We’ve had quite a robust dialogue this past week, haven’t we? I think this is good. We all need truth tellers in our life to help us rightly divide the Word of God and also to see our situation more clearly. It’s both/and, not either or. Our blogger Veronica is right. Our ultimate truth tellers are God’s word and the Holy Spirit, not our own thoughts and feelings. However, Christians, even conservative Christians don’t always read the Bible and come to the same conclusions.
For example, there are those who firmly and passionately believe in the Reformed doctrine of “election.” Election teaches that God chooses or predestines certain people who will come to him for salvation. Which then also means that there are people He doesn’t choose and therefore won’t be saved.
Other Bible scholars disagree. They read the same Bible and see it differently. They say that God loved and died for everyone (John 3:16). Paul did say that some were elect (Ephesians 1), but he also taught that God wants everyone to be saved and understand the truth (1 Timothy 2:4,5). And 2 Peter 3:9 gives us a glimpse into God’s heart when it says, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” Everyone, it says, not just his elect.
We read the same Bible and yet come to different conclusions about salvation. I’m not a Biblical scholar nor do I know the original languages but as I read the whole word of God, I see many things as both/and, not either/or. For example, I believe that the Scriptures teach us that God does elect some individuals to be in the Body of Christ. That idea would correspond to the fact that God chose the Jews to be his special people. However, God never excluded Gentiles from coming to him by faith.
Therefore, let’s continue to sharpen one another like iron sharpens iron. Let’s stay in CORE while we do it, being open to the possibility that we are being in either /or mindset when the truth might be closer to both/and.
This week’s question: My husband is basically a good man. He is a school teacher and the music director/organist of our Church. He can be patient, kind, loving and always deeply spiritual. He can also be demanding, tyrannical and irrational.
He blames everyone and anyone for any problems that arise. It is a knee-jerk reaction to even the slightest, most inconsequential of events. If one of our children falls down, his first reaction is to scream an “I told you so” at them- never is his first reaction one of concern for their well-being or safety. He expects our older children- living away from our home with lives of their own- to always be at his beck and call. If he wants them to do something for him, it does not matter that they have jobs, plans, etc. He refuses to be told no. And, everyone cow-tows to him just to keep him on an even keel and avoid the rants and literal rages that he has demonstrated.
While he is a school teacher, his passion is the piano and he is an accomplished pianist and composer- just not as revered and accomplished as he would like to be. Whose fault is that? His parents. His father for having a health crisis when he was younger or his mother for not knowing or doing enough to promote his career. The children and I are also to blame because he has to work a “meaningless” job to put food on the table.
He takes no responsibility for any failure, real or imagined, in his life. He doesn't seem to have any concept that not everyone's life revolves around him and that people are allowed their own lives and opinions. He is negative in all aspects of his life, except, of course, if it relates to music.
I could write pages about this aspect of his personality, suffice it to say that he will always see the dark cloud around the silver lining. He is also very vocal about his negative thoughts and when he's challenged, he plays the victim and accuses the challenger of attacking him. It's to the point where conversation with him is seldom initiated because we all know what his reaction will be. Want his opinion? Just think of the most irrational response and go with that.
Answer:First, I’m confused. You say that your husband basically is a good man, patient, kind, loving, and always deeply spiritual. Then you go on for several paragraphs listing all the ways he is not patient, loving, good or spiritual. Perhaps what you mean is that your husband knows his Bible, can be charming and act loving when everything is going his way and everyone meets his needs and expectations in exactly the way he wants. When that doesn’t happen, (which is real life) watch out!
Now your question is: “How do I live with someone like that and how do I help my children live with someone like that?” The best answer I can offer you is that you will only be able to live with this (if you choose to) with CORE Strength. You will also need a good support system. Add to that an abundance of grace and truth having no expectations at all of a meaningful relationship or a mutual give and take with your husband.
I am reluctant to put a label on anyone but your description of your husband’s behavior if it’s accurate is typical of someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. A craving for admiration, an attitude of entitlement and lack of empathy for anyone else’s needs are usually the three big red flags.
However, in order for you to stay well, let’s start with grace. In order to live with someone like this you will need to learn to lean hard into God’s loving grace, knowing that when your husband doesn’t treat you well or love you like you wished he did, you are still deeply loved and valued by God.
You will need God’s grace to continually forgive your husband and keep a clean slate of the wrongs he does against you so that you don’t become hardened by normal anger, bitterness, and resentment that you may feel. Your husband will never apologize or take responsibility for the wrong’s he’s done which makes it that much harder to forgive and let things go. Therefore, your strength must come from outside yourself. It can only be from God.
You will need God’s grace to biblically love your husband when you feel like screaming at him and grace to not repay evil for evil. Jesus calls us to love our enemies but we rarely have to live with our enemies day in and day out. To live in a relatively conflict-free relationship with your husband you will need to accept that you will always be the giver. God sees how much you give whether or not your husband notices or appreciates it. You will need His eternal perspective on your marital loneliness and suffering because you will feel unheard, unloved, and unvalued much of the time, which may tempt you to seek other male companionship or to become bitter and hard hearted.
You will need grace to not judge your husband and not have contempt for him as a man or as a person, even though truth tells you his attitudes and actions are sinful.
Grace keeps you humble, reminding you that you too are sinful and have your own brokenness. Grace keeps you mindful of the log in your own eye before trying to remove the speck in your spouse’s eye. Click To Tweet
You will also need to stay focused on God’s truth to stay healthy emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Your husband blames and shames and it’s tempting to believe his harsh words. Don’t do it. Listen to what God says about who you are and not your husband’s words. You will need God’s truth to explain to yourself and even your children that sometimes their father acts selfishly and it’s not wrong of them to say “no” or to ask him to consider their needs, and not just think of his own (Philippians 2:4).
You will also need truth to guide you when to confront your husband’s sinful behavior and how. There may be a strategic or teachable moment where you could say something that may cause him to press pause and think about his actions and you want to look for those moments and ask God to give you an anointed tongue.
We are to speak the truth in love to one another but it’s tempting to either
For example, when he’s inconsiderate of your needs or your schedule, you could say, “I know this is important to you, but this is important to me so I have to do this first.” Your goal in this kind of statement is to remind him that you are a separate PERSON with your own needs, feelings, and thoughts. You are not just a slave or a robot or a “wife” but a person and even if he doesn’t value you, you are going to value yourself.
You said you don’t want your children growing up to be like their father. Children do learn a lot from their parents, but their father isn’t their only influencer. You have a huge impact on your children and the way you interact with their father will say a lot to them about not only who he is, but who you are.
If you act as if he’s right all the time and entitled to act this way, they get the picture that men get to have their way all the time that’s “normal.” Therefore it’s important to speak truthfully to your children about things such as, “I think sometimes your father can be self-absorbed and not realize that you have your own plans. It’s okay to remind him that you can’t always accommodate him and stick to what you need to do for yourself.”
You say your husband is deeply spiritual. Galatians 5:16-26 speaks about the person who lives in the spirit and one who lives in the flesh. Perhaps in a moment when your husband seems open or more in tune with God, you could ask him which one he inhabits most often? Or when he is most negative or critical say, “You don’t seem to experience God’s joy or peace very much. Why do you think that is?”
Your words will probably have little impact on him but God tells us that His words are powerful and don’t return void. They have the power to cut right to the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Ask God to use His Word, even those in the lyrics of the music he plays each week at church, to cause him to see the truth about why he is so critical, so miserable, and so unhappy.
Lastly, don’t forget you do need good relationships, even if it’s not in your marriage. Seek out healthy godly women who can encourage you, love on you, pray for you and hold you accountable to be the kind of person you want to be while living in this difficult and destructive marriage.
Friends, if you’ve walked in this woman’s shoes –what has helped you stay well (as this is her desire to do right now)?
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I appreciate all of this advice, and respect that this woman wants to ‘stay well’.
I think it’s really important, though, to acknowledge that this is not marriage as God intended.
Is this even marriage, at all? The lengths that this writer will have to go to guard her heart on a daily basis is more in line with being a missionary than a wife.
Marriage is the safe and nurturing place from which we ‘go out’ into a mission field.
I guess my question to this writer, since you are choosing to ‘stay well’ is this: what exactly are you choosing to ‘stay well’ , in?
I really like what a blogger had written in our last conversation – she is married to a similar type of man. She said that although she stays (for her children’s sake) she knows that they have been divorced for a long time. This statement acknowledges the reality of her situation.
It’s important to tell ourselves the truth about our situation.
Well it certainly is not a good marriage and that is something she will need to accept if she wants to stay well – sort of Abigail style. Many women do not feel they have Biblical grounds for leaving, or have small children, or are not economically or educationally prepared to be self-supporting or are just plain scared to put their foot down. Not every woman (or man) in a destructive marriage wants to or needs to separate or leave. But if they don’t do that, then they do need to figure out how to stay well and see if they can, with God’s help do it. However, here’s where I would disagree with Veronica that the staying well path is the ONLY Biblical option. And many women stay but do not stay well. But for this woman, this was her desire at least for now.
I see the Word saying you can divorce for adultery or if the unbelieving spouse leaves. I do not see God allowing us to divorce based on “emotional abuse”.
I also see 1 cor 7:11 sometimes you have to leave. You give excellent advise and practical tools on leaving well.
God tells us to take care of our tents. (Eat right, exercise, feed yourself on the Word of God, pray. ) If something or someone is destroying the temple (including yourself) God says he will destroy that person 1 cor 3:16-17. Leaving will stop that person from destroying your temple. (leaving with a hope of restoration) I’m all for leaving to be safe. If the person you have left is that selfish then I’m guessing they will show their true colors. They may divorce you. (cant control that) or they may have an affair. At which time you have biblical grounds for divorce.
Since we are all children of God (2 cor 6:18) I’d say he cares about children. Lots of us are parents. If a child is physically abused we help get them out of that situation for protection. If a child says the parents are emotionally abusing them….do we remove that child from the unsafe parents? My 10 yr old grandson just yesterday said he felt abused because mom punished him from his video games. (tears and all, a real feeling). If we follow that line of thinking then wouldn’t we remove children from emotional abusive parents. Some of us, including me, have given examples of our husbands enacting punishments on our children that we felt were emotionally abusive. Example:my kids raking leaves in the dark.
My point is I do not see emotional abuse as biblical grounds for divorce. Separation ,yes, get safe protect the tent, hopefully reconcile. Aly in the last blog gives a great description of HWL. We might be perceiving something as abusive based on our own imprint.
Leslie you challenged me in the last blog ….do I wear a head covering?. We are all Christians trying to equally (2 tim 2:15) divide the Word of truth. You yourself are using scripture to point us in the right direction. So you are depending on the Word to guide you and you have a great platform to guide lots of others. So do you wear a head covering? Of course that question is rhetorical. I can see by your writings and I have read your books, that you are trying to rightly divide the Word of truth. If we don’t use The Word to guide us then we are not followers of Christ just fans. A fan admires another, a follower obeys.
Veronica there are a lot of people calling themselves believers, and they even attend church regularly, but when you look at their lives behind closed doors they are anything but.
