How Can I Heal When He’s Still Toxic and We Have Children to Parent?

Morning friend,

I hope you had a blessed Christmas even if things at home were not that great. I’ve been struck this year in new ways on how God used two women, Mary and Elizabeth, in a patriarchal culture, to speak his truth. The feminine voice is important to God, even if it hasn’t been valued in your church or home. God has come. He is with us, for us, and loves us. How are you doing with that truth? Are God’s words truer than the words of your spouse, your parent, or even your own internal words? 

This week’s question comes from a response to last week’s blog question about healing and writing a new story ending. 

This week’s question:

What do you do to heal when a person cannot get away from an abusive situation and person? She can’t get free because she must co-parent, and he constantly creates lies and havoc and stress through the kids. How can this person heal?

Answer: This is a common problem among the women we work with. You get frazzled and worn out trying to communicate, cooperate, and co-parent with someone who doesn’t do relationships in a healthy way. When you are married to someone who always has to be right, always has to win, and there is no compromise or mutual problem-solving, peaceful and cooperative co-parenting is impossible. He wins, you lose. He’s right, you’re wrong. Arguing only makes you look like you are disrespectful and unloving – especially when he highlights that narrative to the children, or it’s happening in front of them.

Imagine trying to heal from toxic mold when you continue living in a toxic moldy house. Or trying to heal from a car accident but you keep getting into repeated car accidents. Women who stay in abusive or toxic marriages for the sake of their children have sincere and noble motives. It’s understandable and maybe necessary for a season, but if there is ongoing abuse, you cannot heal and there is no real co-parenting. You can try, but if you live with a toxic person, you will keep getting injured over and over again. 

Therefore, understand your most important first step is to get yourself safe so you can heal. The body and mind cannot heal if it’s still afraid, under great duress, or continually in fight or flight mode. Most mothers believe it’s best to stay in the marriage “for the sake of the kids”. And there are times, especially when children are very little, when that might be the best option because of concerns for a child’s safety when not with her. But let me ask a question: What kind of mothering is happening when the mother is worn down, unsafe, and keeps being maligned and lied about to her children? 

You mention that this person cannot get free because she has to co-parent, and her husband constantly creates lies, havoc, and stress. The truth is, as long as they share custody of their children, they will be co-parenting whether they live together or not. Therefore, why must she continue the marriage? Wouldn’t she be a better parent if she and the children had a safe home to live in without the stress of his interactions with the children in front of her? Or is contradicting her parenting? Or undermining her in front of her and the kids? 

I believe all children need at least one healthy parent. We already know that the toxic parent is not healthy. But what happens when the mother isn’t healthy either? Now both parent their children from an unhealthy place and that’s a lose-lose for the children. 

Is there another reason besides her children that this mother doesn’t leave? Perhaps she’s not prepared financially. Perhaps she feels scared to live alone. Perhaps she is under some spiritual teaching that makes her feel guilty for separating. Perhaps he threatens to take full custody of the children. These are separate issues, serious for sure, but things she can begin to investigate, work on, and solve so that she is empowered to leave, heal, and parent her children from a place of love and health instead of defensive fear and reactivity. 

Co-parenting even while living separately will still be a challenge and separating doesn’t necessarily mean you will do your work to get healthy. But at least the children get a break from the constant stress of hearing him malign you when they are home with you. You also get a break. As you get stronger and healthier you can put boundaries around how you communicate about the children and their parenting needs. For example, the app Our Family Wizard, has all communication go through this app, which is also able to be read by family lawyers and court if needed. Restricting communication to solely parenting issues can also cut some of the drama. Even if he texts or leaves messages, you do not need to read or respond if they aren’t regarding the children. You also now get to parent your children in your safe space and from a place of love and health. When you do your own work to get healthy, over time your children will experience the difference between your parenting style and his. Your house and his. And the words he says about who you are will lose some of their power because your children will be able to see for themselves, that is not who you are. You will also be at a different place where you can share, in a healthy age-appropriate way, why you could no longer stay married to their father. 

