I am on a much-needed vacation. I've invited Angela Strong, a Christian novelist to share her story about finding peace in the midst of the war with her spouse. I think you will find her story helpful and encouraging.
Though my first husband left me almost a decade ago, having kids together means I have to continue to deal with him. I’m told that these relationships get better with time, and that’s what I really want, but it seems like he uses this desire against me. If only I would (fill in the blank), then we would have peace. But when I do it, there’s still no peace. And somehow that’s my fault again.
I spent years wishing it really was my fault. Then I would have the power to fix it.
I didn’t realize I felt this way until we tried counseling together again a couple years ago. “For the children’s sake.” I couldn’t NOT try. But as our previous marriage counselor warned me, “He pulls you closer to punch you harder.” And punch he did.
In our recent counseling sessions, I cried about how he treated me. I didn’t want to cry, but I wanted to put down my weapons. I wanted a truce. So I let myself be vulnerable.
He berated me. I was “selfish” for thinking about myself. I needed to “put the children first.” I was “harming” my relationship with them. And he was so “concerned.”
Here I’d gone to counseling to work toward peace, and I was coming out even more wounded than before. I needed more help. I messaged Leslie Vernick for feedback and told her exactly what I was dealing with. That’s when I started reading The Emotionally Destructive Relationship and found the answers I needed.
The list of seven heart issues brought me much clarity. I saw my situation in many of the examples. Then I got to the evil heart. I read it with an open mind.
I mean, it had felt evil when my ex-moved to another state and tried to take me back to court to get custody. It felt evil when he reported me for neglect and my children were questioned at school. It felt evil when he gave my children the phone number for the police and tried to get them to call in on my teddy bear of a second husband. But he wasn’t doing that anymore. He’d divorced the woman I believe encouraged a lot of these evil behaviors, he’d moved back to be near our kids, and he was coaching their teams in a Christian sports league. He looked like he’d made the changes he needed to make.
But, according to Leslie, that’s exactly what the evil heart does. It tries to convince the world—and itself—that it is good. Then it doesn’t have to make any real changes. It can still blame me for our civil war. The example Leslie used in her book could have been replaced with our names. Finally, I understood.
Having my eyes opened to his heart issue meant I also needed to understand my own heart issue—the reason why I was so easily fooled. Fear. I had a fearful heart.
There was some pride there too. I didn’t want to look as bad as he was making me look.
And also some selfishness. You know, maybe if I played his game, I’d eventually get what I wanted.
But it was fear that kept me from protecting myself. Fear that kept me believing I had to step in front of his metaphorical speeding car to stop him from driving off the cliff of self-destruction. Fear that made me think I had to sacrifice my own health to save him for our children.
Sadly, I had good reason to fear. I’d seen children disown a parent when the other more charismatic parent had “concerns.” I’d seen kids legally change their names when they turn 18. My heart broke over it. But I couldn’t let that fear control me anymore.
When my counselor gave the analogy of being pulled in closer to get punched harder, I asked, “What do I do then? I can let him punch me or I can fight back, in which case, he’ll make me look like the abusive one. Either way, I lose.” My counselor responded with a martial arts lesson. He showed me how to sidestep.
I’m still learning how to apply the sidestep, which is what I love so much about Leslie’s books and the class I took at Safe Place Ministries based on her book. It teaches how to acknowledge your abuser’s combat strategy then look at your own position to see what needs to be done to hold your ground without attacking.
That’s what God’s word teaches too. That’s what is taught in the Bible and a tactic Israel still employs. I recently heard a news commentator explain the conflict in the Middle East. He said, “If Palestine puts down their weapons, there will be peace. If Israel puts down their weapons, they will be dead.” I couldn’t relate more.
It’s also the reason I love watching Madame Secretary. I learn successful ways of negotiating with a terrorist.
“Peace is a beautiful thing. Making peace, not so much.” – Sec. Elizabeth McCord
I quit counseling with my ex. The final straw came when he told me that he didn’t leave me for the other woman, he left me because he hated me. We didn’t have the same goal. I was at a peace talk where any treaties signed would never be kept.
I still want peace just as much, but I’ve realized that the Bible never says to KEEP the peace. It says to be a peace-MAKER. I’m going to make choices that will create peace in my own heart. And I’m going to guard that heart with the double-edged sword that is the Word of God. Click To Tweet
Book's like Leslie’s and groups like the one I attended at Safe Place are ways for me to be iron sharpening iron. We can stand firm together.
I may never have peace with my ex, but I will have peace. And that definitely is a beautiful thing.
Friends, what kinds of things have you learned to do to have peace in your heart when there is still war around you?
Angela Ruth Strong sold her first romance novel right before her husband left her. She then quit writing romance because she didn't believe in love anymore, but God restored her life, and now there's nothing else she'd rather write about. Her stories aren't only about a woman falling in love with a man, but about the woman realizing how loved she already is. They also demonstrate what Angela has learned about healthy relationships in an effort to help keep others from making the same mistakes she made. Find out more about her books and her divine romance at www.angelaruthstrong.com and join the fun of her fan page at https://www.facebook.com/gr
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Angela, that was written beautifully!! You are an inspiration that I hope to duplicate. Thank You
Thanks, Lena. I don’t recommend duplication but if you can learn from my mistakes, you’ll be one step ahead. 😉
I have an abusive husband. We’re separated for 1,5 year. I live in Milwaukee,WI. Is here any group like that? I need help
You are welcome here, Alicja. We hope you will find help, hope, and encouragement among us, and perhaps someone can help you to find a support group where you live.
Grace be with you.
Many times a local women’s domestic violence organization will have resources to direct your way.
They will help all kinds of violence not just physical. Just to be clear.
You can also join Leslie’s online groups on Facebook. They helped me so much!
Try the Journey group at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield. New session start in September. Also there are life skills center throughout Wisconsin. They are a ministry of Paul Hegstrom for abusive relationships. The women’s center in Waukesha has free support groups in a protected shelter.
Alicia, go to the Journey group at Elmbrook church in Brookfield. Classes start in September. The Women’s Center in Waukesha has support groups in a protected shelter. Life Skills groups are across Wisconsin. Try Freedom Lufeskills headquarters in Green Bay for times and locations.
alijac, I have tried many times to post this so I am sorry if duplicates post. Try the Journey group at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield. The next session starts in September. The Journey had retreats in Michigan too. The group is Open Hearts Ministry. Also the Women’s Center in Waukesha has free support groups in their besutiful protected shelter.
I hope you can find a group. And thanks to those who have groups to suggest. We are all stronger together!
In answer to the question, “Friends, what kinds of things have you learned to do to have peace in your heart when there is still war around you?”, the biggest thing that comes to mind right off is that I find peace in the fact that I want peace. I am not the one that is making it a war zone. It doesn’t mean I never sin or behave perfectly all the time. I do mess up, and I have sought forgiveness. Yet it’s the core and the heart and in my heart, I am for peace. If my husband demands war, I no longer take the blame for it. I took so, so much blame for so many years, and though it takes consistent work and there is still a tendency to take more responsibility than is mine, on a conscious level, I now choose not to do that anymore and I hope it will eventually sink in to my subconscious.
To quote the post: “I recently heard a news commentator explain the conflict in the Middle East. He said, ‘If Palestine puts down their weapons, there will be peace. If Israel puts down their weapons, they will be dead.’ I couldn’t relate more.” This part of the post just jumped off the screen at me. This is it. In my own situation, I even keep getting berated (to put it mildly) for not putting down my weapons, while more weapons are loaded and aimed at me (metaphorically, I have not been on the receiving end of actual physical abuse, though the physical toll health-wise has been great). I really appreciate the analogy.
“Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” Psalm 120:6-7
Sadly, I’m not convinced that I could define being at peace while being in close proximity to a destructive person in a sacred marriage.
Part of the core issue is that a destructive individual is not at inner confirmed peace with their Lord (nor are they often seeking it out) and also they have their own skewed version of what peace should be.
Does this not play into the ongoing war?
For me the peace is often found as I write what I experienced and look at the facts not allowing the abusive skewed person to define or rewrite history.
Again STL you are so right about the person wanting the other person to take more responsibility (to me I think this is so it stays out of balance) because the ultimate goal isn’t peace but chaos and control. This is ‘counterfeit peace’ to them but something that is second nature and aligns with their skewed understandings and insecurities,
Our counsellor told us that often a person who is controlling is someone who is – underneath – very anxious.
And often the one who creates constant chaos is – underneath – both anxious and angry.
And neither, of course, are taking responsibility for their underlying emotions.
He told us this after we articulated our amazement that my MIL seemed to always create chaos around her. We always left there feeling so disheveled and confused. Once he explained this, it made total sense and we were no longer amazed by the ‘seeming randomness’ of her behaviour.
So when you wrote, “the goal is not peace but chaos and control” it made me wonder. I wonder if the avoidance of those primary emotions created a ‘payoff’ for her in gaining control. And now, after so many years of getting this payoff, it would take a massive shift for her to confront her underlying fears.
And so, what initially was avoidance has now morphed into what you say, “the goal is…..chaos and control”…?
I would agree with your counselor.
And I agree with you that it would take a massive shift and intensive cognitive behavioral interventions because those patterns are basically rooted in like an addiction but just not as ‘easy’ to put ones finger on it.
….And what was initially avoidance as you say certainly could of been that way, but avoidance has many ways to disguise itself and try to mask those vulnerable feelings and fears or insecurities.
I do think the common pattern is ‘chaos and control’ when something touches that undeveloped place.
Anyways, haven’t you guys gone no contact with her?
Maybe I’m wrong.
Sometimes this no-contact is the only safe place to be unless a person chooses to consider the outcome of behavior and look at it. Age certainly doesn’t help but the Bible continues to instruct us that age doesn’t excuse ignorance and that the wise way is the way of the Ancients.
There are a few people in my journey that have had similar traits and I have had to get to a point where I am as such peace not being a contributor to being a cushy place so that the addictions will keep them there.
Sometimes we can assist by raising the floor up, so they hit it sooner than later.
But even then if they hit the floor doesn’t mean they don’t stay put and make new decor, often they do.
Yup, we are no contact with her.
We are taking the time that we need to heal, and are open to The Lord’s promptings, should there be any in future.
You said, “…and also they have their own skewed version of what peace should be.
Does this not play into the ongoing war?”
Yes. Exactly. Their skewed versions and definitions and understandings of foundational principles mar everything. Peace includes your submission to their control and your apparent happiness – whether actual or feigned – with their control and nothing else that makes for relationship. And there are others. One of the most common is unity. Unity means pretty much the same as peace – the appearance of agreement with whatever they want, think, believe, demand – regardless of how you actually feel or think inside. I got to where I almost hated the concept of unity because I had it drilled into my head and demanded in such a butchered semblance of what it actually is. Yes, these play into the ongoing war. Just describing it is giving me the sensations that go along when I am battling (war term) the crazy-making.
I can so relate to “I choose not to do that anymore and I hope it will sink into my subconscious.”
As I create new friendships I am learning this, too. Just an awareness of reciprocity. I have to be careful to not ‘keep score’ ( in a detrimental way), but certainly need to not fall into old habits of taking too much responsibility.
Yes. I thought of that verse too. Keep fighting for peace, my friend.
So very hard to live in a war zone….and dangerous. It reminds me of the migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, and other nations who are going to great lengths to escape the wars in their home countries.
I agree with Aly. Is it possible to “define being at peace while being in close proximity to a destructive person in a sacred marriage?”
My counselor told me he was a whirlwind of destruction, and I needed to back away or I’d be sucked in. There was actually a time when I started to lose my peace, and I yelled to my best friend in desperation, “He’s sucking me in, Charla! He’s sucking me in!” If nothing else, I’d become aware of it. And that was probably the first step for me.
I believe we can find soul peace in any situation we are in. That does not mean that your heart won’t be grieved. And it does not mean that there won’t be times of chaos or conflict around you. I think a big part of when Leslie says, “if you stay, stay well” has to do with finding that soul peace.
While one of my all time favorite sections of Psalms was quoted above…
“Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” Psalm 120:6-7
I too live still in that war zone, and though I struggle to always do it, I believe you can also have your bunker, your area of peace and safety in the Lord.
Choose to have peace in your heart by trusting God in the midst of the war, this will help you hear His voice so He can guide you through the battle.
Jane, I am grateful that you have found that place of peace…yes, in the core of our being is a place where God dwells, our human spirit, and it is like the eye of a hurricane; very calm and peaceful. Praise the Lord you have found that place!
You are beautiful Angela! Thank for sharing!
There was a time when I wouldn’t have believed you, but now I know believe God created beauty in all of us. Thank you, Carla. You are a blessing.
“Friends, what kinds of things have you learned to do to have peace in your heart when there is still war around you?”
. . .Well, somewhat like Angela, but not as effectively as she has, . . .nevertheless, I trust God; I don’t generally confront too much strength head on (especially if it is attached to a dominance hierarchy). . . .I pray for wisdom.