The Bible calls us to discern by looking at the fruit of someone’s spirit and people can even fake some of the fruits of the spirit but they can’t fake peace or comfort. Someone who rages a lot or verbally abuses their spouse or emotionally abuses their spouse is absolutely not working in the context of the Holy Spirit. And abusers typically lack the Peace of the Holy Spirit.
Because how can you really treat someone that abominably and then say that the Holy Spirit dwells within you? And we’re not talking about instances of every now and then or someone has a bad day, we’re talking about someone who abuses a spouse for years on end and doesn’t see that there’s anything wrong with it.
You also need to consider the fact that if you taking your sin to a brother and they don’t hear you you’re supposed to take it to others and if they don’t hear the others you’re supposed to take it to the church and then treat him as an unbeliever and a lot abused women have gone through that process. God does give us a way to vet people who are calling themselves Believers but not acting like believers.
Holy Spirit convicts people of their sin and so someone abusing regularly he doesn’t feel convicted and doesn’t repent is someone who is calling themselves a Believer but they are not and we have to use our brains in our common sense to be able to know the difference.
If someone is living their life as an unbeliever, despite calling themselves a believer, and continually abusing their spouse then that spouse is not obligated biblically to remain married if that spouse leaves.
Satan is very happy to tear up the Christian Community by having a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing and then the Christians are saying no you have to stay married to that when it’s literally killing people emotionally and psychologically to do so and Satan is using the word against us in those cases.
Satan is the Bible better than any believer and he’s always going to use that against our community and not for it. And he will do so and very sneaky malicious ways.
This well said and is an important aspect to anyone claiming to be a believer and not be convicted of their behavior.
Something is clearly off and a huge red flag in their character!
Nowadays, if a child goes to their counselor in school and let’s them know that their parents are being emotionally abusive, for example being locked in a closet, the school will notify proper authorities and kids can be removed from the home. And I’m not talking about taking a kid’s electronics or phone away. You cite the trivial example of your grandson and then dismiss everything else.
By the way, do you have any input about the topic Leslie is talking about-staying well?
Good point. Let’s not dismiss a child locked in a closet. Of course I’d have to know if he was locked in a walk in closet and told to clean it or locked in a closet and not given food. My point remains the same. We need to get someone who agrees that that’s abuse. Then we do something about it.
If we as believers can’t find a few other believers to confront sin (definable sin,ie, drugs , adultery) in a brothers life then that is sad. Equally as sad is when we think we are being emotionally abused and we can’t find anyone to agree with us. Could be our perception.
I read and reread this post from Leslie as you asked for my input on it. I agree with it all. It’s excellent!!!!!
Where i disagree with Leslie is in her position on grounds for divorce (Feb1 at 4:32 on Romans 12:1-2 blog) “Rather the grounds for divorce is the hardness of heart in the emotionally abusive person.”
I have ready enough of her books and seen her speak locally and on line. Been involved with several groups she has had. I respect her enough to agree to disagree. Too much good stuff here.
I agree with your point here.
“You cite the trivial example of your grandson and then dismiss everything else.”
It is my speculation (not saying I’m right) and sometimes is often seen with longtime emotional abuse that women will begin thinking and reciting more types of examples -similar to how their husbands would defend their unhealthy behavior or minimizing issues.
Veronica, imagine a woman before you with bruises all over from being beaten, your heart breaks for her and you want to hold her while she cries, but you know that will hurt (physically) as you might push on very tender bruises so you are very gentle, you avoid those tender spots, or maybe you just hold her hand to be safe. Might you consider when you start off a post with a lack of gentleness, using “emotional abuse” in quotes, and once again saying there is no valid reason for divorce besides physical adultery (even though Christ said lusting is adultery in the heart) that maybe you are poking at very tender bruises. Causing the abused more pain/trauma unintentionally? Consider how gentle Christ was in his responses to the hurting…Jesus wept with Mary and Martha knowing full well he would raise their brother but his heart hurt with theirs. Let your heart hurt for these broken women and let your words be filled with mercy and gentleness. There are ways to share the truth of God’s word without doing more damage to their tender bruises. Just a thought
This is so point on to what the abuse need verses being doubted and turned upside down for revealing just how horrible this invisible pain can be.
None of us need to see the Lord ‘visually’ in front of us to validate his existence!
This is beautifully and tenderly xpressed, Michele L.
Veronica, have you ever been sick and when you go to the doctor, he condescendingly tells you it’s all in your head? How does that feel? That’s how I feel when I read your posts. I have for years minimized what has been done to me, especially when I talk to someone or write it out here. I will not go into the details because those who know, know. Besides, h might be reading this, or someone else I know. I don’t want to trash h, but I do feel I need support from those who have been or are still in the trenches, especially those who have found some answers.
If you’ve never had cancer, or are in denial that you do, or are not a trained oncologist, you don’t really get it and probably should not be giving advice to those who have it. Years ago I also believed that “I would NEVER leave my husband, go on welfare, or end up in a psych ward”. God got hold of my pride by these very things happening within about 6 months of each other. I was hospitalized because of the (not physical) abuse and the doctor told me he wouldn’t let me go unless he knew I’d made arrangements to not live with h anymore. Otherwise, he said, I’d be right back in there. It can be that serious. Even with God.
Veronica, I think you are confusing two things. One is the uncertain definition of emotional abuse and how, especially in our culture, if you hurt my feelings you are emotionally abusing me. I get that and I agree. I also agree that women can be just as emotionally abusive in their misuse of their tongue as men can.
However, I think that describing emotional abuse in specific ways like degrading, demeaning, belittling, accusing, verbally attacking, misrepresenting a person’s character to others (slander), coercing, withholding, raging, lying, threatening, mocking, and many other behaviors – all would be defined as emotionally abusive in anyones eyes, especially God’s since he speaks so clearly about it throughout the Bible, especially Proverbs and James, but also Colossians and Ephesians.
It is impossible to have a relationship with someone who engages in these behaviors when they have NO remorse, repentance and change. Therefore it leaves the abused in a pseudo, although legal relationship in which she (or he) subjects their “tent” as you called our bodies to continued battering. Not physically but emotionally. And the Scriptures clearly show that words affect our body and our health.(it’s all over Proverbs)
So if you agree that a woman may leave a physically abusive relationship in order to steward her “tent” and if there is no change, or no repentance, she is Biblically permitted to divorce, why wouldn’t you also give the same rights to a woman whose physical tent, or emotional health, is breaking down under the verbal, emotional oppression of her spouse. Staying under those circumstances, especially if she was breaking down, wouldn’t be also a good steward of her tent.
So the two issues that are getting mixed up here are this: 1. what constitutes emotional abuse and how do we “see it” for what it is and not just every little ding that comes our way in relationship. AND if 2. If emotional abuse is defined biblically and every attempt to get a spouse to stop doing it has failed, I believe that the abused person has a right to separate from her (or his ) abuser. Now what’s the next step?
Hopefully the abuser will come to his or her senses and repent in order to restore the marriage. BUT – that often does not happen. More abuse happens – AND, and in our culture this is huge, there is NO legal protection in most states for a separated spouse regarding financial safety until they file for divorce.
So my question to you is are you saying that an abused spouse is to stay in a separated state indefinitely, trusting God, while her spouse drains all the family assets, runs up credit card bills in her name, fails to pay income taxes which she is jointly responsible for, and she should not take any legal action to protect herself from an evil doer – if that evil doer is her or his spouse? And if that is your conviction, I hope you also contribute large sums of money to your church benevolent fund to help these women who have no money to pay their bills and take care of their kids because their family assets have been hidden, or misspent while they did what the church asked them to do and just waited.
So safety isn’t just around physical abuse, it’s also for emotional abuse (well defined), sexual abuse, and financial abuse – which often happens even more after separation.
And, one more thing. How do you read Exodus 21:10 where it says, “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.”
This seems to say that a husband’s failure to meet a wife’s normal needs in marriage is grounds for divorce – in a culture where women didn’t even have the right to divorce their spouse. I see that God cares for the wife or husband who is in a terrible, destructive, abusive, oppressive marriage. That is his heart.
And that is in the previous blog I said that I hope Veronica is supporting these women. If she is advising them to separate and they don’t have resources to for example feed herself and her kids, if someone else like Veronica does that then the woman can take her advise and be taken care off.
And that is in the previous blog I said that I hope Veronica is supporting these women. If she is advising them to separate and they don’t have resources to for example feed herself and her kids, if someone else like Veronica does that then the woman can take her advise and be taken care off.
I agree that paragraph 2 is riddled with emotional abuse.
Paragraph 4- I do not see in scripture that you can divorce for physical abuse. I said leave the physical abuser. Protect your tent.
I have had spare bedrooms to house people in these situations. We also have a spare home for missionaries to use when they visit the area. That home is available for people in crises as well. We have the finances to help. Not everyone can do that so that is not the point. The point is we obey and trust.
I guess I just am viewing it differently than you. I study to gain knowledge for power to obey. If God says I can separate for a season to get healthy then I trust He will provide. If God says I can’t divorce for emotional abuse then I find a way to stay well.
I saw The Word said to have nothing to do with our son due to the drug abuse. So I did that. I was terrified that he would OD. But i trusted that if God required it I would trust and obey Him. Again I do not obey to achieve my desired outcome. I just obey, period.
Because our son was on drugs for so long I know a lot about drug abuse,emotional abuse and families in crisis. I get people into rehabs as a volunteer. I pay for them to stay for a season. I have my hand in lots of ministry. It’s not that I’m not sympathetic. I’m just concerned that I don’t want to misrepresent God’s word.
I remain open to learning.
You wrote this:
“Aly in the last blog gives a great description of HWL. We might be perceiving something as abusive based on our own imprint.”
What are you meaning by someone might be perceiving something as abusive? And do you think that I was saying and explaining HWL as this?
Because if so, then you have completely misinterpreted my description.
It is well known in domestic abuse counseling circles that many women remain in emotionally destructive relationships because they mistakenly believe there is no biblical basis for divorce aside from adultery. I disagree. Spousal abuse is not always physical. God commands us to protect ourselves psychologically and emotionally, and as parents we must protect our children. An emotional “punch” can be just as damaging as a physical one. So can passive-aggressive techniques or manipulations such as control by deprivation, withholding affection, contact, or even threatening to control contact with children. Spiritual abuse, by distorting biblical interpretations of “headship” is also destructive. In the context of marriage and children, fear responses to these behavioral patterns often exist for years. This causes anxiety, stress, and toxic responses in the brain which neuroscience is only beginning to understand. That damage IS physical. Of course marriages have potential for occasional anger or disagreements which are emotionally trying. But prolonged patterns of emotionally abusive behaviors will cause unhealthy consequences for adults and children alike. Good marriage counselors should address these patterns individually with spouses, and not in “couples” sessions. All too often, churches immediately suggest combined sessions. This is a mistake. Controlling partners often try to manipulate or control interactions in therapy sessions. Victims fear being authentic and open in joint therapy sessions, so change does not happen. It is my prayer that women who feel anxious or fearful of their spouses for any reason, will fully explore the nature, context, scope and duration of emotional abuse in their relationships. There are many forms of it that psychologically damage and even terrorize children who either witness or experience it. I believe it is, in fact, a biblical reason for divorce, especially if the spouse fails to change his or her behavior.
