What a great discussion you had this week with one another. So many of you offer such value and support to one another. Just to clarify, I do personally write all my own blogs and blog titles. I have a few assistants who do lots of things but they don’t create content for me.
One thing that is very important in order for someone to be a healthy adult is that she or he learns to receive feedback as well as be open to new ideas. When we look at destructive individuals, one of the things that make them unable to change is their unwillingness to receive feedback or to listen to different or opposing points of view.
In celebration of Christmas let’s remember that when Jesus came on the scene he presented new ideas about what the Jewish law meant. Love your enemies, do good on the Sabbath, pluck out your eye if it causes you to sin, blessed are the poor in spirit. These teachings were new wine that required new wineskins. They could not fit into the old religious containers. The religious leaders were so outraged by Jesus’ “new ideas” that they actually wanted him silenced.
We are not Jesus but let’s continue to be gracious when people present new ideas or different ways of seeing things. I don't want anyone to feel silenced here. I’ve always been proud that this group asks good clarifying and challenging questions. We don't all have to think the same way and we sometimes encounter real differences.
As we move into the New Year, our 7th year of this blog, I want us to be mindful of this CORE value.
Regardless of our differences, we always treat each other as we would want to be treated, with dignity and respect. Click To Tweet
Question: I have been married for 10 years, we have 3 children, my husband can be a very loving and caring husband and father at times, but when he is stressed out he becomes a terrible person, full of rage and blaming me for everything bad that happens.
He has been physically and emotionally abusive towards me, always the name calling. My kids love him very much, but they are also afraid of him when he is in that rage. He has pulled my hair and physically hurt me a few times all of that almost always in front of my kids.
During these 10 years, we have sought counseling from church and from the VA (he is a veteran), which has helped for a certain period of time.
A couple of times I left him, I took my kids and went to a hotel, but I always came back.
This year two days before our anniversary, he got enraged again and when we got home he took two of our boys with him. I was so scared for my boys and I ended up calling the police.
It was the worst day for us all, especially my kids. He was arrested for 1 day, got a restraining order, however after talking to his lawyer I have agreed to communicate with him. We have a business which I have managed for several years. He asked if I would help him with the business so I did.
It is very difficult now. He blames me for this. He said that he will never forgive me for calling the police and putting him in this situation. Right now, I have decided to trust God and not do anything, I had an appointment with a lawyer but I cancelled it because I am scared…don't know what to do.
Answer: I know it's a scary time for you, but now is the time to face that fear, not run from it. First, you did the right thing by calling the police. Had your husband done something awful to himself or the children while he was in that state you would have had a hard time forgiving yourself for not calling the police?
Second, you did not put him in this situation, he did. He said he will never forgive you for calling the police. That tells you a lot about where his mind is at. He believes that he’s supposed to be allowed to do anything he feels like doing when he’s upset or stressed or enraged with no consequences at all. That’s called entitlement thinking and you are not going to change that. He believes a lie. He believes that he should never have to deal with stress. And when he has to, it’s everyone else’s fault and they have to pay a price. This lie is firmly in place and I want you to know that there is nothing you can do to change this lie. It is his alone to face and to change.
Leaving and going to a hotel for a few days, calling the police, and him being arrested gave him an opportunity to wake up to this lie. The truth is that there ARE real consequences when you behave certain ways, even within intimate relationships. Furthermore, the restraining order gave him another opportunity to “learn” that you can’t behave that way without consequences. A lesson all human beings need to learn early in life – starting about age two.
Apparently, your husband also believes he’s above the rules of ordinary human beings. He believes that he can act out, behave badly, abuse you and scare your children and you should quickly get over it, continue to smile and act as if all is well. That’s called wanting a fantasy wife.
However, it seems that for ten years you somewhat complied with his belief. You said you left and went to a hotel when he acted like that and that was a good thing to do. But why did you return if there was no change? When you went to counseling or the VA for help did you disclose that he was abusive to you? These questions are not meant to shame you, most women do return a number of times after separating and do not disclose abuse. But a counselor can’t possibly see the full picture of what’s going on at home without both people having the freedom, to tell the truth.
It’s time for you to change your own dance steps in this destructive marriage because that is your only hope for a change. What that means is that you are going to have to do what you need to do to get stronger so that you don't fall for his lies that it’s your fault. You are going to have to get crystal clear in your own mind that you are not the one who is ruining your family or breaking your marriage apart. You want what every other human being wants and that is to be treated with decency and respect. To feel safe in your own home. Those are the basics of any relationship including marriage.
You are going to have to step outside your comfort zone in order for you to grow and change your part of the destructive dance. Typically your part has been to silently accept this abuse or leave, but eventually return to it. You got talked out of your restraining order by his lawyer in order to “help him with the business.” You’d think he’d be grateful but he’s not. He’s mad that you finally told the truth. “I'm scared. Your behaviour is scary and it’s not okay to take our children in a rage and drive off. I’m calling the police to make sure you don’t do something stupid.” You took decisive action and that something was a new step for you. And it did result in some protection, jail time, and a restraining order. But then you let yourself get talked out of that very real consequence for him by his lawyer.
You closed by saying “I had an appointment with a lawyer. I’m scared. I cancelled it. I decided to trust God and do nothing.” Why did you cancel it?As I read the Scripture, when someone decided to trust God, they did something, not nothing. Read my newsletter from yesterday about Tamar. She was a victim of injustice and she was patient for a long time. But when she realized nothing was ever going to change, she decided to do something. She didn’t know if her plan would work. She was scared and that’s where she had to trust God with the outcome. If you do the same thing you’ve always done, you will get the same results you’ve always gotten. Is that okay with you? For your children?
The truth is your husband doesn’t know how to handle stress or his negative emotions. He will continue to take it out on you and your kids as long as you allow him.
My final question to you is this: Has he always been this way as long as you’ve known him or has this rage been compounded by some PTSD from his service in the military? That is no excuse for his abuse but if there are PTSD issues, you can have compassion on his own wounds that he refuses to face. But will you help him most by being passive and compliant in his rages or will you help him most by saying, “I cannot live with you when you hit me, pull my hair, and abuse me? It’s not my fault you can’t handle your stress or anger. Get help and we can talk about whether we can put this marriage and family together. If not, then I won’t continue to allow myself to be treated this way.”
Friend, when fear has kept you stuck in unhealthy patterns, what did you do to break through fear in order to reach the other side?
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Boundaries And Addiction
From Suffering In Silence To Finding Courage Susan King Hello friends! Susan here, stepping in to address one of the many questions that come to Leslie Vernick & Co. each week. I have just had a 4 day weekend and was so thankful to have downtime with friends and family. It felt so great to…
How do I move beyond hurtful words?
This week I have been diligently working on a new e-newsletter which hopefully will be in your mailbox by Friday. If you haven’t signed up to receive my newsletter on line, go to www.leslievernick.com. The topic of the newsletter is Do you Talk to Yourself? I’ve also been working to update my Facebook page with…
No One Believes Me
Morning friend, It’s been a busy few weeks, how about you? One of the things that is crucial to your own mental and emotional well-being is a healthy, loving community. If it’s not happening at home or in your church community, it’s important that you seek it. Online community is better than no community. Grateful…
In response to the lady who has been married 10 years and is experiencing abuse. I can feel you pain. I, too, was in a abusive marriage (emotional, verbal and some physical). I filed two different times and thought he had changed; however it was temporary. I filed for divorce the last time after 32 years of marriage….very hard to do, but God has cared for me, provided for me and filled me with amazing peace about my decision. I am 2 1/2 years down the road from my divorce, and am a completely different person. It took me lots of time to figure out who I really was, what I enjoyed doing (hobbies, etc), and getting to know God in a deep personal way. I realized that I couldn’t change him, and I had to release him to God. I’ll be praying for you, as this is a tough decision….but know that you are not responsible for his actions. NOTHING that you do justifies this type of behavior. God loves you unconditionally….you are his treasured child.
My situation is similar to the above situation. I am currently staying for several reasons. To achieve some progress, I am working to get myself healthier physically, spiritually, and relationally (keeping up fellowship with other believers, etc.). My husband wanted me to switch churches because he was angry that the leadership at our former church confronted him about his behavior toward me. To keep our family together and to be kind to him, I do attend the new church with him in the mornings. I don’t feel comfortable and don’t think it is wise to leave my old church (which has supported me), so I attend there on Sunday evenings and for some of the extra fellowship activities. I also recently gave my husband a typed boundaries list as his physical abuse has ended but his verbal and emotional abuse has worsened. He has run over some of these boundaries so I am trying to carefully stick to the consequences I laid out but that is hard in many ways. With all this said, I am definitely having a difficult time staying, however.
You sound very much like me right before i left for good. God did a LOT of work in me during that time to keep me accountable to Him, maintain boundaries and enforce the consequences when they were crossed, and create an environment where i had a strong foundation of support when i did leave. Please do not leave your old church – the support you received with them confronting your husband is SO good and so uncommon. If/when you do finally leave, that will be paramount to your success. When you do leave, expect things to get worse. have safety plans in place and consider keeping your new residence a secret. You will need to lean into God and stand on this foundation you’re building now. Much love and many prayers. Ideally he will take the opportunity to learn and grow with these new boundaries and consequences, but trust that you have the right to decide for yourself the ultimate boundary.
I feel like staying well is similar to being in limbo; it’s temporary. It’s sort of like being as healthy as possible in an unhealthy marriage, which is already separated, even if still under one roof. The marriage is fractured without separating or divorcing. But i see that while under one roof, there’s always that chance that good will come too.
Elizabeth, You said you have made some changes to be kind to him and to keep the family together. I would ask what he is doing to “be kind and keep the family together.”? Are there children involved? What is the effect that his behavior is having on them? It may be that only by separating will you be able to see things more clearly and get yourself in a healthier condition. Many women on this blog have encouraged that as a way to get out of the fog of abuse. I encourage you to read the responses on previous blogs, as eventually, all these issues get brought up again and again. Look closely at the fears that are keeping you from doing what you need to do. Fear, when examined closely, loses much of its power.
Joann, thank you for your reply. I think you have replied to me a few times in previous posts too. I homeschool our 3 kids and my husband is the breadwinner. We were separated 2 years ago after the last physical incident, an arrest, and a temporary protection order. He fixed things enough that I agreed to have him move back in but then things gradually got worse in other ways. The intolerable things (like physical abuse) have stopped. Yes, the emotional abuse is very problematic but I am improving at identifying & responding to it in a wiser way. I don’t have a way to support myself and my current plan is to improve myself and politely enforce consequences if he doesn’t respect my boundaries. He is also out of town frequently and works long hours when in town, so that is helpful since I get a break from him. He loves the kids but his disrespect toward me does affect them, of course, and he does leave me to do most of the parenting.
Even though my situation is very different, the truths you communicate are still useful for my situation. There are certain truths that get repeated because I suspect they are core truths to being healthy.
Great post for sure.
I am in the process of evaluating what I need to change and deciding what I will do with my relationship if change isn’t mutual. That’s completely different than I’ve ever done. I have a lot to learn. He has changed some but it’s for his benefit. He says he wants to help me heal but it’s so I won’t be so hard on him.
So thank you for this.
Welcome to the group, Melissa. I’m sure you will get lots of help here. God bless you.
Leslie is right. Fear paralyzes. I struggle with being indecisive even with insignificant decisions.
One thing that helped me was the ‘little steps’ out of the fog, such as leaving the house when my H wouldn’t stop badgering me, journaling
was helpful, reading here on this blog has been helpful, reading good books that gave me clarity of mind:
the Lundy Bandcroft book and Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend and of course Leslie’s EDM. Since then I’ve read Mending the Soul by Stephen Tracy which is also excellent.. Leslie referenced how Tamar suffered terribly in her dysfunctional family. I think she said it’s the subject of her next newsletter; Mending the Soul has almost a whole
chapter about Tamar and the fallout of her rape, for anyone wanted to read follow-up literature.
