Good morning my friends!
Coach LeAnne here! Fall has arrived in Phoenix! My feeders are still actively nourishing the local hummingbirds, and my hanging flowers are in full bloom as they sway on the back patio. I grew up in Minnesota, moved to California at 19 years of age, and have been out west ever since- I do not miss the cold, the ice, or the gray days… I often share that I have learned that I am indeed a solar-powered human! The sunshine feeds my soul and spirit in ways some of you may understand. To our Midwest friends and followers- I send you warm love and sunshine!
As I journey this life and share conversations with amazing humans, I have become acutely aware of how many of us are longing for deep and real relationships that include the freedom to share what matters most. Relationships. The more I connect, coach, serve and listen in, the more impassioned I become to raise awareness and advocate for those whose voices have been silenced by fear, sin, and secrets.
Betrayal, abandonment, pornography, rejection, addiction, and emotional abuse is impacting our culture in ways that are destructive and paralyzing. Perhaps like me, you have made or been on the receiving end of a phone call or text message from a friend, coworker, or family member who is navigating a very challenging or destructive relationship. Many have been awakened to the shocking ways that domestic violence can show up in a relationship. These relationship truths have been a wake-up call for many. The time is now to say NO MORE ABUSE! Today, we will lean in and share some thoughts together. Thank you for joining us here in this space.
I know every situation is different but where can our men find help? There is faith-based treatment for alcoholism, drug abuse, and pornography addiction but what about verbal and emotional abuse? What are we to ask them to do? Where can men find help? Who is working on this with the men?
Thank you for your question. I am sure many here in this community have the same ask. You are so right when you say every situation is different. There are resources for the addictions you mentioned. No matter what the resource, and how effective it can be, the man has got to want help. The abuser must want to change. He must be committed and not coerced to seek help, support, and accountability. He must see his healing journey all the way to wholeness.
Verbal and emotional abuse in families, marriages, and in the workplace is nothing new. The Bible does not use the term “verbal abuse,” but it has a lot to say about the power of our words. Proverbs 18:21 states- The tongue has the power of life and death”. Verbal abuse is a weapon in the arsenal of emotional abuse. The ultimate goal is to gain control over someone in order to establish dominance in a relationship.
Verbal abuse is not the occasional blow-up after a bad day or a lack of self-control in the middle of tense moments. Verbal abuse is a pattern of angry outbursts, ridicule, name-calling, mockery, shaming, word-twisting, and more. This abuse robs another human of psychological safety. It is a habit. It is sinful. It most likely will not go away on its own and can escalate into physical abuse. Read that again, please. The cycle of abuse is destructive.
Abusive language has deep and long-lasting effects that can “pierce like a sword”. Proverbs 12:18. The words we speak reflect what is going on inside of us. Luke 6:45 says “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart, The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” There will need to be a heart change.
You wonder- what can we ask the abuser to do? We can ask them to stop the abuse. We can ask them to get help. The choice is theirs. Some will seek help. Many will not. Help is available. Abusers need to own their abuse in order to break the cycle. They must want to receive help to recover. There are safe places to do just that. Ministries such as Men of Peace, have programs and resources to walk with men who desire to recover. My friend and colleague, Pastor Chris Moles has created this program.
The Men of Peace Self-Paced Course is the compilation of all of Chris Moles’ past Men of Peace coaching content plus brand-new material. This course includes more than fifty pre-recorded video/audio lessons spanning ten-course modules and a corresponding PDF workbook. This course will walk men through the three-fold Men of Peace process of Information, Transformation, and Reformation.
This program educates men who are ready to take ownership of their abusive behaviors and surrender themselves fully to the Lord in lasting repentance. Chris Moles is the author of The Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who Use Control and Violence in the Home,
Only Jesus can heal the wounds left by abuse. Many hurting people are waiting for the abuser to repair the damage he has caused. While it is good for the abuser to take responsibility and make amends to those he hurt, it is only Jesus who can heal the wounds. He is very aware of the hurt and the suffering. He promises to comfort, vindicate, and heal. My friend, please do not wait for the abuser in your life to heal for you to rise to wholeness yourself.
We cannot always choose the music life pays for us, but we can choose how we will dance and sing.
Abuse is a small word that represents a huge spectrum and many complexities. Everyone deserves a healthy relationship. If you are experiencing verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, or other violence in your home, please reach out for help and support. No one ever deserves to experience abuse.
