Fred and Marie, A Case Study

Morning Friends,

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. They blessed me deeply.

This week I’m going to do something a little different. You know the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words? How about one video? I’m posting a short 15 minute French video (with English subtitles) for you to watch this week. Instead of me answering a question, I want you to answer some questions.

Here’s what I want you to pay attention to:

1. In what ways did Fred undermine Marie’s sense of confidence?

2. How was Marie’s freedom to choose limited by fear of Fred’s reaction?

3. What were the elements of confusion and crazy-making that you noticed? What kept Marie drawn in to maintaining the relationship with Fred? What gave her the courage to be herself?

4. Did you notice any similarities to your own marriage or relationship?

FRED et marie (English subtitles) from fredetmarie on Vimeo.

Post your responses here and let’s get a good dialogue going.


  1. Tanya on May 7, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I love that this is in French. Who knew I could do some counseling in my second language. Merci beaucoup.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 7, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Abuse is abuse in any language.

  2. stacy on May 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    wow, great video, so hard to watch. Two things really stood out to me.

    The first is that abusers use different methods of control but what was eerily similar was how they tell you and others how much they love you while at the same time doing the opposite of loving actions. My husband has many people convince of how much he loves me and misses me and during out marriage would often tell people how much he loved me.

    The other thing that stands out to me is how ‘friends’ try and get the woman to stand up for herself. That is where Leslie’s article ‘A special word to people helpers’ is so important, so that we don’t add to the persons problems while thinking that we are being helpful.

    Thanks for posting the video, wish i had cut enough connections with mutual friends to post it on facebook. I’m not afraid but don’t really want to start the he said, she said on facebook. I will try and put in on pinterest so i can use it as a referral resource to people who might be interested.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 7, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks Stacy. Don’t fret about not making it “public” Those in destructive marriages feel a lot of shame as well as pressure not to bad mouth their spouse. I get it. I just posted this video so those of you who see yourself in Marie’s eyes can see that you don’t deserve to be treated this way.

  3. amber on May 7, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    he never hit her, but then at the end it says “end domestic abuse” Is it domestic abuse?

    • Leslie Vernick on May 7, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      Do you think it’s abuse that someone would diminish your personhood? In a second video there is physical abuse, but I wanted to show the subtly and reality of emotional abuse.

      • amber on May 8, 2014 at 7:27 am

        I don’t know. I think this looks like Biblical submission.

        • Leslie Vernick on May 8, 2014 at 7:30 am

          Do you think this is how God wants Marie to live and how God wants Fred to treat Marie?

          • amber on May 8, 2014 at 8:37 am

            well, it’s not good. It’s not her fault he acts like that. She can stay or go, but she can’t fix him. If she’s married most Christians will tell her to stay and submit. So it looks like she is submitting and he gets away with it. Like a slave and a slave master.

            Everyone feels bad for her, the same way everyone feels bad if your spouse gets cancer.

            No one can “fix” it. and anytime he says “sorry” everyone will think he has reconciled. Like a dog returns to vomit, so a fools returns to folly. In abuse and habitual sin people helpers really have to be wise as serpents.

            It’s an injustice, and it’s crummy but most (Christian) outsiders just seem to instinctually put the sanctity of marriage above the life of the wife. So she will probably be invalidated emotionally if she tries to share her story, and told to go home and submit. Does that make her the fool returning to folly?

          • Mel on May 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

            NO that is NOT Biblical submission. She thinks because of what he says she has no choice. Submission is when you want to submit because he is loving and caring about you, not when you are forced to do whatever he says (and especially in a hurtful way) that is not love. Submission is NOT MAKING someone submit to your desires.

        • annette reavis on May 8, 2014 at 9:23 am

          There is Nothing Godly about this.Living in fear of your husbands ranting and mental games is not Biblical and not from God.This husband showed No love at any time.Thank the Lord I know longer believe it’s ok for my husband to do me this way.This is not biblical submission, It’s Abuse and not of God .

          • AJ on May 9, 2014 at 12:43 am

            Amen Amber that is exactly what happens to her. She gets told all of those things. And just like with slavery eventually there will come a time to start addressing the broken system we have with abuse being sanctioned by the church as submission.

        • Anita on November 25, 2015 at 8:23 am

          This is not Godly submisson. Godly submission only works well when the husband loves his wife “as christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. A Godly husband doesn’t necessarily like all of his wife’s friends, but he wouldn’t forbid her to have her over. He wouldn’t choose her dress (he might say she looks lovely in one and less so in another because everyone has their own opinions – but he wouldn’t forbid her to wear the one she wants to wear). And he definitely wouldn’t humiliate her by making fun of her in front of others, or diminish the amount of work she does in private – “you don’t have much to do”. And there’s more – but I will leave it at that. Basically, a Godly husband will never be perfect, he may even make some mistakes and say the wrong thing occasionally (as most wives will too – we are all human) – but his regular pattern would not be one of dehumanising humiliation.

    • Robin on May 10, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      IN my declaration to the court, I listed extensively all the many ways, I was abused in my marriage. In my husbands declaration, he said, “I have never abused my wife.” Domestic abuse from what I have learned, is belittling, criticizing, financially withholding, controlling, threatening, putting his face into my face to try and terrorize me, raging, to name a few. Why do so many think domestic violence is only physically hitting??

      • Dawn on July 30, 2014 at 2:39 am

        It makes it “easier”, for one thing. For abusers, bacause often times, if it is emotional, financial or legal abuse or bullying, they KNOW it is highly unlikely they will ever see criminal (DV) charges. Ex and relatives are commiting/helping to fraud, on the Court. Since most things are considered “civil” unless there is physical involvement, there is no report and no investigation. It makes it easier for authorities that way, too. When the police tell you enough times, “it’s civil; you need to get an attorney,” when he robs you, throws you out, has his brother hide in the house and snatch the (young) children … yells and threatens and the children hide i fear … and you watch him push your daughter into a brief psychotc episode in one of his destructive rages … and you KNOW there is no help, or so little other than the strength God gives … and another day … and you almost wish the next day would never come. So many people believe it because they are (and their children are) sent back to be tortured, deprived, controlled.

  4. Kris on May 7, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Oh goodness, that was hard to watch. I lived that for 20 years, staying because I thought I was doing the right thing in keeping the family together….but the mean comments disguised as jokes, telling her something was missing in the recipe (and all the while he is condemning her, he is cozying up to her making it apparent that sex would be expected at the end of the night), did not like what she picked out to wear, insisted her friends be left out then lying about it, implying there is something improper by her friending his friend on Facebook ….Leslie, I thank you for your books as they have been a big help in my journey of learning how to be healthy and getting out of that life. It has been a difficult road, but I am at peace.

  5. Faith on May 7, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    This video hit too close to home. When I would make a good meal my husband would add more spices and change the dish. I went from dressing stylish to plain jane because he would pick at something about my clothes in a subtle way. Funny thing is, I could pick out his clothes just fine, but, not my own. And Facebook…I don’t understand why a husband would stalk his own wife’s account. If we live together, shouldn’t you be able to talk to me to find out what you need to know instead of analyzing my FB posts. Thank you so much for posting this video…it is a good reminder of the freedom Christ has given me. Praise God for everyone involved with the production!