To the woman who wrote the letter, please listen to the excellent counsel Leslie gave. Your H isn’t taking ANY responsibility for any selfish outbursts and the terrible effects it’s having you and even worse on your children. You are their protector. Please be strong for them. Do not listen to his lawyer. His lawyer does NOT have your childrens’ best Interests in mind.
You said in your letter that your H can be a loving father and your kids adore him, that’s good, but considering his abusive behavior he’s still not a SAFE PERSON. You still need to protect yourself from him. Would you let your kids get a dog who is sweet 5 days a week but who growls and bites them 2 days a week? No! You would call animal control and they would take away that dog.
Just bc you pursue a legal separation or a divorce or a restraining order does not mean you are a bad woman; it means you are a wise woman. It means you’re operating in Christ-like authority and God will give you the grace walk it out.
It’s BEYOND RIDICULOUS that this man would have the gall to say he won’t forgive her calling the police. It’s his own fault. Her only fault in this is not calling the police the first time he laid a hand on her.
Like so many ladies have said here recently, it’s the mantra that has been drilled into us since elementary school: “Let’s all just Be Nice and Get Along”. The “Nice “ campaign was very successful. Now, we see a precious lady wavering on what to do with a man who pulls her hair and screams and profanities at her in front her children.
Just remember be kind and be brave. God is with you. But do not worry about being nice.
Yup, Ruth. I totally agree. Throw out the NICE.
Jesus wasn’t nice. He operated in radical love. He was KIND. Kindness does what is best for all involved. That means allowing abusers face the consequences of their actions.
For myself, my NICESSNESS has very selfish motives. It’s so that others think highly of me. It’s about the image I project. That’s not Godly. Not even a bit.
i re-read my Post and I think my statement: “Her only fault in this is not calling the police the first time he laid a hand on her.” is be a bit judgy especially considering all the dumb relationship decisions I’ve made.
Original writer, please realize my intent wasn’t to be harsh to you, but was indignation that your H was faulting you for his arrest.
Original writer, i’m not totally sure of how strong your resolve is to resist evil bc your H has pretty much aligned himself with evil. Just read the acts of the flesh in Galatians. But think of it this way – who would God be for: innocent children or a raging adult who won’t humble himself before God?
If your H has any hope of changing has abusiveness, my advice is that he should go through a lengthy, highly recommended DV program program. I would not recommend a church program bc I hear WAY TOO MANY ladies tell:
1. 😞 Pastoral counseling unfortunately from what I hear the majority of the time is incompetent at best and sometimes makes the situation WORSE.
For example, the pastor sympathizes with abusive husband. Counseling sessions become buddy time. There’s a little fluff talk about being more patient, but really it’s just the good ole boys club – unless your pastor is truly discerning.
2. Many pastors and Biblical counselors (bc of particular scriptures) will pressure the wife to resume sexual relations even if she still she traumatized by him. PTSD goes both ways; the original writer’s H has PTSD and he rages on his family, but I Guarantee that his children have Sleep problems, anxiety, concentration problems, depression, and a hair-trigger startle reflex (those are my PTSD/anxiety symptoms too). But do you see his wife or children abusing anyone? No.
He abuses bc he chooses to.
But if the mother doesn’t get those children away from him, they will learn that this is the pattern for marriage, and they will likely repeat it in their adult lives.
I am sorry to be so cynical about Biblical counselors, but most of them just seem to want to coddle the abusers and ask victim, “Now, what did you do to provoke this?”
I see some very important core truths in this response. Entitlement being an important one. And even though my H has not touched me aggressively since the spring, there is still all kinds of abusive things happening, including using my strengths for his benefit and insulting me when those strengths aren’t beneficial, and this is something he admitted to doing.
I am working on committing to some changes that I want to do to be my own person.
This is a very helpful blog. Thank you.
“Friend, when fear has kept you stuck in unhealthy patterns, what did you do to break through fear in order to reach the other side?”
What did/ do I do? . . . .My abuse is from childhood and again, I never get all the way across the bridge “to reach the other side.” I get so, so far and keep rushing back. . . . I get my hands unstuck from the bars of my cage but as I move to the door, the cage starts shaking violently and to stabilize myself I grab another bar . . .so I’m still stuck just on a different set of bars in the cage. Those shame based enslaving mind viruses are not fixed, those “selves” are alive, constantly re-strategizing. . . . .And the bridge to the Lord is high with shear cliff walls and appears very, very shaky (—like a shaky suspension bridges with lots of steps missing.) It appears, sometimes, to take unbelievable faith to get across.
. . . . .Abuse becomes such a part of you, step-for-step, breath-for-breath. You keep living it over and over. . . .I have my abusive mother internalized and she is like a cancer spread to my whole body. Everyone I meet becomes my mother to me. . . . .I never get all the way across the emotional bridge. —Again, I get so far and keep rushing back to the other side. . . . .Maybe grief and love and loss are so conjoined, —you don’t get one without the others?
Abuse, to me, feels like coming home and so comfortable (—but totally destructive). . . .Again, the issue seems to me that I am “occupied” and not even by an updated version of my mother —but by the childhood version. . . . My mother can abuse me anytime she wants because I have internalized her. How do you get non-physical internalized relationships out of your head? It seems pretty straight forward to get a divorce from someone. How do you divorce someone who you have internalized in childhood trauma even though you never see them anymore? I have gotten many insights into those barriers and removing them but I am not completely across that bridge yet. —But, . . .but I can see that most probably the battle is won by awareness and I am so much more aware. . . .Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to such a deeper understanding of ourselves. —Those things point to what is still wild and unhealed inside us and why (—secondary gains, ideals, etc.)
Shame is such a soul destroying emotion. —And yet, this morning I saw this verse and got really excited about it: Psalm 34:4-6 . . .I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. *They that look to Him are Radiant, And they will never be ashamed.* The poor cry out to the LORD and He hears them and saves them out of all their troubles. . . .” . . .They will never be ashamed? —Lord, do you mock me??? —They will *never* be ashamed? . . .Only faith keeps our ships moving, while empathy and the memories of our experiences maybe they can lead to wisdom. Lord God help us all, especially me, to keep moving. . . .You have to think, all right, . . . .stupid as I am . . .biased as I am . . . .ignorant as I am —I’m going to keep steeping across that bridge to reach the other side and I’m going to live with the consequences no matter what they are. John11:16 . . .Then Thomas said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” —Wow, that’s the faith to cross that bridge.
. . .We don’t get to choose to not pay a price in life, we get to choose which bridge we’re going to take, —that’s it and maybe we don’t even get to choose that. . . . .getting to “the other side” may do us no good to reach if we haven’t changed inside. Again, everyone I meet becomes my mother to me because the issue is inside of me. We externalize and scapegoat so much, but if we heal in our CORE the external could be self-correcting. —Otherwise, in many situations, we just rebuild that same fact pattern, same issues with someone new because the issue is in our COREs. . . . .If I don’t break the scapegoat mechanism, I will always “other” somebody else. —And it seems to me that the scapegoat mechanism is very insidious. —I am not sure but I think if the underlying scapegoat mechanism is not decommissioned, then new “others” will always arise to protect facing my own internal conflicts. In order to destroy the scapegoat mechanism, a Psalm 34 strategy might be adopted, facing my own lack, rather than ignoring it and thus creating a scapegoat who must carry it. —But I still do it sometimes, I externalize some of my issues so I don’t have to face them internally. 🎄✝ރ 💒😊 🌉
Friend, when fear has kept you stuck in unhealthy patterns, what did you do to break through fear in order to reach the other side?
In Ruth’s reply above there is lots of valuable information. I have benefited from all she has shared as far as references for reading. All the authors are excellent and Ruth’s written response is too! I can attest that each of those writings were all a part of my own,”break through fear”. to A good suggestion is take time to educate yourself with those tools and others. There are especially great dangers present for retaliation once a woman initiates actions to protect herself. So be alert and careful. Keep your eyes pealed when reading community newspapers because there are often references to self-help groups that are eguipped to help and can be a blessing once you join. In my home state there is a group called 180 Turning Lives Around (180nj.org) that guides women in domestic violence situations. I know there are many throughout the country because when I went to school for my human services education I had to do a research report and found that my states social service site provide names of agencies in multiple counties that woman could resource services from. The offerings include counseling, housing and trainings both work preparative and personal to help women learn how to find independence from their unsafe homefront experiences. The group sessions also provided friendships with others facing similar circumstance. Knowing you are not alone is a very comforting factor when going through these trials and actually some of the sharings can help one develop the strength to take the necessary leap that is needed. Another wise step is personal counseling with a pastoral counselor. My church and many others have provisions to help, but you need to ask first. My church provided it for free and there atre many state sponsored social services available if one seeks their services.
Sadly, i admit I wasted valuable time before I broke free. I too went back to living together with my former husband after an arrest, and subsequent restraining order. I too fell into the trap of being sympathetic to my exes needs but realize now being NICE did not work. He did not change even following consequences from his actions. And despite sharing with me how humiliating and degrading it was for him he still managed to continue harassing me after we were divorced too. At that point I had reached the place of no return for my own good and welfare. I continued reporting to the proper authorities, returned to court and found that not backing down and being consistent eventually worked.
Too keep strong in the aftermath, I found other outlets to prevent me from ever re-experiencing my past tribulations. Celebrate Recovery is a Christian based program that has helped me. Many people seem to think this program is solely for drug and alcohol addictions but it is not. I have copied and pasted the contact info for their web-site here. (www.celebraterecovery.com Find meetings nationwide. Books and literature. Christ centered recovery program for all types of habits, hurts, and hang-ups.)
Remember confusion is not from God but is something many of us seem to share here on the Leslie Vernick blog. When confronted by what we are examining here we need to draw close to God. I have a few scriptural passages I pasted below. My l suggestion is to do a simple search on-line to find more, write them out and place them where you can be constantly reminded. “Satan is the author of confusion. He seeks to cause chaos, disorder, death, and destruction. 1. 1 Corinthians 14:33… For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 2. 1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for somed eone to devour. “ And one last thing I learned that helped me was the acronym for FEAR. Fear was stressed to me as FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL. So don’t believe the LIE of FEAR!
This is an addendum to my own post. The pastoral counselors at my churches were each licensed social workers with secular BSW Degrees who worked for the churches and were Christian woman. I did read Ruth’s additional reply and have heard of similar experiences. I must thank God in my case that nothing but highly valuable counseling was my own experience.
Well said, I too learned to give in to my sister as a child. My mother insisted I give her the front seat, the best room, to appease my sister so she did not have to deal with her moods and behaviors. I learned to not “Rock the boat” and not to discuss family problems with any one but the priest. Big mistakes learned in my childhood. I lived a lie in my marriage and created a vision of perfection to the outside world. I lived in denial of his affairs, narcisstic control and manipulation, and shaming. I believed the lies, and gas lighting. II was not enough. I tried to make everyone happy except myself. I did not trust enough in the one who would carry me through- God. Who did love me and has restored my hope in the world. In the end, I failed miserably. I had no boundaries and tied myself to the approval of people who shamed me, and treated me horribly with their emotional abuse. I stayed for a long time. (27 yr). I left when I realized that my oldest child had taken on the role of abuser like her dad. Do not fool yourself that they will not treat you like that because they see you take it already from your H. I heard Leslie address this the other night, If they cannot acknowledge the hurt they have caused you, then they really aren’t respecting your boundaries and are not emotionally supportive. I had to accept that I am powerless over others. And while I wish I could, I had to leave because it was destroying me. I can only control myself and I no longer tolerate the abuse. I do get how hard it is to let go of people we love. If I had the boundaries and tools and knew what I know now, I would have left after the first year. I no longer view it as wasted years as the bible tells us they are not. I hope you will put it in God’s hand and he will help you discern your path.