I’d encourage anyone who feels stuck in this dilemma to make one decision this New Year and that is to do something different. Get help to solve some of your fears on why you continue to stay stuck and decide right now to write a new ending to the story of how you showed up as a mother in 2024. Our Empowered to Change six-month coaching group still has some openings and this may be just what you need to become empowered to make the changes so desperately needed. Learn more here.

Friend, if you have experienced this dilemma – either as a child watching your mom try to co-parent while staying in a toxic marriage or if you’re a mom who has gotten out, please share with this person how you co-parent differently now that you’re no longer living in that toxic marriage and… how you got yourself from stuck to freedom.

Have you heard about the BRAND NEW group coaching program?


This small group coaching program is the culmination of 25 years of private practice and hundreds of hours helping women just like you.


  1. Katelyn on December 28, 2023 at 8:36 am

    I left my abusive husband four months ago. He had harmed myself and the children in various ways for years I had many of the same fears concerning leaving: Where would we live? How would we survive financially? Who would believe us? (He was and still is a deacon at his church) The Lord provided a home and funds to live on, and we are just now starting to realize the depth and darkness of the reality we lived in Healing will take time, but parenting is no longer a constant struggle. I have custody of the kids (for now) and there is a possibility with their testimony in court, will have full custody in the future. I communicate only through the Family Wizard, and reply to his emails once a week . For the first time in their lives, my children do not live in fear wondering what Dad’s reaction will be “if”. God has given us freedom and as hard as this new life is, nothing could ever persuade me to go back to the way we once lived. Blessings

    • Leslie Vernick on December 28, 2023 at 2:50 pm

      Thanks Katelyn for sharing and we pray that you continue to heal and live safe.

  2. Paul on December 28, 2023 at 9:49 am

    Going through this situation with four children right now it is a tough situation. if the divorce papers do not order the Family Wizard it will be thousands more through the court system to get the Family Wizard in use or any similar co-parenting app especially in situations when one parent is systematically pushing the other out . I would highly recommend reading the book “The Smart Stepfamily” by Ron L. Deal, M.MFT a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. The book has a lot of helps for how to deal with different types of co-parents from Perfect Pals: Cooperative Colleagues; Angry Associates: Fiery Foes; Dissolved Duos. And then Ron Deal goes beyond to say “There are extreme situations when one parent systematically pushes the other out; in those situations most of the well-natured reasonable strategies need to be re-calibrated.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 28, 2023 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks for the book recommendation. Even if you dont use Our Family Wizzard, you can still restrict conversation to TEXT only. There you will have a record of what is said, threatened, lied about etc. You don’t have to engage. You don’t have to respond to every accusation and can keep your side of the conversation strictly about parenting issues. BIFF is an acronym of communicating with difficult people: Be BRIEF, INFORMATIVE, FIRM, FRIENDLY. Example: Hi there, I saw your text about switching dates for visitation and no that won’t work for me. Sorry. DONE.

      • Jane on January 11, 2024 at 2:08 pm

        I grew up in a very abusive home. My father was an alcoholic and got violent with me when he drank. He also cheated on her..I lived in constant fear
        My mom stayed with him for 25 years thinking it was best for the kids. It was not. I suffer with PTSD, anxiety, depression and insomnia due to living in such a stressful, toxic house. All of my siblings have suffered in various ways from our childhood. Half of them have married abusive controlling men. Better they divorced years ago.

