Thank you all for alerting me to the problem still infecting my website. I’m so sorry for the foul pop-ups you saw. After the CONQUER CONFERENCE, we discovered that my website was hacked. We immediately got tech support working on this and by Sunday morning it was removed. What we didn’t know is that there was also some malware attached that recreated itself and attached itself to various other parts of my site, including the blog. I believe it is all removed now but if you see any other suspicious weird things, please e-mail my assistant, Martha right away at Martha@leslievernick.com.
Thank you for your prayers for my move and health. I have bronchitis, which is normal for me this season and it’s slowing me down some. Most of our furniture has been sold but I still have a ton of packing to do. I have two weeks to finish it all, as the POD will be picked up on November 14th. Pray I am able to finish and that we don’t have too much stuff that it won’t fit in the POD.
For this week and next, I invited Dawn, one of the women in our community to share a bit of her story in her journey towards healing. I think you all receive so much blessing hearing one another’s story. Any of you are welcome to submit a blog story if you’d like to share something on your heart. I will review them, and during weeks where I am either sick, out of town, or overwhelmed with life (like now), I will use them.
Don’t Leave Home Without It (What to Know Before You Go),
By Dawn Perry
In reality, it was anyone’s guess as to how long she’d been laying there unconscious in that bathtub with a needle still sticking out of her arm, or how much longer prodding and poking hands would be mapping her body … invading her in the most intimate of spaces.
The current hands, unlike the ones that left their signature imprints like autographs over her entire frame, were healing hands. They were there to reconstruct a story of destruction. Yes, heroin, yes, rape… the DNA evidence indicates four men, yes contusions, yes.
Yes to all the typical questions that ride shotgun with a horror story of this magnitude in relationship to the damage to her physical being ~ not to mention her psyche. As an ode to a night of hell (shall we say most of her adolescent life) we can add permanent kidney failure and partial paralysis; at 24 years old that loomed ahead of her as a life sentence. Bad choices do have bad consequences … in every one of our lives.
I listened horrified, really trying to grasp the scope of the story unfolding on the other end of the phone. The talebearer of this gruesome chain of events was one of the healers. They had been most impacted from the sidelines. We lamented over the circumstances that brought this patient to this point ~ and more importantly, how all of this would impact the patient’s four young children. If there’s a bright spot in the story, it was when she regained consciousness two days later and said, “I need help.” I hung up thanking God for the healers … the healers everywhere, in every circumstance. The ones that are waiting at anyone’s rock bottom.
Before I began judgment, in the quiet hours later that night, I recalled the sacred space we call Rock Bottom. It is the cataclysmic battleground of good and evil. The tickets we purchase to gain entry can all be color coded differently, but they all land in the same God-awful arena. Some do damage with a needle, some with a bottle, some by parking in destructive spaces for extended periods of time ~~ heroin dens, bars, or toxic relationships. Instead of picking up the first stone, I had to own the fact that to some extent we are all, or have been, the girl in the bed. This is for those of us who woke up in the Rock Bottom Arena and quietly mumbled, “I need help.”
The saying goes, “The teacher appears when the student is ready.” Recovery’s road somehow seems clearer, more prescribed, when it’s a needle or a bottle. Yet some of us take a bit longer to decide to take the journey out of destructive relationships ~ especially in the church ~ where the road out is less of a highway and more of a machete hewn pathway … that you hack yourself.
We wait until we look like the girl above ~ whether that is physically or emotionally, the collateral damage is just as real. We put on our makeup, cover the physical or emotional bruises, and march into life, into the church. We teach there, we lead worship, we sit in the seat at bible study, we take care of your children.
We will also often recite the mantra of the uneducated in church leadership when there’s a “Cycle of Crazy” flare-up ~~
“Every couple argues.”
“You don’t want to separate, it could lead to divorce.”
“There are marriages in this church that are far worse than yours.”
“Think of the damage to the children if you divorced.”
“It would be easier if he just hit you, then at least there would be bruises to see.”
These were the slogans chanted from the sidelines on my race to Rock Bottom by the leadership in the church ~ the one’s who were supposed to be protecting me. Then we arrive at the door ~ emotionally (sometimes physically) bruised, bloodied, looking like the girl in the bed. Once inside, you begin to understand, in all of its dark beauty it’s akin to a scenic overpass ~~ it’s not a place you dwell for long.
While the roadmap out for each of us is as individual as we are, these are five things I wish I had known 15 months ago as I pushed the start button on the car that day to head towards help. The student was ready, and the Great Physician Himself was about to launch me on a journey of intensive healing. In hindsight, this is what I would have wanted to know 15 months ago before I left ~ somewhat of a tutorial on trail hacking.
Go When You Know:
A decision to leave (even briefly) a destructive situation is usually not as clear-cut as it seems. There can be many mitigating circumstances as to why people don’t go. As witnessed in my case above, it is usually not the black and white, ultra-supported position in the church ~ even sometimes in the case of physical violence. However, when you find yourself the one in the situation that is unchanging and spiraling downward; you ask yourself, “When is enough, enough?”
God revealed that to me clearly after a lengthy time of consecrated prayer. I can point to the exact moment when I was “released” from the insanity that was taking place in our home. It was during an intervention-style family meeting with a request for repentance and an offering of grace that was refused. In that instant, I felt the literal weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders. To me, it felt like a prisoner set free ~ physically, emotionally, spiritually. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, I was released.
The moment I had prayed for over the course of many long months, and it was unmistakably and undeniably finally here ~ except for one thing … I stayed. In hindsight, I crafted excuses as to why I couldn’t go ~ mainly out of fear, a lack of an extended term exit plan, and most poignantly a lack of faith. My last of four children had to finish high school ~ what would that look like with no mother in the home. I was financially unprepared ~ I mean I hadn’t worked in over 20 plus years unprepared, and was just starting a fledgling business.
I had no working knowledge of our estate or access to finances (a source of power struggle). I can also tell you looking back, a most powerful truth: that lack of faith coupled with my ignorance and delayed obedience made for a very dangerous and slippery slope over the next two years. I remained in the home hoping against false hope. It would lead to some of the darkest nights of my soul that yielded consequences and scars I will live with for the rest of my life. This as a result of my languishing in anguish from a place I had clearly been released. That leads to Point No. 2…
Partial obedience is disobedience; when you know, go! (Click to Tweet)
In next week’s blog, I’ll talk about four additional things I wished I had known before I left.
Friend, if you decided to go, when did you know it was time? How did you know it was time?
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God had taken me to a place several months ago where He whispered some very specific things to me as He was opening my eyes to the reality of the emotional abuse I had lived with for 24 years (it’s still hard for me to type that as I am still struggling with questioning my reality). He told me to “submit to where my husband was taking our marriage”, “If you can gain your freedom, do so” and He had specifically asked me if I was willing to lay down my marriage and family and all of those dreams for the sake of my husband’s soul – with no guarantee that our marriage would be restored.
After that period where my walls went up and I started speaking bold truth to my husband about what I was seeing in our marriage and how I was really feeling, my husband seemed to show some positive change. I was hopeful, but deep down, I had read enough here and other places that if there wasn’t real repentance (and I knew there wasn’t), the problems would be back.
Sure enough, as soon as I let my walls down in an effort to reciprocate in good faith because of my husband’s positive change, the emotional abuse came back full force – literally within a day or two. When I tried to calmly and respectfully ask my husband to rebuild trust and he verbally assaulted me, told me I was “sick” and needed counseling and that he was sick of playing by my rules (that had only been a few months!!!), I knew it was time to let go. I asked for a separation and we are very early into that. Have already had to draw a boundary of not speaking about our relationship as things weren’t going well in that department and I know there is no true willingness to listen to my heart. The spiritual battle was really intense (lots of confusion/feelings of questioning my sanity) during the days where we were telling our children and I’m convinced the enemy was trying everything in his power to get me to cave and go back in.
But, God has confirmed my steps over and over and I am seeing Him move and change circumstances daily. He has told me He is going before me and fighting my battles (love that song out right now). I pray that as the Red Sea parts, that it won’t be just me going through it, but our whole family will be rescued from the enemy’s clutches. I don’t have guarantees, though. But, I am following God. All the way, no matter what.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I looked up the song you referred to and saved it (Battles by The Afters), along with others on my phone. I feel I might need them as my husband and I (separated since July) are going to a 3-day marriage clinic this weekend.
Yes, that’s the song! Praying for you, Pam.
Pam, how did last weekend go? If you want to share, if not that is ok, too. 🙂
Following God no matter what, is the key, and the way through.
Wow, I can relate. It took me three years to leave after God told me to. My fear was masquerading as faith… false hope. I finally took steps to leave 9 months ago. God has blessed me. I do wish I’d saved myself and my children the heartache of staying those last 3 years though.
Thanks for being honest about fear masquerading as faith. So many women say “I’m trusting God, as they live in fear and pretense instead of walking in courage and truth, trusting God.
What a beautiful concept Amanda. Thank you for your bravery. There is healing in your authenticity. I understand. God is good. Ps. 34:5 “They look to Him and are radiant, and they will NEVER be ashamed.” (emphasis mine).