Abuse is a learned behavior. Some people witness it in their own families growing up; others learn it slowly from friends, popular culture, or structural inequities throughout our society. No matter where they develop such behaviors, those who commit abusive acts make a choice in doing so — they also could choose not to. Regardless of the circumstances of your relationship or past, no one ever deserves to be abused and you’re never responsible for your partner’s abusive actions.
Feelings of confusion, fear, or anger are normal responses to abuse, but they may also make you feel isolated or like no one will understand. Remember that expert advocates from The National Domestic Violence Hotline are available 24/7 to talk through your situation and help you build a safety plan tailored to your circumstances.
My friends, what other resources and supports and encouragement could you offer up to our sister here?
Leave a Comment
Ask Your Question
Have a blog question you'd like to submit?
My Husband Is On The Spectrum. I Feel Guilty Leaving.
Morning friends, I’ve been practicing living more in the moment lately and I have to tell you it’s freeing. When I can stop worrying about the future or regretting or ruminating about the past, there is a lot to enjoy and be grateful for right now. For example, I was taking a bath, something I…
Please pray for me
Hello everyone, Today instead of answering a reader’s question I want to ask you all for prayer. This month I am over committed and I don’t know how I am going to do everything I need to do with excellence. That’s why I decided to forgo writing a response to one of your questions and…
Is my marriage emotionally abusive?
Question: I’m confused on what constitutes emotional abuse. My husband is a well respected man in our church and community. He doesn’t call me names or curse at me but he thinks he knows best about everything and he believes he should control absolutely everything as the head of the house. I have no say…
Sisters, you can not help or fix your man. He has to seek help on his own accord. This sadly, rarely happens and even if one does engage in counseling, they out talk and manipulate the best of therapists. Many therapists no longer take such clients as it is a near hopeless endeavor and a complete waste of their time. Having said that, any licensed therapist can easily diagnosis the personality disorder that abusers think they hide from others. Abusers behaviors are pathological and untreatable. The chance of your abuser changing the way his mind works is infinitesimal. He jargon and posture may change to make his life easier with you and manipulate you into staying in the relationship for how it benefits HIM. Christian or no Christian in his deepest mind and soul, he believes he is a god until himself, that is narcissism.
Dear ladies. Give up on his nonsense. Take a stand. Grieve the loss. Make a plan. Respect yourself and stop wasting YOUR precious life enslaved by deception and evil.
If your man wants help, there are hundred of therapist to choose from. The point is, he is getting exactly what he wants and always will. He wants to be abusive and get away with it. Anything you say or do won’t change that. The longer you continue to your determent. Most of our abuser’s should be in prison. That is the safest place for them in society.
Also, writer….many of us enjoy the change of seasons and di not care for California or the west. I found you comments about the Midwest inappropriate. Happy Thanksgiving. It is a fabulous uniquely American holiday celebrated throughout the country, not just in states demeaned superior to other states. Ha.
I get what you are saying. The statistics of an abusing husband changing is 1-2%, and that’s with intense therapy of two or more years. Once they think they are losing you, they suddenly want to change. NVM the years you begged for change, tell him you’re separating or divorcing and suddenly he hears you. It can be confusing and deceptive. And going to most Christian counselors, even licensed ones, they don’t see the manipulation going on behind the scenes. I think because redemption is clearly written in most of our hearts, professional licensed Christian therapists believe the person is changing, they believe there is hope. There is hope for 1-2% of the male abusers; not sure of the statistic for female abusers. Scripture says we are to be wise as serpents, we tend to lean more towards innocent as doves and leave out the wise part. Churches and Christian counseling places are not safe for Christian women, they just aren’t. There may be a few safe ones but they are far and few between. We need to deal with the facts and see clearly. It’s best for women to get help for themselves, to set very strong boundaries and receive counseling from someone who really understands the dynamics of abuse. It is better to not focus on him, that’s his work, not yours!!!! NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, he has his own free will and agency. He can hide it for awhile, he can mask it in order to keep you, but most often his heart hasn’t changed. Force him to get help and he is now learning new tricks, tricks that can be confusing. Tricks that can be deceptive. He learns the lingo, jumps through your hoops, learns to do the song and dance of repentance. It’s all a big show. Be still, be quiet, and watch him. You’ll see little true parts shining through. Take mental notes, buy your time and make a plan to get yourself safe. Natalie Hoffman’s Flying Free Program is a great resource and support.
Kaime, that is a shocking statistic of only 1-2% of male abusers can truly change… what is the source of this information?