  3. Dorothy on December 28, 2023 at 10:19 am

    I’m not so sure that the person asking this question is still in a relationship with her husband? She says she can’t get free because she has to coparent, so to me that sounds like they’re apart, but need to coparent. maybe I am wrong, but that is the situation that I am currently struggling with. My husband and I have been separated for years trying to work things out on and off and are finally now divorced. The divorce has done nothing to make the situation better. I am still not free because he is always around, he comes to my house to see the kids because he has no place to take them. I feel bad because the kids want to see him. I try to set up boundaries but they’re constantly being broken. I feel like we argue way more in front of the kids now than we did when we were together. And I feel way more stressed out and full of anxiety than I did before.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

      Dorothy, I agree that if you don’t stick to your boundaries, if your “no” isn’t respected, then nothing changes even though he doesn’t live there. So my advice to you is to figure out why you are still trying to “Fix his problem” – he has no place to take them – and work on solving your problem – “he’s driving me crazy being here all the time. What if you lovingly said to him, “fighting in front of the kids is not healthy for them or for me. I will no longer have any kind of conversation regarding the children in front of them period – and then stick to it.” And if he comes over, say, “From now on you will need to find an alternative place to take the children during your visitation times.” Or “When you come over to visit the kids, I’m going to go out and have dinner with a friend”. That’s only if you can trust him to be in your home, but you don’t have to engage. You can say, “When you are at the house, I am going to my room to read, pretend I’m not here.” But those are your boundaries that you will have to stick with. What keeps you from holding firm with your boundaries?

      • Dorothy on January 3, 2024 at 10:47 am

        I guess what keeps me from holding firm to the boundaries is I am exhausted. I stick with them for a little while but then little by little he pushes his way through them. I have two children that do the same thing. I set up these boundaries and schedules and rules but then when I’m being nagged and nagged it and pushed and pushed, and I repeat the same things over and over again and no one listens I just give up. I also feel guilty, and wonder if I did the wrong thing by divorcing him. Even though he keeps showing me over and over again that I did the right thing! I do see a counselor weekly and I am going to work really hard this year at sticking with my boundaries. you have helped me a lot as well! Thank you!

        • Becca on January 23, 2024 at 4:31 pm

          Dorothy, I can relate regarding feeling like boundary setting isn’t working sometimes . However, according to behavioral science, it always gets worse before it gets better. If you set a limit and get pushback, try to stick to it and get worse pushback you might falsely assume your efforts aren’t working. When pushback intensifies it’s actually a sign that your efforts are working, but must be followed through with til the behavior is extinguished. The intensified pushback means you’re on the verge of breakthrough, just hang in there.

        • Kristina on March 6, 2024 at 12:12 pm

          I agree with Becca. I’ve seen this with my own daughter, 9yr old. I homeschool her and she pushes back quite a bit. I know she has been deeply affected by my toxic marriage and how her sisters have handled it. However I stand firm in my boundaries and when I do, she eventually respects it. It could be 30 minutes or more(talking with her and giving her space) but then she will come and apologize to me. My husband, who I’m divorcing, has also learned that I will remove myself from the argument. if he follows me, I will start recording the conversation. It is extremely hard in the moment but well worth it. Prayers for you and your children!

  4. Hope on December 28, 2023 at 10:56 am

    One of the saddest parts of my life was watching my mom “disappear” as a person as she was ground down by my dad’s unhealthy ways of doing relationship. It was as if she was being chipped away, bit by bit, each year a little less of who she really was.. We had a family of five kids, spread over 17 years. My sister told me later that Mom wanted out, but didn’t see how to support us financially. And she couldn’t resolve what a Christian wife and mom in this situation should even do…It was a desperate, helpless feeling for me as a child trying to help her, prop her up or rescue her somehow. She loved Jesus and held onto that love to the end of her life–but there was a lot of suffering. I wonder how that story might have been different if she’d had the clarifying biblical teaching and support Leslie and others now offer. Praise God for these resources–and thank you, thank you, Leslie!

  5. Jean on December 28, 2023 at 1:59 pm

    I think this is a key point that making a break from an unhealthy relationship. I have asked for a separation twice. He has refused.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 28, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Jean, I don’t think you need permission to separate. I think you can do it even if he says no. Many women have done that and been safer, healthier and gotten stronger.

