I Have To Control Finances. Does That Mean I’m Abusive?


Morning friends,

My new book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, has been doing very well. Thanks for getting the word out to people who need to hear. Keep up the good buzz because word of mouth is the best way to market a new book. If you tweet, I can email you some key phrases to tweet if you’d like. Just e-mail me at leslie@leslievernick.com and I can send that to you.

I will be doing a free seminar on The Emotionally Destructive Marriage on Friday evening, October 25th in Allentown, PA. Look for this week’s newsletter for more details. I would love to meet you.

I am also going to be offering a second 2 hour Focus Group starting late October. I know some of you missed the cut off of our first focus group so I wanted to give you a heads up that the opportunity would be coming up again. Watch your mailbox for more details. Space will be limited.

Today’s Question:

My husband is on disability. He is a video game addict and is bipolar, verbally and emotionally abusive and deceitful. He is also very bad with money. Because of this, I have had control of the finances.

He absolutely refuses to work with me, but will only have me or him in charge of the money. I can't trust him to pay bills and provide for our needs. I work and go to school full time. We have teens and a 7th grader.

I heard you on the radio and you claim it is abusive to control the finances; however, any time I allow him to use money, he squanders it and I have to figure out a way to make ends meet with what's left. I do not hold all the money, but I do tell him to pay this bill and that bill and go with him to be sure he pays it.

When I haven't, he does not pay the bill. Then when I get a shut off notice, he acts like he paid it and doesn't know what happened. He constantly asks for more money to spend and asks me to buy him things. He even tries to pressure me into buying him lunch with my scholarship money when I go to school and eat at the cafeteria. He flunked out of college because he was lazy and addicted to gaming and didn't do his homework. So my question is, what is the right way to handle this?

Answer: I share this question because it’s so easy to take something someone says out of context. I have said when one person in a marriage controls all the money and delegates the other partner to the status of a child or slave, that marriage is destructive. Yet when one of the partners is behaving like a child and is unwilling or incapable of assuming adult responsibilities, it is not abusive to control the money. It may be the wisest choice you can make for the welfare of all people involved.

I’m so glad you are taking steps to educate yourself so that you will be able to get a better job in the future. It sounds like you carry the full weight of the family responsibilities with no support from your spouse. Those who suffer from bipolar often do have problems managing money and, during a manic phase, can spend large sums of money putting the family in peril.

I have two questions for you. First, where are you getting support? Do you have family who is around that helps you? Friends? A church community? You are carrying a heavy load, friend, and sometimes as women we take care of everyone and everything but neglect ourselves. Please make sure you are taking good care of you. If you get sick or fall apart, your kids will not have a functioning parent.

My second question is, what example and influence is your husband having on your children? They see a grown man playing games all day while their mom works full time, takes care of the house and them and goes to college. They see their father be verbally and emotionally abusive and regularly lie with no consequences. What is this telling them about how men behave, how father’s treat their children or men treat their wives, or what women should endure or tolerate? Do they have good friends who have healthy dads so they get a different picture of what’s “normal”?

There are no easy answers here. It is a very real problem many women live with. Friends, what words of encouragement can you offer her about ways to get support, how to take good care of herself in the midst of all she does, or the effect this might have on her children in the future.



  1. Cindy on September 30, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I agree with Leslie that you should not stand on your own. Attending a good Bible Christ-following church would be good for both you and your children. Get them involved with other families that are good examples of Christian marriage and and allow them to develop ties so that they can share their feelings and build friendships based on Jesus Christ.

    Perhaps someone in this church could provide help with finances, mental health issues and give you the true support of fellow believers. You may good women friends who will stand beside you in prayer and help. That is what the body of Christ is to do. I pray Jesus will comfort you and give you answers and hope in Him.

  2. Erika on September 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    That sounds hard. 🙁 I would definitely agree that she is being wise, not controlling. My husband spends all of his time at home playing video games or “surfing” the internet as well. He also is not responsible with money…we were 20k in debt at one point due to putting all his toys and gadgets on credit. Then I inherited 30k from my grandmother, which of course he was very eager to use to pay off the debt. He started burning through the remaining 10k until I took action and put it in a mutual fund that he can’t access. He told me at the time that I was being secretive, controlling and not working as a team, but it was the BEST decision I have made in our 9 year marriage.
    Not long after that he inherited several thousand dollars that he put in a private checking account and uses to buy games, guns, and whatever else he desires. We live off only his income, which isn’t much, since I stay home to raise and homeschool our 3 young children. He thinks that he is allowed to have “his” money to blow on things while any money I acquire is expected to be used to “help the family.”

    The only way we have stayed financially afloat since paying off the debt is because he has used “his” money to buy toys instead of “our” money. I know that “his” money is almost gone, and I fear we are going to start going under water again soon. He just won’t control himself (and he definitely would NOT stand for me to take command of the money and only give him what we decide together that he needs).

    There’s other abuse issues going on, and the way he treats our kids is very upsetting to me (no physical abuse but a lot of destructive emotional abuse and neglect), so I am formulating plans to separate…again.

    • Brenda on September 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      I was so glad when I got to the part where you are planning to separate. As I read what you were going through my body continued to tense. It always breaks my heart when I read posts where the children are also being abused. It is bad enough for them to be there to experience what is happening but to have it directed at them is beyond contempt.
      I gather that income you bring in is “our” money and what he brings in is “his” money. A man who has any form of self respect or respect for his spouse would have repaid her inheritance when he came into his own good fortune. But I know I am preaching to the choir. I pray that you are out and moved on very soon.

    • Becky on September 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      Oh my u have just described my 27 year marriage to a T especially the finances. I too stayed home with my kids but always babysat til they went to school ( wasnt allow to homeschool) then I cleaned houses n ran a home accessories busniness. If I hadnt done these side jobs there were times we wouldnt have groceries. I did the bills with his paycheck but he would keep charging so we d get to the point I couldnt cover the bills n itd be my fault. once I started my business I had mine own account. I felt guilty over that cause I kept it after I closed the business but I knew he d spend whatever he could get his hands on. I too inherited money but it was far enough into the marriage I didnt let him have much access to it. But i paid off all our debit except his truck n our house (which he remortagaged 9 times in 18 years. Yet he still managed to talk me into lettin him have some money. There was verbal n emotional abuse too. Finally when I turned 50 I realized the money thing would never change. My kids were getting married. I was thinking how glad I was for them that they were escaping and it scared me i couldnt. When I got to the point I just couldnt take amymore and though I was going against GOD or so I was taught I left. I knew what he was doing wasnt right I didnt know it was abuse. didnt really know til 3yrs after the divorce.(ThankGOD! He sent someone who told me about cryingoutfor justice) But what I really want to say to Erika is start doing something now. Whether going back to school online, getting some job skills of some kind.Workin around homeschooling as I understand staying home with ur kids. That was real important to me too. But u have to look ahead for urself too. Im 54 I have almost no retirement n no benefits. I am self employed. With GOD s help I make it but I sure wish I had equipped myself years ago to support myself.