Re:“I’m going to make choices that will create peace in my own heart. And I’m going to guard that heart with the double-edged sword that is the Word of God.” . . . That is really, really beautiful. Don’t aim at “success.” The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. It cannot be pursued; it must επακολουθώ (ensue) re: 2 Chronicles 10:4, James 5:16, Matthews 9:37-38, Romans 12:1 and it only does so as the unintended side effect of our greater personal dedication to Christ. It is the by-product of one’s surrender to Christ. We have to let peace happen by not caring about it too much. Listen to what the Holy Spirit commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge/ability. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, peace! —precisely because you had forgotten to think about it?
But our absusers are not static. They are alive too. My mother is alive and her web and her maze just shifts as I move, because she is constantly re-strategizing. . . .And yet, the Kingdom of Heaven is within (Luke 17:21); and all learning is just remembering (Luke 17:19-37); so we already have the answers we seek and we know what to do. . . .
John 4:10,13-14, John 7:38 . . .The peace is that ζῶνὕδωρ (living water). It is alive and coming from within. Alive and we will never thirst again. Any peace comes from that same place, from within. We cannot ever really find it outside. It comes βαθύπόθεν (deep from within) from the same place that living water comes from. A spring of water πηγὴὕδατοςἁλλομένου (welling up) into εἰςζωὴναἰώνιον (life/ peace eternal). Peace arises from within.
Anyways, I can’t do it very well but it is so, so easy to see it in Christ’s words: Beautify your inner dialogue. Beautify your inner world with Christ’s love and His light and His compassion. . . .Peace will flow like a river. Peace of mind comes from not wanting to change others but from a thankful heart re:Ephesians 5:20. . . .The Bible talks about putting on the whole armor of God, but vulnerability really means to be strong and secure enough within ourselves so that we are able to walk outside without our armor on. To show up in life in genuine strength and courage. Armor may look tough, but all it does is mask insecurity and fear. . . .but I don’t know, I’ll have to think more about that. Inner Peace is needed and without first being at peace within, we cannot even love. Lord God –You, You are the eye of the storm!
So much wisdom. Thanks for sharing. And I’m sorry about your mother. No one deserves that.
. . . .Thank you for your story! I hope you can come back and do more guest blogs with us sometime✞❣😊.
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Even started my own neighborhood newspaper in 7th grade. Then I went on to study journalism at the Univeristy of Oregon and write freelance, which was cool, but not as cool as writing novels.”
Wonderful 💯❗ . . . .and I love how you know how to have fun 💯❗ . . . Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
I’ve always, always, just wanted to know the Truth, even if it destroys me. . . .The Truth is just so, so, so radical. . . .it deconstructs *everything* in its path. The Truth really is a sword not a flower. . . . .But, I do love to laugh and to the point of being incapacitated. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Belly-shaking-tear-jerking-snot-producing laughing. —Think about what happens when we really, deeply get to laughing hysterically. Our defenses are down. It is a very Holy-Spirit-like moment. We are completely open, completely ourselves when that message hits our brains and the laugh begins. That’s when new ideas from the Lord can be implanted!!! . . .I know these are serious issues we deal with, but when we can bring in humor, we can really help the Lord God change minds.
—a 2,000 year old wink and grin. . . .
Sometimes it even happens when reading the Bible. . . . Acts twelve, all “the brethren” are at the house of Mary and they are gathered together and praying for Peter’s release from prison. When Peter is released by God Himself and goes to the house where they are praying, Peter knocks at the door and Rhoda comes to answer. She recognizes Peter’s voice and is so joyful she runs in to the prayer group —the prayer group that is *earnestly* seriously praying for his release— and announces that Peter is standing in front of the gate.…They are praying for Peter’s release, —praying for his release!!!— and they are so totally faithless that even when Rhoda keeps telling them “—Peter is at the gate” —they do not believe her but instead they tell her: [I will not put the original N.T. Greek in here] but from the extant originals it is basically saying “Rhoda, you are totally insane, it could not actually be Peter, it is his angel/ghost.”
. . .But there are all these little untranslated letters in there -from Luke- who wrote that and Luke is just laughing about it because they are praying for Peter’s release and when it happens they totally disbelieve it with r-e-a-l, serious, total conviction. That is a joke, straight up. It r-e-a-l-l-y comes across in the extant copies [original N.T. Greek]. . . . . Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .Luke is telling us something so incredibly deep there and I still don’t know what it fully is. —It is a 2,000 year old wink and grin. . . . .It is so, so, so hard to believe and trust God!!! Why is it so, so hard??? Oscar Wilde said, “If you want to tell people the truth, you better make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.”💯❗ Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. That’s so, so true and why I’m encouraged about your storytelling. It can disarm us and help us see things that we might otherwise try to protect ourselves from at all costs.
. . .Many prayers Angela, . . .Lord God help us all, especially me, to be gentle with people’s precious hearts, especially my own where everything in my life flows from.🌠😊💬✨
To the question: “what kinds of things have you learned to do to have peace in your heart when there is still war around you?”
In my case I had to do everything in my power to remove myself from the war. Now that our home is a ‘peace zone’ and I have minimized ( or eliminated ) contact with ‘warring individuals’, I have entered into a process of healing.
I’m pretty sure that I could have begun a healing journey before I got out of the war zone.
And now that this is the case – I have a peaceful environment- I am beginning to see how much ‘warfare mentality’ I have appropriated. Now that my environment is peaceful, I can ‘tune into’ my inner life..and I see there, much internal warfare.
The Lord is faithful, though, to show me how to fight this new battle.By abiding in Him, I can become ever attuned to His direction: when I am feeling His consolation or disconnection, as well as the thoughts that go with those experiences.
I’m not sure that we can ever escape war. Not until heaven, anyways. There will always be a battle to fight. Wether it’s our own sinful nature, the enemy, or ‘warring individuals’, we need to put on our armour.
Pretty sure that I could NOT have begun a healing journey before I got out of the war zone.
I so see this as vital and such an important part of healing at least in my case too.
“In my case I had to do everything in my power to remove myself from the war. Now that our home is a ‘peace zone’ and I have minimized ( or eliminated ) contact with ‘warring individuals’, I have entered into a process of healing.”
Warring individuals, such an appropriate term.
It’s hard to begin healing when a ‘warring individual(s)’ is continuing to kick you (not always literally) when your down or when your standing your ground for your own peacemaking posture.
I also think it makes me think about this term war and what war these individuals are standing and fighting for… are they warring for the Kingdom of God? …Or their own kingdom or someone else’s kingdom in their dysfunctional circle? What are they at war for and with?
When we become a child of God we no longer are at war with God, we are reconciled to His kingdom even though we are not officially home ‘yet’.
well said. We so often forget about the other wars around us and in us when there is a near nuclear attack always on the horizon. Thank-you for the reminder to focus on these areas too.
I just want to re-iterate that I don’t think I could have done any healing work while being attacked. I really think that safety and sanity need to be established as a priority.
Once that is done, one can begin to ‘thaw out’ and do the more subtle, interior work.
As far as I can tell, your situation is quite extreme 🙁
I agree with your point about healing. It is difficult and can be impossible to heal while you are still being drug on the ground. I am talking about that peace that passes all understanding. That peace that transcends war, floods, earthquakes and death. That peace that truly says in your heart, “be still and know that I am God.”
I am sorry if I made you feel you should have been able to heal otherwise, I did not intend that. And I don’t believe most people should stay, that has to be a God ordered thing. I struggle with fear, but have had God drop that peace beyond peace on me a couple of times when it was most needed. I know if I can believe His word I can hold on to that peace, Lord help my unbelief.
I know there is change coming for me and that this change won’t be easy. Most of my friends and church don’t actually know what’s going on except for a couple of key people. Today, two women who do not know anything about my situation had words over me. I went up for prayer because my husband and kids will be getting back from a spiritual conference that my husband was sure was what our family needs to be okay again. While my kids really engaged, he was the event recorder so that he could be the hero and send me pics (I could not go, too much work- I think God’s intervention). I encouraged him to participate but I don’t think he did in his spirit, just intellectually. Some small clues in the texts show me his disrespect of boundaries has not really changed. How can he change when he refuses to become aware of the problem (I was hoping God would hit him with a 2X4). Now they are driving back and I know he thinks things will just be healed without having to do the work. I must admit I am concerned about how the next week will go, so I went up for prayer. I did not want to share my story with any one new, but God. The words were given to them during service, well before the prayer call, and were dead on what I needed: 1. God will be my strength (sounds real simple but when I know that the God who Sees is seeing me and answering my very need it shook me to the core) 2. Another woman saw me with a robe or something like it extending off my arms and my arms waving in and out creating a stirring, she said it was not winds of change but wings of change- she did not really have the interpretation.
Either things are going to change for the positive in the abuse but it is going to require all of God’s strength to get to it; or it’s going to get worse and some sort of separation is in store which will also require all of God’s strength. What I know is something has to change and that I don’t have it within my own strength to make it through that change, but God living in me does.
Oh how I pray it is the first! But I will be obedient to God. I just pray that if He says separate that He does so as clear as writing on the wall.
I appreciate the concern I hear in your voice, maybe I make things sound more dramatic than they are, or maybe they are worse than I can see; either way I pray that God keeps my eyes open to truth and reality.
No, your response did not make me feel that I should have been able to heal while still living in the crazy-making. I have no regrets about the path The Lord has had me on, over the past 3 years.
There are two things that I’d like to hi-light in the comments over the past day.
The first is what Aly said about discovering your worth. What she said – and I’m paraphrasing here – about becoming less ‘results oriented’ as you discover and embrace your value, is critical. Check out John 1:13-14. Look at many different versions, pray it. Set your heart on it.
Would you want your daughter to allow herself to be treated the way you are being treated? As you begin to discover your worth, and see yourself as He sees you, you will begin to tolerate less and less. You will begin to stand up for yourself the way that you would stand up for a loved one who was being treated poorly.
The second thing I want to tie in here, is Free’s perspective. When .i say ‘stand up ‘ that may not be directly confronting him. That may mean quietly, consistently and with iron clad resolve, developing a safe exit plan with wise others (women’s shelter ( Christian or not!) who are well versed in dangerous dynamics)
The third thing…ok, there are 3 things! Is what JoAnn said, “the suffering that allows sin to flourish is not God’s will”.
Knowing about God’s character and how He value’s His children, I can imagine Him telling you to stay while you develop a safety plan. But, in my opinion, it is inconsistent with His character that He would want you to stay indeffinately.
My sense Jane, is that you need to leave your marriage at the foot of the cross. It is only when you do that, that you will become less ‘result oriented’. Then you will be able to take each step, knowing that He has the control. Not you.
May The Lord reveal to you, your incredible worth!
Nancy & Jane;)
Nancy you have organized these things so well!
I feel so grateful to read your posts often because I think they dial things in a way that sets those distinctions apart.
You are such a vital part of this community!
Jane what Nancy posted about Laying it at the cross, is really this important key of surrender.
It’s giving to God what wasn’t yours to originally fix or workout in the first place.
Now to say God the control, not you is also important to dial intobevause even this can be twisted if we are not careful to this posture.
Yes! God is sovereign and has the control to do His will and He will do His will that is a promise we can hold on to.
But the ‘not you part’ doesn’t mean you sit out and wait,
Sometimes it means an invitation to your own participation in His overall plan. It’s an invitation to be included for God’s design but that comes with freedom to choose to participate.
Oops! Correction (iPhone 😜)
“Now to say God the control, not you is also important to dial intobevause even this can be twisted if we are not careful to this posture.”
Supposed to say, God is in Control, not you …
Thank-you Nancy, your words mean a lot here. I don’t know where God is taking this but I agree, I have to put the marriage at the foot of the cross.
I am trying but am struggling to do this. I have to put the kids there too which is even harder.
To make things worse we are in the “honeymoon” phase of the abuse which is muddying the picture for me even though I know the truth, it is hard to see the real fruit when there appear to be bananas on an apple tree. (If you don’t know that reference check out Chris Moles book the Heart of Domestic Violence).
And NO, if my daughter or even my sons were in this same situation I would rescue them if I could, I would hopefully keep them from even dating such a person, but I didn’t listen to my controlling narcissistic mothers warnings so I guess I have to pray that I am not too late to help her see what a healthy relationship is.
I thank-you again, your words of wisdom above are very helpful.
Your words have given me confidence in my own thought processes and actions. Yes…it’s consistent with the God I know and love to not wish his precious daughters or sons to be abused and harmed in any way. He would want us removed from that situation…whether the abuse is physical or emotional/psychological.
And yes, we do need to think about acting on our own behalf the same way we’d intervene if we knew a loved one was being abused. We can be a voice for those who feel voiceless…and we can also find our voice for ourselves. Not that I advocate face to face conflict in an unsafe situation, but I do advocate stepping in on our own behalf if we are being treated unjustly. God will reveal the best way for us to do that and it’s imperative we trust him implicitly.