      • Lotus on December 29, 2023 at 2:05 pm

        How? Can you please explain more about it. Now I am in this situation. He doesn’t want to separate because he believes it is not Biblical. It just like divorce for him. Even thought I assisted it, he said the door is open for you if you want to leave. But he will stay in our house. And the kids also, can’t leave with me.
        The tow older ones had suffered his toxic and abusive behavior with me for 17 years. Now I asking for divorce. He doesn’t want to, ask me to separate 6 months for healing and want me to be back out marriage. His gold is believed keeping our family as one, fight for our marriage.
        What I should do? I want to file divorce but how? Should I move out first and file? Or stay in the same house and begin to file? Please help me, I came from China and not familiar with this. I can pay for asking your advice as long as I can reach out to you, Leslie.

        • Leslie Vernick on December 29, 2023 at 11:50 pm

          Lotus, In this country, you can file for divorce without his permission. You can also separate, but you cannot kick him out of the house, nor can he kick you out of the house. My recommendation to you for information on your rights and responsibilities right now is for you to get a legal consult with a good divorce attorney. That does not mean you are going to file for divorce or get a divorce, but you do need to know the facts on how to proceed legally if you choose to go that route so that his threats or statements don’t sound so scary. Just because he says it doesn’t make it true. He’s not god. God is God. Do you have good and wise Christian women friends you can speak with as well? YOu can also contact your local domestic violence shelter you can get in touch with someone at 1800-799-SAFE to find out where there is someplace close to you, and ask them for referrals for attorneys and if they offer supportive services to you. Try that and let us know how it goes.

    • Penny on December 28, 2023 at 4:00 pm

      I left with the kids for a few months because I knew if I asked him to leave, he would refuse. The kids and I stayed with family for a few months before Covid forced us to go back home. Living back at home with him after being away from the dysfunction for so long made me even more determined to make a permanent change so I filed for a legal separation and gave him a weekend alone at the house to pack up and leave. Thankfully he did go and didn’t fight me on it. Whichever way you have to do it, getting out of the toxicity is the key. The pain of living away from hi-me was worth the peace. Sometimes you don’t even realize the level of dysfunction you’re living in until it’s not your every day.

  6. Hannah on December 28, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    Why aren’t we trying to reform family law also? Our countries spend so much on political agendas, on self-help concepts , but won’t update what “abuse” is in court for moms and kids.—-why aren’t we investigating what kind of individuals are even running family courts?

    The fear of never being truly free til death because of abuse exes is like a life sentence!! Fear of stalking, fear of death, control and just shackles in general—-just longer ones…how is this still even legal? These men who be in jail….the moms should be protected…

    • Leslie Vernick on December 29, 2023 at 11:52 pm

      Hannah, I couldn’t agree more. Courts are not always just and family law courts have not been educated in abusive and destructive, manipulative tactics and therefore don’t “see” what they need to see. THey’re overloaded and overworked and whoever presents the best case wins. That’s why it’s important to have a good attorney and get your own facts straight and clear so that you can not be easily intimidated or manipulated.

      • Caroline Abbott on January 2, 2024 at 9:54 am

        Yes, the family court systems in our country are sadly m misinformed about what is best for the children. From what I’ve seen with my clients, it is more about parental rights – and usually the rights of the abuser. My home state of Colorado just passed Kayden’s law. In this law, judges, PREs and CFIs will be required to take courses about domestic violence and how it affects the children. Lundy Bancroft says that this is just the start, and we need to rise up and ban together to insist on better treatment for children in the court system.

      • Jay on February 20, 2024 at 10:50 am

        But who can afford an attorney? They don’t have pro bono ones where I live. A single hour with an attorney here costs more than what I make in two weeks. And that’s the cheapest! I’ve tried negotiating cheaper fees but to no avail. I’ve contacted every firm in the city too. There is community services where you can get a 15 minute advice session but it takes several hours to explain even the basics of my case. My husband took everything – our savings, our home, everything of any value. He gave every cent to his attorney to try to get revenge for me speaking up about his violence. And the reality is, western courts are incredibly biased against women.