I’m still not sure I know. There have been moments I thought I knew, but then the thoughts of what if I’m wrong comes and confuse me all over again. And then there’s the “It’s not as bad as I think”.
Totally relate. Keep giving it to God and letting Him know you are willing to do whatever He asks of you and He will make it clear to you little by little. He is not a God of confusion and He will lead you and you will KNOW what He is calling you to do.
Thank you, Content! That is the truth, and cannot be spoken too many times! I needed to hear that.
What if I’m wrong – as in this is not abusive? How bad does it have to be?
I believe as we are immersed in the situation, having the “healers”, the truth speakers (real gut honest truth) and fellow warriors around me was critical to my receiving the breakthrough I needed from the prison of my false hope.
Little by little they chipped away at the locks and bars.
Finding the healers who understand was critical.
Calling forth His perfect love helped in casting out fear I John 4:18
Michele, if you can get away for awhile it can help. Once out of the oppressive environment, the fog and confusion leave, and you begin to see more clearly. Sometimes crystal clear. You aren’t wrong. God is with the oppressed, and His heart is for your freedom and health and wholeness.
I do think we need a break from the fog to see more clearly, either our own heart and what’s going on or what’s happening in our environment.
Your story really resonates with me because mine is very similar. I too stayed too long for the reasons you mentioned. If I had to do it all over again, I would have left sooner. Thankfully, I am no longer having to deal with the awful situation I was in.
I waited beyond the time as well. I clearly heard the Holy Spirit tell me to leave and I ignored it- out of fear, listening to well intended but wrong counsel, lack of faith- and finally things got so bad I was physically scared. The weekend before I planned to go I took the kids to a worship event a few hours away. After the event I went up to thank one of the leaders and he “read my mail” as they say. Without any information from me he told me: ” Sometimes loving someone means you have to do it from afar. For your sake and the kids’ sake get out of that toxic environment because his problems will destroy you all.” That was my final confirmation. I shouldn’t have needed it but God was gracious even in my disobedience. Looking back I realize that the moment I had peace- even amidst the fear and the unknown- but the moment I had peace about the decision in the bottom of my stomach that was the moment of release.
“that the moment I had peace ~ even amidst the fear of the unknown”. Yes, CK, YES! There it is. The victory flag. All around us is carnage (the bloodied soldiers) and the smell of death (the fear of the unknown). BUT… peace in the middle of it. God’s signature and stamp of approval. It can’t come from anywhere else. It is Him … doing His I John 4:18 work. We can stand there … right there. In that moment erect an Ebenezer Stone of Remeberence in that place. It is where He planted His victory. Thank you for bravely listening to the truth speaker He sent. Arise, Valiant Warrior, arise. The Lord is with you. Judges 6:12
I struggled with the right time to leave because of the fear of my small children being on unsupervised visits. There was some physical abuse but mostly emotional abuse. Also felt conflicted about whether or not I had a biblical basis to leave because of church’s marriage policy not addressing it. We had a protective order for physical abuse. He went to court ordered classes. But the emotional abuse came back. When it reached a certain level and my boys were listening it clicked for me. He called me an elephant, said all my friends were thin, and that I must be asking for him to cheat on me. I was firm that one of us had to leave the house and that it would be more expensive if me and the boys moved. He tantrumed several times about it. But finally stayed elsewhere. I felt uneasy because he still had a key. I was advised by a lawyer not to change the locks. He finally did cheat while separated and then it was crystal clear it was over for me. We moved to a new town and finances are really tight. But happy to be further away. Trying to help my boys not repeat the cycle.
Cindy, thanks for sharing your story. It is a HUGE encouragement to those in the same place. Thank you for being willing to trust and be brave in the face of some very real concerns. You are a truth speaker, a valiant warrior.
Asking that your children one day arise and call you blessed (Prov. 31:28) for loving them enough to give them a new story.
Amen for you and your children, Cindy. I’m praying God is going to provide help in area of your life.
How I knew it was time to go: When I took the brave (for me), brave step of examining the credit card records, I felt and heard and saw something in my heart click. A literal click. I knew that I knew. I knew that our relationship had crossed a line of no return.
I couldn’t see how this time, this occasion, this specific, huge, massive, breach of trust could be healed, given our past, given the length of time he’d been lying about it, given the details of his behaviors all laid out there in the objective black and white of credit card statements–I couldn’t see how this time I could shoulder the blame and continue as though the past was the past.
Over the next year and a half I learned to recognize and name patterns of blame-shifting, denial, manipulation. I realized for the first time that the reason I cried when he was upset with me was because he expressed it through emotional abuse. For 30 years, I thought I was just emotionally weak!
Today is our 31st wedding anniversary. I still grieve, and last week was rough, but every day I grow stronger, more confident in and less fearful of my decision to divorce. It is/was the right decision. Our divorce will be final before anniversary #32 arrives. Such a shame. Such a relief.
There is something about anniversaries of many kinds that cause me to reflect. I would ask myself, “What would I tell that girl (me) if she was standing before about to get married?” What could I say to my young self? I realized that I wouldn’t have told her not to marry the young guy who became her abusive husband. Prior to the wedding, after dating through high school and college, there were no clues. No one knew. How could I have possibly imagined such a horrid future? What would you tell your younger self about this marriage and the future?
That’s a great question. I wouldn’t have the son I have if I hadn’t married the man I did. My son is such a sweet husband and father, by God’s grace, and my grandson is a delight. I couldn’t see the possibility of what would happen to my ex, and we did have some very good years of marriage when my ex was soft toward God and pursuing God. When he grew bitter towards God, he began to have a hard heart and broken relationships with friends, coworkers, and other church leaders. He turned to prescription drugs and other “idols,” and last of all he turned against me. I have to trust that God rescued me when the time was right, and just as the author said, I knew I was free. Hard as it all was, I know God somehow works all things together for good, and He has helped me on my journey from fear. My life is hard in many ways, but so much better because I know Jesus so intimately through all I have been through.
I think making peace with the past is good for us. Looking back with our current knowledge helps me be merciful with myself.
Yes, Lizzie, YES! My trainer always offered me two workouts and said, “Pick your hard!”. That advice was profound in my life in many ways. I often thought of Ruth and Naomi and Boaz ~ none of that story was easy … but it was holy.
May we pick the way that is hard but holy. And in the end, may it produce in us the ability to look more like Him, and be intimately woven into His story.
Same story here. I would take her aside, share my story because chances are.. there were subtle signs she doesn’t see as abuse..I didn’t.
And I would tell her.
” Please don’t marry this man, today.”
Why did I add today?
Because I was going to call of my wedding the next day.
I was 18, and God begged me the night before “NOT TO MARRY THIS MAN!”
I was very immature in my faith and I had surrendered so much for my fiancé already that I didn’t listen.
I felt trapped like I had to marry him.
The next day though, I told him to come by ( I was going to call the wedding off), he never came until it was time for the ceremony!!!
We married at the courthouse with the Spirit screaming in my heart…” Stop! Do not do this right now!”
My new husband was angry right after the ceremony because his family refused to show.
He sulked the whole time we were driving and went to the hotel.
We ate in because he refused to take me out.
Later, he sexually assaulted me.
He then left and went to his aunt’s house because” he wanted to be with family.”
This was almost 34 years ago.
He became nicer during the marriage, but sulked frequently.
Later, in 2012, I found out he had an addiction and had been medicating himself with affairs and Porn from the day we met.
I’m leaning toward leaving. I’m bedridden at the moment, but I’ve prayed and I’m planning.
I will not lose out on my Destiny . I just consider everything a Detour.
God isn’t done and neither am I
The confusion can be really intimidating. My thought is to hang on to the facts that you know. Sometimes it helps me if I can say, “If I knew this about a person, would I date him? Would I advise myself to get involved with him?”
The issues of grief and obligation, commitment and social pressures, can overshadow what we know. I have found it helpful to separate those issues from the actual issue that’s breaking the marriage. Separating the emotions from the “date-ability” makes it easier to see the no-go factors for what they are. And if a person is not safe to be around for whatever reason, smothering that issue in all the other emotions.
I’m having a hard time saying this clearly — is it coming across?
Yes, it seems clear to me. “If I knew this about a person, would I date him? Would I advise myself to get involved with him?”. . .Very good question and a good way to frame/ think about lots of situations. i.e. “If I didn’t already own this investment would I put new resources into it?” Ann L, I also think if you want to discover the true character of a person, you have only to observe, look at what they are really passionate about. Maybe more than this, if we can stop trying to find the right whatever, and instead be/ become the right person with Christ’s power, people will self-select into and out of our lives. . . . . The best men tell you the truth, straight honesty with love, not try to preserve you in some whatever state with their false protection. I hate even saying that because I like storybooks, but reality is a hard road. Does he allow you to disagree and have your own opinions?. . . does he show weakness and vulnerabilities? . . . .do I want a real person more than being swept off my feet? (—whatever that really means), et.al. . . . .The truth will set you free, but first and always, it will break your heart. Why does every relationship end the same way? Maybe, because in most cases it is because every relationship started the same way. To get anything right, we need to take seriously God’s help, even during the times we doubt Him.