I believe I heard Chris Moles during the Conquer conference 2020 say that almost no abusive men change. Also, that they must have consequences. So if they are to change, we often must create the consequences. Leslie advocates creating consequences. But, you have to be learned on the issue of safety because then the abuser is very likely to get more abusive so you need a way to say safe, hence the safety plan. I hope this helps
We were very blessed to have Chris speak at our 2020 conference! Healthy Boundaries with healthy consequences help to build healthier relationships.
Thank you for sharing,
Yes- no safety- no trust. No trust no safety. Boundaries are so helpful for our wellbeing. Following through with consequences when necessary is a key piece of the work.
Please get support for each step you take! You are worthy and so valuable:)
Thankful for your thoughts. There are now many who are speaking out against abuse of all
Kinda! Thank god for that. Natalie has great resources. We appreciate her.
In addition, we have some group coaching opportunities coming up beginning in January for women who are ready to be Empowered to Change! Empowered to change not their mates, kids, parents or coworkers, but themselves! To God be the glory. We will move from breakdown to breakthrough! Amen!
All that you wrote is true.. Is this abuse Aldo including Unfaithfulness? Just found out My husband
Has been unfaithful for 38 years of our niw 42 yr marriage.
He has check all the boxes become more knowledgeable in the counceling sessions and learn to manipulate the councelor .and me . He claims .. I sm NIT doing anything anymore , can we just move on..
comments please , help please .. afraid to leave , where do I go , ?
Joann, you ask for comments. I would suggest you start gathering information. Assess your finances. Secure a job and consider where you could live. See a lawyer. Seek resources on abuse. Don’t make any moved until you have educated yourself and created a support team. Start journaling either in writing or via video diary. Reading back your notes can help you see your situation from a different perspective. Adultery is grounds for divorce. You deserve to be treated with respect. It is unlikely he will change. He had 42 years to show you a better man. The truth is, he is a bad partner, did not keep his vows and can not be trusted.
Good Morning Autumn,
Happy Thanksgiving to you. Thank you for sharing your voice and thoughts. Abuse is never okay. Some will choose to remain abusive. Others will do the bare minimum, and their lack of commitment to wholeness will ripple effect. And, some will heal and restore their relationships.
We are so grateful there are skilled therapists, coaches, pastors, and ministries that understand abuse of all kinds and see though the clouds of disruption and destruction. There is training available for those people helper that want to grow in this area. It is always wise to seek out professionals who are domestic abuse aware…much harm has been done when hearts and lives have been dismissed and misled.
I too love the change in seasons, we cannot have without the other… each one is celebrated and held dear in my heart!
Ho do we know 100% what we are dealing with is emotional abuse? That’s my struggle of over 31 years of hearing my Pastor husband primarily talk about the things I’m doing wrong and taking know accountability – has caused me to hide things I want to do while pretending to follow – needless to say that has caused a world of trouble and endless conversations about how I’m not the model of a Godly woman.
How about just notice how you feel? I don’t know if you need to label it “abuse” for you to say you don’t like the way you’re being treated. Try naming the specific behavior. Such as, “I feel disrespected when you tell me to shut up” or “I feel confused when you tell me you didn’t agree to something when I know you did.” or “I feel devalued when you give me the silent treatment when I do something you don’t like.” etc. Then if he doesn’t care about the impact of his words on you and his actions on you, I think that’s the thing you can present to your pastor. I don’t think I can live with a person who doesn’t care how his behavior impacts me. And I”m not willing to lose my health or mind trying to get him to change.”
As noted abuse is a very small word in a very complex situation. Likewise, emotional abuse is an even narrower word to describe a very complex emotional situation. Any word, action or deed that impacts you emotionally is going to be abuse. The death of that emotional abuse needs to be evaluated by a professional.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4–8a (ESV) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
When a word, action or deed impacts you emotionally, you need to line it up with 1 Corinthians. If the spouse W/A/D aligns itself with the scripture, it could be that you have taken it out of context, and maybe you need to think about it differently. However, it is my experience that we are manipulated to believe we are the problem when in fact, they’re W/A/D are in direct opposition with scripture.
So in any given situation, ask yourself, did those words rejoice with me? Were those words arrogant or rude? Were the actions patient or kind? If you answer no and those feelings do not line up, it can be emotionally abuse. Keep in mind it could be an occasional occurrence or it can be a habitual pattern of behavior. Again, this is a very small word in a very complex situation.
