Pray for me. This weekend I’m speaking all day to Christian counselors, pastors and leaders in Kentucky on Domestic Violence on Saturday and then Saturday night speaking at a youth rally on Bullying and Relationships. Pray that I’m able to fully share all that God has put on my heart.
Don’t forget our FREE Webinar on Wednesday, September 17, at 7:30 – 9:00 pm with Marianne Modesti, a family law attorney, who will talk and answer questions related to what you need to know if you are thinking of separating from a destructive spouse. To register click here.
Today’s Question: Is physical abuse ever justified in a marriage as “defending” yourself?
I attacked my husband physically in frustration by hitting and scratching. I know it was sinful and wrong and I made a choice to attack him.
He, in turn, held me down, punched me in the head several times and smashed my head up against the headboard of our bed.
He said he did it to “defend” himself and to “get me to stop”.
Answer: Self-defense is legally acceptable when you are being physical harmed, however it seemed like your husband used a bazooka against you when a fly swatter may have been sufficient. In other words, from your description of his behavior your husband took it over the top and did more than defend, he retaliated and abused you.
But I want to ask you a question. If your husband attacked you by hitting and scratching you because he was frustrated with something you did or said would that be justified? Just because you are a woman and may not have as much physical strength as he does, does not excuse you handling your frustration with him by attacking him and scratching him. What else could you have done in that moment of frustration?
The truth is marriage and family life can be frustrating at times. Who hasn’t gotten frustrated in marriage? Or in raising children? Or while stuck in traffic? Or waiting in a long line? If frustration excused abusive behavior we’d live in a much more violent world than we already live in.
So what do healthy people do when they are frustrated? When they are provoked? They learn to press pause, and practice self-control, which is one of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Yes we may feel like reacting with physical force – such as slapping or scratching someone when we’re frustrated, but if we want good relationships with people, we learn to control those urges.
It’s important to realize that we are not helpless victims over our own emotional state. Yes, we have feelings, but we must not allow our feelings to have us. God has clearly told us that we are to be in charge of how we behave when we’re provoked or angry.
In Ephesians he says “In your anger, do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26).
If I were talking further with you and/or your spouse about your marriage I would ask you about the overall patterns of your marriage. Have there been regular incidents of you reacting with physical attacks when you are frustrated or was this an isolated incident? If this has been a pattern, have you recognized it as a problem for you? For your marriage?
Has your spouse asked you to stop, get help for your emotional distress, or go to counseling? Does he purposefully provoke you to the point of emotional overload? Has he used physical violence against you in the past? If so have you implemented consequences like calling the police?
I hope you will take this incident as a warning bell to show you how close you are to the edge of a very scary cliff. Your inability to know what else to do in the moments of your frustration and your husband’s over-the-top reaction could have ended with you being pummeled to death. Please, don’t ignore this. Seek more professional advice about what your next steps should be for your own mental health, physical safety and marriage.
Friends, what words of wisdom can you give this sister when you have been provoked to the point of utter frustration? What else could she have done?
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I am so appreciative of the frequency and pertinence of Leslie’s posts and articles. They strengthen me and validate my experience, in a place where I need voices that believe me and do not pretend or minimize the harm.
PLEASE DO NOT PUBLISH MY LAST NAME IN POST I JUST LEFT. ONLY PUBLISH “ROBYN”. I couldn’t remove it myself.
Robyn and others – if you don’t want your last name used, don’t put your last name on the form. When I approve the comments, I always remove the last name if it’s in there, but it takes extra time. So in the future – for everyone – don’t put your last name in or just put a fake name if you want.
When I was going through the legal process with my ex and all the custody stuff. A wise attorney (not my first one) told me that if I keep my nose clean and don’t engage in the dirty fighting and just document, document, document it will go much better. The judge if you have two people fighting will look at both and say you have to stop. If you only have one person fighting it makes the choice obvious. Plus abusers will love to bait you into striking so they can go for it with all their might and claim they are the victim and you hit them. Kinda like the Ray Rice situation how she got villified for hitting him prior to the whole elevator tape appeared.
Go for a walk, go for a drive. Contact a safe friend to discuss it with. Leslie is right if you are on this much edge it is not good.
I can relate…..completely. Never before had I experienced such frustrstion than in my 23 yr marriage..:disappointing marriage. Ive thrown glasses and other objects at thr wall. My husband would try and restrsin me at times …never went well. Ive really had a lot of work abead of me. But the day I slapped him to stop yelling at me was turning a corner for us. He used full force to take me out. Scared me big time. I has occurred several times where we argued and he came after me……
I fear we will never rebuild the trust that has been broken by these wxperiences.
I slapped my husband once too when he would not stop the name calling, yelling etc. It had been going on for weeks and we were on a trip together and I felt trapped and helpless, no excuse, but that is how I felt. It really surprised me and I apologized right away and have never done it since. He was stunned and didn’t do anything but now he brings it up to prove that I am the abusive one, that was six years ago. After working with Leslie, I have been able to remain calm and not retaliate, or even raise my voice, I calmly tell him we can’t talk right now and I leave the room. Unfortunately I don’t have a lock on my door so he comes in and says stuff then leaves, but I know he is just trying to hurt me and the things that used to bother me so much don’t any more because I know who I am in Christ and I am not who he says I am.
Good for you Ann. I’m so glad you’re in a different place.
This post was helpful. Over the course of 28 years of verbal and emotional abuse, I have retaliated 4 times by hitting my husband. I took full responsibility, felt awful and it didnt acomplish anything. He did not strike me back, however, he uses that whenever I try and get him to understand how he has devastated our family with his yelling and controlling. Its like he thinks “well, i have never cheated on her or hit her so I must not be that bad.” Then when I try and explain what he is doing, he just says, “YOU are the one who hit ME. I have never hit you.” How am I supposed to respond? I tell him again, “YOu are right. I did and there is NO excuse for it. I felt trapped, and you would not leave me alone until I agree with whatever you want me to agree to so I lashed out. I am sorry I did that.” But then there is no accountability on anything he is doing.
