Sheesh, what a busy week I’ve had. Please pray for me. I wish I had more time to connect with all of you. I hope to meet you at our 2108 CONQUER Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska in October. I appreciate so much how loving and wise you all are on this blog and the trust and truth that is shared back and forth continues to bless me as well as the entire blog community.
Question: What are signs of suicidal thinking or other destructive thinking? After leaving him years ago, he went for counseling but then he stopped and has given me many bogus reasons why he refuses to go to counseling again. He believes that I was lying to the counselor making the counselor believe lies about him, that the counselor said that I'm the main problem and that I don't want to change so there's no use to continue.
I know for certain this is a lie. The counselor has told me that my husband is like a broken computer and can't handle talking through issues and that I need to focus on staying well or separating (I haven't told my husband any of this).
The counselor wisely counseled us separately and told me that my husband is using manipulation techniques due to deep-rooted fear. He quickly saw through my husband's charm and efforts to blame me for almost everything. He has helped me to detach from manipulation and to stay well.
One of my husband's problems is talking to himself loud enough for my teenage kids and me to hear. He blurts things out without knowing he's doing it until we ask him why he said what he said. He makes statements like, I hate you God; I want you to be my God; I just want to go home (meaning heaven); I didn't mean to kill her (after a dream about killing a woman by accident).
He sometimes doesn't remember what he's blurted out and has repeatedly told me that he gets millions of thoughts a minute rushing through his head. He's being treated with hormone therapy for a non-cancerous pituitary adenoma. I've mentioned some of this to his/my doctor and she said that sometimes individuals with baggage issues will resist healing.
The testosterone he's taking is no doubt “waking him up” out of a sluggish physical state and so his mind is now more active. He recently watched a documentary with our kids of a man who tried to murder his girlfriend. In the presence of our 15-year-old, he told me that I'm controlling like the man on the documentary and asked me, “Do you want to kill me?”
After our son went to bed, I asked him about these statements and expressed my concern about his thinking, how he said it and that he said it in front of our son. I was calm and not angry, but very concerned. My husband denied saying it and used many manipulation techniques to avoid my question. So I ended the conversation and prayed about how to approach it again. I tried talking to him again a couple weeks later. I emphasized that our son had heard his statements so he couldn't deny it. He immediately told me about how hurtful and controlling I am and how I need help and can't see the truth, etc.
I calmly told him that I found it troubling that he was unable to hear my heart and discuss my concerns and how concerning it was for me that he immediately had to change the discussion to focus on me. I added, “I'm being counseled that when I have a concern to place it on the table to see if you're willing to discuss it. If you are unwilling to hear my heart and consider and discuss my concern, then my best approach is to end the conversation since you are unwilling to have an adult conversation. But I am left considering how best to handle the fact that you are unwilling to discuss my concern.” Since the conversation was going nowhere, I quietly left the room. He becomes inward and sullen. I'm left wondering if he is deflecting his own thinking on to me.
How do I know if he is suicidal? God is helping me to stay reasonably well in the relationship. I'm working on an exit plan. The counselor we saw is now over 1 1/2 hours away. Your articles continue to give me wisdom and conversation tips. I'm not aware of a good counselor in our present area so don't have a sounding board at this time. I'm still developing friendships in our town and have not yet found a lady to confide in. The two ladies I've shared with in the past are no longer able to help carry my burden and be a sounding board due to cancer and their own dark times. Your wisdom would be greatly appreciated.
Answer: Wow, you are carrying quite a load on your shoulders. You are trying to take good care of yourself by detaching and working on staying well. You are also trying to be a good mom to your son and are concerned that your husband’s mental health is deteriorating and may be delusional and projecting some of his feelings or thinking onto you, such as “Do you want to kill me?” You are also concerned about the possibility of him being suicidal and are asking me, how would you know?
My concern is not mostly for him, but for you. Suicidal men can also be homicidal. We read every day in the news about a man who killed his spouse and even his children before killing himself. Please take the proper precautions to ensure the safety of you and your children. If you don’t have a safety plan, please call your local domestic violence shelter, or 1-800-799-SAFE to get help to develop one ASAP.
I remember a woman at a speaking engagement running up to tell me that I saved her and her kids lives. She told me that her husband had been increasingly angry and weird. His communication starts to sound a little “off,” ruminating about hurting himself and she felt scared. One night when it was especially bad she decided to take her kids and herself to a hotel for the night. When she got home, she found her husband dead. He had committed suicide. She felt quite sure it would have been both a homicide and suicide had she not left.
Over the years I’ve worked with a number of women whose husbands have committed suicide. Some saw warning signs and others did not see the warning signs ahead of time but upon reflection understood that his mental health and ability to think clearly was deteriorating.
However, if there is any direct talk of suicide, please tell someone and call 911 and ask for help. Simply say, “My husband is threatening suicide and I’m afraid for him.” Someone will come and take him for a psychiatric evaluation at your local hospital. You don’t have to make that determination yourself and it is always better to be safe than sorry. If he is angry that you called, just say, “You are scaring me with your talk of suicide and I care too much to let you do something stupid.”
But here are some things that will help you assess.
Is he a high risk for suicide? People who have depression, mood disorders, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, substance abuse, low social support, family history of suicide or previous history of suicide attempts, and hopelessness are definitely at higher risk. Some big days for higher suicide rates are New Years Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.
If your spouse or someone you know is struggling with depression or making some statements about wanting to die, here are some things to listen for or even ask.
Does he have a plan? For example, you might say, “Gee, you've mentioned you wish you were dead. Have you ever thought about actually doing something to yourself? What have you thought of doing?”
If he answers yes, listen to whether or not he has a specific plan. Time? Place? Method? For example, maybe he says, “I’ll just shoot myself.” Or, “I’ve been saving pills.” Or, “I remember a woman telling me when I asked her saying that she had a hose in her trunk that she was going to put in her tailpipe and car window and just go to sleep.” A specific plan elevates the risk of suicide.
If he has access to guns, that alone elevates the danger not only for him killing himself but also killing you and your kids. If there are guns in your house and he keeps them loaded, you are in high danger. Please make a plan to get safe.
How determined is he? For example, he may say, “I feel like killing myself but I would never actually do it.” What are his deterrents if any? For example, he may be afraid he would go to hell if he killed himself. Or he may say, “I could never do that to the kids.” Or, “I’d probably fail and end up a paraplegic.”
What are his typical coping abilities? Does he have any history of suicidal attempts? How does he cope with stress? How does he handle frustration, internal pain, and anger? Does he have any other friends or relatives that he is close to or has a long-term relationship with? Those who are less connected and less able to tolerate their negative emotions and stress are a more high risk.
Assessing hopelessness. The turning point for a person who becomes suicidal is when he has lost hope. That’s why a woman who separates from a destructive or abusive spouse has to realize that she is at the HIGHEST risk for danger for herself because her spouse has lost hope that he can control her or keep her in the marriage. It’s from that place that he might think, “I’ve already lost my marriage, what do I have to live for?” Or “If I can’t have her, no one else will have her either.”
You are not his therapist or his doctor but please inform both about his behaviors and statements. You are at high risk of being a victim of his bad decision making in a moment of extreme pain or anger. He’s already shown he’s not thinking clearly. He’s already demonstrated that he isn’t willing to talk about what’s really going on internally, and your goal of staying well at this point might not be possible. Please reconsider what your most important role is right now. Perhaps it’s not to stay well but to get yourself and your children safe until he submits himself to more comprehensive treatment so that he isn’t scary or suicidal.
Friends, when you have feared someone might kill him or herself, what have you done both to help the person and/or to get safe?
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I wish there were help sites for men that are as good as yours is for women. Verbal and physical abuse can also come from women, but there are very few sources of support for men who encounter them, so we are mostly left to fend for themselves when it comes to getting any help.
When my wife and I married, I was a young sales and marketing exec for a Fortune 100 company, and on the ladder up. Our courtship indicated that she really liked to be in control of just about any situation, which I viewed as an asset. I had dated very passive women in the past, and found them clingy, and seemingly always trying to please me. I liked my wife’s backbone, and knew she would be able to take care of herself at times when I would be on one of my frequent travels with work.
As time went on, I learned that children of alcoholic parents want to control EVERYONE! Not only that, even thought my career had progressed very effortlessly and quickly, I started to hear from her about better ways to say or do just about anything that was job related. Then I was accused of spending too much time at work, and I didn’t do enough around the house to help her out, and on and on. Over time, my position as man of the house was completely turned upside down, and I began to feel like her puppet.
She was a master at working the crowd, and was always the darling of every social occasion. Little teases or digs were often woven into the conversation to let me know that she was now in charge, and that my total compliance was expected. She would eventually rule the roost.
I could write pages about the degree of change that occurred over time, but will simply say that my life with her was absolutely miserable. I would blow up from time to time, and began to use some of my wife’s tactics in reverse. I’m quite sure I began to look more like the abuser, than the abused on more than one occasion.
One time I was late coming home from a weekend away, and we got into a huge argument. She hit me with an object so hard that it broke a bone, and when I started to move toward her, she threatened to call 911. (details are intentionally sketchy to protect my confidentiality) I countered by picking up the phone and making the call myself. When the police showed up, they took HER to jail for the night instead of me. When I asked them why, the said I had done nothing wrong in their opinion.
Months after we had finished our counselling, she told me our Christian counselor had recommended to her that we get a divorce. This also came at a time when my industry had changed, and the aftermath of 9/11 had seriously impacted my ability to make an income in my present position. Scores of people were let go at my company which made a bad situation worse, and I began to see suicide as the only way out. Shocked with the (supposed) diagnosis of my Christian counselor, I began to study everything I could find on the effects of long-term verbal manipulation and abuse. I was especially interested in learning more about covert abuse, a search query that would ultimately lead me to your site.
I share this story, because I want your readers to know that suicide is not always committed by whacked out men who have totally lost their ability to cope and therefor become dangerously aggressive. In my case, taking my life would have been the only option I saw for escaping a circumstance that was so unbearable death was viewed as the best way to find peace.
Obviously, I’m still here, but it has taken the past 20 years of trusting the Lord to bring me to this point. There’s much more I could say, but I think you get the point.
My wife only learned of my desire to kill myself when the police showed up at our door one sunny day when everything seemed quite calm. The mortgage company called me that morning and threatening foreclosure, so I told them my wife would be paying for the amount in arrears when she received the proceeds of my life insurance policy. Someone at the mortgage company responded swiftly and appropriately, and my plans were foiled.
I’ve read that most women abusers are less likely to take ownership for their controlling behavior than are men. I don’t know why that is, but it has been stated in more then one of the sources I refer to. I cannot point to a particular event in our marriage, but something likely occurred that day that started things to change. While I doubt my wife would take ownership for any of what has happened, her behavior is better, and I’m good with that. Maybe someday, we will both have the marriage we hoped for.
I have a successful business now, and suicidal thoughts are rarely a bother, and also occur less frequently. Drugs don’t do anything for me, except me feel down right yucky! The biggest change has come from our being able to deal with issues straight on, and to stop trying to manipulate the other person for added control in our relationship.
I would have been the guy that everyone might have said: “He always seemed OK. He would have been the last person on the earth I I thought might end his life”.
Suicide, for men like me, is a growing epidemic that must be dealt with.
I’m so glad you are still here, Ed. The thought of that person at the life insurance company understanding and moving for your good and your protection is overwhelmingly beautiful.
…mortgage company, not life insurance company. Sorry about that.
Welcome. There are a few men that contribute here, from time to time, and I hope you’ll stick around. You seem in a much better place now. It’s good that you called 911 and that she was put in jail – it’s good to have a record and witnesses. Are you still with your wife?
I think suicide is a growing epidemic period. Unfortunately many innocent people get pulled into the attempts (hurt or killed.
During a separation or divorce, it is especially important to pay close attention to your emotional health as well as that of your children. Children can slip through the cracks.
I have a lot to say about depression and suicide, but it may not directly relate to the post. But it is the same old one of being aware of your surroundings and just aware of what depression and suicide looks like. Of course, that can’t at all times protect you, but is an important message.
At a dental visit with our children, many years ago, a guy came through the door and this eerie feeling just came over me as I viewed the body language, facial expression, and agitation in voice. I was glad to be leaving. I mean I know we all can have a bad day, but people are snapping.
I felt something was off or maybe the guy could have used a kind word. I don’t know but we can’t just ignore our spirit and say self you are overreacting.
Ed, I’m also glad that you are still here!!! Be careful with [and suicidal thoughts are rarely a bother, and also occur less frequently]. God Bless You!
I appreciate your comments, Ed.
i wonder when social and health care resources will begin to address the needs of male domestic abuse survivors. The serves and shelters in my state are only for women, LGBQT friendly, yet no males allowed. I would have no idea where to refer a male abuse victim for care in my community.
What is much more prevalent is male support groups for anger management. It is interesting that the batterers in the group spend most of their time discussing their terrible partners. This in their circumstances in denial and blame shifting. Please, don’t try these groups for support Ed. They would not be of any help.
It sounds as if you have come to accept your difficult marriage. Yet, like all of us, be sure it doesn’t cross over to destructive again. Destructive marriages, as you know are toxic and dangerous. No man or woman should ever have to live with a toxic partner, as you mention, the consequences of which, can easily lead to suicidal thoughts.
It may be helpful to keep a notebook with dates and really bizarre communications.
Could he have schizophrenia? Red flags for those symptoms all over the place…especially the talking aloud (done when thoughts are racing and so intense that talking aloud is the only way to make sense of them) and the paranoia that someone might be trying to kill him.
This is such wise counsel. Sadly, my sister lost her emotionally abusive husband to suicide a few years ago. He did begin to exhibit some of the signs Lezlie mentions, especially loss of hope. I’m forever grateful to God that he didn’t harm my sister. She was in the house with him when he killed himself and but for the grace of God, he could have taken her with him. It’s worth paying attention if your gut is telling you his safety or yours may be in any danger. .
Maybe I am just too cold hearted, but I imagine your sister is doing so much better now that she is not yoked to an abuser. Although his traumatic death must have been debilitating, how is she doing now? I would hope much better. It would seem the next step she needs is to be sure to work on herself so she isn’t attracted to another abusive man.
Thanks for asking about my sister, Free. It seems strange to say, but God really has used this awfulness for good. My dear sister was freed from an abusive situation she didn’t know how to escape from…and has a whole new life. She’s still working through the trauma but she loves the Lord, has wonderful support and is moving toward wholeness. God is so amazing!
Hope, we thank and praise the Lord that your sister is gaining health and wholeness. Please convey our loving concern to her.
Maybe I am just too cold hearted, but I imagine your sister is doing so much better now that she is not yoked to an abuser. In some ways, his suicide was an easy fix compared to what many of us continue to endure. (Fantasies of abused women often include what they see as the easy way out, maybe he would just die.)
Although his traumatic death must have been debilitating and never an easy way out, how is she doing now? It would seem she needs is to be sure to work on herself so she isn’t attracted to another abusive man or worse yet, feels depressed herself.
I don’t see you as cold hearted. I see in your communication, a concern for others.
My daughter entered into an abusive marriage because her fiance threatened to commit suicide if she didn’t marry him. Unfortunately, she didn’t tell us about this or we would have helped her get out of that relationship. We did help her with a divorce several years later, and he didn’t kill himself.
I was asked to counsel with a teenager who was suicidal, and I realized that for teens, they can’t see beyond their noses, so simply telling them that “it’s not always going to be this way” and then helping them to talk about their problems, goes a long way to keeping them alive. However, a husband or wife who is so desperate that he/she wants to die is another story. Leslie’s advice is so right on. The thing I would add, is that if you leave to keep yourself safe, and he does kill himself, it REALLY IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Someone who talks that way is looking for a trigger, a reason to go ahead and do it, and they will do it regardless, but if you and the children are there, he can take you along with him. Your won safety and that of the children are paramount. Leave, then call the police when a crisis comes along.
This is a very serious topic that I do not want to make light of, yet some abusers threaten suicide as a manipulative ploy. Leslie did a great job listing important signs and symptoms to be made aware. The important thing is to take action. Call the national suicide hotlines and get informed. I also think it is important to remember we are never responsible for another person’s actions. We are responsible to act wisely and protect ourselves to the best of our ability. Remember too, that those who are suicidal may or may not respond to treatment. The burden of “fixing” a suicidal spouse is beyond anyone’s capabilities. Live your own life fully, which may require removing and depressive personal from your daily life.
Removing the depressive person from your life.
This was a great response and clear. I agree!
Ok so Leslie’s Question;
“Friends when you have feared that someone might kill himself/herself, what have you done to help the person and/ or to get safe?”
Wow~ scary experience and I have only have a couple experiences with outside people (not in my marriage) to relate to.
When I read above my first thought and immediate concern is for the wife who is getting counseling (about staying well).
I’m wondering if the counselor is ‘up to date’ on the following?
The poster wrote:
“He sometimes doesn’t remember what he’s blurted out and has repeatedly told me that he gets millions of thoughts a minute rushing through his head. He’s being treated with hormone therapy for a non-cancerous pituitary adenoma. I’ve mentioned some of this to his/my doctor and she said that sometimes individuals with baggage issues will resist healing.”
The symptoms he’s showing of his mental stability is alarming and I wonder if his mental health and especially his poor coping skills are even that much more deteriorating?!!!
This would be a 911 call to the Counselor and interventions that should be in place so he can be seen immediately.
Even if it ends up being more tactics ~ he needs to know what the ‘immediate results’ are of action on your part.
Even if the spouse can sgrt safe away and get the resources to him (from a distance).
This seems to be the safest & wisest, not just for the wife and kids but for the danger the husband is to himself …rather than navigating ‘staying well’.
I knew of a wife who chose not to act and seemed completely ‘checked out’ with what signs where going on with her husband. His symptoms that she described were ‘a threat and unstable’ given the access to things in their home.
I suggested immediate care and help from professionals, not just pastors coming over Occasionally and she flipped out (lashed out really scary like) at my concern.
Drew a strong boundary for myself and my own protection.
Horrendous outcome and such a painful loss!
He killed himself several weeks later~ 😥no one in the immediate family intervened with professional help.
Thankfully he wasn’t a threat to them, but he was a good man and needed some help with his depression and facing the turmoil in his mental situation or whatever was happening to him.
He loved the Lord and I’m thankful he is with the Him ✝️
Unless the person is very depressed, I would say that threatening suicide is a very abusive thing to do. Talk about manipulation tactic using fear!!!!!!! Imagine the horror for spouse and children to live under that threat!!
My aunt married a man who said he’d kill himself if she didn’t (1946). She was so unhappy and when he was gone an old ‘friend’ wormed his way into the house. Many years later one night she had a premonition that she would die the next day (she did, in a car accident with someone else driving and she was sleeping). So she confessed and he was really angry and wouldn’t forgive her. He totally lost it after that. Showed he never really knew the Lord, I think. And guess what? Their daughter married a man who ……… and was unhappy……..but faked it to the end……..so sad.
“Friends, when you have feared someone might kill him or herself, what have you done both to help the person and/or to get safe?”
. . .This summer a women in one of my re||engage marriage classes . . . .A woman walked right up to me after one of the classes and said: What if I just want to die? . . .I said: —First, please, let’s pray and get God to help us because honestly I don’t know how to help even myself. . . .When we finished praying, I said: “You said, what if I just want to die?” . . . .Then I will be so, so sad and so disappointed that you cheated yourself out of your chance at existence. —I’ve been all over the world, and so, so, so many do not have that opportunity, —you know, —to choose life. —Many just starve to death. —But I also know existence is really nasty stuff, enough to make anyone want to kill themselves who is really aware. —Anyone that is actually thinking deeply about purpose.
. . .So, on the “what have you done” . . .So, I made the case and church arranges for them to go to counseling . . . but in reality, probably a team of people needs to dail-in what is actually wrong: medical, psychological, theological, et.al.-ogical.
I don’t know, but this type of crisis is probably what suppressed pain looks like and it always comes to the surface. It shakes you into reflection and hopefully healing, sans a medical issue. This is what my little Gravatar (The blue box thingee) means: If we cannot speak our brokenness✓. . . . our brokenness will speak for us✘. . . .But never underestimate love❣ The Lord God helps us to be healers, someone who seeks to be the light that she wishes she had in her darkest moments. It is just true that only love that continues to flow in the face of anger, blame, and indifference can be called love. All else are simply transactions.
So, so many people avoid thinking deeply in public, especially in church, only because they are afraid of coming across as suicidal. . . .But, if we cannot speak our brokenness✓. . . . our brokenness will speak for us✘. . . Souls are flowers, only God has the right to pluck them. 🌷 🌹 🌻 🌼 🌸. So, for the love of God, speak your brokenness✓.💌 †ރ 📥†ރ 📤 ❣😊.
. . .When I can’t quite figure out what a person’s ego is, all I have to do is look for the thing that’s killing itself in the very act of feeding itself. To exist is total pain, but that is why we all need God. He gives us purpose enough to endure all that pain. If you have enough Purpose, you can live with any Pain. . . .Treat yourself like someone you are trying to help!!! —And for the love of God, tell the truth —or at least don’t lie. In the situations I have seen, the suicide victim saw no bearable future. You really have to fixate on that notion to begin to understand what that person experiences. There is no lower state of being.
I talked to a teen once at church, listen to her “logic”: I didn’t get a good mark on the exam. I’m going to get a bad mark in the course. That’s going to block my ability to finish my degree. I’m never going to get into graduate school and the field of my choice. It’s just another indication that I’m useless and that life isn’t worthwhile: Bang! I’m going to jump off a bridge. . . .And if you are really depressed, each of those things hits you with the certainty of truth. It’s not good and you want to be really careful about walking down that pathway when you make a mistake. —What’s the narrowest framework of interpretation from which you can understand whatever happened or is going on. The narrowest framework of interpretation that will require minimal behavioral change to decrease the probability that it will happen again. It’s good mental hygiene, —fundamentally. . . .And that is prayer, it is good mental hygiene.
When you hear behavioral accounts of the suicide cognitive processes, they generally only focus on it as if it’s an isolated thing —it’s not. It’s scaleable because the brain has the mechanisms that allow you to do that. . . .So, again, if we cannot speak our brokenness✓. . . . our brokenness will speak for us✘. . . Souls are flowers, only God has the right to pluck them!
If you are an objective reductionist, like so, so many here appear to be, meaning looks like it is an actual phenomena and it is positioned properly right between chaos and order. It’s real. Meaning is as real as pain, but it’s not pain. It’s something positive and you need something positive to rely on because life is pain. . . .So, when it’s God’s love, when it’s really God’s love, it’s real and it will give you something to stand on. . . .So, treat yourself like someone God assigned to you to try to help, because He actually did!!! . . .💜 ❤ 💛 💚 💙❣✝😊
P.S. To all who wrote to me on the last blog thread, thank you so, so much. I read and prayed over everything. I simply cannot get the software to allow me to post into that thread anymore. . . .I assumed it was on my side because of all the different networks I often use as I travel . . . but . . .here is some speculation: Maybe it is the site software database interactions. It’s a lot of software interactions for sure! If some of the content gets tagged incorrectly it does not appear. I bet all the content and the posts are actually there, they have just gotten tagged incorrectly so, maybe the software is not displaying them correctly??? . . . Anyways. . . To me, I’m grateful I get to post at all. I view it as whatever God wants posted gets posted. . . .Once a new thread opens, everything works again. . 📓†ރ📤 📡 μετά☄νοια📶📥†ރ😊. . . .💖☄💦🚉 🛩 ✈️
Okay. So if it did not work to answer on last week’s thread and everything is working again on this one, would you please respond here to what JoAnn, Nancy, Aly, ContentinChrist, and I were trying to say? It sounds as though you were saying that you wanted to respond – and perhaps attempted to respond – if it were not for technical difficulties. (I recommend typing your response in a Word document and then cutting and pasting in to make your comment. That way you won’t lose anything if it just disappears, and then you can simply post it again when the technical difficulties clear up. Problem solved.)
If it is too overwhelming to respond to the whole of the multiple comments, I would be happy to attend to one thought at a time and to re-phrase things into one question at a time in order to be able to create a clear, concise dialogue with yes and no type questions and answers for starters. If you would like to do that, please simply say that you would like to do that and I will ask you my first question.
Nice plan STL. Good communication. Excellent example of boundaries!
Re: What Seeing the Light, Nancy, Aly, ContentinChrist, and I were trying to say?
It is never too overwhelming to respond to the whole of the multiple comments. Anytime: Aleea_Rodgers@yahoo.com. That’s why I put the e-mail in the Gravatar. . . . But I need the ability to actually respond with footnotes, special characters, links to primary sources and that takes more space and links than can be posted here due to the way the site parameters have been set up. Aleea_Rodgers@yahoo.com and for example, what we were discussing in First Thessalonians 5:23. . . .we have:1) Theos Θεὸς -God, 2) Pneuma πνεῦμα -spirit, 3) Psychē ψυχὴ -soul, 4) Sōma σῶμα -body, . . .So just let me know which words you are referring to and when and who is doing what and how we know that because it really makes a difference, so does the context and all the other places the words are used, as you know.
Re: “Seeing the Light”
It is never too overwhelming to respond to the whole of the multiple comments. Anytime. That’s why I put my e-mail in the Gravatar. . . . But I need the ability to actually respond with footnotes, special characters, links to primary sources and that takes more space and links than can be posted here due to the way the site parameters have been set up. The site blocks all those things. But e-mail me (Hover over the blue box) I will answer.
I believe my husband battles depression but refuses to admit it. There have been a few times over the years that he has specifically mentioned killing himself, and there are comments now and then that allude to it. Two weeks ago he went on and on about it after I brought up some concerns I had regarding our upcoming move (it was about him working), and it became an ordeal. He talked about writing letters to the kids, about being near family so I’d have help, etc. I really think it was a manipulation tactic, even though I do think he struggles deeply. I can’t imagine actually calling a psych ward. While we have guns, I don’t feel unsafe but it is a little scary to think about…….
He will NOT acknowledge depression, and I’m thinking I should act as if he really might kill himself and start to look for work, etc.
What are signs that someone would be a danger to others?
If he has ever been violent or threatening or abuse in the past that would be a sign. If he is afraid of you exposing him or calling him to account, he might be considered more dangerous. Most people who commmit suicide or threaten it, are NOT homicidal. But if you have felt afraid, then do what you need to do to be safe.
This post does raise red flags to me. I person who makes those kind of threats or offers that kind of dialog has lost the position to have access to ‘guns’. This is where the healthier spouse makes courageous choices to keep her house as safe as possible.