Aleea, I really like what Laura Di said below: “Fear was stressed to me as FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL. So don’t believe the LIE of FEAR!”
This I know: fear is absolutely a tool of the devil to keep us in bondage. He can actually install a spirit of fear into us, and the only way to be released from it is to acknowledge it’s source and tell it to go away. (James 4:7) Once we really see what is happening, we then have the authority to say, Satan, take this spirit of fear and leave me now, in the name of Jesus Christ. I have done this, and following that up with praising the Lord is a powerful antidote to the fear. What do you think is on the other end of the bridge? Really….think about this. You are seeing your prison cage as a safe place, but is it, really? Some part of you wants to stay there, but that is not what the Lord wants for you. He wants to give you freedom. False Evidence Appearing Real. Satan is the father of lies. Let the Lord’s light shine on these lies and the truth will set you free.
JoAnn and Aleea,
JoAnn such truthful words! It’s so true to see what important to sort out what doesn’t fit or belong.
Aleea, I think you explained some really important factors of abuse and the tentacles of the effects of abuse. I’m so sorry for what you went through. I’m so thankful you read the scriptures and I pray for your tender holding by the Lord’s care for your wounds and your freedom from the occupying internalization that you spoke of.
He does see and He does come close to hear you and bring comfort for your heart the only kind that will heal.
Even if our abusers take responsibility ~ the wounds ‘are there’ and the Lord has appropriate healing for our hearts.
I wonder if this is of any help? It was helpful to me…
The abuse you speak of, happened to you, but it’s NOT about you.
I say this because you say you don’t see your mom so your not engaged with her on a regular basis where she would have access to you. But your mind is accessing her.
Abuse often gains power when we make it about ourselves rather than the unhealthy individual that externalizes those harming behaviors.
I have a long way to go with my own effects of harm done, I know i can’t walk well alone in these places.
Praying for us all and the healing that’s ours to claim💜
Amen, Aly. I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating, and you said it well. That separating line….the knowing that what she did was of her, not me, and to disown her anger and even the pain that caused her to do what she did…not about me, not about you, Aly, not about you, Aleea. Not your fault. Therefore, let it go, along with all the words that lied to you that it was about you. LIES. Yes, Satan is the father of lies, and what he does very well is to plant lies in our hearts and minds and uses them to keep us in bondage. The real key is recognizing that those thoughts are LIES, and where they came from…not your mother, but Satan using her to plant those lies…then you can renounce them. Then, after renouncing the lies, we can allow the “washing of the water in the word” to cleanse our whole being and refresh us with His truth.
Thank you for this and your kind encouragement.
The mother wound isn’t simple. I wish it was. It runs deep😔
For my situation, the anger, avoidance and rejection that my mother gave was because I ‘would not’ be captured by ‘what captured her’.
I refused and protested against spirtualizing her coping mechanisms.
I greatly interrupted her false sense of peace, false love and idolatry.
His love conquers and covers ‘her version’ anyday as it should and this is where she battles. This is where she chooses the conflicting message.
Aly, that surely is painful for you, and I am so very sorry! Remember, that the battle is the Lord’s. He is Truth, and He has won the victory. Let Him stand between you and the forces of darkness.
And have a lovely Christmas!
“…not about me, not about you, Aly, not about you, Aleea. Not your fault. Therefore, let it go, along with all the words that lied to you that it was about you. LIES. Yes, Satan is the father of lies, and what he does very well is to plant lies in our hearts and minds and uses them to keep us in bondage. The real key is recognizing that those thoughts are LIES, and where they came from…not your mother, but Satan using her to plant those lies…then you can renounce them. Then, after renouncing the lies, we can allow the “washing of the water in the word” to cleanse our whole being and refresh us with His truth.”
If I wasn’t stuck I would. . . . .If I wasn’t stuck I would do. . . . .I don’t even know I have been stuck for so, so long.
Angel of light, I see you glow in the night
But you only bring darkness to my soul. . . .
Angel of light, You’re telling me wrong is right
But I won’t let you’re evil take control . . . .So help me Jesus, so help me God!
“Remember, that the battle is the Lord’s. He is Truth, and He has won the victory. Let Him stand between you and the forces of darkness.”
. . . .all I know is that Jesus calls my name and then I just take His hand. I just hold Christ’s hand. What more can I do??? . . .and I think on the things that will bring me peace: Proverbs 23:7, 1 Peter 1:13, Philippians 4:8, 2 Corinthians 10:5. . . . etc. —That’s all I know: Jesus calls my name and then I just take His hand.✨✝
“And have a lovely Christmas!”
—Amen❣ 😊 💕 and yet, every single day is Christmas when we are . . .praying, caring, loving, sharing —those really are the marks of the cross, as I understand it. . . .Pride and shame don’t make any sense in the final analyses and they are no fun anyway. —They are totally isolating emotions. —Lord I don’t want to be isolated, even if I think I am not, —help me!!!
“washing of the water in the word”
—I repent Lord, even of the things I don’t even know to repent of and I turn to You. . . . .Lord may your love, in wave after wave after wave wash over and over and over us and wash us clean, clean, clean. There is nothing that has ever happened that Christ’s blood can’t wash away (1 John 1:9). I’ll be praying much that God breaks everyone’s heart so completely that they are transformed, —especially me! Transformations, self-emptyings, toward Christ —our rock, our fortress, our comfort, our peace, our salvation, our refuge, our God. . . .radical, sweeping, encompassing transformations.
. . . .Growing up, my mother used to see me studying the Bible and praying and she would tell me: “Damn it, Aleea, don’t lose your mind. . . .honestly, what is the matter with you!!!”
—Lord God, may we *totally* and completely lose our minds in You so that we may truly come to our senses —especially me Lord!
According to Jesus: The often painful and confusing intermediary stage between two perception-and-action frames is equivalent to ____________,
—Jesus, just flat-out carry me!!!💜 💟. . .🎶↪ ✈ ⌚❣
—Thank you so, so much for the comments, —always helpful. It is so meaningful talking with people here ―and I so appreciate everyone.
“FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL” . . .I think I understand: Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.🎆 👧✔☑ yes!
“Satan, take this spirit of fear and leave me now, in the name of Jesus Christ.”🎆☑ —I’m saying it with force and I mean it and I will continue to say it. . . .
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”🎆☑ —I repent of doubt and I do resist!
“What do you think is on the other end of the bridge? Really” —Well, I imagine it as just Peace and Calm. Tranquillity wrapped in Love released from desire and fear, —both.
“The abuse you speak of, happened to you, but it’s NOT about you. I say this because you say you don’t see your mom so your not engaged with her on a regular basis where she would have access to you. But your mind is accessing her.”
—Absolutely, Aly! Thank you.
“Abuse often gains power when we make it about ourselves rather than the unhealthy individual that externalizes those harming behaviors.”
Aly, I’ve been thinking so much about that lately and not even making this about the unhealthy individual or about me but about Christ. Is there a way to ensure that Christ’s story *totally* overtakes our abuse stories. . . .Can we make this about Him 💕✞†ރ ✞ 💟 —is that possible???
“Praying for us all and the healing that’s ours to claim💜” —Thank you for the prayers, they are the best gift ever. . . . Oh, how I ask for prayer. —Best gift 💗 🎁 💗 ever!
Here is something that came into me email this morning:
Psalm 50:23 Whoever offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving
1 Cor. 13:12 For now we see in a mirror obscurely, but at
that time face to face; now I know in part, but at that time
I will fully know even as also I was fully known.
Here, the word thanksgiving can also be translated as
praise. The Lord is waiting for our praises. Nothing can
glorify our God as praises can. One day, all the prayers,
works, prophesying, and labor will be over. But on that day
our praises will be more than today’s. Praise will last for
eternity; it will never cease. Today we have the opportunity
to learn the best lesson; we can learn to praise God even
Today is still the time when we see in a mirror obscurely
(1Cor. 13:12). Although we can see a little of many things,
we cannot understand the meaning behind them. We can only
feel the pain of all the inward wounds and outward trials
that we have encountered and experienced. We cannot
comprehend the significance behind them. This is why we do
not praise. We believe that praises will abound in heaven
because there will be full knowledge in heaven. The fuller
the knowledge, the fuller the praise. Everything will be
clear when we go before the Lord on that day. The things
that are unclear to us today will be clear to us on that
day. On that day we will see the Lord’s excellent will in
every step of the Spirit’s discipline. When we see
everything on that day, we will bow our head and praise Him
saying, “Lord, You were never wrong.”
Nevertheless, we can still praise Him for who He is, though our knowledge and experience are limited. This shames the devil and causes him to flee.
How appropriate for this conversation, JoAnn.
How I long for the day when things will be made clear! But I thank God that He is increasing my desire to trust in Him even more (than in my own understanding).
He knows all things. I know so very, very, very little.
Thank you for sharing.
They will never be ashamed…maybe this means that before Him we will not be ashamed. We sometimes take shame onto ourselves, or it is put on us, but before Him, we are not ashamed. I, like you, am often puzzled when my experience doesn’t match the word. But perhaps in this verse, it refers to our stand before the Lord, and if that is true, and He doesn’t shame/blame us, then why do we take it on for ourselves? The word says that Christ bore our shame on the cross (1 Peter 2:6). If He did that, then there is no basis for us to carry shame on our backs. It’s just another load of s*** that someone has dumped on us. WASH IT OFF!
. . . .yes, maybe it does refer to our stand before the Lord. I say if we feel ashamed about our need for love and support, it’s because we were made to feel this way as a child. It’s not a sign of weakness to want affirmation, reassurance or someone to count on. These are natural, appropriate needs. But now as adults we can show up for ourselves and make sure to be there for ourselves first. . . . .Our need to be “greater than” or “less than” looks like the mind’s defense against toxic shame. Shameful acts were committed upon us. The perpetrators walk away, leaving us with the shame. We absorb the notion that we are somehow defective. To cover for this we construct false selves, masked selves. And it is this self that is the overachiever or the dunce, the tramp or the puritan, the powermonger (sp?) or the pathetic loser. . . .And power is confusing for us, because our relationship with it had such unfortunate beginnings. People in positions of power over us used and abused us. . . .It seems as if power were something to be wielded, always at someone’s expense, usually our own. . . . . . For change to occur, I must be willing to enter the wilderness of the unknown and to *wander* in very unfamiliar territory, *directionless* and often in the darkness. I can’t keep things “under control.” In fact, I can’t find my footings without allowing some real falling apart to happen. —Because again, in a world where everything revolves around yourself —protect yourself, —promote yourself, —comfort yourself, and take care of yourself —Jesus says, “Crucify yourself.”🍵🐦🎄
“It’s just another load of s*** that someone has dumped on us. WASH IT OFF!”
. . . . —yes —σκατά (s***) but even after we wash and wash and wash, we still have the περικαθάρματα [the] residue. . . . .I need Christ’s love, in wave after wave after wave crashing over and over me and washing me all the way to the shore. . . . .shame was internalized when I was abandoned. —And abandonment seems to me to be the precise term to describe how we lose our authentic selves and *really* cease to exist psychologically. . . . . Playing roles and acting are just forms of lying. If a person acts like they really feel and it rocks the boat, they are totally ostracized. . . . .I see that in my re||engage marriage class at church. A women starts to talk about serious issues with her husband, the group leader glosses over it and the other women shut her down. . . . . .So even in the church, we promote pretense and lying as a way of life. Living that way causes that inner split. It teaches us to hide and cover up our toxic shame. This sends us deeper into isolation and loneliness. . . .The good thing is, over time, we developed an informal group that meets right after that re||engage marriage class where people can αςμύγα (let fly). —But it is so, so out-of-control . . . . —a team of psychotherapists, psychiatrists, etc. couldn’t get that under control. . . . .and this is basically all I know to do:
💖 1) How are you *really* doing in your relationship with Jesus. . . .Do you, (do I) need to repent.
