Can I Have Good Boundaries And Be Compassionate?

Morning friends,

Hope you can join me this Thursday (February 21) for my free webinar on 4 Lies That Keep You Feeling Stuck, Miserable and Afraid…..And, What You Can Do To Stop Them.  You must register to attend, either at Noon ET or 7:30 ET. I will also be addressing other lies with some FB LIVE teaching throughout this week on my FB page.  Hope to see you there. You can register here.

Many of you have been praying for the situation regarding church leaders being held accountable for their mishandling of abuse situations. In response to the recent allegations of misconduct, the Southern Baptist Church announced ten calls to action. One of them will be a 12-session training free to all church leaders and pastors on how to look at and deal with abuse in the church. Chris Moles and I were invited along with 7 others to participate in this training. You can read more about it at  We do our taping next week. Prayers would be deeply appreciated.

Today’s Question:Where is the line between understanding and having compassion for your emotionally abusive spouse and protecting your own healthy emotional boundaries and beginning the healing process?

Answer: This is an excellent question. People usually fall in one of two categories. On the one side, you have so much compassion and empathy for someone that you have no boundaries. Instead, you enable and/or excuse destructive and damaging behavior that’s directed towards you and continue to suffer believing that God calls you to do just that. You say to yourself, he came from an abusive childhood, therefore you allow him to mistreat you because he was mistreated himself.

But would you think that same way with a two-year-old? Yes, you have compassion that your child is tired. He didn’t get his nap. He doesn’t feel well. But he bites you or kicks you or hits his baby sister. Do you allow it and make excuses for his behavior because you feel bad for him? I hope not. You can have compassion with firm boundaries. “I know you’re tired, or don’t feel well, but hitting mommy or your sister is not allowed and if you don’t stop, you will have a time out.”

When we don’t couple firm boundaries with our natural compassion our children grow up under a lie. The lie is, “I’m allowed to behave poorly when I feel bad or I’m unhappy, hurt, or angry.” Those lies underlie entitlement thinking. The belief that says everyone and everything should revolve around meeting my needs, feelings, wants, and desires and when they don’t, watch out. You will have a price to pay.

The opposite mistake you may fall into is hard-heartedness. You’re done. You feel only disgust, contempt, and hatred towards your abuser. There is zero compassion for his or her struggle or any pity for the sad human being he or she has become. We may start to retaliate, call him names, turn away in disgust, and sometimes in our own anger we turn into someone we don’t like very much.

Neither place is Biblical or healthy. God calls us to love even our enemy. But that doesn't mean God would expect you not to have any boundaries with an enemy. Precisely because Jesus uses the word “enemy” and not “stranger” he knows that an enemy is dangerous and has caused you harm in the past.

Loving your enemy isn’t a command to change an enemy into a friend. It’s goal is to help you not be filled with hatred towards your enemy which would turn you into someone just like your enemy. Click To Tweet

So your question of what exactly does it look like won’t be the same for everyone because everyone’s situation is a little different. However, to accomplish both goals, means you have to learn to walk in and stay in CORE Strength (Our webinar on Thursday will explain this more).

Two of the steps in CORE are the R step and the E step. The R step means you will be responsible for yourself and respectful towards your spouse without dishonoring yourself. It’s your job to steward your own physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual and financial well-being.

This is your Biblical responsibility as an adult. So often we don’t fully mature and instead rely on others to do our thinking for us, make our decisions, take care of us or rescue us from our unhappiness or problems. This is not the posture of a healthy or godly woman (or man).

It’s now time to stop focusing on your marriage or your man and spend time on your own healing and growth so that you can become the woman God called you to become. This requires you to detach yourself from NEEDING your spouse to love you, take care of you, validate your choices, or meet your needs.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have needs, but right now you will learn to take responsibility for your own needs. If your spouse chooses not to voluntarily meet those needs, you will detach yourself from begging, pleading, threatening or feeling victimized because he refuses or he can’t. As you do this you will grow to trust God in a deeper way with what you need right now. You can be kind while not demanding he do or change anything. If you aren’t able to detach safely while living together, then separation might need to take place.

But detaching doesn’t mean disregarding someone else or being cruel towards him (or her). That would not be of God and we forfeit the E step of CORE, which states: I will be empathic and compassionate without enabling destructive behaviors to continue.