While I agree in what Leslie wrote I also think that a depressed person ~ the husband in this case is in need for interventions.
I guess I’m confused on the thought process of ‘getting a job’ being a response verses getting outside help for someone not being treated for depression. Depression is serious and a job doesn’t solve a depressed brain.
It doesn’t always have to be a psyche ward intervention but you can call and speak with professional clinicians that can help sort through.
So is your husband working? The post is confusing a bit because you mention things that are important such as *stress* of an upcoming move and it sounds like you don’t currently work outside the home.
Stress can trigger even more emotional waves and given a depressed person this would cause me to take action for my safety and others too…
I absolutely agree with Aly here. Your situation is, in my opinion, very dangerous. Yu have several of the indicators that Leslie listed in her reply: depression, guns, stress, etc. A person who is as depressed as you indicate can “blow” at any time, and whoever is in the way can also be in danger. You might want to call the suicide hotline to get more information or even advice on what to do. 800-273-8255. I get a sense that you might be somewhat naive about the severity of what you are living with. Please be careful.
Sorry, it was confusing. We are moving next week back to where our family is, and he is not working right now. He has trouble keeping consistent employment due to migraines (from what he says. I believe it’s more depression that keeps him from working). Our most recent discussion came up because of his health the last few months, and he started in on how I constantly bring it up (I don’t), and he’s tired of not being able to provide for his family, etc, and that’s when he started talking about writing letters to the kids, and how I’d be able to move on and we’d be better off. At first I thought he meant he was leaving, but then I realized he was talking suicide, and I asked him to confirm it. From there I was more irritated than anything, and tried to tell him that his role as provider is not the most important role he has (he really takes a backseat to every part of it, I feel like a single parent), but he didn’t agree and wouldn’t listen. The next day, he acted like nothing was wrong, didn’t bring it up. I have no idea what’s going through his head. I do know the possible dangers and don’t want to be headline news, but I don’t feel like any action I take will bring about anything good. I can’t explain it, but I do pray about this and my reactions and words, and well, all of it.
I’m very sorry for your situation. What you describe is serious.
Taking action verses taking non action is where you can evaluate some things.
Taking non action can be just as problematic as taking any action. Often many other examples will Error on taking action.
The migraines could be a further symptom too that needs tending to.
A husband out of work for a long time will experience depression often especially since working can be closely connected to their purpose and identity in providing for their family as even God instructs.
Maybe JoAnn or others can offer some perspective here too.
Again this sounds serious and even more serious as you see a change in his behavior to ‘not saying anything or acting like nothing is wrong’
Please take precautions for the gun safety for yourself and your children.
I’m honestly torn, because I see two possible situations, and the wrong reaction could cause irreparable harm. One, he has deep issues that do cause him to be suicidal, maybe even dangerous, and it won’t be resolved until he recognizes it or something extreme happens causing him to hit rock bottom, or he has severe chronic migrianes that do bring about depression but he really is trying to overcome it, and if I assume the first scenario is true and react, then it would really damage, no destroy, him. Right now, I don’t have a counselor to sort it through (I see enough discrepancies in things he says to make me think he is dealing with a lot of deep issues but I can’t say for sure it makes him suicidal, or dangerous, just think he’s trying hard to maintain an image). God knows our hearts, He alone knows what is going on, and I pray constantly for healing or for the truth to be drawn out, whatever it is, so the situation can be properly dealt with.
Dear Adrikoz, I am thinking a couple of things…. I agree with Aly that the migraines coupled with the mood changes could indicate a serious health issue, and it should be checked out. Is your relationship such that you can appeal to your love and care for him as his wife, to see a doctor about this? Even pointing out that the migraines keep him from working, and not working depresses him. Will he listen to love and logic?
Another thought that I had, and I admit this is a little deceptive, is that when you are packing up to move, pack the guns carefully and then make sure they don’t get unpacked in the new house. When someone talks about suicide, it is absolutely vital to remove all possible weapons, even to the point of hiding the kitchen knives. I know that you don’t think he is serious about this, but with as much as is going on, he is in danger and so are you. Knowing what I know, If I were his counselor, I would have to report him to a mental health facility. He fits several of the warning signs that Leslie pointed out, as I said before, so I encourage you to take this seriously.
He has been seeing a Neurologist about he migraines. He has tried everything from natural cures (supplements, drastic diet changes, CBD oils, etc) to prescription medications to Botox injections. Things will help for a little while but then he’ll have nonstop migraines for a long time. I’m talking a month or even more. Nothing has been found on MRIs, blood work, etc. I don’t understand why the subject of depression hasn’t come up. Though, maybe it has; I’m sure he wouldn’t tell me.
I am very sorry for what he is going through. Having headaches for that long is debilitating. I have a sister who has gotten a lot of help from her chiropractor and acupuncture. Also, there is a botox treatment that has completely eliminated migraines for someone else I know. It surprises me that “nothing” can be found with the tests that he has had. Has he tried keeping a food journal to see if food allergies could be causing the headaches? I surely sympathize with what this is doing to both of you, and I pray the Lord will lead you to the help you and he need.
Sorry! I just re-read your post and saw that he tried the botox and the diet treatments. My suggestions were redundant.
I know Leslie pointed out her concern for the writer of this question and mentioned that suicidal men can also be homicidal. My comment here might be redundant, but I’m particularly disturbed that he asked if she was planning to kill him. The fact that he did it in front of the fifteen-year-old could indicate he is merely being manipulative and trying to make her look bad in front of her son. If not, then he sounds like he is experiencing paranoia. I think the paranoid are spooky. If he convinces himself that you are the source of all the problems and then starts to ruminate as to whether you are planning his demise, that is a disturbing prospect. George Simon has a helpful post about paranoid personality disorder and the potential danger. I wish I had a solution.
We had a situation in our extended family that was similar to the one in the original post. It’s so debilitating to the wife and children when the husbands act that way. I do feel sorry for the man in the post and for my family member; however, I feel worse for the families. These manipulative men need to find professional treatment and not lean on their wives and especially not lean on their children for help! Good grief. There’s no excuse for that; nothing good can come of it. In our family’s case, the whole clan and church family came together and insisted that the husband check himself into a treatment center. In the meantime, the wife and children continued the separation even after he came out of the treatment center because when he didn’t get his way about something he was still threatening them that he was going to kill himself. Our viewpoint was, “When you’re all finished threatening suicide we can talk about the relationships, but until then you need to focus on your own mental health.”
I also want to say that I think the man in the original post is not the same as Ed’s situation (posted on February 4). I agree with Ed that “suicide is not always committed by whacked out men who have totally lost their ability to cope.”
I don’t have any immediate family or friends who have struggled with wanting to kill themselves or hurting others. Our local news had at least two murder suicide reports this week. It’s such a good reminder to all of us that we are responsible for our emotional health and need to intentially be growing emotionally everyday. When I realized I was in an emotionally destructive marriage, if I hadn’t had the support I had and found the help that I got, looking back, I may have sunk into depression and gotten into destructive patterns. When I initially reached out to the church for help, I felt like I was suffocating and they were adding to the burden I was carrying. Thankfully, I sought help elsewhere. I have found that I need to be intentional in sorting through and changing unhealthy thoughts and belief systems. It is so important to be growing emotionally so that when hard times hit, we can respond appropriately. Thanks Leslie for your blog and webinars. They have been so helpful. Also, I have benefited so much from the people that take the time to comment. Thank you.
Aleea, you have been a faithful participant in this blog for years. I so value your thoughts and you often have very nuanced perspectives on things which are often amazing and spot on. But this blog is primarily around relationship issues and not theological issues although they are related. I have seen your struggle through the years regarding Biblical accuracy and authority but for this blog I’d like you to limit your comments to things concerning relationship issues. I know you have struggled with your relationship with your mother and all the hard work you have done in therapy to feel safe and not be haunted by her internal voice in your own head. I want you to feel valued and heard, but I fear that some your angst around your own battle regarding Scripture is taking this blog in to places that may not be helpful for the majority of readers. So I encourage you to fully participate in the areas around the question and relationship issues, but as others have stated, let’s keep this blog about destructive relationships and not the questions regarding the inerrancy of Scripture.
“But this blog is primarily around relationship issues and not theological issues although they are related.”
. . . .Leslie, . . . . .if they aren’t *totally* related we are *totally* wasting our precious time. I think to deny the real foundational battle is very unwise but the real battle may not be about what is really true.
“I have seen your struggle through the years regarding Biblical accuracy and authority. . .”
. . . Leslie, I’m not struggling with facts and primary source evidence. I am struggling with my ability to accept what I already know. Once someone really, carefully looks at the primary source evidence. . . .They are never the same.
. . . .I want my story-book Jesus/ Bible, my Sunday School Jesus/ Bible, my Jesus/ Bible that has no historical issues, I want that Jesus! I don’t want the facts, the actual primary source evidence.
If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost, He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker
. . .That Jesus. That Jesus but without being intellectually dishonest. —All I have to give is the truth about those foundational documents. —No one wants that. . . .It simply deconstructs far, far too much. The certainty and security goes when you deal with the real complexity of the actual issues.
I deeply prayed about what you wrote. . . .yes, yes, Y-E-S, I will do what you say. You want me to change. I want me to change too. I don’t want to be what I am, I want to be what continually changes what I am. Transition and transformational metanoia (μετάνοια -72 times in the N.T.)
“But this blog is primarily around relationship issues and not theological issues although they are related.”
They are totally related, that is what makes the blog special. . . .but . . . .but I think I understand what you are saying and I will do that.
. . . .Things can be true, even if they are not true. They can be truer than true. Truth serves life, not the other way around. . . .Honestly, what good is what is objectively, demonstrably true if it leads to nihilism and loss of personal responsibility? “Truth” serves Life. . . .I say Christianity is Truer than True because it serves life. ―But, but I know my decision is arbitrary and on the “facts” it doesn’t often look that good, that always so, so troubles me.
. . . Lord Jesus, you know I can’t do anything I said “yes” to unless You do it in me. . . .I’m totally addicted to primary source evidence because. . . . Because. . . Because the Bible to me is a powerful link to You. . . . But I so want to change. I want to be helpful to hurting people because I so know what that feels like, sans lying about You and the Bible. I don’t know how Lord, please help me Lord. Do a miracle in me Lord, so that everyone and especially me knows it.
It doesn’t need to be true to be truer than true. Thank you Nancy, Aly, JoAnn for teaching me that, even if you didn’t realize you were teaching me that. You make it true by living it. Christianity is a Way of acting in the world. It’s true in the only place that e-v-e-r matters, in our actions. What we do. There are two different kinds of truth: factual (primary source evidence) and moral. Moral trumps everything. . . .I’ll try to explain, but –maybe- please don’t just react, r-e-a-l-l-y think about this: We need to know four things: what there is, what to do about what there is, that there is a difference between knowing what there is and knowing what to do about what there is, and what that difference is. “What there is” corresponds to factual truth, and “what to do about what there is” corresponds to moral truth. As Christians, there is a world of fact and there is a world of value or meaning, and we often don’t recognize that those are actually different (―JoAnn, thank you). When most people talk about truth, they think they are talking exclusively about facts (Aleea’s error). Sometimes they are, and sometimes they are blending the two types of truth.
Leslie, again, I deeply prayed about what you wrote. . . .yes, yes, Y-E-S, I will do what you say, Lord willing. It’s so, so meaningful to interact with people here, but relationship issues and not theological issues. ―Relationship issues: The lies we tell ourselves to keep from seeing the truth about our friends don’t feel like lies. They feel comfortable, familiar, and true. We repeat them like a mantra and cling to them like security blankets, hoping to calm ourselves and regain our sense that the world works the way we believe it ought to. . . .And yet, if we live our lives to please everyone else, we will continue to feel frustrated and powerless. This is because what others want may not be good for us. You are not being mean when you say NO to unreasonable demands or when you express your ideas, feelings, and opinions, even if they differ from those of others. . . .But I don’t think it is unreasonable, I need most work on relationship issues and not theological issues.
. . .But, see below, I’d rather talk *here* on the blog (so we can get every person’s input) about relationship issues not theological issues. But if you e-mail me with theological issues, because we already had a few in-progress, I’ll finish then up with you and answer them as best I can.
But I will also work on my boundaries with you too. Very few of us have a healthy sense of boundaries. We either have rigid boundaries (“No one is ever going to get close to me”) or weak boundaries (“I’ll be anything anyone wants me to be”). I think rigid boundaries lead to distance and isolation; but weak boundaries, they seem to lead to over-dependency and sometimes, further abuse. Maybe we can work on flexible boundaries, boundaries which can vary depending on the circumstances. Maybe???
I love how you were not defensive about what Leslie said. Shows you have a teachable spirit. It’s a great example to all of us.
Thank you Maria. I so pray that is true. I’ll never be anything more than what Christ makes me, —that’s for sure.
Thanks for posting that response to Leslie and addressing some of us others here. I think you said some profound things and I’m praying as you seem open and understanding to what’s been brought up here.
“I need most work on relationship issues and not theological issues.”
Ok ~ maybe but as Leslie said the focus here is relationship and yes the two are related of course but my opinion we all need to work on those issues and knowing where to work and process & apply those places are important part of distinction.
“I’m totally addicted to primary source evidence because. . . . Because. . . Because the Bible to me is a powerful link to You”
I think it’s very humble of you to admit to us here, I would encourage you to also find a place to study and blog about ‘the primary source evidence’ especially people who will interact and dialog with you about there own research about what makes a source evidence valid and invalid etc.
As you know, what you may find valid for primary source evidence versus what I might define can be on two different ends.
Ok, so I want to touch on a couple things and I hope you might be willing to consider & Especially since you mention a posture of relationship issues. I think we can often sabatoge ourselves in using ‘other issues’ such as theological ones to shield from actually facing & discussing our vulnerable and most grieved relationships.
Similar to when people get in a small group of sorts at church and want to discuss, Politics, recipes or their passionate hobbies and never once touch on the deeper experiences or painful hurts.
You mention your mom here and there and often say she is a monster, but don’t mention your dad? Was he passive and not protective or not an advocate for you as a child?
Did your parents stay married while you were growing up? Or did they divorce?
What sort of ‘wrong beliefs or any beliefs’ did they have that hurt you or caused you to question in a loving consistent true God?
Thank you again for being willing to consider a redirection and place to continue to dialog with others here about these hard places~ it takes courage and courage not if ourselves!
Re: what you may find valid for primary source evidence versus what I might define can be on two different ends.
Aly, there are actually real, solid facts. Real, hard facts. We are all entitled to our opinions but not our own set of facts. Facts are facts. . . .Papyrus P52 is the earliest extant record of a canonical New Testament text, known to anyone. . . .It measures only 3.5 by 2.5 inches and is in the the John Rylands University Library Manchester, UK. The front contains parts of seven lines from the Gospel of John 18:31–33, in Greek, and the back contains parts of seven lines from verses 37–38. . . . Aly there are *actual* facts. . . .Aly if you look in my Gravatar, you will see a whole list of blogs at the bottom and there location. Institute for New Testament Textual Research; et.al. I post on those. They have been there for years and years and I do post in those. . .
. . .But Aly, those are echo chambers. That is why I am here. You don’t want blogs where everyone agrees with each other and they totally agree because they are dealing with *actual facts*. You can’t grow and learn in an echo chamber.
“Similar to when people get in a small group of sorts at church and want to discuss, Politics, recipes or their passionate hobbies and never once touch on the deeper experiences or painful hurts.” . . .I don’t let that happen in my re-engage marriage classes at church. I keep them focused on deeper experiences and painful hurts and it is an emotional mess. Women breaking down crying and sobbing but I know if any healing is going to come that is the way forward.
“You mention your mom here and there and often say she is a monster, but don’t mention your dad? Was he passive and not protective or not an advocate for you as a child?” . . .I have mentioned him many, many times before, just in much earlier blog threads. He was passive but an advocate for me.
“Did your parents stay married while you were growing up? Or did they divorce?” . . .Always married, never divorced.
“What sort of ‘wrong beliefs or any beliefs’ did they have that hurt you or caused you to question in a loving consistent true God?” . . .Father was Catholic, pretty serious Catholic. My mother Methodist but not strict Methodist, not at all. I do remember they didn’t want me talking about the Bible, God and Jesus *all* the time. . . .My mother, always hateful words: Aleea you are “. . . the daughter not worth having.” “God may love you but I don’t.” But those statements were always linked with physical beatings.***
. . . It still eviscerates me. To me, highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it means you are truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is this godless, disposable society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. I always encourage that. I get e-mails describing me as being a “hot mess” or having “too many Bible issues” but being that way is the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world —just like Christ wants.
***But that dissociated trauma, those memories don’t reveal themselves like ordinary memories. I think they are like pieces of a puzzle, they escape the primitive part of our brain (that you and I have talked about before) where the trauma has been stored without words? But there is “no story” there, so I am left trying to comprehend the incomprehensible while trying to describe what doesn’t make sense: “God may love you but I don’t” —Does that makes sense? I assume healing is about collecting as many pieces as possible and finding words for what I am feeling even when it sounds crazy. It’s daring to write and re-write that truth until it makes sense. It just doesn’t still make enough sense to speak it. . . .
When you say statements like: “I’m very sorry Aleea.” “I am sorry that your mother was such a horrible example of nurturing for you and I’m sorry for the trauma.” . . . .It always makes me feel worse and I don’t know why because the sentiment is so beautiful.
. . .I don’t know if I am explaining this correctly but we can’t kill (so to speak) a bad mother in effigy; we have to kill her (so to speak) live. Otherwise, we are only getting glimpses of my mother in hiding. We need that monster front and center and to stay with all the feelings so that I can really grieve and mourn.
I see it in the way people at church interact with me. Because it is not what I say, they are working out something else very different. It is just true that only love that continues to flow in the face of anger, blame, and indifference can be called love. All else are simply transactions . . .but only Christ can really love like that.
But as bad as marital trama is, at least it happens when people are adults. A child being entirely dependent on its mother, clings to that tie with ferocity. If any aspect of the tie is not satisfactory in the actual relationship, we create an unconscious tie through identification, which becomes part of the relational template used for life. I think they call that “attachment to bad internal objects”. From that unconscious place, the parental figure (my mother) “haunts” my life . . . .a child turned adult, who cannot understand what is going on. Because of the hunger for a relational tie, the “sins of the mothers are visited to the children.” The whole thing is getting to those sealed-off pockets (swamps of pain) and draining those swamps.
Anyways, I’m sure I don’t describe it well but you can’t just cover over the pain with kindness and love: “I’m very sorry Aleea.” “I am sorry that your mother was such a horrible example of nurturing for you and I’m sorry for the trauma”, that represses the issues and ultimately makes them worse. This horrific trauma has to be witnessed and validated to be healed. Caveats notwithstanding, neuroscience shows that validating reconfigures mirror neurons. . . .It is like you have to erase and re-write. But that is way harder than it sounds, because it sounds easy. It’s something like that. . . .But intellectually I know you do it from love it just doesn’t feel loving.
. . . .So, it is just true that only love that continues to flow in the face of anger, blame, and indifference can be called love. All else are simply transactions . . .but only Christ can love like that. You have to be able to enact the relationship trauma and repair it live in real time. I cannot have a resurrection without crucifying someone. No amount of kindness and positivity will stop the cycle; the recidivism rate is over 90%. (Non-relationship techniques have a very high rate of recidivism.) I attack Christ and He survives my childhood distortions. Christ as psychotherapy.
It takes Wonder Woman courage and unbeleievable strength to heal the wounds . . .because it brings change and we are inclined to hold on to the stability we created in the chaos of our past experiences. And it is maddening because if you don’t take very, very small steps (trying to go too fast) everything resets. But if you can survive, you become incredibly aware and perceptive. During my summer/fall marriage re||engage class I taught (six couples each), I thought after only two weeks with one class, we have three couples that have abusive relationships and I immediately thought: “Oh Lord, help me to stop constantly judging people, please.” It truns out we did have two.
Oh, . . . .and I have to give myself what my abusive mother didn’t: the gentle, encouraging nurturing I needed. It’s just really hard to be your own best parent. It’s making sure I never stop going on the path that leads to the tender and scary places I carry. Those are the paths connected to the core of who I am beyond all that abuse. . . .You know it is not marital type of abuse, because of the immaturity of the psyche and/or brain, I was very ill-equipped to metabolize all those experiences. You are overwhelmed by intolerable affects that are impossible to metabolize, much less understand or even think about. And it gets so, so hard to keep talking about it but I know that is the right thing to do.
Aleea, you said:
“. . It still eviscerates me. To me, highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it means you are truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is this godless, disposable society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. I always encourage that. I get e-mails describing me as being a ‘hot mess’ or having ‘too many Bible issues’ but being that way is the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world —just like Christ wants.”
I wondered if you are aware of the words of Anthon St. Maarten? From goodreads.com: “Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a ‘hot mess’ or having ‘too many issues’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.” The link to that page is: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1018108-highly-sensitive-people-are-too-often-perceived-as-weaklings-or
He is an international psychic medium, destiny coach, and author.
Aly, JoAnn, Nancy, and others (forgive me for not listing more names), I have a problem. I have discovered something rather disturbing about Aleea’s posts. I do not know whether to put it out here on the blog or whether I should contact Leslie directly. Many of you have been very faithful and consistent on this blog, while I have not been as regular.
Please reference my post of February 18, 2018 at 11:53 am addressed to Aleea. Perhaps this will help you to understand my concern. There is more.
I just don’t know what is appropriate to say.
This is the only thing I see that could be questionable.
[Aleea, It is not the empath who is broken, it is this godless, disposable society]
Now I have heard many people say that they have said something they did not mean, it came out the wrong way, or was interpreted wrong. Maybe it was even quote.
Is your concern because she has quoted a psychic?
No, it is not primarily that, though I am would be concerned about sharing the “wisdom” of psychics.
I am concerned that she did not present it as a quote or quotation at all. (That is, unless the rest of you can see something here on the blog that I am missing). It appears that it is nearly a quote with a few changes to make it seem like it was her original thought. This is not the only instance of this. I have found few in the short amount of time I spent. I could share more of what I have found if that is appropriate and desired.
Aleea suggested I go back and read previous posts to get a better perspective on her past (I don’t remember the exact wording). I originally did not plan to invest the time and energy; however, based on the way the conversation has been going, I decided to take a look and see what I could find. I had been quite concerned for her and grieving for her suffering. What I found unsettled me.
I am concerned for the whole community here that everyone be presenting themselves sincerely, especially properly giving credit where it is due when one borrows the words of another. (I am trying to be careful what I say here). I have suspicions regarding Aleea. I mean no harm, but I am concerned for the others here, as well as the reputation of Christ.
If no one else sees this as a problem, please just tell me.
Seeing the Light,
You bring up an important thing here and I do feel that many of us who are on this blog most often give credit or directives to where the information is originated.. ‘especially’ if someone is quoting another.
I don’t see Aleea misquoting someone especially since textual variations have been one of her big points of focus.
But maybe she’ll answer or Leslie could address.
Leslie has allowed people with different views on her blog as long as they are respectful.
I have interacted with Aleea for a few years now, and I can see she reads extensively. I don’t think she is trying to take credit for others’ work.
I agree Maria.
I’ve only been here a short time but I don’t think Aleea is trying to cause harm. Long winded – yes. Kind hearted – yes. Confusing – yes absolutely. But I do find something that I can agree with or find useful.
I’ve seen Aleea quote lots of different individuals in the past citing books and authors and references. I’ve even asked her some questions about those books and references and she has always responded with detailed information. If she has said something that was not exactly her words, please let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Anyone who reads widely – like Aleea – or even myself, may sometimes say something that sounds a lot like things they’ve read. We don’t meant to misquote, but sometimes it just happens without intending it to. A book has so impacted our own thinking that we speak our words but they do resemble a lot of what we have read. In this blog I have always valued a variety of opinions, even if we disagree. However, our topic is mainly relationship issues not necessarily theology, however like it or not, our theology does inform how we do relationships – for positive and for negative.
I think I agreed/stated that I am ok with Aleea. I also think that I posted that if something slipped from Aleea that it was not meant for harm and could have been a quote.
I have stated even before this post that she can get long winded (some others can as well) but I do not want her to ever feel left out. Therefore, I try to find something that I can communicate/interact with her on with her post.
I did not bring this matter up and am not sure why my post was singled out.
An early apology Leslie if I have miscalculated. However, the post that arrived in my box says, “in Response to Renee.”
Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a ‘hot mess’ or having ‘too many issues’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.”
So as I said, this was probably a quote, misinformation, or a slip, It is indeed a quote found here https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/empath
Quotes About Empath Anthon St. Maarten
Tomorrow is a brand new day I pray in Jesus name Amen.
I am glad you weighed in. I felt a responsibility to share my concerns. I have done that. It’s your blog and I respect that.
I deeply apologize to you for not being sensitive to your issues re:“. . .I also shared with you some of my own pain which obviously was not remotely considered as you wrote out this latest response.” I was just feeling really ganged-up and beat-up on. . . .
Sometimes I feel I don’t belong here. . . .
. . .Sometimes I just don’t feel.
. . .I feel so uninvited.
. . .A wound that never heals. . . . .Everything is wrong with what I say: don’t talk about primary source evidence; don’t talk about theology; don’t use precise New Testament Greek words; don’t use emoticons; don’t do anything Aleea, let us totally control you. . . . OR. . . “find another blog Aleea, you are not welcome here”
And here is how it sounds to me:
. . . .We demand conformity to our beliefs, (especially on what we are allowed to say the Bible says on divorce and remarriage), and if you cannot swim with the current, then, well sister Aleea, maybe you’d be happier in another pool, another lake in fact, the one ablaze with burning sulfur.
But none of that is a valid excuse for what I said Aly. It is no excuse at all. I need to be ever so careful with people’s hearts, even if they are not with mine and I know there are areas where I can do better.
Re:“But as bad as marital trauma is, at least it happens when people are adults.” . . .That was a hateful statement. It did not come from a place of love and I apologize to *everyone* for it. I am ashamed I ever said that. That is like saying childhood abuse is worse than adult abuse. I was so wrong in saying that. “Many people look like adults on the outside, but inside they are very young” . . . .They are Aly, and their hearts are still so tender and in need of care. That was wreckless on my part. I apologize to *everyone* for it.
Re: “nor do you also show space for community ‘healing’ at this time.” . . .I don’t really know what that means but it seems like a total micro-agression to me. A micro-agression aimed at me. Did I understand that correctly?
