has or hasn’t taken it.

      • Robin on October 28, 2013 at 5:40 pm

        Perhaps its time we quit looking to the church and church leaders to help us. We must decide to rescue ourselves. When I quit listening to the confusing messages the church was giving me, and relied on God alone…..God sent the right helper. Women need to understand, people in the world do not get what abused families go thru. I repented, asking God to forgive me for seeking wisdom from others and asked Him to lead me out……..and He did. Please don,t think someone is going to come rescue you.i waited 30 yrs, and they never came. Today God has given me a full circle of strong support!!!

        • Jen on October 29, 2013 at 9:31 am

          Thank you so much. I needed to hear that. You are 100% right.

        • Cheryl on April 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm

          Where did you find this circle of support?

  8. tamara on October 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Leslie, l’m desperate in trying to find counseling in my area. Durham, NC. I have had to live my home, find a new church, take care of our son with very little help and so much more!¡!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you know any body in this area?

    • Truth on October 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      I know about Leslie, from Bill Buck in Raleigh, NC. Here is the link to a his Relationship Management page: Anyone can go to the website for free advice on improving relationships.

      His phone is: 211 E Six Forks Rd Raleigh, NC 27609
      (919) 821-7755
      He and his wife have done this Bible study at various churches in the Raleigh area, along with other studies. He is a gracious, compassionate Christian counselor who is not money hunger but more concerned utilizing his craft to help the hurting heal in Christ.

      • tamara on November 5, 2013 at 8:07 pm

        I don’t know who sent me this, but I thank you! it is another answer to my prayers!!!!!! I have called him and plan on making an appointment with him.

    • Truth on October 31, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Bill Buck
      211 E Six Forks Rd Raleigh, NC 27609
      (919) 821-7755
      (a open resource on relationships from a Christian perspective open to anyone)

  9. Truth on October 16, 2013 at 12:40 am


    Great insight. I’m prevailed to say Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy and is inflicting damage on the institution of marriage via strongholds (mindsets) and any oppressive behavior imaginable. WE MUST PRAY FOR PROTECTION OF THE INSTITUTE OF MARRIAGE, whether we are married, single, or widowed.

    Churches can be more pro-active in supporting marriage from offering marriage classes to affordable seminars and/or retreats, comedy nights (we all need humor) and of course, offering counseling and or mentoring programs from seasoned couples. We also need peer to peer events, for bonding and learning strategies from others allowing us to vent, grow, and pray with others struggling also. I hope we never forget to be spiritual prayer warriors for others marriages, and we would not be ashamed to ask our fellow brethren how we can pray for them.

    • Kim on October 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      Leslie, what can we do to open up the eyes of Pastors and leadership of the church to Domestic Abuse? Ten years ago I approached my Pastor about what was going on in my home concerning my husband’s abuse, and he gave me a pamphlet, “100 ways to love your husband”. I was overwhelmed! Ten years later I would still like to confront/inform him. I no longer attend his church but still feel the urgency to educate/inform him of his error.
      I can’t help but wonder how many more women, who needed to be rescued, received the same pamphlet. Thanks so much!

      • Leslie Vernick on October 27, 2013 at 7:52 pm

        Kim, I’m in the process of writing a e-book for Churches on how to deal with this issue. Sadly they probably will not buy it but you can and give it to your pastor. It will be short enough that hopefully he will read it and recognize that they must begin to do things differently.


        • Regina on November 1, 2013 at 11:47 pm

          I am very interested in making church leaders more aware of issues such as domestic abuse as well as substance abuse. People should not be afraid to go their pastors or others in positions at churches (youth minister, Sunday School teachers, etc.) If the truth were known, almost everyone in churches will be dealing with or have dealt with such problems, but church leaders are afraid to try to help. I recently graduated with a masters in licensed professional counseling and hope to begin a support group at my church.

  10. Robin on October 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    What a great discussion. For me, I was manipulating constantly, until I owned my power, took responsibility for me, and learned to set healthy boundaries with consequences. My husband had his worst case of road rage in the car screaming at me and trying to blame me even while I was trying to give him options. His consequence was I removed myself and walked refusing to get in car. I no longer ride with him until he acknowledges he has a problem and gets help. He withhold money from me as a punishment for not allowing him to control me. My consequence for him was I refused to plan or cook anymore after he took over money for grocery budget. He is very angry and looking for new ways to punish me. I have asked him to read a bk on abuse, and get help for his abusiveness and he refuses, thinking he can manage his own sin. We live in same house, but live separate lives. I have given him plenty of free choice, and no I do not think giving consequences for him continually sinning against me is manipulation. It is being truthful to myself and him. Its not the best way to live, but the H.S. leads me and hopefully soon my husband will repent. He is an intense controller, and will not give up easily. So more consequences will be needed. Thank you Leslie for your resources on consequences and building core. Its been a lifesaver! Robin

    • Leslie Vernick on October 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      I agree that taking “responsibility” or “ownership” of your problem – I’m scared while driving with you and you won’t get help therefore, I won’t drive with you anymore – is another way of looking at consequences. Taking care of yourself wise and not being manipulative.