If your spouse and you can live together in a compassionate, respectful way, while you both do your own growth and healing, it may be possible to live together. This would require you both to be able to commit to being responsible to mutually care for the house, the children and the finances without power plays or abusive behavior. However, by your question, it sounds like your husband is not as committed to his growth as you are to yours. Therefore his destructive behaviors continue while you are working on getting healthier.

You haven’t described what kinds of abusive behaviors he engages in, nor have you gone into details about the impact they have had on you. Not every person is the same, not everyone has the same threshold for pain or ability to handle toxic people.

This is where the church makes some crucial mistakes in their advice to victims of abuse. “If name calling wouldn’t hurt me, it shouldn’t hurt you.” Or, “There is something flawed about you if this bothers you, you’re too sensitive.” Or “That’s not abusive, if I don’t see it as abusive.”

But what one person can handle, perhaps another person cannot. For example, if you are highly sensitive to smoke, you may have a boundary that says, “I can’t drive with you if you smoke in the car.” If your husband refuses to honor that boundary, you can have compassion on his addiction, but you still may choose not to get in his car or let him in yours if he refused to respect your right to steward your health. If he continued to smoke in the house and it impacted your health, you may have to live elsewhere. Not because you didn’t have compassion on his addiction, but because you are responsible to steward your health, and if chooses not to care about your health, you must.

In the above example, I would hope a church leader would talk to her husband for being disrespectful towards his wife and the effect his smoking has on her. Sadly, with emotional abuse, it’s often the woman or abused who gets chastised because somehow she (or he) is supposed to be able to “take it” without any thought to the consequences to their body, soul, or spirit.

So you can have compassion and have firm boundaries at the same time. Even with someone who is brain injured and dangerous because he or she isn’t thinking properly. Of course, you would have tons of compassion for the injury he or she suffered and the impact on their thinking and personality. But if they were coming at you with a knife, or setting the house on fire, or doing other dangerous and destructive things to you or your children, it may not be possible to live in the same house.

Friends, describe how you blend together compassion with firm boundaries with the destructive person in your life.  


  1. MoonBeam on February 20, 2019 at 8:44 am

    One of the things I do is keep our business private. In social situations I have been very slow to mention the negative behaviors of my abusive spouse. The old adage “don’t air your dirty laundry” goes far in these cases.

    • Graceiscome on February 20, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      That’s awesome, MoonBeam. I did just the opposite and spoke with far too many about my spouse’s negative behaviors…and later regretted it realizing that it was very disrespectful. And not to justify it (and I wonder if anyone else who is part of this sharing time felt/feels like this), but I know that my motivations were not directly to slander him, but out of fear and also sort of “needing” others to know that this was what was going on “in the four walls” (mostly verbal).

      • Moon Beam on February 22, 2019 at 4:54 am

        Others do need to know what is going on in your home for your protection. Have you exhausted the various experts in abuse like your area domestic violence shelters’ group sessions? The national domestic phone number can direct you, and yes “mostly verbal” is abuse.

  2. Janice D on February 20, 2019 at 10:37 am

    I am still attending the church my husband and I went to as a couple.We are legally separated and I have also decided not to share personal information about my husband except for a few trusted friends outside of the church.A few women in my bible study knew about my struggles and my decision to separate,but I have not shared it with the group as a whole.I am now separated and living alone almost 7 months and I although I always had compassion for my husband,I was also angry and soo disappointed.God has graciously allowed me to work through some these feelings.I still get triggered easily while dealing with him but detach from it quicker and return to a healthier balance.He is seeing a counselor and I pray for his growth,as I continue to do my work.It is a balancing act but isn’t that what the whole Christian life is about?Leslie,so thrilled to hear you will be speaking truth to leadership in the SBC… churches need to hear the wisdom God has given you and others.As a survivor of child sexual abuse,my prayers are for all the victims of this evil.I will pray for humble hearts to receive your teaching.

    • Moon Beam on February 22, 2019 at 4:49 am

      The other thing about sharing, is that most of our situations are beyond the comprehension to the average mind. Normal people don’t live like we live. Normal marriages do not contain the sick interactions we have been subjected to daily. We need to be very selective and careful about who we confide in and from who we take advice.

  3. JoAnn on February 20, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    I really appreciate the balanced way Leslie approaches this matter of boundaries versus compassion. In her book she stresses the need to protect our hearts and our bodies: “I won’t allow myself to be spoken to (or treated) that way.” I recently had a phone conversation with a woman who called me for help, but she constantly interrupted me whenever I tried to say anything. My response was to tell her that I would not try to talk with her again, but that she could write me her questions on email, and I would be glad to answer. I felt frustrated and disrespected when she kept on interrupting me, talking over me, and not listening at all, and I did not like the way it made me feel. I had to protect my own heart and keep myself from overreacting to her.