Re: “This is NOT accurate and it goes against scripture profoundly.” . . . .Aly that is an appeal to systematic theology from the scriptures. I can show your statement has a high probability of being incorrect but not without doing theology. Please see all the place the words for love are used sans any cherry-picking. The case has to be made on all the scriptures and it has to be made cumulatively.
Re: “Aleea, your past anger is valid but don’t let it define you and control you.” . . .Now, that is something I fully agree with you on Aly. I need to do that but I don’t always know how. Lord help me not to just be defined by my mother’s words but by your Word.
Re: “And yes you are correct about the ‘unhealthy attachment bond’, but that also doesn’t have to define your freedom today. We have choices and we can choose to love ourselves and others.” . . .That is so, so true.
Yesterday, in church I was sitting there thinking: Aleea, we have had enough drama already for the entire year. . . . .Lord, make my heart as clean as possible. I am broken before you Lord, but thankful and so grateful. . . .That is where I want to be: down low where the Grace-of-God can find me. —All things as they move closer and closer toward God are so beautiful, and they are so, so ugly as they move away from Him.
I deeply apologize to you, Aly. I said things to you I should have not said. No amount of people beating up on me excuses that. . . . .And I speak “hint” too. I know what people are saying with their “tissue thin” “Christianized” statements. I know that hurts and have no warrant to turn around and hurt others.
. . .Oh, and Everyone,
I used to footnote and link *every* last single thing someone else said, especially related to divorce and remarriage but the site just bounces the footnotes and links back and nothing ever posts that way. It does it because it thinks footnoting all the quotes is spam (because you are often quoting authors again and again) because you keep citing the same books and research. To me, the footnotes are the most valuable part because they allow you to read everything in context which is even more forceful. The cites are so important because they make the case one-hundred times as strong but then nothing will post if I do that.
Relationship discussions vs. Theological discussions (Please give me Grace here; I want your help in thinking about something.)
. . . .Maybe our morals re:divorce and remarriage don’t really come from the Bible (all I ask is to just think about that), maybe they are decided by the Christian community, not the Bible. What the Christian community will and will not accept . . . .because I can tell you with serious certitude that in the tunnel period, the first 275 years of Christianity where we don’t have extant Bibles, what we teach here (re: marriage and divorce) would not hold up with the church fathers and Christians of that period. They would soundly condemn it. I was wrong about that myself but I kept reading and researching and reading and researching. . . . .But maybe that is okay because God expects Christianity to keep changing to fit new times and situations? Truth serves Life, not the other way around. It seems really, deeply wrong to me because I think Christianity should be teaching only “timeless truths” but maybe that is not correct —at all. . . .Or maybe I’m just getting too beat down and would rather connect with people than be doctrinally accurate. Maybe doctrinally accurate is an unworkable goal. I can tell you that people just seem to hate it. . . .They just hate it. . . .I was going to post some of the e-mails I get directly/ostensibly from people who read here because I just use that e-mail exclusively here but they are just so, so nasty (unfiltered). They are e-mails just full of threats and I can hear my mother’s voice: Aleea, you’d better be safe with threats like that! You are going to get yourself killed. . . .But all we have are conversations. . . .That’s when I realized, wow, maybe certain morals do not come from the Bible because we can either have a first century discussion (the one I am always having) or a twenty-first century discussion where what was taught close to the time of Christ is far less important. . . .I can tell you that logic, reason, evidence often go right out the window because the issues are far too emotional. —Just like child abuse. I am so, so sensitive to that issue that I can’t be rational about it. That maybe what is happening here with divorce and remarriage?
The way to truth is to try to prove things wrong, not right. . . .And if you really like something, you have got to try even harder to prove it wrong to know it is right —and that is a quote directly from me.
I would not be here if I didn’t feel the Lord wanted me here. . . .It is just so meaningful to interact with people here BUT very humbling and totally humiliating too. It seems just like the thing God would want me to do (to be teachable and humble). . . .Again, it seems the reverse logic that God always seems to use: The way right is left; the way up is down; the way to save your life is to lose it completely. . . .It is really hard stuff to process. Maybe that is why theological discussions are frustrating and not helpful because our real morals are not coming from the texts? “Truth” serves Life?
Hi Aleea 🙂
Your airport story was so sad.
Aleea….since your husband is a safe person…do you think that he could be a ‘container of healing’, for you?
The How We Love material is WONDERFUL for spouses in a healthy ( not destructive) relationship.
[If you are reading this and not in a healthy relationship, then this material is NOT for you. Stick with the practical steps that Leslie offers in her book, EDM ].
My h and I are SLOWLY walking through it. Practicing being that container for one another. There are concrete tools that show him what questions to ask you, and videos that demonstrate how to do this. It’s a lot of initial reading and learning but the PRACTICE of it is where the healing takes place.
If your h is a man of God and a safe place, then this is a very practical tool that he can use, in order to help you. It builds trust and creates a space for healing to take place.
I just want to add that there’s need to respond to me, Aleea – you have a lot of conversation at the moment.
I just wanted to offer that to you as something to pray about.
Oops….’…no need to respond to me’
Thank you so, so much Nancy, yes he is t-o-t-a-l-l-y safe and godly but I don’t want to deconvert him accidentally. It’s not like here where people will stop and totally limit me. Nancy, I tell him things I would never say here about the actual facts. He will listen and consider and listen and consider and listen and deeply, s-e-r-i-o-u-s-l-y listen some more. . . . .But, I see the “now accepting implications” expressions on his face and that terrifies me. Those moments were the standard “party line” Christian responses are shown to be totally inadequate against the actual facts, and he sees *very* clearly of what I speak. . . . .But maybe deconverting is not even possible and I should risk it anyway. I so want to have these discussions with someone who will deeply listen and deeply consider and I want it to be him. . . . I am praying about it.
. . . .These last blogs have been so intense. I hope the next blog thread question is like: “When you have been confronted with redecorating, what factors: prices, disagreements on colors, etc. were most important and how did you resolve them?”
Thank you for taking all that time to write so many important things. . . . I’m still reading and praying and re-reading it. Praying about it especially. If I even mention any of it, I will write an entire page and I very badly want to use Greek words too. . . .But instead, if I am willing to meditate on it, maybe my mind will accept what the Spirit of God is trying to reveal to me. Thank you Aly.
From your response to me, Aleea, I believe you have misunderstood me.
The How We Love material is about feelings. Only feelings.
It helps us to be a ‘container’ of painful feelings for our spouse.
Your h would ask you to remember a triggering event and ask you to 1) choose three feelings from a feeling word list. 2) Then ask you where you feel those feelings in your body. 3)Then he would ask when you felt this way as a child…(This helps him to be there for you and to get to know the hurt ‘little Aleea’, inside) 4) he would then ask what you believe ( when you are in this state) about yourself and others. 5) He would then ask what you need ( comfort, a walk together etc…)
It’s a very specific and focused approach to allow us to expose vulnerability in a safe space. You both might need to do this at first in the presence of a therapist, to ensure you both stick to the script.
Anyways, I won’t describe anymore. If it interests you, there’s a lot of reading involved for you both, before you would actually do this process together.
This process of trusting another to contain our vulnerable feelings would be one example of ‘cure producing insight’.
When we ‘try to figure it out’, we are hoping that insight produces cure. But that’s not how healing happens.
(Dr. Henry Cloud said this is the most important thing he learned in school)
This last post ~ are you addressing me?
I’m confused so that’s why I ask
In the window thread the response says (aly)
“Cure produces insight”….I like that. We get our “stuff” out of the way and then the insight comes. I believe I can say that it worked that way for me. Releasing and Resolving my issues with my mother definitely gave me another way of seeing her and interacting with her.
Something you said yesterday caught my attention: February 19, 2018 6:13 am “The way to truth is to try to prove things wrong, not right. . . .And if you really like something, you have got to try even harder to prove it wrong to know it is right…”
First off, I am not sure I agree with this. An objective approach to a situation is always good. I suppose it’s a little like playing devil’s advocate, which can be useful. When does that stop though? If you haven’t proven it wrong yet, does that mean you can never stop trying? Is that what you are doing with Christianity? Do you like it – so you are working very hard to prove it’s wrong?
Hi Aly. Thanks for asking.
No, my 11:03 post was an add- on to my 10:43am post, to Aleea.
You addressed your comment about truth to Aleea, but may I chime in? It is difficult to prove that something is true for all situations. However, if one can prove once that that statement is false, then it is easy to conclude the original statement is false. This is especially useful in math. But I don’t think it applies to questions like “does God exist” because it’s impossible to prove that God doesn’t and if it can be proven once that God exists, the statement is true.
I pulled a portion from Aleea’s post. [And yet, if we live our lives to please everyone else, we will continue to feel frustrated and powerless.]
And yet, if we live our lives to please everyone else, we will continue to feel frustrated, powerless, and highly stressed I would like to add. People pleasers’ desire to please/care for every person. It is important that every person approves of them. Rejection can be devastating. They aim to please not just family, but friends, co-workers, almost anyone in their line of sight.
I am married to someone with that tendency. Saying no is hard (well not with me – ha, ha). But having this weight on your shoulder can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. How? Because now you may feel used, you may neglect your needs/emotional needs, you may start to harbor resentment and anger.
I also believe the fixer can slip into depression (maybe not suicidal thoughts) when they can’t fix what is broken in their relationship, extended family issues, etc. Remember the fixer (speaking of myself and some others I’ve seen on the blog) do not like to see others suffer. And when we can’t fix it, we keep thinking about it and thinking about it (seriously almost all day). Unfortunately, at times, others will allow you to rack your brain and do nothing to fix their own problem.
We want to prevent our kids from experiencing life’s bad things/disappointments and rejection, we don’t want family to suffer financial ruin, we don’t want hubby sad or feeling unmanly.
What I’ve learned is that I don’t have to fix.
So this is in response to the question, What are signs of suicidal thinking or other destructive thinking? So I believe these couple of things can be other types of destructive thinking.
Renee, Wow! You said it. “And when we can’t fix it, we keep thinking about it and thinking about it (seriously almost all day). Unfortunately, at times, others will allow you to rack your brain and do nothing to fix their own problem.” This is a constant cycle with my mother. I don’t know if I am a fixer in general, but my mother pulls me in all the time to her suffering and impossible situations. She will not do anything to change or try to improve the situations or relationships, but after a phone call or visit, I am doing just that – racking my brain, brainstorming the same issues again and again as to how to fix her problems without her having to change.
Years ago, when my mother complained over and over again about a certain issue she had with my dad, I finally said, “Mother, you can go get some help for this, see a counselor or a doctor, but I don’t want to hear about this any more.” The point is, you can challenge her: “I don’t know why you keep telling me this when you never take my suggestions for how you can make it better. I would appreciate it if you would stop talking about this. I can’t help anymore.” This problem requires a firm boundary. If she needs someone to dump on, tell her to see a counselor. If she has to pay someone to listen to her, she might then start to do some changing. Her problems are not yours to fix.
What did your mom end up doing?
JoAnn I have heard this interaction between mother/daughter and other relational dynamics so many times..
““I don’t know why you keep telling me this when you never take my suggestions for how you can make it better. ”
So so true to a situation I had and it was often a new version of the crazy cycle!
It’s like they are suggestion tephlon?
Again we get back to the disproportionate example;
A person is having issues or problems and is more invested in not taking suggestions offered, and remaining stuck with the problem. The real problem gets to hid and the other things get the focus…maddening.
I found this with a relationship I had a long time ago, it became about this person (main issues of complaints was with her mom and many others almost daily) but she had absolutely no intention of doing anything different or really being honest and choosing solutions.
I brought counseling up often I mean often and eventually the relationship wasn’t much of one because i didn’t enable I guess?
Probably one of my most painful relationship losses and deep investments over many years…. but the Lord continued to teach me about myself, my issues and His heart, for that I am grateful.
What I realized was that to this person… my suggestions were dismissed and not weighted because this person had a deep lack of regard issue overall and considered herself, her thoughts of more value even if they were highly skewed and often unregulated emotionally ~ ADD.
I had this same type of friendship, Aly.
My best friend for 15 years. She had a horrible marriage (h was likely a narc) – she was ( and is) beautifully empathetic individual.
It was so painful to hear her traumas over and over. I tried desperately to ‘help’ her. And even provided her with names and times of available free counselling services. She never even called. She was addicted to finding comfort from me; and I was addicted to giving it. It was such a depressing dynamic, but I didn’t know it 💔
At one point, I did set a limit with her. I had a serious conversation about how this was affecting our relationship. But unfortunately, I did not have the wherewithal to stand firm. That’s what we both seriously needed boundaries.
In fact, our ‘break up’ was the last straw in a long line of broken relationships that sent me on a journey to seek The Lord. In His wisdom, He used this pain to draw me in to Him. About a year after our friendship ended, I was saved.
We DID both desperately need boundaries, but before we could have even begun to do that, we needed Christ.
Interestingly, she was the one who called me and said, “hey, Nancy, a colleague of mine is in a ‘house church’ and I thought of you.” Her family and mine joined a house church together. Through that, The Lord began to expose our unhealthy dynamic. We were led to a regular church from there, but their family didn’t stay.
I think I will start praying for her. God has used this thread to soften my heart towards her ❤️
Wow~ what a weaving of the Lord! He uses all sorts of things to get our attention in different places along our path.
I’m sorry for the loss of friendship and the extent of years too. But ever so grateful for your Saving!!🎉✝️
I can relate to so much of what you said above about boundaries. Even though my situation with my friend entailed some different pieces, I do believe it has been playing out by Gods design ~ painful but purposeful for me and my growth with accepting rejection ‘even when doing a healthy thing that aligns with Christ’.
I think my biggest issue was that my friend often used Christ and the appearance of Christlike ‘talk’ yet didn’t choose to deal emotionally with her lashing out behavior .. regularly on me because I was her safest and most tolerable person.
By Safe, I mean I do move on and don’t hold grudges or keep score…. but something happened down the road where the double standards she was attached to continued to be brought up.
We had another friend witness and a 4th friend witness the verbal abuse attack against me and my other friend ~ realized just how unstable my friend would behave when she couldn’t control or get her way.
Almost a tantrum like ~ and then filled with many excuses about: lack of sleep, for time mgmt. etc!
(As if I have any part in managing her quality of sleep?)
“But unfortunately, I did not have the wherewithal to stand firm. That’s what we both seriously needed boundaries.”
Here’s what happens when my boundaries became healthier ~ And my friend realized they were not going anywhere..
Rejection of the relationship by her.
My love and ‘invitation’ to something healthy and mutual.. ~she had no interest in, nor seeking any other perspectives~ her feelings defined her facts.
Nor interest in evaluating the emotions and the certain facts of her (misguided) anger.
As these things were revealed in time God spoke clearly to me where my safety was and what I could afford emotionally.
I’m glad you are able to pray for your friend and maybe see a glimpse of Gods hands at work even when we encounter painful experiences of relationships. Healthy growing and willing to grow people in process are out there;)
Hugs to you Nancy!💜
Both of you are discussing what I would consider a boundary issue.
When things are disproportionate then you know a boundary issue is present.
I agree also with the things and examples you have given and have been there. 😜🤗
So SLT, what it seems like your mother does (I had a friend do this often to me)
Is feel better venting to you about her quandary! She’s getting a counterfeit resolution sadly and it’s why you see the cycle continue and continue.
When we have healthier boundaries we can offer them their problem back to them to hold, rather than us feel responsible to ‘work harder’ and ‘fix’ for them right? We can pray for them, encourage them and boundary off ‘our portion of investment’ and live on with our day.
Ok~Warning though… look out for those who don’t like this dynamic change, especially those of us who have had to learn healthier boundaries.
I told my very dear friend a long time ago (we are still close btw), I’m sorry for your situation or multiple situations and I’m here to listen and help if you want that, I want to help encourage you and find solutions if your open to that?, but if you only feel better ‘by venting or vomiting’ I’m not a trash dumpster~ etc.
And besides I don’t feel like I’m really loving you well by being in that place.
You then find those that respect healthy boundaries and healthy relationships and those who don’t and want a one way street kind. Better to know sooner than later~ life is quite short and moves at a fast pace sometimes.
Just this week, I got to watch two swans swim, play and love on each other! It was beautiful ‘to be present’ to experience such a sight!
Thank you, JoAnn and Aly. You are both so right. Yes, it is a boundary issue and I have not handled it well. I come from a very dysfunctional family where boundaries are not respected. I have tried everything I can think of with her, but I have been very inconsistent. As I have learned and gone to counseling, I have on several occasions erected a boundary and she does not react well (to put it mildly). I found out from a sibling that the last time I tried to do this, she called me a snake behind my back. I work hard trying to maintain my own self-control in our interactions and not engage certain kinds of conversation and then she starts pecking away at that boundary and working around it and before long I just tear it down myself and go down the same old paths. Then weeks go by, I gather myself together, and I try to start all over again. It’s a mess.
I will say that some time ago, my sister who had gone to counseling for years tried to convince us that my mother has borderline personality disorder. I was resistant to labels. I have spent some time in counseling and we have discussed my various family relationships, and it’s likely that’s a pretty good analysis of my mother. She also has narcissistic tendencies.
I have had two siblings commit suicide. I know in addition to all her other life wounds, this has broken my mother. She is raw emotion. I have another sibling (who lives with her and my father) who threatens to commit suicide. I have so much empathy for my mother though she is extremely manipulative and biting and creates so many of her problems herself. I often wish that I had known what I know now twenty years ago. I think I would have tried some “tough love” and gone limited or no contact for a time with some expressed boundaries as a condition of relationship. I feel helpless to do that now as my parents are both in their early 80s and I don’t feel the luxury of not being there for them.
To Aly and STL (are you ok with the abbreviation?),
Aly, you asked about my mother….as it turns out, this was during one of my twice a year visits, as we lived 1300 miles away, so for the rest of the visit, she honored my request. However, we soon found out that my dad had cancer, and what she had ben complaining about was his behavior that was a result of his feeling so lousy, but didn’t know he was sick. I think that she felt guilty after that for complaining, though she never said so.
Seeing the Light, I surely sympathize with your dilemma, and you have my sympathy also for losing two of your siblings to suicide. How terrible! I’m sure your parents are in a lot of emotional pain from that, and at their age, you’re probably not going to see much change. So, if I may offer another strategy…. Listen sympathetically for a minute or two, then say, “I am so sorry that you are feeling this way.” Or whatever is appropriate, then change the subject. Stop trying to help her. This is for you. You can’t fix her life, and you don’t need to try, but probably all she really needs is a little sympathy. But that’s all you can give her anyway. Please do encourage your sister to get some help. Another suicide in the family is a terrible thought. And suicide is not the answer to her problems, either. You have a lot on your plate, dear Sister, and we are praying for you. May the lord grant you a huge portion of His all-sufficient grace.
Seeing the Light,
I’m so sorry! Wow lots of pain and painful tools for dealing with the pain in your family of origin.
You might find it helpful to look at the narcissistic family tree for added understanding and how those roles get places early on.
What you know and understand better today can still assist in dealing with your situation. JoAnn gave some great examples;)
Remember boundaries are more about (you) and ourselves to where (we end) and another person begins.
They are meant to give protection too for ourselves not necessarily to change another person or assist in their growth.
Although for some people this does offer an avenue but nonetheless, boundaries are more about ‘changing ourselves’ rather than the destructive individual.
Requirements ~ that’s different thing and a destructive person can still refuse.
Again STL, (seeing the Light) I’m so very sorry for the loses and the family dysfunction of origin, and hopefully you can find your journey away and safely with Him💜~ you are worth that!
JoAnn and Aly, thank you both so much for your kindness and sympathy. There has been much grief and pain in our family, but for my part, there has been some healing, too.
JoAnn, you said: “Listen sympathetically for a minute or two, then say, ‘I am so sorry that you are feeling this way.’ Or whatever is appropriate, then change the subject. Stop trying to help her. This is for you. You can’t fix her life, and you don’t need to try, but probably all she really needs is a little sympathy. But that’s all you can give her anyway.” Yes. This is so simply stated and just what I need to do.
Aly, I appreciate the remarks about boundaries. These are very good reminders. You said: “Remember boundaries are more about (you) and ourselves to where (we end) and another person begins.” Yes, exactly. My mother is all about enmeshment. To deny it to her equals the removal of love in her eyes.
I know the narcissistic family tree is different, but your suggestion reminded me of something else. My counselor and I have spent good deal of time discussing the drama triangle – and the roles of persecutor, victim, and rescuer. My brother lives at home with my father and mother. The dynamics and toxicity of those relationships and that home environment are indescribable as they interchange positions and roles within the drama and attempt to pull others in. It’s almost non-stop. (Sadly, they would be an excellent case study for a psychology class). They are just so damaged and in so much pain.
JoAnn, I’m sorry I wasn’t clear. (I sometimes try to keep details vague online to avoid identification). The sibling that threatens suicide is a brother (the one mentioned above living with my parents). I have tried to recommend help repeatedly, but he is extremely resistant and angry. His threats tend to come out whenever he is crossed by anyone and sometimes just if someone disagrees with him about something significant. He uses them to control my parents and keep them in fear of putting down any boundaries with him. That said, I know he is truly depressed. (If I had lived with my parents this long, I would definitely not be okay).
I have often thought of the difference with my brother and sister who are gone. They both very quietly went about their plans to commit suicide. No threats. No manipulation. Just a quiet decision with no attempts to lay guilt at anyone’s door. My living brother is the opposite – though that is not to say he wouldn’t do it. My mother also frequently talks about wanting not to be here anymore and wishing she had the “courage”, as she calls it.
I know I need to be strong and consistent and offer real love with boundaries, not love by her (or their) definitions. Thank you both.
JoAnn suggestion does work. At least most days with my elderly parents (both 83 and headed for 84 shortly). Other times they will not change the subject and I have to leave the room and at times the entire home and come back later.
STL my family hardly ever fought. But when my baby brother died in a car accident at a very young age, we were never that tight nit family again. We became dysfunctional. We became divided. We fought each other. We no longer prayed together. We no longer did things together. I wonder if that is the same for your family. In a way, we seem to blame each other for what happened.
STL, you brought out another very important point that I did not get around to posting. How can you tell the signs, when there is NO threat to commit suicide, NO manipulation, NO other obvious signs (like the hidden diary)?
Life can get so busy. Therefore, I wonder if the signs could have been there the entire time but was missed. Like when people kill others on the job. Or, the student who killed their classmates.
Obvious signs could also be a person that was once happy becomes sad all the time. A person who was once outgoing suddenly becomes a home body. Or the person who has become easily agitated. So while may not be suicidal, it is a sign to pay attention because something is wrong.
I am just thinking about this now that you brought up this issue. Very related to the post.
STL, I know you see this and I am happy for that, but you will not be able to establish boundaries and maintain them without a supply from the Lord. He will be your courage, He will be your wisdom, He will be your supply, and He can love your family in the way that they need to be loved, which no doubt includes the boundaries. But as Aly said, the boundaries are for YOU. They are to protect you, to enable you to move on with the Lord, and to protect your family. This is not to be selfish; this is for survival, and for your growth in the christian life. You are worth it. Make a picture in your mind of yourself being entangled with…what? a rope?, an octopus? Anything that represents to you the enmeshment with your family. (The image that pops into your mind might surprise you.) Then imagine yourself slowly, deliberately untangling yourself, asking the Lord how to do it. Let Him guide you, to free you from that entanglement. Look up some verses that caution us against getting entangled (Gal 5:1), and pray for the Lord to free you. He is faithful, and He will do it.
I forgot – JoAnn – yes, the abbreviation (STL) is fine.
I’m so sorry that your family lost the closeness you had as a result of tragedy. That’s heartbreaking. My family was never healthy from the start and the suicides occurred when my siblings were in their 40s. However, the death of my sister has increased my mother’s pain and acting out such that things are quite a bit worse since then. She was closer to my sister than my brother so the effect was greater. You asked about blame. My mother does blame my father at least in part for my sister’s death. I blamed myself a long time for failing them both, but though I will probably always carry some guilt (sometime it’s heavier than others), I have healed a bit in that department. In your situation, was the blame about who was driving? or who was responsible for his care? What is the source of the blame?
I once actually had a conversation with my sister about suicide. It seemed more academic and about what would stop someone from going through with it. Our brother had already died that way so talking about it seemed sort of “natural.” I knew she was an atheist and lacked any sense of purpose in suffering. I was so focused on the issues in my destructive marriage, failing health, trying to raise children in this mess that I missed it that she would actually do it. There were warning signs the last nine months, but she lived far away and did not communicate frequently. I think I just thought that when God came to deliver and restore that we would all still be here to be part of the rescue. I should have paid more attention and loved her more. I should have loved my brother more. There were muted attempts on both their part to share that they were in pain, but at the end of the day, they just kept most of it to themselves.
I will add that both of them had abusive people in their lives. My brother had an abusive, alcoholic wife. My sister lost her long-time job after a new supervisor began to relentlessly bully her and she quit. She was a quiet, unassuming person and that job was her whole life. Neither were strong enough to stand up for themselves.
I will respond to your post STL but am now seeing double. And hope others will chime in as well. Very important topic.
We must not take blame or share guilt for the decisions that others make. (The caveat to this is the case that made the news recently where a girl challenged her boyfriend to go ahead and kill himself. She has been indicted in his death.) Your family members made their own decision to commit suicide. Granted, we can always nurture regrets about what we couldda, shouldda, done or said, but in the end, they are responsible before the Lord for what they did. There is an important difference between guilt and condemnation: guilt means you actually did something wrong, and for that, the blood of Christ is sufficient to wash away the guilt, whereas condemnation comes from the enemy, who loves to harass us with feelings of shame and “if only” thoughts. Recognize the source and resist Satan’s attacks. Don’t let them settle in your mind.
Actually his best friend was driving and fell asleep at the wheel but there is also speculation on other possibilities. The blame came in because our baby brother had called on one or more of the older brothers to come pick him up from a night club in our town. I’m guessing it was so late that no one wanted to get out of bed. So the five brothers left behind starting fighting and blaming if only you had. My husband and I blamed because no one called us and the club was right down the street from us. Dad blamed himself and mom blamed dad. And really I have never been close to but one of my sisters and she died from brain cancer. Always closer to my brothers.
It’s a miracle my son is here because I went into a deep depression, quit eating for a while, and cried my entire pregnancy. To be honest, I had a really hard time with God during this time and for a long time. I just could not ?
