Prayers would be appreciated. Our CONQUER conference is this Friday and Saturday and some of our East Coast ladies may have trouble getting there due to the impending weather from Hurricane Michael. Pray for safety and that everyone who is supposed to get there will get there, especially our MC Tasha Scott, one of our workshop leaders Georgia Shaffer and our singer Nicole Nordeman who will be flying Friday night to get to Lincoln for our concert Saturday morning.
Don’t forget, if you’re planning to be there, meet me by my book table Friday night for hugs.
Question: Thank you for writing your book. I have found it very helpful as I have been working through an emotionally destructive marriage and strengthening my CORE. Sadly my spouse has not liked this and refuses to do his part in healing our marriage and expects me to come back without him doing anything.
To that end, I have moved forward in filing for divorce. With that though I have had a few good Christian friends who are just finding out about our situation telling me some pretty horrific things.
They say that I am a sinner/adulterer in filing for divorce. God hates divorce. If I do this I can never remarry (not even thinking about that right now).
Also that I am not trusting God enough to fix my marriage. Would you be able to address this specifically in your blog? If you already have and I have not found it could you direct me to that? I would appreciate it.
Answer: Your situation is not uncommon. Well-meaning Christian friends who have no idea what your life is like or what your marriage has been through feel like it is their responsibility to warn you that standing up for yourself or leaving an abusive marriage goes against God’s plan for wives, or for marriage.
I’m going to speak generally here to this issue because I have no idea what specific situation led you to believe that your marriage is destructive and what you have tried to do to resolve those issues.
Obviously, unless there are clear safety issues that are dangerous to you and/or your children’s safety, usually separation or divorce is not your first choice.
Most Christian women (and men) who wake up and realize that their marriage is destructive have already tried all kinds of things to salvage their marriage including trying harder to be more loving, submissive, gracious and accepting. They’ve tried prayer, forgiveness, countless counseling with different counselors, all while hoping that something they do will get their spouse to want to change….and nothing does. The only thing that changes is that you get more worn down, exhausted, depleted, sick, and angry.
So what is the next step? We all know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing that you’ve always done hoping for different results. So is that what these “advisors” are encouraging you to do? Or would they rather you stay long-suffering in an abusive marriage hoping that you will be an example of what? Of a woman who believes God cares more about her keeping her marriage together than the safety or sanity of her or her children?
Like Job’s friends, we feel really uncomfortable when someone is suffering and God doesn’t rescue. We like to think we have the right biblical answer for them and most people do truly mean well. They strongly believe in the sanctity of marriage and they think dissolving the marriage except for the most stringent of Biblical reasons, i.e. proven, repeated adultery, is sinful.
And there are some that might argue even repetitive adultery is not sufficient Biblical grounds to divorce.
I don’t know what you’ve been doing or why they are calling you an adulterer. Have you been involved with someone else? Obviously, this would not be God’s plan for you and your friends don’t want to see you make more mistakes or problems for yourself.
However, you made no mention of that in your question so I’m going to assume they aren’t saying this due to any reality of you committing adultery, but because you “might” commit adultery someday if you remarry and are not “Biblically divorced.”
First, you are not going to get a 100% approval rating whether you decide to stay married in a destructive marriage or you decide to end one. If you stay married, there are those who will call you foolish. Why are you “pretending” or enabling someone’s adultery, abuse, or addiction to continue with no real consequences?
Other people will judge and condemn you for deciding to leave. They will tell you that you don’t have Biblical grounds, or you have your own sin or you just need to forgive or suffer longer for Jesus.
Therefore, if you NEED everyone in your life to support your decision to divorce, you’re going to be in trouble. Surely you want to get some Biblical wisdom from those you trust and I hope you have done that with a godly counselor and wise pastor. However, you will never get everyone to agree that you’re making the right choice. This is just too divisive of an issue in the church to have everyone agree.
You are the one who will have to stand before God and give an account for the life you lived and so if your conscience is clear and God has given you the green light, I wouldn’t let your friends throw a guilt trip on you. However, divorce isn’t a decision that should be entered into lightly so I’m trusting that you’ve made this decision with a lot of thought, prayer, and input from wise others.
But I think a second question you are indirectly asking is this. How do I respond to these people who intrude upon my life with their well-meaning advice? How do I respond when I know I’ve done all I can do to salvage a broken relationship but sadly it’s not just up to me?
Repairing a broken relationship requires two people committed to repairing the break. Click To Tweet
When one believes that being married entitles him to act sinfully and recklessly with no consequence (broken relationship) he’s not living in Biblical truth and neither are these well-meaning friends of yours.
The Bible clearly teaches us that what we sow, we reap. If you continuously sow fear, mistrust, abuse, indifference, and deceit, you can’t expect to reap a happy, stable, long-term marriage. That is just craziness. It’s not living in reality or truth.
It’s not that you don’t trust God enough. God is perfectly capable of restoring your marriage. It’s that you don’t trust your husband. He’s shown no effort towards wanting to rebuild your relationship. God doesn’t miraculously swoop down and repair a broken relationship without the repentance and humility of the people who need to actually do the work.
Your husband expects you to return to the marriage, without having to do any repair work. That’s like asking someone to return to a house that has been repeatedly bombed with no repairs. It’s not smart. Nor can you safely live there.
Your friends want you to hope that God will miraculously restore your bombed out house (marriage) someday and therefore you should be willing to live in the rubble. For how long? Until the roof caves in on your head and gives you a concussion? Until the loose electrical wires spark and cause a fire and cause you to get burned? How long is long enough to see if the other person in the marriage wants to repair the damage and is willing to actually do the work?
Jesus is not blind to the damage that sin has in relationships. Jesus did not enjoy a close relationship with Judas, nor did he trust him even though he loved him. He tells us that when we have been hurt by someone, we need to go and talk to him or her in order to repair the relationship (Matthew 18). The sin that has broken trust or safety needs to be repaired in order to restore a relationship. But when the other person refuses, the relationship remains broken even if you still love that person or even if you forgive that person. That person may even be an enemy because of the damage he has caused you.
The Bible tells us that we are to love our enemy, we are to forgive our enemy, we are to pray for our enemy (Matthew 5:44). But what if our enemy is our spouse? What if there is repeated hurt, damage, and unrepentant sin? Does the Bible require us to still live with him? Sleep with him? Pretend he’s not an enemy just because he also happens to be our husband?
Does being a spouse give you a grace card that says that the normal consequences of being reckless or sinful don’t apply to a marriage because no matter what, the marriage has to stay together and intact even after it’s been bombed to pieces? I don’t think that’s what Jesus or the Bible teaches. Sin hurts people and it hurts relationships. When that sin is repetitive and unrepentant, it can ruin a relationship permanently. Let’s not ask people to pretend otherwise.
Friends, how have you addressed the criticism you’ve received when your action steps around your destructive marriage have met with disapproval?
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Leslie made a lot of very good and valid points. Your “friends” have not walked in your shoes, endured your destructive marriage, or even been aware of all the effort you have made to try to save your marriage. At this point, the onus is on your husband to do something to change the dynamic of your relationship, and he is not rising up to do that. You might find it helpful to read “Redemptive Divorce” by Mark W. Gaither. It will add to your perspective on this issue and help you to prepare for what’s ahead.
I don’t know how open you have been with these naysayers, but if you have some documentation of his abusive behaviors, it might be helpful to share a few items with them. I don’t know if others will agree with me here. I also realize that speaking badly about him is not godly, so you have to be careful with that. The main thing is, they haven’t lived your life, so they can’t possibly know what you are dealing with. If you feel that for health and sanity you need to get out of this marriage, then by all means, proceed. Leslie offered some great responses for you to use. We wish you well.
I had one thing in your. as always, encouraging comments that I wanted to discuss. It’s this comment, “I also realize that speaking badly about him is not godly, so you have to be careful about that.”
I think this kind of idea has been a point of confusion, guilt, and bondage for many women, an unnecessary and unhelpful burden. For 30 years I did not utter a word to anyone about my husband’s ungodliness. “Love covers a multitude of sins,” and “Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth…” and other wonderful, but mis-applied scriptures kept me from naming habitual, unrepented sin for what it was. It kept me covering and enabling. And then the Holy Spirit taught me more…when there is in a marriage, not a common sinner (one who fails but has the humility to own the failure, and the love to repair the damage) but an UNcommon sinner: a hard-hearted, habitual offender who does not own his sin, but projects, deflects, minimizes, justifies, etc…well, it would be wrong to “cover” those sins. We “cover” the sins of the humble repentant person. We expose the sins of the hypocrite. Just as Jesus did. Did he speak “badly” about the Pharisees? Or did he speak redemptive truth?
When a spouse has struggled to confront sin and things are left unresolved, that spouse must reach out for help and honestly tell the truth of the situation and behavior to one or two others who are to then confront the offender together. The witnesses involved need to know precisely the truth of what they are confronting. If the offender remains hard-hearted and unrepentant, then we are told to “tell it to the church.” This is an important step, because it warns and corrects the offender as well as any similar wrong thinking and behavior that may be present in the body. And it publicly validates the pain of the one who has suffered. When we tell the truth about the abusive, ungodly behavior in our home, we offer the offender his/her best chance: “Come, won’t you, erring one? There is help for you. Step into the light where your sin can be clearly seen, openly confessed and repented of, and you can be forgiven and in time, restored.”
To say to an abused spouse that it is ungodly to “speak badly” about the abuser isn’t helpful, unless we spell out clearly what we mean by that. We are told not to participate in the evil deeds of darkness-secret sins-, but rather, to expose them. That means naming them and “telling on him.” We are not guilty for telling the truth about abuse. Naming sin is important.
Your post is well articulated and I can relate. I hope many others going through similar things can see the important distinction here that must be drawn out.
Even when I did speak out, I was often told direct verbally those scriptures (by my mother) to push back from hearing anything uncomfortable or negative about my very upside down (destructive) marriage. Speaking up about wrongdoing was not something many in my small circle ‘cared’ to acknowledge let alone stand beside and assist.
I think this goes deep into the epidemic of ‘fearing man’ over fearing God.
Especially the one about “love covers a multitude of sins”
“ but mis-applied scriptures kept me from naming habitual, unrepented sin for what it was. It kept me covering and enabling”
I’m thankful you received your truth and your freedom💜
You can try taking them for coffee to talk about it, but most people aren’t interested in talking about it. Proverbs tells you how to deal with them. Walk away. You know who is safe in your life, so hang out with them. If you have nobody safe, find someone. I actually went to someone and told her that I’d had a dream where I was told that I needed support, so I just asked if she would be my friend.
Pray for the others to have their eyes opened. Find a different church. It’s not always a bad thing to have a season where Jesus is your only real friend. It’s a bonding time. And there’s always here on this blog.
Jesus said that the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath. Similarly, I think people are having man serve marriage instead of marriage serving man. Marriage was created by God as a blessing and for the people in it to thrive and spread God’s kingdom on the earth. It is also a means of sanctifying BOTH the husband and the wife. It is NOT a means of enabling someone’s sin. I know it’s hard to communicate this to others. I would recommend educating yourself as much as possible so when you do have a chance to discuss it, you are ready with sound, biblical arguments
This is a very interesting thought! There is a lot of truth in what you shared! This line of reasoning is an exact picture of my abuser and his family’s thinking regarding me divorcing him.
I agree also with your very critical points here! Too many in the church body think they have an understanding about ‘marriage’.
Regardless of how much one educate themselves on marriage, speaking of my own journey here… I found that the ignorant are that, ignorant about these sound biblical arguments regarding this union. The ignorant and yes resistant have no desire to grow and transform ‘sanctify’.
If a person has their own mindset made up about marriage even if they call it a Godly marriage or stamp it as one, this doesn’t mean they have the foundation of these scriptural truths about sanctification in this process.
Education is one thing but do these individuals have the eyes and ears to hear the truth and willingness to apply the truth?
This might sound rather harsh but I have come across SO many women in the church that have been married 20,30,40,50 yrs, and truly believe and look forward to the blessing they think they will receive by ‘enabling sin’, loving the unlovable, enduring sacrifice and suffering for the Lord, and accepting a very unhealthy version of marriage modeled in their home.
They are holding out at hearing ‘well done good and faithful servant’.
I believe it’s the courageous (only by His strength) that face the reality of what’s taking place in their home, that will hear that and more.
This couldn’t be more timely. But in this case, I am the friend of someone who is teetering, not the person in a difficult marriage. I’m concerned because I wonder if there can be steps to protect her (separation?) and yet also give her time–and her husband–to work on the marriage and see if his repentance is real. She talks about “thinking about divorce.”
Both partners in this marriage have exhibited erratic behavior over the last year. Friends all around are bewildered and worried about both of them. I do fear that some of us (maybe even myself) have behaved like Job’s friends because we see so many things shifting and can’t make sense of it. I don’t want to be that kind of person who is critical and unhelpful. I am not certain how interested either of them are in godly counsel, though both have been more-or-less regular attenders of church.
I want to do the right thing…be supportive and also give a caution where it is warranted, but just very confused about what is the right path in this sad and complex situation.
I am certainly finding this to be true. People that are new to the situation (because I kept my mouth shut) have no clue what has gone on, or for how long. They don’t realize that this is years in the making. They don’t know how much i have done to try to reconcile with someone who isn’t repentant and only wants to stay in the marriage because that is easier for her. They don’t know that she has told me she will not promise to be faithful.
I get it because I used to be that way, Save the marriage at all costs. But one who hasn’t lived through it really doesn’t know what “at all costs” really means.
I was just talking with a man this morning that just kept pushing me with “yes, adultery is biblical justification for divorce, BUT it would be far better to reconcile” DUH. You don’t think I know that? I wanted reconciliation and at one time I was willing to pay about any price to get it. Unfortunately, you can’t make someone else repent or reconcile. After telling him that she refuses all accountability and refuses to promise (not that her word means anything) to be faithful, he gave me the wonderful argument that I should read the book of Hosea! I really love that one and it is interesting how many well meaning people are willing to pull out Hosea as marriage advice for men. They have no idea how much that hurts for someone in a “normal” marriage to trivialize adultery and the consequences thereof by telling you that you should just be like Hosea and be happy with your prostitute spouse. Sorry, Hosea was not written as marriage advice, It was written as a prophecy for the nation of Israel.