      • Leslie Vernick on September 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        Becky thank you for your words of wisdom. Ladies, I can’t emphasize enough the need for every woman to have some kind of skills so that you are employable and can be self-sufficient if you need to be. There is nothing worse than feeling trapped because you cannot financially take care of yourself and your children. As older women we should help our daughters understand how important it is for them to have an education and a career to fall back on – even when raising children, even if homeschooling. There are just way too many horror stories of women who have completely become dependent on unreliable and/or abusive men and have felt they had no options because of their lack of employability. When a man knows you are quite capable and willing (if necessary) to live without him, he isn’t as easily able to control, manipulate or abuse you. Sadly we have groomed many young Christian women to be passively dependent thinking that was the same thing as having a gentle and quiet spirit.

        • Marilyn on October 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm

          I am so glad to hear that you are considering leaving him again. I have had to leave my pastor/husband 3 times and each time, I’ve never been happier. I also went from turmoil to absolute peaceful calm. Unfortunately, well meaning spiritual oversight demanded that I go back to my husband. I dutifully obeyed those in authority over me and my damaged emotions were not sufficiently healed to handle it. I spent 10 months on the couch in a black hole of depression. But this third and last time I have obeyed the scriptures, or at least acted upon it, ” But to the married I say, ” Let not the wife depart from her husband, but if she does, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled unto her husband.” Having DEPARTED in order to heal properly and get on with my life, I feel I am now free to really and truly OBEY God and all he has been asking me to do for the past ten years. Writing my own story is one such goal. God told me to write it 10 years ago and said it would help a lot of women, especially pastors’ wives, but my pastor/husband has refused to let me obey the Lord. I’m sure he is worried sick about me bringing shame upon him and our family,and our ministry, what is left of it now. Any suggestions as to how to write my own story, which involves childhood abuse at the hands of a sadistic baby-sitter, and then later on reliving it as delayed onset ptsd, and unfortunately at that same time emotional, mental and some physical abuse began at the hands of my own husband.
          How does one write this in truth to set others free without bringing damage to ones spouse? Should I worry about that? I know the truth sets us free and God has told me, ” just tell the truth.” What genre should I use? etc. Thanks everyone for any advice you can offer me.

          • Diane on October 6, 2013 at 8:30 am

            You are in a position to tell your story at domestic violence support groups, and also take your own healing to another level. In my own search to heal from my husband’s sex and porn addiction I have found those meetings to help my healing, but also, I never thought I could ever be a help to other women, but God does wonderful things when he brings” sisters” to one another. He redeems your pain for someone else’s healing. So many women suffered childhood abuses – so many women are paralyzed with pain and depression and PTSD. You know how isolating it is – but when God brings someone who understands that pain, it is a Godsend… And then more women can rejoice at Gods compassion together.

            Regarding your writing, journal your experiences, then when you figure out the rest, you will have some things written down. Check with your local adult education programs, ask your library, or local community college or check for an online course for a writing class. Some senior centers too will have memoire writing classes.

            A co-dependency group also would be good.

            For a long time I stayed away thinking I would not represent Christianity, my faith or my God well, but I soon realized how church, incorrect theology, and hurtful patriarchy in church were re-victimizing women with incorrect biblical interpretation.
            This is where you may also be most helpful to other pastors’ wives.
            there are online communities you could become a part of.
            Heal through helping, and helping through healing.

            Thank you for sharing your story – it offers such hope.

          • Brenda on October 7, 2013 at 3:19 am

            Marilyn, You might start by going to Proverbs 31 Ministries website. Lysa Terkurst has something going on to help those who feel they want to write. I have read some of her books that I have enjoyed very much. I hope this helps you. Brenda

            PS Any husband who refused to allow his wife to obey a calling of God has more to worry about than his family or ministry image. There is judgment coming.

        • Erika on October 2, 2013 at 10:46 am

          I agree, Leslie. Although I think it is more difficult to do this when a woman wants to be at home with her children, homeschools, etc. I earned a 4 year journalism degree, but was married a year after graduation. The only employment I was able to find in those first few years were nanny positions and receptionist work. Then I got pregnant and decided to stay home full time (my decision, not his). I have thankfully kept up some skills by volunteer work and my own personal blogging, but other than that I have very little employability because I’ve been out of the work force for 7 years. The references I could have used are long gone. I do believe I have employable skills, but I will probably have to employ myself for awhile as I just don’t look that attractive on a resume.

          • Leslie Vernick on October 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm

            I think a woman can stay resourceful at home doing things like blogging and other things. What she doesn’t want to lose is her confidence that if she HAD to, she could go out there and do something that would support herself and her kids. My sister raised 4 children but when she went back into the job market she capitalized on her excellent people skills, multi-tasking, and event planning skills that she did managing her household and in her initial interview the person told her “We have lots of young kids who know computer skills, but few of them have the people skills you do. You’re hired!”

  3. Brenda on September 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    You are not being abusive. You are doing what you have to in order to make your family survive. Leslie asks some very good questions for you to consider. I hope you take some time to prayerfully consider them. Children need
    good, healthy roll models to mirror into their own relationships later on. Perhaps you could rely on men or families from your church to example the way a family should work under better circumstances.

    You need support for you. I know what it is like to work, take care of kids and go to school. It is mind boggling when you don’t have the support of your spouse or family. I stopped and started college 3 separate times before throwing in the towel. I don’t want to see that happen to you.

    I pray that you make decisions that will be best for you and your children. I’m very glad that you found Leslie’s blog and hope you find it as helpful as I have.

  4. Heila on October 1, 2013 at 8:58 am

    I’m not sure if it’s the mindset or the employable skills that are more important. For years, I’d been a stay-at-home mom, and when my husband and I ran into problems (thankfully and glory to God we were able to painfully & successfully work through them and emerge much, much stronger and more in love than when we were first married – I am deeply thankful about this — and it IS possible sometimes) I faced the issue of maybe needing to move out on my own. Then when I didn’t do that, and didn’t need to, I faced again the thought that what I was doing (with teenage kids) was still unpaid. But. What I do as a “community/family artist” I now call it does in fact involve many legitimate, employable skills. Administrative ones, event planning ones, group management skills, and the list goes on. Others do the homemaking and/or homeschooling job differently and emphasize different areas. I do now do some freelance writing work, but it was not the right thing for our family to have me work full-time elsewhere. Anyway, I think sometimes what’s super important is that women see themselves as capable. That we see that if necessary, we could go out and get a job right now, today and with God’s help of course begin “making it.” It is important, yes, to get training and/or further education. But I wonder if the passivity mindset and, as Leslie says, this false dependency thing is more of a problem than the actual education and career. We all know scrappy people who have done well without either, simply because they believed they could. We are all valuable and strong when we are “in the Vine.” I praise God for your ministry Leslie and the key part it played in our lives — when I couldn’t find this information anywhere else.