Hugs to You and your Family Seeing The Light
Hi Seeing The Light, Renee and others 🙂
My mother is borderline. I completely understand, STL, the feeling of being trapped by her age and the guilt of changing relational dynamics so late in the game.
Yes,,enmeshment is the ultimate goal for someone with BPD. And boundaries are interpreted by that person as a stark statement of hatred and rejection of their personhood.
My walk with Christ started amidst reading the Boundaries book. The Lord used that book, along with a broken relationship that I describe a few posts above, to Aly, to draw me to Himself.
Boundaries is the main practical skill that I needed to begin my walk of healing and sanctification.
Enmeshment was defined as love in my home growing up. This is EXTREMELY AND DEEPLY confusing!!!
When .i began to know that God is a separate individual, who is a perfect gentleman that ALWAYS respects my boundaries, I began to see how inside out my definition of LOVE really was.
I will keep you in my prayers STL. Just remember that the feeling of being ‘trapped by her age’ is a lie straight from hell. Each moment is eternal, and The Lord will guide you in your quest for a boundaried heart!
Thank you for sharing here. You really do get it! Part of it being so late in the game is that fear of our last interaction. I have little hope for my parents’ eternities. Both of my siblings’ deaths took me by such surprise and I now tend to think of each interaction with each person I love as though this could be the last time I talk with this person. Do they know I love them? Am I causing them pain? Yet, I know that in the grand scheme of things, playing along with a dysfunctional dynamic does no one any real good for time or for eternity.
To quote you:
“Yes,,enmeshment is the ultimate goal for someone with BPD. And boundaries are interpreted by that person as a stark statement of hatred and rejection of their personhood.”
You also said:
“Enmeshment was defined as love in my home growing up. This is EXTREMELY AND DEEPLY confusing!!!”
YES! SAME HERE!
It feel so strange to look at my family of origin and my siblings and all the issues there and then to look at my own children. I have encouraged their individuality and fought against that enmeshment in raising them. It’s such a strange place to be still fighting that tendency to relate with my mother according to those rules (fighting the guilt and the pain of causing her pain), while watching my children properly individuate and separate from me. I see that they do it without guilt (and rightly so) and I am tempted to think, wow, don’t my kids care about me as much as I care about my mom? How messed up is that?! (Internally, I know they do care, it’s just those tendencies to interpret things from the confused perspective of my upbringing).
Thank you for your prayers and wise words, Nancy.
STL, You said, “while watching my children properly individuate and separate from me. I see that they do it without guilt (and rightly so) and I am tempted to think, wow, don’t my kids care about me as much as I care about my mom? How messed up is that?! (Internally, I know they do care, it’s just those tendencies to interpret things from the confused perspective of my upbringing).” I would like to offer something from my own experience. When I was in my forties, my life was very busy, and consumed with all the “cares of this life.” I wasn’t very good about phoning my parents and keeping in touch with them, though they lived 1300 miles away, and we didn’t see them often. Then my dad passed, and my mother lived alone, and eventually she had to ask me, with tears, to call her more often. That was when my sister and I committed to making weekly calls to her: my sister on the weekend and me in the middle of the week. That met her need, but unfortunately for us, she had to ask for it. Now my own children are at that stage, and I am asking for more contact. My kids and their families live in the same city that we do, but unless my husband and I make specific plans with them, we don’t see them as often as we’d like. All that to say this: teach your children how you want them to treat you. Ask them for some of their time. Invite them over. Don’t “expect” them to do something for you that you need or want from them. You have done well to not enmesh with them, but you still need to be sure to maintain the relationship in a healthy way. You do have legitimate needs, and it’s okay to ask for what you need, which in my life, is time and openness. I do need to feel connected to them and their children, so I work at making that happen. We teach our children how we want them to care for us.
You said, “He will be your courage, He will be your wisdom, He will be your supply, and He can love your family in the way that they need to be loved, which no doubt includes the boundaries.” Thank you for this, especially the idea that His loving them includes the boundaries. I had not thought of it that way before. One of my stumbling blocks is doubting that He loves them.
You said, “Make a picture in your mind of yourself being entangled with…what? a rope?, an octopus? Anything that represents to you the enmeshment with your family. (The image that pops into your mind might surprise you.)” Shortly after I read this, guess what popped into my mind? A spiderweb. A big one. (Perhaps owing to the fact that one of my children was watching The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King DVD this weekend and I saw the scene with Frodo and the really big spider. If you haven’t seen this, you probably won’t know what I am talking about). Anyway, it really seemed to fit. Thank you for the image idea and the healthy reminders.
I am chuckling about your image of the spider web. You can take this image as far as you want…for example, how would it feel to imagine the Lord snipping each strand of the web, one by one? Of course, you should also notice if there is some part of you that objects to this, and if there is, ask the Lord what he wants you to do. This can be a very powerful kind of experience. I’ll be glad to hear how this works for you.
You wrote, “am I causing them pain?”. This is a BIG one to deconstruct a bit. I know for myself, I was trained from a very young age that setting boundaries was bad because it caused mom pain. I had no distinction between pain that led to healing (redemptive pain), or the pain of dysfunction (useless and good-for-nothing pain, pain that leads to death).
Healthy boundaries is first and foremost for you ( as Aly and JoAnn have already articulated well), but there is also a possibility for them, in the pain it causes – redemptive pain. Now…this will be entirely up to them as to how they interpret it and they have a CHOICE. And you have no control over how they receive loving boundaries. But know that any boundaries you articulate are both healthy for you and an opportunity for them to choose health – now THAT’s Love!
Their choice though, is between them and The Lord. It is not personal to you. In fact, I’ll go a bit further and say that how they choose to respond to the boundaries will affect you, but doesn’t concern you ( I hope that makes sense).
It’s likely they will choose to blame you for ‘causing pain’ and for me, the fear of being ‘so cruel’ kept me enslaved in enmeshment my whole life. Five years ago when I began setting boundaries my mother actually said that; that I was ‘being so cruel’ in ‘shutting her out of my life’. That devastated me because it confirmed my fear of what she thought ( that I was a cruel person and a ‘bad daughter’).
The Lord has re-defined me as His precious daughter and no matter how I interact with my mother, He LOVES me!
STL. No matter how you interact with your parents. No matter whether you ‘get the boundaries right’ or totally mess them up….He LOVES YOU. Nothing you could do,or say, or think will EVER change that.
Also, so happy for you that your kids are individuating properly- that’s a gift from God. The generational sin of enmeshment got broken for them! That is HUGE. I’m tearing up ( joy) for them, and for you STL.
You articulated this So well about boundaries and sometimes the outcomes many of us experience. (Good, healthier self discovery, & painful realities etc )
“Now…this will be entirely up to them as to how they interpret it and they have a CHOICE. And you have no control over how they receive loving boundaries.”
This is so accurate Nancy!
“But know that any boundaries you articulate are both healthy for you and an opportunity for them to choose health – now THAT’s Love!”
Yes! It is an opportunity and an invitation!
So important and so thankful you posted this here especially for some of us that were raised in families that conditioned us to ‘tolerate the intolerable’, and set up one sided unhealthy relationships based on control.
It’s hard because often unhealthy people looking for the ‘same unhealthy’ will Not usually respond well to loving boundaries and loving invitations. And in ways, this does help guard our hearts and helps us on our journey forward. 🌈
I agree, and the FACT is, “That God so loved the world…” That would include your parents, so by letting go of them, you are actually releasing them into the Lord’s loving hands. Then He will have a way to draw them to Himself. So, yes, setting a boundary is a loving thing to do. STL, just work on one boundary at a time, then once you get used to holding that one firmly, the Lord will show you another to establish. Don’t try to do a lot all at one time.
Your comment is beautiful (today at 2:38pm). Thank you for this.
Our mothers sound so much alike. Your mother’s reaction reminds of my my own mother’s when I try. I mentioned in a previous comment that the time I tried to set a boundary in the most healthy way I could, she called me a snake behind my back. (She also resisted strongly in our conversation). My biggest struggle in maintaining consistency. You are way ahead of me in dealing with this appropriately.
I also very much appreciate the distinction between the pain that leads to healing and the pain of dysfunction.
I like how you said Aly, that boundaries are ‘an invitation’ – yes! They are an invitation to health 🙂
It’s hard though, to leave their choice ( of what to do with that invitation) to The Lord. Being so invested in my mother’s response to my boundaries created a terrible push-pull dynamic at first, and for a long time afterwards. Releasing her to The Lord , by grieving the mother I never had, continues to be essential in having real Peace with her.
We really do need to be prepared for their resistance to produce that all-too familiar guilt in us, that grows into a monster who tries to intimidate us back into the unhealthy dynamic! False guilt is an effective weapon of the enemy.
I just want to say that I know how devastating it is to be called names ( a snake) by the woman you need most to be care-full with your heart. That is just SO painful.
And I’m guessing that you knew, growing up with her, that that’s what would happen, and what kept you from setting those boundaries. For me, not setting boundaries kept the reality of her lack of ability to love in the dark; where I didn’t have to deal with that awful pain.
I also totally get your deep empathy for her. It’s incredibly difficult to separate from that pain. I love JoAnn’s entangled excercise! (Have you seen Disney’s tangled? There’s a scene where rapunzel finally decides to leave the tower against her mother’s wishes and experiences extreme ups and downs ( guilt / elation ). It makes me laugh every time!
I think that my mother’s inability to love me is what fuelled my incredible ability to construct a world of pretense; that later came to bite me in the behind.
Do you know Les Miserables? It is a beautiful book (Broadway show) about salvation and redemption. So beautiful. Eponine is the character that sings “on my own” ( one of it’s most famous songs). Well, I had the blessing of seeing it this past week, and I really identify with Eponine. She was raised by two unloving parents who were only interested in appearances and money (ridiculous characters ( fools) that you just love to hate). Eponine grows up to construct a world of pretense where Marius (a lovely young man who is kind to her, but does not love her) is in love with her.
I lived much of my life like Eponine, living in my head and being shocked when the morning light revealed the reality of my situation. But then entering back into pretense when the night falls. This is a battle that I have not won. I am very far from completely accepting the mother that I was given. It’s so easy to pretend and to hope that she is something that she is not. Grief is the key, for me. A process that I have far too many defenses against.
This week end I received a beautiful verse: Colossians 2:17
…but reality is found in Christ.
STL. I am so sorry for your pain. I am praying that The Lord envelope you in His incredible love ❤️
Here’s the funny tangled link 🙂
If it doesn’t work, you could google, tangled at war with yourself
I’m planning to respond to your above comment, but I just had to tell you thank you for that “Tangled” clip. I watched it last night and had to watch it again this morning. That is so funny! And I get it! (Now I’m wondering about watching the whole movie for context) 🙂
I don’t really know how much I knew about boundaries as a child. I think mostly there was just confusion. Between my father being a narcissist and my mother being a borderline, there was just dysfunction everywhere. I so wanted relationship with her for so long. (As a child I tried to spend time with her and would look forward to the times she wasn’t working). My counselor recently appeared to have a bit of a light bulb moment of insight into my “psyche” while talking about my mother briefly and the effect it had on me in the empathy department. We haven’t quite worked that out yet, but I suspect it will play in with the enmeshment and lack of boundaries.
I feel so bad about the tragedy of her life. Daddy’s girl, who then lost her father to death at a tender age. Abusive mother. Philandering, criminal first husband. Young single mother. Then she marries a narcissist and ends up in a marriage that was bad from the wedding day – literally. I know she is not an innocent victim either. I just really do feel for her. It is compounded by the fact that my husband is so very much like my father (yes, “I married my father”) so there are far too many similarities in much of our marriage experiences.
I am familiar with Les Miserables. I have not read the book. I’ve seen two film versions: the one with Geoffrey Rush and the older one with Anthony Perkins (the first one I saw and my favorite). I don’t remember either version bringing in the character Eponine. I do, however, hear the point of what you are sharing there.
“I am very far from completely accepting the mother that I was given.” Yeah, I know what you mean. I truly don’t expect more from my father. My expectations are in line with his capacity. I seem to keep expecting more from her, and then I get faced with that reality and the disappointment over and over. I keep hoping that she will want to change and grow. She does not. I expect that I need to grieve that.
Oh, can I relate, STL.
I know my mother’s tragic story well, too. I grew up comparing her overtly distressing childhood to my own. Mine seemed perfect. I had a stay at home mom who did everything for me. She volunteered at school, her life revolved around the church etc… So the depressiveness that I fought since early adolescents couldn’t possibly be a result of my family. We were perfect.
It was only MUCH later that I began to question why I knew, in such detail, my mother’s tragic story, at such a young age. I think that she hoped that rehearsing it with me would somehow heal her. This is not uncommon, by the way. For the child to be well versed in the tragedy of the parent. Talk about lack of appropriate boundaries!
I wonder if the enmeshment actually revolves around the un-redemptive pain. Maybe it’s being more enmeshed with her pain, than with her….? Just thinking out loud here.
The one thing that was missing in my outwardly lovely, church serving, volunteering, always a victim, mom; was repentance. I can so relate to the last thing you wrote about the cycle of expectations being dashed and the never-ending hope that she would choose to grow.
So painful, STL. My heart goes out to you ❤️. The Lord will equip you to take whatever next steps He has in store for you.
P.S. – Tangled is great – The mother is definitely narcissistic! (Narcissism is a big part of BPD)
Just wanted to also validate so much of what you mention Nancy.
I think we had some similar ‘mom moments’ growing up. I’m so sorry to both of you for those histories but yet also so thankful that you have many things (treasured clarities) that break the cycle! Praise God for this!
Btw: tangled is such a good discription visually and heart wrenching as ‘that young girls’ knows deep in her heart of hearts ~ she’s not ‘home’.
One of our family favorites and we love that she is reunited with her true family!
Nancy ~ you pointed out so many key things that I think great therapists out there ‘pick up on pretty quickly’.
Ours did~and it became a 757 journey of sorts which was necessary for our situation.
You mentioned the ‘enmeshment’ linked to unredemptive pain, I believe this too and so so many people walking around (modeling and reinforcing in our churches!!) like your mom ‘playing the Christian role~ yet a victim.
You also mentioned ~ repentance! I also agree and I was even told by mother to not use that word in my own home as I would teach Sunday school lessons that actually ‘had that word’ in the lesson.
She saw it as a negative word and anything negative didn’t align with her ‘version of the gospel’ where He takes all our pain away.
As you know some pain is ‘purposeful for His purpose’ and our repentance.
I don’t think I would ever be able to experience the husband and marriage I have today if he hadn’t experienced ‘pain and discomfort’ intrupting his lifestyle.
I’m thankful that you are not passing that baton ‘tangled and tied to the ground’ to your children to have to unravel ~
Hi Aly and STL,
That’s incredible, Aly, that you were not able to use ” that word”. Such an overt dismissal of God’s desire for us, in the name of …..scripture! ( of course it wasn’t really in the name of scripture but in the name of her maintaining her illusions). Plus…it’s his kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4) talk about stopping a godly process right in it’s tracks. We can take in his kindness but then not do what naturally comes next? Confusing for sure.
Growing up in a non- bible based church, I never heard the word repentance. I don’t think so, anyways. If I did, it never stuck. And I most certainly never witnessed it.
I am though, beginning to be grateful for my history. And for my mother ( while firmly maintaining minimal contact). My history and ‘artificial’ family has given me a thirst for authentic connection that I might not otherwise have. It has contributed to a sensitivity to others that I wouldn’t otherwise have. It has given me a lense that sees more deeply than I otherwise would.
God has a plan for us to each to ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling’. He is faithful to give us strength where there is none, and to give us wisdom when we ask ❤️
Oh, Renee, I am so sorry. That’s a lot of blame, and with it pain, to go around. I can see how it tore your family apart.
Well, thank God for your miracle boy.
Thank you for being frank about your difficulty with God during this time. I have had plenty of times like that in my lifetime and through different trials. Even this last year, I have struggled with so many “why”s to which there is no satisfactory answer.
Hugs back to you and yours, Renee.
Hi Aleea, I’m glad you decided to stay in the blog. I think it’s a great idea for you to find a different blog for most of the theological questions. That seems like a win-win situation for everyone. I have a couple of practical suggestions for you that would help me be able to completely read and understand your posts. First, if you could write everything in English. Second, if you could omit the emoji’s. You have such good things to say but maybe you don’t realize that when I read your words, I already believe you and I already like you. I don’t need all the “extra.” I hope this doesn’t sound critical; I only say it because I really want to finish reading your posts but sometimes I can’t keep up.
Just a thought, I wonder if the fear you describe about not being intellectually honest and not having correctness in the tiniest details, comes from not being heard or believed in the past? Perhaps someone has made you feel as though you don’t deserve to be heard unless you are “perfect.” I’m just making a guess here so please excuse me if I’m out of line. I think it’s wonderful that you are coming to see that Jesus Himself is Truth; truth is a Person, not a philosophical or intellectual construct. Isn’t that so lovely and hopeful? We can think of Truth as being a friend, someOne with whom we can sit down and have a cozy chat. Beautiful!
Hello Barbara B,
Re: a couple of practical suggestions for you that would help me be able to completely read and understand your posts.
“First, everything in English.” —I can do that! —Yes!
“Second, if you could omit the emoji’s.” I can’t do that totally but I can cut them down *very* significantly! Sometimes you just have to put a simley face or two or a heart in there but you don’t need fifteen of them.
“Just a thought, I wonder if the fear you describe about not being intellectually honest and not having correctness in the tiniest details, comes from not being heard or believed in the past?” . . . Hmmm, that could be. But these are not tiny details, they are fundamental things. . . .
Barbara B. . . . .I think it is as simple as this, but I don’t know. Instead of, for example, just humbling myself and saying: Barbara B, I’m loney and would love to have someone to talk to. . . .Barbara, my mother abused me all my life but tonight I really miss her and although I know what I should *not* do, I so feel like calling her. . . .And I know I can talk to Jesus, which I was doing when that feeling I should call her overwhelmed me recently. . . . .but I was rotting in an airport with a 5 hr. delayed flight and I so wanted to call her. —I think it is just being more and more honest about everything.
I agree with everything you said, Barbara. (No need for me to repeat.)
In response to your offer to email you, I must decline. Thank you for the offer. My desire was not to engage the theological questions; it was quite the opposite. I have no interest in engaging theological argument with you, nor do I think it would be healthy or edifying for either of us. When I saw that Leslie had spoken very early this morning, I was glad, and I thought it best if I back off and wait. In that time and given the conversation since then, I believe that the idea I was offering yesterday and the reasons for it are moot at this point.
Excellent, and I appreciate your patience Seeing the Light. I tried a dozen times plus on the last thread to answer you and others, —no posts. Maybe, in the future of these blogs, blog video conferencing because then we can actually interact in real time. . . .Yeah, it brings a whole new set of problems, but huge possibilities too.
It does makes sense in that it’s painful and wrong.
“Father was Catholic, pretty serious Catholic. My mother Methodist but not strict Methodist, not at all. I do remember they didn’t want me talking about the Bible, God and Jesus *all* the time. . . .My mother, always hateful words: Aleea you are “. . . the daughter not worth having.” “God may love you but I don’t.” But those statements were always linked with physical beatings.***”
I’m very sorry Aleea. I do hope that you find your truth Through His Truths about you, not your dads, not your moms, but the Truth about who God says you are.
I am sorry that your mother was such a horrible example of nurturing for you and I’m sorry for the trauma. A person that dark doesn’t want to hear about God, Jesus or the Bible. I also wouldn’t agree that you had an advocate of your dad…. if your mom was treating and beating you as you describe. No interventions, no actual advocacy. Unless somehow that came later much down the road?
Also many might have a sliver of religion but few have Jesus as Savior. Many might have a huge religion lifestyle and still miss out on Jesus as Savior.
Having Jesus is not having ‘religion’.
Given the words and messages you describe of what your mom told you about you.. is wrong and I hope you can find clarity to see that those horrible messages are about ‘her’ and she’s mirroring what’s inside her. Sadly.
Many very broken mothers are so so broken that they CANNOT give what they have not received ‘first’ from Christ.
I can only relate on a smaller level of neglect and abandonment with my own broken relationship with an unavailable mother. I’m not comparing and most certainly couldn’t but I just wanted to say I’m sorry for what you went through.
I really tried to understand as best as I can and offer my empathy as best as I can via a blog.
You certainly don’t know me either, nor do you also show space for community ‘healing’ at this time.
I also shared with you some of my own pain which obviously was not remotely considered as you wrote out this latest response. Not that you would need too I just find it maybe something that could help in the future to think about others who engage with you ~ that are not your abusers, but certainly have been through hard painful things also.
It is important to talk through those things but I cannot convince you that ‘I care’ and that my words are true.
You also made a statement;
” It is just true that only love that continues to flow in the face of anger, blame, and indifference can be called love. All else are simply transactions . . .but only Christ can really love like that.”
This is NOT accurate and it goes against scripture profoundly. I can love because of ‘who’ is in me and my husband could most certainly tell you that ‘that’ kind of love was never a simple transaction~ loving someone in the face of anger, blame and indifference comes not From my own strength but from the Lord. And the love may not look like (hearts and giggles) but it’s love and sometimes it’s love with healthy boundaries.
To ‘wire in’ such a belief and statement of what you say is true about love is concerning.
Aleea, your past anger is valid but don’t let it define you and control you. And yes you are correct about the ‘unhealthy attachment bond’, but that also doesn’t have to define your freedom today.
We have choices and we can choose to love ourselves and others.
I think you might really want to reconsider this statement.
“But as bad as marital trama is, at least it happens when people are adults. ”
Really? Do we need to compare bad at this level. It’s all bad and filled with pain. Confusing pain and betrayal.
Many people look like adults on the outside, but inside they are very young..we don’t always marry emotionally adultlike people. That gets uncovered during the process it seems.
Given the sensitivity of this blog, I think it’s vitally important to try to put yourself in a person’s shoes here. ( I realize you haven’t experienced abuse in your marriage but being an empath I’m asking you to take a second look at the devastation of a covenant promise)
The devastation is similar to parental pain because we look at a parent in a parent adult body and think they are going to be safe and we find out that they are not quite equipped to parent from a healthy adult place ~ ’emotionally’ especially here. The confusion and bonding betrayal is similar in that it’s a traumatic experience to be flipped upside down as a child and as an adult.
I have experienced a destructive and abusive marriage and I wouldn’t say it’s worse or not as bad as child abuse, neglect etc. Both are wrong and painful! Both are traumatic.
Parents have babies and some have very little capacity to parent and nurture well.
Spouses make vows to God and others that get broken and a marital relationship is a sacred longterm important dynamic of which many children are born into.
Both places are very important in regards to the health of our communities.
My mom’s treatment of me was painful and ugly, but she is not my spouse….she can only have ‘a part of my years’ of my life when I was powerless as a child. I am not obligated to her, I am not emotionally trapped by her, I am far from her impact.
Also I can be such a different & safe mom to my kids in honor of her, something she couldn’t have taught me.
This isn’t to compare its to evaluate and consider my choices ….the past abuse of my husband given our ‘sacred covenant’ and the intimacy structure esp. with our responsibility of raising our children together in a safe and loving environment~ all the more important for me to grow and thrive in.
I am not committed by covenant to family Origin issues, but I am committed to Christ and my new family.
What I was once powerless in as a child, I now am ‘responsible as an adult’ to make healthier and wise choices for the next gen.
The abuse and the FOO dynamics are and we’re not my fault (I was a child) ~ but I have different choices I am responsible to make as a God loving and fearing woman for my husband and children.
I’m going to try to post a couple responses to you and break them up since I have to cut and paste a few items.
Thank you for your apology ~ I accept it and most certainly don’t feel the need for it to engage here. I think you are sincere about several things you posted and that it why I’m responding and maybe others will join in ~ for perspectives.
“I was just feeling really ganged-up and beat-up on. . . .
Sometimes I feel I don’t belong here. . . .”
Ok so your other responses to Leslie and others (not me specifically) who you kindly took their posts and reflected… are then not accurate to your truth about how you were feeling?
I still with love and care stand by my original post with others~ about ‘regulations of emotions being rational and taking the time to process your feelings and thoughts’ as something to look deeper at.
This isn’t to invalidate you or your feelings and I didn’t see your other responses to them to take an offense and lash out.
You wrote ~ this below is important Aleea to pay attention to your own internal talk… I know you are very aware with how this ‘internal Place influences our feelings’
“. . .Sometimes I just don’t feel.
. . .I feel so uninvited.
. . .A wound that never heals. . . . .Everything is wrong with what I say: don’t talk about primary source evidence; don’t talk about theology; don’t use precise New Testament Greek words; don’t use emoticons; don’t do anything Aleea, let us totally control you. . . . OR. . . “find another blog Aleea, you are not welcome here””
I suggested to fund a blog that will e
Oops~ my sloppy fingers hit the wrong key!
Sorry about that.
I suggested you find a blog that would engage with the theological ‘primary evidence you find valid’ so that you can get the interaction you are seeking and also be a much more fluid conversation.
I also remember telling you that the relationship issues and the theological issues are important and integrated! But knowing where to place those areas can also be a part of discernment.
No~ one told you to go find another blog about relationship issues and abusive dynamics.
In fact, you were redirected to some other factors here and certainly *invited*in to discuss your own relational experiences ~ which I did ask many questions about.
Sometimes if your in a highly emotional trigger~ what may feel like a rejection or limit is actually an invitation ~ maybe even an invitation to a deeper place of grief.
The expressions and concerns for you were sincere and many were asking that you focus on the ‘relational aspects’ of the conversation rather than the theological issues which ~ Leslie pointed out that they are related but they are not the core topic of the blog exchanges and sometimes they often deflect (from the original abuse discussion- for instance)
I myself have often engaged with you on this theological level, hoping what you are asking (me and others to consider) researching, that you also have space for another’s perspective that could be valid and considered.
I’ll continue in a different post.
“And here is how it sounds to me:
. . . .We demand conformity to our beliefs, (especially on what we are allowed to say the Bible says on divorce and remarriage),
Hmm ~ is this true? I ask myself this and the community because I don’t recall myself engaging in what the Bible says on divorce or remarriage with you, I don’t recall even bringing this topic to the conversation.
Divorce and remarriage are quite secondary of a conversation given the main topics we discuss which often is about how to get safe and how to survive a destructive dynamic (by surviving I don’t always mean Staying well)
“and if you cannot swim with the current, then, well sister Aleea, maybe you’d be happier in another pool, another lake in fact, the one ablaze with burning sulfur. ”
Wow! This is important Aleea and I’m glad you have those thoughts down~ this is full of toxic shame and that will eat away at your value and worth!!