If Hosea is marriage advice shouldn’t that mean that we should all be choosing spouses that are prostitutes? That is the beginning of chapter 1, God tells Hosea to take a wife of whoredom. If Hosea is marriage advice doesn’t that mean we are disobeying scripture if we don’t marry a prostitute?
Sorry for the rant, I’m a little cheesed at the moment.
Anyway, most seem to “get” divorce because of unrepentant adultery. But I have learned to keep my mouth shut for the most part about the emotional abuse. Most just don’t accept it as real, and don’t want to hear it. Be a man and start talking emotional abuse and you can just see their eyes glaze over and they start getting uncomfortable. I just don’t have the emotional energy to try to convince someone of the existence of emotional abuse when they don’t want to believe in it’s existence.
I used to feel like I needed everyone to agree with me, but now, I just am too tired to care.
Sheep, sorry for the grief you are experiencing, as if the grief over your dead marriage isn’t enough, the people around you are adding to it. I learned a long time ago, that when people ask questions that they have no right to know the answers to, you can just say, “I don’t know why you need to know that.” Or a variation thereof. The point here is that if someone hasn’t walked a mile in your shoes, they have no right to judge you for the blisters on your feet. Hold your head up, Brother. We here are all for you and support your decision. Be well, and stay in touch.
The Hosea rant was justified. I agree with you!
I have found that few people in the world will ever “get” this dynamic or our discussions. Cherish the few who do and stay merely cordial with those who don’t have the ability to understand.
I’m sorry! As if you need anymore blind advisors??!
“After telling him that she refuses all accountability and refuses to promise (not that her word means anything) to be faithful, he gave me the wonderful argument that I should read the book of Hosea! I really love that one and it is interesting how many well meaning people are willing to pull out Hosea as marriage advice for men.”
I would love to know if this man actually studied Hosea?
A biblical book about Boundaries, consequences and appeals to authentic repentance.
A blessing that can only come about with true repentance from the adulterous person.
The righteous, the wise and discerning will understand these things, but the unrepentant and rebellious will continue to walk in their own way -away from the blessing of reconciliation.
I do think many have the ability to ‘understand’, but chose their own way. And God freely gives them their choice of betrayal.
Even if you did take your wife as a partner in her ‘posture’, you would be committing additional harm against her and yourself by collaborating with her hardness. This would not be out of love, but the unhealthy twisted version of love that many seem fine to adhere to these days in and out of the church.
For some of these individuals it might be interesting to ask them to gather together to study Proverbs or Hebrews and see what they would discover especially in context and study rather than .. soundbite Christianity.
“If Hosea is marriage advice shouldn’t that mean that we should all be choosing spouses that are prostitutes? That is the beginning of chapter 1, God tells Hosea to take a wife of whoredom. If Hosea is marriage advice doesn’t that mean we are disobeying scripture if we don’t marry a prostitute?”
Love it! You have me laughing over here. At the same time, I, too, was one who took a singular verse or a story from the Bible and made a theology from it. So many Christians do it. Most of us probably have to go through some pretty major suffering to learn how to “rightly divide (or handle) the word of truth”.
Regarding a man speaking about his experience of emotional abuse, I can only imagine. 🙁 It’s not an easy, understandable topic as it is for women.
I’ll add to the rant. I don’t enjoy people quoting scripture at me in general. It is often plucked out of context and used at me like a weapon or sauve. I can read my own bible, thank you very much.
Just this evening, I had a chat with a friend, after telling him a bit of my story and letting him know we are divorcing, he told me that he is more in the Piper camp of not believing in divorce for unrepentant adultery. He also told me that I should just suffer through it. Thankfully I no longer feel the need to explain or justify my decision to those that don’t understand and aren’t going to. I just thanked him for his thoughts and prayers, and that we can just agree to disagree.
It felt good to not feel like I had to win him over
Hi Sheep, I am sorry to read that you have had to deal with friends who twist scripture in an effort to keep you in bondage. I agree with your objections regarding using the Hosea passage as an entrapment tool. Great, insightful points. It’s interesting that Jesus’ own words regarding marriage and adultery conflict with your friend’s misinterpretation of Hosea,
I am suspicious of people like Piper who cheapen grace by making a prison of marriage vows. Men and women who take those vows should not be enabled to habitually break them, which is what Piper’s stance does. The VOW is a promise to love and cherish. “Till death do us part” is the time frame. The repeated breaking of the vow to love and cherish, without repentance for the violations, is the equivalent of taking a hammer and smashing a beautiful vase to pieces. I can forgive you, but the vase is still smashed, and I won’t pretend it isn’t. And neither does God. If the other party doesn’t begin the work, however difficult, of repair and/or restitution, the marriage is still broken. You being the one to secure the legal document saying so, does not make you the one that broke it.
A true Christian marriage is two people, common sinners, who put Christ first, love one another truly, and sadly, sin against one another because they are broken. But when there is no sorrow for sin, no repentance, the marriage is broken and the unrepentant violator is at fault. Not you.
On another note: so happy to read that you are letting go of having to convince others. Another step in freedom.
Since asking for a seperation from my husband a few weeks ago, I am receiving some advice in the form of books on marriage, respect etc. That’s my hardest battle to be honest right now Fills me with so much guilt.
I am disgusted with those in the church and even leaders who don’t care or don’t believe and even allow these wolves in ministry. I went to three pastors and a pastors wife saying I had a letter from him admitting to abuse and they let him on the prayer team and small group leadership. Now he has pushed me out of my church as well as my job and home.
FLGal, I am so very sorry that you have lost so much, especially your home. However, it sounds to me like finding another church will be good for you, if the one you were “pushed out of” wasn’t supportive. Time for a new start, with a new life. I hope you have some help in getting your life back together; in a new and refreshing way.
Thank you JoAnn. I just don’t trust the next church will be any different. I don’t expect others who haven’t been through it to understand anymore so I guess the best thing is to stop expecting support from church people and leaders. Sad but necessary. This is a large church and I will switch to a different campus and move on because of the opportunities for friendships. Allowing him to push me out completely is just too victimizing.
This is terrible! I’m so sorry for this and it shows that your home church is not a safe & healthy church.
JoAnn said it well, move on toa healthier place to surround yourself in. You need a lot of care and comfort for what you have been through.
Sick and Toxic churches:
Too many church leaders think repentence equals immediate trust.
Repentence equals immediate character growth and often these churches believe in salvation in Christ as being the same as a mature growing Christian vetted for leadership roles.
There is a lot of work and long term therapy necessary for an abusive person to grow in. Acknowledging abuse is the first step only, but too many ‘want instant results’ regardless of the evidence showing a long term problem.
Aly, I agree with you on the points of sick churches. I have found some friends at the church who are supportive. Unfortunately, it is the leadership who just won’t make waves and have decided to accept him. In doing so, I truly see it as taking sides. It’s a difficult decision to leave completely as I have made some friends there and don’t have the energy to start over.
Leslie, I really liked what you said about each of us standing before God and giving an account for our actions. When I think about that, I have no qualms about the separation I’m contemplating. In fact, I feel that to stay and continue to enable the behavior of my husband and expose myself and my children to his destructive behaviors after 100’s of promises for change is something I DON’T want to answer for.
The challenge comes when I discuss separation with my husband. He doesn’t “get it”. He denies that the physical abuse in the past ever even happened or he minimizes it – for example he says it was a push rather than strangulation. He says he doesn’t intend to hurt me with his words or it’s not directed at me personally (so therefore it’s not abuse). He refuses to admit that it’s a pattern. And he is entrenched on the position that it’s God’s will for us to stay together.
I don’t know why – but there’s a huge part of me that wants so badly for him to agree with me. To agree that his actions are sinful and destructive and that I’m not a horrible person for wanting to separate. I want him to say “Yes, I’ve made 100’s of promises I haven’t kept and my change never sticks. I understand why you can’t continue to believe me.” It keeps me stuck. It keeps me from leaving.
MJ, I can relate. When people won’t “get it” it keeps us looped in, trying to help them “get it” as if “only I try harder” or “say it right” they will get it. But the truth is, they don’t want to get it. Jesus was a master communicator and the Pharisees didn’t want to “get it”. If your husband got it then he would have to change, so it’s easier to play dumb or minimize his problems so “he’s not that bad” and “there is no reason he should have the consequences he does, for example he didn’t sow thorns, they were actually sunflower seeds, but were a bad batch”. Here’s what you need to let go of. It’s natural for you to want him to “get it”. Just like the writer of this question would like her friends to “get it”. But you have to get yourself to a place where you don’t NEED him to get it.
Wow! Thank you for that. It’s the answer I needed tonight. I keep thinking if only I could get him to admit that his behavior was abusive—that his character is impaired—I might feel less hurt or somehow vindicated. But the truth is, it couldn’t undo the damage done or resurrect the trust that he killed. And no amount of confession ever will. He stole my joy and crushed my spirit for 10 years with no intent to change or seek godly help because that’s who he is. Period. He CHOSE to abuse and I need to accept that and release him to God.
Teclaw, Amen! Courageous words. May the Lord recover your joy and restore your spirit. It takes time, but he will do it.
“But you have to get to the place where you don’t need him to get it”
Although I have accepted that my husband is more than likely not going to change, I do occasionally try and explain things hoping he will get it or acknowledge that he had done wrong. What you said on the mark- it is easier for him to minimize, even deny past actions, that way he does not have to change. I can really relate to being “looped” in.
I was stuck thinking I had the “power” to get my h to understand but he is deceived and not willing or able to see the truth therefore any amount of explaining, crying and begging never worked. It will only exhaust and deplete you further. Unfortunately, I had to come to the point after 25 years of admitting I had no power for him to see things clearly or change. I filed for divorce last week. Enough is enough. I need to take care of me and the energy sucking behavior is destructive. These types of people work for Satan and are out to steal, kill and destroy.
FLGal, we hope and pray that your lawyer will get what’s due you according to the law. Don’t give away anything that you don’t have to. This man, your h, owes you, Big Time!
Amen JoAnn. I tired but not stupid 🙂
MJ, I can relate, too. As always, Leslie’s experienced, insightful words are spot-on. I wanted to add this: I hung in there for 35 years trying to help/make him “get it.” He never did. In retrospect, I can now see that taking decisive action (separation) much, much earlier would have been his best hope. What do our actions communicate by staying? Namely, “It’s not that bad. It’s tolerable.” This will keep him from having to deal with himself and his sin. By leaving, you send a clear message that it is intolerable, and repentance and change must happen. The ball is in his court where it should be. You’ve been carrying it for him. Stop, and hopefully, he will begin to see the ball. If not, you need to know that, and move forward with the Lord.
Yes,yes…I am working on getting to the place where I don’t need anyone to “get it” and that includes my husband.I lived in the loop of thinking it was my responsibility to explain it in such a way that he would finally have his “aha” moment and transformation would follow. The loop drains and depletes and is not a healthy place. Thank you Leslie for your wisdom and courage to speak the truth in love. I long to live for an “audience of one” and please my Heavenly Father. I pray that my husband does receive the help he needs,however I now realize he is convinced I’m the one with the issues and he is fine.I am so grateful for this site and the help I have received here.God is so good!
Oh, I did this for years and years. I tried explaining over and over thinking he just didn’t understand. The problem was he understood all too well. Each time I tried to “explain” he gathered more information to figure out what I knew. All the better way to keep power over me. I was willingly and regularly giving him reports which he used to regroup or laugh silently to himself about what he was still getting away with. It all part of his fantasy world of power and control.
Exactly! Don Hennessy writes about that in his books.
I can’t say enough positive things about Don Hennessy’s book, “How he gets into Her Head.” Now there is a man who gets it!! Bless him, and his work Lord Jesus!
This is interesting. Can you give an example?
An example from the book?
Sorry for this delay response.
My question wasn’t about the book but about what you meant in this comment?
“Each time I tried to “explain” he gathered more information to figure out what I knew. All the better way to keep power over me. I was willingly and regularly giving him reports which he used to regroup or laugh silently to himself about what he was still getting away with. ”
I think I am trying to understand what you mean by ‘reports’ or him gathering info of what you knew? What you knew about what?
Aly, I have read the book, and I’ll chime in with an example. I discussed the 5 Love Languages with my husband, each of us stating which we were. My husband now knows to use the withholding of my love languages, gifts and acts of service, to “punish” me. Back before I knew he wasn’t a safe person, I had discussed with him the patterns of dysfunction in my family, my vulnerabilities, my fears, etc. Things you should be able to discuss with your mate. Instead, he has stored this information and brings it up to use against me during disagreements or when he wants to hurt my self-esteem in some way. People who are sociopathic or personality disordered are said to gather information through observation and discussion with their victims, and then use that information in their deviant ways of dealing with the victim.
Yup! You explained it well.
Janice D, that’s a powerful insight. Thanks for sharing.
Janice, what steps are next for you?
After 2 years of in-house separation( I lived in the basement of our home) I moved out 21/2 months ago.God provided each step of the way. I’m continuing with my individual therapy.I have learned that I don’t need to have it all figured out now.I am trusting my future to the Lord and have given my marriage to Him.I am blessed with the financial resources to live in a beautiful apartment and I have enjoyed expressing myself through decorating it with many new things.This is not what I desired yet it is where I am now.My best friend from childhood and her husband are coming this weekend to visit me from across the country and I am excited to show them my place.It is a bittersweet place to be,both grateful and also sad that my marriage at least for now is on hold. Growth is necessary but not painless. The alternative is unthinkable to me now. I cling to Gods promises to his precious children that”He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it”. To God be the glory!
Janice, Thank you for sharing. You are a courageous and resourceful woman. God bless.
Janice, I am experiencing the same freedom you are living in my own place and decorating it! I just love my little 80 year old home with original wood floors and original doors that don’t even shut correctly. But it’s mine! I have learned how to distress old furniture and create things I never thought I could. I can even hang pictures WHEREVER I WANT! My heart is THANKFUL!