I found when I was in a ‘war’ situation, not only was there no peace, but I realized I was in the way, of Him hearing from the Lord. Getting out of the way causes a situation where I could be healed, and become a tool of Righteousness by praying for my destructive ex. But as long as I remained in the ‘war’ all I was able to do was fight to survive. And now I have peace abundant.
I think you said this SO well!
“But as long as I remained in the ‘war’ all I was able to do was fight to survive.”
I could not agree more!
Could we define the word remaining more? Could remaining be defined down to the ‘basic presence’ I think when it comes to dealing with an unsafe person?
From my experience, an unsafe person and especially one who is covert abusive is pretty much willing to except another person’s presence as ‘someone not really protesting about their behavior’.
In the church community (women’s groups and bible studies) this concept of ‘getting out of the way’ has a common misapplication in my opinion to a more passive and enabling place for a destructive dynamic with an unhealthy individual.
Just my remaining under the same roof gave my husband enough comfort and security that I hadn’t left him which gave him NO motivation to hear God either.
In other words a very immature person might tell themselves… ‘see I’m not that bad’
Requirements were our only way for him to be challenged at his ability to deceive himself.
Personally given the situation of the destructiveness i think a husband being given requirements (GET help) and getting safe interventions in place are a good start because then this is when a person can safely give him a notice of ‘his departure’ based on his seriousness for change or not?
This isn’t for all scenarios but for some it can make a big shift in the dynamic.
I agree Aly,
All an unhealthy individual needs to continue to deny and avoid his / her own issues is a ‘basic presence’.
Aly, Leslie, and all,
Has this move brought about change in your husband yet? I know it won’t in many no matter what and it is more about your own spiritual health and emotional well being, but it is rare in this blog to hear anyone talk about boundaries and/or leaving as being a true eye opener to the spouse, so I am just wondering.
Or what about anyone else reading this blog. Leslie and Chris Moles say it’s not common but it is possible. Someone give a shout out that doing the hard boundaries setting will do something more than make it worse. I am praying for Godly change in our entire family but I see no voices here that are saying it is possible
I might have to go back and read your previous posts.
“Someone give a shout out that doing the hard boundaries setting will do something more than make it worse.”
If I understand your question or request here I think my most immediate thoughts are that things get worse before they have the space for better.
If your praying and acting in fear or in fear of things not getting worse then it’s a possibility that it will continue to get worse by not acting. Now please be sure that you have a professional involved Jane that can assist in your situation.
“ I am praying for Godly change in our entire family but I see no voices here that are saying it is possible”
This is confusing a bit, are you saying the blog in general?
The overall outcome can be left to God’s will.
I know from both Nancy and myself our situation didn’t escalate to physical separation. But also our situation is not identical to your etc.
Also the marriage had to have interventions as well as individual help and accountability.
Recovery is a lot of work but no one can make another do the necessary work, the destructive person must be willing to surrender and face the reality of what their behavior has created and taken for their to be real hope of change.
I don’t think this kind of work is simple nor fast it’s not a quick spiritual fix like ‘any addict’ would desire and be attracted to.
Is that helpful? I hope I understood your question and perspective here?
I know I have to set boundaries and I know it will get worse, I just don’t hear anyone say that this boundary setting gets their spouses attention like Cloud and Townsend talk about.
At least for my own benefit I must set boundaries to protect myself emotionally, and I am, but it is hard to be vocal and find a voice to explain the boundaries and my feelings because it is truly not safe to. Things almost always are twisted into my fault, why he had to because I don’t respect enough, put out enough, make enough money, spend enough time with him, or whatever enough. He is good at twisting scripture and it has taken up to this point to follow God’s voice in the matter rather than what has been crammed down my throat with artificial flavors to make it taste like what it is not. Leslie’s book has been massively helpful for this.
I guess I am still holding out that if I separate it is in hopes that it will be a wake up call to him, rather than what I need to do for me. Still a lot of others first emotions, which isn’t totally wrong, but not to the point that it does not do good for God’s kingdom, but rather damages it. That’s the enemy twisting it all up again.
I guess I really just want to hear someone say: My husband and I went to individual counseling with Christian DV specialists and through a lot of pain, sweat, tears, prayer and fasting; we learned to set boundaries and healed our junk and now we are in a healthy though not perfect marriage. I just want to know it is possible… I know it doesn’t mean that’s what will happen for me, I just want to know that in some cases it does happen
Guess that sounds desperate, but on a blog that is full of pain, hurt, anger and divorce (along with individual victory and healing), I really want to see a marriage succeed along with the individual.
Just want to say I think I understand better what your curious about.
Ok so yes, maybe my situation is a minority example but one that God has intervened on and my husband and I both had different work to do to have a recovery of marriage.
My h especially had to wake up to his way of ‘not dealing’ with himself and his ability to deceive himself . He had to choose to be willing. If that makes since, I do feel that the threat of losing me at first was his first response motivation but after time he saw his patterns and history and began to seek his journey with the Lord personally, regardless if the marriage could ever be.
See our original marriage really had to be dismantled and rebuilt with a lot of interventions. Nothing that God didn’t not invite us into and supply the vessels in his mighty orchestrating.
There was also a blindsided loss as we began to get an actual healthier marital dynamic developing…. my parents, and my extended family on my side. This is great loss and grief and came from such a whirlwind of confusion.
Let’s circle back to what you wrote here:
“I know I have to set boundaries and I know it will get worse, I just don’t hear anyone say that this boundary setting gets their spouses attention like Cloud and Townsend talk about.“
Boundaries are for yourself. Requirements are an invitation to health and healing.
If our h who you say is a sociopath?? Scary! Most likely will pretend to work just enough to make you thing there is change. This would scare me.
But none the less boundaries are essential to healing and growth and they don’t create change in another but often what they do is REVEAL just how bad the relationship is!!
When you see the response or (lack of response) by the repeat offender as in this case your h, it’s is clear that he is not interested in a healthy relationship let alone a sacred marriage that is supposed to glorify God.
It’s sounds like you have a legal arrangement of marriage on paper but not a covenant biblical marriage. Which I’m assuming that’s what you are hoping for?
Or that’s what you thought you were committing to?
I would think about important wise thing for you and your safety is to see an attorney about your legal rights.
I get that you say your h is a sociopath do what is it are you expecting from this reality then?
Regardless without proper boundaries and invitations of requirements for ‘help’ for him you won’t have what’s in place Regardless if the marriage doesn’t legally dissolve.
When you receive the Love of the Lord first for who you are in Him, your response will align with ….not willing to compromise on such mistreatment as you are being exposed to.
When you can fully grasp as best as you can your value as a child of God, your most likely going to experience a level of detachment from the outcome and less focus of whether or not your husband will ‘wake up’. But your focus will be about finding safety and peace not about rescuing a person who is very ‘ill’ in my opinion. It that you could rescue him anyways but you could invite him into healthier living for God’s purpose and not the insecure ways he chooses to function in.
As I’m reading this thread, I’m reminded of something that someone said here, and I think it was Leslie, “The suffering that allows sin to flourish is not God’s will.” Amen.
Jane, you need to have a plan for exactly which boundaries to chose to enact. You need professional counsel and support people. Setting boundaries can put you in extreme danger. You need to be well prepared with a multi dimesional,well thought out escape plan. Changing the dance of your relationship is the most dangerous thing you will ever do.
Working on the safety plan, overall in place and is somewhat fluid because never know where, or when will need to implement. Do have professional on board.
I am acutely aware of the increased risk which is why boundary setting is slow. Will have to see what happens next.
Thank-you for at least letting me know that it does happen with the hard work all the books talk about. Hey, if God can set free the demoniac with the legion of demons, my husband with his brokenness is healable too. I am trying to make this less of my focus and focus on my own individual healing and let God do the rest, but for someone who makes their living helping others heal their lives, its hard for me to not want him healed and whole, especially when I love him more than any client.
I realize now that he could not truly enter this covenant because he is not capable, I am, but the only one sided covenant is between God and Abram and is made by God. We are not capable of single sided covenant so I get what you are saying and I am trying to not have that hold me in place. I am trying to listen to God’s voice through this.
I am just glad to hear that the work can on occasion bring about a healthy marriage, I know it can bring healthy individuals.
I think It’s important to not see that our situations are similar (not saying you are) but just to clarify.
I’m my opinion I wasn’t married to a sociopath as you say you are and even though I was in a very destructive marriage that doesn’t mean it’s the same destructiveness that you are involved in.
Since you can recognize that you have had a long history of abuse (prior) to marriage it’s helpful to see that maybe what you ‘feel of love’ or if great empathy for your husband’s issues is out of proportion to feeling great compassion for yourself?
If this is out of alignment the marriage becomes the idol and you miss the development of healing as an individual and fear gets to decide on many levels.
Of course you must be wise and have ALL the safety plans arranged, but if in the back of your head your ‘hope’ is that this will somehow ‘change a sociopath’ I would be fearful of that thought or motivation!
If you grew up in an abusibe environment where there was chaos or lack of emotional safety & lack of empathy from either parent or from the overall character of the family system….then it’s very predictable and quite common because of trauma that you would be attacted or seek out a relationship like you have with this (man who behaves as a very immature person, as you call sociopath).
This is scary and technically not predictable and I believe that’s why Free is trying to open your awareness to (YOUR true situation) and the evil level of your spouses character.
I’m sad and I do get how complicated these things are.
Having the professional is essential because you have been invested in this situation along time and it’s hard when we are vested so much that sometimes we really do want to see the fruit of our tolerances and patience work out to God’s plan but it’s reasonable given how long this has been going on.., to really consider strongly that maybe this isn’t your path God wants you on? Maybe he is trying to get you to chase after Him with a full abandoned heart so He can put His arms around you as He is your savior, protector, husband who is Safe!
Reply to Jane. No link to post in sequence.
Ok Jane, it seems like you have things in place. I am glad to hear that! Removing him from your business is a great start. Keep us posted as you begin to take action. Many of us have done similar brave things and are so happy we did.
I know exactly how you feel and have asked the same question of myself many times. I wish I had a success story for you…but I don’t.
The reality, as I see it, is that boundaries protect ourselves and put the responsibility back on the other person. It means we don’t exhaust ourselves taking the responsibility for them. It does give them the opportunity to learn, grow and carry their own load…but I’ve honestly never seen it happen. In my own situation, it has just helped ME to heal.
We seem to be given false hopes that our husbands are being given the very best opportunity to hear from God if we set those boundaries and hand him to His Maker. We get out of the way so that God can do His work. It feels like we women are being encouraged to be meek and mild…to show our husbands the way to God by our quiet goodness. I’ve never seen it work yet.
So I feel your pain…and I hear you. I, too, would like someone to shout out a success story.
Melinda, If you want a “success story” perhaps it is necessary to redefine success. For some of the women here, success would be to escape an abusive marriage with body and soul intact.
I just discovered a book called “Redemptive Divorce,” by Mark W. Gaither. It really puts together a lot of the things that Leslie has told us, plus it offers a way for the “upright” one in the marriage to put the burden of redeeming the marriage onto the shoulders of the abuser, rather than on the victim. He also includes several plans for managing finances, documents, and legal issues, in a very detailed way. To follow his plan, you need a therapist and a lawyer, and it is all done in a very carefully choreographed way. It’s worth a read.
While mine is not an ex, it is still a war and a struggle for peace. I find if I remember that:
“… the battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12
I am warring against the Jezebel spirit or the Leviathan spirit or whichever ugly you know what is being the influencer of the day. When I pray against them and FOR my husband, not against him, I find, not only more internal peace, but less external war.
While I can’t control or change my husband, I can at least bind the evil spirits that manipulate him. Only my husband can choose to be free of them and seek help, but I do have the power via the Holy Spirit by the blood of Jesus to bind up those stupid spirits and keep their damage to a minimum when they are around me. The more often I remember that, not only do I make more peace, but the more true change I see in my husband (man its slow, but is happening).
I am not holding out for my husbands change, I am holding on as He has specifically instructed me (this is certainly not what I recommend unless God tells you very clearly). My God is the God Who Sees, and as hard as it is, I have been called like Hagar to stay and submit (in the appropriate Godly way, not in the enabling way- still figuring out what that looks like) because God has a purpose for the current crazy I am in. If I can keep my focus on submitting to God’s will and what He wants and not try to figure out how to create a false peace in our home by catering to or fighting with my husband, then my heart is able to have peace.
Jane, what makes you think that God is telling you to ‘”hold on” as you say? Really? Hold on to a Jezebel? Live with evil by choice? That doesn’t sound anything like what I read anywhere in the Bible. Could this be martyr thinking or the result of the development of low self esteem from living so long in trauma and abuse? Jane, this is just really odd to me. Why oh, why would you throw your pearls before swine and tell yourself that you can learn to live in the pen with the pig?