  6. Rosanne on May 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    They presented the reality really well – the abuser says demeaning, belittling things but they do it subtly and then they quickly tell you they love you, it wasn’t that bad, I’m glad you’re friends with my friends – just enough to make you second guess yourself and your feelings. I’m a smart person with good gut instincts, but after 20+ years of this I didn’t trust myself anymore because of similar types of things happening. My worst fear was that someday I’d find out I was the one who was crazy. Thankfully a friend heard about your book, Leslie, and now I’m back and 100% certain I am sane and strong and making sure I am safe from here forward.

    The way the friend “helped” actually made Marie weaker and left her more vulnerable at the end. I felt worried about what would happen to her after everyone went home. God finally brought a set of pastors into my life who believed what was happening was wrong, but more importantly helped me get strong again. Once I was stronger, I was able to make more sane decisions for myself and believe that I was worth making those decisions for. That was what kept me safe in the chaos and gave me the strength to exit when it was happening, call the behavior what it really was – abuse – and say I would not take it anymore.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 8, 2014 at 7:29 am

      There is a part 2 where Marie does get hit after the party is over. But that is more obvious abuse. I thought they portrayed the subtly and crazy making of abusive behaviors very well.

  7. Brenda on May 8, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Marie was no longer allowed to be a person. She was an object to be used, not loved. That man knew nothing of love. He is a liar, manipulator and oppressive.

    Each thing this woman did was wrong in his view. The food has something missing, she invited someone he didn’t approve of, the dress she picked out was not to his satisfaction.

    This is not biblical submission, it is oppression. It is the invisible prison. Even his compliments are insults. He bangs on the table letting her know just what he is capable of. I can still see X hitting the pillars that separated the living room from the entry way letting me know what he was capable of. It reminds me of the prison God allowed me to escape from.

  8. Amy on May 8, 2014 at 10:43 am

    That was painful and yet affirming to watch. If someone has not experienced this as their reality, I’m not sure how it comes across; I.e. If it is seen as no big deal. But having experienced it, it is so powerful to see this experience as an observer–I can see how wrong it is!

  9. Cindy on May 8, 2014 at 10:49 am

    He does crazy making like no other.

    Act loving, act indifferent, give complement and snide comments all rolled into one. If called out on his rude hurtful comments he would roll back on to the one complement he made.

    Attacks her about having his friend as hers on facebook then does a 180 and says glad he is a friend of hers.

    The way he touches her creeps me out. More a grabbing, controlling than a caress.

    He acts like he is so funny and joking but the digs he takes at her in front of the people are just that he is taking shots at her and if called out he will say he was just joking.

    Her posture, responses are not submission they are the signs of a woman in an abusive marriage, she has no voice, no say, no value, she is an object to him to control and destroy if he wants to.

    He lies about her friends absence at the party, obviously this friend has saw through this guys garbage thus he doesn’t want her around his wife.

    Everybody accepted his behavior and if she responded they would look at her like she was crazy because so many of the things he does are hidden from view and also hidden behind humor.

    She did change her dress due to a friend’s urging but her posture did not change, she knew there was going to be a steep price to pay for the disobedience.

    Most abusers wouldn’t slam their fist down in front of others as they are more in control than that but if they did they would respond as this creep did.

    So glad to be able to see this more clearly than I did in the past.

    • Tanya on May 11, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Perfect, your answer is right on the money.

    • Valerie on May 18, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      The way he touches her was a great point. My H would make demanding grabs at me when it suited him but other times would be gentle- even his touch was crazy making.

  10. Kris on May 8, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Amber….I struggled with the Christian thing too as I grew up in a Southern Baptist church. This is how I look at it…the bible is ok with divorce in 2 instances….infidelity and unbelievers.
    Believers are known by their fruit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. …in the passage in Galatians, the preceding verses call attention to the behaviors of those living in the flesh-jealousy, outbursts of anger, dissentions, immorality, sensuality, drunkenness…..
    A man that behaves as Fred does certainly does not bear fruit of the spirit…so to assess a person according to his fruit is ok and judging by Fred’s fruit, he is an unbeliever….Now we all have a bad day and make mistakes, but I am referring to repetitve patterns. I know God hates divorce, but for a God that loves and encourages love, God does not (in my opinion) intend for a woman to be treated so poorly…….And just remember, consequences to sin is biblical (think God forgave Adam and Eve, but did not let them back in the garden either). Hope that helps. What Marie is in is NOT biblical submission…it is a woman who has been beaten down by a tyrant and is afraid. God does not mean for a woman to submit to that.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 8, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      I agree that Marie’s behavior looked more like fear and intimidation not true Biblical submission.

      • Cyndy on May 14, 2014 at 2:21 pm

        Any time you act out of fear it isn’t biblical submission. As I understand it, biblical submission comes out of free choice.

    • amber on May 8, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      I guess that I have never really seen anything different. my parents, my friends parents, and my husband, and his family, all act like the video (some more than others)… some go to church, some don’t. Just seems to me like once resentments set in the rest is history. I mean people don’t act like that on the first date.. right? But once it starts… I don’t know.

      “try harder” “turn the cheek” “forgive / forget” “you’re not perfect either” “God hates divorce” “just tell HIM you’re sorry that you made him “do xyz” to end the fight, ok”

      Before I got married I would have said that God hates abuse. Now that I’ve lived with this sort of thing for years it just seems normal. Not good. Secretive. but it’s just hard to stay and hard to go. especially with kids.

      I had been waiting for a “final straw” some physical abuse to “make it all clear” (for me and for the people helpers that always tell me to try harder) and boy did I get multiple physical abuses from property destruction to physical aggression. and you know what? Some people helpers still tell me to try harder, or they go silent and walk away from me and refuse to talk to me anymore, now that things have escalated to what I consider “black and white physical abuse”.

      It’s hard to make sense of it all.

      • Leslie Vernick on May 9, 2014 at 7:49 am

        Amber thanks for your honesty and vulnerability. This group is a safe place for you and there are many other women just like you who for them this looks “normal” or even “biblical” because they haven’t known anything different. But please understand this is not a picture of godly headship or godly submission or godly marriage. It’s a picture of bullying and intimidation and a breakdown of the human spirit and will. A very sad picture of a relationship but all too common.

  11. Betty on May 9, 2014 at 2:06 am

    Also, to let the abusive husband carry on in his ways is like encouraging him in his sin. It is sin, ladies and the Lord hates abusive behaviour as much as He hates divorce.
    I didn’t think the friend did anything wrong although I realize poor Marie will now have to be punished for standing up for herself!
    What is worrying me is how her friend said that Marie had changed. I am afraid of changing and i think I have. I used to have a lots of friends and people popping in all the time. Now I have none. Soon I will have the empty nest situation and I find it a frightening prospect. So easy to look at a film and see what Marie needs to do, but its another thing to take a stand oneself!

    • Robin on May 9, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      When the door is open…..for us to walk out of slavery, our lives do change. Old friends don’t understand the ‘new person’ we have become. We are free from abuse and they question what we are doing. But I have found, to go forward. I am in empty nest, and I keep looking for more opportunities to grow as an individual. New church, new friends, new places and things to do. Don’t change and then try to make old things work. Would you really want that. Move forward into the new life God has prepared for you!!!!

  12. Lucy on May 9, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Full-disclosure and honesty time: I could only watch the opening scenes, the crazy-making of the first few minutes was enough and left me feeling really uncomfortable, so I turned it off. Here I am, three years down the road after gaining my freedom from X. I am safe, I rebuilt my life, I feel and appreciate God’s love for me. I found my voice and am enjoying a sense of empowerment I don’t think I have ever truly experienced before. But even with all that, my gut reaction to this video leads me to conclude that perhaps I am not as far down the road as I had thought.