You won’t get accountability or responsibility from someone who refuses to take any. But when you allow yourself to get so overwhelmed you lash back, you will be seen as the unstable or bad guy – from your children, and sometimes even in the courts. That’s why it’s so important to build CORE Strength and not allow yourself to get into those kinds of overwhelming situations where you are at your wits end.
So how do you rate your overall marriage? Has working on your CORE allowed you to stay well in your marriage? Does the emotional / verbal abuse still take place? Is your
Question about rate of marriage is for Ann.
I pressed post by mistake, I can relate to Debby and Ann. My husband has pushed my buttons so that it led me to hitting him with an object. I’m a breast cancer survivor and one night he was so angry at me he called me a no tit** big*** and I hit him on the leg while he was lying in bed holding our infant baby. He is right when he says he doesnt beat me but he has pushed me and held me down a few times bc he said he didn’t know what I was gone do. We are currently separated. I left him bc name calling and yelling wldnt stop. Its been 5 weeks, he too uses the I don’t cheat, drink, do drugs or beat you line on me. He’s now saying all he has ever wanted was to lead his family…… anyways when I read post from women like Ann who are still with their husbands I wonder if I shldv stayed longer and worked on my CORE.
I have to say I have been through two different counties trying to get my divorce and custody handled right due to the domestic violence abuse towards me and my two daughters from their father. I have to say this much the courts stink and it does not matter how much evidence and documentation you have or texts printed out of his verbal abuse they will not enforce the court order they will not do what’s in the best interest of the children all they do is threaten me just as my ex always did. Even though I was awarded custody because his attorney refused to let it go to trial as I had witnesses of his abuse, they still let him make decisions that he should be making when I have the legal custody. Like highlighting a 12 year olds hair just because he wants it highlighted when her school rules states no highlighting or hair color or tattoos or body piercings. They are trying to force his girlfriend in their lives now the girls don’t even want to see him but the court states they are doing what’s in the best interest of children. They have no clue because they ignored all the abuse and evidence and the children’s voice as well. He got away with the abuse not to mention murdering a cat in front of my 7 year old as well or my 7 year old catching him masturbating. Sick! Sick!
What if your abusive husband IS the police?? A detective.
That makes is very difficult, but sadly a lot of women are married to abusive law enforcement people. I’d go for some support to you local women’s shelter – they often have group counseling or classes you can take and talk with them about police officers who “know” and support women who are abused.
I think sometimes we are afraid to acknowledge the abuse because we don’t want to admit our husbands could hurt us. It feels safer to live in denial pretending they didn’t mean to hurt us, but in reality it’s only safe to live with truth and get help!
I agree with LORETTA. denial seems safer we don’t want to admit it’s that bad. A dangerous place to be.
Denial may seem safer but it is NOT safer.
One time, while on a vacation, he kept belittling me because we hadn’t had sex. It put my hands out like I was going for his throat. He said, “I have never hit you”, and I stopped. I wan’t going to hit him and there is my way my hands could have gone around his neck, but the part about not ever hitting me wasn’t true, but I didn’t want to be like him. I wound up giving in, he hurt me as usual and I felt as though I had been raped. I think that is when I began to hate him. I believe you have the right to defend yourself if you are being attacked and I am sure my finger nails could do damage, but I would prefer not to go there.
I did the fingernail thing once over 30 years ago. He would not respond to anything I said, nothing and I was trying to get him to understand how I was feeling. I just wanted a reaction, he just sat there, which is a good thing because it could have gotten ugly. He brought it up last night when he was trying to tell me how abusive I am and he never touched me. I, too, have given in to sex after verbal abuse, made me feel like a prostitute.
The sexual stuff just goes so deep. It’s just hard to undo those things. I’m no longer married, but those effects still linger. I almost hit my husband as well one day. It was just so crazy making!!! I remember thinking along the same lines as you though and I didn’t want to be like him.
This is not good. I need to do a rewrite so I know what I just said. This box is too small. I hate to complain, but can there at least be a 10 minute rewrite button once we press post.
Brenda I’m dealing with a husband who was sexually abusive. He says he’s never been physically abusive because he’s never hit me. He has shoved me, restrained me and I’ve had two repair surgeries because of the damage he’s done to my body sexually. He seemed to get more aroused by my pain and I learned not to cry out because he was less violent then. I got through the torture by dissociating, not a good way to deal with violence. I should never have let him injure me, lack of boundaries, poor teaching in the church, and his constant preaching at me that scripturally I had to let him have sex not matter what, made it difficult to say no. I have set boundaries with him; he knows that if he injures me now I’ll say no sex for a time. He’s working on his issues and I’m trying to be safe and yet loving, not easy. I’ve read Leslie’s book and it’s helping me work through this mess we call marriage.
My heart aches for you and every women who has been taught that she has to allow herself to be abused in order to be a good wife. You say if he injures you now you’ll say no for a while. Does he not know the difference by now? Why are you continuing to allow yourself to be injured at all. One more time is too many.
I’m no longer allowing injury, my boundary is that an injury will mean no sex for a season. My husband knows when he’s injuring me. At this time he’s being careful not to injure me.
Loretta, I’m sorry that he has hurt you like that. I know how that feels. I know how it feels to not be able to say “no” because you are fulfilling your wifely duties. I know what it is to disassociate during it all. Mine hurt me like that too and recovery has been hard. I finally left, but I still deal with the injuries and the memories. I want you to know that I am praying with you. I am praying for God’s protection and for his leadership in your life. God loves us and He doesn’t want to see us hurt. This was not God’s design for love. Take care.
I’m praying for God’s direction and healing for us both. I’m not sure what the future holds, but am thankful for the prayers!!! Thanks Leslie for the word, “one more is too many!” I so need truth as I’m trying to build my core. Thankfully my Pastor and wife are standing with me and have encouraged me to call 911 if I need to, that they will stand with me against future abuse! That’s rare in the church so far as I’ve seen. God is helping me. I also pray for everyone else on this blog who is struggling with abuse and truth and trying to find healing and safety.
Loretta, I’m no longer married. About the time this incident happened was when I started getting educated. Leslie, Vernick, Barbara Roberts, Lundy Bancoft, Dr. Henry Cloud–all very instrumental in helping me get out of the fog and realize nothing was ever going to change. I am now 15 months free–to an extent. He still sends texts and leaves voice messages, but I no longer respond. I don’t hate him, but he will not take responsibility or get help, so I had to leave. I hope you can make it work. I pray everyday for the
sorry, my cat pushed my buttons. I pray everyday for the abuse to stop for all of us. That lives and hearts would turn to Christ and true repentance would happen at last.