Moonbeam I think your questions are very important and I felt them as I was ready Jane’s last post.
Jane, I understand why you are experiencing it on such a spiritual warfar level.
Im wondering about those verses etc and I’m wondering if you felt that the Lord gave them to you directly about your particular situation (war) or if someone you opened up to about the marriage gave you those verses?
Either way is important to try to process how you are seeing these verses applied to specific situations.
Many times in fear places and especially trauma we can have misapplied places of scripture and disproportionate responses similar to what Moonbean was saying as a result of developmental abusive symptoms.
Hi Jane, Aly and Moonbeam,
Aly and Moin beams questions are important to consider, Jane
You know Ephesians 6:12 was exactly the verse that encouraged me to separate from my h.
I was at a Bible Study, and the teaching leader paraphrased this verse.
She said, “our battle is not AGAINST people. our battle is FOR people, AGAINST sin.” This clarified that I needed to go to war for my h.
But I was not only separating for the sake of his soul, but this ‘battle stance’ was about warring for my own soul – specifically for my safety and sanity.
Jane, Nancy, Moonbeam and ofcourse others here,
Nancy you make such a critical point about our response to scripture. Our action response is important to sift through but also have the Holy Spirit to guide our ‘reality’.
Often scripture is misused to continue a victimization dynamic. And Jane I wonder about your comment about the slow change you see or the small things that are giving you hope?
Not saying there isn’t hope. So don’t get me wrong but it’s important to try to get objective as possible about your relationship because in an abusuve relationship there are Trauma Bonds that can play into these Moments of ‘possible change’ or crumbs of hope.
Sometimes it’s these exact trauma bonds that keep us from seeing more objectively from our situation and it can become a survival behavior to spiritualize a very severe situation.
We must continue to seek the full counsel of God’s Word to evaluate and better discern our circumstances and our options.
Aly, Nancy, Moonbeam, and all,
First please see my above comment on todays events at church.
I have been tuned in to God’s voice keenly for a couple of years now, no part on my own, just God being generous in this time of my life. I seek long and hard and God himself speaks to my heart. At one point reading through Leslie’s book I prayed in tears and challenged God, “Can a leopard really change his spots.” His response was, “I made the leopard, I can do what I want!” While that provides a possibility for change I also know it is no guarantee. God gave us free will and will not force my husband to change his heart.
At one point God was clear to me and told me, “Just love him.” and to submit. I did and I am sure you all know how the extreme submission thing goes. For those of you just getting your eyes open, the more you blindly submit in the way the scriptures get twisted into saying, the more abusive your spouse will become. It was shocking to say the least and I believe God took me down that road so that in my heart I know where the problem truly lies.
Right now the direction is to stay, but with the help of my counselor and pastors I have a safety plan in place and I am finding ways to improve my profitability and hopefully remove my husband completely from having any hand in my business. This will require a firm boundary with him and enough finances to hire an accountant. I need to be safe enough to leave if God calls me to and that is what I am working on, along with all the self-esteem junk from a lifetime of abuse.
Thank-you for recognizing that my life abuse history could come into play here, but truthfully no, that is not what is going on with my continued love for the sinner (definitely not for the sin, I don’t want to continue to enable), and its not influencing my knowledge that I am supposed to stay (though it contributes to my fear of leaving, I know).
Those are scriptures that God has given me in the moment and the directions that he has provided me in waging this battle where I actually can, where I have the power (well, where I have Jesus’ blood power). You all know that warring with words gets you no where when the abusers are not willing to hear them, so why not fight with the spirits that are clouding their vision and clogging their ears. Maybe then a sliver of God’s truth can penetrate.
The changes I make mention of are my husbands base attitude towards humanity. As a sociopath he has little to no respect for any other person, but he used to truly disdain and despise humanity, especially if they approached life from any different perspective. Unfortunately this was nurtured in his home which was a very “religious” home full of abuse. Over the past 20-25 years this attitude has softened. He no longer believes that certain people in society should just be destroyed and the sooner the God rids the planet of them the better. He has started to realize that these people have had their own share of junk and there is a flicker of empathy or at least maybe understanding. It may have taken 20-25 yrs, but that is change for the better.
I don’t know that I need to hang on another 25 yrs just to see him become slightly less abusive, don’t worry, that’s not what I am saying. Just saying for right now. Today. God has told me to stay. If that changes, it will take all the strength of God in me to leave, for me that is harder because of not wanting to hurt my husband, even though I know in my head that it will be hopefully helping him, and because I don’t want to mess with my kids, yet feel guilty on a regular basis that I didn’t recognize this sooner and address it because of the way it has affected them already. So yes, I see the battle in my own heart, my own weaknesses and my own war, which is why I am so grateful for Nancy’s post above that reminds me to pay attention to all the wars in my life, including my own hearts.
You guys are all so awesome and caring, thank-you for sharing your experiences and helping those of us that are just opening our eyes to reality.
Wow, there is a lot here, goodness your example of 25 years to see a flicker of empathy is very very sad Jane. I’m sorry this has been your partner the one who promised to God and others to protect and cherish you. He also was given a very sacred role in being entrusted to care for your heart, which he has betrayed that and broken that covenant.
Do you agree?
You wrote something really important and I’m wondering if you could explain more of how you see this:
“At one point God was clear to me and told me, “Just love him.” and to submit. ”
What does’ just love him’ mean to you?
And to submit mean to you?
I think it’s valuable to define love and what is loving to a spouse who you are called to be his Ezer by God.
What makes you think you are hearing from God? What if you are just making up answers in your head? It happens to all of us at times. We think that still small voice is the holy spirit,only to realize later, that it was just our own thoughts. The “word” we hear from the Lord will never contradict scripture or God’s character. I hear si much contradiction in your responses.
It is not just in my own concerns that God speaks to me, it is a prophetic thing, word of knowledge thing. I know it’s Him because I respond to peoples issues without knowing about them on the prompting of His voice. It will confirm for the pastor his message, or confirm a job offer is coming for someone in 3 wks (that was a scary one to tell because timing definitely can be wrong, but that’s what I heard so I reported). Anyway, that’s how I know its His voice. There are times I am not sure, my own voice or fear is too loud. At those times I do not listen to that voice alone but seek out even more counsel and scripture.
I do not see anything being contradictory as to what God has told me to this point. What is contradictory is my heart. I do keep struggling with the marriage and my role as mom as an idol. I am over and again trying to lay these down and strictly focus on God. I am also trying to release my fear to God and only fear Him. These things I have heard to date I know are true, but if God tells me to leave, which I am wondering if its coming down the road, then I will. The contradiction is that my heart will not gladly do so, but will sacrificially do so because God’s will is more important than mine. Just like when he told me “just to love him (about my husband)” I had to wrestle with what that meant and how to be. To just love him does not mean sacrifice to allow sin, it means that, while working on me and protecting the kids where possible, that I still have empathy, respect and compassion for where my husband comes from. While he is a narcissist and sociopath (actually diagnosed) he is also insecure and in pain from his childhood of abuse. This does not excuse by any means his behavior and should not cause me to enable him to keep behaving poorly (I am working on this with my counselor). This means that I pray for heart change for him, not because I want the marriage to work but because I want the good of God in his heart (as I do for everyone). It is when I see healthy needs that I meet those needs with healthy love.
Where many people have anger in their hearts with abuse, I got through that in my college years (for the most part). I still love my mom despite her narcissism and me being her negative focus, I still love my dad despite his controlling anger issues that are markedly improved over years ago, and I forgave the hardest to forgive abuser.
I don’t think abuse is right or should be allowed, and no I do not think I am very good, important or special and I have a very tough time receiving positive words about me but I think I have come a long way from where I was: arguing with God that I wasn’t worthy to be His child, just let me be His servant; to being grateful that I am His child and amazed by the gifts He gives me. I know I am not worthy of them by what I do, but because of who I am, His daughter, because of that alone I am worthy. (That last part I am still trying to move from my head to my heart!)
I thought I sgned up to be a wife in a marriage, but apparently I was recruited to be an enemy soldier in a way game. It turned out my husband was the only one with officer’s privileges. He was also the self proclaimed military police and air marsall. I wish he told me, the priest, and all our wedding guests that when we were standing at the alter.
War or Peace, pick one. The choice is yours. Ladies, my only regret is that I didn’t take my honorable discharge sooner.
Jane, what you ask is statistically as unlikely as you winning the Power Ball.
I think you are too ambivalent to act yet. Please get professional counsel with this. You only want to make this move once. Whatever stand you make has to stick. Any subsequent attempts will be dismissed if you waiver and get re-engaged by his crazy making. He has lots of experience controlling you. He knows what we get you to comply. Expect his tactics to reach new levels.
So the answer to your question is, “No, not a chance that he will get better. …..But you, Jane, can get better.” There is an excellent chance that you will grow to be the woman you were designed to be and thrive, thrive, thrive!!
The stories you read of successes are those in difficult marriages, not destructive ones. Do your homework. Watch Patrick Doyle and Lundy. Bancroft on you tube. Try Evan Stark’s material on covert control and read Jeff Crippen’s book too.
No, no, no, it is virtually unheard of that an abusive spouse changes. No DV program has been successful in permanent remediation.
You asked whether people like your husband can change. I think if someone genuinely repents, change is possible. But the problem is these people don’t even acknowledge that they have done wrong. They blame, minimize, divert, justify etc. A truly repentant person will do what it takes to heal – seek out counseling, accountability groups etc.
So true! It is possible but with that posture only.
I think Jane gave a great example of how long a slow change her husband made over some pretty twisted thinking.
This should be a realistic experience of what to ‘expect’ from a destructive person as she describes.
So I guess what I’m saying is that If he shows that pattern or history then emotional growth could be even longer given his disorder?? And he already has proven him self unsafe as a marital partner, so let him work on him with the Lord (away) apart from the marital dynamic and see if change is possible from a safe distance.
Then again even if this is a possibility, he might still never be safe to be in a sacred marriage dynamic due to his limitations.
I agree. People that want to change do not need to be pushed to go to counseling etc. They will take responsibility for what they have done and try their best to ‘make it up’ to the person they have hurt. Jane’s husband sounds like a very unsafe person, perhaps even dangerous.
Wow, not what I want to hear, but the truth and needed, thank-you all.
Especially a narcissistic sociopathic one. They live in a different reality, once you counter them significantly, they go full on as never before. Remember, they have to protect themselves at ALL costs.
Thank you all for your posts! I thank God for this community of women where iron sharpens iron, and all strive to work toward a better tomorrow. Ro 14: Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Light bulb moment….boundaries are for yourself, not to exact change in another…. Thanks Aly. 1.5 years post-divorce I still second guess myself and the action I took to remove myself from a longtime destructive situation. After 40 years of having the damaging acid of control and manipulation constantly dribbled on me, I finally recognized that a deluge was coming; I could get out of the way or be destroyed by the onslaught. When I finally realized that my ex never had intentions to do what was best for our relationship and would never, I employed boundaries knowing that it would most likely lead to divorce. When my husband’s son murdered two people, the ex’s reaction was to propose raiding our retirement to fund defense, I balked and was immediately labeled selfish. When I vehemently said I would never feel safe to live with the son again, my ex rolled his eyes and said “a thousand people would tell you he couldn’t murder”. When I proposed that there was no cause to murder the two women (one disabled, the other small in stature) my ex said, “they instigated it”. After years of having “whatever” shoved down my throat and accepting it, I stood up and backed away to a safe and increasingly peaceful distance. In response I have been verbally attacked and accused of “abandonment” and leaving to engage in an affair (all untrue) my ex will never tire of blaming me for every malady, perhaps even global warming HELLO WORLD!!! when a woman gets up out of her house with only a few changes of clothes and drives off and leaves EVERYTHING behind it is a red flag for serious and destructive relationship problems.
Wow Jocelyn, you are incredibly strong and have been through so much. I pray you have people in place to help you heal.
I continue to move toward healing. Any considering leaving a destructive marriage/relationship don’t attempt it alone. I had godly counsel , fabulous friends, and supportive family. Even then it has been incredibly traumatic. God has carried me each step of the way.
Thank you, Jocelyn. I get it, all too well, I get it.
Interesting, as I too was told I abandoned him. Gee it sure was fun living in my car, picking half eaten food out of the trash and taking clothes from the lost and found to stay warm. Yes, I abandoned him. Oh, that poor man.
I lived in my car for close to two years, even though we owned three homes! I showered at work and slept on the floor of my office when it was too cold to live in the car. Yup, your right, I abandoned him for fun!
Why would anyone do this? Danger, danger, danger. These men can be above the law or are the law already! They answer to no one but themselves. No “putting your marriage at the cross” or “praying for peace” or “waiting on the Lord” is going to change the pathological manipulator. They are evil and sick. We must flee from such horror. Run for your life!