    • Lisa on May 15, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Lucy … You are three years down the road. Father than you were. But still on the path. Give yourself grace! I’m so thankful you are safe with a rebuilt life and are feeling and appreciating God’s love for you. Keep walking – or in the words of Dory from Nemo “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming” in your newfound freedom.

      My gut reaction was so strong too! But isn’t it because we now see the pain and abuse that we were under? It hurts me (and even scares me a little) to recognize it, but it’s so much better than when I was anesthetized but still awake enough to feel the cuts.

      Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability.

  13. Chris on May 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Very good case study. The observations are helpful as well. Fred really does it all doesn’t he? He was calculated and controlling form the first. One thing that stood out the most to me was his responses to her resistance. They were instant. He always had a look, or snarky comment, and then the attention getter at the table. I find that many abusive men are so trapped in their own pride and sense of entitlement that they see resistance as disrespect. Unfortunately, they will settle for fear instead of respect, or perhaps prefer it. I asked myself, how would Fred describe this evening’s events? How would he represent himself, and Marie? How could I help him see the truth? Pride is such a blinding force I suspect he’d take little responsibility for his behavior and probably blame Marie for ruining the evening.
    The second thing that really caught my eye was the man who actually recognized Fred as a problem, but quickly dismissed his concerns with a “thats just the way he is” kind of statement. I thought, I wonder how empowered Marie would feel if the men at the table actually supported her and confronted Fred? Would Fred acknowledge his wrongdoing if the guys took a stand?

    • Leslie Vernick on May 9, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks Chris for your comments. Friends, Chris Moles is my colleague, pastor, and works with abusive men in a batterer’s intervention group. We hope to do some things geared towards helping abusive men see themselves more clearly.

      • Robyn on July 29, 2014 at 11:52 pm

        I believe these resources would be excellent . My husband is looking over some of your materials now. Hoping his heart is open to seeing the truth and damage to his behavior .
        Thank you!!

    • Robin on May 10, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      Chris, I really appreciate your comments, that are so right-on to what I have lived. I loved how you said, Fred demanded respect and fear is how he made sure he got it. I was never allowed to question anything my husband did, for the first 20 yrs of marriage. I had such a hard time understanding why he was above —– being held accountable for anything, and I was not. Arrogance, rage and entitlement were always his top issues. I saw myself and the fear that controlled me, in Marie’s reactions to her husband. Always scared to have your own opinion or voice it. So I learned not too. The cost was too high for my children. We are separated now- and the thing that has helped me to understand how abusive and controlling he really was- is there not one thing I miss in his absence. I wish I could say different, but he was just too harsh and oppressive and I’m glad he’s gone. I have been working on my core issues, along with weekly counseling for over a year now, and I can say with a smile on my face, I like who I have become.

      • Chrs on May 12, 2014 at 11:10 am

        Robin, I’m so thankful that you are safe and moving forward in healthy manner. (PTL) I do believe offender accountability is key to ending abuse and should come from multiple sources if possible. Unfortunately, so few men are confronted with the wickedness of their own hearts and devastating impact of their behavior. Much work to be done. Peace.

        • amber on May 13, 2014 at 3:57 pm

          Hi Chris

          Do you think these are the men the Bible calls “men without a conscious” ? and if so, how can they ever get a conscious? Can accountability create empathy?

          • Leslie Vernick on May 13, 2014 at 4:19 pm

            WE’ll let Chris weigh in but I think there are people without conscience and are incapable of having empathy – that’s why they have no conscious because other people’s feelings don’t bother them or impact them. Accountability does not create empathy and usually people without conscious will not be held accountable for their actions unless the legal authorities are involved – i.e. jail.

          • Robin on May 13, 2014 at 4:23 pm

            Aren’t,t these men without conscience– considered sociopaths? From what I’ve read, they are unable to have any empathy. My domestic violence counselor says they can act on conscience– they will never choose too!!

          • Leslie Vernick on May 13, 2014 at 4:27 pm

            Two good books on this topic are People of the Lie by Scott Peck and The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout.

          • Chris on May 13, 2014 at 7:41 pm

            Amber, generally speaking most men I work with have the capacity to empathize. Whether or not they choose to change is still up to them. As Leslie mentioned accountability does not create empathy. But, among the areas we challenge men is the impact of abuse. I have found that a willingness to acknowledge the effects one’s abuse had/has on thier partner can potentially cultivate empathy. Robin is correct about the inability to empathize as well. I have encountered a few guys in our groups (all labeled sciopathic) that seemed to have no ability to empathize or acknowledge any wrong doing whatsoever. Intervention group was obviously not a good fit for them. As Leslie stated they were more suited for incarceration. Hope that helps.

    • Sarah on May 15, 2014 at 10:16 am

      My ex husband could have been diagnosed as a sociopath. He actually meet all criteria for an antisocial personality disorder and also some of the criteria for narcissistic. In the beginning though it was different. He chose to act or react. He made clear choices in his life and went down chosen pathways. I believe he had the ability to show empathy in those first years, but not so much on the end. Before I left, he showed no empathy and no ability to have empathy. It was honestly as if he had given his conscious away. Do you see men like this? I don’t mean to sound cynical, but is there hope for men like this? Is there a point of no return or almost no return. I know the bible speaks of selling your soul. For my husband, there was no help because he could see no issue, but do some men seek help?

      • Leslie Vernick on May 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

        Read The Sociopath Next Door. Powerful book.

        • Sarah on May 15, 2014 at 10:44 am

          I will. Thank you!

        • Rita on May 15, 2014 at 1:15 pm

          This is an excellent book!
          When I read it, it was “The Truth that set me free.” It put my whole life into perspective and since then I have been watching the true reactions of people, not what they want me to believe. (It is amazing how we actually believe what we are told and what we want to believe because the truth is too painful.)
          When I read the book I discovered that my sibling closely matched the “sadistic sociopath”, an in-law matched the “abrasive sociopath” and my ex matched the “inert sociopath.” This is why he looked good and I believed for many years his lies that he was really the nice guy. He pointed fingers at the other two just to prove how nice he was, yet in may subtle ways he did more damage than the other two combined. Many people still believe he is a nice guy.
          I have come so far since I left for good for the 3rd time almost 7 years ago. We were married for 32 years before I left him this last time, and I am now finally at the point of filing for divorce. When I mentioned divorce to him, he had no emotion. None at all! Just said “Go the cheapest route”, and that he wanted to file jointly and not be served, and that he would pay half. (Proof that he really is a nice guy).
          It has taken years to sort out the feelings (and wrong feelings), but I have come a long way and am now in many healthy relationships with many christian women who support me. Before, when I was with him I could not recognize a healthy relationship. God is good and has brought me such a long way. I am getting stronger every day. My only regret is that I did not leave him sooner. The damage done to my kids is far greater than I ever imagined, but thank God they are finding some healing. Unfortunately, they still sometimes buy into his lies. I keep telling myself that God knows the truth and he will reveal His truth. He can move hearts and I know that deep down the kids know the truth and what is going on. I continue to pray for healing for my kids and the damage done to them. God forgive me for my blindness and for my contribution to the damage done to my kids. For the sin of my inaction and wrong reactions at the time. Thank God for my ability to react in more appropriate ways and for the prayer support of my “Sisters in Christ”.