Freedom is an odd thing when you aren’t used to it. I actually went out and bought some cotton shirts the other day. You may be asking “what?”, But my wife would not let me buy cotton “dress” shirts because they wrinkle. Not that she ever ironed any shirts for me, she wouldn’t do that. But she also just decided that I was incapable of ironing a shirt myself. Therefore I was forbidden to buy cotton.
It felt really odd, but also freeing to stand at that counter and be able to buy the shirts that I liked.
Sheep, that sound you hear is me clapping and shouting. Way to go, Brother!!
I can so relate, separating allowed me to heat my home to a comfortable temperature last winter, cool it comfortably this summer, run ceiling fans at any speed I desired, watch movies, travel, just generally have regular freedom.
Kay, It’s nice when you can be who you are. Congratulations.
I bought the most flowery curtains and bedspread to match! As I admired my new bedroom in my new condo I kept thinking why hadn’t I ever done that before??? Because I wasn’t allowed to and I was trying to please the unpleasable. So sad! My now ex husband threw away someone who just wanted to love him and he a good wife but he preferred to be abusive instead.
I too had friends who tried to stop me from leaving. I had kept my home life to myself because the few people I did tell didn’t believe me. These friends took me to lunch and tried to convince me to stay. I told them a few choice stories and that was all it took to convince them I was doing the right thing.
Ultimately the decision is between God and me because I have to face the Father and live with my choice and I knew leaving him was the right choice.
Cheers for Kay and Sherry and Free, who have broken free from abusive relationships and are now enjoying having their own choices. Way to go, Sisters!
One of the several counselors I’ve seen through this process advised me that I should speak to others from a place of *my* truth or feelings. Not accusatory towards my spouse as I explained my decision, not trying to justify why I made the choice I made, not trying to convince others. Something like…”I felt unsafe, unheard and unloved and that I was slowly dying in this marriage.”
Not sure I did so great at taking his advice, but I do think it was wise. 🙂
I was just so angry by the time I left and in some respects, I felt I needed others to understand some of the things I went through and why I came to the decision I did.
Like sheep, there were many who were surprised at my decision to separate because I had honored him by “not speaking ill” of him. Specifically, my sister, one of my best friends, really struggled with the decision I made. And, I don’t blame her one bit. It took her several weeks to be able to talk to me and hear over a period of months my story.
I don’t know what I would go back and do different about talking to others once I made the decision to separate. It just was what it was. My righteous anger drove me to the choice I made, I followed God’s voice and I wasn’t concerned any longer with protecting his image. The only ones I sheltered from my true, very raw feelings were those who I did not totally trust or feel safe with and my children.
One other thought I had as I read this blog today….
A big work that God has done in me through all of this is that He has delivered me out of the bondage of fearing man over Him. It has not been just the issue of my separation and divorcing my husband but various other things, too, where He is continually showing me to stand on the truth of who I am in Him, who He is for me, and what I know He has said to me.
It is so painful at first to feel misunderstood or thought less of but as God continues to work this out in your life, it is incredibly freeing.
Makes me think of a song by Audrey Assad I love called “Deliver Me”. Here are a few lines –
From the need to be understood
And from a need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God
Thanks for this Content
I completely understand and appreciate your concerns. First, you have probably isolated yourself from your friends and have revealed little re. your marriage. God has blessed with deep rich and long friendships but most knew nothing b/c I couldn’t accept what was going on. They knew we went to counseling but the depth of the relationship I hid b/c I knew I wouldn’t leave. Well God had another future for me and there was a straw that finally ended it – it wasn’t physical abuse or adultery but just one more of emotional bruise or hit that literally God used to release me. If there is anything I can say is as the process has unfolded, my stbx, has revealed himself time and time again. He has called my friends to “convince” them to tell the courts “how I really am”, he has called previous employers, and his abusive and ongoing rants via e-mails are further proof for me. I have a very small inner circle that know the truth and have seen it but for the others (at church, neighbors, etc) I do believe the truth prevails and people see more then you realize and don’t care as much as you think too. It is a day by day process but find your inner circle – they and the truth (scripture) will keep you sane. Ask the Lord to give you His promises for you during this time – He has given me 2 promises in the very beginning of this (Last November) for me which have been confirmed over and over during this time – Exodus 14:14 and Eph. 3:20. And when I doubt or get overwhelmed He tells me “Remember my promises for you” Hang tight sweet friend –
Grateful, I am so glad that you are taking steps to separate yourself from his abuses. At the same time, I would caution you to take measures to be safe, in case his rants turn into something more. Don’t think, “he would never….” Yes, if angry enough, he might! Be safe, dear Sister.
Friends, This morning, my daily reading had verses from 2 Chronicles 20:15,17, 21. Here is the commentary:
The battle is the Lord’s! Victory or failure has nothing to
do with us. Temper, pride, doubt, unclean thoughts, greed,
and all kinds of sins have nothing to do with us. The battle
is not ours, but God’s. God has said, “Ye shall not need to
fight in this battle.” God demands only that we stand still.
He wants us to put down our hands and leave everything up to
Him. We need only to stand still and “see the salvation of
the Lord.” Brothers and sisters, we are not the ones who are
fighting; we are the spectators.
Jehoshaphat did one thing more… Others were joining hands
to attack them, but what were they doing on their part? [they
appointed singers unto the LORD], and they went before the
army to praise Jehovah. Were they crazy? They were not afraid of rocks and arrows; they were singing praises to God. This is the tone of victory. They had the tone of victory because they knew that Jehovah had given them the victory and that the enemies were already defeated. They knew that they had already won the battle. Some believe that when temptations come, they should struggle and withstand them. But God said, “And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten” (v. 22)
Whenever songs of praises are sung to the Lord, the
enemies are defeated.
The thing I like about this blog are the conversations about the suggested topic. I can find devotionals, sermons and worship songs in many places. I don’t need another resource for that kind of information. What are other people’s thoughts about reading people’s devotions on this blog?
The thing I like about this blog are the conversations about the suggested topic. I can find devotionals, sermons and worship songs in many places. I don’t need another resource for that kind of information. What are other people’s thoughts about reading people’s devotions on this blog?
We each post according to how The Spirit leads. If I don’t want to read a given post, then I don’t.
MoonBeam, JoAnn, Nancy,
Moonbeam I think I understand what you are bringing up and I find myself thinking and responding to posts like Nancy already pointed out.
I think you always gave valueable insight and wise encouragement on this Blog. Especially sharing devotionals too. The only thing I seem unsure of is the last two posts of yours and how they connect together? (Grateful’s Post and the commentary)
I agree with the fuller picture of the commentary but this one in particular can be confusing if someone is in a very toxic abusive situation and needing to remove themselves?
All dynamics are not the same, but some are similar in places and some require similar responses.
My mom used to use similar versions of these scriptures and commentaries to comfort herself in ‘staying stuck’ or validating her passivity to be an observer.
While I do agree at times I am called to observe, other times I am called to participate and respond.
In abusive relationships and especially when a victim/survivor is trying to figure out their options, many in the church do tell the person to ‘be still’ (when they should flee)
Tell them to submit or ‘be quiet’, (when they need to speak up)
Or to trust God more to His timing to fix the abuse (when they should trust God to show them how to battle wisely)
Per the commentary:
“Leaving everything up to God,” can mean so many different things to so many people?
I do think that scripture has different places for different purposes and the Lord will guide us.
But someone facing a very toxic and abusive marriage may not be well advised if they interpret that they are to ‘stand still’ or not get safe.
I know JoAnn, you often encourage safety and a safety plan necessary.
When I was navigating my own very destructive partner, there were women who liked this kind of victory stance biblically, and I leaned into the words and sometimes non action when fed the problem more.
Jesus fled many that were abusive and unwilling to listen.
I think it’s important to be careful with how and what we are aligning with Scripture in the ways we are seeking choices and comfort and how sometimes those things can be interpreted, given someone’s circumstances.
Hi Aly and JoAnn,
The word ‘victory’ seems to be coming up a lot for me in the past week.
The Lord has given me a lot of Peace defining victory as:
turning to Him and obeying.
For me, this takes my focus off of externals ( in particular how another person reacts). The question I can ask myself is simply, “did I respond to The Lord?”
and my prayer when interacting with a destructive person, is simply,
“Enable me to respond to Your leading Lord”
This way of viewing ‘the battle’ and ‘victory’ will absolutely lead to changed behaviour towards an abuser: The Lord will reveal – step by step and breath by breath- how to respond to Him in any given exchange.
Aly, Moon Beam, and others,
I was encouraged by those verses about the Lord fighting the battle for us, and I thought it would encourage others who feel they are caught in battle, too. Our Lord is fighting for us and yes, He often requires us to do something, too. Please believe me, I wasn’t trying to convey a hidden message, and if my post caused a problem with anyone, I apologize. You made some good points, Aly, and things I hadn’t thought about.
Many have testified here that once they made the decision to move, the Lord cleared the way for them to do that: found jobs, found housing, etc. Standing on the promise of the Lord’s word that he would take care of them. I see this as Him fighting for us.
I like what you said, Nancy: “This way of viewing ‘the battle’ and ‘victory’ will absolutely lead to changed behaviour towards an abuser: The Lord will reveal – step by step and breath by breath- how to respond to Him in any given exchange.” As we respond to His leading, He is fighting behind the scenes, empowering us to be victorious.
I learn new things from you all every day. Thank you for your honesty and openness.
Thanks for sharing. I know I have been encouraged when you have shared scripture.
I wish I was traveling right now to meet you all in person. JoAnn, you don’t need to apologize for anything and like I said you always have wonderful encouragement to offer here.
I also agree with you that He our Lord is fighting behind the scenes! We also are blessed to have the clear picture of His victory shared with us in Scripture to hold on to.
Thank you always for offering space hearing my other thoughts… for how some might interpret scripture especially as they are in the thick of chaos and indeed abusive situations.
Abuse and indeed ‘repeated abuse’ changes our coping skills and skews our clarity over time.
I have found this to be a common pattern that shows itself up in many destructive people and recipients of destructive behavior.
There are some that have interpreted scripture in such a way that it has paralyzed them into staying stuck and enabling unhealthy behaviors ‘of sorts’ to remain and further grow through the years.
I believe Leslie’s Ministry is such a vital part of God’s plan, because still so many in the church are threatened by her posture on these topics and her willingness to stand up and challenge the Church body on why they think or support these messages about Christianity when they are twisted or skewed examples.
I will be praying for an amazing conference for you all and for God to show us all just how much we are loved by Him and others💕
Yes, Jo Anne, please don’t apologize for anything, nor the person above you who posted the song doesn’t need to apologize either.
I just wanted to voice my concern and hear what others thought. We all think differently and are in different places in our journey.
Thank you, Leslie, and everyone here for your comments on how to get on with ones life when the abuse does not end.
It is the subtle denials of the abuser which keeps one hooked in to the excuses and lack of accountability which are never ending. When the verbal abuse is subtle and mixed with half-truths in order for the abuser to ‘change the subject’ and get the attention off themselves, when this pattern repeats itself over and over again, I think that repetition is enough to show that the abuser has no intention of changing. There should be no more ‘benefit of the doubt’ given by the victim to the ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’, who has used the twisted verbal abuse to pull the wool over the eyes of the victim.
I know I have tended to be too forgiving, or too pacified, or too ignorant of the abuser who gets himself out of hot water through manipulation of facts, downplaying the soul’s anguish of heart of the victim when up against a deceitful liar and denier.
When my husband said to me the other day about himself, when I was, yet again, talking to him about things he had done against me our entire marriage, he said “I don’t know how to change.” Was this a cop-out on his part? Is he really that dumb? Or has he been so used to using lies and denial all of his life, in order to hide from his real self, even before our marriage, in order to shut out his own dysfunctional past, and present? I think my husband is afraid of himself, and cannot face the reality of the fact that he is indeed a sinner.
I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need to ‘figure him out’ anymore, as with all of the confronting, done in truth and in love, and also done in fairness, and in hope, my husband really DOES ‘get it’ that he HAS verbally, emotionally, physically, financially, mentally, etc. ad nausem abused me. He has CHOSEN to deny any of it.
And I am beginning to think he has a terrible mental flaw which he is hiding behind as a facade of ‘little boy lost’. The naughty little boy who could never say ‘no’ to himself, and that is WHY he ‘does not know how to change’ as he has told himself that lie for decades. He has CHOSEN not to change. It is not that he does not know HOW to change, it’s the fact he has shut out the Holy Spirit, and any type of acknowledging of what I have tried to get him to be accountable for.
And I know I begin to say to myself “Why art thou cast down, oh my soul?” I cannot let his deceitful, cunning, blinded eyes have an effect on me anymore, as the toxic environment is what it is, TOXIC. A person cannot heal in an environment such as this.
I look upon my husband as a pitiful excuse for a man, even though he is extremely successful in this life’s wealth, yet God tells us to ‘Seek you first the Kingdom of Heaven and all these things shall be added unto you.’ I don’t want the success of this world to define me. I want my Lord to define my life, not hiding behind a facade of riches of this life as though I am defined by a man who has riches.
I would rather be rich in faith, and love, and strength in my Lord, not in some man’s faith in himself.
That is my rant. I have a brother who is going through a nasty divorce who is married to a borderline woman, who has destroyed a good man. So, I can sympathize with Sheep, here on this site.
Your post has so many places of freedom for you to expose the issues and find your freedom!
“And I know I begin to say to myself “Why art thou cast down, oh my soul?” I cannot let his deceitful, cunning, blinded eyes have an effect on me anymore, as the toxic environment is what it is, TOXIC. A person cannot heal in an environment such as this.”
What are you choosing to do to heal and remove yourself from that environment?
I am thankful for your reflections and question. Sometimes is takes months, years, and lots of research to come to conclusions of positive affirmation. As it HAS taken me literally years to figure out the doormat mentality which my husband had used with me, with him thinking that I was too shallow (just like himself) for me to be able to see through his deceitful lies.
I believe God has a plan for me, which is slowly unfolding. I cannot rush ahead of what God has in store for me, but in the mean time, I know that God sees all things, and He will carry me through. I am stronger in the Lord than I have ever been, due to knowing how to confront my husband, and realizing that he is not ‘getting’ anything I say to him. He brushes it aside, changes the subject, or makes excuses, or makes light of circumstances which have devastated me in the marriage. He has no conscience for my feelings and emotions, and I needed to clearly understand that; which the more I see how he responds and reacts to things he has done to me, or even for me, which is self-gratification on his part, with him getting the attention for ‘doing something’ for the wife, the more I see his pattern of denial.
