How Do I Heal From His Awful Words And Behavior?

Morning friend, So glad you are here. I’ve been watching comments on the feed and I hope you are all seeing your comments. If you’re still experiencing a problem posting or seeing your comments, please let me know.

Question: How do I overcome some of the awful and disrespectful things that my husband has said to me over the years, the complete indifference and invalidation of my emotional pain, and the damage that it has done to me emotionally and physically?

Answer: The short answer is by doing your own work. This could be in many areas. Physically by learning to regulate your body’s stress levels or trauma responses. Mentally by identifying some of the beliefs that you have that keep you stuck believing his ugly words. Emotionally by grieving that someone you loved did not love you back and harmed you through his repeated indifference. And, spiritually by looking for the bigger picture of the good or growth that has or can come from this painful time in your life.

What’s keeping you stuck from doing your own work to heal from the damage? If you were in a car accident and ended up in the hospital due to a reckless driver who left the scene, what would you need to do to heal from his carelessness and indifference? You would need to do your own work. Rest, tend to your injuries, get your body working again. Perhaps have months of physical therapy or other kinds of therapy in order to fully recover. 

Sin always impacts us. Both our own sin and the sin of others. [Tweet “We are not responsible for their sin, but we are responsible for our recovery.”] It’s tempting when someone has so wounded us, to stay angry and stuck because we were victimized. And you were. But now what? These things were done to you, but what are you doing to get well? Heal? Grow? Thrive? Become strong not in spite of what he did but even because of what he did.

At a business conference recently, an attendee asked me what I did for work. I told her, and she laughed and said, “Oh I married one of those. He was a mean narcissist. It was the best husband I could have married.”

Confused I said, “Tell me more.”

She went on to say, “I was such a dependent people pleaser. I had no self. I was always bending into everyone, to make them happy. But being married to him was a game-changer for me. I had to learn to say no, to stand up for myself, to grow independent and strong enough to leave him. It was the worst thing and the best that happened to me.”

What your husband did to you was wrong. It was hurtful and sinful. But what he did is not a statement about you or your worth or value. It’s a statement about the kind of man he is. People rejected Jesus. They called him a liar, crazy, and demon-possessed. They lied about him, betrayed him, and abused him. [Tweet “Sometimes bad things happen to good people.”]

I hope you are not still living with this person. You do have choices. You don’t have to live this way. What would be your first step be to begin healing?

Friend, when were you tempted to abdicate ownership of your own story because of what someone else did to you? How did you take ownership back? How did that change the trajectory of your life story?


  1. Linda on October 28, 2021 at 8:26 am

    My divorce is final 11/18
    Your ministry has helped me tremendously.

    • Free on October 30, 2021 at 5:43 am

      You go girl! Enjoy the amazing life that remains! One with choice, freedom from harm and the peace that passes all understanding. Look for God’s smiles as he blesses you and heal the memories of the cruelty inflicted upon you for decades. Congratulations!

    • JoAnn on November 1, 2021 at 5:10 pm

      Congratulations, Linda! Treat yourself to a pleasant experience when it’s over. You might still have to deal with some fallout after it’s final, but good, firm boundaries will help a lot.

  2. karinna on October 28, 2021 at 9:25 am

    i completely understand taking responsibility for our own recovery. However, the driver does not move in with you while you are doing it. you may be mad at the driver or hurt or upset but you can process your feelings apart from the sight of his face. in relationship, especially when one is trying to work it out and when it’s way more emotional and psychological abuse than actual physical how does one process the feelings in piece while having to maintain the day to day living of living with the same person who just once again showed you who he is and thinks nothing of it except calling it a day and moving on while you are still struggling with your own vision and experience of this.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 28, 2021 at 7:32 pm

      Karinna, I don’t think it is possible for you to do your own work while living with an abuser and you are still being abused. That’s why I asked her if she had moved out. You’re continually being retraumatized over and over again living in fear and high alert, which takes it’s toll on your mental and physical health.