  11. Robin on October 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    One more thought….. I think abusive controllers try to convince us, that we are manipulating, when what we really are, is taking responsibility for our own lives and needs. Before I learned how to apply consequences, I had no quality of life, I simply endured and tolerated, and pointed all the blame on self for not being wize enough to fix my relationship. Now I walk in a warrior strength, setting firm consequences because i want to teach my children and family we do not forget to give respect for ourselves. Consequences and Truth have given me an empowered life.

  12. fiona on October 17, 2013 at 4:33 am

    I read a good quote on boundaries once. “A boundary is only a boundary if you have let go of the outcome” For instance, you say to someone, if they are late you will go without them. If you are hung up on the outcome, and they are indeed late, and you chew them out and go crazy, this was not a boundary in the first place. This was control and manipulation, and there is no freedom in it for them, or for yourself. A true boundary is, you just stick to what you said, and go without them. I can understand that in a lot of situations, this is going to make you angry, disappointed, let down, frustrated etc. But again, those are your own feelings to process, not someone else’s. In my experience, when I did “boundaries” and had a vested interest in the outcome, I would get confused, feel like a persecutor, and most importantly, I was the one being controlled actually. Because my husband would just always have me on the hook. My whole life became about him, and would he do something, or not do something. It took me a long time to negotiate this whole concept, and I still don’t get it right, but I’m a lot better. I tend to trust myself a lot more, and instead of making it about the other person, and their behaviour, I make it about me, and what I want, and feel. I don’t always get what I want, afterall, I really can’t dictate to another, but the very act of taking ownership of me, and my own uniqueness, is in itself empowering, and freeing in so many ways.When I first started doing it, i was very awkward about it, but it is now becoming more natural to me, and easier! I hope this helps someone.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks Fiona – yes a boundary is about you and owning your own feelings, life, space, needs, etc. For example a boundary is “I will not allow myself to be talked to that way and if you choose to continue, I will leave the conversation” Or, I want the door shut when I use the bathroom. Those are boundaries that you control. Being controlling over another person is when you say, “You cannot talk to me that way.” When you say that kind of thing you see how little control over another person you really have. You have zero control over how he talks to you but you have 100% control over whether or not you stay and listen to it. When someone makes you feel guilty for setting a boundary for yourself they are being manipulative or controlling disrespecting your boundary and your right to set it.

      On another note – Sometimes we feel we have to justify saying a simple NO. How many of us have made a million excuses up as to why we couldn’t do something because “no” isn’t good enough. We’re not allowed to say no unless we have a REALLY good reason (and this idea may be totally in our own mind) So we say yes when we want to say no because we feel our reason isn’t legitimate enough – like I’m tired, or I just don’t want to do that. Like somehow we are not allowed to have our own independent feelings or thoughts or needs or wants. Fiona said it well. We don’t’ always GET what we want all the time – no one does. In healthy relationships there is discussion and compromise. But it is not wrong or selfish to know what you want or don’t want and state it clearly and if necessary firmly.

  13. IZHH on October 18, 2013 at 6:26 am

    Wow Robin you are a true Ezer. Keep it up and walk in strength and spirit.

  14. Kelly on October 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    My husband says I’m being controlling and manipulative because I continue to go to my church even though he doesn’t want me too. He thinks I’m also being stubborn and uncooperative. He perceives that he is no longer welcome at the church but that is not the case. He wants me to leave because he was confronted and it is a battle every week.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 18, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      When you go to church you are not being controlling, you are being an adult who makes an adult decision. If you were making him go to church that would be controlling.

  15. kelly on October 19, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Am i being divisive by going and him not wanting me too?

    • Robin on October 26, 2013 at 2:05 am

      Kelly, I do not believe you are being divisive because you make a choice, that he does not. Abuser/controllers tend to like that word- divisive because it comes in handy when they can’t control their spouse. You are taking responsibility for yourself and for that I applaud you HIGHLY!! You have to ask yourself, “what do I need?” If its to go to church and he chooses not to, than you’ve been an adult and chosen well. He also gets to choose. But you choosing differently than him, is setting a personal boundary, not being divisive. YOU GO GIRL!! You stand tall and look out to keep your self intact. You are not part of him. You are an individual, and if he was loving you with Christ likeness, he’d respect your choices even when they are different from his!!!