Yes, the confusion!!!! My confusion looks like this:
Well, my marriage wasn’t nearly as bad as a lot of other emotionally abusive relationships I read about….maybe I am too demanding.
Maybe all marriages are like this, actually, and I am just too black and white.
Can emotionally abusive spouses seem really, really kind and loving at times? Because mine was really good when he was really good…which maybe that means this is all me and I’m really not in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Maybe emotional abuse isn’t real at all and somehow I have created this dynamic in our marriage.
Maybe I can shut myself down and sacrifice that part of me for my children’s sake (not splitting up our family).
But….then I remember all the things God has shown me and all the things He has said to me and the very real way He opened my eyes and started bringing memories to me of our past. And, that, thankfully is outweighing the confusing parts in my mind right now.
I do realize how twisted my thinking is, how confused I really am. I really do wonder if maybe all men are like this, and if that’s so, then maybe I just stick with a nicer version of an emotionally abusive man.
LOL, last week, I thought I didn’t need counseling. Today, I realized I *really* need some long-term counseling.
You did a great job of describing what goes through our heads as we try to rationalize the illogical behaviors that are done to us. We naturally blame ourselves and the thinking spirals into many twisted channels and tributaries. The bottom line is that we are never, ever, ever to be treated that way. Don’t treat us crazy and we won’t have to think crazy!
To answer the question about when I knew it was time to leave, it was fleeing for my life. I heard a voice in my head during pray which said, “You are not to spoken to like this.” I have heard that voice tell me different things before, it sure sounds like the Holy Spirit to me.
OK so your faith “I”m going to obey God” action step is to find yourself a good counselor. Can you walk in that direction this week?
Yes! I’m working on it, but thanks for the push! I saw a male counselor a few times who does seem to understand this dynamic and was in full support of my asking for separation, but when I cried in front of him a couple of times, he just seemed so cold and that feels sooo hurtful to me right now. I don’t need much, but the pastor I spoke to merely said “I’m so sorry. Take as much time as you need to cry.” It was compassionate and healing, and I think my heart is so wounded that I can’t go back and pay this other guy the amount of money I was paying for him to look at me with no expression as my tears are being poured out.
“. . . .I was paying for him to look at me with no expression as my tears are being poured out.”
Content, I would be so opposed/upset by that too, but if he is really well trained, with lots of experience, he may have good reasons. Content, I don’t know but maybe it is like healing doesn’t mean forgetting or making the memories insignificant but healing means refocusing. . . . That said, I can’t think what his reasons would be and I do think you need to have your feelings acknowledged. . . .It seems to me that a good therapist doesn’t treat, or cure, or change a person, they provide a relationship which we can use for our own personal healing/ growth. A new, good, healthy, *godly* relationship. But the difference between that and just a good friend is that they should know when to ask much better questions, be better at stopping enabling, et.al. . . . .It is easy to be offended but sometimes they are doing things to help us over other issues. . . . Anyway, I hope and pray that is the case. In counseling, Dr. Meier every once in a while jokes with me and I used to find it so offensive, like mocking me but now that I realize why, I don’t mind it at all. “Aleea, perfectionists are not all negative, miserable, unhappy and over controlling individuals.” —And we will laugh so hard. I bet if friends knew how to ask better questions and not enable they could be as effective too. —Really, any genuinely loving relationship is one of mutual CBT/psychotherapy. Sometimes it seems like they are afraid to move into our deepest questions. . . like, if I help her move there, I will have to go with her, and if I go with her, my view of God and the world as a basically good and safe place will be shattered. It seems at times they think: I’m not sure I can handle that for myself, but I don’t know, maybe I am projecting that. My parents, had/have/were not curious about who I was but, instead, told me who I should be. So, I am simply a “persona” with no real deep knowledge of myself.
. . . .but, again, I don’t understand distancing re:“look[ed] at me with no expression” because that seems to dehumanize the one being counseled. . . . Sort of like —Oh, I am the powerful one who will help the poor sick client. I do not understand that. Hopefully, our therapists are functioning at a much higher level of mental health than we are but sometimes I really wonder. I think in abuse cases, therapists frequently fail to see is how their own use of power, though benign in spirit, actually is replicating the systematic, hierarchical misuse of power we have been exposed to.
I am definitely on high guard right now…very defensive, very untrusting. It’s very possible I’m overreacting to that specific thing. But, since I have that plus a few other things that add up to him not really being worth the cost (no pun intended), I am going to move on and hopefully find a better fit.
You are a deep, deep thinker!!! 🙂 That’s one (really amazing and good) thing you can know about yourself. 🙂
Content- – your words resonate with me ! I could have written them myself! I keep thinking this emotional and verbal abuse is all my fault – but I realize it’s just a bad habit that I’ve fallen into for the 40 years I’ve been with my husband.. I am slowly getting my mind heart and soul free of his manipulations and lies… my 40th anniversary will hopefully be my last.. we’ve been seperated 3 1/2 years and I’m still too scared to file for divorce…
Keep walking, girls. Find the truth speakers, plant yourself amongst them. Listen to His voice. He makes our paths straight.
Iniquity literally means “crooked” as in confused and can’t discern. He is not that God.
Ladies (and Gentlemen (?)) may I take this opportunity to encourage all of you as I have been encouraged reading through these posts. God is at work here. Be truth speakers. It is the loving definition of kind. Find those behind you that hurt like this. Encourage them with the costly Balm of Gilead that you possess by virtue of the paths you’ve trodden. We are stronger together. That is community. This is the body of Christ as it was designed to function. Selah!
Sandi, 40 years. Wow. I’m so sorry. But, so thankful that God is with you and leading you to truth.
I feel much more sane being apart from my husband. Just a few days of being away from him and not hearing his voice brings me all kinds of clarity. I also went to my local library and checked some books out on emotional abuse and narcissism and that has been very validating to read through some of that and help me to realize that I am sane and what I have gone through is very real. I am already not questioning myself as much. I really recommend educating yourself and not feeling guilty about taking the time to do so.
Have you gone “no contact” with him in your separation or are y’all still communicating a lot?
Also, I wanted to gently point out that it wasn’t a bad habit of *yours* that you’ve fallen into for 40 years. I hope you do realize that. It was 40 years of his manipulating you. That’s not the same as a bad habit, at least I don’t think so.
Praying for you that God will show you very clearly about what your next step is and that you will have His peace and knowledge of His love that will override the lingering fear.
. . . Dawn, thank you so much for your story: “Partial obedience is disobedience; when you know, go!” “God revealed that to me clearly after a lengthy time of consecrated prayer.” . . . .Excellent, to hear God’s voice clear and loud, that’s wonderful. . . . . consoling “answers” vs. constructive actions . . . .How much untold grief would be avoided if we just acted “when you know, go” more often. I am horrible at it, but most counselors are always saying that the fear of the unknown is eclipsed by the gladness that comes from taking action, doing something rather than just waiting, and following the call of God on your life as best you know how. And believe me in so many situations it is always “. . .as best you know how” because we just don’t know. Not in the way most of us want to know. It’s all probabilities and some of them are really hard to come by in any given amount of prayer. . . . .I know for me, it is amazing that I will cause myself more pain by thinking about, and avoiding something I am afraid of, or something I know I must deal with, but don’t want to face. The best thing we can do is just do it, just face the fear and get it over with. How do we get the courage? I don’t know but it looks like God creates the courage in us by us just taking actions…And it is probably better to act too quickly than it is to wait too long. . . . .Dawn, I am appreciative of your willingness to share your story, thank you so much!
Leslie, I access your site from four networks: two corporate, one government, one public (WiFi), I had our IT people look at it and I was getting what they call Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP’s), they call them “barnacles” and they are a combinations of spyware, adware, pornography and other malicious software code. My tablets, laptops are always running various anti-malware and so they are set to immediately quarantine those PUPs by default but yes, I saw them and was still getting them randomly. . . . I thought we had good firewalls but every conceivable layer of these web systems are completely riddled with vulnerabilities, so say the technology people.
Thank you all. This community is a beautifully sacred space. I am ever grateful for Leslie and her obedience to create it. She has been one of my healers in such a significant way. When you understand the adversity of her position in a lot of evangelical circles and the criticism she receives — it makes her ministry all the more valuable to those of us in need. Pray for her and her ministry. As the days grow darker and the family is increasingly attacked, I believe God is calling these “truth speakers” forward. While it is not a popular / sexy position in the church (meaning it doesn’t have quite the appeal of solving the world water crisis for example), it is critical in formulating healthy marriage relationships.