These men who abuse, know exactly what they are doing. They won’t grow up. There are things I do not want to say on this comment forum. I want healing instead of retribution.
I now know that my husband will never experience freedom from himself unless he completely turns his entire life over to the Lord. That is the only thing which can save him, and apparently, he cannot ‘let go of himself’. That is the dilemma of a man in denial.
I don’t think my husband can see the love I have for him in this regard. If he cannot see and feel the love of God in his own life, he will not know how to love his wife, nor even love God, in return. And with that, when God shows me the timing of all of this, I will be prepared to acknowledge the Lord’s guidance not with any kind of pressure, but with a relief of being free from the relationship. What I see is a very controlling man, to the point of it being abusive; and he chooses not to change.
As for me and what I am doing to heal, most people who are going through the ‘waiting’ have said ‘you will just know it in your heart’ when it is time. This is what I am still waiting for.
Some people say it takes five years to fruition. I have only been seriously contemplating a plan with godly support for the past three years. God has to be my hope in this. And I know it will be like coming out of the wilderness and into the promised land when it happens.
I can’t address much of what I am doing to remove myself from the environment, except for the fact that I am civil to my husband but the physical side of the marriage has been non-existent for over a year and a half. We sleep in separate rooms, which does help me tremendously. Our conversations are what non-believers would identify as ‘life’, but without the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, of one of the spouses, there is no unity, and hence, no true connection of our souls, minds, and spirit, and no life-giving relationship. It is just an existence of a man and a woman without much in common. Marriage is difficult as it is, but even more so when God is just a ‘religion’ to one of the partners. My joy, my strength, my song has to come from my love for the Lord. And this is what keeps the environment in perspective of hope for tomorrow. And so I continue to wait. Thank you for your concern!
Many years, Aly,
I can relate to ‘waiting’. I have mentioned before that getting a divorce or moving out would have worse consequences for my kids than staying. Due to external circumstances, I was looking forward to not having him home during the week. Those fell through a couple of weeks ago, and I felt really discouraged for a while. Due to new circumstances, he will be traveling quite a bit, instead. And so far he seems extremely engrossed in his work so interactions with him are minimal. Not a 100% sure what God is doing, and it is tough to trust Him fully, but I know that’s what I need to do. I would appreciate your prayers.
Will be praying for you! 🙏
I can relate to what you are saying about having some time to yourself when your spouse is gone, and then having your hopes disappointed when that scenario doesn’t come to fruition. But you also said his job will be involved with traveling so he won’t be with you as often.
I think, during the time your husband is gone, is the time you can reflect on your circumstances and see where you have come in the last year, or weeks, or months, as ‘time’ has a way of fast-forwarding and getting away from us, where we have days or weeks where we feel our awareness has not been as acute as it should be due to life getting in the way.
God is patient with our circumstances. I am still waiting for scenarios in my life to point in a positive direction.
Since I don’t believe my husband is going to be changing his personality on account of anything I may say to him, then, the way that he continues to treat me, some of it is good, and some of it is without emotional feeling for the wife, I have to get on with my own life, feed my own soul, read God’s Word, come to sites such as this for positive affirmation on what to do when the going gets tough.
When we have the ‘Ah! Ha!’ moment when we figure it out that our spouse will be not changing, except by an act of God, we realize his choices may not be in the best interest of where God wants us in regard to our own journey of pleasing the Lord in our life, in order to become healthy both spiritually and physically, and also emotionally.
The mind and body can only handle so much when it becomes too much and we know this, and this is why we are choosing to open doors to freedom of not being burdened down by our spouses inability to change. They are not our problem anymore. Please read all of the other comments I have addressed to other ladies here too. Awareness is mind-freeing! I will definitely be praying for you.
I found that having my abusive husband travel regularly was a wonderful relief. It was so beneficial for myself an the children. An interesting dynamic occurred during reentry. When he returned the dark shadow of doom came with in. Readjusting and alleging ourselves to the dysfunction became less and less attractive. Over time I didn’t adapt back to the dysfunctional behaviors very well. That is when my spouse upped his game and changed his methods to exert more control. Eventually I became to strong and knowledge about his abusive behaviors that I became nearly impossible for him to control. He chose to resort to physical violence with all of us.
Enjoy this time without him to get strong. Don’t care what in the world he is doing unless he is squandering your money. Get more resources and make a long term plan.
Thanks for writing a response and I do understand what you are saying. I’m sorry for the circumstances but I also see that you are being empowered to withstand the environment ‘as it is right now’ for a bigger reason that maybe God is orchestrating in the timing like you mentioned.
“These men who abuse, know exactly what they are doing. They won’t grow up.”
I can see this.
“I now know that my husband will never experience freedom from himself unless he completely turns his entire life over to the Lord. That is the only thing which can save him, and apparently, he cannot ‘let go of himself’. That is the dilemma of a man in denial.
I don’t think my husband can see the love I have for him in this regard. If he cannot see and feel the love of God in his own life, he will not know how to love his wife, nor even love God, in return.”
Absolutely fundamental truth for each one of us! I do think this above happens to show itself common among abuser mindsets and ‘takers’ for that matter.
It’s a vice of sorts because there isn’t any freedom.
In my own journey I can relate to the h who chooses not to grow up…. often what was happening in our dynamic (won’t call it a marriage back then) was a little boy dumping his ‘pain’ on top of me, requiring me to carry it.
Handing it back .. many times, he eventually believed me that I wouldn’t carry what was not mine to hold or be responsible for.
Denial keeps someone from experiencing reality and I agree with you in your husband’s denial.
And I think where there is denial there is usually ‘counterfeit comfort’ blocking true consequences of behavior. A pattern he developed long ago.
Aly, Many years,
“….a little boy dumping his pain on me, requiring me to carry it. Handing it back…I wouldn’t carry what was not mine to hold or be responsible for”
First of all this what ‘loving another well’ looks like -behaviourally -with abusers. This is where reliance on Him for the posture of your heart and the words you use is so important. It becomes a moment-to-moment battle.
The decision to engage in a daily battle to ‘guard your heart’ by refusing to ‘carry what is not yours’ will automatically result in disrupting false peace. ( this can be dangerous with certain individuals and so the process will look different, but will still ultimately lead to ‘no longer carrying their pain’)
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God ( Matt 5:9 NLT)
Absolutely correct about the ‘counterfeit comfort’ of the man in denial. Whether it be hobbies which keep his mind occupied, or work, or money, or even ‘religion’, or the charm they use to attract other women; If their lives are ‘full’ of things, it is a temporary ‘fix’ for the void which they are attempting to fill.
And they will never ‘get it’ about the love we are showing them in the process of all of the crazy making. It is frustrating when all I see is a blank stare when I am pouring my heart out, and then the excuses or lack thereof, and the denial shuts out any real, true, communication.
Yes, I know about the ‘dumping of the pain’ onto the wife, as we try to figure out who they are, only to be disappointed again and again. There is no resolve with them. All I can do is to move on with my own life, trusting God to do the rest.
Hi many years,
May I gently ask, “why are you pouring out your heart to an unsafe person?”
Yes, when we really come to the point that we know we can’t ‘fix’ our spouses, because of their denial, and their lack of spiritual discernment, I think that is the freeing purpose the Lord has given to us where we can say ‘The Lord is my helper, what can man do unto me?’ It’s like God is saying: ‘You have done your part, you are now free to go.’
It’s like I can stand back now, and look at the choices my husband has made, and I shake my head, yet finally realizing that I never did have a place in his heart like I have had for him in mine, which is the type of love that originates from God…. acceptance of circumstances with no regard for self. Yet one is not stuck when the abuse is real. There is a way out.
When we ‘play’ fair, and they don’t, we have every right to ask the Lord to show us the way out.
Yes, ‘…blessed are the peacemakers for they shall see God’. And I SEE God all of the time in my life. He is there for me, to guide me in all of life’s circumstances.
Yes, speaking our truth can trigger the ‘other’ to become either furious, or dazed and confused, or the ‘little boy’ pouting. I have seen all three reactions. It is a pattern of chosen blindness.
Your question is a good one, and I had never thought of that before about ‘pouring my heart out to an unsafe person’. I think it is because I am a ‘trusting’ person, full of empathy, and not that I am fully guileless, yet when one ‘trusts’ others, we desire feed-back of how we ‘feel’ about situations that are not fair.
My husband has never ‘gotten’ what I am talking about, anyway, as he continues on in his life repeating the same unemotional ‘stew’ and lack of concern when he flagrantly hurts my feelings, or doesn’t show that he cares at all that he is doing something to my psyche which is done on purpose.
Narcissist, ‘without feeling’ which is one of the things God’s lists that will be in the end times..’men shall be lovers of their own selves, haters of God, without natural affection’ which I think would come under the category of ‘uncaring and unfeeling’ and like you mentioned, ‘an unsafe person.’
Which my husband IS in denial about his own emotions, so really, why should he be concerned about mine? Which me talking to him about his emotional abuse with me, has gone right over his head, as he can’t even relate to his own emotions.
I guess one could call this ‘dysfunctional emotional stew’ as nothing is accomplished through this type of ‘pouring ones heart out’ to the un-wired part of the brain of the abuser who will never be able to relate on that level emotionally.
I am glad you mentioned this as it is very discerning, as it is a type of ‘gaslighting’ from the abuser, which never helps the victim.
Many Years, Nancy,
Many Years you bring up many good experiential examples of a person void empathy or emotional intelligence for that matter.
I’m wondering if we can go back to Nancy’s question?
It seems important to process through so that maybe you can find other safe ways of being seen?
I certainly can relate to what you describe pre- and during lots of interventions with my husband.
I used to describe it as a grown woman sitting at the foot of her child’s bed asking for the child to grasp the pain and hurt I was in?
And take responsibility.
Using your words:
The blank stare as I pour my heart out.
When we see a little child in this place it’s quite obvious that none of us would ever imagine doing such a thing to a child…. a child can’t contain such disproportionate responsibility right? But the adult husband should … especially when they are the offender!
He may be in a grown man’s body, but that’s not what has been constructed within? Inside is maybe a very low functioning and underdeveloped Boy.
No this isn’t to make you feel empathy and sorrow for his stagnation of growth/developmental stages of life.
No, not at all.
But inviting him into growth and maturity is an opportunity for him.
(You have probably done this)
He’s unsafe based on his underdeveloped skills and his deep insecurities and woundedness.
For those who think our God is not emotional, I don’t believe they have read His words and invited those emotional places to be revealed.
Thanks for answering many years.
My next question is this, “do you think you could stop this behaviour?” ( pouring out your heart to him)
Aly, and Nancy,
I have found that, no, ‘pouring my heart out to him’ has not stopped his behavior.
In fact, I think, right now, my husband is doing his ‘good behavior’ act, as his actions have become more subtle, and I am seeing right through him. It is almost cringe worthy, and, downright creepy, as in, psychotic tendencies.
He says he is going to do one thing one week, and changes his mind the next week. He has been doing this most of our marriage, and I know, for a fact, that his manipulation tactics are all based on what he already knows what he is going to do, way before hand, before he even tells me about what he is going to do.
He is a logistics manager of a company, so he is used to the dynamics of planning things, and he uses this ability to get his own way. Arrrgh! I think he developed this skill as a child in order not to be accountable to his parents for things he ‘got away with’. And so, this is who he is, by choice. It’s never really about anyone else in his life, it’s all about himself.
Satan was and is a creature of such tendencies. He deceived Adam and Eve, and he continues to deceive those who let themselves be deceived.
There is no fellowship between Light and darkness. And I am seeing this more clearly. I will continue to keep the darkness OUT through the pure Word of God.
You are so right about non-emotional people who have not ‘invited (God’s Word) into their emotional places to be revealed.’ They haven’t invited God’s saving grace into their lives either.
Yes, and I agree my husband is unsafe because he is still in his unregenerate state of mind, as he cannot perceive God’s Word, nor the Holy Spirit’s conviction. And this is all through his own distorted choices.
And as I had explained why I did and have confronted him, I had HOPE. And I also did it because God told me to confront when we have ‘aught’ against someone, and I was just doing the assignment from Leslie’s book ‘The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.’ I was being faithful to my own heart and soul, to give the abuser the benefit of the doubt.
Thank you both for your spiritual perception, and for passing it on to me for more guidance moving forward in this scenario.
Hi many years,
I must not have made my question clear. Let me try again;)
My question had nothing to do with him. It was about your behaviour.
“Do you think, many years, that you can stop pouring your heart out to your husband?”
Many Years, Nancy,
Many Years I think I understand your recent post and it seems what you are bringing up is ‘accountability’.
Pouring one’s heart out to another person ‘especially a person who is supposed to be safe and a sacred partner’ would seem reasonable and healthy.
Pouring our hearts out to someone unsafe or even unregenerate as you describe keeps one in the same cycle.
I wonder if you see confrontation and pouring one’s heart out similarly?
“Yes, and I agree my husband is unsafe because he is still in his unregenerate state of mind, as he cannot perceive God’s Word, nor the Holy Spirit’s conviction. And this is all through his own distorted choices.”
True, so how best can you guard your heart from this kind of situation- especially if he is not in counseling or in a process of growing into a healthier person to receive relationship as you are hoping for?
You also wrote:
“And as I had explained why I did and have confronted him, I had HOPE. And I also did it because God told me to confront when we have ‘aught’ against someone, and I was just doing the assignment from Leslie’s book ‘The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.’ I was being faithful to my own heart and soul, to give the abuser the benefit of the doubt.”
Yes we are to confront especially when we are asking that our partner be accountable to their actions etc.But maybe it’s the wording hear that I didn’t understand when you express pouring your heart out?
Bring faithful to your own heart is essential and walking that out is also a key point of growth, I just don’t want you to misunderstand what questions Nancy or I were trying to better understand your experiences and your choices with someone ‘like your husband’ who seems to have a very good long term pattern of avoiding accountability?
Do you see that it’s possible to confront firmly with love & courage and not have to also pour your heart out to a man who is unsafe to you?