  14. Betty on May 10, 2014 at 3:58 am

    I think the film clip was a good idea. It portrayed the subtle control tricks that are hard to explain or sound feeble when you try to explain them to others.
    Thanks Chris, for your observation of the other male who kept quiet and for realizing how Fred would view the evening. That is what I find so hard….my abuser doesn’t seem to see himself at all.

  15. Tanya on May 11, 2014 at 11:19 am

    That was super powerful. It was crazy making well displayed. Blaming her for his error, parsley. Intimidation, screaming in her face. Making her doubt herself, telling her something is wrong with the soup. controlling her, giving her the dress she would wear to the party. Lying, telling their guests that Géraldine cancelled. Dismissing Marie’s feelings by making fun of her and the absent friend to the guests. Worst of all, making fun of Marie in his speech that should honor his wife for their anniversary. For every one of these moments, I have my own memory. My husband once gave me a list of how awful I was for an anniversary letter. Then he took it away and hid it so I could not have evidence of his behavior. I feel for Marie, she is at that moment of decision…to say something and change her world or remain silent and continue dying and disappearing.

  16. Brenda on May 12, 2014 at 9:09 am


    I hope you don’t wait for the final straw to be physical abuse. It only takes one time of physical abuse to be the final time of abuse, because the person is now deceased. I know how you feel to have always been around abusive people and it to feel normal. It felt normal for me and wrong at the same time. Many Christians do say to suck it up and live with it, be more submissive, do more, but Jesus was so good to women and this is not submission, it is abuse. In the OT Slave wives were allowed their freedom when their husbands mistreated them. He will do no less for us today. For those of us who have experienced abuse of any kind that is what we are is a slave wife. We are not loved.

    • amber on May 13, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Brenda yes! that is exactly it. Living with abusive people feels wrong and normal at the same time! I would love to learn more about that Old Testament divorce.

      As I think more and more I used to preach my own self into codependency (fake submission) saying:

      “love keeps no record of wrongs” and “God hates divorce”

      Now I am trying to have a more balanced scripture also acknowledging the many verses on freedom as well as these:

      “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

      “God hates a lying tongue”

      “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD”

      “Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men.”

      “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

      It’s really hard because all of my life I have been an evangelical protestant and I haven’t really heard teachings on “evil” people. Only teachings to “turn the cheek / love them like Jesus / heap burning coals (of kindness) on their head / that they might see your good works and praise Jesus” etc. and now I am really in a abusive, troubled marriage with kids.

      • Sarah on May 15, 2014 at 9:56 am

        I can truly feel for you. I know what it’s like to wait for that last straw. To preach to yourself in love scriptures. To convince yourself this is God’s will and you must make the best of it. Your words on her touch my heart because I have said them all before. For me, those were what I called the Survival Days. I was fighting to hold on to my sanity and keep my son from harm. The thing was though every time he would cross a line, do too much, I would move the line. So I would justify just about anything he choose to do or say. Even when he would defy all biblical standards and force me to act against my own convictions, I would still manage to justify because he was my husband. I left because my son’s life was in danger, but I wish I could have left sooner. I’m learning now what love really looks like and how God see me. He loves me and wants “good things” for me. If you don’t mind, I would like to pray with you Amber that God would direct your steps and wrap you up in His love.

        • Kris on May 16, 2014 at 6:22 am

          Amber, I have soooo been in your shoes…..what you do is your choice, but I do agree with Sarah… careful of waiting for the ‘last straw’…..I did the same, and the last straw including a shoving match with my daughter….not good. I am fortunate that she was not hurt. I kept thinking the love of God could change him….and I still believe the Love of God can change people, but as in any relationship, it takes two.God can change, but my ex would have needed to realize he needed to change. He did not see a problem and most people we knew that I confided in thought he was so great that they took up for him and blew off his poor behavior (just like with Fred). After my daughter/husbands shoving match, my husbands remarks were all about how the incident was my daughters fault because she ‘smarted off’ at him….So anyway, I am including a link to something from the Our Daily Bread website (very conservative) about divorce and abuse. This helped me.

          • Sarah on May 19, 2014 at 9:16 am

            Kris, I love that article from Our Daily Bread. I actually ordered a whole box of the booklets so I could hand them out to leaders and teachers. I have only handed out a few so far because I want to wait for the right time to sow those seeds, but I keep a few on hand at all times. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Brenda on May 13, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    There is a very good writing by Barbara Roberts from May 7, called “Does a Christian Wife Have Fewer Rights Than a Slave Wife in Moses Day? at

    I am not the most tech savvy person. I wanted to give you a link directly to the blog post, but this is best I know how.

    Also, Barbara Roberts book, Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion. Barbara’s book along with Leslie’s were God sent for me.

    At all costs, protect your children. Keep yourself and them safe.

  18. Kim on May 14, 2014 at 3:56 am

    It might seem like the SILLIEST little thing… but the moment he walked in and turned off her music… that just put me right back in my home with my husband. He would ALWAYS do that to me. Having no idea if I’d had the music on for 2 minutes or 2 hours. It shouldn’t matter. It was like I didn’t exist. When he came home, it was HIS home, not mine.

    Chris, I really wish the men in his life would have spoken up. I even tried to enlist a couple of them and resource them on what I was experiencing with the crazymaking and insidious abuse going on. But they just thought I was overreacting. One of my two pastors finally got to a point of at least believing me.

    It almost became more crazymaking trying to articulate to the leaders I was going to for help what I was experiencing. It’s so hard to describe and to pinpoint one particular story that paints a picture of the abuse… because it’s about the big picture, not one particular incident.

    This video reminded me that I am glad I am out. Sometimes I can look back at married life with rose-colored glasses, just like the Israelites did after they were led out of Egypt!

    • Leslie Vernick on May 14, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Kim, that was the first think I noticed too. Like what she was listing to didn’t matter if he didn’t want to listen to it. Never asked her if she minded if he turned it off, just flicked it off as if his feelings were the only one’s that mattered. Good catch.

      • Mel on May 15, 2014 at 10:24 am

        that was the first thing I noticed also. My husband did that too.

        NO this was NOT Biblical submission. She thinks because of what he says she has no choice? Submission is when you want to submit because he is loving and caring about you, not when you are forced to do whatever he says (and especially in a hurtful way) that is not love. Submission is NOT MAKING someone submit to your desires.

      • Melody on May 15, 2014 at 10:30 am

        that was the first thing I noticed also. My husband did that too.
        NO this was NOT Biblical submission. She thinks because of what he says she has no choice? Submission is when you want to submit because he is loving and caring about you, not when you are forced to do whatever he says (and especially in a hurtful way) that is not love. Submission is NOT MAKING someone submit to your desires, it is being a servant to them so that they will WANT to submit to you. Jesus came to be our servant, to serve others, not to dominate us so that we will submit.
        I’ve left, but I dont’ know what to do from here. Divorce -I’d like- but one of my boys say hang on that it is God’s will for our marriage to be healed. Just hang on. 🙁
        I’m ready to move on.

        • Jeff on November 11, 2014 at 9:01 pm

          . . . . . . Exactly. OUT-Love & OUT-Serve. . . BE A STUDENT OF YOUR WIFE. The attitude is that it is an HONOR & privilege to be your husband. So how can I make your life easier, better, safer & securer (sp)? How can I be more sensitive, more supportive? Be a DEFENSE attorney for your wife not a PROSECUTING attorney.

    • Cindy on May 15, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Funny that I missed the music being turned off. If I had noticed it I would been bugged by it. I have had that done or the channel changed or the show I am watching belittled or mocked. I think I missed it because for some reason I was expecting a big blow up right out of the gate and was really focused on watching her and how she would respond differently when he entered the room.