I am confident that our willingness to speak our truth (even with voices shaking) in love is a sacred act of worship that Christ reveres as beautiful. Just as we move from “faith to faith” — tiny acts of belief to bigger — as scripture says, we move from brave to brave. Looking at the credit card statements – that is brave, we are allowing ourselves to be recipients of the truth when we walk in and are open to receiving the truth.and accepting it for what it is. Once we commit that act of brave, we can move to the next – whatever that is , and they grow. Each one a mighty act of worship. I am here to encourage each of us in these spaces – do the next right, brave thing no matter how ugly or unconventional it is. I needed to learn the hard way to be more afraid of standing outside of the space of obedience than to be afraid of acting inside of it. God is here. He is crafting the front line warriors for what is an epic battle ahead. It’s a sacred calling. He will not waste the pain of the training ground you are walking through. He is too kind to allow unnecessary suffering. His desire is for us to let Him use it. Use it to help those around and behind. Like the perfume poured at Jesus feet by an adoring Mary, these lessons can cost us nearly everything we have – they did me. The question is “are we willing to walk into ‘the church’, like she did (in her case Jesus and the disciples) and be willing to pour it out regardless of the response of the disciples? They were at their most critical when she was at her most vulnerable — immaterial to her.
She was there for an audience of One — and He adored her. May we keep walking, keep fighting for truth, keep pushing into the brave, keep being vulnerable enough to let it be used. He adores that. He adores you.
Thank you for your beautiful words, they have certainly blessed and encouraged this weary warrior!
Thanks Dawn for your message it makes a lot of sense it breaks my heart to see the church fold hands and close their eyes and assume abuse is not happening in Christian homes which is not true . This is truely a bold step of faith that deals with real people real with real issues in a Godly way .
Thank you, girls. God is good … gracious … loving. He got up off of His throne for us. Most things He speaks into being from being seated. Not our redemption. He vacated heaven on our behalf. That was the ultimate act of bravery and love. If we can possess mustard seed of faith/ bravery by sharing our story for the healing of each other, He will grow it mightily. We are loved. Let us love. Help those behind. We are fed to feed.
I believe that God spoke to me before, but I wasn’t listening. When I checked myself into the psych ward and my Christian doctor told me he wouldn’t release me until he knew I’d made arrangements not to live with h anymore because otherwise I’d be right back in. That’s when I made the move. Sometimes it takes an earthquake, I guess. I’d been so firm in my belief that leaving my h was the cardinal sin, and that somehow it was fixable.
In the years before, every time I’d cried out to God about it, He led me back to Proverbs, and the verses about not being in the presence of angry men lest you become like them, that fools don’t listen to advice, etc. kept having neon lights on them, but I didn’t think God really meant that in this case. I guess I was the fool at that point.
“I guess I was the fool at that point.”
Don’t take that on, Connie. No, you weren’t. God is sovereign and He graciously allowed circumstances to push you to that point in the psych ward because He is that committed to your freedom. Every detail of our stories is in His hands.
Connie, you weren’t a fool. All of “Christian” society tells us that God hates divorce, we just need to be better wives, etc. You were doing what you thought was the “right” thing. Now you have a better realization and are equipped to make proper choices. Be kind to yourself 🙂
I”m so glad your Doctor was wise and that you listened to him. Sometimes God uses other people to help us wake up.
It took me a l-o-n-g time as well to deprogram the voices of the well-meaning but uneducated in the church. It wasn’t until I grabbed the truth of the fact that God did not vacate His throne for the institution of marriage which He created for us a the visual of His relationship with us. That is where we as a body have chosen to worship the created over the Creator. He came to rescue and save the two souls inside of it. I am one of those souls … so are you. When someone abuses one of His beloved, He becomes enraged. Enough to get off His throne. Enough to come down and rescue us. Whatever that looks like in each of our lives. It is always for the forwarding of His Glory!
“I am horrible at it, but most counselors are always saying that the fear of the unknown is eclipsed by the gladness that comes from taking action, doing something rather than just waiting, and following the call of God on your life as best you know how. And believe me in so many situations it is always “. . .as best you know how” because we just don’t know.”
That reminds me of the advice that I got from a pastor who basically told me the same thing several months ago. He really told me not to get too hung up on exactly which move to make and not to wait for a huge sign from God. He knew that that mentality can paralyze you and he was urging me to just trust God by taking a next step. God has brought me to a place in my faith that I know that He is my Shepherd. If I take a wrong turn, I am confident that He will put me back on the path and I don’t have to live in fear of making the “wrong” move. I can’t thwart God’s purposes or plans. It is a good to not be controlled by fear.
Absolutely. We WALK by FAITH not by sight, but walk we must. If we commit our way to him then he will instruct us which way to go, and if we turned left and should have turned right, he will correct our course (Psalm 32:8).
My prayers are Faith. . . . But we don’t want to just have blind faith because blind faith would be a horrible gift to return to the creator of intelligence (God gave us all super-strong, rational, critical reasoning abilities). The way to see by faith cannot be to shut the eyes of our reason. —Unless I am not thinking soundly.
“I can’t thwart God’s purposes or plans.” —Content, that is very good to remember. . . . I have too much fear. I am really working on that however because I know that overcoming what most frightens me most, will strengthen me the most.
. . . . Saying this a little more clearly: I do not see how the same Lord God who has endowed us with strong, rational, critical sense, even stronger reasoning abilities and intellect has intended us to forgo their use when it comes to even the Bible. In fact, when churches teach people to just believe everything because it is in the Bible, I believe it becomes very hard for them to not apply that “logic” in other places and then they drop their guards in all kinds of relationships, ignoring all the red flags. That leads them into accepting destructive relationships that they never would have if they had been using critical, rational, logical, reasoning everywhere. It seems to me that the act of thinking logically, using your rational reasoning abilities as fully as possible most churches reject. They don’t want all those deep questions, w-a-y too disruptive. Many churches have perpetuated that the unconscious or the intuitive is all that really matters in any spiritual endeavor, and that the conscious, rational, logical, analytical mind is the mortal enemy of spiritual awareness and soul growth. But, and maybe I am wrong, those same skills are also the mortal enemy of allow destructive relationships into our lives. Feelings should never supersede rational thought in relationships. . . .Rational is when an act is performed based on evidence, evidence that scales with the claim and has logical grounds. Maybe, don’t look to confirm what you think you already know, finding evidence that backs up your beliefs in relationships/ theories isn’t that useful, but finding evidence that your relationships/ theories are wrong is priceless because it allows us to possibly learn. More simply, never try to prove yourself right, always try to prove yourself wrong instead. That way seems the path to not allowing destructive relationships into our lives. . . . . I don’t see how we can shut-off those skills in Bible study and then just expect them to magically be available to spot destructive relationships in our personal lives. It’s amazing how once the mind is free of emotional pollution, logic and clarity emerge and that is so hard to say because I so love emotion and going with my feelings. . . . .And yet, to walk the talk, Carl Jung (psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology) always says in his writings: “. . .understanding deepens, the further removed it becomes from knowledge.” ―Wow, exactly opposite what I am saying and how is being removed from knowledge helpful? I just don’t get that. It seems to me that faith can be used to justify any belief system, they all are true using faith (honestly applied, no special pleading), evidence is the only way to distinguish. . . . And “. . . No tree can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.” ―Carl Jung. How is that possible? “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” That also seems really useful. “There’s no coming to consciousness without pain.” ―I bet, that is why we fight it so hard. Reality is a really hard road.
He was standing when he interrupted me as I was describing how I felt after a specific exchange. I stayed seated and calmly said I was trying to explain the disrespect I felt. He took a dramatic pose to let me know he was giving me time to finish. I finished by asking him. “Do you see the disrespect?”
He jumped right in with his reply, “No, I don’t see the disrespect. I’m not capable to see the disrespect.”
The picture became crystal clear.
I took him at his own word. There’s no future there.
This ‘confused state’ is exactly where I find myself. I finally got the courage to tell my husband that I want a divorce after finding that he had video cameras placed in my car, the bathroom:( bedroom, who knows where else, without ever collecting any evidence against me. He believes, me not wanting intimacy is due to me ‘cheating’ and can’t accept that it might have to do with his alcoholism and emotional abuse. When I communicated to him that I want a divorce, he immediately made a 360 change for a month or so, now is back to his typical angry and jealous fits.
I had made the decision to wait until I am financially stable and have things figured out, but this is so hard. So confused, asking myself constantly whether I really heard from God about leaving him. Trying to maintain a prayer life with the Lord, when I am so broken and out of words, trying to continue to smile for the sake of my girls, trying to go to work and stay positive to those around me, trying to give my husband grace even when he doesn’t deserve it. I’m exhausted, how will I ever find enough energy and clarity to leave, to have a healthy plan for my girls and myself, to make faith based decisions that won’t be confronted with angry fits and retaliation from my husband or manipulative and confusing turns in behavior that fill me with guilt. What a life to live. This is not what God wants, how do I just leave? Lord, please help me to hear your voice in all of this chaos and confusion that is my life.
You might need to leave before the confusion dies down. Sometimes when you are in the presence of chaos, the only way to gain clarity is to leave the chaos. Is it possible?
Leslie you are right in saying we may need to leave before the confusion can lift…. This was the case for me. The relief was instant, which also brought a peace that confirmed that it was the right thing to do. The confusion began lifting almost immediately as i had space and time to KEEP MY HEAD CLEAR.
