Help, I Live Internationally. How Can I Grow Stronger?

Morning friends,

Thanks for your prayers. This season is exceptionally full and I need them so that I practice what I preach and take good care of my own self. I’m sick again which is unusual for me. Nothing serious but I’m usually pretty healthy. I think I’m just a little worn down.  

In case you haven’t signed up yet, I am doing a free webinar tonight (Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30 ET) on Four Lies that Make You Feel Crazy and Helpless in Your Destructive Marriage and What you Can Do To Stop It.  Click HERE to sign up. Please forward this link if you know someone would benefit. Even if they can’t attend live, they can watch the replay.

Today’s Question: My husband of 22 years finally opened up to me a couple of weeks ago and I'm still reeling from the shock.

It was a confusing and painful 20 years of marriage until I started to ask God to shed light on my past and heal me from my wounds. I confessed 2 Sam 22:29-30 constantly.

Two mistreatments in 2016 had me shutting down emotionally. I just couldn't feel anything for him anymore. And that's when he took notice. At first, he was enraged by my unemotional composure, then he tried every form of harassment, then he switched, adjusted his behavior a little but I just couldn't bring myself to engage emotionally.

I spend that energy looking out for myself and our children. Standing up for myself and taking care of my own needs for the first time in my life is new for me. I discovered so many things I didn't know about myself and I'm deeply ashamed to discover how much I've neglected myself.

Then a couple of weeks ago he wanted to talk things over but this time I could sense some sincerity so I took this lifetime opportunity to ask what it was he hated about me, what did I do to deserve the cruel punishments, abandonment, and rape. He said it wasn't me, it was him. He could not have empathy. He could SEE my suffering but couldn't understand WHY I felt bad. But one comment I'd made in the 2nd year of our marriage (it wasn't anything a normal person would take offense to) was just too hurtful to him. I came to the conclusion his ego must be extremely fragile. I had known this all along on the inside of me but wouldn't admit it.

I am at the point where I've made up my mind not to live like this anymore. He and his mother are impossible to please, and now that I'm beginning to stand up for myself, their hate is palpable and they are saying all kinds of nasty things about me to all their family and relatives. He is preparing their minds for when I leave. I never mentioned the D word. I have now, however, made up my mind to leave him but my only concern is for my children. I am about to do what I swore I would never do to them. I can't describe how my heart grieves for them. I intend to take the last child with me, he is the only minor.

Why don't I feel guilty? I know he doesn't want a divorce because he is a minister of the gospel. His public image is all that he truly cares about. He is otherwise not emotionally invested in the marriage. He is certainly not interested in me as a person but he expects the world of me.

We live outside the US and have no access to therapy, which I'm desperate for. I came across your video ‘The Emotionally Destructive Marriage‘ and I'm so thankful to God for the gift of you, Leslie!

The exchange rate here makes it near impossible to order your materials.

Answer: I am so glad that God has helped you to see that it is not selfish to value and steward your own self. Being a Christian wife does not mean you are a sexual slave or have to silently endure being mistreated, abused, ignored, or lied to no matter what culture or country you come from. You may not have all the legal protection or resources women have in this country but God sees and hates what’s going on.

I remember speaking of marital abuse when I was teaching a class to seminarians in the Philippines over 20 years ago. One student questioned my teaching since on his small island they “bought” their wives much like one would purchase a cow or a dog. Since a wife is bought, she was considered “owned” and “property” in that culture. However, God’s word is above culture. God’s word teaches that people are precious and that the powerful people in any culture, who are often men, must not misuse that power to take advantage of or hurt others including wives.  

I’m reading through the Bible this year. Here is one example of God’s heart for wives who are not treated well.  “If a man who has married a slave wife takes another wife for himself, he must not neglect the rights of the first wife to food, clothing, and sexual intimacy. If he fails in any of these three obligations, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment” Exodus 21:10.

Hmmm. Does it actually say she can leave him? Does that mean God contradicts himself when he says later in Malachi 2:16 that he hates divorce? No. If you read Malachi in its context it says that God hates a certain type of divorce. A divorce where a man throws away his wife like a used tissue. A treacherous divorce. And he rebukes the husband (not the wife) for his unfaithfulness and disloyalty to his wife.

Yes, God values the sanctity of marriage, but he also values the safety and sanity of the people in it.  Click To Tweet

I say this because you may not be able to afford the exchange rate to purchase my books but God’s word is crystal clear about what makes relationships work and what breaks relationships apart. God is so concerned about relationships that he devotes lots of text in both the New and Old Testament about how to build good relationships, how to manage differences and conflicts and how to make restitution and rebuild trust when relationships have been harmed (Read Exodus 20-23 just for one example or Colossians 3-4).

Sadly people don’t always practice God’s teaching much in real life relationships, especially messy and destructive marriages. People who mess up and grievously sin expect amnesty and instant reconciliation without showing any evidence of real change. It also saddens me to hear that your husband claims to be a minister of the gospel but his relational style is very unbiblical.

This morning I spoke to a woman who was told by her church leaders,“ He said he was sorry, now you have to forgive and not bring it up again. You have to trust him.” This was after long-term pornography usage that was entirely hidden from her. It gets really confusing because these are your leaders who you trust to know what the Bible says. But God never says to instantly trust a person who has broken trust. Even Jesus didn’t trust everyone (See John 2:24).

With your access to the Internet, you can find a lot of free teaching on these things from blogs, to podcasts, to YouTube videos and online classes and forums that will help you grow into a stronger, healthier and more godly woman.  

Be careful though. The downside of the Internet is that there is a lot of teaching out there, and not all of it is wise or Biblical. You have to be discerning to tell the difference. A good Biblical role model for you is Abigail. You probably already know the story. She was married to a surly man who was selfish and uncompromising, unwilling to listen to wisdom and almost got their entire household killed because of his foolishness. Yet, she is described as intelligent and beautiful. She didn’t allow her husband to determine the person she would be and when in a pinch, she overruled his foolish decision in order to save her entire household from David’s wrath.  

How did Abigail grow and stay strong despite being married to such a person? She didn’t allow his foolishness to define her character. She didn’t allow his churlish words to undermine her confidence in God and confuse her on what was good, true and right. She didn’t put her husband or her marriage at the center of her life but instead put God there. And God gave her the wisdom she needed so that even the servants knew to go to her when her husband Nabal, made a mess of things (See 1 Samuel 25 for the story).

Your concern for your children is legitimate. It is so hard when you have over functioned and covered for your husband’s problems for years so that they never really saw how destructive and/or abusive he was towards you. If they currently have a good relationship with their father I would support that.   

But now you also must be honest. You must tell them that for years your marriage hasn’t been good and that it was your goal to raise them in an environment where they would have access to both parents, even if it wasn’t good for you. It may be difficult to explain fully without giving specific details that your children don’t need to hear. Even if he is lying and spreading rumors about you, don’t react to that or stoop to that level.  

Keep your head held high and be above the slinging mud. If you have specific facts that refute what he is saying and your children want to see them, show them. But don’t push. Remain supportive, available, and loving. Get support from your friends, your church community (if they are supportive) and an online community such as CONQUER.   

Be understanding of your children’s surprise and even their disappointment that you’re not willing to continue to over-function to “keep the family together.” Most of them are adults and they will need to navigate through their own feelings around all of this in their own way and own time.

Finally, reach out to this blog community. There is a community of mighty warriors here who are tirelessly willing to help each other grow stronger in a God-centered way.  

Friends, how did you get past the “guilt” and “fear” that you were doing something wrong by standing up for yourself, taking care of yourself, and possibly leaving your marriage?”


  1. Leslie C on March 7, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Dear International Sister,

    I am so happy God lead you to Leslie’s materials. There is hope. I praise God that you were awoken to the destruction in you marriage and have decided to separate because of the hardness of his heart. It is difficult, but God is enough. We are all praying for you and your family.

  2. GL on March 7, 2018 at 8:31 am

    I ran straight to Jesus. I spent much time is Psalms which spoke protection to me. I was protected from H slander accusations etc. I realized as I engaged with H for reconciliation that didn’t start well., that Jesus would never call me names. I found my worth and still do in what Jesus thinks of me not others. Leslie’s blogs, into to core were a eye opener and informative of truth. I will be praying for you .

  3. Brave Rabbit on March 7, 2018 at 8:38 am is a resource for library material. Many of the books on abuse have waiting lists.

  4. JoAnn on March 7, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Dear Writer, Leslie has good advice. Stay here with us, as there are many who have been where you are. Keep your focus on the Lord, and allow Him to strengthen your inner being. I believe you will find encouragement here. May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  5. Caryl Ann on March 7, 2018 at 10:37 am

    I have been a Christian since I was 9 years old. I will soon be 62. I finally realized that God did not want or expect me to continue to live in a dangerous and unpredictable situation. I have value in God’s eyes and so I should also value myself. My spouse may not respect me but I needed to respect myself as a woman and a child of God.

    Change is never easy and leaving a husband, even an abusive one, is hard to do sometimes. Once you get out, you will find that you can really breathe and relax for the first time in a long time. You will feel better,you will sleep better, and your entire outlook on life will be completely different. A good different.

    We, as the receiver of the abuse, have to make the changers ourselves. The abuser never will. They may promise they will, but from my experience it is only their way of manipulating us into staying with them.

    Good luck to you. God’s blessing’s be upon you.

    • Aly on March 7, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      Caryl Ann,

      I really like how you said this;
      “We, as the receiver of the abuse, have to make the changers ourselves. ”

      So encouraging!

  6. Toni on March 7, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Dear one,
    My heart breaks for you as does the Lord’s. You are beautiful and precious and the Lord delights in you.
    I have also had to just end a 22 year marriage , much to my great sadness, after saying I would never do that. Ever.
    My health – both physical and mental- had gotten to the point after prolonged emotional abuse that in order to survive that was my only choice. My biggest concern was also the children , but what I had to realize was that I was setting a terrible example to my daughters of how they should allow themselves to b treated, and for my son to think this was acceptable to treat a wife this way. The Lord doesn’t call us to b destroyed for the sake of marriage. His word has been my lifeline, and daily His grace is enough.

    • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 10:09 am


      Your post is sad but also so valid!
      I’m sorry for the loss but thankful for your wisdom to share here because I believe ultimately that posture is healing, healthy and reflects Gods truths for those in such a traumatic situation.
      Giving praise for your strength and your current and longer term insight into your situation.💕

    • Susan on March 13, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      I to have stayed in a marriage too long. my biggest regret that I’m at present struggling with is forgiving myself for is teaching my girls to stay married to with a man with a narcissistic personality disorder. I identify with all the reasons as a Christian woman for staying.They are with men who treat them the way I was treated by their Dad. I hope by leaving that it will give them the courage to do the same when their ready.

      • Aly on March 13, 2018 at 8:49 pm


        I think leaving has so much courage given your scenario. And that will bless your situation for your repair with your daughters. Your not saying one thing and doing another which is huge in my opinion.

        I’m so very sorry for where you say you are struggling with forgiving yourself.
        I have heard it PUT, that we don’t really ever forgive ourselves because that is something beyond our capacity, but we receive the forgiveness that the Lord grants!
        Something to place before the Lord and ask for this clarity from Him and others to echo it.
        Children and even (adult children) can be very forgiving and understanding ~ have you brought this repentive heavy heart to your daughters?

        I’m assuming you have, but sometimes when we have been in such a longterm toxic type of marriage we learn unhealthy fear which can keep us from taking that next step.
        I’m not saying this is you but I want you free of the weight especially since you have made healthy decisions for you even though the outcome was you leaving ‘the type of husband’ as you describe.

        Since these patterns do get passed down often in families like you described ~ can you identify if your situation was also a modeling one?
        And if it was were you also able to forgive what was modeled?

      • Rachel on March 14, 2018 at 12:24 am

        Hi Susan, thanks for sharing. I just wanted to say that here’s me at age 51 with three grown up daughters who have witnessed my second marriage crumble and witnessed the pain and suffering I was going through. My husband has PTSD and narcissistic personality disorder and recently started displaying psychosis. I decided I couldn’t do it any more after only two years of marriage, six years of being together. I prayed, fasted, have an understanding and supportive pastor and hoped for a miracle. I thought maybe if I waited long enough God would intervene. My daughters (now 27, 25 and 17) begged me to leave him and I held on thinking I was sinning by leaving him. They recognised it better than I did.

        Turns out the word ‘unfaithful’ (grounds for divorce) in the bible isn’t just on infedelity but forsaking duties as part of the marriage commitment. I’ve been able to forgive myself, I’ve got my daughters on side who were preserved by God (I believe). They seemed to know better than I did that the actions (and inactions) of my husband were wrong! God bless you and extend God’s perfect shalom to you.

  7. Viv on March 7, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Hi writer,

    I endured a long marriage that is now ending. I stayed to allow my two children access to both par3nts but also if I’m honest because I was lured to a foreign country so gett8ng out was difficult….but I did it and am so glad I did. I wanted to see both my children through school, college but I collapsed under the strain of it all when my eldest passed his Baccalaureate and his driving test….after that I just couldn’t take any more. Once it became clear to my husband he was losing me he became worse.

    I was able, even at 58 years to secure a well paid full time job in my home country and staff accommodation which helped enormously with the transition from total dependency to independence immeduately. The best thing was that as soon as my youngest son could, at age 18 he left his Father and cane to live with me….total answer to my prayers. Both my children were difficult when I told them I had to leave,both had been told so many lies but time abd space has shown them the truth. I have really good relationship with my boys, and my youngest, the sensitive one, was picked on a lot by his Father which drove him to drugs, drink, his education suffered, but today my son is a totally different person now he is away from the constant criticism, negativity, and hopelessness. Funny thing is, his Father posted on social media saying “ why do parents over chastise their kids when they need loving guidance?” …or words along those lines….he really cannot see hus hypocracy!

    Anyway dear writer, I just wanted to encourage you. No matter how difficult your situation, trust God, he will make a way for you, he did it for me and he will do it for you. Trust him, he has your back. Xx

    • Free on March 7, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      Viv, I am so thankful for read how everything has worked out. I remember your story and your struggle. Praise God! Thank you for sharing such a positive message!

      • Viv on March 14, 2018 at 6:32 pm

        Your welcome….thank you…especially fir remembering me! Xx

    • Lisa on March 13, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      That was so encouraging! I am leaving my husband after 14 years. I keep telling myself that God has this!

      • Viv on March 14, 2018 at 6:29 pm

        It has been my experience that indeed God has us in his hands….we can trust him; he makes a way where there seems to be …no way. I’m glad you are encouraged!

  8. Maria on March 7, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you for your hard work here. I am praying that you will get better.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 8, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Thanks. I appreciate it.

  9. Aleea on March 8, 2018 at 2:28 am

    “Friends, how did you get past the [“guilt” and “fear”] that you were [doing something wrong] by standing up for yourself, taking care of yourself, and possibly leaving your marriage?”

    re: “guilt” and “fear”; doing something wrong; out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing

    So, the Scriptures and the first five hundred years of people interpreting the Scriptures contain things we just cannot now accept on their face re: Divorce and Remarriage (In early Christianity): Joseph A. Webb Th.D., Ph.D. & Patricia L. Webb Ph.D. Dr. Margaret A. Schatkin, “Divorce In Christianity”, 2nd ed., edited by Dr. Everett Ferguson, —I have never come to terms with how for most of Christian history, people who died for Christ and who had access to Him and manuscripts no longer extant, . . .how these Christians do not say the sayings of Jesus on divorce and remarriage mean what we say here.