I can relate to the disassociating. I would go inside my mind telling myself that it would be over soon. Even now I have pushed it so far down in the memory that sometimes it doesn’t seem like it really happened. I was trained since childhood not to tell and get it over with. Childhood sexual abuse made it easy to be a target of adult sexual abuse. I got tired, sick and just not going to take it anymore. The only man I want in my life is Christ.
Isn’t it amazing how far back they have to reach in order to make you out to be the abusive one and it’s the only thing they have. The one time I raised my voice to the X, he kept telling me that I needed to calm down. One Time. There was no way I was calming down. I let lose on years of lies, verbal, mental, sexual an physical abuse. It didn’t help. He didn’t get it. Nothing changed,, but I realized that I was holding back which was dangerous for my health. I found different outlets after that, but it was the beginning of coming out of the fog. At this point I could care less if I ever have sex again. I have been hurt too much and wouldn’t trust a man not to hurt me.
I know the feeling but I am still married and because we are in separate rooms, I’m “abusing” him. I’m looking into legal separation, he says he will no longer enable me to abuse him so we need to separate yet he won’t do it.
Ann, The statistics I have read show that men are far less likely to start the process, even if they are the ones who want it. I don’t see how staying in another room is abusing him. At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for you..
My husband knows when he’s injuring me, he also knows that an injury will mean “no sex” for a season. At this time he’s being very careful. It’s sad but without boundaries there is no way to protect myself. For years I believed that it was me duty to take the abuse, but not anymore!
Our natural instinct as human beings is self-protection. I’m not saying that it is a good thing, but to strike out at someone who is attacking you seems like a basic instinct. Only once did I ever attempt to strike out during a tirade of verbal and emotional abuse. It was such an automatic reaction that it honestly scared me. I felt horrible as if I was the abuser afterward and vowed never to do that again. Now, looking back though I wonder if perhaps I did more harm to myself by shutting off those natural instincts. Is there not a difference between abuse and defense?
SD, I believe we have a right to protect ourselves from someone who is physically attacking us. My problem is that the one time I did want to go after X, he was verbally attacking. I should have packed up my car and headed home while he wasn’t around. He could have caught a bus. But if I had I’m sure it would have been physical then.
I don’t believe there was any other way, but to leave permanently.
You can most certainly work on you while you are separated and at the same time give him time to think about his hurtful comments. The comments he made to you were uncalled for no matter what was going on. I know how it feels to be sick and not have the support of your husband. Amazing thing is that I feel better now that he is not in my life.
Don’t compare your situation with others. We each have our own timing.
We all have to lean on God to direct us in our own relationships. I’m still with my husband and building my core, but it’s been very difficult and I don’t know what will happen in the future. Will we stay together? If you are separated you are in a good place to work on CORE and then see what happens with your husband. Does he try to change? Will he seek help? My husband is getting help now, so I’ll see what happened. I should have left years ago, but with little support and coming from a family that abusing women was common, I didn’t realize I had choices. Don’t beat yourself up, press close to God for help and build your CORE and then you’ll know what you should do.
Thanks Loretta P, no he is not willing to get help, he doesn’t see his need for help. When I mention counseling he says it insults him that I want to go outside the marriage for help and that we shldnt have to go to counseling for me to so what he says. And once counseloraagrees with him it will make him mad if I start to do it bc it shldv already been in my heart to do. (Which is have his back in a situation when my mom came to visit the baby after getting out of NICU where he had a temper tantrum which caused her to leave resulting in him saying she insulted him by leaving instead of making my 5 ye old nephew sit down and bc I haven’t agreed with him on the situation he says I’ve thrown him under the bus and not have his back. In his eyes I’ve chosen my family over him. But anyway my throwing him under the bus justifies his anger and name calling. He says I’ve abandoned him and he wants nothing to do with me anymore.(so he says) I’m sure if I took the blame and said the right words I cld go back. Anyways thanks for your response.I will be praying for you and your situation! God bless you!
Thanks Brenda, I am a 9 year survivor and we’ve only been married 2 years but I have had a minor procedure and premature delivery of our baby girl which he was very supportive, which is another issue that lead me to thinking about the good things about him and minimize the name calling,hollering, overbearing and threatening person that he is. The fact that he’s not really thinking about how hurtful his comments were, he always apologize afterwards, minimize the affect and does it again, now he is to busy blaming me for everything – mainly taking his daughter away, refusing to take real responsibility. Instead I’m accused of abandoning him when all he has done was call me a few B’s and H’s bc he gets so frustrated with me. It’s my fault. Writing this is so good for me. It’s helping to put things inti perspective tive
Monica, I think the more we write or talk about it the more reality sinks in.
Ive been reading these posts on staying well and building up your core which are excellent things to do. For me, I put up with being fearful enough of my husband to live in a separate bedrm. Why does it take so long for us to figure out, this destructive behavior that is driving us out of my husbands bedrm, is a red flag something is really wrong here?? After 30 yrs of an abusive marriage, I finally got it. It saddens me to see so many women staying, workign to make their marriages work, when they are being so disrespected, disvalued, and unloved thinking it will serve some good. I pray for wisdom for women – that they will separate for a season and see the destructive way they live- needs a necessary ending as Dr Henry Cloud put it. After escaping myself, I just want to say yes there is a right way to stay. But first ask yourself – should I stay?? Is this what I want to model to my children?? Please pray about this. God loves you so much and has a beautiful plan for your lives. I am confident being treated so poorly wasn’t on Gods list, for His beautiful daughters!!!
The reason many of us stay is because the church reminded us of our ‘fallen state’ before Christ. True, I repent daily knowing I am a sinner saved by grace, however, my husband at one time professed the same … Quite often, the church still has secular eyeglasses that says, “Well, boys will be boys.” (nudge, poke. wink) Ephesians 5 is used to remind women to submit, yes, to their own husbands but for some sinful reason the husbands are overlooked in the reminder to ‘love ONLY THEIR WIVES’, not other women, sports or even their children.