  16. Shannon on October 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    This is a great article that you wrote. My question is how to set a boundary
    on a husband in this situation: My husband is an sports artist and a very talented man. His business has not been great at bringing in enough money to help pay bills so he quit his art.. I work full time and he is a contract school bus driver and works also at a retail golf store. He hates both of these jobs and he wants to revive his sports art business. So he has informed me that in order to do this he will have to work very few hours at the retail golf store and that if I am going to complain and come against him about not working at the golf store then I need to file for divorce cause he cannot have me coming against him. So can I put a boundary on myself when it comes to finances and not having enough money to come in to pay the bills. I have discussed this with him before and he tells me that I need to get another job if I am complaining about the lack of money.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 22, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Why is it that you have to get another job to pay the bills but he doesn’t have to contribute as well? If his dream job or career doesn’t put food on the table for his family then he may have to do his dream as a hobby and not as a full-time career. Many adults do the things they love – sports, music, art, on the side because they would never be able to make a living doing those things. What your husband is saying when he invites you to divorce him is that his art is more important to him than providing for his family and if you don’t like it, then leave.

      I would put the burden back on his shoulders and say something like, “I know you love your art and wish you could do more. But the reality is we have $_______ of bills each month that need to be paid. It’s not negotiable. There are many grown ups who aren’t able to make a living doing the things they love. But they love their family and want to provide for them. These financial responsibilities are what we owe and have accumulated together as a couple. My salary only covers $___________ and I am not willing to leave a job and try to work more so that you can work less. I’m not coming against you, but I am speaking the truth to you. These are family responsibilities and we are both the adults in this family and therefore both of us have to contribute to the care and maintenance of our family’s needs. IF you no longer want to be in this family, then let me know but you don’t get to be in the family and function as a child who has no responsibilities.

  17. janice' on October 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    great answer

  18. Jen on October 28, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Wow. God is amazing. I came to work this morning and my very first newsletter has the very thing I needed to hear. Our church has done this very same thing with our marriage. We are in the counseling that they offer. Leaving counseling one night my husband started being nasty not two minutes from leaving our session. We had a disagreement in the hallway and my husband demanded we go back and see the counselor and we did. We left the counseling session again after calming down but I had been crying so my face was red and puffy. We went to our session the next week and our counselor told us that some church members called security and had security speak to our counselor about us because they considered our disagreement in the hallway “a scene”. I was and am so embarrassed and heartbroken that the people we are supposed to come along side and to come along side us if needed chose to call security instead of seeing if we needed help. Our counselor seemed to be on their side telling us in so many ways to keep it together until we were in private. Even a woman in my bible study who originally was very helpful and had good advice, got more involved in a leadership role in the church and then suddenly had no advice for me. Her response to my request for advice when my husband was going into a rage when we were late for church was that I needed to be obedient to God. The pastor at our campus is involved in the marriage counseling ministry but when we approached him he wanted nothing to do with helping us. Every single Sunday they preach about how much they want to help marriages and families. From our experience, the actions have not matched to words.

  19. Andrea on October 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you, Leslie! I have been working for almost 9 years to understand how to handle this type of relationship! Last Friday, something clicked for me and I ‘thought’ it felt right, but couldn’t explain why. Your VERY SPECIFIC examples of manipulation v. boundaries were so helpful and reinforced what I just learned. Now, I can put it into practice with freedom! God bless you! You are a help to so many women!

    • Robin on November 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Leslie, I also want to thank you for all you’re doing. I have read many bks on abuse, but was always frustrated not to have a bibical viewpoint. I love every page of your bks, and resources. They have helped me to clear up many things in my mind that enable me to make healthier choices. Thank you very much for how you’re helping those who are in destructive relationships, and are regaining some hope and wisdom….


  20. Andrea on October 30, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    PS Sorry! That should have said: manipulation v. consequences

  21. Robin on October 31, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Jen, I feel so so sorry for the lack of help you have received from your church leadership. For myself, it has helped me to understand I will not get the support and wisdom I need from everyone. I have learned to ‘test things’ as the Scriptures encourage us to do. When you are in a destructive relationship, you especially need to know who you can trust, who you feel are working for your good, and who is DEFINITELY NOT!! I’ve left those places running, and looked for places, I sensed the spirit of God moving in. Its sad, but sometimes we need to discern if maybe we should look for the help we need, outside our own church body. God can use spirit led counselors or people who are trained in the issue,s and complications of abuse, control, dominance, manipulation, etc. My suggestion is look around and be wise in who you come under to help lead you to a place of healing. God Bless!!!

  22. Robin on October 31, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Jen, my heart goes out to you. its so painful, when our churches don,t come thru for us, when we go to them for help. Personally I have found that I need to be very cautious which places I can go to, and trust they will support me and stand with me for the battles I fight against manipulation, control, and other abuses. I’ve had to learn to discern and test what is a place where I can see God,s spirit at work healing hurting marriages and people are getting whole. Its a challenge to walk thru the doors of the church body we worship with, and know if it’s a ‘safe place to trust and be transparent. I will be praying for wisdom for you and your spouse. God Bless!!!

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