    • Elizabeth on May 16, 2014 at 8:28 am

      That was the first thing I noticed as well. It happened frequently here. With the TV as well. I was also not allowed to search on my phone in his presence. He would get very angry. But he could spend hours on his computer and phone. I was ignored or given some excuse when I mentioned the unfairness of this.

  19. Brenda on May 14, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Kim, I didn’t even notice the music. I should have, it was done to me all of the time. We didn’t listen to the same thing, so it didn’t matter if I was listening or not. I can relate to the rose-colored glasses and then realize the rose is gone and clarity comes through. The roses died a long time ago.

  20. Brenda on May 14, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Cyndy, Exactly.

  21. Dianna on May 14, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Good film, actors and production. It showed what emotional abuse looks like, which is so hard to describe when one is in it…even to oneself. The body language was great, too. It would be educational to those who do not get what emotional abuse is and to be able to recognize the signs in both victims and abusers. I believe that most people mistake signs of victimization with lack of self esteem and are truly irritated by how it looks ‘weak.’ If Christian leaders and other people helpers would just be able to read body language better, this would help identify active abuse.

    Yes, the rude disrespect of turning off the radio was the beginning of blatant disrespect of Marie. I’m afraid that I have been guilty of doing this, though…have to be honest. Ugh! Respect of basic human worth has to be the anchor of our relationships.

    Thanks sharing such an enlightening film and for all the comments.

    Chris, thanks for adding your experience. It helps to understand the male viewpoint from counselor and abuser. So hard to understand.

    Honestly, this portrayal of unrespectful interactions in close relationships reminded me of so many times with ‘loved ones’ outside of the marriage loop. Sobering and a reminder of being aware of my interactions in both being respectful of others and of myself.

  22. Marianne on May 14, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Wow – this was so good! It clearly shows how subtle abuse can be and how it can seem “normal.” I have lived in this for 27 years and have had about a year of real living while waiting to finish this divorce. It has been the best year of my entire life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I could make my own movie and write a book!

  23. Brenda on May 15, 2014 at 7:03 am

    I’m glad that you are away from abuse and found a new “normal”. Praise God. We all need to tell our stories so that more realize the subtle abuse doesn’t have to feel “normal”. Write that book or tell someone to help them from the fog.

  24. Sarah on May 15, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Hard to watch! I was just waiting for the physical. I could feel it coming. What about all their friends? Do people really not see or do they choose not to see? I always wondered. He wrapped up the negative in false positive. He was pleased with her for using his mother’s recipe, but she left something out. He thought she was beautiful, but she looked terrible in the dress she picked out. He accuses her for dressing up for his friends, yet approves of her friendship. He loved her, but…the list continues! That stuff is “crazy making”!!! Those have been the hardest for me to overcome. The twisted truths! They are so hard to combat because they sound good. There is good reasoning behind them. He was looking out for her. He loved her. He wanted her to look nice. He was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode and once he did it would be her fault. It would be her fault according to him. It would appear to be her fault according to their friends. It would even be her fault in her own mind and then the cycle continues. This is a lifeless situation. She lives in fear and constant anxiety. She tries so hard for those good times and does her best to ignore the bad just so she can make it through the day – Survival. I choose to believe there is more and that God wants more for his children! There are so many “helpers” that do not understand or know how to deal with these things, but that doesn’t make it go away. This is real and this is hard! Someday I hope to be in a place where God can use me to open hearts and change lives. I hope one day he can use where I have been for His glory.

  25. Joyce on May 15, 2014 at 10:30 am

    He’s controlling and she is submissive – probably to keep the negative drama decreased – she probably is at the stage where she allows the emotional abuse because she finds it easier to do that than to confront. Like all emotional abusive people, he creates scenarios to achieve his desired outcomes – for example, he belittles her to acheive control of her and thus control of their relationship. He “loves” her – as long as she is submissive to him. His first care is about himself – not her or her feelings. He even controls the scenario with their friends.

  26. Brenda on May 15, 2014 at 10:50 am

    No one can make that decision for you including a hopeful child.

  27. Sherri on May 15, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Wow. That was difficult to watch. But helpful too.

    Fred undermines her confidence in multiple ways:

    by criticizing a little everything she does, then downplaying it by being affectionate & saying “I love you” or saying something nice. The video helped me see that tactic more clearly: mean/nice, mean/nice – he repeated it over and over. It’s confusing & crazymaking & causes a lot of self doubt.

    He made decisions for her: insisted she wear a different dress, insisted she tell her friend not to come. How scary & humiliating.

    He used intimidation: yelling in her face, slamming his fist on the table.

    He insulted her in public! Spoke for her.

    I feel so upset and fearful for her.

  28. greta on May 15, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    It’s funny….the VERY first thing I noticed was the title before the film began: a huge “FRED” above the very small, little “marie”

    I lived watching this in my home growing up, day after day. Humiliation, yelling, belittling her about the smallest little thing—in front of us. She would silently cry—in front of us. We would sit there and wonder “When will an adult show up and speak the truth here?!” Now in their 80s they’re still living like this, although just slower. My mom is a shell with a partial smile on her face. I know she felt she had no choice. OOOhhh, the effect and sting it had on us kids.

    I too got into my marriage by being bullied into it. Although not as blatant/loud/physical as this film, it’s under the surface, habitual,subtextual…and I’m finally—after 30 yrs—building my self-esteem, believing God tells me I CAN trust my heart with His guidance. It’s embarrassing that it took this long. But, like so many others, I just stuck with it because of kids. I feel like I’m rising from the dead…and will move as God shows me.

  29. Greta4 on May 15, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    The VERY first thing I noticed was the title before the film began: a huge “FRED” above the very small, little “marie”

    I lived watching this in my home growing up, day after day. Humiliation, yelling, belittling her about the smallest little thing—in front of us. She would silently cry—in front of us. We would sit there and wonder “When will an adult show up and speak the truth here?!” Now in their 80s they’re still living like this, although just slower. My mom is a shell with a partial smile on her face. I know she felt she had no choice. OOOhhh, the effect and sting it had on us kids.

    I too got into my marriage by being bullied into it. Although not as blatant/loud/physical as this film, it’s under the surface, habitual,subtextual…and I’m finally—after 30 yrs—building my self-esteem, believing God tells me I CAN trust my heart with His guidance. It’s embarrassing that it took this long. But, like so many others, I just stuck with it because of kids. I feel like I’m rising from the dead…and will move as God shows me.

  30. Robin on May 15, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    How many of us have been deceived into staying in a destructive relationship- thinking ” we stuck it out because of the kids.” How sad. I found out, if I had been thinking about the highest good for my kids, I wouldn’t expose them to such unrespectful and damaging behaviors. I wish someone in church would start teaching this correctly. Taking care of our families, means standing up when people are wounding us, sinning against their families; and grabbing ahold of personal stewardship of ourselves and our children.
    May we be part of changing things for the next generation of children being raised in destructive homes!!

    It breaks my heart, to think of the damage done in children in abusive homes.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 16, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      There is a book for schools and bullying called The Bully, The Bullied, and The Bystander. In essence it encourages bystanders to stand up for the bullied and if they did, the bullies would lose their power. I believe that’s exactly what we need to start doing in our churches – everywhere. Stop enabling bullies to bully. Stop telling the bullied just to submit or try harder. Stop being silent in the face of evil and injustice. Speak up. Speak out – not just the victim speak up, but we who are bystanders must speak out.