More clarity (more pain) and more strength came as the full extent of my “false life” and his “fabricated image” was being revealed by God, over the next 18 months.
Overall we had 27yrs together. 25 of them i was living with false hope (in him changing/”it getting better” and me “being good enough”/ making him happy/love me). 13 yrs were his crazy making (=1complete mental breakdown) HIS WIN!!! +14yrs systematically abusing with mental destruction as the goal and (self-destruction) intended, leading to a suicide outcome.
Within 10 months of hearing God’s voice for the first time i was led to discover the reason. He had NPD!! I WAS “SICK”BECAUSE OF HIS TACTICS & STRATEGIES. (JOHN 10:10). MY VICTORY!!!!
I LOCKED MY DOOR, WITH HIS SUITCASE AND HIM AT THE OTHER SIDE, 4 MONTHS LATER!!!! “Christ in me” gave me the strength to follow God’s leading with MY Abrahamic faith!
The truth set me free!(3yrs ago)!!!
AND STILL questions remain…
When will my love for him diminish?Will I ever stop loving him?
Why do I still experience days (TIMES) of confusion/ doubt / SADNESS & EVEN yearning sometimes, despite knowing the TRUTH?
Was his “good” a lie too? & Our “good times”?
Why do i still believe God can and Will change him, bring him to his knees, transform him and restore us?
Do I really want him back? Or do i just want him to “feel sad” & be truly sorry for the damage, pain, and upset he’s caused?
Or do i want him to feel sorry for me and my (kids) broken family?
Is this false hope, self – pity & co-dependency or real trust and faith in God?
How can i know the difference between false (NO) hope and trust in a God that can do ANYTHING?
HOW CAN A GOD THAT CREATED THE UNIVERSE NOT BE ABLE TO CHANGE A NPD HEART TO HIM?
ladies, I realky would appreciate help in trying to answer these questions.
Is this all par for the “recovery” course?
Janet, have you done any co-dependant work? Have you read the book co-dependant no more? I applaud you for leaving!!! Yet, feelings for your abuser seem to be lingering. I wonder if you are getting the chance to work on yourself, because logically, there is no reason to have feelings or attraction to a person who abuses you. This seems blunt but we don’t have time to dance around these issues. We have lost so much of our God given life in the grasp of evil that it is not worth wasting another minute under that spell.
Janet, Do you have a recovery group around you, like a Celebrate Revovery Group or a Co-Dependents Anonymous ? In the midst of all of this it is imperative to surround yourself w the truth speakers, the understanders, those who are educated in these arenas — who get it.
Immersing yourself in good books on detachment was immensely helpful to me as well — The Language of Letting Go by Melodie Beatty was a treasure.
Knowing that the enemy loves to keep us in confusion and fear. It helped me to remember initially that my mind ‘S patterns of thinking needed serious renewing in order to receive the gift of “broken chains” of redemption.
I encourage you to find your tribe, seek the peace that He promises is there for you, and spend lots of time at His feet receiving YOUR healing … just yours for your issues. It is there. He is making all things new — for you, His beloved bride.
I’m waiting for my hearing on Thursday. I’ll see if I get the two year protective order and figure out time with the kids. I have no income, far away from family (yet they are very supportive) and if I don’t get the two year then I don’t have a home either. I am terrified. I have no outward bruises but the victim role my husband plays is deep and really twisted. I have doubts and I have guilt but there is a voice that I hear deep within that tells me “I got you, you will be ok.” I tried getting a job and advocating for myself but in the toxic environment I was withering away– literally down to 100lbs. You can’t make flowers grow in toxic soil. It’s like trying to sit and have a cup of tea while your house is burning. I don’t know what will happen Thursday but I am praying that my ball of nerves will be able to get up and testify and his victim mentality will be clearly seen through. He’s sad bc he misses the kids and his family but he is not broken and repentant. May the light shine brighter and the darkness be evident.
Marie, I have prayed for you and for Thursday. I have asked the Lord to bring you to mind these coming days that I might continue to do so. May God be with you.
Thank you, this rough tears to my eyes as the day gets closer. Psychologically I feel like a rollercoaster of seeing darkness and light clearly and then pass into doubt and am convinced I will to be homeless and need to find a job today. Trying to rest in my saviors arms during unrest. Thank you again and again!
Marie, how are you? I am still praying for you.
Add me to the prayer warrior list! Courtroom are scary places. I have been there to get not one but two PFA’s. May I suggest that you consider bringing any emails that were creepy. The judge was going to decline my PFA request and then my lawyer showed her some emails. The judge read the emails and said, “He is creepy.”
Unless you have lived this stuff, no one knows how horrible and scary this is!! We are with you sister. I can only say, my worst fears never happened. In fact, life got much, much better.
Marie, I am in the Throne Room today on your behalf Calling forth your protection, your clarity of mind, your peace (the signature of God’s perfect love) over you as well as in the days ahead. I have been there. I know. He has been there, He knows and has the power to secure the outcome. Stand there and put the enemy back in his place. Do you have someone (that truly gets this) that can accompany you to court? That is hugely helpful. I have gone both unaccompanied and accompanied. The support is unquestionably helpful. Praying for the Lord to raise up that person for you before the end of the day.
I have the chills after reading your responses. Being surrounded by prayer and having the support of family and friends has been my lifeline. The Lord has been kind and I pray that my anger at the injustice and the life of me and my kids is greater than the ball of nerves and pit in my stomach. My parents and some friends will be there. The enemy is truly evil and I was naive to this my whole life. Now I’m realizing we truly live in a broken world (and the church isn’t much help for this place). I do not have emails or bruises but a year of words and actions recorded on paper. Praying the light will be so bright that darkness will have no room to stand. So deeply thankful for your prayers and willingness to stand along side one another.
Continuing in prayer today. What time is your court date tomorrow. Ladies, can we agree to bring Marie and her situation to the Throne Room tomorrow at the appointed time. Just write a quick response letting her know you are standing and covering her tomorrow. That Jesus, her advocate, would be moving and putting all the pieces in place for His favor to be executed upon her. He is a mighty God, there is none like Him. I ask Him to unleash and open the floodgates of protection, clarity and blessing and favor and His peace upon her. That His peace would pour out to cover and guard her in mighty and unprecedented ways. We are grateful to call on His ever helpful presence in our time of trouble and thankful for the mighty works in advance that He is going to do for her and Her children. Amen … selah.
Let us know, Marie, what time Thursday and how it goes. We are here.
Marie you are brave. I will also be in prayer for you tonight and tomorrow. As your court appointment approaches meditate on who and who’s you are. God is good, he will be good to you and will not leave you. Draw close to him and he will draw close to you. Trust in Him, he will not let you down. He has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7
Keep your eyes and hope in Him who is able, He promises “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,…”
You are dearly loved.
Marie, do you feel comfortable sharing what transpired at the hearing? I’ve thought of you several times, praying for you now.
Thank you for your prayers! Psalm 51 and Psalm 3 wrapped around me. And yet I have to wait till another day to go back to court bc my husband did not have a lawyer present and decided to prolong the emergency order of protection. Ladies in these last few days I have been slapped in the face with life lesson after life lesson. If he really wanted to see the kids he would’ve had a lawyer present and my heart breaks and momma bear is coming out of her shell. He gets visitation with them for way too many days and I caved on too many things. I was somewhat floored that he didn’t have a lawyer and in shock because he told everyone he did. In the end i see it was all planned and got what he wanted– weepy and all (the victim role was so powerful and even I almost and did fall for it at times). Ladies I need to gear up again for what is ahead with the next court date and be on my toes– this sucks but I don’t feel like I have time to dwell in the whoa is me but I need to buckle up bc after this past week I think I’m in for a bumpy ride. Thankfully I serve a God that goes before me and loves me and has covered me fully with his blood. I’m so thankful for you all.
Yes! In Him there is ALWAYS the way out … He’s promised that to us with every temptation of ugly that stands before us (in court rooms, in the Goliath’s via the way of our husbands), and it is an honorable way. I am PRAISING that you saw it … and were brave enough to stand in it during your time in the courtroom. PRAISE JESUS!!
He knows, He sees, He is not about to start losing battles now.
Please continue, as you feel led, to let us know when you are going back to court and how we can bring you into the Throne Room with your requests.
Ladies, we have a sacred privilege and a sacred space here. To fight on the front lines is a privilege (I often think of it as akin to being selected to Army Ranger or Navy Seal level of faith). Let’s honor that precious bond by fighting like they do ~ always faithful … To God, To Our Sisters in need, and to Ourselves!
May I ask if you all see yourselves as warriors? What does that look like to you?
Thank you Dawn! The church hasn’t gotten it and that’s a whole other story and so I’m thankful for pockets of this, where people understand and are willing to fight along side of each other. My date is December 1st unless he bumps it up. Currently the kids see him 4 days a week (I should’ve said no, bc the temporary schedule is so hard on them and it wasn’t me who didn’t have a lawyer…this is one major point that allows me to see the abuse and manipulation more clearly and makes me angry cry sad for my children). Thank for standing with me and being an ezer as we fight darkness.