When you say he says he is going to do one thing, yet the following week does another…. then you see his words don’t match his actions. Can you give a bit more detail or an example (not a specific one to assist in being anonymous). Maybe others can come along side you in this pain and help to seek what is ‘actually hope’ and what is wishful thinking.
Dear Many Years, thank you for your transparency in sharing where you are at in your journey.I relate with much of it and you are so right that the Lord will make known to you your next step,and the one after that.We are all unique and although we share a common struggle Gods timing is always perfect and trusting Him is trusting his timing.I wouldn’t have described my marriage ,although difficult and disappointing at times throughout its 26 years,as abusive.I held onto “hope” ( I now look at as wishful thinking) that my husband would change and become the man I believe the Lord would have him be.It took a set of circumstances 3 years ago to begin the process of my coming to terms with the reality of my life.During this time our only child graduated from college and got married.I had recently retired from nursing and a few old friends and I reconnected and began to travel together.I felt excited about the future and wanted to plan for my husbands upcoming retirement. Meanwhile he was enmeshed with his sister over caring for their mom and unable to separate from the unhealthy situation.The Lord opened my eyes to the magnitude of the dysfunction and I was overwhelmed.I slowly came to understand how strong his denial was and how this was a battle I would never win.It is a stronghold on his life and I had a choice to make.I moved out this past summer and have my own apartment.We are legally separated. I have peace that only the Lord can give and am praying for my husband from a safe and sane place.We are all in the trenches of this war and our loving general gives us our orders individually as He wills.I wanted to “ stay well” and I believe I did for as long as I could.I also believe God helped me to “ leave well”. My marriage is in the Lords hands and I pray for wisdom to navigate this new season of my life.
This is so beautiful what you have said about ‘our loving general gives us our orders individually as He wills…to stay well” And knowing when to ‘leave well’ too. I have tears in my eyes.
I too had the same type scenario of my husband’s mother being in our house for two years, and very similar, his sister could not rest in the Lord that I was the main care-giver during that time. I had to speak my truth to her, as my husband would not stand up to his own sister as she was becoming a burden in interfering with our lives to the point of being overbearing. Including the dysfunction you spoke of too with your husband being in denial. I was trusting the Lord throughout the scenario, but the mind and emotions can only handle so much when you are the main care-giver and I was not appreciated, but was ‘expected’ to do it. I loved my mother-in-law and she was not really the problem!
I am glad for you that the Lord has led you to where you are at in your marriage. At least I now know how to speak my truth to my husband, and I need to remember that for myself ‘there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus’ and He gives us the power to pray, and ‘stay well’ until a different plan comes into action.
Enjoy the conference Ladies. I have to say I am so free now that none of the topics really apply to me any more, nor do they interest me. A number of years ago I could not have imagined that I would write such a thing. Yet good counseling, freedom from my abuser, brave life choices and lots of travel, exercise and fun have provided healing and victory! That is the amazing grace and mercy of our Lord, he provided and helped me thrive.
The conference was wonderful and rich with the Spirt. We all were touched deeply. So glad I went.
I’m so happy for you all 🙂
Hi Many Years…It’s interesting to me that you mentioned your husband needing to change his personality as my husband told me many times that I wanted to change his.I have come to believe that although our personalities are somewhat fixed and innate our character is always being formed,whether for the better and Gods glory,or for the worse.My husband used the excuse that he couldn’t change his personality and therefore didn’t need to work on himself.If we truly want to mature and grow I believe the Holy Spirit will inable us to through both conviction as well as comfort and instruction.There is nothing wrong with my husbands personality and for a long time I felt guilty about wanting him to make changes.I now believe as his wife I was acting in love(although I admit not always in a loving manner) and desiring to see him grow and mature in the Lord. Don’t know if this helps or not.
If your husbands personality ‘or possible injury’ caused or contributed him to stagnate growth and maturity… then don’t you think that something is wrong with the posture?
I agree with you that the Holy Spirit does enable this process but it requires a willingness and participation from us. A surrendering.
To those who mentioned pouring their heart out or husbands “taking report” and using it as ammo, I understand this. The few times I thought it was safe to confide in my husband or attempt to confront, the words I say come back to bite me. Invariably sometime after that, the worries or fears or emotions I share become fodder for ridicule, putting me down, or otherwise wounding me.
This was probably the most common form of abuse my stbx used on me – part of doing “everything” to save my marriage, I would usually take on most of the responsibility after arguments and I revealed my heart to him, my inner most thoughts/fears/experiences, etc ONLY to be used against me of “how crazy and wounded I am” “everyone knows”, It was always so crushing but it truly never crossed my mind someone would ever do this so it took me quite a long time to realize this. However, this is the exact thing that was the straw and God released me – what the enemy meant for evil, The Lord my God, used to release me. From that moment forward, I have never looked back or regretted leaving. I am so thankful it has only been 15 years and I have truth now. But this form of abuse is VERY very real
Grateful, He will yell and tell me all the things that I fear the most are not just fears, but realities. Not in those words, but in the words of “you are _____.” When I call him on it, he will tell me, but it’s true.
That’s exactly why couples counseling is not recommended for abusive relationships.
Yes, and why it is so critical to ‘guard your heart’, by stopping to expose vulnerabilities to unsafe people.
Accepting the reality that a spouse is not trustworthy will come with grief, and it is really important to allow yourself the space to grieve. If you don’t then you may find yourself headed back into denial, minimizing, rationalizing etc….
Nancy, I can’t tell all the time what is up or down. I feel sometimes so strongly that what he is doing is wrong, they are lies, this is abuse, he is never going to change. The next moment, I feel that, he really is right, there was no reason I should have forgotten to ___ or failed to ___ or whatever. I know what he wants, and I just failed. I was thinking only of myself and forgetting to think of his desires. Ultimately, I am selfish. I deserve it all. So, I get myself into the place where I really don’t know. 🙁
This is sadly, very normal, No one down here 🙁
Someone who is abusive will maintain their power position at all costs. They learn strategies to maintain the unevenness in the relationship all while convincing you that you are the problem.
This is why staying connected here, getting counselling and finding safe people to support you, is key. These will all help you to start coming out of the FOG ( fear, obligation, guilt).
He has learned all your weak points and will exploit them, make no mistake about that. You must learn to guard your heart and mind against his manipulations.
One of my very simple strategies was to stop apologizing for everything. I began making distinctions with our kids the difference between a mistake that required acknowledgement by saying, “oops” and something that deserved an apology. As I began to think about the differences, it was amazing how freeing it was just to say, “oops” out loud without feeling like it was the end of the world. I talked about this with the kids in front of their Dad and we developed our new ‘rules’ of operating. Soon, it was coming out of their mouths, “hey, don’t worry about it, it’s just an ‘oops'”!
Can you get a phone appointment with your women’s shelter?
Nancy, I don’t know about the phone appointment yet. They are supposed to be calling within 3 business days.
The “oops” strategy sounds very reasonable, but I don’t think I’d better try it HA. Any mistake is almost always a personal assault on him for some reason or other.
No one down here & Nancy,
It’s very possible that there are 2 things going on right now. But the priority is that you assess the abusive relationship first in my opinion.
The other issues that might be involved or even possibly an onset symptom of abuse is what needs to be intervened by a profession for you( No one down here).
Nancy’s responses are So on point!
Also what might be helpful is writing a specific example (recent if possible) of what you are seeing as a failure and how he is responding to you?
Specifics can give more clarity too at times.
Here’s one from yesterday. He has been doing all the meal planning for the last month or so and the grocery shopping – and I have been doing the cooking. So, Sunday morning breakfast was listed as “biscuits and sausage gravy.” I made the biscuits. I chose to make 5 big biscuits, one for each person in the family. I also cut up apple slices, thinking we needed more than one thing and we needed something healthy. The first comment from H was “Is this it?!” and then some mocking comments about “back to one-course meals” (a point of contention with him – he wants lots of small food items at a meal, not one main thing. Or even one main thing with one side, not very acceptable, unless he decides it is okay., but as a general rule…). Then follows a bunch of commentary on how he didn’t want one big biscuit, he wanted smaller biscuits so that he could choose if he wanted sausage gravy or apple butter. He didn’t really want the sausage gravy, what he really wanted was the apple butter, and anyone who knows him would know that. and this was not acceptable, and I am forcing everyone at the table to eat what I chose and am not thinking about others. I have to remember I am not cooking for myself. I am cooking for others. It is true. And I even had wondered if he really wanted only the one thing. but, that’s what he listed out, so…
If I just said “oops,” that is a personal affront, as he has just made it clear that what I did was “against him.”
Friday night, he declared the house filthy and once again began his tirade on how I am the worst housekeeper ever. I might be, I don’t know, you know?! Housekeeping isn’t my strong point. Anyway, the kids bedrooms were not in good shape and one bedroom door was “brown.” Also, the kitchen was a disaster (because I had just cooked a major meal with several small items and had no time to clean it up. I wasn’t even eating – I was taking it grab and go. So, the response was that I am the worst ever, filthy, not good enough for him. Not good enough for anybody. “Not allowed to leave the house until the whole thing was inspected top and bottom, every inch and approved by him.” He also told me he was “not going to touch the house.” Only, I did leave the house, because I had an obligation. Saturday though, he went out hiking and having fun while the kids and I stayed home cleaning and I meal-prepped. Sunday afternoon was more meal prep for the week, and cookies were made after church sunday night. It is a failure of mine to keep the house in better shape. I know I should be doing more on that. If it matters, I do work 40 hrs outside the home also. But I should be doing more, better training the kids to help more instead of creating messes.
What a jerk! You did nothing wrong. Who does he think he is talking to you like that?
Moon Beam: It is all pretty confusing. Sometimes things are crystal clear, and I know that this is not healthy, and these are abuses even If I don’t know how much is “my fault” or not, his reactions are not right. Other times, It feels it is really all my fault, and he is a reasonable person and I really just need to make the changes. On the outside, I can look in and evaluate and know that even that vacillating of mine “fits.” and it is all completely the pattern of abuse/reaction to abuse, victim, all that, etc etc. But, on the inside, it isn’t so easy. Doesn’t feel as black and white as that.
NODH, this is why it’s so very important to have a counselor to help you sort these things out.
Down here, let me clear this up for you in one easy response. You were never, are never, doing anything wrong. Stay with me here, girlfriend! He is ABUSING you! The criticism and fault finding is a strategy to control you. Every time you reflect and wonder if he might me right, say to yourself, “I am being abused right now.” No other answer or school of thought is remotely true. He is abusive, You, my friend are not!
Free and moonbeam, you are speaking words of truth from experience. Thank you! Now we must pray that NODH can accept this and move forward with the Lord
So, we get into a small arguing. When he asked about “why was a certain paper still on the fridge.” I start into the “why” which happened to be no longer relevant 😀 Anyway, so he does this thing a lot. I always end up feeling like I did something really wrong. I don’t know how to handle it, so usually say something along the lines of “it doesn’t matter” and “It made sense to me at the time” or whatever. So turns out, he tells me that makes him feel stupid. ?! Because, he is “genuinely trying to figure out why, and if it made sense to me, but doesn’t to him, then I am telling him he is stupid.” OR he is “more of pointing out a problem that should be fixed, rather than asking a real why question.” Can I handle having something pointed out to me? and I “have a problem with criticisms… always have …” I can’t handle him pointing out anything, am always trying to deflect it or make him feel stupid. This totally blindsided me. I can’t even know what I think. As in, have I really been making him feel like I thought he was stupid all this time?
How about this…
“Because you and I don’t operate the same way”
and walk away.
By the way NODH, my mother always did this to me until I stopped explaining my behaviour, motives, reasoning etc… to her.
It’s hard to see when you’re used to having your behaviour questioned. As you gain perspective you’ll been to see that this is incredibly disrespectful.
On our fridge we have something posted called:
Bill of rights ( on giving ourselves and others human dignity)
Space and privacy – knocking on doors, giving space, respecting another’s need for quiet
Be different- allowing preferences for food, movies, volume of music, and how we spend our time
Disagree- making room for each person to think and see life differently
Be heard- listen to one another’s desires, opinions, thoughts, feelings
There are many others but as you can tell from the title, these foundational rights are about human dignity.
A doctor i had years ago said that the first rule of marriage is not to ask why. You are challenging the other one to be on the defensive. Picking a fight as it were. I found out that my reasons were never right unless he approved and that is not at all respectful. Heck if it’s not hurting anyone i can put whatever I want on the fridge for no reason at all and leave it there till the cows come home.
No One Down Here,
Such great insights from JoAnne, Aly, Nancy, and others. I was also thinking that when you are in an abusive marriage, when your personhood is systematically undermined and attacked, depression commonly sets in. You are working 40 hours a week. You are making meals and caring for your family. That’s exhausting. To be working that hard, and enduring verbal/emotional/financial abuse on top of it is negating and depressing. How are you supposed to have the energy to “keep house well” in those circumstances?
And so what if it’s not your strong suit!? Everyone has different gifts and talents. A decent husband would either lovingly come alongside and help you, or hire someone to help with cleaning. He’s not loving you. He is using and abusing you.
On sometimes I agree with that 100%. Other times, I am much more confused – HA. Right now, things are smoother, so that’s nice, but confusing. Was I making it all up? did it really not happen? Was it really me? He’s not evil… He’s quite reasonable and all that. So, good grief. The only thing that holds me into sanity (if I am actually sane) is that I’ve written stuff down, I can hold onto it, and (the big one) he has never actually apologized for his wrong-doing. He only says that it was a wrong reaction, but 100% justified because of my behavior. That’s the only thing I can hold onto.
Keep writing the situation etc down. It will help you down the road.
What you describe is a cycle of abuse. Sure things are even and calmed down ‘so you think’ but your husband most likely internally is reving up!
Whether he is aware or not, he will fall back into his posture and attitude toward you… in a matter of time or when his insecurity or undealt with anger is triggered (probably not even by you personally) but it will be taken out ON YOU! Because you are the one who tolerates his toxic behavior and adapts to him.
I understand. I have been exactly there. It was painfully confusing. Going away for a week without any contact and asking God fit clarity was a huge help to me.