Are you saying, then, that there is simply no hope? Even for a man that is sincerely trying, but can’t figure out HOW to change? The biggest impediment I find is, ironically, the scriptures themselves. It is as if God gave men (our God ordained leaders) enough rope to hang themselves. Especially if a man tends toward an authoritarian mentality that they sincerely believe that God has assigned to them. I do NOT understand how to overcome this fallacy in understanding, no matter how hard I try. And I don’t mean only in him (who I cannot change) but in ME because I simply don’t find a scriptural way out of what he is saying … that HE has a God given responsibility to keep me “in line”. And he cannot shirk his responsibility to God (according to him). I can understand how it seems impossible for a therapist to work with this type of man. Mine won’t either.
There is NO scripture that says that HE (your husband or any other person) has a God given responsibility to keep you or anyone else in line. Men that are like this twist the Word to fit their unGodly agenda.
Jesus sets the example, He didn’t treat woman or anyone else in a controlling (keep you in line) way. He did however, rebuke those who did try to (the religious heretics of his day)
Thank you Pastor Jon for standing in agreement with our position of “No More Abuse”. I pray other pastors will seek wisdom and learning in this arena. One conversation at a time will empower others to stand with us and become abuse informed, and honor the voice of the oppressed. There is hope and healing for those who desire it. It takes work and we cannot do that work alone.
Thanks for that comment. May I ask what church you are pastor at and do you believe in divorce for these types of abuse?
That is warped Christian thinking, twisted scriptures. It took me four years and lots of therapy to rewire my thinking; I thought he had a God given right to keep me in line and didn’t see the abuse. Once I did, it was a process for me to
see scripture the way God meant it to be. It is NEVER his God given authority to keep his wife in line. Read the scriptures about how a husband is to treat his wife, then use that lens to see everything. If he is behaving ungodly, controlling , unkind, you are not supposed to submit to that. That would be helping him to continue in sin. Read what scripture says about husbands, It changes everything. Read up on domestic abuse, your eyes will see clearly. Cling to the facts. Power, control, manipulation, demanding sex, controlling finances, never listening to your needs, treating you like a child and not an adult, not respecting you, not listening to what you feel and think-all if this is abusive. And some Christian men cross over in to physical abuse as well and justify it. None of this is God’s view of a loving marriage like He intended. None of it. Set firm boundaries and cling to the facts, this helps with cognitive dissonance-when you struggle to see clearly. It takes awhile and a lot mental work to flush out doubts. I get it, it was such a struggle for me. Constantly questioning yourself, telling yourself maybe it isn’t so bad, maybe I’m being too harsh, too demanding, maybe I should learn to be quiet and submissive, maybe he’s trying and I’m expecting too much. NOPE, listen to your gut.
I believe there is hope. If someone truly wants to change. If they take full responsibility to clean up their side of the street and if they are committed to working all the way through the messy middle to the vulnerable victory found in Jesus and His mighty resurrection power. There is power released when the focus is on Christ.
There is hope for you Jodi. Only you can change your life. Your abuser will change and develop more creative ways to get what he wants, which is yo control you and others. Yes, there is no hope for him. Best to cut your losses and realize narcissistic and misogynistic abusers are incapable of empathy and respectful partnership. People are useful to them for a variety of reason. They cycle over and over in a predictable and scientifically proven behavioral cycle. Like other incurable pathologies, the understanding of such a serious diagnosis is difficult to accept. It becomes even more complicated for victims to process this truth because the affected individual is deceptive. You probably know many of the behavioral symptoms such as gas lifting, crazy making and recruiting a flock of “flying monkeys.”
Jodi, if you are living with such an individual, there is no hope of them changing. Don’t waste your time with trying to get your abuser to change or come to Jesus and repent. It is not going to happen. They may fake and lie about such an experience to string you on, but remember, all people are just around to prop up his ego. You don’t matter. Your kids don’t matter. Nobody matters unless he thinks they are useful to HIM. Such is the insane thinking of those on the Narcissism Spectrum.
I was married to an abuser In every way possible for 33 years Autumn you are so correct about how you described the abuser. I freed myself in 2003 and have never regretted it.
The Jews, because of their God given responsibility to “Have no other God before Me”, were absolute in rejecting God incarnate because they did not consider Psalm 2 and 22, Isaiah 7:14, 9:6>, and 53, etc, etc. Perhaps Husbands conveniently choose their absolute stance, rejecting the whole counsel of God, as Leslie clearly expounds. Shalom!
According to Zachariah there are people who have hurt other people so much that when they call out to God for help He will not listen to them. It does not sound that different from the idea that if a husband does not treat his wife well then his prayers will go unanswered.