Coming this am to ask again for your prayers as I head into what I am hoping can be the final mediation on my divorce at 9 am est. I covet those prayers specifically for the following. That I give an accurate representation of Christ today. My heart is asking for the heart of my husband to be softened towards Him for the healing of his relationships with children. That all information necessary for a fair settlement that is currently hidden can be revealed. That the legal / forensic / mediating teams will possess the discernment and the wisdom of Solomon. That my heart and soul and mind would be protected. And most of all, and the hardest of all, God’s perfect will be accomplished today.
Believe me when I tell you I am asking that it include an equitable settlement so this can be finished — and that would take a God sized movement. Thank you, sweet sisters. I am ever grateful for this tribe.
I had commented yesterday but don’t see it here, so forgive me if it shows up twice! I was married for 30 years to an alcoholic and sex addict (porn lust, emotional affairs). I did not leave, thinking that praying, begging, etc would change him. Even our small group prayed over us. Twi years ago I walked I to our office with a 10 year old neighbor girl to find him doing porn on a large computer screen. She saw it before I could shield her. At THAT VERY MOMENT God said, “NOW, Heather.” When he failed to repent or show remorse, I filed for divorce that week. Two years later i am happily single and no longer under bondage. What I had thought was living out my vow to the Lord in the marriage covenant was actually, for many years, denying reality out if fear and confusion. I now pay close attention to what the Lord is saying , and OBEY. I praise Him for loving me and forgiving me for not acting sooner. We have a good good Father!
So glad you heard him. Sorry your comment somehow got lost the first time.
I know, but if you ever see those things popping up again, or any of you, please e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org as we want them taken off asap. Frustrating.
Leslie, I will. I know now that to even see if things have popped up, I have to go into the “Quarantine” area of the malware scanning softwares on my PCs. That is where those threats get quarantined. Thankfully, it is clean now. i.e. “no threats detected.”
This takes my breath away.
It’s been almost 10 years since I made the messy, unimaginable exit from my marriage. I will have to deal with the consequences for the rest of my life.
Nothing he ever said, or did to me, during our 35 year marriage, justified what I did to him by having an afffair (his words).
The affair occurred towards the end of our marriage, when my level of contempt and disrespect for a verbally abusive husband, reached an unbearable pinnacle.
I left. I went back, 3 times. We counseled with well-respected Christian leaders. My children disowned me. My Christian friends literally turned their backs on me.
He has since remarried to a “fine Christian woman”. He remains a well-respected pillar in the church community. In his children’s eyes, he does no wrong.
In my heart, I still struggle with anger, regret, shame, guilt and jealousy. She has the husband I always longed for; for I do believe he changed & now cherishes his new wife in the ways I prayed for. I have to be around them at functions for the grandkids, and it’s always a punch in the gut. The younger grandkids struggle with figuring out who I am and where I belong……..,.,……..ramifications…………
Leslie, you are truly a light in the dark wilderness. I am so thankful for your courage, which provides hope and clarity for so many women who struggle in these confusing relationships.
Heather & Pat, Your comments are powerful! So powerful. They show us both the cost and power of redemption, and the depths of hell that Christ goes to free us. Our freedom is a bloody and brutal process. Oh Jesus, your grace is both free and costly. Thank you for the radiance that eliminates our shame when we look to you according to Ps. 34:5. Oh Pat, I ask the Lord to annoint you with His continued healing power and redemption to eliminate the actions of a painful past. I know them all too well. One of the things that the Lord showed me as He was healing me was sometimes we are called to walk back to the past (social functions, etc. where you see all of this), but we are only called to walk there as visitors … free to leave at the end of the night. We are no longer called to dwell there as residents. We are no longer slaves to the bondage of that place. He broke the yokes of that so that we are now free to walk with our heads held high (Lev. 26:13). I am asking that the Lord give you the freedom of the woman at the well and the joy that overflowed from her as she acknowledged her past and moved forward in His love for her ~ no longer bound!
Beautiful thoughts and truths, Dawn. Thank you.
Pat, I think you have to release yourself from the thought that your x-husband changed. The fruits of the spirit are easy to fake. He has gotten better at how to manipulate people by what he learned over time did or did not work with you. His current wife is being manipulated too. Don’t believe for a minute she is not. Give this relationship time for her to figure it all out. You on the other hand can purge yourself of this guy and move on. As long as you ruminate on this stuff you have no room in your heart and mind for healthy thinking. God did not love anyone more or better and answer your prayers for them to benefit. That is just to twisted to make any sense. I suggest a review of the old song from the musical Oklahoma..”I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair.” as a mantra. Be done with him. Move away, join a new church and make a new circle of friends who don’t know your past and embrace life with vigor. What have you always dreamed of doing and haven’t let yourself? Have you read “The Last Lecture?” It is about living fully and reconnecting with your dreams.
Here is our smile for the day ladies. A clip from the musical Oklahoma.
Musical is South Pacific NOT Oklahoma. Sorry!!
Thank you for your comments, which were quite ironic, since I recently saw “South Pacific”!
I know you are right, I do get caught up in “ruminating”, and it’s hard to stop, but I am getting better at recognizing it, and I tell myself “you don’t have to go there. Stop it”.
I believe it’s going to be a lifelong struggle to silence 40 years of his sarcastic, cutting, shaming, humiliating words. But, I do find myself marveling at the peace and contentment I feel at times.
My adult children will NEVER understand, and I’m ok with that now. We have made peace with the situation.
My grasp on reality, when feelings try to control me, is the very real knowledge that there are so many women who have to deal with the same issues: controlling husbands, misguided church leaders, self-righteous “friends”, feelings of deep shame, fear, threats, shunning, abandonment, etc.
God does work in the background. He will protect. He is the literal light in the darkness. He provides the strength to speak out & stand firm.
This is in response to Free’s question, “What would you tell your younger self?” (my comments sometimes end up at the bottom as stand-alones)
First, I don’t think my younger self would have heeded the advice. My younger self saw occasional signs, but didn’t have the background to see them as red flags. She was desperate for a better life, to be loved, to provide a two-parent family for her children, etc. That need let her focus on the amazing goodness she saw in this man and his family.
If I could go back to the younger me I’d advise her to get counseling (out of the question!), to value her emotions, to relax, to live more and strive less. To trust in her abilities, to live in trust and release fear.
That’s for taking the challenge of reflecting back. For some reason, when I ask myself that it helps give me a great sense of perspective. It also helps we be more merciful to myself. Hindsight is always 20/20 vision. There is no way to know the future, but we can learn from our past. Bless you.
Thanks for answering the question. I find that the exercise of reflecting back has been very beneficial to me. Of course hind sight is 20/20, yet know of us can predict our future. Thinking like this helps me be more merciful with myself and also puts a lot of things in perspective. Blessings.
Thanks, Free. Unless we sift through the rubble of the past … as visitors there, it will keep showing up in our present (and future), just with different faces.
Walk back with the intention of learning, the maliable heart and listening ears with a strong understanding of WHOSE you are. It gives us a different and beautiful lens that way.
There were many disturbing threads in the demise of our marriage. This is only one of them, but it was the final straw.
G was and still is in ministry to international students. When he began in college ministry 24 years earlier (1990), we set boundaries for male/female relationships based on Billy Graham’s boundaries. It was to protect G from temptation, to protect our marriage, and to protect G from false accusations. We had mutually agreed on the need for boundaries and mutually set the boundaries.
I had no cause to worry in that regard until the year 2000 or 2001. Suddenly “Helen” entered the picture. He spent so much time with her. Not meeting with a woman alone in his office (a converted bedroom in our home) was a boundary that had always been respected by G until Helen. He broke it repeatedly and disregarded my concerns. I should have had the courage to bring it to the church, but I was not strong enough or wise enough at the time. She even helped him pack boxes in his office when we moved…even though he knew I was angry with that decision.
After our move to another state, for his “ministry” to international college students, he began going out to lunch with women…another long held boundary was broken. This was even after we had been to counseling and rehashed proper male/female boundaries in ministry.
We agreed that we would write down the male/female boundaries with the help of a third party and it would be signed and dated this time…which we did. When he broke it again, we were already in counseling AGAIN for the growing emotional and psychological abuse. He had been forgiven for story A regarding the broken boundaries. We were working through two articles I had printed from the internet…”What forgiveness is” and What forgiveness is not” .
One day we showed up for counseling and G invents story B which is in direct conflict with story A. I am, of course, so confused by the shifting sands and reoccurring false accusations toward me that I didn’t realize this discrepancy of two conflicting stories until the drive home.
I called G into my office a few days later (while I had a recorder going secretly). I began by reciting story A to him. G said, “Yep, I said that.” Then I recited story B to him, and, again, he agrees that he said that. I give it time for the discrepancies to sink in. When they don’t, I said, “Don’t you see why I might have a problem with those two stories?”
Suddenly, he has a look of alarm and….yep, he invents story C…which in one way or another contradicts both of the previous stories. When I state that I don’t know what to believe when the stories keep changing, he says, “Believe me now.” I dismissed him with a statement saying that I recognized that there are discrepancies and I don’t know what to do about that.