Your husband’s inability to apologize is a huge clue for you. What does that say about him? About humility? About empathy?
I’m curious because of some things you have said: would you say he is a perfectionist?
T.L. He is definitely a perfectionist, and I am definitely NOT 😀 That has caused a lot of tension, of course!
NODH, That may be so, but in a loving, normal relationship, two people can learn to accommodate each other and work together. For him to blow up at you for not doing things his way is just, plain abusive. Plus, living with the stress that you have to tolerate is not helping you to be the best person you can be.
I can so, so sympathise with you on this. I have been married for 30 years, and for most of that time I have felt as if living my life from inside a tumble dryer – can’t see anything clearly, don’t know what’s true and what isn’t, what’s reasonable and what isn’t, and struggling to even know myself. I have been so plagued by the thought that my heart is ‘wicked and deceitful above all things’, and that I cannot possibly ‘know it’, so therefore who knows whether my husband really is right, and I am really as bad as he says I am! Well, thank God, there is a way out of such a vortex; it’s called having godly fellowship with people you can trust – God will use THESE people, who love him and walk with him, to help you keep yourself right – NOT your husband, who is clearly not loving or walking with Jesus. Jesus says ‘my sheep hear MY voice, and I know them, and they follow me…’ I don’t think you are recognising the voice of the Good Shepherd when your husband speaks to you, are you?? This is what helped me to finally recognise the dire and dangerous situation I was in. I am now in the process of divorcing.
Please stay safe, and please make time for godly, trustworthy Christians to enable you to see what is ‘normal’.
Much love and prayers.
oh, heavens, Mandy. This is exactly it. I don’t know when I’m wrong or right or what is reasonable. I don’t know but that he really is right about all the things. That I really have been the one who has caused all the troubles because of my stubbornness, my unwillingness to learn, my scattered, cluttered way of doing life…
The smoothness is fake, a calm before the storm. It is a documented part of the abuse cycle. It is also by the way, the best time to leave an abusive relationship, during the “smooth” times.
Only you can get yourself out of this. He won’t change without consequences, if ever. Your “smooth” day is a healthy marriages’ bad day. Your perspective is skewed, you are in a bad, bad marriage, nothing “smooth” about it.
NODH, may I also suggest that you get the kids involved in housework? Each one can have daily and weekly chores. Of course, praise will help motivate them, but it also teaches them that everyone in the household is responsible for its condition, not just momma.
NODH, it seems to me that questioning your own sanity, which is called “gaslighting,” is exactly what your h wants to see happen. Then, when you finally “blow,” he can use that against you. Be careful, and keep writing everything down. I hope that by now, you have found a counselor. While you can sort things out, your h might even welcome that because he will think that this proves that you are the one with the problems, but you will be getting your head sorted out and working out an exit strategy. A good therapist will be your best ally. Find a therapist who is experienced in dealing with abusive relationships. Your local battered women’s shelter will be a good resource.
To all who suggested a counselor, I have gotten one through the local women’s shelter. I feel embarrassed every time I go there, and worried that it will be found out. I’ve only been twice so far. I understand the gaslighting, as in what it is. What I can never figure out is if that is what is happening, or if it’s all in my head.
Right now, he is being encouraging about me chasing a dream I have had … when in the past, he has had different attitudes. Encouraging, discouraging, disparaging, mocking, logically presenting why I can’t or won’t. hindering. Pretty confusing.
NODH, congratulations on finding a counselor! Good step in the right direction. Bring these thoughts to your counselor and discuss them with her. What you are experiencing is SO COMMON among abused women. No need to feel embarrassed…. actually, you should feel proud for having the courage to move in a positive direction. I know that we, here, are very proud of you. Way to go! Your counselor will help you to find yourself in the midst of all his confusing messages.
NODH, Hurray!! Good for you! Like JoAnn, I’m so proud of you for being brave!
When you get a moment, look up OCPD and see if it is an accurate description of your husband or not. Might be helpful…
I’m very proud of you NODH for going to see your counsellor! Keep up the great work 🙂
And yes, keep writing things down.
It’s hard and uncomfortable but know that you are doing the right thing in getting help for yourself through God’s orchestrating.
You wrote something important that you might want to take caution to:
“Right now, he is being encouraging about me chasing a dream I have had … when in the past, he has had different attitudes. Encouraging, discouraging, disparaging, mocking, logically presenting why I can’t or won’t. hindering. Pretty confusing.”
It can feel good or nice when the unhealthy marital partner, shows support etc or tries to show that what you value they also value. Often when it’s as inconsistent as you mention above, it’s not genuine and can be used or twisted against you in due time. Please be cautious and bring this up to your counselor.
JoAnn, Connie, others here who are following this Tag,
Connie posted a while back another resource website.
Recently, I have been listening and exploring what this organization is about and how they help women in the traumas of abuse. The focus certainly is in regard to porn abusers etc and healing for the partners suffering from all the effects, but the abusive effects don’t necessary have to be porn specific, I think there is a wide scope with all too common abuse tactics going on that traumatize a partner (usually the female is the victim/survivor).
Connie thanks for posting!!!
I was listening to a recent podcast of theirs on ‘gaslighting etc’ and it was very informative because for me it tied something about the ‘common church taboo of using the word abuse or minimizing what abuse is or could be’.
Leslie’s Ministry focuses on many areas but especially equipping those in the body willing to better understand and equip their church body with health and healing about these marital issues. Not all people or people in these leadership places want to be educated on these topics and what they commonly represent in patterns etc. This is sad.
But it continues to bother me why such the resistance or push back from the church body at getting involved in assessing these domestic issues?
The Church body says they care about the wellbeing of their communities and the spiritual health, so why such a battle here?
Currently, I have a dear friend who is suffering through a separation but the church is ‘technically coddling the abuser’ nothing knew here even though she has had to get a restraining order, they want to focus on the marriage covenant and her obligations not on the abusers recovery or consequences of abuse.
As I was listening to this podcast something additionally connected for me.
People who are ‘especially’ in the church body or involved, many have the word ‘abuse’ associated or directly linked to the word divorce.
One of the very common reasons an abuser won’t admit abuse because they think it means immediate divorce. Rather than the opportunity for serious help and transformation.
I wonder if the church body, and those in leadership positions tend to have a similar avoidance of the term and the behaviors based on how they associate the word, abuse?
Anyways, it was a good podcast and it highlighted important aspects of abuse and recovery in general not just porn related but mindset related.
I believe it has a secular view (not solely, the host often speaks of her Christian values), yet I think many people in our church bodies carry this stumbling block of how they also think of abuse into the church culture and little is addressed.
So in reality many of our churches are taking a similar mindset also about abuse and the divorce card, so better not mention abuse or a partner is immediately posturing divorce.
Which as we know isn’t true.
It’s hard enough for the victim/survivor to come to grips what IS abusive and how are they being treated.
JoAnn, this is a goal! I am working on it. (but less progress than i care to admit) It is a challenge for me, because I grew up with a mom who did as little as possible. As soon as I was big enough for any of the stuff, it was all my job. Her reason was “she did her time, now it’s my turn.” I hated this, and don’t want to do it to my kids. So, I overreact and go the opposite direction and try to do it all myself. This is one thing H is always telling me to change, and it is something for sure he has right.
NODH, I’m glad you made this a goal. May offer some suggestions? You make a list of some things you’d like them to do daily and another for weekly. Number should be one or two per child. Things like empty the dishwasher, wipe counter tops, etc. starting with the youngest child, let each one pick one or two items from each list. They will be responsible for those items. Establish a reward at the end of the week for doing their chores without grumbling. Set the rules clearly and be sure to acknowledge when someone has done their job well. This will be a good starting place. If they choose the jobs they want to do, they’ll have more ownership. The whole context here is that we all live here and mom is not your maid. Everyone pitches in. Older kids can even fix a meal once a week. Anyone over six can do their own laundry. Charts help. Be creative about this. If you can make it fun, there will be more buy-in.
Kids and chores are very typical examples of household life and how the house functions etc. I think JoAnn gave great practical examples that tend to work well with most children. Having help around the house will free up some logistical things but it won’t get to he heart of the issues of the way your husband treats you.
What I wonder about is this comment you made:
“ This is one thing H is always telling me to change, and it is something for sure he has right.“
I get that he wants you to be the one to enforce or train them to help around the house, but you are not the only parent in the home that can show them how things are done, why is he not also assisting in getting the kids involved here but rather delegating this job as ‘yet’ ANOTHER responsibility of yours to figure out?
Does he only do the fun or pleasure parts of parenting? Does he do any parenting?
Given the cycle your in with him, I can see why you would just do the chores and try to do them as they need to to be done rather than deal with his discontent… I’m assuming here that he has particulars about the house that he wants done but is not the one scrubbing the toilets ‘himself’ nor is he the one taking it upon himself to daily do the tasks that he sees as needed?
Again, I’m wondering if these things fit?
He seems to act more like a dictator versus a leader in the family dynamics.
Dictators verbalize what they want done, they don’t roll up their sleeves and participate in their own agenda.
Getting your children involved in household responsibilities are good training grounds for growing up and being responsible, but if I recall you have children on the spectrum and are being treated also which will require even more from the parent unit to assist with.
You need adult /partner support for their development and your husband seems to be far from any of that.
No one down here,
Here’s an example of a healthy response to you in the example above,
“Thanks so much for making dinner” then he prays for the family and that The Lord would bless the hands that made the meal.
“Gosh you work 40 hours a week and you are trying hard to keep up with the everyday messes. I get overwhelmed by the clutter sometimes, How can I help in the housework? Maybe we can work together to come up with some kind of a plan to train our kids in taking on more house cleaning responsibilities?”
( do you hear the humility and appreciation in the above communication?)
By the way, no healthy individual ‘orders’ their ‘loved one’ to not leave the house until an inspection! There are no ‘orders’ in a healthy relationship. There is respect and mutuality.
Your husband is entitled and expecting perfection. This is normal for abusers, and entirely destructive to your soul.
Have you watched any Patrick Doyle videos on YouTube?
Nancy, No One down here,
Nancy, those are great examples.
No One down here, your real life example describes a very destructive relationship (abusive in power).
It also resembles a very toxic parent child relationship that is abusive verbally, emotionally etc.
Does your husband also work outside the home? And if so do you also have a list of requirements of how things are to be?
This dynamic sounds really painful especially since you also work outside the home 40 plus hours and it seems that you don’t have access to the funds?
This isn’t about ‘biscuits and gravy’ or anything like that… it’s about power and control.
Aly, here’s another. A week ago, on Friday, H had his work hours in before me. We have only one car, so he went home and told me (Skype msg) “I’ll be back to get you before 5:30. Get the girls first, of course.” I understood that to mean that he was going to pick them up on the way to getting me. 5:27 came, and I clocked out. No H. No girls. So I started walking to their school (5 min walk). No H. I got the girls and we waited. A long time later he drove up. Apparently he meant for me to get the girls and walk back over to where I work. He was raging. I am an idiot. Words mean something. He communicates perfectly. Yelling and yelling.
No One Down Here, that incident did not need an apology from you; he did not communicate what he meant, but used his lack of communication to exert power over you again. I hope that you are beginning to see just what’s going on here. This isn’t about you at all; it’s about a very angry man who uses power to keep you under his thumb, and he will take any opportunity to blow off his anger and blame you, basically for his own inadequacies. Maybe a good response would have been, “You didn’t tell me where to meet you, and I can’t read your mind.” Of course, if such a reply would put you in danger, then don’t do it, but we just want you to see that this isn’t about you being inadequate. Or stupid. Or any of the other things he says to you. This is all about him. And his rage is very dangerous, so if you can, get some help to develop a safety plan for yourself and your kids. And please keep in mind the damage that he is doing to the children. They don’t deserve to be subjected to this.
No One Down Here, I am also wondering if he is purposefully vague in his requests so that he will have something to blame you for? It might help if when he does ask for something, to ask a question or two to clarify his expectations, for example, “Do you want me to go get the girls first? Where do you want to pick us up?” This doesn’t “fix” the problem, but it might limit the number of incidents. You still need to get some help so that when he does blow, you have a way to protect yourself and the girls.
Exactly, it makes him responsible and accountable for what he is communicating.
Keeping it in writing it helpful too.
I completely agree with JoAnn and Aly,
You need a safety plan for you and the girls. So.important. The women’s shelter can help you with this.
It’s also really important to note what JoAnn wrote about this being all about him and his inability / unwillingness to take responsibility for his rage. You are simply a target which he uses to eject his rage at. It is very important that you see that you could never be ‘perfect enough’ because none of this is about you at all.
He will try everything he can, though, to convince you that it IS about you. You must guard your heart and mind against these lies. The C of CORE is about being committed to truth. The truth is, he is dumping his pain on you. You must no longer absorb that into your mind and heart. Fill your soul with the Word that says that you are His precious daughter, adored and loved beyond measure. This is the Truth!
You have been brought to this site in God’s timing. Trust in Him. He will lead you each step of the way. Stay safe.
It was suggested earlier in this blog to read Don Hennessy and the website was cryingoutforjustice.com. I read and read and although it was kind of scary it described my situation so clearly. How the abuser will attack your housekeeping and parenting and appearance to keep control! It helped me see just why he does that. I think it will help you too.
Carolee, Nancy, JoAnn, Aly, No one down here, et al,
Just a brief point about No one down here’s H’s anger/rage. Is it real? Or is it in fact a perfectly deliberate tactic designed to intimidate no one down here, and keep our dear sister under control. My H has used exactly the same thing.For 29 years he had me thinking he was an angry man. In fact he is not. He is a coercive, controlling, manipulator who is in perfect control of what he’s doing. DANGEROUS …
No one down here – you are in urgent need of trustworthy, local help. We are concerned for your safety.
Yes, and Amen to what Nancy said!!
Thank you to all of you – Nancy, Aly, JoAnn, Carolee. You are all so kind. It sort of overwhelms me that people I don’t even know would be willing to dialog and help me sort through stuff.
So, I need to figure out how to own what is mine and sort through the lies to figure out what I shouldn’t own. I can do that sometimes, but not always. Either way, in any sort of “incident,” H always makes me own it all.