  5. Felicia on October 1, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I am so glad this topic is being discussed. I get discouraged in my marriage because I feel like parent not wife. I have no desire to be the “in-charge” person in my marriage. I struggle with how to be respectful while not condoning bad behaviors and modeling good behaviors for our sons. I have developed a great support group in the last year. I struggle with finding balance between being a submitted wife and being the spiritual leader of my family.

  6. Mary on October 1, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Congratulations on having courage to go back to school! I went back to college at the age of 38. It was one of the best – and scariest – decisions of my life. I am cheering you on…… Way to go!!!

    • Nancy on October 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you. I’m the one whose question is above. I had dreams as a little girl of being a scientist.I belive God is calling me to that- even now! I turn 40 in 2 weeks and am halfway to my associates degree in Biology. I want to be in some kind of research. Not sure exactly what- problem is, I have too many interests to narrow it down.

  7. Teresa on October 1, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I have had a different experience with my husband. I have worked full time 32 out of 35 years of marriage. Still working full time.
    I raised 2 children. My husband was the money manager. I most often felt a parent/child relationship. He was an excellent saver. Thing is he got what he wanted but not me and the kids. The equality of a partner is very much lacking in both of these same but different relationships. I have found no accountability with abuse has many suffer at these peoples lives and how they live. I have separated again and trying not to enable him with no accountability from me.

    • Brenda on October 2, 2013 at 1:26 am

      Teresa, He was saving at your family’s expense. Keep strong.

  8. Dianna on October 1, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Although issues of neglect, abuse, irresponsibility, greed, dependency, illness, etc., are hard for a family of any size, there is a simple core problem. Yes, employable skills are important for none of us can predict the future.

    To me, it seems that the core problem to all these issues is seeing God’s way of living through the Word and leading of the Holy Spirit. Personally, I could never understand how marriage is likened by God, to the relationship of the Church and Jesus Christ. Gradually, I have been coming to an understanding of God’s heart in this. I could never understand this because I saw so little of this in any marriages.
    Not expecting perfection but, the power plays, meanness, verbal & emotional abuse, selfishness…w/ people that one loves & purposefully commits to live w/ for a life time has never made sense to me. Again, I am not talking of little squabbles, tiredness, occasional or petty things that are quickly repented of and forgiven.

    The level of distrust that quickly escalates to hoarding money, things, the vehicles, etc. These are selfish power trips that are not what we were made to be nor to represent God.

    I also don’t understand second marriages that have all these hidden agendas to “protect the adult kids” or to “protect the assets” from the new spouse because of traditions.

    As you may guess, I married for the first time, very gladly, to someone divorced. The marriage was clearly over by both parties, not that there wasn’t some baggage, as there always will be. Due to the things that happened in the first marriage, I question if my husband can trust. It is really hard to be fully engaged to all parts of a marriage and living w/ someone w/ such distrust. I have stayed in the marriage mainly for my granddaughter & God’s sake but I am ready to leave. It is not horrible but I feel I have no home (when we have separated, he has to have the house…) nor that my interests and needs (like routine medical) are important yet his always are. I have nursed him & been w/ him in all his more important medical concerns, yet he has not been there for mine nor can I count on him being.

    The point is, if there is not biblical framework of God’s plan & relating in life; no trust (definitely in God for we are all fallible humans) how does a marriage work? I truly believe that the biblical foundation for a marriage is the key to all problems that cause such heartbreak, damage and wasted energy.

    We have been married over fourteen years; had much counseling (some good some not); lots of gains through the hard times but there is still so much lack of trust, power playing that I am ready to leave for a long separation that may or may not lead to a godly marriage that can thrive. Leslie’s videos, sound advise to consider w/ clear biblical grounding has been a breath of fresh air.

    I have had times of literal homelessness w/out the support of “friends or family” when it was dangerous to stay at my home. When the police were finally called by me, the behavior changed, which I wasn’t sure was a possibility. I thought my husband needed mental health help but he was able to manipulate professionals as well as everybody else. I had trouble putting my well being as a priority w/ his emotional abuse. Being w/o children and not very young nor old, there were times when I had no means to get into a shelter w/o proving abuse. It has been a long, anxious, crazy journey. One finds their peace and confidence in trust in God, though.

    Thank you for this place to vent,support and be supported. I really don’t know a christian source to go to at this time and finances are low.

    I, too, plan to separate as soon as I can figure out the financial & emotional means to do so.

    • Brenda on October 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm


      You sound like you have your thoughts very clear. Marriage isn’t suppose to be the way yours is or mine was. Whether or not you are the first or twelfth wife your husbands first obligation after God is his bride, not his adult children. Hiding assets from you as if you were a gold digger is inexcusable. Hoarding money or spending for his pleasure and excluding you also not things that a loving husband should do. If your husband does not trust you, he is the one with issues and needs to confront them and work through them. You have called the police because Mr. Hyde was with you and he turned into Dr. Jekyll when they arrived. You can’t make a marriage work like that. One person can’t make a marriage work on their own. God and his church are a loving interactive couple working together with a common bond. Bonding and bondage are not the same thing.

      The X had Quad bypass surgery years ago. I read up on all of what you need to know. He needed to stop smoking, stay away from salt, keep to a low fat diet, etc…..If I so much as made a dinner with all of the basic food groups the verbal assaults began. What I considered was a loving wife trying to do what was best for her husband, I was a nag without ever having spoke a word. When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis he read not one page of the material I had and when the nurse came to the house to show me how to give my injections he conveniently was nowhere to be found. He denied that I even had been diagnosed. Nice guy.

      I love the way Leslie puts it, paraphrasing, you need to set good boundaries, if your husband disrespects you or treats you badly then he doesn’t deserve the pleasure of your company, you may need to leave the room or maybe even the home for a while, maybe even a long while. I separated from my husband the beginning of summer. I am now legally separated and the abuse still goes on. The last part of the asset division came on Monday with receiving a final check for my portion of the house. He now is demanding a deed for the house, but that document is within the settlement agreement. I have had threats of attorneys, law suits, going to the judge and having me thrown in jail and have been called a liar several times since then. These threats I see as empty, but they are hurtful and have continued on like that for the 4 months that I have been on my own. I spent 3 years studying, praying, reading Leslie’s books and this blog and other resources and at first it was as if I was sinking further into a pit. I was finding the “if your husband acts wrong that is ok, you just do your part the way you are suppose to and glorify God” and that is the way your marriage was meant to be theory. After a while I felt the Lord saying No, this is not God’s plan and God would not expect me to not set boundaries and break free if necessary.