    —Although unbelieveable ingenuity and cleverness has been applied to explain them away, those who want to take the Bible seriously are caught increasingly by the conflicts between Biblical injunctions and empirically derived knowledge about personality disorders, neuropsychological issues, and what consistutes human flourishing, etc. So, let’s just bracket off the *entire* Bible for just a second and advise this women. . . .It is actually very simple once bracketed off:

    You are coping and not living. It looks like fear, shame and/or guilt are the only things standing in the way of the life you were meant to live. . . . .Better the burden of freedom and responsibility than guilt, no matter how terrible. Freedom and responsibility.

    . . .In the abuse situation with my mother, I put myself into His hands, even when I know better. I do it because frankly I long for God, even if His words are no longer workable sans text twisting and leaving historically normative interpretations. I long for God and so want Him to love me. . . .But for me, the Bible creates fear and guilt about not honoring my abusive mother. When I was a child and thought of running away, this endless came to my mind: Ephesians 6:2 “Children, obey and honor your parents in the Lord, for this is right (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long on the earth.” . . . .Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16 say the same as do many other passages. A promise coupled with a total threat, not good. No wonder people have fear and guilt. I have fear and guilt about what God says as regards my policy of no-contact with my mother to this day.

    God asks people, as taught in the Scriptures, to do things they simply can’t live with (—salves obey your masters. . . . likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; 1st Peter, Biblical injunctions that empirically derived knowledge has shown are just wrong). . . . It says this, but it actually means that because what it says is completely unworkable. . . . God have mercy, how are we supposed to amend something that is supposed to be God-breathed? That’s why you see seminaries like Fuller Seminary, changing its doctrinal statements on Scripture that looked remarkably like what the Westminster Confession of Faith was re:“free from all error” to “worthy record,” and go on to never say again that Scripture is “without error” like in the old days. It’s hard to renovate the Bible without getting worried, but the way out of the cage begins with accepting absolutely everything fact based: the Bible needs amendments.

    Everything that frightens us is something helpless that wants our love: deconstruct plus demthypologize equals deweaponized. Love deweaponizes the Scriptures. I am still so, so attracted to Jesus and I will pursue Him both passionately and relentlessly. I will not surrender the truth I believe I find in Him either to those who seek to defend the indefensible that Scripture is “free from all error” or to those who want to be freed from premodern ideas: likewise you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands. Rennovation when everything inside says raze. No real sides just a world of colourful gradients going unadmired.

  10. Sarah on March 8, 2018 at 3:22 am

    I read this and wish there was a way to crowdfund this women some of Leslie’s books without compromising her anonymity. I don’t want to imply that God cannot work without therapists or books, but knowledgable support is a blessing.

    • Sarah on March 8, 2018 at 3:25 am

      I meant the original writer, not you, Aleea! Sorry, not sure how this ended up on your post. I must not have scrolled down far enough.

      Also I meant “woman” not “women.”

      Hmm, full of many mistakes today…

      • Aleea on March 9, 2018 at 6:40 am

        “Aleea! Sorry, not sure how this ended up on your post.”

        . . .ha, ha, ha, ha . . . .I fully understand. The site software. . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. You may have simply not scrolled down far enough, but there are coding conflicts . . .For me, sometimes things post, sometimes they do not —no matter how many times I try —irrespective of the length, But it is so, so much better than in the past where then all those tries would post multiple times. What a total and complete embarrassment those times were!!! . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. There are certain researchers names, certain cites, certain links, that if I try use inside a comment then the site will just keep kicking the comments back and it will never post —no matter the length,

        I am fairly certain there are no ghosts or spirits in the machine, they are just software coding and setup constraint conflicts. For example, the spam filters and the posting constraints interacting with the links, cites, You may have simply not scrolled down far enough, but there are coding/setup conflicts. . . .That said, I am so thankful anything posts because it is a privilege to be able to post things. What’s even far more amazing for me is that people even read my posts because it easy to just scroll down, etc. —Amazing, always.

  11. Seeing the Light on March 8, 2018 at 3:59 am

    I have been having trouble posting so this is a test.

  12. JoAnn on March 8, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Aleea, I want to respond to this: “A promise coupled with a total threat, not good. No wonder people have fear and guilt. I have fear and guilt about what God says as regards my policy of no-contact with my mother to this day.”
    There are a lot of imperatives in the Bible, all of which point us to the fact that “I can’t, but God can.” Paul was clear: It is Christ in me that is my hope of glory. In other words, we need to learn to live by the indwelling Christ, because our human life is in no way capable of living by these imperatives. Not I, but Christ. He is in our human spirit to fulfill all of God’s requirements. Our fallen human nature could never “be perfect.” The Lord Jesus came to us as the indwelling Spirit of God to live out the life of God in us.

    Regarding the other verse you mentioned about obeying and honoring our parents. Surely you realize that as adults we are no longer required to “obey” our parents: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.” That frees us from the requirement to obey, does it not? But then, to treat our parents with respect remains. That is a heart matter. To honor, to respect, is an attitude issue. You can even be respectful toward your mother while you have no contact with her. She bore you, she gave you life, and even her abuse eventually caused you to open your heart to the Lord. You can even respectfully evict her from your mind, if you want to.

    I cannot relate to the horrors you have experienced in the past, though I have read a number of autobiographies that describe unspeakable abuse. I cannot fathom that a mother can treat her child that way. It is pure evil, and must be looked at that way. However, when you look at Hebrews 2:14 (please don’t deconstruct this; just read and believe) it says “He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might destroy (bring to nought, make of none effect, do away with, abolish, annul, discard) him who has the might of death, that is, the devil, and might release those who because of the fear of death through all their life were held in slavery.” Give the Lord permission to undo the works of evil that have you enslaved. Just release your mother and all the evil that she did to you….release those things and put them on the cross of Christ. Use whatever imagery works for you. Her evil does not belong to you!! It is not yours, and you don’t need to hang onto any of it. If there have been shreds of love that came through, you can hold on to those, but let go of everything else. I would suggest praying in this way: “Lord, by the power of Your shed blood and Your defeat of Satan on the cross, in Your name, I renounce the works of evil in my life, and I ask You to nullify in me any and all effects of that evil in my life. Fill me with Your Spirit and free me from the bondage of Satan’s lies and the fear that he has injected into my soul. I choose to live by Your truth.”

    You have mentioned before the matter of grieving the mother you didn’t have. My experience was of grieving the man my father could have been, but was unable to move outside of his comfort zone to fulfill his human potential. There are all sorts of “might-have-beens” and “what ifs” that we can grieve, but eventually, we have to just let go of all that and move forward from where we are with what we have. And what we have is the unshakable and indestructible life of Christ, dwelling in our human spirit. Praise Him for that! From there, we want Him to spread into our mind, emotions, and will, that His life in us can be manifested in our daily life.

    • Aleea on March 10, 2018 at 6:15 am

      JoAnn 💟✝ރ,

      Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—. . . .Don’t deconstruct, don’t analyze, don’t look at the Greek, don’t look at the what Christians said about it in the first five hundred years of Christianity. . . .You know what means to me: JoAnn cares enough to try to help me and not all mothers are absolute devils —There are good mothers. That’s the imagery.

      “Give the Lord permission to undo the works of evil that have you enslaved. Just release your mother and all the evil that she did to you….release those things and put them on the cross of Christ.” . . .At the weekend that Nancy recommended I go, we wrote them, e-v-e-r-y last one on flash paper, nailed them (literally) to the Cross (this huge wood Cross, we are fortunate nobody got hurt acting like construction workers) and set them on fire —literally. I was free until the next morning when my started t-h-i-n-k-i-n-g. I should have know better . . .Why can’t I forget her?

      I now have this memorized I prayed it that many times: “Lord, by the power of Your shed blood and Your defeat of Satan on the cross, in Your name, I renounce the works of evil in my life, and I ask You to nullify in me any and all effects of that evil in my life. Fill me with Your Spirit and free me from the bondage of Satan’s lies and the fear that he has injected into my soul. I choose to live by Your truth.”

      Precious JoAnn, I have long ago given up the hope of having a better past. . . .It’s probably not something I don’t know or see. It’s something I can’t feel or I would heal. Onto that Cross went everything before we set it on fire: Forgiving Jesus for not once, not even once helping me as a child. . . .For a perfect God we have to make e-n-d-l-e-s-s excuses for Him and especially His Word. All that went on the Cross we set that on fire too. Huge flames, thank the Lord God no one got burnt. Praise God for that!!! So that part got some healing. . . .Maybe God has reasons. A pastor there told me, when we get to heaven we will know why . . . .I thought: Hellfire and Brimstone, if I get to heaven, I don’t even want to hear what His totally ridiculous excuses are, I just want to hug Him like I want to hug my abusive mother. I don’t even care what His nonsensical excuses are, I just want to hold Him. I want Him not His reasons.

      How can I deeply love others like you do (—your shadow side is really, really nasty???) and somehow encourage them without lying to them about God and Jesus and what they can and cannot do? . . . .Is that possible for me? . . . . .And I don’t think that we have any insight whatsoever into our capacity for good until we have some well-developed insight into our capacity for evil. “No tree can grow to Heaven,” says the ever-terrifying Carl Gustav Jung, psychoanalyst extraordinaire, “unless its roots reach down to Hell.” I know mine go all the way to hell, how do I get my branches to heaven❣❣✝☑

  13. Jolene on March 8, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Depending on where you are located, please be aware that if you take your child against the wishes of your spouse, that he can charge you with international kidnapping. If you are American, I believe the American embassy can help you and your husband to document that the child has the consent of both parents to travel and STAY internationally. Even if you have consent to travel, you should state the intention for the child to relocate. You may be best to consult an attorney about this, especially if your husband has malicious tendencies. I live overseas as well, and I understand the challenges it brings.

    • Free on March 8, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      Great point! I would also add that is might be wise for the writer to use her phone to record some of the slanderous outbursts she experiences. Journaling is helpful not only to process your thoughts, but to create a record of abuse. In my circumstance I had to hide the journal and use lots of code names for my and their protection.

      • Free on March 8, 2018 at 4:30 pm

        I would like to add that journaling can be an excellent reality check. As I used denial to cope. As I read back over the years of abuse, I saw patterns. I have forgotten so much that had been done to me it is buried in order to protect my brain. As I grow and heal (finally out of the abusers grasp) I see the abject horror of the life I lived, thanks in part to my secret journals.

        • Renee on March 8, 2018 at 9:43 pm

          Free you better believe it – journaling is a reality check. It can remind you of how far you have or have not come.

          Once physcially separated, it was unbelievable how much was coming back to me. The things I’ve endured but buried. Maybe for protection of the brain and heart as mentioned.

          Things here have also brought up memories.

          • Free on March 8, 2018 at 9:57 pm

            I had so many grammatical errors in my post that I wondered if the idea got across.

            One aspect of keeping a journal which troubles me is trying to determine how to permanently edit some passages or destroy them before I die. There is information that could really hurt my family and is unnecessary for them to read. I am asking for wisdom on this, as at the moment the journals are very helpful to reflect upon.

          • Aly on March 8, 2018 at 10:22 pm

            Wow! Such a great question!
            I don’t know.

            Are you journaling now as your present life ~experiencing such a contrast?

          • Free on March 9, 2018 at 5:56 am

            This response is for Aly who asks if I still journal now that I am free.

            The answer is, yes. In addition I have begun a scrapbook of my accomplishments. My abusive husband has and continues to paint a picture to the world about who I am.

            I have enjoyed finding letters, magazine articles, art work and various writings which reflect who I am. I have the documents in a beautiful box. The process of finding these things has been a great tonic for the soul. Maybe others may find this exercise helpful too.

          • Renee on March 9, 2018 at 8:05 am

            Lyrics from song: God Favored Me Hezekiah Walker

            They whispered, conspired, they told their lies
            (God favors me)
            My character, my integrity, my faith in God
            (He favors me)

            But you

            Will not fall, will not bend, wont comprimise
            (God favors me)

            (God favors YOU)

          • Free on March 9, 2018 at 6:02 am

            At to the risk of writing too much I would like to clarify that the items in my “real me” box, are just that, real. The box contains thank you notes, birthday cards, college papers with high marks, performance evaluations from work, educational certificates and a few pictures when I looked my best.

          • Renee on March 9, 2018 at 7:55 am

            Expanding on the exercise you mentioned.

            I started doing pictures way before husband moved out. He could not understand. He thought it was about appearance. I also started looking in the mirror trying to really see what was on the inside (a spirit that felt down).

            You ever see yourself getting knocked to your knees (like boxers in a ring)? You know if you get forced on the ropes or knocked to the ground, you may not get out or up. Not speaking of physical abuse.

            That image came into my mind years ago and I’ve been fighting since.

          • Nancy on March 9, 2018 at 7:45 am

            Free, thank you for sharing this beautiful project!

            I love the title of this box ‘ real me’ 🙂

            Our daughter did this excercise for a grade 5 project a couple of years ago. Beautiful.

            ( I remember when I was very sick ( just prior to becoming psychotic and being hospitalized), I did a collage with magazine cut outs. It was full of animals but they didn’t have heads…sorry for the weird imagery! I didn’t keep it but remember it well. I know that those animals all represented me ( I didn’t have God, and worshipped nature, at the time). The cut off heads was the disconnection between my head and heart. Years later, when I wrote an article about my salvation experience, I highlighted the re-connection that was made between head and heart and how that was the space ( between head and heart) was where the grace of God could enter. talk therapy ( not Christian) needed to happen to establish that ‘bridge’. Talking ‘and expressing my pain’, was the first step in establishing connection with myself.

            Anyways, all this just came back to me reading your post. I’m going to consider doing something similar…representing the ‘real me’ 🙂

          • Renee on March 9, 2018 at 7:58 am

            Beautiful Nancy.

  14. K on March 8, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Dear Aleea (….and all of us)

    May I offer a gentle and firm reminder…….. If you are not personally having to struggle with questions of marital separation / divorce as it affects your own marriage, it’s probably better to refrain from posting a lengthy scholarly discourse, or introducing extraneous materials, or making rigid pronouncements about it here.

    Many other women who post and read here ARE living in extremely destructive, real-life, soul-crushing (and sometimes life-threatening) circumstances. They are not inhabiting theoretical wonderings, or theological minutae, and are not trying to make a case for any movement or seminary that grapples with the exegetical challenges in current society.

    They are women seeking the Lord’s hope and safety for children and selves who have been horribly used and abused. They are the Hagar’s and Tamar’s and Esther’s of our day. And because the Lord sees them, has care for them, and offers a way of safety for them, we need to be mindful of not placing additional burdens upon them.

    Please remember, and respect this as you continue to find hope and healing for yourself here.

    Grace and peace, K

    • Aly on March 8, 2018 at 10:49 pm

      K & Aleea,

      K, I think what you posted is gentle and compassionate given such a topic and question that was placed via the blog.

      You wrote:
      “In the abuse situation with my mother, I put myself into His hands, even when I know better. ”

      Here it is ~ you believe (you know better) your abused lens and your coping skills choose this attitude.
      Is this freedom? Or is this familiarity?

      I’m wondering if you have considered K’s thoughts?
      I ask because as many of us her have been recipients of terrible abuse on many levels, how might you feel if we challenged your ‘no contact’ with your mom?
      I don’t think I have read anyone not empathizing and supporting your reason for doing so with great care for your heart and your circumstances.

      As for me and my situation, my husband ‘divorced’ me in his heart and through his behavior ….before I even considered separating and legal terms.
      No guilt, just painful reality.
      Granted our outcome is a blessing. I knew Either way, the Lord would bless (healthy marriage? Or Freedom from unhealthy marriage?)

      • Aleea on March 10, 2018 at 6:49 am

        I am so, so sorry your husband just left you. If that happened to me, I would be far, far more ruined than I already am.

        “I’m wondering if you have considered K’s thoughts?”