I see both of these posts and I guess I don’t understand why it goes to one or the other?
Staying well or leaving/separation?
I believe it’s a process of boundaries and requirements that often gets us to this next stage (which I believe you both are speaking about) of staying or not staying in this type of a situation.
The writer may have some areas to explore well before she can choose what and how her beliefs about marriage will align with her actions and choices.
This is very well said, Aly..
It is a process of growth in Christ.
I thank you so much for your biblical guidance for those of us living in & through emotionally abusive relationships. We could debate the merits of “staying & leaving”, of what constitutes abuse, even of what constitutes a marriage! At the end of the day, it is a personal decision and involves not only ones physical geography, vis a vis ones spouse, but ultimately where ones heart is living in relationship to ones spouse. As we know too well, two people can be physically under one roof and as far apart relationally as if they were continents apart.
God knows the depths of ones heart relationship to ones spouse and to God. Your guidance to guard our hearts and stay or leave WELL continues to point us to Christ, His Word and our relationship with Him through the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you.
Definitely sounds like Narcissism, which exists on a continuum, with the most extreme being an actual personality disorder but there are other varying degrees. Personality disorder or not, he’s definitely on the continuum.
I would suggest looking up resources and videos on narcissistic traits – it will help you “make sense of” (sort of) what they do and why they do it.
If you really want to live well and engage someone like that, and help your kids do the same, I highly suggest reading a book called “Who’s Pushing Your Buttons” by Dr. John Townsend and if you can watch the video series that will help as well.
He gives all sorts of tools on talking to someone like that but not getting “sucked in.” Sounds like you’re going to need that. Dr. Townsend believes that even narcissists can change but it takes the right tools. Not an easy job for the average person.
And Leslie’s right – he’s not a good guy – that’s the image he portrays to the outside world. The real person is who he is behind closed doors and it’s not very pretty.
Best to you and God bless
I agree with so much of what you wrote! I also agree with Dr. Towbsend. What many need to do their homework on is understanding what Dr. Townsend means by Narcissistic on the spectrum and higher can change is ALL the consistent interventions that go into it! It’s a lot but definitely the person has to be willing to see some areas of their unhealthy traits of narcissism.
Again the interventions are often full scale and full of years of reprogramming how one sees God, The world, God’s kingdom, themselves and others.
Narcissism is often fragmented and this is why it’s extensive treatment from professionals.
I like to think of it as reparenting (18-25 years)
I agree with Nancy,this is not a marital relationship.My counselor helped me see the same thing about mine.As she put it,it takes 2 adults to have a marriage and my husband although educated and a hard working financial provider was operating on the level of a 7 year old interpersonally with me. It all started to make sense to me once I got my head around it.I believe Gods will for us is to grow up in all areas of our life,and you cannot grow spiritually without also growing emotionally.I pray my husband is getting the help he needs while I continue to heal and grow while legally separated from him.He was not interested in me having any influence in his life as his FOO continues to be the main influence and they are never wrong. I tried to stay well for several years while separated in house before moving out this past summer.I am sad yet know this is where I need to be.God is good and I trust Him.
You said this really well! I’m sorry for all of what you’ve been through and I will continue to pray for God‘s will in this journey for both you and your husband.
Until, your husband realizes that he is actually living out being married to himself ‘selfishly’ along with his loyalty issues of FOO which is also about himself… probably nothing will be repaired or recognized.
Being married to yourself by selfish needs and comforts is a form of unfaithfulness to the covenant of marriage per Gods design.
Also, putting FOO before God and the marriage are also out of alignment.
Allow him to reap what he has sown.
A mistress or idol can be really anything, FOO for example too.
It’s important to examine why God divorced Israel- I’m sure you have done this work/study.
As well as what the scriptures say about what God hating Divorce.
Thanks Aly,Years ago I read a quote in a book by Joni E Tada that stayed with me “sometimes God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves”. Could this not be a way to view this whole subject?
Hi Janice D,
I am so sorry for your h’s failure to leave his FOO and be joined to you. I have known what this is like and it was at first, and for a long time, very confusing. And then as the pattern made itself clear, became intolerable.
Yes, you are allowing him to reap the consequences of what he has sown.
sorry, fairly new to the community, could someone tell me what FOO stands for?
Family of Origin. FOO
oh, that makes so much sense. Thank you!
I think no matter how emotionally difficult the situation, if we really do lean hard into God and learn to make him our all, He can do great things through us. That said, not everyone is there. I am 1 year into finally taking care of myself in a very difficult marriage and I see a light breaking through that I can be well and stay not only “for the kids” but for my husband. When we acknowledge our dependence on God for our every breath and our spirit is in line with His, I truly believe He can use us to encourage transformation in our husbands. Men are under attack from society and from the devil these days. So many diagnose-able behaviors like NPD and OCPD (my husband) do not have good outcomes but our faith is in the Creator of the Universe and not in these men. The one who made them can heal them of what I believe is very much a spiritual bondage. Our job is to pray for our husbands and to lean on the Lord. Many of them have NO ONE ELSE who will lift them up in prayer. They are in a battle all alone with no backup. We have to break through our own pain and disappointment so we can trust and obey. Does God call you to separate for a time to heal yourself? Maybe. Does God call you to demand your husband go to counseling? Ask Him. Will divorce be the only possible outcome? There is a chance. It might look different for everyone but Leslie is dead on that you have to 100% take care of you first. You have to step outside the situation and recognize reality because when you have been in it so long, you don’t see how your reality has been twisted. Co-dependent self help groups can also be helpful in getting that perspective. Through it all the Lord has sustained me with Exodus 14:14 which says, “The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.” When I finally stopped being angry at God for putting me here and got still and quiet with Him, I started to hear that still small voice that helped guide me to truth and away from my twisted reality. Now it guides me in dealing with my husband and in finding the strength to pray for him despite all the hurt. While it might be a missionary marriage, there is nothing wrong with staying if that is what the Lord calls you do – He will provide. If He doesn’t, just make sure you go where He leads and not where your husband leads.
I feel like I should clarify…my husband hasn’t changed a lick. Dec 2017 I was suicidal. My husband had moved himself into the guest room without explanation and I thought it could not emotionally get any worse. I started getting weekly counseling despite my husband complaining over the cost. It took a full year and people everywhere notice the change in my countenance. God met me there, He provided, The Father grew me even in the dark and I am a now new person who can calmly call it like it is, not in the way that will solicit the least screaming at me. I am finally able to pray for my husband which is good FOR ME. And standing strong when my husband is irrational and full of rage causes him to back down. I am blessed for obeying even though he does not change. He will answer to the Lord for his behavior but each of us must answer for ours.
Touching testimony. I can relate; very similar to my story. ❤️ I am glad you’re here. Do you have children? How are they doing?
Bek, Your testimony echos what Leslie wrote to the original poster. You are a courageous and determined woman, and I am so glad that you discovered the reality of what Leslie advised. You have gained a rich relationship with the Lord that shines out of you to everyone who knows you. Praise the Lord! As you demonstrate, it is possible, however, there are some personality disorders that almost never change, and narcissistic personality disorder(NPD) is one of them. So it is really important to step back and ask the Lord to let you see what your real situation is, and whether He is asking you to stay or leave. This is something that each victim must determine between him/herself and the Lord. Pray for clarity.
/Beautifully written, Bek
I agree, blessed. This is beautifully expressed.
Thank you ladies for sharing your hearts and struggles. I am in a relationship much like what yours sounds like, and I am struggling believing I am nothing and am unlovable. Some days it hard to do anything, because I don’t see the point. God is showing me some things the last few days and this post just met me where I am.
AJ, first… you are loved, and are loveable! I have felt like you for far too many years sadly, but recently something that has helped me is to write scripture verses that speak love or encourage me in a small notebook that I keep in my purse. Then when I feel unlovable, unvalued, etc I can read HIS words of me. Start in the Psalms. Also, ask the Lord to bring really good friends into your life. The Lord has brought a few into my life in recent years, along with a fabulous counselor and I am finding myself again…and I like me when I am with those people, that is who God made me to be… not the broken, neglected, unloved version that has grown because of the abuse men have inflicted on me in my life. If music is something that soothes you try listening to Lauren Daigle’s new songs ‘you say’ and ‘rescue’. I am so glad the Lord met you here today! I have been reading and watching Leslie’s facebook videos for just a couple months and I am feeling stronger. Sympathetic and understanding hugs for you.
Thanks Michele. When I say meet me He really is. I have been praying about how I feel and whatI felt God laying on my heart was that I need to study and meditate,and write verses on His Love for me, I understand punishment and guilt and what a sinner I am, but the loving part of God is what i have been over looking and not resting in. Thank u for affirming what God has played on my heart.
God is amazing in the details! I had an emotionally abusive father and married an even more emotionally abusive man. I too focused on doing things ‘right’ because I didnt want God to be angry with me, just like my father and my husband. I am reading Lysa Terkurst book ‘It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way’ and cried when I saw an interview from her and she said what I was feeling…. ‘His (God) promises seemed doubtful, His lack of intervention seemed hurtful, His timing seemed questionable. I felt like I had fallen thru the cracks of God’s good plan.” I still struggle with feeling unlovable, not valuable, but I it is less and less all the time as I learn more of who God is and what He says about me. Amazing as it seems we are fully known and lavishly loved by Him.. that is so meaningful to me because deep down I desire to be known and then loved for who I am.
Have you hard this song by Hillsong?
Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me?
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me
Oh His love for me
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
Free at last, He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
I am chosen
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am chosen
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am who You say I am
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
The song is on YouTube. The first comment is by the writer of the song listing all the verses he used for the song.
thank you for the song Maria, I have now added it to my spotify playlist 🙂
That is how I felt after listening to my husband’s put downs. I was at an all time low when I reached out for help. And the reason was I was believing what he told me. So what I did was focus on the truth of what God’s word says. I even came up with a saying – if my husband says the grass is purple does it make it purple? I took my eyes off my husband and started focusing on God. I made it my goal to please Christ. I encourage you to do this.
Yes….”Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
I can’t tell you how many times that song has saved me…. The Lord sings it to me often when I begin to look at the wind and waves.
My dad’s favorite song. Thanks JoAnn
I am staying because I know if I left my husband would get 50% custody and my kids will not do well. My MIL was very submissive and I have seen what it has done to my husband. So I have been very deliberate about teaching my kids what is right and wrong. I am also very aware that my kids will have things to deal with later on. I hope they understand that and seek help if they need it. I keep telling them that an emotionally healthy person knows when to ask for help. I have let go of all expectations of my husband. I also have tried to not depend on him for anything- I learned it becomes a power play when I have depended on him. I am not sexually intimate with him. I found that my reactions to him were not pleasing God when I was. I speak up when he is verbally abusive or I leave the room if he continues. I have also used ear phones. Honestly this is not a marriage. We are married legally, but we have been divorced for a very long time. Leslie’s teaching of CORE has been a life changer. My children respect me because I use CORE. My husband travels quite a bit. It is so much easier without him.
Maria, I have followed your journey for quite awhile, and respect the choices u have made. It sounds like you’re making excellent wise choices for your children!!!!