What strength you found in God! What humbleness you must have learned. Fear and pride certainly hold us in these relationships often. Thank-you for your willingness to share your story. I hope you no longer live in your car. It sounds like you had to do a lot of the work, leaving by yourself. I hope you now have Godly people in your life supporting you through it all.
Free, you are Free Indeed!!! Praise God you are free! They may all it abandonment if they please, all the while viewing themselves as the innocent victim. Master manipulators may adopt the victim mentality, in their view, they have been wronged by YOU and they have no responsibility for their predicament. The supposed victim feels justified to hurt or lash out at you, they think you deserve it. The manipulator feels entitled to say or do whatever they please, right or wrong, true or false about/to the person they perceive has wronged them. My job now is to look at myself through God’s eyes, not allow another person to define who I am and move forward. Hebrews 12:1 tells me to lay down my weights and RUN!!!!
I agree with you, Maria, and it is pretty clear that a person who is “sociopathic” or narcissistic is not going to see his own need for change. A point I want to make here, and it’s a question I often ask when reading these letters: When a woman is married to an abusive man, and she knows she needs to get away, yet she says, “But I love him!,” I want to ask, “What’s to love??” The answer may be about the 20% of the time when he is “nice” and acts “normal,” or it could be holding onto a dream marriage, a fantasy. It might be fear of how to live without him, whatever…. But I do really think that it’s important to deeply and thoroughly find the real answer in your heart. This would give you a lot of clarity about what you should do next. By allowing him to continue to sin against you, you are basically dishonoring God’s will for you. Maybe it’s enough to trust in God’s love for him and then let go of him.
Not sure that you can understand but it is love. Not fantasy. Even if he never changes and we separate permanently, I will love him. There are many types of love. The Eros love is quickly fading but the rest are still there. I love him as a brother in Christ, I love him as an individual (crap and all), I struggle to truly love him as a wife because it is not safe, so I do not, I trust myself that I need to guard my heart with this love. I did give that love previously, that is the only one I have isolated away for safe keeping at this point.
Also, I am no longer “allowing” him to sin against me. I am setting slow boundaries as it is safe but can not just stand up and say no more, go to this counselor and start changing or I will have to leave for my own well being. I do not have enough strength in myself, not enough surety that I can keep my business upright without his hands in it, nor enough established safety in general yet for that.
You may be surprised at the strength that you have as you start taking baby steps toward healing. Also, it’s amazing to see how God comes through for us. I stayed home when my kids were little. My husband became very controlling and verbally abusive and I lost all confidence in myself. I didn’t think I would be able to get back in the workplace after taking a long break as I am in a technical field. But God opened doors and as I began to take baby steps, I got more confident. Lean on Him and use God’s word to overcome your fears. Are there any resources that you can tap into to help with your business? I learned early on that relying on my husband for anything was a bad idea – a door for crazy making. Do you have people around you who can help?
Jane, please know that I do not disagree with you, especially about the love… Yes, you can love him as another child of God, and I’m sure that you realize that this is different from a fantasy kind of love.
To address your fear, this is altogether a trust issue. If/when God tells you to leave, be sure that He will take care of you and the children. Your business will thrive without your husband’s function. The peace that will invade your being will enable you to do so much more than you can do now. Others have testified of this. Your loving Heavenly Father will look after you. Just keep your spiritual ear tuned to His voice. You will know when the time is right to act.
Jane, if you have no experience other than an abusive childhood and an abusive marriage. Do you think you know what love is? Are you familiar with the term traumatic attachment? There may be a bond of some type, but it is not love. Loves goes both ways. Marital love isn’t something only you give, it is to be reciprocated too. So you can’t love him as a wife. You have a bond and feelings but please don’t confuse those feelings for the marital love described in Corinthians. I think Jo Ann has an excellent point to take time and reflect deeply on the motivation for your statement.
Jane, Moonbeam, JoAnn….
All such good points and important questions!
On thing I might add Jane is also get educated on ‘spiritual abuse’ because often the things you bring up spiritually I sense have a flavor of interpretation that would put you in a very powerless place. Especially when you speak of Love and sacrifice.
My dad used to tell my mom over and over that ‘she saved him’ by putting up with so much crap from him! It motivated her to continue through the years. He used to say all sorts of spiritual things that would make her feel like such a servant of the Lord, because from what I know now I believe he knew what she needed to hearts keep the dynamic in the place it was. He would praise her for being the spiritual wife that he wasn’t deserving of. And on and on.
It reinforced her already skewed understanding of her role as wife.
In fact, many places within their dynamic were role reversals when you look at scripture and what God calls the husband to be.
Now, my father wasn’t ‘all bad’ he has many valuable fathering skills (in my opinion) I’m not trying to vilify him here but to point out what seemed to work well for him and granted the over-functioning was passed down easily to me as that was what I knew.
Are you sure he is a brother in Christ?? What kind of fruit do you see?
Thank-you all for the encouraging words.
I am certain he believes Jesus died for salvation. I am not certain he will not fall into the “depart from me you workers of iniquity, I knew you not”. He is very much into the POWER of God (healing, prophetic, casting out demons) yet not the love and kingdom stuff, you know the real point of it all. One day while we were talking and he was feeling sorry for himself and I was trying to build him up with Godly encouragement, he threw it back with “what has God done for me?” I almost quit being able to drive the car and my heart sunk. Really?! Like Jesus dying for your sorry self and my sorry self and for our kids was not enough for you. Even if He never did another thing for us (which He has done abundantly great things for our family) wouldn’t that be enough? So I don’t know is the answer to his salvation but not mine to decide, but his fruit shows me his roots have not changed yet.
As to spiritual abuse, absolutely!! No question, but that is with the submission scriptures and the my body is his scriptures mostly. My choice for submission when God directed it was not due to those scriptures but I used to struggle with them until I read Leslie’s books (which was well after the submission period). I believe God wanted this experience for me for many reasons and I know that sounds weird. My job puts me at a particular opportunity to minister to and change the lives of abused women. Now I full well know what submitting further and following the misinterpretation of those scriptures will lead to. God always uses our circumstances and I believe that is why he had me do that for a season only. This is also not against the scripture, this happened in the old testament with a prophet that was married to an abusive adulterer who God instructed him to stick it out as an example of God’s relationship to Israel. I do not put interpretations on Gods direction that they will lead to one outcome or another, but rather that my obedience will produce the fruit that God intends for my life.
As for love, this does not always have to be reciprocated. Certainly the intimate love between a man and a wife does, but the other loves do not. Christ loved those that were spitting on Him and nailing Him to the cross, even as they abused Him. He did not tolerate abuse though except for that one specific purpose. This does not mean that he did not love those people, just that He knows who He is. Also, He chose to lay down His life. He could have come off that cross if he wanted to. Right now I am choosing to stay because I feel this is what God is saying, I am not being forced though my fear will make it difficult if God ever says otherwise, but even then I will choose to obey and lay down those fears. God loves all of us even when we are actively rejecting Him. So I must disagree about love in general but married love I agree about which is why I have emotionally distanced myself right now.
Relationships are not one sided. If only one party is putting all the work, it tends to be dysfunctional. There is usually a problem with boundaries or a lack of them.
Sometimes we can choose to minister to people. We help them, many times not expecting anything back.
How long do you think Jesus tolerated the abuse?
Didn’t he also leave his hometown because his ministry would not be received?
Another thing for you to think about- did Jesus go after the Pharisees who rejected him?
Jane, i appreciate your perspective, and I do trust that you are waiting on the Lord for His leading. I do also think, however, that the sisters here are concerned for your welfare and are hoping and praying that you will soon extricate yourself from this damaging and dangerous relationship. Yes, the Lord has taught you much through all of this, and it has given you a sensitivity to the experiences of the women you minister to. I’m sure that you also realize, as you try to help these women, that in some situations you may not be taking your own advice. So, be careful, be prayerful, and be very watchful, to protect both yourself and your children.
You are so right. I can’t tell you how often I feel like I am counseling myself, hearing their justifications and enablement, lovingly pointing out the falseness of the statements and thinking listen to yourself goofball!
I do not in any way put God’s calling on me to stay at this time on anyone else. I try to get the idea of a safety plan in place, get them to professional DV counselors, though I now need more, and I put them on the books boundaries, destructive marriage, and heart of DV. I pray with them. I show them compassion and truth. The very things that allowed my eyes to see what was happening to me.
Thank-you for understanding that I really am just listening to God. I get that this is a one sided commitment right now in the home but not really because right now this commitment is between me and God. I do realize they are afraid for me, as is my counselor and are several others involved, at times I am scared too and at times I think its all silliness (but really I know better- I am not the only one afraid of him). I can admit that you all see something I don’t. I pray that God will open my eyes to what I need to see and know and open my heart to the right moves and words at the right time.
Good point about the Pharisees, but most of the time he simply presented boundaries by speaking the truth or even walking away; he only fought when he saw them blaspheming the house of God. I know there is a message to be gleaned by that.
You said Jesus walked away. he did.
He didn’t keep relationship with them.
When you speak about your commitment to God, please examine that and what that entails.
To me, your twisting it.
Also when you say things like the right time, right words etc.
I’m not convinced this is truth for your situation but fear and the enemy twisting things.
I say this because it sounds like rationalizations to me when a person is afraid.
You should be afraid. I think, but that’s me from what you have explained here. But ask yourself is your fear upside down?
Is it tangled?
If people around you are concerned for you, it’s important that you listen to them. I would even go so far as to say praying to God to reveal this is not needed. The ‘O’ in CORE is being open to others input.
I have to admit that knowing you counsel women in abusive situations, is very unsettling to me.
Your ‘people’ as well as your counsellor are AFRAID for you, Jane!
And yet you continue to minimize and spiritualize your situation all the while sitting in front of vulnerable women as an authority on the matter.
I don’t doubt that you could be practically helpful, but I do doubt that you could bring wisdom. Wisdom comes, I believe, from an integrated person. This lack of cohesion between your words and actions would really, I believe, compromise your emotional, and especially, your spiritual effectiveness as a counsellor.
I’m sorry Jane, to be so blunt. But you speak of ‘healing’ and ‘change the lives of abused women’, and I cannot shake this uneasy feeling knowing that you are living in one reality while simultaneously portraying yourself another way, to your clients.
Wise words, Nancy. I agree. Sometimes the devil masquerades himself as an angel of light. I would think that in a stressful and dangerous situation, it might be hard to discern where these messages are coming from. Jane, pray for a spirit of discernment, and stand firmly against the strategies of the devil. You are in a foggy situation right now, and your husband is a deceiver. Whatever “power” he is displaying cannot be from the Lord, given his twisted and sick personality. With this kind of atmosphere in your household, it will be easy to be deceived.
I’ve assumed in my post that you are not telling your clients that you are living in an abusive situation. I should have asked:
Do you tell your clients the truth of your own situation?
Not usually due to professional “boundaries” but they get enough idea that I have personal understanding that they are hurting and are confused.
I do not secretly or unconsciously try to free them while wishing I could free me. Very reasonable question. I am a fixer, which is my profession, won’t say more than that as to what I do for safety reasons. But when I see pain I want to help when I can, and now that I have become aware about DV and its prevelance, I have been able to help more appropriately (really wish I could explain better but for safety I cant). I don’t try to become their DV counselor, just their eye opener to start the journey.
I also don’t tell them they have to do anything more than be safe, learn the truth and do what they need to do for themselves to become healthy. I know that journey will look a little different for each person and my journey I know is unique which is ok.
Hope this answers the other question I missed above.
Why do I want to help with everything and give to everyone and (used to) sacrifice to an unhealthy place? In part because it makes me feel worth (not the best motivation) but mostly because it is what is right when it comes to loving those in need, not enabling- that’s the part I have had to be careful of. I have felt deep pain in my life, much worse than where I am now, if I can help any one person out of that pit of misery and despair by shining God’s love on them I will. That’s just who I am.
Thanks for your responses, Jane.
I’m just imagining how I would feel if I found out that my counsellor was in danger while she was counselling me on that very subject.
I think that I would feel a degree of betrayal. At a minimum, my trust would evaporate.
C ( from CORE) is being committed to truth. I just wonder how much truth there can be in a ‘client, counsellor’ relationship, where the counsellor is not living out what she is speaking about on a day-to-day basis.
I’m not trying to be hard on you, at all. I’m just extremely un comfortable with this.
You keep missing this. I am not their “counselor”. I am a care provider and my job is to point them to the appropriate resources and ensure they are not at physical risk. Such as teaching them to use in private browsers and making sure that they do not keep certain books or documents where there spouse can find it. In the mean time I am referring them to DV counselors. I counsel them that they are in an abusive situation which is affecting their well being on so many levels, I assess if there is any other abuse history as well which may be coming into play and discuss this as well. I give them a safe place to be honest about what is happening in their lives and then point them in the direction of the people in our area that are smarter and better than I am at handling this. I have secured my safety with a safety plan and feel I can safely exit when needed and the people that need to be in the know are and help with my safety as well. As I have said we are currently in a honeymoon stage so my immediate safety is ok too. If tension starts to build again that may change things and I will take steps as necessary to maintain my safety if I am concerned about even the remotest of physicality. I do appreciate everyone’s concerns for my physical safety.