      Your experience may be different and I pray it is, but protect yourself. Find whatever documentation you can find, make copies if you can, write down account numbers and values if you can’t do that. Find out everything you need to know for a worse case scenario. Look at what the laws are in your state for premarital assets. If there is an Underground Railroad or even some churches in your area may have support groups for free and stay tuned in to Leslie’s blog. I know it has helped me so much. If the Lord would not have lead me here, I don’t believe I would be as far removed from the abuse and see it as clear if it weren’t for the help I have received here.

      As you can see, I do a lot of venting here as well, Dianna. Above all things keep close to God and stay safe. I will be praying for you even now.

  9. IZHH on October 2, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Leslie I am so happy that you brought this topic up. All women need a good employable skill and they should be able to support themselves in case it is needed. I was stupid and gullible when I first got married. I believe that my husband would take care of me and I believe that he was a better money manager then I was because he has his MBA. Nothing could be further from the truth. During the course of 34 years my husband has got himself into three very very dangerous and bad investments that almost ruined us. He was taken advantage of by three very crafty businessman who schmoozed him and he sucked up to it. I have learned to trust my own inner wisdom when it comes to financial matters and do not buy into the notion that because he has an MBA he’s smarter than I am. Sometimes good old-fashioned Hors-cents when it comes to money is worth a lot of value. I am more cautious and careful about spending then my husband is and it has saved us from financial ruin. But getting him to go along with how I feel about things is not always so easy. I am a little bit concerned about something that could come up in the future. It is possible that I could inherit quite a large sum of money within the next few years. I’m really not sure I can trust whether or not our marriage is going to survive and I do not want to link this large sum of money with our family assets. It would not be improbable that at some point I get totally frustrated and give up on our marriage. My husband would link up with the closest human body in a skirt that he could find within a few weeks. This has happened before so I know … Half of my inherited assets could be squandered away on some other woman and I simply cannot have that. Any advice on how to tackle this prickly subject?

    • Leslie Vernick on October 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      I know that if you keep your inheritance in a separate account with just you your name on it, it does not become “joint marital assets” If you link it to the joint account, it’s joint assets. At least that’s true in Pennsylvania. So I’d encourage you to research those laws in your state and if that’s the case say that “My parents intended this money to secure my financial future and I intend to honor that by keeping it in a separate account.” You can share those assets with him – such as remodeling the house, or taking a vacation or buying him a car if you want, but do not mix the money together or 1/2 his automatically his.

    • Brenda B on October 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      IZHH, Having a degree does not now or will ever mean that a person is smarter than you. It means they were able to pass a lot of classes and not always well. My go to phrase is “common sense, isn’t all that common”.

      It depends on what state you are in. I would seek legal advise now. Don’t wait. There are attorney’s who will give a 30 minute consultation for free. Look online for divorce laws in your state. Check into if a trust would make your inheritance secure. Hide is in a Swiss Bank. Do whatever you have to do to make sure he does not blow your money on a woman with long legs and short skirts who will dump him when the money is gone. I work for a financial planner and stranger things have happened.

  10. Amy on October 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I wish you could be separated until he gets his life in order. You have a lot on your shoulders. I will pray for you. Your kids need a good example and keeping him in the house tells him its ok to not change and his behavior is tolerable. Love him, from a distance, for your kids’ sake. (but that’s much easier said than done) Wishing God’s best over you. Fill your tank whenever you can in the healthiest ways possible. A Bible verse to mull over every morning, and encouraging music, a trusted friend to just laugh with or take up listening to a snippet of clean comedy every day. When I’m about to lose my mind, I find comedy takes a huge load off and I can breathe again. Helps me better than crying.

    • Nancy on October 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      thanks,Amy. You are very sweet, and those things are exactly what I do when I am overwhelmed. I also learned a few years ago to take a Sabbath rest- no matter what, I take as much time every Saturday as I can to recharge,spend time with God and several hours just hanging out with family members, drink more water, take a hot bath, take my vitamins, eat healthier foods, get in some stretches and a walk. I have the household chores divided up among family members (husband usually has to be reminded or have consequences)and the kids know Saturday is our day of rest too. I can’t function well without it- and God tells us that our bodies were never meant to work 7 days a week. I even refrain from thinking about homework or things I need to get done on my day of rest.

  11. Amy on October 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    oh, please don’t post my answer (this or the one I wrote earlier!). Lots of other ladies have better advice, now that I’ve read them. My life is very similar to Erika’s though I have never separated. The money wasting selfish squandering till we’re overdrawn hurts and scares me, and after many confrontations w/no change in the last 18 years, I just live with it, unhappily, but refuse to model being a daily nag. I now hide my money if I can ever figure a way to make some, or my birthday money relatives might send. My kids thank the Lord, look to my father as their father figure. They seem so well adjusted and I try to live out all but the “healthy marriages are the best security for a child” part of being a good mom. I feel awful they’ve never seen a happy marriage. At least they’ve seen prayer and perseverance. I’m not educated (except by self reading). I dropped out as a teen due to depression and wasn’t stopped or helped by my family. They let me do what I wanted, thinking it was “nice” of them, but I needed intervention. The women in my family are a little dysfunctional, so I don’t feel I have anywhere to go. My father is wonderful, thank the Lord. He understands me, but I’m too old to ask his help, and he’s not in a position to physically/financially help me anyways. (I’d not feel right about it either!) ‘No idea how to support myself at this point, so I stay, a bit miserable and used feeling all the time. I’ve gotten into giving myself breaks and just fun days lately, maybe splurging on a cosmetic lotion at the store too. I even sold a painting and used it on a massage (because after bending over the painting for days, my shoulders hurt!) haha.. I guess I didn’t profit anything, but I felt productive, then rewarded, and pampered, so it still felt like a positive thing. Advice is so easy to give, and not as easy to live. I’ll just keep reading, listening to you Leslie, try to get an education and if things never change? This will not go on forever. My spirit would eventually lose all hope. I am continually confused, hopeful, crashing back to reality and not even quite sure what reality is. God is my stable rock. He is my source. I’m strong when I stay close to Him.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 2, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Amy, I’m glad you are giving yourself breaks. We all need them. All learning is not always in school. Brenda is right – common sense is the best kind of learning. I think you are more resourceful than you give yourself credit for. Perhaps you could do more with your painting. Perhaps you could begin taking some courses at your community college. You’re reading and that’s good. A lot of people are self-taught. But since you didn’t have good female role models for taking care of you – or probably themselves, it’s time to change that pattern, staring with you. I’m glad your children are seeing you cling to God, paint and create beauty, and take some time and resources for your own self-care like a massage or nice smelling lotion.

    • Brenda on October 2, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Amy, You sold a painting. Do you know how awesome that is? You have a start. You can do whatever you like. Praise the Lord. You don’t have to be even a bit miserable. It is within your grasp. Cling to Him!