        . . .Just work with me🌈 🍕 💖, if you choose to, I need Grace and we are going someplace with this. . . . . K’s post is not gentle or compassionate . . .it shows almost no understanding of childhood abuse. It commits most every last logical and Bible interpretation error known. . . . But, . . .but I love K and you for even caring enough to actually read what I write (—always, always amazes me!!!). . . .and taking your precious and very valuable time to comment. Thank you so, so much. I hear you, do you hear me??? —Really hear me??? —Am I always completely wrong and everyone else completely right? That’s just not true.

        But saying that does nothing —does it??? . . .It just casuses people to re-up positions.

        I want to come away from each interaction wiser not right. . . .Whatever “right” even means. How can I do that? Is that possible? No one I see here models that well. They either ignore the r-e-a-l-l-y hard questions or argue or try to intimidate. . . .And I’m a mess of confusion because I can’t express myself.

        . . .Go after God, not people. Aly, you didn’t create the Bible. No one is going to do what the Bible actually says and especially means in context. It is an irrelevant discussion. —Aly, people have figured out that the Bible needs to be totally modified *all over the place* because it makes no sense as to what consistutes human flourishing. Re: marriage and divorce, It says and means stuff that are just completely unworkable and people will not have it. Good for them!!! Go people!!!!! . . . .But the cherry-picking, special pleading, text-twisting beyond recognition is just mind boggling.

        You are not the Bible or a God, you are a precious, good thing. . . .Go after God, not people. I should have know better. . .

        The more I pray, the more I just don’t know what to say. In life, the right thing to do and the really hard thing to do are usually the same thing. That means . . .God didn’t choose to make all ancient extant Bible manuscripts indestructible, unalterable and self-translating —they are a total mess and people are constantly and *seriously* disagreeing over context, the meaning of words, passages, chapters, paragraphs. It is the kind of lack of clarity you would expect from humans, not God.

        . . .Not that I don’t need to speak my pain courageously in order to recover but within a healing context realizing that it is important to that process not to make being a victim some type of stance of pride or a location from which to simply blame my mother and God. . . . .When someone is reading the Scriptures and reads all that foolishness BUT still wants to repent and follow Jesus, it can ONLY be because God Himself has done a supernatural work in their heart that has bypassed their logic, bypassed their evidence evaluating capabilities and even bypassed their reasonableness (God needs blood to fix the Universe but only His has the power that will accomplish that —absolutely mad on the face of it!) Even the Bible says that the gospel message is, as 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, total foolishness. . . . I sat in my re||engage marriage class on Weds. listening to a couple that should have divorced every 2 yrs. given what we teach people here. What God says about divorce and remarriage and what has been historically taught looks like total foolishness too, —just like the gospel. Maybe God has set it up this way so that, just like the gospel, He gets all the credit and all the glory? It would not surprise me if the actual experts in these N.T. documents (none of us here that I know of) and what the church fathers said for hundreds and hundreds of years was not true.

        . . .I don’t want to run straight into a brick wall and I appreciate when people here give me a talking to. I hate it but I appreciate it. Those of you who did not have childhood abuse can see my childhood abuse issues very clearly, often crystal clearly when I can’t. I don’t have marriage issues (—only by the grace of God🌈 💖 ), I can see some things too. —Yes, God’s ways, not logical, not practical, not modern, certainly not what psychology teaches, —It takes quite a spine to turn the other cheek. It takes phenomenal fortitude to love your spouse. It takes firm resolve to pray for them when they persecute you (Matthew 5, etc.) —just like the entire gospel and I didn’t always think that way but the text evidence from early Christianity (—which I was studying for how individuals come to know Christ) certainly changed my mind.

        But everything is understandable, these situations beggar the imagination. In most situations there are no answers. People don’t even get married anymore and no wonder but that creates a whole new set of unknowns. . . .Do you think that any individual (—in this case, this week’s question, this minister) can transcend his or her natural self with all its flaws even with the help of God Himself? Think of all these attempted suppression of psychological forces, urges, and brain chemistry (—that we always talk about here) that cannot be eradicated. Even when these husbands or wives or mothers “transform” the psychological forces, urges, and brain chemistry only seek expression in other, maybe more devious ways, often clothed in the language and pose of moral and spiritual superiority? As I have studied it, this is how Christian and other religious leaders eventually crash and burn, subverting themselves by means of what they think are virtues but they are actually vices. . . . . .Attraction to DSM-5-types seems a behavioral problem that starts in youth. In the peer-reviewed research, it is shown most women grow out of it as they age. Maybe, somehow I don’t understand, it’s a necessary phase because if we weren’t living in *total fantasy land* in reproductive years, we would never reproduce? That is to say, if we knew now what we will know later, —well, —she would have an understanding that men and women don’t belong together except to create life? Re: the large, well constructed, statistically significant *seriously* peer-reviewed, out-of-sample, longevity studies.

        . . . .Love is giving up control. We control next to nothing anyway, very little in fact. People always say: When you come to the end of yourself, you are at that exact moment in the place where you can fully experience the God who is for you. Catherine of Aragon said, “None get to God but through trouble.” Gift. Gift. Gift.🌈 💖 When you get married you’re starting a conversation that never ends. . . .

    • Aleea on March 9, 2018 at 6:58 am

      Hello JoAnnރ✝ރ❣😊 💕,

      Hello Aly and Kރ✝ރ❣😊 💕,

      Thank you *all* so, so much for taking all the time to think about, write all that up and post it. *I have read it all* but will re-read and pray over it before I comment. Thank you so, so much. I want to carefully think and pray about it.

      . . .Expressing doubt is how we begin the journey to really discover any essential truths.

      . . .But sometimes we need to just stop and tell the tenderhearted persons whom really care about us that we love them (—I do!!! ✝❣😊 💕) and explain that our awkward searching and questioning is not a rejection of them. Never, e-v-e-r!!!




      Seeing the Light, *with boundaries* you too.




      I say keep praying for people. You can’t hate them when you do that (I’m NOT saying anyone hates anyone, for the love of God!). If you pray, you wind-up loving them. . . .We *all* can teach each other things we could have never, e-v-e-r leaned on our own. That includes you but it also includes me too! You know things I will not probably live long enough to learn and I you too. . . .We could easily *all* be wrong. . . .It’s complex, very highly nauanced, people know almost nothing about the brain in any real, demonstrable sense and psychology is in its absolute infancy, —neuroscience is too! Even the labels being used are highly, highly questionable. . . .I am crying out to God to help me, but he is not going to solve our issues by magic —I know He expects us to ask the really, seriously deep questions and research too. . . .But again, sometimes we need to just stop and tell the tenderhearted persons whom really care about us that we love them (—I do!!! ✝❣😊 💕) and explain that our awkward searching and questioning is not a rejection of them. Never, e-v-e-r!!!

    • Aleea on March 10, 2018 at 6:30 am

      “Many other women who post and read here ARE living in extremely destructive, real-life, soul-crushing (and sometimes life-threatening) circumstances.”

      I prayed and thought *a lot* about what you said. . . .And I love you for taking the time to even give me “what-for.”

      You are not the Bible or a God, you are a precious, good thing that actually cares enough to read what I write. . . .Go after God, He can deal with it, not people. I should have know better. . .

      . . .What are reasons it is not for their growing just like my extremely destructive, real-life, soul-crushing (and life-threatening) childhood? How can we know the mind of God? . . .How do we know it is not God’s will? It was God’s will for a vulnerable child but not an adult??? —Can you explain that to me K, it’s God’s plan for helpless children but not for adults? . . .Why even use the Bible if we just don’t even care what Jesus and the church fathers said about divorce and remarriage? Cherry picking, special pleading, text-twisting beyond recognition. Anything we don’t like is “theoretical?”

      Okay, enough of that . . . .I bring it up because I think it clearly shows us that the entire paradigm is self-deconstructing. K, it shows that something else is going on because it is totally ridiculous and illogical. K, you are not. God’s commands often are.

      —K, people have figured out that the Bible needs to be totally modified *all over the place* because it makes no sense as to what consistutes human flourishing. Re: marriage and divorce.

      . . .And, again, I love you for taking the time to even give me “what-for.” I love you and I love God but He is way too mysterious. Notice how practical adults are when they can do something about something. Morals and guidelines are not coming from the Bible. They are coming from what people will and will not accept. —Good for them!!! —Go people!!!!! But look at the cherry-picking, special pleading, text-twisting beyond recognition to get there. I think that deconstructs the platform they think they are standing on.

      But that is a total endless loop. —How can we deeply love others and still be truthful and not just silent??? . . .Without serious conflict??? I am pretty certain you have to deconstruct the Bible to get where you want to go on the issues of divorce and remarriage.

      —I know I have to do my part, even if others will not do there parts. What is my part beyond “shutting up” and “going away”?

      “Grace and peace, K” . . . K, how can I be loving and kind too but also truthful? Thank you K. I appreciate you caring. ツ Aleea

      I want to come away from each interaction wiser not right. . . .Whatever “right” even means. How can I do that? Wiser not “right.” 💯 ✔ ☑ Is that even possible? No one I see models that well here. They either ignore the r-e-a-l-l-y hard questions or argue or try to intimidate. . . .And I’m a mess of confusion because I can’t express myself.

    • Maria on March 10, 2018 at 7:00 am


      I read Aleea’s post a few times and what I understand from it is that she sees there are details that are conflicting in different parts of the Bible. She has also mentioned the conflicting things about the divorce issue. Putting those aside, she then responds to the question. By the way, when I interacted with Aleea about my decision to stay in my marriage, she argued why it was not a good idea. I think she brings it up because she struggles with the inconsistencies. I really don’t want this to become a big theological debate.
      Maybe this is the way lawyers write. I on the other hand am in a field in which I have to be very clear and not ambiguous in case a lawyer were to try and challenge what I have done.

      • Amanda on March 10, 2018 at 4:13 pm

        And how did any of the discussion pertain to the original topic and the needs of the writer.

        Blaming ones profession for bad behavior is a cop out. Clarity is a choice, ambiguity is often a cover for deception. I think we are dealing with on going deception as the writer feeds her neediness to be heard without receiving direction. To me this is either someone who is really sick or really selfish.

        • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 5:18 pm


          I completely agree with your whole comment. I agree with you that we are dealing with an ongoing deception. There are stark similarities between Aleea’s posting behaviors and content and the manipulative and damaging behaviors and speech I have seen in the destructive and even personality-disordered people in my own life – and not just my own. I read other people’s stories of dealing with destructive people and relationships and it just keeps reminding me of what she is doing.

          “To me this is either someone who is really sick or really selfish.” I am no psychologist or psychiatrist and I can’t make a diagnosis, but I have seen so much posting behavior and content on her part that unsettlingly reminds me of borderline personality disorder and/or narcissistic personality disorder. Whether she is really sick or really selfish, she still has a choice. And she is making it every time she hits “Post Comment.” She is saying exactly what she wants to say.

        • Maria on March 10, 2018 at 6:50 pm

          STL & Amanda,

          I know that when I have been in pain, I have focused on myself and indeed that could be seen as selfish. When we are dealing with deep hurts, it is difficult to focus on others.

          I don’t think it is beneficial to suggest that Aleea is a narcissist or has borderline personality disorder. Those statements are very unkind. I think Aly here has shown how to lovingly deal with Aleea. She does not agree with some of the things Aleea has posted, but at the same time she has not labeled her, passed judgement on her or put her down in any way.

        • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 8:46 pm


          I appreciate that you have a right to your opinion about my stating that I have noticed a similarity between certain personality disorders and Aleea’s posting behavior and content. From where I stand, I do not see my remarks as unkind. I also recognize that you get to choose how you want to deal with Aleea. Aly gets to choose how she wants to deal with her. I myself have been thinking more about how Jesus Christ would deal with someone who says the things she does. I have also been thinking about how St. Paul would deal with her. I am using what I see of them in the Bible as I think about this. Those are the two role models I have been contemplating in this situation. I think we might want to consider how both of them spoke about and to people who said the kinds of things she says unabashedly. I believe this is how I am being called to lovingly deal with Aleea.

          I for one do not want to be one who bears well with her as she regularly insults the living God and reviles His Word and His ways.

          We here talk fairly freely about the personality-disordered people in our lives. We are straightforward about it. We need to be in order to get at the truth about the effect they are having on us for one thing. I have shared my suspicions that my husband is a narcissist and have gotten feedback on it. In my family my siblings and I talk about our concerns that my mother has borderline personality disorder. We need to in order to support each other as we each make decisions what we are and are not going to tolerate and as we try to make sense of her nasty reactions to boundaries and then some. Borderlines train those in their circle to walk on eggshells around them and to put their volatile emotions and unending pain at the top of the list of priorities. The borderline actually would be better off if everyone around them refused to comply with this. (I realize the nature of a blog is that we can’t have that conversation without her being able to “hear” it, but there is nothing I can do about that and to continue to walk on eggshells around her while others are damaged is placing what some perceive to be her good over the good of others. They matter as much as she does. The beauty of it is refusing to tolerate bad behavior is good for everyone in such a situation).

          I have certainly noticed your penchant to come to her defense. What about coming to the defense of each individual that she has clearly been unkind toward? I know that from your perspective I am being unkind to her. All I can say is that from my perspective, I think your manner of dealing with her is not what her eternal soul actually needs and therefore in the final analysis would prove to be more unkind.

        • Renee on March 10, 2018 at 9:12 pm

          Amanda: [I think we are dealing with ongoing deception as the writer feeds her neediness to be heard without receiving direction.]

          I feel for Aleea.

          But yes, she has become outright defiant and trying to spin it to have us believe she want help and is listening.

          I feel she is here to disprove not just the Bible, but also the people here who are saying they are well in their journey with the good Lord and in their marriage. For others, confusion.

          So for now I have deleted posts from you and most responses to you Aleea. I do not like doing this because I don’t want to miss out on some great wisdom.

          I only started having a problem when your post and responses to your post overpowered the page.

  15. Seeing the Light on March 8, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    I am testing again as I continue to be unable to post.

    • JoAnn on March 9, 2018 at 10:37 am

      STL, sometimes I write a reply that doesn’t show up until I go back through the thread, then I see it. There were some replies that I thought didn’t post, but then I found them when I went back and read the whole thread from the beginning. I don’t know who sees them when that happens, and I don’t know what mechanism causes that to happen. Confusing.

      • Seeing the Light on March 9, 2018 at 10:49 am

        Hi, JoAnn, I wondered about something like that happening. I wrote maybe ten lines about this week’s topic, including some thoughts about Abigail (since Leslie brought her up). I’d hit post and everything just disappeared. Then I tried to write it again as I had written it the first time, and boom the same thing happened. I found it would let me post the one line about testing, but not more. I was feeling like it would be a little weird if multiple posts suddenly showed up with slightly different wording since I couldn’t re-write it verbatim. When I have written longer things, I type them up in word processing first so I don’t lose anything if something goes haywire. I did that next and tried a few times, but no. So I decided to just make a short comment about Abigail and that worked. If they ever do re-appear from the great beyond of the cyber-Bermuda triangle, it will definitely be a little redundant as I tried multiple times. I posted a longer comment on last week’s blog in the middle of this and it worked just fine, so who knows. Let’s see if this posts…

      • Seeing the Light on March 9, 2018 at 10:49 am

        Hey, it did!

        • JoAnn on March 9, 2018 at 10:55 am

          Yes, and I got it. Chuckling. I am 71, and this whole cyberspace thing is beyond me. Not at all intuitive for me as it is for younger ones, yet I manage to do a few things…. When I consider what all might be out there in the “cloud” it’s scary.