He called an hour later and admits that he had lied. He asked for forgiveness. I refused. He wanted to know why. I said I wouldn’t forgive him until he knew why he lies. He said he had done all the thinking about this that he was going to do.
Later the same day he sent an email with information from an outside source that proved story C was false. G blamed his faulty memory…as per usual.
At our next counseling session, he began talking about the fact that I dared to not forgive him for lying. He told endless lies and I tried to clear them up with truth. G insisted on his lies. Half way through the counseling session, when he had firmly dug his hole with his persistent lies,…yep, I played the recording. The counselor was stunned. The counselor knew G lied, but he justified it because “G has anxiety”. The counselor did not get it that G’s lies were so flagrant and blatant. Meanwhile, G just looked at me and said,” You know when I called to apologize about lying…I was lying.”
That’s when the Lord told me I had done all I could do. That’s when I said I wanted a divorce and I did not waiver. I knew that after having started counseling 16 years earlier…only to arrive at this place of utterly hopeless deceit and zero repentance…there was NOTHING I could do except get away from it. It was divorce or despair. At that point I knew the Lord had granted me the freedom to proceed with divorce.
. . .It would be incredible to find some way to help everyone, in all situations of abuse get to this “freedom to proceed” as you say quicker, instead of after decades and then move on to the real prize: catching it before people even get married so it is avoided very early on. I have a theory I got from listening to a lot of the work of psychotherapists: the truth is in the anomalies and the truth can only be picked up by leaving our God-given rational, critical, logical reasoning abilities set to fully on. For example, when we see contradictions in the Bible, we harmonize them instead of really going about the task of asking “what if?” and this teaches us that anomalies are “no big deal.” . . .Sometime, if you choose, look at the genealogies of Matthew and Luke and note the differences. I know that genealogies are among the least favorite reading for most, but serious anomalies you will find. My whole life all I have gotten is pastors bending over backwards to uphold the illusion that those two genealogies and hundreds of other more serious discrepancies in the N.T. don’t contradict each other. They have been taught to say very clever things, too clever, w-a-y too clever. —And you get very tired of that after a while and begin to really wonder. Suppose it is a real, serious contradiction? How would that have come about? Two different manuscript sources editorially combined? Two different writers’ opinions? But if they’re only opinions, that means they’re not ‘revelations’…I find that very dismaying. . . . .So this is the theory, as ill formed as it is: I don’t think most people can have split personalities, if they are harmonizing and ignoring in one area of their lives, they are doing that in their personal relationships too. The church encourages us to do this after all. That allows them to overlook issues for decades. . . . . Unless, to get through life, we all just have to be willfully blind in lots and lots of areas and we choose the areas. —Anyways, I don’t see any other way to catch this quicker then refining our God-given rational, critical, logical reasoning abilities. . . .What if beliefs about the Bible were a hindrance to really understanding the Bible? “Hmmm… here’s a clear contradiction! But, oh yeah, there can’t be any serious contradictions in the Bible! So I guess they’ll have a clever solution to the riddle when I get to heaven!” What if beliefs about our spouses are functioning the same way (—Oh, they are basically good) and that keeps us from finding out the truth much quicker because we are overlooking all the things that just don’t add up. I often have the notion to set an internal boundary on the amount of thinking I do so I am less confused but that seems to be, as we say in the law, “being willfully blind.”
I read every word of your post. You did a great job of explaining your situation objectively and with gentleness. The audio tape was a good idea!
I hope it isn’t inappropriate, but I laughed at the end. The liar, lied about his lies. How ridiculous is that!!
Tell me, how is your life now?
The kids still want to blame me for administrating a divorce that G chose by his continued choices and actions in spite of my consistently expecting him to tell the truth, keep his promises, etc…you know the normal things one would expect in a healthy relationship. I had clearly communicated in and out of counseling that certain behaviors needed to stop. They only escalated. I had to follow through or I would be as big of a liar as he was and is. Their anger and blame is hard to bear.
Other than that…I am doing great after about a year and a half after the divorce (almost 28 years of marriage). God provides for me in amazing ways including extra tutoring jobs. I can be sick and not be blamed for failing G because I “refused” (couldn’t) do something. I came in from shoveling the snow this past winter knowing that I would not be blamed for “betraying” him because I shoveled the snow. I didn’t have to live with his other psycho games like gas lighting and then saying he must be listening to demons.
Even though I spoke to only a few people, I am amazed at the number of people who surmised a lot. “My daughter was married to some one like G”…or a sister….or a niece. People had come to their own conclusions based on their own experiences with G and the things they observed. There were people who were delighted for me and proud of me. It was and is very validating for me.
I know that I know that I know (not a typo) that I did what I needed to do. I am finally free.
And, it is totally OK to laugh. It was totally ridiculous on his part. “The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.” Psalm 37: 12-13
God even laughs at the foolishness of the wicked.
Lundy has a daily meditations book.
It really does hurt when the kids are influenced by the abuser manipulative tactics. My counselor said to just keep telling the truth and be patient. In time, your abuser will expose himself and reality will win.
i also, like you comment about other people seeing your situation. Healthy people can see the illness. It is just we who are in such situations that have all kinds of excuses for why such behavior is ok, will change, or is really our fault. i say, that although we identify with highly dysfunction people, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to learn how to be healthy. No co-dependant groups for me, I want to be in the company of people who seize the day and celebrate life!
I also agree that God provides in ways you would never anticipate. This isn’t really anything new, but when it happens to you, it is fabulous! Sometimes the gifts are emotional or spiritual rather than financial. He knows what we need and feeds us the food we need. What an awesome God!
Free, I like the way you think. I sense that you are “people watcher” and a ponderer like I am. I value your faithful and gentle spirit. Thank you for sharing with me.
“The liar lied about his lies”
Oh, how I understand. 🙁
One time, I had black and white, unquestionable evidence on a computer and my husband said that even if I took it in somewhere and there was further evidence (of keystrokes and searches), he would still not admit to it.
At least he was telling the truth about that (that he wouldn’t admit to it no matter what). :/
Yes, Content. The depth of inner deception it takes to get to that place of layered is mind boggling. How truly sad.
Thank you for that, Aleea. It’s always annoyed me how the church leaders are ‘willfully blind’ and make excuses for some of the things in the Bible. For example, as a small child I would ask why Jesus said he’d be dead three days and three nights, and even I could figure out that Friday afternoon to Sunday morning didn’t add up. Well, they would say, you know, “Friday, Saturday, Sunday”, that makes three days (um, not really, but only 2 nights for sure). Really. If they would at least have said, “I don’t know, maybe there is something we are missing here”, I would have accepted that. And sure enough, years later I discovered that very likely Jesus was crucified on Wednesday (there were 2 Sabbaths in a Passover week) and rose late on the regular Sabbath (first day of the week he was already gone). I could give lots of other examples, but I’ve learned to say to God, “OK, I don’t get that, what about it?” and then leave it. Sometimes I get the answers, sometimes not for a long time, sometimes not (yet), but it’s ok because the Bible talks about some things being a mystery, and I can accept that and trust.
—Wow, Connie . . . . I never even really thought about that before (—the three nights.) . . .You know something else that is a total mystery to me, the minute, —the very minute someone responds like you responded in kindness and understanding, I realize that really, psychoanalytically, I just want to be healed and loved. I guess I could just ask for that directly if I only knew how, maybe I am too proud to do that. . . . .No one should get me wrong, I still deeply care about accuracy because I think, really correctly/ carefully thinking is the way to avoid harmful relationships but the needs that generate the questions seem so beyond the questions when I look really deep inside when praying. This may sound just crazy but really deep inside I want kindness, caring, forgiveness, love; I may want that more than the truth. . . . And that really makes me worry because lots of “the truth” can’t stand up to serious questioning, research and scholarship. That is why it so worries me when I see the worst of all worlds: abuse plus false hope (—abuse plus untruthful statements). If we never figure out a way to screen for these types of people before marriage, we are left with only a vast damage control operation after lifetimes of abuse. How do we help people think more critically, more carefully, avoid logical fallacies and demand way more evidence so mistakes are not constantly made? I simply do not know how to differentiate between claims made by husbands or the Bible, except via evidence. Evidence that scales with the claims made.
Does anyone have suggestions for good books or resources on the healing process after an emotionally abusive relationship? I am soooo looking forward to healing. I want to rush it but I know this pain will remain for a while. But, oh! I cannot wait for deep healing.
Lundy has a daily meditations book.
Thanks, I’ll look into that.
“The truth will set you free, but first and always, it will break your heart.” Yes, you girls are the truth speakers. You are coming across loud and clear. It wasn’t until God removed my big life … literally closed it down from all the “obligations, commitments, and social pressures” (I will say literally sequestered me away in a Mark 6:31 way alone for 15 months) was I able to clearly see Him and hear His voice in a way that was life altering.
Thank you for being the “truth speakers” girls. I have purposed to use this as Balm of Gilead He designed it to be on the hurting behind me. I encourage you to do the same. You both are wise.