I also need to figure out how to help the kids understand and deal with this. I am worried about the kid’s mental/emotional state. My oldest tells me often that he thinks Dad doesn’t love him. or prefers the girls. or all sorts of things. He is a verified spectrum child, but very high functioning. One girl practically worships her daddy, but is constantly complaining about stomach pains. I’m figuring that perhaps this is stress. She is an empath, probably ADD of some sort, very easily distracted at all times, and we believe she has some sort of auditory processing disorder along with possibly dyslexia. I’ve never met a sweeter child, though. The last is most probably ADHD, at the least. She is constantly on the go – “all in” whether for good or bad. She comes bawling to me all the time about something that daddy said or did. All kids struggle with huge shoulder knots and neck pain. Too young for that, unless it’s stress. After one incident a couple months ago, I ended up with so much pain that I could hardly move – for no apparent physical reason. It took a long time for it to work its way out. After doing some reading, I finally figured it must have been from the extreme stress that happened after that particular incident.
I could never give him reasonable replies when he is angry. I’ve tried, and it gets me nowhere. Nancy, those sort of responses to me in light of “incidents” would never happen that I know of. The only thing I know to do is to try and never make mistakes and immediately own up to whatever i do wrong. I never know when things are going to be “good” or “bad.” Like, this morning, he thanked me for helping him make a dish to take in for a work party. So, sometimes things are okay, but I’m never “at ease.”
Currently, I feel sort of numb and clinical.
Thank you for sending the web info. I listened to some of Patrick Doyle and I read some of the cryingoutforjustice site.
JoAnn – I don’t know if he is purposefully vague or not. I have been trying to make sure i really understand what he means, but sometimes I forget.
Aly- we both work out of the home. one car. He is a very hard worker, so I can’t fault him at that. I’m responsible for house cleaning, cooking, taking kids to all obligations, taking care of any house issues (like if we need a maintenance person), any pet issues, any odd errand that he doesn’t want to do.
No One down here,
I’m abreivating your name (NODH)
To simplify in response, hope that’s ok.
You are not alone, there are resources and thankfully with technology a lot more resources available to many more people these days.
I’m glad you see many of us coming along side you, many of us do because we care, are educated in this area or have also been greatly comforted by others ‘strangers’ in a similar way and want to also reach out & back.
To some of us, it feels more natural because we have experienced the blessing of that kind of care.
Getting the professional help is going to assist in seeing what ‘you have choices in’ and what you don’t have choices in.
Since you work out of the home, maybe it would be a good idea to go back to your employer and give an update on the intern that said you need more critical help ASAP. Maybe your employer can assist in arranging the professional, give you a time away from work (without informing your h) and seeing about a payment plan.
The situation you are in, will greatly affect your ability to work and function, so maybe your employer can start seeing what things can be of help so you can get a safety plan in order as you are also getting professional eyes on the situation.
Sometimes we have to look at odd ways and create options we don’t always see at first glance.
Your husband could also have an underlying issue that is not being treated that is escalating his abuse.
I think patterns are often helpful when you are trying to figure things out.
None of us are ‘mind Readers’ nor should we be.
I think he would prefer you read his mind and his moods and I think he is trying to teach you all how to orbit around him based on his space and time!
Dealing with someone who abuses their power or position will make anyone ‘uneasy’ all the time.
This is actually I think normal that you or your kids have these feelings. But they should be explored.
Abusive (controlling) people in general are:
2.Often very unregulated emotionally
3. Think they deserve special treatment
4. Certain rules apply to certain people but not to them (they are special)
5. Your mistakes are Highlighted, theirs are quite minimal and are quickly dismissed as unimportant
6. They often want others to read their mind.
7. Rarely ever will they take full responsibility for their behavior, thoughts or regulating their OWN feelings.
In general the relationship feels lopsided! You will feel like the responsibilities (daily or operational) fall only on your shoulders.
Other dynamics of the relationship will often reflect one partner ‘over functioning’ and the other partner under functioning based on ‘investment of energy, time, commitment, and emotionally.
I’m not trying to sound crass.. but your female origin does not mean that all the things of your home are your Job also in addition to your work load.
I see very little expression of what your h does?
What you describe is a dynamic that is very unhealthy and he’s the dictator and everyone else have to play their role.
Your children are not seeing two people who are mutually valuable and mutually sharing adult & family responsibility.
If you see the family income.. and budget, where does all the $ go?
Financial abuse will further isolate you from getting proper care and solutions for your well being and your children’s.
The one car thing, seems common in very abusive dynamics because that way the abuser has more control of your ability to ‘not escape’ so readily.
“Dealing with someone who abuses their power or position will make anyone ‘uneasy’ all the time.
This is actually I think normal that you or your kids have these feelings. But they should be explored.”
By normal I should have said normal red flags or signs of ‘something is very wrong’
Your body is telling you.
No One, I am glad that you are beginning to get the picture, but it seems pretty clear to me that the tension in your home is having a very harmful effect on the children. Their ADD is probably a result of that, also the tummy pains, and other things you noted. My strong suggestion would be for you to find a good, Christian counselor who has experience with dysfunctional relationships, ASAP. This is not a time for “marriage counseling” together with your h. You need help to sort things out and get clear about how to help your kids and keep yourself safe and healthy. This is a very toxic environment for you and your children, and especially since you both work at home, my goodness! You can’t even get away from him to go to work. Read and reread the responses on this blog and in the archives, and you will find help and encouragement.
Prayers for you, Dear Sister
Aly, no worries about abbreviations. I should have chosen something shorter 😀
I guess I need to clarify – both H and I work outside the home, not from the home. We do actually work sort of at the same organization, but the company has been split into two separate entities, so we are not “at the same company” but anyway, it’s a 15 min walk from where I work to where he does.
Aly, We can’t afford a second vehicle – “ministry pay” Finances, he takes care of it all, so I don’t see it at all. I have access to the cc, but as of a couple months ago, we’ve been put on a strict budget and nothing can exceed it. I see some issues with this, but everything has a reason, a back story, and I am not able to counter it. Where does all the money go? I’d like to know! I do know some of it – we had an unfortunate situation with the property we used to live in that is now a rental. The renter-to-owner people that were in it basically stopped paying and it took us a year to legally get them out. Once they left, we went in and found the place destroyed from top to bottom. Insurance covered some. All in all, we lost thousands of dollars in lost rent, lawyer fees, and repairs. couple years back, H spent several thousands of dollars on a personal project due to “self-care.” He also spends money on personal items that are really nice and used regularly. Or clothes. Me, I haven’t spent like that; I’m a scrooge. I have spent on things, yes, but not same as he does. I don’t think any of it is secret, though. I guess, how would I know.
He does keep very busy with “providing” as in, regular work hours, of course, plus his hobby is gardening, so he spends a lot of time and effort providing in this way. Kids complain that we do a lot more of the work than he does. Hard for me to know; H’s opinion is different from kids/myself.
Working on counseling as best as I can at the moment, but most of what I am learning is either here or on other internet places.
Is it possible for me to help the kids process without actually leaving?
What do you think your h’s response would be, were you to begin challenging him, for example by saying what JoAnn suggested “you didn’t tell me where to meet you and I can’t read your mind.”?
Here’s the thing, as you begin to sort through, what is yours and what is not, you will begin to live out of this new reality.
When a victim of abuse begins to live in truth ( even if they don’t openly challenge) things will escalate because the abuser feels his power slipping.
The question must be “will walking in truth put me or my kids in danger?”. The answer to that question will determine how quickly you need to develop a safety plan.
As you become healthier in your mind and heart, you will be able to help your kids process. You walking in truth and taking responsibility for your stuff will create a major shift that your kids will feel. This alone brings health into the home environment. But this will also threaten your h.
The question is, “how safe are you to begin to walk in truth?”
I agree with Nancy in many of her suggestions. One critical thing would be physical support around you.
Who in your close circle is being informed of your inner world?
It can be very difficult to do many of the necessary steps without additional support, some virtual but necessary for physical too.
How do you come across Leslie’s material and blog?
You say you and your husband work in ministry.
Many of the things you share here do not reflect behaviors or characteristics of a Godly husband & father, let alone marital union…
You also said some key points about the finances and I don’t think it’s healthy to not ‘know or have any information’ given your relationship dynamic.
Is this your personal choice? Or was this taken from you?
You also say h spent several thousands on a personal project of self care, but somehow there isn’t funds for your self care (counseling)?
Aly, I look at this site either at work or on my phone on the private setting so it doesn’t come up in the history.
I don’t really have a “close circle” but a few friends “know”. I also have my direct supervisor the head of the company who are sympathetic. Apparently they have worked with a lot of others as best as they can.
I’ve never had ability to look at finances. The reason being he doesn’t trust me to balance it right. Ok so he built a greenhouse because SAD and because he’s always wanted one and for a place to retreat to. Way at the beginning of marriage, we got an organ very expensive mostly for me, but I’m afraid to play it because every time I play piano or organ he tells me all the things I’m doing wrong. He can’t stand to listen to me play 😳 currently he figures out how to budget in things he wants, but finds ways to block what I ask for unless it’s something of mutual benefit.
Please know you don’t need to give specifics.
I was trying to express that there is an imbalance here over what he is entitled to…
How he wants things done, how he communicates, how he decides how the money is spent and on and on.
JoAnn and Nancy a spot on with your awareness and next steps.
Another possible place of awareness for you might be to look at his own (parents marriage)
And your own parents also.
This might give you more of an objective place to see why it’s essential to get help ASAP and get safe.
Nancy, as far as pointing out some sort of reasonable truth, I’ve tried stuff like that before when it comes to a miscommunication – and it’s “words mean something. MY words mean something. You don’t know how to communicate. I communicated perfectly. I said exactly what needed to be said.” usually not said in a calm manner. I used to try to explain my reasoning (especially when asked “what were you thinking”) but have come to realize, he doesn’t really want to know what i was thinking. It’s more of a rhetorical thing pointing out my absolute idiocy. Any logical person would have known whatever it was. I try hard to not answer back. I don’t know if it’s really “safe” to do that. I would say i’m not worried about physical violence, because he knows better than that. However in the first two years of marriage, there was some escalating violent potential. Never since then, though.
OK, NODH. well if he was escalating into violence before, then that means the potential is there. Is it possible that he ‘trained you’ to not ‘set him off’ ? In other words did you get really scared at that time and then decided to work d extra hard ever since to not ‘set him off’?
I think he just got smarter. He knows that physical violence has the potential to be detrimental to him.
No One, I like what Aly said here: Sometimes we have to look at odd ways and create options we don’t always see at first glance. Ask the Lord to show you ways to go forward that you haven’t yet thought of. Sometimes the answer/option can be right in front of you but you didn’t notice it. Consider the problems that you want answers to and then look ways to find the answers. You’ll get a lot of help here, of course, including suggestions for other books and videos to check out. Around here, we consider Leslie’s books to be primary, and the CONQUER group is well worth the effort to participate in. You’re getting started, and the Lord’s grace will supply you to move forward.
NODK, Nancy is right. Emotional/verbal abuse almost always escalates to physical abuse, and as was said before, as you begin to assert yourself and speak truth, he will feel threatened and the abuse can possibly escalate. We don’t want to discourage you from strengthening your CORE, but you need to have a good escape plan and some supportive people on your team ASAP. An escape plan involves: (1) having a place to go where you can be safe; (2) having a suitcase with emergency supplies, important papers, medicines, clothes, and phone numbers; (3) a burner phone, in case he takes yours away; (4) a counselor who will help you make plans; (5) if possible, documentation of his emails and other evidence of abuse; (6) having your own secure bank account where you have been putting some money away, in a different bank from the one you have now (that may be the most important part).
Maybe the women here have some additional ideas.
JoAnn, Free, and others who have walked through divorce or walked along many others in the process(like JoAnn) : did you “do it yourself?” Or hire a lawyer? I don’t want to do it myself as it is stressful and confusing, but I am afraid lawyers will just try to make lots of money with delays, and roadblocks, etc. Legitimate fears, or unfounded?
Oh time, there are so many good, kind, hard-working attorneys. Interview a few and then make your selection. You absolutely can not do this yourself. Get help. Even the smartest of us don’t know the law to its fullest. Something you may or may not know can cost or save you a ton of time and trouble. Use a professional.
Autumn, thank you for your reply. Very encouraging. I have secured one, and I think she is as you describe. Thank you, again.
I found working with a woman was very good for me. If my abuser was getting testy she had a tough talking male law partner who really knew how to be firm. Although the process was incredibly frightening and painful, some how I got through it. I would not be safe today without the authority of the court. You seen my abuser felt (feels today too), that he is above the law. He thought he could manipulate the judge just like everyone else in his life. I praise God for the laws of the land and for the state court that upheld the law and granted me protection from my manipulative, deceptive ly charming, Jekyll and Hyde crazy spouse.
Thank you, Autumn. Helpful again. My abuser also thinks himself above the law, in a sense, and above everyone. Used to getting what he wants by manipulation, coercion and manipulation. So your encouragement is applicable to me, too. Feeling more peace.
Again, to everyone, I am so thankful for you. Coming here and having a dialog has put things into better perspective for me. It is so easy for me to take all the blame; that’s how I am naturally. But, even with knowing that I am not perfect, I am so thankful for the perspective gained here in MY situation, not just a “generic” someone else description that I can easily dismiss as – well, that’s them, not me. Sorry, that may not make sense. I’ve read so much before this conversation. I’ve come to this site before, but I’ve never had courage to dialog before. I’ve just been afraid that it really IS just me, and not him. I thank you all very much for helping me to understand that there really is something going on here that is not right. I don’t know what to do about it yet. I’m very afraid of trying to leave; I don’t really think that would end well. If you would, please pray for me as I try to shepherd my children. One child in particular is struggling with wanting salvation but is never sure that “it worked.”
Will pray for you and your child’s concern about salvation.
Remember the important things many people responded to you about and how you can consider their concerns and directives.
“It is so easy for me to take all the blame; that’s how I am naturally. But, even with knowing that I am not perfect, ”
I think many here can relate to this scenario and something common in abusive dynamics.
To me, I think this (taking all of the blame) is more of a survival strategy and maybe something you can trace back to your own history?