    • JoAnn on February 20, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      At the same time, I established a boundary but kept the door open to help her (compassion).

      • Leslie Vernick on February 20, 2019 at 12:34 pm

        Great example. Thanks

        • Veronica on February 20, 2019 at 6:20 pm

          Under the heading:
          “Even telling unfavorable or uncomplimentary things about people not present is not necessarily sinful.”
          Jesus and Paul did it.

          JoAnn, What a great idea to have her write or email her question. Thanks.

          • Robin on February 20, 2019 at 11:01 pm

            I appreciate how Leslie points out each of us is an individual, and we need to allow for differences. In my case, I did not feel disrespectful to speak the truth about the abuse in our home. I think it’s important for it not to be a secret- it seems like it allows them to stay hidden. I needed those around me to know the real truth so they could help me get the help I needed. Later in my journey I experienced compassion both for him and myself. For him, when I stopped enabling his destructive behaviors in our home. And for me speaking truth outright gave me a voice and empowerment and I felt I was giving myself the compassion I needed .

          • JoAnn on February 20, 2019 at 11:57 pm

            Thanks, Veronica and Leslie. So far it has been working well. I can write the answers and she can respond in a sane way. Whew!

          • JoAnn on February 20, 2019 at 11:59 pm

            Robin: giving yourself compassion….I like that idea. Yes, we need to give that gift to ourselves, too.

        • JoAnn on February 21, 2019 at 11:29 am

          Leslie, we are still not getting notification of follow-up comments or new posts, which may be why there is not much participation going on. I just thought you might like to know.

  4. Grateful on February 21, 2019 at 7:05 am

    Robin, I so agree with the Lord directs each one of us individually. I do believe the “devil is in the darkness” and I continue to ask the Lord for discernment for who to trust and who to reveal. My inner circle is quite small but I do know if little things had not started to seep out of me (I really didn’t think i was revealing anything at the time) with my running partner on our runs; she was the one at the end who validated my truth when I was able to see it.

    But a lot of people don’t “get” this conversation and I can usually tell but I also know this journey is not mine alone it is for the next woman who is desperately trying to please the Lord and literally drowning in her circumstances. So I am open to who the Lord puts before me but am prayerful. I am working on guarding my heart.

    • Free on February 24, 2019 at 12:15 am

      I am grateful for your running partner. She is a lifesaver. Listen to her!

  5. just one on February 21, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Thinking about how things are in my life right now, and how I got to this point, I need to be able to face my own sins first. Many times, I have allowed fear to control my responses and decisions, rather than trusting the Lord and His strength to enable me to obey Him. That doesn’t mean that I should put myself in harms way if I sense danger. But I shouldn’t have talked myself into compromise in order to avoid hassles with h.
    By dong so, I have left my first love-the Lord, and opened myself to the attacks of the enemy. It has also clouded my thinking so I can’t make good decisions. I have to get the log out of my own eye first, so I can see clearly to help my h or anyone else. Please pray that I will do so and not put it off. Thanks for your support.

    • Moon Beam on February 22, 2019 at 4:38 am

      Who said you have to face your own sins first? I have never heard this advice for those in destructive relationships. I have heard remove yourself from the abuse first.

      • just one on February 22, 2019 at 7:48 pm

        I’m not saying that I shouldn’t get out of a destructive relationship first. But I am trying to make an honest assessment of myself and need to walk courageously in truth, as Leslie says.

        • Moon Beam on February 24, 2019 at 12:10 am

          Oh, you mean you are trying to get out of denial and realize the extent of how seriously you have been abused. Are you saying you are trying to address what is magical thinking and unrealistic expectations for change and chosing emotional health and safety for yourself?

          • just one on February 24, 2019 at 11:52 pm

            I’m definitely working on those things that you mentioned. But, I’m also dealing with compromises that I’ve made out of fear and now attempting to make everything right before God. Yes, my h is the main culprit, but I’m not absolved from wrong responses. I think of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Although it doesn’t indicate that holding back some of money and lying about it was Ananias’ idea and she just went along with it-I just wonder if that was the case. Whether it was or not, they were individually dragged out feet first for what they did. She wasn’t excused because maybe she wasn’t gung-ho about it but just went along to get along.