      • Seeing the Light on March 9, 2018 at 11:07 am

        What I was going to say yesterday was that I still struggle with taking care of myself. I know cognitively it is good and right, but I still feel very guilty. It happened just this week that I was going to try to make some positive changes, things that could help me increase my physical health and I had a sort of PTSD-like emotional flashback regarding thoughts of my worth and so on. I could only shut it off by deciding that I could justify taking care of myself because it would be better for the kids if I were doing better. They are worth it, so it’s okay to take care of myself for their good, but not my own. I have a terrible time even napping during the day if I need it – like it’s wrong to be sleeping while my husband is working and the kids are working at school – even if I am working later while they are home napping or sleeping. (That’s longer than what I originally wrote).

        • JoAnn on March 9, 2018 at 11:22 am

          STL, I believe that what you are experiencing is typical of the way the enemy tries to keep us in bondage. There is a difference between guilt and condemnation. Guilt is a healthy sensation that lets us know when we have actually done something that we shouldn’t do. The answer to that is confession, repentance, and the Blood of Jesus Christ. Condemnation, on the other hand, is a lie of the devil. To be condemned for taking a nap when you are tired is a strategy of the enemy. That’s when you tell him to stop, to leave you alone, that you have the freedom in Christ to sleep when you need to. James tells us to “withstand the devil and he will flee from you.”(4:7)
          Dear Sisters, it is important that we all realize that we are engaged in a battle: the devil has initiated this abuse that you are striving to be free from, and he is going to continue to attempt to hold onto your mind by condemnation and other lies, because he is the father of lies. Lies are what he does. So the answer id for us to recognize those lies and send them back to hell where they came from. Pray for the Lord to give you a fighting spirit; you have already overcome so much, but now this is the front line of the battle. Rev. 12:11: “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their soul-life unto death.” The Lord Jesus in our spirit is the overcomer, so we overcome, not by our own strength but by His life in us.

          • Seeing the Light on March 9, 2018 at 12:10 pm

            JoAnn, I know you are right, especially about guilt versus condemnation. Some days I am stronger in the battle than others. Those days when I have that fighting spirit, one of my favorite verses that I run through my mind and carry in my pocket is, “For the LORD God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” (KJV). I like the confounded in the KJV (disgrace in most other versions). For the latter part, I like the NIV wording: “…and I know I will not be put to shame.” It’s just such a strengthening verse – to “set my face like flint.” I find sometimes it is a matter that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak – part of that flesh being the brain, with all its familiar patterns, hyper-reactive amygdala from the years of abuse, and more.

          • JoAnn on March 9, 2018 at 12:28 pm

            STL, (3/9 @12:10) I agree, and “holding to truth in love” (Eph 4:15) is our best weapon. And when we are too weak to fight, the Lord, as our High Priest is interceding for us. Hold fast to Him.

        • Aly on March 9, 2018 at 11:33 am


          I am very sorry for what you are experiencing with the PTSD and those emotional flashbacks.
          That is really hard but I think you writing it out the way you did makes sense and brings things to mind for me.

          When my marriage was very lopsided upside down etc,
          Toxic in general~
          I used feel similar things like you mentioned about what I was free or not free to do.
          (As if I was some less than role in my own home)
          This belief was formed from both my husband’s foo and my own.

          Self care is just that, Taking good care of oneself for the benefit of those who do need our healthiest versions of us as Mom’s, Sisters, friends.
          Obviously… not to the point of avoidance, unavailability or neglect if that makes sense.., there is a place of balance.

          I also was easily moved into that role which brought a lot of destruction in my marriage based on my h’s unavailability and neglect so then I to the point of ‘imbalance’ over functioned and boy those that benefit … cause quite the battle when that cycle changes in the beginning.

          STL, depending on the ages of your children it could be helpful to visualize your life as they continued to grow and eventually are independent as adults.
          Parenting is a temporary season and what helped me was to remind myself to model the kind of character and healthy self care I want for them also in their own journeys.

          • Seeing the Light on March 9, 2018 at 12:46 pm


            Thank you for your kindness.

            You mentioned the less than role you were in and then said, “I also was easily moved into that role which brought a lot of destruction in my marriage based on my h’s unavailability and neglect…” Same here. It was much too easy through the misuse of Scriptures and bad pseudo-“Christian” teaching to move me into that role.

            “Parenting is a temporary season and what helped me was to remind myself to model the kind of character and healthy self care I want for them also in their own journeys.” Yes. This has been on my mind more recently as well. I’ve been so focused on surviving and hoping to just make it until they are grown. For just two examples, I’ve been going after the teenagers about not eating well (too much junk food and fast food and so on) and not getting enough sleep. Then I realized I’m not eating right and sleeping enough. I was truly speaking up for their good and not to judge, but it’s a losing battle if I model the wrong thing. Physician, heal thyself.

        • Renee on March 10, 2018 at 9:30 pm

          STL I absolutely love JoAnn’s response to you.

          Have you examined where a statement (feeling) like this came from? [ like it’s wrong to be sleeping while my husband is working and the kids are working at school]

          I think this is a statement insinuated by your abuser. So as JoAnn says tell the devil. Devil leave!!!

          Set an alarm clock. Take that 30 minute nap. Be well my internet sister.

  16. Seeing the Light on March 8, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    I really appreciate the story of Abigail. She is a godly woman who spoke the truth about her husband (in terms such as wicked or worthless and folly) without any judgment from God for doing so recorded in the Scriptures.

  17. Nancy on March 9, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Good morning,

    This past few weeks have been triggering for me. I will write later about my own realizations about why this is the case.

    I am in the process, in my church, of asking for a system to be developed for the application of Matt 18:15-17. I have learned much on this blog about the importance of that. And my own history, as a child in a church that practiced ‘loving more’ when someone was ensnared by sin, contribute greatly to the destruction of my family.

    I am wondering if it would be appropriate to implement such a system here? This is not a church. It is a community, though, with some pretty vulnerable individuals.

    • Aly on March 9, 2018 at 10:11 am


      If possible, when you write later can you give an example of ‘loving more’… what you mention was taught in your church as you were a child?

      It’s interesting that Matt 18:15-17… I have benefited from this with my own FOO and my journey (even though, they as professing Christians have made it clear through behavior that they don’t have eyes to see and ears to hear)

      I have been triggered many times also on thi

      • Aly on March 9, 2018 at 10:16 am

        Oh no..Hit send again~

        I have been triggered many times on this blog, and there are things I feel that I have to ask the Lord for continued guidance for.
        Such individuals do not have access to influence my husband or children… similar to my healthy reasonable boundaries with my FOO.

        • Nancy on March 9, 2018 at 3:28 pm

          Hi Aly,

          The ‘loving more’ I refer to is exactly the ‘submit more’ definition of love that is so often referred to here on this blog. If someone is ensnared by sin, then you give ‘more grace’, ‘submit more’ and you certainly don’t confront. Basically, there was no such thing as ‘tough love’, or what it means to be ‘iron sharpening iron’.

          As we know, un confronted sin only grows.

          And so patterns of sin were allowed to grow in the church:

          Addiction ( minister was an alcoholic and so were other members. Parties at the church where alcohol flowed)
          Mental illness ( his wife was bipolar – untreated)
          Affairs ( my father had two affairs within the church community)
          Emotional illness ( my mother was borderline – never diagnosed or treated)

          These are only the patterns that I am aware of.

          • Seeing the Light on March 9, 2018 at 4:03 pm

            Nancy, for my part, both of your comments (10:00 am and 3:28 pm resonated with me. I am not sure what else to say at this point as I have already said so much. I am interested in any further thoughts you have along these lines, as well as what you will be writing about why you have been triggered recently.

          • Aly on March 9, 2018 at 4:57 pm


            Yes! We are on the same page with the patterns and the type of culture that contributes to more of the …
            Non- growth that battles the sanctification process.

            Which fuels the apathy and much confusing Christianity by far.
            Rebecca Davis recently posted a great article that I so resonate with.
            I’ll see if it will post here.

          • Aly on March 9, 2018 at 5:17 pm


            I agree,
            You said, “un confronted sin only grows”
            Yes, and especially unrepented sin too.

            We can confront but that doesn’t always mean someone will acknowledge and repent of their ways.

            I posted Rebecca Davis’s recent article. I think it’s a really good read for those who have been indoctrinated so many twisted ways to not deal or confront sin.

            Here is a snipet~
            She writes;
            “It does not consist of refusing to think about the harm an unsafe person has done.”

            I just want to take note that the unsafe person she is referring to is a past ‘offense’
            Living with an unsafe person heightens the situation because the offense is not ‘done’ but ongoing and ‘doing’.. if that makes sense…

            There are still many women on this blog that are choosing to staying well and survive (my heart is heavy for their situation and what they are being exposed to.

          • Maria on March 10, 2018 at 6:06 am

            Aly & Nancy,

            I agree with you about unconfronted sin. But I am learning that we don’t have to confront everything and also timing is important. We confront for the benefit of the person we are confronting. (If it is for safety reasons, this does not apply). Sometimes they may be ready, other times it may just make things worse. Another thing I am learning is to examine myself too. Is there something I need to work on too?

    • Nancy on March 9, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      There have been times, over the years in my relationship with my mother that she would exhibit seeming ‘a-ha’ moments. Moments where the ‘facade’ would fall apart and she would be reduced to tears. Moments where, I thought she was taking responsibility. Those moments held for me, great hope. The hope that she would finally take responsibility for herself, and with it, the hope that our family system would finally begin to heal.

      I have come to learn that none of those moments were at all ‘real’, or if they were, they were so quickly swallowed up by her pride, whose resolve became even stronger in the wake of her ‘shattered self’.

      This was an excruciating way to live.

      Through therapy, I have also learned that no one has ever stood up to my mother. not her own mother, not my father, none of us ( until very recently, I have only begun to).

      This consistent lack of accountability and discipline is a major contributor to my mother’s emotional disorder. It has made it more entrenched. All the enabling, couched as ‘loving her more’ did her no favours at all. My heart breaks for her when I think of her in this way.

      Now, I come to these past weeks. I have seen and been part of a dynamic where I have seen some ‘a-ha’ moments in Aleea’s communication. Where the facade has dropped and I got to see interactaction with the real her. ( I pray Aleea, that I can say these things in a God honouring way).

      But by the next post, the facade is back and the ground so hard fought, by many of us, has been lost.

      This is a major trigger, as you can see from my story above, and was maybe evident in my less than sensitive comments. I am very sorry 🙁

      I realize that the degree of me being triggered is likely directly related to my degree of investment in the outcome. This is not healthy because the outcome belongs to The Lord.

      It’s been painful, but not all pain is bad. As has been pointed out, we each have a choice as to the degree to which we engage one another. But amidst this familiar pain, I am not seeing clearly.

      I have been on this blog for under two years and in that time I have not experienced before such loving confrontation as has recently happened for Aleea in regards to what she herself refers to as an addiction. So many of us stood together surrounding her with ‘tough love’, on the matter.

      And now, once again, Aleea’s opening comment on this thread, is as if none of those past exchanges ever happened. For me, this is ‘crazy making’, and far too familiar. Now….I can decide to not read the comments. That is my choice. And a choice that I desperately need The Lord, to be in, because you see I have grown very fond of Aleea.

      I wonder, though, where the accountability is for her, on this blog? Is a lack of accountability good for her? Is it helpful to this ‘family’?

      That’s why I brought up Matt 18:15-17.

      Is this not exactly what we talk about on this blog? That people need to feel the consequences of their decisions sometimes, and that this is their best chance at them choosing new ways of being?

      This is a cyber community. I don’t pretend to ‘know’ the answer, but my head is spinning as I write this out.

      • Aly on March 9, 2018 at 6:02 pm


        Wow. A clear post as I read through. 💜
        I’ll write more later but I think you made such a distinction about the degree of investment.

        • JoAnn on March 9, 2018 at 6:06 pm

          I agree, Nancy. Thank you for putting it so clearly.

        • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 10:26 am


          This is to respond to your comment from 3/10 to both Nancy and myself on the ‘unconfronted sin’.

          My experience here and comments to Nancy was more about the generational pattern and sowing that happens over time when sin is well ‘normalized in a very unhealthy insecure family system’ .

          Her and I both have had similar issues as we look at the continued unhealthy being passed down in ‘professing Christian’ types of homes.

          I agree with you Maria, we should most definitely look at ourselves and our own sin!
          I was taught the unhealth early on to overfunction with a more sensitive conscious about my own sin and errors. So I often was the one in the family taking responsibility where it wasn’t my own.

          Healthy mothers step in and advocate for their children. They assist in growing each of their children to own their own issues with humility and a teachable spirit of love and wisdom.

          My abuse forming was more prevalent with my siblings. My parents have their unresolved issues of 50 years which they have chosen to never look at honestly (they bury the wrong doing and use forgive and forget while repeating the same offense over and over) and that’s their marital choice…. but it does reap all sorts of relationship consequences.
          It especially reaps when ‘what’ they say is at the center (Christ) when in fact that is not a joint truth between them.
          The ‘image keeping’ is the sin and it is their deep bondage.
          They continue to pass this down to the next gen telling them to put on fake faces.

          Sorry if this is too confusing. Not trying to be🙃

      • Seeing the Light on March 9, 2018 at 6:13 pm

        Amen, Nancy. Well said.

      • Free on March 9, 2018 at 7:37 pm

        I appreciate your insight and transparency, Nancy. Based on what you said, Aleea is not a safe person for you. I wonder why you are fond of someone who exemplifies the same dysfunctional behaviors that you report your mother does.

        It would seem wise to abandon the relationship and stop reading the posts. Seeking people with greater mental health would be encouraging and uplifting. Take care of you. Aleea has a psychiatrist and as we have seen, despite care, there is no improvement. She may need a new psychiatrist and a new treatment plan. I know one thing for sure, women in dysfunctional marriages don’t need more sick people to take care of.

        • Nancy on March 9, 2018 at 8:44 pm

          Thank you Free, for your response. You’re right about the boundaries that I need to set, by not reading the posts.

          I have resolved not to read them, but am not consistent in this.

          I’ve had a rough couple of weeks as this has dredged up some strong emotions from my childhood.

          It’s a question of boundaries ( as always, with me). I just don’t know if that means ‘no contact’ at all, with this site. Because if I can’t hold my boundary of not reading, then the turmoil is not worth it for me.

          I’ll be praying about it, for sure.

          • Renee on March 9, 2018 at 9:07 pm

            Nancy, I hope you don’t leave us but I also understand completely.

          • JoAnn on March 9, 2018 at 11:49 pm

            Nancy, your wisdom and experience have been valuable here, so I hope you don’t leave. Instead, I suggest you talk with your therapist about the triggers. That would open the way for more healing.

          • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 2:06 am


            “It’s a question of boundaries ( as always, with me). I just don’t know if that means ‘no contact’ at all, with this site. Because if I can’t hold my boundary of not reading, then the turmoil is not worth it for me.”

            I hope you don’t in any way feel like this is your “issue” or “problem”. I have had to go low contact with this blog off and on over the years because of Aleea’s comments. I suspect there are others from the comments. I honestly think it may be practically impossible to engage on this blog in any meaningful way while having to continually be on guard against reading her comments. They are intertwined with the comments of others. I don’t know how it would be possible to go no contact with her influence. Then once you pick up on it from reading another comment, that will leave questions in your mind regarding context and you’ll need to read her comment to understand it and on and on. I myself may be heading into another season of no/low contact. I just don’t want you thinking that the problem is with you if you can’t hold to what I believe is an impossible standard.

            I can choose to set a boundary on my borderline mother. That will affect how often I call her and the topic of conversation and so on. However, by way of analogy, if I am in a support group, and she joins it, there will be no way I can possibly ignore her contributions to the dialogue and the effect of her dysfunction and drama and destructive comments on the tenor of the group meetings. It would be absolutely crazy-making.

            I am just grieved at the thought of you putting more pressure on yourself that this is your boundary issue.