  12. Teresa on October 4, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you Brenda for support. Dianna you wrote so lucid. I read myself in these posts. The more I read the more I understand what my gut was telling me. Leslie is the only Christian woman I read that truly knows what is going on. God bless her to get the message out so lives and marriages saved so abuse is in the open at church. Teresa

  13. IZHH on October 6, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Have any of you read “Powerful and Free” by Danny Silk? It helped me understand the abuses going on in some churches. Anybody else want to share their thoughts about this?

  14. Kelly on October 6, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    My husband doesn’t keep me updated on our finances. He’s self employed so every week and month is different. A lot of times he doesn’t work so I have no idea where the money comes from. He tells me we have no money before the bills get paid, I can’t complain too much as we our not delinquent but he tells me all the time it’s none of my business. I have recently filed for divorce(hoping for a separation and to reconcile first. Finances is just one area of abuse. My lawyer told me to take half of our savings and open a separate account for myself. He is more upset over the money than me wanting to leave. He says I have no right as I have not contributed to it. I have been a stay at home mom for our two youngest children for 10 years. Therefore, unable to physically contribute, but I feel I have saved him day care costs etc as my contribution. Does he really have the right to call me a thief? Now he won’t give me any money, he’ll go to the store because he says he can’t trust me with money that I’m also irresponsible. I am now going working part time and going to school. He’s criticized me for the year I’ve been in school and now tells me to get a real job and quit school so I can contribute to the bills since I want to be divisive. He says I may legally have a right to the money but not morally. Is that true?

    • Leslie Vernick on October 7, 2013 at 9:05 am

      Kelly, you and your husband are partners. He made the money, you took care of the rest. If he had to pay for childcare, household help, etc, that money of his would have been far less. When you agree as partners to divvy up the responsibilities – then you also divvy up the assets. One doesn’t get to keep all the assets because he earned them. Morally and legally that is not fair or right.

    • Brenda B on October 7, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Not in the least Kelly. You have every right morally and legally to the money. A marriage means you share. What if it were reversed? What if you were the one working and he stayed home with the kids? Would you respond as he has towards you? I didn’t think so. You are not a thief in any way. My X called me a thief for taking half when I left even though I work full time and bring in the larger paycheck. It is abuse plain and simple. They will say anything to make you doubt yourself and feel inadequate.

    • Erika on October 7, 2013 at 11:41 am

      No it’s not true. 🙁 The others are right. Morally and legally that money is yours as well. When I last separated from my husband he immediately stopped having the paycheck deposited into our checking because “he couldn’t trust me” and I was only entitled to it if I let him resume his so-called rightful place in the home. Since I was a SAHM of course I had no money. I think your lawyer is very wise.

    • Still Scared on October 9, 2013 at 8:55 am

      I was counseled by friends to take as much as possible out of the joint account before I ever mentioned separating. Not that there was anything in there because he spent it all on himself days after he got paid. But now I counsel anyone that even is thinking of this need to get all possible money in your own account. One friend had to hide it so bought gift card after gift card for Target and Walmart, etc. We , the kids and I, were always after thoughts for money but even more so now. He doesn’t think we should have any of “HIS MONEY” . Two other thoughts…trying to go back to work after years of abuse that left me unable to work because he would sabotage my job( very subtly) was so hard, especially in this economic climate. Secondly, the psychological damage from never knowing if there was money in the account when I needed to get food for my kids, paying all bills on payday…long term effects that are hard to explain to someone who has not gone through it.

      • Dianna on October 13, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        I had a friend who had the same problems w/ not knowing the financial status, etc. because her husband did not share that info w/ her. After many years of chaos because of the ups and downs of finances, he was arrested on tax evasion. I don’t know the details other than he serves a lengthy jail term. She was not arrested but may have had some restrictions to her life legally. She had two teenagers and a young son to raise in the meantime. She lived in a very small, sparsely decorated apt. for years. The local church family helped her do paid work and supplied some food and clothing.

        After her husband had served his time in jail, he had a heart change and they were able to reunite in a godly fashion. How wonderful! Yet, it took many years of great strain and pain on all of the family for his selfishness and irresponsibility. She learned to value herself and find her godly voice along the way.

        You may be legally in a bad place because you may be considered responsible for money decisions that he makes that are not sound. As a godly friend, I urge you to seek legal help to get into a safer and saner place than where you are at now. The legal help available is usually quite friendly to wives w/ children in your position.

        I will try to remember you in prayer for I, too, though w/ a bit differing circumstances, know what it is like to be held captive in fear, insanity, anxiety w/ such conditions. It is hard to be sane and to think sanely in your “home” when it is really an unsafe trap. Again, I urge you to get help to live in a more safe (in all ways) environment w/ help.

        Try to remember that the God of the universe, Who is sovereign, Who created you and loves you and all of His creation is worthy of your trust. Jeremiah 29:11

  15. MaryLou on October 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    The money in a marriage is 100% hers and 100% his. We have support groups for women of faith (or anyone) in Western Cuyahoga and Lorain counties in Northeast Ohio. A lawyer came to answer questions of the women in our groups and said don’t take half the money in the account, take all of it. This you do after you have obtained support and made a safety plan (which includes NEVER telling your abuser you are leaving). (Unfortunately a woman in our area thought she was safe telling her husband/abuser that she was leaving him in a public restaurant, but he went out to his car, retrieved a rifle out of his trunk and came into the restaurant and killed his wife and two little girls. The police then shot and killed him. What a tragedy!)

    The lawyer said when you take out all of the money ($1,000 or 100,000 it doesn’t matter) the next week his employer will deposit his paycheck for him to be able to pay all the bills. You need money for rent,(first and last months and a deposit) and supplies for your family. He said there isn’t a judge in the country who would fault you because this is your money. He also jokingly said, “Don’t go to the islands with it, but keep track of what you spend it on.” In the end he will get half of it back in the divorce settlement and you will have a good start at a new life. Also if you can go back to school, use your transferable skills from raising a family and taking care of a home to obtain a job, do so.

    I went back to school (with just a HS diploma) within 3 months of leaving my abuser at age 44 and in 7.5 years obtained my master’s degree in counseling and am now counseling abused women, speaking and educating faith leaders, and running support groups for abused women.

    My story is unusual in that 6 days after I left my husband of almost 3 decades surrendered his life and all the power and control he had on our family. After 21 months I moved back home and at 30 years we renewed our wedding vows in front of our grown children. I have a new husband in the same body and there has been no abuse for over 15 years. God took a heart of stone and turned it into a heart of flesh and gave me a servant-leader like Jesus in our home to live out our senior years enjoying our wonderful grandchildren together. I praise God everyday for what He has done in our lives and our marriage. The blessings are new every morning!