Thank you, that means a lot. I am really grateful for Leslie, and the women here. I have also followed your story and have admired you. I have loved seeing you growing and becoming more like Christ.
I agree. Maria, you are a great example of staying well. I am glad you stay here and share your thoughts!
I am not singling you out bc there’re aren’t other ladies full of wisdom who regularly contribute, but you are one of the only ladies who are ‘staying well’ in the trenches, so to speak.
Thank you. My decision to stay is for now. If things were to get worse, and I am no longer able to take care of myself and thus not be able to take care of my kids, my decision would change. If at any time it is best for the kids us to live apart, my decision would change.
Maria, do you think you might divorce when your children are out of the house?
I am not sure yet. I know he will fight me on everything just to make life miserable for me Right now due to circumstances, he may have to leave in a few years. I have no desire to get into another relationship.
I also think you have done really well navigating a complex situation and appreciate all that you contribute here.
It’s important for many to read your story and your responses.
I think had my husband remained the same, I might have tried staying well, doing my own life and living life in abundance (separate emotionally and spiritually ofcourse from my h)
And also pulling my children aside assuring them of their reality – that they are not witnessing two people loving one another as God intended. That they are not witnessing a Christ like example of a father and husband. One of my pastoral counselors early on gave me this insight and it felt like permission & support too.
I read this blog every week, but seldom comment. I agree with everyone else–you are clear headed and inspirational. Your posts are wise, humble, and honest. I value them very much. I wish you only the best in your journey.
Thanks. S. says. God is truly faithful.
I just meant to sign myself as S. The computer must have auto filled that. Hmmm.
In any event, the sentiments are the same.
Nevermind, I see that does it for everyone. Sigh. I need more sleep.
I have really struggled with the last post. I commend all of you that responded. I was horribly damaged by Legalism, and it was very very hard for me to read those posts suggesting we aren’t obedient to Gods Word if we get a divorce. I stayed married to a Sociopath/Narcissist for way too many years, because God’s Word was being held over my head. It was the most difficult decision I made ever- to think I mattered and my family mattered. I won’t go into details but I confer with the writer of this new post. She needs lots of support to make wise decisions. I’ve been divorced since 2015. And every day I thank God for the life of freedom from abuse and destructive chaos, I no longer live in. It is no exaggeration to say, I am overwhelmed by His Grace and His provision for my safety and sanity. For all those living in these destructive relationships, Jesus does care about victims of abuse- even emotional abuse. I’d take a beating or bruise anyway over every single day being dehumanized by an abuser.
I’m sorry for how the dialogue affected you. I understand.
Thanks for sharing Robin. We’ve missed you here. I agree and I will say it until the day I die. God does not care more about the sanctity of marriage than the safety and sanity of the people in it.
Leslie, I have been set free from the bondage of staying in abuse to grow myself in suffering and somehow my kindness submission or godlyness would change H .
I no longer wanted a fake deceptive marriage. Yes I was able to use scripture to strengthen mysekf as you teach. Scripture has many warnings in the effect of abuse in relationships. Thank you for your ministry.
Thank you Leslie. I was forever be so grateful for the education I received in your books and the loving support on this blog; while I was processing what to do next. My life is so different now, I hardly recognize me. God picked me up and placed me where and what I needed, so I could heal. A true miracle.
Robin, I confess to valuing some posts to a greater extent than others. Some people post and seem to want to practice being a therapist or a pastoral counselor. Some seem to want to judge other people, lecture them or hear themselves preach. I am especially disappointed by bloggers who correct me after I post something! Certain people’s contributions I no longer read and that is ok because we are all in different places and have different needs.
Yet, Still others cry out in pain and suffering. They are in the middle of great suffering and they have nowhere to turn. It is for those bloggers that I post. They need a lifeline, not a condescending lecture.
There are a few people who post with the intent to identify the issue, share what they have learned and help others. You are one of the helpers. You have great practical insight. Thank you for contributing.
I’m a bit reluctant to respond to you for fear that I may ‘especially disappoint’ you because you see this as ‘correcting you’.
Nevertheless a blog is about dialogue, so I have to say that as a member of this community, your post was hurtful.
Personally, if I have posted something that was problematic for you, I would appreciate being asked about it, as opposed to being categorized and judged.
Nancy, I’m wondering if u took Free’s post different then she meant. She wasn’t pointing a finger at anyone but making a general statement. I have seen at times where the healthy dialogue can turn into counseling. I think it’s just a situation for all of us to examine ourselves, and check our motives. I know u well enough u wouldn’t hurt anyone intentionally— but sometimes I think we could be a little more careful that we’re not judging or saying too much. Myself included.
I’m curious about this, and hopefully Free herself will respond also.
Can you expand on what you mean by sharing too much?
Thanks for your response.
I’m struggling to see how this was a general statement.
A general statement is ‘let’s be careful,’ or ‘sometimes things can get hurtful’, or as you say, ‘we could be a little more careful’.
How is saying that ‘ some seem to want to practice being a therapist or pastoral counsellor’ general? Or that ‘some seem to want to hear themselves preach’,?
These are specific (negative) characterizations of people that contribute here.
Perhaps this is not what Free meant at all. I hope not.
Free, I would say that you, also, are one of the helpers. You share great insights and practical helps. Thank you. It is clear that you have also been where many of those here have been, and I respect that you can sign yourself “Free,” because you know what that means.
Thank you, Free and Robin,
I feel the same way, Free. Some bloggers I have a very difficult time hearing their dialog. I know they mean well, but when it is a repetitive thing with them when they offer advice, especially when it is a new blogger commenting, and the new blogger just wants to express how their situation is, and the ‘seasoned’ blogger asks painful questions…I am not saying we don’t need to search our own hearts, but I want a platform of compassion coming from a site such as Leslie’s which most of the time it is. Leslie has excellent advice, and she is the counselor here. I have also stopped attempting to explain my own marriage situation to those who seem to be intent on ‘examining’ me, to a detrimental affect which does not build us up in our most holy faith. And I forgive them, if that is not their intent, but they just want to make us think.
As we all are at different levels of growth and learning in our own situations, and we can’t live for someone else. It is this way in the body of Christ too as we are all at different levels of spiritual growth and we have to go things through the lens of our own eyes and where the Holy Spirit and God are leading us as his individual child.
Yes many years. I think the danger is in the one size fits all approach to these kinds of marital problems. A difficult marriage has different solutions than a destructive marriage does. Just because something is in the Bible doesn’t make it applicable to every situation. THat’s where we need discernment and wisdom to know God’s word, God’s heart, God’s wisdom. But God’s word doesn’t mean taking a single passage but looking at the whole narrative of what God does and who God is.
Thanks and I agree each of you and me are all at our own levels of growth – emotionally and spiritually. Let’s be curious when we ask questions of one another but never condemning. We want to speak in CORE with truth and grace and love.
Thank you Leslie,
This greatly rests my heart and mind.
Your testimony of escaping from abuse and oppression inspired me. I hope you’re able to shake off any triggered feelings of condemnation from your past by these threads. When I read about your story and heard your heart, the Holy Ghost borne witness in me that you are a warrior of faith. I wish I could meet you in real life and give you a hug. You are a special lady.
Ruth, thank u for your kind words. I received them fully. I have truly loved the Lord and wanted His Way for my life. It took me a long time to see He never intended for me to live in such destruction. He has done miracle after miracle since I walked in a new place of courage and always sought to know His desire for me. Thanks for the hug!!!!
leslie wrote to say to the husband “You don’t seem to experience God’s joy or peace very much. Why do you think that is?” ….. what do you do when he responds with ‘because you don’t….xyz’ What do you say because in his mind I am the reason for all his feelings. Nearly every time I try to speak up when H speaks harshly, he only blames more. Most of the time the blame is because he is falsely interpreting my motives. He doesnt believe me when I tell him that isnt what I was thinking or saying. Some times he very angrily will say his reactions are his responsibility but I was correcting him (false interpretation of my action) and then will NEVER seek forgiveness for his blow up. The last time he railed on me I asked him ‘since I am feeling just as upset as you would it be ok if I blow up at you and act like you are acting toward me?’ He says ‘I dont need a lesson from you’ and stormed away. then life, for him, moves on like it never happened.
You don’t deserve to be blamed for his choices. I have just recently started to realized that I was experiencing blame shifting in each discussion of our marriage. Now I leave the conversation when it begins. Patrick Doyle said in one of his videos that if you have a relationship with someone who continually changes the subject or blames or uses other tactics to not address the point, then have all serious discussions in writing. So that’s an idea. If he goes into a tirade on paper, at least you have documentation.
But you don’t deserve to be blamed for everything. And you are worth far more than that kind of treatment.
thank you! I have recently seen Patrick Doyle’s suggestion to write it out. I have always been counseled that was a last resort, that face to face is the best and right way. This week I did wait until I thought H was calmer and texted him instead. He still blamed and justified. However, now that you remind me, I do remember feeling less overwhelmed and unheard doing it that way. I know he read it, I know I said it kindly, and now I know he is refusing to acknowledge the hurt he caused. I am not questioning what happened, how he twisted what I actually said. I hadnt realized this improvement until now! I am going to keep working on that. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement
I love all of the advice given by Leslie! I only wish I could have walked in all of these ways with my husband, who also had some of these traits (along with some very wonderful ones). But I chose to allow resentment that my needs weren’t being met, fear during some of the more heated responses and insecure times, and eventually either a self-protective/defensive attitude (resulting in my own consistent criticism of him, mean thoughts and words) or a retreatism into my own life (work, etc.) as well as not being affectionate take over. Bad, bad, bad. There were certainly things on his part that contributed to all of this, but that still did not give me the justification to be like this. I was told over and over by a mentor/friend to love him like Jesus does, and I failed miserably. Now we are separated and possibly going to divorce. And because of how “I” didn’t do my part as a good, supportive wife, I have to look back and wonder if I had just done things differently – not that it would have changed him, though I often wonder that too – maybe we could have worked (I am still holding onto a hope for…). So thank you to the person who shared this, and thank you to Leslie for giving this heart-felt and honestly presented input. God bless.
Graceiscome, I’m so sorry for the confusion you are feeling. Please realize that you are in a very vulnerable condition right now, and the enemy will use that to try to tell you more lies about who you are and the part you played in the marriage. Dive into the Word, as so many of us have learned to do when confused. Getting outside the fog of an abusive marriage will help you to get more clarity. I hope that you have a good counselor who can help you sort through all that’s happening. You need a lot of support now, and some good friends who can stand by you. Remember, no matter what you did to contribute to the problem, first, the Lord forgives, and second, no matter what you did “wrong” you did not deserve to be treated the way he treated you. Remind yourself of that. A kind, godly man will forgive and help his wife to be a better person.