💖 2) How can I pray for you. . . . .How can we pray for each other. Is there any legal action I can help you take.
💖 3) Are we ensuring that Christ’s story totally overtakes our abuse stories. . . .This is about Him✞✝, even when I try to make it about Me! Lord God help me never to!!!)
. . . .Serious stress shortens your life. —Even a broken heart can kill you. There is an undeniable mind-body connection. I just sit there thinking “Ladies for your own precious and beautiful life, and for those around you —Do exactly what the Holy Spirit shows you to do —and do it now!” . . . But, then I realize, that’s exactly what I need to do with my own internalized childhood abuse and shame.
You would be an awesome leader of emotionally healthy spirituality. It’s a course ( or small group study) that is designed exactly to attack the ‘pretense and lying as a way of life’ inside the church ( that you are encountering in your group).
Week after week it confronts the way we often use ‘victory language’ as a way to deny our real emotional experience.
I have found it to be SO freeing to lead this course – I lead it because I need it more than anyone!
I highly recommend it for anyone to introduce into their church, but especially those churches that have culture of tendency to emotional avoidance.
Here’s a promo video called:
The Power of EHS course
Praise God for this and your willingness to bring this to your church family;)
So glad your church is willing to explore and support such a root study.🎉
These pretenses as you described tend to have a lot of control in what studies will be supported or not…I have found these pretenses to be more the norm within many church communities and they tend to reject based on their own level of emotional avoidance ~ sadly.
I’m so thankful you have the community and the love of Christ to offer and to receive💜
Prayers and hugs for your family~ I’m thankful and grateful to know you here. 🌈
You are so right about the level of pretense controlling what will be accepted or rejected in a church. You have given me the words of gratitude to express to our pastor this Christmas!
There’s no question that The Spirit is at work in our church family. I went to our pastor earlier this year with this, and found out that she had done this study years ago after hearing the author speak at her seminary.
She was so excited and encouraging because she understood the deep, deep value of it – in her own personal life. There are 10 of us walking through this together and it is a very rich and safe experience (kindof like an AA meeting combined with a Bible Study – very safe!)
Merry Christmas, sister ❤️
“Week after week it confronts the way we often use ‘victory language’ as a way to deny our real emotional experience.”
. . .Absolutely, a place where people come and instead of all this triumphalism (―excessive exultation over spiritual success!, ―victory!!! and “conquering” things) we really relate in total brokenness and acceptance. ―No more masks to hide behind. To me, Christianity’s radical insight is that we do not see Christ as simply another identity to place alongside our others: wife, lawyer, et.al. Instead, Jesus cuts across all these concretely existing identities [Jew/Gentile, slave/free, male/female, etc.] those who identify with Christ are no longer held captive by categories. . . . In that way, Jesus’ passion teaches us that the scapegoat mechanism is not to be utilized by those in the Church to build the church. Rather than finding unity in the sacrificing or exclusion of a chosen victim (―lesbians, ―agnostics, ―narcissists, ―atheists, ― “evil birds”, et.al.) the Church, as a community of those who identify with Christ’s loss of identity on the cross, gathers around a table where we break bread and remember our crucified Messiah. We are called not to play the game of identity. . . . .Now, I understand we have to bracket off neuropsychological measures outside of the norm: —interpersonally exploitative, totally psychotic, emotionally unavailable, devoid of empathy, etc. but I really wonder what the real percentage is (really) for those issues. . . . .Anyway, the point is to help break the false distinction between the idea that there are those who are whole and those who have a lack. For the true distinction is between those who hide their lack under a fiction of wholeness (―re: They say they have the peace that passes ALL understanding, etc.) and those who are able to fully embrace it: “I don’t have the peace that passes ALL understanding”.
“I have found it to be SO freeing to lead this course – I lead it because I need it more than anyone! . . . . I highly recommend it for anyone to introduce into their church, but especially those churches that have culture of tendency to emotional avoidance.”
Awesome!!! . . . .To me, what is “post-modern Christianity” indicates a failure of the very fabric of the structure of churches. Could it be, the solution comes from requiring we really acknowledge and actually, really embrace utter brokenness. . . . brokenness not competence, brokenness not triumphalism, brokenness not certainty? Most marriage relationships exist like that for decades, never bringing up the unpleasant truth for fear of a *total* crisis. Not realizing that the crisis is already there, lurking in the midst.
The Power of EHS course☑ yes!
“(kind of like an AA meeting combined with a Bible Study – very safe!)”☑ yes!
🎄✝ރ 💒 😊 💕✈🎆 👧
“Could it be that the solution comes from requiring we really acknowledge and actually, really embrace utter brokenness…? ”
I am so with you here! Except….that we cannot require that of church goers, we can only offer it and PRAY that they will embark on the amazing journey!
I actually think that people in any leadership position should be required to do it, and that the rest of the congregation offered it.
When I started this I was (secretly) angry with people who were uninterested in it. Now I see it more as my job to woo people with it, offer it, pray for them. The Holy Spirit will draw those who need to be there, and I need to respect the limits of those who cannot.
It’s not that our triumph in Christ is not real. It absolutely is…but Life comes out of Death. If we can’t get real about the pain of the death, we can’t be real in the joy either.
We can’t really force brokenness; we can only accept it. By seeing just what it is and actually embracing the outcome, then we stop being so resistant to the circumstances that the Lord arranges for us to be broken. That is what He is trying to do, when He leads us into valleys. or storms. To fall prostrate before Him, in surrender to His will. That is true brokenness. But until we learn that that is what is happening, we fight it and/or muddle through, without ever surrendering to the Lord. This is where fellowship is helpful, of the kind you are talking about. When sisters and brothers can come together in love, to support each other and share their experiences of Christ, that builds up the members. I believe that makes the Lord happy.
I agree with what you wrote out here in this post.
I also agree strongly with this;
“We can’t really force brokenness; we can only accept it.”
What comes out of acceptence?
Another difficult and yet dangerous place is contributing to the denial of someone’s chosen inability or disinterest in brokenness in an of itself.
In other words, do you think a big problem is our willingness to accept another’s unwillingness to not look at brokenness?
I think this is where the defining of the dynamics and boundaries begin to take shape.
Yes, of course. Isn’t that why so many here have had to endure abuse? Because the h will not repent, turn, open to the Lord’s transforming power? Instead they fight it and take it out on the wife. Then the wife puts up with it and can’t accept the reality of the situation: that he is not going to change.
I think as women, we are forever hopeful…expecting that change is around the corner. The “unbroken husband” continues to break the wife….how horrible!!!! But that is not God’s brokenness. What God wants is surrender to HIS will, not the will of anyone else. That is true brokenness. There is a story about the wind. When we walk into the wind, it is hard; when we walk with the wind at our back, the wind actually helps us along. In the Bible the word for wind is the same as spirit: ruach. So what happens when we resist the Holy Spirit? And then what happens when we walk with Him? The ruach, the Holy Spirit, moves us in the direction of holy. How wonderful is that?!?! So that’s what I meant when I said that when we see what the goal or outcome is, then we can stop fighting against the wind, the surrender. My natural man, my flesh, fights against this every day. There’s always going to be something that we cannot do in our own strength, so we ask for the Lord, the Spirit, to blow and push us in the direction of Holy. Amen!
I hope you see that much almost most everything you post I can see and have a lot of agreement of position here.
I agree with what you posted above too;)
You wrote this;
“Then the wife puts up with it and can’t accept the reality of the situation: that he is not going to change.”
This issue isn’t that she/he can’t accept that a partner is unwilling to change…
For me it’s more of the bigger lie that is often told throughout our church communities and unhealthy families… that this idea that we need to change or should change has been so turned upside down that it’s now offensive to ask for change.
Not sure if that makes sense …
Yes, and I agree with you in that, too. A lot of the women here have been told that they just need to pray harder, try harder, etc. I was just addressing the issue you brought up about dealing with another’s unwillingness to be broken. Or, as you said, “look at brokenness.” There are many facets to this issue, and really all we can do is take care of our own relationship with the Lord, develop CORE, and as we change, the dynamic of our relationships change, and things happen. Sometimes, as you and others have experienced, that can be a pretty drastic event. I was fortunate in that when the Lord did something in me, released me from my mother’s anger, the change in the dynamic was positive. I am very sorry for those of you for whom that was not the case. You have some grieving to do. But on the positive side, you are not passing that disturbing behavior onto your children. We all need to move forward in His grace.
Yes you are correct in saying I have some grieving to do. I’m thankful that your situation was positive with your mother what a blessing!
Thank you for your wisdom and your love here for those of us who have encountered such costs with our own choices to change or be changed.
I think the sadness is that there has been a reinforcing unhealthy message found inside the church body & culture about ‘change’.
A false shame message about changing… I mean isn’t the Gospel message all about drastic change?
Have we tried our best at constructing a message that fits our emotional comforts so much so that our goal is ‘unchange’…
Or at least to be offended by the thought of change.
My h and I circled around this for a long time~ I could understand why he didn’t like the idea of changing or seeing what I was asking. I could accept that his change or his non-change was his choice (out of my hands) but the real battle was that he wanted me to accept that me asking for something reasonable or asking for behavior change was ‘wrong’.
This belief is what has to be changed. I was unwilling to surrender to this position. I believe the Lord would not allow me to offer this, because if it is offered then the person is reinforced with this mindset and that is a dangerous destructive one to be in the company of.
You know, Aly, I think the real problem is that in most places of worship, there is not the view that the Lord wants to transform all of us into His likeness, and He is doing that by dispensing His divine life and nature into us until we are changed….by His life, not our own efforts. If/when we all see that, then we are willing to allow Him to do this, but good behavior was never God’s intention. He wants to express Himself through us, so without this view, we just can think it’s ok to behave ourselves in front of other people and we can do whatever we want in our own homes. How sad/twisted is that!! The change that we need is by His life within us conforming us to His image. When His life grows within us, we become more like Him. This is how He gets what He wants. But we want to hold onto our SELF. ME. Instead of Him. So a ministry that doesn’t compel us to surrender to the Lord’s working within us is not fulfilling the purpose of God, and this is how men are not held accountable for their behavior. Does this make sense?
Yes this makes sense and I could not agree more with this!
I do believe the receiving of His love & fullness of His grace creates a response within us.
💜 And a lifelong process.
Even looking at our brokenness ~ creates a response
“The change that we need is by His life within us conforming us to His image. When His life grows within us, we become more like Him. ”
How true is that! And I believe that ‘this change’ is what threatens the status quo… the offense is holding onto the broken identity of self, rather than grasping for the surrendered and willing self.
Hugs and blessings to you and your family JoAnn
Amen, and to Everyone here, may you all enjoy this season with friends and family, “Forgetting the things that are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called us upward.” Phil. 3:13
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with us all.
“It is my belief that every healthy growing marriage confronts brokenness at this level for their to be ‘new life/relational dynamic ‘ thus a redeemed marriage that is not perfect but purposefully useful for God’s kingdom.” ☑ yes!
Absolutely Aly, ―absolutely ☑ yes! . . . . but probably few are actually doing that. In my marriage, it is joint psychotherapy and it is hard but g-r-e-a-t! . . . .Now, if I could only rescue my relationship with my mother and get beyond the childhood abuse.
“…but Life comes out of Death. If we can’t get real about the pain of the death, we can’t be real in the joy either.”