Allowing yourself to entertain those words are harming & nothing that anyone here implied or even remotely invited you into.
This is my sincerest concern for your heart;🌸
The voice you allow to speak those things in your head ~are controlling your perspective and keeping you from ‘real authentic connection’
With community. When this is done, it judges others ‘first’ out of fear and false shame.
And it serves as a protection against connection rather than the true freedom of being known and loved.
You wrote in regards to acknowledging your lash out ~
“But none of that is a valid excuse for what I said Aly. It is no excuse at all. I need to be ever so careful with people’s hearts, even if they are not with mine and I know there are areas where I can do better.”
“Even if they are not with mine”..
Ok so here where I challenge you Aleea. Please be honest about what you were hurt by and if it proportional to your reaction?
Tell me, us …how best we can communicate our truths or experiences without you being upset or reactive or you feeling or hearing an attack?
I think that you are correct about no excuses, we don’t need to hurt others because we are hurt~ in fact many of us hurt here and have gone & are going through some really ugly journeys.
When hurt people ~ hurt others in a reactive stance it’s often about something ‘unrelated and unresolved’ that they themselves choose to not regulate and accurately process.
My h went through this sabatoge for years in our marriage and with interventions of Christ’s pure love and value~ he could see just how self destructive it was.
“Re:“But as bad as marital trauma is, at least it happens when people are adults.” . . .That was a hateful statement. It did not come from a place of love and I apologize to *everyone* for it. I am ashamed I ever said that. That is like saying childhood abuse is worse than adult abuse. I was so wrong in saying that. “Many people look like adults on the outside, but inside they are very young” . . . .They are Aly, and their hearts are still so tender and in need of care. That was wreckless on my part. I apologize to *everyone* for it. ”
Aleea thanks for acknowledging this and for your sincere ownership of it being a reckless statement, it was and I certainly accept your apology.
Re: “nor do you also show space for community ‘healing’ at this time.” . . .I don’t really know what that means but it seems like a total micro-agression to me. A micro-agression aimed at me. Did I understand that correctly? ”
Not sure what micro aggression means? I’ll have to look it up.
But maybe you mean I was being passive aggressive?~
By space I mean maybe you are not at a place where you do want to be vulnerable and honest about your pain and hurt.
By space, I mean when you become reckless like above ~ maybe you could consider some other ways or choosing to respond rather than react.
None of us here are against (you).
If this is how you feel immediately when challenged then maybe your not in the space for the healing that does often take place in community?
If our ‘abusers’~ past and present are taking up ‘our lens’ and there is little room for others with dialog and vulnerability, then it’s difficult to walk that bridge.
Those core wounds and beliefs about ourselves do need to be rewired through relationship with Christ and with others to echo!
This is why I said it’s important to absorb what GOD says about you! Not what mom, dad or others that have had far too much identity upon you.
This conversation is not about divorce or remarriage biblically Aleea, this is a conversation about your worth and value as a Child of God first.
When we know WHO’s we are, we can better treat others in response to also their own worth and value in being made and designed in the image of God and the children of God💜
I do not want to interrupt your conversation with Aly. I wasn’t sure which “Reply” to hit, so I just grabbed one.
I have a question. Do you want to heal?
Hello Seeing the Light,
. . . .That’s absolutely brilliant Seeing the Light. That’s exactly what a good friend does, they listen, listen, listen and then they ask those critical questions.
I know Leslie asks that question of people because Jesus asked it. . . .But maybe sometime go back and really, really deeply read and pray about what Jesus is saying. “Do you want to heal?” is the same question as “Do you want to transform?; Do you want to metanoia in the New Testament?” It’s brilliant but there is an even higher place that Jesus wants us to go. . . . .
Seeing the Light, that is NOT the real question Jesus is asking, you, me, e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e wants to heal/transform. The real question is do you, do I want to be set on fire, set totally ablaze and have all our old deadwood burned off. Everyone wants to be raise again, to be regenerated, born again. NO ONE wants to go down in flames and combust, and be burnt up to obtain new life by arising from the ashes of our predecessor (our old self burnt off –the pain of metanoia).
Leslie, maybe pray about it, but . . . .Leslie, you must know at some level that *everything* we do here is actually theology. So here is that question as asked by Jesus:
Aleea, do you want to pay and keep paying the excruciatingly painful price it takes to heal?
Seeing the Light, . . .Most of me does, but some part of me does not, it is very afraid and that is the truth. What would be the first steps Seeing the Light?
Aleea, are you willing to sacrifice who you are for what you could become? . . . .I am Lord but I am terrified to enter the forest alone. . . .Actually Lord, that’s not true. I’ll walk right into the forest alone for miles and miles, that is not the issue. I’m afraid of something else but I don’t know what it is because I know I am in control of nothing.
Well, do you want to be reborn (heal)? = Do you want to burst into flames? YES, Lord let all the nonsense burn away and I don’t know which is which.
Seeing the Light, what is the next step? . . . I only know how to get the question defined correctly. I do not know the next steps, except that it is really going to be painful and humiliating and humbling.
. . .Aly and Leslie, we are doing theology, just applied theology. Theology, for sure, but applied theology.
Seeing the Light, I already know that things aren’t as good as they need to be. You are here to make things better and help figure out how to make things better. I’ll listen to you and we’ll move towards a place that’s better. Seeing the Light, what is the next step?
Thank you for answering me.
You have asked me what the next step is. I am overwhelmed at the thought of being asked, as I can’t honestly say that I know. I do have some ideas I could share though. You need to know a little bit about who I am before you listen to my answer. I do not see myself as qualified to lead others. I struggle. What I do know is that there are things I have learned along the way, and I am not in the darkness I once was. I have read much, thought much, cried out much to God, and prayed much. Sometimes I hear in another’s struggle or story things that remind me of where I have been or of someone else’s journey and then I want to share whatever might be of value.
The reason I asked the question so straightforwardly and simply was because there would be no point in saying what I was thinking if the answer was no. Things wouldn’t “land”. I don’t know that I will have anything especially profound to say. Sometimes it’s just a book recommendation that comes to mind. I would be happy to offer what I have, though it may not be worth much.
You said: “Aleea, do you want to pay and keep paying the excruciatingly painful price it takes to heal?…Most of me does, but some part of me does not, it is very afraid and that is the truth.” Me too, Aleea. Me too.
You said: “I’m afraid of something else but I don’t know what it is because I know I am in control of nothing.” Yes. I thin I know what you mean. You see, I have not arrived, Aleea. I am very much still in process and there is still something there I can’t name or identify.
If you are going to listen to me at all, you should also know that sometimes I still argue with God and am “offended” (for lack of a better word) that He seems to ask so much of us. It gets quite personal, but I often feel like I resist Him like Jonah or complain like Job (not sure that complain is the right word to describe what Job thought and said) before I give in.
Breath of air. Total honestly.
We had this quote on our wall in a big old picture frame for years. It is a quote from Mother Teresa according to the footnote. It said, “God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.” Every time I saw that quote, I started disliking it more and more and more. And as of last week, it came down off the wall in here and got sent home with DH. I told him it did not fit me anymore or the home I wish for our family.
Maybe this is not what she meant. I have not taken the time to research. And I know Luke 6:37 says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged.” However, (speaking personally) I think people have taken that as a way out.
I (tried) to love you but…
I (tried) not to call you out your name but…
I (tried) not to cheat but….
I (tried) not to abuse you but…
I (tried) to listen to your concerns but…
I (tried) not to disrespect you but…
And then the, “God doesn’t require.” Well I feel he ask much of us as well. But I still LOVE him. I’ll quit ranting, I have to get to work.
I was the first to respond to Leslie’s original post, and I’ve taken a back seat to see where this discussion would go. Now I have a couple thoughts and observations:
** Call 911, even when the voice in your head says “do it now!”
** My pastor once said in a service fifteen (or so) years ago: “Suicide is one of the most selfish things a person can do. It potentially ruins the lives of those who love you most, and the ripple effect of your actions are generational!” There were so many times I simply wanted to end it, and it was this comment that kept me in check.Somewhere inside there was still an adult voice that said “Stop!” – Thank God.
** If you are not suicidal, treat any discussion of suicide by someone else like a 5-alarm fire. If it turns out to be manipulation, get a professional counselor involved to help right away. They may be manipulating (help them get help), or they may be serious…and sharing thoughts with you could be their attempt at reaching out for help. Help them get it.
** If you’re the take-charge type, and have little empathy for others who seem weak or unable to control their emotions, STOP. You might be part of the problem. Your cookie-cutter response to life’s issues don’t always work. Learn to listen and empathize better.
** Even in your darkest hour, find one situation in your life that’s worth living for and cling to it with all your might. Tomorrow is another opportunity to try again. Don’t be alone, and don’t get drunk or high.
** Don’t own things that can be used to hurt yourself: Pills, guns, and more.
** (This one saved my life) Get educated on abuse (especially covert abuse), and learn how NOT to respond to it. It’s your only defense against the attacks by your abuser.
** Vet your information sources (quality is better than quantity), and learn everything you can about why you respond to situations the way you do. Friends and relatives don’t often know what they’re talking about.Their advice us usually worthless – even when well-intended.
** I can recite the names of nearly SSRI drug available…and their side-effects. For many of us who struggle with suicidal thoughts, it’s simply not a problem drugs will cure. When I became my own advocate, I was able to respond to abuse more effectively, calling out the abuse for what it is…while remaining totally calm and very focused. When attempts by my wife to control had no impact, the manipulation subsided.
** Pray. And when praying seems not to work, pray harder. Easy to say and very tough to do. Over time, I PROMISE you will see Jesus show up when it’s really necessary…and,for matter, when it isn’t..
** Pray for your spouse and your marriage. It works. God wants to work on both of you.
** If all else fails, and you are in dangerous place – get out! Now. This applies to those contemplating suicide because of abuse, and for those who are abused by someone threatening suicide, and who has convinced themselves that revenge, before they kill themselves, is justified. This morning in Keego Harbor, Michigan, a woman killed her husband, and two adult children…before turning the gun on herself.
God bless you all, and may you forever be drawn into a better relationship with Him who loves you most.
Ed, thank you for your very thoughtful and helpful words. Many of the points you made are absolutely vital, both for one who is contemplating suicide and those who know someone who is. I am so thankful that the Lord brought you through all that. As you have ministered to us here out from your experience, the Lord will use you to reach out to others as well. Look to Him for how He might want to use you this way: a support group, to volunteer on a suicide hotline, whatever. He uses our own experiences of finding Him in our troubles to minister faith and hope to others in similar situations. This is the ministry to the Body of Christ. Thank you for offering this.
This is very good, practical advice. Thanks for posting!
I know conversations need to be had with my husband about things he has said, I just really struggle with how to go about it. I really think he struggles to maintain a certain image and I worry that if I of all people “expose” him (even if it’s only between him and I) that it will make the situation worse.
You said: “I really think he struggles to maintain a certain image and I worry that if I of all people “expose” him (even if it’s only between him and I) that it will make the situation worse.”
Yes, you have a point here. I used to marvel at the way my husband would act like I had out-ed him to the world, even to the point of angrily accusing me of slander, when I would “expose” something less than positive about him just between the two of us. I don’t know if it was more about him being exposed to me or if it was about exposing him to himself. This has only grown and gotten worse with my husband; I just don’t marvel at it any more. I am used to it. That’s not to say anything about what direction you should take – I just wanted to quickly agree with you that this truly can be an issue.
I hear you saying that you think you will make the situation worse.
Maybe you can expand on this?
I think many(JoAnn, Ed, STL & others) have brought up such good & important feedback for you to consider and weigh~ but given your environment sometimes it’s hard to deal with the amount of anxiety a situation may have over our discernment.
I am very sorry for the migrains and the unresolved attempts at what is causing them?
A Professional can certainly help sort out those areas with your husband. Given all that he has tried he seems willing to try things? Am I confused about this?
How long has he been out of work if I can ask? And how long has he treated for the migraines?
Are the migraines a new symptom overall (1year or less)
Or has he had them a long time over years ~ teen to Adult?
In a destructive marriage it’s really hard to be the healthy kind of partner (the more destructive partner really needs ~ because they battle and attack for control).
You haven’t gone into much detail about the overall marital health… but I’m wondering if this is playing a factor and if you are finding yourself more paralyzed in places?
The comments he has made and his access to weapons Is scary especially given his ‘medical state’ and being in the kind of pain he says he is in.
This is where it’s important to evaluate your safety and interventions available.
Just last week New Life had a show on Feb 15 and addressed some of these issues of great immediacy I think you might find it helpful to hear from professionals on this matter
. I’ll post the link here; Leslie has been on New life too and often they mention her material.
Prayers for your heart and for your family 💜
I’m praying for Safety for you!
I have greatly appreciated everyone’s input, it is hard (impossible) to see a situation from an outsider’s point of view. I am not dismissing advice, it is scary to think of the possibilities and maybe that is part of my hesitation. *I didn’t take anything you said as implying that I was ignoring advice, I just want everyone to know that I am weighing it and appreciate it*
He has dealt with migraines since he was a teen, has tried so maybe different things, and I see so many minute details that it would be nearly impossible to explain, but it seems the migraines are an excuse more often than the actual problem. On any given day he will complain of some sort of health issue and be unable to do much. When he’s not working (he’s been on unemployment for the last 3 months or so) it’s more obvious. He hadn’t been to church in 3.5 years or so, but if the subject came up the excuse would be health. I just see a lot of comments I now see as his way of subliminally altering our thinking. Maybe not on purpose. Example, my brother came to visit once and on Sunday afternoon asked me why I hadn’t woken him up (for church). He never had me wake him up for it, hasn’t gone in years, so to me the comment was absurd. Little things like that, but if I were to point it out he’d think I was being petty, and it does sound petty.
You asked how I would make it worse, and I guess I’m afraid of being wrong, for one example. What if it is just severe migraines and I’m making things worse by not being more understanding? I know that there is no excuse for talk of suicide, though. I’m also afraid of the fallout, I guess. It’s hard when things are peaceful and he’s pleasant, which is a good chunk of the time (even though so so much of the time he’s in the bedroom on his laptop).
Sorry this is so lengthy, I appreciate being able to be open and get advice.
I have often thought that some people will call a headache a “migraine,” when in fact, it is only a headache. There is a huge difference, if you have ever known someone who gets real migraines. So, it sounds to me (for what it’s worth) that your h might actually be using these headaches and other issues as a way of escape, and when you said he spends a lot of time in the bedroom on his laptop, bells went off for me. We have had a lot of discussion here about husbands using porn and the effects that can have both on mental health and the health of the marriage. You can go to the archives and read about that. Anyway, I have to wonder what he is doing on his laptop? Do you know? Both porn and games are potentially damaging to the mind and the brain, and especially to the spirit, so that would be something to either investigate yourself or ask him directly, if you think you can. The kind of eye movement that occurs when a person uses the computer for games can, in some sensitive people, cause brain issues, especially migraines. If the headaches began when he was a teenager, that’s usually when kids start playing the computer games. This could be discussed with a neurologist. Does anyone else have any thoughts about this?
So many good points you brought up about this! Higher places for depression and anxiety for sure with screen time and little fresh air or exercise.
Yes~ lots more investigating for this situation by far. What we absorb~watch and listen to heavily impacts our ‘comprehensive complex beings’
Since the husband has been treated with the extent of Botox, I would assume preliminary testing has identified this husband as having migraines.
But maybe your right as they are headaches?
My h also suffers from migrains, and has since his teen years, but only has a few times a year and once our children were born I started taking more notes of things that would trigger them?
1)Weather ~sunlight and allergy season
2) stress/anxiety ~ emotional even though he would admittedly deny having negative emotions to express (he’s a post stuffer and a runner)
3) this was a big one and was always somehow involved in the perfect concoction ~ dehydration!
Coffee drinker, not any water unless ‘working out’
ive heard depression is also related to the migrains or vice versa?
Exercise is so important for us ALL but it seems especially men that have more neurological things going on. Just thinking outloud.
You mentioned that you learned not to respond to abuse. Could you elaborate on that? What resources helped?
Do you have kids? How are they doing?
Allow me some time to relocate my sources. I haven’t needed to “study” as much recently as I did 5 years ago. (I’m 66.) Learning how to keep my responses neutral was also something I learned from a psychiatrist (not a counselor, although he does counsel his patients), and is often mentioned in articles that reference both covert abuse and dealing with narcissists. There are many Biblical references that deal with forgiveness and trusting in the Lord that are inspirational. The faith component is what has kept me working on our relationship, which, BTW, is significantly better these days.
My kids are great. One is a successful attorney (although she too tries to please “Mom” a bit too much, but not to the level where I am concerned. Our younger rebel is also very talented, and also has a successful career. Both have great husbands, and are raising what seem to be healthy and normal kids. I’m Gramps, and my significant bias will show if I go on. Our entire family is fully committed to a life with Jesus.
WRT to not responding…Hmmm. Covert abuse is often so subtle that only the abused really see or feel it. Sometimes the abuser can make a comment about something which the outside world may think is irrelevant, but to the abused, it cuts like a knife. These comments, often going back to a recent blow-up, are NOT accidental, and are intended to inflict pain or gain control. Initially, when I did not respond to something like, “Why do you always seem to be in the lanes with the slow trucks?”, a subsequent dig would follow until the lid blew off my restraint system. I would loose control, and she would not. In other words, she gained control of the situation, and I lost ground. Getting out of this cycle takes GREAT restraint. Covert abusers, like a baby that won’t go to sleep, will continue to pursue their next battle for as long as it takes to get your goat! Once you make the decision not to fight back, there’s no middle ground. While this may sound trite, I simply used the WWJD principal, rather than fan the flame. Go for it! If you are successful, you may find there’s something far better on the other side. Hope this helps.
This is something I’m just learning! I do not have to enter into a battle that I know I cannot win! And you are so right about them gaining control and the upper hand the moment we lose our cool and respond. It takes being emotionally distant (it comes easy for me anyways) but I find that I can let everything roll off me, and not allow myself to be influenced by any comment or action, and that ends up feeling so much better.
Really good article below related to this:
Thanks, Ed. Has your wife changed? Is she aware of how her actions have affected you?
I believe she has. Much of the improvement can be attributed to the things I’ve shared with this group. I probably helps that my new business is also doing well, so there’s no imminent fear of economic stress to deal with. Our recent vacation was quite fun, even though she can be a pain in the butt at times. I generally drive freeways at 5-10 over the speed limit, and am frequently reminded that traffic is moving faster (even when it isn’t) LOL. We’re going to be fine.
[These last blogs have been so intense. I hope the next blog thread question is like: “When you have been confronted with redecorating, what factors: prices, disagreements on colors, etc. were most important and how did you resolve them?”]
Haven’t they Aleea! I can tell because it is tense around here lol.
I hope this one could be used as a blog post at some point.
[The host stated how in his marriage they were advised to have four bank accounts. The 1’st account received all money/income. The 2’nd was a savings account requiring two signatures for withdrawals (agreed on amount and comes from 1’st account), the 3’rd account was for the wife and the 4’th for the husband. The 3’rd and 4’th account you could do as you please without the other party questioning. Most people agreed the concept could work. But then another question followed. The question was should the 3’rd and 4’th account receive the same amount of free to spend money? In other words, what if the wife earned more than the husband or vice versa. Would it be fair they received the same amount of personal spending money? Some said yes if the relationship is good and others said no even if the relationship is good.]
Just to get an idea of what people in healthy marriages are doing. Not only that but I trust the discussions on here and know that even if the marriage is not healthy at this point, I feel we would openly discuss what it could or should look like.
I would welcome/love learning about the other side. I’ve also heard that people that are in so called healthy marriages should allow a partner with trust issues to track your mileage, to put trackers on the vehicle, etc. Now on this one, it probably would tie in with crossing the line into abusive behavior.
Later my internet family. Have a wonderful and blessed day!
Renee, and others….I would like to reply to your question about what healthy marriages look like. I have known four healthy marriages very close-up: my parents, my in-laws, my son’s and and mine. Each one I would consider healthy, but each one very different from the others, and I would say that this is a key point. So, I will describe each a little, but what really matters is this: the couples share the same values, they trust each other completely, and they have Christ at the center of their relationship (except for my parents, though they were saved). I might think of others later.
My in-laws had a very traditional marriage: he took care of work and she took care of cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc. They had a peaceful, trusting relationship, and she was fully “under” his headship. They did not fight, which attracted me to that family because my parents fought a lot, and I hated it. But, my parents stayed together, loved each other, and always made up after the fight. There were aspects of their relationship that weren’t what I would want for myself, and were problematic, but they raised two healthy, happy women, and they weathered some very traumatic situations, and for that, I would give them a 3.5 on a scale of 5. My son’s marriage is more “modern.” He shares in housework, cooking and childrearing. Both he and his wife have shared values and are raising their kids well, homeschooling and training their characters very well. They are financially very responsible. Christ and the church are very much at the center of their relationship.
My own marriage of more than fifty years is very healthy. We respect each other’s strengths and cover each other’s weaknesses (even though some of his drive me nuts~wink). We have our various responsibilities worked out, and we make time to be together. Feel free to ask questions. This is just a nutshell version of what I believe a healthy marriage looks like.
Aleea – just an additional note. My purpose in asking the above has to do with what you are choosing to do with your mind. The Bible has things to say about our minds and our thoughts. These play a role in our well-being. I am not trying to get back into theological discussions, I’m asking this to get at the state of your mind.
Seeing the Light,
—I think I understand. —But never underestimate Christ’s love❣ . . .If we are His,the Lord God helps us to be healers, someone who seeks to be the light that she wishes she had in her darkest moments. . . .There are lots of things I do not do well but one thing is not deeply listening even though I pray over what I hear. I am seriously trying to correct that by slowing down my interactions and being even more prayerful and thoughtful. . . .The research clearly shows the relationship is what heals people, not so much what is said or techniques or what we think we know. That’s so hard for me to accept. . . .Water flows down to the lowest point. I want to be down low where God can water me, where the Grace-of-God can find me.
If you think you have ideas or insights that could help me, and what to share them, —I will try humbly to process them with an open heart. I have very little figured out Seeing the Light, —very little. . . .I have lots of things memorized, they come right off the top of my head: listen well, care first, build trust/ then guide/direct, gently probe for the deeper problems, serve others fully, yet balance your service with boundaries, . . .notice how little of it I actually do.
. . . .I talk too much (a lack of sensitivity); I blast people with advice and scripture references (a lack of tact); I bleed all over everyone (—I have needs way more than even my counselor can provide me with by her own admission); I’m a bouncer too. —I take the group on tangents. I’m a total and complete mess, but God just reminded me as I go to feel sorry for myself: Aleea, a total complete mess, just like the kind of person I use, because if anything good happens people will know I did it —not you.
I did totally misunderstand you. . . . .And, for me, feelings are a much better place to work than facts. We all need to work in the areas where we aren’t strong so we can be more balanced.
Is this the book: “How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage” we should read first?
We did the Receiving Love: Transform Your Relationship by Letting Yourself Be Loved: The New Couples’ Study Guide; Keeping the Love You Find: Couples’ Question/ Exercise Guide; etc.
“Then he would ask when you felt this way as a child…(This helps him to be there for you and to get to know the hurt ‘little Aleea’, inside)” . . . .That’s good. —I love sticking with feelings.
“. . .he would then ask what you believe ( when you are in this state) about yourself and others. He would then ask what you need ( comfort, a walk together etc…)” . . .I need Jesus, front and center so I can get an actual hug from Him and get a few serious questions answered —but I love walking together too and maybe I don’t need answers I just need to grieve and accept. . . . .Nancy, I thinking this morning: I am worried if I get healed God will just take me home because I will have learned what He wanted me to learn. I’m just afraid of all kinds of things.
I’ll look into that and try to get that going. I love things we can do together because he is there for the most horrible and painful moments.
I am still praying and thinking about the things you wrote. I’m resisting my desire to just fill the page with responses.
That is not ranting, that is beautiful. I think I understand what you are saying.
Re: “I think however I’d like our “theology” to be around the relationship issues that we are struggling with rather than just abstract theology or discussions that can become so deep and heady, that we lose much of our audience.”
I deeply agree with that and I am guilty of it, obviously and I repent and will keep repenting of it. . . . .You know what? . . . I just love empowered people! I think we want people to feel like they can talk with anyone: pastor, elder, “scholar” without them intimidating them into submission. We need way more balance: maybe way more feelings for me and maybe more applied theology for many here.
There are massively more things all of us don’t know than what we think we know. . . .And, the things we don’t know, that is the birthplace of all our new knowledge! So if we make the things we don’t know our friend, rather than just the things we already know, well then we are always on a quest in a sense. We are always looking for new information in the off chance that somebody who doesn’t agree with us will tell us something we could have never figured out on our own!
Leslie, you, in your books, especially How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong. . . you have said things I would *never* have figured out on my own —and I would detail them but I am working on shorter posts. . . . It’s a completely different way of looking at the world. It’s the antithesis of opinionated.
. . .We cannot be protected from the things that frighten and deeply hurt us (because that is where “salvation” lies), but if we can identify with the part of our being that is responsible for transformation (the Holy Spirit), then we are always the equal, or more than the equal of the things that confront us.
I so appreciate you letting me post things here and I am grateful for nearly everyone that I interact with from here. Some have written horrible things to me on my e-mail but even those I try to use as my teachers. . . . .Lord what do you want me to learn from this??? Lord what do you need me to see that I am just not seeing???
Yes. “How We Love – Discover your love style, enhance your marriage”. That’s the place to start. There are also a few YouTube videos by Milan and Kay that go over the basics of all of this. They have a big website too. The process that I described is called “the comfort circle” (also covered in the book and in a video).
It’s beyond wonderful that you have a man of God who is willing to hold you and support you Aleea. What an incredible blessing for you, from our great God.
This is a really beautiful excercise. It allows us to open up in relationship to our closest ally who is willing to deeply listen and understand our scarring. Then the last question, “what do you need?” is the one that is most difficult for me. They give options ( comfort, reassurance, prayer, a walk, problem solving). It gives me the opportunity to identify my need and have it met. Something I never had as a child.
I have done this excercise with my daughter when she was distressed about a school project, and at the end what she needed was help problem solving. My ‘go to’ thing is problem solving when another is in distress, but it doesn’t help when a boat-load of emotion is in the way.
The Lord is using this tool to really bless our family.