Thank you so much, JoAnn. I just read this, and it couldn’t have been at a better time. I literally could not sleep last night due to the guilt I feel being separated from my husband and feeling like I am doing the old “living my own life” (“abandoning” as it has been called) and the intense anxiety of feeling like I am in a terrible decision-making limbo since I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing right now. Counsel ranges from “divorce” to I’m breaking my covenant vows (have abandoned), but only God knows perfectly what the circumstances were that led to this and what I am supposed to do. I have been counseled in so many different ways; and although I know it is ultimately God who knows what is best, I find myself feeling like I am just existing in between two states (literally). I prayed with a dear sister this morning, and she said the comforting words, “This will pass; it will get better.” It has to. And it has to be better for my husband too! I have been reading these posts and did watch some of Patrick Doyle’s videos. I am guilty too (as you read in my previous post), and so like you said am in dire need of accepting God’s forgiveness. I’m grateful I can share this here, and so appreciate all of you (the belief and courage) who are “staying well” either within your marriage or outside of it.
I wonder if it is time to stop getting counsel about your next course of action. Have you taken time alone to reflect and make your own decision? What does your gut tell you to do? Let the spirit talk to you, not through someone else. Listening to people say stay or go is confusing. Get alone with yourself, a mini retreat so to speak, and ask the spirit to speak to you.
I would stop thinking about him. You have spent enough time worshiping peace in your home and the fantasy of fixing an agent man. That, to me, is a smoke screen designed by the devil to keep you from your real purpose of loving the Lord and his divine appointment for your life.
We can be sure that your divine appointment is not to fix another person. Only the Lord can do that. So let’s work on you. Let’s focus all your energies on figuring out the dynamics of this dysfunction and then make a new plan with consequences and hope for the future. The journey is long and can be difficult. The real answer for you will be filled with peace and safety. The answer you need will value you and allow you to never be victimized again.
Angry man not “agent” msn
Moonbeam really appreciate this thought…”your real purpose of loving the Lord and His divine appointment for your life”. “Sure it is not to fix another person”. This matches the messaging I have been receiving lately.
When I filed for divorce my husband had his usual ‘arrogant ‘ face on one evening in my eldest daughters kitchen. She said the wisest thing. She said Dad what did you do to add to my mother’s life in the 30 years you’ve been married to her??How has she benefitted from her relationship with you. Is she healthier, happier, have u supported her in her spiritual growth????
He had no answer………
Your daughter’s question is wise & full of the spirit’s ways. This reminds me much of how Jesus often revealed the hearts of those who claimed to know God… but their responses (or lack there of) showed just how far they were from Him.
‘Takers’ in relationships don’t every think of how they can bring or ‘give blessing’ to a relationship in the way your daughter courageously pointed to.
I think I love your daughter!! Wise, wise woman!
This was sad for me to read. I believed I stayed and at times was well. I was worn down and began to believe scripture allowed for divorce yet I continued to work toward resolution with H.
We cannot agree how to resolve conflict.
The boundaries I needed to set were we don’t drive together especially church, intimacy was on his terms, I would have to live a lie at church and family or talk behind his back for support. I couldn’t do that anymore. He stopped C and claimed she didn’t know anything yet before she was the greatest. I’m glad I tried again although I did go back to soon.
For me to continue to live a double life for evening company, to pray or place myself on purpose in an abusive suffering relationship didn’t seem spiritual to me. My daughter lhas learned a lot from me and what I have learned. That may not have happened if I choose to continue in DM. I am now leaving well So I’m sad that what if I missed a blessing? A deeper walk with Jesus?
I’m glad for this post as it has given me great resolve I’m where God has called me. Prayers to those who have to or have chosen to stay
Gladis, if I could encourage u I would say please know we each have to walk our individual path. God tells one woman to stay but to stay well. He tells another woman to leave and flee. I have lived a false life like u mentioned- no one ever saw the rage and continual disrespect of all members of family— in church . He knew exactly how to walk so others would never know the truth . I lived in a separate bedroom for ten years because I was afraid of him. I drove my own car after my counselor said his latest rage attack in the car, was a red flag to no longer ride together. This is NOT a marriage that honors God. I had to come to terms with, he didn’t want change, he didn’t accept any responsibility, and even his own counselor asked to meet with mine, to ask why is this woman still living in the same house? It was a very long journey, until I finally realized God had a plan for my rescue. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our marriages could reconcile and lives be changed together. But sometimes, we must take a different path and stop the vicious cycle so are children won’t repeat the destruction.
Leslie, I have been set free from the bondage of staying in abuse to grow myself in suffering and somehow my kindness submission or godlyness would change H .
I no longer wanted a fake deceptive marriage. Yes I was able to use scripture to strengthen mysekf as you teach. Scripture has many warnings in the effect of abuse in relationships. Thank you for your ministry.
Robin, I am sorry for your suffering and thankful for truth to be told to you through C and P and Holy Spirit.
Your words of validation are what I needed today as we are close to signing dissolution. I understand nit being able to leave for kids or finances. So live Conquer Program to keep women focused on s plan to leave well or stay well.
These discussions are very important. I would just like us to consider that women can be equally as difficult and are usually far more verbal than men. How does a man deal with a negative, manipulative, ranting wife? I am sure the same boundaries apply. The lines seemed a bit blurred for me that women are difficult but men are destructive. I think in reality women can be just as destructive as men, we just give them a pass more frequently.
Moon Beam, Goid point as I we are also capable of abuse. I shared Leslie book On distructive marriage with a new friend and the test in the beginning to tell if a women is in distructive marriage is also to be taken by the wife. My friend saw herself as the abuser. I do hope women aren’t getting a pass on there behavior.
Moon Beam, I’m sure Sheep would agree with you.
Absolutely. Women can totally be just as abusive as men. And just as women are told to submit more, make themselves more available, and love more. Men are told to love them more, communicate more, be more vulnerable and understanding, and if all else fails, love them as Christ loves the church and gave himself up for her. That is a fun one and I struggled with it for a long time. And just like women that submit more, make themselves more available, and love more, I did all of those things that everyone said to do. I loved her more and she was happy to take everything I gave. I communicated more and I was told my feelings weren’t important and then asked who was putting these ideas into my head because I certainly couldn’t come up with anything fairly intelligent on my own. I became more vulnerable and the things I shared were used to beat me and keep me in my place. I made loving her as Christ loved the church and sacrificing myself for her my highest goal, and she smiled all the way to her next rendezvous with her lover, all the while blaming me for her affair.
“How does a man deal with a negative, manipulative, ranting wife? ” Well, most of my marriage I probably dealt with it the same way many of you have. I didn’t deal with it. I was taught early on to keep my mouth shut when I disagree. I learned that it was pointless to argue because it didn’t matter what I said and it didn’t matter how I said it. I wasn’t going to convince her of anything. And when whatever I was saying was so obvious that it couldn’t be ignored, she would change the subject and either never mention it again or bring it up again but in different form. I learned that I couldn’t have emotions or feelings, It simply hurt too much to feel so I convinced myself that I didn’t have feelings. It was even a joke between us. I learned that her saying she wanted me to be in charge and more decisive wasn’t true and when I did try to lead it was taken from me and I was beaten with how wrong I did whatever it was. And you know what? I smiled the whole time, totally agreeing with her that she was so much better, smarter, and more spiritual than I was.
Being a man that has experience emotional abuse, I have to say that I have gotten acceptance in this group and I am thankful for it. But outside of here I have learned to keep my mouth shut about it. I can see their eyes glaze over at just the hint of abuse being mentioned. They don’t believe it and they assume that it can’t really be that bad and I should just “man up” and take it. They believe that because abuse is being mentioned, it is just an excuse to divorce (even though my wife is an adulteress and I don’t really need another reason). So, another man joins the ranks of men that keep their mouth shut and take it, either from their wives or from others because nobody will believe it anyway.
I will add that I can think of a couple of other men that are most likely being emotionally abused by their wives. But I also know that, like I used to be, nobody would be able to convince them of it unless they make that journey of discovery themselves.
And I’m also sure that there are those out there that would look at them and believe that their wives are just good strong believers that support their husbands even though their husbands “won’t” lead their families. But it never occurs to them that the husband might have tried to lead his family but was verbally beaten and put in his place for what she considered a lousy job of doing it.
Sheep, you have to wonder if their eyes glaze over bc they have no empathy or compassion? BC I have the suspicion lately that most Christians would rather gossip than pray and they don’t really want to know about your problems. ☹️ Unless your problems are gossip-worthy. 🤪
That’s one good byproduct of having been in a destructive marriage. You learn to be even more compassionate. 💕 I think we were fairly kind and patient to begin with; that’s probably made us a good target for an abusive spouse.
I think there is some of that. But from what I have seen, it seems to come from not believing that emotional abuse is a real thing. In some ways it is the same thing as a child sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling “I can’t hear you”
But in reality they won’t, can’t, don’t listen because if they listened they might have to end up believing that emotional abuse exists. And if it exists, then they would have to take the uncomfortable step of dealing with it.
I agree that others often seem to think that emotional abuse is not real. So when I say I have been abused, I don’t clarify. Was it physical? Was is sexual? Were you hit?
None of your business! I said I was abused. Let’s go from there. I don’t need to define it to you. You need to believe me and move on. I don’t owe you or anyone else an explanation or details of the abuse.
At the core of abuse is disrespect, I think.
Isn’t disrespect where it begins? If so, then as a man, Sheep, why wouldn’t you get empathy from brother’s and sister’s about not getting that respect from your wife? (We all need respect, but often in Christian circles a man’s need for respect is emphasized more than a woman’s).
I totally believe that you get ‘blown off’, I just wonder how things are being twisted against a man who is being utterly and completely ‘disrespected’ ( to the point of abuse) by his wife.
Two further thoughts/quotes come to mind as we have been discussing our commitment to God and his Word: 1) sometimes God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves.I read that years ago in a Joni E. Tada book and it always stayed with me.2) The humble heart is fully committed to God and his Word yet fully flexible in adjusting our understanding of that Word.We must leave room for The Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us into all truth as we humbly seek,ask,knock.I love the care and support that is here on this site and pray for each one of us to lay our burdens at the feet of Jesus and take His yoke which is easy.
I have been trying to stay well. Even figured out how I ended up in this situation. (Having marriage as an idol and terrible conflict management skills of the run and hide strategy). (My situation is no porn no drugs, no affairs, no physical). Just found out my husband strongly believes he has made all the sacrifices and is the one who has been wronged, and even if he hurts me emotionally I should know better that it is not the kind of person he is so I should grant forgiveness and change my feelings, just like I used to in the good old days. The word parsing that went on gives me no hope things can change. We flat out have no clue what the other person is saying and if you listened to us seperately you would not think it is the same relationship. He is willing to stay miserable for the rest of his life rather than break a vow. Its on me.
Staying well as you described and as I have tried is leaving me lonely, very lonely.