        • Leslie Vernick on February 20, 2024 at 11:07 am

          Jay, this side of heaven things are unfair and unjust. But the question from the blog was how can I heal when things are unfair and unjust? Do you need it to be fair and just to heal? Do you need to have an attorney make it just and fair in order for you to heal? If the answer is yes, then you will continue to stay stuck. Yes our system is unjust towards women in abusive relationships, especially when the man has money and power. Does this cause hardship and pain? Yes it does. But does that automatically mean you are stuck in your anger, pain, hatred, and helpless place because the legal system is unfair, even corrupt? Or is there something you can get from God that does not require human intervention, legal fairness, or money?

          • Adriana. on May 13, 2024 at 6:42 pm

            I totally get what you are saying. But with unfair and unjust my question is: how can I have peace with the fallout my children could face because of unfair and unjust court system. My oldest is 2 and the other half a year. I have looked at separation and divorce and am getting legal aid. But I am also really scared. I don’t believe my husband would hurt the kids. I think he is more foolish and immature than he is evil. But he does have a hard heart and alot of pride. I see the dysfunction and abuse he came from in his family of origin, and his mother just bore with it all because that’s the “right thing to do”. We live near his family with all of my family out of state. I am just afraid of recovering the unfair unjust end of things with the kids if I pursue separation and have them fall intro his and his family’s hands. Though he loves them, his thought patterns and beliefs are still very harmful. I just don’t want to pass on the cycle of abuse and generational sin to our children. I want to protect them but am afraid that what if I lose and he receives favor and my kids don’t get to grow up in truth. But in the other hand his behavior is escalating and I don’t think it’s safe any longer for me.

          • Leslie Vernick on May 13, 2024 at 8:32 pm

            Andriana, I totally understand why you might choose to stay put for now because of your concern for your little’s safety. I’d encourage you to join CONQUER waitlist and get a safety plan in place. You also might need to consult with your local DV shelter for resources that are available to women in your situation. There are no easy answers right now, but let me say this. Your kids need one healthy parent. If you can stay strong and healthy while also staying in this marriage for now, that may be best, but what do you need for you to make sure you have the support and help to do that?

  7. Lost on December 28, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    I don’t know if this makes any sense at all but for so many years I felt trapped in this marriage and that there was no way out. The years just passed by and my children grew up in a stressful and sad environment where their Dad caused them pain and anger and their mom just tried to soften the blows, kiss the wounds and pray for a change that would never come. Now my 4 kids are grown. The youngest is now 10. The situation is worse than ever for me. It is a relationship filled with much hate and brokenness. But I can’t help but feel like it’s too late to leave now, that I should have left when they were small despite the obstacles I would have faced. I’m afraid that it is too late to help them. The damage is done. They will carry these wounds forever and I fear to break up their family will only cause more hurt and damage.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 29, 2023 at 11:51 pm

      Lost, you made your decisions out of fear and you regret them now. And yet, you’re still thinking of making the future decisions out of fear again. Will you not regret them again 10 more years from now? What keeps you most stuck?

      • Lost on December 30, 2023 at 5:16 am

        Leslie, this is a question I ask myself daily. I suppose it is the unknown. If I could glimpse the future and see that things worked out for the better for my children, I believe I would leap and not look back. But there are no guarantees. I’m constantly worrying about makes their lives worse in some way. And perhaps my biggest fear of all .. losing the love and respect of one of my children. That they won’t see that I did it for them. That I could lose my relationship with even one of them. This thought paralyzes me. I do not think I could bare the pain of having them blame me for leaving.

        • Leslie Vernick on December 30, 2023 at 12:16 pm

          Lost, you’re right you want to know the unknown. But doesn’t God tells us that only he KNOWS all. We walk by faith not by sight. GOd doesn’t ask us nor expect us to know the future, but he does expect we will make decisions based on what we DO KNOW NOW. What do you know NOW to help you make the next right step forward for you and your kids mental, emotional, and spiritual health? Life is hard either way – you say staying – it’s hard, and if you leave guess what, it’s hard too. But the hard is different when you’re safe and can work on things “getting better” than when you’re trapped with no hope or no way out.