    I find that abused women are the strongest women I know. They have suffered and held a family together better than anyone. God bless all of you who have blogged and look to God for Strength and Wisdom, He will give it to you.

    • Erika on October 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      This is beautiful and inspires me SO much. Thank you for your comment.

    • Brenda on October 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Yours is indeed an inspiring story, Mary Lou. I prayed for years for a Christian husband and had no problem with him having the same body. The answer was no. You are blessed.

    • Dianna on October 15, 2013 at 3:07 am


      Thank you for your informative reply! Ten years ago I could have used that information!

      I am so glad that you moved on and out of your emotionally destructive marriage in a forward movement. Such an inspiration to all of us. How wonderful that your husband responded to God’s work in his heart and you have been reunited…for many years! Equally inspiring and I think, what we all would like to happen in our marriages.

      Again, thank you for this information and testimony to our gracious, loving Lord!

  16. kim on October 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I appreciate the transparency and vulnerability shown here as you all have shared your heart break and journey to healing.

    I have been married for 26 years and love him very much. He is a wonderful man, except to me. I think he is convinced I am the source of his misery and that he had made a mistake and as a Christian he is stuck, but I believe I am the source of holding him accountable or at least trying to.

    He works, I stay home, homeschooling our 4 sons for the past 14 years and finishing up with our junior in high school. Three of our son have already graduated. He is glad to take credit for that, but has not contributed in the teaching, leaves it to me. I felt called and he is NOT against it.

    Being self employed, he works very hard. He produces a decent income, our bills stay paid, we have a nice home and the pleasantries. We ran into some IRS issues, nothing serious but it sure shook things up a bit in the disclosure. It was time consuming, grueling processing to satisfy their investigation. 16 hours face to face with an IRS agent, 2 years going through it was a fine toothed comb. Who went? I did. Who prepared everything? I did. During the first month of this I had a horrible car accident that potentially would have resulted in a law suit and to top it off his mother had a seizure and was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. Over the next 8 months, I dealt weekly with with insurance companies, an attorney, collecting info getting our assets in order, satisfying the IRS, and dealing with all his stress. But he never did anything to help. He went to work and told me that is what he has to do, the rest is MY PART. I had no choice. I became his mother’s care giver, until she dies 8 months later and then supportive to his step dad.

    You never know if you have support until you need it. I have had a relatively easy life. My parents had died 21 and 15 years earlier at the age of 58 so I did not have support from family. I felt like the only adult. I felt alone, I cried for help and I was told everything was my fault, His theory being it must have done something wrong. I have always prepared our taxes (he Audit was random and not brought by any suspicion) His stress became so oppressive to me I thought I would have a break down.

    Through Trials the Lord does bring comforts. The Lord sent an angel in the form of a tax man, he helped me and did all the things a husband would do, guided me, encouraged me, protected me, helped me, reminded me that it isn’t my fault and this happens to many people. Funny thing was he was the same age that my dad would have been. I had met him 21 years earlier and he was the only one I thought to call out of desperation. He gladly came to my aide. Sad thing, he died March of this Year and I was devastated. Why? I hardly knew him and He didn’t charge me to help with the audit. His small office was run by himself, his wife and daughter and they were all wonderful to me. I personally, believe that if I my husband was more supportive, I would have suffered less.

    I started Attending Celebrate Recovery (they have groups for codependency and here I am 2 years later, surrounded by, healing and grace. I have always been a believer, but stayed in isolation as to not disgrace my husband by sharing my hurts. Celebrate is safe place and I found empathy and understanding, no judgment or advice or help, just support as we are directed to God’s word. I found accountability through a sponsor and accountability partners. I call them my Soul Sisters. I know that we will be friends for life.

    My home life has not changed it has become worse. My eys have been opened, layers have been pulled back. I am dealing with my enabling ways, found forgiveness,I have become stronger, I am setting boundaries and I am learning that I have suffered from a quiet abuse, emotional and psychological abuse.

    It is not just a bad marriage with poor communication and conflict over differences of parenting or finances. I live with a man who is unable to care about the needs of another. He reacts in fear and takes it out on me while managing to look like he is in control and I am the crazy one. I have condemned myself for not being a better submissive wife, studied out Proverbs 31 woman, Helpmeet verses amd bible studies,to the point of depression. As a result, I was drained and my identity became nul. I felt worthless. I, now, know God loves me and would not want me to live this way. He values me and so does others.

    My husband loves to purchase things, he justifies it because he works hard and deserves it. I agree he works very hard, but if we don’t have the money we shouldn’t purchase it. Example: Our kids have not had health ins for the past 3 years. To me that is skewed priorities and neglect. Not that my kids believe they deserve for us to pay for a higher education at a university, they don’t , but they don’t even dream to ask knowing he would not help, so, instead, they settle for local which is fine.
    On the other hand, he gets weekly massages, against my best judgment at a woman’s home, alone.

    When we decided I would not work and stay at home to raise our kids, I believed I had to earn it, now that I was not earning an income. Before kids, I paid for more than My share. I saved and put away. that was great it helped to pay for C-section delivery and rainy days. To this day, I have always handled all the bills. I never believed that would be a problem, it was what I do and it helps. It is my fault for creating this monster, but I have always been more qualified. My background is administrative. He is a window washer is what I would say. Now, I say, WE have a small window washing business. I can say that proudly, knowing I do my part to contribute to its success. He has always communicated it as, he has a business, while I just stay at home. While, in fact, I do everything short of talking to the customers and washing the windows. Everything to billing, receiving, bookkeeping, taxes, correspondence, etc. He doesn’t use a computer except to watch You Tube. He has also said he hopes I never go to work I keep a nice home and make everything easy for him, That would make it all worth it.

    He is is a musician for fun, but owns over 25 highly priced guitars like a professional. We’re talking over 60K in guitars. a fishing boat, 2 dirt bikes, a Harley, 5 kayaks, an expensive mountain bike etc., while I haven’t had dental work in 11 years. I am very frugal, my choice, does he forbid me to spend? No! I just think you spend what you don’t have. By the time needs come up the money is short. He hates debt, so we have very little I am creative, using the no interest lines of crated and staying paying them off before they come due. I am very good with making it work, but it is stressful and I feel like the parent to a man who calls all the shots. I can;t tell him we cannot afford something he would get angry and pull the “I earned it” card.

    I asked that we go to counseling, he will not. He does not believe it will help. I have pulled away we are not intimate. I said we need to talk I need to be heard and I feel like a tool if he won’t at least hear me out. It is more than that, there is some history of porn, he has been unfaithful, although it has been many years, as far as I know. We have gone out maybe a couple dozen times in 29 years, I figured it would happen the kids are young or money is tight, etc, but as the years went by it didn’t stop home from acquiring more and more things. I don’t own a wedding ring. I would say that is silly, who needs stuff. I am low maintenance. All I want is to be valued for being me.