Annie, thank you for sharing. I am in a similar situation as you, I could have almost written your post myself. I always say the loneliest place in the world is to be in the same space as my husband. So hugs from one lonely heart to another <3 I explain H as living in a glass cage that he built around himself, and while he can see what goes on around him it is all distorted by his own reflection…he can't see past himself… no empathy, no care in any way that matters to me, even things he does do has strings attached to it…namely to make him feel good. I need to respond in just the right way so that he feels good about himself, but because he is so broken (and unwilling to work on that) there is NO right response from me that makes him feel good…therefore I am in the wrong, I should respond better, saying thank you and please are only being polite – they are not an expression of gratitude in his mind because he doesnt feel appreciated. He has also told me that I should know he doesnt say things well so I shouldnt be upset when his words hurt but understand that he wouldnt mean what I thought… however when he is saying 'you are ridiculus' I am pretty sure I am understanding what he is saying. To be fair when we got married I did the same thing he is still doing almost 30 years later. I thought he was supposed to fix all my hurts but despite his harshness, meanness and neglect the Lord still allowed me to change to be a more godly wife, to grow closer to the Lord, though it has taken time, and some of those years I fought back, I broke down, I allowed H to define me, rather than allowing God to define me (marriage idol). However even with all the changes the Lord has done in me, it has never been enough for H. Even if I could be perfect, which can't happen in this life, he would still not feel good about himself so it would never be enough. We have been to counseling on and off for 10 years and while we have 'calmer' times it never changes, the same abusive cycles occur over and over. For the moment, I am trying to 'stay well', we are in separate rooms now, which does bring a calmness since we do not interact more than necessary, as well as helping me to have a space that I can 'relax' in rather than always being on edge. The lack of interaction is for me while I work a counseling program to heal the wounds of my life. Once I can work through those and get stronger, using my CORE, being honest with my reality then IF I see some humility in H then we will talk about going to marriage counseling together, but that will not happen if he hasnt yet started taking responsibility for his sin and humbly seeking to correct and change. Of course all this is also dependent on the Lord changing or tweaking the direction HE is bringing me, but for the moment HE has made it clear this is what I need to be doing… for me, for my sanity, for my safety, for my relationship with HIM. I pray you have a space of your own that you can begin to 'relax' and good friends to help you see clearly. I am glad you have found Leslie's blog. I also have gone to her facebook page and gone back to the beginning of her videos there…again, Hugs!
Michele and Annie – thank you. If you refer to my latest post (Feb. 8), you will see why I so appreciate your posts. I feel SO guilty that I left the home after an injury, but my anxiety level was way off of the charts (even though my H was trying to be there for me) and I feel if I tried to stay (without being mobile), I would have lost my mind (it felt like it). A lot was lost/feels like it was lost as a result of the injury (which contributed to the anxiety). Now my H is on his own and dealing with his own stress/emotions, which he has let me know about and which makes me feel that much more awful. The label that I have abandoned him and a pet I love only adds to the self-condemnation that often hits me, and makes any decisions about how to “stay well” so incredibly clouded I remain in a paralyzing limbo. And truth be told (idolizing partnership/marriage I guess), I don’t want to be single again (selfish). While healing in another state, I had the “luxury” of “time to heal” to avoid making decisions; but the time has come for several critical decisions and I feel frozen. I’m trying to get counseling where I am right now and visiting a local support group to hopefully myself heal in other ways as well, since it has been my going back and forth in this relationship that has at least contributed to (not caused…) some of the abuse. In fact, quite often that is pointed out as being the primary cause of it. But I’m concerned for my H too. It’s been suggested that the best thing I could do for HIM is to divorce, but others say differently. And I’m scared either way. It’s the in-between, though, that is the worst for us both. And it’s all on me. Thank you for sharing your stories and your hearts.
Help me out here, why are you responsible for his feelings? He choses his feelings and has control over them. You are only 100 percent responsible for YOUR feelings, Grace.
Thank you, Autumn. I know ultimately I’m not responsible for his feelings. I’m just feeling guilty for many things in this situation, and so perhaps that is why I’m feeling responsible. There was so much from which I needed to heal prior to getting into a relationship; I wish I would have focused on that first and foremost (within my relationship with God of course). Thank you again!
Graceiscome. I TOTALLY get why you would be afraid being injured. in honestly, the fear of being injured and stuck at home relying on H is the biggest reason I have not tried to commit suicide even in the many times I have thought about it.
Something I realize about myself is over the years of this I have have been so busy trying not to make H angry that I have forgot who I am, and I have forgot how to make decision for myself. Give yourself grace, you will learn to make decisions again, I know the ones you are facing are hard, so change the question, the decision… instead of should I stay married or divorce, ask yourself where do you feel safe? where can you breathe? For me the short time H was out of the home was the first time I have slept well and I knew that was something I needed and wanted. So we are in separate rooms now.
I have idolized marriage as well, and when I watch Patrick Doyle saying to put my marriage on God’s altar and leave it, I cried and cried. I realized I needed to do that, and follow Leslie’s CORE teaching, being honest and calling out sin, in love, and allowing God work. If that means H leaves me, then he does…It does NOT all fall to me. H has a part to play, and even if I decide that my sanity/safety means separation that doesn’t put it all in my hands. Either way as Patrick says I will have change, either H will wake up, or he might move on…either way things will change. Your choice is for you! Will your husband have to learn to figure out how to live without you? yes, will that be hard? yes. however that is NOT your responsibility. Its his with God. God gives us natural consequences for our actions and maybe figuring out how to live alone is one of his. I dont know, I am not God, but my point is you need to go before God with what HE wants you to do for yourself, not for your husband.
Whatever you decide, know that God loves you, he cares for you…your safety, your sanity, your health (our bodies pay a price for living long term in these situations).
I am glad you found Leslie’s page and Patrick Doyle’s videos. I have found both invaluable as I learn to stay well. The biggest for me was the confirmation of my own feelings when Leslie said God does not value the institution of marriage more than the people IN that marriage.
Big hugs back, Michele. Thank you for reminding me about God’s love (and forgiveness). Yes, the sense of safety is so, SO important. And I’m beginning to value emotional safety as much as physical. Even where I am right now I don’t feel completely “safe” due to a certain family member’s tendency to give or withdraw love based on I’m not even sure what; that wasn’t something I was hoping to have to encounter after this recent situation. But God uses all things to cause us to draw nearer to Him and to not depend so much on the love or approval from others. All that you said here is very helpful and encouraging. I am just praying to know very soon the changes that need to be made and that I will gladly make them. This is all helping me to depend more on God and His Love rather than on man. Blessings!
I can identify with so much of your post. My marriage is an almost exact replica of what I read about your own. I’m sorry for your pain as it is all too familiar to me. I believe God is using this to strengthen me, draw myself closer to Him and refine me. I made my marriage an idol and set expectations based on other marriages around me, on social media, etc. I’ve learned that I cared more about measuring up to those imagined perfect marriages than measuring my growth in my walk with the Lord. Changing what you have your eyes on is HARD. But when you can (and some days it’s only mere glimpses), it is incredibly freeing. God is truly the only one who can fill us up but many the last source of food we hunger for. I am learning. I’m less concerned about whether I’m supposed to stay in my marriage right now and more concerned about my walk with Jesus. As I gain wisdom in this latter walk, it will be clear. Right now, I’m busy working on me. The most beneficial path to wisdom is allowing others to walk with me. God never meant us to do this alone and that’s why we have fellowship. I’m so thankful for you and others here to be vulnerable and share your stories. I know I’m not alone because I have my Father in Heaven but I very much appreciate that He gave me other believers to confide, share and pray. Thank you Leslie Vernick for your book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage and sharing all the wisdom it contains. I feel healed a little bit more every time I connect with the words written in the book and in these blogs. God bless each of you. May he give you all you need to survive a broken world and remind you that you are not of this world.
You might look up DARVO abuse.
Also, I find it interesting (and Lundy Bancroft would agree) that my h likes to play the ‘dumb’ card. As if it’s all my fault and he has no clue what he’s doing wrong. Just can’t figure it out. BUT, if he sees another man treat his wife the same way, he calls it out easily. I bet he could teach the class. I compare it to a small child who is asked to bring mom the red bowl in the upper right cabinet. He/she goes to the kitchen, stands in the middle, and whines, “I can’t find it”. That’s to ensure that mom sighs and says, “OK, I’ll do it myself”, and also that she doesn’t ask anything more of him again. Often quite a successful ploy!
Thank you Michele for your affirmations. No chance of us ever going to counselling “unless I insist” which of course why would I insist? Someone who doesnt want to go and insults the entire counselling profession before he even steps in the door is not likely to be open to any input. He is masterful at debating and deconstructing my sentences and questions to reveal they are “actually” accusations and attacks, that the whole process is exhausting. There is a huge difference in listening in order to understand and listening in order to formulate a defense. I imagine the process of marriage counselling at this point would be arduous and ridiculous. I do have my own room now, one of the boundaries I chose. I have some friends who completely support me but each one is physically far away or very busy in their own lives so the interactions are few. Thus the lonliness I guess.
Connie, I looked up DARVO and yes very applicable, “this isnt my fault, in fact its all your fault”. So if they do this intentionally “playing the dumb card” then it seems to be a tactic, if they do it without recognizing it, is it just really low EQ or anti – social behavior?
I loved what you said here, “there is a huge difference in listening in order to understand and listening in order to formulate a defense.”
My mother’s classic saying was, “I just really want to understand” and so I would explain and explain ( I carried this habit into my marriage too) but she never wanted to understand. She wanted to defend herself.
I recently told her that it’s not my responsibility to make her understand. I said my piece and then moved on. She didn’t know what to do with that. I guess I used to need to try to rescue her from the ‘confusion’ – I don’t feel that need anymore.
Maybe though, she’s been playing the ‘dumb card’. It certainly worked for many years!
I’m so glad that you are here and have support in Michele and others here. May God continue to reveal more and more of Himself to you.
I agree with Nancy about your comment on listening to Form a Defense.
So ‘unoriginal’ ugh! Exhausting really.
Honestly, for me I see it as often more game playing! Nancy’s comments and firm lines about how to navigate this are right on point.
When a person behaves the way you describe.. you are dealing with someone who is rejecting relationship in general.
The defenses actually keeps you at a distance and it self protects him from acknowledging and receiving your place to exist.
This is isn’t a marital issue. It’s a he issue based on the patterns and how he tries to be in some form of interaction with you. I wouldn’t call it a relationship.
Also another good helpful quote, is that they Do understand, but they don’t Like what they understand.. so they keep the cycle going until your exhausted and the focus becomes shifted against you.
One sign for me is that defensive listeners don’t ask clarifying questions like, tell me more, or what did you mean, its more like…aha, you said “..x..” which means you meant “..y..” . and I am realizing even when I get brave enough to say something and he stops long enough to “listen” there is still no understanding of my perspective. This makes me braver now, because as a writer above referenced Patrick Doyle, my marriage is definately on the alter.
This contributor and I had many similarities. I ended up not staying. well, I wish I could have figured out a way to make that happen.
1 Cor 13:11 says, When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I set aside childish ways. 12Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.…
I don’t see and understand everything as clearly in this current existence as i would wish. I, still struggle with my ultimate decision to divorce, going around and around with what the Bible means about the subject. According to some here, divorce is wrong, some not so much? Ultimately, I guess I will know for sure when I am welcomed into Jesus’ arms and he gives me the white robe that comes with complete knowledge and forgiveness. If divorce was wrong, and I am only given a lean-to in HEAVEN as a result, I am good with that…I will sweep those gold floors with praises on my lips. I am fully known and loved by Him.