Thank you Aly, for suggesting it! What a safe/ structured space of healing it provides!
JoAnn, I still can’t find any specific memories of abuse. Because it was so covert, I can only identify patterns. So, when he gets to the childhood question, I can answer it generally ” when mom was elated I had to mirror that or I would be labeled ‘broken’ and needing fixing. I learned that the only way I could be separate, was to identify as ” less than”. This is enough to work with because it is heart-breaking, but I’m frustrated that I can’t think of one time. Anyways…please pray that The Lord will bring something to mind, in His time 🙂
Nancy, it isn’t necessary to have “one time.” With ongoing, covert abuse, if the emotion is there, and you can identify what you believe about yourself because of it, that is enough. The Lord wants to heal the lie, so it helps if you can identify what it is, in little girl language. With what you described, I would guess it is something like “I can’t exist apart from her,” or “I don’t matter,” “my needs/feelings don’t matter,” or “I can’t be me.” Something like that. It could be any or all of those, or something else. That little girl inside of you knows what she believed about herself in those experiences, and you only need to access a “representative” experience, but even that isn’t always necessary. If your h can be a sympathetic container, comforting that little girl and inviting the Lord to come in and tell you what you need to hear, then that makes a way for the Lord to speak healing truth to you. Having experienced this myself, I can tell you, it is life-changing. My wonderful husband, who isn’t a very intuitive person normally, has “contained” me through some pretty powerful memories.
JoAnn and Nancy;)
JoAnn what you describe here is very very similar of my experience too and my husband was off the charts with avoidance! (And some control)
He was able to learn this skill (lots & lots of practice) and he actually thinks it brought such healing to him as even being the ‘care holder’ ~ such as he could give me what he didn’t receive and vice versa;)
Also he got to be a first hand witness and recipient of how I was treated as a child and now as an adult when my family system (foo) is challenged on pretty much anything.
A hurtful and painful as it was to re-experience as an adult I think God allowed it so that my husband and I could have clarity of just how unhealthy and sick untreated things can get over time.
Nancy, your family and this process is in my prayers as you know and I think your courage is amazing! God has broken those links and giving true life to your (next gen future for His purpose) 🌈✝️
Hi JoAnn and Aly,
Thank you for the encouragement, and prayers.
It makes sense to identify my belief (the lie The Lord wants to heal) from a child’s perspective. I do tend to intellectualize and this distances me from my feelings; and as a result diminishes the healing that could take place.
I’ve read what you wrote this morning. I think I understand what you’ve said.
Did you see my posts of February 20, time-stamped 11:25 am and 11:33am? I am having some trouble putting my replies in the right order/place so they would be easy to miss. The 11:33 comment was in reference to the 11:25 comment. The 11:25 comment included my last questions to you.
Hello Seeing the Light,
I did see those but I didn’t want to answer them because the answers are not uplifting. They are depressing . . .but I will now. . . .
“The way to truth is to try to prove things wrong, not right. . . .And if you really like something, you have got to try even harder to prove it wrong to know it is right…”
I absolutely love Christianity, that is why I have to ask myself hard questions about it and that can never end. The easiest person to fool is yourself. Christianity creates a trap about doubt and so does Islam, Mormonism, et.al. These are self-reinforcing loops. Think about if you could never question a destructive marriage?
Seeing the Light, these are hard things to say but I will say them because they are the truth:
* Aleea, do you really care if what you believe is true or Do you just care about the way it makes you feel? —I love Christ, nothing makes me feel better!!! —Jesus is a drug for me, period.
* Aleea, do you care if what you believe is true or is it just about what is useful?
The test cannot come down to seeing how little evidence one can believe on because that would be a sorry gift to return to the creator of human intelligence! It seems for many that the test is God seeing how effectively they can shut down the strong, rational, critical reasoning abilities He gave them to survive?
Please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts. . . .
. . . The faith-commitment to Christ is not threatened, eroded, or contradicted in the least if we knew for a fact (like we know about gravity) that Jesus existed, died for sins and rose from the dead. The faith-commitment to Christ would not be threatened, eroded, or contradicted in the least. James 2 says it: “You believe that God is one? Good! So do the demons! And they tremble!” The two “faiths” are logically distinct, and to mix them is to try to make virtue of necessity, as if swallowing intellectual dishonesty were, like yielding one’s rebellious will to the Savior, a virtuous deed, so virtuous in fact that one will be damned for not doing it!
Swallowing intellectual dishonesty is not yielding one’s rebellious will to the Savior. Swallowing intellectual dishonesty is not a virtuous deed. The test cannot come down to seeing how little evidence one can believe on because, again, that would be a sorry gift to return to the creator of human intelligence! It seems for many that the test is God seeing how effectively they can shut down the strong, rational, critical reasoning abilities He gave them to survive?
“Aleea – just an additional note. My purpose in asking the above has to do with what you are choosing to do with your mind. The Bible has things to say about our minds and our thoughts. These play a role in our well-being. I am not trying to get back into theological discussions, I’m asking this to get at the state of your mind.”
Seeing the Light, . . . .let me be as honest as I know how, it seems to me that I only think *deeply* when I don’t get real love. When I get real, pure love, I don’t even care what is or is not true. I know that is very shameless but it is the way I feel. It’s like I can’t be adult enough to just ask people for real love and prayer. Instead of just saying: Seeing the Light, I am afraid and lonely today . . . .will you tell me the most beautiful experiences you have ever had with Jesus and what totally convinces you? . . . and would you pray for me? . . . instead my mind “protects”??? itself by “thinking”???
When I get real, pure love, it causes me to abandon any objective rationality and the search for the truth. I find that, to my own shame, I don’t even care what is really true if I get too many doses of that stuff (—kindness, generosity, nurturance). . .
I hope it’s ok to interject here STL and Aleea. Thank you, Aleea for the honesty of your last two paragraphs.
I want to come alongside and tell you that it is only in the past year that I am learning to ask for what I need too. This is HARD because it involves recognizing the projection ( which you have done here 🙂 and then identifying feelings ( scary!) and then asking for something (being vulnerable).
Good for you, Aleea. May God continue to enable you along this path.
I responded to your 5:58 am comment down below. I entered as a new comment that wasn’t a reply to anything to avoid it getting lost here. It is time-stamped 2:35 pm. I am sorry that it is so terribly long. I won’t do that again. I just had a lot I was wanting to say to you that incorporated thoughts from the last couple of weeks of conversations. It also included some lengthy quotes from your comment as well as another quote.
In a situation like the original question outlined, one concern is that divorce can easily lead to shared custody. This is my concern. I’ve met with lawyers who admit that it’s difficult to obtain sole custody. It’s difficult to prove mental instability of a spouse when the spouse has no diagnosis and can act very charming and normal. I’ve been secretly recording conversations between my husband and me for years but am told that a judge may not decide to listen to these recordings. Would anyone have tips on how to leave safely with all my ducks in a row? I’d hurt my kids tremendously if they ended up spending blocks of time alone with their dad. This would be less safe than me staying and being available to help when my husband is out of sorts.
I have stayed for the same reason. I will write more later this evening.
I am just chiming in to say ditto to what you have said. I, like Maria, have also stayed for the same reason.
If you have decided to stay, it is so important to build up your core. I have also found that working toward financial independence is key.
I talked with a counselor in my area and she told me that most of the police in this town are not trained on how to properly handle domestic violence situations and calls from spouses saying that they are afraid that their spouse is suicidal and might hurt them. So, making such a call would not be helpful and could cause more problems. The more I try to figure out possible exit plans, the more complicated it seems to get. Financial independence is a key and I’m working on that area. That alone could take years.
Is your husband suicidal? Is there a shelter you can contact to get help?
I just wanted to add that if you and your children don’t feel safe, getting to safety should be the first priority.
He dissociates and during those times when he’s out of sorts he will say things that sound suicidal. He talks to himself often and has victim based thinking. In his right mind, he’s an amazing husband and dad so it gets very confusing. Yes, I’ve talked with shelters. I honestly can’t imagine taking 3 teenagers to a shelter. I’ve just recently talked with my pastor and the church counselor and they’re praying about possible solutions. The counselor mentioned seeking out a “body attachment” from the law if necessary. It mandates custody and evaluation. I’ve never heard of this, have you? I’d need to go to the library to research this on their computers. She said that calling the police will most likely result in no evaluation or custody since my husband will act calm when they arrive (most likely). Only one other couple in our 20 plus years of marriage has seen him out of sorts. I called them over when I needed help. They are now not close enough to help. All suggestions are welcome.
Re. my kids feeling safe: My daughter feels safe when my husband is in his right mind. When he’s out of sorts she doesn’t want me leaving home which I don’t do. I have an appointment to see a counselor who specializes in dissociation issues and my biggest question is how do I best protect my kids.
J B, my prayer for you is that financial independence will not take years. The first step can be as simple as getting a job. It may not be the one you want. True financial independence may take a while, but how about taking a small, first step. I think that may be what Maria was suggesting. Of course, if this is not correct Maria, please correct me.
God is my today and tomorrow. (God Is (1979) Rev. James Cleveland)
I agree, Renee. Online classes that you can do at home, like medical transcription, can be a vital first step. There are other important steps to take like establishing your own bank account in a different bank from the one your main account is in, extra keys and important papers stored in a safe place, in the event a quick exit becomes necessary. Many of these things are mentioned in Leslie’s book and in previous blog entries. In any case, Marie, please begin to think of planning for your future, both immediate and long range. All the while, strengthening your CORE.
Thank you for the tips. I’m working on my masters degree but have quite severe health issues that are making it a slow process.
Yes we are always “doing” theology and I’ve always seen counseling as “private lessons in applied theology”. And we won’t all see all theology the same way and we might disagree with one another on theological points. I think however I’d like our “theology” to be around the relationship issues that we are struggling with rather than just abstract theology or discussions that can become so deep and heady, that we lose much of our audience.
I’d like a redecorating question sometime. That would be much less stressful to answer wisely.
Aleea and Nancy: This process you described from the book “How We Love” is a cross between Harville Hendrix’s “Getting the Love You Want” where he describes the “container” exercise, and Transformation Prayer Ministry, where you revisit the childhood memories and invite the Lord to speak the truth you need (rather than a walk in the park). Both processes together in this way can be very helpful, and based on Aleea’s response, I would say, Yes, by all means, ask the Lord to speak His truth to that little child part of you that is hurting in that moment. The Lord’s instant rhema in that memory is a very healing experience. How wonderful if your husband can serve you in that way and has the capacity to be your container.
J B I understand. I also got that it would be hard to prove cruel and inhuman treatment. To keep from involving our kids, they ask if there are witnesses. Most abusers, abuse in private. I’ve also heard (from attorneys) that, in my state, it is still up to the judge on whether or not to grant the divorce.
So it feels like great, going from being at the mercy of your abuser to the mercy of your abusers and the court system.
Hugs J B, STL, and Maria
JoAnn, I am happy to hear your marriage is healthy and you have others as examples. I have not seen said examples.
In my parents’ marriage there was infidelity. However, they have stayed together. I don’t recall seeing them have words growing up but oh now that they are in their late 80’s.
Two brother’s marriages had infidelity and other issues and they did not survive. Two others hooked up with women that were not truly free so no marriages. The one that died in a car accident never got a chance. The last bother is still married although there has been infidelity and other issues.
My marriage, dysfunctional trust and other issues. Another sister, who is deceased, never married. Another sister marriage is dysfunctional as she has an alcoholic for a husband. The last sister never married.
My extended family and relatives – most divorced or just together. On my husband’s side – same thing. His mom had physically and emotionally abusive men.
So I guess this is why I am so interested in seeing another side. Cause right now, being married is getting a bad rap.
Thanks for that glimpse into the other side.
I am so sorry. You have a large family, and none of them were able to “escape” the trap of infidelity and abuse. Very sad. When you never have a good role model, it’s hard to imagine that it can be any different. For over 20 years, my husband and I had college students living with us in our home, and many of them admitted that if they hadn’t witnessed our healthy home, they would not have thought it possible. How sad that even in the christian communities, there are often not good, healthy role models. It is hard, but not impossible, to break the cycles, the legacies of addictions, abuse and infidelity. May the Lord have mercy. Satan has had his way much too long.
So agree with what you said! I’m thankful that you were so generous in opening your home up to others. Such a blessing 💕
I agree that breaking the cycles are so hard and role models (mentors) are such a huge part of the process because it brings exposure of true, healthy consistent connection for kids to ‘experience’ what IS safe and healthier than what they often experience day in, day out.
I’m not speaking of just the ‘chaotic home’ environments but also the very ‘avoidant detached’ environment where connection and relationship is void, this leaves a very big hole in children to not have the developmental experience and growth either. Thus, we see secondary evidence of addictions, abuse, infidelity etc.
It isn’t enough for one to say ~ ‘I’m a Christian’, what these kids and families need is Action and relationship that models authentic life changing Christianity for their hearts, minds & soul.
As you said, how sad that there are not many healthy role models even in church communities! This is more epidemic than we really understand in my opinion and where do we often run ‘first’ for help and safety? ~ church communities ..
This is why I think Leslie’s ministry is a God Blessing Intervention! 🙏
Aly, regarding what you said about the “avoidant detached” environment that leaves a hole in children….I have observed that while the parents may determine not to abuse their children the way that they were abused, and the children grow up in a safe home, the parents still don’t know how to connect heart-to-heart with their children due to their own lack of connection. So, the children still grow up with that hole. It is important that as a formerly abused adult, even while not abusing the children, the parent needs to learn how to connect with the children for them to grow up emotionally healthy. This is not easy, but is very important. We were created by God for connection. I have enjoyed reading “Created for Connection” by Dr. Sue Johnson. She has developed Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples who need to learn how to connect with one another. Its foundation is Attachment Theory.
I agree with you fully here! That is also why I am such a supporter of How We Love material as it is Attachment based.
But so many in the church culture and beyond are actually quite often resistant to the importance of True Connection ~ God and others in community!
Of course it’s also about the lense of not seeing God as a connecting and intimate God.
Also for me,
I do think that not knowing how to connect is not the same as being willing to ‘want to connect’.
The avoidance detached home is often neglect and abuse in a different form~ maybe more covert indirectly. But nontheless the child doesn’t know what’s taking place.
This is what took so many years for my husband to locate what really took place in those developmental years and how he learned such unhealthy coping patterns that then became more destructive in a marriage.
Thank you for answering me in spite of how depressing it is to you. I can hear how hard it was. Following is my response to your February 22, 5:58 am comment with my comments preceded by asterisks:
“I absolutely love Christianity, that is why I have to ask myself hard questions about it and that can never end.”
*****When you read your Bible and think about what you know of God and of Christ, do you think that is what He wants you to do? Do you think that His desire is that you keep asking those hard questions that never end, pursuing them as you do now, your whole life?
“Think about if you could never question a destructive marriage?”
*****I’m not saying never question, but to question without end? Where does trust come into play? He does ask us to trust Him (I wish He didn’t, but He does). Does He seem like a destructive spouse to you?
“Seeing the Light, these are hard things to say but I will say them because they are the truth: * Aleea, do you really care if what you believe is true or Do you just care about the way it makes you feel? —I love Christ, nothing makes me feel better!!! —Jesus is a drug for me, period. * Aleea, do you care if what you believe is true or is it just about what is useful?”
*****This concerns me, Aleea. I do not believe that Jesus wants to be your drug. I do not believe that He wants the effect He has on you to be that of a drug. He gives peace and self-control and so much more that is not a high or a barbiturate-like low. (I truly do not want to hurt you, but I also want to say, please don’t do Him the indignity of treating Him like a drug). You still also just don’t sound like you believe Christianity is true. It sounds like a fairy tale to you. (I’m not trying to be unkind here, please believe me).
“The test cannot come down to seeing how little evidence one can believe on because that would be a sorry gift to return to the creator of human intelligence!”
*****Aleea, I am not sure I agree here at all. If we are talking about the God of the Bible, then we have to accept that throughout the Scriptures, faith is exalted! I don’t understand it. I would not have chosen the way of faith. In some ways it seems unreasonable to me, but He decides, not me. Remember that Thomas was not praised for needing evidence. (John 20:19-29). Jesus did not hold him up and say, Blessed is Thomas for needing more evidence. Rather, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Who gives Jesus the greater gift in Jesus’ estimation – Thomas or those who believe without seeing?
“Please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts. . . .
. . . The faith-commitment to Christ is not threatened, eroded, or contradicted in the least if we knew for a fact (like we know about gravity) that Jesus existed, died for sins and rose from the dead. The faith-commitment to Christ would not be threatened, eroded, or contradicted in the least. James 2 says it: ‘You believe that God is one? Good! So do the demons! And they tremble!’ The two “faiths” are logically distinct, and to mix them is to try to make virtue of necessity, as if swallowing intellectual dishonesty were, like yielding one’s rebellious will to the Savior, a virtuous deed, so virtuous in fact that one will be damned for not doing it!”
*****Aleea, first off, I do not agree with this. Further, this paragraph very closely simulates a segment of Robert M. Price’s essay, “The Sin of Faith.” See: http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/art_sin_faith.htm “The faith-commitment to Christ would not be threatened, eroded, or contradicted in the least if we knew for a fact that Jesus existed, died for sins and rose from the dead. James 2:19 says it: “You believe that God is one? Good! So do the demons! And they tremble!” The two “ faiths” are logically distinct, and to mix them is to try to make virtue of necessity, as if swallowing intellectual dishonesty were, like yielding one’s rebellious will to the savior, a virtuous deed, so virtuous in fact that one will be damned for not doing it!?”
*****When you shared this, is it that you were actually thinking these thoughts and typing them out not realizing how closely they approximate something you read formerly, or were you quoting him (perhaps even cutting and pasting, then editing a bit)? I ask this because I am concerned that you are either allowing the thoughts of others to gain such a place in your mind that they are coming to the page with even practically the same punctuation, or that you are choosing to quote a man like this in your arguments as though what he is saying is indisputable truth. Do you know who this man is? You could check him out on the internet. Or you could check the link to the article and read it – it’s not that long.
*****Just as a sampling: He calls faith “immoral”. He likens a believer to a “sniveling yes-man”. He references God in a way I would consider to be completely blasphemous and will not quote here! I shared Sunday the extreme similarity between what you said and a quote from a psychic medium. Now you are sharing the thoughts of a man like this – not just a person on an honest search for truth, or even an atheist respectfully sharing opinions and thoughts. Why are you thinking his thoughts? Why do you believe them? Have you considered the spirit behind these men? From what I found the man calls himself an atheist and a Christian. Huh? Nonsense. No wonder you sound confused. This is so double-minded. It’s worse than an out-and-out atheist who just walks away from religion altogether. I fear what else you are reading.
“Swallowing intellectual dishonesty is not yielding one’s rebellious will to the Savior. Swallowing intellectual dishonesty is not a virtuous deed. The test cannot come down to seeing how little evidence one can believe on because, again, that would be a sorry gift to return to the creator of human intelligence! It seems for many that the test is God seeing how effectively they can shut down the strong, rational, critical reasoning abilities He gave them to survive?”
*****This paragraph is relying heavily on the earlier paragraph that is similar to Robert M. Price’s thoughts, which I have responded to above.
*****Aleea, why did you choose Christianity in the first place? Did you begin with faith? Is the evidence shaky and insufficient and you are scared and doubting? Or is the evidence absolutely contradictory and you are trying to believe something that is not consonant with what you “know” and have “seen”? Have you chosen Christianity – past tense – or are you still weighing whether to be a Christian or not?
*****Part of yielding one’s rebellious will to the Savior does involve faith. It does involve trust. It is not walking by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). You said you “absolutely love Christianity.” Do you love this Christianity? The Christianity that is by faith?
*****True confession time – I had an extended period of my life where I got caught up in a theological issue. I do not want to get into it here and now. I will just say that it had to do with God’s sovereignty versus man’s free will and everything that comes into play there: judgment, salvation, responsibility for sin, suffering, hell and so on. I read and read and devoured information from many sides. I prayed and prayed for light and discernment. I caused myself much grief. My children suffered from the effect of the time and energy I wasted on this that should have been spent on them. I can only tell you that it did no good. I did not get what I was looking for. I am now at a reasonable level of peace with it because I stopped. I left the issue where the Scriptures leave it and I left it by focusing on His character. I do not work the rest out. I do not subscribe to any label as to my beliefs in this area. I had to accept that I would not get the answer I sought, and I had to trust God. Every now and then I wonder about these things, and my trust wavers. Even then, I remember the futility of the intellectual search and I leave it alone. I go about the business that He has for me today.
“Seeing the Light, . . . .let me be as honest as I know how, it seems to me that I only think *deeply* when I don’t get real love. When I get real, pure love, I don’t even care what is or is not true. I know that is very shameless but it is the way I feel. It’s like I can’t be adult enough to just ask people for real love and prayer. Instead of just saying: Seeing the Light, I am afraid and lonely today . . . .will you tell me the most beautiful experiences you have ever had with Jesus and what totally convinces you? . . . and would you pray for me?”
*****I hear your heart here. Thank you for sharing this.
“. . . instead my mind “protects”??? itself by “thinking”???”
*****I really think I get this. I have found perceived safety in thinking. For me, it’s: I am suffering. I can’t hear God. I am doubting. I have no healthy, loving, safe relationship in my life. I am scared. I will turn to thinking in order to find a “home. But what if “thinking” so much, to this degree, about these things isn’t as safe as it feels? What if the “protection” it feels like it provides does more harm than good in reality?
“When I get real, pure love, it causes me to abandon any objective rationality and the search for the truth. I find that, to my own shame, I don’t even care what is really true if I get too many doses of that stuff (—kindness, generosity, nurturance). . .”
*****Well now, naturally we don’t want to swap truth for kindness and nurturance. It makes me wonder – what if someone finds the truth (Christianity) and continues to search for it? (What if I get engaged to Mr. Right, but I don’t cancel my account with match.com or some other such place)? (Sidetone – just an analogy – I’m not a dating service sort of person).
*****How much time do you spend reading your Bible compared with the time you spend reading non-biblical and even non-Christian or anti-Christian materials? Whose voice do you spend more time listening to? I just don’t see God revealing Himself to you or giving you peace through the writings of Robert M. Price or Anthon St. Maarten, etc.
*****Most people seem to have heard of the story of the black dog versus the white dog. If you haven’t, just Google “black dog white dog” and you will find it. I am afraid that you are feeding the wrong dog. (I am also afraid Satan has an open door into your mind through some of the things you are reading).
*****May I suggest that you instead take some time to read people like C. S. Lewis – and read slowly and thoughtfully? (I remember when I was going through the time I described above – I read so much, so fast like an overeater binging). I saw that Price had noted a work of his – “On the Obstinacy of Faith”. I checked it out and read most of it. It’s good.
*****I know this is terribly, terribly long, but I wanted to respond adequately to what you shared. I do not plan on continuing at this kind of length. My hope if we continue is short, pointed thoughts. It just seemed like there was so much to answer and I had many thoughts from the last few weeks of blog comments.
*****To you and anyone else who has read this: I know I was one of those who asked that we leave theological issues and discuss relationship issues, etc. Please forgive any hypocrisy in me in responding this way. I was trying to get to a point of understanding before changing directions.
*****I still haven’t shared some of the thoughts I have in the trauma department, things that helped me. And, remember I am just trying to share ideas that might help. As time goes by, you might read some of my comments in future blogs and in conversation with others and be reminded that I have my own issues. I’m in no position to lead. I just care and want to help if I can when I hear things that resonate with me.
STL, I thank you for taking the time to share what you did and to challenge some of the things that Aleea has written. Actually, you are addressing a very important relationship issue: Aleea’s relationship with our God. And the points you made were right on the mark and expressed very eloquently the same concerns that I have had. I’m especially glad that you were able to identify some of the passages that she quoted from other sources, because to me, the thoughts that they conveyed were very confusing, and now I know why. You said, “I am also afraid Satan has an open door into your mind through some of the things you are reading.” I have tried to say the same thing, and I sincerely hope that she will take your word seriously. The mind has many gates, and we need to be very careful what we allow to pass through the gates to our mind. Our Lord said, “You search the scriptures for you think that in them you will have life, but you will not come to Me.” The Lord’s words are “spirit and life” and we must go to Him in the word. If we don’t, then we are searching in vain.
JoAnn, thank you so much for getting it and for letting me know here that you do. “Actually, you are addressing a very important relationship issue: Aleea’s relationship with our God.” Yes. I am grieved that it was to no avail.
Seeing the Light (Edmund, et.al.),
I deeply feel you are trying to bait me into doing theology again and drag me down into it. . . .You baited me with the question: “Do you want to heal?” and then after I was totally honest and open . . . and after Leslie told us all *NOT* to do theology, you write this to goad me into responding. . . . .You could have sent all your thoughts to my e-mail but you posted it out here instead. You know how addicted I am to those issues and you offered me more drugs.
I was trying to be honest with you and have a conversation beyond those theological issues. Wright; Price; Collins; Borg; Ehrman; Plantinga; Lataster; Carrier; Thompson; Carroll; Eisenman; Bultmann; Lohfink; Brown; Lüdemann, et.al. + et.al. + et.al., thousands and thousands more. . . .all have arguments that I have basically memorized because I can’t deconstruct them and show them wrong. All are well worth reading for truth unfiltered. All are well qualified and I think (―but can’t know) extremely fair in their treatment of Christianity and seem not biased towards any particular group or individual, whether they be heretical or orthodox.
Up above all the theology, and this is pure Aleea: Faith proves anything and everything. All claims are true by faith. By faith we can believe any docutrine in any system. They are all true by faith. All claims, all are 100 percent true by faith with no way to differentiate between them. It is a very real problem. . . .People confuse their culture and upbringing with truth. Why wouldn’t it be true, I was raised in it? Notice that the claims of Islam don’t even touch us because we were not raised a Muslim. The Islamic sacred book, that over a Billion people believe to be the direct Word of God as dictated to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel, doesn’t even touch us. The Koran, all there Scriptures, are just wrong to us. Generally, we don’t even bother researching their claims. I have, but generally that is not the case. Muslims feel exactly the same way about our faith because they were not raised in it. In the vast majority of cases: the cradle determines the creed. It is a very real problem.