    My friends tell me, he does not love me, he just loves having me do all the things I do so he can continue to enjoy life. I hate to believe that, but I am willing to get out of denial and accept that it could be true. We tarted dating 29 years ago and it is the last thing a woman would want to believe is the man she gave her heart to never loved her and never will.

    Thanks to this site, rather than just calling him a narcissist, I can see a real diagnosis (Passive Aggressive) it helps to bring some clarity to what I have been living. I can breathe, I have been lacking oxygen for years and didn’t ever know it. (Oxygen=Understanding) I always thought it was me, I’ve done something not to deserve love. With Pastors telling me try harder, give him what he wants, obey, submit, I was trapped in stinking thinking. Stephen Covey in his 7 habit of highly effective people, states 5th habit is to seek first to understand then be understood. I believe my husband has not taken the time to understand me. And I have not stopped long enough to diagnose but continually prescribed remedies that cannot work.

    I can, now, breathe, but it is still very hard and painful journey has taken me to “What to do now that I now know what I dealing with?”

    I am praying for the Lord to soften hearts, tear down and rebuild so that our marriage can glorify Him. But I cannot be the mar

    • Dianna on October 15, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      Kim, I can relate in many ways to your situation over the years. Interestingly, my husband was told about Celebrate Recovery (CR) about four years ago because of a porn addiction/problem (whatever?). I was not interested in going but was glad that he was willing to try it. I was just tired of that and other betraying issues coming up in our marriage of ten years.

      To my great surprise, he returned from the first group meeting w/ a new hope. He didn’t verbalize it but, I could see it in his person. He was and is a believer in Christ but I think he didn’t believe that he could overcome porn. I don’t mean to sugarcoat this issue but he has a high and long bipolar disorder that can make it extremely hard to overcome sexual issues. This has all been documented throughout the years, many before I knew him. I have witnessed it for myself. Nevertheless, it just has no place in a godly marriage and does nothing for trust. It took a long time for me to stand up on this issue and not give him excuses.

      So, he continued to go to CR meetings, being faithful to attendance in a porn recovery group of honest men. One in particular was a leader, pastor and very honest about his recovery area. Not explicit, just very open and honest which made it easier for others to admit and face the denial of their own recovery issue. It was a wonderful godsend to my husband because of the godly mentoring and biblical sharing that went on in the group and later outside the CR meetings.

      Due this hope and change in my husband, a few months after he started attending CR (he only invited me to come), out of desperation for our marriage and some of my own personal issues, I attended. It was so helpful, even though I knew the principles. The emphasis on personal accountability, not fixing others, godly way thru the 12 steps and other flawed christians working thru the steps was so refreshing.

      We continued w/ CR for awhile, both going thru 12 step studies but the leadership changed in a way that we both, separately, decided it was not for us anymore. We both still believe that would be good to be a part of our lives but haven’t committed to a more healthy group, at this time.

      I applaud you in joining CR, yourself. Also in getting and being a part of a good support group. That is something I am lacking and it is really my own fault.

      In listening to Leslie’s interview on the Debbie Chavez Show and to her latest video on developing our core strengths, I feel more knowledgeable, empowered and guided on how to take some harder steps FORWARD in my own journey of being more resilient and godly in difficult relationship issues. Especially since I have been realizing and admitting to myself that I have been handling my part rather badly over the years. I feel the guidance to become more familiar w/ God’s mind and heart on these issues and to be more tactfully, bravely, godly bold in facing issues that need attention. Also that my chaos and insane anxiety, at too many times, has come from not facing issues that are important and worth facing and figuring out how to work on instead of skirting.

      I love my husband dearly and there have been so many good changes in our relationship but there are some major important ones that need attention. As I listened to Leslie’s guidance in taking responsiblity for my own hurtful actions, words, motives, reactions…tearfully, God has softened my heart and cleansed me. Such a need and relief! As I have been thinking about how to have some difficult discussions w/ my hubby, so many lovely memories of why I love him have come to mind. Again, this has been good because they are true. I don’t need to be mad or cold to care and talk about our relationship w/o falling apart emotionally.

      I hope that going thru the materials that God has put on Leslie’s heart to share/teach will help you w/ your next steps.

      God’s best to you.

  17. Nancy on October 21, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    That’s my story up there- but God wasn’t finished working… about a week after I wrote it, I was at class when m husband was served with a writ of replevin for our mobile home- meaning we had 8 days to remove our things and find another place to live. Just a moment after that, the officer arrested him for failure to pay for a traffic ticket and multiple failures to appear at court.
    I nearly lost my mind. He called me collect from jail($10 for 9 minutes- that’s crazy!) and I took the call because I didn’t know what was going on. He begged me to get a payday loan to bail him out, and then to call his sister and ask her to bail him out. I refused. so he spent a night there. During that time I went to a crisis counselor and prepared to seperate. He got out, and walked home- I didnlt even know he was coming. He was weeping- asking for a chance to prove himself. I had never seen remorse before from him- nothing ever like this, and I gave him conditions for his staying, but not so clearly stated because I was a wreck. We were almost homeless- we were at the point of having the kids stay with him in a town 30 miles away at my emotionally abusive mother’s cabin ( furnished 1 bedroom house) I had one friend who would let me stay at her house, and no one would take even one of our kids in so they could stay in school. 🙁 No one even showed up to help us move our things until the night before we had to be gone- then one friend and her 2 teens came.
    We did get a place. the kids’ schools helped pay for the deposit. it’s much nicer than our trailer was, and the mortgage company does not want payment, so we don’t owe anything on it. My husband started going to counseling and had attended church with us for the first time in years. I saw him become thoughtful, affectionate and hard working- like i have never seen before. I really thought things were going well. Then he got sick and had to be hospitalized. and after that, I couldn’t get his psych meds because we had given out so much money just to move in here- back bills and deposits on utilities. And now he is going back to his old habits. I reminded him that I had conditions for him staying and wrote down specifically what those mean- he has to attend counseling- he has to get accountability from some godly men and work on his treatment of me and the kids, and his gaming and his moods and his medications. All evening he has been disagreeable. Thank you all for praying for me. I did not get any notice that my question was posted ( that I saw) I had no idea you were out there praying! thanks.

    • Nancy on October 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      oops- forgot the most important qualification for him staying- he does not touch any money. He handed over the check card and the disability payments.