I would say why focus on the divorce? Focus on the marriage. Was it healthy, growing, God honoring and respectful to you. If not, it never really was a marriage was it? It was a legal, physical agreement between two people. Let’s not down grade holy matrimony to include the horrible situations many of us are living in. The better description is sometimes more like indentured servant, sex slave or mother to a grown man. I think Jocelyn you can give yourself a lot more grace. If he was a good man you never would have left. He was a good man, you didn’t need to follow a fool. Jesus didn’t die so you could treat marriage as a idol. It is great, but God loves people much more that he loves marriage. Christ didn’t die for marriage, he died for us.
Autumn, I love what you wrote. So well said!!!
That was a great response. 😊
Well said! I agree;)
Jocelyn, I hope you may see someday that you don’t have to struggle with your decision to legally end your legal status of marriage filing.
Please remember that the unrepentant offender and destroyer of the covenant marriage choose to end the marital relationship, not you. And for some people this happened immediately by the marriage never actually forming -by God’s design and character.
I wonder why it seems that some people seem so over concerned about people divorcing verses the real unforgivable/eternal sin of the heart (I know of only one)? This is what really matters at the end..is where are individuals hearts with the Lord?
Divorce- whether someone is divorced from, chose to break the covenant, or they have to proceed with legal matters does not shut the Door to God’s eternal promises for His own.
Aly your comments about “over concerned about divorce” really highlights how the church ranks certain transgressions as worse than others…nothing in the Bible says divorce causes you lose eternal life in heaven or have a millstone hung about your neck nor is it even one of the 10 commandments!
This is true. I wonder if the ‘over concern’ comes from a genuine desire to see the church ‘do better’ than the secular world.
Jocelyn you wrote “If divorce was wrong, and I am only given a lean-to in HEAVEN as a result, I am good with that…I will sweep those gold floors with praises on my lips. ” and after I read it I was listening to the christian radio staying and he was talking about the prodigal son story, about how it wasnt so much about the son, but about the father, God, who is only waiting for you to be in his presence, to welcome you home with joy and excitement. The son was going to be happy being a slave in his fathers home, but the father says no way, you are my beloved, you are home, lets celebrate. I wish I could explain it as well as they did on the radio but every. single. word. he said made me think of your post and I felt prompted to share it with you. Hugs!
I would like to apologize to you for taking your post personally, and responding defensively to it. I have come to realize that my defensiveness is a sin against God. Responding to you the way I did was selfish and divisive; and a sin against you.
I’m very sorry, Free. I hope that you can forgive me.
Nancy, I never took any offense. Have a great weekend.
Thank you, Free.
well, I have not been on here in some time. much has happened. after a lot of prayers, probably even more tears, and some specific prayer requests, God has started doing things in my life. first I started to see glimpses of God’s glory all around me (one request was that I would see God – I yearn to see Him as much as is possible here on earth.) After that, by sheer “circumstances” events were placed in motion that dropped a Christian counselor out of the clouds, so to speak, right in my path. We spoke, he asked me to list out a document (journal) of the issues/history since the beginning of my marriage. I did that. With much fear and trembling, I handed it in, afraid to hear that it really was all in my head and that it really was all my imagination. After he had a chance to read the document, he called me for a meeting, pulled strings, and had me and my kids out of the house in less than 3 days. I have been seeing miracle after miracle after miracle. Has every day been great? no. There have been some really horrible times. but, God is showing Himself mighty in ways that I never could have imagined possible. And now, I feel somewhat guilty that I could have been so blessed to see God work like this, when others are asked to stay yet longer. My employer has provided temporary housing. My church is working on the next temporary housing. People have given me money, food gifts … a doctor showed up to look at my daughter’s sprained ankle … all things are falling into place – I am humbled that God is doing this for just me! I don’t know all of the future yet. There are still some significant questions, but for now, I am safe! My counselor assures me that he is working to ensure that no one ever pressures me to go back. The only reason TO return would be significant change in 5 or 6 major “deal breaker” issues (as he calls them) over a significant portion of time. If that were to happen, we could discuss a potential process of return. But, no pressure at any time.
No one down here,
Praise God for this! So glad that you gave us an update;)
Will continue to pray for God’s will over you and the days and months to come.
Hugs and comfort to your heart!
Thank you to all of you! The biggest prayer requests I have at the moment are for my children. My son has no desire whatsoever to return. My daughters are struggling. One is a daddy’s girl (9) who has had much anger for the last couple of years. This has intensified since we left a couple weeks ago. The other is 8 and she has been happy since we left, but now is missing some of the fun things that her dad would do on occasion. I think after the DSS investigation, it may be difficult for them to go back even if they wanted to go back. I have seen God work in so many ways, I know He’s got this too, but it is going to take some big prayer and wisdom that I don’t have.
It is clear that my husband is not truly repentant, even though he is attempting to do and say all the right things.
I am so encouraged by your post No One. Thank you for writing!
Wow. God is so good. Thank you for writing NODH 🙂
For what it’s worth…… in the discussion of divorce, I’d just like to say when I went towards divorce, it wasn’t my pleasure to do so. I had spent 30 years doing everything possible for change to occur in my marriage. Divorce was never an option for me. Even when I filed, I did so, as my husbands counselor said to get a restraining order and file and let’s see if this wakes him up. Not once did he contact me, looking for reconciliation. He only contacted me to display even more Power Over me. So one could say as I went towards divorce, my heart was still hopeful that he would repent . He never went back to the counselor- and he still tells everyone how wrong I was and how right he is. I would be the first to say divorce is ugly and painful and so many are affected by it. But as painful as it is- a destructive relationship with no hope for anything better, is much worse. Today because I am in a safe place/ I am more able to pray for my husbands salvation . I will never forget reading- sometimes the most loving thing a wife can do, is get out of the way so God can speak to him directly. Unfortunately, that was the task I needed to do.
Thanls Robin, I know you wrestled with this decision a long time. It is not anything that any woman (or man) desires when he or she gets married. But sometimes it is the ONLY way to get safe and stay safe from those who seek to abuse.
The original question asks what can we do to stay well when a spouse’s claim of spirituality doesn’t match up with his/her actions. First of all, I think it’s a very big step just to get to the place to be truth-loving and bold enough to say, “His words and his actions don’t match.” It took me a long time to develop the self confidence to achieve this first and hardest step. It took me many years of rigorous Bible study and counseling.
I’d like to make a comment about Bible study since the last couple of posts have touched on that subject quite a bit. There’s been a strong emphasis in some posts about word studies (looking at the original language). I would just like to point out that word studies are an important skill, but not the only skill for understanding scripture. Using word studies alone without other equally important skills can actually lead to misinterpretation. I don’t want to quarrel with anyone over Bible study, of all things! But I think it’s an important point.
This is a really important point and I also agree with you.
Thanks Barbara, I agree. We need to understand the counsel of God throughout Scripture as well as the heart of God.
Yes word study is important but so is context study and overall message study and culture study. When we put it all together the word used makes more sense or can be interpreted more rightly than just a word study alone.
In answer to Leslie’s question. I did stay for years while God directed me to stay. He even told me “just love him (my husband)”. And I did. Surviving well while I could during those years meant spending a lot of time in worship before God. Carefully listening to His voice and direction, surrounding myself with godly friends (which was hard at first because that angers my husband for me to have friends), slowly and carefully setting boundaries as they became necessary, getting a great godly counselor that understands domestic abuse, holding my tongue and asking God what He would have me say in that moment,etc.
I did feel pressure by some here in the forum to leave and that I might not really have been hearing from God, but I know that I was and still am even as He has told me to go and I have been obedient to this. It is not easy to stay, nor to leave, but I think Leslie’s focus on CORE is the most important thing we can do. This focus helps us know when and how to set boundaries, how to accept the truth about our situations (what I am still really working on), how to handle ourselves during abusive situations, and maintain or compassion and love throughout all this mess.
Study her instructions on CORE and press in to friends and godly counsel and most importantly to God and be obedient to Him and He will get you through. I have yet to see where God is going to take the rest of my story, but I keep working on leaving it in His hands and keeping my eyes on Jesus in the midst of the storm even though the waves get so big that I do lose my focus at times. (I must admit though that He still eventually grabs my hand and brings me to the surface yet again though I don’t deserve it and I regain my focus on Him and the individual waves are handled!)
I am so sorry you are going through this pain. It is not Gods desire that anyone treat another person, especially wife and children this way. I pray you find strength, wisdom and clarity. Stay here with these women as well, they can be an amazing support, even when you can’t post often or reply, just reading and learning from others can be the only support group you may have time for.
oh, and with the occasional man that is on here like sheep. Amazing ministry I’ve received from his insight and raw honesty.
Sorry to leave you men out too.
What is an update on your situation?
Jane, I am rejoicing to learn of your experience and progress. You have truly followed the Lord’s leading throughout all of this, even though at times we all were urging you to leave (sorry for that!). However, you took the Lord’s way, and He has blessed you and provided for you in His way and His timing. That’s what we all are hoping for in every situation. Your reward is “the peace that passes understanding.” Praise Him!
I have lived with a deceitful and manipulative husband for 20 years. He used to be verbally abusive and then stopped when I fought back tooth and nail. He now is abusive with my children, calling them stupid and worthless and hopeless. On top of this, he is also weak with women and has at least one affair I know of. He has neglected me and our marriage for many many years.
I was foolish enough, when i had just married him, to give him control of my finances, as I thought he was the head of the family and he has abused his position of trust and will not let go now. He does not give me an account of his spending. He does not work and expects me to pay the bills which I have done faithfully for most part of our marriage.
I take some money from my account here and there and put it away in a safe place. He does not know about my nest egg. This money will be for my children’s future and mine, in case I have to divorce him in the future. I am in my mid fifties and my husband wants me to continue working and not quit. I feel that he planned on this marriage knowing that I will work hard and he can have a comfortable life. he has been jobless for many years now, citing that he takes care of the children.
It is very difficult to forgive a person on an everyday basis especially a spouse who is unrepentant. My life in many ways is a struggle, I struggle to work in spite of health issues and struggle to save my own hard earned money. As a result I resent my husband and what he has done to me in this marriage.I don’t know if divorce is an option for me now or later but whatever God wants for me, I want to live my life well. It is so good to know that there are women out there who have faced similar situations and continue their faith journey with God. This inspires me and gives me hope.
There are Christian leaders who say there must be no secrecy between husband and wife and that a spouse, mostly husbands, who “hide” money from his wife and deprives her access from funds is sinning against God. And this is what worries me, as I am also hiding my money from my husband. He has access to my funds and has used it even to help his girlfriend but what about my secret fund? Ours has not been a normal marriage at all and I don’t trust my husband anymore and I feel like I need to protect myself.
Ann, I am so sorry for the trials you are living with. If I could offer any advice, it would be to stop listening to other “Christian leaders,” and start listening to God. His word is clear about adultery, and right now, your husband is getting all the benefit of this relationship, plus some fun on the side, and what is he offering you? The first step would be to get a counselor for yourself, so you have some help to sort this out. Also, work to protect your children. If he is saying terrible things to your children, they will carry those lies with them the rest of their lives, and it will make their lives very hard. If you have read all the way through this thread on the blog, go back and take notes. There is lots of help here. Stay with us and let us know how things are going for you. The Lord is on your side.