          • Maria on March 10, 2018 at 5:53 am


            Your posts have been really helpful to me, but I will respect whatever decision you choose. I love how real you are.

            Leslie has said in the past that this blog is a place to practice our boundaries as long as we are respectful to each other. I know I meet people in my workplace who are not safe emotionally. I have learned to walk away or speak up when necessary. So in regards to Aleea’s posts, we can choose to read them, ignore them or respond to them.

            When a person says or does something, it is a reflection of them, not us. Living with my emotionally destructive husband, I have learned that his behavior and words are a reflection of who he is. I take no responsibility for them. In the same way, Aleea’s posts are a reflection of her. I can choose to ignore them if I feel they are going to affect me.

            I see many parallels of interactions in my workplace and my interactions with Aleea. I offer suggestions based on my area of expertise when we have discussions at work. If they don’t take it, I don’t repeat myself, I just let it go. Before I did that I would repeat the suggestion thinking others did not hear or understand what I said. One day I noticed a fellow colleague of mine offered a solution to a problem and then didn’t press the issue. I asked him later why he did not repeat his suggestion, maybe they hadn’t understood him. He told me they had, they were just not choosing to do what he suggested. This blog has helped me practice this.

          • Nancy on March 10, 2018 at 8:01 am

            Hi Renee, JoAnn, STL, and Maria,

            I appreciate your validation, and recommendations.

            You know, I have a similar issue with Facebook, now that I think about it. The way that I have navigated that is by ensuring that I am in the right frame of mind, when I go on. Perhaps, that’s what I need to do here. And also be especially ‘in tune’ with myself as I go through.

            STL. I appreciate your ‘real life support group analogy! As well as pointing out the reality of the interweaving of comments. It’s not black and white.

            Emotional distancing is key here. Especially distancing from the drama.

            BTW ( speaking of emotional distancing) I got an email from my mother the other day:

            “Thinking of you, as you are surely thinking of dad on what would have been his 81 st birthday. You must be very sad, as I know how much you love and miss him- especially today. Love, mom.”

            My first reaction was guilt. I hadn’t even thought of my dad that day. But then something my h said to me when a similar email came on the anniversary of his death, and I chose to ignore the email ( but was telling my h that I felt guilty about ignoring it) My h said, ” your mom sent an email and you chose to not respond. You and she grieve differently. That’s ok”

            So I decided to write back to this birthday email to say, “actually no mom, Dad didn’t even cross my mind yesterday. I’m sorry to hear though, that you had a tough day. Hoping things get better for you, soon.”

            This was a small victory in breaking through the sticky enmeshment web 🙂

          • Maria on March 10, 2018 at 3:49 pm


            Your reply was both kind and truthful. Well done.

          • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 10:13 pm


            The way you handled the email from your mother was great. What she said to you sounds so familiar! The way she tells you what you are thinking and how you are feeling – it’s uncanny. Your response was so good.

        • Nancy on March 11, 2018 at 2:50 pm

          Hi Free,

          I’d like to address your last statement to me:

          “One thing I know for sure is that women in dysfunctional marriages don’t need someone else to take care of.”

          Are you referring to me, here ( being in a dysfunctional marriage)?

          Because if so, I’d like to take the opportunity to say that, that is no longer the case.

      • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 1:47 am

        I am inspired by Nancy to try once more. This comment is for anyone, but includes a question for Leslie. I’m not sure the proper way to address the comment since most of the time people don’t directly address Leslie.

        Boundaries have often been discussed on this blog. They have been the subject of some of Leslie’s posts. Generally speaking from the posts, I understood the violation of boundaries to be related to the imposition of consequences. Is there any point in setting a boundary if nothing happens when it is violated? Leslie issued a clear directive to Aleea, February 17, 2018 at 1:05 am on the February 14, 2018 blog post, “Aleea,…for this blog I’d like you to limit your comments to things concerning relationship issues…I want you to feel valued and heard, but I fear that some your angst around your own battle regarding Scripture is taking this blog in to places that may not be helpful for the majority of readers. So I encourage you to fully participate in the areas around the question and relationship issues, but as others have stated, let’s keep this blog about destructive relationships and not the questions regarding the inerrancy of Scripture.” She has violated this repeatedly since Leslie posted it, most recently March 8, 2018. From what I can tell, there has been no consequence.

        From the October 21, 2015 blog post, 3 Ways To Set Healthy Boundaries In Your Marriage: “Most of the time, in healthy relationships we do not need rigid boundaries. For example, if I tell my kids when my bedroom door is closed, please don’t walk in, I hope they will respect my soft boundary. I’m teaching my children to respect my need for privacy by my closed door and my words. When they refuse, or ignore my soft boundary, then I will have to put a more rigid boundary in place (a lock on my door) or give them a consequence for refusing to respect my boundary.” Was the directive to Aleea perhaps a soft boundary that she chose not to respect and now it’s time for a rigid boundary or a consequence?

        If it is not inappropriate to ask, would you be willing to weigh in on this, Leslie?

        • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 10:04 am


          Sorry I cannot post directly under your comment.

          But hooray!! 🎉 I think your response was yes such a wise and truthful expression which I believe will bring added peace to your heart… because your being your integrated self and in a healthy posture.


        • Nancy on March 10, 2018 at 2:21 pm

          I appreciate you articulating this question so clearly, STL, and hope to know what Leslie’s perspective is, on it.

  18. Janice on March 9, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Nancy, I too had a psychotic break many years ago as I was in therapy for sexual abuse recovery( my father committed incest against me when I was 12) I also experienced a “head-heart” dissociation and in my delusional state thought God was asking me to choose between my head( I knew I wasn’t thinking rationally) and my heart… I remember telling the Lord I was ok with only having my heart as long as I had Him.Our wonderful Creator God has woven us together so beautifully and my now almost 27 year journey since then has been about integration and wholeness… Body,soul and spirit.I am continually amazed at the sisterhood that is experienced here on this blog as we tell our stories and give all the glory to God.

    • Aly on March 9, 2018 at 11:00 am


      Praise God for your freedom and wholeness you have experienced💜

    • Nancy on March 9, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      That’s beautiful, Janice. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I spent two weeks in the psych ward recovering from the psychotic break. I see that two week period as the re-introduction of my head and heart.

      Puzzles were such a soothing thing. I still love them.

  19. Aly on March 9, 2018 at 10:30 am


    I tried finding the direct link to our tag but couldn’t.
    Anyway just wanted to say thank you for answering my question. I think it’s such a wise and treasure type of thing to have those experiences (intangible) and tangible evidence of the Real Accurate representtation of the Precious You! I’m so thrilled you have continued writing or should I say allowing God to rewrite His truths about you;)💕🌈

    I can relate on some level of how you say your abusive xhusband continues to paint a picture to the world of the you he needs you to be so he can ‘image manage’.
    My fOo has done similar. I think millennials call it ‘haters’ ?
    It’s sad, but it’s their stuck place and their isn’t freedom, just pride & deep down shame they can’t & wont look at.

    I choose to not carry their personal shame (that took a long time to sort through) and choose to believe strongly in the Lords blessings in my journey.
    Living a life of abundance is the best gift I can give myself & my family.

    • Free on March 9, 2018 at 7:49 pm

      I have an additional motive for why I started a “real me” box. Eventually one day I will die and my children will have to sift through the contents my house. My intention is to organize and preserve significant keepsakes and designate a toss pile upon death. I don’t know if anyone on this site has had to do the difficult task of closing up a loved ones home. I have and it is quite a task!

      So, you know how we all keep a few things from generation to generation? I want to decide what things are used to reflect my life. The truth is the truth. I have the documents to prove the fabulous and amazing
      testimony I have in Christ.
      I don’t want the next generation to miss that.

      I hear you on the crazy talk from “haters”. Oh, well, stinks to be them. Not my problem, again the truth is on my side.

  20. JoAnn on March 9, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Aly, You said, “I choose to not carry their personal shame.” That, I think, is one of the most important boundaries we can put in place, and teaching it to our children, too. I remember how freeing it was for me to realize that my mother’s anger belonged to her, not me, even though she dumped a lot of it on me. I was able to release all of her anger and free myself from it. What’s yours is yours, and what’s mine is mine. Yes, it might take a bit of work to sort out which is which, but once you do, it is very releasing. I think this is a big part of forgiving, too.

    • Aly on March 9, 2018 at 11:10 am


      Thanks for your comment. It’s been freeing but the grief is still a process.
      My mom is still in her ‘considering corner’ ~ posing as she says she is thinking and praying about my experiences and what I would need to move forward to reconciliation.

      She has a hard time thinking that anything should be required of her, since she believes that Jesus himself required nothing of us on the cross? How dare I have a request or any request since God doesn’t request from her.
      Again~ these are her thinking belief patterns that loop& loop.

      • Amanda on March 9, 2018 at 7:54 pm

        Since when doesn’t God request anything from us? I have never heard of what your Mother believes. He requires faith and love, without it there is no relationship. I guess your mom is really saying she doesn’t want a relationship and by the way, she will twist the scriptures to get what she wants.

        • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 11:17 am


          Yes what you write I resonate with and thank you;)

          Your words are true: My mother really doesn’t want a relationship ~ this has come up often in many ways as truth reveals in our choices and behaviors often. And she also refuses to have an attitude that wants to learn how to better connect and interact. To learn is key here… this was a huge life changer for my husband.

          She wants a relationship or I should say ‘reconciliation’ in her terms of how she defines one from her fear based lens.
          Not even in how God would!

          Her version of reconciliation is one-sided meant to meet her addiction of comfort and control.
          Fear based will often be the most controlling behavior I’ve witnessed.

          She wants a phony relationship for starters… what I mean is…I was told I could only talk about the weather or food etc. I could not share any other aspects of my life with her. (God, Blessings, struggles)
          Bottom line is she doesn’t want ‘the knowing’ that goes into healthy intimate relationship.
          Which is quite reflective of her own posture with Christ, it’s only one- dimensional and she likes it that way.
          But Christ isn’t about that, He’s about living an authentic integrated life that is transformed through Him!

          My heart is sad for her choices but she uses scripture to stay stuck, and I think that is just honestly one of the most horrible coping skills to bring into the church culture.

          Behind the hurt and fear, she chooses because she cares MORE of pleasing a husband who is not in a posture toward Christ authentically than what Christ would want for her.
          It’s bondage and I grieve for her!

          • JoAnn on March 10, 2018 at 11:49 am

            Aly, I am so very sorry for the lack in your relationship with your mother; I know it is painful for you, and to acknowledge the grief is healthy and courageous. Do you know the difference between empathy and sympathy? In sympathy, I can feel sorry for what you have gone through and the loss you feel. Empathy means that I enter into your feelings, and in a healthy, perhaps therapeutic, relationship, that allows me to be even more compassionate toward you. My point is this: it is important for you to keep a distance, and I know you know this….so that you do not enter into your mother’s feelings. You can be sympathetic and even grieve for the loss of your relationship, but keep the boundary there. Don’t cross over into empathy with her.
            It seems clear to me that you understand the dynamic very well, and I hurt for you that you cannot have a healthy relationship with her. But you also realize that she herself is a damaged person, and you see that she could be so much more. All you can do is put her into the Lord’s hands, and let it be. The Lord loves her, too. (Please know that I am not trying to correct some perceived mistake on your part; these are just the thoughts that are going through me as I read your post and enter into your grief.)

          • Nancy on March 10, 2018 at 1:27 pm

            Hi JoAnn,

            I really appreciate you making the distinction between sympathy and empathy. The difference lies in the boundary that is set. The last time you posted this was the first time I had heard it put like that, but since then I had forgotten.

            This is so key for me in not becoming enmeshed with my mother’s drama ( be it grief, depression, manic type joy, etc…). Because I was so trained to feel guilt for setting ANY emotional boundary, my automatic response to this ‘middle ground’ called sympathy is….guilt.

            I would go from total empathy and then enmeshment, get burned…and then hatred.

            Sympathy is a great middle ground

          • Amanda on March 10, 2018 at 4:04 pm

            Can you just push her to the far corner of your life and forget her. I would do the absolute minimum. My mother is toxic. It is her own choice. She dug a hole and threw away the ladder. She hopes people walk by so she can pull them down into the hole with her. I don’t play.

            What works for me is an occasional group dinner (so I have safety people present) and a response to her badgering texts once a week.

          • Nancy on March 10, 2018 at 9:03 pm

            Hi Amanda,

            I have very minimal contact with my mother. This works for us. I can relate to the ladder in the hole analogy.

            I used to say that when I was in a hole and told her about it, she’d climb down in it with me, get more upset than I was, then I’d have to climb out and then get her out too!

          • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 10:18 pm


            And again – so familiar! Our mothers really have some strong similarities. I don’t know how many times I have been just about to share something with her and I stop short because I know this is just what is going to happen. The other times I do it before I stop myself, and that’s what happens. Some of those occasions, then she calls my sister and expects her to climb down and get her out.

      • JoAnn on March 10, 2018 at 8:21 pm

        Nancy, you said, “Sympathy is a great middle ground” and I agree. It allows you to treat your mother with respect while maintaining a distance.

        For some reason, the blog wouldn’t let me reply to your comment directly, so I had to move up to Aly’s last entry. I think that my reply applies to both of you anyway.

  21. JoAnn on March 9, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Oh, My! That is such a twisting of the truth. I guess the challenge for you is to not get caught in her loops 🙂 You have the truth. Stand firm.

    • Aly on March 9, 2018 at 11:45 am


      Yes you are correct and thank you for your encouragement!
      Actually, for me in the stage I am in and challenge I have is the grief of her betrayal and her denial of so much.., I get the kick back (kill the messenger or message) while I also get the invitation of come close so I can shut the door yet again when you challenge me daughter.
      Some just never face their pain and the overall ‘true costs’ are astounding to me.

      Abundance in living and yes in grief… I teach my children,
      to realize the rejection is not about them~
      But boy are they sad at times at what foolishness & pride has cost experiencing such great grandkids. Their loss, truly.
      I continue to pray for freedom and Gods will for her and my dad.

    • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 12:27 pm


      For some reason I am unable to post directly to our dialog.
      This is in reply to your most recent with me this am.

      Thank JoAnn, I truly appreciate you and your care. 💕 I’m thankful for your tender words and your wisdom. And yes I’m familiar with the difference of empathy and sympathy but often in the recent betrayals it can get more difficult at times,

      I have been so blessed with others in the Kingdom (professionals too) that have come along side me to understand and validate what is clearly ‘unhealthy’ and abandoning from my mothers part.
      Thank you for understanding and as you know I’ve been on quite the journey and perseverance has been my friend more than I have been aware of!

      Accepting Christ as my Savior and desiring to live out my life as a Christian wanting to follow Christ and be transformed each day is an each day process.
      But upon making that decision, I knew their would be relationships possibly that could be separated but never did I even have the understanding of my own family of professing Christians? I did not way those costs as realities and certainly found myself at a great divide of who would I choose to please?
      God? Or them and their version of Christianity?

      I apologize that this is long in a reply I wanted to begin a short response.
      You said something important about my mom;
      “You see that she is a damaged person and could be so much more”

      This isn’t my issue at all with her I believe this is a symptom of us all working out our salvation and each day I could be so much more myself.
      The issue IS she chooses to use God, His words to abuse what is healthy and really what is Love! The deception is not about being much more it’s about not receiving at all His love first!

      This is a whole new level to use God the way she does and in my perspective…her fear is so misaligned~ is dangerous and harms others frankly.
      She is the rejector of this and this is why she doesn’t want to have any form of healthy because she is bonded to her ‘false image’ of what she believes about herself.