      • AJ on May 18, 2014 at 9:55 am

        Sometimes the way you put things is simply stunning!! This is exactly right!!

      • Sarah on May 19, 2014 at 9:38 am

        So many children live in a home where bullying is just a way of life. As a single mother of an 8 year old son, I worry about the epidemic this is causing in our schools. Maybe this is something we should be teaching our children. Not just that bullying is wrong, but that we have the ability to make a change even if we are only the bystanders. Maybe that is something they need to see modeled in our lives.

        • Leslie Vernick on May 19, 2014 at 10:16 am

          I agree Sarah.

  31. Holly on May 16, 2014 at 1:08 am

    This film beautifully demonstrated the ways a controlling spouse intimidates, belittles and dehumanizes. The constant put downs when she makes requests and in front of others. The words spoken about how much he loved her while at the same time ripping her apart. The self focused physical touching when her body language screamed I’m hurt, leave me alone. The soft voice with sudden bangs or yelling used to frighten and intimidate and leave her constantly walking on egg shells. The control of who she can speak to, invite over, be friends with and what to wear. The constant undertone of anger ready to explode. Her demeanor very accurately reflected a person who was abused. For 25 years I too believed that my reactions which were similar to Marie’s were biblical submission. It took a wonderful biblical counselor to explain to me over a period of years how unbiblical my husband’s behavior was and that yes, it actually was abuse and that Father God absolutely did not want his daughter treated that way and that I needed to put a stop to it by standing up and refusing to accept being treated with abuse and contempt by a bully. I stayed where I was so long for my children, but in the end harmed my children by allowing them to live in a home where abusive behavior was the norm. It took 5 years for me to get strong enough to finally leave and I’m still growing in fits and starts and trying to learn how to trust again. It’s a hard, difficult process to break a self protective shell that was built up over 30 years.

    • Kim on May 16, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      Holly, wow, the “self focused physical touching when her body language screamed I’m hurt, leave me alone”. That makes SO much sense, although I could never figure out why sometimes it bothered my SO much when my ex would insist on touching me at times.

  32. Elizabeth on May 16, 2014 at 8:42 am

    This was very hard to watch. All I could see was Marie’s silence. Her resignation. Knowing that speaking up only hurts more. When he touched her I could sense her tension. I felt sick. Knowing what it feels like to be touched when you don’t want to be but you feel as though you have no choice. Holding your breath muscles tense…there is no comfort in touch like that.

    The momentary flares of anger when she starts to take a stand letting her know she has gone too far and had better watch her step.

    His overt humor and “charm” that isolates her from the group and is “funny” to others but insulting and isolating to her. That confusion when everyone else is laughing but she is hurt. When she looks around and sees everyone smiling and laughing. I can just hear the internal dialogue “everyone else seems to like him, He is nice and charming to them, maybe something is wrong with me?”

    Again I will say this was very very hard to watch. But so necessary. Thank you Leslie for pointing out the subtlety of emotional abuse.

    • FloridaLizzie on May 17, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      This was really a good picture of what happens when you live with subtle emotional abuse. From him turning the radio off to him being unkind and then expecting her to feel all warm and fuzzy about his physical touch, it was so creepy and so like my marriage was. I thank God that my ex left me, and my life is so much better. I felt like Marie at times, just a shell of a human being and afraid I couldn’t make it on my own. But God has taken incredibly good care of me and given me courage to change, find a good job, and find my own voice. I watched the sequel, and was glad she eventually got out. Thanks for the link, Leslie, and all the interesting comments.

  33. Cyndy on May 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Leslie, I have come out of a church that has so many divorces and family issues in the leadership. The divorce rate in our area tops the charts, and I am really sensing that it has to do with the teaching and beliefs that are held in many churches there. I am going through a divorce myself, but I have already had so much healing in my heart and God is connecting me with men and women I have known who have gone through awful divorces and church shame and rejection. I am pretty calm, but my blood begins to boil when I hear another story. I feel like the Lord is saying the next step is simply listen to the stories and affirm these people and remind them of how God sees them. I really want to do whatever I can to help them heal and speak truth if God gives me a chance! Many people who have sensed this abuse of authority, even in the church, have simply felt they should walk away, some have tried to speak up and dealt with repurcusions, then left– all trying to be gracious and nonjudgmental. Many who stay and see what is happening don’t want to be judgmental. I heard your webinar with Chris and so desire to not only be a safe place for hurting people, but speak up in a way that is true, Jesus-like, and responsible. That’s what I have felt since I left my husband–first a sense of responsibility to my husband and children that they hear and see the truth, then to my brothers and sisters in the church. God brought me to Ezekiel 33:1-20, but especially 1-11. I know prayer is a major part of our warfare, and God is teaching me how to pray like never before! Do you have any other resources that you can recommend? Thank you, Leslie, for your heart for the Lord above all. That is number 1!!

    • Cyndy on May 17, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      P.S. I should probably add that the senior pastor and leadership “cover” the issues and sins in the men in leadership, and the people of the congregation who are there as well as those who have left don’t want to “uncover”. I was asked not to come back to this church because my presence was causing a stir and questions from the women, some of which were apparently speaking up that they were in abusive situations.

      • Leslie Vernick on May 18, 2014 at 3:37 pm

        Ladies, we do need to be brave and speak up for other women in these situations – and you men who read this blog – you need to speak up too. We need to have a new paradigm in which to view these kinds of marriages and it’s not to cover or enable the bully to continue is destructive ways without consequence.

        • Sarah on May 19, 2014 at 8:51 am

          Amen!! Our churches and our communities will not change until we begin to change them! As a youth leader in my church, my first focus has been the young people. I have found the younger generation to be more accepting than the older generations. I pray that God will give me the wisdom and the opportunity one day to step out beyond the generational gap and beyond the limitation of tradition and religious custom. I pray he gives me the words to say.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      You’re right, God is first, but he calls us to speak out against injustice. I think of Martin Luther King who began to speak out against racial prejudice and injustice. He called a spade a spade but did so in a peaceful way. God used him to open our eyes to the ways we treated African American people as “less than”. We need to do the same with women in the church. God values women and always treated them as peers, friends, and equals. He never put them second place to men or treated them as objects.

  34. Alene on May 17, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    I thought I was being submissive.
    A few years ago, when decisions were again made without me, I looked into I Peter 3. I realized as I pondered, and pondered, and dug deeper and deeper that that passage follows the one about Jesus and walking in His steps, it links to it with the words “In like manner wives…”.
    I saw that submission is actually a spiritual weapon used with strength for redemptive purposes. The section on Jesus says “so that” men would return to the Shepherd.
    Can you imagine Jesus responding as this lady did? When he stood accused by evil men he did not cower.
    I am not putting the woman down…or myself.
    I realized I had the wrong definition.
    It wasn’t only my husband who wrongly defined authority.
    I began to see strength.
    Getting outside input and support has been crucial to growth to counteract what happened in the home.
    My children are impacted but … as I trust and step out in more strength and allow God to change the story, well, the story isn’t done yet. They witnessed what they witnessed but they will also witness this new thing, by God’s grace and power (I need Him).
    I learned around that time period in my life that peacekeeping was not peacemaking.
    Compliance is not submission.
    They are counterfeits.
    I can only go step by step, and let the shadows fall behind me.

  35. Valerie on May 18, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    I want to take time to actually take notes on this. I think it is good “practice” for retraining the brain to pick up the subtle and not so subtle forms of control.