Thank you all for sharing your stories. Thank you all for being truth speakers. For your willingness to walk the painful paths in spite of all that it costs. Yes, one of the most valuable lessons I am learning in all of this is that these lessons are not for everyone but they are for those in these places. The ones of our calling. Just like I cannot relate to the place of infertility (good heavens, I had four kids in five years), I can sympathize with that part of the body. Jesus came with the ultimate truth message and while it was offered to everyone, it was only received by a few. While that grieved Him, it ultimately didn’t alter His course nor did He allow the message to be changed. He just kept giving it out to all who would here.
As far as the children, I get it. I have two who understand (the one’s that currently walk with Christ) and two who are so far away from me. I believe I understand the pain of the words uttered by Christ in Luke 14:26. What are we willing to lay down for Him. I have given those very children to Him. They were His to begin with long before they were mine. I painfully continue to release the outcome, while I rail against the enemy on their behalves. That is where I feel we can find the greatest comfort. It’s where He did.
May we all be speakers and receivers of truth. Standing where He plants us. Extending grace to those around us. Asking for the willingness to be willing in the ugly that He calls us to.
That is my prayer for each of us. That is what I call forward in His healing name.
Amen to all of that 🙂
“It would be incredible to find some way to help everyone, in all situations of abuse get to this “freedom to proceed” as you say quicker, instead of after decades and then move on to the real prize: catching it before people even get married so it is avoided very early on. ”
My mom and I were talking today about the blessings of what we have been through (both of us in emotionally abusive marriages, hers had more of a spiritual abuse dynamic than mine).
Anyway, we both agreed that it was like we were blind to it and then God opened our eyes to it. I have to believe that was God’s timing and sovereignty. I don’t pretend to understand all that and know that I never could. But, I know that I have three children that I love that I would never want to not have. (Excuse my lack of beautiful language, I am typing fast and don’t have a lot of time to compose a well-written comment!) I am pretty sure that if I had married my first boyfriend who really loved me, I think, I would have remained a hypocrite “talking the talk” of a Christian, but I know I really wasn’t one. I went to the far country when I married my husband and got in deep enough sin that I knew I needed a Savior. I’m not sure that would have happened if I had married my first boyfriend. I really don’t think it would have. (God has bound all men over to disobedience so He can have mercy on them all is a verse that comes to mind).
My mom states that she believes she has a deeper walk with Jesus than she would have if it weren’t for her troubled and difficult marriage.
Saying all of that, though, of course, I think we need to shout from the rooftops to those unmarried about red flags and also offer gentle guidance to those in difficult marriages to help them understand they are not to blame for being disrespected and mistreated and abused. To be able to be there as their eyes open and the grief comes….to walk with them as they are ready to take next steps, etc.
That is so good, lots of gems in there. . . .
“. . . . if I had married my first boyfriend who really loved me, I think, I would have remained a hypocrite “talking the talk” of a Christian, but I know I really wasn’t one. I went to the far country when I married my husband and got in deep enough sin that I knew I needed a Savior.”
“. . . My mom states that she believes she has a deeper walk with Jesus than she would have if it weren’t for her troubled and difficult marriage.”
Well, maybe it has to be that way then and go on and on and on but Content, it just seems so, so sad for your Mom and you, even though God used it all to the good, which is wonderful. . . . A child has a greater chance of being abused than burned in a fire. Along with stop, drop, and roll we must teach them to yell, run, and tell and later on teach logic (lots of logic), reason, evidence evaluation, critical thinking to engage with the evidence (not bury red-flags). I do not much trust the pastor who spends all this time trying to inspire -he does not really inspire me- only the man who cares mostly to tell the truth, as hard as it is, whatever it is, as hard as it is. If there’s something you really want to believe, that’s what you should question the most. We do not get victory by struggling to exit an abusive situation, we get victory by refusing to be trapped within one at all.
Anyways, I am so, so glad that all things worked together for good for you and your Mom. Hopefully you have a great relationship with her because it is really true that the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives. I so wish my counselor had been my mother, I just feel like I would be so much healthier. Real love just changes everything. Dr. Meier says to me “Letting go is the hardest thing, but it is the most “real love” you will ever experience.” Wonderful, I bet that is true but what do I need to let go of? I just can’t see it. It is like what I don’t know will have a vastly greater bearing on my life that what I do know.
Have you ever heard the song “No Longer Slaves to Fear” by Bethel? There’s a part toward the middle/end where it talks about God splitting the sea so we could walk right through it and our fears being drowned in perfect love.
Anyway, that song became my anthem last year and going forward. God really did remove a lot of fear that has enabled me to walk forward and take steps through the parting sea. I pray that He does the same for you.
A lot of it became about surrendering all of it to Him. Once I was able to let go of my marriage, my dreams, my relationships with my children, friends, family, the fear seemed to dissipate quickly (that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments that I slip back into the fear again, but it is nowhere near like before). In the end, I know Jesus and His love is enough – no matter what. His perfect love really does cast out all fear.
Yes, . . . . “You split the sea so I could walk right through it; You drowned my fears in perfect love; You rescued me and I will stand and sing I am a child of God.” . . . .Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
“I pray that He does the same for you.” . . . . Thank you so much, Content, prayer is such a wonderful gift that I always am so, so grateful for. I so need prayer. Thank you so much!
“A lot of it became about surrendering all of it to Him. Once I was able to let go of my marriage, my dreams, my relationships with my children, friends, family, the fear seemed to dissipate quickly. . . . .” I really do believe that. . . . if we can wave goodbye to everything and just surrender it all. . .
“His perfect love really does cast out all fear.” . . . . I want that victory too. ―I have been reading this book by Mary DeMuth, Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. . . . “Growth comes from God, to those with surrendered, yielded hearts.” . . . . The whole thing summed up: Never give up, but learn to surrender as well. . . .Content, I can fall into His arms but then my mind starts in on me.
Aleea, you are deep, girl, and I can’t pretend to be on your intellectual level, but I do agree that part of our faith is common sense, too. In other words, taking a step of faith can’t look like me deciding to jump in a car and drive 3,000 miles away (even though that’s very appealing to me right now, haha). That’s just dumb (at least for me – maybe it’s the right thing for someone else!)
I think we have several healthy and rational, reasonable options as we step forward in faith and a lot of times, just taking that step of faith starts clearing up the few options we thought we had. A step here, a step there and suddenly, we start seeing God really clearly shutting doors and opening others.
You know in your heart that it is wisdom that r-e-a-l-l-y matters and so, so many here have that in abundance, including you. “. . . we step forward in faith and a lot of times, just taking that step of faith starts clearing up the few options we thought we had. A step here, a step there and suddenly, we start seeing God really clearly shutting doors and opening others.” That is beautiful. I love that. . .
So it is like I am thinking if I could see I would believe but really it is “believe and you will see” (Stepping out in faith like in Hebrews eleven). . . . We have to take it “sight unseen.” . . . Lord God please tell me, I don’t understand why? Why??? Con men ask us to “just believe.” Abusers ask us to “just trust.” Lord God, I simply want to know How is it NOT a special kind of gullibility? . . .The same kind of gullibility that can cause precious women to fall for abusive men. . . . My counselor says I really do trust God but part of me doesn’t because of my childhood abuse. She says we view God like we view our parents. In fact, she did her Ph.D. on that (How people view God and why.) . . .So, for me, it is like: Lord I believe, help my unbelief. On good days, I start out one step at a time. I decide to trust Him for one little thing, and before I know it, I find out He’s so trustworthy for lots of things. . . On other days it is like. . . Aleea, what is the matter with you (my mother’s voice), selling eternal life is an unbeatable business, with no customers ever ask for their money back after the goods are not delivered. . . . .And yet I understand it: If God is going to write our stories, He’s going to first need our pens.
This got me crying from deep within my spirit. God made it very clear to me a year ago. I moved out for 6 weeks, but returned because things seemed better and mostly lack of faith over finances.
The emotional abuse returned within 6 months. I moved out again. I grew in my faith and understanding of love. I moved back into our home after 2 months and my husband moved in with a friend. We’ve lived separate for almost 4 months now. However, I’ve not been firm in my spiritual, emotional, even physical boundaries during this time. He went so far as to get baptized…I got a little too optimistic in my effort to continue to love and support him. I’m in a place as of today where I’m questioning moving forward with the divorce and trying not to focus on/worry about all the challenges…I want to be obedient. There is such little support.
Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I’m at the point of realizing my situation is emotionally destructive, my husband won’t seek help by/for himself but will inly go to a counselor if we go for couples counseling. I consented to that mainly to give our son the last four months of high school before we separate. I do have a re-evaluation date of June 30th. Is it Biblically okay for me to prepare to leave? Saving cash as i can, making copies of important documents (marriage licence, birth certificates, house and car titles, etc.), setting up a PO Box. I want to be wise and not end ip homeless, or with the short end of the stick. I do hope my husband gets the healing he needs to live a healthy life, but because of his past actions it is a possibility I could come home to find i have just a short time to get my things and leave. Thanks you.