  18. Nancy on October 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    I don’t have as much support as I would like. My family is far away and my mother is emotionally toxic to me as well, even though she offers help- it comes with poison. I have a few ladies I can call upon for godly wisdom and prayer and they help a lot. I take care of myself as much as I can- I make sure that I get enough sleep and a sabbath every week.
    I am sick- I have Psoriatic arthritis and there are times I can’t walk very well and am bedridden with the pain- not all the time though. This disease has randomly appearing pain in all my joints- one day my hand- another day, my neck, or ankle or whole body. I have pain every day, but when I have a flare, I take the time to recover- even if it means something doesn’t get done. My husband is sympathetic on those high pain days, and I am grateful for that.
    The kids are affected- my daughter, 19 gets the verbal treatment more than anyone. She was depressed and suicidal for 2 years, but we have gotten help for her and she is back to her old self. She sees a counselor. My middle kid, a son tends to attack people verbally when he gets angry and is very bossy and controlling. But other than that- he is an excellent student, helpful, serves everyone he meets, and I am very proud of him. He stepped up and helped take care of me when his dad did not. The youngest son is oppositional. He flies off the handle often. He wishes his Dad was gone. My kids also see my husband sick and in the hospital several times a year- I hope that they think this is the reason he is not doing more. They are both involved in civic groups of young men who help in the community. they are around good godly men who mentor them and my older son is in NJROTC at school, and signed up for the national guard because he wants to help with expenses. My daughter is a loner. She has Autism – just enough to make her socially awkward and nervous around others her age. She is ok with adults, but still would rather just be on her own or with me, which is nice, but Mom doesn’t need or want to know everything that goes on in her daughter’s thoughts! I just can’t seem to push her to interact with those who want to be her friends. she wees no need for it.

  19. Dianna on October 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I would like to tell how my situation has progressed in the past week. I hope that is not too selfish. One supportive person seems to have excuses for my husband’s extremely emotionally abusive behavior.

    We have one car to SHARE because of finances and his car died in January. We are on a limited income & I am unable to work because of health reasons, so this is not such a hard situation for the vehicle is extremely reliable & inexpensive to run. However, I did not realize nor expect that he was used to and expected to continue to run all over, whenever he desired w/ the car, w/ no regard to my needs or wishes to use the car. So this has been hard for several months.

    The weekends are the worst for he works long hours on those days. I like to have the car because it makes it more worth it to have a few hours to do things rather when he works short shifts. His daughter works a weekend job (her choice, for she has a good weekly job) near his work and he likes to see her before he goes to work. Part of the problem is that she does not reach out to him to visit, meet him somewhere, etc. Our homes are far from each other and she has two children, full time job and is living w/ the father of one of her girls.

    After discussing her having a recent bout of depression; totally about how to help her w/ suggestions, etc., he blew up at me because I did not want to be ready to leave the house at 8 AM, so he could visit her early. He works at noon on Sundays & only needs a few minutes travel time from her work to get to his on time. I had asked for a compromise of leaving an hour or so later. One of my concerns was that the earlier time makes for a very long day for him and he has been struggling w/ more health issues lately. He is 61 and these kind of days take a big toll on him. He did not even know if she would be at that job on Sunday (it is her own business).

    The night before that was a big blow up about him finally admitting to me & defending his hiding money from me for at least six weeks. It turned out to be all my fault, in his eyes! I was astounded because I had been waiting for a good time to discuss the small surplus in the checking acct. (which I manage w/ our mutually agreed goals) and his surplus in paychecks (a new event this month) and how to tackle some older bills in a better way. To talk about it together; I had not made any decisions nor moves w/ money w/o talking w/ him. He had not wanted to do so last week. I mistakenly thought he just wasn’t in the mood & it was because he had decided what he wanted to do & didn’t want to work together nor to discuss it.

    The night of the money discussion craziness, he blew up at me, accused me of all sorts of things that were and have not been true. I was sick of heart, watched a funny movie because I could not sleep. Finally went to sleep after 5:30 AM & declined use of the car.

    The following night, last night, after blowing up at me and calling me all sorts of names, mimicking, accusing me of all sorts of untrue things, badgering & not letting the conversation stop when it was going nowhere, I refused to be abused & told him calmly that nothing was coming of this conversation and walked away.

    I was a bit shaky but did some mindless chores to calm. Told myself this was not okay and I did not deserve nor need to be verbally abused in this way. The chores, distance and not engaging in conversation/arguing worked. I moved sleeping items, etc., to a spare room, for peace! Was able to get to bed by 2 AM, review the C.O.R.E. principles that I had just jotted down that evening before he came home. Also prayed the serenity prayer and steps in Celebrate Recovery. Had a calm, good sleep. Woke up at eight and offered my husband the car for the day to go see his daughter. Which he did.

    I wanted to say how helpful the C.O.R.E. principles helped me, as well as, the other suggestions from the other videos. Today has been hard and so I listened to three videos, again. The ones on Safety & Sanity were most helpful.

    I was not as assertive as I could have been but, I was not as emotionally broken & accepting blame/abuse as usual. I still have not and did not ask him why he hid money from me and that that was totally unacceptable and that he would have been very upset if I had done this. I can’t believe I did not have the clarity to call him, calmly, on this! In fact, I KNOW that if I did that to him or if he suspected it, he would have w/drawn a large amt. of money from the bank w/o letting me know. I know this because he has done so in the past six months.

    I have been realizing that I have to find a safe place to live. Had been hoping to show some of these videos & others by Jennifer Degler, Larry Crabb & Ray Kane about better biblical relating but he totally dismissed one by Larry Crabb and I don’t see this happening in the near future.

    Leslie, I appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, the discussion that you gave on: what is emotional abuse that is truly abusive, the necessity of safety & sanity. I have been wrestling w/ guilt & craziness of emotional safety & sanity for most of our marriage. My husband does have a serious case of bipolar disorder but it is the unpacked baggage & unfounded distrust of me that has been and is destroying our relationship.

    Again, thank you. My trust is in God and His leading & Word.

    • Brenda on October 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      I am praying for your quick rescue.

  20. Sue on October 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I think you are doing what is necessary to care for your family.

    If I had to do it over again, I would do the same thing you are having to do. I refrained, fearing it was disrespectful, unsubmissive and or controlling.

    I was in a similar situation with a husband who is chronically overspends and refuses to budget.

    I was responsible for bill paying, etc. but he still had access to all the money and spent it. I’d be shocked & embarrassed when I would go to pay for groceries or pay a bill with our debit card and the money wasn’t there.

    There was barely enough for bills and necessities without his spending!

    Any attempt on my part to make it work or compensate, was met with resistance or anger on his part.

    Now he has taken complete control of the income & bill paying. It all (what little there is) goes into his account and I have to ask for money for groceries, gas, phone, clothes. It’s so weird and distressing.

    He just got an iPhone and vehicle from his friend. My car needs repairs, it has for over a year. He keeps talking about taking care of it but doesn’t.

    I am looking into my options for some financial independence. It’s ridiculous that I am forced to live this way in 2013 in the U.S. with a Christian husband!

    He does outwardly keep up a semblance of normal.

    He used to be a pastor too.

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