I once read out Proverbs One in a pastoral counselling meeting and had someone shouting no no no because she did not want to admit that there are times when God gives up on people.
God is slow to anger but He does get angry with those who abuse others and they take the consequences in this life.
My very emotionally abusive father-in-law passed away a year ago today. My husband and his sisters (and his mom, they were divorced) prayed for their father/husband to come to the Lord for many years. I believe that their prayers were likely unanswered because their hearts truly did not belong to God. They are all more covertly abusive in the same way that their father was and they all enable poor behavior, but think they have nothing to change and it is everyone else’s duty to change to fit their molds. I agree with you that until someone is ready to admit they are wrong and truly repent and rebuild, we have to leave them in God’s hands. You cannot have the best of both worlds, choose one or the other. You may lose a much, but gain so much more. Once I finally said “no more” to the craziness of the family, I mostly have peace in my life.
Thanks for your sharing Susan- we can all benefit from he wisdom of Proverbs-
“These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent! Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death. Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take. Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.” My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths. They rush to commit evil deeds. They hurry to commit murder. If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away. But these people set an ambush for themselves; they are trying to get themselves killed. Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life. Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: “How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise. “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you— when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you. “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.””
Proverbs 1:1-33 NLT
Live this! Thank you LeAnn!
Thank you for your encouragement and confidence. I love and appreciate your heart. The Lord is using you in mighty ways.
Dear Beautifully broken,
Covert abuse is so destructive. I am so sorry for all
you have gone through. I see and hear you. I feel your pain. I am so grateful to hear you that are now experiencing more
peace. May God continue to fill you with supernatural grace and strength!
Called to Peace Ministries now has a program for abusive men as well.
Also, on the question of whether it’s even possible for these men to change: I think it depends partly on what is driving them. I am one of the women whose husbands truly did change for the better. It can happen. Sometimes there is a mental condition or neurodiversity at the root of sone of their behaviors, and they just don’t realize how destructive they are. When we begin to show them and stand up for themselves, people like that can get it.
Good point R. I am familiar with the program you mention. Neurodivergence is treatable. Narcissism Spectrum to (NPD) and psychotic episodes are not curable diagnosis. Most abusers have the later. Your husband’s symptoms were not related to abusive behaviors, rather they were cognitive deficiencies which were correctible once recognized and addressed. Perpetrators of domestic abuse have different motivation as you say, evil plays a large role in abuser’s personality disorder.
Agreed. But sometimes women don’t know whether it’s abuse or something else like neurodivergence or mental illness. That’s why the boundaries can help. Once you start standing up for yourself, if the guy sees and take responsibility, things can change. If he’s being a controller on purpose, you’ll know that, too, by how he responds to those boundaries.
We Love and appreciate Called To Peace! Such a wonderful supportive ministry! Serving so many with advocacy and more!
God truly did a work in my husband and took blinders off his eyes to see his chronic abusive behavior patterns. He decided he wanted to change, not for us and our relationship, but for himself. Our marriage was practically non-existent (we had been living separately for two years) and he was destroying himself and truly didn’t want to be this way anymore.
My counselor recommended a group called Marked Men for Christ (https://www.markedmenforchrist.org/) and he attended the Phase 1 weekend. It was truly life-changing. After over 10 years of professing faith in Christ (including graduating from seminary) and many counselor and therapists he was delivered from demonic possession and his eyes were opened to see that he had never loved Christ or accepted Him as Savior. He made the decision to follow Christ and has truly become a new creation.
Like many are saying, a lot came down to him having that internal motivation and desire to change. But beneath and within all that was God choosing to move, after so many years of praying.. Stay strong and “put your hope in God,” not on any man. He can do whatever He wants to do.
If there are any mean truly seeking help I highly recommend the Marked Men for Christ resource. An incredible group of men who are very engaged and invested in each other, and the process and community continues fast beyond Phase 1.
Thank you for sharing your experience. So grateful to hear another side to the story!
Thank you so much for sharing your relationship restoration journey. To God be the glory. It’s hard work you both have done.
I have been in an abusive marriage for 7 1/2 years and am now really realizing that he is narcissistic. It’s devastating. My husband went to marked men for Christ about 4 years ago? He came back and for the first time I thought there was hope…..Nope…..That lasted about 2 months and he fell back into the same cycle again. There is always and epiphany about God and that he doesn’t’ need counseling because God is healing him. Anyway, I am glad your husband was freed from his bondage.
How does a believing spouse cover an unbelieving spouse?