      I know I am the kind of mother I am today (plenty broken in places) not because of anything she could have offered me, but because I learned from a poor example how destructive ‘self avoidance is’!
      It’s destructive to the individual and to others in the circle of influence. Those who want to learn and are teachable …learn from good examples and bad examples daily.
      Thank you again for your care and your compassion 💜

      • Nancy on March 11, 2018 at 5:00 pm

        Hi Aly,

        I really liked JoAnn pointing out that sympathy has boundaries (where empathy is MUCH more intimate).

        Another helpful thing for me is to accept that my mother is not capable of being any different than she is. She has lived this way for far too long, and nothing short of intervention from God is going to change her.

        The mindset – of seeing her as not capable – is very different than seeing her as choosing dysfunction.

        That shift in my own mind has helped me to accept her (not to accept her bad behaviour) and to appropriate His Peace, where she is concerned.

        My understanding is that you are seeing your mother as ‘choosing’ this dysfunction. Is that right? I’m just wondering if that is a helpful way for you to think of her?

        I ask only because of my own journey, and the freedom that came with recognizing that her dysfunction is bigger than she is.

        • Maria on March 11, 2018 at 6:26 pm

          I am also beginning to see that my husband is not capable of being a better husband and father because he doesn’t have what it takes to deal with the pain from his childhood (physical abuse, but it was accepted at the time). This is also leading me to be more compassionate towards him.

        • Seeing the Light on March 11, 2018 at 7:14 pm


          My counselor specializes in personality disorders and trauma. I chose this person because of the people in my life that I suspected of having PD and my desire to gain insight that would help me navigate the troubled waters of those relationships. My counselor says that they are not unable to choose what they say and do. Whether they are not whole, not healed, suffering internally, or what have you, they are still responsible for choosing to say what they say and do what they do.

          • Aly on March 11, 2018 at 8:01 pm

            Seeing The Light,

            I believe and have also been advised similarly and especially in my journey with my husband.

            For ex:I think many might agree that as a Christian we are responsible to surrender to Loving the Lord with all our heart and likewise our neighbor.

            Given other mood or neurological disorders etc , I also think that the person with anxiety or ADD, borderline, bipolar etc
            (I’m listing a lot here)
            Are NOT responsible for the control neurologically, but are very much responsible for treating it!

            It’s not always the diagnosis or symptoms that are the main culprit of chaos or abuse but the lack of willingness to get the treatment needed.

          • Leslie Vernick on March 12, 2018 at 3:49 pm

            Agreed. For example someone can have diabetes which can affect health and mood but if they take care of their health, their “symptoms” are not too difficult to live with. If they do not, they can be very difficult to live with.

          • Nancy on March 12, 2018 at 6:10 am

            Hi STL,

            I tagree that each person is responsible for their behaviour.

          • Seeing the Light on March 12, 2018 at 4:37 pm


            I think I agree, too, for the most part. I only say most part because you listed different kinds of conditions there and I find it a mysterious puzzle that we will probably never be able to solve as far as all the factors that go into how individuals develop some of the dysfunctions and conditions that they do and how much is neurological. That said, yes, I agree the lack of willingness to get the treatment needed is often the real issue. (Sometimes it may not even be “treatment” as we tend to think of it, but whatever will bring authentic healing). Leslie’s diabetes example is a good analogy.

            I remember I wanted and expected the counselor to give my mother (and other family members) a pass. I wanted to write the whole drama mess off as something that they just couldn’t help. I expected to be told to validate them and their pain and their feelings. Instead, it was, “Why are you enabling their bad behavior?” I had never thought of myself as an enabler before.

        • Aly on March 11, 2018 at 7:47 pm


          Thanks for your post I’ll try to answer the question you left.

          I agree about the sympathy verses empathy example JoAnn gave.
          I have a lot of sympathy for what she has sown through her choices and through her years of being a Christian for most of her adult life.

          You wrote:
          “My understanding is that you are seeing your mother as ‘choosing’ this dysfunction. Is that right? I’m just wondering if that is a helpful way for you to think of her?”

          Do you mean helpful in the sense that she is incapable?

          Based on my conversations with her in the past, she has clearly explained that she chooses her decisions and even in the front of a professional has been consistent to be honest in private verses when others are present.

          Such as she will be honest about her ‘fears’ yet masquerade as her choices are ‘faith based’ all the while knowing what she has told me in private.

          I don’t see her as a dysfunctional (living this way far too long so little hope for her….)

          I don’t think age trumps a repentant heart.

          I think growing is a posture and a participation process that the Lord invites us all into. It helps us with being and abiding in Him, where we can make better choices for ourselves and the Kingdom.

          My mom clearly sees her contribution to adding an unhealthy faith element to our entire larger family but lacks any remorse of that being a wrong or error on her part in front of them.

          Her choice is image management over authentic relationships ~ which would require vulnerability and a healthy response to repair the relationship.

          I hope that maybe helps your question?

          My grief is certainly her rejection as we have offered to help financially, get resources etc. and assist in dealing with whatever the scariest things are for her. Life long commitment from us.

          Some addicts choose their bondage and I do give her that freedom to do so.
          But I am also a believer in we reap what we sow.

          For me compassion is necessary, I think you sorta know me… there is a fine line I think between being compassionate while keeping the invitation open and bending over into .. a person isn’t ‘capable’ which can bring enabling or collaborating with her a bigger sin.

          But yes.. there are those that are incapable but I think it depends on many factors.

          I think our moms have stark differences of victim stances and what drives their behavior that is unhealthy and at times ‘unsafe’.

          • Nancy on March 12, 2018 at 6:06 am

            HI Aly,

            Thanks for answering.

            Yes, I think you’re right about the stark differences between our mothers.

            Her awareness of her own duplicity is very different from my m. I don’t have any kind of sense of that type of dynamic,

            I see what you are saying about the fine line between being compassionate and seeing someone as incapable (who is in fact capable) which can bring enabling and collaborating with her a bigger sin.

            Ultimately only God knows the heart of each individual. The most God honouring thing that we can do is walk in CORE strength when dealing with…well, anyone at all, really.

            I guess it comes down to responding to Him.

          • Aly on March 12, 2018 at 9:59 am


            Sorry I can’t reply directly to your post.

            I agree with your comment on it comes down to responding to Him.

            Also agree to walking in CORE.
            C is committed to truth, right?

            This is where it’s difficult to repair relationship issues when one party is committed to untruth or lying.
            This isn’t about forgiveness here for me but in regards with my mom, and relationship on her terms, I would have to abandon (C)!
            Which wouldn’t be healthy for me or my family.

            I also agree that God knows the heart of a person and I do not. As a Christian we are to look for the authentic fruit being lived out.

            My mom for years has been self consumed by pleasing her husband (claiming it’s for him, but in reality it’s for her own selfishness).

            I do think when our hands are full of being self consumed by something or a partner etc.. like my example above …. your right when ultimately it comes down to ‘responding’ to Him, our Lord.
            So He can fill our cup!

            If our cup is full of counterfeits or distractions, it’s hard for some to see and many who don’t want to see what their cup is filled with.

            I’m sorry for what you also have been through with your own mom, I think you are handling that situation with strength and grace💜
            Giving her something she herself can’t offer to you~ that is a picture of loving from a place He fills;)

            Hugs and as always stay safe & sane.
            Sometimes laughter is essential & healing in these places too;)

          • Nancy on March 12, 2018 at 1:37 pm

            When you said, Aly, that , “…but in regards with my mom, and relationship on her terms, I would have to abandon C!” I’m guessing that a relationship that takes ‘your terms’ into account has been rejected. Yeah…that would mean ‘no Aly’. So…by going ‘no contact’ you are simply ‘making real’ the kind of relationship she wants: no relationship. You are refusing to disappear in her presence. Better to be whole without a mother , than non-existent with one.

            Very painful, Aly. I’m so sorry for this reality.

            I thank God that Jesus’ presence with, and love for his own is even MORE real!

            And yes laughter. What a gift !

          • Aly on March 12, 2018 at 9:59 pm


            This is in response to your 1:37pm post on March 12

            You are exactly on point! Exactly and it’s not an easy thing to articulate but you did it so well!
            Thank you for that and thank you for ‘getting it’ ~ so caring and it means a lot to me.
            Thank you 💜

  22. JoAnn on March 9, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Aly, the pain of rejection is acute at any stage of life. Your mother is losing out on the enjoyment of some great grandchildren, and they (and you) are hurt by her rejection of them. It cuts both ways, and I am glad that you are teaching the kids that this is not about them. What an important message. I have 7 wonderful grandchildren, and one of them recently decided to take offense at something, to the point of cutting off his relationship with all of us, and especially his mother, our daughter. Very painful, and I wish I could say there is a way to get over the hurt, other than to recognize that the Liar has been at work here and to look to the Lord to work it out. There is no easy way out of the pain.
    On your side, are there any “foster” grandparents in your life who can at least partially fill the void left by your parents? My mother’s foster parents were the only “real” grandparents we had, but they definitely filled the gap for my sister and me. My husband and I are fostering a family in our church who had to leave an abusive husband/father. We are the parents/grandparents that the mother and three kids never had. For us, it is a very fulfilling experience to shepherd them in this way. Is there anyone in your life that you can form such an attachment with?

    • Aly on March 9, 2018 at 12:53 pm


      What a blessing you and your husband are to the kingdom!
      Love that you are there to offer yourselves in those places.
      They are sacred indeed.

      I’m sorry for your one Grand child and that situation. They won’t have a relationship with you…Even? 😥
      This is sad and painful I’m sure. Even my situation could look like this to an outsider but as you peer closer ~ it’s really about a person’s unwillingness to take responsibility for their behavior.
      We all are going to mess up, step wrongly and often cause hurt to our loved ones at certain times ….but when it’s a pattern linked with hard hearted contempt and unwillingness ~ then you have a person with deep resistance to take responsibility of actions that cause harm. (don’t we see this repeated throughout abusive dynamics?)
      Honestly, it’s a ‘God issue ultimately’ they refuse to face with Him. I got to a place I must remove myself to not create any form of ‘normalization’ they cling to.

      Yes, my children have a few places that have been filled for sure. Praise God for this!
      They are still connected with their other grandparents (but that is very limited as we are building and navigating a healthier dynamic with them).
      Their seems to be mutual give and take balance.

      To be clear, it’s not just the grandparents place that’s absent…it’s that no- one else (extended family but professing Christians ) wants to have any individual relationships… if my parents are not involved or if our relationship isn’t repaired. Basically our relationship with any of them is ‘dependent’ upon the family system. Completely unhealthy!

      To put it simply, if that’s possible .. even though a majority of the rest of the ext. family are all adults they are deciding that they prefer the phony relationship that has been the ‘crux of the system’ with my parents over even any form of relationship with us.
      But this is also fitting because truthfully they are only interested in ‘peace faking’ and back stabbing, and discounting Christ in how they treat another person. My mother is the enabler of this and cares more about what the cost of these relationships might be over the ones that are true and authentic in love.

      I know you know ‘enmeshment’ -family idolatry …I should have just posted that😜👍

      Anyway..,So our children feel the rejection on a bigger level for sure. But we continue to point them to Jesus & His love. We encourage them in their understandings about how critical it is to know what you believe and why.
      Their are many who say they love Jesus but their actions and beliefs are far from what they say.
      I continue to pray for many Vessels and His will✝️

  23. JoAnn on March 9, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Aly, your situation is so much more complex and extensive than mine, and for that, you have my sympathy, truly. I do have some hope that this will get worked out, here, but what you and your family are dealing with is heartbreaking. May our Lord grant you His wisdom and peace as you deal with this ongoing situation.

  24. Maria on March 9, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Friends, how did you get past the “guilt” and “fear” that you were doing something wrong by standing up for yourself, taking care of yourself, and possibly leaving your marriage?”

    What I have experienced is my husband trying to guilt me into doing more. After reading Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That, I realized that he does this so that he can have less responsibilities. In the past I would try to please him, but now I have learned that as a human being I have limits. I can’t give what I don’t have.

    This is from the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality devotional:

    Quote from Parker Palmer:

    When I give something I do not possess, I give a false and dangerous gift, a gift that looks like love but is, in reality, loveless- a gift given more from my need to prove myself than from the other’s need to be cared for…
    One sign that I am violating my own nature in the name of nobility is a condition called burnout. Though usually regarded as the result of trying to give too much, burn out in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess- the ultimate in giving too little! Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have; it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place.

    Just yesterday, my husband tried to guilt me into doing something he should have done. I did not give in, and he ranted and raved for a while. It was unpleasant, but I didn’t give in.

    STL, was wondering if your husband is pressuring you into doing more than you are able to?

    • Free on March 9, 2018 at 7:19 pm

      Good job. Did he eventually do the task himself? All the time he spent trying to manipulate you was time he has wasted that he could have used to get the task done!

      • Maria on March 9, 2018 at 8:05 pm

        He tried to get the kids to do it and then did it himself.

    • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 2:34 am


      “STL, was wondering if your husband is pressuring you into doing more than you are able to?”

      The short answer is yes. It’s just hard to elaborate on just what that is. Originally, I was supposed to carry all the relationship weight, fill the empty void of his mind and heart so that he would actually have things to talk to people about, to give him my thoughts so he would have some, to give him a personality by feeding off of mine, make him look normal to the children just by being in relationship with him so he could mirror me, and so on. I was supposed to be a good tool and perform the expected functions. I also was supposed to do the traditional housewife functions and at times homeschool the kids. My health broke pretty early in the marriage and I eventually became disabled. Then God opened my eyes to things and I separated inside the home. Trying to be and to do all of that was more than I was able to do, but I did it as long as I could until the light came on. I know that is what he wants back. He is practically convulsing trying to get it back.

      Now that I don’t live that way anymore as far as the relationship with him goes, I am still doing the cooking, cleaning, shopping, household repairs, and household administration (though he controls the money now and it is much harder and more time-consuming to get things done). He is constantly serving others outside our home and has little time for anything that needs doing here. This is about all I can handle with the disability. So now he nearly shouts at me: “You’re not sick! Get a job!” I quit working two decades ago at his request (and my desire) to stay home with the kids. I am willing to work, but it will have to be extremely flexible to work with my health constraints and probably work at home. I’ve described some of this before.

      So, yes, he is pressuring me to do more than I am able to do. It also would never matter how much I do. It will never be worth much if anything in his paradigm. At the beginning I went to college and worked two part-time jobs while still being responsible for the home, cooking etc, while he just worked his job. Then I finished school, I worked full-time and did those things while he just worked his job. Yet he sees himself as the hardest worker ever and nothing I do and no responsibility I carry could ever come close to the unbelievable load he carries and how hard he works.

      • Maria on March 10, 2018 at 5:08 am


        My husband downplays what I do, but when he does the same exact thing, then it has value and he is working very hard. I do not defend myself because I know what my limits are.

        The reason I asked you if your husband was pressuring you into doing more than you should was because you had mentioned you felt guilty when taking care or yourself. He maybe trying to make you feel guilty so that he can extract more work from you.

        There are some things that I know I need to do in order to take care of myself. One of them is exercising. I am a routine kind of person, so I have scheduled it into my day. It has become a ‘check the box’ kind of thing. I know I should do it, and mentally check the box when I do. Feelings, thoughts don’t come into play when before I do it, I just do it. Would this approach help you? Make a list of what you know you have to do to care for yourself. Schedule them into your day. Then do them whatever you feel or think. I know we are all very different and this may not work for you. It’s just a suggestion.

      • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 10:44 am


        Your health constraints are concerning. I’m so very sorry for what your husband’s attitude and idealized version of life is!

        What are your health issues? Maria suggested excerise is something she does and i so agree it’s a vital place (esp in a even a healthy marriage) but can also be hard if someone is disabled?

        • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 2:43 pm


          I can’t be more specific about my health issues because the diagnosis I have received is extremely rare and would identify me. I can say: it is real; it leaves me intolerant to exercise – especially aerobic exercise; and it is the sort of thing that can be triggered by a significant or ongoing physical or psychological stress to set things in motion – in my case, it was my relationship with my anti-husband. Whether, once I achieve freedom from him, my cells could begin to heal is an unknown, but I believe and hope that some healing is possible then.

          • Renee on March 10, 2018 at 8:48 pm

            Seeing the Light

            Are you able to walk? I love to walk outside because you can take as many breaks as needed and it gets you from behind those four walls. I have to take breaks because of my calf muscles. There is treatment for this condition. Thank God.

          • Seeing the Light on March 11, 2018 at 7:20 pm

            Yes, Renee, I can walk – just not far or fast.

      • Amanda on March 10, 2018 at 3:57 pm

        I see a lack of appreciation on his part.Who does he think he is bullying you into more work. If he needs more money he can get a second job. Is he hiding what he is doing with the family money? Does he think it all belongs to him and you should earn your own money? Do you have passwords for all the bank and credit accounts?

        • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 4:49 pm

          Amanda, he makes a very decent income. When we had kids, he wanted me to quit my job and stay home to take care of them and so did I, so I did. His income is more than sufficient to support the family. Yes, he is hiding what he is doing with the family money. He calls it the family money and says that he is steward-ing it. Yet he calls it “his paycheck.” He talks about how his name is on it. He would share it with his wife, but we are living separated in-house at my choice, so he is now steward-ing it to protect it from me. After more than two decades of both of having access to the family funds and of me doing all the bookkeeping, bill-paying, and budgeting and him showing no interest whatsoever even when I tried to bring him in – one day a few years ago, out of the blue, he took the joint money and put it all in his name. He closed the joint credit cards and opened new ones in his name alone. He is now cutting category after category and I have to go through multiple conversations filled with blaming, accusations, and verbal abuse to fight for the money the kids and I need. It’s not every item he argues about, it seems arbitrary and is actually more focused on necessities – food, gas, etc – than discretionary items. I don’t have any passwords. He even changed the login on the retirement account that I could not possibly legally touch at this point and the paper statements that used to come to the house stopped.

          • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 6:14 pm


            Is sounds like he is pushing you financially since the in house separation?

            I’m not saying this is accurate, but it seems like this is a power card he is using to make it that much more difficult to be in proximity to him and especially the necessary needs for your children.

            How long has this been going on like this? And how long has the in house separation been?

          • Renee on March 10, 2018 at 8:39 pm

            Seeing The Light,

            I feel you are starting to get stronger so your spouse is upping his game and has a plan. I believe (hope I’m wrong) that when it is all over, you will have nothing.

            I also second that it’s time to consult an attorney about separate maintenance or legal separation if you are not ready to divorce.

            From attorneys I have consulted with all debts (even cc just in his name) can be argued that you are also responsible if he decides to say he had to take care of the family with those cards.

            I smell something foul.

          • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 11:13 pm


            Is the word ‘stewarding’ your husband’s word? Or your words?

            You wrote:
            “He would share it with his wife, but we are living separated in-house at my choice, so he is now steward-ing it to protect it from me. ”

            This is punishing, & controlling ….not stewarding or protecting in a healthy mutual safe manner.

          • Seeing the Light on March 11, 2018 at 7:30 pm

            Aly and Renee,

            Aly – I need to stay vague on time details to her avoid identification. The in-house separation preceded the financial takeover.

            Renee – I have spoken to an attorney a few times. I do think his goal is to leave me with nothing. Legal separation will do me no good – I will still have all the same issues as divorce, including custody. Yes, any credit card debt is marital debt and we are both liable regardless of whose name it is in.

            Aly – The word “steward-ing” is his word. We both had equal access to family funds and I had the responsibility of making sure the bills were paid – that is now referenced as when I was controlling the money. When he moved it all into his name only – that is called him steward-ing and protecting for the good of the family. This is typical of how he portrays most facets of life.

        • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 5:26 pm

          Amanda, I should make one correction. Since he took the money, I have refused to sign certain checks that have been written to both of us unless they go into our joint account and both of us agree to leave that money there and not touch it unilaterally. So there has been some money put back into the joint account. I do have the access information to that account.

          • Amanda on March 10, 2018 at 6:26 pm

            STL, you need to talk to an attorney. A legal separation would protect you, even if you still maintain “in house.” His financial abuse is against the law. I may be too late, but at this moment, you are legally married, he can not treat you like this. Please see a lawyer and get their advice. A strong letter might be all you need to straighten him out. You need a plan. He is showing the direction he is going, don’t be fooled.

          • Maria on March 10, 2018 at 7:34 pm

            A number of states do not have legal separation. According to a lawyer I spoke to, if a spouse feels they are being illtreated, they are free to file for divorce. You say that financial abuse is against the law. Could you explain more?

          • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 9:15 pm


            In my state, legal separation would be very similar to divorce and I would have to deal with the same battles including custody. I am not prepared to do that. Also, I saw an attorney immediately after he took the money and shut down the credit cards. What he is doing is not illegal in my state. As the attorney said, it’s unethical, but not illegal.

          • Aly on March 11, 2018 at 8:08 pm


            This is s response to your post above but can’t post directly sorry.

            You wrote:
            “The in-house separation preceded the financial takeover.”

            Did you forsee him doing that? Was the inhouse separation your idea or a counselors?

            Maybe you have already posted about this I apologize if it’s a repeat.

            Do you believe your h sees an inhouse sep. as a rejection? Therefor he is giving a ‘payback’ response with the $?

      • Ruth on March 10, 2018 at 5:57 pm

        My heart breaks for you. He has drained the life and vitality out of you.

        • Seeing the Light on March 10, 2018 at 9:16 pm

          Yes, that is a good way to put it. He has. Thank you for caring.

          • Amanda on March 10, 2018 at 10:56 pm

            Thanks STL for the response about the attorney. It is interesting how each state is different. I hear you that unless you take action he will continue to have the ability to abuse you financial, yet child custody trumps that in priority.

      • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 6:21 pm


        Abuse affects many areas of ones life. It doesn’t just affect the mental or emotional aspects but also the physical aspects.

        I’m sure you and many here know this but sometimes when we are in the ‘thick of it’ it’s hard to see just how much is depleted when a wife is treated in such an upside down way and not cherished as a gift to be loved well.

  25. Aly on March 9, 2018 at 7:38 pm


    So accurate ~ hmm sounds like an undeveloped teen or preteen mindset (at times?)

  26. Amanda on March 9, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    Since when doesn’t God request anything from us? I have never heard of what your Mother believes. He requires faith and love, without it there is no relationship. I guess your mom is really saying she doesn’t want a relationship and by the way, she will twist the scriptures to get what she wants.

    • Maria on March 10, 2018 at 7:06 am

      People misinterpret scripture to justify what they want. My husband on occasion has brought up the thief on the cross and how he was accepted by Jesus without having to do anything else to justify what he doesn’t have to change.

      • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 10:40 am

        Maria, and Amanda,

        Oh yes! I’m laughing just a little because honestly it’s so repetitive and non-inventive.
        I have had the same type of example given from my dad (I think) my head was spinning a bit.
        But I have heard this and I think many forget the theif was also being crucified next to Jesus!
        He couldn’t take himself off the cross and go try to live his new life of sanctification out in this broken world.

      • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 10:50 am


        I think what’s so disturbing about the attitude of change as you give an example that your husband is piece picking, twisting etc … is that the Gospel and Gods love is all about the life changing process!
        It IS about transforming and changing (period).

        Destructive people are all about not changing the dynamic.

        • Amanda on March 10, 2018 at 10:53 pm

          Not my husband, Maria’s

          • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 11:07 pm


            Thanks for correcting me.
            Sorry about that.

  27. Aly on March 10, 2018 at 9:44 am


    It’s interesting but you wrote .. are sorry that my husband just left me.

    I think you have missed some important details for that comment to end there.

    I cannot possibly respond in depth to your recent post which did not answer my questions. So I accept you are unwilling to meet there and that’s ok.
    I’ll leave you with your own words below. Prayers for your journey and His will always. 💜

    You wrote;
    ” They either ignore the r-e-a-l-l-y hard questions or argue or try to intimidate. . . .And I’m a mess of confusion because I can’t express myself.”

  28. JoAnn on March 10, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Aleea, you said:“No tree can grow to Heaven,” says the ever-terrifying Carl Gustav Jung, psychoanalyst extraordinaire, “unless its roots reach down to Hell.” I know mine go all the way to hell, how do I get my branches to heaven” Really???? You would believe Carl Jung, an atheist, rather than the word of God??? Read Eph 3:17 and Col 2:7. Also Romans 11: 16-18. If you have received the Lord Jesus as your Savior, then you are rooted in Christ Jesus….NOT IN HELL. Aleea, you are filling your soul with philosophy and writings other than the word of God. No wonder you are confused and in agony! You need to make a very strong choice: truth or darkness, death or life. You don’t need to be putting all these crazy thoughts of others into your mind, from people who don’t know God. You CAN get to know Him, but it must be through His word, as He has given it to us. Yes, it does take some faith to believe that the Bible we have today is His speaking to us for the time we live in, but the experience of so many true christians (myself included) proves this: The word of God (our Bible) is living and operative, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12) Aleea, your soul (your personality) lusts after knowledge, and you do not practice any discernment about what knowledge you put into it. But remember: knowledge of good and evil is on the tree that the Lord God does not intend for us to eat from (Gen 2). I believe that there is also a hunger in your spirit for truth, but you are not going to satisfy that hunger from the tree of knowledge. Only God’s divine life can satisfy that hunger, and His truth is available for us to eat IN HIS WORD.
    All of us here have been pleading with you to make this choice; to choose life and truth over philosophy and darkness. This is where the dividing of the soul and the spirit come in. For the sake of your soul, and your mental and spiritual well being, stop filling your mind with untruth, and vanity. Philosophical reasonings are poison to those who search for God. What fellowship has light with darkness? No one can serve two masters…. I leave you with this: Deut 30:19: I call heaven and earth to witness against you today; I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life that you and your seed may live, In loving Jehovah your God by listening to His voice and holding fast to Him; for He is your life and the length of your days….

    • JoAnn on March 10, 2018 at 10:07 am

      This is for everyone: spending time in God’s word each day is our lifeline. His word is our daily food, and our light to find our way in life. His word strengthens us to get through our daily challenges. It is our spiritual food. This is how we can know God and enjoy Him as our supply, and our guide. We lean on Him, and we trust Him to arrange our situation for our good and His glory. As so many here can testify, The Lord does love us and care for us, and our trials take us closer to Him. I have come through many trials, and I can say now, in retrospect, that it all worked out for my good. Praise Him!

    • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 11:02 am

      JoAnn, Aleea

      This response is well written and offered with a vital warning of great insight!

      Aleea chooses those paths because she doesn’t think God was there for her when she was terribly abused as a little girl, she believes in a sense that He is the abuser and therefore He is deconstructed often in her examples and what aligns with her pain. This is sad and very self destructive.

      Her choice though of what she wants to feed her spirit with.

    • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 11:27 am


      This is a reply to your post ‘to everyone’ at 10:17 today.

      Agree! Essential! A Lamp for our path💟
      Praise God for His truths of Freedom and wisdom;)

    • Aleea on March 10, 2018 at 11:55 am

      . . .Wow, I made that far, far worse. I am like probably the worst communicator ever. Maybe let me try again, if you can stand it. . . .

      . . .In Islam, (our church has a huge outreach program to that community) the whole key is to just surrender and just submit but that means they have turned their rational reasoning abilities off. JoAnn, it is a t-o-t-a-l nightmare. Those people are so *locked down* and closed off. I never get through*** JoAnn, your approach seems very dangerous, like we are asking to be abused. . . . .Blind faith seems a horrible gift to return to the creator of human intelligence. Maybe?

      . . .But, one thing Islam gets right is that everyone in Islam says you can’t really understand the Quran without reading it in Arabic. E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e in Islam tells me you can’t really understand the Quran without reading it in Arabic. I agree with them because I feel the same way about the New Testament. Pay the price to learn N.T. Greek so you can see the issues clearly. It is only hard at first. Greek is very intuitive. Read the N.T. Greek apparatus editions that lists all the variants for verses from the oldest manuscripts. It will humble you. You will not be so sure of yourself. The Greek gets you above all the spin put on the English words.

      . . . .Many well-meaning Islamic people have told me, in all earnestness, that nothing in Islamic culture incites abuse of women, that this is just a terrible misunderstanding. Not true, Islamic men all over the world beat their women, I am constantly informed from missionaries. In reality, these Westerners are the ones who misunderstand Islam. The Quaran mandates these punishments. It gives a legitimate basis for abuse, so that the perpetrators feel no shame and are not hounded by their conscience of their community. Secular, non-Muslim people to stop kidding themselves that “Islam is peace and tolerance.” Ditto all the Holy books. They all contain some spiritual abuse and so does the Bible. How can we get any help if no one will ever admit it is even a possibility? . . .Oh no way, the Bible is t-o-t-a-l-l-y perfect. No spiritual abuse in there. Those Islamic women we are trying to convert have taught me a thing or two about actually thinking. I actually had to listen to them to learn anything, however. Not just assume my Bible was perfect and their Quran was the work of devil himself. Us Christians, or let me stay inside my own circle: I (Aleea) am so arrogant when I just assume everyone else is wrong.

      . . .Evil is the force that believes its knowledge of what God wants and says is complete. I certainly know mine is unbelievably *not* complete. . . .But I also know that the things we most need are always to be found where we least want to look —for you and for me too! . . .The Bible says *all kinds of things* we dislike, ignore and don’t even want to consider. We just ignore it because we don’t want to know. . . .No issue I ever brought up with the Bible makes any sense whatsoever? We Christians want others to be open and we are fully shut down? . . . .With our constant boundaries and banded book lists?

      I love you JoAnn, listen, you do what is best for you even if it means not talking to me. I will always appreciate that you cared. . . .I so don’t want you to do that but I will understand and honor that, so help me Jesus, so help me God.

      ***I was kidding a muslim women once “Don’t ask too many questions about the Quran, that’s how ex-Muslims are made” maybe that applies to the Bible too? I know I can have “clarity” by putting on blinders. . . .But it is putting on blinders.

      Re: Relationship Truth Unfiltered

      For what it is worth and I probably don’t really understand what is being said or even claimed. . . .

      It could be that we are all *highly* limited cognitive processeors (I know I am) and have to filter and screen to even get on in the world. We are beings totally screening and filtering all of life, trapped inside cultural contexts, with very limited knowledge, —try as we might. . . . .And we want that “Truth” filtered through God’s Truth —And God’s Truth (wow) it is complicated and highly nuanced and hard enough to get even close to right. It sounds like the claim is some “absolute truth” and that we are the God-above-God unfiltered and totally pure. But again, for what it is worth and I probably don’t really understand what is being said or even claimed. . . . .Legally it is just considered sales talk and common puffery: My *opinion* is that I deliver Relationship Truth Unfiltered.