Regardless of the number of times that you ‘counsel’ them (your word) you are in a position of trust and authority with these ladies.
This is emotionally and spiritually dangerous, in my opinion.
You know what’s awful. I know I am hearing from God without even the smallest doubt, but because most of you can not fathom this in any way and want to make it something its not I do not feel I can get Godly council hear. Experienced council sure, but not Godly. I believe every word that Leslie wrote about abuse, submission and the twisting of the scriptures, divorce and the real meanings intended by the specific scriptures. I felt such relief at these truths and still do. I believe there is real danger where I am in life as there has been to some degree my whole life, but greater than this I believe God is my strength and life and when He says stay I will stay and when He says go I will go. Not one of us knows why. Maybe there is a reason for my safety or any one of a million reasons that He has asked me to stay. I am not twisting scriptures and I am no longer allowing them to be twisted around me- by anyone!
I am sticking to my CORE and the truth, which I will not compromise because no one else can conceive of it (funny God took me to 1 Cor 2:14 this am- I am glad or I might lose my truth). I am open to feedback but not controlled into changing my faith!! I am responsible for me and for my response to God, not to others, though I am respectful and empathetic to where each of you are coming from and very appreciative of your willingness to share from your experience. I believe it is out of fear that most of you are speaking. Fear for my safety, for which I appreciate the kindness and the wisdom and experience but it will not trump God’s word to me. I will embrace CORE, learn to set boundaries carefully with the help of my counselor and the support of my pastor (who is supportive of what God is doing and believes what is truth ie does not twist the scriptures to even begin to ask me to submit) and I will (whether it feels good to me or causes more fear or not) obey Gods word, even if it is to leave eventually!
Please pray for discernment in your lives and mine.
Your post reminds me of a lady who was convinced God told her she would marry this guy. She was not open to any input from anyone. Well, it did not happen and she was very bitter when it did not happen.
There is a huge difference of the fear we feel for your safety and the fear you feel because you don’t think you can make it on your own. The root cause of your fear is a lack of trust in God. When we put ourselves in unsafe situations and expect God to keep us safe, it is crazy. Do you have kids in the home?
“When we put ourselves in unsafe situations and expect God to keep us safe, it is crazy”
This is so true. When Satan tried to tempt Jesus to jump off the cliff, He refused. We are not to place ourselves in harms way.
difference, I have no expectation of what the outcome is going to be! God did not make that promise to me, He only gave me direction. Too many times in my life have I discerned correctly what God was telling me to do but put my own interpretation on what that means or what it will lead to and had significant emotional upset in the immediate because of my expectations but years down the road have seen how those choices have taken me to where I am in my career path which is truly a ministry, this would not have happened without obedience (I could have done without the disappointment by putting on my own expectations but lesson learned and maturity gained).
With the prophetic, if God doesn’t tell you anything else, you need to only report what you see or hear (I wish I could tell you a few of the amazing specific examples that are kind of fun but it would risk exposing my actual identity so I can’t)
While I have many fears, not making it on my own is not one of them which is why I question your council. Please see my other posts to know me better. I do not expect God “to keep me safe”, He did not promise that and I never said that (I am sure you now think I am truly crazy), He said He will be my strength. God’s timing is perfect. He will tell me when the right time is to leave. Fear is not holding me there.
you are not to tempt the Lord your God. The difference Satan is tempting Jesus for the sake of pride. No pride in this, very humbling actually. I don’t even pretend that by staying that I am saving my marriage. I don’t really know what the purpose is in staying but how many times in the bible did God ask people to put themselves in harms way for His sake, for the betterment. Right now it must be for the betterment of something or He wouldn’t ask this. Paul continuously put himself in harms way, only on occasion did God tell Paul no don’t go right now to this unsafe area! Be careful not to twist scriptures the otherway too by taking them out of context.
Ok, I’ll agree not to get into scripture interpretation – actually, it is something that I have objected to in the past with other people here. So, I’ll gladly leave that subject. Thanks for that.
Jane, your recent posts have become extremely defended. If you look back, you’ll see that.
I think it might be easy to feel that you are being ‘ganged up on’, but this really isn’t the case. We are all here to both encourage and to sharpen one another.
The questions we are asking and the observations we are making are pretty objective and they come from a place of love and care.
There’s a lot of wisdom here, but you will not be able to receive it if you are bent on defending yourself.
No one here is trying to control you.
Sorry this post is out of alignment.
Can we try to slow things down just a bit? I’m wondering about these responses and places where I read two different things going on.
Do you hear from others here that you have 2 options?: Stay well or Go well?
I ask because I don’t think that is the case in these situations. And often someone who is under the kind of oppression you have been navigating will get narrow with dialog… maybe your not but I wanted to better understand what you are hearing from the blog community and what maybe you feel challenged by?
Also, you said you are committed to Core and this means truth and honestly from the gate.
Do you think first and foremost you are being ‘honest with yourself Jane’?
Are you being honest about your fear?
There is No shame in fear, Jane.
Would you tell me what you might define as your greatest fear?
Let’s circle back to your counseling business Jane, do you think it’s possible that you are asking others to step out from fear so you can live through them and their choices… ? Kind of like feeling like you are a participant of sorts and sometimes this can feel very strengthening and it can distract us from our own journey and ‘lawn mowing’ so to speak?
Just to be clear here from my position, I’m not a person who says there are two options to things only. Sometimes there are, but sometimes in our fear we make God’s voice really clear yet many times He is revealing in actions and outcomes fruit.
Sometimes if all we know is counterfeit fruit, then we are easily deceived. I think what I read back and forth from this dialog is that many are challenging the baseline of how you are discerning and if it’s possible you are still in a place of deceiving yourself as a survival strategy that might not be as helpful as it once was at one time in your journey?
From the sounds of your post, you are fairly new to seeing clearly about abuse, power and control issues and how scripture is often intertwined in these places causing more confusion?
Fear can be disguised in many ways and I think it’s wisdom that can bring light to the situation.
But as promised by God, fear is something he can assist us with greatly!
Sometimes the first step is admitting we are scared. Being scared is ok and will have purpose in our behavior. Being scared or fearful doesn’t mean we don’t have faith or understanding of the Lord, but that when we have invested So much toward another person who we hoped could be a partner, it’s scary to see the true reality and grief of someone’s limitations and hard hearted-ness.
In my own journey, it was very hard for me to admit to those I loved deeply that they have a hardness of heart but the Lord continued to reveal ‘behavior’ I could not minimize any longer.
In my heart, I just didn’t want to believe it or rather accept the loss of what I so thought was possible?
I’m not speaking of my marriage here but those sociopathic persons you speak of.
I spent along time revisiting ‘denial’ about these things. Denial served a purpose for me, not a healthy one but one that I thought was good, as it allowed for me to be dishonest with myself. This kept me from feeling the immense pain that I really needed to expose and deal with when accepting that there are hard-hearted people that DO NOT know how to treat another with love and regard.
Me staying in proximity of this dynamic only fed that hard/heartedness because a hard-heartedness individual is also Running and denying pain and lacks great relationship with the Lord.
Will continue to pray for your requests here. I’m sorry for all of what you have been through and I can tell you the longer your in such situations the harder it is to see the places of freedom.
You wrote this in a previous post “I do not have enough strength in myself, not enough surety that I can keep my business upright without his hands in it, nor enough established safety in general yet for that.”
I may have misunderstood, but it sounds like you are fearful that you cannot make it without him? If that’s the case, I can relate. It’s been a process for me and I’m amazed at the doors God has opened.
Please understand that my intent is not to pressure you into leaving. I myself am staying in an emotionally destructive marriage. I am concerned about your physical safety (I concluded from your posts and the concerns from the people around you that your husband is a sociopath & narcissist and you may be in physical danger). It is impossible to stay well if we fear for our physical safety. And if you fear for your physical safety, how about your kids? Please correct me if I have jumped to conclusions that are not right.
thank-you for explaining where that idea came from. I try to reread my posts but don’t always express well what I am saying. There are several aspects of my business that don’t require a lot of time but he has the passwords and information for, I also need to phase him out and hire an accountant. I can not just take over the finances because while I could manage them if I had been doing them all this time, I can not nor do I want to account for how and what is being accounted for by him.
To eliminate him altogether from my business would require directly confronting him more than I have already tried. I can not do this safely yet. Also, I know it will wound him deeply to “kick” him out and unfortunately it will be necessary but hurts my heart to even think about. That’s where I do not yet have the strength. There are also a few necessary steps to take the pressure off me at work that are being implemented that will free me to take over the parts that need to be taken over. Unfortunately there are only 24hrs in a day and I still need to see my family and sleep at least some.
I will admit I may be in physical danger, but only if I confront and don’t let him walk away. Yes he stalks me in a way, shows up places unexpectedly, etc. Control tactics. If he completely loses control over me it may be a problem but I doubt it as long as I maintain my own behavior and attitude amongst the emotions (which is tough with someone like this). I have to read the situation and know when to walk away, which has all but one time been elsewhere in the house. I did leave overnight one time, he still found me though by calling around to places he thought I may have gone. I know to not go to anyone’s residence again but an undisclosed hotel with an unknown credit card and a burner phone.
I do not believe he would physically harm my children, emotionally is a different thing and actually something that over the past two years he has been more willing to at least hear me about and make some minimal changes with. The oldest, like me keeps good distance and only occasionally engages with him, my middle seems to be able to not care because he understands the behavior is all fear and insecurity based so somehow he can ignore the bad behavior, its just the tension that gets to him if I do stand up for myself the atmosphere of the house vibrates with whats going to happen fear. My baby, she’s no dummy yet is a daddy’s girl, she breaks my heart the most. She is afraid of him yet craves his love and attention (which he does give positively too), she reminds me of me, incredibly strong in so many ways, yet insecure in some of the most important. My kids are where I pray and lament: Is it too late, should I stick it out here because NOW would be a worse time to leave, maybe if I had known when I was younger, when they were younger, I could have helped them better. But now, does it make sense. Well, regardless of what my head says and what my heart says, I will choose to be obedient to what God says. I will admit I am afraid of the pain that separation will cause all around, but will welcome the healing that the excisional wound will now allow. Whenever God cuts the unhealthy stuff out of our life it will hurt, but in the end bring about health.
It breaks my heart to hear what you and your kids are going through. How long do you think you can live like this? I hope you are documenting what you and the kids are going through. I have found it is important to let the kids know who their father really is by not shielding them from him. Also, I have found that it is really important to take care of myself. I hope that you are prioritizing this.
Thank-you for your compassion. Yes, I am now documenting on a journal that I email to myself on an unknown email, and I copy most of these posts into it as many of my thoughts and feelings seem to come out here (thank-you all for helping me work through this).
I am trying to take care of myself as best as I can. I have distanced myself emotionally and intimately from my husband for the past 3mo which has helped, I am struggling to eat enough and because of my long hours and stress with work struggle with adequate sleep and activity but I sometimes wonder if God is involved with this. It is the unforeseen circumstances around my job that have prevented me from having to be near my spouse as much so maybe it’s God’s providence, I don’t know. Given their ages and that he is the one at home more I really can’t shield the kids from his behavior but that means I also can’t shield from his poisonous, toxic thinking that can be contagious (I have seen this be a big issue). I try not to speak poorly of their father, but when I have to, I do speak truthfully now to them. I don’t limit as much information about what is going on anymore as I found he was not limiting what he was saying and instead was manipulating it and making me look bad to them. I am not the one who told him he is not allowed in this office, but I did confirm to him when he asked that I think it is unhealthy for our marriage for him to be here as it creates more strife. He flipped it to make it look like it was all me, so I had to change from telling my kids that I know they don’t understand the situation but that it was ok, to telling them that the other business here did not feel comfortable having him here and that I did feel that dad and I have less tension between us when he is not here. So I was honest without bluntly saying, your father terrifies the female office staff and everyone is walking on egg shells at the office when he is around. Respectful truth is what I am aiming for.
Saying ” dad and I have less tension between us” is you taking responsibility for his bad behaviour. ( co-dependant and enabling)
It would be honest to say, “there are people in the office who are scared of him”. And leave it at that.
This will also help your children because it will validate their feelings that they may not feel they have permission to share with you, yet.
Never thought of it that way thanks for the insight
My husband at times has talked ill of me to my kids. I tell my kids the truth when he does this. The downside to this is he may use parental alienation if we end up divorcing. Thankfully his bad behavior has been my best defense.
CORE involves living in reality. Although I have chosen to stay, I have prepared myself in case I need to separate/divorce my husband. I think this is a wise thing to do. You mentioned you are in the honeymoon phase right now. Realistically, this will pass. Sounds like you have a safety plan. Are there any other things you can do in case you have to separate?