―Wow, Nancy, that’s about as deep as it gets!!! . . . . ―Life does come out of Death. ―YES! ☑ yes!
. . . The way I see it, and maybe this is wrong but. . . . . .it is this: I (Aleea) don’t want to be what I am. . . . .I want to be *what continually changes what I am* (Romans 8:26-27; John 14:26; Acts 1:8; Romans 5:5; Acts 2:38) . . . .Because, Nancy, it seems to me that the things we most need are always to be found where we least want to look (―those dark places ―the deserts of the REAL). . . . To really grow in Christ is to die *voluntarily* and be born again, in great ways and small. . . . .I say transformative change by awareness of Christ in our minds and hearts -or- just simply, we can live dying everyday: 1 Timothy 4:12; Ephesians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 15:31, et.al. . . .Nothing to do with trying harder or even trying at all. ―Woo Hoo!!!🎄✝ރ 😊❣
“In the Bible the word for wind is the same as spirit: ruach.”
Re: ruach (roo’-akh) in Hebrew . . . . I don’t know how people find the strength to deal with Hebrew (—More power to them!!!) In the much easier Greek New Testament, πνεῦμα —pneuma —the wind the Spirit of your Father.
―And JoAnn, that’s why we have to go after fear. I know lots about fear. I know what a relief it feels like to give into it at first. It’s not hard to persuade yourself that you’re doing the right thing —that you’re making the smart, safe decision. But fear is insidious. It takes anything you’re willing to give it, the parts of your life you don’t mind cutting out, but when you’re not looking, fear takes anything else it pleases, too. What we fear is what we must conquer. When you eat too much chocolate, you get sick of it. Gorge yourself on fear. God will be our strength!!! We have to prepare mentally by renewing our minds with the Scriptures daily to be able to cope with fears. . . . . And by changing what we cling to in the present, we can alter our future. —Or as Scripture says: “There’s a voice in the wind that calls YOUR name, if YOU listen, you’ll never be the same.” (John 3:8) To me, the main curative part of therapy is the relationship itself, with Christ. What matters is the quality of the relationship and our belief in what Christ is offering: unconditional everything. . . . πνεῦμα . . . giving life, making new, filling hearts, calling you. . . .
This that you wrote is really beautiful and insightful: “The “unbroken husband” continues to break the wife….how horrible!!!! But that is not God’s brokenness. What God wants is surrender to HIS will, not the will of anyone else. That is true brokenness.”
. . . . Even if you have walked ten thousand steps away, it’s only one step back: Psalm 34:16-18, Romans 10:9-13 to the unchanging consuming fire: Genesis 15:2, Matthew 5:6, Hebrews 12:29, Psalms 40:2 that can burn up all that ψευδής. . . .Lord, help us all to have a serious addiction of a different kind: singleness of heart, an undistracted mind —for You Lord. 🎄✝ރ 😊❣
It is my belief that every healthy growing marriage confronts brokenness at this level for their to be ‘new life/relational dynamic ‘ thus a redeemed marriage that is not perfect but purposefull useful for God’s kingdom.
Merry Blessed Christmas💜
A new year is almost here. Do we want another year just like last year? Who is brave enough to give up the fantasy and face their destructive marriage in 2018? Who is brave enough to try God more than ever before and say, NO MORE to their destructive relationship?
There are no dress rehearsals ladies. This is the only life we get on Earth. It is brief.
I am asking myself this year how I can love and serve Christ in the time I have been gifted. I am not me abusers punching bag, Mother, housekeeper, secret keeper, sex slavery, coconspirator in tax evasion and personal counselor.
I am a child of God, created in his image. Good bye abuser, what a pity you stole so much of my heart and mind. God will deal with you with mercy and justice. Meanwhile, I have a life to live!
Happy New Year to all!
Ok. So I can improve my writing and correct my grammatical errors in 2018 too. It is nearly impossible to read back what I type on my phone’s tiny screen. Thanks for your patience. I think you get the jist of what I was trying to say. Blessings to all. Remember we deserve to be treated with love, honor, and respect at ALL times, not just when our abusive partners wants something from us.
So right. Yes, and Amen!! So may the year ahead be full of grace and truth, for you and all of us here.
Yes Sunshine! I have been slowly working towards this…take steps forward and steps back but I feel like I am finally getting strong enough to see past the fantasy and accept the reality. I still have moments where I want to fall back into my comfort zone with him because I get lonely, scared, overwhelmed about raising kids by myself. But then he does something that reminds me of why I am where I am. I now live without constant anxiety, or worry about what kind of mood he will be in when I get home, or fear when our next blow out fight will be. I now have other struggles but I have been able to get away. The hard part is ignoring all the text messages and emails. He still uses God as a way to get me back-tells me only God can heal us, and that we need to choose forgiveness and healing for our life and family. That he is changing and the only way I can see that is if we are together and I go to counseling with him. I feel in my heart that I am following the path God wants for me…I am scared and feel really lonely at times. My heart is still broken about all that has transpired and I have guilt about the way I have behaved as well. I do know that God will help heal me with all of this but I don’t think he expects me to stay in an unhealthy marriage.
JoAnn Then the wife puts up with it and can’t accept the reality of the situation: that he is not going to change.
For me: I don’t think it is always that we can’t accept the reality of the situation. I long ago accepted that hubby was probably going to be one of those who would not change.
If I were to sit down and really think, my list would be long (about why I put up with). And I didn’t put up with because it is just not an easy task to walk away.
Yes, I love my husband (maybe not the kind that would be capable in a healthy marriage). Another reason was because of scripture (O ye of little faith, I can do all things through him who strengthens me, Gods hate divorce, etc). Another big reason – my hearts/my boy and girl.
I knew it would be tough on all of us if we stayed and I knew it would be hard on us if we parted. This week proved my theory. Daughter had a hard time one day this week. I saw she was struggling and tried talking with her but it was not working. Finally, the Holy Spirit told me to go where she was and hold her tight. I did and wow. It really broke my heart as she was talking and at times I thought my heart would stop beating.
It made me ?
Good morning Renee,
I can see how being witness to your daughter’s struggle would be heart breaking. I’m guessing though, that you would much prefer that emotion to come out, rather than stay stuffed away inside her.
How precious that you were a safe place for her! Those are such healing and sacred moments.
Way to go mom 🙂
Renee and Nancy,
Yes, way to go Renee~ 💜🙏
Aly stated: that it’s now offensive to ask for change.
Judge not, that ye be not judged. Luke 6:37 KJV
I agree that society seems to find asking for change offensive. And they are kick to quote that scripture.
Good grief, no kicking people please. Lol. I mean quick to quote that scripture.
It’s not judging to say, “I can’t live like this any longer,” or “I refuse to be treated like this any longer.” My mother used to give me the “judge not” line, and I realized that with her, she was always quick to”judge” others but couldn’t tolerate it when she was criticized. Speaking the truth in love is not judging, either. I think that those are lines that others use to defend their own faults.
The judge not comment reminds me of a Lundy Bancroft comment. He says the only person who is ever alloweed to be angry is the abuser. Your mom’s comment about judgement was used to feed her reign of power. Aaaahhhh, silly, crazy woman!
Actually, with my mother, it was more about her own insecurities; she had a hard time with criticism, or not being “right.” It was a family trait with the women in her lineage. I don’t think power so much as having to be right. Maybe that’s power in some form, but in most ways, she was a good mother to us.
Interesting. Multigenerational or what some call historical excuses for bad behavior. Oh, my. Must be rough.
JoAnn – hugs to you. You were able to see the good of your mother. I think (my opinion) most families will have some dysfunction. My parents included. However, there was good. We were a family of ten. Six boys and four girls.
Here are some quotes from Lundy Bancroft found on good reads. I went looking after Roxanne’s comment.
Yes, quoting certain scripture to defend is common and sad. It’s key as to what scriptures are picked and applied for the situation but often those scriptures get misused and over used. Often you will see them quoted but rarely in fuller context. Usually ‘sound bites’ they have heard others say to deflect from any wrong doing.
Nothing original here.
The Bible and especially the New Testament of Jesus teaches that Christ came and died to Save and Change us.
This message continues to get turned to be as palatable as possible in our culture ~
Culture and Christian culture too, continues to influence and shape many of the individuals that some of us find ‘unwilling and unreasonable’ to interact with based on their behavior and mindset.
Usually that mindset is not a mindset of wisdom and a teachable heart but one that’s about power & control and refusal to change behavior patterns that begin ‘internally’ but are externally damaging to those within contact.
We are getting another opportunity to witness God’s faithfulness, and to experience His provision and Way of operating in relationships.
My brother and his family came into town ( from thousands of kilometres away) and, as usual, contacted us last minute ( once they had already arrived in town) after having made all the plans with their friends.The email we received was not unusual except that now, my h and I see things differently. The gist of it was ‘here is the list of all our plans ( covering a ten day period) and we can ‘offer you’ a two-hour time slot before we fly out’.
My h and I took our time ( and prayer) to respond. Our answer was ‘no’. The sad part is that the cousins will not see one another, but we will not do them any favours by putting them into an uneven relational dynamic for the sake of….Christmas…?!?! It’s amazing that the very reason we used to put up with this (Christmas) is the heart of the reason that we can no longer put up with it. It’s also amazing that another reason we used to put up with it was ‘for the kids’. Now we know that our responsibility to our kids is a reason NOT to put up with it.
Isn’t it cool how Christ renews our mind!?,!?!
Christ is replacing the lies (family means you put up with any type of treatment) with the truth ( family means adoption into an entirely new way of being respected and loved in relationship).
And God replaces with SO MUCH more than was removed. In the past, our Christmas would have revolved around our unhealthy family dynamic ( my h’s mother ( who we’ve recently gone no contact, with)) and my FOO ( my mother, who we are at minimal contact with, and whichever of my siblings may decide to come to town for Christmas).
This Christmas has revolved around Christ.
Here’s another amazing thing The Lord has done: My mother used to be ‘the queen’ and control everything in our relationship. With minimal contact over this past year, and lots of boundary setting, my mother last evening, did not take over. We had invited her to our friend’s place with us, for dinner. She was grateful to be included, and we all had a lovely time together. This morning I am grateful for her. Not because she has changed (she has though, respected the boundaries we have set – which is why we could keep some degree of contact) but because Christ has changed my mindset ( and heart posture) towards her. Last night one of the gifts from God was a glimpse into this new relationship that is being built with my mom.
I hope that this is encouraging for you. Especially if you are in the midst of the pain of losing unhealthy relationship(s). If that’s the case, I hope you see Christ in the story above. The beauty of this change in our family and my own heart, is all because of Him! Trust that He has SO MUCH more for you than the familiarity and false safety of unhealthy relational dynamics. The feelings of ‘loss’ of these unhealthy relationships are lies, in-and-of-themselves, because to lose something unhealthy is actually a step toward health. It is no loss at all!
Merry, merry Christmas to you. He is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Wonderful Counsellor, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.
And you are His precious, precious child ❤️
Wow! Thank you, Nancy, for sharing that. Praise the Lord! He is truly our Savior. “MUCH MORE we shall be saved in His life.” Romans 5:10. I love the “much more salvation”; day by day He continues to save us by His life.
“I hope that this is encouraging for you.”
. . .Absolutely!!! . . . if we want to live an authentic, meaningful life, it may be that we need to master the art of disappointing and upsetting others, hurting feelings, and living with the reality that some people just won’t like us (—I so hate that part), but I am always working on it.
“I hope you see Christ in the story above”
. . .Absolutely✝ރ 😊 💕❣. . . . Hopefully, boundaries only scare off the people that were not meant to be in your life. Jesus in Luke 14: If anyone comes to me, and does not hate their father, their mother, their wife, and their children, and their brethren, and their sisters, and their own life also, they cannot be my disciples.