          • Seeking on December 31, 2023 at 1:44 pm

            So, do you advise that separation/divorce is the right course of action?

          • Leslie Vernick on December 31, 2023 at 5:08 pm

            Seeking: Divorce is a big decision that only the person in the marriage can make. I do not advise divorce, nor do I advise someone staying. I want someone in an abusive/destructive marriage to think for herself and be free to consider her options and not assume that God hates all divorce or that children are better off staying no matter what. That is not true, but has been the standard counsel in many conservative Christian churches.

  8. Reba on December 29, 2023 at 7:27 pm

    I didn’t realize how toxic my situation was for so many years. I just kept on keeping on the best I could. One of my kids came across “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” and when I took the test, a light slowly came on. I have been separated for 5 years now. A comment from one of my kids last year really opened my eyes. He said I would go away now and then to visit my parents, sometimes with one or two kids. (We lived out of the country and funds were tight.) He said, “What I couldn’t understand was how you would get away and see what a normal life was like then you would come home with some renewed energy, but you didn’t see how bad our life was.” He was very resentful that I would just let things continue on. Only in the recent years do I see the deep scars and struggles my children deal with now. I am doing well and they are proud of me. They however, have many things to work out in their own lives due to the years of very unhealthy relationships and examples. It is especially hard to see many of them not interested in God. Truth, integrity and support are so important.

    • Esther on December 29, 2023 at 8:22 pm

      I also am in this situation. I have read Leslie’s book and blogs and used them as a resource for years. I finally left a few months ago. It’s so hard to coparent with someone who wants to destroy you and weaponizes your precious children. I try to answer with BIFF and not to engage but sometimes I wonder if I should expose him and let him and the world know what he is doing to all of us. I wonder if I need to put it all in email to him in case I need it for court or will he retaliate even worse than he is?. I pray for a positive father role model for my kids so haven’t tried get full custody but he has all ready started seeing someone else and ignoring my children. I am so exasperated and sick of the attorney fees while getting nowhere due to his lies and manipulation. Sometimes I start to doubt myself b/c of the tactics he uses. I pray for all of us.

      • Ann on January 10, 2024 at 2:56 am

        Dearest Esther,
        on one hand you say
        “ It’s so hard to coparent with someone who wants to destroy you and weaponizes your precious children. I try to answer with BIFF and not to engage but sometimes I wonder if I should expose him and let him and the world know what he is doing to all of us.”

        In the next breath you say
        “I pray for a positive father role model for my kids so haven’t tried get full custody but he has all ready started seeing someone else and ignoring my children. I am so exasperated and sick of the attorney fees while getting nowhere due to his lies and manipulation”

        It sounds like his seeing someone else and ignoring your children might be an answer to your exasperation over attorney fees and his lies and manipulations. Your expectation for him to be be a positive father role model might be reasonable but also very unrealistic. Maybe letting him go would solve the problem of continuing attorney fees. Maybe his ignoring your children might work in a way that is healthier for both you and your children. A manipulative, lying spouse is not healthy for you and a father who weaponizes his children isn’t healthy for them.

        You have a solution, however undesirable, right at your hand, but you seem to be clinging to an unrealistic dream of what you think this man ought to be for you.

        These are simply observations from what little you have shared. I’m sure there is way more to your story. I speak out of love and compassion for you and your family. Many of us know the joy and freedom, even amidst the hardship, we received when we let go of the reasonable but unrealistic desire for our spouse. I pray you experience it too!

  9. Jay on February 20, 2024 at 11:38 am

    I left 8 years ago when my youngest was a toddler. He then took the kids from school and refused to give them back. He secretly filed in court making vile false allegations without a shred of evidence. Despite trying my hardest without legal representation (as there is no pro bono here and he left me homeless and penniless in a city where even the cheapest one bedroom apartment costs more than what single parent benefits pay and a two bedroom apartment costs more than what I make working.