Wow Robin B. Your message is so on point and timely! Its what I woke up to yesterdaymorning after having decided I was going to go home this week, thinking after being gone close to 6 weeks and being around supportive family while on vacation the past two weeks, feeling I’ve built myself up.well reading your post coupled with the nagging thought of sometimes o preach to my patients that have a diagnosis of mental disorder– which is for those who stop taking their meds bc they feel better and think they don’t need them anymore then relapse / deteriorate. I tell them “the reason you are feeling better is bc the meds are working and you need to keep taking them.” To apply that to myself maybe I’m feeling a lot better is bc I’m away from his craziness.then when I let him know I’d be back in town today and home you our house Tomorrow, he insists that I come there today (demanding) I get nervous, flashbacks and not sure if I’m ready. Either way, I love what you wrote especiallyaabout necessaryendings bc I’m reading that book right now. And also posing question “why stay ” for me why go back
Plan to watch Leslie’s stream about legal issues bc I prefer to be in the home and he move out.so the baby and I can be home. Especiallyssince he says he doesn’t want to be with me anymore and the mortgageiis in my name. But he says I am welcomed to come home.
I wish we could edit these things. Leslie can we have a bigger box tk write our comments in?
Monica, I could write a book on why I shouldn’t have stayed. I literally spent 20 yrs of my life going fun places with extended family or friends, and doing anything rather than having to return to my home where he was. I lived in a separate bedrm for over 15 yrs because he was so rigid and mean to me I realized one day I could make choices that were healthy and good for me. Now that I have been away from him for 8 months, I promise you there is never a day I think, Gee I wish he was back, to terrorize me and the kids. No the opposite. My eldest daughter has received a full healing since he has been absent and I’m in recovery. Some of you may think well her situation must have been different and way bad. From what I read on Leslie’s blog regularly, many are in the same exact place I was. The only way I was shaken to reality, was when my life was threatened, and it was time for me to draw the line in the sand. Do I ever wish, I wouldn’t have waited till it got so extreme. Unfortunately, 8 months down the road all I see, is the intensity of the abuse against me and my family. It doesn’t get easier. I wish I didn’t have memories of 32 yrs of destructive behaviors. I say it with a humble heart, be sure and check out your situation with some good friends, or someone who is supporting you, they will tell you the truth. My best friends husband is a counselor, and he kept saying, you have a home here, when you’re ready to leave. In my sitaution Monica, my husband told everyone he would not leave his home, so I helped him out. His own counselor said, Tell her to get a protection order a nd have him removed. So I did. He was NOT happy and still isn’t. I have done my homework. For 18 months Ive been in weekly counseling and therapy to get healthy and build a strong core. I’m sad, so very sad, he never could acknowledge his abusive nature and repent and get help. But my life is so much better. Everyday I thank the Lord for His Provision and His constant Goodness to me.
This is so discouraging. It almost seems like I must live like my husband would desire … don’t speak; just get along; no love; let others especially family be rude to me, etc. Live very isolated … over 30 yrs of emotional & sexual abuse; not the holding down kind b/c I complied in order to not be heard by the children … years of expectations – now room mates … and he is content. Traveling without me b/c the adult children have sided with him. This is very, very painful:-( I’ve applied for legal separation but am doubting myself – wanting only to please the Lord. I have no local church. Sorry for rambling …
hIH, Have you read Barbara Roberts book, “Not Under Bondage”? I had a very difficult time with wanting to please the Lord and after reading Leslie’s book, Barbara’s put the icing on the cake that lead to freedom. Praying for you.
It’s taken me a long time to work through Barb’s and also Jeff Crippen’s book(s). I took time out for Leslie’s book. What has dragged me down is: I will read either a paragraph or a chapter and find myself crying and grieving over how I have been deceived and also that I just feel so physically weak to even move out and I am suffering “brain fog” (a mix of stress and Hypothyroidism). Although the resources are freeing, they have also caused me to grieve. I really am very tired and his cool, calm demeanour and disinterest makes me want to escape. He knows I am vulnerable.
hIH, I know what you are going through. When I read what you said there, I could see myself coming into my office, kneeling in the corner and trying to pray. Sometimes crying so hard that no words could come out. I was a wreck. That slowly got better, but it took a while. I have MS, Fibromyalgia, sleep disorder–the list goes on. Now that I’ve been away from “the fog” for 15 months so many things are so much clearer and feel like the person that I could have been a very long time ago. You will get there too. I put you in my prayer book and I won’t forget to lift you up to the only true Healer.
Thank you Brenda. I feel almost relieved that he will be gone from Oct 4 – 9 and then possibly for another few days later on in Oct. I am seeking the Lord to help me during this time to focus and continue to be prepared. Possibly with me starting my ‘casual’ job position, I may connect with someone with more insight as to an apartment?
hIH, No thanks are necessary. I wish I could do more. Stay strong and folow the Lord’s direction.
One thing I am very sure of is it would be so nice to meet some of the very special ‘friends’ I’ve met via the internet and online counseling and blogging. It has become a community of praying individuals. Thank you, Lord and may we always keep our hearts in tune with Yours.
hIH, I agree. I would like that very much.
I am astounded at the outbreak of domestic assaults reported via media. Is this a time to stand up and be counted? I don’t know. I had a real set back two days ago when my 3 adult children met with me ( I agreed to meet, knowing the pressure they would apply) to ask me to delay the divorce summons I sent their father to notarize and get the ball rolling. They want me to give it more time! 39 years is not enough time? I agreed to slow down the process until Thanksgiving. I awoke the next morning and felt utterly lonely, abandoned – like someone had died and it was my fault. I am learning how to respect my emotions and study them and ask myself questions about my feelings. I use to become my feelings. If I felt despairing – I did despair. If I felt angry. I did anger. Depressed? I did depressed. Now I am learning how to manage my feelings and not become them. That is why I have left my home. The man I live with (difficult to identfy as a husband). He would become his rage. He feels rage? He does rage. Anyway, I realized talking with a couselor that I felt so lonely and defeated because I chose to “please the children”, go along to get along, want their support and approval – and let them be the “parent”, and put myself back to being the “project” The “sick one.” who needs their counsel. I conceded, and could not believe how I had lost the freedom I had gained. Well, it turned out all right. My attorney is going to write a letter and ask him to comply to the summons right away so we can begin dividing assets. But it set me back. You know what folks? Let’s get tough and declare ” We don’t negotiate with terrorists! including our kids who t hink t hey are helping, but havent’ lived with the man they think is so great! Let’s hold the line and protect ourselves. Build your core and stand the line. One doesn’t have to be fully whole to move out. Sometimes, one has to move out to better become “whole”. May The Lord bless and keep you, one and all. Please pray for me that my self-worth is so imbedded in precous Jesus and His UNFAILING Love for me, that the approval of my adult children will not be a requiement to my being “whole and holy” in Him Alone. Thank you.