    The first thing I noted was him turning off the radio when coming in. Courtesy would say he ask if that was okay. I was hoping this might be a movie I would want to forward to some people to help them better understand what I lived for 20 years but I was disappointed to see that while there were forms of subtle abuse there were also many overt signs (not allowing her to speak to her friend on the phone, forcing her to cancel, reading her FB, picking out her clothes just to name a few). I think many people would feel comfortable labeling that behavior as controlling (at least I think so anyway).

    However, in covert abuse these things aren’t carried out in this manner. For instance my H would comment on other women and the clothes they wore that he liked- perhaps adding “You’d look good in that”, knowing full well it wasn’t my taste. Obviously women want their men to like how they look so it wouldn’t be a stretch for her (me) to buy what he commented on to please him. He didn’t have to yell, demand…simply “hint” what he wanted and then perhaps freeze me out emotionally until I complied.

    He always had a way of getting what he wanted without doing anything outrightly abusive or something he couldn’t explain away. I have read that some abusers use literal mind control/brain washing techniques in the way they speak. Mine was sooooo good at the power of suggestion- not just to me but I saw him do that as a way of living with everyone.

    • Cyndy on May 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Valerie, thank you for saying that! When I read these comments I still feel a twinge of doubt because my situation wasn’t as bad. My husband is a master persuader. I have told him more than once that he would have made a great lawyer! He would use exaggeration, persuasive sounding arguments, the scriptures used to suit his argument/viewpoint, and as he did it put me down or he would “oh, Cyndy…” me for not thinking about him, being selfish, being too hard on him, or just plain “not seeing things right”. I believed him for far too long that my perspective was off– I couldn’t trust my gut feelings. He was better able to THINK clearly than I was! Of course, I was the one with the temper, and he was the self-controlled one–which only made me more angry! When I announced that I was leaving him, I watched him invite each of the girls privately into his office and KNEW the kind of conversation he was having with them. He can be lots of fun and positive when he is getting what he wants. But if he’s not, he gets a cloud over his face and withdraws. His grumpiness can leak out, but of course, it can come back to bite me that I was the cause of making him miserable. And of course, I received that for many years– which led to anxiety around him and my personal physical illness. These emotional and physical issues(the war inside me!) were cause for his concern and others’ but that only made him look better and me look weaker and needier. One time I distinctly remember being in a room with two male doctors and my husband. My anxiety was off the charts as they were telling me my thyroid levels were off and I needed medication. I pleaded with them to recognize the root issue–our marriage–my husband even “humbly” agreed with me before them. I don’t remember if they even acknowledged it–just returned to the thyroid numbers.
      Anyway, I could go on and on–this is so good for me! But thanks again, Valerie, for sharing your situation. It has really helped me to see mine even more clearly!!

      • Kim on May 20, 2014 at 11:10 pm

        Cyndy, I know what you mean about thinking, “my situation wasn’t that bad.” I went to an abuse recovery group shortly after I got out and hearing about what these women went through, how some of them were beaten within an inch of their lives… it was easy for me to listen to that and forget about my emotional safety and sanity.
        And it was always “my fault” for saying the wrong thing or telling the wrong person a piece of information – and nobody could see that but me. I think that’s why one of the hallmarks of abuse is crazymaking! It absolutely is! You start to wonder if what you think you’re seeing is really happening!
        To this day, my STBX thinks I left because someone told me that he was abusive and I just couldn’t stop seeing him that way. And my seeing him that way is what made him get to have such thin-skin towards me and to become so short with me.
        Figure THAT one out. Writing it out sometimes helps me to realize how toxic and unhealthy it all really was.

        • Cyndy on May 22, 2014 at 4:38 pm

          Yes! And this is exactly why we need each other!! There is such a safety of perspective when we can have other SAFE and HEALTHY people speak into our lives!!

  36. Robin on May 19, 2014 at 2:06 am

    Alene, thank you for sharing these words with us. How beautifully expressed. Thank you!!

  37. Tanya on May 20, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    I would encourage everyone to watch part two. It offers closure.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      Yes Part 2 is also good but I wanted to emphasize more of the emotional abuse rather than the physical abuse part. But both video’s are very helpful.

  38. Lana on May 21, 2014 at 6:25 am

    My first impression: “What a manipulative Jerk!”. That is exactly how they do it – demean you one minute, and then act normal the next. So, you go thru the years constantly trying to please, ponder in your head what you can do to make things better, etc. etc.

    • Robin on May 22, 2014 at 2:04 am

      Wish I couldn’t agree with you Lana. Oh what they put us thru!! Sure wish I could have understood it sooner!!

  39. Brenda on May 21, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Tanya, how did you get to part 2.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 21, 2014 at 9:15 am

      you can get to part 2 by going to VIMEO and put in Fred et Marie just like you would at YOUTUBE.

  40. Brenda on May 21, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Thank you, Leslie.

  41. Brenda on May 21, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Kim, My X blames everyone for my leaving except him. My daughter, the counselor I saw, some invisible man that he says I had an affair with. Now he says “how can you see that I have changed if you won’t go out for coffee or dinner with me?” said the spider to the fly. Physical scars from a beating are visible, the eternal scars from emotional and verbal beatings are invisible, but yet they are their. Abuse is abuse, no matter how it is done. Don’t let yourself minimize what you have gone through.

  42. Kristal on May 26, 2014 at 8:36 am

    The first thing I notice was the music was turned off, I funny thing was I “called” it in my head, I thought classic move. The second thing I noticed was he is running while she is preparing for a dinner party and then coming into the house being critical. I am not against excersize, but this happened to me so much. There was always something else he preferred to do other than help me, even though usually it was his idea to have the party. There are so many obvious things. This was a great day for me to see this. It is the holiday weekend and I am in my head missing my old life. I watched this and think, why I wallowing?! Thanks to Leslie’s book – I was able to identify and move on. She is God sent.

  43. Deb S on June 10, 2014 at 9:12 am

    My problem is that my husband is more subtle than Fred. He won’t turn off my music, but make a face…he won’t specifically pick my clothes, but will comment on a dress I am already wearing (is that a maternity dress?) or look me up and down with disgust, or ask me not to wear lipstick…nothing as blatantly and constantly abusive, but the result is the same. I feel like Marie…except I try to avoid his “being unhappy with me”, e.g wouldn’t have invited my friend, went ahead and bought the parsley, never have put on the red dress if he specifically told me not to. We’ve been together 16 years with things getting progressively tense since our daughter was born 9 yrs ago. When I see the time that has gone by, it is shocking to me….Saying these things and comparing myself/my life to this video is enlightening…I have been thnking, “Well, it’s not that abusive,” or “maybe I’m overreacting or over thinking it or making more out of it than there is.” Maybe not.

  44. Brenda on June 10, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Deb S,
    Don’t minimize his manipulative ways of control. Abusers have different means of accomplishing the results they want. You are not overreacting or over thinking, unless your over thinking is thinking of what will please him so you won’t get “the look”. His looks are to control you.

  45. Kaye on June 27, 2014 at 4:18 am

    The video made me cry… I could so relate to Marie, even down to lying to her friend, blaming herself and taking up for Fred, covering up his abusive rejection of her friend.
    God forgive me, but I lived for XDH and what he wanted. What few friends I had left, I lied to and made excuses for him.
    I lived in sin (Idolatry) to cover his sin.
    My toxic marriage was causing me to slip farther and farther away from God. You can’t serve two masters. I couldn’t hear from God because he was screaming in my ear to submit to him. He demanded first place in my life. It went against everything I knew about the Word of God at the time, but I know God led me out.