“My h and I took our time (and prayer) to respond.”
. . . —That’s beautiful . . . .we *always* do the same: —lots and lots of prayer with everything and seeking Christ through His Word. —Even the decisions that have not gone well, . . . .well, I still feel good about because I think the process is solid✝ރ😊❣. Consult Christ in His Word and pray together about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
. . . .My biggest downfall is the internal boundaries (—inside of me😞 ☠ ☢ ☣ ) actually having boundaries with myself. . . .The issues (—whatever form it takes) would not be happening *externally* if it was not happening *internally* first (—within ourselves). In other words, I have to BE the change I want to see in my world. I need to be able to say “NO” to myself (—If that makes any sense???) —It’s like so many others things, you solve it internally, it is mostly solved. Without internal boundaries (—limits I put on my own internal dance) the externals just shift to new objects (—new people, new whatevers) . . . .and they very often fail and maybe they fail because we talk about external boundaries but without internal boundaries (—inside of us), I think the dance does not really change. —Again, just the partners change. I need to tell parts of myself, so many times, to not come over. Without internal boundaries (—limits we put on our own internal dance💫) the external boundaries are just replaced with new/different partners🌟. —You climb out of one box only to be inside another just like it. I have got to place limits on things like questioning, constantly second guessing myself, —what ifs, etc. . . .But, I think this issue shows were most of the work usually needs to take place —internally. We first need boundaries internally with ourselves. —Within ourselves. I have often thought that the *first place* we need boundaries is mostly internally with ourselves. So much of all isues is all just cycling from the inside. I need to tell parts of myself, so many times, to not come over. —Or tell them to come over, give them the biggest hugs and properly integrate them into my personality. . . . .💜 ❤ 💛 💚 💙 💜 ❣
“And you are His precious, precious child💗.” —Nancy, you’re His precious child and that’s why you say that —and that’s so beautiful. ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ 💖 ❣ 😊
“The beauty of this change in our family and my own heart, is all because of Him!” . . .Absolutely. . . —And that’s beautiful too!!! . . . . In the end, such “risks” (saying “no”; boundaries —especially inside with ourselves) find their rewards in Christ. We repent and keep repenting, even from “small” sins, we seriously trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord and we are reconciled to God forever. —And in a world where *everything* revolves around yourself —protect yourself, comfort yourself, and take care of yourself —Jesus says, “Crucify yourself”. . . . .Healthy Internal boundaries = appropriate external boundaries. . . . .Correct internal boundaries = people self-selecting into and out of our lives. ―Woo Hoo!!!✝ރ 😊💕↪✈📶❄☃⌘
I like what you said, Aleea, about boundaries scaring off the people in our lives that are not meant to be there.
I am finding this to be SO true. If a person cannot handle me stating what I like and what I don’t, then that is a BIG flag for an uneven (destructive) relationship. Healthy people have no problem with boundaries.
My brother has been a bully for most of my life. He wants what he wants and does not consider me at all. Just the act of saying ‘no’ to him and standing firm in it ( even against the thoughts of doubt that come) has brought such clarity with regards to this relationship. I am unsure if there was EVER ‘evenness’ in it.
There’s a podcast I heard recently where one of the guests said of his healing process, ” ….I had to learn to become a defender of my value”.
The process of setting boundaries is just that for me – learning to become a defender of my value.
By the way, JoAnn and Aleea. I got The Normal Christian Life ( Watchman Nee) for Christmas. It is RICH ( I keep re-reading the first chapter!)
Nancy, I’m glad you are enjoying the book. It has had a big impact on my life.
Aleea, thanks so much for your post.
“I knew it would be tough on all of us if we stayed and I knew it would be hard on us if we parted. This week proved my theory. Daughter had a hard time one day this week. I saw she was struggling and tried talking with her but it was not working. Finally, the Holy Spirit told me to go where she was and hold her tight. I did and wow. It really broke my heart as she was talking and at times I thought my heart would stop beating.”
. . . .Renee, I want you to know that I pray for you, your precious children, your husband to repent, each day. I always have used the blog as a prayer list. —I wish I knew how to do more.
“Aleea, thanks so much for your post.” . . . .Renee you are so welcome. —Thank you for even reading it.
Only God knows why He takes us along these paths. All we can do is keep seeking God in Christ and taking the actions the Holy Spirit directs us to take. He loves you, you have the greatest value. He gave His life for all your worth! —Again, I’m praying for you and your children and marriage.
I was listening to Dr. Edward Welch who is a counselor for over thirty years and faculty member at CCEF. He asks his cleints often to pray for him and he almost always prays with his clients: “Lord, help us. —We don’t know what we should do but You do.” Secular counselors make fun of that but it sure looks spot on to me. We don’t know what to do, Lord help us and change all of us.
To me, marriage is a life commitment, and a life commitment means the prime concern of your life (―After the Lord, obviously and always!) If marriage is not the prime concern, you’re not married. . . . .The early Christians called marriage “the little church within the Church.” In marriage, every day you love, and every day you forgive. It is an ongoing sacrament ―love and forgiveness. . . .If you are in a situation where your marriage isn’t of sufficient quality, you might ask yourself: Am I doing absolutely everything I can to fix it? (How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong―style; I love that book!) . . .I know it may be disgusting to hear someone say something like that after all you have tried but only the Lord God knows how many doors will open if we are seriously doing everything we can to repair our marriages. That is always worth pursuing. . . .It may be better not to draw any conclusions about our marriages and the utility of them until we know (―Holy Spirit-style knowing) we are seeing things clearly. . . . .And the reason I say that is that the Bible looks like it does not bracket off neuropsychological measures outside of the norm: —interpersonally exploitative, emotionally unavailable, devoid of empathy, etc. . . . .But maybe we need to in the end, I don’t know what to make of it all. However, the thing that always, totally floors me is how a man could not comprehend what marvelous responders women are when they get an environment of sincere, ongoing affection, caring, protection, nurture, thoughtfulness. . . ―Everything just blossoms —Some days I just stare into space. . . . .Maybe we did evolve from a pack of monkeys? It sure makes one wonder.
Can separation help reconcile a marriage? If they are physically separated, how could the marriage be worked on? For the past year, my husband has just ignored me, stonewalled me, refused to get counselling or fix the marriage. Basically he is living like a bachelor, comes and goes as he pleases and acts like he has no wife and kids. I have told him repeatedly that I cannot live this way anymore and that we both need to change and work on those things that keep causing issues in our marriage. After refusing to move out for so long, he has now decided to move out. Even with all that he has done (lying, deceit, treating the kids and I very badly, anger issues, control issues, emotional affair issues), I still love him as my husband and wish that we can reconcile and fix everything but the condition is that behaviors must change and he refuses to take accountability for his actions. I know that I brought my own baggage too into the marriage but at least I admit them and I am seeing a therapist to fix my own insecurities. Based on our marriage history, he is the type to try and sweep things under the rug until the point that it gets forgotten because every day life takes over. He is also the type that when he is angry with someone, he can harbour that anger for a very long time and I know that I have hurt him a lot with things I have said and I know that he is very angry with me. So if he moves out now, how can there be opportunities to fix the marriage? Can a separation really be a catalyst to repairing a marriage? All the advice I have gotten from Christians and non-Christians is to just let him go and move on with my life and let the kids grow up without such a bad father figure. But for me, it doesn’t sit well with me to just cut all ties without trying to salvage the marriage. I just feel so crazy sometimes because I don’t know what to do or I think it’s okay to let him go one minute and then I feel such heartache and despair the next minute at the thought of him leaving us.
Oh, Debra, I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. I might be able to give you an answer, and I hope that others will chime in, too, because we have seen this question over and over on this blog. One person cannot “fix” a marriage. He has to want to also, but it appears that he doesn’t want to. (As an aside, can you be sure that he is not seeing another woman?) The thing is, what you have right now is very unhealthy for both you and your children. You may want to stay in the marriage, but at what cost to yourself and the kids? Yes, sometimes a separation can bring both partners to their senses, and having space makes it easier to work on the issues, but if he has not shown any inclination at all to work things out, then no, even a separation is not going to help things. And even if he does decide to work it out, you need the separation for a good long while for him to prove to you and the children that he has changed. Promises don’t count in a situation like this. Lean on the Lord, get support, pray and open your whole being to God so He can move into the hurting places. He is able.
Can separation help reconcile a marriage?
I believe physical separation can be a double edge sword. It can help bring the couple closer if as JoAnn stated both parties work to save the marriage. However, it can also fast forward divorce if one or both get use to the freedoms as you stated in your post.
Debra, I have gotten that advice as well – let him go and move on. And that’s just what that is advice. I have not thrown/walked away completely from my husband. Yes, I love him. But now I believe you have to love yourself just as equally. More and more I’ve become willing to let him go and yes the thought is very painful.
However, that has really started to help me along with lots of praying (Amazing Grace and God’s got it all in control).
How about for a little while, you just do nothing. How would that feel? What would that mean for him, if you just did nothing? Don’t try to fix the marriage. I know all about those feelings (heartache and despair – even had them when he was here in the same home) – feel them and take them one day at a time/one moment at a time. You said you brought in a lot of baggage so you have some work.
I’m work in progress. My story is not a success story as we only recently physically separated. So maybe take my post with a grain of salt.
Renee, I think your advice is really on the mark. “Just do nothing” for a while. Good idea. See what happens. Work on your own issues. Excellent. We all need that. Also, in some previous postings, the matter of the marriage being an idol came up. If preserving the marriage is becoming an “idol” for you, then there is a problem. Ultimately, in every situation, we need to desperately follow the Lord, wherever He leads us. I know that when you are hurting it is hard to know where He is leading, so it helps to ask the Lord to make you very clear. My granddaughter has been waffling about her marriage situation, and her mother and I have prayed that the Lord would arrange an event that would make her clear what to do, and…surprise, He did it! No waffling any more. So, when in doubt, ask the Lord and wait for Him to provide the answer. Either you will get clear to let him go, or you will get clear to work it out. But as both Aly and Nancy can tell you, to recover a destructive marriage is a lot of hard work, and both partners must really want it to work. Keep the Lord close, read your Bible daily, get the books, and have good support from friends and a prayer partner you can pray with. We are all here pulling for you.
After the first two lines, I was really speaking to Debra.
Renee and JoAnn,
Thank you both so much for your advice. It is really appreciated.
Most of his affairs have been emotional affairs with women he used to be classmates with in another country. It starts out as him being a good friend by listening to their problems and giving advice and then escalates to something more. I do not believe that there was ever anything physical with any woman but since we have ignored each other the past year, I cannot be certain anymore. And he has always denied he ever did anything wrong with those other women so I would not expect him to be honest with me if I ask him if he’s been faithful.
You mention knowing clearly what God would want me to do. That is another roadblock I have. I pray and ask for wisdom and guidance but never feel like I know for sure what I am supposed to do. I don’t know if the answer is there but I am just too blind or don’t want to see it or He just hasn’t answered me yet. Or maybe him deciding to move out is God letting me know what to do? It’s hard to think objectively when you’re the one in the situation.
Every advice I get makes sense but it’s that emotional/impulsive/not thinking straight side of me that blurs everything and makes me feel like I’m in limbo.
Do you believe an emotional affair or affairs are just as violating and betraying (the covenant marriage)…if not more than a physical one?
I’m feeling sensitive to your issue I hope you can hear that…and im deeply sorry for your pain but you mentioned ‘blurriness” that’s why I’m asking a question about this.