  3. Chris on October 28, 2021 at 9:37 am

    Leslie, married 32 years, divorced now 6 years. 4 kids, 3 are gurls. My family is gone and deceased. He has meddling parents for 20 years. My Mom died early in my life being the youngest. My girls 30-36 gaslight me just like my ex. Resenting, my ex talked to a future husband on how he respected me, he loved me, and supported; man to man! He was not a good husband one on one ALONE. I’m over the ex, but devastated how the ex wants to use a mother’s love to win his girls; and he does. I’m so hurt how the girls address me. I have no support because nobody SEES it. It’s inherited now and a standard of the family model. He has remarried but still drives by my home, the family home, and beeps! I laugh! I’ve just recently finished the house to be MY HOME, and God is the heart of my home and all are welcomed to the table!

    • Free on October 30, 2021 at 5:48 am

      Remember that old song from the movie “Oklahoma?”

      “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair?…”

      I am singing that song for you.

      Fill YOUR new home with joyful music and new friends.

    • JoAnn on November 1, 2021 at 5:06 pm

      Chris, I’m so glad you got away and are building your own life. Well done! I wonder if family counseling with your children might be a way to wake them up to what is going on? Theirs is no doubt learned behavior, which might be able to change. Do you think they would be open to that? or a book to read? Seems like some truth spoken in love is needed here.

  4. Carla on October 28, 2021 at 10:37 am

    It has been a continual journey of neglect, abuse, infidelities. First I had children I needed to care for and in my eyes protect. Now they are grown and on their own but the abuse only has one person to be directed at, me! Nites are long with put downs, insults and shaming. The hatred he has for me is heartbreaking. I know not to engage or personalize and know that to say to much to the narcissist as it only fuels the rage. This trauma is confusing and sad. Difinitly it is escalating, there is nothing I say or do that is right or ok! It is heart breaking for a woman of faith who found the Lord after marrying my husband, to not have shown fruit that would encourage his heart to desire the Lord. Instead it is a constant string of,” you christians ate the surge of the earth,” comments!! Defeated would be the best way to describe my situation at this time. Being perceived as a “Bad Person” is heartbreaking when your heart desire is to please God. Anyways life can be a hard journey! God is faithful and I so need Him!!

    • Leslie Vernick on October 28, 2021 at 7:34 pm

      Carla, no one deserves to be treated this way. Don’t think about how he perceives you because he perceives people as “objects to use”, but how does God perceive you? That is where you healing will come from. Psalm 107:20.

      • seales on November 10, 2021 at 11:46 am

        My struggles now are my adult children. My husband left 3+years ago. My church family was silent. My husband has played the victum role very persuasively to my children & to everyone we knew as a couple. No one save for my mother & sisters have stood by me , knowing who my husband really is. When I finally came out & told my children that he had been verbally controlling/ abusive x30+ years. They met with silence. My son said “I never saw that”. My daughter posted on FB about what a wonderful dad she has. My other son stating “that’s just the way he is.” I am having such a hard time moving beyond this. We are still married. Don’t know if I have the strength to go through with divorce.

    • Carol on October 28, 2021 at 7:55 pm

      Carla God love you move than he loves your marriage. You are not required by him to put up with this. We are called to love our neighbor as ourself. Not love our neighbor rather than ourself. Be strong.

  5. Lydia on October 28, 2021 at 11:39 am

    I am in the process of leaving him and moving back to my part of the state. I look forward to feeling safe again.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 28, 2021 at 7:35 pm

      Good for you.

  6. Kate on October 30, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    *SO* well-spoken! By you and the woman who spoke with you! Thank you for sharing these words and helping me to flip the script on my current story. What a blessing. ❤️

  7. on October 31, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    You (if at all possible) LEAVE. They do not love you, they never loved you and will never love you. It simply is not in their make up. You still don’t have to hate them, as they’ve made their own hell.

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