Your husband has exploited this ‘posture’ of you to a harmful place given how things are now and how fearful you feel to challenge the status quo at all.
The very fact that you don’t know what to do about any of this needs to create the necessity of additional help and support.
Leaving as being one option, but when you say you don’t think it will end well.., I don’t know what you mean exactly?
Because your in the Fog and the complexity of trying to navigate without additional harm towards you, changing the dynamics will most likely ‘escalate the one who is controlling and the ‘taker’ in the relationship’ these individuals don’t give up this type of lopsided dynamic easily. Be wise about what you fear and the fear of staying alongside someone who is causing you daily harm is damaging to your own well being and your children’s.
Your local women’s shelter will have great resources to assist in these areas.
Depending on your church community, there might be well educated couseling available to you but most churches are not equipped to deal with this kind of abuse going on and often make the dynamic worse for the victim/survivor by giving more power or twisted teachings or poor theology to the husband.
This creates a greater clamp on bondage thinking and your husband is reinforced to believe he is doing the right things in his relationship.
It’s my guess that your husband might also be isolated and not have many healthy men in his circle or if he does they have no clue how he treats his family. Men of this world and especially abusive men need accountability like water. But often they refuse and continue in their patterns and attitudes that get passed generationally.
Nancy, Aly & Joann have offered good suggestions on how to respond to your husband etc. I would like to give you some of my thoughts based on my experience of dealing with a husband who is very entitled.
Have you read ‘Why does he do that? In the minds of angry and controlling men’ by Lundy Bancroft? You may be able to find a copy in your public library. It really opened my eyes.
My husband will try to criticize things I do. I have learned that many times that is not the issue. He is trying to divert from the real issue by focusing on your ‘faults’. Anyone who reads your posts will see that you are bearing much of the load of raising a family. There is no harm in him pitching in. As long as you are defending yourself, the issue of him bearing more of the load will never be discussed. Him not doing his share is the issue. He wants to have a family, but doesn’t want to put in the work. He wants time for himself so he uses abuse to get what he wants.
Another thing that happens in these kind of marriages is blaming things on communication. It’s another diversion tactic. Instead of getting into an argument about communication, figure out what the real issue is and stick to it. You will find that he is really good at trying to change the topic.
Marriage is a partnership. Husband and wife are equal. Neither person is entitled to preferential treatment. A lot of problems you are seeing is probably because he feels entitled. You can’t change him, but there is no reason to put up with his selfish demands. You are working too, shouldn’t you get a say in how the money is spent? Also, sounds like he wants to do whatever he likes without any accountability. I wanted to be a good Christian wife so I tried to submit to some of his selfish demands. Later on I realized this is not true Christian leadership and marriage. You too will probably have to delve into what you believe and get answers for yourself.
Maria, I just got a copy of the Bancroft book. Trying to read when I can. This is still so difficult to process.
Maria, This post you wrote above to NODH is really well said!
And yes to the ‘entitled’ core being such a big contributor here.
The entitled attitude mixed with a wife trying to submit as a godly wife ‘thinking’ this will win his attention and soften his heart is what many of us have fallen deeper into the ‘crazyness’ cycle.
You are correct, marriage is partnership this doesn’t mean everything is divided in equal parts but it does mean two people working toward a common goal and purpose.
Insecure people who act like NODH husband… ‘are entitled’ and truly do have this preferential attitude going on. If only they could see how ridiculous they look and how much it feeds their insecurities.
This is hard to break and rewire.
NODH, I’m sorry this is difficult to process, but seeking out what’s going on in your situation and your willingness to live in reality will be critical to your healing. Pray for God’s hand in uncovering what’s going on here.
Be cautious and be wise, also realize that your husband could also have underlying neurological (needing meds) or deeper unresolved family of origin stuff that not only needs intervention but most likely he will resist facing his issues.
What I’ve learned in the last few months is that the diversion tactics are not just to keep his entitlement for his laziness intact, but that so very often there is sin involved. Some sort of addiction, and if that’s what he’s hiding, you do not have a marriage problem, as much and he would like you to think so. That would make it partly your fault, right? A sin problem has to be dealt with first, on its own, and that can take a lot of time and work. Just ask me. And part of that is if he can keep you engaged in other worries, you won’t be looking for that, right?
What is with all the hiding of finances, etc. Unfortunately, I also, for 13 years did not know what was happening in that department because I thought he had it all under control and I don’t like bookwork type stuff. He even whined that I didn’t do the books, like his mother always did, wah wah, and so I finally said ok show me how. Guess what? He didn’t want to show me!! What might you learn just knowing what is there, even if you don’t do any of it? Even just asking might be an eye opener, to see his reaction.
NODH, I just see so many red flags in your story, so much familiar to both my marriages.
There are also many good podcasts to listen to on btr.org. That site deals with wives of porn addicts, but there are lots of similarities to all our problems…not to mention that that particular problem could be hiding under all the rest and many of us just don’t know it. It is epidemic, especially in the church. I hate to say it but it needs to be said.
Such good points you bring up!
And yes epidemic is true and important that people become educated on these issues. Often is the subtle attitudes or wired in disrespect ‘for women In general’ etc. that leak out to the bigger more devastating problem or addiction.
Another pattern especially in the church..,Women specifically who refuse to even dialog in general terms about the concerns of any sexual issue or addiction Of individuals are usually suffering alone and have resorted to denial to a great extent.
Connie, hope you are remaining safe and away from the environment🙏
In my husband’s case, I know for a fact that he does not view porn. There are no other addictions. I do not consider the problems we experience related to our marriage. I think these are issues he would struggle with regardless of whom he married. I think he wants a family for appearance sake, but doesn’t want to put in the work.
oh my, so much to think through. Getting overwhelmed 🙁
I have an appt to do an assessment for counseling (or something or other – first step, I guess) with the women’s shelter. Just that alone is enough to terrify me.
he may have a “separate” sin issue, I don’t have a way to really know.
Feeling partially in denial that this is happening. has been happening. is probably not going to stop. struggling.
feeling guilty talking to other people. I feel like i’m doing something shameful. and/or that i’m taking up other people’s time that i don’t want to impose.
feeling more cramped at home – i am not even being allowed to menu plan, because i don’t do it good enough, apparently.
i don’t FEEL depressed, particularly, just very, very emotional need to cry.
now that it’s mentioned, being easily guilted is partly I’ve always been that way, but also greatly increased by having to take all the guilt just because.
What helped me was having a few people around me that supported me. But I also found out it’s important not to tell everyone who will listen. Some people are not safe. Like Nancy says, we are to guard our hearts. This community is wonderful too. I kept my husband’s abuse a secret for a long time, and when I told others I felt guilty and also a sense of relief. We are to bear each other’s burdens, so true friends will not feel you are imposing on their time. My sister did not understand what I was going through, but she read books and can now relate. One of the pastor’s I talked to did not say things to lessen my pain. He encouraged me to feel my pain and grieve. I think this was very healthy. Also like Connie mentioned taking one step at a time will make it less overwhelming. I am praying for you.
Of course you need to cry. Why wouldn’t you? I’m sending hugs and prayers your way. This is SO hard and I’m so very sorry. One step at a time. Just one.
Last night I prayed, “Lord, if you were my husband (and He is), how would this last year have looked?” He brought scriptures to mind that showed me how wrong all this is and how important it is to hold my boundaries very firm. Let Him give you back your dignity and value and sense of security that you in Him is a team that can overcome.
I’m in a discipleship class and the question was asked, “What do you want to petition the Lord for?” After going over their list and not connecting to anything on it, my answer was, to get over the fear of man. I think that has been at the bottom of all this, for me anyway.
Me too Connie. To be rid of the fear of man has been a prayer of mine for a couple of years now. He is slowly riding me of this by walking me through a healing journey: where He is asking me to confront deep seated false beliefs and then expose these to Christ.
Our Lord loves to answer a prayer like that!
Connie, this line of thinking helps me too. I compare how my abusive spouse has treated me and what I or others would do in such a circumstance. For example when there is a court order to leave a person alone, you obey the order and stop stalking them!
I really like your idea to seek the Lord and his word to fill your heart with his truth.
I’m praying for you! It’s such good news that you have that appointment – I know that it doesn’t feel that way.
You don’t have to have anything figured out. Just keep focusing on Jesus, He walks with you ❤️
T.L. and Aly, For some reason, I had a hard time getting to a reply screen. I hope this posts.
First of all, I agree 100% with what you said, T.L., and I should have been more clear in my statement. “Speaking badly” to my mind, means griping, defaming, and expressing negative opinions, whereas stating facts is what’s needed if you are going to confront someone about their sinful behavior. I agree that too often, abused women are afraid to speak up, and with good reason! That’s also why it is important to share these things only with people whom you can trust, and you know that they will be supportive, even if it’s only to a therapist or counselor, when you don’t have any friends to tell it to. Someone in a previous post said that when someone asks why you left, it is appropriate to say only that “I was dying in this relationship” is good enough.
I have struggled for almost 25 years with my emotionally abusive husband and my decision to divorce. Under the worst of turmoil, God granted me the grace of finding a Christian attorney who confirmed I was being oppressed and needed to finally be set free. He has a degree in pastoral counseling as well. This was clearly God because I went to two other attorneys prior and just couldn’t follow through and God knew a Christian man/pastor and legal advisor needed to tell me that what I experienced was not normal!
The false guilt was so bad believing that divorce was a sin even when I said to pastors and others I was being abused. I bought this because of the abuse I suffered as a child in my family of origin. The problem is also that many in the church don’t believe women who are in this boat. Everyone says to hang in there marriage is hard or pray harder or be patient with him…Anyway, I would appreciate prayers because he is getting served this week when I am out of town and I don’t know how he’ll react and what I will find when I get home. He isn’t violent but he is vindictive and passive aggressive. He won’t leave the house and I have been unable to find housing yet for me and my daughter. I petitioned to be able to stay in the house until it sells and the proceedings are going on. All I can do is trust God that he will LEAVE very soon.
FL girl, I am so encouraged by your post. I too needed a Christian man to affirm the reality of the abuse. A comment that helped me was when a lawyer was helping me to obtain yet another restraining order from my abusive husband. Who gets repeated restating orders and keeps going back to abusive men? Only the ultra religious do that..she said.
We join you in prayer that your abuser leaves. I am so thankful for the wise counsel you have found!
Thanks for your prayers Autumn. It is sad that we become so ultra religious that we lose sight of the bigger picture of God’s love for us and His design for marriage.
I think you are taking such important steps toward freeing yourself and toward healing. This takes a lot of courage and strength.
When you mention, ”ultra religious”, can you expand here?
Aly, substitute the word legalism for ultra religious. Ultra religious was a term a lawyer used when speaking with me. She probably wanted to add the term “nut case” after it. I have to admit it is nutty to stay in an abusive relationship for any reason. It just is, and worse yet when we twist our religious beliefs to think there is anything but the Devil in abusive behavior. Believe me, I bought the suffer at all costs mantra as much as the next girl. I learned that was religious legalism that trapped me. God does not operate with such cruelty to the oppressed.
Autumn, That was very well expressed. The whole thing in a nutshell. My daughter’s husband was going through a rough patch, which became abusive. I tried to tell her to take a firm stand; she had put up with it long enough, and eventually, when she finally said something, her teenage daughter added her two cents: “I would never marry a man like you.” That was his wake up call, because he adores his girls, but hearing that from her pushed him to finally get some help. If he hadn’t, I would have encouraged her to leave him; as a mother, knowing my daughter was suffering in her marriage, was almost more than I could take. Imagine what the Father’s heart is when His children are being abused! Yes, “it’s nutty to stay in an abusive relationship for any reason.” When we obey His speaking, He always makes a way for us to follow it.
You know Jo Ann, when you are in the middle of the mess it is hard to see clearly. Initially we all respond with shock. Whatever just happened to us was definitely wrong. So incredibly wrong that the behavior is almost unbelievable. We start to doubt or blame ourselves. Our minds do all kinds of things to cope. If we were not married to the offended and weren’t stuck living with them, we would run away. A vow has been made so we think we have to stay. Yet, if any other person in the world treated us like we have been treated, we would have been long gone. Run, run ,run away from evil, stop thinking it is part of marriage, it just isn’t.
Yes, thanks for posting your description here about my question regarding the ‘ultra religious’.
I’m wondering also how FLGal interprets that expression.
Autumn you are right when you say our minds do all kinds of things to cope.
When I was facing some of the most difficult places of my destructive and imbalanced power situation in my marriage… I had a very close and invested dear friend ‘who I believed loved me and would or could understand my very tough situation’.
I get what your saying when we walk away from those people who show themselves as ‘to be unstable or unregulated emotionally’ and lash out.
We leave. We get distance and never try to engage in convincing them that their out of control behavior is unacceptable. Regardless of what someone is going through, for some reason they seem to instinctively locate others ‘empaths maybe’ and think that any behavior goes??
This friend I was referring to above, had a belief that people rage and lose it on those they love the most, thinking that it’s a normal thing in life to behave such a way when someone gets frustrated or has less bandwidth, this friend would ongoingly minimize my husband’s cycles. This friend also has called me legalistic and religiously conditional with unreasonable standards/demands for relationship, because I have boundaries for this behavior and treatment.
Talk about twisting the table!
Some people don’t get the wake-up call and the help associated with these thinking patterns and ways of minimizing behavior.
JoAnn, I think going through a rough patch is just that… going through a rough patch, but often abusers who are ‘shaped’ to externalize blame will consistently show this repetitive pattern and need help ASAP. It takes swift action.
Glad your son in law took a look at his underlying issues that were leaking out on the innocent individuals he loves. This is a blessing.
My son-in-law’s “rough patch” lasted several years, and we are all glad that he finally got some help. For him, it wasn’t a personality defect; he was very depressed and getting on medication made a difference. While his behavior was verbally abusive, it took reading Leslie’s book for my daughter to realize how abusive her marriage was and finally stand up for herself and the girls.
From what I have learned from many of the women here, and you referred to this, is it takes some time, sometimes a long time, to realize that you are living in abuse. I think that being on the blog here has been helpful in that way; to define and realize that a marriage is abusive, and no woman needs to stay in that situation. Y’all are such brave and compassionate women here, and I love every one who has written.