I love your line “WE don’t negotiate with terrorists.” I think it is time we stand up to abuse. I’m so thankful for all the attention to DV in the media.
DEAR TERI, Your heart resonates with mine. No, my husband didn’t and doesn’t exhibit outward rage until he demanded I move out last year and then relented after a month … he just took his frustrations out on me by allowing others to treat me rudely; he sexually abused me and yet I would have to smile at the table as we ate with the small children. Sadly, now that the children are adults and know the sins that were committed still favour him for some strange reason. I’m feeling really physically and emotionally sick … sorry Leslie, I thought my ‘core’ was being strengthened.
I think what has set me back is I’ve accepted a ‘casual’ job but not sure I can physically handle it … always being on call for dietary/housekeeping – can be very demanding – and yet, I feel compelled even at age 58 to bring in some income … I’m still ‘here’ but his cold indifference; tossing me aside like a rag is just so overwhelming. I’m don’t have much support and even my own family can be manipulative so I do not want to reach out them in desperation. I am soooo very tired. I covet your prayers as I can’t seem to stop crying.
Teri: We don’t negotiate with terrorists! including our kids
Amen. They want you to wait until Thanksgiving, then it will be Christmas, New Year’s, Birthdays. It won’t end. They don’t get a vote in your life. 39 years IS long enough.
I forgot to mention in a previous comment that it is so disheartening to know that our own children can become the terrorists in our lives. I feel so spent:-(
Robin, We remember that glimpse of the person we thought we were getting when we said, “I Do”. Then things change and we still remember the person we thought we were marrying. We remember the vows and they don’t. Since the necessary ending took place in my life I see where I have been, what I put up with and where I am now. There is so much change for me. There really hasn’t been any for him. I had to turn him over to the Lord and move on. I so wish that for other women before it’s too late. I pray to that end each and every day.
It is interesting the things I am discovering and learning about myself as I continue to learn to live from my CORE. I used to tell myself that I just “couldn’t live” without my husband’s attention, affection and approval. Now I see how I am fully complete in Christ and that He meets all my needs. That Truth alone has helped me to live and respond from a place of strength rather than one of insecurity that left me without healthy relationship boundaries and vulnerable to abuse.
I was consumed with all my husband’s “failures” and “short-comings” and took every opportunity to obsess myself into misery and nag him to death, thinking if I told him about his failures enough, the lightbulb would go on and one morning he would wake up and become my dream husband. Well, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “become loveable, a wife your husband will be drawn to and wants to love.” In this way, his heart can become softened and opened to the work of God to bring healing in my marriage.
Right now, we’re still in separate bedrooms with VERY limited emotional intimacy. There are still difficult issues that need to be addressed before reconciliation can take place but I am trusting the Holy Spirit for the timing and words.
One silver lining in all this is that we are doing devotions consistently for the first time in our 15 year marriage and we are even praying together on occasion.
God is the only one who can change his heart and bring healing and in that I find great peace rather than frustrating myself with repeated failures of my human efforts in trying to “fix” him and our marriage.
Praying for peace and wholeness in Christ for all the ladies on Leslie’s blog 🙂
Sometimes, I get super passionate about things I have experienced, and I want to make sure I didn’t say anything that would offend anyone or lead them in the wrong direction. I do believe that some should ‘stay well’ and some need to leave. My comments are written strongly to those who should have left long ago. But I am fully aware all we can do is write our testimony and share our experiences, and maybe it will help someone and hopefully it won’t hurt anyone. Reading on this blog, helped me greatly to see the options in front of me, and get the courage to jump!!! It was so difficult for me to even make an appt to see the lawyer. Even after I did, it was terribly frightening to think about what I was starting- the beginning of the final end. But I can say, and I have said many times, I wish I would have done it sooner. It seems so difficult to make that decision, but being on the other side now, I am so confident that God never planned a destructive relationship for me when He made a plan for my life. I often have thought I wished I could have known that sooner. Today being free, I realized I needed those painful experiences to be who I am today. But I still look back, and see much wasted time and chaos, that my children shouldn’t have endured. Thanks, Robin
Robin, that frightened place you mentioned about meeting with a lawyer is where I am now. I feel tense and uneasy right now, very tearful about the condition of my marriage. I’ve been gone almost two months. I am so confused right now and don’t know what to do. I read about the ladies on here who has endured 15, 20+ years of marriage and I just two years. I want so badly to have hope for my marriage but my husband refuses counseling and I can’t see myself going back and having any kind of dignity if he can’t ay least meet me half way and agree to counseling. Which in my mind leaves only the option of divorce. He’s so angry armed for leaving and taking our baby girl. She is 6 months and he has not seen her since I left. We are 45 minutes away and no transportation.HHe refuses to come here to see her bc he no longer likes my family so he wants me to bring her to him
All that to say is I feel guilty for keeping her from him even though I know that’s not the case. I’m wondering if maybe I’m being too stubborn and shld go back home after all we’ve only been married two years and it’d only my first time truly leaving. I’ve had a time or two of coming to my moms for the weekend while we were mad but not to stay for good. Either way I feel defeated bc I want to fold and go back home. After all when he’s not angry and calling me b**** “to get my attention ” bc according to him Jesus got angry to get ppl attention and called the Syrian women a dog to get her attention ” he has yet to stop the hollering and yelling. He does for a short time. I start considering going home but first try to get him to agree to counseling and nothing
My heart is aching. I believe I’ve let my family in on too much of what was going on which also keeps me from going back bc of the shame mostly of them knowing the names he has called me. I could go on and on but I won’t. I’m hurting now. Its getting close to time to go back to work which is closer to where we / he lives, the baby will be going to daycare, extra expenses for me so more economical to go home
just feeling hopeless.