Also, Ann, about the finances; it is normal for each partner to have their own “discretionary funds.” Keeping some money back is for your safety and the well being of the children; I see no problem with that.
So appreciate you all here and your interaction with one another. In some ways all believers are to sharpen and strengthen one another. No one here knows everything including me. However we may have thoughts or opinions and part of getting healthy is to learn to express ourselves or have a voice in a healthy way. So let’s encourage healthy expression and even healthy differences. That is part of being in a community or family. Let’s not think that our way is the ONLY way to handle a problem or look at a particular situation. It’s only when we get stuck on our view as the only “right” way to view something or do something will we sound critical and judgmental.
I could have written the response to this weeks question and simply inserted my husbands type of job, etc. It would be the same!
My husband can be the most caring, loving man… when it’s on his terms. I recently had a medical emergency and he was there for me. Left work, was consoling, caring, stayed at the hospital over night with me, etc. But then, when we are back home, he becomes just like the answer to the question that was written above. Narcissistic, HE’s the one that works so much, mandatory, doesn’t get much time off, his work place can be a very stressful, demanding environment with others there being mean and resentful. I get the brunt of it. He comes home, I always ask about his day (if I didn’t, I’d never hear then end of how “you don’t even care about me.”) I listen patiently, try to give him positive enforcement. It’s never good enough. Everything is always someone else’s fault, etc.
I asked him when he was going to get himself checked out medically, as I’m concerned for his well being and it turns into a yell-fest, he has no time. I’m supposed to realize that he just can’t take time off from work to make sure he is healthy. Even though he can take a couple hours of vacation time if it’s something he truly wants to do, and has in the past. He turns it into me being non-caring and assuming, that he can just take time off. I say that I won’t ask him again and I get worked up over the fact that I’m just trying to show that I care, because a DO care. He turns it around and then berates me for it.
This is how everything is in our relationship. If he is the one that is talking about himself, then it’s all good. If I try to talk about myself, he can be consoling, caring temporarily, then turns it around so that HE’s the one needing the attention. It’s been this way for the last 8-9 years, we married almost 11 years ago. His opinion is the only one that counts…. he claims otherwise, but his loudness and berating say differently. I have love for him and always try in my own way to show it. He gets so upset if I don’t give him what he needs when he needs it. It’s so frustrating and tormenting to me at time.
Now being 59 years old, I have fears of having more medical issues. I thought I was for the most part, healthy. Fear can be paralyzing. I don’t have friends, he’s driven them away. We used to go to church and I love our church, then he stopped that several years ago. He’s tired all the time and he says “what little time off I have, I’m not going to go to church and fall asleep.” But I’M not supposed to go either, unless I’m with him. he will say “I get today off and you are just going to spend it without me, you don’t even care about me.” It’s a frightening world out there and I’m at a point where I don’t really want to stay with this man, but have fears of going it alone, with not much of a support system. He makes twice the $$ that I do as well.
Any advice is welcome….
I’m glad he was there for you in the hospital.
It’s refreshing that your h wants to spend his spare time with you. If you see the scriptures saying to attend church regularly ( Heb 10:25) as in Hebrews, I’d find a way to do that. Locally I have a church with an 8:00a.m. service. Maybe you could be home in time to make him breakfast. Or he could meet you out after the service. Usually churches have occasional womens gatherings. If your h doesn’t meet your friends then he can’t drive them away. Is that mean? Sorry I’m just saying Jesus had friends and 3 very close friends. Plus we all have gifts to offer to the body in general. The body is missing out on You! And your husband too for that matter. It’s so easy now a days to find a church that we like. Google the local ones and see what they have to offer. Every time one of our kids moved or went off to college ,we googled the local area and visited several. It turned our to be interesting.
Thank you Veronica.
Cat, have u ever read a book on the abuse cycle? For awhile they can be caring, when they sense it is needed, but I found it to be a manipulation. Then before you know it, he has moved
On in the abuse cycle and is totally irrational . I lived in both those parts of the cycle for many years so confused. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this. What I found, is I’m the only one that can change. So I moved forward in finding the support I needed and a good counselor to take me thru this.
I never thought I could afford living alone either. He was very financially abusive to control me. But when I left this destructive relationship, I was given half his retirement pension and savings and our house that was paid for. Put your trust in the Lord to lead you, and He will be your Provision, in whatever u go.
Thank you Robin,
I’ve worked on a budget and think I can get by. We have talked about splitting up more than a few times… then he gets all apologetic, says he will try to make things better, and I cave. it lasts for a few days to a month and then he’s right back to it.
It can be exhausting and my love for him is not what it should be.
I do pray for guidance and understanding.
In my first marriage, h was always kind, caring, and thoughtful when I was sick or crying. Finally one day I mentioned that to him and he said, ” Connie don’t you know that when I can make you sick or cry that makes a man of me? “. An insecure person needs you to be weak to feel better about himself. For a little while. That also showed me that he wasn’t as dumb as he pretended to be.
That’s very sad that your h did that to you. Wen I cry, mine says he didn’t mean to make me cry and is apologetic. Then, he says things and is loud and controlling.
Yes, he was (acted) always sad and apologetic when I cried – but the minute I appeared strong, the abuse started over. I saw it in his eyes, it was actually scary. And then he would keep at me until I cried again. It really is a cycle.
My new mantra: Words are cheap, actions can be faked, it’s a lasting humble attitude I’m waiting for.
Thank-you for this post. It’s a good reminder to me to wait on the Lord in this and not trust my eyes. Heart change! God’s timing in this word is a blessing, thank-you for being his voice this morning.
That’s very sad that your h did that to you.
Robin gave good advice about reading up on the abuse cycle.
On the church issue, you could tell him the same thing that Peter told the leaders who told him to stop preaching in the name of Jesus: should we obey MEN or GOD?
I know it would be hard but as you begin to build up your faith and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God then you’ll be able to stand against the unbelief and battles that’s coming you from your abuser – it will never be ‘easy street’.
No one walks in ALL victory and if they say they do then they are really in denial 🤪 ☹️ which is bad – just another form of darkness and lying. Lying to yourself. 🤢
So H was your H was mean, disrespectful, unpredictable, selfish and nasty day after day after day. Then you got very sick and suddenly become attentive and helpful!! Cat, let me ask you- did that feel REFRESHING or did it feel WEIRD? In your gut, did you feel like there was an ulterior motive for this 180 degree change in behavior? Was it hard to receive bc you were just waiting for the REAL husband to come back out at any second? Did you find yourself thinking: ‘Why can’t you be this nice ALL THE TIME?!?’
My point is he is mean bc he WANTS to be. I used to think my H had a self-control issue, but I found out that he doesn’t. He CHOSE to yell at me.
There is nothing refreshing about their nice episodes. ☹️
I’m sorry I didn’t really give advice. Big hugs to you sweet sister. ❤️❤️
Thank-you. Struggling to accept my husband is choosing his behavior. You make such a good point about this part of the behavior which I have experienced throughout the cycle for years as well! It is a choice! Sucks.
Thank you for the truth, it hurts but helps.
I am not surprised your husband was supportive in the hospital. Have you researched Narcissistic Personality Disorders? If he is an Narcissist his public persona really matter to him. Because the hospital experience was an opportunity to look good in society, of course he bent over backwards to put on his “wonderful man” mask for the show.
The more you learn about his possible disorder, the more you will understand your situation and your decisions will become crystal clear.
Google Christine De Cannoville (sp?), she is Irish. She ministers to victims of Narcissistic partners. See if your life matches with the descriptions she provides.
Cat, wow I hear your pain summed up in your one sentence ” Its never good enough. ” This is exactly why “do more, be more, cook more, have sex more, stay home more, figure out exactly the right words to say and exactly the right time to say them with the exact right tone of voice” will never fix the relationship. All of these “going over and above ” strategies are not seen by dysfunctional spouses as loving, caring responses but rather as “barely meeting their standards ” and back in your rightful place.
My possibly flawed opinion ( as I dont know much about you) is that good self care would be to go to a church you love. Then you get more of God and possibly more of a support system
Cat I am so sorry you are going through this, I do understand it well and it destroys your soul and leaves you utterly alone.
He cares when it’s convenient, if it makes him look good in others eyes or if it lets him feel like he is your rescuer and you are completely dependent on him so don’t think that was care and compassion, I too have lived this.
Also, it is not refreshing that he wants to “spend time with you” when he is not spending time with you but requiring you to be around him while he does whatever he wants and he is not actually using this as time with you. Instead he is isolating you from others intentionally so you can’t have friends.
You are asking for advice… What I can say is pray for God’s wisdom, discernment and direction. If he says stay, stay and learn about CORE and yes, go to church for your health and sanity as it is obedient to God’s word which does trump that of any other persons. If he says go, then go with the confidence that it is His will and He will bless your obedience as He says He prefers obedience over sacrifice. I had to leave finally to spare my own life. You would not believe the number of people who have become supports, have offered me a place to live for now, offered protection, help with some bills, etc. These are your friends that are still your friends but are healthy enough to recognize and refuse to be around a toxic person. God will care for you, you will be ok if it is His direction. Pray, be still, listen, and wait for Him.
I have not read all the comments…so I may be repeating what others have said…
But I do see a trend BY some, OF minimizing emotional abuse…(in fact ignoring ANY type of abuse appears to be a grave problem in today s “Christian” culture…thus the stories we hear on this website…and the stories in the news these days concerning abuses in the church at large… such as the SBC!!!)
PLEASE take if first hand from a person who KNOWS and has lived their entire life with this kind of hidden abuse…mental, spiritual, physical and emotional!!!!!
These abuses are subtle and concealed…yet UTTERLY destroying!!!!
These types of abuses are Satan s favor tools of destruction…build on lies and the APPEARANCES of things …rather than what they actually are in TRUTH!!!
All the while living under the banner of “Christian!!!!
A religious doing…
Instead of Christ following BEING!?
Hearts, spirits…souls and persons are UTTERLY destroyed…!!!!
Including those of the abusers!!!!
For generation upon generation!!!
4 generations currently from my family of origin as well as my husband s!!!!
This IS NOT MINIMAL or insignificant!!!!
The brains of persons become scrambled !!!!
The SOULS and personhood…very lives of individuals are OBLITERATED…!!!
Obliterated souls and minds CAN NOT example a true Christian life …as God wills and desires…to the next generation!!!!
Families built on hidden lies are not a glory to the kingdom!!!
Destroyed “Christians” are not either!!!!
It stops when we begin to see and speak the TRUTH!!!
Even if the truth causes suffering and opposition!!!
Following Jesus , rather than the rule of “man” and the world!!!
There is no fear in love…
Yet to many of us live our lives driven by the hidden fears!!!
This IS NOT of God…this is driven by the one who hates God…all of creation and all that is good…and right!!!
Satan hates each of us…and loves nothing better than when we get with his program and call it “right” living”!!!
Exchanging the truth of God for a lie!!!!
I praise God for Leslie and others, that have answered God s call, to shine a light in the darkness …
The darkness Christian persons have accepted for way to many generations!!!
By God s grace and mercy and the life and power and strong minds available in Jesus…
May this generation and the next not continue this line of DESTRUCTION!!!