I believe that an affair – whether physical or emotional – are both betrayals. To me, an affair is an affair, regardless of whether it was physical or just emotional. My husband would probably argue that he did nothing wrong because there was nothing physical but I believe deep down he does know what he did was wrong but just doesn’t want to admit it or face the fact that he has hurt me so much. When I mentioned things being blurred, I meant that for me, it’s not so clear what I should or need to do because it’s like I have my common sense/logical/realistic side telling me what to do but then my emotional side wants me to do the opposite. To people on the outside, the answer is clear but when you have the emotional side involved that is as strong or sometimes stronger than your logical side, it’s a battle. Not to mention that I don’t want my kids to grow up being in a broken family. There is so much guilt with that as well.
I’ve been with my husband for 20 years. In all that time, I never had one single conflict with any of his sisters, his mother or father. In fact, his mother and I get along well and now that I think about it, she used to tell me all her troubles and trials that she went through in her marriage but she said that she had no choice but to stay (different era, different culture as well as divorce is not legal in the country they are from). But she said she stayed for her kids’ sakes but now I see that staying played a part in how her children handle conflict or issues. She is very passive and doesn’t like conflict and that passivity was passed onto her kids except for the bossy sister and my husband who use that passivity to their advantage. I was so hurt when they cut us off, especially my kids but I would rather know their true colors and I wouldn’t want my children to be exposed to the kind of relationship dynamic that they are teaching.
I was so shocked and hurt when they said they didn’t want to get involved. I almost felt like I wasn’t supposed to ask for help and my pastor said that they were wrong because Christians help others and even help take on other’s burdens if they can.
I have gone through several counselors and I’m actually meeting a new one tonight so I hope she will be able to help me.
Glad you will be seeing a counselor. Not sure what you mean by you have gone through many .. maybe that is due to couples counseling?
You wrote something really valid and important:
“To people on the outside, the answer is clear but when you have the emotional side involved that is as strong or sometimes stronger than your logical side, it’s a battle. Not to mention that I don’t want my kids to grow up being in a broken family. There is so much guilt with that as well.”
Just to clarify the answer isn’t clear to me in anyway. I believe many here can relate to that tug of war and growing through it.
It’s hard work and courageous to look at ourselves, our pain and our patterns.
God took my hand and helped equip me to see ‘a side of Love that was true love’, not love out of fear, not love out of others beliefs, but a love that only He can show and bring a standard to.
It was tough, it was hard.
What your pastor said is true about those family member/Christians who turn their back on burdens of others.
They are wrong and have also betrayed. This is not a reflection of who God is.
This is heavy on my heart because I have gone and continue to go through this grief.
Their ‘wrong thinking’ is directly related to their version of being a support at their convenience and comfort. It is also going to impact their spiritual growth.
This wrong thinking will lead to continued wrong responses. So in ways as painful as it is it’s an opportunity for truth in His ways to influence your path and your children’s.
I’m glad that re-reading your posts is helping you to get more clarity. As I read what you have described, I find myself asking, “What is there to save?” You have had a hard time listening to the warnings of others….why? What is the resistance in you? Maybe it’s time to answer some of these questions for yourself. Like Aly said, it’s time to put your marriage on the altar before the Lord, then take your hands off. If He wants to free you from it, then amen. If He wants to resurrect it, then He will do so, but not by your futile efforts. If your husband has not committed carnal adultery, at the very least, he is emotionally involved with others in violation of your marriage. Listen to your heart, Debra, and learn what it is truly wanting and telling you.
Sometimes I find myself asking why I am putting myself through this as well. I think making the marriage an idol pretty much hits the nail on the head. My parents are divorced and I guess I just don’t want to follow that same path. Maybe some pride too because I don’t want to admit that something in my life failed.
I just have a question. It makes sense to just do nothing. Would that include not even interacting with him? Throughout the year, sometimes he will ask me if I am available for lunch and come and pick me up from work. One counselor said that if he does nice things like asking me to lunch, just accept it because it gives us both a chance to remind each other why we wanted to be together and it’s a break from the constant fighting. Another one said that if I do things like that like go for lunch with him, then he will get the impression that he can still have his cake and eat it too (be a part of my life but be a bachelor).
How do I not walk away from him completely but at the same time, not let him think that he can have his cake and eat it too?
Given the seriousness of the offenses and betrayals my opinion is probably not to do nothing. Because given his level of insight, not saying I know, but based on his choices.. he most likely will see your responses as a mixed message.
Serious consequences for serious offenses.
He isn’t interested in a covenant marriage. He wants his desires and his character issues to rule.
Just want you to know that when I mentioned putting it on the alter, I wasn’t saying your marriage is an idol exactly.
What I meant was to leave the outcome up to the Lord, as you obey in walking in truth with Him!
It’s really hard. God knows your heart and your desires and to desire a healthy thriving marriage with God at the center of both of your hearts and marriage is NOT an idol but what a God designed himself.
God knows your heart and I do appreciate your honesty about your ‘hope’ and your past.
Your past will be influential ‘big time’ and if any of us desire an ‘image of marriage’more than the standard of covenant that God calls us too, then yes we are making a version of marriage an idol.
From the sounds of your experience you don’t want a counterfeit marriage for the sake of having ‘something’ even if it’s really not good?
Desiring a healthy partnership is from God, and your husband doesn’t seem to want or willing to learn what a team pleasing to God looks like.
Debra, is it failure if your husband does not want a marriage? That’s on him, not you. However much you might feel that you have contributed to the current situation, it takes two….and he clearly doesn’t want to do the work to restore your marriage. In God’s plan, there is no failure, only forced growth. This is an opportunity for you to gird up your loins and take some positive action to save, not only yourself, but what about the kids? What are they seeing? What are they learning? What are they experiencing? Are they of an age that you can ask them some of these questions? Their responses might surprise you. Their responses might help you to figure out what you need to do. Take them with you to one of your counseling sessions where they can speak freely and in safety, and find out what they perceive. An emotionally healthy mother will be of much more value to them than an “intact” marriage that is full of strife and stress. I am encouraged to see you thinking through these things and the suggestions offered here. Pray for the Lord to give you His peace to follow the path He has for you. Not your parent’s path, but YOURS.
This speaks so much to my journey!
“An emotionally healthy mother will be of much more value to them than an “intact” marriage that is full of strife and stress.”
So so true and not an easy place to come to ever ~ but it’s worth coming to and seeing the outcome that really is not in our hands ultimately.
So much of our Christian culture has bought into keeping a (non)marriage intact at all costs but no ones peers closer to see that… that belief has some generational pain and consequences to it.
Dysfunctional marriages must be broken down and rebuilt for a chance of real restoration.
Yes, and the outcome really isn’t in our hands…if we could only truly believe that, and that the Lord loves us and wants the best for us, we could trust Him for the outcome and have inner peace that passes all understanding. We keep trying and trying with our limited resources….There is a hymn that I love that has these lines: “When we have exhausted our store of endurance, When our strength has failed e’re the day is half done, When we reach the end of our hoarded resources, Our Father’s full giving is only begun.” (The first line of the song is “He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater.”…in case you want to look up the whole song.) It is a truth I cling to and have experienced many times. I stop trying earlier now than years ago. He has proved Himself to be trustworthy over and over. I love our Heavenly Father!!
Debra I mentioned to “do nothing.” I meant quit trying to fix the marriage, change your husband, or change the outcome of the marriage. I think Nancy called it laying your marriage at the altar. [I’m getting better at that advice.]
Other examples of do nothing was no contact. I go limited contact due to two young teens. Nancy also suggested no talks about relationship issues period.
I can’t remember the name of the poster on another page but she mentioned searching all over town for her husband. And my question was why? That was an opportunity to do nothing.
When my husband made a negative comment to our daughter about me, I called and chewed on him. That was a moment [sigh] I could have done nothing.
So that is what I mean when I say do nothing. At times, speaking of myself, it seems like the more you try, the harder they make you work. So it’s like never being able to pass the test. You say ok I’m going to ace the test this time. I’ve studied hard. Here comes the test and all the questions and rules have changed.
So if you have been badgering your husband about his emotional affairs, it may be time to do nothing. Just work on yourself for a while.
My apology if that phrase, “do nothing” was confusing to anyone on the blog. I don’t want you to become confused behind my take on that phrase and another’s interpretation of the phrase.
Renee, I think you nailed it when you said to stop trying to fix the marriage. One person can’t do that, anyway. It takes both. The Lord will guide this part. I like that you realized that you missed an opportunity to stop trying. Good for you! Recognizing those missed opportunities is good learning. Renee, you are already making such good progress. Way to go!
I’m so sorry! 😥
Your heartache is so painful and boy can some of us relate to your situation and some of your pain. JoAnn gave some really great things to consider and affirm for you.
What’s with his recent willingness to move out?
Your husband as you said is wanting ‘bachelor hood’ as a married man and that just doesn’t work, because it kills the concept of the Covenant Marriage that is about glorifying God.
Now that he’s ready to move out, even though that is still incredibly painful at the full reality, I’m wondering if you see any health benefit to yourself to have the space to get some clarity. It can be really hard to see ourselves and our needs when we are in what I might think is daily trauma from how you describe he has chosen to abandon what he committed to in marriage?
Debra do you have support around you.. ?
My husband and I didn’t separate but I would have and my husband knew I was willing to do what ever next step i would need for me to get away from the toxic treatment.
I ask about your support because I had and have lots of support for my situation.
I do hope others chime in with their own experiences & concerns for your heart!
You are worthy to be valued and worth a marriage being a ‘real marriage’. Your husband sounds like he doesn’t want to do what it would take to begin to repair the marriage.
It’s really heartbreaking and I hope you can hear just how important the Lord will comfort you in this time.
He is CLOSE to the broken hearted!
I’m sending virtual hugs💕
First, thanks so much for your reply… It makes me sad to know that so many other women can relate to what I’m going through but at the same time, at least we are not alone and can support each other. You asked me why he suddenly changed his mind and is willing to move out. Every time I start a conversation with him (even if it’s about non-marriage stuff), it turns into a fight. I try to stay calm but he knows exactly what buttons to push after 20 years of marriage and even though I always tell myself to not fall in his trap of escalating it into a fight, emotions take over and I “forget” and end up fighting with him. The last fight escalated into me yelling at him and throwing his clothes into a bag and tossing it out into the yard. He retaliated by calling the police on me saying that I was touching his things. I know – that is how messed up we both are. I think he realized after he called the police that it had gotten to the point that he should leave. Or maybe he hates that I have access to touch his stuff so by moving out, I can’t have any access to him or his things at all. I don’t know his exact reasons.
As for support, my sister and mom know what is going on and try to give me advice but they don’t know my husband’s true personality. He is the type that is so nice and treats everyone else outside of his family so well but to our family and even to his own sisters and mom, we all know the true personality. I have tried to approach his sisters for help because since they are his family, they know him and who else could I turn to? They all say that their brother is the type that won’t listen to them and that the two of us are grown adults and should resolve our issues on our own without involving other people. His mom is the passive type and is hesitant to say anything to her son because then he will blow up and be angry with her. Now it has come to the point that the sisters do not talk to me or my kids anymore and they have cut us off. One sister said that I was brainwashing my kids to hate their father and she’s kind of the “boss” in the whole family and since she’s mad at me, the other sisters just follow along to not get on that boss sister’s bad side. I have realized through all this interaction with his family, why he is the way he is as well. They tend to sweep things under the rug, which he always wants to do and they do not like to call out their brother on his bad behavior. And I know that he is angry with me for calling him out because he is so used to his family coddling him.
One Christian counselor advised me to tell his pastor (the kids and I go to a different church because it’s closer to our house and we enjoy going there). The pastor knows me because I did used to go to that church as well and he was so shocked that we were having marriage problems because my husband acts like there is nothing wrong and life is just fine. The most disheartening thing though was that the pastor said that he didn’t think that him talking to my husband would work. That was very discouraging. My own pastor knows what’s going on and wants to talk to my husband but my husband would never agree to meet with him.