Oh Monica– what a long process it is to deal with abuse. You may not be ready to leave yet, but I will encourage you to not look at it like its only been two yrs. Do you think its better to STOP ABUSE after 20 yrs?? I bet theres not a woman on here, that has stayed for 20 yrs or longer who doesn’t regret leaving much sooner to protect her children. Are you keeping him from his daughter or is he controlling you saying he won’t come to you?? These are very hard decisions to make. The only thing I would advise– is to not toy around with abuse. If its serious abuse, its never too early to leave. If its not abuse, than maybe re-read Leslie’s bks about standing up to the abuse and drawing a very firm boundary line. There are options are women – I just ask you consider seriously what this might be doing to your children to stay??? I stayed 32 yrs and I’d give anything to go back and only stay the first couple yrs. We would have been so much healthier. Now we have alot of counseling and therapy to work thru. Whatever you choose- do it for the right reason. NOt out of guilt he is trying to lay on you. God bless you, and I promise to pray for you diligently!! Love, Robin
Thanks again Robin. I appreciate your responses and the questions you pose bring me back to reality (even if for short time). As far as not being willing to leave, I’ve already left. It was in August, I guess I wasn’t ready for the consequences or shall I say for him to refuse to budge or compramise on counseling. I don’t know what o expected to happen. It most definitely is abuse without a doubt. Is it serious? Not according to him. A lot of name calling, belittling, hollering, threats etc. One of your questions/comments remind me of why I chose to leave is bc o didn’t want to sit around and let it get worst and I find myself in a bad place emotionally and mentally due to my history. Plus I don’t want my daughter to be around it although she is only an infant I’m sure its not good for her. I admire your strength and courage to move towards healing. 🙂 thanks for what you said about separation not being final but according to my husband I have left and abandoned him. I guess what keeps getting to me are the thoughts that it I go home then he might change his mind about counseling. Bc he had agreed to counseling but not the one I chose bc it was located near his job do I went alone, he doesn’t know I did) bc he had a temper tantrum/explosion before I cld find someone else I left. Also I had read what Leslie wrote about the need for individual counseling ay first more so than couples counseling. So with all that said that’s where my guilt stems from bc he said he’d go but o left before. Now he’s back to refusing to go. Obviously I need to get myself into counseling. And yes, I know his not seeing our daughter is all about control :(. I’m continuing to pray and read, writing on here is so helpful, I hope the ladies. Aren’t tired of my rambling. I’ve started praying the Ephesian prayers daily. I know everything will be okay. Thanks for praying for me, I will do the same for you!
and remember it is not giving up hope to separate. I have filed for divorce and I still keep a hope that he will repent and acknowledge his abuse and destructive behaviors. Divorce or separation is not final. Its simply a boundary line, that says you are not safe, I need safety.
Monica, there is not one lady on this site that will tire of your words. They are all in the same process or have walked thru it. Listening to others experiences and writing about our own us an important part of our healing journey. I’m going to tell you something my counselor has told me a thousand times before I actually applied it to my life. DO not let your husband be your reality. When we constantly are saying my husband said, my husband thinks, it reveals we think his word is truth and we are giving it power over us. I truly began true healing when I quit making what he said KING!! This is what abusers do. They control us by their use of placing guilt on us- trying to rule over us. I would suggest strongly you consider why you are where you are presently- separated and with safe people. If he wants to promise you he will attend counseling, have him start it on his own initiative. It would be wise, to hold him accountable and not just hope in a false hope. Robin
Monica, your husband is not going to counseling because HE is choosing not to go to counseling. It is not your fault or your responsibility for what he does or does not do. Don’t blame yourself for anything HE chooses to say or do. Your moving out should have been a huge wake up call that things are bad and he needs to change and get help. He’s still trying to see if he can control and manipulate you like he has been. Stand your ground. Don’t give into him and let him have his tantrums all by himself. They’re no fun when they don’t work. In the meantime, continue to work on your CORE and take care of yourself and your precious baby girl ❤️
I hope you service my post to Loretta p and you.
Monica, since you are already out of the house, take time to heal. I wish I would have left years ago!!! I’ve been in abuse for 39 years and it’s not the way to go! My husband and I are getting help now, but I would have saved myself years of sadness, pain, and being reduced as a person by leaving. Don’t feel guilt for leaving abuse. God loves YOU and he don’t love abusive marriages. That was never his plan. If your husband wants to change he can go to counseling and get help. If you return before he gets help, he’ll know he doesn’t have to get help. Please, learn from my mistakes, don’t live in abuse for any length of time!!!
Thanks Loretta P and Sue for your responses. I am back home with my husband as of yesterday / Tuesday. The initial reunion was blissful! But he has already called me some bad names and gotten upset bc I refused to give in to one of his demands. All this took place via phone and text bc he works overnight. And of course he apologized. He got upset bc I initiated a conversation with him about my family that he wanted me to denounce and after refusing he called me names.I still stood my ground and he ended up apologizing for the name calling and told me that I no longer have to denounce my family! Yea for me! Victory, but do I want to stay is the question I ask myself? What’s it going to be okey when I don’t give in when we are face to face. He. Says I’m taking those few bad words and making them more. I guess the big issue for me as to stay or not is more so bc none of my family thinks I shldv come back they are all hurt and disappointed. This makes me sad and unable to enjoy being back with my husband and the hope of a better marriage bc he said we will pray and if God leads he will do counseling. Am I being naive in a hopeless situation or is the fact that he said I no longer have to denounce my family proof that he is changing? Ladies help me? I know you all can post til you blue I gotta be the one to get it. I have the chance to leave again in the morning but I’m afraid I’ll be laden with guilt of leaving again plus after seeing how happy he was to see his baby girl again after not seeing her for so long. That’s what pulled me in and when coming back to the house to get some of my stuff we got close and before I knew it we decided I was coming back to stay for good. Right now my family was all lined up to help in any way needed.I fear I might lose that and if my husband doesn’t really change long term I will have missed a window of opportunity.