          • Nancy on February 25, 2019 at 9:14 am

            I like how Leslie identifies that we need to ” detach from NEEDING your spouse to love, validate, meet needs or take care of you” as she points out this does not mean that we don’t have needs, it means that we have chosen to take responsibility for those needs.

            Some can detach without actually physically separating, some cannot. The variables that go into making that next choice of separating or not are many: the abuser’s response to the detachment, the fragility or woundedness of the victim’s heart, the length of time the abuse has gone on….to name a few.

            For me this step of detachment came as a result of the conviction that I was looking to ‘the marriage’ to fulfill me. This was where I was entrapped by sin. Once The Lord opened my eyes to that, He enabled me to look to Him for my needs.

  6. Nancy on February 21, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    This sentence so helpful:

    When we don’t couple firm boundaries with natural compassion we grow up under a lie. “I’m allowed to behave poorly when I am unhappy, hurt or angry”

    I have a situation with our teenage daughter that requires me confronting her. The above sentence is so helpful. Yes, she is allowed her emotions, but she cannot treat others badly as a result of them.

    • Aly on February 21, 2019 at 10:19 pm

      You are doing such a great job guiding your daughter through this and helping equip her for truth about having feelings and not crossing boundaries of mistreating others when facing pain.

      I think a lot of longer term issues can happen if not addressed early on and I think I married someone with the behavior & description that Leslie states about (being allowed or entitled to behave poorly when someone is unhappy, hurt or angry).
      I also had a close friend who had this excuse for losing her temper.
      My opinion as the receiver of these episodes is that it felt like this person was so unregulated, unresolved and just a discontented type of person looking for a way to blow off steam … eventually.
      She/he might feel better after the explosion but would leave a tornado…thinking nothing of it.
      Because now they feel better.

  7. Sally on February 21, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    I have been separated from my abusive and destructive husband for 3 years – never expected it would go on this long! We had been married for 30 years when I left. But I am now safe and sane and working on my own recovery and CORE.

    So while my husband is limping through an addiction recovery program, I still see him sometimes to exchange Christmas or birthday gifts, to exchange mail or insurance forms, to pass along tax documents, etc. Sometimes I even just have lunch with him. I know that all of the business could be done without seeing him, but this is how I try to show compassion for his loneliness and his pain. And to remind him that I am still open to reconciliation if he ever works through his issues.

    HOWEVER: If I see my husband too often, I start to become unstable and fall back into my old mindsets; I even get depressed for several days afterward at the hopelessness of the whole situation. I question myself because he questions me. I feel insecure because he still thinks I have ulterior motives for everything I say and do. I “walk on eggshells” the whole time I’m with him.

    SO… I set my own boundaries. I meet him at a restaurant because I do not get together in either of our homes. I tried that during our first year apart, but it was too personal and hurt me too much. I limit how often I see him – he would be fine with meeting every day but I’m not. I decide ahead of time how long I will stay and when I will leave. I decide ahead of time whether I will broach any serious topics or just keep it casual.

    It’s not a perfect solution, and I still have a work to do on my own strength, but it works well most of the time.

    • JoAnn on February 21, 2019 at 11:46 pm

      Those sound like really good boundaries, Sally, and it seems like it’s working for you. That “gut” feeling is going to be your best protector to maintain the boundaries. I like the way you are still trying to be compassionate while maintaining your boundaries. Good job! As you get stronger, you are going to be less and less wanting to be in situations where you feel that tension. I hope your h will see that and eventually respect you for it.

      • Sally on February 22, 2019 at 10:22 am

        Thank you so much for the encouragement!!!!

    • Moon Beam on February 22, 2019 at 5:05 am

      I think I might add the boundary of telling another person when and if you see your struggling spouse. I would invite a third party to your meetings like a chaperone. Hopefully, you can decrease your contact as you value yourself more and more. Three years was more than enough time for someone to change. What do you do with the realization that he is not getting any better? Exposure to him for any reason can’t benefit you, can it?

      • Sally on February 22, 2019 at 10:31 am

        Thanks for the suggestion and for caring enough to say something!

        I have no benefit from seeing him, other than showing him I care.

        The realizations that he isn’t changing and that he lived a lie from the time I met him have been devastating.

        That’s why I limit exposure. Reminders are still painful.

        • Moon Beam on February 22, 2019 at 10:57 am

          You are going above and beyond your duty for sure.