There have been times when I have been overloaded (work,kids etc). I have learned to watch out for signs of this- forgetting things, overreacting. I immediately slow down and focus more on self care. As I mentioned before it’s important to make taking care of yourself a priority.
I have a change for my kids in the go bag to and some of their toiletries but mostly for my youngest who is the only underage one. I also humbled myself massively and went to both of our banks and gained access to our accounts electronically which he does not know about. It was hard to explain that while its an account in my name alone, I do not have access to it, and no I don’t have the debit card, he does. The man serving me was very kind and had that concerned look on his face of course. I later went back after mustering more courage and opened a private account at our bank where the majority of the finances are and had them use my pastors address so anything mailed has gone there. I have squirreled away enough money for a rental car and a night or two at a hotel until I can get a protective order if ever needed. I will probably very slowly and carefully add money to that account to be safe.
Where I live is a 50:50 state no matter whose at fault so I can only take half the finances, that much I learned for legal purposes. And I can take my daughter but not across state lines or it will be considered kid napping.
If anyone has any other key suggestions. Like I said before, I am making maneuvers to get him out of my business completely and we have actually asked the landlord to change the locks on the doors and limit the number of keys so that I am not “allowed” to give him a key as I do not feel comfortable asking for the key back yet do not feel safe with him still having a key. We are requesting the change based on two recent employees, one for each business, quitting, and noticing that some of our supplies are missing.
The only key to the gun closet is on his keyring. I want to make a copy so that I can access my guns if need be but I never have a time where the key ring is present but he isn’t. Truthfully I am not sure what else I need to do to prepare for possible separation. I have only been with my counselor x1month now so only so far in.
If anyone has any ideas of what else would be wise to do to be prepared just in case. I would like to get all the other information like insurance numbers and how to pay bills etc but he is not willing to show me this and I don’t know how else to get the info. I can full well see him leaving if we separate and not providing me any of the information just to try to watch me sink and beg for him back knowing in his head that I couldn’t manage without him. He often will tell me I don’t have a mind for finances (my daughter said it to me the other day and my heart sank, I was so shocked and it was in front of him so I didn’t know what to do or say, I think I know better how to address this next time).
You have really thought this through and have done a good job. Putting more money away is a good idea. Why doesn’t he want you to have access to the bills? Does he pay the bills from a checking account? If you have electronic access to it, you will be able to see what he is doing with the money. Does he work too?
Finances are “his thing” and in his words “you don’t have a mind for that”. I do have a doctorate and am not stupid BTW. If I try to do anything, ask about late payment fees (which frustrate me because its money we don’t have), can we cut anything down like renegotiate our cable contract, etc. he is extremely angry.
I do now have electronic access and at least I can trust where the money is going except the late fees.
No, he doesn’t actually work. He became a stay at home dad when he was fired from his job while I was in grad school and pregnant with our second kid. He was barely able to keep his first real job for 2yrs (I think he got the job and was kept it longer because of family ties) before we moved for school. The second job he kept for about 2 years under constant threat of losing it for his behavior til they let him go (which he claimed was because he had to rush home to me and the baby and wouldn’t socialize).
Now he has been home save one brief job a few years ago for 3 wks where he did put his hands on a coworker that was mouthing off at him (supposedly).
While I know he could never hold down a job because of his personality issues, he blames me. He sacrificed all to stay home with the kids while I pursued my dream, etc. It keeps getting worse as to the way he blames me in many ways as to why he is not the raging success he believes he should be.
If we separate for real it will be an even greater hardship financially because the expense of him or me having a separate place is crazy. And like I said, we’re a no fault state-50:50. I have to give him 50% of all!! I can’t pay the bills like that so God is going to have to be Jehovah Jireh, the Provider. I may just have to sleep at the office or church. I wouldn’t mind that but I need a shower at some point!
Maybe peace of mind and peace of body is worth less money. Plus, if he is educated and capable of working – he may not be entitled to any alimony or much. Check with an attorney. Sleeping in your office is not a good long term solution.
Thank-you. I guess once I save up enough money on the side I need to consult with an attorney. I am grateful for this blog and your ministry. My eyes are more open and my spirit much stronger because of the support I receive here.
It’s not really a matter of having less money. That’s not really an option. We live paycheck to paycheck because of student loans, house payments, etc. We live a very simple life and have not taken a family vacation in at least 7 years due to finances. I wasn’t sure if it was this tight vs. he was doing something with the money until I finally went to the banks and secretly got electronic access to my accounts. It’s legit that tight. God and my counselor are helping me start finding ways of generating better revenue so in time, I pray, it will improve.
BTW the prayers you offer up in your book, Wow!
I have been reading the conversations here regarding your situation. I am speaking up now to say that I support your decision to follow God’s personal leading of you in your life.
I have often felt pressure from the outside to leave my husband: from people in my life, from another blog, and from this blog. I stayed primarily due to a strong sense of a better ability to protect my children inside this situation rather than through divorce. I also have health issues. I never heard God telling me to go. Often the pressure was very heavy due to the fact that my children are teenagers and others insisted their opinions should be given much weight in custody proceedings.
My husband recently chose to file for divorce. The beginning of this process alone is overwhelming. I have no guarantees how custody will work out and I believe the fight will be intense. Any time alone with him, however small, will be very detrimental to my children, and yes, I would rather be the recipient of his ill treatment and manipulations than them when they have to be alone with him. If I had left when others encouraged it so strongly, I would be in no place now to fight this fight. The doubts and recriminations would eat me up because I had no confidence personally that God was telling me to leave.
I really sincerely appreciate the women here and have received much good counsel from many of you. There is one thing I do want to say, however. There are some who have been through divorce and can testify that they are glad they left no matter the weight of what they suffered. I understand that and it is significant though each story is different. (For example, Free, you went through some really deep suffering. I know given my health, I could not survive in a car). Yet there are some have not gone through divorce, and some who have not gone through divorce with minor children. Please, please be careful about what you are encouraging someone else to do with such strong pressure. You are pushing someone to engage a battle you know nothing about from the inside.
Jane, you have written some things that have made me almost speak up and be a bit of a “push”er myself. But I waited and listened to how you responded and how you have described your situation. There are some things I actually might push back on, but I haven’t because in general, I sense that you have a good head on your shoulders and know what you are doing. You know your situation better than people who only know your situation through what you have told them. I pray that God gives you discernment and wisdom to make your decisions in your life. God bless you and uphold you.
I don’t think anyone is encouraging Jane to walk out. As far as I have written and can see, she is being encouraged to listen carefully to those who are closest to her (counsellor and friends – who are concerned for her physical safety). And to be discerning in her daily walk.
That does not equate to advising her to walk out the door.
I have said that I don’t believe it to be consistent with The Lord’s character that he would ask her to stay indefinitely, and I stand by that.
Your last post in response to STL made me think of a recent devotional from Wisdom Hunters.
Just to be clear, I agree with many of their devotional and postures on scripture but not all.
Here was a phrase within the actual Devotional.
“How are you defining God’s character? Do you have a clear picture of who he is based on the entirety of God’s Word, or have you been defining Him mainly by just one of His traits?”
I’m wondering about this posture as it relates to the dialog and situation Jane is in as she describes the Lords examples of love and faithfulness?
I’m wondering if it’s not comprising A lot other examples the Lord gives us scripturally when dealing with relationships.
I’m also posting this because I want to go back to some other examples I believe that have been written about examples of scripture that can lend to fostering destructive cycles if the person interpreting doesn’t have the ‘full context’ of the story or purpose of the example.
This is why it’s vital to be informed and have an understanding of many traits of God like this writer explained.
Yes, I feel I am not being given the option to figure out how to stay and stay well if that is what I am called to. I do feel that I am being pushed out the door. I actually don’t even see two options being presented.
My defense is not that I don’t fear, I fear too much and for many reasons. My defense is in that my spirituality and faith is being attacked, even called crazy (these would be abusive words by the way!- thought I’d find my voice there). Surviving to this point has me in a place with God I would not trade for anything, if going through this is what it takes to have the depth of faith that I do then fine, I would do it again.
As crazy as it sounds my fears are in hurting my children, my husband (yes the one that abuses me- I would prefer not to hurt but know it is necessary to bring about change, whatever that change looks like), I fear disappointing my kids and not being able to put them through college (which I am not sure I can), I fear for my safety in a few different ways (I have set one boundary- I won’t ride with my husband in the car for any distance with him driving!), fear for my mental well being though by putting trust in God this is holding up very well, fear of failing God, fear of failing my clients, oh maybe just fear of not being good enough (Lord knows I’m not perfect and never will be which is ok, I just don’t feel good enough), fear that my husband will hurt those that are helping me, fear that I will get fooled into believing he has changed then he really hasn’t, fear that staying will hurt my children more balanced by the fear that leaving will hurt them more! I never claimed to be fearless. This I get prayer for more than anything else. I should fear no man but God alone and I am working on that!
Funny part, as many fears as there are, they are no where near as bad as they used to be. I no longer suffer with anxiety or panic attacks, just PTSD.
Just remember this is all a process. I do have those around me that didn’t even know I was unsafe and now understand the emotional abuse and some of the other abuse but also have a hard time seeing it escalate to a physical danger but they admit this is not their expertise and encourage me to follow my counselors advice. It’s just that some of the people that know my husband also feel the way I do, others don’t.
God is black and white, sin is black and white. What is being done to me and my kids is SIN, I definitely get that and will not justify his behavior anymore, nor dismiss, I still struggle with all the crazy making making me wonder was it really that bad, is he really like that or is it just me, but then God reminds me of all the trouble in work situations and personal situations he has had due to his domineering temperament and none of those had anything to do with me. If I didn’t listen to his voice I would be buried by the crazy making and gaslighting.
I appreciate the hand full of voices that are respecting where I am and where I feel led. Believe me, I AM listening to all of you and I hear and believe you about the concerns. But your voice can not change God’s. If I even for a moment thought different I would be the first to admit. Oh, and these directions have been confirmed by outside prophetic Christians that don’t know anything about my situation, so yes I do seek confirmation else where. This past Sunday seems to indicate change is coming soon and that God will be my strength through it- we’ll see what that means I won’t put God in a box and say it means my husband will change, my living arrangement will change, my finances will change… I don’t know, all I know is that there will be change (which is necessary) and that it will be hard (or I wouldn’t need His strength) but that God will be with me through it. And hopefully you guys will too
STL, you said “You are pushing someone to engage a battle you know nothing about from the inside.” That is important for all of us to keep in mind.
Because you are as it seems to be at a higher level risk for a DV incident rather than an intruder, I have a thought about your comment on guns.
Ammo and guns should never be in the same location. This means the bullets are stored (hidden) or locked elsewhere away from a gun.
Maybe this is already how you have it set up in your home because you have children there? But I guess this seems like the best immediate solution to gun danger, if you are not going to leave and get a restraining order (if needed) from him.
Ask you counselor what things you can do to continue to piece by piece your safety as you remain in an unsafe environment overall.
I’m still a bit confused that he (your h) knows your work and what you do and that doesn’t seem to be a problem with him?
Or are you keeping a lot from him?
Lik does he think you do something entirely different than assist DV victims find safety?
Sorry, I tried to make this clearer in my other posts. My job itself is not specific to helping DV victims, my job is helping women (do not want to say more for safety). I have helped them in many ways including but not limited to various forms of counseling regarding mental health, other forms of abuse, and spiritual concerns for years, but now that I am acutely awake to the problem of DV as a whole, I am finding that the 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 at least number seems to be true about those in destructive to flat out abusive relationships and the ones that I recognize and are ready to hear it on some level, I make aware and point them to the right resources immediately.
But why would he have a problem with it if he knew (he actually does know to a minor extent because it has always been part of my job in a very minor role), he is not an abuser in his mind so it doesn’t apply to him, he is a narc sociopath, he doesn’t live in reality.
No, storage is not separate. My kids are older and all know how to handle guns, especially their own guns. While I like shooting and enjoy having a gun, my husband went nuts and bought and built more guns than I ever cared to spend the money on and I had no say in the matter when he did it. I could never get storage separate, he would not agree to it and would be angry that I asked about it because that is his thing that he manages. Really that’s his response to my input, question, or idea on just about anything around the house, finances or just about anything at all really.
I have been mentioning that I was in a honeymoon phase of the cycle and had some likely false hope that things would change but that I saw the microsigns that nothing had changed. Well we hit tension phase and minor emotional and spiritual abuse this afternoon to flat out emotional abuse, lying and control tonight. I told him over and over I did not want to talk, he needed to walk away. If I did answer his questions he accused me of twisting his words. When he saw that the gas lighting was not going to work he changed tactics to name calling and excusing. His anger just escalated and he started leaning towards me more and had me partly cornered so I started to get more concerned (yes, I am listening to all you wise people out there) so I set a firm boundary and told him I was uncomfortable and he needed to leave the room. The third time I asked him to do this I also told him he was not respecting me by not leaving the room. He lashed back that I have not respected him in years. I was able to go around him, got my purse and phone and left.