Goodness, now that I have put into words the things I have gone through and I read it back to myself, my marriage is so much more messed up than I realized.
Writing helped me out a lot too.
My husband did end up getting into recovery but I won’t say it wasnt a complex trek and I had to place my marriage on the alter.
Well, ok let’s be consistent..
Our non-marriage on the alter!
God equipped me every step and gave me he support team needed. I still need a lot of support~ which is a blessing not a handicap.
Ok, so I can relate to much of what you said and his toddler tantrums! Exhausting.
I’m so sorry his enmeshed family are well, possibly just as ‘sick’! But I’m glad you see the connecting dots.
I went through a similar situation with my inlaws, no help from them! Also same shut door from my own family~
If fact, both of our families were much a lot of the external problem and the reinforcing messages of not growing up and not having healthy thriving Godly centered marriages.
(Goodness that’s a whole other topic)
“They all say that their brother is the type that won’t listen to them and that the two of us are grown adults and should resolve our issues on our own without involving other people. ”
I had to cut and paste because that is the exact response i received from my family and his family ~ they don’t want to get involved because their relationships are already TOO fragile to look at something so dysfunctional!
I find it interesting that the destructive individuals (and those that contribute) are not all that original in their behaviors or words?
So ‘not listening’ has served your husband ‘well’ in avoiding accountability for his actions.
He has also been successful as .. any addict is in getting the other party upset so he has somewhere to externalize blame… he’s also been successful at teaching most everyone around him how to cope with him and adjust.
Lowering everyone’s standards of behavior to his preferred level.
Debra are you getting individual counseling and help? Maybe you already said sorry if it’s a repeat.
Boundaries, consequences and requirements are going to be core essentials regardless if the marriage can be rebuilt.
My prayer is that if it’s God’s WILL, that be the case.
Have you listened to Patrick Doyle, he is very good at helping sort through the process. He understands addicts and their families etc and the avoidance that creates such toxic behaviors.
You’ll get through this….choose to seek God and His truth first, and He will guide you through, He is faithful and so are His Promises. The courage He will give you through a lot of vessels will be life changing.
Your worth it! Your children and their future marriages are worth it!
You wrote something that reminded me of what Leslie has mentioned as a big part of her ministry.
“The most disheartening thing though was that the pastor said that he didn’t think that him talking to my husband would work.”
I agree this can be so painful when a pastor offers this type of response up! I wonder more about your husband’s willingness to attend this type of church as you mentioned you both attend different churches now.
Leslie wrote in a recent blog post:
“At times I have found myself out in the wilderness when talking about abuse among conservative church leaders, especially the more subtle forms of verbal or covert abuse. They often minimize the reality of its impact on a person’s mind, body and spirit and I want to see that changed.”
I agree with her that the leaders/ first responder roles in many churches (not all) tend to not see (nor do they lend a ear of wanting to be educated) on what impact verbal and covert abuse has on their own people in their communities.
When I went to our church for help, it was a first step in showing my husband that I was inviting more help and eyes on the situation that wasn’t getting better ‘by ourselves’.
He has had some small relationship with the men in our church, who were leaders and he certainly cared more about what ‘they’ thought of him, than what my experience was.
This was his only motivation at the time but it put a crack in his armor and it did give me some support.
It really depends on a church and how healthy the leaders are that are leading.
We hit many tumbles within our church ‘support’ but our church counselor told me ‘privately’ to continue to kick down each and every wall and keep knocking on doors, not letting my husband at the time chart the course. I think he could see that my h did not have the wisdom, respect, or maturity to ‘problem solve’, let alone he needed Gods love first to be able to love me as a husband is called to.
I’m really sorry for your pain and can relate to places. Getting honest and clear about your situation is the healthiest thing you can do ‘for your own heart’ and you are doing that.
Praying for your path✝️
As I mentioned before, I was going to see a new counselor last Tuesday. I am so glad that I did. And when you add the things that were said in response to me on this post, I feel like my eyes have been really opened for the first time. I guess I have been feeling so lost and confused because I didn’t know what next steps to take. So, I told my husband that my first choice is reconciliation but with the condition that we both seek help and we do not go back to the marriage being the same people that we have been for the past 20 years. If he chooses no reconciliation, then I no longer fear losing him and will not stop him from leaving and my priority and focus will be on healing for both the kids and myself. I gave him the next two weeks to think and pray about everything I have said and I asked for no contact.
As I expected, he responded that I am trying to paint a picture that he is the evil spouse and I am the crying mother/wife trying to keep the family together but he is the evil one who is choosing to break up the family. He said he knows that I will manipulate and use the law/laywers/police, etc to portray an image of a woman who has gone through emotional abuse in order to gain their sympathy and use the law to my benefit to punish him. I think what he is getting at is that if I ask for child support or anything like that, I am doing it to spite him and punish him.
In the past I used to always feel like I have to explain myself. But I have realized it’s all a game. In a sad, crazy way, this is his way of trying to still exert control over me. He even tells me that God sees everything and knows the truth and I can manipulate and lie all that I want but God knows the truth. It saddens me that he is so far-gone but it is out of my hands now.
I had to tell my younger three kids last night that their dad would be moving to another house and they were so sad and crying. It truly broke my heart and I cannot imagine a parent could purposely cause unhappiness and hurt to their kids but he is so utterly selfish and so full of pride. Pride is a big issue when it comes to him. I told my husband that pride comes before a fall and I have tried to warn him, convince him that he is leading us all down the wrong path and if his pride is causing him to ignore me, then that is his demon that he has to deal with and I have to break this cycle and I won’t let his issues drag me and the kids down with him. I don’t know what exactly happened when I spoke to the new counselor and read all of your comments but it pulled the blinders off my eyes and gave me courage to finally do something about it.
One of the things the counselor told me really spoke to me. I asked her if I am really so weak and so low in self-esteem that I would allow someone to do all this to me. She said that it’s the opposite. I have high self-esteem, strength and confidence and when my husband saw that, he wanted to be that way and that’s what attracted him to me. But his own issues were so big that instead of learning to be more self-confident and mirror the things he liked about me, he cut me down little by little to bring me down to his level. And because we had kids and he knew I wouldn’t leave for the kids’ sakes, he kept whittling me down until I was low enough for him to feel like he was better than me. And while my confidence and strength was suppressed for a long time, it was never completely gone and now it has been given an opportunity to come out again. I never looked at it from that perspective. I have always felt that I am the only one that is strong enough to call my husband out on his behavior because his family certainly cannot do it. I just finally feel some peace and like I have a goal now and that goal has nothing to do with me fixing the marriage on my own. It’s all in God’s hands now.
So glad you received such good counseling and that you are feeling Peace apart from the circumstances that yes is not yours to fix.
So painful and heartbreaking. I’m sorry but also grateful that you are feeling and seeing yourself ‘once’ again.
“I told my husband that my first choice is reconciliation but with the condition that we both seek help and we do not go back to the marriage being the same people that we have been for the past 20 years. If he chooses no reconciliation, then I no longer fear losing him and will not stop him from leaving and my priority and focus will be on healing for both the kids and myself.”
This is such a good example of courage Debra! Such clarity! The Lord is guiding you through and will be there for you each step, each day.
What your counselor explained to you, I believe to be ‘head straight’ because not only does this happen often in marriages but I can actually relate to it also happening in my own.
I hope that you can feel some objectivity as well as generous compassion for yourself as you can focus on your healing and self care from a recovery standpoint.
When you spoke of that ‘fear of losing him’ I experienced a similar thing and the Lord along with lots of counsel affirmed ‘what the actual loss was’ I had feared and was being controlled /manipulated by something I actually ‘didn’t have’ in the first place… which was my husband’s loyalty and a heart for his wife in a covenant marriage.
Sure he has made a vow to me and the Lord, but he didn’t have a clue what that vow entailed and often he battled against learning those characteristics and the behaviors of being a husband, let alone a good friend.
You accuracy on the ‘true fear’ is such a healthy place to be, not saying it won’t be painful.
I will continue to pray for you and your journey ~ just want you to know your not alone.
Hugs to you also💕✝️
Debra, I congratulate you on this very HUGE step! I am very happy that you have found a good counselor who has already helped you, even after the first meeting. That is surely a God-deal.
I think that what you told your husband at the beginning was so very good; putting the decision onto him, and I wonder: did you say that in writing? The reason that I ask that is that he so cleverly twisted what you had said. I would like to suggest that any future conversations between you and him be either recorded or put into writing vial email or text. If I remember correctly, he was the one who first threatened to move out, am I right? So now he is blaming you for ruining the marriage, when you clearly put the burden on him to either make it better or move out. In any case, be assured that the Lord will fight this battle for you, so rest and begin your recovery. Get counseling for the kids, too, so they can process this effectively. Everyone will go through a period of grief, but you will get through this. Do pray that your husband will not poison the kids with a bunch of lies. The kids who get through a divorce with the least damage are the ones whose parents leave the children out of the fight.
Hi Aly and JoAnn,
Thanks for your words of encouragement and advice! They really help a lot… Oh I know how clever my husband can be and he is so good at flipping things and turning it to make it look like it’s someone else’s fault and never his. We only interact with each other through text or email so there is a trail of any conversation we have. It’s sad that it has come to that point and I know that if I go through with getting a legal separation, he will definitely play dirty but I am prepared and I have no fears. I know I tried my best to fix things and he is the one that rejected every solution I gave.
I kind of had a feeling that everything he was putting me through was emotional abuse or emotionally destructive but a bigger part of me thought that he was just a “difficult” person with a “difficult” personality. Then to read what you all said and to hear the counselor say no, he is being abusive, it gave me clarity for the first time ever.
The counselor also mentioned that in a family where one parent is more dominant and controlling and the other is passive, the children will grow up to model after either the dominant controlling parent or the passive parent. Once she said that, I realized him and his bossy sister took after their dad and the other sisters became passive like their mom. And I can’t bear the thought of any of my kids ending up mirroring their father or being passive like I was for the past 20 years. That kind of lit a fire in me because it is in my hands right now to break the cycle.
I just thank God for opening my eyes and opening up the way for me to finally get out of this crazy mess. While I wish it didn’t have to end up like this, it’s still a learning experience and I have learned that I am so much stronger than my husband realizes and more than I ever gave myself credit for. And I wanted to say that even though the people that post comments on this blog do not know each other, all of you that help guide and give advice are such a blessing to those going through such heartache and pain.
For all my troubled Sisters: This came into my mailbox this morning, and I thought it would encourage you. Read Matthew 14:22-33 and Luke 8:22-25, then this:
Today the Lord Jesus is on a mountain, that is, in the heavens
(Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25), and the church is on the sea. Day by
day we face the contrary winds. The church boat has constantly been distressed. However, this is our destiny. The fact that the Lord is in the heavens praying for us is a source of comfort and encouragement to us. We do not care how strong the contrary winds are, for we know that the Lord is on the mountain praying
Do not be afraid of the contrary winds. There is no need to be
disturbed by them. Because our destiny is in the Lord’s hand,
there is no reason for us to be afraid of anything. The contrary
winds and the opposition are under His feet. The Lord is on a
high mountain praying for us and interceding for us. He knows
how strong the wind is. But He laughs at the wind and seems to say, “Little wind, you mean nothing to Me. What are you trying to do? You can’t do anything with My church. Those in the boat are My followers. In fact, they are just Me. Although I am here in the heavens, I am also with them.” What a marvelous picture this is of the high mountain, the troubling waves and contrary winds, and the little boat on the sea!
Sometimes He calms the sea, and sometimes He says, “it is I. Don’t be afraid.” Peter was fine until he took his eyes off the Lord and looked down. There is a lesson here for all of us. May we all be blessed today with the faith to believe in the only One who is able to save us.