    • Beloved on March 13, 2018 at 11:54 pm

      Very wisely articulated. Such beautiful clarification of God’s TRUTH as revealed to us through His Spirit that dwells richly in those who have asked and received the Lord Jesus Christ into their heart, as Lord and Saviour.
      Aleea I can relate to much u have spoken of Re: your mother…
      I am now 53 yrs old and can say with all my heart that the memories, wounds and trauma (complex PTSD) from horrific abuse, (every kind) that i suffered at the hands of my mother, step father and previous to him, my biological father, & then subsequently my husband of 27 years (covert emotional, mental,spiritual,sexual, financial abuse), are almost completely healed. In just 6 turbulent years and a whirlwind romance with the Lord Jesus Christ, through reading The Word of God, writing to Him, and learning to listen to Him, discerning and submitting my Will for His, risking “falling” and being left and neglected by Him, He has truly shown me His Faithfulness,His Love for Me Personally, and intimately as my Heavenly Father and my saviour, as well as His ” TRUTH AND REALITY IN MY HEART AND LIFE…”
      i trusted no one except myself Aleea. My whole life, I had been abused by everyone i knew, trusted and loved (except 1 beautiful lady who showed me what LOVE was, for a few short months, when I wss 9 yrs old).
      It took 17 years (Of God working in me without me being aware) for me to be able to receive Jesus into my heart, after asking Him in… then one miraculous moment when my eyes were opened in an “awakening” 1 ordinary day, while inwas preparing our evening meal, just like a light being switched on, i even heard “a click”… 3 months later i was no longer smoking 40 cigarettes per day, drinking 3 bottles of wine a night, just to sleep!! Taking 14 various types of medication to stabilise my mind, moods and behaviours, and i was embarking on eating healthily and taking good healthy exercise….. but mostly, i was reading my bible every day, devouring every word, eating and taking my spiritual nutrition from His Word….and “communicating “My heart” to Him, as i began realising abd hearing His heart for me and TO ME, THROUGH HIS WORD.
      I see no contradiction nor conflict in His Word nowadays as I discern through revelation brought to me through “The Comforter, Advisir, Teacher” Parakleet /Holy Spirit.
      And believe me, i was in hell before i “received Him” into my heart. But first, i had to ask and then submit my Will for His….
      He really won’t let you down…
      (Until i knew Him, I believed He had failed to rescue /save me, too)…Now, I even know “Where He was” when i thought He’d left me “to suffer all of my life”…and yes He was with me, Holding me, weeping with me, cradling me, and strengthening me, to live, in His arms, while I was suffering.
      Be Hopeful knowing this is MY PERSONAL Experiential testimony, not simply super spiritualistions or rationalisations. He has amazingly healed me LITERALLY of so much physically and emotionally and mentally. Because I said yes to Him. God bless xx

  29. Renee on March 10, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    Seeing The Light, Nancy and others

    I have started to use the find feature (control F) and search by date. Once that is done, I can quickly see all the comments by date (say 52 today so far). I can then skip (find next) those that I don’t have time to read due to length or don’t want to read because of a keyword.

  30. Renee on March 10, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Aly I am so glad you cleared this up [I am so, so sorry your husband just left you.]

    I was wondering when did that happen? What I read was your husband was not there in heart but now you both are working on the marriage.


  31. Aly on March 10, 2018 at 10:24 pm


    I’m trying to respond to your post to me, but it won’t let me have a reply.
    Sorry~ hope you get this one.

    To answer simply;) yes you are correct.
    He basically was unavailable from the beginning and eventually had a walled off heart of sorts which I consider divorce emotionally & spiritually.
    He has had lots of interventions and the insight to see his divorce (not literally) but non the less.
    Yes, praise God he chose to get help and we are blessed for all the support and many vessels that have encouraged and challenged our journey.

    It got much worse before it ever got healthier and I believe that’s why I can relate to all the abusive tactics and cycle of abuse~ sadly.
    But I also realize that many destructive individuals ~ don’t repent, don’t want to take accountability, and certainly don’t want to make restitution.
    I would call this hardness of heart or abandonment on many levels.

  32. Renee on March 10, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    If anyone sees, Kaycee provided an update dated March 10, 2018 at 7:12 pm on this page.

    Should be very bottom of page.

    • Aly on March 10, 2018 at 11:04 pm


      Thanks for posting this. This one I seem to be able to directly respond to. This thread has seem to have some issues ~ or its only on my device?

      Anyways, yes Kaycee gave an update, I responded hope it got to her and I do hope others will join in for support.

      • Renee on March 11, 2018 at 9:49 am

        No Aly. It is not just your device. This post has been acting weird.

  33. Amanda on March 10, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks STL for the response about the attorney. It is interesting how each state is different. I hear you that unless you take action he will continue to have the ability to abuse you financial, yet child custody trumps that in priority.

    • Seeing the Light on March 11, 2018 at 6:11 am

      Yes, exactly. The children trump everything for me.

      • Free on March 11, 2018 at 8:05 am

        That’s because you are a good mother. A good mother in a horrible situation.

        • Seeing the Light on March 11, 2018 at 7:32 pm

          Thank you for that, Free.

      • Renee on March 11, 2018 at 10:01 am

        In my area, the children who are 15 years old and above can decide whom they wish to live with on a full time basis.

        I have asked our teens, at least once a month, since the physical separation if they would like to spend a weekend with their dad. Their answer is always no. Even one day is met with a no that is ok. If I can’t be involved, then it is a no.

        That makes me sad. It really does because I don’t want them feeling like I’m keeping them away from him or that they have to choose.

        So Seeing The Light I hope you can remain well until such time.

        • Free on March 11, 2018 at 11:12 am

          I wonder if you can take yourself out of the responsibility to ask if they want to see their father. At 15 they should know the guidelines and leave it up to them if they want to contact their Dad for a visit. I wouldn’t want you to inadvertently give them a mixed message. His problems are real and if you aren’t living with him for a reason why would it be safe for them to be with him?

          • Renee on March 11, 2018 at 1:15 pm

            Hi Free, yes I can take myself out of that responsibility. They have had to be alone with him, in the past, and he took good care of them. I was the one always under fire for one reason or another.

            I worried about doing the wrong thing and having him (end up divorcing) say she would not let me see our teens/kept them away/turned them against me.

            Thanks for the light you just shown me. Giving me permission to release that responsibility.

  34. Amanda on March 10, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    Maria, this is posting in the wrong area, yet to the discussion that financial abuse is against the law…if separated. Yet, as you say not all states have separation. In my state we have separation and financial guidelines that come into place immediately. The inequality of the finances, such as what STL is experiencing would be against the law as my state is a 50/50 state. All assets must be divided in half and they use five years of back taxes to determine the average. The last minute switch and hide wouldn’t fly. But without the legal protection of the separation agreement, there is no protection. Marital assets are 50/50 whether the husband hides it or not. There is something called fact finding and all records are subpoenaed and everything is exposed. Who knew it would matter so much what state we live in. The laws can be do different. I stand corrected.

    • Renee on March 11, 2018 at 10:10 am

      Amanda the last attorney I consulted says, “for states that do not have legal separation, they do what is called a separate maintenance agreement.” It will address all things a divorce would address including alimony, child custody, child support, assets, debts, etc. The separate maintenance agreement can be bumped up to a divorce and vice versa at any time.

      • Free on March 11, 2018 at 11:26 am

        To me, the law finally gave me a voice which my husband held silent. My words have been dismissed, belittled, ignored, denied and mocked in my marriage. Pressing forward forward for my safety included the protection of the law. My husband felt and feels he could talk lawyers and the judge into his perspective. He was good at it because he believed his own twisted rhetoric. This typical in his particular personality disorder.

        Finally, after I received support emotionally, spiritually, physically, professionally and legally, a settlement was approved. The judge’s decree offered freedom and protection under the law. Praise God! Not all countries offer women the protection I received. It is great to be an American!

        When I left the court I was just so thankful for the laws and people of my state who made provision under law, for abused women to escape their attackers masquerading as a husband.

        • Free on March 11, 2018 at 11:31 am

          Thanks for everyone’s on going patience with grammatical errors in my posts. I can red what I post until it is on the board. No means to correct the errors via my phone. Thanks.

        • Aly on March 11, 2018 at 1:32 pm


          What an impacting statement;
          “for abused women to escape their attackers masquerading as a husband”

          Was their a final moment where it was crystal clear that you were dealing with such a character? And thus did it assist in your legal steps to further your true freedom?

          • Free on March 11, 2018 at 2:35 pm

            There was no real final moment. The deception was ongoing and I am told pathological beyond what most experts in the field have ever encountered Physical violence and stalking required legal intervention for my protection.

  35. JoAnn on March 11, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Amanda, What Free said about leaving the decision up to the kids is a good point. They should be the ones who tell their father that they don’t want to spend time with him and why (they can write a letter if they can’t bring themselves to talk to him.). That should be a wake up call for him, and if it doesn’t turn him around, then you are right to get away.

    • Renee on March 11, 2018 at 5:33 pm

      JoAnn, Free’s response about leaving the decision to visit with dad up to the kids was actually to me. Both kids did address their dad by letter about a month after he left. Son pretty much said whatever and daughter stressed how she was always trying to teach him the right way to handle things but he would not listen. Of course, this did not work and he said daughter had chosen sides.

      Our daughter is still struggling. Any mention of moving on, she does not handle it well. When their counselor had all of us in a session together and dad showed how he felt about me yet again, daughter got upset about what dad was saying and our son laughed. Me, it was old news and I’m at a whatever stage.

      She also gets upset when he comes to pick up something and leaves right away without a visit. So today I see her texting dad begging him to visit and he says he will not come over without an invite from me that it is ok to come over. So yes, last week I was telling him the in and out leaves me with a sad daughter.

      This is another part that has me torn. I hate seeing her sad. I want a future of love and peace, but not at the expense of our daughter. So at times I feel darn if I do darn if I don’t.

      I also noticed on weekends, when he knows we will be out and about, he will send a text saying what you all doing to the teens? Our son will give what’s it to you and daughter will spill the beans. Then he gives the how he misses all those things we normally do together.

      I see nothing that he is working on besides fixing up the home where he currently resides and trying to hide money. Always claiming he is barely eating to our teens so they will not ask him for anything.

      So I know this is manipulation on his part. Yet I don’t know how to make it stop.

      • Free on March 14, 2018 at 5:51 am

        Is it possible that your teen daughter has, out of love and respect for you, modeled some of your behavior? She has learned to be a woman from you, and maybe you took the role of a accommodation and compliance to a destructive spouse.

        She needs to see you model strength, self respect. Men should not treat women as you have been treated. It seems to me, based on what you wrote, that your daughter is in a perfect spot to learn that how Dad treats her is uncaring and dismissive. Her voice matters. I think you can help teach her this before a pattern develops and she repeats it in her future relationships.

        • Free on March 14, 2018 at 5:57 am

          I would also remind her that she can not help or fix Dad. It is not her responsibility. She can hand all that over to God. She can also ask God to be the loving father that he is and provide for her in the way her birth father is lacking. I would join with her in that, support and validate her need and then wait and watch how God answers her. I would talk to her about accepting her father’s personality disorder and help her move on and beyond him. He is untrustworthy. I would teach her the attributes of a Godly man and get some books to support that. There are so many good books for teens about picking a good mate at the Christian book store.

          • Free on March 14, 2018 at 6:02 am

            Also, I would not tell him that the in and out leaves you with a sad daughter. Information like that gives him power. Has he ever cared about your emotions? Why would he care about hers? He is not getting any here with your son, but ahhh!…the daughter stuff gets to you…a big win for him!

  36. Free on March 11, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Thanks for everyone’s on going patience with grammatical errors in my posts. I can not read what I post until it is on the board. No means to correct the errors via my tiny phone screen. Thanks.

  37. JoAnn on March 11, 2018 at 11:40 am

    LOL, Free, I haven’t had any trouble reading your posts and figuring out what you wanted to say. I am rejoicing that you were able to get the help you needed and are now enjoying freedom. Praise the Lord!

  38. JoAnn on March 11, 2018 at 11:49 am

    To all my friends here, I offer a gift. A friend sent me this poem by Corrie ten Boom, and I want to share it with you:

    My life is but a weaving
    Between my God and me.
    I cannot choose the colors
    He weaveth steadily.
    Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
    And I in foolish pride
    Forget He sees the upper
    And I the underside.
    Not ’til the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly
    Will God unroll the canvas
    And reveal the reason why.
    The dark threads are as needful
    In the weaver’s skillful hand
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern He has planned.
    He knows, He loves, He cares;
    Nothing this truth can dim.
    He gives the very best to those
    Who leave the choice to Him.

    You can google her name and pull up other poems that she has written, from a lifetime of loving Jesus and suffering for HIm. The testimony of people like her reaches into my heart and encourages me. I hope it will encourage you, too.

    • Aly on March 11, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      This is a beautiful poem and I’m familiar with Corrie Ten Boom and her amazing story.

      I do want emphasize the importance of ‘what kind of suffering’ for Jesus this is talking about …because I believe many of us here are recovering from unhealthy or destructive relationships with people or marriages. It is essential to know and learn the difference of the type of long suffering that has been ‘wrongly wired in’, such as Foo with those skewed versions of suffering for Christ.
      Pretty sure Leslie has posted an article on her blog about this.

      For us who are weaker in this area it’s something that we have to unravel, pay close attention to our thoughts and reasonings and understand the importance of how we have been taught or ‘caught’ skewed suffering in Christ.

  39. Renee on March 11, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Free, yes I can take myself out of that responsibility. They have had to be alone with him, in the past, and he took good care of them. I was the one always under fire for one reason or another.

    I worried about doing the wrong thing and having him (end up divorcing) say she would not let me see our teens/kept them away/turned them against me.

    Thanks for the light you just shown me. Giving me permission to release that responsibility.

  40. JoAnn on March 11, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Yes, Aly, of course you are right that there are different kinds of suffering, much of it at the hand of unrighteous people….look at what our Lord suffered. And because of that, He is well able to come to us in those experiences and minister to us. Read the book of Hebrews to see this clearly. So, in the midst of all of our trials, there is something of Christ that is added to us; those are the gold and silver threads that she mentions in the poem. When you look back at some of your own experiences, I’m quite sure that you can see the Lord’s hand there. I know that I can. That’s why we are always encouraging each other to lean on the Lord, trust Him, be constituted with His word. That is how He adds Himself to us and makes us more Christ-like in our daily living. Little by little, the tapestry begins to take shape, until something beautiful is revealed. Beauty for ashes.
    Regarding the things that are “wrongly wired in,” that is precisely why we need to have our minds renewed, and I know that is much harder, when those wrong beliefs are so deeply embedded. Nevertheless, the Lord is able to free us from our past, and we must pray that He will do it.

    • Aly on March 11, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      So true! Love Hebrews and all the treasures in there💕🌈

      Our family isn’t one of memorization or certain types of rituals for our spiritual journey but one thing we decided on several years ago that besides our children understanding Salvation & justification… that it would be beneficial for them to memorize and understand deeply the verse of Romans12:12

      As we are raising children, we are finding often during the week how essential this is for them being raised in a Babylon type world system.

  41. Free on March 11, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    There was no real final moment. The deception was ongoing and I am told pathological beyond what most experts in the field have ever encountered Physical violence and stalking required legal intervention for my protection.

  42. Susan on March 13, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    I copied your reply; it says everything perfectly and succinctly; what I have always felt but didn’t have the words to express it and reframe it like you have.
    It is applicable also to all situations that end differently than you had hoped…
    Thank you!!

  43. Leanne on March 13, 2018 at 3:03 pm


    I have a copy of the emotionally destructive marriage, I will ship it to you.

    I got it for free from a ministry that helps abused Christian women, and I had already gotten a copy but they told me to keep it and give it to someone.

    If you’d like it please email and send me a mailing address.


  44. Robin on March 24, 2018 at 3:13 am

    Hi – I’ve just joined the Leslie Vernick community. I admit there were so many comments that I didn’t read them all, but because I live internationally, too, I thought I’d comment. I found Skype counseling very helpful-a lifeline for me. I worked with the Marriage Recovery Center, and they really get emotional abuse. Eventually, we went there to Seattle for a marriage intensive, but continued Skype counseling once back in Germany. It’s worth the investment in all ways. I’m sure Leslie has many references for counselors who do Skype.

    • Nancy on April 3, 2018 at 7:00 am

      Welcome Robin!

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