          I have a friend who’s husband became violent after an accident which deprived oxygen to his brain. He began impulsive gambling, frequenting prostitutes and even brought them to their teen’s school sporting events!

          She chose separation and eventually divorce for all of their safety. He now earns money as a male prostate and drinks heavily.

          My friend pays his cell phone bill. It is a little thing but she feels it is something she can do.

    • Nancy on February 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm

      Hi Sally,

      These are such great examples and descriptions of setting boundaries and adjusting them for your health. Congratulations! Keep up the great work of paying attention to your heart

      • Sally on February 26, 2019 at 9:27 am

        Thank you for the encouragement!

  8. Stacey on February 22, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    I appreciate these posts so much, but I still struggle to find the balance of compassionate boundaries. My husband has stopped trying and just sits on the couch staring at his phone or the tv instead of interacting with our family during the limited time he has with us (he’s military and only seems to care about us when he’s away). I’m pretty sure he’s still using porn, and he isn’t honest enough for me to trust anything at all he says. I’m disappointed and hurt, especially after trying to calmly address a few minor things in a non-attacking way, and he just shuts down and gives me the silent treatment until I give up. I’m exhausted and have just been avoiding him once it’s clear he has no intention of addressing the elephant in the room. I don’t know if leaving the room when he turns on the tv or grabs his phone is wrong or not, because he says I’m treating him like garbage and ignoring him when I do. I’m just trying to survive until I can either leave or find him tolerable enough to stay with.

    • JoAnn on February 23, 2019 at 11:17 pm

      Stacey, Do you have access to counseling services with the military? Support groups? Getting help for yourself is so very important to help you sort out what your next steps should be.

      • Free on February 24, 2019 at 12:03 am

        Focus on the family has support for military families. They might be a great organization to contact for assistance.

        • Nancy on February 24, 2019 at 12:59 pm

          Yes. We’re not in the military, but it was a Focus telephone counsellor who recommended Leslie’s book (EDM) to me. I would not have known about her, or this site had it not been for Focus on the Family.

  9. Hope on February 23, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    I’m finding the balance between compassion and boundaries really hard right now. My husband has Aspergers, has almost no understanding of relationship..and has told me he won’t change. It’s nearly impossible for me to know how much of his behavior, things he says is the challenges of his Aspergers and how much is just his own selfish choices to not learn,try, or grow. I don’t think I can stay well much longer living with him. (Married 30 years, it’s a long story!)
    Now he has prostate cancer and will start treatment soon. It’s just hard on the heart, like walking on eggshells, figuring out how to be kind and caring tho he relates to me like I’m maybe his cousin(?) or business partner…And knowing that once we get through this health situation, I may need to live separately. Uggh, guess I just need to vent! So thankful for Jesus in hard places!

    • JoAnn on February 23, 2019 at 11:13 pm

      Hope, there are support groups for people who are living with family members who are on the spectrum, and I believe there are some books. You might do a google search to get some help for how to live with someone like your husband. It makes for a very empty, unsatisfying relationship, and in order to survive it, you need to find support and enjoyment outside of your marriage. I sympathize with what you have been living with, although I know only because of a friend who has been there. Your Best Friend, in any case, is our dear Lord Jesus. He knows, He knows. (There is a section in our hymnal called “Comfort in Trials,” and reading those hymns has comforted me many times.)

    • Nancy on February 24, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      HI Hope,

      My girls and I are recently listening to the ‘Brant Hansen daily podcast’ in the mornings. He is an author and radio show host who (I think) is hilarious and is very open about being on the autism spectrum. He is married and will often talk about specific relational struggles that he encounters as a result of the autism.

      In listening to him, I find a lot of hope there. He is growth oriented as well as being very aware of his limitations ( not to mention that he loves to talk about Jesus and to apply the Bible to our cultural context).

      • Hope on February 24, 2019 at 8:19 pm

        Thank you, JoAnn and Nancy for your loving words and ideas. It means a LOT to be reminded I’m not alone. I’m learning there’s a very large “tribe” of women married to husbands with Aspergers…the uniqueness is that it’s an actual brain wiring difference, a developmental disability–some call it a “relational disability.” But the affect of the AS esp on spouses/family can be so destructive and very often–sometimes unintentionally–abusive.The decisions about how I heal and go forward are complex and just overwhelming to me sometimes. Yes, I really need Jesus so much as my Best, Best Friend! I’ll have to check out Brant Hansen, Nancy, haven’t heard of him. I’ve been trying to combine the wonderful! biblical wisdom and hopeful support here with practicalities/lifestyle advice from Aspergers sources… So thankful for both. Some days I’m really brave; some days not so much!