. . .Book of Jude, (Jude 1:9 New Testament Apparatus UBS). . . .Michael, the archangel and Satan (διαβόλῳ) are disputing over the body of Moses. . . Below is the text I have open. Here it is from the oldest New Testament Greek apparatus (Papyrus 72 . . .it is the earliest known manuscript of that epistle (P. Oxy. 2684)) . . . This is what I have open on the screen: ―ὁ δὲ Μιχαὴλ ὁ ἀρχάγγελος, ὅτε τῷ διαβόλῳ διακρινόµενος διελέγετο περὶ τοῦ Μωϋσέως σώµατος, οὐκ ἐτόλµησεν κρίσινἐπενεγκεῖν βλασφηµίας, ἀλλὰ εἶπεν, Ἐπιτιµήσαι σοι κύριος. . . .But just let it sink in. Seeing The Light, really, actually let it sink in. ―A postmortem dispute in which Satan demands Moses’ corpse, protesting that Moses mortgaged it to him (counterparty collateral). ―Honestly, without you becoming a mirror of what you accuse me of (―going and getting some answer from some apologist), would you believe that if you saw it in any other Scriptures??? Michael, the archangel and Satan are disputing over the body of Moses? . . . Just let that sink in a second. That is a very common *pagan myth* and I see it in the Dead Sea Scrolls and elsewhere (For example: Testament of Amram (4Q543, 545-548) way, way before the New Testament. They just use different names. A postmortem dispute in which Satan demands Moses’s corpse, protesting that Moses mortgaged it to him???
Something is really wrong, I just don’t know exactly what it is. Maybe it can be true by being turer than true, just in a different registery of the mind??? You know what some woman told me at church last week: “Aleea, it doesn’t matter if it is true, what matters is if we are true to what it says.” I couldn’t believe it . . . .but . . .but maybe, in some way I can’t understand she is correct. Maybe that is what is really going on.
STL, . . .I believe in the only place that makes *ANY* difference for anyone, in my actions. ―I live as if it is *totally* true. I seek God, I pray, I study the Scriptures. I don’t swallow them whole because I think that is dishonest not to have deep, serious questions. I know most here don’t care if they understand many things in the Bible or not but I do care and I think at some level, Leslie knows everything we do here is based (at base) on theology, ―otherwise we are just doing secular psychology with a few Bible verses thrown on top.
Projecting confidence absorbs other people’s dread but that doesn’t make it true in any way that is demonstrable: I know my Redeemer lives vs. The Truth: I hope He lives but I don’t know that He lives (—Not like the way I know N.T. Wright lives and can walk into Central Hall Westminster on Friday March 2nd and hug him). . . . Everything is true by faith, every last assertion is true by faith. All faith claims are equal, only serious peer-reviewed evidence can adjudicate between claims. . . .That doesn’t mean our experiences are not real. The truth of Christ’s transforming love is truer than true for me. . . .And when we stand with people who can’t stand for themselves, we are actually saving ourselves. Christianity is about action, not just “scholarship.” It is a way of acting in the real world. . . . .We deny the resurrection of Christ every time we do not try to help the oppressed (—across all the areas they are oppressed, even teachings that just aren’t true in any objective sense). . . .And yes, there is something precious in our being mysteries even to ourselves and even the person who is closest to our own hearts (Christ).
It’s true, it is just operating in a different registry of the mind. —Dr. Carl Jung, (Swiss psychotherapist, psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology) knew that: Your vision will clear only when you look for answers in your own heart. Trying to find answers outside of ourselves is like dreaming. See Jung’s book: “Answer to Job” that is the most extensive psychoanalytical commentary on a Biblical text I have ever seen.
Re: “I think however I’d like our “theology” to be around the relationship issues that we are struggling with rather than just abstract theology or discussions that can become so deep and heady, that we lose much of our audience.” -Leslie Vernick
I don’t think any of us here, especially me, are smart enough and deep enough and heady enough to really “lose our audience” not really. But I don’t know if it solves anything. . . .I have all of the Bible verses related to the way God sees me *completely* memorized. They all go through my mind, all day. . . . . —I know (in my head) Christ loves us. I know we have the greatest value. I know He gave His life for all we(I) are(am) worth. . . . —Or, as Leslie said in the post “I Hate Me And I Love Him – What’s Wrong?” June 17, 2015, “. . . .What if I told you that I know for sure that although you are not perfect, you are beautiful, precious, valuable, worthwhile, important, and special? How do I know that? —Because God says it. He’s the final authority on who you are and who you were meant to be, not your husband, not your mother, not your father, not even you. Therefore what God calls good we must value and take good care of. You have vast value and worth to God. You are deeply and fully loved by Him. God desires to give you a clean slate by forgiving you and bringing you into a close relationship with Him. You belong to Him, he adopts you into His family. Your life has meaning and purpose. You are not an accident. . . . . If you want to heal, make me a promise. From today forward the words you choose to use with yourself and the words you choose to listen to and believe are going to be life giving words of God’s truth.”
When we can focus on beautiful things like that, who wants to talk about the book of Jude and some probably fictional account of a postmortem dispute in which Satan demands Moses’ corpse, protesting that Moses mortgaged it to him (counterparty collateral). It’s absurd and probably not even true.
“I deeply feel you are trying to bait me into doing theology again and drag me down into it. . . .”
—I appreciate that you feel that way. It is, however, not the case. That is simply not what I am trying to do.
You baited me with the question: “Do you want to heal?” and then after I was totally honest and open . . . and after Leslie told us all *NOT* to do theology, you write this to goad me into responding. . . . .”
—No. I did not bait you. The motives behind what I have said are exactly as I expressed them. You asked me for “the next step”. I merely tried to help you.
“You could have sent all your thoughts to my e-mail but you posted it out here instead.”
—I have a “right” to post here as much as you do. I put “right” in quotes because it is actually not a right, but rather an invitation from Leslie which I accept. If she invites me, as well as you, I have the right to accept. I wanted to post it here where the conversation began. I do not want an email correspondence. My email is private.
“You know how addicted I am to those issues and you offered me more drugs.”
—I am not sure I did know just “how addicted” you are to those issues. I am getting a much clearer picture. I am concerned that you have missed the bulk of my comment. I think you may be focusing on the following part: “To you and anyone else who has read this: I know I was one of those who asked that we leave theological issues and discuss relationship issues, etc. Please forgive any hypocrisy in me in responding this way. I was trying to get to a point of understanding before changing directions.” I realized that I touched on theology a bit in my comment, and I didn’t want you or anyone else to think I meant to stay there or to miss that theology was not actually the point. I had hoped that you would understand that it was about encouragement to turn a corner – to leave certain things and move on to others. I certainly never intended to offer you more drugs. It was intended more like an anti-drug rally, if anything, but if the fact that an anti-drug rally actually brings up the topic of drugs and makes you desire them more simply by mentioning them, what can I do?
“Seeing the Light (Edmund, et.al.),” This is not lost on me. My comment was my own. I wrote it myself. I have not seen Edmund here in a while.
I invested much time and thought in our conversation. I did not do so to waste that time or to play games. I get nothing out of “baiting you.” I also prayed about what to say and entered into your pain and difficulties (at least on my end, even if it did not come through in my communication). I am sorry that I am not equipped to help you. If you are ever so inclined to look over what I have said and give it another chance, I hope something there resonates with you (in a good way).
I agree with you, Aleea.
We were all asked to stick to practical relational issues. Counching that, STL as, “trying to get to a point of understanding before changing directions”, is not an excuse. Nor is talking about ‘Aleea’s relationship with God’, JoAnn 🙁
We are here to help one another and encourage one another. This line of questioning does not do that – it tempts us all back down the same road again.
Aleea, STL, Edmond?
Who’s Edmond.. maybe I missed a post, I’ll go back,
The last paragraph you wrote Aleea stated the word ‘Focus’.
I think this is a key point here for us all when dealing with painful and confusing relational issues. What will our focus be?
For me; Focus was huge to my freedom… focusing on what I could change for my circumstances, (+) had responsibilities as an adult to change, and what I could ‘not’, helped me make healthier choices that brought about a healing in many aspects of my life. God gave me the strength and the focus of the next steps~ because in a ‘crazy cycle’ marriage or any relationship, without focus on knowing what you believe not just about yourself but why you believe it…can be quite a ‘destructive narrative’ that many can get stuck into, mentally and spiritually.
We all have a choice of what we focus on and how that focus serves us and our self care.
Unsafe people (in our lives or at arms length) don’t always have this level of balance in relational issues.
STL, your other post to Aleea I found very genuine and caring about her overall well being ‘spiritually speaking’.
Prayers and hugs to you both!
Edmund (or Edmond) participated in comments here some time ago – I believe it was the latter half of 2015. I was my assumption that was the person to whom Aleea referred.
I thank you, too, Aly for your kind comment. I truly did mean well.
Just so I understand…
So Aleea referenced an Edmund (from almost 3yrs ago via the blog), that was not recently in the dialog of this particular thread?
How might any of us others at least trying to follow along connect that and what’s the reason or motive to address him/her?
I can only guess at or infer her motive, so I should let her answer that – especially if I am wrong about it being about that Edmund.
“We were all asked to stick to practical relational issues. Counting that, STL as, “trying to get to a point of understanding before changing directions”, is not an excuse.”
—Nancy, I did not intend that as an excuse. I don’t feel I need an excuse. I was just looking for a little grace that in order to offer to Aleea the help I wanted to offer, some theology might have crept in. It is Aleea herself who keeps insisting things along the lines of it being practically impossible to discuss relationship issues without some theology in them. It is almost impossible to try to help her – and she asked for my help – without dealing with where she is at the present time.
“Nor is talking about ‘Aleea’s relationship with God’, JoAnn”
—In defense of JoAnn – JoAnn got it, and I appreciate her support.
This has been truly exhausting. If I have learned anything from the difficult and dysfunctional relationships in my life – God help me, I hope I have learned something – it is to recognize when things are going nowhere and to act accordingly. I am there with Aleea. Should I have any further interaction with her, and I don’t know that I will, it will be of a different nature.
Hi Seeing The Light,
Thank you for responding to me.
I don’t doubt your intention at all. It’s the futility of going ‘the theological route’ that frustrates me, or even delving into the confused thinking that, as you say, is exhausting.
I saw the same futile pattern beginning to emerge again and got frustrated. I just don’t think that it’s helpful at all.
I completely agree with the sentiment of recognizing when things are going nowhere and acting accordingly. That’s exactly the point that I was trying to make here. It’s futile. Aleea, please do not interpret that as ‘you’ are fultile! You are NOT.
Engaging the confusion only makes it grow.
Again, thank you for your response.
Nancy, I see your point here and I can relate~
I hope Aleea will be able to absorb the wisdom in accepting your words ‘about futile’ as an important connection piece.
I do think sometimes it’s helpful to slowwwww things way down in order to move along (walk along side) and by any chance having something healthy or redeeming come out of slowing down and trying to process, especially when it’s feelings to sort through.
Aleea…Personally~ to me this is a control issue I would consider you give space at looking at. The control part is about pushing ‘safe people away’ rather than developing safe connection through relationships.
I agree with you, Aly, on the slowwwwwing things down. I learned that, today. I also learned that it’s wise to give people the benefit of the doubt – something I’m not too good at.
I had stopped reading Aleea’s comments quite some time ago in part because of the confused nature of them among other things. However, she addressed me on February 10 (on the February 7 blog post) in a manner that seemed to me to try to introduce ambiguity (and confusion). I began to engage her then. I was straightforward. Since that time, I have tried to ask simple questions and have hoped for simple answers. That is not what has happened. I have been trying to gauge the whole time whether communication with her can be healthy or not.
Please do not miss the fact that what I wrote yesterday was in response to her comments. I simply wanted to know if she was planning to spend the rest of her life trying to prove Christianity wrong because she likes it. This goes heavily to the state of her mind and whether she is in any position to receive the thoughts I have for her. I will not recommend things to her that may help bring healing for someone with “ears to hear” if she does not have “ears to hear.” Her response was not short and simple. She is the one who introduced the thoughts of Robert M. Price among other things. I am not the one that brought theology back to the table. I would ask, why was your comment regarding the return to theological issues to me and not to her? I responded because I felt there were some things I needed to say in a sort of “once and for all” capacity.
“Engaging the confusion only makes it grow.” I so agree. Yet I have seen others engage her confusion and even praise it. I earnestly feel that is not healthy for her or for those listening. Just my opinion – take it or leave it. I have also wanted others to know that often when they are engaging her – they are actually engaging the thoughts of the likes of Robert M. Price and others. Would they do so if they knew whose thoughts they were being exposed to unknowingly? My hope was to bring it out once and for all that she might turn a corner. It would not be my business if she were at peace this way or had not asked for help, but she has brought the suffering of her mind and emotions here, and I repeat, she asked me to help.
I want to have dialog with you on this ‘asking for help’ notion.
It’s important and I have a very recent example of my own life to share~
Hope it helps and it’s ok I link below with this thread?
Ok~ recently my husband and I were in counseling discussing a parenting issue. We were both asking for help, direction and wisdom from someone who has much more experience from a professional place.
We were given advice, examples, approaches and application to immediately take to our child to connect and to walk along side as a parent.
I went home and followed the advice and application as directed and it was SO helpful and I believe it was also honoring of my relationship with our child and creating another place of secure love.
My h on the other hand struggled for 2 days sorting through the directives.
This I found odd: why ask for advice and resist trying ‘at least’? Why ask for help?
I bought this discrepancy up to him and was curious…
eventually he came to the place that saw how implementing ‘action’ was critical to not just secure love but more trust.
It wasn’t enough to think and ponder on the directives hoping to communicate something to our child ~ we both had to apply the advice to bring about the connection necessary.
I just think it’s important to give the space of the realization that there are people outside of our boxes that can see things from a different angle ‘not saying the are always right’ but to consider and be curious can offer ourselves opportunities of growth I believe.
That is if the person is serious & genuine about asking for help.
You ask a good question as to why I addressed you as opposed to Aleea.
Let me try to answer:
On the morning of Jan.21 Aleea’s responses to many of us ( you, Aly, me, Renee, Leslie), were quite concise. I was particularly struck by the fact that she was taking time to digest Aly’s responses. All of that is BIG progress for her!
That afternoon you asked her if she saw other comments you had made. I thought that this further questioning did not support the restraint that she was showing in her concise posts earlier that morning.
Then on the morning of Jan. 22 she said that she saw those comments but had chosen to ignore them because they were depressing. She went on to engage a rabbit hole – the issue of “the way to prove things true is….”.
Your response to that Jan 22 post, is what I objected to.
This is how I see the overall interaction : We had all worked very hard to keep things concise; and just when Aleea was doing what we had all asked of her, you asked her to revisit a topic that she had intentionally chosen to ignore. Then, when she articulated that it was depressing, ( and did make the decision to engage in it), you responded with that super long post that further engaged. That was when I spoke up. I was distressed by the pattern.
Like I said, I don’t question your motives, and realize that she had asked for your help.
When she likened herself to an addict, feeling tempted. I admit, I felt that way too. As one who had worked hard to try to convey the importance of ‘staying on topic’, I felt angry too. I’m sorry that I responded in frustration instead of love. That wasn’t cool of me.
(I am assuming you meant Feb. wherever is says Jan.)
“That afternoon you asked her if she saw other comments you had made. I thought that this further questioning did not support the restraint that she was showing in her concise posts earlier that morning.”
Just please remember that very morning, the morning of February 20, 3:59 am, at the end of Aleea’s comment to me, she said: “Seeing the Light, I already know that things aren’t as good as they need to be. You are here to make things better and help figure out how to make things better. I’ll listen to you and we’ll move towards a place that’s better. Seeing the Light, what is the next step?” –I found that overwhelming, but heard a heart-cry for help. I wanted to honor that. I wrote three comments after that, admitting my own limitations and then asking a few questions, all getting to the same issue. In her next response to me, she did not even address the questions. She seemed only to address the comment where I was admitting my limitations. I was concerned she had not even seen the questions and missed them entirely. That was why I drew her attention to them.
“We had all worked very hard to keep things concise; and just when Aleea was doing what we had all asked of her, you asked her to revisit a topic that she had intentionally chosen to ignore.” –I had no idea at that time that she had seen it or that she had intentionally chosen to ignore it. Had she responded by saying so and left it at that, I would have respected her wishes not to answer me. I can only work with what I know.
“I’m sorry that I responded in frustration instead of love. That wasn’t cool of me.” Thank you, Nancy.
Rest assured, as I said before, my intention is to approach Aleea much differently.
This is a test. I have typed up my response to you about ‘asking for help’ twice now and hit, Post Comment, and it just disappeared and didn’t post, so I am testing to see if this will work. This has never happened to me before so we’ll see…
Well, that worked. I will try a shorter comment.
You said: “This I found odd: why ask for advice and resist trying ‘at least’? Why ask for help?”
In your situation…did you ask your husband what was going on inside during the time he was not applying the counsel you both had received? Did I understand correctly that he eventually did? Do you think he would have ever gotten around to application without your influence?
I think there might be glitches ~ I tried to post and answer back earlier and it wouldn’t work.. so hopefully this will now.
“In your situation…did you ask your husband what was going on inside during the time he was not applying the counsel you both had received?”
I asked about the discrepancy I was experiencing.. he has been and learning often to ask himself more often what is going on inside (being more self reflectiv has been a struggle) especially if I bring something to him.. as I did.
“Did I understand correctly that he eventually did? ”
Do you think he would have ever gotten around to application without your influence?”
This is a good question and one that we circle back to once in a while in counseling. I’m not sure?
Sometimes yes he does especially as he’s intentional about his ’emotional and spiritual work and processing’.
One thing that pops up for us is that he has certain strengths & weaknesses as well as I have certain strengths & weaknesses. I believe we are able to more often than not trust in ‘our partner’ bringing up valid concerns and try to be a team~so we both can assist each other in the pursuit of being our best versions of ourselves for Gods purpose.
I think that’s what Best Friends do ~ and especially partners as parents ‘wanting the best for our children’~ given my earlier example.
Hope that answers.
Thank you for so clearly explaining, STL.
I can see that you did your utmost to honour such a personal ‘heart cry for help’.
JoAnn. If you’re there. I’m sorry for lashing out at you too. You saw STL’s heart for Aleea, in this.
Nancy, No problem. I very much respect your insight and wisdom here. I am tired of this back-and-forth with and about Aleea, and plan to stop participating on this thread. Moving right along….
Thank you for this, Nancy.
Wow. That’s just so foreign to me that you can have a discussion like that with your husband at all. My husband is likely NPD and possibly a sociopath. I forget that other married people out there can actually interact this way. It’s another world.
I’m so sorry about your situation. I can understand why it might seem foreign.
My husband and I have been on a long journey of recovery on both sides of the fence. Still working through our junk, as you saw in my other example above. But I can say, today we enjoy a healthy loving ‘actual marriage’ rather than the other non marriage that had to be dismantled~ for my own sanity.
Day and night experience.
He certainly had many narc traits on the high end to tend too. (Prob still though far from what you describe of your h)
It’s a spectrum for sure! But we had lots of interventions through the years.
God gets the credit and many people he used to bring about a turn and surrender in my husband.
Our early marriage was puppies and giggles as long as nothing stressful disrupted him or that he wasn’t ‘told, ‘no’ that’s not going to work for me. This was when the marriage would get destructive and why I think Leslie’s material is so pertinent to many marital situations.
I think emotional abuse is more rampant in marriage than people are aware of~ because many don’t realize just how ill their situation is and it breaks my heart😥.
I don’t mean this to come across as generalization but I think we have in our culture (and esp. church culture~ epidemic) had so many ‘boys’ never shown how to become the kind of man that pleases and honors God, they are not raised with these core beliefs, but many have the desire to become the kind of husband that they want to be for their wives in their heart.
They lack the partnership tools & marital posture and the main thing is the healthy core idenity of Christ’s love & security to be that kind of a man for their family. And thus, model that for other families in their influence circle.
STL, honestly given many various spectrums… I think it comes down to a person choosing to be teachable and willing to learn even when their feelings are shouting all sorts of messages against growth, but asking God to drown out those unhealthy voices that stand in the way and take action.
I have parents that are certainly far from this attitude or posture, yet are Christian stamped! So I know the grief and loss of relationship with such individuals.
There were times in our more chaotic process of interventions in the marriage ….( let’s face it behavior change is HARD and esp. relational dynamics ughhh😩)…
where I would have to ask my h~(When acting childish for sure) so is this the behavior that is teachable and willing to learn a new way of responding?
Help me understand this..
He would often immediately see that was not who he wanted to be … his behavior did not align with what he believed about his value and his treatment toward myself, and realize he was choosing ‘easy short cut which actually is the LONG road in reality’.
Then he would choose the ‘more unnatural thing’ to him and find ~ wow that’s really not that difficult as I had let my thoughts tell me.
(Maddening I know)
He began to see and experience so much freedoms!
This was life changing for his control issues that he developed as a child. And life changing for our healing and our dynamic.
But one must be willing~
Aly, I praise and thank the Lord for His work in your marriage and in your lives. Not an easy road, but the benefits are eternal.
Thank you JoAnn, we are very grateful and praise God and so many resources that exposed and assisted.
I’m still hopping around 🌞
I’m staying well and doing a lot of reading and watch/,journaling.
To bring others to speed a little history needed. We’d moved 750 miles from H’s birth home. It was for our golden retirement. New beautiful home in nice neighborhood. Very nice and friendly neighbors. It fulfilled my dream and it was beyond my expectations. I was thriving and making scores of new amazing lady friends. Very involved with church and fellowship. I felt like I’d come home.
My H, not so much. I didn’t realize how thorn up over the moving he’d become. I heard him calling a friend from where we’d moved from and H told him. “Yeah, I thought she wouldn’t make a good transition and she’s settled in. I’m not. I feel that I made a huge mistake.”
We had the holidays coming and his family. I hoped they could help pull him out of his funk. We had nice extended visit and H seemed more settled when they left.
I was not working but was hooking up with the church ladies doing different volunteer this. I’d find myself out and about with the ladies 5-6 times a month. H started voicing his concerns that I’m never home any more. When I’d get home I’d be wound up and excited AND want to share our day. He didn’t want to hear it.
Right away he began withdrawing and withholding. Until one day he says “you were not excited about event’s excited about stuff before. Now you’re acting like you don’t want to be here or at least here with me. You’re never home any more.” He was pouting and sulking and twisting his hands together and asked me why I was so unhappy before. That was a bombshell. I’m happy having fun and getting to know an awesome group of new friends.
I said the before was hard to explain, but I really like where we are this is me living my dream. I remember him just sitting and wringing his hands and his head was down and I could see tears. He said this is not my dream. He has physical limitations he’s learning to deal with.
Eventually he confessed he thought I was the one whom couldn’t adjust. He realizing I’m ok. He’s not. After awhile giving him my undivided attention I gave him a chance to open up more what it was that was bothering him. Eventually after rubbing most the skins on his hands (or so it seemed) He cried and said he didn’t want to live where we were. He wanted to go home. Namely the farm we already sold. He acknowledged I would probably feel hurt to leave what I have, but he felt strongly about returning 750 miles back the way we came.. He looked so stricken and defeated and the added trears got to me. First I asked him if he felt like he was planning to do anything to himself.I had my laptop on my last and collect numbers for help, he seemed depressed. I asked him if he had any plans to harm himself. He said he did not. He pointed out he couldn’t talking to anyone because we’re new and didn’t know anyone. That sounded hopeful. I told him I’d be glad to make appointment for him to see someone. His reply was, I can hardly talking to you, how do you expect me to talk with a stranger.
I used myself as example I said I make my appointment show up and see how things go. I told him it was a process to pick someone. One person I kind of liked wasn’t a good fit and moved on from her. I said my journey was a process but it was time well spent. Eventually I landed a great therapist for me and the same can be done for himself. We talked on and off about his issues and feelings. One of his concerns was taking me away from where I’m thriving. I told him where we are now is just geography. I told him his health was more important than my geography. I I told him I was resilient
And could flourish anywhere. I told him leaving will hurt and he suggested buying a vacation home for me to come visit. I told him if he was so sick and unhappy, we would just move back. It’s only geography, I could flourish anywhere.
Update we moved the 750 miles back. He’s even more vocal about my short comings, nearly daily pitty parties and more frequent bursts anger being vented near me. Not always about me. He just admitted the other day his temper fuse seems pretty short and he cannot control it
I give him pretty wide space and most of his frustrations are over insignificant things. All I do is pray for him.
We’ve been in our current home 10 months. It hasn’t been easy for me to plug in. It’s a slow process. I recently hooked up with my church’s evangelical group. Lovely ladies I’d like to click with. Also now that we are back it was decided we would downsize to a one car family. He can go when and where he chooses. I can leave to as long as there is no conflict with schedules. I’ve learned to ask my new friends for help with transport.
I still feel the plan H Used to move back was a ploy to make me feel sorry. I had a thought I’d journaled where i said . . . Will it be different geography but same stuff? I think so. But I also feel he needs proper therapy.
In stretching my wings and trying different things that’s outside my norm and I can feel egg shells being shuffled across the floor. I know he’s where he wants to be but not ideally. I feel he really has some form of depression but refuses to take action. I try to not worry about him and try to live my life the way God wants. I’m really beginning to view the path to freedom. I feel that’s where I should be heading. Small safe steps. Thank you wonderful women who support me and thanks in advance for your prayers!
God has equipped you with resilience indeed! You seem to be staying well 🙂
Are you back with a counsellor?
Are there boundaries that you can set to require him to go to therapy? I’m sure you’ve thought about this.
So glad that despite the circumstances ( that he is trying to use to drag you down), you are ‘viewing a path to freedom’!
So glad that despite the circumstances ( that he is trying to use to drag you down), you are ‘viewing a path to freedom’!
Brave Rabbit, I’m so glad to hear from you again. Thanks for catching us up. I agree with Nancy that you are definitely resilient. I’m wondering if you put some specific boundaries in place for your “move back”? It seems like that’s what’s needed. He said he couldn’t be happy in your new life, but he surely doesn’t seem happy where you are now. Was he jealous that you were happy and he was not? Depressed people carry their depression with them; it really doesn’t always depend on the environment. I wish you well, and hope that you can convince him to get help, and keep on making a happy life for yourself.
Was he jealous that you were happy and he was not?
JoAnn, this feeling came over me while reading. I have felt this in my marriage and shared with Brave Rabbit.
My experience shared. My thought.
I never could understand how it’s ok for one spouse in the marriage to be happy outside of the home but not ok for the other.
I remember the days of coming home from work and being extremely happy (the day went well) only to be met by husband with, “oh you are glowing and mighty happy.” How can that be when neither I nor the kids were with you? Huh, what hubby?