One other thing I think I might have come on back bc I was supposed to get my car back from my husband on Tuesday and he notified me last minute that the breaks are messed up. So he’s getting a coworker to fix on Thursday. The transmission is out on his van so he will not have a way to work and we live in the country with no public transportation,maybe I feel responsible for him. Sorry for him. He was really happy about me and the baby being home.
Monica, You are home for what–20 minutes and already he is angry because you are not complying. He is WILLING to allow you to see your family. He is not ready to reconcile. There is no reason that he should want you to renounce your family. So what if he misses his little girl. Eventually he will treat her the same way. You are right though, the decision is yours.
Monica, I concur with Brenda and what the other ladies already said very well. You were in a safe place with safe people. LESLIE emphasizes safety and sanctity which you had with safe family. Your husband will keep telling you whatever to win and to control. He has won by getting you back home and no he hasn’t changed or he would be in counseling individually for his own issues. A car is not good reason to come home. Nothing is when you are abused. You need to know what you want not your family nor your husband. If you don’t know what you want you will keep going back and forth. I personally want you to call abuse- what is is. And hate it. Until you do you will keep being drawn back into it. If you are not in individual counseling, do so. Henry Cloud would say in his bl Necessary Endings, you are living in a false hope and reality. What an abusive person has lived out in his past is a direct reflection of his future without definite resolve and action to receive help from therapy. That has not been the case. So I ask again, why would you stay??
I didn’t stay. I left this morning when my dad picked me and the baby up for a Dr appts. Thanks for your encouragement! They are so vital and is helping me to not get lost in the victims mentality. Robin you said to “call abuse what it is and HATE it” yes mam, that is the reason I wld hypothetically stayed. I’m not doing that but justifying his behavior! I thank God for you ladies and my family members who will not let me settle. I will refocus on my CORE and God. I know I can do this. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Also Robin you are right I have to know what I want. Again thanks ladies. I pray you are all doing well as you are working through your own healing!
Praise the Lord. Don’t feel guilty and give yourself time. Don’t worry about your husband, he can take care of himself. Focus on you and your daughter. I will be in prayer for you. (((((HUGS)))))
Monica, you just put a big smile on my face. Ive had you on my heart all morning, since I read your last notes about going home. I want you to understand we all get– justifying. We’ve all been there. Its our JOY and FREEDOM now, that gives us deep passion to speak truth to you. This afternoon I was remembering the difference between his abuse at 2 yrs into the marriage- vs 30 yrs. You are likely only seeing the beginning. It takes years for them to get brave enough to start disrespecting and devaluing to the extreme that happens many yrs down the road. I am so proud of you Monica. It is the toughest decision we are faced with- to leave our home, our dreams, our life, our hopes. What I tell women when we discuss staying or leaving- is get out!! If you separate and your life gets much safer and saner, your good health of getting away from the abusive – destructive behaviors – you will be able to figure it out. And I usually say, just leave. Don’t worry about the car, the belongings, anything. Just get out, get safe, protect your children, and in time you can figure out those other things. Love you Monica and so glad you are back with the people who care to keep you safe. !!!! Robin
Amen, Rpbin. Monica, I agree with all that Robin has said. Don’t do as many have done and stay for far too long. God’s blessings on you.
I never wldv been able to do it without the support from you ladies and my family.
Monica, I feel exactly the same way. I had good friends to go stay with for first 2 wks and they took such good care of me. And I had excellent support from many people. Without support, we would not break the chains of abuse!!!!!!
Hi ladies, I’m still at my moms. I got my car from my husband yesterday which leaves him with no transportation.He ended up getting some money and wants to get me another used vehicle what we can afford (its not a lot) and he will take my car bc its older and in it’s last leg. This sounded great at first but now I’m thinking this might be something that will cause me to feel obligated to go back to him. None of my family has mercy on him and say I go out of my way too much to accommodate him. Last night he texted to see of I wanted to drive over this morning 45 minutes and go to church together. I’m thinking of going ahead and letting him use my car til Wednesday then he can get himself another car. I go back to work Thursday and will need to get my car back. He also wants me to come help in in the house with somethings. I’m know I don’t plan to go back / reconcile with him right now bc he still got issues, but don’t know how to set boundaries.
Monica, I fully realize my words come in great strength and might be hard to hear. It is because I have walked in your steps, steps that want a hope and want to be willing to do my part. I want to suggest something different to consider. My faith was huge for me. I clung to Jesus asking Him for every step I should take. With the help of an excellent support base, I felt He encouraged me to have one boundary only. I’ve been told by several my path of healing came quickly because of my resolve not to compromise that boundary line. My boundary was simple– I am done asking and when you have done what I requested, initiate therapy and show me you have committed to it and acknowledge your abuse as what it is– destructive behaviors that are damaging our relationship and family, we can go towards communicating again. Any move towards manipulating me will not get a response. Do not contact me, unless it’s by email and you are letting me know you have honored my request. Cars, money, children, need not my attention at this time until you do what is necessary to start healing of our marriage relationship.
In addition, I found it wise not to have any need to accommodate him, help him, feel sorry for him. As LESLIE affirms in her bk and Henry Cloud– w/o Sid consequences for his destructiveness, there can be no lasting change.
One thing I noticed – you mentioned the mortgage is in your name, he doesn’t have a vehicle, and I havn’t heard much about his job. I’m wondering how responsible he is, to being faithful to Gods Word for husbands to provide for their own. I would take a step back and really think about his committment or lack of— to care for you. It sounds to me like he needs a serious wake up call. Quit taking responsibility for him, dear Monica. Make him stand on his own!!
Robin, yes your words “come in great strength” but good strength and strength in numbers being that its the exact same counsel/advice from my family – that I need to stop taking responsibility for my husband. I think this is hard bc o let the things he say and accuse me of such as “abandoning” him become “truth”. I like your recommendation about the firm boundary line
I just might be strong enough to go there, the only thing is that he wants to take the baby to his parents this weekend 5 hours away to visit his dad who had a stroke about a month ago, he hasn’t met her yet. I was gonna go too bc she’s only 6 months. Even though I know it o haven’t done it completely that is cling and hold fast to Jesus. Today has been difficult and it’s all I CAN do. I already told him I’d bring the car back for him to go to work tonight and he bring me back to my moms 45 minutes. Which is very inconvenient. Please pray for me strength. Thank you so much for speaking truth in love and reality. God bless you! If I set that boundary before this weekend. Who knows. It will be hard to send her alone. I don’t want to.