    The court gave him primary care of all but one of the children because the judge refused to allow any evidence of the abuse or neglect to be admitted. He continues to abuse and neglect the children and no one does a thing. The police just believe his lies over the children, child protective services accuse the children of making up most of it and downplay the indisputable neglect, and the court just says it’s up to the police and CPS to intervene and refuse to look at the evidence.
    I have now been told I have to leave my (post separation) home (the court gave my exhusband our home and he’d already given everything else to his attorney) because I haven’t been able to pay for it in 3 months and my income is so low that it doesn’t even cover the cost of basic utilities where I live. I’ve been to financial counsellors and all they can say is “you’ll just to abandon your kids to your ex and move interstate and stay on family and friend’s couches until you can find better paying work”. I don’t want to abandon my kids to a violent, neglectful child abuser. Seeing them every second weekend only, and hearing and seeing the constant effects of the abuse and neglect is heartbreaking.

    The only child who is safe is only safe because they turned 18 last year and the court can’t force them to live with the ex. The others beg to be returned to me. They cannot understand why they are being put through this hell and how do I help them to understand when I don’t understand myself? Why DO judges give violent, neglectful men (who never spent any time with the kids when married) primary care of children over good mothers based on a few disproven false accusations and in despite of hard evidence of wife beating, child abuse and neglect? I have no answer for that other than misogyny, money and power (my ex has a very powerful job, and funneled all our assets to his attorney the week we separated, and has a high paying job and rich parents and without an attorney, the judge wouldn’t even look at my application for spousal support).

    I turned to our church for help. They initially confronted him about the violence but he got his attorney to threaten to sue the church if they raised the issue again (even one on one in private). All they could do was ban him from participating in any sort of ministry and not even say why (not even to him even though it was obvious). He denies they ever told him his abusive behaviour was abuse and even told the family court that the church leadership feel he was the victim and the church leadership refused to testify that his claims were lies because they were afraid of being sued. He also made up false allegations against our pastor and nearly got him fired. Exhusband eventually got sick of being blocked from any sort of volunteer ministry in the church and last year moved churches where has them convinced he is the victim and had threatened to make false accusations of stalking against me if anyone tells the leaders of his new church the truth. Not that they’d believe it because most people don’t want to believe that battered women lose custody to violent and neglectful men – most people believe the lie of those who claim courts favour women when in fact it’s the other way around.

    8 years and I am now two weeks from being homeless and I’m beyond broke and have not a single place to turn with all my family and friends 800-1200 miles away. No one in my church offers anything except meaningless prayers. Domestic violence support services here only help victims when they first leave, not when the abuse is ongoing after separation. There are no free or even low cost lawyers. I’ve been to general charities and every 3 months they might help out with a food parcel, but that’s about it. There is nothing left I can see to try to get help to rescue my abused children.

    I should also add, my 18 year old is disabled and can’t work but they don’t qualify for disability income support, instead all they get is free medical assistance. I mean, that helps for all their medical needs but doesn’t feed or clothe them or put a roof over their head.

    8 years I’ve been going through this hell and that hell is nothing compared to the hell the children have been going through.

    I suspect my comment won’t be published as it is a case where leaving wasn’t better but that only makes my situation and my kids’ situation even more painful because we are always invisible. No one wants to hear our story. No one wants to hear that at least if I reunited with my exhusband, at least I could partially protect the kids from abuse and I could definitely protect them from the neglect. But once I become homeless in a few weeks, my ex had made it clear that he won’t hand over the kids so even me staying here and living in a car who knows where won’t help. And the court made it very clear that if I was homeless they’d let him break court orders and not let the kids come to me every second weekend.

    I’m trying to sell the few things of even a little value I have to pay another week or two to not get kicked out of where I live but even then, that is only a temporary measure.

    Where is God in all of this?

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