You bring up a very important ‘pattern’ in abusive dynamics.
“I never could understand how it’s ok for one spouse in the marriage to be happy outside of the home but not ok for the other.”
The pattern is simply this: what’s ok for one partner is not ok at the same terms for the other. Double standards in many areas ~ just fill in the blank kind of equation.
Depression certainly maybe more of a root of behavior (or cause) but abuse like this above will be a symptom to address.
There isn’t logic and reasoning with this type of mindset~ the incongruities expose the character and deep insecurity issues that one tries hard to not face.
So glad you have stayed in touch here and given a update!
Prayer is essential and so is action at staying well or securing and guarding our emotional and spiritual well-being.
I’m really thankful that you are investing in you and journaling and studying a lot it sounds.
That can make such a difference in getting equipped.
You said you moved back, and I was confused at the issue of your h’s health concern.
Maybe I understood it to be the primary motivator of the second move? (His Health needs~ which makes sense)
I am concerned about the situation with your car? This seems like it’s going to limit only ‘your’ freedoms?
“Also now that we are back it was decided we would downsize to a one car family. He can go when and where he chooses. I can leave to as long as there is no conflict with schedules. I’ve learned to ask my new friends for help with transport.”
So the husband who you think is suffering from depression is ‘driving the bus’ and gets to come and go freely and you have to navigate around his moods… as well as ask friends to help you to get away of sorts?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t ask for help from them but I’m concerned that your h is finding more creative ways of creating isolation? Which will certainly impact your overall health with community and healthy connection with ‘safe others’.
I think JoAnn asked about a counselor for you and I also hope you have one that can assist your situation.
You sound like such a lovely woman who wants to be joyful in all circumstances ~ I commend you in this posture.
My heart also grieves to hear you write;
“nearly daily pitty parties and more frequent bursts anger being vented near me. Not always about me. He just admitted the other day his temper fuse seems pretty short and he cannot control it.”
From what you describe, yes your right! It’s not about you! It’s a HE problem, that he has been quite successful at not feeling the consequences to address it.
Saying he can’t control his temper fuse is not an excuse to blow~ and I hope that you can place proper boundaries for your own well being to NoT be his ‘convenient lightening rod’.
Saying he cannot control it is his opportunity for Real Help with his character issues and his depression (if that is what is going on?).
Aly: I am concerned about the situation with your car? This seems like it’s going to limit only ‘your’ freedoms? So the husband who you think is suffering from depression is ‘driving the bus’ and gets to come and go freely and you have to navigate around his moods… as well as ask friends to help you to get away of sorts?
I wonder if Brave Rabbit has a schedule previously set if husband will graciously reschedule so there is no conflict. Or, if she would have to be the one to compromise each time.
Aly: your h is finding more creative ways of creating isolation?
I agree that this is quite possible.
Renee, Brave Rabbit,
Renee, Brave Rabbit wrote;
“He can go when and where he chooses. I can leave to as long as there is no conflict with schedules. I’ve learned to ask my new friends for help with transport.”
One sided and top down relationship style in my understanding.
I know of an elderly woman who can only leave on a certain day and all her outside things have to be on that day.
This is her ‘normal’ and it didn’t start out that way… but because of control and abuse manipulation she thinks it’s reasonable.
Her normal is quite abnormal and of course limiting for her to get the help she deserves to see from another perspective.
Hi Brave Rabbit
In response to paragraph one. I am excited that you are feeling blessed in your new town. Excellent! Make sure this is something you can keep up. Could it be hubby is pouting because you also are happy?
I never could understand how it’s ok for one spouse in the marriage to be happy outside of the home but not ok for the other. I remember the days of coming home from work and being extremely happy (the day went well) only to be met by husband with, “oh you are glowing and mighty happy.” How can that be when neither I nor the kids were with you? Huh, what hubby?
In response to paragraph two. Wow! Hubby hoping the transition would fail and you give up (I see a pattern where he sees you will give up easily now that I’ve read the entire post). I’m also saddened that he felt he could not have this honest conversation with you. He may have (I could be wrong) set the conversation up where you could overhear. A step one in his plan. The conversation could have been shared with friend at any point.
In response to paragraph three. Again, could it be hubby is pouting because you also are happy? Secondly, make sure that there is no truth to what your husband is stating. If there is any bit of truth than own it and change it. Would he be open to receiving?
Another approach is [reading in this book “What To Do When He Want Change” by Jack Ito] is to say it is true that sometimes I don’t want to be here (agreeing with him) because when I am here you withdraw your love (what does that mean for you) and withhold affection from me (what does that mean for you). Speak your truth and state your need.
In response to paragraph six. I’m glad to hear he opened up to you. Does he attend church with you so that he can start mingling with others?
I’m sorry, but it seems he did not give this a chance at all. I know this is your husband and you love him, but he should have loved you and cared for you just as much as you are doing him by giving this move a chance. Maybe I missed how many months he gave this a chance.
Of course he is back on his turf with perhaps his old friends to back him up in his deeds.
Is he able to control his temper with everyone else?
So did he cry and pout to get this reward as well? Having only one vehicle.
Hugs Brave Rabbit! That’s what we need God and to be Brave.
Brave Rabbit, I don’t like the one car idea! That sounds like more control.
My husband moved out family various times, each with the thought of a new start away from his family of origin. Although he has had decades of counseling and never overcame his abusive behavior, during a moment of clarity he said, “i moved away but I brought the problems with me.”
In my opinion, as long as he is with you, there will be the same nagging problems. Can you still get a vacation place the town you left? I wouldn’t trust him with his financial advice. I suspect it is another way to control you. He didn’t like you thriving. He likes you under his thumb and emotional control.
Wow. Sometimes I’m so. . .I’m so naive. I’m so happy for you wonderful women coming along side me. Thought provoking input!
Renee, she was commenting about my H and his limitations of my use of vehicle. (Which all will see later in this post is history repeating itself . . Insanity on my part to allow it to repeat).
We’d been gone 6 months when he told me he was so unhappy. It also coincided with our vacation we were leaving for in just two weeks to visit his family back”home”. My gosh I’m feeling had! I feel the only change was the geography. When we came back here for vacation we checked out apartments for rent and checked out houses for sale. When we returned from vacation we put our new house up for sale. The day we sold it was when we drove back here. We’d been gone for a total of 10 months. When I drove across the state line, I looked in the rear view mirror and began to cry so hard I had to pull over and pull myself together. I’ve lived from coast to coast and that was the only place I’ve ever felt so close to. I felt like my heart was ripped from my chest and pulverized.
I don’t currently have a counselor. I want the one I used to have. She’s not in my network, but she will take payment at service for half of what she charges insurance. And she told me I can call anytime for appointment.
I really need coaching on setting boundaries. When a prime event occurs, my mouth swells shut. 😕
Sometimes H reminds me of my mom. She’s always been jealous of me. It’s only been within the last 6 months I’ve estranged myself from her. She is toxic too.
I feel H does have character flaw along with depression. I know they are separate issues from each other. I feel he views me more as property than partner.
I’m so full of joy, peace and happiness when I come home from church. It would be so nice to unpack the teaching of the day and share thoughts with him. I’m not to speak to him about church. That breaks my heart.
For a long time I’ve had to be two different people. I have to hide the real me from H. I don’t want to do that anymore! For a long while I didn’t know who she was. I’m learning. 😁
Yes he drives the bus. I’ve expressed my desire for my own vehicle. His mother is thinking of selling her car, but that could be 6 months or more away. When there is a conflict of transportation, yes I defer to him and change or cancel my plans. Seems there is always an excuse. My sister recently bought a new car and offered to let me borrow her old car indefinitely and would add me to her insurance. My concern was if through no fault of mine, if something happens who would be responsible. She withdrew offer. She felt it was H kicking a fuss over me having a car and didn’t want to come between us.
H is easily short with his limitations (health) and short with me over some of the smallest things. During one of those events, I’ve been so tempted to say something and I don’t. I don’t know what’s appropriate to say. We’ve never ever argued and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve snapped and told him to quit badgering me about something. Once while parallel parking because he was going on and on how I was doing it wrong. A rare instant where I drove because he didn’t know how to get to where we were going to. (His lawyers office after he’d been arrested for drunk driving). The other instance was when he wanted me to call our insurance company about something and I wasn’t asking his questions correctly, and I thrust the phone at him and growled you talk then. He let me finish the call and take care of his business. Then shut me out for the rest of the day.
Oh I’m on a rant. So sorry. Sometimes I fantasize walking out our door and never coming back. Here is another double standard, he can be mad at me for anything real or imagined, but if I get mad it’s not ok. Even if he perceives I’m upset when I am not he wants to know what’s wrong with me. I think those times are his projection.
I fear being that elderly woman. I don’t want the abnormal to be my normal. And yet I feel as though I am.
In 2002 I finally began to have my fill of whatever it was that wasn’t right with our relationship. H didn’t come home for dinner again one night. I wanted to get his attention. I had enough money on me for a hotel room for the night. H had blocked my vehicle in, in the garage with a vehicle I didn’t have the keys to. But he had another vehicle I was forbidden to drive. I wasn’t supposed to have a key to it either. Long story short he let me use it once to give a friend of his a ride and while I was out I had a spare made. So I took that spare and used it to take the forbidden vehicle to the hotel. I couldn’t get the room because I didn’t and still don’t have a credit card. So I camped out in the parking lot waiting for him to call me. 6 am and freezing (it was a cold February night), I went home and to bed. He rolled in at 8 am Saturday morning. I remember going to bed and asking myself where I’d be 5, 10, 15 years later and if I’d made a mistake going home that night and what I’d feel like if I’d wasted years waiting for him to be my friend . . . He never knew I took his forbidden vehicle that night. Later that same afternoon he was nearly killed in a farm accident at home. I nursed him back to health. That’s why my recall of the day is still vivid. I was also his rescuer.
And maybe I am happier because I’m out of his control when I am not home. But when I am gone, his voice is in my head telling me to not be gone too long. I’ve heard from him before that I tend to forget to come home. . .
Yes he controls his anger around others, but I’ll hear about it when we get home. And I find it funny he sensors his mouth around his mother, but feels free to speak gutter around me and say very disparaging remarks about others and especially about women.
As far as friends, he has only one. When he quit drinking, his”friends” drifted away. He only quit drinking because he didn’t like jail. And he really didn’t have any consequences with that. He was able to get court supervision and never lost his license. And here is the rest of that story a real Holy Spirit moment . . . that night he didn’t come home again and I’d just come home from an emotional Celebrate Recovery meeting. A woman told a story about how she lost her father by a drunk driver while she was a young child. I was horrified! Her story was running through my head, I dropped to my knees and prayed to God to have my H arrested for drunk driving before he stole another child’s parent! I was not surprised when I received the phone call later from H telling me he was on his way to jail that very same night. I can never tell him I prayed for that.
Prayers are very powerful. I know ultimately God is in control and all I can do is lean into Him. He knows my heart and I’m sure He wants me safe and happy. I pray for Him to help me help myself. And I need my brain and my heart to concur with one another. Here’s a thought, am I sinning and not trusting that God’s got this? And then I fall into the trap, but it’s”just” occasional emotional abuse. And discount the history and the associated horrors or looks horrifying when strung together where it reads like a short tale of fiction. I have plans and safety plans in place. I ramble.
When times are good it’s hard to leave. When things get sticky it seems satan is there to keep me stuck. Sorry for long dialogue, but I’m so grateful for the feedback and felt the need to add a few details. My story has been in the making for decades and it’s nearly 16 years to the date when I asked myself that question during a pivotal time in 2002. Our 40th anniversary is a little over a year away. The milestone isn’t important any more. It would have had significant meaning if I could celebrate it with my Partner and Friend. I’m getting closer to being free just writing that.
Thank you for the prayers and support.
I read what I wrote and I’d like to shake up and wake up the writer, sigh, but I am she . . .
Dear Brave Rabbit,
No need ever to apologize for length. I read your post a few times and I’m very sorry for the (non-fiction).
You mentioned awakening yourself~ however I would say you are well awake, but it’s sometimes hard to know what are your options and new ways of thinking and acting as a survivor.
“And discount the history and the associated horrors or looks horrifying when strung together where it reads like a short tale of fiction. I have plans and safety plans in place”
Your story sounds more like non-fiction and something very similar to a woman married to an addict and the affects of that dynamic over decades.
I’m sorry for that, but there are ways out and ways that might give the greatest chance of true recovery for you & your husband.
You mentioned a safety plan and I would ask;
Do you have a CRedit Card now?
Do you have a couple safe people to assist?
Some of the ladies on this blog are very GOOD with these steps and especially a safety plan.
You mentioned so many things in your post but this really stuck out:
“I fear being that elderly woman.”
Can you tell me more of what that above means? Because being able to describe your fear is such a huge part of your steps to freedom.
You also added:
“I don’t want the abnormal to be my normal. And yet I feel as though I am.”
I think it’s great that you had a counselor ~ now it’s time to find one similar do you think?
Counseling is going to be essential to your well being~ even though you speak of your joy and your thriving… this is only when you find moments of escape from the marriage reality.
Was your h ok and supportive with you having a counselor back then?
So 16 years ago when he didn’t come home that night, did you ever find out where he was?
Has he ever done that behavior or something similar again?
That example you wrote about sitting in the cold all night~ broke my heart!😥
On a similar but separate note..
Does your h have access to a computer or smart phone?
There is something healthy and life changing about seeing circumstances that bring about righteous anger and resolve, meaning empowering ourselves to take action when another is taking power and freedom that is not theirs to steal.
I’m wondering if you have felt or experienced this kind of position? I’m not speaking about uncontrollable anger or even sinning in anger but the kind of freeing that takes place when we can see our choices.
I still don’t own a credit card. I have a bit of cash hidden away. I have two siblings with wide open arms waiting for me. One lives a few states away. The other an hour away. We also worked out an emergency code word.
There are times when I can feel the righteous anger. I felt a bit of that towards the end of my writing when I wanted to shake me up. The only one who knows the whole truth is my pastor. He offered to talk with my h, I begged him not to as I feel that would backfire horribly.
15 more years and I will be that elderly woman and I know my life is abnormal now. If I were my friend and saw the future knowing she didn’t do what she really knew she should have done . . . I’d be heart broken for her. Part of what I perceive as sin is not trusting God in this. I need to just rip off the bandaid and go. I feel stuck in the trauma bond cycle. I’ve never been on my own. I was a child bride, (ok I’m only 57 now so I wouldn’t really be elderly😊), but I know I can be a strong woman. I know I could make it on my own and be healthier for it.
One sibling wants to ride to my rescue, my other other cannot wrap his mind around why I stay. They are on the verge of kidnapping me.
H didn’t know when I was in counseling until after when I wound up in the era during a medical emergency and triage was asking about my medicine. At the time I was on antidepressants. He thinks counseling is a waste of money. I know it isn’t. I was in a very dark place and she helped pull me out. I see the light and as I write I can feel the righteous anger and I want freedom. I want that light!
I no longer trust h with private stuff. I’ve tried to share my health with him and at times he either makes light of it or rolls his eyes or finds a way to turn it against me. As I write this I think of my current state of health. And I’m neglecting it. I have a heart defect. The other day I had an episode where I probably should have went to er or minimally at least made a doctor appointment. I didn’t because if it was nothing, then I wasted money. How twisted is my thinking!? I have first degree heart block. The specialist I saw 3 years ago said for now I’m in the monitor and wait stage. Though he wanted to do another heart monitor test again, we were moving away at the time.
I digress, suffice it to say I don’t get a lot of support. He claims he wants me to take care of myself, but that’s probably so I can take care of him. My thoughts. I want a gym membership. Yes I could do it on my own but I’m lazy and know I need motivation. I used to swim 3 days a week after work then come home to take care of him. But he’d complain I was never home.
When he used to drink I had a life. I learned how to survive and did things on my own. I got tired of the constant disappointment and turned it into positive energy.
Yes h often didn’t come home until late. At times he didn’t come home until the next day. I knew where he was. He’d be at the bar or going to the after bar parties. He is an alcoholic. Though he’s not had a drink in 7 years.
We don’t have smart phones, but we do have computers.
Right now as I write I should have been up an hour ago as it is expected. H just paced past my door. It’s closed and I’ve not made my appearance lol. He knows I’m awake. I just finished sneezing my head off. I will tell him if he asks that I was reading a book. Forgive my sin, but that’s for my protection. If he knew I’m getting ready to leave, I have a healthy fear for myself.
I know the transitional period has potential for danger. Leaving would endanger his happiness. I’d like to believe he’d never use deadly force against me, but I don’t want to find out the hard way.
I spent many years talking calls of domestic violence and know the potential danger. I worked as a dispatcher and my eyes are open.
Hugs sweet sisters.
Thanks for writing back~ I will pray for Gods will and others that are wanting to intervene as vessels for you and your situation.
“One sibling wants to ride to my rescue, my other other cannot wrap his mind around why I stay. They are on the verge of kidnapping me.”
So since you familiar with trauma bonding, I’m assuming you are also familiar with Co-dependency?
Doing something for someone that they ‘cannot’ do for themselves is not co-dependency, its interventions.
Doing for someone ‘something’ that they ‘can’ do for themselves is co-dependency.
You describe a situation where safety is the utmost importance.
Proverbs 24:5, 15:22, 11:14
All reference the safety in a multitude of counselors.
Can you reach back out to your pastor? Not to talk with your h but for more safety.
Getting more involved and exposing your ‘real life’ the one you have been living to those ‘safe others’ will bring more and more freedom to make the right decisions for yourself.
What might you mean by trusting God in this? Or by not trusting God in this…?
Aly, you are a treasure!
I read Proverbs you mentioned. Indeed counsel is needed. And I grow in strength daily. And my strength is in the Lord. Psalm 118:14. Isaiah 12:2 and many more.
Intellectually and biblically I strongly feel I’d be right in leaving and God will see me through. I’m not looking for a divorce, I want my sanity. But by not stepping out in faith to do want I know I can do, what needs to be done, is almost like a slap at God as if I’m not trusting Him. And I DO trust Him!
And then here’s where I talk myself into doing the wait and see. Hello I say to myself; remember question from 2002? And the next thing I’ll know it’s 2022! The definition of insanity! My mind is sick and I’m working on getting it well. 😁
I’m a recovering codependent. My family is not kidnapping me because I’ve asked that they love me by letting me work through my stuff. And to be patient and pray for me.
H has never raised a hand to me. But I’ve witnessed his potential to be violent. He put his fist through the windshield of his own car once because he was so angry at a stranger. I grew up with that kind of rage so that was my normal. We were not married yet. If I’d grown up in a healthy home I would like to think I’d have run for the hills. But I cannot dwell in the past.
Thank you for loving on me Aly!
Trying my best to understand you and no I’m not sure i can comprehend what you mean by this;
“I’m not looking for a divorce, I want my sanity. But by not stepping out in faith to do want I know I can do, what needs to be done, is almost like a slap at God as if I’m not trusting Him. And I DO trust Him!”
This is confusing to me .. just saying I think that is why I asked you what do you mean by trusting God and I’m not sure you understood my question..
What are you trusting God in?
What are you trusting in God to do? (Via your situation)
What do you mean by, ‘I DO trust Him’ and what does that look like?
Have you read or heard of Untwisting Scriptures book by Rebecca Davis?
~(That were used to tie you up, gag up and tangle your mind)~
When you hear many of us on this blog talk about safety and sanity ~ are you hearing ‘divorce’ or an assumption of divorce?
There are usually many many steps for a person in your situation to take prior to getting to divorce as an overall outcome. This is where boundaries, requirements and recovery can develop.
Hello Leslie Vernick,
I’m so happy to see your blog is alive and well. I enjoy your voice. You’re writing on a topic that’s close to my heart. This is the best article i have ever read on Internet. I am from Philadelphia and looking for the Best psychologists in Philadelphia because of some relationship problems and was really thinking of suicide but I must say that this article is so much helpful in this critical situation of my life.
I’m glad to see you said “was”! Life is precious and you are a beloved child of God.
Please know if that feeling ever comes upon you, that you can call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number
Find out more on: Suicide Prevention Lifeline at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
I’m praying for you Alana and that you find a good counselor right away. Blessings to you sweet sister. 💖
Maybe it’s me I’m not ready to trust? I don’t know. I know I need counsel to help me untangle my thinking.
My trust in God He is Him. He is so much that I fail to articulate myself. Mere words of mine could never do Him justice nor express my love. And He is the Author of my existence. I’m sorry if I’m not understanding your question. Via my situation, He is with me and waiting and what ever I do or don’t do, He will still love me no matter what. I’m confusing me. I was just thinking out loud that if I’m thinking of leaving, would it be ‘sin like’ to not just do it and trust Him. And to not leave could be as if I’m not trusting Him? Or am I ok, He’s got me right where I need to be right now? Tangled thinking!
As far as the mention of divorce some usually conclude separation is the first step towards it. I know that could be years away or never. I just said no to divorce to clear the air. My primary goal is to get me well and remove myself from the insanity.
I’ve not read Rebecca Davis.
I admit I have a lack of placing boundaries. Again counselor could help a lot with that and rollplay so I can gain confidence.
Baby steps. I guess I could say I’m learning to crawl before I walk . . .
Hi Brave Rabbit and Aly,
With regards to crawling before you walk…we all have to do that. You are not alone!
Staying well is going to involve learning to guard your heart when you are with him. It’s amazing that you continue to work so hard to find connection, peace and fellowship outside the home. This is critical. And as others have warned, beware that your h is trying to isolate you. You had such joy 750 miles away ( although not in the home). You are now back and trying hard to maintain that joy but he is making it harder for you to make and maintain healthy connections.
Please really study ‘Boundaries’ by Cloud and Townsend. That book is a treasure trove. Yes, crawling is a great way to start. I read this morning that
“sanctification is redeeming me inch-by-inch in the practical part of life”.
Sanctification is about practice. The Lord does not automatically sanctify us without our participation. Do you think that practicing some boundaries might be a part of the sanctifying work The Lord has in store for you?
I have found that He shows up in a mighty way as I practice His ways.
God Bless you, Brave Rabbit!
I really liked how you stayed:
“Sanctification is about practice. The Lord does not automatically sanctify us without our participation.”
This is so true to so many examples here. Participation is key and I also think having healthy community for accountability.
Here is where I think it is clear and healthy on all aspects.
“My primary goal is to get me well and remove myself from the insanity.”
This goal is good self care and taking the necessary steps to follow that primary goal.
Good self care isn’t selfish, but responsible and essential. 💜
Brave Rabbit, Aly and Nancy,
I have been following your conversation with interest, and I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with both Aly and Nancy, so I’m not going to repeat what they said here. I can certainly see the confusion in what Brave Rabbit has been saying. On the one hand, you seem clear that you must leave for sanity and health, and on the other hand, something seems to be holding you back. You have the support of your siblings, and therefore a place to go temporarily, and you have a counselor, (if I understand correctly, you can go back to the one you were seeing before you left), and you are getting things in order. Is there something stopping you from actually leaving? I sense a great hesitation, and I think it might be helpful for you to look closely at what is holding you back. Even though you have talked about “baby steps,” and I understand that, I’m wondering if you are waiting for something to happen that will force you to go? Or are you afraid that you can’t manage on your own? You seem like a very resourceful person, and I think that you will surely be able to make it. I’m wondering….Aly and Nancy can chime in here, if you think that there needs to be a big “precipitating event” that will justify your leaving, like a crisis of some kind. Or would it actually be better to leave when things are calm, as a way of conveying the message that you have thought this out carefully and have made a rational choice. The more clearly you identify what is really going on in your mind, the less tangled you will be. Maybe it will help to write in a journal. We are praying for you and standing here with you to help in whatever way we can.
This is great advice, JoAnn- to think carefully about what is holding you back, Brave Rabbit. Here’s an excercise that my counsellor had me do. I can explain it H ere:
divide a paper into 5 columns. The first colum is your goal. This is a goal that comes straight out of your heart (out of the heart, the mouth speaks).
The second column is called “undermining behaviours” (behaviour or things you are doing to undermine the goal ( of column 1). What are the things that you do or don’t do that most conflict with the goal of column 1.
Column 3 is called “Hidden Competing Commitment” and it’s got two boxes. The first box, is the worry box : your fears go in here; and they illuminate your hidden competing commitment. The second box: is called competing commitments (If I Stop doing the undermine behaviours ( in column 2) what would happen?
Colum 4 is called Big Assumption ( these are the beliefs and internalized truths we hold about how the world works, how we work and how people respond to us. They are assumptions that make the hidden competing commitment feel necessary)
Going through this process one column at a time was very helpful because it showed me where my own self-defeating behaviours were, and the beliefs I had that drove those unhealthy behaviours.
Brave Rabbit, this might be the type of thing to do with a counsellor, or a friend. If it’s not your style, just flush it. But this is the excercise that popped into my head when JoAnn suggested you think about what is holding you back.
4 columns, not 5
I really like that, Nancy, Thanks for sharing that. I will make a chart myself and use it to help others. What goes into the fifth column?
Hi JoAnn, The 5 th colum is called Experiments. This is where you test your Big Assumptions. You design little experiments (little is key) that will either validate or invalidate your assumptions. If your experiment is invalidated only 1 time then that shows that your big assumption is incorrect.
My h and I are doing this with a marriage statement we created together. It’s a powerful Excercise. The statement if full of beautiful realities that we want in our marriage, and we are each walking through this grid. It is helpful to have our counsellor help us ( it’s taking many sessions !) For example, “my marriage is a safe space built on trust and respect, where growth in individuality and intimacy is nurtured…” There are 5 goal statements in this first sentence. It’s really important to write the goal from the heart, in the present tense. We have this statement on our fridge 🙂
I’m not sure if this 5 th column is a good idea for Brave Rabbit, though. I’d stick to the 4 columns for her.
Nancy, thank you for elaborating. I really like this exercise. The Steven Covey model for “Highly Effective Families” begins with a mission statement, which is what you did. I really like that statement; it honors growth for each of you in a number of areas. I hope that Brave Rabbit will try this, as it will help her to clarify what she wants and what is getting in her way.
“I admit I have a lack of placing boundaries. Again counselor could help a lot with that and rollplay so I can gain confidence.”
So true, yes a counselor is necessary and can help so much. It’s one thing to have a lack of placing boundaries or the skill set,…but to also have a counselor walk through ‘what is driving the fear or standing in the way of those boundaries you want to place’?
This is essential to discover as you are saying you want to get well.
God will equip you and never leave you. He wants His captives Free 🌈💕