  46. Beth on July 7, 2014 at 1:52 am

    I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to watch this… I found myself really tense and feeling sick from the beginning. Couldn’t go past the FB tirade. Vickie, I just discovered one of your books this afternoon (emotional Abuse) and I cried a lot while reading it as I read the stories and discovered that I’m not the only crazy one in this world!! In fact I’m not the crazy one at all and it’s scary to realize that fact and that for 30 years I thought that my pain and misery was all my fault….I’m so tired I can’t even begin to mentally sort things out. I’m glad I found you and this blog. Keep talking sisters, I need to hear you all…

  47. Barbara on July 29, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    This is very powerful, and yes, hard to watch. It was an extreme characterization of an abuser but it does effectively convey the harm of this type of emotional abuse. “Fred” was controlling and his method of putting Marie down combined with compliments, over time, left her feeling so uncertain of her own reality. It was heartbreaking, and I could relate as I spent nearly twenty years in just such an abusive marriage. Rather than the church telling me not to leave, I myself wrestled with whether it was biblical or not to leave, and what was the most loving thing to do. Years of fear and self-doubt do not diminish overnight. It took a good counselor, supportive parents and friends, and years of soul- searching and prayer to finally make the break.
    Now, as a mid-life single, somehow I find myself repeating some of the patterns in a new relationship. What feels familiar I guess, is comfortable. I pray I will have the ability to see truth and to act rightly. I pray for those who struggle in these situations to have the courage to go against their church if need be and find the support they need to leave. Leslie, perhaps you’ve addressed this before, but is there a prototype of person who is more likely to accept this kind of abuse? My guess is it is someone with damaged self esteem.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful information!

  48. Sherry on July 29, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    This is my life. I’ve been stuck here for 22 years. I don’t know how to get out. He has complete financial control. Everything is in his name. I don’t even have a checking account of my own. He’s a community leader and quite charming in the public, but extremely controlling at home. The nice, mean, nice, mean, etc is the daily up and down in my life. I’ve confronted him, and he’ll admit that he’s controlling/abusive, but then a week later he will back off that, tell me I’m crazy and that “I’m” the abusive one. I’m not abusive! I’m not even mean spirited. I’m a sahm and I feel trapped. 🙁

  49. Robin on July 29, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Sherry, I had the same problem but for 32 yrs. he controlled all the money. I went to a lawyer with $200.00 to my name. He believed my story, and worked hard for me. I had the police remove my husband and I am now living in a pd off house, rent free. My lawyer went after him because of his extreme control, and not only got me s hefty temporary monthly support but a lg portion of the money he had. Everything is now leaning my way. God truly honors anyone who stands up against sin and abuse. My life is do much better, I really ought to share my story and write a book. God is there, reach out for Him, and don’t focus on the what ifs. Walk by faith!!!!! I will pray for you. It’s not a easy step to leave, but it’s one that can truly give abundant life!

    • Sherry on July 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      That’s encouraging to hear. I’m so scared to try and do everything on my own.

      • Robin on July 31, 2014 at 12:27 am

        The best thing I did– was to get the courage up to do the right thing- and separate. As I separated, I was able to see the truth about him more, and be strong enough to take action. MADE A HUGE HUGE DIFFERENCE to be away from him.

        • Cyndy on July 31, 2014 at 4:35 pm

          So true! The longer I was away from my husband, the more clearly I saw him, myself, and our marriage for what it was.

  50. Brenda on July 29, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    You own half of everything, whether it is in your name or not. No matter how charming and/or controlling he is, you also can take back control for yourself. In the NIV, Prov 19:19 A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again. By allowing him to continue on with this crazy making he pays no penalty. He pays no price for his actions. Perhaps staying elsewhere for a while would shed some light to his public. Can you go to a friends house, a relatives home. Get advice from an attorney. I told myself for years that I was stuck, there was no way out. The reality was that I was lying to myself. I finally realized that I would rather live in a cardboard box than live with that abusive X one more minute. The Lord has provided for all of my needs and he does for others as well.

    • Sherry on July 30, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      No, I only have one friend here so far. No family nearby. We’ve only lived here for a couple of years. I refuse to leave the house. We’ve moved over 20 times in the past 18 years and I’m tired of it. It really affected my oldest negatively. He’s just now feeling settled, secure, and starting to enjoy life. I can’t rip him out of another home. Plus, I’ve been the one to leave the home every time he’s wanted to “take a break”, “separate”, or whatever. It’s his turn to get out! But that means I have to find away to be able to pay the mortgage too. 🙁 There’s just so, so much involved in getting free and being able to stand on my own.

  51. Diane on July 30, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    It starts right out of the gate: he is jogging. she is in the kitchen. They are throwing a major event at their home and she is doing the work, while he is out doing his own thing. She is slender–one might think she works out as well. So why aren’t they running together and then later preparing for the party together? No, she must do all the work while he enjoys the luxury of his “me-time”. She is most likely that slender due to stress, not physical exercise.

    And then he steps in the door and turns off her music. Really?! I used to get made fun of a lot for the music I listened to. Either way–its not about the music. We know that. It’s about taking control of her environment.
    This movie is amazing in both it’s subtlety and its obviousness.

    It triggered a lot within me: I’m flooded with memories from my past and that is difficult. The fact that I have healed enough to be able to see the abuser’s tactics is even a little frightening because it affirms that I see present relationships clearly, too (even when well-intentioned friends tell me “you just misunderstood him”). And I realize I must show this video to my son to teach him how to identify harmful behaviors in those that are close to him.

    Lastly I’m concerned about a recent comment I heard by a female who said women get into those situations because they allow it/don’t stand up for themselves. And I while I quickly disagree with that statement, for me there’s a thread of truth to what she said. I grew up thinking my behavior WAS being the good wife. I wasn’t “taught” how to verbally defend myself and to set appropriate boundaries. Had I known, it may have been very different. I think he would’ve trolled off to groom someone else rather than waste his time on someone like me who tells them to get the *&#$ away from me.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 31, 2014 at 8:05 am

      Diane I think you’re right that women are not taught to “bear their teeth” so to speak in relationship danger but to always make nice and be accommodating and go the extra mile. While those qualities are important, the other ones are too, especially when you are being taken advantage of, abused, manipulated, or intimidated. In my next blog (August 6) I will be talking about 12 traits women have that make them more vulnerable to being abused. That does not make the abuse her fault, but in her naiveté she is targeted by abusers.

  52. Marianne on July 30, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Yes, there is a lot involved in getting free and standing on your own – and it’s all worth it! IT’S ALL ALL ALL WORTH IT!!!!!! Life is too short,girl! You can do it. Yes, it will be hard, scary, irritating and you will be opposed. You will also get to find out who you truly are, what you are made of and how much the Lord loves you as you watch Him provide in ways you could never fathom before. Get into a group at your church, tell your story, and let others minister to you. If you don’t speak up, no one will be able to help you because they don’t know. Meet couples at your church and see if they will help you confront your husband and provide you some protection and support. People changed their lives to help me. There’s no way I could have gotten free alone. Let the church body be the church body for you. Get into some counseling to help you uncover why you would stay with a man like this one. Pray, a lot! A whole lot! Without ceasing! I’m telling you, you will be opposed and you’ve got to stay prayed up. I will be praying for you. Taking that first step was the single most difficult thing I have ever done – and I have done lots of difficult things in my life! And I am sooooo glad I did!

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