Monica even when you struggle remember you are strong in the Lord. That means you are not strong, but God is and will give you strength for each time you need it and ask Him for it. You have tough decisions to make regarding your baby. Safety first!! But maybe you can ask your parents for their take on it. Are you just fearful because it’s hard to let go if our babies– or do you really fear for her safety?? Remember we all struggle with those areas of letting go. While we listen to our supporters, always always ask the Lord for His counsel. He will never steer you wrong. If I could only give you one piece of advice to remember is say – remember always an abusers goal is to win, to control, to manipulate. Every move they make is towards thT end. When I realized that– my whole life changed and it helped me to have strength in making wiser choices!!
Also Monica— sometimes us moms worry about our babies, our provision or lack of, all the things that our families need. I was so set free when I realized with Leslie’s help, what I really needed was SAFETY AND SANITY. So the less I saw him, the less I communicated with him– the more safety and sanity was given and it opened the door to wTch the Lord be my husband and my provider. Everything my husband either controlled or denied me, God gave to me graciously and abundantly. All I had to do was stop trusting my idol husband and start trusting and knowing God fully!!
Im fearful bc it’s hard to let go of her. I’m her mama she’s been with me everyday. He won’t hurt her.
Perhaps an option Monica is just say no to him wanting to take baby. Say not at this time?? Abusers think they should have whatever they want. But you can just say no. Maybe this is nothing more than s ploy to manipulate you into going and being with him so he can make you feel more guilty.
If he wanted his sick dad to see her so much why did he wait till she was 6 months? That’s a long time to introduce his new daughter. It sounds like nothing other than control and manipulation.
Remember Monica abusers use whatever they need to – to win and get what they want. I would recommend limiting communication with him to minimal emails. Maybe have a family member read them first. It’s not necessary for you to take in all the stress he is giving you!!
Robin, I do believe he really wants his dad to see her. She was born 15 weeks premature and spent the first 2 1/2 months in NICU. His mom got to see her when she came for my shower in Junebut his dad didn’t. His dad had a stroke about a month ago,his 2nd one in 2 yrs. This timehhihis speech was affectedaand he had to be flown somewhere. We were out of state when it happened. So I believe he genuinely wants to takeher. I wld actually love for her to go just don’t want to send her, nor emotional ableto go bc I know his mom will pressuremme.
Monica please stop feeling guilty for his problems. He broke his vows to you when he abused you. He still wants you to work together as a team ( as healthy marriages) do but only to covienence himself. No, he doesn’t get to have everything he wants from you, because he’s made poor financial/car/job decisions. That’s his problem now. If he wants to work together as a team to fix cars, have transportation to work, visit a relative; then he needs to love you as Christ loved the Church, not like his door mat.
Please stop this insanity!!
And under no circumstances would I leave him alone with your six month old baby for that length of time.
yes Sue, this is definitely insanity and I see that I am doing it to myself by not standing firm. I’m all over the place. I revisited Leslie book and realize I’ve abandoned working on my CORE, I’m hoping to start seeing a therapist soon. Right now this blog has been so so essential. I will confess that I am strong even though I don’t feel like it. I know it is best so God can work on him.
Monica, have you read any of Lindy Bancrofts bks?? Although he speaks from a secular point of view, he is highly trained with working with sbusive, controlling men. I recommend his book–SHOULD I STSY OR SHOULD I GO?? My daughter handed me this bk and itms what got me into therapy. He says it so well. If you could read just one chapter that could change your thinking and your hope to looking at you instead of him — Chapter 12 WHY YOUR GROWTH MAY BRING MORE ANSWERS THAN HIS. It changed my life to see I needed my focus on my growth, and not his. I deserved to go towards healthy living. Can’t say enough about it. The bk is cheap on Amazon.
Sounds like a tough decision to make. I would be sad for you to go and put yourself in the middle of such stress and opportunities to manipulate and guilt you. I will be praying for you that God gives you a definite answer.
Thanks so much. I had just wrote a response to your post on book and lost it
So frustrating. But no I haven’t read it. Will definitely look it up.
Could one reasonable solution be- no not this wk. too much is unstable between us and I think a wk or two is needed to see where we are. Check back with me next wk??again let me remind you he doesn’t have to get everything he wants, the minute he wants it. Be strong Monica in this. You sound like a wonderful mom that manages your daughter well!!
Thanks Robin for your help and support. I am so grateful! That is a great idea but he already took off to go this weekend. I’m debating to go or no. I am praying for strength to stay the course. It has been rough. I think a combination of seeing him last week for first time in two months plus seeing him with our baby girl PLUS a conversation I had with a lady that I’ve talked to a few times about my situation a few times was so intense and she was so overly firm about me going home to my husband. It was soooo intense, something in me said not to talk to her but I ignored it. I first started talking to her before I started posting on here. She gasket puzzled. She supposed to keep the baby now I have second thoughts. I’ve been praying A LOT and journaling.There’s a lot to say but I feel like I’m overtaking this blog.
Monica, you’re not taking over the blog! We all learn as we share with each other and each post adds to what we all can gain! Follow your heart and God’s heart, he loves you much and God wants what’s best for you. He hates abusive marriages. He loves people and wants to give us life! My prayers are with you. Stay strong!!!
Monica, you are feeling normal things that are part of your healing from a destructive relationship. Only thing I’ll say is, be very cautious whom you choose to listen too. I have worked hard to have safe and healthy people feeding me words of power!!! There are many who will do the opposite. You can FB me if you’d like. (Robin Baumann)
Theres a lot of you. 🙂 what does your cover photo? Cute kiddos?
My cover photo is a Piano Grp, I teach grp classes in piano. My profile pic is me with my oldest daughter and two if her children when we went to Hawaii for a dream vacation this Sept.
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