I guess this got his attention. I ignored a couple of calls and texts for 20min and finally texted him that I needed space right now and that he needed to respect that. I told him I was not angry but hurt and that we would talk when it wasn’t so recent. But honestly I don’t know how I can ever safely talk to him. It took everything in me to not tell him that to his face tonight. I wouldn’t dare without a safety person with me. His text back is genuine that he is laying off til I contact him. I also got some inside info to make sure he was not stalking me.
Now what? Guess I’m glad I have a counselor to go hit up for what to do next. I don’t even know when I will go home. I knew change was coming, but I didn’t know it was going to be this quick or this direction. Please keep praying guys.
Praying for you, Jane.
I’m sorry for all that you are facing. I do want you to know that you are not alone, I’m praying, many here are praying and have caring hearts toward your situation.
The dynamic is very destructive and unstable as you know, you did well by leaving and getting space.
The fact that he doesn’t work it’s a good thing but I’m not sure legally you are as responsible as you might think if you were to separate?
Sometimes a temporary structured separation is Essential.
He clearly needs a ‘long term time out’ and any interactions between you both would need a 3rd party.
This could be your boundary of what you would feel safe moving forward with.
“If we separate for real it will be an even greater hardship financially because the expense of him or me having a separate place is crazy.”
Ok, so that might sound crazy but there might be other options and I don’t think separating (even if it’s for a few weeks or months) is crazy given how the cycle is? What’s crazy is cycling back into relationship with him given what you know about his behavior.
Some people just are too toxic to be around on this kind of level regardless the financial reasons.
You may think financially you can’t afford change, but the reality is emotionally, spiritually & physically you can’t afford to be in proximity which such a person with his issues.
He is very unsafe to not have a 3rd party present.
I’m not saying I’m right about him or predicting anything but when he realizes your limits are firm about engaging with him he will be less interested in wanting a relationship at all with you when you expose that you won’t tolerate his treatment.
Because of his ‘junk’ he most likely is only interested in having a relationship with you in where he can abuse the relationship and if he can’t abuse or be the controlling superior one, he will have not interest in continuing to work on a mutual understanding.
This is the SCARY part where you must have safety at all times and most likely have protection by law.
Sisters, what Jane needs from us, and I believe she is asking, is for us to trust her relationship with the Lord and to circle around her with prayers for protection and wisdom and guidance. We may have trouble trusting the leading that she has because we have not been where she is, but I think there have been plenty of challenges expressed, and it is causing her to be defensive, and we don’t want that.
The apostle Paul was warned many times that prison awaited him in Rome, yet he felt compelled by God to go. Out of his imprisonment came some of the most important epistles in the New Testament.
So let’s pray for our sister Jane, and support her in her journey. The Lord leads each of us according to His plan, which will be different for each of us according to our level of maturity and our need. Jane clearly has “ears to hear” what the Lord speaks, and not everyone of us is that far along in our journey. We have to respect that.
Much grace to you, Jane.
I wrote “When we put ourselves in unsafe situations and expect God to keep us safe, it is crazy”. I did not mean this as an attack to your spirituality or faith if this is what you are referring to.
I can relate to many of the things you have written especially as it relates to the kids.
I have always been of the mindset that I will leave if:
1. I am not strong enough to endure the difficulties. Then I would not be able to help my kids through this.
2. I see that staying is more detrimental for the kids.
3. I am in physical danger. I don’t think it is possible to stay well in such a situation.
This has been a process as you have mentioned. I have had to turn over my fears to God constantly. I still fear. I see the consequences of staying, but I see God’s hand.
As JoAnn has mentioned, you need our support. I am praying for you. You know your situation best and know what applies and what doesn’t.
I see your post as wanting to step back and take a bigger picture of what’s going on. I can see where you are coming from here with some of this dialog.
It makes sense.
Jane is in the early stages of awareness of her own journey and what kind of real danger she ‘could’ truly be in.
I respect you insight always here and can see your point about Paul and his ministry. I’m so sure we are describing the same type of safety and purpose that Paul was being lead to, he also had to escape threatening situations.
I think comes down to strengthening and asking for discernment from the Lord and others when someone is in such an upside down scenario.
The dynamic has been established in the marriage and it doesn’t sound like Janes Husband is that interested in adjusting the power balance within the marriage, in fact he might fight harder as she gets stronger.
This is not an easy situation to understand at all and Jane does need a lot of support and well educated people to give her the next essential steps to take.
The more she exposed about her lack of mutual marriage even financially, I can see why she would want to hope and believe she’s not living with an individual who can’t or won’t change.
Thanks, Aly. I respect and agree with your perspective on this, and you surely have a lot of experience and counseling yourself to know what you are talking about. She has expressed concern, even fear, about all the people who could be harmed, starting with her own children. The important thing is that she is getting counseling, and since she said that it’s only once a month at this point, I would encourage Jane to step it up and see her counselor more frequently. Like you said, as Jane gets stronger, it will upset the balance and he could begin to react more dangerously.
Jane, I was so encouraged when you told us that the locks had been changed on your offices. Way to go! And you have an “acceptable” reason to do so as well (it’s not about him). Things are moving forward, and the heavens do rule, so be wise, be careful, and hug your kids as much as they will let you. 😉
Counseling weekly for one month now. I must have mistyped (my cursor often disappears from the reply box when I am typing). I am going weekly which is an expense that is hard and finding the cash to pay is hard, my church has actually offered to help. They really are kingdom people full of the love of God. They are able to help me through this and still agape love my husband and pray for his healing and dare I suggest salvation at this point.
We have asked that the locks be changed. We are waiting for reply from management. Tonight more than ever I wish they were changed. I walked out. See my post above. This fear of him confronting me alone in my office where I would be trapped and he could emotionally destroy me as much as he wants (and potentially physically, though I still think he would more readily hurt someone else physically) has me motivated to be safer. When I return home or at least resume contact, with a safe person present, I am going to ask for the keys back from him. I will still work on getting the locks changed in case he made a copy of the key.
Thanks everyone for the support
You are really in the midst of it. I pray for continued protection and incredible clarity for you and for your children.
He has equipped you well, and will guide each step.
You are His precious daughter, Jane, and He is your true husband and protector.
Jocelyn, I am so glad you got away from that dangerous situation. Praise the Lord! Now you can heal and go on with your life. Is there a way to move farther away from him, so that he can no longer slander you? It would be a bold step, but would provide more peace. Pray about it, dear Sister, and I am so glad you wrote.
JoAnn, great advice. I have moved hours away. A new location, new job, New church, many new things as I strive to be closer to my Lord and become more of what He wants me to be. A pleaser of God not man.
Jocelyn, I celebrate you for your courage and determination to move forward. Way to go! Praise the Lord who empowers us with His resurrection life!
I so appreciate the concern and support that is offered to fellow sisters,all at different places on their journeys toward wholeness and true freedom in Christ.The decision to separate is hard yet it is also the means of healing for so many.I am currently about to move out after 26 years of marriage and am in mediation for a legal separation.I am 64 years old and retired.This is not what I ever imagined my next phase of life to be yet I have prayfully made the decision with the help of my counselor and several supportive friends.I will continue to pray for my husband and leave him in Gods loving hands.I too have minimized and rationalized and excused behavior that is no longer acceptable to me.I believe God honors truth and clarity not confusion and chaos.If my husband chooses to continue to live that way he can,however I am choosing a different path for myself.The future of my marriage is unknown but Gods love and care for me is my anchor in this storm.He is a good,good Father and he dearly loves his precious daughters.
Sorry to hear of what you’ve been through. I’m glad you are taking steps towards freedom.
I am so glad that you are on the road to healing, May God bring you through with the strength and grace I hear in your post here!
Jane, my husband was very much like yours ….controlling, narcissistic, sociopathic tendencies. I made plans for months before I knew it was time to go. I spent several months barring our bedroom door to keep him out, nights with my phone near my head and support people “on call”. Unless you are with someone this crazy, it is hard to imagine the depths of their deceit and control. Bank accts shut out of, stalking, recording devices, trying to alienate kids, friends, church. All the while maintaining a cool “Christian” appearance. They are crazy, really, and until out of the situation it is hard to see clearly. You have to have everything lined up before making a move. I had a place lined up and only my pastor, his wife, the 2 kids still at home, and a dear friend knew what I was planning. I told my husband only several days before going. I have been out 8 months. He has gotten progressively more bizarre, and his stories about me are so skewed. My counselor says they live in a different reality, they make up”facts” to protect their image at all costs. She also told me that with a narc you never get half, don’t think it will be fair because it won’t, but get enough and get out.
All this to say, I was cautioned repeatedly but also had to “bide my time”.
My advise, put back money, get any acct number you can, take pictures or log any assets you jointly own, get good legal advise.
(frustrated, had post mostly done and entire thing disappeared and sent me to the top!)
I am so glad you have safely gotten out of your situation. You describe the behavior perfectly.
If I return home I will take your advise. (walked out tonight for safety, see post above).
The behavior of a narc is amusing actually when you step out of it a bit. He hit me emotionally with a trifecta in 15 min over the phone this afternoon. He then confronted me tonight as to why my mood was off. I repeatedly did not want to engage and told him so but there is no room for boundaries. On the first account that I tried to tell him how he hurt me, he claimed I am twisting his words, which I may still fall sucker for but I had immediately restated our phone conversation as close to verbatim as I could in order to be sure of my feeling to two different trustworthy people in two different replays, both were equally offended and took it as I did. Skip the second offense, not worth bringing up again, he doesn’t care so I didn’t even begin.
When he wouldn’t relent I also confronted him about laughing at me which he flat out denied (what a dumb lie, I actually boundaried him 1 minute after he did it and told him not to laugh at me, to which he did not reply or agree). I told him if he didn’t think he laughed at me than he really was crazy. You could see panic, gas lighting was not working! I restated that he laughed at me because he though I was stupid for not knowing a specific business term that many business type people may not know. Fist tactic change, sympathy. He hasn’t laughed in so long, it was good for him to laugh. I argue not at me because he though I was stupid. He then resorted to names. “Not stupid, ignorant”. I was actually shocked and amused at the same time. He truly thinks the use of this word is better! Then he clarifies that its different because ignorant can be “fixed”. Then flip tactics again to excusing, he knows so much about business he couldn’t believe I didn’t know this.
Narcs are full of surprises yet really, from what I am reading, are predictable, I guess I just choose to hope for better (hope, prayer and fasting aren’t changing this because God is a good God and won’t force anyone)
He again refused counseling when I told him he does not realize that his words are mean and that he needs counseling to help him understand. When he is being more narc I don’t think he is trying to be mean so much, but when the sociopath side takes over, its intentional and I have come to accept that (it still sucks though- can I say that word on here?).
How did you safely confront your spouse about separation? How did you let them know safely?
He had been threatening “divorce” for months, yet I saw no move on his part except becoming “friends” with a lady and being seen in pictures with her online. Once I saw that I began blocking him out of bedroom (“it was his right”, “need to submit”, ” you are sinning”), and moved ahead with securing a place. I sought an attorney, took half of any of “our” money i could still access (he had me shut out of some accounts earlier) , copied acct records of anything I could even if I didn’t know current balance, and started mentally going through house things in preparation to leave. This is really important, NEVER talk to him alone about anything except the weather. After I caught him with a voice activated recording device in his pocket I knew he was totally in another world. One time I reached toward him to touch his sleeve , he yelled “Dont hit me!” loud enough my son who was in the driveway heard. I had NO intention of hitting!?! From that point on I always had someone with me. Honestly months before that my pastor and the elders would not talk to him one on one because things so skewed. I made arrangements with people to help move and several days before the move told him i had secured a place and we (daughter and I) were moving. Move happened during day when he was gone. Awhile before that we had gone through house dividing up furniture since he was always threatening. I had made him write all that down and had my own copy. I know he was shocked I just did it. He thought he was all powerful.. Since I left he has made NO attempt to figure out if there is anything he can do to fix our situation.. My counselor said “it can’t be anymore over than it is.” His story is complete fabrication and he has continued to be seen online with other lady”friends”. Over these month away my kids have all seen the truth and are setting their own boundaries. (4 young adult children and 1-17 yr old). I know the feeling of being blocked in, hovered over and all that being denied. Crazy.
Please be safe. He had many guns too, I got many warnings from people nervous about that.
Thank-you. Not sure my next step right now but definitely at peace with my day today.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
The voice of experience. Kay, thanks for sharing. I’m so glad you got away and now you can begin a new life. As his behavior is getting worse, are you sure you are safe? Might it be a good idea to consider moving several hours away so you can really start over? I know that can be stressful, but if there is a chance that he can continue to cause harm, it might be advisable. Pray about it.
I thoroughly enjoyed your response. It make me laugh…but for all the right reasons. Thank you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable and sharing your heart.