        • Aly on February 25, 2019 at 9:00 am

          You are not alone! I totally get your situation with defining what is spectrum and what is his unwillingness to be challenged in other areas of growth or making room for adjustments.
          It’s great your getting resources and finding comfort! Don’t trek alone.

          I also agree with JoAnn & Nancy’s comments.
          Choosing a full life apart from a non participating spouse is such a process. Sometimes a grief process too.
          I believe there are counselors that do specialize in this area of spectrum marriages.
          Was he diagnosed by a professional with being on the spectrum? I ask because sometimes it can look a lot like ASper, Yet it can also be other treatable underdeveloped areas.
          Sending hugs and comfort to your heart.

          • Hope on February 25, 2019 at 4:56 pm

            Thanks so much, Aly! Yes, the therapist who said he fits the criteria for Aspergers counsels wives of AS husbands and has a son-in-law on the spectrum herself. But, as you say, there can be other challenges mixed in too. You said it well, there’s a grief on so many levels… I’m doing my best to focus on Jesus and choose and build that full life and heal…it’s really a slow process, but I do feel I’m on the right track. Receiving your hugs!

  10. Free on February 24, 2019 at 12:27 am

    I think asking a victim to think about compassion is a slippery slope to destruction. What compassion is the destructive spouse showing us?

    I hear too much of “be a door mat” and “you are part of the problem” in this question. I would rather say, please remember to live within the laws of the land in dealing with the injustice which has been done to you by your destructive spouse.

    Compassion? No, I wouldn’t choose that word. It too easily leads the victimized brain in the wrong direction.

    Practice human decency and do no intently harm your destructive spouse. Place 99 percent of your efforts towards boundaries and consequences. Use the other 1 percent to ensure you don’t have a tendency towards bitterness, slander or cruelty.

    • Aly on February 25, 2019 at 9:02 am

      This is well said.

  11. S. on February 25, 2019 at 6:26 am

    Thank you so, so much for this post. It has meant a lot to me this week, all week. Compassion is such a beautiful and important part of being human and it was a good reminder that it is not the opposite of safety or common sense. And always valuable. I hate how I feel when I let my heart become hard.
    Also thank you for your acknowledgment and validation that people vary in how destructive behavior affects them, and just because one person can “stay well” with a certain level of destruction, another might not be able to do so.

  12. Janet Eck on March 13, 2019 at 12:58 am

    A very important and powerful thing I leaned to do was to stand up for myself. For instance, if my husband stubbed his toe he would try to make it my fault. A very good counselor helped me learn how to reply to my husband that it was his toe and therefor he was responsible for it, not me. I didn’t have to be ugly or loud just firm. Took my husband a few years to get the new picture, and he sometimes still tries to pull a fast one on me, but I have been consistently firm and polite about these boundaries. What really cracks me up is the husband was always so big on “who is wearing the pants” and was always trying to show me it was him. I really wish that we could each have a leg in the pants and work together.

  13. Sad and Frustrated on December 22, 2021 at 10:52 am

    I try to set boundaries with my husband. It is usually regarding physical touch. It makes him angry most of the time, and he will usually speak of how I ‘belong’ to him and moves on to him threatening divorce or finding a girlfriend who will like the way he grabs me. I’ve been married for almost 20 years. It is a very long story of how we got to this point.

  14. Berna on March 29, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    I feel so blessed to have found you, your books and your online teachings, After 33 years of marriage I was trapped in the belief system that has shredded me to total emptiness and wondering why God wasn’t answering my prayers. Now I finally understand the behavior for what it is and why it will never change. It is further complicated by the fact he is in stage 4 cancer and leaving now is not a real option. Following CORE and setting boundaries prayerfully each day. I have been in the process for about a year. Although the journey is rough. I can look back over this past year and see Him at work every day. Implementing the E in CORE is the hardest right now – empathy and compassion without anger or resentment was perfect timing for me. I understand the journey to complete healing is in the future but try to focus on what God has done and is doing, day by day, to prepare me for the road ahead. I don’t have the words to tell you what a difference you have made in my life. I see God at work in me and helping me to learn to have compassion (sometimes) while continuing to grow to be the healthy christian women I was created to be. Thank you.

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